Authors Posts by Alex Petroski

Alex Petroski

Alex Petroski
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Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta. File photo

At least one Suffolk County legislator believes that money in politics can be linked to corruption in local government, though he said he’s yet to gain any support from other lawmakers.

Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) introduced a bill in March that would limit donations to $2,000 per election cycle to elected officials running for office from contractors and public employee unions that do business with the county. The bill would limit the hundreds of businesses and unions that have contracts for services with the county. A full list of contracts can be found on Suffolk County’s website.

“It is not uncommon for people and organizations doing business with Suffolk County to make donations to the political campaigns of county officials and candidates seeking county office,” Trotta said in press release on March 23. “Such contributions can be interpreted by the public as a ‘pay to play’ that results in government contracts being awarded on the basis of connections and contributions.”

Trotta said in a phone interview Monday that he hoped to gain support from other legislators, though so far he hasn’t gotten any.

“This bill is the first step in trying to clean up the cesspool that is county government,” Trotta said. “Anybody who says the money doesn’t affect them, they’re lying.”

Trotta said the indictment and guilty plea of former Suffolk County Chief of Police James Burke is an example that a lack of oversight on county government has allowed corruption to run rampant. Trotta was a member of the Suffolk County Police Department for 25 years, according to his page on the county’s website.

Trotta also referenced Edward Walsh, the Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman, who was found guilty of defrauding the Sheriff’s Office on March 31. Walsh could be sentenced to up to 30 years in jail, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

“I’m trying to take the money out of politics,” Trotta said. “Clearly, there’s a conflict there. This is why you’re seeing all of this corruption.”

Trotta said the unanimous county Legislature vote to approve the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association contract in October 2012 was another example of potential corruption. He said he introduced a bill shortly thereafter that would shine more light on county organizations like the police department, though it didn’t gain any traction.

“It makes no logical sense that there is no oversight,” Trotta said.

The Suffolk County PBA and a media representative for County Executive Steve Bellone (D) did not respond to requests for comment.

Trotta said he did not pour money into his own campaign to get elected to represent the 13th legislative district in 2013. He said he does not accept donations from unions, and the largest donation that he has received was about $2,500 from a friend.

“I have to thank my constituents for giving me the ability to do this,” Trotta said. He added that he is fortunate to be from a strong, well-versed community who elected him despite his modest campaign spending.

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File photo

Comsewogue officials have finalized a budget for the next school year, days after the state came through for school districts in a big way.

The school board adopted Superintendent Joe Rella’s proposal for the 2016-17 school year during its meeting Monday night, supporting a $87.2 million budget that maintains all existing programs, thanks in large part to the state axing its Gap Elimination Adjustment.

The adjustment was enacted six years ago in an effort to close a state budget deficit, and deducted funds from each school district’s state aid allotment. Since its inception, it has cumulatively cost Comsewogue about $23 million in state aid, according to Susan Casali, the district’s assistant superintendent for business.

But the new state budget, upon which lawmakers agreed last week, eliminated that deduction, netting Comsewogue roughly an additional $1.3 million in revenue.

“I think it’s great,” Rella said. “I’m glad we got it back. It means we don’t have to make any big cuts. We’re happy about it — it’s significant.”

Rella’s initial budget proposal in January banked on a full aid restoration, despite the fact that, while state legislators had been pushing for it, the restoration was far from a done deal. Other North Shore school districts, such as Huntington and Miller Place, planned for little to no restoration of the funding during their own budget processes.

Had the state budget fallen short in restoring the funding, Comsewogue would have been faced with some difficult decisions on program cuts.

“If that doesn’t happen, then it’s a whole different world,” Rella said in an interview in March. “We’re anticipating it will happen. Albany’s been very quiet about it, and I’m taking that as ‘no news is good news.’”

Casali said the district administration’s faith in state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), the majority leader who previously called the aid restoration a “top priority” this year, paid off during the budget process.

“From the very beginning we’ve done the budget assuming that Flanagan and everybody [else who] promised us this GEA, that they were going to make good on their promise, so we didn’t make any cuts in the budget,” Casali said.

