Hardy Plumbing
May 24, 2006

What's On Your Mind

Don E. Howard

Occupation: Retired

Band Director

Riverhead Resident: 3.5 Years

I would like to see a band shell on the grounds of the old high school, the Pulaski Street School in Riverhead. In the summer it's a beautiful place to perform outdoors. They have plenty of room in the front of the school to have a band shell, and some people think I'm dreaming, but my band The Monday Night Band performs outdoors in the summer and we would love a venue there. I believe it is a beautiful place for summer concerts and a wonderful setting for other bands as well. We also could use a community theater in Riverhead; I know Mattituck has a nice one, but why don't we?

I know the Blues Festival does very well and the Riverhead Country Fair in October does equally well, but I'd like to see more cultural things happening. I'm glad to see the Vail Leavitt Music Hall open and doing business, they're doing pretty good, and I'd like to see the Suffolk Theatre do the same. And I know we've been hemming and hawing about that theater for years, but there's a lot of culture to be had in our area, and if we could just find the rooms to put it in, it would be great.

The Suffolk Theatre is such a nice theater and I know it's a can of worms

. . . but I just don't understand why something isn't being done to get it open. Because there's so much potential out here and I see at my own concerts where the crowds are standing room only. Which tells me there's room for more cultural activities, like The Sound Symphony, which only plays once per year if that. And if there were more things to do culturally speaking — we'd attract people to the area. But somebody has to take charge and make a commitment to work on getting the facilities we need so desperately.

This is not an exclusively summer area like the Hamptons, but look at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, they're doing incredibly well. They have big acts and a choice of groups performing there. As far as Riverhead, I think we'll just have to test the waters to see what people prefer. Either people will come or they won't, but the only thing to do is try and if it doesn't work, it doesn't and if it does, great.

Downtown Riverhead can only get better, even if you have to persuade those to come here to perform. I know one thing's for certain, where there's people, there is talent. And with the Riverhead area as the capital of the North Shore so to speak, we have to dig out the talent to be able to provide the entertainment for locals and visitors alike.

On another note, I think we need an additional traffic circle on Route 58, where Mill Road and Pulaski St. merge. The purpose of a traffic circle is to speed up traffic, right now it's doing the opposite, and it moves very slow. Also on Route 58 between 495 and Route 105. I don't know why they have two lanes going west and one lane going east — it should be the other way around. Because of so much shopping in the area and travelers going east to the North Shore, there's always a back-up of traffic.

Besides that, I enjoy living out here. And I'm lucky because I have a wonderful organization I direct, The Monday Night Band

. . . which I call my pride and joy.

If you live or work on the North Fork and want to give us a piece of your mind about something, let The Independent Traveler - Watchman know by contacting Rick at 324-2500 or e-mail news@indyeastend.com and we'll pass it along to R.. B. Stuart.

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