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Port Jefferson Fire Department

Remembrances and memorials were held across the North Shore Monday to honor those lost as a result of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

The Port Jefferson Fire Department held its annual 9/11 ceremony on the grounds of the department. The department’s flag was raised to half mast, a bell was rung to remember each of the Brookhaven Town residents who died that day and the Port Jefferson Middle School Orchestra accompanied the event with performances.

The Setauket Fire District held its annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the district’s Memorial Park on Nicolls Road in Stony Brook.

Residents, elected officials and firefighters from Rocky Point, Shoreham, Miller Place and beyond gathered at the Rocky Point Fire Department 9/11 Memorial Ceremony to honor those who lost their lives.

Hundreds of Huntington residents attended “We Stand United In Love,” a multi-faith candlelight prayer service remembering 9/11 and its victims in Heckscher Park.

This version will be updated with photos from more events.

Mount Sinai resident Michael Cherry arrives to be the first customer of the valet parking service in Port Jeff in July 2017. File photo by Alex Petroski

By Alex Petroski

Thanks to the start of a pilot program this past weekend, one of the most difficult aspects of life in Port Jefferson Village was a little easier. Finding parking has long been a complaint of visitors to Port Jeff, especially during the summer months. In an effort to address the problem, a joint venture valet parking service spearheaded by the Business Improvement District, the village and the Port Jefferson School District kicked off July 14.

According to Tommy Schafer, restaurant owner, village resident and BID president, 12 drivers utilized the service on July 14, 51 on July 15 and 12 on July 16, during the first weekend of its availability. He added the service operated without incident during the three-day span.

The route valets will take to park cars at once the system is implemented. Image by TBR News Media

“Overall it went well,” Schafer said in a phone interview. “Every time something new happens you expect an adjustment period.”

Port Jeff Deputy Mayor and Trustee Larry LaPointe, who also serves as the board’s liaison to the parking committee, said during a public board meeting July 17 he received correspondence from the Port Jefferson Fire Department with concerns about a lack of signage.

The entrance to the municipal lot across from the fire department on Maple Place was supposed to operate as a “one-way” street during the hours of operation of the service, with cars only being allowed to exit the lot via Maple. A “Do not Enter” sign was also expected to be at the Maple Place entrance to the lot but was not there, according to LaPointe. A phone message requesting comment left at the fire department was not returned.

Schafer said the problem will be discussed during a scheduled meeting of all of the interested parties, which took place during the afternoon July 19.

Michael Cherry, a Mount Sinai resident, was the first customer of the service just after 4 p.m. July 14.

“Anywhere that has a lot of people you’re going to have that issue [of not being able to always find a convenient parking spot],” he said, though he added he frequently visits the village to patronize the restaurants, and parking has never deterred him from coming. “We were going to come down here no matter what so it doesn’t even matter.”

LaPointe said he hoped in coming weeks employees at the restaurants would push the service to customers while taking reservations to try and boost usage numbers.

“If you know a little bit about our history you know we’ve struggled with parking for many years in the village. This we believe is one way we can help alleviate some of those problems.”

— Roger Rutherford

The service is functioning pursuant to a contract between the BID and the school district. The lot on Maple Place across the street from the fire department is used as a staging area. Cars are dropped off at that spot, parked at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, then picked up from the same spot. The service costs drivers $7. The program is available during the summer months until Labor Day on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, and Sundays noon to 11 p.m.

Valets take cars from the lot behind Ruvo restaurant and bar, take a left on Maple Place, a right on Main Street, a right to cross over Barnum Avenue and a left into the high school lot. To return cars to the staging area for pick up, valets exit at the opposite end of the lot onto Old Post Road then take a left on Main Street and a left onto Wynn Lane to re-enter the municipal lot. Valet drivers do not use Barnum Avenue, Tuthill Street or Spring Street, three residential roads, which were discussed as possible routes during the June board meeting, according to Garant. Excess traffic on residential streets received strong pushback from members of the community.

The program is cost neutral for the village, and should revenue exceed the initial investment by Advanced Parking Services, the valet company in agreement with the BID, 25 percent of profits would go to the company and the remaining 75 percent would be split between the school district and village.

