Iceland Drive Renamed To Honor Officer

 Mayra Natale unveils a street sign dedicating Iceland Drive to honoring the memory of her late husband, Mark.

Mayra Natale unveils a street sign dedicating Iceland Drive to honoring the memory of her late husband, Mark.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

A street dedication ceremony was held in Huntington to honor NYPD Officer Mark J. Natale who recently died from 9/11-related brain cancer.

The ceremony took place on Iceland Drive on Sept. 14, which would have been Natale’s 56th birthday. Natale will be remembered for his service during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where he helped people fleeing across bridges to Brooklyn and onto ferries to New Jersey. The days after 9/11, Natale stood guard at the gates around Ground Zero.

“Friends and former colleagues contributed pieces of police uniform apparel so that retired Officer Natale would be buried in dress uniform; the South Huntington School District lowered flags to half-staff district-wide, issued a service award posthumously and inducted Mark, a district employee during his retirement from the NYPD, into their Hall of Fame,” Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said. “Comments came pouring in on the Town’s social media channels upon hearing news of this street dedication, with beautiful praise for Mark as a wonderful person, a gentleman, and words of comfort for the Natale family.”

The ceremony began with the presentation of the colors by the NYPD Honor Guard. NYPD Police Officer Makiah Brown sang the National Anthem, and an invocation was delivered by NYPD Chaplain Deputy Chief Monsignor David Cassato. Natale’s family, friends and colleagues were in attendance along with elected officials, and a contingent from the 94th Precinct in Brooklyn where Natale worked.

“NYPD Officer Mark J. Natale represents the best of humanity on a day we witnessed the worst. He is a hero, sacrificing his life protecting strangers. For the family, no words can ease their pain but we want them to know through this small gesture that they have the unending support of all of us,” State Senator Carl Marcellino said.

Officer Natale lost his battle to cancer on May 4, 2018 at home in Huntington. His cancer was a result of exposure at Ground Zero following the terror attacks.

 94th Precinct officers with NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin B. Tucker stand with the Natale family in front of the sign dedicating Iceland Drive in honor of NYPD Officer Mark Natale.

94th Precinct officers with NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin B. Tucker stand with the Natale family in front of the sign dedicating Iceland Drive in honor of NYPD Officer Mark Natale.

“As we mark the 17th anniversary of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, it is important to continue to recall not only those who perished on that day, but also to remember the uniformed and non-uniformed responders who answered the call to help. These individuals assisted in rescue and recovery efforts in the days, weeks and months that followed and, sadly as a result, many suffered from 9/11 cancers and other illnesses and lost their lives,” Legislator Tom Donnelly said.

More than 70,000 first responders and survivors are currently enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, which was established by the CDC to monitor and provide health care to those exposed to toxic dust and smoke at Ground Zero. The program reports nearly 10,000 people have suffered cancers caused by inhalation of toxic dust and smoke at Ground Zero.

“9/11, as we are reminded more and more each day, is the tragedy that keeps on taking,” Councilwoman Joan Cergol said. “We share in the Natale family’s grief and hope they will take comfort and pride each time they pass this street sign that is our way of making sure Mark’s service, heroism and sacrifice is held high for all to know and never be forgotten.”

Natale’s widow, Mayra Natale was supported by her children Dominick, Catherine and Lauren and Natale’s sisters Denise Pileggi and Debra Diem. She thanked those who brought this dedication to fruition and those who were in attendance to show their respect.

“The words expressed by his wife Mayra, captured Mark’s service and heroism. His courageous battle serves as inspiration to those heroes who continue to struggle with 9/11 related illnesses every day” Legislator Spencer said. “The awareness that Mark has brought to this issue will help ensure that our heroes receive the best possible care in the future.”

Birchwood Students Give LIRR A Makeover

 A mural painted by students at Birchwood Intermediate School brightens the LIRR underpass in Huntington Station. The mural has gotten tons of positive feedback from the community, showing the children that what they are doing matters.

