Your Turn

Photo courtesy Peter Gollon
By Peter Gollon

I commend this newspaper for its thorough and balanced Sept. 14 and Sept. 21 articles on the proposed conversion of the Long Island Power Authority into a fully municipal utility that would directly operate the electrical transmission and distribution system that it has owned for decades.

LIPA, which is the country’s third largest municipal utility, is legally required now to outsource its operation to another entity. Right now that is PSEG Long Island. Before that, it was National Grid.

LIPA’s staff of 60 experienced utility professionals supervises PSEGLI’s performance according to metrics taking 207 pages to outline. Each year, LIPA pays PSEGLI $80 million for just 18 executives to plan and direct the 2,500-line call center and other workers whose pay is provided by LIPA. That’s more than $4 million for each PSEGLI-supplied executive.

There is considerable overlap between the top PSEGLI staff and the LIPA staff that supervises and grades PSEGLI’s performance. Both the Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority and LIPA agree that if LIPA hired a dozen more staffers, it could run the system itself, dispensing with PSEGLI’s management and saving about $75 million each year.

This savings would be real, even if PSEGLI were doing a good job. But it hasn’t been. Their performance in storm restoration after Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020 was so bad, and their reports on the causes of the failure of the outage management system were so dishonest, that LIPA considered PSEGLI to be in default of their contract.

Beyond PSEGLI’s shortcomings, the problem is the structure of the unique and convoluted “hybrid” system itself. Besides the extra cost, the inefficiency of this two-headed structure is why LIPA is the only large municipal utility in the country to be operated this way.

As a LIPA trustee for five years, I saw the difficulties, delays and expense that this structure results in. For example, it required three months and a resolution voted by the LIPA Board directing PSEGLI to develop and implement an accurate and modern asset management system for the billions of dollars of LIPA-owned assets before PSEGLI would take such action.

The delays and inefficiency of this management structure do not show up as a specific dollar cost in LIPA’s budget, but they are there and impede LIPA’s adaptation to the new reality of stronger storms and a faster transition to a renewable energy system.

LIPA needs the simple, common municipal utility structure recommended by the state’s Legislative Commission. The Board of Trustees should be reorganized so some trustees are appointed by both Suffolk and Nassau County executives, rather than now where all the trustees are appointed by the state’s political leadership in Albany.

Locally appointed trustees should give LIPA needed credibility with its Long Island customer base and might make it more responsive to local concerns. In recent years, there has been significant hostility resulting from inadequate understanding by both PSEGLI and LIPA of the impact of changes in tariffs, and from the location and details of new facilities or even just taller and thicker poles.

Finally, one trustee should be named by the union — IBEW Local 1049 — representing the utility’s workforce to ensure that their interests are represented at the highest level.

The legal structure in which the workforce is actually housed is critical. Their transfer from PSEGLI to LIPA must be done in a way that continues their employment under federal labor jurisdiction and preserves their well-earned pension rights. Any proposal that might put them under weaker state labor jurisdiction and possibly jeopardize their pensions has no chance of passing the Legislature, nor should it.

Long Islanders should support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix a broken utility structure.

The writer served on the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2021.

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By Bob O’Rourk

On my way home in 2001 from a photo assignment, I heard news about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

Within the following hours, the horrific events of 9/11 unfolded. I found myself at the Setauket Fire Department’s Nicolls Road fire station, where members assembled to respond to New York City with help. After assembling equipment and tools, Setauket led several neighboring departments into the city to support the NYFD.

On Monday night, Sept. 11, the memory of 9/11 was preserved by members of the Setauket Fire Department in a ceremony held at the Setauket 9/11 Memorial and led by Setauket Chief of Department Richard Leute. This year, the event was held inside the Nicolls Road Firehouse due to the threat of heavy rain and lightning. 

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 22 years,” Leute said. “Many of us remember that day like it was yesterday. That day changed our lives forever. 2,977 people were killed that day, and many more people have died as a result of sickness or injuries they got as a result of 9/11.” 

Several officials, including New York State Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) and Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, delivered brief statements about that day of infamy. 

Kornreich spoke to the numerous Scouts in attendance, saying, “You won’t find a better example of honor and bravery than the men and women in front of you,” referring to the fire department members. 

Lou Andrade, a retired NYFD and SFD firefighter, gave an unexpected talk about his participation in the 9/11 response efforts. The ceremony then closed with a prayer from Bobby Thompson, after which four wreaths were placed upon the Setauket 9/11 Memorial.

