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TBR News Media

File photo by Raymond Janis

Exploring the potential for using hydrogen fuel

Two weeks ago, on June 28, Port Jefferson Village Mayor Lauren Sheprow, then-trustee-elect Xena Ugrinsky and I visited the Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center at Stony Brook University. The AET is doing cutting-edge research on future hydrogen technologies and other projects that create businesses on Long Island. We were welcomed by David Hamilton and Kathleen Ferrell. 

The connections with Stony Brook University departments, New York technology leaders, researchers and public agencies that were made in this short visit were quite extraordinary and many appointments were made for future discussions.

The mayor knew Hamilton and Ferrell professionally. Our visit was designed to dovetail with the efforts of the Port Jefferson Power Plant Working Group that Ugrinsky chairs. The PWG is exploring the potential for repowering our base load plants using hydrogen fuel and we will be exploring this possibility with Haiyan Sun when she is scheduled to tour our plant on a trip from Albany July 10.

Sun heads NYSERDA’s (the state’s Energy Research & Development Authority) hydrogen and renewables division and is responsible for evaluating grants and New York State priorities for this fast-evolving future technology. I am proud to be a part of this village’s forward-thinking and well-connected leadership. Port Jefferson is fortunate to be able to have people with these kinds of professional experience and networks working for its residents.

Bruce Miller

Port Jefferson

Comsewogue Community Garden is a special place

My name is Danny, and I am a Life Scout working on the Communication merit badge. I recently started work on my Eagle Scout project at the Comsewogue Community Garden on Terryville Road in Port Jefferson Station. I am replacing the current garden shed with a new one. 

I am writing because I would like to share how impressed I am with the garden and the amount of work that volunteers have put into making the garden so beautiful and welcoming. This includes growing fresh vegetables and a pollinator garden. More recently a Girl Scout troop started a sensory garden. 

This is a special place in the community and I think more people should know about it. I am hoping that students can take field trips to visit the garden and community members can take advantage of this beautiful space. 

Daniel Cappiello 

Troop 354 Port Jefferson Station

Happy 60th birthday to public transportation on Long Island

This July marks the 60th anniversary of federal government support for public transportation. The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson’s (D) greatest accomplishments which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9, 1964, he signed the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 into law. Subsequently this has resulted in the investment over time of billions of dollars into public transportation.

Millions of Americans today on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway and commuter rail services. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars thanks to Johnson.

Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, para transit or commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway. 

There is MTA LIRR, NYC Transit bus and subway, Suffolk County Transit Bus, Huntington Area Rapid Transit (HART) Bus and Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) Bus.

By using MTA Metro or OMNY cards, there are free transfers between the subway and bus. This has eliminated the old two-fare zones making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a monthly LIRR or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks which help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment. 

Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules which afford staff the ability to avoid rush-hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. Join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting. 

The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical, library, etc., is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100% dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility. Seniors, students, low and middle income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.

What better way to honor the late President Johnson and all that has been achieved these past 60 years in public transportation by continuing funding the federal Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account. 

Larry Penner

Great Neck

File photo by Raymond Janis

Putting the record straight

In response to Drew Biondo’s “A letter correction” in last week’s Letters to the Editor, I wholeheartedly stand by my declaration that “all elected trustees attended and sat at the dais,” regarding the town hall meeting about the East Beach bluff.

For the record, Drew Biondo was not elected. He was appointed. So yes, all elected trustees attended and sat at the dais.

Kathianne Snaden

Former Port Jeff Deputy Mayor

Port Jefferson 

 

Prom season is upon us

Prom season is upon us and there is probably no greater community tradition than the Port Jefferson Senior Prom. Since 1958, the senior prom has been a highly anticipated community event in our village. Valued partnerships with the school district, Village Hall, code enforcement and local businesses allow the Prom Committee to create a one-of-kind event not only for the senior class, but for the entire community.

We’ve been fortunate to have the extraordinary commitment of parents and community volunteers — some of whom have been volunteering with the prom for decades — to support us all along the way. Now, after a busy year of fundraising, creating, painting and constructing, we ae ready to build the prom! 

We begin Prom Build on Thursday, June 27, at 9 a.m. and will continue through Prom Night on Monday, July 1. We encourage community members to come lend a hand and take part in the transformation of the high school gym into an awe-inspiring venue, complete with custom designed vignettes, props and theatrical lighting. On July 1, we proudly show our creation to the public from 4-6 p.m., with the Drive-Up Procession and Red Carpet entrance following afterward. 

If you have never experienced the excitement of the Prom Build, we invite you to join in the amazing transformation of the high school. If you have volunteered at the prom before, we hope to see you and your friends again this year. The senior prom truly embodies the spirit of volunteerism and community, with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to carry on the beloved tradition that is the Port Jefferson Senior Prom. 

