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.


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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. 


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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.


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JOHN SANDHAUS/GETTY IMAGES | Scott Merserau was a longshot to make it to the NFL in his days at Riverhead High School and Southern Connecticut State University. He would go on to start seven seasons with the Jets.

25 years ago

Rams pick Mersereau

Former Riverhead High School defensive tackle Scott Mersereau (Class of 1983) became a fifth round draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams Tuesday, sports editor Glenn Jochum wrote in the April 30, 1987 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Scott’s mother Janet of Calverton recalled how her son learned he was drafted: “Rams head coach Don Robinson called and asked Scott if he still wanted to be a Ram. Scott screamed ‘Do I?’ and then Robinson said ‘Then you are one.’”

For Riverhead High School fans who remember the former All-League, All-County selectee who played under coach Dick Herzog, it may be hard to imagine Scott, who then weighed 205 pounds, going up against bonecrushing professional football linemen, as he soon may. But at his present size, 6-3, 283 pounds, he will be right at home in the NFL, we wrote.

Postscript: Mersereau ended up having a solid pro career with the hometown New York Jets. He was profiled this past summer as one of our 20 Greatest Athletes in Area History.

50 years ago

Space testing section installed by Long Island firm

Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation announced April 17 that it completed installation of four new space-age facilities costing $2.5 million and consolidating similar testing spaces into a space environmental test and development section, we wrote in the April 26, 1962 issue of the News-Review.

perhaps the most imposing of the new facilities is an environmental space chamber, among the most technically advanced large space simulators in the United States, which will be used to create spacial comparable to those encountered at an altitude of 300 miles, we wrote.

70 years ago

22,000 men register for 45-64 draft

More than 22,000 male residents of Suffolk County, aged 45 to 64 years old, signed up for whatever non-military duty their country may require of them in the fourth selective service registration we wrote in the April 30, 1942 issue of the County Review.

About 2,500 of those men were from the North Fork, we wrote.

75 years ago

Suspected ghost turns out to be a mouse

One of the pretty girl clerks in the mosquito department at the court house had her nerves set all in a quiver by ghostly noises at exactly the same time every night, we wrote in the April 30, 1937 issue of The Riverhead News.

At last, however, the puzzle was solved — it was a playful mouse engaged in rolling a tiny marble about the room — it was finally caught in the act, we wrote.

Having discovered the cause of the noises she is undetermined whether she is more afraid of a ghost or a mouse, the story reads.

Postscript: It’s amazing what passed for news on the North Fork in 1937.

95 years ago

Freight wreck here

In what is described as the most unusual wreck the LIRR ever had, nine heavily loaded freight cars were piled up in an unusual heap a mile and a half west of the Riverhead Depot about 10 a.m., April 24, 1917, we wrote in that week’s issue of The Riverhead News.

Traffic was stopped at that point on the Main Line for more than 24 hours following the incident in which no one was injured, we wrote.

100 years ago

Rick is driving mules

Instead of being at the muddy bottom of the Peconic River, where his wife and friends feared he was last week, Will Rick is at present driving a team of mules in East Moriches, we wrote in the April 19, 1912 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

From the stories gleaned from some of the locals, it appears Rick’s wife, who is a big woman, “walloped” him a week ago and sent him clamming, we wrote. He caught a few clams and then “planted” his boots in the river, set his boat adrift, and hiked it across the plains. He obtained a job a few days later, evidently believing a team of mules safer company than he enjoyed at home, we wrote.

When he failed to come back from clamming, his wife became alarmed. She asked Riverhead authorities for help to locate his body. The Oddfellows Lodge, of which Rick is vice grand, also sent a delegation down to drag his body. Members of the lodge are “mad” now about the hoax, we wrote.

Postscript: You can read more about the lodge here.

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The ill-fated Titanic ship.

