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Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker visited three local supermarket stores in March to distribute COVID-19 at-home test kits to their employees. She met with managers and employees of the Stop and Shops in Rocky Point and Miller Place, as well as the King Kullen in Middle Island, where she distributed over 700 test kits between the three stores. 

This effort follows Legislator Anker’s recent Drive-Thru Test Kit Distribution event which was open to all residents, as well as the dissemination of boxes of test kit to the various senior communities and day care centers in the area.

“I want to thank the essential workers of our local supermarkets, who worked tirelessly throughout the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is my hope that these COVID-19 test-kits will help to keep the stores’ workers and patrons safe and healthy as we start to work our way back to a sense of normalcy,” said Legislator Anker.

“I also want to express my appreciation for our Local Unions 338 and 1500, who represent the workers of Stop and Shop and King Kullen. Through these challenging times, our local unions have continued to dedicate themselves to ensuring workers and their families are protected and supported,” she said.

Suffolk County Legislators Sarah Anker and Al Krupski present a proclamation to Little Flower Children and Family Services for their service to the community. Photo from Leg. Anker's office

On Sept. 30, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski presented a proclamation to Little Flower Children and Family Services of Wading River and certificates of appreciation to each of the facility’s almost 300 staff members to thank them for working on the frontlines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the children and families in the community were able to access much needed services. 

The legislators were joined by Corinne Hammons, President and CEO of Little Flower Children and Family Services; Erik M. Ulrich, LCSW-R, ACSW, Clinical Director, Medical and Mental Health Department; Michelle Segretto, Vice President of Residential Services; Lauren Mones, MSW, Interim Chief of Staff and Administrative Director Health Care Management and Services; Taressa Harry, Director of Communications; Steven Valentine, Maintenance Supervisor; Harold Dean, Superintendent of the Little Flower Union Free School District; and Barbara Kullen, Board of Directors Member outside at the Wading River Duck Pond for the presentation. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to our service providers, forcing them to adapt and find innovative ways to continue to service those in need,” said Leg. Anker. “Legislator Krupski and I would like to thank all the amazing staff at Little Flower that worked directly on the frontlines each day to provide our children and families with much needed support, at a time that they likely needed it the most.”

“The work that Little Flower does on a day to day, year to year basis is very important,” said Leg. Krupski. “Trying to function in the face of a global pandemic must have been very challenging. Thank you to Little Flower for their hard work, decision making and commitment to their goals. They have set a great example of courage and determination.”

“I am genuinely grateful to Legislator Anker and Legislator Krupski for taking the time to acknowledge and support Little Flower’s remarkable frontline workers and for recognizing the tough and heroic work they do every day in support of those we serve,” said President and CEO of Little Flower Children and Family Services Corinne Hammons. 

“They have demonstrated great dedication and commitment to our clients by showing up every day, leaving the safety of their homes, balancing the risk of the pandemic to provide care, comfort, and security. We are thankful and proud of our essential workers. They are the backbone of our organization and the heart of our mission, never missing a beat as they transform caring into action,” added Hammons. 

From left, State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio; Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker; Ex-Captain and Honorary Chief Howard Sedell; Ex-Captain and Honorary Chief John Driscoll; and Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner

On August 28, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker attended the Rocky Point Fire Department’s 63rd Annual Fire District Inspection and Installation Dinner at Majestic Gardens in Rocky Point.

Legislator Anker joined State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio and Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner in honoring the newly installed incoming officers as well as other department members for their many years of dedicated service, including Chief Fred Hess for 30 years; Firefighters James McCabe and Pericles Kontis for 35 years; Ex-Captain Walter Birney, Ex-Chief John Buchner and Ex-Chief Ray Strong for 40 years; Ex-Captain Daniel O’Connel, Ex-Chief Terrance McCarrick and Ex-Captain Dave Brewer for 45 years; Ex-Captain John Driscoll for 50 years; and Ex-Captain Howard Sedell for 55 years.

During the awards ceremony, Ex-Captains John Driscoll and Howard Sedell were honored by the Department and its members as Honorary Chiefs.

“It is always an honor to have an opportunity to recognize and thank our firefighters and first responders at the annual inspection and installation dinner,” said Legislator Anker. “This year, we recognized members for their many decades of dedicated service to the community through the Rocky Point Fire Department. I thank every member of the department for their continued and courageous service to our community that kept our residents safe from emergency situations throughout a challenging and unprecedented year.”

The Rocky Point Fire Department has stations located at 14 Hallock Landing Road in Rocky Point, 90 King Road in Rocky Point, and 47 Route 25A in Shoreham. For more information, please call the department at their non-emergency phone number, 631-744-4102.

