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Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Major Case Unit detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian in Ronkonkoma last month.

Elyse Crivaro was in the roadway on Ronkonkoma Avenue, near Third Street, on May 20 when she was struck by a dark-colored Toyota Prius that was traveling southbound at approximately 3:20 a.m. Crivaro, 21, of Holbrook, was pronounced dead at Stony Brook University Hospital.

page1image47777200For video of this incident, go to YouTube.com/scpdtv and click on Information Sought in Fatal Hit-and-Run 24-320593

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.

Online donation site is live; community collection drives begin Memorial Day weekend

PSEG Long Island, Island Harvest Food Bank and Stop & Shop are gearing up the fourth annual PSEG Long Island’s Power to Feed Long Island food drive initiative. The first in-person collection event is slated for Friday, May 24, which is also the kickoff to Memorial Day weekend. The online donation site is currently open for donations at psegliny.com/feedLI.

Collection drives will be set up at seven Stop & Shop supermarkets across Long Island, where community members can donate nonperishable food and essential care items. Any customer who makes an in-person donation will receive a free LED light bulb and a reusable shopping bag.

“We are proud to announce the 2024 kick off of PSEG Long Island’s Power to Feed Long Island food collection drive to benefit Island Harvest Food Bank,” said David Lyons, interim president and COO, PSEG Long Island. “PSEG Long Island created these events for people to support their neighbors in need in their own communities, and they have been successful thanks to the generosity of Long Islanders. Their kindness in giving to this cause has generated thousands of dollars in online donations and in person contributions of cash, food, pet food and personal care items to help their neighbors. There is hunger in every ZIP code on Long Island, and PSEG Long Island is energized to partner with Island Harvest and Stop & Shop for the fourth year to help families in our communities who need it.”

Hundreds of thousands of Long Island families struggle with hunger and food insecurity throughout the year. During the summer months, there is a significant reduction in food donations to local food banks, pantries and other programs. Compounding the issue, children are not in school where they can receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch. In addition, the pandemic and increased inflation continue to strain local food pantries and emergency feeding programs served by Island Harvest.

“We are grateful to have our longtime partner, PSEG Long Island, stand with us and actively support our efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity on Long Island, and its annual Power to Feed Long Island collection event demonstrates that commitment,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank. “We continue to see families struggle to put food on the table while trying to meet other essential monthly financial obligations, and the tremendous support of PSEG Long Island and Stop & Shop, coupled with the generosity of their customers who support Power to Feed Long Island, will help provide much-needed and welcome relief to our Long Island neighbors in need.”

“Stop & Shop’s primary charitable effort is to combat hunger in the communities we serve,” said Daniel Wolk, external communications manager, Stop & Shop. “We are proud to host PSEG Long Island and Island Harvest at our stores throughout the summer in support of the Power to Feed Long Island food drive. By working together, we can help Long Islanders fight food insecurity.”

There will be collection bins and drive-up/drop-off options available at each collection site. This year, there are seven collection events:

Friday, May 24 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

702 Hicksville Rd., Massapequa

Saturday, June 8 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

3126 Jericho Tpk., East Northport

Friday, June 21 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

3750 Hempstead Tpk., Levittown

Friday, July 12 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

260 Pond Path, South Setauket

Friday, July 26 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

95 Old Country Rd., Carle Place

Friday, Aug. 16 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

3577 Long Beach Rd., Oceanside

Friday, Sept. 13 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stop & Shop

365 Route 109, West Babylon

Representatives from PSEG Long Island and Island Harvest Food Bank will be available at all locations to provide information on low-income programs and money-saving energy efficiency options.

Island Harvest has a need for specific items, including:

  • Nonperishable food: Healthy varieties of canned foods, such as low-sodium beans, vegetables, soups, pasta sauces and tomato varieties, tuna and chicken, rice, pasta, nut butters, olive and canola oil, spices and pet food (no glass containers please).
  • Household essentials: Toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent and dish soap.
  • Personal care items: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, feminine care products and shaving products, antibacterial wipes and washcloths.
  • Baby care items: Diapers, wipes, formula, creams, ointments and baby wash.

Additionally, information will be available from PSEG Long Island on electric service payment plans and programs, and ways to save money through energy efficiency options.

For additional information on Power to Feed Long Island, or to make an online monetary donation, visit psegliny.com/feedLI. Island Harvest estimates each dollar donated provides roughly two meals.

 

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Major Case Unit detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the driver who fled the scene of a fatal pedestrian crash in Farmingville. 

Photo from SCPD

Alberto Perea Vazquez was crossing Horseblock Road, near Raymond Avenue, on December 11 at approximately 6 p.m. when he was struck by a westbound vehicle. The driver of the vehicle stopped momentarily, exited his vehicle, and then fled the scene in the car. Vazquez was then struck by another vehicle and the driver of that vehicle stayed at the scene. Detectives believe the vehicle that fled is a gray 2003 to 2007 four-door Honda Accord and missing the passenger side mirror. 

