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The Times of

smiThTown

Fort salonga east • kings park • smithtown • nesconset • st james • head oF the harbor • nissequogue • hauppauge • commack Vol. 30, No. 44

December 28, 2017

PEO PL E O F T H E YE A R

2017 Honorees Kerry Maher-Weisse, William Capurso & Tim Small A3 Rev. Myrel Bailey-Walton A4 John Jr. & Leslie Kennedy A5 Ginny Munger Kahn A6 Lizz & Ed Manly A7 Vanderbilt Volunteers A9 Frank Rivera A13 Kevin Gersh A17 Reboli Center A18 Charlie Lefkowitz A19

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PAGE A2 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

A message from the publisher The Times of Smithtown is proud to continue an annual tradition of honoring members of the community who have contributed in a significant manner to its residents and institutions during the past year. These are the people who go the extra mile to improve the quality of our lives. In these pages, we salute their achievements. We also realize that these men and women are not unique — they are symbolic of the many who devote their efforts to the good of our hometowns. We salute them all and thank them for their service to the communities we love. Four years ago, we changed the format of how we honor our People of the Year. Now we have one edition for each of the three towns we cover — Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington — combining winners from multiple papers. We also eliminated the categories we previously used to organize the winners, such as medicine, sports or the arts, as we found that they were limiting in how we were able to honor people. Every winner is simply

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a person of the year, no matter what their concentration may be. We hope you enjoy our People of the Year issue, and that you feel enhanced pride your town. Leah S. Dunaief Publisher

The TIMES OF SMITHTOWN (USPS 004-808) is published Thursdays by TIMES BEACON RECORD NEWSPAPERS, 185 Route 25A, Setauket, NY 11733. Periodicals postage paid at Setauket, NY and additional mailing offices. Subscription price $49 annually. Leah S. Dunaief, Publisher. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to PO Box 707, Setauket, NY 11733.

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DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A3

Civic groups bring new life to downtowns

Community Association of Greater St. James, Smithtown United play ‘vital role’ as advocates for residents BY SARA-MEGAN WALSH SARA@TBRNEWSMEDIA.COM The hotly contested 2017 Smithtown election not only pushed forward several political issues but resulted in the birth of new civic organizations across the town. Both the Community Association of Greater St. James and Smithtown United Civic Association have emerged and risen up over the last year, becoming fountains of energy and new ideas with the aim of transforming their downtowns and the greater Town of Smithtown into a better place for residents and businesses alike. Civic associations “play an important role,” Smithtown’s Supervisor-elect Ed Wehrheim (R) said. “This way before the town board makes a decision on the economic developments or otherwise, we have a sense of what the community wants, who are the taxpaying residents of this town, and what’s acceptable.” Lifelong St. James resident Kerry MaherWeisse, director of St. James Funeral Home, said she approached co-founder William Capurso with the idea of creating what became the Community Association of Greater St. James at a St. James Chamber of Commerce meeting in late 2016. “I asked him, ‘Do you want to do something? I have visions for St. James. Do you want to jump on this? I would love to have you,’” Maher-Weisse said. The St. James civic association celebrated its one-year anniversary Dec. 16 with more than 270 family memberships behind it, according to Maher-Weisse, who serves as its president. “I commend Kerry Maher-Weisse for spearheading a group of residents to form the Community Association of Greater St. James,” said Suffolk Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), who has attended several of the group’s events. “I think it is great that they have solicited input from the residents and business owners, and have accomplished a lot in a short period of time. Their Summer Nights were a big success. I really feel they have gotten off to a great start and will have a very positive impact on the St. James community.” The civic organization has initiated the St. James Farmers Market, which now runs on Saturdays from May to the end of October at the St. James Lutheran Church located on 2nd Avenue. Residents came together for the Summer Nights series on Lake Avenue that featured live bands, entertainment, food, art and crafts, and vendors to pack the downtown area. In the fall, the association hosted antique car shows to build on camaraderie built up over the summer. “I think they have great ideas,” Smithtown Councilwoman Lynne Nowick (R), also a St. James resident, said. “The town, particularly St. James, has been asleep for a while and they are waking it up.” Maher-Weisse said the goal of the fledgling civic association isn’t just to build community, but to bring attention to key quality-of-life issues. “We have so many great resources in St. James but some things are lacking, that I made politicians aware of,” she said. “We

Photo from Facebook

The Community Association of Greater St. James has started a St. James Farmer’s Market which runs on Saturdays from May to October at St. James Lutheran Church. have to take action. That’s why making the civic association was so important both politically and eventwise to take action and start getting grant money.” Within a year, the civic association’s president believes their activism is having an impact. Town of Smithtown officials approved funds to install new equipment at Gibbs Pond Park and Gaynor Park, both in St. James, at their Oct. 10 town board meeting. It’s the first time in more than 35 years, according to Maher-Weisse, some of the parks have seen major upgrades. “I’m glad we made the politicians open their eyes to say, ‘St. James is here and we want our tax dollars to be used wisely and spruce up the things that need some

attention,’” she said. The Community Association of Greater St. James is not alone in its desire to draw attention to a downtown area. A smaller group of residents came together in the western part of Smithtown as the Smithtown United Civic Association, unveiling in October a detailed conception plan for what Smithtown’s Main Street revitalization should look like. Timothy Small, president of Smithtown United and a retired engineer, said the organization’s goal is to give local residents a voice in the future of their town. It was formed in response to two events: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) allocating $20 million for sewers in Smithtown and

Photos from Kerry Maher-Weisse

William Capurso and Kerry Maher-Weisse are co-founders of the Community Association of Greater St. James.

the proposed sale of the Smithtown school district’s administrative headquarters on New York Avenue. “If you look at the downtown areas of Smithtown, Kings Park and St. James, they are tired looking,” Smalls said to TBR News Media in October. “There’s a lot of vacant shops and properties. We live in a wonderful town. The schools are wonderful, we love our homes, but it’s our downtown business districts that are deeply suffering.” The Smithtown civic association leader said their conceptual revitalization plan was put together after the group spent approximately six months assessing community needs and drawing inspiration from surrounding towns, such as Huntington and Patchogue, for what they would like to see in Smithtown. The proposed design was unveiled on Facebook for public feedback, input and criticism. Wehrheim said he spoke with Small Dec. 19 regarding the civic association’s desire to publicly present the plan at an upcoming town board meeting, possibly Jan. 25, 2018. “I think they are having a positive impact,” the supervisor-elect said. “At least we have a sense of what they want and what they would prefer not to have near their residential community. We in town government serve the people. We want to know and we want to hear from them.” A third organization, Nesconset Civic Association, was announced as newly formed at the Nov. 7 Smithtown Town Board meeting by Nesconset resident Peter Hanson, but was still establishing its goals. We look forward to seeing what changes take place in Nesconset in 2018.


PAGE A4 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

Photos from Facebook

Inset, state Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick with the Rev. Myrel Bailey-Walton of Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church in Smithtown.

