08/04/13 8:00am
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A reality television show led a Times/Review intern to ask around this week about the silly things tourists say.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A reality television show led a Times/Review intern to ask around this week about the silly things tourists say.

“We’re gonna go to the wine vineyards,” the young woman said.

“Where?” her friend asked.

“In, like, North Fork,” she responded.

This was an exchange between two stars on the last episode of the reality TV show “Princesses: Long Island,” the latest offering from Bravo. Though the girls on the show hail from Nassau County, they ventured out to the Sparkling Pointe vineyard in Southold for the July 28 episode.

Reactions to our homeland were varied: One girl compared the vineyard to the Garden of Eden, while another actually relieved herself in between the rows of grapes.

As drama ensued, one character cried to her parents on the phone, asking if there were an airport nearby so she could take a private jet back to her hometown. As she started walking to Route 48, her friend screamed, “Don’t walk toward the freeway!”

Finally, as the crying girl explained to the camera that she just wanted to leave, she lamented, “But we’re in the middle of nowhere.”

The princesses’ take on the North Fork can’t help but evoke memories of the different ways tourists react to our communities on Long Island’s East End.

It inspired me to ask around this week uncover some of the funny, absurd and borderline insulting things folks in the local tourist industry have heard out-of-towners say.

I left out their names and kept their businesses out of the piece in an effort to encourage them to share the really good stuff.

ON THE FARM

“This one guy asked us, ‘How many seeds are in your tomatoes?’ We said we really didn’t know, so he had us cut them open and look. He said he liked to eat his tomatoes like apples and didn’t like a lot of seeds.”

farm stand employee, Mattituck

“My friend works as a waitress out here and one time a little kid ordered a glass of milk to drink and his dad said to him, ‘It’s gonna take a little while because they have to go out back and milk the cow. We’re in the country and that’s how they do it out here.’”

restaurant worker, Riverhead

“One time, this lady came in and she looks outside and then at me and goes, ‘Are the animals out there real?’ I just stared at her for a minute because I was thinking, ‘Is this lady for real?’ Then I just said, ‘Yes.’ ”

farmer, Cutchogue

Out to eat

“Once this guy came in at like 11:55 p.m., we close at midnight, and he was sitting at the bar. He looked at me and said, ‘Hey, you, call a cab would ya?’ The bartender was like, ‘This is the North Fork; we don’t have cabs.’ ”

restaurant worker, Southold

“While I was working, tourists came in and sat at one of the tables up against the wall that used to be a booth. After I cleared their dishes and was at the counter, just like seven feet away, one woman very loudly said, ‘Service these days. Whatever happened to serve from the left, take from the right?’ which was physically impossible without taking their plates through the window outside. Then the other woman said, ‘I guess they don’t do that out here.’ ”

restaurant worker, Southold Town

“We get lavish requests for sandwiches sometimes. When we ring them up, people are always surprised and comment how the Hamptons is so much more expensive. They are also always asking where the wineries are and where ‘Herbie’s Farm’ is.”

deli worker, Mattituck

OUT AND ABOUT

“One time my friend and I were at Scoops eating ice cream and a group of tourists came up to us and were whispering really loudly, like ‘Oh my gosh, they must be locals’ and gawking at us like we were animals at the zoo.”

Cutchogue resident

“I was on the Cross Sound Ferry in June and a lady was telling her son to wave goodbye to the Hamptons.”

store clerk, Mattituck

Of course this column is meant to be funny. I recognize the tourism economy is a great thing for my hometown and most of the folks who come out here get what we’re all about.

Just do me a favor, though, next time you come visit: Try not to pee in the vineyard.

Ms. Leaden is a student at Manhattan College. She lives in Cutchogue and worked at Times/Review Newsgroup this summer as an intern on a New York Press Association scholarship. She can be reached at intern@timesreview.com.

07/28/13 2:30pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Amber Cogoli, a town animal shelter staffer, pets one of the dozens of cats that called the shelter home in 2011.

The North Fork Animal Welfare League has come a long way since it was established in 1963 to help combat animal cruelty in the area.

