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

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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

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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.

So, You Want To Be An Elephant Doctor

Kaitlyn Sage had the ultimate veterinary internship, traveling to Thailand to care for elephants rescued from abuse.

Kaitlyn Sage had the ultimate veterinary internship, traveling to Thailand to care for elephants rescued from abuse.

By Sophia Ricco
info@longislandergroup.com

When looking for a study abroad program to fill her summer with, Kaitlyn Sage knew she wanted to explore her passion of working with animals first hand in a vastly different culture.

It was when she stumbled upon Loop Abroad, a program that sends young adults age 14 to 30 to work in animal science, marine biology, and veterinary programs in other countries, that she found an experience that would meet all her needs.

Sage chose to apply for a two-week volunteer opportunity at their clinics in Thailand and was selected to go with a small team that was sent abroad. There she spent one week working at an elephant sanctuary and her second week at a dog shelter.

“I think it’s a great way to expand your knowledge of different practices,” Sage said. “Vet medicine is slightly different in Thailand than it is in the United States and it’s nice to be able to appreciate and accept the differences and similarities.”

When she wasn't hanging with elephants, Sage got to see some of Thailand. 

When she wasn't hanging with elephants, Sage got to see some of Thailand. 

In Thailand, elephants are native and run wild, unlike in the United States where elephants can only be found in a zoo. However, many elephants have been captured, beaten, and broken for the country’s entertainment and trekking industries. The elephant sanctuary works to help these animals who have been mistreated and allowed Sage to interact with elephants in a way she had never been able to before.

“It was very interesting to see all the elephants they had at the nature park because many had injuries they had sustained working or living in horrible conditions,” Sage said. “We saw elephants with dislocated limbs and elephants whose feet were blown off because of landmines. It was really sad but it was also eye opening to see how animals are treated around the world.”

Something that was emphasized within the program was the hands on experience students gain in the clinics. Not only were they observing veterinarians diagnose and treat the elephants, but they were also able to aid the creatures.

“We got to do elephant vet rounds where we would take care of them,” Sage said. “I got to flush wounds, wrap and unwrap elephants feet that had been damaged, trim their nails on their feet and remove infections.”

Not only are veterinary practices different in Thailand, but their philosophy of life is vastly different due to the Buddhist religion. When volunteering at the elephant sanctuary, Sage experienced a vegetarian lifestyle that influenced her to remain vegetarian after returning to the United States. Also, she never had to witness an animal be put down because the veterinarians do not euthanize.

“In Thailand they don’t believe in taking any life,” Sage said. “They think that the gods have control over this.”

When Sage went to the dog shelter in her second week, she performed four different types of surgeries. She learned how to work with anesthesia and was able to spay and neuter the animals. Although, there was veterinarians there to assist them, the students were able to do the whole surgery.

“It just solidified to me that I can do it and this is what I love to do,” Sage said. “Although we were doing surgeries and causing a little bit of pain to the animal, we knew it was for a good cause. It was really rewarding to see them wake up and be healthy again.”

Hearts Of Gold Still Beating

Jordan Belous founded her charity Whip Pediatric Cancer when she was 16 years old, and is still raising funds while in college.      Long Islander News   archive photo

Jordan Belous founded her charity Whip Pediatric Cancer when she was 16 years old, and is still raising funds while in college.   
Long Islander News archive photo

By Sophia Ricco
info@longislandergroup.com

When Jordan Belous first uploaded a video of herself doing the whip and nae nae on Facebook three years ago, she never could have imagined the impact it would make on awareness and research for pediatric cancer.

The “Whip Pediatric Cancer Challenge” was created by the Melville teen to challenge others to dance or donate. After gaining a massive amount of views and support, Belous knew she couldn’t stop there. This is when Belous came up with Heart of Gold, a fundraiser that sends gold hearts to schools and asks the students to color the hearts and collect a minimum donation of $2.

“It’s kids helping kids. I was just a kid when I started my foundation, I was 16 years old,” Belous said. “Even if you’re young you can still make a big difference and if you have an idea then you should go for it, you’re never too young.”

Belous is now 19 years old and attends Michigan State University but has not stopped raising funds for pediatric cancer. Heart of Gold is launching its third year of sending out gold hearts and has already received requests from 400 schools. Each school will distribute hearts to kids in all grades and can collectively make a huge impact.

