09/30/13 8:25pm
09/30/2013 8:25 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck senior Kyra Martin won 6-0, 6-1 at second singles Monday.


The harder a player hits the ball in tennis doesn’t always translate into more success. Sure, every player would love to crush the ball across the net, leaving the opponent flat-footed and helpless. But more important is placing the ball.

That’s one of the lessons Jim Christy tries to instill in his Mattituck girls tennis team.

“The idea of being able to control the ball and put it where you want it, if you’re  a good athlete, you can drive people nuts,” Christy said.

So far this season, the Tuckers have been driving opposing teams nuts.

Monday’s 7-0 win over Southold/Greenport gave the Tuckers an 8-0 record in League VIII and kept them firmly in the driver’s seat toward a league title.

The Tuckers may not have a team with the hardest hitters, but their depth and attention to detail has them headed toward a perfect league season.

“We’re at a place where we play every point like it’s the last point of the match,” Christy said.

That mentality makes the Tuckers a pesky group.

Their top three singles players, who are all on a similar skill level, roam the court with a simple mindset: Keep the ball in play and wear down the opponent.

“The only way you beat any one of these singles players is you got to be a player who has the ability to hit with some pop,” Christy said.

Their goal is to keep the ball in play until someone makes a mistake.

“Quite frankly, it’s not going to be us,” Christy said. “These kids are too mentally tough.”

Seniors Molly Kowalski and Kyra Martin and eighth-grader Liz Dwyer all won in straight sets Monday against the Clippers. Kowalski won 6-1, 6-0 against Alexandra Small at first singles. Martin defeated senior Victoria Piechnik, 6-0, 6-1, at second singles and Martin won 6-0, 6-1 over freshman Willow Wilcenski.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold/Greenport senior Victoria Piechnik played second singles Monday against Mattituck.

The single lineup has remained consistent all season and the top three players have all enjoyed success. Kowalski, who’s been tasked with facing each team’s top player, is 5-3. Martin is 6-2 and Dwyer is still unbeaten at 8-0.

At times in practice, Christy will combine his singles players to challenge the doubles team. The benefit is two-fold. The doubles team gets to practice against the best players on the team. And playing doubles opens up the singles players to a new style of play that ultimately benefits them in their own matches.

Christy said by playing doubles it helps the girls improve at attacking the net, rather than fall into the routine of always staying back.

“That’s how they’re ending points,” he said. “They don’t end points from the baseline. They end points when you bring them to the net. In the past, they would get there and not feel comfortable so they would run back.”

That ultimately would lead to more rallies where the players stay deadlocked, hitting the ball back and forth without finishing.

“You get a better angle because you’re closer to the net,” Christy said. “And they’re willing to do that now, which is great.”

Mattituck’s first doubles team of Anna Kowalski and Courtney Penny won 6-1, 6-0 against Jess Rizzo and Shannon Quinn. The second doubles team of Melissa Hickox and Christine Bieber won 6-4, 6-1 against Caroline Metz and Caroline Gehring.

The Clippers have been playing all season with a short roster, which has made squeezing out any wins a challenge. The Clippers fell to 0-8 in League VIII and 0-9 overall. The team forfeited fourth singles and third doubles Monday.

Christy said while the scores may have appeared lopsided in Monday’s match, the play was competitive on the court. Southold coach Allison Krupski said that’s the way the season has gone for the Clippers.

“While we’ve been losing pretty steadily, the individual points per game have been pretty competitive,” she said. “The kids have played competitively all year.”

Playing with a shortened roster and forfeiting spots in the lineup can be draining on a team. But Krupski said the players, seven seniors and one freshman, have taken the challenge with a positive outlook.

“It hasn’t deterred them from having a fresh outlook every time they’ve gone out there,” she said.

Wilcenski got a chance Monday to play up a spot. Normally a second doubles or fourth singles player, the freshman got to play third singles.

“She’s really scrappy,” Krupski said. “She’s very athletic and she’s always hustling. She’ll be somebody to watch develop over the next couple of years.”

Mattituck has four matches remaining to try to close out the league season with a perfect record. The Tuckers will face a challenge Wednesday against Riverhead, a team they beat 4-3 the first time around. The Tuckers face Shoreham-Wading River Friday.

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09/30/13 5:52pm

BEV WALZ PHOTO | Bortech workers under contract by LIPA running pipe n August. Major work has been put on hold for more than a month because of project malfunctions, and LIPA’S patience now seems to be at an end.

With a deadline imposed for tomorrow, the Long Island Power Authority’s contract with Bortech to complete the long-delayed power pipeline project from Greenport to Shelter Island seems to be history.