A mural painted by students at Birchwood Intermediate School brightens the LIRR underpass in Huntington Station. The mural has gotten tons of positive feedback from the community, showing the children that what they are doing matters.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Take a drive down New York Ave. past the Huntington LIRR station and feast your eyes upon the colorful and colossal mural that covers the walls underneath the rumbling trestles.

The mural is close to being completed, with only a few finishing touches left before a ribbon cutting ceremony set for Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. before the start of the Unity Day parade.

This new art installation comes as a gift to the Town of Huntington from Birchwood Intermediate School students who came together with their families and teachers to beautify the walls that are seen by many who are making their way into Huntington or to the train station.  Those working on the project began the first weekend of August and continued to work every weekend after to complete the massive undertaking.

“What was so special about the process, was the outpouring from the community as we were doing it, that was something that will stay with me forever,” Annie Michaelian, former Assistant Principal of Birchwood and one of the coordinators, said. “People would come by and beep and yell out, ‘Thank you! It looks awesome!’”

This project came as a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students grades 3-5 at Birchwood to leave their mark on the community of Huntington, while also learning the gift of service. Students volunteered for shifts on the weekends, where they would spend hours working together to paint the many elements the mural contains.

“When we come out of the classroom walls and do something like this, it teaches them a different kind of lesson,” Michaelian said. “It teaches them about giving back and having love for their community.”

 Volunteers who worked on the mural will know they left their mark on Huntington when they pass by.

Volunteers who worked on the mural will know they left their mark on Huntington when they pass by.

The idea for the project came from fifth-grade teacher, Barbara Wright, who had done a similar service with her Brownie Troop in Bayport, however not nearly at the same scale. She brought this idea to the SBM team at Birchwood, that is made up of teachers, students, administrators, and parents who work to bring the school and community together, and was immediately supported. This is when her and Michaelian came together to coordinate necessary planning, approvals, and supplies.

The team knew that an art project this massive would require a large amount of supplies and volunteers, but they lucked out with both. When the group contacted Aboff’s in Huntington about donating paint and supplies for the mural, the store was more than willing to help them. The group also needed painters to bring the project to life, so Michaelian set up an online volunteer form on the Birchwood school website where students, families, and staff could sign up. They were delighted to see the outpouring of people signing up from the school. With how many volunteers they had, Michaelian made specific shifts based on grade level that allowed students to work with their classmates.

“That way it was rotating and everyone got a chance to be involved,” Michaelian said. “I’ve never done this before, but it seemed so seamless, it was great.”

One stipulation to a child volunteering was that a parent was required to be with their child during the entire shift, so the coordinators were not responsible for over 20 children at once. But this allowed parents to have a more active role in their child’s project.

“It was so beautiful to see a child and their parent working together on such a beautiful project,” Michaelian said.

The mural’s bright and happy design comes from Huntington itself. When the SBM Team asked students what makes Huntington special, these are the images they created.

“Everything’s that’s on the walls is a child’s drawing from our school,” Michaelian said. “We guided them in terms of telling them, these are the elements of Huntington if they hadn’t known, then they did research on their own. They would visualize it then draw it in their own style.”

The student’s illustrations were then photoshopped by one of Wright’s friends to be scaled to the size of the wall so the group had approximate measurements. While working on the mural, many students would be eager to come back weekend after weekend to help paint.

“It was amazing to see that it was a newfound love for some kids, some that didn’t even realize they were artistic,” Michaelian said. “They didn’t realize they enjoyed this but walked away feeling like, ‘Wow, I want to do this for another project.’”

 At the new mural, from left, are former assistant principal at Birchwood Intermediate School Annie Michaelian, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Birchwood teacher Barbara Wright.

At the new mural, from left, are former assistant principal at Birchwood Intermediate School Annie Michaelian, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Birchwood teacher Barbara Wright.

