Plenty Of Smiles At Community Day

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The Greenlawn Civic Association hosted Sunday the second annual Greenlawn Community Day at Coral Park.

The event saw participation from a variety of community groups including the Harborfields Council of PTA’s, Harborfields High School Student Government, the Vanderbilt Museum, Greenlawn Fire Department and a very busy table hosted by the Harborfields Public Library.

All activities at the event were provided free of charge and helped promote businesses and community organizations in the Greenlawn area.

Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson praised the Greenlawn Civic Association for organizing the event.

“Years ago this land was an empty space, and it’s a beautiful park now so it’s great that we could come together here and enjoy this beautiful fall day,” Cuthbertson said. “Thank you to the civic association, the fire department, the police department and all the organizations that come together to make this such a great event.”

The Greenlawn Civic Association said the event was a big success, and hope it will continue to grow next year.

Tricks, Treats and Help For The Hungry

 Alexandra Miller-Henson started S(care) to help local shelters. As a way to thank donors, she is gifting them a S(care) bag.

Alexandra Miller-Henson started S(care) to help local shelters. As a way to thank donors, she is gifting them a S(care) bag.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

oky season is upon us and that means it’s almost time to dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating, but this year instead of just getting candy, kids and teens can donate to a good cause by getting involved with S(care).

The non-profit charity created by Walt Whitman sophomore Alexandra Miller-Henson encourages trick-or-treaters to collect items from their neighbors that will be donated to a local shelter. In its second year, Miller-Henson has been working to get the word out about her charity and bring it to more parts of Long Island.

“I was talking her about how I wish there was a way for me to trick-or-treat for a good reason, with an excuse to go trick-or-treating and we basically came up with the idea on the spot there,” Miller-Henson said.

Last year she focused primarily on getting people at her high school involved. Now she is ready to expand through friends and social media.

“I think it’s a fun twist on Halloween, y’know scaring for a cause, scaring for a care,” Miller-Henson said.

Last year, S(care) donated to the Family Service League, but is unsure which shelter she will donate to this year. The charity is asking for donations of toiletries, socks and feminine products.

“I was talking to a lady at the Family Service League and she said the least donated things are socks and feminine products,” Miller-Henson said. “When I see other people struggling, I want to help and I think it’s important that everyone has a little bit of that in their life.”

Miller-Henson has already collected some donations from family and friends, and is expecting a large wave of donations to come in after Halloween. Anyone can sign up on the website, scareforcharity.org, to round up donations on Halloween night. Directions have been assembled on how to have the most successful collection.

“We try to be as clear as possible with the rules,” Miller-Henson said. “We don’t want people trick-or-treating by themselves because that can be very dangerous. We told them what to look for and gave them some suggestions of what to say because we don’t want them to be scared or confused if it’s their first year doing it.”

People can drop off donations at Walt Whitman High School, Stage To Screen, Craftree and 110 Party Supply during their business hours.

“If everyone helps out a little bit, we’ll be in a better place than we are now,” Miller-Henson said.

Last year, S(care) donated over a thousand items to the shelter, and Miller-Henson hopes she will be able to amass even more with her large outreach.

“I can’t picture me not running it, because it’s made me look forward to Halloween even more than I already did,” Miller-Henson said. “Halloween has been my favorite holiday for forever so… I couldn’t imagine a Halloween without it.”donations.

Mike And Mollie Star Headlines

 Former “Mike & Molly” star Billy Gardell is scheduled to take the stage for a night of comedy at The Paramount Saturday.

Former “Mike & Molly” star Billy Gardell is scheduled to take the stage for a night of comedy at The Paramount Saturday.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Early in his career, comedian Billy Gardell lived in Huntington for a short time, testing his comedic chops at the storied East Side Comedy Club where Eddie Murphy and Jerry Seinfeld also got their start on stage.

Gardell, 49, is returning to Huntington this weekend when he is scheduled to perform a standup routine at The Paramount.

Best known for his role as Mike Biggs on the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly,” Gardell said he “always had an affinity” for comedy.

Gardell starred in “Mike & Molly” for six seasons alongside fellow comedian and actress Melissa McCarthy, and he said the two developed a close bond.

“It was amazing working with Melissa; she was like my sister,” Gardell said. “There’s a closeness to the cast on every show, but we really developed a family-type atmosphere.”

Although Gardell said he enjoyed acting in the sitcom, standup has always been “my first love.”

“You just have to find your own voice,” Gardell said.

The funnyman described his comedic style as “working class,” and said that he tries to find the humor in what happens in day-to-day life.

“I think it’s important to try and find a universal theme in my standup,” Gardell said.

“Even though there may be differing opinions in the audience, I try to get people to laugh as a group.”

Gardell said he continues to tour and perform standup comedy because there is something addicting about writing a new joke that, when it goes over well with the crowd, keeps him getting back on stage.

Drawing on his own life experiences, Gardell said his jokes often focus on the very relatable themes of marriage, parenthood and growing old.

“I like to think that I get my audience to switch off for a while and just enjoy the show,”he said.

Gardell is set to take the stage on Saturday night at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show run from $19.50-$49.50 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Families Find Fun At Fall Festival

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

In its 25th year, the Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington, presented by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce was a tremendous time for all who attended.

“We bring all these businesses and residents together in this one great, Heckscher Park, which is full of history,” Brian Yudewitz, co-chair of the festival, said. “And has so many great things going on throughout the year, but this is the best weekend of the year.”

Various vendors lined up on the streets and throughout the park, an international food court could satisfy anyone’s appetite, a massive carnival lit up the night, and live music could be heard throughout the day. With three stages set up, a main stage at Chapin Rainbow Stage, rock central at Scotto’s Carnival Stage and folk performers at Acoustic Stage, there was music that could catch anyone’s ear and make them sit down for awhile.

“By bringing everyone together from the Northeast, not just Long Island, they enjoy everything and it’s a real relaxing weekend for whoever attends,” Yudewitz said.

Yudewitz felt that many people came to the festival because of its “staying power”. Even though, it was contained in the park and its bordering streets, there were endless things to check out and tons of community members to meet.

“We recently moved here and it’s just a great environment and very friendly people,” Ken Gerome of Huntington, said. “It’s great to see everyone out having a good time.”

With over 100 vendors, you could easily spend an entire day shopping.

“Hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders come every year and it’s just a great way to be present in the community, meet new people and spread the word about our brand,” Christopher Vetter, founder of Sail Away Coffee Co. and vendor at the festival, said.

With the Fall Festival come and gone, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce is already preparing for next year’s extravaganza.

“Our festival takes 360 days to prepare for,” Yudewitz said. “So we’ll take a day off on Tuesday and starting Wednesday we’ll prepare for next year’s festival… Our chamber staff works all year round to make this amazing.”

