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By Steven Zaitz

Northport High School lacrosse stars took the field on July 6  in a friendly battle between Tigers past and present in a jovial but competitive alumni game.

Spanning five decades of Tiger grads, the White team held on for an 8-7 victory over the Blue team in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 fans. But on this salty, sticky afternoon, it was more about the camaraderie than the game result.

“It’s important to have guys who have played here at different times to make connections, have some fun and bond with each other,” said head coach Billy Cordts, Class of 2003, who organized the event with help from the Northport Boys Lacrosse Booster Club.

“We tried to plan this well in advance so guys who are scattered all over the country can plan their annual Northport trip around the alumni game, and the turnout was great. I think that speaks to our program, a program that prides itself on the brotherhood that is Northport lacrosse,” Cordts added.

Brotherhood was the order of the day as Quinn Napolitano, who just graduated from Northport High School and was the team’s starting goalkeeper, was in the nets for the Blue team. His brother Shaun, Class of 2016, was on his team as a defender, and his other brother Ryan, Class of 2012, playing for the White team, scored two goals against his younger brother early on, as the White team jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

“I should have stopped those two against Ryan,” said Quinn, who led the Tigers to the Suffolk County finals this past June. “But it was special sharing the field with my brothers. They started peppering me with tennis balls in the backyard since I was little, so they really helped me get to where I am today. Playing with them and some of the older guys was great, and I’m excited to play in this game next year.” 

Nick, Anthony and Vin DeCeglia (2013, 2015 and 2017) were another trio of brothers who suited up, and Cordts’ own brother Tommy, Class of 2011, started in goal for White.

But the one family tie that got perhaps the most attention was that of Dylan and Dan McNaughton. Dylan, Class of 2022, a bruising linebacker, power forward, lacrosse midfielder and nine-time varsity letterman, is going into his junior year at Indiana University. He took the field with his father, Dan, Class of 1982, who coached Dylan in his youth in basketball, baseball, football and lacrosse.

“I never thought I’d be able to play with my dad in an actual game,” said Dylan, who won the Suffolk County basketball title in 2021 over heavily favored Brentwood and was a member of the Tiger lacrosse team that beat Syosset a few months later to win the Long Island championship. “This was an amazing experience, and I hope we can do it again next year,” he added.

Dan McNaughton started the game as an attackman for Blue with Billy Cordts watching his every move. The father played the first 10 minutes or so and watched from the sidelines the rest of the way.

“I had a good scoring chance, so I’m happy,” Dan said. “I played in the first-ever alumni game in 1986 or ’87, and I also remember playing in it when Dylan was just a baby, and my mother was rolling him around in a stroller on the sidelines. Those were fun times when I could move around better. These guys out here today are fast.”

For the record, Dylan McNaughton, a finance and accounting major at Indiana University, is now 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 225 pounds of muscle.

So much fun

Another impressive and muscular specimen who was marauding all over the field for the Blue team was Class of 2015’s Austin Henningsen. The faceoff ace played for the 2017 Maryland Terrapins team that won the NCAA championship and is one in a long line of fabulous Northport faceoff men. He is currently serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and, as ferocious a player as he is on the field, he was as gracious off of it.

“This game was so much fun to play in,” Henningsen said. “It gives us a chance to play with the great players that recently graduated and the guys that I grew up playing with. In Northport, we’ve had so much support from the parents and the community on both boys and girls sides. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Aside from goalkeeper Napolitano, 2024 grads Ryan Cash, Luca Elmaleh, Jack Maisch, Tim McLam and long-stick All-American Giancarlo Valenti also played. Late in the game, Valenti marched through a tired Blue defense to score a goal in the fourth quarter. Recently graduated stars like Nick Tzimas, Tyler Kuprianchik, Jonathan Alfiero and Jack Helrigel suited up for White. Tim Kirchner, Matt Webb, Michael Meyer and Luke Lamendola played for Blue.

Lamendola, Class of 2022, who attends the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, is still involved with lacrosse not only as a player but as an ambassador of its safety.

“I’m studying industrial design, and one of the things I’m interested in doing is designing a safer helmet,” said Lamendola, who was in goal for the Tigers most recent Long Island championship in 2022. “Reducing head injuries in lacrosse has always been a passion of mine.”

