Tags Posts tagged with "Barbara Ransome"

Barbara Ransome

By Julianne Mosher

The second annual Vogue in the Village Fashion Show is heading to Theatre Three in Port Jefferson this month so locals can strut their stuff in the latest styles from the village’s boutiques all for a good cause.

Scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m., (on Leap Day), this year’s theme is appropriately titled “Leap Into Fashion.”

Hosted by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and Theatre Three, the event follows a successful show last year. Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, said that last year’s ticket sales went back to supporting the chamber and their events. And while this is partly true this year, Ransome added that donations from the 2024 show will also go to the Town of Brookhaven’s Dress for Success program.

According to the Town of Brookhaven website, “Dress for Success Brookhaven is part of an international nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the developmental tools to help them thrive in work and life.”

Since 1999, Dress for Success has helped over 6,000 women work towards self-sufficiency in the Town of Brookhaven.

Ransome said this a great way to get the word out about local stores like Fame & Rebel, Kate & Hale, The Smokin’ Gentleman, Ivory & Main, Sue La La Couture, Timber & Ties and Dr. G Sustainability Lifestyle. 

In addition, before the show and during intermission, a vendor’s marketplace with tables set up for different organizations, businesses and services will be held throughout the theater’s lower level. 

Douglas Quattrock, third vice president of the chamber and artistic associate and director of development at Theatre Three, said this year they have about 50 models coming out to get done up and sashay across the stage. “It has built up a lot since last year,” he said. “What I love is the community coming together.”

Along with local shops donating their services, local beauty salons like Fedora Lounge Boutique Hair Salon, The Hair Bar and Karasmatic Day Spa are planning to help out with hair and makeup before the show. 

The models are getting the full glam experience — men, women and even dogs.

Ransome noted that, like last year, dogs for adoption with Yorkie 911 Rescue will prance on stage wearing accessories from Fetch Doggy Boutique and Bakery on East Main Street. The 2023/2024 Ms. New York Senior America, Mae Caime, is also going to be a highlighted model.

“It’s one-stop-shopping the see the best of the village in one night,” Quattrock said. 

The 2nd Annual Vogue in the Village Fashion Show will be held at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson on Thursday, Feb. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The vendor marketplace opens at 5 p.m. 

The first 100 ticket holders to arrive will receive a fabulous gift: a swag bag, filled with goods from the local merchants. Tickets are $20 cash and check, $25 for credit card and online. Donations for Dress for Success will be accepted at the event or online when purchasing tickets.

For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit portjeffchamber.com/events-calendar/vogue-in-the-village-2024/

Update: Because of the rain on Sunday, January 28, the second part of the Port Jefferson Ice Festival will be held on Sunday, February 4 from noon to 5 p.m.

By Julianne Mosher

Back by popular demand, the fifth Annual Ice Festival is heading back to the Village of Port Jefferson on January 27 and 28 from noon to 5 p.m.

Hosted by the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the festival is a fan favorite that bring hundreds in to admire and pose alongside handcrafted ice sculptures created by Guinness Book World Record holder ice carver Rich Daly.

But that’s not all. According to Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the Port Jefferson Chamber, there will also be a new horse-drawn wagon available for rides (fee) and the now-sold-out Mac and Cheese Crawl.

Visitors can enjoy live music, performances by local Shine Dance Company, ice skating demos at the Rinx as well as character photo opportunities and interactive games (cornhole, bowling and tic tac toe) — made out of ice, of course.

Daly, who has been the star of the festival throughout its entire run, said that this year will be “bigger and better than ever.”

“We have about 200 blocks of ice ready for both days,” he said. “And while the ice is awesome, there are a lot of activities for families to do in Port Jeff, so it’s a great event.”

Daly said that on Saturday alone, there will be about 30 sculptures around town outside different Port Jeff shops. Sunday there will be another set ready to photograph with. 

And these are not small statues. The famed interactive graffiti ice wall set up in the Frigate parking lot stands large enough for a whole family to pose with, but what’s most fun to watch are the live ice carvings done by Daly in the flesh.

