10/18/13 11:07am
10/18/2013 11:07 AM

COURTESY PHOTO | Suffolk County Community College’s alumnus, Keith Dinielli wins an Emmy as one of the producers for “The Voice” in the Best Competition Reality Series category.

From shooting a film about downtown Riverhead’s Suffolk Theater to shooting live TV in Hollywood, Suffolk County Community College alumnus Keith Dinielli recently won an Emmy Award as one of the producers for NBC’s “The Voice” in the Best Competition Reality Series category.

In 1990, Mr. Dinielli of Port Jefferson, received his Associate Degree in Radio and Television Production from SCCC. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1996, but credits much of his accomplishments to his education at SCCC.

“I can credit the success I have had to hard work, perseverance and to the sound advice I received from my Suffolk County Community College professor, Alan Bernstein,” Mr. Dinielli said in a press release. “In a moment of caring and candor, Professor Bernstein pulled me aside and informed that while I had talent, I wouldn’t be successful unless I could learn to work with people.  It was a life changing moment and a piece of advice that I practice to this day.”

The summer after he received his degree from USC, he returned to Long Island where he co-wrote, produced and directed the feature film, “Changeover”, shot on location in Riverhead. According to IMDB.com, the film, centered around a group of ushers working their last days before the downtown anchor closed its doors in the late 1970s.

The low budget production featured SCCC students in front of and behind the cameras. The film premiered at Theater Three in Port Jefferson in 1998, proving as a jumpstart to Mr. Dinielli’s career.

Since then, he landed production assistant work on several TV shows before a long stint in feature film development, where he worked on the “Fast And Furious” franchise, “SWAT”, “Vantage Point” and “Click.” He also continued to write and direct his own films.

In 2010, Mr. Dinielli took a producer position on a reality show called “Your Own Show” for the fledgling Oprah Winfrey Network, which eventually led to his joining “The Voice” in 2011. The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards was held Sept. 22 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

cmurray@timesreview.com

04/11/13 1:45pm
04/11/2013 1:45 PM

The Aquebogue man involved in a fatal car crash that killed two men in Nassau County last month was arraigned on a grand jury indictment for aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, and other felony charges Thursday morning, prosecutors said.

ROBERT BEODEKER

ROBERT BEODEKER

Robert Beodeker, 50, who is also well-known in the North Fork’s performing arts community, was driving south on the Meadowbrook Parkway about 12:40 p.m. on March 4 when he hit a disabled Nissan Maxima and two pedestrians who were tending to the sedan in the road’s shoulder, police have said.

The two victims, John Elder, 76, of Freeport and Edward Ross, 65, of North Bellmore died at the scene.

Mr. Beodeker — an associate dean of student services at Suffolk County Community College — was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular manslaughter, several aggravated unlicensed driving counts, unlawful possession of a hypodermic instrument and a slew of other felony and misdemeanor charges, according to the indictment.

Mr. Beodeker was originally only charged with reckless driving after the accident, but the charges were later upgraded after  tests revealed his blood contained .17 percent of methamphetamine and .12 percent of amphetamine at the time of the crash, according to a criminal complaint.

During his initial arraignment Mr. Beodeker told the court that he had taken Ambien and depression medication before the crash, according to a News12 report.

Richard Wool, Mr. Beodeker’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.

In a previous interview with the News-Review, Mr. Wool said his client was “very upset.”

“Based on that fact that, whether there’s a criminal charge or no criminal charges he’s very upset that two people are not alive today,” Mr. Wool said. “But this is all new to him. He’s never been arrested, never mind convicted.”

He is facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top charge.

Mr. Beodeker remains held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond, court officials said.

He is due back in court on April 30.

psquire@timesreview.com

02/04/13 1:51pm
02/04/2013 1:51 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Demitri Hampton's friends and family give a standing ovation for his mother, Juanita Trent, during Monday's memorial service.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Demitri Hampton’s friends and family give a standing ovation for his mother, Juanita Trent, during Monday’s memorial service.

