11/17/13 2:30pm
DUI, Brookhaven National Laboratory, bicyclist, Calverton

WILLIAM SLATTON after the 2012 arrest

The attorney for the man arrested last year for fatally striking a bicyclist along Route 25 in Calverton as he allegedly drove under the influence of drugs with a suspended license and his four young children in the car expects the charges against his client will soon be dropped.

But now William Slatton is once again in trouble with the law. The 31-year-old Farmingville man was arrested Wednesday on a fourth-degree grand larceny charge, a class E felony,  for using a credit card stolen from a Middle Island home, Suffolk County police said. A source familiar with the case said Mr. Slatton stole the card from the home of the mother of his kids, while he was visiting them last weekend.

STEVEN KANE

STEVEN KANE

Mr. Slatton made headlines last year following the Nov. 1 crash which killed avid bicyclist Steven Kane, 57, of Brightwaters, the manager of safety engineering at Brookhaven National Laboratory who was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of several passing motorists to save him.

Mr. Slatton is facing charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child following his arrest last year. His attorney, Joseph Cozzo of Central Islip, said he anticipates charges in that case will be dismissed since Mr. Slatton was under the influence of methadone at the time of the crash, a drug he was using as part of his court-ordered treatment for heroin addiction.

“He was on methadone and he was getting it from a Suffolk County clinic,” Mr. Cozzo said Sunday. “I can’t speak for the District Attorney’s office, but I do anticipate charges being dismissed.”

Mr. Slatton is due back in Riverhead Town Justice Court Dec. 11 in relation to the crash, Mr. Cozzo said.  He has been free on bail since late last November after his bail was reduced from $50,000 to $1,000, which Mr. Cozzo previously told the News-Review was lowered so he could spend the holidays with his family.

Even if the crash charges are dismissed, Mr. Slatton could still face jail time for violating the terms of probation in relation to the 2007 felony attempted drug possession conviction that led to his suspended license. He’s due back in court Dec. 13 on the probation violation, online court records show.

“With this new arrest, he’s going to be in more trouble now,” said Mr. Cozzo, who is not representing Mr. Slatton in connection with his latest arrest.

The District Attorney’s office could not be reached for comment Sunday.

The source who alerted the News-Review to Mr. Slatton’s latest arrest said the father of four recently relapsed in his drug treatment and no longer lives with his children and their mother.

“He has stolen from family more times than I choose to remember and this time he went too far,” the source said.

Mr. Slatton is being held at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility on $7,500 cash bail or $15,000 bond, and is due back in district court Tuesday, jail officials said.

gparpan@timesreview.com

11/15/13 1:51pm
11/15/2013 1:51 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Attorney Vincent Messina (right) speaks to the Riverhead ZBA with researcher

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Attorney Vincent Messina (right) speaks to the Riverhead ZBA with researcher Stephen Dewey on behalf of a proposed addiction facility in Calverton.

Supporters of a multi-million dollar addiction research and treatment facility being proposed for private property at the Enterprise Park at Calverton spoke in support of the project before the Riverhead Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday night.

The group of researchers, doctors, and scientists that attended the meeting said the center offers a unique opportunity to not only treat those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, but also develop more effective methods of treatment faster.

Among those supporters was Stephen Dewey, who said he’s studie the science of addiction for more than three decades.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A concept map of the facility shows the layout of where patients would sleep on site.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A concept map of the facility shows the layout of where patients would sleep on site.

“What you have before you is kind of a lifelong dream,” Mr. Dewey said. ”If I could design a center, after 30 years of experience, I’d design a center just like this.”

The Calverton Addiction Research Education: New York, or CARE: NY, facility would feature a 34-acre campus and include 41,000 square feet of housing, 20,000 square feet of offices and 15,000 square feet of indoor recreation like a gymnasium and a pool, project officials said.

It’s proposed for property currently owned by Jan Burman, just north of River Road and just west of Connecticut Avenue.

The facility would have a maximum of 130 beds for volunteers looking to get treatment, said attorney Vincent Messina of Central Islip, who spoke on behalf of the center’s founders. Patients would stay at the facility for up to 120 days and would pay for treatment privately, though Mr. Messina said new federal regulations may allow insurance to cover the costs.

