Village Beacon Record

The historical structure at Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe underwent significant structural damage after a fire on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Photo courtesy Tesla Science Center

Just days before the fire erupted, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was marching along a path toward prosperity.

Center officials held a gala Nov. 16, announcing a $1.15 million installment of capital funding toward its anticipated $20 million restoration and redevelopment project.

Earlier, the center broke ground on the project, with demolition ongoing.

The center was ushering in a new era in its storied history.

“We were never in better shape,” said TSCW Executive Director Mark Alessi. “We were finally making the progress we had been working so hard for for many years.”

That’s when the flames broke loose.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 21, a conflagration — the cause of which is still unknown — enveloped the historic building on-site, designed by famed architect Stanford White.

In the aftermath, center officials are working to remediate the situation. During a press event on Tuesday, Nov. 28, Mark Thaler, partner at Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture & Preservation of Albany, reported that the original building was “fireproof for the most part,” noting that the original brick walls remain standing after the fire.

“We have lost some of the roof structure, which will be able to be restored, and we’re poised and ready to do that,” he said, adding that the ensuing stages include cleaning out the building, securing the walls and drying out the interior.

Mission Rebuild

Given the extent of the damages, the center is now calling upon benefactors from both near and far to bolster the restoration work.

Coined Mission Rebuild, the nonprofit has launched a $3 million emergency fund drive on Indiegogo. Mission Rebuild represents a separate fundraising effort from the $20 million redevelopment campaign. 

Public officials from across levels of government attended Tuesday’s event, pledging their support.

“This is a really important historic site — not just for this county or this state or this country but worldwide,” said New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk). “We will do everything we can without question on the state level to continue to get the funding you need to get this project to the end.”

Deputy Suffolk County Executive Jon Kaiman said, “Buildings can burn down and then be rebuilt. The ideas behind them — the person, the history, the narrative that was created over 100 years ago — still exist.”

The deputy county executive continued, “Because the story behind it is so strong, so important, so relevant, we know that we can all stand together and continue this journey that was started so long ago.”

Suffolk County Legislator-elect Chad Lennon (R-Rocky Point) thanked the local firefighters “for taking such care” in extinguishing the fire while preserving the structure. Despite the setback to the organization’s momentum, he pledged to help the center continue carrying out its mission. 

“It was one step back, and we’re going to take two steps forward,” Lennon maintained.

Also attending the press event, Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) sang an optimistic tune: “Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, this Tesla Center will rise as well,” she forecasted. “We will help you raise your money. We will get you back to where you were,” adding, “At the end of the day, Tesla was successful — and so will the Tesla Science Museum and this organization.”

To donate to Mission Rebuild, please visit

Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball head coach Adam Lievre’s strategy last season led the Wildcats to a county championship playing their toughest nonleague matchups early on. The Wildcats, a Division VI team, hosted William Floyd, a Division 1 team, to open their season and hit a brick wall. Having lost key players to graduation and with a returning starter sidelined with an injury, Shoreham-Wading River struggled with Floyd’s pressing defense and fast break ability, lost the battle 50-29.

A bright spot for the Wildcats was Alyssa Bell where the junior put together six field goals, a triple and four free throws for a team high of 19 points. When injured returning starter Juliana Mahan is able to rejoin the lineup, it’ll be a much-needed boost for the Wildcats 2023-24 campaign.

Shoreham-Wading River retakes the court with a road game against Cold Spring Harbor Saturday morning, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. followed by another away game against Patchogue-Medford Dec. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe wireless station, located in Shoreham, as seen in 1904. Public domain photo

Tragedy recently struck our community.

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, a regional and international treasure nestled in the heart of Shoreham, went up in flames last Tuesday, Nov. 21.

While the cause of the fire is unknown, the damages to the historical structure on-site are extensive. This sad news comes as the nonprofit organization was reaching its peak, embarking upon a $20 million redevelopment project that is now set back for some time.