The following stories were excerpted from Riverhead News-Review issues published between 20 and 100 years ago this week:

100 years ago

Farnham sister saved from Titanic

Dr. Alice F. Leader of New York, a sister of R.H. Farnham of Riverhead was aboard the ill-fated Titanic this week, but she is among the rescued, a fact that is very pleasing to Mr. Farnham’s many friends here, read the lead of a story in the April 19, 1912 issue of the Riverhead News.

Dr. Leader had been abroad with Mrs. Frederick Joel Swift of Brooklyn and the two were returning together. Mrs. Swift was also saved, we reported.

Dr. Leader is expected to visit her brother here during the coming summer, we wrote.

Postscript: Dr. Leader, who was 49 years old when she boarded the Titanic, would go on to live another 32 years, dying of natural causes three weeks shy of her 82nd birthday. Like all who took the Titanic’s only voyage, there is plenty of material available online to read about her life.

75 years ago

Riverhead boy uses fishing pole and reel to fly his kite

A new sport is likely to develop in Riverhead under the originality of Master Roland Peterson, son of Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Peterson — flying kites attached to the end of a fishing pole and controlled by a reel, we wrote in the April 16, 1937 issue of the Riverhead News.

Master Peterson gave the sport a try at the Junior Red Cross Kite Day Contest at the Fairgrounds that April 11, we wrote.

“Talk about your leaping bluefish or your back-jumping striped bass, why they ain’t ‘nothing,’ he says, compared with the bucking of a kite at the end of a thousand feet of line up there in the sky,” the story reads.

He didn’t win a prize, likely because he was “far too ahead of the times,” we reported.

Postscript: Who knew this brilliant sport was invented here?

50 years ago

Riverhead merchants fight zoning request

Riverhead store owners vigorously protested the rezoning of a property to construct a shopping center on a corner of Northville Turnpike and Route 58 at the April 17, 1962 Riverhead Town Board meeting, we wrote in that week’s issue of the News-Review.

“The builder, Constantine King, has asked that 28 acres be rezoned from residential to farming to facilitate the construction of a discount house and other stores,” we wrote.

More than 50 local businessmen protested the builder’s plans, which had already been shot down by the Planning Board, we reported.

Postscript: The article doesn’t say which corner the shopping center was proposed for. Perhaps the parcels where BJ’s and/or Bank of America are? Anyone out there know?

25 years ago

Three held for robbery after bank heist

Three  Riverhead men were arrested following an armed robbery at a Jamesport bank on April 9, 1987, we reported in the following week’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Brothers Anthony and Markie Daniels and accomplice Jessie Brown were all charged with first degree robbery in the incident, police said at the time.

“There wasn’t time to think about it — it all happened so fast,” a bank employee told us. “After they left, everyone stood around in shock for about a minute. Then the bank manager locked the doors and called the police.”

More than $5,000 was stolen in the robbery, we reported.

“I had my back to them and I was just glad that I didn’t hear the gun go off,” said a bank customer. “It was the one smart thing they did — not firing the gun.”

Postscript: It was policy then to never reveal the names of businesses that are victims of crimes, though Jamesport bank isn’t the most clever disguise.

20 years ago

Rahman gets ‘life’ in Missouri

A Riverhead man previously convicted of killing a Jamesport man in a series of sniper shootings on the East End in 1988 was sentenced to life in prison for another killing in Kansas City, Mo., we reported in the April 16, 1992 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Yusef Rahman, also known as “The Riverhead Sniper” was sentenced to life in prison in Missouri, a sentence to run concurrent to his 42 years to life sentence in New York, we wrote.

Mr. Rahman pleaded insanity in 1989 after shooting Bernard ‘Tim Heaney’ in Riverside in December 1988, we wrote.

Postscript: Mr. Rahman, now 43 years old, is currently housed at the Green Haven Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Stormville, NY. Other notable convicted Long Island killers imprisoned there include Ronald DeFeo Jr. of the famed Amityville Horror murders, and Robert Golub, who was convicted of murdering 13-year-old Kelly Anne Tinyes of Valley Stream.

