01/20/12 2:11pm

Congratulations to Jamesport resident Ava Robinson on her awarding-winning dolls. She says, “The guys have their Super Bowl Sunday, but I had my own ‘Super Doll Sunday’ at the annual Patchogue Doll Fanciers Club show and sale at the Sheraton in Hauppauge. I didn’t need a car to get home; I flew on a cloud!” Ava won five first-place ribbons, four second-place and one third-place. The dolls were entered in many categories, a few of them competing against each other in the same category. Her all-original composition doll, Shirley Temple, was a hit with show-goers. Also winning a blue ribbon was an all-original Toni Permanent Wave doll, complete with end papers and curlers. A Women’s Army Air Corps doll also took a blue ribbon, complete with uniform hat and insignia and a leather shoulder bag.

Ava has an extensive doll collection with wardrobe from the 1940s and 1950s. She was especially excited to compete this year because she missed the show last year due to illness. Considering Ava’s award-winning success, her mom has always said, “Better things come to those who wait.” Well, Ava, your persistence and patience certainly paid off. Congratulations on your achievements.

Head on over to the Rockin’ for the Homeless benefit concert on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Polish Hall in Riverhead. Sponsored by John’s Place Mattituck, it will feature four great bands. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person through Jan. 27; $35 at the door. For tickets and more information, call 298-4145, ext. 2, or visit rockinforthehomeless.org.

Best wishes for a very happy 10th birthday to Zachary White on Jan. 29 from your mom and your entire family. Double digits are really cool, Zachary. Happy birthday!

A special concert is scheduled for the “Music at the Meeting House” series at the Jamesport Meeting House. On Saturday, Feb. 11, at 11 a.m. Brady Rymer will perform pop, rock and country hits with a family-friendly flair. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, and free for ages 2 and under. This concert will sell out very quickly. Tickets can be purchased at Duffy’s Deli. Call Pat at 909-3744 for more info.

I am writing this column with a beautiful view of the Long Island Sound. It is the view from Johanna’s room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Stony Brook Hospital. Johanna needed emergency brain surgery last Friday. Thankfully she is recovering nicely and will be home with Taffy by the time you read this! I want to send a special thank-you to Bill Van Helmond for plowing the driveway last Saturday. Bill, your generosity took pressure off us and enabled my husband to easily get up to the hospital. Thank you!

01/18/12 3:00am

First Parish Church, UCC is continuing to collect food for our local food pantries. They need canned, jarred and boxed goods. Those who would like to help out are asked to drop off their donations at the church on Sundays between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Baskets and/or boxes will be set up inside the foyer located at the east side entrance of the church to collect your goods. Please give what you can during these months and help fill the pantries in our community. Tell a friend and pass the word around. For more information, call Pastor Dianne Rodriguez at 516-673-1231 or email her at blackswan57@aol.com.

As I mentioned last week, the “Rockin’ for the Homeless” fundraiser will take place Saturday, Jan. 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Polish Hall in Riverhead. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Sponsored by John’s Place Mattituck the event will feature Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, Who Are Those Guys, Rattlesnake Dawn and Boot Scoot Boogie. WLNG’s Lisa Dabrowski will emcee. Tickets are $25 per person through Jan. 27, $35 at the door, and can be purchased at Barth’s Pharmacy in both Riverhead and Mattituck, Polish Hall and the Mattituck Presbyterian Church office. For tickets and more information, call 298-4145, ext. 2, or visit rockinforthehomeless.org. This is a great way to be a good neighbor.

Last week there was a beautiful article in the News-Review about the difficulties faced by parents of medically fragile children. The article featured Angela’s House, an organization that provides two smaller houses on Long Island specially designed with 24-hour nursing care to accommodate the children’s complex medical and physical needs. Angela’s House also facilitates provisions for families like ours who have medically fragile kids living at home. Without their support we would not be able to provide for Johanna’s special needs in our home.

