Letters to the Editor

08/12/2010 12:00 AM |


Losing credibility

Recent actions by the Suffolk County Water Authority regarding the extension of water mains into Orient and the Brown Hills community raise some serious concerns.

SCWA is an independent, state-created, public authority, which is not part of Suffolk County government and has limited oversight. The water authority is mandated to provide clean, potable water to areas where private wells are impacted. Clearly, there is a need for some to have public water. Nevertheless, it is the right of all communities to determine their future.

Over the past few months, Orient residents have expressed their concerns regarding the extension of public water mains and the impact it would have on development. Many have questioned the motivation behind this proposed stimulus-funded project.

As objections to this project arose, I approached the water authority about redirecting the funding to the Peconic Lake Estates area in Calverton. This community has a number of questionable wells and was desirous of being connected to public water. However, this request was refused.

After a meeting last month in Congressman Bishop’s office, it appeared that the water authority had given up its efforts to extend water mains into Orient. I was surprised to learn, therefore, efforts to extend public water mains continue. In fact, at a recent Town Trustees meeting, the water authority stated that their request for a permit was approved; work could begin after Labor Day and be complete by Oct. 31.

The water authority seems to be losing credibility and with it, the trust of the residents of Orient.

Edward Romaine

Suffolk County Legislator, 1st District


Town Hall coercion

It is an outrage that one elected official, Supervisor Scott Russell, would try to use his position of influence to coerce other elected officials that sit on the Board of Trustees by telling them to “just say no” to approving the water main issue in Orient.

Mr. Russell has been more of a hindrance than a help in trying to resolve the issue of contaminated wells that exist in most of Orient. He fails to recognize that this is not just a Browns Hills issue. He fails to recognize that the Oysterponds School spends $5,000 per year to test their wells.

He fails to recognize that with public water the school would be able to install a fire-preventive sprinkler system that would greatly reduce their insurance rates. He fails to recognize that a sprinkler system would not only provide added protection for the children and staff, but for the building itself. If I had such a system in my home, I could save 10 to 20 percent on my homeowners insurance rate.

The Suffolk County Health Department has warned many not to drink the water if they are pregnant, receiving chemotherapy, on dialysis, have a compromised immune system, or are a small child. What is it that Supervisor Russell does not understand that by having fire hydrants we would all have better protection? What part of the words “contaminated wells” does Supervisor Russell not understand?

We need a Town Board that is concerned about the health and protection of our community, not one that panders for votes and denies the homeowners with contaminated wells the clean water they are entitled to.

William Gibbons


A NOFO Carol

Memo to Donald Ritter (letter to the editor, Aug. 5) and to the handful of other NOFO Rock and Folk Festival curmudgeons:

Bah! Humbug!

Chris Lauber


Heading downhill

I went to the NOFO Music Festival. I’ve been called a hypocrite, but I’ve been called worse in my time.

My concerns were not about the music, excellent both days, but about the secret, mysterious, defiant process, seemingly to get over the community in organizing this event. Limited communications and lack of true information exchange are what was highly suspect and alarming. Eight hundred people anticipated in attendance on the application to the town, thousands more listed on the application to lure the vendors and organizers, eluding another Woodstock with over 100,000. I will shout protest again because this community could not handle that magnitude of people on the high end.

There is so much the community cannot handle that goes by the wayside. How about the helicopters starting at 6:45 a.m. and inside one hour eight flew over. They fly as late as 9:30 p.m., with many more in between. People protest, but I’ve noticed more fly over now than ever before.

Charge them hefty fees for their use of our space and their noise pollution. If they want to fly with disregard to this community and no one can stop them, then let them pay for the privilege.

How about all the vineyards putting on spectacular events, not just the grand scale NOFO Festival, but all the events and weddings that have been slipped through. If it surpasses the specific definition of winemaking/vineyard, then charge them hefty fees for their operations that are not agriculture. Their scope has changed, therefore the tax base also ought to change.

“Progress” in Southold can no longer be stopped, but at the very least tax them for the true use of their operation. Home property owners are surely taxed for any extras on their property outside the scope of the original designation. When will we begin to cover this practice for all?

Laws need to be enforced to get people to turn out the lights at night and to pick up their dog’s poop because people just don’t get it on their own. The quality of life that brought everyone here is no longer here. Seriously, open your eyes. Lawmakers either can’t or won’t swiftly change the major problematic issues and the problem keeps getting bigger. The minor poop issues are more manageable for them and successfully tackled.