Considerable effort and planning lie ahead to remediate the wreckage. Fortunately, we can all lend a hand in getting the center back on its feet.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, center officials launched Mission Rebuild, a $3 million fundraising campaign to finance the necessary restoration work. This is a separate fundraiser from the $20 million campaign for site redevelopment. We also can empathize with the Tesla Center.

Historic preservation is an arduous, often expensive endeavor. Local not-for-profits and private benefactors invest their time and dollars in preserving historically and architecturally significant structures for our community’s benefit. These places connect us to our shared past, linking one generation of Long Islanders to the next.

If we fail to invest in historic preservation, then we run the risk of losing our sense of place and appreciation for the land. This very rootlessness can give way to unfettered demolition, development, sprawl and other ills that may imperil our collective way of life.

The brick building of revolutionary scientist Nikola Tesla’s laboratory at Wardenclyffe — its roof severely damaged by the fire — was designed by famed architect Stanford White, whose roots lie in Suffolk’s North Shore. This intersection of architectural and scientific history is unrivaled anywhere else, which is another crucial reason for us to intervene.

And what could be a more noble cause than science, that exploration into the depths of the unknown, unraveling the mysteries of the universe and elevating our human understanding?

Along the North Shore, we are blessed with a rich scientific tradition spanning several institutions, such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Lab and Stony Brook University. Tesla’s lab is a part of that complex. Without it, our homegrown scientific community would be diminished.

As lovers of history, science, and community, we can all lend a hand in this effort. This is a call to people everywhere to help restore this vital place in our community and world.

To donate to Mission Rebuild, please visit

Local firefighters extinguish the blaze at Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Photo courtesy Tesla Science Center

By Samantha Rutt

A devastating fire broke out at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe on Tuesday evening, Nov. 21, causing significant damage to the historic building. Firefighters from 11 departments responded shortly before 5 p.m. to find the laboratory engulfed in flames.

The fire, still under investigation, was reported to have ignited again early Wednesday morning, causing extensive damage to the main building’s roof and interior. While no injuries were reported, losing this important historical site devastated the scientific community.

The Tesla Science Center said in a statement released on Thanksgiving, “We are thankful to the deputy fire coordinators at the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services — and to the fearless teams from the Brookhaven National Laboratory Fire Department [and all other responding departments]. Their relentless efforts to protect our community are a beacon of hope and strength.”

“The cause of the fire is still unknown,” science center representative Mark Grossman said. “It’s still under investigation, though they’ve ruled out arson. There’s no concern about it being a criminal offense — it was likely accidental. But they’re still in the investigation stage.”

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was the last remaining laboratory of famed inventor Nikola Tesla. One of the most influential figures in the history of electricity, he conducted groundbreaking experiments at the site in the early 1900s.

The bones of the building, constructed in 1901, have been reported to appear intact. However, the full extent of the damage is yet to be determined.

“It brings a sense of relief to share that the structural integrity of the building dating back to 1901 seems to have withstood the ordeal,” Marc Alessi, executive director of the nonprofit, said in a statement. “This resilience is a testament to its original robust construction and durability.”

The site will be evaluated and assessed by the site engineer, historical architect and structural engineer, along with the Suffolk County Police Department, the Brookhaven Town fire marshal and the county’s Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, for damages in the coming days.

The center was undergoing renovation at the time of the fire. The renovations were intended to restore the building to its original condition and make it more accessible.

“There was a capital project that would be started shortly,” Grossman said. “We’re embarking on a $20 million renovation that would turn it into a true museum open to the public.”

In an interview, Grossman addressed fundraising efforts to raise money to repair what was damaged.

“There’s going to need to be an infusion of some donations to get things back to where they were,” he told TBR News Media. “It’s going to delay the capital project somewhat. I can’t tell you the exact amount of delay.”

The Tesla Science Center is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations from the public. In the wake of the fire, the organization has launched a fundraising campaign to help rebuild the laboratory.

The fire has sparked an outpouring of support from the community. Many people have expressed sadness at the science center’s loss and pledged their support for restoration efforts.

Amid the distressing news, Vladimir Božović, consul general for the Republic of Serbia and the consulate general team, pledged to provide “any necessary assistance” to the science center in the coming period.

