Village Times Herald

Jimmy Morrell (29) charges forward during the first quarter against Hofstra on Saturday.

The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team entered the USILA rankings this week for the first time in four years. And things are looking bright under second-year head coach Anthony Gilardi.

However, the 17th-ranked Seawolves suffered their first blemish of the season on Feb. 27, falling to host Hofstra, 20-17.

With the teams deadlocked in the third quarter, Dylan Pallonetti had a pair of goals and Wayne White also scored to open a 14-11 lead. However, Hofstra answered with five straight goals to take a two-goal lead early in the fourth quarter.

Pallonetti’s fifth goal of the game stopped Hofstra’s run and pulled the Seawolves within 16-15 with 11:35 remaining. But Hofstra did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

Pallonetti finished with a team-high five goals in the defeat. Tom Haun and Mike McCannell each added a hat trick. Haun moved to 99 career goals.

Stony Book won only 14 of 41 faceoffs.

“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted in a rivalry game,” coach Anthony Gilardi said. “It came down to making stops and winning faceoffs. We struggled in those two areas. Credit to Hofstra. They did a great job of earning high-quality shots and finishing the ball. We will watch the film, learn from it and get back to work on Monday as we open America East play.”

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

TBR News Media Editor Julianne Mosher

It’s pretty funny. Journalism was always known as a male-dominated field. 

Back in the day, women were mostly secretaries in the field — a select few would end up publishing their own works like the famous Nellie Bly.

But even so, thanks to the brave and loud people who fought for women’s rights all those years ago, we’re allowed to do what we do.

In celebration of Women’s History Month this March, we thank them, from the bottom of our hearts. 

Now it’s 2021 and a lot has changed since Bly took a trip around the world in 72 days and uncovered the horrors of mental institutions in the late 1880s. 

TBR News Media currently staffs primarily women — its three editors are all female. We’ve had men work here before, but it just happened to work out that the majority of employees are now female.

Although the world has given our gender more rights than before, it’s still tough out there for women in journalism — between community to national levels, broadcast, radio, print and the web.

Our colleagues have been harassed on the street, cat called, grabbed. Some of us have been victim blamed or spoken to in a condescending way. Some of us in journalism don’t earn as much as our male counterparts — even on Long Island (yes, equal pay still does not exist).

But yet, women are still out there talking to you, telling your stories, being as empathetic as we can be when interviewing, photographing, taking videos and writing an article. 

We have a lot to be thankful for, but there still needs to be change.

We need to be paid properly for what we do. We need to be thanked for the work we do. We need respect — and not to be grabbed or harassed while we do our jobs. This applies not only to us but all the women out there who are doing their best to feed their families, achieve their goals and to make their mark on the world.

Nia Wattley (7) had 15 kills last Sunday.

The Stony Brook women’s volleyball team suffered a second straight five-set heartbreaker to begin conference play. UMBC swept matches on consecutive days against the freshman-laden Seawolves, winning 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-9 on Feb. 27 at Pritchard Gymnasium.

Nia Wattley had a team-high 15 kills. Kiani Kerstetter and Torri Henry had 21 digs apiece.

The Seawolves (0-5, 0-2 AE) return to action on March 7 with a doubleheader at NJIT.

Photo by Andrew Theodorakis

From left, Darren and Sal St. George discuss 'The Top 5 People Who Make Us Laugh' during a recent virtual conversation through Sachem Public Library.

By Tara Mae

For fans of classic movies, old Hollywood trivia, and celebrity icons, the show must go on. So when COVID-19 redefined the boundaries of normal life, St. George Productions reimagined the entertainment it provided to its audiences. After years of creating live educational theatrical events, it moved its endeavors online and began hosting digital lectures and virtual museum tours. 

On Mondays at 10 a.m., St. George Productions, through Zoom, offers virtual journeys into the past. “We celebrate entertainment’s leaders, legends, and icons through lectures and virtual road trips,” said Darren St. George in a recent interview. He and his father, Sal, manage the business and oversee all its operations. 

