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Kings Park

Kings Park hosted the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River in a girls soccer matchup Tuesday, Sept. 19, when the Lady Kingsmen struggled to find the net in this League III contest.

The Wildcats struck 14 minutes into the opening half when freshman Shealyn Varbero stretched the net to take the lead into the halftime break. The Wildcat defense was able to keep Kings Park at bay when sophomore Mia Mangano scored the insurance goal for the Wildcats with 19 minutes left in regulation to lead 2-0 for the final score.

Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Morgan Lesiewicz had five saves and Kings Park goalie Alex Scott stopped 14. The win lifts the Wildcats to 4-1 in the early going, and Kings Park drops to 2-1-1.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Aidan Johnson

The 45th Kings Park Day was celebrated last Saturday, June 17, across Main Street in Kings Park. With more than 5,000 people in attendance throughout the day, there were plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy.

A slight period of inclement weather did not stop anyone from enjoying the more than a hundred local businesses and vendors selling homemade items, food and more. Attendees could also enjoy live music from a variety of different groups including The Pasta Rockers.

Diane Motherway, a co-director of the event and member of the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, was happy with how the day was going.“It’s great, it’s glorious. The sun came out, and it’s a beautiful day,” Motherway said. “Five minutes of rain didn’t chase anybody,” she added.

It was a one-sided affair when Kings Park hosted John Glenn in a girl’s lacrosse Division II matchup. The Lady Kingsmen peppered the scoreboard with 10 unanswered points in the opening half before Glenn found the back of the cage nine minutes in. The Kings Park defense was swarming and unrelenting allowing only two goals from their visitors to put the game away 18-2 Monday afternoon. 

Kings Park senior midfielder Anne McGovern led the way with four goals and four assists, Mary Ellen Gilchriest had four goals of her own along with one assist, and eighth-grader Sophia Russo had two assists and two goals. Goalie Haley Abraham had a quiet afternoon in net, with four saves.

The win lifts Kings Park to 3-1 in league, and 4-1 overall. Kings Park hosted Rocky Point on Wednesday. Results were not available at press time.

— Photos by Bill Landon 

Despite cloudy skies and a short period of misty rain, hundreds lined Pulaski Road, Main and Church streets in Kings Park to witness the hamlet’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  This year’s event featured marching bands, Scouts, local officials, firefighters, business representatives and more.

A tradition since 2011,  this year’s parade was led by grand marshal Michael Lacey, a decades-long resident of Kings Park who grew up in Ireland.


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Participants in the Kings Park 2022 St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 5. Photo by Rita J. Egan

A former Irish immigrant, who has been calling Kings Park home for decades, is set to lead the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 4.

Michael Lacey will be the 2023 grand marshal of the Kings Park annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Photo from Kings Park parade committee

Born in County Carlow in the southeast region of Ireland in 1934, Michael Lacey has called Kings Park home since he was 21. When he arrived in his new hometown, Lacey found work at the Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital.

According to a press release from the parade committee, Lacey is known in the area “for his compassion, support and inspiration, earning him the title of this year’s honoree.”

Lacey said in a phone interview that when he found out he was this year’s grand marshal, he was excited and happy to hear the news. It’s an event he attends every year.

While living in Ireland, Lacey worked various jobs and traveled throughout his native country as a dance band musician and played the tenor saxophone. The grand marshal said he no longer plays the instrument but still sings. Many may know him from the annual Irish Night at the Kings Park Heritage Museum, where he performs Irish songs for the attendees.

While still in Ireland, he married Kathleen Byrne, and they had their first child before moving to the United States. Lacey immigrated before his wife and child to earn money when finding a job in Ireland was difficult. Lacey said being raised during World War II was hard, during a time when his homeland could not get imports.

“We had a tough time, especially my parents with 10 kids,” he said. “We lived off nature. Everybody sowed their own gardens. When we were kids, everybody took their turn helping our father out in the garden.”

