01/19/14 9:43am
01/19/2014 9:43 AM

A Southold man was arrested for driving high with a child in the car in Flanders early Saturday, Southampton Town Police said.

Jacob Riehl, 23, was stopped by police on Flanders Road near Red Creek Road in Flanders shortly after 1 a.m. He was found to be high on marijuana at the time he was pulled over, police said.

He was charged with DWI Leandra’s law, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana, according to a press release.


01/13/14 8:17pm
01/13/2014 8:17 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead freshman Jon Visek strung together 11 strikes for a career-high 290 game, capping a career-high 783 series on Monday against Southold.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead freshman Jon Visek strung together 11 strikes for a career-high 290 game, capping a career-high 783 series on Monday against Southold.


In bowling, it’s not so much how a ball is delivered that counts as what the ball does once it is thrown down the alley. The Visek brothers need look no further than at each other to appreciate that point.

Riverhead High School senior D. J. Visek has an unusual two-handed throwing style that he adopted to get out of a slump. His younger brother, freshman Jon Visek, adheres to the more conventional one-handed approach.

The two dramatically different throwing styles have brought similar results. D. J. Visek said that once the ball leaves their hands, it has similar action. Quite often that action sends pins flying, producing spares and strikes.

That was the case Monday when both Riverhead bowlers excelled. Jon Visek capped a career-high 783 series with a career-high 290 game as the Blue Waves beat Southold, 30-3, in a Suffolk County League IV match at Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead. He delivered 11 straight strikes during the third game. In the first two games, he rolled a 248 and a 245.

D. J. Visek didn’t have a bad day, either, a 683 series from game scores of 203, 255 and 225. It was the fourth time this season that he hit 600 or higher.

The brothers combined for 50 of their team’s 79 strikes, 27 by Jon Visek.

Jon Visek started the day with a team-leading 206.04 average. D. J. Visek was third at 197.04, behind Forrest Vail’s 199.54.

The Viseks were the only Riverheaders to bowl in all three games. Nine Blue Waves bowled at least one game as Riverhead swept the three games, 922-747, 955-779, 1,028-717.

Among the other highlights for Riverhead were a 204 by Mark Stewart, who also employs a two-handed throwing style, and a 202 by Joe Gambino.

Riverhead, which entered the match in fifth place, has won 17 of 27 games and accrued 182 1/2 points.

Last-place Southold, which is 0-33 in games this season with only 22 1/2 points, was led Monday by Kaitlyn Kettenbeil’s 531 series, topped off by a 189 game. Jess Jerome added a 448 series, Emily Pressler had a 447, Mike Insogna a 427 and Jen Jaklevic a 290.


12/19/13 12:15pm
12/19/2013 12:15 PM
FILE PHOTO | Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg said Wednesday the book

FILE PHOTO | Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg.

Southold Superintendent David Gamberg confirmed Wednesday that a children’s book that sparked a debate on the North Fork has been reintroduced to the elementary school’s curriculum.

nasreens secret school 2Following a Wednesday evening school board meeting, Mr. Gamberg told The Suffolk Times that “Nasreen’s Secret School,” a book based on a true story about an Afghan girl whose parents were taken away (and never returned) by members of the Taliban, is again being used in Southold Elementary School. The young girl in the story named Nasreen enrolls in a secret school after she inexplicably loses the ability to speak following the loss of her parents.

“I don’t know the exact time frame [it was brought back] but we consulted with the teachers and tried to find out how they would be using it,” Mr. Gamberg said. “And they felt comfortable using it.

“It’s basically run within the classroom so that it’s not a uniform on, off kind of situation … So [the teachers] determine the way that they’re going to incorporate the use of the text.”

During an Oct. 23 school board meeting, Mr. Gamberg said the book had been taken out of the classroom after three parents said at the meeting that they believed it was too violent for third graders.

“We did, if you will, pull the book as far as being used beyond this point,” Mr. Gamberg said to concerned parents about six weeks ago.

During the same October board meeting, school board member Scott DeSimone said he believed the intended message of the book is about “Islam and Allah.” Then in a Newsday opinion piece published today, Mr. DeSimone said he sees in the book a “pro-Muslim agenda that comes straight from the White House.”

