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Miller Place

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Dawn Blatt is to be one of 14 people to be the face of a national campaign for colorectal cancer awareness. Photo from Fight CRC

By Julianne Mosher

A local Miller Place woman is spreading the word that colonoscopies can help save a life during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March.

Dawn Blatt is to be one of 14 people to be the face of a national campaign for colorectal cancer awareness. Photo from Fight CRC

When Dawn Platt was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, she knew she wanted to use this experience to help others. 

“Four days after my first colonoscopy, I heard those three words, ‘you have cancer,’ and it changed everything,” she said. 

Then just 51 years old, the Miller Place resident went through surgeries and chemotherapy to fight it. Now, four years later, she’s in survivorship mode and doing a lot better. “There’s no evidence of disease,” Blatt said. And now her goal is to get the word out. 

“I knew that I had to make this into something positive that can be an impact to other people,” she added.

Last year, Blatt became an ambassador for Fight Colorectal Cancer, the nation’s leading colorectal cancer advocacy organization. One of 14, she will be featured in a national campaign to promote awareness of colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer, which is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. for men
and women. 

“Each year Fight CRC selects a group of ambassadors from across the country to represent our community year-round,” said Anjee Davis, president of Fight CRC, in a statement. “They bravely rally to raise awareness for this disease. … We hope their stories resonate with people and provoke the over 30 million people aged 45 years and older who have not been screened to get screened.”

Officially launching in Times Square  Feb. 26, the public service announcement will appear during the NASDAQ Opening Bell Ceremony at 9 a.m. Her story will also be featured on Fight CRC’s social media pages starting in March. She will join the organization by heading down to the Capitol for a call on Congress to discuss issues and advocate funding for cancer research.

“Colon cancer can be preventable,” Blatt said. “I want to help people and if I can talk to legislators about it, then I’m going to.”

Sixty percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening, especially if someone knows that it runs in their family. “After joining Fight CRC, I have seen and heard a lot,” Blatt said. “It’s important to get yourself checked out in your 50s, but even now for people in their 20s and 30s.”

She’s hoping that her advocacy will save someone’s life. “Colonoscopies may not be the most pleasant thing, but it’s better than surgery and chemo,” she said. “Go get checked out. … Knowledge is power.”

Blatt added that Friday, March 6, is Wear Blue Day to raise awareness and fight CRC. 

Miller Place senior Ryan Sheridan fights his way to the basket in the Panther’s playoff opener against Glenn Feb. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

It was a trifecta for Miller Place in the opening round of post season play, having defeated Elwood John Glenn twice during the regular season. The Panther’s made it three-in-a-row, taking down the visiting Knights 66-52 to survive to play another day.

Miller Place senior Daniel Barrios was lights-out driving the lane seemingly at will and netting a team high of 22 points. Matt Frank’s eight points in the 3rdquarter extinguished a Glenn rally, banking 14 points on the night while teammate Justin Leichter did his damage from long-distance draining four triples for 12 points.

The Panthers are seeded No. 4 and will have their work cut out for them when they collide in a road game against Amityville, the No. 1 seed, Feb. 19. Tipoff is at 5:00 p.m.

Paul Greenberg. Photo from Miller Place Fire District

One of the Miller Place Fire Department’s longest serving captains, Paul Greenberg, died Jan. 22. He was 78.

Greenberg was born July 4, 1941 in Manhattan to the late Sidney and Ida Greenberg. 

Paul Greenberg. Photo from Miller Place Fire District

Greenberg has been captain for 10 years, according to Commissioner Larry Fischer, and has been with Miller Place fire for around three decades. In addition to his service with the department, he also had a 37 year career with the Civil Service Department of Suffolk County, according to his obituary from O.B. Davis Funeral Home. In his free time, it was said he enjoyed building model boats.

Miller Place Fire Chief Rick Batchelder said he had known Greenberg since 2004, saying that he “has always been involved in department functions.” 

“He was always a great guy, and he always approached me with questions that needed answers,” the chief said.

He had especially been involved with the Miller Place Fire Police. Lieutenant Tom Van De Kieft served with him for several decades in the fire police section, adding that Greenberg was active as one of the ambulance drivers.

“He was good with all the members,” Van De Keift said. “He was very active as a leader — well liked.”

He was the husband of Tasha Greenberg (née Hewett), who is the secretary for the fire department; the father of Glenn (Anna) Greenberg and the late Diana Hewett-Ridgewell; the adoring grandfather of Michael Greenberg and his fiancée Tiana Rooney and Brian Greenberg; the brother of Marty (Jo Ann) Greenberg; the uncle of Mark Greenberg and great uncle of Tyler and Caleb Greenberg; and brother-in-law of Charles Hewett and his partner Charles Olbricht.

