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08/12/13 12:14pm


A Riverhead man is facing felony assault and weapons charges for stabbing another man multiple times after a confrontation outside the victim’s Riverside home early Sunday, Southampton Town police said.

James Ayers, 38, approached the victim — for reasons not given by police — outside of the Ludlam Avenue house near Phillips Avenue Elementary School just before 1 a.m., according to a police report.

Mr. Ayers then yelled at the man, with the dispute quickly escalating and ending when Ms. Ayers plunged the knife into the victim’s back and lower right shoulder police said.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the victim sitting upright in a chair in his living room, bleeding from a two-inch stab wound and having “severe” trouble breathing, according to a police report. Flanders ambulance volunteers took the victim, who is listed as being in stable condition, to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

Mr. Ayers had fled the scene with the knife, but was caught about three hours later some 500 feet down the road where he was arrested, according to police reports, that also indicated witnesses had ID’s Mr. Ayers.

He was charged with first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He appeared in Southampton Town Justice Court, where he was arraigned. He was held without bail at Suffolk County jail.

08/06/13 5:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Baxter, Misha and Sidney of Selden with their owner Irene Rabinowitz at last year’s dog park opening in Calverton. Riverhead’s own dog park at Stotzky Park will open Saturday.

Isn’t it about time you throw your dog a bone? Riverhead residents now have the opportunity to do just that.

The opening of the brand new Duke Dog Park is set to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday in the upper parking field at Stotzky Park. Councilman James Wooten and other elected officials will be on hand to usher in the latest addition to the Riverhead community.

The park gives residents a chance to let their dogs run free and play in a large, secure fenced-in area. The new park comes just a year after the long-awaited dog park at EPCAL in Calverton opened.

Councilman Wooten worked alongside Riverhead resident Denise Lucas, the founder of the non-profit “Move the Animal Shelter,” or M.T.A.S, who played a big role in raising enough funds to build the park and for supplies.

“I think there is a big advantage to having a dog park in our town,” Mr. Wooten said. “There are a lot of seniors who live in condos who don’t have that space.”

Mr. Wooten said he believes Riverhead was one of the last communities to get its own dog park.

“It gives people a place to go,” he said. “I think there is a real need for it and I see a desire for it.”

The park is free to the public.

07/29/13 11:35am
Rancho Latino in the Hamptons

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Rancho Latino bar and restaurant on Flanders Road.

Two men were hospitalized after an afternoon brawl broke out at a Flanders bar and restaurant last week, according to Southampton Town police reports.

Police said a group of men began fighting inside Rancho Latino on Flanders Road about 3:30 p.m. last Sunday. Two victims were each separately hit by a glass bottle during the fight and were both cut on the right side of their foreheads, the reports state.

The victims were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center to be evaluated and gave statements to police through a Spanish interpreter, police said.

The others at the bar had fled before police arrived.

Detectives are investigating footage of the incident, though no arrests had been made, police said.

It was not clear if the injured men were also involved in fighting.

07/17/13 9:30am

STEVE ROSSIN PHOTO | Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton helped rescue cats from a “hoarder” house in Miller Place.

A local animal shelter in Calverton is lending a helping hand by offering to take in kittens recovered from a “hoarder” home.

As many as 40 cats were living in-and-out of a Miller Place house before local animal shelter workers stepped in to ease the burden for the resident Monday. The cats did not all live in the house at the same time.

Pam Green, the director at Kent Animal Shelter, said her shelter has taken in half a dozen cats so far, all of which are in good condition. Green said the homeowner has been cooperative in receiving help and getting the cats required medical care.

“They’re healthy for the most part,” Green said. “Some of them are very small and need to be bottle fed and when they’re old enough and can eat on their own they will be spayed and neutered and get their shots.”

Green said similar cases are not uncommon.

“It goes on more than you would like to think. In this situation people sometimes lose grasp of reality and become overwhelmed,” she said. “Maybe they just start out with a couple of pets and then more and more would show up and then they breed and then all of a sudden you have a huge colony.”

Green added: ”I’ve seen worse.”

Traps were placed around the home to pick up cats still on the loose. Green said the process may take as long as a couple of months.

She warned that having too many animals confined to a small living space can pose potentially serious health hazards.

“In these colonies sometimes you get [an animal] that comes in with a disease such as Leukemia and AIDS and they start passing it around the colony, so all the cats are going to be tested,” Green said.

The shelter has plenty of cats currently available for adoption and recently partnered with Petco. Together, once a month, they also host a pet adoption day, which Green says will be a big help.

“When you have too many pets together it puts stress on the animals,” she said. “It’s like when you have too many people and put them in a small place, good things usually don’t happen.”

07/16/13 10:29am

STEVE ROSSIN PHOTO | Erin Walsh from Schmitt Family Farms tries to keep cool by staying in shade while spraying vegetables.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s today as part of the heat wave that has hit Long Island this week.

The National Weather Service said the warm weather is here to stay until Saturday when a low pressure system is expected to move in and bring cooler temperatures.

