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Supervisor Chad Lupinacci

American Flag at half-staff on Veterans Plaza at Huntington Town Hall Friday, August 27, 2021.

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci directed that flags on all Town of Huntington buildings be flown at half-staff to honor the thirteen American servicemembers who were killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26.

“The Town of Huntington mourns the tragic loss of thirteen brave servicemembers who entered the dangerous  conditions unfolding in Afghanistan, putting their lives in harm’s way to save their fellow Americans and Afghan friends to the cause of freedom, which is why our flag on Veterans Plaza flies at half-staff in their honor,” said Sup. Lupinacci.

A suicide bomber detonated a device outside Abbey Gate at Kabul’s airport, killing twelve U.S. Marins and one Navy medic along with at least 60 Afghan civilians and wounding up to 140.

 

Rendering of the renovated Greenlawn Park playground. 

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci announced the start to construction of improvements to the playground at the Town’s regional Greenlawn Park starting Thursday, June 10 with expected completion by Labor Day. 

“We are excited to see these playground improvements realized at Greenlawn Park, one of our most popular regional parks, which will provide a complement to its popular skate park and athletic fields,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, whose administration worked closely with the Greenlawn Civic Association to develop plans for the new playground. 

Rendering of the renovated Greenlawn Park playground.

Greenlawn Park (Tri-Village) Playground, at the corner of Pulaski Road and Broadway-Greenlawn Road in Greenlawn, will be closed starting June 10, 2021 to undergo substantial improvements, including: 

  • new playground equipment; 
  • a new concrete walkway; 
  • a new picnic area with a gazebo; 
  • new landscape plantings; 
  • new fences – perimeter and interior; and 
  • solar cell phone/table charging stations.

    The total cost is expected to be approximately $468,000 and the project is anticipated to be completed by Labor Day.

    Representatives of the Greenlawn Civic Association requested the playground improvements, working with Town staff in the Departments of Engineering, Parks and Recreation, and Planning and Environment as well as the Town’s EOSPA Committee to develop a playground plan that reflects the community’s needs.

    The Town Board designated up to $525,000 in EOSPA-recommended Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement Funding for the project in January 2020. The project was bid in January 2021, the Town received 12 bids, and the Town Board awarded the construction contract to the lowest responsible bidder, Greenlawn-based Turf Tek USA in February 2021. 

     

Girl Scouts help plant the American Elm tree donated by Covanta with Town and Covanta officials looking on. 

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, Councilman Ed Smyth and Councilwoman Joan Cergol were joined by Covanta and Girl Scout Service Unit 12, Troop 239 for an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony and to unveil trees planted with Tree City USA grant funding at Columbia Street Park in Huntington Station Friday, April 30. 

 “Thank you to Covanta Huntington for your environmentally-conscious donation and to our Girl Scouts from Troop 239 for your commitment to Columbia Street Park and many of our green spaces,” stated Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “The Town of Huntington is fortunate to have maintained our Tree City USA designation for over 20 years and thanks to your contributions, grant funding from the New York State Urban Forestry Council, and our Volunteer Parks Stewards like Alvin White, we will continue to plant trees, beautify and preserve our open spaces.” 

 “It’s great to be in Columbia Park, one of the “hidden gems” of the Town’s parks,” said Councilman Ed Smyth. “Our bigger parks get most of the attention, but it is worthwhile for our residents to explore the smaller parks that are often within walking distance of their homes.” 

 “I want to thank Covanta for donating such a beautiful American Elm tree and Girl Scout Service Unit 12, Troop 239 for planting additional saplings at Columbia Park,” Councilwoman Cergol said. “Planting trees is one of the best things we can do for the Town’s natural beauty and for the environment, and I’m proud to serve a Town that has been designated a Tree City USA community for 20 years and running.” 

 Maureen Early, Senior Community Affairs Specialist for Covanta, stated, “Covanta was delighted to partner with Supervisor Lupinacci and the Town of Huntington to plant trees in honor of Arbor Day. It’s efforts like this that remind us how important it is to protect our environment and work toward a more sustainable tomorrow. We thank our municipal leaders for being environmental stewards with us.” 

 Girl Scouts from Troop 239 in Service Unit 12 from South Huntington joined the ceremony to help plant the American Elm tree donated by Covanta to the Town of Huntington to commemorate Arbor Day; the Town Board accepted the donation at their April 13 meeting.  

 Participating in the Arbor Day ceremony were Girl Scout Cadettes Zahara Amorde, Julia Dean, Kate Sperduti, Lily Fleischer, Abbrianna Mandarino, Kate Adams, Morgan Franz, Ava Tulipano, and Allie Lynde, as well as Girl Scout Juniors Sophia Amorde, Nadia McKelvey, and Ava Rodriguez. The Scouts also helped plant additional bare root saplings at the park. Troop Co-Leaders Gina Barone and Christine Reilly attended the event. 

 Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader Gina Barone stated, “It was a privilege and pleasure for Troop 239 to participate in the Town of Huntington Arbor day tree planting event.  Girl Scouts have been passionate proponents of conservation throughout our organization’s 100-plus year history and our troop strives to embody the value of environmental stewardship in our Huntington community.  We are committed to continuing to live the Girl Scout law of “using resources wisely” and protecting the Earth both globally and locally.  Thank you for supporting our mission and for allowing us to be a part of such an inspiring program!” 

