06/29/13 3:31pm
06/29/2013 3:31 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | News-Review reporters Cyndi Murray (left) and Carrie Miller compete in the fourth annual Cardboard Boat Race Saturday.

Long Islanders gathered Saturday in downtown Riverhead to watch paddlers compete against each other in the fourth annual Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race on the Peconic Riverfront.

The popular event was organized by the Riverhead Business Improvement District and hundreds of people lined the riverfront, enjoying a day of fun, food and friendly competition.

Riverhead News-Review reporters Carrie Miller and Cyndi Murray competed in the Grand National Regatta race. With a video camera strapped to the front of their boat, the duo recorded their race as they tried navigating through the water among more than a dozen boats.

Click on the video below for a first-person view of the race.

See more photos at northforker.com.

06/29/13 1:00pm
EPCAL Sandy cars

TIM GANNON PHOTO | EPCAL’s western runway no longer covered with storm-damaged cars.

The runways at the Enterprise Park at Calverton are now car-free for the first time since mid-November, when Riverhead Town inked a deal to allow thousands of storm-damaged cars to be stored on the EPCAL runways until insurance companies could sell them to recyclers.

The cars were total-loss cars that had been flooded out during Sandy and were now owned by insurance companies, which contracted with auto auction companies that auctioned them off to licensed recyclers, such as Illinois-based Insurance Auto Auctions, which had a deal with the town.

While all this was bad news for the owners of those cars, and generated some controversy when thousands of vehicles began showing up for storage at EPCAL, the lease arrangements were good news for Riverhead Town’s finances.

“I’d say we made about $1.8 million all together,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday.

The town had stood to make about $2.8 million if IAA had sought the two three-month extensions allowed in the contract.

The most recent contract with IAA is set to expire at the end of this month, and the last of the cars, which were stored on the western runway at EPCAL are gone already.

The company initially entered into an agreement with the town on Nov. 15 to lease 52 acres at the unused western runway for $3,200 per acre per month for six months.

In addition to extending that deal to the end of June for a smaller area, the town also, along the way, leased out the eastern runway, a move that involved a private deal with IAA and Skydive Long Island in which Skydive, the only business using that runway, was compensated by IAA for the temporary shut down of the business.

In addition to the town leases, land owned by developer Jan Burman and land owned by Mavilla Foods, both at EPCAL, also were leased to companies storing Sandy-damaged cars.

Those areas are now car-free as well.

Unlike the town and Mavila deals, which involved storing the cars on concrete, the deal between Mr. Burman and Copart USA saw the cars stored on grass, which resulted in violations being issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Although Richard Amper, the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, had criticized the town for storing the cars on the runways and taxiways at EPCAL, the DEC said it had no objection to storing cars on pavement.

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06/29/13 10:30am
FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | Patricia Kos Woods has been missing since Wednesday, family members said.

FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | Patricia Kos Woods has been missing since Wednesday.

UPDATE: The missing Miller Place woman who was thought to possibly be on the North Fork was located Friday evening at a church in Middle Island, her sister, Cathy Danowski, posted on Facebook Saturday morning.

Patricia Kos Woods, 53, had been missing since Wednesday. Police located her car at a church next to Cathedral Pines, a place she visited with her father when she was young, her sister said. Police found Ms. Woods inside.

Ms. Woods was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center, her sister said.

“This is a miracle and a major relief to friends and family,” Ms. Danowski wrote on Facebook.

Ms. Woods suffers from depression and may have been disoriented from not taking her medication, Ms. Danowski said Friday.

Original Story:
The family of a missing woman with ties to the North Fork is asking for residents’ help in finding her.

Patricia Kos Woods, 53, of Miller Place was last seen Wednesday in the Miller Place area, driving a silver 2002 Ford Taurus with a dent in its front bumper near the passenger side, family members said.

Ms. Woods is described as 5-foot-7-inches tall, with medium length brown hair, brown eyes and was seen wearing a necklace with a cross and heart-shaped pendant, family said.

Ms. Woods, who has suffered from depression, may be disoriented because she hasn’t taken her medication since Wednesday, said her sister, Cathy Danowski.

Police were able to track signals from her cell phone when it was turned on and saw that she visited her old high school in Miller Place and a North Shore beach, Ms. Danowski said.

