05/01/13 4:00pm

JOHN NEELY FILE PHOTO | Sophia Parise (left) accepts her first place award last year from Rose Sanders in the Riverhead Idol contest, which will be held in June this year.

Riverhead Idol will be back this year, a little later than usual, and it will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary, said Riverhead Councilman Jim Wooten, who annually serves as the master of ceremony for the singing contest.

This year’s competition will be held at 2 p.m. June 9 at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Mr. Wooten said.

“We normally have it in March, and we were going to do it in early May, but between the testing they were having at the schools, and the fact that they they had a play going on, we moved it back,” he said. “A lot of the kids in the contest are multi-talented — they are in the choir and in band and in plays and the Blue Masques — so we wanted to make sure they are all done with those things first.”

This year’s Idol will be held in the afternoon for the first time because that’s when the theater was available, Mr. Wooten said.

Auditions will be held May 15 at Riverhead High School and at the middle school the next day. May 17 may also be used for auditions, he said.

From there, the field will be narrowed down to about a dozen singers for the June 9 show.

“Last year, we had about 40 people audition,” Mr. Wooten said.

The fact that the town doesn’t have a Youth Bureau director this year also may have contributed to the show’s later date, Mr. Wooten said.

“I think there was some confusion as to who would be running this,” he said.

Longtime Youth Bureau director Donna Lyczkowski retired last August and her position was not filled. The recreation department took over those duties.

Mr. Wooten said recreation department superintendent Ray Coyne took the job along with volunteers who served on the Riverhead Youth Advisory Committee and set up the June 9 date. The youth bureau and the advisory committee had produced the event in years past, Mr. Wooten said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

03/30/13 10:00am
03/30/2013 10:00 AM
Downtown Riverhead, Blues & Music Festival, Vail-Leavitt

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Robert Ross of NYC at the 2012 Blues Festival in June.

This year’s Riverhead Blues Festival will likely be held in September to avoid conflicting with other events, according to Bob Barta, the president of Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, which has held the event as a fundraiser since 2006.

The festival had traditionally been held in July until last year, when it was moved to June and lost $8,720, according to Vail-Leavitt officials.

“We had originally planned to have it at the end of June, but then there were all sorts of conflicting events being planned then, so we decided we were going to reschedule it, and right now, we’re looking at dates in September,” Mr. Barta said. “It will be after Labor Day, and the idea will be to try and do it at a time when there aren’t such a hugh number of events going on at the same time.”

A September festival also figures to have cooler weather, Mr. Barta said.

Last year marked the return of the Blues Festival after a one year hiatus in 2011. The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement District were involved in dispute over who would run the festival in 2010.

“Last year, the big thing was that we unwittingly set ourselves up against the Strawberry Festival,” Mr. Barta said, alluding to the fact that the 2012 Blues Festival took place at the same time as the popular Mattituck festival. “That was really one of the biggest problems on our point.”

He said they are being careful to pick a date that doesn’t conflict with other popular events.

“There have always been issues with trying to not conflict with other big festivals like the Great South Bay Festival in Patchogue, which would limit certain acts from being available,” he said.

While town officials have said the Riverfront parking lot in downtown Riverhead might not be available for big events much longer once the Summerwind apartments open, Mr. Barta says Vail-Leavitt is hoping to have the Blues Festival there this year.

“We’ve been having discussions with representatives from the town about trying to have one last shot back in some version of the back parking lot,” Mr. Barta said. “We’re trying to see if that is workable. We started looking at other locations, but we have a preference for the back parking lot because it allows us to showcase the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, and it allows us to showcase the riverfront. We’d like to have it back there.”

Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill said the BID is hoping to hold its concerts in the Riverfront lot as well this summer, with the stage placed along the riverfront, so the audience faces the river. When Summerwind opens, the residents in the 52 apartment units will be permitted to use the riverfront lot as their parking lot.

The Town Board has a public hearing scheduled on a proposal to establish a three-hour parking limit in a section of the lot between Tweed’s and Cody’s BBQ.

Mr. Barta says Vail-Leavitt hasn’t determined exactly where in the back parking lot the festival would be located.

