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Shoreham

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Rocky Point’s Sara Giammarella beats a swarm of players to the ground ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The team may be young, but Rocky Point girls’ lacrosse is mighty.

With 13 seconds left on the clock in sudden-death overtime, sophomore midfielder Madison Sanchez scored her fourth goal of Tuesday’s game to give the Eagles what is believed to be their program’s first win over Shoreham-Wading River in school history.

Shannon Maroney makes a save for Rocky Point. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Shannon Maroney makes a save for Rocky Point. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I thought, ‘I have to do this,’ I put my heart into it, I knew I needed to get it in, and I did,” Sanchez said of the final goal that gave her team the 10-9 victory. “Relief — that’s what it feels like. I’m speechless. It felt really good, especially considering we’ve never beat Shoreham before.”

As her team toppled her to the ground, there was another shining star for the Eagles out on the field being celebrated. Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Maroney made 20 stops in goal, including one with three seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, and another 30 seconds into the three-minute session.

“We were really great on defense and we moved the ball quick on offense,” she said. “We pulled for each other when we needed to. We came through when we needed the ball. We worked really hard today.”

Rocky Point (6-3 in Division II) struggled to win the draw all evening, but when the Eagles gained possession, they made it count. With 13:49 left in the game, Sanchez scored her hat trick goal when she gained possession at midfield and charged up to the front of the cage to put her team up by two, 8-6.

Shoreham-Wading River junior midfielder Sophia Triandafils wouldn’t let her team go down quietly though, scoring at the 12:16 mark and again at 6:27, after Maroney made back-to-back saves, to tie the game 8-8.

“We had sloppy moments on the field,” said Triandafils, who also added two assists. “It’s hard going against a team that has so many athletes like Rocky Point. You give them an inch and they take a mile, and here and there we gave them a few inches and we just couldn’t come back from it.”

Rocky Point’s Madison Sanchez is checked by Shoreham’s Jesse Arline. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Rocky Point’s Madison Sanchez is checked by Shoreham’s Jesse Arline. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Wildcats (7-3 in Division II) showed their resiliency, keeping within striking distance each time their opponent scored. Triandafils said her team just needs a little more work.

“We have some good glimpses here and there of the team that we could be,” she said. “We have so much potential on the team, and once we put together a full game, I think we can compete with anyone, play with anyone and beat anyone.”

Freshman attack and midfielder Brianna Lamoureux scored her second goal of the game with 39 seconds left in regulation to give Rocky Point a 9-8 lead, but Shoreham-Wading River’s Maddie Farron tied it up to force overtime just 10 seconds later.

The three minutes were almost up when Sanchez found the back of the net.

While the loss snapped Shoreham-Wading River’s seven-game win streak, the win keeps Rocky Point at the top of the league leaderboard, among undefeated Bayport-Blue Point and Mount Sinai and Eastport-South Manor.

Shoreham’s Sofia Triandafils and Rocky Point’s Christina Bellissimo fight for the loose ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Shoreham’s Sofia Triandafils and Rocky Point’s Christina Bellissimo fight for the loose ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

On April 28, Rocky Point travels to Harborfields (6-2 in Division II) at 4 p.m., while Shoreham-Wading River hosts Hauppauge (4-4 in Division II) at 4 p.m.

Although Rocky Point is still without its leading goal scorer in freshman midfielder Brianna Carrasquillo, who netted 34 goals in eight games this season, head coach Dan Spallina is looking forward to where his young team is taking him.

“This group is young, energetic, and there’s such a bond between them,” he said. “As a coach who’s been doing this for a long time, it’s something you can’t bring to the girls. They have to have it on their own, and they do. We’ve been talking about leadership and we’ve been talking about heart and for Maddie Sanchez to take that one-on-one and beat out a girl that should be up for All-American speaks to the type of player that she is. She’s kind of a pass-first kind of girl, but she deserves it. She deserves a win like this. They all do.”

