08/31/10 12:00am
08/31/2010 12:00 AM

Long Island University has granted Peconic Public Broadcasting Inc., the group that currently runs Long Island’s only National Public Radio affiliate, a three-day extension on the Aug. 31 deadline to make the final $637,000 payment on the station.
LIU released a statement Tuesday evening saying that if the group cannot meet that deadline, the university will offer 88.3 FM’s license and equipment to “several other public radio organizations that have expressed an interest in acquiring WLIU.”
Peconic Public Broadcasting, which was formed last year, beat out two other suitors and signed a $2.4 million deal in October to purchase the station from LIU. At that time, the group signed a letter of intent with the university to purchase the station for about $850,000 in cash, with the rest coming in services.
The group, headed by current staffers at the Southampton-based public radio station, has been operating under the call letters WPPB since then. Station manager Wally Smith did not immediately return calls for comment.
– VERA CHINESE

08/31/10 12:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
Housekeepers Wesley Mann and Leo Krumholz set up cots Wednesday at Peconic Bay Medical Centert o be used by people in the event that they might be evacuated due to Hurricane Earl. The hospital is also installing a temporary back up generator, so the air conditioning can remain on.

So what does Hurricane Earl have in store for Riverhead?
“So far it appears there’s a chance we may get some tropical force winds, between 30 and 50 miles per hour, and maybe two to three inches of rain,” said Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, who is the town’s emergency preparedness manager.
But that’s if the current predictions don’t change.
“It’s a little difficult because it’s so far out,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty, so we’re treating it as if the hurricane is going to hit here.”
Many Riverhead residents, particularly those in the Horton Avenue vicinity, are still recovering from flooding in March.
Could there be a repeat?
“Anything is possible, but that’s not being predicted,” Chief Hegermiller said. “There’s been no prediction of flooding so far.”
He said it appears the storm will hit during low tide, which will further reduce the chance of flooding.
“We are basically watching it and putting our response plan into action,” said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter. “The big concern I see is for the mobile homes. We’re planning to have buses ready to evacuate the mobile home communities to an emergency shelter if necessary.”
Mr. Walter said most mobile homes are only equipped to handle winds of between 60 and 90 miles per hour when they’re strapped down. He said the town is planning to call mobile home communities to alert them of the possible evacuation plan.
The hurricane thrashed the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean on Monday, causing powerful wind and rain, as well as floods on parts of the island.
Earl is the fifth tropical storm and the second major hurricane of the season. As of Tuesday morning the category 4 storm had maximum sustained wind of 135 mph. It is moving west-northwest at 14 mph, threatening the east coast as early as Friday.
The hurricane formed on Sunday and is expected to strengthen over the next few days.
Although the storm will likely come close to Long Island, many experts predict it will miss Montauk Point by more than 100 miles.
If shelters are needed, the Red Cross handles sheltering for Riverhead Town, and has designed the Riverhead High School and Middle School as possible shelters, the chief said.
Riverhead Town has posted some information on its website about things residents should do to prepare for emergencies.
That information deals with creating an emergency plan, preparing a disaster supply kit, and paying attention to local weather forecasts.
The town site also includes links to other agencies, such as the American Red Cross and state, county and federal emergency agencies.
tgannon@timesreview.com

08/31/10 12:00am

JUSTIN SCHEIN PHOTO/ Colin Beavan with his daughter,
Isabella, buying locally grown squash at a New York City
farmers market.

Imagine going a whole year eating only locally produced food, getting around only by bike and scooter, producing little or no garbage and not buying anything new. Oh, and no toilet paper or coffee either.
That’s how New York City writer Colin Beavan, aka “No Impact Man,” and his family spent the 12 months from November 2006 to November 2007

08/31/10 12:00am

The Riverhead School District learned this week it will receive just over $750,000 from the federal education jobs bill.
New York’s total share of the
federal funds is almost $608 million. The money is intended to create or
maintain 8,200 jobs across the U.S. The money will be distributed using
the state aid formula and is expected to start flowing next month.
The
funds can be spent on compensation including bonuses, pay raises,
in-service days, pensions, student loan repayment assistance,
transportation subsidies and childcare expenses.
Districts have until September 2012 to use up the entire fund.
– SAMANTHA BRIX

08/30/10 12:00am
08/30/2010 12:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
A piece of Americana
Don Fisher (from left), president of The Railroad Museum of Long
Island, and Richard Gorddard, president of the Twin Forks
Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, unveiled a
bronze plaque at the rededication of the Riverhead Railroad
Station. 

One hundred years later, the Riverhead Railroad Station was rededicated Saturday.
First opened to the public on June 2, 1910, the station was constructed by a group of Irish-American bricklayers in 1909 after the aged wooden structure was demolished.
The rededication was part of the 11th Annual Riverhead Railroad Festival this weekend. The event is sponsored by the Railroad Museum of Long Island.
With renewed interest and cooperation of the LIRR, which adjusted train
schedules to facilitate the arrival and departure of County and State
Court jurists to Riverhead, the station begins another important part of
community life in Suffolk County and Riverhead Town this year.
In attendance for the rededication were Supervisor Sean Walter, Legislator Ed Romaine and Councilman John Dunleavy.
– BARBARAELLEN KOCH

08/28/10 12:00am
08/28/2010 12:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
Sound Park Heights Civic Association president Eric Biegler addresses a group of concerned citizens from Reeves Park and other communities in Riverhead Saturday morning about the possible future commercial development along the rural corridor of Sound Avenue.