On both days, there will be three live ice carvings starting at 12 p.m. at Mill Creek Road, 2 p.m. at the Meadow Parking Lot and 4 p.m. at Pocket Park. Each carving lasts at minimum an hour. 

As founder of Ice Memories Inc. based out of Mastic, Daly is one of only eight certified master carvers in the U.S. Since starting Ice Memories in 2000, Daly has won over 200 ice carving competition titles and received the Guinness World Record for carving 60 ice sculptures in under three hours. 

Compared to previous festivals which included Olaf from Frozen, a turtle and a lighthouse, “There will be new characters this year like Spider-Man and Barbie,” Daly said. However, this won’t be your typical doll-sized blonde fashionista.

“She’s going to be a big girl,” Daly laughed. “She’ll be about 6-feet-tall and start off at 2,400 lbs of ice.”

A rain date is set for Feb. 3 and 4. The event and parking are free for both days. For a full schedule and map of events, visit www.portjeffchamber.com. For further information, please call 631-473-1414.

Take part in the annual Costumed Dog Parade on East Main Street on Oct. 21. File photo by Bob Savage

By Heidi Sutton

Looking for something fun to do with the family this weekend? Then head down to the Village of Port Jefferson as it transforms into the annual Oktober Harvest Fest on Oct. 21 and 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year the event will be sponsored by the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District in cooperation with the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson. The two-day festival will feature a pumpkin decorating contest, a cherry pie eating contest, a pumpkin harvest maze and patch (fee), a self-guided art walk, cornhole games, a scarecrow meet and greet, strolling musicians, a pirate scavenger hunt (fee), horse and wagon rides (fee), ten-foot Tall Walkers, a scarecrow walk, a harvest photo op and much more.

Barbara Ransome, Director of Operations at the Port Jefferson Chamber, is looking forward to seeing the fun unfold. 

“There will be events throughout the whole village so its very walkable, very accessible and very family friendly. You can park your car and choose from a large selection of activities,” she said.

Highlights this year include the annual Halloween costumed dog parade sponsored by Fetch Doggy Boutique along East Main Street on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and a village-wide Chowder Crawl on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. According to Ransome, in the case of torrential rain, the parade and Chowder Crawl will be pushed to Sunday.

This year many of the businesses in the village will host activities in front of or in their shops. Fall Fun kids crafts will be offered at Kilwins, a B&B Paranormal Investigations Tour sign up sheet will be at the Port Jeff Brewing Company (fee), and Oktober Fest Tastings will be offered at Port Jeff Liquor, Whiskey Barrel, Spycoast and Pindar for adults, just to name a few. For a full schedule of events, visit www.portjeffchamber.com.

Up next in the Village is the Santa Parade on Nov. 26, the Festival of Trees at the Port Jefferson Village Center from Dec. 1 to Jan. 2 and the 27th annual Charles Dickens Festival on Dec. 2 and 3. For more information, call 631-473-1414.

By Aidan Johnson

Despite not having any dragon boat racing, the 9th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival was filled with excitement and fun from start to finish Saturday, Sept. 16.

It was deemed early in the day unsafe to hold the boat racing due to rough water conditions in the wake of Hurricane Lee. The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the organization that hosts this annual tradition, opted for a tug-of-war competition between the dragon boat teams.

“We wanted to kind of create a competitive activity that the teams would embrace,” Barbara Ransome, the chamber’s director of operations, explained. After one of her team partners suggested the tug-of-war, Peter Murphy of Sea Tow Port Jefferson provided the festival with a 40-foot cord to use.

“As you can see, it was great fun and lots of competition,” Ransome added.

Denise Yazak, who was part of Brookhaven National Lab’s Crave the Wave team, took part in the competition. While she was disappointed that she could not serve her role as drummer — who helps keep the paddlers in rhythm and synchronicity, matching the drumbeat with the strokes of the front paddlers — she said she still had a great experience.

“It’s such a cool community-building event, and it’s great to connect with new people, see old friends,” Yazak said. “So even with the weather, it was still an amazing time.”