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Two-time Meatball Champ Repeats…

The meatball-eating champ has a partner now.

Len Piros of Centerport, for two years in a row the winner of the Long Island Fall Festival Meatball Eating Contest, went for the three-peat Sunday afternoon. Instead of a trophy and the three-peat, Piros now has a co-champion.

Ryan Thomas kept pace through both the competition and a tie-breaking run-off to grab a share of the title.

In all, 10 competitors came to the table where staff from Porto Fino restaurant loaded each plate with 10 meatballs. After three minute on the clock, Piros and Thomas were tied.

They went head-to-head in a one-minute runoff.

They were till tied.

A sudden death runoff was ruled out and the emcee of the event, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci presented the still-chewing pair to the crowd as co-champions.

— PETER SLOGGATT



 Len Piros, left, and Ryan Thomas, third from left, are congratulated by Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Festival Co-chairman Bob Bontempi.

Len Piros, left, and Ryan Thomas, third from left, are congratulated by Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Festival Co-chairman Bob Bontempi.

Simpatico Artists Show Photos, Sculpture

 John Cino and Pamela Waldroup share a commonality in their interpretations of form but work in entirely different mediums.  Photo by Pamela Waldroup

John Cino and Pamela Waldroup share a commonality in their interpretations of form but work in entirely different mediums. Photo by Pamela Waldroup

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Working in two different mediums, artists John Cino and Pamela Waldroup have found commonality.

The artists, who are exhibiting together at fotofoto gallery in Huntington, explore dimensionality in their own ways. Titled Sympathetic Sensibilities, the show reflects “our shared sensibilities regarding form, rhythm, shape, and nature,” Waldroup said.

They came together when Cino selected Waldroup’s pieces for a Patchogue Arts Council exhibit he was curating. As curator Cino was unable to show his work at that show, but Waldroup went to one of his openings and felt the connection between their work.

Cino is from Patchogue and welcomed the idea of bringing his creations to a new community.

“I would have never even dreamed of bringing my work there until she had the idea,” Cino said. “She felt there was resonance between our work and thought it would be an interesting idea to put them together.”

Waldroup felt Cino’s work would complement hers well.

“Last year I had a solo show there, but this year I wanted to do something different. What John and I have done is transform the space,” Waldroup said.

“What I like about when I walk into the gallery now is there is a conversation that you can feel between his work and mine,” Waldroup said.

In the gallery, their pieces are integrated together, with Cino’s sculptures placed around Waldroup’s photographs, as Waldroup describes it, “a marriage of forms.”

 Sculptor John Cino carves sensual wavelike forms in wood, focusing on texture. Photographer Pamela Waldroup explores similar qualities in the subjects she photographs.  Photo by Pamela Waldroup

Sculptor John Cino carves sensual wavelike forms in wood, focusing on texture. Photographer Pamela Waldroup explores similar qualities in the subjects she photographs. Photo by Pamela Waldroup

 “I experience the rhythmic ebb and flow in his work much like the meditative involvement I feel when creating my photographs,” Waldroup said. “The contour lines and dark values created by crisp edges juxtaposed against deep recesses and open spaces in John‘s pieces create a sense of dancing delicacy and solid foundation simultaneously.”

In her work, Waldroup puts an emphasis on a subject’s lines, shadows and contrast. Cino does the same in a three-dimensional form.

“I think in her work she captures some things that resonate with me,” Cino said. “There’s the rhythm that you find in her pieces, but there’s also the sense that what she photographs is more than just a picture of a thing. In her photographs the object itself is so dominant that the background disappears and the focus is on the object, which is what sculpturing really is. I look at her photographs as being very sculptural.”

Waldroup has a fine arts degree but a workshop in Florence introduced her to photography. She taught fine art and digital photography at Northport High School for 32 years until retiring last year.

“I approach photography like a print maker, I print my own images after making edits in Photoshop,” Waldroup said. “But the printing part of it is one of parts I enjoy the most of everything, it allows me to go back to my origins.”

For Cino, he found his love for sculpting in college and knew this would be what he would pursue for the rest of his life.

“I just discovered that I really liked to work with my hands,” Cino said. “It freed my mind to explore. . . Just like some people have a heightened sense of color, I think the sense of space is something certain people have a deeper, more profound experience with.”

His pieces falls into two categories, a free flowing wave and a rectangular box with waves inside, he considers this to be like a book and the markings are a “language”.

“I think of the way things move,” Cino said. “I’m very interested in music and dance, together your body will move to the music and the body sometimes translates into the sculptures I make.”

An artist’s reception will be held at the gallery this Saturday, Oct. 13, 5-7 p.m. The artists will also be at fotofoto gallery during Huntington Art Walk, Sunday, Oct. 21, noon to 4 p.m.

Columbus Celebrated With Parade, Ceremonies

 In celebration of Columbus Day, from left, Steven Rossetti, Assemblyman Steve Stern, Parade Chair Keith Wilson, Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Father Noel Sixon, past OSDIA President Joseph DiTrapani, Tax Receiver Jillian Guthman, County Comptroller John Kennedy, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia, Legislator William Spencer, OSDIA State 1st Vice President Anthony Naccarato, Councilman Eugene Cook, OSDIA State President Robert Ferrito, Robert Fonti, OSDIA National Treasurer Thomas Lupo, Councilman Ed Smyth gather in front of the Columbus statue.  Photo/Town of Huntington

In celebration of Columbus Day, from left, Steven Rossetti, Assemblyman Steve Stern, Parade Chair Keith Wilson, Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Father Noel Sixon, past OSDIA President Joseph DiTrapani, Tax Receiver Jillian Guthman, County Comptroller John Kennedy, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia, Legislator William Spencer, OSDIA State 1st Vice President Anthony Naccarato, Councilman Eugene Cook, OSDIA State President Robert Ferrito, Robert Fonti, OSDIA National Treasurer Thomas Lupo, Councilman Ed Smyth gather in front of the Columbus statue. Photo/Town of Huntington

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The Town of Huntington celebrated an event filled Columbus Day Weekend that culminated Sunday with the 20th Annual Long Island Columbus Day Parade through Huntington village.

The ceremonies kicked off on Oct. 4 with the raising of the Italian flag above the Christopher Columbus statue at the intersection of Lawrence Hill Road and Main Street in Huntington village.

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Councilmembers Eugene Cook, Joan Cergol, and Ed Smyth, Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia and Tax Receiver Jillian Guthman were joined by State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Huntington Station), County Comptroller John Kennedy (R-Suffolk County), County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) and members of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America to show their support for the town’s Italian-American community.

Lupinacci assured the gathering that the 9-foot-high bronze statue of Columbus, which was unveiled across from St. Patrick’s Church in 1971, was going nowhere.

“As people have made allegations of the Columbus Day holiday over the past few years… this statue is here to stay in Huntington standing taller, and larger, with broader shoulders,” Lupinacci said.

