10/31/11 9:09pm
10/31/2011 9:09 PM

PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN WALTER | Sean Walter

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter has earned the support of Long Island’s only daily newspaper in his bid for re-election.

In an editorial endorsement published online Monday night, Newsday wrote that Mr. Walter has “successfully continued and expanded the downtown renaissance, working closely with business and cheerleading at every opportunity.”

The editorial concludes by saying Riverhead “needs continuity.”

Click here to read the endorsement on Newsday.com.

10/31/11 5:31pm

GREG FISCHER

Riverhead Town supervisor candidate Greg Fischer is facing harassment charges that were filed recently by the head of the nonprofit advocacy group Parents for Megan’s Law, authorities said.

The charges stem from an Oct. 6 incident that occurred outside the Suffolk County Legislature building in Hauppauge, where Mr. Fischer had just testified before a public safety committee dealing with a proposal pertaining to child abduction issues.

Mr. Fischer, who is now involved with three cases pending on the criminal docket in Suffolk District Court, is running on an independent line called Riverhead First, which he created. He is facing two misdemeanor charges filed after his arrest on Jan. 20, 2009 — one charge of resisting arrest and one charge of obstructing governmental administration. Both charges are in the second degree and are misdemeanors. He also faces a traffic charge for making an improper turn, according to court records.

“ … Mr. Fischer allegedly approached [Megan’s Law executive director] Laura Ahearn, an employee of the Crime Victims Center, in the lobby of the Legislature building,” Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, told the News-Review Friday.

Mr. Fischer was notified by mail in 2009 that he was not to contact or communicate with any member of the Crime Victims Center, which is run by the Megan’s Law group, Mr. Clifford noted.

On Oct. 6, Mr. Clifford continued, “Ms. Ahearn told [Mr. Fischer] he was not to communicate with her. The defendant allegedly then followed the complainant and screamed, ‘You have to speak with me.’  Ms. Ahearn reiterated that he was not to speak to her and, as she walked away from him, the defendant, screaming, ‘I’m going to make you speak with me,’ followed Ms. Ahearn and waited outside the door of a reception office area where she had gone. He then allegedly followed her, while she was escorted by a police official, into a meeting room. When the police official left, Mr. Fischer moved from the back of the room to sit across the aisle from the complainant. When Ms. Ahearn left the room on two occasions to make phone calls, Mr. Fischer allegedly followed her out of the room and stood opposite her in the lobby.”

Parents for Megan’s law is a nonprofit that describes itself as a “community and victim’s rights organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse.” The Crime Victims Center is a program designed to link all victims of violent crime with crime victim compensation and multi-agency referrals for support and assistance.

Ms. Ahearn filed second-degree harassment charges against Mr. Fischer and later obtained a temporary restraining order against him from the courts, requiring him to stay away from her. Mr. Fischer was arraigned in district court on Oct. 17 on the second-degree harassment charge, which is a violation. He pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance, and is scheduled to return to court Nov. 29, Mr. Clifford said.

Mr. Fischer claims he was not harassing Ms. Ahearn and merely wanted to speak with her. He says Parents for Megan’s Law is trying to keep him from testifying before the Legislature because he sent a letter to lawmakers calling for a reduction in the group’s county funding.

Mr. Fischer said he had testified before the Legislature and Ms. Ahearn was talking to some of the people he had brought to testify with him.

“She came over to my group. I told her, ‘You have to talk to me.’ She said ‘I’m not talking to you,’ ” Mr. Fischer said. “I told her, ‘We’re going to talk at some point, or I’m going to file a lawsuit.’ ”

He claims she then walked away and “that was it. I never talked to her again. I didn’t go near her.”

Mr. Fischer said Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center did nothing to help him when, he claims, his own children were abducted in 2009 and were “stuck in a trailer with a pedophile.”

He believes the group has an “anti-male bias” and that fathers are not given equal treatment in child abduction cases.

As of Tuesday, Ms. Ahearn had not yet returned a call from the News-Review seeking comment on Mr. Fischer’s accusations.

The issue of the Oct. 6 incident arose last week after Mr. Fischer took part in an editorial interview with the News-Review, which was “live-blogged” over the paper’s website. Reader and local political blogger Terri Scofield posted a comment on the site asking about Mr. Fischer’s recent arrest.

After the meeting with the News-Review, Mr. Fischer noticed the comment and contacted the newspaper, initially claiming he was not arrested and that Ms. Scofield “stalks” him.

When told that the case was listed on the District Court’s online calendar, he insisted the charges were “political” and that Parents for Megan’s Law “is trying to keep me out of the Legislature so I do not testify further against them” about reducing their funding.

