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07/09/16 2:00pm
07/09/2016 2:00 PM

The former Southold justice court clerk convicted of stealing more than $230,000 from the town’s bail fund has filed a federal lawsuit claiming officials at the Suffolk County Jail refused to treat her for a broken hip suffered while in custody.  READ

12/31/13 7:44am
12/31/2013 7:44 AM

A traffic stop in Riverside led to the arrest of a Greeenport man on drug charges early Tuesday, police said.

Howard Brooks, 49, was stopped by police on Flanders Road about 1:50 a.m. when he was found to be in possession of crack cocaine and marijuana,  Southampton Town police said.

He was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, police said.

He was being held for arraignment in Southampton Town Justice Court.


06/15/13 2:10pm
06/15/2013 2:10 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Legislator Jay Schneiderman presented his vision for Riverside at a civic meeting last week.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Jay Schneiderman presented his vision for Riverside at a civic meeting.

County Legislator Jay Schneiderman has a dream.

In the dream, the hamlet of Riverside has a small restaurant and grocery store near the traffic circle and a small three-story business district across from McDonald’s with stores on the ground floor and apartments or offices on the upper floors.

The plans call for a 'Main Street' along Route 24.

The plans call for a ‘Main Street’ along Route 24.

The South Fork lawmaker also envisions a trail through the woods leading down to the Peconic River. The trail would connect with a footbridge that would span the river into downtown Riverhead.

The area in question would stretch about a half-mile in the style of a Main Street along Route 24, across from McDonald’s and west of Vail Avenue. Most of the buildings in this area are currently vacant or for sale, he said.

Mr. Schneiderman (I-Montauk) showed off a 3-D computer model of what he’s envisioned at Monday’s meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association.

Of course, no paperwork has been filed in Town Hall to move forward with any plans, other than for a possible trail to the river, for which the county and Southampton Town are seeking $50,000 in grant money.

“This is all just conceptual, for discussion purposes, to bring people onto same page,” Mr. Schneiderman said Monday. “If this is the vision you want, you hire professional planners and engineers and develop it in a more detailed way.”

For the “vision” to become reality, he said, “it would require all these property owners to come to the table and work together and maybe sell their land to someone else or become part of the project. Or they could continue to do what they’ve been doing, and that would be unfortunate.”

Southampton Town officials have conducted numerous studies over the years on ways to revitalize the beleaguered hamlet. Often, the answer involves creating a commercial sewer district, something Suffolk County is also studying.

Another proposal the county is currently studying involves improvements to the Route 24 traffic circle.

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works is down to two options for improving the Route 24 traffic circle in Riverside, Mr. Schneiderman said Monday.

One option would involve reconfiguring the circle into an oval-shaped roundabout and making it two lanes, he said, similar to what was done with the Route 58 traffic circle in Riverhead.

“They say this will work, but not as well as it would if they took one leg out,” he said, referring to the plan to cut off one of the five roads leading to the circle.

The second option, which Mr. Schneiderman prefers, would redirect Riverleigh Avenue (County Road 104) through the parking lot behind the former Riverboat Diner building and have it intersect with Lake Avenue (County Road 63).

This would involve either buying the diner land or swapping it for adjacent town land, he said, which would all be part of the revitalization effort.

“So how do we get to this from where we are now, which is just boarded-up building after boarded-up building?” Mr. Schneiderman asked the audience.

In addition to support from locals and area property owners, he said, installing sewer infrastructure is necessary for any Main Street-like business district to become reality.

“Why are sewers important?” Mr. Schneiderman asked. “It’s very hard to get economic development without them” due to environmental constraints caused by the area’s close proximity to the Peconic River and other parkland.

This leads to the question of where a sewage treatment plant should be located and how large an area it should serve.

The study currently underway shows three prospective locations for a sewage treatment plant. One is adjacent to the River Woods community, whose residents have already voiced opposed that option. Another is near the County Center and the third is near a former auto dealership on Riverleigh Avenue.

