05/19/14 2:01pm
05/19/2014 2:01 PM
Emily Espenkotter, 20, and her grandmother, Kathleen Kearney, 66, at Saturday's Suffolk County Community College commencement in Brentwood.

Emily Espenkotter, 20, and her grandmother, Kathleen Kearney, 66, at Sunday’s Suffolk County Community College commencement in Brentwood. (Credit: Espenkotter courtesy)

Standing tall and proud Sunday in a black cap and gown, 66-year-old Kathleen Kearney moved her tassel from the right side to the left, signifying the completion of her associate degree at Suffolk County Community College — and more than a decade’s worth of hard work and determination.

Before accepting her own diploma during ceremonies at the Brentwood campus fieldhouse, Ms. Kearney kept an eye on the aisle as her 20-year-old granddaughter Emily Espenkotter, a Shoreham-Wading River High School graduate, did the same, earning a degree in early childhood development.

It’s the first time in the college’s history that a grandmother and granddaughter have graduated at the same time. (more…)

03/04/14 1:20pm
03/04/2014 1:20 PM
Entrance to the Eastern Campus of the Suffolk County Community College. (Credit: Gayle Sheridan)

Entrance to the Eastern Campus of the Suffolk County Community College. (Credit: Gayle Sheridan)

While the Suffolk County Legislature has been considering increasing the age for everyone throughout the county to purchase tobacco — from age 19 to 21 — another measure could ban smoking completely in a few areas around Suffolk: the community college campuses.

The proposal comes nearly two years after the State University of New York’s trustees voted to ban smoking on all state college campuses, a measure that is still waiting for state legislative approval in order to be enforced.

Because the fact that Suffolk County Community College isn’t regulated by the SUNY trustee board, college officials said that county approval of the measure would bring a smoke-free campus — actually, all three campuses — to the 26,000 students at the schools.

Ben Zwirn, director of legislative affairs at SCCC, said last week that SCCC would be the biggest college campus in the state to ban smoking entirely on its grounds should the measure pass.

Mr. Zwirn cited secondhand smoke as a health issue to those not smoking on campus, in addition to litter. He added that in an online survey of the student body, over 70 percent of respondents — over 2,800 people — were in favor of the regulation.

The move to ban smoking on campus comes on the heels of Legislator William Spencer’s effort to raise the age to buy tobacco products entirely throughout Suffolk. That proposal was subject to a public hearing last month, and will be debated again on Tuesday afternoon at the legislature’s general meeting.

He is expected to sponsor the legislation on Tuesday banning smoking on campus. After that, the measure would need committee approval, be subject to a public hearing, require approval from the entire legislative body, and need a signature from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Dr. Spencer (D-Centerport) said last week that “We’re looking to create a healthy, smoke-free environment within the the college’s jurisdiction. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to try that.”

jpinciaro@timesreview.com

01/28/14 3:05pm
01/28/2014 3:05 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Juanita Trent, Demitri Hampton's mother, at a bench dedicated in his honor on the campus of Suffolk County Community College.

COURTESY PHOTO | Juanita Trent, Demitri Hampton’s mother, at a bench dedicated in his honor on the campus of Suffolk County Community College.

On Monday afternoon, Demitri Hampton’s mother, brother, sister and girlfriend visited the bench dedicated in his memory at the Suffolk County Community College campus in Riverhead. They laid flowers at the site and went to eat together to talk about him. (more…)

12/06/13 10:00am

Culinary_Dean_Bergen_BE_12_06_07_TR

Suffolk County Community College culinary students will compete against each other at the downtown Riverhead campus Friday, but won’t know what they’re cooking until the event begins.

Much like the reality cooking show Chopped, students will receive a mystery basket of ingredients and asked to turn them into a dish. Judges will be evaluating each one’s creativity, presentation and taste.

The top chef will win a seven-night stay at the Sheraton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, Fla., and an opportunity to work under the supervision of the resort’s executive chef. The contest’s “Battle for the Beach” prize also includes round-trip airfare and ground transportation.

“This competition takes students a step closer to becoming professional chefs,” Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts Program director Richard Freilich said in a statement. “It is a great opportunity to help them grow and to see if this is truly a career they want to pursue.”

The free event starts at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

For more information, contact the culinary school at (631) 548-3700.

jennifer@timesreview.com

11/28/13 7:52am
11/28/2013 7:52 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Culinary students Kristina Caschetta (left) Anastasia DeRosa (center) and Alexa Cimino with the carved up roasted turkeys that were prepared for the Dominican Sisters Wednesday morning.

Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary School in downtown Riverhead partnered for the fourth year with the Dominican Sisters Family Health Service to cook and prepare about 140 dinners for long-term patients and home-bound seniors of the Dominican Sisters of Hampton Bays.

Local businesses on the North and South Forks teamed up to raise money for the feast.

Chef instructor Vinny Winn worked with about 40 students and high school volunteers in the culinary’s kitchen to prepare the meal. They cooked 15 turkeys weighing 15 pounds each, 100 pounds each of mashed and sweet potatoes, seven gallons of gravy and 20 pounds of stuffing. There were also rolls, cranberry sauce and 24 apple pies and 24 pumpkin pies.

Local elementary schools students made and decorated trays for the meals.

10/18/13 11:07am
10/18/2013 11:07 AM

COURTESY PHOTO | Suffolk County Community College’s alumnus, Keith Dinielli wins an Emmy as one of the producers for “The Voice” in the Best Competition Reality Series category.

From shooting a film about downtown Riverhead’s Suffolk Theater to shooting live TV in Hollywood, Suffolk County Community College alumnus Keith Dinielli recently won an Emmy Award as one of the producers for NBC’s “The Voice” in the Best Competition Reality Series category.

In 1990, Mr. Dinielli of Port Jefferson, received his Associate Degree in Radio and Television Production from SCCC. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1996, but credits much of his accomplishments to his education at SCCC.

“I can credit the success I have had to hard work, perseverance and to the sound advice I received from my Suffolk County Community College professor, Alan Bernstein,” Mr. Dinielli said in a press release. “In a moment of caring and candor, Professor Bernstein pulled me aside and informed that while I had talent, I wouldn’t be successful unless I could learn to work with people.  It was a life changing moment and a piece of advice that I practice to this day.”

The summer after he received his degree from USC, he returned to Long Island where he co-wrote, produced and directed the feature film, “Changeover”, shot on location in Riverhead. According to IMDB.com, the film, centered around a group of ushers working their last days before the downtown anchor closed its doors in the late 1970s.

The low budget production featured SCCC students in front of and behind the cameras. The film premiered at Theater Three in Port Jefferson in 1998, proving as a jumpstart to Mr. Dinielli’s career.

Since then, he landed production assistant work on several TV shows before a long stint in feature film development, where he worked on the “Fast And Furious” franchise, “SWAT”, “Vantage Point” and “Click.” He also continued to write and direct his own films.

In 2010, Mr. Dinielli took a producer position on a reality show called “Your Own Show” for the fledgling Oprah Winfrey Network, which eventually led to his joining “The Voice” in 2011. The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards was held Sept. 22 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

cmurray@timesreview.com

04/11/13 1:45pm
04/11/2013 1:45 PM

The Aquebogue man involved in a fatal car crash that killed two men in Nassau County last month was arraigned on a grand jury indictment for aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, and other felony charges Thursday morning, prosecutors said.

ROBERT BEODEKER

ROBERT BEODEKER

Robert Beodeker, 50, who is also well-known in the North Fork’s performing arts community, was driving south on the Meadowbrook Parkway about 12:40 p.m. on March 4 when he hit a disabled Nissan Maxima and two pedestrians who were tending to the sedan in the road’s shoulder, police have said.

The two victims, John Elder, 76, of Freeport and Edward Ross, 65, of North Bellmore died at the scene.

Mr. Beodeker — an associate dean of student services at Suffolk County Community College — was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular manslaughter, several aggravated unlicensed driving counts, unlawful possession of a hypodermic instrument and a slew of other felony and misdemeanor charges, according to the indictment.

Mr. Beodeker was originally only charged with reckless driving after the accident, but the charges were later upgraded after  tests revealed his blood contained .17 percent of methamphetamine and .12 percent of amphetamine at the time of the crash, according to a criminal complaint.

During his initial arraignment Mr. Beodeker told the court that he had taken Ambien and depression medication before the crash, according to a News12 report.

Richard Wool, Mr. Beodeker’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.

In a previous interview with the News-Review, Mr. Wool said his client was “very upset.”

“Based on that fact that, whether there’s a criminal charge or no criminal charges he’s very upset that two people are not alive today,” Mr. Wool said. “But this is all new to him. He’s never been arrested, never mind convicted.”

He is facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top charge.

Mr. Beodeker remains held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond, court officials said.

He is due back in court on April 30.

psquire@timesreview.com