Paul Braile 

President, Port Jefferson 

Senior Prom

May day

Russian nuclear missiles from Cuba have targeted the very heart and soul of America and shall be more destructive than Pearl Harbor. 

“Lord, what fools these mortals be” (Shakespeare). God bless America

Leonard Henderson

Port Jefferson

File photo by Raymond Janis

Marsha Laufer endorses John Avlon for Congress 

John Avlon picked up the endorsement of Marsha Laufer, former chair of the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee. Laufer’s endorsement comes as Avlon continues to consolidate local support in his campaign to flip New York’s 1st Congressional District.

“In the 2024 Democratic primary election for New York’s 1st Congressional District on Long Island, we are fortunate to have two strong, dedicated Democratic candidates for this highly challenging, competitive seat. I am enthusiastically endorsing John Avlon in the primary because of his extensive experience and knowledge dealing with political, governmental, and democratic issues. He presents these clearly to potential voters in his speeches and writings, where he places issues in meaningful historical contexts. John is generating enthusiasm and excitement in the 1st Congressional District, a potential key seat for Democrats to take the majority in the House of Representatives and make Leader Hakeem Jeffries the next speaker of the House. Electability is key to winning this seat, and I believe John Avlon is the candidate best able to secure the seat and make his mark as a centrist, inspiring leader in the halls of democracy,” Marsha Laufer said.

“Marsha Laufer is a legendary figure among Long Island Democrats. She was an exemplary leader of the Brookhaven Democratic Town Committee and created a culture of excellence that inspires to this day. She is wise, kind, generous, and utterly determined to defend our democracy by making Hakeem Jeffries the next speaker of the House. I’m deeply honored to have earned her support as we face a Democratic primary on June 25, and I look forward to working closely with her in the weeks, months, and years ahead,” John Avlon said.

John Avlon has been endorsed by:

NYS and Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay S. Jacobs

Assembly Member Fred Thiele

Assembly Member Steve Stern

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) 

Riverhead Town Democratic Committee

Huntington Town Democratic Committee 

East Hampton Town Democratic Committee

Southampton Town Democratic Committee

Shelter Island Democratic Committee

Southold Town Democratic Committee

Suffolk County Legislator Rebecca Sanin 

Suffolk County Legislator Ann Welker

Town of Huntington Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman

Candidate for Assembly and Southampton Town Councilmember Tommy John Schiavoni

East Hampton Town Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez

East Hampton Deputy Town Supervisor Cate Rogers

East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys

East Hampton Town Councilman Ian Calder-Piedmonte

East Hampton Town Councilman Tom Flight

Former NY-1 congressional candidate and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming

Former Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman

Former State Senator Jim Gaughran

Former NY-1 candidate Perry Gershon

Former Congressman Max Rose 

Former United States Senator Doug Jones

Common Sense Democrats 

Parkland Gun Safety And Gun Violence Prevention Advocate and Huntington resident Linda Beigel Schulman

Marsha Laufer

Old Field (formerly)

Environmentalists for Kassay

We are reaching out to you knowing you care deeply about our environment and making sure that 

our community is represented in Albany by someone who is experienced and committed to fighting climate change and keeping our state on the path to a greener and less polluting future. 

As leaders of the environmental community in our area, we are writing to urge you to vote for Rebecca Kassay in the June 25 Democratic primary for New York State Assembly. 

It’s time to elect another environmental leader who will work tirelessly like former Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) on behalf of clean water and clean air in our region and our state. 

We represent many environmental organizations with different missions and goals, but we all agree that Rebecca Kassay, the current Port Jefferson Village deputy mayor, is the kind of dedicated public official who has a strong track record of working for a better environmental future for our planet. 

As a longtime environmental advocate and educator, Rebecca created and directed a youth environmental volunteer program at Avalon Park in Stony Brook, secured federal funding for a compound flood study in Port Jefferson village, consistently implemented science-based climate resilience strategies, and worked alongside many of Suffolk County’s environmental professionals and organizations to enhance environmental stewardship across Long Island. 

That’s why former Assemblyman Steve Englebright has endorsed Rebecca Kassay and is working hard with all of us to get her elected to the Assembly 4th District seat that he worked from so effectively for more than three decades. Englebright believes that we also need strong environmental leadership in Albany today. 

Unfortunately, we have seen how ineffective the current assemblyman has been in representing 

our neighborhoods and community, and we have seen his critical failure to bring back much-needed 

environmental funding to the district for open space purchases, upgrading costly clean water infrastructure, and promoting living shorelines. 

