07/29/10 12:00am
07/29/2010 12:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
Hearing installer specialist David Carr and audiologist Dr. Mary K. Bohr.

Owner: David Carr

Year established: 1970

Location: 818 East Main Street, Riverhead, with additional locations in Patchogue, Southampton, Greenport and the Bronx.

Phone: 631-369-2808

Number of employees: 15

McGuire’s Hearing Aids and Audiological Services is a family-owned and -operated business that’s been serving Long Island for 40 years.

They provide hearing aids, assistive-listening devices, specialty ear molds and other hearing-related products. The company offers free hearing screenings, free consultations and complimentary evaluations of existing aids.

McGuire’s is the only local distributor of Audibel Hearing Devices and of the “Invisibel” hearing instrument. The “Invisibel” is the world’s only digital, invisible hearing device.

David Carr, owner of McGuire’s, says he is “committed to bringing hearing health to all those in need.” He has been recognized for his participation in hearing “missions,” events coordinated around the world to donate hearing devices to those in need.

McGuire’s is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers can visit them online at mcguireshearing.com.

07/29/10 12:00am

* The ninth annual blood drive in memory of Sonia Baldwin-Green will take place Saturday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the George G. Young Community Center in Jamesport. Call Lenny or Brenda Green at 722-7842.

* Peconic Bay Medical Center welcomed seven new residents and interns this month into its graduate medical education program. The new program is in partnership with New York College of Osteopathic Medicine Educational Consortium and will feature both traditional rotating residents as well as family practice residents. The program provides clinical training for the new staffers.

* Riverhead Free Library will host a workshop on How to Read the Written and Hidden Messages on Food Labels on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 6-7:30 p.m. Discover what terms like organic, natural, high fiber and whole grain really mean and learn to interpret food labels and advertisements.

07/29/10 12:00am

Most of us closing in on 65 years of age are thinking about our retirements, Social Security payments and life ever after at Peconic Landing or another life care community. Leslie West, on the other hand, is thinking about rocking the house July 31 at the NoFo Rock and Folk Fest at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.

Les — and I can rightfully call him that because we were high school classmates many moons ago in Hackensack, N.J. — is a leader of both Mountain and West, Bruce and Laing, two headliners of the two-day event organized by former Southold Town supervisor and budding rock impresario Josh Horton.

Other performers scheduled to appear include such notables as Richie Havens; Jorma Kaukonen, formerly of Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna; Pat Dinizio of the Smithereens; Greg Allman’s son, Devon Allman, and his band, Honeytribe; and The Subdudes, a band I’ve seen live more than once and can highly recommend.

If you’re older than 65, these names may not mean a great deal to you, but take my word for it: They are the real deal, and the NoFo Fest is shaping up to be the biggest East End contemporary music event since Rusty Leaver traded in his big league concerts down at the ranch in Montauk for collegiate summer baseball.

Besides, some of us Sixty Somethings — like Mr. West, Mr. Havens and, yes, even Mr. and Mrs. Gustavson — were there at the beginning, at the concert to end all concerts, the 1969 Woodstock (N.Y.) Music and Art Fair.

Richie Havens was the opening act at Woodstock and Leslie West and Mountain were up on stage shortly thereafter in only their third gig ever. And as Les informed me this week when he spoke on the phone from his home in Englewood, N.J., he and Mountain played Woodstock only because their manager also represented a guitar player named Jimi Hendrix.

“He [the agent] told them [the concert promoters] that if they wanted Jimi, they had to take us,” Les recalled Monday with his signature gravel-throated chuckle forged by decades of shouting out classic rock anthems like “Mississippi Queen.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Leslie West and Mountain are still on the road 41 years later, playing as many as 40 or more cities at a single clip, and he hasn’t lost his edge or his guitar chops, judging by a live performance we caught in Florida last year. The man is one of the great rock guitarists of his generation, and it all began in his bedroom at 339 Summit Ave. in Hackensack, he said.

Precisely, it began a few years before that, when he was about 8 or 9 and his grandmother took him to a live telecast of Jackie Gleason’s variety show, for which his uncle was a staff writer. Les remembers crying hysterically when informed that Gleason would be replaced that night by a guest performer, only to have the arc of his life changed forever when the guest turned out to be a singer from Memphis named Elvis Presley.

“From that night forward, all I ever wanted to do was play the guitar,” he said.