A virtual visit to the John Wayne Museum in Iowa

Focusing on the lives of notable historical figures, mainly of stage and screen, the talks feature Sal’s personal insights from his years in the business. They also draw on his experience as a pop culture historian and adjunct professor at Long Island University and other schools. 

Sal and Darren are motivated by their desire to teach the public about entertainment history and its impact on the culture. “Even if there was no pandemic, keeping the memories alive of these great entertainers is essential,” Sal said. 

The virtual tours are of museums dedicated to celebrities and cultural icons, such as actor Clark Gable and Frank Capra’s 1947 classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life. “We did the Clark Gable Museum, which then let other museums know. The It’s A Wonderful Life Museum let the Jimmy Stewart Museum and Donna Reed Museum know,” Sal said. 

This word-of-mouth method of promotion has proven effective, with museums now reaching out to St. George Productions to arrange virtual visits, according to Darren. Usually conducted by executive directors of the museums, the private tours are free to the public. The company does not make a profit from them. 

“We are doing this to help support the museums themselves; we come from the museum world. We love this subject matter. Dad and I are going to be talking about this regardless; if you give us an opportunity we want to learn more,” Darren said. 

Before the pandemic, the company developed and produced educational theatrical works for organizations closer to home like The Ward Melville Heritage Organization and the Smithtown Historical Society. Creating informative entertainment is both a profession and a passion for the team.  

“I have always been self-employed in the entertainment business in one form or another. Everything I do is a stepping stone to the next program. We are reaching a lot of people, and who would have thought that we could do this, working off a computer, out of a house,” Sal said. 

A virtual visit to the Clark Gable Museum in Ohio

The business started over thirty years ago, when Sal was developing content for Walt Disney World. “I was approached by the head of historic services for Suffolk County — it had just restored Deepwells [Farm]. Rather than be a small fish in a big pond at Disney, I chose to be here and support the museum world,” he added. 

Darren, whose mother, Mary, also works for the company, joined the family business at a young age. He has worked both on the stage and behind the scenes, as the roles required. In recent months, his job has evolved to providing technical support for online content. 

“Working with my dad is a dream come true. Working with family has always been what I strove for. It has been challenging due to COVID, but every week we’re guaranteed to sit down and have a great time. It just so happens that people are watching,” Darren said.  

This camaraderie transcends family ties and extends to viewers who tune in from around the country, allowing people to bond through common interests and retreat into the comfort of fond memories.

“Our guests motivate us so much. Times are hard, and this has turned into something for all of us to look forward to; an encouraging moment to come together and enjoy celebrities and movies we have all appreciated for so many years. It is incredible — we would have never been able to do this without Zoom, etc. Besides, how often do you get to travel to Wyoming, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Idaho without leaving your living room?” he said.  

The next lecture will be “Influential Women of Comedy: Part II” on March 8 at 10 a.m. All programming is free, with a suggested donation. For more information about the lectures and museum tours, visit 

By Daniel Dunaief

It started over four decades ago, with a “help wanted” advertisement.

Luci Betti-Nash needed money for art supplies. She answered an ad from the Stony Brook University Department of Anatomical Sciences that sought artists who could draw bones. She found the work interesting and realized that she could “do it fairly easily. I could not have imagined a more fulfilling career.”

Betti-Nash spent 41 years responding to requests to provide illustrations for a wide range of scientific papers, contributing images that became a part of charts and graphs and drawing everything from single-celled organisms to dinosaurs. She retired last April.

Her coworkers at Stony Brook, many of whom collaborated with her for decades, appreciated her contributions and her passion and precision for her job.

Maureen O’Leary, Professor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences, said Betti-Nash’s work enhanced her professional efforts. “I couldn’t have had the same career without her,” O’Leary wrote in an email. “Artists are true partners.”