James Banks stood before the crowd in the large lecture hall and spoke about biblical heroes like Moses, and how the Bible says they lived hundreds of years.

“It took them all those years to be recognized as heroes,” Mr. Banks said. “But our Demitri, he became a hero at 21.”

Nearly 100 people packed an auditorium at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus on Monday morning to celebrate the life of Demitri Hampton, the young man killed in a Flanders home invasion last week.

Mr. Hampton was shot in the chest trying to protect his girlfriend and family from masked intruders.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | James Banks comforts Evelyn Carrasquillo after she sang a Whitney Houston song in Demitri Hampton's memory.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | James Banks comforts Evelyn Carrasquillo after she sang a Whitney Houston song in Demitri Hampton’s memory.

Mr. Banks, the coordinator of multi-cultural affairs at the school who worked with Mr. Hampton in a volunteer group, lead the ceremony.

Many of Mr. Hampton’s relatives and classmates spoke as well.

The crowd laughed as people told stories about how Mr. Hampton would joke around — then cried during songs sung in his honor at the event.

Around the room, small corkboard displays showed Mr. Hampton smiling in family photos.

Mr. Hampton’s mother, Juanita Trent, thanked the crowd for their support and urged them not to turn their back on their faith in the wake of tragedy.

“I want you all to know that I didn’t cry my last tear, but I’m at peace, because I know the God I serve, he’s going to carry us through,” Ms. Trent said. “I’m not about the vengeance. God has given me strength.”

Mourners gave her a standing ovation after her speech.

RELATED: Demitri Hampton was the best kind of person

Frances Acevedo, Mr. Hampton’s girlfriend, spoke at the service and read from poems she wrote about Mr. Hampton after his death.

“I cry, hold my head up high, and look to the sky, and say see you later, because I know it’s not goodbye,” Ms. Acevedo said. After reading her poems, she walked over to where she was sitting next to Mr. Hampton’s family members and embraced them.

Jason Sims, Mr. Hampton’s closest friends, said the two were “like two peas in a pod.”

He told the crowd they would often talk about their futures and how to better themselves.

“[Demitri] always said, ‘Yo Sims. I want to try to make it. I don’t want to die a nobody,’ ” Mr. Sims said. “I just wish I could tell him he didn’t die a nobody.

“He died my best friend, a good person.”

psquire@timesreview.com

A funeral for Demitri Hampton was held Saturday in Riverside

01/31/13 3:00pm
01/31/2013 3:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Demitri Hampton's sister Jennifer Davis (left), brother Jamal Davis and first cousin Latisha Diego with photos of Demitri, who appeared on the cover of a Suffolk Community College campus magazine in 2012, during a meeting with reporters in Polish Town Tuesday.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Demitri Hampton’s sister Jennifer Davis (left), brother Jamal Davis and first cousin Latisha Diego with photos of Demitri, who appeared on the cover of a Suffolk Community College campus magazine in 2012, during a meeting with reporters in Polish Town Tuesday.

Latisha Diego said the masked men who burst into her home on Priscilla Avenue in Flanders never demanded her money or possessions. At one point, they pointed a gun at her in her bedroom and ordered her not to move. Most of her family was asleep when the men broke in. But her younger cousin, Demitri Hampton, was awake playing video games, she said.

When Demitri confronted the intruders, they shot him.

“The next thing I know he’s running in and he’s telling me to call the police,” she said. “And he’s shot and he’s bleeding.”

Ms. Diego says the men could have taken anything they wanted in the house. Instead, they took her cousin.

“The only thing they took out of the house that night was his life, and that was the most valuable thing in there,” Ms. Diego said, holding back tears.

Friends and family are in mourning after the killing of 21-year-old Demitri Hampton, a Riverhead High School graduate and outgoing college student gunned down in a home invasion early Sunday.

