1. Anti-mask residents sound off at Riverhead school board meeting this week.

Some Riverhead Central School District residents again voiced opposition to the district’s indoor mask requirement, despite the universal masking policy adopted by the Board of Education two weeks ago and later mandated in schools statewide by the State Department of Health at the direction of Governor Kathy Hochul.

During the BOE’s meeting Tuesday night, the public comment portion of the meeting was filled with complaints from residents who falsely claimed masks do not prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. This is contrary to the policies supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization — backed by peer-reviewed studies and the global consensus of virologists and infectious disease experts, who say wearing a mask is a key component to stopping the spread of the virus.

2. Protest outside Riverhead hospital draws crowd of vaccine mandate opponents yesterday.

Protesters against the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers lined up around the Route 58 traffic circle near Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead yesterday.

About 150 people turned out for the protest, carrying flags and handmade signs decrying “tyranny,” “coercion,” “stop the mandate,” “my body my choice” and similar sentiments. “Keep America the Land of the Free,” urged one placard. “This is America. I did Nazi this coming,” read another. Other messages predicted more vaccine mandates are on the way. “Hold the line,” read one placard. “The children are next.”

The two-hour protest drew support from the majority of motorists passing through the traffic circle, as evidenced by blaring horns, thumbs-up gestures and fists in the air.

3. Back to school, as COVID-19 community transmission continues to rise in Riverhead.

Students returned to Riverhead classrooms for in-person learning Thursday, as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise amid a local surge of the delta variant.

Positive cases in Riverhead Town have seen a recent spike in the weeks leading up to school's opening. There were 118 positive tests reported among Riverhead Town residents over the past two weeks, compared to 73 positives during the two weeks before that. Cases have also nearly doubled over the past two weeks in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, which are within the Riverhead Central School District.

The district has adopted a reopening plan that officials say aims to keep students learning in-person despite the ongoing community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

4. Riverhead hires a new Latin teacher.

Riverhead’s Latin language program is returning this school year.

The Riverhead Central School District has hired Aidan Walsh as the district’s new high school Latin teacher, according to a statement by the district.

The future of Riverhead’s Latin program has been unclear since both longtime Riverhead Latin teachers retired. Lorene Custer unexpectedly retired last year after she was told that she would be teaching high school instead of middle-level Latin. Her husband and former high school Latin teacher, Dr. Jeff “Doc” Greenberger, retired in December 2019 and remained as a contract employee until the end of that school year. The program was without a teacher since the beginning of last school year. Students who remained in the program last year were being taught through Sterling Academy, an online institution.

5. Scratch-off lottery ticket sold at Riverhead shop makes local woman $5 million richer.

The number 51 made one lucky Riverhead woman $5 million richer this weekend.

Deborah Kowalski hit the $5 million jackpot on a 100X scratch-off lottery ticket Aug. 26. Kowalski purchased the winning ticket at CardSmart in the Gala Fresh shopping center on Route 58. The ticket cost her $20.

6. Riverhead Town to hold ceremony on 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Riverhead Town will hold a ceremony at World Trade Center Memorial Park in Calverton on Saturday, Sept. 11 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Town officials will hold a brief memorial service and lay a wreath to honor the memory of the heroes and victims of the attacks starting at 10 a.m..

7. Riverhead forum on water issues is rescheduled for Sept. 15.

Riverhead Town will update residents and have conversations on water quality issues and infrastructure during the town’s first water forum at town hall on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., according to Councilman Ken Rothwell.

The forum was originally proposed by Rothwell as a committee to tackle issues that mostly affected customers of the water district near the pine barrens and Enterprise Park in Calverton whose wells suffer from pollution. However, the plan changed after he received negative feedback from the people the committee intended to serve, Rothwell said during a water district update at a work session on Aug. 12. The town wants to hold the forums once every three months going forward.

8. Riverhead man charged in four additional commercial burglaries.

Riverhead Police this week charged a Riverhead man in four commercial burglaries that occurred late last month and early this month.

Kenneth Hughes, 33, was charged with burglary in connection with burglaries at three local restaurants and a bar, according to a Riverhead Police press release.

According to police, Hughes burglarized Funcho's Fajita Grill on July 23, Turkuaz Grill on July 25, Little Lucharitos on Aug. 6 and Cuddy’s Bar on Aug. 9.

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