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Mount Sinai

New Mobi-Mats make sand easier to navigate for those with wheelchairs, other mobility devices

Deputy Parks Commissioner Rob Maag, Councilwoman Jane Bonner, Aisha Grundmann, Supervisor Ed Romaine Jason Soricelli, Program Supervisor for Wheelchair Programs, and Alex Grundmann, stand on a new Mobi-Mat at Cedar Beach West in Mount Sinai. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

By Rebecca Anzel

Brookhaven is laying the groundwork to make its beaches more accessible to residents.

Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) announced new sand surfacing mats, called Mobi-Mats, at Cedar Beach West in Mount Sinai and West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook.

“The mats open up opportunities that didn’t exist before for people that, whatever the reason, the sand was not easy to navigate,” Bonner said. “So often times they wouldn’t go to the beach.”

The nonslip, semi-rigid roll-up beach access mats, completely made from recycled polyester roll by New Jersey company Deschamps Mats Systems Inc., enable residents who are elderly or using wheelchairs, crutches, strollers or other mobility devices to more easily traverse sandy beaches. They are low maintenance — the tear-resistant, permeable structure allows sand to filter through — and are easily maintained by removing any excess sand buildup with a broom or leaf blower. Mobi-Mats have already been used at beaches in Nassau County, including Jones Beach, and by the Marine Corps for the past 20 years in vehicular beach landing operations.

Accomplishing this project was easy, Bonner said. She saw a picture of the Mobi-Mats online over the winter and showed it to Parks Commissioner Ed Morris, who ordered them. “Everything in government should be that simple,” she said.

Rocky Point resident Aisha Grundmann said the mats are “wonderful” and installing them was “a great idea.” Her son Alex, 11, uses a wheelchair and asks to go to Cedar Beach more frequently now that he knows the mats make it easier for him to navigate across the sand.

“Multiple people have asked Alex for a beach playdate now, where they otherwise maybe wouldn’t have,” she said. “I can’t think of a more accepting community.”

Alex, who is going into fifth grade, is a local advocate for greater mobility not just for wheelchairs, but for everyone. He influenced improvements to the playgrounds and restrooms at his school to make them more handicap-accessible.

“The feedback for this project has been some of the most positive feedback I’ve ever received since I’ve been in office,” Bonner said.

Cedar Beach West and West Meadow Beach are just the first of Brookhaven’s beaches to get the mats. According to a town spokesman, Brookhaven purchased three — and there are plans to expand the program.

“They will be placed at some point at all of our beaches to allow people with disabilities or physical limitations to also enjoy the beach — one of the great pastimes on Long Island,” Romaine said. “We think this has a large impact on people’s lives.”

He added that for wheelchair-bound Brookhaven residents, beaches also have “beach-ready” chairs with larger wheels available upon request from the lifeguards.

Mobi-Mats are available for use between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Tranquility Garden owner Walter Becker sits on a bench in his Mount Sinai backyard. File photo

On July 9, visit private gardens in Mattituck and Mount Sinai, open to the public rain or shine, through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to each garden is $7, benefiting the Garden Conservancy, and children 12 and under are free.

Tranquility Garden is located at 42 Jesse Way, Mount Sinai.

The Becker garden can be described as an explosion of color, fragrance, sound, and texture. Hundreds of perennials, shrubs, trees and annuals are combined with water features, lawn art and recently relocated garden trails that allow the visitor to enter the owner’s vision of an impressionistic garden painting. Unique shrubs and flowers and winding paths permit the visitor to stroll and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Visit www.opendaysprogram.org, or call 1-888-842-2442 for more information.

Sabrina Marci was arrested for driving while intoxicated, while babysitting four young children. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police arrested a 19-year-old babysitter after someone called police to report a woman was intoxicated with four children in her car.

