St. Isidore's Church in Polish Town on April 3, 2021. Photo: Courtney Blasl

A Happy Passover and a Happy Easter to all my readers!

St. Isidore’s Church had its bell tower restoration done in 2020 and we as a community are reaping the joys of the church bells ringing, the chimes and the music playing once again.

Take a moment while in Polish Town and listen for the bells ringing hourly from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Music plays at noontime Monday through Friday, On Saturdays and Sundays three songs play each day at noontime.

While St. Isidore’s parish dates back to 1903, the Polish Cathedral-style church that stands today on Pulaski Street was completed and dedicated in 1907 and expanded in the 1950s.

The twin towers that flank its facade house three bells. Frank Stepnoski shared the history of the bells with me. The east tower houses a large bronze bell weighing a mere 1,200 pounds and the west tower contains the other two bells weighing 750 pounds and 100 pounds. In 1922, the big bell and medium bell were installed with donations by the parishioners. It’s unclear when the small bell was installed, possibly at the same time as the other two, Frank said.

Originally, the bells were rung by ropes going downward through the ceilings of the small back rooms in the church. In 1954 the bell ringing was updated using an electrical time clock. The clock was to actuate an array of electrical motors, pulling cables to each bell to ring at the set times.

In 1985, the Verdin Company of Ohio was contacted to update the system. This new system consisted of Digital Alpha Carillon Programmer consisting of array of capabilities, a cassette deck and amplifier to drive the four speakers mounted in the towers. At some point, the system became inoperative for reasons unknown, Frank said.

After upgrading and beautification of the church, St. Isidore’s once again contacted the Verdin Company to address the bells. They did a detailed evaluation of the complete system and found the bells to be in excellent condition — there were no cracks, which was a Godsend. Because of the age and vintage of the motor and cable assembly that pulled the bells to ring, the motor assembly and its parts would have to be upgraded to today’s standards, Frank said.

A new system upgrade was presented which would include new speaker drives in towers, amplifier to push the speakers, upgrade electrical wiring and a new Verdin bell controller built within the supreme carillon and fully integrated with bells and music — which is the heart of the whole system.

The new supreme controller contains a library of Polish and English music for any occasion required. Amazingly, programming can be done in advance for any event day or time of the year even remotely before, during or after a service.

The late Richard Nedosik, a parishioner of St. Isidore’s, was interested in helping out, asked the cost and graciously wanted to donate for the restoration of the whole system. A few months later Mr. Nedosik suddenly passed away, leaving this project in an unknown state of affairs. His family heard of his wishes and said they wanted to fulfill his wishes. Because of the great generosity of the late Richard Nedosik and his family, we all can hear the system play the chimes, ring the bells and play the beautiful music selected for each season and the liturgical calendar of the church, as it did so many years ago. How awesome is that!

It’s National Library Week April 4 to April 10 and the theme is “Welcome to your Library.” Whether you visit in person or virtually, they offer opportunities for all ages newborn to 100 plus. Explore, access technology, multimedia, educational and recreational programs. Check out their website and you will be amazed with their programs they offer!

The Butterfly Effect Project is happy to announce that their garden club starts on Tuesday, April 6 meeting biweekly and then weekly throughout the growing season. They will be hosting community garden days monthly on Saturdays, as well as, some very special events. The butterflies will be learning all about planting, tending and harvesting crops and will donate produce to the local community and food pantries. They also plan to create self-care products and flower arrangements from their bounty too. Way to go! For more information check out their website

The Women of the Moose is holding a Chinese Auction fundraiser,51 Madison Street on Saturday, April 17 from 9 am to 2 pm. Its free admission, social distancing will be observed and all of the proceeds raised will be donated to Mooseheart and Moosehaven as well as other community organizations. There will be sheets of 25 tickets for $10 each or 3 sheets for $25. For more information you can call Annie at 631-766-2727 or WOTM office at 631-779-2694.There will be a 50/50 raffle too! In the meantime, please mark your calendars and tell a friend or two. The WOTM is also asking anyone who would like to donate a basket, gift card or items to make a basket please call Annie and she will be grateful for your donation.

If you are interested in beautifying Riverhead volunteers are needed on Saturday, April 17. You can pick up bags, gloves and pickers between 9 am and 11 am at Riverhead Town Hall. Register yourself or a team at [email protected] is sponsored by the Riverhead Anti-Litter Committee. This is a great way to earn community service credit if you need too.

Happy birthday wishes to Karen Frosina on April 4; Collene Richardson, Samantha Niewadomski and Amy Davidson on April 5; Kathy Kujawski on April 6; Ellyne Flammia, Stephanie Hayes and James Sparrow turns 11 years old on April 7; Cathy Griffin, Alar Corwin, Jillian Ball and John Berezny on April 11; Andy Krajewski, Erin Hubbard, Ginny Binkis, Nicole Williams, Cayden Campbell and Kayleigh Seal on April 13; Kenny Nash, Monique Gablenz, and Joslyn Lawrence on April 17. Enjoy your day!

Happy wedding anniversary wishes to Joyce and Marty Montag on April 16.

Get well wishes to Pat Kurpetski, Bertha Kulesa, Peggy Sparrow, Skip Beal, Ellen Kramer and Keri Stromski.

Got news to share? Send it to Kathy by email to [email protected], write to her at 124 Kings Drive, Riverhead NY 11901 or call her at 631-727-6148. “Around Town” will appear on RiverheadLOCAL on the first and third Sunday of the month.

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Kathy Berezny
Kathy Berezny is active in the Riverhead community, where she has lived for 46 years. She is chaplain of the Riverhead Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, which she joined in February 1979. She is a longtime member and past president of the Riverhead Board of Education. Email Kathy: [email protected]