12/21/10 8:57pm
12/21/2010 8:57 PM

BARBARELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Bobby Goodale holds a bank envelope like the one he inadvertently mailed $900 in last week at the Post Office on West Main Street. The money was returned.

Just two weeks before Christmas, Bobby Goodale had an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment involving a large sum of cash.

And just as in that classic holiday film, there’s a happy ending.

In the film, the Uncle Billy character misplaces $8,000 in cash while chatting in a bank. Truth to tell, Old Man Potter, the bank president, finds it and keeps it.

In this case, Mr. Goodale, the chairman of the Board of Directors at Peconic Bay Medical Center, misplaced a bank envelope containing nine $100 bills at the Riverhead post office. And on Wednesday, a postal employee delivered the envelope, complete with all nine bills, to Mr. Goodale’s Flanders home.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Goodale said. “Now I owe something to the post office.”

After going to the bank to cash a $900 check, Mr. Goodale had headed to the post office to mail several hundred party invitations and 10 or so bill payments. He put the cash, still in an open envelope, and the bill payments on his front seat. When he reached the post office, he picked up two boxes holding the invitations and the other envelopes and, as he discovered later, the cash.

All of it went into the mail.

About an hour later he realized what had happened and went back to the post office, only to be told that all the mail had already been shipped up-island. A clerk took his name and number, but made no promises.

“It was in an open envelope with no name on it,” Mr. Goodale said. “It could have ended up anywhere or someone could have walked off with it. I thought I had lost the whole thing.”

But the next day the post office called to say they’d found the money, and he had it back in his hands the day after that.
“What a nice Christmas present,” Mr. Goodale said. “It is a wonderful life.”


12/16/10 4:31pm
12/16/2010 4:31 PM

Our annual listing of special services and events at local churches


Old Steeple Church
Sunday, Dec. 19: Children’s Christmas pageant, 10 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service of carols and candlelight, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 26: Worship and hymn sing, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 2: Worship and holy communion, 10 a.m.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day service, 10 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve service, 7 p.m.

Manorville Community Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service, 7 p.m.

Calvary Baptist Church
Sunday, Dec. 19: Children’s Christmas program, 10:50 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve candlelight service, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 26: Morning worship service, 10:50 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve game night, 8 p.m. to midnight

Church of the Harvest
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service, 7 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Riverhead
Sunday, Dec. 19: 26th annual Christmas concert, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25: Christmas morning worship service, 11 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve ‘Watch Night’ service, 10 p.m.

First Congregational Church
Sunday, Dec. 19: Children’s Christmas pageant, 10 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 24: Family Christmas Eve service, 7 p.m.; candlelight service, 11 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 26: Service, 10 a.m.; Christmas dinner at no charge by Bread and More Inn, 1 p.m.

First Parish Church UCC
Saturday, Dec. 18: An afternoon of music during Advent, 2 to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 24: Family candle-lighting service, 7 p.m.

Friendship Baptist Church
Sunday, Dec. 19: Cantata service, 11 a.m.
Sunday, Dec. 26: Kwanzaa program, 3 p.m.

Galilee church of god in Christ
Sunday, Dec. 19: Youth Christmas program, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25: Free hot dinners, toys and clothing items, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the fellowship hall
Friday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve service, 11 p.m.

Grace Episcopal Church
Saturday, Dec. 25: Christmas Mass, 10:30 a.m.

House of Praise Christain Revival Center
Wednesday, Dec. 22: Caroling with the Riverhead High School Chamber Singers and local talent, 6:30 p.m.

Living Water Full Gospel Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve candlelight service, 7 p.m.

Riverhead United Methodist Church
Sunday, Dec. 19: Dressing of the Creche, 10 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 24: Family candlelight Christmas Eve service, 7 p.m.; candlelight communion Christmas Eve service, 11 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25: Blue Christmas service (English and Spanish), 10 a.m.
Sunday, Dec. 26: Worship service, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 2: Worship service, 10 a.m.

St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Mass, 4, 7 and 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day Mass, 9 and 11 a.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish)

St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve services, noon (Spanish), 3 and 4:30 p.m. (children’s pageant), 8 p.m. (sung Mass with choir, musicians) and 10 p.m. (traditional midnight Mass).
Saturday, Dec. 25: Solemn High Mass of the Holy Nativity, 10 a.m.

