09/30/14 8:12am
09/30/2014 8:12 AM
Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

It seems as though the county’s tick committee will get more time to sink their teeth into the tick problem.

After learning at its first meeting in July that it might only have one or two meetings to help develop a plan for Suffolk County to stem the tide of a growing presence of tick-borne illnesses, the county legislature’s Tick Control Advisory Committee may be around for another year, at least.

A resolution was approved on Monday by the county’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee extending its life until Suffolk’s 2016 Annual Vector Control Plan is adopted next fall. It now requires support from the full body after passing the committee unanimously.

“It was only meant to make suggestions early on,” said Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Montuak), the South Fork legislator who co-sponsored the legislation creating the committee. “But now the committee is expanding somewhat to have a little bit more of an ongoing role while a plan is being implemented.”

The tick problem on the East End came to a head over the past year most publicly in the form of a debate over whether or not a $225,000 deer cull was the right move to help trip the deer herd. Leaders said before, during and after the cull — which reported killing just 192 of the county’s 25,000 – 36,000 deer — that a comprehensive approach toward trimming the herd would be key in combating Lyme Disease and the presence of ticks in the county.

Dr. John Rasweiler, a Southold Town resident who is on the committee, said at the committee’s first meeting at the end of July that after hearing what was expected of it, its original set of expectations simply wouldn’t fit with the timeline given.

“I understand the head of vector control is under some pressure to come up with a plan … by mid-September. He has to prepare some sort of report but I think that is asking a lot from the committee,” he said at the time. “I think even for the committee to narrow down to a series of serious recommendations, that is a pretty tight schedule.”

Mr. Rasweiler — a member of Southold’s deer management committee who has submitted opinion pieces to The Suffolk Times on the topic himself — said on Monday afternoon that giving the committee an extension was undoubtedly the right call.

“It’s probably necessary becasue were dealing with some very complex issues, and anybody who thought we were going to have this all wrapped up by this time was dreaming,” he said. “It’s better to do the job properly than in haste.”

By this time next year, the committee could have another set of tasks on its hands, so it could be given another goal or extension. Time will tell, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“The narrow respect which it was formed for — to guide the division to develop a plan — I don’t think they are going to need to do that forever. Maybe another year is enough, and then it can do other things — research better diagnostic tools, research into a cure — whatever that might be — or look at ways to improve public education.”

06/19/14 3:47pm
06/19/2014 3:47 PM
Legislation has passed both houses of the New York State legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of killing free-ranging mute swans. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Legislation has passed both houses of the New York State legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of killing free-ranging mute swans. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

It looks like the swans won’t be killed. Or at least if they are killed, it will now come as a last resort.

Legislation has passed both houses of the state Legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of controlling the free-ranging mute swan population.

The measure comes less than six months after the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it wanted every mute swan in the state killed or captured by the year 2025. (more…)

06/04/14 4:00pm
06/04/2014 4:00 PM
The land on the west side of Park Road will likely be preserved as farmland by Suffolk County. (Credit: Google Maps)

The land on the west side of Park Road and north of Sound Avenue will likely be preserved as farmland by Suffolk County. (Credit: Google Maps)

It looks like they won’t be paving one parcel on Sound Avenue and putting up a parking lot.

While one 14.7-acre parcel had one been slated for a shopping center, the Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to authorize the purchase of its farmland development rights, disallowing any future commercial development on site.

The development rights purchase totals $1,238,160, or $84,000 per acre. The deal still awaits County Executive Steve Bellone’s signature, but the resolution to authorize the approval was introduced in the legislature at the request of Mr. Bellone.

The land is owned by Boom Development, headed by Ed Broidy of Southampton, and is located at the northwest corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue in the Reeves Park community. Mr. Broidy has already accepted the offer, according to the county resolution authorizing the deal.

In 2013, the county had planned to purchase the property as open space, with the goal being to make it a park and fitness trail. The proposal would have required Riverhead Town to pay for the cost of creating the park, which officials said at the time would cost about $76,000, and to maintain the park in the future.

As the Town Board was considering the resolution to approve the town’s part in the open space arrangement, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman George Gabrielsen objected, saying the town doesn’t have the money to build the park, and instead arguing that the county should preserve the land as farmland. The two penned an opinion piece with the News-Review arguing the same.

With Supervisor Sean Walter abstaining on the issue because he once represented Mr. Broidy as an attorney, the open space plan lacked the three votes necessary to be gain approval, and the Town Board’s other two members eventually threw their support behind the farmland preservation plan.

Under the farmland preservation scenario, the county would purchase the development rights from the land, which is actively farmed, and it could continue to be farmed, but could not be developed.

The county has never publicly revealed what the purchase price would have been as open space.

Ms. Giglio brought up the fact that the county legislature was voting on the farmland preservation resolution during Tuesday’s Riverhead Town Board meeting.

“Hopefully, this land will remain a farm for another couple hundred years and it won’t be a park, so we won’t have to worry about maintaining it or spending any money,” she said.

She and Mr. Gabrielsen have argued that this land has been farmed for more than 200 years.

Mr. Broidy had proposed a commercial shopping center on the property in 2003, around the same time that EMB Enterprises, headed by Kenney Barra, proposed a commercial development on the northeast corner of Sound Avenue and Park Road.

The Town Board at the time rezoned both properties, as well as property on the south side of Sound Avenue, in response to opposition from Reeves Park residents toward the commercial applications. That resulted in lawsuits being filed by all property owners.

While Mr. Barra and the property owner on the south side of Sound Avenue, R & K Precision Autoworks, prevailed in their lawsuits against the town’s rezoning, Mr. Broidy had been working on a settlement of his lawsuit.

The land owned by Mr. Barra eventually was purchased by the county as well two years ago, and is now a September 11, 2001 Memorial Park.


06/02/14 12:21pm
06/02/2014 12:21 PM

The proposed law up for vote Tuesday seeks to curb the sale of puppies bred in substandard and/or inhumane conditions in places known as ‘puppy mills.’ (Credit: Michael White)

Less than six months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law giving local municipalities in New York State the ability to more closely regulate pet dealers, Suffolk County is looking to become the first one to do so, as the Legislature is set to vote on a measure tomorrow setting countywide regulations on the industry. (more…)

11/03/13 8:01am
11/03/2013 8:01 AM
Albie DeKerillis and Al Krupski

Albie DeKerillis and Al Krupski

Two-year term, part-time
Salary: $96,958


Hamlet: East Marion

Occupation: Maintenance

Party line: Republican

About him: Mr. DeKerillis, 46, graduated from culinary school and served in the U.S. Army before continuing to serve in various roles on the North Fork. He has served on the Orient/East Marion Parks District as commissioner, chairman and treasurer and currently volunteers as an EMT in Greenport. He ran unsuccessfully for Town Board in 2009.

His pitch: Mr. DeKerillis says he is running for office because he wants to help county government get a handle on taxes, create jobs and protect open space and farmland. Diverse opinions can lead to new ideas, he says, and a fresh look at what can be done.

In his words: “When you elect me to represent you, I will do the absolute best of my ability, and work day and night to prevent what is now happening in Washington from ever happening in Suffolk County.”



Hamlet: Cutchogue

Occupation: Farmer

Party lines: Democratic, Independence, Conservative

About him: Mr. Krupski, 53, is a fourth-generation farmer who was born and raised in Cutchogue. He was first elected to office in 1985 as a Southold Town Trustee, a position he held for 20 years, the last 14 as chairman. In 2005, he was elected to the Southold Town Board and served for seven years. He was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in January of this year in a special election.

His pitch: Thirty years ago, when he was first asked to run for Town Trustee, Mr. Krupski recalls having no experience at all politically, being born and raised on a farm. But that farm experience, he said taught him how to work hard until a job was done, make decisions under ever-changing circumstances and to work with people are all lessons that he says he learned from the family he worked with.

In his words: “As a Suffolk County legislator, I know about the quality-of-life issues that are important on the East End and I will continue to work hard to protect them.”

08/20/12 6:03pm
08/20/2012 6:03 PM

FILE PHOTO | Legislator Ed Romaine (R – Center Moriches) as announced he will seek to run for Brookhaven Town Supervisor this fall.

Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) has announced he will seek the Republican nomination for Brookhaven Town supervisor, which will be left vacant by resigning Supervisor Mark Lesko this fall.

Mr. Romaine, now serving his fourth consecutive term as a legislator, said he was approached by Republican leadership to run for the office.

“This is something I thought long and hard over,” he said. “But then I said, hey, that will make this race very interesting because even if I lose I come back to the job I love.”

Brookhaven’s supervisor seat will be left open this September. Town Supervisor Mark Lesko announced his resignation earlier this month to lead Accelerate Long Island, a nonprofit organization. Mr. Lesko helped found the group, which seeks to make Long Island more appealing to tech startup companies

Mr. Lesko’s resignation comes just before a difficult financial season for the town, which faces a multi-million dollar budget crisis. His resignation takes effect next month, and his position will be filled during a special election this November.

Mr. Romaine, a longtime Center Moriches resident, was a teacher before serving in Brookhaven’s housing and community development department in the 1980s.

From 1986 to 1989, Mr. Romaine served as a county legislator and was later elected to Suffolk County Clerk, where he served until 2005.

That year, he was again elected to the Suffolk County Legislature and currently serves the First Legislative District, which reaches from eastern Brookhaven along the North Fork, including Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island town.

Mr. Romaine said that the “challenge” of balancing Brookhaven Town’s budget appeals to him, adding he would work to trim the excesses in town spending while keeping vital services intact.

“We will ‘Reinvent Brookhaven’ by streaming government, by making it more responsive to its residents, by working to resolve quality of life issues, by making our town a better place to create jobs, and by preserving our environment,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Romaine said the town “cannot spend monies [it doesn't] have,” but added that he would not seek to layoff town jobs to fix Brookhaven’s fiscal problems if elected. Mr. Romaine also stressed the importance of keeping the environment safe while letting each of the town’s 44 hamlets “be heard.”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, a fellow Republican, said he was “really excited” by the news.

“I was sorry to see Mark Lesko go,” he said. “Those are big shoes to fill and I think Ed Romaine can definitely fill them…I think it’s wonderful.”

Mr. Walter said Mr. Romaine’s skills would be better used by serving as a town supervisor, adding that he would encourage the county’s Republican Committee to choose Mr. Romaine as the nominee.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Mr. Walter said.