08/30/14 11:00am
08/30/2014 11:00 AM
Robert Feeney on Aug. 19 after the Greenport school board unanimously approved his appointment as interim high school principal. He worked as high school principal for nearly two decades during his tenure at the Middle Country School District in Centereach. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Robert Feeney on Aug. 19 after the Greenport school board unanimously approved his appointment as interim high school principal. He worked as high school principal for nearly two decades during his tenure at the Middle Country School District in Centereach. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Robert Feeney has been serving as a sort of pinch hitter for school districts in recent years.

That’s because he’s enjoyed working on an interim basis since retiring from education in 2011.  (more…)

08/17/14 10:00am
08/17/2014 10:00 AM
Alexandra Conloan, Our Lady of Mercy's new principal, worked as an art and Spanish teacher as St. Isidore's in Riverhead for over 13 years. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Alexandra Conloan, Our Lady of Mercy’s new principal, worked as an art and Spanish teacher as St. Isidore’s in Riverhead for over 13 years. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Our Lady of Mercy Regional School has a new principal.

Alexandra Conlan of Riverhead, 54, has been hired to replace Lorraine Delgenio, who recently retired from the post she’s held since 2008 at the parochial school.  (more…)

02/04/14 6:12pm
02/04/2014 6:12 PM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Server Rebekah Desimone behind the counter at Michelangelo’s Pizzeria in Mattituck Feb. 4.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Server Rebekah DeSimone behind the counter at Michelangelo’s Pizzeria in Mattituck Feb. 4.

Southold native Rebekah DeSimone has worked the counter at Michelangelo’s Pizzeria in Mattituck for the past five years, cheerfully serving up slices to the North Fork’s hungry denizens. (more…)

12/06/13 12:00pm
12/06/2013 12:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Lois Ross of Southold has directed the North Fork Chorale for the past 20 years.

For the past two decades, Lois Ross of Southold has served as director of the North Fork Chorale, a 40-plus-member singing group continuing a more than 75-year musical tradition.

Ms. Ross joined the group after moving to the area in 1973. With a long history in music education and performing, she took the director position 20 years later.

“I think I was born singing. I just always was,” Ms. Ross said. “Even when I was in elementary school when we didn’t have music class I would be bossing my friends around and organizing them to sing during any free time we had.”

She took her passion for song to the next level, earning a degree in music at the University of Michigan, and taught for a short time thereafter. She eventually found her way to the North Fork.

Q: What do you remember about your favorite chorale performance?

A: The program that we did last spring was, I think, one of the best shows we have ever done. It was a Broadway style show and I had invited high school students who performed in the various musicals at their high schools that spring to give them an opportunity to come perform. We worked this into the program and it was just so much fun. It was interesting for the kids to see there are adults who are performing and it was interesting for the adults to hear our future — how good some of these students were. They just put together this fabulous show.

Q: Over the past 20 years, has the style or way you perform music changed?

A: I try to mix up different styles because I don’t think it’s a lot of fun for the neither the audience or for the group to do the same types of songs each time. Sometimes we have classical music and sometimes we have lighter music — it keeps [the members] thinking.

Every concert needs to have something that’s funny and something that’s serious. If I don’t look out and see someone wiping away a tear at some point I haven’t really done my job.

Q: Can you share a funny moment or mishap that has happened during a performance or practice?

A: Things certainly have happened … one time at the Orient Congregational Church in the early days of my directing career, it was just one of those days when I walked in and everything seemed to be sort of exploding around me. They decided to tape that concert for television, for channel 21. They were setting up the cameras, it was pouring down rain, and for some reason the risers hadn’t arrived yet. As people began carrying in these wet risers I started to walk towards the back of the church. This little woman stood up and said, ‘wow, I bet had you known there were going to be television cameras here, you would have gotten your roots done.’

Q: What is the most rewarding part of being the chorale director?

A: Doing something like this or, say, doing a play, you develop such a feeling of community with the [members]. You’re a big family and seeing them start out stumbling along and then, by the time you get to the end, they are just doing it beautifully and smiling away. You get this wonderful feeling, that wow, we have come together to create something beautiful here.

The North Fork Chorale will be performing at 8 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church of Southold; 8 p.m. Saturday at Mattituck Presbyterian Church; and 3 p.m. Sunday at Orient Congregational Church. Tickets will be sold at the door.

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10/14/13 11:00am
10/14/2013 11:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | The Rev. Jeffrey Gamblee of Staten Island has joined First Universalist Church of Southold as its new part-time pastor.

The Rev. Jeffrey Gamblee will lead church members in bi-weekly services as the newest pastor of First Universalist Church of Southold.

