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Wading River

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Diane Burkhardt, a member of the North Shore United Methodist Church for the last 11 years, is seen below smiling with children she helps through the organization Life and Hop Haiti. Photo from Hal Low

Don’t let its size fool you — the North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River may be small, but the variety of outreach and support programs it has reaches across the Island.

“Sometimes there are certain people who are going through a difficult time and I think extending a hand and caring helps restore some hope that things are going to be okay,” said Diane Burkhardt, a member of the church for 11 years who is a retired Shoreham-Wading River middle school teacher. “People are so appreciative and thankful, which makes the whole experience gratifying and fulfilling. It makes you really appreciate what you have, which is humbling.”

Burkhardt said she is fortunate enough to be the team leader for the church’s outreach program, working on volunteer efforts like the Helping Hands Fund, which includes a food pantry that assists about 50 families in the Shoreham-Wading River area on a regular basis, and its back-to-school project, which provided school supplies to 30 children in need this past September.

Volunteers also deliver food to people’s homes, drive those in need to doctor’s appointments, help out with the church’s thrift shop, and deliver meals to and spend time with residents of Maureen’s Haven, a shelter service for homeless adults on the East End.

The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River is involved in a myriad of projects from helping its church members to the needy across Long Island. Photo by Giselle Barkley
The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River is involved in a myriad of projects from helping its church members to the needy across Long Island. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“Food is tangible, but what comes with it is the intangible quality of hope,” Burkhardt said. “I’m one of a dozen or so active members that are retired and put in a lot of hours because we feel we were all given gifts and skills that can be put to good use helping people.”

Linda McCall, of Center Moriches, has been attending North Shore United Methodist for four years and said she most enjoys spending her time helping those at Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead, while also volunteering through Helping Hands to provide gifts to children and meals to families around Christmas.

“It’s a very small church, and for such a small church we have so many outreach programs going that I found it almost impossible not to get involved,” she said. “It’s one of the things that keep me happy to be here on the Island. I moved here from Las Vegas, so I don’t have any family here, and the church has become my family. Volunteering fills my days with joy and happiness.”

Priscilla Hartman, a Shoreham resident who has been attending services for the last 35 years, said that as the church’s team leader for its membership care program, she finds it rewarding when she can help someone.

The program helps church members get to the pharmacy when they are temporarily ill, don’t have transportation or otherwise can’t leave the house. Volunteers also cook for them or clean their houses.

“It’s a great feeling when we’re helping a homeless person or someone who is down on their luck and seeing them get back on their feet,” she said. “I’m glad that my church is very ministry-oriented. I think it’s a good way for us to act. We’re a small church, but there’s nothing too large for us to take on.”

One example is the church’s partnering with Life and Hope Haiti, an organization founded by Lucia Anglade of West Babylon, who formed the Eben Ezer School in her hometown of Milot, Haiti.

Donna Eddy, who runs a craft group and is also involved with Maureen’s Haven and the thrift shop, said it’s these relationships people make with other community members and those they help that count in life and define who they are.

“I think we are all wired to need and to learn from each other,” she said. “You can’t love, have forgiveness, experience kindness, faithfulness and unselfishness unless you’re involved in the community. People need other people.”

And one person everyone at North Shore United Methodist agreed they need, is Burkhardt.

The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River gets together food for the less fortunate during the holidays. Photo from Hal Low
The North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River gets together food for the less fortunate during the holidays. Photo from Hal Low

“She has an incredible amount of energy and her enthusiasm is infectious,” Pastor Hal Low said. “Nothing ever seems to daunt her. She’s an inspiration to others, including myself.”

Eddy agrees.

“She’s focused, driven and she makes you want to be the best that you can be and give all that you can, because that’s what she does,” she said. “She’s a wonderful model She gives selflessly her time, her energy. If you need something, Diane will be there. You can count on her.”

But Burkhardt doesn’t want to take any of the credit, because she said without the rest of the organization, there would be no outreach ministry.

“I’m part of a whole congregation and I couldn’t do anything alone,” she said, adding that other churchgoers also help by recycling cans and bottles to raise money for lunches for the children in Haiti for instance. Members are also currently providing dinner to children whose parents are both in the hospital while the father is ill, and have been helping transport a man in Bellport, previously of Maureen’s Haven and a home in Middle Island, to and from Sunday services since 2011.

Burkhardt said that she frequently recalls things Shoreham resident and longtime churchgoer Doris Olson used to tell her when she was heavily involved in outreach in her younger years.

“Whenever I’m dealing with someone that can maybe be hard to deal with, she always said, ‘God made that person, too,’ and that brings me right back in touch with what I’m really doing and why I’m going it,” Burkhardt said. “Every day, try to be a blessing to someone else.”

‘Coffee Pot Sunset,’ Orient Point Lighthouse. Photo by Jerry McGrath

By Rita J. Egan

Photographer Jerry McGrath has a keen eye when it comes to capturing the beauty of wildlife and landscapes, and through the end of February, nature lovers can enjoy his work at the North Shore Public Library in Shoreham. The exhibit will include approximately 20 images — the majority taken right here on Long Island with a couple from his trips to Alaska — printed on canvas from the Wading River resident’s collection.

‘All in the Family,’ a mother fox with her kits on Fire Island. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘All in the Family,’ a mother fox with her kits on Fire Island. Photo by Jerry McGrath

The library’s art coordinator Hildegard Kroeger said a few years ago when the library displayed McGrath’s photos, they were well received. She said library patrons will enjoy the new exhibit with stunning photos that capture the impressive wingspans of birds or the eye color of the creatures. “He captures them in a very artistic way, and it may open up the eyes of people to look at things differently,” Kroeger said.

