05/21/15 10:54pm
05/21/2015 10:54 PM
Southold Town Republican Committee chairman Peter McGreevy, left, with candidates Richard Caggiano, Jill Doherty, Scott Russell, Dave Bergen and Glenn Goldsmith. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Southold Town Republican Committee chairman Peter McGreevy, left, with candidates Richard Caggiano, Jill Doherty, Scott Russell, Dave Bergen and Glenn Goldsmith. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The Southold Town Republican Committee has selected a familiar roster of names to serve as its candidates in this year’s town election.

Of the eight Republican candidates on the ticket, seven have run for office before, including all six incumbents who sought re-election. Town Supervisor Scott Russell, and Town Board members Jill Doherty and Bill Ruland, top the ballot. Mattituck attorney William Goggins is once again the party’s choice for Town Justice.  (more…)

05/11/15 10:00am
05/11/2015 10:00 AM
Town Supervisor Scott Russell, left, congratulates former councilman Chris Talbot at the Soundview Inn on Election Day 2009. The two will return to the Greenport restaurant May 21 for a nominating convention that will determine who will get the Republican nomination for supervisor this year. (Credit: Tim Kelly file)

Town Supervisor Scott Russell, left, congratulates former councilman Chris Talbot at the Soundview Inn on Election Day 2009. The two will return to the Greenport restaurant May 21 for a nominating convention that will determine who will get the Republican nomination for supervisor this year. (Credit: Tim Kelly file)

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell is facing a challenge for the Republican nomination in this November’s town election.

Former councilman Chris Talbot, who served four years alongside Mr. Russell on the Southold Town Board, has also met with the GOP screening committee and a floor vote at the May 21 nominating convention is expected to determine who will get the nod.  (more…)

12/20/13 12:00pm
12/20/2013 12:00 PM

CYNDI MURRAY FILE PHOTO | Councilman Chris Talbot was honored for his service as a town board member Tuesday.

Tuesday’s meeting was the last for Councilman Chris Talbot and Highway Superintendent Peter Harris. Both elected officials announced their retirement earlier this year and were recognized with a plaque for their service prior to the regular session.

“I have probably worked with Pete more than anyone in Town government the past 23 years I’ve been here and I have to say it’s been an honor,” Supervisor Scott Russell said. ”In all honesty Pete [your retirement] might be better for you and your family, but it is certainly not better for Southold.”

Mr. Harris, 60, remained the only elected Democrat in town government after former councilman Al Krupski was voted to the Suffolk County Legislature earlier this year, and he shocked his party in May by announcing he wouldn’t seek re-election.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Pete Harris was recognized for his decades of service to Southold Town Tuesday.

“I thought this would be easier, but I guess after this many years in the business it’s going to be hard to walk away, even though it’s my choice,” Mr. Harris said Tuesday. “It’s a 24/7 job … I had a great work ethic that was passed on to me from my parents and that I believe I passed on to both my two children. I am going to miss it. I truly love Southold.”

He served 12 years as head of the highway department. Previously, he worked 24 years as the state Department of Transportation’s highway maintenance supervisor responsible for Southold and Shelter Island towns. He started as a laborer, a job he held for three years.

Mr. Harris is being replaced in January by Republican Vincent Orlando, a former town councilman, who takes the oath of office in January.

Councilman Talbot was also honored by his fellow board members Tuesday. Mr. Talbot, a Republican, decided earlier this year not to seek re-election after serving one term on the board.

“Chris, I do want to tell you you’re a better man than me,” Mr. Russell said. “Chris did exactly what he said he was going to do; run for office, step in, make a difference and then leave. You rarely see in politics someone who sticks to his word. His approach to everything was with his uncompromising values — sometimes painful, but that is besides the point — he is a real man of integrity.”

A Southold native, Mr. Talbot championed small business, conservation and working toward a more efficient government.

“It is very, very rewarding to be able to serve your fellow residents,” Mr. Talbot said Tuesday. “I want to thank the town, Supervisor Scott Russell and the other board members for putting up with me.”

Fellow Republican and former Town Trustee Bob Ghosio will fill his seat in January.

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12/19/13 8:00am
12/19/2013 8:00 AM
BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | A view from Fishers Island.

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | A view from Fishers Island.

The Southold Town Board hasn’t exactly warmed up to the idea of spending $500,000 to extend the Fishers Island bike path, but it is willing to pay to study the matter.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an $8,900 feasibility study for the project.

The move comes just two weeks after board members Louisa Evans and Chris Talbot sparred over spending money on the Fishers Island project during the Dec. 5 work session.