The 65-year-old Staten Island resident, commonly referred to as Pastor Jef, came to the church after a successful career in broadcast journalism. After working behind the camera at an NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, Ohio, he spent eight years freelancing, producing, shooting and directing video spots. He was nominated four times for regional Emmys, he said, and took the prize home twice in the mid-1980s.

Q: When did you find the church was your calling?

A: I knew by the time I was 8 years old that I was called to ordained ministry. I was always active in church but, at first, I didn’t like the idea of being a minister. I eventually ran out of excuses. I had independently taken clinical pastor education chaplain training; it was hospital-based. When I moved to New York City in 2001, I heard through a clergy friend that a nearby hospital was looking for a chaplain. I said, “Well, I’ll give it a shot.” The head chaplain looked at my résumé and said, “I’ll hire you, but you have to go to seminary and get ordained.” And so I did.

I am passionate about it. My very best day in television is not equal to my very worst day in ministry. Between the Emmys and meeting a former president and big stars and sporting figures, there was a very cool quality to the 25 or so years I did it, but I knew I wasn’t standing at the center of my being.

Q: What was it about the community that drew you to First Universalist Church?

A: It’s the people. We have a really solid group of members and I think they embody the elements of the liberal progressive and spiritual seekers. They are genuinely committed to this faith and what’s not to love? It’s just a welcoming church and we’re always happy to see new people.

The area is gorgeous. This is my third weekend out here so I’m still exploring. I am originally from Troy, N.Y., and there is a similarity the farther out I get past the pine barrens to where the vineyards are, it’s like — I recognize this. You’ve got the soil, the atmosphere and the weather.

Q: What do you hope to bring to the members of your congregation?

A: I think I want to bring an enthusiastic affirmation of the Unitarian Universalism faith by preaching and committing myself to the community. I am here on the weekends, so I will be here Friday afternoon until Monday around noon.

Q: Can you share something interesting about yourself?

A: I play the banjo — not very well, though. I’ve told the congregation not to worry, I will never play for them. I enjoy it. I am very much a music advocate. I am working with Charlotte Day, the music director, on getting the music the way we want it.

I also do still photography. I was just floored when I got out here. I’ve prowled once and have already got some great stuff, so I am looking forward to that.

[email protected]

10/12/13 5:00pm
10/12/2013 5:00 PM

ELIH COURTESY PHOTO | Dr. John Cosgrove of Shelter Island is the new general surgeon at Eastern Long Island Hospital.

Eastern Long Island Hospital has welcomed a new general surgeon to its staff with the hiring of Dr. John Cosgrove.

Dr. Cosgrove, 56, has over 30 years of experience and most recently served as chairman of surgery and residency program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, ELIH officials said.

Married with three children, he has been visiting the North Fork for the past decade, staying at a vacation home on Shelter Island. He now lives on the island full-time.

The Greenport hospital has expanded its surgery department over the past five years and now does more than 5,000 procedures annually, said Eileen Solomon, assistant director of community relations. With the addition of Dr. Cosgrove, she said, they hope to continue expanding.

Q: Do you have any pre-surgery rituals?

A: I don’t like a lot of music in the operating room, but I’ll play a little rock and roll, like [the band] Rush. I think my ritual is just thinking about the cases and talking to the surgical team and not taking anything for granted. I like to hear everybody and everybody’s input. You really have to be very careful; even if you can do the surgery well you have to make sure the patient’s cardiac history can undergo the surgery.

Q: What drew you to Eastern Long Island Hospital?

A: I spent all of my career in the surgery department and I’ve educated surgical residents for 25 years. I did surgery, but I was spending a lot of time with administrative responsibilities and I missed being involved in day-to-day patient care.

Mr. Connor was recruiting a full-time general surgeon. They were calling me to see if I knew of anyone. I said I’d take a look at it. I think as soon as I met Mr. Connor I was very impressed with the care here, his leadership and vision for the future.

Q: You perform a variety of surgical procedures, including laparoscopic surgeries, hernia repairs, colon resections and gastric procedures. Do you consider any of these your specialty?

A: I don’t really consider myself a specialist but what I think I bring to the field is a broad background in general surgery — and you see some difficult cases when you’ve been practicing as long as I have. I think if there’s one field in particular, gastrointestinal surgery is my area of special interest. We want to be able to expand our laparoscopic surgeries as well, and I intend to do that.

Q: How is Eastern Long Island Hospital different from other hospitals you’ve worked at in your career?

