Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year !

From: Martin VanLith []
Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 10:55 AM
To: Fire Place History Club
Subject: Happy New Year !

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012. Wishing everyone the best for the new year.

2011 wasn't exactly the best of years for me personally, but also
weather-wise with some 60" of snow, 72" of rain, cold spring, hot summer, an
Aug. 18 microburst (ask Bob), Hurricane on August 28, a whole bunch of
nor'easters and, for me, flooding.

However, our history club seems to be a big hit in the community, especially
John's website. We are often called upon from from government, historical
societies, newspapers, schools and interested people for historical
information related to our community.

We started the year with a Newsday article by Patrick Whittle, ostensibly
about the Woodruff Cemetery, but it I made it an opportunity to publicize
that the Town was in contempt of court for maintaining the seven cemeteries
we asked to be maintained. This article seems to have gotten things going,
we'll see how long that lasts.

In March, after odors from the landfill sickened 100 children and closed the
elementary school, our History Club was asked to join the executive board of
the Brookhaven Community Coalition, along with the Fire Department,
Ambulance Company, School District, Bellport Chamber of Commerce and 24
other organizations. I gave a presentation about the history of the landfill
at a high school meeting, attended by about 350 people, on June 2, and have
attended dozens of BCC meetings since then.

On June 15 we showed the film "Saving Carmans River" at the BVA's annual
meeting. Also in June I met with Tom Langman, Maurice Wertheim's grandson,
and will work with him again sometime this winter or spring to work with the
Wertheim Refuge for the grand opening of their new visitor center.

Other interesting people John and I met with last summer were Richard and
Thomas Corwin, descendants of our Fire Place resident Richard Corwin. We
took them on tour, had lunch with them and will work with them in the

On August 11, Kathy Curran, director of the Suffolk County History Society,
invited me to give a presentation about the history of Wertheim Refuge and
South Haven Park at their exhibition in Riverhead titled "Private Places
Public Spaces." This was attended by a number of people representing
various groups and historical societies and was well received.

On October 12, I did a cemetery presentation for the Fire Place Literary
Club at the Bellport Library. A member of the Middle Island Civic
Association was there and asked me to give the presentation to his group,
which I did on November 17 at the Longwood Library.

But, for me, the most fun I have doing Fire Place history is getting
together with you and just talking about our interesting and beautiful

Happy New Year,