10/04/14 3:00pm
10/04/2014 3:00 PM
Betty Harris, Howard Waldman, Hattie Turner, and Ron Schmitt at Thursday's annual Heidi's Helping Angels fundraiser. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Betty Harris, Howard Waldman, Hattie Turner, and Ron Schmitt at Thursday’s annual Heidi’s Helping Angels fundraiser. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

The story of Heidi Behr is well-known in the Riverhead community at this point.

And though the ending was a tragic one — the 23-year-old Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps volunteer was killed in a crash with one of her fellow volunteers, leaving behind her young son — the positive values she embodied were celebrated Thursday night, as three other members of the community were recognized for doing the same thing Ms. Behr did: put their own time, safety and even sometimes their lives on the line in the name of helping others. (more…)

10/04/14 5:00am

As has started in September and continues through October, if you intend to make a left-hand turn off Randall Road onto Route 25A in Wading River you’d best heed the words “Go the long way.” These weekends mark a steady stream of traffic coming off William Floyd Parkway and extending to Sound Avenue. (more…)

10/01/14 4:30pm
Gillian Wood Pultz (right) and another African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) volunteer prep a satellite clinic to administer rabies vaccines to dogs in the city of Voi, located in southern Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Gillian Wood Pultz (right) and another African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) volunteer prep a satellite clinic to administer rabies vaccines to dogs in the city of Voi, located in southern Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Most people look forward to spending their precious vacation days enjoying rest, relaxation and the occasional cocktail, but that’s not the case with North Fork Animal Welfare League director Gillian Wood Pultz.

Twice a year since 2010, Ms. Wood Pultz has boarded a plane to Mexico to help spay and neuter 1,600 animals in just six days.

But this year, she decided to take her efforts even further away — about 8,000 miles, in fact — to Africa.

Armed with a sleeping bag and mosquito net, Ms. Wood Pultz flew from Mexico to Kenya on Aug. 19 to volunteer with the African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), which had been working to stop the Kenyan government from using what Ms. Wood Pultz called an inhumane euthanasia practice in an effort to control the spread of rabies.

“The Kenyan government decided that in order to keep rabies at bay in humans, it had to reduce the population of stray dogs,” Ms. Wood Pultz said. “ANAW got involved and started a vaccination campaign.”

Gillian Wood Pultz said the highlight of her trip was helping children and families learn how to better care for their dogs, which included a tutorial on belly rubs. (Courtesy photo)

Ms. Wood Pultz joined a group of helpers from around the globe to vaccinate nearly 2,000 animals against rabies in just five days, sleeping on the roof of a building with other volunteers in order to save money.

The vaccinations replaced the Kenyan government’s use of strychnine, a form of poison that had been used to kill hundreds of stray dogs until March, when ANAW stepped in, according to the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.

“It’s an oral poison, and it is a really harsh form [of euthanasia] — a horrible way to kill dogs,” Ms. Wood Pultz said.

NFAWL, which operates shelters in Riverhead and Southold towns, donated medical supplies and about 400 soon-to-expire vaccines that otherwise would have been thrown out, she said.

To help instill animal welfare, Ms. Wood Pultz said, “it is hugely important that everyone works together. We need cooperation and collaboration locally, nationally, and globally.”

She said her mission in Kenya went well beyond simply vaccinating animals.

“We want to change the way owners think of their animals,” she said.

Ms. Wood Pultz explained that dogs are treated as agricultural animals in that part of the world and frequently used to protect homes and herd cattle.

“Dogs are not considered pets. They are not allowed in the house,” she said. “It was so clear to me that they just didn’t know they were supposed to pet their dogs; they really weren’t sure.”

Ms. Wood Pultz said she set out to change that mindset.

“We started teaching the kids to rub their dog’s tummy,” she said. “One here, another there — and then, all of a sudden — all these kids had their dogs rolling in the field on their backs, wagging their tails.

“All you need is one of them to really get it and it can change an entire community,” she said.

cmiller@timesreview.com

Second photo credit: Gillian Wood Pultz said the highlight of her trip was helping children and families learn how to better care for their dogs, which included a tutorial on belly rubs. (Courtesy photo)

10/01/14 7:00am
Peter Lynch of Rockville Centre carries pumpkins to the cash register at Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm as his family watches. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Peter Lynch of Rockville Centre carries pumpkins to the cash register at Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm as his family watches. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

If you don’t want to be the only family on the block without your stoop or window sill decorated with the big orange gourd of fall, northforker.com has a list of places to pick your own pumpkins.

Here’s the guide to where to go to find ‘em.

09/28/14 2:00pm
09/28/2014 2:00 PM
Bread and More co-president Bennett Brokaw talks to volunteers John DeFrancis (left) and Joe Desio before dinner service Monday afternoon. Mr. Desio has been volunteering for13 years. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bread and More co-president Bennett Brokaw talks to volunteers John DeFrancis (left) and Joe Desio before dinner service Monday afternoon. Mr. Desio has been volunteering for13 years. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Volunteers from the Bread and More Inn soup kitchen say they’ve never turned away a hungry neighbor and they don’t want to start now. 

The organization, which operates three nights a week at First Congregational Church in Riverhead, said it’s concerned an increase in food costs means it might not raise enough money to feed the hungry come winter.   (more…)