A Good Samaritan called police at approximately 2 p.m. after she watched Sabrina Macri searching for her vehicle in the parking lot of Cedar Beach on Harbor Beach Road in Mount Sinai. The babysitter had four boys, ages ranging from 4 to 11 years old, in her care. Once Macri located her black 2015 Honda Civic, she attempted to drive away, but the Good Samaritan used her own vehicle to block Macri in until police arrived.

Macri, of Sound Beach, was charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15 years old or younger (Leandra’s Law), four counts of endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

She was held overnight at the 4th Precinct and was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip this morning.

Mount Sinai held its Class of 2016 commencement ceremony on Saturday evening, June 25.

The bleachers were filled to capacity as Superintendent Gordon Brosdal congratulated the students and offered some advice.

Mount Sinai staff members and members of the school board handed out diplomas and cheered on the students, while valedictorian Patrick Hanaj and salutatorian Justine Quan gave poignant speeches. The band and choir performed to add to the festivities, and students were all smiles as they walked up on stage to receive their diplomas. The now former Mustangs then tossed their caps toward the sky in celebration.


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Award recognizes best girls' lacrosse team in Suffolk County

The Mount Sinai girls' lacrosse team earned the Founder's Cup after claiming it's second consecutive Class C state title. Photo from Al Bertolone

Mount Sinai is still dominating the girls’ lacrosse world.

For the second time since 2013, the Mustangs earned the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation’s Founder’s Cup, which is given to the best girls’ high school lacrosse team in Suffolk County.

“This team definitely overcame adversity to get back to where we wanted to,” sophomore Camryn Harloff said. “Considering we lost huge stars on our team, everyone wrote us off and never thought we could make it up there again, so this season has definitely meant a lot to us, showing everyone that we still have it in us. And we aren’t done yet.”

The Mustangs’ motto was “clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose,” and the girls stayed true to that, losing just three games — one being a Division II matchup — the entire season.

“It was an awesome feeling knowing the cup was back in our possession,” senior Caroline Hoeg said. “This final season is bittersweet. Leaving such an amazing team, season and career behind, back in Mount Sinai, makes me upset, but it makes me realize how lucky I truly am. I know there are great things ahead, but I will forever remember this team and season, and I know they’re going to keep continuing to prove people wrong.”

The Mount Sinai girls' lacrosse team won the Founder's Cup, which is given to the best girls' lacrosse team in Suffolk County. Photo from Al Bertolone
The Mount Sinai girls’ lacrosse team won the Founder’s Cup, which is given to the best girls’ lacrosse team in Suffolk County. Photo from Al Bertolone

After all the doubt, the girls topped stiff competition in Bayport-Blue Point and Cold Spring Harbor for the Suffolk County and Long Island titles, and took that momentum all the way to the state finals, where the team won its second consecutive title.

“It is a great honor and shows that hard work pays off,” junior Hannah Van Middelem said of winning the cup. “This season has been very special. We really came together as a team and played our hearts out.”

Harloff said her teammates stepped up and rose to the challenge, taking on leadership roles and doing what they needed to do to make this season go as smoothly as it did.

“Meaghan Tyrrell was a huge aspect in our offense, Emily Vengilio was a brick on defense and especially Hannah Van Middelem in net,” she said. “And of course, we can’t forget how clutch Erica Shea was on the draw. She came up big in the times that we needed her.”

Junior Leah Nonnenmann said that like head coach Al Bertolone said, the team doesn’t rebuild, it reloads, and that’s exactly what the girls did.

“My teammates and I were so anxious sitting at the awards dinner waiting for the winner to be announced and when it was us, you could see the excitement in all our faces,” she said. “And when you looked at our parents, you could see how proud they all were.”

Tyrrell said the entire experience and the feelings that come along with it are hard to put into words, but she’s proud of her team’s accomplishments, and is also looking forward to what lies ahead.

