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Dowling College

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Suffolk County Police arrested four teenagers last night and this morning for allegedly breaking into a building on the Dowling College campus in Oakdale on May 31.

Four people broke a window with bricks and entered the Racanelli Learning Resource Center, located at 150 Idle Hour Blvd, at approximately 1 p.m. on May 31. Once they were inside the building, property was damaged and taken, and then the group fled the scene.

Following an investigation by Fifth Squad detectives, the four were identified and arrested.

An 18-year-old Patchogue man was arrested at his residence at 4:45 p.m. on June 1 and charged with Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree.

An 18-year-old Brentwood man was arrested at 4:34 p.m. on June 1 at his residence and charged with Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree.

Zachary Pandolf, 19, of Patchogue, turned himself in at the Fifth Precinct and was arrested at 10:20 p.m. on June 1 and charged with Burglary 3rd Degree.

An 18-year-old East Patchogue man was arrested at his residence at 1:30 a.m. on June 2 and charged with Burglary 3rd Degree.

The last two arrestees are scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on June 2. The first two arrestees are scheduled to be arraigned at a later date.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Fifth Squad at 631-854- 8552.

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Do you recognize these two people? Photo from SCPD
Do you recognize this person? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Fifth Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the males who allegedly painted graffiti in Oakdale last month.

Two males allegedly tagged “Love,” “Alone,” “soul,” and “Cant23” on buildings at the former Dowling College property, located at 150 Idle Hour Blvd. on March 8 at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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Suffolk County Police have arrested a Farmingdale teen who allegedly damaged an Oakdale building as part of a social media challenge.

A Fifth Precinct police officer was patrolling the former Dowling College property, located at 150 Idle
Hour Blvd., on March 21 when he observed three males walking on the property at approximately 6 p.m. It was determined that one of the teens broke a window with a rock.

The male, 18, claimed he caused the damage as part of a social media challenge targeting historic buildings.
Fifth Squad detectives and Fifth Precinct Crime Section officers are investigating previous incidents of
criminal mischief at the location. Police have been conducting patrol checks of the property following
community complaints.

The teen was charged with Criminal Mischief 4th Degree and issued a Field Appearance Ticket. He is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on April 10. Anyone with information on this or similar incidents is asked to call the Fifth Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8532 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Idle Hour, the mansion and estate of William Kissam Vanderbilt (1849-1920), which became Dowling College in 1968 Vanderbilt Museum Archives photo
Gift is Significant Part of Dowling College’s Special Collection

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum has received the largest donation of archival materials since its inception in 1950. The gift, donated by the Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve, includes materials from the former Dowling College and Vanderbilt Historical Society collections, comprising photographs, maps, and written correspondence. The donation marks a significant moment in the broader historical community’s efforts to preserve and promote the heritage of the region.

This donation will aid researchers and historians in forming an understanding of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Long Island, and it will greatly augment the kinds of programming that can be offered by the Vanderbilt, Suffolk County’s first museum and public park.

Paul Rubery, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Vanderbilt Museum, and Janet Soley, President of the Friends of Connetquot, worked alongside New York State and Suffolk County officials to determine the best way to preserve the content of these archives for future generations. They established that, because the VanderbiltMuseum aims to interpret the totality of the Vanderbilt family’s contributions to the development of Long Island, Centerport would be the ideal resting place for the wide-ranging collections.

All items donated by the Friends of Connetquot are now being processed and digitized by staff at the Vanderbilt Museum. These measures put to rest what some once regarded as the uncertain fate and future of a vast collection of historical materials assembled in Oakdale by local historians and academic archivists.

Dowling College Materials

Dowling College was established in 1968 at Idle Hour, the former mansionand 900-acre estate built in 1900 for William Kissam Vanderbilt (1849-1920). Vanderbilt was the father of William K. Vanderbilt II (1878-1944), who created the Eagle’s Nest estate, home of the Suffolk County VanderbiltMuseum.

Dowling College’s paper records were in jeopardy when the school ceased operations in 2016. Nearly a year later, its administrative and collegiate archives were transferred to Adelphi College, the college’s former parent institution. This arrangement spoke to Adelphi’s mission and directly benefited the wide network of Dowling alumni in the region. However, certain items were not covered in the original agreement between Adelphi and RSR Consulting, LLC—the company charged with liquidating assets in the bankruptcy proceedings—and those materials were folded into the listing placed up for bankruptcy auction.

The bankruptcy sale of Dowling’s assets was complicated by false starts and unrealized transactions. After the initial deal with Princeton Educational Center failed to transpire, Mercury International, LLC, acquired the property in 2017 for $26.1 million. During Mercury’s ownership, a representative from that company offered boxed materials in good condition to the Friends of Connetquot. For Mercury, the campus property and outbuildings were the primary concern, not the papers still left in many areas of the campus. Mercury ceased ownership of the property in December 2021, when the Chinese state-owned enterprise China Orient Asset Management purchased a majority stake in their parent company for $42 million.

The items given to the Friends of Connetquot—and now, through their donation, to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum—include the Muriel Vanderbilt, National Dairy, and Peace Haven collections.