 Volunteer Park Steward Alvin White, who serves as the parks steward for Columbia Street Park, also attended the Arbor Day event. 

 The event also celebrated grant funding that allowed additional trees to be planted at the park in late 2020. The Town of Huntington has maintained its designation as a Tree City USA for over two decades. In September 2020, the Town applied for and received $1,000 in Tree City USA grant funding from the New York State Urban Forestry Council to plant five (5) trees at Columbia Street Park in Huntington Station, a site recommended in a Planting Location Evaluation from a tree inventory previously conducted with a Tree Inventory Grant funded by the NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Program.

A total of twelve (12) trees were planted under the project; seven (7) trees were funded by an EOSPA-recommended match of $1,900. Most of the trees were planted as street trees to provide shade and a welcoming park aesthetic in 2020, when an event could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

From left, Councilman Ed Smyth, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, Carlos Ortiz (Regional VP for Suffolk County, Sun River Health), Lisa Santeramo (Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, Governor Cuomo's office)

UPDATE: Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, Councilman Ed Smyth and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson were joined by Lisa Santeramo of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and Carlos Ortiz of Sun River Health for the opening day of a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site, on March 22, where 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be administered by appointment only at the Town of Huntington Senior Center.  

“We are pleased to be able to offer a large, safe vaccination site at the Town’s Senior Center, something we have been working on with the Governor’s office for some time now,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “We look forward to the day we can reopen this community facility to our senior residents and end the isolation many continue experiencing for over a year now: these vaccinations are getting us one step closer to normal.” 

Councilman Ed Smyth stated, “I encourage everyone to get a vaccine at the earliest possible date. I understand many people are anxious about it. Many people have reservations about vaccines based on medical concerns, historical concerns, or religious concerns.  If you have concerns, please speak directly with your doctor, community and religious leaders. Please don’t substitute an internet search for actual medical advice.” 

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson stated, “Today and tomorrow 600 seniors will be vaccinated at our Senior Center, we are hopeful that NYS will allocate more vaccines so we can continue to vaccinate our residents.” 

“Sun River Health is proud to partner with the Governor’s Office, the Town of Huntington, and the Huntington Senior Center to continue the important work that will finally bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH, Sun River Health CEO. “Thank you to all our dedicated staff and partners providing vaccines to members of the Huntington community this week.” 

Rodney Nichols, Huntington resident, was very happy to receive the vaccine on March 22.

In coordination with the Governor’s office, the Town of Huntington is hosting a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site for New York residents ages 60+ by appointment only at the Town’s Senior Center on Monday, March 22 & Tuesday, March 23 between 9AM and 3PM for 600 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be administered by Sun River Health (2nd doses to be administered on Monday, April 19 & Tuesday, April 20).  

In January, Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci sent a letter signed by the entire Town Board to the Governor’s office offering the Town of Huntington Senior Center facility as a potential COVID-19 vaccination site, due to the space, parking and refrigeration facilities available. 

The Lupinacci administration had previously conducted an in-house analysis of space under its jurisdiction that would accommodate the basic needs of a vaccine point of distribution. 

The administration determined that the Senior Center (423 Park Avenue, Huntington), largely vacant due to COVID-19, would provide the State with a complement of amenities including, but not limited to a spacious cafeteria, numerous classrooms, bathrooms, refrigerators, heating and air-conditioning, and plentiful parking spaces. 

The Senior Center’s close proximity to NYS Route 110, NYS Route 25A and Park Avenue is conducive to easy access from all points of the Town. Furthermore, the facility is situated between Jackson Avenue and Park Avenue, which would provide flexible traffic control options. 

 

Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci was cleared of any wrongdoing in a recent investigation of sexual harassment rumors. File photo by Lina Weingarten

Last week the Town of Huntington released a report that cleared town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) of any wrongdoing after an investigation that looked into allegations of sexual harassment by Lupinacci directed toward an unidentified lower-level town employee.

The investigation was conducted by the New York City-based Jackson Lewis law firm and a memo to the Town Board members came from Diane Krebs. In the report, Krebs said she was unable to substantiate the sexual harassment allegations.

“However, I believe that individuals were untruthful during the investigation process or refused to respond to my questions, which impeded my ability to obtain the whole story,” she wrote.

According to the report, the law firm was first contacted by an unidentified person that said Lupinacci invited a lower-level employee for drinks at his house at 2 a.m. When the employee declined, the supervisor said the person was “ungrateful.” The same account came to the law firm from members of the Town Board.

There were other text messages in the investigation discussed where Lupinacci allegedly would text in the middle of night asking to come over, but there were no sexual advances in the texts, according to the report.

Various people were interviewed during the law firm’s process, and names were blacked out in the redacted report.

Huntington Republican Committee chairman, Tom McNally, in a press release, accused town Councilwoman Joan Cergol (D) of using “her position on the Town Board to instigate the investigation against a political adversary based on a fourth-hand rumor without a shred of evidence. Every person involved in the alleged behavior denied the events ever occurred, including the supposed ‘victim.’ No complaint was ever filed yet a year-long investigation into a rumor followed.”

