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The Bates House

Meet New York Times Best Selling Author Carl Safina at the Bates House in Setauket on June 13. File photo

The Bates House, 1 Bates Road, Setauket welcomes New York Times Best Selling Author Carl Safina for an Author Talk on Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. Safina will be reading from his many bestselling and award-winning books and talk about the work of his not-for-profit organization, The Safina Center, based in Setauket. A book signing will follow. $10 per person. To register, visit www.thebateshouse.org. For more information, call 631-689-7054

Stitch the Red-Tailed Hawk is just one of many raptors living at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown. Photo by John Davis

By Tara Mae

Birds of a feather, come together to support Sweetbriar Nature Center’s latest event, Rock ‘N’ Raptors, that puts the “fun” in fundraisers! The celebration will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Bates House, 1 Bates Road in Setauket from 2 to 6 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Smithtown wildlife rehabilitation and nature preserve.

Meet Lily the Great Horned Owl at the Bates House in Setauket on Dec. 11. Photo by John Davis

“We have never done an event that featured only raptors, though they are the majority of what we have [at Sweetbriar], so it is an important opportunity to promote them. They are really expensive to feed…and since organizations like ours are not funded by the state or local governments, we largely depend on the generosity of our supporters,” said Sweetbriar’s Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation Janine Bendicksen.

The fundraiser will feature live music, raffles, games, and other activities. An auction, currently underway online, will conclude in person that night. St. James Brewery will provide beer and other beverages while Maui Chop House’s food truck will be onsite offering savory snacks. Homemade baked goods, created by volunteers, will be available for purchase. The guests of honor, raptors including a barn owl, Eurasian eagle owl, great horned owl, red tailed hawk, will make a fashionably late entrance as the music fades out, intermingling with guests and performing a demonstration. 

Brimstone (William M. Kucmierowski), a pro-wrestler, author, actor, and host of The Grindhouse Radio, will act as Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon. Three different tribute bands will provide the soundtrack for making merry and raising money: The Petty Rumors, a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover band; Streetfighter, a Rolling Stones cover band; and 70s Rock Parade, a genre cover band. Each will each play a 45 minute set. All of the entertainment is donating their time. 

Having first connected with Sweetbriar through social media when he reached out to Bendicksen to see if he could meet baby squirrels being cared for in its rehabilitation unit, Brimstone is happy to lend his name and talents since he wants to amplify both the center’s work and its needs. 

“As a native Long Islander, I have known about Sweetbriar for many years, but I did not know in detail the true heroes they are until I was going back and forth with Janine on social media,” Brimstone said. “I got to see what they do at Sweetbriar and how they rehabilitate the animals. They are overworked and underappreciated and it kills me that they do not get the help, attention, and assistance that they deserve.”  

Meet Nebula the Barn Owl at Sweetbriar’s fundraiser on Dec. 11. Photo by John Davis

John Davis, who has been volunteering at Sweetbriar for two years, was similarly drawn to work with Sweetbriar after he visited the center and explored the nature preserve while participating in a photo shoot with a photography club. Now, he volunteers there a couple days a week and primarily handles the raptor residents, inspired by their majesty even in adversity. 

“They are majestic, powerful, efficient, streamlined, glorious hunters that are incredibly beautiful. What I find most interesting with our raptors is despite their shortcomings, whether it’s wing injuries or vision loss…or both, they’ve all found a way to adapt. They know their own  aviaries and navigate then with precision despite not being able to fly or see,” he said. 

As a tribute to the raptors and a sign of his dedication to the cause, Davis is coming out of retirement for one night only, resuming his role as the bassist and a vocalist for 70s Rock Parade. (He retired from the group last year.) Davis also helped connect the musicians with Sweetbriar.

The power of community interdependency, both in the animal kingdom and human society, are themes that tie this event and Sweetbriar’s mission together. Located on 54 acres of diverse garden, woodland, field, and wetland habitats, Sweetbriar’s rehabilitation unit, in addition to the raptors, houses other animals, such as rabbits, squirrels, songbirds and even tarantulas. 