We desperately need Rebecca’s advocacy and environmental experience in Albany. While 

we don’t know what will-happen in the national elections in November, it’s important for us to elect 

someone now who will work in Albany to stop the rollback of many of New York’s innovative and landmark environmental laws that have kept our state a leader on the environment. 

Please mark down Tuesday, June 25, on your calendar and join us in voting for Rebecca Kassay in the 

Democratic primary for New York State Assembly. 

Steve Englebright

Carl Safina

John Turner

Laurie Vetere

Malcolm Bowman

Elaine Maas

Jane Fasullo

George Hoffman

Keep the community ‘attractive’

The residents of our community know and appreciate the benefits of attractive “streetscapes.” Properties along local roadways that are free of litter and are attractively landscaped help create a “sense of place.” It boosts property values, promotes civic pride and, yes, can even calm vehicular traffic. 

An increasing problem in the Three Village community, and elsewhere, is the gradual deterioration of our “streetscape” due to the number of illegally placed “lawn signs” that appear on our street corners and roadsides. There is really no escaping these inexpensive hard-plastic placards that pop up throughout the year. We now see primary election signs, general election signs, school board election signs, business signs, yard-sale and garage-sale signs, special event signs, sports camp signs, team registration signs, holiday signs — the list goes on and on. 

Essentially, we the public, are given a steady, visual stream of “sign graffiti.” Is there a solution to this visual pollution? Of course. 

Those insisting on using lawn signs should place them on their own private property and, with permission, the private property of their friends. And, really, anyone wanting to “message” the public, should use methods that can be as effective or probably even more effective: mailings, news advertising, flier distribution, social media, door-to-door contact, etc. 

And most importantly, our Town of Brookhaven must be more involved in enforcing its own sign code. This can be as simple as directing Highway Department work crews to immediately remove any and all “street graffiti.” Wouldn’t that be something!

Herb Mones

Charles Tramontana

Patty Schindler 

George Hoffman

A letter correction

Kathianne Snaden’s letter to the editor in the June 13 issue of The Port Times Record declares that “all elected trustees attended and sat at the dais,” regarding the town hall meeting about the East Beach bluff.

For the record, I was not there.

Drew Biondo

Port Jeff Trustee

Flooding in the village: a second presentation by Campani and Schwarting Architects

We are the architects working as consultants to the Village of Port Jefferson to make a Climate Resilience Plan for Storm Surge and Flood Mitigation in the watershed through a grant from New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

We made a presentation to the community last April and will make our second presentation on Thursday, June 20, at Village Hall 6-8 p.m. We will present proposed projects to study further designs to cope with stormwater runoff from the uplands areas and the storm tide surges from the harbor. This will be an interactive workshop and we would like your input.

Hope to see you there.

Frances Campani and 

Michael Schwarting

Campani and Schwarting Architects

Port Jefferson

The irony of the messenger

At a time when the military is floundering in recruitment and its disarrayed messages exhibiting a poverty of self-awareness, what is to be done to determine a better outcome in rebuilding our Armed Forces? 

World War II saw no lack of individuals ready to defend our country, and the world, from forces uncompromising in their resoluteness to erase freedom from the Earth. My father enlisted at 17, with the written permission of his father. He served on a destroyer for four years, and was reticent in discussing his experiences. He took them to his grave. But I could see in his face the cloistered heartaches of humanity’s nightmares. 

Wars are real; they are not distant, covert decisions of round table demagogues who deploy men and women to their potential death. As such, war must be regarded with unparalleled solemnness. To be fought during times of imminent danger to our country, to be fought with a wisdom of reflection and sobriety, and to be fought by individuals who are proud to defend a country they love. 

And here we are. For several years, the message to our citizens, young and old alike, was that the United States is a country permeated by shameful deeds, past and present, irredeemable in its conduct, and those that love it in spite of these messages, those that see the good, respect the brilliant, historical creation of our government, and have hope for the future, are dangerous “nationalists.” It is in these times of promoted self-loathing of the nation, that we then wonder why so few refuse to lay down their lives for their country.

Georgia Poulianos

Port Jefferson

A poem for my grandmother

I recently shared a poem I had written for my grandmother at her wake. My grandmother saved my life. We both are addicts and survivors. She had 40 years of sobriety at the time of her death and I am approaching five years myself. 

It was my grandmother to whom I first admitted I had a problem. She was a guiding and stabilizing force. She was the world to me. Poetry has always been my way of communicating. A way to cope. A local writer was in attendance. We met and spoke about writing, life, grief and many other things. She shared with me that maybe my poem could be helpful to others. To maybe give voice to the reverence we have for those so important to us, to give voice to our grief, I will share the poem. Thank you to those who read this little message and poem.

For AnnaLee Emery:

Your words always soothing,

This affection I embrace,

If I could change the tides for you,

Wavering at your fate,

I would grasp the sun just to stop the changing days.

