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Times Beacon Record News Media

Photo by David Ackerman

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Maybe it sounds like I’m tooting our horn too much, but I have to say how proud I am of the columnists who write for our papers and website. They are clearly bright and offer the reader information and knowledge that aren’t usually found even in a big metro daily or a glossy magazine. They are, collectively and individually, one of the main reasons our hometown newspapers have managed to survive while so many of our colleagues, 25% of them in the nation, have had to shut their doors.

Readers want to learn from our regular columnists, who, by the way, are local residents. That’s not surprising, though, because the population we serve is exceptional, accomplished in their own right, and can be expected to harbor such talent. Let me explain.

The columnists are found in the second section of the newspaper, called Arts & Lifestyles. In the interest of full disclosure and without false modesty, I point out and salute my youngest son, Dr. David Dunaief. He is a physician totally committed to helping his patients, and the high regard is returned by them in equal measure, as testimonials about him confirm. In addition, he writes every week about current medical problems and brings readers up to date with the latest research and thinking regarding common ailments. I know him to be a voracious reader of medical journals and he footnotes his sources of expertise at the end of every “Medical Compass” column. 

Dr. Matthew Kearns is a longtime popular veterinarian who writes “Ask the Vet,” keeping our beloved pets healthy. Michael E. Russell is a successful, retired financial professional who cannot cut the cord with Wall Street, and  shares his thoughts on the economy and suggesting current buys on the stock market. He will also throw in something irreverent, or even askance, to keep you tuned in. 

Also writing knowledgeably on the contemporary scene about finance and the economy is Michael Christodoulou, who is also an active financial advisor. Ever try to read your auto insurance policies? If I had trouble falling asleep, they would knock me out by the second paragraph. Enter A. Craig Purcell, a partner in a long-established local law firm, who is attempting to explain auto insurance coverage, a merciful endeavor, with his column. His words do not put me to sleep. Shannon Malone will alternate the writing for us. Michael Ardolino, a well-known realtor, somehow manages to make both ends of a real estate transaction, for buyers and sellers, sound promising at this time. 

Our lead movie and book reviewer is the highly talented Jeffrey Sanzel. In addition to being a terrific actor, he is a gifted writer and almost always feels the same way about what he is reviewing as I do. No wonder I think he is brilliant.  Father Frank has been writing for the papers for many years and always with great integrity and compassion. 

John Turner, famous naturalist and noted author and lecturer, keeps us apprised of challenges to nature. This is a niche for all residents near the shorelines of Long Island. He also writes “Living Lightly,” about being a responsible earth dweller. Bob Lipinski is the wine connoisseur who travels the world and keeps us aware of best wines and cheeses.

Lisa Scott and Nancy Marr of the Suffolk County League of Women Voters, keep us informed about upcoming elections, new laws and important propositions. Elder law attorney Nancy Burner tells us about Medicare, estate planning, wills gifting, trustees, trusts and other critical issues as we age.

The last columnist I will mention is Daniel Dunaief, who, like bookends for my salute, is also my son. Among several other articles, he writes “The Power of Three,” explaining some of the research that is performed at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Labs and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He makes a deep dive into the science in such a way that layman readers can understand what is happening in the labs. He has been paid the ultimate compliment by the scientists for a journalist: they pick up the phone and willingly talk to him, unafraid that he will get the story wrong or misquote them. In fact, he has been told a rewarding number of times by the researchers that his questions for the articles have helped them further direct their work.

When my sons began writing for TBR News Media, a few readers accused me of nepotism. I haven’t heard that charge now in years.

P.S. Of course, we can’t forget Beverly C. Tyler and Kenneth Brady, stellar historians both.

We are proud to present our second Times Beacon Record News Media Artist Coloring Book contest winners. Our intentions for the coloring book and contest was to offer our local art community grand exposure by fostering appreciation for the arts, as well as providing an enriching cultural experience for our audience.

We are grateful to Bank of America as our Coloring Book partner, to all the artists who contributed a beautiful gallery of sketches and to our coloring contest participants who submitted beautifully colored drawings, as well as our voters. Look for the winner’s colored masterpieces in select Bank of America financial centers.  To see the rest of the contestant’s entries, visit our TBR Facebook page: facebook.com/tbrbewsmedia and check out the photo galleries.