Long Island Power Authority is reporting fewer than five outages right now in Riverhead and is expecting power to be restored to affected customers by 2 p.m. There are about 60 reported outages altogether on Long Island as of Tuesday morning.

As a result of the hot weather this week, the Town of Riverhead has decided to keep local beaches open until 7 p.m. through Friday.

Town of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell has urged residents to use designated cooling centers to avoid the high heat and humidity. The Human Resource Center located at 750 Pacific Avenue has will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and local libraries are offering services as well.

07/15/13 2:20pm

A car stolen from a Flanders residence was involved in a police chase in Riverhead last week, when a man bolted on foot from the car during a traffic stop, authorities said.

The maroon 2008 Pontiac G6 sedan was stopped by police about 2 a.m. last Wednesday on Phillips Street near Doris Avenue for a traffic violation, Riverhead Town police said. The driver then fled the car once it was stopped.

Riverhead police patrol cruisers and a K9 unit searched the area for the man, but did not find him. The car was impounded.

The woman who owns the car didn’t notice it was missing from her driveway on Priscilla Avenue until about six hours after the chase, Southampton Town police said.

The victim told police she did not know who took it. Police are still investigating.

RiverheadPD HQ - Summer - 500

07/10/13 12:00pm
STEVE ROSSIN PHOTO | The Jamesport Fire Department Parade is tonight at 7 p.m. The carnival continues throughout the week.

STEVE ROSSIN PHOTO | The Jamesport Fire Department Parade is tonight at 7 p.m. The carnival continues throughout the week.

The Jamesport Fire Department has put the finishing touches on setting up for what has become a staple for the Town of Riverhead — its annual summer carnival.

The weeklong event kicked off Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. by the corner of Main Street and South Jamesport Boulevard at the George Young Community Center. This year’s event marks the events 58th anniversary of the event.

Jamesport Fire Chief Duffy Griffiths said people have been anxiously awaiting the start of this year’s festivities.

“We start getting questions about when the parade and fireworks are coming as early as May, people line up their vacations around it,” Mr. Griffiths said.

There are over a dozen rides to choose from like the Himalaya, a large tilt-a-whirl that is expected to be one of the more popular attractions among carnival goers this week. In addition to the rides, there will be opportunities to play carnival classics like the balloon and darts game as well as trying to sink someone in a dunk tank.

Other activities expected to take place this week include the customary parade which begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. Residents can also gaze at fireworks in the starry sky, which will close out the festivities Saturday night at 10 p.m.

Mr. Griffiths said the event has been a rewarding experience since he first joined the fire department.

“I’ve been doing it for 13 years and it’s great, people are happy when they come and you get to see the same faces and new faces every year,” he said.

One of the things Mr. Griffiths says he loves most about the carnival is being able to share the experience with his kids.

“The kids love it, it’s great because they’re 10 and 7 years old and as they get older and go on different rides they get a little more freedom,” he said.

The carnival will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight each day. Admission is free,but the Fire Department is accepting donations to help pay for the fireworks show that will take place Saturday night.

07/02/13 12:00pm
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters outside Cliff's Rendezvous after last Tuesday's grease fire.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters outside Cliff’s Rendezvous after last Tuesday’s grease fire.

Cliff’s Rendezvous is slowly recovering and rebuilding from a fire at the popular downtown eatery last week, the restaurant’s owner said Monday.

Owner Cliff Saunders said last Tuesday’s fire started when one of the chefs in the kitchen left a pan of bacon unattended near the oven and the boiler.

“It must’ve spattered and that’s why it ignited,” Mr. Saunders said.

The Riverhead Fire Department arrived at the restaurant shortly before 3 p.m. to extinguish the blaze. The firefighting effort closed down a part of East Main Street between Union and Maple avenues for about an hour before roads were reopened.

As a result of the fire, the restaurant suffered minor damage and has been closed since last week, Mr. Saunders said. A small section of the roof near the chimney was charred as a result of the fire, he said, adding that carpeting in the lower dining room was damaged and will have to be replaced as well.

“There was some damage from the firemen using the hose,” Mr. Saunders said. “It washed out into the dining room and it kind of flooded the floor so we had to tear the carpet up … The damage is fairly minimal, it’s just a matter of rebuilding.”

Mr. Saunders said he hopes to reopen the restaurant within a week or two.

He said he was grateful for the outpouring of support from both town employees and the community.

“The town has been nothing but stellar,” Mr. Saunders said. “A couple of our customers work for the town and they want to see us open.”

Just a few days after the fire at Cliff’s Rendezvous, a major fire occurred at Athens Grill just down the street. Having been through a similar, but less severe incident, Mr. Saunders is sympathetic to what his neighbors are going through now and was glad no one was hurt in either fire.

“If you drive down Main Street past Athens Grill you can still smell [the smoke] in the road,” Mr. Saunders said. “I just hope they can get everything repaired, because something like that could have happened to us.”