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New York State Senator Mario Mattera

Assemblyman Keith P. Brown (R,C-Northport) stands alongside Sen. Mario R. Mattera (R,C-Smithtown), Asharoken Mayor Dr. Gregory Letica, other elected and appointed officials and community representatives at the Asharoken Seawall in Asharoken Village on Friday, May 10, 2024.

By Samantha Rutt

The Asharoken Seawall, a critical infrastructure element protecting Asharoken Avenue — the only road connecting approximately one-third of village residents and the entire Eaton’s Neck community to the mainland — faces significant degradation. 

Each severe weather event heightens the risk of a catastrophic failure, which could isolate the community and hinder emergency responses.

The call for action to replace the deteriorating seawall has reached a critical juncture as Mayor Gregory Letica, local and federal officials, environmental experts and community members gathered at the Asharoken Village Hall in early May. 

Led by state Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) and Assemblyman Keith Brown (R-Northport), the meeting aimed to address the urgent need for repairs and the development of a long-term solution to protect Asharoken Village and the Eaton’s Neck community from the devastating impacts of severe weather events.

“With the current condition of the Asharoken Seawall, it is imperative we act to protect the residents who are affected every time there is a significant weather event,” Mattera said in a statement. “That is why I worked quickly with Assemblyman Brown to get all the stakeholders together to have an open and honest discussion.”

Brown emphasized the importance of a coordinated approach: “Senator Mattera and I were very pleased with the response from all levels of government to our letter to discuss the condition of the seawall, and the need for action to determine a short-term action plan to make immediate repairs and avoid a catastrophic failure of the seawall while a longer-term solution can be put in place.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also highlighted the collaborative efforts and funding secured for repairs, saying that he was “proud that $2 million in federal funding I appropriated has been secured by the village in recent years to make repairs to the crumbling seawall and plan future protective measures.”

Congressman Nick LaLota (R-NY1) continued the sentiment of support expressing his commitment to the people of the village: “I am fully committed to working alongside the village, local governments and community stakeholders to find a long-overdue and permanent solution that will improve the structural integrity and 24/7 accessibility of Asharoken Avenue.”

“In January, I testified before the Transportation and Infrastructure Water Resources Subcommittee to highlight the situation at the Asharoken Seawall. Recently, I requested the committee to consider policy changes in the drafting of the Water Resources and Development Act to support communities like Asharoken,” LaLota said in an email. 

Though several elected officials are aware of the ongoing issue and have been actively engaged in finding a solution, the seawall project will take several years to implement.

“While I continue to advocate for federal resources, the Army Corps has informed all stakeholders that the seawall and beach replenishment portion of the project will continue to be subject to federal public access requirements, similar to the Fire Island-Montauk Point project and other projects nationwide. Even if the public access impasse is resolved, it would take several years to implement, as the Army Corps needs to conduct a new study based on current conditions to replace the one canceled in 2017. We cannot afford to wait that long,” LaLota said.

What can be done now?

Federal and state representatives continue to explore various mitigation methods. Ongoing efforts aim to secure additional funding and streamline coordination among all levels of government to expedite both interim and long-term solutions.

“Over the past 17 months, we have explored multiple mitigation methods, including restoring the seawall, replenishing sand, bolstering and elevating the road, and implementing an artificial reef to redirect problematic water currents. Additionally, in November, my office provided local officials with potential grant funding options,” LaLota shared. 

As the Asharoken community and Eaton’s Neck residents await these critical improvements, the unified stance of officials and stakeholders showcases a shared commitment to protecting this vulnerable area from future storm impacts and ensuring the safety and connectivity of its residents.

“In the meantime, we see a potential path forward by focusing on areas of consensus, starting with raising and improving the road,” LaLota said of what could be done most immediately to combat the crisis. “To address this issue from all angles, I have submitted requests to secure funding for two police vehicles for the village through the government funding process. Upon approval by the full House, this would free up additional resources for the village to tackle the seawall issue head-on.”

“We will continue to collaborate with the Army Corps, village, local officials and the community to support the residents of Asharoken and Eaton’s Neck every step of the way,” LaLota concluded. 

From left, Plumbers Local 200 Organizer Edward Tedla, Business Agent Joseph Squicciarini, Business Manager - Financial Secretary/Treasurer Richard P. Brooks, Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Edward Bonahue, NY State Senator Mario Mattera and Sylvia A. Diaz, PhD, LMSW, executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation. Photo courtesy of SCCC

The Suffolk Community College Foundation’s Education Without Limits campaign that supports students with critical financial backing to help them achieve their academic and career goals, recently got a $3,000 boost from Plumbers Union Local 200.