“It is one of the most honored awards a team can be given, so we were very proud of ourselves,” she said. “This season has meant so much to me because everyone thought that after our past seniors graduated, we would fall off the face of the lacrosse world. Coming back and working so hard to prove that we can be as great, and getting back up to states and winning just completed our season perfectly. It makes me excited to see what next season brings. And the season after that.”

The Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Rocky Point and Shoreham-Wading River school districts have named the students who reached maximum potential at the high school level.

“I am extremely proud of all that the Class of 2016 has accomplished in the classroom, on the stage, on our athletic fields and in the community,” Rocky Point Principal Susann Crossan said. “They are a class who came together and generously raised money for many charities and continuously contributed positive energy to build school spirit. I wish the Class of 2016 a rewarding journey and ask that they remember to dream big.”

In Miller Place, with a whopping weighted GPA of 99.6, Elizabeth Whitlow was named the valedictorian. Whitlow, who plans to attend Northeastern University in the fall and major in American sign language, was a captain on the varsity softball team while also a member of the volleyball team, drama club, Foreign Language National Honor Society, National Thespian Society, mathletes and athletes helping athletes.

Joining the advanced placement scholar with honor at the top of the list is salutatorian Clara Tucker. With a weighted GPA of 99.5, she said she plans to attend Stony Brook University and major in biology. Tucker got her start at Stony Brook in the science research club on campus and was part of the school’s science club, art club and varsity track and field and cross country teams, while also being a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Intel Talent Search, Foreign Language National Honor Society and National Honor Society.

In Mount Sinai, Patrick Hanaj, with a weighed GPA of 105.2, was named class valedictorian. A class president his sophomore year and secretary his junior year, Hanaj was a member of Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team, was on the math team and was a member of chamber orchestra all four years of high school, and was the National Honor Society president this year. A national AP scholar and National Merit Scholarship finalist who was a member of the Columbia Science Honors Program, he will be attending Harvard University in the fall, majoring in applied mathematics with a minor in computer science.

Justine Quan, with a weighted GPA of 104.3, was named the salutatorian. The student council president and peer leader, who was a part of the history club and environmental action club, was also a member of the Mount Sinai Sunshine Fund and National Honor Society. Receiving the U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop Civil Service award, Quan will be attending New York University in the fall and majoring in political science.

“Justine is an integral member of her class; she is one of the most active and charismatic leaders that we have ever had in our building,” her district said. “Her participation is truly authentic, as she immerses herself fully in her activities for the benefit of others and for the good of her school and community. Justine is highly intelligent, one of the kindest individuals you will ever meet, extremely polite, always positive, efficient and highly organized. She is a representation of the best anyone can ask for from a high school student.”

James Gohn was named the valedictorian at Rocky Point. With a weighted GPA of 106.2, he is an AP scholar with distinction, member of the National Honor Society and New York State Mathematics Honor Society. Outside of the classroom, Gohn performed with the school’s orchestra, was the captain of the varsity soccer team and a member of the varsity lacrosse team. He is a dedicated volunteer, serving as a math and chemistry tutor and altar server, and dedicates many hours to several other charitable organizations. He will be attending Stony Brook University this fall to major in mechanical engineering.

“James is an exceptional student who has devoted himself to being the best he can be,” Crossan said. “He is a student with strong values and character and is gifted in the classroom as well as in his many extracurricular activities.”

Matthew Brewer, with a weighted GPA of 104.9, was named the class’ salutatorian.

An AP scholar with distinction, Brewer is also a member of the National Honor Society, New York State Math Honor Society and is president of the Class of 2016. He was a member of the high school’s mock trial and math teams and was secretary of the school’s science club. Team manager for both the varsity wresting and baseball teams, Brewer has also worked as a senior counselor for the North Shore Youth Council Summer Buddies Program since 2014, and previously was a junior counselor. He will be attending Fordham University in the fall to major in economics.

“Matthew is a bright, articulate and ambitious student who flourishes in an intellectually demanding setting,” Crossan said. “He has a gift of sharing his many talents with others by participating in many volunteer activities.”