The consulate’s statement further notes, “Our thoughts are with all those who hold deep respect and admiration for the invaluable work and dedication demonstrated by the Tesla Science Center in preserving the legacy of Nikola Tesla, a great Serbian-American inventor.”

File photo by Raymond Janis

Searching for answers in Three Village school district

I noted with interest a recent article in The Village Times Herald [“Ward Melville principal surprise inquiry to remain private,” Nov. 23], in which we were informed that the erstwhile principal of Ward Melville High School, William Bernhard, had been “reassigned,” and has been replaced by a former assistant principal.

And furthermore, we are told by Superintendent Kevin Scanlon that “parents should not expect more about the surprise reassignment and investigation, and “transparency is not possible.” Reassuringly, however, Scanlon went on to say that “parents have nothing to worry about regarding their children’s education.”

While I have no doubt that Superintendent Scanlon has our best interests at heart, I think we would be well advised to remember the admonition given to us by President Ronald Reagan [R], which was “Trust, but verify.” According to the article, “Due to federal and state privacy laws, district representatives can’t discuss personnel matters – and they won’t be able to even after the issue is resolved.” But surely this need not be taken seriously, all of the time, even though it may be a “law.” And at the federal level, the prohibition of information leaks has evolved into a sort of suggestion or recommendation, rather than something that is absolutely inviolable. For example, ask the Supreme Court clerk who leaked the draft of the Roe v. Wade decision, or U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff [D-CA30] who routinely leaks information from meetings, often while the meetings are still in session.

Board President Susan Rosenzweig has suggested that we avoid “percolating speculation and hearsay on social media.” Accordingly, I have undertaken my own reliable research, and I have learned that Bill Bernhard was and still is an outstanding and highly respected math teacher, at the junior high school, senior high school and college levels. He currently teaches math courses at Stony Brook University, which begin at 2:30 p.m. after the high school classes have been completed. His grade on the SBU Rate My Professors website is 4.8 (out of 5), which is remarkably good. And I have it on good authority that Bill Bernhard has been seen in the Emma Clark Library, enthusiastically explaining the vagaries of higher mathematics to young students, and doing it very well.

It really is disappointing to learn from our elected officials that we can never hope to learn the true story about the unfortunate loss of a great teacher. Let us hope that they are mistaken.

George Altemose


Containment efforts and plans for restoration at Tesla Science Center

As many of you are aware, our beloved Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was struck by a serious fire last night [Nov. 21].

Over 100 firefighters from 11 departments responded to the blaze, demonstrating extraordinary courage and determination throughout the night. To these heroes, we owe a debt of gratitude beyond words. We are immensely grateful for their commitment and bravery.

Given the ongoing activity, we strongly urge everyone to avoid visiting the site for your safety and to allow emergency services to operate unimpeded. We promise to keep you informed through regular updates on our website and social media channels.

The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined. In the coming days, our site engineer, historical architect and structural engineer, along with the Suffolk County Police Department, the Brookhaven Town fire marshal and the county’s Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, will conduct a thorough assessment. Their insights will be crucial in shaping our ongoing plans to restore and rebuild this historic landmark.

It brings a sense of relief to share that the structural integrity of the building, dating back to 1901, seems to have withstood the ordeal. This resilience is a testament to its original robust construction and durability.

We recognize the profound emotional impact this incident has had on our community and on our supporters from around the world. Rest assured, our commitment to transparency remains steadfast. We will provide accurate, timely information, countering any misinformation that may arise.

It is also important to note that, while we were poised to begin a significant renovation and restoration project, construction had not yet commenced, sparing us from additional complexities at this stage.

For ongoing updates and verified information, please visit our website at Your support and understanding in these challenging times are invaluable. Together, we will navigate this crisis and emerge stronger, honoring the legacy of Nikola Tesla and the spirit of innovation, determination and resiliency that this center embodies.