A memorial visitation for Greenberg will be held Sunday, Jan. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at O.B. Davis Funeral Homes, 1001 Route 25A, Miller Place, NY 11764.

 

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Dan Berrios lays up for two in an 87-60 victory over Westhampton Jan. 7. Bill Landon photo

Miller Place broke out to an early lead and never looked back in an 87-60 league VI win over Westhampton on their own home turf Jan. 7.

Thomas Cirrito led the way for the Panthers hitting four from the floor, a pair of treys and went six for six from the line for a team high of 20 points. Tim Hirdt netted seven field goals and two from the stripe for 16 points, while Dan Berrios banked 12. The win lifts the Panthers to 5-1 in league and 8-2 overall, one game behind 1st-place Amityville. The Panthers retake the court Jan. 10 hosting Elwood John Glenn at 4:30 and then take on Bayport-Blue Point Jan. 13 at home with a 4 o’clock start.

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Miller Place wins it in the annual Battle of the Paddle against Mount Sinai. Photos by Diana M. Fehling
Miller Place wins it in the annual Battle of the Paddle against Mount Sinai. Photos by Diana M. Fehling

The Miller Place Panthers put on a dominating wrestling performance against Mount Sinai Mustangs, winning 47-24 in the annual Battle for the Paddle match at Mount Sinai High School Dec. 4. The Panthers took a commanding 30-point lead with strong performances by Michael Giugliano, Alexander Constantis, Mark Rado, Justin Klein, Ryan Hucke, Kyle Klein Jr., Travis Grebe and Anthony Bartolotto, also Chris Bold.  

Miller Place wins it in the annual Battle of the Paddle against Mount Sinai. Photos by Diana M. Fehling

 

 

The Mount Sinai Mustangs tried to narrow the lead with wins by Matt Campo, Phil Johnson, Brayden Fahrbach, Joe Goodrich and Gian Luca Ferrara, but the Panther lead was insurmountable.   

The paddle remains with the Miller Place Panthers for the next year.   

Photos by Diana M. Fehling

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The Rocky Point firehouse on King Road in Rocky Point. File photo by Kevin Redding

This year, fire commissioners from the Wading River through the Mount Sinai fire districts are running unopposed, but despite that fact, these small municipal entities have several issues and boons on their plates, and now is a good time to find out just what’s happening with your local fire personnel.

Commissioners are unpaid elected board members who run the district, which is a connected but distinct entity from the fire department. The district is a taxing entity whose board is elected by the residents in the district. They determine yearly budgets, go out for grants and propose bonds to maintain equipment and personnel of both the district and department.

All districts have set the date of Dec. 10 for residents to cast their ballots.

Here is a rundown of those seeking another term at their respective districts.

Wading River Fire Department headquarters. Photo from Google maps

Wading River

Commissioner Joe Marino has been serving through the year 2019, having been elected in 2018 to fill out the term of a commissioner who left before the end of his term. Marino is seeking another five-year term.

Marino did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Residents can vote Dec. 10 at the fire district headquarters located at 1503 North Country Road from 2 to 9 p.m.

Rocky Point

Kirk Johnson has been with the Rocky Point Fire Department since 2006 but had been involved in fire companies previous to that when he lived in West Babylon. By day he’s also a Suffolk County police officer and has worked in the 7th Precinct for 23 years.

Permission was asked of the Rocky Point Fire Department to dig for potential underground tunnels relating to Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe lab. Photo by Kevin Redding

Having been with the department for over 20 years, he originally ran to contribute his experience to upper management, and now he is running again to continue ongoing projects, such as construction of the new Station 2 firehouse, while trying to keep taxes down.

Johnson, a Shoreham resident, said ongoing work on the Station 2 firehouse is “rolling along very well,” and they are currently staying within their $7,250,000 budget. The foundation is currently in, and residents will soon see more of the skeleton of the building going up.

He added that the five commissioners are working on getting a New York State grant to help them replace breathing apparatus that have reached their life span. Johnson said they hope to receive news of that grant later in
December. 

The district has finalized another grant for a fire prevention training trailer, one with different rooms that can simulate a fire with fake smoke. The trailer, he said, can also be used to teach schoolchildren what to do in case of a fire in a classroom or at home.

Rocky Point residents can cast ballots Dec. 10 at the firehouse on Hallock Landing Road from 3 to 9 p.m.

Sound Beach

James McLoughlin Sr. has been involved with the Sound Beach Fire Department since 1973, but it was only five years ago, after a spot opened up, that the veteran department head and former chief decided to throw his name in for commissioner. Five years since, he’s running again unopposed. 

