05/10/15 8:00am
05/10/2015 8:00 AM

It was a hot, dry end of the day as the sun slid lazily past the yardarm, a call to crack a beer, relax outside and listen to the soothing whoop-whoop of helicopters overhead. Soon I heard another distant sound that stirred unease — the growl of a big diesel, accompanied by rattling of metal. Looking up the road, I could see a large crew cab truck towing a larger caboose. I was in dismay as it slowed and stopped across the street.

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05/09/15 8:00am
05/09/2015 8:00 AM
NYIT Vocational Independence Program students watch as their dean, Ernst VanBergeijk, scales a rock wall at the Baiting Hollow Scout Camp Friday. (Credit: Michael White)

NYIT Vocational Independence Program students watch as their dean, Ernst VanBergeijk, scales a rock wall at the Baiting Hollow Scout Camp Friday. (Credit: Michael White)

The students enrolled in the Vocational Independence Program at Central Islip’s New York Institute of Technology seem to adore their dean, Ernst VanBergeijk.

All of the three dozen-plus college-age kids have learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum diagnoses, and this past school year, they showed their respect for “Dean Ernst,” as they call him, by rising once again to his annual fitness challenge.  (more…)

05/07/15 12:00pm
05/07/2015 12:00 PM

Nine Suffolk County legislators recently rejected a proposal to move a series of committee meetings from Hauppauge to Riverhead. Ask them why and you’re likely to get nine different answers. One thing none of these lawmakers would tell you, however, is what appears to be the truth: They don’t want to drive out here.

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05/03/15 8:00am
05/03/2015 8:00 AM

They make the sound that still tears at my soul. They bring me the promise of peace and they Pavlovianly ready me for violence. It’s the same sound — the sound of a chopper.

In my generation, it was the distinctive clop-clop-clop of a Bell UH-1 Iroquois — the famed Huey. But there are other helicopters that bring the same feelings to generations of warriors.  (more…)

05/02/15 10:00am
05/02/2015 10:00 AM
Hudson, a 12-year-old dachshund, died last April. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Hudson, a 12-year-old dachshund, died last April. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Last April, our beloved dachshund, Hudson, died. He was 12, which is pretty old in dog years, as they say.

My husband suggested we wait a year before we started sniffing around for a new dog, “out of respect.” I thought this was a strange idea, but now that a year has passed, I can see some good has come of waiting. No good for Hudson alas, but waiting has helped me understand what that long, black dog meant to me.  (more…)

04/26/15 10:00am
04/26/2015 10:00 AM

As a young scientist, I trained as a post-doctoral fellow with the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Long before Babesia became part of our local lexicon, I was searching for this and other causes of zoonotic diseases (i.e., those transmissible from animals to man) in the jungles and rural areas of Colombia. I therefore have a particular appreciation for the dangers posed by the current prevalence of ticks and tick-borne diseases on Long Island.  (more…)

04/25/15 12:00pm
04/25/2015 12:00 PM
Eastern Long Island Hospital's Paul Connor, president and CEO  and Dr. Anthony Mitarotondo, chief of radiology at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. (Credit: Courtesy Photo)

Eastern Long Island Hospital’s Paul Connor, president and CEO and Dr. Anthony Mitarotondo, chief of radiology at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. (Credit: Courtesy Photo)

This is to announce the periodic return, at least for the foreseeable future, of this column, along with the news that the former Joan Giger Walker and I hereby accept Eastern Long Island Hospital’s Fitness Challenge.

If you haven’t heard about it, the Challenge is an effort by the best little hospital in the land “to get people moving while using social media to encourage donations,” according to a recent article in this newspaper. “I am asking everyone to pledge to walk 10,000 steps (a day) in honor of the hospital’s 110-year anniversary,” ELIH CEO Paul Connor was quoted as saying in a press release. (more…)

04/24/15 6:00am
04/24/2015 6:00 AM

To the editor:

Superintendent Gamberg’s outspoken efforts against the current New York State tests have helped highlight what is wrong with the current state of education. I am certainly no fan of standardized tests and applaud efforts to fight for better solutions. I do take issue with the idea that the proposed action is simply to “opt out.” (more…)