McGrath said becoming involved in photography opened up a whole new world for him. A former fifth-grade teacher at Wading River Elementary School for 30 years, the educator’s love of the art form developed slowly over the decades. He said he bought his first 35mm camera in 1968 while stationed in Vietnam. At the time, it was to simply record his experiences there. He never imagined the purchase would one day lead to the passion it has become for him the past five or six years as well as a small source of income.

McGrath said when he prepares for an exhibit he sees the images coming out of the printer, and he becomes energized knowing that he was part of creating the work and just wants to share it with others, and it can be difficult to choose his favorites to display.

“I just love when the picture comes out of the printer, and I see how that final product looks. And when it looks really sharp and crisp, just the right subject, it’s just something that I get a charge out of. I don’t know what it is,” he said.

‘Metropolis,’ winter town of Elfin Cove, Alaska. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘Metropolis,’ winter town of Elfin Cove, Alaska. Photo by Jerry McGrath

An avid fisherman, McGrath was inspired to become more involved in photography after a fishing trip to Alaska that led to winning a photo contest. The photographer, who is also a former licensed charter boat captain and conducts a fishing course through the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, has been visiting Alaska for fishing trips annually for over 15 years.

A few years ago during one trip, he caught a halibut that weighed over 200 pounds. McGrath asked his friend Mike to take a photo of him with his catch, while he held the tail of the fish and sat down with his feet stretched out next to the head of the halibut to give perspective of just how big it was. When he returned home, he entered the picture in a fishing photo contest sponsored by Alaska Airlines and won. With this win, he thought about how he coordinated the photo and started thinking that he may have a knack for capturing a moment.

Winning two round-trip tickets to wherever the airline traveled, he and his wife Cathie decided to take a trip to Hawaii. McGrath said he felt that not any camera would do for such a scenic vacation so he purchased his first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. The photographer said he found it easier to use than previous manual exposure cameras that he owned, as well as an inexpensive way to take photos, and he began taking more.

‘Wings,’ a great egret in Baiting Hollow. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘Wings,’ a great egret in Baiting Hollow. Photo by Jerry McGrath

He said places such as Hawaii and Alaska are beautiful spots to take stunning photos. “You can’t take a bad picture of the sun creeping behind the mountains at sunset at 11 o’clock at night up in Elfin Cove, Alaska. It’s just spectacular,” McGrath said.

However, while he has taken gorgeous photos on vacations, the Long Islander said his favorite spots to take photos are close to home. He said he loves going to the Wading River Marsh Preserve where he easily finds birds by the water or even deer in the woods to photograph.

He added that his own backyard is a great place to take photos, especially of birds such as cardinals, blue jays and mourning doves. McGrath said he never paid much attention to birds, but once he started photographing them he started reading up on the different types and now can identify many of them.

“It opened a whole new world for me,” McGrath said.

A tender photo of a mother fox and her cubs that will be on display at the library was taken on Fire Island. According to McGrath, many of his wildlife photos are possible not only due to a good deal of patience while waiting for the perfect shot, but also by using a 300mm lens and 2x extender, which enables him to get great shots even when he is relatively far away from the subject. He now has a collection of three DSLR cameras, and from time to time, he will use a monopod to remain steady.

‘Fishing Duck,’ a female hooded merganser at the Wading River Duck Pond. Photo by Jerry McGrath
‘Fishing Duck,’ a female hooded merganser at the Wading River Duck Pond. Photo by Jerry McGrath

Visitors to the library exhibit who are interested in purchasing prints will be able to do so directly from McGrath. The photographer said after his first exhibit at the North Shore Public Library a few years ago, he displayed his work at the former Grind Cafe in Wading River and realized people wanted to buy his photos. He said he was amazed when during the two months of the café exhibit he sold 14 or 15 pieces that started at $150 or more. While the sales encouraged him to try to sell more of his photos, he said, “I just love taking the pictures. I would take the pictures whether I was getting paid or not.”

The North Shore Public Library, 250 Route 25A, Shoreham, will present McGrath’s exhibit through Feb. 27. An artist reception, hosted by the Friends of the Library, will be held to meet the photographer on Feb. 7 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.northshorepubliclibrary.org or call 631-929-4488. To view McGrath’s work, visit www.facebook.com/CapturedMcgraphicsPhotosByJerryMcgrath.

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A memorial will rest on the pre-existing hill on the new Tom Cutinella Memorial Field. Photo from Ryan Ledda

Shoreham-Wading River High School’s “Tommy Tough” slogan is not only changing the culture of the Wildcats football team — it’s changing the community.

When Tom Cutinella passed away from an on-field collision last year, sophomore Ryan Ledda was right in the middle of thinking about what he should do for his Eagle Scout project. Ledda didn’t know Tom, but his sister Gabriella did, and after seeing how the loss affected her, coupled with what he saw during a Clemson University football game, his memorial idea was born.

“Before each game, the Clemson team comes onto the field touching a memorial called Howard’s Rock, and I figured I could do something similar to that,” Ryan Ledda said. “That the team could come out and touch the memorial for good luck before each home game. My goal is that everyone in the school could be connected to Tom without him being there. So no one will forget him.”

First, Ledda presented the idea to high school Principal Dan Holtzman, before going to the board of education.

“I thought it was an impressive one,” Holtzman said. “It was well-received by the board of education and they gave Ryan the go-ahead. I think it is a meaningful and thoughtful project and one that I hope encourages students at all grade levels to engage in community-oriented projects.”

Ryan Ledda, whose Eagle Scout project will raise money to fund a memorial in Tom Cutinella’s name. Photo from Ryan Ledda
Ryan Ledda, whose Eagle Scout project will raise money to fund a memorial in Tom Cutinella’s name. Photo from Ryan Ledda

The proposal was a 4- by 20-foot retaining wall on a pre-existing hill on the field that would have a concrete base with pavers stacked on top. In the middle will be a pedestal with a bronze bust of Cutinella. The bronze piece will be life size.