“It doesn’t have to be a donation of $500, it could just be donating $2,” Belous said. “But with all the money added up it goes to $200,000. That’s how I’ve raised funds, small donations add up to a lot.”

This year, Heart of Gold is taking a big step to expand its reach by opening the program to businesses that will give gold hearts to their customers in exchange for a donation. Belous hopes this will increase donations among adults while making even more people aware of pediatric cancer.

The program has also gained international support, with requests from schools in India to participate. However, Belous wants to keep pushing for more international schools so she can “see the whole world go gold”.

The current goal is set at $200,000 but Belous won’t stop there, she hopes to keep upping the goal each year. All donations collected will go to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the leading hospital in pediatric cancer research. The center conducts research on treatment options and a cure, which benefits child cancer patients across the country.

“I know all of the hospitals work together. If they run out of options in Arizona then they’ll come to Sloan Kettering or another hospital,” Belous said. “They’re all in contact with each other to get the best treatment plan for each cancer case.”

With over 72,000 followers on Facebook and over $183,000 raised, Heart of Gold has grown larger than Belous could have ever imagined. She still thinks more can be done by raising awareness. Many do not even know that September is pediatric cancer awareness month or that gold is their color of support.

“Everyone knows that pink is for breast cancer but no one knows gold is for September so we’re trying to make gold as big as pink,” Belous said.

Belous is studying kinesiology in college with hopes of becoming a therapist for pediatric oncology. She still makes time to visit local hospitals while at college, and has continued to use Facebook to spread her message.

“There’s so many bad things on Facebook, you scroll through your feed and you’re like, ‘Next. Next.’ But this is something that should be shared and people should be made aware that there’s a 4-year old laying in a hospital bed fighting for their life and they don’t know if they’ll ever get to go to kindergarten,” Belous said.

With pediatric cancer being the top cause of death from disease for U.S. children ages 5-14, Belous hopes to grow her foundation every year. From an initial goal of $10,000 to now almost raising $200,000, this is a charity that doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

“I want to raise awareness to as many people as I can possibly touch,” Belous said. “I want to raise money so there are safer and better options for pediatric cancer. I know a cure we may never know but there are things coming about that are less painful and less toxic and that’s what we need.”

Schools and businesses that are interested in having a Heart of Gold can sign up online at whippediatriccancer.org and will receive a kit in the mail within a week.

The Eyes Behind The Phones

Third place image, “Lonely Picture,” by John Lazzaro

Third place image, “Lonely Picture,” by John Lazzaro

By Tatiana Belanich
info@longislandergroup.com

Photography is the most accessible it has ever been. Everyone has a camera on their phone, yet not everyone is a photographer.

The curator of FotoFoto Gallery’s International Phone-ography Exhibition agrees. “Photographers have an eye that are unlike other people,” Beth Giacummo-Lachacz said. “I think this exhibit helps separate that the person behind the camera is the talent, not the device.”

FotoFoto Gallery is showcasing the artistry that is now at the fingertips of the masses, but as Holly Gordon, gallery member and publicity coordinator of the exhibit said, “Everyone shoots with their phones, but not every shot is a winning one.”

The Phone-ography exhibit is the product of an international competition. Giacummo-Lachacz said that the gallery received over 300 submissions, with up to five images from each applicant. Submissions came from all over the world including France, Belgium, Florida, Texas, Long Island and Manhattan.

Though Giacummo-Lachacz said it was difficult to choose, the exhibit features 31 selected images, all of which were taken with smart phones. From those, the curator selected three for awards.

Giacummo-Lachacz has been a curator for over 12 years. She is the director and curator of Farmingdale State College’s Memorial Gallery and executive director of the Patchogue Arts Council. This was her first time being a juror for FotoFoto Gallery and said she felt honored to work with them.

Giacummo-Lachacz understands the work that goes into shows like this one. “I want to thank all the artists that took the time and effort,” she said. “I am also an artist, so I appreciate the time.”

For this show, FotoFoto Gallery printed the images for the iphoneographers. Rather than printing and shipping their pieces, the participants had only to email the images. “It makes the opportunity very convenient,” Giacummo-Lachacz said. 