The town was charged nearly $47,000 by the law firm who prepared the report for investigating the allegations.

“The best the lawyer can say is she thinks the people she interviewed are withholding information,” McNally wrote. “Perhaps that’s her perception but it’s also an old lawyers’ trick to keep an investigation open.”

McNally said the incident will have long-term effects, and he suggested Cergol reimburse the town for the $47,000 or resign.

Cergol said the Town Board initiated the investigation last year with a 5-0 vote, including two Republican councilmen.

Responding to the Huntington Republican Committee’s press release, Cergol said, “McNally has to be reading the Disney version of this investigative report because by anyone’s read and estimation of it, there is no fairytale ending.”

She added that the chair’s statement was “a paper-thin political ploy intended to distract from the investigator’s disturbing conclusion of being ‘stymied’ by uncooperative witnesses.”

Lupinacci is currently facing sexual harassment allegations in a separate civil case. Brian Finnegan, the supervisor’s former legislative aide and chief of staff, filed a lawsuit in 2018 with the Suffolk County Supreme Court.

In the photo: Rebecca Tripoli (center front) and Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci (center back) with Rebecca’s mother (Sara), father (Frank), grandparents, aunt, uncle and two cousins. Photo from Town of Huntington

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci honored Rebecca Tripoli, a 4th grader from Melville, on Monday, December 21, for raising $140 in donations to purchase supplies for families in local shelters.

 “Rebecca represents the best of the greater Huntington community. Not only did she selflessly think of others during the holiday season, which can be a tough time for many, especially those in need, but she did something about it and made an impact at our shelters and in the hearts of many across our community,” said Sup. Lupinacci as he presented a proclamation from the Huntington Town Board to Rebecca outside her home on Monday evening.

9-year-old Rebecca Tripoli, a 4th grader from Melville, took up a collection to buy supplies for local shelters, raising $140. She researched local shelters’ websites, saw what they needed, made a list and went shopping.

“I felt grateful that my life was great, and I thought of the homeless people that had nothing. So I bought groceries to give them something,” said Rebecca, who purchased “fruit cups, ramen noodles, black beans, candy canes, pasta, canned vegetables, chicken soup, water and juice boxes, diapers, baby lotion, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and shaving cream,” all of which was donated to Family Service League.

Rebecca’s mother Sara added that Rebecca knew candy canes weren’t on the list but she wanted to do something to make the children smile around Christmas, “Rebecca’s father and I really are proud that she came up with the idea to help people less fortunate than her. We talk about this together a lot, that there are people right here in our community and in her school that don’t have enough food to eat, or even a place to live. She has a big heart and also a lot of ambition, and decided to do something about it. We were really surprised and honored that Mr. Lupinacci came to our home and recognized her for her work. It was an exciting day for us all!”

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci joined Huntington historian Robert Hughes and volunteers from Jephtha Masonic Lodge #494 in Huntington on Saturday, July 18 for a cleanup of The Old Burying Ground, Huntington’s oldest cemetery.

The event was one of several projects the local Masons were involved in during the recent pandemic shutdown. Although the lodge is comprised of mostly Huntington residents, members from other lodges from as far as Port Jefferson volunteered in this important preservation project. Armed with work gloves, pruning shears, weed trimmers, a cooler of cold bottled water and a bit of determination, the team went right to work after a brief historical lecture by the Town Historian.

The crew trimmed shrubs, pulled overgrown weeds, raked leaves, and removed debris from the cemetery which is just a short walking distance from the Jephtha Lodge building on New York Avenue.

“Our historic cemeteries tell the story of not only of the establishment of our Town but of the critical role Huntington played in the founding of our nation,” said Supervisor Chad A, Lupinacci. “As we recognize and preserve other aspects of Huntington’s history, we must continue to protect these sacred grounds to honor the souls of generations of Huntingtonians buried here.”

“These volunteer efforts are critical to preserving the Town’s historic cemeteries. Eternal vigilance is the price of preservation,” said Town Historian Robert Hughes.

“I have been a Freemason and member of Jephtha lodge #494 for around 8 years now and have been fortunate to recently take on a leadership role. I’m proud to have been able to coordinate with town historian Robert Hughes and the brothers and family members of Jephtha lodge, in effort to clean up the old cemetery,” said Anthony Colonna, Grand Master, Jephtha Masonic Lodge #494.

“The rich history of this burial site must be carefully preserved. I propose to make this an annual event, perhaps starting this fall. Jephtha’s benevolence committee has gotten off to a terrific start and we seek to do more for the community this year and the ensuing years to come. Helping make a positive impact on the community is just one part of what freemasons are all about,” he added.

“The Brothers of Jephtha Lodge have anticipated this event for some time,” said Ronald Seifried, Trustee Chairman and Lodge Historian. “The lodge is grateful to the Town for being receptive to the lodge’s ongoing effort to give back to the local community by utilizing Jephtha’s benevolence committee for this important preservation of this designated historic landmark. The members look forward to future projects with the town to preserve our local history. Jephtha Lodge is proud to call Huntington home since 1860.”

