04/24/14 6:12pm
04/24/2014 6:12 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Farm workers harvesting spinach at Bayview Farm on the Main Road in Aquebogue in 2010.

Farm workers harvesting spinach at Bayview Farm on the Main Road in Aquebogue in 2010. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for the East End early Friday morning between  3 and 9 a.m., saying residents should expect temperatures in the mid- to upper-20s near the Pine Barrens.

Freeze conditions will start to sweep across the area Thursday night, the warning states, and hit the western area of Riverhead near the Pine Barrens the hardest. Locations on the North Fork from Southold to Orient Point should remain above freezing, weather experts said.

“These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation,” according to a NWS weather alert.

Temperatures will dip into the lower 30s elsewhere, officials said.

psquire@timesreview.com

04/24/14 3:50pm
Ultimate Fitness is expected to be open within weeks. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Ultimate Fitness is expected to be open within weeks. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A 20,000-square foot fitness center in downtown Riverhead’s newly-renovated Woolworth building is targeting an opening early next month, as interior construction work on the apartments above the gym is set to begin.

Ultimate Fitness, which relocated from its location on Route 58, should be open in the first or second week of May, constructions workers said as they set up exercise equipment inside the space.

“We’re going to be starting the major residential work over the next few months,” said Michael Butler, the managing partner of the company renovating the site. The building will feature 19 apartment units on the 15,000-square-foot second floor.

The interior of the building has already had new electrical wiring, plumbing, water lines and sprinklers installed. 

Work on a bagel shop near the building is also expected to be completed in mid-May, he said, while 3,000 square feet of commercial space is still available for lease. Scaffolding around the outside of the building was taken down this week, and laborers will begin decorating the fascia that runs along the front of the building.

Woolworth went out of business in 1997, and the long-vacant building was purchased for about $4 million in 2006 by Apollo Real Estate Advisors, a Manhattan-based investment group. When Apollo’s proposed $500 million revitalization for almost all of downtown later fell apart, Mr. Butler purchased the property last year.

Mr. Butler said the workers have taken care to incorporate details from the Woolworth’s building’s history, like using the original metalwork around the front doors.

“This is a historic building, so we’re trying to make it look like it was in the 1950s,” Mr. Butler said, adding that the fascia should be finished in one or two weeks.

psquire@timesreview.com

04/24/14 10:03am
Words in next month's spelling bee at Jamesport Meeting House will range from middle-school difficulty through adult level. Above are winning words from the National Spelling Bee. (Credit: Danielle Doll)

Words in next month’s spelling bee at Jamesport Meeting House will range from middle-school difficulty through adult level. Above are winning words from the National Spelling Bee. (Credit: Danielle Doll)

Blame it on the alcohol.

Phil Cardinale, an attorney and former Riverhead Town supervisor, was eating spaghetti and drinking merlot at Grana in Jamesport two weeks ago when his friends and fellow diners, Steve and Ellen Berger, told him they were hosting a first-ever community spelling bee May 23 to benefit the upkeep and restoration of the historic Jamesport Meeting House.  (more…)

Featured Story
04/24/14 8:00am
Shoreham-Wading River freshman Brian Morrell has found himself in rare company by throwing two no-hitters in his first two varsity starts. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River freshman Brian Morrell has found himself in rare company by throwing two no-hitters in his first two varsity starts. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Soon after Taylore Baker threw consecutive no-hitters in his first two varsity starts in 2008, the Canton, Ohio, teen and his father began researching who else had ever accomplished the feat.

They started by looking through the Ohio state record books. They also searched the Internet for a match elsewhere in the country.

They found no one. Until now.  (more…)

04/23/14 1:58pm
Volunteers cleaned up downtown yesterday in celebration of Earth Day. (Credit: Richard Liebert)

Volunteers cleaned up downtown yesterday in celebration of Earth Day. (Credit: Richard Liebert)

Volunteers took to the streets yesterday in downtown Riverhead to clean up the area to celebrate the 44th annual Earth Day.

Organized by Hyatt East End general manager Steve Shauger, the effort lasted two hours as the group picked a dozen trash bags worth of litter from the area surrounding downtown, from Main Street to the waterfront. Employees with Hyatt East End, Atlantis Catering, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation all participated.

Earth Day — celebrated each year on April 22 — was started in 1970 as an effort to make the world a cleaner place.

Volunteers cleaned up downtown yesterday in celebration of Earth Day. (Credit: Richard Liebert)

Volunteers cleaned up downtown yesterday in celebration of Earth Day. (Credit: Richard Liebert)

Volunteers cleaned up downtown yesterday in celebration of Earth Day. (Credit: Richard Liebert)

Volunteers cleaned up downtown yesterday in celebration of Earth Day. (Credit: Richard Liebert)

 

Featured Story
04/23/14 10:32am
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

The Riverhead School Board unanimously adopted a budget for next year on Tuesday night, opting to use additional state aid that recently came down the pike partly on more teachers next year, and partly to reduce the tax burden.

The proposed budget, a $121.2 million spending plan that proposes a tax levy increase of 2 percent, will require taxpayer approval next month.

Riverhead School District was given about $850,000 more in aid in a final state budget that was adopted last month. At the suggestion of Superintendent Nancy Carney, Riverhead’s tentative budget includes using $368,000 of the additional state aid to reduce the tax levy rate bump, which had previously stood at 2.4 percent. In addition, the district now proposes hiring two new English as a Second Language teachers.

The estimated tax hike is below the state-mandated allowable tax levy rate of 2.4 percent, or $93.8 million, which represents the increased amount the school can collect from property taxes with a simple majority vote.

As for boosting the district’s ESL program, Ms. Carney has said that during the 2005-06 school year, the district had 378 ESL students and 11 ESL teachers. Although the district’s ESL student population swelled to 870 students in 2013-14, the district only had 13 ESL teachers, she said.

School board vice president Greg Meyer had requested at the April 8 meeting that the district look into hiring at least another middle school guidance counselor.

Ms. Carney said during Tuesday’s meeting that funding for the new hire isn’t included in next year’s budget because her office is in the process of securing a grant that will allow the district to employ more guidance counselors.

In addition to voting on the budget, residents will also be asked to vote on two ballot proposition proposals.

The first one is for a $3.98 million bond proposal for bus purchases.

Ms. Carney has said that if the bond is approved, the district will be able to buy about 35 large propane-powered buses, as well as about five handicapped vans, over a five-year span.

Voters authorized a program in 2007 to purchase school buses each year, retiring old vehicles in the process.

However, that five-year program has ended and those funds have been spent.

The school board also approved a second ballot proposition to grant an easement to Long Island Head Start. Ms. Carney has said the district sold a portion of land at Phillips Avenue School in Riverside to Head Start for about $10 in 1994. During recent renovation work at Phillips, Ms. Carney said the county health department discovered the land transfer was “never formalized” and needs to be completed before any final permits are issued for a new sanitary system at the school.