Erin Geismar spoke with Kathleen Johnson, co-executive director of the Moriches Community Center and member of Moriches in the kNOw, an anti-drug coalition, for our Town Focus in the Moriches this week. Johnson gives her impressions of the community.
How long have you lived here?
Since '93, so 19 years.
Where were you before that?
In Bayside, Queens. My husband was a New York City firefighter, he's retired now. We moved when my daughter was 3.
Why Center Moriches?
We wanted to raise our daughter outside of the city. Center Moriches had the space we wanted at the price we wanted to pay. My husband is an avid fisherman, so we were familiar with the area. I grew up in New Hampshire and he grew up by the water in Queens, so this felt like a little bit of home to both of us.
And we really wanted diversity. We wanted our daughter to be in an environment where she would learn to cooperate with lots of different people. I have to say, it has not disappointed us. This is a pretty diverse community. She has gone to school with children from black families, Hispanic families, and children from the Poospatuck Indian Reservation.
What challenges does the community face?
The biggest challenge is one that virtually every community is facing and that's prescription drug use. I think there is the misconception among young people that they are safer because they're prescription, but they are opiates, and often that leads to heroin. I think to combat that is a real challenge and it's happening everywhere.
How would you define the character of the community?
Close knit. While we don't know everybody, we know a lot of people and everybody gets to work together. It's been a great place to raise my daughter. She just graduated from college and she and her friends talk about how much they enjoy coming here and spending time here. You can pretty much be yourself here and no one is going to bother you.