06/30/11 10:10pm
06/30/2011 10:10 PM

SAMANTHA BRIX PHOTO | New Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Steven Cohen is expected to begin work two weeks early at $12,400.

The Shoreham-Wading River school board on Thursday approved a measure that would allow new superintendent Steven Cohen to begin work on a per diem basis before his contract kicks in August 1.

The measure was passed by a 4-1 vote at the Board of Education meeting, with Mike Fucito and Leo Greeley absent. Board president Jack Costas and members Marie Lindell, Bob Alcorn and Rich Pluschau voted to approve the measure.

Bill McGrath cast the lone “no” vote.

The vote didn’t pass without objection from the public, with five people speaking, including state Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham).

Mr. Losquadro, a Shoreham-Wading River graduate whose wife teaches in the district, raced from a planned affair in Greenport to scold the board members — after catching word of the RiverheadNewsReview.com report about the planned vote, he said.

“If anyone is wondering why myself or any of the other elected representatives in Albany voted for a tax cap, here we are,” he said, referring to the recent passage of a 2 percent year-to-year cap on property tax hikes.

“This is the reason; the inability of the most local government to negotiate effectively to re-open contracts and not to reduce in a time when we are in the worst fiscal crisis of our lifetime.”

An agenda listed on the district website released beforehand made no reference to the measure to allow Dr. Cohen, whose resignation as an assistant superintendent with the Rye City School District was effective June 30, to start early.

Mr. Costas said in an interview before the meeting that if the measure was to be approved, Dr. Cohen would begin employment July 18 on a consulting basis to ensure a smooth transition into his post. Dr. Cohen would be paid $1,240 per day for 10 business days, he said, though the board later said at the meeting the true amount over the two weeks will be $8,750.

The contract of current superintendent Harriet Copel expires July 31.

“Dr. Copel will be able to give him directives and he’ll have a chance to learn the district’s procedures rather than coming in raw,” Mr. Costas had said.

Incoming board member John Zukowski blasted the board for bringing such a measure to the table.

“It seems a little ridiculous to me that we are paying a man, who we are probably paying over a million dollars over the next four years, to come in early to learn about his job,” Mr. Zukowski said. “If he is vested in this district like he claims to be and if he’s the quick learner you all claim he is, he should be here early and he should be prepared to work on his own time and on his own dime.”

Former board member and high school PTSA president Lisa Wild questioned the timing of the board’s vote.

“You have three-and-a-half hours left so let’s quickly do this before the majority changes,” Ms. Wild said to Mr. Alcorn, who sat at the dais for his last meeting as a board member.

“You’re being sneaky,” Ms. Wild said to the board. “Nobody trusts you.”

Mr. McGrath said he voted against the measure because of the price tag of the agreement and since he believes the two-week time period in which Dr. Cohen will be working isn’t ideal.

“I don’t think we should be paying him any more,” Mr. McGrath said.

The two extra weeks in which Dr. Cohen will be paid to work, Mr. McGrath said, is a time many employees take vacation and not many staff members in the district office will be working. He added that other new hires in the district office have started weeks earlier than their appointment date with no additional compensation.

The next board meeting is set for July 7.

samantha@northshoresun.com

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Shoreham-Wading River meets its new superintendent

Divided Shoreham-Wading River board hires new superintendent

06/30/11 6:26pm

With brown tide and now red tide showing up in East End waters with more frequency, Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister is urging that upgraded septic systems be required in new homes.

The brown tide first was detected in the 1980s in the Peconic Bay and officials blamed it for killing off much of the area’s shellfish at the time, and destroying the industry.

Brown tide has been seen recently in Moriches and Shinnecock bays, but it hasn’t been detected in the Peconic Bay for several years, Mr. McAllister said. In its place, however, is the red tide, which he said has been detected in Peconic Bay for six years running and which turned up a month ago in Shinnecock Bay, which is linked to Peconic Bay through the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays.

Unlike brown tide, red tide contains toxins that are potentially harmful to humans if ingested, Mr. McAllister said at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session.