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Pastoring a historic church with a small congregation needs confidence and faith — two qualities the reverend of Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church at 229 New York Ave. in Smithtown naturally possesses. The Rev. Myrel Bailey-Walton has been ensuring Trinity carries on since AME Bishop Richard Franklin Norris appointed her pastor five and a half years ago. While the church currently only has a handful of active congregants, the reverend isn’t worried. “Numbers aren’t important,” BaileyWalton said. “We make sure doors are open for anyone that needs us.” She said during services and events, Smithtown residents and members of other AME churches, including Bethel AME Church in Setauket, will join Trinity’s regulars. “We always have people stop by to see what’s going on and get involved,” BaileyWalton said. “The neighbors around us are active as far as stopping by to see what’s going on and just letting us know that they’re there for us if we need them.” Marlyn Leonard, wife of the Rev. Gregory Leonard of Bethel AME Church, said she has attended services at Trinity. Also, BaileyWalton preaches at the Setauket church the third Sunday of every month. “Her motto is even if it’s one [person] she has service,” Marlyn Leonard said. Leonard said the reverend’s sermons are phenomenal, and she recommends that churchgoers stop by Trinity to see BaileyWalton in action. “She’s happy all the time,” she said. “When you see her, she greets with a smile and a hug. That’s who she is.” Bailey-Walton said Trinity AME celebrated its 107th anniversary in November. “I feel that we’re significant in Smithtown,” she said. “We’re the only African-American church — even though we embrace all the community — but still it’s historical.” The property was once the meeting spot for freed slaves in the town who would gather regularly on the property and, in 1910, their descendants built a church on the land, according to “Smithtown, New York, 1660-1929: Looking Back Through the Lens” by Noel Gish. In 1931, the AME Church of

Smithtown bought the structure for a dollar from Isadora Smith. State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) said he remembers playing basketball as a teenager in Brady Park across from the church on Sunday mornings and seeing people dressed in their finest attire. For him, recognizing the historical importance of the church is important. Fitzpatrick is reaching out to representatives of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to see if the church can receive recognition from the state’s Historic Preservation Office and possible financial assistance. Bailey-Walton said she balances her responsibilities as pastor with working full time and spending time with her husband, Leland, and 1-year-old child. To spread the word about the church, the reverend regularly posts on social media and the internet. The reverend and Trinity’s congregation plan a variety of events through the year, including the church’s anniversary gala in November, an open house for the community and a Women’s Day event. Leonard said Bailey-Walton juggles her responsibilities with grace and elegance. “She answers her calling very well,” she said. “I can’t say enough about her. Since I’ve known her, she just grasps everything in a bundle, and what needs to be done, she gets it done by the grace of God.” Leonard said in addition to working with her congregation, Bailey-Walton is always there to help with people outside of her community, especially when it comes to children or wherever there is a need by participating in volunteer efforts. “She’s a role model not only for God’s house but also for the community and others,” Leonard said. Fitzpatrick said Bailey-Walton has been working with groups such as the Boys Scouts and Royal Rangers from Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle to complete projects at the church and grounds. Work that he said is significant due to the church’s historical importance. The assemblyman believes Bailey-Walton is a perfect fit for the church and is confident in her leadership abilities. “She is a dynamo, she really is,” he said. “She is very committed. She knows God has her back, and she’s going to do her very best to keep this church alive. Any recognition of her is well deserved.”


DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A5

Kennedys put people first as public servants BY SARA-MEGAN WALSH SARA@TBRNEWSMEDIA.COM Nesconset resident Leslie Kennedy stepped into Giorgio’s of Nesconset Pizzeria & Restaurant Dec. 15, but not to grab a bite to eat. She had a busy day ahead. Her schedule only allowed for a short stop at the Nesconset Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday luncheon. But the local business owners knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Kennedy would come by to say hello and ask how they were doing. “Even though she only had 10 minutes, she came by to show her support,” said Christine DeAugustino, president of the Nesconset chamber. “We are so grateful for her support.” It’s no surprise to residents when Suffolk Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) or her husband, county Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), show up together at a business luncheon, parade, street fair, blood drive, civic association meeting or any number of local events. “They are huge supporters of the local community,” DeAugustino said. “They are tremendous. Every time we have an event, her and her husband both come.” Now both elected county officials, they have deep roots in public service and dedication to their constituents. John Kennedy Jr. was first elected to the Suffolk County Legislature representing the 12th District in 2004, where he served for 10 years. “John has been there from the very, very

File photo left, right photo from Legislator Leslie Kennedy

Suffolk Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. and county Legislator Leslie Kennedy are known for being involved in Nesconset and local Smithtown events. beginning when they were reconstructing Smithtown Boulevard, Rosevale Avenue and Gibbs Pond Road intersection,” said Martin Aponte, president of the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park in Nesconset. John Kennedy Jr. was fundamental in securing the land for the memorial to first responders who died on 9/11 or as a result of 9/11-related illnesses, Aponte said, and even set aside his office’s roundtable space for the organization’s meetings. Leslie Kennedy has continued to set aside meeting space for the foundation since filling her husband’s shoes,

being first elected to represent the 12th District in the county Legislature in 2015. “[Leslie]’s not only there for moral support for the chamber and businesses, she’s always there for me as a resource,” DeAugustino said. “She makes herself and the office available to the people of Nesconset as a resource.” The Kennedys, together, have sponsored and help establish the chamber’s annual Nesconset Summer Concert Series which draws hundreds of residents to the Nesconset Gazebo each July and August. “They are extremely involved in the com-

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munity, both John and Leslie,” Smithtown Supervisor-elect Ed Wehrheim (R) said. “Most of the time you’ll find them there. They have a very positive effect on the community.” Wehrheim said the county comptroller has always been responsive to Town of Smithtown’s tax questions and fiscal concerns. “What he is there for, that I appreciate, is anytime we have a question he makes himself and his experience available to us,” Wehrheim said. Similarly, the town officials are in frequent communication with the current legislator regarding how to best address and tackle the opioid issue in Smithtown and as a channel to communicate with Suffolk County police. The supervisor-elect said the Kennedys have been helpful in pushing the downtown revitalization of Kings Park forward at the county level through their respective offices. This year, Legislator Kennedy secured the acquisition and preservation of the Hauppauge Springs property on the south side of Route 347 in Hauppauge, preserving open space at the headwaters of the Nissequogue River. It’s been sitting on the county’s master list of environmentally sensitive priority properties for more than 20 years, dating back to when she worked as a legislative aide. The legislator has called it one of her biggest victories, one she hopes will be remembered as part of her legacy. It was a priority, she said, to protect the environment and help ensure safe drinking water for local residents.

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PAGE A6 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

Fighting for the rights of man and his best friend BY SARA-MEGAN WALSH SARA@TBRNEWSMEDIA.COM

Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Ginny Munger Kahn, president of LI-DOG, receives a proclamation from Suffolk Legislator Steve Stern Dec. 19 for her efforts to create dog parks and dog-friendly laws.

