09/15/14 12:50pm
Andrew Hubner of Shoreham-Wading River High School, physics teacher Andrew Kolchin, Asia McElroy from Riverhead High School and former Riverhead High School student Phil Becker of Bay Shore do some experiments with Newtown's Cradle Friday at BOCES' new Regional STEM high school in Bellport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Andrew Hubner of Shoreham-Wading River High School, physics teacher Andrew Kolchin, Asia McElroy from Riverhead High School and former Riverhead High School student Phil Becker of Bay Shore do some experiments with Newtown’s Cradle Friday at BOCES’ new Regional STEM high school in Bellport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

How often do high school graduates wonder how they will ever use the things they learned in high school once they get into the “real world?”

For Andrew Hubner of Shoreham, at least, that’s not a question right now.

The Shoreham-Wading River High School junior is one of 7 students from eastern Suffolk County who are attending the county’s first high school focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics — otherwise known as a STEM school.

“I’m hoping to get into chemical engineering because that’s my passion, and I’m hoping to build a good foundation for when I go off to college,” said Andrew.

Eastern Suffolk BOCES opened its first regional STEM high school — open to students throughout the region — this fall at its Gary Bixhorn Technical Center in Bellport.

The opening comes in the wake of steps being taken across the country to improve America’s educational standing on the global stage in scientific fields.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the nation ranks 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations. And while only  16 percent of high school seniors are interested in a STEM career, the DOE reports, science-based careers are among the most expected to increase through 2020.

The White House issued a 143-page report in May of last year detailing continued efforts to increase STEM funding through a variety of channels, namely the federal government’s Race to the Top program as well as efforts to hire and re-educate the nation’s K-12 science and math teachers. And last week, state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) was on hand to issue a $100,000 check from New York State.

The Gary Bixhorn Tech Center only has 7 students in its first year, in part because the funding for it didn’t arrive until July, by which time most students had already set their schedule for this semester, physics teacher Edward Moloney said. In addition, this first year is only eligible for high school juniors, whereas next year and in subsequent years, the school will have juniors and seniors.

The students can still participate in sports, graduation and other programs at their home districts.

Pooling regional resources for the select group who decide to take the STEM curriculum opens doors for the students and school districts alike, said Riverhead Assistant Superintendent for curriculum and instruction David Wicks.

“That’s the beauty of this type of program,” he said. “With just two kids, it’s not feasible for us to do this in-house. But with a regional program, you can support the program.”

All school districts in the region pay into the administrative budget for Eastern Suffolk BOCES, and only districts with students participating in the STEM school pay, on a per pupil basis.

Mr. Moloney’s classroom has a 3D printer, where students can design objects on the computer and then see them actually built on the 3D printer. The printer had made a working, adjustable wrench in a prior demonstration, Andrew said.

There’s also a wind tunnel in the class, where students will design a turbine and then be graded on which turbine produced the most energy, and made the least noise, Mr. Moloney said. Also in the classroom is a solar-powered oven, capable of reaching temperatures as high as 350-degrees, he added.

In addition, engineering and architecture software such Auto CAD (computer aided design)

“The STEM high school is based on ‘Project Lead the Way’ engineering curriculum, which is a college-level curriculum that is being taught to high school students,” Mr. Moloney said.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that develops hands-on, project-based STEM curricula for use by schools.

As far as the course load goes, in their junior year, students will take four credits of Project Lead the Way engineering, along with algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus or AP Calculus; AP or Regents Physics; English 11; physical education and health; and U.S. History.

In their senior year, students will take four periods of PLTW engineering, an internship program, English, pre-calculus or AP calculus, AP or Regents chemistry, physical education and economics/government.

“When they finish this course, they will have skills that they can use in the real world engineering environment or they can choose to go on to college,” Mr. Moloney said, adding that college credits will be available to colleges such as Rochester Institute of Technology, among others.

Asia McElroy of Riverhead High School is hoping to get into the field of biomedical engineering, and she is also attending the STEM school.

“There’s a shortage of female engineers and I’ve heard companies are looking for more female engineers,” Asia said.

She’s also the only female in the engineering class. While the school only started on Sept. 1, she says, “I like it. It’s very direct.”

Schools like this could become the wave of the future, Mr. Moloney said.

“There’s a STEM shortage out there right now and it’s predicted that the STEM occupations will grow twice as fast as the rest of the industry, so it’s very relevant to the students now,” Mr. Moloney said.

The STEM school, held in a classroom that previous was used for a cosmetology class, has a number of Riverhead connections.

Mr. Wicks and former Riverhead assistant superintendent Peggy Staib, who is now an associate superintendent for the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services, are the co-chairs of the STEM High School advisory board for BOCES, and Sam McAleese, the principal of Bixhorn Tech, is a former principal at the BOCES Harry B. Ward Technical Center in Riverhead.

Julie Lutz, Eastern Suffolk BOCES chief operating officer, confirmed that Mr. LaValle has stressed the need for such a school many times to them, and she’s happy to finally deliver.

“You watch something in the planning stages for so many, many months and then you actually see it come to fruition, it really is an amazing thing,” she said Friday.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that one student involved in the program is from Southold. One student from the district registered, though opted not to attend, according to a spokesperson.

08/17/14 11:07am
Marco and Ann Borghese. (Credit: Jane Starwood file photo)

Marco and Ann Borghese. (Credit: Jane Starwood file photo)

Marco Borghese might have been a prince in his native Italy, but those who knew him here remembered him as a man with an approachability that belied his noble roots.

“He never needed the spotlight,” his son Fernando told a crowd of mourners at Our Lady Of Ostrabrama Church in Cutchogue. “He was always more concerned about everybody else around him.”