Roger Rutherford, general manager of The Port Jefferson Frigate, was present for the kick off of the service July 14.

“If you know a little bit about our history you know we’ve struggled with parking for many years in the village,” he said. “This we believe is one way we can help alleviate some of those problems.”

A fire broke out at Hair Port Salon in Port Jefferson July 5. Photo by Dennis Whittam

A fire broke out early Wednesday morning at Hair Port Salon, located on Main Street in Port Jefferson between Arden Place and East Main Street.

The commercial building fire started around 8 a.m. July 5, according to Suffolk County Police. The Port Jefferson Fire Department responded to the blaze. The SCPD Arson Section is investigating the incident, though it appears to be non-criminal, according to police. Police said no one was injured.

Port Jefferson’s annual July 4th parade sponsored by the Port Jefferson Fire Department marched down Main Street in the village Tuesday morning. Marchers from nearby fire departments, the Suffolk County Police Department, and numerous other groups including the Port Jefferson Ferry, local boys and girls scout troops, and many others took part in the festivities.

Fire Prevention Day for the Port Jefferson Fire Department is Oct. 16. File photo

In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, the Port Jefferson Fire Department will host its annual Fire Prevention Open House Sunday, Oct. 16, from 12 to 3 p.m.

The event will be held at the Port Jefferson Fire Department located at 115 Maple Place, Port Jefferson.

Residents in the Port Jeff community will have a chance to take an up-close look at the department’s fire fighting equipment, practice the proper way to exit a burning building and learn about the important aspects of being a firefighter, all through hands-on interactive experiences.

In addition, flu shots will be available thanks to a cooperative effort between state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Walgreens.

For more information call 631-473-8910.

PJFD responds to a fire at Billie's 1890 Saloon on Main Street. Photo by Alex Petroski
PJFD responds to a fire at Billie’s 1890 Saloon on Main Street. Photo by Alex Petroski

A well-known watering hole on Main Street in Port Jefferson is closing its doors — at least for a little while — after a fire shut it down late Monday afternoon.

Billie’s 1890 Saloon, located on the western side of Main Street near the intersection of East Main Street and about a quarter of a mile south of Port Jefferson Harbor, was ablaze after a fire started toward the rear of the building around 4 p.m. on Monday.

Port Jefferson Fire Chief Charlie Russo addressed the incident after the flames were extinguished.

“Right now it’s just a fire that started in the back area of the building— it’s under investigation so I can’t give you too much information, but again it started in the back of the building, not the street side of the building,” Russo said. The kitchen is located in the back of the building.

“It was extinguished fairly quickly and minimal damage was done,” Russo said.

Russo also said that one civilian was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after the blaze.

A spokesman for the business who was on site after the fire declined to comment Monday, but two messages were posted on the saloon’s Facebook page later that night.

“We are temporarily closed for business,” the first message read at about 5:20 p.m.

The second message was posted just before 8 p.m.

“If not for the [Port Jefferson Fire Department],” the message said. “Billie’s would have been no more. Thank you for the prompt response! We will be back soon. [We’ll] keep you posted.”

It is unclear how long Billie’s will remain closed.

Members of the Setauket Fire Department participate in the annual ceremony in memory of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001. The event is a cherished annual event on the North Shore. File photo by Barbara Donlon

By Giselle Barkley & Victoria Espinoza

After 14 years, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, have not been forgotten, by residents across the North Shore.

In honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, this Friday, from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m., the Setauket Fire Department is holding their annual 9/11 Memorial service. The department is holding the ceremony at September 11 Memorial Park on the Setauket Fire Department’s Nicolls Road Station.

The East Northport Fire Department will also be hosting its 13th annual memorial service this Friday, with two separate events, both being held at the 9th Avenue side of the Larkfield Road firehouse at the 9/11 Memorial Monument on Friday, Sept. 11. The morning ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m., and the evening candlelight vigil begins at 8 p.m.

Both ceremonies are set around an eight-foot, 8,000 pound steel beam from Ground Zero that the department received from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. During the ceremony, firefighters will read victims’ names, and the sirens will sound at the time of the collapse of the twin towers. The Suffolk County Police Department’s helicopter will do a flyover during the ceremony, and the Northport High School Tights will sing the national anthem and “America, the Beautiful.”

