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July 5th Concert At Nesconset Gazebo Kicks Off Summer Concert Season

If you happened to be on Smithtown Blvd. in Nesconset Tuesday night around 8pm you might have noticed a huge crowd of people sitting around the gazebo.  If you had your windows open as you drove by the crowd you might have thought that you were hearing the rock band Queen. If you had the time to stop and you were lucky enough to find a parking space you would have seen and heard  a tribute band named Almost Queen. And if you are one of the hundreds who attended the free concert you are probably still humming the tunes from the concert. 

The Nesconset Chamber of Commerce kicked off their summer concert season with wonderful weather, a huge orderly crowd and a successful concert.   Almost Queen delighted the crowd comprised of children, parents and grandparents. Some in the audience came out to hear songs they grew up with and others came out to enjoy a free concert in the park. All came out to enjoy themselves and by all appearances that is what they did.

Nesconset Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jim Delahanty estimated that there were 2,500 people in attendance  “the feedback from the audience and the band was great.  What a great way to start the concert series. It was also nice to have Congressman Tim Bishop show up and dedicate the raising of the new flag.”

The concert series is sponsored by the Nesconset Chamber of Commerce through a grant from Suffolk County Legislator John Kennedy.  Concerts will be held on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm.at the gazebo on Smithtown Blvd.  For a listing of concerts in Nesconset and throughout Smithtown  Click here 




His name is Earl 

 By Larry Lomonaco

Maybe you’ve noticed the gentle and smiling face of a man pushing his cart with recyclable cans and bottles around town. But then again maybe you haven’t.  Either way, his name is Earl.

Earl is a veteran and a long time Smithtown resident whose early morning walks, covering two to three miles a day, helps keep Smithtown looking its best.  Not that the town doesn’t do an excellent job of keeping the streets clean.  But Earl has added to the town’s beautification by picking up litter he comes across on his journeys on Main Street, especially on weekends when the town crew is off duty. The town has never looked better…all thanks to Earl.

Earl also keeps neat and clean the memorial site, located at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Main Street, in honor of Courtney Sipes.  Courtney was a young girl whose life was senselessly ended too early. Now Earl can add to his memorial tasks by keeping the site for Seamus Byrne neat and clean of debris. Seamus Byrne was a husband and father of two.  He was a Purple Heart recipient who was killed at a corner on Main Street early one Sunday morning after celebrating his 33rd birthday at Napper Tandys. 

So the next time you see Earl, you’ll recognize him by his cap with the name of the ship on which he served - The Pawtucket, take a moment to thank him for his efforts in helping keep our town looking its best.   But especially thank him for serving our country.


Branch Brook Elementary Students Enjoy a ‘Lesson In Love’

By Dave Ryan

Smithtown, NY – For the students at Branch Brook Elementary School, Flag Day was a morning to listen to patriotic music from the school orchestra and band, sing some songs and celebrate America.  For the teachers, it was the culmination of many months of practice with the students and a moment that they had secretly planned a surprise for one of their own.

As Principal Ireen Westrack introduced each performance, she took a moment to announce that there was a special award to be given out during the ceremony.  Immediately, the faculty broke into a chorus of “Going to the Chapel”.  Except for one teacher, who seemed to be unaware of this part of the program.  First grade teacher Danielle Davey looked around, and wondered why everyone was singing until she looked up at the stage and saw a photo of herself and her boyfriend projected on the screen.  From behind the curtain, her boyfriend Christopher Begina stepped forward holding a bouquet of flowers.  He walked towards Danielle, got down on one knee and proposed.  After she accepted his proposal, the students cheered and hugged their teacher as she showed them her new engagement ring.  “I had no idea what was about to happen! Like every girl, I was eagerly awaiting “the big proposal” but I never imagined he would propose at school! When all of the teachers started singing, I was so confused. I finally figured it all out and then all I could do was smile….oh yea, and I screamed, too!, .”said Danielle afterward.

Hiding in the back of the auditorium were Danielle’s parents and sister along with Christopher’s mother.  Danielle’s sister drove from New Jersey to be part of the surprise.  “I was so happy that everyone was there!  Chris pointed them out right away because he knows how important my family is to me,” exclaimed Danielle.

The engagement culminated a three year courtship that began when Kathy Smerechniak, a colleague at Branch Brook, arranged a date between Christopher and Danielle.  “I knew they were both from the same town and both were Mets fans, and I knew they are both special people who I thought would be perfect for each other,” said Kathy.  Their first date was a baseball game at Shea Stadium that was interrupted by lightning and heavy rains.  Kathy helped Chris to plan the proposal and worked with the rest of the staff at Branch Brook Elementary to surprise Danielle.

Danielle is a Smithtown resident who graduated from Smithtown High School in 2000, while Christopher grew up in Nesconset and graduated in 2001.  Christopher is currently employed at Lawrence Metal Products in Bay Shore.  The couple is looking forward to a wedding in 2012.


