06/30/13 5:59pm
06/30/2013 5:59 PM

A Riverhead woman with a prior DWI was arrested for driving drunk along Route 48 in Mattituck Saturday night, Southold Town police said.

Jamie Walsh, 29, was stopped for traffic violations shortly after 10 p.m. when she was found to be intoxicated, police said.

She was taken to police headquarters and held for a Sunday morning arraignment. Her vehicle was seized due to a prior DWI conviction, police said.

06/30/13 4:00pm
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Several houses on Bay Avenue and other areas in Flanders suffered major damage during superstorm Sandy.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Several houses on Bay Avenue and other areas in Flanders suffered major damage during superstorm Sandy.

State department representatives will be available in Flanders on Monday to assist residents and business owners affected by Hurricane Sandy, Southampton Town officials said.

The New York State Department of Financial Services Mobile Command Center will be open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the David Crohan Community Center. Representatives will be available to assist residents and business owners applying for recovery aid that the federal government approved last month. They will also help process SandyHelp applications and assist with insurance-related issues stemming from damage caused by the storm.

Sandy damaged a number of houses in Flanders, some that have since been rendered not safe to live in, particularly in low lying areas such as Bay Avenue or the streets off the north part of Long Neck Boulevard and adjacent streets.

Officials said residents who have already applied for assistance will also be able to receive a status on their applications and additional help with the recovery aid process.

Southampton Town residents and business owners affected by Sandy and Hurricane Irene can access additional information and fill out an application at www.nysandyhelp.ny.gov or by calling 855-NYS-SANDY (855-697-72639).

To read the town’s Recovery Action Plan, visit www.southamptontownny.gov.

[email protected]

06/30/13 12:36pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Goin’ Bananas paddled by Brett and Ross Dobert won first place in the first youth regatta competition Saturday at the Riverhead Cardboard Race on the Peconic Riverfront.

Riverhead Cardboard Race organizers have released a complete list of Saturday’s winners from the fourth annual boat race.

The popular event on the Peconic Riverfront was organized by Riverhead Town and the Riverhead Business Improvement District.

The race kicked off shortly after noon with the Supervisor’s Race, where Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter won against Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

Here’s a list of Saturday’s winners:

Youth Regatta

First competition
First place: Goin’ Bananas. Crewed by Brett and Ross Dobert. Built by Rasso Dobert.
Second place: Crabs. Crewed by Eric Deegan, James Bardrom and James Parkinson. Built by Eric, Larry, James and Joshua.
Third place: The Bobber IV. Crewed by Bobby Bayer.

Second competition
First place: Archimedes III. Crewed and built by Ian and Jay Oxman, Jonah Holderer and Sam Santora.
Second place: Vote for Michael Panchak. Crewed and built by Michael Panchak.
Third place: Baby Faces. Crewed and built by Haley Rudnicki, Bryce McKissick, Brian Clark and Michael Harris.

Riverhead Yacht Club Regatta – Single Occupant

First place: He Row. Crewed by Robert Stiles. Built by Team Coconuts.
Second place: USS Monitor. Crewed and built by Jack Tyniec.
Third place: Batz and Pep. Crewed and built by Ed Phalen.

Peconic River Special Pontoon Boats – Anything Goes

First place: Bottom of the Barrel. Crewed by Erik Bilka, Dave Smith, Shelly Smith, Jackson Smith, Chris Scarduzio, Jeremy Tocher, Josh Carp, Nick Poe and Patrick Clementz. Built by Mark Schumacher.
Second place: Kardboard Khaos. Crewed by Jeff Andrade, Peter Orlowski, Dan Baione and Darren Hinderliter. Built by Cardboard International.
Third place: East Moriches Community Ambulance. Crewed by Ryan and Sara Franceschini, Karine Constentino, Jackie Brown and Robert Wedell. Built by Diane and Robert Wedell and Kerrie Franceschini.

The Grand National Regatta – Anything Goes (two or more paddlers)

First competition
First place: Get Away. Crewed by Mark Sisson, Katrina Lovett, Nora Catlin and Chris McHugh.
Second place: USCGC Sarafin. Crewed and built by Cassie Densieski and Natalie Massiah.
Third place: Passing Wind.

Second competition
First place: Chip Eater 2. Crewed by Scott Edgett and Shane Burgher. Built by Scott, Shane, and Anthony.
Second place: I Hope It Floats. Crewed by Evan Houck, Abigail Houck, Vincent, Mike and Mark Manuella. Built by Vincent and Mike Manuella.
Third place: Renew Blur. Crewed by Fred Popp, Mike Fingers, Gary Tabler, and Juan Cruz. Built by Fred Popp.

