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Smithtown Historical Society Receives Grant From Gardiner Foundation

The Smithtown Historical Society received grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Inc. for a new project “Smithtown History …going forward.” 


Kathy Tusa, President of SHS, Kathryn M. Curran, Executive Director of The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Inc., Marianne Howard, Executive Director of SHSThe Smithtown Historical Society is delighted to have received a $10,568.00 grant from The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. The grant was endowed by the Gardiner Foundation for the purpose to develop a new website with a walking tour mobile app and new technology equipment. 

We are starting this project to update the existing website and make it more accessible and user-friendly. This project will also include a new mobile walking tour app and new technology equipment such as computers and iPads. Fresher, more efficient technology will bring in newer demographics to the Historic Society. For our members, it will improve the overall experience of accessing the information and registering for our events. For our staff, this project will assist in dispersing out information and will significantly increase the productivity of working hours. 

Executive Director Marianne Howard said, “Thank you to the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation for their support towards the Smithtown Historical Society during this crucial time of our growth.  By recognizing our need to reach younger audiences and visitors, this foundation has enabled the Society to take a look at our website, make crucial changes, develop an audio tour app for visitors, and modernize our equipment.  We are extremely appreciative for this award, and look forward to sharing our new and modern web look with you in 2018!”

 “The Smithtown Historical Society is a vital part of their community. This grant will help them make their entire campus interactive with new technology. They are engaging the public in new and innovated ways to bring Long Island history to life,” said Kathryn M. Curran, Executive Director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. 

The Smithtown Historical Society works to preserve the historic properties in our town and we seek to expand and improve upon programs for both adults and children while sharing Smithtown’s rich history. All these activities require funding, and we have been fortunate enough to have the support of our wonderful friends and neighbors in Smithtown. Our community, which plays a vital role in supporting our cause and through the years, has helped build our Society.


Support For NYS's Phase III Nissequogue River State Park

 by p.biancaniello

New York State officials went before the public on Thursday with their Phase III plan for the Nissequogue River Wayne Horsley addressing questions at Phase III meetingState Park (NRSP). Wayne Horsley, Long Island Regional Director of NYS Parks made the presentation announcing the $40 million dollar plan.

Phase III would use the balance of Senator Flanagan’s NRSP fund. Additional funds will come from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

Phase III includes demolition of four derelict buildings on the park property. Three of the buildings #18.1, 18.2 and 18.3 were used as medical staff housing for employees at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center. Also targeted for removal is the former day care building identified as #40 located across the street from the maintenance building (west side) as you pass the booth entering the park. 

In addition to the removal of buildings phase III includes: Marina relocation with improvements and wetland restoration. New construction, replacing building #40 with a Silver LEED (LEED is the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) NYSDEC Marine Resources Building. Replacing and installing a water main and fire hydrants. Exterior improvements and energy conservation upgrades at the Administration Building (#125).

The mandate of the NYS Division of Marine Resources is to manage living marine resources and habitats within the marine and coastal district of NYS. It is currently renting space at 205 Belle Mead Road, East Setauket. The rental is expensive and miles from the LI Sound. The NRSP appears to be a perfect fit for the Marine Resource Division. Since NYS owns the property relocating to the NRSP means no rental costs. The proximity to the marina makes a lot of sense for a Marine Division that uses boats.

According to Director James Gilmore, identifying the property for use by his division happened by chance after attending an event in Huntington, he drove through the park and realized the potential benefits for his division. This set into motion a review of the possibilities. Working with Wayne Horsley and other interested parties resulted in the conceptual plans presented to the public in two meetings on Thursday.

Approximately 150 people participated in the informational meetings. Kings Park Chamber of Commerce President Tony Tanzi received applause when he voiced his organization’s enthusiastic support for the project. Linda Henninger president of the Kings Park Civic Association (KPCA) issued the following statement, “The KPCA is excited about Phase III and marine upgrade projects. We look forward to working closely with the DEC and State Parks during the process. The public meetings were informative, one aspect of community input stood out, the community wants the State to work simultaneously on a master plan for the entire park while moving forward on these exciting projects.”

Presenters were peppered with questions from boaters, both motorized and Kayakers, about the marina project with Wayne Horsely offering assurances that both groups were considered valuable users of the park and consideration would be given to their concerns.

Dissent came in the way of concern for the location of the DEC building. Although the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation (NRSPF) has not taken a formal position on the project, foundation members Dorothy Chanin and Roy Conforte questioned the siting of the building on property that is uniquely beautiful. The Foundation had encouraged the DEC to use the Rockers Bldg. located on the Boulevard which would not be visible to people entering the park. The NRSPF was created to support the park and will meet on Monday evening and is expected to discuss and determine their position.

