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Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce

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Repairs of the patio/base for the new flagpole underway. Photo courtesy PJS/T Chamber of Commerce

Thanks to the generosity of StoneGate Landscape Construction and J.M. Troffa Hardscape, Mason & Building Supply, both of East Setauket, the repair of the patio/base for the new flagpole has begun. 

On Oct. 11, 2023, a car accident caused serious damage to the flagpole located at the community corner at the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce antique train car. The flagpole needed to be removed for repair. The removal, damage to the site, repair of the pole and landscaping falls squarely on the chamber of commerce. The insurance will not cover even a quarter of the tens of thousands of dollars needed.

The chamber has created a community restoration project for the flagpole corner. It has organized a fundraiser, selling large paver bricks that can be inscribed. Residents, individual organizations and businesses can easily participate, as the PJS/T Civic Association members have voted to do so.

If you wish to help, contact the PJS/T Chamber of Commerce for an order form: telephone 631-821-1313, or email [email protected] or visit the website at pjstchamber.com.

A scene from 'Hop'

Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber of Commerce invites the community to a screening of ‘Hop’ in the Chamber Train Car, southeast corner of Route 112 and Nesconset Highway, Port Jefferson Station on March 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. $20 per person includes movie, water, popcorn, and cookie with a visit from the Easter Bunny at the end. Great opportunity for pictures! For more information and to reserve your seat, visit www.pjstchamber.com or call 631-821-1313. 

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Rabbi Aaron Benson, of the North Shore Jewish Center, presides over a prayer service Thursday, Dec. 7, during a menorah lighting ceremony at the Train Car Park in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Raymond Janis

Faith and business leaders, public officials and community members from Port Jefferson Station/Terryville marked the beginning of Hanukkah Thursday, Dec. 7, with a community gathering and menorah lighting service.

The PJS/T Chamber of Commerce hosted the event at the Train Car Park in Port Jefferson Station. Rabbi Aaron Benson, of the Port Jeff Station-based North Shore Jewish Center, presided over the prayer service.

“In times when we need hope and times when we are struggling in the darkness, the hope, inspiration and strength that we get will come not as some raging fire but a tiny little point of light — just like the menorah here,” he said. Following these remarks, Benson delivered a series of blessings sung aloud by those in attendance.

Chamber president Jen Dzvonar emphasized the importance of this annual event for the chamber and the greater community.

“We believe it is so important to bring all of our community together, especially at this time,” she said. “We are so grateful for Rabbi Benson to always be a part of the chamber and to always do the blessings for us on this day and every year.”

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) also attended the event. During his remarks, he tied the Hanukkah service to the perseverance of the Jewish people throughout history.

“This holiday was celebrated after a Jewish victory against people that tried to destroy them,” the councilmember said. “I think it speaks to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people, and it speaks to the feeling of optimism and hope.”

The crowd cheered in delight as Kornreich lit the menorah’s first candle.

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich presents a new architectural rendering for the proposed redevelopment of Jefferson Plaza during a Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association meeting Tuesday, Nov. 28. Photo by Joan Nickeson

The Brookhaven Town Board will hear public comments on the Jefferson Plaza shopping center in Port Jefferson Station, a proposed redevelopment project with the potential to reshape the face of the hamlet and reorient its long-term trajectory.

The board will hold a public hearing Thursday, Nov. 30, to consider rezoning the 10-acre parcel, owned by Hauppauge-based Staller Associates, to a Commercial Redevelopment District, a new classification within the Zoning Code crafted “to stimulate the revitalization of abandoned, vacant or underutilized commercial shopping center, bowling alley and health club properties.” [See story, “First of its kind: Brookhaven Town Board to review new zoning category for Jefferson Plaza in Port Jeff Station,” Nov. 16, TBR News Media.]

In the runup to the public hearing, the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association held its general meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 28, to establish a set of priorities for overseeing the proposed redevelopment.

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) attended the meeting, identifying four primary areas of concern based on feedback he has heard from the community: traffic, density, height and architecture.

Kornreich said several of those concerns could be addressed through a 35-foot cap on building height. “What I’m going to be looking for is not four stories but a maximum height of 35 feet, which is the same maximum height that you can get in any residential area,” he said.

Leaders and members of the civic association generally favored the 35-foot cap.

The councilmember stated his intention for the developer to adhere to the conditions outlined under the Zoning Code instead of pursuing variances and other relaxations of use.

