09/30/12 5:00pm
09/30/2012 5:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of Rocky Point’s Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church helped build a house in Alabama for a family affected by Hurricane Katrina during a mission trip in 2011.

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk wants you, especially if you have construction experience or leadership skills that will enable you to shepherd a small crew of volunteers.

So says Southold Town native and volunteer training coordinator Constantinos Kokkinos, who represents Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk County as an Americorps volunteer.

Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to build houses for families in need, giving them “a hand up, not a handout,” Mr. Kokkinos said, adding that the organization is on track to finish 16 homes in Suffolk County this year, up from 10 last year.

“We are seeking new partnerships to foster this growth,” he said, “We are looking for volunteers with leadership qualities, time on their hands and experience either leading volunteer groups or building houses.”

Mr. Kokkinos, the son of a Southold house painter who’s been at it for three decades, said the organization is looking for contractors like his father to donate labor.

He said the group especially needs licensed plumbers, site workers, roofers and other contractors who are willing to work — and will also warranty their work.

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk was founded in 1987 as an independent affiliate of the international nonprofit affordable housing organization. As of August, Mr. Kokkinos said, the local group, which is based in Middle Island, has built 157 homes from Huntington Station to Westhampton, with half of them in Brookhaven Town, which by itself is bigger than Nassau County.

“We are currently building in Central Islip, Brentwood, East Patchogue, Bellport and East Moriches and are poised to begin builds in Shirley, Quiogue and Mastic Beach in 2013,” he said.

Mr. Kokkinos said the organization chooses low-income family applicants based on need, ability and willingness to partner.

Need, he said, refers to those who are living in “substandard conditions” involving poor building structure, electrical wiring, heating and cooling, living space, problematic power or water supply, pest infestations or other health and safety concerns.

Ability relates to the applicant’s ability to make timely payments on a nonprofit mortgage, ranging from $900 to $1,050 per month, depending on town taxes. The monthly payment includes property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and mortgage insurance, Mr. Kokkinos said, adding that applicants are responsible for home maintenance and utilities expenses. PMI, or personal monthly insurance, is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“Willingness to partner is just that,” he said. “An applicant must be willing to work with us to build their home. Partner families must acquire up to 270 hours of ‘sweat equity,’ which they do by working on the construction of their home and other Habitat family partners’ homes.”

Anyone who doesn’t have time to volunteer but is willing to donate funding is encouraged to contact the local group’s director of development, Les Scheinfeld, at [email protected] Donations of building materials and supplies are also welcomed at the group’s “ReStore” in Ronkonkoma; visit suffolkrestore.com.

Mr. Kokkinos also encouraged teens to consider participating in the organization’s youth volunteer program. “Habitat Young Professionals is a group of young adults who actively advance Habitat Suffolk’s work and mission through increasing volunteerism, spreading awareness and raising funds,” he said. Teens interested in getting involved can contact Lindsey Ross at [email protected]

“Donated labor helps reduce the final cost of a home, thus reducing the price for the partner family,” he said. “If you are an individual with experience, time on your hands and a desire to build with us long-term, you should reach out to me at [email protected] or call 631-924-4966, ext. 112.”

Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can also put themselves on a volunteer “walk-on” list. Visit habitatsuffolk.org, click the “Get involved” button and enter your email address in the box on the left side of the page.

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09/30/12 2:30pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Artist Judith Sutton-Fagan of Bayport (right) demonstrates the brush strokes used to paint a chrysanthemum flower to students Vivian Eyre of Southold (left) and Margie Bowen of East Quogue during the workshop in the East End Arts Carriage House Saturday morning.

Artist Judith Sutton-Fagan of Bayport has been teaching Asian Brush painting for more than 30 years. She called it the “art of being unperfect” like a crack in a vase or a dandelion growing in a crack in the cement.

This style of ink wash painting is also called Sumi-e painting, a 2,000-year-old art form which is rooted in Zen Buddhism.

She began a five-hour workshop in the East End Arts Carriage house with some returning students and a couple of new ones Saturday morning.

To read more and see a slideshow, click here.

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09/30/12 12:00pm

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Some North Fork wineries are beginning to feature larger bottles, as detailed in a recent New York Times article.

Bigger bottles are more expensive and thus harder to sell. That’s the reason most Long Island vineyards say they don’t produce larger bottles of wine, known as magnums.

But that’s not to say no local wineries sell wine by the larger bottle size.

The New York Times recently featured several local wineries that sell wine larger bottles of wine, including Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue, which sells a liter bottle.

Read the Times story by clicking here

09/30/12 10:00am

JULIE LANE PHOTO | The Valero gas station in Cutchogue where Southold Town police say a man resisted arrest early Sunday morning.