Congratulations to all our winners!

Category 1: Ages 5-12

Winner

 

Mia Radi

COLORIST 

Mia Radi, 5, Suffolk County
‘Nova’ by Marlene Bezich

1. What did you think of the coloring book?

 “It Looked Beautiful.”

2. Why did you select this drawing to color?

“I chose to color the doggie because my Nanny and Poppy have a doggie. Her name is Cali.”

3. What are your other hobbies?

“I like to play with Anthony. I love to play with my Mommy. I like to do Art.”

Marlene Bezich with her dog Nova

ARTIST 

Marlene Bezich, Port Jefferson

‘Nova’

1. What did you like about the winning colorist’s submission?

“First of all for a five year old her color understanding is amazing!!!  Color is very important to me in my artwork, I love Mia’s color choices!  She has successfully juxtapositioned complimentary colors to create a delight to the eye!!!!  Under further examination I feel that wrapping Nova in an orange background gives Nova’s spirit a feeling of love and warmth.  Her blue face indications “true blue” loyalty, and her green chest a sign of rebirth!  I noticed she stayed well between the lines displaying a very organized personality!!! Her family should be truly proud of her!!!!”

2. What was your inspiration for the drawing?

“Nova is my sister’s dog who they rescued from the Brookhaven Town Shelter.  She is the sweetest most loyal companion anyone could want.  Her markings are stunning, so as an animal lover I just had to capture her!  Hopefully this should be an example of the many wonderful dogs and cats available for adoption!  They deserve a chance too!!”

3. What did you think of the coloring book?

“I loved the coloring book!!! So many different subjects and styles!!! I’m so proud to be among the many talented artists who participated.  A Big THANK YOU for including us!!!!!!!”

4. What are your other hobbies?

“I love gardening and cooking!”

Runner Up

 

Junior Rivas

COLORIST 

Junior Rivas, 11, Central Islip
‘KAMAHAMEHA!!!’ by Clara Heller

Why did you select this drawing to color?

“Out of all the pictures to choose from, this was my favorite because I like Dragon Ball Z and Goku.”

ARTIST

Clara Heller, Port Jefferson

‘KAMAHAMEHA!!!’

What was your inspiration for the drawing?

“I grew up drawing, and I grew up watching Toonami, especially Dragon Ball Z. I stopped drawing regularly as I got older, but when the pandemic hit and I suddenly had all this free time, I thought I’d give it another try. And what better subject than that of my favorite childhood anime! I’m just happy other people appreciate Goku as much as I do!”

Category 2: Ages 13-19

Winner
Rebecca Fear

COLORIST 

Rebecca Fear, 19, South Setauket
‘Nature’s Healing Spirit’ by Iris Rosenhagen

1. What did you think of the coloring book?

“ I loved this coloring book because it included some beautiful pieces from different talented artists that brought a lot of positivity to me during this past year.”

2. Why did you select this drawing to color?

“I chose the piece Nature’s Healing Spirit because during this past year it’s important for everyone to find something to heal themselves during these difficult times. Through this coloring page I was able to use many vibrant colors and intricate detail. Coloring is relaxing for me and helped me heal during a stressful time. While coloring this page I had my newly adopted dog on my lap, which was also calming for me.”

3. What are your other hobbies?

“My other hobbies are singing, dancing, coloring, drawing, acting and volunteering.”

Iris Rosenhagen

ARTIST 

Iris Rosenhagen, Selden

‘Nature’s Healing Spirit’

1. What did you like about the winning colorist’s submission?

“I love Rebecca’s use of jewel tones. The colors that she used and her out of the box thinking for how to apply them are very much how I envisioned it had I colored it.”

2. What was your inspiration for the drawing?

“The subject of my drawing was inspired by this past year. Everyone has faced many challenges and fortunately nature has been an incredibly therapeutic outlet for healing.”

3. What did you think of the coloring book?

“Everyone’s art is just so beautiful, and I’m honored to be a part of it. In addition to Mother Nature being one of the best healers, so is art, and it’s wonderful that the community had this opportunity to experience and create art together.”