Regarding architecture, Kornreich said he had consulted with the developer, advocating for “a little bit less of New Hyde Park and a little bit more of New England.” He then presented an architectural rendering of the new proposal that was received favorably by the civic.

Much of the meeting was opened up to members, who offered ideas and raised concerns. Among the issues deliberated were the potential relocation of the post office on-site, availability and diversity of retail options at the property, possible tax increases and related traffic and environmental impact.

Jennifer Dzvonar, president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, endorsed the redevelopment initiative. “It’s very blighted,” she said. “A lot of local stores are leaving there,” adding, “We want to keep expanding and revitalizing the area.”

Charlie McAteer, corresponding secretary of PJSTCA, discussed the possible community givebacks that could be offered through such redevelopment.

“We have to work on … a purchase of some open space in our hub area that’s forever wild,” he said. He added that this form of local giveback would cushion the deal for surrounding neighbors “because they’re giving us, the community, something that we would like.”

Following discussion, the body authorized PJSTCA president Ira Costell to deliver a statement Thursday night to the Town Board representing the collective views of the organization.

The public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville.

Members of the Backstage Studio of Dance attend Family Fun Day at Port Jefferson Station’s Train Car Park. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson
By Aramis Khosronejad

Over the rainy weekend and despite the weather, the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, determined to kick start the fall season, hosted a community celebration on Saturday, Sept. 30. 

The chamber held its annual Family Fun Day celebration at the Train Car Park in Port Jeff Station, where this unique site goes well beyond Saturday’s festivities.

Members of the League of Women Voters table during the event. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson

The chamber is “trying to make it the hub of Port Jeff Station,” said PJSTCC president Jennifer Dzvonar. “We’re trying to bring a central sense of community here.”

Family Fun Day has taken place since 2018. However, this year was the first the event was back after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors. The event consisted of many local vendors and businesses, various performances, games for children and adults, and apple pie and scarecrow contests.

One of the local businesses that performed at the event was the Backstage Studio of Dance, a volunteer group that teaches young adults various dances, including ballet and boys hip hop, among others. “My kids can perform and not feel pressure of competition or anything else,” said Gwenn Capodieci, the executive director of the dance studio. “They’re just up there having fun.” 

Pies are on display. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson

Capodieci added what this event means for the community: “Support your local business while having fun with your family.”

Dzvonar noted that the event aims to “bring something to our community that encompasses everybody — the local businesses, families, our community.”

The original incentive, she added, was to create a simple, fun space where families can gather and enjoy each other’s company while supporting their local businesses. 

Dzvonar also mentioned how the event “is really highlighting our kids, our next generation and our future.”

Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce president Jen Dzvonar, above, is a declared candidate for Suffolk County’s 5th Legislative District. Photo courtesy Dzvonar

The race to replace Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) is now a three-way contest as Jen Dzvonar, president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, has declared her candidacy.

Hahn’s 5th Legislative District spans Three Village, Port Jefferson, Port Jefferson Station, Terryville and parts of Coram and Mount Sinai. The incumbent cannot seek reelection due to 12-year term limits for county offices.

Former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and 2022 GOP primary candidate for New York’s 1st Congressional District, Anthony Figliola of East Setauket, have received their respective party committee’s nominations. [See story, “Legislative races ramp up across levels of government,” The Port Times Record, March 9, also TBR News Media website.]

Dzvonar’s campaign is unaffiliated with a political party. She owns the Port Jefferson Station-based Bass Electric and has served as chamber president for over a decade. She is also a Port Jefferson Rotary Club member.

In an exclusive interview, Dzvonar told TBR News Media she entered the race to build upon ongoing efforts within the 5th District.

“I wanted to make sure that our community is moving in a forward direction, still making progress, still revitalizing,” she said.

The chamber president suggested local initiatives often stagnate due to bureaucracy. She expressed interest in “streamlining” government services, limiting paperwork and removing other impediments within the county government.

“Especially being in the chamber, I see the struggle of local and small businesses — even small developers — that have a hard time getting things to happen,” she said. “It just seems to take so long, and I want to streamline that whole process.”

Among other policy concerns, Dzvonar said she would focus on addressing homelessness, maintaining that the county offers valuable services that are not used to their full potential. Accessing social services, she noted, should be simple.

“There are so many great programs already established for homeless people, people with addiction, with mental health,” the candidate said. “We just need to make those services more readily available.”

