10/31/13 4:00pm
10/31/2013 4:00 PM
JAY WEBSTER FILE PHOTO | A pair of superheroes take to the streets in last year's Greenport Halloween Parade.

JAY WEBSTER FILE PHOTO | A pair of superheroes take to the streets in last year’s Greenport Halloween Parade.

The Southold Town Police Department and AAA are urging parents, motorists and children to be in safety mode this Halloween.

Police Chief Martin Flatley and AAA New York offer the following tips for trick-or-treaters:

• Be bright at night: use reflective tape on costumes and treat bags, wear light colors and carry flashlights with fresh batteries for extra visibility.
• Don’t wear a costume that obstructs vision. Instead of masks, try nontoxic face paint.
• Look all ways and listen for traffic before crossing, and review pedestrian safety rules before you leave the house.
• Cross at corners, not between parked cars or mid-block.
• If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic, on the left side of the road.
• Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult or trustworthy teen; older children should be given boundaries and should communicate with their parents along the way.

AAA recommends the following tips for motorists:

• If possible, avoid cutting through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
• Obey all traffic signs and signals, and travel with caution in residential areas.
• Scan far ahead and watch attentively for children who may run from house to house or cross at unexpected places.

10/31/13 12:00pm

Big-jump-in-state-aid-for-North-Fork-school-districts-March-20131No teacher in any Southold Town school district received an “ineffective” rating under the controversial new education evaluation system now being implemented in public schools across New York State.

Overall results from the state-mandated annual professional performance review plans, known as APPR, were released by the education department last week.

Evaluations for some teachers depended in part on how students performed on new, tougher English Language Arts and math assessments under the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

In the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District, nearly 66 percent of the 137 teachers evaluated received a “highly effective” rating and 34 percent received an “effective” rating.

In the Southold School District, 71 percent of 83 teachers received a “highly effective” rating and 29 percent received an “effective” rating.

Over in the Greenport School District, 33 percent of the 56 teachers were rated “highly effective,” 64 percent were rated “effective” and 3 percent were rated “developing.”

And in the Oysterponds Elementary School District, 39 percent of the 13 teachers received a “highly effective” rating and 61 percent received an “effective” rating.

No Southold Town school district reported an “ineffective” rating, the lowest on the scale.

The tiny New Suffolk’s school district often does not see its numbers made public, due to privacy concerns.

Oysterponds Superintendent Richard Malone said although he likes the Common Core standards, he believes the state gave schools too little time to implement Common Core and the new assessments, as well as an APPR plan. It was “too quick and contributed to the lack of positive reaction and acceptance,” he said.

As for APPR’s effectiveness, Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said he believes the system is based on a “faulty premise of mistrust and will not produce the desired results of improving student learning.

“Look at educational systems throughout the country and the world that are effective,” he said. “None tie student test results to improvement, and virtually all have a culture that is respectful.”

Last school year, students in grades 3 through 8 took English Language Arts and math assessments that included elements of the Common Core for the first time, and the results showed a significant drop in test scores compared to the 2011-12 school year.

The state did not release district-by-district results of the teacher evaluations. The local numbers were supplied to The Suffolk Times by the superintendents.

The Common Core initiative, which primarily requires instructors to teach more non-fiction and more rigorous math to students at a younger age, is a set of national standards designed to raise the bar for classroom instruction. It’s also designed to help prepare students for college and careers upon graduating from high school.

Earlier this year, New York school districts were mandated to develop their own APPR plans or risk losing additional state aid for noncompliance.

For the most part, APPR evaluation systems rely on a combination of classroom observations, “locally bargained, locally determined objective measures” and state test scores, according to state officials.

Statewide, 91.5 percent of teachers were rated “highly effective” (49.7 percent) or “effective” (41.8 percent). About 4.4 percent were rated “developing,” and 1 percent was rated “ineffective.”

Greenport Elementary School principal Joseph Tsaveras said although the APPR plan is helpful in showing the community how the district is performing, he believes the system needs to include funding for professional development to promote progress.

“When we first heard the preliminary results, we were excited to see that we were above the state percentage of highly effective and effective teachers,” he said. “Our staff has always looked to advance their skills so that they can support our students [and] works extremely hard for our students every day.”

State education officials have come under fire from districts across New York for rolling out the more rigorous state assessments last year under the Common Core without allowing the time or providing the resources needed to implement a matching curriculum.