Marc Alessi

Executive Director

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe

Potential environmental and health risks of proposed railyard

Ads have appeared weekly on behalf of the Kings Park Rail transfer facility near Town Line Road and Old Northport Road. This would be privately-owned and run, accommodating waste, construction debris, incinerator ash, construction materials and anything else that can be shipped by rail to and away from Long Island. There are dozens of acres for tractor trailers and trucks, covered buildings and parking areas.

The latest Townline Rail ad discusses incinerator ash. It states household trash “which we all create” is burned. Incinerators also burn waste from businesses and industries which include chemicals, heavy metals, medical waste, electronics, batteries, pesticides, poisons, fluorescent bulbs, radioactive waste, carcinogenic asbestos and more. Some of the aforementioned are supposed to be banned but they can get into the waste stream anyway.

The ad states incinerator ash is not classified as a USDOT toxic material. Really? The 2017 DEC Huntington incinerator emissions statement includes quantities of the carcinogens, birth-defect-causing and neurological toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, PCBs, dioxins, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, zinc, hydrogen chloride, sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, ammonia, tetrachlorodibenzofuran, particulates (carbon, silica), volatile organic compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons and more.

Incinerator ash is one of the most highly toxic and poisonous substances composed of superconcentrated hazardous materials. Spills, accidents and derailments occur. Rain-washed ash is dispersed. Explosions and fires are possible. Winds distribute ash particles when doors are open and in transit by trains and trucks. Furthermore, this is over a Suffolk County Department of Health Services-designated Article 7 deep recharge aquifer protection zone.

Do we want piles of this poisonous, cancerous material over our sole source of drinking water? This facility does not have to exist. It is a for-profit venture by the landowner. There are many residents, schools and health facilities in the area. The region’s drinking water, not to mention quality of life, are in jeopardy.

Public officials have a duty to protect us.

Mark Sertoff

East Northport

Thank you, voters

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you, voters of the 13th Legislative District, for reelecting me to the Suffolk County Legislature for my sixth term.

I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to serve you, and I will continue to be committed to ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods, exposing corruption and waste in county government, preserving open space and promoting economic development.

I look forward to working together with our new county executive-elect, Ed Romaine [R], and my colleagues to maintain and enhance our communities and to protect our taxpayers.

Again, thank you for your vote of confidence, and I look forward to working on your behalf.

Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga)

Suffolk County Legislator

13th Legislative District

Concerns over ethics overhaul in PJV

I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed ethics code for the Village of Port Jefferson. The establishment of an ethics counsel and the formulation of a new code have raised several questions that need to be addressed for the sake of transparency and fairness.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand who initiated the idea of appointing an ethics counsel and the specific instances that led to this decision. Have there been significant ethical breaches by past or current staff members that warrant this action?

Furthermore, the role of an on-call ethics counsel seems redundant considering the resources and guidance available through NYCOM [New York Conference of Mayors], a benefit of our membership in this statewide organization. One must ask if such an appointment is truly necessary or if it’s an added layer of bureaucracy and cost.

The goal of any ethics code should be clarity and ease of interpretation, minimizing the need for constant legal advice. However, the proposed code seems to leave much room for subjective interpretation and potential abuse. This ambiguity does not serve the residents of Port Jefferson but instead appears to protect the very entity to whom it is meant to govern.

A comparative analysis with other well-established ethics codes, like those in Suffolk County and New York City, might offer better models for us to follow. These codes are comprehensive, clear, and have stood the test of time and legal challenges.

In summary, the proposed ethics code and the appointment of an ethics counsel raise more questions than they answer. The residents of Port Jefferson deserve a code that is clear, fair and impartial, one that upholds the highest standards of ethics and governance.

Traci Donnelly

Port Jefferson

Open letter on Harborfront Park walkways

Dear Mayor Sheprow,

I am writing to express vehement opposition to the current asphalt paving project at Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson. The decision to pave every pathway in the park with asphalt, extending to the waterfront, is deeply concerning for a multitude of reasons. Asphalt is notorious for its heat retention, posing a significant risk to pets and children who regularly utilize the park. Additionally, its impermeability is a known contributor to flooding, particularly problematic given our proximity to the waterfront.