Sills Gully Beach scattered with litter. File photo

Federal dollars are giving Sills Gully Beach and Gully Landing face-lifts.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announced that Brookhaven Town will receive $2,275,000 in federal funding to repair Sills Gully Beach in Shoreham and the town’s Gully Landing Road drainage facility in Miller Place, which were severely damaged due to high winds, heavy rains and the tidal surge during both Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“Working closely with the Brookhaven Town finance department, Brookhaven highway department, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New York State department of homeland security, my staff and I were able to successfully expedite the necessary federal funding to make critical repairs to Sills Gully Beach and Gully Landing Drainage Facility,” said Zeldin, who is a member of the House of Representatives’ transportation and infrastructure committee, in a press release. “As a result, Brookhaven Town will now be able to make renovations to protect, restore and strengthen the beach, so that Long Islanders can enjoy its beauty for generations to come.”

The funding will be used to repair and reinforce the bluffs by installing a bulkhead. According to town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), the drainage systems and shoreline protection at the locations had been so severely damaged that it was no longer serving its primary function.

Hurricane Sandy “was not only a South Shore event — our North Shore communities were affected as well, and Sills Gully Beach and Gully Landing Road were particularly hit hard,” he said. “I thank Congressman Zeldin for securing the funds so we can finally begin work to repair the damage so residents can once again safely enjoy this popular recreation spot.”

The funding will also be used to upgrade the existing stormwater drainage system.

“We were able to finally cut through the bureaucratic red tape after years of inaction and allocate the necessary federal funding to modernize our stormwater infrastructure and repair badly eroded bluffs, protecting the endangered surface waters of the Long Island Sound,” town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said. “Shoreline protection projects such as these are critical in our efforts to maintain our shoreline and ensure its resilience.”

The federal grant was secured through FEMA. The funding is being provided under authority of Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act and will be granted directly to New York State.

“I appreciate the hard work of Congressman Zeldin, the Town of Brookhaven, the highway department and Councilwoman Jane Bonner [R] have done for our community to get this project approved,” said Marc Mazza, a board member of the Miller Place Park Homeowners Association. “I offer my heartfelt thanks.”

Community clubs and organizations were just excited to see the beach restored for local enjoyment.

“We are very, very grateful,” said Jennifer Juengst, a board member of the Shoreham Shore Club. “The funding obtained with Congressman Zeldin’s efforts are a lifeline for the health of this North Shore beach and will ensure that future generations of beachgoers will enjoy safe summers for years to come.”

This version replaces an incorrect photo.

Maureen Pouder, third from left, poses for a photo with Town of Brookhaven officials and members of the American Legion after receiving recognition for her artwork. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

From a flower to an old barn, artist Maureen Pouder draws her inspiration from the simple things in life.

The Miller Place resident was honored during the Town of Brookhaven’s last meeting on for her work on an old mailbox for the American Legion Arthur H. Clune Post 1533 in Mastic Beach. Pouder, a recreation specialist for the Town of Brookhaven, met members of the post around four months ago through Marcel Van Orden, a post member and one of Pouder’s art students at the Mastic Recreation Center.

Van Orden was originally tasked with reinventing the post’s mailbox. Pouder came on board after Van Orden mentioned it in conversation. In a couple weeks, the duo transformed the old rusted delivery mailbox into an American-inspired mural depicting the American flag and a bald eagle. The mailbox will help collect unserviceable flags, which the legion burns every Flag Day, said past post commander, George Barnes. He added that the mailbox mural was so beautiful that he hates to put it outside.

Maureen Pouder stands to the right of the American Legion Arthur H. Clune Post 1533’s new flag depository mailbox she painted. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven
Maureen Pouder stands to the right of the American Legion Arthur H. Clune Post 1533’s new flag depository mailbox she painted. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

“Painting [it] like a mural brings attention,” Pouder said. “People will walk past a mailbox and not take a second look. But when it’s painted like a mural they really look at it and they’ll see it’s a flag depository.”

Receiving town recognition is an honor for Pouder, who started working for the municipality in 2008. For the past several years, she’s held art classes at the Blue Point, Shoreham and Mastic recreation centers where she teaches watercolor, oil and acrylic painting skills. The artist also runs Brookhaven’s annual art shows, which are held in Port Jefferson.

