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09/30/11 5:00am
09/30/2011 5:00 AM
Wineries on the North Fork of Long Island

COURTESY PHOTO | A screenshot of the Long Island Wine Council's new website.

Have you noticed that the Long Island Wine Council’s website is looking a bit spiffier these days?

The wine council launched a new website Monday with larger images, more space for advertisements, and a link to download the wine council’s smartphone application.

Steve Bate, the council’s executive director, called the old website “an earlier generation site.”

“There were a lot of things that we weren’t doing because we didn’t have the technology in the old site,” he said.

Now, each time a new affiliate, like a restaurant or bed and breakfast, is added to the website, it will automatically be added to the Wine Council’s smart phone application. The website also has expanded social networking capabilities, which Mr. Bate said will likely increase traffic.

In addition to the new technology features, visitors to the site will also notice more color.

“We wanted to have something that was even more visual than the other site,” Mr. Bate said.

And visual it is.

Small pictures adorned the old website, but giant vineyard photographs, including one with an aerial view, now stretch across a large portion of the new site’s homepage.

And advertisers will find some changes, too. Those who wish to take out web advertisements can now opt for long, horizontal banners, while they could previously only be named in a listing.

The goal of both websites is the same: to inform visitors to North Fork wineries about where to wine, where to dine, where to stay and what to do.

The design and development, carried out by Michael Croteau of Croteaux Vineyards in Southold, began this past spring — and isn’t complete yet.

A section will soon be added on wine styles: dry; sweet or sparkling; something Mr. Bate said winery visitors often ask him about.

Another section on the technical aspects of vineyards, like horticulture and winemaking, is coming soon.

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09/29/11 5:24pm
09/29/2011 5:24 PM

This woman entered the Roanoke Avenue 7-Eleven last Thursday and apparently purchased all remaining copies of The Suffolk Times and the Riverhead News-Review.

The News-Review has obtained a copy of surveillance footage of a woman entering the 7-Eleven on Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead and buying all the copies of the Sept. 22 edition of both The Suffolk Times and the News-Review last Thursday.

Last week store owner John Biancaniello confirmed that a woman had entered the 7-Eleven and purchased all the remaining copies of those papers.

The woman said she was using the papers to move, though she did not buy any copies of Newsday or The Southampton Press, which are also on sale at the store, he said last week. The Suffolk Times and the Riverhead News-Review, both Times/Review publications, sell for $1.50 per copy while Newsday costs 75 cents and the Southampton Press is $1.

Some 30 newspaper dealers called last Thursday and Friday to report the paper had sold out from Calverton to Orient, circulation manager Laura Huber said last week. Two different people were hitting up the stores, according to reports from vendors. Those people were paying for the newspapers, not stealing them, company officials emphasized.

Ninety seconds into the nearly seven minute video the woman approaches the register and places a stack of newspapers on the counter. She then apparently tells the clerk she plans on buying additional copies and places the rest of the papers on the counter.

The unidentified woman, wearing a blue sweatshirt, jeans, white sneakers and glasses, pays for the papers in cash and then takes three trips to load them into the trunk of a green sedan.

It is not known if the woman in the video is involved with the other reported purchases.

In response to the buying frenzy, parent company Times/Review Newsgroup had another 5,500 copies printed last Friday afternoon.

It was the first time someone attempted to buy every copy of an issue in the Mattituck-based business’ history, company officials said.

It was not clear what motivated the paper-buying frenzy, though Times/Review publisher Andrew Olsen said he did have suspicions.

“So far we have no hard proof,” he said. “But if it’s someone attempting to somehow silence our coverage or make an uncomfortable story go away, they’re wasting their time and their money. We will not be silenced.”

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09/29/11 3:13pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town's animal control building on Youngs Avenue.

Riverhead Town officials are in talks with the non-profit group that runs Southold Town’s animal shelter regarding the possibility of that organization also taking over the Riverhead facility.

The 49-year-old North Fork Animal Welfare League has operated Southold Town’s animal shelter since 1980.

Councilman Jim Wooten, Riverhead’s Town Board liaison on animal control issues, said NFAWL has been looking to expand and recently had some architects and engineers examine the Riverhead shelter, which officials have said is too small. Mr. Wooten said the proposal is in a preliminary stage.

“I’ve been looking to privatize our shelter with a non-profit,” Mr. Wooten said.

Last year, the town issued a request for proposals from groups interested in running the municipal shelter, and only one response was received. That response came from Responsible Solutions for Valued Pets, a non-profit group that rescues animals in town, but whose members have often feuded with the town over animal control issues.

The Town Board ended up rejecting the single proposal, as is town policy in cases where there is only one bid, and kept the status quo.

And Riverhead officials said the preliminary numbers they’ve been discussing with NFAWL would be lower than what the town pays for animal control services now.