Today, it operates both the Southold and the Riverhead town animal shelters and has worked for 50 years to care and find homes for lost and abandoned animals.

It began when a small group of people got together to find homes for strays and offer information on how to treat animals humanely. At the time, Southold Town operated a pound, not a shelter, which provided little more comfort that being out on the street.

In the 1970s, the pound was no longer in use and strays were kept by vets. Animals left unclaimed were put to sleep. As the league gathered more members, it began to collect donations to build an animal shelter.

League members and others successfully pressured the Town Board to build a decent pound, leading to the construction of a six-run dog facility in Peconic. The league kept a close watch on the operation and was mostly unhappy with the treatment of the strays. Limited food and water and dirty facilities were only a few of the issues.

In the late ’70s, New York State enacted a dog control law that gave humane societies the right to make contracts with the town to manage pounds.

On July 1, 1980, the NFAWL signed a contract with the town to take over the pound and run it as a no-kill shelter, becoming the first humane society on Long Island to contract with a town. The league added six more runs, installed a heating system, replaced broken structures and even bought new bowls.

Executive director Gillian Wood Pultz came on board at the shelter in 1995. She found an overcrowded facility, but over the past 18 years the shelter has become the safe haven for animals that the league always longed for.

The shelter offers educational talks at schools and community centers, a food pantry program for families who cannot afford pet food, a spay/neuter voucher program that provides low- to no-cost surgeries and a large online presence.

NFAWL went into contract to operate the Riverhead town shelter in March and so is now responsible for animals on the entire North Fork. Ms. Wood Pultz said the Riverhead facility is exactly where the Southold shelter was 20 years ago.

“Right now our future focus is to improve the lives of the animals in Riverhead and improve the shelter itself,” she said.

“A lot of stuff is happening and we’re really excited about it,” NFAWL board president Dawn Bennett said. “We’re trying to change the idea that shelters are sad, depressing places. We’re looking to do a lot more educational programs and we’ve just hired a volunteer coordinator, which is a first.”

Despite the passing of half a century, Ms. Wood Pultz said, “our mission is the same, but just on a bigger scale. We have greater resources and have been able to help a lot more animals than when the league just started. We’re doing the same thing — we’re still saving the animals — we’ve just grown.”

The league will celebrate its 50th birthday with a fundraising party on Saturday, Aug. 3, from 3 to 8 p.m. It will be hosted by Lou Corso and family at their home overlooking the Sound on Oregon Road in Cutchogue. The cost is $95 per person, which includes a full buffet and open bar as well as live music by The No Request Band.

07/24/13 2:30pm

FILE PHOTO | Riders from last year’s Bike for Life during a quick break in Rocky Point.

A priest, two teachers and a group of students pedal bikes down the road … No, this isn’t the start of an potentially offensive joke. Instead, this is exactly the sight to be seen across the North Fork this weekend on Main Road or Sound Avenue.

The 27th annual McGann-Mercy Bike for Life, in which students from the private high school cycle from Port Jefferson to Orient Point, will take place over four days beginning Thursday morning. This year, the riders include 15 current students and alumni, two teachers, three support staff, and of course, the school’s chaplain, Rev. Gerald Cestare.

The trip across the North Fork is about more than exercise. The Bike for Life also incorporates a spiritual aspect for the Catholic school students.

Each day of pedaling ends at a local church where students engage in activities and talks, giving the weekend more of a retreat feel. The discussions revolve around teaching students about living a wholesome life as they grow older, building up their school community, dealing with the pressures and worries of high school, cherishing their faith and sexuality.

Riders kick off the trip in Port Jefferson and will travel along 25A and Route 48 until they reach St. Patrick’s Church in Southold, where they will spend the night. On Friday they will continue to Orient Point Beach Park, where they will have a beach barbecue and then circle back to St. Agnes in Greenport for the night.

On Saturday they will ride to Sacred Heart Church in Cutchogue, and then on Sunday they will travel back from Sacred Heart to Port Jefferson for a closing Mass at Infant Jesus Church.