“I thought it was a very big project — I was very nervous,” Ledda’s mother Jennifer Ledda said. “I myself didn’t know the Cutinellas, but after Ryan went to the board and got approval I met Mrs. Cutinella. I found out how the boy was outstanding in every aspect of what he does. It reminded me of all of the kids who do good.”

According to Ryan Ledda, the project is estimated to cost $30,000-$40,000. The approval was quick by the board, but the approval by Boy Scout Troop 161 in Shoreham took longer.

“You need to fill out a long application and they send it back with improvements and revisions,” he said. “But they thought it was a great idea. A lot of the Eagle board members knew Tom’s family so they wanted to help out. Once they heard how much it was going to cost they got a little freaked out, but I told them how I was going to raise money and how important it was because of how Tom affected the community.”

To help fund the project, bricks are being sold that can be engraved, to rest atop the base. Smaller bricks cost $125, while larger ones cost $250.

“Those who went to school with him will always remember him, but kids to come that didn’t know him might not, so hopefully this can help them honor Tom,” Ledda said.

The sophomore created a website where the bricks can be purchased, and he handed out flyers in front of the school that were donated by a local printing company. To purchase a brick, go to www.bricksrus.com/order/bsatroop161. There is also a GoFundMe account raising funds for the base of the memorial and bronze statue.

The goal is to reach $20,000. Currently, 34 people have donated a combined $3,271 in the last month. Fourteen of those people have donated $54 or $154, representing Cutinella’s jersey No. 54. To donate to this project, go to www.gofundme.com/tomcmemorial.

For Shoreham-Wading River varsity football coach Matt Millheiser, he thinks all projects done in Cutinella’s name have been beneficial for the community.

“Outside of football, you see so many projects and so many things done — whether it’s a run or a blood drive or this Eagle Scout project — that are done in Tom’s name, he said. “It really shows the impact he had as a person and some of the good things that are being done by his friends and family and even people that didn’t know him, in the things they do throughout their lives. I think it is part of his long-standing effect.”

As for the memorial, the head coach knows it will only add to the field.

“I think it’s a great, worthy cause and idea — they’re all good things to remember their friend and brother who was lost,” Millheiser said. “‘Tommy Tough’ kind of changed the culture of Shoreham-Wading River football and the way the kids viewed how they went to work, how they practiced and how they prepared and how they carried themselves, and it really speaks to his legacy.”

The Tesla Science Center laboratory site in Shoreham is blocked off while it’s under redevelopment. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Science doesn’t come cheap.

So it was a pleasant surprise for the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe when the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils announced the center will receive two grants totaling $700,000. While the center has yet to receive the grants, the NYSREDC’s 2015 awards notice for Long Island is proof the grants are forthcoming. The state agency did not reply to messages prior to publication.

The center is slated to receive $200,000 through the Market New York grant program, which tackles public relations and increasing tourism, among other responsibilities. The remaining $500,000 will go toward the center’s Wardenclyffe site. The center is currently redeveloping this property and plans to establish the Nikola Tesla Museum and Science Center. The site is the last remaining laboratory of Tesla, a prominent inventor in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

According to Tesla Science Center President Jane Alcorn, the center applied for the grants this past July. Alcorn added applying for the grants is a competitive process as there are many applicants for these grants.

“It’s very exciting to have funds to promote our project and to work on the redevelopment of Wardenclyffe,” Alcorn said in an email.

Initially, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was known as Friends of Science East Inc. While its name changed, the not-for-profit mission to develop Tesla’s only existing laboratory site into a science center and museum remained the same.

In 2009, when Brookhaven Town Superintendent of Highways Dan Losquadro was a Suffolk County legislator and former state Assemblyman Marc Alessi was still in office, the two announced plans to acquire the 16-acre property. Former town supervisor, Mark Lesko, and state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) were also part of this effort to acquire and preserve the property on behalf of the state and town, according to an article on the Tesla website.

Alessi emphasized its importance as the last Tesla lab in the world. He added that the site was culturally and historically significant as a result.

“We need to ensure that it is protected so that future generations can continue to enjoy this landmark,” Alessi said in the article.

Regardless of these officials’ plans, Friends of Science East purchased the property in 2013. The organization also hoped to preserve the site and make improvements.

Tesla built his facility in Shoreham in 1901-03. It was a small brick building no bigger than a schoolhouse. Yet behind the building was a 187-foot tower that Tesla intended to be a wireless power transmission station, which Tesla claimed would produce wireless electricity.

Now years later, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe is looking forward to a brighter future for the site, and hopes to be able to do even more.

“We hope to apply for additional grants in the future [that] will assist in the continuation of progress toward the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe opening day,” Alcorn said.

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Donations from the 10th Annual Kevin’s Ange’s Toy Drive will be wrapped on Dec. 19 before volunteers deliver them to the families in need. Photo by Giselle Barkley

After Sept. 11, 2001, the Williams family wanted to so something special to remember their son Kevin who died on that day, and after 15 years, they’re still honoring him.

Community members packed themselves into Phil’s Restaurant in Wading River to help support and donate toys to the Kevin Williams Foundation’s 10th annual Toy Drive, which was held on Dec. 1, from 7 to 10 p.m. The toy drive is an expansion of the Williams service to the community.

Fifteen years ago the family created Kevin’s Angels, which helped send children to a sports camp or play for a team. However, after schools and organizations like Long Island Youth Mentoring sought the family’s help for other families in need, the Williams started the toy drive to continue their outreach. For the Williams, giving back to the community and offering a helping hand during the holidays is a way to remember their son.

“We knew that we had to share his zest for life,” said Patti Williams, Kevin’s mother. “What better way than creating a foundation; and we could give to children and hopefully change the direction of some of their lives.”

