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East Northport

Fr. Thomas Judge Knights of Columbus Council hosted the 29th annual St. Anthony’s Family Feast & Festival before the July 4th holiday weekend.

The event was held at Trinity Regional School in East Northport from June 29 to July 2. Attendees enjoyed rides, games, food, craft beer, live music and more.

The festival also featured the Royal Legacy Circus, Scotto’s Carnival Stage, a Zeppole eating contest on June 30  and a St. Anthony statue procession and fireworks on July 2.

Bob Slingo, assistant chairman of the festival, said after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the organizers witnessed record crowds all four nights of the festival.

“This was our most successful St. Anthony’s Family Feast & Festival ever,” Slingo said.

 

 

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Angela Veeck, center, said she and her employees such as Linda Arias, left, and Debbie Deeds, right, pivoted and adapted to continue serving Pieceful Quilting customers during the pandemic. Photo from Angela Veeck

The owner of Pieceful Quilting on Jericho Turnpike is ready to retire. The milestone comes after two years of learning the importance of pivoting when times are rough and discovering how adaptable she and her staff can be.

Pieceful Quilting storefront. Photo from Angela Veeck

After 13 years in business in East Northport, Angela Veeck has decided to retire and close the doors of Pieceful Quilting for good. The business owner said a date hasn’t been chosen yet, but she will close the doors for the last time once everything in the store is sold.

Veeck, who in the past has owned quilting shops in Riverhead and Calverton, said running a small business has changed over the years, especially during the pandemic. She said she was fortunate to be able to apply for an exemption when New York State mandates were first issued during the earlier months and stay open due to the store making and selling masks, even though she was only able to have one employee in the store with her at a time. Customers would order the masks online and then pick them up outside the store.

Another way they have adapted is by offering the quilting workshops that were once in person by posting livestream classes on the store’s Facebook page.

“Now we are essentially running two businesses, one brick-and-mortar and one internet based,” she said.

Veeck added that as stores began to open again after mandates were relaxed, many customers became accustomed to shopping online. She said competing with other online businesses can be overwhelming at times, especially when one is involved in a niche market like hers. Veeck likened the online niche business to the entertainment industry where “you always have to keep up and do something new and exciting.”

Her website is one that she felt fortunate to have once the pandemic kept many at home. In addition to local customers, the site attracts those that don’t have a quilting store near them. Veeck said to her knowledge there are only a few such stores in Suffolk County and none in Nassau County. Once the doors of Pieceful Quilting are closed, Veeck said she will also cease the online business that she began in 2003.

Veeck, who has an extensive background in marketing, said the main reason she opened Pieceful Quilting in East Northport was that, with her business sense, she knew the area would be ideal for a store such as hers where people could come and pick out their own materials to quilt.

She said she’s noticed a lot of businesses in the area closing even though she feels the area is a good one to open up a place if one can find a reasonable rent.

“Small businesses are what keeps this country going,” she said.

While it was a difficult decision to retire, the business owner, who splits her time between East Northport and her home in Riverhead, said she’s looking forward to more time with her husband, Ken. She added she will finally be able to work on some of her own sewing and quilting projects.

“Unbelievably, the quilt shop owner has little time to quilt and sew.”

The last two years have left her with advice to business owners going through rough times.

“You got to pivot and you got to pivot fast,” she said.

Stock photo

Suffolk County Police arrested two women who allegedly stole more than $43,000 from their employer during a nine-month period ending in August.

Elana Sofia and Sandra Bonilla, while employed at Goodwill Industries, located at 1900 Jericho Turnpike, East Northport, allegedly stole money from the company’s bank deposits from November 2020 until August 2021, according to Suffolk County Police.

Following an investigation by 2nd Squad detectives, Sofia was arrested on Oct. 4 and Bonilla was arrested on Oct. 5.

Sofia, 29, of Port Jefferson, and Bonilla, 33, of Brentwood, were charged with Grand Larceny 3rd Degree. Sofia was arraigned on Oct. 5 and Bonilla is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 6 at First District Court in Central Islip.

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

Updated Oct. 8 to correct the omission of “alleged” in the print version. We regret the mistake. 

The entrance to the new DJ’s Clam Shack in East Northport. Photo from Paul Riggio

Long Island’s second DJ’s Clam Shack is open and ready to serve.

“Bringing the seafood joint to East Northport was an easy decision,” said co-owner Paul Riggio. “We wanted to go to the North Shore, further east, and get more exposure.”

Originally founded 14 years ago in Key West, Florida, Riggio and his childhood friend, Jeff Gagnon, decided to expand the restaurant’s name to Wantagh three years ago. 

The East Northport location has a larger dining space. Photo from Paul Riggio

The original location is a hotspot down South, and has been featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Both men hail from Setauket and are graduates of Ward Melville High School. Riggio said the success of the Nassau County restaurant made them want to open up another, to get the name out to people who may not frequent the South Shore. 

