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Centereach

Photo from Long Island Photography Studio

Saturday night, both the Selden Fire Department and the Centereach Fire Department hosted two separate September 11, 2001 memorials at their fire houses. 

Dozens of people came together to remember the victims, who left behind their lives and legacy 20 years ago to the day of the attacks.

During their event, the Selden Fire Department honored Captain Nicholas Chiofalo and other Selden Community members who lost their lives on 9/11.

Ex-Chief Michael Matteo led the members of the Selden community through a ceremony that would memorialize the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 

Wreaths were placed at the both departments 9/11 monuments.

Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro (R) and Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) have announced the completion of two paving projects in Centereach and Selden.

 In the first project, heavily-traveled Hawkins Road was resurfaced from Magnolia Drive in Selden to Wireless Road in Centereach. 

Prior to paving, crews inspected drains and made concrete improvements, including replacing damaged concrete sidewalks, curbing and aprons. 

Crews removed and replaced 5,260 linear feet of concrete curb, 7,552 square feet of concrete sidewalk, 3,675 square feet of ADA-compliant handicap ramps, and 7,514 square feet of concrete aprons, at a cost of $506,900. 

The total cost for this project was approximately $1.1 million.

“Hawkins Road is so heavily-traversed and, as such, was in great need of resurfacing,” said Losquadro. “It had been on our radar for some time and I am very grateful we were able to include its resurfacing in our 2021 paving season.”

Additionally, in another paving project, crews resurfaced three nearby residential roadways: Capri Road, Impala Drive and Lark Drive in Centereach. The total cost for this project was $113,557.

“The town’s investment in infrastructure improvements makes our roads safer for motorists, bicycle riders and pedestrians,” LaValle said. “I thank Superintendent Losquadro and the men and women of the Highway Department for the important work they do all year round for the residents in Council District 3 and throughout the town.”

Photo from Suffolk Federal

Suffolk Federal Credit Union presented college scholarships totaling $43,925 to six high school graduates who plan to attend Suffolk County Community College this fall.

“As a community-focused credit union, we are committed to supporting hardworking students as they pursue higher education, while also easing the financial burden for their families,” said Michele Dean, CEO & president of Suffolk Federal. “We congratulate these outstanding scholarship recipients on their accomplishments and are pleased to help them achieve their educational and career goals.”

The following four Suffolk Federal Scholarship award recipients each received a scholarship of $6,275: Alex Pinto (Deer Park), Alyssia Furchert (Blue Point), Michael Krolikiewicz (Farmingville) and Zachary Gallant (Port Jefferson Station).

In addition, Juliana Ramai (Centereach) received a $6,275 scholarship from the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which was matched by Suffolk Federal for a total of $12,550. 

Daniel Paesano (Sound Beach) was awarded $6,275 by Suffolk Federal in honor of the Michael E. Reilly Foundation Memorial Scholarship for Excellence. 

Scholarship award recipients were selected based on their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community involvement and essays. 

The scholarships are a result of an ongoing partnership between Suffolk Federal and the Suffolk Community College Foundation.

“We are deeply gratified to continue to partner with Suffolk Federal to support exemplary students with these generous scholarships,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation. “Each of these recipients has a record of community service that reflects the values we share and the determination to succeed.”

Dr. Edward Bonahue, president of Suffolk County Community College added, “Young people are our greatest resource and best investment. Through these scholarships, Suffolk Federal demonstrates its notable commitment to helping Long Island families thrive and succeed.”

The credit union recently expanded its charter to include Nassau County as well as Suffolk County.

From left to right: Elizabeth Malafi, Sal DiVincenzo, Maryellen Ferretti and Sophia Serlis-McPhillips. Photo from MCPL

TD Bank has provided a generous grant of $5,000 to  the Middle Country Library Foundation in support of a new series focused on business and personal finance and the annual Women’s EXPO, the library’s educational and supportive venue where local women entrepreneurs and artists gain valuable tradeshow experience.

Stock photo

Suffolk County Police 6th Squad detectives are investigating a crash that killed a man in Miller Place Saturday morning. 

