Village Times Herald

For one day, Seawolves stepped aside to give red rubber duckies the spotlight.

Hundreds of organizations across the North Shore converged onto Stony Brook University’s campus on Friday to celebrate the 14th annual Earthstock, a weeklong Earth Day extravaganza at the school. By that afternoon, a throng of students and residents celebrated by floating hundreds of rubber ducks down an on-campus brook — an activity that has become a known visual for Earthstock.

The college hosted events all week long in observance of Earth Day, including public lectures, a farmer’s market, drum circles, art showcases and even beatboxing. The annual Earth party came just days after Stony Brook University was ranked fourth overall on The Princeton Review’s environmentally responsible university list, which awarded the school a perfect green rating score.

“Environmental stewardship is a commitment the university makes to students, faculty and staff; and together we are committed to the community at large,” SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said. “Implementation of green technologies, resources and sustainability initiatives is an investment that not only impacts the future of Stony Brook but our collective future. We share this outstanding distinction with the entire campus community.”

The school recycled the most e-waste nationally in the annual RecycleMania 2013 and 2014 competitions, and operates 10 electric vehicle charging stations.

Since 2006, Stony Brook has planted more than 4,900 trees, saplings, bushes and perennials using an on-campus greenhouse and nursery.

North Shore Therapeutic changes ownership while shedding light on late father’s business

Jason Ferro and Candice Belinsky pose inside North Shore Therapeutic in East Setauket. Photo by Phil Corso

He didn’t know it at the time, but when Jason Ferro took over North Shore Therapeutic in the Three Village Shopping Center on Route 25A, he was following in his late father’s entrepreneurial footsteps.

Ferro was handed the keys to the East Setauket storefront in August after cousin Sharon Siess of Nissequogue sought a change of pace at the wellness center, which she started from scratch one decade ago. It took a mere coincidence for him to realize he was now the owner of the same shop his father once owned in the 1970s.

Jason Ferro shows the envelope he recently found revealing his store once housed his late father’s jewelry business several decades ago. Photo by Phil Corso
Jason Ferro shows the envelope he recently found revealing his store once housed his late father’s jewelry business several decades ago. Photo by Phil Corso

“My dad owned several jewelry stores with my mom over the years. Recently, my mom moved out of state and my sister and I acquired some keepsakes that she had saved from when I was a baby,” he said. “One of them was kept in an envelope with my father’s first store name and address stamped on it — Dan’s Jewelers. Through Google I was able to locate a few ads my dad had put in a local paper in 1972, all having the address of my business on it. This for me was a sign validating I am where I am supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing.”

That piece of history was all it took for Ferro to go all-in since signing onto North Shore Therapeutic, where he has been injecting new programs and services since coming on board over the summer.

“After many years of growing and establishing a healing environment, I am grateful to be a part of the next phase of our wellness center,” cousin Siess said. “Jason and I share the same vision and have many of the same beliefs, and he and the entire team are focused on bringing this healing intention to the community.”

Piggybacking on the 10 years of success under his cousin, Ferro said he wanted his North Shore neighbors to know he intends on keeping the East Setauket wellness center a known leader in the field of organic skin care, acupuncture, yoga, meditation and massage therapy.

He’s also keeping an eye on bettering the surrounding community by hiring locally and purchasing products from North Shore-based companies, like the Port Jefferson-based Phountain Water’s alkaline-based products.

“As a licensed massage therapist, a student of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and an instructor in the massage program at New York College of Health Professions in Syosset, providing effective and skilled treatment options is my main concern,” he said. “We believe that the overall health and well-being of the patient can be enhanced through the professional work we provide, and that the intention to help the individual heal is a large part of the process.”

Since taking over the space, Ferro said one of his biggest obstacles has been visibility in the Three Village community, as his storefront is neatly tucked away in the Three Village Shopping Center next door to the Rolling Pin Bakery. To alleviate this, the business owner has taken on an aggressive role with social media and said the response has been overwhelming as he rolls out his new programs in acupuncture, yoga and more.

“We have a very loyal clientele here and they’re all open to receiving different kinds of care,” he said. “We all just want to feel well and our clients love this place.”