Mr. Schneiderman said the smaller the area served by the sewer district, the lower that cost, and that locating the plant near the area it’s going to serve also would be less expensive.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who also was present Monday, said several small sewage treatment plants could be placed in different locations, instead of having one large plant.

A draft version of the county’s Riverside sewer district study is expected to be completed in the fall, according to Boris Rukovets of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works.

In addition to community support, property owner cooperation and a sewer district, the vision would have to go through planning and engineering reviews, require zone changes and gain support from regulatory agencies, while utilizing grants and other funding sources, Mr. Schneiderman said.

Chris Sheldon of Northampton suggested moving Route 24 closer to the river and moving the businesses further back to create more waterfront land.

Ms. Throne-Holst said the town plans to seek “requests for qualifications” from developers and seek plans from them to redevelop areas like Riverside.

This way, she said, the redevelopment could be funded by private dollars instead of tax dollars.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said in an interview Tuesday that he likes the idea of a footbridge over the Peconic River. As for efforts to revitalize Riverside, he said that as downtown Riverhead improves, so will Riverside — and vice-versa.

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02/21/13 3:30pm
02/21/2013 3:30 PM
Blumenthal author in Suffolk County

SHERIFF VINCENT DEMARCO COURTESY PHOTO | Holocaust survivor and author Marion Lazan-Blumenthal addresses inmates at the Suffolk County jail in Riverside Wednesday.

About 50 inmates gathered to listen to a message of hope delivered by Holocaust survivor and author Marion Lazan-Blumenthal in the Suffolk County Correction Facility chapel.

Ms. Lazan-Blumenthal spoke with incarcerated minors, women, and men about her Holocaust experience, recalling six and a half years of her childhood, during which she was forced to live in refugee, transit, and prison camps, including Westerbork in Holland and Bergen-Belsen in Germany.

She is the author of the book “Four Perfect Pebbles,” a memoir of her experience.

“No one is spared adversity. We all have issues to overcome. Above all, don’t ever give up hope,” Ms. Lazan- Blumenthal told the inmates Wednesday in the jail’s chapel.

People were just intrigued by what she was saying,” said Kristin MacKay, a correctional facility spokeswoman. “When she began talking about her mother, one kid started getting visibly upset, teary. He told her about how he gets upset when his mother comes to visit him in jail. He was inspired by what she said.”

“Incarceration isn’t easy, and while the experience of holocaust survivors was far more challenging and punitive than any American correctional setting, Marion’s story of survival and success resonated with our inmates,” said Sheriff Vincent DeMarco said after the event.

Ms. Lazan- Blumenthal spoke for about an hour, at times pausing to take questions or offer words of encouragement.

“The women all went up and hugged her,” Ms. MacKay said. “They were just very, very touched that she came.”

The facility regularly hosts speakers as part of the sheriff’s special incarcerated youth program, but doesn’t typically allow both incarcerated men and women in the chapel at the same time,

Community volunteer Liz Stokes, who helped organize the event, paved the way for Mrs. Lazan- Blumenthal’s visit, Ms. MacKay said.

Ms. Stokes moderates a self-help group and book club for incarcerated women at facility.

“She’ll often bring books in for the women, stories about survival, hope and courage,” Ms. MacKay said.

She brought in Mrs. Lazan-Blumenthal’s memoir for the inmates to read and reached out to Ms. Lazan-Blumenthal, asking her to visit.

Ms. Lazan-Blumenthal originally made arrangements to come in November, but had to reschedule after Hurricane Sandy. It was her fourth visit to a correctional facility.

She said she particularly enjoys speaking with troubled youth.

“They need to know that the outside does care, and that we want to help them, and see that there is a bright horizon out there, not just what they were involved in,” Ms. Lazan- Blumenthal said in an interview. “Above all these young people needed the extra attention, they needed the hugs, and many hugs were shared.”

“They were hugely responsive. They had questions and they were truly involved in the presentation, I could tell,” Ms. Lazan- Blumenthal said.