Raoul Rasch was driving a 1934 Ford eastbound on Route 25A, near Panther Path, when the vehicle crossed into the westbound lane and struck westbound 2004 Ford pickup at 11:34 a.m., on July 31. 

Rasch, 79, of Rocky Point, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Jose Herrera, 54, of Centereach, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital with minor injuries.

Photo from MCPL

Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral roots. The picture and story below come courtesy of a collaborative effort among the library staff.

In the 10 years between 1940 and 1950, the population of Selden doubled from 847 to 1743. By 1960, it would more than double again. 

Photo from MCPL

The growth of neighboring Centereach was even more dramatic; from 628 in 1940 to 3100 in 1960 and 6,676 in 1970. For many civic-minded citizens, it was time for a community library. In March of 1957, The Mid Island News announced the forthcoming opening of the “long-awaited library serving the Centereach and Selden communities.” A library board of trustees was formed and board president, Lucille Hough, began a door-to-door canvass to solicit books for the new facility.

The former Nature’s Gardens clubhouse on Middle Country Road in Selden was acquired from area developer, O.L. Schwenke. A local carpenter began renovations and volunteers were requested to help catalog the books. The library was to be open 15 hours per week and managed by part-time librarian, Sadie Hallock, assisted by volunteers. By 1961, the topic of the need for a new branch library appeared in the board minutes. Suggested sites were Jericho School or the former Centereach school — neither proved possible. In 1963, when a new Centereach Post Office was built, the site of the former post office became available for rent. In June of 1963, a lease was signed for 8 Dawn Drive which would be available by year’s end. A “Stack the Shelves” drive suggested by Mr. Jones of Tinker National Bank announced that the bank would contribute $500 plus $2.00 for every new depositor over a stated period. In addition, Bernard Kaplan, Eastwood Village developer, pledged $500 to start the campaign.

Circulation figures for the library increased every year. In 1964, the first year both libraries were in operation, the circulation was 54,570. By 1967, it had risen to 176,145. In 1968, the name changed to Middle Country Public Library reflected the consolidation of the school district. That same year, the board hired Paul John Cirino as the library director.

Photo from MCPL

As the number of school age children surged and the school district became the fastest growing in the nation, the library kept pace to meet the needs of the increasing population. A search was begun for a suitable site of approximately three-acres with a minimum frontage of 150-feet and close to the center of population and not more than a quarter mile from Middle Country Road. In 1971, ground was broken for a new building on the corner of Eastwood Blvd and School Street and the new 19,000-square-foot building was dedicated on Jan. 30, 1972.

By 1981, the number of library cardholders had exceeded 51,000 and the annual circulation topped 500,000. Program attendance continued to rise and space for additional programming was at a premium. When the lease on the Selden Branch expired, the School District offered the unused Selden Elementary School to the library. In 1983, after remodeling the school to provide handicapped access and library furniture and shelving, the Middle Country Cultural Center at Selden was opened to the public.

An auditorium, complete with a stage and seating for almost 200, afforded a venue for community dramatic and musical a. MCPL’s 107,000-square-foot, two-building expansion made it the largest and busiest library on Long Island. 

Photo from MCPL

Dynamic architectural spaces reflect the ever-changing innovative and creative activities taking place within the library, which is always looking forward to draw in new audiences and find ways to make the library an even more responsive heart of the community.

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Photo from MCPL

Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral roots. The picture and story below comes courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff.

Driving along Middle Country Road today, it is hard to imagine that only 100 years ago, this busy four- lane highway with its many intersections, signs, and streetlights started out as little more than a hard-packed dirt road. 

Go back 100 years more, and you’d only see a narrower, rutted path. We take our nicely maintained, hard paved roads for granted today, but it wasn’t always such a smooth ride. 

Today’s network of streets and highways have their origins in simple trails which were used by people and wildlife leading to sources of water and shelter. 

These paths measured only two to three-feet wide in places, but they were sufficient for the needs of the times. 

Photo from MCPL

Early English settlers began to use these footpaths as they established homesteads on Long Island, widening and improving these paths, using them as cart-ways to allow for easier travel between their farms. The cart-way needed to be wide enough for a livestock-drawn cart to traverse with ease. In those days a cart would be hauled by cattle, ox, or horsepower.