St. Mark R.C. Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Mass, 4 and 6 p.m. and midnight.
Saturday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day Mass, 8, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Wading River
North Shore United Methodist Church
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve family service, 5 p.m.; Candlelight service, 9 p.m.

Wading River Congregational CHURCH
Friday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve candlelight services, 6 and 8 p.m.

12/13/10 11:44am
12/13/2010 11:44 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The main living room of the Goodale's home with an 'Angel' Christmas tree overlooking Reeves Bay in Flanders.

Dhonna Goodale typically starts putting up the Christmas displays at her Flanders home at the end of September. Even with a small army of five to six people to help she’s not usually finished decorating until the end of November.

And that’s for a reason.

Elaborate displays around the home include no less than five life-size Santas, a giant winking moose, enough poinsettia plants to fill a greenhouse, an immense wreath and angels, angels and more angels.

“I love angels,” Ms. Goodale beamed during a recent tour of her home. “They make me happy.”

While it takes two months to put up all her Christmas displays, it takes Ms. Goodale even longer to take them down. She tends to leave her holiday exhibits up until the middle of March and doesn’t hold her Christmas party until late January.

“I do it that way because I don’t want to compete with all those other parties,” she said proudly. “I work too hard on these displays and I want people to come and take it all in.”

Among those wondrous and elaborate bits of eye candy – there’s also lots of real candy – are no less than four themed Christmas trees, which include a money tree and a boys’ tree dedicated to her two sons, Jesse, 12, and Jared, 10.

The boys’ tree is bedazzled with tiny elves, huge Hershey candy bars, oversized caramel corn, bubble gum, a rocking horse and a sleigh. Ms. Goodale also has an admittedly self-indulgent girl’s tree, which features Barbie dolls, clothes, candy and credit cards.
“What more does a girl need?” Ms. Goodale chuckled, noting that she had never had a Barbie doll until she married her husband, Bobby. “My mother would always buy me cheap Barbie knockoffs,” she added, “so when I got married, the first thing I did was buy myself a real Barbie.”

But the grandest and most touching of Ms. Goodale’s trees, which sits in a stately upper floor living room overlooking Reeve’s Bay, is her “angel tree.” Standing roughly eight feet tall, the tree is a tight, intricate, Victorian puzzle of ornate angel dolls and dazzling poinsettia leaves.

It takes Ms. Goodale roughly a month to construct the elaborate tree, which features photos of her recently deceased mother-in-law, Mary Goodale, 92, and her late dog Spot, being held by separate angels. Despite her heartache, Ms. Goodale forged on with her yearly tradition of decking her halls.

“Decorating makes me feel good,” she said. “After my mother-in-law passed away – a woman who treated me like she’d given birth to me – I just threw myself into it.”

Ms. Goodale has been assembling her quirky Christmas collection of ornaments and displays since she married Mr. Goodale 16 years ago.

Mr. Goodale lovingly shakes his head when he looks at all the displays covering his massive home, which had been a small cottage when he lived in it as a bachelor years ago. Lightly admitting that he would never have expanded his home nor ever decorated it if he hadn’t gotten married, Mr. Goodale smiles when he looks at what has become his wife’s dream home.

“It’s her house, she just allows me to live here as long as I pay the bills,” Mr. Goodale chuckled. “But I love it. She’s made the house into a very special place, especially at this time of year.”

Mr. Goodale adds that he is somewhat confused as to why his spouse would go to all the trouble of putting up so many decorations each year at their isolated home.

“Who the heck is going to see it?” Mr. Goodale shrugs with a smile.

“I am!” Ms. Goodale responds boldly. “I like looking at it. It makes me happy.”

The two-story home is a giant labyrinth of rooms, each with its own theme and personality. An avid shopper, Ms. Goodale said she has furnished most the house mostly with items found at Home Goods/T.J. Maxx.

But she admits she’s not above doing some occasional dumpster diving to rescue a unique item, which the registered mortician and make-up artist lovingly restores.

“I’m a dumpster diva,” she laughed heartily.