Vendors set up throughout the day in Port Jeff’s Harborfront Park. The festival also included performances such as karate demonstrations and a showcase from Taiko Tides, a traditional Japanese drumming group from Stony Brook University.

“It’s always exciting to come,” said Louis Truong, a member of Taiko Tides. “They’re always welcoming to us.”

Port Jefferson Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay said she was inspired by the number of individuals who turned out and the many different walks of life gathered for the same purpose.

“This festival, in particular, is a beautiful opportunity to build community bridges and celebrate the vibrancy of diversity,” Kassay said in a statement.

“The resilience and adaptability of festival-goers was inspiring as well, as they seamlessly shifted their competitive spirits from dragon boat races to tug-of-war competitions,” she added.

By Julianne Mosher

These dragons won’t need any slaying and will not be spitting fire. In fact, this might actually bring some good luck.

The 9th annual Dragon Boat Race Festival is heading back to Port Jefferson on Saturday, Sept. 16 and it will have something for everyone. 

Sponsored by The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, this event is a way to foster community togetherness. It also serves to promote Asian and Asian American culture and customs while connecting with students at Stony Brook University.

Kicking off with a race in the Long Island Sound, it coincides with a full festival filled with fun, food and friends.

Barbara Ransome, the chamber’s director of operations, said that every year this particular festival brings in hundreds of people from across Long Island and even New York City.

“There’s nothing else like this around,” she said, “And we’re the only festival doing this in Suffolk County.”

Just a few miles away from Stony Brook University, which has a large Asian and Pan-Asian community, Ransome said the festival not only brings new people to the village every year, but also parts of these cultures that local residents might have not seen before.

“Not only is this festival entertaining,” Ransome said, “But it’s also educational and that’s a wonderful thing.”

This year, 21 teams are signed up — including two from the university and a group from Flushing, Queens. Each boat has about 22 people in it as they race for the win.

But it isn’t just a race for visitors to watch and cheer on. There are dance troupes, Japanese percussionists, singers and martial artists, plus retailers, cultural vendors and food trucks.

And you can’t forget the Bearded Dragon who will dance for the crowd — but don’t worry… it isn’t scary.

For centuries, the bearded dragon has had a significant impact on different cultures around the world. Specifically in Eastern cultures, including Chinese mythology, the dragon symbolizes power, strength and good luck. Similarly, in Japan, bearded dragons are associated with longevity and wisdom, as they are said to possess secret knowledge. 

Other fun activities for kids will include face painting, origami, crafts and reptile visitors from the Center for Environmental and Educational Discovery.

“This is a way to embrace diversity within our own backyard,” Ransome said. “It offers different things that you might have never seen before.”

The Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival will kick off its opening ceremonies on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8:30 a.m. with a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Samantha Reichers, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon at Port Jefferson Harbor and Harborfront Park, located at 101A East Broadway. The race will begin at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will run alongside the entertainment schedule (see left hand page).

The event will be held rain or shine. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities! For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com

Schedule of Events:

7:45 a.m.  

Team Captains Meeting at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  

Opening Ceremonies with Master of Ceremonies Suzanne Velazquez, Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the National Anthem by Samantha Reichers, and Blessing of the Dragon and  ‘Eye Dotting’ ceremony with Theravada Monks from the Vajiradhammapadip Buddhist Temple in Centereach

8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  

Food Vendors, Cultural Crafts, Children Activities, Retail/Educational/Nonprofit Vendor Tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Continual Dragon Boat Races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

9:45 a.m. 

Rebel Thaiboxing demonstration

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m

The Sound of Long Island Chorus, Americana program and traditional Chinese songs

10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Yixin Dance Center

11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Long Island Chinese Dance Group performance

12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  

Lunch Break (no racing)

12;30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Taiko Tides Drumming and Oroshi Drumming contest

1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Parade of the Team T-shirts Contest, Best Drummer Costume Contest

1:30 p.m.

Races resume

1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.  

Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu Lion Dance , Kung Fu  & Tai Chi demonstrations

2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.  

Port Jefferson High School Music Group, Harbor Country Day School

2:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Rebel Thaiboxing Demonstration

3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Stony Brook Youth Chorus

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Yana Dance Group – Chinese Traditional Dance

4 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Galante Martial Arts demonstrating Tai Chi, Arnis (Filipino Martial Arts) and Jiu Jitsu

4:15 to 4:45 p.m.

Long Island Modeling

4:30 p.m.

Last Dragon Boat Race

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies and Awards


From left, trustees Bob Juliano and Drew Biondo, Mayor Lauren Sheprow and Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay. Not pictured, trustee Stan Loucks. Photo by Aidan Johnson
By Aidan Johnson

Monday, July 10, marked Lauren Sheprow’s first Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees meeting as village mayor. 

Sheprow led the new board through their business and reorganization meeting, in which the reconfigured village board voted to reject proposed code changes slated for the Maryhaven Center of Hope property on Myrtle Avenue.

Mayor Lauren Sheprow presiding over the Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees on Monday, July 10. Photo by Aidan Johnson

Maryhaven Center of Hope

The proposed code amendments were an effort by the previous administration to preserve the historic building on the Maryhaven site. [See story, “For Maryhaven, Port Jeff village board weighs historic preservation, density and conservation,” April 29, TBR News Media website.] 

It would have created a special permit application to allow the village board to designate specific parcels that contribute to Port Jefferson’s architectural and aesthetic character. 

If approved, an applicant meeting these criteria would have qualified for relaxed standards for land use, allowing for additional height and stories without additional clearing.

During the public comment period Monday night, former village trustee Barbara Ransome addressed the continuing concerns over the property.

“I’m hoping that there are no quick decisions about changing codes for potential developers,” she said. “I think we heard at the [May 1] public hearing a lot of concern about the infrastructure, about losing a wonderful area that people feel is just going to be too crowded with that kind of density.”

Trustee Stan Loucks, not pictured, left the village board meeting after learning he would not be reappointed as liaison to Port Jefferson Country Club. Photo by Aidan Johnson


But not all went smoothly at Village Hall.

Trustee Stan Loucks, who ran in this year’s village election alongside mayoral candidate Kathianne Snaden, left directly after the board’s reorganization meeting, skipping the general meeting altogether after Sheprow revealed he would no longer serve as liaison to the Port Jefferson Country Club.

“I feel very strongly that I’ve had an impact on the resurgence of the country club,” Loucks said. He went on to say that he did not think he could “work any further with this board.” 

Village clerk Barbara Sakovich will leave the village government after more than 13 years in that role. Her retirement will take effect July 19. The trustees expressed their gratitude for her years of service. Silvia Pirillo will take over as the new clerk.

Sheprow appointed trustee Rebecca Kassay as deputy mayor and commissioner of environmental stability.

“It is an honor to step into the position of deputy mayor because it helps me better serve the village and work [especially with] flood resilience and climate studies,” Kassay said in an interview after the meeting. 

“I’ve been talking to organizations like [the United States Geological Survey], and having the title of deputy mayor shows that the village is taking these climate resilience issues very seriously,” she noted. “I’m very glad to be representing the village in this way.”

Trustee Bob Juliano will serve as commissioner of public works and parks. Loucks was appointed commissioner of recreation, and newly appointed trustee Drew Biondo will be commissioner of buildings and communications.

Harry Faulknor will continue as the Port Jefferson Harbor commissioner.

Sheprow will serve as commissioner of finance and public safety/court/code.

A motion to appoint Donald Pearce as village treasurer failed — he held the post previously before resigning in 2015. Juliano suggested that while Pearce is excellent to work with, he was displeased that Denise Mordente was not reappointed.

Code enforcement chief Andy Owen delivering his department’s monthly public safety report. Photo by Aidan Johnson

Public safety

The general meeting started with a brief presentation from Code Enforcement Bureau chief Andy Owen and chief of patrol James Murdocco.

