BID gets new blood as folklorist replaces outgoing VP

The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association held its annual election last Wednesday, said goodbye to its vice president and elected a folklorist to replace her.

Nancy Kouris, who had been BIDMA vice president, stepped down because she is closing her downtown Riverhead store, Blue Duck Bakery. In her place, John Eilertsen was elected to the board.

Mr. Eilertsen has an East Main Street business called Eilertsen Consulting, that deals with history, folklore and cultural traditions.

He is currently executive director of the Bridgehampton Historical Society and previously worked at for 18 years at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead, including eight as its executive director. In addition, he was founding director of the Suffolk County Folklife Center at Hallockville for 10 years.

Mr. Eilertsen said he frequently has to explain to people what a folklorist does.

“I do historical consulting,” he said. “It’s more like cultural anthropology; that’s what I do for a living.”

The BIDMA board includes five business owners and five business tenants operating within the BID.

It also has one member appointed by the town supervisor, one appointed by the Town Board and a BID resident position appointed by the town finance administrator.

Only business owners can vote for the business owner positions, and only tenants can vote for the tenant seats.

The organization’s executive board, consisting of its president, vice president, treasurer and secretary, will be selected by a vote of BIDMA board members at its July meeting.

Attendance at the BIDMA elections is typically small.

In addition to Mr. Eilertsen, the other tenant position was won by realtor Larry Oxman.

The three owner positions went to Jim Liszanckie of Sonny’s Riverhead Diner & Grill; Steve Shauger of Hyatt Place Hotel; and Chiri Wirth of Digger’s Ales N’ Eats.

Caption: John Eilertsen following this week’s BID meeting. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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