Merry Christmas to all! Here are some of this week’s top stories from RiverheadLOCAL. Be sure to visit our website for more coverage of news and events in the local community.

1. National Grid asks natural gas customers to cut back usage today due to pipeline supply problems.

National Grid issued an urgent request to cut back on natural gas usage, citing interstate pipeline equipment problems caused by frigid weather and heavy holiday demand,

2. Sr. Margaret Smyth, a fierce advocate for justice, dies at age 83.

Sister Margaret Rose Smyth, who ran the North Fork Spanish Apostolate for more than 20 years, died at her home in Riverhead. She was 83 years old.

3. Cops: Flanders residents, awakened before dawn by intruder, chase and detain him for police.

Police said a homeowner awoke to find an unknown man in the home and called 911.  The intruder was rifling through a pocketbook. Another occupant of the home chased the intruder out of the house and detained him for police

4. Riverhead man caught with stolen pickup truck, attempted to remove ATVs from local dealer, police say.

A Riverhead man is facing felony charges in connection with a vehicle reported stolen on Friday, according to Riverhead Town Police.He was also charged with criminal trespass in connection with a separate incident.

5. Outcry for industrial moratorium reaches fever pitch at contentious Town Board meeting.

Though the Riverhead Town Board never scheduled a hearing on the moratorium the community has been demanding for many months, they had one yesterday, whether they liked it or not.

6. Eight Riverhead projects funded by state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.

The new Riverhead Town Square, the Suffolk Theater, a mixed-use building on Griffing Avenue and five other projects in downtown Riverhead downtown will receive a piece of the $10 million New York State grant. Funding requests for the L.I. Science Center and an amphitheater plan were not funded by the state.

7. Suffolk cyberattack began months earlier than previously disclosed; full extent of data exposure still unknown, officials say.

Attackers used a known software vulnerability to access to the county clerk’s computer systems in December 2021. They installed malware and cryptocurrency mining software and stole sensitive data. Though their presence inside the network was first detected in June, the clerk's IT department fumbled its response and didn't inform the county’s central IT security officials of the breach, according to an independent investigator's report.

8. Riverhead mailed tax bills 10 days ago, but some have not yet been delivered by postal service.

Riverhead Town property tax bills, which were delivered to the post office in Melville Dec. 12, still haven’t found their way to some residents’ mailboxes. The town tax receiver says the postal service is blaming holiday mail volume for the delay. Property owners have until Jan. 10 to pay without penalty and should call the tax receiver or download their bill on line if it hasn’t arrived.

9. Latino community bids an emotional farewell to beloved Madre Margarita.

Hundreds turned out for a wake and prayer service in Spanish at St. John the Evangelist Church to honor and remember the woman whose indomitable spirit, tenacity, and devotion touched the lives of many throughout the region, lighting a flame that will continue to burn bright for generations to come. 

10. Riverhead slated to receive another $2 million from feds for clean water projects.

Congress is expected to pass a spending package this week that includes $2 million for public water extensions for homes in Riverhead serviced by private water wells contaminated by harmful chemicals.

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