RELATED: Candlelight vigil scheduled for Thursday night

RELATED: Demitri Hampton was the best type of person

The break-in occurred about 3 a.m. when two armed masked men broke through the front door of Ms. Diego’s house, family members said. A struggle ensued near the kitchen after Mr. Hampton confronted the intruders.

“There was a struggle and he was shot during the struggle,” said Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk County Homicide Squad.

The men quickly fled the scene. Mr. Hampton had been shot in the chest and was rushed to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Detectives said they are investigating the killing and have made no arrests in the case. Police have asked anyone with information on the crime to call 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential, police said.

Family members said Mr. Hampton was a “good, good kid,” a jokester who always tried to get a laugh and cheer others up.

COURTESY PHOTO  |  Juanita Trent with Demitri Hampton this past Mother's Day.

COURTESY PHOTO | Juanita Trent with Demitri Hampton this past Mother’s Day.

Just before the attack, Ms. Diego, Mr. Hampton and his girlfriend, Frances Acevedo, had spent Saturday afternoon and evening watching movies together on Ms. Diego’s bed, quoting lines from a comedy flick while joking and talking about their futures.

They talked about the lottery and what they’d do with the millions of dollars if they won. Mr. Hampton had a list of people he’d give money to if he won the lottery to help them “make it.”

“We had a lot of good times,” Ms. Diego said. “A lot of good times.”

Mr. Hampton was the “baby” of the family, the youngest of his siblings and cousins for quite some time. Ms. Diego said he was a determined young man whose family was always there to help.

Mr. Hampton was there for them, too, she said. He’d make jokes and dance around to cheer them up or offer words of encouragement when they needed comfort.

“He’d always say ‘It’s gonna be OK. I know you’re going to do it,’” Ms. Diego said.

During a meeting with reporters Tuesday, family members recalled how much he loved lima beans — he would eat the home-cooked beans for a week straight — and how he adored his 1992 Lincoln Town Car, which he dubbed Felicia.

The windows didn’t work on the car, the grill was missing and the key was stuck in the ignition, they said. But that didn’t stop Mr. Hampton and his closest friend Jason Sims from spray painting the rims to “touch up” the car, Ms. Diego said. He would often crack that if he ever made it rich, Felicia was coming with him.

It’s that sense of humor that friends and family said they’ll miss the most.

“Demitri was the kind of person who would make you laugh when you were in a bad mood,” said his friend Edwin Perry. “He always joked around and had something funny to say. I never really saw him a bad mood.”

At his former high school, classmates and teachers were stunned by the news of his death.

“He was only three years out,” said Riverhead High School principal David Wicks. “I’m still in shock.”

The high school will host a candlelight vigil for Mr. Hampton, a 2010 graduate, at 6 p.m. Thursday. The vigil is open to all and mourners are asked to bring candles to light.

Suffolk County Community College, where Mr. Hampton was studying criminal justice, will also hold a memorial for him at 11 a.m. next Monday morning, Feb. 3.

This spring was supposed to be Mr. Hampton’s last semester at Suffolk County Community College, Ms. Acevedo said. He was thinking of joining the Air Force or applying to Mercy College to further his education.

Now, his family is left to ponder what could have been for a life that long held so much promise.

“I won’t ever get to see him get married someday,” said his sister, Jennifer Davis, tears streaming down her face. “It was senseless to take his life … They took his future from him, and that’s not fair.”

A wake and funeral services for Mr. Hampton will be held Saturday morning, according to Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton.

The services will be held at Galiee First Church of God in Christ, 87 Old Quogue Road, in Riverhead. The wake is set for 10 a.m., with a funeral mass at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Southampton Cemetery. His family plans to establish a scholarship in his name.

Mr. Hampton, who always had a positive attitude, wouldn’t want others to be upset, one of his cousins said.