Michaelian hopes this project can be a catalyst for an increase in beautification projects from the school and within the community. There is all around good feelings from this project, from the community appreciating the wonderful creation to the students feeling the good can come from service.

“We know that the kids who were involved so much with it, when they pass by this year or ten years from now, when they see it they will be so proud of it,” Michaelian said.

Northport Family Gives Service Puppy Its Start

 After a service dog was helpful to Cynthia DeStefanos daughter, the Northport mom is starting Orienne, a yellow Lab, a start on a career as a service animal.

After a service dog was helpful to Cynthia DeStefanos daughter, the Northport mom is starting Orienne, a yellow Lab, a start on a career as a service animal.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

When the DeStefano family of Northport received an assistance dog for 12-year old Giavanna, three years ago, they fell in love with the dog and were impressed by how much he helped. So much so that they are now raising a puppy that will eventually assist someone else.

The non-profit Canine Companions for Independence is able to provide Giavanna and many other children, adults and veterans with disabilities with highly trained service animals at no cost, thanks to both financial donations and volunteers who help raise puppies. When the DeStefano family applied to receive one of the dogs, they were overjoyed to be matched with Harry V.

Their daughter, Giavanna was born with a genetic anomaly that makes her globally delayed. She has trouble with many tasks. This is where Harry comes in. He knows and obeys more than 50 commands, including opening and closing doors and helping Giavanna get her backpack on in the morning, and he guides her when she is unsteady on her feet.

“When we’re at a restaurant and my daughter drops something, he’s the first one to get it,” Giavanna’s mother, Cynthia DeStefano, said. “If she falls, he’s the first one to go to her and give her physical support.”

Harry went through the same process as the dog the DeStefanos are raising. Orienne II will be raised by the family for 12-18 months then undergo six months of advanced training at the organization’s facilities.

“After seeing what everyone did to get our dog to where he is, I said, ‘If and when I can do it, I would like to be a puppy raiser,’ Cynthia DeStefano said. “It’s the time to give back, they’ve done so much for us,”

 If Orienne is among the dogs in training who succeed, the dog will assist someone with special needs in the future.

If Orienne is among the dogs in training who succeed, the dog will assist someone with special needs in the future.

The family took in Orienne at 12 weeks old just more than a month ago and already Cynthia has seen the dog  grow before her eyes. Orienne will be taught basic commands but what’s more important is that she will learn socialization in public places with people and other animals. Luckily, Orienne, a mix of labrador and golden retrievers, is naturally calm and observant. She is adapting well to living with another dog and mimics the dog’s actions.

“She wants do what he does, DeStefano said. “She actually did a command that she wouldn’t even learn until advanced training. She was like, ‘Well if he can do that, I can do that.’ and she follows him.”

Commands are crucial to an assistance animal’s service. Since Giavanna is non-verbal, she, Cynthia and Harry are a three-person team.  When he is commanded, he is a major asset to the family.

“We went to the doctor and she had to get a shot, so he does a command called, ‘visit’ and he puts his head across her and stays there,” DeStefano said. “So she’s distracted and doesn’t realize she’s getting a shot, she’s petting him and he keeps her calm in that moment.”

Assistance animals are permitted in public areas where animals are typically not allowed. Orienne has been exposed to many different places, including church, Northport village, and stores, which gives her a chance to meet people and learn how to behave properly in public.

The DeStefanos also bring Orienne to puppy class where she learns new commands and her progress is monitored.

“We have to do a monthly report and there’s lots of different questions on there about their physical condition, eating, how they’re doing,” DeStefano said. “We do that every month and have vet appointments to follow as well.”

It’s crucial that the dog’s progress is evaluated often, so Canine Companions knows sooner rather than later if the dog will be able to be a service animal. Only four out of 10 dogs will actually make it through advanced training to become assistance dogs. The dogs must meet rigorous standards regarding their emotional and physical abilities.