Fishers Island residents have been pushing for the town to extend the bike path along the public road to the downtown area, but the town has been reluctant to approve the project due to the half-million-dollar price tag, Supervisor Scott Russell said. According to 2010 census data, 236 year-round residents lived there in 2010.

During a discussion earlier this month, town engineer Jamie Richter advised widening the road and extending the bike path on the shoulder as a less expensive alternative.

The idea didn’t sit well with Ms. Evans, who voiced concern that the plan would do little to protect bicyclists. Instead, she requested that the town at least pay for a survey of the roadway so the project could move forward.

Mr. Talbot said the money would be better spent widening roadways in New Suffolk, an area where residents have raised safety concerns. Some roadways in New Suffolk are very dangerous, Mr. Talbot said, with bicyclists, including children, forced to ride in the street.

“You’re willing to spend money to do that but you won’t spend it on life-saving measures in New Suffolk?” he said. “It’s recreation versus life-saving.”

Ms. Evans responded by saying that Fishers Island receives far less funding than any other hamlet in Southold.

“We spend a lot of money in Southold Town that Fishers Island sees no part of,” Ms. Evans said during the Dec. 5 work session. “The residents are asking for something that benefits them.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Russell said he was able to work with the town comptroller to find the $8,940 needed to fund an initial survey for the Fishers Island bike path extension.

Board members also agreed to get a cost estimate to survey the streets in New Suffolk, the supervisor said.

“We realize the problems here,” Mr. Russell said Tuesday. “Let’s address these two issues simultaneously.”

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07/30/13 10:26pm
07/30/2013 10:26 PM

After a half hour of contentious debate, the Southold Town Board adopted a special events law to the “tremendous disappointment” of the Long Island Wine Council.

Members of the agricultural community criticized the draft law during a public two weeks ago when speakers offered numerous suggestions to amend the policy they said unfairly burdens businesses with fees and penalties for holding large events. Opponents of the bill said they were blindsided by the board’s decision to vote without incorporating any of their suggestions.

“The Town of Southold has chosen to burden the small businessman with time consuming applications and fees and to threaten them with burdensome fines and penalties,” said Sal Diliberto of the Long Island Wine Council. “The town should be doing things to benefit the industry, not limiting the ability of that industry to function in today’s difficult economic times.”

The law gives the town more control over events held at wineries and other properties and prevents an unlimited amount of special events from taking place at any one location. It would require a permit for any gathering that exceeds a building’s occupancy or parking capacity or is otherwise prohibited by the property’s zoning. A permit would also be required for events involving the closing of a public street, the use of amplified sound, the sale of food or merchandise, the placement of portable toilets and a number of other circumstances.

Fines for violators range from $500 to $5,000.

The agricultural community was not alone its opposition. For the first time, councilman Chris Talbot spoke out and voted against the law.

“There are changes that need to be made and I’m not supporting it,” he said. “The wine industry has grown this area. So many people come out here and spend their money. We are reaping all the benefits of these wineries and farms and for government, a Republican government, to throw another hurdle in the way of these businesses that are struggling to survive… I just have to say no to this law.”

The measure passed 5-1 with Mr. Talbot voting no.

Read more in Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times in both our print and electronic editions.

07/02/13 5:11pm
07/02/2013 5:11 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A view of Peconic Bay from Mattituck Beach.

Nitrogen pollution in bodies of water on the North Fork is dangerously high, according to local environmentalists who told the Southold Town Board Tuesday that nitrogen levels in the town’s ground and surface waters are the highest in Suffolk County.

Glynis Berry of Peconic Green Growth told board members that her organization is moving forward with plans to implement decentralized wastewater treatment in Orient, Mattituck and on Fishers Island.

“The North Fork has the highest level of nitrogen of any location in Suffolk County if you look on County maps,” Ms. Berry said. “Water is one of our most precious resources.”

Unlike toxic pollutants, nitrogen is not linked to cancer, birth defects or making anyone sick, experts say. It is nitrogen’s ability to make things grow that makes it a problem. When nitrogen gets into streams, ponds, the Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay, it causes an overgrowth of algae, which sucks up oxygen in the water. Without the oxygen they need, fish and shellfish die.

Nitrogen pollution can result from poorly treated septic waste and fertilizer used on farms, lawn, and wineries. Ms. Berry said nitrogen levels are particularly high in Southold Town in part because of its active agriculture industry.

Since February, Peconic Green Growth has been looking at phasing out cesspools in favor of developing an alternative cluster of septic systems that have proved effective in reducing nitrogen contamination in environmentally sensitive areas, Ms. Berry said. She pointed out three she believed were in need of the most mitigation: Fishers Island, Mattituck and Orient.