If you haven’t read the article from last week, please do so today. Also, please consider making a donation at angelashouse.org, by mail to Angela’s House, P.O. Box 5052, Hauppauge, NY 11788, call Bob Policastro at 631-979-2620 or email BPolicastro@angelashouse.org. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.

My college kids are back to school — two in Ohio and one in Gaming, Austria. MaryAngela is having the adventure of a lifetime studying abroad for the semester. We wish them well and can’t wait to see them in May!

01/08/12 4:44am

A very happy New Year to all of you! I hope your holidays were wonderful!

Congratulations to the Aquebogue students of the month for December! They are: Kindergarten: Dylan Sandoval, Samantha Mills, Jackson Frend, Kevin Dubon Salan, Andy Mardice, Loudon Krumbiegel, Isabella Cucchi, Megan Kenny, Wesley Keating. First grade: Maria Mendez, Deu’Boyce Robinson, Jeremy Carey, Ismeri Morales-Rojas, Timothy Wooten, Roni Palma, Casey Zahra, Bonnie Harris, Jace Pesce, Joseph McCormack, Yamileth Estrada, Thomas Gallo, Jayden Braxton, Austin Koke. Second grade: Alicia Ramos, Jose Castro-Torres, Sofia DeMasi, Alexa Reeve, Emani Womack, Catherine Cruz, Catherine Renshaw, Jessika Francisco, Imonie Ramos, Johnathan Timpone, Serenity Lopez, James Ryan, Alexandra Goodale, Aqsa Majid, Brodie Mato, Princesa Jeronimo. Third grade: Julian Cortez, William Lopez, Angelica Salasar, Gavin Cucchi, Alexa Slasinski, Nicholas Belvedere, Brandon Riccio, Kate Foley. Fourth grade: Anna Marie Crotty, David Squires, Megan Kielbasa, Maria Andres, Joseph Brown, Steven McDonald, Sophia Lemus, Kevyn Bonilla, Ryan Seebeck, Anayeli Ortiz.

John and Barbara Anderson of Jamesport are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary on lucky Friday the 13th! John and Barbara, all of your friends and family, and all of us, wish you a very happy 55th wedding anniversary! You both are a true inspiration to us all!

Even though the weather has been lovely, winter always promises cold days ahead. At this time of year especially, we should support the organizations that care for the homeless. Just around the corner is a benefit for East End Homeless Outreach. Called “Rockin’ for the Homeless,” the event will take place Saturday, Jan. 28, from 6-10 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) at Polish Hall in Riverhead. Sponsored by John’s Place Mattituck, it will feature Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, Who Are Those Guys, Rattlesnake Dawn and Boot Scoot Boogie. The emcee for the evening is special guest and WLNG’s own Lisa Dabrowski. Tickets are $25 per person until Jan. 27 and $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Barth’s Pharmacy in Riverhead and Mattituck, Polish Hall and the Mattituck Presbyterian Church office. For tickets and more information call 298-4145, ext. 2, or visit rockinforthehomeless.org. This is a simple and fun way to be a good neighbor!

We celebrate the Christmas season with friends and family all the way through till “Little Christmas,” the Feast of the Epiphany, so we closed our Christmas season just last weekend by sharing a meal with some special friends. Thanks for all the emails and seasons greetings from you, our wonderful neighbors and members of our community! A special thanks to Bill Van Helman and his Christmas offering of snow plowing our driveway. Bill offered to assist us so that we can be sure we are able to get Johanna out easily and so that all of her therapists and teachers can get into the house easily. Call me when it snows and I will give you Bill’s number. All I have to say is “Let it snow!”

12/17/11 3:30pm

We attended Living Water Church’s wonderful Christmas show this past weekend and it was truly stunning. The performances were professionally done, with so much talent and grace. The choral productions were lively and melodic, a combination of old, favorite Christmas carols and contemporary songs reflecting on the “reason for the Christmas season.” The drama was witty and light, the dance numbers were beautifully choreographed and the precision of the dancers was just amazing. Of course, our favorite performer, Amanda Frank, led many of the dances.