FotoFoto Gallery is committed to bringing awareness to photography as art, Richard Gardner, photographer and president of the gallery, said. The nonprofit organization’s stated mission is to “conduct a cooperative photographic gallery dedicated to the encouragement of the artistic development of photographers.”

The Phone-ography exhibit continues that mission. Giacummo-Lachacz believes that the pieces chosen affirm that photography is an art that requires skill – a response to the debate that anyone can be a photographer with today’s accessibility to technology.

Giacummo-Lachacz tried to choose an “interesting variety of work,” she said. She examined the pieces with attentive eyes, assessing each on basic criteria. The most frequent question she considered was, “Is the artist pushing what they can do?,” she said. 

She also evaluated images on composition and interesting subject matter.

More than 100 people attended the exhibition’s opening reception last Saturday, including out-of-state visitors from Boston, Gardner said.

“The value is immense,” said Gardner of the exhibit. “People don’t realize that the best camera you own is the one you have on you when you need it.

“My first digital camera wouldn’t do what my phone does now,” he added. “It’s just amazing.”

The Phone-ography exhibition will be on display through August 25. FotoFoto Gallery is located at 14 W Carver St., Huntington. For more information on the exhibit and the featured iphoneographers, visit Fotofotogallery.org.

Celebrating 50 Summers Of Art

Gala performance band -  Credit Lafiya Watson Ramirez.jpg

Gala performance band - Credit Lafiya Watson Ramirez.jpg

By Danielle Ranucci
info@longislandergroup.com

The Usdan community celebrated a milestone and raised funds for scholarships at its 50th Anniversary Gala held July 19. The event was held on the campus of the arts-focused summer camp in Wheatley Heights and showcased the work of both current and past students.

“You come through the art show from all of our visual arts students, and then you’re seated in the McKinley amphitheater, where performing arts are showcased. After that, you’re welcomed into the tent right next to our administrative building for dinner,” said Kyra Leeds, a Usdan alumna from 2000.

The gala raised nearly $200,000 in scholarship and program funds, and honored influential members of the Usdan community, including: Elaine Panik Gates; Pattie Panik Falber; Heather Bifulco; Michelle, Megan and Amanda Marino; the Incorvaia family; the Keenan Family; Erica Kuhn (in memoriam); the Leeds family; the Lehman–DiMartino family; Debra and Dale Lewis; Andrew McKinley (in memoriam); Dr. Jerrold Ross; the Schaeffler Family; the Schecher family and the UJA – Federation of New York.

One of the honorees, Dr. Jerrold Ross, was the first president of Usdan’s Board of Trustees who helped set the tone for Usdan’s design and philosophy.

“The expression Usdan used was, ‘lose yourself for a summer and find yourself for a lifetime.’ We would accept students of all abilities in music, art and dance, to provide the highest level of experience to children who were interested or were already proficient in the arts. There was nothing like it in the country except at Interlochen [Center for the Arts],” said Ross.

Another honoree, Elaine Gates, a member of Usdan’s 1968 chorus, conducted the chorus in singing “The Rhythm of Life.”

“I had a tri-generation chorus, featuring today’s campers, their parents and their grandparents, which is what I had really envisioned for the gala,” said Gates.

Usdan was founded in 1968 by Dr. Maurice Hexter and philanthropist Samuel Lemberg with a vision of a place for teaching the arts in a summer camp setting. It was named after Lemberg’s daughter, Suzanne Usdan. Its first executive director was Andrew McKinley, a musician. He was succeeded by Dale Lewis who served for 38 years. In 2015 the current executive director, Lauren Brandt Schloss, took the reins.

 “I’m really proud of my colleagues. It’s a real delight to be a part of this community,” said Schloss.

Schloss has spearheaded programs to fulfill Usdan’s philosophy of exposing as many kids as possible to the arts.

The “Uniquely U” scholarship is awarded to 10 prospective students on the basis of merit and demonstrated passion.

Additionally, Usdan’s faculty has grown to include artists in residence such as Duke University professor Pedro Lasch and the International Contemporary Ensemble.

 “In the last couple of years we’re really pushing the envelope of what kind of art comes here,” said Schloss.

With funds from the gala, Usdan seeks to broaden its course offerings.

“We’re looking to grow a culinary arts program,” said Schloss.

Overall, the gala will enable Usdan’s growth.

“I feel like we’re always just growing,” said camper Heather Millman.

