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Sarah Anker

Sarah Anker. Photo courtesy Sarah Anker

By Aidan Johnson

Former county Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) has announced she will be running for the District 1 state Senate seat currently held by Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk).

“I am running for the New York State Senate because we need a strong voice in the majority to put people above politics and deliver for Suffolk County,” Anker said in her Feb. 5 press release.

“For close to 13 years, as a full-time Suffolk County legislator, I have listened to the concerns of my constituents and took action to address them,” she added.

Anker was first elected as the Suffolk County legislator for the 6th District after winning a special election in 2011, being reelected six times before stepping down in 2023 due to term limits.

In a phone interview, Anker said that she first got involved in local politics when she moved to Long Island and read about tritium, a radioactive substance, that was leaking into the local groundwater.

“I read it in the papers and it made me want to get more involved to see what was being done … and I joined the Democratic Party back then to get a better understanding of how to get things done working with the elected officials,” she said.

In the press release, Anker cited her accomplishments during her time as a legislator as including chairing the county Addiction Prevention and Support Advisory Panel, addressing environmental issues through supporting the acquisition of open space to protect drinking water and cleaning up pollution in Long Island Sound, also initiating expediting the health permit process for businesses.

“As a Democrat who has represented a Republican district, I will continue to find common ground for the common good by bringing people together and setting politics aside,” she said.

If elected, Anker said her first priority would be to identify what the state legislators feel are Long Island’s main concerns in order to establish common ground to move issues forward.

“One of [the issues] we’ve had … was when the governor [Kathy Hochul (D)] came and she wanted to take control over local housing and development, and it wasn’t accepted in a positive way,” Anker said, stressing the importance of communication between the senators, governor and legislators “to try to understand where they’re coming from.”

Anker’s top priorities for the state Senate include supporting law enforcement and “working on common sense measures to keep New Yorkers safe, being a leader on policy to support clean water and open space funding, including ensuring that we receive our fair share of New York State Environmental Bond Act funds, supporting fair school aid so school districts have reliable and stable funding” and “supporting New York women’s right to choose and access to health care.”

“The reality is, the state Senate has a 42-21 Democratic supermajority, and the only way Suffolk County can get its fair share is to have strong voices in the majority who will fight for our Long Island values,” Anker said in the press release.

For more information, visit her website at sarahanker.com. The election will be held on Nov. 5.

By Gavin Scarlatos

After 12 years of service, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) is stepping down due to term limits. Anker entered office in 2012 with an objective to improve the lives of Suffolk County residents. Throughout her tenure, she tackled a wide range of issues, focusing on public safety, infrastructure, protecting the environment and community well-being. 

Suffolk County 6th District Legislator Sarah Anker with her children Josh, Erica and Rachel with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo courtesy Office of Leg. Sarah Anker

Anker represented the 6th Legislative District spanning over much of the northeast portion of the Town of Brookhaven, including the hamlets of Miller Place, Sound Beach, Shoreham, Rocky Point and parts of Mount Sinai, Ridge, Middle Island, Coram and Wading River. Her work within her district exemplifies how she prided herself on providing a voice for her constituents to be heard. 

“I hope that folks appreciate not so much what I’ve been able to accomplish, but what they have been able to accomplish working with me and working with my colleagues,” Anker said. 

Throughout her career in public service Anker has tackled issues from environmental preservation to fighting the opioid epidemic, all the while looking to decrease government spending and placing emphasis on the overall quality of life for Suffolk County residents. 

“Many of my legislative initiatives have focused on public safety, from addressing our dangerous roads to going after drug dealers who have contributed to the opioid epidemic,” Anker said. 

One of her most notable achievements in tackling public safety concerns was developing the North Shore Rail Trail, providing pedestrians and bicyclists a safer outlet where they can avoid traffic while also giving the community a place to connect to the environment. 

“I spearheaded the North Shore Rail Trail, a 10-mile recreation path from Mount Sinai to Wading River, that provides a safer alternative for walking, jogging, running and biking,” she said. “The path links the communities together and provides economic support for local businesses.” 