The Old Burying Ground has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1981. The earliest surviving marker is over 300 years old, but many of the early wooden and fieldstone markers were lost over the years and never replaced. Located on a hill that once had a clear view of Huntington Harbor, the site was originally chosen because of the difficulty to farm on the hilly terrain.

There are 1,246 marked graves on the 4-acre site, but it is estimated that there may have been up to 8,000 interments since the founding of the Town of Huntington in the mid-17th century. The first legible marker is dated 1712 and the final burial was Russell F. Sammis in May 1957. Mr. Hughes explained to the group the variety of markers that can be seen in the cemetery, including local fieldstones, slate, sandstone, marble, iron, zinc and granite.

In 1782, the last year of the American Revolution, occupying British troops destroyed the nearby Presbyterian Church and constructed Fort Golgotha on the highest point of the hill with timbers removed from the church. The British desecration of the church and cemetery is the first recorded act of vandalism in Huntington. Up to 100 tombstones were destroyed and some were used as bake ovens where, according to local legend, the baked bread had reverse inscriptions of the tombstones readable on the lower crust.

With the opening of Huntington Rural Cemetery on New York Avenue as the Town’s main cemetery in the mid-19th century, the Old Burying Ground was used only occasionally. Regular maintenance of the cemetery is conducted by the Town’s Department of General Services. In 2004, the Town received grant funding from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the restoration, conservation and preservation of the grounds.

This project between the Town Historian and Jephtha Lodge, which has called Huntington home since 1860, is the latest of several coordinated efforts. Other projects include the installation of an historical marker in front of the lodge building on New York Avenue; participation in the Huntington Historical Society’s historic village walking tour and pub crawl; sharing of archives between the lodge and the Huntington Historical Society; and invaluable assistance in the newly published book “Long Island Freemason,” by Ron Seifried.

Photos from Town of Huntington

Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci and Councilman Ed Smyth joined Andrew Steinmueller, President of ARS Landscape & Design, the first business to “adopt” and beautify two pieces of public property under the Adopt-a-Corner community beautification program, for a special unveiling of the installations at the southwest entrance to Heckscher Park in Huntington on June 24.

ARS Landscape & Design planted their first Adopt-a-Corner installation at the Prime Avenue entrance to the park in September of 2019 and added a second installation at the Main Street and Prime Avenue corner entrance to the park, maintaining both installations throughout the year. 

A box of complimentary wildflower seed packets was installed by the landscape company at the second installation, from which visitors to the park can take a complimentary seed packet. A second box of seed packets will be installed next to the first installation on the western Prime Avenue entrance to the park within the week.

Businesses, organizations and residents can adopt, beautify and maintain a select piece of public property approved by the Town of Huntington for one year, with the option to renew for a second year. 

Supervisor Lupinacci sponsored the Town Board resolution creating the Adopt-a-Corner program in October 2018 after Andre Sorrentino, the Town’s Director of General Services, approached him with the idea to involve the greater Huntington community in beautification projects across the town.

“Adopt-a-Corner is quality of life initiative, that offers a creative outlet for residents, business owners and organizations to display their pride in the Huntington community, while helping beautify our town at no cost to our taxpayers,” explained Supervisor Lupinacci. “Thank you to ARS Landscape & Design for these inaugural Adopt-a-Corner installations and for the seed packets they are giving away.”

“I am the prime beneficiary of this Adopt-a-Corner installation because my office is located across the street,” stated Councilman Smyth. “I see this beautiful corner every day. I encourage everyone to make the town look its best by adopting a corner. The resident or business which adopts a corner may put place a small plaque with their name or dedicate the corner in honor of someone.” 

“Over these past few months, we have been faced with a pandemic that forced us all inside and gave us all a feeling of uncertainty. Audrey Hepburn once said ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,’ I hope that by planting these gardens, I can spread a little joy and hope for what tomorrow may bring,” added Steinmueller.

Pictured in photo, from left, Councilman Smyth; Andre Sorrentino; Supervisor Lupinacci; Andrew Steinmueller (holding Addison Steinmueller); Bonnie Steinmueller (holding Ashton Steinmueller); Liz Steinmueller; and Joseph Digicomo. To apply to adopt a corner, visit www.huntingtonny.gov.

Photos courtesy of the Town of Huntington

The Miller Place Teachers Association along with Tuscany Gourmet Market organized a soup donation to Mather Hospital. Miller Place alumnae, Sammy Schaefer and Nicole Ellis, are among the people on the front lines. Photo from MPSD

By Rita J. Egan and Kyle Barr

With so much going on day to day, with people stuck at home and fearing for the future, there are consistent hopes provided by the men and women doing more to help the people most in need. Whether it’s people making masks for essential workers or meals for hospital employees on the front lines, we asked local officials, business and civic leaders who they would like to thank during this time of crisis.

New York State

State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) wanted to thank both those on the front lines and the “unsung heroes.”

“I want to thank each and every one in our community who has been on the front lines of this battle,” he said. “Doctors, nurses, first responders and all of our volunteer firefighters have been fighting a war that they never expected. Their efforts are truly heroic, and we owe them a debt we may never be able to repay. But equally as notable is the work of our unsung heroes — retail workers, postal employees, cleaners, truck drivers, restaurant employees, delivery people and every single person who continues to show up every day to help make sure we have food on our table, gas in our cars and electricity in our homes. This is an effort that requires so many to work together and these men and women are the ones who will lead us to victory over this virus. We say thank you for all you do for all of us.”