As a kid in Ireland, he said, “We’d go to the movies and see New York and all that and said, ‘Boy, it must be a great place.’ And it is the greatest country in the world.”

When he arrived at Kings Park, he lived on the hospital grounds and worked three jobs. He said he found it to be a friendly place.

“Everybody knew everybody in town,” he said. “If you walked down Main Street, everybody knew who you were.”

When his wife joined him months later, she found a job as a therapy aide at the psychiatric facility. The couple returned to Ireland in 1957 with no intentions of returning to the United States, but after seven weeks in their homeland decided to come back to Kings Park.

Lacey said they returned to Ireland because he was a bit homesick.

“Like they always say, ‘You got to go back and get it out of your system,’” he said. “So, I did go back, and I went back in the same old routine, and I said, ‘I have to go back to the States.’”

The Laceys put down roots in Kings Park and saved money to build a home. Over time Lacey was promoted to laundry manager at the hospital, where he worked for 33 years.

“Mike understands that life is tough at times, but he offered optimism and hope to those whom he encountered”

— Kings Park parade committee

He and his wife helped many of her siblings move to America. The second youngest child in his family, he said his nine brothers and sisters were already settled in Ireland and never moved to the States.

In the parade committee’s press release, the committee members commended Lacey for helping many of his relatives move to America.

“Mike understands that life is tough at times, but he offered optimism and hope to those whom he encountered,” the press release continued. “He was willing so that they could lead a better life, without any thought of receiving anything in return.”

After raising four children in the hamlet and welcoming seven grandchildren into the family, Lacey’s wife passed away in 2021. He remains in the same home they built decades ago. Local family members will be joining Lacey in the parade as he makes his way through the streets of Kings Park.

The parade steps off at noon Saturday, March 4, at the corner of Lou Avenue and Pulaski Road then continues down Main Street onto Church Street. The parade ends down Old Dock Road at William T. Rogers Middle School.

For more information, visit www.kpstpat.com.

An aerial shot of Carlson Corp. property in Kings Park. Photo from Town of Smithtown

As the number of people signing the Change.org petition against a Kings Park rail yard grows, the property owner said the plan would benefit Smithtown and Huntington.

In the last few weeks, residents of Kings Park and the surrounding areas, including Fort Salonga and Commack, have voiced their opposition to a proposed rail yard. More than 2,000 people have signed the Change.org petition titled “We Oppose Townline Rail Terminal.”

Townline Rail Terminal LLC, an affiliate of CarlsonCorp, owned by Toby Carlson with property on Meadow Glen Road in Kings Park, proposed to the Surface Transportation Board — an independent federal agency — a plan that asks for railroad tracks to be used for commercial use. The proposed rail spur construction would extend approximately 5,000 feet off the Long Island Rail Road Port Jefferson Branch line and be located near Pulaski and Town Line roads. Among the uses would be the disposal of incinerated ash and construction debris using diesel freight trains. Incinerated ash would be trucked between Covanta waste facility on Town Line Road in East Northport and the rail terminal.

Petitioners on Change.org have cited concerns about the rail spur being too close to where children play and homes; health risks associated with diesel exhaust and incinerated ash; diesel trains operating between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.; the impact on the quality of life; noise and possible water pollution; negative impact on home values; and the lack of notice provided to residents about the project.

Representatives and members of the Commack Community Association, Fort Salonga Association and the revived Townline Association have also spoken out against the project at meetings, on social media and on the organizations’ websites.

The use of rail over trucking has received support from Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) and Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga).

Bob Semprini, Commack Community Association president, said in a phone interview that local elected officials have always been helpful based on his experiences in the past. In this case, he feels “it’s a poor decision on their part.” He said that elected officials and Carlson cite the closing of the Town of Brookhaven landfill in 2024 as the reason for opening the rail yard.

“The bottom line is this, they are selling a bill of goods to the community that if this does not happen, we’re all screwed — and this is not the case,” Semprini said.