The event is sponsored by McGann-Mercy Campus Ministry.

intern@timesreview.com

07/21/13 12:00pm

CLAIRE LEADEN PHOTO | Riverhead Free Library has a self-checkout machine for those wanting to grab a book and go.

 

In recent years, libraries have become much more than just places to borrow books. Patrons have also become accustomed to checking out music and movies and attending classes at their local library.

Still, there are a few things you might not even know your library offers. For example, all Suffolk County libraries accept cards from any library in the county, so feel free to visit the other book lenders if you’re interested. Keep in mind, though, that each library may have its own restrictions about lending items to non-residents.

Here are some unique possibilities available to you at libraries across the North Fork. Some of these features are available in multiple locations, so call ahead to your own local library to see if they offer a similar program or service.

Riverhead Free Library, 727-3228

There is a whole section of the Riverhead library’s website dedicated just to the services it offers. In the library building itself there is a book and magazine magnifier for the sight-impaired, a self-checkout machine for checking materials out quickly, and multiple rooms that can be reserved for no charge by any non-profit organization or group.

Riverhead also offers museum passes at their reference desk and has volunteers that deliver materials to those who need it.

North Shore Public Library, Wading River, 929-4488

North Shore Public Library offers tons of fun for kids — there are Nooks for checkout, iPads for library use and even video games that kids can borrow for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox.

For older audiences, the library offers discounted subscriptions to the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic, with transportation available to and from the library. Museum passes are also available for borrowing.

Floyd Memorial Library, Greenport, 477-0660

If you want to exercise your mind, Floyd Memorial allows patrons to take out jigsaw puzzles. It also has a slide projector for rental and a large graphic novel collection in its book section.

Recently, the library established a digital magazine collection so cardholders can read a variety of magazines for free right on their computers. Also, for Orient residents who don’t want to travel to Greenport to check out books, the reference librarian sets up a “pop up” library at the Orient Country Store twice a month with a selection of books to choose from.

Southold Free Library, 765-2077

Patrons of Southold Free Library can use their library cards to borrow Kindles, iPads and Nooks and enjoy reading in a more modern way. Another option that’s uncommon among libraries is that Southold offers fishing poles to take out.

“It’s an idea I came up with last summer,” library director Caroline MacArthur said. “We live in a summer community so it’s perfect for out here.”

The tablets and fishing poles, however, are available only to Southold library cardholders.

The library’s computers are loaded with the Ancestry Plus program, which allows patrons to look up their family history and trace their genealogy for free.

Patrons can also purchase tickets to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead at a discounted $14. And for anyone in Southold or Peconic who is unable to make it to the library in person, there are volunteers who will deliver books to them.

Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library, 734-6360

The Cutchogue library also has a homebound program, but rather than deliver books in person it does so by mail to anyone who cannot visit the library. Through “live-brary,” the cooperative website of all Suffolk County libraries, Cutchogue also offers the Mango language-learning program. There is a wide variety of choices on the website, but if you’d rather not learn online, Cutchogue also holds an Italian conversation class every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. during July.

There is also a new service on the library’s website called Indieflix, which allows patrons to stream films from independent festivals. There are also iPads available for use within the library.

Mattituck-Laurel Library, 298-4134

The Mattituck library is a designated Family Place Library, offering many services for both children and adults. When school starts again, children going into preschool and kindergarten can borrow backpacks filled with DVDs, books and other materials to help them prepare for the new school experience. Educational toys are also available for children to check out and there are laptops and iPads that can be used in the library’s children’s room. New parents can pick up an Infant Kit filled with materials and information for parents of newborns.

Adult services include a library card smartphone app, which has the patron’s library barcode on it so there is no need to have a library card anymore. The library also offers free passes to nine different museums, including many in New York City.

Patrons can gain access to the program Freegal, which downloads songs, for no charge, and Zinio, which provides free online subscriptions to magazines.

Patrons at each of these libraries can manage their library account online. After opening an account you can reserve and renew books, pay fines and view the history of books checked out.