Over in Shoreham-Wading River, Kelvin Ma, with a weighted GPA of 102.7, was named valedictorian. Graduating with an advanced regents diploma with mastery in math and science, Ma is a self-taught graphic designer and code designer who volunteered at Brookhaven National Lab during the past two summers. He was sponsored by Wikimedia Foundation to attend the Libre Graphics Meeting, where he gave a lecture on vector graphics and was awarded second place at the 2015 Long Island Junior Science and Engineering Fair.

A member of Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team, he was accepted into the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students as a freshman. He is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and awarded the Suffolk County Math Teachers Association Award several times. Ma, who earned the New York State Merit Scholarship for Academic Excellence, will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and major in engineering.

Nick Maritato also reached a peak performance level. With a weighted GPA of 101.2, he was named salutatorian and will be attending John Hopkins University in the fall, majoring in biomedical engineering.

An Eagle Scout, Maritato volunteered as a camp counselor, performed in summer pit orchestra and interned at St. Charles Hospital in the biomedical department. A member of the Nexus club, Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team, jazz band and varsity volleyball and track and field teams, he received a New York State Merit Scholarship for Academic Excellence, the Science Teachers’ Association of New York State 2015-16 outstanding senior science award, and Shoreham’s Ralph Gilorenzo humanitarian award.

“As a class, their leadership and commitment to public service and community, as well as personal, athletic, and academic successes are unparalleled,” Shoreham-Wading River principal Dan Holtzman said of the top of the class. “It is these attributes that make our school, district, and community the special place it is.”

Nazi material, along with weapons were seized from a home in Mount Sinai last June. File photo from the SCPD

Police are seeking the public’s help with information after Nazi paraphernalia and a bomb-making manual were found during a raid in Mount Sinai early Thursday.

At 6 a.m. on Miller Place Middle Island Road, just before it merges into Mt. Sinai-Coram Road and Miller Place Road, brothers Edward and Sean Perkowski were arrested after authorities executing a search warrant uncovered 10 assault rifles, a hand gun, high capacity magazines, a shotgun, a stun gun, more than $40,000 in cash, marijuana, illegal mushrooms, Nazi material and a manual on how to make bomb. The Nazi-related material included framed photos of Adolf Hitler, Nazi flags with swastikas and books on white supremacy.

Ten assault rifles, a hand gun, high capacity magazines, a shotgun and a stun gun were retrieved from a home in Mount Sinia. Photo from SCPD
Ten assault rifles, a hand gun, high capacity magazines, a shotgun and a stun gun were retrieved from a home in Mount Sinai. Photo from SCPD
Edward Perkowski mugshot from SCPD
Edward Perkowski mugshot from SCPD

Edward Perkowski, 29, currently faces drugs and weapon charges, and Sean, 25, was charged with an outstanding warrant.

“This was a public threat on multiple fronts,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said. “We have two individuals who clearly subscribe to a hateful, violent ideology, who had an illegal arsenal at their fingertips.”

Although unable to discuss the details of the case as the investigation is still ongoing, such as if an event to use the arsenal of weapons was planned, whether they’ve been cooperative or if they were working alone or as part of a group, Sini said the department is currently working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is made up of local police department and federal agencies, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Today’s search warrant might have prevented a deadly, violent incident, like the one we recently saw in Orlando,” Sini said. “I have a message to the residents of Suffolk County: The Suffolk County Police Department will do everything in its power to ensure your safety. We can only do our job most effectively if we have your cooperation and your collaboration.”

A large binder containing hand-written and printout material on bomb building was found during the search warrant in Mount Sinai. Photo by Desirée Keegan
A large binder containing hand-written and printout material on bomb building was found during the search warrant in Mount Sinai. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said he’s never seen such coordinated police activity in all his years as an elected official, in regard to going after drug dealers and those promoting hate. He said the latter is what is of the utmost importance in this given case.

