09/26/13 10:30pm
09/26/2013 10:30 PM


Police said a drunken 37-year-old man kicked in the front door of a South Jamesport home Thursday afternoon and swiped items from a pocketbook inside before driving off in a white van and crashing into a pole and fleeing on foot.

Officers caught Aaron Hallock, of Green Street in South Jamesport, after a brief foot pursuit, authorities said.

He was arrested and charged with burglary, felony DWI and leaving the scene of a crash.

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06/11/13 8:00am
06/11/2013 8:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead police officer Tim Murphy outside the town's police headquarters on Howell Avenue.

A brazen kidnapping in broad daylight, a handgun, and ransom demands.

It all unfolded at a Jamesport gas station Saturday afternoon, two South Jamesport residents told police.

But if it sounds too far-fetched to be true, that’s because it was all a hoax.

Riverhead Town police say the abduction report  made Saturday afternoon was just a tale, and now the supposed abductee and a woman both face misdemeanor false reporting charges.

The story began to unravel almost as soon as it started at the American Gas station on Main Road about 5 p.m. Saturday, after a woman called police to report a kidnapping.

The intial caller — a third party to the hoax who was not arrested — told police Josephine Minerbo, 29, of South Jamesport had just told her Joshua Georges, 31, had been kidnapped, according to police reports.

After arriving at the station, police located Ms. Minerbo and questioned her about the incident. She told police she had been driving in a car on Main Road while Mr. Georges was driving another car. Mr. Georges had stopped to pump gas at the station, she said, but as he was pumping was approached by a black man, who lifted up his shirt to reveal a handgun, according to a police report.

The man then took Mr. Georges into another vehicle and drove off, heading west on Main Road, Ms. Minerbo told police.

Ms. Minerbo said she received a call a few moments later from two men who demanded she give them money in exchange for Mr. Georges’ safety.

But after further questioning by police officers, Ms. Minerbo revealed she and Mr. Georges had made the incident up, and that Mr. Georges was safe waiting in a house down the street.

Police arrested both Ms. Minerbo and Mr. Georges, and charged them with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a class “A” misdemeanor.

The motive for the hoax had not yet been determined, police said Monday.

Mr. Georges was arraigned before Justice Richard Ehlers in Riverhead Town Justice Court Monday and released on $250 bail, court officials said. He is due back in court on July 9.

Ms. Minerbo was given an appearance ticket and is due back in court on June 25 to be arraigned, court officials said.

She declined to comment about the incident Tuesday morning.


Correction: An earlier version of this story cited court officials stating Mr. Georges was being held on $250 bail. Court officials have since confirmed Mr. Georges posted bail Monday.

05/29/13 10:00am
05/29/2013 10:00 AM

A 49-year-old South Jamesport man was arrested on a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge after a car crash Tuesday night in Southold, police said.

John Nordin was arrested about 9:45 p.m. after the accident on Main Road, Southold police said.

Information on the car crash was not immediately available.



04/12/13 1:00pm
04/12/2013 1:00 PM
South Jamesport house before ZBA

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Neighbors say replacing this structure with a much larger one on Dunlookin Lane in South Jamesport will impede views and cause adverse flooding affects.

A proposal to replace a South Jamesport bayfront house with one that is more than 5,000 square feet has run into opposition from neighbors.

Karen Caputo is seeking Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals variances to allow the new house on 49 Dunlookin Lane to be five feet higher than zoning allows — and to have a front yard that is only 19 feet from the road, instead of the required 50 feet.

Ms. Caputo bought the house last year for $1.5 million.

But neighbors say the new house will block their view of the water and will potentially increase flooding in a flood-prone area.

They also say the proposed new house will be longer than any building in the neighborhood, including the Jamesport Community Center and the Motel by the Bay.

Ms. Caputo is seeking to replace the existing, one-story house with a new, two-and-a-half story house that will have an attached one-and-a-half story wing to the east, and a two-story garage wing to the west, according to Garrett Strang, her architect.

The house would be build on a two-third acre lot.

Mr. Strang said at Thursday night’s ZBA hearing on the proposal the only reason the proposed house is so long is because the lot isn’t very deep. And, he said, the proposed 19-foot setback is to allow an open-air set of steps to the house.

The height variance is needed because the house sits right on the beach, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued new base flood elevation requirement that requires the first floor of houses in flood zones to be two feet above the base flood elevation, he said. In this case, the base flood elevation is six feet.

But since the existing structure had several inches of flooding during Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Strang said the property owner is proposing the first floor be 11 feet above base flood elevation.

