This week in Riverhead history: Polish Town rallies against martial law

FILE PHOTO | This photo ran on the Jan. 7, 1982 edition of the News-Review. Several speakers addressed the crowd at the Polish Town Civic Association about citizens in Poland living under martial law.

The following stories were excerpted from News-Review issues published 10, 15 and 30 years ago this week:

30 years ago …

Polish Town rallies against martial law

About 300 area residents braved the chilly drizzle on Dec. 27, 1981 to march in support of those living under martial law in Poland in an event sponsored by the Polish Town Civic Association, we reported in the following week’s News-Review.

Polish buglers sounded the Hejnal at the event, which for centuries has served as a reveille for the Polish Army and also as the warning signal for an impending attack.

Three polish emigrants, including a state senator from Brooklyn and the pastor at St. Isidore’s R.C. Church, spoke at the event. The three men sounded a common theme, we reported: that the support of the American people and government are essential efforts to free Poland from Soviet domination.

The event organizer, Irene Pendzick, told the crowd: “You may be standing here cold, but the people in Poland are colder. You may be hungry until you get home, but the people in Poland go home to no food.”

Postscript: The period of martial law in Poland ended 18 months later in July 1983.

15 years ago …

Who killed Susan Myer? Body found in Baiting Hollow

Police were hunting for the killer of a 49-year-old Riverhead woman, whose body was discovered on a Baiting Hollow roadside Dec. 23, 1996, we reported in the following week’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Susan Myer was last seen getting in a vehicle at the Riverhead Motel, where she had been living with her husband for several months.

The murder brought the number of killings in Riverhead in 1996 to four. That January, the body of 52-year-old William Lightner was found inside Danny’s Den on Railroad Avenue. The body of Riverhead High School student Curtisha Morning, 17, was found in a wooded area behind the school that March. James Riddick, 23, was killed in the Greens that August in what cops said was a drug-related murder.

Postscript: Fifteen years later, the Myer and Lightner murders remain unsolved.

Forbes calls for Speaker switch

Congressman Mike Forbes, who during his first term was one of Newt Gingrich’s most steadfast supporters, this week became the first to suggest that pending ethics charges have so seriously eroded the speaker’s standing that he should step down, we wrote in the Jan. 2, 1997 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

“We need leadership that will not be cowering, contrite or hiding from the media,” Mr. Forbes, a Republican from Quogue, told The New York Times that week.

Postscript: Mr. Gingrich, as I’m sure you know, will get a good feel for his chance to be the next president of The United States in the Iowa caucus Tuesday. Mr. Forbes, meanwhile, lost a Democratic primary in 2000 after a party switch, ending his three-term run in Congress.

Riverhead orthodontist wrote country music hit

Richard Bach may be America’s only orthodontist/country and western songwriter, we wrote in a 1997 profile on the Osborne Avenue doctor.

Dr. Bach wrote the song “She’s Taken a Shine,” a single performed by singer John Berry that had risen to as high as No. 41 on the Billboard country charts at the time of our story.

“I like having two separate lives,” he told us. “I can play golf with a country star like Marty Rowe [from Dimaond Rio] on Sunday and work on my 12-year-old patients on Monday.”

Postscript: The song would eventually reach No. 2 on the charts, but never did take the top spot. Dr. Bach still maintains his practice in Riverhead.

10 years ago …

Gunshot injures school worker

A Riverhead school employee was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital Jan. 2, 2002 after he accidentally shot himself  on school grounds, we reported in that week’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Shawn Cahill, a district janitor, was cleaning his gun in the boiler room of the middle school when it accidentally went off and injured him in the chest.

Mr. Cahill had a license to own the gun, we reported, but police were investigating why he had it with him on school grounds.