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Park

Park poses for his portrait on Christmas, 2021. Photo by Barbara Anne Kirshner

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

I begin with a heartfelt thank you to all who have joined Park and me on our life’s journey through the pages of TBR News Media. Readers with whom I had the privilege to meet have shared how they enjoyed our stories, how they sympathized and even empathized with our bond.

It pains me to tell you that this is our final chapter.

Park crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Oct.  26, at 16 years and almost 4 months. He valiantly fought for the past year and a half to stay with me even as his aged body was breaking. He fought against the paralysis that took over his hind legs last year keeping him down for four months. 

But the resilient little man miraculously bounced back. At the point when I broached the subject of having a wheelchair made to fit Park, he started to push his hind legs up, to arch, then to straighten those legs and to my amazement, the day came when he walked on all fours again! 

Life was beautiful with my Prince Charming Park by my side — until Aug.  28. Park put his head down and when he raised it up again, he was blind. This blindness was proceeded by two weeks of noticeable head tremors which I reported to the vet who felt that at his advanced age, anything could happen.

We went to an ophthalmic dog specialist at VMCLI who, after giving Park a thorough examination, diagnosed that his blindness was not due to cataracts, but probably to a tumor pushing against his eyes. An MRI would corroborate this diagnosis, but I was cautioned of the danger of putting a dog of his advanced age under anesthetic. They could not guarantee he would survive the procedure. There was a very real chance that he might die on the operating table or have a negative reaction shortly after. The doctors at VMCLI were caring and understanding. Their advice was to hold Park close for whatever time we have left, but to put him through procedures that might reveal a tumor and then to follow that up with radiation was really too much for my little senior man. 

I followed their advice. We went home and I held Park tight, praying for more time.

BUT that was not to be. He started stroking out, falling into a coma. The first time it happened, I revived him with an eyedropper of water, prying it into his mouth through clenched teeth. As he revived, I tried giving him a spoonful of canned dog food, but he turned away from it which was alarming given the never satiated appetite of a dachshund. That’s when I thought of his favorite treat, McNulty’s vanilla ice cream. It worked like a charm!! He sniffed the plate, then licked it clean. That restored enough energy so he could sit up on his own.

I laughed thinking McNulty’s needs to advertise “Our ice cream is not only scrumptious but it saves lives too!!”

This wasn’t the last of the strokes though. A few weeks later, another took him down and he fell into a coma again. Once again, through his clenched teeth I pushed water into his mouth with the eyedropper. When he started to come around, once again, he needed several scoops of vanilla ice cream to revive, but this time he remained extremely weak, unable to hold himself up with his front legs, the legs that had remained strong even when his hind legs were paralyzed. This episode proved so debilitating that his frail body couldn’t go on.

Park crossed the Rainbow Bridge as I kissed his sweet forehead and held him, talking him from this world into the next.

I am empty without my sweet boy, my loyal companion, my protector, my travel buddy, my everything.

I try to take solace in Brandon McMillan’s quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

I smile when I think of my boy which is every minute of every day — about our shared trips to Park’s Bench in Stony Brook Village, about all of our journeys, our fun, his antics done deliberately to make me smile and make me give him extra attention like his penchant to stand in the rain until sopping wet knowing full well that when he sauntered into the house I would be there to towel all that long, luxurious fur.

I smile to recall how Park, the Christmas Puppy, pranced into my life ignoring my concerns that three dogs were maybe three too many and I will feel blessed for the rest of my days that Park, the Angel Puppy, chose to share his life with me.

A resident of Miller Place, Barbara Anne Kirshner writes theater reviews for TBR News Media and is a freelance journalist, playwright and author of “Madison Weatherbee — The Different Dachshund.

From left, Park and Melissa Tulip. Photo by Barbara Anne Kirshner

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

What makes for bonded pairs? Do they have to be siblings or a mother and her offspring or maybe it’s two that started off as acquaintances only to realize life was much better together than apart?

Park was seven years old when ten week old dachshund puppy, Melissa Tulip, joined our family. We had gone through a traumatic loss the year before with the untimely death of our beautiful Madison whom after two highly invasive back surgeries passed at only seven years three months old. We were despondent. I saw our Lexington, who was six years old at the time, staring out the back sliding glass doors looking for Madison and wondering if she would emerge from behind the thick arborvitae.

