01/07/16 6:00am

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On a warm Saturday afternoon in April, members of the Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team lined up near midfield wearing pink jerseys before the start of the annual Lax Out Cancer fundraiser game against Miller Place. Joe Kavanagh, one of the event’s organizers, took the microphone and introduced the four honorees. READ

11/10/14 1:57pm
11/10/2014 1:57 PM
Chamber

Riverhead Chamber of Commerce 2014 award recipients (from left) Joe Gergela, Dan Burke, Greg Martin, brothers Bob and Scott Gammon, Nancy and Keith Kouris, Verna Campbell and Carl James. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Business was good for these folks in 2014.

The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce announced its annual award recipients on Monday, and will honor the group at its yearly ceremony in December. (more…)

03/07/14 3:01pm
03/07/2014 3:01 PM

Michael Hubbard of Riverhead was honored Thursday as the 2013 Riverhead News-Review Person of the Year. His mother Nancy Reyer accepted the award along with Michael at Peconic Bay Medical Center. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The Riverhead News-Review honored its 2013 People of the Year Thursday night during a ceremony at the company’s main office in Mattituck.  (more…)

01/05/13 8:00am
01/05/2013 8:00 AM
Riverhead Town, Riverhead Animal Shelter, Move the Animal Shelter, Denise Lucas

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Move the Animal Shelter founder Denise Lucas and friend Laurie Milford of Wading River at a fundraiser in summer 2012.

In August 2011, Denise Lucas took her 13-year-old neighbor to the Riverhead Animal Shelter to look at the dogs. The girl wanted to be a veterinarian but was terrified by the barking dogs and the sight of the shelter.

Animal advocates had long protested conditions at the town’s shelter, saying that better facilities were needed to care for the dogs. After her August visit, Ms. Lucas saw the same need.

Instead of protesting, she took action.

The longtime Riverhead resident and dog lover, who had never organized a single fundraiser before, soon began going door to door, business to business across the East End to raise money to build Riverhead Town a new animal shelter.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Denise Lucas of Move the Animal Shelter.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Denise Lucas of Move the Animal Shelter.

More than a year later, Move the Animal Shelter — the organization she founded — has raised thousands to put toward building a new town facility. She’s also spearheaded the town’s first public dog park, with a second park expected to open in the spring.

Ms. Lucas has kept up an impressive pace, holding dozens of fundraisers — from dinners to dog grooming events — and obtaining nonprofit status for her organization while still working her regular job.

It’s that dedication and drive that several town officials and residents have praised, and why Ms. Lucas is the News-Review’s 2012 Person of the Year.

“Denise Lucas came to me about a year ago, and she was on a mission,” said Councilman James Wooten, the Town Board’s liaison to Ms. Lucas’ group. “She was like a spitfire … for me personally, I think she’s just a breath of fresh air.”

Ms. Lucas began raising funds in September 2011; two months later, she had raised $12,000 for the new shelter. The money originally went into a special town fund, but it was later returned to the group once it received 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit.

The new shelter as designed should cost roughly $300,000, Ms. Lucas has said in previous interviews.

While raising funds for the new shelter, Ms. Lucas learned of the town’s efforts to get a dog park built. She immediately opened up another fundraising effort and raised $14,000 to help the town build its first public dog park: Issac Park at the Enterprise Park at Calverton. Ms. Lucas also enticed businesses to donate supplies or pay for various items needed for the park, like fencing and picnic tables.

The dog park in Calverton opened in July; Ms. Lucas is currently raising funds to have another, smaller dog park built at Stotzky Park near the soccer fields.

“This one person has accomplished so much for the town in just one year,” wrote Riverhead resident Jim Seuling, in nominating Ms. Lucas for Person of the Year honors.

On Dec. 18, the Riverhead Town Board voted to privatize the town shelter, putting it under the control of the North Fork Animal Welfare League, a nonprofit group that currently runs the Southold Town shelter.

But Ms. Lucas is not going to give up on her mission; in fact, the move may help her raise even more money to help Riverhead’s pets, officials said.

“This [privatization of the shelter] is probably better for her organization, because she’s going to be working with the North Fork Animal Welfare League,” Mr. Wooten said. “She’s reenergized by it.”

[email protected]

01/04/13 3:00pm
01/04/2013 3:00 PM
Rich Stabile, Long Island Spirits, Suffolk, Nassau, Long Island, LiV Vodka

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Rich Stabile owner of Long Island Spirits, the only micro-distillery operating in Suffolk or Nassau counties.

Long Island Spirits, the Island’s first and only vodka distillery, has been housed in a turn-of-the-century barn on Sound Avenue since 2007.

The growing distillery and tasting room is located in Baiting Hollow, where visitors can treat their taste buds to local liquor as they overlook an 80-acre potato farm.

In the past two years, Long island Spirits has gone on to produce the first local whiskey and aged brandy as well.

Those who have worked with the company say Long Island Spirits’ burgeoning success is all thanks to head honcho Richard Stabile, the News-Review’s 2012 Business Person of the Year.

“Richard got there first, period,” said manager James Silver of Peconic Bay Winery, which teamed up with Long Island Spirits to produce the island’s first brandy, Sono Rinata, just over two years ago. “He took what everyone was thinking and did it. It was a brilliant idea to put a distillery in this area — especially one rife with material to be distilled. And then he did it so unbelievably well; I don’t know anyone who wasn’t completely jealous.”

Mr. Silver, a shepherd of his own business’ success, called Mr. Stabile “a leader, and a pragmatic, thoughtful, inspired contributor” to the North Fork’s business landscape who “took a risk few would dare to and made it work.”

And he isn’t the only one singing Mr. Stabile’s praises.

Brand specialist Alicia Messina, who has worked for the distillery founder and owner for three years, said Long Island Spirits has found success not only because they have cornered the local vodka market, but because of the type of boss Mr. Stabile has been all along.

“He is greatly appreciative of his employees and constantly lets them know this,” Ms. Messina said. “Rich has created such a wonderful and friendly work environment within Long Island Spirits, and this pays off in the success he has had with his business over the years.”

The distillery employee said Mr. Stabile’s kindness is not limited to his employees, and she added that he is “always quick to help out with charitable events and fundraisers and enjoys reaching out to people in need,” including donating products to events to benefit finding cures for cancer or being involved in golf outings to support local veterans.

“Rich has brought something new to Long Island and found much success in it,” Ms. Messina said of Mr. Stabile. “LiV vodka has been in numerous blind taste-testing competitions, scoring extremely high, and has been recognized for its domesticity and being an economically friendly product.”

In March, the distillery released Pine Barrens Whiskey, the Island’s premier local whiskey, made from a commercially finished beer, instead of peated malt.

“I’ve always been a whiskey fan,” Mr. Stabile told the Long Island Wine Press earlier this year. “But we wanted to do something different with ours. Most American whiskeys are bourbon-style, made from corn, and there’s a lot of ryes out there. We wanted to do a scotch-style whiskey, single malt, but rather than develop our own peated malt, we thought it would be unique if we used a commercially finished beer. Nobody else does this, that we know of.”

For the product, Mr. Stabile teamed up with Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing Company, distilling down 850 gallons of one of their beers, Old Howling Bastard, for its first batch.

“We spent a lot of time experimenting with Blue Point before we got going,” Mr. Stabile said of the process, “but we’re just blown away with what we came up with.”

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