The team that won the New York State championship 21 years earlier in 2001 was well-represented on Saturday. Seniors on that team in attendance were Jimmy Taylor, Brian Amen and Jeremy Kahn. One of their teammates that magical year was a sophomore named Billy Cordts.

“I really looked up those guys and tried to emulate them back then,” Cordts said. “Playing with them again almost 25 years later, along with the guys who are just starting out in the world, is really a full-circle kind of thing for me.”

Despite blowing its big lead, White held on for the one-goal win, and the players and their families shared a sweaty group hug near the middle of the field. Selfies and laughs were shared as the group retired to Napper Tandy’s for a post-game celebration to reminisce about old times, revel about the game and look forward to next year when they can take the field with each other once again.

By Scott Ferrara

Three Village Historical Society partnered with the Setauket United Methodist Church in East Setauket June 22 for the latest cemetery cleanup event.

The historical society has recently reformed its Cemetery Committee to address the conditions of the 20 cemeteries in the area. These committee projects invite community members to help in the organized cleaning of cemetery grounds, correcting leaning or fallen gravestones, and using professional methods and materials to clean gravestones.

Participants in the program previously attended the Cemeteries 101 workshop at TVHS headquarters to learn the basics of Long Island cemetery history. They received hands-on lessons in the proper application of D/2, a biodegradable and eco-friendly chemical compound that removes stains caused by mold, algae, lichens and air pollutants. Participants, additionally, learned the do’s and don’ts of working with different types of headstones, and what kinds of permissions are needed to organize a gravestone cleaning project.

The Cemetery Committee has taken on varying duties over the past four decades, including the mapping and recording of headstones, cemetery cleanings and the organizing of numerous Eagle Scout cemetery restoration service projects. The current goals of the committee are focused on addressing the many headstones in need of cleaning and repair to preserve these cultural resources, and to create an updated database to aid local history and genealogical researchers.

The most recent project invited workshop attendees to participate in the organized cleaning of the Setauket United Methodist Church graveyard. The graveyard dates to the mid-19th century, and includes gravestones of many notable families in Three Village history such as the Terrells, Van Brunts, Darlings and Bryants — all of whom were early founders and patrons of the church. 

Volunteers and guests at the cleanup day included current residents of historic homes and communities once lived in by people buried at this cemetery.

Cemetery Committee chair, Robert Von Bernewitz, remarked that the D/2 cleaning solution applied to the gravestones will continue working over the next few months, slowly breaking down stains and growths.

Those who wish to participate in future cemetery cleaning projects should contact TVHS, and follow its social media and newsletters for future announcements. The website is: www.threevillagehistoricalsociety.org. 

Scott Ferrara is exhibits & collections coordinator at Three Village Historical Society.

By Melissa Arnold

If you think back to your childhood, it’s likely you can recall moments when you were captivated by something external, like animal shapes in the clouds, or internal, like a daydream. You probably played dress-up, or with dolls or LEGOs, or fell in love with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Disney movies.

There’s an almost universal tug we share toward things outside of the ordinary — we are drawn to dreams, fantasies, and sometimes other worlds.

Allison Cruz, executive director of the Smithtown Township Arts Council and Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, has invited artists from around the country to explore their inner worlds with a new exhibit called Imagination.  

It’s a little different than the gallery’s usual showings, but Cruz is excited to expose visitors to artistic expressions that might be unfamiliar.

“I’ve had this idea for a long time. I’m personally a fan of realism, but over time I’ve really started to appreciate imaginative realism — art about things that don’t yet exist, or might exist in the far future … fantasy, science fiction, absurd humor, escapism,” said Cruz. “It seems like there’s been a greater interest in those subjects among artists as well, so it feels like the right moment to do this. A lot of the artists have thanked me for giving them an opportunity to explore a different side of themselves. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by what they see.”

The exhibit includes the work of 62 artists and a total of 81 selected submissions in a variety of styles and mediums. Their art combines personal narrative, pop culture characters and more to speak about the stories that fill our times. Taken together, the exhibit reveals the inner workings of the artists’ minds, from the complex to the humorous and even outlandish.

Manhattan native David H. Reuss is serving as juror for Imagination. Reuss has a long history with the Mills Pond Gallery — he studied there years ago under Marvel Comics illustrator John Buscema, and later connected with Cruz through art collector Tim Newton of the renowned Salmagundi Club. 

