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Setauket Patriots Plan Caravan Despite Village Summons for Previous March. Photo by Steven Zaitz

Coming to a town near you: another Trump caravan.

The Setauket Patriots announced they would be hosting a Trumpalozza Road Rally event starting and eventually ending in Port Jefferson Saturday, Oct. 17.

A copy of the summons received by Setauket Patriots, posted to Facebook.

Setauket Patriots organizer James Robitsek said he expects 800 to 1,000 participants. On the group’s Facebook page, a little over 400 say they will be attending, with more indicating they possibly may. 

The car caravan is just the third event hosted by Setauket Patriots, an online right-wing group that often posts in support of President Donald Trump (R), among other conservative and far-right messaging. Previous events have been based on Fourth of July and Veterans Day celebrations, though each has carried a strong political tinge in support of Trump. Out of these other past events, this one is the most explicit in its support.

The caravan is to start in the parking lot of the Port Jefferson LIRR train station before moving down Main Street then turning left onto West Broadway. Cars are set to move onto Route 25A in Setauket, down into St. James along Lake Avenue, past the Smith Haven Mall. The caravan will move through Centereach and Selden before turning onto County Road 83 and back onto Route 112 to finish back at the Port Jeff train station.

Robitsek said he has been in contact with Suffolk County police about the event, and though they might be around to facilitate cars leaving the parking lot, they will not be there for the entire run of the car parade.

Other car caravans in support of Trump have passed through the North Shore in the past month. Several went from Huntington out to the North Fork, where people hung out sunroofs and stood in the back of pickup trucks. Pictures also show people in the caravan had placed tape to obscure their license plates, which is against the law. 

Robitsek said he has not advocated that drivers use tape on their license plates, but participants in other pro-Trump events have been outed online by people tracking their license numbers.

Despite this, police report nobody in the caravans has been arrested to date, though one resident from Northport was arrested by Northport police for alleged menacing and disorderly conduct involving a caravanner’s truck, something he has reportedly heavily disputed.

The planned caravan is only three days before Robitsek and the Setauket Patriots are set to be in village traffic court, Oct. 20, over their previous Veterans Day event, which drew hundreds down through the village without a permit. Most marching that day did so without masks.

Village of Port Jefferson had issued an executive order signed July 6 by Mayor Margot Garant effectively stopping the village from signing any new permits for marches or protests. This was in response to the Patriots’ July 4 car parade as well as a Black Lives Matter march hosted in Port Jeff in June. The order was enabled by the village’s previous declaration of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Garant has said the issue is with how many people these events bring together during a pandemic.  

On Facebook, Robitsek said they were issued a summons on Oct. 5, and claimed local officials from village, county and state were targeting him and his group.

“I’m being unfairly targeted because I’m a pro-Trump group in an all-Democrat town,” he said, adding the reason they chose Port Jeff as their starting point was “its high visibility, it’s a Democrat-run village, so why not show support for the silent majority that does support President Trump.”

Village officials have previously said the Patriots submitted a permit application for the July 4 event, but that they failed to file it correctly, and that they did not pay fees attached to the permit process. 

The Setauket Patriots organizer posted the summons online, which said the offense was because they “led a procession/parade down a public sidewalk without a permit” in violation of village code. The Setauket Patriots have also planned a rally in front of Village Hall Oct. 20 in protest of receiving the summons.

Deputy Village Attorney Rich Harris said the summons was only for the violation of the village code, which depending on a plea or a court ruling could result in a 0 to $2,000 fine or up to 15 days in jail. On its face, the violation does not have anything to do with recouping losses from either police or constable’s overtime.

“It’s a violation of the village code for operating a parade or procession without permit,” Harris said.

Whether this event could also be in violation of village code depends on how the event proceeds, Harris said. It could be different, especially as most people will be in vehicles and that the caravan will not be exclusive to Port Jeff.

The car caravan is scheduled for the same day and time as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce’s Pumpkinmania, that’s set to bring in professional pumpkin carvers to do live demonstrations as well as host a pumpkin carving contest. 

