07/15/10 12:00am

Having trouble managing your diabetes? Suffolk County wants to help.

The county and Cornell Cooperative Extension are hosting a series of diabetes management classes throughout the month at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building on Griffing Avenue in Riverhead.

The classes, the first of which took place this Wednesday, will continue every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. They are taught by certified diabetes educators — health care professionals, including nurses, pharmacists and dietitians, who have worked over 1,000 hours with diabetic people to earn their certification.

The sessions are free and open to anyone, but registration is required at 631-727-7858 ext. 340. A reunion class will be held on Wednesday, August 18, “just to see how everyone is doing,” said Pat Andronica, a registered nurse and coordinator of the program.

Ms. Andronica, who helped launch the public program in 1999, said that the sessions are geared to coaching people on lifestyle changes to help them manage their disease, for which there is no cure, whether they have a doctor or not.

“We’ll cover things such as healthy eating, the importance of being active, medications and community resources to help with coping,” she said. “We also talk about the damage the disease does to your eyes, kidneys and feet.”

She added that most people who attend the sessions are adults with type 2 diabetes, the adult-onset and most common form of the disease. Type 2 is a chronic disease marked by high levels of glucose in the blood. Symptoms of type 2 can include blurred vision, slow-healing infections, especially on the legs and feet, fatigue and increased urination.

Because there is no cure for diabetes, lifestyle management is the only way to slow its effects, and that takes training, Ms. Andronica said. And as the years go by, she added that she’s been seeing an increase in younger people attending the sessions.

“With today’s lifestyle and increasing weight, more younger people are developing the disease,” she said.

Type 2 diabetes has been linked to weight gain and the long-term consumption of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates.

07/08/10 12:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
Garlic mustard in a yard in Riverhead, where the homeowner has been spraying weed killer to keep it under control. The plant was likely first brought here some 150 years ago from Europe or Asia for medicinal purposes.

Garlic and mustard might sound like good things to have around for outdoor barbecues. But the highly invasive garlic mustard weed is a different story, and it may have already taken over your yard where you have those barbecues — especially if you live in or near a wooded area.

“Wherever the infestation occurs, it’ll only get worse if people don’t deal with it,” said Andy Senesac, weed science specialist at Cornell University Cooperative Extension in Riverhead. “It’s been around a while, but I’ve seen it steadily get worse over the past 15 years locally.”

Identifiable by its lush green, heart-shaped leaves, small white flowers and garlicky odor, garlic mustard is an invasive herb with origins in Europe and parts of Asia, believed to have been introduced into the U.S. about 150 years ago for medicinal purposes. According to Cornell’s website, the weed is “becoming one of the worst invaders of forests in the American Northeast and Midwest.”

The plant tends to grow along the edges of wooded areas, elbowing out native grasses and plants in its path. It can often grow in dense clusters on forest beds and control light, water and nutrient resources. Garlic mustard has few natural enemies — according to a recent study posted on Cornell’s website, herbivores such as deer and woodchucks removed only about two percent of the leaf area in a stand of garlic mustard.

That’s why it’s important for humans to identify and pull the weed — which usually appears in April — sooner than later, Mr. Senesac said. But it is possible to control next year’s growth even this late in the season. Mr. Senesac recommends pulling the plants but to be careful not to knock their seeds back onto the ground.

“They’re already flowering this time of year, so it’s just a matter of being careful and bagging them up when you pull them,” he said.

[email protected]

07/08/10 12:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO
Bartender Jimmy Best serves cocktails to Robert DiMartino of Jamesport (center) and Billy Kenzig of Wading River at Billy

Two new restaurants in Greenport served up a whole bunch of casual cuisine — from fresh local seafood served on paper plates to juicy burgers spiced with the flavors of Istanbul — over the sunny July 4 weekend to hundreds of hungry locals and tourists.

Billy’s by the Bay opened in June in the deck-heavy building formerly occupied by Antares Cafe at Brewer Yacht Yard on Manhanset Avenue. Andy’s Unbelievable Burgers and Seafood opened in mid-May in the site of a former bodega on Front Street across from the Harborfront Hotel.

Customers Robert DiMartino of Jamesport and his friend Billy Kenzig of Wading River, sat at Billy’s outdoor tiki bar Friday afternoon, the first day the restaurant had a liquor license. They said they were impressed with the changes that owner Billy Gremler and his father, Billy Sr., had made to the place, formerly known for its upscale cuisine and romantic dockside atmosphere.

Now, they said, the ambiance is more down-to-earth.

