Save a Life: Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center

This PSA depicts how every animal deserves a chance at life and how no-kill shelter Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center is saving the lives and provides forever homes for animals in the Long Island, New York community.

Also check out feature story, How Little Shelter is Changing The Lives of Both Animals and Residents on Long Island.

For more information, visit

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Maureen’s Kitchen is Bringing Country Flair, Quality Eats, and Good Care to the Long Island Community

Front Entrance of Maureen’s Kitchen right before closing for the end of the day. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Smithtown, NY. (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Long Island’s breakfast mecca Maureen’s Kitchen isn’t your average restaurant. Known for it’s old fashioned, homestyle cooking and cow-theme decor, Maureen’s Kitchen has long been a local favorite for tasty morning meals.

Located in Smithtown, New York, Maureen’s Kitchen was founded by Maureen Dernbach in 1984. The restaurant’s first location was initially found by “accident” when Dernbach was driving on New York State route 347. Making the wrong turn led her to Terry Road, where her restaurant Maureen’s Kitchen was born. Starting as a small shack on the side of the road, Dernbach catered to local blue-collar workers by giving them a decent meal at a low price.

A regular customer sitting at the breakfast bar waiting on his cup of coffee while reading the daily newspaper. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Smithtown, NY. (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

As it gained popularity, in 1997 the restaurant relocated across the street to a custom built two-story country house in order to accommodate the large crowds that it had attracted.

Maureen Dernbach later retired and passed down the business to her two children, Kevin Dernbach and Christine Fortier, who are also chefs at the restaurant.

Maureen Dernbach also passed down old family recipes to Kevin Dernbach and Christine Fortier. They kept true to the original recipes while taking them to the next level.

“The unique part about Maureen’s Kitchen is the creativity in our food, it just speaks for itself,” said Kevin Dernbach, chef and co-owner. “We come up with all of our original concept of dishes from our baked oatmeals, to all of our daily specials, to putting a little twist to pancakes and omelets, etc.”

Cow statues displayed in the waiting area at Maureen’s Kitchen. The majority of the cow statues are donated to the restaurant from customers. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Smithtown, NY. (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Besides Maureen’s Kitchen’s emphasis on it’s delicious and unique dishes, building relationships with it’s customers and the local community is something the restaurant takes pride in.

“We were brought up on the premise of how you treat the community is a direct reflection on our restaurant. Just do right by people and they do right by you. We love what we do, and I think that’s also part of it,” said Dernbach. “Even when people are sometimes difficult our goal is turn their day around for them. Our customers are like our family.”

From the beginning, Maureen’s Kitchen has always been looking to take care of the working class community by always making sure it’s customers enjoy quality food, large portions, and good care for a low price.

Customers enjoying the delicious and unique meals that Maureen’s Kitchen has to offer. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Smithtown, NY. (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

“My mom always really wanted to take care of the common man, like the guy working hard to provide for his family. She always made sure that they were taken care of with good quality food and good portions at a fair price,” said Dernbach. “To this day, this is what we strive to do when serving our customers. Quality is something we never compromised in business.”

Maureen’s Kitchen was featured on the Cooking Channel’s show Unique Eats. To watch, click here.

Maureen’s Kitchen was also listed on list of “The 12 Places You Should Eat In New York in 2017” and “These 11 Amazing Breakfast Spots In New York Will Make Your Morning Just Right.”

If you’re looking for authentic homestyle cooking, Maureen’s Kitchen is the place you will definitely want to visit.

To find out more information on Maureen’s Kitchen, click here.

Address: 108 Terry Road Smithtown, NY 11787

How Treme Is Bringing Jazz into Local Nightlife on Long Island

Long Island’s only Jazz bar Treme, located in Islip, NY is bring classic New Orleans flair and music to the forefront in local nightlife.

