08/29/14 8:00am
James Lawrence is escorted into town court last week. (Credit: Paul Squire)

James Lawrence is escorted into town court last week. (Credit: Paul Squire)

They find their window screens torn. They’ll notice patio furniture moved around, or broken. And sometimes, in the snow-covered mornings of winter, they can see footprints leading up to their homes.

These are the signs of a serial Peeping Tom a handful of Greenport residents say has been terrorizing them for years.  (more…)

08/22/14 1:00pm
White-tailed deer grazing in Southold Tuesday. Supervisor Scott Russell has called reducing the local deer population the town's number one priority.  (Credit: Katharine Schreoder)

White-tailed deer grazing in Southold Tuesday. Supervisor Scott Russell has called reducing the local deer population the town’s number one priority. (Credit: Katharine Schreoder)

Last year, a total of 30 deer that had wandered onto Half Hollow Nurseries in Laurel were shot and killed. The shootings were all legal, allowed by off-season nuisance permits issued by the state.

This year, not a single deer has been killed there during the off-season, said general manager Karl Novak.  (more…)

08/20/14 8:00am
A teen skates near a no-skateboarding sign in Mitchel Park Monday evening. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A teen skates near a no-skateboarding sign in Mitchell Park Monday evening. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Don’t worry, Greenport skaters. There may be signs around the village warning you to stay away, but there’s nothing on the books to actually back them up.

Village officials said they are now considering adding a section to the village code that would prohibit skateboarding, since the signs themselves are “unenforceable.”  (more…)

08/16/14 12:00pm
A Cutchogue firefighter helps lead a fire hose into the department's training scene Wednesday evening (Credit: Paul Squire)

A Cutchogue firefighter helps lead a fire hose into the department’s training scene Wednesday evening. (Credit: Paul Squire)

On Wednesday night, more than a dozen Cutchogue volunteer firefighters piled into a smoke-filled house to practice fighting fires and rescuing trapped victims. Normally, the Cutchogue Fire Department trains at the Yaphank Fire Academy. (more…)

08/14/14 10:00am
Robert Sullivan mug shot (Credit: Southold Town Police Department)

Robert Sullivan’s mug shot from his April arrest (Credit: Southold Town Police Department)

A Cutchogue man previously charged with threatening a police officer with a barbecue fork in April was arrested again Wednesday after he allegedly stole from an occupied home and was later caught with steroids, drugs and hypodermic needles, Southold Town police said. (more…)

08/12/14 3:33pm
Southold Town Supervisor  Scott Russell discusses the deer cull results at the East Marion Community Association meeting last Thursday. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell discusses the deer cull results at the East Marion Community Association meeting last Thursday. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The number of deer killed in Southold Town as part of the controversial federal cull that took place earlier this year was far outpaced by the town’s own hunting program, said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell.

He said the federal efforts involving U.S. Department of Agriculture-trained sharpshooters were hampered by lawsuits and opposition from animal-rights and hunting groups.

Official numbers on the results of the cull have not yet been released by the Long Island Farm Bureau, which coordinated the efforts. The organization’s executive director, Joe Gergela, did not return calls seeking comment and USDA spokespeople have been referring all calls to the farm bureau.

Mr. Russell said the town’s hunting program was a success in killing 265 deer on town lands this year, the USDA cull totals from about a dozen private properties in town were lower, although he could not give exact amounts.

“The cull had been severely hamstrung,” Mr. Russell said  at a community association meeting in East Marion last Thursday. ”There were groups out there that wanted to stop the cull and they were largely successful.

“The numbers [of deer killed] are going to be very low, I would say insignificant,” he added.

Opponents of the cull have called the USDA’s sharpshooter program — which involves baiting deer before shooting them, mostly at night — inhumane and a challenge to local hunter’s rights.

Mike Tessitore, president of the hunters-rights and conservation group Hunters for Deer, said he expected numbers for the cull to be low.

“It just goes to show you that hunters are not only a cheaper option but more effective,” he said.

The Long Island Farm Bureau, which had secured a $250,000 grant for the program, had lobbied all East End towns and villages last fall to contribute, asking for $25,000 from each town, including Brookhaven, and $15,000 from each village.

But the towns of Southampton, Riverhead and Shelter Island all eventually decided not to participate financially, leaving Southold as the only East End town to support the cull.

Yet sharpshooters did acquire permits to operate on private properties in Riverhead, Southold and Southampton towns, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation documents. In addition, Southold Town held its own hunting program on town-owned lands that were excluded from the cull.

Mr. Russell said Tuesday that the town will be refunded a portion of the $25,000 it paid the Long Island Farm Bureau, since the cull was minimized.

The effort was hampered in large part by a state Supreme Court decision in March that prevented the DEC from issuing any further deer hunting permits, essentially stopping the cull from expanding, Mr. Russell said.

Many of the private properties that had previously agreed to participate in the cull pulled out under pressure from the cull’s opponents, he added. Mr. Russell said the properties that remained were rendered practically unusable after hunters groups that opposed the cull — including Hunters for Deer — publicized the locations on social media and walked through the areas to disperse the deer.

But Mr. Tessitore said Tuesday that his group only posted photos of the locations, and took no steps to hamper cull activities there.

Those running the cull did attempt to “make the most” of the effort by donating thousands of pounds of venison to local food pantries, Mr. Russell said. But ultimately, he said, the cull was a disappointment.

“We have to do something here,” he said. “Deer are an economic crisis, deer are a public health crisis and believe it or not, deer are a huge environmental crisis. They’re devastating the ecosystem.”

Mr. Tessitore said in an interview that his group agreed that the deer population needed to be managed, but said federally managed culling is doing a job hunters could do for free with the right regulations.

“We want to make sure we have a good, healthy herd,” he said. “We want to protect our hunting opportunities but we also want to preserve the species … The DEC really needs to realize that hunting on Long Island needs to be regulated like a management tool, not a sport.”

Hunters for Deer was willing to work on a solution with those supporting the cull, he said. But he claims the organization was left out of the process; if the cull goes forward last this year, the group is resolved to continue to fight.

“We’re going to be more aggressive in our tactics next year,” Mr. Tessitore said. “We’re not going to be as passive.

“They’re not going to shove it down our throats like last time.”

psquire@timesreview.com

08/07/14 11:30am

 

Felix Cruz Garcia is led into his arraignment in Southold Town court Thursday morning. He was held without bail until his arraignment could be completed with a lawyer present. (Credit: Paul Squire photo)

Felix Cruz Garcia is led into his arraignment in Southold Town court Thursday morning. He was held without bail until his arraignment could be completed with a lawyer present. (Credit: Paul Squire photo)

The Level 3 sex offender arrested Wednesday night and accused of failing to register with police had been previously convicted of failing to register in 2012, a town judge said at the man’s arraignment Thursday morning.

Felix Cruz Garcia, 41, of Greenport will be held without bail until his arraignment can be completed Friday in the presence of a lawyer, said Southold Town Justice William Price.

Mr. Garcia did not enter a plea Thursday morning. (more…)