05/25/15 6:01am
Dan and Prudence Heston next to the flag pole at their Salt Air Farm in Cutchogue. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Dan and Prudence Heston next to the flag pole at their Salt Air Farm in Cutchogue. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Nearly two years after he donated a 46-foot flagpole to Salt Air Farm in Cutchogue, Mark Baxter began to lose faith the decades-old wooden beam would ever be erected again.

Each time he’d drive up New Suffolk Road, the Southold resident said, he’d check to see if the flag was flying but would ultimately pass by, disappointed.

Quietly, however, farm owners Dan and Prudence Heston were undertaking a lengthy project to restore the pole to its former glory. Now, on Memorial Day, the couple is proudly flying an American flag more than four stories high on the same pole Mr. Baxter’s father used to raise a flag more than 70 years ago.  (more…)

05/24/15 12:48pm
05/24/2015 12:48 PM
Sister Margaret Smyth and a pack of hamburgers she's going to help distribute to families in need. (Credit: Michael White)

Sister Margaret Smyth and a pack of hamburgers she’s going to help distribute to families in need. (Credit: Michael White)

It’s a holiday weekend, and no one should go without a grilled hot dog or hamburger.

That was the thinking behind New Suffolk Waterfront Fund‘s decision to donate 192 hot hamburgers, 126 hot dogs and “enough buns for them all” to the North Fork Spanish Apostolate for local residents in need, said the group’s chairwoman, Patricia McIntyre.

The decision followed the nonprofit Waterfront Fund’s 7th annual Chowderfest event held on its waterfront property in New Suffolk on Saturday. (more…)

05/23/15 3:18pm
05/23/2015 3:18 PM
Michael Brown's sister Karre Brown (standing, second from left) with organizers of the event. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Michael Brown’s sister Karre Brown (standing, second from left) with organizers of the event. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Though family and friends have been organizing a fundraiser in memory of the late Michael Brown for years, they decided to switch things up this year, organizing the Miles for Mike 5K Walk/Run, which kicked off today at Greenport High School.

05/23/15 3:00pm
The Old Burying Ground in Southold — which features some creepy headstones — is in need of some fixing. (Credit: Michael White)

The Old Burying Ground in Southold — which features some creepy headstones — is in need of some fixing. (Credit: Michael White)

The bodies of the 17th- and early 18th-century Puritans and others in Southold’s Old Burying Ground stretch east from the tombstones, even though the inscriptions face west.

“The idea was that on judgement day they could sit up and greet Christ, whom they believed would be coming from the east,” explained Jane Andrews, a First Presbyterian Church member.

While not exactly Christ, a team of redeemers will soon descend on the graveyard to kick off a five-year effort to restore the Main Road site — originally called “God’s Acre” in 1640 — to its former glory.

The church’s cemetery committee has already approved spending $45,000 this summer and fall on repairs and preservation efforts, and hopes to address 50 to 70 of the old stones. The church will also be seeking grants to fund the project.

But the biggest challenge, those involved say, is recruiting and training that team of volunteers to repair cracks, remove unsightly caulking and shore up felled stones, among other tasks that need to be performed at what is considered New York’s oldest colonial cemetery.

“We need volunteers of all levels of ability,” Ms. Andrews stressed. “And it all depends on how much help we get.”

To that end, the first of a planned 10 training workshops for volunteers will be held at the site Saturday, June 6, at 9 a.m.

This all follows a survey of 754 grave markers that was conducted last year from church committee members. The Old Burying Ground is part of the cemetery owned by the church and dates to the town’s founding. Today, the cemetery spans about eight acres and is still active for town residents who wish to be interred there.

Among the grave markers that can be found at the site is the box tomb of Barnabas Horton (1680), who helped found the town; Helena Underhill (1658), who is buried under the oldest marked grave on the property; and Ezra L’Hommedieu (1811), a descendent of French Huguenots who is considered to be the most influential man in the town’s history.

According to a cemetery pamphlet and other resources, Mr. L’Hommedieu was taught by Native Americans how to make quality fertilizer (a skill he later passed on to fellow European settlers), delivered ammunition and supplies to the eastern Suffolk County militia and served as a state senator and representative from New York to the Continental Congress.

At the cemetery, there are also three stones marking the graves of slaves, such as that along the property line near Main Road for woman named Bloom.

As the story goes, Bloom was found deaf and mute on a Southold beach in 1808 soon after a British ship fired a cannon into a shorefront house. Abrahama Mulford took her into his home and cared for her until she died two years later.

Also of great interest to visitors of the Old Burying Ground in Southold — not to be confused with the Old Burying Ground in Cutchogue, where restoration began last year — are the carved death’s head — typically skulls with wings — and, later, cheerier soul effigies that mark the tops of many of the stones.

“The death’s heads, frightening skulls with sunken eyes and sometimes bared teeth, symbolize life’s impermanence — its insignificance compared to life and death,” the pamphlet reads.

“With Puritans, everything was about death,” said Melissa Andruski of Southold Free Library, who runs tours of the graveyard. “Death was central to their way of living. Everything was about preparing for death, which is kind of gloomy, I suppose. They believed your fate, whatever that was, is already determined and there was nothing you could do to change it. Hence, the winged death’s heads. Then over time, the soul effigies come into being, so we’re kind of letting go here and being a bit optimistic.”

Ms. Andrews’ favorite headstones at the Old Burying Ground mark the graves of a brother and sister who both died in 1717. Samuel Hutchinson was 16 and Martha Hutchinson was just 9. Death’s head symbols are carved toward the top of each stone, though the wings of the death’s head above Samuel’s marker forms a heart, which Ms. Andrews said is a “juxtaposition of life and death.”