Rocky Point residents the Palifka family have been putting up signs saying “Rocky Point Strong” on people’s front lawns, as a simple way of keeping spirits high. Photo by Jane Bonner

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) is thankful for several local residents.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of our community who, week after week, have shown up for their jobs — our health care workers, first responders, grocery workers and all the others who have provided the crucial services we need to get through this shutdown. Through their courageous commitment to service, essential workers have enabled the rest of us to do our part by staying home.”

Englebright was grateful also for those doing their part at home. 

“For those of us at home, it is hard to reconcile that staying put is actually doing something important,” he said. “But by working from home, helping our children with their schooling, social distancing and wearing masks when out in public, our responsible behavior has worked to flatten the curve and slow down the transmission of the coronavirus. So, my gratitude goes to everyone who responded so admirably to the challenge before us. Your collective actions combined with others around the state have literally helped save thousands of lives.”

State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) said it’s difficult for him to just name one person or one group of workers.

“Everybody’s different and everybody, in different ways, has done so much incredible work,” he said.

He said in addition to medical and nursing home professionals, it’s important to remember the volunteer firefighters and EMS workers.

“They’re basically volunteering to put themselves in harm’s way,” he said.

He also credited police officers who have had to assist more so in ambulance calls during the pandemic.

“They are busier than they have ever been before, but it’s less with crime and more with dealing with so many health emergencies,” he said.

Gaughran added that medical calls are more involved than before as additional protocols need to be followed to protect first responders from COVID-19.

He said he has seen so many restaurant owners doing remarkable work too, donating food to nearby hospitals and firehouses.

“Some of these businesses are operating almost on their last dollars, just using it to help people,” he said.

Suffolk County

Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) had health care and front line workers as well as residents on her mind when giving thanks.

“I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, aides, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, techs, phlebotomists, dietary workers, custodians, mechanics, grocery workers, restaurant workers, car mechanics, moms, dads, grandparents and daycare teachers and aides who have sacrificed their personal health and safety during this time as essential workers,” she said. “I would also like to thank all of those that continue to wear masks, maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others, sneeze and cough into the crook of their arms and wash their hands frequently. These little efforts protect not only them and their families from COVID-19 and other viral and bacterial infections, but they protect us all! Stay strong, stay safe!”

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) also had an array of people to thank.

Bagel Express employees custom made and donated 50 feet of hero sandwiches spelling out “thank you” to health care workers at Stony Brook University Hospital. Photo from David Prestia

“During this unprecedented pandemic, it has been wonderful to see our neighbors coming together to support and help one another,” he said. “All of our essential workers (first responders, health care providers, postal and delivery people, store clerks and many more) deserve our gratitude for the sacrifices they make each day to do their job to help keep us safe and healthy. It is important to recognize everyone stepping up to make a contribution, from students sending kind messages — to sewing groups and seamstresses making and donating face masks — to restaurants/food establishments donating meals — to the libraries and businesses making PPEs and hand sanitizers — to nurseries donating plants to residents and health workers — and to the newspapers and media outlets keeping us informed. The work of those on the front lines is truly heroic and I can’t thank them enough.”

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) wished to thank Heritage Trust and the Mount Sinai Congregational Church for their food drives, which each raised thousands of food and toiletries items that will go to those who need it. She also thanked essential workers including law enforcement, health department and Department of Social Services.

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) said she’s grateful for a range of people.

“Like so many others, my gratitude goes first to our health care and frontline workers,” she said. “Their courage and devotion is the brightest star in this dark time. I’m grateful that people in our community are staying home, following social distancing guidelines, and wearing face coverings in public so we can all help slow the advance of this invisible enemy. We all have that essential role to lower the toll COVID-19 takes by being responsible.”

Hahn also pointed out the importance of mental health professionals. 

“I am grateful too for the mental health professionals providing counseling, guidance and emotional support for domestic violence victims, as well as the many among us who are struggling to hold on to hope and the tattered shreds of what was a normal life just a few short months ago,” she said. “As someone with a social work background, I know for certain that these caring individuals are critical to the wellbeing of our community. We need their skills and their caring hearts now more than ever.”

Hahn added that the community has played an important role to help fight the pandemic. 

“From people making masks for others, delivering food to seniors and neighbors in need, to journalists bringing us the facts and stories or the lost and to the families teaching their kids at home, I see bravery and love everywhere,” she said. “It gives me hope that we will come through this stronger than ever.”

Children across the county have been writing and drawing encouraging messages in chalk. Photo by Stefanie Werner

Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland (D- Dix Hills) thanked not only those on the front lines but also her staff members and many others. 

“During this most unprecedented time, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all essential workers,” she said. “You are on the front lines providing us the goods, services, care and protection we need to keep moving forward. A special thank you to the members of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees who prove time and time again that their willingness to serve the residents of our county knows no bounds. I would also like to thank my staff for their hard work during long days that often become long nights. Their commitment to serving the constituents of the 16th Legislative District and all residents of Suffolk County is most admirable.”

She also had praise for the residents of the district.