“It’s hospitable to everyone,” said Mr. Kenzig, a retired teacher who said he had his mind set on a lobster dinner to kick off the long weekend. “And where else can you get a $15 lobster?”

Following in the footsteps of popular Greenport hangouts like Front Street Station and the Chowder Pot Pub, the owners of both new restaurants say they are “filling a niche” in the village with their casual mix of affordable food and laid back atmosphere.

“We’ve hit the ground running in this joint,” said the elder Billy Gremler, 51, Monday morning, after what he described as a phenomenal weekend for the fledging restaurant. “The East End needs a casual place with paper plates and fresh food.”

Billy’s by the Bay offers clams, oysters and lobsters and also features bacon-wrapped bay scallops, spicy steamed shrimp, Manhattan and New England clam chowders and an array of fried seafood. Appetizers run from $1 for a single clam to $7.95 for calamari. Entrees hover in the $15 range, and the most expensive item on the menu is the surf and turf at $25.95. Hamburgers and hot dogs are also available.

The younger Billy Gremler, a 24-year-old plumber by trade, owns the restaurant. His father, while handling the family plumbing business, also helps his son run the eatery.

The father and son duo used to dock their fishing boat in Mattituck but moved it to Greenport last year. That’s when they started to think about opening Billy’s by the Bay at the old Antares spot.

“We just decided to give it a whirl,” said the elder Mr. Gremler, adding that he ran a restaurant in Mattituck about 15 years ago called Blue Water Seafood, and his son grew up helping in the restaurant and has experience catering. “We came in with what we feel is a very simple menu served on simple plates for simple prices. It’s a good, quick product.”

For Herman Demirciyan, owner of Andy’s Unbelievable Burgers and Seafood on Front Street, the big weekend was also unbelievably good.

“Yesterday, people showed up from as far as West Islip and Bayshore just to come here,” he said Tuesday morning.

The restaurant is based on a popular burger joint Herman’s uncle, Andy, ran for years in the 1970s near Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Andy’s “unbelievable” $10 burger is actually two 4-ounce charbroiled burger patties on a 12-inch hoagie topped with tomatoes, pickles, onions, pepperoncini, homemade chili, eggs, American cheese, bacon, and the Demirciyan family’s special sauce, with Turkish accents.

“It was the best burger in the area,” said Andy Demirciyan, the 73-year-old owner of the original restaurant who now helps his nephew cook at the Greenport location.

Andy Demirciyan said that famous customers at the Los Angeles site included Helen Hayes, Lee Majors and Alan Alda. Several articles from the ’70s on the original burger joint are displayed on the walls of the new restaurant. When Andy closed up the Los Angeles restaurant and retired a few years ago, he said he decided to plant himself on the North Fork, where his brother already had a home.

Hamburgers with more traditional toppings are also available at Andy’s, as are a variety of soups, salads and seafoods including raw clams and steamed lobster. Lamb and chicken shishkebobs and “shish burgers” are also on the menu.

Originally from Istanbul, the Demirciyans moved to New York in the early 1960s. Herman Demirciyan, 42, shifted from a jewelry business in Manhattan to the restaurant a year and a half ago, when he and Andy began to discuss reopening Andy’s Unbelievable Burgers and Seafood.

“Greenport to me has been a dream,” said Herman, a Greenport resident for seven years. “I love the water, I’m a boater — but of course all that is on hold for me right now.”

Working seven days a week at Billy’s by the Bay, hasn’t left much time for anything else for father and son Gremler either. But once Labor Day hits, the elder Mr. Gremler said he’ll limit restaurant hours to Thursday through Sunday until it gets too chilly to stay open.

“That’s when we’ll close the doors and go back to plumbing,” he said.

[email protected]

07/08/10 12:00am

With pizza and cupcake trucks and other mobile or transient businesses popping up in Southold Town, the town’s peddler code needs to be either enforced or revised, says Eric Russell, owner of Founders Tavern in Southold.

Mr. Russell, brother of Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell, asked the supervisor and members of the town’s code committee last Thursday to consider clarifying the rules, which have not been revised since 1991. Under current code, only ice cream trucks, hot dog trucks and coffee trucks can be licensed as transient retail businesses in the town.

“All other businesses hereinabove defined as transient retail businesses shall be illegal in the Town of Southold,” reads the code.

“There was a time when all forms of peddling were prohibited, but these guys showed up and made a pitch at some point,” said town attorney Martin Finnegan. “And now the issue is spilling over into wineries, because the transients are showing up there.”