Runners take off from the starting line on Main Street in Stony Brook Village at last year's race. Photo from Dan Kerr
Registration underway for SOLES for All Souls Race

By Daniel Kerr

Historic All Souls Church has stood on the hill at the entrance to Stony Brook Village since 1896. Although much has changed in the village since then, the simple beauty of the building and the interior have remained true to Stanford White’s vision. 

Interestingly, life expectancy back then in the United States was less than 50 years, and accessibility for the elderly or handicapped was not part of the design. On Sunday, October 1st, the 15th SOLES for All Souls 5K Race/2K Walk will celebrate the role of the National Landmark chapel in the community and raise funds to make it accessible to all. 

Episcopal Bishop of Long Island Lawrence Provenzano stated, “Accessibility is an integral part of welcoming everyone in our communities into our parishes and we are proud to support this fantastic event with its goal to make All Souls a place that can truly serve everyone.” 

Three of the winners from last year’s race. Photo from Dan Kerr

Herb Mones, an All Souls Church member, and both president of the Three Village Community Trust and Land Use Chair for the Three Village Civic Association, recently observed “SOLES for All Souls is vital to raising the necessary funds for our accessibility project. I am hoping that the entire running and walking community turns out to support our efforts.” 

Richard Bronson, MD, former Suffolk County Poet Laureate, remarks, “How many times have I entered All Souls Church, felt its sanctity, marveled at its quiet beauty while listening to recited verse at the Second Saturday Poetry Reading? How can one not wish to participate in the SOLES for All Souls Race/Walk, an event that will raise funds to make this treasure accessible to all…and it is good for one’s health.”

SOLES For All Souls is perhaps the most inclusive race/walk on Long Island.  Serious runners compete for gold, bronze, and silver medals in age groups from under 13 to over 80 and receive their hard-won medals in an Olympic-style awards ceremony. Dogs are welcome to accompany their masters and students from Stony Brook University and others often come in costume. Senior citizens with walking sticks line up at the starting line along with parents pushing their kids in strollers. 

Looking back on last year’s race, East Patchogue resident and Overall Winner Adam Lindsey commented, “I love the opportunity to run in Stony Brook Village. The hills are the right amount of challenging yet very fun with lovely scenery. All Souls is such an integral part of Stony Brook Village, and it is a joy to run in a race to support them.” 

Port Jefferson Station resident Margaret Kennedy shared, “I look forward to this race every year, eager to see familiar faces and the creative costumes. The matched pair of peanut butter and jelly comes to mind. It is the camaraderie and fellowship that keeps us coming back to collect a new color in our t-shirt rainbow. Everyone is welcome, whether running up the challenging hill or walking with a team. This race is truly a labor of love.” 

The event is also a food drive for St. Gerard Majella’s food pantry. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine encourages runners and walkers to feed the hungry: “I am proud to support the SOLES for All Souls and I urge everyone to donate to the ‘Lend a Hand, Bring a Can’ food drive. There are so many of our less fortunate neighbors who experience food insecurity and they rely on donations to feed themselves and their families. If we all chip in and do our part, we can help so many people in need and make a real difference in our community.”     

Registration for SOLES for All Souls 5K Run/2K Walk is through the ACTIVE.COM website (Search: SOLES for All Souls) or register on Race Day at the Reboli Center for Art & History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.; the race/walk begins at 9 a.m. Complimentary pre and post event stretching will be provided by Progressive Personal Training.  Local musician Bill Clark will perform throughout the morning.  

Please call 631-655-7798 for more information on the event or if you would like to be a sponsor. Donations dedicated to Handicap Accessibility Project can be mailed to All Souls Race, P.O. Box 548, Stony Brook, NY 11790.

Daniel Kerr is the Director of SOLES for All Souls Race/Walk.

Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison Jr. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

By D. Bruce Lockerbie

Last week’s diplomatic incident in Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, when a young U.S. soldier crossed into North Korea “willfully and without authorization” according to the Pentagon, reminds us that “the Forgotten War” is not yet ended, even though July 27 marks the 70th anniversary of a truce signed on the Korean peninsula.

On that date, in 1953, at Panmunjom on the 38th parallel, delegates from warring nations met to declare a pause in combat. Representing the United Nations was an American named Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison Jr. Because of his unashamed religious faith and testimony, he became known worldwide as “the Bible-quoting general,” not always intended as a compliment by his political and pacifist critics.

Three years earlier, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea invaded the Western-backed Republic of Korea (South Korea), which the United Nations voted to defend. Led by the United States and commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, 6.8 million Americans served; fewer than 1 million remain alive today.

