- Click for Restaurant Directory_____


Find us wherever you are!
Subscribe To Smithtown Matters
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter





St. James Bicyclist Suffers Serious Injuries In MV Crash At Moriches Rd

Suffolk County Police Fourth Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that seriously injured a bicyclist in St. James today.

Nicholas McMahan was riding his bicycle eastbound on 5th Street when he collided with a 2018 Toyota 4-Runner, driven by a 47-year-old Setauket woman, at the intersection with Moriches Road at 6:43 p.m.

McMahan, 22, of St. James, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Neither the driver of the Toyota nor her female passenger was injured. 

The Toyota was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information on this crash to call the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452.



Commack Honors The Memory Of 9/11 With Night Of Reflection


By Stacey Altherr

Members of the Commack Community gather for 9/11 Memorial Ceremony 2015The night of the September 11th attacks, Debbie Virga and her neighbors stood on the street with candles like many other Americans. Tuesday evening, Virga and other Commack residents will hold another candlelight vigil, just like they have done for the past 17 years.

Virga, the organizer of the Commack School District 9/11 Night of Reflection event, said each year the 9/11 event has grown and diversified. Now, there is a formal 9/11 memorial at Commack High School, built in 2012, complete with an authentic piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center site. 

Each year, along with the ceremony and vigil, a specific aspect is selected to highlight. One year, it was every group of the military. Another, a recognition of the cadaver dogs who worked “the pile,” a short-hand name used at the time for the World Trade Center site.

LT. Christopher Raguso (Military Times)“This year, we are dedicating it to Lt. Christopher Raguso,” said Virga. Raguso, a Master Sargant in the New York Air National Guard, was also a member of the Commack FD and a lieutenant in the FDNY. On March 15, he was killed while on a tour in Iraq when the helicopter he was in crashed. Raguso enlisted in the military after the 9/11 attacks, Virga said.

The memorial, set at the high school athletic grounds, has the names of those associated with Commack  – Debbie Virga and others at 2015 9/11 eventwhether residents or former high school graduates – who were killed during the attacks., and the emblems of the four New York City public service units most affected by the attack- New York Police Department, The Fire Department of New York, Emergency Medical Services and Port Authority- are also honored at the memorial. Two reflecting pools will be set up for the event,  gatherers will have the opportunity to throw in flowers into the reflecting pool in honor of those who died

“SCPD will do a fly over,” said Virga. “I have 100 lanterns we put up around [the site].”

Since the remembrance event also honors those who have died due to 9/11 contamination on the World Trade Center site, Dr. Michael Guttenberg, 50, of Jericho and a Commack High School graduate, will be remembered. Guttenberg was an EMT who worked on the Pile for the months after the terrorist attack. He later become a physician and served as medical director of Northwell Health’s clinical preparedness and Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS). He died last year from pancreatic cancer, linked to his work at the World Trade Center site. His niece, Jaime Guttenberg, was one of the students killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last February 14th.

“This family has really suffered,” Virga said. “This will recognize him and his contribution.”

Virga noted that memorial stones with names of the victims are set around the memorial.

“Sadly, the list is growing.”

Anyone can attend the ceremony, which takes place Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Commack High School, One Scholar Lane, off Town Line Road. Ceremony begins at 7 p.m. this year in deference to those celebrating Rosh Hashanah.


Commack Residents or former Commack High School graduates 

honored at the memorial

Died on 9/11

Ezra Aviles-Port Authority

Benilda Domingo-World Trade Center

Dennis Scauso- FDNY

James Munhall -World Trade Center

Joseph A. Kelly-World Trade Center

John T. Schroeder- World Trade Center

Died Post 9/11

Traci Tack-Czajkowski- NYPD

Marci Simms- NYPD

Dr. Michael Guttenberg

Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, who died in Iraq and served because of 9/11 terrorist attacks.