Two Bands WIth Local Roots To Play The Paramount

Chris Davies of Huntington, left, and Jack Tangney of Rockville Centre, are The Caption, a harmonic pop duo making its Paramount debut as opening act for Even The Losers on Saturday, Aug. 11.

Chris Davies of Huntington, left, and Jack Tangney of Rockville Centre, are The Caption, a harmonic pop duo making its Paramount debut as opening act for Even The Losers on Saturday, Aug. 11.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

It’s Huntington night at The Paramount Aug. 11 when two bands with local ties take the stage.

Headlining the night is Even The Losers, a Tom Petty tribute band made up of Long Island-based musicians, some of whom work in the technical end of production at The Paramount. Brian Byrne of Locust Valley and Brad Cordaro of Huntington put the band together shortly after Petty’s death in Oct. 2017 as a way to honor the legacy of a songwriter and performer who had influenced them in their early years.

Byrne handles the vocals – not an easy task as anyone whose ever tried a sing-along with Petty in the car can tell you. Drummer and longtime friend Cordaro and he pulled together an eight-piece band for their first gig at The Paramount last January.

The pair said they felt a strong connection to Petty because his songs served as their introduction to music.

“We are all younger guys so Tom Petty for us was kind of the soundtrack to our childhood, so we wanted to bring back that feeling for everybody,” Byrne told Long Islander News last January.

Cordaro said the band tries to create an atmosphere of celebration on stage without trying to do a re-creation. No costumes, no wigs, no lookalikes, they instead focus on learning the music and playing it well.

“You can’t pretend to be Tom Petty,” Byrne said, with Cordaro adding, “It’s about the songs; it’s about the music.”

The pair will be among those cheering on the night’s opening act, The Caption, whose musical careers have crossed paths with Cardoro and Byrne’s.

The Caption is Chris Davey, who grew up in Huntington, and Jack Tangney of Rockville Centre. Today, both live and work in the music industry in Brooklyn, but they came together in the seemingly small world that is the Long Island music scene.

“Jack and I grew up satelliting around each other before we finally came together,” Davies said. The pair started a recording studio in Davies’ parents basement during their high shool years, and have recently been recording in the studio where Davies works. Music videos on their website (Thecaptionmusic.com) show an almost closetlike room with Tangney at piano and Davies on guitar performing what Davies calls “piano pop, or grown-up emo, maybe.”

Tangney, with a floppy shock of red hair, is the more outgoing of the two and handles lead vocals on most of their tracks, while Davies harmonizes from across the room. But, Davies said, “we both have huge egos, so we trade off a lot.”

The pair are process-oriented, and the songs are multi-layered weavings of chords and words, but structured, thanks to Davies’ degree in jazz theory.

For the Paramount show, they’ll be joined by Peter Pearson on cello, and in an effort to make the show more accessible to a new audience, the trio will be mixing in some covers for their 45-minute set.

“We’ll just be [three] dudes trying to make as much noise as possible,” Davies said.
Tickets for Even The Losers with The Caption show cost between $20-$35 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.

Huntington Fire Department Marks 175th Anniversary

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Huntington Fire Department members were joined by volunteers from throughout the Town of Huntington as well as from upstate New York and Connecticut as they celebrated the department’s 175th anniversary last Saturday, July 28.

Spectators got a rare look at some vintage firefighting equipment both from local departments and   from faraway places, all of it gleaming at its spit-shined best. Huntington’s own restored equipment was at the head of the parade, joined by Cold Spring Harbor’s 1924 La France pumper truck, Southampton F.D.’s ladder truck, and other vintage firetrucks. There were also some specialty pieces in the parade, like Melville F.D.’s gnarly Stump Jumper, used to  fight brush fires in wooded areas.

Officers and volunteers marched with their prized firefighting equipment, with Huntington Chief  Robert Conroy leading his department at the head of the parade. Fire departments, Huntington Community First Aid Squad followed in review, rolling to the sounds of several fire deparment bands and bagpipers from Northport Pipe and Drum, Amityville Highlanders, and NYPD’s Emerald Society keeping the beat.

The parade marched straight to the firehouse on Leverich Place where the grills were fired up, and kegs were tapped to welcome the community as well as visiting firefighters. There were also games and bouncy houses for the kids.