Kevin Williams worked for Sandler O’Neil, a financial company based in Manhattan. The 24-year-old was on the 104th floor of Tower Two when tragedy struck and the building collapsed. Williams was to be married 10 weeks after Sept. 11.

Patti Williams takes donated gifts. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Patti Williams takes donated gifts. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In 1995, Williams graduated from Shoreham-Wading River High School and had a passion for academics as well as sports. In high school he was the captain and the most valuable player of his basketball, baseball and golf teams. Several years ago, Shoreham-Wading River renovated its varsity baseball field and renamed it after Williams. The field offers the family and other community members with a safe space to remember a loved one and reflect on Sept. 11.

This was the fifth time Phil’s Restaurant, owned by Phil Marcario, donated the space for the toy drive. Since Marcario’s wife grew up with Kevin Williams, the two are like family. Together, they made the night more than just a toy drive.

“We really wanted to make it a night where people could mingle and talk instead of just dropping off a toy,” Marcario said. “You could come and kind of spend time together, which is what the holidays are really all about.”

According to Mike Williams, Kevin Williams’ father, the toy drive helps around 30 families annually. They’ve also helped 1,025 underprivileged kids attend sports camps in the past 15 years. Despite their efforts, the family said the community is what really helped get to this point in their lives.

“We have a great faith, but we also surround ourselves with an abundance of love,” Mike Williams said.

While the Toy Drive was created in light of a tragedy, Shoreham resident Steve Malandrino said the Williams are one of few families who have turned a bad situation into something positive. Malandrino was once Mike Williams’ student when he attended Miller Place High School in the 1970s. Thus far, he’s attended nine of the 10 toy drives.

In addition to the abundance of community support, turning a negative situation into something positive also helped the family get through tough times.

“Anyone who’s gone through a tragedy, especially losing a child — you have a decision to make,” Patti Williams said. “You somehow have to get yourself from that point of not wanting to wake up in the morning because it’s another day of pain, to finding an avenue where you can make lives better for others.”

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Shoreham-Wading River junior wide receiver Joe Miller dives for yardage in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River senior wide receiver Jon Constant drags tacklers up the field in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior wide receiver Jon Constant drags tacklers up the field in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River hasn’t lost a football game since November 2013.

It was a second-round playoff game against Babylon, a team that had always derailed the Wildcats. But since last season, Shoreham’s new winning culture permeates every player who wears the blue and gold.

In eight games, Shoreham-Wading River has outscored its opponents 291-47. Saturday was no different, as the Wildcats defeated visiting Center Moriches, 42-13, for another perfect season and to win the League IV title for the second consecutive year.

Senior running back Chris Rosati has been the Wildcats’ powerhouse running back all season. He scored three touchdowns on the afternoon, but it might have been more if he had played the entire game.

Rosati’s first score came on the second play from scrimmage where he cut to the outside, turned up the field and went 59 yards into the end zone in a game that wasn’t even a minute old. Senior kicker Daniel Mahoney followed by doing what he’d done all season, splitting the uprights to give the Wildcats the early 7-0 lead.

Shoreham-Wading River found the end zone again six minutes later, when junior quarterback Kevin Cutinella threw to classmate Daniel Cassidy, a tight end, for six more points.

Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leaps up for the interception of Center Moriches’ Hail Mary pass during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leaps up for the interception of Center Moriches’ Hail Mary pass during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

“We prepare for every game like it’s the last game — we play with heavy hearts and we play as hard as we can for [Tom Cutinella],” Cassidy said, referring to his teammate who died last year after taking a hit in a game against Elwood. “And we don’t take any team lightly.”

With Mahoney’s kick, the Wildcats took a 14-0 lead with 4:07 left to play in the first quarter.

The Red Devils were unable to run the ball, but moved the chains on two consecutive pass plays. It was not enough — after the team failed to make a fourth-down conversion, the Wildcats took over in their own end.

Rosati answered the call again. After seeing that the running lanes inside were closed, he bounced it outside and raced by two defenders with alarming speed. He covered 71 yards and again entered the end zone untouched.

“We’ve kept the momentum from last year,” Rosati said. “We work at it in practice and we work on both sides of the ball. On offense, we try to grind it out on every play and our linemen work so hard and they open the holes. On defense, we just fly around. We try to hold them to as few yards as possible.”

With Mahoney perfect on the day, the Wildcats broke out to a 21-0 advantage to open the second quarter.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati pushes for more yards as he’s tackled by a Center Moriches player during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati pushes for more yards as he’s tackled by a Center Moriches player during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

Unable to move the chains, the Red Devils were forced to punt. With a long kick well down field, the Wildcats committed a rare miscue — after choosing not to field the kick, the ball bounced into a Shoreham-Wading River player and Center Moriches pounced on the live ball to recover its own punt.

Center Moriches senior quarterback Joe Martins connected with classmate Kyrin Taylor, a wide receiver, who made it to the 1-yard line for a first and goal. Senior running back Chris Iannelli finished it, but the extra-point attempt struck the left goal post, halting the score at 21-6.

On the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, Rosati struck again. This time the running back swept to his left, outran defenders and sped down the left sideline for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Again, Mahoney was money, and Shoreham-Wading River broke out to a 28-6 lead.

“Our goal is to shut out every team we play,” Rosati said.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Justin Squires makes a move during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Justin Squires makes a move during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

The Red Devils had little success moving the ball again, and the Wildcats took over.

Senior wide receiver Jon Constant scored next on a reverse play, covering 40 yards for the score.

“The coach told us before the game to perform on each side of the ball,” he said. “Just shut out the [defense] and fly to the ball.”

With Mahoney’s foot, Shoreham-Wading River surged ahead, 35-6.