Much of Anker’s work centered around the quality of life for her district’s residents and throughout her career she has proved to be a proponent for improving road safety.

 “Road safety has always been one of my top priorities,” Anker said. “The number one complaint in my office throughout the years has been potholes, not surprisingly. With both NYS Route 25 and NYS Route 25A going through my district, I continued to advocate to all levels of government to fix and repair our dangerous roads.” 

In her mission to enhance local roads and address traffic incidents, Anker worked with authorities to increase the number of patrolling traffic safety officials and to implement and improve existing traffic signage.

Legislator Sarah Anker alongside Neighborhood Watch committee. Photo courtesy Office of Legislator Sarah Anker

“I’ve been successful with adding additional lights and signage including a red light at Ridge Road, increasing the number of crossing guards near schools and producing the School Traffic Zone Safety Report to identify problem traffic areas,” she added.

Before serving in the Legislature, Anker had been energy director for the Town of Brookhaven, where she developed solar programs and promoted clean energy and green homes technologies. She had also served on the Mount Sinai school board, raising three children in the district.  Anker took it upon herself to find solutions to the problems afflicting her community, utilizing the care and problem-solving skills that come with being a working mother. 

“I became involved in the political space — this is going back to the 1980s — because I noticed that there were some water quality issues,” Anker said. “I became aware of environmental issues within the area and while raising my three children, I was concerned about their exposure to environmental contaminants.” 

After Anker’s grandmother lost her battle to breast cancer, the granddaughter founded the not-for-profit Community Health and Environment Coalition and led the organization to raise awareness about how our environment directly impacts our health. 

After years of being a community leader and getting results, Anker decided to run for Suffolk County legislator in 2011 with the goal in mind to better help people and lead important initiatives. As a legislator, Anker often prioritized people over politics. 

“It’s something to be proud of — Heritage Park [in Mount Sinai], the North Shore Rail Trail, traffic improvement and public safety,” she said. “Makes me think of all the neighborhood watches that we created in Rocky Point, Miller Place and Sound Beach. And the acquisition of open space, the cleaning up of the water, the farmland preservation. We did a lot.” 

Looking ahead while out of office, Anker hopes to continue helping people and working with the community to resolve problems. She has taken a position at the Board of Elections where she will use the skills she acquired running successful campaigns to ensure a fair and just voting process. 

Anker will also be completing projects outside the realm of politics. She plans to follow up her previous award-winning publications with her third children’s book, this one, focused around overcoming adversity and appreciating the environment. 

Though Anker’s years of public service as a legislator have come to an end, she has left an indelible mark on the community and plans to continue finding solutions to the issues affecting those around her by bringing people together. 

After 12 years of serving the community as county legislator, Anker advocates for more residents to get involved in their local government. 

“When you help people, you really feel the good that you’re doing,” Anker said. “This type of feeling just passes on to the next person and hopefully it continues. If everybody could do this, the world would be a much better place.”

Romaine's win continues rightward political shift in the county

Suffolk County Executive-elect Ed Romaine delivers his victory speech at Stereo Garden in Patchogue Tuesday night, Nov. 7. Photo by Raymond Janis

By Raymond Janis and Aidan Johnson

As returns came in Tuesday night, Nov. 7, electricity pulsed through Suffolk GOP headquarters. 

Republicans flipped the Suffolk County executive’s seat for the first time in two decades, with Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine cruising to victory over his Democratic opponent, businessman Dave Calone, by a 57-43% margin as of Wednesday morning.

“Thank you, Suffolk,” the county executive-elect told the audience assembled at Stereo Garden in Patchogue. “You’ve given me a large mandate tonight — you’ve crushed it.” 

“And we’re going to use that mandate to move this county forward,” he added.

Calone concedes, county executive transition commences

At the Democratic headquarters in Holtsville, Suffolk County Democratic Committee chairman and Town of Babylon supervisor, Rich Schaffer, addressed the deflated crowd as the results started to come in.