Joseph C. Merola Transportation Center

By Pat Biancaniello

Certified smart, Dr. Susan A. Agruso, Superintendent of the Kings Park School District, presided over the renaming and dedication of the Kings Park School District’s transportation Center now known as the Joseph C. Merola Transportation Center.

The transportation center is not new and it is not fancy, but neither was Joe Merola. Joe was a plain spoken, common sense kind of guy who emphasized the practicality of the district having its own buses, of treating those who were transporting the district’s most precious cargo, its students, with respect and fairness. He looked out for those who were not “certified smart” as he was fond of saying.  He served as Vice President of the district’s CSEA in the 70’s and 80’s where he promoted fair pay and health benefits for the school bus drivers. 

The Joseph C. Merola transportation center is located on Lawrence Road. It is set back from the road, includes a parking lot for the district’s buses and a garage for the maintenance and fueling of the buses.  

The ceremony was held at the garage on Friday, June 24th at 11:30am.  Presided over by Dr. Agrusso with school board members Liz Barret, Marie Goldstein and Steve Weber in attendance.  The audience was comprised of Joe’s sisters, Annie and Laura, his son Craig (the doctor), daughter in law Laura (also a doctor), his grandchildren, family members, friends, and colleagues. There were also comments from Marge Higgins, former President of CSEA.

(Video By King Pedlar)

Jack Hessel, who initiated the move to name the transportation center after Joe, in an emotional statement talked of a man who although not “certified smart”, was a very smart man who could converse about almost any topic from Italy to expounding the common sense reasons for the school district operating its own busing operation.  He talked of a no nonsense man who was not intimidated by anyone. A man with a sense of humor who always had an anecdote and who could be counted on when you needed him.2009 photo of Joe Merola (photo by King Pedlar)

Joe Merola passed away on November 8, 2010; he was an advocate for common sense solutions in all things. He was devoted to his family, friends, his community and his deli.  “Joe was a man you could always count on,” said Dr. Agruso.

It seems fitting that the school district remembers Joe’s efforts by naming the transportation center after him.


Uncle Louie G’s Serving Up An Ice Storm In Smithtown

By Phil Forte

SMITHTOWN – Are you feeling the heat of the summer sun beat down on you as you stroll through Main Street in Smithtown, or are you just looking for some cool refreshment on a hot summer day? If one or both scenarios apply to you, stop in to Uncle Louie G’s Italian Ices and Ice Cream located at 10A E. Main Street in Smithtown and try out one of their 60 variations of flavored ices and ice creams.

“My favorite flavor is the peanut butter cookie dough,” said Joe Zara, who was visiting the popular ice cream parlor with his two buddies - Danny Caroussos and Anthony Kehner, all of whom are 13 year old students at Accompsett Middle School. “I love this place. It just tastes so good.”

Uncle Louie G’s in Smithtown, which opened its doors for the first time last July, is part of a franchised business with locations all over the East Coast. Most locations are in Brooklyn and Manhattan with their warehouse located in Staten Island. After production the product is shipped directly to Uncle Louis G’s Smithtown location to serve the patrons of the Smithtown community.

“The mission here is to serve the community,” said Gio Chiarelli, owner of the gourmet Smithtown ice cream parlor. “I like to feel that the service sets us apart from most other businesses. We’re a family run business and we feel that we have a personable look on things here.”

Chiarelli, a 25-year veteran of the Smithtown Fire Department, works alongside his two sons, Nick, 19, and Christopher, 17, at Uncle Louie’s.   He insists that what sets his parlor apart from the rest is not only the quality of the ices and ice creams, but the family-like feel when you walk inside for an ice.

Moments before admitting that the parlor’s family friendly appeal is what draws crowds into the store, his son Nick served a mother who brought in two boys for their favorite bubblegum and cotton candy Italian ices.

“Did you guys just get a haircut?” Nick Chiarelli asked.

“Yes they did,” the boys’ mother answered.

“You guys are looking good,” the always-personable Nick added.

Uncle Louie G’s, which offers variations of flavors from the basic Vanilla to Lick Me Lemon to Wassup Watermelon to Rocky Road Rage, offers not only quality in-store service, but they also offer a catering service.  Their workers, typically Gio and his two sons, cater house parties and other events. That way hosts do not have to worry about finding someone to serve dessert. Instead, the Chiarelli’s take care of desert for the entire party.

The popular ice cream parlor also holds promotions to keep their customers coming back for more. Currently the parlor is holding a punch card promotion, where for every 10 medium ice creams bought, the customer receives one free. All a customer has to do is purchase an ice and hand the worker their punch card to ensure them one buy closer to a freebie. The shop also holds a wristband promotion - for $1 the customer receives a blue wristband that allows the wearer to receive .99 cent ices on Tuesdays. Seniors receive discounts on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Lastly, Uncle Louie G’s offers a text messaging service where all a customer has to do is text message ‘UncleLouieG’ to 41242 to receive special weekly promotions.

“Come to us for personable service and a great product,” the elder Chiarelli said. “Don’t take my words for it, come in and try it out for yourself.”