05/05/15 8:00am
Southern Pine Beetles, which are devastating forests across the Northeast, have arrived on Long Island. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Southern Pine Beetles, which are devastating forests across the Northeast, have arrived on Long Island. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

The Suffolk County Legislature may create a commission of state and local authorities to deal with the southern pine beetle, a rice-grain-sized insect devastating nearby woodlands, before the problem gets “too out of hand,” according to one legislator. (more…)

05/01/15 2:00pm
The red districts voted against holding more meetings further east, while the green areas voted for it. (Credit: Paul Squire,  Suffolk County district map)

The red districts voted against holding more meetings further east, while the green areas voted for it. (Credit: Paul Squire, Suffolk County district map)

The Suffolk County legislators’ reasons for voting ‘no’ varied: the inconvenience of moving staff, the cost of added mileage or a reluctance to mess with a government they say already works.

But there was one thing universally true for all the legislators who voted against a proposal holding more meetings on the East End: they all represent districts far west of here. (more…)

05/01/15 8:00am
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Southold trustee and bayman Jim King harvests oysters and clams in Mattituck Inlet last year.

Southold trustee and bayman Jim King harvests oysters and clams in Mattituck Inlet last year. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

The East End’s baymen — at least what’s left of them — are getting a hand from local governments, which are trying to open up shellfish beds that were designated as polluted by the state but could actually be quite clean.

Due to a state regulatory agency that’s strapped for time and money, a new agreement from the Suffolk County Legislature and the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee will set up standard practices for the county and East End towns to test their own water under the state’s strict guidelines. (more…)

04/28/15 12:00pm
(Credit: Paul Squire)

A member of the Recorder Orchestra of New York warms up before a performance Saturday afternoon. (Credit: Paul Squire)

You probably thought recorders — those two-toned wind instruments — were only for elementary school music classes.

Think again.

The Recorder Orchestra of New York celebrated its 20th anniversary with a concert at the Jamesport Meeting House Saturday afternoon. The group played a variety of tunes, from medieval dances to hymns and French compositions.

“The recorder is kind of a singing substitute,” Musical Director Patsy Rogers told the crowd. “It’s a peaceful kind of instrument.”

Check below for photos and a brief excerpt from the concert:

Musical Director Patsy Rogers plays a clock bell during one of the orchestra's songs. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Musical Director Patsy Rogers plays a clock bell during one of the orchestra’s songs. (Credit: Paul Squire)

(Credit: Paul Squire)

(Credit: Paul Squire)

The recorders used in the orchestra's anniversary concert were all different sizes. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The recorders used in the orchestra’s anniversary concert were all different sizes. (Credit: Paul Squire)

04/27/15 8:00am
This mile marker in Mattituck marks 10 miles to the Suffolk County Courthouse. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

This mile marker in Mattituck marks 10 miles to the former Suffolk County Courthouse on Peconic Avenue, which was once home to the post office. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

There were a lot of things Benjamin Franklin accomplished in his life.

The Founding Father invented bifocal lenses and the lightning rod, was a successful newspaper printer, served as America’s diplomat to Paris during the Revolutionary War and signed both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

But one thing he did not do, local historians now say, was place mile markers along Southold Town’s Main Road.  (more…)

04/26/15 8:00am
Eve Kaplan, owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead point to cold damage on a small tomato plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Eve Kaplan, owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead point to cold damage on a small tomato plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Wading River farmer Robert Andrews’ crops are mostly still in the ground, shielded from the recent cold snaps by warm earth.

Mr. Andrews said Saturday morning’s cold snap didn’t damage too many of his crops.

“It’s not bad at all,” he said. “It just slowed things down a bit.”

Not all farmers have been so lucky.

The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for early Saturday, warning that “sub-freezing temperatures will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.” Another frost advisory had since been issued for early Sunday from 2 to 8 a.m.

While most farmer’s crops have just been planted, other farms — like Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market in Riverhead — are feeling the hurt from the wind and cold.

“It’s just tough on everything,” said Garden of Eve owner Eve Kaplan. “You get a warm day and you think it’s over and then you get a 40-degree day with wind.”

Ms. Kaplan held up a tomato plant in a small pot. The edges of the small leaves had withered and died.

That’s thanks to the freezing temperatures and the harsh wind, which Ms. Kaplan said is especially blustery on her farm. Even cold-tolerant plants like cabbage and lettuce have been damaged in their pots, she said.

“People won’t buy these because they think they’re diseased,” she said.

Ms. Kaplan said her employees have been carrying plants inside at night and putting down covers over the rows to shield other crops.

Even farms like Mr. Andrews — which use greenhouses — are feeling a sting, not on their plants but in their wallets.

“We’ve been running [through] oil to get the greenhouse going,” he said.

However, vineyards have not been as affected, since the grapes have not yet begun growing. Only a long stretch of cold weather could do significant damage, said Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard general manager Steve Levine.

“A one-night freeze isn’t going to do much,” he said. “We don’t have any damage. We don’t even have grapes yet.”

psquire@timesreview.com