11/30/12 6:00pm
11/30/2012 6:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Tomasz Filipkowski, who is bidding for a third straight appearance in the state tournament, could become Mattituck/Greenport’s winningest wrestler this season.

Reaching the New York State Public High School Athletics Association wrestling championships can be a double-edged sword, as Tomasz Filipkowski knows only too well. On the one hand, advancing that far is quite an achievement. At the same time, though, it can also be painful to have gone so far, only to return home from the tournament empty-handed.

Filipkowski knows the feeling only too well. The Mattituck/Greenport senior experienced that strange mix of elation and disappointment the past two years. Filipkowski won two matches in last season’s state tournament, but lost in a consolation quarterfinal, 3-1, in overtime to Brad Burns of Hoosick Falls.

“He was an overtime away from being an all-state wrestler,” said Mattituck/Greenport coach Cory Dolson.

It may be, however, that the past two years have fueled Filipkowski’s desire to not only return to the state meet for a third straight year, but to also pick up a medal.

“I think it’s driving him,” Dolson said. “Some kids are just satisfied to be up there and some kids want to go up there and do some damage.”

Dolson said he sees more maturity in Filipkowski than he has in the past, along with a better work ethic and a positive attitude. Perhaps Filipkowski senses that he has the opportunity to do some big things this season.

A two-time Suffolk County champion who has been in the county final the past three years, Filipkowski was the county Division II champion at 170 pounds last season as well as the county tournament’s champion of champions for the second year in a row. His record was 34-4 with 14 pins in 2011-12.

Filipkowski is nine wins away from joining Suffolk’s Century Club, having compiled a 91-23 career record (35 wins by pins) since being brought up to the varsity team as an eighth-grader. Only three other Tuckers — Sean Heaney (114 wins), Ryan Connell (107) and Charles Kozora (106) — have surpassed the 100-win mark.

By the time the season is over, Filipkowski’s name could become etched in the Tuckers’ record book as the team’s winningest wrestler ever. He could also become the second all-state wrestler in team history. Louis Troisi became the first when he took third place in the 2007 state tournament.

What is even better for the Tuckers, who went 5-3 in League VII last season, is they have other fine wrestlers such as freshman Lucas Webb and senior Chris Baglivi (26-9), who were county champions at 99 and 195 pounds, respectively.

The team has lost only two wrestlers from last season, and the fruits of a local youth wrestling program are being seen.

“We have more depth than usual,” said Dolson, who is in his seventh season as the Tuckers’ head coach and eighth with the program. “We have guys who are going to be battling for starting spots. It’s more quality than we’ve ever had.”

Brian Pelan (25-9), a junior, was a county runner-up at 126 pounds. Others earned good reviews on the county stage. Andre Vega, a senior, was third in the county at 138 pounds. Bobby Becker, a junior, was fourth at 138, and eighth-grader James Hoeg was fourth at 106.

They helped the Tuckers to a second-place finish in the county team scoring behind Bayport-Blue Point. It was the second time that the Tuckers took second in the county; they have never won a county championship.

“I think the goal has to be to win the division,” said Dolson.

Helping them toward that end are returning starters such as junior Sal Loverde (170 or 182 pounds), senior Rodolfo Perez (138) and junior Ryan Bergen (132). The Tuckers also have two juniors from Greenport entering their third varsity season, Christian Angelson (162) and Jack Volinski (138). “They’re both real tough,” said Dolson.

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11/30/12 4:00pm
Times/Review Newsgroup hosts legislative debate

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Christian Helck put the finishing touches on a new sign at Martha Clara Vineyards in August. A legislative debate is now set for Jan. 7.

Times/Review Newsgroup is hosting a legislative debate on Monday, Jan. 7 at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead.

The debate will pit Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, a Republican, against Southold Town Councilman Al Krupski, a Democrat.

The candidates are running in a special election to fill the county’s 1st Legislative seat, vacated earlier this week by Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), who was elected supervisor of Brookhaven Town Nov. 6.

The election is expected to be held on Jan. 15, officials said, though the Democratically controlled Suffolk County Legislature has yet to vote on setting a date.

Times/Review’s newspapers and news websites cover most of the legislative district, including Southold, Riverhead and Shelter Island. The district also reachers into eastern Brookhaven.

“It makes sense for us to host this event, given our entire coverage area fall within the 1st Legislative District,” said Times/Review publisher Andrew Olsen. “We’re looking forward to it, and we hope the debate and our coverage of it are a great service to our readers as they prepare to cast their votes.”

Times/Review Newsgroup, based in Mattituck, publishes The Suffolk Times, Riverhead News-Review and Shelter Island Reporter newspapers, as well as the papers’ affiliated websites, the seasonal Wine Press magazine and several newspaper supplements and local event guides.

