04/29/11 12:02am
04/29/2011 12:02 AM

Cover photo: News-Review photographer Barbaraellen Koch snapped this photo of downtown Riverhead from the second story of Robert James Salon & Spa on East Main Street.

NEWS

$567,000 grant will fund new vision for Main Street

Revitalizing blighted areas such as those along Riverhead’s Main Street corridor, which officials and community members have been trying to do for years, can be more complicated than just redeveloping properties parcel by parcel.

Page 1, posted online April 25

A kind life cut short; charges expected

Brian Costello of Mount Sinai “did not see race or status. Had no hate, no jealousy and no anger,” said his brother, Robert Costello. And he had always wanted to drive a car. In fact, he seemed to have loved everything about cars.

Page 1, posted online April 20, updated April 27






Wounded vets take bike tour with President George W. Bush

Riverhead’s own Sebastian “Sam” Cila has been selected as one of 14 seriously wounded Iraq or Afghanistan war veterans to bike alongside former President George W. Bush in a three-day, 100 kilometer ride through the mountains of Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Page 2, posted online April 22

Carney gets to set date for bond vote

The Riverhead school board voted Tuesday night to allow Superintendent Nancy Carney to set a date for the public to vote on a multimillion-dollar bond proposal to improve the district’s aging infrastructure.

Page 3, posted online April 28






Activist petition DA for dog shelter investigation

A cadre of animal lovers and civic activists is turning up the heat on Riverhead Town officials who have been dealing with mounting pressure to expel head animal control officer Lou Coronesi from the municipal dog shelter, where he oversees day-to-day operations.

Page 3, posted online April 25

Cardinale will run, maybe

Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale said this week that he will screen for the Democratic nomination for his old job. But whether he runs or not will depend on the strength of the candidates running with him — and the strength of the backing the party can provide for him.

Page 4, posted online April 28






80-year-old pushed down during theft

An 80-year-old greeter at the Riverhead WalMart was knocked to the ground Friday after asking to see the receipt of a homeless man who was attempting to leave the store after stealing a laptop computer.

Page 4, posted online April 26






Downtown mural set for makeover

The “Welcome to Riverhead” tractor mural on East End Arts Council property is about to get a face-lift.

Page 6, posted online April 21, updated April 28

Opinion

Guest Spot: How our farmers saved the East End

If it weren’t for the tenacity and courage of a small band of North Fork farmers, some of whom have been working the land here for generations, all of us — on both forks — would be living in the shadow of nuclear plants with the same design as the destroyed plants that are devastating Japan.

Editorial: It’s about our way of life

Just a glance at a satellite image of Long Island will reveal the North Fork’s uniqueness. While the rest of Nassau and Suffolk counties is shrouded in green or even a sort of grayish color that represents the densest hamlets, the long stretch from Wading River to Orient appears as a patchwork of oranges, reds, browns and beiges.

more

Sports

Heads held high, Blue Waves push forward in first season

There are no manuals on how to guide a team through the ups and downs of its first year of varsity competition. You just go with your gut, keep your head up and roll with the punches.

Page 37, posted online April 26

Luppens blasts two HRs

Coming into the season Shoreham-Wading River coach Sal Mignano felt confident junior Danny Luppens could provide some offense for the Wildcats. The question was how to get him into the lineup.

Page 37, posted online April 26


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04/29/11 12:01am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Richard Cifarelli's 19th-century barn, immediately recognizable by its 60-foot height, gambrel roof and distinctive cupola, is located on the south side of Main Road in Cutchogue. It was once owned by the Fleet family, which had a grand house (now gone) with matching cupola close by the barn.

When Richard Cifarelli acquired a handsome barn back in 1996, he knew it was going to be quite a project to turn it into a home.

“It wasn’t usable at all,” said Mr. Cifarelli, who, as a senior agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman, knows a thing or two about real estate. “There was no water, no electricity. It was about as raw a piece property as you could imagine.”