“Thank you for demonstrating what makes Suffolk County the best place to live,” she said. “As a community we have shown that we are in this together, and surely, if we can get through this together, then we can get through anything together.”

Brookhaven Town

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) said she has been holed up in her house since the start of the pandemic, only having one kidney and knowing it’s a potential comorbidity. Still, she said she has seen a tremendous amount of community support, such as from Rocky Point residents Quentin Palifka and his mother Alicia who have been putting up signs saying “Rocky Point Strong” on people’s front lawns, as a simple way of keeping spirits high.

Otherwise, both she and Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) pointed to Lighthouse Mission, which despite all the constant pressure and expanding need has kept up its mission to give food to those who need it. In April, the town gave Lighthouse Mission the green light to start delivering food and toiletries directly to homebound residents. With volunteers which has included a few elected town council members, they have been delivering upwards of 100s of meals a day, Romaine said.

Margaritas Cafe in Port Jefferson Station, along with the owners’ other franchise The Cuban in Patchogue, is just one of many examples of businesses supplying food to hospital workers during the ongoing crisis. Photo from Facebook

The supervisor also looked to thank the town personnel who are delivering close to 425 hot meals to seniors who were in the town’s congregate nutrition program. That is 425 meals each and every day.

“People feel like somebody still cares,” Romaine said.

Along with that, he also thanked all the people who are continuing to operate the many food pantries in the town of Brookhaven. 

“They are doing God’s work — they are helping people in desperate need,” he said. “Nobody should go hungry.”

Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said she was thankful for many “hometown heroes.”

“I am incredibly thankful for the essential workers who are diligently providing support to individuals and families, including those most vulnerable, in our community during the COVID pandemic,” she said. “Without their commitment, none of us could be safe. In addition to our outstanding health care and medical professionals, I would like to highlight and thank the janitors, custodial, and maintenance staffs that are keeping our essential facilities and businesses running, as well as the grocery workers, the United States Postal Service and the many delivery drivers who continue to ensure that we receive the food, medicine and other supplies that we need during this time. A final thank you goes to all those hometown heroes in our community, too numerous to name, who have stepped up to fill a community need during this challenging time.”

Smithtown

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) had many to thank from restaurant owners to residents and community organizations that have taken the time to help out others to his fellow “partners in government” at the federal, state and county levels. Most of all, he wanted to show town employees his gratefulness.

“None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the town’s department directors and our labor force who stepped up in every way, during this pandemic,” he said. “The department leadership has worked through this entire pandemic, without time at home to be with their families. Our Senior Citizens Department teams and volunteers have pushed through exhaustion to deliver weekly meals for over 200 homebound residents. Our parks department has worked tirelessly to keep town buildings and grounds sanitized, while helping us to deliver PPE supplies to local frontline workers and facilities. And most of all, the job that our Public Safety department has done over the last two months has been nothing short of extraordinary. They did not get to rotate out of the schedule and work from home like all other departments. Public Safety has managed our Emergency Response, patrolled our parks, assisted SCPD, enforced social distancing requirements and all executive orders from the state. They have done an exceptional job, in an impossible situation and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Huntington

Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinaci (R) also had a number of community members to thank.

Susie Owens of St. Charles Hospital delivered a special message to her colleagues in chalk. Photo from St. Charles Facebook

“While it goes without question that all frontline workers deserve our heartfelt thanks, special recognition is due to the volunteers who have come out of the safety of their own homes, out of retirement, or who have traveled to Long Island from less affected areas of our country to put their lives on the line to participate on our front lines,” Lupinaci said. “From fire, rescue and EMS volunteers, to retired volunteers serving alongside our doctors and nurses, and military service members who are supplementing the efforts of our local front lines — our thanks can never be expressed fully enough. As we plan to kick off National Nurses Week on May 6, I’d like to thank Theresa Sullivan, whose Huntington Hospital Meals initiative delivered thousands of meals and raised over $150,000 to thank medical professionals and staff at Huntington Hospital over the several initial weeks of the pandemic, giving a boost to our doctors and nurses, who have found themselves in the difficult position of filling in, bedside, for the families of isolated patients during overwhelming, non-stop shifts. I encourage everyone who is still working and collecting a paycheck to join me in donating to the Northwell Health COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support our amazing nurses!”

Three Village

Jonathan Kornreich, president of the Three Village Civic Association and a member of the district’s school board, said he would like to thank the teachers.

“These people have devoted years to learning their craft and developing the skills to be effective in the classroom, and they suddenly find themselves engaged in a practice very different from what any of us could have predicted,” he said. “And yet, they have risen to this challenge with compassion, with great effort and yes, with newly developed skills.”

Kornreich said that even though school is not in session in the usual ways, Three Village Central School District teachers are working harder and longer than usual “and in ways that have challenged them professionally and personally.”

“I think that many parents have a newfound appreciation for what’s involved in getting developing minds to focus on learning,” Kornreich said. “I’m thankful that the kids of Three Village have a warm, dedicated and professional teaching staff to keep the wheels on this thing as we head into an uncertain future.”

Gloria Rocchio, president of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, said she is thankful for Three Village residents.

“They just keep giving and giving freely,” she said. “It’s just extraordinary.”