Cardboard Boat Race Awards – Youth Boats

Vogue Award (best looking): Goin’ Bananas. Brett, Ross and Rasso Dobert.
Most Creative: The Disney Princess Castle. Pola Dobrinski, Nylejah Green, Megan Brewer and Sara Mohern.
Best Costume Crew: Home Tee Pee. Brian, Cliff, Marie and Diane Berry.
Spirit Award: The Ark. Eva Reese, Christiana Carini, Catherine Burns and the St. Isidore’s Youth Group.
Best Themed Award: Archimedes III. Ian and Jay Oxman, Jonah Holderer, Sam Santora and the Long Island Science Center.
Commanders Choice Award: The J.T. Jonathan Theodore.
Best Captain Award: LI Adventure Race. Hanna Witt, Jayden Binkis, Coy and Lincoln Witt.

Cardboard Boat Race Awards – All Other Boats

Vogue Award (best looking): Get Away. Mark Sisson, Katrina Lovett, Nora Catlin, and Chris McHugh.
Most Creative: USS Monitor, Jack Tyniec.
Best Costumed Crew: By The Book. Faye Swett and Kaity Talmage.
Spirit Award: Chip Eater 2. Scott Edgett, Shane Burgher and Anthony.
Best Themed Award: Duct Blind. Daniela Bennett and family, Daniela Campino and family, the Velasquez family and the Ortiz family.
Commanders Choice Award: Two Codgers. Jack Helgans and Howie Dietz.
Titanic Award: Lighthouse Marine Machine. Matt Tuthill, Kevin Tuthill, Rob Muller, Jordon Forkoren and Keith Santoro.
Best Captain Award: Archimedes III. Ian and Jay Oxman, Jonah Holderer and Sam Santora.

See photos and watch a video of a first-person view of the Cardboard Boat Race. Pick up Thursday’s paper for complete coverage.

[email protected]

06/30/13 12:35pm

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Police are searching for a black SUV involved in a crash in Calverton Sunday morning.

Riverhead Town police are searching for a black SUV involved in a hit-and-run crash on Route 25 in Calverton around noon Sunday, police said.

The three-vehicle accident, which occurred near J&R’s Steakhouse, led to two passengers on a Hyundai sedan being transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

While the driver of the Hyundai and the driver of a Jeep stopped at the scene of the crash, police said the driver of the black SUV fled the scene.

Police believe the rear passenger side of the SUV is damaged.

Anyone with information is asked to call Riverhead Town police at 727-4500.

[email protected]

06/30/13 10:14am

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Two-time Riverhead Rocks Triathlon winner Tim Steiskal speaks with the media after his victory in the race Sunday.

Tim Steiskal is making a habit of winning triathlons. Especially in Riverhead.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead Rocks triathlon winner Tim Steiskal of Brookhaven as he crosses the finish line.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead Rocks triathlon winner Tim Steiskal of Brookhaven as he crosses the finish line.

Steiskal, a 23-year-old Connecticut-native now living in Brookhaven, was the first athlete to cross the finish line Sunday morning at the Apple Honda Riverhead Rocks Triathlon. It was the second straight year he’s won the downtown event. He finished in 2:07.36, a full two minutes before second place finisher Stefan Judex of Port Jefferson, according to the official race results.


“It feels great,” Steiskal said afterward, a smile across his face on the overcast day. “I’ve been having a rough year. A lot of the races I’ve entered have been on really hot days. These were perfect conditions for me.”

Steiskal said having moved to Suffolk County in the past year — he’s now working as project director at the Patchogue YMCA — has made the Riverhead race even more special to him.

“A lot of the people I train came here to support me,” he said. “I work with a lot of young kids and it’s great that they came out today. That’s what it’s all about, to inspire the future generation.”

Steiskal said he’s not quite sure how many triathlons he’s won, but that he’s claimed more than a dozen in his young career, which has seen him compete in about 60 triathlons. His goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.

“[Qualifying for the Olympics is especially] tough because they only take two [Americans],” he said. “I ultimately just want to be competing on that level.”

A more immediate goal for him is to run professionally by next year, a move that would allow him to compete in more races at no cost to himself.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Meghan Newcomer was the first female finisher in Sunday’s Riverhead Rocks Triathlon.

