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Miller Place

Community members enjoyed a blast to the past during the annual Country Fair hosted by the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society Oct. 15-16.

The program was held at the historical society’s c. 1720 headquarters, located within the area’s historic district on North Country Road. Outside, live music played as the society’s volunteers educated the crowds of spectators. 

In a vivid recreation of an era without running water or electricity, some prepared baked goods and stews over an open flame, offering spectators a taste of history. Others brought out toy sets, reliving the pastimes of their local forebears.

Antoinette Donato, vice president of MPMSHS, was overjoyed by the number of community members who turned out throughout the day. She described the event’s purpose and its place in honoring the region’s history.

“We share a step back in time with the community,” she said. “We have demonstrators who demonstrate old crafts from years and years ago that no longer exist. We have our barn open, which is full of historical artifacts.” She added, “We feel it’s really important to share this experience with the community. It’s an opportunity to share what early America was like.”

Mark Sternberg, a local historian who specializes in the American Revolution, was among those who joined the festivities. In an interview, Sternberg shared the unique place Miller Place occupied during the Revolutionary War.

“There were patriots here, loyalists here, but there is definitely a huge amount of Revolutionary War history here,” he said.

At this historic site in Miller Place, Sternberg described the experience of being transported through time. He emphasized the need to preserve historical artifacts and structures, and celebrate local customs — all a function of the historical society.

“It’s tough when you don’t have a touch point,” Sternberg said. “The saving of these historic structures is one key way of connecting to history, giving people an idea of imagining the event happening there.” 

He added, “What’s great about this area is a lot of these houses are exactly where they were initially, so you can also position the whole landscape as tying into how you would imagine that place being throughout history.”

Donato believes that events such as these keep local history alive, making it engaging and entertaining for the next generation. She also stated that there is no substitute for the immersive experience offered through the fair.

“You can read about it in a book, look it up on Facebook and Google it, but there is nothing like coming here and seeing it in person,” she said.

— Photos by Raymond Janis

North Country Road Middle School will serve as the polling site for this year budget and school board elections. File photo

Miller Place school district will be holding its budget vote and board of education elections this Tuesday.

The proposed budget for 2022-23 is $77,670,225, a 1.5% increase.  

Incumbents Johanna Testa, BOE president, and trustee Keith Frank are being challenged by Jennifer Andersen-Oldenskov, Kenneth Conway, John Galligan, Jennifer Keller, Andrea Spaniolas and Jenna Stingo.

In this at-large vote,  the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to serve on the board of education, according to the school district. 

Voting

The budget vote and trustee elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at North Country Road Middle School, 191 N. Country Road, Miller Place.

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By Bill Landon

It was all Comsewogue in the first 24 minutes of play when senior attack Michael Katz had his hat-trick two minutes before the halftime break. 

Miller Place co-captain Anthony Bartolotto arrested the Warrior scoring frenzy when the senior buried his shot to take the goose egg off the board in this Div. II showdown on May 3. The Warriors stood on the gas and never looked back, putting the game away 10-3.

Katz finished his day with four goals and two assists. Teammates Justin Bonacci had an assist and three goals, Brayden Arias scored twice and James Krieg stretched the net. Goalie’s Adam Wachholder had eight saves in net and Gavin Larsen stopped five.

Miller Place senior Devon Duchnokski and Robby Cunningham each had a goal apiece and keeper Kenny Leen had six saves.

The win lifts the Warriors to 8-3 in league and the loss drops the Panthers to 7-4 with three games remaining before post season play begins. 

From right, Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich with members of Cub Scout Pack 204. Photo from TOB

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich recently welcomed “Arrow of Light” Cub Scouts from Pack 204 in Miller Place to Town Hall in Farmingville. 

The group held a lively discussion about Town government and the role of the Supervisor and Town Council. Part of their requirement to transition from Cub Scout to Boy Scout is to speak with local leaders about how they serve their community.