Prior Coverage:

Walter, Krupski to square off in special election

Editorial: Winter election will be heating up the North Fork


11/30/12 3:16pm

Gladys R. Rasmussen of Cutchogue died at home on Thursday, Nov. 29. She was 94.

She was born Oct. 28, 1918, in Queens, to Louis and Mabel Hein.

Ms. Rasmussen worked as an assembler at Hazeltine in Riverhead. She  enjoyed dancing, according to family members.

Predeceased by her husband, Christian, in 2008, she is survived by her son, Christian III, of Cutchogue; her daughter, Gale, of Greenport; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Interment will take place Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Calverton National Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue,

11/30/12 3:07pm

Southold resident Helen Droskoski died Friday, Nov. 30, at Peconic Landing in Greenport. She was 89.

Visiting hours will be held Monday, Dec. 3, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold.

The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick R.C. Church in Southold. Interment will follow at Sacred Heart R.C. Cemetery in Cutchogue.

A complete obituary will appear in a future issue of The Suffolk Times.

11/30/12 2:31pm

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Jerry Romano of 4Wall Entertainment tests out the theater’s new spotlights.

February 2. That’s the date that those behind the transformation of Riverhead’s Suffolk Theater, originally a Depression-era movie palace, say the restored entertainment center will make its grand public debut.

The long-awaited project, which in recent years has failed to meet multiple completion deadlines, is indeed coming together, said owner Bob Castaldi. Construction crews were busy installing a radiant heating system in the Main Street building Friday and concrete is expected to be poured for the floors in a week’s time, he added.

“It’s going really fast now,” Mr. Castaldi said.

When the construction is done the sloping floor will be replaced with level terraces, a design permitting a dinner theater business.

Earlier in the fall the theater set an opening date of New Year’s Eve. Production director Jim Vignato said he remains confident the project’s completion is not far off.

“The fact that we’re here is proof,” he said. “We’re rocking and rolling now.”

Read more about this story in next week’s The Suffolk Times.

11/30/12 12:26pm

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Senator Ken LaValle speaks with News 12 at the GOP election night gala at Emporium in Patchogue. Mr. LaValle secured 60 percent of the vote this year in his 18th re-election bid.

Late on the evening of Nov. 6, 1990, Senator Ken LaValle hung up the phone at his campaign headquarters in Selden and looked out at his crowd of supporters.

He had just received a concession call from his opponent that year, Sherrye Henry, a TV political talk show host who spent a whopping $500,000 to unseat the then 14-year senator.

Ms. Henry had received just 34 percent of the vote.

To this day, political pundits and newspaper scribes say the East Hampton resident, with roots in Memphis, Tenn., and New York City, put up the toughest fight against Mr. LaValle of any of the 19 opponents he faced since he first ran for office in 1976.

Yet she didn’t come close.

The election success of Mr. LaValle, 73, who come January will share the distinction of being the longest-tenured senator in New York, is nearly unparalleled among state senators in the U.S.

When Mr. LaValle is sworn in for his 19th term in January, Republican William Doyle of Vermont will be the only active state senator in the nation to have served more terms. Mr. Doyle, 86, was first elected to his post in 1968 and won a 23rd term earlier this month.

In all, six state senators across the U.S. will have been in office longer than Mr. LaValle as of January, though five of them serve in states where they have to run only once every four years. Democrat Fred Risser of Wisconsin is the longest-tenured state senator in the U.S., having been first elected in 1962 after serving six years in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

That means that of the 1,971 state senators serving in this country next year, only Mr. Doyle, Mr. Risser, Democrat Chuck Colgan of Virginia, Democrat Douglas Henry of Vermont and Democrats Norman Stone and Mike Miller of Maryland have been in office longer than Mr. LaValle.

They tried, they lost

“I certainly was circumspect about my chances to win, but there was a part of me at that time that thought it might be possible.” 

— Ira Costell, LaValle opponent, 1986 

It’s been 100 years since a Democrat was elected to represent New York’s 1st Senatorial District. Thomas H. O’Keefe of Oyster Bay won the post by 2,355 votes over Republican George L. Thompson on Nov. 5, 1912. The anti-Tammany Democrat was one of just 12 senators in 1913 to vote against the impeachment of Governor William Sulzer, who remains the only New York State governor ever to be impeached.

Mr. O’Keefe did not seek re-election in 1914 and was replaced by his opponent in the previous election.

Mr. Thompson spent the next 26 years in office, beginning an era of Republican domination that has continued through this month’s re-election of Mr. LaValle. The senator’s most recent opponent, Bridget Fleming of Sag Harbor, who gained just under 40 percent of the vote, actually fared better than any other opponent in a LaValle re-election bid.

In the past century, only eight Democrats have received a higher percentage of the 1st District vote than Ms. Fleming did this year.