There are over 100 permanent residents who call Sweetbriar home. Many of them live inside the center, but most reside in permanent enclosures. The staff and volunteers of the center, who may receive hundreds of calls a day about distressed or injured wildlife, treat more than 2000 patients a year, over half of whom are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.  

Addie the Red-Tailed Hawk is just one of many raptors living at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown. Photo by John Davis

“What the people of Sweetbriar do is incredible. They care for injured animals rehabilitate them, if they are not able to be released, Sweetbriar keeps them for their lifespans,” Davis added. 

Ultimately, the goal of Rock ‘N’ Raptors is simple: to enable to Sweetbriar to continue its lifesaving work while encouraging people of all ages to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the natural world and its inhabitants.  

“Sweetbriar is so special, and as a nonprofit, it relies on people’s generosity and good hearts…I show up to the center and my blood pressure goes down; it is my zen,” Davis said.

Tickets to Rock ‘N’ Raptors are $25 each, free for children under the age of 12. To register, visit www.sweetbriarnc.org. For more information, call 631-979-6344. 

Birdlovers art sale to support local environmental groups

By Melissa Arnold

Birds have long fascinated nature enthusiasts of all ages, and it’s easy to understand why. Their wide variety, brilliant colors, seasonal travel and flight skills provide a lot to admire. Those same qualities have made birds a frequent subject in art for generations as well.

On the weekend of Nov. 11, the historic Bates House in Setauket will host a special 3-day art sale and silent auction entitled “Audubon and Friends.” All proceeds from the weekend will be split equally among four local organizations dedicated to protecting Long Island’s wildlife and environment: The Seatuck Environmental Association, the Four Harbors Audubon Society (4HAS), The Safina Center, and Frank Melville Memorial Park.

The idea for the event came from conservationist John Turner and his brother Craig, who shared a love for nature from their early years.

John, who is conservation chair at Seatuck and serves on the board of 4HAS, developed a passion for birding as he watched his father feed the birds as a young boy.

“I was pretty active in conservation even as a teen — when you fall in love with something, you want to see it protected and have the ability to flourish,” said the Setauket resident. “I was really affected by stories of pollution, fires and disasters on the news, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”

Craig Turner’s interest in birdwatching developed later, thanks to an old friend from his time in the Air Force.

“He fed all sorts of birds at his home, and whenever I would visit I would become completely captivated by watching them stop to eat,” Craig recalled. “It became a wonderful excuse for me to get outside and see what I could find, and it was a great window into exploring natural history as well.”

Craig would go on to befriend a man who lived near him in Maryland who ran an Audubon magazine and also collected an array of bird depictions, many of them made by early natural history artists. Craig found the prints beautiful and desired to start a collection of his own.

“I thought the prints would look great at home, and then eBay came along, which gave me the ability to acquire things that would otherwise be very expensive, like prints made by John James Audubon in the 1840s,” he said.

By 2012, he had amassed so many prints that he decided to open his own shop in Annapolis, Md. The Audubon and Friends Gallery sold a variety of natural history prints as well as glassware and wood carvings before its closing in 2015.

As much as he treasured each piece, it didn’t make sense for one person to have so many, Craig said to John some time afterward. Why not continue to find ways to share beautiful work with others?

And John had another thought: Why not make it for a good cause as well?

“I wanted to do whatever I could to support the hard work of environmental conservation and protection, and I thought it would be fun to explore the history of natural history art in a talk,” said Craig.

So the event took shape — the beautiful Bates House in Frank Melville Memorial Park would host more than 100 prints from some of the earliest natural history artists, including John James Audubon, Mark Catesby and Alexander Wilson. Depending on value, some pieces will be for sale, while other, rarer pieces will be available in a silent auction held throughout the weekend.

“Audubon wanted to catalogue all the North American birds in life-size prints, and his work became the pinnacle of bird engraving,” Craig explained. “The idea of owning an original natural history print appeals to a lot of people as an important part of Americana, regardless of whether or not they’re birders themselves.” 