“I did a flyover of the Peconics last August, and from Riverhead, from the river all the way out to Shelter Island, even shrouding the eastern side, it looked like a Picasso painting, just red streaks everywhere.”

He said the red tide, which wasn’t been seen in the Peconics so far this year, has traditionally turned up in the Peconic Bay in late July.

Mr. McAllister thinks the culprit is residential cesspools and increased residential development. Some scientists at Stony Brook University reached a similar conclusion earlier this year, according to Mr. McAllister, who works for a nonprofit Baykeeper environmental watchdog group.

He said 75 percent of the homes in Suffolk County have cesspools, and that polluted groundwater will eventually find it’s way into surface water. As the East End becomes more developed, it is no longer a rural area, and has become suburban, he said.

“We’re seeing an alarming trend in water quality degradation,” Mr. McAllister said.

Riverhead has a sewer district that collects and treats sewage, but it covers mostly commercial businesses in downtown Riverhead and Route 58. Most of the residences in the town use cesspools, officials said.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter agreed with Mr. McAllister, although he said that the town doesn’t control sanitary standards, which is under county jurisdiction.

The town is being required to do an $18 million upgrade to the commercial sewer plant. Mr. Walter said that upgrade will get done, although he’s unsure where the money will come from, especially with the state’s new two percent tax cap.

Mr. McAllister asked that the town simply “keep the dialogue going” on the problems caused by cesspools.

“We have to address it,” he said. “It’s the elephant in the room that’s been ignored…We are approaching a groundwater crisis.”

There are new upgraded cesspools that are being used in other areas, Mr. McAllister said, although he acknowledged that they are more expensive, in the range of $20,000 or more, per home.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio also agreed with the severity of the issue Mr. McAllister presented.

“Our resorts, our commercial fishing, that’s all going to go away if we don’t address this,” she said. “Our economy is going to go down the tank.”
She feels that some of the problem could be addressed if the state and county allow the town’s sewer district to be extended further west on West Main Street, so it can take in Hotel Indigo and all of Tanger Outlet Center, along with the development to the east of that.

Those areas can’t be included in the sewer district because the area is within the boundaries of the state’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, with limits development along the river. Because of this, Ms. Giglio said, many antiquated cesspools along the river continue to contaminate the water because they can’t be upgraded.

Mr. McAllister said many of the “chromoglass” sewage treatment plants approved for individual businesses are failing, and are polluting the groundwater.

“If there’s something specifically we can do, let me know,” Mr. Walter said. “We don’t control sanitary standards.”

Mr. McAllister urged the town to lobby the county to require upgraded cesspools.

“The solutions are out there but it’s going to cost,” Mr. McAllister said. “But we can’t stop talking about it.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/30/11 4:11pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Hyatt Place East End on East Main Street gets prepped Thursday for its grand opening ceremony.

The Hyatt Place East End at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center (formerly Atlantis Marine World) will be opening Friday.

It will also mark the first day the complex’s new, 5,000-square-foot Exhibition Center will be open for business, with an exhibit called Butterflies and Birds.

“This new $24 million three-prong expansion allows visitors and businesses alike to jump on in and test the waters with a 28,000-square-foot Sea Star Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 450 guests, a 70,000-square-foot, 100 room and suite Hyatt Place hotel, and the highly anticipated Long Island Exhibition Center,” according to a release issued by the complex’s ownership group, Atlantis Holdings.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Check back Friday at RiverheadNewsReview.com for coverage, which will include a photo tour of the new hotel and exhibit space.

06/30/11 2:55pm
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Jim Waters in May with his label-less wine bottles.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Jim Waters in May with his label-less wine bottles.

The great wine label crisis of the 2010 vintage year has been resolved.

Congressman Tim Bishop announced Thursday that he has successfully intervened on the behalf of three North Fork winemakers to help them get their wine labeled and ready for sale, after federal budget cutbacks and increased demand jammed up the wine label approval process earlier this year.

