01/27/15 4:00am
TIM KELLY PHOTO  |  Lenny Llewellyn demonstrates snow-measuring equipment at his Mattituck home.

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Lenny Llewellyn demonstrates snow-measuring equipment at his Mattituck home.

Want to know how much snow fell in your yard? Don’t just poke a yardstick through it.

Who says? Lenny Llewellyn of Mattituck, that’s who. And as a cooperative observer of things meteorological for the National Weather Service, he insists on doing things right — a point he made in early 2011 after The Suffolk Times ran a photo of a yardstick in a snowbank. Last year’s unseasonably warm winter offered no opportunity to set us straight.

With the recent snowfall, Mr. Llewellyn established 10 separate measuring spots in a curving trail from his front to back yards. At each spot, a plywood square, 24 inches on a side, sits on the snow. They’re not heavy enough to compress the snow and they’re painted white to reflect sunlight and prevent melting, but their purpose is to create an even, solid surface. He does employ a yardstick, but only within the square.

When snow depth at all 10 spots is measured to within a 10th of an inch, the average provides a measurement as close to accurate as you can get, Mr. Llewellyn said.

He determined that the snow earlier this week measured 3.3 inches — on his property, anyway.

At times, he’ll take it a step further and measure the snow’s water content. The rule of thumb is one inch of rain equals 10 inches of snow, but there are wide variations in that ratio.

“A coastal storm will not only pull down cold air from the north, it will draw moisture from the south and the snow will be very, very heavy because of the water content,” he said. “But an Alberta Clipper, which comes down from Canada, is dry because it has no opportunity to pick up water.”

To determine the water content, he pulls the eight-inch aluminum tube from his rain measuring device and takes a core sample. He heats the snow and collects the water in a 2 1/2-inch plastic tube.

With a chance of more snow over the next several days, he’s ready to head outside again. But how, exactly, do you measure new snow on top of old snow?

The most accurate method involves clearing away the accumulation from the test spots, said Mr. Llewellyn. But if that’s not possible, he places a Plexiglas sheet on top of his plywood squares and measures up from them, averaging out the counts, of course.

Mr. Llewellyn has monitored the weather closely since 1988 and began sharing his reports with the National Weather Service in 2008. He said his wife, Marjory, “is kind of a weather bug herself. Her grandfather had a barometer and thermometer by the back door and he checked it every day at 6 a.m. until the day he died.”

As for the rest of this winter, Mr. Llewellyn says expect the worst.

“I have a funny feeling that we’re going to make up for what we lost last year,” he said. “I think this winter is going to be a roller coaster” with warm periods but then “Mother Nature will do a complete 360 and do a number on us.”

February is often the coldest month of the year and while March is a transitional time, Mr. Llewellyn says, “I’ve seen some pretty healthy snowstorms in March, so stay tuned.”

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08/01/13 10:00am

Charles Sanders

The Southold GOP has replaced a Town Trustee candidate who was told by his employer that he had to chose between his job and seeking public office.

David Zuhoski of Cutchogue, a fisheries technician for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program, withdrew from the race last week, said town Republican leader Peter McGreevy. In his place, the party selected Greenport real estate agent Charles Sanders, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard who has never before sought public office.

In May, the Republicans selected 26-year-old Mr. Zuhoski over incumbent Republican Trustee Dave Bergen of Cutchogue. At that time, Mr. McGreevy said that although the incumbent had “a very successful eight years in office,” the committee decided “it was time to go in a different direction.”

Mr. Bergen and Mr. Sanders were the only two contenders to replace Mr. Zuhoski, the leader said.

“It’s very difficult to find a candidate to run for a Trustee position because they have to take a full day off work every other week,” Mr. McGreevy said. “That narrows the pool of candidates.”

Mr. Sanders, who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, “best represents what the committee wanted in a candidate,” Mr. McGreevy added. On Mr. Bergen’s status with the party, he said, “Dave Bergen is a good Republican. We know he’ll continue to be a party supporter and we hope to consider him for future available positions.”

Mr. Sanders said he hopes to be an effective advocate for property rights while protecting the environment.

“A balance is my main focus,” he said.

A Midwest native, Mr. Sanders said he first came to the North Fork to visit a friend who spent his summers here.

“He invited me out and I absolutely fell in love with it,” he said.

After moving to Greenport in 1999, Mr. Sanders entered the real estate field and is currently an associate broker for Town & Country in Southold.

He returned from his second tour in Afghanistan in January.

“My experience in Afghanistan made me love America a hell of a lot more than I did before, I can tell you that,” he said.