With a background in both fine art and illustration, Cruz thought Reuss was the perfect fit for the exhibit’s themes.

“David is on the board of the Society of Illustrators but also teaches realism painting, so he straddles both worlds. He loves the gallery and has the background that was needed to appreciate imaginative work. He really personifies what we were hoping to accomplish,” she said.

Reuss reviewed nearly 300 submissions during the selection process, considering how well each one fit the theme and how his selections would work together on display. He said he was “extremely impressed with the high-level talent” of the chosen artists, adding that their art could easily appear in any major city.

“I’ve done a lot of surreal and fantastical work, and some of the submissions even leaned into illustration, so I was excited to get involved,” he said. “Everything that comes from an artist’s mind is imaginative, but this exhibit pushes those definitions a bit more — mythological concepts, abstracts, fantastical elements — to explore more of what imagination means to others.”

Keep your eyes open for the little details as you appreciate the exhibit. A painting of a cityscape could be hiding a fairy friend. An abstract design might reveal a face. An animal could change its appearance if you look long enough. What will your imagination reveal to you?

“People might not understand or like everything they see here, but art is just another way to learn about new concepts and ideas. I feel that I have a responsibility to bring all kinds of art to our communities,” Cruz said. “Art speaks with many voices, even ones you’ve never heard before. Give this exhibit a try.”

Participating  Artists: 

Marianne Andresen-Magin, Christopher Aoki-Kalin, Lyrin Bailey, Ellen Chadwick, Danny Ciampa, John Darby, Jennifer DeMory, Bernadette Denyse, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Sheryl Renee Dobson, Michael Drakopoulos, Stuart Friedman, Jacques Garant, Candace Gely, Maureen Ginipro, Jared Glennon, Casey Greene, Jan Guarino, Christopher Hanson, David Herman, Tyler Hughes, Julia Jenkins, James Kelson, Myungja Anna Koh, Anna Laimo, Christopher Lauto, Wendy Hope Leiser, Mark Levine, Matthew Manthe, Diana Martocci, Antonio Masi, Avrel  Menkes, Cindy  Miller, Laura  Minet, Angie  Nicholes, Eileen Palmer, Robert J. Polito, Arthur Poore, Kurt Thomas Pope, Shay Poppers, William Randazzo, Bernice Rausch, William Reed, Noah Richardson, Rachel Rossier Ryan, Jairid Rossow, Amelia Rozear, Lynda Sandoval, Barret Schumacher, Marcie Serber, Sydney Shurgin, Greg Sinibaldi, Echo Song, Lisa Stanko, Megan Stephenson, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, Ashley Thorbjornsen, Linda Trope, Joseph Weinreb and Doug Zider.

Imagination will be on view at the Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A in St. James from July 13 to Aug. 11 The public is invited to meet the artists and view the exhibit at an opening reception on July 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

Beneath a beautiful blue sky, the graduating Class of 2024 from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School walked on to the field on June 28 for the school’s 62nd commencement ceremony, ready to mark a milestone on their school and life journeys.

After All School Vice President Sarah Collins led the Pledge of Allegiance, senior musicians shined while playing for the last time with the school’s band, performing “The Last Ride of the Pony Express,” directed by Gabrielle Caviglia and with the school’s choir, performing “Go the Distance,” directed by Brittany Wheeler.

“I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with this very special class over the past four years, and have witnessed firsthand what they have accomplished throughout their high school career,” Principal Corey McNamara said before highlighting the seniors’ educational achievements. “These young adults are remarkable and have helped us to earn some amazing accolades. Aside from the amazing academic accomplishments, the Class of 2024 is a kind, mature, polite, respectful and compassionate group of students who value helping others. Many of the young men and women here tonight have consistently served their school and their community as members of various organizations and clubs, both inside and outside of school. We thank them for their leadership and volunteerism to the Elwood community. Additionally, over the past four years, our students have shared their talents with us and have truly represented John Glenn High School with dignity, grace and a tremendous amount of Elwood pride.”

