11/19/14 5:08pm
11/19/2014 5:08 PM
More ice than water could be seen on one Main Road fountain Wednesday. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

More ice than water could be seen on one Main Road fountain Wednesday. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The weather is taking North Forkers on a wild ride, as this week saw two consecutive days that each broke recorded weather records.

But there’s hope for some warmer weather to come Monday, weather officials said.

Tuesday brought with it a record low of 24 degrees, surpassing a record of 25 set in 1997, according to daily temperature data taken at the agency’s weather station in Islip, according to the National Weather Service.


11/18/14 6:21pm
11/18/2014 6:21 PM
Shoreham-Wading River freshman Katherine Lee, pictured at the state meet Nov. 15, finished fifth Saturday in the federation championship race. (Credit: Kyle Brazeil/MileSplit NY)

Shoreham-Wading River freshman Katherine Lee, pictured at the state meet Nov. 15, finished fifth Saturday in the federation championship race. (Credit: Kyle Brazeil/MileSplit NY)

As an eighth-grader running in the state federation race last year, Shoreham-Wading River’s Katherine Lee learned a valuable lesson. When it comes to competing in a race loaded with talented runners, get out quick.

It’s a style of running Lee, now a freshman, has taken into all her races this season. And it proved particularly effective Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls.  (more…)

11/13/14 3:33pm


Update, 4:10 p.m.: A mother and her adult daughter escaped from their burning condo unharmed, according to Riverhead Police.

The fire is believed to have started in the chimney shortly before 3 p.m.

Just about an hour later, most of the flames had been extinguished by fire volunteers that had responded to the scene. (more…)

11/13/14 2:45pm

It was meant to be a private video shared among parents of local rowers.

Two days later, video footage of last weekend’s Riverhead Snowflake Regatta became a viral YouTube sensation.

The now infamous local video with nearly a half-million views, which exploded after it was shared by sports entertainment website Deadspin, NBC Sports and USA Today among others, was shot and published on YouTube by the mother of a local rower.

“I just happened to be taking video and some of the other parents were like ‘Oh, can you send me that?” explained Mary Kay O’Shaughnessy of Riverhead. “So I posted it and it was not listed. It was not public and I sent it to a few parents.

“I don’t know how it got out there.”

YouTube explains: “Making a video unlisted means that only people who have the link to the video can view it … but it could appear elsewhere on the web if you or anyone who you shared the video with shares it more broadly.”

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The video depicts several mishaps during the annual racing event, including two crew teams stopped in the middle of the course with their boats apparently stuck.

Spectators along the riverwalk can be heard yelling and cursing at the boaters throughout the video.

Ms. O’Shaughnessy admits the video can be a bit misleading, though. At one point, the video shows an eight-women novice team striking a pier, appearing to force a teenage girl overboard as another team passes the rowers by.

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But results show that race featured a staggered start time and the team that struck the pier continued on, and eventually won.

“Not one rower ended up in the water,” Ms. O’Shaughnessy confirmed. “It was very scary, let me tell you, very scary. But they popped back up, not one of them got in the water and they actually won the race.”

And even though websites are making statements like “Riverhead Rowing Sucks!” in headlines, no teams made up of rowers from Riverhead are featured erring in the video.

Ms. O’Shaughnessy, who acknowledged that she licensed the video at the suggestion of others after it went viral, said “it was never my intention to embarrass anybody. Absolutely not.”

“It was for the parents who watched it all happen,” she said. “It was sort of surreal.

“I had some new parents saying, ‘So, this is what happens?” she said. “I said, ‘No, this never happens.’”

One veteran rowing coach who witnessed the races — but asked not to be identified — said these sort of miscues do often happen during novice races.

“This does happen and it’s not a horrible thing,” he said, likening it to foot races where runners stumble over each other.

He said sometimes young rowers can’t hear instructions from their coaches while out on the water, or have trouble seeing over each other, which could make it appear that boats are stuck while the team tries to figured out what to do.

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Ms. O’Shaughnessy said one positive from the video is that it might encourage coaches to address some safety issues within the sport.

“Maybe this can be used as a teaching tool for young kids [to learn] what to do when you get in a situation like that,” she said. “Or, you know, what not to do.”

Ms. O’Shaughnessy said she hopes the video doesn’t cause any trouble for the race organizers at East End Rowing.

“I’m so grateful the Snowflake Regatta is here,” she said. “It’s great for the local kids to go out and row.”


11/13/14 1:17pm
Serendipity Farm's horse barn was built in 2012 in Riverhead on Mill Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Well over $100,000 was stolen from the FW Sims company by Joseph Simonelli and directed to Serendipity Farm on Mill Road, federal prosecutors allege. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A Calverton man is being held without bail in a Nassau County jail after he was arrested by FBI agents Wednesday on charges he stole upwards of $10 million from his family-run heating and air-conditioning company in West Babylon.

Joseph Simonelli, who lives in Calverton and owns a thoroughbred horse farm on Mill Road that’s run by his stepdaughter, is facing up to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, according to court records and a criminal complaint filed in Eastern District court. (more…)

11/13/14 12:30pm

Long Island Wine Country Harvest Season“Before the harvest, when you walked the vineyard and saw the cluster count, you realized, ‘oh man, we’re going to be having a good year,” said Miguel Martin, Palmer Vineyards winemaker.

Mr. Martin isn’t the only one reporting huge grape yields this season, after a dry summer this year and fine growing conditions last season as well.

See how the North Fork’s 2014 grape season is shaping up on northforker.com.

11/13/14 10:55am

A Riverhead man led police on a chase along the Peconic riverfront early Thursday after he allegedly carjacked a woman’s vehicle at a nearby gas station and then tried to push the car into the river, state police said.


Michael Booker mug shot (Credit: New York State police)

A woman ran to the state police barracks in Riverside about 1:45 a.m. to report that her vehicle, a 2008 Nissan, was just stolen by force at the Valero Gas Station in the Riverside traffic circle, according to a police news release. Troopers searched the area and found a man — later identified as 29-year-old Michael Booker — trying to push the stolen vehicle into the Peconic River from the rear parking lot of the McDonalds on Flanders Road, police said.

Mr. Booker tried to run away on foot, and was “quickly apprehended,” according to the news release.

He was arrested and charged with felony robbery, felony criminal mischief, misdemeanor reckless endangerment and harassment, a violation. He was arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court and held in Suffolk County jail without bail, police said.