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A Huntington woman has taken to heart that Earth was made for all to enjoy, big and small, including man’s favorite four-legged friends. Ginny Munger Kahn, president of Huntington-based The Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-DOG), has been leading the way to create dog parks and dog-friendly park policies in Suffolk County since 2002. In her most recent victory, she convinced the Huntington Town Board to amend town code Aug. 15 to allow for on-leash walking of dogs in town parks. “It is the highlight of my day to take my dog for a long walk,” Munger Kahn told TBR News Media in August. “I don’t want to do it just in my neighborhood on the street, but I want to be able to walk my dog in a beautiful public park. It’s been frustrating over the years on Long Island as many towns don’t allow it.” Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) said that Munger Kahn was one of the first constituents to sit down and have a meeting with him when he was elected to office. He has come to have a great deal of respect for her and LI-DOG. “It has many volunteers and is an outstanding non-forprofit organization that does wonderful things not just for our furry friends and beloved family members, but I am sure everyone would agree sharing time in the outdoors with our pets is not just good for them, it’s good for all of us,” Stern said. “It’s good for all of us and our quality of life.” Due to Munger Kahn’s activism, Stern was the leading sponsor on county legislation that directed the Suffolk parks commissioner to identify at least five parks where dog parks could be created in 2007. A decade later, there are 10 such parks on Long Island, seven of which are in Suffolk County including an off-leash beach, plus dozens of on-leash dog walking trails. “The dog parks are large, attractive and very much appreciated by the people who use them every day,” Munger Kahn said. Two of the local dog parks that have been created are at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown and West Hills County Park in Huntington. “By expanding access to and enjoyment of Suffolk County’s beautiful parks and open spaces, Ginny Munger Kahn has helped to materially improve the quality of life of thousands of current and future Suffolk County residents,” reads a proclamation Stern gave to the LI-DOG president at the Dec. 19 county Legislature meeting. “In recognition of [that work], we, the members of the Suffolk County Legislature, do hereby honor Ginny Munger Kahn.” Munger Kahn has been involved in changing laws and setting precedents not only at the county level, but the town. In 2013, her nonprofit organization supported the town’s dog walking trails initiative, which allowed on-leash dogs at select Huntington parks. But, she wanted more for her fourpawed friends. “It was kind of crazy to have some parks in the Town of Huntington allow on-leash dogs and the vast majority of town-owned parks not to allow dogs on a leash,” Munger Kahn said in Aug. 2017. “This was confusing to people. The thought was if we adopted standards, a policy more closely aligned with Suffolk County’s policy, it would make enforcement easier.” As LI-DOG’s representative on the Huntington Greenway Trails Citizens Advisory Committee, she pushed for the town to adopt more uniform park standards for leashed dogs in Huntington Town parks which was approved earlier this year, with two exceptions of Heckscher Park and Centerport’s Betty Allen Twin Pond Nature Park. A perpetual advocate, Munger Kahn said she hopes once the town’s new policy is proven successful, she will be able to revisit regulations regarding Heckscher Park.


DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A7

File photos above and on left by Bill Landon; photo below from Erika Benson

Kings Park girls volleyball coaches, husband and wife Ed and Lizz Manly, have combined to coach the program to seven straight Suffolk County and Long Island crowns, earning multiple state tournament appearances.

Kings Park coaches leave behind much more than a legacy BY DESIRÉE KEEGAN DESIREE@TBRNEWSMEDIA.COM Securing seven years of bad luck is as simple as breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder, but earning seven years of good luck is much more complicated. After taking over a losing program, Kings Park varsity volleyball coaches Lizz and Ed Manly have steered the Kingsmen to seven straight Suffolk County and Long Island championship titles. “They’re straightforward — if you’re not doing something correctly, or doing something you shouldn’t be doing, they’re going to let you know,” said senior Erika Benson. “But I think everybody needs someone like that in their life. They don’t sugar coat things for you.” The middle hitter said her married mentors not only care about their Kingsmen as players, but as people. This is chiefly due to Ed Manly’s job as a guidance counselor within the high school. “Mr. Manly is always asking us if everything is OK, and if he can help us in any way to let him know,” Benson said. “As a guidance counselor, he’s helped us seniors a lot with anything we went to him with regarding college.” Senior Kara Haase said the girls have improved on and off the court because of the values of friendship and family fostered within the program by the Manlys. She said she has seen it firsthand for the last six years. “Our success has to do a lot with our coaches — they pushed us every day,” she said. “They not only taught us to strive to be better as players and teammates, but as individuals. Their coaching style can be strict, but all they want is for us to have fun while competing at a high level. It has truly been an honor playing for them.” Lexi Petraitis said she first met Lizz Manly when she was in fourth grade during a volleyball clinic, where the coach pulled her aside to

teach her how to use her height to hit in the middle of the front row. She played for Manly when she was on the middle school team. The coach was pregnant at the time, and remained at the helm up until the day she gave birth. “I think that Lizz and Ed were two of the most dedicated coaches I’ve ever seen in any sport,” the senior said, noting how Lizz Manly also attended the state championship finals to watch her husband and her girls compete when she was nine months pregnant with the second of her two children. “If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is.” This past fall Kings Park finished with its second straight undefeated League V season, going 14-0, and snatched its seventh straight county and LIC crowns. The seven seniors in a rotation of eight secured a fourth consecutive appearance in the state tournament, finishing third after the group came in second in 2016. “On the court, although they push us to our physical and sometimes emotional limits, the team and they know that it’s a prime example of ‘If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger,’ and they most definitely made us stronger,” Petraitis said. “If they didn’t push us as hard as they did I doubt the legacy they created would’ve existed. They are the type of coaches that do everything in their power to make us successful.” Current Iona College standout Amanda Gannon, a 2015 Kings Park graduate, was the first volleyball player to win four straight Long Island titles in school history. She said she first met Lizz Manly when she was in sixth grade. Manly was her physical education teacher, and persuaded her to join the volleyball team. Gannon went on to become the all-time kills leader in Kings Park school history. “She was always so caring and kindhearted,” Gannon said. “I love going to her office even just to talk to her. I was super excited when I joined the team to be led by such an understanding, loving person.”

Gannon was called up to the varsity team as a freshman, playing under Manly until she graduated, which was when her coach’s husband grabbed the reins so his wife could focus on raising their family. “Luckily, my husband took over for me so I can still feel a little involved, and he did a great job,” Manly said. “With confidence and determination, they continued the Kings Park volleyball tradition.” Gannon said it’s because the Kingsmen always wanted to make them proud. “We were all so motivated to play for them,” she said. “We wanted to prove to them how good we can be. It started by having good culture, being who you are, respecting yourself and respecting the program. All four of my years we really embraced that.” Petraitis shared a similar sentiment about her coaches’ accessibility and warmth. “I’ve never had a coach other than Lizz and Ed that I have felt so comfortable asking them anything,” she said. “If I ever had a question about a free ball play or footwork, etc., I’ve never been scared to ask. There aren’t words to describe how much I appreciate them and how much they have influenced my life. They have been with me throughout and supported every single part of my volleyball career.” Ed Manly wrote in a letter to family, friends

and fans that he and his wife will be retiring, stating that stepping down was the hardest thing he has done, but said it’s been difficult to put in the time needed with a growing family. “Today was by far the hardest day we have had as coaches,” he said. “We have stated time and time again to our athletes that family comes first, and at the present time giving our program the time it deserves no longer was possible. We are so incredibly thankful to every player we coached, every coach we have become friends with and competed against, and all of our volleyball friends we have met along the way. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing families in such an amazingly supportive community.” Their departure will undoubtedly leave a hole at one of the most successful athletic programs in any sport in Suffolk County. “It’s sad to see them leaving,” Gannon said. “They took a failing program and turned it around to be one of the most successful on Long Island. They have changed so many people’s lives and have established a community that will never be torn down. They will be greatly missed, but I’m truly grateful for all that they’d done for me, my teammates and Kings Park. I know that what they have created will last forever.”


