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08/18/14 4:00pm
08/18/2014 4:00 PM
A 'lost' ad published frequently in the County Review after Margaret Metzner disappeared in 1939. (Source:Livebrary/County Review archives)

A ‘lost’ ad published frequently in the County Review after Margaret Metzner disappeared in 1939. (Credit: Livebrary.com/County Review archives)

75 years ago this week

No trace of woman lost in woods

A Valley Stream woman disappeared on Aug. 13, 1939 while picking berries with her family near the Suffolk County Airport in Westhampton, prompting a search by ground and air through the woodlands between Riverhead and Eastport.

Margaret Metzner, who was 88 at the time was still being searched for when The Riverhead News went to press on its Aug. 18, 1939 edition. Neither bloodhounds nor a Navy blimp that flew over what was then referred to as the Quogue Plains could find her. (more…)

03/31/13 5:00pm
03/31/2013 5:00 PM

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Former Riverhead Town Supervisor Joe Janoski swears in Evelyn Hobson and other members of the Riverhead Police Department’s 1993 recruiting class.

20 years ago

Town hires first black woman cop

As misty eyed parents looked on, six new police officers were sworn into the Riverhead Police Department on March 29, 1993, including the first black female police officer, reporter Cheryl Clark wrote in that week’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Evelyn Hobson, now a detective, remains the only black woman in the Riverhead Police Department today.

Minority hiring in the department became a major issue that year, after Sgt. Donald Green, then the only black officer in Riverhead, “went public with allegations that the town has systematically excluded African-Americans and other minorities from the department,” we reported.

“I am ecstatic over her hiring,” Sgt. Green said that week. “We must not put aside, however, that this is only the first step of many steps that need to be taken to complete the job.”

Read more on the issue

5 years ago

Feds approve Broadwater proposal

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Broadwater Energy’s application to build and operate a floating liquified natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound five years ago this week, we reported in the March 27, 2008 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

The terminal would have been located in the waters off Shoreham.

The proposal was shot down by New York State three months later when Governor David Paterson ruled Broadwater’s plan was inconsistent with the state’s Long Island Sound Coastal Management Policy in a decision to deny the company necessary permits.

25 years ago

High-speed chase leaves three dead in Wading River

An 81-year-old woman and her 80-year-old male friend were killed when the car they were riding in was struck by a Medford teen who was attempting to evade police in a stolen car, we reported in the March 31, 1988 issue of the News-Review.

Lillian Feigle, a resident of Glenwood Village in Riverhead, was being driven home by Frank Kehlenback when they were killed.

The driver of the allegedly stolen car, Edward Gotch, 18, also died in the crash, we wrote. He had taken the car from the parking lot of Suffolk County National Bank on Second Street in Riverhead.

30 years ago

School district aid restored

It’s a similar story every year: The governor proposes massive cuts in state aid to schools in January before the state Legislature restores funding in late March.

In the March 31, 1983 issue of the News-Review we published an info box showing how much aid to each district would be increasing or decreasing in the 1983-84 school year.

So how much has state aid gone up in the past 30 years? Take a look:


1983-84 — $3,457,575

2013-14 — $20,451,658

Shoreham-Wading River

1983-84 — $1,946,661

2013-14 — $8,924,075

75 years ago

Supervisors continue fight for bridges

The County Board of Supervisors showed its support of a plan to explore the feasibility of building loop bridges at Smith Point and Shelter Island in March 1938, according to a Suffolk Times story.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Dennis Homan had proposed a bill to rescind a $60,000 appropriation to create a “fact-finding committee” on the bridge issue, but eight of the board’s 10 members voted against his bill.

80 years ago

County cuts $50,000 in expenses

County workers making more than $1,000 a year agreed in March 1933 to a 15 percent reduction in salary. The agreement, along with several other expense adjustments, was expected to save Suffolk County $50,000 annually, according to an article in the March 31, 1933 issue of The Suffolk Times.

Among the other cuts: Heads of departments agreed to receive just 50 cents a day in food allowances, down from $1 the year before.


02/06/13 2:00pm
02/06/2013 2:00 PM

Page 3 of the Feb. 11, 1988 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

25 years ago

Riverhead detective indicted in illegal taping scandal

Town police detective Vincent Gianni was indicted on Feb. 9, 1988 on perjury charges for allegedly making a false statement to a grand jury investigating the illegal taping of outgoing calls made by people in custody at Riverhead police headquarters, according to a story in that week’s Riverhead News-Review.