“We’ve been talking about this for so long. If we can pull this off, this will be huge,” Mr. Walter said Thursday, when the board discussed the proposal at its work session.

The town of Riverhead is bigger than Southold both geographically and by population, but officials say they are optimistic about a possible deal with NFAWL.

“I’d be very happy to sign my name on the bottom of the check and just give it to them,” Mr. Walter said of the shelter. “They’ll do a better job than we are doing.”

A call to NFAWL executive director Gillian Wood Pultz was not immediately returned.

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09/29/11 2:50pm

Not too long ago, before porgy seasons shut down so early, we were bailing some nice autumn scup aboard the Nancy Ann off the north side of Plum Island. Just for fun, I had rigged an outfit specifically designed to get the most out of every 14-incher, an old “downrigger rod” with lots of bend and a conventional reel without any drag at all, an antique Shakespeare Marhoff filled with 200 yards of 12-pound dacron.

I had chosen the 60-year-old level wind reel deliberately to get a better feel for catching fish the old-fashioned way, using educated thumbs instead of drag washers. When a slammer bluefish, a 13-pounder, got into the act, swiping a small scup on its way to the surface, line disappeared from the whirling spool in a hurry; after a minute or two, I could see the last turns of line and anticipated being “spooled” while a long white filament headed north toward the Connecticut side of the Sound!

It was nothing more than dumb luck that turned the yellow-eyed thief when I clamped down, but I was made aware once again of that old fisher’s rule: spool up with more line than you think you’ll need for the “average” fish, because there’s always something bigger out there ready to embarrass you!

Nowadays, as warming waters change fish movements, it’s not at all unusual to find atypical critters interrupting summer and fall patterns. Only a couple of weeks back, a pod of bluefin tuna wreaked havoc among surfcasters on the Fire Island National Seashore beaches, spooling all but one sharpie, who managed to subdue a bullet in the 30- to 40-pound class that crashed his pencil popper.
Indeed, the line load that suffices to turn mid-sized stripers, teen-sized blues, and even the heftiest false albacore, often isn’t enough for the exceptional fish, e.g., the big scombrids or the 60-pound striper that comes out of nowhere.

With an array of technically advanced gear, today’s anglers take a lot for granted. Even the smaller winches we use have drags sufficiently smooth to put tremendous pressure on fish; with current super-braids we see folks spooling reels with 30-pound-test, even 50-pound, where they once loaded 15- or 30-pound monofilament. Since the braids have such small diameters (equivalent to eight- or 12-pound test mono), so the logic goes, why not use a truly small reel with limited line capacity? It makes the outfit so much lighter and more pleasant to use all day long! And besides, with smooth drags set at one-fourth or even one-third of breaking strength, you’re able to turn anything easily. Right? No!

Long ago, when Janet’s uncle asked me along on a salmon trolling trip out of Coos Bay, Ore., he kidded me all day about the light gear I brought aboard, including a mid-sized Penn 209M loaded with some 400 yards of 12-pound mono. He opined that his ocean spinner stuffed with 100 yards of 50-pound could handle anything, and he was right when it came to the silver salmon, which were so common then. Indeed he dispatched them easily. But he never anticipated the 40-plus king salmon that came up behind the flasher, engulfed the herring, and blasted away, spooling Uncle Clarence in no time at all!

Given the choice of line test versus yardage loaded, we’ll take yardage every time for predators that work the upper levels of the water column or prowl the surf. Two hundred yards may be comfortable for freshwater lakes or shallow bottom fishing, but we prefer 300 minimum for open ocean beaches or brawling rivers. And if you risk encounters with the giant mackerel or tunas on the ocean, it’s awfully nice to insure yourself with 400, even 500 yards! We’ve seen Atlantic salmon go 250 yards into braided backing on a super-sized fly reel, 16-pound albies hooked on the troll that took nearly 400 yards to turn on eight-pound mono, and even one crazy 30-pound sailfish that lined straight out on a 12-pound outfit and finally quit running at the 450 yard marker.

Nevertheless, any large bodies of water, especially the world oceans, have creatures that can overpower any angler, however well prepared he or she may be. Janet and I fished a lot for North Sea cod to teen sizes when we worked in Hamburg, and our 12-pound spinning gear, each reel loaded with 300 yards of mono, was perfect for the task. Yet there was one time when a small cod, halfway to the top, stopped dead, then began moving inexorably out to sea. No, we weren’t hung up; there was almost no drift. With most of the line gone, we reluctantly broke the thing off. Years later, we learned that, on rare occasions, porbeagle sharks over 300 pounds prowl the surface waters off Helgoland, though none of our seagoing friends had ever seen one. In that case, getting spooled was simply unavoidable!

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09/29/11 12:00pm

COURTESY PHOTO | A recent wedding at Laurel Lake Vineyards in Laurel.

