03/05/13 1:54pm
03/05/2013 1:54 PM

liveblog

The Riverhead Town Board voted on resolutions dealing with several big projects at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The board granted conditional site plan approval for Island Water Park’s cable-towed water skiing park proposal in Calverton.

The board also approved an excavating permit for the a Walmart planned on the west end of Route 58, where work is expected to begin soon.

And a public hearing is now set for a plan to build a gym in the former Woolworth building in downtown Riverhead. That hearing will be March 19, at the board’s 7 p.m. meeting.

News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live Tuesday.

Click below to see what transpired.

 

01/17/13 6:05am
01/17/2013 6:05 AM
Riverhead, Walmart, Newtown, Sandy Hook, Route 58, Riverhead

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Ammunition is flying off shelves at the Riverhead Wal-Mart.

As state lawmakers put the finishing touches on stricter gun laws in the wake of last month’s Connecticut school shooting, county residents were working to get their hands on a dwindling stock of guns and ammunition.

The county sheriff’s office, which processes licensing applications within the county, has seen a “significant” increase in pistol applications over this past year, and yesterday in particular, said sheriff spokesman Michael Sharkey. Staffers received 20 applications on Tuesday alone, a number that just a few years ago would have been more typical of an entire month, he said.

“People are trying to stay ahead of the curve,” said Mr. Sharkey. “It seems the public got concerned over possible limitations to access.”

Riverhead, Gun Control, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Sandy Hook, Wal-Mart

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Bare ammunition shelves at the local Wal-Mart.

At the same time, ammunition is flying off shelves, said Matthew Daly, a Wal-Mart assistant manager who frequently works the firearms counter at the Route 58 store in Riverhead.

The store only has about 1 or 2 percent of its regular amount of ammunition left in stock, Mr. Daly said.

Gun owners also appear to be swelling numbers at the range, at least according to chatter on a Long Island Firearms’ group forum, where members have been posting about how busy the Calverton Shooting Range on Nugent Drive in Calverton was on a recent Sunday.

“Went to Calverton today and was surprised to see that the line of cars to get in was to and down the highway” one poster wrote. “Was there something special going on?”

“Lots of people buying guns right now and lots wanting to use them,” another person responded. “I think it’s going to be busy for a while.”

The 6,000-member group dedicates itself “to the preservation of our Second Amendment rights on a local level” according to its website.

On Tuesday night — about a month after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn. — Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the NYS Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act), the first gun control bill adopted nationwide since the massacre, giving New York “the toughest protections against gun violence in the nation,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The new law requires mental health professionals to report to local mental health officials if they believe a patient may engage in conduct that would cause serious harm to themselves or others. If that patient was to own a gun, the license will be suspended and law enforcement would be authorized to remove the person’s firearm, according to the release.

The law also requires pistol permit holders to be re-certified at least every five years, a practice already done in Suffolk County.

“I think it’s good for control purposes,” said Mr. Sharkey. “You need to be able to make sure there have been no significant life changes that would impact a person’s gun use.”

Some local residents are not in support of the state’s new law.

Mr. Daly said he believes gun laws have violated New Yorkers’ constitutional rights.

“I am just disturbed,” he said. “I think we are being railroaded by our government.”

Gun education is the best way to control gun violence, he added.

“Education is everything with guns. Let someone use and feel a gun, and they will respect it,” he said.

The law also restricts gun magazines to holding seven rounds, which falls below the national average of 10, according to the release.

Howard Martin, a retired New York City police officer who lives in Manorville, said he’s concerned about the magazine-limits in the law, specifically that there is no exemption included for police officers.

“Criminals don’t follow the law,” he said. “They will put as many rounds in their magazine as they want to, and that puts law enforcement officers at a disadvantage.”

While President Barack Obama and federal lawmakers also work to tighten gun control in the United States, Mr. Martin said he has been around guns all his life, and that he finds the entire situation disheartening.

“Behind every tree, every window, every door there is a gun. It is the one thing that keeps America free,” Mr. Martin said.

“Guns are not bad, the problem is the criminals,” said Lucas Bennett, 25, of Riverhead, who was also found shopping at the Riverhead Wal-Mart. “What is being done is penalizing the law-abiding citizens for protecting themselves.”

11/08/12 12:48pm
11/08/2012 12:48 PM
Lewin, Riverhead police, WalMart

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Brian and Keith Lewin can now add ‘crime fighters’ to their family business sign, after catching a purse snatcher Thursday morning.

It’s Lewin brothers to the rescue!

When a Riverhead man snatched a woman’s pocketbook in the parking lot of WalMart a little after 10 a.m. Thursday,  Brian and Keith Lewin were loading a truck at their nearby family business, Lewin Medical Supply.

“I heard the lady yelling ‘police!, police!” Brian told the News-Review Thursday. “So I turned my head and saw a lady chasing a man with a pocketbook, and then I saw the man trying to jump the fence behind our neighbor’s house.”

Brian took off running after the suspect, and Keith took off down Oliver Street in the van.