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From left to right, Matt Lopiccolo, Jacob Arditti, Maki Stavropoulos, Jeff Towle and Mark Napoli signing their letters of intent. Photo from Chris Boltrek

By Clayton Collier

Five Ward Melville student athletes will continue their football careers after committing to play at the collegiate level — a rare occurrence for the lacrosse powerhouse that they hope will soon become a trend.

All-County quarterback Jeff Towle, center Maki Stavropoulos, guard Matt Lopiccolo, defensive end Jacob Arditti, and tackle Mark Napoli will all move on to play college football this fall.

Ward Melville head coach Chris Boltrek said having more of his athletes signing to play in college is essential in reviving the Patriots football program, largely because it makes the sport more appealing to other athletes at the school.

Jeff Towle reaches back to throw a pass in a previous contest. File photo by Bill Landon
Jeff Towle reaches back to throw a pass in a previous contest. File photo by Bill Landon

“To get the football program at Ward Melville to take off, the environment and the image had to change,” he said. “I thought there were plenty of good football athletes in the district that just didn’t realize the potential they had and didn’t realize that playing college football was a real possibility, and instead they gravitated toward lacrosse or baseball or other sports that they thought offered that for them.”

Boltrek, who played college football at St. Lawrence University after graduating from Ward Melville, said the program occasionally gets one player every few years who moves on to the collegiate level. Now having five in one year, he hopes it will bring new life into the program.

“To have five in one year is a pretty big deal for us,” the first-year varsity head coach said.

Towle, who will attend Division II Pace University this fall, also doubled as a talented catcher on the baseball team, but said football has long been his preference.

“I was always a quarterback at heart,” he said. “I just happened to be showing more talent in baseball at the time. Then I got my opportunity on the football field and play well. I’ve been a football guy my whole life.”

Towle was not even the starting quarterback until the final five games of the season. Serving as the reserve, Towle continued to train to ensure he would be ready should he get his chance.

“I worked as hard as I could, knowing maybe I’ll get a shot, maybe I won’t,” he said. “But if I did, I wanted to be ready.”

When Towle got his chance, he thrived, completing 13 touchdown passes and tossed for over 1,100 total yards of offense.

His mother, Jessica Spencer, said her son’s dedication led him to obtaining such an opportunity.

“He hung in there and he did everything they asked him to and it paid off,” she said. “I’m very proud of him and I’m very grateful to have him.”

Stavropoulos, a captain and three-time All-Division honoree, and Lopiccolo, who also achieved All-Division honors, will remain teammates as the pair heads to Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Lopiccolo and Arditti, like Towle, had obstacles to overcome as both were cut from the junior varsity squad in ninth grade.

“I was sad because football is my sport — I’ve been playing since I was five,” Lopiccolo said. “But at the same time it gave me the drive to work harder and hit the gym.”

To ensure that they wouldn’t be cut again, the pair “lived in the gym,” as Boltrek described, working out for 90 minutes a day, five days a week under the coach’s guidance. Lopiccolo said he was thrilled when he and Arditti made the team the following year, crediting the effort they put in  aover the year to improve themselves physically.

“It’s crazy how the tiniest bit of effort can change something completely,” he said.

Napoli, the team’s final commit, was an All-Division tackle who will attend the Division III Stevenson University.

Towle said he, along with his four fellow teammates that committed to play college ball, owe their diligent work ethic and ultimate success to Boltrek for his ambition and guidance.

“To be honest, we probably worked harder than any team in the county throughout the week during the season, and that’s a credit to [Coach Boltrek],” he said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without him; any of us.”

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library shows off its new gear. Photo from Robert Caroppoli

Setauket’s own Emma S. Clark Memorial Library made the most of $10,000 in state funding and is now celebrating a new state-of-the-art technology center.

Three new 55-inch smart televisions were only the beginning of the new technological enhancements made at the library this month, thanks to $10,000 in state funding from state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), which helped offset the cost of the refurbished center. It took a lot of work, but the library made sure to employ all the painting and wiring from in-house library employees in order to get the most out of the money.

