11/29/13 7:00am
11/29/2013 7:00 AM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO  |  Riverhead running back Jeremiah Cheatom carried the Blue Waves on the ground Saturday against Hills West.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead running back Jeremiah Cheatom will not be available for this afternoon’s Long Island Championship game.

Riverhead’s season will end as it began: minus running back Jeremiah Cheatom.

The Blue Waves (10-1) will take on undefeated Carey in the Class II Long Island Championship today without their star halfback, who was ruled academically ineligible this week, coach Leif Shay said. The Blue Waves were without Cheatom in the first game of the season as he nursed a hamstring injury. Since then, he’s been their featured rusher, scoring touchdowns in all but one game.

Losing Cheatom, who is a key player on defense as well, creates a huge void for Riverhead as the Blue Waves try to stop a high-octane Carey team. The Seahawks are 11-0 and have averaged 39.6 points per game. In the regular season, the Seahawks defense gave up just 22 points in eight games and four of their wins were shutouts.

Class II Long Island Championship: 4:30 p.m. Hofstra University, $7 admission

Carey defeated Garden City, the defending Long Island champion, 20-16 in the Nassau Division II final last week.

The Blue Waves will need to rely heavily on sophomore Ryun Moore on offense. Moore has seen some action on offense this year, but his biggest contribution has been on defense. Now, he’ll need to carry the load on both ends of the field.

Riverhead’s defense will be challenged by Carey quarterback Ray Catapano, who is equally a threat through the air and on the ground. He threw three touchdown passes in Carey’s win over Garden City. Catapano has twice thrown for five touchdowns in a game this season.

Riverhead is aiming for its first Long Island title since 2008, when the Blue Waves went undefeated and won the Rutgers Trophy as the top team in Suffolk County.

Prior to the Riverhead-Carey game, the Class IV championship game at Hofstra will feature Babylon against Roosevelt at noon.

Check back at 4:30 for live coverage from Hofstra of the Riverhead-Carey game.

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11/28/13 5:00pm
11/28/2013 5:00 PM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Suffolk County officials have asked the fireboat Fire Fighter museum to leave the railroad dock in Greenport.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Suffolk County officials have asked the fireboat Fire Fighter museum to leave the railroad dock in Greenport.

When the fireboat Fire Fighter docked in Greenport this past February it was hoped that it could become a permanent fixture in the maritime community — a floating museum where youngsters could learn about the vessel’s rich history battling fires in New York City.

But less than 10 months later, the former FDNY ship appears headed back toward New York City.

The Village of Greenport received a letter from the county attorney’s office late last month stating that the decommissioned fireboat turned nonprofit museum would need to vacate the railroad dock within three weeks, or the county would take further action.

Suffolk County officials say they are now pursuing “all means available” to remove the ship from its mooring at the county-owned railroad dock. The ultimatum comes several months after a group of local fishermen and other village residents complained to village officials that the railroad dock is intended exclusively for commercial fishing purposes and therefore should not host Fire Fighter.

With time running out to remove the boat from the railroad dock, Fire Fighter museum president Charlie Ritchie is scrambling to find another deepwater dock to moor the 134-foot vessel.

“We were looking to private mooring in Sterling Harbor, but it doesn’t look like that is going to work,” he said. “Now we’re looking closer to New York City. We just know we have to get out as soon as possible.”

Mr. Ritchie said the move alone could cost the nonprofit more than $800 in fuel costs and would set back the restoration of the ship.

The Greenport Village Board had voted to move the historic boat to the railroad dock when the contract to dock the vessel at Mitchell Park Marina expired in June. But in its letter last month, the county said it never signed off on the move.

County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said the presence of the boat at the railroad dock has created a potential liability for the county.

“If it damages the dock it’s hard to say what would happen,” Mr. Krupski said. “If it sinks, it could damage the oyster beds there. The dock was intended to be used by commercial fishermen and they could be displaced with the fireboat there.”

While the Village of Greenport leases the railroad dock from the county for a token fee of $1 per year, the county has the right to refuse any sublease agreement the village enters into regarding the dock.

Greenport Mayor David Nyce told the public in June that he wanted the village to end the lease agreement for the dock — saying it has caused nothing but “headaches.”

The village began renting the dock in 1982 in hopes of enticing additional fishing boats to tie up there. Instead, Mr. Nyce said, the dock has become a “liability” for the village and hasn’t produced a significant revenue stream.

Village administrator David Abatelli said that although three weeks have passed since the county informed the village of the need to move the boat, there’s not much that can be done to take immediate action.

“All the county said was they were going to take further action,” he said. “I don’t think they’re going to come with a tug boat to move it.”

Suffolk County attorney Dennis Brown said Monday that he can’t comment on the matter, nor could he say what action the county might take to move the fireboat.