Union representatives, including Local 200 Business Agent and New York State Senator Mario Mattera, Joseph Squicciarini, Organizer Edward Tedla and Business Manager Richard Brooks visited the Ammerman Campus in Selden to present their generous donation to college officials, including College President Dr. Edward Bonahue and Foundation Director Sylvia Diaz.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generous $3,000 donation from Plumbers Local 200 to our Education Without Limits Campaign,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Edward Bonahue. “The donation helps us provide scholarships and other support to our students who are facing financial hardship. New York State Senator Mario Mattera and Plumbers Local 200 are valued partners of Suffolk County Community College, and we are proud to have their support.”

“Suffolk’s Plumbers Local 200 protect the health of all Long Islanders while promoting economic equality, building worker power, helping workers to win increases in pay, better benefits, and safer working conditions, and we are delighted to partner with them to support Suffolk’s promising students along their pathways to success,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, PhD, LMSW, executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation.

“As a longtime member and leader of Plumbers Local 200, I am extremely proud of the generosity of all our hardworking men and women. Suffolk County Community College is opening doors for so many young men and women with the Education Without Limits program and that is so important to our future as a region. All of our students should have the ability to chase their dreams and this will give that chance to all who are ready to work,” added Senator Mattera.

Suffolk County Water Authority officials say Advanced Oxidation Process systems, such as those seen above, will help flush out 1,4-dioxane and other emerging contaminants from local drinking water. Photo courtesy SCWA

By Raymond Janis

[email protected]

In a secluded residential block on Northport’s McKinney Avenue lies an advanced water treatment center masquerading as a barn.

At this site, representatives from the Suffolk County Water Authority joined state and local public officials for a press event on Thursday, Aug. 24, announcing eight new high-tech water filtration systems for local drinking water.

THIS IS NOT A BARN: The exterior of the SCWA’s new state-of-the-art water treatment plant. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Water Authority

Charlie Lefkowitz, chairman of the SCWA Board, said the eight systems employ Advanced Oxidation Process, or AOP, technologies capable of treating and removing emerging contaminants — such as 1,4-dioxane — from the groundwater.

“I’m always asked by the media what is our biggest threat,” he said. “Aging infrastructure and emerging contaminants,” both of which are areas addressed through the AOP systems.

The SCWA Board chairman also noted the measures taken to comport this industrial complex with the surrounding area.

“Just look at the historical character of this building,” Lefkowitz said. “It doesn’t look like your normal commercial building throughout Suffolk County.”

He added, “This is a great moment for water treatment overall, for the Huntington community as well as every resident of Suffolk County.”

New York State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James), who has previously served on the SCWA Board, emphasized the continual need to invest in and develop aging water treatment systems.

He pointed to the recently passed $4.2 billion New York State Environmental Bond Act [see page A12] as a potential funding source to keep this infrastructure up to date.

“We want to make sure that we received our fair share,” the state senator said. “Clean air, clean water and green jobs — that is so important that we receive the money.”

New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) also attended the event. He detailed the lifespan of the process from its planning stages to its completion.

“It’s very special when you get to see something that goes from some blueprints and some pipes to a plan and watching it through the policy effort to ultimately being able to make it happen and cut the ribbon,” Stern said.

Town of Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth (R) tied the announcement to an ongoing local initiative to modernize infrastructure.

“Whether it’s on the highways, the roads or the waterfront, it’s all about infrastructure and maintenance, and I know everybody in the town is pulling in the same direction,” he said. “All you have to do is look around at this state-of-the-art facility to know that this money is well spent.”

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, highlighted the various threats against Long Island’s sole-source aquifer, referring to the new treatment center as “a needful clean water victory for the public.”

“1,4-dioxane is a highly toxic chemical,” she noted. “Having Suffolk County Water Authority be an aggressive partner to make sure they’re filtering that water for Suffolk residents is a pleasure, and it’s a gift.”

Despite the eight new treatment systems in Huntington, Lefkowitz suggested the work of SCWA to be “far from done.”

He indicated that the water authority is simultaneously completing nine other AOP systems throughout the county, with hopes to bring these online soon.

