Here are 10 Suffolk Times stories you may have missed over the past week. To make sure you stay on top of breaking North Fork news, follow @thesuffolktimes on Twitter.
A drunk Greenport man was arrested and charged with a number of citations, among them DWI, after police said he pulled his car over to the side of the road Thursday afternoon and was witnessed vomiting from the open driver’s side door.
According to police, 30-year-old Armando Chua Sandoval had been driving his 1999 Volkswagon sedan eastbound on Route 25 just before 2 p.m. on Thursday when he pulled over to the shoulder. Police said he was observed “vomiting from the open drivers’ door of his vehicle” and was later found to be intoxicated.
Police later found that he was operating an unregistered vehicle, he had improper plates and he was uninsured, along with several violations. He was charged with aggravated DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree, having an unregistered vehicle, having an uninsured vehicle, and having improper license plates.
It was a fitting day for a commercial dock to open up in Greenport, albeit a rare occasion these days.
Widow’s Hole Oysters cut the ribbon at its new 140-foot dock on Saturday morning on the opening morning of the village’s annual Maritime Festival, celebrating the company’s expansion after the project was delayed due to opposition from neighbors and a clerical error by the village.
Mike and Isabel Osinski had proposed the new dock as well as expanding part of their operation in a creek on the west side of their property that abuts Fourth Street homes. The company owners ultimately scaled back the expansion to please neighbors who voiced opposition to the plan. However, plans to build the dock heading into Greenport Harbor, on the east side, were stalled after the Greenport Village board said a clerical error required a second public hearing on the plan.
Mr. Osinski had some choice words for those who opposed the expansion, as well as the village, though summed it up on Saturday morning by saying, ”It was an ordeal.”
While the celebration for Widow’s Hole fit in with the theme of the day in Greenport, dockbuilder John Costello of Costello Marine said opening a new commercial dock isn’t something that happens too frequently anymore in the village, which originally grew due to its commercial fishing success in the mid-1800s.
In fact, Mr. Costello — who’s been building docks for 51 years — couldn’t recall the last time he built a working commercial dock in Greenport, noting that most of his work in the village comes through repairs.
“We’ve seen them disappear as more condos took the prime real estate,” he said.
The dock was completed on Thursday and took about five weeks from start to finish.
As supporters of Widow’s Hole hoisted a “Working Waterfront Greenport” sign, Congressman Tim Bishop was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new dock after helping Widow’s Hole secure permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to complete dredging work required to help get the expansion up and running.
Mr. Osinski said that in addition to growing in Greenport Harbor, Widow’s Hole is now leasing 10 acres near Gardiner’s Island from Suffolk County, and the added dock space and stronger winches will permit the company to keep up with growing demand for local oysters in New York City.
“I’d like to grow the oysters to three years old, but the demand is too much. Everybody wants them,” he said.
Over the years, Riverhead has sought to be a lot of things.
But a hub for craft beer?
That’s what one prospective brewer says it’s becoming, and it’s what’s drawing his company to the area. Long Beard Brewing Co. is an up-and-coming craft beer brewer that’s looking for a home in Riverhead.
They’re eying the Second Street firehouse near downtown. See northforker.com for more.
The North Fork is a better place today thanks to the work of Howard Meinke, fellow environmental advocates and colleagues say.
He was a tenacious champion for the environment and for the quality of life issues affecting his neighbors. He always educated himself on the problems the North Fork faced before backing a solution.
Pine Barrens Society executive director Richard Amper said the North Fork might have become developed like Brookhaven Town had Mr. Meinke not been around.
“The problem with Brookhaven was that they didn’t have Howard Meinke,” Mr. Amper said. ”I don’t believe [the North Fork] would be the wonderful place that it is without him. He is the model, the consummate community advocate and I don’t know what we’re going to do without him.” (more…)
It’s September and Calverton resident Greg Fischer is breaking out the campaign signs again.
He used some of them during his unsuccessful run for Riverhead Town supervisor in 2012. A small section of the signs showing the office he ran for then have been cut away.
They’re the same signs he used in campaigns for town tax assessor in 2013 and the Riverhead school board this year. And they’re the same ones he’ll now use to run for New York State comptroller on the Rent is 2 Damn High party line.
Mr. Fischer’s running mate is two-time gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan, the YouTube sensation from New York City who wears black gloves and famously debated Andrew Cuomo in 2010 by answering questions with the response, “The rent is too damn high.”
It’s a race Mr. Fischer fully admits he is destined to lose.
“If you don’t have a major party endorsement, you’re not getting elected,” he told the Riverhead News-Review. “It’s mathematically impossible … I cannot possibly win.”
