11/18/12 10:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Pam Green of Kent Animal Shelter.

Suffolk County National Bank has thrown its support behind the Kent Animal Shelter’s drive to build a new $2.5 million facility in Calverton by participating in the “Pause for Paws” campaign.

Three bank branches — at 6 West Second Street and 1201 Ostrander Avenue in Riverhead and 2065 Wading River Manor Road in Wading River — are inviting employees and customers to contribute money to the effort.

The banks will be selling paper paws to be displayed in their windows through to the end of the year. A white paw costs $1, $5 for a blue paw and a coral paw costs $10.

Money raising efforts for the new shelter have been under way for the past year and a half and about a quarter of the cost has been raised to date, according to shelter executive director Pam Green.

“The bank has been a supporter of the Kent Animal Shelter for many years and we are very happy to join with them in their ‘Pause for Paws’ campaign,” said Brenda Sujecki, SCNB vice president of marketing. “The shelter does tremendous work in finding homes for abused, homeless and abandoned animals and their low cost spay/neuter clinic is vital in helping control the pet population in our community.”

Kent has received state DEC permits for a new shelter and it about to submit plans to the Riverhead Town Board and the Suffolk County health department.

With plans for a major fund-raising push in 2013, Ms. Green hopes construction can get under way next year.

“We may not reach our goal by the time we break ground,” she said about the fundraising. “It will possibly be a phased project. We’re hoping when people see that it’s really going to happen, they’ll contribute.”

11/17/12 8:17pm

A 22-year-old Riverhead man was arrested Friday for driving drunk while high on drugs with his 3-year-old son in his SUV — and for assaulting a police officer — after leading Southampton cops on a car chase through Riverside and Flanders, officials said.

The toddler was found uninjured after police finally arrested Tyshawn Riddick shortly before 9:30 a.m., but the officer, Patrick Kiernan, suffered several injuries and was being treated at Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition Saturday.

Officers first tried to stop Mr. Riddick’s 1999 Dodge Durango on Ludlam Avenue in Riverside after observing several traffic infractions.

Southampton police gave this account of what followed:

When approached by officers, Mr. Riddick fled, driving recklessly through residential areas at an unsafe speed, passing stop signs without stopping and speeding through a red light at Routes 24 and 105, causing several vehicles to veer, screech to a halt to avoid crashing.

Officers in a marked unit with its emergency lights and sirens wailing then followed the SUV to Brookhaven Avenue in Flanders, where Mr. Riddick stopped the truck, put it in reverse and rammed the front end of the police car as an officer was exiting it.

He then fled on foot, leading police on a chase through the surrounding neighborhoods until he was apprehended near Oak Avenue and Arthur Avenue shortly before 9:30 a.m.

Police also found the child, who was taken to PBMC for observation and subsequently released without any injuries.

Mr. Riddick was charged with driving under the influence of drugs with a baby in the car and with a suspended license.

Charges also include two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, class D felonies; aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle; now a felony under Leandra’s Law, driving while ability impaired by drugs; second-degree assault, a class D felony; and second-degree obstructing governmental administration, a misdemeanor.

He was also charged with a misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child; third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; reckless driving; third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle; two counts of unlawful possession of marijuana and multiple vehicle and traffic violations.

Police notified Child Protective Services after identifying the baby as Mr. Riddick’s son.

Mr. Riddick was held overnight and arraigned in Southampton Justice Court. He was being held at the Suffolk County Jail on $30,000 bail.

07/25/12 5:00pm

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | The Bridgehampton National Bank branch in Wading River.

Bridge Bancorp, the parent company of Bridgehampton National Bank, issued a second quarter report this week showing net income of $3.1 million, a 24 percent increase over net income for the same period in 2011.

The bank — with branches in Greenport, Southold, Mattituck and Wading River, as well as several on the South Fork — plans to open a new branch on Shelter Island later this year.

“This quarter, we again delivered strong results, achieving impressive gains in deposits and loans and record net income,” President and CEO Kevin O’Connor said in a statement.