“In our group, there were people with all different kinds of disabilities and age ranges, so you can’t place a dog that might have something that’s not good enough for those people,” DeStefano said. “Those people really rely physically on those dogs for so many actions every day that if there’s even a possibility the dog won’t be able to fulfill everything that somebody needs, they can’t place it.”

Cynthia is choosing to stay positive during the process and hopes Orienne will make it through the eight weeks of advanced training, then be matched with a family like her own.

“Everyone asks me, ‘How are you gonna give her up?’ It’s because she’s being raised to do something really good for somebody, so I know it’s the right thing,” DeStefano said.

If Orienne is able to make it to advanced training, during the second week the DeStefanos will attend a graduation ceremony where diplomas are handed out and the leashes are handed over to the new Grad Team. Whether or not they have contact with Orienne once she is matched with a family is up to the new owners. Luckily, the boy that raised Harry lives on Long Island which gives him a chance to see the dog.

After raising Orienne, Cynthia said would definitely consider raising more dogs for Canine Companions for Independence. Those interested in becoming a puppy raiser for the organization, can visit cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.

Festival Promotes Unity In The Community

 Unity Day honorees and special guests following last year’s awards ceremony.

Unity Day honorees and special guests following last year’s awards ceremony.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Students from school districts around the town of Huntington will join members of the community Saturday for the Unity in the Community Parade and Fair to celebrate Huntington Awareness Day.

Dolores Thompson and the Huntington Enrichment Center started Huntington Awareness Day in 2010 with the vision of creating an event that highlighted the “inclusivity, diversity and commonality of our town,” according to South Huntington Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo.

In the last few years several local school districts got involved to help grow the event and increase participation among students. Bennardo said South Huntington School Board President and Town Attorney Nicholas Ciappetta suggested that the district reach out to Thompson to co-sponsor the event.

“We are such a center of diversity and so proud of it in the town,” Bennardo said. “We were thrilled because it’s so much of what we’re about.”

The Huntington and South Huntington school districts were the first to become involved, but this year Harborfields, Elwood and Northport  school districts will also take part in the parade and fair that “stress the commonalities and the things that make us the same rather then the things that divide us.”

This year the parade kicks off at 11 a.m. from Huntington High School, and marchers head south on Oakwood Road to Stimson Middle School. The fair at Stimson Middle School will run until around 4 p.m., and feature games, bounce houses, food trucks and other activities.

“To me the parade is the most powerful visual representation of our mosaic of diversity in the Town of Huntington,” Bennardo said. “You’ll be able to look down Oakwood Road and see everything from a Huntington, South Huntington or Harborfields musician, to a Northport student advocate, to an Elwood teacher of diversity.”

After the parade, honorees from each of the school districts at the event will receive an award for their outstanding commitment to the community. The honorees come from all walks of like and range in age from 18 years old to nearly 90.

“There’s no other parade or event you’ll find that has students, businesses, clergy, administrators, teachers and police officers from so many different communities together in one place for one common cause,” Bennardo said.

Bennardo said he felt it was important for students to get involved in an event like Huntington Awareness Day because “students are open minded.”

He said, “By allowing the schools to become so involved, we gave a natural avenue for students to teach us about the importance of diversity and tolerance.”

Breaching Whale Finds Home At Museum

 John Scarola’s breaching whale sculpture at the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum.

John Scarola’s breaching whale sculpture at the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Next time you drive by The Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor, take a look at the large whale rising into the air. The whale is built from wood and comes from the creative mind of sculptor, John Scarola.

The large wooden sculpture outlines the silhouette of a whale breaching the water and stands at 15 feet tall, making it an eye-catching display that sits at the front of the museum. Scarola fondly remembers childhood days spent at The Whaling Museum, learning more about Long Island’s connection to the water and its creatures.

“I wanted something that had a really big visual impact so when people drive by the museum, it catches their eye and makes them hopefully want to come in and see what’s going on,” Scarola said.

