Flanders: Big Duck turns 80

Hello, friends and neighbors. I’m starting this column on a very somber yet inspiring note. Every parent’s nightmare is when their child(ren) become injured, or worse. Once again, the parents of RCSD and the surrounding communities are coming together to help one of their own. About two weeks ago, Riverhead High School ninth-grader Michael Hubbard was seriously burned refilling a gel candle while helping to get his backyard ready for his aunt’s wedding celebration. Since then he has been in the hospital fighting for his life. His mother was also badly burned trying to extinguish the flames. In the spirit of togetherness, Michael’s fellow classmates, friends and even strangers have come together to host fundraisers to help the family. Last Friday the students held a car wash at Jiffy Lube, where the line extended to over 50 cars! Last Saturday night his bowling team, led by Jon Horton, hosted a fundraiser at Wildwood Lanes, from which all proceeds went to Michael. Kudos to Wildwood Lanes for donating use of the entire building and the games. The next fundraiser will be a car wash on Sundays, June 19 and 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chase Bank (in front of Walmart). Cost is just $5 a car and all proceeds will go to the family. If you’re unable to get to the car wash and wish to donate, a special bank account has been set up for Michael at Suffolk County National Bank. If you’re unable to donate, prayers work just as well. If you can assist monetarily, know that it is greatly appreciated.

Don’t forget the 80th birthday party at the Big Duck Ranch this Saturday, June 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. There will also be free refreshments, games, music and prizes. Ice cream will be sold for only 25 cents. Everyone is welcome — the more the merrier. For more information, visit

The John Mendreski Memorial Golf Outing will be held at The Woods at Cherry Creek on Monday, June 27. Entry fee is $130. There will be five hole-in-one prizes including a Buick Regal lease. See the Coming Up section for more information. John was the longtime principal of Pulaski Street School and a good friend to many in our community. All proceeds from the tournament will go toward the John C. Mendreski Memorial Scholarship Fund, which benefits college-bound Riverhead High School graduates.

Belated happy birthday to Payton Dupuis, who celebrated on June 12, from Mom, Dad, Ryan and all your family and friends. They hope you had a great day and a great birthday weekend!

That’s all I have for this week in the news department. I hope everyone who has something to share calls or emails me so that I can get the word out. Have a great, safe weekend. Please drive safely and remember to put those cell phones down!