School board President John Swenning expressed appreciation for the additional funds because the district can avoid cuts without presenting a budget to residents that would pierce the state-mandated tax levy increase cap.

The district will receive about $30 million in total state aid next year and will collect about $53.5 million from taxpayers.

“We appreciate what we get,” Swenning said on Monday. “Do we want more? Yes. Do we think we deserve more? … Yes, but we’re not going to be greedy and we’ll say thank you for all that we get.”

Residents will vote on the adopted budget on May 17. Polls at Comsewogue High School will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Smithtown Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Bradshaw. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Smithtown students have been told for a long time their personal phones, tablets and other electronic devices are not allowed in school. In April, that is going to change.

Assistant superintendent for instruction for the district, Jennifer Bradshaw, announced at a board of education meeting on March 22 Smithtown will be opening free internal Wi-Fi for students and allow access via personal electronic devices beginning next month. In addition, every student will be assigned an internal email address that will allow messages to be sent from student to student, or student to teacher. The new initiative is for students in grades six through 12.

“This is going to increase their ability to work collaboratively and communicate with teachers and other students about the work that they’re doing in school,” Bradshaw said on March 22. “Again, it’s entirely internal. There’s not going to be any access to outside email accounts. I’m pretty excited about this expansion … it’s a very logical next step.”

Bradshaw said a Google for Education application would host the email addresses. Google for Education was designed to “provide easy tools to engage students anytime, anywhere, on any device,” according to its website. Bradshaw also said the district already uses Google Classroom, which provides applications to allow teachers to assign work and for students to submit assignments as a collaborative tool.

The Wi-Fi access will be filtered, as is Internet access on existing school computers and devices. Social media sites and applications Facebook and Snapchat will be blocked, though Twitter, Instagram and YouTube will be allowed for educational use.

Bradshaw said use of this technology for educational purposes is a valuable tool for students to learn.

“It’s used in at least three-fourths of the top 20 schools that we send our students off to,” Bradshaw said about applications through Google for Education. “It’s really great preparation for them, but beyond that it’s really great for collaboration now.”

School board President Christopher Alcure expressed excitement about the possibilities technology present as a resource for education.

“It’s fantastic that we’re getting them started young,” Alcure said, and added his sixth-grader frequently has to submit assignments through Google Classroom. “I’m all for it.”

In October, about 20 students from Smithtown and Kings Park schools were suspended when explicit content involving three underage students from unspecified districts was spread electronically across the two districts. The incident, referred to as a sexting scandal, occurred off of school grounds. Two 14-year-old Smithtown High School boys were arrested and charged with disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child as a result of the incident.

“Part of our responsibility as a school district is to teach digital citizenship — how to use electronic tools responsibly as well as productively,” Bradshaw said in an email Monday. “It is part of our greater mission to create responsible citizens. We will, of course, support this expansion with continued education about how to use the tools effectively and responsibly.”

The district already has a section in its code of conduct about the acceptable use of technology, which Bradshaw said students would be required to agree to each time they attempt to gain access to the school’s network.

Xavier Palacios file photo by Rohma Abbas

Huntington school district may soon make ramps and restrooms more accessible to people with disabilities.

The school board approved the addition of the capital reserve proposition to the May 17 ballot with a six to one vote at a meeting on March 21.

If passed, the proposition would use almost $2.5 million of the district’s building improvement fund, or capital reserve, to update eight Huntington schools and make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Superintendent Jim Polansky said the desire to become compliant with the ADA was not mandated, but it’s possible the state could block other capital improvement propositions if ADA requirements within a district are not met.

“There are some needs that really should have been addressed as far back as 20 years ago,” Polansky said at the meeting. “We’re not looking to refit the entire building. We’re looking to just put the basics in place. Those basics are ramps and at least one bathroom.”

Polansky said there are contingency plans in place for emergencies that might arise during the course of a school year which would require a ramp in or out of a Huntington district building, but this proposition would provide permanent solutions.

J. Taylor Finley Middle School, Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School and Flower Hill Primary School are among several of the buildings that would be equipped with ADA-compliant restrooms. ADA-compliant ramps would be added to a few schools, including Woodhull Intermediate School, Jefferson Primary School and Huntington High School. The high school would also get an ADA-compliant wheelchair lift and a compliant locker room restroom.