She added, “There just seems to be a disconnect somewhere. They don’t make it easy for people that have these issues to be able to obtain help.”

Dzvonar also proposed expanding sewer access into Port Jefferson Station, a measure she contended could bolster further community development. “We can’t get rid of the blight until that is done,” she said.

Dzvonar added that increasing the number of mental health personnel within the county and promoting the Safer Streets initiative are also items on her agenda.

To get on the ballot, Dzvonar has a tall task ahead, needing to obtain 1,500 signatures between April 18 and May 23. Election Day is November 7.

The Curry Club at SāGhar, 111 West Broadway, Port Jefferson celebrated its one year anniversary with a ribbon cutting ceremony, cake and champagne on Feb. 7. 

The event was attended by members of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce (PJCC), Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber of Commerce, elected officials, family and friends. 

Owners Kiran and Kulwant Wadhwa and Indu Kaur were presented with proclamations from Suffolk County Legislature Kara Hahn and Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich.

Pictured from left, President of the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber Jennifer Dzvonar; PJCC 1st VPStu Vincent; PJCC President Mary Joy Pipe; Leg. Kara Hahn; owners Kiran Wadhwa, Kulwant Wadhwa and Indu Kaur; Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich; and PJCC Director Loretta  Criscuoli.

At podium, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announces $450,000 in federal funds to rid the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site of its remaining buildings. Photo by Raymond Janis

Public officials of all levels of government, business and civic leaders, and community members gathered Monday, Jan. 9, before a derelict building at the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site in Port Jefferson Station.

Once a dumping ground for toxic waste, policymakers are now plotting a course of action for this 126-acre property. After taking decades to rid the site of harmful contaminants, officials and community groups are working toward an ambitious proposal to convert the site into a multipurpose community hub, accommodating a solar farm, a railyard and open space for local residents.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the press conference to announce the injection of $450,000 in federal funds secured through the recent omnibus budget. This money will be used to help demolish the remaining buildings at the property. 

“We’re here today to showcase one of the final puzzle pieces needed to demo 14 dangerous buildings here,” Schumer said. “I am here today to say that the train that is on this journey is ready to leave the station.” 

The Senate majority leader added that these funds would advance three community goals. “One, a railroad-use project to help the LIRR with logistics; industrial redevelopment of a 5-megawatt solar farm,” and lastly, add 50 construction jobs to the local economy.

At podium, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D). Photo by Raymond Janis

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) described the considerable intergovernmental coordination and logistical obstacles to get to this stage.

“This project, as reflected by all of the people that have come together and all the levels of government, is critically important to the community,” he said.

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) discussed the long and arduous road to revitalizing the site and the decades that have passed as this community blight lay barren. 

“These buildings have been condemned for over 25 years,” he said. “This has been a Superfund site for almost 25 years. Finally, we will see these buildings come down.”

Former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) also attended the press event. During his time in Albany, he championed the site’s conversion for environmental and community purposes.

“We have a plan that will enhance our community and create new jobs,” he said. “This property stood out as a place in peril of a potentially bad decision,” adding, “Instead, we have a very thoughtful plan.”

Englebright, a geologist by trade, also touched upon the environmental impacts that redevelopment will offer through these plans. He said local harbors, groundwater and surface waters would benefit as this dark episode in local history concludes.

At podium, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). Photo by Raymond Janis

“The harbor, which is the beginning of our town, has been poisoned by the solvents that were poured into the ground here,” the former assemblyman said. “That is a thing of the past because of the federal involvement with the Superfund cleanup.”

He added, “All the levels of government are working together here, which is a beautiful thing. It’s a model for what government should be able to do all the time.”

Jen Dzvonar, president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, also offered her perspective. She said public improvements such as these indirectly support and promote local businesses.

“Any improvement in Port Jefferson Station is major,” she said. “By getting the blight away from the area, we will increase businesses. A solar farm is coming. They’re creating 50 construction jobs. It just heightens Port Jefferson Station and the desire to come here.”

Representing the Village of Port Jefferson were Mayor Margot Garant and Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden. Both stressed the importance of this undertaking, conveying their support for neighboring Port Jefferson Station in its community aspirations.

Garant viewed the plans as an opportunity to improve the Port Jefferson Branch line of the Long Island Rail Road. “We’re really in support of this because of the MTA portion of it,” she said. “To clean up this site, to put it back to public use, to not have the county paying taxes on it, is good for everybody.”