A committee of 60 residents under the leadership of former Mayor Jeanne Garant worked to design the park and former resident, Bob Tumilowicz, worked tirelessly to engineer this park. The original plan (dated Aug 1, 2022) did not call for the northern-most walkway to be touched, just the paths interior to the park. In particular, drainage of the grassy areas and crushed bluestone pathways was critical. They required careful consideration to prevent runoff and erosion. So the park was designed with deep underground trenching that contains perforated plastic pipe covered with gravel and crushed bluestone on top. This bluestone, gravel and underground piping allows for proper flow of rain and stormwater buildup.

Aesthetically, the use of asphalt in what is fundamentally a natural, nonurban space undermines the park’s natural beauty. It’s perplexing why alternatives that blend more harmoniously with the environment, like grasscrete, a permeable stamped concrete, were not seriously considered. These materials offer the added benefit of permeability, preventing water runoff and associated flooding, and are much more in tune with the park’s natural setting. If the water can’t be absorbed, it will run off, pool up and/or cause damage to the greenspaces or worse.

Your step toward using asphalt for all the pathways, including the one in which the main sculpture stands, is not necessary and is harmful to the environmental well-being and engineered design of the park. I, for one, stand against the asphalting of the park – a turn toward the hardening of the face of the village in spite of the hard work the original 60 members of the Harborfront Park committee put in when considering the beautification of this prime waterfront jewel.

Margot Garant

Port Jefferson

Editor’s note: The writer served as mayor of Port Jefferson from 2009-23.

Ann Emrick. Photo courtesy of BNL

Ann Emrick of East Patchogue has been named Deputy Director for Operations at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, effective Oct. 1. Emrick, a longtime Brookhaven Lab employee, takes over from Jack Anderson, who stepped down at the end of September after 10 years in the position.

In her new role, Emrick will oversee organizations that provide the bulk of support services for the Lab, including operation and maintenance of more than 300 buildings, several of which are unique, world-class scientific facilities. She will also work closely with Lab Director JoAnne Hewett, Deputy Director for Science & Technology John Hill, and the rest of the Lab’s senior leadership team on day-to-day operations and strategic planning for the Lab’s future.

“I’m excited to have Ann join Brookhaven’s leadership team,” said Laboratory Director JoAnne Hewett. “She brings tremendous experience and knowledge of the Lab, combined with enthusiasm for the role.”

During Emrick’s 36 years at Brookhaven Lab, she has served in progressively more impactful leadership roles across Brookhaven, the Battelle-affiliated labs, and the DOE complex. Most recently, Emrick was the directorate chief operating officer (DCOO) for the Lab’s Environment, Biology, Nuclear Science & Nonproliferation Directorate, the Computational Science Initiative, and the Advanced Technology Research Office.

“I am honored to have been selected for this position and thrilled to be working alongside JoAnne Hewett, John Hill, and the rest of the Lab leadership team at this exciting time at Brookhaven,” said Emrick. “The Lab’s future is bright with the Electron-Ion Collider project underway and our many scientific programs achieving impressive results. I plan to do my best to ensure operational excellence and to make Brookhaven Lab the best place for doing science.”

In this episode, we offer live updates from Brookhaven Town Hall as the future of Jefferson Plaza in Port Jeff Station hangs in the balance. Plus, a shocking turn as a fire engulfs the Tesla Science Center in Shoreham — we unpack the latest details and discuss restoration plans. Winter sports season previews and valuable insights on managing your investments are all in one episode.

Join us for a dive into local news on The Pressroom Afterhour: Keeping it Local with TBR.

Visit to read these stories and more. Follow us on:


Town of Brookhaven will light their holiday tree at the Holtsville Ecology Site on Dec. 1. Photo by Erin Hoeler TBR News Media

By Heidi Sutton

While a few villages and towns lit their holiday trees last week, the majority of tree lightings on the North Shore will take place this weekend and next weekend with caroling, treats and a special visit from Santa Claus. 