Park and Madison were best buddies. From the moment Park came into our house, Madison took him under her care and he looked up to her. Both Lexington and Park were sad without Madison. The house became painfully quiet as all of us were mourning the loss of our beloved girl. Lexington had always been somewhat of a loner, and even after Madison passed, she remained the loner. Park, who was used to having Madison at his side, was lost without her.

Then on Memorial Day 2013, light and life returned when Melissa Tulip joined our family. It was as if she stepped inside the house, put down her bags, looked around and declared, “Let the games begin!” And boy how they did!

Lexington showed Melissa Tulip the ropes, teaching her to bark at the Labs next door and how to climb the ramps placed in strategic positions around the house offering easy access to our king size bed, the living room sofa and the love seat in my study.

But Park ignored Melissa Tulip for the first month she was with us. Then the day came when something triggered a recognition in Park. Madison sometimes sported a strand of pearls, especially on holidays. When she passed, I wanted to preserve the pearls as a keepsake so instead of letting Lexington or Melissa Tulip wear them, I wrapped and placed them in my jewelry box.

One day while shopping, I saw a crystal necklace and thought, instead of pearls, Melissa Tulip would wear crystals. I came home with my find and placed the necklace around Melissa Tulip’s neck. That’s when I witnessed something that was so extraordinary I couldn’t deny it. Park looked at Melissa Tulip wearing the necklace and did a double take as if he recognized the soul within. From that day to this, Park and Melissa Tulip have been inseparable. From the moment their eyes greet each new day until a blanket of night tucks them in, these two are together.

They communicate easily with each other, they know each other’s moods and understand when one isn’t feeling well, they go on adventures together, they sleep with noses touching and Park has become Melissa Tulip’s groomer. He will even step aside and let her lick the remnants of his food bowl. I have seen her take a bone out of his mouth and in response he will never growl, but instead simply search out another. He is always extremely giving to her.

Park is fifteen and a half years old now and Melissa Tulip will be nine on March 13. Park went through a terrible health scare last year when he suddenly lost the use of his hind legs. But with the help of a wonderful vet who practices alternative medicine, Park progressed and miraculously the paralysis disappeared.

All during the five months of his convalescence, Melissa Tulip was right there by his side watching over him. The little sister became the protector.

We dread the thought of our sweet boy, Park, not being here anymore and we worry about how Melissa Tulip will go on after Park. When Lexington crossed the rainbow bridge in 2020, Park and Melissa Tulip helped each other through the loss. What will Melissa Tulip do without her soul mate?

But soul mates last forever, don’t they? When the day comes for Melissa Tulip to cross over that rainbow bridge, I’m sure Park will be waiting to welcome her. Then the bonded pair will once more play together, search out Heavenly adventures together and curl up together when the day is done.

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

One year ago, TBR News Media published my first of what would become many articles on a variety of topics. This first article, Park’s Bench, was a personal account of my now 15- year-old dachshund, Park, my travel buddy, and our special visits to a bench in Stony Brook Village where we have gone for years to celebrate our July birthdays or simply to retreat from our busy lives. Little did I know then that Park and I were on the threshold of a traumatic event that would change our lives.

On Saturday, May 15, 2021, Park appeared a little uncomfortable. I immediately called our vet and got an appointment for the following morning. By nightfall, Park sat down and couldn’t move; his back legs had become paralyzed.

Even as a senior dog, he had been happy and active, running with his sister, Melissa Tulip, half his age. I marveled at the energy of our little man. This drastic change combined with his age had me fearing our time together was about to abruptly end.

Dr. Gucciardo examined Park, but instead of suggesting the worst, he gave us hope. He said through acupuncture and laser therapy combined with medications and herbs, there was a chance Park could regain the use of his hind legs.

I held on to that glimmer of hope and we began the long road back. Once a week, Park and I were at the vet for his treatments. Weeks turned into months —  still we were at the vet every Thursday for his therapies. Though our boy couldn’t walk, it seemed half of him was perfectly normal. He had energy. It amazed me how he managed to move so quickly on his two front legs. He was still interested in everything, especially meal and snack times. 

We started our road trips again to our favorite places including Stony Brook Village and Park’s bench. While we sat there on one recent visit, I watched as a breeze delicately ruffled his fury ears and we enjoyed our moment in time.