Front entrance to Treme just when it opened it’s doors for the night. Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, in Islip, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Opened three years ago, Treme has become a hot spot for Long Island locals who are looking to get away from the typical young crowd club scene. Named after the New Orleans district where jazz music originated, Treme’s live music and signature cocktails are what keep locals coming back.

“Treme, is essentially a music venue where we have signature cocktails, good food, and give a quality guest experience,” said Josh Thompson, owner of Treme. “Jazz is something I listen to when I want to relax and enjoy myself and not be stressed out about anything. There’s something soothing about jazz.”

Treme has helped some musicians who are looking to gain notoriety in the music industry by giving them opportunities to record in their

The Interplay Jazz Orchestra preforming their first song for the night at Treme. Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, in Islip, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

“We’ve had musicians come down and do video parties so they can actually have a video reel and demo reel that they can pass off to the record companies they are looking to sign with,” said Thompson. “We are totally open into helping them to move their way as a career.”

The Interplay Jazz Orchestra has been one of Treme’s regular acts since its opening three years ago and has been playing here ever since.

“It’s really the only Jazz club on Long Island,” said Joe Devassy, trombone player for the music group The Interplay Jazz Orchestra. “It’s been great being able to interact with the audience. They check us out, buy our albums, and they come to our other gigs. Slowly, but surely, we are gaining a gathering and that’s been cool.”

Thompson discussed how he was fortunate enough to take over Treme from the former owners who had the inspiration to achieve the New Orleans jazz feel Treme is now known for.

Looking for a way to give Treme the ultimate experience, Thompson decided to incorporate a vast cocktail menu.

The Johnnie Black Berry, one of Treme’s signature cocktails. Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, in Islip, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

“I felt it needed a little nudge in the right direction. Aside from live music, which is the heart and soul of this place, we started really incorporating some of the original cocktails that were invented in New Orleans,” said Thompson. “Things like a sazerac, which is also debated to be the first cocktail ever, is a New Orleans-based cocktail. With a little historical research, I was able to go through, find the cocktails, and really get that into what Treme is.”

Treme’s main mission is for the best guest quality experience, making it a point that no detail can go unnoticed or neglected.

“I always explain to my staff you have to put your heart into it, it really makes a world of a difference,” said Thompson. “You can make the same thing, but if you’re in a foul mood or miserable that’s going to pass through so you got to put your heart into everything.”

Sit Back, Enjoy a Brew, and Jam to John M. Restrepo Quartet & Open Jazz Jam at the Tap and Barrel

John M. Restrepo Quartet is brining back the Jazz music genre to Long Island through their weekly Jazz Jam event, which is open to all musicians, at the Tap and Barrel in Smithtown, NY.

John M. Restrepo Quartet performing live at the weekly Jazz Jam. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, in Smithtown, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Since the open Jazz Jam debut a year and a half ago, it has created awareness for the Jazz group John M. Restrepo Quartet, the Tap and Barrel, and the classic genre of Jazz music. Hosted Tuesday nights, the Jazz Jam’s has attracted crowds from all over the Tri-State area for its laid back and fun atmosphere.

“The purpose of the Jazz Jam is just for people to come play, hangout, and listen to music,” said John Maurice Restrepo, host of the John M. Restrepo Quartet & Jazz Jam and lead saxophone player for John M. Restrepo Quartet. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for me and my band to play together every week, and it’s given us a little name recognition.”

The Open Jazz Jam has also given many young musicians an opportunity to play and practice in hopes that this event will help them as they pursue careers in the music industry.

“There have been a lot of musicians who come in and play who sound good and have gotten better over the weeks or the months they’ve been coming in,” said Restrepo. “A couple of the musicians that have come in are really young, going to college for music and this event has given them an opportunity to play and gain experience.”

Some of the members of the audience sitting at the bar enjoying cold cocktails and brews prior to John M. Restrepo Quartet’s first performance at the Tap and Barrel. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, in Smithtown, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

The event has also drawn in crowds of non-musicians who are looking to enjoy one of the 54 craft beers the Tap and Barrel has to offer and jam to the music.

