02/18/15 4:00pm
02/18/2015 4:00 PM

A worker surveys the scene at last week's Water Mill explosion. (Credit: Christine Fuge courtesy photo)

According to Southampton Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa, the preliminary results of an investigation have revealed that a Water Mill home explosion was sparked when a power tool cut through a live gas line, igniting the flame that blew up the Old Country Road home and sent two Riverhead men to the hospital.

The incident is not considered criminal at this time.


02/12/15 4:19pm
Rolando Perez in his hospital bed at the burn unit at Stony Brook University Hospital. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Rolando Perez in his hospital bed at the burn unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Sitting in the burn unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center about 24 hours after escaping from a house explosion in Water Mill, 40-year-old Riverhead resident Rolando Perez couldn’t remember much. (more…)

02/12/15 12:18pm
Rescue workers aid one of the victims in the explosion in Water Mill yesterday. (Credit: The Southampton Press/Dana Shaw)

Rescue workers aid one of the victims in the explosion in Water Mill yesterday. (Credit: The Southampton Press/Dana Shaw)

Federal safety officials and National Grid are investigating the scene of a Water Mill home that “burst into flames” yesterday and sent two Riverhead men to a hospital.

Meanwhile the conditions of the two victims, according to a Stony Brook University Hospital spokeswoman, are different than what media outlets, including the News-Review, had initially reported by Southampton Town police last night. (more…)

07/21/13 6:24am
07/21/2013 6:24 AM

Riverhead Police

Five drivers were arrested for driving drunk in Riverhead Saturday and one more was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s East End DWI Task Force.

The task force effort was conducted by officers from the Riverhead, Westhampton Beach and Quogue Village police departments, who seized two vehicles in the operation.

Police said the following East End residents were arrested and charged with DWI:

Nelson Avelar, 33, of Riverhead, who was also charged with an interlock device violation and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Tranquilino Chamale, 35, of Aquebogue

Rogelio Boch, 27, of Riverhead

Richard Kruedelbach, 53, of Southampton

Otto Rac-Subuyuj, 29, of Water Mill

Shamir Euceda, 23, of Hampton Bays was the driver charged with DWAI Drugs.

07/09/13 8:00am
07/09/2013 8:00 AM

DUANE ARNISTER PHOTO | The DEC has confirmed this photo taken in Water Mill is of a coyote.

Speaking before the Southold Town Board in August 2011, Fishers Island resident Charles Kadushin said his cat had been missing for months and he believed coyotes living on the island were to blame.

While Fishers Island is a part of Southold Town, its location 15 miles off the North Fork meant there was little danger of the coyote population spreading to the East End, where state Department of Environmental Conservation officials say the mammal hadn’t been spotted in more than a century.

Now, two years later, a photo depicting a coyote walking across a farm field on Blank Lane in Water Mill has erased that statistic. The New York State DEC confirmed last week the animal shown in the photograph is a coyote and that an investigation has since been launched.

“Investigators have gone out to tour the site,” said DEC spokesman Bill Fonda. “[They’re looking] for scat, paw marks or anything the coyote may have been eating.”

Mr. Fonda said the first attempt by DEC officials to track down the coyote and its possible pack was unsuccessful last Wednesday, and no paw marks were visible, though he said the search began one week after the photograph was taken and it had rained for several days in between. He added that investigators will continue to search the area for the animal periodically.

While the coyotes living on Fishers Island are believed to have arrived by swimming two miles from Connecticut, where state officials say coyotes have been a part of the ecosystem since the mid-1950s, it is unclear how a coyote might have found its way to the South Fork.

Mr. Kadushin said Monday that coyotes can still be heard howling at the sound of Fishers Island’s noon whistle each and every day, believes the Water Mill sighting is not connected to his hometown of 236 year-round residents.

“That would be impossible,” he said. “The current’s just too strong.”

Mr. Fonda said DEC officials also believe there is no way the coyote seen in Water Mill could have come from Fishers Island and while there have been sightings in Queens in recent years there have not been reports of the animal in Nassau County, making it unlikely the coyote traveled all the way from the city.

In order to swim from Connecticut to the North Fork, the coyote would have to swim close to 10 miles, also an unlikely feat for animals that experts say can typically swim about a half-mile at a time.

“Maybe it was somebody’s pet at some point and it escaped,” Mr. Fonda theorized.

Coyotes were one of the animals included on a furbearers survey released by the DEC in May, in which Suffolk residents were asked to report a physical description, location, habitat and to send a photograph when spotting an unusual mammal.

Mr. Fonda said the local DEC district has received many photographs of foxes but last week’s coyote photo was the first of its kind.

“Until now they had been seen on Fishers Island and Queens but that’s it,” he said.

In the two years since he approached the Town Board, Mr. Kadushin said no research has been conducted to determine the coyote population on Fishers Island, where they’ve been known to kill many household and feral cats.

“There’s no way to tell how many there are here,” he said. “They tag and track them in other places. That’s not being done here.”

[email protected]

A map of the farm field where a coyote was spotted in Water Mill more than a week ago.

02/08/13 3:00am
02/08/2013 3:00 AM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Duckwalk Vineyards has been in court over a lawsuit with a California winemaker.

Duck Walk is fighting a cross-country duck war.