Eric Russell added that when a chef from an established local restaurant set up concessions at Peconic Bay Winery for last week’s wine and food festival, that also counted as a transient retail business — not included in the current code.

Councilman Al Krupski argued that peddling is a different issue from someone setting up for a day under a tent and selling their wares.

“But according to the current code, it’s transient,” argued Eric Russell. “So then anyone can set up anything anywhere for a day as a vending operation?”

“That should be addressed separately from a person driving around selling food out of a truck,” said Mr. Krupski.

According to the peddler code, a truck selling food is not supposed to stay in one place. “They are supposed to stay for a maximum of 10 minutes, then move on,” Mr. Finnegan said. “They can’t stay all day in a parking lot.”

Eric Russell said any business setting up displays on other commercial properties is transient, whether it’s a chef taking food from his restaurant to sell at a winery or a car dealership displaying cars on another dealer’s lot.

“And that’s not allowed in our code,” he said, adding that the town should enforce what is written in the code — or work to change it instead of “looking the other way constantly.”

“This isn’t about wineries or tourism — the issue is enforcing the code,” he said. “If I saw an ice cream truck at a winery, I wouldn’t argue with them, because that’s allowed in the code.”

Mr. Finnegan said he would work on a proposal for revising the peddler code for the board. Eric Russell said he planned to bring others concerned about the issue to tomorrow’s code committee meeting at Town Hall at 2:30 p.m.

New Suffolk zoning change?

Town code committee members said they were hesitant to create a new Maritime Heritage zoning district for 3.5 waterfront acres at the end of New Suffolk Avenue in New Suffolk.

For two years, members of the nonprofit preservation group New Suffolk Waterfront Fund have been trying to convince Town Board members to change the zoning from the historic area’s current Marine II, which allows a number of intense uses such as commercial marinas and hotels, to Maritime Heritage, which would “provide more flexibility in terms of the number of uses allowed on the property while also restricting the intensity of those uses,” said town planning director Heather Lanza.

Though the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund does not own the land, the group is working on securing funds to purchase the parcel from the Peconic Land Trust for $2.4 million, a deal that has to be completed by the end of the year.

Barbara Schnitzler, the group’s chairperson, said a change in zoning would only add to the arsenal of protection against development. She said it would also help the group meet longer-term goals to install a septic system and pedestrian-friendly landscaping, renovate the Galley Ho restaurant into a community center and snack bar, and turn a neglected early 20th-century oyster house into a maritime museum.

Ms. Lanza said the new zoning is “a good idea and could work out in the best interest of the community,” but while she and her staff are in the midst of trying to complete the town’s comprehensive plan, “the timing is unfortunate.”

“It’s really something that should come out of the comprehensive planning process rather than before the plan is done,” she said.

Mr. Finnegan agreed that to create a new zoning district that doesn’t exist yet in town code would be a “huge step” for the town to make. Supervisor Russell added that he didn’t know if there was enough community consensus in New Suffolk for the town to create the new zoning district.

“We need to have community consensus to develop something,” he said.

Ms. Schnitzler, who was not present at last week’s meeting, said she planned to meet with the code committee this week.

deer fencing addressed

Code committee members looked at several samples of fencing last Thursday to see what would work best to require in town code and to help deter an ever-increasing deer population from entering local vineyards, farms, yards and gardens.

North Fork Fence in Mattituck provided the committee with samples of different kinds of fencing such as chain-link, chicken wire and yard guard mesh — usually seen around pools. While some committee members didn’t think another heavier-wired fencing was the most visually appealing, Mr. Krupski said he thought it was the best way to go, since it excludes deer but allows smaller animals, such as box turtles, to pass through the bottom.

Mr. Krupski pointed out how many grapes local wineries lose due to hungry deer going through ineffective bird netting.

“They’re big animals that can eat a lot,” he said. “Once you lose 25 percent off the top, that’s a lot of grapes.”

[email protected]

06/24/10 12:00am

PHOTO COURTESY OF FUR PEACE MANAGEMENT
Folk-rock icon Richie Havens is one of the notable musicians set to perform at Peconic Bay Winery for two days in midsummer. Winery manager Jim Silver said he is confident the festival will go smoothly.