Ms. Andrews has a theory about the mood of the carver who etched the stones for the siblings, who might have died from the same disease. “Maybe the carver was of mixed minds,” she said. “And he just couldn’t bear to use the traditional, grim imagery.”


05/23/15 12:00pm
A man salutes the flag at a Southold Town Memorial Day parade. (Katharine Schroeder file)

A man salutes the flag at a Southold Town Memorial Day parade. (Katharine Schroeder file)

In keeping with tradition, Memorial Day will be observed Monday with a series of parades and ceremonies across the North Fork and Riverhead Town.

The following is Monday’s schedule of events:

• Riverhead’s annual combined veterans parade begins at 10 a.m. at the World War II memorial at the corner of Pulaski Street and Osborn Avenue. It will proceed down Main Street and return to the memorial at about 11 for a ceremony.

• The official Southold Town Memorial Day parade, held this year in Southold village, will start at 10 a.m., proceeding from Boisseau Avenue and Main Road to Griswold-Terry-Glover American Legion Post 803 at Tuckers Lane, where a ceremony will be held.

• Orient Fire Department’s parade will start at 7:30 a.m. at the Main Road firehouse. The route will run along Tabor Road to Orchard Street, then Navy Street, Village Lane, Main Road and back to the firehouse.

• Mattituck Fire Department will hold a ceremony at the war memorial at Pike Street and Wickham Avenue at 8 a.m. That event will be followed by a parade through the Love Lane business area, ending at the Pike Street firehouse.

• A dockside service is scheduled for 8 a.m. at the Greenport railroad dock. The procession will line up in the Adams Street parking lot behind the Arcade at 7:45 a.m., then move to the dock for the service. Refreshments will follow at the Third Street firehouse.

• The annual observance at Calverton National Cemetery will be held at 1 p.m. in the cemetery’s assembly area.

05/23/15 7:00am

May is one of my favorite months of the year. I love the transition to mid-spring and the celebration of first Communion and confirmation. May God bless all those receiving these holy sacraments. May they continue to feel the support and love of their families and community as they journey through their lives. (more…)

05/22/15 6:00am
05/22/2015 6:00 AM

Rusty Kransky (from left), Kelsey Cheslock and Brett Chizever play Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot in ‘Camelot,’ running through May 31 at the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

Proposition: “Camelot” has always been one of my favorite musicals; it had been quite some time since I’d seen it on stage, so I was looking forward to seeing North Fork Community Theatre’s current presentation. Resolved: I was not disappointed.

“Camelot,” with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, is based on the novel “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White. It is the story of King Arthur who, when he meets his intended bride, Guenevere, is inspired to be the most wonderful king who ever sat on a throne. In an era when the rules support the concept of “might is right,” with knights fighting and pillaging, he conceives the idea of a civilized world of “might for right” and chivalry, with knights protecting honor and justice.

Arthur creates the legendary Round Table, which becomes renowned across the land. This attracts the radically religious Lancelot, who travels from France to devote his life and soul to serve Arthur. Most of us know what happens to Camelot when Guenevere and Lancelot fall in love. If you don’t, well, you will just have to see the play.

Richard Gardini plays Arthur’s teacher, Merlyn, with much more youthful vigor than you would expect from his ancient appearance. But then again, Merlyn is growing backwards — “youthening” — and can “remember the future.”

Peter Peterson portrays Mordred, the bastard son who arrives to stir up trouble in the court, with swagger and sneer, and he offers his wickedly twisted take on life in his solo “The Seven Deadly Virtues.”

King Pellinore is an old friend of Arthur’s who wanders into the realm lost and homeless, and Rick Peters provides depth to this robust but daft “Pelly.”

Marilee Scheer brings a comical touch to the traditionally evil Morgan LeFey, who is easily led by Mordred with his lure of tasty treats. Young Ben Eager, as both a page and Tom of Warick, is adorable and earnestly focused.

Three key knights are portrayed perfectly by Matt Tuthill (Sir Dinadan), Kyle Breitenbach (Lionel) and Patrick O’Brien (Sagramore) and provide excellent choral support, as do Kelly Cassidy, as Lady Anne, and Jen Eager, Joyce Stevens, Aria Saltini and Victoria Carroll as ladies in waiting.

See more photos here.

The ultimate success or failure of any production of “Camelot” ultimately falls to the triad of leads, and those here are more than up to the task.

Kelsey Cheslock is lovely as Guenevere. Her voice is angelic and she imbues the queen with a playful, youthful energy. Brett Chizever brings is own sublime voice to the table as he always does, but plays Lancelot as a bit more of a clown. He does, however, still offer the intensity and polish we have come to expect in all his work. Singing together, they bring on the goosebumps.

Rusty Kransky has played Arthur before in other local productions, so I expected a fine performance from him. I found his take on Arthur this time around more subtle, moving and satisfying than ever. It doesn’t really need saying, but I will anyway — his singing is as much a pleasure as always.

The combined efforts of director Caroline Ciochetto, Mr. Kransky as assistant director, rehearsal music director Nancy Deegan and production music director Jeff Wentz have contributed to this most enjoyable production, with its fine acting and singing across the board, and producer Babette Cornine has put together a terrific theatrical team. The orchestra is skilled and complements the singers nicely. Diane Peterson outdoes herself with the costume design, which is beautiful and realistic. The set by Dee Martin and lighting design by David Scheer also enhance the illusion.

Proposition: You enjoy theater that combines quality performances and beautiful music with humor, action and romance. Resolved: You make sure you don’t miss NFCT’s production of “Camelot”!

North Fork Community Theatre
12700 Old Sound Ave., Mattituck
Performances continue Thursdays-Sundays through May 31. Show times: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 298-NFCT (6328) or visit nfct.com.