A: I’ve never been to a place that’s so supportive and welcoming. Everybody here has really gone over the top to make me feel a part of the team and the family. I don’t use the term “family” loosely, either. It’s highly organized and the emphasis is on patient care. It’s really a very special place. I can’t see myself going anywhere else.

[email protected]

06/14/12 10:18am
06/14/2012 10:18 AM

Billy Hands III is always active, whether performing a poem or his duties as a father and husband, pumping gas or fixing cars. As a young boy growing up in New Jersey, he spent his summers following his father, a major league baseball star, rather than lolling around the Jersey shore. He’s never been typical, but he’s sure a romantic. His biggest dream to date is getting lost somewhere, anywhere, with his wife, Janet.

Q: What inspires your writing?

A: My grandfather. The titles of both my books are things he used to say. “Marry a girl with money,” is one of them. “You’ll learn to love her,” he’d say.
Bill Hands Sr. was a philosopher and a musician who also worked in the bakery business delivering vanilla to German bakeries in Bergen County, N.J. I did deliveries with him on Saturday mornings.

Q: What was your life like as a child?

A: My father, Billy Hands Jr., was a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, so my two sisters and I had an interesting upbringing. We’d go to school in New Jersey in the winter, then move to Chicago or Minnesota in the spring and spend the summer there. When you’re a struggling artist or professional, eating bologna and mixing Kool-Aid to stay alive, your significant other is your biggest rock. That’s how it was with my parents, it was Bill and Sandy in the spotlight, until he became famous in 1969, the year the New York Mets won the World Series. My father was a 20-game winner and the Cubs finished second in their division. As my father made a name for himself, my mother, for whatever reason, took two steps back.
She was the glue that held the family together until she died on March 10, 1990 from alcoholism. She was 47.

Q: What is like being the son of a professional baseball player?

A: When you grow up with a certain lifestyle, it’s all you know, so it seems normal. I think I’m more enamored by the professional baseball lifestyle now that I’m older and understand it more than when I was actually the son of a professional athlete because it’s all I knew, it’s what we did.
With professional baseball, you had a tendency to stick to your own. My father always roomed with his catcher, Randy Hundley, when he went on road trips, so naturally his son, Todd Hundley, and I became good friends. Todd was three years younger than me and I think he still holds the national league record for most home runs as a national league catcher. He caught for the Mets.

Q: When did you begin writing?

A: I started writing in 1977, when I was in 7th grade. I had the best English teacher ever, named Bill McGuire. One day, we walked into the classroom and the lights were out. He had his pants, flannel shirt and boots on the floor with the overhead projector shining on them and next to his clothing was a note and pencil that said, “I don’t know what’s happening. This strange force is coming over me. I think I’m going to…” and then scribbles. He came walking into the classroom five minutes later, threw on the lights, shut off the overhead projector and said, “Everybody sit down and finish the story.”
I wrote a poem called “The Wandering White Bird” in his class and a song called, “Where has it gone,” for an album we recorded in class. That’s where everything started.
I always thought about going back to see him. When I found out from my younger sister and her friend that Mr. McGuire had died, I was devastated.

Q: Did Mr. McGuire encourage you to keep writing?

A: No, when I graduated high school in 1981, I knew I liked writing and baseball. Rutgers wanted me to play fall and spring ball. It was a state school, so it would have saved us a lot of dough as Jersey residents, but I was scared to death. That’s a big school and I was good, but not great and not very big. My father and I didn’t have the father/son relationship at that time, but his words of wisdom were, “I think you have a better chance at being the next Edgar Allen Poe than being the next Glenn Beckert (second baseman for the Cubs when I was growing up).
He knew what kind of lifestyle baseball would bring and the stress it brought on my parents’ relationship not being together for months at a time. I ended up going to Southampton College because I liked the area and I’d gotten a writing scholarship.

Q: And then you married?

A: After graduating from Southampton College, my wife Janet and I put out resumés. She landed a job on Plum Island and worked in the old 2-5-7 building, the one the book was written about.
She got pregnant in 1990 and lost the baby in the first trimester, which is normal, but we asked her gynecologist if working on Plum Island had anything to do with it because she worked with a lot of chemicals. He said, “I’m not saying it did and I’m not saying it didn’t,” so we decided then if we wanted a family, she had to leave Plum Island.
We got married outside the old village schoolhouse in Orient in June 6, 1987, so we’ve been married 25 years now and we have a son who graduated Greenport High School last year and is pursuing an automotive career, a daughter  who was recently appointed to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and Shannon, the youngest, goes to McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead. She believes in love, is a free spirit and writes a lot.
They’re three very different kids and you’d think they had [all] different parents.

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