Amanda and her family have been friends with our family for about 12 years, three-and-a-half of which Amanda has been a personal aide to my daughter Johanna. Amanda is a warm and wonderful young lady who is very talented. She had a significant role in the Christmas production this year but her starring role happened at the Sunday matinee performance, which ended with a beautiful rendition of “White Christmas.” True to the movie’s script, Josh Palmeri, Amanda’s boyfriend, got down on one knee and proposed to her in front of the entire sold-out show! Of course Amanda said “yes!”

Congratulations to LWC on another year of fine performances. We also extend our sincere, heartfelt and very ecstatic congratulations to Amanda and Josh on their engagement. May God continue to bless all of you!

I want to remind you that there will be no paper Dec. 29. The Times/Review office will be closed for the holidays Dec. 26-30 to give the staff time to celebrate the season with friends and family. My next column will be for the Jan. 12 issue. Please send me your announcements by Jan. 9 to be printed in that issue. There are lots of good things coming ahead for all of us in 2012 and I want to hear about it!

It isn’t often that Hanukkah and Christmas fall in the same week. I think it is quite special. Both traditions are celebrations of the triumph of light over the darkness. I wish you light in the darkness. Happy Hanukkah, merry Christmas and happy New Year to all!

12/10/11 12:29pm

Congratulations to the Aquebogue students of the week for November: Kindergarten — Victoria Daychouk, Griffin Sumwalt, Willy Barrios, Reese Wirth, Victoria Salazar, Joshua Soler, Matteo Mosciatti, Gisselle Morales-Llamas, Alexandra Hoverkamp, Autumn Montgomery, Cambria Palomino, Ja’Dah Williams. 1st grade — Travis Hansen, Rigoberto Nicolas, Colin Maaiki, Mishell Garcia, Cesar Dubon, Justin Caraballo Torres, Courtney Reynolds, Michael Gagliano, Aidan Eslin, Jayden Gilliam, Shannah Calle, Christian Aguilar, Charles Liles, Tara Galka, Janeiah Evans, Erick Agustin, Adolfo Jeronimo, Daneijha Corey-Farmer. 2nd grade — Nelsis Guevara-Cuesta, Maria Vergara, Jaxson Rubio, Jayden Binkis, Zyaire Hartfield, Katy Paredes, Ryan Allen, Samuel Lemus, Ellie Schultz, Ariana Hubbard, Riley Dunbar, Hannah Witt, Sophia Haupt, Giovanna Maffetone, Patrick Rowland, Olwin Mayen, Randy Cabrera-Milian, Savannah McDonald. 3rd grade — Olivia Niewiadomski, Joshua Carey, Jocelyn Podlas, Skyler Yuengling, Megan Card-Gimipelman, William Green, Deanna Wirth, Erica Bilski. 4th grade — Christian Mato, Abigail Morreale, Shannon Doyle, Kaylen Lockhart, Benjamin Payton, Katherine Goodale, Haylie Tierney, Joseph Brown, Liam Drobny, Julianna Veliz, Jose Alvarado, Kellie Estes, Grace Kaelin, and Katelin Adamson.

Celebrate the season at the Jamesport Meeting House with “Carols and Cookies” Friday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m. The East End Arts chorus, conducted by Ann Webb, will perform seasonal selections and lead attendees in a singalong of popular carols. Barbara Bixby will play piano. Afterward, share some cookies and mulled cider in the Lecture Room. Suggested $5 donation for adults. All children are welcome.

The opening performance of Living Water Full Gospel Church’s Christmas show, “The Wonder of Christmas,” is tonight. I heard that tickets are selling out quickly for some of the performances. The show is a wonderful way to get into the spirit of Christmas, with performances of traditional Christmas tunes and seasonal gospel hits. Call today to reserve your tickets. Performances are Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 15-17, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, the 18th, at 3 p.m. For tickets and information, call 631-722-4969, ext. 204, or email info@lwfgc.org.