On their final possession of the first half, the Red Devils let the clock bleed off and called a timeout with two seconds left. Desperate for a score, Center Moriches dropped back and threw the Hail Mary deep down field, but Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leapt up and grabbed the ball to end the half.

With both teams scoreless in the third quarter, senior running back Justin Squires lit up the scoreboard with 4:07 left in the game. On a handoff up the middle, Squires broke outside, found an open running lane and went 70 yards for the touchdown. With Mahoney’s chip shot, the Wildcats were out in front 42-6.

Center Moriches managed one more score with just under a minute left to close out the game, and with the extra-point good, it brought the final score to 42-13.

“I told the kids to just go out and finish — finish every play and let’s finish this season 8-0,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Matt Millheiser said. “And then we can get ready for the second season.”

The top-seeded Wildcats will face No. 8 McGann Mercy on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Miller Place High School, as the home team, as construction of the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field at Shoreham-Wading River nears completion.

The seniors of the Shoreham-Wading River football team pose for a photo after their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
The seniors of the Shoreham-Wading River football team pose for a photo after their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

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Jimmy Puckey and Kevin Cutinella carry Tom Cutinella’s jersey onto the Stony Brook University field for the Long Island Championship game. File photo by Bill Landon

By Clayton Collier

Following a 2014 season that began in tragedy and ended with the program’s first Long Island Championship, the Shoreham-Wading River football program returns to the field well-prepared to contend for another title.

The Wildcats persevered to complete a perfect 12-0 season while coping with the loss of teammate Tom Cutinella, who died following a collision during a game at John Glenn High School on Oct. 1.

“It is an incredible story, but one I’d never want to live through again,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Matt Millheiser said. “In the end, we lost Tom, and although the season ended miraculously and kind of storybook, it’s something we wish we didn’t have to go through.”

Millheiser said it was difficult for everyone following the loss of Cutinella, but from a coaching perspective, it was particularly hard to handle.

A sign with Tom Cutinella’s jersey number sits above the press box above the soon-to-be old Wildcats athletic field. File photo by Bill Landon
A sign with Tom Cutinella’s jersey number sits above the press box above the soon-to-be old Wildcats athletic field. File photo by Bill Landon

“It’s not something that you can even find anybody to ask advice on how to handle that as a coach or as a person or a friend,” he said. “So we kind of did our best to be there for each other and get through it.”

To keep his memory alive, Shoreham-Wading River will name its new multipurpose athletic field after Cutinella. While construction takes place, the Wildcats will play home games at Rocky Point High School. Millheiser said he wants future Shoreham-Wading River athletes to know who Cutinella was.

“He lived his life in a certain way that we want our players and our team to live up to that and remember that always,” he said. “And naming the field after him is a constant reminder of how we want to do things and how we want to act. His name and his legacy will carry on.”

The Wildcats picked up right where they left off last year in their season opener Friday night in Riverhead against McGann-Mercy, besting the Monarchs in a 35-0 rout. Cutinella’s brother, Kevin, scored a touchdown in the first quarter.

“They play with a lot of enthusiasm and our kids matched that and were able to make some big plays early then stay in the lead,” Millheiser said. “It was a good game between two good teams, and fortunately we made a few more plays than they did.”

Millheiser said his team’s hard play was a positive but would like to see some improvement on blocking.

The game was also the first test for new quarterback Jason Curran, who replaces All-County quarterback Danny Hughes. Though Hughes was a special player, according to Millheiser, he has the utmost confidence in Curran’s abilities.

“I think he has the ability to do the things that Danny did, but he’s gaining experience,” he said. “He’s still going to have to learn the football side of it. You don’t just walk into a huddle and have the kids follow you. You got to kind of earn that from them. There’s no doubt in my mind that he will, but it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Drawing a crowd
Police say a 22-year-old Selden man arrested at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 5 on Broadway in Port Jefferson repeatedly engaged in violent behavior directed toward a nearby crowd.

Out of control
Police said a 56-year-old Riverhead man was arrested on Sept. 5 on the corner of Chereb Lane and Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. The man was in possession of a controlled substance.

On Sept. 2, police arrested a 25-year-old man from Holtsville for criminal possession of a controlled substance on the corner of Route 25A and Miller Avenue in Shoreham-Wading River. Police found Suboxone when he was detained at 4:10 p.m.

Second time’s the charm
A 29-year-old man from Mount Sinai was arrested in Port Jefferson Station on Sept. 4 after a car crash. Police discovered the man, who had been driving a 1999 Dodge south on Jayne Boulevard at the time of the collision, had been drinking alcohol and was operating the vehicle without interlock, a device that prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit. The man was obligated to use the device due to a prior drunk driving conviction.

Let there be rock
Police arrested a 21-year-old Centereach man on Sept. 5 after he made verbal threats and struck an unidentified man with a large rock.

Cross-stealing
A 51-year-old man from North Patchogue was arrested at the 6th Precinct in Selden on Sept. 3. Police said the man stole women’s apparel and accessories from Smith Haven Mall.

It happened in the tresspast
An 18-year-old male from Holtsville was arrested in Selden on Sept. 3, about two weeks after police say he trespassed at Sachem East High School.

It’s electric
Police arrested a 61-year-old man from Rocky Point for reckless endangerment on Glenwood Road on Sept. 3. Police said the man had tampered with an electric meter in July.

Calling shotgun
On Sept. 5 at 1:30 p.m., an unidentified person stole a shotgun from a residence on Forest Avenue in Port Jefferson Station.

Steal like an eagle
Police said an unknown person stole lawn sculptures from someone’s yard on Lenox Street in Port Jefferson Station on Sept. 3. One of the pieces was a wooden eagle sculpture.