Mobile Mammography Van

Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District), in conjunction with The Salvation Army, is hosting the Stony Brook Cancer Center’s Mobile Mammography Van in East Northport. The free breast cancer-screening event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, March 10, at 319 Clay Pitts Road in East Northport.

Stony Brook University Cancer Center operates and staffs the mobile van, which was made possible through more than $3 million from the New York State Department of Health. The van provides convenient access to all women in our area to ensure that women on Long Island get the information they need to protect themselves from breast cancer.

This event is for women forty and older who have not had a mammogram in the past year. An appointment is necessary so all who are interested should call 631-638-4135 to schedule an appointment. For more information on the Stony Brook Cancer Center’s Mobile Mammography Van, residents can visit cancer.stonybrookmedicine.edu/Patients/MammoVan.

According to information provided by Stony Brook Cancer Center, most screenings are no cost since the cost of mammograms are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and almost all insurance companies. Any resident who has no insurance will be referred to the New York State Cancer Services Program, which may cover the cost of an exam.

In New York State, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Mammograms and breast cancer screenings can detect cancer at early stages, when it is often the most treatable.

“Early detection is the best way to combat and beat breast cancer and that makes access to no-cost screenings so critical. I thank Stony Brook University and the Salvation Army for partnering with us to provide this helpful preventive care and urge all in our community who can benefit to attend this event,” said Senator Mattera.

For more information on this important event, including eligibility requirements, information for day of visit and directions to the event, please visit Senator Mattera’s website at mattera.nysenate.gov.

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Over 500 local youths turned out to spend the day honing their crafts on the ball field at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park on Aug. 21 The event was hosted by Smithtown Supervisor,Ed Wehrheim and New York state Sen. Mario R. Mattera, and included partnerships with MLB, Smithtown Central School District, Smithtown Recreation, Smithtown Youth Bureau, Nesconset Athletic Association, Kings Park Youth, Play Like a Pro Sports, Smithtown – St. James Little League and honoree foundation — Heros 4 Our Heroes.

The free baseball/softball clinic was offered to both male and female children ages 6-18, featuring former Major League Baseball stars and local school coaches. Children received personalized baseball playing cards, MLB baseballs, autographs, photos and complimentary lunch for participants and guests catered by Panico’s Italian Market of Nesconset.

“There is really nothing more gratifying as an elected official, than to witness hundreds of families enjoying such a memorable experience,” Wehrheim said. “This event could not be possible without the incredible support and partnership with Senator Mario Mattera and his team, Heros 4 Our Heroes, the work of our dedicated Parks Department, Recreation, Public Safety, and our spectacular volunteers from the Youth Bureau. I also would like to thank Panico’s Market for cooking for over 1,000 people, Nesconset FD, Capital Graphics and Trend it Branding, who went above and beyond to make Sunday special. Finally, thank you to the inspiring coaches, former MLB stars, volunteers and to our military and veterans organizations who brought forth an unforgettable day for so many local families.”

The Heros 4 Our Heroes foundation, founded by Panico’s, was honored with a NYS Senate Proclamation and a check which was presented by Smithtown High School West Student Gianna Cangro, who fundraised over $2,700 for the organization. Heros 4 Our Heroes is a local not-for-profit organization which has served our military, fire, police and medical heroes since Sept. 11, 2001.

Former Major League players Frank Catalanotto, Art Shamsky, Oreste Marrero, John Doherty, Sal Agostinelli, Frank Tepedino, Fred Cambria, Adam Greenberg, Charles Galiano, Rick Schmidt, Keith Osik and Don DeMola were stationed at various fields to inspire and teach the budding athletes. Additionally, former Hofstra Softball Head Coach Bill Edwards oversaw the girls softball program. Former Congressman Peter King volunteered to coach alongside Frank Catalanotto. Smithtown Superintendent of Recreation Tom McCaffrey and his son Ryan also teamed up to coach the youngest participants, in addition to McCaffrey’s work in coordinating the event with the supervisor’s and senator’s offices. At the end of the clinic, each child received baseballs and/or softballs, collected autographs and took photographs with each of the coaches.

New York State Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District) and Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim are teaming up to honor our community heroes with a free baseball and softball clinic for male and female players between the ages of 6 and 18.  This fun event will be run by local school coaches and 10 former Major League Baseball players from the Mets, Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays, and Phillies.

The clinic will be held on Sunday, August 21st at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park, which is located at 29 Old Commack Road in Commack, from 10:00 AM through 1:15 PM.  Lunch will be available for families and guests during the clinic and players will have lunch after.