Mr. Sanders will join GOP incumbents John Bredemeyer and Mike Domino. The Democrats selected candidates Geoffery Wells, Joe Finora Jr. and Bill Funke.

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07/29/13 2:32pm

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | The side of the ambulance showing the scrapes caused when it was sideswiped during a collision in Cutchogue Monday afternoon.

Two Cutchogue Fire Department EMTs caring for an elderly woman in an ambulance on route to Eastern Long Island Hospital were injured Monday afternoon when a car sideswiped the ambulance on Route 25 in Cutchogue Monday afternoon, said Cutchogue Fire Chief Tony Berkoski.

The woman was uninjured, but the two EMTs continued the trip to the hospital as accident victims. Both emergency responders were banged up, but did not appear to be seriously injured, the chief said.

Police said the accident occurred when Michael Kar, 21, of Cutchogue, who was westbound on Route 25, stopped short and swerved to avoid a vehicle and made contact with the ambulance. No charges have been filed.

The patient, who had been ill and was suffering from dehydration, and the EMTs were transferred to another ambulance shortly after the collision.

No additional information was immediately available.

07/27/13 8:00am

FILE PHOTO | A dog chases his owner in Orient during last week’s heat wave. They ended up swimming together under the causeway with the man’s two daughters close behind.

My son sent me a text the other day. As usual, he employed an amazing economy of words.

“I don’t remember this.”

“This” refers to summer weather in Washington, D.C., which he apparently does not recollect, although we lived there during his preschool years. He’d come into the townhouse after racing around the courtyard with his little buddies, face flushed, breathing like a racehorse, with T-shirt and shorts looking like they were spray-painted on.



His folks were wise enough to keep to the front door’s air-conditioned side and wise enough to move north. Much later, he and our lovely daughter-in-law’s career paths took them back to our nation’s capital, covered each July and August by a dome of equatorial heat and rain forest humidity. At this time of year the place is a swamp, infested not with gators, but guys in Brooks Brothers suits and Cole-Haan shoes, especially on Capitol Hill, a swamp in the non-meterological sense as well. Those creatures can be just as ill-tempered, and far more dangerous.

Last week we might as well have been back on the Potomac’s sodden shores — where the temps reached 98 with a heat index of 105 — what with the week-long heat wave and the back and forth dash from AC’d vehicles to AC’d buildings. And that makes me cross, vexed even.

As much as I’m not on speaking terms with the sun, it’s usually quite effective to slather up or cover up or simply wait for sundown. Except when you slather up and the stinging, burning sunscreen drips into your eyes. I’ve piped in many a parade where folks wondered why I looked like I’d just downed a glass of month-old milk.

You can dress in layers when it’s cold, but when Herr Heat comes to town there’s only so much you can take off — for legal and aesthetic reasons, that is.

Been to Florida twice, and if there’s never a third time that’s fine by me. Well, unless one of the offspring springs for a trip to Disney or the Universal theme parks. Wouldn’t mind seeing that Harry Potter thing, but not in July or August.

Perhaps there’s a genetic component to this aversion to heat. Some years back, at the beginning of an anniversary bus tour through Ireland, the guide intoned, “See that bright yellow thing in the sky? Take a good look now, for you may never see it again.” It being June, the weather ’twas grand altogether, as they say over there. Sunny and in the 70s when we rolled into Dublin, which is as far north as Newfoundland. In St. Stephen’s Green, not far from Trinity College, young people dotted the grass like dandelions in May. That’s hot for Ireland, where the highest temperature ever recorded was just under 92 degrees.

Ninety-two? Get outta here, will ya?

Over the years I’ve had to employ a number of heat-deterring strategies. During high school, my room had a 1920s radiator stuck in the full open position. You could pan fry a two-inch-thick T-bone on that thing during cold snaps. The answer? Grab a sleeping bag and head up to the attic.

Had a summer job at the Bohack’s (yes, that’s a real name) supermarket in Westhampton Beach and, walking back from lunch one day, spied this guy on an empty lot selling water bed mattresses — just the mattress — for 20 bucks each. He had me at “Hello.”

I unfolded it in the back yard ’neath a venerable Norway maple’s spreading canopy and stuck a garden hose in it. In no time we had a poor man’s trampoline for the nieces and nephews and a usually cool place to sleep for Uncle Tim. Since it was chlorine-free, the water tended to get a little gross late in the season, but as the plastic grew more opaque with age, who cared? You just didn’t want to be standing there in the fall when it was time to unscrew the cap.

My preoccupation with the State of Maine is based in part on the Pine Tree State’s summer climate, which can get hot, but not D.C. hot. It always seems to cool off at night, especially near the water. January to April? Don’t want to talk about it.