PAGE A8 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

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DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A9

Vanderbilt’s volunteers help museum put best foot forward More than 1,000 hours of community service put into gardens, mansion tours, live music and living history program BY SARA-MEGAN WALSH SARA@TBRNEWSMEDIA.COM

carrying on the tradition of caring for our gardens,” Reinheimer said. The gardening clubs involved One of Suffolk County’s muse- have also helped design and creums leads by example in knowing ate gardens that encircle the esthe value of the proverb many tate’s celebration tent on the Great Lawn, which overlooks the Long hands make light work. Island Sound. The Vanderbilt The director said Museum, Mansion it has added & Planetarium has visually to many been able to delight of the weddings visitors with its scenic and special occagardens and extensions happening sive programs thanks on the grounds, to the time put in by anchoring the tent its roughly 135 yearto make it feel like round volunteers a permanent strucwho have donated ture and blend into more than 1,000 the property. hours in 2017. Agnes Ward has “Volunteers are spearheaded the better than staff as Centerport Garden they do work but — Lance Reinheimer Club in donating its don’t get paid,” members time to Executive Director Lance Reinheimer said. delicately handling the Vanderbilt “Their time is very valuable Estate rose garden outside of the and it saves the museum a big planetarium. “The gardeners really augment expense each year.” A visitor’s experience is shaped my ground staff,” the executive by the work of the museum’s director said. “We’ve made great volunteers from the minute they strides in beautifying the property enter the estate. Volunteer garden- in the last two years.” Museum guests who take a ers designed and planted a garden near the property’s entrance at the tour of the historic Gold Coast request of the executive director. mansion may be led around by Master gardener Gloria Hall has tak- a volunteer, as hundreds have en over organizing a group formed by guide Ellen Mason who has by her late husband, Bill, that works volunteered at the Vanderbilt on the property each Monday, since May 2006. The retired during the growing season from school teacher said her passion for May to October, helping in every as- history keeps her coming back on pect from planting and weeding to Saturdays to share the experience with others. designing new features. “I’ve been asked over and “Gloria has done a great job in

‘Volunteers are better than staff as they do work but don’t get paid. Their time is very valuable and it saves the museum a big expense each year.’

Inset photo from Facebook; above photo from Vanderbilt Museum

Above, Centerport Garden Club members volunteer their time to maintain the rose garden at the Vanderbilt Museum, Mansion & Planetarium, inset. over again to get on the payroll,” Mason said. “I refuse. I wanted to volunteer, I want to volunteer at something I love doing and it makes my spirit soar. I love the people who work there, it’s like a whole other family.” It’s so welcoming that there’s even a former Vanderbilt employee who continues to come back and volunteer. The museum has several longtime volunteers who regularly give freely of their time including

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that institution that services tens of thousands of school kids each year.” Once inside the mansion, visitors may be treated to live music played on the antique aeolian pipe organ played by volunteers Bill Caputi and Sheldon Cooper. “My feeling is that Long Island is a mecca for volunteerism,” Reinheimer said, in recognition how generous the museum’s volunteers have been. “Long Islanders give willingly to causes that are worthy.”

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Rick Ellison, Mary McKell, Dale Spencer and Marianne Weeks, according to museum staff. “There are so many people involved in that Suffolk institution — garden clubs, the living history program, all different types of work,” said Herb Mones, husband of museum trustee Gretchen OldrinMones. “It’s really under the radar. I don’t think the larger community is fully aware of how much the volunteers impact the daily running of

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PAGE A12 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

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Photos from Councilwoman Valerie Cartright

Above, Frank Rivera, at center, cuts a ribbon at Mount Sinai’s Heritage Park to signal the start of his Sarcoidosis Awareness 5K. On left, he’s honored by members of Brookhaven Town Board for his advocacy and support work surrounding the disease.

Coram resident Frank Rivera fights for sarcoidosis patient advocacy

Call Debi at 631-223-3789 or Pearl at 631-239-6736 Visit our website at www.northportchorale.org

BY JENNIFER SLOAT He has been called an angel, the personification of goodness and strength, a champion of the underrepresented and an inspiration. Frank Rivera is all of that and more. Rivera is the founder and president of Sarcoidosis of Long Island, an awareness and advocacy group for sarcoidosis, a rare and often debilitating disease from which the Coram resident is suffering. In 2004 at the age of 36, he received an incorrect diagnosis of lung cancer for which he underwent treatment. The Xray showed lumps in his lungs. It was after a hospital visit in 2011 for abdominal pain that he was correctly diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Things got even tougher for Rivera as complications from the disease arose. It attacked his neurological system, eyes and gallbladder. In April 2012, he went back to the hospital with more stomach cramps and learned his colon had ruptured. He contracted sepsis and nearly died. Through it all Rivera continues to fight, not only for his own health, but for the health of others affected by the disease. His organization raises awareness for sarcoidosis patients at local, state and federal levels, and helps them find doctors and treatment. Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (DMount Sinai) said Rivera came to her office a few years ago and told her his story and idea to start a not-for-profit organization. Anker said his tireless work with elected officials and medical research experts have provided him the guidance and resources to help residents dealing with sarcoidosis. “He has accomplished so much,” Anker said. “It was his goal, and it remains his goal.” County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), a practicing ear, nose and throat physician, said when he heard Rivera was creating awareness, he reached out to lend support. Spencer, who lost his mother to the disease, said he was fascinated by the work Rivera does. “It hit close to home,” the legislator said. “Many have not even heard of the disease.” Spencer said that what Rivera has done also generated a lot of funding to aid sarcoidosis patients in seeking medical attention and emotional support. “I hope to continue to support him,” he said. “I hope to see him do more great things for those who don’t have champions.” Some of the organization’s efforts include

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a health fair and a 5K run/walk at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai. “He gets folks together to share ideas and stories, and to support one another,” Anker said. “It is amazing what Frank has done considering he is dealing with his own challenges, both physical and mental.” The Town of Brookhaven celebrates National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month in April, and it’s a direct result of Rivera’s work and dedication. “The town board has learned an overwhelming amount about the misconceptions surrounding sarcoidosis and the hurdles patients face who are suffering from rare diseases,” said town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station). “This is due in large part to Frank’s efforts. Listening to Frank speak about his personal experiences is a testament to his strength of character.” In an interview with RARE Daily, a Global Genes patient advocacy organization, Rivera said his focus is helping others with hardships before worrying about himself. “There are 200,000 sarcoidosis patients,” he said. “I always consider myself a representative for those 200,000 patients. I always think about what they need.” Anker said despite his own struggles he’s always being positive to inspire others to have the will to get through the tough times. “He always has a smile on his face and goodness in his heart,” Anker said. “His mind is going 1,000 miles an hour to accomplish what he has set out to do. He has been able to accomplish so many of his goals.”

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PAGE A14 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

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DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A15

Religious ASSEMBLIES OF GOD STONY BROOK CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLY Connecting to God, Each Other and the World

400 Nicolls Road, E. Setauket (631) 689–1127 • Fax (631) 689–1215

www.stonybrookchristian.com Pastor Troy Reid Weekly Schedule Sunday Worship w/nursery 10 am Kidmo Children’s Church • Ignited Youth Fellowship and Food Always to Follow Tuesday Evening Prayer: 7 pm Thursday Morning Bible Study w/Coffee & Bagels: 10 am Friday Night Experience “FNX” for Pre K-Middle School: 6:30 pm Ignite Youth Ministry: 7:30 pm Check out our website for other events and times

BYZANTINE CATHOLIC RESURRECTION BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

38 Mayflower Avenue, Smithtown NY 11787 631–759–6083 resurrectionsmithtown@gmail.com www.resurrectionsmithtown.org Father Tyler A. Strand, Administrator, Joseph S. Durko, Cantor Divine Liturgy: Sundays at 10:30 am Holy Days: See website or phone for information Sunday School Sundays at 9:15 am Adult Faith Formation/Bible Study: Mondays at 7:00 pm. PrayerAnon Prayer Group for substance addictions, Wednesdays at 7 pm A Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite under the Eparchy of Passaic.

CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ST. GERARD MAJELLA 300 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station (631) 473–2900 • Fax (631) 473–0015

www.stgmajella.org All are Welcome to Begin Again. Come Pray With Us. Rev. Jerry DiSpigno, Pastor Office of Christian Formation • (631) 928–2550 We celebrate Eucharist Saturday evening 5 pm, Sunday 7:30, 9 and 11 am Weekday Mass Monday–Friday 9 am We celebrate Baptism Third weekend of each month during any of our weekend Masses We celebrate Marriage Arrangements can be made at the church with our Pastor or Deacon We celebrate Reconciliation Confession is celebrated on Saturdays from 4–5 pm We celebrate You! Visit Our Thrift Shop Mon. – Fri. 10 am–4 pm + Sat. 10 am–2 pm

INFANT JESUS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 110 Myrtle Ave., Port Jefferson, NY 11777 (631) 473-0165 • Fax (631) 331-8094

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www.www.infantjesus.org Reverend Patrick M. Riegger, Pastor Associates: Rev. Francis Lasrado & Rev. Rolando Ticllasuca To schedule Baptisms and Weddings, Please call the Rectory Confessions: Saturdays 12:30-1:15 pm in the Lower Church Religious Ed.: (631) 928-0447 • Parish Outreach: (631) 331-6145 Weekly Masses: 6:50 and 9 am in the Church, 12 pm in the Chapel* Weekend Masses: Saturday at 5 pm in the Church, 5:15 pm in the Chapel* Sunday at 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm in the Church and at 8:30 am, 10 am, and 11:30 am (Family Mass) in the Chapel* Spanish Masses: Sunday at 8:45 am and Wednesday at 6 pm in the Church *Held at the Infant Jesus Chapel at St. Charles Hospital Religious Education: (631) 928-0447 Parish Outreach: (631) 331-6145

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ST. JAMES ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 429 Rt. 25A, Setauket, NY 11733 Phone/Fax: (631) 941–4141 Parish Office email: parish@stjamessetauket.org Office Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am - 2 pm

Mission Statement: Beloved daughters and sons of the Catholic parish of St. James, formed as the Body of Christ through the waters of Baptism, are a pilgrim community on Camiño-toward the fullness of the Kingdom of God, guided by the Holy Spirit. Our response to Jesus’ invitation to be faithful and fruitful disciples requires us to be nurtured by the Eucharist and formed by the Gospel’s call to be a Good Samaritan to neighbor and enemy. That in Jesus’ name we may be a welcoming community respectful of life in all its diversities and beauty; stewards of and for God’s creation; and witnesses to Faith, Hope and Charity. Rev. James-Patrick Mannion, Pastor Rev. Gerald Cestare, Associate Pastor Rev. Jon Fitzgerald, In Residence Weekday Masses: Monday – Saturday 8:00 am Weekend Masses: Saturday Vigil 5:00 pm Sunday 8:00am, 9:30 am (family), 11:30 am (choir), 6:00 pm (Youth) Friday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Baptisms: Contact the Office at the end of the third month (pregnancy) to set date Reconciliation: Saturdays 4:00 – 4:45 pm or by appointment Anointing Of The Sick: by request Holy Matrimony: contact the office at least 9 months before desired date Bereavement: (631) 941-4141 x 341 Faith Formation Office: (631) 941-4141 x 328 Outreach: (631) 941-4141 x 333 Our Lady of Wisdom Regional School: (631) 473-1211 Our Daily Bread Sunday Soup Kitchen 3 pm

CONGREGATIONAL MT. SINAI CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

233 North Country Road, Mt. Sinai • (631) 473–1582 www.mtsinaichurchli.org

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here” Worship hour is 8:30 am and 10 am Sunday School and Childcare offered at 10:00 am open to all children (infants to 8th grade). The last Sunday of every month is our Welcome Sunday Service. This service has been intentionally designed to include persons of differing abilities from local group homes. We are an Open and Affirming Congregation.

EPISCOPAL

ALL SOULS EPISCOPAL CHURCH “Our little historic church on the hill” across from the Stony Brook Duck Pond

Main Street, Stony Brook • (631) 751–0034

www.allsouls–stonybrook.org • allsoulsepiscopalchurch@verizon.net Please come and welcome our new Priest: The Rev. Farrell D. Graves, Ph.D., Vicar Sunday Holy Eucharist: 8 and 9:30 am Religious instruction for children follows the 9:30 am Service This is a small eclectic Episcopal congregation that has a personal touch. We welcome all regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey. Walk with us.

To be listed in the Religious Directory, please call 631–751–7663

EPISCOPAL

CAROLINE CHURCH OF BROOKHAVEN The Rev. Cn. Dr. Richard D. Visconti, Rector

1 Dyke Road on the Village Green, Setauket Web site: www.carolinechurch.net Parish Office email: office@carolinechurch.net (631) 941–4245

Sunday Services: 8 am, 9:30 am and 11:15 am Church School/Child Care at 9:30 am Church School classes now forming. Call 631-941-4245 for registration. Weekday Holy Eucharist’s: Thursday 12:00 pm and first Friday of the month 7:30 pm (rotating: call Parish Office for location.) Youth, Music and Service Programs offered. Let God walk with you as part of our family–friendly community.

CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH 127 Barnum Ave., Port Jefferson (631) 473–0273 email: ccoffice@christchurchportjeff.org www.christchurchportjeff.org

Father Anthony DiLorenzo: Priest–In–Charge Sunday Services 8 am & 10 am Sunday Eucharist: 8 am and 10 am/Wednesday 10 in our chapel Sunday School and Nursery Registration for Sunday School starting Sunday after the 10 am Eucharist Our ministries: Welcome Inn on Mondays at 5:45 pm AA meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 pm/Prayer Group on Wednesdays at 10:30 am/Bible Study on Thursdays at 10 am. It is the mission of the people of Christ Church to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and to make his love known to all through our lives and ministry. We at Christ Church are a joyful, welcoming community. Wherever you are in your journey of life we want to be part of it.

ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

12 Prospect St, Huntington, • (631) 427-1752 “To know Christ and to make Him known” Rev. Duncan A.Burns, Rector Rev. Anthony Jones, Deacon Alex Pryrodyny, Organist & Choir Director www.stjohnshuntington.org • LIKE us on Facebook Sunday Worship 8:00AM - Rite I Holy Eucharist 10:00 AM - Rite II Choral Holy Eucharist

EVANGELICAL INTERNATIONAL BAPTIST CHURCH Loving God • Loving Others • Sharing the Gospel

1266 N. Country Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790 (631) 689-7660 • www.internationalbaptistsb.org Pastor Hank Kistler Sunday Worship 11 am Thursday Small Groups 7 pm

THREE VILLAGE CHURCH Knowing Christ...Making Him Known

322 Route 25A, East Setauket • (631) 941–3670 www.3vc.org

Lead Pastor Josh Moody Sunday Worship Schedule 9:15 am:Worship Service Sunday School (Pre–K – Adult), Nursery 10:30 am: Bagel/Coffee Fellowship 11:00 am: Worship, Nursery, Pre–K, Cornerstone Kids (Gr. K–4) We offer weekly Teen Programs, Small Groups, Women’s Bible Studies (day & evening) & Men’s Bible Study Faith Nursery School for ages 3 & 4 Join us as we celebrate 55 years of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ!