As for the teacher evaluation systems, Mr. McKenna said each district developed its own APPR plan with little guidance from the state. He said he believes the APPR needs to be streamlined because the amount of time and labor needed to calculate scores is “enormous.”

In addition, he described APPR as the “epitome of an unfunded mandate” because implementing it cost the district more than $75,000 during the 2012-13 school year and the district anticipates receiving only $14,500 in Race to the Top funding over three years.

Mr. McKenna also questioned the equity in evaluating students and teachers based on Common Core assessments when the state is still introducing lesson plans.

“The analogy of flying an airplane while the plane is being built is an accurate one when applied to this aspect of the APPR plan,” he said. “How valid can these state assessment scores be?”

State officials say the APPR will provide the additional data needed to more effectively analyze teachers’ performance relative to Common Core requirements.

New York education department commissioner John King said in a statement released last week that he believes the latest APPR results prove the new Common Core assessments “did not negatively affect teacher ratings.”

“It’s clear that teachers are rising to the challenge of teaching the Common Core,” he said. “It’s also clear that it’s time to put aside talk about a moratorium on the use of state assessments in educator evaluations and focus on ensuring all students receive the rigorous and engaging instruction that will help them to prepare for college and careers.”

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10/31/13 12:00pm
A young mariachi band.

A young mariachi band.

If you’re really proud of your Halloween costume this year or you think your kid will be the cutest in the neighborhood, then share your photos for all to see on suffolktimes.com.

Several of our staff’s favorite photos will appear on the cover of the community section in the Nov. 7 issue of The Suffolk Times.

There are three different ways you can submit photos:

• Click the blue “upload tab” at the top of the gallery below.

• Or hashtag your photos #northforker when you post them on Twitter and Instagram.

• Or email your photos to [email protected] or [email protected].

10/31/13 10:27am
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Wildwood State Park in Wading River.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Wildwood State Park in Wading River.

New York State Parks Department officials say septic systems at five state parks – including Wildwood State Park in Wading River – are not in compliance with current septic treatment standards and will be upgraded.

The announcement follow the Peconic Baykeeper’s notice that it intends to sue the parks department in federal court for using outdated systems at those same parks because the systems violate the U.S. Clean Water Act

“State parks began its review of the septic systems immediately after becoming aware of the allegations made by Peconic Baykeeper,” said Dan Keefe, a department spokesman.

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Parks officials announced last Monday that the department has entered into a consent order, or agreement, with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to update 30 septic systems at the parks, which were found to be outdated and no longer compliant with current septic treatment standards.

The cost of the updates, which will include four of 20 septic systems at the Wading River park, is at more than $5 million, Mr. Keefe said.

The agreement also includes a $250,000 project to install nitrogen reduction technology at one of the park locations, according to a parks department press release.

On July 16, Peconic Baykeeper president Kevin McAllister announced his intent to sue the state for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to have National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, which are aimed at controlling the amount of pollutants entering the nation’s surface waters.

According to the July 16 legal notice, Wildwood park has been utilizing Class V large-capacity cesspools, which were banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in April 2005 to protect drinking water.

Federal law requires at least 90 days’ advance notice of a lawsuit, so the action against the parks department could not be filed until now, Mr. McAllister said.

“We’re not going away. Our plan is to go forward with this,” he told this newspaper.

“The consent order does not go far enough – it doesn’t address the nitrogen loading coming from these systems,” Mr. McAllister said. “Some 1,000 toilet flushes are entering the groundwater from those facilities each day … it doesn’t sound as though they are going to make the commitment to real upgrades which would denitrify the wastewater.”

Mr. McAllister said he and attorney Reed Super plan to file the lawsuit sometime next week.

“We want to see denitrification systems. If they are going to be ripping these things out of the ground, it’s an opportunity to do the right thing. New York State should be leading the way with respect to more advanced wastewater treatment,” he said. “Their version of upgraded is not our version.”

The actions Peconic Baykeeper has filed against the state DEC and parks department are being undertaken in partnership with Long Island Soundkeeper, based in Connecticut.

10/31/13 10:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The North Fork Community Theatre will present ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ at its Mattituck theater.

North Fork Community Theatre presents ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,’ beginning Friday night at 8 p.m.

