06/22/14 1:21pm
06/22/2014 1:21 PM
Sheila Tradeski, Polish Town's very first queen, places the crown on the head of this year's queen, Anna  Sadowski. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Sheila Tradeski, Polish Town’s very first queen, places the crown on the head of this year’s queen, Anna Sadowski. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

As a young woman born and raised in Polish Town, whose own parents grew up in Poland, Anna Sadowski has always drawn inspiration from the queen of the Polish Town Fair and Festival.  (more…)

04/18/14 12:23pm
04/18/2014 12:23 PM
Riverhead police say a homeless man was beaten and robbed by the railroad tracks in Polish Town Sunday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead police say a homeless man was beaten and robbed by the railroad tracks in Polish Town Sunday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Authorities have released more information about a Sunday mugging in Polish Town, now offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the case.

A 33-year-old homeless man suffered serious head injuries after he was beaten and robbed on the Long Island Rail Road tracks just west of Marcy Avenue around 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, police said.

The victim told police that two or three men beat him in the face and head with an unknown object, “possibly a nearby tree branch,” and robbed him of $400 cash, according to a report. He was allegedly robbed while walking on Osborn Avenue and then dragged to an area west of Marcy Avenue.

The victim was found bleeding heavily from the face and head at the BP gas station on West Main Street in Riverhead, police said.

The numbers of suspects involved in the beating had previously thought to number two or three, though police confirmed on Friday that two black men in their mid-30s were last seen on on foot near Pulaski Street. One man was reportedly wearing all black, and the other was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans.

Police Chief David Hegermiller said earlier this week that Sunday’s assault may be related to a string of other assaults in the area this year. It was the fifth assault on a Hispanic person in the downtown Riverhead area this year, he said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 631-727-4500, ext. 289 of 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

03/07/14 4:14pm
03/07/2014 4:14 PM
Monwell Wright, in a mugshot taken in January. (Credit: Riverhead Town police)

Monwell Wright, in a mugshot taken in January. (Credit: Riverhead Town police)

The 20-year-old homeless man arrested for beating someone with a rock during an armed robbery attempt in Polish Town in January has pleaded guilty to the three felony charges against him and is expected to be sentenced to six months in jail, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Monwell Wright admitted to two counts of attempted armed robbery and one count of assault related to the incident on Jan. 24 in Judge William Condon’s court Thursday morning, according to online court records. A misdemeanor assault charge was covered as part of Mr. Wright’s plea, the records show.

Judge Condon will likely sentence Mr. Wright to six months in Suffolk County jail with an additional five years probation, said DA spokesman Robert Clifford. The DA’s office will recommended a higher sentence of two years imprisonment plus two more years of post release supervision, he said.

Mr. Wright remains held on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

During Mr. Wright’s arraignment last month, Assistant District Attorney Michelle Chiuchiolo said Mr. Wright and a girlfriend attacked the victim while the man was walking on Sweezy Avenue on his way to take the train to work about 6:15 a.m.

After knocking in his victim to the ground with a rock, Mr. Wright continued to beat the victim, demanding cash, until a vehicle drove by. Police said Mr. Wright and the woman fled without any of the victim’s money.

Prosecutors said the victim needed several stitches to close up a wound on his face and identified Mr. Wright as his attacker. The 20-year-old was arrested by police one day after the attempted robbery.

While prosecutors at his arraignment said Mr. Wright may have played a role in a second robbery about the same time, he has not been charged with any additional crimes.

Police have not reported arrests of either Mr. Wright’s alleged girlfriend or the robbers in the second assault.

Mr. Wright is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, according to online records.

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02/06/14 3:07pm
02/06/2014 3:07 PM


The homeless man charged in a Polish Town armed robbery attempt last month last month may have connections to “similar” incidents in the area, county prosecutors said at the man’s arraignment Thursday morning.

Monwell Wright, 20, was indicted by a grand jury and charged with two counts of felony attempted robbery, and one count each of felony and misdemeanor assault before Judge William Condon in Suffolk County court.


01/10/14 5:30pm
01/10/2014 5:30 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This property on Hamilton Avenue was raided by town code enforcement officials Friday morning.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This property on Hamilton Avenue was raided by town code enforcement officials Friday morning.

Authorities say at least 18 men were living inside an overcrowded Hamilton Avenue house targeted in a code enforcement raid Friday morning.

In addition to numerous fire and town code violations, Riverhead Town officials found some of the residents were living in an unfinished cellar that had been divided into makeshift living spaces, as well as evidence that an unheated garage was also being used for housing, town officials said.

