11/07/12 11:21am
11/07/2012 11:21 AM
Riverhead, Superstorm Sandy, gas lines, Long Island

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | A gas line that stretched from a Hess station on Edwards Avenue and around River Road on Friday.

Unlike elsewhere on Long Island, where angst at the gas lines after superstorm Sandy reportedly devolved into fights in some cases, Riverhead lines were relatively civil during the past week.

At least seven disputes were reported at gas stations in town in the past week, according to Riverhead police reports.

But Riverhead police Lt. David Lessard said the incidents were quickly resolved.

“Just guys quibbling over who was in line,” Lt. Lessard said.

One dispute erupted into a fight, but Lt. Lessard said that incident was fueled by a prior dispute between the subjects.

On Saturday during the height of the gas shortage, five disturbances were reported at gas stations around town, including two at a Valero station and two at the Citgo station on West Main Street.

Two more incidents were reported on Sunday, according to police reports.

Lt. Lessard town police were at local stations as “more of a presence” to keep things under control and direct traffic.

“From what we’ve seen, everything’s been pretty orderly,” he said.

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11/05/12 2:39pm
11/05/2012 2:39 PM

Southampton Town police are looking for three masked men who held up the Valero gas station on Flanders Road and Ludlam Avenue at gunpoint on Halloween night and fled with about $270 cash.

The robbery took place about 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday, police said.

That night was Halloween night, as well as two days after Hurricane Sandy hit the area.

At least two of the three men were carrying guns and all three were wearing Halloween costumes, said Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa.

The men struck the attendant of the Riverside station, took about $270 from a drawer, and then attempted to rob the money the attendant had on him, but took off because they felt police would be coming soon, Sgt. Costa said.

This gas station has been the scene of several robberies over the years.

It was not open the following day and remained closed Monday, as gas stations throughout Long Island have had difficulty getting gas or pumping gas because of the storm and subsequent power outages.

Many have been closed since the storm.

Sgt. Costa said police would be releasing additional information on the robbery, including possible video from surveillance cameras.

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11/02/12 11:55am

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Patty Sullivan waited and knitted in her Dodge Durango Friday morning for gas along with Judy Torrieri, who was informing people on line that there was no gas at the Hess station.

Patty Sullivan sat in her Dodge Durango Friday morning in one of more than 40 cars stranded on a line to nowhere outside a Hess Gas Station on Edwards Avenue in Calverton.

There was no gas to be pumped. Only a hopeful delivery that may come later in the afternoon.

So she waited.

To pass the time, she knitted.

“I’m waiting because I need it,” she said.

A nurse, Ms. Sullivan said she has to work this weekend, which includes traveling to Medford to care for a patient who’s on a ventilator.

“If I wasn’t working over the weekend I could just stay home,” she said.

As the gas shortage becomes more dire in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, residents running low on fuel have taken to staking out gas stations and hoping for a delivery.

At the Hess Station, Judy Torrieri, who lives nearby in Calverton, said her husband received a tip Thursday night that the Hess station would be receiving a gas shipment at 11 a.m. the next day. That didn’t happen. But she was hopeful it would arrive in the afternoon.

An attendant at the station, Qamara, spoke by phone to a New Jersey transfer company — in the presence of a reporter — and was told he may get a delivery around 2 p.m.

“But I don’t know,” he said, cautioning that the delivery may not come as expected.

Ms. Torrieri was parked at the front of the line Friday with her husband. She was walking up and down the line informing drivers that the station had no gas, and that they were simply waiting and hoping for some to be delivered.

“You can drive around and waste your gas or you can get a tip and just wait,” Ms. Torrieri said.

She also warned people to put a lock on their gas caps, if possible.

“People don’t know how to adapt without the luxuries they’re used to,” she said. “They’re willing to go out and get what they need and siphon out your gas. Any means necessary.”

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11/02/12 11:07am

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Gas stations across the North Fork remain closed Friday. But relief is expected to come over the next few days.

Suffolk County has ordered the few gas stations that still have gas to limit customers to filling just one tank per visit and up to an additional 10 gallons of gas for customers without power.

The county has dispatched police officers to post signs detailing the restrictions at gas stations. This morning, gas stations from Flanders to Peconic were closed and out of gas, and the situation is likely equally dire farther east.

The county is advising residents to stay home or remain local.

Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Riverhead) posted a statement this morning saying that the Buckeye pipeline, which provides gas to much of the middle of the island, is operational again. He also said the LIPA restored power to the Northville terminal in Riverhead last night.

There are currently 1 million gallons of gas being unloaded for distribution today with another 1.5 million for Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Losquadro said.

“With the weekend upcoming I urge you to not drive if you don’t have to,” Mr. Losquadro said.

Few gas stations leading into the North Fork were open Friday morning.

The Hess Station on Edwards Ave. at the Exit 71 entrance to the Long Island Expressway in Calverton was waiting for a shipment expected to arrive this afternoon, although a gas attendant said he couldn’t guarantee anything.

The gas shipment was originally supposed to come around 11 a.m., a woman waiting in line said.

About 45 cars were waiting in line this morning, stretching up and around River Road. (See story.)

People at the front of the line at Hess knew there was no gas, but those at the back of the line assumed there was gas, then took off when they were told a delivery was expected.

To the south, the Valero station on Route 51 just north of Sunrise Highway was open. About 50 cars were waiting on a line that stretched back to the northbound entrance ramp from Sunrise Highway. A Sheriff’s Deputy was on scene to maintain order.

In addition to power outages that kept many gas stations closed, many ports and refineries either shut down in preparation for the storm or were damaged during the storm.

The New York Times reported this morning that ports in New Jersey and New York City would re-open for limited fuel deliveries today and that the U.S. Department of Defense is sending several hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel to the region.

The Times that 70 percent of gas station on Long Island were closed.

Editor Michael White contributed reporting.

10/22/12 10:08am
10/22/2012 10:08 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A customer filling up at OK Petroleum in Riverhead last year.

The national average on the price of a gallon of gas dropped more than 14 cents this week, the second steepest one-week decline since 2008, but prices here are still hovering at nearly $4 per gallon, according to online data.

The Long Island average dropped nine cents this week to $3.94 per gallon, far above the national average of $3.67 per gallon, according to gasbuddy.com.

There are, however, six places in Riverhead where you can fill up today at a cost that’s below the Long Island average.

The Gulf station at 1050 Osborne Avenue, at the corner of Route 58, has the cheapest gas today at $3.85 per gallon. Riverhead’s two Valero stations and the Shamrock station on Flanders Road are charging $3.89 per gallon today.

Click here for a list of Riverhead’s 10 lowest gas prices today