06/29/12 4:00pm
06/29/2012 4:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The back of the former Woolworth building on East Main Street.

The owners of the former Woolworth building in downtown Riverhead confirmed Friday afternoon that a sale of the building is indeed in the works.

The response came after Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter told the News-Review he believed someone was interested in buying the East Main Street property.

The building is owned by Manhattan-based Apollo Real Estate Advisors, which has since changed its name to AREA Property Partners. The investment group bought it in 2006, when it had plans to build a multiplex and other stores there, but the plan never came to fruition.

“It’s not sold yet,” said Kevin Davis of the AREA group. “I have a party doing its due diligence on the property and we’ll see if it ends up going to contract. I’m not entirely sure what they want to do, but I know it entails at least a renovation of the property,  which would dramatically improve it.”

Mr. Davis said the potential buyer, who he declined to identify, is considering buying the entire building, which has one tenant now.

“I think they are open to anything and everything,” Mr. Davis said. “My understanding is they just want to lease up the space. And quite frankly, we have interest from potential tenants in almost every space in the building. I don’t see why the whole building couldn’t be leased up in short order.”

Mr. Davis said he hasn’t seen interest in putting a movie theater there, and that in general, he thinks the movie theater industry has been cutting back on expansion.

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/29/12 3:00pm

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | The former Village Crossroads restaurant in Calverton.

A Mexican restaurant should be opening soon at the former Village Crossroads site in Calverton.

The Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals ruled Thursday night that the prior restaurant use of the property had not lapsed by more than one year, and therefore can continue.

The new restaurant will be a “Meson Ole-type” Mexican restaurant, said Peter Danowski, the attorney for applicant RGR Associates, a group led by the site’s owner, Richard Israel.

Refugio Iglesias, who runs a restaurant called Tacqueria Mi Pueblito in Hampton Bays, will run the restaurant, according to Mr. Israel.

There were no speakers other than the applicant at the public hearing Thursday, and the ZBA initially made no ruling and adjourned the hearing until July 12. But just before the meeting was about to end, ZBA attorney Scott DeSimone asked that it be re-opened.

While the site has been used as a restaurant for about 50 years prior to closing in mid-May in 2010, it has long been zoned for industrial uses, meaning that if the non-conforming restaurant use had lapsed for more than a year, it wasn’t permitted any longer, and only industrial uses would be allowed.

However, in the first week of May in 2011, Mr. Israel allowed the Riverhead Rotary Club to have a dinner meeting there in order to preserve the restaurant use for another year.

The question became whether they allowed that year to lapse as well.

“There wasn’t a one-year lapse when we applied,” said Mr. Danowski.

However, by the time they got done with issues raised by the county health department and the town building department, the year had lapsed, Mr. Danowski said.

After another hearing had concluded, Mr. DeSimone reopened the RGR Associates hearing and asked when the proposed tenant, 5 de Mayo (pronounced “Cinco de Mayo,”) had signed a lease for the property.

That was April 17, Mr. Danowski said.

“Did they take steps to open the restaurant prior to the Rotary meeting?” Mr. DeSimone asked.

Mr. Danowski said they gone to the health department and also cleaned up the property and made improvements inside the building.

Based on the fact that the effort to re-establish the use began before the one-year deadline had lapsed, and that the delay was due to regulatory agencies, Mr. DeSimone then said it was his opinion that the use had not lapsed by one year, and that the applicants could continue to use the site as a restaurant.

The ZBA also allowed the business to keep the existing sign locations, which also don’t comply with town regulations but pre-existed zoning.

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/29/12 1:00pm

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Alessandra de la Noval, 4, of Greenport spoons up frozen yogurt after graduating preschool on the first day of summer at the new self-serve shop on Front Street in Greenport.

Get ready to treat yourself to as little — or as much — frozen yogurt as you like.

Two new self-serve yogurt shops have opened in Greenport and Mattituck that also offer guilt-free frozen treats.