He added that he has heard that while the Brookhaven landfill is scheduled to close in 2024, it may only close partially next year and there will still be the potential of sending ash to the town. A request for comment from the Town of Brookhaven to confirm was not answered by press time. He added local carting companies are working on plans to transport off Long Island, and if Covanta was open to it, one of those companies could transport the incinerator’s ash.

Semprini added that while Toby Carlson has said the rail spur would lessen the number of trucks on local roads, many feel if the project goes through, there will be more trucks.

He said the community and civic associations are ready to work against the proposal. 

“We always have to fight for our quality of life in this town, and it’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Carlson defends rail yard

In a telephone interview, Toby Carlson said the industrial area in Kings Park is ideal for such a rail yard as the businesses in the area historically have used construction materials such as gravel, stone, brick and cement, and also because Covanta produces ash.

The Northport resident said that 12,000 to 14,000 truckloads of material a year travel the roads to supply the area’s needs, and the rail terminal could potentially take “tens of thousands of trucks off the road.”

“Rail is the most efficient form of transportation,” Carlson said. “It’s the most environmentally-sound form of transportation, and to be able to consolidate all those loads that are coming in will take trucks off the road.”

He added that the rail spur would help when the Brookhaven landfill closes next year.

“At the end of the day, what we’re just trying to do is consolidate everything into a plan that makes sense,” Carlson said.

He said residents protesting the plan are not looking at the “longer-term picture of how our society has changed and how we’re all consumption based.”

He added that the only way to help fix the garbage problem is to make a concerted effort to reduce the materials we consume.

“We always want to push our solution somewhere else, into somebody else’s backyard, but I think regionally, locally, we need to solve our own solid waste issues,” he said, adding, “What about the hundreds of thousands of people that live out in Brookhaven that don’t want our stuff coming to them anymore?”

He said during the night, one train, which will run along the Port Jefferson line, will travel along the rail with approximately 20 to 27 cars.

“Materials will come in the night, we’ll drop that set of train cars off and that same train power unit will pick up 27 loaded cars, and take them out once per day, five days a week.”

He said the materials brought in are used locally and will stay in the Smithtown and Huntington areas. 

“We are not supplying Babylon,” he said. “It’s really a regional solution for Smithtown and Huntington needs.”

Carlson said there would be an environmental review process, and if the proposal receives approval from the STB, it will still be a years-long process. Proposed buildings and site work would be subjected to Town of Smithtown approval.

As for residents’ concerns, he said some issues would be addressed with the rail grade closest to residents being 25 feet below the elevation of the existing Long Island Rail Road grade. There will also be a planted berm at least 15 feet high about the rail ground, an approximately 180 feet vegetative buffer. He is also open to sound walls, he said, “and other mitigation measures are on the table for discussion, depending on what scientifically gives the greatest amount of buffering and mitigative results.”

He is grateful for the support of Wehrheim and Trotta, who Carlson said, like others, are looking toward the future to figure out how to tackle the Brookhaven landfill closing.

The owner said he encourages everyone to send their concerns to STB and be curious about the proposal, as well as what’s happening with Long Island’s waste and how others feel about waste being shipped to their communities.

“They’re going to look at all those comments, all those concerns, all those things and they’re going to basically provide a solution to them, whether they decide for the project or against the project,” he said. “All those words have to be heard and they have to be addressed.”

According to the Town of Smithtown, “the STB will not issue a final decision until the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal.” Residents can view the plan and all documents pertaining to it as well as letters of support and concerns on STB’s website under docket number FD 36575.

Map included with the petition submitted to the independent federal agency Surface Transportation Board by Townline Rail Terminal, LLC to construct and operate a line of railroad. Blue lines show proposed tracks.

Community members are voicing their opposition to a proposed rail yard in Kings Park.

