05/06/2015 9:42 AM
Resident Michael Burns (center) addresses the board as neighbors watch on. Mr. Burns was one of a handful to criticize a plan to build a new parking lot. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Resident Michael Burns (center) addresses the board as neighbors watch on. Mr. Burns was one of a handful to criticize a plan to build a new parking lot. (Credit: Paul Squire)

In the Miller Avenue Elementary School multi-purpose room Tuesday, just a few hundred feet away from the front door of some of their houses, a group of more than a dozen residents came with a clear message to the local school board: keep your parking lot away from us. (more…)

04/29/15 5:00pm
04/29/2015 5:00 PM
Max Crean of Farmingdale plays Professor Harold Hill in "Music Man," a Bishop McGann-Mercy Theater Company production, directed by Bob Kelly. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Max Crean of Farmingdale plays Professor Harold Hill in “Music Man,” a Bishop McGann-Mercy Theater Company production, directed by Bob Kelly. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Meredith Willson’s classic musical “The Music Man” will be presented by the McGann-Mercy Theatre Company Thursday to Saturday, April 30 to May 2, at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.  (more…)

04/27/15 4:53pm
04/27/2015 4:53 PM
Paul Weissman of Bohemia (middle, white shirt) was diagnosed two years ago with ALS. He says Chris Pendergast gives him hope and. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Paul Weissman of Bohemia (middle, white shirt) was diagnosed two years ago with ALS. He says Chris Pendergast gives him hope and faith. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

For the 18th year, Chris Pendergast of Miller Place took to the streets of Rivehead with local students to bring awareness to the cause of finding a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

This year Mr. Pendergast — a 1966 Mercy High graduate — was accompanied by junior high students from Bishop McGann-Mercy as ALS Ride for Life trek across Long Island kicked off Monday morning.

(More photos below.)

(more…)

04/25/15 11:00am
04/25/2015 11:00 AM
Riverhead High School students Jeremy Bornstein, Amanda Baron, Mieko Vail and Samantha Dunn with Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. (Credit: Riverhead School District)

Riverhead High School students Jeremy Bornstein, Amanda Baron, Mieko Vail and Samantha Dunn with Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. (Credit: Riverhead School District)

Five Riverhead High School students were honored for their community service efforts by the Jewish Community Relations Council. The recognition came during the Week of Remembrance, which is a time to reflect on the Holocaust leading into Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).  (more…)

04/23/15 3:41pm
04/23/2015 3:41 PM

About 34.8 percent of students in the Riverhead School District that were expected to take state-mandated math assessments Wednesday declined to sit for the exams, the News-Review has confirmed.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said 812 students out of 2,332 did not take math assessments, which are in progress through Friday.

[Related story: Did more outspoken leadership play a role in ‘opt out’ results?]

“We have about 100 students who are taking the regents (advanced math) in 8th grade instead of the 8th grade assessment,” Ms. Carney wrote in an email.

In 2014, about 15 percent of the district’s students didn’t take the math assessments. Last week, 26 percent of the district’s third through eight graders declined to take the English Language Arts assessments.

Correction: The story has been updated to reflect Nancy Carney’s email to the News-Review about eighth-grade math assessments. The News-Review regrets the error.

jnuzzo@timesreview.com

04/21/15 10:01am
04/21/2015 10:01 AM
Former Riverhead school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse is running for school board this May. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Former Riverhead school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse is running for school board this May. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse wants her seat back and some familiar names will oppose her.

The former Riverhead school board president is among four challengers facing one incumbent for two open seats in next month’s election along with past candidates Greg Fischer and Laurie Downs, newcomer Brad Harnig, and incumbent board vice president Susan Koukounas.

Trustee Tom Carson is not seeking a second term, paving the way for at least one seat to change hands.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse served on the school board for six years before stepping away last June. She announced in 2013 during her Democratic primary campaign for town supervisor that she would not seek re-election at the end of her second school board term in 2014.

“As much as I thought I was going to back off and walk away, I just can’t,” Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said when asked why she’s decided to run again. “There’s a whole lot of things that are out there that have to be overcome because of what’s happening with the state and state aid being tied into [teacher evaluations].”

As for her feelings about running against her former fellow school board members, Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said, “I feel it will shake out the way it will shake out.”

Mr. Fischer said he believes the odds are in favor of the incumbent Ms. Koukounas and Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse, a former president of the teacher’s union. He said with likely support from the teachers, the other three candidates will likely struggle to get votes.

“It’s an uphill battle,” he said.

Mr. Fischer knows all about that, having run unsuccessfully for six different offices in the past eight years, including school board last year.

If elected, he said he will explore ways to modernize the current curriculum in the district to offer more trade and business entrepreneurship programs. He also said he has developed his own programs that he would offer district students independently and free of charge.

“I have one program for inventors that I’m hoping to run in June,” he said. “Any kid who is interested in inventing can become a billionaire.”

Ms. Downs said that she is a unique candidate because she represents no particular special interests. A longtime district watchdog, she said she values no one program over another, has no ties to any school unions and her children have already graduated from the district.

“I have no agenda other than doing what I’m supposed to do as far as being open to the community,” she said. “I want to make sure the public is informed about what’s going on with the district.”

A longtime attendee of school board meetings, she said that hasn’t always been the case with the board.

“What I see on the outside is the board is still not talking to people and not giving answers,” she said. “You ask a question and they stare at you.”

Ms. Koukonas, Mr. Carson and Mr. Harnig could not be immediately reached for comment.

In Shoreham-Wading River, incumbents Michael Fucito and Robert Rose are running unopposed.

Mr. Fucito has served for over two decades Mr. Rose was first elected in 2012.

The school board election and budget vote is May 19 in both districts. All school board seats are for three years, expiring in 2018.

gparpan@timesreview.com