The Columbus statue was commissioned by the late Sam Albicocco, an Italian-American and prominent Huntington businessman. Lupinacci said Albicocco purchased the land for the statue and funded the construction of the statue with donations from local Italian-American residents. The statue was transferred to the town in 1994.

The 20th Long Island Columbus Day Parade kicked off three days later on Sunday at the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street in Huntington.

Lupinacci served as the parade’s co-grand marshal with NYS OSDIA President Robert M. Ferrito, News 12 anchor Antoinette Biordi and Italian media personality Dr. Vito DeSimone.

 

 The Italian flag will fly above the Christopher Columbus Statue at Lawrence Hill Road and Main Street in Huntington village during Italian-American Heritage Month.  Photo/Town of Huntington

The Italian flag will fly above the Christopher Columbus Statue at Lawrence Hill Road and Main Street in Huntington village during Italian-American Heritage Month. Photo/Town of Huntington

The parade coincided with the annual Long Island Fall festival at Heckscher Park, and the 1.5-mile route that ended at the Columbus statue was lined with people.

Members of over 24 OSDIA lodges in Nassau and Suffolk could be seen marching with banners and Italian flags. Marching bands from Walt Whitman, Deer Park, East Meadow, Islip and W.T. Trespar Clarke high schools filled the air with music.

The parade also marked the 113th anniversary of the Order Sons of Italy in America.

Lupinacci said the Italian Flag would continue to fly above the Columbus statue for the rest of October to celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month.

 Walt Whitman High School marching band passes under the American flag during Sunday’s Long Island Columbus Day Parade in Huntington.  Photo/South Huntington School District

Walt Whitman High School marching band passes under the American flag during Sunday’s Long Island Columbus Day Parade in Huntington. Photo/South Huntington School District

Storytellers To Weave Their Tales

 The cast of Maria Adcock, Lisa Leshaw, Kathy Radigan, Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, Barbara Herel, Kate Mayer, Lance Werth, Neil Kramer, and Tony Mennuto are ready to tell you a story.

The cast of Maria Adcock, Lisa Leshaw, Kathy Radigan, Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, Barbara Herel, Kate Mayer, Lance Werth, Neil Kramer, and Tony Mennuto are ready to tell you a story.

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

Delve into the funny, crazy, unbelievable, and at times heart wrenching stories that make up nine storytellers’ family histories at “Every Family’s Got One (a story, that is),” premiering its first show on Oct. 11 at Cinema Arts Center in Huntington.

Producers Barbara Herel and Kathy Radigan have curated a lineup of performers who are ready to dive into their families’ pasts. While working together on another storytelling venture, “Listen to Your Mother,” the producers discovered they lived near each other on Long Island. In the search of a new project to pursue, Herel came up with the idea to put together a show centered around family. Radigan was completely on board.

“I just thought of ‘what do I love to hear?’ and I love to hear people’s crazy stories about their families, I definitely have a few of my own to tell,” Herel said.

As performers themselves, Herel and Radigan, will be on stage, along with Maria Adcock, Lisa Leshaw, Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, Kate Mayer, Lance Werth, Neil Kramer, and Tony Mennuto.

“We’re not only showcasing our work, we’ve really been reaching out to incredible writers and storytellers all over the place,” Herel said.

Herel and Radigan have been working since the spring of 2017 to develop their project. They launched a website in January with weekly blog posts covering all sorts of topics about family.

“We really come from so many different parts of the universe - politically, socially, economically - and yet family is still family. We all have those moments that are universal,” Radigan said.

The blog went to the next level when they began to host a weekly Facebook live. This allowed them to connect with the public, which is what storytelling is all about, according to Radigan.

“It’s a way for people to get to know us and consider themselves part of our family by allowing them to see us,” Herel said. “It’s really nice when people chime in and we can see them.”

Once they put the show together, they knew they wanted to bring it to the local community. Five of the nine performers come from Long Island but each bring a different perspective. Still, Herel and Radigan believe people can relate to each story in some way.

“They’re so universal, I can’t imagine anybody listening to any of them and not feeling something,” Radigan said. “I really think that’s the most beautiful part and I’m hoping people leave feeling more connected.”

Each storyteller will have five to eight minutes to weave their tale. One after the other, the stories will build on each other.

“If you hear a story and even if you didn’t have that same exact experience, it’s going to do something to you, it’ll inspire you or make you laugh,” Herel said. “You’re really gonna have an empathetic moment.”

Herel and Radigan found that the nine stories they chose fit together “like a puzzle.”

The cast has formed a family of their own. As defined by the producers, family is “the people in your life who support you”.

“In these fractured times, Barbara and I feel one thing you can always talk to people about is a family story,” Radigan said.

Tickets can be purchased online at Everyfamilysgotone.com for $35, or at the door for $40. A portion of sales will be donated to the Visiting Nurse Service of Suffolk County.

The show is for mature audiences.

Poet Awarded For Cultural Development

 George Wallace, right, met with international poets, Guiseppe Napolitano, Italy; Shaip Emerllahu, Macedonia and Tozan Alkan, Turkey while in Bulgaria. This month he’s off to Greece to receive an award and connect with more poets.

George Wallace, right, met with international poets, Guiseppe Napolitano, Italy; Shaip Emerllahu, Macedonia and Tozan Alkan, Turkey while in Bulgaria. This month he’s off to Greece to receive an award and connect with more poets.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

 

Distinguished poet, George Wallace will be the first American citizen to receive the Alexander the Great Gold Medal (Χρυσό Μετάλλιο του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου) in Greece this coming Sunday.

Bestowed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Wallace will be traveling to the island of Salamis along with around 20 others who have made advancements with culture. He was selected by the organization due to his connection to the director, Kafe Idion, who he met at a poetry festival in Macedonia in 2017. After sharing his work with Idion, he was asked if he could be considered for the medal and within a month received a letter saying that he was chosen.

Although, his trip to Greece will be brief, Wallace is hoping to reconnect with poets and musicians he had encountered on his travels to the country before. He is also looking forward to encountering various artists during his time Salamis off the coast of Greece.

“It reminds me of the responsibility I have not just to myself but also to the people I represent, the Walt Whitman Birthplace and The Long Islander, to conduct myself and offer myself in a way that brings honor to the people I represent,” Wallace said.

Wallace has been the writer in residence at the Birthplace since 2011 and helps them organize events. He also spent many years working at the Long Islander newspaper and continues to contribute to the poetry column he brought back. For thirty years, the Long Islander has been sharing poets’ work from across the globe, with over 1,500 poems published.

“Reaching out and exchanging with people from different places I think is a healthy thing,” Wallace said. “It’s part of what it means to be American, to respect and learn from each other and see how we can grow together.”

