Articles by

Elizabeth Taggart

01/08/12 4:44am

I feel like Arnold Horshack in that television show about a teacher hired to the high school from which he graduated when I say, “Welcome Back.” I trust that your holidays were special, with all your holy and festive traditions among those beautiful decorations.

Welcome to 2012, the official end of the Mayan calendar. Perhaps the Mayans knew that the earth wouldn’t necessarily run out of time, but just run out of trees. Who’s to say that the Mayans weren’t aware of the entire planet’s need to “go green” and that the need for paper reminders wouldn’t exist?

We have to have paper. Without paper, well, we wouldn’t be able to meet here in these pages.

I apologize that I received information after the last column that is now outdated. But I do have current information for you.

Shoreham-Wading River Central School District’s board and superintendent are hosting Part 2 of “Paying for Public Education: Budgets, Unfunded Mandates, Economic Conditions (Incomes and Taxes) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Prodell Middle School library. Your participation is welcome and encouraged.

Thursday and Friday, Jan. 12 and 13, are the last days to register your 5-year-old for kindergarten. You must show proof of residency (see the school website for requirements), have completed registration forms, and provide your child’s birth certificate (original and copy) and immunization records signed by the physician. Your child does not need to be present for registration and you can obtain the registration packet at the high school or online at In previous years you needed to come to Briarcliff School, but this year registration will be held at the district office between 8 and 11:30 a.m.

Suzanne Christensen, junior class adviser at Shoreham-Wading River High School, has sent out a letter to junior class parents saying that in the coming weeks we should be hearing about activity for the junior class prom. In the past, much of the work was handled by the parents, but Ms. Christensen states that this has caused missed opportunities for student growth. She wants to hear suggestions for the auction from anyone who has been involved previously. If you want to help with the centerpieces for the prom, she would like to hear from you as well. Contact her at

I really missed you. It was nice having time off for a bit (Thank you, Times/Review), but it’s nice to be able to share news and announcements with you again. After all, you’re the best. (And you heard it here, appearing in print on paper that you can feel, see and share with someone else.)

12/17/11 3:31pm

I must inform you all that this is the last Shoreham-Wading River column for a bit. The columnists are given two weeks off, so we will return to these pages for the Jan. 12 issue. If you have something that you would like to share with the SWR community in and around the Jan. 12 date, please have the information to me by Sunday, Jan. 8.

I must also tell you that it has been a pleasure to write about you in this space. I thank every one of you who has contacted me in 2011 to share your news. I’ve gotten messages thanking me for the things I’ve written. “Thanks for the plug” and “You did a nice job on that” go a long way. It would be a lonely road without your input.

As you go into the holiday homestretch, be aware of a few things that are dangerous this time of year. Christmas trees catching fire are a biggie. The Brookhaven Town Office of Emergency Management sent me a few tips to make you wiser: Disconnect lighting before bedtime or when you’re away from the house. Get rid of the tree when it starts dropping needles. Do not run wiring for trees or other indoor displays under rugs and carpets. Never leave a candle unattended; nearly 40 percent of all fires occur after candles are left unsupervised or inadequately controlled. Don’t place them near a family pet. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords don’t get damaged. Keep decorations away from the windows and doors. When you’re cooking, don’t leave the stove unattended; unattended cooking is the leading cause of all fires in the U.S. Also, test your fire alarms.

Thank you to the Wading River Fire Department whose members toured Wading River Sunday with Santa Claus riding in the fire engine. The emergency vehicles led the train, announcing to everyone that the big fella was in their neighborhood. I must say that everyone in the house drops what they’re doing and runs to see like little kids. It’s so exciting when Santa Claus comes to town. All of Shoreham celebrated Santa’s arrival Saturday, when the Rocky Point Fire Department took him on a visit to that area. It’s an exciting tradition in these parts and it sets a child’s (and a parent’s) heart a-flutter. Thanks to all who were involved in this effort of cheer.

Have a wonderful holiday season and until we meet here in this space, be well, be smart, be careful, generous and happy. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year.