“I thought the book was introduced at this young age and grade level as part of the underlying doctrinal forces pushing Common Core  . . .  in this case, the social justice agenda and pro-Muslim agenda,” he told Newsday.

Mr. Gamberg is also quoted in the Newsday opinion piece and said that he has faith in the choices of his classroom teachers.

“As long as we have a teacher who has the skill to use the text in an appropriate and responsible way — and I believe our teachers do — the message about the power of literacy comes through,” Mr. Gamberg said.

“Nasreen’s Secret School” is reading material currently used under the Common Core State Standards, which has been nationally recognized and adopted by most states across the country that claims to better prepare students for college and careers by requiring instructors to teach more non-fiction and rigorous math to students at a younger age.

Mr. Gamberg said Wednesday he believes the book offers “the truth” and “perspective on the value of reading.”

“It helps to illustrate how children in various parts of the world or a particular part of the world,” he said. “That their access to books was limited and that they end up developing means and a way to be able to celebrate the ability to read.”

Since the initial story was published in The Suffolk Times Oct. 31, the paper has received frequent letters from the community about the book and the local controversy surrounding it. A total of 13 letters have been published in subsequent editions, including some that appeared in the News-Review.

Additional reporting by Jennifer Gustavson


11/24/13 2:00pm
11/24/2013 2:00 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Allison Rappa works at her home studio in Aquebogue.

During a recent evening in the makeshift beauty studio located on the second floor of her Aquebogue home, Allison Rappa was hard at work applying a full set of silk eyelash extensions to a female client.

“I feel like I’m performing surgery,” Ms. Rappa joked as she used special tweezers to dip the silk eyelashes into a medical-grade adhesive before gluing them onto her client’s eyes at a ratio of one synthetic lash to one natural lash.

“There’s a lot to know when doing lashes,” she said of the process, which gives clients the look of mascara, no effort required. “It’s not just grabbing a lash and sticking them on. It’s very meticulous.”

The increasing popularity of eyelash extensions, whose legions of followers reportedly include the eternally doe-eyed Kim Kardashian and pop singer Katy Perry, is one of the reasons Ms. Rappa, a licensed cosmetologist, has decided to launch The Beauty Bar, a new spa she plans to open in Southold by the end of this month.

Located in a roughly 1,200-square-foot space above Salone Dei Capelli on Main Road, in what was previously a psychiatrist’s office, The Beauty Bar, Ms. Rappa said, will offer customers a variety of cosmetic and therapeutic services, including eyelash extensions, professional makeup application, waxing, facials, body wraps and massage therapy.

In addition, Ms. Rappa said, her friend Michael DeRosa, a nurse practitioner, will likely stop into The Beauty Bar once or twice a month to give clients injectable facial fillers like Botox and Juvéderm.

“Minimally invasive procedures are in great demand ,” Mr. DeRosa said of the popularity of facial fillers.

As for Ms. Rappa, whom Mr. DeRosa has known for years, “she’s somebody who knows what patients and clients need,” he said.

For nearly seven years, Ms. Rappa, 34, has operated her small business, Artistry by Allie, out of her home in Aquebogue, where she lives with her husband, Adrian Feliciano, owner of My Butcher in Wading River, and her two children.

“I definitely outgrew my home,” Ms. Rappa said of her decision to open a separate business in Southold, an area where she said a fair number of her current clients live. Ms. Rappa said she’s currently on the lookout for a nail technician and certified aesthetician.

“I wanted a space where I could have a store that everybody could come to for services,” she said of the new location.

A lifelong Suffolk County resident, Ms. Rappa studied makeup artistry at the New York and Los Angeles campuses of Make-up Designory, a professional makeup school. She was trained in eyelash extension application by NovaLash, a leader in the burgeoning lash extension industry.

“Lash extensions are probably the most innovative new technique in the beauty industry,” Ms. Rap-pa said. “You don’t need makeup and you can throw away your mascara. You basically wake up looking beautiful.”

“I’m into beauty,” she added. “I love bringing out everybody’s features.”

