This week in Riverhead history: Shane Daniels battles back from beating

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Shane Daniels on the cover of the Jan. 23, 1997 Riverhead News-Review.

The following were excerpted from Riverhead News-Review issues published between five and 30 years ago this week:

15 years ago …

Shane Daniels has head surgery

Most of what Shane Daniels thinks about these days is “getting better,” and a large portion of the the 21-year-old Riverhead man’s time is spent pursuing that goal, we wrote in the Jan. 23, 1997 issue of the Riverhead News-Review.

Mr. Daniels had been severely beaten with a metal club by two men, including an off-duty New York City Police Officer, outside a Westhampton Beach night club just eight months earlier. The week our followup story about his health was published his family was honored at First Baptist Church’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.

The week prior to the breakfast, Mr. Daniels had a metal plate installed in the back of his head to cover a hole left there by the assault, we wrote. He told us at the time he still had no recollection of the attack.

“I feel like a whole segment of my life is missing,” he said.

Postscript: Mr. Daniels, now 36, works as a security guard at the county center. His attackers both served time in prison, but have since been released.

Megan’s Law list makes debut

Seven men convicted of sex crimes are living on the North Fork, according to the recently released New York State Registry of sex offenders, we wrote in the Jan. 23, 1997 issue of the News-Review.

There were five level 2 and 3 sex offenders in Riverhead and two in Southold, police officials confirmed to us then.

“Megan’s Law is a good thing in my book and a long time coming,” said Riverhead Det. Sgt. David Cheshire.

Postscript: A search of the Parents for Megan’s Law website now shows more than 100 level 2 and 3 sex offenders living in Riverhead Town zip codes, though the vast majority reside at the county jail in Riverside.

25 years ago …

Kidnap victim is found safe in trunk

Suffolk Police found a Riverhead man in the trunk of his own car after he was kidnapped January 18, 1987, according to a story in that week’s Riverhead News-Review.

Melvin Anderson, 51 at the time, gave his abductors, two men who were waiting near the Riverhead LIRR station, $21 in cash before they drove him to an area elementary school.

The men then decided they couldn’t let him free since he might tell the police, we reported. So they forced him to get into his trunk.

“After they put me in the trunk I figured they weren’t done with me,” he told us. “I was just praying to God I’d get out.”

He remained in the trunk for more than two hours before the abductors abandoned the car after realizing police were on to them. Two cops on a drug stake out — all the way in North Amityville — spotted the two men turn the headlights off on the car while driving.

After he heard police, Mr. Robinson began banging on the trunk to alert them.

Police told the News-Review days later: “We haven’t the slightest idea who was involved.”

30 years ago …

Bike ordinance adopted

An ordinance governing the use of bicycles in Riverhead Town was adopted by the Town Board on Jan. 19, 1982. A major feature of the law banned the riding of bicycles on downtown sidewalks.

Another feature of the law requires all bike riders to keep both hands on the handlebars at all times, except for when making a hand signal.

Passengers are forbidden from riding on bikes not equipped with passenger seats, we wrote.

Bicyclists caught violating the law are subject to impoundment and must provide an affidavit of ownership to recover their bikes.

Postscript: The law remains in effect today. Whether or not it’s ever been enforced, we can’t say.

It’s a busy time for area oil dealers

Want to take a guess how much home heating oil cost on this date in 1982? According to a report in the Jan. 21, 1982 issue of the Riverhead News-Review local companies were charging about $1.24 per gallon, up from $1.15 the year before.

20 years ago …

Cuomo budget means good news and bad news

The good news: Governor Mario Cuomo’s proposed 1992-93 state budget released Jan. 20, 1992 provided $1 million in landfill-closure assistance to municipalities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, we reported.

The bad news: The proposal called for aid cuts of $73 million for Long Island schools. Most North Fork districts lost 20 percent in state aid, we reported. Riverhead was actually the only area district to receive an increase, receiving $19,000 more in aid over the previous year.

Postscript: Twenty years later, his governor son took a different approach, securing an increase in aid to most local districts.

5 years ago …

After 17 years, Madelyn to retire

Madelyn Sendlewski, a much-loved, gregarious figure, who has served Riverhead town for nearly 17 years as an assessor will leave her elected position at the end of the month, we reported in the Jan. 25, 2007 issue of The Suffolk Times.

A kidney transplant recipient, she said she stepped down due to the impact her health had on how she did her job.

“It’s been an honor winning four elections, and I can leave knowing that I served with honesty, dignity and a true concern for taxpayers,” she said.

Postscript: Ms. Sendlewski passed away in October 2008.

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