“Demitri always said that he wanted [us] to have a party [if he died],” said Neko Gettling. “ ‘I don’t want nobody crying, I don’t want none of that. I want to have a party.’ ”

But for a close-knit family that lost a brother, a cousin and a son — and now a hero who fought to protect his family — that wish is hard to grant.

“Demitri, that was our baby,” Ms. Davis said, sobbing. “I didn’t have him, but that was my baby, that was my baby.”

psquire@timesreview.com

01/29/13 5:23pm
01/29/2013 5:23 PM

TRACEY CRUMP COURTESY PHOTO | Demitri Hampton celebrates receiving his diploma from Riverhead High School during the school’s 2010 graduation ceremony. Mr. Hampton was killed Sunday after confronting burglars in his home.

As friends mourn the loss of the outgoing 21-year-old college student killed Sunday morning in a Flanders home invasion, a candlelight vigil and memorial services have been planned to honor the young man.

And the victim’s family members say they plan to set up a scholarship in his honor in the coming days.

Riverhead High School will host a candlelight vigil for Demitri Hampton, a 2010 graduate of the school, at 6 p.m. Thursday. The vigil is open to all, said Theresa Drozd, one of Mr. Hampton’s former teachers at the school.

The memorial will be held in front of the high school and mourners are asked to bring their own candles. A deacon from Demitri’s church will speak at the vigil, and a member of the church will sing, said district superintendent Nancy Carney.

“Any death is a tragedy, particularly one that is as untimely and premature as that of Demitri Hampton,” Ms. Carney said. “My heart goes out to his family and his friends for their loss.”

Mr. Hampton was very involved with Council for Unity at the school, Ms. Drozd said, and was a member of the basketball and track teams. Ms. Drozd said Mr. Hampton always made those around him laugh.

“Whenever you were around him you couldn’t be angry because he always put a smile on your face,” she said. “Everybody loved him. You had to love him.”

Mr. Hampton was a student at Suffolk County Community College, his family said. He was majoring in criminal justice and was planning to graduate in the spring, then pursue more studies or join the air force.

School officials say Mr. Hampton was involved on campus as well, serving as a mentor and role model to young men through the Black Male Network, a student group devoted to encouraging high schoolers to go to college.

His service and dedication made him a perfect example of what school administrators wanted in a student, said Evon Walters, executive dean and campus CEO for the eastern campus.

“Demitri was a reflection of what we try to articulate on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Walters said.

The college will hold a memorial service for Mr. Hampton at 11 a.m. Monday at the Eastern Campus. The ceremony will include video and photo collages of Mr. Hampton and will let students mourn and share their memories of the young man, officials said.

At the same time, Mr. Hampton’s family is planning to use savings to start a scholarship fund in his name.

Jamal Davis, Mr. Hampton’s older brother, said the family is working on the scholarship this week, adding that he hopes to have the program finalized in the next few days.

Read more about  Demitri Hampton’s life in this week’s Riverhead News-Review.

12/28/12 2:00pm
12/28/2012 2:00 PM

SUFFOLK COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE PHOTO | The proposed pool and fitness center at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus would be similar to this one at the Brentwood campus.

Suffolk County Community College’s proposed “Health and Wellness Center” at the Eastern Campus in Northampton, a project that would include an indoor swimming pool, will need to get an exemption from the state’s Central Pine Barrens Commission before it can move forward.

The Eastern Campus, which was built in 1977, is located within the core of the Central Pine Barrens, an area where the state’s 1993 Pine Barrens Protection Act places strict limits on new development.

But the college argues that the health and wellness center was part of a 1973 college master plan for the Eastern Campus, and that many other components of that plan have been allowed to be built by the Pine Barrens Commission.

The fitness center project, which would be similar to what the college has at its Brentwood campus, would include an eight lane indoor swimming pool, fitness center, meeting space and nursing laboratory, according to George Gatta, an executive vice president at the college.

The fitness center would include a strength training room, aerobic room, gymnasium, classroom space, office space, locker rooms and lobby, according to the county.