Visit live-brary.com for access to all the information and services from libraries in Suffolk County, and check out each library’s own website for newsletters featuring the many programs for children, teens and adults that are hosted all summer long.

intern@timesreview.com

07/20/13 2:30pm

SUFFOLK COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY COURTESY PHOTO | The new wing at the Suffolk County Historical Society shown in this photo illustration will be handicap accessible and is expected to cost between $750,000 and $1 million.

The Suffolk County Historical Society, keeper of over 20,000 artifacts from the county’s past, is putting together plans to launch a fundraising campaign to pay for a new addition to its 83-year-old building.

The addition, which will include two handicapped-accessible bathrooms, an elevator and a new orientation space, will comply with regulations set by the Americans with Disabilities Act and make the entire building more accessible to all who wish to visit.

Director Kathy Curran said the board always knew the building needed to be more friendly to people with disabilities or ailments, but the issue became truly apparent during an exhibit this past February.

The show honored Lee Hayes, a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen, the country’s first African-American aviators. The opening reception included a conversational interview with Mr. Hayes and a photo exhibit of the airmen. The event generated one of the biggest turnouts the museum has ever had — and as Mr. Hayes is now in his 90s, the exhibit drew a good number of older folk.

“There were a lot of elderly people who attended and we had to help so many up and down the stairs throughout the day,” Ms. Curran explained. “The board members physically saw right in front of their eyes how much we needed this.”

The society is now looking for corporate sponsorships, working on grant writing and asking for donations. The estimated cost of the project is between $750,000 and $1 million, but the exact number won’t be known until the final plans are drawn up and a contractor’s bid is selected. The society hopes to pay for the work outright and expects the plans to be finished by the end of the year.

Riverhead architect Gary Jacquemin was chosen for the project, and the board members picked their favorite from his five different conceptual designs. Mr. Jacquemin is currently working on preliminary plans, and will work on them full-time once more funding is secured.

“I want it [the addition] to signal the rebirth of the activities within the building,” Mr. Jacquemin said. “The historical society has a new director, new board members, some new policies. We also want the addition to reflect the revitalization of downtown Riverhead as a whole.”

Though the existing building dates from 1930, Ms. Curran said museum officials aren’t focused on having the new wing blend in.

“We want to have 21st-century architecture added onto the historic building site,” she said.

“The addition will acknowledge and be respectful of the standing building,” Mr. Jacquemin said. “It will be lightweight and connect to the original building with bridges with skylights above them. We’re not trying to upstage the current building. The board and I are big believers that new buildings should not try to replicate history and that the older building should be the one that remains historic.”

Bob Barauskas, president of the museum’s board of trustees, said that although planning for the addition began a year and a half ago, construction will probably not be completed for another two years.

“I’m very optimistic,” he said. “I came onto the board in 2008 and we’ve just gained so much momentum in the last two years. I’m very excited about the direction we’re going in.”

When asked if the added wing will help increase revenue, Mr. Barauskas responded with a firm, “Of course.”

“People have asked me many times about having handicapped-accessible options,” he said. “There’s just so much that it will offer.”

“We see this as another part of the revitalization of Riverhead as a cultural center,” Ms. Curran added. “With the library, the science museum, the theaters and the aquarium all on our block, we are situated on a little cultural corridor.”

intern@timesreview.com

07/18/13 5:00pm

BARBARAELLEN PHOTO | Puppies saved from Grand Bahama will soon be available for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter.

There’s nothing cuter than a yard full of puppies. And when they’re puppies saved from a dismal future, their big eyes and wagging tails seem even sweeter.

Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton is taking part in ‘Operation Puppy Lift,’ a program started by the Humane Society of Grand Bahama.

The northernmost island of the Bahamas, Grand Bahama has population issues with stray dogs and only one animal shelter to deal with the problem. Around 1,200 animals are taken in per year at the shelter, Kent executive director Pam Green said. Overcrowding leads to a high euthanasia rate.

To help save the puppies, HSGB started “Operation Puppy Lift,” in which the organization joins together with no-kill shelters in the U.S. to take in the needy pups. Kent welcomed 15 new puppies Wednesday who were flown in from the tropics.