“I had been toying with the idea for years, but most of our commissioners were doing a good job, so I saw no reason to run,” he said. “When I had the opportunity to run, I went for it.”

McLoughlin, a retired Suffolk County fire marshal, said he has “been involved with fire my entire life.” 

Sound Beach Fire District headquarters at 152 Sound Beach Blvd. Photo from Google Maps

Sound Beach residents recently passed a $2 million bond that department and district officials said was necessary for much needed repairs to the main firehouse. This includes replacing windows and adding sprinklers in the building. It also includes drainage repairs to the parking lots in the front and rear of the building, which will also even out the pavement. 

The commissioner said it has been several years since they asked residents to pass a bond, adding he and the other commissioners know the issue with taxes on Long Island.

A growing problem for Sound Beach and other departments, he said, is the diminishing number of volunteers as people work more jobs and for longer hours. State mandates and training requirements require more hours of training from prospective volunteers, which has only exacerbated the problem, especially for as small a district as Sound Beach. 

“The first EMT course I took in 1974 was about 70 hours,” McLoughlin said. “Now it takes over 120 hours for the course. It’s hard to find people to commit to that training.”

While he said the district is not currently looking for full-time fire personnel, the district has hired a full-time EMT ambulance driver. Other districts, like Setauket, have hired a few full-time firefighters to deal with declining volunteers. 

Sound Beach residents can cast their ballots Dec. 10 at the firehouse located at 152 Sound Beach Blvd. between 2 and 9 p.m.

Miller Place

Commissioner Jeffrey Kinkaid has served three five-year terms as commissioner and is seeking a fourth term. However, he was with the department for many years, joining in 1989 after moving to the area in 1988. Overall, he said he has spent 40 years with fire departments both on the North Shore and in New Hyde Park.

“I went through the ranks, became chief for two years and in watching how the commissioners interacted with the chief, I thought I could help with that,” he said.

Miller Place Fire Department. File photo by Kevin Redding

Kinkaid said he has been able to interact with volunteers in the department, adding he has been out on more than half the calls that have come through to see what goes on. 

In the past 15 years, Kinkaid said the district has been busy renovating facilities and updating equipment, including upgrading the headquarters located at 12 Miller Place Road, updating equipment and the construction of a new Station 2 building on Miller Place-Yaphank Road, which was completed by a bond. Kinkaid said this has been done while at the same time trying to keep taxes low.

“I also live in the district,” he said. “I’m in touch with what’s going on, you’ve got to be.”

For the future, the commissioner said they plan to purchase a new rescue truck after decommissioning another one several years ago. The district went out for a New York State grant, but not getting it the district has decided to use budget funds to purchase another, albeit smaller truck at the tune of around $200,000 to $300,000. Kinkaid said they are also working on replacing volunteers’ breathing apparatus packs with budget funds, which could be another $350,000 bulk item. 

“My goal is to maintain equipment and keep the tax burden low,” he said. 

Miller Place residents can cast their ballots Dec. 10 at the main firehouse, 12 Miller Place Road, from 4 to 9 p.m.

Mount Sinai

Peter Van Middelem is running again for his third term as commissioner of the Mount Sinai Fire District unopposed. He has been with the department since 1984 but has been in fire rescue for longer than that as a retired member of the New York City Fire Department. As a third-generation area resident, he also serves as trustee on the Mount Sinai board of education. He also volunteers as a coach with the girls varsity lacrosse team.

“We’re just focused on trying to serve the community and make sure our members are safe,” he said. “It’s about what we can do and what we can do without adding burden to the taxpayers.”

Mount Sinai Fire Department. Photo by Kyle Barr

Like many fire departments on Long Island, Van Middelem said Mount Sinai is suffering from a lack of volunteers, whether it’s from residents working multiple jobs, a lack of interest or young people leaving Long Island. The commissioner said his department in particular has been aging, and at age 53, he himself is one of the younger members in the department.

The district has looked at some ways to mitigate the lack of membership. One has been shared services with the Miller Place Fire Department, where they respond to calls in part with Mount Sinai and vice versa. 

Though he added they may look into additional sharedcall agreements with neighboring departments, another idea on the books is paying firefighters. Setauket recently hired a few paid members, and while Van Middelem said it has been discussed, the district is not currently looking for paid members.

“We have no idea how things will look in another five years,” he said. “A great portion of the district’s costs come from personnel — it’s something we’ll have to think about.”

Otherwise, the district, he said, is looking to get a handle of New York State insurance regulations, specifically covering cancer. It is a major turn from when he started in fire rescue several decades ago, he said, adding the district has been performing comprehensive medical screenings for members. 

“I’m very appreciative of serving,” he said. “I take this job very seriously.”