The bank reported total assets at $1.4 billion as of June 2012, 18 percent higher than last year. Loan growth of $89 million is 15 percent higher this year, as are deposits that total $1.23 billion for the quarter.

While the bank’s numbers are improved this year, Mr. O’Connor said “signs still point toward economic weakness. The recovery has been tepid with a continuing overhand of foreclosed homes and a marked lack of job creation.”

jlane@timesreview.com

05/14/12 7:00am

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Union Latina coach Marco Grigorio and Zully Valle place a memorial poster of Mirian Yohana Garcia Mancilla on a fence before Sunday's soccer game.

A simple thought adorned a poster of Mirian Yohana Garcia Mansilla as it hung from a fence at Mattituck’s Strawberry Fields on Sunday.

Siempre te recordaremos Yohana, it read. We will always remember you, Yohana.

On the one hand, it was just another soccer game for Union Latina, the team for which Yohana played during the past year. On the other hand, everything had changed. Only six days had passed since Ms. Garcia’s body was found behind the Riverhead DMV, her killer still at large.

Not only did her teammates and their supporters don black ribbons in memory of their friend, but many opponents on Mattituck’s La Tienda team also wore the ribbons.

“It’s not like we’re enemies,” said Irene Pleitez, a friend of Yohana’s who plays for La Tiendra. “It’s a friendly game.”

Her words came only minutes after La Tiendra bowed to Union Latina by a score of 2-1 under sunny skies. The warm summer-like breeze defied the horror of what had happened just a week earlier.

And while the players on both teams tried to bring some levity to the game, they admitted they were playing with heavy hearts.

“She was good; she always gave everything,” coach Marco Grigorio said of Ms. Garcia. She played every game as though it were a final championship match, he said.

A moment of silence on the field was also observed in her memory.

As is their habit at the regular Sunday afternoon games, the winners took a victory lap around the field.

After, they arranged to have a team picture taken as they hoisted the poster of their fallen teammate.

jlane@timesreview.com

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Union Latina coaches, players and their relatives hold a photo of their slain friend after Sunday's soccer game in Mattituck.

05/12/12 7:40pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Zully Garcia Mancilla (center) is comforted by her husband Darwin Jordan (right) and daughter Melanie Jordan, 5, of Riverhead after Saturday's funeral.

Less than a week after Mirian Yohana Garcia Mancilla’s body was found in a wooded area behind the DMV in Riverhead, family and friends — many from her homeland of Guatemala — bid a sad goodbye to the 29-year-old everyone remembered as loving and caring.

In a eulogy in Spanish that brought many in the crowd of about 200 to tears, Ms. Garcia’s sister Zully remembered her sibling for her selfless, caring ways.

It was just two months ago that Zully Garcia Mancilla lost her infant son. She told the crowd of Yohana — that’s what family and friends called her — and how she went into a side room during the baby’s struggle for life. Alone in the room, Yohana Garcia prayed to God to take her and spare the child.

Just two months later, both are gone, leaving a family and friends wondering why.

“She was a wonderful person and a lot of people loved her,” Zully said.

Meanwhile, her killer remains still free, as Suffolk police have reported no arrests in the case.

“I don’t know how someone could do something like this and bring such pain on the family,” friend Carlos Enrique of Philadelphia said prior to the hour-long services at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Riverhead.

Many who attended were church members who knew Yohana from her participation in various church activities.

Before the services, relatives asked Fred McLaughlin of McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead to allow them to lift the coffin off the wheeled platform and carry it into the church. They set it gently on a platform in a room near the chapel that was festooned with floral tributes.

Ms. Garcia’s mother stood by her daughter’s open coffin, wailing at her loss as family tried to comfort her.

Somber organ music played as mourners filed into the chapel, but it was the sounds of children’s voices that brought a poignant note to the service. Just as they were too young to understand the solemnity of the funeral, so their parents were unable to bring any depth of understanding to Ms. Garcia’s death.