When later asked for a response to Mr. Fischer’s stalking allegations, Ms. Scofield said the candidate is just “annoyed” that she’s been asking questions about how he was able to contribute over $3,700 to his supervisor campaign, according to elections records, while at the same time “he applied for — and was granted — indigent status and a Legal Aid attorney.”

“This recent arrest for following and harassing Ms. Ahearn makes it clear who the real stalker is,” Ms. Scofield said.

Suffolk County Police declined to release information about the recent Fischer case when contacted by the News-Review last week.

Mr. Clifford said Friday morning that the complaint against Mr. Fischer appeared to be sealed, and that he had not been arraigned yet. By Friday night, however, he had provided the News-Review with the foregoing information about the arrest and arraignment.

tgannon@timesreview.com

10/31/11 4:38pm

Barbara Gallo died Oct. 29 at her home in Aquebogue following a long illness.

She was born in Riverhead April 17, 1945, to Antone and Jean (Cierach) Trubisz. She graduated from Riverhead High School in 1962 and married Thomas F. Gallo in 1964.

With her husband and son, she owned and operated Fred J. Gallo Used Auto Parts in Riverhead.

Family members said she was an avid gardener and loved having her children and grandchildren around.

Ms. Gallo is survived by her husband; her children, Paula Sperry of Florida and Pamela Argenti, Laurie Seebeck and Thomas Jr., all of Aquebogue; her sister, Karen Heppner of Aquebogue; her brother, Tony Trubisz of Virginia; and seven grandchildren.

Visiting hours will take place Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead, where a service will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m. Interment will be at St. John’s Cemetery in Riverhead.

Donations may be made to Camp Good Grief, c/o East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.

10/31/11 4:00pm

A burglary was interrupted last week after police busted two Riverhead men trying to steal a juke box and other items from a Flanders garage, authorities said.

Southampton Town Police said Jerome Daniel Trent, 53, and Jonathan Downing, 48, were caught after a neighbor spotted the pair taking metal items from the garage and called police about 2 p.m. Friday. But police said when officers arrived at the Maple Avenue home, the pair said they were just there to “clean up” the property.

Detectives were then calledback  to the scene and found the would-be thieves were in fact stealing the goods with the intention to sell it for scrap metal.

Both men were charged with third-degree burglary.

10/31/11 3:15pm

Riverhead Town received high marks from an environmental advocacy group that released a study on Monday showing how well towns across Long Island manage their sewage treatment plants.

The study, called “Sewage in the Suburbs: Long Island’s First Sewage Treatment Plant Report Card,” lists Riverhead as the fourth most responsible municipality among 10 towns operating sewage treatment plants. The town was given a “B” grade in the report.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Farmingdale-based environmental advocacy group that conducted the study, said Riverhead received high marks because it supports a federal law requiring public notification of sewage spills, gives tours of its sewer treatment plant and uses an ultra violet treatment to disinfect sewage.

“The bottom line is sewers are a necessity, not a luxury,” Ms. Esposito said. “We have to plan for our needs. Many are outdated and need to be updated because they are degrading our quality of life and our drinking water.”

The sewage treatment plant in Riverhead, which received its latest upgrade in 2000, began operating in 1936. It serves about 9,000 people. Ms. Esposito said while Riverhead’s treatment plant capacity is 1.2 million gallons per day, it processes about 1 million gallons of sewage per day.

“It’s running under capacity, which we’re happy about,” she said.

Ms. Esposito said Riverhead can improve its operations by implementing an assessment management plan, a financial plan that budgets for sewer plant upgrades and maintenance. In addition, Riverhead lost points because its sewage treatment plant hasn’t undergone an energy efficiency audit.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the town’s sewage treatment plant energy audit is part of a plan to build a windmill at the facility. As for a financial plan, Mr. Walter said he’s working on it.

“We don’t have a financial plan, because we don’t have any money,” he said, adding that the town hopes to upgrade the plant if it can scrape together another $9 million. Mr. Walter said he’s looking into securing state grants in order to outfit the facility with the latest technology.

“We’re looking forward to being number one,” Mr. Walter said.

The Town of Huntington boasted the highest marks in the study, receiving an “A+.” Suffolk County’s Bergen Point sewer district in West Babylon and the Village of Patchogue sewage treatment plants were the only others included in the study to receive a higher mark than Riverhead.

Nassau County’s plants in Bay Park and Long Beach, as well as Stony Brook University’s plant, which is operated by Suffolk County, received the lowest scores because they received numerous permit violations and lack a public notification procedure when untreated or partially treated sewage is released into the ground. Low marks were also given to towns found without storm water management, energy efficiency, public education and climate change adaptation plans.
 jennifer@timesreview.com

Sewage in the Suburbs: Long Island’s First Sewage Treatment Plant Report Card

10/31/11 2:22pm

A Flanders man was arrested earlier this month on charges that he sexually abused an 11-year-old female acquaintance, authorities said.