There were a number of calls from the audience to develop a master plan for the park. The NRSPF has raised funds to help defray the cost for NYS Parks. The Foundation was created to protect, enhance and beautify the NRSP for future generations. “Our goals include assisting State Parks with the creation of a comprehensive master plan to determine the most appropriate and sustainable reuses of the park’s buildings and grounds for cultural, recreational and educational purposes.” Nissequogue River State Park Foundation website.*

*P.Biancaniello is a member of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation 


Smithtown Recreation Announces Winners Of Horseshoe Tournament

On Saturday, October 7th, the Smithtown Recreation Department held its 30th annual Singles and Doubles Fall Horseshoe Tournament at Brady Park.  This year we had 24 single horseshoe participants and 11 doubles teams participate in the event.

The winner of the Singles Tournament was Mike Nemschick with a record of 6-0, beating Ed O’Rourke.  Ed finished with a record of 6-2.  Chris Malandra came in 3rd place.

William “Willie” Whitehead and John Johnson were the winners of the Doubles competition.  They finished with a record of 4-0.  Andy Kassay and Justin Flores finished in second place with a record of 4-2.

Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who helped make this event so successful.

Hope to see everyone at the Spring Horseshoe Tournament.


Candidates Debate The Rest Is Up To You


Smithtown’s League of Women Voters (LWV) hosted a candidates debate for local and county legislative offices last night. With the exception of the Democratic candidate in the 13th LD, all invited candidates participated in the forum. Robert Trotta, Republican candidate and the incumbent legislator in the 13th LD was in attendance but unable to participate because the LWV rules preclude candidates from participating without an opponent. Town clerk candidates were first to speak followed by town council, legislature, town supervisor candidates. 

For Town Clerk: L-R Conrad Chayes, Justin W. Smiloff, Vincent A. Puleo,Candidates were asked questions by LWV moderator Lisa Scott. Audience members were invited to participate by submitting their questions on cards. Opening and closing statements provided the candidates the opportunity to address issues of their choice. Town clerk candidate Conrad Chayes used his closing statement to explain that he is the only Republican running for town clerk although he does not have the Republican line which is being filled by Vincent Puleo, a Conservative. 

Town Council candidate Thomas McCarthyTown Council candidate Lynne NowickTown Council candidate Patricia StoddardOf the fourteen candidates participating in the debate only Kristen Slevin, candidate for town supervisor, is a not affiliated with a political party. There are no females running for the town clerk position. Lynne Nowick is the only female running for any town office on the Republican ticket. Democrats have two women Amy Fortunato and Patricia Stoddard running for town council seats both first time candidates. Two members of Ed Wehrheim’s Dream Team, Robert Doyle and Thomas Lohmann, are retired police officers who lost in the Republican primary contest and are running on the Conservative line. Doyle and Lohmann are also first time candidates. 

Town Council candidate Robert DoyleTown Council candidate Amy FortunatoTown Council candidate Thomas LohmannRepublican town council candidates (both incumbents) Thomas McCarthy and Lynne Nowick, despite being dissed by the Republican leader William Ellis and Ed Wehrheim, linked themselves with nominee Ed Wehrheim. 

Transparency was the word of the night with candidates united in their goal for providing more transparency. Democratic candidates for town council Fortunato and Stoddard spoke about how difficult it is to follow Town Board and work session agendas that are made public with inadequate information and released too close to meeting date for the public to use effectively. 

Supervisor candidate Edward WehrheimSupervisor candidate Kristen SlevinSupervisor candidate William HolstDemocrat William Holst emphasized the need to put residents before business interests.  Council and supervisor candidates praised civic associations for taking the lead in planning improvements for the business districts in their hamlets. Kristen Slevin emphasized her desire to ensure that Smithtown maintains a small hometown feel and not become another Patchogue. Ed Wehrheim called attention to his plan to bring all interested parties to the table before decisions are made.

All candidates support the two per cent tax cap enacted by Governor Cuomo. Supervisor Vecchio’s legacy of fiscal conservatism may be in it’s waning days as candidates spoke of leveraging the town’s triple A bond rating and using reserves to fund projects.

Legislature candidate Leslie KennedyLegislature candidate Kevin HymsIn the legislative portion of the debate only candidates in the 12th LD spoke. Democrat Kevin Hyms is challenging Leslie Kennedy. A question about reducing the size of Suffolk County Government from current eighteen legislative districts to thirteen engendered a discussion about staffing in the legislature with Kennedy speaking forcefully against overstaffing, Hyms concurred. Kennedy is known for her constituent service and the personal attention she gives to the problems in her district. Kevin Hyms is a scientist who has a history in community service gave voice to public concerns about water and making living on Long Island affordable for young people.

The public has an opportunity to meet candidates this evening, October 18th, at the St. James Elementary school at 7pm. The event is sponsored by the Community Association of Greater St. James.