“She’s very familiar with the face, and aesthetics,” Mr. DeRosa said of Ms. Rappa. “It’s exciting to see somebody like that opening a business to serve our community.”


11/02/13 8:30pm
11/02/2013 8:30 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Ryan Udvadia, shown here during the division championship, finished first in Class B to help the Wildcats to the county crown Saturday.


Ryan Udvadia wasn’t going to let some cramps cramp his style in his final competitive high school meet on his favorite cross-country course, Sunken Meadow State Park. The Shoreham-Wading River senior withstood some cramping and still won the Class B race in the Section XI Championships rather handily on Saturday.

Udvadia clocked a winning time of 16 minutes 26.84 seconds on the reconfigured 3.1-mile course. It was still 30 seconds faster than the second-place runner, Islip senior Mike Watts.

Udvadia’s performance, with an average mile time of 5:17.7, led the way for Shoreham-Wading River’s third straight county championship and ninth in 11 years. It has been a remarkable run for the League VI champion Wildcats, who have won 11 straight league titles, suffering only one loss over the course of those 11 years. They have also won nine of the last 11 division crowns under the guidance of coach Bob Szymanski.

Shoreham-Wading River grabbed the top ranking Saturday with 41 points. Its toughest competition came from Bayport-Blue Point (55 points).

Keith Steinbrecher (17:31.69) and Matt Gladysz (17:33.16) gave the Wildcats a boost by taking seventh and eighth. More help came from Connor McAlary (12th in 17:54.44), Jack Kelly (13th in 18:00.68), Michael Godfrey (21st in 18:25.87) and Ryan Groskopf (36th in 19:10.16).

As a county champion, Shoreham-Wading River is entitled to send seven runners to the state meet, which will be held Saturday at Queensbury High School.

Southold junior Jonathan Rempe was the Class D champion in 18:27.84. He qualified for the state meet along with teammates Owen Klipstein (fourth in 19:14.57), Jeremy Rempe (sixth in 20:11.15) and Gus Rymer (ninth in 20:35.75). Two other First Settlers, Michael Cosmadelis (21:13.35) and Christopher Buono (22:46.46), were 11th and 17th.

In Class B, Mattituck freshman Matt Heffernan came in sixth in 18:56.47. He was one place ahead of teammate Lucas Webb (19:00.92). The other Tuckers who competed were Adam Hicks (12th in 19:47.70), Dan Harkin (22nd in 20:33.12), Charles Zaloom (23rd in 20:34.23), Tim Schmidt (28th in 21:00.96) and Jack Dufton (32nd in 21:12.30).

Matt Abazis was the first of Bishop McGann-Mercy’s four runners, coming in 10th in 19:17.62. The others were Sean Tuthill (35th in 21:45.57), Dan Dern (40th in 22:54.96) and Elijah Louis (41st in 23:13.70).

Riverhead went into the Class A race hamstrung by the absence of its No. 1 runner, Travis Wooten, and its No. 3 runner, Nick Cunha, who both had SAT exams on Saturday. The Section XI Championships were originally scheduled for Friday, but postponed a day out of concern for inclement weather.

Without two of its top three runners, Riverhead finished 22nd among 23 teams. Joe Gattuso was the first Riverheader to cross the finish line. He was 95th in 19:38.71. Also competing for the Blue Waves were Eric Cunha (100th in 19:48.99), Owen O’Neill (103rd in 19:53.08), Luke Coulter (112th in 20:11.43) and Connor Behr (147th in 21:33.55).


09/26/13 5:00pm
09/26/2013 5:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Loretta Lawlor with Gypsy at North Shore Horse Rescue at Gold Rush Farms in Baiting Hollow. Ms. Lawlor, 26, of Southold was born with retinoblastoma, which has made her blind. Gypsy, a 24-year-old paint mare that had been abandoned at a barn in Southold, is blind in one eye.

When Gypsy first arrived at North Shore Horse Rescue in Baiting Hollow, she didn’t trust a soul.

The 24-year-old paint mare had been abandoned at a Southold boarding barn and then taken in by a local pet store owner, who ultimately turned her over to the Sound Avenue rescue farm.