To Wallace, the key to cultural development is the “meeting of minds,” which he encourages by reaching out to other cultures in the United States and internationally. He works to find commonalities and connections between cultures.

“It’s a cross cultural exchange, the work I do,” Wallace said. “I try to find a way to reach across boundaries and borders to find a dialogue with people from other places and cultures.”

 As the writer in residence for the Walt Whitman Birthplace, Wallace has brought in poets from around the world.

As the writer in residence for the Walt Whitman Birthplace, Wallace has brought in poets from around the world.

In his travels abroad, Wallace has worked to share poetry from across the world. He also, invites poets from other nations to read their work at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, bringing their culture to Huntington.

“It’s a multi-directional thing,” Wallace said. “It’s not just me going to other places and strutting my stuff, it’s also giving opportunities to people from other places to come here.”

Recently, Wallace traveled to the border between South Texas and Mexico, to speak with individuals on both sides about how they felt about the controversy it has caused. He wanted to gain a sense of what the border meant to either side, as a way to create a dialogue between both sides’ cultures.

“We can either retreat into our caves or we can step out into the sun and greet each other as fellow human beings,” Wallace said.

A native Long Islander, Wallace lived in England for 20 years but eventually came back to his roots in Huntington and began to pursue poetry professionally. He finds that as he has grown and changed in life, what he writes about has evolved as well.

“I’ve always been a person that approached the creation of art as a vehicle to an idea, rather than the opposite of having an idea then creating the art,” Wallace said. “I use poetry to find out what it is I want to talk about.”

He choose poetry as a career because he felt he had a talent with working with words and wanted to grow his potential. While he does write about his own life, he also touches upon issues that face society.

“It’s not about inspiration, it’s about exploration,” Wallace said. “Poetry is a way to explore the things that are meaningful to me.”

His passion for poetry is evident and Wallace is happy with the path he has chosen, as he said, “you only live once.”

“I would hate to reach the end of my life with only consuming,” Wallace said. “Just consuming for all my years is not good enough for me. I want to produce.”

'Evil Dead' Star Hosts Game Show Here

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By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Pop-culture fans will get the chance to take part in a live game show at The Paramount in Huntington next week about all things Comic-Con.

The Last Fan Standing, a “live trivia contest for nerd-culture know-it-alls,” gives audience members a chance to compete against each other in an attempt to be the “last fan standing.”

The trivia show was first developed in 2015 by co-creators Steve Sellery, CEO of Iconic Media Group, New York Times best selling author Philip Van Munching and actor Bruce Campbell.

Campbell, best known for his role as Ash Williams in the numerous renditions of The Evil Dead franchise, hosts Last Fan Standing. Campbell is a familiar and popular face at Comic-Con panels across the country.

The show starts with an audience response round where each ticket holder gets a chance to earn a spot next to Campbell on stage. Using a clicker audience members answer 25 multiple choice questions on the show’s four major categories: fantasy, horror, sci-fi and superheroes.

“If you can find it at Comic-Con, you’ll be asked about it here,” Campbell said.

The top four players with the fastest correct answers advance to the podium round where they face questions asked by Campbell on stage. The players with the lowest scores are eliminated until only one is left to compete in a “the final confrontation.”

The game is repeated, and a second podium round produces another competitor for the final confrontation. These two pop-culture gurus answer questions on everything from Marvel Comics to Stephen King until one is crowned “The Last Fan Standing.”

The interactive nature of the show creates a party-like atmosphere. Some contestants show how dedicated they are as fans by cosplaying, or dressing up as a character from a comic book, movie or TV show, at the competition.

In addition to his self-deprecating comedic style, Campbell also commands the stage during the show in one of his signature flashy suits that Comic-Con fans have grown to love.

Fans can test their knowledge of pop culture and try to become the last fan standing at The Paramount on Oct. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $20-$40 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Unity On Parade In Huntington

 State, county and town officials joined representatives from the Elwood, Harborfields, Huntington, Northport and South Huntington school districts to honor, seated from left, Imam Ibrahim Ahmad, Kristin Orig, Julio Taku, Jessica Kennedy, Rosario Lorenza and event co-chair Dolores Thompson.  Photos/South Huntington School District

State, county and town officials joined representatives from the Elwood, Harborfields, Huntington, Northport and South Huntington school districts to honor, seated from left, Imam Ibrahim Ahmad, Kristin Orig, Julio Taku, Jessica Kennedy, Rosario Lorenza and event co-chair Dolores Thompson. Photos/South Huntington School District

By Connor Beach

cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The eighth annual Huntington Awareness Day Unity in the Community Day parade and fair kicked off on Saturday as hundreds of students and community members took to the streets to celebrate diversity and solidarity in Huntington.

Co-chaired by Dolores Thompson and South Huntington Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo, the event began with a parade from HuntingtonHigh School up Oakwood Road to StimsonMiddle School in Huntington Station.

Greenlawn American Legion Post 1244 provided the color guard as marching bands, cheerleaders and fire trucks created an exciting atmosphere for the parade.

 State, county and town officials joined representatives from the Elwood, Harborfields, Huntington, Northport and South Huntington school districts, scouts, service organizations, law enforcement representatives, religious groups, and not-for-profits from across the town

What began as a day to raise awareness for the necessary revitalization of Huntington Station has expanded to include groups from across the Town of Huntington.

Each year the school districts present awards to honorees who displayed outstanding commitment to the local community.

Imam Ibrahim Ahmad, of Masjid Noor in Huntington, received the Excellence in Community Awareness.

Jessica Kennedy, Rosario Lorenza and Kristin Orig, teachers from Elwood, Huntington and Northport, respectively, were honored with Excellence in Education award.

Walt Whitman High School graduate Julio Taku received the Excellence in Community Leadership award, and Harborfields High School student Christina Amari was honored for her Excellence in Student Leadership.

After the awards ceremony, community members and residents stayed late into the afternoon to enjoy the company of their neighbors and the rides at the fair.

Artists Look 'Beyond The Sound'

 Grainne de Buitlear, at work in her studio, is exhibiting with fellow painters Jean Cohn and Michael Ricigliano in Beyond The Sound at Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery

Grainne de Buitlear, at work in her studio, is exhibiting with fellow painters Jean Cohn and Michael Ricigliano in Beyond The Sound at Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

The work of three artists comes together in harmony to transport viewers through Long Island at the recently opened Huntington Arts Council exhibit, Beyond the Sound.

This invitational exhibit features the works of Grainne de Buitlear, Jean Cohn, and Michael Ricigliano, Long Islanders who think outside the box and feel they go “beyond the Long Island Sound.” The artists came up with the name of the exhibit and feel this title encapsulates all three of their bodies of work, with two artists focusing on water-based pieces and the other taking influences from nature and putting it into his work. The exhibit will run from September 21 through October 13.