Xavier Palacios was the lone board member against adding the proposition to the ballot.

“These ADA requirements or suggestions have been around for almost two decades and we’ve submitted several capital proposals and they’ve never been stopped in the past, have they?” Palacios asked prior to the vote.

Polansky called it a roll of the dice to submit a different capital proposition to the state prior to making the ADA-compliant upgrades. “Aside from the fact that I think it’s the right thing to do,” he added.

“How do we prioritize this over needing a new roof?” Palacios asked.

Another board member, Jennifer Hebert, weighed in on the discussion.

“We don’t want to have a student showing up needing these kinds of accommodations and have to be retrofitting it as they’re in the building,” Hebert said. “We should do it now, so that if and when we have students that have these needs, we’ve already got everything equipped for them in the building.”

The state comptroller’s office released an audit report in March, which concluded Huntington exceeded the amount of money legally allowed in capital reserves for the previous three school years. By law, a district cannot have more than 4 percent of the ensuing school year’s budget saved in capital reserves, according to the report. Any money over that limit must be used to make improvements in the district. Thus, this proposition would help the district use the money currently sitting in its reserve fund.

From left, Gil Anderson, Michael Deering, Tom Falcone, Neal Lewis, Steve Bellone, Lisa Broughton, Mike Voltz, Dave Daly and Gordian Raacke show off some of the energy efficient projects announced at Monday’s press conference, as well as an Always Conserving Energy Award. Photo by Alex Petroski

Suffolk County is making strides toward a greener future.

On Monday Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) announced upgrades designed for energy efficiency to several county buildings, including key spots in Smithtown, that should save taxpayers more than $3 million annually.

Improvements were made to the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge, where the press conference was held, the Board of Elections in Yaphank, the Riverhead Criminal Courts Building and the 4th Precinct police building among others. The county has invested about $15 million in energy efficiency funding since 2010, Bellone said.

“As you know Suffolk County is home to more than 1.5 million people,” Bellone said. “It’s the largest county in the state of New York outside of the city. Of course we provide an array of different services to all of those residents. So many of our operations and facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’re responsible for the operation of more than 400 facilities. Since we are a large operation, it’s vital for us to embrace as leaders green energy and alternative energy sources in our day-to-day operations.”

Some of the upgrades Bellone announced included new boilers, replacement of lights, occupancy sensors, improvements to heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems and a photovoltaic system installation for the Board of Elections building that will provide solar energy.

Officials from LIPA and PSEG Long Island joined with environmental advocacy groups at the press conference.

“Partnering with PSEG Long Island and LIPA and utilizing their rebate programs made these long-term energy savings possible, and they assisted with the up-front cost that might otherwise hold back the important projects that you see displayed here,” Bellone said.

Both LIPA and PSEG Long Island incentivize energy efficient upgrades for residents and commercial property owners with rebates. LIPA CEO Tom Falcone and PSEG Long Island COO Dave Daly both praised Bellone for his leadership, and for the example that he has set for New York State.

“Suffolk County is demonstrating that local government can take very concrete steps to reduce the carbon footprint, clean the environment and reduce cost for citizens,” Falcone said.

Gordian Raacke, the executive director for the nonprofit organization Renewable Energy Long Island commended Bellone for his proactive approach to energy efficiency.

“You know when world leaders meet in Paris to talk about what we need to do to tackle climate change, it is the kind of action that we’re seeing here with the leadership of County Executive Bellone in Suffolk County that they’re talking about,” Raacke said. “All of the talk in the meetings doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t save a ton of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas until a leader steps up to the plate, a leader like Steve Bellone, and makes it happen.”

Neal Lewis, the executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College sent a message to other municipalities that have yet to follow Suffolk County’s lead.

“Frankly, inaction by elected officials today when it comes to energy issues is wasteful,” Lewis said. “If you have a town hall that still has old lighting systems, old heating systems, old cooling systems — you’re wasting taxpayer dollars. I think that’s an important message.”

Bellone said that these projects are just the beginning, and more cost and energy saving upgrades are to come for the county.