The 19th-century barn, immediately recognizable by its 60-foot height, gambrel roof and distinctive cupola, is located on the south side of Main Road in Cutchogue. It was once owned by the Fleet family, which had a grand house (now gone) with matching cupola close by the barn.

Mr. Cifarelli says the barn was originally used to house horses and, indeed, according to Munsell’s “History of Suffolk County,” in the 1880s Henry L. Fleet was renowned both as a horse breeder and as the biggest farmer in the Town of Southold.

The book describes Mr. Fleet as having “raised a number of colts and horses which sold at prices ranging up to several thousand dollars, and has at the present time a very superior stock of young horses, from which similar returns may be expected.”

Later on in its history, the barn was used in the flower business of another member of the Fleet family, who sold gladioli from the building, advertising the flowers on an old horse carriage as the “Wayside Flower Stand.”

By the 1990s, though, the barn had fallen into disrepair.

“Probably nothing was done with it for 30 years or so,” said Mr. Cifarelli. “There were gaping holes in the roof.”

Although he had a vision for the barn, Mr. Cifarelli did not dive right into a major renovation project. Instead, he took his time getting to know the property.

“I owned it a long time before I started working on it,” he said. “You walk around a lot, you check where the sun comes in and that’s where you put the kitchen.”

After major work was completed — Mr. Cifarelli estimates that around 80 percent of the barn is new — 1,100 square feet of living space had been created. He moved into the two-bedroom space in 2007 and says the barn is still a work in progress.

In that regard, Mr. Cifarelli plans to turn the rear of the building into living space and convert the current residential area into additional bedrooms.

“I’m going to build a three-car garage, there will be a courtyard to the east and a pool will go in just off the back of the barn,” he said. “It’s 2 1/2 acres, so it’ll be a small estate.”

And, indeed, the exterior of the barn and surrounding grounds already possess a rather European country-estate look by virtue of privet hedges and a paved stone driveway.

It’s kind of a French and Tuscan mix,” said Mr. Cifarelli. “I also wanted low maintenance and although the privet was expensive, there’s not that much upkeep going forward apart from mowing the grass.”

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The living area’s interior is paneled in wood, some of which was originally on the outside of the barn, and painted a creamy white. The plank floor was also painted white “and then we painted it a Ralph Lauren blue which, with the original white coming through, makes it look quite old,” said Mr. Cifarelli.

The result is a relaxed country space flooded with light and offering comfortable bentwood armchairs and couch to sink into. Fresh flowers, paintings and prints abound, along with a collection of horseshoes propped up on shelves and an ancient porch support casually leaning against a wall.

One quirky touch is the huge creamy-colored chandelier suspended from an old glass-paned door attached to the post and beam ceiling.

“Double the light gets reflected in the glass panes,” observed Mr. Cifarelli.

Mr. Cifarelli seems remarkably calm as he describes the labor of love, but he is the first to admit the project has had its share of stress.

“I moved to Miami for a year and a half right in the middle of it,” he said. “Then I came back and finished it enough to be able to move in.”

He knows there’s still a substantial amount of work to be done, but Mr. Cifarelli remains committed to his work in progress.

This is just what I wanted for my home,” he said. “I lived in Europe and so I really don’t like a typical sheet-rocked house. And I grew up with a barn in my backyard.”

04/28/11 4:39pm
04/28/2011 4:39 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Route 58, just east of Ostrander Avenue, where two lanes merge to one heading east.

The county Legislature on Tuesday voted to apply $1.95 million in impact mitigation fees — paid from the developer of a proposed Costco shopping center on Route 58 — to paying down debt service on the work already done to widen Route 58, rather than extending the widening of the busy thoroughfare farther east.

Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), whose district encompasses the North Fork, had supported using the money to extend the two-lane portion of the road as far east as the Route 25/Doctors Path intersection, and the Legislature had unanimously voted to do that in February.