Mr. Messina assured the board that the center would not be part of the criminal justice system, saying the goal of the facility is to research and make breakthroughs in the treatment of addiction — not serve as a way for convicts to get reduced sentences.

The facility would cost roughly $10 million to build, and Mr. Messina told the board the project was expected to lose money in its first few years. He said the facility would not use the nonprofit status of any companies operating in the center to get tax breaks.

Mr. Messina promised that if a nonprofit were required by law to get a tax exemption, the owners of the center would pay the difference in price to ensure that no tax revenues are lost.

The attorney told the board that 64 percent of the facility was already covered under “as of right” use in the zoning code.

The center would need zoning exemptions made mainly for the housing component of the research facility.

Mr. Dewey told the board that more children and young adults will die on Long Island this year from opiate abuse than from alcohol abuse.

ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin acknowledged the need for more addiction treatment.

“The opiates are just out of control,” he said.

Andrew Drazan, the facility’s founder and CEO, told the board there is “so much more to learn” in the field of addiction treatment.

Mr. Drazan said he was inspired to build the facility by his own experiences at a young age; his mother died due to addiction when he was a child, he previously told the News-Review.

He told the board that there has been a shift in the approach to addiction and addiction treatment.

“[This is] no longer looked at as moral failing,” he said. “It’s considered a disease and it’s going to be treated as such.”

The ZBA adjourned the center’s request to the Dec. 12 meeting.

psquire@timesreview.com

Read more in the Nov. 21 edition of the Riverhead News-Review.

11/11/13 10:42am
11/11/2013 10:42 AM
PAUL TROMBLEE

PAUL TROMBLEE

A Manorville man who police say is responsible for a string of robberies across Suffolk County – including one at a Hess gas station in Calverton – remains held on $100,000 cash bail and is due back in court on Friday.

Paul Tromblee, 35, was arrested on Saturday and was seen in First District Court in Central Islip on Sunday.

Online court records indicate that Tromblee is being held on $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail. Currently, Mr. Tromblee stands charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery.

The Hess gas station — located on Edwards Avenue, barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed Oct. 30, after a man pulled a handgun on a store clerk, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.

Since Oct. 26, gas stations in Calverton, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills, and Bohemia as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook, Kissed by the Sun Tanning in Islip, and CVS Pharmacy in Lake Ronkonkoma were robbed by an armed suspect who demanded cash after pretending to purchase merchandise, police said. Utilizing video surveillance as well as tips, including information received via Crime Stoppers, Pattern Crime Unit detectives identified the suspect as Mr. Tromblee. He was located by detectives while driving on Sunrise Highway in Brookhaven around 3 p.m. Saturday.

Southold Police announced shortly after the Mattituck GameStop robbery that a link between the incident and the others further west were likely evident.

Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review on the night of the incident that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.

Detectives are continuing to investigate if Mr. Tromblee is responsible for similar incidents that occurred recently. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Police said all calls will remain confidential.

jpinciaro@timesreview.com

11/10/13 12:44pm
11/10/2013 12:44 PM
SURVEILLANCE PHOTO | Suffolk police said Paul Tromblee of Manorville has been identified as the man in this surveillance photo. He is charged with nine counts of armed robbery.

SURVEILLANCE PHOTO | Suffolk police said Paul Tromblee of Manorville has been identified as the man in this surveillance photo. He is charged with nine counts of armed robbery.

A Manorville man was arrested Saturday in connection with the armed robbery of the Hess gas station on Edwards Avenue in Calverton and at least eight other incidents, Suffolk County police said.

PAUL TROMBLEE

PAUL TROMBLEE

Paul Tromblee, 35, may still face charges in relation to other armed robberies in the county, police said. Southold Town Police said last week that the suspect in the other area robberies may have been responsible for the armed robbery of the GameStop store in Mattituck last Tuesday, though Mr. Tromblee has not yet been charged in connection with that incident.

Det. Lt. Edward Reilly of the Suffolk County Police Department said Sunday that detectives are working with Southold police, who he said still believe Mr. Tromblee is responsible for the Mattituck robbery.

Currently, Mr. Tromblee stands charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery. He is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Sunday, Suffolk police said.