Captured moon in stills and freeze expanding milky ways,

Placing a small seedling that you so slowly grew,

Imbuing me with indigo and vibrant hues of blue,

Nourishing my soul awash with your love so true,

A piece of you a part of me eternally in bloom.

Michael Jacobs

Strong’s Nec

‘Do No Harm’

In light of the recent proposal of the New York State Department of Education to eliminate the passage of Regents exams as a requirement for graduation, a large contingent of parents reached out to the Three Village board of education and central administration regarding their repeal of the “Do No Harm” policy.

In November of 2023, the board, and by association the upper administration, made this heinous decision despite parental pushback and a disregard for the detriment that this nullification would have on our children. With this week’s release of information regarding the changes that are forthcoming regarding graduation pathways in New York, a majority of parents with children in grades eight through 12 are in agreement that the board of education needs to do their due diligence and amend the blunder they made in November by reinstating “Do No Harm.”

At the board of education meeting on Wednesday June 12, board President Susan Rosenzweig made a statement specifically regarding the overwhelming response they received from district parents regarding the issue of the “Do No Harm” policy. 

Following these assertions, Rosenzweig then dismissed the pleas of parents and students with a rather disparaging reply. Her statement was simply that their decision was made, a vote was taken, “a vote is a vote” and they would possibly “revisit” the policy sometime in November. No cognizance was exhibited for the fact that nearly every student who will be taking Regents exams this year has had the benefit of “Do No Harm” for the past several years. 

The irresponsible decision to omit this safety net may have dire consequences on those who suffer from test anxiety and/or mental health issues, those who are ill on test day or distracted by outside issues and those who may not have the ability to regurgitate a year or more’s worth of information on one three-hour exam. 

Students’ GPAs, college/university acceptances and scholarship opportunities may be overwhelmingly affected by one poor score and this is simply unacceptable. The fact that the Regents exams are highly flawed, particularly as the formats and grading rubrics are constantly overhauled from one year to the next, should be forefront in the minds of our board members and administrators yet they have failed our students with their callous repeal. 

The NYSDOE does not require, nor recommend, that Regents exams be factored into final course grades. It is unfortunate that our board of education feels they know better, despite the fact that the majority of the board has never taught at the junior high or high school level. 

To them, their vote to count a Regents score as 10% of a final course grade was a compromise, when in reality it was an irresponsible impugnment of our children’s capacity to be judged on four quarters of hard work and achievement. I am extremely disappointed that the board is refusing to indulge the parents and students of our district and reconsider their November decision. No student, regardless of ability level or academic standing should enter exam season anticipating the harm they may endure as a result of one three-hour test. If New York State does not require their exams to figure into final grades there is absolutely no reason that the Three Village Central School district should do so. It is my sincere hope that our children do not suffer for the resolutions made “on their behalf”.

Stefanie Werner

East Setauket

 

File photo by Raymond Janis

Child care is a necessity

I was delighted to read TBR’s article [“Early learning educators participate in National Day Without Child Care,” May 30] covering the National Day Without Child Care, a nationwide annual event bringing parents and early childhood educators together to advocate for a child care system that works for every family and pays early childhood educators the thriving wages they deserve. 

As the campaign manager for the Empire State Campaign for Child Care, we are advocating for universal child care in New York state, moving to make early childhood education a public good rather than the private burden it currently is for families. A fully-funded early childhood education system would provide children with the opportunities needed to develop and learn. It would give parents the ability to be a part of the workforce knowing that their children are cared for and safe, and it would fairly compensate early childhood educators, who currently earn less than 96% of the workforce in our state.

For many families across the country, child care is the second highest expense in their budget, right behind housing. Most New Yorkers live in what is known as “child care deserts,” where there is a wait list for every available child care slot, due to a lack of staffing. We cannot address the lack of child care availability without first improving recruiting and retaining child care educators with higher wages.

Child care is an educational and economic issue that requires bold and robust public investment. The data shows that this investment yields excellent educational and economic returns. It is why we have advocated for and will continue to call for New York state to enact universal child care, and support legislation that removes the barriers to access for families and compensates the child care workforce with the wages they deserve.

Shoshana Hershkowitz

Empire State Campaign for Child Care

Stony Brook’s Maurie McInnis

Very disappointing to note President Maurie McInnis’ bailing on Stony Brook University for Yale two weeks after Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie [D] advised Stony Brook’s graduating class that the university was “just as good as those Ivy schools like Princeton and Yale.” Best to select next time around a more committed administrator who doesn’t have designs on leading one of those “Ivy schools.” 

No matter how the spin her leaving after only four years — on 30 days’ notice no less — is not a positive for the university. Lesson learned for Stony Brook!