12/09/11 2:03pm

Throughout the school year, Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Dr. Steven Cohen and the Board of Education hold community forums for the public. The next is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Prodell Middle School. It will be on “Paying for Public Education: Budgets, Unfunded Mandates and Economic Conditions (Incomes and Taxes), Part 1.”

Happy birthday to Serafina Gohar, who turned 15 on Dec. 11. Fina is one of the smartest and most impressive young people I know. She was surrounded by love when Sarah, Chris, Tommy, Ann, Taylor, Meghan and Gerard attended her party. We know you had a nice day and we wish you nothing but happy birthdays for all your years to come. And happy birthday to one of Wading River’s hardest working young ladies: My daughter Janet will turn 26 on Dec. 17. You have made your dad and me so proud; we wish you much success in your future.

There is a goodwill event under way right now that will make you proud if you get a chance to witness it. The Wading River Fire Department is running a “Stuff-A-Bus” campaign to replenish the area food pantries that struggle to keep supplies on their shelves. The goal is to stock the bus from floor to ceiling and side to side. From now until New Year’s Eve you may bring supplies to the good folks at the fire department on North Country Road or see them outside King Kullen as they hand out lists of nonperishable items. It feels so good to be part of this huge goodwill effort that helps so many people.

The word is out. If you want to witness something else that will leave you with a sense of pride, did you know that Shoreham-Wading River’s Got Talent? On Friday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Shoreham-Wading River High School auditorium you can see “the stars come out” when you experience the high school kids singing, dancing, performing and more. The contest is open to the public and you can buy tickets at the door for $10. Proceeds will benefit the SWR High School PTSA arts and education program for students. The sponsors are WALK 97.5, the PTSA, everychild.onevoice and IdolMaker USA.

The sky is so beautiful this time of year as you stand out in the crisp, cold air. Maybe you’ll gaze up and be grateful as you recall all the people who make you proud.

Until we meet in this space next week, be well.

12/07/11 1:40am

We’re deep within the Christmas season and have begun shopping for gifts and thinking about doing special things for special people.

Little Flower Children’s Services of Wading River is currently conducting its annual toy and gift drive. Visit to download their wish list or to make a donation so that you can make the holidays a little brighter for a child in their care. For more information or to schedule a delivery, call 929-6200, ext. 1171, or email The entire Little Flower family thanks you for your continued generosity and compassion.

For a much needed gift that won’t cost you a dime, consider this: The Miller Avenue PTO is trying to obtain two grants from the Clorox and Pepsi companies for $50K each for a new playground at the school and they need your help. The school that receives the most votes will receive the grants. Children are also eligible to vote. The school cannot win the money unless each of us helps out by voting each day through Dec. 9. To vote on the Pepsi website visit pepsi. com. To vote on the Clorox website visit or text the message clorox3946 to 44144 (one vote per day). I did it and it works!

Those voting at the Clorox website must register their email address. After you register, click the “Log In” tab and enter your email address and password. Hit the “Play” category, type in keyword “Miller Avenue,” locate the school and vote. One click a day could make the difference between the playground they currently have and a brand-new one. Wouldn’t that be a great idea for a great Christmas gift at a great price?

Shoreham-Wading River High School’s music department presented their holiday gift to the community — their 2011 fall concert. Steven Fayette’s Symphony Orchestra performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” arranged by Victor Lopez; Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” arranged by David Kerr; and John Williams’ “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Dennis Creighton’s High School Concert Choir, accompanied by Sandy Fayette on piano, performed Lilly Allen’s “Chinese,” arranged by Rachel Santesso (with solo performances by Kerri Beacon, Laura Lee, Rachel Hunter and Amelia Valdes); “Three Madrigals” by Emma Lou Diemer; W.A. Mozart’s “Lacrymosa from Requiem”; Karl Jenkins’ “Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary”, with flute and percussion solos by Michelle Wern and Victoria Creta; “Soon-Ah Will Be Done” by William Dawson; and “God Bless the Child” by A.Herzog Jr./B. Holiday, with soloists Taylor Burgess and Victoria Creta. David Minelli’s Concert Band presented the songs “Summer Dances” by Brian Balmages, “Seize the Day” by Patrick J. Burns, “Nilesdance” by David R. Holsinger and “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty” march by John Philip Sousa, adapted by H.R. Gore. Your direction, accompaniment and performance was extraordinarily beautiful and all who attended thank you for your gift.