One of those candidates was longtime Stony Brook University physicist Barry McCoy, who received 42.55 percent of the vote in 1976, the year Mr. LaValle was first elected. Mr. McCoy, who Mr. LaValle called the “greatest tactician” he’s ever faced, made a name for himself in 1974, at the height of the Watergate Scandal, when he led the first Democratic takeover of the Brookhaven Town Board, Mr. LaValle said.

“It was like I was playing chess with him,” the senator recalled in an interview this week. “He’d make a remark [at a campaign event] like ‘I’ve got 200 volunteers working for me.’ I’d say to my staff, ‘We need to have 201 volunteers.’ ”

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Ken LaValle as he appeared during his 1976 bid to obtain the seat formerly held bu his good friend Leon Giuffreda, for whom he served as chief aide.

Mr. LaValle was 37 years old when he first sought public office in 1976. A teacher and school administrator in the Middle Country School District in the 1960s, he went on to serve as an aide to his predecessor, Leon Giuffreda. In that capacity, Mr. LaValle served as executive director of the Senate committee on education and the joint legislative committee on mental and physical handicaps.

In the Suffolk Times’ 1976 voter guide, Mr. LaValle said the key issue for the five East End Towns — the 1st District at the time also included all of Brookhaven Town except Patchogue and Blue Point — was to “maintain integrity over zoning so that the character of the area will be maintained.”

Mr. McCoy, who secured the Democratic nomination through a primary after “Doc” Menendez of Riverhead was the choice coming out of the convention, stated in the same guide that his key issue was to prevent the construction of a Cross Sound Bridge connecting Long Island to Connecticut.

Heralded largely for his experience in Albany, Mr. LaValle quickly emerged as the favorite in the race and never lost his edge in a year that saw Democrat Jimmy Carter elected president and Democrat Otis Pike re-elected to Congress in New York’s 1st District. Mr. LaValle enjoyed particular success in Southold and Southampton towns, where he received a 5,200-vote advantage over his opponent.

He quickly increased his profile on the East End by introducing the Farmland Preservation Act in his first term. The landmark legislation called for state and local governments to each pay half the cost of buying and preserving farmland. In return for accepting fair-market value for land, a farmer would agree to include a deed restricting the land from being sold for anything but farming.

By the time his first bid for re-election rolled around in 1978, Mr. LaValle had become so popular he received 5,000 more votes than he did in his first election bid, despite the fact that 1978 was a non-presidential year in which 1st District voter turnout dropped 20 percent.

It would be another 12 years before a LaValle opponent would receive more than 30 percent of the vote.

The senator has outgained his opponents by such large margins that many have wondered if Democrats have even tried most years to unseat him.

In a recent interview, even Ms. Henry, widely regarded as his most legitimate challenger, said she believed this.

“A lot of years the candidate has been nothing more than a name on a ballot,” Ms. Henry said.

It’s a point Mr. LaValle takes exception to.

In 1980, he defeated Robert Gottlieb by the fifth-largest margin over anyone he’s ever defeated, yet he says Mr. Gottlieb, a former Suffolk County assistant district attorney, put up a nasty fight.

“He was the most pugnacious opponent I ever faced,” Mr. LaValle said of Mr. Gottlieb. “If I said it’s raining outside, he’d say ‘How do you know that?’ ”

Even the man who received the fewest votes of all against Mr. LaValle, Ira Costell of Port Jefferson Station, said he put his best foot forward. Mr. Costell, then a 28-year-old who one year earlier had run an unsuccessful campaign for Brookhaven Town Board but fared well along the North Shore, received just 19,013 votes in 1986, a low turnout year. An anti-Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant candidate, he secured just 25.9 percent of the vote despite capturing the endorsement of the historically conservative Suffolk Life newspaper.

“It’s actually kind of depressing I got the least votes,” Mr. Costell said with a laugh. “But it was definitely a daunting task.”

The chosen one

“I didn’t just lose a campaign that year, I lost my reputation.” 

 Sherrye Henry, LaValle opponent, 1990

Sherrye Henry was a popular New York City television and radio personality in the 1970s and ’80s who claims in her 1994 book “The Deep Divide” to have at one time hosted the city’s most listened-to radio interview program.

The first woman in the country to broadcast television editorials, Ms. Henry was best known as a staunch feminist. A 1971 print advertisement for her CBS morning television show “Woman!,” vowed to promote the issues that matter most to women, not just give “cooking lessons” or “sewing tips.”

In 1990, Governor Mario Cuomo asked former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro to recruit women to run in 14 districts across New York where Democrats believed a campaign on feminist issues could help the party gain a majority in a state Senate where Republicans held just a four-seat advantage. The strategy came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that would have put abortion rights in the hands of state legislators.