“What’s different about the East Northport location is that we have a full liquor license, perfect for summer cocktails,” he said. In Wantagh, they only serve beer and wine. 

So, a few months before its opening, the duo took over the space at 1972 E. Jericho Turnpike and began planning. 

“We wanted to give it a Key West kind of flair,” Riggio said. “And we’re going to keep growing it little by little.”

Known for their lobster rolls, tacos, fried ship, clams, DJ’s is a causal seafood restaurant with “a laid-back kind of feel” that combines favorite seafood dishes from the north and south. On their menu, they feature New England clam chowder and Maine lobster rolls, also mahi-mahi, shrimp and roast pork tacos. 

The space is larger than its counterpart and features more room for socially distanced dining. Eventually the owners plan on adding outdoor dining.

“The community has come out to support us and they’ve been great,” Riggio said. “It’s a casual, fun place, with homemade food that’s always fresh.”

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad and Arson Section detectives are investigating a fire that killed a man in East Northport. Photo from Google Maps

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad and Arson Section detectives are investigating a fire that killed a man in East Northport Oct. 19.

Second Precinct officers were called to 257 4th St. at approximately 6:50 a.m. after a 911 caller reported a fire at the location.

Resident Edward Woiczechowski, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

Woiczechowski’s wife, Cheryl, 62, and son, Robert, 33, who also live at the home, were both transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

A preliminary investigation has determined the cause of the fire to be non-criminal in nature.

Police are seeking a woman for allegedly stealing from an East Northport Store. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police 2nd Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate a woman who allegedly stole merchandise from an East Northport store in August.

A woman allegedly stole miscellaneous items from Ocean State Job Lot, located at 3083 East Jericho Turnpike Aug. 14.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an
arrest. Anyone with information about this incident 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.

The Town of Smithtown recoups $222,000 in losses from V. Garofalo Carting after sentencing with restitution in a plea agreement. Photo from the Town of Smithtown

A Smithtown garbage contractor has been sentenced for defrauding the Town of Smithtown for $222,000.

The scheme entailed illegally passing off over the course of several years consumer waste from locations across Long Island as commercial waste generated by businesses in the Town of Smithtown. 

“These defendants were stealing money from the taxpayers in the Town of Smithtown and from their own hardworking employees,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (D) at a Sept. 20 press event following the sentencing.

Mario Garofalo, 61, of East Northport, and his cousin Robert “Bobby” Garofalo, 64, of Kings Park, each pleaded guilty to felony charges May 13 for attempted enterprise corruption. The corporate entity, V. Garofalo Carting Inc., also pleaded guilty to enterprise corruption. The three defendants were sentenced by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William J. Condon to conditional discharges, which include restitution payments of $222,000 to the Town of Smithtown. The case also found that the business had violated prevailing wage laws and was ordered to pay $32,000 to underpaid company employees.

“That’s $222,000 in residents tax dollars that these defendants pocketed for no reason other than their own greed.”

— Tim Sini

The Garofalo attorney did not respond to a telephone request for comment. Details in the plea agreement show that the company forfeited $1.1 million in cash plus assets that include a front end loader and a metal container. Payments were made to the town from that forfeiture.  The remaining assets were used to cover court costs and other public safety initiatives. 

The case, according to the DA, was an extremely complex investigation and prosecution. 

In 1990, New York State ordered most Long Island landfills closed, according to the town. Consequently, the town has paid Covanta Waste Management for the disposal of commercial waste from certain businesses operating within the town. To be acceptable, the commercial waste must be generated from known businesses within the town, registered by unique accounts with the town, and the registered businesses must pay fees and receive a unique medallion identifying the establishment as part of the plan. Carting companies, including Garofalo Carting, submit a manifest each time Smithtown commercial waste is brought to Covanta, attesting to the contents.

The investigation revealed that the Garofalos and their company repeatedly disposed of waste at Covanta’s facility in East Northport that was collected throughout Long Island from their customers, including through roll-off containers, then falsely attesting that the waste was solely Town of Smithtown commercial waste. 

In total, the investigation found that the Garofalo corporation unlawfully avoided paying $222,000 in fees, which were instead paid by the town as a result of the scheme.

“That’s $222,000 in residents tax dollars that these defendants pocketed for no reason other than their own greed,” Sini said. 

The defendants profited from the scheme by falsifying business records, including their garbage disposal manifests, and submitting them to the Town of Smithtown for payment, the DA stated. The defendants also profited from the fees collected from their private customers for both garbage pickup as well as roll-off container rentals, according to the DA.

“Today’s verdict is the product of an intricate intergovernmental investigation, which was exceptionally well litigated,” said town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R). 

During the course of the investigation, the Town of Smithtown also referred to the District Attorney’s Office the issue of prevailing wage claims by employees of Garofalo Carting. 