Mr. DeMarco said “she drove home the message that regardless of their present circumstances in life, they can have a very good life if they are determined enough to change its course.”

For information on Marion Lazan- Blumenthal’s holocaust experience visit http://www.fourperfectpebbles.com.

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02/05/13 6:04pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The inside of the trailer for homeless sex offenders place outside the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside.

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a law Tuesday evening that will redistribute the 38 homeless sex offenders currently housed in construction trailers in Riverside and Westhampton to shelters across the entire county.

The new plan will spread the sex offenders out, one per shelter, at county-run facilities, where they will be monitored more closely by county police.

Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke and Parents for Megan’s Law director Laura Ahearn, who crafted the plan with County Executive Steve Bellone, first pitched it to the Legislature’s public safety Committee in Hauppauge last Thursday morning.

Ms. Ahearn was back before the entire Legislature Tuesday, urging members to approve the plan.

“For seven years we have talked about this,” she said. “This community protection plan is the solution. It’s not perfect and you can poke holes in it, but it’s the best in the nation.”

Homeless sex offenders had been housed at the same two trailers since 2007, even though the original plan was for them to rotate throughout the county. The Riverside trailer was located next to the Suffolk County Jail.

Under the new plan, sex offenders will no longer reside at the trailers and officials promised they will not be shipped to shelters that serve families.

Chief Burke also said last week that the department’s intelligence database will be updated to include information on the activities of the more than 1,000 sex offenders throughout the county, which can be cross-referenced and easily searched by officers in the field.

Officers will check in with the homeless sex offenders each night to ensure that they are staying where they are assigned, he said.

“They’re gonna know that we know where they are,” he said at the committee meeting.

Chief Burke said the department expects costs of the new program to be significantly less than the $4 million the county is currently spending to house the sex offenders on the East End, since the department will be utilizing police personnel who are already in the field.

Ms. Ahearn also unveiled her group’s new eight-point plan, which includes hiring two teams of retired police officers to verify addresses of [non-homeless] sex offenders and verify the work addresses of Level 3 sex offenders. Offenders at lower levels are not required to report their work addresses to police.

She said 60 percent of Level 3 offenders don’t currently report their work addresses, even though they are required to by law.

Enforceability in the five East End towns, which all have their own police departments, would depend on local police chiefs signing on to the county’s plan, said Chief Burke. He said the county’s resources and intelligence will be made available to any other police department that signs on to the plan.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Flanders Riverside Northampton Civic Association president Brad Bender said the time had come to rid the East End of the burden of housing all the county’s sex offenders.

“You have an opportunity to take responsibility,” he said, addressing the entire Legislature. “It is easy to do nothing, but these are your residents. Like a leper colony, you’ve chosen to ship them to us.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said her only major concern with the plan, which she supported, is a loophole that could allow the county to revert back to the trailer plan.

“They should be decommissioned to make sure there is never a way that we will fall back on this again,” she said.

Legislator John Kennedy (R-Smithtown), who said legislators only received the plan at 12:30 p.m.Tuesday, was among a small group of legislators to voice concern with how quickly the bill was brought to a vote. But once role was called, the faction all voted yes.

“I don’t like the way this was handled, but I am going to support this so it passes unanimously,” he said.

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11/28/12 12:31pm
11/28/2012 12:31 PM
GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Southampton police divers search the Peconic River.

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Southampton police divers search the Peconic River.

Southampton police divers are searching the Peconic River for a handgun believed to used in a recent rash of armed robberies that have spanned the North Fork.

Police also have three men in custody whom they believe are responsible for at least four separate stickups in Riverside, Riverhead and Mattituck over the last month, said Southampton police Sgt. Lewis Scott, who was on the scene Wednesday morning.

Members of the Southampton Town Dive Recovery Unit started scouring the river behind McDonald’s in Riverside about 10:30 a.m. after receiving information that the handgun used in the robberies was dumped in the water, Sgt. Scott said.