Taking a stroll around the gallery, it is evident which pieces come from a particular artist due to their unique styles. Their style and subjects all come from their different paths of life. Buitlear is primarily a painter and works with pastels, Cohn is an art teacher for children pre-kindergarten to sixth grade and weaves mixed mediums, and Ricigliano practices law and creates figurative work based on what he sees.

“You’d be able to tell by looking at it, their different perspectives on basically what beyond the sound is,” Emily Dowd, Grants for the Arts Coordinator at Huntington Arts Council, said. “You can see how they interpret their different experiences and bringing it into one cohesive show.”

Artist, Grainne de Buitlear has fallen in love with the Long Island coast and the nature that surrounds it. Originally from the east coast of Ireland, she finds many similarities between living on the coasts of these places and finds herself gravitating toward it.

“I really try to be inspired by what I see,” Grainne de Buitlear, one of the artists, said. “I take my inspiration from nature around me, I find beautiful spots. I love the sea, I love what I’ve grown up with I guess.”

After moving to New York in her 20s to pursue acting, Buitlear found love and decided to stay in the States. She now has a studio in her home in Port Jefferson, that has given her a creative outlet between raising four kids. Buitlear reflects on her time as a child as a time when she developed her creativity, with a mother as a set designer, she has been painting since she was seven years old.

“My family has always been involved with arts, my uncle was a wildlife filmmaker. My mother and uncle went around Europe and to Ethiopia making these films,” Buitlear said. “So I spent my summers and every trip surrounded by wildlife.”

Although, Buitlear knew she loved nature and wildlife, she did not start painting landscapes with pastels until two years ago. This is when she began to submit her work to galleries around Long Island and joined the LIMArts collaborative arts group.

“They had asked me to do a show a year ago and I said, ‘No way, I couldn’t have the time to make such a body of work.’ And they asked me again and I just thought that was a challenge that would make me work harder and pour my heart into,” Buitlear said.

What’s unique about an invitational show is the amount of work that is displayed by each artist. Typically, an exhibit would allow only one or two works from each artist but an invitational displays an artist’s body of work. The artists were selected by Emily Dowd and Kieren Johnson, co-curators in exhibition program, based on the cohesiveness of their works.

“We look into the submissions and take a look at what we think really works well together,” Dowd said. “And that’s how these three artists were selected to be a part of the show.”

The Huntington Arts Council holds two to three invitationals a year, that allows artists to showcase their pieces, selected by them. Buitlear choose to display her landscapes created at West Meadow Beach, Belle Terre Beach, the Hamptons, Montauk, and other coastal areas on Long Island.

“I really did base my work on the edge of the Sound and kept my work very coastal based, just beyond the water, the greens, and the vascity of that landscape around it,” Buitlear said.

All pieces on display are for sale and can purchased during the duration of the exhibit. The gallery is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekdays and 12 - 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Danity Kane On Reunion Tour

 Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard and Aubrey O’Day are reuniting for to perform the hits from Danity Kane.

Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard and Aubrey O’Day are reuniting for to perform the hits from Danity Kane.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Three of the original members of the female pop group Danity Kane are reuniting on stage for the first time in four years.

The trio, calling themselves DK3, consists of Shannon Bex, Aubrey O’Day and Dawn Richard. Bex, 38, O’Day, 34, and Richard, 35, performed as DK3 for a brief time in 2014. Danity Kane’s third album, “DK3,” was released at the end of 2014 after the trio had already disbanded.

The five original members of Danity Kane were discovered in 2005 by rapper and producer Sean “Diddy” Combs during the filming of the show Making the Band 3. Aundrea Fimbres and Wanita Woodgett joined Bex, O’Day and Richard in the band’s first lineup.

The band’s debut album, self-titled “Danity Kane,” topped the U.S. Billboard charts in August 2006 and produced the top ten single “Show Stopper.” In 2008, Danity Kane released their second album “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” which also debuted atop the Billboard Top 200.

The success of Danity Kane’s first two albums earned the band a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female group in Billboard’s history to consecutively produce albums that debuted at the number one spot.

The five members of Danity Kane never got the opportunity to continue to build upon the popularity of their first two albums. By early 2009 internal conflict within the band resulted in a breakup.

Bex, Fimbres, O’Day and Richard briefly reunited in 2014, but disbanded again roughly six months later.

Several members of the band, including Bex, O’Day and Richard, went on to pursue other musical ventures. Bex and O’Day continued to work together releasing music as the duo Dumblonde, while Richard has had a successful solo career.

DK3’s show at The Paramount will feature performances from Richard’s solo project, as well as a second act featuring music from Dumblonde.

The show will finish with Bex, O’Day and Richard all taking the stage together to treat the audience to the trio’s renditions of Danity Kane hits like “Ride for You” and “Damaged.”

DK3 is scheduled to take the stage at The Paramount on Oct. 2, and doors are set to open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets range from $25-$75 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Death Doesn’t Have To Be Scary

 Susan Capurso wants to bring tranquility to a person’s journey of moving from this world to the next.

Susan Capurso wants to bring tranquility to a person’s journey of moving from this world to the next.

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

The topic of death can be one that sends goosebumps up someone’s spine, no one wants to face this but it is something that inevitably comes. What if someone could pass on in a peaceful way that leaves them feeling they have lived a fulfilled life?

This is the mission of Susan Capurso, founder of East End Doula Care, who wants to change the view of end of life care and improve a person’s journey into this last chapter of their life. As a certified doula, Capurso is emotionally supportive and can guide a person and their family during this time. She also provides elder care assistance to people who may not be at this part of their life, but still need support and guidance.

“For years and years doulas have helped bring babies into the world and now we’re helping people leave the world more peaceful and with less anxiety,” Capurso said.

When someone feels they are close to death, it can leave both them and their family feeling afraid and overwhelmed. This is when Capurso comes in, she will put forth techniques to change the family dynamic and mindset. She learned this during her training from Doulagivers in New York City which taught her the three phases of care.

“When people get a diagnosis, they’re in a fog, confused and overwhelmed, not knowing what Is going to happen next,” Capurso said. “Family members who were once your main support, now lose their focus as well. Everyone is frightened and sad. We come in, address your story as a whole and work each angle of your life to completion. Paper work, family gatherings, legacy work and more.”

Capurso offers many service packages and feels she offers her clients a renewed outlook and experience. She offers discounts if someone uses her services in the long term, which can be found on her website EastEndDoulaCare.com. Also, Capurso offers telephone guidance for a small fee if someone is in need of quick assistance, she can help them plan for what is to come and offer them referrals.

One of the services she offers is her creativity through legacy projects that she will work on with the person for a few hours a week. Something as simple as writing birthday cards for their children over the next 10 years, to be delivered every year, can let the person know their words will carry on for years after they have passed.