A Southold Town police officer was injured when a “highly intoxicated” Peconic man resisted arrest at the Valero gas station in Cutchogue early Sunday morning, Southold Town police said.

Thomas J. Glasser, 48, of Peconic was causing a disturbance at the gas station about 3 a.m. when he was confronted by police, according to a press release issued by the Southold PD. He was asked to leave but refused and he engaged four policemen on the scene in a fight, police said.

Officer Richard Buonaiuto was transported to Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport for an injury he suffered during the arrest. Police declined to disclose specifics of the injury.

An employee at the gas station Sunday morning said he was not working at the time of the incident.

09/30/12 8:00am
Martha Clara Vineyards, Kent Animal Shelter, Long Island Wine Country

KENT ANIMAL SHELTER COURTESY PHOTO | Wines & Canines revelers Sunday at Martha Clara.

Kent Animal Shelter raised about $30,000 at its third annual Wines & Canines 5k Dog Walk and Run at Martha Clara Vineyards last Sunday.

The event raised money to help animals at the shelter, contribute to programs and to help the shelter build a new $2.5 million facility at its Calverton property, shelter officials said.

Volunteers and staffers alike at the River Road shelter has been working to raise money for the new facility for about a year-and-a-half, and have raised about a quarter of the money needed to date, said Kent Executive Director Pam Green on Friday.

“A lot of people are expressing interest in the project,” she said. “We’re trying to get more community involvement.”

Ms. Green said the nonprofit organization has already received DEC permits for the new shelter, and is about to submit plans to the town planning board and the county health department. She said they’re planning a big event for next year to help push the construction funding over the top and expects the permitting process to take about six months.

“We may not reach our goal by the time we break ground. It will possibly be a phased project,” she said. “We’re hoping when people see that it’s really going to happen, they’ll contribute.”

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09/29/12 6:18pm
09/29/2012 6:18 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Asaiah Wilson gave the Monarchs a 12-0 lead by scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run.


These Monarchs have pride, and for good reason.

Bishop McGann-Mercy is off to one of the greatest starts in the football team’s history. Indeed, these are heady times for the Riverhead Catholic school. The Monarchs, who were seeded 12th in Suffolk County Division IV in a preseason coaches poll, brought their record to 4-0 on Saturday with a 12-7 homecoming win over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field.

“Mercy football, 4 and 0!” said Asaiah Wilson, who played quarterback and safety for McGann-Mercy. Wilson went so far as to proclaim this the “best team in Mercy history.”

McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski said he did not know if the Monarchs had ever won their first four games in a season before. “We’re playing much more physical than we’ve ever played before,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s happening here.”

If the Monarchs were looking for an easy time against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island (0-4), it wasn’t happening. For one thing, it’s a rivalry game, and the Porters played what was easily their best game of the season.

McGann-Mercy can credit its defense for holding on during crunch time. After forcing McGann-Mercy to punt — and benefitting from a couple of penalties in the process — the Porters took possession at the Monarchs’ 40-yard line with 3 minutes 11 seconds to go in the game and the score 12-7. They reached the 16 before being stopped on a fourth-down play in which Eugene Allen absorbed a powerful initial hit by Wilson before being brought down by Ray Ellis for no gain. By holding the Porters several inches short of a first down, McGann-Mercy was able to run off four plays and the remaining time in the game.

“We lost basically by four inches,” said Allen, a junior who made his first start at quarterback. “We gave it all we can, just four inches. It was our game if we just made that one play.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island defensive back Jack Volinski breaking up a pass.

A controversial pass interference call against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island also had a big impact. The call came in the third quarter, negating an interception by Jack Volinski and allowing McGann-Mercy to retain possession. Two plays later, Wilson took the ball 10 yards on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that made the score 12-0 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

“That might have been the game,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “I talked to the official about it. I have no clue why he called that.”

Wilson (7 of 16, 139 yards), a junior transfer from Longwood, was also involved in McGann-Mercy’s first touchdown. He flipped a screen pass to Reggie Archer for a 37-yard touchdown completion in the second quarter.

Archer had a productive running game as well. Traversing a muddy, slick field that made it hard to get traction, the sophomore accumulated 122 yards from 29 carries.

A promising 11-play, 65-yard drive by McGann-Mercy reached the Porters’ 7-yard line. But the Monarchs came away empty-handed on the final play of the first half when Ed Kneski’s 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Timmy Stevens.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island got on the scoreboard with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Porters capped a 16-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Allen, making it a one-score game.