But MacArthur advocated action opposed by President Harry S. Truman and was stripped of his command. A military stalemate ensued, futile negotiations stalled and presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower promised to go to Korea to resolve the conflict.

But who was Billy Harrison, two years behind Ike at West Point? As a cadet, then an officer — whether in peacetime or combat — Harrison was notable for his quiet but earnest Christian faith, disciplined by early morning Bible reading and prayer, yet his brothers-in-arms knew better than to mistake religious devotion for weakness.

World War II

Harrison and Eisenhower had been members of the War Plans Division, charged with reorganizing the Army’s high command immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack. Harrison produced the model eventually approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As assistant commander of the 30th Infantry Division, Harrison was fearless in battle, leading from his jeep through hedgerows and villages of Europe. Following D-Day, Harrison devised the plan to free Allied troops trapped on the Normandy peninsula. Later in the battle at Mortain, after an attack by “friendly fire,” he gathered his scattered forces to achieve victory, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross — the second highest decoration for military valor.

Harrison was more than a war hero, he was also a humanitarian. In April 1945, he and his task force came upon a train whose boxcars held 2,500 Jews abandoned by their concentration camp guards, eager to hide their guilt. According to the “Holocaust Encyclopedia,” “the 30th Infantry Division then initiated efforts to find shelter for the former prisoners so that they could be moved away from the filthy, jammed, evil-smelling railroad cars.”


After Japan’s defeat, MacArthur chose Harrison as chief of reparations, the nasty job of “getting even” for Japanese atrocities. Harrison had no desire for sheer revenge and appealed to MacArthur with an alternative — namely, distributing copies of the Bible or selected texts.

He also invited former prisoners of war, such as Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and raft survivor, to return to Japan as evangelists. Among their converts was Capt. Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who had led the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Korean War

When the Korean War began, Harrison commanded the base at Fort Dix, New Jersey, preparing raw recruits for combat in Korea. Yearning for a battlefield role, he contented himself with making soldiers out of civilians and ending racial segregation in housing and training at Fort Dix — effectively throughout the U.S. Army. 

His eventual assignment in Korea was disappointing. Sent to be a member of the United Nations truce team, he was frustrated because every session consisted of the enemy’s harangue and propaganda. But in May 1952, when Harrison became senior delegate, the pattern changed. Even The New York Times, hostile to his efforts, noted: “From the start of his tenure as a negotiator in Korea, General Harrison had a style of talking bluntly or not at all. He appeared in open-collar khaki shirts, refusing to wear a dress uniform to face opponents he regarded with contempt as ‘common criminals.’ He walked out of the truce tent in June 1952, leaving General Nam Il of North Korea flabbergasted.”

Refusing to change tactics, an even greater surprise awaited the Communists when Harrison led a second exit for three days, then for 10 days; on Oct. 8, 1952, Harrison and his team left for more than six months.

Worldwide media excoriated Harrison, whose purpose was to deprive North Korean and Chinese propagandists of an audience for their lies about who had instigated the violation of the 38th parallel.

By April 26, 1953, the North Korean/Chinese delegation chose serious bargaining, accelerated by Eisenhower’s election and his military record.

The signing ceremony three months later could not have been less dramatic, lasting only 12 minutes. Harrison jumped off a helicopter, saluted his UN guard, seated himself at the table — Nam Il at an adjoining table — and signed copies in English, Korean and Chinese. Then, he rose and left Panmunjom for the last time.

Newspapers around the world headlined the story. Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison Jr. treated his role with self-effacing modesty: He had merely done his duty to the best of his ability.


After retirement in 1957, Harrison spent the next three decades as executive or trustee for religious organizations, including president of Officers’ Christian Fellowship and board member at The Stony Brook School, where his younger son, the late Terry Harrison, was both an alumnus and faculty member.

During World War II, Gen. Harrison expressed professional respect for the common German soldier — distinct from SS or other Nazi-politicized officers. Citing his contempt for Chinese and North Korean officials, one can only suppose what might have been his attitude toward policies of subsequent American presidents — Nixon through Biden — in dealing with Kim Il Sung and his successors, including Kim Jong Un. 

No doubt, Billy Harrison would not have worn a tie for any of them either. He reported to a higher power. 

D. Bruce Lockerbie, a longtime resident of the Three Villages, is the author of more than 40 books, including “A Man Under Orders: Lieutenant General William K. Harrison, Jr.” (Harper & Row, 1979).

