12/05/14 2:27pm

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

You wouldn’t want to see your teenage nephew’s life derailed. You’ve watched him grow up. You know he’s a smart kid with a ton of potential; he’s just run into some trouble at home lately.

At this point, an arrest for, say, buying a case of beer with a fake ID — technically a felony — could ruin his chances of getting into college.

Now imagine you’re a cop and that kid behind the wheel of the car you just stopped reminds you of your nephew — or son, or younger cousin. Maybe you try to do right by him. (more…)

12/01/14 4:51pm
Riverhead firefighters breaking windows in an upper floor window at the Doctors Path Apartments Monday afternoon. (Credit: Michael White)

Riverhead firefighters break an upper floor window at the Doctors Path Apartments Monday afternoon. (Credit: Michael White)

Update 9:20 p.m. Monday: Riverhead Town police said in a press release that preliminary results of the ongoing investigation has determined the fire was “accidental.” The Red Cross also responded to the scene and assisted people displaced by the fire, police said.

Original story:

Town fire marshals are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out in the second floor of an apartment building in Riverhead Monday afternoon, fire officials said.

No one was hurt in the 3:40 p.m. fire at the Doctors Path Apartments, said Riverhead firefighter Bill Sanok.

There was heavy smoke upon arrival, he said, which prompted volunteers to call for more support from firefighters, but the fire was brought under control rather quickly. (more…)

11/26/14 4:30pm
Thanksgiving night 2012 at Target in Riverhead. (Credit: Grant Parpan, file)

Thanksgiving night 2012 at Target in Riverhead. (Credit: Grant Parpan, file)

“We are offering our shoppers options so that family and friends can choose to come together Thanksgiving evening after they have enjoyed their celebrations,” announced Steve Tanger, president and CEO of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc.

Tanger Outlets stores in Riverhead and elsewhere in the U.S. will open at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Thanksgiving, for what the Tanger company is calling “Moonlight Madness.” In his statement about the earlier-than-ever hours for the outlet centers, Mr. Tanger went on to call shopping on Thanksgiving “a new family tradition.”

I place shopping — and with that, working — on Thanksgiving right up there with some other new American family traditions, including:

• needing two incomes to pursue home ownership,

• contributing to a 401(k) instead of receiving a pension and

• blowing entire paychecks on gasoline and home heating oil.

Catch the theme here?

(more…)

11/21/14 10:00am
(File photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

Police chiefs and other top brass from agencies across the East End met this week to share information with one another on local gang activities during a meeting called by the Suffolk County District Attorney.

The three-hour meeting in Riverside Wednesday follows last month’s gang shooting in a residential area of Southold, after which now five alleged members of MS-13 attacked two men from a rival gang with guns and a machete.

That incident, followed by much local and regional media coverage, has brought attention to the growing problem of gangs on the East End. (more…)

11/15/14 4:29pm
The taxi driver was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center with a head injury. (Credit: Michael White)

The taxi driver was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center with a head injury. (Credit: Michael White)

A taxi driver was injured after his cab was side-swiped and careened off West Main Street, striking the side of the Greenview Inn motel, Riverhead police said.

The cabbie’s condition was unknown but police at the scene said he suffered a head injury in the 2:50 p.m. crash.

The driver of a second car actually caused the accident by trying to pass the taxi by using the shoulder. (more…)

11/15/14 12:25pm
A shooting 'victim' is escorted from Riley Avenue Elementary School during Saturday morning's active shooter drill. (Credit: Michael White)

A shooting ‘victim’ is escorted from Riley Avenue Elementary School during Saturday morning’s active shooter drill. (Credit: Michael White)

David Wicks said he couldn’t help but get a bit emotional during Saturday’s active shooter drill in Calverton, where police and ambulance workers simulated a mass shooting inside Riley Avenue Elementary School.

About 70 high school students and other volunteers also participated in the drill, during which two people were “killed,” and several others were dragged from the school or carried out, fake-bloodied and bandaged.

A Suffolk police helicopter also landed in a nearby field.

“It was very real for me; I had chills,” said Mr. Wicks, a Riverhead School District assistant superintendent. “I felt myself getting emotional. The real sobering thing is how much time can pass before help gets here.

“But it made me feel good because our lockdown procedures do help.”

(More photos below) (more…)

11/13/14 1:17pm
Serendipity Farm's horse barn was built in 2012 in Riverhead on Mill Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Well over $100,000 was stolen from the FW Sims company by Joseph Simonelli and directed to Serendipity Farm on Mill Road, federal prosecutors allege. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A Calverton man is being held without bail in a Nassau County jail after he was arrested by FBI agents Wednesday on charges he stole upwards of $10 million from his family-run heating and air-conditioning company in West Babylon.

Joseph Simonelli, who lives in Calverton and owns a thoroughbred horse farm on Mill Road that’s run by his stepdaughter, is facing up to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, according to court records and a criminal complaint filed in Eastern District court. (more…)