11/20/14 8:00am
11/20/2014 8:00 AM
The Shoreham-Wading River High School tennis courts have been closed and locked since March after they were declared unsafe. Fixing them up will cost over $800,000. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

The Shoreham-Wading River High School tennis courts have been closed and locked since March after they were declared unsafe. Fixing them up will cost over $800,000. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Shoreham-Wading River School District residents will vote Jan. 13 on a $48 million bond proposal on capital improvements throughout the district.

On Tuesday, the district released an itemized list of upgrades that will be paid for — should the vote pass — as well as a packet for the public summarizing the project, which the district’s public relations firm has dubbed ‘Renewal.’

“Since the formation of our district decades ago, only minimal work to our schools has ever been undertaken with the exception of emergency projects (roof at Briarcliff) or small infrastructure projects,” the material states. “Meanwhile, communities all around us have addressed deteriorated or inefficient building systems and instructional environments with upgraded facilities.”

The district will hold two separate meetings in early December for residents to learn more about the proposal.

On Dec. 2, a presentation will be given by architects hired by the district to complete the work. On Dec. 9, the public will have the opportunity to speak with board members and administrators about the proposal.

Below are the highest-ticketed items proposed.

• $5.6M: Wading River Elementary School: Four new classrooms, multipurpose room.

• $4.6M: Miller Avenue Elementary School. Four new classrooms and reconstruction of library/media wing.

• $3.7M: Prodell Middle School: kitchen and cafeteria addition.

• $2.4M: Miller Avenue Elementary School: New bus loop/parking.

• $2.3M: Wading River Elementary School: New bus loop/parking.

• $1.7M: High school: Synthetic field turn and lighting for multipurpose field.

• $1.4M: Miller Avenue Elementary School: New roof.

• $1.3M: High school: New window system.

• $976K: Prodell Middle school: New window system.

• $811K: High school: Tennis court reconstruction.

For a complete list of the proposed upgrades, as well as the Renewal packet released by the school district, see the following page.

11/20/14 7:00am
Junius Atkins Jr. has been working at Suffolk County Community College for over 35 years. The Riverhead High School graduate, who works in a custodial supervisory role, was recently recognized for his service with a SUNY Chancellor's Award, one of five given each year. SUNY employs 50,000 people statewide. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Junius Atkins Jr. has been working at Suffolk County Community College for over 35 years. The Riverhead High School graduate, who works in a custodial supervisory role, was recently recognized for his service with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award, one of five given each year. SUNY employs 50,000 people statewide. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

His trademark shiny black boots have walked the halls of Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus for more than 35 years.

As the longest-serving employee on campus, Junius Atkins Jr. of Riverhead has garnered a reputation as an innovative professional and all-around stand-up guy since he started as a part-time custodian in 1977, when the Riverside campus opened.  (more…)

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.

(more…)

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

Maidstone2

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.”

Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 2.21.34 PM

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.

Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 2.21.13 PM

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.

Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 2.22.07 PM

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.”

gparpan@timesreview.com

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…)