A lovely park located between Gillette and Candee Avenues in Sayville, NY 11782

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Past Events, Photos and Press Clippings

Big Shot Concert July 2, 2010

Strawberry Fields Concert 2009

Tim Cowan's Eagle Scout Project 2008

The Common Ground is not so common anymore

The Common Ground Beautification Project by Sayville High School Art Students 2007

Splashes of Hope Interactive Art Workshop and Exhibit - 2006

Family Fridays Photos - Reading with Purple Lady

Mother Goose rules
Family show energizes an audience of all ages

Mother Goose and her sidekick DJ Dittle came to The Common Ground at Rotary Park in Sayville last Friday to sing and entertain children and their families with a live sing-along show. As part of The Common Ground’s Family Fridays, “Rapping with Mother Goose” featured Sayville resident and Airport Playhouse owner Terry Brennan as the rhythm-matron herself. The show, which lasted an hour, started at 6:30 p.m. under a setting sun. The comfortable weather made it possible for many families to enjoy the free performance, appearing with folding chairs, blankets, strollers and lots of energetic children.

It all started with Mother Goose reciting a dreary version of the alphabet song. Along came DJ Dittle, played by Sean Burbige, appearing from the back of the audience to encourage her to “kick it up a notch,” he said. DJ proceeded to show her a rhythm of clap, snap, lap before reciting the song in a new and hipper way.

As the show progressed, Mother Goose claimed that “Mama’s getting in the groove,” and to the amusement of the audience, she turned away and whipped off her skirt and shawl to reveal a shiny black sweat suit and a large dollar-sign necklace with lots of “bling-bling.”

Along with a reading of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, they sang many of the old favorites such as “Old McDonald’s Farm” and “Bingo” with audience participation. Kids and adults alike were asked to come up and be a part of the show—Mama Goose even handpicked one dad to join her specifically because he wasn’t actively participating.

Mama Goose’s proclamations of “word” and “ain’t that funky” gave the show a modern and hip flair in addition to the rhyming-rap beat. But the show continued to drop bits of the modern world into old stories as was done in the telling of the Three Little Pigs; each pig’s activity represented a modern-day activity—listening to an iPod, playing a PSP game and using a laptop.

All in all, it was a fun show that got the kids up on their feet and singing along and for those little ones who couldn’t sit still, the park was a great place to run around before bedtime. The Common Ground’s Family Fridays continues this Friday with Erik’s Reptile “Edventures,” also at 6:30 p.m. Erik will have an alligator and other reptiles with him. More information can be found at The Common Ground’s website, www.TheCommonGround.com.
October 24, 2009
The Common Ground at the Sayville's Fall Festival

Raising money for The Common Ground by selling Holiday Cards
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June 26, 2009
Suffolk County News July 9, 2009
Erik's Reptile "Edventures"

Family Fridays

What makes a bullfrog smile? Being in a tropical rainforest, of course. And that’s just what was provided for Pac-Man and his trainer, Erik, at the premiere event of this year’s Family Fridays at The Common Ground in Rotary Park.

The event began at 6:30 p.m. under bright blue, sunny skies with an excited crowd of about 200 children and parents. Erik and his Reptile “Edventures” began the program with pint-sized volunteers getting together to hold up his yellow python, Twinkie. Barely 10 minutes into the program, the sky darkened, the winds blew and everyone was right in the middle of a real, tropical rainforest, compliments of Mother Nature. Perfect staging, but very wet!

The next Family Fridays program, the Bari Koral Family Band, will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 10 at The Common Ground in Rotary Park. These programs are made possible by a grant from the office of County Legislator William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) and are free for all families to enjoy. For pictures and more information, visit www.TheCommonGround.com.


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July 1, 2009
Suffolk County News - July 23, 2009

Fifth Strawberry
Presiding Officer and County Legislator William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) joined Nancy Angermaier, of The Common Ground, and members of the Beatles tribute band, Strawberry Fields for an intergenerational concert. The evening turned into a huge sing-a-long with hundreds of local participants dancing in the aisles and singing together on a warm summer night in Sayville.

