07/06/13 12:00pm
07/06/2013 12:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Christopher Paparo, former senior aquarist of Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead  has been hired as the director of Stony Brook University’s new Marine Sciences Center in Southampton.

COURTESY PHOTO | Christopher Paparo, former senior aquarist of Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead has been hired as the director of Stony Brook University’s new Marine Sciences Center in Southampton.

Long Island Aquarium’s former senior aquarist Christopher Paparo has been hired as the director of Stony Brook University’s new Marine Sciences Center in Southampton.

Mr. Paparo spent more than 14 years at the Riverhead aquarium, starting there when it was in the building stages, eventually taking on the position of senior aquarist. He also served educational coordinator for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, Stony Brook University officials said.

The new marine sciences center is run by Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and is slated to open this September.

The 15,000-square-foot, $8.5 million center will enable SoMAS to expand their program, facilitating further research of Long Island’s bays and estuaries. It will offer more students the opportunity to learn through Stony Brook, according to a release from Stony Brook University.

SoMAS will also be using the space to hold public meetings, summer camps, and for expanded K-12 outreach programs among other activities, according to the release.

“Mr. Paparo’s strong background in maintaining marine animals, public outreach and education, and seawater systems make him the ideal fit for this position,” said Minghua Zhang, dean of the SoMAS program at Stony Brook. He attended Southampton College and received his Bachelors of Science in Marine Science there in 1999, Stony Brook officials said.

“As construction of the new Marine Sciences Center is completed in the coming weeks, Mr. Paparo will be on hand to learn the details of the state-of-the-art systems within the building including the computerized seawater circulation system, teaching and analytical labs, and quarantine and culture rooms,” said Christopher Gobler, director of academic programs. “This hire comes at a perfect time.”

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11/28/12 12:26pm
11/28/2012 12:26 PM
GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Southampton police divers search the Peconic River.

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Southampton police divers search the Peconic River.

Southampton police divers are searching the Peconic River for a handgun believed to used in a recent rash of armed robberies that have spanned the North Fork.

Police also have three men in custody whom they believe are responsible for at least four separate stickups in Riverside, Riverhead and Mattituck over the last month, said Southampton police Sgt. Lewis Scott, who was on the scene Wednesday morning.

Members of the Southampton Town Dive Recovery Unit started scouring the river behind McDonald’s in Riverside about 10:30 a.m. after receiving information that the handgun used in the robberies was dumped in the water, Sgt. Scott said.

Even if police recover a gun, they will keep searching the river bottom until they’re confident every inch had been covered, he added.

Police have not yet released the names of the men in custody.

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11/23/12 9:08am
11/23/2012 9:08 AM

An unlicensed Flanders man was arrested Thanksgiving night after police found he was driving drunk at the time he was involved in a minor crash in a Southampton parking lot, Southampton Town Police said.

Marco Hernandez, 33, was backing up at a gas station on County Road 39 in Southampton when the accident occurred around 8:45 p.m. Thursday, police said.

He was charged with DWI and driving without a license and cited for backing up unsafely, police said. He was held overnight for a Friday morning arraignment.

10/29/12 12:12pm
10/29/2012 12:12 PM
Wading River Beach, Video, Riverhead, Hurricane Sandy, Long ISland Sound

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | A video still from Wading RIver Beach Monday.

The News-Review will be publishing videos from the Riverhead area and the rest of the North Fork during Hurricane Sandy.

Check back frequently over the next few days and feel free to email links of your videos, too, and we’ll post them here.

The winds were intense at Wading River Beach about 10:15 a.m. Friday:

Downtown Riverhead about 11 a.m. Monday:

Wading River Beach:

Founders Landing on Southold Bay:

08/08/12 10:41pm
08/08/2012 10:41 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Shoreham-Wading River’s Sabrina Santiago, Southampton’s Cassidy Guida and Shoreham-Wading River’s Alex Fehnel keeping focus on the ball.

The summer of 2012 has given the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team a lot to feel good about, particularly the beginning and the middle. As for the end, well, that’s another story.

That end came on Wednesday evening, and it is one the Wildcats would rather forget.

