Patchogue and Medford has had a roller coaster of a year in 2011. There have been accomplishments, controversies, advancements and tragedies. Many of the top 10 selected affected Patchogue and Medford in a deep way.
And, as there have been so many things that have happened this year feel free to add in the comments anything that you feel needs to be in this list as well.
That said, let’s look back at 10 of the most interesting stories in Patchogue and Medford in 2011.
The Medford Chamber of Commerce and Leg. Jack Eddington organized a series of concerts in Medford Memorial Park last summer. Now in Patchogue, events like this are old hat. But in Medford, where the Medford Memorial Park is normally vacant and quiet, it was extremely significant to see a community event bring out hundreds of people that wasn’t a holiday parade. Hopefully it will continue to grow and provide a nice complement to Patchogue’s .
Robert Borowski’s AP Environmental Science Class placed in the top 5 out of 1100 entries in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, winning $80,000 for . While PMHS did not win the grand prize of $250k, the students got to attend an award ceremony at New York City’s Samsung Experience that featured appearances by Samsung executives and recording artist John Legend.
The contest also got the community involved, as a portion of the judging was based on online voting of a video the class made for their entry into the contest.
The Patchogue premiere of Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness, the PBS documentary on the 2008 hate crimes against Hispanics in Patchogue and murder of Marcelo Lucero, restarted the conversation on the controversial incident. And what was very apparent was that three years later, there was still much to talk about. While some felt the film was accurate to what happened, others expressed their personal shock that it took the murder for the hate crimes to become noticed. The film is now being shown across the nation, continuing the conversation and spreading awareness on hate crimes nationwide.
After years of planning and construction, the community opened for residents on 20 Terry St. in February and held its official grand opening in July. The building, which requires residents to fit into specific income levels and gives preference to local artists, filled its 45 apartments and has been growing and evolving ever since. Find out more about of Artspace in our of .
The former movie theatre that had been since the 1980s was finally knocked down in September. The vacant East Main Street theatre was able to come down when Brookhaven Town took of the theatre in March from its former owner, East Main Realty Corp, through an order of condemnation after the owner rejected a $1.2 million offer from the Town.
The long-standing Carnegie Library in Patchogue, which is currently planned to be moved to another location, appeared to be in danger of being demolished this year due to the costs of maintaining the building. The Patchogue Village Board and residents have been working on making sure the building will be saved. Currently Tritec Real Estate Inc., who own the land, are required as part of their New Village plan to move the library. On the Village end, the trustees are working to pick out a location for the library to move to, and various possible uses have been discussed in the last few Village Board meetings.
A proposed East Patchogue Walmart on Hospital Road has brought plenty of opposition and support from residents in the Patchogue and Medford area. Several local politicians, such as and , have also openly opposed the proposed Walmart, citing reasons such as the location being inappropriate. Other local business owners have said that a Walmart would . On the other hand, that a Walmart would bring greatly needed jobs into the local economy as well.
Despite that has brought the project to a standstill, the biggest Patchogue Village government story this year was the approval of Tritec’s to replace the vacated Swezey’s department store with 291 apartments, 46,000 square feet of retail and 18,000 square feet of office space. The plan has brought support and opposition from residents and business owners, especially after a planned hotel was dropped in 2010. The lawsuit that currently holds the project up addresses procedural issues in the New York State Environmental Quality Act, the adoption of the zoning code and whether the project involves illegal spot zoning.
August’s Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene shut down and flooded Patchogue Village. Water mixed with sewage flooded up to Shorefront Park and several of the streets in the southern end of the Village. Residents were advised to evacuate, and some local docks are still closed following the damage brought on by the storm. Thankfully, no one died in the area from the storm.
On Father’s Day, four people were killed inside of Haven Drugs store in Medford by David Laffer. The victims were drug store employees, Jennifer Mejia, 17, of East Patchogue; Raymond Ferguson, 45, of Centereach; and customers Bryon Sheffield, 71, of Medford and Jamie Taccetta, 33, of Farmingville. Laffer since then has pled guilty and is four consecutive life terms in prison. His wife, Melinda Brady, served as a get-away-driver for Laffer and is now serving 25 years in prison for her involvement.