09/02/14 5:00pm
09/02/2014 5:00 PM
Bob Mirabelli and Irene Krizek and the boat they were on that exploded. (Credit: Lou Grasso)

Bob Mirabelli and Irene Krizek and the boat they were on that exploded. (Credit: Lou Grasso)

35 years ago this week

Pair escapes unharmed after boat explodes

A Flanders man and woman reached shore safely after a 21-foot boat they were riding in exploded and burst into flames in Meetinghouse Creek on Sept. 4, 1979.

Bob Mirabelli and Irene Krizek jumped to safety and swam to shore following the explosion.

They had just left Larry’s Lighthouse Marina when the boat stalled. After checking the carburetor, Mr. Mirabelli attempted to start the boat up again when the engine exploded.

“There was too much flame to put out,” he said. “So we jumped into the water and started swimming to shore. Even before we got halfway there the whole boat was a mass of flames.”

Riverhead police officer Bob Boden threw a police boat’s anchor onto the burning boat to keep it from drifting to a neighboring dock or the wooden shoreline and the Riverhead Fire Department extinguished the fire, we reported in that week’s issue of the News-Review.

Nobody was injured but the boat was “burned to the waterline,” we reported.

Vice President George Bush in Calverton in 1984. (Credit: News-Review archives)

Vice President George Bush in Calverton in 1984. (Credit: News-Review archives)

30 years ago this week

Vice President Bush comes to Calverton

Vice President George Bush attended a ceremony at the Grumman facility in Calverton on Aug. 27, 1984. The event was held to mark the rollout of the X-29 Fighter.

“I’m proud to be here,” the vice president said. “Proud because today, in a sense, marks the strengthening of America’s defenses.”

The computerized, 48-foot long X-29 was described as the “wave of the future.”

The first “Wine Country” signs were installed 25 years ago. (Credit: Suffolk Times archive)

25 years ago this week

First ‘Wine Country’ signs erected

It was 25 years ago this week that the North Fork was officially dubbed Long Island Wine country in signs welcoming visitors to the region.

The original Wine Country signs, donated by the Long Island Wine Council, were placed on Main Road in Aquebogue, Southold and Orient and along Sound Avenue in Riverhead, we reported in the Aug. 31, 1989 issue of the News-Review.

Butch Langhorn, left, and Rev. Charles Coverdale review the model of the Family Community Life Center. (Credit: Glenn Jochum, 1989)

Butch Langhorn, left, and Rev. Charles Coverdale review the model of the Family Community Life Center. (Credit: Glenn Jochum, 1989)

Family Community Life Center gets cool shoulder

Organizers met with a somewhat skeptical Riverhead Town Board about their plans to build the Family Community Life Center behind First Baptist Church in Northville on Aug. 28, 1989.

The organizers, led by Rev. Charles Coverdale, presented a large-scale model showing what the center would look like, which was built with a $10,000 grant.. The group was asking for “100 percent support” from the Town Board, which would have made it easier to secure additional funding for the then-$8 million project.

The group is still actively pursuing the housing plan.

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.

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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. 

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