“We are grateful to Sen. Flanagan for this generous award, which will help enhance the lives of our patrons, young and old,” said Ted Gutmann, library director. “Thanks to Sen. Flanagan and New York state, this new facility ensures that Emma Clark Library continues to offer its patrons the latest in technology, keeping it a modern library for today’s fast-paced world within its charming façade.”

Moving forward, Gutmann said the technology center will offer classes to the public on a wide variety of subjects, including those for beginners and others for more advanced learners. With this new software, the library will add to its existing selection of classes for teens by offering online video creation and editing.

Flanagan visited the library last week to meet with Gutmann and its employees to tour the new equipment and share in the success.

“The staff and leadership of the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library has utilized this state funding to create a learning center that will enhance the lives of so many in the community. This new technology center has many different applications for young and old and is a great addition to this already impressive facility,” Flanagan said. “I am happy that we were able to work together for the benefit of the patrons.”

Among the equipment purchased as a result of the grant were three Vizio 55-inch wall-mounted smart televisions, which have the ability to mirror the display of the instructor’s machine, Apple TV and any other HDMI-capable hardware. This technology will allow participants to follow along with an instructor during any class. Each television is also equipped with a floor level HDMI port for easy access to gaming systems or other external input devices.

The Technology Center will also house 10 Dell computers with 23-inch LCD monitors, which are wall-mounted to allow for a clean appearance and functionality. These computers are designed in a way that enhances learning because they are fast, reliable and equipped with some of the latest technology available, including Intel i5 processors, 8GB of memory, and wireless keyboards and mouses, the library said.

The library also received a brand new Macbook Pro with an Intel i7 processor and 16GB of memory, which operates on Mac OSX Yosemite. The Macbook also has Microsoft Office 2014 and Final Cut Pro, which allows for video and photo editing.

All classes held in the Technology Center can be found in the printed newsletter or online at  /newsletters.

The library already offers adult classes on a broad range of topics, such as the Internet, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Facebook, Pinterest, smartphones and tablets. Children and teen programs include Minecraft and Wii U. Also offered are workshops and drop-in tech assistance for help with mobile devices in a small, personal setting.

The library even offers a Teen Tech Clinic on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, where teens volunteer to assist adults with their computers and mobile devices.

Johnny Cuomo sings to a group of children at the 2013 Middle County Public Library Apple Festival in Centereach. Photo by Kristin Cuomo

By Sue Wahlert

It’s quite possible that Mount Sinai’s Johnny Cuomo lives, breathes and sleeps music. Added to his life’s obsession are his love of cultures, nature, children and storytelling. He is a multidimensional music man who is lovingly known to many as “Mr. C.” As he says in his online introduction video, he is “deeply connected with nature, music, children and stories for children.”

However, there is even more to Cuomo than his guitar or his penny whistle.  There is a wisdom that lives within him.  It is a culmination of family vacations to the National Parks, his time spent volunteering on Indian Reservations in California and backpacking and studying abroad in Ireland, his dedication to religion and his need to make music. With all of this information, he has made it his life’s work to share his knowledge with children and adults through his musical storytelling profession and his performances in Irish Pubs.

At a very young age, Cuomo’s Stony Brook family began laying the groundwork for the man he has become.

“My parents had me interested in wolves, birds and bears,” said Cuomo. In college, Cuomo discovered the world of bird watching and is now an avid watcher. He uses his knowledge to incorporates tales of birds into some of his early childhood education programs.

Because Cuomo was exposed to history at a very young age, he was open to the experiences of volunteering at the Vieajas and Barona Indian Reservations in San Diego. “At night I would hang out with the elders. This enabled me to learn about their cultures and share my culture,” reflected Cuomo. This was also the first time Cuomo had the opportunity to work with children. “It solidified my love of working with children,” he said.

Cuomo’s love of Irish music was ignited during the two months he spent backpacking in Ireland, where he carried his belongings and a guitar. “I wanted to learn stories, music and history of the Irish,” he said. Upon returning home, he knew he had to go back, but this time would be via a study abroad program.  During his eight months of study, Cuomo learned to play the tin whistle, banjo and mandolin, and began performing Irish music.