Fighter Chris Weidman shakes hands with state Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci. File photo

Discussion of mixed martial arts elicits a wide range of opinions, though very soon one thing will be indisputable: it will be legal in New York.

The state Assembly passed a bill on March 22 that will lift a near 20-year ban on the sport with a 114 to 26 vote, almost two months after the state Senate approved the measure. New York is the only state in the country where it is illegal to take part in a mixed martial arts event.

The bill will become law after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs off, though he has expressed support in the past. Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) was one of the 26 who voted against the bill.

“The legalization of mixed martial arts fighting in New York is the perfect example of what former Sen. Patrick Moynihan would characterize as ‘defining deviancy down’ and normalizing a dangerous blood sport in the name of economic development,” Fitzpatrick said in a press release. “This is not the economic development our state needs. I am concerned about the health of fighters and what message normalizing and lauding violence sends to our children and families. Just because 49 other states do it doesn’t make it right for New York. Legalizing MMA is the wrong move for our state.”

Assemblyman Chad A. Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) cosponsored the bill.

“I am thrilled that the Assembly has finally passed legislation to bring this highly skilled sport to the arenas and venues across New York State,” Lupinacci said in a press release. “There are many fighters native to New York who have been forced to leave the state to pursue their dream of competing professionally. Legalization will allow them to stay in their hometowns and compete in front of their families and friends.”

Reactions to the vote reverberated across the MMA community.

“I truly appreciate the New York State Assembly as a whole to finally get this bill passed,” Baldwin native and active Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Chris Weidman said in an email through his media contact. UFC is the premier MMA governing body in the world.

“Along with the UFC, I campaigned very hard to get this done and made sure the people of New York were educated about mixed martial arts and how important it is for the sport to be regulated in our state,” Weidman added. “The people of New York have spoken and I think in the very near future I will be able to showcase my craft and my hard work to the people of New York. I’m sure the UFC has big plans for the first UFC event in New York in history. I have no idea what they’ve got in the works, but I think an event at Madison Square Garden has to happen. I would love nothing more than to defend my title on my home turf in that arena.”

North Shore native and United States Marine Corps veteran Devin Mollberg, who has trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing as a pastime since his return from service in Afghanistan in 2014, offered his perspective on the decision. Mollberg, 28, has said he hopes to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

“It’s about time,” Mollberg said in an interview. “It’s a great thing for all N.Y. fighters and definitely a positive thing for the state. It should have happened a long time ago but now there is nothing but good things to come from here.”

The decision will generate 525 permanent jobs and about $70 million in annual spending, according to Lupinacci’s release. Assemblymen Andy Raia (R-East Northport) and Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) both voted in favor of the bill.

From left, Olivia Santoro, Daphne Marsh, Victoria Daza, Aaron Watkins-Lopez and Blanca Villanueva, representing advocacy groups for education funding delivered a petition to Sen. John Flanagan’s Smithtown office Wednesday. Photo by Alex Petroski

A small group of people carried the voices of thousands of New Yorkers standing up for the students across the state.

Activists representing four New York State and Long Island groups in support of education funding — especially for low income districts — dropped off a petition with more than 9,000 signatures from across New York to state Sen. John Flanagan’s (R-East Northport) office in Smithtown Wednesday. Those in support of the petition pledged their support for state Assemblymen Carl Heastie’s (D-Bronx) “millionaire tax bill,” which was introduced in February and proposed an increase in taxes to those who earn upwards of $1 million annually.

The petition was also in support of a full phase-in of the money still owed to pay off the Campaign for Fiscal Equity resolution, which ensured that $5.5 billion would be committed to mostly high-need districts in 2007, and was supposed to take effect over the course of four years. This was a result of a lawsuit started in 1993, which eventually reached the New York State Court of Appeals, which ruled that high-need districts were being neglected. About $781-million of that money is still owed to Long Island schools, according to advocates of the resolution.

The groups represented at Flanagan’s office included New York Communities For Change, Jobs With Justice, Long Island Progressive Coalition and Alliance for Quality Education as well as community members from across Long Island. Flanagan was not in his office, and a legal aide who took the petition declined to comment.