O’Leary appreciated how Betti-Nash noticed parts of the work that scientists miss. 

“I think the most important thing is figuring out together what to put in and what to leave out of a figure,” O’Leary explained. “A photograph shows everything and it can be a blizzard of detail, really too much, and it will not focus the eye. The artist-scientist collaboration is about simplifying the detail to show what is important and how to show it clearly.”

One of O’Leary’s favorite illustrations from Betti-Nash was a pull-out, color figure that envisioned the ancient Trans-Saharan Seaway from about 75 million years ago. The shallow sea, which was described in the movie “Aquaman,” supported numerous species that are currently extinct. Betti-Nash created a figure that showed these creatures in the sea and how water drained from nearby mountains, all superimposed over the geology.

“It told the story of how ancient life turned into rocks and fossils,” O’Leary explained.

Betti-Nash, who continues to sketch from her home office and plans to be selective about taking on future assignments, has numerous stories to tell about her work.

For starters, the world of science is rife with jargon. When she was starting out, she didn’t always stop researchers who tossed around the terms that populate their life as if they were a part of everyone’s vocabulary.

“Some [scientists] would come in and assume you knew exactly what they were talking about,” Betti-Nash said. “It was something they were studying for years. They would assume you knew all the terminology.”

Each discipline, from cell biology to gross anatomy to dinosaur taxonomy had its own terminology, some of which “was way over my head,” she said. 

Early in her career, Betti-Nash felt she didn’t know details she thought she should.

“The older I got, the bolder I got about asking” scientists to explain what they meant in terms she could understand, she said, adding that she felt fortunate to have scientists who were “more than willing and eager to answer my questions when I was bold enough to ask. That was one of the many life lessons I learned … don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Betti-Nash sometimes had to work under intense time pressure. Collaborating with David Krause, who was at Stony Brook and is now Senior Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Denver Museum of Science, Betti-Nash illustrated the largest frog ever discovered, which lived in Madagascar over 65 million years ago. Called the Beelzebufo, this frog weighed in at a hefty 10 pounds and was 16 inches. Ribbit!

A short time before going to press, the scientific team decided they needed a common object as a frame of reference to compare the size of this ancient amphibian and the largest living frog in Madagascar.

“We scrambled,” Betti-Nash recalled. “We decided on a pencil.” 

She didn’t have time to draw the pencil, so she put it on her scanner, did some quick painting in Photoshop, put a shadow in, added it to the scan of the painting, saved it in the format required for the journal and sent it off.

“Adding the pencil was one of those typical strokes of genius that [Betti-Nash] routinely added to artwork,” explained Krause in an email. “Everyone knows the size of a number 2 pencil.”

Even though she hadn’t sculpted in 32 years, she had to create a sculpture of the frog that students could touch. The sculpture had to be non-toxic, dry and ready within three days.

Betti-Nash turned to the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, asking for help with ideas for the materials. She also asked Joseph Groenke from Krause’s lab to contribute his fossil preparing experience. She used an epoxy clay that she massaged into shape, and then colored it with acrylic, non-toxic paints.

That sculpture was featured as a part of a display at Stony Brook Hospital for years and has since traveled with Krause to Denver where “kids especially love it, in part because it is touchable,” Krause wrote.

Krause was grateful for a partnership with Betti-Nash that spanned almost 40 years.

“There is no doubt in my mind that [Betti-Nash] made me a better scientist and there is also no doubt that my science is better” because of her, he explained. Krause described her stipple drawings as “incredibly painstaking to execute.” His favorite is of a large fossil crocodile found in Madagascar from the Late Cretaceous called Mahajangasuchus. 

Betti-Nash urges artists considering entering the field of scientific illustrating to attend graduate school or even to take undergraduate courses, which would provide time to learn skills and terminology before working in the field.