Vazquez, 56, of Farmingville, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or stopped at the scene and has not spoken to police is asked to call detectives. 

For video of the incident, visit www.youtube.com/SCPDTV

Click on Wanted for Farmingville Fatal Hit and Run 23-778079

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.  

Conversations over ethics are ramping up in Port Jefferson, where the village board of trustees is nearing sweeping changes to its Code of Ethics.

A public hearing on the code changes took place on Nov. 20, with the village’s ethics counsel, Steven Leventhal, presenting a draft code that would repeal and replace the existing ethics standards within the Village Code. The proposed code changes include three main categories: a code of conduct, disclosure requirements and administration. [See story, “Port Jeff village board, residents mull over ethics code revamp,” Nov. 25, TBR News Media.]

The board reconvened Tuesday night, Dec. 5, for a work session spanning over four hours.

“The primary purpose of tonight’s meeting is to give you, the board, the opportunity to address any questions that you might have to me and to have a discussion and deliberation on any points that need to be resolved,” Leventhal said.

Leventhal and the trustees walked through the code line by line, clarifying and amending various sections of text along the way.

The board will meet again Monday, Dec. 11, for its monthly general meeting. Leventhal pledged to supply the board with a revised version of the draft code, along with a redline version of the text, before the meeting begins.

Residents can continue submitting written testimony to the village clerk until Thursday, Dec. 7.

To view the entire work session, see the above video.

Fathom Events’ Big Screen Classics series wraps up 2023 with the beloved 1983 comedy A Christmas Story— returning to select theaters nationwide in honor of its 40th anniversary on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.

It’s the final days before Christmas in early 1940s Indiana and 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing from Santa more than anything else: a Red Ryder Carbine Action Air Rifle. As he trudges through the snow to school, faces the neighborhood bully and visits a malevolent department store Santa Claus, Ralphie connives, conspires, and campaigns for the most fabulous Christmas present ever in this heartwarming, hysterical and sweetly nostalgic holiday film.

Based on the tales of celebrated American humorist Jean Shepherd, who also provides the film’s trademark narration, “A Christmas Story” is directed by Bob Clark, from a script written by Shepherd, and Leigh Brown, and stars Peter Billingsley, Ian Petrella, Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon.

Each screening includes an exclusive introduction by noted critic and historian Leonard Maltin, who discusses the Christmas classic’s surprising audience-driven success, and the charming story and magical cast that make the film such a rare masterpiece.

Locally the film will be screened at AMC Stony Brook 17, Island 16 Cinema de Lux in Holtsville and Showcase Cinema de Lux in Farmingdale. To order tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com. 

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees is weighing sweeping changes to Chapter 41 of the Village Code, which handles ethics. This was one of the items considered at the Oct. 16 business meeting.

The village’s ethics counsel, Steven Leventhal, is preparing a draft for revisions to the ethics code, to be presented during a scheduled public hearing in just over a month.

Trustee Drew Biondo outlined some reasons for revising the Code of Ethics, including the possible formation of a board of ethics.

“I think the whole purpose of this is to form a body, so that you have a board in place that can hear complaints, concerns, and then issue an opinion — founded or unfounded,” he said.

Mayor Lauren Sheprow said the envisioned ethics board would assist the village government by issuing advisory opinions for ethically complicated matters, such as determinations of possible conflicts of interest.

To resolve ethical dilemmas, “the board would consider the law, the case law, the ethics laws and make a decision,” the mayor added.

Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay inquired about powers to be conferred upon the proposed board of ethics, maintaining that municipal boards — such as the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals — generally exercise greater latitude than advisory committees with decisions that are potentially legally binding.

“In my tenure here, boards are always looked at as much weightier” as “their decisions could then lead to lawsuits,” she said.

Kassay suggested forming an ethics committee, functioning similarly to other advisory committees to the village board, with the potential for upgrading that body into a board, noting, “While you’re working the kinks out, the stakes are a little bit lower as far as the decisions coming out of that body.”

Responding to these concerns, village attorney David Moran said the ethics board would function as an advisory body to the Board of Trustees, which would retain final authority to advance ethical controversies to outside agencies.

“They shouldn’t have the authority to send anything out to another agency, absent the approval of” the Board of Trustees, Moran said, adding that any other scheme would invest “way too much power” in the hands of private citizens appointed to the ethics board.

The board voted unanimously to advance the proposed ethics code changes for a public hearing Monday, Nov. 20. A draft of the proposed code amendment will be made available to the public seven to 10 days before the public hearing.