Mr. Barta said holding the event in September will help give them time to dig out of the financial hole.

“We’ve partly dug out already,” he said. “This coming month, we thought we were on a track to be completely dug out by the summer, but as it worked out, our bookings for April were a bit light.”

He said they’ve gotten a little more than halfway out of the hole, and they plan to hold some fundraising events to act as kickoff events for the season and to give them “a boost” as they head toward the Blues Festival.

In past years, the Blues Festival would already have been scheduled by this time, but no application has been submitted to the town for the event yet this year.

Mr. Barta says Vail-Leavitt still plans to make the festival a two-day weekend event and still plans to charge admission, although a price hasn’t been determined.

The BID originally ran the festival as a free event before facing a huge debt in 2005. Vail-Leavitt took over the event in 2006 as a fundraiser for its non-profit organization and began charging an admission fee.

tgannon@timesreview.com

03/18/13 3:30pm
03/18/2013 3:30 PM
Fame Jr. In Riverhead

EAST END CHILDREN’S THEATER COMPANY COURTESY PHOTO | Performers in the company’s ‘mainstage program’ in a photo from last year. The same young actors will be performing FAME Jr.

The little actors and actresses of the East End Children’s Theatre Company will be debuting an original showcase, FAME Jr., at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead this weekend.

Vail-Leavitt downtown Riverhead

FILE PHOTO | Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue.

Tickets for the show cost $10. The shows are scheduled for 6 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights, and again at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The show is “a very energetic, funny rendition of Fame, with amazingly talented kids,” said Selina Pasca, company co-director and acting coach.

The story is based on a prestigious acting school in New York City.

The story is based on a prestigious acting school in New York City.

Kristen Poulakis, who co-directs with Ms. Pasca, trained the children on vocals and dance.

The pair founded the children’s theatre company in September, bringing together their individual talents.

Ms. Pasca’s skills in writing and improvisation, paired with Ms. Poulakis’ skills in song and dance bring a unique experience to young students, ages 4 to 16 years old, they say.

“I write these shows according to who’s in the company,” Ms. Pasca said. “I meet the kids first, [then] I write what will be fun for them.”

“We find out what their strengths are by playing games,” said Ms. Poulakis. “We decide at that point where to put them in the show. It depends on what naturally shines thorough.”

The duo will also be hosting an open house for interested kids and parents on March 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall.

cmiller@timesreview.com

11/19/12 2:51pm
11/19/2012 2:51 PM
Starshine Burlesque, Coney Island, Brooklyn, Riverhead, Downtown Riverhead, Vail-Leavitt

SUNSHINE BURLESQUE COURTESY PHOTO/DALE HARRIS | Performer Little Brookyn of Brooklyn-based Starshine Burlesque.

A Coney Island burlesque troupe will be bringing strip-teases, magic acts and live music to the historic Vail-Leavitt Music Hall for an adult-only stage next month.

“Mondo Vaude” will be produced by Chris Jones and Bob Barta, who have both played gigs as musicians for decades.

“We were brainstorming about putting together a show at the Vail-Leavitt, and Chris began talking about Coney Island performers he had met while in Brooklyn,” Mr. Barta said. “From that point, it took on a life of its own.”

The show will feature a master of ceremonies from the Coney Island USA Sideshow School, a magician who has appeared on Good Day New York and Fox 5 News, and a pair of award-winning burlesque performers named Little Brooklyn and Creamy Stevens.

“[It's] adult-themed entertainment, but it’s not raunch or porn or anything,” Mr. Barta said with a laugh.

The women are co-producers of the popular Starshine Burlesque in Brooklyn and are coming to the East End for the first time.

“Not only have we never had burlesque at the Vail before but I haven’t been able to find anything going back decades,” Mr. Barta said.

The show also star Kryssy Kocktail, a Brooklyn native who performs as a sword swallower and blade box girl with the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.

Live music will be provided by the Moto-Wrays, an instrumental group that specializes in retro surf rock, and the Sunnyland Jazz Band, a Long Island-based group of versatile musicians specializing in the New Orleans and Chicago-style traditional jazz popular in classic burlesque.