Since Oct. 26, gas stations in Calverton, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills, and Bohemia as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook, Kissed by the Sun Tanning in Islip, and CVS Pharmacy in Lake Ronkonkoma were robbed by an armed suspect who demanded cash after pretending to purchase merchandise, police said. Utilizing video surveillance as well as tips, including information received via Crime Stoppers, Pattern Crime Unit detectives identified the suspect as Mr. Tromblee. He was located by detectives while driving on Sunrise Highway in Brookhaven around 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Hess gas station — barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed Oct. 30, after a man pulled a handgun on a store clerk, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.

Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review on the night of the incident that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.

Detectives are continuing to investigate if Mr. Tromblee is responsible for similar incidents that occurred recently. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Police said all calls will remain confidential.

gparpan@timesreview.com

11/05/13 1:52pm
11/05/2013 1:52 PM
COURTESY SCPD | Police say this man robbed a Calverton gas station.

COURTESY SCPD | Police say this man robbed a Calverton gas station.

Suffolk County Police said on Tuesday that they are investigating a recent gas station robbery in Calverton as one which was carried out as part of a larger pattern, and are asking for the public’s help in tracking down the man they say is responsible for all of them.

The Hess gas station on Edwards Avenue – barely in the jurisdiction of the SCPD – was robbed last Wednesday night, after a clerk said that a man pulled a handgun on him, demanding cash from the register about 7:45 p.m.

Police said that over the past two weeks, similar robberies have occurred at seven different establishments, at gas stations in Eastport, Mastic, North Babylon, St. James, Dix Hills and Bohemia, as well as Jamba Juice in Stony Brook. No one was injured during any of the robberies.

The suspect is described as a white male, about 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-2 with a tall to medium build. Police said he usually wears a dark-colored or gray hooded sweatshirt.

According to police, the man has frequently approached the clerk to purchase an item and when the cash register opened, pulled a gun and demanded cash.

Mohammed Kahn, the clerk at the Calverton Hess, told the News-Review last week that the robber walked straight up to the register and demanded cash, first giving him the impression that the act was a trick.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn said at the time.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Any information that leads to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $5,000.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This Hess station on Edwards Avenue was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, authorities said. The robber remains at large.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Hess station on Edwards Avenue that was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, police said. The robber remains at large.

11/05/13 7:48am
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (L-R) IDA Exectu

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (L-R) IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James takes notes as Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard and Barbara Schiano speak to the IDA board Monday night.

Plans to build a two-story tall indoor skydiving tunnel are a little bit closer to taking flight.

The proposal — a new building to house the unique attraction at Skydive Long Island in the Enterprise Park at Calverton — will be subject to a public hearing over requested tax incentives in December, after members of Riverhead’s Industrial Development Agency expressed support for the proposal, with one member of the board calling the plan a “home run.”

COURTESY PHOTO | People skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel.

COURTESY PHOTO | People skydiving in a wind tunnel.

“That’s a really great project,” said IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James at the board’s meeting Monday night in Riverhead Town Hall. “It’s truly a regional draw.”

Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard and Barbara Schiano, his wife, told the board their planned attraction would not only allow skydivers to practice jumps in a safe environment, but would also draw tens of thousands more into town during the typical skydiving off-season to experience the indoor wind tunnel — without having to get in a plane.

“There are many people who just go to these indoor wind tunnels to experience freefall who never go skydiving,” Ms. Schiano said.

Skydive Long Island would build a four-story tall building to house the 18-feet high, 14.5-foot wide vertical wind tunnel, which would use giant fans to lift customers into the air.

“It’s going to bring a lot more people to the town,” Mr. Maynard said, adding that the nearest indoor skydiving attractions were in New Hampshire and North Carolina.

Mr. Maynard also said that, while tunnels are used by professional skydivers to train, the general public could buy time inside the tunnel with an instructor in 2-minute blocks. Up to six experienced skydivers could use the tunnel for practicing formation diving.

The project — estimated to cost between $4.5 million to $5 million — would also feature glass running windows along the side of the tunnel, allowing onlookers to see in. It would take up to a year to build the structure, Ms. Schiano said.

Skydive Long Island — which has been in operation out of Calverton since 2000 — is asking for three types of tax incentives: a sales tax exemption, a mortgage tax exemption and a deal on its real property taxes, Ms. Stark-James said.

The sales tax exemption would apply to all construction material purchases, from building supplies to lighting fixtures for the new building.

Skydive Long Island has already secured partial funding for the project through the U.S. Small Business Administraiton, which doesn’t require mortgage tax to be paid. The local mortgage recording tax exemption would apply to the remainder not covered under the SBA and would eliminate the usual 1.05 percent tax.

The final incentive is to reduce the real property tax assessment, Ms. Stark-James said. The IDA’s standard property tax abatement reduces the assessed value of the new additions to the property by 50 percent; the assessed value of the property excluding the new additions is unaffected, meaning taxes on the existing property wouldn’t change. The property would gain an additional 5 percent on its assessed value each year until it hit the full 100 percent of its value, Ms. Stark-James said.

For example, if a property were worth $50,000 and another $10,000 in assessed value were added, the property’s abated assessed value would be $55,000 in the first year of the abatement, increasing by 5 percent each year until it reached the full $60,000.

While the 50 percent initial abatement is the typical IDA offer, Ms. Stark-James said Skydive Long Island was planning to request more of an abatement from the IDA. While board members didn’t reveal whether they would support the incentives, all expressed admiration for Mr. Maynard, a longtime local business owner.

The proposed incentives will be open for public comment at the IDA’s next meeting in early December. In the meantime, Ms. Schiano said the company is working on getting the necessary zoning permits to build the new attraction.

“This is going to be another iconic attraction [for Riverhead],” she said. “There’s nothing like it in the area.”

psquire@timesreview.com

10/31/13 1:18am
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This Hess station on Edwards Avenue was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, authorities said. The robber remains at large.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Hess station on Edwards Avenue that was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night, police said. The robber remains at large.

It had been a quiet night for Hess gas station clerk Mohammed Kahn.

Unlike during the busy summer months, there were no customers inside the station’s market on Edwards Avenue near the Long Island Expressway on-ramp Wednesday.

About 7:45 p.m., Mr. Kahn said a customer — a man in his 30s wearing a black hat and black clothing — walked in through the doors and up to the counter. The man told Mr. Kahn to give him money from the register.

The cashier, the only employee working at the time, thought it was a prank.

“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn told the News-Review.

That’s when the man pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the clerk, demanding the cash.

Mr. Kahn quickly realized the man wasn’t kidding. Mr. Kahn said he gave the robber cash from the register and the man ran away from the station.

No one was injured in the robbery.

Riverhead Town police responded to Mr. Kahn’s call to 911 moments later, and searched the scene for the robber.

“They came right away,” Mr. Kahn said. “They’re very fast.”

Suffolk County police reached the gas station soon after Riverhead cops and took over the investigation. The Hess station sits about a quarter-mile into the Suffolk County police’s jurisdiction.

Town police described the suspect as a white male standing about 6-feet-tall and wearing dark clothing. He was last seen running north along Edwards Avenue and remains at large.

Suffolk County Police Department detectives are actively investigating the robbery, county police said.

Mr. Kahn said Suffolk County sheriffs often stop by the mart by while patrolling the area, but no police were nearby when the robbery occurred.

“[The robber] was lucky,” he said.

Still, he’s confident the robber will be caught; the suspect was caught on surveillance footage, Mr. Kahn said.

Mr. Kahn, better known to his customers as Assad, has been working at the Hess station for 12 years and said he had never been robbed before.

But in recent years, he said, the neighborhood around the station has been changed by more drugs on the street.

“I see girls and boys come by, they look like they came from good homes,” Mr. Kahn said. “There’s a lot of drugs.”

psquire@timesreview.com

10/30/13 10:52pm
10/30/2013 10:52 PM

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 1.09.10 AMSuffolk County police are actively investigating the scene of an armed robbery which occurred Wednesday night at a Hess gas station on Edwards Avenue in Calverton, authorities said.

Riverhead police said they received a 911 call just before 8 p.m., however the incident took place just outside town police jurisdiction.

The Brookhaven/Riverhead border marks the jurisdiction border between the Riverhead and Suffolk County Police Departments. The Hess station, just off exit 71 of the Long Island Expressway, sits less than a quarter-mile from the Riverhead Town border.

Suffolk County Police Department detectives are investigating, county police said.