Easily rattled and scarred from neglect, Gypsy had refused to work with any humans. But Louise Abitbol, a social worker who provides equine-assisted therapy at the farm, knew the perfect person to help break in the horse.

Standing in the center of the ring, Loretta Lawlor waited patiently as Gypsy slowly approached her for the first time. The 26-year-old from Southold had been cleaning, feeding and walking horses at the farm under the guidance of Ms. Abitbol since earlier this year.

Ms. Lawlor dropped to one knee as Gypsy walked toward her. The skittish mare circled around her, sniffing. Then the horse lowered her head and dropped it right on the young woman’s shoulder.

Just as Ms. Abitbol had suspected, Gypsy and Loretta Lawlor instantly bonded thanks to a common thread that joined them — they’re both visually impaired.

Susan Lawlor had always wanted to visit New York City on St. Patrick’s Day, but she never imagined it would be to take her baby girl to an oncologist.

Before Loretta was due for her six-month checkup, Susan had noticed a bright spot in both her eyes.

“It was a silvery reflection that looks like a cat’s eye at night,” the mother recalled.

She took Loretta to a pediatric ophthalmologist in Port Jefferson, who referred her to the New York City physician.

March 17, 1988, is the day Susan learned her baby had eye cancer.

Retinoblastoma is a rapidly growing cancer that develops from the immature cells of the retina. It’s the most common malignant tumor of the eye in children and is almost always diagnosed before the age of 6. Two-thirds of retinoblastoma patients have tumors in just one eye, but Loretta belongs to the other third.

In treating the cancer, doctors try to keep the patient from losing sight and even their eyes. Loretta wasn’t so lucky that way, either.

When she was just seven months old, both eyes were treated with radiation. She received 22 treatments over a six-week period.

Her right eye was so riddled with tumors that it was removed when she was 2 1/2 years old, and soon after that she began undergoing chemotherapy. That lasted two years, nine months and 14 days.

Loretta has now been living cancer-free for more than 20 years, but the treatment took an instant toll on her body. Legally blind in the one eye she was able to keep, Loretta also suffered temporal lobe damage as a result of the radiation when she was an infant. Due to the brain injury, she often has a difficult time processing what’s being said to her. She understands what people are saying, but it takes a while for her brain to get the message and then more time for her to respond.

While the cancer was only temporary, the brain injury will always be with her.

“You pray to overcome [the battle with cancer], but then you have what comes next,” Susan said. “When we tried to get her into the education system it was a whole other ballgame. Given time, she’ll give you the right answer, but she needs that time to process what you’re saying.”

As a result, Loretta’s spent much of her life in isolation, her mother says.

But she found a connection with animals.

“She didn’t play with baby dolls,” her mother said, “but she had hundreds of stuffed animals.”

When she was 7 years old, her mother got her a dog, a sheltie named Pepper.

While some young girls might play outside with a friend, Loretta had Pepper to play with. Considering she spent so many of her early years being treated for cancer, Loretta naturally played doctor with the dog. She’d give her physicals and Pepper would oblige, even laying perfectly still as Loretta took her temperature.

And when it was Loretta’s turn to be the patient, animals were by her side, too. While undergoing chemotherapy, she’d have the television inches away so that as she received her regular IV drip she could watch Lassie.

“Lassie saw me through cancer,” Loretta says.

By the time she was 9 years old and cancer-free for four years, Loretta found another type of animal she loved to be around — horses. That year she visited a local horse farm, where a teacher taught her to ride, assisting her with mounting and dismounting.

“I nearly fell on my butt dismounting,” she said with a chuckle.

Nevertheless, Loretta’s fondness for animals only grew stronger.

“The dog and horses became a way for her to have an outlet to show affection,” her mother said. “They gave her something to hug. Something to love.

“If she didn’t have the disability, I think she would have had a veterinary career.”

“I still would like to … to some extent,” Loretta said.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Loretta Lawlor and Louise Abitbol with Gypsy at North Shore Horse Rescue in Baiting Hollow. Ms. Abitbol, a clinical social worker from Shelter Island, does equine-assisted therapy at the farm.

Amy Cirincione, owner of The Feed Bag, a pet store on Main Road in Cutchogue, received a phone call in October 2011 about a horse that needed to be removed from a Southold property that had been sold.

