12/18/14 11:45am
12/18/2014 11:45 AM
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone speaks during the press conference at Southampton Town Hall Wednesday afternoon.  (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone speaks during the press conference at Southampton Town Hall Wednesday afternoon. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

East End police departments and villages across Suffolk County will benefit from a collective $6 million in sales tax revenue over the next three years, thanks to a new agreement announced by County Executive Steven Bellone during a press conference at Southampton Town Hall Wednesday afternoon.

The deal is one step in the right direction for securing a fair split in sales tax revenue for the twin forks — which aren’t policed by Suffolk County Police Department — a budgeting issue Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montuak) said he had been working on for more than a decade.

(more…)

12/03/14 12:00pm
12/03/2014 12:00 PM
The area that will be restored at Indian Island County Park. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The area that will be restored at Indian Island County Park. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Suffolk County is moving forward with a million-dollar plan to restore seven acres of land at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead that once served as a dumping ground for the county’s dredging projects. The measure is expected to improve the surrounding ecosystem by re-opening proper tidal flow to the area.  (more…)

11/15/14 12:25pm
11/15/2014 12:25 PM
A shooting 'victim' is escorted from Riley Avenue Elementary School during Saturday morning's active shooter drill. (Credit: Michael White)

A shooting ‘victim’ is escorted from Riley Avenue Elementary School during Saturday morning’s active shooter drill. (Credit: Michael White)

David Wicks said he couldn’t help but get a bit emotional during Saturday’s active shooter drill in Calverton, where police and ambulance workers simulated a mass shooting inside Riley Avenue Elementary School.

About 70 high school students and other volunteers also participated in the drill, during which two people were “killed,” and several others were dragged from the school or carried out, fake-bloodied and bandaged.

A Suffolk police helicopter also landed in a nearby field.

“It was very real for me; I had chills,” said Mr. Wicks, a Riverhead School District assistant superintendent. “I felt myself getting emotional. The real sobering thing is how much time can pass before help gets here.

“But it made me feel good because our lockdown procedures do help.”

(More photos below) (more…)

11/11/14 10:00am
11/11/2014 10:00 AM
Eric Wright_2

Eric Wright, right, speaks to residents in Riverside before hearing feedback at a Monday night Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Community Association meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

A wooden structure with a minimal incline and a few seating areas are some ideas residents said they liked about a proposed pedestrian bridge for the Peconic River.

(more…)

11/06/14 4:05pm
11/06/2014 4:05 PM
Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, left, and County Executive Steve Bellone shake hands after the law is signed. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, left, and County Executive Steve Bellone shake hands after the law is signed. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County has banned the sale of pure caffeine products to minors, while becoming the first county in the nation to limit the potentially deadly substance.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services issued a warning about pure caffeine products — which are marketed as energy boosters that can enhance mental focus — earlier this year. The law was signed by County Executive Steve Bellone Wednesday.

(more…)

09/30/14 8:12am
09/30/2014 8:12 AM
Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

It seems as though the county’s tick committee will get more time to sink their teeth into the tick problem.

After learning at its first meeting in July that it might only have one or two meetings to help develop a plan for Suffolk County to stem the tide of a growing presence of tick-borne illnesses, the county legislature’s Tick Control Advisory Committee may be around for another year, at least.

A resolution was approved on Monday by the county’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee extending its life until Suffolk’s 2016 Annual Vector Control Plan is adopted next fall. It now requires support from the full body after passing the committee unanimously.

“It was only meant to make suggestions early on,” said Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Montuak), the South Fork legislator who co-sponsored the legislation creating the committee. “But now the committee is expanding somewhat to have a little bit more of an ongoing role while a plan is being implemented.”

The tick problem on the East End came to a head over the past year most publicly in the form of a debate over whether or not a $225,000 deer cull was the right move to help trip the deer herd. Leaders said before, during and after the cull — which reported killing just 192 of the county’s 25,000 – 36,000 deer — that a comprehensive approach toward trimming the herd would be key in combating Lyme Disease and the presence of ticks in the county.

Dr. John Rasweiler, a Southold Town resident who is on the committee, said at the committee’s first meeting at the end of July that after hearing what was expected of it, its original set of expectations simply wouldn’t fit with the timeline given.

“I understand the head of vector control is under some pressure to come up with a plan … by mid-September. He has to prepare some sort of report but I think that is asking a lot from the committee,” he said at the time. “I think even for the committee to narrow down to a series of serious recommendations, that is a pretty tight schedule.”

Mr. Rasweiler — a member of Southold’s deer management committee who has submitted opinion pieces to The Suffolk Times on the topic himself — said on Monday afternoon that giving the committee an extension was undoubtedly the right call.

“It’s probably necessary becasue were dealing with some very complex issues, and anybody who thought we were going to have this all wrapped up by this time was dreaming,” he said. “It’s better to do the job properly than in haste.”

By this time next year, the committee could have another set of tasks on its hands, so it could be given another goal or extension. Time will tell, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“The narrow respect which it was formed for — to guide the division to develop a plan — I don’t think they are going to need to do that forever. Maybe another year is enough, and then it can do other things — research better diagnostic tools, research into a cure — whatever that might be — or look at ways to improve public education.”

07/29/14 12:00pm
07/29/2014 12:00 PM
A female deer tick on a leaf. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein)

A female deer tick on a leaf. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein)

Suffolk’s planning efforts to reduce tick-borne diseases across the county officially starts Wednesday.

That’s when the newly formed tick advisory committee meets for the first time. The 12-member group, made up of health experts, environmentalists,  local and county government officials and others, meets at 11 a.m. at the County Center in Riverside. (more…)