“The difference is what is driving the increased building height, as I must protect my client’s best interests,” Mr. Strang said at the meeting.

Marianne Rufrano, who lives across the street, believes the increased building footprint and higher elevation will lead to more flooding of neighboring properties.

Dunlookin Lane and Second Street in South Jamesport already have problems with flooding, even before Hurricane Sandy, she said.

“We do have excessive flooding with heavy rains and nor’easters that come through that area,” Ms. Rufrano said.

She urged the ZBA members not to make any decisions until they study the impact such a new house would have on the neighborhood.

Mr. Strang said the house must be designed so water flows underneath it, so it may be built on stilts or some other method to raise it.

“If anything, it will help matters a little bit,” he said.

“This is a house that is three times larger than anything here,” said James Hayes, who owns a house nearby. “It will change the character of the neighborhood.”

A letter written to the ZBA by Walter Peters and read by area civic leader Georgette Keller said the new house would be “three-and-a-half times” the size of the longest house on Dunlookin Lane and would be “out of step with the modest and traditional beach homes” there.

“We were worried 15 years ago about the size of the Madonna house, that’s nothing compared to this,” Ms. Keller added, alluding to a house built by Bruce Madonna on Second Street and South Jamesport Avenue.

ZBA member Otto Wittmeier said that of the 5,600 square feet the proposed house measures at, about 1,840 square feet of that is for decks.

Larry Simms, another civic leader, also of Dunlookin Lane, said the length of the roof on the proposed house would be about 156 feet, making it longer than the Motel on the Bay (113 feet) and the George Young Community Center (100 feet).

“We’re going to be walking more than half the length of a football field before we see water again,” Mr .Simms said of passing neighbors. “Anyone that thinks that doesn’t change the character of the entire community, I think, is probably mistaken.”

ZBA member Leroy Barnes, a former town building department head, said that under zoning, Ms. Caputo has a right to build a 5,050-square-foot house, and that the only thing before the ZBA is the variance requests.

As for flooding, he said, “I don’t believe there’s anything you’re going to do about flooding. It’s part of being in that area. It’s a flood zone and it’s going to happen, no matter what.”

ZBA members asked Mr. Strang to come back with more information, such as building elevation drawings. Mr. Strang said he hadn’t done those because he wanted to know first whether the ZBA would allow the proposed variances.

“The intention here is not to become a sore thumb to the neighbors,” Mr. Strang said. “The intention is to be friendly to the neighbors.”

The ZBA adjurned the hearing until April 25.


03/28/13 12:30pm
03/28/2013 12:30 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO |  Nicholas Latasso (left) and Bert Roner at a Thursday morning arraignment.

Two Riverhead Town residents were arraigned on trespassing, stolen property and drug charges Thursday morning after they were caught with stolen copper telephone cables from Orient Point County Park in Orient Wednesday afternoon, Southold Town police said.

Bert Roner, 35, of Flanders and Nicholas Latasso, 33, of Riverhead pleaded not guilty to several misdemeanor charges stemming from their arrest.

The men were caught after cops received a tip from Plum Island security about 4 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

Police stopped Mr. Roner as he was driving a black 2004 Ford Suburban in the parking lot of the Cross Island Ferry about 4 p.m. while investigating a possible larceny, according to a criminal complaint filed in Southold Town Justice Court.

Officers noticed Mr. Roner’s eyes were “red and glassy” and he failed roadside sobriety tests at the scene, according to the complaint.

Police discovered Mr. Roner and his passenger, Mr. Latasso, had “several lengths of plastic encased copper telephone feeder cable” belonging to Verizon, according to the complaint. Mr. Latasso also had a small white envelope containing a white powdery substance that tested positive for heroin, a police officer reported.

The men admitted they had trespassed at the Orient Point County Park, according to a criminal complaint.

Both Mr. Roner and Mr. Latasso were charged with third-degree criminal trespassing and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, court officials said.

Mr. Roner was also charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs while Mr. Latasso faces a seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charge.

Mr. Roner had previously been arrested for stealing copper from a business in Mattituck in July 2010, according to a published report. He served 90 days in jail in connection with that incident, records show.

He was then arrested last March after he was found in possession of a controlled substance during a probation visit, according to a News-Review report.

Bail for both men was set at $1,500 cash or $7,500 bond. They are due back in Southold court next Friday.


01/19/13 5:10pm
01/19/2013 5:10 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Nir Silva of Hampton Bays (from left), Virginia Lemmers and Nina Keller, both of South Jamesport, sort through the donated Items in Ms. DeVito's bedroom Saturday afternoon.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Nir Silva of Hampton Bays (from left), Virginia Lemmers and Nina Keller, both of South Jamesport, sort through the donated Items in Ms. DeVito’s bedroom Saturday afternoon.