The show will be held on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. Advance tickets cost $39 each and are available at www.mondovaude.com. Tickets at the door will cost $44 each, if any tickets are available. No one under 17 years of age will be admitted. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and beer and wine will be served.

psquire@timesreview.com

10/05/12 8:00am
10/05/2012 8:00 AM
Riverhead, Vali-Leavitt Music Hall, British Invasion, Chad and Jeremy

COURTESY PHOTO | A recent photograph of Chad Stuart (left) and Jeremy Clyde in London.

The Chad and Jeremy rock and roll group, part of the so-called British Invasion of the 1960s and singers of hits “Yesterday’s Gone” and “A Summer Song” are performing tonight, Friday, at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in downtown Riverhead.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the show, produced by Sandpiper Ice Cream of Greenport, which previously brought former Monkee Peter Tork to the North Fork, are $25 for general admission and $35 for VIP seating. Tickets are available at sandpiper.ticketleap.com.

We recently caught up with Chad Stuart, one half of Chad and Jeremy (Jeremy Clyde).

He talked about their music, their breakup after Mr. Clyde returned to England to pursue an acting career, and the duo’s rebirth.

Q: You and Jeremy have been performing together for more than half a century. How have you done it?
A: Well, we cheated because we have not performed consistently for the past half-century. If we had, we would have killed each other long ago. We officially broke it off at the end of the ’60s. Jeremy decided he wanted to go back to acting and went back to London, which was sort of inevitable. He’s a unique person. He’s also the nephew of the Duke of Wellington.

Q: What did you do during the ’70s?
A: I floundered about L.A. and did a lot of arranging. I was a staff producer at A&M Records and media director for the Smothers Brothers. I tried my hand at just about everything. I was trained as an arranger and am basically the musician of the duo. Jeremy’s the actor. Actors don’t work, they just pretend to work.

Q: Was he acting when you met?
A: Yes. I met him at a drama school in London called the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Q: How did you reunite?
A: We did a tour called the British Invasion II, which is a bit embarrassing, but it was quite lucrative and fun to do. I put together a band of my friends in L.A., so it was kind of fun.

Q: What do you mean embarrassing? Was it embarrassing to be part of the British Invasion?
A: It is, in retrospect. They keep trotting it out. You can see a cartoon on our website that has this grizzled old veteran chatting up this younger woman in a bar and he says, “Perhaps you remember me from the British Invasion.” And she says, “1776 or 1812?”

Q: Did you feel like a commodity during that time?
A: Oh, absolutely, and we didn’t get paid for the first three hit singles and two albums.

Q: Sounds like they took you to the cleaners.
A: They took everyone to the cleaners. It wasn’t just them. That’s just the way it was because we were kids and didn’t have the faintest idea what we were doing, so that was hopeless. Jeremy’s connected — his father was a movie producer and partner at Douglas Fairbanks studio and his mother, the Lady Ms. Clyde, was pals with the Rat Pack. She was amazing. I came out of nowhere and we ended up as house guests at Dean Martin’s house.

Q: What was that like?
A: It was amazing. They had a huge house with two laundresses, a housekeeper and a cook in Beverly Hills. The kids were great, too. They had this huge garden and a tennis court and a swimming pool. I’d never seen anything like it. I’d never seen houses with bug screens on the window. I was in my room with its own bathroom, which is unheard of in England, and I was looking out through the bug screens thinking “Gosh, what are they keeping out?” It was crazy. Uncle Frank [Sinatra] would come over and I remember sitting on a couch talking to him.

Q: What was the most memorable thing he said to you?
A: “When you’re singing, you have to sing in the mask. If your face isn’t registering, you’re not singing properly.” Excuse me, I’m a bit hoarse right now because of the fires in Idaho — you can hardly see the mountains for the smoke.

Q: Is that where you live now?
A: That’s right. Sun Valley, Idaho. People get inordinately proud of where they live, but [my wife, Jules, and I] live in a really lovely part of the world. We’ve got a stream running through the garden and a pond and all that. There’s a big pond across the street and you can go sailing on it.

gvolpe@timesreview.com

09/29/12 11:00am
09/29/2012 11:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop (left) and Republican Challenger Randy Altschuler on the stage at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall Thursday evening.