Pouder has painted murals for the Cedar Beach Nature Center, among other places on Long Island. Last year, the artist decorated a bra to help raise $2,000 for breast cancer. She used wool roving and barbed pin to create flowers and butterflies on the bra.

She’s a very talented artist … she’s also a very hard worker,” said Kurt Leuffen, superintendent of Brookhaven’s parks and recreation department. “She’s been teaching art for the last couple of years [and] she’s done a very good job. I would say all participants really enjoy her as an instructor — she’s very good, she’s very thorough and she’s very helpful.”

Leuffen has known Pouder for nearly 25 years. He added that town employees and those at Pouder’s recreation centers are proud of her and lucky to have her as an employee.

While Pouder knows various art media, she said she loves painting with watercolor, acrylic and oil paint the most. Although she can finish a watercolor painting in a couple of days, oil paintings take her several weeks, as they need more time to dry. Pouder added that she gets more joy when she donates her time to work on a painting like her mailbox mural, because she knows her work is truly appreciated.

“Maureen’s artwork and volunteerism is very well known throughout the community,” said town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point). “We are all grateful that she shares her time and talent so generously.”

Mollie Adler bakes her brownies at her home in Shoreham. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Don’t look back. Keep going forward.

That’s what Mollie Adler’s father said to her before he died several decades ago. And she hasn’t looked back since — even as she is fighting to save her home with her new business “Miss Mollie’s Brownies.”

Around two years ago, this single mother of two hit hard times when her divorce not only left her struggling to put food on the table but also resulted in her Shoreham home going into foreclosure. Adler suffered another huge blow last September when she was laid off from her part-time job. With kids to feed and a home to worry about, baking brownies became Adler’s best bet.

Adler established her business after applying to New York’s Self-Employment Assistance Program last year. She was accepted into the program in October and started recycling water bottles to help pay for brownie ingredients. She’s currently selling her brownies at the Port Jefferson Winter Farmers Market.

“She’s always wanted to pursue a career in baking,” Denise Rohde said. “Her brownies honestly are her claim to fame. It’s almost like getting laid off was a blessing in disguise because it gave her time to actually pursue her dream.”

Rohde, of Baiting Hollow, met Adler nearly 17 years ago and has seen her through the many obstacles in her life — including the first time Adler was laid-off several years ago. After losing her second job, Adler decided to pursue her dream.

“I just had to reach and say this is what I’m going to do,” Adler said about creating Miss Mollie’s Brownies. “I’m going to do it for me. I’m going to have hours that make sense for me and I want to empower myself.”

“Miss Mollie’s Brownies” are packaged and arranged at her home. Photo by Giselle Barkley
“Miss Mollie’s Brownies” are packaged and arranged at her home. Photo by Giselle Barkley

But a chronic health condition further complicated Adler’s life when she started losing her sense of smell and taste. While she can taste salty or sweet foods, she can’t taste flavors, and has no sense of smell. Regardless, her fudgy brownies have friends, family members and clients coming back for more.

While her business is only a few weeks old, Adler has a wide range of brownie flavors including classic, espresso and nutty. Some seasonal flavors include apple pie, s’mores, mint and lavender, which she’s perfected with the help of her children who taste-test the brownies. But their help doesn’t stop there.

Adler’s daughter Melanie, who doesn’t share her mother’s last name, was the first to tell her mom’s story. Now, with the help of Adler’s graphic designer Gary Goldstein, Adler’s clients can read her story on the tag tied to each of her brownies. Goldstein met Adler more than a year ago. Goldstein, an art teacher who is designing Adler’s labels for free, started working with her last November. In that time, he’s seen her tenacity as she works to save her home.

“She deserves this,” he said. “She deserves not only things going well for her, but to be successful because she’s a dedicated mom and she’s hard-working. Like everyone else in life, you have your ups and downs, but this is a woman I envision being successful.”

In 2014, according to www.singlemotherguide.com, nearly 12 million families in America were single-parent families. According to Port Jefferson resident Pat Darling, a friend of Adler, some single parents don’t always pick themselves up when they hit hard times.

