Letters to the Editor

09/02/2010 12:00 AM |


Charles got it right

Kudos to Charles Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards for his comments in his letter in the Aug. 26 edition of the Suffolk Times.

As former president of the Long Island Wine Council and a revered longtime vintner here on the North Fork, he has unique insight on the issue of winery activities. By focusing on the big picture — our shared desire for a vital, growing wine industry that continues to garner accolades for the quality of the wine and thereby attract tourists — all of us, vintners, restaurateurs and residents alike, will benefit.

A circus atmosphere where anything goes for winery activities does not work toward our goal. It cheapens the image of the North Fork and the fine wines produced here. Resolving the issue of what activities are appropriate and legal at wineries is not about confrontation and conflict. It’s about deciding what it is we all want for the North Fork so we can keep our home a tasteful destination for both tourists and locals.

Diane Harkoff

Ms. Harkoff is an owner of Legends Restaurant in New Suffolk.


Protect the animals

Kudos to Jon Cooper, Suffolk County legislator from Lloyd Harbor, for introducing a law to help protect animals.

I recently reported an incident of animal cruelty in the worst degree, death. Three years ago I rescued seven small guinea hens in Cutchogue. They were hand-raised as my pets, and they trusted humans. They are animals which roam at large daily and return to their human caregivers nightly. The exception is when a guinea hen goes broody and stays out all night sitting on her nest.

On June 29, 2010, a neighbor called the police. One guinea hen was broody, I did not know where her nest was, but I had heard nesting calls from the beach. I asked the officer to ask the neighbor if I could look for the nest to remove the eggs. The officer told me twice, “Don’t go there!” That night only four guinea hens came home to roost. When I went to file for the police report, an officer told me that someone had killed my guinea hens.

I couldn’t believe the law allows people to kill animals that wander onto their property. I consulted a lawyer and learned that state Agricultural and Markets Law Article 26, Cruelty to Animals Section 353 applies to all animals everywhere. Southold Town police are taking the position that it does not handle cases of animal cruelty. What? I would like to know why we have laws if no one enforces them!

Animal abuse is senseless, cruel violence against the vulnerable. It is common knowledge that there are correlations between violence against animals and violence against humans. This town needs to get educated about protection of our animals.

Nancy Sawastynowicz


A step further

The article on an animal abuser registry gave me an idea.

How about a registry of abusers and neglecters of the elderly?

Fines and/or punishments to be determined.

Alice Grace


Piping plover park?

In 2009 Supervisor Russell was instrumental in having the piping plover fencing at the causeway beach in Cutchogue properly removed at the end of July. This year, not only was the protected area larger than last, taking up approximately one-third of the beach, the fence didn’t come down until this past weekend.

What’s up with that?

What’s next, Piping Plover National Park? Just ask the residents of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Every year more and more of their beautiful seashore becomes restricted for the same reason.

Barbara Strang


Wild means wild

As a wild bird rehabilitator I received a call from a local animal hospital to pick up an injured young crow.

When I arrived I found this crow tame, with no fear of humans. He actually climbed up my arm and snuggled to my head and started to preen my hair and face. He was very thin and seemed a bit weak, but I thought perhaps he needed some R&R and good nutrition. I also knew at that point he was raised by someone, perhaps with good intentions, and then he either escaped or was let go.

Here’s the problem. A tamed wild animal cannot fend for itself in the wild, let alone try to find food. They starve or they are killed by predators or humans. This poor, defenseless crow had apparently eaten poison in search of food. I tried the best I could to nurture him and flushed out his system, but he was bleeding internally and started convulsing and ultimately suffered a very painful death 12 hours later.

This letter is to anyone who decides to care for a wild animal. Please contact the DEC or your local animal hospital or animal care facility and they can direct you to a licensed rehabilitator who is equipped to care for such animals.

I would welcome a conversation with the person who brought in this crow so I could understand his story.

Hopefully he didn’t die in vain. Thank you.

Laura Westlake-DiLorenzo


Barbaric and cruel

After returning from a trip to Yellowstone National Park, where animals roam free, I was accosted by the front page photo in The Suffolk Times of a young elephant performing in the circus, which was held in Greenport.

We must realize the misery that ele¬­phant has been forced to endure for the fleeting pleasure of the audience. Spikes are used to control elephants with tassels to conceal the spikes in the ring. Circus elephants are chained for up to 11 hours a day.

Touring circuses may cover thousands of miles a year, carrying animals from site to site in traveling cages, with their only respite being the limited time spent rehearsing or performing.

In the wild, elephants are extremely social. In the circus, they spend most of each day chained by a front and hind leg. They can only shuffle a pace or two backwards and forwards. Thus circus elephants spend almost their entire day barely able to move, let alone perform natural behaviors. They are stressed and frustrated.