By late August, it seemed Park might not be able to walk again, but he was certainly not ready to leave us. That’s when discussions started with Dr. Gucciardo about a doggie wheelchair so Park wouldn’t have to exert himself as he dragged across the floor.

But Park had something else in mind. While we continued discussions about the wheelchair, Park suddenly pushed up his hind legs. He especially did this around mealtimes. By the beginning of September, he applied pressure to his hind legs and took a few wobbly steps. He was much weaker on the right side, but he progressed. Soon he was up on all four legs, very frail, but he was walking. Each day he improved. With movement returning to his hind legs, his hips strengthened. He had gone to scary protruding bones in his hips, but he even developed muscle tone again.

Park continues improving daily now and we keep up with his weekly therapies. Though his right leg turns in a little, he has started to gallop down the hall, a spring in his step. It is as if he has turned back the hands of time on his 15 year 4 month-old body. Dr Gucciardo, with his alternative therapies, saved our boy and gave us back the active Park ready for a stroll around town.

When I wrote Park’s Bench, I never could have imagined the traumatic events we would face together. Now, I watch our little man run through the yard or down the hall or on the rolling greens near Park’s bench in Stony Brook Village and I am thankful for the precious time I have with our happy, active boy.

I share our story in the hopes that we might help others going through similar life altering circumstances with their beloved fur babies. There is hope. Paralysis is not a death sentence. It may not happen quickly, but if it is possible for my senior boy to regain the use of his hind legs, it can happen for your dog too.

Miller Place resident Barbara Anne Kirshner is a freelance journalist, playwright and author of “Madison Weatherbee —The Different Dachshund.”

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

“My only hesitation about visiting the exhibit hall on July 3rd to write the article on your motorcycle exhibit is that my dachshund Park’s birthday is that day. I know it must sound silly, but I don’t want to leave him at home on his birthday. He’s a perfect little gentleman when he travels, so could I possibly bring him with me?”

The cheerful voice of the curator replied, “I love dogs. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I think it’s sweet you don’t want to leave him home on his birthday. Anyway, we’re very dog friendly.”

I assured her, “We have a stroller that he loves, so he won’t be just walking around the exhibit hall.” “No problem. I’m looking forward to meeting him,” she responded cheerily.

We arrived at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational and Cultural Center, an impressive white colonial style building with black shutters anchoring Stony Brook Village, at the appointed time. We must have been a sight indeed with a long-haired dachshund in a stroller heading into the lobby.

A smiling woman with a bubbly voice met us. “Nice to meet you,” she extended her hand in greeting then looked in the stroller. “And this must be Park, the birthday boy.” Park’s head cocked to one side at the sound of his name. In addition to Park and his stroller, I was laden by my shoulder bag filled with writing pads and pens, my cell phone to record if necessary and my camera; all of which had to be juggled to accept the hand extended in greeting.

She led us into her office where I got a run-down of the fifty different bikes on display. Then she escorted us into the exhibition hall where a guided tour was provided.

As we strolled our way around each cycle with me snapping pictures and scribbling notes, the curator, a font of knowledge, filled in the historic facts connected to some of the cycles. My boy sat with his head leaning on the front bar of his stroller just taking in the sights and listening attentively to her explanations as if he understood and appreciated the information. I wrote feverishly trying to latch on to every word she spoke with back up of my cell phone recorder for anything missed.

Our tour lasted over two hours and at the end the curator marveled at how well-behaved Park was the entire time.

“Well, you must do something special for this very good boy,” she said.

“I intend to,” I agreed.

She suggested, “If you go back toward the main road, you will come to a fork, make the right, that will bring you up a hill toward the stores on the right and a big lawn, a park, on the left. He might enjoy the park.”

“Perfect,” I exclaimed. “Park does enjoy going to parks!”

We giggled at that, then Park and I took off in the direction of the lawn and quaint shops. We came upon a restaurant named Latitude 121 then but has since changed management and is now called Sweet Mama’s. This restaurant has an ice cream parlor in the front where Park and I stopped for a few scoops of vanilla. He licked the cup clean, then followed it up with a water chaser. Once satiated, we explored the great lawn fronting the Stony Brook Village shopping area.