“These are unsafe conditions,” said Supervisor Sean Walter. “They put people’s lives at risk. These landlords need to be stopped and the town is doing everything in their power to stop them.”

After getting complaints from neighbors, Riverhead Town police, fire marshals and members of the town attorney’s office carried out a search warrant at the house at 331 Hamilton Avenue, a single family residence owned by Rickey Taylor of Southampton, according to a town press release.

Mr. Taylor couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Inside the Polish Town residence, authorities allegedly found at least five occupants were living in the house’s unfinished basement that was split into four living areas containing “personal belongings, mattresses and bedroom furnishings,” the release reads.

The men living in the basement had been sleeping on beds close to exposed wiring, insulation, and heating and boiler equipment, authorities said.

Town officials said the raid revealed a shortage of smoke detectors, inadequate egress, exposed wiring, “excessive” littering, and evidence that inhabitable space had been converted into living areas without building permits or certificates of occupancy, according to the town’s statement.

Sister Margaret Smyth of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate was called to help find the residents of the allegedly overcrowded home new places to live, town officials said.

The house was one of four that had been targeted for enforcement last March, when the Town Board passed a resolution authorizing Supreme Court action against the property. Friday’s raid was a part of the enforcement action plan against that property, Mr. Walter said.

“Unfortunately it takes longer to build a case than we’d like sometimes,” he said. “We have the facts we need to restrain them from occupying that house at this point.”

Town attorneys will now seek a temporary restraining order preventing residents from returning to the house, Mr. Walter said.

“We can’t let people run roughshod over the town housing code,” he said.

While neighbors said that while they weren’t familiar with the property targeted Friday, one resident said she’s aware of overcrowded homes.

“If I work outside I see people and they say hello to me when they go by,” the woman, who asked not to have her name printed, said. “No one’s bothered me. I stay to myself.”

The resident, who’s lived on the block for nearly 60 years, said the neighborhood has “gotten worse” in that time.

“You knew all the people before on the street,” she said. “Once those people sold those homes, that’s when it started going down.”

Correction: A photo accompanied with this story earlier pictured a house on Sweezy Avenue.

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08/17/13 5:00pm
08/17/2013 5:00 PM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | ‘Bride’ Joanna Kurzyan and ‘groom’ Patrick Faron perform a traditional Polish dance.

Weddings are in the details. There are dress colors and flower types, themes and dancing. The same is true at the mock wedding hosted Saturday by the Polish Town Civic Association during its annual Polish Town Fair and Polka Festival.

Except the “couple” doesn’t have to fuss with making of any of choices. They follow strict tradition — Polish tradition.

The wedding highlights the customs of a traditional Polish ceremony that dates back hundreds of years, according to festival chairwoman Karen Fleischman.

“It’s generational,” she said. “We have a lot of that here in Riverhead. It’s about carrying on family tradition.”

The nuptials begin sharply at noon with an exchanging of vows at St. Isidore’s Church in Riverhead.

Before long the celebration begins. The music starts up, the young couple and their wedding party march down the street and through the village. The parade consists of the maid of honor, the best man, the ring bearer, the flower girl, the parents of the bride and groom, the godmother and six young maidens.

During the 10-minute march, Polish heritage is on full display. The participants are adorned in traditional costume ­known as krakowiak, named for the Krakow region in Poland where native dress was thought to be uniquely colorful and festive. The members of the Polish Town Civic Association intricately bead the dresses, sparing no details in bringing the Polish tradition to life. Colorful ribbons are pinned to the back of the bride’s headdress, except for the color red, which was thought to cause the newly weds to fight for the rest of the lives.

Another charming quirk — the bride is expected to cry. If she did not, it was believed she would cry through her marriage.

Then it is time for the most important and oldest of the wedding customs. The bride’s hair is unbraided and cut signifying the loss of her life as a single girl and the passing into her new life as a married woman. Of course, this is done using a wig during Saturday’s reenactment.

Finally, it’s time to hit the dance floor for a tradition that takes months of modern day training.

The volunteer bridal party, representing the St. Maximilian Kolbe Polish Dance Group, perfected the traditional wedding dance known as the Grand Polonaise.

“They did a wonderful job,” Ms. Fleischman said. “They practiced for hours. It was a big commitment.”

While most of those traditions have been lost to time, one still remains. The marrying couple is presented with a small piece of bread, sprinkled with salt and a small glass of wine.

The bread symbolizes that the couple shall not want or go hungry, the salt to represent the bitterness in life and the wine to show the sweetness of life.

“It’s one of those heart warming things that stood the test of time,” Ms. Fleischman said. “Some things never change.”

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