Riverhead Rocks female winner Meghan Newcomer, 32, who placed sixth overall, knows a thing or two about turning pro. The New York City resident began competing professionally more than a year ago and she ran, biked and swam in Riverhead for the first time Sunday, finishing in 2:13.39.

“They did a great job with this,” Newcomer said. “It’s a good community race.”

Newcomer, a Kansas City native who moved to New York to attend grad school at Columbia University and now works as a research coordinator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has been competing in triathlons since 1999. A swimmer in high school, she took to the sport while cross training to rehab an injury.

Not only did she finish ahead of all the other females, three minutes ahead of second place  female Danielle Sullivan of West Islip, but she even hung with the best of the male competitors Sunday.

“It’s always fun to win,” she said. “I like to chase the boys. It’s always good to have someone to chase.”

Her long-term goal is to compete in a triathlon in all 50 states.

“I believe I have 12 more to go,” she said.

The top North Fork finisher was Ken Robins, 51, of Cutchogue, who crossed the finish line in 2:18.42, good enough for 13th overall and the top time of anyone over 50 years of age.

Not far behind him was David Gatz, who was the top Riverhead finisher for the second year in a row, coming in at 2:19.06

This year’s oldest competitor to finish was Ron Helin, 74, of Middle Island, who clocked 3:14.24. The youngest was 16-year-old Alex Pekoff of Bellmore, who finished at 2:53.59.

[email protected]

06/30/13 7:30am

COURTESY PHOTO | Drew Kinsey and mentor Omar Gould in front of a replica print of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s linear accelerator.

Walking up to receive his Mattituck High School diploma last weekend, 18-year-old Drew Kinsey knew exactly what he wanted to do with his future.

He wants to become a scientist.

And if you ask him today, he’ll say he already is.

Knowledge has always been a strength for Mr. Kinsey. Communicating with others has been his challenge.

“My parents would probably say I can do rocket science, no problem, but coming up with a dinner conversation would be the biggest challenge I’d take on,” he said.

As he says, everyone has something they need to work at.

Mr. Kinsey has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that makes it difficult to communicate and interact with others. But Asperger’s also gave him what researchers who know him call a “mathematical mind,” a gift he said he plans to take full advantage of.

“Maybe you have to work a little on your social skills, but you can work through it and take advantage of your asset,” Mr. Kinsey said while sitting in his family home about two weeks before graduation. “It is not a disability in my opinion. It’s just a trade-off.”

Growing up, Drew didn’t always have this positive attitude. He said he often felt like “the odd one out.”

It wasn’t until he got the opportunity to meet others who enjoyed science and research that he began to feel like he fit in, and began focusing his knowledge.

For the past two years, Mr. Kinsey was part of a select group of high school students chosen to do research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, an experience he called “instrumental.”

About 150 students apply each year for a spot in the lab’s summer research program, and about 40 are accepted, said Scott Bronson, manager of K-12 programs at the lab.

“Just because you did well on a test doesn’t mean you know the subject. The real problem came to applying what I learned,” Drew said. “It was very inspirational to find a group of people who I could communicate with.”

Working with a mentor, Drew studied the lab’s linear accelerator, which produces protons used in a number of research areas, including particle physics, energy and medical applications, like cancer treatment.

Putting it simply, his job was to “troubleshoot” the accelerator, looking at the number of protons the accelerator was producing.

Mr. Kinsey combed through about two years’ worth of data, measuring the number of protons produced at any given time, said his mentor, Omar Gould, a scientist at the lab.

He analyzed the data, which ranged from 6 million points to over 150 million points (depending on data set), and looked at how the number of protons changed, or strayed from the average. He was looking for any patterns that may have developed. He also had to come up with an efficient way of combing through that data in the six weeks the program lasts.

“I learned a lot about how my interest could actually translate into a career,” Drew said. “It taught me that research isn’t just about finding. It’s also about finding the quickest and most effective way to collect that data, finding faster and better ways to get the job done.”

He said it also taught him the importance of communication and working as a team.

“Everyone has to work together to get the job done. My work wasn’t some single project. The reason the work matters so much is because the accelerator is used by everyone else. The lab is a cooperative.”

The scientists he worked with were impressed with Drew’s work.

“Drew has a very mathematical mind, and I would say those things are very rare,” Mr. Bronson said. “He was very focused on solving those problems that maybe somebody else didn’t have that natural gift for. Showing him how to focus that and how to contribute to the group is the good thing that has come out of it.”