“I tend to think outside of the box, so bringing this in is what I do best,” Capurso said. “When you’re in the family, you should be grieving, you should be spending time and sharing love, I can bring in the rest.”

As an outsider to the family, Capurso does her best to educate the family on what could happen when the person is nearing death so they are prepared. By doing this, she can remind them when the time does come certain signs and symptoms are normal and natural. Working as a volunteer for Hospice for four years, Capurso has experienced this process many times before, which helps her to identify symptoms that a person is experiencing close to the end of their life.

Once in your End of Life Chapter, Capurso will work with them on their advanced directives by utilizing the five wishes program. These directives outline what a person would like to happen if they could not speak for themselves any longer. She also helps write personal eulogies, enabling them to express their feelings in the moment, even when they are not there.

“It’s all the little things that are going to help you make your end chapter, a better story. Every one of us want to leave with grace and dignity feeling more complete and with closure.” Capurso said.

Whatever a person’s diagnosis, Capurso wants to make their transition into this last part of their life, a smooth one that is not filled with fear and anxiety. This is a time for someone to finish many of the things they always wanted to do, a bucket list, being one. She gives the example of someone who has always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon. Although, they may not physically be able to go there, she would get popcorn, snacks, and videos that give a tour through the Grand Canyon and do a theme night for the family to remember forever.

“We need to learn how to do death better, instead of being so scared and letting someone die alone on machine’s in hospitals, let’s do this at home in your loving environment,” Capurso said. “It has to change, our elderly community has increased by tenfold, we are facing trouble in the coming years and I hope to make an impact by bringing a positive spin to everyone’s End of Life.”

Those interested in becoming an End of Life doula, can contact Capurso and visit doulagivers.com.

Picture Book Traces Northport History

NorthportHistoryBook_1.jpg

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Get a better picture of Northport’s history through stories and photographs in Images of America: Northport, a newly released book by Teresa Reid and Robert Hughes.

Both authors come with a background of historical appreciation that makes them the perfect team for weaving the village’s history. Reid has been working with the Northport Historical Society as their collection consultant and exhibit curator for 15 years. Hughes is the official Huntington Town Historian and has authored similar books about Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington Village history. The duo decided to partner in writing the book at a Northport Historical Society fundraiser last summer.

The Images of America series covers many towns across the country, including Greenlawn and Huntington. Northport was a fit for the series due to its exceptional architecture and wealth of photographs. The format of a picture book readily grabs a reader’s attention and interest.

“It makes it a lot more accessible for people when they see something they recognize from every day,” Hughes said. “When they go down Main Street in the village, they can say, ‘Oh, now I know what building that is and the history of that.’ And that’s very interesting, because if they had just read about it, they might not picture what we’re talking about.”

The work for the book was divided between the two authors, allowing each to write about what appealed to them most. It was completed early this year and released by Arcadia Publishing on Sept. 10.

“We were able to come up with what historical topics we wanted to cover by what we knew - what storylines there were, the important people, important events,” Reid said. “So we were able to outline it and break it up into chapters.”

Each photograph in the book is accompanied by a detailed description of what it means to Northport’s history. Reid and Hughes went through many photographs and documents in the digitized collection of the Northport Historical Society.

“Northport Historical Society was really invaluable with their immense collection of photographs and subject files, that we could research just about any topic that we chose,” Reid said.

When a picture was not available, the authors substituted a document or shot a present-day photograph. They filled missing gaps in information by looking at old newspapers and got help from village historian, Steven King. Many records were preserved thanks to past historians, who are thanked on the acknowledgements page.

“We absolutely could not have done it without all the people who came before us,” Reid said. “We’re just carrying on the tradition.”

Royalties from the book will be donated to the Northport Historical Society and used to aid the preservation of their collection of Northport history.

The authors feel that the preservation of Northport’s history is best done through telling stories of the village, which gives readers an appreciation of the buildings and landmarks that surround them.

“It’s very important for everyone to know, because as they say, ‘You can’t figure out where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.’ There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the past,” Hughes said.

By reflecting on events of the past, people can inform their decisions for the future. The book also shows that Northport has a long history of having a tight knit community, which hopefully will inspire readers to continue this tradition.

“Even from the earliest times of Northport, the community has always helped each other out,” Reid said. “So you’re learning these stories of these men and women that came before you and their interactions and how they helped each other, it is very similar to today.”

Those who live in Northport and neighboring communities are sure to enjoy this historical read, which will give them more insight into the village’s intertwining stories of the past.

“I didn’t move to Northport until 2001 but I feel like Northport is my real home,” Reid said. “It was an honor for me to be able to write a book about the history. I’ve always been interested in the history and have volunteered and worked at the Historical Society for years so it just felt like a natural culmination.”

Copies of the book can be purchased in local bookstores, at Northport Historical Society, or online for $23.99.  A book launch event will be held on Friday, Sept. 14, at Northport Historical Society (215 Main Street) from 7-9 p.m. The authors will be speaking about the writing process and giving insight on their favorite parts of the book. They will be signing copies as well.

A One-Man Cast Of Characters

 Comedian Dana Carvey is scheduled to bring his style of characters and impersonations to The Paramount on Sept. 11.

Comedian Dana Carvey is scheduled to bring his style of characters and impersonations to The Paramount on Sept. 11.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Comedian Dana Carvey is best known for his performances on Saturday Night Live that reinvigorated the sketch comedy show in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but the pressure of a weekly live show in front of a national audience was something that took a little getting used to.

Carvey, 63, became a household name on SNL in 1986 on the back of his popular character impressions that included Church Lady, Garth Algar - of Wayne’s World - and George H. W. Bush.

“The first year on SNL was abject terror… terrifying for sure,” Carvey said. “Then it was moderately terrifying for the next three years, then for the last three years I was more desensitized to the fear, more relaxed and more confident.”

For Carvey, SNL was his first attempt at sketch comedy since he began his standup career in San Francisco during the late ‘70s.

“It took awhile for me to get used to being in sketches,” Carvey said.

Carvey’s characters were a hit with the audience, and in 1993 he was awarded the Emmy for outstanding individual performance in a variety program.

Carvey said his famous Church Lady character was inspired by the memory of patronizing schoolteachers from his childhood.

“That one just kind of hit me on stage,” Carvey said. “I think that somehow I processed the rhythm of patronizing teachers initially.”

When working on his impersonations, Carvey said he feels “the main thing is just listening” to the person’s voice. He also allows himself to use some creative license.

“I’ve never been obsessed with complete accuracy. I’m always looking for some kind of a rhythm or take on it that makes me happy in my brain,” Carvey said.

Carvey is scheduled to perform at The Paramount in Huntington on Sept. 11 with an opening act by his sons Dex and Thomas Carvey.

Carvey said his standup show is a reflection of what is going on in the world at the moment, and audiences can expect to hear the voices of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and other relevant names from the front pages of the news.