Whether you’ll be giving a gift to a special little someone, making it possible for a special someone to play on a new playground, or you gave a gift from the gifts that God gave you, you deserve to be thanked.

Be well until we meet here again next week.

11/22/11 2:13am

I don’t know what your personal preference is in our schedule of holidays. There are so many, each of them important for their own distinct reason. But what I can honestly admit is that my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It is not a gift-giving holiday, but is simply about gathering with family and friends around an elaborate meal and truly being grateful.

I’m also not afraid to admit to the world that my favorite part of Thanksgiving is holding the hand of the person next to me and stating out loud what I am thankful for. Usually I speak about being surrounded by those I love, having health and wisdom and enough to get by on, but this year brought with it an extra something to be grateful for: a job.

So many I know have lost their jobs. I can personally attest to the difficulty they are having because I used to be one of them. Unemployment benefits carry you in a bare-bones manner, but when the funds run their course and the safety net is gone, the fall is not only painful, but hard to forget.

You can speak to anyone who runs a food pantry or runs the outreach at their church and they will tell you that their shelves are bare. More and more families are showing up asking for food to help them get by. Keeping shelves stocked has been the challenge for 2011. I applaud those in the community who are conscious of this and help. They are always working to provide for those in need.

On Thanksgiving morning, some of us won’t be in the kitchen preparing the bird to go in the oven. Let’s tip our hats to all those really healthy people participating in the Thanksgiving Foot Races run by Shoreham-Wading River Community Programs. We hope you have a beautiful experience on a beautiful day. Miller Avenue is definitely a community hot spot every year on Thanksgiving morning, with hundreds of runners/walkers participating in this annual event.

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, Vinnie, who will celebrate on Nov. 27. I’m so grateful for you, honey, and for our paths crossing.

Let’s hope that you can name all the things and people in your life that you are thankful for and that gratefulness isn’t a feeling you have just once a year.

Have a blessed, warm and wonderful Thanksgiving and be well until we meet here again next week.

11/14/11 1:00am

The holidays will be here before you know it. I can almost smell the stuffed turkey in the oven and the creamed potatoes and gravy on the stove. The leaves have turned their most brilliant color, on display for us to admire, and families are looking forward to spending time together.

Since the offices of Times/Review are closed on Thursday, Nov. 24, the paper will have an early deadline. If anyone has SWR news to share for the next issue, please email me by tonight, Thursday, Nov. 17.

Happy birthday to my nephew Frank, who celebrates on Nov. 17; to my son, James, who will turn 27 on Nov. 18; and to Ron Pepino, who will celebrate on Nov. 22. Ron spent much of his early life in Wading River and now has a Ph.D. in atomic physics.

Wading River resident Larry Pepino has something more to be proud of besides his youngest son, Ron. His oldest son, Chris, is an award-winning filmmaker and has a new prize-winning documentary that will be shown to audiences in New York at noon on Nov. 19 and 20 at the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival in East Hampton. “Inside the Perfect Circle: The Odyssey of Joel Thome” is described as a unique documentary that charts the journey of a brilliant composer after he suffered a debilitating stroke. Through music therapy, the conductor/composer is able to reclaim his mental and physical capabilities. Among the movie’s recent awards are: Audience Award and most inspirational documentary from the 2011 DocMiami International Film Festival and best short documentary film from the New Jersey Film Festival.

The star of the film, Joel Thome, performer Martha Mook of the Scorchio Quartet and producer/director Chris Pepino will be present for a question-and-answer session after the East Hampton showings. For more information on Joel Thome, go to

Enjoy the beauty of the trees before the leaves drop, and be well until we meet here again next week.