But County Executive Steve Levy vetoed that bill and had proposed an alternate bill to use the money to pay down debt service on the Route 58 project, which wrapped up last Labor Day and included replacing the old Roanoake/Route 58 roundabout with a two-lane traffic circle.

The fees were paid by the developer of the proposed Shops at Riverhead, a large shopping center on the site of the former Hazeltine property on Route 58, across from Riverhead Raceway. The project is proposed to have a Costco Wholesale Warehouse and other stores.

That alternate, Levy-sponsored bill was unanimously approved Tuesday night, with even Mr. Romaine voting in support of it.

“I didn’t oppose it because using the money to pay down debt service is a good idea, but I want to use the impact money from these other projects for widening the road,” he said.

Mr. Romaine said he hopes that similar impact fee payments from the proposed Lowe’s and Super Walmart projects on Route 58 can be used for the continued widening of the road.

In his veto message, Mr. Levy acknowledged that the road widening was originally intended to extend as far east as Doctors Path, but that was at a time when it was assumed that federal money would be obtained for the project. The original project was expected to cost about $70 million and the redesigned project, which he said never was proposed to extend as far east as Doctors Path, cost only about $12 million.

Mr. Levy had opposed the use of the impact fees to further widen the road based on a legal opinion from the county’s bond counsel that said this money can only be used to retire debt on the project and cannot be rolled into a new project.

But, believing the bond counsel to be wrong, Mr. Romaine said the legal opinion referred to projects using state or federal grant money, and the Rout 58 widening did not use state or federal money.

He’s asserting that the incoming fees could be used for construction.

Mr. Romaine said he also hopes the state will eventually agree to widen the road all the way to its intersection with County Road 105. The road technically becomes state Route 25 east of the Doctors Path intersection.

Mr. Levy said the 2011 budget also anticipates the use of the $1.9 million to retire debt and that without his veto, there would be a $1.9 million hole in the budget.

tgannon@timesreview.com

04/28/11 11:26am

A Calverton man was arrested Wednesday after police stopped him for driving without wearing seat belt and then found a cornucopia of drugs in the car, Southampton Town Police said.

Joe Coffey, 48, was stopped near the intersection of Old Quogue Road and Flanders road in Riverside about 12 p.m. when he gave what police soon found was a fake name. He was also found to be driving with a suspended license, police said.

A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up crack cocaine, PCP and hydrocodone tablets, authorities said.

He was charged with criminal impersonation, five counts of criminal possession of controlled substance in varying degrees and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, officials said.

He was being held overnight as he awaited an appearance in Southampton Town Justice Court.

04/28/11 11:23am

Owner(s): Bob Haase
Year established: 1979
Location: 40200 Main Road, Orient
Phone: 631-323-2424        
Attire: Casual    
Number of employees: 20    
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Hours: Open 7 days for lunch and dinner during the season.
Web site: orientbythesea.com

Family owned and operated since 1979, Orient by the Sea Restaurant will open soon for its 33nd season, celebrating great food, a beautiful view and loyal customers. With an extensive menu offering fresh local seafood and locally grown, farm-fresh vegetables, Orient by the Sea is enjoyed by both locals and tourists, as well as the many passers-by who arrive via a scenic drive or by boat. The restaurant sits just west of the Cross Sound Ferry terminal, overlooking Gardiners Bay and, after a day at the beach or an afternoon of wine tasting, it’s the perfect place to relax and have a great meal or cocktail and enjoy the friendly service from longtime staffers.

Known for its delicious lobster specials, Orient by the Sea also offers daily fish specials, local Oysterponds oysters and a variety of Long Island wines. Diners can enjoy light fare, including soups, sandwiches and wraps, or a full-course meal, while dining inside or outdoors. There are stunning water views from every table.

“We are the only restaurant in Orient Point,” says owner Bobby Haase, “And we have a spectacular view, a casual, relaxed atmosphere, delicious food and a staff that offers genuine North Fork hospitality.”

