Community Columns

Flanders News: Remembering the most important people

COURTESY PHOTO | Family said Barbara Tocci helped others without asking for anything in return.
Family said Barbara Tocci helped others without asking for anything in return. (Courtesy photo)


Hello, everyone. Before I go any further I’d like to apologize to a few people I neglected to mention in my last column. They were also the most important people in Barbara Tocci’s life and I forgot to include them, probably because my brain still can’t grasp what has happened. Barbara’s children, Thomas and Anthony Podlas, were her life and her loves. She was a fantastic mom to those boys and a loving grandmother to their children, Darien, Kailey, Kadence, Cristian and Kaydence (yes, there are two). I’d like to also send condolences to her life partner and soulmate, Kent Brace, another longtime Flanders resident with whom we grew up. Barbara will be forever missed but I know in my heart that she is watching over all of her family and friends. Miss you, Barbara Doll.

I hope everyone had a great week. I don’t know about you but I’m about done with winter. It’s just too cold and I’m tired of shoveling snow. Here’s some good news: Only 34 more days until spring. Yay! I’m just going to keep this thought in my head to get me through the next month. Here’s hoping it warms up soon.

Kent Animal Shelter is offering a special “Beat the Heat” campaign sponsored by PetSmart Charities, the largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America. Through this campaign, Kent will provide $20 spay and neuter surgeries for 250 owned female cats during February. This special rate is even less than the organization’s normal low-cost price and is available to all Long Island residents. Cat parents who wish to take advantage of this offer must mention the “Beat the Heat” campaign when they schedule their appointment. For more information or an appointment, visit or call 727-7797.

Riverhead schools will be closed next week for winter recess. What are you and your family doing? Hopefully something fun that doesn’t require shoveling snow. If you’re taking a trip or going on vacation why not give me a call or send me an email on your return and share the good times with everyone. Let’s see who travels the farthest during the break.

Happy 19th birthday to my son Michael on Feb. 15. Where has the time gone? Every year I think it’s all going so fast and I’m thinking the same this year. I hope you have a good day. I love you and am so proud of all you’ve accomplished this year. Happy birthday also to Joyce Podlas and my nephew Ryan Zaleski on the 16th; Laura Huber and Jeromy Ranghell on the 17th; Dwayne Harris on the 18th; Southampton Town Board member Brad Bender on the 21st; Ray Bouchard on the 22nd; Mike Pace and Robyn Allen on the 23rd; and David Troyan on the 25th. I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

That is all for this week. I really can’t wait until spring. Let me know about upcoming school events that involve your children. Sharing news, fun and happy thoughts is what this column is for. Please drive safely and pay attention to the road. Have a great weekend.

Contact Flanders columnist Tanya Doherty at [email protected] or 727-8687.