Det. Gianni was indicted after a female juror asked if he had ever listened to the recordings. He responded “no ma’am.”  However, other officers testified that he had listened to the tapes.

Postscript: The charge against Det. Gianni was dropped about a month later. Later that same year he was probed in another scandal, in which it was alleged he used drugs on the job, supplied drugs to others and twice tipped a friend to a drug raid on her home. He resigned in June 1989 after 16 years on the force and the case against him was closed, according to a Newsday report.


5 years ago

Endangered owl found at EPCAL

An endangered species of owl is apparently wintering at the former Grumman site in Calverton, a discovery that could have significant implications for Riverhead’s development plans at EPCAL, former executive editor Denise Civiletti wrote in a Feb. 7, 2008 story in the News-Review.

Patricia Pelkowski, Pine Barrens site director for The Nature Conservancy, told us at least three short-eared owls were living at the site.

Postscript: A month after this story was published, former Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale met at the site with News-Review photographer Barbaraellen Koch. He was sitting in his car explaining how there were no owls there when she spotted one. Check out the hilarious photo below of him seeing for himself.

15 years ago

Ex-supervisor’s son killed in Route 25A crash

Jared Janoski, the youngest son of former Riverhead Town Supervisor Joe Janoski, was killed in a Route 25A crash on Feb. 1, 1998, we reported in that week’s News-Review.

Mr. Janoski, who was 27 years old at the time, was driving alone when his Nissan veered off the roadway and struck a tree.

He was a left fielder on the 1987 Shoreham-Wading River baseball team that won a state championship.

20 years ago

New council targets Suffolk Theater renovation

The East End Arts Council’s Business Council decided at its inaugural meeting Jan. 20, 1993 that it would explore the possibility of restoring the Suffolk Theater on Main Street in Riverhead, reporter Bob Liepa wrote in the Feb. 4 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

“I think the Suffolk Theater could be a tremendous magnet for downtown Riverhead,” said then-East End Arts Council president Troy Gustavson, who was also the News-Review publisher at the time.

Mr. Gustavson said the cost to renovate the theater, which was put up for sale in 1987, might be too much and the council had only begun to explore avenues of funding.

Postscript: Many dollars and years later, the Suffolk Theater will finally reopen next month.

Little Flower caregiver charged with abusing kids

A childcare worker at Little Flower Children’s Services in Wading River was arrested for sexually abusing seven children on Feb. 5, 1993, according to a News-Review report.

Barry J. Wiggins, who was 28 years old and living in Riverhead at the time, was accused of fondling the boys, who ranged in age from 13 to 15 years old, we wrote.

The incidents took place over the course of an entire year, police said at the time.

Postscript: Mr. Wiggins was convicted in December 1993 and served three years in jail. He now lives in South Carolina, where he is a registered sex offender.

30 years ago

Library opens at SWR High School, pool next?

The North Shore Public Library opened at Shoreham-Wading River High School the week of Feb. 10, 1983, according to that week’s edition of the News-Review. But the brief we published focused on another expansion that never came to fruition.

“[If voter’s approve], a $2 million swimming pool will be the next addition to the school,” we wrote.

The 100 x 200 pool would be financed by floating bonds, we reported. (I’m not sure if the pun was intended.)

Postscript: The district has previously proposed building two more “training pools” at the elementary schools, but that was scrapped by the time the high school pool resolution was adopted. Based on the fact that the school has no pool today, I’d guess voters “sank” the measure that March.

45 years ago

Two-million dollar river span is planned

A second highway bridge has been tentatively planned to span the Peconic River just east of Riverhead, we reported in the Feb. 8, 1968 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

The new bridge, which would cost an estimated $2 million, will be part of a 6 1/2 mile roadway cutting south from Hubbard Road in Aquebogue to the Riverhead-Quogue Road south of Ludlam Avenue in Southampton, we wrote.

Postscript: These days it’s hard to imagine the area without the 105 bridge.

75 years ago

The fat lady at the circus is a winnah

On this platform lad-e-e-s and gentleman, you will see Little Luella, one of the fattest of fat ladies in the entire w-o-o-rld, read the lead of a Feb. 11, 1938 Riverhead News story about the circus coming to Roanoke Avenue High School.

The circus, which the story noted would feature “midgets” among its 100 performers, was being presented as a fundraiser for the American Legion. Organizers expected it to net $10,000.