The strays traveled on a private charter from Grand Bahama to Florida, and then went on a commercial airplane to JFK airport in New York where the shelter workers picked them up. HSGB paid for the transportation through its own funding and the puppies are solely in the shelter’s care now.

Kent became involved in the program when office manager Linda MacDonald reached out to a friend who worked with HSGB. Ms. Green said she plans on making this an ongoing partnership.

“It’s such a shame that these little guys are being put to sleep without a chance,” she said as small puppies on leashes ran around her legs. “It’s just a different culture there when dealing with the dogs.”

The dogs are called “potcake puppies,” a local name used to describe the native mixed breeds on the island.

“They’re a mixed breed and look a little collie-ish … they have longer snouts,” Ms. Green said when describing their appearance.

The adorable puppies are all less than a year old, the youngest being four months, and shelter staff members said the dogs will stay a small to medium size into adulthood.

After being checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated and spayed or neutered, the puppies will be put up for adoption. The shelter is hopeful the process will be complete by the end of the week.

Kelly Cross, a staff member at the shelter, said that although she limits one dog for herself, it is difficult not to get attached to the new ones when they arrive.

One pup from Grand Bahama is already stealing her heart.

“I think this one is my favorite so far,” she said of a tiny white puppy with light brown spots. “You get very attached — I mean just look at them. But it’s rewarding to see a great family come in and fall in love. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s a good kind of sad.”

The shelter is also picking up four more puppies on Saturday who hail from Turks and Caicos, islands with a similar dog problem.

Those interested in adopting one of the new puppies can visit the shelter’s website www.kentanimalshelter.com. Pictures of the new pups should be online in a few days, and applications are available on the website.

intern@timesreview.com

07/07/13 12:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The 110-year-old Baitting Hollow Library holds 6,000 books.

There’s no doubt you have to keep your eyes peeled if you’re looking for Baiting Hollow Library.

Located on Sound Avenue, nestled between a residence and a side road, it appears to anyone passing by to be an extremely small house. But in reality, it’s an extremely small public library.

Though it does not boast the large number of books, services, programs or staff members you’ll find at most local libraries, it’s rich with character and history.

The Baiting Hollow Library, painted light gray with burgundy shutters, consists of just one room. A narrow walkway leads from the door to the road and a sign on the front lawn gives the library’s name, along with its days and hours: Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The library hasn’t always been in this location, however. In fact, it’s moved around quite a lot throughout its long history.

Current librarian Charlotte Jacques is an expert on the subject.

Full bookshelves line all four walls of the room, and Ms. Jacques usually sits in the middle, at a large table entirely covered with towering stacks of books.

As she told the library’s story, she leaned back in her chair and smiled over an old scrapbook of aging photos and yellowing newspaper articles.

According to Ms. Jacques, it all began in the year 1903.

At the time, there was a club for parishioners of Baiting Hollow Congregational Church called the Philomathean Club, named for a Greek word meaning “lover of learning.”

The club hosted a series of winter lectures that year and used the admission money to launch the Baiting Hollow Free Library, since there wasn’t a library in the community.

The first location of the library was in the parsonage, where the minister of the church lives, and the first librarian was the wife of the Rev. Frank Voorhes.

Eventually, the library outgrew that location and moved to a portion of the Baiting Hollow post office, now the Calverton post office, where it was run by two sisters who served as postmistresses. After the post office, the library moved to the home of Goldsmith Wells, Ms. Jacques’ great-grandfather, where it was operated by his daughter Sarah. After that, it returned to its original location at the rear of the Congregational church. Today, that space is occupied by two bathrooms.

In 1941, the local Warner family donated a plot of land, so long as the spot remained a library. In a community effort, the Talmage family provided a house that was on their farm to serve as the library building. A foundation was poured and the house was moved from the farm to the designated site, where the library has been ever since.

Ms. Jacques, who has been librarian there for the past 11 years, grew up with the family-run library.

“It was a hobby at first,” she said of spending time there, “since I was about 6.”

She started working there by filling in for her cousin on and off over the years, and eventually she took over.

“I like picking out the books — that’s my favorite part,” Ms. Jacques said. “And I get to see all of the regulars from the neighborhood.”