Congratulations to 2005 RHS graduate Danielle Hein, who just received her “white coat” in a special ceremony at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. This ceremony is an initiation into its residency program. The white coat was presented by Dr. Andresen of Mattituck-Laurel Veterinary Hospital. Danielle used to work for Dr. Andresen, milking his goats and helping out with his animals. It was during that time she decided she wanted to become a veterinarian. Danielle will graduate in 2013. Congratulations, Danielle, from all your family and friends!

We are busy decorating our house for Christmas. The college kids will all be home by the weekend in time to celebrate my birthday! We are all going to New York City to see the tree and share a meal. Then Johanna, her sisters and I will stay at Ronald McDonald House to prepare for some testing at NYU. I wish you much peace in the week ahead.

12/08/11 12:30am

Thanks to the Jamesport Fire Department for a wonderful tree lighting celebration. Main Road is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, thanks to all of you.

Remember, First Parish Church is hosting an advent musical presentation on Dec. 10 at 1:15 p.m. Featured talents are pianist Terence Purtell, flutist Michelle Lisi, soprano Maribeth Mundell and guitarist/singer/songwriter Valerie Griggs. Visit spirit-renewal.com for more on these performers. There is a $10 suggested offering. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Elsa’s Ark Animal Shelter of East Hampton.

I have some exciting news to share! An essay I wrote entitled “Path of Miracles” was recently published in a book, “A Special Mother Is Born.” The book, authored and edited by Leticia Velasquez, is a compilation of stories from 33 parents, mostly moms, of special needs children. I just received my copy last week and it is truly an inspiring read. This coming Sunday, Dec. 11, at Our Lady of the Island Shrine in Eastport, Leticia and I will be doing a special presentation and prayer service and will share from the book. Steve, Johanna and I will be doing music for the 11:30 a.m. Mass at the Shrine. The special program immediately follows. Those whose lives have been touched by a child with special needs are welcome to join us. Send me an email if you have any questions.

Living Water Full Gospel Church’s Christmas show, “The Wonder of Christmas,” will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Dec. 15-17, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. From traditional Christmas tunes to the seasonal sounds of gospel hits, a talented group of performers will have you humming along with your favorite Christmas carols and tapping your feet to a rockin’ holiday beat. For tickets and information, call 722-4969, ext. 204, or visit lwfgc.org.

On Friday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m., “Carols and Cookies” will be hosted at the Meeting House. Last year was a wonderful time of community celebration and good cheer. Email Richard Wines at richard@windswayfarm.com for more information about this lovely holiday event.

Please remember to keep Michael Hubbard and Christopher Timpone in your prayers as they continue to battle against a brain injury and cancer. Kids like these remind us all that life is a blessing to be appreciated at every turn.

My college kids start making their way home for the holidays this week and next. I was getting used to smaller meals and cleaner bathrooms. However, it is such a blessing to have all six of us under one roof for the holidays this year. Try to take some time to slow the pace during this advent and Hanukkah season. It is meant to be a season of light in the midst of the darkness. Let your light shine with good will to all.

Have a beautiful week.

Eileenbenthal@gmail.com

11/25/11 2:42pm

Jamesport Fire Department will host its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the George Young Community Center, at South Jamesport Avenue and Main Road. There will be caroling and refreshments and Santa is expected to arrive!

Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar and Luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be boxed cookies, a food table, a kitchen knife selection and many handmade crafts and gift items. Lunch will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be a raffle for a handmade antique quilt, donated by Maria Heagy.  Maria’s grandmother, and former parishioner, Serepta Maria Young, born in Aquebogue in 1876, started the quilt but was unable to finish it due to a serious injury. The quilt was restored and completed by Barbara Fein. This bit of local history is being raffled off to support Old Steeple Church. For more information contact Amy at 722-3070.

Also on the 3rd, the Jamesport Meeting House will hold a Christmas Gospel Concert with music by “Jus B Cuz.” Then, on the 16th, the Meeting House will host “Carols and Cookies” at 6:30 p.m.