Allen is a playmaker, and that was the Porters’ thinking in going with him at quarterback instead of Matt Drinkwater, who had started the first three games at that position.

“We’re trying to get the ball in his hands as much as we can,” Martilotta said. “Drinkwater was doing well, but we feel [Allen] gives us a better chance to win. He’s quite an athlete. He made a couple of things happen today.”

Allen completed his last eight passes, going 10 of 11 for 104 yards. He said he took his first snaps as a quarterback since he was a freshman, and had not worked on his passing since mini camp over the summer. But he said he was confident. “I think if I had to, I can play any position on the field,” he said.

Allen took his share of hits from a McGann-Mercy defense that was a tough nut to crack. Pat Marelli made a game-high eight tackles, including one of the Monarchs’ six sacks.

Instead of their first win, the Porters dropped their ninth straight loss dating back to last year.

“It hurts,” Martilotta said. He added, “If we got that first down right there [near the end of the game], we’d be having a different interview right now.”

Meanwhile, these are happy times at McGann-Mercy, where the school is abuzz about what its football team has been doing. The Monarchs started the day in third place. Who knows where they will end up by the time the regular season ends? At this point, it looks like a safe bet that the Monarchs will be making their first playoff appearance since 2007. Their remaining games are against Port Jefferson, Shoreham-Wading River, The Stony Brook School and East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but something like this, I’m just shocked,” Wilson said. “I’m overwhelmed.”

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09/29/12 5:37pm

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola at a welcome home party at McDonald’s in Mattituck last October.

A defense fund was created to help two U.S. Marines, one of whom is from Southold, who are being court-martialed for allegedly urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in late July 2011, and posing for pictures with the bodies.

The 3/2 Scout Sniper Defense Fund has started a Facebook site with a link to a PayPal account where contributions can be made, according to Laura Pace of Mattituck. Her brother, Staff Sgt. Edward Deptola of Southold, 27, faces charges along with another Marine, Staff. Sgt. Joseph Chambin, for the urinating incident, which was captured in a video that appeared on YouTube in January.

Ms. Pace said other Marines started the site, which just went up this week.

“I think that a court martial is extreme,” Ms. Pace said. “Facing jail time is a little extreme. I can’t say if he did it or didn’t, but he’s innocent until proven guilty. As a civilian, I don’t want to know what’s going on over there. All I know is I sleep better at night knowing that the service men and women are over there defending us.”

The Facebook site says it’s dedicated to help the 3/2 Scout Snipers with legal fees and the possible loss of their careers.

“What most people don’t know is the story behind the five U.S. Marines currently involved in the legal investigation,” the Facebook site says. “Since February these Marines with their families by their sides have been engaged in a extremely stressful legal battle incurring over $30,000.00 of legal bills between them and the tab is still running.”

The site claims that money raised will go to legal costs for the soldiers, and that when they reach their goal, they will stop collecting money and the account will be closed.

The Department of Defense brought the court-martial action against Staff Sergeants Deptola and Chamblin on Sept. 21, and announced it in a Sept 24 press release.

The two Marines also were charged for other misconduct that allegedly took place during the same operation, including being derelict in their duties by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require junior Marines to wear their personal protective equipment, failing to stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher, and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, the Department of Defense stated.

Staff Sgt. Deptola also is charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.

The other three Marines, who were not identified, received nonjudicial punishment for misconduct that came to light during several investigations into the urinating incident, and disciplinary actions against them will be announced at a later date, officials said.

According to the Facebook site, the five Marines facing charges “have a combined total of 15 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, going as far back as 2003, multiple Navy Commendation medals with Combat “V” for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts.”

One of them was wounded in 2010 when he was hit by a home-made claymore mine, and another is now an amputee after in improvised explosive device (IED) he was disarming detonated, causing him to lose his left leg.

“These funds will go to help pay legal fees as they fight for their VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] benefits to include medical coverage for those that were wounded in combat, VA disability for the more critically wounded, educational benefits such as the GI Bill, and other VA benefits,” the site states.

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09/29/12 3:00pm

FILE PHOTO |  The Southold School District expects to save as much as $400,000 on its proposed roof replacement project.

Southold High School students may have a brighter and cheerier place to spend their lunch hour in coming years.

That’s because the school district expects to save as much as $400,000 on its proposed roof replacement project by switching from slate to a heavy-duty asphalt surface on a portion of the roof. The savings will be used to spiff up the cafeteria and, if there’s any money left over, to move high school administrative offices closer to the building’s main entrance.

The district will hold a vote on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 3 to 9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium to authorize it to spend $2.5 million from its capital reserve fund on the project.