Kings Park Teens Ready For 3rd Nissequogue River Regatta

3rd Annual Nissequogue River Regatta Committee

by Pat Biancaniello

In a world filled with chaos and nastiness there is something satisfying in knowing that the younger generation will step up to the plate in support of their community. It is even more satisfying when those kids are from your town. Earlier this year a group of Kings Park teens committed to raising funds for the Nissequogue River Regatta to showcase the Nissequogue River State Park. This is the third group of Kings Park teens who have volunteered to run this event which began in 2016. This year’s regatta has three co-presidents Emily Dinan, Caleigh Lynch and Juliana Quigley. John McQuaid, president of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation, provides guidance to the teens but is hands off when it comes to their decision making.

Competitive participants 2016Early in March the teens came together as part of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation’s student board and began planning the 3rd Nissequogue River Regatta. A tremendous undertaking which involved selecting a date, checking tides, filing permits, negotiating costs for kayak and canoe rentals, T-Shirts and flyers, soliciting sponsors and donations, marketing and advertising, planning a barbecue, purchasing supplies and of course recruiting participants. 

On Saturday, August 11th (raindate Sunday, August 12th) they will see their efforts become reality. 

Kayaking on the Nissequogue River Aug.6thWeather permitting at 11a.m. the  3rd Nissequogue River Regatta will commence and participants in kayaks, canoes and paddle boards will begin a much anticipated friendly trip around a 5 mile course and for the more experienced 10 mile course. Although registration is required participants may rent a kayak/canoe or bring their own. Participants can be as competitive or leisurely as they like. Upon completion of the race there will be food and music.

With months of planning behind them the student board is focused on making this a successful event that reflects their passion for the park that is in their hometown. 

Nissequogue River State Park is located at 799 Saint Johnland Road in Kings Park. The race is sponsored by the Reichert Family, owners of IGAs in Fort Salonga and E.Northport.

Friday, August 10th is the last day to register for the Regatta. 


SUFFOLK CLOSEUP - At Long Last Tesla Will Be Recognized In Suffolk 



By Karl Grossman

“Nikola Tesla: Who Was He?” was the title of a presentation given last week at the Suffolk County Historical Society by Jane Alcorn, president of the board of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, about Tesla, a genius inventor who worked here in Suffolk.

Ms. Alcorn has led the drive to preserve Tesla’s only remaining laboratory, an elegant red brick building in Shoreham designed by Tesla’s friend, famed architect Stanford White. 

Alongside the laboratory was a giant tower, and Tesla’s “plan and dream was to use it to provide wireless electricity—for free—to people around the world,” explained Ms. Alcorn.

Last month, the laboratory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And nearly $6 million has been raised so far in the preservation effort—including a $1 million contribution from Elon Musk, the manufacturer of Tesla cars, named for the inventor.

Ms. Alcorn, long a teacher and librarian, herself from Shoreham, on Thursday evening at the Historical Society in Riverhead, spoke of Tesla being of Serbian background, born in what is now Croatia, coming to the United States in 1884 to work under Thomas Edison. 

Tesla’s father was an Eastern Orthodox priest and his mother “very inventive and creative,” said Ms. Alcorn. Tesla “followed in her footsteps” in terms of his “inventive and creative qualities.” Tesla, meanwhile, “poured over” his father’s collection of books. 

The relationship with Edison didn’t work out. In part, that involved a conflict over electric systems—Edison advocating direct current and Tesla the father of alternating current which, in fact, is the system that the world ultimately adopted.

And Tesla was responsible for a great deal more in the way of inventions. 

Guglielmo Marconi is generally credited with originating radio, but the U.S. Supreme Court, after Tesla’s death, determined that much of Marconi’s work was based on 17 Tesla patents. Tesla was involved in the development of fluorescent lighting, robotics and forms of remote control, the bladeless turbine, the AC induction motor, and on and on. In all, Tesla held 299 patents. 

He was a “visionary” with ideas that would revolutionize the world. He came to Shoreham at the turn of the last century to focus on the wireless transmission of power. 

He envisioned that not only radio signals but electricity could be sent far distances—by linking into the resonance of the Earth.

Across from the Long Island Rail Road station in Shoreham he built his laboratory, with a rail spur to it used to bring in construction material. Alongside the laboratory, with its ornate windows and graceful grillwork, he built a 187-foot high tower. Sadly, it was torn down in 1917.

