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3 Lindenhurst trustee candidates vie for two seats on board

Village of Lindenhurst Village Hall on South Wellwood

Village of Lindenhurst Village Hall on South Wellwood Avenue, shown July 11, 2016. Credit: Steve Pfost

This year’s Lindenhurst Village trustee race pits an incumbent against two challengers for a pair of open spots on the board.

Trustee Maryann Weckerle, 58, is seeking a fourth, four-year term on the board. Weckerle owns Bak & Vogel, a paint and decorating store that has been in the village since the 1950s. She serves on the boards of numerous organizations in the village, including the Lindenhurst Historical Society and the Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts.

Weckerle said she is eager to continue the board’s work to revitalize the village’s downtown. “We’re on the cusp of a tremendous opportunity here to bring back the downtown,” she said. “I personally want to see it through.”

The proposal by Tritec Real Estate of East Setauket to build 260 multifamily apartments in the village is key, Weckerle said, although she acknowledges there are community concerns about the proposal’s parking and density that “we are still trying to iron out.”

Also running is Shawn Cullinane, a 29-year employee of the village who retired last year after Mayor Mike Lavorata did not reappoint him. Cullinane served first as clerk and then for 17 years as clerk-treasurer.

Cullinane, 64, has a part-time law practice and is president of the board of directors for the Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts and serves on the village’s Business Improvement District board. Cullinane ran unsuccessfully for village trustee in 1985, for Suffolk County legislator in 1989 and 1993, for Babylon Town Board in 1991, for town supervisor in 1995 and for State Assembly in 2016.

Cullinane said he would bring an independent voice to the board, which routinely votes uniformly. “The board needs alternative points of view, it needs somebody who’s going to ask hard questions when it’s necessary,” he said.

Cullinane said he is particularly interested in weighing in on the village’s revitalization efforts, saying the Tritec proposal is “not the magic bullet” being promised to help revitalization and needs to be scaled back.

The third trustee candidate is Patrick Pichichero, 56, a home improvement contractor on Long Island’s North Shore since 1983. Pichichero was previously appointed chairman of the village’s zoning board of appeals for seven years. Before that he was on the village’s planning board for 10 years, serving as deputy chairman for eight years.

Pichichero, a member of the local Knights of Columbus, said that if elected he would focus on code violations. “I’m a strong believer of ‘create a pretty and nice village and the people will come,’ ” he said. “There are certain areas of the village that need to be brought up to higher standard.”

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