“Obviously, we would have wanted to be on the winning side tonight, but we know that what we are up against is not only the atmosphere created out of Albany, the atmosphere that’s created out of Washington, and that has hurt us here as a brand in Suffolk County,” he said.

In his concession speech, Calone thanked his family, team, running mates and outgoing county executive Steve Bellone (D), along with his supporters.

“I want to thank the people of Suffolk County for the last year, for the chance to visit with you, your families from one end of this county to the other,” he said. “And I am so proud of the ticket we put together.”

“I promise to continue working with all of you as we move and push meaningful solutions that affect the lives of the people of Suffolk County,” Calone added.

Bellone congratulated Romaine on his victory, pledging to do “everything I can to assist the new county executive-elect and his administration.”

“I am committed to ensuring a seamless transition and handover of responsibilities to the new administration beginning on Jan. 1,” he said in a statement. “To that end, I have asked Chief Deputy County Executive Lisa Black to lead our administration’s efforts to coordinate with the incoming administration.”

Republicans expand county Legislature majority

Romaine’s victory was fortified by steady gains in the county Legislature.

Chad Lennon (R-Rocky Point) flipped the county’s 6th Legislative District, besting Dorothy Cavalier (D-Mount Sinai) 61-39% in the race to succeed termed-out Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai).

“I would not be here today without you,” Lennon told the audience. “Thank you for entrusting me. I’m looking forward to a successful two years.”

Majority Leader Nick Caracappa (C-Selden) won reelection in the 4th District over Timothy Hall 64-36%. Additionally, incumbent Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) cruised to reelection with 69% of the vote in the 12th District. And Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) won his uncontested race in the 13th District with over 99% of the vote.

In Huntington, incumbent Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-Centerport) narrowly defeated her Democratic Party challenger Dr. Eve Meltzer-Krief, of Centerport, 53-47% in the 18th District.

Former state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) defeated Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) 53-47%, winning the 5th District seat left vacant by Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

“I’m looking forward to working on the environmental issues that are tied to the economy, such as tourism, and we really have a chance with the people who are being elected here tonight to make a difference going forward in the county Legislature,” Englebright said, before all of the final results had come in.

According to the unofficial results, the Republicans gained one seat in the county Legislature, giving the party a veto-proof 12-6 supermajority.

Town-level victories

The GOP racked up considerable victories across the towns of Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington.

In the race to succeed Romaine as supervisor of the county’s largest township, Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R) defeated SUNY Old Westbury professor Lillian Clayman (D) 62-38%.

“We know what our mandate is,” the supervisor-elect said. “We are going to govern correctly. We are going to be bold in our initiatives. This is a new day in the Town of Brookhaven, and I am proud to be the supervisor.”

Panico pledged to redirect the focus of the town government toward traditionally nonconservative areas, adding, “We are going to make major inroads throughout this entire town.”

Alongside Panico, Republicans held onto their 5-1 majority on the Town Board. Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) and Councilman Neil Manzella (R-Selden) were both reelected carrying 65% of the votes in their districts.

Incumbent Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) retained his seat with a 55-45% margin of victory over Republican challenger Gary Bodenburg.

“For the past three years, I have worked hard to represent the more than 80,000 residents of Three Village, Port Jefferson village, Port Jefferson Station and Terryville, and last night the community hired me to serve another term,” Kornreich said in a statement.

“I love this community and promise to keep showing up for them day in and day out, celebrating our successes and sharing our challenges,” he added.

Brookhaven voters also reelected incumbent Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) and Receiver of Taxes Louis Marcoccia (R) with 62% and 63%, respectively.

Republicans swept each townwide race in Smithtown. Town clerk candidate Tom McCarthy — not the incumbent town councilman — cruised to victory over Bill Holst (D) carrying 65% of the townwide vote. Incumbent Smithtown Receiver of Taxes Deanna Varricchio (R) retained her seat by a 2-1 margin of victory over challenger Amy Fortunato (D). For Town Board, incumbent town Councilman Thomas Lohmann (R) and Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo (R) each carried 33% of the vote over Democratic challengers Maria Scheuring and Sarah Tully.