She also suggests artists remain “interested in what you’re drawing at that moment, no matter what it is,” she said, adding that drawing skills provide a solid foundation for a career in science illustrating. Computer skills, which help with animation and videos, are good tools to learn as well.

Growing up in Eastchester, Betti-Nash often found herself doodling patterns in her notebooks. When she worked on graph paper, she colored in the squares. She also received artistic guidance from her father, the late John Betti.

A graphic designer, Betti worked for a company in Westchester, where he designed the town seal for Tuckahoe as well as the small airplane wings children used to get when they flew on planes.

During World War II, Betti, who grew up in Corona, Queens, used his artistic skills to create three-dimensional models from aerial photographs. Stationed close to the residence of his extended family in Italy during part of the war, Betti also created watercolor paintings of the Italian landscape.

When she was growing up, Betti-Nash had the “best model-making teacher in my dad,” who taught her to create paper maché.

Married to fellow illustrator Stephen Nash, Betti-Nash plans to remain active as an artist, doing her own illustrations involving nature and the relationship between birds and the environment. 

She currently leads Second Saturday Bird Walks at Avalon Nature Preserve in Stony Brook and Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket through the Four Harbors Audubon Society (

Betti-Nash is pleased with a career that all started with a response to an ad in the paper. “I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work as a scientific illustrator,” she said. “I hope I was able to help communicate the science behind the discoveries that the amazing scientists at Stony Brook made during my time there.”

All photos courtesy of Luci Betti-Nash

Carole Ganzenmuller, right, with her brother Richard Spence at an event a few years ago. Photo from Ganzenmuller

In September, Richard Spence, 64, of Selden, died of a heart attack.

Stunned by the loss, the extended family confronted the difficulty of planning a funeral during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We felt we had to be strict. My mother is 91, so we were diligent in who was coming and who was not able to come.”

— Carole Ganzenmuller

Carole Ganzenmuller, Spence’s sister, knows firsthand the suffering and difficulty the pandemic has created for mourning families. Ganzenmuller works as a funeral director’s assistant at East Setauket-based Bryant Funeral Home, where she and the staffs at so many other funeral homes on Long Island and around the country grappled with restrictions on the kinds of personal support people could normally provide after the loss of a loved one.

“We couldn’t do the normal funeral,” Ganzenmuller said. “We felt we had to be strict. My mother is 91, so we were diligent in who was coming and who was not able to come.”

Indeed, she said many of the extended relatives from out of state couldn’t attend the funeral for Spence, who served in active duty for the Navy for four years and as a reserve for two years. He was buried at Calverton National Cemetery.

While the family did have visitation and used Zoom, Ganzenmuller said they didn’t “go through the normal process.”

She said her children, who are in California and were on lockdown, knew they couldn’t attend.

“We didn’t want that many people around my mom,” Ganzenmuller said.

Telling people not to come was a “very hard thing to do” as it cuts the grieving process and the goodbyes become more complicated, she added.

The grandchildren couldn’t embrace their grandmother, which would have provided the customary comfort
and support.

Ganzenmuller’s family has had several members play active roles in serving the country through the armed forces. Her late brother William, who died at the age of 43, served in the Air Force, while her oldest brother Gary is a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam. Her late father Robert was in the Merchant Marine.

“We hang an American flag with great pride,” she said.

Sad as it was for Ganzenmuller and her family to lose Spence this fall, she recognized that they had more opportunities to grieve her brother than people who lost loved ones in the spring of 2020, during the earlier part of the pandemic.

In some cases, Ganzenmuller recalled how she went to a cemetery on her own, bringing a casket without a family along.

“I was going to Calverton where the families could not attend the funerals,” she said. She said the “Hail Mary” prayer on behalf of the families when she brought the deceased to the cemetery.

The increasing number of deceased people Ganzenmuller bought to the cemetery or the crematorium made her feel as if she were “in a war zone.”

“I felt a little blessed that my family was allowed to have what we had.”