“We need to address the emotional, physical, social, needs of the child and the Senate has shown that they are not caring right now with the budget they have proposed,” said Blanca Villanueva, an organizer from Alliance for Quality Education. “We need them to represent us because they represent all of Long Island and all of New York State.”

The petition was also delivered to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York City office, Villanueva said.

Flanagan has said in the past that he is against the millionaire tax bill. He did not respond to a request for comment regarding the petition.

“As a constituent of Sen. Flanagan’s, I am calling on him to support the millionaire’s tax,” said Olivia Santoro, a member of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “I valued my public school education and I want the same opportunity for students growing up in his district and across Long Island. That means that we need to fully fund our schools.”

On March 21, a group of about 40 wealthy New Yorkers in conjunction with the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Responsible Wealth Project sent an open letter to Cuomo in support of Heastie’s millionaire tax bill. Those in support included Steven C. Rockefeller and Abigail Disney, among others.

Flanagan’s proposed 2016-17 budget would eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which has cost districts across the state millions of dollars over the past several years in an effort to close a deficit. It also included almost $600 million for education, though Villanueva said at Flanagan’s office that it was not enough.

“We’ve got this Campaign for Fiscal Equity that we’ve been working very hard to support and we hope that [Sen. Flanagan] can stand with the students in making sure that they receive a quality education and the funding that’s necessary in order to deliver that,” Melissa Figueroa of New York Communities For Change said Wednesday. “We need this support, and I hope that he gets down with us.”

Figueroa is also running for a school board seat in Hempstead School District.

Signs held by those in support of the petition read, “Stand up 4 kids, NOT billionaires,” “Sen. Flanagan, who do you represent?” and “Millionaires Tax: Raise taxes on the 1% by 1% to raise billions for public school education.” The petition was launched on ColorOfChange.org, an organization dedicated to fighting institutional racism.

Smithtown backs off proposal to split cross-country team

Samantha Catalano, a junior runner, speaks to the board on March 8. Photo by Alex Petroski

Smithtown Schools Superintendent James Grossane announced at a board of education meeting Tuesday that he and Athletic Director Patrick Smith, upon the request of the board, would remove the proposal from Smith’s athletic budget that would split the unified East and West cross-country team. Grossane said that the team would remain together for the 2016-17 school year, and the idea of splitting would be revisited during budget season next year.

The idea to split the team, which is one of four sports in the district that has athletes from both high schools on one team, was presented by Smith as a means for more student athletes to play a key role, which would in turn get them more opportunities to earn college scholarships.

“It’s based on the philosophy of the district,” Smith said in an interview last week. “We wanted to provide more opportunities for our kids.”

Sophomore runner Matthew Tullo, who has filled the role of spokesperson for the effort to keep the team together, addressed the board again Tuesday.

“As you can tell, it really means a lot to all of us,” Tullo said, referencing the numerous boys and girls cross-country participants, who have been well represented at board of education meetings for the last month. “It’s really amazing, and I really appreciate everyone involved deciding to keep us together. On behalf of the Smithtown cross-country team, I’d like to say thank you for listening to us for the four weeks. I know we were kind of annoying. I’d like to say thank you for keeping our team—actually, keeping our family — together. It really means a lot.”

School Board President Christopher Alcure responded to Tullo’s comments.

“The board listened across the last four or so weeks,” Alcure said. The board asked Grossane and Smith to reconsider the split following a budget workshop on March 15.

“From the board I will say this: you made us very proud,” Alcure added. “You were very articulate, very respectful. We’re very proud of what the teachers do in our district in terms of not only the educational and instructional side of things, but they teach you the ways of life and how to be respectful and how to handle yourself in front of a big crowd. We’re happy to keep it together for you guys.”

Section XI, Suffolk County’s governing body for athletics, encourages districts with more than one high school to split any combined teams that are not under budgetary, facility or participation constraints. The Smithtown cross-country team has none of those issues. However, it is only encouraged. It is not a mandate. Gymnastics, swimming and bowling are the other Smithtown sports that have a unified East and West team.