4. What are your other hobbies?

“Some of my other hobbies include yoga, holistic healing, vegan cooking, eco-activism, birding, and hiking.”

Runner Up

COLORIST 

Ella Psaltos, 16, Port Washington
‘Let’s Clean Up!’ by Bina Firestone

Why did you select this drawing to color?

“I chose that image because it reminded me of an old cartoon.”

ARTIST 

Bina Firestone, Port Jefferson Station

‘Let’s Clean Up!’

What was your inspiration for the drawing?

“The drawing was from a watercolor I had recently completed. I had wanted to create a winter scene, but something different than a pristine and peaceful landscape. I started out with the idea of sending a snowplow through a residential neighborhood. Then I remembered how, after a snow, all the neighbors would emerge from their homes, and the street would become a hive of activity, so I added the people to the scene.”

Category 3: Ages 20+

Winner

COLORIST 

Hedi Flickstein, Coram
‘Lily’ by Christopher Reisman

1. What did you think of the coloring book?

“It was very good. I wish more of the drawings had white space to color.”

2. Why did you select this drawing to color?

“It was a very beautiful rendition of the picture. I wanted to add things like eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish. She needed some beautification.”

3. What are your other hobbies?

“Senior groups, school related groups, Legislative groups, groups that help the handicapped.”

Christopher Reisman

ARTIST 

Christopher Reisman, Shoreham

‘Lily’

1. What did you like about the winning colorist’s submission?

“I love the  way the artist took Lily to a new look and dressed her up a bit. Fabulous!”

2. What was your inspiration for the drawing?

“My inspiration for the drawing came from a picture in the New York Times Magazine section several years ago. I fell in love with the pose and the mystique of the lady. I added the flowers and Lily was born.” 

3. What did you think of the coloring book?

“I think the coloring  book gives a wonderful view of fine art by Long Island artists. I think this should be very inspiring to a lot of people. What a great way to add more beauty into the world, which the world really needs.”

4. What are your other hobbies?

“My other hobbies are making music, sewing and gardening and taking care of our wonderful magic sanctuary every day. Actually my sewing is more than a hobby. It is a great creative  joyful experience for me to design and make one of a kind wearable art. I love it.”

Runner Up

COLORIST 

Evelyn Rose, 78, Smithtown
‘Nature’s Healing Spirit’ by Iris Rosenhagen

Why did you select this drawing to color?

“She was very whimsical!”

ARTIST 

Iris Rosenhagen

‘Nature’s Healing Spirit’

What was your inspiration for the drawing?

“In addition to being inspired by nature, I was inspired by the future colorists.  I love the idea of someone interacting with my art.  The opportunity of two creative energies coming together is so motivating to me.”

And there’s more! Six Long Island nonprofits, chosen by the winners & artists, will share $10,000 in community funding from Bank of America.

 

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

In the crunch of reporting the latest COVID-19 news and working remotely to the extent possible last week, we failed to notice our media company’s anniversary. Last Wednesday marked the 44th year since we offered the first issue of our first newspaper, The Village Times, to the community. 

For me, that is akin to forgetting my birthday; so exciting and memorable were those early days. After incredibly long hours and endless hard work, we had created something that had never before existed and both proudly and nervously had given it to the residents to judge. Would they become engaged or would they ignore our efforts? Would they find what we published to be relevant and important to their lives or would they just go on without us? Such are the thoughts and fears of entrepreneurs.

I was just asked recently why I wanted to start a newspaper. I had to stop and remember what life was like on April 8, 1976, because we were certainly a product of our times. My husband and I had come with our children to live here on the North Shore of Suffolk County largely because of the university. The State University at Stony Brook was just in its earliest years, a medical center was planned, and my husband wanted to practice his specialty, along with a research hospital affiliation, wherever we settled. That’s the way it was then: a physician hung out a shingle wherever he wanted a private practice and began to see patients. 

We were utterly charmed by the picturesque village of Stony Brook, with its quality schools, rich Revolutionary War history, cultural offerings and unending recreational opportunities both on land and on the Sound. After a time, we came to learn there existed a seemingly unbridgeable town-gown split. Thousands of new university hires and students were pouring into the community every year, in some ways upending the peaceful existence of longtime residents, even as they prompted property values to soar. The 1960s were, anyway, unsettling times, with the Vietnam War, assassinations and bursts of protests in the streets. Yet the small villages offered a peaceful and fulfilling existence, it seemed to me, if only there could be better communication between the university and the residents.

