01/02/12 8:55am
01/02/2012 8:55 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Horton Avenue flood victim turned community activist Linda Hobson (right) and her fellow Horton Avenue flood victims during a press conference on the block. An expected $3.6 million in federal money will be used to purchase 13 properties on the street at pre-flood market value and turn the area into open space.

Over the past 10 days, the News-Review unveiled its top 10 stories of 2011 in Riverhead.

In case you missed any of our posts, here’s the complete list:

No. 10: Homicide at the Budget Host Inn

No. 9: Local doctor charged in Medicare scheme

No. 8: Horton Avenue flood victims get federal funds

No. 7: Riverhead swept up in ‘Tebowmania’

No. 6: Town takes heat after motel raid

No. 5: The changing face of downtown Riverhead

No. 4: Jim Bissett found dead in Mattituck

No. 3: Irene spares Riverhead her worst, days after quake

No. 2: Community rallies around young burn victim

No. 1: Voters approve $78.3 million for school upgrades

01/02/12 7:25am

ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team storms the field after winning the Class B county championship in June.

Over the past 10 days, the News-Review unveiled its top 10 sports stories of 2011 in Riverhead.

In case you missed any of our posts, here’s the complete list:

No. 10 : Former Riverhead football player sentenced to prison

No. 9 : Mercy track team repeats as champs

No. 8: SWR race walker wins nationals

No. 7: Double no-hitter ends in Mercy win

No. 6: Times/Review counts down 20 greatest athletes

No. 5: SWR’s run of state titles comes to an end

No. 4: Riverhead track star brings home three state titles

No. 3: SWR baseball, lax teams win county titles

No. 2: Mercy baseball team wins L.I. title

No. 1: Maysonet leads thrilling run for Stony Brook

01/01/12 12:01pm
01/01/2012 12:01 PM

FILE IMAGE | Who will be our 2011 Person of the Year?

The Riverhead News-Review will announced its Person of the Year in its Jan. 5, 2012 issue.

Here is a list of people that have won the award in the past decade:

• 2010 — Linda Hobson

• 2009 — Chris Kempner

• 2008 — Riverhead Blue Waves

• 2007 — Maureen’s Haven

• 2006 — Sister Margaret Smyth

• 2005 — Alan Shields

• 2004 — Phil Cardinale

• 2003 — Vince Tria

• 2002 — Bryan Tressler

• 2001 — Annie Jackson

• 2000 — Judy Young

01/01/12 7:00am

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Riverhead school board president Ann Cotten-Degrasse (right) celebrates approval of the school bond Tuesday night.

Riverhead taxpayers served up a big fat no to a school district capital improvement plan in 2010, but a year and a half later voters approved a reduced plan for buildings and grounds upgrades in the Riverhead School District.

By a slim margin, Riverhead voters in October approved the $78.3 million plan for infrastructure upgrades at district schools, though a separate measure for a $7 million gym at the high school was rejected.

The measure will fund roof and ventilation repairs at district schools, parking lot reconfigurations, new science classrooms at the high school and kitchens at Aquebogue Elementary, Roanoke Avenue Elementary and Pulaski Street School, among other upgrades.

Under the approved $78 million plan, a Riverhead Town homeowner whose house is valued at about $280,000 will pay an extra $40.09 for the 2013-14 school year, the year residents will start paying the bond, according to a brochure provided by the district.

That amount will increase to $213.25 in 2018 and gradually decrease after 2033. The bond will be repaid in 2036.

The plan drew harsh criticism from opponents who argued the community could not support the plan in the down economy. Opponents also criticized the school district for releasing the names and phone numbers of district residents to a group lobbying for the bond’s approval.

But the district was within its rights to do so, according to State Freedom of Information Laws.

vchinese@timesreview.com

12/31/11 12:01pm
12/31/2011 12:01 PM

FILE IMAGE | Who will be our 2011 Business of the Year?

The Riverhead News-Review will announced its Business of the Year in its Jan. 5, 2012 issue.