“My standup is a lot of riffing with characters and impressions, and working with my sons gives me a chance to hatch a lot of new ideas,” Carvey said.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets for the show range from $49.50-$79.50 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Drivers Fuel Up For A Cause

 Carl Peyser, of Huntington, fills up his Corvette at the grand opening of the GivNGo gas station.

Carl Peyser, of Huntington, fills up his Corvette at the grand opening of the GivNGo gas station.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

A new gas station in Huntington Station allows drivers to give back when they fuel up.

GivNGo Fuel held a grand opening for the company’s newest gas station at 2135 New York Avenue in Huntington Station on Friday afternoon. During the grand opening, which ran from 10 a.m.-noon, a portion of the money for each sale benefited the Townwide Fund of Huntington.

 PinkTie1000 Founder Mike Cave presents a $2,000 check to representatives of the Townwide Fund of Huntington after the grand opening.

PinkTie1000 Founder Mike Cave presents a $2,000 check to representatives of the Townwide Fund of Huntington after the grand opening.

The Huntington Station location’s grand opening was not the first time GivNGo has supported local charities. For every gallon pumped at any of the Freeport-based company’s gas stations, a penny is donated to the PinkTie1000 Foundation.

The PinkTie1000 Foundation, headquartered in Melville, in turn, donates the funds to different local charities on Long Island every quarter.

“The Townwide Fund is so excited to have been selected by PinkTie and GivNGo for this grand opening, and we appreciate the financial support and public awareness that being part of the GivNGo’s new location will bring,” Gloria Palacios, Executive Director of the Townwide Fund of Huntington, said.

The Townwide Fund of Huntington provides grants to organizations and non-profits that provide health and human services for underserved residents of the Town of Huntington.

Located just north of the Walt Whitman Mall, the Huntington Station location is the third GivNGo station, with stations currently operating in Freeport and Floral Park.

The pink colored gas stations give drivers an easy way to help drivers raise funds for local charities.

“If more people realized that giving back would not only grow their business but also make them feel good because of the positive impact they are making in their community, I think the world would be a better place,” PinkTie1000 Founder Mike Cave said.

At the end of the grand opening for the Huntington Station GivNGo, Cave presented a $2,000 dollar check to the Townwide Fund of Huntington.

Children's Book Honors A Son's Memory

AuthorUrda_2.jpg

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

It started as a nightly tradition while tucking  in his three children. They would say “I love you” and Gary Urda told them, “I love you more.” That was the inspiration for his new children’s book, “Love You More”.

As the nighttime ritual progressed, Urda added more details to his overflowing love and got creative with his sons, thinking of new ways to top the last time he told them he loved them. In his book, readers will get a glimpse into these special moments he shared with his children and understand the love a parent has for their child is “unconditional and unparalleled”.

“I think it’s important that we find a way to let our kids know how much they mean to us, in a way that they understand,” Urda said.

The book comes from an idea that circulated in his head for many months after his family brought back the tradition of telling each other, “I love you more…” as a reminder that they always care. What brought back this tradition and led to the loving book, was the tragedy of his middle son, Sean, passing in 2015. Even though this unfortunate event happened, what came out of it was a way for Urda to honor his family and the immense love they all share.

“I believe Sean has seen the book and absolutely loves it,” Urda said. “He was all about caring for his family and this is the perfect message for that.”

When Urda finally went to put the words down on paper, they flowed out of him and only took a week to finish. Each page of the book begins with the phrase, “I love you more than…” and comes directly from words Urda said to his sons when they were younger.

“The first line of the book and the last line of the book are what really resonated with me,” Urda said. “It’s about the act of parenting and how rewarding it can be.”

The first line of the book reads, “We thought we knew what true love was but then you came into our lives.” Urda feels this line will resonate with many parents as they read this book to their child, which is why he choose to make it a children’s book.

“You think when you’re first married that you know what true love is, and then you have kids and learn what family love is and it’s completely different,” Urda said.

Urda’s words are brought to life through fantastic and colorful illustrations, designed by Jennifer A. Bell. Although, he did not design them, he requested that his son, Sean, be honored by including his soccer jersey number in one of the illustrations. However when asked if he wanted the illustrations to be modeled after his family, he said no. He believes the family in the book could be any family and hopes families of all kinds can relate to it.

The message he hopes to send is for parents to see how important it is for them to tell their children how much they love them, instead of just saying, “I love you”.

“They taught me as a father what love really is and I owe that to all three of my boys,” Urda said.

The book was published in August and can be purchased in hardcover for $17.99. Urda will be speaking and signing books at Barnes & Noble in East Northport on Saturday, Sept. 8, 12 p.m.

“What I’ve learned from writing a book is that you write from the heart,” Urda said. “So sharing those words and being able to meet people face-to-face who also share those words is a beautiful thing.”

Daughtry's Still Figuring It Out

  Chris Daughtry, center, and his namesake band are slated to take the stage Saturday at The Paramount in Huntington.  

Chris Daughtry, center, and his namesake band are slated to take the stage Saturday at The Paramount in Huntington.  

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Growing up Chris Daughtry never considered himself a musician, but he did always seem to have a creative side.

“I was a bit of a loner,” Daughtry said. “I was always doing creative things, but I didn’t really fall in love with the idea of performing or writing songs until I was about 16.”

Daughtry, 38, said he was influenced by the grunge music scene that was popular in the early ‘90s and “kind of got the bug.”

The musician gained national attention in 2006 when he auditioned for season five of American Idol. Daughtry went on to finish fourth in the competition, and earned himself a record deal with RCA Records.

Daughtry said his memory of the post-American Idol period is defined by hard work.

“I just remember working, working, working,” Daughtry said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of time to really thing about anything… it was just go, go, go.”

Daughtry formed his namesake band in late 2006, and their first single “It’s Not Over” reached number four on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts.

Daughtry said he never really got a chance to think about the transition from the national recognition of American Idol to forming the band Daughtry.

“I don’t think there was ever a time where I got to sit back and really think about what was happening and process that,” Daughtry said.

Since the release of “It’s Not Over” in 2006 and “Home” in 2007, Daughtry said he has grown as a performer.

“I feel like now I’m not really thinking about what I’m doing up there,” he said. “Before I felt like it had to be a certain way and look a certain way.”

Daughtry released its fifth studio album “Cage to Rattle” earlier this year, and the frontman said the music is a reflection of his development as a person.

“I feel like in the last few years I have really figured myself out as a human being, and that’s carried over into my music, personal life and how I conduct myself in general,” Daughtry said.

Daughtry is slated to perform at The Paramount in Huntington on Saturday, and he said the band’s goal is to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and can find an escape.

Tickets for the show range from $44-$104, and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.

