02/28/14 8:00pm
02/28/2014 8:00 PM
A Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps volunteer displays the drug Narcan, which is used to treat opiate overdoses. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps volunteer displays the drug Narcan, which is used to treat opiate overdoses. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Last week’s crackdown on a heroin ring brought to light a massive Harlem-to-Riverhead operation that used Route 58 as a distribution hub, but numbers provided this week by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office show that abuse of heroin is nothing new in our area.


02/12/14 12:33pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | County Legislator Kara Hahn introduced a bill aimed at examining the benefits of using beet-based brines, like the one above manufactured by East End Organics.

With snowfall totals soaring this winter season — and another storm on the way — area highway crews have been coating the roads with mixtures of salt and sand, but those mixtures are only so effective once temperatures dip below 20 degrees, according to town highway superintendents.  (more…)

01/17/14 12:00pm
01/17/2014 12:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has formed the county’s first citizens advisory board for law enforcement, and has named a Riverhead pastor as a member of the board’s initial six-member team.

The Sheriff’s Office Citizens Advisory Board will create and run programs designed to “resolve conflict, concerns and issues regarding the sheriff’s office and the community it serves,” according to a Thursday press release.

Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco said the initiative — which comes amid increased media scrutiny over law enforcement agencies in Nassau and Suffolk counties — is an important first step in “preserving public trust in county law enforcement.”

Calls for a police department advisory board in Nassau and Suffolk have grown in recent years, with a recent Newsday investigation pointing to the fact that no civilian review organizations — such as NYC’s Civilian Complaint Review Board — exist in the two counties to field complaints against police.

An accompanying Newsday editorial called for the establishment of such boards.

“Residents need a forum to air grievances about police treatment,” the editorial reads. “These are not cure-alls, but they often have helped to create a culture of accountability to the public.”

A member of the new board will be the Rev. Charles Coverdale, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of Riverhead.

Rev. Coverdale has “made major contributions to his local community,” the sheriff’s press release reads, noting his ministry to inmates inside the county’s correctional facilities.

Rev. Coverdale also serves on Harvard Divinity School Center’s Leadership Council in Boston, Mass., according to the release. He will be joining a diverse board that features a psychotherapist, a priest, a retired police officer, an attorney, and a Long Island civic leader.

The board will write up annual reviews of complaints and concerns from civilians, promote community input through programs, review and comment on the office’s law enforcement activities, and set up meetings in various towns throughout the year to encourage residents to get involved, according to the sheriff’s statement.

The Sheriff’s Office Citizens Advisory Board will hold its first meeting in early February.


01/16/14 1:30pm
01/16/2014 1:30 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Kujawski's farm land on Herricks Lane in Jameport.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Kujawski’s farm land on Herricks Lane in Jameport.

It’s good to see county government update its 1996 Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan with a more recent and comprehensive study. It’s often said that having only two representatives in an 18-member legislative body puts the five East End towns at a political disadvantage. And while there’s plenty of truth to that, an in-depth update to hone in on concerns and legislative priorities in the area’s most vital industry should not go overlooked.

Related: Plans for the future of Suffolk farms in the works

With nearly two-thirds of surveyed farmers in the county engaging in some form of agritourism — a number that’s not likely to drop anytime soon — perhaps the most obvious area of study would be how local governments can plan for growth of that aspect of the industry while maintaining the quality of life that characterizes the area.

It’s imperative that farmers be able to earn a living moving forward, though the North Fork consists of a diverse and well-rounded community that extends beyond those tilling the fields. While the final product remains to be seen, it’s a positive sign that the county is exploring and encouraging the growth of Suffolk’s farm industry. And looking ahead. Updating the county’s comprehensive approach to agriculture and farmland protection bodes well for the future.