Coram cousins Spyros Krokidis and Louie Roumeliotos decided to go into business together and open Fro-Yopia on Front Street in Greenport after visiting self-serve frozen yogurt shops in Los Angeles.

“I always thought we could do well if we could find a great location,” said Mr. Krokidis. “We love the self-serve idea. It’s fun and the product is amazing.”

Fro-Yopia, which blends the words “frozen” and “utopia,” offers a variety of low-fat flavors including cake batter, peanut butter and sweet coconut.

Its nonfat frozen yogurt, which comes in flavors including pistachio and thin mint, and contains between 100 and 110 calories per four-ounce serving, the store owners said. Fro-Yopia also offers sugar-free blueberry frozen yogurt and a milk-free pomegranate-raspberry sorbet.

First-time customers Ramona Miranda of Greenport and her 4-year-old daughter, Alessandra de la Noval, enjoyed sorbet at the Greenport shop last week after adding sprinkles and chocolate syrup themselves.

“We’ve been waiting for you to open since we saw the sign on the door in May,” Ms. Miranda told the owners.

Mr. Krokidis, a branch manager at Citibank in Riverhead, said his business exudes a small-town feel because of its high level of customer service.

Servers offer free samples after greeting you at the door. Once you’ve settled on a flavor, you can then pile on different toppings, including fruits and candies. Prices are determined by weight.

And Fro-Yopia offers more than just a healthy alternative to desserts. Mr. Krokidis said his shop strives to be the greenest downtown business.

There are energy-efficient LED light fixtures, biodegradable cups and spoons and orange chairs made from recycled plastic.

“We’re right across from the bay and if a plastic spoon falls into the water it will ruin the environment,” he said. “Our spoons cost seven times more than plastic spoons, but when you run a business you have a responsibility not only to make a profit but to give back to the community.”

Mr. Krokidis and Mr. Roumeliotos said even though they don’t live in Greenport, the village has a special place in their hearts because it’s where they used to spend their summers.

“We vacationed here as kids,” Mr. Krokidis said. “Being here brings back so many memories.”

Mr. Krokidis said upon the success of the first shop, he may open another location.

Over in Mattituck, locals Susan and James Orioli celebrated the grand opening of their self-serve style frozen yogurt shop, Yogurt Expressions, this weekend, though their doors have been open for about two weeks now.

The Oriolis also run North Fork Limousine Service Corporation, At Your Service Party Rentals and a liquor store under the same “At Your Service” handle in Mattituck.

Ms. Orioli said the decision to open Yogurt Expressions was the result of dissatisfaction with existing frozen yogurt options on the North Fork.

“I wasn’t happy with the frozen yogurt that was being offered at the ice cream places,” she said. “I also wanted to have a place for the kids and families to go at night. There’s only the movie theater to go to right now and I thought this would be a good activity for people to get involved with.”

Lime green and blue is splashed through the otherwise white eatery, and a long bench runs parallel to the self-serve topping area and register counter. Aside from a few front tables, the wide-open floor space offers plenty of room for customers to explore the wall of frozen yogurt.

“This used to be the showroom for At Your Service Party Rentals,” Ms. Orioli said. “We just brought the machines in from the rental side and made them self-serve.”

She said the business plans to stay open year-round between 11:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. every day of the week.

So far, Ms. Orioli said everything’s been peachy keen, including the customer response and the more than 35 toppings the shop offers, including fresh fruits, granola and assorted candies.

“Everything’s been great. Everyone’s happy to see the frozen yogurt here,” Ms. Orioli said, adding that the business’ biggest goal is to keep things clean.

“People say they see us constantly cleaning,” she said laughing.

Yogurt Expressions offers 10 flavors, which change from week to week and include chocolate, cake batter and pomegranate raspberry.

jennifer@timesreview.com

gvolpe@timesreview.com

06/29/12 12:54pm

Editor’s note: Listings prepared for Times/Review Newspapers by Suffolk Research Service, dated May 15-21, 2012.