That won’t stop him. In fact, Mr. Fischer says he’ll never stop running for office. “I’m going to run at least once a year forever,” he vowed.
The goal, he says, is to eventually prove that someone who “refuses to play the game” with political parties can win the public’s vote.
“I’m playing by the real rules,” he said. “[The parties] are not playing by the real rules. They’re playing by some corrupt, under-enforced, secret government game.”
Mr. Fischer is actually surprised he’s made it this far into his most recent campaign. Some of his previous electoral runs were derailed by allegations of improper petition signatures and court decisions against him.
Mr. McMillan, his running mate, said Mr. Fischer was a “breath of fresh air,” though he took issue with Mr. Fischer’s assertion that he could not win.
Mr. Fischer, he said, “needs to understand my issues are not games or jokes.”
According to a biography on his campaign website, Mr. Fischer founded Micro Perfect, a strategy and software consulting firm that has “thousands of clients worldwide,” though he said the company’s website is <z9.940>now defunct and that he operates his company through “word of mouth.”
“I’ve got a backlog that could last me years and years,” he said.
He also ran The Political Patriot, a free newspaper that printed briefly in 2009, though he said he intends to restart the venture soon.
“Most of my days are filled with politics and being a single dad,” Mr. Fischer said.
UPDATE (6:40 a.m.): Southold police identified the victim of Thursday night’s accident as 86-year-old Howard Meinke of Laurel.
Police said Mr. Meinke was attempting to cross Route 48 in Greenport in a marked crosswalk when he was struck by a vehicle headed east driven by 41-year-old Eric Melrose of Greenport. Mr. Meinke had been leaving the Soundview Restaurant with family after attending an Italian dinner fundraiser for Eastern Long Island Hospital Auxiliary, family members said.
Mr. Meinke was transported to Eastern Long Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
No criminal charges have been filed, and the case is pending further investigation. Mr. Melrose’s vehicle was impounded for a safety inspection.
Police Chief Martin Flatley said Mr. Meinke’s wife had already crossed the street when Mr. Meinke was hit. The driver told police that he didn’t see Mr. Meinke until it was too late.
Mr. Flatley said the straight road often makes it difficult for pedestrians to gauge vehicle’s speeds; that, combined with the darkness around the crosswalk at night, likely contributed to the accident, he said.
Mr. Meinke was a former president of the North Fork Environmental Council and a frequent contributor to The Suffolk Times’ opinion section.
His letters typically touched on topic ranging from local environmental concerns to global warming to economic inequality.
“He was probably one of the most passionate people that you’d want,” said Bill Toedter, current president of the NFEC. “Nothing flew off the top of his head, everything was very thought out. He was concerned with getting the facts right, but sometimes his heart and passion for the North Fork overrode everything.
“It’s a big loss for the East End,” Mr. Toedter said.
Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski had been at the fundraiser and had spoken to Mr. Meinke just before the accident.
“We were pretty shocked, because we had just seen him,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of everyone involved.”
Mr. Krupski said the County Legislature had approved measures last year to divert the road — which has a 50-mph speed limit — further south to address safety concerns. Two other pedestrians had previously been killed in the same spot in 2007 and 2009.
Construction on the roadway is set to begin in 2016, with a divider being built in between the lanes of traffic for pedestrians to stop in.
“This is in the works,” he said. “We know it’s a dangerous part of the road.”
Mr. Krupski said he spoke with the Department of Public Works commissioner Friday morning about the plan, but added that the effort would take time since it still needed to be designed and utility poles would have to be moved.
“It’s a complicated project,” he said. “It’s not just a repaving.” Mr. Krupski said interim measures, like lowering the speed limit, may not make the area any safer.
“You can lower the speed, but that always comes down to enforcement,” he said.
Original Story: Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said a man was killed Thursday night while crossing Route 48 in Greenport as he was leaving a restaurant.
The man, whose identification is being held pending notification of next of kin, was apparently leaving Soundview Restaurant and crossing the street southbound around 8 p.m. when he was struck by the vehicle, the chief said.
Greenport Fire Department responded to the scene and transported the victim to Eastern Long Island Hospital.
Thursday’s fatality was the second one of the day in Southold. Just after midnight, a 30-year-old mother drove into the woods in Orient Point with her 18-month-old daughter. The mother was killed in the single-car crash.
Check back with more information as it becomes available.
Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to the area of the accident as Sound Avenue, not Route 48.
After Chester Massey & Sons duck farm in Eastport closes later this year, there will be just one surviving business in what was once among Long Island’s most prominent agricultural industries.
That fact is not lost on Doug Corwin of Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue, which has for years been Long Island’s largest duck farm and will soon be its last. (more…)