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Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine

By Aidan Johnson

[email protected]

Stony Brook Medicine’s new facility at Smith Haven Mall held its official ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, July 19, welcoming the completion of the facility’s Phase One of its advanced specialties, which will likely be finished by 2027.

The new facility, which will be the new home to the different advanced specialties that were found on Technology Drive, offers a much more accessible “one-stop shop” for patients.

Maurie McInnis, president of Stony Brook University and overseer of Stony Brook Medicine, spoke at the ceremony, saying Stony Brook Medicine’s new location will be reminding their patients that they are there for them.

“We believe in quality health care that is accessible to all,” McInnis said in her speech. “As a world-renowned medical system and an entrusted flagship university for New York State, it is our duty and our privilege to make it so,” she continued.

Dr. Todd Griffin, vice president for clinical services and vice dean for clinical affairs at Stony Brook Medicine, shared his outlook for the facility’s future, saying, “We eagerly anticipate hosting a health care open house in the near future where our community and patients can explore our beautiful facility and learn more about the services that are available to them.”

Since Smith Haven Mall falls in both the towns of Brookhaven and Smithtown, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) each spoke during the ceremony.

“You think about life and you wonder, and you ask people in their everyday lives what concerns them,” Romaine said after praising SBU, the hospital and its staff.

“They’re concerned about health, because without health, you don’t have anything else. This facility will do so much good for so many years and for so many people,” he added.

Wehrheim spoke about the renaissance he believes is underway in Smithtown. 

“This is an excellent partnership and a huge benefit both to the new residents that will be coming to live in our Town of Smithtown, and also for Stony Brook Medicine,” he said, expressing his gratitude to McInnis.

“We make laws in government, but you folk, you doctors and staff and nurses, actually save lives and that’s what’s important to a community.”

Holtsville Hal and his handler, Greg Drossel, during a previous Groundhog Day celebration. Photo by Kristen D'Andrea/Town of Brookhaven

By Heidi Sutton

“Well, it’s Groundhog Day, again.” — quote from Groundhog Day (1993)

Pennsylvania may have the legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, but here in Suffolk County we have our very own prognosticator of prognosticators, Holtsville Hal. The cute little rodent with his buck teeth and short bushy tail will be the star of the day as the Holtsville Ecology Site & Animal Preserve celebrates Groundhog Day with a special event on Feb. 2. Hundreds will gather to hear Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro announce Holtsville Hal’s famous forecast. 

According to tradition, if a groundhog sees its shadow after stirring from hibernation on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; if not, spring should arrive early. Superintendent Losquadro will reveal Hal’s prognostication at approximately 7:25 a.m.

“Our annual Groundhog Day celebration is an enjoyable tradition for many local families,” said Superintendent Losquadro in a press release. “I’m always hopeful Hal will predict an early spring to help my snow removal budget, but either way this is a much-anticipated event each year in Brookhaven Town.”

“Holtsville Hal’s prognostication is anxiously anticipated every year and it’s always a relief when he predicts an early spring. Let’s hope that he doesn’t see his shadow on Groundhog Day and we can look forward to a short winter season,” added Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Although he’s sure to be the center of attention, Holtsville Hal will not be the only animal available for viewing on Feb. 2. Following the ceremony, residents are welcome to enjoy some free hot chocolate and visit the more than 100 non-releasable, wild or injured animals residing at the Animal Preserve, including its latest resident, Leonardo “Leo” DiCatprio, the Eurasian Lynx, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

The Preserve is also home to a buffalo, black bear, bobcat, coatamundi, hybrid wolves, an artic fox, goats, horses, pigs, cows, alpaca, deer and many more.

Gates will open at the Holtsville Ecology Site & Animal Preserve, 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville, at 7 a.m.; parking is free. 

Residents are asked to arrive as close to 7 a.m. as possible to get a good view of Hal. Call 631-451-5330 for more information.

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Interface Toy Drive. Photo from TOB

On December 19, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine paid a visit to the “North Pole,” located at the Town of Brookhaven’s INTERFACE Program headquarters in Patchogue. He was there to accept toy donations from New York State Senator Alexis Weik. The Senator collected hundreds of toys in her district to help needy families have a happy holiday season. The “North Pole” facility is used to store and distribute toys donated during the Town’s annual INTERFACE Toy Drive.

Pictured left to right are NYS Senator Alexis Weik; “Elf” Ashleigh Joy; Town of Brookhaven INTERFACE Coordinator, Josephine Lunde; “Elf” Marcia Spiegel and Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Through raising donations, the Town’s INTERFACE program collects and distributes holiday gifts for thousands of children in need, ranging in age from infant to 15 years of age. For more information about the Town’s INTERFACE Program, call the Town of Brookhaven Youth Bureau at 631-451-8044 or visit www.brookhavenny.gov.

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

On November 14, the North Shore Art Guild opened their Winter Showcase exhibit on the second-floor mezzanine at Brookhaven Town Hall. The exhibit can be seen Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., now until December 28. Brookhaven Town Hall is located at 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville. All the art on exhibit is for sale. Pictured left to right are Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine; Town Historian, Barbara Russell and Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico.

North Shore Art Guild is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation designed to assist artists at all levels and within all disciplines. It is their goal to develop a strong visual arts presence while using our talent as a force to better our community. Their mission is to promote arts and advancement in all areas of artistic endeavors. The Guild encourages exposure and growth through exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and helpful “critiquing” given by seasoned artists. They invite all artists whatever level or medium, to join, learn and grow with the North Shore Art Guild. For more information about the North Shore Art Guild or to join, please visit the website at www.NorthShoreArtGuild.org.