The battlefield is growing in the debate over a proposed shopping center at the corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue, as representatives of civic associations outside of Reeves Park are now joining the fight.
The residents also have begun a petition drive, and hope to deliver a petition with 1,000 signatures against the development plans to the Town Board at its next meeting on Sept. 8, which is a Wednesday afternoon.
At a meeting at Reeves Beach Saturday morning called by residents who have opposed EMB Enterprises’ plans for a 28,000 square foot shopping center and restaurant, representatives of civic groups from Wading River, the Willow Ponds condo association, and from the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition also were present.
“We all feel that further development of Sound Avenue is to the detriment of every taxpayer in the Town of Riverhead,” said Eric Biegler, president of the Sound Park Heights Civic Association, which represents the Reeves Park area. “It’s not just a Reeves Park issue. It’s a Willow Ponds issue, it’s a Wading River issue, it’s an issue for downtown Riverhead, where they cannot fill their stores and not fill their developments. To put more development further away, is only going to draw business away from them.”
Town officials have said they cannot litigate the EMB Enterprises case any further. EMB, owned by Kenn Barra, sued the town after it rezoned the property from commercial to residential in 2004, after he had submitted a commercial application. Supervisor Sean Walter said the town lost the initial court ruling on the case, and also lost the appeal. The appellate court ruling declared the site plan approved, pending an environmental review, he said.
The Sound Parks Heights group recently hired attorney Carolyn Zenk, who wrote a legal opinion stating that while the courts overturned the first rezoning, the Town Board later rezoned the property from commercial to residential again after that, and that the second rezoning was done properly. She feels the town should take no action and simply regard the land as residentially zoned, which would prevent a shopping center.
Mr. Biegler said there also have been unpopular developments in other parts of the town, where town officials have sided with the developer.
“This is a disturbing trend,” he said Saturday. “That our town leaders are going to ignore what we say, and what we want, as taxpayers and citizens and voters, for the betterment of the developers.”
“This is definitely a Riverhead, not just an issue for one local community,” said Dominique Mendez, the co-founder of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, a non-profit group that is attempting to bring all of the civic organizations in town together. “Unfortunately with the Town Board, it’s numbers. We’ve got voting power, we pay taxes and we need to be a voting block and show them that they have to factor in what residents like, and our quality of life. We need to be heard.”
Bob Kelly, a Reeves Park resident whose brother Tom, also a Reeves Park resident, was a New York City firefighter who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001,  commended the town for naming Park Road after his brother several years ago, but added, “It means a lot to me. I don’t want to see a Burger King behind it.”
Mr. Biegler commended Mr. Walter for saying he didn’t believe the shopping center belonged on Park Road, and for saying he felt the town should try to buy the property in question for use as parkland.
tgannon@timesreview.com

08/28/10 12:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
A fire broke out early Saturday morning and burned a garage to the ground at
an abandoned Northville Turnpike home.

A fire burned a garage to the ground at an abandoned home in Riverhead early Saturday morning, police said. No injuries
were reported.
Riverhead Fire Department volunteers arrived at the Northville Turnpike home at about 3:45 a.m. and put out the flames.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, police said. The Suffolk County Police Arson Squad also responded to the scene.
Police are asking anyone with additional information to call 727-4500.

vchinese@timesreview.com

08/26/10 12:00am
08/26/2010 12:00 AM

Supervisor Sean Walter is hoping local developers will donate their time and services to help rebuild the town’s building department office, which was badly damaged in an April 16 fire.
The town is planning to issue a request for proposals to design the rebuilt one-story structure on Howell Avenue as a two-story structure, but the supervisor is hoping that the actual construction of that building can be donated.
“Maybe we can get some help from some of the local developers that have made their way in this town and see whether they would be willing to volunteer their time, given the circumstances of the budget,” Mr. Walter said, alluding to the town’s estimated budget deficit of more than $5 million.
“The only thing we would be able to offer would be a bronze plaque that says ‘building department constructed by…’ and list the names of these people,” he said at Thursday’s Town Board work session.
The supervisor said he and building department officials Leroy Barnes and Sharon Klos plan to schedule a meeting with some developers to discuss the idea “and see if there is a sense of community spirit, then maybe we would be able to get some people to donate the labor to build this. We would still have to pay for materials for the second floor.”
To date, the town has received checks totaling $395,723 from its insurance company, which covers restoration of records, the contents of the building and the structure, according to Dave Cullen, an aide to Mr. Walter. The town had to pay a $100,000 deductible on its insurance policy, he added.
The building department has been temporarily relocated to a rented office across the street from Town Hall on 755 East Main Street.
“Nothing comes for free,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said. “Nothing is without a price.”
But Mr. Walter said he doesn’t take a cynical view of the possibility of developers donating their time and service to help the building department.
“If somebody is willing to do something out of the goodness of their heart for this town, I refuse to believe they’re expecting something under the table,” he said. “I refuse to follow that logic. I take people at face value. If they are willing to donate money or donate something, I don’t think they are going to be expecting anything in return. And they should know that they’re not getting anything in return.”
Mr. Walter said he would point it out in public if someone tried to demand something in return for volunteer work.
The supervisor said the town has received volunteer work already. Architect Chuck Thomas donated an architectural design for the new building department, Jack Van de Wetering donates flowers for downtown Riverhead and Pepperidge Farm donates bread to the senior center.
In recent months, he’s also pointed out that Lou Kalogeras has donated his engineering services for the downtown sidewalk restoration and architect Rob Stromski has donated his services on the restoration of the World War II Memorial at the Pulaski Street School.
“You’ve got to believe in the goodness of people,” he said. “Stay positive and things will happen.’
tgannon@timesreview.com