Ms. Ferraro tapped Ms. Henry, who split her time between East Hampton and Manhattan, to run in the 1st District. A Yale graduate, and no stranger to politics, Ms. Henry had connections to the Kennedys and her former husband served as commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission during John F. Kennedy’s presidency.

RON GALELLA PHOTO / WIREIMAGE | Sherrye Henry was famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein’s date to the inaugural Guild Hall Awards at St. Regis Hotel in New York City in 1985.

Most importantly to Ms. Ferraro and Gov. Cuomo, Ms. Henry was a vocal pro-choice proponent whose media background could help her and 1st District Assembly candidate Linda Bird Francke secure prime television interviews.

“They even appeared on the Ted Koppel Show,” Mr. LaValle recalled.

Ms. Henry’s growing profile — Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, came out to support her — and her contrasting style from Mr. LaValle’s had his campaign worried.

Then there was the money being spent.

To this day, no LaValle opponent’s campaign committee has spent more than the half-million dollars spent by Ms. Henry. Only Regina Calcaterra of New Suffolk came close in 2010, spending nearly $400,000 before her bid was cut short due to residency restrictions. By comparison, Ms. Fleming’s run this year cost less than half of what Ms. Henry’s campaign spent 22 years earlier.

“They bought spots during the World Series,” Mr. LaValle said — an expensive buy in a year where the home team Yankees represented the American League.

One frequently aired radio and television advertisement, according to a 1990 New York Times story, criticized Mr. LaValle for voting “against our right to choose.”

“He’s just not listening to us,” the ad suggested to women voters.

It was a high-energy campaign complete with debates both Mr. LaValle and Ms. Henry described as spirited. Both candidates were forced to knock on thousands of doors across the East End. At one point polling numbers suggested the candidates were neck and neck, a Henry campaign staffer recalled.

Then things took a turn for the worse for the challenger.

In October, Ms. Henry’s campaign issued a mailer that ripped Mr. LaValle for poor attendance in the Senate, stating he had missed votes on 119 bills that year. They were working from information the state Democratic Committee had given them, but that information failed to reflect that nearly all of those votes occurred over a brief stretch during which Mr. LaValle was visiting his gravely ill father in a Long Island hospital and later attending to the details of his funeral.

That’s when the LaValle campaign took off the gloves.

The senator began to make frequent radio and television appearances decrying Ms. Henry’s “lack of accuracy and sensitivity,” according to the Nov. 8, 1990, issue of the Riverhead News-Review. Eventually, Ms. Henry offered a public apology.

Looking back, Ms. Henry said in an interview earlier this month that two tactics employed by the LaValle campaign still bother her to this day.

One was a print advertisement she said was created by artists at Suffolk Life that described her as “a woman of low moral character,” a statement she said was also made in Republican radio spots that year.

Ms. Henry’s other key beef with the LaValle campaign was a claim she said the senator made at the end of a televised debate that stated Ms. Henry had voted twice in the 1984 presidential election, at both her home district in East Hampton and her previous polling place in Manhattan. Ms. Henry said she voted only in East Hampton that year but, due to a Board of Elections oversight, her name still appeared on the voter log in the city.

“Like I was going to go from the Hamptons to the city for one extra vote in Mondale’s losing campaign,” Ms. Henry said. “At that point, the election had completely turned.”

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Senator Ken LaValle fields the concession call from Sherrye Henry on Election Day 1990.

By the time election night rolled around, Ms. Henry said she knew she had lost the campaign, she just didn’t realize by how much. The final tally was 52,306 votes for Mr. LaValle, to just 27,353 for Ms. Henry.

“I will remember that race in my grave,” Ms. Henry said.

As a victorious Mr. LaValle hung up the phone that night at campaign headquarters, he uttered one sentence to his teary-eyed family members and campaign staffers.

“Well, this victory was for pop,” he said.

How he does it

“He has a remarkable ability to listen.” 

John Jay LaValle, Suffolk County
Republican chairman

Senator LaValle often references a thick black binder he keeps with him on the Senate floor. Indexed in the bulging book is community input on key issues. If a constituent calls his office to voice support or opposition to a particular piece of legislation, a LaValle staffer will log the call, which makes its way into the book. Newspaper columns and editorials also get clipped and inserted.

But don’t expect to see Mr. LaValle sipping a cup of coffee and reading the latest issue of the Port Jefferson Times Record at his Port Jefferson home during campaign season.

“I don’t ever open the local papers during a campaign,” he said. “And I only listen to Connecticut radio stations.”

He says that tactic keeps his mind clear of claims made in political advertisements.

It’s all part of a larger philosophy the senator has developed that he says keeps him from looking back on the past. Because of this mind-set, he claims he doesn’t regret a single vote he’s ever cast.