Mr. Ritchie said his priority now is to continue to work with the village and the county to come to an amicable solution.

“It’s a shame; we thought we’d have a long relationship with the village,” Mr. Ritchie said. “The board, the village administrator and the mayor have all been good to us. And I can honestly say not one of our visitors has ever said a negative thing about the boat.”

Fire Fighter was christened in 1938 and was used to fight fires along the New York City waterfront for more than 70 years before being retired in 2010.

The vessel spent two years at the Brooklyn Navy Yard before being transferred to the museum in October 2012. It’s the third-oldest fireboat in the country and the fifth oldest in the world, according to the museum.

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11/28/13 1:40pm
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Joseph Finora with his first novel, which takes place in Wine Country.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Joseph Finora with his first novel, which takes place in Wine Country.

Taking his first stab at fiction writing, Laurel resident Joseph Finora has recently released his first mystery novel, “Red Like Wine: The North Fork Harbor Vineyard Murders.”

The novel tells the story of down-and-out New York City crime reporter Vin Gusto and his former girlfriend, photographer Shanin Blanc, who discover that more than wine is being made at the vineyard in a farming-and-fishing community that’s slowly becoming a wine destination.

When a renowned but reclusive winemaker turns up dead in a vat of his own juice, the couple tries to solve the crime while repairing their relationship and careers amid the murder and mayhem.

Mr. Finora, whom you might know from his involvement with the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League or his recent campaign for Town Trustee, is the first to admit the tale is inspired by his experience working as a New York City reporter, his relationship with his wife and the changing dynamic of the North Fork from a quiet town to an increasingly popular tourist destination.

“I have always wanted to write a murder mystery,” he said. “And I have always been in love with the local wine community. It’s a ripe setting for it.”

The novel, three years in the making, was the result of a lot of research about crime investigations and a lot of early morning writing, Mr. Finora said. His wife, Mary Grace, to whom the book is dedicated, also played a big part in the editing process.

“She is one of those straight-shooting critics,” he said. “She was not shy about telling me what she thought and pointing out how to make the storyline better.”

The 360-page novel is Mr. Finora’s first full-length work of fiction. However, he is no novice. A full-time writer, he’s penned thousands of articles as a freelance journalist, in addition to two business books — “Media Relations and Creative Marketing Tips for Financial Professionals” in 2007 and “Recession Marketing” in 2009.

The reviews of “Red Like Wine” have already been positive. Smoke Magazine has called it “a vintage read” and author Georgeann Packard said the writing is “crisp and natural,” adding that “you won’t be able to put Finora’s book down.”

Mr. Finora said he’s already working on his next novel.

“I am letting a few ideas settle, but I am definitely working on another fiction book,” he said. “I love writing in the early mornings. I can’t wait to get back to it.”

“Red Like Wine: The North Fork Harbor Vineyard Murders” is available locally at BookHampton in Matituck and Preston’s in Greenport and online at amazon.com.

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11/28/13 10:00am
JOE PINCIARO PHOTO    | Road work in Wading River just to the west of the Duck Ponds.

JOE PINCIARO PHOTO | Road work in Wading River just to the west of the Duck Ponds.

Brookhaven Town has begun a second phase of work on the Duck Ponds in Wading River, installing catch basins and underground piping to reduce the amount of pollutants carried into the ponds by stormwater runoff.

Town contractors dredged the eastern pond in April 2012, using a $170,000 state grant and $170,000 in town money, said Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner. The town also installed a water quality unit to trap road runoff, and prevent it from entering the ponds, she said.

Phase II, which draws on the same $340,000, includes replacing the culvert under North Country Road, installing catch basins along North Country Road to the west of the ponds, and installing a water quality unit to pick up road runoff west of the ponds, Ms. Bonner said.

“Since a significant amount of trash was found to accumulate in the northwestern corner of the pond, we will also be installing a trash guard unit at the pond outfall to prevent trash from traveling further upstream stream and entering into the remaining Wading River system, which eventually empties into to the Long Island Sound,” Ms. Bonner said.

Riverhead Town also had planned to commit $170,000 to the project for drainage and bulkhead repair work but lost the county grant it had hoped to use for the project, according to Supervisor Sean Walter, who said the town hopes to reapply for that funding.

Officials said that while only about 10 percent of the Duck Ponds site is located in Riverhead Town, rainwater from its roads funnels downhill into the pond — ultimately finding its way into Long Island Sound.

The work being done at the Duck Ponds has important ecological value, said Sid Bail, president of the Wading River Civic Association.

The water from the ponds, which lie at the heart of the hamlet’s historic business district, travels under North Country Road though piping that is being replaced, and ends up in Mill Pond, a large pond behind the former Pizza Pie on Sound Road and other stores nearby, he said. That water, in turn, runs into Sound, so pollutants that end up in the Duck Ponds as a result of stormwater runoff could be contributing to Long Island Sound pollution as well, Mr. Bail said.