By the time I met him seven or eight years later, Les was an awesome player, winning all the talent shows at Hackensack High School with bandmates Charlie Dinizio and Ralph Albano. “We didn’t even have a name, and all we played were [songs by] the Ventures,” he said.

“Mississippi Queen,” which remains a staple of rock radio to this day, came a few years later, and those years were followed by the unfortunate rock star slide into substance abuse, which in turn led to one of the true epiphanies of Les’ life.

As he recounted this week, he was addicted to heroin and incapable of managing his own life and his own finances. So his grandfather stealthily set aside all the royalty checks from his songwriting until years later, when Les had conquered his addiction. Then he handed the money over to Les.

Incredibly, those royalties are still coming in, thanks most recently to another Leslie West standard, “Long Red,” passages of which have been sampled by rap artists Jay-Z, Kanye West (no relation) and Common, all of whom turned their versions into hits.

And then, of course, as all grandparents of a 9-year-old are well aware, “Mississippi Queen” ended up part of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, although Leslie West himself admits that he “sucks” at the video game simulation of real guitar playing.

More recently, Les has had to address an issue faced by other of his chronological contemporaries, including yours truly: his weight. Many of us thought that Mountain, the band, took its name from Leslie West, the man mountain, whose weight eventually reached the wrong side of 300. But a diabetes scare, which almost cost him his foot but didn’t, and his 2009 marriage to a younger woman (at the actual 40th anniversary celebration at Woodstock!) have Les looking as svelte as the 15-year-old I first met way back when.

Go see for yourself July 31. I know I will.

*

In a recent development, the festival’s promoters have taken Southold Town to court seeking to prevent the imposition of certain restrictions on the event, including ending the music at 6 p.m. instead of 7. Check RiverheadNewsReview.com for news updates or schedule changes.

07/29/10 12:00am

VERA CHINESE PHOTO
Victor de Leon, aka LiL Poison, became the youngest professional gamer in the world at age 6 in 2004. The Flanders native, now 12, is the subject of a documentary titled ‘LiL Poison’ that will be screened at the New York International Latino Film Festival this week.

Victor de Leon III first picked up a video game controller at an age when most kids aren’t even potty trained.

By the time he was 6 years old, LiL Poison, as he’s known in the gaming community, had become the youngest professional video game player in the world.

That’s why the now 12-year-old Flanders native, who has competed in more than 150 tournaments and been featured on MTV and “60 Minutes,” is the star of a documentary being screened at the New York International Latino Film Festival this week. The film, named “LiL Poison” after its star, had its world premiere yesterday and is scheduled to screen again Friday at 6 p.m. The filmmakers, who declined to be interviewed for this story, will hold a question-and-answer session after the screening.

Victor began playing against his uncle Gabriel de Leon, whose gamer nickname was Poison, and his family quickly realized he was good. Really good.

“When he was 2, he started beating his cousins who were 9 or 10,” said Victor’s father, also named Victor.

The uncle and nephew team soon became a force in the gaming community, garnering the younger de Leon the nickname “LiL Poison.”

Victor first competed in a local Halo competition on Long Island at 4 years old. He gained attention when people began to see how easily he defeated players twice his age and older. In 2004, he signed a contract with Major League Gaming.

LiL Poison is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as both youngest professional gamer and the youngest player to ever win money in a tournament. Though he has taken home prize money on more than one occasion, his dad said the real dough comes from endorsement deals. Victor has been sponsored by a few gaming companies in the past, but his dad said they are hoping to parlay the movie’s release into something bigger and better.

He added that while Victor makes money from gaming, it is an expensive hobby and traveling around the country for tournaments can cost thousands of dollars per trip.

Major League Gaming typically hosts seven events each year. The next one is scheduled for Aug. 27-29 in Raleigh, N.C. LiL Posion plans on being there.

Mr. de Leon acknowledged that the documentary, filmed over a four-year period, portrays a rocky period in the de Leon family’s life. The film chronicles Mr. de Leon’s divorce from Victor’s mother, Maribel Juarez, and how Victor, an only child, copes with it.

Victor and his mother, a longtime Flanders resident, lived in the area for many years, but have since moved to Mastic.

As for the younger Victor, he said his favorite game is the Halo series and he mostly plays on the Xbox 360 gaming console.

Despite his minor stardom, the baby-faced, soft-spoken and polite Victor is a normal kid who also enjoys jujitsu and paintball.