After high school sweethearts Ken Cereola and Meghan Barnett got engaged, they knew they wanted to wed at a farm-style vineyard, but were seeking a renovated venue big enough to accommodate their 130 guests.

They chose Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue.

“Meghan has been in love with that vineyard since the first time I showed it to her,” the future groom said.

Mr. Cereola knows wineries well. He’s worked for the past 11 years at Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead, where he’s now a sales associate and also serves during tastings. He decided his wedding will be next August, which is just before harvest season.

“The leaves are full, the fruit is ripe and everything is lush and green and looks awesome,” he said.

The majority of couples who wed at North Fork wineries choose either August, September or October for their big days, local vineyard employees say.

“September is typically the most popular month,” events director Valerie Hallock said of her vineyard, Peconic Bay Winery. “There’s fruit hanging from the vines and the vines are at their fullest. September is just beautiful.”

COURTESY PHOTO | The pavillion area at Bedell Cellars, where Coram couple Ken Cereola and Meghan Barnett will wed next August.

Molly O’Connor, event manager at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, said September and October are typically the first months to be fully booked.

“It’s harvest,” she said. “Everything is literally bursting with fruit and vitality and fertility. It’s just a really lovely time.”

Many ceremonies at Peconic Bay Winery take place in the vineyard hollow, a wide aisle between the vines where the grapes grow.

Some couples who are especially fond of vineyards use the space in between two vines as an aisle to walk down during their ceremonies. Both Bedell Cellars and Laurel Lake Vineyards have hosted such weddings.

Couples who wed at wineries like to take advantage of the scenery.

Receptions at Laurel Lake Vineyards are often held on an outdoor deck overlooking the vineyard, said general manager Juan Sepulveda. An adjacent dance floor has giant windows into the winemaking room, where barrels and fermenting tanks can be seen.

“That’s a very unique experience,” Mr. Sepulveda said.

At more informal weddings there, guests are encouraged to take their shoes off and venture out into the vineyard’s grasses, he said. And guests can often be caught during receptions taking pictures in the barrel room where wine is aging.

Wedding ceremonies at Martha Clara are often held in an area called the “bridal path,” where the full extent of the vineyard’s property — complete with merlot vines, horse paddocks and a peach orchard — can serve as a backdrop to the ceremony. Guests can move inside a rustic barn for the reception.

As for Mr. Cereola, his 2012 wedding will be held on the lawn of Bedell Cellars’ property — weather permitting. He and his wife-to-be will say their vows under a large oak tree in the orchard.

“It’ll be a great set up,” he said.

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North Fork Weddings: All’s fair in love and war

Poll: Readers pick the menu for Brecknock Hall wedding

09/29/11 11:50am

John H. Duerschmidt died Sept. 27 at his home in Aquebogue. He was 77.
Born Sept. 20, 1934, in New Hampshire, to Rudolph and Elizabeth Duerschmidt, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Riverhead. He was a member of the Riverhead Fire Department for 53 years, and a past captain of the Red Bird Hook & Ladder Company.
He is survived by his wife, Maureen (McMahon), of Aquebogue; and his sisters, Alice Schmersal, of California, Helen Cronin, of Maine, and Flora Flanagan, of Florida.
Visiting hours will take place tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 30, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A service will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church, Father Peter Garry officiating, followed by interment at St. Isidore Cemetery, both in Riverhead.

09/29/11 7:00am

MELANIE DROZD PHOTO | An empty newsstand at the 7-Eleven on Route 58 located in the same shopping center as the Department of Motor Vehicles.

My friend Paul had a pretty good idea when he heard about the folks who went from newsstand to newsstand buying thousands of copies of last week’s Riverhead News-Review and Suffolk Times.

“Why don’t you call them up,” he suggested, “and ask them how many more they’d like you to print.”

I’ve been in this business for 50 years and never have I experienced what we experienced this past week: a run on the newsstands by someone involved in a truly monumental school project; someone really proud of their grandchild on the honor roll; someone with a great deal of precious glassware to pack; or, as I suspect, someone intent on suppressing the dissemination of a particular news story.

Here, in her exact words, is the account provided by Times/Review circulation manager Laura Huber:

“They went all the way from Calverton to Shelter Island to get papers. We figure they started around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday because I received a call from a woman in Riverhead looking for a copy of our delivery manifest because she wanted to know where to get a paper in Riverhead. She claimed that she went to Riverhead 7-Eleven and that there weren’t any copies there. I didn’t give it to her, but told her where she could get them and the types of businesses that sold the paper. I also called the 7-Eleven and they informed me they had plenty of copies.

“Many of the newsstands said that people came in around 5 or 6 p.m. on Thursday, and we figure based on the fact that there were people buying copies on Shelter Island, Aquebogue and Flanders at around the same time that there were at least 2 to 3 teams out at one point.