A 24-point loss to Southampton was not exactly what the Wildcats had envisioned, even if it was in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools final. Southampton’s quickness and harassing defense gave Shoreham-Wading River fits, handing the Wildcats their first loss on the court this summer, 42-18, at St. Joseph’s College’s John A. Danzi Athletic Center.

“They definitely took advantage of every mistake that we made,” Shoreham-Wading River senior forward Alex Fehmel said. “Whenever we didn’t come to the ball they would take it from us. … They were very quick on their feet, and I don’t think we expected it to be like that.”

Shoreham-Wading River’s only other loss in the 12 games it played was by forfeit to Southampton. Those two teams, along with Islip, had finished the regular season with division-leading 8-1 records.

But the Wildcats weren’t helped by the fact that they were without two of their most experienced points guards for the small schools final: Cari Gostic and Courtney Clasen. Against a speedy, athletic backcourt like Southampton’s, that can be a problem.

As if the Wildcats didn’t have enough to worry about, contending with Paris Hodges and her sister, Noel Hodges, there was also the active Cassidy Guida and Kesi Goree, an inside force. It was too much for Shoreham-Wading River.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shannon Rosati of Shoreham-Wading River driving to the basket while Southampton’s Noel Hodges tries to draw a charging foul.

Southampton has several skilled ballhandlers, perhaps the best being Paris Hodges. Shoreham-Wading River coach Dennis Haughney was struck by how the senior handled double-team pressure. “This girl was not only controlling the ball,” he said, “she was splitting both of our girls and bringing it to the next level and kicking it out” to open teammates for a shot.

Indeed Paris Hodges’ quality came through. She would have been the clear choice for a player of the game honor. Her all-around performance included 8 points, 9 steals, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.

Southampton’s defense forced Shoreham-Wading River into making 27 turnovers (the Mariners, on the other hand, had only eight). The Mariners collected 23 steals, one more than their rebound total.

“I’ll be honest,” Shoreham-Wading River senior forward Meghan King said. “Southampton, they were playing a great game.”

Things started off well enough for Shoreham-Wading River when a basket by Taylor Whiffen brought the Wildcats the game’s first two points. It was all Southampton after that, though. Guida sank a pair of 3-point shots as Southampton went on a 13-0 surge.

By the time the first half was over, Shoreham-Wading River had only six points to show for itself — and a 15-point deficit. Almost as concerning for the Wildcats was that their top player, King, had no points next to her name.

Two more 3-pointers by Guida highlighted a 15-0 run that gave Southampton a comfortable 36-10 lead.

All 12 of Guida’s points came from threes. Goree ended up with 10 points.

Whiffen was Shoreham-Wading River’s leading scorer with 6 points. King and Shannon Rosati had 5 each. King, who said she is still not fully recovered from an ankle injury she sustained earlier this summer, also grabbed 8 rebounds.

With Clasen and Gostic missing, Sabrina Santiago, Rosati and Kerry Clark saw time at point guard.

How much did it hurt not having Clasen and Gostic?

“Both of the players that we were missing are very good,” Fehmel said, “so it was a little hard not having them on the court, but we do the best that we can with whoever we have and everyone who steps on the court gives 110 percent.”

Shoreham-Wading River looks in good shape for the upcoming school season. Clasen, King, Rosati and Whiffen are returning starters, and the Wildcats lost only one player from last season’s varsity playoff team. King was an all-conference player, Rosati and Whiffen were both all-league choices, and Clasen received the League VI rookie of the year award.

“We’ve got a bright future and I think the girls are going to be good for years, it’s just how good are we going to be?” Haughney said. “It’s nice to be good. We have been good, but we really want to try to get to that next level.”

As for this summer, it was a good one for the Wildcats. It’s just that the last game left a bad taste in their mouths.

“We had a lot of good moments over the summer, a real lot of good moments, but you never want it to end that way,” Haughney said. “It just makes you realize the things you have to work on and how it feels and how you don’t want to feel like that again.”

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08/05/12 8:00pm
08/05/2012 8:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Maxwell Irwin, 21, of Southampton gives EERIC coordinator Charlene Halsey Mascia a hug after receiving his drug court ‘graduation’ papers in the Justice Court Friday afternoon.

Three years ago, 25-year-old Jamie Kae White of Southampton was pushed out of a moving car in East Marion and suffered a serious brain injury.