Mr. Bishop announced Thursday that three North Fork vineyards —  Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyards, Sannino Bello Vita Vineyards in Peconic and Waters Crest Winery in Cutchogue — had received approval for changes to their wine labels from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)as a result of his intervention.

While TTB had in recent years approved changes to wine labels within 48 hours, some North Fork wineries waited months this year for minor changes to their labels.

Mr. Bishop learned of the logjam during a meeting  local vintners at a Long Island Wine Council event in late May. He pledged at the time to get to the bottom of the approval slow-down.

Mr. Bishop’s office said in a press release that the growth in the craft brewing industry has led to the doubling of the number of labels submitted to TTB in the past ten years, with 132,595 labels put in for approval last year. At the same time, TTB is also facing staffing cutbacks.

“A fine wine may get better with age, but paperwork does not,” said Mr. Bishop. “Long Island’s wineries are a powerful economic engine and I am eager to help them get their world-class products to market and create local jobs. No businessperson should face unnecessary delays in routine paperwork, and I am pleased that these fine wines will be available for summer tourists and others who appreciate their quality.”

The congressman added that the label issues have been resolved for all the wineries that he was made aware of. He urged winemakers still having label trouble to contact his Patchogue office.

Jim Waters of Waters Crest Winery, who had recently changed the shape of the bottles and added the word “dry” to his 2010 rosé label, is relieved by the approval and is now ready to sell 120 cases of that vintage.

“It was frustrating,” he said. “We had a real problem and you couldn’t get anyone on the phone at TTB.  I’m being honest, I think if the Congressman didn’t get involved, we would still be waiting.”

byoung@timesreview.com

06/30/11 2:38pm

Riverhead Town’s 2009 audit is now complete.

Auditor Jeff Davoli of Albrecht, Viggiano, Zubreck and Company delivered that news to the Town Board at Thursday’s work session, where he also said the 2010 audit should be finished by the end of November, although Town Supervisor Sean Walter is hoping the group will do so by the end of September, since he must present a proposed budget by Oct. 1.

The 2008 audit wasn’t completed until March of this year, and the 2007 audit wasn’t done until December 2009.

The town fell behind on the audits when its prior finance administrator, Jack Hansen, became ill and later died. The town asked AVZ to do three audits this year and Mr. Davoli says the firm is on schedule to do so.

“It’s my position that we are completely on time at this point and we can now sell bonds,” Mr. Walter said.

The failure to complete the audits on time meant that the town couldn’t sell bonds to pay for capital projects it had built. About $24 million in bonds are waiting to be sold, he said. The town had paid for those capital projects by borrowing money from different funds prior to his taking office in 2010, Mr. Walter said.

Not having the audits up to date also could have negatively impacted the town’s bond ratings and led to higher interest rates on borrowings, the supervisor has said. The supervisor said Thursday he has received preliminary word that Standard and Poor’s, one of the bond rating companies, will retain Riverhead’s prior bond rating of AA-, which it issued in 1988 when the town last sold bonds.

The town’s fund balance decreased by about $10 million in 2009 as a result of spending surplus money to pay for capital projects, Mr. Davoli said.

Mr. Davoli also said the town sewer district has a fund reserve of $6 million, which surprised town officials.

“That can’t be accurate,” Mr. Walter said. Mr. Davoli assured him that it is accurate.

The town is under federal and state mandate to upgrade its sewer plant, a project that is estimated to cost $18 million, and would raise the sewer district tax rate by 554 percent, according to Mr. Walter, who said the surplus money could be applied toward that project.

The most significant flaw cited by the audit was the town’s computer system.

“The town’s software system is 25 years old and no longer supported by the vendor that developed it,” the audit stated, recommending an upgrade.

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/30/11 7:33am

A reputed drug cartel member who was wanted by Riverhead Police was arrested in town Sunday after fleeing on foot from the scene of a car crash in the downtown area, authorities said.

Jose Guadalupe-Lema, 21, was seen running from the crash and stopped by police near Town Hall just before 3 p.m., police said.

