06/30/12 7:00pm
06/30/2012 7:00 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Don Fisher, president of the Railroad Museum of Long Island, stands by what’s left of the historic Engine 39. The boiler is still in Pennsylvania where it being repaired until the nonprofit museum ran out of money.

Back in the late 1970s, a group of railroad enthusiasts began the dream of bringing an old steam locomotive from Stony Brook to Riverhead so they could restore it, and even use it to run tourist trips between Riverhead and Greenport.

Fast-forward to 2012: The restoration of Engine 39, which was build in 1929, still is not complete and a lot more money is needed before the long-held dream ever becomes a reality.

The Railroad Museum of Long Island, which took over the Engine 39 preservation efforts from the Engine 39 Restoration Committee in the early 1990s, received an $800,000 grant for the work in 1996.

But that money was all spent by December 2009 and the group stopped work on the engine, leaving parts of it — including the boiler and firebox — in a restoration shop in Strasburg, Pa., where they remain. Other portions of the locomotive, including the cab and the wheels, are in Riverhead.

“We’re not giving up,” said museum president Don Fisher.

The downturn in the economy has made it difficult to get grants or donations for the job, and he estimates that completing the restoration will require an additional $2 million.

So instead of seeking more government grants, the museum, which has locations in Riverhead and Greenport, plans to go national with its campaign to restore Engine 39, he said.

And it’s going to happen next year.

“Beginning in 2013, we’re starting a nationwide, grass-roots donations campaign to raise the $2 million,” he said. “This is a paradigm shift for the museum. This is a complete turn away from government grants or entitlements. We’re not going to go to the government anymore, because we can’t. The taxpayers, I don’t believe, support preservation and history like they used to. These are tough times. So we’re going to turn to a nationwide campaign.”

The first step for the group is to obtain lists of as many railroad enthusiasts and history buffs as possible, and then try to solicit donations from them, Mr. Fisher said.

“If we can get 2 million people across the United States to send in one dollar, we can get this job done,” he said. “We can get the restoration completed — and without government grants.

“This is not limited to Long Island,” he added. “This has interest to a much wider industrial history group.”

Engine 39 is one of only three locomotives of its type remaining in the U.S., according to Mr. Fisher. During its heyday, it could reach great speeds quickly, travel at more than 80 mph and also stop quickly.

Another steam engine, featured with Engine 39 in the Long Island Rail Road’s 1955 “End of Steam” ceremony in Hicksville, is now at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. The third, a diesel locomotive known as Engine 1556, is also at the Railroad Museum of Long Island’s museum and yard at Griffing and Railroad avenues in Riverhead.

There are a number of other old trains and train cars the group has restored, or is working on, as well as a gift shop, an historic Lionel train layout and a working miniature train from the 1964 World’s Fair.

The long range goal for Engine 39, “if we can get $2 million,” Mr. Fisher said, is still to run dinner trains between Riverhead and Greenport and vineyard excursions on the weekends.

He’s hopeful that going nationwide will be the answer.

“If we can’t get the money that way, honestly, I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” Mr. Fisher said. “But we’re not giving up. We’re chartered by the State Education Department as stewards of this equipment for everybody in New York.

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06/30/12 2:30pm

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | A child’s toothbrush and other debris at Saturday morning’s crash scene.

Three people, including a 3-year-old girl, were injured in a head-on collision in Jamesport Saturday, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, Riverhead police said.

John Cain, 72, of Jamesport was driving a 2007 Dodge pickup truck northbound on Manor Lane when his vehicle crossed the roadway and struck a southbound Subaru Forester about 10 a.m. near a curve just north of Fox Lane on Manor Lane, police said.

“It was one of those skids, where you don’t want to hear the crash at the end,” said Ed Lucas.

He and his wife, Joanne, who live near the crash scene, rushed to the street immediately and tended to the little girl, identified as Ella Giles, and her mom, Rebecca, who were both still inside the SUV.

They comforted the girl and her shaken mother until emergency responders arrived.

“The baby pointed across her chest where the five-point seat belt would be,” Ms. Lucas said. “She started developing bruises under her arms and she had blood coming from her mouth. By the time the paramedics arrived, her lips were all swollen.

“She was very coherent and the mother was very calm,” she continued. “I suspect [the mother] was in shock because she had a hard time getting in contact with her husband and was going in and out of even knowing her child was there.”

