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11/17/16 2:00pm
11/17/2016 2:00 PM

As the vote to approve a Southold Town budget that would raise taxes more than 7.5 percent was called, board members expressed concerns. They said they understood the concerns of residents, but most said their hands were tied by a “dire set of circumstances,” largely the deteriorating state of some local roads. READ

03/11/15 10:00am
03/11/2015 10:00 AM
(Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Roadways across the town sustained “substantial” damage this winter, the highway superintendent said. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

The Highway Department may need between $300,000 and $400,000 more than originally budgeted to repair “substantial” damage to town roadways this winter.  (more…)

06/20/14 7:00am
06/20/2014 7:00 AM
A Southold Highway Department truck turns onto Main Road in January. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A Southold Highway Department truck turns onto Main Road in January. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

In seeking to purchase two new trucks the for Southold Town highway department’s fleet, Superintendent Vincent Orlando is essentially doing what he told voters he would when he ran for the position in last year’s elections. He’s aiming to “rotate the fleet,” replacing outdated equipment that’s in need of costly repairs with more modern and efficient vehicles.  (more…)

01/02/14 2:54pm
01/02/2014 2:54 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando during his swearing in ceremony on Thursday.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando during his swearing in ceremony on Thursday.

Less than an hour after being sworn in, new Highway Department Superintendent Vincent Orlando was already in his first emergency preparedness meeting in his new capacity.

“Let’s hurry up,” he joked at the swearing in ceremony on Thursday morning. “I got work to do.”

With about 10 inches of snow forecast to fall on the North Fork Thursday night into Friday and a blizzard warning in effect, Mr. Orlando will face his first big test as head of the department, which sports two dozen plows and a dozen sanders.

Luckily for residents, however, the snowfall won’t be entirely new ground for Mr. Orlando, as former Highway Department Superintendent Pete Harris opened his door to Mr. Orlando in the final months of his tenure, allowing him to get a feel for how the department runs.

“It’s been a great transition. We’ve really been able to hit the ground running” Mr. Orlando said on Thursday. “With their help, it’s been really nice.”

While the National Weather Service website warns that anywhere from five to nine inches could come tonight, with another one two two inches tomorrow, NWS meteorologist Joe Pollina said that the East End is likely to fall on the higher end of the range.

“The twin forks, and Riverhead area, will likely be closer to the 10-inch range, with western Suffolk closer to eight inches,” he said. Mr. Pollina added that the bulk of snow should arrive after midnight, with minor accumulation after sunrise.

Mr. Orlando, a former town councilman, also pointed to the aid of deputy superintendent Curt Davids — who served under Mr. Harris and will remain in his post — as integral to helping him move into his current role. Mr. Orlando won the post in November, defeating Democrat Tobie Wesnofske with 55 percent of the vote.

“The last few storms we’ve had, I’ve been here for,” he said. “So it’s not so shocking today … we’ll prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”

Mr. Orlando wasn’t the only one getting ready for snow on Thursday, however.

Waldbaums customer service clerk Pat Doucet said the Mattituck store seemed pretty busy, with plenty of people heading into pick up some necessities before the storm.

Mary Anne Coe of Mattituck said she was doing the grocery shopping, while her husband “took care of everything else.”

“I just bought some bread and milk, and he went to get gas for the snow blower and generator,” Ms. Coe said, adding that she hoped the North Fork was greeted with a lot of snow tomorrow morning.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A shopper fills up at Waldbaum's on Thursday afternoon.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A shopper fills up at Waldbaum’s on Thursday afternoon.

“My kids like to go out in the snow,” she said.

While loading her car, June Bassemir of Jamesport said “it’s really a different type of day for me. I am converting from oil to gas today, and will only have the wood burning stove to keep warm.”

That means wood was at the top of her list, of which she said she had just bought two bundles from the grocery store, along with a few other essentials.

“I just got the last whole milk that was in there,” Ms. Bassemir said, adding that she was going home to bake a fresh loaf of “almost” homemade bread, “its cheating a bit, the ingredients comes mixed in the box,” she said.

When asked how he was getting ready for the storm, Arthur Kretschmer of Mattituck said “I’m not. It’s not 1840 anymore,” he laughed.

Mr. Kretschmer was taking care of two boys, Noah and Christian, who were dressed for the weather in camouflage facemasks and brightly colored jackets.

When asked how they were preparing for the storm, the two said in unison “What storm?”

11/02/13 11:59am
11/02/2013 11:59 AM

Vincent Orlando

It’s been eight years since the residents of Southold Town have had a choice in an election for highway superintendent. Democrat Pete Harris, who ran unopposed in 2009 and won by slim margins over Republican Everett Glover in each of his two contested races, would have faced stiff competition this year from former councilman Vincent Orlando, a Republican.

But hours before the Democratic nominating convention, Mr. Harris announced he would not seek re-election after 12 years in office.

With little time to find a replacement, Democrats ultimately settled on nominee Eugene “Tobie” Wesnofske, a local farmer and auto mechanic from Cutchogue.

A nice guy with a blue-collar work ethic and a head for mechanics, Mr. Wesnofske seems an ideal candidate for a hands-on highway post, but not necessarily for the more hands-off managerial role of highway superintendent.

We believe Mr. Orlando, who certainly made it a point during the campaign to prove he, too, can put on his blue-collared shirt, is better suited to assume the very white-collar role of leading a department that operates on a nearly $6 million annual budget and whose employees have as much impact on public safety as any town staffers outside police headquarters. (While Mr. Wesnofske brought a copy of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell’s proposed 2014 budget to his Suffolk Times editorial board interview last week, he said he had not yet looked at it.)

Mr. Orlando’s one term on the Southold Town Board and his other town experience have given him a lot of insight into how the town operates. He has vowed to spend his first term assessing the highway department’s equipment needs and improving efficiency by matching laborers with assignments based on their specific skills.

Unlike Mr. Wesnofske, Mr. Orlando adequately outlined his plan during this campaign. He is easily the better choice.