01/26/15 8:00am
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The Greenport school board approved Superintendent Michael Comanda's retirement request at Wednesday night's meeting.

Michael Comanda, who retired as Greenport’s superintendent, will take over the New Suffolk budget this year. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

New Suffolk school board president Tony Dill confirmed this week he won’t prepare the next spending plan as he’s done in years past.

That’s because the district’s part-time superintendent, Michael Comanda, is now available to take over the process.  (more…)

01/24/15 10:00am
Southold High School senior Juliane Van Gorden sketches a self-portrait after school earlier this month. She travels into Manhattan once a week to take classes at Fashion Institute of Technology. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo photos)

Southold High School senior Juliane Van Gorden sketches a self-portrait after school earlier this month. She travels into Manhattan once a week to take classes at Fashion Institute of Technology. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo photos)

Southold High School senior Juliane Van Gorden doesn’t mind waking up at 4 a.m. and driving to Ronkonkoma to catch a 6 a.m. train into Manhattan on Saturdays after working in a restaurant the night before.

That’s because the 17-year-old Southold resident is dedicated to furthering her art skills at SUNY/Fashion Institute of Technology. She recently finished an observation drawing course there and is planning to take another course next month that will teach her how to draw live models.

“Working with live models is a big step for me,” she said in a recent interview. “In the art world, it’s highly respected.”

Juliane gave a presentation at the December school board meeting in Southold, during which she described her experience in the FIT program and expressed her gratitude to the district for providing a supportive atmosphere that allowed her to immerse herself in art.

(more…)

01/21/15 9:56pm
Diane O’Neill enters court in RIverhead last Wednesday. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

Diane O’Neill enters court in Riverhead last Wednesday. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

The Southold High School math teacher arrested on a drunken driving charge after she fatally struck a pedestrian in Jamesport last week has retired.

The Southold Board of Education unanimously approved Diane O’Neill’s retirement without discussion in a resolution listing several other personnel items at its meeting Wednesday night.

Police said Ms. O’Neill, 65, of Farmingville was driving her 2007 Mercedes-Benz westbound on Main Road near Herricks Lane shortly after 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 13 when she struck George Kurovics, a 90-year-old beloved barber and war veteran from Jamesport.

His family believes Mr. Kurovics had stopped after he spotted one of the family’s cats dead on the roadside.

Superintendent David Gamberg said after the meeting that Ms. O’Neill, who’s worked in the district for 21 years, is eligible for her benefits and will be granted them.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation,” he said, when asked for comment. “My heart goes out to everyone involved.”

Ms. O’Neill was arraigned last Wednesday and released on $10,000 bail. She’s due back in court next month.

jnuzzo@timesreview.com

01/20/15 4:00pm
Melanie Stafford speaks at a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (far right), state Senator John Flanagan (second from right) and family members of hit-and-run victims. Ms. Stafford's uncle was killed in 2012 while crossing the street in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Melanie Stafford speaks at a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (far right), state Senator John Flanagan (second from right) and family members of hit-and-run victims. Ms. Stafford’s uncle was killed in 2012 while crossing the street in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and the families of hit-and-run victims are calling on state lawmakers to increase penalties for those convicted of fleeing the scene of a fatal accident.

Mr. Spota and members of several families, including a relative of Scott Wayte — the Brookhaven man who was struck and killed in 2012 while crossing East Main Street in downtown Riverhead — held a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday, saying they want the state to increase the maxiumn sentence for fatal hit-and-run crimes from seven years to 15 years in prison.  (more…)

01/19/15 10:01am
Reverend Dr. Hildreth McGhee playing the piano at the Orient Congregation Church on Sunday. Rev. McGhee was the keynote speaker at Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Reverend H.G. McGhee playing the piano at the Orient Congregational Church on Sunday. Rev. McGhee was the keynote speaker at Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Be thankful for progress.

That was the message at Sunday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Orient,  where community members gathered at the congregational church to remember the slain civil rights leader.

(more…)

Mattituck High School music teacher Jacob Fowle, right, and principal Shawn Petretti in the chorus room where the (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Mattituck High School music teacher Jacob Fowle, right, and principal Shawn Petretti in the chorus room where students practiced the school song for the winter concert. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Mattituck High School principal Shawn Petretti can’t say with certainty how long the school’s song had been lost.

He also isn’t sure why it faded from memory. The former high school history teacher says he’s just happy it’s back.

“It sent chills down my spine to hear the song,” Mr. Petretti said, recalling how he felt after hearing the student chorus sing it for the first time in November.

(more…)

01/09/15 8:00am
The Southold and Greenport school boards held a joint work session Wednesday. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The Southold and Greenport school boards held a joint work session at Greenport High School on Wednesday. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Lots of praise. Few concerns. No complaints.

And, the difficulty of shopping for a red-and-purple striped tie.

Those were some of the topics discussed at Southold and Greenport’s first-ever joint school board work session with a shared superintendent Wednesday night at Greenport High School.

(more…)