The Dining Guide is not a review column. It appears as a courtesy to Times/Review Newspapers advertisers.

04/28/11 11:21am

What a gorgeous Easter Sunday! I’m sitting outside right now writing this week’s column, and the warm breeze blowing on my shoulders and the sun shining down in this fairly quiet neighborhood today are adding to the peaceful feeling that you get on a holiday as holy as this one. My weeping cherry tree is just bursting with color and my hostas are popping out of the ground. I see buds on my trees, and even the birds this morning were rejoicing. Today is one of those days where you just can’t help being happy and love being alive. I hope everyone had as good a day as I did.

The Southampton Town Youth Bureau’s seventh annual photography contest for middle and high school students who reside in the township is under way. This year’s contest theme is “Our Town.” Prizes will be awarded for the top three winners. Written permission is needed from subjects of a photo, so if you’re taking pictures of people, make sure you get their OK. Submissions will be voted on by members of the Southampton Youth Bureau Youth advisory committee. Entries must be submitted by May 20. All submissions will be displayed at Southampton Town Hall. Send your photos (digitally remastered photos accepted), limited to three per artist, along with your name, age, phone number and address to: Southampton Youth Bureau, 116 Hampton Rd., Southampton, NY 11968, or you can e-mail your pictures to tkolsin@southamptontownny.gov. For more information log on to southamptontownny.gov/youthbureau or call the bureau at 702-2421.

All residents are invited to the annual Flanders Fire Department Memorial Service to be held at Flanders Memorial Park on Flanders Road at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 1. This ceremony honors our departed members and firefighters. It is a great way to pay tribute to those who have served our community and are no longer with us.

The next general meeting of Friends of The Big Duck will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, at David W. Crohan Community Center, 655 Flanders Rd. to plan this year’s events. The Duck’s gala 80th birthday celebration will take place July 9 at 230 Elm St. (Polish Hall) in Southampton. The craft fair/flea market is set for Saturday, May 21 — rain date is May 22 — at the Big Duck Ranch. Vendor applications are still being accepted. There is so much going on with the Duck, and all are welcome to help participate and plan. Call 727-0593 for information or the visit the website, bigduck.org.

Belated happy birthday wishes to Deandre King, who turned 15 on April 17 and belated happy birthday wishes to his mother, Rhonda King, who celebrated on April 26. I hope you both had a fabulous birthday!
That is all for this week. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I hope to hear from you all soon with news you’d like to share with the community. Please drive safe and put the cell phones down. No call or text is worth the danger to yourself and other drivers.

04/28/11 7:24am

Thursday, April 28

Spring Film Festival features ‘M’ (1931, Germany), expressionist classic about a child murderer, directed by Fritz Lang, 6 p.m. at Floyd Memorial Library, 539 First St., Greenport. Free. 477-0660.

Stirling Historical Society meeting to plan yard sale and summer activities, 7 p.m. at Greenport United Methodist Church, Main Street. Light refreshments. 965-3598.

Indie Teen concert, 7 p.m. at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, 18 Peconic Ave., Riverhead features The Republic of Wolves and Hotel of the Laughing Tree.  Doors open 6:30 p.m.; tickets $5 advance at East End Arts Council in Riverhead or $6 at door. Information: vlmhpress@yahoo.com.

Create a Harmonious Home & Community, 7 p.m. at Mattituck-Laurel Library, Main Road, Mattituck. Representative from the L.I. Seaport Eco-Center leads workshop about making more eco-friendly and eco-efficient choices in our daily lives. Free. 298-4134.

Friday, April 29

Third annual Spring Tea at Hallockville Museum Farm, 1 p.m., in historic Naugles Barn on Sound Avenue in Riverhead. Social event features a selection of sweets, savories, and teas. Wear a favorite hat. Tickets $25; proceeds support Hallockville’s educational programs. Seating for the Spring Tea is limited, reservations required: 298-5292.

