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Carolann Ryan

Bouquet-displays are for sale inside Fashions in Flowers. Photo by Carolann Ryan

By Carolann Ryan

Fashions in Flowers has been on the cutting edge of floral design for the past 60 years, and this Northport business shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Current owner Debi Triola serves the community well, providing flowers from around the world for any occasion while also giving back to the village that supports her as much as possible. For this reason, she is a Times Beacon Record Newspapers Person of the Year.

Debi Triola of Fashions in Flowers smiles with a floral arrangement. Photo from Triola
Debi Triola of Fashions in Flowers smiles with a floral arrangement. Photo from Triola

Triola, a lifelong Northport resident, has been the owner of Fashions in Flowers on Fort Salonga Road for 11 years, although the shop has been running since 1955. Among the many hats she’s worn over the years, she is the current director of the Northport Chamber of Commerce.

“I am definitely lucky to live here,” Triola said.

Barbara Sorelle, a colleague of Triola’s at the Northport Chamber of Commerce who works for Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk, said Northport is just as lucky to have Triola.

“Debi is a wonderful, caring person and gives so much to our community,” Sorelle said in a phone interview. “As members of the board of trustees of the Northport Chamber of Commerce, it has been a pleasure to work with her over the years.”

It is about more than selling flowers for this local business, according to Triola. She said she always keeps the shop busy by getting involved in Northport events as much as possible.

“Part of the job as a small business is to help the community,” Triola said. “It is a given, giving back.”

Bouquet-displays are for sale inside Fashions in Flowers. Photo by Carolann Ryan
Bouquet-displays are for sale inside Fashions in Flowers. Photo by Carolann Ryan

And give back she does. From something as small as donating flowers for school district functions, like Northport High School’s Relay for Life, to helping organize events such as the Northport Farmers’ Market and Tuesday Family Fun Nights in the village, Fashions in Flowers makes sure to leave their mark at many community gatherings. The business has worked with local organizations like the Cow Harbor Warriors, The Northport American Legion Post 694 and the Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk.

“Debi Triola is so generous to our community,” said Susan Modelewski, a cancer survivor involved with organizing the Northport Relay for Life event. “For years, Debi has donated corsages to the survivors who attend Northport’s Relay for Life survivor reception and she is also a contributor to [the] St. Charles Hospital Auxiliary Northport Chapter. Debi is one of the many reasons why Northport is such a great place to live.”

Fashions in Flowers also supports local artisans, such as the Northport Candle Kitchen, by selling their products at the shop.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Fashions in Flowers has worked hard to spread holiday cheer. Recently, the staff volunteered to decorate the intensive care unit of Huntington Hospital and participated in Northport’s annual tree-lighting ceremony, which includes the annual leg lamp-lighting at Northport Hardware Co. and a visit from Santa himself.

“That is what I love about Northport,” Triola said, when asked why she cares so much about her hometown. “We are a tight-knit community here. We all help each other, whatever we can do.”

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By Carolann Ryan

It’s almost that time of year again. Winter is right around the corner for those of us on Long Island, and if it is anything like the last, a fun winter getaway is definitely a necessity. Whether you crave hitting that fresh powder on the slopes or slipping down water slides at an indoor water park, there are plenty of mini-vacation destinations for you. Ditch the winter blues, jump in the car and check out some great winter weekend trips.

Greek Peak Mountain Resort — Cortland, NY
Greek Peak Mountain Resort is located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, with something for every member of the family. The mountain offers 33 trails of varied terrain, for everyone from beginners to experts and every level in between. Ski and snowboarding lessons are available for all ages and levels. If the slopes are not for you, activities such as cross-country skiing and snow tubing are available. Indoor amenities include a 41,000-square-foot water park, as well as a spa. When it comes to lodging at Greek Peak, there are two luxurious options, Hope Lake Lodge and Arcadia Village properties. For more information, visit www.greekpeak.net.

Whether you plan to spend your winter shredding the slopes or slipping down a 1,000-ft water slide, there is something for everyone right in the tri-state area. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your winter getaway today.

Aquatopia Indoor Water Park at Camelback Lodge — Tannersville, PA
Aquatopia at Camelback Lodge, located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, is a 125,000-square-foot, multilevel indoor water park that defies seasonal weather constraints with 84-degree water play year-round. Between the exciting slides and rides, seven swimming pools of varied depths and sizes and private cabanas, there is fun for every member of the family to dive into. Admittance to Aquatopia is included with your stay at Camelback Lodge and is exclusively for lodge guests. For more information, visit www.camelbackresort.com/water parks/aquatopia.