Entering and breaking
An unknown person stole cash, a laptop and a laptop bag from a home on Middle Court in Miller Place. The incident happened on Sept. 5. Police said the person also broke the window on the driver’s side of a 2001 Ford Mustang that was parked in the driveway.

Clean this
On Sept. 6 at 4:04 p.m., the front glass window of the dry cleaning shop on Echo Avenue in Miller Place was broken.

A jewel of a thief
On Sept. 5, police said an unidentified man took a box containing a bracelet without paying from the Kohl’s on Route 25A in Rocky Point.

Ponti-attack
An unknown person damaged the rear passenger door and tire on the right side of a 2008 Pontiac on Sept. 4 on Route 25 in Selden.

Something fishy
On Sept. 6 someone stole fish and other merchandise from the Shop Rite on College Road in Selden. Police said the person left the store with the stolen items and got into a car that was waiting outside the store.

Cig-nificant steal
Police said on Sept. 5 an unknown person stole money and cigarettes from a 2010 Jeep and a 2005 Saturn. The incident occurred on Middle Court in Miller Place.

Not friends anymore
An unidentified person stole a license plate off a 1988 Jeep on Friendship Drive in Rocky Point. Police said the incident happened on Aug. 30 at noon but was reported on Sept. 2.

Incoming message
On Sept. 4 an unidentified person or persons damaged a mailbox on North Howell Avenue in Centereach.

To Infiniti and beyond
Police said someone broke a window of a 2011 Infiniti on Tree Road in Centereach on Sept. 4. Police were unsure which window was damaged.

Wanted for grand larceny
Suffolk County Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the man who used a stolen credit card at two locations last month.
Police said a man used a stolen credit card at Speedway Gas in Lake Grove and Stop and Shop in Ronkonkoma on Aug. 6. The man fled in a red vehicle. A purse containing the credit card that was used had been stolen from a vehicle that was broken into at the LA Fitness parking lot, located at 110 New Moriches Road in Lake Grove on Aug. 6 between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

Cars vandalized
Suffolk County Police are investigating whether or not a string of incidents of criminal mischief at Stony Hollow apartments on Old Town Road in Port Jefferson Station is related. Residents reported to cops on the morning of Sept. 3 that a number of vehicles were vandalized: a windshield on a Nissan Sentra was shattered; rear passenger windows on a 2007 Mazda and a 2014 Honda were broken; and someone took a GPS cable and damaged the windshield wiper control lever on another vehicle. The incidents are estimated to have taken place sometime between 10 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 4:15 a.m. on Sept. 3. 

Shove off
A 19-year-old man from Clarksburg was arrested in Stony Brook on Sept. 3 at 11:08 p.m. and charged with second-degree harassment. Police said the man shoved a male police officer in the middle of the roadway on North County Road in Stony Brook.

In the dark
Police arrested a 21-year-old man from Stony Brook on Sept. 3 at 11:21 p.m. and charged him with driving while intoxicated. Cops said the man was driving a 2014 Mitsubishi with no lights on when he was pulled over and arrested.

Emergency heroin
A 37-year-old man from Farmingville was arrested in Stony Brook on Sept. 2 and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said that at 10:10 p.m. the man possessed heroin in the trauma room of Stony Brook University Hospital’s emergency room.

Sloppy DWI
Police arrested a 21-year-old man from East Setauket on Sept. 4 at 1:33 a.m. and charged him with driving while intoxicated. Cops said the man was driving a 2005 Hyundai on Sheep Pasture Road and was pulled over after they observed him failing to maintain his lane, crossing over the yellow lines and into the shoulder.

Not staying in the lines
A 39-year-old woman from Bohemia was arrested in Setauket-East Setauket on Sept. 4 and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said that at about 3 a.m. the woman was pulled over after she was observed failing to maintain her lane, crossing over the double yellow lines in a 2013 Jeep, on Lower Sheep Pasture Road.

Jewels and jams
Cops arrested a 44-year-old Selden woman on Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket and charged her with petit larceny. Police said she took jewelry and headphones from Kohl’s department store on Nesconset Highway.

Taking the high road
Suffolk County police arrested an 18-year-old man from St. James in Smithtown on Sept. 5 at 12:35 a.m., and charged him with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs in the first degree. Police said the man was driving northbound on Route 25A in Smithtown in a 2004 Jeep and failed to maintain his lane of travel.

Pole-iced
A 44-year-old man from St. James was arrested in Smithtown on Sept. 5 and charged with operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Police said the accident occurred on Moriches Road in Smithtown on Sept. 4 at 6:35 a.m. — cops said he drove a 1995 Chevy van north on the road, hit a utility pole and fled the scene. He was arrested at the 4th Precinct the next day at 10:30 a.m.

Bud Light blues
Two 17-year-old girls were arrested at the 4th Precinct on Sept. 4, and each was charged with petit larceny for stealing $25 worth of Bud Light beer from Gulf gas station on Express Dive South in Ronkonkoma, on Aug. 28 at 12:30 a.m. One girl was from Ronkonkoma, the other from Holbrook.

Beer me!
A 46-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested in Nissequogue on Sept. 4, at about 8 p.m. and charged for selling alcohol with a revoked license. Police said the man served beer and wine at an event on Long Beach Town Park.

Hug it out
Police received a report of a man and woman pushing each other after getting into a verbal dispute at Watermill Caterers on Nesconset Highway in Smithtown on Sept. 3 at about 10:20 p.m.

Fender, hood damaged
Someone damaged the hood and right fender of a 2015 Nissan parked at a home on Kental Lane in Nesconset. The incident occurred after midnight on Sept. 3.

Check-mate
Someone wrote a bad check out to AAA maintenance in Smithtown on West Jericho Turnpike on Nov. 4 last year. There have been no arrests.