Even if police recover a gun, they will keep searching the river bottom until they’re confident every inch had been covered, he added.

Police have not yet released the names of the men in custody.

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GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Members of the Southampton Town Dive Recovery Unit along the banks of the Peconic River Wednesday .

06/23/11 5:32am
06/23/2011 5:32 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Crew members John Ward (from left), Chris Cuddihy, Ryan Cuddihy and Brian Banks take their boat for a practice run in Moriches Bay Saturday.

Riverside resident Chris Cuddihy is once again leading a crew in an attempt to row non-stop around Long Island to raise money for veterans.

The crew pushes off Saturday from Mount Sinai.

Last August, Mr. Cuddihy and his son, Ryan, were part of a four-man crew that raised about $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, although they were unable to complete the row after two crew members became ill.

Mr. Cuddihy, a computer technician who has completed several endurance events for charity in recent years, and his team will be embark from the Mount Sinai Yacht Club about 2 p.m. Their goal is to raise money for Suffolk County United Veterans, based in Yaphank.

Mr. Cuddihy helped raised about $4,000 for that group in November, when he did a 24-hour run around downtown Riverhead.

“It’s just a really great group of people,” he said. “I gave them my word that we would do this.”

Joanne Massimo, assistant director of Suffolk County United Veterans, said Mr. Cuddihy is “an amazing guy. This is an ambitious project and we’re really excited about it.”

She said she’ll be there when the boat launches from Mount Sinai Saturday.

“I can’t wait to see it,” she said.

Suffolk County United Veterans helps homeless vets find work and assimilate back into society. The group operates a shelter in Yaphank, offers job training and college programs and runs food pantries for veterans in Yaphank and on Roanake Avenue in Riverhead.

Mr. Cuddihy said his website, roundislandrow.com, includes links that permit donations to go straight to the organization. “We don’t want to be handling the money,” he said.

Last year’s attempt attracted attention from Newsday and other newspaper and television outlets on Long Island and New York City.

Mr. Cuddihy has been planning for a six-man team to help him through the latest try.

Unfortunately, his son will be unable to participate. Ryan Cuddihy suffered a broken leg in a snowboarding accident over the winter.

But Brian Banks, the Jones Beach lifeguard who rowed out to see if the crew needed help last year and ended up joining them, will be on board from the beginning this time. He has participated in the Jones Beach Lifeguard’s competitive rowing team and is trained in water rescue.

Mr. Cuddihy’s longtime friend John Ward of East Islip will also participate. He has previously completed a full Iron Man Triathlon, a 7.5-mile nonstop swim across Long Island Sound, a 5.3-mile Great South Bay nonstop swim and multiple marathons.

Also on the crew is Aaron Williamson of California. He met Ryan Cuddihy in 2009, when both were hiking the Appalachian Trail, and was expected to arrive in New York from California this morning and get in the boat the afternoon.

Joseph Lindsay of New Mexico, a cousin of the Cuddihys, is also boarding a plane to make the boat, Chris said.

Mr. Cuddihy told the News-Review Saturday that a possible sixth crew member is a Riverhead resident who works locally as chef, although he didn’t give the man’s name.

Last year, Mr. Cuddihy and company rowed in a Whitehull rowboat on loan from Bay Shore High School. This year, they’ll use a rowing catamaran Mr. Cuddihy bought in Atlantic City for $300, which must be assembled before the men board it. The boat’s name, which they have decided to keep, is Bada-Bing.

Last year, the crew ran into a violent thunder and lightning storm at night as they approached the Rockaway Peninsula, and two crew members became seasick. This year, they hope to time the journey so they tide will be in their favor as they travel the East River.

“We’re ruled by the weather on this,” Mr. Cuddihy said.

In recent years, Mr. Cuddihy has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, run seven ultra-marathons on seven continents in seven days, run 24 hours in downtown Riverhead, attempted to row non-stop around Long Island and run/biked from New York City to Washington, D.C.

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