“The audience has been building since we started the Jazz Jam and maintaining it,” said Restrepo. “There several people I have met over the course of the last of a year and a half that have been here 80 percent, 70 percent of the time, some 90, some 50. But a lot of people do come back and request tunes.”

First opened in six years ago, the Tap and Barrel was created for locals to come and enjoy a different kind of atmosphere than the typical sports bars and Irish pubs on Long Island and since it’s opening, it has now established itself as a craft beer destination.

Front entrance to the Tap and Barrel just before the start of the open Jazz Jam. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, in Smithtown, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

“There isn’t anything else like the Jazz Jam on Long Island, and I really liked the bar, I enjoyed the ambiance of Tap and Barrel, I liked the selection of beers, ” said Restrepo. “ It’s probably the best tap beer bar on Long Island.”

For more information, visit the Tap and Barrel’s website and John M. Restrepo Quartet and Open Jazz Jam Facebook page.

Spirit’s Promise Equine Sanctuary: Line Dancing for a Good Cause

Sign for Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation near front entrance Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, in Riverhead, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation is bringing the Long Island community together through it’s weekly Line Dancing event for a good time and to create awareness for the organization’s main mission, saving the lives of abused, neglected, or unwanted horses and giving them a new purpose.

Since the Line Dance’s debut a year ago, it has raised money for their organization as well as promoted and created awareness for Spirit’s Promise main mission throughout the Long Island area. The weekly line dancing event has also gained a devote following with members of the community along with adding some new additions to the weekly event.

“To me line dancing, Western, and horses go together,” said Marisa Striano, Executive Director, and Founder of Spirit’s Promise Equine Sanctuary. “It brings people who would not normally come here to see what we are about. Every little bit we try to get somebody new here that’s why we do it, plus line dancing is fun.”

Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Barn where Line Dancing weekly event takes place Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, in Riverhead, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Striano started Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation in 2011 after moving out to eastern Long Island for a simpler life. With intense passion for horses, she made it her life’s mission to save the lives of these animals and to give back to the community.

“Our slogan is help us, help horses, help people,” said Striano. “We rehabilitate the horses so we can rehabilitate the people. We have to repurpose these horses. I feel, and this is not for everybody, you cannot just have animals and them not do something. Every animal needs a job.”

Sinatra, horse resident at Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation enjoying late afternoon sunshine Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, in Riverhead, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)

Spirit’s Promise provides equine-assisted therapy (EAT) to people with various different mental health handicaps, such as hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, cerebral palsy, depression, genetic disorders, developmental delays, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), behavioral and abuse issues. EAT’s main goal is to help rehabilitate both gross motor movement and fine motor ability that both physical and occupational therapy provides for some of these individuals while still having a fun and therapeutic experience.

Spirit’s Promise also helps other organizations that focus on the awareness of various mental health issues through hosting fundraisers.

“I bring awareness to ADD, Aid to the Developmentally Disabled. They are having a fundraiser here on Nov. 19, which is going to be a fundraiser for them and we split the profits. That’s how we help our community,” said Striano.

For more information on Spirit’s Promise, visit their website.

How Little Shelter is Changing The Lives of Both Animals and Residents on Long Island

Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center is making a difference in the Long Island community by saving the lives of countless animals in the area. The shelter not only has saved, cared, and provided forever homes for these animals, but they have also given back to the community that make their organization possible.

Sign for Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center near front entrance Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Huntington, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore/Full Sail University)

Founded in 1927, Little Shelter is one of Long Island’s oldest no-kill shelters, which is located in Huntington, NY, has been dedicated to the rescue of abandoned cats and dogs of all ages, physical conditions, and socialization issues. The shelter takes pride in its nondiscriminatory policy and quality medical care, making it stand out above other shelters on Long Island.

