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Stony Brook Harbor

Photo by Tom Caruso


Tom Caruso of Smithtown snapped this beautiful photo during a walk in Stony Brook Village on June 16. He writes, ‘My wife and I were walking down the road leading to the water when I saw these Orange Daylilies blazing in the light of the setting sun. I shot this image with my cell phone and was amazed at the contrast between the flowers and their surroundings.

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Photo by Susan Kerr

Nocturnal animals and human night owls may rejoice! On the winter solstice, people can witness the Earth’s longest night and shortest day of the year for their respective hemispheres. For individuals living in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice generally occurs between December 20 and 23 each year. Those in the southern hemisphere experience the winter solstice between June 20 to June 23.

‘Stony Brook Harbor on a Winter Solstice Day’ by Susan Kerr/Dec. 21, 2020

1. Not only will the winter solstice occur on a specific date, it also occurs at a specific time when the Earth’s semi-axis tilts furthest from the sun. This corresponds to when the North Pole is aimed away from the sun on the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis. At this point, the sun also shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. The information and trivia site Mental Floss says the solstice happens at the same moment for everyone on the plane. However, the hour it occurs depends on your time zone.

2. Areas of the Northern Hemisphere can have varying lengths of day and night on the solstice. For example, New York City may have nine hours and 15 minutes of sunlight on the winter solstice. If that upsets New Yorkers, they may be happy to be outside parts of Finland, some of which get less than six hours of sunlight on the solstice.

3. The word “solstice” is derived from Latin and means “sun stands still.” It was chosen to describe this cosmic phenomenon because the solstice sun seemingly appears in the same position at noontime for several days before and after the winter solstice – at its lowest point in the sky.

4. It is easy to mistake the solstices for the equinoxes, which also occur twice a year. However, the equinoxes occur in fall and spring and mark when the sun is directly above the equator and night and day are of equal length.

5. Despite the winter solstice indicating the beginning of the astrological winter, it may not be the coldest time of the season. Usually those temperatures are reserved for January and February.

6. The Farmer’s Almanac reports that many cultures marked the arrival of the solstice as a time of death and rebirth. Early man also kept track of the days by observing the sun’s position in the sky. In fact, historians believe Stonehenge was created to monitor the sun’s yearly “movement.”

7. Many traditions associated with Christmas originated during Pagan celebrations for the winter solstice. For example, Scandinavians would burn a juul (yule) log in the hearth in honor of the god Thor. Thor’s job was to bring the sun’s warmth back to the people.

While the winter solstice and the lack of sunlight synonymous with it may not be something everyone looks forward to, there is a silver lining. Following the winter solstice, the hours of sunlight gradually increase by the day, eventually paving the way for the spring equinox.

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Members of the Three Village Chamber unveil a memorial bench dedicated to Rehn outside his former office. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Sunday, Oct. 25, would have been George Rehn’s 72nd birthday.

The East Setauket resident was rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital on March 29. While there, he tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away from pneumonia on April 3.

Because his death came at the height of the pandemic, a delayed public memorial was held this week in two locations – both that were dear to him.

A memorial plaque for George Rehn placed alongside Stony Brook Harbor. Photo by Julianne Mosher

At noon on Oct. 25, dozens gathered at the Stony Brook Memorial Garden in Stony Brook Harbor, near Sand Street Beach, to pay their respects and to remember the good times they had with their father, friend and colleague. 

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) told the crowd he knew Rehn for more than 35 years. 

“He didn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but he wore it every day,” Romaine said. “He gave his heart to everything he did.”

For several decades, Rehn was committed to his community. A certified public accountant, he worked out of his East Setauket office located on Route 25A, across from Se-Port Delicatessen. 

He was a member of the Rotary Club of Stony Brook for nearly 40 years and was also an active member of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. On top of that, he was involved with the Three Village Historical Society and was the treasurer of several campaigns, including one for Romaine, as well as a CPA for many local nonprofits. He was always there to help, and to tell a joke.

