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Village Center

EarthCam showing live footage of Port Jefferson Harbor. Photo courtesy of Earthcam

While local residents only have to drive a few minutes to see Port Jefferson Harbor’s quaint waterside sights, now people across the world can watch kids play in Harborfront Park and watch the ferries ship out from the historic dock, all in high definition.

Port Jefferson Village has joined EarthCam, a New Jersey-based company that allows locations from all over the world to showcase live 24/7 broadcasts of locations. The camera is located on the side of the Village Center facing toward the harbor and has been running since the end of November.

“Now, [Port Jefferson] residents, visitors and the world can share in the beauty of our stunning harborfront village,” Mayor Margot Garant said in a statement. “Being a four-season village, we are excited about the many changes of scenery that everyone will be able to see live from any place around the world.”

The village joins other famous sites like Montauk on the East End and Times Square in Manhattan. Kevin Wood, the village’s parking and security camera administrator, said he has been impressed with EarthCam for several years, and while there are other security cameras around the village, this one will be used specifically to promote Port Jefferson.

“It’s for the benefit of everybody worldwide to see the beauty of our harbor,” he said. “Many people, even on Long Island, don’t know what the harbor looks like.”

Wood added that the camera, which cost approximately $1,800, will have the capacity to broadcast sound as well as video starting in 2019.

Coolsmiles Orthodontics in Port Jeff is hosting an event aimed at examining the causes and identifying solutions for bullying. Stock photo

Orthodontists are usually tasked with improving young peoples’ smiles, but the partners of a Port Jefferson practice are taking patient well-being a step further.

Coolsmiles Orthodontics in Port Jefferson is sponsoring an event entitled “End Bullying Now: Here’s How” at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at Port Jefferson Village Center, a lecture that will be conducted by Jessie Klein, an associate professor of sociology at Adelphi University and author of the 2012 book “The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools.”

The practice will cover the cost of renting the space for the forum and hiring Klein, and the event is open to the public free of charge.

Dr. David Amram, one of the practice’s partners along with Dr. Justin Ohnigan, said he has always viewed his job as not only improving patients’ teeth, but also impacting their overall self-esteem and well-being as a whole.

“When I was younger I had a really great relationship with my orthodontist,” Amram said, which has led him to view his responsibility as broader than just teeth. “I realized what kind of impact that [self-esteem] change could have on an individual.”

Amram said the practice regularly has discussions about trips and events it should sponsor that are meant to foster positivity and build relationships with the families who visit Coolsmiles, like outings to Long Island Ducks baseball games and other similar events and trips. He said the practice’s exposure to dozens of kids everyday inspired them to tailor an event around an anti-bullying message. He shared a story from a young patient that he said has stuck with him.

“One kid asked for a specific kind of jacket for the holidays, he wanted the jacket and he was wearing it, and then it was gone,” Amram recalled. He said the child explained he stopped wearing the jacket he couldn’t wait to get because other kids made fun of it. “I saw that in him and it was heartbreaking … The need for this kind of thing is striking.”

Klein said she is still in the process of planning how the event will actually play out, but summed up the theme as a look at what goes on in society to encourage that kind of behavior from bullies from a psychological and sociological perspective, and to examine ways to foster a more compassionate society. She said she hopes the forum inspires parents to talk to their kids whether they’re being bullied or displaying signs they may be bullies themselves. She called bullying a national epidemic and said more federal and state resources need to be directed toward prevention of the problem, rather than punitive responses and more security to stave off possible school shootings.

“You really need everybody on board with the same message,” she said. Klein commended Coolsmiles for taking on the responsibility of community betterment from the private sector, and setting an example for others, calling their decision to host the event beautiful and positive. “Them stepping up like that is exactly what is needed.”

Those interested in attending can RSVP by email to [email protected] or by calling 631-289-0909 by Oct. 25.

Port Jefferson Village Center hosts traveling exhibit’s last stop

A unique barn on the North Fork with clapboard siding (wood shingles and vertical planks are the preferred sidings). Photo by Mary Ann Spencer

By Ellen Barcel

The Port Jefferson Gallery at the Port Jefferson Village Center is currently showing The Barns of the North Fork, a photographic exhibit by Mary Ann Spencer, of the disappearing agricultural heritage of Long Island.

Spencer, who was a board member of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, has long been interested in local history. The exhibit was first shown in SPLIA’s gallery in Cold Spring Harbor.

“I’ve been driving out east since I arrived here 30 years ago,” said Spencer in an interview 10 years ago when she first completed the exhibit. Originally from Wyoming, the East Setauket resident had spent several years documenting these vestiges of Long Island’s agricultural past and present. Most of the photos are from the Southold area.

An Estate Carriage House in Bayview (Jamesport). Photo by Mary Ann Spencer
An Estate Carriage House in Bayview (Jamesport). Photo by Mary Ann Spencer

Spencer became so closely associated with the history of barns that people began to recognize her not by name but as “The Barn Lady.” So, Spencer added, “My husband got me a vanity plate that says, ‘Barn Lady’.”

Now, 10 years later, when asked how many of the barns are now gone, Spencer noted, “That’s an interesting question. I have been out there (recently) and a few are gone, but not a large number. It’s a good thing to hear.”

“The exhibit was inspired by the book [of Spencer’s photos]. It represents the antiquity of the barns which are vanishing. It preserves that important history of Long Island when we were basically farmland,” said Sue Orifici, administrator of Graphic, Archival and Special Projects of the Village Center. While the book and exhibit are not intended to be a detailed history of each barn, basic information is provided such as town, approximate date if known, use and other miscellaneous information.