In the Fort Pitt Tunnel. in Pittsburgh. Photo by Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

[email protected]

John Broven’s article on his Amtrak trip to and from Pittsburgh [Our turn: “In praise of Amtrak, LIRR not so much,” TBR News Media website, June 5] inspired me to write about my 31-hour bus trip from Kansas City, Missouri, to New York City in 2018. This took longer than our trip from Setauket to Sidney, Australia in 2002.

I attended the American Association for State and Local History Annual Meeting in Kansas City at the end of September. I flew out and to do something I’ve never done before — I took the Greyhound bus home.

The scheduled departure was 10:25 p.m., however the bus was behind schedule. I discovered the seats here and at every bus terminal were uncomfortable, metal and ribbed, so sitting on them was painful. I met fellow traveler Don in the terminal and we talked about history and architecture. The staff here were not sure of how the bus was doing until about 15 minutes before the bus arrived. We finally left Kansas City a little more than two hours late.

Just after sunrise between St. Louis and Indianapolis. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

The seats on the bus were very uncomfortable with little legroom, no place for my travel mug and no overhead reading light in any seat. In the rear of the bus people talked constantly and loudly. I was about in the middle. The bus was very noisy, rough riding and included a disturbing high-pitched squeal that became higher as we increased speed.

We had a rest stop in Columbia, Missouri, a nice clean place with good food and drink choices. We arrived in St. Louis at 4:45 a.m. and expected to be there about two hours. The small hot food place (pizza etc.) was not open, just snack food, water and sodas available, no juices. 

We changed buses and left St. Louis at 6:28 a.m. I got a much better seat with good legroom in the escape window aisle. There were no snack tables on any of the buses. I know I shouldn’t expect them, but they are normal on buses in Europe. No overhead individual lights and no Wi-Fi on this bus. The only electrical outlets that worked were on the right side of the bus, but otherwise this was a better bus. The last one had trouble with shocks, according to the driver who almost left the road at one point due to hitting a bad spot in the road. The new driver really laid down the law with respect to noise, cellphones, bathroom, courtesy, etc. He even said that we had to keep our shoes on, in case of emergencies. First time I heard that. We had a beautiful sunrise with fog across the open fields as we left St. Louis, very picturesque. My seatmate was on the phone for at least an hour after we departed.

We arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, just before noon. It was Sunday, and the crowds were already coming into the Colts stadium next door. The weather was gorgeous We had just 20 minutes to get something for lunch or breakfast although the schedule called for 55 minutes. The only place close by was a White Castle across the road with a long line. The waiting room and restrooms were dark and dreary, not sparkling and scrubbed as they were in Columbia. We lined up to get back on our bus and were told to get our carry-ons from the bus and get on a new bus. 

Homeward bound

We left Indianapolis at 12:42 p.m. This bus was not well maintained. Most of the seats were threadbare and cracked which gave rough edges. Just like the first two buses, we felt every bump in the roadway. We paused in Dayton and Springfield, Ohio, to pick up local passengers and stopped for 45 minutes in Columbus, Ohio. There was nothing in the bus terminal except a few snack-and-drink machines. I hoped to get a meal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I talked to a lady who embarked at Indianapolis and had to work this night in Pittsburgh. She said Greyhound was delayed in both directions and the worst part was that no one could tell her when the bus would arrive — they kept saying “15 minutes.”

We arrived in Pittsburgh about 8 p.m. We are told only 20 minutes here. The restaurant in the bus terminal was closed, so the only choice for supper was a pop tart and an iced tea from one of the machines. Just as we were leaving, they opened up again — too late. We thought they were closed for the night.

When we got back on the bus, we found out there were two wheelchair passengers to load so seats had to be removed. As a consequence, we had to move our stuff to a seat in front or at the rear. We hustled to get it done. I ended up sitting with a woman on her way to Philadelphia. We started a conversation just before the new passengers came onboard, including one couple who insisted on sitting together, but there were only single seats available. The woman insisted that they had assigned seats, which nobody gets. The agent said they would have to take available seats or leave.

Unfortunately, both the couple and the agent were yelling loudly, insistent and unmoving. Before it got to the point of throwing the couple off the bus, my seatmate whispered to me that she would move if I did. We got up and offered the couple our seats. Everything calmed down. Like so many of the people I met on this trip, my brief seatmate was a pleasure to talk to. The people I met, including the new bus driver we had from Pittsburgh to New York City, were the best part of the trip.

We left Pittsburgh an hour behind our new scheduled time. None of us on the bus from Indianapolis had any supper, but no one really complained. Sitting in the front for the first time the road ahead was mesmerizing.