“I caught him on the neighbor’s property and threw him to the ground,” Brian said. “Then when I took the pocketbook, he got up again and started running.

The man headed towards Oliver Street, and turned around to see Brian once again running after him.

But when he turned back around, he ran into the van that Keith was driving, Brian said.

“He tried to go around the back of the van, but I was already out of the van and threw him to the ground,” Keith said.

Riverhead police had already been called by a witness to the theft, and were on the scene within three minutes to arrest the man, Brian said.

Brian said he’d done anything like this before, although he added he didn’t think twice about chasing the suspect, who had a knife in his pocket when they caught him, according to Brian.

“I wouldn’t want anybody doing that to anybody I know,” Brian said.

Keith, who was in the Marines in the early 1990s, said a lot’s changed between his warrior days and now.

“We’re not athletes, dude, we’re old and fat,” he said.

Riverhead police identified the suspect as Albert Zachary, 42, of Riverhead.

He was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, since there were credit cards in the pocketbook.

The charge wasn’t robbery because the suspect took the pocketbook out of a shopping cart and ran, police said. If the suspect had taken the purse directly from the victim, it could have been a robbery charge, police said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

04/28/11 6:51am
04/28/2011 6:51 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Town will hold a public hearing on banning left turns from Kroemer Avenue onto Route 58 heading west.

A proposal to ban left turns onto Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue will be the subject of a May 3 public hearing before the Riverhead Town Board. That meeting starts at 2 p.m.

The measure is part of the traffic plan for Headriver LLC’s proposed new Super Walmart store on the north side of Route 58, across from the Tanger Outlets, and was recommended by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works. The hearing also seeks comment on a proposed ban on left turns from an as-yet unbuilt western exit from the Walmart onto Route 58, which has a traffic light and intersects with Kroemer Avenue.

The traffic plan calls for two right-turn lanes heading south out of the existing Applebee’s lot, which would also serve Walmart, onto Route 58. But with two lanes of southbound traffic making right turns out of the proposed Walmart, officials felt left turns from northbound traffic coming off Kroemer Avenue wouldn’t be feasible.

Bill Hillman, chief engineer at DPW, said in a letter to town officials the county’s traffic data shows fewer cars seek to turn left onto Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue.

The proposal would still allow left turns for cars heading south onto Route 58 from the Applebee’s exit at Kroemer Avenue.
The Town Board had originally planned to hold the hearing this month, but Supervisor Sean Walter said he wanted to meet with DPW first.

The Walmart proposal had been tied up in litigation for several years. Lawsuits challenging its approvals were filed by local members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has opposed Walmart nationwide, and by the owner of the shopping center that houses the existing Riverhead Walmart. But last year, a state appellate court overturned two lower court rulings against the Walmart proposal and gave the application a green light. The new Walmart would eventually replace the existing store, which is farther east on Route 58.

tgannon@timesreview.com

03/31/11 1:05pm
03/31/2011 1:05 PM

Cars heading north on Riverhead’s Kroemer Avenue would be prohibited from turning left onto Route 58 under a traffic plan being considered by the Town Board.

Suffolk County Department of Public Works is suggesting the plan as a way to deal with the large number vehicles expected to be heading in and out of what will soon be a massive super Walmart store on the north side of Route 58, across from Tanger Outlets. Once built, the Walmart would use the same access road that currently feeds the Applebee’s restaurant. That access road aligns with an existing traffic light at Route 58 and Kroemer Avenue.

Bill Hillman, a county engineer, recommended in a letter to town officials last month that left turns onto Route 58 be banned. He also suggested no left turns onto Route 58 from what will be a newly constructed western exit at the WalMart property.

The land slated for the Walmart is located between Applebee’s and the New York State Department of Transportation yard on Route 58.

“The DPW is requesting this to keep the flow of traffic on Route 58,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said during Thursday’s pubic Town Board work session, at which officials considered the plan. “There is going to be two lanes of traffic coming out of Walmart to make a right turn [onto 58] and you’re not going to be able to time the light for two lanes of traffic making a right and still allow traffic from Kroemer Avenue to make a left.”

Mr. Walter said he was told allowing left turns onto Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue “would mess up the timing on the all the other traffic lights to the east.”

The Town Board has tentatively planned a 7:20 p.m. April 20 public hearing in Town Hall on the Kroemer left turn ban proposal.

Mr. Hillman said traffic counts showed relatively few drivers looking to head west from Kroemer Avenue onto Route 58, and that the drivers that do want to head in that direction can do so from Route 25 which also intersects with Kroemer Avenue just to the south.

Councilman John Dunleavy reminded that the state DOT still is planning to put a traffic light at the Route 25 and Kroemer Avenue intersection, for which the Walmart developer, New Jersey-based Headriver LLC., is required to pay.

“I don’t like it,” Councilman Jim Wooten said flatly of the left turn ban. “If they can put a left turn signal by Home Depot they can do it here.”

tgannon@timesreview.com