— Carole Ganzenmuller

Ganzenmuller’s family had an honor guard for her brother, and the flag was presented to her mother.

“It’s very special,” she said. She has thought of all the people who couldn’t receive that honor. In fact, she said some religious officials didn’t feel comfortable entering the funeral home, so those services occurred outside.

“What was a normal ritual was no longer a normal ritual for people,” Ganzenmuller said.

The pandemic changed the way people could grieve and could say goodbye.

“I felt a little blessed that my family was allowed to have what we had,” she said. “I’m sure the healing process was tougher” for people during the early months of the pandemic, regardless of what caused a close friend or family member to die.

Through all the funerals, some of which continue for COVID-19, Ganzenmuller appreciated how the staff at Bryant Funeral Home and in the industry as a whole pulled together as a team.

“We’re saying to ourselves, ‘There’s hopefully light at the end of the tunnel when masks will come down and people can grieve in a normal way,’” she said. “They want to hug their family, they want to cry on them — and not give the elbows anymore.”

Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island available online

The Long Island Museum (LIM) has announced the release of its latest online publication: Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island. 

Based on the 2019 exhibition of the same name, the publication, written by LIM’s curator Jonathan M. Olly, Ph.D, focuses on the experiences of people of color from the 17th to 19th centuries. 

The five-chapter publication explores the topics of how slavery operated, how African Americans resisted bondage, navigated the era of emancipation, and built communities in the decades after slavery, from Brooklyn to the Hamptons. 

Cover image

“It’s important to remember,” says Olly, “that people of color have been a part of every Long Island community since the beginning. They worked in all industries, raised families, built communities, and contributed to our shared history and culture in ways that are remembered and celebrated, and also being rediscovered through historical research and archaeology.”

“Some of today’s challenges, such as de facto housing segregation, are rooted in the complex relationships between Black and white Long Islanders in the 18th and 19th centuries. To learn how we got to this point is essential to recognizing biases, fighting discrimination, and meeting our responsibilities to present and future generations. The Long Island Museum’s exhibition, and now this publication, are small steps in that direction,” he said. 

More than fifty organizations, companies, governmental offices and private individuals contributed objects and digital images to the exhibition that ran from February 15 to May 27, 2019 in the Art Museum. The unprecedented collection of material in one place for only a limited time prompted the desire for a publication that would provide a permanent record of the exhibition. 

The publication of Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island was made possible through generous funding from LIM’s premier exhibition sponsor, MargolinBesunder, LLP as well support from Baird Private Management Group, Bank of America, New York Community Bank Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, the Peter & Barbara Ferentinos Family Endowment, the Mary & Phillip Hulitar Textile Collection, the Long Island Museum Director’s Advisory Circle and public funding provided by Suffolk County.

Panel Discussion

Join the Long Island Museum via Zoom on Wednesday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m. as they host a moderated panel discussion to coincide with the release of the Museum’s new publication Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island!

The live conversation, moderated by Darren St. George, Director, Education & Public Programs, Preservation Long Island, will feature an esteemed panel including Jonathan Olly, Curator Long Island Museum, Professor Mark Chambers, and Lynda Day Professor of Africana Studies, Brooklyn College- CUNY The program will highlight the Museum’s new publication and discuss ways that historians, museums and professors are working to make Long Island’s past more accessible. Current approaches to teaching Black history, as well as how conversations around Northern (and specifically Long Island) slavery has changed over the last few decades will also be examined.

Registration is FREE, but limited and will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Please email [email protected] to reserve your spot today! You will receive an email within 48 hours to confirm your spot and a Zoom link a day before the event.

To view the publication or download a free printable copy visit the LIM’s website at

Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island‘s rich history and diverse cultures. The LIM will reopen for the spring season with new exhibitions on Friday, March 19, 2021 and modified museum hours, Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information visit:


Adrian Popp, chair of Infection Control at Huntington Hospital/ Northwell Health and associate professor of Medicine at Hofstra School of Medicine, spoke with TBR News Media newspapers to discuss vaccinations and COVID-19. Please find below an abridged and edited version of the discussion.

