12/22/16 6:00am
12/22/2016 6:00 AM

T

Four years ago, Frank Field decided to stop running the Peconic County Miniature Rail Road on tracks he had built adjacent to his Greenport home. Before that, the retired railroad employee had offered train rides for nearly three decades, much to the delight of children of all ages.

Now, there’s a chance Greenport will once again have its own miniature railroad. READ

02/13/14 7:00pm
02/13/2014 7:00 PM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Greenport skating rink in action.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Greenport skating rink in action.

Hey, kids! If you’re stuck at home during next week’s school recess and looking for something to do, then you’re in luck.

The Greenport Rotary Club will sponsor three free hours of skating at the Greenport ice rink at Mitchell Park on Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(more…)

05/18/13 5:34pm
05/18/2013 5:34 PM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Richard Clark helped paint the exterior wall at the American Legion Hall in Greenport Saturday.

American Legion Halls across the country will hold Memorial Day celebrations next weekend to remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed services. Meanwhile, at the Greenport American Legion Hall, a faithful group of volunteer veterans and community members will be working to restore the ailing structure and its vintage roller rink.

The building’s revitalization began two years ago, but suffered a major setback in December when George Costello Sr., one of the project’s leaders, died unexpectedly at age 63.

In Mr. Costello’s memory, the Greenport Rotary Club hosted a fundraiser in April. The event raised hundreds for the reconstruction. The funding helped volunteers Saturday pay for the final coat of paint on the building’s recently rebuilt exterior south-facing wall.

“The rotary’s fundraiser helped a lot,” said Butch Corwin, vice commander of the legion hall. “Now with this done we can start working on the inside.”

The project is still in need of funding before it can open to public. The building will need new composite flooring, heating and air conditioning systems and a remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. Volunteers estimate the final cost of the reconstruction will be upwards of $600,000, but said they’re grateful for the community helping pave the way.

“We have help from so many people; it would take me pages to write them all down,” Mr. Corwin said.

[email protected]

03/30/13 2:00pm
03/30/2013 2:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | The late George Costello Sr. with fellow American Legion member Craig Richter outside the hall they worked to restore.

The restoration of the rundown Greenport American Legion Hall and its vintage roller rink suffered a major setback in December when George Costello Sr., one of the project’s leaders, died unexpectedly at age 63. But the work will continue with help from the Greenport Rotary Club.

In support of Mr. Costello’s vision of rebuilding the legion hall, the Rotary Club is dedicating the proceeds from this year’s Locals for Locals fundraiser to the project in his name.

“He was the driving force,” said Craig Richter, Burton Potter Post commander and a fellow rink project volunteer. “It was his dream to see the Legion Hall not just open, but to see it being enjoyed by the community.”

The revival of the ailing structure began two years ago. For their efforts, Mr. Costello, a Vietnam War veteran, and fellow volunteers were named The Suffolk Times’ “Civic People of the Year” for 2011.

Following Mr. Costello’s death, Mr. Richter took the reins. He believes a there’s a sense of urgency to completing the construction in Mr. Costello’s memory. “There is a lot of work,” he said. “We are doing this 100 percent.”

On Saturday mornings a group of volunteers gathers to work on the building. In upcoming weeks the north-facing exterior wall will be painted white to match the front. The floors, which were heavily damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy, are being ripped up.

Before it can open to public, the building will need new composite flooring, heating and air conditioning systems and a remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. Additionally, a structurally unsound wall on the south side must be replaced.

“We need money,” Mr. Richter said matter-of-factly. He estimates the final cost will be upwards of $600,000. As for the construction time frame, Mr. Richter said, “It could be done in six months if someone wrote us a check for $400,000. It depends on when we can raise the money. I hope it’s a year, not five or six years.”

Attempts to secure grant money to repair the 60-year-old building have fallen short. “It is a tough economic time,” Richter said.

Thus far, nearly $160,000 has been invested, which went toward a new roof, windows and exterior paint.

Mr. Richter says weddings, reunions, conventions and concerts are the type of events he’d welcome at the hall. Once complete, the building will house its iconic roller-skating rink, as well as a possible indoor hockey and basketball courts.

The Rotary fundraiser takes place on Tuesday, April 16, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hellenic Snack Bar & Restaurant in Greenport.

The prix fixe menu includes a cash bar, chicken Santorini over orzo with salad and dessert. The food can be wrapped to go.

The Rotary will absorb the overhead costs, allowing 100 percent of tickets sales to go directly to the restoration.

Tickets are $18 per person for adults and $12 for seniors and children under 12. They’re available at Bridgehampton National Bank in Cutchogue, McMann Price Insurance Agency and Hampton Jitney in Greenport and through Rotary Club members.

“I think there’s going to be a really great turnout,” said Rotarian Robin Walden. “George was a great guy. I think doing this fundraising for the legion will help the entire community — and that’s what George wanted.”

[email protected]

08/18/12 5:30pm
08/18/2012 5:30 PM

Thanks to local Rotarians, Harry Lewis’ Greenport house is being made handicapped accessible. The 40-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy which has robbed him of use of his legs.

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Greenport descended on Harry Lewis’ house this weekend armed with tools and determination to make the structure handicapped accessible. That’s critical for the 40-year old who is confined to a wheelchair, having been born with cerebral palsy.

Efforts to help convert his house started in January 2011 when co-workers at the Riverhead Campus of Suffolk County Community College launched the Harry Project. But their volunteer efforts proved insufficient to tackle major work that required professionals.

That’s where Mr. Lewis’ friend and colleague, SCCC Professor Gwendolyn Branch, took the next step in making the Harry Project zing. She told members of her Riverhead Rotary about Harry and they, in turn, carried the word to Greenport Rotary members who rapidly embraced the effort.

At Christmas, local Rotarian and Greenport contractor Craig Richter installed a back door on the house with plans to put in a ramp that will give Mr. Lewis a second entrance to his home.

Friday, Mr. Richter and other Rotarians were back to start work on widening the entry way to Mr. Lewis’ bathroom so he’ll no longer have to drag himself along the floor, but can wheel himself into the bathroom to use the facilities. Then there will ongoing work to make his kitchen handicapped accessible. Eventually, a second floor apartment will be made rentable to provide Mr. Lewis with some added income.

He has been living alone since his parents died — his mother in 2008 and his father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, the following year. Two of his five sisters had also died, Nancy in 2002 at the age of 40, and Cherie in 2003 when she was 35. His other sisters were forced to move from the North Fork — two to Maine and one to Missouri — because they couldn’t support themselves here.

But Mr. Lewis was determined to stay in the community he loves.

For the full story on the Rotarians’ work on Mr. Lewis’ house, see Thursday’s Suffolk Times.

[email protected]

04/14/11 3:30pm
04/14/2011 3:30 PM

PHOTO COURTESY GREENPORT ROTARY

Mattituck resident George Solomon (center) has received International Rotary’s Service Above Self Award for his work on Rotary’s behalf in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Hungary, India and Honduras. He has been involved in projects to bring clean water and critically needed medical supplies to poverty stricken villages and places like Haiti, that are devastated by natural disasters.

In 2008, Mr. Solomon served as district governor for District 7260, representing 34 Rotary clubs in Suffolk County. He’s a financial planner and insurance broker. The award was presented by Ray Klinginsmith (right) and current district governor Arnold Quaranta Jr. in Washington, D.C. at the Rotary District Conference for all Long Island chapters. Only 150 Rotarians around the world will receive the annual award.

“I am honored to have you as a fellow Rotarian,” Mr.  Klinginsmith said during the award presentation.  “I believe you are an extraordinary example of how each Rotarian can make a difference.”