He said his playing time goes down in the summer, usually to just one or two hours per day, as playing basketball and swimming in his pool take precedence. Asked if he plays games against kids from school, LiL Poison said it was rare because he’s simply out of their league.

“They’re kind of bad,” he said.

[email protected]

07/29/10 12:00am

wading river

Reckless congressman

Enough is enough. I’ve just about had it with the ringing endorsements of our left-leaning liberal Democrat congressman, Tim Bishop, which I now find peppered on this page weekly. My favorite however, was last week’s endorsement which labeled the Conservative Republican candidates (which, by the way, are in the middle of a heated three-way primary which is why the roadside signs are appearing at this early stage in the game) as not able to represent CD-1 (the First Congressional District) simply because they may not have resided here as long as Bishop. So, let’s set the record straight.

Claiming that Bishop cares about Long Island and CD-1 is just about as hilarious as claiming that the liberal controlled New York State Legislature knows how to balance a checkbook. Congressman Bishop voted for a $1 trillion spending bill, nicknamed a “stimulus,” which he failed to read. Then, as if that were not enough money spent, about a month later he voted for an $800 billion liberal wish list, called an “omnibus” bill. But the congressman felt that that still was not enough government rammed down the throats of the citizenry of this great nation. He then voted for yet another bill that he did not read, an overreaching Healthcare Bill, which we are currently learning is going to cost billions (yes, with a B) more than the original CBO estimates.

But no, that still was not enough reckless behavior by the congressman; he felt the need to throw CD-1 under the bus yet again, by signing onto Henry Waxman’s “cap and tax” bill, which would undoubtedly cripple our beloved North Fork farms and vineyards to the point of near bankruptcy, a concept that this Congress should know all too well.

So, if CD-1 has the same genetic makeup as San Francisco, then I would wholeheartedly agree that yes, he has done a stellar job of representing Long Island. But, if the electorate of CD-1 envisions themselves as something other than a rubber stamp for the Obama, Pelosi and Reid agenda, then the congressman has been nothing more than a dismal failure. This year the Republicans have a couple of excellent conservative candidates, with some real world experience, like actually working in the private sector in order to meet a payroll. Please familiarize yourself with their platforms and vote wisely.

Brian Mills

CUTCHOGUE

U-pick, you pay

Your article concerning the state of the U-pick scene (“Bad apples alter U-pick scene,” July 15) contains a few inaccuracies, specifically relating to Wickham’s Fruit Farm.

I have been picking and purchasing from their stand for over 30 years. When we went this year to pick blueberries, we were told about the new club membership and that there would be benefits. But when we asked what the benefits were, we were told they hadn’t come up with any yet.

Fine, if you have to charge an additional fee, just do it and don’t make any excuses. Also, you cannot just pick and pay. First you pay — and, at least for blueberries, more per pint than you pay for local blueberries at other stands — and then you pick. So you are paying extra for the privilege of picking them yourself.

I am supportive of local agriculture and buy almost all my fruit and vegetables from local stands, but the attitudes of personnel and policies at some local farms, Wickham’s being one, have dramatically deteriorated in the last few years.

I now only return to Wickham’s if I can’t purchase similar fruit and produce at some other farm stand.

Gary Comorau

Wading River

More than irritating

I would like to comment on Mr. Hermsdorf’s lengthy article about the so-called boundaries of the Long Island Sound beachfront homes.

As an owner myself (the end of Creek Road by the boat ramp), we are burdened daily by an endless stream of beachgoers with their families, umbrellas, coolers, chairs, barbecues, children and pets. The noise and trash they produce is more than irritating. This goes on daily and weekends. It is worse than Coney Island. One cannot leave the driveway because all the beachgoers park wherever they want.

You really need to stay home to police your property. They think nothing of helping themselves to your outside furniture or faucets and, of course, they have no problem defecating in the beach grasses. There are no lifeguards here and the creek can be very dangerous; I personally witnessed a drowning of a fishermen myself some years ago.

I am familiar with the writer’s property. His home is way up on the top of a bluff, not within walking distance for the beachgoers. So I suppose he is not bothered by irritating trespassers who think of this as their private beach. Considering no one can really say just where the division line starts and ends for the taxpayer, it amazes me just how bold people are about knowing just where this mean high water line is.

I have been here over 30 years and, frankly, I am trying to enjoy my later retirement years in some sort of peace and quiet, but individuals think nothing of infringing on your turf whenever they please, day or night.