Photo from Leg. Anker’s office

From left, Thomas Amalfitano, Rafael Dueñas, John Malony, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, Nicholas Accetta, Tristan Dueñas, and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio

On Saturday, July 24, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker joined Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio, boy scouts, troop leaders and scout families and friends to honor Troop 244’s newest Eagle Scouts: Nicholas Accetta and Tristan Dueñas. The ceremony was held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6249’s Hall in Rocky Point.

It was an honor to congratulate Nicholas and Tristan at their Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony, said Legislator Anker. They have dedicated themselves to serving their local community and have had a positive impact through not only their service projects, but through their kindness and dedication for the residents of Suffolk County.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank that a scout can receive. It requires hard work and dedication for a scout to earn 21 merit badges, complete a community service project and undergo a lengthy review process. Nicholas Accetta and Tristan Dueñas received the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout after completing their community service projects.

Nicholas constructed a cubby-type structure for the Rocky Point High School’s Cross Country Team, which will provide the team a secure and convenient space to place their belongings during their frequent runs through wooded trails. Tristan built a storage shed with a platform and donated supplies and a transport cart for the Save the Animals Rescue (STAR) foundation, which will provide the STAR foundation with the resources they need to continue carrying out their mission to support wildlife and domestic animals. For more information about the Boy Scouts of America and the rank of Eagle Scout, please visit www.scouting.org.

“Nicholas and Tristan did an incredible job on their project with their contributions to the Save the Animals Rescue Foundation and Rocky Point Cross Country team,” Giglio said. “I look forward to watching these two young men make a positive difference in our world. Congratulations to you both— you should be extremely proud!”

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker attended three local Stop & Shop’s Employee Appreciation Day celebrations located in her legislative district, to thank the employees and present them each with certificates of appreciation for being frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grocery stores across Long Island remained open to the public following the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 guidance and recommendations. In an effort to keep customers safe during the pandemic, Stop & Shop made alterations to their store locations such as requiring masks, creating one-way shopping lanes and adding additional self-checkout stations. Stop & Shop also established accommodations for customers at higher risk of infection, such as seniors, through daily early morning shopping hours and curb side pick-up.

“Thank you to the 464 employees and managers of the Stop & Shops in Miller Place, Coram and Rocky Point for ensuring that your store was clean, safe and open for the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Legislator Anker. “We know it was a difficult job, but you continued to show dedication to our community and provide essential services that were so much needed during the pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented a host of challenges that Stop & Shop has never before faced, but the Coram, Rocky Point and Miller Place stores remained committed to serving their communities,” said James McGinn, the District Director for Stop & Shop. “ I am so proud of these stores and their teams –  Coram, led by store manager Katherine Pastore; Rocky Point, led by store manager Bob Evans; and Miller Place, led by store manager Mike Donegan, and grateful for the recognition for all they have done throughout the pandemic.”

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Legislator Sarah Anker and Tesla Science Center Executive Director Marc Alessi. Photo from Anker’s office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) recently presented the Tesla Science Center with a $6,000 grant, which is awarded to organizations that benefit tourism and/or cultural programming in Suffolk County. The grant was utilized to pay for operational costs related to the restoration of Nikola Tesla’s laboratory and the construction of a new visitor’s center. The Tesla Science Center plans to turn Nikola Tesla’s last remaining laboratory in Shoreham into a science museum celebrating science and the history and contributions of the famed scientist and inventor.

“Thank you to the Tesla Science Center for their devotion to the accessibility and advancement of technology, and to the preservation and restoration of the historic Nikola Tesla’s laboratory,” Anker said. “Our community has benefited from the presence of the center and the wide range of virtual resources available through their Virtual Science Center.”

The Tesla Science Center recently completed renovations on the chimney and cupola of Tesla’s laboratory. The center is moving forward in the next phase of renovations and is on track to complete the construction of the visitor’s center by next year. 

“The need for virtual education increased dramatically due to COVID-19, as educators, parents, and students looked for safe, connective e-learning options,” said Science Center Executive Director Marc Alessi. “In response, Tesla Science Center aggressively expanded its virtual education programming. Thousands of people are benefitting, but we needed support to continue. Thanks to the Suffolk County Omnibus Grant facilitated by Legislator Anker, critically needed virtual education will be available to many more people in our community.”

While the museum and visitor center remain under construction, the center has created a Virtual Science Center that is available on their website. The Virtual Science Center features podcasts, informational videos, and virtual STEM camp programs and activities for all ages. For more information, please visit https://teslasciencecenter.org/

Pictured from left, RPSB Chamber of Commerce member Charles Todaro, restaurant owner Barbara Stephenson, RPSB Chamber of Commerce President Gary Pollakusky, RPSB Chamber of Commerce member Larry Hall, restaurant owner Robert Mastanduno (with scissors), Councilwoman Bonner, Leg. Anker, and RPSB Chamber Events Director Jeanine Pollakusky. Photo from RPSB Chamber of Commerce

Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker joined members of the Rocky Point Sound Beach (RPSB) Chamber of Commerce, Angela Noncarrow from Rep. Anthony Palumbo’s office and the local community in celebrating the ribbon cutting and one year anniversary of Robert Anthony’s “Domenica alle Due” Italian Bistro Pizzeria & Cocktail Bar in Sound Beach on Oct. 29.