In the late 1990s, Cuomo formed the popular Irish band, Gallowglass. Although they are no longer together, the musicians sometimes collaborate.  Currently you can see Cuomo on most Sunday nights performing Irish music at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle on 2nd Ave. in New York City.

Cuomo understands the vital importance of music in the life of children and adults. He offers private instruction and also has a wide range of children’s programs for Preschoolers through 12th grade. For more than seven years, Cuomo has been doing a weekly music program at the Chatterbox Day School in East Islip.

Director Lindsay Parker said of Cuomo, “The children look forward to their weekly music classes with “Mr. C.” They are fun, creative and exciting. Johnny brings a new dimension to children’s music that is rare to find!”
You might also find Cuomo on stage at the outdoor classroom at Play Groups School in East Setauket, strumming on his guitar while the preschoolers act out musical stories as they sing and dance.  Educational Director Maddy Friedman applauds Cuomo, saying “he is an exceptional music educator who brings his joy and love of music to our school.” Cuomo is scheduled to perform at the school’s annual May Fair on May 30.

Since 2000, Cuomo has also shared his talents at the Comprehensive Kids Developmental School, a public, special needs preschool on the lower east side of Manhattan. The opportunity to work with the special needs population has impressed upon Cuomo the importance of therapeutic music. “I can reach these kids with my music,” said Cuomo. “I have a special drum I use, where they can feel the vibration, and also a whistle, so they can feel the air move. It is a gift to be able to work with these kids.” Annemarie Fuschetti, the school’s former psychologist, said of Cuomo, “Everyone lights up when Johnny comes. Even those with the most difficult behaviors.”

One might wonder how one person can do all of this? Cuomo laughed as he said, “I have a number of part-time jobs that add up to more than a full-time job. I have traded sleep for time with my family.” His two boys, Johnny, 7, and Paul, 6, are also music lovers and have been to hundreds of their father’s gigs.  Recently, Cuomo was invited to play at Walt Disney World with a group of fellow Irish musicians. Fortunately his wife and sons were invited to be part of this journey, to experience the park and see Cuomo play an Irish music and dance show at Raglan Road Irish Pub in Downtown Disney.

More recently, Cuomo signed with manager Jean Marie Keevins of Little Shadow Productions. Keevins will serve as a liaison to other writers and companies with whom Cuomo might be able to collaborate and sell his original ideas to. The professional arena is wide open, from books to theater to animation. It is an exciting time for the artist.

Additionally, Cuomo is excited to be heading off to Alaska this July for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, where he will be teaching workshops and playing concerts focused on traditional Irish and American Folk music.

To top it off, the never weary Cuomo and his wife Kristin will be running their weeklong summer program, “Birds of a Feather Nature Camp.” Based out of the Setauket Neighborhood House, they have been running this outdoor program for more than 13 years. “We want to get kids to go outside and observe all that is here locally. It is an opportunity to see what’s in your backyard,” said Cuomo. The camp combines music, nature, crafts and hiking, all of which encourage kids to connect with nature and music.

Check out Cuomo’s website at www.johnnycuomo.com to learn more about his programs, listen to some of his CDs and check on upcoming shows. Any time spent with Cuomo is a time to remember, as his stories and music live on in the minds and hearts of many.

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Billy Joel will receive an honorary degree at next month’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony, slated for May 22 at LaValle Stadium. Photo from SBU

Billy Joel is coming to Stony Brook University.

Billy Joel will receive an honorary degree at next month’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony, slated for May 22 at LaValle Stadium. Photo from SBU
Billy Joel will receive an honorary degree at next month’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony, slated for May 22 at LaValle Stadium. Photo from SBU

The iconic singer and songwriter was named one of three luminaries who will receive honorary degrees at this year’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony on May 22, along with renowned computer scientist Ben Shneiderman and Long Island businessman and philanthropist Charles Wang.

“This is a remarkable distinction for the Class of 2015, to be joined in their celebration by such a highly accomplished trio,” said Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “It shows our new alumni how much can be achieved with vision, dedication and perseverance. These three individuals personify the relentless pursuit of excellence that Stony Brook embraces.”

Stony Brook University will be conferring honorary degrees to all three visitors, who will don academic regalia along with more than 6,000 students at the 55th annual commencement ceremony, slated for 11 a.m. at LaValle Stadium. Both Joel and Wang will speak at the ceremony, Stony Brook University said.