Those paths were the only way to travel around Long Island until 1703, when the NY General Assembly appointed highway commissioners in King’s County (Brooklyn), Queens County and Suffolk County to direct the building and maintenance of roads “four rods wide.” The roads were simply packed earth, hardened over time by travelers.  It took some time for conditions to improve, and eventually drainage systems were constructed, and logs or planks were laid across some roads to pave them. These log-covered roads were known as “corduroy roads” because of their bumpy surface.

Thirty years after the highway commissions laid out the routes, arranged rights-of-way between existing properties and physical construction took place, Long Island boasted three major thoroughfares: North Country Road, parts of which follow today’s Route 25A; Middle Country Road, now known as Route 25 or Jericho Turnpike; and South Country Road, portions of which serve as Montauk Highway. 

An organized system of roads was needed for many reasons as the population grew. Though most homesteads were self-sufficient at that time, people would barter for goods and gather together to socialize. Mail needed to be delivered across the Island, and prior to the establishment of the U.S. Postal Service in 1775, England’s Royal Mail System was utilized. Before reliably passable roads were built, that mail was delivered from Connecticut by boat. It was faster and easier to travel 19 miles by water than 120 miles overland from New York City.

As the farmland was cultivated and enriched over time, it produced more than one family or village could use and farming became a burgeoning industry. 

Means to transport the surplus produce was required. Farm to Market Road (also called Horseblock Road) filled this need. Farm owners would load their wagons full of fruits and vegetables to ship by rail to New York City.

 The term “horseblock” refers to a block of stone or wood used to help a person climb high enough to mount a horse or to enter a stagecoach with ease. With many homes, farms and taverns located along these miles of roadway, horseblocks were a familiar sight. We call this same Farm to Market Road by its old nickname, Horseblock Road to this day. 

Photo from MCPL

Through the years, several popular taverns and rest stops were located on Horseblock Road. As far back as Revolutionary times, Sam “Horseblock” Smith owned and ran a tavern at the intersection of Horseblock and Middle Country Roads in Centereach.

 A Smith genealogy relates that on March 2, 1806 Sam sold the inn and land to Lake Grove resident, Titus Gould. It appears that part of the tavern was dismantled and moved to another location. Generations later, Alfred Elsmann ran Al’s Tavern, at the corner of Horseblock and Granny Roads. It was advertised in the Patchogue Advance of March 7, 1946 as specializing in home cooking and “the best in beer, wines and liquors,” and was a popular destination for local festivities for several decades.

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Centereach High School

Middle Country Central School District announced its top scholars for the class of 2021. 

Photo from MCCSD

Isabel Rodriguez of Newfield High School and Aryan Sharma of Centereach High School have been honored as this year’s valedictorians, while Ilssa Siddiqui of NHS and Priyansh Parikh of CHS have been named salutatorians.

“As we approach the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, it is my distinct honor and privilege to celebrate the Class of 2021’s valedictorians and salutatorians — Isabel, Aryan, Ilsaa, and Priyansh,” said Roberta Gerold, superintendent of schools. “The district is immensely proud of each of you for your ambition to adapt to, and succeed in, the scholastic challenges that were presented throughout this school year. We applaud the four of you for your stellar academic achievements and commitment to the Middle Country community. We are confident that you will continue to achieve great things in the next chapter of your lives.”

Isabel carries a 102.6042 weighted GPA at Newfield with the potential to graduate with more than 40 college credits. In addition to her academic pursuits, Isabel serves as the treasurer for the Foreign Language Honor Society and vice president of the National Honor Society. She’s also a member of the Pit Orchestra, class of 2021 student government, the Leadership Club, Environmental Club, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and member of Newfield’s girls’ varsity soccer team. This coming fall, Isabel will be attending Vassar College.

Ilsaa, who is known for her incredible work ethic, achieved a weighted GPA of 102.1250 as salutatorian at Newfield. 