In Huntington, Republicans expanded their majority on the Town Board to a sweeping 5-0, if the unofficial results hold. In an extremely close four-way contest, Republican candidates Brooke Lupinacci and Theresa Mari edged their Democratic counterparts Jen Hebert and Don McKay. Lupinacci and Mari received 25.5% and 25.4% of the vote respectively to Hebert’s and McKay’s 25% and 23.9% share respectively.

Incumbent Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman (D) was reelected over Pamela Velastegui (R) 53-47%, and incumbent Town Clerk Andrew Raia (R) won reelection over Linda Davis Valdez (D) 57-43%.

Dorothy Cavalier, left, and Chad Lennon debate for Suffolk County’s 6th Legislative District. Photo by Raymond Janis

Two lawyers are vying to succeed incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) who is term limited.

Dorothy Cavalier (D-Mount Sinai), Anker’s chief of staff, is running to fill her boss’ seat against Chad Lennon (R-Rocky Point), a congressional aide to U.S. Congressman Nick LaLota (R-NY1).

In a debate at the TBR office spanning over an hour and a half, the two candidates presented their respective visions for the county’s 6th Legislative District, which covers the Town of Brookhaven’s northeastern hamlets from Mount Sinai to Wading River, extending as far south as Middle Country Road.

Introductions

Cavalier has been a practicing attorney for two-and-a-half decades, working across the legal spectrum in such areas as personal injury, criminal defense and family law, among others. She was a traffic court prosecutor before entering Anker’s office in 2019.

Since entering county government, she said she has worked at “handling every aspect of the office,” from staff management, constituent services, drafting resolutions, reviewing the budget and advising the incumbent.

“I’m running for this seat because, for me, this is the next logical step,” she said. “I’ve come to love the job that I’m doing. I want to continue taking care of the constituents in the community that I raised my kids in and that I love.”

Lennon is a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He did four years of active-duty service, with combat deployment to Afghanistan, where he led over 50 combat missions.

In his professional life, he is an attorney at Tully Rinckey, specializing in military law, veterans law, security clearance representation and federal employment law.

“It’s all about service for me,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 15 years and want to continue to do it.”

Wastewater

This year’s 6th District election comes at a time of countywide contention over the future of its wastewater infrastructure. Earlier this year, Republicans in the county Legislature blocked introducing a 1/8-penny sales tax to the November ballot, which, if passed, would have created a fund for innovative/advanced septic systems and sewers.

Lennon pointed to perceived deficiencies within the Water Quality Restoration Act, contending that too small a share of the revenue would have supported sewers.

“Right now, the problem is that three-quarters of that money is going to go to IA systems, and one-quarter is going to go to sewer systems,” he said. “We have hundreds of millions of dollars in shovel-ready projects to get sewer systems. That’s going to create more jobs, cleaner water and more affordable housing.”

Responding, Cavalier said she believed the proposed sales tax should have gone out for a public vote this November.

“The one-eighth of a penny in increased sales tax I don’t think is a burden,” she said. “It’s something that we should have given the people a choice on, whether to do that or not. Really, they just took the choice away from the people.”

She added that sewers are “not going to be a viable option” for much of the county, maintaining that IA systems are more likely to be implemented within the 6th District as well.

Economic development

Throughout the 6th District, commercial corridors are increasingly experiencing vacant storefronts and economic stagnation. Asked for the mechanisms the county can use to introduce public investment into struggling commercial districts, Cavalier touted the work she has done within the district office.

“We’ve worked with the Department of Economic Development and created a small business website so people interested in small business” can access grants and learn to finance their small business operations.

She advocated for creating a county department for prospective small business owners, who can receive advice to help tailor their business plans.