For Snaden, the project will bolster the village’s neighbors, representing a vital regional investment. “I think it’s great,” she said. “It’s a cleanup of the site. It’s knocking down these falling buildings, adding to the betterment of the entire community and the region at large.”

Schumer said the next step would be to ensure that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development expedites these funds, ensuring the prompt demolition of the buildings and swift redevelopment of the site.



New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) has held elective office continuously since 1983. Englebright’s long tenure now comes to a close. 

In a tight state election for District 4 last month, Englebright narrowly lost to his Republican Party challenger Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson). In an exit interview, the outgoing assemblyman reflected upon his pathway into government, the legislative victories throughout that time and the meaning of public service.

The road to politics

Growing up, the young Englebright spent much of his time in libraries. He found refuge in books, which satiated his curiosity and “compelling interest in how things worked.” He also nourished a lifelong fascination with history through those hours devoted to learning.

Leading up to his first run for office, Englebright said he was deeply disturbed by the environmental degradation characteristic of those times. The “almost daily reports” of overdevelopment and sprawl, oil spills and drinking water contamination, each had left a deep and abiding impression on him.

‘The proper role of government is to protect the people who sent you.’ — Steve Englebright

He was teaching geology at Stony Brook University when he began considering public life. “I realized that drinking water was the first limiting factor for the continued well-being of this Island, and I was not really seeing any meaningful public policy growing out of the reports of chaos,” he said.

The late professor Hugh Cleland, from the SBU Department of History, would prove to be the catalyst behind Englebright’s ascent to politics. Cleland sat down with him at the campus student union. For several hours, the two discussed a possible bid for a Suffolk County legislative seat.

“This was a really serious and credible and well thought-out request that he was making,” Englebright said. “So I didn’t just wave it off. I gave it some thought and, sure enough, I found myself saying, ‘What’s next?’” 

After that meeting, Englebright decided to run and was elected to the county Legislature in 1983. He won election after election for the next four decades.

County Legislature

Upon entering the county Legislature, Englebright simultaneously confronted an array of environmental dilemmas. He described the defunct Long Island Lighting Company, the precursor to today’s Long Island Power Authority, as “at that time wanting to build a small galaxy of nuclear power plants on Long Island.” He stressed that the utility company was favoring its shareholder interests at the residents’ expense. 

Englebright successfully championed, along with a grassroots movement of LILCO ratepayers, against the construction of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant and other nuclear plants to follow. Their resistance efforts were grounded primarily in the risks associated with evacuation.

Another major policy issue during his early political career was the protection of groundwater and surface waters in Suffolk County. “I pushed successfully for the largest county-level open space program in the nation,” he said. He was one of the earliest critics against sprawl. 

As a county legislator, he initiated the first plastics ban in the nation. Though ahead of his time on the issue, he admitted that not enough has been done elsewhere to counteract the problem, which he said “has exploded into a worldwide catastrophe.”

He sponsored legislation excising a small fee on hotel and motel rooms, considering the measure as a fee on tourists allowing for their continued enjoyment of the area through reinvestment into the county’s most attractive destinations.

“If you wonder why county Legislator [Kara] Hahn [D-Setauket] is able to have some discretion to provide funding to Gallery North or the Reboli Center, that funding is coming from the hotel/motel room fee,” he said.

State Assembly

New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). Photo from North Island Photography and Films

As a state assemblyman, Englebright quickly picked up where he left off, building upon and expanding his county policies at the state level. Among his earliest actions was the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act, a state law ensuring the preservation of the Pine Barrens as open space.

He sponsored some of the original laws in New York state related to solar power and other renewables. “In my first year in the state Legislature, I was successfully pushing for legislation that had paved the way for the electronic age,” he said.

Englebright added that the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was the most crucial legislation he ever sponsored. This ambitious law aims to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050.

Englebright also successfully led a statewide ban on purse seining, a highly efficient fishing technique responsible for the depletion of menhaden, or bunker, in New York’s surrounding waters.

“The marine world all depends on having this abundant fish at the base of the food chain,” the assemblyman said. Purse seining allowed large-scale fishing operations to collect “whole schools of menhaden, millions and millions of fish.”

One of the fondest moments throughout his tenure happened just last summer. On a boat trip off the coast of Montauk Point during early morning hours, the sun rising off the horizon line, he witnessed entire schools of menhaden beneath the water.