Got mail?
Someone damaged the mailbox of a Grove Road home in Kings Park on Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Pickpocketed
Someone took a pocketbook with money in it from an unlocked 2001 Toyota parked on County Road 14 in Kings Park on Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. There have been no arrests.

Bad hair day
Someone broke the driver side window of a 2004 Toyota at Pat’s Place Hair Salon on Lake Avenue in St. James on Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Wheeled away
Someone stole a black Raleigh speed bike from a driveway on Lake Avenue in St. James on Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Three’s a crowd
Police arrested a 32-year-old woman from Wantagh and charged her with leaving the scene of a crime and property damage. Cops said that on Sept. 5 at about 2 a.m. the woman struck a 2015 Toyota on High Street in Huntington. Driving a 2005 Nissan, she hit the Toyota and the Toyota then struck a 2013 Nissan. Significant damage was caused to all three vehicles. The woman then fled the scene and was arrested later that day at the 2nd Precinct.

High time
Cops arrested a 21-year-old man from Huntington Station on Sept. 3 and charged him with unlawful possession of marijuana . He was arrested at the corner of 5th Avenue and West 11th Street at 12:40 p.m. inside a 2012 Nissan.

Coke in sheep’s clothing
Cops arrested a 52-year-old man from Huntington Station at Tremont Court in South Huntington on Sept. 3  at 4:25 p.m. and charged him with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said he had a large quantity of cocaine in a cigarette pack.

Heroin spotted
A 20-year-old man from Dix Hills was arrested in Dix Hills on Sept. 2 and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Cops said he was in a 2010 Jeep in the driver’s seat at Otsego Park in Dix Hills at 10:50 p.m. when an officer observed heroin on the center console of the vehicle.

Partying too hard
Cops arrested a 41-year-old man from Massapequa on Sept. 6 at about 7:30 a.m. off the road on East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington and charged him with driving while ability impaired by drugs, with a prior conviction in the past 10 years. Police said they found the man passed out, slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle with the key in the ignition and the engine running.

Weed on display
Cops arrested a 24-year-old man on Sept. 4 and charged him with criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree. Police said he was on the corner of West Shore Road and Mill Dam Road in Huntington with a large quantity of marijuana in public view.

The wrong kind of batting team
Two men reported being jumped by multiple men on Sept. 9 at 4 a.m. in Huntington Station on Broadway. The suspects kicked and punched the victims multiple times with a baseball bat, causing a broken nose and many contusions. Both men were transported to Huntington Hospital to be treated. Nothing was stolen from either.

Not so luck-key
A woman found her gray 2008 Honda keyed on the driver’s side in the Walt Whitman Mall parking lot in South Huntington on Sept. 6. She reported the incident at 10:50 p.m.

Chasing the Chase imposter
A man said someone withdrew money from his Chase bank account without his permission on Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. in Dix Hills.

Pickpocketed in plain sight
A woman reported that she left her pocketbook in the front seat of her car on 2nd Avenue in Huntington Station on Sept. 5. She saw a suspect open the door of her car, remove her pocketbook and then flee the scene at 11:20 p.m.

Faces off against incumbent Sarah Anker for 6th District seat

Steve Tricarico photo by Erika Karp
Steve Tricarico photo by Erika Karp
Steve Tricarico photo by Erika Karp

After years of working in the public sector and for local government, Republican Steve Tricarico, Brookhaven Town’s deputy highway superintendent, is making his first run for elected office.

The 30-year-old Wading River native will face off against incumbent Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) for the 6th District seat in November. In a recent interview, Tricarico touted his years of experience working within local governments and his fiscally conservative approach when it comes to budgeting.

Bettering the county’s finances is a main focus of his campaign, Tricarico said. He was critical of the county increasing departmental fees, over relying on sales taxes and borrowing to pay for its operating expenses. He said the county, like its residents, should be living within its means and cut its borrowing.

“The county just doesn’t seem to be getting that message,” he said.

Tricarico said he took issue with how the county overestimated its sales tax revenue in 2014 by 1.5 percent, causing an $18.1 million shortfall, according to a June Fitch Ratings report. Despite the shortfall, the county budgeted for a 4.87 percent increase in sales tax for 2015.

Tricarico said this practice is “hurting our ability to function,” and if elected, he wouldn’t budget for any increase in sales tax, as to not overestimate.

Suffolk County Republican Committee Chairman John Jay LaValle described Tricarico as the “ideal candidate,” and one that people — from Dan Losquadro to former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy — have sought out to work with.

“He has really excelled everywhere he has gone,” LaValle said.

Prior to working for the town, Tricarico worked as a district manager for LIPA, liaising between government officials and constituents. He also worked under Levy in the intergovernmental affairs unit. Tricarico said the jobs provided him with the best background as he understands local government, constituents and budgets.

Sarah Anker file photo by Erika Karp
Sarah Anker file photo by Erika Karp

Tricarico, who still lives in Wading River with his wife, Francine, said their two-year-old daughter, Charlotte, served as an inspiration for him to run as he wants to leave the county better than how he found it for her and for future generations.

As an adjunct professor at Farmingdale State College, Tricarico said he hears from students all of the time about how they would like to stay on Long Island, but just can’t because of the high-cost of living and lack of good jobs.

So if elected, he said he would like to explore ways to provide additional incentives to local businesses and create an economy that grows jobs. All options must be on the table when looking at how to better local government and its economy, Tricarico insisted, stating that he would explore the privatization of some government functions, like health and social services.

“As county representatives there is only so much we can do, but in order to start keeping good businesses here on the Island, we need to make sure that our county legislator, especially in the 6th District, is representing the constituents of the 6th District,” he said. “In my opinion, the current county legislator is rubber-stamping every policy that comes across her desk.”