Mount Sinai residents can cast their ballots Dec. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the firehouse located at 746 Mount Sinai-Coram Road.

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Miller Place Fire Department said they responded to a fire Nov. 26 at a home on Imperial Drive. Photo from MPFD
Miller Place Fire Department said they responded to a fire Nov. 26 at a home on Imperial Drive. Photo from MPFD

The Miller Place Fire Department reported battling a blaze on Imperial Drive Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The fire department reported to its Facebook they were alerted to the fire just before 2 p.m., and First Assistant Chief Joseph McCrain Sr. transmitted a working fire and requested additional resources to the scene.

Firefighters battled the flames that had crawled up the exterior wall to the rear of the home. the department said originated from the basement. Nobody was injured, they said. Interior members of the department located a family cat that was alive an unharmed inside the house.

Mutual aid came from Mount Sinai, Sound Beach, Rocky Point, Middle Island, Coram and Terryville fire departments. The trucks were returned to service around 3:30 p.m.

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The near-300-year old William Miller House in Miller Place hummed with historical activity the weekend of Sept. 28. The Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society hosted its annual Country Fair, bringing reenactors, local history buffs and community together.

Participants experienced open-hearth cooking and pottery making, while more local historians shared information on Colonial and Victorian games and how wampum beads were made. The Revolutionary War reenactors, the 3rd NY Regiment, Long Island Cos., shot off muskets and shared in the collective history of Long Island’s Revolutionary past. Meanwhile, Harry Randall, the historical society’s barn curator, showed off his huge collection of farm implements and tools in the old barn to the rear of the William Miller House.

 

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Gabriela Schwender and Deborah Scalione have created a mobile craft workshop, like a foot truck for hand made items. Photos from Schwender

“Why not bring the arts and crafts to customers?” thought Gabriela Schwender and Deborah Scalcione, who together run Long Island Crafty Ones, a mobile and traveling workshop based in Rocky Point. 

Now such an idea is a reality.

Children attempt crafts in LI Crafty One’s mobile workshop. Photo from Schwender

The duo, who both describe themselves as passionate about creativity and craftwork said the idea to create the mobile workshop came to fruition a year ago. They decided to join forces after Schwender posted a message on Facebook looking for someone to collaborate with on crafts. 

Initially the pair looked at retail frontage in the Rocky Point area but realized it wasn’t a good fit. 

“We looked at a number of storefronts, but the rent was too expensive, we just couldn’t afford it,” Scalcione said. “After that we were, like, ‘Why don’t we go to the people and travel around?’”

From there, the duo purchased an RV and decided to convert the inside into their workplace area. 

Schwender said they work closely with their clients to see what they are looking for. 

“We bring everything to them, and they are surprised when we tell them we can come to them,” she said. 

Scalcione said that they really try to customize customers experiences. She mentioned a recent birthday party they had worked at. 

“It was an older girl’s birthday, and before we asked what she likes, her mother said she really likes to drink coffee and we thought why not marble some coffee mugs,” Scalcione said. “It turned out to be great — they had a lot of fun.” 

Schwender said they started out slow due to people not necessarily knowing what they offered, but the feedback they have gotten from customers has been positive. 

Gabriela Schwender and Deborah Scalione have created a mobile craft workshop, like a foot truck for hand made items. Photos from Schwender

“They are amazed with what we bring and what we offer,” she said. “They can’t believe we have an RV and think it’s a great idea.” 

Scalcione mentioned their services cater to children and adults. 

Recently, the partners joined the Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce and said the connections with other businesses have very been helpful. 

For the fall season, the pair will have a table every weekend at the Bakewicz Farms Fall Festival in Wading River, doing face paintings and customizing “Toy Story” figurines that fit in with the local festival’s theme. 

In addition, the duo said they offer workshops aimed at a multitude of skill sets and they plan on offering seasonal craft sessions for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

“We really want [everybody] to be excited about crafting and get them to make something on their own,” Schwender said. “We want to help build up your skills.”

Scalcione said she is glad they are getting more exposure and more people are finding what they do. The duo hopes to continue expanding and possibly buy a second RV or a bigger vehicle.

“I think it is a lost art — we really want people to work with their hands and seeing what they can create,” she said.

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File photo

Suffolk County Police said they are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a Miller Place man in Middle Island the morning of Saturday, Sept. 21.

Police said Keisha Dalton, of Middle Island, was driving a 2011 Buick Regal northbound on Miller Place-Yaphank Road when her vehicle struck a pedestrian who was walking in the road at around 5:50 a.m.

The victim, Timothy Petrulo, 35, of Miller Place, was transported to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson where he was pronounced dead. Dalton, 45, was not injured.

The Buick was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.