“Someone wanted to take the little girl out of the car, ” Mr. Lucas added, “but we knew we should wait for the paramedics to arrive.”

Ms. Lucas also rushed to get a towel to help tend to Mr. Cain, whose head struck the window and was bleeding profusely, Mr. Lucas said.

“He had a major horse-shoe shaped gash going across his forehead…” he said. “He hit the windshield hard. He was bleeding so profusely… It was like watching a pot of water boil waiting for the paramedics, but they were very fast”

Mr. Cain was airlifted from the scene to Stony Brook University Medical Center and two others, and the mom and her daughter were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for treatment, police and the witnesses said.

“From what I understand one of the vehicles crossed into the other lane,” said Jamesport Fire Department Chief Harold “Duffy” Griffiths. “We had to use the Jaws of Life [extraction tool] briefly to cut a gear shift out of the way” of the SUV.

“This is a very dangerous part of the road and people just fly down it,” Ms. Lucas said.

It was not immediately known what caused Mr. Cain to swerve into oncoming traffic.

Both cars were impounded for safety checks.

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call Riverhead police detectives at 727-4500, ext. 328.

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Paul Squire contributed reporting to this article.

06/30/12 1:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Baby barn swallows take a look to see where their mother went.

This barn swallow nest sits above a garage door at Karen Glover and Bob Taylor’s house on Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue.

Ms. Glover said the mother bird got so used to the couple coming and going from the garage that the bird doesn’t get startled or leave the nest.

But when staff photographer Barbaraellen Koch showed, the mother bird left the nest and screeched and circled above at about 25 feet until Ms. Koch left.

While mom was away, the babies looked over the top of the nest to see what was the matter.

06/30/12 11:00am

CORNELL RESEARCH LAB COURTESY PHOTO | Late blight in a potato field in Riverhead.

Late blight, the vegetable disease that caused the Irish potato famine, has now been found at three locations between Riverhead and Mattituck, Dr. Meg McGrath of Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center said last week.

Dr. McGrath said that the blight has been found on tomatoes and potatoes at both farms and backyard gardens. The disease, which begins with brown lesions on the leaves and stems of plants, affects only tomatoes, potatoes and some ornamental plants.

Dr. McGrath said the disease, a fungus, often spreads after rainfall. The spores can travel up to 30 miles.

Blight was first spotted in the region, at a Riverhead farm, in May.

She is recommending that home gardeners check their plants daily to see if they have the disease and, if it is suspected, bring them to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s home gardening resource center on Griffing Avenue in Riverhead.

She said not treating late blight can lead to gardeners becoming “Typhoid Marys,” who can unknowingly devastate an entire region’s crops if the disease goes unchecked.

Infected plants must be dug up and disposed of in the trash. They should not be composted.

Gardeners who are concerned they have late blight can call CCE at 727-4126 for more information.

More photos of late blight are available at http://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/vegpath/photos/lateblight_tomato.htm.

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06/30/12 9:00am

JEREMY GARRETSON PHOTO | This 40-foot boat ran ashore Friday afternoon in Orient. No injuries were reported.

Update: The operator of a 40-foot cabin cruiser that plowed into an East Marion beach Friday has been charged with boating while intoxicated, Southold Town police said.

Michael Gress, 48, of North Salem in Westchester County was operating the boat in a southerly direction on autopilot when he ran aground just before 2:30 p.m., police said. No injuries were reported.

ORIGINAL STORY: A man fell asleep while driving a 40-foot boat on autopilot and ran ashore at Truman’s Beach in East Marion Friday afternoon, witnesses said.

Jeremy Garretson said he was at a friend’s house and noticed a 40-foot boat heading toward the sand shortly before 3 p.m. There were only a few people on the beach at the time, he said.

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | The 40-foot cabin cruiser gets towed from the scene.

“At first I thought he was going to turn around, but he never slowed down,” Mr. Garretson said.

After the boat hit the beach, Mr. Garretson said he saw a man stumble out of the boat and heard him say he fell asleep while driving on autopilot.

Chris Sharman, who is visiting family in Orient, said he also witnessed the large vessel crash into the town beach off the Orient causeway.

“He was just coming straight for the beach going full speed” said Mr. Sharman, a U.S. Navy commander. ” I don’t know if he was asleep or what.”