An inviting bench seemed to call to us so we took up brief residence there. A slight breeze played with Park’s luxurious long ears as we sat immersed in this picturesque setting. In the distance, boats and kayaks glided leisurely over the tranquil waters of Long Island Sound. People on blankets or beach chairs dotted the lawn. Some passed by, smiled at my little man who seemed perfectly content to take in the summer day sitting by my side on that bench. A peacefulness embraced us. We were two friends who took a break from life’s hectic activity to cherish this moment in time on my boy’s birthday. We were happy, content, carefree, and undisturbed by the bustle of life.

A few weeks later, Park and I were back at Park’s bench, this time to celebrate my birthday. And every July 3rd and again on July 16th Park and I return to our Stony Brook bench that I nicknamed Park’s bench to celebrate our birthdays. We enjoy stepping out of our busy lives to luxuriate in the serenity of these pastoral surroundings.

Park is 14 years old now, but still healthy and strong. I don’t know how many future birthdays we will be blessed to share together, but even after he is no longer in this world, I will visit Park’s bench and give thanks for the times we spent here together. And I’m sure my boy will look down at me from his place in heaven and find some way to let me know he is still sitting next to me on Park’s bench.

Miller Place resident Barbara Anne Kirshner  is a freelance journalist, playwright and author of ‘Madison Weatherbee —The Different Dachshund.’

Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle with boys winners Chris Witherspoon, Josh Washington and Stephen Cartolano, Suffolk County Legislator Tom Muratore and 6th Precinct Community Liaison Officer Will Zieman. Photo from Councilman LaValle

By Bill Landon

A three-on-three basketball tournament took center stage at the Centereach pool and park complex July 15.

In the second year of the Above the Rim tournament, sponsored by Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden), boys and girls competed in separate sessions for a championship title.

With new courts, backboards and rims, and a new spray park, walking trail and pickleball courts, the park complex has undergone multiple renovations since LaValle took office four years ago.

Brianna LaValle, on right, leaps for the rim during the Above the Rim tournament at Centereach Pool’s park. Photo by Bill Landon

“I grew up about a mile from here, and I grew up playing basketball, so when I got elected to office we redid this whole facility,” the councilman said. “For me, growing up here, it’s a way to give back to the community. These are new courts and the message we wanted to get out was ‘hey, the courts are back and with the pool, the playground, the tennis and pickleball courts, there’s something for the whole family.”

The park property has a cellular telephone tower on its west side that the town parks department leases to wireless communications carriers. Until LaValle took office that revenue, almost $60,000 a year according to the councilman, went into the town’s general fund. But he changed that.

“One of the first resolutions I passed was to put that money back into this park, because it’s on the park’s property,” LaValle said. “So that’s how we redid the basketball courts, the walking trail and the spray park. It’s a beautiful facility. You don’t get many parks like this in any township let alone Brookhaven.”

The Middle Country Booster Club, the Middle Country Public Library, the Centereach Fire Department, the Suffolk County Police Department’s Community Oriented Police Enforcement unit and the Selden and Centereach civic associations attended the event.

The girls had the benefit of an overcast sky and cooler temperatures in the morning, where Kanesha Strider, Jacqueline Mannix and Brianna LaValle took home the title.

Kanesha Strider dribbles the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Strider, a Longwood junior and three-year varsity player, passed on another event to take part in the tournament.

“Basketball brings me here — I love basketball,” she said. “I could’ve went to a party today, but basketball is very important [to me]. This is a great opportunity and you don’t get stuff like this in Longwood.”

Mannix, a Sachem North junior who is on the varsity squad at her school, played in the tournament at the urging of someone else.

“It was my friend and teammate who convinced me to play today,” she said. “I played in last year’s tournament, too.”

North Babylon junior LaValle, the councilman’s niece, said she came out for the tournament for two reasons.

“It’s for the love of the game,” she said. “And I did this with my friends last year. We love to get out on the court. It’s cool that they made just a girls thing this year.”

The boys competed in the evening, where Centereach varsity boys basketball players stole the show. Senior Chris Witherspoon and juniors Josh Washington and Stephen Cartolano placed first.

“When you come down here on any day, you have kids running around, kids playing basketball, people swimming, seniors playing pickleball, so it’s a multi-dimensional park to say the least,” LaValle said. “There are so many things you can do in one place and the parents love to bring the kids down here, so it’s really a unique facility.”

Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle with Above the Rim girls champions Jacqueline Mannix, Brianna LaValle and Kanesha Strider. Photo from Councilman LaValle

Some debris dumped at the Town of Brookhaven’s Tanglewood Park in Coram. Photo from Legislator Anker’s office

The penalty for illegally dumping on county-owned properties may soon include jail time in Suffolk County, after legislators unanimously approved on March 28 both increased fines and the potential of up to one year’s imprisonment for anyone convicted. The bill, sponsored by Legislators Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma), Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) and Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), now goes to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) for his signature within the next 30 days. 

A no dumping sign along North Country Road in Shoreham. File photo

Once implemented, maximum fines for illegal dumping of nonconstruction, demolition and hazardous material wastes by a business or corporation will increase to $15,000 from the previous fine of $5,000. The penalty for dumping nonconstruction materials by an individual will remain at $1,000. If an individual is found dumping construction or demolition material, the misdemeanor fine will increase to $10,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a corporation or business. Under the change, both an individual and someone convicted of dumping material on behalf of a commercial entity may be sentenced up to one year in jail. Imposition of the ultimate fine or criminal sentence is within the sentencing court’s discretion.

“For far too long, fines associated with illegal dumping were considered just the cost of doing business,” said Hahn, chairwoman both of the Legislature’s Parks & Recreation and Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committees. “For those who choose to pursue greed over the health of the public and our environment, your cost of business has just gotten a lot more expensive. The one-two combination of increased monetary penalties and potential jail time will hopefully give pause to any person or commercial entity that believes these significant fines and the potential loss of freedom is a cost effective business strategy.”

Illegal dumping on Long Island has emerged as a serious environmental issue and threat to public health following the discoveries of potentially toxic debris within the Town of Islip’s Roberto Clemente Park, Suffolk County’s West Hills County Park and a housing development for military veterans in Islandia. In February, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation issued approximately 200 tickets for unlawful disposal, operating without a permit and other violations during stings conducted on Long Island and the Hudson Valley that also identified nine dumping sites upstate. 

“Illegal dumping of hazardous materials and construction waste on county property causes harmful chemicals to seep into our water.”

—Sarah Anker

“For decades, Suffolk County has worked tirelessly to preserve land in order to protect our environment and groundwater,” Anker said. “Illegal dumping of hazardous materials and construction waste on county property causes harmful chemicals to seep into our water, which negatively affects our health. It is important we do everything in our power to continue to protect our parklands and to ensure that illegal dumping does not occur. By doing so, we are not only preserving the environmental integrity of Suffolk County, but improving the quality of life for all residents.”

Trotta called the dumping a crime against the residents of Suffolk County.

“I want to make it unprofitable for contractors to dump this material,” he said, “and more importantly, I want them going to jail for this.”

Browning added that the parks are vital assets for Suffolk County residents, and one of the core recreational resources available to them. She doesn’t like seeing the destruction of quality of life. Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) agrees, saying it’s an important step to protecting parks, while giving teeth to all legislation recently passed on this quality of life issue.

“I applaud legislator Hahn for her hard work toward preventing this serious problem,” Browning said. “Aggressively attacking illegal dumping head on will ensure the sustainability of our parks and preserve one of the many reasons Suffolk County continues to be a great place to live.”

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright argues that the open space where National Grid plans to put a solar farm, above, houses wildlife species and land that would be better used for parkland. File photo by Kevin Redding

More than a month ago, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and three others trekked across a parcel of land in Shoreham where National Grid plans to demolish 350 acres of a surrounding forest to build a solar farm.

Taking in the rolling hills, cliffs and various species of wildlife around him, Englebright thought up a different, less destructive use for the land.

“I’d prefer to see this as a state park,” he said.

National Grid, which owns the power plant property in Shoreham, above, is proposing a solar farm. File photo by Kevin Redding

On March 22, a proposal to turn Shoreham-Wading River Forest into a state park was officially written by Dick Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, who had accompanied Englebright that day.

Signed by 20 representatives from various civic associations and environmental groups across Suffolk County, the proposal aims to protect and preserve the more than 800 acres of land, owned by National Grid, that surrounds the permanently closed Shoreham nuclear power plant.

