08/01/14 12:00pm
08/01/2014 12:00 PM
Nancy Reyer and her son Michael Hubbard with 2013 'Person of the Year' award. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Nancy Reyer and her son Michael Hubbard with 2013 ‘Person of the Year’ award. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

More than three years after her son was badly burned in a gel candle accident in 2011 — an accident that has left him in need of constant care for traumatic brain injuries — Nancy Reyer will be honored at a fundraising gala next month at Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center in Riverhead.

And a little more than a month after she watched him earn an honorary diploma at Riverhead High School, Ms. Reyer will be named Caretaker of the Year for her dedication and hard work caring for Michael, as well as her constant work to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury survivors and for Brendan House, a group home under development on Sound Avenue that will one day serve as Michael’s new residence.

The award will be presented to Ms. Reyer at the 6th Annual Summer Gala, a fundraiser for the traumatic brain injury nonprofit New Beginnings Community Center — the organization building Brendan House — Aug. 15.

“She’s always out there talking to businesses, promoting our fundraising,” said Allyson Scerri, founder of New Beginnings Community Center. “She’s amazing.”

But Ms. Reyer said she’s just “doing what any mother would do.” She said it’s the people and businesses across Riverhead who have supported her, Michael, and Brendan House that deserve the praise.

“It’s such an honor to come from such a loving town,” she said. “It makes me feel proud.”

Several businesses — like Riverhead Building Supply, Lowes, and Home Depot — have donated supplies and construction materials for Brendan House, which will provide 24-hour care for up to eight residents suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Costs for care would be covered by the patients’ insurance, Ms. Scerri said.

The 1,900-square-foot historic property being renovated for the project was built in the early 1900s and once served as a group home for unwed mothers. The building was given to New Beginnings in 2011, and plans for Brendan House began soon after.

As part of its renovation, a 2,500-square-foot extension was built on the rear of the structure.

The property is named after Brendan Aykroyd, a 25-year-old Blue Point resident who died in 2011 after suffering a brain injury in an assault two years earlier.

Ms. Scerri said the group hopes to open Brendan House this fall. She said that while the siding of the house is finished, the home still needs to have fire alarm systems installed and must undergo inspections.

“It was a tough winter to get through, but we’re on a bit of a roll now,” Ms. Scerri said. She said that while Brendan House has received numerous donations, the group still needs more funding to pay laborers and contractors to finish the job.

08/01/14 6:00am
A sign on Route 24 warns drivers of the dangers of texting and driving following the death of Barbara Tocci on the road earlier this year. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A sign on Route 24 warns drivers of the dangers of texting and driving following the death of Barbara Tocci on the road earlier this year. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Hi, friends and neighbors. I hope everyone enjoyed the last weekend of July. It’s crazy how fast this month flew. I’m especially sad because this means my baby girl is leaving in less than a month to embark on her college career. I’m going to miss her so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon with pride at her accomplishments and her drive for success but I’m still going to have some serious empty nest syndrome going on. (more…)

07/31/14 4:06pm
07/31/2014 4:06 PM
Nile Rodgers and Adam Lambert at last year’s AFTEE concert. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Nile Rodgers and Adam Lambert at last year’s AFTEE concert. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

After taking part in a star-studded concert last August and telling town leaders earlier this year that he sees himself playing in Riverhead on an annual basis — including this August — a repeat Nile Rodgers concert won’t be happening this summer after all.

The Grammy Award-winning performer told the Town Board  in May that he planned to play at Martha Clara Vineyards on Aug. 8 and Aug. 10 this year. However, following last year’s  All For the East End Concert — which featured Mr. Rodgers and his band Chic, Adam Lambert, and Avicci — this year’s event proved too much to put together as it evolved and the date grew nearer and nearer.

Dennis McDermott, one of the board members of AFTEE, was also helping Nile Rodgers Productions in a separate role make plans for a three-day festival this summer, particularly a Friday night downtown component.

“The scope got kind of big with the downtown component,” he said. “We had to kind of regroup a little bit. All of the parties are still interested — Martha Clara, Nile Rodgers, AFTEE and the Business Improvement District. But we decided to step back and regroup for next year.”