— The Centereach Civic Association invites the community to its annual holiday tree lighting and inaugural Dickens Festival on the lawn of Capital One Bank, 2100 Middle Country Road, Centereach on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. Enjoy caroling, hot cocoa, candy canes and a visit from Santa. Rain/snow date is Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. 

— Bethel Hobbs Community Farm, 178 Oxhead Road, Centereach presents Light the Night, a tree lighting and live nativity in memory of Matt Lewsi on Dec. 9 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. 631-774-1556

Cold Spring Harbor

The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor will host a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. Santa Claus will light the hatchery’s Christmas Tree at 5:30 p.m. Free admission after 5 p.m. Suggested donation of $10 per family. 516- 692-6768.


Greenland Landscape and Nursery, 292 Town Line Road, Commack will hold its 8th annual Community Tree Lighting on Dec. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. Santa Claus will be making a special appearance and hot cocoa will be served to warm up the evening. 631-368-7182


Coram Engine Company 2, corner of Route 112 and Pine Road, Coram will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Join them in Santa’s Workshop to decorate your own Santa hat while you wait for Santa Claus to arrive to light the tree with music and refreshments. 631-698-9714

East Northport

Island Christian Church, 400 Elwood Road, East Northport will hold its 2nd annual Community Tree Lighting event on Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. Free family activities starting at 3 p.m. include ice skating, live nativity, storytime with Santa, indoor snowball fights and much more. Visit for more info and to register. 631-822-3000


Farmingville Hills Chamber of Commerce and Farmingville Residents Association hosts a tree lighting at Triangle Park at the Town Clock, corner of Horseblock Road and Woodycrest Drive on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.  (event starts at 3 p.m.) with a visit from Santa and music by the Helping Hands Ministry children’s choir.  Refreshments at the Farmingville Fire Department will follow. 631-260-7411


The Greenlawn Civic Association hosts its 31st annual “Meet at the Tree” Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 2 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Harborfields Public Library, 31 Broadway, Greenlawn. Enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, dance performances, a Christmas carol sing-along plus a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Greenlawn Fire Dept. truck. Bring your letters to Santa for the North Pole mailbox.


The Town of Brookhaven will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting event at the Holtsville Ecology Site, 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. with costumed characters, musical entertainment, and a special appearance by Santa Claus, who will arrive via helicopter, and then assist with the countdown to light the tree. 631-451-9276

Kings Park

The Kings Park Chamber of Commerce hosts a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony/Menorah Lighting at Veterans Plaza, 1 Church St., King Park on Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. Enjoy holiday music selections followed by invocation and welcome remarks from the chamber with hot chocolate and cookies. Held rain or shine. 631-269-7678

Lake Ronkonkoma

Join the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce at Raynor Park, 174 Ronkonkoma Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma on Dec. 3 for their annual Christmas Tree Lighting from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment by the Cherokee Street and Nokomis Elementary School Choirs and a visit from Santa. 631-963-2796

Miller Place

The 15th annual Tree Lighting and Polar Express will be held at the Aliano Shopping Center, 691 Route 25A, Miller Place on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Enjoy performance from the Dance Pointe Performing Arts Center, as well as Miller Place students, and a visit from Santa Claus before the tree lighting. Free coffee, hot chocolate, soup, pizza, and donuts will be served.

Mount Sinai

Join the North Shore Youth Council and the Mount Sinai Fire Department for their 16th annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Heritage Park, 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Road, Mount Sinai on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. Listen to festive caroling by the Sing 4 Music choir, warm up with hot chocolate  with marshmallows and fresh baked cookies by Mojo’s Treats and take photos with Santa. 631-403-4846


The Nesconset Chamber of Commerce will hold a Holiday Lighting at the Nesconset Gazebo on Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. with music, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus. 631-724-2543

Port Jefferson Station 

Join the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber of Commerce for a Community Tree Lighting at the Chamber Car, corner of Nesconset Highway and Route 112, Port Jefferson Station on Dec. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. with refreshments and a visit from Santa. 631-821-1313