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May 2, 2009
The Common Ground members selling plants and encouraging everybody to become part of the community
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January 17, 2008
The Suffolk County News
Inspiration Award ~ Nancy Angermaier
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January 10, 2008
The Suffolk County News
Sayville winners
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December 5, 2007
Thanks For The Support
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July 5, 2007
The Suffolk County News
Not so common ground ~ Sayville High School students are honored
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June 7, 2007
The Suffolk County News
The Common Ground recognition reception
Sayville High School Students honored for their contributions to beautify the park
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May 31, 2007
The Suffolk County News
A pajama jammy jam
The Common Ground set to release second Sayville calendar
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April 26, 2007
The Suffolk County News
A Rock in the Park
The Common Ground welcomes reflection and recreation
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January 25, 2007
The Suffolk County News
An oasis of solace and spirit -
The Common Ground in Sayville offers diversions in an uncertain world

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September 2006
Splashes of Hope
The Neighbor Newspapers – Sayville Edition

On Saturday, 23rd at The Ground Park in Sayville, local children and artists Painted murals to be donated to hospitals, sponsored by a Suffolk County grant, written by Splashes of Hope board member and Sayville Rotary president, Chestene Coverdale.  Though the weather was unpleasant, the volunteers painted under tents.

Suffolk County Girl and Boy Scouts did a tremendous job setting up the event, and participated in one of the many free portrait classes given: by Splashes of Hope volunteer artist Liz Macchio, throughout the day. Free face painting for all of the children (and some hair painting!) were provided by Splashes of Hope artists Sarah Baecher, Sandy Romano and Stephanie Condra.

As songs by Glen Roethel were helping the soggy artists rekindle their spirits, Bucket Boy Johnny Pfail and his dad, Splashes of Hope president John Pfail-Buggée gave out free balloons and candy to all of the participants. Longtime volunteer artists for Splashes of Hope, Doug Reina and Mario Politi demonstrated portrait painting and ceiling tile art which will be installed for bedridden patients.

Splashes of Hope mural artists Frank Bandiero, Linda Alfin, Eleanor Duncker and Splashes of Hope founder Heather Buggée-Pfail, all helped the children and adults paint the outlined panels, as Warren Barlow taught computer art with a projector.  At the end of the day, two bright and colorful scenes were painted for the children's wards of Suffolk County hospitals.

Splashes of Hope founder, Heather Buggée-Pfail, said of the day, "It was refreshing to have children participate in the creative process to create something tangible for others less fortunate. It's a good lesson for the kids, and it's also a nice way to increase the community's awareness of our mission. Lately we have been a little isolated in our art studio, and that's not healthy. We'd like this to be an annual event... rain or shine!"

Splashes of Hope is a non-profit organization of artists committed to helping create a healing environment for hospitals with colorful murals.


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September 28, 2006
The Suffolk County News
Using murals to up morale

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July 13, 2006


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June 15, 2006
The Suffolk County News
County Legislator William Lindsay continues to support Sayville's Summer Programs


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January 2006


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December 2005

Succeeding, barely

Sayville residents get cheeky in 2006 calendar, raising thousands for community garden and pavilion


December 28, 2005

Some Sayville residents raising funds to improve a local park have bared their need - and a good deal more - in a 2006 calendar that is giving their cause added exposure. The calendar, featuring more than two dozen nude or skimpily clad residents and some strategically placed camouflage, has turned its model" citizens into local celebrities. The initial 1,000 copies of the $11 "Model Community" calendar have quickly sold out, but more will be printed if demand continues, said Zee Morrissey, 56, the guiding force behind the effort.

The nearly $10,000 profit, Morrissey said, will go toward upgrades at the Common Ground, a meditative garden and pavilion created after 9/11 by community organizations and individuals at the Town of Islip's 1.4-acre Rotary Park, south of Main Street. In fact, the idea for the Common Ground was born at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Sayville, whose members include Morrissey and others involved with the calendar.