I wrote and presented a TV program on Tesla’s laboratory in 2010 which aired on WVVH-TV and can now be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H-UBvdPta 

The foundation for the tower—which is featured in the program—are granite slabs in an octagonal shape. And there are steel posts and a large mound marking its location.  Below is said to be—radiating like spokes on a wheel—copper-lined tunnels, each high enough for a person to walk through, and a shaft connecting 120 feet to the aquifer below. 

When it was put in operation, said Ms. Alcorn last week, there were sparks emanating from the tower “that could be seen as far away as Connecticut.” 

“Tesla believed in raising the masses,” said Ms. Alcorn, and if electricity could be “wirelessly” transmitted, people all over the world “would be able to tap into it.”

The tower project, however, was curtailed when financier J.P. Morgan, an initial supporter, became disinterested in it. As part of the restoration of the Tesla laboratory, Ms. Alcorn said the hope is for construction of a “replica” of the tower.

Tesla died of heart failure in 1943, in the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. He was 86. gHe had been living meagerly on assistance from family members and a pension from the Yugoslavian government. He is regarded as a giant in that part of the world. Indeed, double-checking on the URL on YouTube of my TV program, I see that it has been translated for people in that region.

And, at long last, Tesla will be well-recognized here in Suffolk.

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe will be a memorial to Tesla and his work and, also, as the website of the non-profit center—http://www.teslasciencecenter.org/—states, it will be “a place dedicated to science education and to introducing visitors to the rich scientific opportunities on Long Island. This center and museum would complement the educational efforts of the schools within this region as well as the community outreach activities of other prominent science institutions. It would also look to provide possible space for fledgling companies engaged in scientific research.”

Karl Grossman is a veteran investigative reporter and columnist, the winner of numerous awards for his work and a member of the L.I. Journalism Hall of Fame. He is a professor of journalism at SUNY/College at Old Westbury and the author of six books.  


Commack Eagle Scout Brian Trifon Awarded Jewish War Vets Scholarship

The first presentation of the Mickey Marcus Post# 336 Jewish War Vets Jewish Scout Scholarship recipient Eagle Scout Brian Trifon of Troop 403 (Commack) with his parents Troop 403 (Commack)’s Committee Chair Debbie Trifon and Assistant Scoutmaster Marty TrifonOn May 6, Barry Kopeloff of the Boy Scout Scholarship Committee reported that the Mickey Marcus JWV Post #336 of Port Jefferson’s Executive Committee and then the general membership of the Post had approved two Scholarships of $250 each for Suffolk County Jewish Boy Scouts. Working in conjunction with the Jewish Committee  on Scouting of Suffolk County Council (BSA) on very short notice, this information was shared with the Boy Scout troops and Explorer Posts in the Suffolk County Council (BSA). 

The JWV Post of Port Jefferson Station created the two scholarships, both of which require an essay detailing the importance of the Jew in the American military – from the Revolutionary War to the current military crisis overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan (or at any time in between). The first scholarship has the criteria that the Boy Scout (who lives in Suffolk County) had earned his Jewish Scout religious emblem as a Cub Scout (Maccabee or Aleph emblem) or Boy Scout (the Ner Tamid and/or Etz Chaim emblem), is currently a Star or Life Scout rank, and is in his senior year of high school and who will be attending college in the fall. The second scholarship was open to any Eagle Scout in Suffolk County of the Jewish faith who had earned his Jewish Boy Scout religious emblem (the Ner Tamid and/or the Etz Chaim) and submitted an essay.

The first presentation of the Mickey Marcus Post# 336 Jewish War Vets Jewish Scout Scholarship, in conjunction with the Jewish Committee on Scouting of Suffolk County Council (BSA), presented a check for $250 and an award certificate to Eagle Scout Brian Trifon of Troop 403 (Commack) for his winning essay. Eagle Scout Brian Trifon was recognized during his troop’s Court of Honor ceremonies on June 18, held at Christ Lutheran Church on Burr Road, Commack, by Troop 403 Assistant Scoutmaster Steve Feldman and the JCOS Scholarship Selections Committee Chair Phyllis Stein.  Eagle Scout Trifon will be attending SUNY Albany in the fall, with a career goal of cyber-security and accounting.