Some days I feel like offering them a piece of the $18,000 tax bill I pay to live here.

Doris Zinna

MILLER PLACE

Don’t blame others

People who take responsibility for and learn from their failures become successful and contribute great things to our community, unlike people such as the organizers of the Riverhead Blues Festival this year, who blame their own failure on other people rather than accept the responsibility themselves. It’s time to grow up!

P.S. The fireworks were great!

Robert Lanieri

Editor’s note: Mr. Lanieri is the president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, though he is not writing on behalf of the chamber. There were no fireworks this year; the Blues Beat journal published by Times/Review Newspapers mistakenly indicated a show was scheduled.

Riverhead

Festival thanks

The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall board and I would like to thank those who supported us during last weekend’s 12th annual Riverhead Blues and Music Festival. In a year which brought unexpected threats and setbacks to many of us, we are grateful to those who make a positive impact in our community.

Over 5,000 fans and listeners enjoyed great music, food and atmosphere, helping to keep it as one of Riverhead’s most unique events. Although the festival fell short of its financial goal, it was more importantly maintained for the benefit of our charitable local historic nonprofit theater.

To achieve our new fundraising goals, the Vail-Leavitt will be presenting a series of special benefit performances along with other new programs beginning this fall. Meanwhile, “Original Voices at the Vail” enters its third year ¬­– the longest running venue of its kind in Suffolk.

Find out more about our programs and keep updated through our website at vail-leavitt.org.

A final, special note of thanks to Riverhead’s own — workers in the electrical, buildings and grounds, police and administrative areas. It is a privilege to work with such a dedicated and professional group to make our event successful. Thank you all!

Bob Barta

president, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

07/29/10 12:00am

Beth Panchak and Kenny Sawler

Bob and Pat Panchak have announced the engagement of their daughter Beth to Kenny Sawler.

A 1998 graduate of Riverhead High School, Beth earned an R.N. degree from SUNY/Stony Brook and is currently enrolled in the CRNA program at Columbia University.

Kenny graduated from Riverhead High School in 1999 and is the owner of E and A Electric.

No date has been set for the wedding.

07/29/10 12:00am

Chefs and Champagne, the James Beard Society’s annual tasting party, fundraiser and pleasure-fest, celebrated the East End’s summer bounty in a bucolic setting at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack on Saturday, July 24.

This is my favorite splashy summer gala, not only because I love Champagne, but also because the most gonzo New York chefs are there. Sharing James Beard’s legacy and mission, “to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future,” many have worked in each others’ kitchens and enjoy this evening under a big tent in a vineyard, competing to show off their culinary skills.

Unlike the typical summer benefit where soggy canapàs and cubed cheeses prevail, Chefs and Champagne featured such delicacies as Ditch Plains Miniature Lobster Rolls (Marc Murphy), Montauk Scallop and Cherry Chopped Salad (Michel Nischan), Watermelon and Whipped Flan Parfait (Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez) and Pastrami Spice-Rubbed Kobe Steak With Lobster-Corn Butter (Todd English).

I also enjoyed Mark Gerlach’s splendid Stracchino and Local Blackberry Cheesecake, then had a luscious slurp of Jesse Shenker’s Oysters in Gelà e with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Seeds. Many of the ingredients in these dishes were grown locally, on both the North and South forks. In fact, being so close to the agricultural source for many dishes was a prime motivation for the chefs to bring their skills to this East End event.

At C&C, beverage selection is just as enticing and challenging as knowing what foods to try — and when to stop sampling — at this feast. I tasted a selection of wines from the venerable Champagne houses of Nicolas Feuillate and Lanson (a particular favorite), as well as Champagne from La Caravelle, a brand created by the Jammet family, noted restaurateurs and, incidentally, cousins of Paumanok Vineyards owner Charles Massoud. While I usually taste the nonvintage selections before the rosà or vintage Champagnes, at this event I knew to get there at the beginning and, first, before the supply runs out, try the fanciest wines, which would disappear quickly down the gullets of this connoisseur crowd.

I also tasted a fine selection of Wölffer Estate’s wines, though I bypassed the beer, the vodka and the Coca-Cola. Sorry, guys, I’m a wine drinker.