“I look forward to this commencement, as I’m sure does the entire Class of 2015, as they prepare to celebrate the culmination of their dedication, hard work, and their vision for what lies ahead,” Stanley said.

Joel, who was raised in Hicksville, is a singer-songwriter pianist and composer who has earned 23 Grammy Award nominations, six Grammy Awards, and an additional Grammy Legend Award to name only a few of his achievements.

Shneiderman, a two-time Stony Brook University alumnus and distinguished university professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, is a world-renowned computer scientist who has transformed his chosen field. Shneiderman will be speaking at a prestigious doctoral hooding ceremony the previous day, May 21, at 1 p.m. in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

Wang is co-founder of Computer Associates International — now CA Technologies — and owner of the New York Islanders ice hockey team. Born in Shanghai, China, he moved to Queens when he was 8 years old, and attended Brooklyn Technical High School. The Charles B. Wang Center at SBU was named in his honor.

Lights out
Two men from Stony Brook were arrested in Stony Brook on April 13 and charged with first-degree burglary, using a dangerous instrument. According to police, the men, one a 23-year-old, and another, a 17-year-old, entered an Old Town Road home on March 29 at about 3 a.m., struck someone in the home in the head with a handgun and took money.

Lost time
A Stony Brook man reported to police on April 16 that his Rolex watch was stolen from Blueberry Lane in Stony Brook, sometime between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21. No arrests have been made.

Hospital heist
A woman reported to police on April 14 at about 1 p.m. that items were stolen from her purse while she was at Stony Brook University Hospital’s recovery room. No arrests have been made, and police couldn’t tell what was taken from the bag.

Nail [salon] cracked
Someone broke the glass door of Pro Nails on Main Street in Setauket-East Setauket and stole cash from the register, sometime around 7:30 p.m. on April 16.

Wallet woes
Police said a Poquott man reported that someone stole items from his wallet, which was left in a car that was unlocked and parked in the driveway of his Birchwood Avenue home. The incident was reported on April 16 at 9 p.m.

Feeling hot, hot, hot
Police said two men fled Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on March 15 at about 6:35 p.m. with lighters and condoms. They were confronted at the door and told staff they didn’t take anything. They fled on foot.

The Bicycle Thief
A bike was stolen from a Terryville Road residence in Port Jefferson Station on April 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Pocketed
An unknown person stole a purse from inside a Piedmont Drive home in Port Jefferson Station between April 17 and 19.

How charming
Two males got into an argument at a Charm City Drive residence in Port Jefferson Station on April 17. According to police, one of the men hit the other with a closed fist. It is unclear if the victim needed medical attention. No arrests have been made.

Missing
A wallet was stolen from a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta parked at Danfords Hotel & Marina on April 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Played
An unknown person stole a PlayStation and game from a North Country Road residence in Port Jefferson on April 14 between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Still snowing?
An unknown person stole a snowblower from Agway in Mount Sinai at some point between April 18 and 19. According to police, the individual prised open a locked shed and removed the blower.

Sounding off
Two friends got into a spat on April 15 on Hallock Landing Road in Sound Beach. One man pushed the other.

Pod and pills
An unknown person stole an iPod and prescription pills from a 2010 Hyundai parked on Block Island Drive in Sound Beach on April 13 between 1:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Double the larceny
A 31-year-old Sound Beach man was arrested on April 14 on two petit larceny charges stemming from incidents in October and on Feb. 21 when he stole items from stores on the South Shore.

Rocking and rolling
An unknown person threw a rock at a truck’s windshield while it was parked on King Road in Rocky Point on April 18.

Cashing in
Cash, a cell phone and a debit card were stolen from a home on Broadway in Rocky Point at around 4 a.m. on April 15.

Moving you forward … to jail
A 28-year-old Bayport man was arrested in Centereach for criminal mischief after he damaged the windshield on a 2009 Toyota on April 19.

Binge watching
An unknown female left the Centereach Walmart on April 17 without paying for a flat screen television.