Postscript: Yup, we had a different style back then. 


06/20/12 7:00am
06/20/2012 7:00 AM

100 years ago …

Riverhead High School must give up pennant

It seems now that the Riverhead High School athletic team won a hollow victory in the Interscholastic League games here on May 25, we wrote in the June 21, 1912 issue of the Riverhead News.

They won the pennant and the relay race cup, but must give up both because it has been discovered that Harrison Tyte, who helped win the highly prized trophies was 21 years old just before the meet and as such was not eligible to compete, we wrote.

Southampton High School had learned of Mr. Tyte’s age and reported him, thus claiming the title they had lost by just two points. But the News also reported that Patchogue High School planned to report Southampton for a similar offense and claim the pennant for themselves.

Even after learning the school had been stripped of its title, one Riverhead athlete said he wasn’t crushed. “Never mind,” the unnamed athlete told the News. “We had a dandy of a banquet for winning that pennant and I don’t see how they are going to get that from us.”

Postscript: Mr. Tyte was born April 9, 1891, according to public records, which means he missed the deadline to compete in the games by 46 days. He died on May 10, 1979 at the age of 88. He was survived by 19 grandchildren and 18 great grand children, according to his obituary in that week’s News-Review. The obit made no reference to the scandal or his former athletic prowess.

25 years ago …

SWR teacher cops plea in abuse case

The Shoreham-Wading River teacher arrested in March for sexually abusing a boy while acting as his “buddy” under a one-on-one youth program has pleaded guilty to three charges in exchange for considerations in his sentencing, we reported in the June 18, 1987 issue of the News-Review.

Todd Kelley, 34, of Port Jefferson resigned and also agreed to surrender his New York State teaching license as part of the agreement, we wrote.

The boy had said Mr. Kelley abused him on several occasions while he was spending the night at the teacher’s house as part of a program called “Kids in Need.”

Mr. Kelley taught in SWR for 13 years and was being considered for an administrative position at the time of his arrest. He offered to pay for the boy’s counseling, we wrote.

Postscript: According to state records, Mr. Kelley, who was sentenced to two years in prison in 1987, began collecting a $3,744 pension from Shoreham-Wading River in 2008. To date he has been paid nearly $15,000 from the New York State Teachers Retirement System.

Dems tap Civiletti versus Prusinowski

The mood in the Black Lantern Room at Polish Hall was upbeat Monday night as the town Democratic Party nominated its roster for the fall election and proclaimed the vulnerability of Republican incumbents, editor Sue Miller wrote in the June 18, 1987 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

At the top of the ticket is Alan Lane, 51, who announced his intention last week to run for supervisor against incumbent Joe Janoski, who is seeking his fifth term, or Republican Lou Boschetti who is challenging Mr. Janoski in a primary, she wrote.

Councilman John Lombardi is also seeking reelection and his running mate for the two open Town Board seats — Republican Vic Prusinowski is also up for reelection — is Denise Civiletti, a 29-year-old attorney from Coram who attended St. Isidore’s School in Riverhead and has lived here since 1985, she wrote.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Civiletti chided the current administration for its complacency and status quo mentality that “is ineffective in dealing with the monumental issues facing Eastern Long Island in the 1990s and the 21st Century.” Among her primary concerns are the environment, development, affordable housing, waste disposal and the economy.

Postscript: Ms. Civiletti beat the incumbent Mr. Prusinowski and served one four-year term on the Town Board. She later became editor and co-publisher of the News-Review. Today, she serves as co-publisher of riverheadlocal.com. Mr. Lombardi also won that year giving Democrats the majority. Mr. Janoski, however, defeated Mr. Lane to remain town supervisor.

20 years ago …

Riverhead Savings Bank declared dead at 120

The last time depositors lined up outside Riverhead Savings Bank as best as anyone can remember was after the stock market crash of 1929, publisher Troy Gustavson wrote in the June 18, 1992 issue of The News-Review. But there were lines again on Monday morning, following the New York Banking Department’s decision to seize RSB and its parent American Savings Bank of White Pains. Write them off as victims of the Great Real Estate Crash of the late 1980s and early 1990s, he wrote.

The New York State Superintendent of Banks at the time told the News-Review that RSB “had a substantial negative net worth.”

“There is no equity there,” Derrick Cephas said. “There was no hope and no possibility that the banks could ever revive themselves.”

