South Country School District Celebrates Opening of Dual Language Magnet Program 153

The South Country School District officially celebrated the opening of its Dual Language Magnet Program at Brookhaven Elementary School on Sept. 4th with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by district administration, Board of Education trustees, faculty and community residents. The magnet program will now allow all district students beginning in kindergarten the opportunity to learn core subjects in both English and Spanish, becoming bilingual and biliterate through fifth grade.

Brookhaven Elementary Magnet School Opening

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said, “We are thankful to so many of our school community, who have contributed to our past successes, and we are very excited about our future successes under our new school leadership and teacher leaders.”

Brookhaven Elementary School has offered dual language instruction since 2015 to its students who reside in the school zone of Brookhaven Hamlet. The Dual Language Magnet Program, now offered to students districtwide, will allow Spanish-speaking students to learn English and English-speaking students learn Spanish. Under the new model, two teachers will simultaneously instruct students in both languages. Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond explained that accessibility to dual language instruction commences with kindergarten and will expand by one grade level each year.

“This was a vision since four years ago and it is humbling to see how the program has grown,” Dr. Raymond said. “I believe the program will further bridge the community together.”

Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice thanked the community for “seeing the mission through.” She added, “This could not have been accomplished without a team effort.”

Brookhaven Elementary School students Anastasia Blanco and Naomi Schindler-Schul were also on hand to assist the district with the ribbon-cutting and to speak with the community as well as peers about their experiences in the dual language program.

(courtesy of South Country School District)

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Local Groundhogs Predict Early Spring 2019! 48

Happy Groundhog Day!  Rather than our traditional weathermen, today we turn the forecasting over to two resident Long Island Groundhogs – Malverne Mel, and Holtsville Hal for their Winter 2019 predictions.  We are happy to report that for the first time since 2016, both Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel did not see their shadows this morning!  According to groundhog lore, that should mean we will be having an early spring this year.

It seems to be a unanimous decision this year, as America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, as well as several other local groundhogs all predicted an early end to the polar vortex temperatures.  I addition to Mel, Hal, and Phil, Staten Island Chuck, upstate New York’s Dunkirk Dave, and Connecticut’s Chuckles all did not see their shadow early this morning.

The only dissenting groundhog this year seems to be Milltown Mel out of New Jersey, who DID see his shadow, and is predicting six-more weeks of Winter.  We will try to reach out for further comment.  However it is worth noting that human meteorologist, News 12’s Bruce Avery, agrees with Mel, saying he expects at least six more weeks of winter.

Whoever’s predictions you decide to believe, the Spring equinox is six weeks away on March 20th.

Brookhaven Town, Patchogue Village Form Joint Partnership in Seeking Additional Sewer Funds 56

Mastic Patchogue Sewers

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri today
were joined by county, town and village officials to lobby for $26.4 million in available funds to extend sewer
projects in Patchogue and in Mastic near the Forge River.

Romaine and Pontieri issued a joint letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, thanking the Governor for his
leadership in providing funding for sewers to protect Long island’s groundwater and waterways and provide an
incentive for economic development. The two officials pointed out that while residents in Mastic and Babylon
approved a recent referendum for sewer projects in their communities, residents in Great River rejected a
similar plan for their area. Romaine and Pontieri wrote in their letter that the $26.4 million earmarked for Great
River could be reallocated to Patchogue and the Mastic project, expanding the environmental and economic
benefit for those areas. Pictured left to right are Patchogue Village Superintendent of Public Works Joe Dean;
Trustees Thomas Ferb and Joseph Keyes; Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger; Mayor Pontieri; Supervisor Romaine;
Deputy Supervisor, Councilmen Dan Panico and Councilman Neil Foley.

“An effective use of the $26.4 million in funds that were rejected by Great River voters would be to partially
fund Phase 3 of the Mastic/Forge River sewer project and to expand sewers in the Village of Patchogue. These
projects are already engineered. A site for a sewage treatment plant on Town of Brookhaven land is available
for the Forge River project. Patchogue has long had its own sewage treatment plant, and both the Mastic and
Patchogue communities (Mastic in a vote just this week), have shown their support for sewers,” they wrote in
the letter.

Supervisor Romaine said, “I commend the residents who voted overwhelmingly to fund Phase 1 and 2 of the
plan to sewer the Mastic Peninsula. But, we must look at the bigger picture to secure the money available that
will allow us to complete Phases 3 and 4 without over-burdening to the local taxpayers. I am confident that the
Governor, Mayor Pontieri and I share the same concerns about water quality and we all recognize Patchogue
Village as a model of how economic growth and protecting the environment can go hand-in-hand. This is a
game changer for the future of Mastic and the Forge river.”

Mayor Pontieri said, “Supervisor Romaine and I stand together in support of the reallocation of the sewer
funding. In the Village of Patchogue, we are currently in the planning stages to sewer over 500 homes located in
environmentally sensitive areas along the Patchogue River and Great South Bay. This will give us the
opportunity to sewer additional homes as well as move ahead with upgrades and future expansion of our sewer
plant. Local economic growth is tied directly into our sewer infrastructure and it is imperative that we continue
to make improvements to our system. I ask the Governor to consider our request, so we can move ahead with
these projects.”

Councilman Panico said, “Brookhaven and Patchogue have always shared a common vision for a cleaner
environment and vibrant economy. We are partners in this effort and value our strong relationship.”
Councilman Neil Foley said, “The Supervisor and Mayor have a history of cooperation to help make the Town
and Village better places to live. I am in full support of their request to the Governor and I expect that he will
give it serious consideration.”

County Legislator Sunderman said, “We are so happy the sewer referendum was successful. This will allow for
economic development in our area as well improve our environment. This was a once in a life time opportunity
and I am very excited to be part of this accomplishment. I’ve already requested to explore the connection of the
Mastic Beach Business District into phases 1 and 2 and have already requested grant funding for phases 3 and 4.
We are looking forward to the start of this project in 2020 and more to come in the future. It would be a great
opportunity to receive additional funding for our already designed project which was earmarked for use in
Suffolk County.

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