This past May, along with the annual budget vote, the public approved the transfer of money from the district’s reserve fund to the capital fund, but a second vote in a new school year was required in order to actually spend the money.

“The savings can be applied without any impact [on the budget],” Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said during a recent walk-through of the cafeteria. “We’re being judicious with the money we spend. We should not have to bond any of this kind of work.”

The roof work is slated to be bid out later this school year and completed over the 2013 summer break.

Architect Jim Weydig of BBS Architecture in Patchogue said he’d like to meet with high school students later this year to get an idea of their priorities for a renovated cafeteria.

He said his top priority is to make the basement space more inviting by concealing piping in the ceiling, providing better lighting than the current fluorescent bulbs and possibly reworking the logistics of the cafeteria line.

“We can make it more appealing. It can be a decent place to have lunch and get things done,” Mr. Weydig said during the walk-through. “There are very creative ways our interior designers have come up with” to change the space.

He said many other school districts have cafeterias that are multi-functional and can be used for public meetings and other events.

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09/29/12 1:00pm

He hasn’t gotten his state license back, but a Greenport fisherman charged with falsifying catch records last year can chalk up a significant financial victory in his battle with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The DEC has agreed to pay Sidney Smith, owner and operator of the 63-foot fishing boat Merit, $8,333.05, which represents the market value of the fish he brought to the dock in Greenport in June 2011. The DEC confiscated the money after Mr. Smith sold his catch of scup, fluke and black sea bass.

At the time, he was charged with two felonies for possessing more than 1,000 pounds over the state limit of fluke and 5,870 pounds over the limit of scup, more commonly known as porgies, above state limits. A similar charge regarding the sea bass brought a misdemeanor.

Earlier this year Mr. Smith pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Southold Justice Court. Since his plea bargain did not include his forfeiting the proceeds from his catch, the DEC agreed to reimburse him, said Lori Severino, a DEC spokeswoman in Albany.

“This has not occurred yet, but the DEC’s attorney has made arrangements with their attorney,” Ms. Severino said.

Although pleased with the decision, Mr. Smith’s attorney, Dan Rodgers of Riverhead, said the DEC has yet to reinstate his client’s special permit to fish in New York waters, forcing Mr. Smith to fish in Rhode Island.

“They’ll give him his money, but not the ability to pursue his livelihood,” said Mr. Rodgers. “They’re really sticking it to him. They’re making it impossible for him to make a living.”

Before his run-in with the DEC, Mr. Smith took part in the Research Set Aside program created by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries service. With a special permit costing $10 issued through that program, fishermen can increase their catch limits. In charging Mr. Smith, the DEC claimed he was not following the program’s procedures and so standard catch limits applied.

His attorney claims the case was based on a single missing email.

Mr. Smith reported his intention to head out into the ocean for several days of fishing, the attorney said. Early on, he came across a shoal of squid and after boating it brought the catch to dock in Shinnecock and then headed out again. But because he returned to Shinnecock, any additional fishing was considered a separate trip requiring new notification, Mr. Rodgers said.

“That was a very expensive missing email and it sent me out of state,” said Mr. Smith, who is now fishing out of Newport. He returns home to Greenport — leaving the boat in Rhode Island — twice a week.

“Some fishermen would have been lazy and gone out a few miles and dumped the squid,” Mr. Rodgers said. “This is a guy who has been fishing for decades. I don’t think he was ever cited for anything, ever. I think that says something,”

The DEC, he continued, has become a rogue agency with virtually unlimited powers.

Mr. Smith sold his catch to the Joe Monani Fish Company at the Fulton Fish Market in The Bronx, said Mr. Rodgers. DEC officers appeared at the market the next day and, after learning that Mr. Smith was due the $8,333.05, demanded that the company instead pay the DEC.

“Anyone else would have been arrested and gone to jail,” the attorney said. “Nobody would put up with this kind of activity by another police agency under any circumstances. These guys have guns, they have badges and they’ll kick your door down. They have the right to search your property and they don’t need a warrant. It’s just plain unconstitutional.”

In East Hampton, the DEC confiscated 74.5 pounds of fluke and 16 pounds of scup from Kelly Lester and her brother Paul, who were charged with selling shellfish to the public without a permit. They were cleared of those charges and will receive a check for $202.25 from the DEC, said Mr. Rodgers, who also served as their attorney.

After the Lesters were cleared, South Fork Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) introduced a bill to limit the DEC’s seizure powers, but that measure has languished in the Legislature.

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09/29/12 11:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop (left) and Republican Challenger Randy Altschuler on the stage at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall Thursday evening.

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James, debated Thursday night at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead.

The debate, moderated by Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly, can be seen below in three parts.