And here we are, beginning another year writing about the community we live in, sharing stories about our neighbors, businesses and schools, about the groups and people who inspire and engage us, about the events that unite us.
As we reflect on the past year, we remain grateful for our reading audience, who support and encourage us with comments, correspondence, ideas and inspiration, who want to stay actively engaged in the communities where we all live, work and play.
Our stats from 2022 reassure us (thank you!) that local journalism continues to hold an important place in our lives. Over the past year, we have grown our audience to an average of 10,000 unique website readers per month with our accurate, fair and in-the-know reporting. We blow industry standards away with more than an 80% open rate for our newsletter, which reaches almost 2,000 people twice a week. Our most popular posts on social media reach thousands of people, sometimes in less than 24 hours.
We’ve shared below links to some of our top stories from 2022, ones that engaged the most readers, sparked conversations, and inspired action. We hope you enjoy reminiscing with us as we look forward to another year of connection, collaboration, and quality local journalism.
Freemasonry and Northport: A long history of ritual and relationships
January 17, 2022
Though his father and grandfather were Masons, Peter Walters had no real interest in becoming one himself, he said. Then, after his grandmother died, he received a box of her keepsakes from his father. Inside he found his great grandfather’s Masonic information. Peter now proudly calls himself a fifth-generation Mason; in January 2022 he spoke to the Journal after being elected into the top leadership role at Northport’s Alcyone Lodge No. 695, a charter group of the Freemasons, the oldest fraternal organization in the world.
Finding Athena: Community rallies together to bring missing dog home
February 28, 2022
A five-week-long search for a missing dog ended when Athena, a rescue from Texas whose photograph on fliers dotted neighborhoods throughout East Northport and Commack last February, was found and reunited with her owner in the woods just off the Sunken Meadow Parkway. It was an emotional homecoming following weeks of harsh winter weather, maps of false and confirmed sightings, and the persistent teamwork of an entire community.
Official election results: Koch to lead new board of trustees amidst multiple Village departures
March 17, 2022
Newcomer Meghan Dolan brought more voters to the polls than any other candidate in the mayoral or trustee races in the 2022 election, which saw three new trustees elected to the board, and Donna Koch elected as mayor. “I am so honored and humbled to have received the most votes of any candidate on the ballot in a contested race,” Dolan said.
Special guest comes onstage at A Bronx Tale’s opening night, shocking cast and audience
March 28, 2022
The Saturday, March 26 performance of A Bronx Tale: The Musical was followed by a five-minute standing ovation with a very special guest. Chazz Palminteri, who played Sonny in the 1993 movie and wrote the book that the play is based on, surprised the cast and audience when he walked onto the stage. “It’s really amazing what this theater did here…my hat goes off to an incredible cast and all of the people here at this incredible theater,” he said.
Community Spotlight: Northport Native Garden Initiative
April 18, 2022
The Northport Native Garden Initiative (NNGI) has been spreading the news about the positive impact that native landscaping practices have on the community’s ecosystem since February of 2021. The local nonprofit organization was growing at a steady clip at the time of this article, and never slowed with, making the news many more times throughout the year, including in this article about an impressive beautification project by the LILCO building in Northport Village.
Haven Gallery finds new permanent home down Main Street
May 29, 2022
On Wednesday, June 1, Haven Gallery officially opened its doors down the street from its previous location, in the space once occupied by Carl’s Candies. “We are so proud and humbled to say that we have bought this building to serve as the perennial home of our artists and programming,” said Erica Berkowitz, who owns the gallery with Joseph Weinreb, in a letter to the Haven community. “Joseph and I are incredulous that this dream has come to fruition and cannot thank our artists, collectors and friends enough for their support in helping us make this growth happen.”
From punk rock to real estate; SERHANT. brokerage now repped in Northport Village
June 3, 2022
The transition from punk rock to real estate isn’t your usual connect-the-dots career change. But Michael Jordan Sadis, a former bassist turned real estate broker, says the music and real estate industries have more in common than one would imagine. “I always like to think back on my music days and apply that to my real estate career,” he told the Journal during an interview from his new office space in Northport Village, inside the carriage house tucked just behind Rockin’ Fish on Main Street.