“Although he was taken far too soon from this terrible pandemic, he will be remembered as all good people should be,” Romaine added. “George did so much for the Three Village community and for the world.”

The plaque with his name was unveiled right by the water – one of Rehn’s favorite places. 

“He taught me how a ferry ride to Fire Island could fix anything,” his daughter, Jen Rehn, said. 

While he was a community pillar on the North Shore, the CPA was also devoted to the South Shore. He brought his eagerness to assist in any way he could to Fire Island, where he frequently visited. 

“He was truly a gracious person,” Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said to the crowd. “We lost a great and important pillar of our community. We will never forget the contributions he made.”

And that’s why people showed up Sunday afternoon, to remember Rehn who loved where he lived. 

After the ceremony in Stony Brook,  attendees went to Rehn’s office in East Setauket to join the Three Village Chamber in unveiling a memorial bench dedicated to his name. 

Carmine Inserra, vice president of the chamber and owner of ProSysCon, shared his memories of Rehn to the crowd outside the office building they shared.

“He was a man of jokes, he was always there,” Inserra said. “I loved sharing an office with him. … And I want to carry on a legacy like he did here in the community.”

“The Three Village community and the Rotary were really important to my dad,” Rehn’s daughter said. “We’re just really touched.”

Her brother, Scott, agreed. 

“They say that the people who show up to your funeral is a representation of who you were as a person,” he said. “I think that shows here today. We all have the same amount of time here, it only matters what you do with it.” 

Rehn is survived by his wife, Liz; daughter Jen (John); son Scott (Janay); grandchildren Emma and Reece; and stepsons Joseph and Andrew.

Photo by Pamela Murphy


Pamela Murphy of Stony Brook snapped this photo at Stony Brook Harbor on August 1. She writes, “While walking at the harbor as the sun was beginning to set, I was able to capture a moment when the saturation of colors between the flowers and sky was magnificent. I was reminded how fortunate we are to live in a community that offers many beautiful venues as a respite from the challenging times we find ourselves in.”

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Jay Gao

Hometown: Stony Brook

Photographer: When empty-nested, I bought myself a Nikon D750 camera, my first DSLR, at the end of 2015 as a New Year’s gift. Before that, I had experience in using compact point and shoot cameras.

Favorite camera: Nikon D750, an entry-level full-frame DSLR. I love its strength in low-light performance. 

Favorite lenses: For wildlife, I mostly use Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary, and for travel I like to use Nikon 24-120mm f/4. When shooting flowers, I prefer to use Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G.

Favorite locations: I love to visit the Stony Brook Mill Pond and Stony Brook Harbor with my camera. It is a beautiful place all year round and there are so many kinds of birds. As a matter of fact, this is mostly where I have been practicing my bird shots. My other favorite spots include my backyard, West Meadow Beach, Nissequogue River State Park and Sunken Meadow State Park.

Have you entered any photo contests? I won first place in the 2018 Better Newspaper Contest of New York Press Association; was selected to exhibit in the Oversea Chinese History Museum in Beijing by the committee of the 4th World Overseas Chinese Photography Exhibition (2019); and won in the “China’s City View” theme of Impression of China photography contest in 2020, although the display was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Favorite aspect about taking photos: I enjoy going out and shooting with my camera. In addition to appreciating and sharing of the beauty of mother nature, you can benefit from the fresh air and physical exercise.

Best advice to get that perfect shot: 

Go out often and enjoy. When shooting birds, pay attention to the background and try to get close to their eye levels. I mostly use these camera settings: manual mode (1/1200 s, f8 and auto ISO), single point continuous focus and continuous shooting. I love to use the back button focus.


Tom Caruso of Smithtown captured this spectacular sunset at Stony Brook Harbor on Oct. 13. He writes, ‘My wife and I were returning from the Shoppes at East Wind when I saw the sky turning beautiful colors as I turned toward the harbor. I was stunned by the sight and got my camera out of my bag and started snapping away. I was among at least eight people photographing it in the parking lot across from the Three Village Inn.’