So what’s the answer? Sit by the AC tuned into the Cartoon Network until the pumpkin-pickers’ eastward migration heralds autumn’s arrival? Not a bad idea, actually.

Note to the Mrs.: If you catch me watching C-SPAN, grab the remote, turn to anything other than the Lifetime or Oxygen channels and throw it out the window. Certainly won’t be goin’ outside to get it.

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07/26/13 12:00pm

COURTESY PHOTO | Megan Tuthill, shown with her husband Robert, was one of 14 people featured on the cover of The Improper Bostonian for her efforts during the Boston Marathon.

Greenport native Megan Tuthill’s picture is on the cover of the latest edition of a Boston monthly magazine. Well, sort of.

A professional emergency medical technician for the City of Boston, Ms. Tuthill was on duty in the medical tent near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, helping runners at the end of the 26-mile course with mostly minor complains such as blisters and sprains, when the two pressure cooker bombs went off nearby at 2:49 p.m.

An often fun assignment instantly became anything but. The EMTs went into crisis mode and within 18 minutes provided initial treatment and transported about 80 victims, many with horrendous injuries, to trauma centers across the Boston area. In an instant they went from simple city employees to heroes, showered with praise, thanks and tokens of appreciation, such as Red Sox tickets.

One of the more conspicuous examples of their celebrity status was appearing on the cover of The Improper Bostonian, a glossy lifestyle magazine, for its “Boston’s best” issue. The accompanying story includes a link to the magazine’s website, where Ms. Tuthill and others describe that day in their own words.

When viewed at a newsstand, the cover photo shows only half the 14 men and women who share their stories of that day. The rest, including Ms. Tuthill, are on the foldout’s inside flap.

And that’s OK with her.

“I’m fine behind the scenes, which is why I never went into acting or anything like that,” said Ms. Tuthill, a Greenport High School graduate and a Suffolk Times student athlete of the year for 1988-89. “It helps that it’s on the inside cover and it seems to be mostly people at work who noticed, not the general public.

“I was asked to do it and it was more to represent my co-workers,” she said. “I honestly feel that the Emergency Medical Service is left behind sometimes. But we’re always involved in things that the fire department and police are involved in.”

Her marathon day experience, she said, “was different, but not life-changing.”

Ms. Tuthill, 42, has been a city EMT in Boston for 17 years and is currently assigned to an ambulance center in the Roxbury neighborhood. Her marathon day shift started at 9 a.m., but she didn’t get home to her husband, Robert, also a city EMT, and two sons, ages 5 and 10, until after 11 that night. Her husband didn’t work the day of the marathon.

“You’re on high alert all day and uncertain all day,” she said. “We’re trained that there’s not just one explosion, there’s always more and you have to keep looking around. You feel like it will never be over, but it feels good to get home.”

She was aware of the role she played, but still didn’t have the big picture. “I hadn’t seen any of the coverage so I had to sit down and watch the news,” Ms. Tuthill said.

Falling asleep that night proved not to be a problem and, in what turned out to be fortuitous scheduling, she had the next day off.

The passage of time has not given her pause to reassess her role in a historic event.

“I don’t think it was that difficult for the Boston EMS because we train for many scenarios, including mass casualties,” Ms. Tuthill said. “It was like a drill for us with real people.”

Knowing what to do and where to go came as second nature, she said. “This is what we were trained to do.”

She jumped into an ambulance to take a double amputee to Boston Medical Center, one of the area’s four trauma centers. She then returned to the tent to take two other victims to a different hospital.

“The most important thing is they need to go to an OR,” said Ms. Tuthill. “We have to get them out fast.”

The EMTs were offered counseling after the bombings and were told that they could be hit with post-traumatic stress syndrome later on.

Ms. Tuthill continues to say that the bombing injuries, while horrific, fall within her job description.

“I’ve seen a lot of this before,” she said. “Just not all at once.”

And while the next race is nine months off, she and her fellow EMTs are already being asked if they’ll return to the ’14 marathon. It’s not hard to guess Ms. Tuthill’s reply.

“Why wouldn’t we?” she said. “It’s a fun day to work. I’m there to encourage the runners, many who do it to raise money for charity or awareness for a cause. I would never do it. Running at 5 a.m. through a snowstorm? I’ll pass.”

She plans to work as an EMT as long as she’s able.

“I still love it,” she said. “I just hope my body will let me keep doing it for a while. It’s strenuous and physically demanding. You’re constantly lifting people and carrying people down stairs. Society has definitely not gotten skinnier, I can tell you that.”

As for the threat of future terrorist attacks, she said, “Every day there’s a chance of something happening, but you can’t live like that. Life is too short and you have to enjoy every moment.”