Prevention is always the easiest path, but that takes foresight in planning with a big-picture perspective, anticipating and molding a path for the future. Putting out fires, following a Band-Aid approach, or just believing something will hopefully go away hasn’t helped on the local or national scenes. Greed still prevails. Some get richer, some just bear the inconvenience.

MaryAnn Fleischman


Noise code, please

Generally, I’m not much of a NIMBYist, but there are times when you have no other choice.

The amplified noise coming from the newly opened Portly Grape on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights has become so bad that it’s not just our backyard, it’s our entire yard and inside our home that is affected.

The decibel level is so high that dinner outside is no longer possible and the noise makes it impossible to keep your windows open if you want to talk or listen to the television. I’m six houses away from this new entertainment venue and can only imagine what the sound is like for the closer homes in my residential neighborhood.

As I understand it, a business is permitted to audibly destroy the tranquility of the neighborhood because Southold township has no noise ordinance in place. Direct talks with the management have proved to be fruitless, so please come to our rescue, Southold Town Board.

The Portly Grape plans to play music as late as traffic will bear and gear up for weddings and other outdoor events.


Scott McIntire


Insidious diseases

Imagine the discovery of a cluster of breast or brain cancer victims in our neighborhoods. The medical community, our political leaders and the public at large would band together and attempt to find the cause of these clusters and eradicate them.

Babesiosis, a virulent tick-borne virus that is similar to malaria, is currently present in our midst. This virus is a protozoan infection of red blood cells and symptoms can be mild to life-threatening, with a high fever and fatigue.

Babesiosis is prevalent in areas with high deer populations and cases can increase during periods of high temperatures. To learn more about this disease and Lyme disease in general, go to the website turnthecorner.org and look for tick-borne disorders.

I encourage everybody to see the video “Under Our Skin”; the trailer is available on YouTube.

The definitive book on Lyme disease and babesiosis is “Cure Unknown” by Pamela Weintraub, available at Amazon.com.

To protect ourselves and our loved ones, I urge you to contact your elected officials to take steps to reduce our deer population, the root cause of these insidious diseases.

George Bambrick


Watch out for bikes

Two weeks ago I was hit by a pickup truck while riding my bicycle to and from my two jobs. Within this time frame I have heard of and witnessed three cases such as mine right here within Southold Town.

As more people have heard my tale, I have been told countless stories of children, spouses, and friends who have also been in automobile-bicycle crashes. I have a heightened awareness of events such as this now that it has happened to me. Frankly, I find the high number of incidences astounding and unacceptable.

I’m a 21-year-old college student home for the summer who doesn’t always have access to a car. I’ve had to use my bike to commute to work for almost four years now. Many people, young and old alike, use their bicycles as their main sources of transportation on the North Fork with the rising costs of fuel and cars. Many others use their bicycles as a healthy way to tour our countryside.

I have slowly come to the realization that driver carelessness is a huge reason to stay off the road. Many of the cases involved local bicyclists and local drivers, so this disregard for others on the road cannot be blamed on city/up-island tourism.

Thankfully, I sustained only cuts and bruises, but my fate could have been infinitely worse if certain aspects of my accident were different.

Regardless, it is not a great feeling to be lying on the hot pavement wondering if your body is intact and okay.

Drivers, I’m talking to you. Use caution, look both ways when making turns and keep in mind that cars and trucks are not the only vehicles and means of transportation on the road. Someone like me may not be so lucky next time.

Chelsea Andrews


Now enforce it

Though I applaud Southold Town officials and sincerely thank them all for finally taking the environmentally correct step of enacting the long overdue pooper scooper law, I will not clap too loudly until I begin to see this important new law widely publicized and strictly enforced, especially at our beaches and waterfront areas.

Let’s get the word out loud and clear and fast so that no one can claim ignorance. Having a regular notice in The Suffolk Times would be a good way to start. Bay constables and patrol officers also need to be told to make enforcing this law a priority.

Where necessary, issuing $250 summonses to anyone not picking up after their pet (something they should have been doing all along anyway) should get an offender’s attention real quickly.