One such regular is Nathaniel Talmage Jr. Although he says the main reason he goes to Baiting Hollow Library is because of its convenience, he has an undeniable family connection.

“It’s convenient for me and I can be in and out in two minutes,” Mr. Talmage said. “Also, I grew up with it.

“In the past 15 years I’ve become much more interested in reading books and going to the library. And it does have that family history.”

The library holds 6,000 books, which Ms. Jacques knows readily since she has to count them every January. Five visitors mark a busy day for the library and patrons sign a check-out card the “old-fashioned way,” since there aren’t any Baiting Hollow Library cards — or any computers.

Most books on the library shelves are written by modern authors. Ms. Jacques picks out what she thinks people will be interested in reading from a catalogue or buys them at BJ’s. As for herself, the librarian loves mystery novels and has read all of Sue Grafton’s books.

The library’s modest annual budget of about $11,000 covers Ms. Jacques’ salary, building maintenance and book purchases. She says she buys about 200 new titles each year.

If you find yourself riding along Sound Avenue, don’t let the size of Baiting Hollow Library deter you from stopping in for a lesson in local history. Talk to Ms. Jacques to hear more of the interesting story of the 110-year-old library — or just let the book-lined walls speak for themselves.

intern@timesreview.com

06/26/13 8:00am

Most children count down the days until school gets out for summer, but for those who receive their only meal of the day during school hours, the thought of three months off does not hold the same feeling of excitement.

Over 90,000 children on Long Island receive free or reduced-cost school lunches, but when summer arrives their main source of nourishment is taken away. Luckily, Island Harvest, the biggest hunger relief organization on Long Island, has a summer food service program for children in this exact position. And, for the second year in a row, Riverhead Free Library is a feeding site for local youth in need.

“Island Harvest approached us last year about becoming an open feeding site,” said Laurie Harrison, head of children’s services at the library. “They wanted us to provide, along with the location, an educational and literary aspect, so that’s why I agreed.”

In addition to the food, the library also encourages the children to take part in the summer reading program and collects book donations so children can leave with at least one book each.

“I feel that it’s not just a meal project, because it was very evident last year that this was most of the children and their caretakers’ first time at the library,” acting Library Director Pamm Trojanowski said. “It’s a chance to feed not only the body, but the mind as well.

“When they come they find out that they can get a library card, which opens a whole other world of opportunity for them. It’s just amazing for us on staff to watch.”

Island Harvest chooses communities for the summer food service program by looking at the number of children who qualify for discounted or free school lunches in the area. Just over 50 percent of students in the Riverhead school district qualify. Ms. Harrison also said the Riverhead demographics fit the census requirements to take part of the program.

This summer, the program starts on July 8 and will run for five weeks. Children under the age of 18 can go to the library Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to enjoy a free, nutritious lunch.

The visitors don’t have to meet any criteria to receive the meal, but children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult. The Riverhead Library is different from most of the other summer feeding sites in Suffolk County because it is an open site, meaning that community members do not need to enroll to receive a meal. Anyone can walk in during the open time slot.

“One thing about being an open site is that we’re never sure who will be coming through the door,” Ms. Harrison said. “We don’t know their age, or how many there will be that day — it’s challenging.”

Typically, children receive a sandwich, milk, fruit cup and an apple. On one special day of the week they are treated to a slice of pizza, milk, juice, fruit cup and a granola bar.

Last year, the library gave out 1,068 meals during the 39 days of the program, and that was with very little publicity.

“I think we barely scratched the iceberg,” she said of the numbers. “It’s such a big community and the library is difficult to get to and across town from a lot of people. We’re just doing the little bit that we can to help.”

Though being a feeding site is a lot of work for the library, Ms. Harrison said that being involved is very rewarding for all of the employees.

“It’s definitely hectic having to count the food when it comes in, making sure everything is fresh … it’s time consuming,” she said. “But it really is so satisfying to see the children being able to eat and relax and read for a little while.

“You just don’t realize how many hungry people there are until you literally see them sitting there waiting for a little something to eat that day.”

intern@timesreview.com