05/30/13 5:00pm
05/30/2013 5:00 PM
All proceeds from the golf outing will go towards Villa Veritas, an upstate New York inpatient recovery center.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO  |  All proceeds from the golf outing will go towards Villa Veritas, an upstate New York inpatient recovery center.

Two members of the 1969 “Miracle” Mets, former football players and boxers helped raise funds for an upstate New York inpatient alcohol and drug addiction recovery center Thursday afternoon.

The Fourth Annual Mainstream House Golf Outing at Cherry Creek Golf Course, which featured more than 100 golfers, was organized by Bobby Hartmann, who runs the Mainstream House recovery center. Mr. Hartmann, who is in his 12th year of recovery, gives all of the proceeds from the golf outing to the Villa Veritas Foundation, which he and many others have used to help fight their addictions.

“Since then I’ve felt a debt of gratitude,” he said. “That’s why I do all this … They’ve touched a lot of lives.”

Mr. Hartmann said many of those in attendance had recovered at the Villa Veritas center. Ken Lavery, a clinical coordinator for the center, said seeing former patients years later, still clean, is among the best parts of the outing.

Several sports stars attended the fundraiser, including Ed Kranepool, the Met’s second all-time hits leader. Former Met and Long Island Ducks owner Bud Harrelson attended along with boxer Gerry Cooney, former Jets football players Greg Buttle and Rich Caster.

“It’s a good cause, good people,” Mr. Kranepool said. “We’re just trying to raise awareness of this issue.”

[email protected]

05/30/13 1:48pm
Downtown Riverhead, Blues & Music Festival, Vail-Leavitt

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Robert Ross of NYC at the 2012 Blues Festival in June.

The Riverhead Blues Festival as we know it is no more.

At least for this year.

Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

Bob Barta, president of downtown’s Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, confirmed Thursday theater officials did not submit an application to hold the two-day music festival on town property downtown.

The once-wildly popular festival, which has served as the historic theater’s chief fundraiser, will likely be restructured as a series of in-house events, tentatively scheduled for September, Mr. Barta said.

Mr. Barta said Vail-Leavitt officials hope to hold the festival outdoors in the future.

“We’re unsure at this point, but we’re trying to work things so that we can hopefully have it outdoors in coming years,” he said.

Mr. Barta said there were “a couple of factors involved” regarding Vail-Leavitt’s decision to call off the outdoor festival, but could not comment further at this time.

Initially run by the downtown Business Improvement District, the original Riverhead Blues Festival ran into financial troubles and for the past six years — save for another year it was canceled, in 2011 — the festival has been run as a fundraiser for the historic Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue.

The festival had traditionally been held in July until last year, when it moved to June and lost $8,720, Vail-Leavitt officials have said.

Theater officials had said in March they were hoping to hold a two-day outdoor event in September on the north side of Main Street.

The festival has always been held on the south side of Main Street.

[email protected]

05/30/13 12:00pm
Flanders Flag in Hamlet

Shannon Merker, 17, is a life-long Flanders resident and McGann- Mercy High School junior.

A Flanders teenager who designed a flag for her hometown hamlet will see her creation flying high above Flanders Memorial Park later this month.

Shannon Merker, 17, a life-long Flanders resident and a McGann-Mercy High School junior has volunteered at the memorial park for eight years, and first proposed designing a flag for the Southampton Town hamlet six years ago.

Her design, a 3-by-5-foot blue and white flag featuring the landmark Big Duck and the reeds of the Peconic waterways, was adopted as the official flag of the hamlet by the Southampton Town Board on May 14.

The flag will be raised at the Flanders Road park for the first time June 11 at 10 a.m. in a ceremony to honor Shannon and the historic hamlet.

05/30/13 8:00am
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | County Executive Steve Bellone announces the homeless sex offender trailers will close within the next three days.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | County Executive Steve Bellone announces last week the homeless sex offender trailers would close.