Read more from the service on northforker.com

08/07/14 9:31pm
FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVERWOOD FILMS | The cast and producers of 'Phoebe in Wonderland' gathered at a premiere party at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in 2008. Left to right: Bill Pullman, Felicity Huffman, Doug Dey and Lynette Howell of Silverwood Films, Elle Fanning, co-producer Ben Barnz, Patricia Clarkson, and writer/director Daniel Barnz. 1/30/2008

FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVERWOOD FILMS | The cast and producers of ‘Phoebe in Wonderland’ gathered at a premiere party at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in 2008. Left to right: Bill Pullman, Felicity Huffman, Doug Dey and Lynette Howell of Silverwood Films, Elle Fanning, co-producer Ben Barnz, Patricia Clarkson, and writer/director Daniel Barnz. 1/30/2008

Douglas Dey, a former Southold resident and Calverton businessman, was sentenced to 42 months in jail Wednesday for his part in a $25 million bribery scheme, according to federal officials.

Mr. Dey, who had a manufacturing business at the Enterprise Park at Calverton called South Bay Apparel, was convicted for offering bribes in a multi-million dollar “kickback scheme” with a clothing company executive in the 1990s and 2000s. (more…)

08/01/14 11:58am
Hampton Coffee beans on display at the company's Southampton location, which opened last year. (Credit: Michael White)

Hampton Coffee beans on display at the company’s Southampton location, which opened last year. (Credit: Michael White)

Popular South Fork coffee roaster and espresso purveyor Hampton Coffee Company is looking to set up shop in Aquebogue.

The company’s chief executive officer, Jason Belkin, is seeking to convert the former Go Solar building on Main Road into a coffee shop, espresso bar and bakery with off-site preparation, according to an application filed with Riverhead Town. Read more at northforker.com.

Mr. Belkin and an attorney for the company met before the Riverhead Town board on Thursday.

Read meeting coverage here.

07/05/14 3:09pm
The James Benjamin Homestead, circa 1782, is believed to be the oldest house in Flanders. It's on th eNational Register of Historic Places. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The James Benjamin Homestead, circa 1782, is believed to be the oldest house in Flanders. It’s on th eNational Register of Historic Places. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Did you know that the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders was once the site of a roller rink known as Ben’s Roller Dome? Or that the long-shuttered Bayview Market at the corner of Longneck Boulevard and Flanders Road was built in 1910 and was used as a meeting room for the Flanders Fire Department when it first formed in 1948?  (more…)

07/03/14 3:30pm
Columnist James Varney believes intellectual diversity might not be welcome thing on Long Island's East End.

Columnist James Varney believes intellectual diversity might not be welcome thing on Long Island’s East End.

Does the Hyatt Place hotel in Riverhead have lefty-leaning computers in its lobby?

That’s what a columnist from New Orleans is claiming after he stayed there recently and found that the guest computers in the hotel’s lobby blocked websites he considered to be conservative leaning.

Yet the computers freely allowed more liberal leaning sites, he wrote.

(more…)

06/27/14 5:19pm
The Costco Wholesale store was packed Thursday, its opening day. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Costco Wholesale store was packed Thursday, its opening day. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Despite a number of controversies over the past year, the Riverhead Costco store was issued a temporary certificate of occupancy in time to meet its announced June 26 opening date on Thursday.

And it was greeted by large crowds of shoppers. Costco

“We are thrilled to be bringing Costco’s low warehouse prices to the residents of Riverhead,” warehouse manager Jon Jovel said in a press release. “They have been asking us to open here for a long time, and we already have made an impact on the local job market. We look forward to contributing to the community in many ways.”

Town officials had previously said the store would not be issued a CO, allowing it to open to the public, unless it met all of the conditions of a May 15 amended site plan approval issued by the town Planning Board.

The approval required the developer of the site, Brixmor Property Group, to  replace a wooden fence around the property with a chain link fence with privacy slats, and to plant all of the trees buffering neighboring properties that had been previously called for in the earlier approval — and, lastly, to replace trees that have since died.

It also required them to spread out excess sand on the property over a 20-acre portion of the site, resulting in the grade of the land being raised by 3.5 feet over the prior Planning Board approval from the fall of 2012.

Residents in the Foxwood Village development to the north and the Millbrook Community development to the east had complained about the lack of screening between their homes and the shopping center after Brixmor, with Town Board and Planning Board approvals, clearcut the entire 41 acre site, even though the builders only planned to develop a portion of it.

According to Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, the store was issued a temporary CO and not a permanent one because the traffic light, which it shares with another shopping center across the street, had not been fully accepted by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, and because the developer needed to sprinklers and hydroseed — a type of fast growing grass — on a 20-foot section of lawn around the parking lot.

Mr. Walter said both were being done, and he doesn’t anticipate the store will have any problems getting the permanent CO.

He said all the other requirements of the amended site plan approval have been met.

The Costco site is actually separately owned from the rest of the shopping center, which is called The Shops at Riverhead and is owned by Brixmor. However, another part of the amended site plan allowed the developers to build just the Costco store initially, since they didn’t have any tenants yet for the rest of the project.

Robert Hall, a Foxwood Village resident who has represented the homeowners there at planning meetings on the development for several years, was not happy that the town granted the CO.

“They said that unless they completed everything on the amended site plan, they wouldn’t get a CO,” he said. “I don’t believe they’ve completed everything.”

Although new spruce trees were planted along the border with the Foxwood and Millbrook communities, he said the builders never removed the arborvitae trees that were previously planted. He said he and many other residents agree the trees “look like junk.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

Caption: Neighbors have complained about these arborvitae shrugs. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)