Montauk community notes


Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Lori Newell, the fitness instructor for the town’s senior nutrition program and at the day care center at the Community Playhouse, managed to spur on her class with a promise . She said that if everyone tried to keep up with an extra intensive aerobic session that day, everyone would feel much better about their Thanksgiving feast. They managed to do it.

Lori, who is 43 and holds a master’s degree in health promotion, is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine and has an interesting specialty background. She grew up in Massachusetts and, interested in mind-body medicine, interned at Cape Cod Hospital. There she became involved in research programs studying the effects of exercise and fall prevention for those at high risk. She then developed classes to support people living with arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, blindness, and HIV/AIDS.

With a team of other professionals, Lori developed grant funded research programs in Los Angeles and then in Manhattan. They focused on exercise programs for high risk seniors and yoga classes for those living with AIDS. With frequent trips to Long Island hospitals to teach about the benefits of yoga and exercise for Parkinson’s, Lori landed in Montauk a year ago. She is working on networking with the National MS Society and the Long Island AIDS Association as well as a Sag Harbor group, “Fighting Chance,” to provide yoga classes for cancer patients.

The town’s senior exercise classes, which are free, offer instruction in low-impact aerobics, strength training, balance and flexibility. Lori finds the day center population highly motivated and mutually supportive. “The beauty of teaching classes for populations with chronic illness is that they’re not concerned about losing five pounds … These people are fighting for their lives,” she said.

In addition to these activities, Lori is also offering spin, step aerobics and yoga to the general public in downtown Montauk. You may contact her at

There is good news for those who have children with special needs. There is a new organization Lori will work with called Long Island Communities of Practice [LICOP], which will offer social and recreational programs to children with disabilities. On Sunday, December 7, between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., there will be a “Swimming and Pizza” event at the East Hampton RECenter. This is a concept that can make a positive difference in the lives of many families.

We met Lee Dion recently on a hike. He expressed amazement about the numbers of hikers who came to last week’s “Cranberries and Dunes” hike sponsored by the Trails Preservation Society. Apparently mention was made of the hike in the Daily News and people came from as far away as Massapequa and Sayville.

Participants in the “Run for Fun” race Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, had a great day for the experience. It was nice to see youngsters and oldsters running, walking and apparently enjoying themselves. Even observers Ed Johann and Dan Vasti seemed caught up in the scene.

Some people were commenting lately on how quiet Montauk is, as many locals had left the hamlet to spend Thanksgiving with their far-flung families. There is one family that has had the tradition of coming to Montauk from Westchester to celebrate Thanksgiving since 1986. The family of Marie Rossi is once again occupying quarters at Lenharts. We met Marie, who had just arrived at the IGA early Wednesday. Her eyes gleaming, she was so delighted to again gather her loved ones here for this meaningful ritual.

Meanwhile, Bob and Charlotte Schorr and Peg and Tom Ambrosio and Richard Langerfeld, some of the library’s finest, planned to dine together at the Lake Club. Sad to say we learned that Christine could not join them, as she was with a seriously ill sister up-Island.

Speaking of the library, we understand there was a good turnout for the library book fair on Saturday, as well as at the Community Church Holiday Fair. In these stressful economic times, it’s great to have people offer some nice gift possibilities, gifts without unnecessary extravagance. In times like these, many basic values are reaffirmed.

Tomorrow night, at 7 p.m., the movie at the library will be a real winner, “Notes on a Scandal” starring Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy. They are an incomparable trio of actors and this film won several nominations and awards.

The “Amaryllis Bulb Planting” program for youngsters will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the library. This is a far cry from some children’s programs in which the librarians of yesteryear had a difficult time allowing young children to even handle books. Now the kids are planting in the library with humus and soil!

On Monday at 7 p.m., the library will hold its annual holiday cookie party. The request is that participants bring a plate of cookies, an optional $5 grab-bag gift and a donation of a non-perishable item for the Food Pantry.

Saturday night’s big treat is the free Music for Montauk program at 7 p.m. at our public school. Called “Let’s Dance,” it features the Dick Lowenthal Orchestra’s Big Band and will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall jazz concert. We suggest an early arrival, and can almost guarantee that the “joint will be jumping.”

Music of a different kind will be offered at a Christmas concert by members of the St. Therese choir on Saturday, December 7 at 5 p.m. followed by a “Cookies and Cider Celebration” in the Upper Room.

Every year, we receive an invitation to a holiday dinner for Montauk seniors on Sunday at the firehouse. It allows for a maximum of 215 residents and guests. As the invitation reads: “Cost? Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Rien. Free fer nuttin.” Reservations are required at 668-5695. The sponsors are the fire department and Lions Club. The Boy Scouts, the Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary and students from the East Hampton High School will help.

We asked our neighbor and fire department member Frank Knoll how long he recollects this unusual gift being given to the community. “As long as I can remember,” said Frank, who moved here from Manhattan in 1965. He recently broke a bone in his left foot, so “this will be the first time I’ll be sitting down instead of working,” he said.

Saturday evening’s lighting of the Montauk Lighthouse was seen by 5,000, “and we were thrilled,” said Betsy White, president of the Montauk Historical Society. Unfortunately, we weren’t among that number, as at 5:30 p.m. our car with eager grandchildren aboard, was immobilized by the incredible traffic that crawled or halted just around the county park. A few cars were headed west, but the eastbound volume was intense.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Betsy said. Neither did we, as after 30 minutes, we turned around with two disappointed kids and their disappointed driver. Joan Lycke is reported to have waited one hour and told Betsy that it was well worth the wait.

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