“I had reports that there were at least two women and two men and they were still out Friday afternoon trying to buy up papers. Apparently what would happen is that two people would go in one car and if one was told they couldn’t buy everything, the other person would go in and try to buy up the rest.

“Initially the story the woman told was that she was trying to move, but I think that sounded suspicious so they switched to a ‘school project’ story. Many of the newsstands believed this story and were willing to give up the majority of their copies.

“One of their last stops was a bagel place in Calverton. I had previously called there to let them know that someone may come in claiming that they were purchasing copies for a school project, but that we believed that may not be the case. I told her in the interest of preservation for her regular customers, she may want to put copies aside and not sell everything to the buyer(s). This was about 1:00. Around 3:30 the woman showed up, attempting to buy all the copies. When she was told she couldn’t buy them all, she offered [to pay] above cover price for them.”

In a Monday update, Laura reported that we printed and distributed 3,000 extra Suffolk Times and 2,500 extra Riverhead News-Reviews prior to the weekend.

So now, dear reader, let us speculate as to who and what was behind this unprecedented run on newsstand copies of your local paper. Please select from one of the following:

A) Proud members of the 125-year-old Southold Fire Department.

B) Proud members of the Shoreham-Wading River varsity football team, which beat Greenport, 19-0.

C) Local political operatives concerned about the opposition’s attack ads.

D) Associates of the Riverhead doctor charged with Medicare fraud.

Alternatively, let’s see what stories appearing in both papers last week might have caused enough concern to prompt this buying frenzy. County accused of wrongfully diverting money from preservation fund? (As far as I know, none of the insatiable paper purchasers sported a Snidley Whiplash-style mustache.) Hey, look! Isn’t that Charles Barkley? (Doubtful.) Feds arrest Riverhead doc? (Hmmm.)

Until we review the security tapes from one of the 7-Elevens where these bulk purchases were made, this statement from Times/Review publisher Andrew Olsen must suffice:

“We do have our suspicions as to who is behind this and if it’s someone attempting to somehow silence our coverage or make an uncomfortable story go away, they’re wasting their time and their money. We will not be silenced.”

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09/29/11 5:02am

A homeless woman attempted to stay the night at Riverhead Town Hall last Wednesday but was found and made to leave before the building was locked up, authorities said.

The woman, whose last fixed address was in Riverhead, was found in a dark office near the west side entrance about 9:30 p.m., Riverhead Town police said. She told police she had been inside the building for an hour and was last placed by Suffolk County Department of Social Services in a homeless shelter in Coram two days before.

The woman was taken back to the shelter via taxi and the building was secured.

• Two men were arrested in connection with the burglary of a gun safe, rifles and $90,000 in cash from a Wading River home last month, police said. Yaniik Harrison, 22, of Amityville and his alleged accomplice, Dillion Griffith, 20, of Babylon were arrested at police headquarters Monday and each were charged with second-degree burglary, officials said. The alleged theft was reported Sept. 7. Both men were being held at the Suffolk County jail prior to their arrest.

• Patrick Gaeta, 29, of Wading River was charged with DWI after he was involved in a car crash on Route 58 about 1:15 a.m. Saturday, police said. No further details were available.

• An Aquebogue man was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after a town police officer caught him with the drug, as well as paraphernalia, in an illegally parked car last Tuesday, police said.

The officer saw two cars illegally parked at the end of Columbus Avenue in Riverhead about 1:30 a.m. and confronted the two men inside one of the vehicles, officials said.

The man sitting in the driver’s seat, 23-year-old Robert Young, told the officer he had smoked marijuana earlier that day and that he had a grinder in his pocket, police said. The officer confiscated the grinder, which is used to break up marijuana buds, as well as a pack of cigarettes that had marijuana inside, police said.

The passenger did not have any drugs or paraphernalia on him, officials said.

• Eddie Lee Brown, 52, of Riverhead was charged with second-degree burglary on West Main Street in Riverhead about 1 p.m. Saturday. No further details were available.

• Jose Gomez, 36, of Riverhead was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle about 11:30 p.m. last Wednesday. No further details were available.

• Graffiti was reportedly made on several buildings and signs in Riverhead Town last week. HomeGoods on Route 58, the town building at Iron Pier Beach and a railroad crossing sign on Laurel Lane were among those tagged. Three different three-letter acronyms, as well as “2012” were reportedly spray painted in black at the town beach, police said.

It was not clear if all the incidents are related. No charges have been filed.

• Someone removed a campaign sign from outside the Cooperage Inn on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow Monday. The theft was reported about 3 p.m.

• Two handguns that were reportedly stolen from an Ostrander Avenue home last Wednesday were found within that same house Saturday. The resident notified police of the find about 10 a.m.

• Someone stole $13,000 worth of jewelry from a Herricks Lane home in Laurel last week. The theft was reported about 6:30 p.m. last Wednesday.

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.