The event will include former Major League Baseball legends Frank Catalanotto, Art Shamsky, Oreste Marrero, John Doherty, Sal Agostinelli, Frank Tepedino, Fred Cambria, Adam Greenberg and Don DeMola.  These former players will provide instruction to the young players at various stations throughout the day.

Additionally, the first 500 registered participants will receive Rawlings MLB baseballs provided courtesy of Major League Baseball. A photo booth will also be set up to create a complimentary baseball card for each participant.

As a special component, the Heros 4 Our Heroes foundation will be honored for serving our military, fire, police and medical heroes since September 11th, 2001.

“I am so excited to join Supervisor Wehrheim in honoring our community heroes with a free clinic for our youths. Our American heroes deserve to be celebrated and the Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park, which honors a member of the community who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, is the perfect place to do so.  To do so while also honoring Smithtown-based Heros 4 Our Heroes foundation for all the charitable work they have done is the perfect combination.  It is our hope that the young athletes who attend will be inspired by their sacrifice, commitment and duty, and that their interaction with the players and coaches who are participating will enhance them both on and off the field,” stated Senator Mattera.

“I want to thank Senator Mattera and his staff for coming up with this truly memorable idea to give to the community. This is what Flynn Memorial was created for and I think Danny would agree. It gives me a great sense of joy to facilitate the opportunity for local boys and girls to learn from baseball’s legends and our own community coaches. Moreover, we’re honoring Donato Panico and his incredible foundation Heros 4 Our Heroes, who have done magnificent work helping Veterans and First Responders for two decades. I’d highly encourage families to register their kids for this unbelievable occasion,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Any resident who wishes to register a player or players is asked to visit FieldofHeroesYouthBaseballClinic.eventbrite.com to register.  Registrations are limited so it is important that every player who wishes to participate registers early.

Heros 4 Our Heroes was started by the Panico family, owners of Panico’s Community Market in Smithtown, following the terror attacks of 9/11. To help, they loaded up a mobile catering truck full of food from their market in Smithtown and drove to Ground Zero. They cooked for 12 straight days at the World Trade Center site and have continued to provide free meals to first responders and frontline workers for 21 years.  They provide over 3,000 heros to firefighters, policemen and veterans every September 11th, distribute turkey dinners on Thanksgiving and served special dinners for Christmas at the VA Medical Center.

“Since September 11th, 2001, the Panico’s have served as an inspiration to the people of Smithtown by serving thousands of complimentary meals to frontline workers at hospitals, nursing homes, veteran’s facilities and dozens of other entities to honor the thousands of heroes who serve us every day.  I am proud to join with Supervisor Wehrheim to show this special organization what they mean to our community and to thank the Panico family for all they do,” added Senator Mattera.

Any resident who would like to donate to Heros 4 Our Heroes should visit www.heros4ourheroes.org and click on the Field of Heroes link on the home page.

Flax Pond Boardwalk. Photo by John Turner

A bill currently awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) signature will help to protect a local tidal wetland.

Flax Pond Tidal Creek. Photo by John Turner

Bill A10187 will establish the Flax Pond tidal wetland in Old Field as a sanctuary and also amend the navigation laws to prohibit the use of motor boats within that sanctuary.

The bill was sponsored by state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) in the Assembly and state Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) in the Senate.

The bill states that “hunting, fishing, trapping and the use of motor boats are not compatible with the primary purposes and management goals of the sanctuary.” Once enacted, signs will be posted to warn boaters that they cannot enter. The law will not apply to emergency and rescue vessels.

Anyone found guilty violating the provisions will be fined up to $100 and/or imprisoned up to 10 days.

The Flax Pond tidal wetland area is about 150 acres and was acquired by the state in 1966. Is it under the joint jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Stony Brook University. SBU uses the wetland area as a field laboratory for research and education, while the DEC maintains it for habitat protection and for public use. 

In addition to the wetland, the property includes the SBU School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Flax Pond Marine Lab and the Childs Mansion. The home once belonged to Eversley Childs, who was president of the Bon Ami cleaning products company in the early 1900s.

Englebright said for about four decades he has been trying to get legislation passed to protect Flax Pond and said Mattera was a big help in getting it through the state Senate.

“We basically have joined together to put our shoulders to the wheel to get this bill through each of our respective legislative houses,” Englebright said. “And there it is, for the first time in all of these years.”