In a cell
Police arrested a 26-year-old man from Centereach on child pornography charges. According to police the man, who was arrested at his home on April 17, had the images on his cellphone.

Screen scene
A residence on Choate Avenue in Selden reported a screen had been damaged on April 19.

Wrecked
A 47-year-old female from Middle Island was arrested in Selden for leaving the scene of an incident. According to police, on April 17 at 11:05 p.m., while operating a 2010 Chevy, the woman was involved in a crash at Hawkins and Wireless roads. She then fled the scene.

Directions?
A GPS was among items stolen from a vehicle parked in a driveway on Glenwood Avenue in Miller Place on April 14 at approximately 6 p.m. A day earlier, personal papers were stolen from a Jeep parked on the same street.

Wrong department
Police arrested a 35-year-old Port Jefferson man on April 15 and charged him with second-degree harassment after he attempted to return stolen merchandise to Sears on Route 347. After employees questioned the man, he became belligerent, pushed a store manager and ran out of the store. He was arrested around noon.

Slap ‘n pepper
A 21-year-old from St. James was arrested in the Village of the Branch on April 17 and charged with second-degree harassment, physical contact. Police said he sprayed pepper spray into the face of another person on East Main Street at about 6:37 p.m. that day. He also slapped the victim in the face during a verbal argument. Police said the victim required medical attention.

Double-team punch
Two men were charged with second-degree harassment, physical contact, and arrested on April 13 in Smithtown. Police said a 32-year-old from Pikeville and a 31-year-old from Ocala were both charged with punching someone in the head on West Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown at about 11 p.m. that day.

Stolen jewels
A West Main Street jewelry store in Smithtown was burglarized on April 13 at about 2:12 a.m., police said. The front door was smashed and assorted jewelry was taken from L.I. Gold Mine, according to police.

Wiped out
A 55-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested in Smithtown on April 15 and charged with criminal mischief with intent to damage property. Police said that at about 9:15 a.m. that day he broke off the driver side windshield wiper arm of someone’s red Chevrolet Impala on Route 111 in Smithtown. He was arrested on Plaisted Avenue in Smithtown that day.

Assaulter caught
A 23-year-old Commack woman was arrested in Smithtown on April 13 and charged with assault with criminal negligence, causing injury with a weapon. Police said she punched a female in the head after an argument over prior issues on April 6 at 11:43 p.m., causing the woman to have a fractured nose. The incident occurred on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge, and the Commack woman was arrested at the precinct.

Package taken
Someone stole a package from an office building on West Jericho Turnpike at about 2 p.m. on April 13. The package included an employee’s credit card, which police said was later used.

Checks nabbed
Someone stole business checks from a car dealership on Middle Country Road in Nesconset and forged signatures on them. The incident was reported on April 18 and occurred sometime around 9 a.m. on Feb. 11.

Car break-in
Items from a 2012 Honda CRV parked at a 4th Avenue home in Kings Park were taken April 18. Police said an unknown person damaged the driver-side window and took a book bag, cash, credit card and driver’s license.

Identity stolen
A Saint James resident of Lake Avenue told police on April 18 that an unknown person used his identity to withdraw money from the bank on Jan. 26 at about 9 a.m.

Brutal beating
A 50-year-old St. James man and a 53-year-old Huntington man were arrested in Huntington on April 20 and charged with third-degree assault, with intent to cause physical injury. Police said the two grabbed a male victim and punched him in the face. The victim suffered a concussion, a broken nose and required stitches. The 50-year-old man was arrested on Stewart Avenue in Huntington, the 53-year-old was arrested on O’Hara Place in Huntington.

Knife threat
Police said a 16-year-old from Huntington Station was arrested in Huntington on April 17 and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, with intent to use it. Police said he got into an argument with a male on West Pulaski Road in Huntington Station on April 17 at about 9:20 p.m. and threatened the person with a knife.

Toothbrush, baby formula stolen
A 34-year-old Mastic Beach man was arrested in Huntington and charged with petit larceny on April 14. Police said the man entered a Rite Aid on West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station at about 8:03 p.m. on that day and took an electric toothbrush, replacement heads and baby formula.

