04/18/15 8:00am
04/18/2015 8:00 AM

baby column

Kids, by nature, are scorekeepers. Meaning they’re constantly comparing what they have — or more specifically, what they don’t have — with other kids, and keeping track.

I know this because I was a kid and I knew plenty of other kids, too. We all kept score, whether it was a blockbuster movie another classmate got to see first, a neighbor’s vacation to Disney World or trip to Action Park, or everyone having Reebok Pumps except for you. (more…)

04/11/15 8:00am
04/11/2015 8:00 AM

As a seasoned educator, I strongly believe that well-designed tests are a valuable educational tool. When used properly, tests provide timely feedback about student progress. Rather than adding to the diagnostic value of tests, however, the NYS Common Core assessments are used solely to rank students, evaluate teachers and label schools as “failing,” slating them for takeover by privately run charters. (more…)

04/05/15 12:00pm
04/05/2015 12:00 PM

T1003_deer_2_KS_C

We’ve all seen it: A deer carcass lying at the edge of the road, the gruesome result of a car/deer collision. It’s not a pretty sight. And while it tells a story, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

There are some sobering facts about car/deer collisions in Southold. The most alarming is that your chance of hitting a deer here is 2.5 times the national average — or one deer collision for every 63 local registered drivers. That’s all drivers, including you, your spouse or partner, parents, children or grandchildren. (more…)

04/05/15 10:00am

Much has been said of late concerning Common Core and its effect on the education of our children, particularly with regard to testing and evaluation. And while I agree with the criticism that the implementation of the curriculum has been unwieldy and uneven, I understand the vision and intent of the Common Core standards.  (more…)

04/04/15 8:00am
04/04/2015 8:00 AM
This photo of the Mattituck baseball team celebrating a come-from-behind win won in the sports feature photo category in the New York Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

This photo of the Mattituck baseball team celebrating a come-from-behind victory won in the sports feature photo category in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Nine years ago, I attended my first New York Press Association convention.

I had just joined Times Review Media Group as a reporter and had no idea what to expect. What I found was a lot of newspaper people scared of the big, bad Internet.

With putting newspapers out each week, we have no way of updating a website, folks said. This is impossible. We will all go out of business.  (more…)

04/03/15 1:26pm
04/03/2015 1:26 PM
Chester shown with a toy after a snow storm this winter. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Chester shown with a toy after a snow storm this winter. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

For all its drawbacks (that’s for another column), social media can sometimes be quite remarkable.

Last night, I came across a Facebook page — “Chester waiting for five years” — featuring Chester, a red-nosed pitbull mix at the North Fork Animal Welfare League’s Southold shelter.

If it were up to my wife, Ashley, we’d take every dog home — including Chester — but with her asleep on the couch, I couldn’t help myself from taking a peek at the page. (more…)

03/28/15 10:00am
03/28/2015 10:00 AM
Jeffrey Avilas Ramos, a Mattituck High School junior, competes in eSports called Major League Gaming playing mostly Call of Duty. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jeffrey Avilas Ramos, a Mattituck High School junior, competes in eSports called Major League Gaming playing mostly Call of Duty. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Down a steep wooden staircase, in a small basement room to the right, an RCA TV sits atop a folding table. An Energy Guide sticker cuts off a portion of the TV’s bottom right corner. A cable on the left side dangles down to the floor, where it connects to an XBox One.

Jeffrey Avilas Ramos leans forward in a folding chair, his eyes fixated on the screen. The sounds of gunfire blast from the speakers. Ramos never flinches.  (more…)

03/23/15 12:00pm
03/23/2015 12:00 PM

No doubt you have heard the news that public education is in need of reform. Gov. Cuomo has said so. Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown has said so. Even President Obama has said so. And what do all these people have in common? Well, a few things. None of them has taught students a day in their life. All of them have received pay or political contributions from the charter school movement and/or testing companies and all of them have wholly endorsed more charter schools.  (more…)

03/22/15 8:00am
03/22/2015 8:00 AM

With my wife, Melanie, and my daughter Mairi, I was at the gate waiting for Mairi’s departure to Germany. She had waited for this day for five years and had worked toward it for two or three. Mairi remained calm. My feelings were closer to dread. It was the first time one of my children was moving away, and it didn’t seem natural to me.  (more…)

03/21/15 12:00pm
03/21/2015 12:00 PM
Firefighters battling the blaze in Southold March 15. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Firefighters battling the blaze in Southold March 15. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

This year alone, three homes have been destroyed by fire, a dozen people displaced and devastated. Now, this week, one of our town’s historic steepled gems, First Universalist Church of Southold, has been lost forever and yet another unfortunate fire victim — in this case, members of an entire congregation — are left with only charred timbers and ashes.  (more…)