Barbara Ransome, executive director of the chamber, said she is not worried that the caravan would impact the chamber’s event. Pumpkinmania will be held 12 to 7 p.m. and will be located at 138 E. Main St. in the small brick patio area. There will also be a set of pumpkin carving contests for Port Jefferson residents, one for children and one for adults, that will be judged by the professionals. There is a $5 entrance fee for each participant.

Ransome said the caravan of cars will likely have already moved on, and there will be plenty of time afterward for people to come down. The chamber event is also designed to promote the small businesses on East Main Street.

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Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County Police said a Selden woman was seriously injured in an early Sunday morning crash.

Khali Armstrong, 24 of Coram was driving a 2015 Hyundai Tuscon westbound on Middle Country Road Oct. 4 when his vehicle was struck by a 2017 Volkswagen exiting the Fairfield Townhouses parking lot at approximately 6:40 p.m. The driver of the Volkswagen, Sofia Savona, 17, of Selden, was transported by the Selden Fire Department to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Armstrong, 24, of Coram, was not injured.

The vehicles were impounded for safety checks. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

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File photo

Suffolk County Police said they have arrested a man for allegedly burglarizing and trespassing in multiple residences in Coram, Medford, Middle Island and Selden over the past two years.

After an investigation, police said they arrested Tyamie Bell, 41 of Selden. He was charged with two counts of 2nd degree burglary, two counts of 2nd degree criminal trespass and four counts of 3rd degree criminal trespass. 

The man allegedly entered yards or residences in Coram, Medford, Middle Island and Selden between October 2019 and September 2020. Police said twice he was confronted by residents during these interactions.

According to police, he entered a yard on two seperate Cedarhurst Avenue homes in Selden on two dates Sept. 10 and Sept. 14. He had also allegedly entered the home of a person on Woodlawn Avenue in Selden Sept. 12.

Bell was also charged with 2nd degree possession of a forged instrument. He was arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Sept. 22.

 

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Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral routes.

The pictures and story below comes courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff.

If you’ve driven down today’s Bicycle Path in Selden, you’ll be quite surprised to see how it used to look. Originally constructed in the 1890s for bicycle enthusiasts, the 14-mile path ran across Long Island from Patchogue to Port Jefferson and was a popular destination for tourists. One of the greatest contributors to the path, Selden resident Albert R. Norton, donated the right-of-way for it in front of his extensive property between Selden and Port Jefferson.

Norton ran the Wheelmen’s Rest, located midway along the route, serving refreshments to the hungry cyclists. Its visitor’s log recorded over 6,000 names, including bicyclists from all parts of the U.S. as well as England, France, Denmark and other countries. Perhaps of more interest are the entries of many Centereach, Selden and Lake Grove neighbors and ancestors whose signatures recall their lives in the communities. The original register of visitors to the Wheelmen’s Rest can be viewed at the Town of Brookhaven Historian’s office.

Bicycle Path was a busy spot during the summertime. The 1899 League of American Wheelmen’s Midsummer Festival program shows the elaborate events held from Thursday to Saturday. The Cyclists’ Carnival began in Patchogue and featured sailing, swimming, fishing and a clambake on the Great South Bay. Friday featured a ride to Babylon, where Charley Murphey cycled a pacing mile alongside a locomotive. On Saturday, members rode the “Cross Island Cycle Path” through Selden to Port Jefferson, where a parade, cycle races and Fire Department contests capped off the
carnival’s events.

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Suffolk County police car. File photo

A Ronkonkoma motorcyclist was seriously injured in a Selden crash Wedensday evening, police said.

Suffolk County Police said Anthony Bartoszewicz, 22 of Ronkonkoma, was driving a 2008 Suzuki motorcycle eastbound on Middle Country Road when a 2018 Toyota Camry being driven by George Major, 65 of Selden, made a left-hand turn in front of the motorcycle and they collided at around 5:15 p.m., throwing Bartoszewicz from the motorcycle.