Aquebogue (11931)
• Healy, A by Referee to HSBC Bank USA, 369 Church Ln (600-46-1-28), (R), $517,521
• Bertolli, N by Executors to Attenkofer, Klaus, 50 Southfields Rd (600-66-2-10.29), (R), $412,500
• Munao, M to Sakowich, Ronald, 19 Lovers Ln (600-86-3-8), (R), $555,000

Baiting Hollow (11933)
• Iorio, J & M to Arth, Robert, 128 Founders Path (600-39-6-12), (R), $875,000

Calverton (11933)
• Taylor Jr, L to Dahlgren, Craid, 2764 River Rd (600-144-1-2), (R), $199,000

Cutchogue (11935)
• Knoud, J & E to Ozkul, Evran, 7675 Skunk Ln (1000-104-4-26), (R), $450,000

Greenport (11944)
• Manor Grove Corp to Nature Conservancy Inc, The, 68775 Rt 25 & 650 Albertson (1000-53-1-1.3), (V), $1,375,000
• Riverhead Commerce to 134 Front St LLC, 132 -134 Front St (1001-4-9-24.3), (C), $625,000

Laurel (11948)
• Kober, T & T to Anderson, Ross, 2000 Aldrich Ln (1000-125-1-2.19), (R), $450,000

Riverhead (11901)
• Stoneleigh Woods RH to Vitucci Revocable Trust, Nicholas, 129 Stoneleigh Dr (600-82.5-1-16), (R), $415,256
• Lessard, C to Starks Jr, Charles, p/o 23 Franklin Street (600-126-2-40.1), (R), $125,000

Shelter Island (11964)
• Lucas, C to Weslek, Victoria, 18 Manhanset Rd (700-8-2-37), (R), $500,000
• Segal, B & Mahal, J to Martinez, Jose, 43 Brander Pkwy (700-22-1-70), (R), $600,000
• Antinoph, I Trust to Murray, Peter, 8 B Pheasant Ln (700-26-1-8), (R), $380,000

South Jamesport (11970)
• Harley, N Trust to Caputo, Karen, 49 Dunlookin Ln (600-92-6-19.1), (R), $1,500,000

Southold (11971)
• Dunleavy, L to Radosevic, James, 1050 Bayview Ave (1000-52-5-46), (R), $310,000
• Annino, S to Ahearn, Matthew, 1400 Hiawatha’s Path (1000-78-3-48), (R), $485,737
• Hodell, J by Executor to Mudd, Nicole, 11500 Main Bayview Rd (1000-88-5-2), (R), $266,750
• Dunlop & Taylor-Dunlop to Bedell, Patrick, 235 Mill Creek Dr (1000-135-3-26), (R), $527,500

Wading River (11792)
• Biancardi, Z by Executors to Berry, Patricia, 27 Acorn Ct (600-75.1-1-27), (R), $315,000

(Key: Tax map numbers = District-Section-Block-Lot; (A) = agriculture; (R) = residential; (V) = vacant property; (C) = commercial; (R&E) = recreation & entertainment; (CS) = community services; (I) = industrial; (PS) = public service; (P) = park land; as determined from assessed values in the current tax rolls.)

06/29/12 11:30am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Apollo Real Estate Advisors has owned the Woolworth site since 2006 and may be in the process of getting it sold.

Downtown Riverhead seems to have plenty of empty parking spaces now, but town Supervisor Sean Walter believes that could change in a hurry.

Several proposals may be on the horizon for Main Street, he says.

That, combined with the near completion of the Summerwind apartment complex on Peconic Avenue, may soon force town officials to take action to somehow create more parking, or fiddle with zoning to prevent too big a crush of downtown apartments.

For one, the supervisor believes a deal may be in the works to sell the former Woolworth building, which has sat mostly vacant for several years.

The building is still owned by Manhattan-based Apollo Real Estate Advisors, which has since changed its name to AREA Property Partners. The investment group bought it in 2006, when it had plans to build a multiplex and other stores there, but the plan never came to fruition.