Republican Primary Candidates Discuss Views At LWV Meeting

Standing room only. Republicans filled the Brush Barn for last night’s League of Women Voters candidates meeting for the September 12th Republican primary. Audience members were given the opportunity to hear the candidates vying for town supervisor, town board, and town clerk postitions on the Republican line. 

With an overflow crowd standing outside the open doors, Republicans, many party faithful, and other interested residents got to hear canidates Patrick R. Vecchio, Edward R. Wehrheim (for Supervisor), Robert P. Doyle, Thomas Lohmann, Thomas J. McCarthy, Lynne C. Nowick (for Town Council), Conrad A. Chayes, Vincent Puleo (for Town Clerk) discuss their positions.

All questions were presented to the candidates by Suffolk County League of Women Voters moderator Lisa Scott. 

Town Clerk Candidates Vincent Puleo (l) Conrad Chayes (R)The questioning began with the candidates for Town Clerk incumbent Vincent Puleo and challenger Conrad Chayes. At the outset it appeared from Mr. Puleo’s demeanor that he was angry, it only took five minutes to understand why. Despite being in his position for twelve years, Mr. Puleo was going to have to defend himself against accusations appearing in recent negative mailings. The opportunity arose when a question about improving interactions with with the public led Mr. Chayes to respond “I would do the job. Not play a Candidates Puleo and Chayes leaving the stagegame of gotcha.” Mr. Puleo has been under attack since early 2014 for the debacle that led to a crisis whereby reelected candidates Supervisor Vecchio, Tom McCarthy and newly elected Lynne Nowick did not sign the mandated Oath of Office and were unable to serve in their positions. The book where electees sign is under the purview of the Town Clerk and it was alleged that Mr. Puleo, who opposed the three electees in the election, willfully neglected to have them sign the book. This charge has been repeatedly denied by Mr. Puleo and again last night when he repeated his position that the allegations were “ridiculous”. Mr Puleo said that the people who call themselves victims should look at themselves, repeating that his job is not to run after people to collect signatures but to have them sign and file the documents. Ms. Scott called them on their non-answers which led both candidates to acknowledge that continued and improving online services including access to information and applications is key to serving the public. 

Supervisor candidates were next on the agenda. Sewers was the key word in the supervisor portion of the meeting. Both candidates concurred that the growth in the business district in Smithtown will be determined by the installation of a sewer system. Both candidates agree that Kings Park, through the efforts of their local Ed Wehrheimcommunity organizations, have done the heavy lifting on developing a plan for their downtown area. Specifics Patrick R. Vecchioabout hook-ups and user fees were not discussed. Both candidates agreed that the mom and pop stores prevalent in Smithtown’s past would not be returning. A question was asked about downtown shuttles, to which both candidates agreed that without population density transportation shuttles in the downtown areas would not be practical. A question, based on the Youth Bureau’s wish list, was support for a youth recreation center. Mr. Wehrheim, was a supporter of the proposal but said that the numbers it would serve were just not there to commit to building a recreational center. Supervisor Vecchio, is not a fan of a stand alone recreation center, he indicated that he supports the town’s involvement with youth programs but felt that schools were the appropriate place to house youth programs. Mr. Vecchio pointed out that schools and gymnasiums were already equipped and should be used to facilitate programs. Both candidates expressed support for land preservation. Both candidates agreed that accessory apartments were not appropriate for residential areas. Candidates took a wait and see attitude on Gyrodyne property but expressed concern for over development and density. Mr. Vecchio reminded people that the property is currently zoned industrial.

Differences were remarkably few. Supervisor Vecchio pointed out that Councilman Wehrheim voted against the funding for revitalization of the St. James business district. Mr. Wehrheim defended his vote saying there wasn’t enough time to examine the proposal between the time it was proposed and voted on. He currently supports the St. James revitalization program now that a new water main and a sewer line have been added. The candidates disagreed on consolidation of town buildings. Purchasing the New York Avenue School was once considered for the purpose of consolidation of town buildings. Although the school is no longer available for purchase Mr. Wehrheim continues to support the idea of consolidation.  Mr. Vecchio believes  the current configuration is cost effective and beneficial to citizens. Mr. Wehrheim criticized the lack of communication between the town and the school district.

In closing Mr. Wehrheim spoke of his six-point platform which includes using the town’s stellar fiscal position to bond for improvements. He spoke of needed improvements to the Landing Country Club and the Hauppauge Industrial Park. His plan includes creating a business advisory council which he believes will be able to work out issues before they get to the town. He proposes putting Smithtown’s triple A bond rating to work by increasing bonding for projects which he claims will have a negligible impact on taxpayers. Mr Wehrheim also expressed his desire for increased oversight of town departments.

Mr. Vecchio used his closing to point out that Mr. Wehrheim spoke of increasing oversight of town departments but six months ago refused all assignments designating him to act as liaison to town departments.

Next Town Council candidates