Beyond the calendar's fund-raising potential, "I saw it as something that would be fun for the town," said Morrissey, a 30-year resident. "This is getting to know each other on a different level." Is it ever. Whether at the post office (where clerk James Toolan, 41, is now known as "Mr. October") or the Weeks & Reichel print shop (where "Calendar Boy" Robert Reichel, 48, resides), the calendar is "the talk of the town," according to Pamela Raymond (aka "Ms. December"), 62, an owner of the landmark Sayville Inn.

Not everyone was enthusiastic about creating the calendar, Raymond said, but she knows of no negative response since it was printed. So, how did Sayville, once identified in Newsday as Long Island's "friendliest" town, become quite that friendly? It all began when a friend showed Morrissey a similar calendar created by a New Hampshire community raising money for downtown restoration. Morrissey also knew of other such efforts, mostly inspired by the 2003 British feature film "Calendar Girls," which was based on a true story. So she approached people. Lots of people.

Some said: "Are you serious?"

Some said: "I'd like to, but my wife won't let me."

Reichel first said "no," because "I was about 25 pounds heavier," although he did print the calendar at cost. After a weight loss, "Mr. September" - now buff, and in the buff - posed astride his motorcycle, a jacket draped artfully across his lap.

Retired nurse Anne Dunphy, 68, first thought, "Gee, I've lived here all my life, I can't do that." But Morrissey's naked enthusiasm was infectious, and "I said why not, life's too short." Thus was born "Ms. February."

Even police officer Joel Reines, 57, was in on the joke, posing as "Mr. May," with skateboards ostensibly impounded from Sayville kids.

In the interest of discretion, photos, which were donated by Sayville-based Roma Photographers, were taken indoors, at secluded spots or early in the morning.

"I think it's really cute," said Suffolk County Legis. William Lindsay (D-Holbrook), whose district includes Sayville. "It's a spoof, and if something that is indicative of Sayville. They're always coming up with something ingenious and different."

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.
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December 2005

What they did for love ... of community

A saucy local calendar debuts for holidays
By Linda Leuzzi

SAYVILLE ‑ The DownTown Salon staff was the first to pose. "They had approached Roger Del Giorno and asked if he would do it,” said owner Debra Spadaro, who is partners with her sister Trish Tresch. Del Giorno, a hair stylist, got some colleagues to agree. "We always like having fun and the calendar is for a good cause," Spadaro said.

As a result, a mischievous‑looking group, including hair stylist Del Giorno, sits in salon chairs up front by the windows and graces January's page. "The photographer took the picture five minutes before we opened,' Spadaro remembered.

Sayville‑A Model Community, is a fund‑raising send‑up of the proper Yorkshire housewives who posed for a 1999 Women's Institute calendar. It features Sayville community club mem­bers, business owners and other folks involved with the vitality of the town posing with strategically placed props.

The 2006 calendar is also a kind of one-stop preview listing the contact names and dates of 14 community clubs and their meetings and main events. It will debut this week to bene­fit the events at The Common Ground. “I’m the treasurer of The Common Ground as we'll as a member of Kiwa­nis Club," said Jim Cassara, also the executive director of the Atlantic Wind Symphony. "We were looking to fundraise and not do anything every­ one else is doing."

Cassara, Rich Stafford of the Sayville Inn and Gil Saks of Jo‑Art Studios be seen emulating the famous Kiwanis Annual Pancake Breakfast at the Sayville Fire House. The sell wasn’t hard, Cassara said. “Ritchie volunteered himself and we called Gil Saks, who is now president of Kiwanis," he said.

Cassara explained the calendar took about a year to come together. "I would hope we can raise $4,000 to 5,000," he said. "I think people are surprised what we've done. There was a performance every Wednesday night through July and August sponsored by Stadtmuller Jewelers."

"This year, we expanded it to include Fridays for the Kids,‑ he added. ‑We had storytellers, mimes and movies for the kids and we served popcorn. Each time you do something, there are more things you try to accomplish like improve the lighting. We're trying to get game tables to encourage chess or checkers. The two gaming tables alone cost $3,000. We looked at a pet watering station. We'd love to be able to get wireless microphones."