Kevin Seaman 

Stony Brook

Memorial Day note

Just before Memorial Day, I sent a “Thank you for your service” email to an old friend of mine. He served in Vietnam and shared point on patrol.

Sadly, like so many other vets who returned during that time, Kevin wasn’t shown the proper appreciation for his sacrifices. It got so bad some servicemen felt compelled to remove their uniforms on flights home, lest they be accosted or harassed upon arrival. He had simply joined tens of thousands of other young men drafted into military service to fight in what became an unpopular war. 

It was a “call to duty” and they answered. Kev continued answering that call stateside by being part of the solemn, oft-times heartbreaking “folded flag” ceremony.

Given that and so much more left unmentioned here, Kevin’s humbling, uplifting response to my note was, “Thank you. I served proudly for this great country.”

We’re blessed as a nation that he, along with millions of other patriots, have done the same. God bless them all.

Jim Soviero

East Setauke

Xena for village trustee

In the June 18 Village of Port Jefferson election, I am voting for Xena Ugrinsky for trustee. Xena has the expertise we need to solve one of our most complex problems: How to modernize the power plant and prevent a catastrophic loss of tax revenue for the village and our schools. She has extensive experience in the energy, finance and information technology sectors. 

As a trustee she can utilize her connections with National Grid and LIPA, also state and federal regulators, to make our voices heard before decisions are made. She will fight to bring clean energy to the power plant and preserve our tax base. We will be well served to have someone of Xena’s caliber as our next trustee. Vote for Xena on June 18.

Bruce Miller

Former Port Jefferson Village Trustee 

Former Port Jefferson Village School Board President

Public meeting on the bluff was neither proper nor truly ‘transparent’

When, as required by law, village Clerk Sylvia Pirillo failed to publicly notice the Town Hall meeting at Port Jefferson Country Club May 28 about the bluff, Mayor Lauren Sheprow first told some of the trustees they could not attend, notifying those with differing opinions to stay home. When that didn’t work, she told them they could attend but couldn’t speak, essentially gagging our elected officials. 

All elected trustees attended and sat at the dais, along with the village clerk and treasurer, constituting a quorum.

In a failed attempt to circumvent NYS Open Meetings Law, the trustees were told not to talk. Not a single trustee was allowed to give an opinion, ask a question or speak in any capacity.

 I know for a fact that at least two of the three trustees have contradictory opinions from the mayor, as they have publicly spoken about them during board meetings.

The community was told the purpose of this meeting was to hear all options. The mayor gave her opinions about the benefits of building the upper wall. She gave examples of private property walls that were built and “worked.” We heard why she wants to build the wall. She brought in two speakers, both of whom supported her opinion.

We heard from many residents in attendance. Most, regardless of being for or against the wall, were for a referendum on the project. But without balanced information, residents were left to create their own analysis.

We didn’t hear from experts. We didn’t hear alternatives or options, nor about a retreat plan nor costs associated with such. We didn’t hear from experts with opposing opinions. I know that at least one trustee had some of these alternative ideas and plans to discuss but was not “allowed” to.

Let’s hope the trustees, those we elected to represent us, get to speak and give us their opinions and thoughts on this project at some point.

There are two very concerning issues here. The first is that the NYS Open Meetings Law was blatantly violated. A quorum present and conducting business on the bluff violates that law. Second, the mayor’s dog and pony show displaying only her opinion and side of things under the guise of transparency and communication was in no way fair or balanced and was certainly anything but transparent. 

This meeting was a sham. Don’t be fooled by the mayor’s attempt to frame this as an open forum while controlling the entire discussion. We deserve better.

Kathianne Snaden

Port Jefferson

 

 

Photo by Raymond Janis

Suffolk County transit system in need of additional state funding

In a recent letter, Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine [R] called on Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] to increase financial assistance from Albany for Suffolk County Transit bus system. 

SCT was created in 1980 as a county-run oversight and funding agency for a group of private contract operators which had previously provided such services on their own. These companies manage the maintenance and operations of their buses. Buses are paid for by grants from the Federal Transit Administration with the 20% local share split between Suffolk County and New York State Department of Transportation. Both Suffolk County and NYSDOT provide operating assistance to cover shortfalls from fare box revenues.

SCT uses FTA grants to pay for buses, paratransit vehicles, fareboxes, radio communication equipment, bus shelters, bus stop signs and other capital improvements required by private operators to continue providing safe and reliable service that riders count on. All of the above also applies to the Huntington Area Rapid Transit bus system, known as HART.

