Trees Dedicated in Memory of Murder Victims

Memorial at Depot Road Park honors three young Huntington Station residents

Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and his Town Council colleagues joined community members July 16 in dedicating three trees and a stone marker at Depot Road Park in memory of three Huntington Station residents whose murders mobilized the community into joining with the Town to address community issues.

As family and friends of Maggie Rosales, Daniel Carbajal and Sarah Strobel looked on, Supervisor Petrone spoke of the community effort to create the memorial and his hope for its significance to the families and the community. “We want you to keep this park in your hearts. We want the families to come to this park,” he said. “This is a way of you and us continuing the memory of these individuals that were taken from us. Taken from us, but not taken from our hearts. Tonight, we dedicate this part of the park and these trees in their loving memory.”

“Let’s leave today with a hope in our hearts,” he continued. “Let’s leave with a commitment to each other to keep working together. This was a good example of how everyone has worked together for this.  If we do that, we can overcome, we can overcome so many adverse situations.”

“I really hope this brings you some small sense of healing to know that the community has all come together in honor of your children,” Councilwoman Susan A. Berland said, also addressing the families. “When you come here, when people for generations come here, they are going to want to know:– Who is Sarah? Who is Danny? Who is Maggie? And they are going to ask those questions, and their stories are going to go on for generations to come. They are going to continue like these trees are going to continue.”

Rosales’ father, Cesar, thanked the Town and the community for their efforts. “My daughter was a good person, a good girl,” he said.

Councilwoman Tracey A. Edwards spoke on behalf of the Carbajal family. “This is a wonderful dedication and they truly appreciate all of the efforts that everyone has made to come together,” Councilwoman Edwards said. “Their goal is not only to celebrate their life and their remembrance, but to have a resolution, to have some closure, they need to know that the people who are responsible for these terrible tragedies are put in the place where they belong.”

Councilman Eugene Cook also attended. Councilman Mark Cuthbertson was unable to attend.

Friends of Strobel also spoke.

Supervisor Petrone thanked community members who were the driving force behind the effort, including Depot Road Park stewards James McGoldrick and Kathleen Kufs. Kufs was responsible for obtaining the memorial stone, which she got donated by Art Memorial and Stone in Kings Park. Keith Barrett, deputy director of the Town’s General Services Department, arranged for donation of the three Japanese maples by Stan Weisberg, from a commercial nursery property in East Northport he had purchased.

Summer Arts Festival To Begin 50th Season with Special Chapin Family Concert

The Town of Huntington will help kick off the 50th anniversary of the Summer Arts Festival Saturday June 27 by unveiling the new marquee that officially brands the Heckscher Park stage in memory of the late folksinger Harry Chapin and by honoring the Chapin family and the group Why Hunger, which Chapin co-founded with his friend, radio personality Bill Ayres, 40 years ago

Following the ceremonies at a VIP reception at the Heckscher Museum and on the Harry Chapin Rainbow Stage, several members of the Chapin family — Harry’s daughter Jen, his brothers Tom and Steve and the Chapin Sisters — will perform a special concert. Residents are encouraged to bring a blanket or a lawn chair to enjoy the free concert, at which the family will perform some of Harry Chapin’s most memorable hits, such as “Taxi,” “Flowers Are Red,” and his No. 1 hit “Cat’s in the Cradle.”

Concertgoers are advised to arrive well before the 8:15 p.m. starting time for the ceremony, which will directly precede the concert. The last time the family performed on the Chapin Rainbow Stage — in July 2011, marking the 30th anniversary of the automobile accident that took Harry Chapin’s life — they played to a packed audience.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate two cultural icons who have meant so much to Huntington than by bringing them together at this special event,” Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said. “The Summer Arts Festival, which the Town has presented in collaboration with the Huntington Arts Council for a half century, defines the Town as a cultural mecca. And everyone remembers Harry Chapin’s love for the Town in which he lived and his efforts to fight hunger.”

Founded in 1975, Why Hunger is a grassroots support organization that works with more than 8,000 community-based groups across the country and around the world to fight hunger and poverty. What began as a simple movement between two friends — Chapin and Ayres — to make a difference has grown into an award-winning global non-profit, leading the movement to end hunger and poverty and creating a just and sustainable food system. Why Hunger remains committed to the belief that everyone deserves access to nutritious, affordable food and that together, we can truly make a difference.

“I recently sat down with Bill Ayres, and we spoke about Harry and their dual commitment to helping people,” Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said. “We are asking the public to join us in paying tribute to Harry and Bill by bringing donations of nonperishable food to the concert. All of the food will be donated to Long Island Cares, the food bank Harry Chapin also founded.”

Concertgoers will also have the opportunity to contribute money, by dropping loose change into donation boxes entitled, “Harry Keep the Change,” a reference to Chapin’s seminal hit, “Taxi.”

Harry Chapin also holds a special place in the history of the Huntington Arts Council.  Sandy Chapin, Harry Chapin’s wife, is a former Vice President of the Council, and was an integral force of the Lively Arts Festival, in which Harry performed.  Sandy Chapin created the organization’s wildly successful Journey Program, which is now implemented in seven school districts. Councilwoman Susan A. Berland honored Sandy Chapin as Woman of the Year ibn 2002.