Here is a list of people that have won the award in the past decade:

• 2010 — Dee Muma

• 2009 — J. Gordon Huszagh

• 2008 — Ray Pickersgill

• 2007 — Ray Maynard

• 2006 — Jack Van de Wetering

• 2005 — Jeff Hallock and Dr. Frank Arena

• 2004 — Massoud Family

• 2003 — Andrew Mitchell

• 2002 — Christine and Peter Loew, EastEnders Coffee House

• 2001 — Jan Burman

• 2000 — Fred Terry

12/31/11 7:00am

COURTESY PHOTO | Michael Hubbard

Tragedy struck here Memorial Day weekend when a 14-year-old boy suffered severe burns and a brain injury in a freak gel candle accident while prepping his aunt’s backyard for her wedding celebration.

The gravity of the situation was matched only by the generosity of the Riverhead community, which pulled together for Michael Hubbard and his mother, Nancy Reyer, through car washes and other fundraisers. Michael spent nearly six months at Stony Brook University Medical Center before moving to a Westchester County children’s hospital. Thousands of dollars were raised to help support the family. The accident happened as Michael poured citronella-scented gel into a previously lit candle at his aunt’s house. The bottle of FireGel-brand fuel exploded in his hand, covering his body with the burning jelly. That accident and several similar ones caused the gel’s manufacturer to voluntarily pull the product from stores across the country.

Michael’s recovery has been slow, but Ms. Reyer got an early Christmas present last week in terms of her son’s progress. On Dec. 16 a speech therapist asked Michael if he liked to go-kart, to which he responded, “Yeah,” his first word since the accident.

vchinese@timesreview.com

12/30/11 5:00pm
12/30/2011 5:00 PM

ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team storms the field after winning the Class B county championship in June.

The slogan for the Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team in 2011 centered around “the wait for eight.” That referred to the team’s eighth county championship. After winning seven straight, their last in 2007, the Wildcats entered 2011 in a three-year drought.

That came to an end June 1 when the Wildcats, seeded No. 2 in the Class B playoffs, won 13-8 against Huntington for the elusive eighth county championship.

“The wait for eight is over,” coach Tom Rotanz said afterward.

The seniors for Shoreham grew up in the shadow of the program’s championship run. For the players who joined the varsity as freshmen, they had yet to experience the thrill of winning a championship.

“I just wanted to get the feeling that those guys got,” said Mike Malave said after the win over Huntington.

For the Shoreham baseball team, the wait for a county title extended even longer. It had been since 2000 when the Wildcats last claimed the throne as the top team in Suffolk.

Entering the 2011 season with a veteran group that features several players who had signed with college programs, the Wildcats knew they had the talent to end their county title drought.

After an outstanding regular season, the Wildcats nearly got picked off in the first round of the playoffs against the seventh seed, Bayport-Blue Point. The Wildcats trailed by three in the bottom of the seventh before rallying for four runs.

In the county finals the Wildcats faced Sayville in a game that featured no shortage of drama. Mike O’Reilly opened the game with five perfect innings for the Wildcats, only to see his team’s lead slip away. The game went to extra innings when Sayville took a two-run lead in the eighth. But the Wildcats came back again to tie it. Then in the ninth inning Ryan McAlary hit a sacrifice fly to win the game and the county title.

12/30/11 12:01pm

FILE IMAGE | Who will be our 2011 Civic Person of the Year?

The Riverhead News-Review will announced its Civic Person of the Year in its Jan. 5, 2012 issue.

Here is a list of people that have won the award in the past decade:

• 2010 — Rich Podlas and Chuck Thomas

• 2009 — Tom Gahan

• 2008 — Keith Lewin

• 2007 — Open Arms and Bread & More Inn

• 2006 — Mike Brewer

• 2005 — Sid Bail

• 2004 — Kathy Berezny

• 2003 — Jill Lewis

• 2002 — Chrissy Prete

• 2001 — Joe and Gloria Ingegno

• 2000 — George Klopfer and Lt. Col. Anthony Cristiano