I had been thinking, as I worked for Time Inc. in New York City, about what I imagined were the joys of owning a community newspaper: meeting residents, serving their needs for information, providing a “town hall” for dialogue from all points of view, offering opinion through editorials, tracking local accomplishments in the arts, sciences, sports and cultural worlds and strengthening the sense of community for protection and pride.

So when my youngest of three started first grade, I saw my opportunity. I assembled what turned out to be a brilliant and committed team of largely other housewives, sold shares to families in order to capitalize the venture, rented an office on Route 25A in Setauket, and we were off. The thrill and excitement of creating a newspaper to serve a community could fill a book, and perhaps one day it will. There are so many stories, some side-splitting funny, some tough moments, some amazingly stupid mistakes, so many honors and awards for encouragement, and the bottom line: here we are, 44 years later.

Speaking of the bottom line, like so many other small businesses, we are in an unprecedented position now, with our traditional advertisers shuttered and their customers shut-ins. Our revenues have dramatically dropped, yet we feel it is our ethical duty to keep our communities informed of the latest information concerning COVID-19 via print and daily internet, yet our expenses continue. Indeed, we have been designated as “essential,” and we are publicizing every week, at no cost to them, other such businesses that are open, including restaurants and pharmacies.

These are our papers and internet presence. They are also yours. We trust we are serving you well.

Please note last week’s column contained several errors for which I humbly apologize. Please check any information that you might use. My thanks to the readers that pointed out the errors.

Dave Morrissey Jr. returns as Benjamin Tallmadge in ‘Traitor.’

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook will present Times Beacon Record News Media’s latest film, “Traitor,” on Sunday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. The special screening is preceded by the award-winning “One Life to Give” at 6 p.m. Admission is free, TBR’s gift to the community. Call 631-751-7744 for more information.

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Today I am going to pull back the curtain and let you see what is going on backstage at the newspaper office. To begin, there is the issue of the newspaper that you are now holding in your hands. You have probably noticed that it looks different from the typical weekly offering. Almost the entire edition is devoted to a single concerning theme. We did this last year for the first time, devoting space to the opioid epidemic that is affecting the ranks of our young. We had hoped to get the conversation going in our communities about this troubling scourge, which too often is hidden away for its stigma. The resulting issue was so positively received that we decided to pick some of the other urgent subjects and, likewise, concentrate attention on them individually from time to time. It is our belief that when the community is unified at recognizing and dealing with a challenge, we can overcome.

The current issue deals with climate change. We are not entering into discussion here about whether or not it is real. Instead we are reporting on changes to our local environment that are taking place, organizations that are tracking and dealing with those changes, governmental programs that have been formed in response to weather-related events and some of the economic effects of the above that touch all of us. We are especially interested, as always, in finding out what our residents are thinking and feeling, and helping you to understand the many aspects of the subject.

We hope we have done that this week. Look on our website for a video that accompanies this theme at tbrnewsmedia.com. We welcome your responses, via email, texts or letters to the editors.

On a more joyful note, we partied hearty Sunday night celebrating the 2016 People of the Year. As you know, we fill the last issue of each year with profiles of those working hard to make our towns and villages the wonderful places that they are. Some of those we salute are rather obvious, some are hidden from sight and largely unappreciated. You, our readers and our reporters who are covering the news have nominated most. We offer the spotlight of publicity to help the winners in their efforts and also to express our appreciation for their ongoing work. We limit the candidates to those who work here, live here or are doing something valuable that makes our lives better.

Then, the following March, in a grand hands-across-the-community collaboration, the Three Village Inn, Stony Brook University and Times Beacon Record News Media throw a fun party for the winners in Brookhaven Town and their guests, along with community leaders and some previous winners. Framed certificates and explanations are offered at that time. It’s a perfect setting for productive cross-pollination of ideas and resources, and sometimes the Inn has to urge us out because guests are reluctant to leave the conversations at the end. Normally we would run some of the photos from the party kindly taken by Setauket resident Bev Tyler in the following issue to remind readers of the winners, but that feature will have to await next week’s edition.