“I think when a person is down, instead of staying there they should reach, and they should dream — and she’s reaching for her dreams,’ Darling said. “I hope they all come true.”

Adler doesn’t just want her dreams to come true. She also wants to show her kids and single parents alike what dedication and perseverance can achieve. She said she hopes to create a place for single parents to help them through their hardships once her business takes off.

“Everyday I get up and do whatever it takes to get this done,” Adler said about building her business. “I’m not going to stop until “Miss Mollie’s Brownies” is a household name.”

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Diane Burkhardt, a member of the North Shore United Methodist Church for the last 11 years, is seen below smiling with children she helps through the organization Life and Hop Haiti. Photo from Hal Low

Don’t let its size fool you — the North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River may be small, but the variety of outreach and support programs it has reaches across the Island.

“Sometimes there are certain people who are going through a difficult time and I think extending a hand and caring helps restore some hope that things are going to be okay,” said Diane Burkhardt, a member of the church for 11 years who is a retired Shoreham-Wading River middle school teacher. “People are so appreciative and thankful, which makes the whole experience gratifying and fulfilling. It makes you really appreciate what you have, which is humbling.”

Burkhardt said she is fortunate enough to be the team leader for the church’s outreach program, working on volunteer efforts like the Helping Hands Fund, which includes a food pantry that assists about 50 families in the Shoreham-Wading River area on a regular basis, and its back-to-school project, which provided school supplies to 30 children in need this past September.

Volunteers also deliver food to people’s homes, drive those in need to doctor’s appointments, help out with the church’s thrift shop, and deliver meals to and spend time with residents of Maureen’s Haven, a shelter service for homeless adults on the East End.

The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River is involved in a myriad of projects from helping its church members to the needy across Long Island. Photo by Giselle Barkley
The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River is involved in a myriad of projects from helping its church members to the needy across Long Island. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“Food is tangible, but what comes with it is the intangible quality of hope,” Burkhardt said. “I’m one of a dozen or so active members that are retired and put in a lot of hours because we feel we were all given gifts and skills that can be put to good use helping people.”

Linda McCall, of Center Moriches, has been attending North Shore United Methodist for four years and said she most enjoys spending her time helping those at Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead, while also volunteering through Helping Hands to provide gifts to children and meals to families around Christmas.

“It’s a very small church, and for such a small church we have so many outreach programs going that I found it almost impossible not to get involved,” she said. “It’s one of the things that keep me happy to be here on the Island. I moved here from Las Vegas, so I don’t have any family here, and the church has become my family. Volunteering fills my days with joy and happiness.”

Priscilla Hartman, a Shoreham resident who has been attending services for the last 35 years, said that as the church’s team leader for its membership care program, she finds it rewarding when she can help someone.

The program helps church members get to the pharmacy when they are temporarily ill, don’t have transportation or otherwise can’t leave the house. Volunteers also cook for them or clean their houses.

“It’s a great feeling when we’re helping a homeless person or someone who is down on their luck and seeing them get back on their feet,” she said. “I’m glad that my church is very ministry-oriented. I think it’s a good way for us to act. We’re a small church, but there’s nothing too large for us to take on.”

One example is the church’s partnering with Life and Hope Haiti, an organization founded by Lucia Anglade of West Babylon, who formed the Eben Ezer School in her hometown of Milot, Haiti.

Donna Eddy, who runs a craft group and is also involved with Maureen’s Haven and the thrift shop, said it’s these relationships people make with other community members and those they help that count in life and define who they are.

“I think we are all wired to need and to learn from each other,” she said. “You can’t love, have forgiveness, experience kindness, faithfulness and unselfishness unless you’re involved in the community. People need other people.”

And one person everyone at North Shore United Methodist agreed they need, is Burkhardt.

The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River gets together food for the less fortunate during the holidays. Photo from Hal Low
The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River gets together food for the less fortunate during the holidays. Photo from Hal Low

“She has an incredible amount of energy and her enthusiasm is infectious,” Pastor Hal Low said. “Nothing ever seems to daunt her. She’s an inspiration to others, including myself.”