Not-so-slick liquor thieves
Two women entered Angelina Liquors on Broadway in Huntington on April 20 and stole two bottles of liquor. Store staff told police the females went to the rear of the store and removed a bottle of tequila and went to another aisle and took a bottle of vodka.

Green Street punch
Someone was punched in the face in a parking lot on Green Street on April 19 at about 3 a.m. There are no arrests.

Beauty dash
Someone entered Sally Beauty Supply on New York Avenue in Huntington and fled with five assorted beauty items on April 16 at about 10:35 a.m.

Exclusive cream stolen
A woman pocketed a skin cream on display at L’Amour Spa on Fort Salonga Road in Northport on April 14 at 1:55 p.m. The product was an in-store trial-only sample.

Mowed down
An East Northport woman told police on April 13 that someone drove onto her 5th Avenue front lawn, causing damage sometime on April 12 at 11 p.m. There are no arrests.

Fill ’er up
A Cold Spring Harbor man told police he found his 2011 Chevrolet’s gas tank filled with salt. The incident occurred sometime at midnight on April 15 and the car was parked on Harbor Road.

Gold chain, meds stolen
A Centerport man told police he want for a walk on April 16 between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and didn’t lock the door to his Washington Drive home. Someone came in and stole a gold chain and medicine.

George Hoffman and Laurie Vetere overlook Setauket Harbor, which their new task force hopes to protect. Photo by Susan Risoli

By Susan Risoli

Setauket Harbor has a new best friend.

To speak up for this system of bays and ponds, residents have created the Setauket Harbor Task Force. Before the group met at the Neighborhood House Tuesday night, cofounders Laurie Vetere and George Hoffman said the task force can improve water quality and increase accessibility for all who love Setauket’s wetlands.

Stuck between Stony Brook Harbor and Port Jefferson Harbor, Setauket Harbor is an “orphan” that could use some of the attention given to its neighbors, Hoffman said. Stony Brook’s strong harbor advisory committee and vocal boating community, and Port Jeff’s commerce and ferry navigation, ensure that those harbors stay in good shape, Hoffman said.

“And in Connecticut, every harbor has an advisory group,” he said. “We want to be out there to help our harbor.”

Setauket Pond is the first order of business, said Vetere, chairwoman of the task force, and Hoffman, a trustee on its board. This area next to the Se-Port Deli on Route 25A has seen better days.

A walk across the footbridge spanning the pond revealed a silt-choked catch basin below.

The basin is supposed to protect the harbor by filtering oil and trash from storm water road runoff, they said, but it’s no longer doing its job.

Vetere gestured to debris and fallen trees littering the water. If the task force can clean up the pond, Vetere said, “I want to see increased boating, kayaking, paddle boarding. Maybe creating a blueway trail that could be historic,” in recognition of George Washington’s colonial spies, who snuck in and out of the harbor with secrets.The task force has formed a not-for-profit corporation so it can apply for federal and state grants, Vetere and Hoffman said.

The group also wants to train volunteers to become “water guardians,” monitors who would test Setauket waters regularly for bacteria and nitrogen levels. They said they want volunteers for a “visioning committee” on the harbor’s future.

Hoffman and Vetere said the task force could use volunteers to help with a planned “Setauket Harbor Day.” Getting a state-issued permit to cut back the phragmites — a non-native species of tall reeds that has all but taken over the shoreline — is another priority, Hoffman said.

About 45 people gathered Tuesday night at the Setauket Neighborhood House to learn about the task force’s plans and to hear what speaker Eric Swenson, executive director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, shared about successful efforts to restore water quality and shellfish harvesting there.

Hempstead Harbor is a success story, Swenson said, because its protection committee is a collaborative effort between citizens, villages, towns, county government, and scientists.

Advising Three Villagers to network in similar fashion, Swenson said, “You’re not a harbor unto yourself.”
Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) were at the meeting.

“Know that I am an ally and I will continue to work towards us improving the harbor,” Cartright said.
Hoffman said the Setauket Harbor group hopes to meet several times a year. Their harbor has its challenges, he said, but “it’s not too late to fix this.”

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Gold Coast Bank’s East Setauket branch is located at 690 Route 25A. File photo

Gold Coast Bank, which calls Route 25A in East Setauket one of its homes, is cashing in with a new branch in Southampton.