Movie ‘True Grit,’ 1:30 p.m. at Mattituck-Laurel Library, Main Road, Mattituck. John Wayne is the aging marshal, Rooster Cogburn, in original 1969 film. Free. 298-4134.

A Night in Italy spaghetti dinner, 5-8 p.m. hosted by Mattituck Athletic Booster Club in high school cafeteria, Main Road. Food served by the athletes; includes 50/50 and chinese auction. Take-out available. Tickets $10; students/children $8; available at Love Lane Sweet Shoppe or at any varsity basketball game. Proceeds benefit baseball and cheerleading teams and fund to build a new dugout. 298-8460.

Zumba fundraiser and raffle begins 6 p.m. in Southold Elementary School gym, Oaklawn Avenue, with Jill Schroeder of JABS; doors open 5:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of Camryn Koke. Donation $10 at door; raffle tickets $5 each. For all ages. 513-3789.

‘Save the Grange’ lecture series features Q&A on past seminars with panel of instructors. Doors open 6 p.m.; organic refreshments served by Peggy. All donations go to “Save the Grange” fund for repairs. maryannsuozzi@yahoo.com, spirit-renewal.com.

Pasta night, 7 p.m. at monthly meeting of North Fork Italian American Club, at Southold Town Recreation Center, Peconic Lane, Peconic. Volunteer members will bring favorite dishes to share. 298-0020.

North Fork Chorale Diamond Jubilee 1936-2011 concert celebration, 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Southold, Main Road. Musical retrospective includes “Anthem for Spring” from “Cavalleria Rusticana,” medley from “The Music Man” and more. Tickets $10 at door or call 323-3523.

Saturday, April 30

Barn sale, 8 a.m.-noon, hosted by women of First Presbyterian Church of Southold at historic barn on Wells Avenue, behind Bank of America; rain or shine.  New merchandise including glassware, china, household goods, collectibles, jewelry and more. All proceeds contributed to East End charities.

First annual 5K Run/Walk for the RCFA Scholarship Fund, 9 a.m. at Riverhead Middle School, 600 Harrison Ave. Participants pre-register at www.islandtiming.net or on race day 7:30-8:45 a.m. Pre- registration fees $20 adults, $10 students. Race day registrastion fees $25 adults, $15 students. 369-6757

North Fork birding expert Jody Levin leads search for spring birds through woods and fields surrounding Hallockville Museum Farm, Sound Avenue, Riverhead, at 9 a.m. Fee $5 Hallockville members, $6 non-members. Bring binoculars, wear appropriate apparel and sturdy footwear. Heavy rain cancels. Registration required: 298-5292, hallockv@optonline.net.

Annual Riverhead Litter Cleanup Day, 9 a.m.-noon; meet at Riverhead Town Hall, 200 Howell Ave. Volunteers will be provided with bags, safety vests, and gloves. Information: George Bartunek, 727-3097.

Yard sale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Old Steeple Community Church, 656 Main Road, Aquebogue, rain or shine. 722-3070.

Twenty-second annual chinese auction, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., sponsored by Ladies Auxiliary of East Marion Fire Dept. at EMFD hall on Main Road. Tables of prizes, refreshments, 50/50 raffle, white elephant and more. 477-0539.

Yoga class for teens, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for grades 9-12 at First Universalist Church, 51900 Main Road, Southold. Admission free; donations accepted. Bring a mat or large towel. 765-3494.

The Old Town Art and Crafts Guild, Cutchogue presents ‘Historical Art Collections of the North Fork,’ with book signing noon-2 p.m. by author Terry Wallace. Art paintings for sale featuring some of North Fork’s past and senior artists. 734-6382.

Chicken and fish dinners, 1-5 p.m., hosted by Clearview Civic Association at home of Greg and Gwen Mack, 50 Honda Blvd. (off Mill Road), Riverhead. Fish or half chicken, vegetable, potato salad, coleslaw, bread, soda, dessert. Fee $15; call 727-4933.

