Letters to the Editor

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |


Lacks understanding

In his column in the June 24 issue, the former publisher and current corporate officer of Times/Review Newspapers Corp. shows an immense lack of understanding of and regard for how good neighbors, whether personal, geographical or political, maintain their friendships.

His whole column about Riverhead being or not being “North Forkey” lacks the substance for even good cocktail party chatter. It is insulting to all residents of not only Riverhead, but also the whole North Fork. The column only stirs controversy and unnecessary divisiveness. Couldn’t he find a subject more substantive and interesting?

Nor do the opinions of most of his surveyed unmanned “opinion makers” add any meaningful information. I am a North Fork native who for nearly three quarters of a century has enjoyed the benefits that our neighboring Riverhead Town and its hamlets have provided. I will not be concerned about who is a true North Forker and who is not. I treasure our shared heritage.

The responses of Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and my good friends Nancy Gilbert and Richard Wines in the July 1 issue speak for me, too. As Supervisor Walter concludes, “Leave your passport at home because there are no barriers among friends.”

Jim Grathwohl


North Fork? No way

To answer Troy Gustavson’s question, “Is Riverhead still the North Fork?”, in a word, no, and is hasn’t been for the past 10 to 12 years.

Way back when, we moved from Queens to the small incorporated village of Stewart Manor in Western Nassau County. We moved there because it was quite easy to reach downtown Manhattan, but still small, still a bit rural, still with a few farms and open space. In the course of 15-20 years or so it became just another crowded, noisy community that wasn’t much different than Queens, the rest of Nassau County, or much of western Suffolk.

After looking for a new home around the United States, we decided to move to the North Fork. After well over a year of searching, Jamesport was it, because it was a quite rural town with much going for it. At that time, Riverhead and the western part of the town was also close to the ideal spot for “country style” living.

Then, as mentioned in the column, because our representatives never met a developer that they didn’t like, Route 58 because just a bumper-to-bumper extension of the Long Island Expressway. The only thing downtown Riverhead was good for was to bypass the Route 58 traffic for all the tourists on their way to Greenport and other points east.

Today, not much has changed. Riverhead is still crowded, dirty and nosier as ever. The towns and hamlets east of Route 105 are still quiet and uncrowded, and Greenport is still “the” in place to go to.

And to top it off, the present Riverhead town government still hasn’t met a developer it didn’t like.

Thomas Smith


Not really this fork

I’m writing in regard to Troy Gustavson’s recent column, “Is Riverhead part of the North Fork?” I am Southold Town’s representative on the East End helicopter noise stakeholders’ group. We just completed nine recommendations to be sent to the FAA to try and mitigate the noise here. The group consists of representatives of the towns of Southold, Riverhead, Shelter Island, East Hampton and Southampton.

While I do not think that the FAA will adopt the group’s recommendations, the major accomplishment was getting all of the East End towns to agree upon a solution that could be used to negotiate with the FAA with one voice. But I’ve since learned that only four towns, Southold, East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island, supported our recommendations. It seems Riverhead did not want to sign the document. Riverhead felt it would be better to negotiate together with Brookhaven Town.

So there is one of your votes directly from Riverhead Town itself. It does not want to be part of the North Fork or the East End. There are really only four East End owns, not five.

Joseph Fischetti


Real cause for worry

Ms. Schultz’ article on the damage that untreated sewage from cesspools inflicts on the local waters was very illuminating, but more important was what was not mentioned.

While the threat from cesspools is now clear, Southold Town and the county health department have given the OK to a group of developers to build about 140 new condominiums in the middle of Cutchogue, each with an untreated cesspool. The only restriction on the development is that they are required to post a $1 million bond to pay for the cost of hooking up nearby houses to public water when the groundwater is too toxic to drink.

Who is going to compensate the local residents for having the water under their homes permanently polluted? Who’s going to compensate them for turning Wickham and West creeks into big, open cesspools?

Incredibly, the developer has sued the town for the limited restrictions it has placed on the Heritage project. It seems to me that a lawsuit is in order here, but the defendant should be the Heritage developers — or perhaps our county health department for allowing this project at all.

Tom Wacker


A farm or a bar

Here’s a question. The ad in The Suffolk Times for Sparkling Pointe Vineyards is advertising the following events at their 10-acre winery:

a weekend carnival celebration, karaoke, multiple live concerts, ladies’ nights, DJ music, private parties, catered affairs, etc.

So my question is, does this qualify for agriculture property tax exemptions or are they taxed and licensed as a restaurant/bar?

Jon Ferris


The real hazards

I cannot believe that it actually took two people to write one really dumb column. (“Pure water doesn’t require public water,” July 1.)

The writers obviously don’t have a clue about the many advantages of public water or the serious environmental problems associated with reverse osmosis, de-ionizers and other water treatment systems. As much as half the water is lost to a concentrated briny waste, which is disposed of into the ground through the septic system.

The article was typical of what the “just say no to clean water” crowd has been touting all along. Well, they’re at it again, trying to foster fear in the hearts of the citizens of Orient. Through their paranoia, they would have you believe that skyscrapers would line Main Road if public water came to the people who desperately need it.

