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12/03/15 12:00pm
12/03/2015 12:00 PM

The Town elections are in the history books and whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, what should trouble us all, is how few people voted this year. Each November less and less voters come to the polls. Part of the reason is people don’t feel they can make a difference. READ

05/26/15 8:05pm
upervisor nominee addresses the Riverhead Town Democratic Committee after his nomination for supervisor Tuesday evening. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Supervisor nominee Anthony Coates addresses the Riverhead Town Democratic Committee after his nomination for supervisor Tuesday evening. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

At one point it seemed like it could be a rematch of the 2013 supervisor’s race. And then it didn’t. And at one point, Supervisor Sean Walter’s former political ally, Anthony Coates, announced that he was running against him as a Democrat. And then he wasn’t. And then he was.

Follow? Don’t worry. The rumors are over.


05/11/13 2:00pm
05/11/2013 2:00 PM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Board members (from left) Jim Wooten, John Dunleavy, Supervisor Sean Walter, Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Board members (from left) Jim Wooten, John Dunleavy, Supervisor Sean Walter, Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen.

Riverhead Town’s Democrats and Republicans will host their candidate nominating conventions at the same time in Polish Town later this month.

The Republican convention will be held at 7 p.m. May 23 in Polish Hall on Marcy Avenue, according to committee chairman John Galla. The Democrats will be at the VFW hall on Parkway Street, where it intersects with Hamilton Avenue, according to Democratic chair Marge Acevedo.

“It’s like the Yankees and Mets having home games on the same night,” Mr. Galla said.

The Repubicans hold all five Town Board seats but those incumbents are being challenged from within. Councilman James Wooten and town assessor Mason Haas are both challenging incumbent Sean Walter for the supervisor nomination, and incumbent council members John Dunleavy and Jodi Giglio are being challenged by Anthony Coates, who has been an advisor to Mr. Walter. Mr. Coates has publicly supported Mr. Dunleavy, while criticizing Ms. Giglio.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have not released the names of any of the people they’ve screened, although some names have leaked out. In the supervisor race, Ann Cotten-Degrasse, the current president of the Riverhead Board of Education and a retired teacher and union president, has confirmed that she has screened for the position. Former Riverhead school board president Angela DeVito has already set up a campaign committee for her supervisor run.

In other town races, incumbent Democratic Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson is up for reelection this fall, and the Republicans have screened Mike Panchak, who owns an asphalt company. He and Mr. Woodson are members of the Riverhead Fire Department.

The only other town seat up for reelection is the assessor seat currently held by Republican Laverne Tennenberg.

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04/16/13 4:56pm
04/16/2013 4:56 PM

VERA CHINESE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead school board president Anne Cotten-Degrasse is considering a run for Riverhead Town Supervisor.

While the Riverhead Republicans appear to have some high profile internal battles for Town Board seats awaiting them this election season, the town Democrats are taking a more low-key approach.

The committee is just beginning to set up a schedule now to screen potential candidates.

“Our screening committee will be meeting tomorrow night to set up a schedule for next week,” said Riverhead Democratic Committee chairwoman Marge Acevedo. “We have had about six people that have expressed a desire to screen. So far we have three for supervisor and three for council. Our screening committee has always had a policy that we do not give out names, if the candidates wish to do so that is up to them.”

So far, a few names have gotten out.

Angela DeVito, a former president of the Riverhead school board, announced in March she would seek the Democratic nomination for supervisor, and Ann Cotton-DeGrasse, the current president of the Riverhead school board, confirmed this week that she would also seek to the screened by the Democrats for supervisor.

Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse said she had hoped to keep her intentions quiets until after the screening, but it was leaked at an event over the weekend.

Also seeking to screen with both the Democrats and the Republicans is Greg Fischer of Calverton, who announced his intention to screen with both parties for a Town Board seat but did not specify if he would be seeking a supervisor or council seat.

Mr. Fischer ran a Democratic Primary for council in 2007 and for supervisor in 2011, when he also remained on the ballot on an independent line. He has been calling for elected trustees at the Long Island Power Authority, and has gone to court in an attempt to force that change.