Linda Auriemma


Big waste of money

Can someone please tell why would we need this new sidewalk from Jamesport to Aquebogue? I would love to know how much this is costing us. It looks to me, and I could be wrong, like a stimulus project. How does this help us? We are taking money from taxpayers and putting, what, five miles of cement along the side of the road for how many people to actually use? What is the justification for spending this money? Couldn’t we do something in a park or something for kids, or something for seniors?

Every morning I am outraged to see these people wasting time and money on this useless project. I have yet to speak to one person that can tell me the function of this.

Mickey Roehrig


Why the sidewalks?

Driving down the Main Road is always a pleasure, after all it is a designated scenic byway. However, in recent days it seems to be clogged with state construction personnel, trucks, and equipment. Yes, the state is adding sidewalks to Route 25. According to written reports they are completing the sidewalks from Riverhead eastward.

Normally this might be a great improvement and worth our taxpayer dollars. In this instance I see sidewalks that are already installed and wonder why the new?

Actually, I really can’t quite see those older ones because they are mostly overgrown and in poor condition. Most of the time I don’t see anyone using these sidewalks.

Perhaps I’m missing the point. Maybe there are people who use the sidewalks a lot and maybe most of the present ones are in good repair. In any event, I’m not so sure we really need to extend the sidewalks in our very suburban locale.

The real reason for this project is probably the state highway improvement department has some extra cash in the state budget for this and maybe it will enhance the overall scenic byway we call the Main Road.

Joel Reitman


Losing the Bounty

I see the historic replica H.M.S. Bounty is up for sale. I’ll miss her.

I was on board her one sultry summer’s night in Fall River, Mass., when she almost went to the bottom. “Hit the deck!” someone shouted.

It was a close one. The old ship was tied up at a bulkhead at the wide mouth of the river under repair. Late that night, when we almost lost her, everything seemed all right as we hit the sack after a long, hard day working on her when we were startled out of our wits.

A high-pitched whistle broke the night’s silence and a mechanical male voice shouted, “Emergency, fire, fire!”

We scrambled in the pitch black darkness searching, but there was no fire. The bilge pumps had shut down and the ship was quickly filling up with sea water. Fortunately we got the emergency back-up pumps working and saved the Bounty from disaster.

“Old Salty,” Davey Jones, was disappointed that night. He was cheated of a great treasure.

The H.M.S. Bounty sails on.

Jack McGreevy


A happy constituent

Like most of us, I’ve heard that our elected officials in Washington do little to nothing. That is unless it profits them.

Recently I was in a position to need Congressman Tim Bishop’s help. I am one of many disabled veterans in the area and needed help in getting my VA status upgraded, due to my knees failing. Financially racked and barely able to pay rent, I stopped by his office in Coram. Within a couple months, as opposed to a year or more, my status has been upgraded and my back pay received.

To Erin, the young lady in his office who called me every couple weeks, and to Congressman Tim Bishop, thank you for your help. I am really happy that I can say my congressman works for me and other vets.

Bruce Sykes


They made us proud

When my son joined the Southold Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) program in ninth grade, I figured it was merely another class offered in high school. I had some concerns about the military aspect, but I knew I had time to explore the information and perhaps modify his plans.

When I spoke with my colleague, Major Bill Grigonis, the naval science instructor in charge of the program, he said, “Just as there are soccer moms, we have ROTC moms. You’ll see.” Little did I know, he was talking about me.

As a teacher/chaperone on ROTC field trips, I have visited Quantico Marine Base and used night vision goggles through an obstacle course, flown a simulated Cobra fighter helicopter at Camp Lejeune and, most recently, spent 12 days in Newport, R.I., as a platoon mom. I attended with eight Southold NJROTC cadets and an experienced leadership team led by Major Grigonis.

Every year, the Southold NJROTC participates in the leadership academy sail training program in Newport and cadets from all over the Northeast vie for an opportunity to attend. Of the region’s 7,000 cadets, only 3 percent are selected for Newport. The cadets sail Rhodes 19 sailboats each day in Narragansett Bay and attend leadership classes with subjects that include bias and prejudice, integrity, physical and mental fitness, dealing with seniors and subordinates, decision making, setting an example and even etiquette.

When not in class, the 146 cadets conducted intense drill sessions and were able to simulate ship driving experiences in the virtual surface warfare trainer. When the cadets graduate from this experience, they earn the prestigious silver leadership academy cord on their uniforms.