Most recently, developer Ron Parr sought to buy the land from Apollo to build a multiplex for Regal Cinemas, but that fell apart too earlier this year.

“I don’t know who’s buying it or what they want to do, I just know there’s somebody out there that’s going to be setting up a meeting with me,” Mr. Walter said in an interview Friday.

A call to Kevin Davis of Apollo seeking comment was not immediately returned.

There is one tenant, the Knu Style-N-Temple barber shop, currently operating out of a small storefront in the building.

Mr. Walter said he’s also spoken with a developer who is seeking to put a gym in the former Swezey’s Department Store building. That building has sat vacant since Swezey’s went out of business about a decade ago.

Mr. Walter said he hasn’t heard from that developer, whom he did not name,  in about two weeks, and planned to check again to ensure there is still interest.

A successful gym also would use a lot of parking spaces, Mr. Walter said.

The building in question is the original Swezey’s building immediately east of the former West Marine building, which also is vacant. That building is owned by Eli Mizrahi of Florida.

A western part of the former Swezey’s store — the business occupied a string of storefronts — is owned by Riverhead Enterprises, headed by Sheldon Gordon.

Riverhead Enterprises owns several downtown buildings that are empty. Many years ago, the group proposed to build apartments in three of them, and Mr. Walter said he believes Riverhead Enterprises might be working on something now, too.

But Mr. Gordon said in an interview that while building apartments has been talked about, “There’s nothing definitive at this point.”

The zoning adopted for downtown following the 2003 Master Plan update calls for up to 500 apartments to be permitted above stores in downtown Riverhead.

Mr. Walter thinks that’s too many, and says the Town Board will have to, at some point, reduce that number.

“It’s not realistic to think we can have 500 apartments downtown,” Mr. Walter said.

When the 52-unit Summerwind is built, and if projects happen at Swezeys and possibly the Woolworth building, or one of Riverhead Enterprises’ buildings, “I think that’s going to be it. I don’t think Patchogue even has 500 apartments.”

He said he thinks a more realistic number of apartments for downtown Riverhead would be around 200.

The Summerwind project, which will also contain a restaurant and retail stores on the first floor, would probably use up about 70 to 90 parking spaces in the town’s Riverfront parking lot, Mr. Walter said.

The long-shuttered Suffolk Theatre is also expected to open up at the end of this year.

As previously reported, the supervisor feels downtown events like the Riverhead Blues Festival may have to find another location because of a foreseen parking problem.

He said the Riverhead Country Fair would be an exception, because it’s held throughout downtown and not just in the Riverfront parking lot.

“The Country Fair will definitely go on,” Mr. Walter said in an interview.

He would like to see the former Riverhead Fire Department headquarters on Second Street used for parking. The town now owns that building although there has been debate over what to do with it.

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/29/12 11:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Aquebogue farmer Donald McKay cutting a field of hay recently on Sound Avenue in Riverhead. The hay is sprayed with citric acid to prevent mold from growing.

The North Fork boasts 3,000 acres of grapes and more than 2,000 acres of potatoes, but one crop that’s been cultivated for hundreds of years doesn’t come even close, totalling perhaps a few hundred acres.

But for some farmers, there’s a dependable, if small, living in making hay. And they’ve been out in the fields the last couple weeks harvesting.

“There’s not a whole lot of hay grown out here,” said Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau. Most farmers use it as a form of supplemental income, he said.

“Our weather tends to be too wet, humid and foggy for hay, which needs very dry conditions,” Mr. Gergela added.

More important, Mr. Gergela said, East End land is just too expensive to use for growing hay.

“Our land values are so high that you don’t get a lot of return per acre,” he said. “If you’re a horse farmer, you’ll have land for grazing purposes. But as a rule, there’s just not enough return.”