“I talk to other senators who tell me they don’t sleep the night before a big vote,” he said. “I’ve had very few, if any, votes where I had to think about it at the last minute.”

He says that he votes based largely on constituent feedback given to him and his staff. If public input is split on an issue — he said he voted against gay marriage last year even though the communication he received was near 50/50 — he uses campaign promises he made and his own intuition to determine how to vote.

“I ran on civil unions [in 2010],” he said of his vote against the bill that ultimately legalized gay marriage. “I wasn’t going back on that.”

It’s the issues, Mr. LaValle said, that keep him interested in his job. He admits that when he first ran in 1976, he told reporters he would not remain in the position for more than 10 years.

He almost stayed true to that promise. In early 1986, Republican leaders made a strong push for him to run a primary against Congressman William Carney. It’s one of three times he’s been asked to seek higher office.

But by April 1986, he had withdrawn his name from consideration.

“I never really wanted to go to Washington,” Mr. LaValle said. “And looking at Washington today, I’m so glad I didn’t.”

Ultimately, he said his decisions to seek re-election to the Senate have been based largely on a desire to follow legislation he is working on to the finish line. This year, he said, the decade-old negotiation to unite Southampton Hospital with the Stony Brook University system was his single biggest reason to stay in office. As it turns out, a deal was struck late in his 2012 campaign. He said he is looking to expand on his goal to improve health care on the East End by also bringing both Peconic Bay Medical Center and Eastern Long Island Hospital into the Stony Brook system. He said this week that meetings have already been scheduled with officials at both hospitals.

RIBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Mr. LaValle during his latest concession call. Of 1,971 state senators in the U.S., Mr. LaValle has won the second most elections.

The face-to-face meeting is where LaValle supporters say the senator excels politically.

“He’s everywhere,” said county GOP chairman John Jay LaValle, a former Brookhaven Town Supervisor and a cousin of the senator. “A lot of politicians win an election or two and they get lazy. Ken has never let up. He has a presence at every major event and he has a passion for learning and a passion for listening.”

Even his critics and former opponents acknowledge that it’s hard to miss Mr. LaValle and his trademark red baseball cap at events throughout the district, even if they disagree with his politics.

“Listen, he’s affable and gentlemanly and an overall nice guy,” said Mr. Costell, his 1986 opponent. “But I think a lot of his success has come from the clout he’s built through decades worth of political favors. He’s definitely a go-along-to-get-along kind of guy.

“As a person, he’s a fine individual, but for the great length that he’s been in office I’m hard pressed to come up with that trademark legislation of his that’s had a dramatic impact,” Mr. Costell said.

Of course, Mr. LaValle disagrees. He frequently points to his sponsorship of the Pine Barrens Protection Act of 1993 as his signature bill. As a longtime chairman of the Senate higher education committee, he also lists the expansion of Stony Brook University, where the $22 million football stadium bears his name, among his career highlights.

“My desire is to see Stony Brook move up the ranks of national universities,” he said.

And to that end, he says he has no plan to quit, even as he enters his first year as the senior member of the Senate — a distinction he will share with 80-year-old Sen. Hugh Farley of Schenectady, who was also first elected in 1976.

He said he doesn’t plan to slow down, either.

“It all goes back to something my father would always say when I was playing sports in my youth,” Mr. LaValle said. “He’d say ‘I don’t care if you win or lose, just don’t get out-hustled.’ ”

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11/30/12 7:55am

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTOS | Two new businesses have recently signed leases for property on East Main Street.

Two new East Main Street stores, a ballet studio and fashion shop, will join a growing group of businesses in downtown Riverhead after signing leases this month.

The businesses both signed lease agreements in November, an unusual time of year for new businesses to be seeking space, said Shelly Gordon, who owns many of the vacant buildings on the south side of Main Street, including the space for two new stores.

“One would think that’s the last time people would be optimistic enough to sign leases,” he said. “It’s like a rebirth.”

The first new business is Peconic Ballet Theater, a dance studio that will open at 71 East Main St., Mr. Gordon said. The studio will be neighbors with 73 Main, a fashion boutique that opened this spring.

Christiana Bitonti, owner of the new studio, said the school will be run by DanceCore Performing Arts, a non-profit dance group that performs primarily at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. The studio will be the group’s first after they decided Riverhead would be the best location.

“We have yet to get a home base, so now we’re sticking with the East End,” Ms. Bitonti said.

It was the artistic appeal of Riverhead, with East End Arts and the under-renovation Suffolk Theater in the downtown area, that brought the company to town, she said.

“I just feel that Riverhead is one of those areas that’s ready to go,” she said. “It’s ready to take it to the next level … It houses so much creativity and so many creative outlets.”

The new studio will be used by members of the performing group to teach ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz and hip-hop dancing.