Noting that this is the last time that the traveling exhibit will be shown, Orifici added, “It’s a great show for cultural reasons. That’s our focus at the gallery. As you go through the exhibit [with the blown-up photos] there is information on the background, the architecture, the names of the types of barns and their purpose … It’s not just a photo essay.”

Spencer, a freelance photographer, added that while she has hung the exhibit many times, “the time that was the most fun was the State Fair in Syracuse because I’m a fan of state fairs,” another part of local history.

All of the photos in the exhibit — there are approximately 70 of them — were taken with film. So, now, 10 years later, how does Spencer feel about digital photography? “I did come into this century. My work is now digital. I started the (barn) survey in 2001, all in film. I had negatives everywhere.” The negatives were specially printed in a custom lab. “Now that I’ve gone digital I do all my own printing, matting and framing.”

A three-story estate dairy barn with a Gambrel roof in Bayview (Jamesport). Photo by Mary Ann Spencer
A three-story estate dairy barn with a Gambrel roof in Bayview (Jamesport). Photo by Mary Ann Spencer

Spencer noted that in going digital, she bought a very expensive camera, but added, “I haven’t taken a picture (digitally) that I think is as fine as film,” and that while most people can’t see the difference, “I can see the difference. There’s a depth in a print made from film,” that you just don’t see in digital images. “I used film for 40 years. To my eye it was better.” Now it’s hard to even find film in stores. “Now you have to go into the city to develop color film.”

While this is the last time she plans to show this exhibit, she still does a PowerPoint presentation on the barns. She changes the presentation based on the audience’s interests and locale. She can be reached at [email protected]

Don’t miss this exquisite show, which was partly funded by Suffolk County under the auspices of the Cultural Affairs office and the New York State Council of the Arts. It is open now through Feb. 28. A reception, which is open to the public, will be held on Friday, Jan. 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the PJVC. Spencer’s book, “The Barns of the North Fork” (Quantuck Lane Press, 2005), is available locally and online. She will also have copies of the book available for sale at the reception.

The Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A East Broadway, Port Jefferson, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The center can be reached at 631-802-2160 or go to www.portjeff.com.

Election turnout reaches highest in years

Port Jefferson Treasurer Don Pearce and Village Clerk Bob Juliano as they tallied the 2015 election results. File photo by Elana Glowatz

The “unity” slate cleaned up in the Port Jefferson Village election Tuesday night, with Mayor Margot Garant and Trustee Larry LaPointe securing additional terms on the board of trustees and newcomer Stan Loucks winning his first.

Garant, who will start her fourth term this summer, beat out challenger Dave Forgione, a 15-year resident and the owner of a billing and accounting business in upper Port, with 1,162 votes to his 753.

“I’m just really elated that the people are entrusting and allowing me to continue to do the work that we do for the village,” Garant said about her win in a phone interview Wednesday. “Super psyched.”

When reached by phone Wednesday, Forgione said he was “humbled” by the support he received from the community.

“I’d like to congratulate Margot on her victory and wish her all the success in her upcoming term,” he said.

Forgione would not say whether he would run for village board again in the future, after experiencing a busy campaign season this time around.

“At this point I’m just trying to get my life back in order,” he said with a laugh.

There were two trustee seats up for election — LaPointe’s and that of Trustee Adrienne Kessel, who did not run for another term. The three candidates ran at-large for those spots.

Loucks, a longtime volunteer at the Port Jefferson Country Club and a retired athletics teacher and administrator in Plainview-Old Bethpage schools, garnered the most support of any candidate vying any seat, with 1,205 votes. LaPointe came in second out of the trustee candidates, with 1,160 votes, and secured a third term on the board. In third place was challenger Matthew Franco, a 10-year village resident and a pediatric occupational therapist for Nassau BOCES, who fell short with 822 votes.

LaPointe emphasized in a phone interview Wednesday morning “just how gratified and grateful I am to my friends and neighbors for coming out to support the unity team.”

Loucks is looking forward to getting to work.

“I’m just flabbergasted at the outpouring of support,” Loucks said Wednesday, speaking in a phone interview of his gratitude to his supporters. “I was blown away by the results last night.”

When reached by phone Wednesday, Franco congratulated LaPointe and Loucks and said he hopes they take it to heart that 40 percent of voters cast ballots for him.

“Don’t dismiss the minority,” he said. “There’s 40 percent of this population of the village that wants change.”

Franco said he would run again for the village board in the future.

“I am preparing for next year,” he said.

Village Justice Peter Graham ran unopposed for re-election and was also returned to his role, receiving 1,031 votes.

Resident turnout for the election was high, especially compared to recent years.

As the Village Center buzzed with activity 10 minutes before the polls closed, Village Clerk Bob Juliano said the building had been busy all day. He noted that in previous years, the crowd usually died down in the last hour of voting, but that did not happen this year.

Counting absentee ballots, almost 2,000 Port Jefferson residents voted in the election — about double the number who turned out to the polls last year. And the voter turnout was dismal in the two years prior to that: In 2013 there were 84 voters total, and in 2012 there were close to 150 who cast ballots.

Port Jefferson Village code enforcement officer Lt. John Borrero said, as the 69 absentee votes were being tallied at the end of the night, “I’ve never seen an election so crowded.”