09/30/12 5:00pm
09/30/2012 5:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of Rocky Point’s Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church helped build a house in Alabama for a family affected by Hurricane Katrina during a mission trip in 2011.

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk wants you, especially if you have construction experience or leadership skills that will enable you to shepherd a small crew of volunteers.

So says Southold Town native and volunteer training coordinator Constantinos Kokkinos, who represents Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk County as an Americorps volunteer.

Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to build houses for families in need, giving them “a hand up, not a handout,” Mr. Kokkinos said, adding that the organization is on track to finish 16 homes in Suffolk County this year, up from 10 last year.

“We are seeking new partnerships to foster this growth,” he said, “We are looking for volunteers with leadership qualities, time on their hands and experience either leading volunteer groups or building houses.”

Mr. Kokkinos, the son of a Southold house painter who’s been at it for three decades, said the organization is looking for contractors like his father to donate labor.

He said the group especially needs licensed plumbers, site workers, roofers and other contractors who are willing to work — and will also warranty their work.

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk was founded in 1987 as an independent affiliate of the international nonprofit affordable housing organization. As of August, Mr. Kokkinos said, the local group, which is based in Middle Island, has built 157 homes from Huntington Station to Westhampton, with half of them in Brookhaven Town, which by itself is bigger than Nassau County.

“We are currently building in Central Islip, Brentwood, East Patchogue, Bellport and East Moriches and are poised to begin builds in Shirley, Quiogue and Mastic Beach in 2013,” he said.

Mr. Kokkinos said the organization chooses low-income family applicants based on need, ability and willingness to partner.

Need, he said, refers to those who are living in “substandard conditions” involving poor building structure, electrical wiring, heating and cooling, living space, problematic power or water supply, pest infestations or other health and safety concerns.

Ability relates to the applicant’s ability to make timely payments on a nonprofit mortgage, ranging from $900 to $1,050 per month, depending on town taxes. The monthly payment includes property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and mortgage insurance, Mr. Kokkinos said, adding that applicants are responsible for home maintenance and utilities expenses. PMI, or personal monthly insurance, is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“Willingness to partner is just that,” he said. “An applicant must be willing to work with us to build their home. Partner families must acquire up to 270 hours of ‘sweat equity,’ which they do by working on the construction of their home and other Habitat family partners’ homes.”

Anyone who doesn’t have time to volunteer but is willing to donate funding is encouraged to contact the local group’s director of development, Les Scheinfeld, at les@habitatsuffolk.org. Donations of building materials and supplies are also welcomed at the group’s “ReStore” in Ronkonkoma; visit suffolkrestore.com.

Mr. Kokkinos also encouraged teens to consider participating in the organization’s youth volunteer program. “Habitat Young Professionals is a group of young adults who actively advance Habitat Suffolk’s work and mission through increasing volunteerism, spreading awareness and raising funds,” he said. Teens interested in getting involved can contact Lindsey Ross at hyp@habitatsuffolk.org

“Donated labor helps reduce the final cost of a home, thus reducing the price for the partner family,” he said. “If you are an individual with experience, time on your hands and a desire to build with us long-term, you should reach out to me at construction@habitatsuffolk.org or call 631-924-4966, ext. 112.”

Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can also put themselves on a volunteer “walk-on” list. Visit habitatsuffolk.org, click the “Get involved” button and enter your email address in the box on the left side of the page.


09/30/12 3:43pm

A Long Beach woman who was spotted walking in the roadway along Flanders Road in Flanders early Sunday morning is facing a drug charge, according to a Southampton Town police press release.

Police said they were responding to a telephone tip from a passing motorist who observed Ryan Tangney, 27, walking in the roadway shortly after 2 a.m. Ms. Tangney was found to be in possession of Suboxone, a prescription medication used to treat opiate addiction, at the time of her arrest, police said.

Ms. Tangney was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and disorderly conduct, and held overnight for a Sunday morning arraignment in Southampton Town Justice Court.

09/30/12 2:30pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Artist Judith Sutton-Fagan of Bayport (right) demonstrates the brush strokes used to paint a chrysanthemum flower to students Vivian Eyre of Southold (left) and Margie Bowen of East Quogue during the workshop in the East End Arts Carriage House Saturday morning.

Artist Judith Sutton-Fagan of Bayport has been teaching Asian Brush painting for more than 30 years. She called it the “art of being unperfect” like a crack in a vase or a dandelion growing in a crack in the cement.

This style of ink wash painting is also called Sumi-e painting, a 2,000-year-old art form which is rooted in Zen Buddhism.

She began a five-hour workshop in the East End Arts Carriage house with some returning students and a couple of new ones Saturday morning.

The technique uses brushes that are similar to those used for calligraphy — bamboo with brush hairs that are tapered to a fine point and made with goat, horse, badger, boar, rabbit and wolf hair. The black ink is derived from pine soot and charcoal and is used in various concentrations and painted on various thickness of rice paper. It is thought to be developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The goal in the painting is not to reproduce the appearance of something but to capture its soul or energy — the chi.

The brush strokes she taught to the students were the orchid, the chrysanthemum and the dragon fly. She said she encourages her students to embrace nature, to show the energy of it and if it is too perfect, it won’t show the chi. Her advice to them was “be free and calm to get it out on paper. You want to learn the set of brash strokes but remember there is no wrong. Have the freedom to enjoy this. An artist is someone who lives in the moment.”


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