“It’s really one-on-one training with dancers in the business,” Ms. Bitonti said. The group will be doing construction to transform the space into a “New York industrial”-style studio, with one large dance floor and high ceilings, she said.

The studio is expected to open in early January, and the group is planning a grand opening performance for members of the community in February.

The second new business will be Chic Creations, a clothing, jewelry and fashion accessories shop located next to the Robert James Salon on East Main Street.

The owners of Chic Creations were unable to be reached for comment Thursday morning.

“It’s the kind of niche tenant that downtown needs desperately,” Mr. Gordon said. “These are the kind of tenants that can put us back on the map.”

The store owners are set to take occupancy in early December, he said, though he was unsure of when Chic Creations would open.

He said he believes the new Summerwind apartment complex, Hyatt hotel near the Long Island Aquarium and a series of new restaurants has triggered a “renaissance” for the area after years of stagnant or little growth.

The new businesses, Mr. Gordon said, may entice other entrepreneurs to try downtown Riverhead, saying that he is open to working on deals with business owners to fill the additional vacant properties downtown.

“It’s kind of an infectious-type situation,” he said.

11/29/12 8:15pm
11/29/2012 8:15 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold senior Ben Glew, who sat out last season with a broken collarbone, is the only First Settlers bowler with prior experience as a starter.


It was a new beginning for the Southold High School boys bowling team in more ways than one.

Southold, with a new lineup and a roster that is short on experience, was beaten soundly, 32 1/2-1/2, in its season-opening Suffolk County League V match against Rocky Point on Thursday at Port Jeff Bowl. Rocky Point won all three games, 835-653, 887-597, 816-583.

If nothing else, the First Settlers saw evidence that they have a lot of work ahead of them.

“What I anticipated is about what happened,” Southold coach Sal Campo said. “We fell short of the scoring that we’d like to get to, but we didn’t have many practices before this game, so it was a little tough.”

None of the five bowlers in Southold’s starting lineup were starters last season. In fact, only one of them, Ben Glew, had started a high school match before. Glew, a senior, had been a regular starter during his freshman and sophomore seasons, but sat out last season with a broken collarbone.

Meanwhile, Rocky Point was led by an impressive sophomore, Kyle Zawaski. Zawaski, a virtual strike machine, recorded three successive 202 games for a career-high 606 series. He registered 18 strikes and seven spares.

Rocky Point coach John Schumacher never saw a player bowl the same score in three straight games before. “There’s always firsts,” he said. “In the world of coaching, you see truth is stranger than fiction. You see amazing things.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Devyn Standish was part of Southold’s all-new starting lineup on opening day.

Zawaski, who finished with a 155 average last season, his first on the team, was definitely on. In the last two games of practice the day before, he shot a 192 and a 197. It was encouraging stuff for the Eagles.

“It gives me goosebumps because it’s only a sign of things to come,” said Schumacher.

Rocky Point also received significant contributions from sophomore Rachel Magnuson and senior Will Serviss. A 222 game by Magnuson anchored her 561 series. She also converted a match-high 13 spares. Serviss bowled a 226 high game to start off his 525 series. Mike Bellissimo turned in a 420 series.

Schumacher sounded thrilled with his team’s opening-day performance. “It’s a tremendous way to start the season,” he said. “It sets the tone for the season. It really keeps the morale high.”

The top scorer for Southold was junior Justin Kirincic with a 428 series. His 167 in the opening game was the highest single-game score posted by any of the First Settlers. Evan Van Duzer (389 series), Glew (368) and Devyn Standish (326) were the other Southold bowlers who played in all three games. Kirincic and Van Duzer had 10 strikes each.

This new season brings a new home for Southold. The First Settlers have left Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead and now practice and play their home matches at the new All Star Lanes in Riverhead. Their first home match will be Tuesday against East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson.

“The switch between lanes is a lot different,” Kirincic said. “It is a lot to get used to.”

Following the season-opening loss, Kirincic said: “I think we could definitely do better throughout the year. I think we just have to pick up our spares more.”

The day wasn’t a total loss for Southold, though. Every game helps, even a loss.

Campo said, “The pressure is on them and they know that they’re going to have to step it up a few notches.”

[email protected]

11/29/12 5:01pm

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Senior Austin Hooks will be a key rebounder for Greenport this season.

Greenport High School will certainly face some unique challenges at both the start and the end of this boys basketball season.

The Porters might have to begin their season without senior point guard Matt Dibble, who suffered a knee injury during the fall soccer season.

While Greenport will continue to play in Suffolk County League VIII, the team will face greater challenges in the postseason, as it moved up from Class D to Class C due to the addition of about 10 students in the school.

“It would be nice if we won a Class C tournament,” said coach Al Edwards, whose team has been a Class D power. “It gives the kids something to work for. We’ll try to make the best of it.”