“Scouts visiting Town Hall is a longtime tradition and I am always happy to join my colleagues to speak with them about my career in government. These scouts asked very good questions and their enthusiasm gives me great hope for the future of this country,” said Supervisor Romaine.

Councilwoman Bonner added, “I really enjoyed our meeting with the Cub Scouts at Town Hall. They were so enthusiastic to learn more about how government works, and I was happy to spend the time talking with them. These boys are the leaders of tomorrow and from what I can see, we will be in good hands.” 

“I really enjoyed meeting with the Scouts. I was so impressed by their well thought out and sophisticated questions. Explaining how government and politics work to young people really helps put into perspective what we’re here to do and I have every hope and confidence that these young people will grow up to be an active part of the community,” added Councilmember Kornreich. 

After two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, folks young and old were finally able to enjoy their beloved St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Hosted by the Friends of St. Patrick, the 70-year-old tradition returned to the streets of Miller Place and Rocky Point where a sea of green made of marching band members, bagpipers, local fire departments, public figures, vintage cars and more flowed past waves of revellers.  

File photo by Bob Savage

After a two year hiatus brought on by COVID 19 restrictions and mandates, The Friends of St. Patrick will resume a springtime tradition by hosting the 70th annual Miller Place-Rocky Point St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13 starting at 1 p.m. sharp. This year the committee has named all former Grand Marshals to be Grand Marshals at this year’s parade. 

“North Shore residents have been cooped up and socially distanced for two long years now. It is time to break free and come out and celebrate with your community in this annual rite of spring. Pipe bands, fire trucks, dancers and marchers promise to lift all our spirits,” said a press release.

In lieu of naming a Queen and her Court, the Friends of St. Patrick have begun a scholarship fund for our local high schools. This year’s winner of a $1,000 scholarship is Alexa Zichinelli from Miller Place High School. Alexa wrote an essay on Irish history and lore inspired by her great-great Grandma, Mary Margaret McArdle from County Clare.

Alexa will be studying pre-med in college and is an active athlete, musician, tutor and volunteer. She aspires to become a surgeon and be a part of Doctor Without Borders.

For further information please visit their website at www.friendsofsaintpatrick.com or call 631-473-5100.

Kenny Lee, PJ Lobster House’s new sushi chef, inside the restaurant. Photo by Julianne Mosher

It’s now the best of both worlds.

When Benten Fine Sushi and Japanese Cuisine in Miller Place permanently closed in October, members of the community were devastated.

A new opportunity came just this month for Kenny Lee, the former Benten owner, where he has found a new home inside Port Jefferson village’s PJ Lobster House. 

It began when the Lobster House’s owner, James Luciano, started getting tips and requests from mutual customers about Lee. 

“James had another sushi person before who left and the timing just worked out,” Lee said. “I thought it was a good opportunity.”

When the PJ Lobster House moved from Upper Port to Main Street last year, as part of the renovations came a full sushi bar that they didn’t have at their old spot. 

“It’s great to add sushi to the menu, especially with the summertime coming,” Luciano recently said. “There’s no sushi in Port Jeff.”

Luciano admitted that when the previous sushi chef was at the bar, people didn’t come to sit there and indulge. But then Lee came on board and the seats have been filled every night he’s there.

“We’re getting a lot of customers where people are asking for sushi, and then ask if Ken is working,” Luciano added.

Last March, TBR News Media reported that Benten was struggling to keep their doors open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A GoFundMe was created to help support the sushi restaurant with hundreds of people showing their support.

Unfortunately, Lee said, the closure was inevitable.  

“It was hard finding people to work,” he said. 

Lee and his mother owned the building at 971 Route 25A in Miller Place for nearly two decades, previously owning a place in Mount Sinai for many years before that. 

Lee and his family decided it was best to close instead of dealing with the constant stress.

But the new opportunity at PJ Lobster House is special for Lee — he is a graduate of Port Jefferson high school and is happy to be back in the community.