Mr. Sharman added that he had just arrived to New York from China.

“China has some strange sights,” he said, “But we don’t have too many boats coming at full speed up onto the shore.”

Susan dunning, who on the scene as the boat was towed away at 6 p.m., said the vessel’s driver was able to walk away from the scene, but that he was led by police.

It was not clear if the man was charged with a crime. Southold police said they would issue details at a later time.

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Additional reporting by Jennifer Gustavson.

06/30/12 8:55am

Three people were arrested within a 10-hour period during two separate traffic stops in Southold Town, police said.

In the first case, Southold police pulled over a 48-year-old Cutchogue man Friday evening and ended up arrested him and a female passenger on cocaine charges, town police said.

Hector Jimenez was stopped about 6:10 p.m. on Route 25 in Cutchogue for a traffic violation, after which officers found cocaine in the car, police said.

He and passenger Lisa Mandracchia, 46, of New Suffolk — who was also arrested in April for driving under the influence of drugs — were each charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance charges and released on $250 bail, police said.

Then, early Saturday, town police arrested 33-year-old William Peralta of Mattituck on a DWI charge and other traffic violations.

His car was pulled over about 3:45 p.m. along Peconic Bay Boulevard in Mattituck for swerving when police found he was driving while intoxicated and had no driver’s license, Southold Town police said.

He was being held overnight at Southold police headquarters.

06/30/12 7:00am

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Sag Harbor Village officials board the Peconic Bay Water Jitney Friday afternoon in Greenport.

East End visitors can now see the North and South forks in the same day by taking a 40-minute ride aboard the new Peconic Bay Water Jitney passenger ferry, which held a soft opening this week.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who proposed the 100-day water taxi pilot plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said ferry operations linking Greenport and Sag Harbor villages have gone “very well.”

“We’ve been on schedule,” Mr. Ryan said. “So far, so good.”

In Greenport, passengers get on and off the 53-passenger vessel near the camera obscura in Mitchell Park. From there, the ferry hugs the shoreline of Shelter Island and docks at the north end of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.

Ferry operators said about 25 people rode the ferry as of 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride, along with Village Clerk Beth Kamper, Chief of Police Tom Fabiano and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley took the 10 a.m. ferry to Greenport Friday morning in order to experience it first hand.

“The ride was very enjoyable,” Mr. Gilbride said. “I plan to take my kids and grandkids here.”

Sag Harbor Village officials said they ate brunch at the Coronet, visited Village Hall and window shopped.

“It was a great trip and beautiful ride,” Ms. Kamper said.

Peconic Bay Water Jitney also includes bus service to alleviate parking congestion in both villages.

Hampton Jitney shuttles passengers between Bridgehampton, East Hampton and the ferry dock in Sag Harbor. On the North Fork, shuttle service between Greenport School, where people would park, and Mitchell Park Marina is set to begin Saturday.

The ferry will make seven trips from each port Sundays through Wednesdays, starting at 7 a.m. from Greenport. There will be nine daily departures from each port Thursdays through Saturdays.

The estimated 40-minute ride will cost $11 for adults one way and $20 round trip.

For more information, visit peconicjitney.com.

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06/29/12 11:34pm
06/29/2012 11:34 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork second baseman Ryan Burns fielding a ground ball Friday night against Center Moriches.


It could that the North Fork Ospreys are more comfortable and locked in at the plate. Or maybe it’s a matter of opposing pitching staffs tiring and running thin on fresh arms. Regardless, one thing is undeniable: The Ospreys are hitting the heck out of the baseball these days.

The evidence has been seen in recent results. On Thursday, the Ospreys found themselves trailing by eight runs before coming to bat in the top of the ninth inning in an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game against the Sag Harbor Whalers at Mashashimuet Park. Incredibly, the Ospreys started the inning with seven straight hits, rallied for nine runs that inning and won, 13-12.

“We led off with a single, and then another one and another one,” said Ospreys second baseman Ryan Burns.

“That was probably the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of,” said Ryan Solberg, a field player who was pressed into pitching duty and gained the win in two-thirds of an inning on the mound.

Ospreys coach Bill Ianniciello called the game “extraordinary.” He said he could compare that game to only one other one that he was involved in as a player “many moons ago.” Ianniciello said, “I think we’ve been hitting into some bad luck, and I think we got a lot of it back at once.”