Mr. Gould, who has mentored Drew the past two summers, said he made an effort to work with Drew on his communication skills and was impressed with his work ethic.

“In general he just had, fundamentally, a desire to learn and to grow,” Mr. Gould said. “His drive does stand out among other students,”

Mr. Gould also trained Drew to present his scientific findings, helping him to create a poster presentation describing his work to other scientists at the lab. Later, he used those skills to present his findings at a Mattituck-Cutchogue school board meeting in January.

Next year, Drew will attend the University of Illinois, majoring in bioengineering. He hopes to make a career out of chemistry and engineering. “Anything related to science will make me happy, but that will make me happiest,” he said.

His advice for other students with Asperger’s?

“Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” he said. “Figure out for yourself what you can and can’t do. A person is what they choose to be, rather than what they are labeled in a medical document.”

[email protected]

06/30/13 7:00am

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Polly Weigand, executive director of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, preps little bluestem, big bluestem and switchgrass for commercial sale with Chris McHugh, an LINPI technician.

Centuries ago, before the onset of industrialization, wild plants and grasses grew freely across all Long Island, decorating the landscape and providing sustenance for local wildlife. Things are drastically different now, of course.

Much of the region’s original landscape has been replaced by housing developments and shopping centers and, in those areas, plants from across the globe have been planted and take shape each spring. Meanwhile, native plants and grasses have become harder to find.

The Long Island Native Plant Initiative, however, is working to make the hunt for indigenous plants a bit easier.

“We go out and collect the seeds from wild populations of native plants that are common on Long Island to provide the plant material for the industry to grow,” says Polly Weigand, executive director of the Hampton Bays-based organization, which was founded in 2005 and advocates for the propagation of native plant genotypes.

Ms. Weigand, who is also a soil technician for the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, says planting native species is crucial to protecting local biodiversity.

“Wildlife need these plants in order to survive,” she says. “If everyone was able to implement native plants into their landscapes, that would provide habitats for the small animals that depend on them. From an environmental perspective, it’s also important to plant [native plants] because they don’t require fertilizer or supplemental irrigation.”

Below, Ms. Weigand shares her picks for the three best-selling native plants and grasses, along with two more unusual varieties.


Butterfly weed: “It’s not a weed, despite the name,” Ms. Weigand says. “It’s a milkweed that likes dry areas. The butterfly weed has bright orange flowers and people are attracted to it because of its form and its flowers. Its vegetation is the host plant for monarch butterflies when they’re in the caterpillar phase.”

Joe-pye weed: Also not a weed. “People like this one because it attracts butterflies and pollinators,” Ms. Weigand says. “It has a striking pink flower and it also provides a very good habitat for wildlife and birds. The joe-pye weed tolerates a wide range of soil types and it gets up to six feet tall. It’s showy and dramatic.”

Big blue stem: “It’s a tall bunch grass and it has a beautiful flower that looks like an upside down turkey foot,” Ms. Weigand says. “Big blue stems have green foliage that has a beautiful purplish-blue tint to it. The bunched grass itself will get three to four feet high and then the flowers will come out the top.”


Stiff aster: “It has very rigid foliage and narrow green leaves,” Ms. Weigand says. “The stiff aster has a beautiful purple flower with light yellow in the center. It’s shorter than the New England aster and has a different form. The stiff aster is native to the East End and likes dry places.”

Maryland golden aster: “Don’t be fooled by the name,” Ms. Weigand says. “This flowering plant is local and has fuzzy leaves shaped like rosettes. It produces beautiful, striking yellow flowers. It provides wildlife benefits, and it’s one people have probably never seen in the nursery industry. When you see it blooming, it’s a show-stopper.”

[email protected]

06/29/13 5:11pm
06/29/2013 5:11 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The Riverhead Fire Department was one of four fire crews to respond to a distress call from two boats in Long Island Sound Saturday.

Fire officials responded to a distress call from two stranded boats in Long Island Sound between Iron Pier Beach and Reeves Beach Saturday afternoon.

The two boats, a 21-footer and a 24-footer, were stranded without power, according to Riverhead Fire officials at Iron Pier Beach. As of 5 p.m., the boats were anchored in the Sound and no injuries were reported.

The Wading River, Jamesport and Mattituck Fire Departments also responded.

It was unclear how many people were on the boats. No other details were immediately available.

[email protected]