Additional Material

Additional sections of the archives donated by Friends of Connetquot were acquired by that organization at auction. The Friends of Connetquot is dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and history of the 3,473-acre State Park Preserve, with the legacy of the South Side Sportsmen’s Club as their primary focus. The Sportsmen’s Club was among the elite social clubs of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, claiming presidents and titans of business among its membership.

Below are brief descriptions of the collections donated to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum by the Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve. To increase access to public history and stimulate interest in Long Island’s heritage, the Vanderbilt Museum will make them available online in the coming months.

Muriel Vanderbilt Collection: Muriel Vanderbilt was the daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt II and Virginia Graham Fair. She was an American socialite and an accomplished breeder of thoroughbred racehorses.

The Muriel Vanderbilt collection contains personal photographs and other materials that she donated to Dowling College in 1970. Some collection highlights include wedding and engagement photographs, in which Muriel wears the bridal veil of Marie Antoinette; extensive documentation of horse stables and rodeos; images of family members; and architectural photography of breathtaking estates.

Above, the stage at Peace Haven, one of the uses of the Idle Hour estate before it became Dowling College. Vanderbilt Museum Archives photo

Peace Haven Cult: The collection associated with the Peace Haven Cult is among the most unique archives on Long Island. In 1937, a group called the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians purchased William Kissam Vanderbilt’s Idle Hour and renamed it “Peace Haven.” Founded by James Bernard Schafer, a doctor from North Dakota, the Master Metaphysicians integrated behaviorist psychology, Christian spiritualism, and mediative techniques to achieve certain personal goals. The cult caught the attention of the international press during the custody proceedings over “Baby Jean.”

“Baby Jean” was central to the cult’s ambitions. The Master Metaphysicians informally adopted “Baby Jean” from her mother, a local waitress, and placed her at the center of a grand metaphysical experiment. Schafer maintained that he could give the child eternal life with an exclusively plant-based diet and protection from negative stimuli. The Master Metaphysicians returned “Baby Jean” to her birth parents after less than a year, and her mother eventually filed a legal suit against the cult.

National Dairy Collection: After serving as the headquarters for the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians, the Idle Hour estate was acquired by National Dairy Research Labs. National Dairy, which would eventually become Kraft Foods, purchased the estate’s mansion, carriage house, and twenty-three acres of land in 1947. The collection features photographs of the interior and exterior of the buildings at the time of sale, extensive documentation of the newly created research laboratories, and some press materials.

Bronco Charlie’s Collection: Bronco Charlie’s was a family restaurant located in Oakdale. Its owner, “Bronco” Charlie Miller, was a revered storyteller who claimed that he was the youngest ever rider on the Pony Express. Although many of his stories were undoubtedly fanciful, his tremendous life was chronicled in a range of print media. Highlights from the Bronco Charlie Collection include plates, menus, photographs, and correspondence.

Artists’ Colony Collection: Founded in 1926 on the grounds of the William Kissam Vanderbilt I’s summer estate, the Idle Hour Artists’ Colony was inspired by other prominent cultural communities like Yaddo, McDowell, and the Barbizon. Lucy Thompson, a socialite and the wife of a wealthy oil merchant from Texas, purchased the property and renovated its stables and outbuildings to accommodate a theater, restaurant, and artist studios. Highlights from the Artists’ Colony Collection include a map of the colony, real estate listings from the 1920s, and a watercolor from one of the original artists.


The Ward Melville field hockey team celebrates it's 2-1 victory over Newfield that earned the Patriots the Suffolk County Class A championship title at Dowling College on Nov. 2. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Despite a scoreless battle after 30 minutes of field hockey action, it was Ward Melville sophomore midfielder Kate Mulham’s goal scored with 8:31 left in regulation that was the game-winner for the No. 1-seeded Patriots over No. 2 Newfield, for the Suffolk County Class A title Monday evening at Dowling College’s Athletic Complex.

Ward Melville's Kate Mulham moves the ball in the Patriots' 2-1 win over Newfield for the Suffolk County Class A championship title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Kate Mulham moves the ball in the Patriots’ 2-1 win over Newfield for the Suffolk County Class A championship title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon

The first goal of the game came nine minutes into the second half, when Ward Melville sophomore Kerri Thornton crossed the ball to freshman Lexi Reinhardt, who smacked it in for the 1-0 lead.

“Kerri [Thornton] brought it up field” Reinhardt said. “I was just there to hit it in.”

Neither team faced each other during the regular season, so Patriots (13-1) were seeing the Wolverines (12-2) for the first time.

Although the time of possession favored Ward Melville, Newfield pressed for all 60 minutes, forcing the Patriots to earn every move.

Ward Melville junior Kiera Alventosa said she knew her team would have their hands full with their opponent.

“We couldn’t let up at all against them — they came at us hard,” she said. “On offense, we passed well, we were looking at our lanes. We were strong defensively; they weren’t getting through us.”

With 17:40 left to play, Newfield made it a new game when senior forward Maggie Finley rocked the box with an assist from her younger sister, Abby, a freshman midfielder.