An officer tried to speak with him but he fled on foot, headed south toward the Long Island Rail Road tracks. It was not clear if Mr. Guadalupe-Lema was driving during the crash.

He was later picked up near Elton Street and found to be wanted on a bench warrant due in Riverhead Town Justice Court.

Mr. Guadalupe-Lema was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of injuries suffered during the crash. He was charged with resisting arrest and third-degree escape.

He had previously been arrested on an assault charge in May after he allegedly beat a woman in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven near the Roanoke Avenue traffic circle. The victim told police through a Spanish interpreter that Mr. Guadalupe-Lema is a member of a Mexican drug cartel and that she is in fear of him, investigators said at the time.

• Someone broke into a house on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow this week and stole $2,000 worth of hair products. The theft was reported about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

• Wesley Simchick, 36, of Riverhead was arrested in Grangebel Park about 6:30 p.m. Monday and was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana, town police said. He was taken to police headquarters and released on $100 bail.

• A man reported being assaulted with a bat in the King Kullen parking lot in Wading River on Saturday, according to town police. The assault was reported about 2:15 p.m. No arrests have been made.

• A man said two unknown men driving a Jeep Wrangler punched and kicked him in the parking lot of Riverhead Free Library last Wednesday, according to town police. No arrests have been made.

• Jesus Chocon, 29, of Riverside was arrested by state police Saturday and charged with third-degree assault, officials said. Mr. Chocon is due in Southampton Town Justice Court July 6. No additional details were available.

• Darius Strong, 31, of Riverhead was arrested by state police last Wednesday and charged with second-degree criminal contempt, police said. No additional details were available.

Those who are named in police reports have not been convicted of any crime or violation. The charges against them may later be reduced or withdrawn, or they may be found innocent.

06/30/11 6:34am

PECONIC

A very good start

Recently Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper introduced a local law that would ban the retail sale of puppies by pet stores in Suffolk County, unless they are obtained from animal shelters, animal rescue organizations or local breeders.
The North Fork Animal Welfare League is in full support of this legislation.
One hundred percent of the microchipped puppies originally purchased from local pet stores and then abandoned at the Southold Animal Shelter came from huge, out-of-state puppy brokerage houses, known better as puppy mills.
While the NFAWL is aware that this law alone will not close down these hellholes, it makes a very clear statement regarding what the residents of Suffolk County are willing to participate in.
If this law passes, our community is unequivocally saying that we will not encourage, enable or support the brutal and inhumane puppy mill industry.
Voltaire said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” There is no one perfect law that will end the suffering that puppy mills perpetuate. But this is a good law that can be an outstanding example of how acting locally can promote national change.
Please let your voices speak for those who cannot speak for themselves by attending the public hearing on this issue on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge at 6:30 p.m.