Let us give thanks to the hardworking men and women of the Suffolk County departments of Public Works and Transportation responsible for preparing and filing FTA grants, implementing the grants funding capital projects and periodically winning extra-discretionary national competitive grant FTA dollars.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Thank you National Association of Letter Carriers

On behalf of the Island Heart Food Pantry in Middle Island, a mission of the Mount Sinai Congregational Church, I’d like to thank the National Association of Letter Carriers for their annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. 

Once again, their efforts made a tremendous difference in stocking our shelves and meeting the needs of our community. Times have been difficult, especially since the pandemic, with little relief in sight. But, thanks to their commitment to communities across this country, we will be able to help our neighbors in need.

Kathy Lahey

IHFP Director

Middle Island

File photo by Raymond Janis

LIRR train car procurement debacle

The MTA announcement that the LIRR $734 million procurement of 202 new M9 train cars awarded to Kawasaki Rail Car in 2013 is finally complete is disappointing to the Port Jefferson Branch and other commuters. It is not the end of this story.  

All of this new equipment was supposed to be delivered prior to initiation of new LIRR East Side Access service to Grand Central Madison. Delivery and acceptance of the last car almost five years late leaves a number of unanswered questions.

What was the cost for the LIRR to return 100 M3 cars previously mothballed several years ago back into service? What about daily maintenance and operating costs in keeping this retired equipment returned to passenger service? How many 10-car trains had to be run with eight cars due to a shortage of equipment resulting in periodic overcrowding?

The LIRR has had to keep its own engineering, procurement and other employees on the payroll assigned to this project for five years beyond the originally forecasted project completion date. What has this cost the LIRR? Has the LIRR submitted delay claims to Kawasaki Rail Car, for reimbursement of these costs? Why should commuters and taxpayers be stuck with the tab?  What is the current status for purchase of additional new LIRR cars? Will the LIRR do a “lessons learned” from this car procurement? Perhaps this will benefit the upcoming M9A car procurement. The LIRR 1960s motto “Line of the Dashing Dan” in 2023 continues to be “Line of the Slow Moving Sloth” when it comes to purchasing new rail cars.

   

Larry Penner

Great Neck

File photo by Raymond Janis

Green energy update

Last Friday, May 10, Xena Ugrinsky, Port Jefferson energy committee chairperson and I visited with Peter St. Germain, general manager, Terminalling, at Northville Industries on Belle Mead Road, East Setauket. Northville has proposed building warehouses or apartments on this site and Xena and I wanted to speak with St. Germain regarding its potential for future hydrogen storage. Northville Industries has a strategic importance for energy and the Long Island economy.

We discussed the economic demand for hydrogen, its fast-growing use in the new economy, the need to switch to green energy in the power generation and rail industries, and discussed, also, the speed of worldwide adoption of this fuel to reduce climate change.

St. Germain supports these green goals and reports that Gene Bernstein, Northville’s chairman, is already planning for a “4 Gen” green future. We can hope this site remains an energy site and is not intensely developed.

On Tuesday, April 30, I went into Manhattan to address the MTA board of directors. My request was simple — to have a meeting on green energy with Long Island Rail Road president Robert Free, a Port Jefferson Station resident. My time to speak was short. Janno Lieber, MTA’s chairman, was polite and did not yawn. The MTA is coming to an end of its 20-year planning for LIRR. I see no evidence of any desire of LIRR to accommodate state law or reduce carbon emissions.

I will be addressing the Three Village Civic Association and its president, Charles Tramontana, on this topic on Monday, June 3. I am discussing this issue with Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association president, Ira Costell; Port Jefferson Civic Association president, Ana Hozyainova; and county Legislator Steve Englebright [D-Setauket], sponsor of the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act when he was an assemblyman. We would hope to petition Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] to support her own law for climate and green energy use.

We have proposals for Mr. Free for new technologies that make this transition far more feasible and economical — even beneficial to the New York state economy. 

Green transportation: “A better ride” — a “one-seat ride” to Manhattan is critical to our North Shore environment and economy.

Contact your elected representatives. The MTA is getting $10 billion from the federal government to transition to green energy. I see no benefit to the North Shore from these funds. “We pay taxes, too.”

RSVP Mr. Free.

Bruce Miller

Port Jefferson

Celebrate your favorite waitstaff

Tuesday, May 21, is National Waitstaff Day. Your neighborhood restaurant waiters are on their feet all day working long hours. They take and deliver meal orders, follow up to make sure your meal is up to expectations, refill your coffee, tea or water glass, box any leftovers you want to take home and prepare the check — all with a smile and friendly disposition. 

On this day, why not show your appreciation and honor your favorite waiter? Leave a 25 percent tip against the total bill including taxes. Remember that they usually have to share the tips with the busboys. Drop off some flowers, a box of candy or some cookies as well.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Ceasefires do not work

In recent weeks, colleges and universities across the country have been visited by large groups of antisemitic activists, known as Palestine protesters, whose stated goal is the abolition of the state of Israel. Although it might be only partially accurate to describe these visitors as guest lecturers, they do share many of the same qualifications, as they teach students various things they need to know, including how to recite catchy slogans, the proper wearing of masks to avoid being identified and how to live in a tent.