Carl & Bob’s follows suit

After 45 years in business, Carl & Bob’s, the East Main Street men’s clothing store, shut its doors April 18, 1992, we reported in that week’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

The loss of Carl & Bob’s follows the recent closings of two other downtown Riverhead landmarks, Rose Jewelers and Edward Archer men’s clothiers, we wrote.

“With the business climate the way it is no one is really interested in going into my type of business, although there is a desparate need for it,” said Carl & Bob’s owner Carl Okun.

The business was formed in 1947 as a surplus store by Mr. Okun and two business partners, and was later converted in a medium-priced sportswear store.

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | After spending seven years in jail for a crime he didn't commit, Clarence Bruce Braunskill came home the week of April 10, 1997.

The following stories were excerpted from News-Review issues published between 15 and 100 years ago this week:

15 years ago

Riverhead man freed after spending seven years in prison

After spending seven years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Clarence Bruce Braunskill came home the week of April 10, 1997.

Mr. Braunskill was wrongfully convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover Riverhead police officer in 1990 and sentenced to 30 years in prison, reporter Phil Cardinale Jr. wrote in that week’s News-Review.

After police released a recording of the transaction, Mr. Braunskill said it wasn’t his voice on the tape.

His brother Leonard of Middle Island then spent years trying to get someone to listen to the tape. Leonard’s big breakthrough came when he met former Suffolk County District Attorney James Catterson at a press conference for Riverhead beating victim Shane Daniels and the DA agreed to reintroduce the evidence to investigators.

“It’s like a dream,” said Clarence after spending much of his first week out of prison with his children. “You still don’t believe it,  because it’s just … unbelievable.”

Postscript: Four years later, Mr. Braunskill was awarded $1 million in a settlement for his wrongful imprisonment. He still lives in Riverhead.

20 years ago

Residents to KKK: Get out of town

A visit in the first week of April 1992 by alleged members of the Ku Klux Klan has plunged Riverhead and the East End into a new round of negative publicity, we reported in that week’s News-Review.

The self-proclaimed white supremacists, who stayed at the former Best Western on Route 25, said they were called here from North Carolina by East End residents to recruit new members.

The incident followed closely on the heels of a nationally publicized controversy over the recruitment of several black Riverhead High School students to a police lineup, we reported.

25 years ago

Wading River demands a moratorium

Armed with signs bearing slogans like: “Thou Shalt Not Build” and no “T.D.R. in W.R.” some 35 Wading River residents made their demands known to the Town board Tuesday night during a public hearing on rezoning proposed for North Wading River Road, read the lead of a Page 3 story in the April 9, 1987 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

“We need to stop and take an overview of where Wading River is headed,” said Sid Bail, then the president of the Wading River Civic Association.

At the time, Riverhead Town was in the midst of a Wading River land use survey, which then-Supervisor Joe Janoski said was the first step in a hamlet study.

The Town Board agreed at the meeting that week to discuss a possible moratorium at a future work session.

Postscript: That was then, this is now.

Tower-top restaurant nixed?

A revolving restaurant on top of a water tower in Baiting Hollow? While such a proposal has been floating around Riverhead Town Hall for nearly two years, it seems the idea has recently been nixed once and for all, we wrote 25 years ago this week.

The restaurant idea was nixed because it was determined the soil under the water tower could not support the additional weight of the restaurant, we reported.

75 years ago

Mr. Hallock hurt

Henry Hallock is about on crutches this week, we wrote in the April 9, 1937 issue of the Riverhead News. He had the misfortune to fall from the seat of a heavy roller in front of the machine, while it was in motion.

Because the roller was drawn by horses, rather than a tractor, he was unable to stop and could not get out from under, we wrote.

One leg was badly bruised, but no bones were broken.

Riverhead Fire Department puts out Calverton fire

The home of Mr. and Mrs. S.H. Edwards caught fire in the basement April 1, 1937, but thanks to the efforts of Riverhead firemen the blaze was contained to the basement, we reported in that week’s issue of The News. However, some of the main house and some of the downstairs rugs were scorched.

