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Photo from PJSTCC

By Joan Nickeson

A book walk — also known as a story walk — is an innovative and delightful way for people to walk outdoors and enjoy a bit of reading. 

You’ll find a half dozen handcrafted wood podiums for a new book walk, installed in the park at the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Train Car. 

Photo from PJSTCC

This is the eagle scout leadership project of Enrique Rivera of Boy Scout Troop 354, Port Jefferson Station. These substantial kiosks display information compiled by Jeff Kito, from his archives. He is a former president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as Facilities Director of the Train Car, and you can stroll the park book walk at the intersection of Route 347, Route 112, Rose Avenue and Canal Road. 

The story of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce-early 1900s Train Car comes to life as you walk from page to page. It includes fascinating photos of when it was transported through our streets to its present location. 

The current set of book stands will be supplemented by six more kiosks, to be built and installed by scout Jake Lopez for his future eagle scout project. At that time laminated pages from a children’s book, supplied by the Comsewogue Library, will be inserted on top of the train history pages. This is all protected by plexiglass topper. 

“It is important to note that in light of the constraints due to the pandemic, the boys have had to shoulder the costs of their community projects,” said scoutmaster Bob Pearsall. “Mr. Kito made a substantial contribution to Enrique’s project.”

The Scoutmaster who has been with the troop for 20 years did so, as well. The individual financial support in addition to paint and supplies from Aboff’s, Lowes and other Long Island businesses were critical to pulling this project together. 

Photo from PJSTCC

And what a treat for us. Anytime one can combine reading while walking under the trees of the park is time well spent. It benefits all residents of Brookhaven. Thanks to the many hands involved in this. For more information on the project contact Bob Pearsall at (631) 678-5689

or the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce at (631) 821-1313.

Joan Nickeson is an active member of the PJS/Terryville community and community liaison to the PJS/T Chamber of Commerce.

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Photo from PJSTCC

Girl Scouts of Troop 991 got to work on their Silver Award Project at the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Train Car.

Pictured above are scouts Vanessa Molinelli, Olivia Vecchio and Emily Gaide. Behind them are volunteers pressed into service. 

The Silver Award leadership project is one that scouts plan, prep and execute. These one entrails refurbishing the deck, rails, steps and handicap ramp at the early 1900s baggage coach “train car.” 

The scouts organize schedules, responsibilities and fundraisers. They received building material donations from Home Depot of South Setauket and Margaritas Café Port Jefferson Station have been keeping them fueled. 

Ira Dunne, president of The Social Brain in Port Jefferson Station, at last month’s Bike and Helmet Safety Day event. Photo from the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce

By Joan Nickeson

Selfless and supportive. There are many 501c3 nonprofits in our communities, which hold a special recognition by the state and local governments. In the old days we referred to them as “charities.” 

Being charitable has never been more important, so I’m shining the light on one exceptional organization, The Social Brain, founded by Ira Dunne. 

A behavioral specialist with a master’s in therapeutic recreation, Dunne has transformed the lives of traumatic brain injury survivors on Long Island and their office center is right here in Port Jefferson Station.

“Traumatic brain injury survivors may be getting support during the week, but come the weekend, there is a void,” Dunne said. “Building social activities that accommodate their physical challenges has lacked organized support. That’s why we created the Social Brain.”

They just completed their first music therapy event, where clients interacted with a certified therapist and 15 different instruments. Dunne explained how singing of familiar songs builds cognitive skills, sparking memories. Manipulating instruments motivates and engages the individuals in a fun group setting. 

The Social Brain, a member of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, recently held a hugely successful Bike and Helmet Safety Day at the chamber train car. 

TBR News Media covered the event where new helmets were given away to children and adults, and the importance of head protection was discussed. All helmets had been donated via the Social Brain website; thesocialbrain.org. 

One hundred percent of their services are provided through donations. For more information contact Ira Dunne at 631-793-4311 or [email protected]

Joan Nickeson is an active member of the PJS/Terryville community and community liaison to the PJS/T Chamber of Commerce.

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Photo from Joan Nickeson

Shannon Harrington, a senior at Comsewogue High School is the recipient of the 2021 Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce $500 Scholarship. 

Shannon impressed the chamber as a volunteer at its 2019 Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Summer Concerts. 

She excelled in the Comsewogue School District’s virtual enterprise course this year, which is taught by Anthony Ketterer. 

Shannon is accepted into the honors program in the Haub School of Business of St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, which she will attend in the fall.

Photo and caption from Joan Nickeson

Photo from Joan Nickeson

By Joan Nickeson

After speaking with Dave Jenkins, owner of Sunburst Tree Experts, I recalled a quote. It may have been Teddy Roosevelt who said, “To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees.”

Providing professional tree care and educating his clients on the many benefits of trees, are part of the calling for Jenkins. 

He explained recently how he is, “saving as many trees as he can” on every job. Jenkins is also a generous individual; he participated in the Great Brookhaven Clean up, donating his time, talent and truck, chipping lots of deadwood around the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Train Car. 

The staff of Sunburst Tree Experts are dedicated to staying one step ahead of the game and have been, since 1974. 

Whether you need expert pruning, tree evaluation and removal, installation, or storm cleanup you’ll always have a certified, licensed and insured arborist on site. 

Jenkins requires his employees to complete ongoing continuing education classes. 

“It is necessary to know the latest technology and information, to maintain the health of trees not only for our clients but the greater community,” he said. 

In addition to being a loyal member and volunteering with the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, he pruned back all the dead branches at the American Legion Hall in Port Jefferson Station for free. 

For a free estimate from a friendly tree expert, you can contact Dave at Sunburst Tree Experts at 631-744-1577.

Joan Nickeson is an active member of the PJS/Terryville community and community liaison to the PJS/T Chamber of Commerce.

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Gwenn Capodieci, co-owner of Backstage Studio of Dance, was the recipient of two recent awards. Photo from PJSTCC

By Joan Nickeson

Backstage Studio of Dance, located at Three Roads Plaza in Port Jefferson Station, is the winner of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award. 

Additionally, ‘Backstage’ has won the runner-up award of the Small Business Recovery Grant from the Brookhaven Coalition of Chambers of Commerce. This second place win is an exception this year. 

“There were just so many deserving applicants, we needed to make accommodations,” said B.C.C.C. board member, and PJS/T Chamber of Commerce President, Jennifer Dzvonar.

With the news of her wins, co-owner Gwenn Capodieci said, “We are honored to be chosen by the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce and the B.C.C.C. The grants will help us acquire training equipment and studio improvements for our students and student teachers.” 

Additionally, they need an advertising sign to better reach students during registration days.

Capodieci explained their dance education philosophy and reflected on their success at building up students’ resiliency. 

“I have personally seen shy students blossom and their confidence and strength improve as they go through our programs,” she said. 

 In fact, when they put COVID-19 restrictions into place last March, she and the staff put 62 of their dance classes up on zoom, at their scheduled time. 

“We knew these kids needed consistency in their lives,” she said. “The students will benefit from these grants in a variety of ways this year.”

Backstage Studio of Dance is currently in the midst of their 35th year. They’re located at the intersection of routes 347 and 112, at Canal Road. Contact them at 631-331-5766 or backstagestudioofdance.com.

Joan Nickeson is an active member of the PJS/Terryville community and community liaison to the PJS/T Chamber of Commerce.