Gillian Wood Pultz

NFAWL executive director

MATTITUCK

Inhumane treatment

I am the owner of the Feed Bag pet store in Cutchogue, but I do not sell animals. Prior to opening my store I worked for three different Suffolk stores that sold puppies. I would like to describe for you my firsthand experience in this business.
The majority of puppies sold would be trucked from huge Midwest puppy brokers, some with numerous USDA violations. When they arrived, an assembly line would be set up. The transporter would grab a pup by the back of the neck and hand it to a store employee, who would then pass the puppy to me. My job would be to “inspect” the puppy. I was not a veterinarian or a vet tech. If the puppy had visible abnormalities it would be tossed back on the truck, its fate unknown.
The puppies sold at this store that did not come off these trucks were shipped by air to either La Guardia or Kennedy. They arrived in filthy crates filled with many puppies, not all of them alive.
The healthy-looking puppies that came into the store would go right onto the show floor. If the puppy was sick it would go to the “Iso” (isolation) room. All illnesses — kennel cough, parvovirus or distemper — were lumped together and all sick animals would go in the same room. The shop owner, not a veterinarian, would then determine the medical treatment the puppies would receive.
Every morning when we arrived for work the puppies would be filthy, covered in excrement, screaming and hungry. These were the lucky ones. Some just sat and shook. Others were removed from their cages dead. The shop owner would be compensated by the broker for puppies dying within a certain time frame after delivery.
There was no incentive to make these puppies healthy by sending them to a vet; that would cost money and affect the bottom line. After a week or so in recovery, and as demand required, they went to the sales floor. As sales associates, we were never advised to counsel potential buyers on the appropriate breed for their family. We were given bonuses based on our gross sales. The other two stores I worked in that sold puppies differed very little from this.
When I went into this business it was because I wanted to be the person that facilitates that perfect moment when a family meets their new member. I wanted to be the one that put those fabulous smiles on their excited faces when they found the perfect puppy.
I work closely with the local shelter, providing high quality food at low cost for the sheltered animals and space in my store for animals needing homes. In spite of this, I have found that there is no way for me to sell puppies that does not contribute to the suffering of both the parent dogs and the puppies bred from them.
Reputable breeders with high standards of care do not sell their puppies to any pet stores for resale. The only option for pet stores wishing to make a profit selling puppies is puppy mills.
I do not sell animals in my store because it is impossible to do so without contributing to this barbaric trade. I wholeheartedly support this legislation and thank Legislator Cooper and Legislator Romaine for introducing this bill,

Amy Cirincione

RIVERHEAD

Clear him or call the DA

I read in the newspaper that the Riverhead Town finance director, who is the head of the finance department, is under investigation for using town time and resources for his private business. I understand that the investigation is now complete, but the results of the investigation have not been released.
Since Supervisor Walter permitted the release that an investigation was under way, it seems only fair to the individual to publish the results. I sincerely hope that politics have not interfered with justice. Just because our finance director is campaign treasurer for Chris Cox — the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress who also happens to be the son of New York State Republican Committee chairman Ed Cox — and our Town Board is 100 percent Republican should not be a factor. If he is innocent, say so! If not, turn the matter over to the Suffolk County District Attorney.

Irene Pendzick

RIVERHEAD

Not the right message on plastic

Riverhead’s anti-litter advisory committee members are disappointed by some remarks made by Town Board members as quoted in the June 16 News-Review article about plastic bags.
The plastic bags that we find so convenient do have costs that are easily overlooked. They contribute to unsightly litter throughout the town, they kill marine animals that mistake them for food, approximately 60 to 100 million barrels of oil per year are required to produce them worldwide, they can take hundreds of years to decompose and when they do, they release toxic chemicals into soil and groundwater.
Our committee agrees with the sentiment that it would not be realistic to attempt to ban the use of plastic bags in Riverhead. However, we strongly disagree with the opinion that reusable shopping bags are not an alternative to at least the partial reduction in the use of plastic bags. Only last year, the current Town Board recognized the Stop & Shop grocery for their efforts to discourage the use of plastic bags by giving a rebate of $.05 for every reusable bag a customer would use. For Mr. Walter to say reusable bags can be a health risk is misinformation that could potentially encourage the use of plastic. I will confess that I wrap meat products in a plastic bag, but for everything else, reusable bags are a very reasonable alternative.
I recently asked two local store managers about the amount of plastic bags they use each week. One was a supermarket, where the assistant manager estimated 16,000 plastic bags each week. Walmart manager Stephen Simone told me his store uses approximately 48,000. If we were to double these uses to conservatively account for all plastic bags used in Riverhead each week it amounts to 128,000. If we then multiply this number by 52 weeks it amounts to a staggering 6,656,000 plastic bags used each year, just in Riverhead.
Significant reductions in the use and discard of plastic bags could be made by simple changes in our personal habits. This is the message that should be coming from the Town Board. We hope Councilman Wooten will take the lead to explore alternative solutions to the overuse of plastic bags in our community. The committee is more than willing to assist him.

