Home Wanted

Smithtown Animal Shelter

WANTED:  WARM LOVING HOMES !!!

 Ramsey – Shep/Chow mix 3 years old male/neutered up to date on vaccines. Ramsey loves to play with his toys and go for walks. He is affectionate and playful but would be best placed with older children and a home without other dogs.

 

 

 

  The Smithtown Animal Shelter has many kittens for adoption, the little ones are handled and socialized by our volunteer staff they are friendly have their initial shots and de-worming.

 

          

 

 

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April at Sunken Meadow



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 People in the News

Sunday
Sep142014

Smithtown Historical Society Honors Community Leaders At Oct. 16 Heritage Ball

Smithtown Historical Society Honors Community Leaders at Heritage Ball

In appreciation for their leadership, generosity, service, and vision in protecting, preserving, and promoting Smithtown’s distinct history, the Smithtown Historical Society will be recognizing four exceptional individuals from the community at this year’s annual Heritage Ball. Scott Posner, Glenn Williams, and Inge Sobel with Kathryn Tusa will be presented the Partnership in History, Anna Blydenburgh, and Rockwell Awards respectively. 

Kathryn Tusa, Rockwell AwardThrough their participation in civic organizations, their businesses, and volunteerism, each of these Scott Posner - Partnership in History Awarddistinguished persons have made significant contributions to ensure Smithtown’s history is cared for and shared with the community. “Their support in sharing our mission is substantial and we are grateful to be able to celebrate their efforts,” remarked Executive Director Kiernan Lannon. Mr. Posner is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones. He is the founder of the Deepwells Farm Historical Society and is active in the St. James Chamber of Commerce and Smithtown Rotary. Mr. Williams is the President of  Williams and Williams, Inc., a Smithtown insurance agency. He is a supporting member of the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club and a former Smithtown Historical Society Trustee. Mrs. Sobel is an office manager at a Smithtown law firm and has been a Smithtown Historical Society Trustee for more than 10 years.  In addition to serving as an executive officer for multiple terms, she has also filled several leadership roles as a volunteer for many of  Smithtown Historical Society’s Glenn Williams, Anna Blydenburgh Awardeducational programs and fundraising events. Mrs. Tusa is a practicing attorney and a Inge Sobel, Rockwell Awardmember of the Suffolk County Bar Association and Women’s Bar Association. She has sat on the Planning Board for the Village of Head of the Harbor, and currently serves as a Smithtown Historical Society Trustee and Board Secretary, as well as a supportive and energetic program and event volunteer.

The Heritage Ball will take place on Thursday, October 16th at the Watermill in Smithtown beginning with a cocktail hour at 6:30p.m., followed by a Presentation of Awards & Dinner Dance at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are required for this event. Please call the Smithtown Historical Society at (631) 265-6768 for additional information or to make your reservation.

Monday
Sep082014

Grand Marshal Ball Set To Honor KP Brother And Sister James Kirby and Margaret Kirby Foley

KP St. Patricks Day Parade 2015 Grand Marshals James Kirby and Margaret Kirby FoleyKings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee proudly announces two Grand Marshals for the 2015 Parade. They are brother and sister James Kirby and Margaret Kirby Foley.

They have both devoted themselves unselfishly to their community and family their entire lives.  James and Margaret along with siblings Pat and Dennis are the children of Peg and Dennis Kirby.  Their grandparents hailed from County Mayo.

James married his lovely wife Beatrice and raised two beautiful children, Kelly and their son James Jr. whom sadly they lost this year.  They have two wonderful grandchildren, Allison and Jimmy.

Margaret married the love of her life, Frank and together have raised seven children; Patricia, Mary, Michael, Dennis, Thomas, James and Mark.  They have been blessed with seven grandchildren and a great grandchild, Aubrey Jean.  Sadly, Frank passed away in 2011 as did their son Tommy in 2013.