Eddy agrees.

“She’s focused, driven and she makes you want to be the best that you can be and give all that you can, because that’s what she does,” she said. “She’s a wonderful model She gives selflessly her time, her energy. If you need something, Diane will be there. You can count on her.”

But Burkhardt doesn’t want to take any of the credit, because she said without the rest of the organization, there would be no outreach ministry.

“I’m part of a whole congregation and I couldn’t do anything alone,” she said, adding that other churchgoers also help by recycling cans and bottles to raise money for lunches for the children in Haiti for instance. Members are also currently providing dinner to children whose parents are both in the hospital while the father is ill, and have been helping transport a man in Bellport, previously of Maureen’s Haven and a home in Middle Island, to and from Sunday services since 2011.

Burkhardt said that she frequently recalls things Shoreham resident and longtime churchgoer Doris Olson used to tell her when she was heavily involved in outreach in her younger years.

“Whenever I’m dealing with someone that can maybe be hard to deal with, she always said, ‘God made that person, too,’ and that brings me right back in touch with what I’m really doing and why I’m going it,” Burkhardt said. “Every day, try to be a blessing to someone else.”

‘Coffee Pot Sunset,’ Orient Point Lighthouse. Photo by Jerry McGrath

By Rita J. Egan

Photographer Jerry McGrath has a keen eye when it comes to capturing the beauty of wildlife and landscapes, and through the end of February, nature lovers can enjoy his work at the North Shore Public Library in Shoreham. The exhibit will include approximately 20 images — the majority taken right here on Long Island with a couple from his trips to Alaska — printed on canvas from the Wading River resident’s collection.

‘All in the Family,’ a mother fox with her kits on Fire Island. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘All in the Family,’ a mother fox with her kits on Fire Island. Photo by Jerry McGrath

The library’s art coordinator Hildegard Kroeger said a few years ago when the library displayed McGrath’s photos, they were well received. She said library patrons will enjoy the new exhibit with stunning photos that capture the impressive wingspans of birds or the eye color of the creatures. “He captures them in a very artistic way, and it may open up the eyes of people to look at things differently,” Kroeger said.

McGrath said becoming involved in photography opened up a whole new world for him. A former fifth-grade teacher at Wading River Elementary School for 30 years, the educator’s love of the art form developed slowly over the decades. He said he bought his first 35mm camera in 1968 while stationed in Vietnam. At the time, it was to simply record his experiences there. He never imagined the purchase would one day lead to the passion it has become for him the past five or six years as well as a small source of income.

McGrath said when he prepares for an exhibit he sees the images coming out of the printer, and he becomes energized knowing that he was part of creating the work and just wants to share it with others, and it can be difficult to choose his favorites to display.

“I just love when the picture comes out of the printer, and I see how that final product looks. And when it looks really sharp and crisp, just the right subject, it’s just something that I get a charge out of. I don’t know what it is,” he said.

‘Metropolis,’ winter town of Elfin Cove, Alaska. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘Metropolis,’ winter town of Elfin Cove, Alaska. Photo by Jerry McGrath

An avid fisherman, McGrath was inspired to become more involved in photography after a fishing trip to Alaska that led to winning a photo contest. The photographer, who is also a former licensed charter boat captain and conducts a fishing course through the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, has been visiting Alaska for fishing trips annually for over 15 years.

A few years ago during one trip, he caught a halibut that weighed over 200 pounds. McGrath asked his friend Mike to take a photo of him with his catch, while he held the tail of the fish and sat down with his feet stretched out next to the head of the halibut to give perspective of just how big it was. When he returned home, he entered the picture in a fishing photo contest sponsored by Alaska Airlines and won. With this win, he thought about how he coordinated the photo and started thinking that he may have a knack for capturing a moment.

Winning two round-trip tickets to wherever the airline traveled, he and his wife Cathie decided to take a trip to Hawaii. McGrath said he felt that not any camera would do for such a scenic vacation so he purchased his first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. The photographer said he found it easier to use than previous manual exposure cameras that he owned, as well as an inexpensive way to take photos, and he began taking more.