Cutchogue Fire Department Panther’s Relay for Life Team hosts Dove Chocolate Party, 2-4 p.m. at headquarters, 260 New Suffolk Road. Proceeds benefit team’s effort for the American Cancer Society. 734-6907.

‘Inside Job,’ 2011 Oscar-winning documentary film, 2 p.m. at First Universalist Church, Main Road, Southold. 765-3494.

Art Auction to benefit Southold Historical Society, 6 p.m. at Castello di Borghese Vineyard, Route 48, Cutchogue. Preview begins 4:30 p.m. Entry donation $10, includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. Visit southoldhistoricalsociety.org and click “auction of fine art” to view works for sale. 765-5500.

Riverhead Women of the Moose, Chapter 1118, host dinner/dance, 6:30 p.m. at 51 Madison St. Live music by Reflections, salad, roast beef, potato, vegetable, dessert, coffee/tea. Reservations required. Tickets $18 advance, $20 at door. 631-779-2694 or 631-766-2727.

North Fork Chorale Diamond Jubilee 1936-2011, 8 p.m. at Mattituck Presbyterian Church, Main Road. See Friday.

The Gardiner Quartet performs 8-9:30 p.m. at Custer Institute and Observatory, 1115 Main Bayview Road, Southold. With Linda Sinanian, Ted Hoyle, Lisa Casal-Galietta and Kristen Sawyer. Suggested donation $18; members $15; full-time students $10. 765-2626.

Sunday, May 1

Hike led by Barbara Terranova, 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Dam Pond Maritime Preserve, Route 48, East Marion. Meet in parking lot. Distance 1.5-3 miles; pack snack and drink, bring camera and binoculars. Dress for weather; footwear with traction recommended. For ages 9+, hosted by Town of Southold Recreation Dept. Fee $5. Registration required: 765-5182.

Flanders Fire Department hosts memorial service, 10 a.m. at Flanders Memorial Park, Flanders Road. Refreshments served at fire department, 19 Firehouse Lane, following ceremony. 727-0758.

Town of Riverhead Recreation Department hosts free Street Hockey Clinic, 1-4 p.m. for ages 5-15 at Stotzky Park hockey rink. Bring hockey stick, skates are not required. New York Islanders and their mascot, Sparky the Dragon, will be on hand with an inflatable for children to play on, and will take registrations for their free Kids’ Club. Register: 727-5744, ext. 28. In case of bad weather call 727-5744, ext. 30 for information.

Family Reading and Discussion program, 3-5 p.m. at Floyd Memorial Library, Greenport. For ages 9-11 and parents/caregivers. Books and snacks provided. Space limited; registration required. 477-0660.

North Fork Chorale Diamond Jubilee 1936-2011, 3 p.m. at Orient Congregational Church. See Friday.

Riverhead Fire Department Memorial Service, 4 p.m. at RFD headquarters, 430 Roanoke Ave. 766-1581.

The Recorder Orchestra of New York performs in concert, 4 p.m. at Mattituck Presbyterian Church, Main Road, sponsored by Friends of Mattituck-Laurel Library. Admission free. 298-4134.

Tuesday, May 3

North Fork Audubon Society’s Tuesdays With Tom – Warbler Wave Walk, meet 8 a.m. at Red House Nature Center, Inlet Pond County Park, Route 48, Greenport. Expect to see warblers, vireos, flycatchers and other migrants. Register: 477-6456, tdamiani3@optimum.net.

Wednesday, May 4

Greenport PTA’s annual plant sale, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in lobby of Greenport School, Front Street. Annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables for sale at great prices. 477-1950.

Cub Scouts of Pack 51 in Greenport host annual chicken dinner fundraiser, 1-8 p.m. at Soundview Restaurant, Route 48, Greenport. Tickets $17; eat in or take out.

Author talk by Mary Agria, 7 p.m. at Southold Free Library, Main Road. Mary reads from her newest novel “Garden of Eve,” sequel to “Time in a Garden.” 765-5667.