Rocky Point

The 39th annual Rocky Point Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at the corner of Broadway and Prince Road, Rocky Point with live holiday music, hot chocolate and candy canes and a special visit from Santa. 631-729-0699

St. James

The St. James Chamber of Commerce invites the community to a Christmas Tree Lighting celebration at Deepwells Farm County Park, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James on Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. with holiday music, kids crafts, pictures with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate. 631-584-8510


Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, 5 Randall Road, Shoreham invites the community to a Holiday Lighting at Wardenclyffe event on Dec. 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. Enjoy music, festive exhibits and activities for all ages with a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Register for your free tickets at 631-886-2632


Smithtown Library, 1 North Country Road, Smithtown will light their holiday tree on Dec. 1 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with refreshments and photos with Santa. 631-360-2480

Stony Brook

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts a Holiday Tree Lighting with Santa at the Stony Brook Village Center Green, 111 Main St., Stony Brook on Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the WMHO’s 43rd annual Holiday Festival. 631-751-2244.

Wading River

The Shoppes at East Wind in Wading River will host its 7th annual Tree Lighting on Saturday Dec. 2. The festivities start at 4 p.m. and last until 8 p.m., where all can enjoy live DJ entertainment and a dance number by All Star Dance Academy. Children can ride Rudolph on the carousel and put in a letter in Santa’s mailbox. Santa arrives on a Wading River Fire Department fire truck at 6 p.m. to light the tree. Rain date is Dec. 3. 631-929-3500

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Rufus is not sure what to do. He’s never there first. He circles the yard carefully, looking back at the fence. Bob sits in his usual seat at the picnic table, talking on his phone.

He doesn’t want to run before the others arrive. He sits under a tree, closes his eyes and allows the smells to fill his ample nostrils.

“Hi,” chirps Peanut, jumping up to reach his face. “Hi, hi, hi, hi!”

“Back up,” Rufus barks, “you’re too close.”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry,” she says. Peanut repeats herself in that high tone that annoys Rufus. “Even though I can’t see red or green, I know that holiday sweater is hideous,” Rufus said.

Fifi lowers her head.

“On the plus side,” he adds, “your fur looks great.”

Fifi prances in approval. She likes it when others notice that she’s been to the groomer.

Rufus glances at Andrea, Fifi’s human. He likes the way she scratches his ears and looks directly in his eyes.

Finally, the rest of the crew races over, tongues hanging out, fur flying off Oscar as he skids to a stop.

After the customary butt smelling, Oscar, the golden retriever, speaks.

“You had Uncle Doug’s sweet potato?” he asks Cole, an apricot poodle. “Does that taste as good as it smells?”

Cole barks his agreement, although he eats it so quickly he barely tastes anything. “And you had asparagus,” Cole says to Rufus.

Rufus sticks out his tongue. He doesn’t get his usual treat from Bob during Thanksgiving unless he has a few pieces of asparagus, which he hates.

“Stories?” King demands.

A French Mastiff, King regularly reminds the group he has the shortest life expectancy so he can’t waste time on food chatter.

“Bob’s got a new girlfriend,” Rufus starts. “She reminded him to walk me earlier than usual. She makes him shut the bedroom door, but she makes up for it by giving me more leftovers.”

“Nice,” barks Roxie. “Glad someone had a good holiday.”

“What? What? What?” barked Peanut.

A basset hound, Roxie hates her name and her short legs. Her ears also annoy her because they fall in her water when she drinks

“My family had a huge gathering,” Roxie barks. “These new kids thought they could teach me to fetch. I don’t fetch. Do they think I’m a golden retriever?”

“Hey!” Oscar barks.

“No offense,” Roxie adds. “What about you?”

“Aunt Linda spent the entire dinner saying she shouldn’t eat garlic. She didn’t listen to herself and was in the bathroom for an hour, groaning and cursing. How about you, Cole?”

Cole is among the tallest dogs at the run, particularly after he went to the stylist. Cole wanders over to the water bowl, with the rest of the group following closely.

“Cole?” Fifi asks. It is one of the rare times she doesn’t repeat herself.

