The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association met Tuesday, Oct. 24, for a meeting covering public safety, land use, upcoming elections and multiculturalism.
John Efstathiou, COPE officer for the Suffolk County Police Department’s 6th Precinct, delivered the department’s public safety report, outlining an uptick across several crime statistics.
When crime data was compared from the same period in 2022, the 6th Precinct received an increase in the calls for service throughout the hamlet from 646 to 845, “so we saw a big increase in calls,” Efstathiou stated.
While there were no reported aggravated harassments or assaults, there were two reported burglaries. A smoke shop and the Buddhist temple — both located on Terryville Road — were the two burglarized locations.
Criminal mischief went up from six to 10 reported incidents. One of those criminal mischiefs resulted in an arrest, five resulted in no pressed charges and the other four remain under investigation by the department.
Harassments spiked from seven to 11. Of those, one arrest was made, eight resulted in no press and two remain under investigation. Larcenies went up from 12 to 16.
Efstathiou reported a menacing incident at the Family Dollar located at Jefferson Plaza in which an individual brandished a knife to steal money. “He was unsuccessful,” the COPE officer indicated, adding the person was “charged for menacing on that. That is still pending and under investigation.”
A robbery had occurred at the Sunoco gas station on Old Town Road, resulting in the apprehension of the alleged suspect.
Total criminal incidents went up from 35 to 64. Disturbances went up from 135 to 167. Total noncriminal incidents increased from 611 to 821. Motor vehicle accidents jumped from 45 to 83.
Civic vice president Carolyn Sagliocca updated the body on proposed developments throughout the area. She said the Bicycle Path LLC group, owner of the parcel at 507 North Bicycle Path, contacted the civic regarding a potential redevelopment project.
“They want to present their proposal here for our civic for everyone to see, and that is going to be at our December 19 civic meeting,” she said.
Sagliocca emphasized the importance of the civic’s upcoming Nov. 28 meeting, during which the body will deliberate on the proposed redevelopment of Jefferson Plaza. “We’re going to see if we can get the community to give us input on what you want,” she said. “Because on November 30, there’s going to be a public hearing at Town Hall in Farmingville at 5:30, and we hope as many residents who want to voice their opinion on what they want could be there.”
Meet the candidates
Later in the meeting, the body met judicial candidates for Suffolk County district court and Michael Kaplan, Democratic candidate for Brookhaven highway superintendent.
Steve Weissbard is the Republican and Conservative Party candidate for the district court. He served as Suffolk County attorney in family court, later working for the Suffolk Legal Aid Society.
“I bring a very balanced experience … and I expect a very balanced judgment and open mind when I sit on the bench,” he said.
Opposing Weissbard is Cynthia Vargas, who serves as co-chair of the Suffolk County Bar Association’s membership services committee. She also served as president of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association.
“I would bring all of my experience, common sense and integrity to ensure justice for all and ask that you vote Vargas, not politics, on November 7,” she said.
Kaplan is challenging incumbent Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R), who did not attend Tuesday evening’s civic meeting. Kaplan is a U.S. Army veteran who worked as a road inspector in the Town of Islip before working directly for the superintendent of highways in the Town of Huntington.
“This town needs different leadership when it comes to highways,” he said, advocating for a “small-town mentality” within the Brookhaven Highway Department.
The meeting concluded with a discussion among faith and ethnic leaders throughout the community. Panelists included Mufti Abdullah Sheikh, resident scholar and imam at Selden Masjid, Rabbi Aaron Benson of North Shore Jewish Center and Shaorui Li, founder and president of the Asian American Association of Greater Stony Brook.
In a phone interview after the meeting, PJSTCA president Ira Costell regarded the panel as a means of opening a dialogue and creating understanding between the religious and cultural groups that were present.
“It’s been my agenda to bring programs as often as possible that add a dimension of education or awareness or understanding about broader issues,” Costell said. “I think this really went a long way — for me personally and hopefully for other people — to realize we can have a conversation with each other.”
The civic reconvenes on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Comsewogue Public Library at 7 p.m.