Dale Moyer, agricultural program director at Cornell Cooperative Extension, said wet hay also poses a fire risk. Farming experts say when the crop is stored wet, microbial action can generate temperatures well above 150 degrees. The hay, and perhaps the barn, can catch fire.
“The trick to growing hay out here it to find that week when you have good drying conditions and, ideally, no rain,” Mr. Moyer said.

He also worked making hay as a youth in his native Pennsylvania.

“It’s a great summer job, especially if you wanted to get in shape for football,” he said.

Aquebogue farmer Donald McKay grows 20 acres of hay, a mixture of orchard and Timothy grasses. His weapons against mold include a mower conditioner that cuts the grass and then presses the moisture out using rubber wheels, a tether that spreads the grass out so it dries faster and an applicator that sprays citric acid onto the hay. That allows him to bale the hay at up to 30 percent moisture while keeping the grass green.

“The greener the grass, the more nutrients in the hay and the healthier and more powerful your animals will be,” Mr. McKay said.
Mr. Moyer said feeding animals is the chief reason hay is grown on the North Fork. That practice probably began with early settlers.
“When you have animals, you grow something to feed them and hay is one of those items,” he said. “I’m sure it’s one of the oldest commodities because you use it to feed to your cattle and everybody had a couple cows and workhorses that had to be fed hundreds of years ago.”

It’s unlikely to become a major staple of East End farming, Mr. Moyer added. He agrees with Mr. Gergela that land values are too high.

“It’s a niche market for a few of the growers,” he said. “It’s never going to explode into a major crop.”

Some farmers, Mr. Moyer said, use hay as a rotation crop.

“If you have land and can rotate it you’re not going to become rich, but you can pay your bills.”

That’s certainly the case for Mr. McKay, who grows everything from peppers to pumpkins and string beans and squash on his 230-acre farm.

“When I started messing around with having horses about 10 years ago, I had to drive eight hours to Watertown, N.Y., in order to get hay to feed them,” Mr. McKay said. “Growing hay is very costly to get into doing,” he added, “The machinery alone will take a $100,000 investment, but it eventually saves money and time.”

Mr. McKay said he uses about 4,000 bales of hay a year for his steer, draft horses, sheep and cows. Whatever he grows beyond that, he’ll sell.

“It depends on the weather, but you can usually get three cuttings per year from a field,” he said. “If it’s rainy or you irrigate, you can usually cut every three weeks.”

Bill Ruland of Mattituck has been growing hay his whole life.

“Back when I was young it was all handwork,” Mr. Ruland said. “Once it was made in the field and raked into heaps it was pitchforked up unto a truck or wagon.”

Then came the business of getting it up to the top of a barn.

“It built character, at least that’s what my grandfather said,” noted Mr. Ruland, a Southold Town councilman.

He said to make good hay, “you want it to be 80, 85 degrees and 50 percent humidity or less,” otherwise the hay is in danger of growing mold.

“Making hay while the sun shines is a true story,” he said.

Mr. Ruland, who also grows wheat, said he doesn’t plan to stop cultivating hay on fields that have been in his family since 1716. But it’s unclear how long the land will be covered in green, if not amber, waves of grain.

“I’m 63 and I can see the end,” he said. “I couldn’t 10 years ago, but I can now. My son helps me out when he can, but he’s got a good job at Stony Brook and he’s not coming back to the farm. Change will come.”

gvolpe@timesreview.com

06/29/12 9:00am

TIM GANNON | A storage building at the Calverton Industries property off Route 25 in Calverton.

A solid waste tipping and transfer station, an indoor composting facility, industrial storage buildings, as well as restaurants, retail stores, offices and apartments are all proposed on the site of the Calverton Industries sand mine property in Calverton, according to a site plan application filed with Riverhead Town Hall.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has already issued a state permit for the construction of a solid waste management facility at the site, said DEC spokesman Bill Fonda.

A town permit would still be needed for such a facility — at which solid waste and recyclables would be sorted and shipped off premises — to move forward.