Resolutions

The board adopted an add-on resolution awarding a bid of $248,907 to Connecticut-based F&F Concrete to perform reconstruction of the Harborfront Park walkways. Over a third of this project is subsidized by grant money.

“This is critical timewise,” said village clerk Sylvia Pirillo. “We need to complete the work and pay for it and have proof of payment submitted so that we don’t lose our grant funding — all by the end of the year.”

The walkway reconstruction will take approximately five to six weeks, with administration officials targeting the first week of December for completion.

“There will be a lot of communication needs for what we’re doing with the farmers market and the closing off of the walkways,” Sheprow said.

The board also adopted a resolution to raise membership rates at the Port Jefferson Country Club. These rate increases were recommended by PJCC general manager Tom Natola and the Country Club Management Advisory Council.

Reports

Sheprow publicly thanked the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District for assisting the village in its holiday lighting expenses through a $5,000 contribution.

Kassay reported on a recent grant from PSEG Long Island for trees in PJV. She said the Conservation Advisory Council is exploring possible recommendations to the village board on potentially scaling back the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and other landscaping equipment, citing the issue of noise coupled with related environmental and health effects from the chemical exhausts.

Kassay maintained that the proposal would not ban the use of the equipment altogether but aims to reduce their use villagewide.

She also encouraged village residents to register for the various volunteer committees through portjeff.com/volunteer.

Following a recent Saturday sit-down event, trustee Bob Juliano conveyed several sentiments and recommendations from village residents, including concerns over the parking pilot program for Belle Terre residents, “the proliferation of apartments as opposed to condos in the village” and a question over the order of reports during public meetings.

Trustee Stan Loucks advised those who have not yet removed their vessels from the village kayak racks to do so by the end of November.

To watch the entire meeting, see the video above.

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Do you recognize this woman? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Seventh Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the woman who harassed an employee at a Shirley business in September. 

Following a verbal dispute over food, a woman spit at an employee in Wendy’s, located at 555 William Floyd Parkway, on September 8. 

For video of this incident, go to YouTube.com/SCPDTV

Click on Wanted for Shirley Harassment 23-590542

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.

Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who allegedly stole a wallet from a Huntington Station restaurant in August.

A man allegedly stole a wallet containing credit cards from another patron at The Bryant, located at 100 Walt Whitman Road, on August 23 at approximately 8:05 p.m.

For video of this incident, go to YouTube.com/scpdtv
Click on Wanted for Huntington Station Grand Larceny 23C0557133

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.

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees was back before the public Monday night, Sept. 18, for a business meeting spanning roughly two hours and covering a range of local matters.

Parking pilot program

With Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay as the lone dissenter, the board passed an amended resolution 4-1 enabling the issuance of parking permits for Belle Terre residents to park in metered spaces.

In this pilot program, which will last for the remainder of the 2023 calendar year, parking passes for Belle Terre residents will be offered at a prorated expense of $25. This parking pass does not confer access to the PJV resident lot on Arden Place.

Mayor Lauren Sheprow read an email into the record from Village of Belle Terre Mayor Bob Sandak, who characterized the parking pass initiative as mutually beneficial to both municipalities.

“For many years, the residents of Belle Terre have said that they would spend much more time in the village of Port Jefferson if they could have a simple and inexpensive way to park,” the email read. “Any solution you choose to adopt would be much appreciated by the residents of Belle Terre and would, I am sure, prove to be a financial benefit to the businesses of Port Jefferson.”

Outlining reasons for the program, Sheprow said the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District unanimously supported the proposal.

Trustee Drew Biondo considered the parking pass program “cost-neutral and revenue-producing.”

In supporting the motion, trustee Bob Juliano suggested that the pilot program offers 11 weeks to test and evaluate the program: “It doesn’t mean I’m going to approve it going forward, but let’s try it for the 11 weeks and let’s see what it produces,” he said.

Explaining her “no” vote, Kassay indicated that parking accommodations for village employees remain unresolved.

“For years, I’ve heard consistent requests from Port Jefferson business owners asking the village to consider making parking passes available to their employees who are spending $1.50 per hour to go to work,” the deputy mayor said in a subsequent email. “A solution for this concept, as well as the concept of parking permits for nonresident visitors, deserves a great deal of time and discussion from the village board, staff and community at large.”

She added, “I hope the 2024 paid parking season in PJV will begin with a convenient, comprehensive parking permit program for recreational visitors and local employees alike.”

QR code scam

Parking and mobility administrator Kevin Wood updated the board of a recent scam targeting some of the village’s metered parking signs.

“Some group of people or person — most likely this weekend — placed perfectly square, fraudulent QR codes over the existing QR code on some of the signs,” Wood told the board.

Those who scanned the fraudulent code “were offered a flat fee parking rate of $20,” Wood said, adding, “We don’t know exactly how many people were defrauded, but I will tell you we caught it very early Saturday night.”