CoCo Key Water Resort — Waterbury, CT/Mt. Laurel, NJ
For those looking to escape the cold and snow this winter, it is always 84 degrees and sunny at CoCo Key Water Resort, with two locations in the tri-state area. Both resorts include more than 50,000-square-feet of indoor fun, including attractions and activities for kids, teens and adults. Whip and wind on over 1,000 feet of water slides, relax in the lazy river or melt your stress away at the spa. Stay close to home this winter and enjoy a Key West-style vacation. If you are headed to the Waterbury location, you can find accommodations at the CoCo Key Water Resort Hotel and Convention Center. For more information visit www.cocokeywaterbury.com.  The Hotel ML offers comfortable and luxurious accommodations for those visiting the Mt. Laurel location. Visit www.mtlaurelcocokey.com for reservations, pricing and further information.

Great Wolf Lodge Poconos — Scotrun, PA
Located conveniently in the famous Pocono Mountains, Great Wolf Lodge is perfect for slipping and splashing around on dozens of attractions at its gigantic indoor water park, as well as exploring some dryer indoor amenities such as glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, miniature bowling, a 4D movie theater and interactive activities, games and shows for children of all ages. It is impossible to be bored when visiting Great Wolf Lodge, with a wide variety of suite sizes and designs available. For pricing, information and reservations, visit www.greatwolf.com/poconos.

Rocking Horse Ranch Resort — Highland, NY
The winter snow park offers many classic outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and ice-skating. If you are an animal lover, enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides as well as trail rides. If you want to feel like it’s an 85 degree day in January, hit up the Big Splash Indoor Water Park.  
Other indoor activities include character lunches, BB gun shooting gallery, archery range, a video arcade, Ping-Pong and pool tables, scavenger hunts, Bingo and popular board games, as well as activities directors for children, teens and adults. For further information visit www.rockinghorseranch.com.

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Professors Gil Hanson and Malcolm Bowman are awarded the Guardian of the Glade certificate by Paul Siegel, center, for their many years of work to ensure that the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve remains forever wild. Photo from Joe Ryder

By Carolann Ryan

The Fourth Annual “Fire and Water” Party and Membership Reception was held on Thursday, Sept. 24, at Stony Brook University, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve.

This special event was presented by The Friends of Ashley Schiff Park Preserve — a membership organization dedicated to the managing and promoting of the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve — for its educational and research value with students, faculty, staff, and the community.

The reception recognized students and several members of the community for their efforts to continue the legacy of Dr. Ashley Schiff.

Schiff was a dedicated professor of political science and avowed naturalist in the early days of Stony Brook University. In the early fall of 1969, at the age of 37, he died suddenly and unexpectedly. To honor him, in 1970, a 26-acre woodland often walked by Professor Schiff and his students, was set aside and dedicated in his memory to be “forever wild.”

The reception, held at the Simons Center Café on Stony Brook’s campus, began at 5:30 p.m. This year’s awardees included Drs. Susan and Daniel O’Leary, Malcolm Bowman, and Gil Hanson, as well as the presentation of undergraduate scholarships to Stony Brook students involved with promoting the preserve.

Following the welcome and introductions, the awards ceremony commenced.

To begin, two Stony Brook undergraduate students were awarded the 2015 Ashley Schiff Scholarship Awards. Alexandrea Van Loo and Andrew Fiorenza participated in a yearlong project where they installed cameras throughout the nature preserve to detect foot traffic patterns from both humans and animals to determine how much the preserve is used.

This year’s Appreciation Award was presented to Drs. Susan and Daniel O’Leary for their contributed time and resources in efforts to beautify the area surrounding Stony Brook’s psychology building. Both psychology professors at Stony Brook, the O’Learys planted azaleas and spruce trees, the same plants Schiff had planted with his students in 1969 around the then-new Roth Pond. Presenting the award was Schiff’s wife.

The final award of the evening, the Guardians of the Glade, was presented to both Bowman and Hanson. They were recognized for their heroic efforts in raising awareness for the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve. Professor Bowman, who teaches at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook, has worked for more than 15 years writing articles and forming committees in order to raise public awareness about the preserve. Professor Hanson, from the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook, used the preserve as a place to mentor graduate students in their studies of environmental and geological systems on Long Island for many years. These men were honored for keeping Schiff’s legacy alive.

Following the awards, invited guest speaker Carl Safina to speak and sign copies of his book. The ceremony was preceded by a wine and cheese reception. The event was free, but donations were gratefully accepted.

The preserve is located in the southern campus between Roth Quad and the Marine Science Research Center. It can be easily accessed through pathways located across South Loop road from Roth Quad and just north of Nassau Hall, near the Marine Sciences Research Center.