“The Summer Arts Festival is ingrained in the fabric of Huntington life, an institution that residents await each year with great expectation,” Councilwoman Susan A. Berland said. “The Town is proud of its heritage supporting the arts and appreciates the Arts Council’s role in managing the festival over the past half century.”

“No matter what their taste – jazz, classical, contemporary — residents will find something for them to enjoy over the course of the festival’s 40 nights,” Councilwoman Tracey A. Edwards said. “The festival provides a perfect way to end a summer day with music under the stars.”

Councilman Eugene Cook said, “The Summer Arts Festival is one of the reasons people love coming to Heckscher Park with their family, especially because the price is right and the memories will be priceless.”

The Summer Arts Festival runs from Thursday, June 25 until Sunday, August 9. All performances are free and held at The Chapin Rainbow Stage. Shows are Tuesday- Sunday with performances beginning at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings are Family Nights and performances begin at 7:30 p.m.  All shows are held rain or shine. The Huntington Summer Arts Festival is produced by the Town of Huntington and presented by the Huntington Arts Council. The presenting sponsor is Canon USA. The festival is also supported by Suffolk County and New York State Council on the Arts.


Huntington Hires Varrone as Liaison in Response to Maggie Rosales Murder

Former Chief of Detectives, Second Precinct Commander will work with Suffolk County police and community leaders on security issues

The Huntington Town Board, as part of the continuing effort to work with the Suffolk County Police Department and the community on increasing security and cracking down on crime in Huntington Station, voted today to retain the services of a former chief of detectives and Second Precinct commander to serve as the Town’s liaison.

In a resolution co-sponsored by Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and Councilwomen Tracey Edwards and Susan A. Berland, the Board voted to hire Varron Solutions LLC to provide consulting services and act as the Town’s liaison with the Suffolk County Police Department, community leaders and social services agencies and to provide assistance with a restructuring of the Town Department of Public Safety to better fulfill its mandate within the Huntington Station Community.

Varron Solutions LLC is headed by Dominick Varrone, who retired three years ago after more than 39 years with the Suffolk County Police Department, rising through the ranks of the department to his final post as Chief of Detectives. Previously, he headed the department’s first Anti-Gang Task Force, was commander of the Kidnap Investigation Team and commanding officer of Second Precinct. During his tenure there, the Second Precinct received the chief of patrol’s “Award for Excellence” and Chief Varrone was selected by the Huntington Tri-Community and Youth Agency (Tri-CYA) to its “Hall of Honor” for community service and dedication to youth. Chief Varrone holds a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership from St. John’s University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Cortland.

“As the County and the Town have been working to address community concerns about crime in Huntington Station, the need for a liaison with the police and the community became clear,” Supervisor Petrone said. “With his distinguished police career and his rapport with and acceptance among members of Huntington Station’s diverse community, Dominick Varrone is the perfect choice for this assignment. I am thrilled that he has agreed to come out of retirement and accept this post.”

“Dominick Varrone will be a great asset to expedite efforts in Huntington Station, improve our public safety operations, and enhance our partnership with the SCPD and community leaders,” Councilwoman Edwards said.

“I look forward to working with Dominick Varrone in better coordinating our public safety efforts with those of the police department,” said Councilwoman Susan A. Berland. “Dominic has an excellent reputation with the community and his particular expertise will go a long way to increasing code enforcement in Huntington Station and throughout the town. I am pleased to co-sponsor this resolution with the Supervisor and Councilwoman Edwards.”

The recent efforts began after the murder of 18-year-old Maggie Rosales called attention to ongoing issues involving crime, and the hiring of Varrone is the latest of several measures Suffolk County and the Town have implemented since then. The Town has pledged code enforcement, building inspectors and fire marshals to work with the police on anti-crime measures. The Town also recently reopened its Public Safety Annex on Depot Road to increase Town public safety visibility in Huntington Station and to provide a location where community residents can seek information and pass on to the Town information about situations that might warrant investigation and action.

For its part, the Suffolk County Police Department has assigned a Captain from headquarters to work at the Second Precinct, coordinating Huntington Station police efforts, including the work of the Huntington Station Violent Crimes Task Force. The Town envisions Chief Varrone working with that officer, Capt. Robert Waring, as well as with the representatives of the recently-formed Community Watch. Chief Varrone will be based in the Public Safety Annex.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said, “Dominick Varrone served our Town with distinction as a Suffolk County police officer, detective and chief of detectives. He has a thorough understanding of our communities, our residents and our diversities. I welcome him on board to help strengthen our public safety efforts and how we may better deliver services to enhance the quality of life in Huntington Station.”

Councilman Eugene Cook said, “The Town of Huntington is extremely fortunate to have Varron Solutions LLC, led by Dominick Varrone, to work with the Second Precinct, Town of Huntington Public Safety and the community to benefit not only Huntington Station but Huntington as a whole.  Dominick’s expertise will assist us all in the start of making our town a safer place for its residents and I offer my assistance to Varron Solutions and Dominick in accomplishing this important task.