NYS Department of Health releases 20-year cancer study on school district community
June 29, 2022
The results of a study launched in 2020 by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) regarding cancer rates in the Northport-East Northport school district and community were released last summer. The investigation was conducted after the finding of a significantly high number of leukemia cases among 2016 graduates of Northport High School. While the study was thorough, the NYSDOH was unable to determine why the statistically significant rates of cancer occurred.
Editorial: Basketball court resolution passes but doesn’t feel like progress
July 13, 2022
The look of defeat and exhaustion on the faces of the 1995 Northport High School Championship Basketball Team at the July 2022 public hearing on the project was palpable: though a resolution was passed to move their court revitalization project forward, the spirit of the project and love for community that initiated it was drowned out by misinformation and malfeasance. 2023 update: The project is moving forward after a January 3 resolution to put it to bid passed.
Game on: Three new pickleball courts now open at Vets Park
July 28, 2022
It’s official. Pickleball is now being played at Veterans Park in East Northport, with enthusiasts and beginners filling up three new courts from the early morning into the evening, from the opening in July 2022 and continuing into the colder months.
From inspired to inspirational, Shelby Stillwagon is newest member of Village police department
October 3, 2022
Shelby Stillwagon is one of the newest members of the Northport Village Police Department, hired as a full-time officer in September 2022. Her placement has fulfilled a dream she’s had since the fifth grade and comes after many years of hard work and dedication, even as a young girl going through the Northport school district. Something about the presence and role of a police officer caught Shelby’s attention when she was just ten years old. “I grew up here and whenever I saw them, I always watched what they did and wanted to be just like them,” she told the Journal.
Northport photographer creates tarot card imagery inspired by his sleep paralysis
October 4, 2022
At just seven years old, Nicolas Bruno began to suffer from sleep paralysis, a disorder that renders a person’s body immobile while the mind is awake and, at times, acutely aware. He couldn’t have predicted then that his experiences with the condition would become the foundation of a body of work so hauntingly powerful that it garnered acclaim from local followers to the BBC, CNN, Huffington Post, Vice, Mashable and Nikon – to name a few.
A Christmas Story: Leg lamp lighting returns to original Main Street location
November 6, 2022
A decade-long “Leg Lamp Lighting” holiday tradition returned to its birthplace in November 2022, at the same location the iconic fixture was first celebrated, now occupied by The Firefly Artists Gallery. The inaugural lamp lighting ceremony first took place in 2005, shortly after brothers Billy and Jimmy Reichart discovered the leg – a replica of the lamp famously featured in the 1983 holiday movie classic “A Christmas Story” – while cleaning out the basement of their family-owned and operated Northport Hardware Company. That small, mostly spontaneous celebration quickly grew into a highly anticipated annual event, with festivities that drew in hundreds of spectators every year.
Northport mom shines light on different abilities with uplifting new children’s book
November 20, 2022
Through her positive, uplifting and “somewhat autobiographical” story, Valerie Goldstein hopes to showcase children with disabilities, along with their adaptive equipment – something she feels is lacking in other picture books. Her new children’s book, Violet’s Victory, exemplifies perseverance, and demonstrates the kindness involved in accommodating those with different needs.“I hope that children with different abilities can relate to Violet and be inspired and empowered to know that they can do anything they put their mind to,” Valerie said.
“Our Town” students lead by example to help those less fortunate this holiday
December 14, 2022
Our Town is a districtwide community service club led by high school social studies teachers and Our Town club advisors, Dave Scott and Bill Slagle. Student representatives work with other students at the elementary, middle and high school levels to conduct community service projects. The group’s primary focuses last calendar year were the holiday toy drive, several food drives, and the Relay for Life, an annual district tradition dedicated to rallying the community together in the fight against cancer.