01/11/13 12:00pm

COURTESY PHOTO | The Greenport-Sag Harbor water taxi seen in its inaugural, and most likely last, season.

While he’s not officially pulling the plug on the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, partner Geoff Lynch told Times/Review Newsgroup Thursday it would take a “multi-million dollar” infusion of money for the Greenport-Sag Harbor water taxi service to sail again this summer.

Mr. Lynch, who confirmed an earlier report this week after he spoke at the Sag Harbor Village Board, is president of Hampton Jitney, which partnered with Mattituck businessman Jim Ryan in a pilot program last summer. Hampton Jitney can’t put up the money it would take to keep the enterprise afloat, Mr. Lynch said.

“We can’t do it alone,” he added.

There were no expectations the business would make money on the initial season, Mr. Lynch said, but there were higher expectations on numbers of passengers taking the excursions around Shelter Island to both forks.

At the end of the season Mr. Lynch told the East End Transportation Council — a group of representatives from the five eastern towns exploring transportation services — the water taxi carried about 15,000 passengers since it launched in June 2012. Those who used the service praised it, Mr. Lynch said.

“We had nothing but positive feedback,” he said.

He said he hopes that at some point there will be water-borne service on Peconic Bay such as the water taxi offered, but held out little hope for the 2013 season.

He is expected to carry the same message he gave to the Sag Harbor Village Board last week to Greenport at that Village Board work session on Tuesday, January 22, or the regular meeting on Monday, January 28.


01/09/13 3:00pm

COURTESY PHOTO | Peconic Bay Water Jitney that had a trial run between Greenport and Sag Harbor last summer is unlikely to return this summer.

Hampton Jitney president Geoff Lynch, a partner with Mattituck businessman Jim Ryan in last summer’s Peconic Bay Water Jitney pilot program, reportedly told the Sag Harbor Village Board Tuesday night he doesn’t expect the water taxi that ran between Greenport Village and Sag Harbor to float a second season.

It would take an infusion of money from the federal government for the partners to continue the service, Mr. Lynch reportedly told the Sag Harbor Village Board.

He said while the ferry service was a huge hit with riders last summer, financially it was “a bust.”

It wasn’t the first time that Mr. Lynch made the comments about the unlikelihood of resuming water taxi service next summer. In September, he told the East End Transportation Council he didn’t envision a second season. Despite running five trips a day and carrying more than 15,000 passengers since it launched the passenger service in June, he said then, “It’s not a moneymaker.”

Barring investors showing an interest in underwriting the service, he said it wouldn’t be running again. The East End Transportation Council has been charged with exploring mass transit alternatives for the region and has representatives from the five East End towns.

At the time, Mr. Ryan denied that the ferry service wouldn’t resume in 2013. He was unavailable for comment today.

Greenport Village Board member Mary Bess Phillips said Mr. Lynch has asked to make a presentation to that group at either at its January 21 work session or January 28 regular meeting. But she had no information on the content of that presentation.


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.”


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.


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.


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.