Among the pieces included at the fundraiser are many first edition, hand-colored prints from John James Audubon’s Royal Octavo edition of “Birds of America,” a foundational work in the field. 

Visitors to the show will enjoy light refreshments throughout the weekend, and on Friday, Nov. 11, Craig Turner will offer a special presentation on the history of bird illustration.

It’s a win-win situation for natural history enthusiasts, art lovers and the organizations who will benefit.

“When John Turner approached us about the fundraiser, we thought it was a splendid idea. The art is exquisite and classic,” said Carl Safina, founder of the Safina Center in Setauket. “Birds make the world livable. They are the most beautifully obvious living things in our world and they connect everything, everywhere. It’s truly a tragedy that most people barely notice them, nor do they understand that nearly 200 species can be seen on and around Long Island in the course of a year.”

The Safina Center inspires awareness and action in the community through art, literature and other creative outlets. Safina said that their portion of the funds raised would likely benefit their fellowship program for young, up-and-coming creators.

“Henry David Thoreau said that in wilderness is the preservation of the world, and it’s never been more important to do the work of preservation,” John Turner said. “The biggest thing we can all do is think about the planet in our everyday choices. Some people don’t realize how much of an impact they can make in what they eat, what they buy, and what they reuse.”

The “Audubon and Friends” art sale and silent auction will be held at The Bates House, 1 Bates Road, Setauket on Friday, Nov. 11 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with a special presentation from Craig Turner titled “A History of Bird Illustration” at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free to attend. For more information, call the Bates House at 631-689-7054.

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Representatives from Stony Brook Village Center, above, and The Bates House in Setauket said people have set up fraudulent social media accounts soliciting vendors for non-existing events at their venues. File photo

Stony Brook Village Center’s management team warned the community of a scam brought to their attention by a resident.

The center’s social media coordinator took to Facebook and Instagram Friday to let people know “that a fraudulent social media account has been soliciting potential vendors for Stony Brook Village events to participate and send money through PayPal to reserve a location.”

People were advised not to respond to the message or similar ones as they are not from anyone from the village center as they do not have vendors at their events.

On the village center’s Instagram account, a representative from The Bates House in Setauket said the same scam happened to their business.

Lise Hintze, manager of Bates House and Frank Melville Memorial Park, said a few months ago a vendor called her to confirm the date of a showcase she saw on Facebook. The day happened to coincide with a wedding to be held at Bates House.

The woman told her that she wanted to secure a spot at a vendor showcase at the venue through a Facebook page. She sent Hintze a screenshot of the post she was about to respond to asking vendors to reserve a spot for $40 to participate in a vendor day

“I’m glad she called to confirm, because she said, ‘I’m just confirming because I’m going to give my $40, and I just want to make sure I have the right day because sometimes there’s a mix-up on Facebook,’ and that’s when I said to her, ‘This is not true,’” Hintze said.

The venue manager said it was impossible to determine how many people saw the post and paid, if any, so she assigned a security guard to work the day of the wedding.

“I said every car that comes in, you have to stop them and ask them if they’re coming to the wedding, and if they’re saying, ‘No, we’re here for the vendor day,’ you have to tell them it’s a scam,” Hintze said, adding that they had no problem on the day of the wedding.

The woman who brought the problem to her attention commented on the fraudulent Facebook post that it was a scam and reported the page to the social media platform.

A Suffolk County Police Department representative shared some tips in an email, including individuals reaching out “directly to the organization to verify its association with the advertised event.”

“Anyone who believes they may be a victim of a crime through social media, particularly one during which they have shared personal information or sent money, is urged to file a police report by calling 631-852-SCAM (7226),” the representative said. “If residents encounter what appears to be a scam on social media, report the page to the social media platform itself, in addition to reporting the page to police.”

Engaged couples such as Kim Mangels and Alex Yatron, from Huntington, have had to postpone their weddings due to COVID-19. Photo from Mangels

Part one of two

It’s not unusual to find a flow of wedding invitations following spring’s arrival. This year, however, COVID-19 has put a damper on celebrating love as engaged couples continue to postpone their big days.