After completing a large sculpture, named Two Schools of Thought, for The Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding that now stands in Billy Joel park, Scarola knew he enjoyed making large pieces that made a big impact. He was looking for his next project when Assistant Director of The Whaling Museum, Cindy Grimm, suggested he apply for the NYSCA Decentralization Grant. Scarola was instantly on board and knew he wanted his work to go the museum.

“I felt the Museum was an obvious choice for my sculpture because I am passionate about environmental issues,” Scarola said. “The museum provides great programs in that direction.”

 John Scarola at work on his Breaching Whale.

John Scarola at work on his Breaching Whale.

Scarola began to work on the application for the grant that had many questions as a way to determine a project’s merit. The grant is distributed by the Huntington Arts Council to two projects in Suffolk and Nassau and had over 400 applicants.

“Only the projects with the highest artistic merit and community service receive funding,” Marc Courtade, Huntington Arts Council’s Executive Director, said. “The grants not only validate the artistic merit for the recipients, but allow them to further explore their creative visions and enrich the cultural landscape of the Long Island community.”

After Scarola received the letter that his project was chosen, he began to work on the sculpture in March and just recently finished this past Sunday by applying the final coat of stain.

“My work comes pretty much out of my head so when an idea hits you, you kinda get fired up and want to get it started,” Scarola said.

The idea to construct a massive whale comes from Cold Spring Harbor’s history of having a large whaling industry that existed from the end of 18th century to mid-19th century.

“Whales are just a part of what Long Island is, whales used to pass by,” Scarola said. “Even during the 1960s and 70s, you could see whales on the beach from the South Shore, it was not a rare thing.”

But Scarola knew he could not construct a horizontal whale because of the small amount of property he was working with. Instead, he choose a whale emerging from the water to give it magnitude.

“It comes with a lot of challenges and problems but that’s all part of the deal that you have to sort it out,” Scarola said.

After working with wood for many years, Scarola knows what it takes to complete. Even from his childhood, he enjoyed carving wood and gained more experience by working for a carpentry company and doing tree work. He now has a studio in San Remo and works on smaller projects that could one day be used for an art show.

“Art is something you just do and feel like you have to do it,” Scarola said. “I know that when I’m away on vacation for a week, I start to get antsy about not making something. I think a lot of artists would say the same thing, you don’t really think about why you’re making it but you’re drawn to it and want to make it.”

The Whaling Museum will be having a dedication ceremony for “Breaching Whale” at their annual SeaFaire & Festival on Sept. 29, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Scarola will be there demonstrating on his workbench how to use 19th century woodworking hand tools and will allow people to try.

“Great public art fosters a pride of place and enhances a community’s identity,” Whaling Museum Executive Director, Nomi Dayan said. “John’s sculpture indeed accomplishes that as this mammoth whale celebrates our Island’s deep ties with the sea.”

Dave Winfield Honored At Oheka

Oheka.jpg

Celebrity watching is on the menu at Oheka Castle tonight when former Yankee Dave Winfield receives a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences at a gala dinner.

Tonight at Oheka Castle, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his constant charitable leadership. The award will be presented by The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS) at the Six Star Diamond Gala Event that is in celebration of the launch of the AAHS strategic partnership with Starplus.

 Former Yankee All Star Dave Winfield will be honored for his charitable work at a gala at Oheka.

Former Yankee All Star Dave Winfield will be honored for his charitable work at a gala at Oheka.

Winfield, whose on-field career spanned from 1973 to 1995 and who played for the New York Yankees from 1981 to 1990, is a 12-time All Star, and seven-time Gold Glove Award recipient, among many other performance related awards. However, he is being honored for his off-field charitable work. Winfield founded the David M. Winfield Foundation in 1977 as a way to give back to the community. His notable leadership is demonstrated through The Dave Winfield Nutrition Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and his work in partnership with Merck Pharmaceuticals to create the  internationally acclaimed bilingual substance abuse prevention program called “Turn it Around.” From holiday meal giveaways, to scholarships, to tickets to games, to funding health clinics, Winfield has shown his commitment to giving back in a substantial way.

