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Updated: 12/17/2009 - 4:05 AM

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Setting the stage
McGann-Mercy High School students (from left) Cassidy Lessard of Jamesport, Celia Hague of Hampton Bays and Thomas Kent of Shoreham fashion a sky of cotton balls and angels in the school's chapel Friday as chaplain Father Gerald Cestare looks on. They're creating a Christmas presepio, or nativity scene - a Neapolitan tradition in which thousands of miniature figures and buildings depict the town of Bethlehem. Most of the pieces were handed down to Father Jerry from his grandfather, Henry Gioia. The presepio is on view weekdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 to 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 6 p.m. through Jan. 10.
Riverhead Garden Club's floral therapy group visited Peconic Bay Medical Center's Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility on Nov. 24 and worked with residents to make several flower arrangements to decorate the tables in their dining room for Thanksgiving. Members who participated were: Betty Braunreuther, Christine Schmitt, Genny Yeomans, Lucia Muller, Joan Strovinski, Lynn Mathesie, Marcia Moisa, Juana Flores, Frit Mapes and Dottie Sullivan. The residents had a wonderful time.

Jim and Cathy Breitenbach and Nancy and Walter Binger hosted an "almost surprise" 80th birthday on Thanksgiving Day at the Bingers' home for their mom, Justyne Breitenbach (whose birthday is actually Nov. 30). The feast was attended by all of Justyne's nieces and nephews, her sister Lucy Mazeski (who will turn 90 years young in January 2010), her cousin Richard from Hempstead and her grandchildren. Also in attendance, and the real stars of the show, were two of Justyne's great-grandchildren, Olivia and Lucas (who turned 1 Nov. 19) Diamond. The main course consisted of three turkeys and a ham, with 18 side dishes prepared by the whole gang. There were even some leftovers for everyone to take home as a reminder of a great affair. Amid all the festivities and well wishes for Justyne, the gang learned how to play LCR (left, center, right), which was a hit. This time pumpkin pie took a backseat for whipped cream, blueberry and chocolate cake, and a round of happy birthday wishes.

Belated happy birthday wishes to Cathy Breitenbach, who celebrated Nov. 25, and to Pat Walsh, Dec. 3. Pat and her friend Christine Mapes are going to celebrate their birthday this year in a special way. They are going to Foxwoods to gamble, swim, soak in the hot tubs and sip some champagne. This celebration will mark a special time of friendship for both of them.

John Neely photo
Trooping toward Santa
Members of Riverhead Brownie Troop 1689 make their way down Main Street during Sunday's Santa Claus Parade hosted by the Riverhead Lions Club. Children got to meet Santa in person at the end of the march. For more parade photos,  see slideshow
Happy birthday wishes to Jim Creighton, Terri Davis, Kerin Collins, Christine Mapes, David Koroleski and Ginger Duvall on Dec. 10; Barbara O'Kula, Skylar Wicklund (who turns 6) and Brian Densieski, Dec. 11; Howie Gassert, Russell Nash, Rachel Grathwhol and Scott Tocci, Dec. 12; Kerry Saladino, Lee Hubbard, Kathryn Berezny and Michael Partridge, Dec. 14; Michael Frosina (who turns 14) and Matthew Atkins, Dec. 15; and Ellen Kramer, Barbara Lennon and Kyle Watts, on Dec. 16. Be sure to celebrate.

Condolences to the family of longtime resident Molly Roach. Those who knew Molly know she had a heart of gold, was an activist in the school system and the town, and was a woman ahead of her time.

Only 15 days till Christmas.

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