This year’s honoree at C&C was Martha Stewart, a culinary star and lifestyle guru whose own influence is far greater than James Beard’s ever was. Martha began the catering business that jump-started her career in Westport, Conn., but she has been a part-time East End resident for decades. On her television show and in her magazine she has featured the locally beloved barbecue put on annually by Cut¬­chogue Fire Department and chef-farmer Eberhard Muller’s homegrown cuisine. Earlier this summer she was spotted back in Cut¬­chogue, visiting the Charolais beef cattle and enjoying the wines at McCall Vineyard.

I was first aware of Martha Stewart in the early ’80s, when I attended a Manhattan benefit party catered by her company. Unlike other caterers of the time whose decorations were seldom more adventurous than copycat vases of daisies, chrysanthemums and babies’ breath, Martha created vast arrays of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers, mixing the common with the exotic in an extravagance of color. If her palette eventually toned down to moss green, beige and robin’s egg blue, her effect on American taste remained as vibrant as those colors, even as she survived her temporary fall from grace.

Martha herself was the only guest who appeared to beat the 90-degree heat inside the tent, looking trîs soignà e in a black linen tunic and Pucci leggings. Although others’ glamorous outfits were wilted at this year’s C&C, there was plenty of good celebrity watching. It was fun to see the rich, famous, thin and thick, swishing into the crowded tent with their entourages, air kissing as they looked over each others’ shoulders, declaring, “Sweetheart! You must try the beets!”

C&C’s silent and live auction items also grabbed my attention. I wanted to win the All Clad induction cooker, or the getaway to Mexico’s deluxe Royal Hideaway Playacar, on the Riviera Maya. Two nights at Miami’s Fountainbleau Hotel, with dinner at Hakkasan, were tempting, but not as tempting as four tickets to Martha Stewart’s TV show, followed by lunch with Martha herself. It would have been a Good Thing, only someone outbid me. I settled happily for a goody bag — best swag on the East End!

Ms. Hargrave was a founder of the Long Island wine industry in 1973. She is currently a freelance writer and consultant.

07/29/10 12:00am

Hello, friends and neighbors. I hope you’re enjoying the summer because July is just about over. Like I said last week, this month has gone by much too fast for me.

Next week’s (Aug. 3) Tuesday’s On the Go trip for Southampton Town children grades 6-10 is to Country Fair in Medford. For only $18 per person your child can enjoy unlimited mini-golf, go-karts, the batting cage, driving range and laser tag. Permission slips are required. Bring a bag lunch or money for the concession stands. These trips are sponsored by the Town of Southampton Youth Bureau and are on a chaperoned bus. For more information on this trip or upcoming trips, visit southamptontownny.gov. Click on Youth Bureau, then on What’s Happenin, or call 702-2425 Monday through Friday.

Our Redeemer Lutheran School is sponsoring a Family Fun Day fundraiser on Saturday, July 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and include a barbecue, face painting, pony rides, and water activities. While you’re there you can tour the school and meet the teachers! The school is located at 269 Main Road, Aquebogue. For more information call 722-4000 or visit ourredeemerlutheranli.com.

Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead is still in the running for the Pepsi Refresh Project’s $50,000 grant. They need to reach the top 10 for votes and there are only a few days left. If you would like to help, visit refresheverything.com/timothyhillchildrensranchproject and cast your vote for a very worthwhile project. You can vote once a day! Timothy Hill Ranch does so much for the community, why not support them in this project.

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, there will be a meet-and-greet for the new superintendent of schools, Ms. Nancy Carney, at 6:45 p.m. in the Riverhead High School auditorium. Everyone is invited.

Congratulations to Cedric and Teresa Thomas of Wildwood, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary July 25, from family and friends. May you have many, many more years of happiness together!

Landon Spano celebrated his first birthday on July 21. His grandma would like to wish him a BIG “happy first birthday,” with hugs and kisses from her and Papa Jim. The family celebrated last Sunday with a big party.

Happy birthday to my dad (whom we call the unofficial mayor of Riverhead), Jim “602” Zaleski, who celebrates his 57th, today, Thursday, July 29. (Shh! He really isn’t 57 but since I’m telling everyone I’m only 31, I had to knock a few years off sto make it more believable. Ha ha!). Happy birthday, Pop-Pop, from me and Tom, Mike and Kim, Jimmy and Denise, Frankie and Danny and your grandchildren, Thomas, Michael, Kaitlyn, James, Ryan and Charlotte. We love you! Enjoy your day.

Thanks for all the calls and e-mails this week. I truly appreciate it and could not do this column without your help. Enjoy your weekend and please remember to drive safely and please put those cell phones down!