Nick Lizanich, vice president of transmission and distribution for LIPA, said Monday afternoon that Bortech had failed to hit “major milestones” set on the company a month ago.

“The reality is [Bortech] is nowhere near finishing those milestones,” Mr. Lizanich said.

The primary goal Bortech missed is extracting a broken drill head in the tunnel between Crescent Beach and Greenport that would have carried power lines. The drill head malfunctioned in late August and stopped the project in its tracks. Bortech has been trying ever since to get the project back on track.

Mr. Lizanich said Bortech continues to propose alternatives, but it was clear that patience has run out at LIPA and its corporate partner, National Grid.

Alternatives now include terminating Bortech’s contract “and get someone else in to complete the conduit extension,” Mr. Lizanich said.

Another option is to give Bortech an extension. “But from my perspective, that’s what I gave then 30 days ago,” Mr. Lizanich said.

LIPA and National Grid are scheduled to put their heads together tomorrow to discuss the situation. There would be a final decision later in the week, “or sooner,” Mr. Lizanich said

LIPA spokesman Mark Gross said two weeks ago,  ”We certainly share the frustration with those residents that are affected by the project and while we understand the project does have its challenges, at some point we have to move forward and I think that’s what the deadline represents.”

Once the Sept. 30 deadline passes, LIPA officials “will explore all the options available to [them], and move forward,” Mr. Gross said previously.

If a new contractor is brought on board, decisions will have to be made to complete the tunnel already dug, or “start fresh,” Mr. Lizanich said.

Started in April to provide a much-needed backup source of electricity, the $9 million project was originally scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day.

Bortech did not comment on the matter.

09/30/13 2:30pm

Andrew Olsen

Times/Review Newsgroup publisher Andrew Olsen began his yearlong term as president of the New York Press Association’s board of directors last week.

As president, Mr. Olsen said, he will continue training and guidance for publishers across New York state to “help increase their level of journalistic excellence.” He also plans along with the board to create a human resources hotline that any employee of NYPA’s 761 member newspapers will be able to call for help or guidance with a work-related issue.

“I’ve been active on the NYPA board for years and have always found that you get out of an organization what you put into it,” Mr. Olsen said. “Much of the success within my company is tied in some way to training, ideas or other resources provided by NYPA.”

Mr. Olsen, 43, became co-publisher of Times/Review Newsgroup in May 2003, when Joan and Troy Gustavson, the parents of Mr. Olsen’s wife, Sarah, retired as co-publishers. Mr. Olsen was named sole publisher in 2009 and ownership of the company was transferred to the Olsens in January. He has served on NYPA’s board of directors for about 10 years.

The Gustavsons had owned Times/Review Newsgroup, formerly known as Times/Review Newspapers, since 1977. Times/Review publishes The Suffolk Times, Riverhead News-Review, The Shelter Island Reporter, Long Island Wine Press, numerous tourism and special-interest magazines and the websites associated with those publications — including northforker.com, a lifestyle, travel and leisure blog launched in May.

“I have a strong management team here at Times/Review, which will help me actively participate in board and association responsibilities,” Mr. Olsen said. “We have a very engaged and talented board that is striving to do great things over the next year.”

NYPA executive director Michelle Rea said she’s looking forward to working with Mr. Olsen during his one-year term.

“We’re always looking for leadership that’s going to make the newspaper industry sustainable and take us to the next place that we’re going,” she said. “I think Andrew leading the helm sets a good example for newspaper publishers across the state. He’ll help guide NYPA so that we can provide the right kind of services to newspapers.”

A Cutchogue resident, Mr. Olsen is a graduate of Southold High School and the University of Richmond (Va.). Before joining Times/Review, he was a vice president at Lowe, Lintas & Partners, an advertising agency in New York City. He is a former chairman of the East Marion Fire Department and recently transferred to the Cutchogue Fire Department. He also coaches youth baseball and basketball on the North Fork. Earlier this month, he was elected to the board of directors of East End Arts in Riverhead.

According to its website, NYPA was founded in 1853 to help publishers of small newspapers meet the needs of their communities more effectively by providing better information for their readers. Its membership includes 727 weekly community newspapers, 58 dailies and 147 culturally specific newspapers.

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09/30/13 1:20pm

COURTESY PHOTO | Gov. Andrew Cuomo stood at Orient Point State Park Monday urging the federal government to clean up Plum Island before it is sold.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on the federal government to require a comprehensive environmental cleanup plan for Plum Island and to give the state final review of the Island’s conditions before it is put up for sale.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration hope to close the research laboratory at Plum Island and use the profits from the island’s sale to cover the cost of constructing a new, $1.1 billion animal disease research laboratory in Manhattan, Kan.