I truly thought that we on the East End were beyond supporting such barbaric and cruel theater.

Isabelle Kanz


Courageous decision

We applaud the decision of Southold Town’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday evening, Aug. 18, when they properly denied SCWA’s application for a wetlands permit.

Their courageous decision is not only consistent with Southold Town Board’s decision not to amend the water map at this time, it truly and accurately reflects the will of the majority of citizens of Orient and Southold Town who have been concerned about protecting our water and planning thoughtfully for our future.

Thank you.

Amal Chaudhari, Venetia Hands, MaryAnn Liberatore, Ellen McNeilly and Freddie Wachsberger


A matter of choice

Senator LaValle and his supporters must have felt extremely threatened by the growing number of people who were in favor of Regina Calcaterra’s candidacy to go to such extreme measures to get her off the ballot for November.

I probably would have been a little worried as well if the numbers from the 2008 elections when he ran unopposed are any indication. Out of the 215,000 voters in the 1st District, 161,700 people voted. Of those voters, 81,000 voted for LaValle and 80,700 chose not to vote for him. Interesting.

As far as Carol Lew Simons’ letter in last week’s paper (“Candidate to blame?”), shame on you. Especially since Ms. Calcaterra had already answered all of the Southold Democratic Committee’s questions regarding her residency issues days before The Suffolk Times went to print.

Lauren Grant


It’s about education

In The Suffolk Times of August 26, 2010, five articles and letters focused on education — as well they might, since 50 percent or more of the average resident’s real estate tax provides the monies used to run the schools.

Jordan Bogden’s letter (“It’s a great school”) is what really counts as far as Greenport High School’s meeting the needs of those students who make every effort to obtain what they need academically to be ready for college and to utilize once they matriculate.

Gary Parker’s letter (“A wasted effort”) is that of a parent whose child attended both schools (as did Mr. Bogden) and describes fully and most capably the potential deleterious consequences of the actions taken by this new Oysterponds school board.

Our point pertains to OPM, other peoples’ money. This ego-laden and wrong-headed action, defying all New York State school law regarding board motions as well as signed and acted upon contracts, quite possibly will result in a lawsuit by Greenport for over $5 million in damages.

It will also most probably result in a fine of $2.5 million, which will have to be paid in future Oysterponds budgets, in addition to the present annual operating budget of $5.5 million.

This means taxpayers’ money will also go to pay considerable legal fees instead of where it should go — to education.

Carl Demarest

Linda Goldsmith

Walter Strohmeyer

Mr. Demarest is a former member of the Oysterponds school board. Ms. Goldsmith and Mr. Strohmeyer are current members.


Keep the shore free

Residents of Southold Town, have you gone to Mattituck Inlet town beach with your family?

You may have watched the boats going in and out of the inlet, and may even have been lucky to see dolphins swimming along the shoreline. Have you noticed that the walk to the water has gotten farther over the years?

Most likely you and the family walked the shoreline westward to Cooper’s rock. You marveled at the picturesque sunsets and collected keepsakes from the beach, buoys, beach glass, shells, driftwood, even sand and rocks.

The walk westward often had a gentle breeze to your back. Then during the colder winter season, the return walk eastward brought a bitter wind blowing into your face. Have you seen what has happened to this wonderful beach walk?

As you walk the same route today, you reach the Inlet Drive beach. Here you encounter a split rail fence with a sign, “End of Public Beach.” Along the fence there’s also a row of logs. What should you do? Do you stop and return to your car? Do you go around the fence if it is passable without having to go into the water?

There are other signs posted by Southold Town Trustees that read, “Everyone Has The Right To Walk The Shorelines in Southold Town.” Even so, no longer can you walk this shoreline without obstructions and verbal hassles. Remember the friendly conversations you once had with the congenial residents living there regarding the latest fishing news? What has caused this change in attitude?

What is the necessity of the fence and sign? What purpose does it serve other than to confuse and insult the integrity of the residents of Southold Town?

History and the natural flow of the shoreline processes illustrate that changes have and will occur along the shoreline. Yet, one constant ideal should be maintained – no one should prevent the freedom for everyone to enjoy Long Island’s shorelines in peace.

George Lomaga


Noise code needed

Keep up the good work on the helicopter problem. I also agree with Troy’s comments concerning the wineries.

With the helicopter noise, loud motorcycles and noise from wineries (recently a winery near our home had music until 10:30 p.m. and we are a half-mile away — thank goodness we liked the music), the town does need to come up with an enforceable, comprehensive noise ordinance.

Tom Maguire


Not what we need

Southold residents, mark your calendars. We are about to be confronted with a choice that, if approved, will not only significantly raise your library taxes but also in my humble opinion will destroy the quaint charm of this little country hamlet.