A Bride’s Story

Huntington’s Kim Mangels, 30, said she and her fiancé Alex Yatron, 29, were set to tie the knot July 12, a date they chose in March of 2019.

Then the mandatory shutdowns due to the pandemic began. Mangels said fortunately they were able to move their ceremony and reception to July 11, 2021. When the pandemic first hit the U.S., the bride-to-be said they didn’t think it would last so long and affect their wedding date.

“We never imagined that it would end up being what it is now, that it’s changing everything, even life, for quite a while,” she said.

In the middle of April, she said they reached out to their venue, Crescent Beach Club in Bayville. They were optimistic at the time about weddings taking place in July. Two weeks later, the venue told her if they would prefer to postpone, they had to let them know by May 15. Mangels said that’s when they decided to change the date and weren’t up charged for the change.

She said it was easier for her and her fiancé since they were still in the middle of planning, and her dress wasn’t altered yet, so it would have been difficult to finalize aspects outside of the venue. As they look toward a new wedding date, Mangels said she and Yatron are pleased that they have more time to plan.

“We’re excited to celebrate after how crazy this whole year has been and to be able to see everyone we love in one place,” she said.

The Bates House decorated for a wedding. Photo from The Bates House

Empty Venue … for Now

Lise Hintze, manager of The Bates House in Setauket, located in Frank Melville Memorial Park, said she worked with many couples who not only had to postpone due to the pandemic but also some who were unable to continue planning their weddings with various vendors. One was a bride, she said, who found out a couple of months ago that her dress wouldn’t be ready for a July wedding even if it could be held. As of now, all weddings that were scheduled for 2020 at The Bates House have been pushed to 2021.

“The loss was tremendous for the park,” Hintze said.

The venue manager said a place like The Bates House has more pieces for the couple to take care of including caterers and decorators.

“There are so many more players in the circle with you so it’s hard,” she said. “It’s really hard.”

Hintze said while at first couples who had events scheduled for later in the year tried to take it day by day, many began to postpone their receptions as they feared a second wave of the coronavirus may come in the fall. Couples have told her how they don’t want to put older guests at risk of catching the virus or didn’t want to put guests in the uncomfortable position of making the decision themselves as to whether to attend or not.

Hintze said she has done her best to give couples various options, including getting married in a smaller, socially distanced ceremony outside, even though the venue itself cannot be used. She said some couples are still getting married on the day they originally chose and postponing the big party, while others are delaying both ceremony and reception.

The Bates House, which typically holds a wedding every weekend from the beginning of May to the end of October, is completely booked for 2021 as it already had weddings scheduled and then filled the open dates with postponed 2020 nuptials. Hintze said she left everyone on the calendar for 2020 though in case the state expands the parameters for large gatherings and couples decide they still want to have their parties on their original date.

“We’re excited to celebrate after how crazy this whole year has been and to be able to see everyone we love in one place.”

Kim Mangels

Florists’ Dilemmas

During the pandemic, planning floral arrangements and bouquets has been one part of the wedding puzzle that is difficult for couples to complete as many florists have been forced to close their doors.

Amanda Hagquist-LaMariana from Village Florist & Events in Stony Brook village said that sometimes flowers are one of the last things couples consider. In addition to cancellations due to the pandemic, being unable to plan in recent months has also slowed down businesses as many couples haven’t been able to tour their wedding venue or shop for dresses and tuxedos, among other things.

“A lot of things are usually in place before they come to meet with me,” she said.

During the shutdowns, Hagquist-LaMariana would send couples a questionnaire to fill out to get a feel for what they were looking for and spoke with them via phone and Zoom. She has been able to give a few estimates based on those conversations, but it’s a process that she said isn’t as organic as meeting in person where she and customers could look over photos, especially of events the florist has supplied flowers for in the past, to ensure everyone is on the same page.

“There are so many facets of the design that we do,” she said.

With Long Island entering Phase 3 of reopening, the florist said she looks forward to meeting with customers again. The cancellations that have occurred over the past few months have been a big financial blow to the business.