Woodstock icon Richie Havens. Classic rock band Mountain. Power pop rockers The Smithereens.
To Jim Silver, general manager of Peconic Bay Winery, these aging but still celebrated performers are big names but not that big, like The Rolling Stones which is why he’s not worried a bit about the impact of NOFO Rock and Folk Festival, a two-day outdoor event featuring 12 acts to be held at the Cutchogue winery on July 31 and Aug. 1. The concert will not conflict with the annual Riverhead Blues Festival, which will take place July 17 and 18.
“Sure, if we booked Lady Gaga here you probably couldn’t even get into Suffolk County,” he said. “But these are older names to appeal to an adult demographic, which is what we have here locally. This won’t be a Woodstock, but we are hoping for at least 800 people.”
After the success of a sold-out performance by jazz singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli on grounds just outside the winery’s main building last September, Mr. Silver said he felt ready to host a bigger show. To organize this festival, he teamed with former Southold Town supervisor Josh Horton, who will be singing at the concert with his band, Big Suga.
“After I saw how well the Pizzarelli show went, I just realized how easy it was to do this,” Mr. Silver said.
The concert will be held on fields farther away from the winery building and Route 25 than the Pizzarelli show was held last year, he said, so parking and traffic control will be “easy.”
“Our big, open fields could hold 5,000 people, but we’re not expecting that many,” he said. “And all the cars will be taken off the street. People will have to walk about 400 yards from where they will park to where the concert will be, but we’ll have a shuttle.”
Mr. Silver said he had hired a security company to handle parking and security on site to take that burden off of Southold Town police.
But police Capt. Martin Flatley is worried. He said that Mr. Silver and Mr. Horton did not consult with the police before going ahead with their concert plans. He said he was notified only when he saw that the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a special events permit for the show.
“The permit only said ‘music concert,’ and to me that means a band or a single performer,” he said. “I think that’s misleading, given the nature of this show.”
Capt. Flatley said he hoped that the winery can indeed handle its own security. He said that his officers had their hands full last August during “Barge Bash,” another concert organized by Mr. Horton, at which local bands performed on a floating barge between Founders Landing and Goose Creek Bridge in Southold. Most of the concertgoers were also on boats or in the water.
Before “Barge Bash,” Mr. Horton had argued that he didn’t need to go through the typical permit process, because representatives of Sea Tow and the Coast Guard had agreed to provide safety patrols, eliminating the need for coverage by additional town bay constables. The town police had little time to develop a security plan for the event.
Of this year’s event, the police captain said, “I don’t know if they can handle the whole thing themselves, but I do know that it is a large concert and I’m anticipating that some of the winery’s neighbors won’t be happy. Unfortunately, it’s a wait-and-see-what-happens situation at this point.”
Before deciding whom to book for the rock and folk festival, Mr. Silver said that he and Mr. Horton had used a website that shows how many people each individual act usually draws. Mountain, for instance, usually attracts about 250 people to their shows. And $45 per ticket per day “should keep things honest,” he said.
“That’s not cheap,” Mr. Silver said. “Whoever buys a ticket probably really wants to see these acts. We wanted to keep things small and profitable, not big and out of control. And we want to have some of these bigger names come here. You’re always hearing of them playing places on the South Fork, but the North Fork is always ignored.”
[email protected]

06/24/10 12:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO
A life-sized cutout of a black labrador guards the athletic fields at Southold Schools.

Owls, coyotes and snakes — oh my!

Though Bill Van Schaick hasn’t seen traditional Wizard of Oz-style scarecrows popping up in local farm fields and gardens, the manager at Talmage Farm Agway in Riverhead said he has been selling a lot of plastic owls and other pretend predators to deter geese and deer.

Mr. Van Schaick added that various methods of scaring pesky animals away from gardens and landscaping have been around for quite some time, but newer products, such as lifelike plastic coyotes, have also hit the market this summer.

“It’s a horrible-looking thing, but it’s a low-impact way of letting nature take care of itself,” he said of the $60 fake. “You’re just startling the animals, you’re not hurting them.”

Agway carries two kinds of fake owls: ones with bobble heads that move with the breeze and others that move electronically. The store also stocks inflatable snakes to keep birds away from swimming pools and a menacing “terror eye” — a hanging ball with moving eyes that will strike fear in any bird, according to Mr. Van Schaick. Other deterrent products include electronic sonic devices that mimic the calls of certain birds of prey.

Some locals employ more home-grown methods of keeping away unwanted animals. George Neamonidis, 80, of East Marion said he uses aluminum plates that clang together to scare the deer away from the garden at his Bay Avenue home. He said that deer have been more of a nuisance than geese in recent years.

“When the wind blows, [the plates] make a little noise and the deer stay far away,” he said. “So right now, I don’t think I need a plastic coyote.”