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James, debated Thursday night at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead.

The debate, moderated by Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly, can be seen below in three parts.

09/28/12 8:00am
09/28/2012 8:00 AM
CD1, Tim Bishop, Randy Altschuler, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop (left) and Republican Challenger Randy Altschuler on the stage at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall Thursday evening.

To hear an audio stream of the complete debate, click here. Audio courtesy of www.peconiscpublicbroadcasting.org

Is Randy Altschuler an “outsourcer?” Is Tim Bishop one of the  “most corrupt members of Congress?”

Is Obamacare a good idea?

And what should be done about illegal immigration, or the Middle East?

Those were some of many issues tackled during a debate between incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James Thursday night at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead.

The debate was sponsored jointly by Times/Review Newsgroup of the North Fork and The Press Newsgroup, which covers the South Fork.

This fall’s race for the First Congressional District seat, which represents much of Suffolk County including the entire East End, is actually a rematch, as Mr. Bishop narrowly defeated Mr. Altschuler two years ago.

The first-half of the 90-minute debate was set aside for health care issues.

They also delved into claims made in their campaign ads, where Mr. Bishop has labeled Mr. Altschuler an “outsourcer,” because a company he founded named Office Tiger outsourced labor to foreign countries. Mr. Altschuler’s ads have labeled him as Nancy Pelosi’s pawn, and have harped on a report calling him one of the most corrupt members of Congress in part because of a situation where he helped a Southampton man get a fireworks permit and then his campaign sent that man a request for a campaign contribution.

INTROS

Mr. Altschuler kicked-off a mini-bio by saying he’s grandchild of Polish immigrants who came here during World War II.

“They weren’t rich people,” said Mr. Altschuler, who is reportedly a millionaire. “They came here because of America’s promise. My grandfather sold newspapers on the street corner and then he got a great job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. My mom was the first person in her family to go to college and unfortunately, when I was young child my father left. She got a job and worked extremely hard to bring us up.

“I worked my way through school. I was a security guard and a short order cook.”

He founded Office Tiger, which he said had employees all over the world, including 750 in the U.S., and sold it in 2006. He then founded a company called Cloud Blue, which recycles electronics. That company has 400 American jobs, Mr. Altschuler said.

“I decided to run for office because I am deeply concerned about our future,” he said. “And I have been fortunate enough to live the American dream but that dream is imperiled by a lot of the things going on in Washington today. I deeply believe we need to fix Congress. The fault lies in both sides of the aisle. But the only way we going to change Congress is to change our congressmen and bring somebody new in who has new ideas.”

As for Mr. Bishop, he said, “I have worked on Eastern Long Island for almost 40 years. I’ve lived here my entire life and my family came here in the 1600s. I am a member of the 12th generation of my family to live in Southampton and I have two daughters and they are the 13th generation, and my grandchild is the 14th generation. I’ve had two jobs. I one was a Southampton College for 29 years and now I’m Congress for 10 years. And at each one, I spend most of my time helping people.”

Mr. Bishop was the provost at Southampton College before being elected to Congress.

“The reason I serve in Congress and the reason I wish to remain in Congress is to continue to be part of a process that helps people should realize the American dream.”

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, was debated extensively Thursday.

While Republicans have called for its repeal, both men agreed that unless the Republicans gain control of the presidency and gain a veto-proof majority in the House and the Senate, Obamacare will not be repealed.

“But we should talk about what overturning Obamacare means,” Mr. Bishop said. “It means that for every Medicare recipient, their Part A premiums will immediately go up and their Part B premiums will immediately go up, and the 50% reduction that seniors get for project prescription drugs when they’re in the doughnut hole will go away and they’ll pay 100% of their drug costs when they’re in the donut hole.

It means no more free preventive care screenings under Medicare. It means no more free wellness visits for Medicare recipients . It means that young men and women on their parents insurance between the ages of 18 and 25 would get kicked off. Just in this district, about 4,700 people between the ages of 18 and 25 that now have insurance so that didn’t, because they can stay on.”

“And it would mean that small businesses would no longer get the tax credits that they’ve been getting to provide healthcare to those that they employ,” he continued. “There are 700 small businesses in this first Congressional District that have taken advantage of those tax credits.”