Friends remembered her love of music and said she worked as a DJ both here and in Guatemala. They recalled her passion for sports, especially soccer. She was a goalie for a women’s soccer team in Cutchogue.

Church sister Suzanne Jolliver of Peconic described Ms. Garcia as “very bubbly and always smiling.”

“She was a sweetheart,” she said, adding that Ms. Garcia was very devoted to her nieces and nephews back in Guatemala.

Sergio Sunun described his friend as “a really sweet person, the nicest girl.”

Church elder Caveza de Vaca told mourners they would gain strength in drawing together as a family, and said solace would come to them in knowing that Ms. Garcia is “at peace in heaven in the mansion God has prepared for her.”

Branch director Lee Kruger called the day a “sad and somber occasion,” but said that God had promised they would all someday live together forever.

“We are all his brothers and sisters and we will be together again, Mr. Kruger said.

“Death comes to everybody … We don’t know why it happens the way it happens,” he continued. “But we return to God, to the spirit world and there we will await the resurrection.”

Ms. Garcia’s body will flown home to Guatemala on Wednesday for burial.

jlane@timesreview.com

04/27/12 7:00pm

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has temporarily closed Sag Harbor Cove due to biotoxins.

The presence of marine biotoxins may result in making shellfish hazardous to eat. Within the past few weeks the DEC also closed Mattituck Inlet and Creek and 2,900 acres in the Peconic Estuary’s westernmost reaches straddling Riverhead and Southampton Towns to shellfishing due to the presence of a biotoxin, a naturally occurring substance.

The Sag Harbor alert wasn’t widely released, but was sent to some private individuals with ties to the fishing industry.

The affected area includes the cove and its tributaries lying west of the northbound lanes of the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects Sag Harbor to North Haven.

The ban on shellfishing will continue until the DEC can determine that marine biotoxin levels are no longer hazardous, according to a DEC statement.

Greenport Village Trustee Mary Bess Phillips raised the question of the possible impact the closing might have on proposed water taxi service between Sag Harbor and Greenport.

“The proposed water taxi between Sag Harbor and Greenport is a problem with this biotoxin,” she said. “With the amount of aquaculture that is in our Peconic Estuary system, we have issues.”

She called for discussion about whether the proposed water taxi service might “damage a segment of the commercial fishing industry,” although current sites being discussed docking the water taxi are outside the cove area.

Ms. Phillips and her husband, Capt. Mark Phillips, operate a fishing fleet out of Greenport and the retail Alice’s Fish Market in the village.

Bill Faulk, an aide to county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), said his office has asked the DEC to provide a plan of action.

“We’re concerned about this affecting the Peconic Bay region,” Mr. Faulk said.

Mr. Romaine and Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) weren’t immediately available for comment.

jlane@timesreview.com

04/08/12 8:08am

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Measuring the height of young reader Cole Brigham, 10, store owner Charlene Spector makes him the first in the chain's "We Grow Readers" group. Young readers will be measured on future trips to the store.

BookHampton owner Charlene Spector has been eyeing the former Rudy’s coffeehouse at the corner of Route 25 and Love Lane in Mattituck for five years, believing it was the perfect spot for her BookHampton chain, which has had three South Fork stores for many years, to open a North Fork branch.

“We wanted to be in this store and every time, we missed it by five minutes,” Ms. Spector said about her efforts to lease the premises. “I thought it was the most insanely beautiful area,” she said about the North Fork and her desire to open a store here.

After Rudy’s proprietor Jim Ryan moved on several years ago, the property remained a coffeehouse for a while then became a Verizon cellular service outlet. Ms. Spector kept watching. A few months ago, she made her move to seek a lease at just the right time and secured the space for her bookstore.

The only mainstream full-service retail bookstore from Orient to Riverhead except for Burton’s Books on Front Street in Greenport, BookHampton opened its doors in Mattituck on Saturday at 9 a.m.