Mattera said he was happy to help to get the bill passed, and he’s optimistic that the governor will sign it.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any kind of an issue,” Mattera said, adding he feels its passing is crucial not only for the wetland but also for the surrounding area.

Mattera said securing state money to dredge the inlet at Flax Pond is next as there are concerns that the continuation of terrible storms hitting the area could close up the inlet.

Englebright said the Flax Pond tidal wetland area was created for the original purpose of academic research and education, and also for the public’s passive enjoyment. He said the bill makes permanent what the original premise was.

“The marsh has been degraded,” he said. “It has lost much of its usefulness due to unregulated activities there and extraction activities. It has undergone some considerable negative consequences.”

The assemblyman added that extraction activities include people taking oysters, blue mussels and crabs, especially in large quantities, and the shooting of birds makes it difficult for researchers to measure what’s left of the marine life. Motorboats and jet skiing in the wetland also complicate matters.

He said proper research depends on “having a pristine unspoiled place.”  


Englebright said it was important to protect tidal wetlands such as Flax Pond because they “are highly stressed due to climate change and sea level rise, as well as pollutants that are entering the estuaries and the pressure of extraction activities.”

He explained that a tidal wetland is a bio-geological phenomenon.

“The biological part is, of course, all of the organisms that grow in the marsh that contributed to the creation of the wetland itself,” he said. “The most prominent of that is a series of grasses. These are grasses that are able to tolerate salt.”

There are two dominant high marsh grasses that when the first settlers arrived here and there was no hay from a previous season, they were able to use them to feed their livestock. The high marsh grass — “salt hay” — continued to be harvested on Long Island until the 1920s.

Childs Mansion. Photo by John Turner

“The geological part of the marsh is why we don’t want the boats because the salt marsh is a sediment trap,” he said.

He added, sediment is important as it creates beaches such as those at West Meadow and Old Field. Tides carry into inlets silt and clay fractions which become the soil component of the wetlands.

Englebright said motorized boats or jet skis that generate “wave slap,” reenergize the movement of sediment or disturb the movement of the sediment, which in turn reelevates and suspends into the water the silt that can be up to 60% of the soil.

He added, “If it gets resuspended on the outgoing tide, the result is the loss of the marsh.”


Robert Cushman Murphy, who was an ornithologist, loved Flax Pond and was a close friend of philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville. For a while, he lived on the Melville estate in Old Field.

After the Childs estate went into probate in the early 1960s, according to Englebright, the executors almost sold Flax Pond to developers, who would have built condominiums along the periphery of the pond. Englebright said Murphy talked to Melville and then acting president of SBU, Karl Hartzell, to see what could be done to save the Flax Pond area. Cushman appealed to the Village of Old Field trustees, and when he realized they might side with the developers, Melville reached out to then New York State Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R). The Stony Brook resident had just donated land to the State University of New York for the Long Island college to move to its current location.

“He had some clout and he used it on behalf of our community,” Englebright said. “It was political muscle that basically led to acquiring the property.” 

He said when the state university acquired half of the property they had to set up marine studies which justified their purchase.

“Of course, that has led to one of the great marine research centers of the hemisphere, if not all of Earth,” Englebright said. “It’s a globally significant research center. It’s an entire division now within the university.”

State and local elected officials joined Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine at the Stony Brook Train Station June 7. Photo by Rita J. Egan

During the late morning hours of June 7, people gathered at the Stony Brook train station but not to board a train. They were there to call out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road for not getting on board with modernizing the Port Jefferson Branch line.

Steve Englebright at podium. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) asked state and local officials to join him at a press conference at the station to urge the MTA and the LIRR to extend electrification on the Port Jefferson Branch. In addition to the elected officials in attendance, civic, chamber, business and environmental leaders were also on hand to show their support.

Many in attendance have vocalized the need for years, including during a December 2019 press conference at the train station. However, plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

East of Huntington the 24 miles or so of railroad tracks are not electrified, and the LIRR uses dual-mode trains that can switch from electric to diesel.

Those in attendance addressed concerns such as air pollution from the diesel trains and traffic congestion from residents driving south to take trains on the Ronkonkoma Branch. They also said electrification would benefit the area, including efficient experiences for passengers, more business drawn to the area, increased enrollment at Stony Brook University and real estate values increasing. 

Romaine said the Port Jeff Branch was the busiest line of the LIRR. He called diesel fuel “some of the most polluting fuel that we have.” He added that Suffolk County and Brookhaven “have been shortchanged by the MTA.”