The house also features a modest movie theater, complete with cushy theater style seats, a stately library, various living rooms, most with well-stocked bars, a recreation room, which features a 1950s style juke box, slot machines, an arcade style pac-man game, a pool table, a bar, a Cadillac love seat, complete with taillights that light up, and dozens of security cameras to keep an eye on it all.

“When we have our parties, roughly a thousand of our closest friends, things have gotten stolen,” Ms. Goodale said, noting that those parties, which often include close friends such as divas Patty LaBelle and Roberta Flack, also have undercover detectives as guests.

The Goodales host their yearly by-invitation-only Christmas party as a way of saying thank-you to people who help out with their yearly scholarship drive in honor of her sister, Tara, who was murdered seven years ago at the age of 25 by her jealous husband.

The fundraiser consists of a massive summer party in their backyard, which offers a full basketball court, a small golf course, a giant chess game and live music from some of the entertainment world’s hottest performers.

“This whole holiday season is all about the birth of Jesus,” Ms. Goodale said. “It’s not about fitting Jesus or God conveniently into your life. We only use God when we need him, but for me it’s a way of life.”

12/09/10 1:12pm
12/09/2010 1:12 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The 10th annual 2009 Holiday Bonfire on the Peconic riverfront sponsored by Riverhead Town and the Riverhead BID Management Association.

Shopping and the holidays can’t help but go hand-in-hand. North Fork business organizations, always eager to have residents shop locally, are playing an important role in planning events to draw shoppers to the region’s commercial centers.

The Village of Greenport’s Business Improvement District has embarked on its second annual Greenport Holiday Festival, a monthlong series of parades, festivities and a fireworks show designed to encourage people to visit the port town during the Christmas shopping season.

Riverhead and Cutchogue are planning holiday events, too. There will be the annual bonfire and Santa’s visit in downtown Riverhead, this year on Saturday, Dec. 11, and the North Fork Chamber of Commerce will again host a helicopter visit from Santa to kids at the Cutchogue Fire Department, this year on Sunday, Dec. 12.

The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce had decorated the business district and held its annual Santa visit last weekend.
The Greenport Festival, the most extensive holiday event on the North Fork, is a regional draw. “Businesses really need bolstering and boosting in the winter months,” said one of the festival’s organizers, Caroline Waloski, who owns Sirens’ Song Gallery on Main Street. “All of us would like to see it a little more lively here.”

On Dec. 12, a parade with Santa Claus will begin at the firehouse in Greenport. A historic tour of the village is scheduled for Dec. 19 and an architectural tour is on the agenda Dec. 11.

Santa Claus will visit the Little Red School House on Dec. 11 and 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. and there will be winter games in Mitchell Park on Dec. 18. The East End Seaport Museum is hosting free movies throughout the season. A fireworks extravaganza and party in the carousel in Mitchell Park are planned for New Year’s Eve.

Greenport galleries are also participating in the promotion, with special shows to highlight the holiday season.

Front Street Station, a restaurant on Front Street, will be giving away hot chocolate to kids. Mulled wine can be enjoyed for free at Scrimshaw on the wharf behind Preston’s, and Greenport Wines and Spirits will be holding free wine tastings.
More information on all the events is available at greenportholidays.com.

Ms. Waloski said that the promotion seems to be catching on this year, after more than 300 people crowded into Mitchell Park the weekend after Thanksgiving for the tree lighting. Last year, she said, only a trickle of people attended the tree lighting.

“This year it was just mobbed. On a cold windy night, there were still lots of people,” she said.

The Riverhead Business Improvement District has been holding an annual bonfire in the parking lot behind Main Street by the river for 11 years, during which Santa Claus comes down the river by boat. Ed Densieski, a former Riverhead town councilman, has run the event since the beginning.

“We were looking for something cool to happen downtown in the wintertime,” he said. “The bonfire is one of the coolest things that happens in downtown Riverhead. When Santa comes up by boat, waves magic dust at the tree and it lights up and you’re looking at kids’ expressions, it’s perfect.”

Though downtown Riverhead has suffered for several years with a swath of empty storefronts on Main Street, Mr. Densieski said that the opening of several new restaurants downtown helps to make the area a destination for dining, at the very least.

