01/04/15 12:00pm
01/04/2015 12:00 PM
Riverhead girls coach Dave Spinella goes over instructions with the Blue Waves at practice. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead girls coach Dave Spinella and his team at a practice earlier this season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

The best in people can emerge during trying times.

I have known Dave Spinella for a dozen years or so. I have seen him develop players, make them better, prepare them for the varsity level and assemble winning girls basketball teams for Riverhead High School. I have seen him win the right way, with class. I have seen him handle defeat with dignity.

And yet, for all he has done as a coach on the basketball court, Spinella’s shining moment, for me, came the day after Christmas when he issued a public apology for making public comments critical of his team following a loss. (more…)

01/01/15 8:56am
01/01/2015 8:56 AM

Five people were arrested on drunken driving and drug charges and another on a traffic offense during a New Year’s Eve sobriety checkpoint that was set up in Riverhead Town, police said.

Members of the district attorney’s East End DWI Task Force took part in the operation, which included officers from the Riverhead and Southold town departments, state police and the Suffolk County Police Department.

The exact location of the checkpoint was not disclosed to the media.

Arrested were:

• Alicia Hansen, 28, of Calverton, for driving while intoxicated.

• Charles Cumella, 63, of Calverton, for driving while ability impaired.

• Kenneth Sarcona, 59, of East Quogue, for driving while intoxicated.

• Lenny Ancona, 52, of Centereach, for driving while ability impaired by drugs.

• Donald Franco Hernandez, 41, of Flanders, for fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

A sixth person, Forrest Cowell, 26, of Riverhead, for arrested for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree, a misdemeanor.

12/28/14 12:00pm
12/28/2014 12:00 PM
Charles Villa soars over the bar in the pole vault Friday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Charles Villa soars over the bar in the pole vault. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

During the 2012-13 school year, Riverhead boasted three of the top pole vaulters in Suffolk County. This past year, after two of those pole vaulters graduated, that distinction was left to Charles Villa.  (more…)

12/28/14 10:00am
Judge Griffing's family home on W. Main St. in an undated photo. (Griffing family courtesy photo)

Judge Griffing’s family home on W. Main St. in an undated photo.

Grangebel Park was created in a “different time,” said Riverhead town historian Georgette Case.

It was built in the late 1800s by county Judge Timothy Griffing, who transformed his family’s land along the Peconic River into the park. The Griffing homestead off Main Street overlooked the stately park, which has always been open to the public, Ms. Case said.

Grangebel was likely the first park ever built in Riverhead, she said, and it was designed for a purpose expressly different from that of modern parks, which often have ballfields and soccer pitches and playgrounds. They’re designed for recreation, first and foremost.

From the beginning, however, Grangebel Park has been for relaxing, Ms. Case said. (more…)

12/27/14 10:07pm
12/27/2014 10:07 PM

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the person or people responsible for a break-in at a Riverhead apartment sometime around the Christmas holiday.

Riverhead Town police were called to 1750 West Main Street apartment building about 7:15 p.m. Saturday, officials said. There, they were informed that sometime between Christmas Eve and Saturday, Dec. 27, someone forced open a window at the apartment and “removed assorted items” before fleeing, according to a police report.

No description of a suspect was provided by police.

Anyone with information should call 631-727-4500, ext. 302.

12/26/14 5:38pm
12/26/2014 5:38 PM

Dave Spinella on the sideline during a 2012 game. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Dave Spinella on the sideline during a 2012 game. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Dave Spinella said he is sorry. He is not sorry for what he said; he is sorry for who he said it to.

Riverhead High School’s girls basketball coach issued a mea culpa the day after Christmas. In what amounts to a public apology to his players and their parents, Spinella said he was wrong to state in a postgame interview that his players lacked heart. (more…)