She said that during the first week of the shutdowns the florist had three weddings scheduled. At that point, the flowers and greenery, many of which are shipped internationally, were already purchased and could not be returned. While the events will still take place in the future, the florist will not charge the couples any additional fees.

“That was quite a loss,” she said. “It could have been worse timing, but it wasn’t great timing.”

To make the best of a bad situation, Hagquist-LaMariana, whose last wedding was March 7, used Facebook Live to sell the unused flowers in order to make up some of the costs.

“Our heads have been turning with the different ways that people have been managing to do things.”

Brian McCarthy

Brian McCarthy, James Cress Florist owner, said both the Smithtown and Port Jefferson Station locations that employ 40 full-time employees were required to shut down during the pandemic. Like the Stony Brook florist, he also has to order flowers from places out-of-state such as California, Holland and South America. McCarthy said as things began to unfold, some vendors worked with them, and they were able to cancel a few orders last minute.

“The growers have been dealing with us for decades,” he said. “They were very kind to us.”

McCarthy said there will be days in 2021 when they will need the help of drivers from at least one of their nine sister stores in other states to help with deliveries, because of the additional help, they haven’t had to turn anyone away who has rescheduled for 2021.

He said the biggest challenge is witnessing brides and grooms not having any definite answers. During the closure, shop manager Liz Guido helped couples plan future events by keeping in touch with all of them, and virtual wedding appointments are still available for initial consultations.

McCarthy said while they have had couples postpone until next year, they have also heard of couples that reduced the number of people at their ceremonies so they could still take place on the planned date.

“Our heads have been turning with the different ways that people have been managing to do things,” he said.

With seeing extremely scaled-down weddings and Sweet 16 parties, McCarthy said he thinks people are going to continue finding creative ways to have their special events.

“One thing about New Yorkers is they are as optimistic and creative as any place in the country,” he said. “They really are, and they’re determined to make sure that all these events that were planned are going to take place whatever time they can.”

Participants during a recent Walk, Yoga, Meditate & Chocolate class at The Bates House. Photo from the Community Growth Center

An exercise program at The Bates House in East Setauket not only provides residents with a chance to get some physical activity but also the opportunity to donate to a local organization.

Port Jefferson Station’s Community Growth Center, which provides holistic health services, is currently offering its Walk, Yoga, Meditate & Chocolate series at the venue every Thursday for a suggested donation of $10. During the exercise program, participants are led on a 30-minute walk around the Frank Melville Memorial Park pond with flashlights in hand, then to an hour yoga session that ends in shavasana — a pose used for relaxation and meditation — and before they leave, everyone gets a piece of dark chocolate.

Michael Hoffner, co-founder and executive director of Community Growth Center, said the program ties into the center’s mission to create a sense of community and to give people an outlet to become healthier in mind, body and spirit.

“We’re really trying to build a community of people that are all working to heal and grow together,” he said. “All aspects of this event help to facilitate that type of growth. Whether it’s the physical exercise or the meditation or yoga, all of it ties into helping people grow in mind and body.”

Joanne Lauro, the center’s director of nutrition, leads the walks on Thursday nights, while the yoga portion is led by Erica Kremens. The program is different from other yoga classes as it starts with walking, which Lauro said is one of the best exercises to help with various health issues including heart and pulmonary problems and diabetes.

She said the group walks around the park three times, approximately a mile stretch. Participants can walk at their own pace whether briskly for exercise or slower to enjoying the swans in the lake and the deer and rabbits on the property.

“The person who comes can reap the benefits of whatever they enjoy,” Lauro said.

She added the center encourages “people to embrace their bodies and work a little bit harder so they won’t have heart disease or stiffness or pains.”

For a treat at the end of the night, everyone gets a piece of cacao — dark chocolate — donated by East Setauket-based Five North Chocolate, owned by Ben Conard. The director of nutrition said cacao is good for stress and anxiety, and due to being an antioxidant, it rids the body of free radicals.