“The team is a family, yet it is also an identifying aspect of our community, and keeping it combined simply makes sense,” junior runner Samantha Catalano said at a board meeting March 8. The team started an online petition that had 1,159 signatures at the time this was written.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) hosted Huntington Town’s annual Eggstravaganza event on Thursday, March 24 at Heckscher Park. Kids from all over town came to hang out with the Easter Bunny, hunt for eggs, get their faces painted, and color. The town also collected food donations from all participants for the local food pantry.

Like many other vineyards on Long Island and across the world, winemaking is part of the family heritage for the Massouds and Paumanok Vineyards. Located at 1074 Main Road (Route 25A) in Aquebogue on the North Fork, Ursula and Charles Massoud founded the vineyard on the 127-acre estate in 1983. The couple, along with their three sons, still own and operate the vineyard to this day.

Kareem Massoud, Paumanok’s winemaker, called their vineyard a perfect blend of old world and new world style. With so much competition now on the North Fork, most vineyards seem to do what they can to develop a distinguished niche. “I think our niche is that we’re dedicated and committed to producing the most delicious wine possible,” Kareem said. “We’re really like a wine lovers winery. If someone’s really interested in wine, they should come visit.”

He added that Paumanok tends to stay away from the party atmosphere and focuses instead on their award-winning wines and the delicious oysters and cheeses that are also sold at the winery and pare wonderfully with the estate-bottled wines. Paumanok was named Winery of the Year for 2015 at the New York Wine & Food Classic. The competition was judged based on a cumulative score of at least seven submitted wines to a panel of 21 judges. Paumanok won the award one other time in 2004.

Their tasting room is a quaint old barn, with large windows that let in sunlight and provide beautiful views of their rows and rows of vines. The tasting room lets out to a deck around the back of the barn, with wooden tables and chairs for comfortable spring and summer days.

Paumanok wines are estate bottled, meaning that the producer of the grapes has control of the entire growing, harvesting, fermenting and bottling process. Everything in a bottle of Paumanok wine was grown on their property (with some minor exceptions). This distinction, along with the fact that Ursula was born and raised in Germany while Charles comes from Lebanon, gives the vineyard a nice dash of old world, according to Kareem.

Kareem said that Paumanok is one of the oldest wineries on Long Island that is still owned and operated by the original founders. The family has been making wine and building their brand since 1990.

“It’s been a wonderful journey,” Kareem said in an interview Monday. He reminisced about the days between 1983 and 1990 when the family was growing grapes, but no wine was being produced or sold yet. Kareem said that he and his brothers did quite a bit of lawn mowing between their family home in Connecticut and the massive land at the winery in Aquebogue during his teenage years.

Today, however, the winery has a dash of new world, state-of-the-art technology that has made winemaking a more — forgive the pun — fruitful endeavor. Kareem said last year Paumanok invested in a new mechanical harvesting machine with onboard sorting technology. It is useful for removing M.O.G., or matter other than grapes, when it’s time to harvest the grapes. It even includes a de-stemmer.

Kareem said that his wines are all like his children, so picking a favorite was very difficult. For a white, he chose Paumanok Chenin Blanc. Its current vintage is 2014. “I like to call that our ‘Sour Patch’ wine,” Massoud said, referencing the sweet and sour candy. He said that the citrus and grapefruit notes, paired with a refreshing, thirst-quenching characteristic, make it well balanced and provide a nice contrast.

The red Kareem is most proud of is their Assemblage, which is a French word meaning blend. He only makes the Assemblage in grand vintage years, or years with the best quality harvest of grapes. Recently, their 2013 Assemblage received the highest rating of any red wine on the East Coast from a popular wine magazine.

Kareem also added that the 2014 and 2015 vintages of Paumanok Riesling received awards as New York State’s best Riesling. That is not a small feat, as New York is one of the most popular Riesling producing areas in the world.

Paumanok Vineyards is open for self-guided or winemaker-lead tours during the spring and summer for small groups, or by reservation for large groups. They are also preparing for two marquee events: a Mediterranean cruise in June hosted by Ursula and Charles that features Paumanok wines and makes stops over a seven-day span from Portugal to the Bordeaux region in France and their sixth annual lamb roast dinner at the winery in August.

For more information about their events, or to plan a trip, visit www.paumanok.com.

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