The Suffok County Legislature has included $17.75 million for the project in its capital budget.

The college plans to make the fitness center and pool opened for use by the general public when not being used by the college. At Brentwood, the fitness center and pool have more than 1,440 members, who pay a membership fee, and the pool is also used by local high schools and swim clubs that rent it for meets, according to Mary Lou Araneo, the college’s vice president for institutional advancement.

Mr. Gatta argued at a Dec. 21 meeting of the Pine Barrens Commission that the college’s 1973 master plan for the Eastern Campus included six buildings that the Pine Barrens Commission has allowed to be built on the campus since 1995, including the 40,000 square foot Montauk Learning Resource Center, which was formally opened last year.

In order to get an exemption to build in the Pine Barrens Core, a development must qualify as “non-development” under the guidelines of the 1993 law.

One category that the Pine Barrens law does not define as “development” is “public improvements undertaken for the health, safety and welfare of the public.”

The college is arguing that the health and fitness center falls under that category.

In 1995, the college submitted its 1993 master plan for the Eastern Campus, which included the health and wellness center in a “phase two,” and which included the Montaukett building in Phase One, to the Pine Barrens Commission.

The commission, on Jan. 3, 1995, ruled that Phase One of the master plan “constitutes non-development” under the Pine Barrens Act, but it made no mention of phase two or three of the college master plan.

“We never got an explanation why phase two and three were not included,” said Louis Petrizzo, the college’s general counsel.

“The college continued to inform the commission of its plans to implement the remaining elements of the 1973-76 and 1993 master plans, as well as the 2001 master plan update,” Mr. Gatta said. They sent letters to the commission in 2005 and 2006 and have received no response or explanation why the second and third phases of their master plan didn’t receive approval.

He said the college, “receiving no response to either communication, moved forward with the planning and contraction of the Learning Resource Center and continued to plan for the implementation of the Health and Wellness Center.”

The Pine Barrens Commission is made up of the supervisors of Riverhead, Southampton and Brookhaven towns, along with one representative each from Suffolk County and New York State.

“We’ve already passed judgment that this is non-development,” said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, alluding to the 1995 Pine Barrens ruling.

John Milazzo, the attorney for the commission, reminded him that the master plan was in three phases, and only the first one received commission approval in 1995.

“So, if the first phase was non-development, couldn’t we just pass a resolution at the next meeting saying this is non-development too?” Mr. Walter asked.

Richard Amper, the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society (which is not part of the pine barrens commission, although Mr. Amper was instrumental in developing the Pine Barrens Act), pointed that there were amendments to the Pine Barrens Act in 2005, and that there may be different criteria now than there was in 1995.

Mr. Milazzo concurred. He also said that the presentation at the Dec. 21 meeting was just for informational purposes, and that there is currently no formal application before the commission for the college’s plans, so they couldn’t approve them yet.

Mr. Amper later criticized commissioner members during a hearing that same day on Kent Animal Shelter’s proposal for a new shelter building at its River Road location, which needs an exception to build in the Pine Barrens core.

During that hearing, Mr. Walter praised Kent, saying they are “our defacto municipal shelter” and handle 50 percent of the dog needs for the town.

Mr. Amper said that “Kent’s providing a great public service is entirely irrelevant to the application.”

He said he’s been complaining lately that the commission members are judging applications based on whether they are a good use or provide a public service, rather then whether they meet the criteria set forth of the Pine Barrens legislation.

“Even if it were a place to honor saints, that doesn’t mean it qualifies for a hardship exemption,” Mr. Amper said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

08/20/12 11:15am
08/20/2012 11:15 AM

SHAUN MCKAY

Shaun McKay, get comfortable.

Dr. McKay, president of Suffolk County Community College, just had his employment contract extended to 2020.

The school’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Thursday to adopt a resolution extending the contract, school officials said.