He credited Zee Morrissey as the dynamo who put the calendar together. "We tried to make sure it was helpful," Cassara said, regarding meetings and events listings. "A lot of people made sizeable donations to make The Common Ground happen, so we were hoping the community would help to keep it going without stepping on each other's toes. I think Zee came up with a terrific idea."

Morrissey said a light bulb went off when Marianne Fulfaro brought a Plymouth, New Hampshire calendar with a similar tongue‑in‑cheek approach to a board meeting.

A couple of huge commitments included posing for the photos and having the photography donated. Morrissey approached about 50 people and, yes, most posed with clothes on.

"We have about 25 in the calendar," she said. "Tina Annibell of Annibell Mortgage approached Angela Benvenuto of Inner Light Yoga and asked if her husband Alex would donate his photography." Alex Benvenuto of Roma Photography said yes and the calendar participation began snowballing after the DownTown crew posed."

There were some pretty funny moments along the way. The mother and daughter team of Tina and Kathy Annibell from Annibell Mortgage posed on the roof of Tina's home this summer, causing quite a stir.

Claire and Dave Smith of the Printsmith can be seen in a humorous rendition of the painting, American Gothic; the staff at Cornucopia, the village's health food store, is photographed in a rare moment of relaxation; and members of The Pilot Club strut their stuff with saucy hats and parasols.

Then there's the cover. "Everyone asks about the cover," Morrissey said. At first glance, The Common Ground's pavilion, garden, walkway and labyrinth stand out in all their summer glory.

But peeking from the flowers and pathways are Grace Papagno, Nancy Angermaier and Marianne Fulfaro with watering cans and wheel barrows. Angermaier, the Common Ground president and a master gardener, Papagno and Fulfaro are part of the gardening team. "The big question was 'How did you do that?"

Morrissey said. "And the girls all say 'quickly!'"

The Sayville‑A Model Community 2006 Calendar will be sold at the following businesses and stores: Annibell Mortgage, Cornucopia, DownTown Salon, Kayla's Kards, Runaway Bay Books and the Sayville Inn. The calendars will sell for $11. Morrissey said plans are under way for a 2007 calendar.


Marianne Fulfaro, (left to right) Grace Papagno, Zee Morrissey (rear) and Pam Raymond all posed for the Sayville ‑ A Model Community 2006 Calendar, a takeoff of Yorkshire housewives who posed for the Women's Institute calendar. The cal­endar will benefit programs at The Common Ground. SCN/Leuzzi


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May 2004


Earth Day


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April 22, 2004


The Suffolk County News


A Common Ground for the common good


Sayville – This weekend members of the Rotary volunteered to paint the new performance pavilion at The Common Ground. 

While the Rotarians were painting, The Common Ground Members were busy setting the pattern for the new labyrinth that begins installation this week. 

The weather and spirit of cooperation made both teams enjoy the day at the park.  Labyrinth volunteers are Marianne Fulfaro, Jordan Markowitz, Debi Corbin, Nancy Angermeier, and Suzanne Robilotta.


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December 26, 2003


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May 9, 2002


Earth Day




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April 2002

Suffolk County News

Pictured Front, left to right- County Legislator Bill Lindsay, SVIS president Susanne Robliotta, Marianna Fulfaro, Assemblyman Steve Levy, County Legislator Ginny Fields, Rotary president Betty Whitehouse, Pilot Club president Pat Sedlak and Rotarian Marie Weiss. Back Row, left-to right: Kiwanis representative Adele Bolger, Rotarian Shaun Weiss, Islip Town Councilman Chris Bodkin, Rotarian Andrea Giannattasio, Rotary Garden Chairperson Zee Morrissey and Rotarian Pam Raymond.
SCN/Marie Weiss

A Promising Start for a Reflective Garden

About 200 people joined for breakfast last Saturday at Sayville's Land's End, to kick off fundraising for a Reflective Garden in Rotary Park (between Candee and Gillette Avenues). The garden will commemorate the victims and heroes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Rotary Club member Andrea Giannattasio, who with fellow Rotarians Zee Morrissey and Marie Weiss is coordinating the garden project, told the gathering, "Sayville has a great front yard - we have Main Street, we have the service organizations like the Sayville Village Improvement Society (SVIS), the Kiwanis, the Pilot Club, the Rotary, Keep Islip Clean, the Brownies, the Scouts... We also have the title of the friendliest town in America'. We also have a great back yard-'the bay. With your help, we'll also have a great middle yard-this garden."