Coupled with her academics, Ilsaa has served as a member of Gerold’s Leadership Club, vice president of the Environmental Club, secretary of the Foreign Language Club, is currently a member of DECA, vice president of the National Technical Honor Society, secretary of the National Honor Society, and senior editor of the Yearbook Club. She has also volunteered at the Selden Mosque as an assistant teacher. Ilsaa has committed to Hamilton College where she hopes to pursue a career in either computer science or pre-law.

During his tenure at Centereach High School, Aryan’s academic fortitude has afforded him a weighted GPA of 102.00. For the last two years of his high school journey, Aryan’s academic workload consisted of all AP courses. 

His success in these courses helped him attain National AP Scholar status. Outside of the classroom, Aryan is active in extracurricular activities and community service. He is currently the GO vice president, and formerly held the position of junior class treasurer. Aryan is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, the National Technical Honor Society, the math team, and countless other clubs which he primarily serves in a leadership capacity. 

Aryan has been accepted to, and will attend, Stony Brook University in the fall where he will study biochemistry with plans to pursue a career as a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Centereach High School’s salutatorian Priyansh has excelled throughout his academic career and will graduate with a weighted GPA of 101.8. Priyansh’s academic workload has been punctuated with several AP courses, in which he excelled. 

He was recognized by the College Board as an AP Scholar with Distinction. Priyansh is involved in a multitude of extracurricular activities in school and in the community. In his role as GO treasurer, he played an active role in all of the activities that take place in the high school. Priyansh is also a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, DECA Club, and participated on the winter track team. 

Photo from MCCSD

Post-graduation, Priyansh plans to attend Penn State University where he will pursue a degree in computer science.

Photo from MCPL

The Miller Business Center at the Middle Country Public Library invited businesses back for in-person networking at the Strictly Business trade show on June 8. 

A heat wave did not stop the 10-plus attendees who connected with 30 local businesses and business organizations.The partnership between the library’s Miller Business Center, the Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce and the Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce Coalition was created more than a decade ago to promote local businesses and boost economic development in the region. Proceeds help to support these organizations. Sponsors include Flushing Bank, Synergy Wealth Strategies and Pure Mammography.

Photo from MCPL

Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral roots. The picture and story below comes courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff.

This beautifully embroidered map was gifted to Middle Country Public Library, and is part of the Heritage Collection, the library’s local history archives. 

It shows a detailed and unique view of Centereach as it stood in 1937. Oriented in a west to east view from top to bottom, we can see the landmarks and homesteads that residents would visit and pass by daily. 

Near the top right of the image, we can see the New Village First Congregational Church prominently featured in white, just south of the Fairgrounds. It was such a major landmark that it needed no caption. The steeple, front door and footpath are skillfully embroidered in. Homes of many residents (Overton, Emery, Olsen, Ulrich, Duffield, Campbell, Moen, Scudder and Alvin Smith, Bertram, to name a few) are painstakingly labeled along with many prominent businesses. 

William Tobin’s “Ontheway” Rest, located on the northwest corner of Middle Country Road and Stony Brook Road served as a gasoline station and featured a lunch stand that Mrs. Tobin ran on the adjoining property. 

Other establishments depicted include the barbershop, the grocery store, Homeside Nursery, the lumber yard and Carl’s Tavern, along with the Wilkinson, Williams, Moller and Murray farms. 

If you look closely, a hen and her chicks are carefully stitched in, foraging about the Wilkinson’s farmyard. The fire house, fair grounds, and schools (both the existing and proposed new school sites), the Parsonage and Parish Hall are all here. 

Streets are not labeled, but we know that Middle Country Road runs from top to bottom down the center of the panel and we can see where paving is incomplete on the right margin (the north side of the map). The New Village Congregational Church which stands today on Middle Country Road just west of Elliot Avenue and residences such as the Henry house help us determine the location of other streets. 

We know that the Henry homestead was located at the corner of Middle Country Road and North Washington Avenue. We can also see William Wortley’s gas station which was situated on the south side of Middle Country Road opposite Wood Road, where the barbershop stands embroidered with the traditional red and white pole. 

For an entertaining treasure hunt, take a look to discover what other family names and landmarks you can find. More names and places can be found on this map than we could list here. Have fun!