Mr. Altschuler acknowledged there are good things in the controversial law, such as allowing young adults to be on their parents’ insurance.

But it also has some bad points, such as the cost, he said.

“When it was passed, the estimate was that it would cost $800 billion,” Mr. Altschuler said. Today, the Congressional Budget Office says it’s going to cost $1.7 trillion.”

Mr. Altschuler said government historically has a bad track record when it comes to estimating costs.

“It’s a very expensive program and with the fact that we have a $16 trillion debt, the last thing we can afford is more costs,” he said. “It also has over $500 billion in taxes. And Obamacare itself has $700 billion cuts in Medicare.”

“On the issue of costs, over 250 economists signed a letter saying Obamacare includes virtually every cost containment measure health care experts recommend,” Mr. Bishop said. “The Congressional Budget Office said a full repeal would add $800 billion to debt. And Obamacare won’t add a dime in taxes that affect families making less than $250,000. Those taxes only affect families making over $250,000.

“On the $700 billion cuts to Medicare, that is the reduction in rate of growth on Medicare expenses. We’re still going to spend $7 trillion on Medicare over the next ten years.  We’d spend $7.7 trillion without these cuts.”

Mr. Altschuler said the Supreme Court just ruled that Obamacare itself is a tax. And the plan won’t result in a reduction in the rate of reimbursement rates for doctors, “which will make the plan ineffective.”

OUTSOURCING CHARGE

Mr. Bishop’s campaign has heavily emphasized the allegation that Mr. Altschuler is an “outsourcer,” based on his founding of Office Tiger, which had had 2,000 employees in India, Sri Lanka and the Phillipines, 1,250 in Europe, and 750 in the United States, according to a release Mr. Altschuler handed out in May.

“I don’t think we are going to get to where we need to be by sending jobs overseas,” Mr. Bishop said. “I have proposed legislation that would tackle one piece of outsourcing, and that is, call center jobs.” That legislation would make companies with overseas call centers ineligible for federal grants, contracts or loans.”

“Outsourcing is one of the scourges of our economy,” Mr. Bishop said.

The U.S. lost 500,000 call center jobs to the Phillipines in recent years, he said.

But Mr. Altschuler said he sold Office Tiger in 2006, and yet Mr. Bishop continues to call him an outsourcer.

“My second company, Cloud Blue, is a recycling company that has created over 400 American jobs and has been praised by no less than the Obama administration for doing that,” Mr. Altschuler said.

Mr. Altschuler was asked about a quote from Brookhaven Town Republican leader John LaValle in 2010, saying he had “never seen candidate with more flaws than Mr. Altschuler.”

“If nothing else, this proves that I am not a man of the party,” he responded. In 2010, he ran a primary against party designee Christopher Cox, which is the son of the state Republican leader.

“I’m proud of my record,” Mr. Altschuler said. “It’s true, we had employees around the world but without them, we wouldn’t have been able to create jobs in America.”

He said that Mr. Bishop has personal stock in TIAA-CREF, which owns shares in outsourcing companies, and voted to give federal bailout money to Chrysler and General Motors, which have a history of outsourcing labor. And he said there have been 40,000 less jobs in Suffolk County since Mr. Bishop took office.

Mr. Bishop said that Mr. Altschuler labeling him an outsourcer “is the height of preposterousness.”

He said the TIAA-CREF account is his pension from Southampton College and he has no say in how it’s invested. Mr. Bishop added that Cloud Blue has 40 locations and none of them are in Suffolk County. Mr. Altschuler said he’s created American jobs, whereas Mr. Bishop has never created an American jobs.

CORRUPTION CHARGE

This issue stems from a recent case in which Mr. Bishop intervened to help Southampton resident Eric Semler get a fireworks permit, and then shortly afterward his campaign sent a letter asking Mr. Semler for a campaign contribution.

A group called the “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” cited this incident in a recent report in which they named Mr. Bishop one of the most corrupt members of Congress.

But Mr. Bishop maintains he did nothing wrong. He said after he helped Mr. Semlers, the man indicated an interest in making a contribution, and they were just following up on that. But Mr. Altschuler said Mr. Semler was critical of the solicitation.