Hoffner said the group calls the series a triathlon, and it was original board member Jennifer Ross who heard about the idea, as well as adding dark chocolate at the end, and thought it would be a fun way to raise money for the center, which doesn’t charge for its services.

Hoffner said the triathlon series is in its fourth year at The Bates House, and the agency has been grateful to the venue’s manager Lise Hintze who he said loved the mission of the Community Growth Center when he originally approached her. Hoffner said the center holds other events at the venue, including their upcoming Finding Balance: Wellness Conference, a Martin Luther King multifaith event in January and Spring Awakening at the end of April.

Lauro said she invites everyone to try out the class and take time out for themselves.

“Come down and enjoy the simplicity of nature and honoring your body and just being in a great place with like-minded people,” Lauro said.

Walk, Yoga, Meditate & Chocolate meets every Thursday at The Bates House until Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. (There is no class Oct. 31.) The series will start up again in the spring, and the suggested donation is $10 per class. For more information, call 631-240-3471.

Dr. Laura Lindenfeld will be the guest speaker at the 2nd annual Cooks, Books & Corks

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

You are invited on a date. The night is Tuesday, Sept. 24, the time is 6 to 8 p.m., and the place is the Bates House opposite the Emma Clark Library on Main Street in Setauket. On behalf of Times Beacon Record News Media — that’s us! — I am inviting you and your loved ones and friends to a fun community event. This one, the 2nd annual Cooks, Books & Corks, will feed both your body and mind.

Here’s the deal.

Some 18 fine restaurants and caterers are coming together to offer you delicious specialties from their menus, washing it all down with a selection of wines, and a dozen-and-a-half local authors are bringing their latest books for you to peruse and perhaps buy that evening. It’s Dutch treat at $50 a ticket, and the proceeds will go to a summer fellowship for a journalism student. In this way, you can help a young person take a paid step toward his or her ultimate career even as you help yourself to a scrumptious dinner and a literary treat that encourages local authors. And you will be helping us, the hometown news source, staff up a bit at a time when our regular team members tend to take vacations.

Here are some of the details.

The food will be supplied by these generous eateries: The Fifth Season, Old Fields, Pentimento, Elegant Eating, Sweet Mama’s, Zorba the Greek, Fratelli’s Bagel Express, Prohibition Port Jefferson, Toast Coffeehouse, Villa Sorrento, Lauren’s Culinary Creations, Sunrise of East Setauket Senior Living, Southward Ho Country Club, Sunflower Catering & Event Planning. Fishers Island Lemonade and Luneau USA will supply drinks. Desserts will be sweetly taken care of by, among others, Kilwins and Leanne’s Specialty Cakes. I’m salivating just typing the list. Start fasting. Come hungry.

Local authors include Jeannie Moon, Marcia Grace, Jeannine Henvey, Susan Van Scoy, Angela Reich, Ty Gamble, Dina Santorelli, Elizabeth Correll, Suzanne Johnson, Joanne S. Grasso, Rabbi Stephen Karol, Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, Michael Mihaley, Carl Safina, Mark Torres, Michael Hoffner and Linda Springer. People will be able to meet and greet with the authors and request book signings. Why would anyone want to write a book? How does one go about the process? Getting it published? Having it distributed? Would they recommend doing so to would-be authors? This is an awesome assortment of local talent to have in one room at one time.

A few remarks will be shared by Laura Lindenfeld, the interim dean of SBU School of Journalism and executive director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Gentle background music will be handled by the talented Three Village Chamber Players. And there will be the usual basket raffles.

A special and huge thank you to Laura Mastriano of L.A. Productions Events.

Now we need you!

To purchase tickets, please visit our website tbrnewsmedia.com or our TBR News Media Facebook page to pay with PayPal.

We also need sponsors who would like to support and be associated with this “high tone” event — as one of the vendors put it last year — to please contact us. Sponsorships may be had starting at $125 and will feature your name and logo in our newspapers, social media and our website, including a major “thank you” ad after the event. First one just in is Andy Polan, talented optician and owner at Stony Brook Vision World. And a big thank you to Camelot Party Rentals for their in kind donation. We would welcome your call at the newspaper office at 631-751-7744 or email [email protected].