Ms. Woods’ father grew up in Cutchogue and family members believe she may attempt to go visit her grandparents’ former home as well, Ms. Danowski said.

“It looked like she was going to places that meant something to her,” she said, adding that Ms. Woods may also attempt to board the Orient ferry or visit her godmother in Jamesport.

She hasn’t taken money out of her bank account, Ms. Danowski said.

Ms. Woods went missing once before in November and was located 36 hours later after an ambulance volunteer who was treating her recognized her from her missing poster, Ms. Danowski said.

If you believe you’ve seen Ms. Woods, family members ask that you call police at 911, and to call 744-5225.

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06/29/13 9:00am

My eyes lit up when the doctor gave us a canvas bag full of goodies at the end of our first appointment.

Surely, somewhere beneath all the samples of vitamins and other baby products would be the book I’d waited for my whole life. You know, the one that tells you everything you’ll need to know as a dad. When I was a kid I always marveled at how my pops seemed to have an answer for everything. It wasn’t until I got a little older and wiser that I realized he’d just been making things up as he went along, and he was correct only about 3 percent of the time.

Now, it’s going to be my turn to have all the answers. The Mrs. got through the first trimester this week and, if the calculations are correct, I’ll be a dad for the first time come New Year’s Eve. (This is the moment when, if we were speaking face-to-face, you’d make a comment about a tax deduction.)

Since we found out the news, I’ve found myself asking, “Am I ready to be a dad?”

I’ve used this column space many times to write about how I don’t really know how to do anything; how I have no man skills. If something needs fixing I call a handyman. And when it comes to working in the yard, my thumb is far from green, the color of my pool the one summer I tried to maintain it myself. A few months back, my father-in-law asked me a question about my car’s radiator. When I froze, he said, “Well, I guess I wouldn’t know how to write a newspaper article.”

It’s safe to say I’m not a so-called man’s man. I’m more like a boy’s man, still holding out hope of one day being a man’s man, which is why I was disappointed there was no dad manual in the doctor’s goodie bag.

Surely, at one of the 11 remaining U.S. bookstores, there’s that perfect book: the one that teaches you how to change a diaper with one hand while hanging a shelf with the other. I’d imagine that book would also dedicate an entire chapter on how to beat your son at various backyard games while simultaneously grilling a steak and drinking a can of cheap beer.

Just like everyone before us, the Mrs. and I find ourselves talking about the baby 99.4 percent of the time these days.

After every meal we talk about how the baby must have loved what we just ate and then we discuss how the baby will enjoy every little thing we perceive as cool. If this baby is anything less than tall, dark and beautiful with Carl Lewis’ speed and an encyclopedic knowledge of independent cinema, it will have failed to live up to the early hype.

The baby talk even extends to our conversations with others. “Yeah, that was a great game, dude. The baby would have loved that game.”

Of course, the good thing about us always talking about our little North — didn’t we come up with the coolest name? No one else will ever think of that — is all the productive talks we’ve had with folks who have been down this road before.

The advice has been tremendously helpful, especially from the friends who told us to never listen to anyone’s advice. I think that carefree style is the attitude we need to adopt. There shall be no more stressing over which type of diapers to use or what to do when the baby’s crying. The nursery will get painted, the crib will be assembled — likely by someone else — and the kid will grow up loved.

There’s still six months to go and I’m refusing to spend the rest of this time worried. I’m confident that when the time comes I’ll have enough of the answers at my fingertips.

What will happen when I don’t know what to do? Like my old man before me, I’ll just make something up.

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06/28/13 9:23pm

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Emergency crews responded to a fire at Athens Grill on East Main Street in Riverhead Friday night.

Flames engulfed the Athens Grill restaurant on East Main Street during dinner rush Friday night, destroying the building and temporarily closing a portion of the busy street.

The restaurant was quickly evacuated and nobody was injured, emergency officials said.

Riverhead firefighters responded to the scene around 8:30 p.m. as smoke was billowing out of the building’s roof, officials said.

The fire was under control before 9:30 p.m. and the building’s electric had been cut. Fire officials said the fire may have spread to the neighboring La Mexicana grocery store.

The grease fire sparked in the kitchen at Athens Grill, a police officer at the scene said.

Riverhead Fire Department press officer Bill Sanok said the damage to the interior of the building was mostly cosmetic but the damage to the roof was more substantial.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The back of Athens Grill Saturday morning.