PAGE A16 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

Religious GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION

430 Sheep Pasture Rd., Port Jefferson 11777 Tel: 631-473-0894 • Fax: 631-928-5131 www.kimisis.org • goc.assumption@gmail.com

Rev. Demetrios N. Calogredes, Protopresbyter Sunday Services Orthros 8:30 am - Devine Liturgy 10 am Services conducted in both Greek & English* Books available to follow in English* Sunday Catechism School, 10:15 am - 11:15 am* Greek Language School, Tuesdays 5 pm - 8 pm* Bible Study & Adult Catechism Classes Available* Golden Age & Youth Groups* Thrift Store* Banquet Hall available for Rental* For information please call Church office*

JEWISH

CHABAD AT STONY BROOK

JEWISH

YOUNG ISRAEL OF CORAM

Coram Jewish Center 981 Old Town Rd., Coram • (631) 698–3939 www.YIC.org • YoungIsraelofCoram@gmail.com

RABBI DR. MORDECAI AND MARILYN GOLSHEVSKY RABBI SAM AND REBECCA GOLSHEVSKY

“The Eternal Flame-The Eternal Light” weekly Channel 20 at 10 a.m. Shabbat Morning Services 9 a.m. Free Membership. No building fund. Bar/Bat Mitzvah Shabbat and Holiday Services followed by hot buffet. Adult Education Institute for men and women. Internationally prominent Lecturers and Torah Classes. Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Kaballah Classes. Jewish Holiday Institute. Tutorials for all ages. FREE TUITION FOR HEBREW SCHOOL PUT MEANING IN YOUR LIFE (631) 698-3939 Member, National Council of Young Israel. All welcome regardless of knowledge or observance level.

“Judaism with a smile”

LUTHERAN–ELCA

Current location: 821 Hawkins Ave., Lake Grove

HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH AND ANCHOR NURSERY SCHOOL

Future site: East side of Nicolls Rd, North of Rte 347 –Next to Fire Dept.

(631) 585–0521 • (800) My–Torah • www.ChabadSB.com Rabbi Chaim & Rivkie Grossbaum Rabbi Motti & Chaya Grossbaum Rabbi Sholom B. & Chanie Cohen Membership Free •Weekday, Shabbat & Holiday Services Highly acclaimed Torah Tots Preschool • Afternoon Hebrew School Camp Gan Israel • Judaica Publishing Department • Lectures and Seminars • Living Legacy Holiday Programs Jewish Learning Institute Friendship Circle for Special Needs Children • The CTeen Network N’shei Chabad Women’s Club • Cyberspace Library www.ChabadSB.com Chabad at Stony Brook University – Rabbi Adam & Esther Stein

NORTH SHORE JEWISH CENTER

385 Old Town Rd., Port Jefferson Station (631) 928–3737 www.NorthShoreJewishCenter.org Rabbi Aaron Benson

Cantor Daniel Kramer Executive Director Marcie Platkin Principal Heather Welkes Youth Director Jen Schwartz Services: Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 9:15 am Daily morning and evening minyan- Call for times. Tot Shabbat • Family Services • Sisterhood • Men’s Club Seniors’ Club • Youth Group • Continuing Ed Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah • Judaica Shop • Food Pantry Lecture Series • Jewish Film Series NSJC JEWISH LEARNING CENTER RELIGIOUS SCHOOL Innovative curriculum and programming for children ages 5-13 Imagine a synagogue that feels like home! Come connect with us on your Jewish journey. Member United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

TEMPLE ISAIAH (REFORM)

1404 Stony Brook Road, Stony Brook • (631) 751–8518 www.tisbny.org A warm and caring intergenerational community dedicated to learning, prayer, social action, and friendship. Member Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi David Katz Cantor Marcey Wagner Rabbi Emeritus Stephen A. Karol Rabbi Emeritus Adam D. Fisher Cantor Emeritus Michael F. Trachtenberg

Sabbath Services Friday 7:30 pm and Saturday 10 am Religious School • Monthly Family Service • Monthly Tot Shabbat Youth Groups • Senior Club • Adult Education Sisterhood • Brotherhood • Book Club-more

©155326

D irectory

46 Dare Road, Selden (631) 732-2511 Emergency number (516) 848-5386

Rev. Dr. Richard O. Hill, Pastor email: hopelutheran@msn.com • website: www.hopeluth.com Holy Communion is celebrated every week Saturdays at 5 pm, Sundays at 8, 9:30 and 11 am Service of Prayers for Healing on the first weeked of each month at all services Children and Youth Ministries Sparklers (3-11) Saturdays 5 pm • Sunday School (ages 3-11) 9:30 am Kids’ Club (ages 4-10) Wednesdays 4:15 pm Teen Ministry (ages 11-16) Saturdays 3 pm

ST. PAULS EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH 309 Patchogue Road, Port Jefferson Station (631) 473–2236

Rev. Paul A. Downing, Pastor email: pastorpauldowning@yahoo.com • pastor’s cell: 347–423–3623 Services: Sundays-8:30 and 10:30 am—Holy Communion Sunday School during 10:30 service Bible and Bagels 9:30 am on Sundays Wednesday Night — 7:30 pm Intimate Holy Communion Friday Morning 10:30 am—Power of Prayer Hour Join us for any service-all are welcome We are celebrating 100 years in Port Jefferson Station

LUTHERAN-LCMS

MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH Messiah Preschool & Day Care 465 Pond Path, East Setauket 631-751-1775 www.messiahny.com

METHODIST BETHEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

33 Christian Ave/ PO2117, E. Setauket NY 11733 (631) 941–3581 Rev. Gregory L. Leonard–Pastor Sunday Worship 10:30 am • Adult Sunday School 9:30 am Lectionary Reading and Prayer Wed. 12 noon Gospel Choir Tues. 8 pm Praise Choir and Youth Choir 3rd and 4th Fri. 6:30 pm 

COMMACK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 486 Townline Road, Commack Church Office: (631)499–7310 Fax: (631) 858–0596 www.commack–umc.org • mail@commack–umc.org Rev. Linda Bates–Stepe, Pastor

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Welcome to our church! We invite you to Worship with us! Come check us out! Jeans are okay! Open Table Communion 1st Sunday every month. 603 Main Street, Port Jefferson Church Office- (631) 473–0517 Rev. Sandra J. Moore - Pastor Sunday Worship - 9:30 am (summer), 10:00 am (September) Children’s Sunday School - Sept. to June (Sunday School sign up form on Web) Email- 1stumc@optonline.net Web- http://www.pjfumc.org

SETAUKET UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 160 Main Street, Corner of 25A and Main Street East Setauket • (631) 941–4167

Rev. Steven kim, Pastor

www.setauketumc.org • SUMCNY@aol.com Sunday Worship Service & Church School 10 am Holy Communion 1st Sunday of Month Mary & Martha Circle (Women’s Ministry) monthly on 2nd Tuesday at 1pm

STONY BROOK COMMUNITY CHURCH UNITED METHODIST

216 Christian Ave., Stony Brook, 11790 Church Office: 631-751-0574 stonybrookcommunitychurch@gmail.com www.stonybrookcommunitychurch.org Rev. chuck Van Houten, Pastor Connecting people to God, purpose and each other Sunday Worship 10:00 am Sunday School 10:00 am

Renewing, Restoring, Reviving for the 21st Century!