Town of Brookhaven Chief Deputy Commissioner of RSMM,Daniel Johnson; Commissioner of RSMM Christine Fetten; PaintCare Program Coordinator for Long Island, Sandra Torres Vera; RSMM Recycling Coordination Aide Zachary Sicardi and town Supervisor Ed Romaine. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

own of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) recently visited the Residential Drop-Off facility at the Town of Brookhaven Landfill to announce the town’s participation in the New York State Paint Stewardship Program.

Operated by the nonprofit PaintCare and administered by the Town’s Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management (RSMM), this program enables the recycling of architectural paints such as oil-based, latex-based and water-based paints, as well as stains, varnishes and lacquers.

The program, which is funded by a fee on the sale of paint, keeps thousands of gallons of paint from being improperly disposed of each year in the Town of Brookhaven alone.

The paint collected by the town is recycled to the highest extent possible, being remixed into recycled paint; used as fuel; made into other products; or safely disposed of when no other beneficial use can be found.

Brookhaven residents may bring up to 10 gallons per day to the Town of Brookhaven’s Landfill Residential Drop-Off at 350 Horseblock Road in Brookhaven. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Many paint vendors have also signed up as paint recycling drop-offs. A map of all local drop-off locations and a complete list of acceptable items is available at paintcare.org. If you have 100 gallons or more of paint at your home or business, go to paintcare.org and submit a Large Volume Pickup Request form for free large volume pickup service.

The winners, sitting, take a photo with elected and school officials who attended the April 12 event. Photo from Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library board members and staff, the family of the late Helen Stein Shack, local elected officials, representatives from the Three Village Central School District, and guests from the community gathered on April 12 to honor the winners of the eighth annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award:

First Prize (Grades 7 – 9 category): “Pete the Penguin Goes to the Library” by Matthew Blumenthal (9th grader at Murphy Junior High School)

First Prize (Grades 10 – 12 category): “The Raccoon Jug-Band” written by Amelia Grant and illustrated by Anna Grant (homeschooled 10th and 11th graders)

Second Prize (Grades 7 – 9 category): “The Big Carrot” by Julia Hou (8th grader at Gelinas Junior High School)

Second Prize (Grades 10 – 12 category): “Mareld” by Ammella Een (homeschooled 12th grader)

Library Director Ted Gutmann, along with the family of the late Helen Stein Shack, presented all of the winners’ books — bound and added to the library’s Local Focus Collection — along with $400 checks to first prize winners Matthew Blumenthal and Amelia Grant and Anna Grant and $100 checks for second prize winners Julia Hou and Ammella Een.

State Sen. Mario Mattera, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright, county Legislator Kara Hahn, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich were all in attendance to present certificates to the winners from New York State, Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town, respectively.

Many of the speakers discussed the wonderful talent and bright futures of these winners. Englebright said, “We get a preview here, actually, of the future. And because young people who dare to dream, and in this case, put those dreams to paper and make it into art and literature, that is the future and it is reassuring.”

Romaine said, “We have some authors here this evening who are young in age, but wise in experience.” 

Library Board President Deborah Blair, Vice President Christopher Fletcher, Treasurer Carol Leister, Secretary Dave Douglas, and trustees Orlando Maione and Suzanne Shane were there to congratulate the winners.  Three Village Central School District Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Kevin Scanlon, Murphy Junior High Principal Brian Biscari, Murphy Junior High English Chair Jessica Metrio, and Murphy Junior High School Librarian Betsy Knox, and Ward Melville High School Librarian April Hatcher were all in attendance. 

Treats were donated by The Bite Size Bake Shop, a local Three Village-owned business. Ward Melville High School teen volunteer Raymond Lang photographed the event.

The Helen Stein Shack Book Contest called for teens in grades 7 through 12 who live in the Three Village Central School District to create a children’s picture book.  Each entry could be the work of a single author/illustrator or a collaborative effort between an author and an illustrator.

“You accomplished something so incredible, and I just want to say congratulations to all the winners,” Mattera said.

The children of the late Shack established a substantial endowment with the library to cover the cost of the awards as a tribute to their mother and her commitment to passing along the importance and joy of reading for generations to come. Kornreich said that Shack not only created a legacy of her family members, but also the legacy of the books that come out of this contest.

Shack’s son, Ed Taylor, spoke about a milestone in their family this past year — the birth of the first great grandchild of the late Helen Stein Shack.

“She’s going to be sitting on our laps, and we’ll be reading her the books that were inspired by this competition that’s in the name of this little girl’s great grandmother, who she didn’t get a chance to meet, but who she’ll have that connection through these books … we thought we were giving a gift to the library, but the library really gave us a gift.”

From right, Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich with members of Cub Scout Pack 204. Photo from TOB

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich recently welcomed “Arrow of Light” Cub Scouts from Pack 204 in Miller Place to Town Hall in Farmingville. 

The group held a lively discussion about Town government and the role of the Supervisor and Town Council. Part of their requirement to transition from Cub Scout to Boy Scout is to speak with local leaders about how they serve their community.

“Scouts visiting Town Hall is a longtime tradition and I am always happy to join my colleagues to speak with them about my career in government. These scouts asked very good questions and their enthusiasm gives me great hope for the future of this country,” said Supervisor Romaine.

Councilwoman Bonner added, “I really enjoyed our meeting with the Cub Scouts at Town Hall. They were so enthusiastic to learn more about how government works, and I was happy to spend the time talking with them. These boys are the leaders of tomorrow and from what I can see, we will be in good hands.” 

“I really enjoyed meeting with the Scouts. I was so impressed by their well thought out and sophisticated questions. Explaining how government and politics work to young people really helps put into perspective what we’re here to do and I have every hope and confidence that these young people will grow up to be an active part of the community,” added Councilmember Kornreich.