“I think we need to do more than just a job fair,” she said, saying the county could assist entrepreneurs by getting them on their path toward opening a business.

Lennon advocated hardening the built environment across commercial districts such as Sound Beach and Rocky Point, which he said are susceptible to flooding.

“Right where those downtown areas are, they can be really affected by four weekends in a row of heavy rain,” he said. “That could affect the businesses because if they get flooded, they get ruined, and when one business goes in that downtown district, it can have a cascading effect.”

Along with infrastructure improvements, he said the county must establish incentives not merely to introduce new businesses but to encourage them to stay in the area.

“We need to make sure that we incentivize businesses to stay with us,” Lennon said, endorsing the suspension of the county energy tax, which can eat away at proprietors’ bottom lines.

Affordability

The county is also experiencing a regional flight of seniors and young people who are becoming priced out due to the high cost of living.

Lennon identified several tax categories he would “suspend right away,” such as energy, mortgage, gas and some property taxes.

“We need to look at our first responders, such as our firefighters, and see if we can give them some type of incentive to stay here as well as our parents and grandparents — anyone 70 years and above,” he said.

Cavalier said the county could support seniors and youth by promoting affordable housing investments. “I think that we really need to take a look at how to make it more affordable for our children, our seniors and for our veterans to stay here and retire here,” she noted.

The Democratic candidate also cited vacant strip plazas as a possible destination for mixed-use redevelopment. “We have a lot of commercial buildings and office space that maybe we can consolidate,” she suggested. She added that cutting back existing taxes and reinstituting the county’s task force for retired veterans are necessary policy solutions.

Pedestrian safety

Cavalier suggested a civic-oriented approach to identifying areas for new sidewalk projects. She prided herself on the North Shore Rail Trail, noting that pedestrian safety along the trail remains a continual work in progress.

She suggested that state Route 25 and pockets along 25A have created a public safety hazard. She backed “working with [New York State] to try to get a light on 25A” to stop the speeding from Oakland Avenue to Miller Place Road.

Lennon supported greater coordination between the county and the Brookhaven Highway Department to construct new sidewalks and expand bike lanes.

“The problem that we have is that a lot of the main roads are state owned, and to get anything changed — for instance, having traffic lights put up — the state has to come in, recommend a study and do a change,” he indicated. “The state’s not even coming in right now, so we need to work with our state partners in the Assembly and the Senate.”

Veteran services

The 6th District is unique for its concentration of veterans. An area of focus for Lennon, he outlined a multipronged vision for bringing more veterans in touch with the existing benefits available to them. “The biggest thing is information,” he said. “Who do I speak to, and how do we get it to them?”

He noted that introducing veterans to union jobs and enrolling them in college programs on Long Island would be steps in the right direction.

To continue to support the veterans within the district, Cavalier said the county could lend a hand in coordinating with veterans groups and creating housing opportunities for homeless veterans.

She said there are various services and programs tailored for veterans that many do not realize exist. “We really need to not only strengthen those services, but we need to get the information out there that they exist,” she said.

Quality of life

Cavalier identified public safety as a top quality-of-life concern for 6th District residents. She expanded those public safety concerns to fears over environmental degradation and roadway safety. Summarizing her local priorities, she said, “For me, it’s public safety, it’s affordability and it’s traffic safety.”

Lennon agreed with Cavalier on public safety and the cost of living in the area. But he cited the ongoing migrant crisis within New York state as problematic for Suffolk County.

“We don’t have the infrastructure” to support new migrants, he said, identifying potential shortages of teachers and a lack of available resources. “You can’t just say we’re going to dump hundreds if not thousands of people into this county and think it’s going to be successful.”

District 6 voters will have the final say on these two candidates. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, center, outside the Noah Hallock Homestead in Rocky Point, with historical society Members. From left, treasurer Ken Krapf, recording secretary Susan Bevington, president Suzanne Johnson, vice president Charles Bevington, corresponding secretary Rory Rubino, trustee Edith Mahler, trustee Janice Bambara and Masey the dog. Photo courtesy Anker’s office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) recently presented the Rocky Point Historical Society with a $7,583 grant, which is awarded to organizations that benefit tourism and/or cultural programming in Suffolk County.