Chief Varrone is expected to begin work next week. The terms of the contract between Chief Varrone and the Town remain to be finalized, but the resolution appropriates a cost not to exceed $50,000.

Supervisor Petrone Outlines His Agenda at Inaugural Ceremony

January 5, 2014 Inaugural CeremonyHuntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone took the oath of office for a record sixth time January 6 and in an address outlined an agenda for the next for years that brings to fruition projects that implement his long-term vision for the Town.

Supervisor Petrone’s speech came before an audience of more than 500 people at Elwood/John H. Glenn High School at a ceremony that also saw Town Council Members Mark Cuthbertson and Tracey A. Edwards and Highway Superintendent Peter S. Gunther take their oaths and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Steve Israel make congratulatory remarks.

“Four years from now, I would like to look back at this term as the one that brought home the vision I have had for the Town over the past 20 years,” Supervisor Petrone said. He went on to list specific accomplishments he would like to see with respect to Huntington Station revitalization; further development of the route 110 Corridor in Melville; parking in Huntington village; parks improvements; a satisfactory resolution of the LIPA tax assessment suit; and an expansion of housing options for families, young persons and seniors.

“But most important,” he continued, “ four years from now I want to look back at a term in which cooperation was the hallmark of this Town Board, as everyone works together to achieve our common goal of providing the best, most effective government for our residents.”

Noting the different skill sets of his Town Board colleagues, the Supervisor detailed specific areas, based on their particular backgrounds, in which he asked each of them to work with him.

He asked Councilwoman Edwards to work with him on human resources and training issues in Town government, as well as working with Suffolk County and private industry to identify jobs for Huntington residents and help them identify training opportunities.

He asked Councilman Cuthbertson to be the point person on economic development and technical improvement issues in the town, to continue shepherding the Melville Master Plan to fruition and to work with the commercial real estate industry to help repurpose vacant and underutilized buildings in the Route 110 Corridor.

He asked Councilman Eugene Cook to work with him on maximizing resources and services between the Highway and General Services Departments.

He asked Councilwoman Susan A. Berland to spearhead a thorough review and revision of Town Code, focusing on quality of life concerns.

“I have enjoyed every one of the past 20 years that I have served as Supervisor of this great Town,” Supervisor Petrone concluded. “I asked voters to allow me to serve a sixth term because I wanted to complete the unfinished business, bringing to fruition projects that have been my dreams for so many years. I look forward over the next four years to moving ahead together with my colleagues on the Town Board, my fellow elected officials in the Town and in County, state and federal government and most importantly, with all of you, the residents of Huntington.”

In his remarks, Councilman Cuthbertson, the senior member of the Town Council, said “We must continue to recognize that we are coming out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and continue or efforts to deliver the most cost effective and efficient government. ..I want us to continue to do what we do best. The things that we do best are as follows: we build civic and athletic facilities, we acquire great open spaces and parks, we regulate our quality of life and waterways, we pave roads and pick up garbage, we help promote economic development and affordable housing and we provide information about the services that we have at Town Hall. Those are things that we have done well and should continue to focus on, even if they are controversial.”

Councilwoman Edwards, the newest member of the Town Council, cited accessibility and employment as two of her priorities. She said he planned to establish “civic Saturdays… so I can come out to the communities and hear what’s on your mind so that you could shape me into a better councilperson.” In the area of employment, she said, “Employment lifts up individuals, families and communities, I think we can create more partnerships with our educational institutions labor and businesses so we to build the bridge and close he gaps so that we have trained people available for new technology, traditional jobs and green jobs.”

Highway Superintendent Gunther, in his remarks, noted the support he had received from the Supervisor and Town Departments during the recent snow storm and called for continued cooperation to help achieve efficiencies and savings.

Sen. Schumer told the audience, “I know how hard these people work for you. And you need it, because the quality of life is outstanding. Elected officials have to be vigilant to keep it that way, and they will. These four truly will….[they are] people who care about their community and their fellow citizens.”

The ceremony included participation by all of the Town fire departments, American Legion and VFW Posts and veterans groups, as well as performances by the Spanish Choir from St. Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church and the Elwood/John H. Glenn High School Honors Ensemble.



Huntington Election Results: Petrone Wins

All 178 election districts in the Town of Huntington have made their selections known and the Democrat party, led by incumbent Supervisor Frank Petrone, have emerged victorious with 18,563 votes for Petrone, to Gene Cook’s 17,968.

Incumbent Council Member Mark Cuthburtson led the pack of Town Board contenders with 18,868 votes.  Close on his heals was Democrat Tracy Edwards who, in her second bid for a seat, gathered 18,304 votes.  Councilmember Mark Mayoka, seeking a second term on the Board, posted 17,466 votes while newcomer Josh Price placed fourth with 16,628 votes.

Town Republican Chair Toni Rettaliata, in a mid-evening speech, was quick to point out that the absentee ballots had yet to be counted so the official tally would still be several hours away.

Retired FDNY firefighter and Centerport resident Pete Gunther looks like the winner in the Town’s Highway Superintendent contest.