The Islandia-based bank filed an application with the state Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to expand its sixth Long Island branch in the eastern Suffolk community since its launch in 2008.  The new spot is slated for 97 North Sea Road in the Southampton Village business district, adjacent to the Southampton post office.

“We are extremely pleased to announce our plans to open our sixth branch,” said John C. Tsunis, Gold Coast Bank’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Gold Coast has been highly successful since it opened for business, and this new branch serves to confirm our standing as a bank that continues to strengthen its roots in the communities we serve across Long Island.”

Tsunis said the bank recently reported its fourth consecutive year of profitability, making the move to expand an easy decision. The new Southampton location will join the Gold Coast branches across the island, including Mineola, Huntington, Farmingdale and East Setauket. And looking ahead, Tsunis said the bank had big plans for the far eastern end of Suffolk.

“With the opening of this branch, we are certain we will play a very active role in the growth in the Hamptons,” Tsunis said. “Southampton has always had a very large role to play on Long Island, serving as a beacon for business, tourism and the arts. We are excited to further extend the Gold Coast Bank footprint into this vibrant community.”

The announcement of the bank’s expansion came just weeks after another milestone announcement, when the state Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Program promoted Gold Coast Bank past its new bank, or “de novo,” status. The reclassification moved the bank beyond certain state banking regulations that are typically put in place for newly formed banks.

James P. Johnis, president and chief operating officer of Gold Coast, said the bank’s $323.8 million in total assets as of the end of 2014 propelled the bank into becoming one of Long Island’s premier banking locations.

“This solidifies us as a major part of Long Island’s banking industry, and going forward, we will continue to provide customers with superior personal service while exceeding customer expectations,” he said in a statement when the bank was promoted past new bank status. “This is a major step in our history and a most positive sign of our growth and success.”

Rally against New York State education changes

A protestor stands on North Country Road in Mount Sinai on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Barbara Donlon

Educators, parents and students gathered outside state Sen. Ken LaValle’s Mount Sinai office Tuesday with one clear message: They won’t forget he voted “yes” on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget when it’s their turn to vote in November 2016.

Nearly 100 people rallied in front of the North Country Road office of LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), holding signs letting the senator and the community know they were upset he voted in favor of a portion of the 2015-16 state budget that amended the teacher evaluation system, lengthened the time before teachers can gain tenure and created new designations for failing schools.

Beth Dimino, president of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association and a John F. Kennedy Middle School teacher, said her association and other groups coordinated the protest to show the senator they don’t take his vote lightly.

“The purpose of this rally is to remind Mr. LaValle that his vote in favor of Mr. Cuomo’s budget and anti-public education agenda will be remembered by the parents and taxpayers in the November elections,” Dimino said.

A child hoists a sign during a public education protest. Photo by Barbara Donlon
A child hoists a sign during a public education protest. Photo by Barbara Donlon

LaValle, who was in Albany at the time of the protest, was just re-elected to his 20th term in the Senate and will be up for election again next year.

He said in a statement Wednesday, “We improved on what the governor put in his budget proposal and I fully expect we will continue to fix the education piece, with the final result addressing parents and educators concerns.”

April Quiggle, a Port Jefferson parent, said she came out to show how disappointed she is in the senator she always supported.

“I feel betrayed by him,” Quiggle said.

Not one person at the education rally was without a sign. Young children also held signs.

Miller Place resident Erik Zalewski, who teaches in the Middle Country school district, said LaValle and other politicians who voted in favor of the governor’s reform sold out educators and kids.

“It seems money is more important than the children,” Zalewski said.

Lucille McKee, president of the Shoreham-Wading River Teachers Association, joined in to let everyone know she is tired of non-educators making decisions about education.

Halfway through the rally supporters broke out in a cheer: “Ken LaValle you let us down, Ken LaValle you let the students down, Ken LaValle we will not forget!”

Many parents at the picket said they tried numerous times to reach out to the senator by phone and email and never heard back.

Hundreds of cars drove by as everyone protested on the corner of the road. Drivers honked, gave thumbs-up signs and cheered, letting the protesters know they supported them.