Bartoszewicz was taken via ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital in serious condition. Major was also taken to Stony Brook University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Both vehicles were impounded for safety checks. 6th Precinct Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call at 631-854-8652.

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Suffolk County Police said they rescued a missing woman who was injured in a wooded area in Selden Monday, Aug. 10.

Cops said the 68-year-old woman was reported missing by her daughter at the St. Joseph’s Village Senior Citizens complex, located at 2000 Boyle Road, after the woman’s caretaker noticed the woman was gone but her cellphone, wallet and purse were in the residence. The door of the home was found slightly ajar, and the daughter called 911 at 1:25 p.m.

Officers responded to the home, where Detective Sergeant Timothy Romaine and Detective Luis Cabrera initiated a search, calling in Canine Officer Thomas Teufel and his dog, Maverick, to search the wooded area surrounding the complex. Maverick tracked the woman’s scent and located her lying face up in the woods at 5:23 p.m. The woman, who had left her apartment around midnight, became disoriented and fell.

The woman was transported via Selden Fire Department ambulance to Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson for treatment of dehydration.

The sign outside Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus along Nicolls Road. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The coronavirus pandemic has temporarily disrupted life for Suffolk County Community College, but college officials said it hasn’t dampened the spirit and ingenuity of those determined to carry out the college’s mission, make a difference and continue classes and services for students.

The sudden shift of instruction on March 23 from the classroom to 2,903 online classes for Suffolk’s nearly 20,000 students took place in less than two weeks. A herculean task matched by shifting Suffolk’s libraries, advising, counseling, financial aid, and a host of other services to remote operation built on a foundation made by Suffolk’s Information Technology (IT) Department.

“How do you move nearly 3,000 course sections online in only two weeks?” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo. “You ask our faculty to do the impossible and they deliver in record time for our students. We are eternally grateful for the dedication of our faculty, our front-line employees in Public Safety and Plant Operations who pulled together in this time of need.”

Suffolk’s libraries are providing virtual hours, online chat and electronic resources for students.

Counselors and advisors are meeting with students via Zoom, email and phone while Suffolk’s Veterans Affairs resource centers are hosting virtual office hours. Later this month the group will host a virtual meeting and discussion with a World War II veteran who is a Battle of the Bulge survivor and concentration camp liberator. The Zoom meeting is open to all.

The college is also calling every Suffolk student to answer questions and provide direction to resources. More than 13,000 students have been called to date. And, just like all of us, Suffolk students and their families have been affected by the pandemic.

Suffolk’s IT Department distributed more than 300 laptops and dozens of hotspots to students who lacked the technology to log into online instruction and fielded more than 300 technology inquiries from students.

A newly established Suffolk Community College Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Fund has fielded more than 170 students’ applications for support. 90 percent of students who applied cited job loss, as well as family unemployment and related that a family member or members are ill and being treated for coronavirus. Any enrolled student can apply for emergency funds.

“We are here for our students because we’re all in this together,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation.  “Our generous donors, our faculty & staff, alumni and corporate partners have all pitched in to help students facing financial hardships because of the pandemic.” 

Contributions to the student COVID-19 Emergency fund are being accepted at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/sccf-covid19.

SCCC moved activities from its two health clubs online, providing access to a YouTube hosted exercise regimen, and the athletics department is hosting online gaming competitions, while also emphasizing that everyone needs to exercise.

The college’s sustainability department has continued conservation efforts by celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with the Take 1 Less challenge. Participants are challenged to use one less plastic item a day and document their efforts with photos that are shared on the college’s social media channels. On Earth Day, a virtual nature walk with the Suffolk County Community College Ammerman Campus Environmental Club will take place via Zoom.  

District Attorney Tim Sini (D). File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Several individuals from all over Long Island, including Selden, St. James and Northport, have been implicated in multiple labor crime violations.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (D) joined Suffolk police along with multiple New York State officials from the labor and insurance departments to announce their arrest.