So come share in a delightful and satisfying event with lots of good food, good drink and good conversation. We hope you will follow up with visits to the participating eateries and caterers who have given of their time and specialties, and that you will enjoy reading your new books. We think when you leave the beautiful Bates House, you will be proud that you live in the area. And it certainly beats cooking dinner on a Tuesday night.

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Holiday shopping started off on the right foot in the Three Village area.

The Bates House in Setauket was filled with shoppers looking to get a head start on their holiday shopping Nov. 13. TBR News Media hosted a private shopping experience at the venue where local retailers and service-based businesses offered attendees discounts on products and services as well as pre-wrapped items ideal for gift giving.

The event was sponsored by The Bates House, Simple Party Designs, Empire Tent Rental & Event Planning and Elegant Eating. Retailers and businesses included Ecolin Jewelers, Hardts and Flowers, DazzleBar, Blue Salon & Spa, East Wind, The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, Chocolate Works, Three Village Historical Society, East End Shirt Co., Signs by All Seasons, Nicole Eliopoulos of State Farm, The Rinx, Stony Brook Vision World and Rite-Way Water Solutions.

Special thanks to musicians Steve Salerno and Tom Manuel for performing at the event.

By Kyle Barr

The Bates House in Setauket is gearing up to host a night of intrigue and mystery in order to support a local horse sanctuary in need.

The nonprofit Twin Oaks Horse Sanctuary in Manorville will hold a murder mystery event at the Setauket venue on Sunday, Nov. 11 to raise funds for repairs to a barn roof, among others. The farm shelters close to 30 horses, some of which have suffered from abuse, neglect, injury or simply the ravages of time and age. 

“We take them in and they live out their lives,” said Cynthia Steinmann, one of the two main sanctuary volunteers. “You never know their stories before you get them.”

From left, Jennifer Zalak with Maggie the horse and Cynthia Steinmann with Frankie the cat

Horses range in age, but all were saved from worse fates or were taken in when they had no other place to go. Two Friesian brothers Jan and Attilla were brought into the sanctuary after a period where they were nearly starved, kept in the same barn as a dead horse. Another horse named Journey was brought to the sanctuary after a very difficult childbirth in Pennsylvania. Dealer was brought to the sanctuary by caring riding students after becoming too old to be used for lessons.

The sanctuary, which is run by a group of just three women, is looking to get in front of a number of issues before winter season sets in. A recent storm blew the roof off of one of the barn buildings on site and there is a need for a drainage system to prevent flooding as well as to create new boards for horses to walk on if the rains soften the ground too much. 

Several of the horse shelters on site could use renovations, including one that needs to be rebuilt, and the sanctuary is always looking for new wood to reconstruct the pens that some of the larger horses can knock down with only a slight nudge of their huge frames.

“When it’s cold you want them to have a place to get out of the wind,” said Jennifer Zalak, Steinmann’s cousin and volunteer at the sanctuary. “I would just like them to have a nice dry spot to go to if the ground is muddy.”


The staff take turns alternating between the mornings and evenings, and each in turn is there close to six days a week or more depending on what work is needed. In previous years, when snow storms closed off roads and blanketed their small farm in foot after foot of muddy snow, the volunteers have also slept there to make sure the horses were alright come morning.

Most of the horses are older, around 20 to 30 years old. It means most are past their prime, and they are treated more like members of a retirement community. “With our guys being senior citizens, they really don’t care about moving around too much,” Zalak laughed.

Bates House Manager Lise Hintz said she took a road trip out to the sanctuary and was amazed at how much such a small group of people have been able to accomplish. “When I went out there I could not believe what I saw,” said Hintz “How do you not help a group like that? This sanctuary is in such need of repair and help.”

If Zalak and Steinmann had the opportunity and the funds, their dream would be to open the sanctuary to the public, not necessarily for lessons due to the age of most of the horses, but for therapy reasons, where people come to interact with the horses in quiet and peace. Steinmann said she has seen just how much of a calming effect the horses can have on individuals, especially for people experiencing depression or for those with other mental issues.