A petition titled “We Oppose Townline Rail Terminal” started by Keegan Harris, has already received more than 1,600 signatures on Change.org to stop the proposed construction of a rail spur that would extend approximately 5,000 feet off the Long Island Rail Road Port Jefferson Branch line and be located near Pulaski and Town Line roads.

The petition was posted after The Smithtown News published several articles by managing editor David Ambro, with editorials during January. Townline Rail Terminal LLC, an affiliate of CarlsonCorp. with property on Meadow Glen Road in Kings Park, made a proposal to the Surface Transportation Board — an independent federal agency — that asks for the tracks to be used for commercial use. Among the uses would be the disposal of incinerated ash and construction debris using diesel freight trains. The incinerated ash would then be trucked between the rail terminal and the Covanta waste facility on Town Line Road in East Northport. The proposal from Townline also said “that the line would provide freight transportation to CarlsonCorp’s transloading facility and could serve other local shippers, including Covanta Energy, Kings Park Ready Mix Corp., Kings Park Materials and Pelkowski Precast.”

Currently, ash is transported to the Town of Brookhaven Yaphank landfill, which will close in 2024.

Petitioners feel that if the project is approved, it will negatively affect Kings Park, Fort Salonga, East Northport and Commack. Harris stated on the petition, “Our concern with this project is that this is to be built bordering a residential area of a neighborhood where children live and play.” Other concerns listed were health risks associated with diesel exhaust and incinerated ash; rail spurs being close to homes; diesel trains operating between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.; the impact on the quality of life; noise and possible water pollution; negative impact on home values; and the lack of notice provided to residents about the project.

Members of the Commack Community Association have also stated their concerns on their website and at a Jan. 19 CCA meeting.

Comments from the Town of Smithtown

The Town of Smithtown is currently preparing a FAQ for its website regarding the proposal to answer questions they have received from residents.

According to the town, while Townline Rail Terminal has submitted its petition to the federal agency STB, it will be “the first of many steps in a multi-year-long process.”

Once federal approval is received for the rail spur, proposed buildings and site work will be subject to town approval. “These include a change of zone, amendments to the town’s zoning ordinance, Special Exceptions to the TB and BZA, and site plan approval, and would be subject to a full SEQRA review, including Environmental Impact Statement.”

Smithtown’s draft FAQ states that Covanta “is permitted to process non-hazardous residential, commercial and industrial wastes. Air emissions are monitored to ensure they are below permitted levels (emissions data is available on Covanta’s website) and ash residue is tested per state environmental regulations to ensure it is a non-hazardous waste.”

While Townline in its petition to the STB and in preliminary discussions with town staff and officials “expressed an interest in importing commodities for the local industrial area that are currently trucked to the area” the company would need an amendment “to the town’s zoning ordinance, including the requisite public hearing and SEQRA requirements.”

According to the town, the company plans to run one train per day, five days a week: “Per Townline and its engineer, HDR Inc., the proposed yard has been designed to handle one inbound and one outbound freight train of up to 27 cars daily. The storage tracks have the capacity to store approximately three days of excess storage (up to 79 cars) in the event of rail service outage.”

In a letter to the STB dated Oct. 28, 2022, Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) wrote in support of the project.

“The town is supportive of Townline’s petition because there is mounting pressure on towns and villages due to the anticipated 2024 closing of the Town of Brookhaven’s Yaphank landfill facility,” he wrote. “Smithtown’s residential and commercial solid waste and residential construction debris (“C&D”) is currently disposed of at the Brookhaven landfill. Smithtown’s solid waste is converted to ash at the Covanta waste-to-energy facility which then delivers the ash to the Brookhaven landfill. Alternative means of disposal and carting of C&D and ash off of Long Island will be mandatory soon for municipal and non-municipal waste facilities.”