‘Wings,’ a great egret in Baiting Hollow. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘Wings,’ a great egret in Baiting Hollow. Photo by Jerry McGrath

He said places such as Hawaii and Alaska are beautiful spots to take stunning photos. “You can’t take a bad picture of the sun creeping behind the mountains at sunset at 11 o’clock at night up in Elfin Cove, Alaska. It’s just spectacular,” McGrath said.

However, while he has taken gorgeous photos on vacations, the Long Islander said his favorite spots to take photos are close to home. He said he loves going to the Wading River Marsh Preserve where he easily finds birds by the water or even deer in the woods to photograph.

He added that his own backyard is a great place to take photos, especially of birds such as cardinals, blue jays and mourning doves. McGrath said he never paid much attention to birds, but once he started photographing them he started reading up on the different types and now can identify many of them.

“It opened a whole new world for me,” McGrath said.

A tender photo of a mother fox and her cubs that will be on display at the library was taken on Fire Island. According to McGrath, many of his wildlife photos are possible not only due to a good deal of patience while waiting for the perfect shot, but also by using a 300mm lens and 2x extender, which enables him to get great shots even when he is relatively far away from the subject. He now has a collection of three DSLR cameras, and from time to time, he will use a monopod to remain steady.

‘Fishing Duck,’ a female hooded merganser at the Wading River Duck Pond. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘Fishing Duck,’ a female hooded merganser at the Wading River Duck Pond. Photo by Jerry McGrath

Visitors to the library exhibit who are interested in purchasing prints will be able to do so directly from McGrath. The photographer said after his first exhibit at the North Shore Public Library a few years ago, he displayed his work at the former Grind Cafe in Wading River and realized people wanted to buy his photos. He said he was amazed when during the two months of the café exhibit he sold 14 or 15 pieces that started at $150 or more. While the sales encouraged him to try to sell more of his photos, he said, “I just love taking the pictures. I would take the pictures whether I was getting paid or not.”

The North Shore Public Library, 250 Route 25A, Shoreham, will present McGrath’s exhibit through Feb. 27. An artist reception, hosted by the Friends of the Library, will be held to meet the photographer on Feb. 7 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.northshorepubliclibrary.org or call 631-929-4488. To view McGrath’s work, visit www.facebook.com/CapturedMcgraphicsPhotosByJerryMcgrath.

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A memorial will rest on the pre-existing hill on the new Tom Cutinella Memorial Field. Photo from Ryan Ledda

Shoreham-Wading River High School’s “Tommy Tough” slogan is not only changing the culture of the Wildcats football team — it’s changing the community.

When Tom Cutinella passed away from an on-field collision last year, sophomore Ryan Ledda was right in the middle of thinking about what he should do for his Eagle Scout project. Ledda didn’t know Tom, but his sister Gabriella did, and after seeing how the loss affected her, coupled with what he saw during a Clemson University football game, his memorial idea was born.

“Before each game, the Clemson team comes onto the field touching a memorial called Howard’s Rock, and I figured I could do something similar to that,” Ryan Ledda said. “That the team could come out and touch the memorial for good luck before each home game. My goal is that everyone in the school could be connected to Tom without him being there. So no one will forget him.”

First, Ledda presented the idea to high school Principal Dan Holtzman, before going to the board of education.

“I thought it was an impressive one,” Holtzman said. “It was well-received by the board of education and they gave Ryan the go-ahead. I think it is a meaningful and thoughtful project and one that I hope encourages students at all grade levels to engage in community-oriented projects.”

Ryan Ledda, whose Eagle Scout project will raise money to fund a memorial in Tom Cutinella’s name. Photo from Ryan Ledda
Ryan Ledda, whose Eagle Scout project will raise money to fund a memorial in Tom Cutinella’s name. Photo from Ryan Ledda

The proposal was a 4- by 20-foot retaining wall on a pre-existing hill on the field that would have a concrete base with pavers stacked on top. In the middle will be a pedestal with a bronze bust of Cutinella. The bronze piece will be life size.

