Editorial: Town highway workers keep up the good work

01/12/2011 3:48 PM |

The shore is never far away. Same for the farms. There’s less noise, less traffic, cars aren’t constantly honking and when you walk into a local shop chances are the person behind the counter knows you and won’t give a heaping dose of attitude.

To the long list of reasons why it’s great to live out here add one more: When it snows, the highway department clears the roads.

That may not sound like much since that’s what they get paid to do. But in other communities, particularly parts of New York City, that’s unfortunately far from a given.

We are fortunate, though, in that you never hear of Southold highway crews missing entire streets, or doing a half-hearted job on others. Yes, it’s not a big town, but it’s a long town with many roads next to farm fields, where a new and dangerous drift can form only moments after the plow has passed. By any measure, the highway department’s job is far from easy. When big storms hit, like the one this week, the crews are on the road around the clock.

The town begins each fiscal year with a pretty good handle on how much it will spend on police and other salaries. But there’s no way to accurately predict snow removal costs. With overtime and other expenses, a winter of heavy snows can be a budget-buster. But knowing that the job is being done well certainly removes some of the financial sting.

There’s a lot of winter yet ahead, but the town highway department’s administrators and employees, and the public works and other municipal workers who’ve stepped up when needed, deserve a big thank you for what they’ve done and what they’ll continue to do before the first crocuses appear.

Keep it up, fellas, and grab some sleep when you can.

At an unusual funeral service at Calverton National Cemetery Saturday, 500 people said goodbye to 20 veterans who had died in the past four years.

“Go gently, dear brothers,” veteran John Caldarelli said in his eulogy. “Your wait is done.”

All 20 were homeless, their bodies unclaimed. Their final salute came courtesy of the Missing in America Project, which finds and identifies the remains of unclaimed vets.

“No veteran should die alone,” said VFW member Ernest Diraffaele.