At 10:35 p.m., we stopped at the Sideling Hill rest stop in Pennsylvania. Some of us got off the bus to use the restrooms and were surprised that the shop there was open with all kinds of drinks and sandwiches that we could microwave. It was a real treat and our driver gave us up to 45 minutes even though we were scheduled for 30. I treated myself to a green chili fajita and a pumpkin spice latte. We all hurried up as fast as we could and were back on the bus and on our way by 11:10 p.m.

We arrived in Philadelphia just after 3 a.m. I finally got some sleep on the way to Philly. I stayed on the bus so I didn’t have to go through the regular process of getting a return note or tag and wait until we were summoned to get back on the bus. This happened at every bus terminal stop. Interestingly, the two best rest stops we stopped at were along the PA Turnpike an hour and fifteen minutes out of the Pittsburgh bus station and Columbia. Neither is a bus terminal, but they are the cleanest places with the best choices of food.

We left Philadelphia for New York about 3:30 a.m. and I was able to sleep. We arrived at Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City at 5:15 a.m. I couldn’t believe how fast the trip was from Philadelphia.

I walked to Penn Station and made the 5:47 to Stony Brook. We had to change at Huntington, and I was glad to have my walking stick as we had to walk up and over the footbridge to get the train to Port Jeff. The walking stick really helped on the climb and descent. Barbara picked me up at the Stony Brook station at about 7:45 a.m. I was glad to be home at last..

Beverly C. Tyler is a Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730.

By Patricia Paladines

West Meadow Beach is one of four locations in New York State where horseshoe crabs are protected from capture for the biomedical and bait fishing industries throughout the year. It is a beach where during full moons of May and June we can witness an annual event that has been occurring for thousands of years in this part of the world; the migration of horseshoe crabs from the depths of the Long Island Sound to mate and deposit eggs on the shore at high tide. The beach’s sand bars are literally where single males and females “hook-up.” 

Horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) have roamed the seas for over 400 million years. Long Island’s north shore, having existed for just around 20,000 years, is a relatively new site for the romantic rendezvous. 

I’ve led walks for the Four Harbors Audubon Society at West Meadow Beach where we’ve counted hundreds of horseshoe crabs on the stretch of beach between the parking lot and the jetty on the southern end. On a recent solo walk, I came upon a fisherman who had reeled in a horseshoe crab. He was about to use a knife to tear the baited hook out of the horseshoe crab’s mouth. I stopped him and showed him how easy it was to remove the hook by hand. He said he had been told the crabs were dangerous and that the tail could hurt you. After informing him that was incorrect, I took the crab and placed it back in the water while letting him know these animals are protected on this beach. 

I may have come upon the scene just in time to save that horseshoe crab, but the beach was littered with the shells of other crabs that appeared to have been purposely killed. On the same walk I found a large female who had been smashed by a piercing object. A few weeks ago, a couple of friends found a horseshoe crab that appeared to have been burned. There is evidence of many overnight bonfires on the dunes, some very near the piping plover nest barricades. 

Dead horseshoe crabs were not the only bottom feeding sea creatures strewn along the beach. Sun dried sea robins and a few skates also littered the high tide line. 

It was late afternoon and the beach was filling up with fisher folks, both men and women. That meant there would be a lot of bait attracting bottom feeding animals, AKA scavengers, fish and crabs that stroll the sea floor feeding on whatever they can find. Fisherman’s bait is easy pickings, but not the safest, especially if you are not a species preferred on that fisherman’s plate. 

I spotted two fishermen who had just reeled in two sea robins. I went over to ask them what they were going to do with them. They told me they were going to throw them back, but then I noticed a live sea robin on the sand just behind them. I picked it up and threw it back in the water hoping they would do the same with the ones they had on their hooks. I continued my walk near the line of fisher people and found more live sea robins on the sand and threw them all back in the Sound. One woman told me the fish just wash up on the beach with the waves. No, that doesn’t happen. 

I came out for a walk to find peace in the natural beauty this beach offers Brookhaven residents; instead, what I found was upsetting. I talked to a few of the fishermen and learned that some are coming from Nassau County and Queens. Do these people have permits to fish on Brookhaven Town beaches? 

When granted a fishing permit, does the person receive educational material about our local sea creatures and respectful beach use etiquette? The beach is littered not only with dead animals, but also fishing-related garbage — hooks, lines, plastic bags advertising tackle. Educational material should be in various languages. I’m a native Spanish speaker so was able to speak to the Spanish and English-speaking fisher people in the language they were most comfortable with. My experience as an environmental educator on Long Island has informed me that there are speakers of many languages who enjoy catching their meals from our waters; Czech, Polish, and Chinese are some of the other languages I’m aware of. 