George Bartunek

chairman, anti-litter advisory committee

REMSENBURG

What a day on the riverfront

Sometimes hard work, determination and fortitude really pay off. This past Sunday was an example of such an occasion when the second annual Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race was held along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead. I would like to personally thank the Riverhead Business Improvement District as the sponsor of the event, with a special thanks to Ray Pickersgill, the BID president, Ed Densieski, the boat race committee and all the volunteers who made this a truly great family and fun event. It was clearly evident that the event was well planned with safety being an absolute priority.
My two sons, Ian and Jay Oxman, and their friend Jonah Holderer were sponsored by the Long Island Science Center to design and construct a boat for Sunday. The boys approached the task with keen interest and a desire to build a boat that not only would stay afloat, but hopefully lead them to victory. After much research on applicable designs and construction, the boys decided they would name their boat The Archimedes after the Greek mathematician who discovered the laws of buoyancy and displacement. Armed with mathematical formulas and based on their combined weight, the boys designed a craft that would be fast and steady. They built scale models and tested different types of duct tape. I assured them that they would not end up in the Peconic River, though I had really had no way of knowing; many a good ship went down last year. Their research and hard work paid off. Not only did they stay dry, the boys paddled The Archimedes into a first place victory.
Walking the boardwalk Sunday, it was great to see all the other entries that would soon test their seaworthiness. The designs were inspiring, ranging from the very serious to the cleverly whimsical. It was great to be part of such a wonderful event. The boardwalk was packed with cheering spectators.
Events like the Cardboard Boat Race bring a community together. This particular event takes advantage of a natural resource that few communities in the country have, a wonderful river that is both scenically beautiful and offers great recreational opportunities.
Thank you to the Long Island Science Center for your sponsorship of The Archimedes, and thank you again to the BID and to all those involved for holding this fantastically fun event.

Laurence Oxman

RIVERHEAD

Just like slavery

Regarding the gay marriage bill and state Senator Ken LaValle’s refusal to vote for it, Mr. LaValle says, “My constituents are not ready for this…” This is the same argument that was used against the bill to outlaw slavery. Some lawmakers said that the slaves may not be ready for emancipation, that slaves may not know what to do with a newfound freedom!

Thom D’Angelo

JAMESPORT

Nowhere to be found

Whatever happened to the idea that the supervisor and Town Council work full time for the town?
I can never find any of them at Town Hall when I visit there.
To get an appointment with Supervisor Walter seems to be more difficult than to get an appointment with God.
Perhaps that is because he is spending most of his time (and ours) at his Wading River law office, also known as “Town Hall West.”

Vasso Patrikis

Editor’s note: Ms. Patrikis is a Riverhead Town Democratic Committee member.

WADING RIVER

Attaboys

Congratulations to Jonathan Kongoletos and Justin Petito for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Elizabeth Taggart acknowledged their achievements in her June 23 column in the News-Review. Please print this letter to notify your readership that Wading River Fire Department Inc. sponsors Boy Scout Troop 94. Financial, as well as inspirational, support is provided. At the Court of Honor Ceremony on June 18, I presented plaques to Jonathan and Justin on behalf of Wading River Fire Department Inc.
We are proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these fine gentlemen.

William Savage

president, Wading River Fire Department Inc.

FLANDERS

Team effort in ‘Flanders Village’

First of all, we must thank The Friends of the Big Duck for inviting us to co-sponsor the very successful 2011 craft fair and flea market, which enabled us to raise more than $1,300 for our organization. We will welcome any future opportunity to combine forces with this very dedicated group.
Secondly, we would like to thank the volunteers from our organization, Liza and her sister, Carolyn, Lane, Karen, Wendy and her faithful companion Odin, Barbara and yours truly, who all worked so tirelessly throughout the day directing traffic, selling raffle tickets and manning the society’s table. Your efforts are all greatly appreciated.
We would also like to thank those who donated items for the raffle, which alone raised $403 for the Flanders Village Historical Society. They were as follows:
• Grand Prize: “Heron on Reeves Bay” (print 1/100) donated by the artist, our own Mary Van Deusen;
• 1st Prize: mixed case of wine donated by Duck Walk Vineyard, Water Mill;
• 2nd Prize: canoe rental donated by Peconic Paddler;
• 3rd Prize: admission for two (2) donated by Atlantis Marine World; and
• 4th Prize: wine assortment donated by Michael’s Liquors.
Last but not least, we extend our gratitude to contributing members Jason Roche, owner of J.R. Irrigation LLC, and John Moore, owner of Moore Green Inc., for donating their lawn care and landscape services for the maintenance of the grounds at the Blue Barn. In the near future, with their help, we are confident that the Blue Barn will join the Big Duck and become one of the more visible gems of our community.