Here in Stony Brook, the SUNY protesters seem to be doing well, and have branched out to beyond the confines of the university, with a few of them joining the ranks of the North Country Peace Group, which congregates on North Country Road in Setauket every Saturday morning from around 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and has been doing so for many years. 

On the opposite side of the street, the Stony Brook Patriots meet at the same time, for the purpose of countering most of the positions advocated by NCPG. For motorists passing by, the two sides are easily distinguished: NCPG displays three flags: a Black Lives Matter flag, a U.N. flag and, most recently, a Palestine flag. The Patriots, on the other hand, display only two types of flags: about a dozen examples of the American stars and stripes, and a single flag of the nation of Israel. 

The members of the Patriots believe that advocating for peace, while at the same time supporting Palestine — which implies support for Hamas — is inconsistent and hypocritical. 

Last Oct. 7, Hamas perpetrated a murderous, unprovoked attack on the civilian citizens of Israel, an atrocity unmatched since the Holocaust and World War II. After the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States, we had no viable option other than to wage war against Japan and achieve an unconditional surrender. If Japan had requested a ceasefire a few months after Pearl Harbor, it would not have been considered. As it turned out, the United States and the Allies decisively defeated both Japan and Germany, and prosecuted and punished the criminal leaders of both countries. 

“Peace Through Strength” is a concept that has been espoused by many of our great leaders, from George Washington through Ronald Reagan, and the leaders of Israel know that it applies today. As British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain showed us in 1938, appeasement and ceasefires do not work.

George Altemose

Setauket

File photo by Raymond Janis

Stony Brook, world-class medicine 

There are many benefits to living in the Three Village area, and access to world-class medicine is one of them. I learned that when I made an unplanned trip to Stony Brook University Hospital via the emergency room. Being in the hospital is no picnic but what I encountered at Stony Brook was overwhelming and mind-boggling, in a very good way.

From the moment I arrived in ER, I knew I was in right place. Comprehensive care was administered immediately, and this continued throughout my stay. Every member of the health care team, from doctors, nurses, nursing supervisors, aides, technicians and staff who performed diagnostic tests, treated me with the utmost kindness and compassion, even though I may have been a train wreck at times.

Stony Brook’s advanced infrastructure and specialized capabilities are legendary, and I experienced firsthand that the level of expertise of their doctors and staff is on par with those standards of excellence. Specifically, I must commend the physicians of the Stony Brook Heart Institute and North Suffolk Cardiology, who worked collaboratively to deliver cutting-edge medicine. 

The entire operation at Stony Brook was first rate and reached the heights of optimal patient care. Everyone I encountered was exceptionally polite, and even the food was good. We are certainly fortunate to have several excellent area hospitals to choose from. In this case, I’m glad I headed to Stony Brook.

Alan Golnick

Stony Brook

Please don’t be late to the East Beach bluff ball again

I have been privy to the changes of Port Jefferson’s East Beach bluff health over four-and-a-half decades that have not previously received emphasis. Initially, the bluff was stable with healthy vegetation to absorb storm runoff from the blacktop, tennis courts and clubhouse. The western jetty entering Mount Sinai Harbor prevented beach sand from washing into the harbor. 

After a number of storms 15-20 years ago, the jetty was destroyed and we watched the beach sand progressively wash into the harbor, taking the bluff with it. It took until 2020 to reconstruct part of the jetty. This delay led to the loss of much of our beach, an undermining of the bluff at its base and loss of its erosion-protecting vegetation. This was caused more by negligence than the 15 years (0.27 inches) of tide rise. 

To make matters worse, deforestation for future pickleball courts at the west end of the parking lot destroyed the vegetation that gave protection from parking runoff during storms and led to additional bluff erosion. Since the jetty’s reconstruction — and after subsequent replacement of beach sand from inlet dredging — our beach is continually restoring itself with accumulation of new sand.

Phase 1 constructed a seawall on half of the eroding bluff and was highly successful in preventing undermining, but it can’t prevent ongoing undermining along the now-unvegetated bluff where no seawall was constructed, nor prevent unprotected drainage erosion from above.

I believe insufficient attention has been given to the latter, which was responsible for the recent storm damage in two areas. It is apparent that we need to quickly remediate the huge nonabsorbent parking lots and tennis court surfaces that surround the clubhouse. With neither huge grants nor the need for extensive approvals, I wonder why we cannot emergently mitigate by converting blacktop parking to absorbent gravel surfaces, redirecting stormwater inland into storm drains, vegetating where tennis courts now exist, and giving serious thought to the village trustee Stan Loucks’ “retreat plan.”