Though the wineries are on opposite ends of the country, Duckhorn Wine Company of St. Helena, Calif., and Long Island’s Duck Walk Vineyards have their feathers ruffled over their common denominator: the image of a duck.

Duckhorn filed a complaint against Duck Walk last month in Napa County Superior Court for breaching a contract formed in 2003 between the companies, according to the Napa Valley Register website. That agreement followed lawsuits by the companies against one another for trademark infringement.

Duckhorn is now accusing Duck Walk of failing to indicate its Long Island location on the front label of its bottles, according to Duckhorn attorney Charles Bunsow of San Francisco. He said agreement violations can be seen on Duck Walk’s 2007 cabernet and 2005 merlot labels. Court documents include other examples from 2008 and 2009 as evidence of violations.

“They do not have the required geographical designation on them, which is a clear violation of the settlement agreement they entered into in 2003,” Mr. Bunsow said in an interview with the News-Review. “It couldn’t be more obvious. I’m shocked they even say they’re going to contest this.”

Representatives for Duck Walk, which has locations in Southold and Water Mill, say they haven’t violated the agreement.

Attorney Steven Schlesinger of Garden City, who represents Duck Walk, insisted that “every bottle has the geographical location on it.

“They can’t read,” Mr. Schlesinger said. “The agreement requires us to put the geographical location on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ front label, which is the back label to the consumer.”

The original agreement, forged with Dan Duckhorn, who founded the Duckhorn winery in 1976, outlined specific circumstances and ways in which Duck Walk, which opened in 1994, could reference the waterfowl.

In addition to requiring mention of Long Island, court documents show that the agreement limits Duck Walk’s production and distribution of wines with labels that include images of ducks or use the word “duck” — including in the winery’s name, according to Mr. Schlesinger.

He speculated that the timing of the lawsuit could be an attempt by Duckhorn’s new corporate owners to duck out of the agreement.

“I think they’re pissed that we have an agreement to use ‘duck’ and they’re trying to wiggle out of it,” he said. “They’re of the opinion that they have a trademark on all ducks. The problem is they’re not going to win that case if they want to litigate it. They will never establish that they own the word ‘duck’ or get us to change our name altogether.”

Under the terms of the existing agreement, Duck Walk’s production of wines with bottles bearing duck images or language is limited to 84,000 gallons per year. It also states that Duck Walk “shall not sell more than 50 percent of the annual gross production outside the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”

Mr. Schlesinger said there hasn’t been a violation there either, and that Duck Walk’s total production has not exceeded 65,000 gallons.

“Virtually 100 percent of our distributors are in the metropolitan area and one third of our production is sold at the vineyards,” he said. “If a distributor re-distributes our products somewhere else, that’s not our problem.”

Mr. Bunsow said the restriction was created to limit Duck Walk’s use of a confusingly similar mark.

“We’ll see if they lived up to that,” he said of the distribution restrictions. “If they want to sell more wine, they’re free to use a different label.”

[email protected]

12/26/12 1:00pm
12/26/2012 1:00 PM

The brother of the hit-and-run driver who killed a nun in Water Mill earlier this year has been found guilty of lying to investigators, according to federal court records.

The jury found Miguel Ixpec-Chitay of Riverhead lied to federal investigators during the search for his older brother. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

Carlos Armando Ixpec-Chitay is accused in the hit-and-run accident on Rose Hill Road in Water Mill  that left Sister Jacqueline Walsh dead July 9. On retreat with her colleagues from the Sisters of Mercy of Syosset, she was walking in the vicinity of the sanctuary where she was staying when she was hit by a car, police said. The driver did not stop and was never found, police said.

The younger Mr. Ixpec-Chitay was charged with a felony count of making a materially false statement to U.S. Immigration agents regarding phone calls between him and his brother in the hours after the fatal crash.

Evidence in the trial showed approximately 20 phone calls were made between Miguel’s and Carlos’ cell phones on the day of the crash and the following day, according to online court records. Three days later, Miguel was interviewed by the federal agents.

The trial began last Monday , Dec. 16, and a verdict was handed down Wednesday Dec. 18, according to court records.

[email protected]

08/30/12 11:34pm
08/30/2012 11:34 PM
Jitney, Hamptons, Southampton Police, Water Mill, Montauk Highway crash

SOUTHAMPTON TOWN POLICE PHOTO | The Jitney crash scene Thursday on Montauk HIghway in Water Mill.

A woman was seriously injured Tuesday after a Riverhead man driving a Jitney bus dropped his drink and got distracted, causing a chain-reaction crash in Water Mill, Southampton Town police.

The three-car accident happened on Montauk Highway about 2 p.m., when the bus driver, 51-year-old James Miles got distracted and smacked into the back of a Mercedes Benz carrying five people, police said.

The Mercedes then got pushed into the back of a masonry dump truck, Southampton Town police said.

Local firefighters responded and extracted all five people from the car, including Lisa Lakeman, 20, of East Hampton, who suffered serious head injuries, police said. She was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center.

The dump truck’s driver, Brian Doroska, 42, of Hampton Bays, was treated for minor injuries at Southampton Hospital.

The bus and truck were inspected and issued summonses, which were unspecified by police. No criminal charges were expected.