Rocky Point community members and the VFW Post 6249 arrive at the Long Island State Veterans Home to show support despite horrible losses suffered inside. Photo from Facebook

Rocchio said she has witnessed a huge number of philanthropic acts during the pandemic that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. The WMHO along with Stony Brook Village Center restaurants created a health care meal program and are currently donating meals to Stony Brook University Hospital. Rocchio has been touched by the number of residents who have been donating funds to help with the mission. More than 9,000 meals have been donated to health care workers.

“It’s such a wonderful place to live,” she said.

Port Jefferson/Port Jefferson Station

Barbara Ransome, executive director of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, thanked A Cake in Time and its owner Sherry Sobel, who after a donation to help her business, took that money and made cookies and then made arrangements to have them delivered to the underserved. She thanked other individual businesses including the Fifth Season Restaurant, with owners John and Deb Urbinati and Steam Room manager Vinnie Seiter who have been supplying lunches and dinners to the Welcome Friends Kitchen without any compensation.

Indu Kaur, who with The Curry Club’s Feed the #HealthCareHeroes Campaign has been raising money and donating meals since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis back in March. They have donated 2,000 meals thus far and hope to continue our work and feed the homeless shelters, and families that lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Carolyn Benson, a musician and singer, partnered in The Journey Home Project to support veterans through the pandemic. People can go to www.carolynbenson.us to buy a shirt which now through May 31 all proceeds are going to The Journey Home Project, which assists nonprofits aiding vets.

Front Porch Photographer Andrew Theodorakis of Yellow House Images has been taking front porch photos and setting up a Gofundme page to then donate that money for meals for the underserved through the PJ Chamber.

Rebecca Kassay of Suffolk County Creators of Covid-19 Medical Supplies and her team of volunteers have been making facial masks by the hundreds.

Debbie and Jerry Bowling, the owners of Pasta Pasta, have been cooking countless meals donated to charitable causes, hospitals, women shelters.

Legislator Sarah Anker joins the Island Heart Food Pantry, which operates out of the Mount Sinai Congregational Church, in a food drive. Photo from Anker’s office

Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Community Liaison Joan Nickeson named several chamber and non-chamber community members alike, including Jennifer Dzvonar, owner of Bass Electric and president of the chamber who helped purchase nearly $700 in groceries for the needy in the community; Jackie Kirsch, of PJS, who has been making masks for a variety of organizations since March; and Toni St. John of PJS, who is sewing as part of Facebook page Operation Headband making the straps hospital workers use to hold masks to their face, taking the stress away from their ears. St. John is also one of the costume designers down at Theatre Three.

She also wished to thank Debra Quigley, a trained Literacy Suffolk volunteer — who while in-person Comsewogue Library ESL classes have been cancelled, she has managed to offer ESL classes virtually through the library. 

“Our parents in this community are diversified,” Nickeson said.

Smithtown

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) had many to thank from restaurant owners to residents and community organizations that have taken the time to help out others to his fellow “partners in government” at the federal, state and county levels. Most of all, he wanted to show town employees his gratefulness.

“None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the town’s department directors and our labor force who stepped up in every way, during this pandemic,” he said. “The department leadership has worked through this entire pandemic, without time at home to be with their families. Our Senior Citizens Department teams and volunteers have pushed through exhaustion to deliver weekly meals for over 200 homebound residents. Our parks department has worked tirelessly to keep town buildings and grounds sanitized, while helping us to deliver PPE supplies to local frontline workers and facilities. And most of all, the job that our Public Safety department has done over the last two months has been nothing short of extraordinary. They did not get to rotate out of the schedule and work from home like all other departments. Public Safety has managed our Emergency Response, patrolled our parks, assisted SCPD, enforced social distancing requirements and all executive orders from the state. They have done an exceptional job, in an impossible situation and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Port Jefferson/Port Jefferson Station

Barbara Ransome, executive director of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, thanked A Cake in Time and its owner Sherry Sobel, who after a donation to help her business, took that money and made cookies and then made arrangements to have them delivered to the underserved. She thanked other individual businesses including the Fifth Season Restaurant, with owners John and Deb Urbinati and Steam Room manager Vinnie Seiter who have been supplying lunches and dinners to the Welcome Friends Kitchen without any compensation.

Indu Kaur, who with The Curry Club’s Feed the #HealthCareHeroes Campaign has been raising money and donating meals since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis back in March. They have donated 2,000 meals thus far and hope to continue our work and feed the homeless shelters, and families that lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Thank you signs outside Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson. Photo by Kyle Barr

Carolyn Benson, a musician and singer, partnered in The Journey Home Project to support veterans through the pandemic. People can go to www.carolynbenson.us to buy a shirt which now through May 31 all proceeds are going to The Journey Home Project, which assists nonprofits aiding vets.

Front Porch Photographer Andrew Theodorakis of Yellow House Images has been taking front porch photos and setting up a Gofundme page to then donate that money for meals for the underserved through the PJ Chamber.

Rebecca Kassay of Suffolk County Creators of Covid-19 Medical Supplies and her team of volunteers have been making facial masks by the hundreds.

Debbie and Jerry Bowling, the owners of Pasta Pasta, have been cooking countless meals donated to charitable causes, hospitals, women shelters.

Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Community Liaison Joan Nickeson named several chamber and non-chamber community members alike, including Jennifer Dzvonar, owner of Bass Electric and president of the chamber who helped purchase nearly $700 in groceries for the needy in the community; Jackie Kirsch, of PJS, who has been making masks for a variety of organizations since March; and Toni St. John of PJS, who is sewing as part of Facebook page Operation Headband making the straps hospital workers use to hold masks to their face, taking the stress away from their ears. St. John is also one of the costume designers down at Theatre Three.

She also wished to thank Debra Quigley, a trained Literacy Suffolk volunteer — who while in-person Comsewogue Library ESL classes have been cancelled, she has managed to offer ESL classes virtually through the library. 

“Our parents in this community are diversified,” Nickeson said.

North Shore Brookhaven Civics/Chambers of Commerce

Civics have also noticed the massive amount of support generated by local residents. Bea Ruberto, the president of the Sound Beach Civic Association, thanked Rose Mayer and her daughter Lily, who as their own organization, The LilyRose Collective, are making masks along with Facebook group Long Island Love for police and other essential personnel. 

“We’re (the Civic) planning to donate to help her do this,” Ruberto said. “We’re also going to be asking the community at large to donate fabric, etc., and she will give us the masks to donate to whoever needs them.”

Health care workers at Stony Brook University Hospital crowd together after the flyover April 28. Photo by Kyle Barr

Chambers also wanted to respect the multiple strides businesses have made in the community despite the strains and stresses from lost business. The Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce thanked Dan Reinwald of Tilda’s Bake Shop who donated pastries, donuts, rolls and bread to Mather as well as Hope Academy at Little Portion Friary in Mount Sinai in appreciation of medical professionals and security staff. 

Tom O’Grady of Tuscany Market, who partnered with the Miller Place Teachers Association and organized soup and food donations for Mather Hospital,wanted to recognize our medical professionals.

Roy Pelaez of Island Empanada donated empanadas to the Suffolk County Police Department to show appreciation for our law enforcement. 

Joe Cognitore and the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249, escorted by Peter Oleschuk, Rick Mees and the North Fork Cruisers, took to the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers serving there as well as to remember and honor deceased heroes. 

Eufrasia Rodriguez of Justice 4 Autism has been donating masks to ambulance drivers, nurses at Stony Brook, Good Samaritan Hospital, Pilgrim State and Southside Hospitals along with local businesses like Spiro’s, Fantasia Bridal and Bakewicz Farms.

Tino Massotto of Cow Palace donated complete dinners to St. Charles Hospital’s ER Department and ICU as well as Good Shepherd Hospice.

Michelle LaManno of C.P. LaMannos Have a Pizza in Miller Place donated salads and pizza pies to Mather Hospital, and Michelle and Stelios Stylianou of Studio E hosted free virtual art classes for the community.

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Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) has announced the launch of the Passport Parking app, which has made paying for metered parking more convenient since its deployment at the Huntington LIRR station on Oct. 17. It is already being used by parking patrons in Huntington village, even before deployment of signage for a full launch has been completed.

    “We did a quiet launch to work out any issues with the deployment before promoting it to the public and it appears that the app has been very well-received — it’s very easy to use,” said Lupinacci. “We’re already seeing people use the app in Huntington village, where our team is completing signage installation but the app is already active.”

The Passport Parking app is an alternative to paying at the meter for metered parking on Railroad Street, Broadway and in Municipal Lot 15, where the Huntington LIRR station house is located. Passport Parking signage now appears near the on-street spots and in the parking lot at the Huntington LIRR station displaying zone numbers.

Lupinacci added: “The app is more convenient when it’s raining and for commuters trying to catch a train. You never need to use a parking meter again.”

Passport Parking is active for all metered parking at the Huntington LIRR station and in Huntington village. The Town expects to complete the installation of Passport Parking Zone decals on parking meters and on the numbered poles marking metered parking spaces in Huntington village this week. Zones are broken down by street. The zone decals on the numbered poles in the village will be visible from the street as the driver pulls into the space, enabling payment from a cellphone inside the vehicle. Stand-alone zone signs will also be installed in the various zones in the village after the decal placement is completed.

In the meantime, anyone can view the Passport Parking Zone numbers, assigned by street, on the Town website to pay for parking with the app now: www.huntingtonny.gov/parking-app.

  “Complaints related to parking meters at the train station have dropped to zero since the roll-out of the app,” said Peter Sammis, director of public safety, which oversees the parking meter team.

During a five-person Request for Proposal  evaluation performed by the Town’s Department of Public Safety, Passport Parking had a significant existing install base, providing the best quality of service, cost, uptime, data integrity and an outstanding merchant validation process described as “best in class.” The app serves as a convenient, user-friendly alternative to the parking meters, which will remain in use.

Parking patrons can download the Passport Parking app, found on the App Store or the Google Play Store, then enter the corresponding zone number, the parking space number, the length of stay (with the ability to add time later via the app) and payment info to complete the transaction.

It should be noted that parking in metered spots remains free for vehicles displaying valid disability parking permits and license plates.

More on the Passport Parking App: www.huntingtonny.gov/parking-app.