From left, Councilwoman Jane Bonner, chamber president Gary Pollakusky, chamber members Nichaldeep Parhar and Larry Hall, owners Robert Mastanduno and Barbara Stephenson, chamber members Charles Todaro and Cyndi Zaweski, Leg. Sarah Anker and
Angela Noncarrow from Rep. Anthony Palumbo’s office
Jeanine Pollakusky

Located at 257 Echo Avenue, the newly renovated restaurant owned by Barbara Stephenson and Robert Mastanduno (formerly CaraMia Restaurant and Pizzeria) features a large selection of popular Italian dishes, as well a variety of pizza, salads and more.

“I welcome ‘Domenica alle Due’ to Sound Beach. Brookhaven Town is open for business and it’s important that we support the people who invest in the community and create jobs for our residents, especially during this pandemic,” said Councilwoman Bonner. “I wish Robert, Barbara and the entire staff the best of luck and encourage everyone to stop. The food is ‘spettacalore!’”

“Thank you to owners Robert and Barbara for the delicious pizza and for welcoming us into your beautiful restaurant! Be sure to go visit them soon for some tasty food,” added Leg. Anker.

Restaurant operating hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. For more information, please call 631-849-4809.

Elizabeth, Evie, Madelynn and Kevin Kennedy preparing at their home for Thursday night’s virtual Wave of Light to remember their lost daughter and sister, Grace Ann. Photo byJulianne Mosher

Elizabeth Kennedy lost her second child when she was 26 weeks and six days pregnant.

On Feb. 25, 2018, she heard the words from her doctor that no mother wants to hear, that their unborn child Grace Ann’s heartbeat could not be heard. Struck with grief, Kennedy, a Rocky Point resident, felt she needed to find an outlet to help her cope with her loss, so she began researching different infant loss support groups. Through her online search, she found the Star Legacy Foundation.

“I’ve gotten in touch with other women and families who have lost babies and it’s been such a relief to know that I’m not in this alone,” Kennedy said. “It has made me want to let other people know that they are not alone, either.”

When she found the strength through the organization, she knew she had to give back and help other women who have gone through the same thing.

“It has made me want to let other people know that they are not alone, either.”

— Elizabeth Kennedy

Last year, through the nonprofit, Kennedy took the initiative to try and make Oct. 15 a county-wide Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Awareness Day. The month of October was proclaimed as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month” by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

Earlier this year, she met with Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who sponsored the resolution. The legislator said Kennedy’s story moved her in a personal way.

“Many other families in our county have experienced this kind of tremendous loss,” Anker said. “I hope that designating this day will help provide necessary support to those who are grieving and remind them they are not alone.”

The resolution was approved unanimously by the Suffolk County Legislature Oct. 6. Anker said the day will increase awareness of the causes and impacts surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. It is also a means to improve understanding as well as offer support and potential resources for those who grieve the loss of a pregnancy or infant.

According to the Star Legacy Foundation, thousands of families in the United States experience pregnancy and infant loss each year. In the U.S. there are approximately 24,000 stillbirths, or one in 160 births a year. In addition to stillbirths, current research suggests that between 10% and 20% of medically confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“It’s not just the experience that’s traumatizing for families,” Anker said. “It’s everything after, too.”

Kennedy is also using her new platform to establish a support group collaboratively with Stony Brook University Hospital.

“I want to put as much information out there as possible so when people go through this, they don’t just crawl into a ball and feel that they’re by themselves,” she said. “To be able to talk to these people and have somebody who understands what you went through, to cry with them, remember our babies with them — it just needs to be out there more … it needs to be talked about. We need to change the stigma.”

On Thursday night, Anker joined people across the country and hosted a virtual “Wave of Light” on Facebook Live and through Zoom. With Kennedy’s family online, and several other local families who experienced such a loss, they lit a candle in honor of the children who are not here today.

During the candle lighting ceremony, Kevin Kennedy, Elizabeth’s husband, spoke on behalf of his wife.

“We’re all grieving the loss of a baby or a friend’s baby,” he said. “Every one of these candles has a name attached to it … a life’s flame blown out too soon, and it’s our responsibility as survivors to honor and remember them all.”

Although getting over her loss is not easy, Kennedy said she finds comfort in knowing maybe this happened for a reason — that losing Grace will help get the message out to families to know they are never going to be alone.

“I hope people catch on to this now and realize we’re not hiding anymore,” she said. “We’re not going to hide our babies; we’re going to be okay.”