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02/03/14 5:59am
02/03/2014 5:59 AM

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Councilman George Gabrielsen, right, giving a proclamation to New-Review reporter Tim Gannon declaring Jan. 23, 2014, “Tim Gannon Day” in Riverhead Town.

If you’ve ever read the News-Review, you’ve probably seen Tim Gannon’s byline.

Tim has been a reporter for the paper since 1996, covering everything from Town Hall and police news to 100th birthday parties and school board meetings.


09/18/13 7:50am
09/18/2013 7:50 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |  Mason Haas in his office in Town Hall.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Mason Haas in his office in Town Hall.

Mason Haas was elected chairman of the Riverhead Republican Committee Tuesday night at Polish Hall, succeeding John Galla, who has held the post since March 2011 and did not seek re-election.

Mr. Haas is an elected town assessor and a member of the Jamesport Fire Department. He is also a former chief of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

He defeated former GOP chairman Martin Keller by a slightly more than 2-to-1 margin in terms of gubernatorial votes. In this type of election, each committee member’s vote represents the specific number of the registered Republican voters from each election district who participated in the last gubernatorial election. The final tally Tuesday night was 2,255 to 1,119.

“I’m very pleased and honored that they gave me the opportunity to serve as leader,” Mr. Haas said. “We have a totally new executive committee and we’re going in a new direction.”

Mr. Haas chose former town councilman Vic Prusinowski as committee vice chair, Tammy Robinkoff as treasurer and Tracy Stark-James as secretary. Ms. Stark-James is the executive director of the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency and also serves as president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

“I believe the committee has lacked structure, and that’s what I plan on putting in place,” Mr. Haas continued. “We have a lot of very dedicated committee members and we have some divisiveness. I plan on reaching out and bringing them together.”

Mr. Keller, who was a Riverhead Republican Committee chairman for about two years before stepping down in 2009 following the death of his son, said the main reason he sought to run for chairman this year was his belief that an elected official should not serve as chairman of a political committee — or be on party’s executive committee at all.

“I really strongly believe that elected officials do not belong on the executive board,” Mr. Keller said in an interview. “To me, that’s a conflict of interest and even though the town ethics board doesn’t prevent it, it should. Conflicts of interest can definitely arise, so why put ourselves in that position?”

Mr. Haas heard similar criticism during the recent Republican primary campaign from Anthony Coates, who ran a primary challenge for council and lost to party designees Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy, but said he doesn’t think there is any conflict of interest between his elected position and his position with the committee.

He said the argument that an assessor can alter someone’s taxes if they don’t back him or his candidates is not true.

“It’s illegal, I would go to jail and I would be brought up on charges by the state,” Mr. Haas said. “The taxpayers can rest assured, from my history with the town and my community service, that I’ve always acted in the best interests of the town and will continue to do so.”

Mr. Haas was also active in the fight to rid the downtown Riverhead area of the county’s homeless sex offender trailer that had been parked at the county jail.

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03/13/13 2:45pm
03/13/2013 2:45 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet set a date for the special Assembly election.

It’s looking as if the Republican nomination in the upcoming special election for the 2nd District seat in the New York State Assembly could come out of Southold Town. But party leaders aren’t quite ready to commit to that and the governor has yet to even set a date for the vote.

At least five potential GOP nominees — including four from Southold — have expressed interest in running in the special election to replace former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, local party leaders said. Mr. Losquadro won a special election to become Brookhaven Town highway superintendent last week.

Southold Town Councilman Chris Talbot and Trustee Bob Ghosio have both asked to screen for the post along with Mattituck attorneys Stephen Kiely and Tony Palumbo, party officials said. Bill Faulk of Manorville, a longtime aide to former county legislator Ed Romaine, also confirmed he’s interested in the job.

Suffolk County Republican leaders are expected to meet Wednesday to select a nominee for the special election.

Democratic leaders said there has been less interest on their side of the aisle.

“There have been some candidates who have come forward, such as Jennifer Maertz,” said Riverhead Democratic chair Marge Acevedo. “However, we don’t know when there is going to be an election. It’s entirely up to the governor.”

Sources said Governor Andrew Cuomo can either call for a special election in conjuction with school elections May 21 or wait to hold it along with the general election in November.

Former assemblyman Marc Alessi’s name came up this week in rumors over who might secure the Democratic nomination, but he said he is not interested.

“I’m not the guy. I do miss it, but it’s not a good time for me to be in Albany,” said the father of three, who now works as the CEO of a biomedical company and still practices law.

Mr. Alessi won the seat in a 2005 special election and served until he lost the 2010 election to Mr. Losquadro by 917 votes.

Ms. Maertz, of Rocky Point, previously lost two bids for state Senate.

GOP sources interviewed this week suggested Mr. Talbot — who would be running as a current elected official — might have the inside track to receive the Republican bid. He said Tuesday that he’s interested and is waiting to see how the nominating process plays out.