Rev. Charles Bell- Pastor We welcome all to join us for worship & Fellowship Sunday Worship Services 8:15 am, 9:30 am, 11 am Sunday School at 9:30 am We have a NYS Certified Preschool & Day Care

To be listed in the Religious Directory, please call 631–751–7663

Religious Directory continued on next page


DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A17

Gersh Academy founder dedicated to helping kids BY SARA-MEGAN WALSH SARA@TBRNEWSMEDIA.COM

where to get help for his child with special needs, Gersh’s door was open, and he was more than willing to pick up the phone and It takes a special person to take care of a make a call. child with special needs. Huntington resident “He is always willing to advise, advocate Kevin Gersh has proven all it takes is a few and provide hope for special needs parents,” innovative ideas and a big heart. Gotard said. Gersh, founder of Gersh Academy in HunIn addition to his work for special needs tington, created a series of schools and pro- children, Gersh has been noted by others for grams geared toward helping children with giving back to nonprofits and local communiautism and special needs. But it’s been his ties. In 2015, Gersh Academy students raised drive to do more philanthropic actions that funds for the Caroline Wambui Mungai Foungive back to the community that has made dation, an organization whose mission is imothers take notice. proving the lives of orphaned and abandoned “Kevin Gersh is an innovator in the special children throughout Africa. The following needs community,” said Stephanie Gotard, year, the Gersh Organization donated money program director of Leadership raised for Sunrise Day Huntington, which fosters deCamp, a specialized camp velopment of community leadfor children with cancer and ers. “He has dedicated his life to their siblings. making a difference in the lives More recently, Gersh doof children.” nated hundreds of school Gersh founded West Hills uniforms to students in WyMontessori School of Hunandanch school district. He tington in 1991, where workhas also created an event, ing with one child with spewhich distributed donated cial needs made him realize suits to help students headthat the method of teaching ing into college and with needed to change. As a result, job interviews. He recalled he started Gersh Academy in fondly watching one football 1999 as an education program — Stephanie Gotard player try on a jacket. for children ages 5 to 21 on the “You should have seen autism spectrum. the smile on his face when Over the years, Gersh has expanded his he looked in the mirror dressed in a $3,000 organization to create 11 programs span- full-length cashmere coat,” Gersh said. “He ning from Long Island to Puerto Rico, for didn’t take it off the whole night. That to me, typical children in addition to those with is everything.” special needs. This holiday season, Gersh has joined with “It’s what I do for a living, that’s who I am,” a friend, Kevin Donnelly of Lido Beach, in an he said. “I love helping kids. When someone effort to ship 10,000 toys to Puerto Rico for asks me can you help a child, I say ‘yes.’ I don’t children displaced by Hurricane Maria in hesitate. It’s what gets me going.” time for Three Kings Day, Jan. 6. Others in the Huntington community “They are living in shelters, the least we said they now look to Gersh for advice in can do is give them a Christmas,” Gersh said. meeting the needs of children with autism. He has asked the 75 employees of Gersh Cold Spring Harbor resident Bob Fonti Academy in Puerto Rico to help sort the toys said when he had a friend who was unsure for distribution. The U.S. Marines with Toys

‘He is always willing to advise, advocate and provide hope for special needs parents.’

Religious

PRESBYTERIAN

SETAUKET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

5 Caroline Avenue ~ On the Village Green (631) 941-4271

Making God’s community livable for all since 1660!! www.setauketpresbyterian.org Email: setauketpresbyterian@verizon.net

Rev. Mary, Barrett Speers, pastor

Join us Sundays in worship at 9:30 am Church School (PreK-6th Grade) at 9:45 am Adult Christian Education Classes and Service Opportunities Outreach Ministries: Open Door Exchange Ministry: Furnishing homes...Finding hope www.facebook.com/welcomefriendssoupkitchen Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen Prep Site: tfolliero@yahoo.com All are welcome to join this vibrant community of worship, music (voice and bell choirs), mission (local, national and international), and fellowship. Call the church office or visit our website for current information on church activities. SPC is a More Light Presbyterian Church and part of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians working toward a church as generous and just as God’s grace. ©155327

Photo from Gersh Academy

Huntington resident Kevin Gersh, founder of Gersh Academy in Huntington, is known as a go-to for help with children with special needs. for Tots and the toy company, Hasbro, have pitched in and joined the effort. But he’s already looking forward to his next event, having Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey hold a day in May 2018 specially for children with autism. Gersh said the theme park will close to the public

for a day to allow those with special sensory needs to enjoy the park with quieter music and shorter lines alongside their families. “I anticipate this to be a huge event,” the Gersh Academy founder said. “I get excited about doing things for kids that no one has ever done before.”

D irectory

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP AT STONY BROOK

380 Nicolls Road • between Rte 347 & Rte 25A (631) 751–0297 • www.uufsb.org • office@uufsb.org Rev. Margaret H. Allen (minister@uufsb.org) Sunday Service: 10:30 am

Religious Education at UUFSB: Unitarian Universalism accepts wisdom from many sources and offers non-dogmatic religious education for children from 3-18 to foster ethical and spiritual development and knowledge of world religions. Classes Sunday mornings at 10:30 am. Childcare for little ones under three. Senior High Youth Group meetings Sunday evenings Registration is ongoing. For more information: dre@uufsb.org.

To be listed in the Religious Directory, please call 631–751–7663

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF HUNTINGTON

109 Brown’s Road, Huntington, NY 11743 631–427–9547 • www.uufh.org Rev. G. Jude Geiger, Minister (minister@uufh.org)

Starr Austin, religious educator (dreuufh@gmail.com) Sunday Service 10:30 am, Children’s Religious Education 10:30 am Whoever you are, whomever you love, wherever you are on your life’s journey, you are welcome here. Our services offer a progressive, non-creedal message with room for spiritual seekers. Services and Religious Education each Sunday at 10:30 am Youth Group, Lifespan Religious Education for Adults, Adult and Children’s Choirs. Participants in the Huntington Interfaith Housing Initiative. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.

UNITY

UNITY CHURCH OF HEALING LIGHT 203 East Pulaski Rd., Huntington Sta. (631) 385–7180 • www.unityhuntingtonny.org Rev. Saba Mchunguzi

Unity Church of Healing Light is committed to helping people unfold their Christ potential to transform their lives and build spiritual community through worship, education, prayer and service. Sunday Worship & Church School 11:00 a.m. Wednesday Night Prayer Service 7:30 p.m. Sign Language Interpreter at Sunday Service


PAGE A18 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

File photos

Joe Reboli, above, a Stony Brook artist, had a gallery built in his name, called the Reboli Center, on right. A ribbon cutting ceremony, below, was held with local contributors and politicians who helped make it possible.

Reboli Center keeps memory of late artist alive BY DANIEL DUNAIEF It’s much more than a place to go to appreciate the work of late artist and painter Joe Reboli. Located at the former site of Capital One Bank across the street from where Reboli grew up in Stony Brook, the Reboli Center for Art and History, which opened a little more than a year ago, blends a collection of art from the prolific painter with works by other local artists, rotated every three months. Housed in an A-frame white building with blue awnings, the center has showcased the work of artists including Ken Davies, who was Reboli’s teacher and mentor. Reboli was born and raised on Main Street, not far from where his name is memorialized. He and his family had a long history in the area. His grandfather ran a business across the street from where the center now stands, and decades later his aunt worked in the same building when it was a bank. He died in 2004 at age 58 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Since his death, his wife Lois Reboli had been attending makeshift meetings at coffee and kitchen tables across Three Village with a squad self-identified as The Rebolians, working to make sure Joe Reboli’s story lived on. “[The center is] hopefully a gift back to the community my husband loved so much,” said Reboli, a former art teacher. He was on the board of the Three Village Community Trust and Gallery North. When asked by his wife why he attended those gatherings, she said he told her he loved the community and wanted to support it in some way. “I didn’t really understand it at that point,” she said. “I did after he got sick, and I just really wanted to give something to the community so they would remember Joe.” As part of the center’s cultural contributions, free talks are given with local artists, and, after a successful musical debut, the center may be the site of future concerts. Donna Crinnian, a photographer whose pictures of egrets were featured at the center in the fall, called the center a great addition to the community.