“Obviously this was a drug house, but drugs were only part of the problem,” he said. “This was a house infected with that disease called hate, and we want to stop hate in this country. There’s enough of it, and we’ve seen what hate can do and how it can destroy and hurt our nation.”

John Leonard, a neighbor who has lived two houses down for 18 years, said there was a brawl out in front of the home a couple of months ago, and 911 was called. When he saw the public police report following the search warrant, he went to police headquarters to offer his help.

“I’ve never spoke to them, we keep our distance,” he said. “There’s four or five cars parked in front [of the house] at all times and constant cars coming in and out. I had my car broken into in the driveway about a year ago. My neighbors had the same thing. We found prescription medication laying out in the street a couple of months ago. It wasn’t too hard to figure out something is going on.”

What he said horrified him, though, was the large bomb-making manual found, which included hand-written and printed out material.

“That scares the hell out of me,” he said. “That takes it to a whole new level.”

Sini also said he is concerned.

“To think that this was in the Town of Brookhaven is extremely disturbing and the police department, the brave men and women of this department, will stop at nothing to neutralize threats like this,” he said.

Nazi and drug-related reading material were found inside a home in Mount Sinai. Photo from SCPD
Nazi and drug-related reading material were found inside a home in Mount Sinai. Photo from SCPD

While Sini cannot say what pointed the department in the direction of the home, the commissioner explained it took time to get probable cause to establish a case, and tips from residents have been instrumental in much of the police’s recent findings. He said more than 600 tips on drug homes and drug spots in local communities have come through the 631-852-NARC hotline, which Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) was instrumental in launching.

“We need to use our most vital resource, and that is the residents of Suffolk County,” Anker said. “We need to have a safer environment, but we need that information from the public.”

To report any information regarding the suspects from the Mount Sinai case, call 800-220-TIPS.

“We took two dangerous individuals off the street and we’ll fully investigate and prosecute this case,” Sini said. “We’ll spare no cost and no time. The fact that this is in our backyard is very concerning. That’s why the message today is to the public. Regarding criminal activity, please call the tips hotline or 911 immediately.”

Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto slides into third base ahead of the ball in the Warriors’ extra-inning 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a decisive game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

By Elana Glowatz

A recent Comsewogue High School graduate was seriously injured on Thursday morning when he was hit by a car on Route 25A.

Comsewogue pitcher Dan Colasanto hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 9-4 comeback win over Sayville Thursday. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue pitcher Dan Colasanto hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 9-4 comeback win over Sayville in 2015. Photo by Bill Landon

The Suffolk County Police Department said Dan Colasanto was in the roadway around 1 a.m., on a stretch near Westgate Drive in Mount Sinai, when an eastbound 2010 Honda hit him.

The 18-year-old pedestrian, a Port Jefferson Station resident, was treated for serious injuries at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, police said. The driver, a 48-year-old Miller Place woman, was not hurt.

Colasanto graduated from Comsewogue in 2015. During his high school days, he was a star pitcher and third baseman on the baseball team, as well as a strong hitter.

He also played for the Warriors football team.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 6th Squad are investigating the crash and have impounded the Honda for a safety check.

Anyone with information is asked to call the detectives at 631-854-8652.

The lawns of Heritage Park in Mount Sinai played host to nearly 100 hot rods old and new on a sun-splashed, windy Sunday morning. A Ford Starliner from the 1950s and brand new Chevrolet Camaros, along with just about everything in-between, shared the green grass underneath blue skies on display at the Heritage Park Car Show.

North Shore residents young and old circulated the park to admire the vintage cars inside and out, with most even showing a peak at what’s under the hood. Live music, food, vendors and raffles accompanied the cool rides.

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Mustangs' suffocating defense holds off Skaneateles, while offense racks up 12 goals in win, to prove these girls are just as strong as those on last season's squad

By Adrian Szkolar

Even though Saturday was her birthday, Hannah Van Middelem was focused on other things.