11/07/11 5:18am

Friday is Veterans Day, so we’d like to thank all of those who are serving and have served the United States in one of the highest callings that exists: protecting your country. Whatever branch of service it was, whatever uniform you wore, we thank you for your dedication and sacrifice.

The people in the Shoreham Civic Organization are dedicated and community-minded individuals. Michelle Belsky notified us that the next meeting of the SCO will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Leisure Glen on Randall Road. Master planner Dr. Lee Koppelman will speak about the Route 25A Corridor Study and the future growth of the area. All meeting information is available online at

Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Dr. Steven Cohen and the Board of Education will discuss “How Schools Work” at the next Community Forum planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the high school library. They want all SWR residents to know that your participation is welcome and encouraged.

What a pleasure it was to watch the Shoreham-Wading River girls volleyball teams play this year. They had a great season and went farther than teams have gone in the past six years. Although it’s true that Hampton Bays knocked the varsity girls out of the playoffs, it could very easily have been these special young ladies representing SWR for the league title. Congratulations to Maddie, Chelsea, Emma, Jess, Christine, Loren, AnneMarie, Holly, Tori, Alyssa, Bobby, Leighann and Kelly. It was great to watch you. Good luck to the seniors moving on to college. What a fine job the coaching staff did, too — varsity Coach Winkler and Assistant Coach Metcalf.

The SWR High School Theatre Club put on a great production of “Beauty and the Beast” last weekend. The audience gave a standing ovation for the cast that included Haylie Kinsler, Eric Lopez, Bryan Antonoff, James Meier, Stefan Ringer-Benigno, Sean Mannix, Molly Benincasa, Laura Logan, Eric Steiger, Kyle Brown, Cathy Testa, Rachel Lohrius, Kristen Suarez, Michaela Aliperti, Kerri Beacon, Taylor Burgess and Michelle Wern, as well as the chorus and orchestra. Everything from the music to the costumes and acting was done exceptionally well and the actors were obviously enjoying themselves as they worked their craft. Congratulations to all for their fabulous contribution to “Beauty and the Beast.”

Mother Nature has been dishing out some absolutely spectacular days for us lately. Enjoy them and the fine community in which we live, get involved and be well until we meet here again next week.

10/25/11 5:00am

You wouldn’t have known that it was still hurricane season from the nice weekend we all had in Shoreham-Wading River country. I guess we’ll have to be on the lookout until Nov. 30 for the official end of the weather advisories, but before then we can enjoy the sights, feel and sounds of this lovely time of year.

A beautiful fall tradition, homecoming, took place Saturday at SWR High School. The sounds of the football game and the crowd cheering rose from the field and stands as the Wildcats soundly defeated Mercy High School. Congratulations to former SWR football quarterback Matt Millheiser, who is now the head coach of the Wildcat team, and to assistant coach Kevin O’Hanley. The boys are doing a fabulous job in this victorious season. This could be the year that Wildcat Football goes “All … the … way.”

If you stopped in recently at North Shore Public Library for your information and reading needs, you should have seen the very interesting display of pictures by artist Debra Giordano. Her captivating, intriguing work is on view through October. What is unusual is that Debra’s husband, Robert, is an artist, too, and his work of abstract and colorful paintings are on display in the library’s glass case. Robert is an award-winning artist who has exhibited with Debra at the Phoenix Gallery in Bellport. Wherever this interesting duo goes after the library display, we wish them both good luck and good fortune.

Millie Thomas of Landmark Realty in Wading River has decided to do something about an unacceptable situation: all those who are having a difficult time with the high price of oil and gas in an economy that is seeing more and more jobs lost each day. To help those in need and those now having to make a choice between food and fuel, donations of nonperishable food is being collected through Dec. 31 at Landmark Realty, 6347 Route 25A in Wading River between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. For more information, contact Millie at 929-3600 or email

Want to pick up some things at a church sale that will be good for your purse and raise money for the church? Come to North Shore United Methodist Church in Wading River between 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, or Sunday, Oct. 30, between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. You’ll find some fantastic bargains. Call 929-6075.

Enjoy these cool and sunny days, save some money, donate your time, treasures or some nonperishables and be well until we meet here again next week.