“Everybody in the community likes having it there,” she said. “They get a really nice crowd coming in for the speakers.” Besides Reboli, the idea for the studio gallery came together with the help of Colleen Hanson, who worked as executive director of Gallery North from January 2000 until her retirement in September 2010. She worked alongside Lois Reboli after Joe passed and also helped launch the first Reboli Wet Paint Festival weekend at Gallery North in 2005. Hanson also worked with B.J. Intini, a former Gallery North assistant and executive director who is the president of the Farmingville Historical Society. “I made a vow that we would do something for [Reboli],” Hanson said. “If we were to find a space, it had to be in Three Village and it had to have a Joe-like feeling. Now, I pinch myself and think, ‘This is so cool.’ We love this community. We want it to be even better and richer for everybody, and I see this as a beautiful upbeat place where people want to be.” State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (DSetauket) is credited with helping to make the purchase a reality, Reboli said. He helped the

three, self-dubbed the “tres amigas” create a not-for-profit called the Friends of Joseph Reboli, with a mission of collecting, preserving and exhibiting artwork and artifacts related to Joe Reboli. The group filed for federal 501(c) (3) status in 2012. Reboli had been looking for a suitable place to share her late husband’s work with the public and had been demoralized by a few false starts when she wondered if she would be able to find the right spot. It wasn’t until March 2015 when Hanson said she heard of Capital One in Stony Brook potentially leaving the historic landmarked building at a price tag of $1.8 million. Englebright spearheaded securing a $1.3 million state grant that went toward the purchase of the building, and two anonymous $150,000 donations turned the dream into a reality. “He went to bat to help us get as much funding as we could,” Reboli said of the lawmaker. “He was remarkable.” She signed the contract Sept. 25, 2015 — her late husband’s 70th birthday. “It’s everything I hoped for and more,” Englebright said of the center. “I have heard from dozens of people and they are absolutely

thrilled that this is a new part of the cultural dimension in our community.” Englebright said the late artist’s paintings open up a wide range of conversations about the interaction between nature and development. One of his favorites is of three gas pumps in front of a coastal scene on the North Shore. “He put this scene together that clearly to me is an expression of concern regarding the impact of overdevelopment, on a way of life, and on the beauty of Long Island,” Englebright said. In its first full year of operation, the center, which is free for guests, has hosted a range of crowds and events. In May, it welcomed a visit from the Commack High School Art Honor Society. In late October, world-renowned cellist Colin Carr, who has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony and is teaching at Stony Brook, performed at a benefit concert. He said the way the sound worked its way through the building was an unexpected surprise. “When I went in there and played the cello briefly as a trial run, it was immediately apparent that this was perfect for the cello,” Carr said. “It’s always exciting to walk into a new place, whether it’s a room or concert hall or even a church, to sit down and start playing and feel that there’s an immediate rapport between me, the instrument and the space.” Carr is the one who suggested that the center would be a “wonderful place for a small music series.” Reboli said she is thrilled with the direction the center is taking and suggested the showcase is far beyond what she had imagined when she first discussed highlighting her late husband’s artwork. On a Friday in late November, the building hit a high-water mark with about 180 guests in attendance, Reboli said. “I would have been happy with a wall somewhere,” Reboli said. “This has morphed into something that would have been unimaginable before. Never did we expect to have a place like this. This is a miracle.”


DECEMBER 28, 2017 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • PAGE A19

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Charles Lefkowitz, right, one of the co-founders of the Setauket Harbor Task Force, presents an award to state Assemblyman Steve Englebright, center, along with George Hoffman, left, another founding member of the task force.

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When he noticed there were issues with the cleanliness of Setauket Harbor, Charles Lefkowitz took matters into his own hands. A founding member of the Setauket Harbor Task Force, Lefkowitz has become an advocate for attention to the harbor. “Nobody was doing anything and it was just deteriorating until Charlie and a bunch of us got together and said this harbor needs a group of people that will start advocating for its improvement,” said George Hoffman, also a founding member of the task force and a vice president of the Three Village Civic Association. By forming the task force to call attention to the issues regarding the cleanliness of the harbor, such as roadway runoff, the group was able to procure a $1 million dollar grant in state funding with the help of state Senator John Flanagan (R-East Northport). The task force was also appointed to the Long Island Sound Study, a cooperative multistate effort to improve the water quality of Long Island Sound, in existence since 1985. “As a founding member of the Setauket Harbor Task Force he has involved himself from the very beginning,” said state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), who has attended numerous task force meetings. “He has made time out of his very busy schedule to attend meetings, sometimes in the middle of a workday. He very often offers some of the most sage advice around the table. This is worth noting and saying thank you to Charlie for being part of the individual glue that holds our community together. It speaks to a level of sincerity of love of the community and serves as an example of what it means to be a community leader.” Once an elected official in the Town of Brookhaven, Lefkowitz continues to involve himself with numerous community issues and advocacy groups in addition to the task force. “He’s a former town councilman and his involvement in our community and to our town continues,” Englebright said. “If anything he is even more effective now because he is unshackled from politics, and he is able to express his commitment to making our community even better.”

Hoffman said Lefkowitz is vice president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce and has reinvigorated the chamber by recruiting new people, broadening the chamber’s focus and making it more representative locally. “Charlie is responsible for reinventing the chamber of commerce,” Hoffman said. “He is a driving force in keeping the group together and focused.” Lefkowitz was also involved in the community visioning committees for the reexamination of the zoning along the Route 25A corridor in the Three Village area. Drivers along the state road in the vicinity of the Ridgeway Plaza Shopping Center can sometimes see Lefkowitz tending to the flower beds that are planted every spring. “The subtle side of Charlie is that he is the owner of the Stop & Shop [shopping center] on Route 25A, and I’ve seen him outside pulling weeds out of the flower beds,” Englebright said. “That’s an indication of the level of detail he’s willing to invest himself in.” Lefkowitz’s influence also extends beyond the Three Village area, according to Hoffman. “He is a visionary on land use issues especially upper Port Jefferson in terms of its commercial viability,” Hoffman said. “He is also an advocate for electrification of the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Rail Road. He focuses on how to make it happen and for the first time we are seeing progress.” Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said she has worked on various projects with Lefkowitz, and he is currently working with the town on implementing aspects of the Port Jefferson Station Commercial Hub Study on some of his properties. “As a former councilman, chamber vice president, business owner and resident, Charlie has a unique perspective of our community,” Cartright said. “Charlie’s knowledge of real estate and of the history of the Three Village area was a valuable addition to the community forums my office held while working on the Route 25A-Three Village area corridor community visioning report this past year. The award of Person of the Year is well deserved by Charlie, and I look forward to seeing him continue to work with residents on community projects.”

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PAGE A20 • TIMES OF SMITHTOWN • DECEMBER 28, 2017

Wishing you

peace, good cheer good health and

in the

new year.

Thank you for the confidence that you and your family place in our Stony Brook Medicine family every day. More than a hospital, more than a medical school, more than a research institution, Stony Brook Medicine is an academic medical center that brings it all together for you — it’s one place where the brightest minds seek the most innovative ways to take care of the most complex healthcare issues. Of course, even when your family’s healthcare needs are more routine, or you’re looking for new ways to help keep healthy, we have lots of ideas for that, too!

stonybrookmedicine.edu Stony Brook University/SUNY is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer. 17110773H

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The Times of Smithtown - December 28, 2017  
The Times of Smithtown - December 28, 2017  
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