Southampton Town Police said 51-year-old Aurelio Angel Aquino was arrested Oct. 22 after an investigation showed he abused the girl last summer. Mr. Aquino was charged with second-degree sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Mr. Aquino was sent to the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside where he is being held in lieu of $4,000.

Police declined to release further details citing the sensitive nature of the case.

10/31/11 1:00pm

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead's Kurt Carter intercepted a pass at the Blue Waves' 2-yard line Saturday before being tackled by Newfield's Ron Denig on the final play of the first half.

The Riverhead Blue Waves knew a consequence of losing Saturday to Newfield would be playing the Wolverines again the very next week.

That’s exactly how the playoff seedings shook out after the Blue Waves’ 37-0 loss, which dropped them down to the No. 4 seed in Division II with a 6-2 record. Newfield, meanwhile, is the No. 5 seed and will travel back to Riverhead this Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. game. The Wolverines finished the regular season 5-3.

The Blue Waves had an outside chance at earning the No. 1 seed going into the weekend. But after West Babylon won, that eliminated any chance of the top seed.

It’s not the matchup the Blue Waves would have preferred in the first round. Newfield’s size and running game outperformed the Blue Waves’ speed and passing attack last weekend.

Of course, strange things have happened before in high school football when teams meet a second time. In 2006, for example, Mount Sinai in Division IV got blown out against Babylon in Week 8, only to come back and beat the Panthers in the county championship.

Shoreham-Wading River will get to know Babylon well Friday night. The Wildcats finished 6-2 in Division IV and earned the No. 5 seed, sending them on the road to Babylon at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Wildcats head into the playoffs off a rough game at Mount Sinai. The Wildcats fell 34-7 on the road.

Shoreham and Babylon did not play each other in the regular season. A perennial powerhouse in Division IV, Babylon also finished with a 6-2 record, losing games to Amityville and John Glenn.

Babylon, however, did beat Mount Sinai in Week 7, 16-14.

In the next round teams are reseeded.

10/31/11 12:00pm

On the day before Halloween a crowd of more than 60 Slow Food East End members and friends, several sporting costumes, sampled local food and wine at five stops along Main Street in downtown Riverhead, the site of the Slow Food East End Restaurant Crawl.

“The idea is not to get into a car, but to walk in a leisurely way, to introduce people what’s available in that particular town,” said Slow Food East End member Linda Slezak, a Riverhead Town resident who was one of the event’s chief organizers. She credited Riverhead Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill with helping secure the cooperation of the restaurants and businesses.

The slow food movement is a grass roots organization that champions local food and defines itself in opposition to fast food, according to the Slow Food International Website.

The crawl began at East End Arts where guests sampled cheeses from Goodale Farms in Riverhead. Hal and Anne Marie Goodale — owners of the cow and goat dairy farm along with partners Kevin and Laura Dunathan — were on hand to present their wares, along with cheesemaker Karen Danzer and interns Lane White of Oklahoma and Audrey Cerchiara of Upstate New York. Wines from The Lenz Winery complemented the cheese.

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The second stop on the crawl was Dark Horse Restaurant, where guests enjoyed North Quarter Farm bison paté and smoked Crescent Farms duck in the company of owner Dee Muma, a longtime supporter of local food. Long Ireland Beer Company proprietor Liam Hudock presented his Celtic Ale and pumpkin martinis. The brewery is located on Pulaski Street in Riverhead’s Polish Town.

A few doors back up Main Street, guests stopped in at the Athens Grill for modern Greek appetizers — including mini crab cakes and other seafood — prepared by owner/chef John Mantzopoulos and paired with wine from Paumanok Vineyards.

Crossing to Main Street, the Slow Food Crawl made its way to Riverhead’s newest upscale restaurant, The Riverhead Project. Owned by Dennis McDermott, former owner of The Frisky Oyster and Frisky Oyster Bar in Greenport, “tRP” has remade an old bank building into a sleek and sophisticated food destination. The Crawl menu: Crescent Farms duck confit, Mattituck Inlet Littleneck clams with a roasted grape reduction and Satur Farms fennel, all accompanied by a semi-dry riesling from Paumanok.

The final stop — for dessert, of course — was the Art Deco lobby of the Suffolk Theatre, which is undergoing renovation by owners Bob and Diana Castaldi. Guests munched on cookies baked by students from Suffolk Community College’s culinary arts program and sipped Long Ireland porter floats made with ice cream from Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe.

Slow Food East End supports such local efforts as building school and community gardens. Proceeds from a silent auction of donated prizes will go toward those efforts. To find out more about SFEE or to join, visit slowfoodeastend.org.

JANE STARWOOD PHOTO | The first downtown Riverhead Slow Food Crawl was held Sunday. About 60 Slow Food East End members strolled along Main Street, sampling local food and wine at five stops.