1. As delta variant leads to local surge, no plan to impose mask mandate in Suffolk.

The number of daily COVID infections in Suffolk County this week rose to a level not seen since April, when the vaccine was not yet publicly available to all New York adults. Hospitalizations have more than doubled the past week, from 38 COVID patients hospitalized on July 30 to 82 hospitalized yesterday.

Community transmission in Suffolk has now increased to the CDC's highest warning level, up from "substantial" to "high," with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents reported in the last week. The CDC last week recommended counties in both those categories should return to mask-wearing indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Suffolk County has no current plans to reinstate a mask mandate, despite the governor urging local governments to do so. Instead, the county will focus its efforts on increasing vaccination rates among residents.

2. A new four-story apartment building is proposed for downtown Riverhead..

A four-story building with two ground-floor retail spaces and nine rental apartments on the three upper floors is planned for a one-eighth acre lot on McDermott Avenue.

The proposed development at 12 McDermott Avenue would offer market-rate rentals consisting of six one-bedroom units and three two-bedroom units ranging in size from 517 square feet to 904 square feet. The development does not include any on-site parking. The site is within the Riverhead Parking District and is not required to provide any off-street parking for tenants.

If approved, the building would be one of several new multi-level apartment buildings constructed in downtown Riverhead in recent years.

3. East End state legislators demand Cuomo resign or be impeached.

East End state legislators this week quickly joined the chorus of elected officials calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign or be impeached after N.Y. Attorney General Letitia James released a report concluding that the governor is a serial sexual harasser and created a toxic work environment. Yesterday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also joined lawmakers in calling for Cuomo's resignation.

The investigation found that the governor sexually harassed 11 women. Some were members of his staff, while others were employees in other state offices, including a state trooper, as well as two women who were not state employees.

If Cuomo does not step down, Assembly members have indicated they could send articles of impeachment to the state Senate as soon as next month.

4. Rental housing code changes set for Aug. 17 public hearing in Riverhead.

A public hearing will be held Aug. 17 on a proposed Riverhead Town Code amendment related that takes aim at overcrowded and substandard rental housing in the town.

A proposed revision to Chapter 263 of the town code attempts to define the “functional equivalent” of a family and would make unlawful the occupancy of a rental dwelling by a group that doesn’t comply with the new definition of “family or functional equivalent” of a family.

Violations would be subject to fines of up to $6,000.

5. Riverhead to offer Pfizer vaccine at senior center on Aug. 12 & 13.

Riverhead Town is partnering with the Long Island Farm Bureau and the North Fork Spanish Apostolate to sponsor a distribution event for the COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 12 and 13 at the Riverhead Senior Center.

6. Suffolk County announces $100 million farmland preservation initiative to reach goal set over 50 years ago.

Suffolk County is committing $100 million over the next 10 years to preserve 10,000 acres of developable farmland, in order to reach the goal of preserving 30,000 acres set over 50 years ago.

The new “100 for 10 Farmland Preservation Initiative” will put an initial commitment of $25 million into the county’s capital plan over the next three years exclusively for preservation efforts, according to the county. In 1970, the Nassau-Suffolk Comprehensive Plan summary recommended the preservation of 30,000 acres of farmland, however, only around 20,000 acres of preserved farmland have been preserved through efforts by the county government, town governments and land trusts so far.

Preserving farmland protects property from residential and commercial development, restricting it solely for agricultural use.

7. Riverhead Town reinstates Zoom, but only for public hearings.

After blowback from residents for the cancellation of Zoom participation in public meetings, the public will be able to provide comment via Zoom during public hearings.

Like many government entities during the coronavirus crisis, Riverhead Town began using the Zoom video conferencing platform last year to allow the public to participate in public meetings after the governor restricted in-person attendance.

At a meeting this week, Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar announced the public will be able to give testimony in public hearings via Zoom going forward. The rule, however, will not allow the public to use Zoom to comment on resolutions on the board’s agenda or during the open comment portion of the meeting, when residents can speak to the board on other topics.

8. Cops: Man who burglarized Aquebogue home also robbed bank patron and burglarized two nail salons last month.

Riverhead Police have charged the same man arrested for the burglary of an Aquebogue home last month a robbery that occurred a a day earlier outside a West Main Street bank and three other crimes. Police charged Courtland E. Bonalde, 40, with the robbery of a man who had just withdrawn cash from an ATM at the Chase Bank branch at 7 West Main Street.

9. Indictment: Camp bus driver had blood alcohol level more than 3.5 times legal limit when she crashed with campers on board.

The camp school bus driver arrested by Riverhead Police July 13 after crashing the bus with children on board, had a blood alcohol content of .30% — more than three and one-half times the legal limit, according to charges handed down by a Suffolk County grand jury.

10. Cops: Homeless man charged in two carjackings and one attempt yesterday in Riverhead.

Riverhead Police said a 32-year-old homeless man carjacked two vehicles in Riverhead yesterday afternoon and attempted to steal a third occupied vehicle. He was apprehended in Rocky Point yesterday evening.

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