25 years ago
Riverhead detective indicted in illegal taping scandal
Town police detective Vincent Gianni was indicted on Feb. 9, 1988 on perjury charges for allegedly making a false statement to a grand jury investigating the illegal taping of outgoing calls made by people in custody at Riverhead police headquarters, according to a story in that week’s Riverhead News-Review.
Det. Gianni was indicted after a female juror asked if he had ever listened to the recordings. He responded “no ma’am.” However, other officers testified that he had listened to the tapes.
Postscript: The charge against Det. Gianni was dropped about a month later. Later that same year he was probed in another scandal, in which it was alleged he used drugs on the job, supplied drugs to others and twice tipped a friend to a drug raid on her home. He resigned in June 1989 after 16 years on the force and the case against him was closed, according to a Newsday report.
5 years ago
Endangered owl found at EPCAL
An endangered species of owl is apparently wintering at the former Grumman site in Calverton, a discovery that could have significant implications for Riverhead’s development plans at EPCAL, former executive editor Denise Civiletti wrote in a Feb. 7, 2008 story in the News-Review.
Patricia Pelkowski, Pine Barrens site director for The Nature Conservancy, told us at least three short-eared owls were living at the site.
Postscript: A month after this story was published, former Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale met at the site with News-Review photographer Barbaraellen Koch. He was sitting in his car explaining how there were no owls there when she spotted one. Check out the hilarious photo below of him seeing for himself.
15 years ago
Ex-supervisor’s son killed in Route 25A crash
Jared Janoski, the youngest son of former Riverhead Town Supervisor Joe Janoski, was killed in a Route 25A crash on Feb. 1, 1998, we reported in that week’s News-Review.
Mr. Janoski, who was 27 years old at the time, was driving alone when his Nissan veered off the roadway and struck a tree.
He was a left fielder on the 1987 Shoreham-Wading River baseball team that won a state championship.
20 years ago
New council targets Suffolk Theater renovation
The East End Arts Council’s Business Council decided at its inaugural meeting Jan. 20, 1993 that it would explore the possibility of restoring the Suffolk Theater on Main Street in Riverhead, reporter Bob Liepa wrote in the Feb. 4 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.
“I think the Suffolk Theater could be a tremendous magnet for downtown Riverhead,” said then-East End Arts Council president Troy Gustavson, who was also the News-Review publisher at the time.
Mr. Gustavson said the cost to renovate the theater, which was put up for sale in 1987, might be too much and the council had only begun to explore avenues of funding.
Postscript: Many dollars and years later, the Suffolk Theater will finally reopen next month.
Little Flower caregiver charged with abusing kids
A childcare worker at Little Flower Children’s Services in Wading River was arrested for sexually abusing seven children on Feb. 5, 1993, according to a News-Review report.
Barry J. Wiggins, who was 28 years old and living in Riverhead at the time, was accused of fondling the boys, who ranged in age from 13 to 15 years old, we wrote.
The incidents took place over the course of an entire year, police said at the time.
Postscript: Mr. Wiggins was convicted in December 1993 and served three years in jail. He now lives in South Carolina, where he is a registered sex offender.
30 years ago
Library opens at SWR High School, pool next?
The North Shore Public Library opened at Shoreham-Wading River High School the week of Feb. 10, 1983, according to that week’s edition of the News-Review. But the brief we published focused on another expansion that never came to fruition.
“[If voter’s approve], a $2 million swimming pool will be the next addition to the school,” we wrote.
The 100 x 200 pool would be financed by floating bonds, we reported. (I’m not sure if the pun was intended.)
Postscript: The district has previously proposed building two more “training pools” at the elementary schools, but that was scrapped by the time the high school pool resolution was adopted. Based on the fact that the school has no pool today, I’d guess voters “sank” the measure that March.
45 years ago
Two-million dollar river span is planned
A second highway bridge has been tentatively planned to span the Peconic River just east of Riverhead, we reported in the Feb. 8, 1968 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.
The new bridge, which would cost an estimated $2 million, will be part of a 6 1/2 mile roadway cutting south from Hubbard Road in Aquebogue to the Riverhead-Quogue Road south of Ludlam Avenue in Southampton, we wrote.
Postscript: These days it’s hard to imagine the area without the 105 bridge.
75 years ago
The fat lady at the circus is a winnah
On this platform lad-e-e-s and gentleman, you will see Little Luella, one of the fattest of fat ladies in the entire w-o-o-rld, read the lead of a Feb. 11, 1938 Riverhead News story about the circus coming to Roanoke Avenue High School.
The circus, which the story noted would feature “midgets” among its 100 performers, was being presented as a fundraiser for the American Legion. Organizers expected it to net $10,000.
Postscript: Yup, we had a different style back then.