With the criminal enterprise effectively shut down, the DA said justice has now been served for Smithtown residents.

“Enterprise corruption cases are often extremely complex, and certainly require a lot of hard work and dedication by investigators and prosecutors, but our office is determined,” Sini said. “We are committed to dedicating resources and utilizing innovative strategies to seek justice in each and every case, and that’s exactly what was done here today.”

“Today’s verdict is the product of an intricate intergovernmental investigation, which was exceptionally well litigated.”

— Ed Wehrheim

This case was prosecuted by county Criminal Investigations Division Chief Megan O’Donnell and Assistant District Attorney Lucie Kwon, of the county Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau.

“I would like to commend the detectives who worked diligently on this case and I hope our strong partnership with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office sends a message that fraudulent business practices will not be tolerated in Suffolk County,” said county Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.

The Town of Smithtown’s six-year contract with Garofalo Carting, which was from 2014 to 2020, is now void, according to the supervisor’s press office. The Town Board has instead hired National Waste Services, of Bay Shore, to replace services for garbage pickup at its Sept. 3 meeting. National Waste Services recently purchased Garofalo Carting and has retained the Garofalo trucks and employees, according to Smithtown’s Attorney Matthew Jakubowski. 

The town paid $2.1 million to Garofalo Carting in 2018 for its services, which included garbage  pickup for six of the 12 solid waste districts in the town. The contracts are based on weight of waste collected annually. 

Students from Northport, Huntington and Southampton high schools, as well as from Tug Valley High School in West Virginia, are working together to curb the opioid crisis. Photo from Northport-East Northport Union Free School District

Students from Northport, Huntington and Southampton high schools, along with the hard-hit Tug Valley High School in Kermit, West Virginia, have been working together to address the opioid crisis through a unique exchange program. Northport students, who are a part of the Students for 60,000 Club, visited West Virginia earlier this year on a service trip and were deeply affected by the magnitude of the crisis. 

Club advisers Darryl St. George and Kim Braha coordinated a “student exchange” in which the students from West Virginia came to visit Long Island to discuss realistic steps to solving the crisis. 

During the week of July 7, the students met in a variety of forums to learn from each other and discuss ways to address and solve the crisis. Students met with U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in Huntington to engage in discussion and also visited Southampton High School to hear from local Southampton representatives. Students asked questions, shared personal experiences and offered their thoughts on curtailing opioid use. 

Ideas included creating more mental health programs in schools and providing a greater sense of purpose for students. 

At the end of the week, students spent some time volunteering at the Northport VA. 

“The most inspiring part of this week long student exchange experience included seeing how empowered our Northport students were working with Southampton, Huntington and West Virginia students,” said Braha, “and the incredible opportunities to have conversations about how we can all work together to improve our communities.

The Northport School District celebrated its graduation June 29.

Nathaniel Wang is the 2019 valedictorian for Northport High School. He will study computer science at Columbia University. Katie Sierra is the 2019 salutatorian and she will study neurobiology at Harvard University. 

A photo Brian Newton. Photo from New York State Sex Offender Registry

An East Northport man and registered sex offender has been sentenced on transporting, trading and possessing child pornography.

In federal court in Central Islip, Brian Newton, 38, was sentenced to 19 years in prison by United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco Feb. 27. This followed a guilty plea May 3, 2018, to the transportation of child pornography in interstate and foreign commerce. As part of his sentence, Newton must serve five years supervised release following his imprisonment, during which time he must remain registered as a sex offender and not have unsupervised contact with minors. 

Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the assistant director in charge of the FBI New York Field Office announced the sentence.

“Newton, despite being a registered sex offender, again chose to victimize children by sharing images of their abuse with others online, conduct that is deserving of a substantial prison sentence and underscores a message of deterrence to others,” said Donoghue. “The protection of innocent children is a priority of utmost importance for this office and our law enforcement partners. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that those who victimize children will be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”  

Newton, who at the time of the charged offense was on probation from a conviction in Suffolk County in 2014 for possession of child pornography, was allegedly caught trading child pornography including sadistic depictions of the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. During the execution of a search warrant at his residence, police seized Newton’s large collection of child pornography, including hundreds of videos and thousands of images.  After his arrest, Newton admitted engaging in conversations with minors over internet chat platforms, as well as sending nude images of himself to minors and soliciting nude images from minors.    

“Child pornography is not an abstract crime. It is a direct by-product of the sexual abuse of innocent children — in this instance, including infants and toddlers,” Sweeney said. “And though he was already on probation for a prior child pornography conviction, Newton continued and even escalated his depraved actions, sharing child pornography while sexually soliciting minor children online.”

This prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative led by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. attorneys’ offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

The government’s case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States attorneys Lara T. Gatz and Michael R. Maffei were in charge of the prosecution.