In a phone interview, Anker said she is focusing on her responsibilities as a county legislator. She said she is grateful that she has had the opportunity to serve the people of the 6th District and would like to continue to do so.

Like Tricarico, Anker said she believes the county needs to start borrowing less. She described taking office in 2011 during one of the worst fiscal challenges anyone has faced  — a time when the county didn’t have much of a choice but to borrow.

“I don’t think he understands the government process,” she said.

Anker also defended her position on creating task forces to look at problems. Tricarico described this as creating “bureaucracy to solve problems.”

But Anker said the groups focus government resources on an issue and create plans to fix things. For example, the SAVE Hotline, which provides schools a direct line to police in the case of an active shooter situation, came out of task force discussions.

“I don’t wait for something to happen,” Anker said. “I actively and proactively [look at] what needs to be focused on, what needs to be changed.”

To the left, to the left
A 24-year-old woman from Farmingville was arrested in Smithtown on May 28 and charged with driving while intoxicated, with a previous conviction within 10 years. Police said the woman was driving a 2013 Toyota Rav 4 and was making a left turn onto Main Street in Smithtown, which a road sign prohibited.

Lights out
A 24-year-old East Northport woman was arrested on May 28 in Smithtown and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said the woman was driving a 2006 Nissan westbound on Route 25A in Smithtown at 2:25 a.m. Cops found her intoxicated after pulling her over because her lights were off.

Drunk driver caught
A 56-year-old woman from St. James was arrested by police in Smithtown on May 30 and charged with driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 of 1 percent. Police said that the woman was driving a 2001 Buick Century at the corner of Route 25A and Edgewood Avenue in Smithtown at about 12:26 a.m. and sideswiped two vehicles.

Nesconset harassment
Police arrested a 39-year-old man from Nesconset on May 27 and charged him with second-degree aggravated harassment, race/religion. Police said the man directed racial slurs at a female victim on the corner of Southern Boulevard and Route 347 in Nesconset at 1:35 p.m.

Church money stolen
Someone took money from the donation boxes at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church on East Main Street in Smithtown sometime between May 28 and May 29.

Washed out
Two drivers in two separate cars made off with free car washes at Don’s Hand Car Wash on Nesconset Highway in Nesconset on May 27 between 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. There are no arrests.

Broken window
Someone broke the passenger side window of a 2000 Dodge Intrepid parked on Thompson Street in Kings Park. The incident occurred sometime between 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on May 29.

Grill, lights snatched
Someone removed a grill and tail lights from a 2010 Jeep Wrangler located at Certified Headquarters on Middle Country Road in Saint James. The incident was reported to police on May 28 and it occurred sometime on May 22.

Pretty in pink
An unknown man dressed in black pants, a black jacket, one black glove on his left hand and a pink mask covering his head entered a Terryville Road gas station in Port Jefferson Station, stole cash from the register and fled on foot on June 1. Police are still investigating the early morning incident.

Credit score
A 49-year-old man was arrested and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny on May 27 after he stole a wallet containing several credit cards from a 2013 Ford that was parked in the Three Roads Plaza in Port Jefferson Station.

I’ll have the punch
An unknown suspect reportedly approached a man standing in front of a Main Street bar in Port Jefferson and hit him on May 31. The victim was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital for treatment. There have been no arrests.

Ticketed off
A Port Jefferson village code enforcement officer reported that while trying to write a parking ticket on May 26, the recipient decided to leave the scene instead of waiting for the ticket. As the individual pulled away, the officer had to step away to avoid being hit.

Butting heads
A 37-year-old Wading River man was arrested for assault on May 30 after a confrontation between him and another man in Miller Place escalated, moving from inside a Route 25A restaurant to the parking lot. The defendant head-butted the other man.

Falling flat
A Gully Landing Road resident in Miller Place reported that an unknown person had punctured a rear tire of their 2012 Honda Accord on May 29.

Shots fired
Woodhull Landing Road residents in Sound Beach reported that they believed a person had used a BB gun to damage car windows and doors at some point between May 28 and May 29.

Easy entry
Jewelry and a laptop were stolen from a Hawkins Road residence in Centereach on May 30. The suspect supposedly entered through an unlocked back door.

Trailer trashed
A fire rescue education trailer parked at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach was vandalized on May 30. According to police, graffiti was drawn on the side of the trailer.

Vacancy
A vacant home on Noel Drive in Centereach was burglarized on May 27. An unknown individual entered the home, which had recently suffered a fire, through a basement window and took two TVs, an iPad and video game consoles.

Crash and dash
Police arrested a 32-year-old Stony Brook man on May 29 in Stony Brook and charged him with aggravated driving while intoxicated, with a child in the car. Police said the man was driving a 2015 Nissan Altima southbound on Stony Brook Road and was involved in a motor vehicle crash with his 18-month-old son in the car. The man crashed into a fence, and he also crashed into a 2004 Toyota Rav 4 at about 12:14 p.m. Police also charged him with two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. The man was arrested later that day at his home on Stony Brook Road.

Shoplifter caught
Police arrested a 26-year-old man from South Setauket on May 30 and charged him with petit larceny. Police said the man stole a chainsaw and an air compressor accessory set from the Smithhaven Mall on May 14 at 4:12 p.m. Police said he was arrested in Lake Grove.

Hot outfit snatched
Someone stole jewelry and a tank top from Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on May 30 at 9:43 p.m. There are no arrests.

A crying shame
Someone took assorted baby items from Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. on May 29. There are no arrests.

Jewelry lifted
Someone stole jewelry from a home on William Penn Drive in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between May 26 at 4 p.m. and May 27 at 10 a.m. There are no arrests.

Credit card mystery
A female complainant from Hawkins Road in Stony Brook told police someone made two unauthorized purchases through her credit card. The incident occurred sometime on May 24 and police received the report on May 29.