 Among the notable celebrity watchers might glimpse at Oheka tonight, from left, are Armand Assante, Rita Coby, Nicky Hilton, Tony LoBianco and Anthony Scaramucci.

Among the notable celebrity watchers might glimpse at Oheka tonight, from left, are Armand Assante, Rita Coby, Nicky Hilton, Tony LoBianco and Anthony Scaramucci.

Some of the notable guests and additional AAHS award recipients expected to be in the crowd tonight will be financier, entrepreneur, and political figure Anthony Scaramucci, entrepreneur, model and dashion designer Nicky Hilton, traditional and experimental brush and ink work master Cao Jun,  actors Armand Assante and Tony LoBianco, and Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist, businessman and author of self-help books about weight loss and maintaining the appearance of youth.

Rita Cosby, Emmy Award-winning journalist for Fox News, MSNBC and most recently a special contributor to Inside Edition. Cosby, will present the awards. Cosby wrote the books Quiet Hero: Secrets from My Father’s Past and Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith’s Death.

All of the awards will be part of The Starplus Gala Event at Oheka Castle.

Starplus Index® is a blockchain based asset index co-founded by Blue Ocean Capital, Moral Integrity International Ltd., and the AAHS.

Blue Ocean Capital is a private equity company headquartered in New York City. Headed by Antony Liu and Partner Lina Li, BOC is a cross-border investment firm dedicated to actively pursuing investment opportunities in Blockchain Applications, Healthcare, Franchise Restaurants, and Real Estate. Committed to capital appreciation and value creation they strive to be successful in structuring their approach to client transactions quickly and efficiently.

Moral Integrity International Ltd. is a leading blockchain technology company headquartered in Hong Kong.

The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences is renowned worldwide for awarding excellence in the global travel and luxury services sector. Each year the Academy bestows its coveted International Star Diamond Award on Five- and Six-Star quality hotels, spas, golf courses, restaurants, chefs, destinations, airlines, cruise lines and products. This award is a prestigious emblem of achievement and quality in the hospitality and luxury services industries worldwide. All its recipients are deemed to be of pinnacle quality and global recognition.

The venue of Oheka Castle was well suited for such a gala. As a Six Star Diamond Award recipient, the Castle is a world class venue with a world class restaurant, but it is also listed on the Historic Hotels Worldwide, Gold Coast Mansions, Historic Long Island, Historic Hotels of America (National Trust for Historic Presentation) and is an AAA Four-Diamond Award winner. Under the watch of Huntington’s Gary Melius, the Castle was meticulously restored to its original splendor and thrives as a global destination.

Firefighters Heed Call To ‘Never Forget’

 East Northport firefighter commemorated the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in ceremonies at Fire Department headquarters.

East Northport firefighter commemorated the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in ceremonies at Fire Department headquarters.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

 

Fire Departments from around the Town of Huntington hosted memorial ceremonies on Tuesday to honor and remember the victims who lost their lives on Sept. 11.

The East Northport Fire Department hosted its annual memorial on Tuesday morning at department headquarters on 9th Avenue in East Northport. Members of East Northport and neighboring fire and police departments joined the local community to remember the events of that tragic day.

“All Americans have made a promise to truly never forget,” East Northport Lt. Brian Hinton said.

 A piece of steel from the World Trade Center stands in front of the East Northport Fire Department headquarters.

A piece of steel from the World Trade Center stands in front of the East Northport Fire Department headquarters.

The firehouse siren blared at 9:59 a.m. and 10:28 a.m. to mark the respective times that the South and North Towers collapsed. The speakers podium was flanked by a special tribute to the first responders who died at the World Trade Center; an FDNY helmet with the number 343 and a police uniform bearing the number 71 represented the number of people from each service who died on 9/11.