The fire spread and was caught between two layers of the roof, which created a challenge for firefighters.

Two Riverhead ladder teams were placed on the roof of the building to extinguish the fire, officials said. Volunteers from the fire departments in Wading River, Flanders, Eastport, Manorville, Westhampton and Hampton Bays all assisted at the scene. The Jamesport Fire Department served as backup at the Riverhead firehouse.

Both Riverhead fire marshals were at the scene investigating the fire Friday night.

As of 10:30 p.m. East Main Street was still closed at Peconic and East avenues. Roanoke Avenue is closed at Second Street.

Athens owner and chef John Mantzopoulos of Greenport said Friday night was the busiest of a summer season that had so far been slow.

“This is the worst thing that could have happened [for the restaurant]” he said. “At least no life was lost.”

His wife, Christine Mantzopoulos, said “No one got hurt and that is the most important thing.”

Ray Pickersgill, president of downtown Riverhead’s Business Improvement District, said he was in the restaurant at the time of the blaze.

“It smelled like burnt toast,” said Mr. Pickersgill, who said the building sustained too much damage and is likely lost.

Tom Lassandro, who was visiting the restaurant with friends at the time the fire sparked, said he initially thought a cook had burned a meal.

“Then the dining room filled with smoke,” he said.

Speaking outside the restaurant, Athens waitress Debra Walsh said, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said late Friday night that the town will speed up the permit process to rebuild the restaurant as best it can.

“Anything we can do to help we will,” Mr. Walter said.

The fire marks a somber start to a busy weekend on the riverfront with the popular cardboard boat race scheduled for Saturday and a triathlon planned for Sunday.

This is the second downtown restaurant fire in a little more than a week, following a kitchen fire at nearby Cliff’s Rendezvous last Tuesday.

Athens Grill opened in 2004.

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06/28/13 7:52pm

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead Tomcats outfielder Jerry Downs connects on a two-run home run in the first inning Friday against the North Fork Ospreys.


At the end of his freshman season this past spring at St. Thomas University in Miami, Jerry Downs’ coach sent him packing north.

“He told me, ‘You’re going to go play summer ball somewhere,’ ” Downs said.

The 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder landed with the Riverhead Tomcats in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. One month into the season, it’s turned out to be a terrific pairing.

“I love it,” Downs said. “No regrets.”

The Tomcats have loved his bat in the middle of the lineup as well. Downs hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Friday afternoon’s 12-4 victory over the North Fork Ospreys at Cochran Park in Peconic.

It was his league-leading fourth home run of the season.

“I’m seeing good pitches and hitting the ball hard,” Downs said.

He nearly missed another home run when he rocketed a double to center field in the fourth inning. His double actually appeared to be a better struck ball than his home run, an opposite field shot to left field that was aided by a strong wind.

Downs said he was surprised the ball left the park on his home run.

“The wind helped me out there,” he said.

As Downs walked back to the dugout after touching home plate, a teammate joked with him saying, “Nice pop fly.”

A Miami native, Downs made his first ever trip to New York to play with the Tomcats. He’s gotten a chance to take in the sights all while working on improving his game before heading back to college.

“I’ve been in Times Square a few times, on the beach with the boys,” he said. “Having a good time. It’s summer.”

At St. Thomas, Downs batted .263 with a home run and 24 RBIs in 44 games during his freshman season.

In the summer league, Downs said he hopes to improve on several parts of his game.

“Try to work on my defensive skills, hit more offspeed, little fundamentals,” he said.

Riverhead coach Randy Caden said Downs has shown he can hit with a lot of power.

“You got to be careful with him,” Caden said.

The Tomcats have quickly developed a deep lineup that can produce runs from top to bottom. The Tomcats added two more home runs Friday when designated hitter Josh Mason and catcher Charley Gould hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning.

“This team, you can’t make too many mistakes with,” Caden said. “They’re staying focused and having fun.”

When Mason returned to the dugout following his two-run homer, his teammates gave him the silent treatment, pretending as if nothing had happened.

“That was his first one of the year so we decided to do it,” Downs said.

The Tomcats scored five runs in the third inning to take a 7-1 lead and the Ospreys never got any closer.