Sini said, collectively, the charged crimes involve the theft of more than $250,000 in employees’ wages and benefits, nonpayment of more than $58,000 to the state Department of Labor for unemployment insurance fund contributions and nonpayment of more than $133,000 to the New York State Insurance Fund for workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Paul Gilistro, 58, of Selden, and his company Goldstar Installation Services Inc. are each charged with a scheme to defraud in the first degree and willful failure to file a true certified payroll.

From 2016 to 2019, the defendants, formerly doing business as The Floor Worx of Long Island, allegedly misclassified 12 employees as independent contractors to avoid paying the statutory prevailing wage on public works jobs performed throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties. The DA said, during that time period, Gilistro allegedly regularly falsified the sworn certified payroll records he submitted to reflect the job classifications and wages the employees should have received.

“Here in Suffolk County, we will not tolerate the exploitation of workers or our taxpayers by greedy corporations and business owners,” Sini said. “Not only will our efforts protect workers and taxpayers, they will also prevent these bad businesses from gaining an unfair competitive advantage against legitimate, law-abiding businesses.”

Alan James, 70, of St. James, and his company APJ Restoration Inc. were each charged with fraudulent practices against the state insurance fund in violation of New York State workers’ compensation law.

An audit by the NYSIF revealed evidence that between August 2017 and August 2018 the defendants allegedly failed to report more than $450,000 in revenue to the NYSIF in order to avoid paying $68,613.69 in policy premiums that would have otherwise been assessed.

Richard Hall, 57, of Northport, and his company Regal Contracting Inc. were each charged with a scheme to defraud and willful failure to pay prevailing wages in an amount less than $25,000, a misdemeanor in violation of state DOL law. In addition, Hall and Triangle Enterprises of Long Island Inc. are each charged with fraudulent practices against the NYSIF in violation of New York State workers’ compensation law.

In the summer of 2018, Hall and Regal Contracting Inc. allegedly failed to pay $7,400 in benefits to the Laborers Local 66 Benefit Fund for multiple workers on five different projects. In December 2018, Regal canceled its state insurance fund policy. Hall then incorporated Triangle Enterprises of Long Island Inc. and allegedly fraudulently omitted his ownership of the company on its application for workers’ compensation insurance. Regal Contracting allegedly owes more than $28,000 in unpaid unemployment insurance fund contributions to the DOL and allegedly owes more than $48,000 in unpaid workers’ compensation premiums to the insurance fund, therefore making Hall ineligible to take out a new policy.

Route 112 was proposed for a bike route connecting the Port Jeff and Fire Island ferry. Photo by Kyle Barr

The New York State Department of Transportation is proposing to establish a bicycle route on Route 112 in partnership with the Town of Brookhaven. The resolution was passed unanimously 7-0 Jan. 16.  

Bicycle Route 112 would be a signed on-road bike route between the Port Jefferson Ferry on the North Shore and the Fire Island Ferry on the South Shore. 

The NYSDOT has proposed to Brookhaven that it would utilize certain portions of Town roadways to maximize the safety of the bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists instead of using segments of Route 112 that are unsuitable for safe bicycling. 

A representative from the NYSDOT declined to comment on the proposed bike route stating that the Town and agency plan to have further discussions later in the year on the matter.

Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said the addition of the bike route, which would begin in her district, will be a positive one. 

“The development of a bicycle route between the Port Jefferson Ferry and the Fire Island Ferry is a positive infrastructure addition to the community for multiple reasons including improved safety for our cyclists,” she said in a statement. “To create greater connectivity between the two ferries and the North and South shores is an added benefit that will increase access and encourage more people to travel between one ferry to the other via bicycle.”

As part of the plan, the NYSDOT would fabricate and install all signs associated with the bike route at no expense to the Town. Brookhaven will periodically inspect the signs and inform the NYSDOT of any replacement signs required and the NYSDOT will fabricate the replacement bicycle route signs. 