The DEC permit is issued to East End Recycling and Composting Co., which would then lease 10 acres from Calverton Industries.

A similar waste station was planned for the 50-acre site across from Fresh Pod Avenue on Route 25 in the 1990s. The property has most recently been used as a sand mine whose owner, Mike Cholowsky, was involved in litigation with Riverhead Town over whether that facility had the proper permits.

John Cameron, a principal in the group that sought to build the facility in the 1990s, is a principal in East End Recycling.

Mr. Cameron said the solid waste permit is the same one he received many years ago when he planned to lease the property from its prior owner, Parvis Farahzad.

He said he has continually gotten it renewed.

He also said a town special permit approval for the recycling facility also was ordered to be valid in perpetuity by a court ruling, although that could not be immediately confirmed by town officials.

The site plan application filed in Town Hall was actually submitted in August, but the town Planning Board never reviewed it because the town has asked for more information from the applicant, and never received it, said town planning director Rick Hanley.

“We have a lot of questions about this,” Mr. Hanley said.

The Planning Board actually discussed a similar application from Calverton Industries in 2006, but it never went anywhere.

“This project has been kicked around for years,” Mr. Hanley said. “It’s been a long, tortured process.”

Rex Farr, the president of the Greater Calverton Civic Association, said he was unaware of the current application, but that the civic association opposed a similar proposal about 10 years ago when Mr. Cholowsky wanted to have a waste transfer station with a rail spur at the site.

“This is what we’ve been afraid of for a number of years,” Mr. Farr said. “Extending Route 58 from Exit 73 west to Route 25 and right into  Wading River. The Civic Association is dead set against a transfer station, just as we were 10 years ago.”

“There are things going on there that the town wants to look at more carefully,” said Supervisor Sean Walter in an interview.

The 50-acre property has a split zoning, with 9.68 acres fronting Route 25 zoned for Rural Neighborhood Business (Business CR) and the other 41.32 acres zoned Industrial B. But a 2006 court ruling dictated that the town must process the application using the uses allowed in the Business CR and Industrial B zoning codes that existed before the town changed its zoning in 2004.

The site plan shows eight 4,000-square-foot buildings toward Route 25 that would include two restaurants, two offices and four retail buildings. The restaurants and retail buildings would have a total of 24 apartments on the upper floor, while the two office buildings would have offices on both floors, according to the site plan.

Just south of that is the proposed 110,000-square foot East End Recycling building, which would be leased from Calverton Industries.

It would include a 68,000-square-foot composting and storage area, a 20,000-square-foot solid waste tipping and transfer building, a 17,500-square-foot recycling processing area and administration and mechanical areas on a 10 acre portion of the property.

The plan also calls for six separate 20,000-square-foot industrial storage buildings, each with 2,000 square feet of office space, and room for outdoor storage.

The proposed facility would likely handle garbage from the five East End towns, Mr. Cameron said.

“The DEC supports this because we don’t have enough facilities to handle our waste on Long Island. Right now, 40 percent of our waste goes off Long Island. So, in addition to increasing truck traffic and greenhouse gases, we’re also exporting a good amount of our economy off the island.”

He said he met with Mr. Hanley, town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz and town planning staff about two weeks ago to discuss the project, and is in the process of responding to the extensive comments made by planning staff about the application.

Mr. Hanley said Mr. Cholowsky was required by the state to close and reclaim the sand mine on the property.

Calverton Industries has completed all mining and reclamation activities on the site and the reclamation was approved by the DEC as of Dec. 7, 2010, Mr. Fonda said.

Mr. Cholowsky did not return calls seeking comment.

A condition of a prior sand mine permit issued to Mr. Cholowsky by the DEC stated that he was barred from being involved in the solid waste business, but Mr. Fonda said that condition is no longer in effect.

Mr. Cholowsky testified in 1999 that he had paid bribes totaling $20,000 to then-Brookhaven Town Republican party leader John Powell for the right to dump at the town landfill in Yaphank.