It was an opening with no great hoopla but plenty of customers from the moment the doors opened. “We’re supposed to have ‘grand opening’ signs,” Ms. Spector said, but whoever was supposed to hang them never got the job done, apparently. Ms. Spector shrugged off the oversight and talked instead about what’s important to her — books.

“We find people want real books and we’ve seen continually how much the community embraces what we do,” Ms. Spector said, unconcerned about competition that comes from digital books and on-line sellers such as Amazon.

She and her husband Jeremy Nussbaum now have four BookHampton stores — the other three are in Sag Harbor, East Hampton and Southampton. “It’s really about personal service; we have a real connection with our communities,” Ms. Spector said. She said she was convinced that local touch will bring customers in and keep them coming back.

“Let me know if I can make a good recommendation,” she said several times to customers, agreeing with one that a recent bestseller was disappointing.

The first customers in the door Saturday morning were Sonya and Walter Brigham from Southold and their children, Hayley, Cole, Quincy and Grady. They had already gone for a run, biked and then had breakfast at Love Lane Kitchen awaiting the store opening, Ms. Brigham said.

Before the children left the store clutching some new books, they stood against a post to be measured by Ms. Spector, becoming the first children to become members of the store’s “We Grow Readers” group. The store will track the heights of their young readers as they make future visits.

“Welcome to the North Fork,” Cutchogue resident and Brentwood librarian Edana Cichanowicz told the store’s staff. “It’s just such a wonderful place,” she said about the bright and airy space.

“We’ve been very excited” about BookHampton opening on the North Fork, said Janet Latham of Mattituck. “I used to work in publishing and it’s very sad for me to watch” bookstores closing.

“We all are readers,” Leslie Tuthill said about herself, family and friends, explaining why they are glad to see the new store on Love Lane.

The store will have five employees, all of whom have worked at one or more of the other BookHampton stores, said Chris Avena, general manager for the BookHampton group. Customers will find a wide spectrum of books, CDs, DVDs and board games, Mr. Avena said. The store will also order any books customers request that aren’t in stock.

The store is open seven days a week, Sundays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Cutchogue resident and Brentwood librarian Edana Cichanowicz welcomed BookHampton employees to the North Fork.

JULIE LANE PHOTO | First customers at Bookhampton on Love Lane were Walter Brigham and children Quincy, left, 6, and Cole, 10.

03/28/12 2:00pm

JULIE LANE FILE PHOTO | Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine intorduced the bill for a LIPA Oversight Committee.

Think you’re paying a lot more than you should for electricity? So does the Suffolk County Legislature’s volunteer oversight committee. Earlier this month, the six-member committee called for an elected board of trustees to oversee LIPA.

After a year-long investigation, the committee, created by a bipartisan resolution introduced by Legislators Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) and Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), concluded that LIPA needs greater transparency and the type of oversight an elected board of trustees would provide.

LIPA customers are among the highest ratepayers in the nation, but they’re being poorly served by a utility that bows to “political influence,” according to findings released by the committee at last week’s meeting.

Customers are often being overcharged and their complaints are left unresolved, oversight committee co-chairman Matthew Cordoro said.

The utility has failed to take steps to reduce its $10 billion debt, has high tax obligations, poor budgeting and lacks liquidity, Dr. Cordoro said. Because of its failure, until recently, to put its power needs out to bid, it has been paying a premium price to National Grid for its electricity. And because LIPA hires outside crews to assist in emergencies, such as last summer’s Tropical Storm Irene, there are “questionable charges” for such services.

In the 192-page report, committee members outlined the problems they identified and put forth recommendations Dr. Cordoro said would result in lowering rates. The question now, members said, is how to implement those recommendations.

Committee member Irving Like said the state requiring an elected board of directors would be a good start. Mr. Romaine pledged to write Governor Andrew Cuomo to request that a Board of Trustees be filled by members of the oversight committee.

“LIPA needs a good pot-stirrer,” Mr. Horsley said. “This is our bully pulpit.”

The full committee report is available online at lipaoversight.org.

jlane@timesreview.com