01/02/15 8:00am
01/02/2015 8:00 AM
The Riverhead Town Animal Shelter. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Riverhead Town Animal Shelter. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

ThumbUpRound of a-paws for shelter move

After years of hard work, advocates of moving the town animal shelter were able to breathe a sigh of relief as town leaders approved relocation of the shelter to a new space in Calverton.

The Youngs Avenue shelter had gone through years of turmoil before attention turned to building a new one. A controversial head of the shelter resigned in late 2011 and Denise Lucas — named the 2012 Person of the Year by the News-Review — led a charge the following year to build a new one.

In February 2014, Town Board members brought up the idea of moving the shelter to a parcel where the infrequently used Henry Pfeiffer building sits. The town approved the deal by June, although state approval is still needed. The town has done its part.

Hopefully, New York State will follow suit soon.

ThumbdownA budget and a prayer

Riverhead Town’s budget for 2015 may very well end up secure.

It was announced last month that the Long Island Power Authority gave PSEG the authority to negotiate with a company planning to lease (or even buy) land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton. This could plug a $700,000 hole in this year’s budget.

But the fact that huge holes in the budget needed to be plugged in the first place — and the fact that more exist — still has us giving the 2015 budget a thumbs down.

This newspaper editorialized about the spending plan, which faced a $4 million shortfall when talks began over the summer, on several occasions. Each time, the thought of taking a chance on some plan possibly pulling through to pay the town’s bills next year — and the Town Board’s apparent support for the plans — caught our attention as inherently defying conservative fiscal principles, something the town has clearly needed for years.

But the plan has so far worked to a degree, with these funds now expected to come from EPCAL, though negotiations have yet to occur. And it remains unclear when the town will see the funds.

In the meantime, the town won’t be getting $600,000 from the county that the supervisor and town attorney said it was entitled to — money the town budgeted for — from the county’s open space fund as a reimbursement for capping the landfill.

While the supervisor said this month that “it will all work out,” all town residents can do is hope and pray. In our book, that’s a thumbs-down approach to budgeting.

ThumbUpKeeping history alive

Long Island duck farming reached its peak in the 1950s, with more than 90 farms producing 7.5 million ducks annually — about two-thirds of all nationwide production.

Sadly, just one farm remains today. But what a success story.

Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue still exists because of the way the Corwin family budgets — in a manner that helps them stay ahead of the regulatory curve. Doug Corwin said he invests in new technologies each year to meet ever-changing standards, most recently spending $3.5 million to update the farm’s wastewater treatment facility.

Mr. Corwin said in September he hopes his family will keep the farm active for years to come.

“Am I going to die with this being here?” he asked. “I sure hope so.”

We do, too.

ThumbdownScare tactics defeat historic designation

A two-year effort to get a stretch of Main Road from Aquebogue to Laurel deemed an historic place by the state and federal governments came to an end in October, when the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission withdrew its application in the face of a campaign against it, led by some area businesspeople.

The campaign consisted of misinformation, scare tactics and slippery slope-style arguments — all in the name of property rights. Ironically, it can be argued the people who defeated the measure infringed on their neighbor’s rights, by denying the owners of 354 district-eligible parcels the opportunity to apply for grants and tax credits for historic renovations. Under the program, only those who accepted government money would have been subject to any restrictions. Oh, well.

ThumbUpHamlet centers on the mend

A tale of three hamlet centers unfolded this year in the Riverhead area. It’s largely a happy story: downtown Riverhead is again abuzz with activity, Wading River’s historic district is rebounding and a vibrant, Main Street-like environment is envisioned for blighted Riverside.

Even though Riverside lags far behind other business centers, Southampton Town’s appointment of a master developer to spearhead revitalization efforts there is a major step in the right direction. In downtown Riverhead, the 2013 reopening of the Suffolk Theater was followed this year with the renovation of the Woolworth building.

A gym and bagel store now occupy that East Main Street building’s ground floor and tenants will start moving into its 19 second-floor affordable apartments in February. Wading River, which was featured in an April cover story for its lack of stores or foot traffic, saw three unique new eateries come to the Duck Ponds area: North Fork Bacon & BBQ, Mesquite and the planned My Creperie.

12/30/14 4:00pm
12/30/2014 4:00 PM
The Hyatt in downtown Riverhead.

The Hyatt in downtown Riverhead.

Professionals said business was good in 2013, but 2014 was even better.

Across the board, key figures in banking, auto sales, hospitality and big and small retail outlets reported strong sales and increased growth. Much of this, said Steven Shauger, general manager of Hyatt Place East End in Riverhead, can be attributed to a developing public perception of the North Fork as a year-round destination. (more…)

12/29/14 4:00pm
12/29/2014 4:00 PM
Peconic Bay Medical Center CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Peconic Bay Medical Center CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Health care reform brought with it a number of changes that affected hospitals nationwide throughout 2014, with quantifiable effects starting to become clear by the end of the first quarter.

We sat down with Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of PBMC Health, to discuss the highs and the lows of the past year and the changes the community can expect come 2015. As expected, there was plenty to talk about.  (more…)

12/28/14 4:00pm
12/28/2014 4:00 PM
We really like the kitchen of this Riverhead on the market  with an asking price of $300,000.

The kitchen of a Riverhead home on the market with an asking price of $300,000.

A “follow-through.” A “major recovery.” A market “on fire.”

Whatever you want to call it, North Fork’s real estate agents seem to agree: 2014 was a strong year that built on the successful bounce-back that began two years ago.

And even into December, that market was still surging.  (more…)

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