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Riverhead to hold lottery for deer hunters

A deer in Heckscher State Park in East

A deer in Heckscher State Park in East Islip. (June 15, 2011) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Riverhead Town officials voted unanimously yesterday to open the sprawling EPCAL property in Calverton to deer hunters during the regular state shotgun season, which runs weekdays from Jan. 7 to 31.

Hunters must meet all state regulations to take part in the hunt; a lottery drawing will take place in town hall on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. to select the hunters who want to use town land at Enterprise Park.

During the hunt, the town board has to close the bicycle path on the perimeter of the roughly 3,000-acre former Grumman aircraft manufacturing site, much of which is undeveloped. The board expects to take up the closing at a work session and vote on it before the hunt begins.

The town also appointed five police officers to replace existing officers who plan on taking early retirement; four of them must attend the police academy first and are not expected to start work until September.

Councilman John Dunleavy voted against the resolution, which passed 4-1, saying he was upset the PBA would not agree to pay for part of its members' health insurance during contract negotiations. "It's time they started giving something back to the town," he said.

But Supervisor Sean Walter said the new officers would be the first hired under a new contract provision requiring them to go through six pay steps before reaching maximum pay. "We'll save more than the health insurance," he said.

In other action, the town board appointed three part-time kennel attendants to fill vacancies, and accepted the resignation of a part-time kennel attendant who left for another job.

The town board also appointed two temporary clerks to the tax receiver's office to help with end-of-year tax payments.

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