The Porters (12-6 last season) will try to make the best of the absence of Dibble.

“I don’t know where that’s going to go,” Edwards said. “I don’t know when he’ll be able to play.”

Edwards said Matt Dibble has taken a lot of pressure off his big brother, Gavin Dibble.

“We all have to step it up to make it work,” Edwards added.

Players ready to step up include the 5-10 junior guard Gavin Dibble, an All-Conference player who led the Porters in scoring.

“He had some really good games last year,” Edwards said.

They also include 6-2 senior forward Christian Davis, who is expected to provide scoring and defense around the basket. Senior guard Max Eggimann should provide points and defense and 6-3 senior forward Austin Hooks should work with Davis to help with rebounding.

“We have a good nucleus coming back,” Edwards said.

Billy Doucett, a 6-2 swingman, will offer Greenport some versatility.

“He does a good job of finding the open man,” Edwards said. “He also has to be a workhorse on the boards.”

Timmy Stevens, a 5-9 sophomore guard, saw plenty of action last year and is expected to add a perimeter shot to the Porters’ attack.

Edwards will try to find his eight- or nine-man rotation in Matt Dibble, once he returns; senior Bryant Rivas, up from the junior varsity; the Drinkwater twins, Matt and John, who are expected to play in the backcourt; 6-foot swingman Angel Colon; 6-1 junior forward Brian Tuthill; and senior forwards Chris Manwaring and Richard Wysocki.

Greenport hosts Port Jefferson in its season opener Monday, Dec. 3, at 6:15 p.m.

“We’re always positive,” Edwards said. “We always set high goals for ourselves.”

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Eugene Allen averaged close to a double-double last season (10 points, 8 rebounds).

Mattituck endured a long rebuilding season last year as the Tuckers (0-14) lost their five starters and eight seniors from their 2011 Long Island Class B championship team.

So coach Paul Ellwood hopes the Tuckers will improve with a young team that will be more experienced.

Whether that will translate into more wins this season remains to be seen.

“It’s a question of when we blossom,” he said, “whether it is this year or next year.”

Ellwood is hopeful that it will be this year. But no one has to remind him that high school players, especially young ones, develop at different stages and rates. Some fit right into their roles, while others take weeks, months or even years to reach their potential.

The Tuckers have five sophomores and a freshman.

“If I can get contributions from them as role players, the rest will take care of itself,” Ellwood said.

He said he sees the team having the potential for a lot of growth.

“We closed the gap on the better teams,” Ellwood said. “I think we’re going to be deep. Everyone will have to carry a big load.”

Ellwood will rely on four players — a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior — to carry a decent portion of that load.

Tyler Connel, a 5-9 senior guard, averaged 3.5 assists a game. Junior Eugene Allen, a 6-1 small forward, enjoyed a fine season (10 points per game, eight rebounds), which Ellwood termed the most productive sophomore seasons under him. Sophomore Will Gildersleeve, a 6-foot guard, also logged many minutes last year.

Then there’s 5-10 freshman Joe Tardif, a junior varsity standout as an eighth-grader last season, who has impressed at point guard in scrimmages.

“He can shoot it,” Elwood said. “He has great instincts. He is going to be in the lineup every night. I think Joe is going to make a quick transition.”

Other players competing for spots include senior forwards Justin Tyler and Ryan Finger and sophomore forward Chris Dwyer, all of whom are over 6 feet. Dwyer came up from JV late last season and averaged 8 points in four appearances.

“He did a nice job,” Ellwood said.

Junior forward Tyler Reeve will also compete for time.

The Tuckers host Southold in their season opener at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | David O’Day will start at guard for Southold this season.

Southold will deploy a young team, with only two returning seniors and a number of junior varsity graduates who have an opportunity to make their marks.

“We have a certain kind of kid at Southold that has a tradition of hard work,” said first-year varsity coach Phil Reed. “They never give up. They’re very athletic. Sometimes we can overcome a lot of teams with athletic ability. I believe in our kids.”

Start with David O’Day, a 6-foot guard, and 6-2 Peter DiCandia, who will play at either power forward or center. They’re the two returning seniors. DiCandia came on at the end of last season, Reed said.

“They’re going to help us out quite a bit,” he added.

But they will need help. Sophomore guard Liam Walker, who saw action last year, is expected to take over some of the scoring slack.

“I’m hoping O’Day and Liam can get into double digits and help us score this year,” Reed said.

Junior Matthew Stepnoski, a 6-1 forward who came off the bench, is slated to be in the starting five as well.

“He’s an undersized player who works hard and plays bigger than his size,” Reed said.

Swingman John Tomici, who came off the bench and played well at the end of last season, should help out defensively.