Joseph Kuzia, a 6-foot-4 righty from St. John’s University, started for the Tomcats and earned the win pitching 5 1/3 innings.

Kuzia made his first start and got his first extended pitching outing of the summer season.

Early in the game Caden made a trip to the mound to tell Kuzia to quit relying so much on his fastball.

“I said I don’t care if you give up 100 runs,” Caden said. “Work on your change-up and other pitches. Then you see how he pitched great.”

The summer league mostly is an opportunity for players to improve on their games. The only tricky part, sometimes the players aren’t quite sure what those specific things are, Caden said.

“You get some rookies and they’re not sure what they should be doing,” Caden said. “So you say, this is for you. The league is for you.”

North Fork center fielder Nick Heath had a big day at the plate against the Tomcats going 5-for-5. Hid second was one of the more peculiar hits in baseball. With runners on first and second, Heath bounced a ball back to Kuzia. Thinking he needed to turn a double play, Kuzia turned to throw toward third, then looked at second before simply holding onto the ball while Heath ran safely to first.

The Tomcats, only needing one out, got out of the inning unscathed, so they could laugh about it afterward.

“You’ll see something new in baseball every day,” Caden said.

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06/28/13 4:31pm
Segal retirement in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Corky Segal received this purple cowgirl hat as a retirement gift Friday. Here she poses with her husband, Mickey Segal, who has worn his cowboy hat for many years but has never been on a horse in his life. They both turned 85 on Thursday.

Corinne (Corky) Segal has sat at the guest reception desk at Riverhead Free Library for 27 years, serving as a circulation clerk.

Her work that began in the 1980s came to a close Friday. But first, she was recognized at a retirement party in her honor.

She was mostly roasted during the event by circulation director Liz Stokes, who told stories of Ms. Segal’s fast driving, complete with anecdotes of getting out of speeding tickets, in one case by telling a police officer “I changed your diapers.”

After once receiving a ticket, she later told a judge, “Your mother and I were in the delivery room together.”

The ticket was promptly dismissed.

As a gift, Ms. Stokes gave her a poster size speed limit sign that reads: “Speed Limit 35 mph” and then “Except for Segal Family.”

Ms. Segal summed up her many years at the library as so: “It’s a second family. They are all so wonderful. They are always there for me.”

“Corky taught us to give with your heart,” Ms. Stokes said.

“She is Riverhead Free Library.”

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06/28/13 2:13pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Little League will host the state softball tournament for 11-12-year-old majors division in July.

The Riverhead Little League is getting set to host the state softball tournament for the 11-12-year-old majors division at Stotzky Park.

The six finalists in the state tournament will arrive July 8 and start playing July 9. The tournament could run as long as until July 13, with the one state champion moving onto the overall Little League World Series tournament in Williamsport, Pa. at the end of the month, according to Tony Sammartano, Riverhead Little League president.

The games will be played at Stotzky Park, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day until a champ is crowned.

But while hosting the event is an honor for Riverhead Little League, it’s also expensive, Mr. Sammartano said.

The host league has to provide lunches for players and pay the lodging costs for the players, although not for the players’ families.

As a result, Riverhead Little League has planned a number of fundraising events to help in the effort.

“We really could use your support,” Mr. Sammartano said in an appeal to members of the community. “It’s a big event and something a league doesn’t get to have very often.”

The last time the state championship was held in Riverhead was about 2004, he said.

A July 8 fundraising banquet at Calverton Links’ Eagle Landing restaurant is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 at the door, and there will be a 50-50 raffle and a Chinese auction that also will serve to help offset Riverhead Little League’s overall costs.

League officials are still hoping local residents or businesses can make donations or provide gifts to be auctioned off.

Mr. Sammartano said some businesses have been very generous, such as Home Depot, Digger O’Dell’s bar and restaurant and McDonald’s.

Another way the league is raising funds is through a journal for the tournament.

The league is selling one-page ads for $300, half-page ads for $200 and quarter-page ads for $75.

Mr. Sammartano asks that anyone interested in donating items for the Chinese auction, buying a journal ad or making any kind of contribution to the Little League call him directly at (631) 767-8206.

So, what are the chances of a local team playing in that tournament?

Mr. Sammartano said the Riverhead team was eliminated Thursday, but that the North Shore league’s team, which covers Mount Sinai to Shoreham was still alive as of Thursday night.

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