Also, did you know that nine first ladies among the 45 so far were born in New York state? That’s a concentration of 20 percent born in what amounts to 2 percent of the union. And they are a fascinating bunch, with stories surrounding them all. We have made a video of them, “The Ladies of Liberty,” narrated by Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan, complete with photographs and artifacts, and we showed a bit of it at the party. If you would like to use the video at fundraisers or other group meetings, ask us for the link. It’s free, it’s a service we offer, it runs for about an hour and it’s engaging for the history painlessly learned. Or you can view it soon on YouTube or our website.

So that is some of what has been happening in our world.

  

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“News” is one of my favorite four-letter words. Since I was a kid and watched the newsreels that preceded the feature films at movie theaters, before television, I have been engaged by the events that unfold around us on a daily basis. When they installed the public address system in my elementary school, instruction would stop for a half hour every Friday morning as “Let’s Look at the News,” a New York City-sponsored program, was transmitted to all the classrooms. The format involved student panelists each week, and I listened with great interest. I was even on the panel at the radio station when I was in fifth grade, which necessitated my reading the daily newspapers throughout the week. So in hindsight, I guess it is not so surprising that I wound up being a newspaper publisher, despite my teenage plans for a different direction. Hearing the news and interpreting its implications are as much a habit for me as breathing.

So you can understand my distress at the current tsunami of fake news that has overtaken us. News, by definition and tradition, must be factual. If not, it is either a parody in the guise of news; or it is opinion or partisan, clearly presented as such; or it is propaganda, to be thus evaluated by the viewer. Now, those in the business of offering the news can certainly make mistakes, sometimes colossal ones, as in telling us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction rather than emphasizing the fog and controversy surrounding that conclusion. Respected journalists told us that as fact, and though they believed what they were sharing, they were wrong.

That is different, however, from the plethora of so-called news stories that are deliberately fabricated and shared every day with millions thanks to access to social media. Everyone with a digital device can now become a publisher and disseminate half-truths, conspiracy theories and flagrant falsehoods as news, without any form of vetting. The more gullible or, perhaps, less informed, or those enjoying the partisan slant, like tabloid readers, are rapt viewers. Sometimes they respond, as did the North Carolina guy we heard about who shot up a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. because he heard that there was a child-abuse ring operating there. While extreme, it is not any more false than the news that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump before our recent election. Regardless of one’s political orientation, that sort of phony and hyperpartisan stuff is alarming — or should be. Further troubling is how to deal with the question of vetting versus censorship.

Worst, as a result of the proliferation of so much fake news, is the confusion it sows about all news. What’s true, what’s a lie? Whom and what to believe? The marvel of the internet and mobile phones to bring inside news about brutality of dictatorships or other previously secret horror stories to the world’s attention and thereby reduce their occurrence has now been inverted. All sorts of false horror stories can now be broadcast as truths. The impact on the real news is to diminish the effect and value of good reporting.

As Thomas Jefferson preached, without an informed public, democracy is not possible.

Ironically, speaking of Jefferson, he or his supporters placed deceitful and, in today’s view, libelous stories in early newspapers when he ran against John Adams for president, and Adams’ followers did the same. So this fake news epidemic is not something new; only having so many decentralized outlets for transmitting the lies is. Somehow we will sort this out, just as they did two centuries ago.

Meanwhile, read the hometown newspaper. We never lie and while we are not always accurate, publishing corrections for our inadvertent mistakes in the following issue, we hold fact to be sacred.

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This is a big THANK YOU to the Village of Port Jefferson and all those who worked hard to transform the village into the Charles Dickens Festival. For the 21st year in a row, the seaside village came to life in the time of Dickens, with decorations, lights, greenery and especially costumed characters roaming the streets and welcoming visitors. This year, a second THANK YOU for naming us, Times Beacon Record News Media, the honoree for the event.