It was an event with a quietly warm feel to it, and people were inclined to be generous. Land's End donated all the food and service. Music was provided by harpist Mary O'Malley, a junior at Sayville High School. At the breakfast, local businessman Richard Hopper donated a sprinkler system for the park. An anonymous donor has contributed a gazebo. The Kiwanis Club is donating a bench. Organizers estimate that the event raised $5,000 for the park renovation.
Giannattasio, told those attending that enthusiasm or the project runs high and suggestions are pouring in as to what features the garden should include. "The vision that's coming together is now one of healing," she, said.

Marianna Fulfaro, who is recommending a labyrinth design said, "A labyrinth is a meditative tool for self-discovery." Fulfaro designed the labyrinth on the grounds of St. John's Episcopal Church in West Sayville.

Andrea Giannattasio reminded those gathered that there was a suggestion box outside in the lobby, along with sketches of the preliminary design by master gardener Louise Estabrook. "Stay focused, stay excited," she said.
Some ideas for inclusion in the Reflective Garden are art displays, an annual Frisbee toss, a reflective bench, a dog fountain, an annual snow sculpting event, and wedding weekends.

One feature which may be included in the design is a plaque engraved with this poem by Emma Casey, 12:

I Can't Imagine

I can't imagine a world that's peaceful,
Now that this has begun
My life before was as an ignorant child,
Pain was just a nightmare.
Now I, watch TV with wide eyes
My mind races with the images on it,
Innocent people,
Running and running.
Far far away.
I just can't believe it
We are using lives for weapons.
The cruelty of the human race
Is becoming a household subject.
I weep myself to sleep,
Thinking about dreams that were lost,
The children with peace in their hearts.
It's so hard to imagine.

Several elected officials were also in attendance to show their support for the, garden project. Referring to the terrorist attack and its aftermath, Islip Town, Councilman Chris Bodkin said, “It's chilling and frightening. It's changed all of us, and we don't even know if it's over yet. Many of us absolutely need a quiet place to go for solace." Pledging whatever help he can offer, Bodkin added, "Let's all pull together to get this done." (Islip town permits would be needed for electrical work and water pipes.)

County Legislator Ginny Fields said, “This community isn't what it is out of luck. You have a core group of committed people, here, whereas in other communities there isn't the same enthusiasm, the care, the attention to detail. I took forward to seeing the result of your endeavors."
Commending the project and the unity it represents, Assemblyman Steve Levy said, "I think our enemies may be surprised at, how we came together." County Legislator William Lindsay said, "I think it's important that we have something in our community to remember that dreadful day ...and to remind us to never let it happen again.

The garden committee is hoping for donations of plants and volunteer hours. As a fundraising too, paving bricks are being sold for $50 apiece. Bricks are suitable for engraving (three lines of 16 characters apiece) and can be ordered on donor forms - available at the Bank of New York, Dutch Door Realty, Sayville Inn, Patchworks, and other Sayville business establishments. It is hoped that the first event will be a bulb planting, and the public is invited to pitch in. For information or to volunteer, call Andrea, Zee Morrissey, or Marie Weiss.

-Nancy Keating

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January 17, 2002


Around the Town

Suffolk County News


Rotary’s Breakfast and Fund-Raiser ~

For the Sayville Rotary Club’s Reflective Garden Project, 9-11 a.m. at the Land’s End, Browns River Road, Sayville.  Donation $25, all monies go toward the project, which was inspired by the September 11 tragedy and will be dedicated to all the heroes in our lives. 



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The Common Ground
P.O. Box 533
Sayville, NY 11782

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