During a press conference at Orient Beach State Park Monday morning the governor said DHS and GSA have dismissed environmental concerns raised by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in its recently issued Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision.

In 2010, the DEC identified a number of concerns related to landfills, buildings and other areas on the site and possible contamination of groundwater.

Subsequent DEC site inspections revealed the lab failed to properly manage and dispose of its solid waste and adhere to appropriate quality control and testing procedures for laboratory waste, Mr. Cuomo said.

In a letter dated Friday addressed to the DHS and GSA, the governor demanded the federal government conduct a full investigation on possible contamination issues that could potentially cause health, environmental and economic risks.

“Over the past three years, New York State has raised the issue of potentially serious environmental issues at the federal government’s Animal Disease Center on Plum Island that have not been fully addressed,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “Before the sale of Plum Island can continue, Washington must step up and sign a legally binding consent order spelling out its full plan for cleaning up the Island and giving the State oversight authority to make sure the work has been done properly.”

Mr. Cuomo is not the only one who believes the federal government hasn’t done its due diligence. Other elected leaders have taken issue with the sale and taken steps to prevent development at the land after the government’s final environmental study suggested up to 500 homes could be built on the island.

Southold Town approved new zoning laws last month that would prevent any significant development of the island.

County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue), who spearheaded the zoning proposal when he was a member of the Town Board, said he supports Mr. Cuomo efforts.

“The Federal Government must be held accountable for environmental degradation that has occurred over the years and it is their responsibility to remediate; they should not be allowed to pass the buck,” Mr. Krupski said in a statement.

A GSA spokesperson previously said the agency is working with other agencies to address environmental concerns.

“Addressing all environmental concerns surrounding the sale of the island is a top priority for the federal government,” GSA spokeman Patrick Sclafani said in a prepared statement last month. “GSA and DHS will continue to work closely with [the Environmental Protection Agency], congressional and local officials to ensure all environmental concerns are reviewed and considered.”

The Governor’s letter can be viewed below.

Cuomo urges Plum Island environment study

09/30/13 12:26pm

COURTESY PHOTO |  Southold police issued a town code violation for overcrowding at Vineyard 48 Saturday.

Vineyard 48 was slapped with a town code violation Saturday after police responded to a complaint of overcrowding at the winery, Southold Town Police said.

Police responded to a call around  5 p.m. saying the Route 48 vineyard was over capacity, Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said. Vineyard 48’s current site plan permits 251 people, but officers counted more than 350 at the winery when they arrived on scene Saturday, Chief Flatley said.

The owners of the Cutchogue vineyard were issued a violation and Mr. Flatley said the town would notify the State Liquor Authority, which is currently investigating Vineyard 48 regarding a number of complaints on the property.

Coincidentally, police were called back to the winery less than 15 minutes later to break up a fight. No arrests were made in connection with the incident, police said.

09/30/13 8:49am
COURTESY PHOTO | Police respond to a call that a woman violated an order of protection in Greenport Sunday.

COURTESY PHOTO | Police respond to a call that a woman violated an order of protection in Greenport Sunday.

A 26-year-old Greenport woman was arrested Sunday afternoon for violating an order of protection after she grabbed another woman by the arm at a local restaurant, Southold Town police said.

Shantel Smith of Greenport had grabbed the other woman’s arm and asked her who she was with, police said.

The incident happened just before 5 p.m., police said.

The victim “has a valid order of protection against Smith,” a police press release reads.

Ms. Smith was arrested on a misdemeanor criminal contempt charge.

09/29/13 5:00pm
09/29/2013 5:00 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Riders traveled from as far as Poughkeepsie to take part in Saturday's fundraiser.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Riders traveled from as far as Poughkeepsie to take part in Saturday’s fundraiser.

About 400 motorcyclists took to the road Sunday afternoon to raise money for a program benefiting children with autism.

Riders drove from Suffolk County police headquarters in Yaphank to Pugliese Vineyards in Cutchogue for the fourth annual Land & Sea Sports Club fundraiser.

The nonprofit club provides children on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities with programs and activities — swimming, surfing, sailing and karate —  that have both recreational and therapeutic benefits.

Bill LaMaire and his wife Maria said they started the nonprofit nine years ago for their son Christopher — to give him the opportunity to participate in activities with other children.

“There are so many families impacted by autism,” Mr. LaMaire said. He added that more than 500 families benefit from the programs, which take place at colleges and yacht clubs throughout Suffolk County.

