11/07/14 11:00am
11/07/2014 11:00 AM


Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin addresses his supporters at the Suffolk County GOP gala at Emporium in Patchogue Tuesday. (Credit: John Griffin)

Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin addresses his supporters at the Suffolk County GOP gala at Emporium in Patchogue Tuesday. (Credit: John Griffin)

“Every election is like a job interview,” Mitch McConnell, the Republican senator from Kentucky and likely Senate majority leader, said in his acceptance speech Tuesday. This year, Democrats weren’t hired for lots of jobs.

Notably for East Enders, Lee Zeldin knocked off six-term incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop in the 1st Congressional District race. (more…)

12/18/13 1:48pm
12/18/2013 1:48 PM


The Wading River Fire District commissioner race isn’t over just yet.

A write-in candidate who appeared to have lost the election for the open seat by one vote has filed a lawsuit against the district and his incumbent opponent, claiming the district improperly cast aside 10 ballots that would have handed him the election.

A state Supreme Court judge has ordered that the district hold off on declaring an official winner, and produce all the ballots and voting machines to be examined, according to legal filings made last week.

Glenn Erick — the firefighter in the Wading River Fire Department who staged a write-in campaign to unseat incumbent commissioner Timothy Deveny — filed the suit against the Wading River Fire District, Mr. Deveny, and the Brookhaven and Riverhead Town Clerks last Thursday.

Mr. Erick claims that eight votes were invalidated because “notwithstanding the clear intent of the voters,” his name was written into the wrong location on the ballot. Instead of the box for the write-in candidate’s name, the claim notes that the names were written in a blank box on the ballot for the subject’s public office.

Two other ballots were reportedly not counted because Mr. Erick’s “first name was omitted and/or his last name misspelled.”

As a result of the mishandling, Mr. Erick claims the election swung in his opponent’s favor, and hopes the suit — first reported on RiverheadLocal.com — will earn him a seat on the board of commissioners.

He also alleges that those tallying the votes “removed themselves from public view” into a room where only the candidates were allowed to see the proceedings, according to the suit.

Mr. Erick’s attorney, Vincent Messina, said the suit — filed on Dec. 12, two days after the election — doesn’t claim the mistakes were made purposefully.

“We don’t want to imply nefarious intent,” Mr. Messina said.

He said that prior case law shows that in cases where there are only two candidates, and one is a write-in, it’s possible to determine who voters intended to vote for, even if they write the names in the wrong column or misspell them.

Mr. Messina added that Mr. Erick wasn’t seeking to convert other votes — like ones made for his family members — into votes for himself. He also found it strange that the results took so long to be announced.

“Normally they’d be done the next day, but they weren’t,” Mr. Messina said.

When reached by the News-Review last Wednesday to disclose the results of the election, officials at the district said the tallies were not available.

In a phone conversation Wednesday, district secretary Steven Donnelly said the results had been available on time and said there had been no delay in the results. He declined to comment on the lawsuit against the district because it was a pending matter.

The fire district’s attorney, Sal Sapienza, said in a phone interview the ten votes were discounted because the instructions on the electronic voting machines were clear.

“The board of elections determined that [for] eight of them … the people who voted didn’t follow the directions on the ballot,” he said, adding that mispellings of Mr. Erick’s name were allowed and that only cases where the board “couldn’t discern the intent” of voters were not counted.

He said the case law cited by Mr. Messina related to physical lever-operated voting machines, where voters were not “locked out” of using the wrong boxes.

“The basis of that decision may not be applicable in this case,” Mr. Sapienza said.

The fire district was ordered to provide “voting machines, ballots and other papers or worksheets” to Mr. Erick and his attorney to be inspected before Dec. 24.

Both parties are scheduled to appear before state Supreme Court judge Ralph Gazzillo on Jan. 6, according to court documents.

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10/25/13 12:51pm
10/25/2013 12:51 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sean Walter and Angela DeVito on the Suffolk Theater stage.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sean Walter and Angela DeVito on the Suffolk Theater stage.

Riverhead supervisor candidates Sean Walter, the incumbent Republican, and Angela DeVito, the challenging Democrat, took the stage on Thursday night at the Suffolk Theater for a debate co-sponsored by the Riverhead News-Review and RiverheadLocal.

