Southampton Community News, December 17

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Two longtime Southampton Post Office letter carriers have announced their retirement this week. Ray Stein and Dan Zelinski, friends who have spent a combined 58 years with the United States Postal Service, decided to announce their retirement together, having worked with one another for 21 years.Mr. Zelinski began his time with the USPS in 1977, when Cosmo Cambria was postmaster of the once smaller Southampton Post Office on Nugent Street. His original letter carrier route was through North Sea, and eventually Shinnecock Hills. The one thing he won’t be missing, he said, is slogging through the winter ice and snow.

Originally from Cutchogue, Mr. Zelinski has been living in Southampton since 1968, and approaches his retirement with enthusiasm. “You know when it’s time,” he said, “everything’s falling in line, and at my age everything’s starting to come around.”

As far as his plans for retirement, Mr. Zelinski is looking forward to spending time with his four grandchildren to keep him busy. It’s like a third childhood, he says. “You have your kids, and it’s like being a kid again, and then it happens again with grandkids.”

Mr. Zelinski went on to say that the best part of the job is the patrons, and with his wife retiring next June, it couldn’t come at a better time.

Mr. Stein, who has been with the Southampton Post Office since 1994, began his career with Grumman, working 12 years as a contract negotiator for the F-14 program. He enjoyed his time there, but eventually he decided to take the Postal Exam with another friend of his.

He has spent his entire 21 years as a letter carrier serving the businesses of Southampton Village, as well as Town Hall and Village Hall. Along with Mr. Zelinski, he feels that his retirement has come at the right time. “I’ve enjoyed my time, and met quite a few people,” he said, “but I’ll miss my co-workers the most.”

As a veteran, Mr. Stein has served as Post Commander of VFW Post 3394 in Ridge. He said that having flown a plane and gone skydiving, he has experienced quite a lot in his life, and now seeks to help other veterans during his retirement by volunteering with the Long Island Veterans Home in Stony Brook.

Both Mr. Stein’s and Mr. Zelinski’s last day of work will be December 31.

This past weekend, Human Resources of the Hamptons was pleased to see more than 400 individuals partake in the 12th annual Polar Bear Plunge at Coopers Beach. This year, the event raised more than $78,000 for the charity. Mayor Mark Epley himself was in attendance, dressed to the nines as superhero Captain America, and the Southampton Village Militia dressed in traditional colonial garb. HRH called last Saturday’s Plunge a great success, with 100 more participants and $18,000 more than was raised last year.

On Saturday, December 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum will host its 14th annual Winter Festival. The festival will include an Art Market featuring authentic Native-made jewelry, art and other handcrafted traditional items. All are invited for this opportunity to meet and learn from talented Native American artists. Children of all ages can enjoy making traditional-style bead necklaces, ornaments and can even partake in scavenger hunts.

The museum invites all those who are interested in learning traditional building skills and more from some of the Nation’s seasoned artisans to participate in helping to rebuild the Wikun Village, which was severely damaged from last winter’s storms.

Registration is now open for Turbo Tri and the Hamptons Youth Triathlon. Turbo Tri, for adults age 17 and up, will take place on Saturday, June 18, at 5 p.m. The triathlon consists of a 300-yard swim, 7-mile bike ride and 1.5-mile run. The Hamptons Youth Triathlon is scheduled for Thursday, July 14, at 5:30 p.m. Boys and girls age 10 to 17, will participate in a 300-yard swim, 7-mile bike ride and 1.5-mile run. Proceeds for the events will benefit i-tri of East Hampton. Register before Friday, January 1 for big discounts!

After 31 years of operation, Aunt Suzie’s clothes for kids will be closing up shop. The mainstay business on Southampton’s Main Street is having a closing sale from now through the New Year. All clothing, coats, shoes and more is on sale for up to 75% off, so stop in to find some great gifts this holiday season.

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