And while it’s not a carbon copy of his menu at Benten, Lee is bringing a ton of favorites — customers who order the new PJ roll might remember it as Benten #2.

Luciano said that right now they will have sushi available Wednesday through Sunday and will offer lunch, dinner and plan to add seafood towers to the menu.

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Miller Place Superintendent Marianne Cartisano. Photo from MPSD

A beloved superintendent will be retiring from Miller Place school district, effective June 2022.

Marianne Cartisano said that the retirement has been in the works for years so she can focus on the next chapter in her life. 

“I’m going to sleep,” she joked. “I’ve been in administration for the entire 31 years of my career. So, it’ll be the first time probably, since I’m about 16 — even when having my children — that I will have an extended period of time just to do an appropriate decompression.”

She plans on spending time with her family, and will continue to mentor.

“I had spoken to the board a couple of years ago when we were planning a succession plan for Miller Place,” she added. “Mr. Lipshie has been my right-hand person for 10 years so that has made the transition a little bit easier.”

Deputy Superintendent Seth Lipshie will be taking on the role of superintendent of schools 

“I’m super excited, I’m motivated,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for me to continue my service in Miller Place.”

Lipshie said he is in his 32nd year in the district and he’s done a bit of everything while working there. From 1990 to 2001, he was a social studies teacher and in 2001 he became assistant principal at North Country Road Middle School. From 2002 to 2010 he served as principal of Miller Place High School before being appointed as assistant superintendent in 2010 and deputy superintendent in 2014. 

Deputy Superintendent Seth Lipshie. Photo from MPSD

“I’ve either hired or interviewed almost probably a good majority of the staff that now works in the workplace,” he said. “One of the things I think that I’ll bring to the table is some stability, something familiar.”

By having all this experience, Lipshie said that he has developed “some very strong ties with staff and the unions in terms of making sure that we can serve the students as best we can without any issues.”

He has also been adviser for the AV Club as well as spearheaded the Mock Trial Club. He coached soccer at both the middle school and the high school, was the varsity basketball coach for nine years and has been an umpire for high school baseball for the last 17 years.

Cartisano said that promoting Lipshie to the role of superintendent was a no-brainer — it was important to keep things consistent. 

“Having been here now 10 years, that’s a long stretch of the superintendency, especially with the last two COVID years,” she said. “It’s been so rewarding, and the work is so purposeful and meaningful — it just has been a great run.”

But Cartisano said that Lipshie is not a carbon copy of her. 

“It’s a marriage made by workplace, and we probably agree on 85% of the time,” she said. “The other 15% we don’t, and that has allowed this district to move forward because we don’t have one mindset, we have different perspectives. That’s the way we lead. It’s not that Seth is a mirror image of me nor me of him. That would not be good leadership.”

She added that there is nobody that could have been a better fit.

“This is an organization that has 500 staff members that show up every day and educate our children, we have 2,500 customers who get off buses every single day for us, and it’s important that the school district stays consistent,” Cartisano said. “We’re very excited.”

 

The Section XI Boys Swimming Championships took place at Stony Brook University Feb. 12.

Team Huntington/Harborfields/Whitman won the Suffolk Championship 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute and 37.23 seconds.

Miller Place junior Liam Preston won both the 200 yard-freestyle in 1:41.79 and the 500 freestyle in 4:37.58.

Middle Country’s Hunter Emerson place second in the 200-individual medley with a 1:55.94 to qualify for the state championships at Ithaca College March 4 through 5.

Ward Melville wins the 200-freestyle relay event with Muhtar Konar, Thomas Miele, Richie Richard Hall and Vincent Vinciguerra in 1:29.47. Vinciguerra placed third in the 50-freestyle event in 21.66 and the 100-yard free in 47.22.

Comsewogue’s Noah Giunta placed first in the 100-yard butterfly event with a 50.67 and second in the 100-yard backstroke with 51.59.