He said that with the passage of President Joe Biden’s (D) $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill and more than $10 billion estimated to go to the MTA, it was time for Suffolk County residents to see improvements on the railroad

“That is supposed to help rebuild our infrastructure,” the supervisor said. “We’re asking for a 20th-century technology — electrification. Diesel is a 19th-century technology. We haven’t even asked for 21st-century technology.”

State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) also called for infrastructure money to be spent in the area. Regarding North Shore residents traveling to stations along the Ronkonkoma Branch, he said everyone needed to come together to ensure that those in the area could drive to a nearby station without changing trains to get to New York City. He added with a feasibility study that was started in the 1980s, the time had come for change.

“We need to make sure that we’re here for the commuters,” Mattera said. “Mass transit is so important for our future, and MTA shortchanges us all the time.”

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) said when the Climate Leadership and Community Protection legislation was passed on the state level in 2019, it included the call for electrification across all sectors — transportation, residential, commercial and more. He said the same year the legislation passed, the MTA purchased 55 diesel engines.

“Maybe they haven’t figured it out yet but diesels are, as the supervisor indicated, antique technology, and we need to move toward technology that doesn’t pollute the air,” Englebright said.

State Sen. Mario Mattera. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) said that the diesel engines not only are harmful to air quality, but also when they arrive at a station the vibration can be felt in nearby neighborhoods. Kornreich said there are people in Port Jefferson Station who “have to listen to the sound of diesel throbbing all night.”

Mitch Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute and a former MTA board member, called on the state Climate Action Council to mandate the MTA to have responsibility in electrifying train lines across Long Island.

“Only in that way will the mass transit system that we have not only transport our people, but do it in an environmentally sensitive manner,” Pally said.

Anthony Figliola, who is running in the Republican primary for Congressional District 1, said after the press conference he was encouraged by the bipartisan support. He added that Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) is also supportive of electrification.

Figliola and Charlie Lefkowitz, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, were part of the North Shore Business Alliance formed in 2017 that worked on a feasibility study for electrification of the branch.  The MTA included $4 million in their five-year 2015-19 capital plan to pay for a feasibility study on electrification of the Port Jefferson Branch

Figliola said if elected to Congress he will be committed “to helping fund this critical economic development and environmental project.”

“The next step is for the MTA to complete the study,” he said. “My hope is the MTA will think twice before spending any additional dollars on more diesel trains.”

Photo courtesy of Councilman LaValle's office

On Saturday, April 23, The Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce, along with several local public officials, welcomed their newest member, The Paper Store, located at Smith Haven Plaza, 2075 Nesconset Hwy, Lake Grove, with grand opening celebration & ribbon cutting ceremony. 10% of all sales generated on that day benefitted Ronald McDonald House Charities.

A Hallmark partner, the specialty gift store sells fashion apparel, home decore, stationary, jewelry and more.

Pictured from left, Melissa Carter, The Paper Store; NYS Assemblyman Doug Smith; Doreen Newman, Greater Middle Country Chamber; TOB Councilman Kevin J. LaValle; Tracie Congdon, Store Manager; NYS Senator Mario Mattera; Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy; Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy; and District Manager Lisamarie Soper.

Located next to Bed Bath & Beyond, the store is open Monday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 631-979-2340.

Photo courtesy of The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft founder and president Tom Manuel recently met with New York State Senator Mario Mattera (District 2) to give the Senator a tour of the Stony Brook Village museum and performance space and to discuss some of the Loft’s musical programs. 

Members of the local business community, Jazz Loft board members and volunteers were also present. Manuel spoke about The Jazz Loft’s Young at Heart daytime concert series which is aimed at seniors, those suffering from memory loss, and their caretakers. The one-hour programs are designed to be interactive and provide a musical trip down memory lane for audience members. Live music was provided by Steve Salerno.

Pictured from left are Jazz Loft volunteers Barbara and Thom Brownsworth; musician Steve Salerno with guitar; Michael Ardolino, Jazz Loft board member and owner of Realty Connect USA; State Senator Mario Mattera; Tom Manuel, founder of the Jazz Loft; Carmine Inserra of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce and owner of ProSysCon Computer Technologies; and Mr. Inserra’s wife Sara Inserra.

The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook is located just 90 minutes from New York City and is the only music venue on Long Island that features exclusively jazz music. Learn more at www.thejazzloft.org or call 631-751-1895.