Masons' Place In History Is Marked

  Worshipful Master, Richard Harris celebrating the placement of a historical marker in front of the Masonic Lodge in Huntington.    Long Islander photo/Sophia Ricco

Worshipful Master, Richard Harris celebrating the placement of a historical marker in front of the Masonic Lodge in Huntington. 
Long Islander photo/Sophia Ricco

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

The Town of Huntington honored the Masonic Lodge at 342-344 New York Ave, with a historical marker outside their building that recognized the Masons’ long standing tie to the building and community.

The building was recognized with a historical marker unveiled on August 16. Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Town Historian Robert Hughes were in attendance along with many of the Masons’ members. The town places only a few markers a year for significant sites and buildings.

“It shows that history is all around us, we have over 125 markers around the Town of Huntington. People realize that history is everywhere they go in town, that something important happened here,” Hughes said. “It’s good to remind people that this is not a new town that just sprang up overnight, we have been here a long time.”

When Jephtha Lodge No. 494 was chartered on January 25, 1860, the men knew they needed a spot to meet that was theirs. In 1869, they chose to purchase a plot of land on New York Avenue for $1000, but it wasn’t until 1904 that the first cornerstone was laid. Since 1905, the fraternity has been meeting and holding events at the Lodge.

Currently, the group has over 140 members and meets the second Monday of every month from September through May. They are in high demand to accept applications, with many coming in from men of all ages.

“We’re in a renaissance right now, a lot of brothers are coming in to the lodge,” Ron Seifried, Chairman of Trustees, said. “We’re unique because a lot of other lodges don’t have that popularity. But we’re in a good location and we have a great community in Huntington so we’re very fortunate.”

However, there was a period of time when the Masonic Lodge was not as prosperous with members, Seifried recalls a time when only a few members would come to meetings. He believes the organization turned this around when they began to bring in younger men who could recommend their peers. When he first joined, Seifried remembers not knowing anything about the Masons but was recommended by his mentor.

  Many members attended the historic marker’s unveiling. From left are Chairman of Trustees Ron Seifried, Town Historian Robert Hughes, Worshipful Master Richard Harris, and Senior Warden Artie Myers.    Long Islander photo/Sophia Ricco

Many members attended the historic marker’s unveiling. From left are Chairman of Trustees Ron Seifried, Town Historian Robert Hughes, Worshipful Master Richard Harris, and Senior Warden Artie Myers. 
Long Islander photo/Sophia Ricco

 “When I walked in I had no idea what I was joining, I was like, ‘What is this place? I’ve never heard of these guys.’ But I was fascinated by the history and forgotten pieces of Huntington since I grew up here,” Seifried said.

Those interested in joining can apply by giving three references and must be highly recommended by someone, however it does not have to be someone in the organization. Men who join are interested in improving themselves due to the large amounts of charity work the group participates in. They hold blood drives, child ID programs, local charity drives, and sponsor little league teams.

“Men join who want to be a part of a group that works hard to achieve their level of degrees but we’re all on the same level of brotherhood,” Seifried said.

Since they are all brothers, they are “on the level” of each other and seen as equal. All the Lodge members come from different walks of life and have an array of professions, making them a diverse group.

“There’s two things we don’t discuss in the lodge, it’s politics and religion,” Seifried said. “So when you go to the lodge, if you’re far republican or very liberal, in the lodge we all get along.”

To many members, the Lodge is a home away from home where they can come together with their brothers for meetings and the many parties they hold, like Octoberfest and St. Patrick’s Day. The Lodge is also home to the Veterans Service Center which collaborates with the Masons. On Sundays, the brothers will help escort veterans to various religious services and three times a summer the Masons will take them out fishing.

Even though, the fraternity is strictly for men, the Lodge helped charter Truth Triangle No. 31, a group that empowers young women by teaching them skills for success. They were founded in 1927 and many influential and successful women have been a part of their organization.

“I think that initially they [young women] don’t really know the history but once they see it and they understand that they are a part of something that’s been here for that long, it makes it that much more meaningful to them,” Jennifer Wainwright, Senior Adviser of Truth Triangle, said.

This past year around 15 men became “Master Masons” and joined the brotherhood. When a brother becomes a part of the organization, he is in it for life and will always have something in common with his fellow Masons.

“I meet brothers for the last 15 years in odd places, I recognize them and we start talking. ‘Hey you’re a Mason.’ We don’t know each other but we become friendly almost immediately,” Seifried said.

Transplant Recipient Helps Set A Record

  Heart transplant recipient Christian Siems, left, traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah during the first week of August to compete in the 2018 Transplant Games of America.   Photos courtesy of Michele Martines

Heart transplant recipient Christian Siems, left, traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah during the first week of August to compete in the 2018 Transplant Games of America.
Photos courtesy of Michele Martines

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

A local heart transplant recipient took part earlier this month in an event that highlights the lasting legacy of organ donors.

Christian Siems, 24, of Greenlawn, traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah during the first week of August to compete in the 2018 Transplant Games of America.

The Transplant Games are hosted by the Transplant Life Foundation and competition events are open to organ, bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients, as well as living donors.

Siems, a 2012 Harborfields High School graduate, received his heart transplant on April 25, 2015 after suffering from cardio myopathy that was first diagnosed in 2012.

Siems received his heart from a U.S. Marine named Nichols Brown whose organs saved a total of four lives. Siems said he decided to compete in the Transplant Games in honor of Brown.

“I thank my donor every day- he saved my life and the lives of 3 others,” Siems said. “Without my donor, I would not be here.”

Not every New Yorker is as luckily as Siems. The state ranks last in the country for registered donors, and every 18 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

Part of the mission of the Transplant Games is to increase awareness of the life-restoring importance of organ donation and increase the number of individuals registering as donor candidates.

These were Siems’ second Transplant Games, and he competed with solid organ transplant recipients from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a member of Team Liberty.

 Siems competed with Team Liberty, comprised of transplant recipients from New York and Connecticut.   Photo courtesy Michelle Martines

Siems competed with Team Liberty, comprised of transplant recipients from New York and Connecticut. 
Photo courtesy Michelle Martines

Team Liberty was one of 43 teams made up of 2830 solid organ transplant recipients from across the country that came together to compete in Badminton, Ballroom Dancing, Bowling, Corn hole, Cycling, Darts, Golf, Lyrics for Life, Racquetball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track & Field, Trivia Challenge, Poker and Youth Olympiad.

Siems took home a silver medal in Men’s Golf, one of Team Liberty’s 98 medals.

Siem’s was part of another accomplishment: 540 organ recipients attended the closing ceremony on Aug. 7, officially earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most transplant recipients together in the same place.

“It is an amazing experience to be with people from all across the country who have received lifesaving transplants,” said Siems. “Donor families, recipients and supporters come together to share experiences, it is very emotional.”

Team Liberty is slated to host the 2020 Transplant Games at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.