“I thought it was a very big project — I was very nervous,” Ledda’s mother Jennifer Ledda said. “I myself didn’t know the Cutinellas, but after Ryan went to the board and got approval I met Mrs. Cutinella. I found out how the boy was outstanding in every aspect of what he does. It reminded me of all of the kids who do good.”

According to Ryan Ledda, the project is estimated to cost $30,000-$40,000. The approval was quick by the board, but the approval by Boy Scout Troop 161 in Shoreham took longer.

“You need to fill out a long application and they send it back with improvements and revisions,” he said. “But they thought it was a great idea. A lot of the Eagle board members knew Tom’s family so they wanted to help out. Once they heard how much it was going to cost they got a little freaked out, but I told them how I was going to raise money and how important it was because of how Tom affected the community.”

To help fund the project, bricks are being sold that can be engraved, to rest atop the base. Smaller bricks cost $125, while larger ones cost $250.

“Those who went to school with him will always remember him, but kids to come that didn’t know him might not, so hopefully this can help them honor Tom,” Ledda said.

The sophomore created a website where the bricks can be purchased, and he handed out flyers in front of the school that were donated by a local printing company. To purchase a brick, go to www.bricksrus.com/order/bsatroop161. There is also a GoFundMe account raising funds for the base of the memorial and bronze statue.

The goal is to reach $20,000. Currently, 34 people have donated a combined $3,271 in the last month. Fourteen of those people have donated $54 or $154, representing Cutinella’s jersey No. 54. To donate to this project, go to www.gofundme.com/tomcmemorial.

For Shoreham-Wading River varsity football coach Matt Millheiser, he thinks all projects done in Cutinella’s name have been beneficial for the community.

“Outside of football, you see so many projects and so many things done — whether it’s a run or a blood drive or this Eagle Scout project — that are done in Tom’s name, he said. “It really shows the impact he had as a person and some of the good things that are being done by his friends and family and even people that didn’t know him, in the things they do throughout their lives. I think it is part of his long-standing effect.”

As for the memorial, the head coach knows it will only add to the field.

“I think it’s a great, worthy cause and idea — they’re all good things to remember their friend and brother who was lost,” Millheiser said. “‘Tommy Tough’ kind of changed the culture of Shoreham-Wading River football and the way the kids viewed how they went to work, how they practiced and how they prepared and how they carried themselves, and it really speaks to his legacy.”

The Tesla Science Center laboratory site in Shoreham is blocked off while it’s under redevelopment. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Science doesn’t come cheap.

So it was a pleasant surprise for the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe when the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils announced the center will receive two grants totaling $700,000. While the center has yet to receive the grants, the NYSREDC’s 2015 awards notice for Long Island is proof the grants are forthcoming. The state agency did not reply to messages prior to publication.

The center is slated to receive $200,000 through the Market New York grant program, which tackles public relations and increasing tourism, among other responsibilities. The remaining $500,000 will go toward the center’s Wardenclyffe site. The center is currently redeveloping this property and plans to establish the Nikola Tesla Museum and Science Center. The site is the last remaining laboratory of Tesla, a prominent inventor in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

According to Tesla Science Center President Jane Alcorn, the center applied for the grants this past July. Alcorn added applying for the grants is a competitive process as there are many applicants for these grants.

“It’s very exciting to have funds to promote our project and to work on the redevelopment of Wardenclyffe,” Alcorn said in an email.

Initially, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was known as Friends of Science East Inc. While its name changed, the not-for-profit mission to develop Tesla’s only existing laboratory site into a science center and museum remained the same.

In 2009, when Brookhaven Town Superintendent of Highways Dan Losquadro was a Suffolk County legislator and former state Assemblyman Marc Alessi was still in office, the two announced plans to acquire the 16-acre property. Former town supervisor, Mark Lesko, and state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) were also part of this effort to acquire and preserve the property on behalf of the state and town, according to an article on the Tesla website.

Alessi emphasized its importance as the last Tesla lab in the world. He added that the site was culturally and historically significant as a result.

“We need to ensure that it is protected so that future generations can continue to enjoy this landmark,” Alessi said in the article.

