07/15/14 6:41pm
A handful of residents spoke at a forum Tuesday about the upcoming shortage of area codes. (Credit: Claire Leaden)

A handful of residents spoke at a forum Tuesday about the upcoming shortage of area codes. (Credit: Claire Leaden)

The possibility of a new area code replacing 631 for part of Suffolk County may be viewed as an annoyance for some. After all, who wants go through their phone to update numbers?

For Larry Huff, the potential change also comes with a more substantial downside: a price tag upward of $500,000.

Mr. Huff, the vice president of Electronix Systems in Huntington Station, spoke during a public hearing Tuesday afternoon in Riverhead where representatives from the New York State Public Service Commission discussed potential remedies to the predicted area code shortfall.  (more…)

07/10/14 8:00am
South Jamesport resident Raymond Janis has lived on Tuts Lane for 47 years. "Leave it just the way it is," he said. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

South Jamesport resident Raymond Janis has lived on Tuts Lane for 47 years. “Leave it just the way it is,” he said. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The United States Postal Service — which derives all of its revenue from the sale of its products and services — has lost $26 billion over the last three years.

In an effort to stop the bleeding, it has consolidated 141 mail processing facilities nationwide over the last two years, saving nearly $900 million and laying off no employees in the process. (more…)

07/09/14 2:00pm

Phone

Area codes. What began as the replacement for human telephone operators quickly turned into a disclosure of geographical locations, along with — in at least some instances — an indication of social status.

The glamour of Manhattan’s “212” area code even spawned a website where one can spend over $500 to purchase a number with the three special digits.

As they say, all good things must come to an end.  (more…)

07/08/14 12:00pm
The South Jamesport Post Office at 70 Second Street could be in for some changes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

The South Jamesport Post Office at 70 Second Street could be in for some changes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

The smallest post office on all of Long Island may undergo some cost-reducing changes initiated by the United States Postal Service.

A survey sent last month by the USPS  gave South Jamesport residents four options in regards to the future operations of their beloved 400-box post office.  (more…)

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