Later that evening, the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department held a candlelight vigil in front of the 9/11 memorial that stands in Cold Spring Harbor Fireman’s Park across Main Street from the firehouse.

The memorial, which was officially dedicated in June, contains a massive steel beam from the World Trade Centers. The massive steel beam was one of the last remaining physical pieces of the Twin Towers when the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department acquired it in 2016.

 Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department held a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening in front of the 9/11 memorial in Cold Spring Harbor Fireman’s Park where a piece of steel recovered from Ground Zero is the centerpiece of the memorial.

Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department held a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening in front of the 9/11 memorial in Cold Spring Harbor Fireman’s Park where a piece of steel recovered from Ground Zero is the centerpiece of the memorial.

The waters of Cold Spring Harbor served as a solemnly picturesque background for Tuesday evening’s vigil.

“Let us not forget those who perished on that beautiful September morning 17 years ago,” 9/11 memorial committee chairman Tom Buchta said. “Let us all press forward, never forgetting the sacrifices that were made that day.”

Firefighters, town officials and members of the community held candles as Buchta read the names of the 43 victims from the Town of Huntington.

 A memorial at Huntington Manor Fire Department’s Station 2 is dedicated to former department chief and FDNY firefighter Peter A. Nelson who died in the towers’ collapse.

A memorial at Huntington Manor Fire Department’s Station 2 is dedicated to former department chief and FDNY firefighter Peter A. Nelson who died in the towers’ collapse.

In Huntington Station, the Huntington Manor Fire Department dedicated a 9/11 memorial at Station 2 between East 23rd and 24th Streets on New York Avenue.

During the candlelight vigil on Tuesday night, Huntington Manor dedicated a memorial to former department chief and FDNY firefighter Peter A. Nelson. Nelson, a firefighter with the FDNY’s elite Rescue 4, was killed while on duty during 9/11.

The steel used to create the monument comes from the rails of the PATH train that ran directly below the World Trade Center.

 Former Chief Peter Nelson

Former Chief Peter Nelson

The memorial’s inscription states, “Blending this location and that steel we tie Peter’s two firefighting worlds together while providing a place that ensures generations to come… Never Forget.”

Town Remembers Victims Of 9/11

 As the names of those killed were read aloud, a veteran placed a single rose in a container. Long Islander News photos/Peter Sloggatt

As the names of those killed were read aloud, a veteran placed a single rose in a container. Long Islander News photos/Peter Sloggatt

At ceremonies held Sunday in Heckscher Park, Huntington remembered the 43 town residents who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Family and friends of those being remembered were among the hundred or so who gathered on a drizzly, grey Sunday before the town’s 9/11 memorial, a narrow path lined with jagged steel columns that leads to a water feature.

Traditionally staged on the anniversary of the attacks, this year’s ceremony was moved to Sunday both to accommodate Rosh Hashanah as well as the wishes of family members who have found it difficult to attend the ceremonies on a weekday, said Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, who emceed the ceremonies.

 An Honor Guard of veterans group representatives presented the colors the 9/11 Memorial service at Heckscher Park Sunday.

An Honor Guard of veterans group representatives presented the colors the 9/11 Memorial service at Heckscher Park Sunday.

Saying that on that day 17 years ago, “our lives were changed forever,” Lupinacci welcomed the families in attendance as “those who suffered the pain of the 9/11 terror attacks in a profound way.

“It is in memory of your loved ones that we gather here today,” he said, noting that “they were our neighbors and our friends,” and despite the years that pass, “they will never be forgotten.”

 A lone piper plays Amazing Grace from among the rows of jagged steel beams that make up the September 11 Memorial in Heckscher Park.

A lone piper plays Amazing Grace from among the rows of jagged steel beams that make up the September 11 Memorial in Heckscher Park.

Field Of Honor The Work Of Many Hands

 Hundred of American flags, each dedicated to a veteran or active military service member, fly in the Field of Honor in front of Huntington Town Hall.