She told the board she put out a request for proposals for the septic systems in seven areas in Orient. To date those proposals have been cost-effective. However, the design stage of the project alone would cost about $1 million, she said.

Ms. Berry said she’s applying for grants to help residents switch to better septic systems, but said she hopes people would opt to voluntarily upgrade their septic systems.

She suggested the town could raise the funds for the improvement systems by charging residents a $100 annual fee to the town’s wastewater district. Orient residents directly benefiting from the upgrades would be charged $500, she said.

“There seems like there’s a lot of hurdles to get this done,” board member Chris Talbot said.

Ms. Berry stressed the project was in its infancy and she said her next goal is informing the community.

“When people start understanding the issues in their neighborhoods, they realize maybe they have to do something about it,” she said.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell recommended community meetings to get the public involved in the process.

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03/13/13 2:45pm
03/13/2013 2:45 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet set a date for the special Assembly election.

It’s looking as if the Republican nomination in the upcoming special election for the 2nd District seat in the New York State Assembly could come out of Southold Town. But party leaders aren’t quite ready to commit to that and the governor has yet to even set a date for the vote.

At least five potential GOP nominees — including four from Southold — have expressed interest in running in the special election to replace former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, local party leaders said. Mr. Losquadro won a special election to become Brookhaven Town highway superintendent last week.

Southold Town Councilman Chris Talbot and Trustee Bob Ghosio have both asked to screen for the post along with Mattituck attorneys Stephen Kiely and Tony Palumbo, party officials said. Bill Faulk of Manorville, a longtime aide to former county legislator Ed Romaine, also confirmed he’s interested in the job.

Suffolk County Republican leaders are expected to meet Wednesday to select a nominee for the special election.

Democratic leaders said there has been less interest on their side of the aisle.

“There have been some candidates who have come forward, such as Jennifer Maertz,” said Riverhead Democratic chair Marge Acevedo. “However, we don’t know when there is going to be an election. It’s entirely up to the governor.”

Sources said Governor Andrew Cuomo can either call for a special election in conjuction with school elections May 21 or wait to hold it along with the general election in November.

Former assemblyman Marc Alessi’s name came up this week in rumors over who might secure the Democratic nomination, but he said he is not interested.

“I’m not the guy. I do miss it, but it’s not a good time for me to be in Albany,” said the father of three, who now works as the CEO of a biomedical company and still practices law.

Mr. Alessi won the seat in a 2005 special election and served until he lost the 2010 election to Mr. Losquadro by 917 votes.

Ms. Maertz, of Rocky Point, previously lost two bids for state Senate.

GOP sources interviewed this week suggested Mr. Talbot — who would be running as a current elected official — might have the inside track to receive the Republican bid. He said Tuesday that he’s interested and is waiting to see how the nominating process plays out.

“We’ll see what the party wants to do,” said Mr. Talbot, of Cutchogue. “We need to wait for the governor to decide if and when there’s going to be a special election.”

Mr. Ghosio, who lives in Greenport and formerly resided in Lake Panamoka, said he first sought the seat three years ago when Mr. Losquadro was nominated. He said his experience of living in both Brookhaven and Southold towns has given him a vast knowledge of the district.

“I’ve been interested in it for a while,” he said. “I feel I’ve got a good grasp of the issues we’re dealing with.”

Mr. Faulk said his experience working as a legislative aide has helped familiarize him with the needs of North Fork residents.

“Serving in the Assembly would give me an opportunity to continue the work we started in the Legislature,” he said. “I miss working on the North Fork. I learned a lot of things that could help me do a good job.

“Mr. Losquadro worked hard to fight the MTA payroll tax, and for open space preservation,” he added. “I would continue along that road to protect taxpayers and small-business owners.”

Riverhead Town Republican chairman John Galla said that as of noon Tuesday nobody from Riverhead had inquired about the nomination.

“We’re going to send out an email and you never know who will come forward,” he said. “Anybody is welcome to screen with us.”

Both Mr. Galla and Southold Republican chairman Peter McGreevy said the nominee will be decided by themselves, Suffolk County chairman John Jay LaValle and Brookhaven party leader Jesse Garcia.

Mr. McGreevy said that while Southold has more interested parties, that doesn’t mean the town has a lock on the nomination.

“Just because we have four potential candidates doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate will be from Southold,” he said. “We have to wait until we’re done screening.”

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With Tim Kelly, Tim Gannon and Beth Young.