The riders lined their bikes up at Cutchogue East Elementary School and walked over to the vineyard for an afternoon of food and music and raffles.

The vineyard donated the property for the event, said Peter Pugliese, winemaker.

Rider Bernie Woods, whose son Seamus, 17, participates in the programs said “the kids light up when they take part. They have their own thing they can do. It’s special to be able to provide them with that.”

Mr. Woods helped get the word out about the event, which has grown since being founded four years ago.

Mike Davis, who helped coordinate the ride said, “The cause is incredible. To see what the parents do and to give kids a chance to participate, that’s why we’re here.”

The riders were escorted the entire way with support from the Suffolk County, Southampton, Southold and Riverhead police departments, he said.

About 20 school-aged volunteers from the local NJROTC helped out at the event, assisting with everything from parking to doing crafts with children at the event.

“Bikers have big hearts,” said Kathy Ciano, who rode out with her husband, Jim. The Ronkonkoma couple said their godson Bill, 13, has autism and participates in many of the activities offered by the club.

“He does the sailing, swimming, anything with water. He loves the water. It calms him,” she said. “It’s a very important cause.”

To learn more about the cause visit the Land & Sea Sports Club website.

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09/29/13 2:30pm
JOE PINCIARO PHOTO | This three-bedroom, one-bathroom home on Route 48 in Peconic is listed for $329,000 – right around the price where one agent thinks entry-level homes start on the North Fork.

JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | This three-bedroom, one-bathroom home on Route 48 in Peconic is listed for $329,000 – right around the price where one agent thinks entry-level homes start on the North Fork.

Home-buying can be stressful for anyone. But for buyers shopping at the more affordable end of the North Fork price spectrum – say, under $300,000 – a slim inventory and a high-demand area can make the process even harder.

So what can one expect to find?

For one, competition.

“It’s a very popular slot price-wise,” said Pat Wilson with Colony Realty in Jamesport.

Second, be prepared to get your hands dirty.

“I would imagine there would be some work that would need to be done,” said Sheri Winter Clarry of The Corcoran Group in Southold .

And third, understand that the house itself will likely be somewhat modest — but it will be yours.

“You’ll find a fairly decent starting house,” said Patrick Fedun with Fedun Real Estate in Aquebogue.

In addition to a North Fork market that’s inherently competitive due to its location, real estate overall appears to be on the rebound, making homes in the $300,000 area tough to come by.

Mr. Fedun added that, so far this year, “we’re pretty much back to normal with what’s going on with sales. If you look at what was going on five years ago, it’s pretty much the same.”

This year’s numbers to date tend to confirm this.

According to Suffolk Research Service, a real estate data tracking firm, median home values bottomed out in Southold Town in 2012, with a median price of $435,000 for single-family homes. Through July of this year, that median has risen to $456,000. The 2009 median price was $462,500.

The number of sales in the $150,000 to $300,000 range has picked up as well, particularly since the beginning of 2012.

Last year, 59 homes in that range were sold in Southold Town, compared to 36 in 2011. Through mid-August 2013, 36 homes priced at or under $300,000 had been sold.

“We’re seeing the bottom come up,” said Thomas McCarthy of Thomas J. McCarthy Real Estate in Southold. On the North Fork, he added, converted cottages or homes on a “real postage stamp lot” or on main roads would be included in the limited inventory buyers can expect to find. Mr. McCarthy has one listing he believes will sell soon that’s priced at just over $300,000 and located directly on Route 48.

Currently, only 11 single-family homes are on the market in Southold Town for under $300,000. Due to a limited inventory, Corcoran’s Barry Novick said he wouldn’t consider anything under $325,000 in the entry-level category. Anything less, and a homeowner can likely expect to be putting money back into the home upon purchase, increasing the overall investment.

For first-time buyers – those most likely to be exploring the lower end of the market — Suffolk County recently jump-started a program that offers qualified individuals up to $14,000 in down payment assistance on homes costing up to $333,000. Applicants have until the end of October to apply; as of Sept. 19 — less than three weeks after the county started taking applications — 64 people had applied. In total, the county is offering $500,000 in down payment assistance.

In the meantime, interest rates have risen over a full percentage point from an all-time low of 3.38 percent about a year ago.

Aidan Wood, senior vice president with Bridgehampton National Bank, said he’s noticed more movement in purchases on the East End this year, as refinancing has slowed with rising interest rates.

Mr. Fedun echoed Mr. Wood’s sentiments.

“We’ve seen a good jump in [purchasing] interest because interest rates have gone up,” he said. “It’s encouraged people to buy a little bit. We’ll see where it goes.”