“We know Dr. McKay will continue to strengthen the college’s reputation for excellence and that he is committed to ensuring its operations are focused upon enhancing student success,” board chairwoman Dafny Irizarry said in a statement. “The board would like to publicly acknowledge its satisfaction with the broad range of accomplishments achieved to date under Dr. McKay’s leadership.”

“We are confident that we will all see many additional, noteworthy gains as Dr. McKay continues his tenure as president, she added.”

The move comes at a time when Dr. McKay and school officials are trying to grow the college’s Eastern Campus in Northampton.

Just last year, the school began construction on a new, $14.5 million learning center at the campus, commonly referred to as the school’s Riverhead campus. The project is now complete.

Officials also plan to build a fitness center at the campus, complete with an indoor pool.

The plan took a step forward in June, when the county Legislature voted to include the $17.75 million for the project in the county’s capital budget.

The proposed gymnasium and health/fitness center would include an indoor pool, a strength training room, an aerobic room, a gymnasium, classroom space, office space, locker rooms and a lobby, according county officials.

Currently, Eastern Campus students have to trek to the Brentwood campus to complete physical education requirements.

Dr. McKay, of Manorville, was appointed president in 2010 at a salary of $230,000, according to a State University of New York officials.

The extension doesn’t make any salary changes, college officials said, adding that Dr. McKay “surrendered” an annual cost of living adjustment both this year and last.

With some 26,000 students at three campuses, Suffolk Community is the largest community college in the SUNY system, officials said.

Read about Dr. McKay on the Suffolk County Community College website.

mwhite@timesreview.com

08/31/11 1:15pm
08/31/2011 1:15 PM
Suffolk Community College Culinary School

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Kellyann Zito, 25, of Riverhead, in the Baker's Workshop kitchen earlier this summer. She was working on a 'Baking and Pastries Certificate' to improve her skills for her job at 'Sweet Jenni's Bakery' in Center Moriches.

It could be crusty loaves of semolina one week and slices of apple-pecan layer cake the next — and after that, a variety of hand-decorated sugar cookies.

Those are among baked goods that could pop up on the shelves of The Baker’s Workshop on East Main Street in Riverhead, depending on what culinary arts students at Suffolk County Community College are learning that week.

The bakery, set to open Tuesday is a transformation of the former Baker’s Workshop Café and Bistro. It will be a bakery only and will be run almost entirely by students.

Students previously contributed cooking to the café, but now they’ll take the reins on all aspects of food preparation and management.

“This will give them a good opportunity to see what it’s like working at a bakery,” said Christina DeLustro, professor and manager of The Baker’s Workshop.

Dave Bergen, associate dean of the culinary arts and hospitality center, said portions of the former café’s operations were curriculum-driven, but school officials wanted to focus on baking only, infusing education into every aspect.

That means no more sandwiches or burgers. But it does mean sweets — and lots of them.

The bakery won’t have a regular menu, as offerings will coincide with a changing curriculum. But treats likely to make appearances include scones, muffins, cupcakes, mousses, cakes and puff pastries.

Each culinary arts student must complete an internship, and working at the bakery will fill that requirement, Ms. DeLustro said. In addition to gaining management and customer service experience, students will learn a variety of baking techniques, including glazing, decorating, folding, creaming and mixing.

“We want to make sure they’re capable of making cookies, cakes and other staples in the industry,” Ms. DeLustro said.

Prices have not yet been set, but Ms. DeLustro said they’ll be comparable to those of other area bakeries. The bakery will operate as a nonprofit, as did the former café, and she expects it to break even.

The shop will offer much more than scones and muffins during October and November. That’s when students will serve “fine dining” dinners and lunches offering multiple courses that connected to the curriculum. But college officials say they don’t see The Baker’s Workshop as competition for other downtown eateries, since it won’t offer hot food most of the time.

“We think it’s going to be well-received by other eating establishments in downtown Riverhead,” Ms. DeLustro said.

The Baker’s Workshop will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

samantha@northshoresun.com