Joyce Grigonis, a landscape designer at Briarcliff Landscape in Peconic, designs “shadow dogs” for her company. The black wooden dogs, which can be seen in Briarcliff’s sod fields, are 36 inches wide and 150 inches long and are mounted on metal poles so they spin around in the breeze. The movement makes them look as if they are running, which keeps geese away from the field. Southold High School and McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead use similar methods on their grounds.

Ms. Grigonis said that some of Briarcliff’s landscape clients have requested dogs for their own lawns, though the company hasn’t yet begun to sell them commercially.

“Waterfront people with big lawns are asking for them,” she said, adding that she read about the simple dog concept last year online at watchdoggoosepatrol.com, a Minnesota-based company that patented its own dog silhouettes in 1996.

“Geese are beautiful creatures, but can become quite a nuisance when they invade our spaces and yuck up our shoes,” reads the website. “Our dogs are a great alternative to hazardous chemical deterrents or inhumane methods of elimination.”

But no matter how scary you think your pest control device is, Mr. Van Schaick recommends moving it around.

“Whatever you do, make sure there’s some movement to it,” he said, “otherwise the birds will get wise.”

[email protected]

06/24/10 12:00am

Ian Toy, the Southold teen on a mission to save the Helen Keller house at the county park at Cedar Beach, spoke again to county legislators Tuesday morning. The county, which acquired the house in the 1960s when it purchase the parkland, is expected to schedule it for demolition.

It was the second time that Ian, 13, had made a pitch to lawmakers to save the dilapidated Bavarian-style cottage built in the 1920s and, according to local historians, rented in the summer of 1936 by Ms. Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan.

He presented a report from local architect Michael Mendillo, who evaluated the house on May 15 and estimated that its restoration would cost $386,656.

“In order to prepare a more accurate assessment as to costs, the building should be gutted down to its framing and made secure so that a proper analysis can be made,” reads Mr. Mendillo’s report.

Though the Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality has recommended the structure be demolished this summer, Ian said he is still hoping the county will pass a resolution proposed last month by County Legislator Ed Romaine to set aside $400,000 to begin restoration. That resolution was tabled earlier this month.

The legislature will revisit the proposal in August.

ERIN SCHULTZ

06/24/10 12:00am

PHOTO COURTESY OF FUR PEACE MANAGEMENT
Folk-rock icon Richie Havens is one of the notable musicians set to perform at Peconic Bay Winery for two days in midsummer. Winery manager Jim Silver said he is confident the festival will go smoothly.

Woodstock icon Richie Havens. Classic rock band Mountain. Power pop rockers The Smithereens.

To Jim Silver, general manager of Peconic Bay Winery, these aging but still celebrated performers are big names — but not that big, like The Rolling Stones — which is why he’s not worried a bit about the impact of NOFO Rock and Folk Festival, a two-day outdoor event featuring 12 acts to be held at the Cutchogue winery on July 31 and Aug. 1. The concert will not conflict with the annual Riverhead Blues Festival, which will take place July 17 and 18.

“Sure, if we booked Lady Gaga here you probably couldn’t even get into Suffolk County,” he said. “But these are older names to appeal to an adult demographic, which is what we have here locally. This won’t be a Woodstock, but we are hoping for at least 800 people.”

After the success of a sold-out performance by jazz singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli on grounds just outside the winery’s main building last September, Mr. Silver said he felt ready to host a bigger show. To organize this festival, he teamed with former Southold Town supervisor Josh Horton, who will be singing at the concert with his band, Big Suga.

“After I saw how well the Pizzarelli show went, I just realized how easy it was to do this,” Mr. Silver said.

The concert will be held on fields farther away from the winery building and Route 25 than the Pizzarelli show was held last year, he said, so parking and traffic control will be “easy.”

“Our big, open fields could hold 5,000 people, but we’re not expecting that many,” he said. “And all the cars will be taken off the street. People will have to walk about 400 yards from where they will park to where the concert will be, but we’ll have a shuttle.”

Mr. Silver said he had hired a security company to handle parking and security on site to take that burden off of Southold Town police.

But police Capt. Martin Flatley is worried. He said that Mr. Silver and Mr. Horton did not consult with the police before going ahead with their concert plans. He said he was notified only when he saw that the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals had granted a special events permit for the show.

“The permit only said ‘music concert,’ and to me that means a band or a single performer,” he said. “I think that’s misleading, given the nature of this show.”