Reed is hoping for some big things from 5-11 junior point guard Kenji Fujita, who is up from the JV. Fujita has varsity experience in another sport after tending goal for the First Settlers’ soccer team that reached the county Class C final this fall.

“He will step into some big shoes,” Reed said. “He had two great seasons on JV. He’s a very good athlete, a smart kid, a very coachable kid. I know he’s up to the challenge.”

Also up from the JV are a pair of 5-10 sophomores, guard Shayne Johnson and forward Alex Poliwoda, along with junior center/forward Kevin McGough.

“Next year we should be fairly OK,” Reed said. “I have no idea on how these kids will respond to competition. They have to get a few games under their belt.”

The First Settlers open their season in a non-league encounter at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Mattituck.

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GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Southold’s Melissa Rogers is working her way back from an ACL injury heading into the start of the season.

Joe Read, the fourth coach in three years for Southold High School girls basketball team, realizes that bringing in a new coach and a new system could be confusing. But he also feels the First Settlers are talented and focused enough to overcome such an obstacle.

“I feel for them because they’ve had [four] coaches in the last three years,” he said. “Every coach will bring something different. I think they can achieve more this year.”

That’s a strong statement, considering Southold (16-7 last season) earned the Long Island Class C championship and was a win away from reaching the New York State final four.

“As basketball players, there’s room for improvement,” Read said. “They want to improve.”

The Settlers will have to run a lot in games because Read plans to change the tempo of the games.

“The team is going to be very fast,” Read said. “For the type of athlete at Southold, this going to be a good style. A lot of them play soccer and they’re good on their feet.”

Read has reason to be optimistic as four starters return from last year’s successful side, including center Melissa Rogers, whose start to the season is in jeopardy because of an ACL injury. Rogers, who dominated the inside games last year, is still in physical therapy and Read did not know when she will return.

“She’s not able to go at 100 percent,” he said. “She’s a strong player, but has to get her legs under her for a while. She will make an impact.”

So will some other seniors, including guard Sydney Campbell and center Nicole Busso.

Carley Staples and Michaela Christman should be the forwards. Read said Staples was “a tough cookie. She’s going to give a lot of teams trouble defensively.”

Christman returns after a battling ACL injury last year. “She has a nice touch,” Read said.

Junior forward Cyndi Van Bourgondien is following in the footsteps of her older sisters, Betsy and Kim, with the First Settlers.

Read also will be able to call on two other juniors — center Abby Scharadin and guard Shannon Smith.

He has liked what he has seen in practice.

“I’m hoping to build on that,” Read said. “They seem hungry and they’re really excited. They’re giving me everything they have and I’m a demanding coach.”

Read and the First Settlers will find out soon enough. They open their season at Eastport/South Manor, a Class A school, on Tuesday.

“That should tell us a lot,” Read said. “I expect us to have a lot of trouble with the ball. They’re a big school. That will give us a good indication of what we need to work on.”

GEORGE FAELLA FILE PHOTO | Forward Shannon Dwyer returns to lead Mattituck this season.

With no seniors on last year’s team, Mattituck (8-10) reached the Suffolk County Class B semifinals, losing to Hampton Bays, 63-44.

A year older and wiser, the Tuckers hope to go a little farther this season.

“I expect us to definitely make the playoffs and get to the county finals again,” coach Steve Van Dood said. “That’s our goal.”

And for some good reasons.

“We have the same players,” Van Dood said. “We are 10 deep and I feel very confident in the top 10 girls. Any girl can light it up on game night. We have no stars.”

Van Dood said that any player “can end up in double digits.”

“The girls have been there,” he said. “We are not a young team. We’re experienced. That should pay off in dividends.”

Van Dood said that he will rely on “a good core of veterans.”

His starters likely will be seniors Allie Wilcenski, point guard Alex Berkoski, guard Alexa Orlando and junior forward Shannon Dwyer, who also can perform in the backcourt.

Wilcenski, who averaged 10 rebounds a game while earning all-league honors, is expected to be a key performer in the front court.

Other talented returnees include junior guard Katie Hoeg, senior guard Nicole Murphy and forwards Courtney Murphy, a sophomore, and Molly Kowalski, a junior.

“The system is in place for the most part,” Van Dood said. “We have to make a few tweaks here and there.”

And if that was not enough, he has six promising newcomers — all juniors — in guards Megan Daly, Samantha Perino, Kelli Stepnoski and Christine Bieber, forward Hallie Kujawski and center Sydney Goy.

“We look to continue the success of last year,” said Van Dood, adding that Southampton was going to be the Class B team to beat since it captured the county championship.

Mattituck will not have Lauren Guja, one of the team’s top players from last season. She opted not to play this year, Van Dood said.

The Tuckers will begin discovering their potential as they open their season against Centereach at home at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.