Aside from her work on the school board, Angela DeVito is a retired director of workforce development with the Long Island Building Trades Council, and is active in the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association, the Riverhead Democratic Committee and has sat on the town’s Industrial Development Agency board.

“I have many, many years of public sector service that I think will serve the citizens of this town better,” she said last month.

Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse is a retired teacher of 32 years who served as president of the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, the union serving district teachers, for five years. She and her husband, Antonio DeGrasse, also founded the North Fork Breast Health Coalition in 1998, and Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse served as president of that organization for eight years.

“I’ve never known when to quit,” Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse said. “I think I have a lot to offer. I certainly know how to get peep to work together.”

The Republicans held their first screening session Wednesday night, after press time.

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10/11/12 7:44pm
10/11/2012 7:44 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Newly-elected Democratic chair Marjorie Acevedo speaks at Thursday night’s meeting in Riverhead.

Members of the Riverhead Town Democratic Committee elected a new chairperson, Marjorie Acevedo, at their meeting Thursday night in Riverhead.

Ms. Acevedo of Wading River succeeds Vinny Villella, who did not seek a second two-year term due to health reasons. Mr. Villella couldn’t make the meeting, held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall on Parkway Street, because of cancer treatment.

Mr. Villella, who served as Riverhead supervisor in 1998 and 1999, was elected party chairman in 2010, succeeding 10-year leader Butch Langhorn.

Mike Roth, a Wading River pizzeria owner, was re-elected to vice chairman, while Don Jayamaha and Pamela Miles- Weston were elected as treasurer and secretary respectively. There were no other nominations for the positions.

Ms. Acevedo has been an active committee member for the past 30 years, and became the second woman elected as town chairperson. She told the committee she would seek to end the divisiveness within the committee.

“I care about what happens at the committee meetings, I care about this party,” she told the crowd gathered at the hall. “Working together, we can accomplish what we really want to accomplish.”

Ms. Acevedo, a legislative aide for County Legis. William Lindsay, said the committee will focus on getting Rob Gottschalk elected to the open town tax receiver position this year. Mr. Gottschalk, a former assessor, is running on an independent party line due to a missed deadline.

The new committee chairperson also stressed the importance of finding candidates to run for office.

“I need each and every one of you to reach out to your community, to your [election districts] and find people,” she said.

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08/14/12 2:55pm
08/14/2012 2:55 PM


Days after Riverhead Republicans picked Laurie Zaneski as their candidate for tax receiver in this November’s special election, the Democrats on Monday tapped former assessor Robert Gottschalk of Wading River to run against her.

Except it won’t Republican vs. Democrats on the ballot.

That’s because both town parties missed the July 12 deadline for constituted parties to get their nominating petitions in.

The seat they are seeking to fill was vacated by longtime tax receiver Mary Ann Heilbrunn, who resigned June 30.

Had she resigned on July 6 or later, the parties would have been able to get a certificate of nomination to put someone on the ballot without petitions.

But since they didn’t meet that deadline, both parties have developed independent lines to run their candidates on, since independent party petitions have until Aug. 21.

So the Republican candidate, Ms. Zaneski, will be running on the the “Riverhead Taxpayers First” line and the Democrat, Mr. Gottschalk, a former town assessor, will be running on the “Riverhead Taxpayers United” line.

Mr. Gottschalk, 56, was appointed to a one-year term as town assessor in 1998 after Leroy Barnes resigned but lost the following election to Paul Leszcynski. He also unsuccessfully ran for assessor in 2007.

Mr. Gottschalk has lived in Wading River for more than 30 years, and has a background in computers, accounting and real estate.  He’s also worked for many years as a business representative and fund administrator for a projectionists’ union.

He’s also a former president of the Polish Town Civic Association and a member of the Wading River Civic Association. he also served as chairman of the Riverhead Democratic committee in 1994 and 1995.

“He’s a tremendous candidate,” said Riverhead Democratic Committee chairman Vinny Villella. “He was a great assessor and he’ll be a great receiver of taxes.”

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