TBR: Why do some people have a stronger reaction to a second shot?

POPP: These two vaccines are very well tolerated. Yes, there are some side effects after getting the shots. Indeed, even in the trials, it has been shown that the second shot is sometimes more prone to have side effects. There is pain, tenderness at the site of the shot. Sometimes people can get fatigue, fever and even a chill. It is rare to have something more severe than that … From my experience, most people tolerate them well, including the second shot.

TBR: Should people try to take at least a day off, if they can, after the second shot?

POPP: That is not necessarily unreasonable. A lot of my colleagues did take the shot later in the afternoon and then go home and rest for the evening. If you can afford to have a day off the next day, that’s probably not unreasonable.

TBR: Does having the vaccine free people up to interact with others?

POPP: What we know from the Moderna and Pfizer trials is that the effectiveness of the vaccination is 95 percent to prevent symptomatic disease … Can a vaccinated person develop a light form [of the disease]? In theory, yes. There are not completely safe in [not] transmitting the disease to someone else.

TBR: Have the Black and brown communities, which have been somewhat resistant to taking the vaccine, been included in the clinical studies?

POPP: Those studies with Pfizer and Moderna included these populations. They are well represented in these studies. There’s no significant difference in the side effects in African Americans, or less efficacy in the Black and brown communities …. [The Black and brown communities] should feel comfortable that it’s as safe or as efficacious as it is in a Caucasian person.

TBR: Have people from the Huntington Hospital or Northwell community asked you about the safety of taking the vaccine?

POPP: I do have conversations like this every day with different members of Huntington Hospital [as well as] the community at large … I bring up one very recent study that will probably help in kind of showing a few things. I’m going to bring in Israel, a smaller country with a centralized health care system that has been very good in vaccinating people …. More than 50 percent of their population has received the COVID vaccination. Specifically, the senior population, 65 and above, has received the vaccine in percentages even higher … In a study in the New England Journal of Medicine of more than 600,000 people who received the vaccine, [they] compared the incidence of COVID without the vaccine. They found the protection is more than 90 percent … That tells us the vaccine is very effective.

TBR: What do you hear about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

POPP: The best thing about the [J&J] vaccine is that it’s only one shot and the second thing is that it can be stored at normal temperature compared to the other vaccinations [which require deep freezing] … That allows it to be distributed more easily … It will probably be a good vaccine as well.

TBR: After the shots, what is the immunity?

POPP: After the first shot, approximately a week or two weeks after the first shot, you develop quite a significant level of antibodies. There is a certain amount of protection. With the second shot, the level of antibodies shoots up probably 10 times higher than after the initial shot … Full immunity is one week after you receive the second shot.

TBR: Some reports suggest that people who have COVID and develop antibodies may only need one shot. Is that true?

POPP: There are infectious disease experts looking into this. We do know that after getting COVID, you do develop a certain level of antibodies … That varies widely from person to person … The jury is still out on this one. Truly, we have to look at it in a more scientific way. We’ll find out if this will be an option down the road. At this point, as the recommendation stands, you do have to get both shots, even if you had COVID disease before.

TBR: Do we know more about why one person gets very sick and another has only mild symptoms?

POPP: Up to 50 percent of people who get COVID are either asymptomatic or have really minor symptoms. There are risk factors for developing a serious disease. We know that obesity, hypertension, diabetes and specifically certain immunocompromised conditions are risk factors for more serious disease. I have seen older people in their 90s who do have a mild form of the disease, then I’ve seen somebody in his 40s who has very severe disease … There is no real good way of saying who will develop a more severe disease versus somebody else who will have a milder form.

TBR: What about the aftereffects of COVID?

