02/03/14 6:59am
02/03/2014 6:59 AM

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Councilman George Gabrielsen, right, giving a proclamation to New-Review reporter Tim Gannon declaring Jan. 23, 2014, “Tim Gannon Day” in Riverhead Town.

If you’ve ever read the News-Review, you’ve probably seen Tim Gannon’s byline.

Tim has been a reporter for the paper since 1996, covering everything from Town Hall and police news to 100th birthday parties and school board meetings.


03/15/13 10:00am
03/15/2013 10:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The FAA toured property off Route 25 in Calverton Thursday for a potential new air traffic control complex.

The Federal Aviation Administration toured a 50-acre section of the Enterprise Park at Calverton Thursday afternoon to consider whether it could become a site of a Next-Gen Integrated Air Traffic Control Complex, which would consolidate the function of two existing FAA regional facilities on Long Island and would employ more than 800 people.

Town officials were pretty much tight-lipped about the meeting, however.

“It’s obvious there was a meeting and it was a good meeting, and that’s about all I can say,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio initiated the move on the Town Board to try to lure the FAA to EPCAL, a former Grumman Corporation F-14 testing facility. Then, in February, Ms. Giglio issued a press statement announcing that the FAA had agreed to a site visit at EPCAL, though Mr. Dunleavy said the FAA wants to keep things quiet as they tour sites.

“The FAA said they don’t want any publicity on this,” Councilman John Dunleavy said Thursday.

Reached Friday, Ms. Giglio said only, “It was a productive meeting. I really think they see the gem that EPCAL is.”

The proposed Next-Gen Integrated Air Traffic Control Complex would consolidate the functions of the FAA’s Air Route Traffic Control Center at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip Town and the Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Westbury, according to federal officials.

The Next-Gen facility would track planes by incorporating state-of-the-art satellite air traffic equipment, replacing older, radar-based equipment now used at the Islip and Westbury facilities, officials have said.

The FAA issued a request for information to landowners saying they intended to locate the new facility on between 34 and 49 acres within 150 miles of New York City, and in New York State, and that they are planning to build a total of 250,000 square feet of buildings, towers and employee parking.

The issue became the subject of debate among Town Board members last month, as Mr. Walter said he felt the town should back Islip/McArthur Airport as the site of the new facility, because it would be bad for all of Long Island if that airport, which has struggled financially of late, were to close.

Ms. Giglio and a majority of Town Board members said they believed the town should try to lure the facility to EPCAL.

Councilman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) also encouraged the move.

The facility at Islip now, and the one being proposed, is not an air traffic control tower for any specific airport, and would handle air traffic from the Northeast region.

Officials have said it does not need to be located at an active airport.

The 50 acres being offered is owned by Riverhead Town and located near the Stony Brook Business Incubator at EPCAL off Route 25.

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02/25/13 11:23am
02/25/2013 11:23 AM
MICHAEL WHITE FILE PHOTO | An FAA control tower currently at MacArthur Airport in Islip Town.

MICHAEL WHITE FILE PHOTO | An FAA control tower currently at MacArthur Airport in Islip Town.

Federal Aviation Administration officials are coming to Riverhead Town in mid-March to check out 50 acres at the town’s Enterprise Park in Calverton the FAA is considering for a new air traffic control complex, town officials said.

If the EPCAL land is selected for the complex, as many as 800 jobs could come to Riverhead, said Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who is coordinating the town’s effort to woo the FAA and announced the news through a press release Monday.

EPCAl in Riverhead, FAA

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | A view of the EPCAL site from the sky.

The facility would replace the FAA’s current air traffic control facilities at Long Island, one at MacArthur Airport in Islip and another in Westbury, according to federal officials.

Editorial: FAA facility would be a welcome boost

Ms. Giglio said the town submitted its response to a request for information from the FAA by the Jan. 31 deadline, offering up 50 acres adjacent to the Stony Brook Business Incubator on Route 25, free of charge, to the FAA.

“The important thing is to keep the jobs on Long Island, getting them all to stay here,” said Ms. Giglio, who added that 800 skilled workers at EPCAL would bring more people to Riverhead’s restaurants, golf courses and other businesses.

“The secondary industries would be phenomenal, as well as secondary spending with this type of facility as an anchor,” she said.

On offering the land for free, she said, “I think [the free land] would act as a loss leader, so we can create secondary industries and spending.”

At its height, the Grumman Corporation that for decades ran a fighter jet testing and assembly facility at the site employed about 3,000 workers.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, who was initially against trying to lure the FAA to town because he and other supervisors pledged to support Islip’s proposal, said he was glad federal officials would be touring the site.

“I think its wonderful…. It’s always positive when people are coming to look at property at EPCAL. I’m certainly interested in any leads for selling property there.”

He didn’t think the meeting would be open to the public, but added “all the details” have not been worked out yet.

Ms. Giglio said she was expecting a call later Monday to confirm when, exactly, FAA officials would be visiting, and whether they will just be viewing the site or spending the day in Riverhead to see what the town has to offer workers.

