09/23/14 3:37pm
(Credit: Carrie Miller)

(Credit: Carrie Miller)

Update (6:30 p.m.):  The “suspicious package” prompting an evacuation of the state Supreme Court buildings near downtown Riverhead Tuesday afternoon turned out to be an attorney’s briefcase, Riverhead Town police said.

Detective Timothy Hubbard said an attorney contacted police notifying them that he had forgotten to retrieve the bag, after putting it down to drop off something at the courts.

“He came back to pick it up and all was in order,” Det. Hubbard said.

Police cleared the scene about 3:40 p.m., allowing people back inside, he said.

Original Story: The state Supreme Court buildings near downtown Riverhead were evacuated Tuesday after reports of a “suspicious package” on the second floor of one of the buildings, New York State court officers said.

As of 3:30 p.m., a Suffolk County Police Department bomb squad unit was on the scene near the complex’s Court Street entrance.

A man reporting for jury duty at the time of the report said a police officer asked everyone inside to evacuate.

“He said it in a calm manner, but didn’t say if it was for a drill or an emergency,” said the man, Gregory Merz. “Right away I didn’t feel a sense of urgency, but I realized when they said a bomb squad was coming to investigate that it was not a drill.”

Mr. Merz said he was asked to leave the building about 2 p.m.

It was not clear what, exactly, was found in the building or if the bomb squad had made any determination as to whether it was dangerous.

09/23/14 10:00am
Amy Methven, a senior at RHS, was one of 100 high school students selected nationwide to perform in a prestigious orchestra next month in Nashville. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Amy Methven, a senior at RHS, was one of 100 high school students selected nationwide to perform in a prestigious orchestra next month in Nashville. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

She hits all the right notes. And soon, 17-year-old violinist Amy Methven will be rewarded for it.

Come October, Amy will be performing on a much larger stage — at the famous Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville — as one of 100 high school students selected nationwide for the National Association for Music Education’s 2014 All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra.

“On one level [playing the violin] is very personal and requires a lot of focus. You have to train yourself to spend a lot of time practicing by yourself,” Amy said. “On a broader level, it is something really great to do with others. You create something beautiful with all these different people.”

A senior at Riverhead High School, she is the first Riverhead student chosen to perform by the organization, which works to promote music education.

The select group of students will have the opportunity to work with internationally recognized conductor Gerard Schwarz of the Seattle Symphony during a three-day conference leading up to the performance on Oct. 29. Students will also attend training sessions with other classical greats.

“He is a celebrity in the classical world, and I am really, really excited to meet all these other kids who share the same interest,” Amy said.

While Amy said she enjoys learning and playing with classmates in the orchestra and chamber orchestra at Riverhead, she said there aren’t many students in the district who are passionate enough to pursue lessons beyond school.

Amy’s orchestra teacher, Marisa Macchio, who encouraged her to apply for All-National honors, said Amy’s enthusiasm is what makes her stand out.

“Amy strives not just for perfection but for improvement, and that is what makes her stand out among her peers,” she said. “She is always looking for constructive criticism to help her through a difficult skill or musical passage.”

Amy said she has been working on improving since the day she started playing the violin — when she was 8 years old.

<z9.500>“To me, it’s more than a hobby. I spend so much of my week going to lessons and youth orchestra and pre-college [classes], and if I’m not doing that I’m practicing,” she said. “It is a big commitment. But I love it.”

The All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra will be playing a symphonic poem called “October,” by 20th century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, which Amy said she has already started practicing.

She said she wished more emphasis was placed on music and the arts in school, as there’s so much more to learn than simply performing.

“It definitely gives you a sort of focus you don’t get from anything else — it’s more than just win the game. You have to do it with a sort of poise and understanding,” she said.

09/19/14 8:00am
Six week-old ducks in the holding pen on the farm near the processing plant. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Six week-old ducks in the holding pen on the farm near the processing plant. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

After Chester Massey & Sons duck farm in Eastport closes later this year, there will be just one surviving business in what was once among Long Island’s most prominent agricultural industries.

That fact is not lost on Doug Corwin of Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue, which has for years been Long Island’s largest duck farm and will soon be its last. (more…)

09/18/14 5:15pm
Long Island Science Center executive director Michelle Pelletier with another staffer Thursday. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Michelle Pelletier, executive director of the Long Island Science Center, with program coordinator Judy Isbitiren, showing off handprints of volunteers and high school student interns featured on a newly painted interior wall.

With plans to move the Long Island Science Center to a new downtown Riverhead location up in the air, the educational nonprofit is looking to make the site more inviting to families while starting to plan for a possible renovation at the current West Main Street location.  (more…)

09/18/14 2:00pm
Deer in the backyard of a Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Deer in the backyard of a Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Several farmers who were previously unable to receive deer damage permits to hunt on their property offseason now have the green light to do so.

Arising as an unintended consequence from a lawsuit aimed at a controversial deer cull, a state Supreme Court judge put a halt to new DDPs this March but temporarily lifted the order against the state Department of Environmental Conservation last week.  (more…)

09/17/14 8:00am
Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter volunteers (from left) Richie Cox, Fred McLaughlin, Denise Lucas and Lindsay Reeve at Stotzky Park's Duke Dog Park Friday. They're holding tickets to the group's three-year anniversary benefit at Suffolk Theater planned for November. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter volunteers (from left) Richie Cox, Fred McLaughlin, Denise Lucas and Lindsay Reeve at Stotzky Park’s Duke Dog Park Friday. They’re holding tickets to the group’s three-year anniversary benefit at Suffolk Theater planned for November. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

They want to move the Riverhead Town Animal Shelter — and they want to move it now.

Volunteers from the nonprofit organization Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter, which is led by front-woman Denise Lucas, are shifting their fundraising efforts into overdrive to renovate the future home of the town’s shelter — the Henry Pfeifer Community Center building in Calverton — as soon as possible.  (more…)