The Commack school district will also be presenting a night of remembrance, also for the 14th year in a row, and the theme this year is patriotism, remembrance and resiliency. The ceremony will be held at the Commack High School football fields at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11. Music will be performed by J.D. Leonard, and honorary guest speakers will attend. This year, there will also be a dedication of the three survivor trees planted in their memorial garden.

Residents, or anyone who wishes to pay their respects, are free to attend this candlelight ceremony. According to Dave Sterne, district manager of the Setauket Fire District, the department will serve light refreshments at the event.

“When it comes to September 11th tragedies, it’s one of the worst things to befall the United States of America, and it was in our own backyard,” Sterne said.

According to Sterne, in light of Sept. 11, the fire department’s park was established and dedicated on Sept. 11, 2004. The park was originally designed by Emily Quinn, who was a Ward Melville High School student at the time. Sterne said Quinn implemented steel beams from the World Trade Center into her design of the park. Additional features were added over time, including lights and a granite wall, which illustrates the twin towers and shows the names of those who lost their lives 14 years ago.

“Unfortunately, in the fire service, it’s a close knit community, and we all knew people that unfortunately [lost their lives].” Sterne said

The Setauket Fire Department’s ceremony is one of several ceremonies responders on Long Island are dedicating to those who died on 9/11. This Friday, Sept. 11, the Port Jefferson Fire Department is holding its annual 9/11 memorial ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Maple Place in Port Jefferson. Rocky Point Fire Department also scheduled its ceremony on Sept. 11. Residents can attend the service from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Shoreham, next to the Firehouse. Locals can also go to 9/11 Responders Remembered Park in Nesconset at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, for a reading of the names.

John A. Meringolo, first assistant chief of the Stony Brook Fire Department said his team of heroes would be doing its part to make sure the memories of those lost live on.

“We continue to be mindful of the sacrifices made on that day and believe that it is important that a memorials take place so such events remain in the memory of all those who continue to benefit from living in a free society,” he said.

While many lost their lives on 9/11, Sterne acknowledged that there are also people, including responders, who are still suffering from the injuries or health complications they acquired from 9/11. Regardless of whom someone is remembering, Sterne said it’s simply important to remember him or her.

“It’s important for ourselves and future generations, as time goes by, that we remember to remember,” Sterne said. “And [that we] gather in a beautiful place that was dedicated just for this reason, and that they respect those that were lost, and continue to be lost, as a result of that tragedy.”

Huntington Town will also be holding a small ceremony at Heckscher Park at noon this Friday, Sept. 11.

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Port Jefferson school district held its 57th annual senior prom on Monday night. Parents had worked tirelessly to transform Earl L. Vandermeulen High School into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for the event, secretly painting sets and making dummies to surprise the Class of 2015.

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Village ready to kick off parade and fireworks on July 4

Antonio Febles, 3, and sister Sofia Febles, 7, from Port Jefferson Station get into the spirit despite the rain at the Port Jefferson Fire Department’s July 4 parade last year. Photo by Bob Savage

Port Jefferson is going to be a sea of red, white and blue on Saturday, July 4.

To kick off the day, the Port Jefferson Fire Department will hold its annual Independence Day parade, rain or shine.

The event will start at 10 a.m., with participants marching down Main Street from the Infant Jesus Church at Myrtle Avenue to the harbor, turning left on West Broadway toward Barnum Avenue, and then finishing at the firehouse on Maple Place.

According to the PJFD, roads along the parade route and participant lineup areas will be closed at 8:15 a.m. that day, including Main Street going as far south as North Country Road; Reeves Road; and High Street between Main and Stony Hill Road. Detour signs will direct drivers to the ferry and downtown area.

Later in the day, weather permitting, Port Jefferson Village will continue its annual tradition of setting off fireworks between its East and West beaches in a salute to the nation’s freedom and its Founding Fathers.

The free fireworks show will kick off at 9 p.m.

A resident parking sticker is required to park at the village beaches.

The fireworks are also visible from the neighboring Cedar Beach on Mount Sinai Harbor.