Gypsy had been boarded there years earlier, but her owner had stopped paying rent and was no longer visiting her.

The owner of the farm had continued to feed her hay for nearly four years after her owner abandoned her, but Gypsy wasn’t getting the nutrition an elderly horse needs. When Ms. Cirincione first took her in, Gypsy was about 250 pounds underweight, and her ribs and hip bones showed through her skin.

“The owner [of the barn] had good intentions and cared for her, but a horse that age needs a special diet,” Ms. Cirincione said.

Ms. Cirincione took Gypsy in for five months and helped her put meat back on her bones. “I gave her lots of senior food on top of all the hay,” she said.

It was obvious early on to Ms. Cirincione that Gypsy had endured some level of abuse. She had scars on her rump and ankles that are typical of a horse who had been injured while stuck on fencing, she said.

She was also blind in one eye.

But Gypsy’s spirit wasn’t completely broken. She had a great appetite and quickly began to get healthy.

Ms. Cirincione brought the horse to North Shore Horse Rescue, where she’s spent the last 18 months, after she heard the barn there had an open spot.

The goal at North Shore Horse Rescue is to find Gypsy, who almost certainly would have ended up at a slaughterhouse had Ms. Cirincione not intervened, a permanent home. Finding a home for an older rescue horse who’s blind in one eye and has a weak hind end is no easy task, though.

“It’s hard enough finding horses in perfect health a home,” Ms. Cirincione said.

In the meantime, Gypsy is being well cared for through donations and the efforts of volunteers at the farm, which was founded by Laurel Palermo and Tom Renzetti in 2002. The farm brought in its first rescue horse a year later and has helped rehabilitate about 20 horses in the decade since.

On a web page dedicated to sponsorship at North Shore Horse Rescue, Gypsy’s story is the first one told among those of more than a dozen horses living on the farm. At the bottom of the page is a link to the stories of a few other horses — ones that, despite all the best efforts of the volunteers, died before new homes could be found.

Even though Gypsy still shows some signs of the trauma she’s suffered, there’s always Monday — the day of the week when she perks up because Loretta takes the bus, sometimes by herself, to visit her.

“We have a trust bond,” Loretta said. “She trusts me that I wont hurt her, and I trust her not to hurt me.”

Ms. Abitbol, who’s been working with horses all her life, said the connection between the blind girl and the blind horse is unmistakable.

“Gypsy knows Loretta’s blind,” she said.

That’s because Loretta uses her other senses more than a sighted person does, Ms. Abitbol explains. Loretta doesn’t just reach for the horse, she talks to her. She doesn’t just pet her, she holds her tightly and makes her feel safe.

At the end of each lesson, Loretta bends down and Gypsy dips her head down to Loretta. The ultimate goal is to get Loretta up on Gypsy’s back, but for now they mostly just walk together.

“And when they do, they compensate for each other’s bad sight,” Ms. Abitbol said. “When they walk together, they walk as if they’re sighted.”

“It’s the blind leading the blind,” Susan says.

AMY CIRINCIONE COURTESY PHOTO | Gypsy on the day Amy Cirincione began to rehabilitate her in October 2011. Ms. Cirincione notes how the horse’s ribs and hip bones were visible and she was 250 pounds underweight.

The disabilities that prevented Loretta from attending Southold High School didn’t stop her from graduating in 2009 from Perkins School for the Blind, the same school that educated Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. While attending the Watertown, Mass., boarding school, Loretta, who was a member of the swim team and volunteered at a nearby museum, earned a reputation for helping others.

Each year the school presents a “Box of Peace” award to the student who was most helpful to classmates in the cottage where they lived. Each resident in the cottage is asked to submit the name of one person whose efforts they appreciated, and the person whose name is entered the most wins the award. Loretta won two years in a row.

Now four years removed from her schooling days, Loretta still likes to lend a helping hand.

You might have even seen her as she collects cans and bottles around her neighborhood, turning nickels into quarters, which she uses to purchase books from the Southold Library Book Cottage. Or maybe you spotted her volunteering at the library, cleaning books.

