East Quogue community notes

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I have not been so moved by a presidential inauguration since John F. Kennedy took the oath of office in 1961. My hopes and prayers for peace and unity are with our new president.

East Quogue might be a small hamlet, but I am excited to report that we had our very own representative at the inauguration of President Barack Obama! Twelve-year-old Michael Zarro, a seventh-grader from Westhampton Beach Middle School, attended the inauguration as part of the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference.

Michael, an alumnus of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference, witnessed history in the making as the 44th president of the United States was sworn-in at the National Mall. He also watched the inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Avenue and, afterwards, celebrated at the Black-Tie Junior Gala Ball.

While in Washington, D.C., Michael had the privilege of meeting former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell, and Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. I know that your Mom and Dad, Jeanne and Michael, are very proud of you, Michael, and I would like you to know that so is all of East Quogue!

The Graceful Swan on Main Street is one of my very favorite stores, especially when it comes to gifts for me! Regina has exquisite taste and it shows in her selection of beautiful crisp bedding, lush towels, decorative pillows, accent pieces, rugs and kitchen “art.” And, now, Regina is holding a 30-percent off storewide sale, with some items showing discounted price tags as high as 50-percent off. So hurry on down to get the best selection.

And when you have finished shopping at The Graceful Swan, please take a leisurely walk along Main Street and visit all of our wonderful stores. The service is always warm and friendly, and prices are very reasonable. Please remember that during this downturn in our economy, your hometown merchants will surely appreciate your business.

Congratulations to all of our East Quogue scholars who were named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Kristen Alestra and Shari Griswold are juniors majoring in theatre arts. Lauren Ciuzio, a sophomore, is majoring in adolescence education and earth science. Morgan Lonnie, a junior, is majoring in English, and Lauren Tonnesen, a senior, is majoring in finance.

This Saturday, January 31, local authors Sarah Mendenhall-Luhmer, Shannon Smith and Vicki Cooper will be signing their new book entitled “Guided Imagery Meditations; The Artistry of Words” at Mermaids and Magic located on Jagger Lane in Southampton. There will be games and face painting for the kids, treats from the “magical menu,” and information on craft classes. The fun takes place from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Eastern Long Island Audubon Society will hold its monthly meeting at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Monday, February 2. There will be a short nature chat at 7:15 p.m., followed by the main program at 8 p.m.

The guest speaker will be Alexis Alvey, who will discuss the Garden City Bird Sanctuary. This innovative pilot program fosters the dual use of stormwater storage basins by planting native species of shrubs and trees, thereby establishing fully functioning nature refuges for our song birds. Ms. Alvey is a nursery and landscape specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.

To join our local Audubon Society, or to obtain more information about its many programs, field trips and bird counts, please visit easternlongislandaudubon.homestead.com.

Speaking of our feathered friends, for the past two weeks I have had an interesting visitor to my pond. A magnificent great blue heron arrives each day a little before 7 a.m. for breakfast. As most of you know, I designed my pond to attract wildlife, so I am thrilled by the early morning visits of this amazing 4-foot-tall wader.

Did you know that the black-capped chickadees of the Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor will eat right out of your hand? Well, if you would like to experience this wonderful phenomenon, join one of the knowledgeable nature guides from the Group for the East End for a short walk through the woods of the refuge to Peconic Bay. This fun family event takes place on Sunday, February 8, at 10:30 a.m. For reservations or information, please contact Steve Biasetti at 765-6450, ext. 205, or sbiasetti@eastendenvironment.org.

Oh, to be a kid again! Children of all ages are invited to join the “baking coach” at the Quogue Library on Valentine’s Day for a very special program. After making chocolate-covered marshmallows, rice crispies, Oreos, popcorn, gummy bears and graham crackers, the kids will wrap their treats in their very own personalized boxes to bring home to share with family and friends. This fun program begins at noon. To register, please call 653-4224, ext. 4.

The Teacher Center of the Western Hamptons will be hosting a workshop to encourage conversation between educators, parents and guardians concerning the issues and challenges faced by today’s adolescents. The workshop will be held on Saturdays in the Westhampton Beach High School library, from 9 a.m. until noon, beginning on Saturday, February 7, and ending on March 28. (The group will not meet on March 14 and 21.) For more information, contact Susan Kearns at 288-3800, ext. 264, or at kearnss@whbschools.org.

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