Owen clarified that the code department does not save and store private information through its automatic license plate readers, which are used to identify if a car has a valid Port Jefferson parking permit or a meter is paid.

He also announced that foot patrols downtown would begin after this weekend’s Port Paws Dog Festival. Owen said he is also planning on starting a bike patrol unit.

In June, 60 incident reports were written, consisting of noise complaints, traffic conditions and public disturbances.

A total of 206 summonses were written in June for incidents such as uninspected vehicles, missing license plates, parking without a permit or overtime meter parking. 

Murdocco reported there have been over 200 incidents at the Port Jefferson train station since January, with many happening after 9 p.m.

Murdocco also announced the start of an informational Facebook page for the code bureau.

Public comment

During the public comment portion, held before the trustee reports, multiple residents voiced concerns about the potential overdevelopment of the park at Roosevelt Avenue. Myrna Gordon, along with other residents, suggested these developments would not be conducive to the area’s quiet character.

Sheprow announced a planned Parks and Rec Advisory Council meeting on July 26. All residents of the Roosevelt Avenue area are invited.

Michael Mart also touched upon the issue of transient housing — such as Airbnb facilities — in Port Jefferson, expressing a desire for the board to limit the rental time of a house to 30 days per renter.

After a resident asked how villagers could get involved with the different committees and task forces, Kassay said they are currently working on an online forum where residents could enter their information and the committees on which they would like to participate.


Juliano announced he would be starting office hours and that his door was always open. He also said that he gave the interim attorney a proposed code change so that when developers apply through the Industrial Development Agency for pilots or property tax exemptions, they would start at whatever they were paying now instead of at zero.

Biondo shared that he had toured a few of Port Jefferson’s facilities as the liaison to building and planning. He said he would discuss with the mayor and village attorney how they can streamline government processes.

Kassay said the Complete Streets and Walkability Plan is moving forward. She also said the board is still working on mitigating flooding challenges, though the problems cannot be eliminated. However, they are working on a study to see which areas need to be focused on for flood mitigation.

Kassay and Andrew Kelly, from Hauppauge-based VHB civil engineering company, are working on assisting grant writers with the documentation needed to apply to the New York State Environmental Protection Fund to progress to the next step for the planned Six Acre Park, which consists of taking a concept and making “show ready” plans for the park. 

Sheprow announced she had appointed an ethics attorney to update the village’s ethics code. She also said that she has met with representatives from Stony Brook University’s Student Affairs office, and they have expressed interest in using Port Jefferson as a “living laboratory.”

The Board of Trustees also passed a resolution to create a budget and finance committee, and has been working to recruit members of a short-term and long-term rental evaluation working group.

Sheprow added that the board is considering establishing a working group to advise on policies related to the Port Jefferson Power Station to explore declining public revenue and possible repowering.

The board will reconvene Monday, July 24, at 3:30 p.m.

Pictured from left, Jackie Frank, RN; Dr. Salim Matar M.D., F.A.C.S., Cari Cioffi, Carly Montalto, PJCC Past President Mary Joy Pipe; PJCC Third Vice President Douglas Quattrock and PJCC Past President Dr. Suzanne Velazquez. Photo from PJCC

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce (PJCC) held a ribbon cutting welcoming new chamber member Long Island Sinus Institute on March 30. 

Located at 640 Belle Terre Rd. Bldg. C, Port Jefferson, the staff of ENT specialists offers complete, personal care plans to treat symptoms due to a variety of ear, nose and throat-related conditions including balloon sinuplasty (balloon sinus dilation) for recurrent sinus infections along with nasal allergies, nasal obstruction, nasal polyps, nosebleeds, recurrent sore throats, diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, upper airway obstruction and snoring.

“The  Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce welcomes Dr. Nahum Archin and Dr. Salim Matar and staff to the chamber! Their specialized medical expertise with the latest techniques in balloon sinuplasty surgery will provide needed services to our community. The Chamber wishes them well and much success,” said Barbara Ransome, Director of Operations at the PJCC. For more information, call 631-928-7750 or visit www.longislandsinusinstitute.com.