“Your graduation is the completion of a significant process in your life, and the beginning of an exciting journey that awaits you,” Interim Superintendent Kelly Fallon told the seniors. “As you begin this journey, I ask you to consider a thought that I hope will inspire you: Live to learn well, and learn to live well. Living to learn well recognizes the value of embracing every experience and opportunity to grow. Your years at John Glenn have taught you that education extends far beyond classrooms, assignments and textbooks. It is about curiosity, exploration and the courage to ask questions, and in our world today, it is so important to not only ask questions, but seek, hear and listen to all the answers. Now, let’s consider learning to live well. This speaks to applying what you’ve learned to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. It’s about understanding that your education has equipped you with the tools to navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience. Class of 2024, as you walk off this field this evening, let’s commit to a life of continuous learning and purposeful living. Embrace the unknown with enthusiasm and let your passion for knowledge guide you. Graduates, here’s to living to learn well and learning to live well.”

Salutatorian Lauren LaMena spoke to her classmates about embracing their own journey. 

“Each of us has traveled a unique path filled with challenges, triumphs, and countless moments of growth, and as we gather here today, let us celebrate not only our achievements, but also the courage it took to forge our own paths,” LaMena said. “Never forget the impact that we can have on the world around us by daring to be different. By following our own paths, we inspire others to do the same. We become beacons of hope, guiding others to embrace their individuality and pursue their dreams with unwavering determination. As we stand on the brink of a new beginning, let us embrace the journey ahead with courage, resilience and an unwavering belief in ourselves. Let us forge our own paths, guided by our passions and fueled by our dreams. Taylor Swift once said, ‘people throw rocks at things that shine.’ If you’re ever doubting yourself or your journey, let this quote serve as a reminder to persevere in the face of adversity and to continue shining brightly despite the rocks thrown your way. Our futures await and the world is ours to conquer. Let us go forth and make our mark, knowing that we have the strength, courage and determination to achieve anything we set our minds to.”

After rolling out a printed list of all those he wished to thank, valedictorian Christopher Sanelli offered three pieces of advice for his classmates.

“The first one is to always show respect,” Sanelli said. “Respect is at the foundation for fostering meaningful relationships and earning trust. The future holds different possibilities for us all, but no matter how smart or successful you become, everyone has the ability to make a positive impact on someone’s life and display a sense of respect. The second piece of advice is to have gratitude. When we express gratitude, we not only recognize the efforts of others, but also create a mindset of abundance and creativity. When we finally become truly grateful for everything that we have, the world around us starts to fall into place. You’ll find yourself being content with who you are and you won’t need to compare yourself to others. This brings me to the third and final piece, which is probably the most important, and that is to take risks. I have the utmost confidence that all of you will leave fulfilling lives, but as humans, we innately suffer from the poverty of time. Time is the one continuity in life, so please don’t waste your future being afraid or question your ability to do something. Rather, focus on the things within yourself, like displaying gratitude and respect. Therein lies everything you will need, and each risk you take is merely a bonus to your already amazing life.”

Class of 2024 graduation speaker Anthony Bell, selected by his peers as a student who exemplifies John Glenn’s spirit, gave the event’s final address.

“Tonight, we gather to participate in one of the most important and meaningful events people go through in modern society,” Bell said. “The beauty behind a day like today, that marks the transition from one era into another, is shared in both the reflecting of memories and in the anticipation of what the future holds. Throughout the past 15 years, we’ve all experienced change. For better or for worse, each and every one of us is on an ever-changing path, and none of us can truly see into the future. The diverse set of roadblocks that has carved all of our own unique paths is what has brought us all to where we are as individuals and is what makes this celebration matter. The challenges we have all faced to get to this point today should serve as reminders to ourselves of how strong we really are and what we can do. Looking to our past should fill us with pride, motivation and excitement for the future and the challenges we will face and overcome on our journey.”  

Following the distribution of diplomas, the members of the Class of 2024 gathered one last time to turn their tassels and toss their blue and white caps skyward, proud and prepared to walk out as John Glenn alumni.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) hosted its 2nd annual Summer Soirée fundraiser on June 27 at the historic Three Village Inn in Stony Brook Village. 

The memorable event brought together community members and leaders to celebrate and honor the outstanding contributions of individuals who have made a significant impact on the community. Among the esteemed honorees were Charlie Lefkowitz, Barbara Damianos and the Damianos Family, and Michele Miller.

