04/22/14 3:46pm
An orange sign on the locked door of Blue Agave Mexican Grill announcing that the restaurant was seized Tuesday afternoon. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

An orange sign on the locked door of Blue Agave Mexican Grill announcing that the restaurant was seized Tuesday afternoon. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

State tax officials shut down an East Main Street burrito joint Tuesday afternoon for failing to pay thousands of dollars in state sales taxes — but the restaurant’s owner told the News-Review he’s going to pay back the state Department of Taxation and Finance and that the eatery won’t be closed for long.

“I’m working with them now, and it’s going to be reopened definitely next week,” owner Ken Loo said.

The doors of Blue Agave Mexican Grill, which opened in 2012 and had, of late, only accepted cash payments, were locked Tuesday afternoon. Customers were greeted by multiple bright orange signs informing them that the property had been “seized for nonpayment of taxes and is now in the possession of New York State.”

According to the state tax warrant system, five tax liens have been filed against the restaurant since 2012, four of which are current — totaling $13,804. A New York State Tax Assessment spokesperson said that, in order for the restaurant to reopen, Mr. Loo will need to pay a total of $8,187 for nonpayments from 2013.

Mr. Loo — who also runs the sushi restaurant Haiku out of the same East Main Street building as Blue Agave as well as the Hy Ting Chinese restaurant on West Main Street — said he had to focus his attention on the Birchwood restaurant after his brother James, who owned and operated the Polish Town bar, died suddenly in January.

Mr. Loo said he discovered Birchwood was five weeks behind on payroll.

“I had to pay those guys,” he said. “A lot of things I can live with, like owing the state money. But I can’t owe people that have been working there for 30 years and not give them their paychecks.”

In addition to the money owed from Blue Agave, two liens totaling $13,659 were filed against Hy Ting and one for $14,149 was filed against Haiku, according to state records.

Mr. Loo said he had been in the process of paying for the taxes owed by Hy Ting and Haiku, and had a year to pay off the Blue Agave’s lien, but instead chose to use the money at Birchwood to “keep it afloat.”

When the deadline for Blue Agave’s payments came and went, the state stepped in.

Finding that tax agents had seized the restaurant and changed the locks was no surprise, Mr. Loo said.

“They change the locks and, when you give them the money, they give you the key,” he said.

He told the News-Review he would pay the state taxes in full to reopen the restaurant and was confident that, despite a “brutal” winter, the eatery would survive.

“I don’t want to see that place go,” he said. “It’s going to be open again … All three are still going to be there.”

cmiller@timesreview.com

04/22/14 8:00am
Alberto Bengolea with three of the 15 horses boarded at the 4-H Camp on Sound Avenue. Veronica, left, was injured after someone cut the fencing on the property and the horses escaped overnight Sunday.

Alberto Bengolea with three of the 15 horses boarded at the 4-H Camp on Sound Avenue. Veronica, left, was injured after someone cut the fencing on the property and the horses escaped overnight Sunday. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Shortly before 6 a.m. Easter Sunday, Willow Tree Farm owner Mette Larsen was awakened by a Riverhead police officer knocking on her door.

He had come to the Roanoke Avenue horse farm to inform her that he believed eight of her horses had escaped from the property and were roaming free along Sound Avenue. Panic set in for Ms. Larsen, who wondered why her alarm system hadn’t alerted her.

It wasn’t until she had dressed and rushed outside that she realized the horses didn’t belong to her. The eight horses were actually some of the 15 that are kept one mile west at the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp on Sound Avenue.  (more…)

04/21/14 5:59pm
04/21/2014 5:59 PM

 

Chief Sean McCabe (left) shakes hands with Firefighter of the Year award-winner Howard Waldman (Credit: Jamesport Fire Department)

Chief Sean McCabe (left) shakes hands with Firefighter of the Year award-winner Howard Waldman (Credit: Jamesport Fire Department)

Firefighter Howard Waldman, who saved not one, but two lives last year, has been named Jamesport Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year.

Mr. Waldman, a longtime veteran of the department and an ex-chief, was honored at the department’s annual installation and awards dinner at the Vineyard Caterers in Jamesport on April 14, where the department’s top responders were also recognized.

Mr. Waldman saved the life of an 84-year-old woman who had laid incapacitated in her home for a full two days before he showed up at her door delivering flowers. The owner of Main Road’s Jamesport Country Store, Mr. Waldman said he saw the door cracked open and after ringing the bell several times, finally went in to see if anyone was inside. Ann Baillet had thought she was at the hospital when Mr. Waldman found her on the floor after a spill.

In another incident, according to RiverheadLocal.com, Mr. Waldman saved someone who had accidentally backed into the water at Iron Pier Beach instead of pulling forward while taking a boat out of the water. The Jeep was quickly submerged in the water with the driver inside, though Mr. Waldman made his second save of the year.

Daniel Doroski earned the Probationary Firefighter of the Year award for his “outstanding service throughout 2013″ and ex-chief Harold “Duffy” Griffiths III was presented with an Ex-Chiefs Award for his six years of service as chief engineer to the district.

(Credit: Jamesport Fire Department)

1st row: Gustav Hegner, Daniel Doroski, Lewis Tomaszewski, Tom Brady, Gary Faucon, 2nd Row: Jim Fetten, Stanley Zaweski, Ryan Higgins, Stevie Czelatka Jr., Joseph A. Szot (Credit: Jamesport Fire Department)

Awards were also handed out to the top ten most active firefighters, measured in terms of “points” earned for answering calls:

  1. Ryan Higgins — 388 points
  2. Gustav Hegner — 310 points
  3. Joseph A. Szot — 235 points
  4. Gary Faucon — 223 points
  5. James Fetten — 210 points
  6. Thomas Brady — 207 points
  7. Stevie Czelatka, Jr. — 204 points
  8. Lewis Tomaszewski — 194 points
  9. Dan Doroski — 189 points
  10. 10. Stanley Zaweski — 175 points

In addition to the awards, seven other firefighters were recognized for their years of service to the department. Joel Lazarus, Bruce Roehrig and Gary Troyan were honored for their 20 years of service, Larry Kaiser was recognized for 25 years of service and Lee Anthony, John Apicello, and Robert Diem were commended for their 40 years of Service.

(Credit: Jamesport Fire Department)

Probationary Firefighter of the Year Daniel Doroski with Second Assistantt Chief Dave McKillop (Credit: Jamesport Fire Department)

04/21/14 3:29pm
SHCops

Southampton Police station (Credit: Paul Squire)

A Shirley man who had been caring for two elderly Riverside residents is now charged with stealing and using their credit cards.

Southampton Town Police investigated a March 18 incident at Riverwoods mobile home park on Riverleigh Avenue in Riverside, where they said two elderly people reported that their cards had been used without their authorization.

Following the investigation, police arrested 23-year-old Raymond Obioha on Wednesday at police headquarters and charged him with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and two counts of second-degree identify theft.

Fourth-degree grand larceny charges indicate a minimum theft of $1,000 in value, according to state penal code.

04/21/14 10:46am

An East Quogue man was arrested in Riverhead after an investigation into a stalking incident, state police said Monday.

Joseph Booker, 41, was charged with felony criminal contempt and misdemeanor stalking last week, state police said.

Mr. Booker was arraigned in Riverhead town court and released without bail, a court official said.

He is due back in court on May 21. No other details were immediately available.

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