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Great South Bay

From left, Dr. Elizabeth Suter, Dominique Di Domenico, and Emily Bonacchi. Photo by Steven Rafalko.

The Gino Macchio Foundation has teamed up with Molloy University to conduct a field sampling campaign to assess the ecosystem and health of the oyster population in the Great South Bay.

The research team led by Dr. Elizabeth Suter, head of the Microbial Ecology Lab at Molloy University, is conducting two scientific studies through the end of August 2023. One aspect of the project involves assessing the ecosystem biodiversity using eDNA, comparing oyster farms, oyster reefs, and other site types. The second involves an analysis of oyster pathogen incidence among oyster populations at a particular site.

The Gino Macchio Foundation’s ongoing Oyster Project focuses their commitment to increase the oyster population to improve the health of our local waterways.

Oysters are one of nature’s most efficient filters of sediment and nitrogen, the excess of which is plaguing our waterways by causing algal blooms that kill off aquatic creatures and their habitats. One adult oyster is capable of filtering 50 gallons of water a day, so the idea is to make sure they have a lot of company!


About The Gino Macchio Foundation: Established in 2019 as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, the Foundation’s mission statement “Through the power of giving, ingenuity and education we are creating sustainability while transforming lives and the environment in which we all live” encompasses helping individuals in recovery maintain gainful employment, helping to clean up local waterways, and providing scholarships to graduating High School Seniors. For updates on the project visitwww.ginomacchiofoundation.com.

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Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the apparent drowning death of a
man who was found in the Great South Bay  on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Marine Bureau officers responded to Grass Island, located approximately one mile south of Fire Island Avenue in the Great South Bay, at approximately 2:40 p.m. after a 911 call reported someone floating in one foot of water.

An adult male was found unresponsive and pulled from the water and pronounced dead. The man was transported to the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner where an autopsy will
be performed to identify the victim. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392.

A Suffolk County Police Department boat. File photo by Alex Petroski

A Mount Sinai woman died after falling overboard in the Great South Bay Aug. 4, according to Suffolk County Police Department.

Donna Ramirez, 38, of Mount Sinai, went overboard from a 2005 Monterey 30-foot-boat about half a mile south of Green Creek Marina in Sayville at approximately 12:45 a.m. Saturday morning, police said. The owner of the boat Robert Udle, 37, of Lake Grove got assistance from two other people, looked for Ramirez, located her, brought her onto the boat and called 911.

Ramirez was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where she was pronounced dead, with drowning cited as the cause of death.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6392.

This story was updated Aug. 6 to correct a typo.

Former Brookhaven Town councilwoman and environmental activist Regina “Reggie” Seltzer “died overlooking the gardens she ardently tended and the Great South Bay, two of her favorite places,” read a death notice in the New York Times July 1.

She died at her Bellport home June 29 at the age of 86.

Seltzer is survived by her son Eric, his wife Nealle and three granddaughters: Veronica, Jean and Bryn.

Reggie Seltzer left behind a legacy of good works.

In 1979, Seltzer was named Woman of the Year in Environment by this newspaper.

At that time, she was recognized by Cathy McKeen, who wrote: “Since she won a seat on Brookhaven’s Town Board four years ago Regina Seltzer has been an advocate of protecting the environment.”

Village Times honoree Regina Seltzer. Photo from Sherry Binnington
Village Times honoree Regina Seltzer. Photo from Sherry Binnington

McKeen went on to list her many accomplishments, among them the creation of the town’s Department of Environmental Protection, advocating zoning reform to address haphazard planning and growth and a new sanitary code.

Seltzer was born to Jewish parents in Poland in 1929. Three years later, seeing the injustice and brutality inflicted upon Jews in their town — and fearing what would follow — her parents left Poland, bound for Palestine. In 1937, they followed family and immigrated to New York.

As an adult, Seltzer first worked as a school teacher and librarian, according to Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine (R), who eulogized her at the start of the June 30 town board meeting.

She was a councilwoman and member of the town’s planning board. She had returned to school to earn a law degree in her 50s and worked on many environmental issues, often pro bono. She was a true civic leader, Romaine said.

“[Reggie] made a huge difference in the Town of Brookhaven,” said Romaine. “She was brighter than light, easy to work with, principled, honest, straightforward — someone that we’ll all miss in this town government. … I’ve ordered flags at Town Hall to fly at half mast in her honor.”

Friends and colleagues also expressed their grief at the board meeting. Sherry Binnington, of Bellport, met Seltzer in the 1960s, when they became neighbors.

“Reggie Seltzer was a genuine person who had a conscience and was concerned about other people,” Binnington said during the public participation part of the meeting. “She believed that you should try to do everything you can when you see things that are not right.”

Another activist and friend, MaryAnn Johnston, had this to say, “When I first started working as an activist, Reggie was a source of constant encouragement and inspiration.

“She taught me how to do this work … with an uplifted heart. And to celebrate the victories — that they’d be few and far between, but that when you did the job well, they would matter and they would last. It would be what you left behind.”