Articles by

Tim Gannon & Barbaraellen Koch

02/23/13 9:39am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Suffolk Theater hosted an invitation-only event to thank the people who helped out with the renovation.

The newly renovated Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead hosted an invitation-only preview event Friday evening for “friends of the theater.”

The event was to honor the theater’s workers, builders, sponsors and others from the community who helped during the renovation.

Suffolk Theatre owner Bob Castaldi was back at work at the theater by 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

“I think it went great,” he said of Friday’s event, called “We Celebrate You.” He said that the day before, and even the morning of the event, there was “scaffolding up all over. People said ‘impossible’ when told it would be ready by Friday night.”

He estimates that the number of people there was in the low 200s.

One of those in attendance was was 83-year-old Geraldine Hulse of Aquebogue.

“I saw Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz here,” she said. “It was the first movie I ever saw. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I will always remember the beautiful ceiling.”

She called the restored theater “absolutely stunning.”

The theater was last open during the week of Sept. 24, 1987, when it showed the film, “Dirty Dancing,” according to ads in the News-Review at the time.

In the Oct. 1, 1987 News-Review, the Suffolk Theater ad said “Closed for the Season.”

It would actually be closed for the next 26 years.

Mr. Castaldi said they used Friday’s event to assess different things that worked and didn’t work.

One comment many people there had was that the music was too loud and it was difficult to talk to people.But the speakers used Friday night were not the speakers that will be used once the theater is fully constructed, Mr. Castaldi said.

The temporary speakers had to be blasted from the stage to make sure the sound reached the balcony, he said. Once completed, the theater will have “surround sound” speakers throughout the inside the building, “so the sound will be next to you,” he said.

Friday’s event featured live music from the Hackensack Men and the Trenton Horns.

The theater has upstairs and downstairs bars and people were even taking tours of both the men’s and ladies rooms Friday night.

Suffolk Theatre executive director Bob Spiotto has already got the month of March booked with 25 events, ranging from movies to concerts to plays.

“I think it’s going to be great if last night any indication,” Mr. Castaldi said.

The theater will host its grand opening celebration next Saturday, March 2. The  “Back to the 30′s” cocktail party tickets are priced at $125.

The event will feature Vince Giordano’s band The Night Hawks, which won a 2012 best compilation soundtrack Grammy for its work on HBO’s prohibition-era hit Boardwalk Empire.

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12/11/12 9:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO |  The Wading River firehouse outlived its life expectancy by nearly 10 years.

All of the fire departments in the Riverhead area will have uncontested elections for fire commissioner posts on Tuesday, but the Wading River Fire Department has a referendum on a proposal to build a new firehouse on Hulse Landing Road to replace the one currently there.

The Wading River proposal calls for demolition of the existing 5,132-square-foot firehouse, which was built in 1982, and replacing it with an 11,485-square-foot firehouse.

The total cost of the job is estimated at $5.75 million, but the district plans to use $1 million from reserve fund monies, bringing the amount of the bond to be voted on to $4.75 million.

The three-decade old fire station has outlived its life expectancy by nearly 10 years, according to district manager Greg Michalakopoulos.

The 5,000-square-foot, two-bay building houses five vehicles, one engine, ambulance, tanker and two fire police support vehicles, which need to be jockeyed around when they are used, he said.

The building has a leaky roof, the heating and cooling systems need to be replaced and there are problems with the underground LIPA lines, and the 25 member volunteers’ gear is stored right up against the engine, which is now against OSHA regulations, he said.

The new building will have an expected lifespan of 30 years, but the district plans to pay off the bond in 25 years, or less if possible, according to Mr. Michalakopoulos.

The tax impact is expected to add an average of $35 to $40 more in tax per year per household for 25 years in the Riverhead Town portion of the district, and an additional $50 to $60 per year per household in the Brookhaven Town side, officials said.

Voting will take place at the main fire headquarters on 1503 North Country Road in Wading River from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

In addition to the vote on the firehouse, incumbent Wading River fire commissioner Tom Lateulere is running unopposed for a new five-year term.

Mr. Lateulere currently is the chairman of the commissioners.

In other districts, everything is unopposed on the ballot for fire commissioners, although a write-in vote is always possible.

In the Riverhead Fire District, incumbent Mark Conklin is unopposed for another five-year term. Voting is from 3-9 p.m. at the fire headquarters on 540 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead.

In the Jamesport Fire District, longtime commissioner Jim Kane is not seeking reelection, and Robert Sikora is running unopposed for the five-year term.

Incumbent Jamesport treasurer Paul Epperlein is also running unopposed for a three-year term as treasurer.

Voting in Jamesport is from 3-9 p.m. at the fire house on 25 Manor Road in Jamesport.

In the Flanders fire district, incumbent David Schaffauer is running unopposed for a five-year term as commissioner. Voting is from 6-9 p.m. at the Firehouse on 19 Firehouse Lane in Flanders, which is off Flanders Road.

In the Manorville Fire District, which covers a portion of Riverhead Town, including EPCAL, incumbent commissioner Robert McCluskey is not seeking reelection, and Thomas Costello will run unopposed for a five-year term as commissioner.

Voting in Manorville is from 3-9 p.m. at the firehouse on 14 Silas Carter Road in Manorville.

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