05/08/15 8:00am
The Mad Hatters (from left) Sue Hanauer of Riverhead, Harold Gordon of Mattituck, Rita Cohen of Southold and Prue Brashich of Cutchogue during last week's bi-monthly knitting session at Ms. Hanover's kitchen table. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Mad Hatters (from left) Sue Hanauer of Riverhead, Harold Gordon of Mattituck, Rita Cohen of Southold and Prue Brashich of Cutchogue during last week’s bi-monthly knitting session at Ms. Hanover’s kitchen table. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

In 2003, Sue Hanauer was working on a project with fellow North Fork Reform Synagogue members when she developed the idea for Mad Hatters, which knits hats for local cancer patients.

“We were finishing a quilt cover for a wooden ark and were talking about what we wanted to do next,” said Ms. Hanauer, of Jamesport. “I had heard about a nationwide group that was doing caps for women and brought that to their attention. They liked the idea and the rest is history, as they say.” (more…)

05/08/15 7:00am
Sweet Tart owner Myoshi Cambra, right, suggests frozen yogurt toppings to friends Nancy Foth, front, and Nancy Iannucci, background, Thursday. (Credit: Rachel Young photos)

Sweet Tart owner Myoshi Cambra, right, suggests frozen yogurt toppings to friends Nancy Foth, front, and Nancy Iannucci, background, Thursday. (Credit: Rachel Young photos)

Former nurse’s aide Miyoshi Cambra opened Sweet Tart Frozen Yogurt Café in downtown Riverhead for a variety of reasons.

The first? Her entire family is lactose intolerant and the tasty treat is easy on their tummies. The second? She was tired of having to drive to shops in Manorville or Mattituck to satisfy her fro-yo cravings. The third? She thought East Main Street was the perfect spot to establish her first business.

Read more about it on northforker.com

05/07/15 1:55pm
This anti-bullying mural was unveiled at Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton Thursday. (Credit: Rachel Young)

This anti-bullying mural was unveiled at Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton Thursday. (Credit: Rachel Young)

Riley Avenue Elementary School fourth-grader Jon Vasquez said he liked watching the character mural go from “nothing to something.” His classmate Lily Kaelin said anyone who lays eyes on the colorful painting is “reminded to be kind.” Art teacher Melissa Haupt called it “inspiring.” (more…)

04/26/15 7:00am

About a year ago, prospective customers kept walking into Shelly Scoggin’s Greenport health store, The Market, asking for obscure supplements they had heard Dr. Mehmet Oz endorse as weight-loss breakthroughs on his eponymous CBS television show. They were looking for items like white kidney bean extract and African mango seed.  (more…)

04/23/15 10:00am
Michelangelo's manager Felipe Rodriguez's wife, Sofia, their son, Felipe, 5, and their daughter, Valentina, 3, attended a Tuesday evening fundraiser benefiting Mr. Rodriguez, who has a rare form of lymphoma. (Credit: Rachel Young)

Michelangelo’s manager Felipe Rodriguez’s wife, Sofia, their son, Felipe, 5, and their daughter, Valentina, 3, attended a Tuesday evening fundraiser benefiting Mr. Rodriguez, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. (Credit: Rachel Young)

More than $10,000 was raised during a fundraiser at Michelangelo’s Pizzeria in Mattituck Tuesday evening for the restaurant’s manager, Felipe Rodriguez of Wantagh, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma and is now unable to work. An additional $9,000 has been raised in an online fundraiser.

“I support my crew,” said Michelangelo’s owner Frank DiStefano, who added that a total of $10,400 was raised through ticket sales and donations from local organizations. “If someone’s down, we want to help.”  (more…)

04/19/15 8:00am
A fundraiser to benefit Michelangelo's Pizzeria manager Felipe Rodriguez, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer, will be held Tuesday, April 21. (Credit: Rachel Young)

A fundraiser to benefit Michelangelo’s Pizzeria manager Felipe Rodriguez, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer, will be held Tuesday, April 21. (Credit: Rachel Young)

If you’ve ever stopped by Michelangelo’s Pizzeria in Mattituck for a soda and a slice, chances are good you’ve seen Felipe Rodriguez, the restaurant’s smiling, suit-wearing manager. (more…)

04/19/15 7:00am
Witch hazel on the shelf at Target in Riverhead (Credit: Rachel Young)

Witch hazel on the shelf at Target in Riverhead (Credit: Rachel Young)

Strange in name but benign in use, witch hazel is a natural astringent with powers that go far beyond minimizing pores.

Consider Native Americans, who for centuries have used the herbal remedy for a variety of medicinal purposes. According to a 2012 article in The Atlantic, the Iroquois brewed it as a tea to treat dysentery, colds and coughs and the Osage used witch hazel bark to treat skin ulcers and sores. The Mohegans reportedly even showed English settlers how to find underground water using Y-shaped witch hazel sticks.

Today, witch hazel is used primarily as an all-natural facial toner and topical solution that relieves irritation from scrapes, minor cuts and insect bites. But the extract from this remarkable plant can seemingly do it all. And it’s inexpensive, at roughly $5 for a 16-ounce bottle. You’ll find it in nearly any drugstore.

According to the website Natural Living Ideas, witch hazel can be used to:

 Treat hemorrhoids. In fact, it’s a common ingredient in commercial creams like Preparation H. Mix a small solution of witch hazel with aloe vera gel and apply it to affected areas. The same solution can also be used to help relieve sunburn.

Stop bleeding. Witch hazel contains tannins, which, in addition to having astringent properties, are thought to help stop minor bleeding caused by cuts and scrapes.

Dry up swimmer’s ear. Use an eyedropper to insert several drops of witch hazel into each ear to dry up pus and break up wax and other ear-clogging debris. Allow ears to drain, then gently use a cotton swab to clean the area.

Decrease under-eye puffiness. Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Use a cotton swab to apply witch hazel on and around the eye area. It will act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Just be careful to avoid actually getting any of the solution in your eyes.

Shrink varicose veins. To temporarily relieve swelling and pain, soak a washcloth in witch hazel and place it over the affected area.

IN BLOOM

How’s this for trickery? Witch hazel trees bloom in winter, when almost everything else is still dormant. And you can easily plant your own.

Arnold's Promise witch hazel tree at the Peconic River Herb Farm about 15 years old. It blooms in late winter. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

“It’s native to our area so it’s quite easy to grow,” said Christina Spindler, owner of the Peconic River Herb Farm in Calverton, where a 12-foot witch hazel tree grows (see photo, left).

Ms. Spindler doesn’t use the tree for medicinal purposes, but companies like Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel have been doing so since 1866. According to dickinsonusa.com, the witch hazel solution is extracted from the tree’s twigs and bark. The company then recycles the processed witch hazel chips into biodegradable mulch, making it a truly “green” business.

Caption: Arnold’s Promise witch hazel tree at the Peconic River Herb Farm about 15 years old. It blooms in late winter. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)