01/08/15 8:59am
01/08/2015 8:59 AM
Former Farm Bureau president Mark Zaweski presents Joe Gergela with a miniature tractor as a memento at his retirement party last month. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Former Farm Bureau president Mark Zaweski presents Joe Gergela with a miniature tractor as a memento at his retirement party last month. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Scenic corridors, fine wine and farm-fresh produce are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. They provide the backdrop for and help define life on the North Fork — and are testaments to the area’s rich agricultural history. But beyond all the beauty and nostalgia, farming is a business. And it’s a tough and dirty business, one that’s under constant threat from forces both natural and man-made.

For 26 years, Joseph Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, has worked to protect the farmer and, to the best of his ability, help the industry thrive. Last year, he decided to retire. Because of his lifelong passion, leadership and devotion to the North Fork’s farming community, Mr. Gergela is the recipient of The Suffolk Times’ first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.   (more…)

01/06/15 12:00pm
01/06/2015 12:00 PM
A female deer tick (Credit: Dan Gilrein, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County)

A female deer tick (Credit: Dan Gilrein, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County)

Chronic Lyme disease patients are now one step closer to being able to access a wider range of treatments, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month signed a new law protecting physicians who use treatment options outside federal guidelines.

As with any disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had developed guidelines for treating Lyme, but the CDC guidelines have long created dilemmas for doctors who want to help Lyme patients, since rendering treatment outside the guidelines could leave doctors liable for investigations by the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct. (more…)

01/05/15 4:15pm
01/05/2015 4:15 PM
Ten of these signs are posted on the doors and windows of Dr. Robert Bernard's longtime practice in Wading River. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Ten of these signs are posted on the doors and windows of Dr. Robert Bernard’s longtime practice in Wading River. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Peter Lucas of Aquebogue drove to Wading River Monday to see his longtime physician for blood work.

But when he arrived at Dr. Robert Bernard’s office on Route 25A, he was turned away by 10 signs taped up around the building advising patients that the office is closed and warning that “trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Premises under 24-hour surveillance.”

Mr. Lucas, 66, is one of several patients who reached out to the Riverhead News-Review in recent days searching for answers after the sudden closure of the local doctor’s practice, Family Care Medical Center.  (more…)

01/01/15 9:34am
01/01/2015 9:34 AM
Steve Bellone signs the new tobacco law in October, raising the age limit to 21 for tobacco purchases. (Credit: Courtesy)

Steve Bellone signs the new tobacco law in October, raising the age limit to 21 for tobacco purchases. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County officials want residents to know that today, New Year’s Day, marks the first day the 21-or-over law goes into effect for the sale of tobacco and liquid nicotine products.

Prior to Jan. 1, it had been illegal to sell those items to anyone under age 19. (more…)

12/29/14 4:00pm
12/29/2014 4:00 PM
Peconic Bay Medical Center CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Peconic Bay Medical Center CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Health care reform brought with it a number of changes that affected hospitals nationwide throughout 2014, with quantifiable effects starting to become clear by the end of the first quarter.

We sat down with Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of PBMC Health, to discuss the highs and the lows of the past year and the changes the community can expect come 2015. As expected, there was plenty to talk about.  (more…)

12/28/14 7:00am
12/28/2014 7:00 AM

Under provisions in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, some Medicare recipients are suddenly finding themselves without a safety net when in need of subsequent care at a skilled nursing facility.

It has resulted in the proposal of new legislation in Washington — along with a national class action lawsuit challenging what the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy of Connecticut calls an “illegal policy.”

(more…)

12/22/14 10:00am
12/22/2014 10:00 AM
The Riverhead sewage treatment plant on Dec. 8 (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead sewage treatment plant pictured on Dec. 8. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Thursday announced it has developed a new system to alert the public of sewage pollution discharging from treatment plants into nearby water.

It comes just weeks after reports of partially treated sewage discharging into the Peconic River from Riverhead Town’s sewage treatment plant — which happened on four occasions in 2014 due to mechanical failure.

(more…)

12/21/14 10:00am
12/21/2014 10:00 AM

While many folks know a carrot a day can help keep the eye doctor away, few realize that kale is the superior eye-strengthening veggie.

That’s because the vegetable is high in lutein — also known as the “eye vitamin” — and is helpful in preventing diseases of the eye, including age-related macular degeneration, which is virtually untreatable and is the leading cause of severe vision loss among those 50 or older, according to the American Optometric Association.

(more…)