Angela DeVito’s bedroom overflowed with bags full of jackets, coats, sweaters, scarfs and gloves Saturday afternoon.

Ms. DeVito hosted a Coats for the Community event at her South Jamesport home along with volunteers Nir Silva of Hampton Bays, Nine Keller and Virginia Lemmers, both of South Jamesport.

Ms. DeVito has been participating in the National Day of Service since in 2008 in Southold Town, but this was her first year hosting an event at her home.

“I think the response from the community has been tremendous,” Ms. DeVito said. “I’m very encouraged to know that so many people care about others who are less fortunate than them.”

The volunteers began sorting the items into piles for children, women and men so they can be delivered this week to First Baptist Church and Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead.

Volunteer Nina Keller, 15, who was doing community service for St. Anthony’s High School, was touched by the event.

“This even has more meaning after Sandy because so many people are still being affected,” she said.


01/04/13 8:00am
01/04/2013 8:00 AM
Jamesport-South Jamesport, Save Main Road, Georgette Keller, People of the Year

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Georgette Keller, president of the Jamesport Civic Association and a leader of ‘Save Main Road.’

While many people move to the North Fork for its rural character, most just sit back and enjoy the pastoral elements — come what may.

Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association president Georgette Keller is one of the few people to take up arms, so to speak, and fight to maintain her communities the way they are.

For spearheading preservation efforts and creating grassroots campaigns to deter overdevelopment, Ms. Keller is the Riverhead News-Review Civic Person of the Year.

Angela DeVito, recording secretary and a former president of the civic association, said Ms. Keller first joined the organization in 2003 out of concern about proposed waterfront development. A few years later, Ms. Keller and Richard Wines succeeded in creating a foundation to preserve the historic Jamesport Meeting House on Main Road, a North Fork landmark.

“We were impressed by her knowledge of zoning laws,” Ms. DeVito recalled of that first meeting with Ms. Keller. “She started talking about the need for historic preservation and the importance of our way of life.”

Ms. Keller is a reading specialist in the Riverhead School District and has studied history and architecture. The former paralegal moved from Amityville to Jamesport about 14 years ago with her husband, Robert, a retired Long Island Rail Road worker and North Fork native. The couple has two daughters, Nina, 15, and Grace, 16.

Earlier this year, Ms. Keller helped launch the “Save Main Road” campaign, a grassroots effort organizers claim is needed to maintain Jamesport’s rural character.

One major development project Save Main Road has dug in against is Jamesport Development LLC’s plan to build a 42,000-square-foot shopping center, called the Village at Jamesport, next to the Elbow Room restaurant. The Town Board last year approved two special use permits for the project, one allowing professional offices totaling 17,000 square feet and the other allowing two bistros as big as 8,000 square feet each.

Members of the Save Main Road group kicked off a campaign to raise money for legal action challenging the town’s approval of the permits and have since filed suit. The group is awaiting the judge’s ruling on motions from the town and developers to dismiss its suit.

The group also successfully pressured the YMCA to look for another location after Y officials had proposed to build a facility on Main Road in Aquebogue.

Ms. DeVito said the Save Main Road campaign has been an uphill battle in the midst of recent “civic bashing” that’s come from various officials, but that makes Ms. Keller’s dedication to the cause that much more admirable.

“She’s an amazing friend and person,” Ms. DeVito said.

Ms. Keller and other civic members have most recently been working with the state to designate Main Road, from County Route 105 to the Southold Town line in Laurel, as a historic corridor.


09/27/12 4:00pm
09/27/2012 4:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Supervisor Sean Walter (left), Councilman George Gabrielsen (above) and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio celebrated the opening of the new Miamogue Point Park Wednesday morning with neighborhood children.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter cut the ribbon with the help of neighborhood children Wednesday morning to officially celebrate the opening of Miamogue Point Park in South Jamesport.

Mr. Walter gave his thanks to the New York State Parks Department for the $350,000 grant which was used to build the neighborhood pocket park. The money fell short and the town had to kick in $20,000 to get the park finished. He also thanked the Engineering Department, Community Development Agency and Building and Grounds Department for their help in maintaining it.

“Without all the players coming together this wouldn’t have happened,” Mr. Walter said.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said that an official sign will be going up soon with “Miamogue Point Park,” which is a Native American word that translates to “a gathering place of fishermen.” He said that he hopes it will become a “gathering place of the community.”