According to a STB Jan. 12 decision, the federal agency will address the issues presented in a subsequent decision. 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), center, signed legislation Jan. 27 to provide Smithtown with an additional $5.4 million for the Kings Park Business Sewer District Project. Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, left, and Tony Tanzi from the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce were on hand for the signing. Photo from Steve Bellone's office

The Town of Smithtown received good news Jan. 27.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone And Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim. Photo from Bellone’s office

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) signed legislation last Friday to provide the town with an additional $5.4 million for the Kings Park Business Sewer District Project. A press conference took place in the hamlet’s Svatt Square to mark the occasion.

The funding is possible due to money the county received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed by President Joe Biden (D).

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) and Town Board members, with Kings Park Chamber of Commerce and KP Civic Association representatives, joined state and county elected officials as well as Bellone and Deputy County Executive Peter Scully, for the announcement and signing.

Scully said the project initially was made possible by a $20 million state transformative program grant in 2014. With rising construction costs, expenses have increased for the project.

With the additional $5.4 million from the county, contracts were awarded to Holbrook-based G&M Earth Moving, ALAC Contracting Corp. in West Babylon and Amityville-based L.E.B. Electric. 

Bellone called it “a great day” and thanked Wehrheim.

“This doesn’t happen without his leadership here and the Town Board,” the county executive said.

He also thanked county and state officials for working together in a bipartisan manner and the community, which he said is critical to working on projects such as this.

“A significant step forward in any community, in any way, is not possible without the work and the support of residents and the businesses in the community,” he said.

Bellone said sewers would be coming to Kings Park this year. He added construction would break ground in the coming weeks, and there would be community meetings to lay out the construction schedules and paperwork will be finalized. 

“Make no mistake, the contracts have been awarded, the project is happening now,” he said.

Pipes will connect sewers to the Kings Park treatment plant located on the property of the former psychiatric hospital.

Bellone said the project “highlights how much more we need to do” regarding improving water quality on the Island. He added about 360,000 homes in the region are operating on old septic and cesspool systems.

“We have to address this issue in a way that is affordable for homeowners,” Bellone said. “That burden cannot be placed on them.” 

He added investments in wastewater infrastructure are critical for a prosperous economic future.

With other Suffolk County areas needing sewer systems, including St. James, Bellone said, “This represents what we need to be doing all across the county.”

Wehrheim echoed Bellone’s sentiment that the project was a team effort, and he thanked the members of all levels of government and the chamber, civic and community.

“Without the cooperation and all working together, things like this will never come to fruition,” Wehrheim said.

The supervisor, who is a native of Kings Park, said he was proud “of what we’ve done here,” adding, “The future is bright for the Town of Smithtown as far as economic development goes, economic success and, especially just as important, environmental issues to clean up waters.” 

Tony Tanzi, president of KP Chamber of Commerce, said, “Some would say we’re at the end of the road. Personally, I think this is the beginning of the road.”

He added he believes Kings Park will soon resemble the robust downtown it was decades ago.

“When you take politics out of it, we can all work together — and that’s the beautiful thing,” Tanzi said.


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Kings Park, protecting a two-point lead, opened the second half with a swarming defense that caused several turnovers that the Kingsmen converted into points, slamming the door on East Islip in a road game Jan. 10. 

Senior forward Matthew Garside led the way for Kings Park with six triples, a pair of field goals and six free throws for 28 points in the 63-48 League III victory. Teammates Matthew Lyman banked 12 and Thomas Matonti netted 8. 

The win lifts Kings Park to 5-1 in league play, 7-5 overall as East Islip falls to 2-5 in the division.

The Kingsmen retake the court Friday night with a home game against Deer Park with a 6 p.m. start.

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Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Fourth Squad detectives are
seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who used a stolen credit card at a
gas station in Port Jefferson last month.

Photo from SCPD

A man used a stolen credit card at Sunoco, located at 240 Terryville Road, on July 20. The credit card was stolen from a wallet in an unlocked vehicle parked in a driveway in Kings Park earlier that day. The suspect drove a white BMW with damage to the driver’s
side door.

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.