06/28/14 6:00am
06/28/2014 6:00 AM
Local strawberries from last May. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Local strawberries from last May. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Happy summer! May it go very, very slow and be a nice, balmy 80 degrees or so.

If you didn’t get any strawberries yet you may still have a few days, but beware, they’re almost gone. As one tasty fruit leaves, something else takes its place. Peas, zucchini and squash have arrived and on the near horizon will be sweet corn.  (more…)

06/25/14 6:16pm
06/25/2014 6:16 PM
(Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Terri Nirrengarten, left, protesting against the Riverhead School District’s decision to fire second-grade teacher Jutta Mariotti. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photos)

Three parents and their children gathered in the front of the Riverhead School District’s administration office Wednesday afternoon to protest the firing of Riley Avenue Elementary School teacher Jutta Mariotti.

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06/25/14 8:00am
Joe Kummer, a resident of Thurm's Estate's and president of the Mobile Manufactured Homeowners Association of Suffolk at his home in Calverton.

Joe Kummer, president of the Mobile Manufactured Homeowners Association of Suffolk, at his Calverton home in 2010. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

On his last day as president of the Mobile/Manufactured Homeowner’s Association of Suffolk County Saturday, Joe Kummer didn’t get word that a bill he’s been fighting for on “unreasonable” rent hikes for mobile homes was approved by the state legislature.

But he did get a cake.

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06/23/14 12:00pm
06/23/2014 12:00 PM
This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A solar company out of San Francisco has proposed building over 30,000 solar panels on a Calverton sod farm, the second large solar farm in the area pitched in recent weeks.

S Power Solar is planning on buying 45 acres from DeLalio Sod Farms on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of Tuthill Petroleum and the Long Island Rail Road. The site is just north of a LIPA/PSEG Long Island substation.

The proposal is to build 30,460 solar energy panels on 38 acres of the land, with the capacity of generating up to 6.3 megawatts of energy.

S Polar has a purchase agreement with LIPA/PSEGLI to sell the power to the utility provider. The 20-year agreement is facing time constraints, the applicant said at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Planning Board meeting, where they urged the board to approve the project quickly.

The Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on the plan, scheduled for July 17 at 3 p.m.

S Power Solar also will need three property line setback variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has a June 26 hearing planned.

The Planning Board also recently granted preliminary site plan approval to another solar farm in the same area.

STR Systems of Kingston, N.Y. is leasing 14 acres south of the Riverhead Charter School on Route 25 in Calverton, just east of Edwards Avenue, in order to build 13,068 solar panels that would produce about three megawatts of power, which also would be sold to LIPA/PSEG.

That applicant also has said they have a 20-year agreement with LIPA/PSEG and as such, face time constraints in getting the project approved.

Both projects are located in land zoned for industrial uses, although the DeLalio property is currently being used as a sod farm.

Figuring out where to permit solar farms came up in town hall recently, as the Riverhead Town Board discussed a proposal on Thursday to ban solar farms that sell energy back to LIPA/PSEG on all agriculturally-zoned property, and to only allow it in industrially-zoned land.

The prohibition would not apply to farms that have solar panels to generate power for the farm operation, rather than to sell to a LIPA/PSEG. It also wouldn’t apply to the town itself, which is proposing to build solar panels on a number of town-owned properties.

In addition, the proposed prohibition discussed by the Town Board would only apply to ground-based solar panels, as opposed to ones mounted on a building.

“If you allow this use on farmland, they will come in here in droves and turn it into an industrial property,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who is a farmer, said he feels that permitting the sale of solar energy could drive up the price of farmland, and if that happens, “goodbye future farmland, because no one will be able to afford it.”

The Town Board will need to hold a public hearing on its proposal to ban solar farms on agriculturally-zoned land, but has yet to set that date.

06/13/14 6:00am
06/13/2014 6:00 AM
RCS concert 5

Riverhead Charter School students performing at Thursday’s concert. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson photos)

The Riverhead Charter School held its spring concert at Pulaski Street School on Thursday.

As teachers played the guitar, drums and other instruments, students in grades kindergarten through seventh grade sang several songs, including: Frank Loesser’s “Inchworm,” Stevie Wonder’s “You are the Sunshine of My Life,” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.”

The select choir sang “In Stiller Nacht” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” and the symphonic orchestra performed “The Maya Kingdom.”

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