To see some examples of affordable homes on the market, northforker.com features regular North Fork real estate segments, Three Under 300K and Three Under 350K.

09/29/13 12:17pm
VERA CHINESE PHOTO | The Times/Review Newsgroup team celebrates its victory in the first ever East End Media Kickball Tournament.

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | The Times/Review Newsgroup team celebrates its victory in the first ever East End Media Kickball Tournament. From left: managing editor Joseph Pinciaro, northforker.com editor Matt Kapelas, reporter Cyndi Murray, executive editor Grant Parpan, reporter Rachel Young, reporter Paul Squire, reporter Carrie Miller, account executive Erica Brower, account executive Tina Volinski, reporter Tim Gannon, classified executive Kim Volinski and publisher Andrew Olsen.

It was a tournament with home plate collisions, a triple play,  trash talking, several controversial foul calls and requests to verify players’ documentation. No, not the Little League World Series or the Major League Baseball postseason. We’re talking about the first ever East End Media Kickball Tournament.

When the final run crossed home plate the Times/Review Newsgroup team, featuring staff members from the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times, was presented a trophy as the undefeated champion of the three-team double elimination tournament.

“We were a great team both on and off the field,” declared Times/Review reporter Rachel Young, the team’s self-appointed spokesperson.

The idea for the tournament, which was played at the North Sea Community House in Southampton, was first conceived by editors of The Press News Group of Southampton and Times/Review Newsgroup at a hotel bar in Saratoga, N.Y. last spring. Representatives of fellow East End newspaper The Sag Harbor Express agreed to field a team and the event was organized by Press executive editor Joe Shaw.

Mr. Shaw said despite his team’s loss in the championship round, he was excited to see the tournament run smoothly.

“I’m glad nobody twisted an ankle,” he said afterward. “I definitely thought we were going to have to call an ambulance.”

While no 911 call was ever placed, several calls were made at the last moment to secure an actual kickball after Mr. Shaw showed up at the field with several rubber supermarket bouncie balls.

“You can’t play kickball with those,” protested Sag Harbor Express publisher Bryan Boyhan.

By the start of the second inning of Game One, the useless rubber ball was replaced with an actual kickball and the action continued.

The Times/Review squad won the championship with victories of 7-1 over Southampton, 4-1 over Sag Harbor and 12-9 over Southampton in the final game. Southampton defeated Sag Harbor 6-4 in the semifinals.

Times/Review left fielder Kim Volinski was awarded tournament MVP by an unofficial vote of the awards committee. The classified executive and former college soccer player kicked a home run and wowed the crowd with several dazzling outfield catches.

Northforker.com editor Matt Kapelas won the Golden Hands award for his stellar play at third base for Times/Review.

The Play of the Tournament award was given to the Sag Harbor Express infield for turning a triple play against Times/Review.

Press News Group account executive Keith Schultz was awarded the Silver Slugger award for his dramatic home run in the semifinal game.

Sag Harbor Express account executive Terry McShane of Mattituck was awarded Potluck MVP honors for arriving with one of his Lickitty-Splitz Ice Cream Cartz.

Also of note from the tournament was the absence of Southampton Press Western Edition editor Frank Costanza, who was said to sit out the tournament as he begins his annual Festivus preparations. Times/Review web editor Joe Werkmeister, an absolute sports fanatic, was also curiously absent from the tournament, but a World Adult Kickball Association source said he was “werking.”

“We came in saying we just gotta take it one game at a time,” said Times/Review captain and executive editor Grant Parpan. “It’s a shame there had to be a winner, really, but I’m glad it was us.”

09/29/13 9:51am
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Massoud family at the 30th anniversary celebration of Paumanok Vineyards Saturday night.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Massoud family at the 30th anniversary celebration of Paumanok Vineyards Saturday night.

Paumanok Vineyards celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday night with a gala party to thank local chefs for their years of support. The Massoud family, owners of the Aquebogue vineyard, will donate all proceeds from the event to Peconic Bay Medical Center.


Several hundred guests gathered under a festive white tent at the edge of the vineyard and were treated to tastings from some of Long Island’s most celebrated chefs, including many from the North Fork.


Master of Ceremonies Doug Geed, anchorman for News 12 and host of The East End, spoke of his affection for the North Fork and for the Massoud family, whom he has known for over 25 years.

Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO Andrew Mitchell gave a short and sometimes funny history of the Massoud family’s journey and of winemaking on Long Island.

Suffolk County legislator Al Krupski presented the Massouds with a proclamation and brought the entire family up to the stage to receive it.