And then there was Friday night’s game.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Eric Romano was one of seven North Fork batters who had a multi-hit game in the win over Center Moriches.

Solberg stroked three hits and six other Ospreys had two each in an 11-7 defeat of the Center Moriches Battlecats at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic. Solberg stroked two doubles and a single, driving in two runs in the process. Two-hit games were turned in by Burns (two runs batted in), Kyle Adie (one RBI), Anthony Aceto (two RBI), Eric Romano (one RBI) and Robert Paller. The Ospreys (11-6), who produced 15 hits, took the lead for good in the third inning when they strung together four runs for a 4-3 lead.

Eight of the nine Ospreys who batted had at least one hit.

“I’m pretty sure this is as hot as we’ve been,” said Burns.

Through the team’s first 15 games, the Ospreys had a modest .246 team batting average. Tim Panetta (.424, three home runs, 10 RBI) and Dan Kerr (.333, two home runs, nine RBI) were North Fork’s leading hitters. The team’s pitching has been reliable and steady, but in the past two games North Fork’s hitting has been impressive.

“We’re hitting, but we’re at the point where some of the teams — us included — are a little stretched in pitching,” Ianniciello said after Friday night’s game. “They’ve seen pitchers a couple of times. Hitters are getting a little more locked in. We’ve been having better at-bats. Tonight we were aggressive in the right spots.”

Meanwhile, Ospreys pitcher Vaughn Hayward picked up the win with nine strikeouts. He gave up four earned runs, nine hits and three walks over six innings.

Center Moriches (10-9) received a big game from Ryan Ellis, who went 3 for 3, with a home run, two RBI, a double and a walk. Griffin Moore also homered for the Battlecats.

The Ospreys never lost the lead after Alex Perez’s sacrifice fly snapped a 3-3 tie in the third. For the game, they hit 7 for 17 with runners in scoring position.

“Basically, comfort at the plate is the biggest thing that we’re starting to get, and with that comes confidence, and then it just kind of skyrockets from there,” Solberg said. “Our team is on fire. We’re really hitting the ball well.”

A team that hits well has confidence, a team that has confidence plays loose, and a team that plays loose puts itself in a good position to win.

“Our pitching has been phenomenal,” Solberg said. “Now we’re starting to crush the ball, and that’s when it gets really fun, when you have good pitching and solid hitting.”

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06/29/12 4:04pm

Salvatore Ribaudo of Southold died June 27 at the age of 72.

Born Sept. 16, 1939, in Casteldaccia, Sicily, to Andrea and Maria P. Ribaudo, he earned a college degree and owned Ribaudo & Associates Mason Contractors in Southold.

He is survived by his wife, Maria (née Pinello); his sons, Joseph and Andrew, both of Southold; his daughters, Catherine Manno of Southold and Maria Modica of Arizona; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours will take place Saturday, June 30, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Reginald H. Tuthill Funeral Home in Riverhead. A Jehovah’s Witness funeral service will be held Monday, July 2, at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be at Pinelawn Memorial Cemetery in Farmingdale.

06/29/12 4:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The back of the former Woolworth building on East Main Street.

The owners of the prominent former Woolworth building in downtown Riverhead confirmed Friday afternoon that a sale of the building is indeed in the works.

The response came after Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter told the News-Review he believed someone was interested in buying the East Main Street property.

The building is owned by Manhattan-based Apollo Real Estate Advisors, which has since changed its name to AREA Property Partners. The investment group bought it in 2006, when it had plans to build a multiplex and other stores there, but the plan never came to fruition.

“It’s not sold yet,” said Kevin Davis of the AREA group. “I have a party doing its due diligence on the property and we’ll see if it ends up going to contract. I’m not entirely sure what they want to do, but I know it entails at least a renovation of the property, which would dramatically improve it.”

Mr. Davis said the potential buyer, who he declined to identify, is considering buying the entire building, which has one tenant now.

“I think they are open to anything and everything,” Mr. Davis said. “My understanding is they just want to lease up the space. And quite frankly, we have interest from potential tenants in almost every space in the building. I don’t see why the whole building couldn’t be leased up in short order.”

Mr. Davis said he hasn’t seen interest in putting a movie theater there, and that in general, he thinks the movie theater industry has been cutting back on expansion.

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