James is a proud United States Navy WWII Veteran who served as Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services from 1965 until he retired in 1983.  he also served as Secretary and assistant Treasurer for the Board of Fire Commissioners, Smithtown Fire Department from 1990 through 2008.  James also received his Bachelors of Science Degree from Adelphi University in 1959.

Margaret attended St. Catherine’s Hospital Nursing School in Brooklyn and cared for the community members while working at Huntington Hospital, St. John’s Hospital in Smithtown and St. Johnland Nursing Home in Kings Park.

So Save the Date - Grand Marshal Ball - Friday, November 28, 2014 at Flowerfields, St. James, N.Y. Honoring James Kirby and Margaret Kirby Foley, Grand Marshals - Cocktail hour begins at 7:00 pm

Friday
Sep052014

People In The News - Kings Park Resident Ronie Pollacco

Ronie Pollacco - Sept. 2014

By Chris Biancaniello

Ronie Pollacco speaks four languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish), he’s lived in Italy, New York City, Ibiza, Bali, Milan, and France. Ronie Pollacco is by every definition a citizen of the world. Even at the age of eighty and battling Parkinson’s Disease, he is still lively as ever. I was granted the privilege to sit down and talk with him about how his life had taken shape. He showed me photographs of his travels, kids, past loves, and family members. Despite all of the things Ronie is today, and all of his travels, one of the most interesting things about Mr. Pollacco is the story of his childhood.

If you’ve done the math you’ve realized that Ronie was born in 1934. What’s more, Ronie was born in Italy to a Jewish family in 1934. Though Italy is rarely the focus of our World War II history lessons, Italians faced the same horrors as the rest of Europe: fascism, war, and not the least of which, anti-Semitism. In fact, an estimated 7,500 Italian Jews were killed during the holocaust and that is out of a pre-war population of just 44,000.

Ronie PollaccoLuckily for Ronie, his parents were extremely alert to all that was occurring. His father had been arrested twice by Fascists for violating anti-Semitic laws, though Ronie can’t remember which specifically, the laws varied anywhere from not being able to hire help, to not being allowed to own a business. “My father said ‘I’m an Italian, I’ve always been a good Italian, I don’t have to worry about anti-Semitism.’” says Ronie who was just a young boy at the time of his father’s arrest. Although he was only four, the memory of his father’s arrest remains with him today  “I was sitting under the table, my mother was sitting by the kitchen door, my sister was practicing her dance she had a curtain pulled so when he came back she could do a dance, and he walked in and we knew.” After paying a fee Mr. Pollacco was eventually released.

1936 Fiat Topolino (google)Each time Mussolini would make a speech his family (along with many other families) would drive in their Topolino, from their home in Milan, to the border of Switzerland listening to Mussolini’s speech on the radio and wondering if they would ever see home again. “If the speech was horrendous we would consider not going back, if the speech was not so bad we returned.” He can vividly remember packing his families luggage on top of the notoriously small Topolino and making the trips, until one day they could not go back.

In the 1940’s war obviously wasn’t reported the way it is today. Newscasts were made over the radio and were often inaccurate. Rumors ran rampant across Europe about what was safe and what wasn’t, and Ronie’s family experienced their fair share of what some call the fog of war. “You didn’t know what was true and what was not, people ran around like chickens with their heads cut off.”

The family left everything behind including their home, their friends, and even some family, and headed for Nice, France, which unbeknownst to them was soon to face its own set of World War II horrors. His family lived in France for about three years and during this time his sister Gabriella was born. Their time in France was tumultuous at best, “the French were not very helpful towards Jews,” he says. He doesn’t look back on this time all too fondly. In fact he seems almost proud to have forgotten some of the language.

Ronnie Pollacco As the conflict grew around Europe, his family felt the effects. He can recall awaking at 1am every morning to go down to the cellar and play cards with his family while bombs were being dropped around them. Then the family would go back upstairs, but upon his mother hearing a rumor that someone had thrown a hand grenade in Paris, the family decided to leave France for Spain. Spain of course was also dealing with its share of World War II turmoil, though their official stance was neutral, they supported the Axis powers materially. They were recovering from a brutal Civil War which proved to be incredibly costly. At the age of just six, Ronie, and his family were turned away.