The Rocky Point Historical Society strives to gather, preserve, display and make available for study artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs and other records and materials relating to the history of the State of New York and particularly of Rocky Point.

“I want to thank the Rocky Point Historical Society for their hard work that enables our community to celebrate and learn about our local history,” Anker said. “It is thanks to the organization’s passion to preserve Long Island’s history that the Noah Hallock Homestead is maintained and accessible.”

For more information, please visit their website at rockypointhistoricalsociety.org.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, chair of the county’s Addiction Advisory Council, speaks during the Aug. 25 press conference. Photo from Steve Bellone’s Flickr page

Suffolk County has taken another step forward in appropriating roughly $200 million in opioid settlement funds.

County officials gathered at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge on Friday, Aug. 25, announcing the opening of a second application portal for $20 million in additional funds. The first round of $25 million in settlement payments had concluded earlier this year. [See story, “County picks groups to receive $25M for first round in opioid settlement,” Jan. 20, 2023, TBR News Media website.]

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) referred to this new round of funding as a “significant milestone in our battle and our fight against the opioid epidemic,” coming from a projected $200 million settlement between Suffolk County and various opioid manufacturers, distributors, retailers and other entities that contributed to the scourge of addiction throughout the county. 

Bellone affirmed the county’s “unwavering commitment to address the opioid crisis head-on as well as to provide vital support to combat addiction.” 

The county executive added, “All of us working on this issue understand that it is critical that we spend these dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible, that we are stewards of these dollars.”

From left, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman, President and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island Rebecca Sanin and Deputy County Executive Ryan Attard. Photo from Bellone’s Flickr page

Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), presiding officer of the county Legislature, reinforced this messaging, noting how the funds received through the settlement are significant in their purpose.

“This money didn’t come at a small cost,” he said. “This is not our money. This belongs to the victims and the families that were affected by this opioid crisis,” adding, “We need to make sure when we make these decisions that we keep in mind that all this money that we are distributing … is used judiciously because it did come at a very high price.”

Minority Leader Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon) encouraged all interested, qualifying organizations to apply for these funds.

“The monies that we’re talking about here will change the lives of families and help put people in the right direction,” he contended. “To any of those organizations that are listening to this conversation — please, please apply.”

County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), chair of the county’s Addiction Advisory Council, outlined the various causes to which these funds will soon be directed, from drug prevention to education services to rehabilitation, among other resource providers.

“All those entities — that are really under the county’s purview — are ready and willing to do more,” she said. “The main word here is ‘resources,’ and that’s pretty much what our panel focuses on — resources that our residents need to fight and combat the epidemic.”

Rebecca Sanin, president and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, emphasized the conditions and trends currently happening on the ground throughout the area. She highlighted the collateral damage opioids produce for communities and societies.

“Those losses that addiction accumulates emotionally bankrupts and destroys individual lives, destroys families, destroys communities and leaves vacant unmet potential in a society that is nostalgic and hungry for progress,” Sanin said. “This announcement will mean that lives are saved. It will mean that hope is levied.”

Sharon Richmond, whose son Vincent died from an overdose at 25, described her son as sensitive, funny and intelligent — an aspiring lawyer who sought to stand up for those who couldn’t defend themselves.

“However, once oxycodone became his drug of choice, his dreams and hopes were shattered along with ours,” she said. “No family should ever have to face the tragedy mine had to endure.”

She continued, “No amount of money can ever bring back my son Vincent or the 107,000 human lives lost just last year. However, with these opioid settlement funds, I see hope, and I see life for so many thousands of loved ones.”

The application portal for the $20 million is currently live. It will remain open until close of business on Friday, Sept. 29. 

To apply, please click the following link:  www.suffolkcountyny.gov and search under “Opioid Grant Application.”