After she purchases the books she boxes them up. Once she raises enough for the shipping she plans to send them to the library at Camp Sunshine, a facility in Maine that provides, through donations, week-long vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families at no cost. She currently has more than 300 books she’s hoping to send to the camp.

When she’s not helping strangers, Loretta does what she can to help her mom, who is single and out of work due to a disability. They keep chickens in their yard and it’s Loretta’s job to wash the eggs and fill the good-will box, where they sell them along Main Bayview Road.

Loretta is also actively looking for part-time employment, and she receives job coaching through Consolidated Support Services, a program that helps people with disabilities maintain a healthy lifestyle, find volunteer opportunities and search for paid employment.

It’s through CSS that Loretta became involved with the Equestrian Special Olympics this year.

Feeling right at home around horses, she trained at Saddle Rock Ranch in Middle Island for the event, which featured more than 150 equestrians and was held Sept. 7 at HorseAbility on the campus at SUNY/Old Westbury.

As she usually does, Loretta beat the odds, taking home a gold medal in the equitation ring event and fourth place in the obstacle course.

Though she admits she can’t stand public speaking, Loretta recently gave a speech at a fundraising event for North Shore Horse Rescue, held at Martha Clara Vineyards.

She ended her speech with a quote from the 2003 horse racing film “Seabiscuit.”

“ ‘The little guy who doesn’t know they’re the little guy can do great big things,’ ” she said. “It’s true. I like that quote. It kind of describes me and Gypsy.”

Editor’s Note: A version of this story published in Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times said Loretta Lawlor did not attend public school. She did attend special education in the Southold School District for eight years prior to high school. “Many Southold teachers and others over those eight years worked very hard to give Loretta the best they could,” Ms. Lawlor said. the newspaper regrets the error and apologizes for any inconvenience.


09/22/13 8:00am
09/22/2013 8:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | North Fork Table & Inn owners Gerry Hayden and his wife, Claudia Fleming-Hayden, inside the Southold restaurant in a 2011 photo.

Local chefs and artisans will band together to help raise money for Gerry Hayden, the longtime executive chef and co-owner of Southold’s North Fork Table & Inn, who was diagnosed in 2011 with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“A Love Shared,” scheduled for Oct. 13 at 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, will include a wine and amuse-bouche tasting followed by an intimate, family-style dinner prepared by noted North Fork chefs, including Lia Fallon of The Riverhead Project and Keith Luce, of Greenport’s The Square. Local shops and artisans — including Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic and Southold’s A Taste of the North Fork — will provide hors d’oeuvres.

Event organizers hope to raise $75,000 to help provide quality-of-life care for Mr. Hayden, who is 48, and also to support ALS research.

“The event was sparked by an outpouring from the community around me, to help me with my quest to eradicate ALS permanently,” Mr. Hayden wrote in an e-mail. “It was my idea to start a farmers market at the restaurant and have only the farmers we use at the restaurant to share and promote the farm-to-table philosophy.”

Maria McBride, an event planner with Peconic Productions who is helping coordinate “A Love Shared,” said she began talking with Mr. Hayden earlier this year about putting together an event. “If Gerry can get up each day and face his health challenges with humor and grit, then we knew we could certainly create a memorable party to raise money to support Gerry’s fight with ALS,” she said.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a rapidly progressing, incurable and fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness that results in paralysis, according to the Stony Brook University School of Medicine website.

As the phrenic nerve to the diaphragm muscles fails, patients lose the ability to breathe without ventilator support.

Mr. Hayden, who has lost the use of his hands to the disease, said he plans to publish a memoir about how cooking and food have molded him. The book will also include recipes.

In the meantime, Mr. Hayden said, there are three things he’d like to raise awareness for, three things close to his heart: funding for ALS research, the North Fork’s artisan farming community and the tight-knit, talented community of Long Island chefs he belongs to.

“‘A Love Shared’ is my mantra now,” he said. “The phrase itself is how I would liked to be remembered.”

Tickets for “A Love Shared” cost $250 each; only 200 are available.

To purchase tickets or make a donation, visit aloveshared.com or leave a message with Peconic Productions at 631-862-5414.