The primary goal of this year’s fundraiser was to support the ongoing restoration of the cherished Stony Brook Grist Mill, a historic landmark dating back to 1751. Thanks to the generosity of attendees and sponsors, WMHO can continue its vital work in preserving this piece of local history.

For more information about WMHO and its initiatives, please visit wmho.org or contact 631-751-2244.

All photos courtesy of WMHO.

By Julianne Mosher

A heart-filled tale of friendship and adventure headed back to Theatre Three this week with their latest children’s theater production of Raggedy Ann & Andy — also known as “Friends and Friends and Friends.”

Based off of characters created by Johnny Gruelle, this special and unique tale, written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin Story, brings these two lovable rag dolls to life in a comical musical that the family is sure to enjoy.

Directed by Sanzel with musical direction by Doug Quattrock, the show starts off at the Tiwilliger sisters’ toy shop where they specialize in creating toys that come to life to bring joy to children in need. They hear of a little girl named Marcella who is ill and decide to make a brother for one of their favorite toys, Raggedy Ann (played by Isabella Scarpa), named Andy (Will Logan).

However, the toymakers, Martha (Gina Lardi) and Abby (Louisa Bikowski) have an evil brother, Mortimer (Steven Uihlein) who wants to use his family’s magic selfishly and to not use it to help local boys and girls. Casting a spell and with the help of his (reluctant) sidekick Rose Carpet (Emilia Guzzetta), the evil Mortimer steals Andy’s heart and the toys team up to get it back.

With the help of the tin soldier (Jason Furnari), the clown (Ryan Van Nostrand), the lion (Liam Marsigliano) and the queen doll (Julia Albino), the group heads to find Mortimor and retrieve Andy’s heart. Through a quest full of twists and turns, the audience waits to see if Andy will go back to his lovable self so he and Ann could help Marcella feel better.

Choreographed by Josie McSwane, the show is full of catchy tunes with themes of friendship, loyalty and love as the actors dance along. This musical will also show children the importance of friendship and how it’s nice to help when a friend is in need. 

And the best part is, while the show is geared for younger audiences, adults can reminisce about their own childhood toys thanks to Jason Allyn’s costume design — Raggedy Ann and Andy’s outfits are to a T, looking as if they just came off the shelves at the store.  Plus, the cast is available in the lobby after the show for photos. It’s a great afternoon out that is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Raggedy Ann & Andy on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. through July 27. Children’s theater continues with Pinocchio from Aug. 2 to Aug. 10 and A Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19. All seats are $12. 

Theatre Three will also present a special program, The Silly Sorcery Showcase on July 21 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $20. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

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Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate a man who allegedly stole from a Selden store in June.

A man allegedly stole approximately $680 worth of electronic accessories from Target, located at 307 Independence Plaza, at 1:21 p.m. on June 29.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

This week’s shelter pet is Wilson, a dapper domestic short-haired male, adorning a black and white tuxedo coat, available for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. When this sweet gentleman arrived at the shelter caretakers believed there was a chance someone would claim him, but sadly no one did. Upon making his acquaintance, you will quickly learn Wilson has a magical way of making everyone feel special.

Estimated to be about seven years old, Wilson appreciates every moment of affection and attention and repays you by cozying up ever so closely with the serenade of his gentle purr. Wilson is a social fella who likes to be seen. He is incredibly outgoing and never turns down the opportunity to greet a new friend. Wilson’s amazing personality coupled with his distinguished good looks will bring endless joy to a lucky family’s heart and home. Wilson would do well in most homes including those with kids, other cats, and possibly dogs.

If you are interested in meeting Wilson, please fill out an application to schedule time to properly interact with your prospective soul mate in a domestic setting.

For more information regarding rescue animals available for adoption visit:. TownofSmithtownAnimalShelter.com 

The Town of Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

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Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the woman who allegedly stole merchandise from a South Setauket store.

A woman allegedly stole $175 worth of clothing from Target, located at 265 Pond Path, on June 14 at approximately 5:50 p.m.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate two people who allegedly stole merchandise from a South h Setauket store.

A man and woman allegedly stole groceries, home goods and clothing from Target, located at 265 Pond Path, on June 13 at approximately 3 p.m. The stolen merchandise has a value of approximately $315.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.