Depositors lost about $2 million with the closures, we reported. That, coincidentally, was about the same amount as was withdrawn from the bank’s three branches by depositors on the day news of the seizure broke.

The branches were taken over by the Bank of New York.

Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant declared defunct

The final chapter in the controversial $5.5 million Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, which has never produced a single watt of commercial power, is about to be written, we wrote in the June 18, 1992 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an order on June 18, 1992 approving plans to decommission and dismantle the ill-fated nuclear power plant.

“I’m thrilled,” said former LIPA chairman Richard Kessel. “I think it’s about time.”


05/15/12 6:00pm
05/15/2012 6:00 PM

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Home Depot in the days before it opened in Riverhead.

10 years ago

Home Depot era begins in Riverhead

Six years after it was first proposed, Home Depot opened its Riverhead store May 16, 2002, Tim Gannon reported in that day’s Riverhead News-Review.

The store opened while legal battles over the Riverhead Centre shopping center continued to play out in court, we wrote.

The 395,000 square-foot project had originally included plans for a movie theater, but that was later swapped out for the additional retail at the site today.

Tears of joy: First league title, Mack sets 200 record

It was a moment, an embrace, that will never be forgotten.

Shana Mack, the heart and soul of the Riverhead girls track and field team, had just won the 200 meters in a school record time of 25.5 seconds May 14, 2002, wrote sports writer Chuck Adams in that week’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

The Waves also clinched their first ever league title that day with a 125-25 home win over Centereach.

“I was so happy for everybody,” Mack, a senior, said afterward. “But I was also a little upset because this was our last home meet. This is the best team we ever had.”

Postscript: The current girls 200 meter mark at Riverhead is 25.09 seconds, set in 2007 by Angela Smith, who also holds the school’s 100 meter record and a share of two relay standards.

15 years ago

West Main Street motel reborn

As town officials prepare to crack down on illegal rentals and “welfare motels” allegedly being used as permanent residences, one Riverhead motel owner says she’s turned her motel around in just one year, we wrote in the May 15, 1997 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Diann Scott purchased the Swiss Motel on West Main Street in May 1996 with the hopes of turning it into a family-friendly tourist destination, we wrote.

“I won’t say what used to be here,” she told us. “Let’s just say we now charge nightly rates, not hourly rates.”

Postscript: Ms. Scott no longer owns the Swiss Motel.

Shoreham-Wading River’s no-hit wonders

Perhaps the nickname of the Shoreham-Wading River baseball and softball teams should be changed to the no-hitters, we wrote in the May 15, 1997 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

That’s because softball pitcher Kim Hespos and baseball pitcher Chip Pidgeon had combined to throw two no-hitters a piece over a one-week stretch. As of May 15 of that year, the duo had combined to throw seven on the season, with Hespos having thrown five of them.

Postscript: Pidgeon would go on to play two seasons in the Mets farm system. Hespos played college ball at Susquehanna University.

50 years ago

Governor to visit Riverhead

Nelson Rockefeller visited Riverhead for the first time as governor on May 18, 1962, we wrote in that week’s News-Review.

The highlight of the 2 1/2 hour visit was a speech by Governor Rockefeller at a luncheon hosted by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce at the Perkins Inn. About 400 people attended the luncheon.

Postscript: At the time of his first visit, Mr. Rockefeller, who later served as vice president to Gerald Ford, had already been in office as governor for more than three years.

75 years ago

Way too many people flocking to beautiful downtown Riverhead

The following letter was written by Riverhead police chief Thomas J. Walker and published in the May 14, 1937 issue of the Riverhead News: “As a courtesy to the many shoppers who are coming to Riverhead these days, let me urge the merchants, and Riverhead people generally, to carefully observe the two-hour parking rule and park their cars in the unrestricted areas. It will be helpful all around.”

100 years ago

Big rat attacks baby

John, the 3 1/2-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. John Flynn, was severely bitten on one thumb by an immense rat on May 8, 1912, we wrote in the following week’s issue of The Riverhead News.

Mrs. Flynn found her baby’s night clothes covered with blood moments after hearing him scream loudly, we wrote. It was later found that his thumb had been bitten in three places.

The boy’s father then spent the next half-hour attempting to find the rat, a rifle in his hands, we wrote.

“I’ll get you yet,” declared Mr. Flynn. “If I have to burn the house down.”

Instead, he put poison in a bowl of cornmeal and left it out overnight, we reported. The next morning he found the rat dead alongside the bowl.