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker. File photo from Anker's office
By Samantha Rutt

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) recently organized a local history initiative to help tell the story of historic Mount Sinai.

Initially, “I want to try to bring together the local community and the historians to document the history of the Chandler Estate, Mount Sinai Congregational Church, Sea View Cemetery and Mount Sinai Harbor,” Anker said. “There’s a lot of fascinating history. I’ve spoken to a number of folks that are in their 80s and 90s, and they have really amazing stories.” 

Through this undertaking, Anker said she hopes to enhance the existing historical archives by adding documentation, stories, photos and maps collected from the surrounding area. 

The event will feature a round-table discussion of around 25 participants, including key members of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society, Brookhaven Town historians and other local advocates who will contribute to the documentation process. 

“We’re meeting to talk about what information can be identified, and move forward hoping to open it up to anyone who has additional information,” the county legislator explained. “The meeting on Friday will be mainly focusing on the historians and how the process works and what information they have.”

For nearly 30 years, Anker has lived in the Mount Sinai community. Shortly after settling in, she came across the Mount Sinai Civic Association in a local newspaper. There on the cover stood a group of people from the civic association standing in front of bulldozers fighting to preserve the Chandler Estate as it was set to be a site for new development. 

     As a result Anker decided to get involved, becoming a member of the organization. 

“When I saw that article, that picture sparked my interest because it’s near where I live,” she said. “I like that they’re getting involved with their community and doing good things. … And that’s when I became a member.”

The local history project will touch upon the Chandler Estate, originally an upscale resort that overlooked Mount Sinai Harbor. Years after closing, the resort caught fire, leaving minimal remains that have since been taken over by a great deal of brush.

Residents now use the land for leisure. “I grew up right by there,” said Noreen Guilfoyle, a Mount Sinai resident of the once-luxurious estate. “The land used to be a big fancy mansion. … It burnt down though. There’s a trail there now, it’s a really pretty trail. But there are a lot of old foundations from buildings that are no longer there.” 

Anker has plans to open up the forum, pending the initial meeting’s success. 

“Following that [initial meeting], in another month or two we could open it up … and see if folks want to come to sign up or send us [something in] writing,” she said. “Then we can add it to the information that we have.”

To help on the complex history project, Anker is partnering with Ann Becker, a local historian and librarian. Becker is an established author with her book, “Mount Sinai,” centered around the hamlet’s fabled history.

The project is set to include input from the Suffolk County Historical Society, Mount Sinai-Miller Place Historical Society and Stony Brook University Library Archives’ special collection.

“There are so many of our local folks that have the stories, but we’re going to lose their stories and information about their experiences if we don’t document them now,” Anker said. 

Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Alese, left, with Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker. Photo courtesy Anker’s office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) presented a proclamation to Sgt. Jessica Alese, the 6th Legislative District’s nominee for Women Veterans Appreciation Day on Wednesday, July 26.

“It was an honor today to recognize Sgt. Alese,” Anker said. “Throughout her service, she has demonstrated bravery, leadership and loyalty to her country and her soldiers. Thank you, Sgt. Alese, for your invaluable service, and thank you to our women veterans everywhere.”

Alese joined the Army National Guard in 2009 and is now a Sgt. 1st class. She toured Iraq, was stationed in Guantanamo Bay and took part in Operation Shared Accord to train with the South African National Defense Force. 

Since 2020, she has worked in the Drug Demand Outreach Program to reduce drug abuse and addiction rates among youth and veterans across Long Island. Alese also spends her time mentoring, training and supporting her fellow soldiers. 

For more information, contact Anker’s office at 631-854-1600. 

Environmental advocates protest outside the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge on Tuesday, July 25. Photo by Raymond Janis

Cries for liberty and demands for clean water were heard outside the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge Tuesday, July 25.

For the second straight month, the Republican-led Suffolk County Legislature shot down a proposed 1/8 penny sales tax creating a local match program for state and federal subsidization for wastewater infrastructure. 