“My ultimate dream would be to do a bed and breakfast on the sanctuary with therapy programs for veterans and retired police officers, people with social disabilities, anxiety, depression and others” Steinmann said. “Some people get something spiritual out of it, some people get something relaxing out of it.”

The Nov. 11 murder mystery event, run by the nationally based Murder Mystery Company, will put local residents into a 1920s-themed scenario in which one person has committed a murder most foul. Titled “Crime and Pun-ishment,” the audience has to figure out who the murderer is before he or she gets away. Participants are encouraged to dress for the occasion in either flapper dresses, zoot suits or whatever attire one thinks is appropriate to the time. 

The Bates House is located at 1 Bates Road in Setauket. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the show will start at 6 p.m. An assortment of Italian food will be served buffet style along with a variety of wines, soft drinks, dessert, coffee and tea. In addition, there will be a silent auction, and a raffle for local artist Dino Rinaldi to personally paint a picture of one winner’s family pet.

Tickets are $35 per person and must be purchased before Oct. 29. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-sold basis and can be purchased at www.twinoakshorsesanctuary.org, by mail at P.O. Box 284, Lake Grove, NY 11755 or by phone at 631-874-4913. If you are mailing a check please write “Murder Mystery Ticket” in the memo. No tickets will be sold at the door.

For further information call 631-689-7054.

All photos by Kyle Barr

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Sometimes one gets by with a little help from their friends, or in other cases, book lovers, foodies and wine aficionados.

Times Beacon Record News Media hosted the Cooks, Books & Corks Fundraiser at The Bates House in Setauket June 12. Attendees had the opportunity to sample a variety of dishes from restaurants and caterers from across the North Shore, meet local authors and sample wines from Whisper Vineyards. The proceeds raised from the event will underwrite a summer internship with TBR News Media for a student from Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism.

Howard Schneider, founding dean of SBU’s School of Journalism, talked to the audience about the importance of the summer internship and journalism in today’s world. He referenced a recent Gallup poll where 60 percent of Americans said it’s difficult to decide what’s true, and they are overwhelmed by the information and misinformation they read.

“So, I tell you this because the fundraising portion of this dinner is to support a young journalist who will work with the Times Beacon Record newspapers, who will learn their craft and also do some important local journalism,” he said. “Because good journalism is not only about Albany and Washington, it’s about holding our local officials accountable for how they spend our money; it’s about whether we’re drinking safe water here in this community; it’s about whether our children are safe in school. And we need good journalists on the ground, starting here, to do that.”

The event featured keynote speakers Carl Safina and chef Guy Reuge. Safina, the first endowed professor for nature and humanities at SBU, has written several books about what he calls the nonhuman world. Reuge, owner of Mirabelle Restaurant in Stony Brook, recently penned the book, “A Chef’s Odyssey.”

Safina read an excerpt from his most recent book “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel,” a piece he said he picked to honor Father’s Day. He said part of the book is about wolves, which he said are very instructive.

Reuge spoke to the audience about the process of writing and publishing his book with his wife’s uncle Philip Palmedo, which he said was rewarding in many ways.

“It was easy,” he said about the writing. “It took about seven or eight months to do. It really wasn’t that difficult.”

He said the recipes were tricky though, because one has to be precise, and he wanted to make sure he included some from his restaurant.

One of the authors who had a table at the event was TBR News Media proofreader John Broven. He said he appreciated the opportunity to chat with potential readers and listening to the speakers.

“It was a privilege to be a part of such a harmonious evening for an excellent cause,” he said. “Howard Schneider’s stirring speech in defense of real journalism was appropriately thought-provoking during the fundraiser.”

Publisher Leah Dunaief said TBR News Media looks forward to the second Cooks, Books & Corks next year. The event was coordinated by Evelyn Costello and sponsored by Michael Ardolino, George Rehn, The Bates House and Simple Party Designs. For more photos, visit www.tbrnewsmedia.com.