Thursday, May 5

Greenport PTA’s annual plant sale, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in lobby of Greenport School. See Wednesday.

Peconic Bay Medical Center’s 16th annual Garden Festival, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Staples Shopping Center, Riverhead. Includes best of East End plant wholesalers, master gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Garden Club, garden community, vendors and more. Proceeds benefit PBMC, to improve its facility and help develop and implement new programs to serve patients, their families and the community. Includes raffle, $5 each ticket or 5/$20. Prizes include Weber gas grill and wine tour getaway; drawing held May 19. 548-6088.

Book Discussion Group ‘Let the Great World Spin’ by Colum McCann, 10:30 a.m., led by Caroline MacArthur at Southold Free Library, Main Road. 765-2077.

Southold Mothers’ Club’s Mothers Day craft, 11:30 a.m. at Mattituck-Laurel Library, Main Road, Mattituck. RSVP tonya@nfcparty.com.

Black tie gala luncheon, noon-4 p.m. at Calverton Links, 149 Edwards Avenue, to benefit Aid to the Developmentally Disabled Inc. includes music and dancing. Information/tickets: 727-6220.

The Fish are Jumpin’ at the Library! 6 p.m. at Mattituck-Laurel Library, Main Road, Mattituck. The Block Island Seafood Company returns to demonstrate making clam rolls and fish tacos. Refreshments  served. Fee: $5 per person. Register in advance at the Circulation Desk. 298-4134.

Spring Film Festival features ‘Inspector Bellamy’ (2009, France), final film of Claude Chabrol, 6 p.m. at Floyd Memorial Library, 539 First St., Greenport. Murder mystery starring Gérard Depardieu. Free. 477-0660.

Calendar Policy

In order to be listed in the calendar, events must be open to the general public and be not-for-profit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian in nature. The deadline for receipt of calendar listings is 5 p.m. Friday. To submit material: E-mail calendar@timesreview.com; mail to Times/Review News-papers, P.O. Box 1500, Mattituck, NY 11952; or fax to 298-3287. Call 298-3200 for information.

04/28/11 7:17am

Just a glance at a satellite image of Long Island will reveal the North Fork’s uniqueness. While the rest of Nassau and Suffolk counties is shrouded in green or even a sort of grayish color that represents the densest hamlets, the long stretch from Wading River to Orient appears as a patchwork of oranges, reds, browns and beiges.

Those are our farms. And they’re at the heart of the quality of our local economy and the quality of life we have all come to cherish.

Suffolk County is home to the largest agricultural industry in the state, by way of dollars. But farming is by no means a risk-free venture. Each year the industry faces new challenges, from drought to excessive rain to pests to surging fuel prices. If the farmers can’t turn a profit, their farms shut down. And life as we know it is threatened. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to support our local farmers through our shopping habits.

Right now, North Fork farmers are feeling pain at the pump, as they did during the spring and summer of 2008. Keep in mind that fuel isn’t used only to ship goods but also to run tractors and sprinklers and heat greenhouses in the cooler months. Growers are also facing spiraling costs for everything they need in order to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables. Fertilizer, for instance, is a petroleum product that skyrockets along with crude oil prices.

“For growers, the cost of production is the major issue right now,” Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, told the editorial staff this week. “There’s only a few places in the world that make the fertilizer.”

Most would agree that the 2 percent real estate transfer tax has been indispensable in financing the purchase of development rights, thereby preserving forever thousands of acres of farmland that might otherwise have become residential subdivisions. But, as Mr. Gergela has been saying wisely for years, “The best way to preserve farmland is to ensure our farms are profitable.”

Buying locally from our many wonderful farm stands, which are just beginning to open, is one sure way to keep farmers in business during uniquely challenging times. What you get at a farm stand — often for about the same prices as the supermarket — is the best and freshest that nature has to offer.

It’s also the very best our local farmers, our neighbors, have toiled so hard to provide.