Pixabay photo

Internet fraud, a worsening cybercrime phenomenon, has reached downtown Port Jefferson.

Through various tactics, online scam artists have successfully targeted storefronts and events throughout Port Jefferson, scoring hundreds of dollars in profits. 

During the 4th annual ice festival in late January, scammers sold eight fake tickets for a mac ‘n’ cheese crawl organized by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. On the day of the event, victims presented their fraudulent tickets.

The tickets “looked very official,” said Barbara Ransome, the chamber’s director of operations. However, when chamber staff asked those presenting these scam tickets when they had purchased them, their response revealed that something was out of place.

“They said, ‘We got them two days ago,’ and that’s when I realized this was a scam because we had been sold out … for at least a week and a half,” Ransome said, adding that the popularity of the event created an opening for scam artists. “My speculation is that this person saw that these tickets were sold out, saw that people were looking for them and created this whole fraud situation.”

At Theatre Three on Main, a similar practice has gained traction. Although the theater sells tickets at $35 per seat, online ticket scammers have capitalized by selling back-row seats at enormous markups. 

Douglas Quattrock, the theater’s director of development and artistic associate, reported one such incident where a couple spent nearly 10 times the going rate. “We had a couple that paid $672 for a pair of tickets,” he said.

Although only “a handful” of theatergoers have fallen prey to these ticket scams at Theatre Three, Quattrock considered the practice disruptive to operations.

“Being a smaller not-for-profit, we try to keep our prices very family oriented,” he said. However, he added that “scammers see this market as very attractive.”

But online scams are not limited to ticket sales. Jena Turner owns the Port Jeff-based gift shop Breathe, which offers nontraditional healing remedies and psychic readings. 

In an interview, Turner reported that multiple phony social media accounts have emerged, using her photos and business name to solicit payments from unsuspecting patrons. 

“Right now, I know that there are five accounts that stole my photos and are pretending to be me,” she said. 

Social engineering

“There are standard social engineering tactics, such as giving the victim a sense of urgency or taking advantage of their appeal to authority.”

— Nick Nikiforakis

Nick Nikiforakis, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University, said internet fraud is becoming a growing concern for small business sectors, which are increasingly vulnerable to malicious cyber activities. 

He contends that online criminals have shifted their sights on smaller boutique organizations because large corporations are investing more resources into cybersecurity systems. 

“Effectively, you have cybercriminals who are customizing their attacks toward small businesses,” he said. 

Turner’s case, according to Nikiforakis, represents a common social engineering scenario.

A social engineer “makes an online account for a company with a brick-and-mortar presence and then tries to take the recognizable name and the good faith that the business has built,” the associate professor said. 

He added, “They are targeting online users, pretending to be the person running this business,” tricking their victims “to send them money, divulge information or in some way get people to participate in a scam.”

A downtown dilemma

Turner said she has reported her digital imposters but has received no relief in removing these scam accounts from the Instagram platform. 

“I had reported it to Instagram several times — and by several, I can say probably more than 20,” she said. “Instagram hasn’t done anything about it.”

Nikiforakis noted that there are considerable technical limitations for social media companies in policing social engineering activities. While they could theoretically verify with storefront owners whenever a platform is created in their name, online scammers often find creative ways to circumvent such safeguards.

“Things can be done, but this is inherently a cat-and-mouse game,” he said. Social engineers “are not attacking a security vulnerability. … They are abusing people’s faith and trust in institutions and recognizable brands.”

Lacking assistance from Big Tech, Turner said she took matters into her own hands, creating a video in which she wrote out her authentic social media handle by hand.

“I made that video, and I just keep reposting it on my story and on my Facebook so that people aren’t falling for it,” she said. “That’s been really helpful.”

But, she added, “We have over 8,000 followers, so not everyone has seen the video. Unfortunately, the scam is still ongoing.”

To respond to the number of ticket scam incidents, Theatre Three similarly released a statement on its website condemning third-party ticket vendors. “The only place to buy tickets from us should be www.theatrethree.com,” Quattrock said.