Education and patrolling are needed on our beaches. Additionally, West Meadow Beach should be closed to fishing during the horseshoe crab breeding season; allowing fishing during this time is counterproductive to efforts in place to protect a species whose numbers continue to decline along the Atlantic Coast. 

Patricia Paladines is an Adjunct Instructor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Co-President of Four Harbors Audubon Society.

Tom Manuel Photo by Adam Hurewitz

By Thomas Manuel

From the ancient Greeks to Ben Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, George Clooney, Bill Gates, and countless individuals in between, philanthropy, a love for humanity and a desire to see it thrive, has been a common thread. It has been said that effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity; the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires. Miriam Beard once pointed out, “The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.”

Philanthropic giving is not just a phenomenon found in certain parts of the world, rather it is a spirit of giving back which is global. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain in speaking about philanthropy expanded that the best philanthropy is not just about giving money but giving leadership. The best philanthropists bring the gifts that made them successful — the drive, the determination, the refusal to accept that something can’t be done. These are the characteristics they invest  into their philanthropy.

There are many reasons that drive and motivate philanthropy and not all are fueled by great passion for causes or humility. For every person that seeks anonymity there is another who desires their name be etched in stone. Regardless the motivation, our society at large has been beneficiary to philanthropic giving since the dawn of time.

Those of us in the arts tend to be especially in tune with the concept of patronage. Our forefathers such as Beethoven and Bach thrived upon such support and although terminology has evolved since their time, most artists would agree that it is a healthy combination of donors, grants, sponsors, and our regular concert going patrons who collectively produce our living.

Finding the correct way to properly thank a donor is about as easy as sneaking an elephant out of a circus tent! I recall inquiring once with a very special person, one who without his support so much of what both The Jazz Loft and my career has become would not have been possible, why he didn’t come to more events. He responded, “Do you really want to know why I don’t come to anything?” To which I replied, “Yes, I do!” To this he quickly quipped, “Because every time I show up you thank me!”

Over the years I’ve found joy in getting to know every individual that supports The Jazz Loft. I’ve truly enjoyed figuring out and discovering who finds appreciation in a letter, who welcomes a phone call, or who enjoys an annual summer lunch get together for a lobster sandwich and a beer. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of running a not-for-profit — getting to know amazing people, building real and genuine relationships, and forging what I know will be some lifetime friendships.

I was inspired to write this op-ed out of the desire to find a way to capture in words the gratitude I feel towards the philanthropists among us. Our community was literally designed and built by a philanthropist, Ward Melville. When I think of the names of those who have continued that bold tradition of giving and support, I resist sharing specific names, but suffice it to say you all know who they are even if you don’t know them personally. 

Chances are you bought your house from them, or perhaps they’ve managed your retirement through the years. You might get your morning coffee from them or chat with them when you’re picking up your kid from school. They might volunteer or help run one of our many outstanding museums, art galleries, community institutions or preservation organizations. Maybe they fixed your car recently or you’ve bumped into them about town, at an outdoor concert, or in your favorite park. They’re quite often invisible, or as we say in Jazz, “tippin’ on the QT.”

What I do know is that no matter how little or how much in the spotlight or foreground they choose to be, these individuals are an incredible part of the fabric of who we are as a community. They are an invaluable resource, beyond definition, and without question an incredible gift to us all. 

I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve our community in the positions and places I’ve been blessed to be and I’m inspired by those who are the philanthropists among us. To all of you out there, and you know who you are, THANK YOU!

Author Thomas Manuel, DMA is a Jazz historian, Artist in Residence at Stony Brook University, trumpet player and President and Founder of The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook. For more information, visit

Josephine Eichner celebrates her 90th birthday at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center. Photo by Stephanie Giunta

By Stephanie Giunta

I was invited to join my grandmother,  Josephine Eichner, at her Seniors Club at Rose Caracappa Senior Center in Mount Sinai on February 7, her 90th birthday. I am 32 and got laid off a few months ago, and although I lacked the eligibility due to my age, I attended as an honorary guest. After hearing about the Tuesday club for 20+ years, I was grateful to have the free time to attend, albeit plagued with the nagging reason as to why I was available.

Josephine Eichner wearing her birthday tiara. Photo by Stephanie Giunta

I held her hand as we walked up the ramp into the building, kneeing the automatic handicap button to open the door.  I walked into a sea full of people, whose wrinkles told the stories of their lives. They scattered about prepping the coffee stations, collecting dollars for the 50/50 raffle, and decorating the tables. Our table, #2, was adorned with a vase of flowers and balloons in honor of Grandma’s big day. My first impression: feeling so touched that her friends had thought of her. 