The new facility would incorporate state-of-the-art satellite air traffic equipment, replacing older, radar-based equipment now used at the Islip and Westbury facilities.

Ms. Giglio said the Islip facility, which currently has about 800 employees, is also used as a training area for air traffic controllers who are later sent to airports throughout the county.

“I think they’re looking for an easy commute for their employees at the Islip base,” she said.

Initial specs the town has received from the FAA say any towers to be installed would not have windows, and she believes none of them would be taller than the 75-foot height restriction currently at EPCAL, Ms. Giglio said.

FAA officials said last month they intended to locate the facility on between 34 and 49 acres within 150 miles of New York City, and in New York State.

The federal officials are planning to build a total of 250,000 square feet of buildings, towers and parking for the employees.


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Check back at suffolktimes.com and see the Feb. 28 newspaper for more information.

01/24/13 8:00am
01/24/2013 8:00 AM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | An aerial view of Calverton Enterprise Park, looking south.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | An aerial view of Calverton Enterprise Park, looking south.

Riverhead Town is throwing its hat in the ring in a competition among county, municipal and private entities all trying to entice Federal Aviation Administration officials to build a state-of-the-art air traffic control facility on their land.

Wherever the NextGen Integrated Air Traffic Control Facility is built in lower New York State or Long Island, it would bring with it some 800 highly technical and well-paid permanent jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs over 10 years officials say.

The FAA hopes to have the project online by 2019.

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, after some pushback from Supervisor Sean Walter, convinced the Town Board to submit an application last week.

The submission also comes at the urging of Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), Ms. Giglio said.

“It would obviously be a boon to Riverhead so Congressman Bishop encourages them to apply,” said Bishop spokesman Oliver Longwell, noting that Mr. Bishop has not publicly endorsed a location, as several applications are coming from within his 1st Congressional District.

Riverhead officials are proposing town-owned land at the Calverton Enterprise Park, once the site of a Grumman fighter pilot testing facility.

“Congressman Bishop is fighting hard to have the new FAA tower built on Long Island,” Mr. Longwell said. “EPCAL does seem to fit the criteria but we’re not sure about [easement questions], as there are complicated environmental issues at the site.”

The facility, which would be satellite-based, unlike current radar-based air traffic control systems, would consolidate and replace the functions of the existing FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip Town and the existing Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Westbury, federal officials say.

As for the competition for the new facility, Islip Town has been pushing the FAA for some time to build it at MacArthur Airport and, locally, officials with Rechler Equity Partners have confirmed that they have submitted land they lease from the county at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton as a possible site for the FAA project.

Other Long Island sites that have been suggested include a 40-acre parcel on Nicolls Road near Suffolk Community College in Selden, Mitchell Field in Nassau County and possibly 95 acres owned by Jan Burman at EPCAL, according to Ms. Giglio. It could not be immediately confirmed which of these other locations were being officially considered through the application process.

Ms. Giglio said that if Mr. Burman’s land at EPCAL won the FAA facility, as opposed to town-owned land at the former Grumman site, the town would lose out on potential tax revenues it would receive if Mr. Burman’s land were developed by private enterprise, since the FAA would be tax exempt. Mr. Burman could not be reached for comment.

A number of upstate locations also have been mentioned as possible locations for the FAA facility, Ms. Giglio said, including Stewart International Airport in Newburgh and a site near Albany.

Ms. Giglio raised the issue at last Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session, which is open to the public, and made the argument that since the FAA is running advertisements seeking a new centralized location for the facilities, the town should at least try to lure it to EPCAL.

But Mr. Walter disagreed.

“We should be looking at this as a region and not stealing this,” he said.

Mr. Walter believes there is a danger that the FAA might move the facility off Long Island altogether and that Long Island officials should present a unified show of support for keeping it in Islip.

There are Riverhead residents who work at the Islip Town-owned airport who would lose their jobs, he said.

But Ms. Giglio countered that other Long Island towns are already trying to “steal” the project and that Riverhead officials should be most concerned with bringing it to Riverhead Town.

Because the FAA is exempt from town zoning, she said, a facility at EPCAL would not require new zoning or state Department of Environmental Conservation approvals and the town wouldn’t have to spend any money because the FAA has money earmarked and in place for the project.

“This would bring 800 high-paying jobs to the area,” she said.

The FAA wants to locate the regional facility within 150 miles of New York City and is seeking 34 to 49 acres for the project. The site must be in New York State and the landowner must be willing to sell the property to the FAA.

“The site must be suitable for construction of an operational air traffic control campus with approximately 250,000 square feet of buildings and parking for 800 employees,” the FAA said.

FAA officials would not disclose what sites have been submitted so far. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31.

“It’s perfect for EPCAL,” Councilman Jim Wooten said during last week’s meeting.

Mr. Walter said the Town Board should at least have Islip Supervisor Tom Croci come to Riverhead to explain the importance of the facility to his town.