Despite the hot and humid weather, we marched everywhere and sang cadences along the way. I still hum “There was a moose named Fred” when I brush my teeth and walk the dog. The 1 1/2-mile march to and from the marina also immediately clarified my purpose as a platoon mom. None of my cadets suffered serious heat problems, but I dealt with more sore feet and blisters than ever before. I still keep Band-Aids and Neosporin in my pockets.

Of the 146 cadets at the academy, our Southold ROTC cadets were impressive examples of the future. Whether they ultimately decide to enter the military or not, the lessons on leadership and cooperation will remain with them long after they put away their coveted silver cords.

As the mom of an aspiring Marine, I gained greater respect and insight into the individuals who enter the armed forces. Yes, I’m a proud ROTC mom, and I’m going to keep my first-aid backpack ready and hope I’m invited again next year.

Jean Mahoney


It worked for Chelsea

While reading about Chelsea Clinton’s nuptials, it occurred to me there is a solution to both the controversy of local vineyards hosting events like weddings and the completely obnoxious, churlish helicopter traffic we are forced to endure every weekend.

Thanks to the fact that Chelsea’s parents are well-connected big shots, the FAA imposed a no-fly zone over the entire area surrounding the wedding. Now if the vineyards were to pursue other big shots and sell them on the idea of holding their childrens’ weddings or other special events here on the North Fork, there’s a good chance they could persuade their friends in politics to convince the FAA to declare the North Fork a no-fly zone on the day of the event.

In return, any vineyard hosting an affair that produces a no-fly zone would be given a special permit from the town allowing it to hold a similar event whose legality at present is very much in doubt.

The end result? Everybody wins.

I know some will find this approach a bit whimsical, but let’s face facts. It beats a rocket launcher.

Patrick Lohn


You really liked us

Northeast Stage would like to thank all of you who gave us your support, whether it was by making a contribution, hanging lights, running microphones, playing sound cues, painting sets, sewing costumes, performing, directing, gathering props or sitting in the audience.

We need all of you to make this amazing event come together so we can tell a story. We especially want to thank The Suffolk Times for telling our story of financial struggle, and Nancy and Roy Lindsay Morrow for responding so quickly to the appeal. Their generous gift enabled us to pay for the microphone rentals needed so everyone could hear us in the park.

Most years we receive grant money from Suffolk County and/or the state Council for the Arts, as well as from Greenport Village. This year, however, none of these agencies was able to grant that money to our project. The Greenport Village Business Improvement District was able to donate funds for the costume materials, which Joan Chambers volunteered her time to make, and JP Morgan Chase gave us a grant to purchase the swords and daggers.

The actors traveled, some as much as 58 miles each way, to rehearse and perform without compensation. Jim Shaw, electrician, volunteered with friends to hang the lights for all three performances. There are more people and businesses to thank, but not enough room here. We are so grateful to all of you for letting us know that you appreciate this art form and wish to see it continue. If you wish to get involved with our productions, you can contact us at P.O. Box 247, Greenport, NY 11944 or [email protected]

Amie Sponza

president, Northeast Stage


Gone quite mad

A recent New York Post front-page picture was of a short drunken young woman gently hauled away by two policeman. “Snookie was drunk in New Jersey!” She is from a TV reality show and has found nationwide fame. Why? She is quite stupid.

She is not beautiful. She hasn’t done anything of any merit but overdose on drugs and have indiscriminate sex with whoever is around. But according to the Post, the most important thing I need to know, above all else, is that a defective, directionless boob got too drunk?

Like most of my friends, I’m hanging on by a thread financially and I wasn’t in a happy mood that Saturday. Staring at that tidbit in the newspaper rack in 7-Eleven brought me to tears. The current face of our culture, a vapid and empty stare into a camera lens, with millions of devotees following the black hole of those retinas into nothingness, reminded me of the mentally tilted Nero, playing the violin while Rome burned.

The world around me has gone completely mad. The powers that be, my local and federal bureaucracies, have flown way past corruption and landed slap dash into tyranny. Yet we keep on dancing to more and more raucous melodies, as if there’s nothing wrong at all. I’ve lost control of my own life and financial future. How about you?

All I can do is pray that we will all agree on one simple point: We must transform right now out of being a fractured nation into an unwavering unified force, like a hurricane, to unearth the real truth. After that, we’ll all have the time and freedom to disagree again.

Gage Beck-Witt