The 10-7 vote to recess was along party lines, effectively dooming the measure from reaching the November ballot.

According to environmentalists and county officials, individually operated cesspools have grown increasingly problematic, with leakage from septic tanks contributing to brown tides, rust tides, algal blooms and fish kills. 

Dave Calone, Democratic nominee for Suffolk County executive. Photo by Raymond Janis

In a rally, dozens of environmental advocates and community members joined Democratic candidates Tuesday morning, who collectively condemned the course taken by the majority.

“Today, the most fundamental need of water meets that most fundamental of American values — the right to vote,” said Dave Calone, Democratic nominee for Suffolk County executive. “The county Legislature needs to act. They need to give the people of Suffolk County the right to have a say about their own future.”

Joining Calone and others were several Democratic candidates running for county seats, including former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright of Setauket and pediatrician Eve Meltzer-Krief of Centerport.

Englebright, a geologist by training who had previously served as chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Conservation, tied clean water initiatives to regional economic development. 

“Our two largest industries on Long Island are tourism and agriculture,” he said. “Both of them require clean water.”

He added that Long Island’s sole-source aquifer is continually “in motion,” with contaminated groundwater “changing the chemistry and ecology” of the county’s harbors and bays.

“Do you think the tourists who visit us, who put the money into our restaurants, hotels and motels, will want to come out here if there are dead fish and putrid algae masses in the harbors?” Englebright said.

Skyler Johnson, chair of Suffolk County Young Democrats. Photo by Raymond Janis

Meltzer-Krief maintained that the Legislature is depriving county residents of limited grant opportunities from the state and federal governments.

Skyler Johnson, chair of Suffolk County Young Democrats and former candidate for New York State Senate, referred to the Legislature’s posture as “willful apathy.”

“The Republican majority in the Legislature is throwing young people’s futures under the bus,” he said, adding, “We cannot afford to be using water that is polluted. It is not fair for our residents, our children or our future.”

Legislators quarrel

Inside the Legislature building, Republicans and Democrats went back and forth on the issue.

Majority leader Nick Caracappa (C-Selden) indicated that the “bill as it sits right now is not right.”

“We disagree on resolutions all the time,” he said. “Let’s get together and fix it, and we can.”

Eve Meltzer-Krief, candidate for Suffolk County Legislature. Photo by Raymond Janis

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said the majority is passing up on “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“If we keep waiting … the water will get worse,” she said. “It will cost us more to fix the water. People will be getting sick. We’ll be losing money on our economy.”

Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) suggested there are surpluses within the county budget better suited for reallocation for sewers. He said he objected to introducing new taxes with alternatives on the table.

“Stop taxing the people and run the government more efficiently,” he said.

Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) said she was saddened by the decision, suggesting that as the body delays funding “our water gets dirtier.”

“If we wait to get it just right, the money gets allocated elsewhere,” she said. “Why should we wait for clean water?”

A second measure that would consolidate the county’s 27 sewer districts was also tabled.

As the Legislature recesses, wastewater infrastructure will likely remain central as campaign season ramps up.

Rocky Point School District administrators and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner, third from left, and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, third from right, flank filmmaker Leon Adler, fourth from right, and author Bea Ruberto, fourth from left. Photo courtesy RPSD

Joseph A. Edgar Elementary School students recently learned about Sound Beach when they participated in an assembly program featuring local filmmaker Leon Adler and author and Sound Beach Civic Association President Bea Ruberto on June 7. 

Adler directed the film, “The History Upon Our Shores: Sound Beach, NY,” based on the book, “Sound Beach: Our Town, Our Story,” by Ruberto.

The event for third and fourth graders, coordinated by Rocky Point’s director of humanities, Melinda Brooks, gave students a glimpse into the process of storytelling, research and the value of preserving local history. 

Students welcomed the creative duo, presenting artistic gifts of thanks for their visit. The school also welcomed Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who shared their experiences representing the local community.