They did, however, mention Bob Deluca, president of the Group for the East End, a not-for-profit organization. The group is supposedly accepting tax-deductible donations to help the legal fund of the “just say no to clean water” crowd.

Hmmmmm, I said to myself.

So I called the group and asked for a list of all those who contributed to the legal fund. I was asking for this information under the Freedom of Information Act, but my request was denied.

They did, however, tell me that they were not money laundering but that when donations came in, they would funnel the money directly to William Ryell, who had his legal action thrown out by Justice Costello. They also told me that after the legal costs were met, they, the group, would keep any remaining contributions.


Getting back to the equal time article, I strongly suggest that Ms. Becker and Ms. McNeilly put their talents to work by taking a crash course on the downside of reverse osmosis systems. The serious adverse environmental impacts, which include having the wastewater ultimately enter our fragile aquifer. Meanwhile, the upside of having public water includes improved public health due to a reliable supply of high-quality water, protection of the aquifer by eliminating reverse osmosis and other treatment system dischargers and a greatly enhanced ability to fight fires.

William Gibbons


What to do when you see the blue

This is a reminder to the driving public now that we’re in the busiest summer months, when the traffic is the heaviest and people are in a hurry to reach their destinations.

As a longtime, active member of a local volunteer fire department, I take very seriously the ability of our members to be able to respond in a timely fashion to an emergency call for assistance from the public. Whether it’s a home or boat on fire, a car crash with life-threatening injuries, or someone who has fallen and broken a hip, or worse, we often need to get to the scene quickly and safely to assist our friends and neighbors in need and possibly engage in life-saving efforts.

We volunteer large blocks of our time in training for, and responding to, many hundreds of calls. It is very frustrating when, for example, we are attempting to save a cardiac arrest victim and the drivers in front of us fail to safely pull over.

When you see us coming up in your rearview mirror, it’s a great help to us if you pull over for our blue lights, when it’s safe to do so.

These are courtesy lights and are not used as the red lights on a police car are used. But they are very important nonetheless and aid in getting us to the scene to effect a timely emergency response and, quite possibly, save someone’s life. Maybe even someone you know.

Remember to check your rearview mirrors frequently while driving. And please let us safely do what we have devoted a large part of our lives in training for – assisting the public in their time of urgent need.

I believe I speak for all volunteer firemen in asking you to please pull over safely when you see volunteer fire department blue lights.

Joe McCarthy


Aging has its pluses

As I neared my 65th birthday, my wife and I went to a local movie theater. I noticed the difference between the regular ticket price and the lower one for senior citizens.

As I was about to purchase the ticket, I asked the young girl in the booth how old you had to be to qualify for the senior discount. “Sixty-five,” she said. “Aw, that’s too bad,” I said, “My birthday isn’t for three weeks.” She punched up the tickets and slid them over to me. I noticed they were senior discount tickets. I looked up at her. “Happy birthday,” she said.

Here’s a second story. I pushed my order of mostly junk food forward on the belt at the local supermarket. Included in all the goodies was a six-pack of beer. The young lady cashier said, “I need to see some identification for the beer.” I hadn’t been carded since somewhere in the late ’50s, but I maintained a straight face and quietly dug out my license. I showed it to the girl and she seemed to have some trouble with the arithmetic of a 1930’s birthdate.

The woman in line behind me barely suppressed a giggle. The cashier handed back the card and I put it back in my wallet. I looked at the woman behind me. She said, “If I were you, I would give her a great big kiss.”

Jack Barthel


Not the place for it

I was surprised and dismayed to see in the New Suffolk Fourth of July parade a group with a political message (“USS Bailout”).

I support political debate in appropriate times and places, but the parade is an occasion to celebrate what unites us as a nation and as a community, not to focus on what divides us.

Next year and especially in 2012, the next federal election year, will we see multiple groups with dueling political messages? I hope not, but what will prevent it?

Stanley Brown


Dead wood is gone

On June 19,2010 the Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet conducted a cleanup of a section of the Inlet in which heavy timber and logs had washed up for years. Participating in the cleanup were members of the Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet and about ten volunteers from Major Bill Grigonis’ ROTC.

During the cleanup several neighbors, Reale, Steve and others pitched in and helped us remove several tons of debris. The following day Pete Harris’ Highway crew did an outstanding job of removing the debris and cleaning up.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers and highway department staff for their efforts. This was an excellent example of the community working with the town government.

To date, the Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet has removed over 80 tons of debris from the inlet. We will be conducting another public cleanup on August 21 and volunteers will be welcome. We will post the time at a later date.

Bill Higgins

recording secretary,

Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet


This is sad to see

I am writing in reference to the vandalism of the stop sign on the corner of Oaklawn and Wells Avenue in Southold.

I thought we live in a country where you could express political opposition in ways more appropriate than defacing public property. I hate to think that in a beautiful town like Southold there are some who feel otherwise.

It saddens me to see these acts occurring here.

Audrey Rothman