Amused is putting it lightly. I was more so in awe. These men and women had made it. They had long marriages, bore children, and had grand and even great grandchildren.  They survived successes, failures, peaks, and valleys. They frequented doctor’s offices, and had battled health problems. They kissed their friends and spouses goodbye as they were given eternal life. They had survived all of their worst days to date, and yet here they were — still living.

When the meeting started and they sang “God Bless America,” I could have fallen off of my chair if I was sitting down. It brought tears to my eyes, and I was riddled with such pure joy and admiration. “Cute” isn’t the right word to describe it, since many refer to anything an older person does as “cute.” I think it was more of a genuine appreciation of these people, and knowing they knew what was important: camaraderie, love of self, and love of country. Appreciation for the small, yet impactful things in life. I can’t quite put the feeling into words, but it was something that struck me, and I’ll never forget it.

Josephine Eichner with her granddaughter and guest columnist Stephanie Giunta at the event. Photo by Stephanie Giunta

I got to meet Liz, the woman whose chain emails I have been receiving for decades.  I always opened them up because I didn’t want bad luck for 10 years. Sharon, who was lovingly referred to as “Grumpy” because she’s always so happy. She makes cookies for my daughter, although we had never met. Marie and Bob, who I’ve heard stories about for quite some time. They used to accompany my grandparents on double dates to The Heritage Diner. And Jutta. She doesn’t know it, but her name has been used quite a bit in some of our family’s games.

They walked a little slower, but laughed a little louder. Some were nervous that there weren’t enough slices of cake to go around.  Others complained that tea service wasn’t put out. Me — I just sat in silence at points and soaked it all in. I found it fascinating that they were worried about tea and cake, something so simplistic, whereas I was worried about the fate of my career. We were just in completely different phases of life and it was refreshing to gain a contrasting perspective.

The most rewarding part of the day was seeing my grandmother in action. It is truly beautiful to see someone you deeply admire in a social setting, when you’ve never really witnessed it outside of family functions. She was a shining light who worked the room. Conversations were filled with “Happy birthdays” and “You’re not 90!s” and just simply checking in on each other. Her snowy hair and pink lips bounced from table to table, bearing hugs and cashing in on inside jokes. The woman is 57 years my senior and I think she has a better social life than I do!

And as we capped out the day with BINGO, among covert mumblings about health insurance, next week’s entertainment, and the weather, I was so grateful to be where I was — spending the day with one of the people I love most in this world. Relishing on the roast beef sandwich on rye that she packed for me as if it were a NY strip steak; cutting into the Tiramisu that her friends presented her with; enjoying something so bubblegum, and feeling a bit sad when it had come to an end. I was also disappointed that Harriet won three games and I won zero.

I wish I could look at my life through a senior’s eyes and know that there are plenty of happy and sad times to come, but that they will make me who I am. That each laugh line and wrinkle I collect will signify a pit stop on my journey. That life is a gift and living is a privilege, and at the end of the day, being a good person is all that matters. Age is but a number and friendship has no timetable. 

And as I held Grandma’s hand on the way out, I whispered, “I can’t wait to come back.”

Park poses for his portrait on Christmas, 2021. Photo by Barbara Anne Kirshner

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

I begin with a heartfelt thank you to all who have joined Park and me on our life’s journey through the pages of TBR News Media. Readers with whom I had the privilege to meet have shared how they enjoyed our stories, how they sympathized and even empathized with our bond.

It pains me to tell you that this is our final chapter.

Park crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Oct.  26, at 16 years and almost 4 months. He valiantly fought for the past year and a half to stay with me even as his aged body was breaking. He fought against the paralysis that took over his hind legs last year keeping him down for four months. 

But the resilient little man miraculously bounced back. At the point when I broached the subject of having a wheelchair made to fit Park, he started to push his hind legs up, to arch, then to straighten those legs and to my amazement, the day came when he walked on all fours again! 

Life was beautiful with my Prince Charming Park by my side — until Aug.  28. Park put his head down and when he raised it up again, he was blind. This blindness was proceeded by two weeks of noticeable head tremors which I reported to the vet who felt that at his advanced age, anything could happen.