Hundred of American flags, each dedicated to a veteran or active military service member, fly in the Field of Honor in front of Huntington Town Hall.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

While it may seem like the flags that fly in front of Town Hall in Huntington spring up overnight, that’s not the case. The Field of Honor, a display of hundreds of American flags dedicated to veterans, is the work of the Huntington Kiwanis Club which assembles a small army of volunteers to get the display up.

Originally conceived as a Veterans Day fundraiser by the Kiwanis, the Field of Honor has become a tradition in town, expanding its presence to span from Sept. 11 through National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Dec. 7. Kiwanis Club members and volunteers from local scout troops and Key Clubs, worked this past Saturday to get the flags flying in time for the Town’s 9/11 Memorial Ceremonies staged across the street at Heckscher Park on Sunday.

 The Field of Honor is organized by Huntington Kiwanis and was put together by volunteers in time for Sept. 11 memorial ceremonies.

The Field of Honor is organized by Huntington Kiwanis and was put together by volunteers in time for Sept. 11 memorial ceremonies.

Thanks to their efforts, and a playbook that has made the seemingly monumental task almost seem easy, the flags were up in time for the ceremonies, according to Field of Honor Chairman Dan Picard.

The Field of Honor remains a fundraiser for Kiwanis Club, which uses funds to support veteran’s causes and children’s charities. Among its initiatives, the club sends underprivileged children to Kamp Kiwanis summer camp, and funds a shopping trip at Christmas time.

 Volunteers affixed the flags to poles which were then put in placed in a display in front of Town Hall.

Volunteers affixed the flags to poles which were then put in placed in a display in front of Town Hall.

Flags that fly over the Field of Honor can be purchased and dedicated to a veteran or active military service member. The cost is $35 and after the display is disassembled in December, the flag is made available for the buyer to pick up, or it can be donated to veteran’s groups.

To buy a flag, visit buyaflag.org online, or call 631-991-2001 for more information.

 Kiwanis of Huntington member Dan Picard chairs the Field of Honor project.

Kiwanis of Huntington member Dan Picard chairs the Field of Honor project.

From Selling Harleys To Storing Stuff

 Florida-based Simply Self Storage wants to construct a new storage facility on the site of the former Lighthouse Harley-Davidson at 670 E. Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.

Florida-based Simply Self Storage wants to construct a new storage facility on the site of the former Lighthouse Harley-Davidson at 670 E. Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

A national storage company has submitted plans to construct a two-story self-service storage facility at the site of a former Harley Davidson dealership in Huntington Station.

Plans received by the town planning department in February show that Florida-based Simply Self Storage wants to construct a new storage facility at 670 E. Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.

The 1.9-acre property formerly housed Lighthouse Harley-Davidson, but the two-story building on the property is currently vacant.

Simply Self Storage is looking to demolish the existing abandoned building and construct a new two-story building with a walkout basement in the rear.

The proposed building would have a 33,264-square-foot footprint, and the total building area would be 99,792 square-feet, according to town documents.

Current town code states that storage facilitates may only be one-story high.

Huntington-based attorney Michael McCarthy, who is representing Simply Self Storage, said at last weeks Planning Board meeting that the code was designed to prevent “barracks-style” storage facilities that have a “warehouse look.”

“This building will look and conform to anything that you see on the streetscape there on Jericho Turnpike,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said he felt the storage facility would be a “good repurposing” of the property. He said the new building will not appear much larger than the current one, but will be an “economic generator and a low trip generator.”

Town code requires 50 parking spaces for the proposed building, but the plans only provide for 30.

The planning board recommended at last week’s meeting that the ZBA require appropriate landscaping and architectural features along all sides of the building to “mitigate the look of a warehouse type building along Jericho Turnpike,” according to planning officials.

The application will have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special use permit to operate a self-storage facility in a C-6 zone, area relief, parking relief and a variance for the number of stories.