He said Mr. Bishop should call for an ethics investigation of himself. Mr. Bishop said he didn’t need to do that because others have done so already.

Politico, the web site that broke that story, quotes Mr. Semler as calling the request “really gross” in an email to the fireworks company, but that also quotes him as praising Bishop’s work, although insisting that the Congressman’s people, not him, suggested the contribution.

MIDDLE EAST

There wasn’t much difference of opinion between the two candidates on what to do in the Middle East

Mr. Bishop supports getting troops out of Afghanistan, and maintaining our support for and protection of Israel, “our closest ally in the Middle East.”

He said the U.S. “cannot tolerate” the prospect of Iran getting nuclear weapons and must “keep the military option as a distant option” in regards to Iran.

Mr. Altschuler agreed with Mr. Bishop on Afghanistan, Israel and Iran. He added that he doesn’t think the U.S. should be giving aid to Egypt and he thinks the U.S. needs an “independent energy policy.”

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Mr. Altschuler said the U.S. needs to secure its borders better and put in place Visa programs for employees in the farming and hospitality industries.

But, he said “we can’t penalize those who’ve played by the rules.”

Illegal immigrants using municipal services causes financial stress  in the U.S., and “we can’t reward people for breaking the rules.”

Mr. Bishop said his opponent is unclear about what he wants to do about the nearly 15 million undocumented immigrants who are already here. He said he agrees that better securing the borders in necessary, but he said it’s already being done. And he agreed that “we need a Visa program that works.”

He said 60 percent of the farm works on Long Island are undocumented.

He supports a program that would allow temporary work visas, after which the immigrants would go back home. And he thinks undocumented immigrants living in America should get “earned legalization,” in which they pay a fine, pay any back-taxes they owe, learn English, and maintain a clean record. Mr. Altschuler said after Mr. Bishop spoke that he too supports that plan.

Mr. Bishop said Mr. Altschuler likes to blame him for all of Congresses’ failings, despite the fact that Congress is currently under

Republican control. Mr. Altschuler said he holds Mr. Bishop responsible because he’s his district’s Congressman.

CLOSING STATEMENT

Mr. Bishop said he’s help save 1,000 jobs at Brookhaven National Lab, he’s saved 1, 200 jobs at the Air National Guard in Westhampton, he’s brought over $100 million in aids to local schools and $150 million in projects to local governments.

He said he’s successfully resolved more than 1,500 constituent service cases and made is easier to afford college, since he’s been in office.

Mr. Altschuler said “our money gets lost when we send it to Washington” and “I want to keep it here.”

He said there have been fewer jobs and more unemployment since Mr. Bishop took office.

“If you want to change Congress, you’ve got to change your congressman,” he said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

09/27/12 12:00pm
09/27/2012 12:00 PM
Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Randy Altschuler, Tim Bishop, Congress

xBARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue in Riverhead is modeled after the Ford Theater in Washington D.C.

The first of a pair of 90-minute Times/Review Newsgroup co-sponsored debates between Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler of St. James is set for 7 p.m. tonight in downtown Riverhead.

Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly will moderate the debate at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead. Vail-Leavitt will seat up to 250 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Audience members will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates at both debates.

The first 45 minutes of the debate will focus specifically on health care reform, Mr. Kelly said, and then be opened to general questions.

The second debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, at Bridgehampton School. The first 45 minutes of that debate will focus on jobs and the economy.

The Bridgehampton debate will be moderated by Joe Shaw, executive editor for The Press News Group, publishers of the Southampton Press, Southampton Press Western Edition and Easthampton Press newspapers, as well as 27east.com.

“We’re very excited to be working together to give the public more than sound bites to make a decision in this important race,” Mr. Shaw said of the partnership with Times/Review. “Our goal is to allow the candidates to more fully explore the complicated issues and give voters an opportunity to cast an informed vote.”

Both debates will be free and open to the public.

“With so much at stake, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of this race,” Mr. Kelly said. “We’re proud to be teaming up with our South Fork counterparts, The Press News Group, to bring the candidates and the issues to light.”

psquire@timesreview.com