Elisa DiStefano posted that she will be leaving News 12...

Elisa DiStefano posted that she will be leaving News 12 in two weeks. Credit: Bowen Media

Brace yourselves, News 12 watchers: longtime morning traffic and entertainment reporter Elisa DiStefano is leaving the station.

“I wanted you to hear this from me,” DiStefano said in an emotional Instagram video posted Friday morning. “I’ve made the decision to accept another incredible opportunity to embark on the next chapter of my career, to get more sleep and to get more family time.” DiStefano declined to comment further.

For the past 17 years, DiStefano has been an effervescent presence on News 12. A Hauppauge native — and a former Miss Hauppauge — DiStefano was the dependably cheery face who greeted bleary-eyed commuters for the 5 a.m. traffic report, then kept going throughout the day to report on entertainment and lifestyle stories, sometimes partnering with Newsday staffers. A typical DiStefano segment might cover popular toys, home décor, trendy Halloween costumes or the latest Hollywood movies.

Whether DiStefano, 43, is leaving for another job in television is not clear. She’s also a restaurateur who with her husband, Mo Cassara, owns two eateries in Point Lookout — Mo'nElisa  and the recently reopened The Point. The couple has a son, 5, and a daughter, 3.

DiStefano will continue her role at the station for the next two weeks.

“After 17 years with News 12 Long Island, Elisa DiStefano is getting her mornings back,” Rob Rivas, the station’s Long Island news director, said in a statement that went out to the newsroom Thursday. “She brought an infectious energy and cheerfulness to work each and every day and her newsroom presence will be missed.”

DiStefano's departure is the latest in a string of exits by senior anchors and reporters. In January, News12 Long Island parted ways with veterans Jackie Lukas, sports reporter Jamie Stuart and longtime reporters Christine Insinga and Shari Einhorn.

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