“The approximately 820 acres of undeveloped vegetable land at Shoreham constitutes one of the top four unprotected natural areas remaining on all of Long Island,” Amper wrote in the proposal. “Given its size, location on the shoreline of Long Island Sound, and ecological/environmental attributes, the Shoreham property strongly merits acquisitions as New York’s next ‘great state park.’”

Recreational proposals included are a “shore-to-core-to-shore” hiking trail tying the Long Island Sound coastline with the Pine Barrens forests; a number of hiking trails lacing throughout the woodlands; and the mile-long beachfront for surf casting fisherman, beachcombers and swimming.

The letter was sent to Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in Albany, where it currently awaits approval. As of press time, there was still no response.

If approved, the proposed state park would be included in legislation put forth by Englebright.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright. File photo

“It is an incredibly valuable ecological property — it has an importance for all of Brookhaven Town and this entire region,” Englebright said, noting the parcel’s rare plant species, large variety of woodland birds and significant watershed and clean water supply potential. “The parcel is a museum piece of our island’s natural history heritage, and its ecological and natural system benefits are immense.”

Since a solar farm on the site was proposed by National Grid last June, it’s attracted much community opposition.

According to the project’s fact sheet, the solar farm would generate up to 72 megawatts of solar energy, provide power for more than 13,000 homes and raise millions of dollars in tax benefits.

“We think it’s a false choice,” Amper said. “It’s like saying, we have to destroy the environment to preserve it, which is just stupid.”

Amper recognized solar as an important renewable energy in combatting global warming, but said panels should be installed on roofs and parking lots rather than ecosystems.

“The land is so valuable, environmentally, that it should be preserved,” he added. “It’s just an extraordinary treasure that has largely gone unappreciated because of this abandoned nuclear plant, a white elephant on the landscape.”

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) has long been against the deforestation of the Shoreham site, and said turning it into a state park would be a win-win.

“There’s a dearth of recreational resources on Long Island, and so to have the public be able to access this property, take in its beauty, experience it, enjoy it, swim in the Long Island sound, boat, hike …,” she said. “We don’t want this property to be developed.”

National Grid is proposing a solar farm in Shoreham, like the one at Brookhaven National Lab. File photo

Andrea Spilka, president of Southampton Town Civic Coalition, who was among the 20 names on Amper’s proposal, echoed Bonner’s sentiment.

“[The site] is probably one of the last waterfront forests we have on Long Island,” Spilka said. “I’m a firm believer in not developing and not cutting down trees to set up solar, so to me, a park where people can go and enjoy the natural beauty that we have is a worthwhile cause. And, certainly, the alternatives are not good.”

Sid Bail, president of the Wading River Civic Association, said he didn’t think twice before signing the proposal.

“It just seemed like such a travesty and tragedy to consider that the only way we could have a renewable future was to eliminate this really unique, environmental parcel,” Bail said.

The Long Island Pine Barrens Society is holding a bus tour of the property Tuesday, April 18th, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. For more information, call 631-369-3300.

Cordwood Landing County Park is located on Landing Avenue in Miller Place. File photo by Erika Karp

It’s a purchase that’s been six years in the making, but now, Miller Place can make room for more open space.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) announced last week that the owner of a 5.4-acre parcel adjacent to the 64.4-acre Cordwood Landing County Park has accepted Suffolk County’s most recent offer to acquire the property for open space preservation.

Previously, the wooded piece of land was slated for residential development. Anker had submitted three separate resolutions in 2011, 2014 and 2016 for the county to appraise the parcel with hopes of expanding the adjacent county parkland. While there are still several steps in the approval process, the legislator will continue to push the acquisition forward.

“I will continue to do everything in my power to preserve this environmentally sensitive parcel,” she said. “Residential development on this property would negatively affect the character of the Miller Place historic district and infringe on the beauty of Cordwood Landing County Park.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said acquiring the land is a remarkable achievement for the county and its residents.

“Residential development on this property would negatively affect the character of the Miller Place historic district and infringe on the beauty of Cordwood Landing County Park.”

— Sarah Anker

“Legislator Anker has been an incredible advocate for the preservation of the open space around Cordwood Landing County Park, and this acquisition speaks volumes to the quality of leadership we strive for in our region,” he said. “Land preservation allows us to protect our environment, and most of all, improve the water quality in the region. I look forward to continue working with our local leaders to make Suffolk County a great place for all our residents.”