She spent six weeks in a medically induced coma, had part of her skull removed and replaced and then spent six months recovering in the hospital.

After her release, she was prescribed pain medication. And, she says, she became addicted to it.

But after about a year, the prescription ran out.

“I got addicted to pain medication and when I couldn’t get anymore, I was doing it my way,” Ms. White said in an interview Friday.

“I was using pot and buying other kinds of pills.”

She eventually started using cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, alcohol and a number of different types of pills to alleviate the pain. Ultimately, she got caught.

But things have worked out well for Ms. White. Two weeks back, she graduated from the East End Regional Intervention Court, commonly called “drug court.”

“I’ve been drug- and alcohol-free for a year and three months now,” she said. “It was hard, but I had a lot of support and a lot of people who cared for me.”

She said she no longer associates with people who drink or do drugs.

“I cut out all people who drink,” she said. “I only hang out with sober people now. I’m going to keep moving forward.”

The court, now in its ninth year, is available to nonviolent offenders over age 16 who face drug-related charges in East End courts.

They must enter a guilty plea and sign a contract that details the requirements for their participation and describes their alternate sentence, often jail, that will apply if they pull out of the program or don’t comply.

Working with local judges, prosecutors, drug counselors and others, the drug court aims to treat defendants’ addiction problems, rather than simply punish them.

Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith and Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein administer the drug court. Southold Town Justice William Price and Shelter Island Justice Helen Rubenstein also participate. All of the cases are heard in either Riverhead or Southampton town justice courts.

Ms. White and 21-year-old Maxwell Irwin, also of Southampton, both completed the program and graduated on Friday. Sixteen other drug court participants graduated in May.

One of those graduates was Megan Dalene of East Hampton, who discovered when she was in drug court that she was pregnant. Today, she has a 7-month-old baby, Brady, and is “clean and sober,” reversing years of addiction.

“I started drinking when I was 14 and it escalated to smoking weed and then, from there, I just started doing more drugs,” Ms. Dalene said in an interview Friday.

She started to get in trouble and had a couple of driving while intoxicated arrests, and eventually agreed to participate in drug court.

“I realized I needed to changed my life,” she said.

While she had started with just alcohol and marijuana, she eventually ended up doing cocaine and opiates as well, she said.

“I’m really thankful for the drug court and that they believed in me and provided a program to help me get sober and stay clean,” Ms. Dalene said. “Without the drug court, I don’t think I would have done so.”

Ms. Dalene attended Friday’s drug court graduation in Riverhead Town court with Brady.

Mr. Irwin said he started smoking pot and drinking with his friends shortly after his mother died when he was 13.

“I started hanging out with my friends at my house all the time while my dad was away at work,” he said.

Mr. Irwin, who played lacrosse in high school, said he even “sold a little pot” to get lunch money in school.

While in the drug court program, he lived for a while at Phoenix House, a drug rehab clinic in Hauppauge, where he met some friends who got him interested in going to the gym and working out. Now, he says, he focuses his efforts there, instead of getting high.

“I push people to get in the gym with me. I’ve been working out in the gym for more than a year,” Mr. Irwin said, adding that he has continued to hang out with the people he met at Phoenix House.

He thanked the members of the drug court Friday.

“They helped me to become a productive member of society,” Mr. Irwin said.

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06/17/12 8:30am
06/17/2012 8:30 AM

A 26-year-old Flanders resident with no driver’s license was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Southampton Saturday night, Southampton Town Police said.

Gus Garcia-Blancarte was pulled over for speeding and driving erratically on County Road 39 shortly after 10 p.m., police said.

He was charged with misdemeanor DWI and unlicensed operation, police said. He was held overnight for a Sunday morning arraignment.

03/02/12 11:16pm
03/02/2012 11:16 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shanice Allen scored 19 points to lead Riverhead over Southampton in the Section XI championship game.


The playoff games involving the various class champions in Suffolk County girls basketball pose a quandary for coaches. Conflicting aims are sometimes at stake. On the one hand, teams want to win, of course. On the other hand, some coaches feel an obligation to give playing time to little-used substitutes. Add to that the fear of injury in advance of more important regional games.

It can be a tricky balance for a coach to manage.