She’s adamant in asserting that she’s not just putting a happy face on tragedy.

“People say your life must have changed. It hasn’t,” Ms. Tuthill said. “I still get up and go to work each day. I wake up and don’t have to worry about how to put on a new leg. I always see someone who’s having a worse day that me. The little things in life make you happy. Me and my colleagues always joke and say, ‘This is the best day ever.’ ”

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07/25/13 4:02pm

GRANT PARPAN FILE PHOTO | A North Ferry boat heading from Shelter Island to Greenport.

A fatal collision between a Hampton Jitney bus and an SUV on Route 39 in Southampton Thursday morning, coupled with a construction-related road closure on Route 48, lead to traffic headaches in Greenport for much of the day.

After the Southampton crash at about 7 a.m., Route 39, one of only two main east-west roads on the South Fork, was closed in both directions and the eastbound lane didn’t reopen until 1 p.m. As of 2:45 p.m., the westbound lane was still closed.

As a result, starting at mid-morning, a considerable amount of traffic ended up on the North Fork heading toward the Shelter Island Ferry in Greenport, said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley.

The marked ferry route directs vehicles to turn right from Route 25 in Greenport down 6th Street to Wiggins Street, which ends at Third Street near a ferry staging area. But it appears GPS systems directed them elsewhere.

“People aren’t aware of the traffic patterns down there and went right down 3rd Street and cut in front of those waiting and went right on the ferry, and that doesn’t go over well,” the chief said.

Some drivers realizing their mistake made U-turns in the middle of 3rd Street and others drove the wrong way west on Wiggins, which is one-way heading east, the chief added.

Police responded by setting up a traffic detail near the ferry terminal.

Traffic was already heavy eastbound on Main Road in Greenport due to construction on the North Road’s east bound lane. From 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday traffic is diverted down Chapel Lane to Main Road. During that time the North Road is closed between Chapel and Moores Lane.

With Thursday’s unseasonably cool weather, fewer people apparently went to the beach and more were out on the highway, the chief said.

He said the traffic was expected to thin out when Route 48’s eastbound lane reopened at 3:30.

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07/23/13 2:30pm

In an effort to foster dialogue with residents throughout Southold, the Town Board is sponsoring hamlet-based community meetings to hear citizen concerns, suggestions and questions.

This open-end discussion format will provide individuals an opportunity to informally speak with the Town Board about any topic they wish.

A meeting with Southold and Peconic hamlet residents will take place on Thursday, July 25th at 6 p.m. at the Southold Free Library community room.

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07/19/13 5:00pm


Next week would be a bad time to be late for the ferry.

From 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, the eastbound lane on Route 48 will closed for construction between Chapel Lane and Moores Lane, with all eastbound traffic diverted down Chapel Lane to Main Road.

The detour will be in place Monday through Friday.

The shutdown will permit a Suffolk County Department of Public Works contractor to undertake preparation work for a larger repaving project expected to begin in the fall, said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley. When work on the eastbound lane is completed, the contractor will shift to the westbound lane, which will require a separate detour.

Police are planning for at least one lane to be closed for about a month, the chief said.

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07/17/13 9:27am

Two teenagers suffered severe injuries, with one youth airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, after an all-terrain vehicle crashed into a parked car on Village Lane in Orient shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, Southold Police said.

Police believe four teens were riding on two ATV’s when the crash occurred. The second ATV was not involved in the collision.
Responding to an accident call, police reported finding Danielle Zurek, 18, of Greenport, pinned on the back of a Yamaha ATV she was driving. A passenger, Charles Donarummo, 15, of East Marion was lying in the roadway. Neither was wearing a helmet, police said.

The Orient and East Marion Fire Department rescue squads brought both to Eastern Long Island Hospital, where Ms. Zurek was taken by medivac helicopter to Stony Brook.

The four youths began their ride in Greenport, police said. The vehicles are not licensed for street operation. The ATV involved in the crash was impounded.

Southold Police detective division is continuing the investigation.

07/16/13 11:00am

A Nassau County accountant is scheduled to be arraigned today, Tuesday, on felony grand larceny charges, accused of stealing more than $150,000 from an 80-year-old Greenport resident suffering from dementia, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Scott J. Meyer, 46, of Seaford, was set to appear in First District Court in Central Islip on two felony counts of second-degree grand larceny, according to a DA spokesman, Bob Clifford.

Mr. Meyer, an accountant and partner with the Johnson & Meyer firm of Huntington, stole the money by either writing checks from the person’s account to himself, or transferred money directly into his own account, prosecutors said.

Someone who answered a phone call Tuesday to the Huntington firm declined to comment.