100 years ago

Boy’s toes sawed off

While working at E.E. Smith’s in Calverton Wednesday, John Rilinski, 17 years, got one of his feet in a buzz saw, and the toes were nearly all severed. The wound was a diagonal one, we reported in the April 5, 1912 issue of the Riverhead News.

Doctor Terrell found the toes hanging by a mere thread and wanted to complete the operation, but the boy did not desire it, so he was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital in Brooklyn, we wrote.



02/21/12 7:00am
02/21/2012 7:00 AM

Thirty years ago this week the issue of Assembly redistricting was as big as it is today.

Excerpts from News-Review issues published between 30 and 100 years ago this week:

30 years ago …

Democratic plan would split Assembly district

“They’re trying to break up Peconic County.” That was the reaction in February 1982 from East End Assemblyman John Behan over a Democratic reapportionment plan to split the North and South Forks in the New York State Assembly.

East End Republicans were instead proposing that all five towns stay together in one Assembly district, but change the boundaries in Brookhaven Town to meet the criteria for number of residents.

“We might have found the real culprits who are behind the demise of Peconic County,” Mr. Behan (R-Montauk) said of the Democrats. “[They're] greatly diminishing the East End’s voice — and that’s what it’s all about.”

“The North Fork district would begin in Southold, take in Riverhead and go deep into Brookhaven and look like a hatchet,” he continued. The majority of residents in the North Fork district would be from Brookhaven, he said.

“We have a homogenous grouping with both forks,” he added. “Why split them up?”

Postscript: The district was split up that year and now a new proposal to join them again is on the table. We recently asked Mr. Behan about the current plan and 30 years later he’s done a complete 180. “To me, it’s like going backward to 1979,” he told us this month.

Bottle bill faces delay or defeat in final battle

Just weeks away from Suffolk’s bottle bill — which requires a five sent deposit on all cans of beer and soft drinks sold here — going into effect, lobbyists and lawmakers opposed to the bill were on the offensive, we reported in the Feb. 18, 1982 issue of the Suffolk Times.

County Executive Peter Cohalan was a fan of the bill, calling it a breakthrough for our “throw-away society.”

But Legislator Rose Caracappa said she took a trip to Connecticut to see how “the bill really works.”

She said most Connecticut residents said they didn’t bother to recycle their cans and bottles.

Postscript: The bottle bill later became state law. A push has been made in Albany for more than a decade to expand to a “bigger, better bottle bill.” A bill introduced last year includes fruit juices, ice tea beverages, milk, wine and liquor.

50 years ago …

LI Road and Rail Service to begin next Monday

The Long Island Railroad opened the 69-mile Huntington to Greenport line on Feb. 19, 1962, we reported in that week’s paper.

“At 6:15 a.m. on Monday, a shiny new air-conditioned, radio equipped bus, bearing the railroad’s name and carrying a pretty hostess, will leave Greenport and head west along Route 25, kicking off a coordinated rail-bus operation that will triple passenger service through the mid-island and North Fork areas,” we wrote.

“There will be six daily round trips through Huntington and Riverhead,” we continued. “Three of these will carry on to Greenport. Each will connect with a train in Huntington to or from New York.”

75 years ago …

Will talk ferries

A luncheon was held in the Gold Room of the Henry Perkins Hotel in Riverhead 75 years ago this week to discuss how Long Island Sound ferry operators can work with railroad and bus companies to encourage transporting people across Long Island for the 1939 World’s Fair, we wrote in the Feb. 12, 1937 paper.

“If people coming from the west and New England can be landed on the Island at Orient Point or Port Jefferson, more of them will see Suffolk County than if they came by car through the city,” we wrote.

100 years ago …

Calverton store destroyed in fire

“People here sympathize with H.W. Steighler in the loss of his store by fire early Saturday morning,” we wrote in the Feb. 16, 1912 paper. “The blaze was not discovered until too late to save anything, and the men summoned turned their attention to saving the surrounding property. It is said the damage is about $4,000 partially covered by insurance with John Bagshow, Riverhead.”