Gary Cobb

Flanders Village Historical Society

RIVERHEAD

An opening pitch from Van Glad

I would like to take a moment of your time and tell you a little bit about myself and some of my goals. I am  a candidate for Riverhead Town Council. I have lived in Riverhead since 1998 and have been active in politics my whole life. My family has long been involved in the political process in both New York and New Jersey, dating well back into the early ’20s. My parents taught me at a young age to realize that no person is an island and that we as a community need to work together for the greater good or we will not have a community worth living in.
It is apparent to me, as I am sure it is to you, that our town has been affected by the world and national problems of our times. The rising cost of heating our homes and other utilities due to international crisis has affected us all, from the day-to-day working man to big business. The struggles of the state and federal governments to find an answers to their own fiscal dilemmas has placed localities in a position of needing to be more self-sufficient when it comes to their financial needs. Therefore, we in the Town of Riverhead must work together to find a solution to our fiscal goals.
Unending tax increase, the decay of our Main Street and the erosion of our jobs has given me great concern for our once grand and wonderful town and its taxpayers. It seems that our town is becoming a haven for large business, leaving small mom-and-pop family enterprises adrift in their wake. The small-town feeling of Riverhead will not be replaceable once it’s gone.
We must speak up for our town before it is taken over by outside interests that might just destroy our quality of life for their own financial gain and benefit. It’s time to speak up now and demand that Riverhead stay solvent and improve the quality of life for all its residents!
I hope I can count on your support. Together we can take back Riverhead and have a community we can all live, work, play and raise our families in — now and in the future.
Thank you, and together we can find “a better way for Riverhead.”

Matt Van Glad

Democratic candidate for Town Council

CALVERTON

An initial pitch from Williams

It is with pride and earnest consideration that I have accepted the nomination as a candidate for the Riverhead Town Board. I am honored to be seriously considered for a position which holds such great esteem. As a retired New York State Trooper, I have dedicated my adult life to public service. For almost 20 years my duties were to serve and protect the people of New York.
Like some of you, I came to Riverhead and joined the incredible growth our town has seen in just the past decade. Riverhead population has grown 17 percent between the years 2000 and 2010. That’s an increase from 27,680 people to 33,506 in our town. As a resident, I believe the growth of Riverhead is admirable. But, as a taxpayer who depends on the services provided by local government, I am not confident Riverhead’s current leaders have our best interest at heart. There must be a plan, yes, a better way for Riverhead to meet the challenges facing the future of our town.
My plan as a Riverhead councilman is simple. I will work hard and tirelessly to reduce the tax burden on Riverhead residents. Not only is it the fastest-growing Long Island town, it is also the poorest town on the East End. Despite these facts, Riverhead will have the highest tax increase on Long Island of approximately 4.3 percent in fiscal year 2011.
I began my campaign for councilman to advocate for a few straightforward issues: tax relief, fiscal responsibility, honest government and safe neighborhoods. As I have gone around our town, speaking and listening to people about their issues and concerns, I realize the great recession has impacted us all. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, and in spite of economic status, we are all affected by the downturn of Riverhead’s economy.
I pledge to put every effort forward to address the tax challenges we face and will diligently work at creating a transparent, inclusive government that puts the needs of Riverhead citizens first. I humbly ask for your support and vote to be your next Riverhead councilman. On Nov. 8, let your voices be heard and vote for Marlando Williams as councilman. Thank you.