“I’m not concerned about Islip; I’m concerned about Riverhead,” Councilman George Gabrielsen said.

“It can’t hurt,” Councilman John Dunleavy said, although he questioned why the town always waits until the last minute on applications like this.

Mr. Walter ultimately gave in and directed town community development agency director Chris Kempner to prepare a proposal to locate the facility at EPCAL.

Back on July 12, Mr. Walter participated in an Islip Town press conference with other Long Island officials backing MacArthur Airport as the location for the NextGen facility.

Other officials at that press conference included then-Brookhaven supervisor Mark Lesko. Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Babylon Supervisor and Suffolk Democratic Party chairman Richard Schaffer and several other state, county and business officials, according to Inez Birbiglia, Islip Town’s communications director.

“It was pretty bipartisan,” Ms. Birbiglia said, as both Republican and Democratic officials backed the Islip site.

Ms. Birbiglia said on Tuesday that Islip Town was under the impression Riverhead supported the MacArthur Airport site for the FAA facility.

Islip Town officials believe MacArthur is the best site for the NextGen facility, she said.

“We have 80 acres available just a few thousand feet away from the existing ARTCC and the FAA employees already live in the surrounding neighborhood.”

The NextGen facility will be regional and will serve airports throughout the New York City region, so it’s not necessary that it be located at an existing airport, officials said.

The FAA’s NextGen control system was designed to eliminate older radar-based technologies and rely more on global positioning satellites, enabling aircraft to fly closer to one another in ever-crowded skyways while providing less separation in time and space during takeoffs and landings, ultimately alleviating flight delays that have plagued New York area airports over the years, according to Islip officials.

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11/20/12 10:30am
11/20/2012 10:30 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Board members John Dunleavy, Sean Walter and Jodi Giglio (top, left to right) all screened for a COunty Legislature seat Monday.

The Suffolk County Republican Party screened eight candidates — seven from Riverhead Town, including Supervisor Sean Walter and councilpeople Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy  — to run as the Republican candidate in a special election this February to fill the county Legislature seat left vacant by Ed Romaine, a party official said.

Ms. Giglio, Mr. Dunleavy and Mr. Walter met with county party leadership and the chairs and vice chairs of the Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southold town Republican committees Monday night to screen for the position, said Riverhead town GOP chairman John Galla.

Others who screened Monday include Bill Faulk, who served as an aide to Mr. Romaine during his time in the Legislature; former Conservative Committee chair James Saladino; Catherine Stark, the daughter of former town supervisor and councilman Jim Stark who now serves as chief of staff to County Legislator Jay Schniederman; Frank Seabrook; a ZBA member and conservative blogger; and Ed Densieski, a town Planning Board member and former Riverhead councilman.

“They all did exceptionally well,” Mr. Galla said of the candidates. “Everyone was on their game.”

The Republican candidate will be decided by the party and not through a primary because the vote to fill Ed Romaine’s seat will be a special election.

Mr. Faulk of Manorville was the only person who screened who resides outside the town’s limits.

No other candidates from other towns screened for the position Monday night, Mr. Galla said, though he added it wasn’t too late.

Though he could not provide a timetable for when the party would reach a decision, Mr. Galla said it would have to be soon because of the upcoming election and holiday seasons.

“We would rather do this sooner as a opposed to later,” he said. “Going into the holidays, this is an interesting dynamic. Some people are going to be out of town.”

Suffolk County Republican Party chairman John Jay LaValle could not be reached for comment.

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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the GOP had screened seven candidates.

11/07/12 12:56am
11/07/2012 12:56 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Ed Romaine, right, was elected Brookhaven Town Supervisor Tuesday. He’s shown here with Brookhaven GOP chairman Jesse Garcia.

Election season came to a close on the North Fork Tuesday. It starts back up Wednesday.

That’s because North Fork County Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) has won a special election to become the next Brookhaven Town Supervisor, setting up a February special election to fill his seat in the Legislature.

“Tomorrow is a new day for cheers,” Mr. Romaine told GOP supporters at the party gala in Patchogue Tuesday night.

He said his replacement in the Legislature will have to fight hard to get the residents of the North Fork what they need. He said that person will need to stand up to others “for what is right” for the East End.

“If the issues are right and you can make a decent case, you can prevail,” said Mr. Romaine of what advice he’d give his replacement.

Now the attention will turn to just who that replacement will be.

Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer of Babylon said his first phone call Wednesday will be to gauge the interest of Southold Councilman Al Krupski, the only Democrat to serve on a Town Board in Mr. Romaine’s district.

“People respect him and know he calls it like he sees it,” said Mr. Schaffer of Mr. Krupski. He did not discuss any other potential candidates.

The Republican picture isn’t as clear but a pair of Riverhead Councilmembers, Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy, previously expressed an interest in the post to the News-Review.

Democrats, with a 12-member caucus that includes two minor-party members, currently hold a majority in the Suffolk County Legislature. The County Executive, Steve Bellone, is also a Democrat.

Reporting by Jennifer Gustavson and Michael White