His testimony helped convict Mr. Powell on federal racketeering charges, for which he was sentenced to 20 months in jail. Mr. Cholowsky later pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and was sentenced to one year probation.

tgannon@timesreview.com

Read more in the June 5 News-Review, which hits newsstands July 4.

06/29/12 7:00am

KATRINA LOVETT PHOTO | Walter Klapatosk at Sunday’s Cardboard Boat Race event downtown.

Local media outlets this week — with the help of their readers — have exposed a man we now know to be a serial storyteller who’s been creeping out Riverhead women for years.

His name is Walter Klapatosk and, thanks to the digital age, most everyone in town knows his face — and his modus operandi.

This all happened within days.

The ball got rolling at Sunday’s Cardboard Boat Race, where 25-year-old Amy Wesolowski was approached by a man later identified as Mr. Klapatosk. He told her he was Mike Love of the Beach Boys and convinced her he could pull some strings and get her on “American Idol,” she said.

Before she knew it — and at Mr. Klapatosk’s urging — she had jumped up on stage and told the crowd to vote for her during next season’s “American Idol.”

There was also a News-Review reporter standing by, recording it all with his camera.

Ms. Wesolowski declined to be interviewed after her announcement, saying she had promised an “exclusive” to a local news site. So we let the video do the talking at riverheadnewsreview.com, where we posted the footage after the event.

Ms. Wesolowski soon contacted us, saying she had been tricked by someone claiming to be Mike Love of The Beach Boys, and that she would not be appearing on “American Idol.” We then updated the online account of what had happened accordingly.

Frankly, we weren’t sure what to believe, but then we started hearing stories from readers that were similar to Ms. Wesolowski’s. Through Facebook, email and on our website, several women — some we knew personally, others we didn’t — said they, too, had encountered an older gentleman pretending to be Mike Love, actor Rusty Stevens from “Leave it to Beaver” or a Three Dog Night band member, at either Sunday’s races or other East End events.

“That same man was talking to me at the Cardboard Boat Race today,” one woman wrote on our website. “Told me he was Mike Love and that he had gotten a girl who performed at Vail-Leavitt into American Idol. He was quite the smooth talker.”

“He has been doing this for years!!!!” another woman wrote on the News-Review Facebook page.

Within a day, a reader had sent us a picture of the imposter. We posted it at riverheadnewsreview.com and asked for feedback. We had his name in just a few minutes. Soon enough, different photographs of the same man ended up on two other news websites as well.

Who in Riverhead doesn’t know who Walter Klapatosk is now?

He actually looks more like singer Kenny Rogers than the people he’s been pretending to be. Of course, he can’t go around saying he’s “The Gambler,” as anyone who grew up in a household that plays Christmas or country music knows exactly what Kenny Rogers looks like; his face is splashed across every one of his albums.

As just one member of an ensemble, Mike Love of The Beach Boys isn’t as easily recognizable; ditto Rusty Stevens. It’s easier for people — especially younger women — to believe that Mr. Klapatosk is these other characters. A few of our online readers who had met him admitted they had been taken in by his tall tales. So Ms. Wesolowski should find solace the fact that she is not alone.

There’s nothing illegal about spinning convincing stories. Generally speaking, there’s nothing illegal about making false promises and having people act on them. But that doesn’t stop those on the receiving end from feeling tricked.

Digital technology gets a bad rap, but technology and social media have helped make our streets a bit more comfortable today.

Mr. Klapatosk’s immediate family members say he’s been approaching young, attractive women with false stories and equally false promises for years, and without any serious repercussions.

Until now.

His reign of creepiness has been dealt a huge blow.

With his face being splashed everywhere, it will be a long time before Walter Klapatosk shows up again at a Riverhead event telling stories in an unusual bid for attention from women.

At least not without some people spotting him.

And running him out of town on a rail.

Michael White is the editor of the Riverhead News-Review. He can be reached at mwhite@timesreview.com.