The fight against placing two trailers for homeless sex offenders on the East End in 2007 was never a NIMBY protest. It was a pure and good fight. With good results.

Locals here acknowledged early on that both sexual assaults and the management of convicted offenders once they are out of jail are societal problems. Protesters in the Riverhead area and Westhampton said repeatedly at rallies and community forums that they would “take care of their own,” meaning they would house homeless sex offenders from the area.

Anti-trailer activists recognized that the county’s policy of taxiing homeless sex offenders into Southampton Town daily from all over Suffolk’s 900 square miles was not only unjust but immoral as well. The policy was immoral because it shifted the burden of managing offenders from the entire county to one town and, worse, put the safety of children living in some areas over that of children living in others.

The policy devalued human lives — our lives — and that’s what galvanized and inspired local protesters, turning them into an unstoppable force against what many perceived to be an immovable object: a county executive, Steve Levy, much more concerned with the population and voting base to the west, backed by county legislators content to send their undesirables to someone else’s district.

Along with the protests and op/ed columns, advocates were also working behind the scenes, meeting face-to-face with policymakers to help them understand why the county’s policy was so wrong. And many people in positions of influence were persuaded to help.

Then in March 2011, Mr. Levy — on whose watch the trailer policy was enacted and became entrenched — announced unceremoniously amid a DA investigation that he wouldn’t be seeking another term. That same month, when county executive candidate Steve Bellone stopped in Riverhead during a campaign “listening tour,” locals made sure he got an earful about the trailer policy.

“This has been a real education,” Mr. Bellone said. “We’ve been involved and very aggressive on the issue of sex offenders in Babylon for many, many years now. But what you are experiencing out here is unlike anything I’ve seen.”

Not long after taking office, the former Babylon Town supervisor pledged to shutter the trailers and implement a new, more just policy of housing and monitoring homeless sex offenders. This past weekend, Mr. Bellone made good on that promise, not because it was popular or expedient, but because it was the right and just thing to do. Now, through the Community Protection Act, Riverhead and Southampton Town residents must be prepared to make good on their promises and cooperate with town and county officials as they execute plans to house the offenders at shelters spread across the entire county — because that also includes our own backyards.

05/30/13 6:00am
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Suffolk Theater hosted an invitation-only event to thank the people who helped out with the renovation.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Suffolk Theater’s marquee.

To the editor:

If the new LED sign on the Suffolk Theater downtown isn’t enough to distract your strolling or driving, get ready for another on Route 25 at the new All Star bowling alley. Apparently the owners have applied for a variance to get an electronic sign installed in front by the road.

LEDs are great things in the context of Times Square or Shanghai, but Riverhead businesses have done just fine without them for 250 years. Of course, good taste in sign design has never been a hallmark of Riverhead, so why the fuss, you might ask? Signage on route 58 has contributed greatly to that “up west” feel that our supervisor is striving for as a model. It seems Riverhead doesn’t have enough of its own character or that American sense of place. Some feel America requires a Home Depot, Starbucks and CVS on every corner of every town. Riverhead is unique and we need to celebrate that. When I look at old photographs of downtown, I see the Riverhead Bank, Griffing’s Hardware, Star Confectionery and Tyte & Luce Repair Shop. All are businesses that make this place what it is.

The bowling alley is a new addition and a remarkable place in that it entertains and is a gathering point for both local families and visitors. The owners should be commended for creating something that uses salvaged materials, bowling and new video technologies together to make a place that reflects both our rural sensibility and our passion for media consumption (hard to avoid in the age of YouTube). I think it’s carried it off pretty well. The staff is welcoming and friendly. Kudos to them. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite (for instance, my 14-year-old says the music is way too loud) but that’s OK.

It succeeds more than most without being a Chuck-E-Cheese-type eyesore. So don’t blow it All-Star. Keep up the good mojo, and do the right thing: Put a little more money into your identity and give us a sign out front that makes us feel good about Riverhead, not something that makes us run the other way. It could even be something small — your building is massive and that kind of contrast can gain attention.