“We watched movies in the dark,” Cole shrugs.

“There’s more,” says Rufus. “What’s going on?”

“Audrey looked out the window and wiped her eyes all weekend,” Roxie says. “She kept whispering how much she missed her brother.”

“What happened?” Oscar asks.

“I don’t think she’s going to see him again,” Cole says. “When I leaned into her legs, she ran her wet hand over my face. Other than a few walks, she spent most of her time on the couch. She barely ate, so I didn’t eat much, either.”

“Sad, sad, said,” barks Fifi.

Rufus agrees.

“You did what you should have done,” King says, the folds under his lips turning down. “You’re going to help her and we’re going to need to help you.”

“Help? How?” Oscar asks. Whenever Oscar became anxious, he circled the water dishes at the run. He knocks one over.

“My bad,” he says.

“Cole drinks first,” King says. “And we let Cole go to Andrea before the rest of us. We all know she’s the favorite human.”

Fifi nods, indicating she would share.

“How about you, King?” Rufus asks.

“It was great,” King says. “My family welcomed a new baby. At first, they kept me away, but they slowly let me see him. We’re going to be friends.”

“How do you know?” asks Cole.

“He touched his hand to my nose. It was soft and wonderful. He made me feel so young,” King adds.

Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Let’s take a look at how the stock market is doing these days and what we should be doing with it. On the whole, this has been a good year for stocks. Through the end of October of this year, the total return for Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is 10.7 percent. While recent high interest rates paid by banks, money markets and treasury bonds have sucked some money away from equities, we might be further encouraged to get out of the stock market. Every time the Federal Reserve has raised rates with the intention of cooling down inflation, savers with cash have benefitted. Even short term treasuries are currently offering north of five percent return.

Don’t do it, according to Jeff Sommer, who writes, “Strategies,” for the New York Times  Sunday Business. Here is why.

A new study gives further evidence that buying and holding is the surest way to profit on the stock market. Wei Dai and Audrey Dong of the asset management fund Dimensional Fund Advisors did the following research. They came up with 720 market-timing strategies, applied over different time periods and conducted on a variety of stock markets. Except in one anomalous instance, the “passive investing” strategy, meaning we buy-and-hold while minimizing costs to get as much market return as possible, is the best course to follow. We can do this through traditional mutual index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs that are like mutual funds but trade like stocks). Or we can make up our own mutual fund with a combination of diversified individual stocks. The idea is to just ride the ups and downs of the market. But in doing that, we have to accept losses some years for overall gains in the long run.

For example, in 1982, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which simply put is where the price of a select 30 U.S. stocks are added together, hovered around 1000. Today, that number is 35,475. Over a period of 40 years, the Dow snapshot of the market increased 35 times. But that also means there were years when the Dow declined. If we needed to sell then, at a low point, in order to secure some cash, we might have had to take a substantial loss depending on when we had bought into the market.

“People are always trying to figure out ways of beating the market,” said Ms Dai, meaning selling high, then buying low. “But moving in and out of stocks isn’t a good way to do it,” she added. While we may be able to see a low, it is very difficult to foresee when to get back in at the beginning of a rise. And most of the big money is made during the early stages of a rise, when the market takes off and we are left to run after it.

Can individual stock picking be a winning strategy?  That is, at best, extremely rare. Those who remember him highly regarded Peter Lynch, who managed the Magellan Fund for Fidelity (1977-1990) and who seemed to sense potential winners consistently over the years. His fund became so successful, it would alone move the markets. 

“Most active fund managers can’t beat the market year after year,” according to NYT columnist, Sommers. And so his advice, along with the research from Dimensional’s latest study, tells us to just be average and float on the overall market through index funds.

Of course, if you want to add a little spice to your life, as I sometimes get the urge to do, you can do the following. You can follow the advice offered above for the bulk of your equity investments but keep a small percentage, just five to ten percent for stock picking. That way, if you succeed on ferreting out winners, you can beat the market a bit. You can bask in the shadow of Peter Lynch. But if you lose, the result isn’t too bad.