Let there be no doubt, this problem was initiated by not tending to prompt reconstruction of the fallen jetty and subsequent loss of bluff protection from poorly-managed storm drainage above. Now that the ongoing loss of the beach has been reversed with jetty reconstruction, we need to save the bluff with completion of the seawall below, mitigate the nonabsorbent surfaces above — and stop ignoring reality.

Al Cossari

Port Jefferson

Advocating local Recycle and Save programs

As we look at our high rates of waste generation — close to 5 pounds per day per person on Long Island — it is good to explore ways to bring this number down. One of the alternatives that many communities have adopted is Recycle and Save programs which used to be called Pay As You Throw. The advantage of this approach is that it has greatly reduced the rate of individual waste disposal.

Since this would be a radical change in our area, it is best for us to plan over a three-year period in multiple stages.

First stage is training: This would involve training for the waste management staffs, the various town councils, and committees that would be established in each town and village.

Second stage is special topics and challenges: This would involve research on specific issues of concern to our communities, such as which items can be recycled and how and where they are to be recycled.

Third stage is data collection: This would involve surveys of our citizens to reveal their attitudes, behaviors and acceptability.

Fourth stage is behavior change: This is accomplished through publicity and the creation of a comprehensive and explicit website. I would recommend the one that was created by the Alameda County Department of Waste Management in California. The county has decreased its rate to 1.6 pounds of waste per day per person.

This approach moves us in the direction of zero waste and is long overdue in our area. Many communities in the United States have been embracing this policy since the 1980s.

John J. McNamara

Rocky Point

RIP

It’s time “Lady Justice” removes her blindfold, as our nation perishes. “God bless America,” from a veteran of World War 2 and the Greatest Generation.

Leonard J. Henderson

Port Jefferson

File photo by Raymond Janis

Tag and bake sale at historic Stony Brook Community Church

Deborah Davis invited two preachers 215 years ago to come to Stony Brook and establish a new church which would meet in her home. This was the start of the Stony Brook Community Church., and its first offering collected a then-impressive $1.31. Unfortunately this rate of contributions did not continue as the collection for the entire first year was $2.56. 

In 1817, several denominations joined together to stop worshiping in Mrs. Davis’ house — which still stands across the street from the church — and to build a simple church building. This was replaced by the current structure in 1860, at 216 Christian Ave., that Stony Brook Community Church still occupies. The church steeple, held together with pegs instead of nails, became a landmark for sailors, helping to guide them into the harbor. When in 1908, the building was in serious need of repairs, the job was done with volunteer labor for $800 for materials. Unfortunately, by the time the steeple was struck by lightning in 1982, repairs had become distinctly more expensive.

On Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. — rain date May 5, 12 to 4 p.m. — the church is hosting a tag and bake sale to help make up for the way prices have increased since that first offering in 1809. The historic church building and the equally historic cemetery — the oldest grave dating to 1813 — will be open to visitors during the sale. 

Tag and Bake Sale Committee

Stony Brook Community Church

Happy 190th anniversary to Long Island Rail Road 

Let us all wish a happy 190th anniversary to the Long Island Rail Road. On April 24, 1834, the Long Island Rail Road was officially chartered by the State of New York to run from the Brooklyn waterfront 95 miles east to Greenport. In 1900, the Pennsylvania Railroad bought a controlling interest as part of its plan for direct access to Manhattan which began on September 8, 1910. The Pennsylvania Railroad subsidized the LIRR into the late 1940s. This provided the financial basis for support of expansion and upgrades to service and infrastructure.

 At the end of World War II, there began a decline of our LIRR with a corresponding loss of farebox revenues. The Pennsylvania Railroad began to reduce financial support as well. This played a part in the LIRR going into receivership in 1949. In recognition of the role the LIRR played in the economy of both Long Island and NYC, New York State began providing financial assistance to the LIRR in the 1950s and 1960s. 

The “Line of the Dashing Dan” was officially chartered on April 24, 1965, by the State of New York. In 1966, NYS bought the railroad’s controlling stock from the Pennsylvania Railroad and put it under the newly-formed Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority. The MCTA changed its name to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968 when it took over operations of the NYC Transit Authority.

 With MTA subsidies, the LIRR modernized further and grew into the busiest commuter railroad in the United States. Over the past 50 years, several billion dollars in combined county, city, state and federal taxpayer-generated dollars have subsidized both the capital and operating costs for the LIRR. 

Riders must remember that fare hikes are periodically required if the MTA is to provide the services millions of New Yorkers use daily.

Larry Penner

Great Neck