Regardless of these officials’ plans, Friends of Science East purchased the property in 2013. The organization also hoped to preserve the site and make improvements.

Tesla built his facility in Shoreham in 1901-03. It was a small brick building no bigger than a schoolhouse. Yet behind the building was a 187-foot tower that Tesla intended to be a wireless power transmission station, which Tesla claimed would produce wireless electricity.

Now years later, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe is looking forward to a brighter future for the site, and hopes to be able to do even more.

“We hope to apply for additional grants in the future [that] will assist in the continuation of progress toward the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe opening day,” Alcorn said.

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Donations from the 10th Annual Kevin’s Ange’s Toy Drive will be wrapped on Dec. 19 before volunteers deliver them to the families in need. Photo by Giselle Barkley

After Sept. 11, 2001, the Williams family wanted to so something special to remember their son Kevin who died on that day, and after 15 years, they’re still honoring him.

Community members packed themselves into Phil’s Restaurant in Wading River to help support and donate toys to the Kevin Williams Foundation’s 10th annual Toy Drive, which was held on Dec. 1, from 7 to 10 p.m. The toy drive is an expansion of the Williams service to the community.

Fifteen years ago the family created Kevin’s Angels, which helped send children to a sports camp or play for a team. However, after schools and organizations like Long Island Youth Mentoring sought the family’s help for other families in need, the Williams started the toy drive to continue their outreach. For the Williams, giving back to the community and offering a helping hand during the holidays is a way to remember their son.

“We knew that we had to share his zest for life,” said Patti Williams, Kevin’s mother. “What better way than creating a foundation; and we could give to children and hopefully change the direction of some of their lives.”

Kevin Williams worked for Sandler O’Neil, a financial company based in Manhattan. The 24-year-old was on the 104th floor of Tower Two when tragedy struck and the building collapsed. Williams was to be married 10 weeks after Sept. 11.

Patti Williams takes donated gifts. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Patti Williams takes donated gifts. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In 1995, Williams graduated from Shoreham-Wading River High School and had a passion for academics as well as sports. In high school he was the captain and the most valuable player of his basketball, baseball and golf teams. Several years ago, Shoreham-Wading River renovated its varsity baseball field and renamed it after Williams. The field offers the family and other community members with a safe space to remember a loved one and reflect on Sept. 11.

This was the fifth time Phil’s Restaurant, owned by Phil Marcario, donated the space for the toy drive. Since Marcario’s wife grew up with Kevin Williams, the two are like family. Together, they made the night more than just a toy drive.

“We really wanted to make it a night where people could mingle and talk instead of just dropping off a toy,” Marcario said. “You could come and kind of spend time together, which is what the holidays are really all about.”

According to Mike Williams, Kevin Williams’ father, the toy drive helps around 30 families annually. They’ve also helped 1,025 underprivileged kids attend sports camps in the past 15 years. Despite their efforts, the family said the community is what really helped get to this point in their lives.

“We have a great faith, but we also surround ourselves with an abundance of love,” Mike Williams said.

While the Toy Drive was created in light of a tragedy, Shoreham resident Steve Malandrino said the Williams are one of few families who have turned a bad situation into something positive. Malandrino was once Mike Williams’ student when he attended Miller Place High School in the 1970s. Thus far, he’s attended nine of the 10 toy drives.

In addition to the abundance of community support, turning a negative situation into something positive also helped the family get through tough times.

“Anyone who’s gone through a tragedy, especially losing a child — you have a decision to make,” Patti Williams said. “You somehow have to get yourself from that point of not wanting to wake up in the morning because it’s another day of pain, to finding an avenue where you can make lives better for others.”

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North Shore residents burned off calories to make some room for turkey early on Thanksgiving morning, running the 1-mile and 5-mile paths at Shoreham’s 35th annual Turkey Trot.

Three Shoreham and Wading River residents earned top finishes, including 2014 Shoreham-Wading River graduate Ryan Udvadia, who earned first place in the 5K for men with a time of 17 minutes, .01 seconds.

A portion of the proceeds from the charity event will fund community programs.