In their hour of need they decided to head for America. They boarded a Polish ship from France bound for New York. When they finally arrived they, “weren’t even sure we could get off the boat,” says Ronie who was just six-years-old at the time. It was November of 1940 and America was on the brink of entering the fray in Europe. Fortunately for Ronie and his family, this meant there was work to be had (he speaks glowingly of F.D.R.). His father would eventually own his own store on Fifth Avenue called Ivel’s, which would eventually become the first store to offer fashion shows with African American models wearing wedding gowns and dresses.

reissued in 2002Once the war had finally ended and the family had established a permanent home in New York, they decided to return to Italy in search of his grandmother on his father’s side. They requested help from the U.S. government (the Pollacco’s wrote to President Eisenhower) they found their answer in an Italian book “IL Libro Della Memoria” his family members were listed in the long list of those killed in Auschwitz. The Pollacco family deeply saddened returned to Italy.  They erected a monument in Florence; a simple marble pole, broken at the top to commemorate the loss of a grandmother who died too soon.

Ronie would grow-up to travel the world, stopping from place to place to live in some of the most beautiful locations on Earth. He married and had three children. One of his children is deceased the remaing two children live in NY. He fondly flips through photographs of himself on his motorcycle, of family members, some of whom have passed. Each one bringing a new memory, a new story to tell. His experiences as a child, despite horrifying to those of us who have spent most of our lives living comfortably in the U.S., shaped the man he would grow to be. A world traveler. A motorcycle enthusiast. A father. A survivor.

Ronie Pollacco currently lives in Kings Park. He celebrated his 80th birthday on September 4, 2014.  

Editor’s note - Putting memories in their proper sequence is often difficult for the person reliving memories that are decades in the past. While Mr. Pollacco had some difficulties, Smithtown Matters believes this article fairly represents the events that Mr. Pollacco experienced. We wish Mr. Pollacco a very happy birthday with many more to follow.

 

Thursday
Aug282014

Labor Day Exit For Planning Dept. Director Frank DeRubeis

“Frank DeRubeis is an exceptional man with a wide breadth of knowledge in so many fields.  That knowledge, I believe, inspired so many of his planning initiatives. There was never any doubt about his commitment and dedication to the Town of Smithtown and it is for that reason that I relied and trusted his judgments and advice. So many of his planning initiatives are now part of the Smithtown landscape and have helped make Smithtown the great town it is. I shall sorely miss him.” Smithtown Supervisor Patrick R. Vecchio.

Frank DeRubeis in 1973 and 2014When Frank DeRubeis leaves his office on Friday, August 29th (retirement begins on September 1)  it will be for the last time as Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of Smithtown. A position he has held since 1985. 

Frank began his career as a planner for the town in 1973 earning an annual salary of $8,500. Thirty-one years later he enjoys the status of being the highest paid employee in the town. The economics of retirement is what drove him to retire. DeRubeis is 68 and in good health, but he is realistic, retirement ensures that his wife will be provided for should something happen to him. He sees retirement as necessary rather than something he is doing willingly. “Everyone keeps telling me congratulations, but it doesn’t feel like congratulations. I don’t want to be rude to people, but it’s not something I feel like celebrating.” 

Sitting with Frank in early August he reflected on his thirty-one year career in Smithtown. Clearly he is proud of his staff and their professionalism. He ferverntly supports a resident’s right to access information and keeping public records open. Ask about his successes and he talks about the Galleria project on Terry Rd. in Smithtown. A once blighted site that housed a concrete operation, sand mine and construction equipment storage facility, it was transformed into a thriving development of homes, condominiums and apartments.  The residential area is surrounded by commercial development - a CVS, Maureen’s Kitchen, Tutor Time and more. He talks about the Charles P. Toner Park in Nesconset, the site of the former Amory.  But clearly he is most proud of the 9/11 Memorial Park on Main St. in Smithtown. The project, according to Frank, enjoyed the support of the public, many of whom made generous donations thus making it one of the few town projects where money was not an issue. The park is not only filled with memories it is functional and visited by residents and those visiting Smithtown. 