Ward Melville's Kiera Alventosa drives past Newfield's Michelle Loken in the Patriots' 2-1 win over the Wolverines for the Suffolk County Class A title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Kiera Alventosa drives past Newfield’s Michelle Loken in the Patriots’ 2-1 win over the Wolverines for the Suffolk County Class A title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon

Ward Melville head coach Shannon Watson said the journey to the championship round wasn’t easy.

“It’s been quite an emotional road — we were down 4-1 in our last game but our kids battled back and it shows how determined they are,” Watson said. “To be here is wonderful, but it just wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to make sure that they had a solid win tonight.”

That solid win came when Mulham received the ball from Thornton, and drove her shot to the back of the cage for the 2-1 lead.

“I expected them to be good — they’re the No. 2 seed,” Thornton said. “So we had to come out with great intensity to keep our momentum.”

Ward Melville will face Massapequa for the Long Island Class A title on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dowling College.

“I’ll let them take a day to let it soak in and enjoy the win,” said the coach. “Then it’s back to practice and we’ll continue to do what we’ve done all season, working on our spacing and our ball control and sharpening our defense.”

The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after edging out Newfield, 2-1, to earn the Suffolk County Class A title at Dowling College on Nov. 2. Photo by Bill Landon
The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after edging out Newfield, 2-1, to earn the Suffolk County Class A title at Dowling College on Nov. 2. Photo by Bill Landon

Middle Country's Ashley Miller stands poised and ready to make a save in a previous contest against Northport. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Ashley Miller has been a part of two undefeated girls’ lacrosse seasons in Middle Country school district’s history, and as she moves on to play at Dowling College, she will have the opportunity to add another to her resume.

“It feels great to look back at what I’ve accomplished,” the now former Middle Country goalkeeper said. “I remember in eighth grade my middle school lacrosse team went undefeated and to have both my high school and middle school careers end undefeated is a good feeling.”

This past season, the Mad Dogs went 14-0 in Division I before falling to West Islip, 11-10, in double overtime in the Suffolk County finals. It was the first time the varsity team went undefeated and was the furthest the team had made it in the postseason. In 2014, Middle Country fell in the semifinals to the same West Islip team, 12-11, with one second left on the clock.

Middle Country's Ashley Miller watches the play downfield. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Middle Country’s Ashley Miller watches the play downfield. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Being in goal, Miller has been the last line of defense for both undefeated seasons and as she has gotten older, her skills have only improved. As a starter in goal for the last two seasons, head coach Lindsay Dolson noted the advances she saw.

“She definitely has come a long way and has improved her skills so much and worked really hard to get there,” she said. “We felt confident in her. She’s worked really hard and done all the extra work to get to where she is today. She came up with big saves for us.”

Dolson also pointed out that Miller was part of the reason the team was so successful the last two years and made it as far as they had.

“If you don’t have a good goalie in the cage there’s not a lot that you can do to stop people from scoring, especially in girls lacrosse, so she helped us become the team that we are today,” she said. “Ashley was a great player and very coachable. Anything we wanted to try, she was always willing to do it.”

Miller started out playing lacrosse with her cousins when she was young, but wasn’t interested in the sport at first. Not on an official team until seventh grade, she used the sport as a way to stay athletic and make new friends. According to her father, Butch, she played field hockey and lacrosse in junior high but switched to lacrosse in high school because she had more of a passion for the sport.

“She picked it up in middle school and was always a determined individual,” he said. “Whatever she starts, she follows through. She doesn’t give up, she’s not a quitter and she gives it her all.”

Middle Country's Ashley Miller races away from the cage to send the ball into play. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Middle Country’s Ashley Miller races away from the cage to send the ball into play. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Miller learned a lot of the basics in seventh and eighth grade and as she moved up to the high school level, she played year-round with off-season practices and winter and summer leagues. She was pulled up to the varsity team during the playoffs when she was a freshman and remained on the team, starting between the pipes her junior and senior year.

“The team was really close, we all got along really well and it was interesting how I was able to build up so quickly and pick up the game so fast and to be able to get pulled up to varsity early,” she said. “We became really close and it felt great to be a part of that and experience that, because it was the best team I’d ever been on. It meant a lot to be able to play such a major role.”

Miller’s father said his daughter was always interested in playing locally and was thrilled with her decision to play at Dowling.

“It’s hard to put into words how amazing it is that her hard work is paying off for her,” he said. “She’s done a lot for herself and it’s made her a better person. I’m very proud to be her father. All of her dedication earned her a scholarship and there are a lot of doors that have now been opened for her. I want her to strive to be the best and never settle; always reach for the stars.”

The Dowling freshman will be competing against three other goalkeepers for the starting position and hopes to be able to make an immediate impact on the team.

“One of my goals is to never stop improving, but I also want to try to get a starting position,” she said, laughing. “I love the sport, it helps you get out there and meet new people and it also helps you take your stress out and just have fun. I learned how to push myself through the sport, be a good team member and to be the best that I can be.”