The county is currently in the process of obtaining an environmental site assessment survey. The Suffolk County Planning Department and the Council on Environmental Quality will then review the assessment to ensure the site is environmentally sound, in order to move forward with the acquisition. Following review and pending approval by the council, Anker will put forth a resolution to purchase the property. The purchasing resolution will be reviewed by the Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee, and if approved by the committee, the resolution will be voted on by the legislature.

Cordwood Landing County Park is in the heart of the Miller Place historic district and is an important parcel of open space for the local community. It offers extensive hiking trails and access to the Long Island Sound, and the local community, including the Miller Place Civic Association, has been vocal in support for the acquisition.

“The Miller Place Civic Association is very pleased to see the preservation efforts of this property located between our historic district and the nature preserve is moving forward,” Miller Place Civic Association president Woody Brown said.

He added he’s grateful that the owner, developer Mark Baisch, who owns Landmark Properties in Rocky Point, was willing to let the county purchase and preserve the parcel. He also thanked local officials for their involvement.

“We owe a big thank you to Legislator Sarah Anker, who stood with the community throughout the entire process and continued to work diligently to save this precious parcel in its natural state,” he said. “Also, we wish to thank the Town of Brookhaven, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Supervisor Ed Romaine for all their support and willingness to partner with the county to purchase the property.”

Anker said she is really just happy to have the community behind her.

“I would like to thank the local community for their support,” she said. “I am confident that I will be able to work with my peers to bring this acquisition to fruition.”

Cold Spring Harbor performs at the Village Center in Port Jefferson on July 21. Photo by Joseph Wolkin

By Joseph Wolkin

Thursday nights in July are for music, beautiful sunsets and good times in Port Jefferson.

The Harborside Concert Series hosted its second of four installments July 21 at Harborfront Park outside of the Village Center.

Amid the warm temperature and radient sky, the Cold Spring Harbor Band took to the stage to perform a Billy Joel tribute concert.

Led by Pat Farrell, known as “Piano Man Pat,” the band played chronologically according to Joel’s career. Starting with his first album, “Cold Spring Harbor,” the band played covers of the singer’s most popular songs.

The Cold Spring Harbor Band. Photo by Joseph Wolkin
The Cold Spring Harbor Band. Photo by Joseph Wolkin

“This is a fantastic venue,” Farrell said after the concert. “We play at a lot of places, but we’re playing right by the water. It’s just incredible and we had a great turnout. It’s beautiful here at Port Jefferson.”

Husband and wife Bill and Margie Recco attended the concert as part of a relaxing evening by the water with their friends. Margie Recco attended high school with Joel at Hicksville High School, ut the two never met.

“I think it’s great,” she said about the concert series.

Her husband agreed.

“It’s lovely here,” he said. “It has a breeze. It’s a wonderful night. There’s a free concert and it’s just really nice.”

“Every venue is different,” Farrell said. “You have great weather. It’s right on the water. Port Jefferson is world-renowned. It’s right up there.”

The Cold Spring Harbor Band ended the evening by singing “I’m Proud to Be an American,” with the crowd getting to their feet and singing along to the patriotic song.

Next up in the Harborside Concert Series is an Aug. 4 performance with Six Gun & DJ Neil Wrangler, featuring country music.

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The entrance to Blydenburgh County Park is in Smithtown. File photo

A man trying to rescue his dog from a freezing lake on Saturday morning needed a rescue himself, after falling into chest-deep water, according to police.

The 56-year-old Brooklyn resident was going after Dena the dog, who had gotten loose during a walk and ran onto a frozen lake at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown, the Suffolk County Police Department said. While going after the canine, he fell into the lake himself.

Park rangers as well as officers from the SCPD’s 4th Precinct, Emergency Service Section, Aviation Section and Marine Bureau responded to the park, on Veterans Memorial Highway. Police said Michael Coscia from the Emergency Service Section put on a water rescue suit and crawled onto the ice, while tethered to a rope officers Michael Simpson and Robert Stahl were holding.

After the man was in the water for about 25 minutes, Stahl, Simpson and Sgt. Michael Homan pulled both him and Coscia from the water, police said. The dog walked off the ice.

Police said the Brooklyn man was treated for hypothermia at Stony Brook University Hospital.