The entire weekend was a thrill, for us and for the thousands of people who chatted with the characters, shopped in the many varied stores, ate in the wide selection of restaurants, rode in the horse-drawn carriage, enjoyed the festival of trees and took in the harbor views. How do I know? I asked the festivalgoers, because I was there every day from Thursday to Sunday, and they told me how they decided to come into the village. Some came from Connecticut, enthusiastic about the magical event because they had visited before and knew of the many fun activities. It also helped that Port Jefferson ferry general manager, Fred Hall, offered a two-for-one price special during the weekend. The 10:30 a.m. boat on Saturday morning had 300 walk-ons alone, and they came without cars so no parking problems, and they had money in their pockets to spend for a good time. And people came from towns to the east and west, responding to the publicity and reputation surrounding the annual fantasy on the Long Island Sound.

Everyone might take the festival for granted after all these years, but I know how it came about because I was also there at the beginning. It was the brainchild of Jeanne Garant, the mayor at the time and mother of the present mayor, Margot Garant. Jeanne, a woman of vision, wanted the many organizations and groups to come together and work as a whole on a project to strengthen the sense of community and to celebrate the village. And she figured it wouldn’t hurt if the project helped the local businesses. So the first weekend in December was designated as the ideal time to capture some of the holiday shopping, and the theme was to be the Dickens stories and characters, who would come alive during those couple of days. And so it happened.

This was no small project to get the organizers’ arms around. Among those invited to offer their talents and to hold special events was the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, which would become the managing body alongside Port Jefferson Village, the historical society, the school district, the churches, various cultural paeans like Theatre Three (“A Christmas Carol”) and Harbor Ballet Theatre (“The Nutcracker”), the chamber of commerce and the civics, the constables, the ferry company, music groups, the harbormaster, the individual businesses and the residents just for starters. Events were designed for all age groups.

Eventually the Currier & Ives-like ice skating rink — another Jeanne Garant idea — joined the enchanting picture. And a special THANK YOU to nationally famed and charming confection artist, Pat Darling, for once again creating the whimsical Santa’s Workshop in the historic Drowned Meadow Cottage on West Broadway.

There are new offerings each year, and this past weekend Mrs. Cratchit’s Colorful Christmas Crafts was one such in the Village Center, along with an expanded Festival of Trees that each sponsor creatively decorated.

Port Jefferson Village was rich with events running through Saturday and Sunday. Indeed, it required more than two full pages in our Official Festival Guide just to list them in their many different locations hosted by the various community groups. So the original vision of a unified village has once again been realized. And the businesses were delighted with the results. “Never had an empty table all weekend,” one restaurateur said. “Shoppers buying all afternoon,” a jewelry store owner said.

Dickensian pleasure will go on throughout December this year, with the decorations and specials. And I would like to end on a personal note. I have watched countless parades in my lifetime as a child, a mother and a grandmother, but until this weekend, I had never been on a parade float. As the honoree of the Dickens weekend, I got to ride atop the ferry float and to wave at the thousands of people and shower them with (artificial) snow as they waved back, calling out greetings. What fun! We are deeply honored to have been appreciated in this way.

Yow-Ning Chang of East Setauket is TBR's 3rd Adult Coloring Contest Grand Prize Winner!

By Heidi Sutton

Dear Readers, We recently held our second adult coloring contest, asking adults 21 and over to color in Karin Bagan’s nautical-themed graphic and the response was overwhelming! We received many colorful entries from readers all along the North Shore who used many different types of mediums, including colored pencils, markers, paint, stickers and glitter to create their masterpieces.

Along with her online entry, Laura Star of Setauket commented, “This was fun! I’m going to hang [the coloring page] on my fridge, alongside the kids’ works! And why not?” Why not indeed!

Although it was extremely difficult to choose a winner as every entry was unique in its own way, our three judges, Port Times Record Editor Alex Petroski, Managing Editor Desirée Keegan and intern Nicole Geddes, ultimately decided that Yow-Ning Chang’s interpretation stood out above the rest.

“We selected this particular coloring page because, in addition to the appealing pastel colors, the artist’s interpretation looked like it was sent by sea as a message in a bottle,” stated the judges, adding, “It was the perfect blend of bright and colorful along with a weathered, parchment feel that distinguished itself from so many other great submissions and gave it a unique element of texture. The combination was too catching to be denied.”

The East Setauket resident will receive a three-year subscription to the Times Beacon Record. All other entries will receive a one-year subscription. Thanks to all who entered and for sharing your talents with us!