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. 

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…)

03/19/15 12:00pm
03/19/2015 12:00 PM
TR0807_RE_Laughing2_BE_C.jpg

Children fish from a beach along Peconic Bay in Southold, near the Living Waters neighborhood. (Caption: Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

On April 2, East Enders will celebrate an important milestone: The Community Preservation Fund will have generated over $1 billion and preserved more than 10,000 acres of open space and farmland. Approved by voters in 1999, the CPF uses a small tax on real estate purchases to preserve land and protect drinking water.

It is arguably the most successful land preservation program in the country. (more…)

03/15/15 10:00am
03/15/2015 10:00 AM

A confession: I have not been ice boating even once this winter on either Great Pond or Hallocks Bay. And that’s because I’ve been on the North Fork for less than a week between Christmas and today. And therein lies the challenge of writing this column every other week. How can I keep it local and relevant if the former Joan Giger Walker and I, in our so-called retirement years, are away from the North Fork for nearly half the year?

Short answer: I can’t.  (more…)

03/08/15 8:00am
03/08/2015 8:00 AM
County Executive Steve Bellone (center) touts the benefits of the county's new sex offender monitoring efforts in Hauppauge last week. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

County Executive Steve Bellone (center) touts the benefits of the county’s new sex offender monitoring efforts in Hauppauge last week. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

East End towns and villages are now under political and media pressure to participate in Suffolk County’s sex offender monitoring program. This program is operated, under contract with the county, by the Parents for Megan’s Law advocacy organization. Taking a position against a new sex offender monitoring program, here or anywhere, will not help me win any popularity contests. However, I think it’s important for us to take an objective look at this program’s potential impact on the community, its taxpayers and those it targets before jumping on the “Let’s get tough with sex offenders” bandwagon.  (more…)

03/07/15 3:00pm
03/07/2015 3:00 PM

Is there a North Fork homeowner who doesn’t despair about the destruction of their plants, shrubs or trees caused by deer, which are now eating what they once rejected?

For us farmers, deer damage isn’t just a nuisance; it is having a serious impact on our livelihoods.

Deer cause considerable crop damage to our farms by: 1). browsing, 2). destroying plants, and 3). contamination.  (more…)

03/07/15 8:00am
A sandbar juts into Peconic Bay at the end of Pine Neck Road in Southold. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A sandbar juts into Peconic Bay at the end of Pine Neck Road in Southold. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Compared to people living in western Long Island, those on the East End are in a better position to recognize the connection between the environment and the economy. The region also has a proven track record when it comes to protecting a way of life. Case in point: the Community Preservation Fund, which uses a tax on local real estate transactions to preserve farmland and open space.  (more…)

03/04/15 12:07pm
03/04/2015 12:07 PM
Guadelupe, 19, and her younger sister, Giselle, 13, hold flowers to place on their father's grave. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Guadelupe, 19, and her younger sister, Giselle, 13, hold flowers to place on their father’s grave last week following the death of German Mendoza Galicia. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

I’m sitting at my kitchen table. It’s Friday, Feb. 20. The temperature outside is in the teens, as it has been for the past several weeks. The sun is coming in through the window and the heat is on in the house. So I’m nice and warm.

Nonetheless, I am grieving. Let me backtrack a bit.  (more…)