Capt. Flatley said he hoped that the winery can indeed handle its own security. He said that his officers had their hands full last August during “Barge Bash,” another concert organized by Mr. Horton, at which local bands performed on a floating barge between Founders Landing and Goose Creek Bridge in Southold. Most of the concertgoers were also on boats or in the water.

Before “Barge Bash,” Mr. Horton had argued that he didn’t need to go through the typical permit process, because representatives of Sea Tow and the Coast Guard had agreed to provide safety patrols, eliminating the need for coverage by additional town bay constables. The town police had little time to develop a security plan for the event.

Of this year’s event, the police captain said, “I don’t know if they can handle the whole thing themselves, but I do know that it is a large concert and I’m anticipating that some of the winery’s neighbors won’t be happy. Unfortunately, it’s a wait-and-see-what-happens situation at this point.”

Before deciding whom to book for the rock and folk festival, Mr. Silver said that he and Mr. Horton had used a website that shows how many people each individual act usually draws. Mountain, for instance, usually attracts about 250 people to their shows. And $45 per ticket per day “should keep things honest,” he said.

“That’s not cheap,” Mr. Silver said. “Whoever buys a ticket probably really wants to see these acts. We wanted to keep things small and profitable, not big and out of control. And we want to have some of these bigger names come here. You’re always hearing of them playing places on the South Fork, but the North Fork is always ignored.”

[email protected]

06/24/10 12:00am

JEFFREY COLTON PHOTO
Frank Arnold and Southold Town Police Officer Dave Hunstein walk two ponies safely home last Thursday morning. The animals escaped from fencing on the South Harbor Lane property where Mr. Arnold works as a caretaker.

An alert caretaker was able to call for help and corral two ponies that escaped before dawn last Thursday from property along South Harbor Lane in Southold, averting a repeat of a crash that killed two horses in December.

After noticing the horses were gone,, Frank Arnold, 60, called police about 3:30 a.m., authorities said. The officer on the scene located the animals near the corner of Main Bayview and Grange Road and followed them in his patrol car as they wandered east for about half a mile east on Route 25, police said.

Two more officers and two civilian motorists were able to surround the horses with vehicles at the intersection of Route 25 and Jasmine Lane until Mr. Arnold came to walk them safely back to South Harbor Road, police said.

Mr. Arnold said he happened to be up early, checking on a chicken coop on the property, when he saw the ponies were missing.

“I’ve been having a problem with a weasel getting into the chicken coop,” he said. “So I was up at around 3:30 in the morning to check on the status when I noticed they were gone.”

Mr. Arnold said he then immediately called police for some help to corral the animals before traffic got too busy. He said that he was afraid of a repeat of the gruesome accident on Sound Avenue in Mattituck last December, when a Mattituck woman struck and killed two thoroughbreds as she was driving to work at 5:30 a.m. Those horses had wandered away from Strawberry Fields, about a mile from the accident site. The animals were killed on impact and the woman’s Toyota SUV was totaled.

“There weren’t too many cars on the road that early, fortunately,” Mr. Arnold said, adding that the fencing the horses were able to nudge their way out of has since been secured.

“I learned my lesson,” he said. “I don’t expect this to happen again.”

ERIN SCHULTZ

06/24/10 12:00am

Eat. Drink. Local.

That is the theme of the first-annual The Long Island Wine and Food Festival to take place at locations all across the North Fork this weekend.

The event, sponsored by the Long Island Wine Council, kicks off with a reception tomorrow, Friday, at Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead from 7 to 10 p.m. Tom Schaudel, chef at A Mano Osteria in Mattituck, will prepare dishes featuring locally grown food. Danny Gagnon, a native of New Hyde Park and a top contestant on Bravo’s reality show Top Chef, will make an appearance.

Steve Bate, president of the Long Island Wine Council, said that the festival is a way to draw tourists to the North Fork’s Wine Country during one of the slower weekends of the season, just before the 4th of July holiday weekend.

“The concept was built around the success we’ve had with some of the other promotions we’ve done,” he said, referring to highly successful events such as the Winterfest and Jazz on the Vine, which took place in February. “It’s sort of a kickoff to the summer before things really pick up.”

On Saturday, wineries from Bedell in Cutchogue to Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead will be displaying art from local artists and some will feature live music. The weekend ends with a “grand tasting” at Mitchell Park in Greenport on Sunday, with wine and food from more than 50 local wineries and restaurants.

“This is really just a celebration of our unique region and an opportunity for visitors to learn about local flavors, sights and sounds,” Mr. Bate said.

ERIN SCHULTZ