Remember, the sign in front of the Modern Snack Bar is an officially sanctioned town landmark.

The Suffolk Theater’s sign could have been too, but they mucked that up digitally.

Cliff Baldwin, Aquebogue

To read more letters to the editor, pick up a copy of this week’s Riverhead News Review or click on the E-Paper.

05/29/13 7:00pm
05/29/2013 7:00 PM

FARMINDALE BASEBALL COURTESY PHOTO | David Zilnicki of Riverhead was named MVP of the Farmingdale State College baseball team.

David Zilnicki, a former three-year varsity starter for Riverhead High School, was named the most valuable player of Farmingdale State’s team this year and selected to the ABCA/Rawlings Division III All American third team.

Zilnicki was a four-year starter for Farmingdale State, helping the Rams to four conference championships and four trips to the NCAA New York Regionals. He was named to the All-Skyline Conference team three times during the four years he played for Farmingdale.

In Division III this season, Zilnicki ranked fourth in stolen bases (37), fifth in both stolen bases per game (0.9) and on-base percentage (.552), and 14th in batting average (.434).

Over 41 games this year, Zilnicki had team-high figures in hits (53), runs scored (44), walks (29), stolen bases, batting average and on-base percentage. He was second on the Rams in slugging percentage (.541) and third in runs batted in (24).

Senior pitcher Tim Velys of Riverhead helped Muhlenberg College (Penn.) to a 20-win season this year. Velys appeared in 12 games as a reliever and was 1-0 with a 4.15 earned run average. He held opposing hitters to a .212 batting average and struck out 12 in 13 innings. The southpaw picked up his lone win of the season by pitching two-thirds of an inning in a 14-11 victory against Centennial Conference rival Ursinus.

For his career, Velys was 6-3 with a save and a 4.25 ERA in 55 innings. He ranks third on the Mules’ all-time list with 50 career appearances.

Muhlenberg posted the fourth 20-win season in program history, finishing with a record of 20-20. The Mules were 7-11 in the Centennial Conference, doubling their league win total from 2012, and set a school record with 84 doubles.

Oneonta State pitcher Steve Ascher of Mattituck completed his sophomore season with a 3.02 earned run average. He pitched 50 innings, allowing 52 hits and striking out 43.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League will open its season on Sunday when the first of more than 140 games on tap for this summer will be played. The Riverhead Tomcats will begin their season at home against the North Fork Ospreys.

Each team will play a 40-game schedule, with the top four squads advancing to the playoffs. The postseason will kick off in late July, with a champion being crowned on the first weekend in August.

The season also includes the fifth annual MLB Scout Day, to be held on Tuesday, June 25, at SBU Southampton, as well as the first annual HCBL All-Star Game at Cochran Park, home of the Ospreys, on Saturday, July 13.

Approximately 175 players who hail from more than 100 universities will descend on the East End this summer.

The North Fork Ospreys have named Husson (Maine) assistant coach Chris Morris as their pitching coach. Morris is coming off his first season at the helm of the HU pitching staff, helping guide the Eagles to their North Atlantic Conference championship in three years. Husson finished the year 26-18 and boasted a conference-best 3.50 earned run average, and that figure dipped to 2.76 in NAC play.

05/29/13 3:35pm
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Joe's Garage and Grill is opening in the ground floor of the Summerwind Square complex.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Joe’s Garage & Grill is opening in Summerwind Square’s ground floor.

Joe’s Garage & Grill is under construction and won’t open its doors on Peconic Avenue in Riverhead until July, but until then, you can get a first look at exclusive photos of the car-themed restaurant. Eddie G, the restaurant’s executive chef, said Wednesday that the casual-style eatery will seat 189 people indoors and on a heated outdoor patio. Instead of windows, the restaurant has glass garage doors that open up.