The push is on to build the same addition to the library building that was proposed back in 2008.

I have no argument that the library needs to be expanded. What I strenuously object to is the proposed architecture of the building plans and the associated cost. Such an addition, with its three-story glass enclosure and the adjoining modern-looking segments, is totally out of character for this hamlet.

What is wrong with poured concrete walls and brick facing similar to the addition that was built in 1991? I am hard pressed to believe that this manner of construction would not be much cheaper. Glass walls have to be regularly cleaned and do not lend themselves to energy efficiency. And rooftop “green” areas? Please.

Although I full well realize that with low borrowing costs and competition in the construction industry this would be the right time to build, I fail to see how the figure of $7.25 million is justified.

I wrote to the Times in August 2008, voicing the same objections, and I can’t tell you how many people approached me with comments of agreement. This is Southold, not Manhasset or Jericho. We who live here are mostly working-class folks, struggling to get by, or retired seniors doing likewise.

I would ask the library board to please scale these plans back. Leave out the absurd frills and get the cost down, and at the same time build a nice addition like the ’91 building.

I would also say to anyone who cares about this town, if these plans go forth as outlined and are approved by the voters, we can expect an average increase of $115 per year (their figure) in library taxes and the destruction of the charm of this hamlet.

Public hearings will take place at the library Sept. 15 and Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 30 at 10 a.m.

The actual vote will be at the library on Oct. 16.

Barry Charles


A community center

I read with sadness a letter to the editor concerning our own Southold Free Library renovation.

In it, Carla Rosen offers what I believe to be inflated figures. In fact, your own publication reported that the average cost to the taxpayer would be less than $115. Ms. Rosen also goes on to say that the average age of the residents here is 55 and that they live on fixed incomes. This might very well be true, but why does she, in the same letter, suggest using a Kindle, which cost starts at $139? Let alone the average cost to download a book on Amazon is $9!

I bet if you went to those same 55-year-old residents, most of them might not know what a Kindle actually is. Taking out library books costs nothing, DVDs at the library cost nothing, the programs themselves – and there are many – cost nothing. Using the computers at the library cost nothing.

The library board has, in good judgment, put off asking for this renovation due to the economic downturn over the last couple of years. The taxpayer will not foot this project alone. As a matter of fact, the late Bill Albertson donated a substantial amount of it. This expansion is not just adding but includes renovations, which are well overdue.

Why did Bill Albertson donate so much money to a library? Why did the town I grew up in not even have a library or a community center? Think about these things when you are voting on this matter.

Bill Albertson saw our library as a community hub. A place where children and teens can go and not just read books, but also enjoy art programs, live musical programs and more. It is a place where adult groups can meet and community organizations can use the facilities at no cost.

The library board is not asking to build a Borders or a Barnes and Noble. (We all know what resistance that would meet). It is humbly asking to allow the library to better serve all ages of this great town.

Two months ago, my brother called me from the town where I grew up in northern Maine, which has no library at all, and asked me to come home for the 4th of July. I made some lame excuse, while in the back of my head I knew where I wanted to be. I wanted to feel the sense of community in a small town and watch the pride of the people here during our parade,

For the record, and don’t tell my brother, I stood in front of Southold Free Library as the smiles went by. I stood there because the library is the center of our town.

Robert Bruey


A mountain of taxes

The Southold library’s planned expansion needs to be fully understood.

The figure that is being promoted as a tax increase for the next 20 years is $115 for a home assessed at $6,000. That is on top of the $115 you are currently paying for the upkeep of the library. What is not included in that figure is the cost of operating a facility which will double in size. In that case, the operating cost should double as well.

That means that same taxpayer will be paying $460 per year for the library. My assessment is double that, which translates to $920 per year. Give me my Kindle. I can download any book I want free from our library. I like that. Make one payment and then enjoy books wherever you are at no cost.

The library needs to know that we are not going to fund an ever-growing financial obligation. My last letter to the editor has been remarkably well received and people have been seeking me out to thank me for informing them of the mountain of taxes that are about to be foisted upon them should they be apathetic and not engage in the discussion.

The next meeting is Sept. 15 or 16. I went to their webpage to find the date but it was not published. The last meeting was on a Saturday morning and three attended. Make your voice heard. The last time this was proposed, you spoke loudly and the project was put on a back burner. This time we need to end it.

Let’s see the bequeathed funds invested in the current structure and make it all that it can and should be.

Carla Rosen

Editor’s note: The next expansion information session is on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. in the library’s meeting room.


My vote is yes

In regards to Carla Rosen’s letter, “Visions of grandeur (Aug. 19),” I find it hard to believe that Ms. Rosen has ever been in the Southold library.