The Mount Sinai junior goalkeeper’s mindset was instead the same as her teammates’, and all they were thinking was: officially prove the many doubters wrong with the last game of the season.

Playing against Section III’s Skaneateles in the Class C state final at SUNY Cortland, the Mustangs played their usual strong defensive game, shutting down the Lakers’ offense on their way to a 12-3 win and second consecutive state title.

Mission accomplished.

“We just wanted to come out, play as a team and win,” said Van Middelem, who made five saves and was named the tournament’s MVP after the game. “No one ever picked us to win any games. We just wanted to prove everyone wrong.”

All in all, the MVP award and the state title were pretty good birthday gifts.

“It’s special to me, but really my defense helped me win it,” she said. “We communicated with each other and listened to each other. We just played a great team game today.”

After graduating seven players from last year’s state title-winning team, including last year’s state tournament MVP in Kasey Mitchell, few gave Mount Sinai the thought of being able to repeat.

To start, the team’s younger players had to step up to fill the void on offense, and the team would have to improve defensively.

“People doubted us all year, and rightly so, but it’s a testament to our program that our kids have been able to step up and fill the breach,” Mount Sinai head coach Al Bertolone said. “We didn’t rebuild, we re-loaded. We pushed them all year, and they accepted the challenge and every week, we kept getting better.”

The improvement the team made since the start the season was especially evident against Skaneateles.

After Mount Sinai senior midfielder Caroline Hoeg and Skaneateles’ Abby Kuhns exchanged goals to start the game, the Mustangs opened the floodgates.

First came a goal from senior midfielder Erica Shea, who took a feed from Hoeg in front while unmarked and easily finished at the 13:22 mark.

Then there was a goal from sophomore Camryn Harloff. Then senior Meghan Walker. Then junior Leah Nonnenmann. Then sophomore Meaghan Tyrrell.

The Mustangs went into halftime with a 6-1 lead, with six different goal scorers.

“From the beginning, we knew we had to come out strong because [Skaneateles] wasn’t going to let up,” said Shea, who is also the team’s primary draw taker. “We had to come out of the box roaring, and that’s what we did.”

Harloff, an attack, and junior midfielder Rayna Sabella tacked on two more goals to start the second half to put the game out of reach.

Tyrrell, an attack, finished with three goals for the second straight game, and added an assist. Shea also had three goals, Harloff netted two goals and an assist, and Hoeg contributed a goal and an assist.

While Mount Sinai, which came into the game ranked third in Class C in the New York State Sportswriters’ Association rankings, and was the favorite coming into the finals, that was far from the case back at the start of the playoffs.

Most observers saw Bayport-Blue Point, an unbeaten team featuring All-American Kerrigan Miller, along with Nassau County’s Cold Spring Harbor, a team with wins against bigger lacrosse powerhouses such as Garden City and Rockland County’s Suffern, as the favorites for the state title.

Back in April, the Mustangs were dismantled by Bayport-Blue Point in a 10-2 loss.

“When you have adversity in your season, it can either galvanize and make you stronger or break you up,” Bertolone said. “It made us stronger. We believe in pressure defense, and our kids bought into it.”

A month later, the Mustangs turned heads by shocking Bayport-Blue Point in the county final, and followed that up with an upset over Cold Spring Harbor in the Long Island championship to get back to Cortland.

After that, the road to the championship was paved. Before Saturday’s game, the Mustangs got a comfortable 10-3 win over Section V’s Honeoye Falls-Lima in Friday’s state semifinals.

“It feels good to be the underdog and come out on top,” Shea said. “This year, it’s really special; no one believed in us, and we proved people wrong, from counties all the way to here. And now we’re state champs.”

After Saturday’s game, Van Middelem said that the team’s celebration of the title win, her birthday and proving the non-believers her team could remain its own powerhouse, would be relatively low-key.

“We’ll just have a fun bus ride home,” she said.

A fine way to celebrate proving the critics wrong.