Marlando Williams

Democratic candidate for Town Council

06/30/11 4:32am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A sign on Route 25 in Calverton indicates the road is part of a bicycle path.

“Right now, you could never get me to ride a bike on Sound Avenue,” said Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson.
He said the speed of the drivers on that road and the narrowness of its shoulders contribute to his decision.

But the chairman of the East End Transportation Council hopes to convince Riverhead and other East End towns to adopt practices that would make Sound Avenue — and many other streets — a lot friendlier for bike riders.

Tom Neely, the council’s chair, is urging towns to adopt the “complete streets” program, which aims to make all streets better able to accommodate a multitude of users, including cars, public transportation, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The complete streets concept essentially says that when you’re looking at roadway and roadway-related improvements, you should try to accommodate not only cars and trucks, but also public transit, pedestrians, bicyclists or anyone who may want to use the transportation network,” Mr. Neely said. He admitted that it’s a “unique challenge” to do this in more rural areas where public transportation is less cost effective than it is in big cities.

He said statistics show that 48 percent of motor vehicle accident fatalities happen on local streets, not major highways, and that 12 percent of those involve bikes or pedestrians.

One suggestion is to shrink the driving portion of the roads and increase the size of the road shoulder.

Mr. Woodson said roads where drivers frequently exceed the speed limit are more worn out than roads where speed limits are usually observed.

He suggested narrowing Sound Avenue’s 12-foot-wide travel lanes to 10 feet, the minimum allowed by law. This would both slow down traffic and provide wider and safer shoulders for bikers and pedestrians.

He said one lane on Mill Road is 16 feet wide and should be reduced to 10.

The town has about $3 million in road infrastructure grant money that can be used for such road improvements, according to community development director Chris Kempner, who said the funds came from the Federal Recovery Act, she said.
Hotel gets to spread out fee.

The Town Board informally agreed last Thursday to allow the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, formerly known as Atlantis Marine World, to spread out a $183,000 sewer connection fee in four segments, paying three installments of $50,000 each covering the balance with the final payment. The new hotel and exhibition center will be built in four phases and each will have its own certificate of occupancy. An opening date of July 1 has already been advertised for its butterflies and birds exhibit, which will feature more than 30 species of butterflies and 20 different types of birds.

“They are under tremendous pressure to acquire a temporary certificate of occupancy and the main thing that seems to be holding it up is the sewer connection fee,” town building inspector Sharon Klos told Town Board members last Thursday.
In addition to the exhibition center, the complex also will feature a new 100-room Hyatt Place hotel and a grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 450 people.

“We’re moving heaven and earth to do everything we can on Main Street and this is one of those things that we have to do,” Supervisor Sean Walter said in agreeing to spread out the fee.

“As soon as we get people staying in the hotel rooms, the sooner we get the foot traffic up and down Main Street to support our businesses,” Councilman Jodi Giglio added.

Mardi Gras is coming

Town officials released details this week about the Mardi Gras festival scheduled for Aug. 6 in downtown Riverhead. Organized by the Business Improvement District, the event will run from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will feature New Orleans style-music, a parade down Main Street, bands, stilt walkers, face painters and Cajun food. Local restaurants will be coached by Cajun cooks from New Orleans and will offer dishes like jambalaya, crawfish and “dirty rice,” officials said.

There will be two stages for the scheduled performers, which include the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Dikki Du and his Zydeco Crewe, the Jambalaya Brass Band, the Who Dat Loungers, Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks, Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade, The Buzzards and local blues artist Tommy Keys.

BID members hope to make the Mardi Gras festival an annual event

“The Mardi Gras Festival will be another family-friendly, fun event that will bring excitement to our downtown,” Mr. Walter said in a press release.

The Mardi Gras parade, led by the Stilt Band, will start at noon at the Suffolk County Historical Society and march east to McDermott Avenue. Officials said people are encouraged to march with their dogs. The press release made no mention of bead-throwing.

tgannon@timesreview.com