“I hate it,” confessed Riverhead coach Dave Spinella.

And that comment came after Spinella and his team had successfully navigated all of the above concerns on Friday. Not only had Riverhead secured a 61-59 overtime win over Southampton in the Section XI championship game, but the Blue Waves, like the Mariners, played all of their players and evidently survived the game injury-free. In the process, Class AA champion Riverhead (22-1) extended its winning streak to 22 games.

“I didn’t look at this as easy,” Riverhead point guard Jalyn Brown said. “Even though people said it’s really not an important game, I look at every game as an important game. I want to win. … I knew they wanted to win, too.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jalyn Brown of Riverhead, shooting over Southampton's Kesi Goree, put up 18 points and 5 assists.

Some players from both teams have a shared history of playing together on an Amateur Athletic Union team. Southampton coach Rich Wingfield spoke before the game of a photo he has of one such team that featured four of his current players and four current Riverhead players. So, familiarity was a factor.

“It’s weird playing against them because I know their game and they know mine,” Brown said. “They know what I do on the court and I know what they do on the court.”

But there was one question, the answer to which was unknown before the tip-off at Farmingdale State College’s Nold Hall: How much would the teams pull their punches?

Spinella said his starters played half the game. That included the five-minute overtime period in which Brown and Shanice Allen combined for all 8 Riverhead points.

A deep 3-point shot by Brown snapped a 55-55 tie, but Class B champion Southampton (19-4) took the lead at 59-58 on back-to-back baskets by Kesi Goree. Goree had a tremendous game with 31 points and 14 rebounds, both game-high figures. “My confidence was up,” she said.

But Allen immediately responded for Riverhead, making a layup with 19 seconds left for a 60-59 Riverhead edge.

Southampton called a timeout and set up a play in which Paris Hodges drove in on Allen and pushed a shot off the bottom of the backboard. Riverhead’s Melodee Riley collected the rebound.

Later, after Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one, Southampton stopped the clock with a timeout with 3.3 seconds to go. A Goree inbounds pass from near her basket was intercepted around midcourt by Allen, who was quickly fouled with 1.8 seconds remaining. Allen sank one of the two free throws for the final point.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Melodee Riley of Riverhead soaring toward the basket while Southampton's Kesi Goree defends.

Allen was mistakenly credited with 32 points on the scoreboard. She didn’t score that many, but she didn’t do badly, putting up 19. The junior was selected to the county’s all-tournament team along with Brown (18 points, 5 assists). Riley added 12 points and fell one rebound shy of a double-double. Kaila-Riane Nazario pulled down 11 rebounds.

Hodges posted 13 points and 8 assists.

Riverhead had raced out to an 8-0 lead and held a 20-6 advantage early in the second quarter. The Blue Waves also had a 14-point cushion when an Alyssa Meyer basket made it 32-18 late in the second quarter.

“We were getting blown out, basically,” Goree said. “A lot of teams would have just gave up, but my team, we’re like a family. We have heart.”

Riverhead substituted heavily in the third quarter, which was its worst shooting quarter, going 4 of 15 from the field. Southampton pulled to within single digits. A 12-0 Southampton run trimmed Riverhead’s lead to 41-38. The Mariners completed the fourth quarter on a 16-8 spurt, with a ball from Goree bouncing in to knot the score at 53-53 and force overtime.

Things would have been easier for Riverhead if it had shot better than 6 of 16 from the free-throw line. Then again, Southampton didn’t fare too well with its free throws, either, going 5 of 12.

The fact that all the players got an opportunity to play on a college court might not have been first and foremost on the minds of fans, but it was meaningful to the participants.

“People don’t understand,” Spinella said. “Our allegiance is to the kids. We want to make sure that our kids realize that every single one of them is a special part of this team.”

Bigger challenges await both teams. Riverhead will play Baldwin or Massapequa in a Southeast Region final on March 9 at Farmingdale State College. The winner will advance to the New York State final four in Troy. Southampton will play a regional semifinal against Cold Spring Harbor on Wednesday night in Farmingdale.

Obviously, those are elimination games and the stakes are higher. Still, that doesn’t mean a player like Brown didn’t appreciate coming out on top on Friday.

“I’m a competitor,” she said. “I love to win.”

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