DeRubeis has a few regrets. The fact that he couldn’t convice the Town to take over the Kings Park Psychiatric Center still stings. “I felt from day one that we should have taken it all. The entity that cares most about the commity will be the Town, not Albany, you know, and I thought we should handle it just like Islip handled Central Islip. Yes it would have cost us a lot of effort, but I think in the long run if you have the chance to direct what’s in your town, you should handle it.”  Not completing the Master Plan is another regret, as is losing the battle over the Hess station on Harned and Jericho Tpke. in Commack. 

While Frank DeRubeis has many supporters, there are some who blame him for Smithtown’s stagnation and accuse him of being an obstructionist.  “Not true! Our records tell a different story.” DeRubeis explained that applicants often come in without complete or accurate applications making delays unavoidable.  “I oppose projects that I believe are harmful or injurious to the public.” Frank’s philosophy has remained the same since he started in 1973 ” I have to remind my planners, our job is finding out what the community wants and then to figure out how to get what they want in the best ways possible. It’s a means towards and end. You’re not implementing your ideas, you are getting the community what it wants. Those are the people who are hiring you. That’s important. A lot of times people and planners are coming up with stuff because they want to do all these crazy things, but the issue is you look at a community and you try to discern what their needs are and then define how they want to develop. If people in the Town of Smithtown want to change downtown Smithtown to have ten story buidings and parking garages, that’s their choice, it’s not up to me.”

What’s in DeRubeis’s future? “Well I have told the Supervisor I am not going into private consulting.” Retirement from Smithtown does not mean that Frank is leaving the Town completely. He would very much like to complete his work on the Master Plan and he is more than willing to donate his time if town board members agree. Photography is a hobby of his and he plans to take  photography classes at Stony Brook University.  Teaching at a college or planning in a different capacity are ideas he is considering. 

Frank DeRubeis will leave his office on August 29 and his life will change and so will Smithtown. All the best to you in the next chapter of your life Frank DeRubeis!

 

Friday
Aug222014

People In The News - Kings Park Resident Deborah Danley

Deborah Danley(HAUPPAUGE, NY Aug. 21, 2014)—Deborah Danley has been appointed to a three-year term on the Suffolk County Youth Board Coordinating Council.

“The Suffolk County Youth Board does a great job identifying issues and working with the young people of Suffolk County,” County Executive Steve Bellone said. “She will be able to use her experience in working with organizations and youth and continue to serve everyone well.”

Danley, a resident of Kings Park, was appointed July 29 by the Suffolk County Legislature and will represent the 13th District. 

Legislator Rob Trotta said, “I believe Debbie Danley will be a tremendous asset to the Suffolk County Youth Board based on her experience and work with the PTA, Kings Park School District Council and other youth-related activities. It was an honor to nominate her for this Board.”

The mission of the Suffolk County Youth Bureau is to successfully meet the needs of Suffolk County Youth, under the age of 21, by ensuring effective countywide planning, thoughtful development, and efficiency in the management of resources necessary to sustain the County’s youth service system. The Youth Bureau staff conducts monitoring and evaluation of youth programs, research and planning, information and referral, and training and technical assistance for community based youth organizations. More than 180 youth programs are funded through the Bureau’s regular budget stream, as well as over 200 programs on a contingency funded basis.

“The work of the Suffolk County Youth Board Coordinating Council is pivotal to assisting the County in determining and meeting its youth development goals and objectives,” the Rev. Roderick Pearson, executive director of the Suffolk County Youth Bureau/Human Services, said. “The Board welcomes the new appointees, who offer a wealth of experience, expertise, knowledge, and compassion in advising the County Executive in such areas as education, teenage pregnancy, gangs and violence, behavioral mental health, and other issue impacting the quality of life for our young residents.”

The Suffolk County Youth Bureau was established as a distinct entity within the Office of the County Executive more than a quarter century ago.