“We’ll see what the party wants to do,” said Mr. Talbot, of Cutchogue. “We need to wait for the governor to decide if and when there’s going to be a special election.”

Mr. Ghosio, who lives in Greenport and formerly resided in Lake Panamoka, said he first sought the seat three years ago when Mr. Losquadro was nominated. He said his experience of living in both Brookhaven and Southold towns has given him a vast knowledge of the district.

“I’ve been interested in it for a while,” he said. “I feel I’ve got a good grasp of the issues we’re dealing with.”

Mr. Faulk said his experience working as a legislative aide has helped familiarize him with the needs of North Fork residents.

“Serving in the Assembly would give me an opportunity to continue the work we started in the Legislature,” he said. “I miss working on the North Fork. I learned a lot of things that could help me do a good job.

“Mr. Losquadro worked hard to fight the MTA payroll tax, and for open space preservation,” he added. “I would continue along that road to protect taxpayers and small-business owners.”

Riverhead Town Republican chairman John Galla said that as of noon Tuesday nobody from Riverhead had inquired about the nomination.

“We’re going to send out an email and you never know who will come forward,” he said. “Anybody is welcome to screen with us.”

Both Mr. Galla and Southold Republican chairman Peter McGreevy said the nominee will be decided by themselves, Suffolk County chairman John Jay LaValle and Brookhaven party leader Jesse Garcia.

Mr. McGreevy said that while Southold has more interested parties, that doesn’t mean the town has a lock on the nomination.

“Just because we have four potential candidates doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate will be from Southold,” he said. “We have to wait until we’re done screening.”

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With Tim Kelly, Tim Gannon and Beth Young.

11/07/12 1:56pm
11/07/2012 1:56 PM

Riverhead Town made a clear choice for president, favoring Republican challenger Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama, according to unofficial county results provided by the Riverhead Republican Committee chairman John Galla.

But in the heavily contested race for the 1st Congressional district seat, Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop emerged the winner by a slim margin.

Mr. Romney held the edge over Mr. Obama in Riverhead Town, winning 7,035 to 6,214 with 53 percent of the vote, the numbers provided by Mr. Galla show.

But Republican candidate Randy Altschuler lost a close race here.

Mr. Bishop won Riverhead by just 158 votes, 6,491 to 6,333, according to the results.

Mr. Galla said he was surprised the local enthusiasm for Romney in the election didn’t translate into for success for Altschuler.

“I had people all around town calling me asking for Romney signs,” he said. “That’s never happened before, even under Reagan, to be honest.”

Mr. Galla said he thought Mr. Altschuler would be able to ride Romney’s coattails and “win big” in the town. Mr. Galla believed “deficiencies” in Mr. Altschuler’s campaign is to blame for their close race in Riverhead town.

“Every campaign is the difference about opportunities taken and opportunities missed,” said Mr. Galla, a longtime political activist who’s run several campaigns himself.

While Riverhead was a solid win for Romney, Suffolk County was a different story. Mr. Obama pulled ahead with just over 50 percent of the vote and won the county, 274,830 votes to 259,348 for the Republican challenger, according to the unofficial results.

The final results should be available in the next week to 10 days, Mr. Galla said.

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04/18/11 8:49am
04/18/2011 8:49 AM
Southampton Republican leader Ernest Wruck (from left), County Treasurer Angie Carpenter, Riverhead Republican leader John Galla, Southold Republican leader Denis Noncarrow, and East Hampton Republican leader Trace Duryea at Friday's screening.

COURTESY PHOTO | Southampton Republican leader Ernest Wruck (from left), County Treasurer Angie Carpenter, Riverhead Republican leader John Galla, Southold Republican leader Denis Noncarrow, and East Hampton Republican leader Trace Duryea at Friday's screening.

Republicans from all five East End towns gathered at Polish Hall in Riverhead Friday to jointly screen candidates to replace Steve Levy as the GOP nominee for County Executive.

According to Riverhead Republican leader John Galla, the groups screened three potential candidates: County Treasurer and former County Legislator Angie Carpenter, state Assemblyman  Michael Fitzpatrick of St. James, and state Senator John Flanagan of East Northport. He said county Commissioner of Jurors Michael O’Donohoe has screened with other town committees, but was not present Friday.

Others who were rumored to be possibly screening Friday, but did not, were former Congressman Rick Lazio and Randy Altschuler, who narrowly lost a Congressional race to incumbent Tim Bishop last November.

Mr. Galla said County Comptroller Joe Sawicki of Southold has withdrawn his name from consideration for a county executive run, and County Legislator Ed Romaine, who represents the North Fork, was present Friday but has not asked to be screened.

It is believed to be the first time the East End Republican committees have jointly screened for county executive, although they have done so for other races.