We went to an ophthalmic dog specialist at VMCLI who, after giving Park a thorough examination, diagnosed that his blindness was not due to cataracts, but probably to a tumor pushing against his eyes. An MRI would corroborate this diagnosis, but I was cautioned of the danger of putting a dog of his advanced age under anesthetic. They could not guarantee he would survive the procedure. There was a very real chance that he might die on the operating table or have a negative reaction shortly after. The doctors at VMCLI were caring and understanding. Their advice was to hold Park close for whatever time we have left, but to put him through procedures that might reveal a tumor and then to follow that up with radiation was really too much for my little senior man. 

I followed their advice. We went home and I held Park tight, praying for more time.

BUT that was not to be. He started stroking out, falling into a coma. The first time it happened, I revived him with an eyedropper of water, prying it into his mouth through clenched teeth. As he revived, I tried giving him a spoonful of canned dog food, but he turned away from it which was alarming given the never satiated appetite of a dachshund. That’s when I thought of his favorite treat, McNulty’s vanilla ice cream. It worked like a charm!! He sniffed the plate, then licked it clean. That restored enough energy so he could sit up on his own.

I laughed thinking McNulty’s needs to advertise “Our ice cream is not only scrumptious but it saves lives too!!”

This wasn’t the last of the strokes though. A few weeks later, another took him down and he fell into a coma again. Once again, through his clenched teeth I pushed water into his mouth with the eyedropper. When he started to come around, once again, he needed several scoops of vanilla ice cream to revive, but this time he remained extremely weak, unable to hold himself up with his front legs, the legs that had remained strong even when his hind legs were paralyzed. This episode proved so debilitating that his frail body couldn’t go on.

Park crossed the Rainbow Bridge as I kissed his sweet forehead and held him, talking him from this world into the next.

I am empty without my sweet boy, my loyal companion, my protector, my travel buddy, my everything.

I try to take solace in Brandon McMillan’s quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

I smile when I think of my boy which is every minute of every day — about our shared trips to Park’s Bench in Stony Brook Village, about all of our journeys, our fun, his antics done deliberately to make me smile and make me give him extra attention like his penchant to stand in the rain until sopping wet knowing full well that when he sauntered into the house I would be there to towel all that long, luxurious fur.

I smile to recall how Park, the Christmas Puppy, pranced into my life ignoring my concerns that three dogs were maybe three too many and I will feel blessed for the rest of my days that Park, the Angel Puppy, chose to share his life with me.

A resident of Miller Place, Barbara Anne Kirshner writes theater reviews for TBR News Media and is a freelance journalist, playwright and author of “Madison Weatherbee — The Different Dachshund.

Rosh Hashanah. METRO photo

By Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky

Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky

Though Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days, are late in our secular  calendar, they will soon once again be upon us. I am honored to have been asked to bring  words of greeting at this important time from my family, from Temple Isaiah and from  my own heart. 

One message contained in the High Holy Day liturgy is that at this time of year, our  destinies are determined. On Rosh Hashana it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed,  who will live and who will die, and what will become of us in the year ahead. 

To be honest, this is not a statement that many of us believe literally. We may not think  that our destiny is pre-determined. But the message still is significant. We realize that there are times in our lives that do determine what happens to us. Even the liturgy we read states that our actions can help alter the outcome of what is to be. 

Whether or not we are participating in the Jewish holy days, let us all. as human beings,  realize the awesome nature of our ability to affect our own lives and the lives of those  around us. This can happen in many ways, and is different for each of us. Yet one  privilege we all share is exercising our freedom to vote. 

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of Temple Shaarey Tefila in New York City wrote the following  during a previous election year: “In our traditional morning blessings which we call Nisim B’Chol Yom, ‘Daily Miracles,’ we offer gratitude for being free. As American Jews, we do not take for granted the  tremendous gift that we have in being free and enjoying the freedoms that every  American has. This is a freedom that Jews have not always been afforded. What a gift we have to be Jews living in America today, with the right to express our opinions and raise our voices through voting.” 

With the gift of freedom comes responsibility. This message applies to all Americans and indeed to all free people. In this spirit, I want to encourage our exercising one of our  fundamental rights and privileges. Here are some easy steps to follow: 

Register to vote: Check to see if you are registered to vote and if you are not, register online today. 

Mark your calendars to vote: on Tuesday, November 8. 

Make a plan to vote: Finding your polling place by visiting or 

We give thanks for our freedom, and for being gifted with the privilege of voting. May  we all make good use of this precious gift, this year and in years to come. 

Best wishes to the Jewish community, and to entire community, for a shana tova u m’tuka, a good and sweet year; one of joy, health and freedom. 


Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky is a rabbi at Temple Isaiah in Stony Brook.