Bike Route 112 would utilize Columbia Street from the Town boundary at the Long Island Rail Road to New York Route 25A at Hallock Avenue; Wincoram Way between NY 25 and NY 112; Granny Road between NY 112 and Old Medford Avenue; Old Medford Avenue between Granny Road and Katy Street; Katy Street between Old Medford Avenue and Weidners Lane; Weidners Lane between Katy Street and Shaber Road; Shaber Road between Weidners Lane and Suffolk County Road 83; North Ocean Avenue between the Sunrise Highway South Service Road and the Village of Patchogue boundary line at Lakewood Street.

A feline relaxes in the cat room at A Kitten Kadoodle Coffee Cafe. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Adopting a pet can be a challenging undertaking, where soon-to-be pet owners are potentially committing to years of caring for a furry friend.

When it comes to adopting a cat, animal rescuer Jennifer Rose Sinz is working to make the experience a little easier. Sinz and her husband, Bill, are the owners of A Kitten Kadoodle Coffee Cafe in Selden. The cafe has been open since July 2019 and has been a dream that Sinz has been working on for a few years.

Young Sylvester was recently adopted from A Kitten Kadoodle Coffee Cafe. Photo from Lauren Sharp

Sinz said it was 2015 when she first heard of a cat cafe in Japan. She mentioned the idea to a rescue organization she was working with at the time, but the organizers weren’t too keen on the idea. So, she started researching on her own.

She described the Selden cat cafe as different from others that have popped up on Long Island. In addition to beverages and snacks being served, visitors can also order cold and hot meals. It is also the first cat cafe to serve vegetarian options.

With a glass wall between the cafe and the cats’ quarters, guests can see the animals relaxing in their temporary home filled with couches, chairs and toys while they eat. For a fee of $5, visitors can go into the cat room for an unlimited time and socialize with the felines. The fee is good all day, so prospective pet owners can take some time out and come back later.

As an animal rescuer who has owned pets her whole life, Sinz, who also runs All About Pets Rescue, said it’s important for people to have ample time with an animal before adopting. Limiting that time, like other businesses or shelters may do, doesn’t make sense to her.

“How are you supposed to get to know a pet if you’re interested in adopting,” she said. “I want them to get to know the personality.”

Her advice is simple.

“Sit down, relax, get to know the personality of the animal before making a commitment of 15 to 20 years,” she said.

At the cafe, Sinz offers children workshops and yoga classes. She said the workshops and classes give people a chance to spend time with the cats, even if they have a family member who is allergic.

Visitors to the establishment can find cats of all ages who have been in various situations, including being abandoned and abused. Sinz said she prefers to take in older cats so they will have a second chance at life. She also never turns down senior adoptees who may be interested in a cat as she said owning an animal is therapeutic and keeps people energetic.

Her husband, Bill Sinz, thought it was an interesting concept when she first brought it up to him, and considers her saving the cats a “noble fight.”

“Her love for the animals is amazing,” the husband said. “I hope other people appreciate what she’s doing and come here and share it with her.”

Lauren Sharp is one of those who have appreciated Sinz’s work. One day, during a stressful day at her job in Selden, she stopped by the cafe during lunch to pet the felines. That visit led her to stop by often and eventually to adopt a 1½-year-old cat she named Sylvester, due to his similarities to the Looney Tunes character. Even though she grew up with a dog and birds in her family’s home, Sylvester was the first pet she adopted on her own.

Sharp said she loved the chance to get to know the personalities of the animals. Allergic to cats when she was younger, she didn’t have much experience with them. She said she had checked out another cat cafe in Sayville, but Sylvester stuck with her because he was so relaxed when she and a friend would come to visit.

When it came to the adoption process, Sharp said it was smooth from start to finish, and Sinz had all of Sylvester’s medical records ready to go.

“It’s a great place,” Sharp said. “I think Jennifer is very sweet and really cares for all the cats.”

Cat lovers can find the cafe at 600 Middle Country Road, Suite C&D, Selden. For more information, call 631-846-7389.