For more information and a slideshow, check out northforker.com.

10/31/13 10:00am

A Greenport man was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs after he rear-ended another vehicle at a red light in Southold last Tuesday evening, police said.

Frank Rizzo Jr., 42, crashed a 2012 Honda SUV into the back of a Volkswagen coupe waiting at the intersection of Route 48 and Wickham Avenue about 5:50 p.m., according to an accident report.

Police were called to the scene and found that Mr. Rizzo’s speech was slurred and he was “unsteady on his feet,” police said. He admitted to police that he had used Xanax earlier in the day, according to a police report.

Police found that Mr. Rizzo’s license had previously been suspended at least 10 times, according to the report.

Police said Mr. Rizzo was “lethargic” and “very disoriented.” He failed a field sobriety test and was arrested.

After taking a blood test, Mr. Rizzo was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He was held at police headquarters pending arraignment.

• Police reported that deer were the cause of 12 accidents across Southold Town last week. Though no injuries were reported, a woman sideswiped a utility pole in Southold while trying to avoid a deer Sunday.

The deer ran out onto Skunk Lane about 5:15 p.m. as the woman was headed south in a 2004 Toyota sedan, according to a police report. She swerved on the road, missing the deer but scraping against a nearby utility pole before skidding to a stop down the road, police said.

LIPA was notified to fix the pole and the vehicle was towed from the scene, police said. The woman was unharmed.

• A 46-year-old Laurel woman allegedly stole cash and tomatoes from a Greenport farm stand last Tuesday, according to police arrest reports.

Officers were called to Farmer Joe’s farm stand on Albertson Lane about 12:45 p.m. after the owner reported money had been taken from his cash box. The victim told police he saw a “small black sedan with a spoiler and loud exhaust” leaving the area at the time of the theft.

Police searched the area and about 20 minutes later stopped Cheryl Gormez on Route 48 in Peconic for a traffic violation. While being questioned, Ms. Gormez admitted to stealing tomatoes from the farm stand.

She was arrested and charged with petit larceny and released for a future court date. The stolen goods were photographed by police as evidence and returned to the farm stand.

• A Cutchogue teen is facing a felony forgery charge after he was caught driving with a phony registration in Northampton last Tuesday, Southampton Town police said.

Police spotted Bahri Erdogan, 19, driving a Volkswagen Jetta with tinted windows on Wildwood Trail near Lake Avenue about 2 p.m., according to a police report. He was pulled over in Speonk, where police found the temporary registration on his insured car was forged, police said.

Mr. Erdogan was arrested and charged with felony forgery and several traffic violations, according to the report. His car was impounded by police.

The above information was supplied by the Southold Town and Southampton Town Police Department. A criminal charge is only an accusation and does not indicate convictions.

SoutholdPD - Spring - 600

10/31/13 8:00am
CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO  |  Fashion-forward skeletons have taken up residency in a Greenport yard.

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Fashion-forward skeletons have taken up residency in a Greenport yard.

Ghosts, graves and ghastly goblins — these are just a few of the props local homeowners are using to decorate their houses and lawns for Halloween. From menacing masks and cobwebs to spooky scarecrows and the Grim Reaper, here are photos of some of the scariest-looking spots around.

For a chance to have a Halloween photo in the Nov. 7 edition of The Suffolk Times, click here to read more.

10/31/13 6:00am


To the editor:

Whatever happened to the cute cartoons each week from Peter Waldner? I was upset to see that he had to get some political digs into this week’s cartoon. In fact, I think The Suffolk Times is no longer the hometown newspaper that I started to read many years ago. It seems to be trying to get into politics outside of our local elections.

If I want to see such political cartoons, I can buy the big-time newspapers. I just want to find out what is going on locally, not in Washington, D.C. I hear enough of that on the news each night.

My advice to Peter is, keep it cute … not political.

Elizabeth Fletcher, Mattituck

To the editor:

The Oct. 24 cartoon displayed “frightening” Halloween masks. One of the masks is that of Senator Ted Cruz. Now, I am sure that this mask will frighten a “few,” who are also frightened of the truth. However the rest of us will react as they did in Amarillo, with an eight-minute standing ovation for the truth being told by Senator Cruz.

Louis Williams, Southold

To read more letters to the editor, pick up a copy of this week’s Suffolk Times on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.