“Lately, there’s been a bloom of invasive plants in the western Duck Pond that may be the result of the pipe under the road being clogged,” he said. “These are plants that thrive in stagnant water.”

Mr. Bail said he was told by Brookhaven Town officials that the work, which started last week, would be completed by Dec. 20.

“They’re doing a pretty good job of moving the traffic through this area while the work is ongoing,” Mr. Bail added.

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11/28/13 7:52am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Culinary students Kristina Caschetta (left) Anastasia DeRosa (center) and Alexa Cimino with the carved up roasted turkeys that were prepared for the Dominican Sisters Wednesday morning.

Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary School in downtown Riverhead partnered for the fourth year with the Dominican Sisters Family Health Service to cook and prepare about 140 dinners for long-term patients and home-bound seniors of the Dominican Sisters of Hampton Bays.

Local businesses on the North and South Forks teamed up to raise money for the feast.

Chef instructor Vinny Winn worked with about 40 students and high school volunteers in the culinary’s kitchen to prepare the meal. They cooked 15 turkeys weighing 15 pounds each, 100 pounds each of mashed and sweet potatoes, seven gallons of gravy and 20 pounds of stuffing. There were also rolls, cranberry sauce and 24 apple pies and 24 pumpkin pies.

Local elementary schools students made and decorated trays for the meals.

11/28/13 7:51am

Riverhead Police

A Thanksgiving-eve East End DWI  Task Force operation led to four arrests in Riverhead Town, police said.

The expanded enforcement initiative was in effect from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Thursday and included officers from the Riverhead Town, Suffolk County and Westhampton Beach police departments.

The following four drivers were charged with DWI as a result of the operation:

Rogelio Romero, 45, of Riverhead

David Dougherty, 35, of Kings Park

Carlos Franco-Oliva, 23, of Flanders

Dawn Philips, 51, of Riverside

11/28/13 7:00am

LEONARD VAN VLIET COURTESY PHOTO | Leonard Van Vliet and his sister Mary Gibson looking over old family photos during a recent Thanksgiving celebration. Each year Ms. Gibson creates a family tree and updates it with photos so family members can trace their history.

If there’s one family that exemplifies the meaning of tradition, it’s the Dougherty family, a 165-plus bunch that makes it a point to ensure that each Thanksgiving Day celebration is memorable.

Next Thursday, Dougherty family members from near and far will gather at the Moose Lodge in Riverhead to prepare and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner — for about the 50th year in a row.

Five generations have taken part in the custom, initiated by six Dougherty siblings — Claire, Catherine, Margaret, David, John and Madeline — to honor their late grandfather, David, known to them as “Pappy.”

LENNY VAN VLIET COURTESY PHOTO | Each year staples like stuffing and mashed potatoes need to be prepared the same way — cooked according to old family recipes.

“He had tons of coins on a dresser and all around the house. They took all the change and said let’s go to dinner,” said Leonard Van Vliet, Madeline Dougherty’s son.

That first Thanksgiving dinner, held in 1960 at the Crossroads Restaurant in Rocky Point, was attended by about 40 family members “as a celebration of Pappy.”

With the dinner a success, the family wanted to make it an annual event but needed to find a larger, more welcoming location where they could prepare a meal to feed the masses.

A year or so later, Mr. Van Vliet said, his uncle David Dougherty Jr., who was suffering from polio at the time, was honored by Moose International for saving two children who had fallen into Merritts Pond in Riverhead, which had frozen over. He was 12 when it happened.

The awards dinner was held at the Moose Lodge in Riverhead “and that’s how we got to the Moose,” where the tradition has been rooted since 1962, he said.

With more than five decades of practice, the family has gotten preparation for the event down to a science, with each person contributing to the effort.

“Everyone’s jobs are posted and color coordinated on three big poster boards as you enter the lodge,” said Mr. Van Vliet’s daughter, Kayleigh Baig. “No one can say they didn’t know their job.”

Ms. Baig happens to be a chef and is assigned to the kitchen with eight to 10 others — including her dad. Those Thursday mornings, the two can be found opening up the Moose Lodge and donning white chef’s jackets, with their individual sets of chef’s knives in tow.

As family members begin to arrive, the meal starts to take shape, including at least four 25-pound (or larger) birds, 50 pounds of potatoes, 17 pounds of turnips, six heads of cauliflower and numerous pounds of canned beans among a variety of other sides and desserts.

In keeping with tradition, the potatoes must always be kept plain and the stuffing must always be prepared the same way.