Wood estimated approximately 12-15 parking signs had been tampered with, maintaining that all fake QR codes had been removed. He added that a detailed report on the incident was sent to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Proposed schedule change

The board debated a proposal to move its regular meetings from Monday to Thursday.

Village clerk Sylvia Pirillo said the existing meeting schedule often conflicts with holidays, adding that there are other logistical challenges for village staff.

“We’re recommending instead the second and final Thursday of each month” for board of trustees meetings, Pirillo said. “We also feel that for staff and for work product that this would be a more consistent schedule. We now have warrants that are once a month, and this would help with the processing.”

Biondo supported the schedule change, saying, “It’s good to try something new. If it doesn’t work, we can caucus and decide to go back.”

Kassay referred to the logic for changing the schedule as “sound.” However, she asked the board to consider public feedback before adopting the change.

“I, as a trustee, have learned that making large, sweeping decisions like this without giving the public a chance to have their voices heard is often greeted quite negatively,” the deputy mayor said.

The board did not hold a vote on the change of schedule.

New treasurer

The village’s new treasurer, Stephen Gaffga, attended his first board meeting Monday night, delivering a brief report on his plans for the office.

Moving forward, Gaffga said he would present monthly financials, including fund balance information, expenses and revenues, also budget transfers. He proposed some changes to office procedures.

“I want to be able to tighten up the procurement procedures here a little bit to be able to allow for more transparency in how the money is being spent — taxpayer money, country club money, capital funds — and to also allow more clarity when it comes to the warrants,” he said. “I think the more information there is, the better.”

To watch the entire meeting, including trustee reports, please see the video above.

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees hosted its monthly general meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5, when it addressed a recent emergency response situation over Labor Day weekend while advancing other local business.

Public safety

Code enforcement chief Andy Owen updated the public on a bomb threat in Port Jeff Harbor on Sunday, Sept. 3, highlighting the misinformation circulated on social media.

“This past Sunday, we had a bomb threat,” Owen indicated. “Once again, Facebook blew up, and it was all false. Everything you read on Facebook was false.”

The code chief said nine agencies were involved, including the Suffolk County Police Department, the village code department and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others.

“As per the Real Time Crime Center, it was a false threat,” Owen said. “It was deemed low risk by Suffolk County.”

The code chief reported that as the event unfolded in real time, “a lot of scuttlebutt” circulated on Facebook concerning the lack of an immediate public statement from the village.

“There are several reasons why a statement wasn’t put out,” he said. “One, to prevent chaos and unwanted onlookers,” adding that the code department had also sought “to ensure a proper and thorough investigation.”

Reports

Mayor Lauren Sheprow said the board is considering a resolution “to create a parking pass situation where Belle Terre residents can purchase a pass for the season and not have to worry about paying the parking meters on a regular basis.”

“That might encourage Belle Terre residents to come down more often, and then if that works for Belle Terre residents, maybe we can expand it out to other members of the community,” the mayor added.

Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay, who had attended the recent listening tour event in Brentwood on the New York State Environmental Bond Act [See story, “NYS offers possibilities of $4.2B bond act for Suffolk County, urges public input,” Aug. 31, TBR News Media], referred to the event as “illuminating,” with potential for the village to make use of those funds to confront a range of climate-related challenges.

Kassay added to the ongoing local debate surrounding the closure of the Port Jefferson Station office of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, saying the closure would require village residents to travel farther, experience longer wait times and less availability of appointments.

Trustee Bob Juliano indicated that he would hold his first sit-down event this Saturday, Sept. 9. “I’ll be over at the Village Center in the living room from 9 to 10:30 [a.m.] if anybody wants to come by and just discuss with me different things going on in the village, different ideas,” he said.

Trustee Stan Loucks reported that village beaches remain open, though there are no longer lifeguards. “Be aware and careful up there if you’re going to be swimming,” he advised. He added that the bathrooms at East and West Beach will remain open.

Loucks also reported on a recent meeting with leaders from the Port Jefferson School District, who had expressed interest in extending speed tables along Scraggy Hill Road. [For more on these public safety concerns, see story, “Port Jeff village board holds public hearing on Scraggy Hill stop signs …” Aug. 24, TBR News Media website.]

Other business

The board had also agreed to enter into an internship agreement with Stony Brook University to offer programs such as public administration, civil engineering, information technology, communications, graphic design and other disciplines.

“We’re working very closely with the career center to make these internships come together,” Sheprow said. “We’re very excited about working with the university students to help pull our village into the current century.”

The board voted to accept the resignation of deputy village attorney Richard Harris, effective Sept. 14. “I just want to thank attorney Harris for his years of service to the village,” Kassay said. “He was always a strong colleague, and his work here is appreciated.”

To watch the full general meeting, including public comments, see the video above.