Molly O’Connor, event manager at Martha Clara, confirmed that the concert had been cancelled and organizers were focusing on holding one next year on site.

Proceeds from Nile Rodgers Productions’ concerts were going to benefit AFTEE, a nonprofit that raises money and distributes to other East End nonprofit organizations. Last year’s concert raised $50,000 which was distributed in $2,500 increments to groups such as Aid to the Developmentally Disabled, the North Fork Spanish Apostolate and the North Fork Animal Welfare League.

But after that meeting with the Town Board in late May, a representative from Nile Rodgers Productions actually pulled the plug on the event shortly after.

Peter Herman, the co-executive director of Niles Rodgers Productions, sent an email to Supervisor Sean Walter one week after he and Mr. Rodgers met with the town board on May 29. At that point in the process, the group needed a Chapter 90 application — a special events permit — in order to hold the event. However, promoters of the concert had yet to announce who would have been performing.

Mr. Herman said at the time that carrying on without a permit was what put the brakes on the plan.

“I understand that there has been some delay on the vote on our Chapter 90 application. Consequently, NRP will be unable to produce the August 9 – 10, 2014 music event/festival we were planning. Please accept this letter as official notification that we must withdraw our Chapter 90 application.”

Mr. McDermott said Mr. Rodgers still wants to play in Riverhead next year. The music legend said himself in May that he has the same vision.

“I know that we can do something incredible here that is on par with the Sundance Film Festival,” Mr. Rodgers told the board.

07/31/14 6:00am
Chicken will be grilled up Aug. 9 at (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Chicken will be grilled up Aug. 9 at Riverhead United Methodist Church. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Riverhead resident Edward Raffel turned 70 years old July 4. A party was held in his honor in the North Fork Tasting Room at The Lobster Roll Northside. Fifty-nine family members and friends were in attendance. The party — organized by Ed’s lovely wife, Joanne, and his friend Dr. Richard Rubenstein — included a buffet prepared by owner Fred Terry, who graduated with Ed in 1962. (more…)

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07/30/14 7:00am
07/30/2014 7:00 AM
The North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck rehearses this summer’s Youth on Stage musical, “The Wedding Singer.”

The North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck rehearses this summer’s Youth on Stage musical, “The Wedding Singer.”

While this season’s weather may be fickle, one thing we can depend on every summer is a fantastic evening of entertainment from the annual Youth on Stage production at North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

(more…)

07/28/14 8:00am
07/28/2014 8:00 AM
Long Island Council of Churches office manager Carolyn Gumbs and volunteer MIchael Lacy of Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton preparing side dishes for the annual Migrants Dinner last November. (Credit: File)

Long Island Council of Churches office manager Carolyn Gumbs and volunteer MIchael Lacy of Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton preparing side dishes for the annual Migrants Dinner last November. (Credit: File)

The Long Island Council of Churches recently receive a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation for Hunger Relief and is planning to use half of the funds to purchase food for its pantry in Riverhead.

(more…)

07/27/14 5:00am
07/27/2014 5:00 AM

Lately, I’ve been noticing a shift in my relationship with my sons — actually, they’re starting to get on my last nerve. They mean well, but …

Let me qualify my opening words: Greg and Jeff hold the undisputed title as the “world’s greatest sons.” Both have seen me through the most grindingly difficult challenges of my life. Although they live on the West Coast (only “time away”), we remain a close-knit family. But lately, they’ve become a tad overprotective.  (more…)

07/26/14 6:00pm
07/26/2014 6:00 PM
Sophie DePierro, 8, and brother Leo, 6, of Westhampton Beach.

Sophie DePierro, 8, and brother Leo, 6, of Westhampton Beach.

Country Fest LI 2014 is rocking the 4-H Camp in Riverhead this weekend with live country music, local vendors, crafts, monster truck rides, food, dancing and more.

The two-day, family-friendly event continues tomorrow. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.

For more photos from the festival, check out Northforker.com.