Still, he encouraged patrons to remain on guard for potentially inflated ticket prices and to approach online transactions cautiously. 

For those who may suspect a ticketing scam, he implored them to call the theater directly before completing the transaction.

“If it looks suspicious to you, just call the theater and verify that they’re on the right website,” he said.

As online fraud persists throughout the local area, businesses and customers are not without recourse. Nikiforakis indicates that awareness of the typical social engineering strategies can help users protect themselves from participating in online scams.

“There are standard social engineering tactics, such as giving the victim a sense of urgency or taking advantage of their appeal to authority,” he said. “For both patrons and companies, by actively resisting this, you can slow down and potentially defend yourself against an attack.”

Despite the chiseled blocks of ice stationed around the village, downtown Port Jefferson was red hot last weekend during the 4th annual Port Jefferson Ice Festival, hosted by the village’s Business Improvement District.

This two-day celebration took place on Jan. 28 and 29, bringing together several local institutions, dozens of small businesses and a whole lot of ice. Roger Rutherford, Port Jefferson BID president and general manager of Roger’s Frigate, summarized the boost the festival brought to storefronts.

“This is the slowest time of the year for the business community,” he said. “This is our fourth annual, and it has really taken off and turned into something spectacular.”

Making the festivities possible required significant organizational collaboration between the BID and its partners. The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce assisted by facilitating a mac ’n’ cheese crawl. 

With 12 participating restaurants, the crawl offered festivalgoers a chance to taste various cuisines from food establishments around the village. 

“This is the second year they asked us to be the administrators for the mac ’n’ cheese crawl,” said chamber executive director Barbara Ransome. “They go to 12 places. It’s four ounces of mac ’n’ cheese [per stop], so you’re talking three pounds [in all].” She added, “It’s a lot of mac ’n’ cheese.”

Thousands flocked to the village to partake in the fun, including trustee Stan Loucks who projected the weekend as one of the highest local turnouts on record.

“I have never seen so many people in our village,” he said. “The merchants were extremely happy with the crowd. They did very well this weekend, and I think it was terrific to see that many people walking around our village.”

James Luciano, owner of PJ Lobster House, reacted to the festival’s success in stimulating small businesses.

“This festival brings in a lot of business for us,” he said. “This time of year, you’re lucky to get a couple of tables for lunch and a couple of bar customers.” But, he added, “We’ve been full since we opened the door.”


‘The businesses were thriving, the restaurants were full.’

— Kathianne Snaden

The sizable show gave much-needed relief to storefront owners still recovering from the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost three years ago, the world and nation were shocked by the outbreak of the pandemic, leaving downtowns such as Port Jeff’s in disarray.

Indu Kaur is the owner of the Curry Club at SāGhar in Port Jefferson, an establishment that opened in February 2020, just weeks before the lockdowns. 

“We took over the business and had no idea that we were going to be shut down,” Kaur said, describing the impact of the pandemic on her business as “a huge tragedy.”

In the face of hardship, Kaur and her staff continued operations by donating meals, then reopened in the fall of that year. With a historic turnout villagewide, Kaur regarded the resurgence of the downtown businesses with delight.

“It’s so exciting to see everyone walking around, enjoying our village, enjoying the new restaurants, the new shows and our ice sculptures,” she said.

Outside Kaur’s restaurant lay a decorative ice sculpture depicting Ganesha, a Hindu deity tying into the theme of local renaissance. “Lord Ganesha is the statue that we all have faith brings prosperity, happiness and peace,” she said.


Ganesha was just one of a few dozen ice sculptures displayed throughout the village. Many visitors stood and posed with the ice, which was often interactive. Some sculptures depicted animals, others tied in with the businesses for which they were custom made. 

Rich Daly, president and owner of Ice Memories, has created sculptures during each of the festival’s four iterations. He discussed the considerable effort and material that made it all possible.

“We do live carvings and have about 90,000 pounds worth of ice set up throughout town,” supplied by Riverhead-based Long Island Ice, Daly said. “Every year, we add more ice and more activities for everybody to do.”