POPP: I have seen quite a few cases of people who … develop quite severe symptoms. On the milder end, people have a loss of taste and smell. This can last for some time … From my experience, most people will recover from this. On the other hand, people with more severe illness, people who get hospitalized, I have to say that the virus can take a significant toll on that person. I have seen patients who have lost 20 to 40 pounds over a period of a month or a month and a half … Recovering from such a hit of being sick for such a prolonged period of time takes a toll on people. Some patients also develop some degree of cognitive impairment.

TBR: What keeps you up at night?

POPP: Even though [the infection rate] is coming down in New York, it is still not insignificant. It’s still an issue. Until we get … a significant number of our population vaccinated, we’re still going to be in trouble … The only way we can stop the whole thing is by vaccinating as many people as we can.

Sam Turcotte took a perfect-game bid into the eighth inning in Game 2 on Feb. 26

John LaRocca set the tone and Sam Turcotte put an exclamation point on the first February on-campus baseball games in program history.

Turcotte, 6-foot-3 right-hander from Toronto, took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning of the nightcap as Stony Brook swept a season-opening doubleheader against Sacred Heart, 1-0 and 7-1, at Joe Nathan Field on Friday.

Stony Brook (2-0) limited an opponent to one run over the opening two games of a season for the first time since performing the feat against Florida Atlantic in 2011.

It marked the first-ever February games on campus for Stony Brook and the first home opener since 1996. It ended up being a sunny, mid-40s day amid the snow piles just beyond the playing field.

“It’s unbelievable it’s the last weekend in Feburary and we played in the weather we did today,” coach Matt Senksaid. “It couldn’t have been better.”

LaRocca, a graduate student like Turcotte, had a memorable debut.

LaRocca helped lead New York Tech to a Division II College World Series appearance in 2019. Then, the Division II school disbanded its athletic program and he transferred to Stony Brook.

In his first Division I baseball game in three years, since his first college stop at Monmouth, LaRocca delivered a critical hit in his Seawolves debut.

Benefiting from a shift, the lefty-hitting LaRocca sent a roller down the third-base line for a double that plated Chris Hamilton from first base in the sixth inning for the lone run in Game 1.

Evan Giordano and LaRocca then drove in two runs apiece to support Turcotte in Game 2.

“I’m just happy to be back out here, especially after what happened at my old school,” LaRocca said.

LaRocca could not recall ever previously batting cleanup, which he did in the opener before moving to his customary No. 2 slot for Game 2.

“It’s those extra 15 pounds I put on,” LaRocca joked.

Nick DeGennaro, slated to be the No. 4 starter once America East play begins, earned the win in relief in Game 1. DeGennaro, a junior right-hander from Toms River, N.J., tossed the final 2 2/3 innings in relief of Jared Milch.

Milch had retired the first eight Sacred Heart batters he faced.

DeGennaro stranded the potential tying run in scoring position in the seventh and final inning with a game-ending strikeout of Steven Schoe. He also had stranded a pair of runners in scoring position the previous inning.

In Game 2, Giordano contributed a second-inning solo homer to open the scoring.

Freshman Evan Fox made his collegiate debut as the starter in left field in the nightcap and made a diving catch of a liner in the third to record the inning’s opening out —  a feat since Fox had not played the outfield since he was 12 years old. On his first college swing, a half-inning later, Fox led off by doubling down the left-field line and ultimately scored on a Brett Paulsen’s double in what became a three-run third.

Turcotte departed after 85 pitches, after surrendering a leadoff single in the eighth to Robert Farruggio. Turcotte had retired the game’s first 21 batters.

The last no-hitter in program history remains the third of Frankie Vanderka’s career, in 2014 against UAlbany.

“That was the longest I’ve ever had anything like that — any kind of perfect game, no-hitter, even shutout, honestly,” Turcotte said. “You’ve got to credit everybody. Anytime you put up seven runs on 11 hits, you’re going to win a lot of games.”