The two answered questions about downtown, Enterprise Park at Calverton, Route 58 and more, even getting the chance to ask each other a question during the debate.

Check out their responses recorded here. And check back with us to check out video from the town board debate.

Candidates answer questions individually tailored to them:

Candidates speak about their vision for EPCAL: 

Candidates speak about their plans for avoiding a tax hike in coming years: 

Candidates on their plans for downtown: 

Closing statements: 

11/03/12 2:00pm
11/03/2012 2:00 PM

KATIE COE PHOTO | A power line that fell during the hurricane. Power outages could continue into next week, disrupting some polling places during the election.

Tuesday’s election will likely be disrupted in some areas due to power outages and inaccessible polling places, said representatives of the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Friday.

“We are currently assessing the situation regarding the accessibility of our polling places,” said Election Commissioners Anita Katz and Wayne Rogers in a press release Friday afternoon. “Once we establish which of our polling places are inoperative, we will make arrangements to relocate those election districts, notify voters and accommodate the electorate to the best of our ability.”

The county will be extending absentee voting hours, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. tonight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Board of Elections headquarters on Yaphank Avenue.

No East End locations had been evaluated on the Board of Elections’ most recent list of polling place relocations as of late Friday. Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Times/Review will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Newsday reported Thursday that, of the 700 polling sites in Nassau and Suffolk , only 331 were currently able to receive voting machines.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that our elections will move forward as scheduled,” said the commissioners.

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10/31/10 8:12pm
10/31/2010 8:12 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO Voters in the Riverhead Fire District authorized the district to sell the former Riverhead Building Supply properties on Ostrander and Union Avenues for $1.3 million Tuesday.

Voters in the Riverhead Fire District authorized the district to sell the former Riverhead Building Supply properties on Ostrander and Union avenues for $1.3 million.

There were 35 votes in favor, four opposed and one vote that was challenged, according to fire district secretary Bob Zaweski.

Meanwhile, another land exchange involving the Riverhead Fire District took a step forward at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, when the board voted to let Supervisor Sean Walter execute all documents required to transfer town-owned land off Route 58 to the fire district in exchange for the former fire headquarters on Second Street.

The fire district has a contract to sell the Ostrander Avenue property — which was donated to the fire district in 2000 by Riverhead Building Supply — for $1.3 million to Atlantis Marine World, which is hoping to use it for parking, according to Dennis Hamill, chairman of the Riverhead Board of Fire Commissioners. The property encompasses seven tax map parcels and is about four acres total, he said.

By law, voter approval is needed to sell fire district property, Mr. Hamill said. With the approval in hand, that deal can now move forward, he said.

In addition to the $1.3 million, the district will begin to collect tax payments on the property as it once again becomes privately owned, Mr. Hamill noted. “It’s a win-win situation,” he added.

“The generosity of the Goodale family should be acknowledged,” Mr. Hamill said, referring to the owners of Riverhead Building Supply.

Initially, the fire district intended to build a new fire headquarters on the property, but later determined that traffic in that area was not suitable for a firehouse. The district instead got voter approval in 2007 to build a new $14.7 million fire headquarters on Roanoke Avenue.

A fire in August 2009 destroyed one of the Ostrander Avenue buildings and the fire district subsequently demolished all of the structures on the seven parcels and put the land up for sale.

Atlantis has been using one of the Ostrander Avenue lots for parking for several years under an agreement with the fire district.

The other deal involves land the town owns that has been leased to the fire district for years. It is used as a firematic training site, as well as for annual motorized drill competitions. The district has sought to acquire the land for years. It has access of Route 58 and also abuts town land at Stotzky Park.

The land was technically owned by the town-run Riverhead Water District, and the Town Board on Tuesday passed a resolution transferring ownership to the town.

The Second Street firehouse was replaced by the new Roanoke Avenue headquarters and the district has been trying to sell it. Town Board members have said they would like to use the facility for the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, even though ambulance officials have repeatedly said they don’t want it because it’s not in a good location for an ambulance barn.

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This post was originally published Oct. 19, 2010