“The sea was boiling with fish,” he said. “Menhaden, they were back by the billions.”

Reminiscent of his earliest years in libraries, historic preservation would be a significant point of emphasis for Englebright. “I’m very proud of the many properties that are preserved, the historic sites.” Such sites either preserved or to be preserved include Patriots Rock and Roe Tavern in Setauket and William Tooker House in Port Jefferson, among many others.

Even in his final days in office, Englebright made historic breakthroughs. Though his reelection bid was unsuccessful, Englebright rejoiced in yet another major victory for environmental sustainability. Last month, New Yorkers overwhelmingly approved a recent $4.2 billion environmental bond act, a multiyear investment in clean water, air, wildlife and the environment.

Reflections from his community

During his extended time in political service, Englebright has worked alongside countless public representatives at all levels of government. He maintained “they’re not all scoundrels,” adding that many were “superb public servants.”

In a series of written statements and phone interviews, several public representatives and close Englebright associates and friends had an opportunity to weigh in on his legacy of service and commitment to his community. 

Englebright “proved himself to be an environmental pioneer, a champion for the causes and concerns of his constituents and an unflinching fighter for the communities he served,” Hahn said. “For those of us who served in elected office with him during his tenure, irrespective of political persuasion or level of government, Steve proved himself to be a friend and mentor who embodied the role of effective leadership in the lives of those we represent.”

 As recently as Dec. 6, the Three Village Community Trust honored the assemblyman by renaming the Greenway trail as The Steve Englebright Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Greenway.

Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant commented on the characteristics that set Englebright apart from other politicians. She said his scientific background and wide-ranging interests added depth to his political persona.

 “He’s a unique legislator in that he’s so well rounded in those other areas and that he’s not just focused on the hard line of the law,” she said. “He’s involved with his community, he’s approachable, he’s caring, he’s kind. He’s a very unique representative, and we’re going to miss him sorely.”

 Like Englebright, Port Jefferson village trustee Rebecca Kassay worked in environmental advocacy before entering government. She discussed Englebright’s ongoing extended producer responsibility legislation, which would require producers of packaging materials, rather than taxpayers, to be responsible for managing post-consumer packaging material waste.

 “This can be a step toward addressing a multitude of waste management, environmental and financial issues facing municipalities and individuals,” Kassay said. “I hope to see the assemblyman’s colleagues and successor continue advocating for policies with long-term solutions,” adding, “Englebright is the type of commonsense representative we’d like to see more of in government.”

 In a joint statement, George Hoffman and Laurie Vetere of the Setauket Harbor Task Force reflected upon Englebright’s importance to local harbors.

 “In his time as our state representative, Steve Englebright never forgot the importance of the harbor,” they said. “Assemblyman Englebright found ways to secure needed dollars from Albany to help the task force in its mission of protecting water quality and the sustainability of Setauket and Port Jefferson harbors.” 

Joan Nickeson, community liaison of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, credited Englebright for the continued flourishment of her area. She said the hotel/motel tax he sponsored had enabled the chamber to conduct its annual summer concert series at the Train Car Park.

 “Assemblyman Englebright has continued to be a friend of the chamber by supporting our local businesses and attending our ribbon-cutting ceremonies,” she said.

 Within those 40 years, countless other acts and initiatives have come to fruition with Englebright’s assistance. Reflecting on his time in public service, he outlined his political doctrine.

 “The proper role of government is to protect the people who sent you,” he said. “If you keep your eye on the prize, you can achieve things for the people who invested their trust in you.” 

 On the role of the public representative, he added, “Use the office as a bully pulpit, speak truth to power, identify things that are wrong and right them, and treat the office as an opportunity to do good.”

 For wielding his office as a force of good for four decades, TBR News Media dedicates Steve Englebright as honorary 2022 Person of the Year.

Community members participated in a menorah lighting at the Train Car Park in Port Jefferson Station Sunday, Dec. 18. Photo by Paul Perrone

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce annual menorah lighting ceremony took place Sunday, Dec. 18, at sundown in the hamlet’s Train Car Park.

Rabbi Aaron Benson of North Shore Jewish Center officiated the ceremony, offering a prayer to mark the first night of Hanukkah. The event was well attended by community members and many from the North Shore Jewish Center. 

Among those joining the festivities were PJSTCC vice president Paul Perrone, the chamber’s community liaison Joan Nickeson and Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook).