08/09/14 8:00am
08/09/2014 8:00 AM
(Credit: Barbarellen Koch_

(Credit: Barbarellen Koch)

When Tony Trubisz Jr. was a little boy, a North Fork summer meant wandering the fields and woods surrounding his family’s Sound Avenue homestead, traveling all the way to the Sound and exploring the 500 acres behind the property.

On Thursday, Mr. Trubisz — now 67 — returned from Richmond, Va. to the 19th century farmhouse of his youth, since relocated to the Hallockville Museum Farm property, to spruce up the old building which hasn’t had a paint job since its big move in 2010. (more…)

07/25/14 2:00pm
07/25/2014 2:00 PM

The North Fork Preserve in Northville has been called the county’s “last great park.” (Credit: Tim Gannon file photo)

With plans for Northville’s North Fork Preserve already taking shape, the county Legislature is set to vote Tuesday on the creation of an advisory committee to make recommendations for development and future use of the park.

Because of the park’s 314-acre scale and the number of proposed active uses — which include camping, hiking and horseback riding — the park stands to have “significant” impacts on nearby communities, according to the resolution introduced by Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).

The North Fork Preserve Advisory Committee would be made up of 10 members, including representatives from the county and Riverhead Town government, as well as members of local civic group, an environmental group and horseman’s organizations to gather input from the community and make use recommendations, according to Mr. Krupski’s proposal.

In an interview Friday morning, Mr. Krupski said he made the recommendation after hearing from residents neighboring the park, who had voiced concerns about use and infrastructure, including drainage for storm water runoff. Last winter, the county decided to borrow $850,000 to fix drainage problems coming from the property which have plagued an abutting Northville neighborhood for years.

He said Friday that the community is also interested in completing and inventory of natural resources on the parcel “to make sure that everything on the parcel is protected.”

Mr. Krupski said local input is very important, as the “people who live nearby, who are probably are going to use it the most, should have some input as to how it is developed.”

The county purchased of the final three acres of the Preserve in February 2013 with a price tag of $702,000, while the bulk of the property, two parcels totaling 314 acres, were purchased in 2011 for $18.3 million, according to prior News-Review coverage.

Current plans include leaving 133-acres of the northern section undeveloped for uses like hiking or horseback riding, while the southern portion will be used for more active recreation like camping, tennis and basketball.

The three acres most recently purchased contain existing structures on them which will be used by the Suffolk County Parks Department for a check-in station, parks maintenance equipment, a caretaker residence and include a small office area for parks personnel, Mr. Krupski said during prior to its purchase.

“The North Fork Preserve has been called ‘Suffolk’s last great park’ and I agree with that description,” Mr. Krupski said during the final acquisition. “The park, with fishing, hiking, camping and more, will be a highlight of the entire Suffolk County park system.”

Read more about the committee in the proposed legislation:

North Fork Preserve Advisory Committe

05/25/14 8:00am
05/25/2014 8:00 AM
A modern painting depicting the October 1814 military engagement off Northville. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Collection)

A modern painting depicting the October 1814 military engagement off Northville. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Collection)

It’s 1814, and the United States is at war.

British frigates and brigs clog the East Coast’s trade routes, preying on merchant vessels and shutting down commerce.

On an October morning, an American cutter called the Eagle finds itself face-to-face with a Royal Navy brig nearly twice its size off Northville.

Below is a detailed account of the encounter that followed.  (more…)

05/05/14 12:24pm
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard boat into the Mattituck Inlet on Monday morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

A group of U.S. Coast Guard members in Mattituck Inlet Monday morning with the body of the missing boater. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

The U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of a missing boater east of Mattituck Inlet Monday morning, one day after he was reported missing in the Long Island Sound, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.  (more…)

02/21/14 11:00am
02/21/2014 11:00 AM

First Parish Church is seeking tenants to renovate the historic Northville building. (Barbaraellen Koch photo)

In the course of its 182-year existence in Northville, Grange Hall on Sound Avenue has undergone various reincarnations: It’s been a place of worship, a school, a social hub for local farmers, and, most recently, a meetinghouse for several different groups.  (more…)

12/19/13 2:30pm
12/19/2013 2:30 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A drainage pipe from the preserve? in the front lawn of a home on Sound Shore Road in Northville.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A drainage pipe from the preserve in the front lawn of a home on Sound Shore Road in Northville.

After years of poking and prodding public officials to do something about periodic flooding on Sound Shore Road in Northville — flooding that includes contaminated water, tests have shown — residents in the area will get their wish for an overhaul of an outdated culvert system, courtesy of Suffolk County.

A series of underground pipes directs groundwater from the North Fork Preserve to Northville Beach and, for years, debate has raged over who — if anyone — would be responsible for updating the damaged system, which is believed to have been installed in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration. The damaged pipes run underneath Sound Shore Road and through properties on its north side before reaching the beach.

The 307-acre preserve, previously two separate lots, was purchased in 2011 for $18 million. Suffolk County chipped in the lion’s share of the cost to construct a park, with Riverhead Town using $500,000 in Community Preservation Fund money. Now, with the responsibility of owning the land, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said that updating the sub-par culverts falls to Suffolk, even if the cash-strapped county has to borrow $850,000 to do the work. County legislators approved a measure Tuesday to do just that.

“We’ve inherited quite a problem over there,” said Mr. Krupski. “But now it’s the county’s liability to fix.”

Mr. Krupski said that work to fix the problem, which started to emerge over a decade ago, could begin as soon as this winter, .

According to a 2009 Riverhead News-Review article, a November 2007 report from the Suffolk County Health Department found that during the summer months, fecal contamination was evident in the culvert system, which could be attributable to shallow groundwater, surface water runoff, animal waste “and, potentially, leaching from on-site disposal systems.”

That same county report recommended that people not swim near areas where culverts from the property discharge.

Independent testing completed a year later by the Northville Beach Civic Association, led by former civic president Kerry Moran, found extremely high counts of fecal matter in samples leaching from the culverts, some of which drain directly onto Long Island Sound beaches. One test revealed a fecal coliform number five times the level that would have closed a public beach. Mr. Moran died in 2011 of injuries sustained after being struck by an automobile the year before.

Mr. Krupski said the cost to construct a sump on the preserve originally came in at nearly $1.5 million. However, further discussion led to the current plan, which will still discharge groundwater into Long Island Sound, a plan for which, he said, the county had permission from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Krupski added that the only contaminants in the groundwater after the pipes are repaired should be animal waste.

John Cullen, president of the civic group for the past three years, said that Northville homeowners affected by the substandard pipe system “were hoping, and still are hoping, that things will be fixed with the water coming off the preserve.”

In recent months, Mr. Cullen said, several meetings with the county Department of Public Works have led to a sense of optimism in that regard.

“The DPW has been very helpful,” he said. “We’re just hoping this can be over and done with.”

08/15/13 7:07am
08/15/2013 7:07 AM
GOOGLE MAP | Farmland and woods stretch north of 5176 Sound Avenue in Northville.

GOOGLE MAP | Farmland and woods stretch north of 5176 Sound Avenue in Northville.

Two young men were arrested for shooting guns into a county preserve north of Sound Avenue in Northville Wednesday, “just missing” police officers who were called to the area to investigate, officials said.

Police were called to a Sound Avenue property just after 6 p.m. for reports of shots fired when they realized two men were shooting in the direction of the adjacent North Fork Preserve, Riverhead Town police said.

Cops said bullets were being fired into the park, narrowly missing the officers.

An investigation determined the men had been firing shotguns and a rifle behind the home at 5176 Sound Avenue.

Travis Albrecht, 22, of Aquebogue and Scott Willet Jr., 19, were each arrested on a second-degree reckless endangerment charge for firing a rifle in the direction of the county park, police said.

Police confiscated Saiga 7.62 X 39 MK Sportsman rifle, though no other weapons were listed in a police report.

An employee at a Sound Avenue equipment and mechanic’s shop just west of the property given by police said he heard close to 40 shots fired before police arrived to investigate.

“The majority I heard were shotgun,” said the worker, who did not give a name. “I’ve never heard nothing like that before.”

He said he about a dozen police cars responded to the scene.

Mr. Albrecht and Mr. Willet were both released on $500 bail and are due in court Aug. 28.

More charges are expected, police said.


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07/07/13 2:30pm
07/07/2013 2:30 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | ADD clients in the special sensoray garden in Northbille on Sound Shore Road.

It was 1983 when Don Rieb decided to make a career move that changed everything for so many people.

The Bellport native had been working for 10 years at AHRC Suffolk, one of the region’s best-known organizations serving people with developmental disabilities.

Mr. Rieb liked the work. But one day, he met with a group of parents who troubled by the thought of putting their developmentally disabled children in crowded state institutions. After that meeting, he decided to found his own nonprofit in Riverhead, one that would enable the developmentally disabled to live and thrive in warm, homelike environments. He named the organization Aid to the Developmentally Disabled.

“I had a metal military desk, a broken metal cabinet and a broken Brother typewriter that had correcting tape on it,” Mr. Rieb said, recalling ADD’s early days. “My salary was next to nothing. But your instincts kick in and you say, ‘This is going to work.’ ”

With the help of New York State funding and licensing, Mr. Rieb opened ADD’s first residential program in 1984 in Northville. Now, 30 years since its inception, ADD has 30 group homes in locations from Wading River to Greenport. ADD also provides residents with medical care and 24-hour services, including clinical interventions and support.

“The goal of ADD is to provide services to individuals promoting independence and community inclusion in a home-like environment with therapeutic supports with the belief that every individual has value and the potential to learn and achieve goals,” Mr. Rieb said. “The success of ADD has its foundation in providing competent and compassionate staff who are role models for the people they serve and an administrative staff and board of directors all working together.”

Dorota Wider has worked for ADD for over 13 years and is one of its three program directors. The program she runs, Individualized Residential Alternative, houses people in nine different group homes where  they learn skills like personal hygiene, cooking and how to get their learner’s permit.

“We believe all of [the residents] can learn new things,” Ms. Wider said. “They’re learning at a different speed but they do learn.”

One of ADD’s unique features is its 2.5-acre Sensory Gardens in Northville, where residents can help take care of the small farm animals that live there, draw with sidewalk chalk and have picnics.

“It’s part of our therapeutic approach we take with our residents and they love it there,” Mr. Rieb said of the gardens.

Calling the North Fork home, Mr. Rieb said, is a key component to ADD’s 30-year success.

“Riverhead is a great community and they’ve always accepted us from the get-go,” Mr. Rieb said. “For the most part, we’ve been under the radar. We focus on what we do: delivering services to the disabled.”

ryoung@timesreview.com