Daly got interested in ice sculpting during culinary school, where he first received an ice carving assignment. “Once they put a chainsaw in my hands, I just never let it go,” he said.

Given how a sculpture shapeshifts and reforms during the different melting stages, the temporality and mutability of the ice medium offer both challenge and opportunity for creative expression.

“It’s a temporary art form, which makes it unique,” Daly said. “Especially on a day like today or a weekend like this, Mother Nature just doesn’t want the ice to be around,” adding, “As it melts, it just kind of changes and transforms, and it’s pretty cool.”

Daly said the process is relatively straightforward for those interested in carving ice. Blocks of ice, he said, can be acquired at most ice plants on Long Island. “It doesn’t take a crazy amount of money to buy tools,” he said. “Just have at it. Start [carving] whatever inspires you.”

Tip of the iceberg

Spring-like temperatures and melting points played a prominent role throughout the festival, with some environmentalists ringing the alarm about the threat of climate change. 

Posted along Main, a small group of protesters lined the sidewalks with signs that read: “There is no planet ‘B’” and “Be nice, save the ice.” Holly Fils-Aime, president of the local environmental group EcoLeague, discussed how the melting sculptures signal a dangerous trend. 

“The fact that these sculptures didn’t last the day because it’s so warm out here in January is a great teaching device,” Fils-Aime said.

Picketing alongside Fils-Aime was village resident Myrna Gordon, who stressed the importance of local government in identifying environmental problems and implementing science-based solutions. 

“In my own village here in Port Jefferson, I think that a lot more has to be done with environmental issues,” she said. “Having an ice festival is wonderful — bringing people to the village, helping the businesses. But we also need to focus on very, very serious issues that are happening here.”

Frozen in time

Through the ice fest, scores of people interacted with the various facets of the community. While there wasn’t an ice sculpture outside the Bayles Boat Shop, boat builders continued their work on the Resolution whaleboat project. 

“We’re in the finalizing stages of lofting,” said John Janicek, treasurer of the boat shop. After that, the buildout of the keel and stem can commence.

As the whaleboat enters a pivotal moment in its buildout process, the village is undergoing a transition of its own, moving into the post-pandemic era. With downtown thriving once again, Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden gave her thoughts on these positive developments.

“It was incredible to see so many people enjoy the village this time of year,” she said. “The businesses were thriving, the restaurants were full. There were shoppers and diners, and it was great to see the comeback.”

Stu Vincent, director of public affairs and public relations at Mather Hospital, has also made a name for himself within the Port Jeff business community.

As 1st vice president of the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Vincent has emerged as an important local figure and leader. He has been active in chamber events, including overseeing its annual Health & Wellness Fest. 

Barbara Ransome, GPJCC director of operations, characterized his role as chair of this festival. “That is a very important event that we are involved in because it is a strong revenue-producing event,” she said. 

Ransome maintains that Vincent, as 1st VP, acts as a close adviser, referring to his public relations expertise as a helpful springboard for different ideas. To her, Vincent is a warm presence within the chamber and a reliable attendee of chamber events. 

“That particular skill set is very important, certainly for a chamber of commerce, and I look for his expertise on certain matters that pertain to that,” Ransome said.

With Mather, Vincent has had considerable influence in the hospital’s Paint Port Pink campaign. Through the Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather Hospital, this initiative raises awareness about breast cancer, shares information and brings the community together. The bright pink lights streaming through the village in October are a staple of the campaign.

Mayor Margot Garant considered Vincent a dedicated community servant and a positive force for the Port Jeff community.

“He’s at every single event, a strong member and volunteer of the chamber, so he’s definitely a dedicated servant and a very good employee,” she said. “I think he makes an excellent face of the hospital, and he’s just a swell guy — kind of a quiet soldier.”

That quiet soldier continues to leave his mark on the Port Jeff community. For his sterling work on behalf of the chamber and Mather Hospital, TBR News Media recognizes Vincent as a 2022 Person of
the Year.