“For some reason the stuffing is a big deal,” Mr. Van Vliet said. Fifteen loaves of stuffing bread are broken up and cooked according to his late Aunt Edith’s recipe.

“It is a glutinous mash that everyone wants from their childhood,” he said.

PHOTO COURTESY LENNY VAN VLIET | David ‘Pappy’ Dougherty (from left) with sons David Jr. and John. The annual Thanksgiving dinner is used as a way to honor Pappy.

A few other customs include a fruit salad prepared with cherries and bananas and about 12 pounds of shrimp to start — served annually in a three-tier crystal tower that Ms. Baig said has been in use since the first family Thanksgiving at the lodge.

Numerous eight-foot-long tables are set up in a U-shape and dressed with name cards assigning everyone a seat.

The oldest living child from each of the six original Dougherty siblings sits at what is deemed the “head table,” which looks out over two rows of family members.

Speeches are given by a few select members of the head table, observing family accomplishments and births — as well as a reminder of Pappy, the reason why the family started such a tradition.

Mr. Van Vliet said he, his sister Mary Gibson and cousin David Dougherty III are the force keeping the tradition alive — thanks to all the work put in by family members, who travel from Mississippi and beyond to make each year’s celebration.

The Dougherty family Thanksgiving even has its own Facebook page, he said.

“The locals do a lot, but it takes the whole family working to keep the whole family together,” Mr. Van Vliet said. “No matter how far away we are, we still communicate with each other, even if it’s one cousin to another, who then passes it on to their respective siblings — and thank God for Facebook.”

To give back to the Moose Lodge, the family awards a high school senior whose parent or grandparent is an active member of the Riverhead lodge a $500 scholarship, to be used toward the college or university of their choice.

To win the scholarship, applicants must each write an essay on the appropriate topic “what Thanksgiving means to me.”

The Doughertys have also started contributing to the organization’s building revitalization fund, in part to help ensure that the Moose Lodge can house their family’s tradition for years to come.

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11/28/13 7:00am
The Kelly Family at the 2011 Memorial Golf tournament held at Cherry Creek Links in Riverhead: (from left) Mom and Dad (seated) Sue and Emmet Kelly and children (standing)  Jim (left), Bob (center) and Suzanne.

The Kelly Family at the 2011 Memorial Golf tournament held at Cherry Creek Links in Riverhead: (from left) Mom and Dad (seated) Sue and Emmet Kelly and children (standing) Jim (left), Bob (center) and Suzanne.

It took years. And for Emmet and Sue Kelly, seeing a Sept. 11, 2001 memorial park built near their home wasn’t just about their son Thomas, a NYC firefighter who was killed responding to the terror attacks.

It was also about preserving the Reeves Park neighborhood their son loved so much.

Tom Kelly, Sept. 11, WTC, FDNY

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Emmet and Sue Kelly (center) and family at the Sept. 11 vigil in 2012.

The park — built on what’s now county-owned land on the spot of a once-planned shopping center — was finally completed and unveiled this past Sept. 11.

Within nine weeks, both Emmet and Sue Kelly died.

“That was huge that they got to see the memorial park,” said Bob Kelly, who helped lead efforts, along with civic, town and county leaders, to preserve the property as parkland. “It meant a lot to them. They both had said the same thing, ‘At least we got to see it completed.”

Thomas Kelly, who died trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center, had a home in Reeves Park, where his parents owned a second home.

At the vigil this Sept. 11, both Bob, a retired city firefighter, and Jim, a retired New York City police officer, pushed their parents in wheelchairs down to the park at Sound Avenue and Park Road —  which has also been named in honor of Thomas Kelly — for what has become an annual memorial service. (The vigil was being held at the spot even before the land was purchased by Suffolk County last year.)

Emmet Kelly died on Oct. 15 at the age of 82, following a lengthy illness, and Sue, whose full name was Marie Suzanne Kelly, died on Nov. 18 at the age of 79. They both had been ill for much of the year.

Emmet was a career FDNY member, having been in the department for 36 years, Bob Kelly said. Sue Kelly was a dietician at Peck Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn and later was a manager at an A&S department store in Queens.

“She died of a broken heart,” Bob Kelly said of his mom, who, like his dad, died in their Reeves Park home.

The shopping center was first proposed for the four-acre land in 2003. The development ran into widespread community opposition from Reeves Park residents, but the courts had sided with the developer in a lawsuit challenging a town rezoning of the property.

Then in 2010, former county Legislature Ed Romaine put in a bill to have the county buy the property for a memorial park. The property owner, EMB Enterprises, led by Kenney Barrey, eventually agreed to the sale and the county Legislature approved the purchase in Nov. 2012.

Bob Kelly said his parents seeing the park probably eased their remaining days on earth.

“Now, they are all together,” he said of his brother and his parents. “They are not in pain. They are all happy.”

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