If she had she would know that on any given day the computers are being used, tutors are lining up to use the one study room and teenagers use the library every day. On Wednesdays, when the book cottage is open and the garden club is meeting, you can’t find a parking space. Does she know that the director doesn’t have an office and the staff shares a common space with her? Try having a meeting while everyone else is working in the same room. There is no staff room, we all share one small rest room that is in our common space.

Does she also realize that most people do not own a Kindle and would prefer a library book? Oh wait, she said the average age of our citizenry is 55 and they are living on fixed incomes. I guess they have the money to spend on Kindles and the fee for each book that is purchased for it.

I know that if I am ever homebound I can call upon the library to deliver and pick up books, DVDs or magazines to my home. If I ever need to use a computer, get computer advice, use a printer or copier I can do so. If my children need a place to go to study, do research or just sit and read a book, I know where they can go.

I know that Ms. Rosen is entitled to her opinion as I am to mine, and I agree no one wants to see their taxes increase. But the library is only a small fraction of our taxes. Ms. Rosen needs to get with it. This no longer is a rural farming community and by not expanding the library that will not change. We need to go forward and give our community the library it deserves.

Like it or not, libraries and books will be around forever. Oh, and have you seen our Whitaker Collection?

Janet Auer

Editor’s note: Ms. Auer is a Southold Free Library employee.


Keep it as is

We have a nice library. It’s not crowded, there’s never a wait to take out a book and the cottage is great.

Do we need a multi-million dollar-expansion? No way. It’s fine as is. This plan would cost a mere $118 a year on my tax bill. That’s not much, but it’s $118 for the rest of my life. In ten years that’s $1,180 and that’s if it comes in on budget. Have you ever seen a government project come in on budget?

I plan to vote no on the library annex and I hope the plan doesn’t pass.

Oh, and by the way, I hear the voting will be held in the library. Why not the school like all other voting?

This sounds fishy to me. If this red herring passes I won’t pay. I like my library as is.

Bob Cavagna


Libraries and more

Along with improving the libraries, Southold needs a pool and recreation center.

Everyone would benefit.

Joan Bertron


Alma mater matters

The bell would ring and I would scurry down the halls of Greenport School to the next class on my schedule. However, I never once felt the need to drag my feet to Mr. McEvoy’s history class, a subject I vehemently hated in school.

Mr. McEvoy is the type of teacher a student never forgets. He has a certain je ne sais quoi and I always enjoyed his lessons.

As a young girl, I often dreamed of being an English teacher. As a young woman, I still dreamt of imparting the beauty of English literature to students like myself. Literature provides a refuge from life’s woes, whatever they may be. Therefore in my first year of college my majors were set — English literature and education. Unfortunately, my career dreams sailed away with the onset of my first education class where, much to my disappointment, the professor was already on his pulpit about how to teach to state tests.

It is a shame that any teacher feels pressure about “state requirements” and an even a larger shame that there are quarrels over the Greenport school. I always felt valued there. I could not have been loved by so many teachers or have adored so many teachers anywhere else, especially in a larger school environment. Oysterponds would be foolish if it declined to send its students to Greenport, and they would only be hurting their own students.

This school holds the best teachers I have every encountered. Only within its walls would I have been able to cultivate the knowledge base and formed the personality I have today. I have complete faith that Greenport will continue to cherish its students, no matter what the decision is.

My hat is off to you, my all-star teachers. Dr. Claire, you are forever in my heart and I think of you whenever I crack open a new book. Mr. McEvoy, you always held my attention and turned a hated subject into a beloved one. Mrs. Ladalia, you helped foster my creative side. Mr. Taylor, without you I would have never taken physics, as you alone can turn that subject into something magical.

Please know that you are a better bunch than any elitist could even dream up.

Tabitha Manwaring

Greenport High School Class of 2006


Kind, caring people

Last week my grandson and his friend came to my door, my grandson having a clean dressing on his leg, which he had scraped in a fall on the street.

My thanks to the kindly gentleman whom the boys referred to as the “chief from Greenport,” who stopped his car and bandaged his knee. He advised the boy to get it washed soon, thus his stop at Grandma’s.

We are fortunate to have kind and caring people in our community.

Therese Ribaudo


A wonderful article

What a wonderful article in last week’s issue about our local artist, Helen Kroeger.

My husband, Mark, and I are lucky enough to have an original work hanging in our funeral home in Cutchogue. This painting was given by George and Edie Canavan of Mattituck to my parents, Jean and Tony Trubisz, in 1966 as a present for their new home. “The Golden Meadows” proudly hung in their home until 2007, when the house was sold.

Fortunately, upon our purchase of the funeral home in early 2008, the painting traveled with us to Cutchogue and found a new home in our conference room.

Thank you for providing us with history about our local artist.

Karen Heppner