Stony Brook and Sacred Heart aim to complete the three-game weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander Brian Herrmann is slated to start for the Seawolves. He will make his first college appearance since April 13, 2019, after which he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Image depicting the ability of Nitrogen Removing Biofilters to reduce wastewater effluent levels to less than 10 mg N per liter. Photo from NYS Center for Clean Water Technology

Water, water everywhere and several scientists want to make sure there are plenty of drops to drink.

Christopher Gobler, director of the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology, and Arjun Venkatesan, the CCWT’s associate director for Drinking Water Initiatives, recently published two studies in which they highlighted how their efforts to reduce nitrogen also cut back on 1,4 dioxane, a likely carcinogen.

Gobler, who is also endowed chair of Coastal Ecology and Conservation at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, is leading a center whose mission is to solve the nitrogen overloading crisis in Long Island’s groundwater and surface water by developing alternative onsite septic systems.

Nitrogen, which comes from a host of sources including fertilizer, creates the kind of conditions that lead to algal blooms, which can and have closed beaches around Long Island. Nitrogen also harms seagrass meadows and can cause the collapse of shellfisheries like clams and scallops.

In the meantime, 1,4 dioxane, which is a potential health threat in Suffolk and Nassau counties, comes from household products ranging from shampoos to cleaning products and detergents. Manufacturing on Long Island in prior decades contributed to the increase in its prevalence in water sources.

Indeed, recent studies from the center showed “very high levels of 1,4 dioxane have been detected in our groundwater,” Venkatesan said in a recent press conference.

The chemical doesn’t easily degrade, conventional wastewater treatment doesn’t remote it, and household and personal care products contribute to its prevalence in the area.

A one-year study “confirmed this suspicion,” Venkatesan said. “The level of 1,4 dioxane in a septic effluent is, on average, 10 times higher than tap water levels.”

This finding is “important” and suggests that the use of these products can ultimately end up polluting groundwater, Venkatesan continued.

At the same time, the increasing population on Long Island has contributed to a rise in the concentration of nitrogen in groundwater, Gobler added during the press conference.

The center hoped to create a septic-enhancing system that met a 10, 20, 30 criteria.

They wanted to reduce the concentration of nitrogen to below 10 milligrams per liter, the cost to below $20,000 to install and the lifespan of the system to 30 years.

The center developed nitrogen removing biofilters, or NRBs.

In a second paper, the researchers showed that the NRBs removed 80 to 90 percent of nitrogen.

At the same time, the NRBs are removing nearly 60 percent of 1,4 dioxane, driving the concentration down to levels that are at, or below, the concentration in tap water, which is 1 part per billion.

This is the “first published study to demonstrate a significant removal of 1,4 dioxane,” Gobler said at the press conference. NRBs have advanced “to the piloting stage.”

The center anticipates that the NRBs could be available for widespread installation throughout Suffolk County by June 2022.

The center currently has 20 NRBs in the ground and will have over 25 by the end of the year. In 2022, anyone should be able to install them, Gobler said.

Residents interested in NRBs can contact the center, which is “working toward being prepared for widespread installation,” Gobler explained in an email.

Residents interested in learning what financial assistance they might receive for a septic improvement program can find information at the website

Gobler said the microbes in the NRBs do the work of removing nitrogen and 1,4 dioxane, which continually reside within the filters. He explained that they should continue to be functional for decades.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which has offices in five locations and is committed to an environmental agenda, was pleased with the research Gobler and Venkatesan presented.

She was “beyond thrilled with the science released today,” she said during the press conference. This research on the effectiveness of the NRBs “validates all of the work going on for the last four years.”

Esposito urged the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to test wastewater from laundromats, car washes and other sources to determine the amount of 1,4 dioxane that enters into groundwater and surface water systems.

Esposito is “thankful for science-based work that allows us to attain clean water.”