Hallockville Museum Farm will host its annual Christmas at Hallockville on Sunday, Dec. 4, from noon to 4 p.m. This event celebrates the rich traditions of a Victorian Christmas in the Hallockville Homestead and a Polish Christmas in the Cichanowicz Farmhouse. The afternoon includes an antique toy exhibit, children’s activities, holiday music, hayrides and hot chocolate. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-12 and $18 for a family pass. There will also be an opportunity to Christmas shop for some unique items at Hallockville’s gift shop. Call 298-5292 for more information.

First Parish Church is collecting donations of canned/jarred/boxed goods for local food pantries. Donations can be dropped off at the church on Sundays between 10:30 a.m. and noon. There will be collection baskets and/or boxes set up inside the foyer located at the east-side entrance of the church. For more information, contact Pastor Dianne Rodriguez at 516-673-1231 or blackswan57@aol.com.

FPC is also hosting an Advent musical presentation at 1:15 p.m. on Dec. 10. Featured talents include pianist Terence Purtell, flautist Michelle Lisi, soprano Maribeth Mundell and guitarist/singer/songwriter Valerie Griggs. Visit spirit-renewal.com for more information about these performers. Partial proceeds from the $10 suggested offering will be donated to Elsa’s Ark Animal Shelter of East Hampton.

It’s that wonderful time of year again! The Wonder of Christmas show at the Living Water Church Theatre in Riverhead will be held Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 15-17, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. Come hum along to your favorite carols and tap your feet to traditional Christmas tunes. For tickets and more information, call 722-4969, ext. 204, or visit lwfgc.org.

Best wishes for a very happy birthday to Aquebogue resident Bill Titterton from your family. Bill will be 90 on Dec. 3. Happy birthday, Bill.

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebration with friends and family. We had a wonderful time visiting my husband’s family in Illinois. We are now settling in for Advent and preparing for our college kids to come back home. Have a beautiful week.

11/22/11 2:00am

Happy Thanksgiving!

My apologies to Blake and Jasmine Corwin. I could have sworn I put this announcement in last week, but somehow I missed it. Jasmine celebrated her 26th birthday Nov. 17 and Blake submitted the announcement in perfect time. Happy birthday to you, Jasmine Corwin, from your wonderful husband, Blake.

A small, white puppy has been found on Main Road in Aquebogue. Call 921-5142 for more information.

Just another reminder that Living Water Full Gospel Church invites you to join them for dessert at the church Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m.. Bring your favorite Thanksgiving dessert to share and celebrate the holiday together. On the 27th, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. LWFGC will host “A Night in Bethlehem,” a an interactive experience of Bethlehem and the Christmas story. Groups are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. While you’re there, visit Santa Claus’ North Pole living room and have a free picture taken. Come see, touch, feel and smell what life was like during this miraculous time. Guests can also make crafts and share in meaningful biblical traditions and stories. Admission is free for the entire family. Don’t miss it! I took Johanna to this special presentation last year and it was magical. For more information, call 722-4969 or visit lwfgc.org.

Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue will hold its annual Christmas bazaar and luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will boxed cookies, a food table, a kitchen knife selection and many handmade crafts and gift items. Lunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be a raffle for a handmade antique quilt. For more information, call Amy at 722-3070.

Also on Dec. 3, there will be a Christmas Gospel Concert with “Jus B Cuz” at the Jamesport Meeting House. Then, on Friday, Dec. 16, “Carols and Cookies” will be hosted at 6:30 p.m., also at the Meeting House. Details to follow in next week’s column.

I want to wish my daughter MaryAngela a very happy 18th birthday! MaryAngela was born on Thanksgiving, Nov. 25. We tease her and say that she was born just in time for dessert! It was a memorable Thanksgiving indeed.

I believe all Thanksgiving celebrations can be a memorable time of sharing in traditions, conversation, affirmation and love. I live my life cultivating an attitude of gratitude — the secret ingredient to the strength I have in the midst of many trials. Life is always beautiful, even when it is hard. This Thanksgiving, my prayer for you is that you discover the beauty within yourself, your family, your home, your work and your world. God bless you!

Eileenbenthal@gmail.com