The event begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. Santa arrives at 5 p.m., and holiday revelers often stay until the last ember of the fire burns out well into the night.

The town’s buildings and grounds department sets up the bonfire and volunteers run the event, which includes free hot chocolate, candy canes and face painting for kids.

This coming Sunday will see another holiday tradition that has continued for more than a decade, when the North Fork Chamber of Commerce hosts Santa Claus’ arrival by helicopter at Cutchogue Fire Department.

The event begins with a magic show at the fire department at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 12, followed by Santa’s arrival at 10:30 a.m. Santa then goes to Cutchogue-New Suffolk Library, where kids can get their picture taken and will receive a gift.
“We are not just strictly business. We try to have community events,” said North Fork Chamber of Commerce president Joe Corso. “We have a lot of business owners whose kids are in the community and we also try to do things to bring people into the village that are not just business oriented. We bring people in and hope they poke around in the shops while they’re here and come back in the future.”

The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce last week held its annual visit from Santa Claus at the Waldbaum’s Shopping Center. Every year, the event includes a free movie at the Mattituck Cinema.

“It’s almost as old as Santa now. We’ve been doing it a long time,” said Mattituck Chamber of Commerce president Terry McShane. “We also have a shop local campaign, encouraging people to support the businesses who support you all year.

We put Christmas trees throughout Mattituck. It beautifies the town and also shows which stores are Mattituck Chamber-related.”

The group also decorates Love Lane for the holidays.

“We’re a small group of people but everybody plays a part in encouraging people to shop more locally,” he said.


12/06/10 9:07am
12/06/2010 9:07 AM

JENNETT MERIDEN RUSSELL | Santa Claus makes his way down Main Street during the Riverhead Lions Club annual Christmas parade

Hundreds of people braved bitter cold temperatures Sunday to see Santa and the Riverhead Lions Club annual Christmas Parade trundle down Main Street in Riverhead.

Lasting about a half-hour,  the parade featured a showing of fire departments, ambulance companies, clubs, classic cars, farmers, dignitaries, kids and even a pirate or two from Riverhead and surrounding areas. The parade was followed by a kids meet and greet with Santa on the Riverhead Town show mobile in the parking lot next to the Peconic River.

During post parade ceremonies, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter presented Santa with a key to the town.

“This is a very special day and a very special time of the year,” Mr. Walter said. “And Santa Claus, for those of us who don’t have chimneys, we present the key to the Town of Riverhead to you, so you can get in and give all the good boys and girls, moms and dads, presents.”

Riverhead Lions Club President Robert Kozakiewicz said he was pleased by the turnout and recalled that as a child, he had regularly attended the parade and waited in line to see Santa Claus after the march.

“There was a nice showing, we had a lot of participants in the parade,” said Mr. Kozakiewicz, who has been Lions Club president for more than a decade. “We’ve been doing this event since we were chartered, about 50 – 60 years, and I know from my days as a young man, I remember coming down here and standing on that line, waiting for Santa. The Lions were kind enough to send me to camp one year, so, I’ve known the Lions for quite a while and the juxtaposition to president is great. It was a wonderful transition.”

Among those to meet Santa was 6-year-old Jayme Seal. While most kids greeted Santa and quickly moved on to getting candy in a large box next to the jolly old elf, the little Riverhead resident spent several minutes hugging and chatting with the king of Christmas to make sure that her holiday present wishes were filed properly.

“I asked Santa for a video doll,” Jayme said, with no explanation of just exactly what a “video doll” was. Even so, she felt certain that the man in red still got the order right. “And, Santa said I could get anything.”

Participating in the parade was Aysha Ozyilmaz. The 16-year-old Riverhead resident is a member of the Riverhead Key Club Maritime Pirates.

Dressed in full pirate garb, Aysha noted that the Key Club would be hosting a Pirates Christmas Show, starring the Maritime Pirates, on Thursday, December 16, at Pulaski Street Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.; show time is 7:30 p.m.

Aysha said being a Maritime Pirate and participating in the parade was a matter of community involvement, which she said warmed her heart — despite the freezing cold temperatures.

“It was cold! Very cold, but seeing the kid’s smiles really made my day,” Aysha said. “It’s all about community spirit and making the kids smile.”