“We are very, very unique. Our budget is 2.5 million dollars a year and every penny comes in from the community,” said Arleen Leone, Special Programs Manager at Little Shelter. “ We are very grateful, and to show how grateful we are we’ve established a lot of give back programs such as food pantries for individuals who can no longer feed their animals. We also do free spaded and neutering for these individuals.”

Little Shelter has went out of its way to provide and spread awareness for animals in need to the next generation of young people in the community. “We have a humane education program that started in 2001. We visit at least 100 schools a year and talk about kindness and responsibilities,” Said Leone.

The Little Shelter is the first and only shelter to provide a reading program for children

Duffy, resident at Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center going for his last walk at the shelter the night before going to his forever home the next day Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Huntington, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore/Full Sail University)

with learning disabilities. “We have seven therapy dogs who were adopted at Little Shelter and now live in homes. We take the same dog and handler to the same seven local elementary schools and see the same children on a weekly basis,” said Leone. “We deal with children who show stress and anxiety with reading in a traditional classroom and I cannot tell you what our dogs have accomplished. Nonverbal children are now speaking, and it’s very hard to feel uptight or stressed when you’re sitting on the floor when a dog is on your lap licking you as you’re reading.”

Little Shelter has put a great emphasis on social development skills for these children through using Little Shelter alumni therapy dogs in order to make sure they are able to advance and make the transition from elementary school to middle school. The shelter also provides the therapy dogs for the elderly living in nursing homes and individuals who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Since Little Shelter’s mission is to adopt and save as many cats and dogs as possible, they have created Little Shelter Sanctuary. Located in Upstate New York, the sanctuary is designed to be like homes or apartments that’s purpose is to provide a comfortable and relaxing living environment for animals that were overlooked for adoption or suffer from behavioral and medical issues.

“Just because they don’t speak doesn’t mean they don’t feel,” Said Leone.

Creepy Clowns Sighted Across America: Now They Are on Long Island

(Photo by: Shutterstock)

Over the last couple months there have been creepy clown sightings reported in at least 28 states across the nation and now the most recent sightings have been reported in Suffolk County, New York, which may be part of a bizarre nation-wide hoax according to reports.

North Babylon and Central Islip school districts on Long Island were put on lockdown on Friday, September 30, after creepy clown sightings were reported.

Lindenhurst District banned students from playing outside after a threatening tweet was published, “threatening that Lindenhurst would be the next area targeted by clowns,” causing the lockdown according to the district’s website.

Dennis Sullivan, Suffolk County Police Captain, believes social media is to blame for the recent creepy clown sightings that have come up across the nation. Since the recent reports on Long Island, the Suffolk County Police Department has been monitoring all social media very closely.

“We believe that this is a social media hoax,” said Sullivan. “We in the Suffolk County Police Department have not witnessed any clowns and we haven’t had any substantial threats or violence reported with these creepy clown calls.”

On Wednesday, September 28, it was reported that a group of people dressed up as clowns were jumping in front of and chasing cars while holding baseball bats on Commack Road in Brentwood.

Commack Road, where Creepy Clown sighting was reported Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Brentwood, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore/Full Sail University)

“I think it is scary for a community in itself and even scarier how fast it has spread across the nation,” said Linda Palagonia, a Lindenhurst resident and parent at Lindenhurst School district. “It’s a horrible joke that can potentially turn dangerous.”

In Ohio, a man dressed as a clown attacked a woman, Kim Youngblood, on the front porch of her home early Friday morning, September 30, before making t
hreats to attack local schools authorities said. The man was wearing a white clown mask, red wig, and striped outfit. The suspect grabbed Youngblood by her throat and told her “I should just kill you now,” then said, “some students and teachers would wish they were never born at the Jr. and Sr. High School today,” according to the police report.

The incident caused Reading Community City Schools to close its entire four-school district for the day, including both the district’s Middle School and High School.

These creepy clown sightings started back in late August in Greenville County, South Carolina in which it was reported that people dressed as clowns were offering children money to lure them into the woods or just strangely hanging around certain places, according to the New York Times.

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