To the editor:
Thanks to the excellent media coverage, it appears the Raymond J. Cleaves Post 861 may survive and greet its 100th anniversary in 2020 with a reinvigorated membership (“One final push to bolster enrollment,” June 15). READ
The Mattituck American Legion Post No. 861 has struggled with low numbers in recent years and with a small group of active members, the post is attempting one last push to build participation.
Members will host a free dinner later this month for any interested veteran or children of veterans in a last-ditch effort to bolster its roster with new names.
Improved rail service on the East End will be the topic of an upcoming meeting between town and village officials and representatives from the Long Island Rail Road, according to South Fork Assemblyman Fred Thiele. READ
Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said Tuesday he is seeking a fourth term in office, stating that he would bring “purpose, vision and vitality” to the Town Board if elected in November. (more…)
To the editor:
This is in regard to Grant Parpan’s recent column on the June Southold Democratic Committee meeting.
Our Meet-the-Candidates meeting was open to all, as are most of our meetings. We welcome the public and press. Open discussion makes a difference, as our candidate Judge Bill Price noted after attending one recently.
I ask Mr. Parpan and more senior staffers of The Suffolk Times how many Republican committee meetings have they been invited to recently or over the years?
A comment I made at the last meeting and not reported reflects the feelings of many: Southold Town government is not a club, nor is it the extension of a country club and as Lincoln said, “It is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Government belongs to all of us.
This year’s Democratic candidates represent the wide age, occupational and life experiences of those living here. Young people, seniors, natives and newcomers all are welcome and all are encouraged to participate.
Balance does make a difference.
Art Tillman, chairman, Southold Democratic Committee
Republican Town Justice William Price, who was denied the GOP nomination to run for a new term in the fall, has agreed to accept the Democratic Party’s endorsement, town Democratic leader Art Tillman said this week.
Mr. Tillman said he spoke to Judge Price, who is in his 32nd year on the bench, Tuesday morning. The Democrats will hold their nominating convention in Cutchogue Wednesday evening.
“He’s got an excellent reputation for fairness and non-partisanship,” said Mr. Tillman. “Often we didn’t even field a candidate against him. We’re looking for the best candidates. If they happen to be Republicans we don’t mind.”
Regarding a registered Republican running as a Democrat, Mr. Tillman added, “Everybody in our party is quite happy about it.”
Aware of the coming floor fight between the incumbent and Mr. Goggins, the Democrats offered the nod to Judge Price before last week’s GOP convention, Mr. Tillman said. “All along he said, ‘Not at this time,’ ” the chairman said.
Judge Price was out of town and unavailable for comment this week.
In a move that rocked the Southold political establishment, the town GOP selected Mattituck attorney William Goggins over the incumbent during the party’s May 21 convention. The party also snubbed incumbent Trustee Dave Bergen, going instead with political newcomer Dave Zuhoski of Cutchogue.
Mr. Tillman said he could not comment on whether his party might extend a similar invitation to Mr. Bergen, other than to say several party members have expressed an interest in running.
“It should be an interesting convention,” he said.
Southold Town residents and businesses have been clamoring for access to natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water since the price began to plummet two years ago but, to date, there’s been little action on the part of National Grid to meet the growing demand.
“There’s a pretty steady and broad-based demand for gas,” Supervisor Scott Russell said in an interview last week. “My understanding is the capacity to serve the town is there. The need is the infrastructure.”
That could change in the near future, said National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd. The company is working on a “gas reinforcement project” that would run a second main line down Route 48 from Cutchogue to Southold, she said.
Although there is already a gas line there, she said the new line could accommodate higher pressures than the existing line, making it possible to bring natural gas to more neighborhoods.
“National Grid continues to invest in gas system infrastructure across Long Island including the North Fork,” Ms. Ladd added. “National Grid’s construction program is designed to support continued growth across the region.” She said the company is still finalizing plans for the Cutchogue to Southold line.
There has been some concern voiced locally that National Grid may not want to invest in gas system infrastructure since the contract to service the LIPA’s electric grid will be given to PSEG next year.
Ms. Ladd said that National Grid still owns, and plans to operate, the natural gas system after the electric contract switch.
Mattituck resident Art Tillman, who also serves as the town’s Democratic Party chairman, has recently taken a part-time job selling natural gas for a company called JJT Energy.
That company is known in the business as an “Esco,” an independent producer authorized to supply gas using National Grid’s infrastructure when the gas industry was deregulated in the 1990s.
Customers of Escos receive one bill from National Grid, which is broken down into two sections — one for the gas used and one for the cost of delivering the gas. JJT’s customers pay both companies with one bill.
“We buy gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange,” said Mr. Tillman. “Our thing is to sell gas at the lowest possible rate.”
Mr. Tillman said natural gas is a relatively easy sell, but hooking up new customers has proven infuriating. He said it’s further complicated by the fact that there is no publicly available map of gas distribution lines because of the threat they could be tampered with by vandals or terrorists.
Even fire department members, he said, have to call National Grid when responding to a scene to ask whether there are gas lines in the area.
Neighbors, of course, know anecdotally whether their neighbors have access to gas.
Barbara Meyran, who lives on Saltaire Way in Mattituck, knows there is gas available on nearby Mill Road. She’s currently circulating a petition among her neighbors to bring gas lines to their neighborhood.
“Ten people have called National Grid and nobody calls them back,” she said. “We’ve been trying for months and months.”
Mr. Tillman said many greenhouse operators are also interested in hooking up, in part because greenhouses currently using oil heat are at a huge competitive disadvantage against those with gas heat.
“Greenhouses are huge users of energy,” said Mr. Tillman. “It’s not fair for growers using oil to be competing with growers who use natural gas.”
He said it usually costs about $100 per foot to bring a gas line to a customer.
“That’s nice if a main is in front of the house, but in many cases it’s a half-mile to a main,” he said. “Therefore, it’s cost prohibitive. Just as in cable and water, gas should be available to those that want it.”
For his part, Mr. Russell said he has never received a map of the gas lines, which he requested from National Grid a year ago. He said at one point he was told the company was interested in expanding access, but had questions about how to charge new customers for the lines.
“National Grid would find a very receptive community” here, the supervisor said. “It’s a question of getting their attention.”
Al Krupski has been elected to the Suffolk County Legislator, leaving his seat on the Southold Town Board open until either a replacement is appointed or a vote is held to fill the vacancy.
So how will the Southold Town Board fill the vacancy?
Supervisor Scott Russell has said the position should be left open until the November elections, but new town GOP leader Peter McGreevy supports appointing a councilman, as Town Board did in naming Mike Domino as Town Trustee a year ago after Trustee Jill Doherty won a Town Board seat.
Not long after Mr. Krupski’s victory became clear, Town Democratic Leader Art Tillman called on the Town Board to appoint a Democrat to fill Mr. Krupski’s place.
In a letter to Mr. Russell, Mr. Tillman wrote, “Al Krupski was elected as a Democrat by the voters of Southold Town.” Selecting a Democrat would be fair “to the 4,419 registered Democrats, independents and Republicans who thought it wise not to have all members of the Town Board be of one party,” he added.
Mr. Russell said his Town Board had not discussed a contingency plan for Mr. Krupski’s departure. “The position does not belong to the Democratic Party, it does not belong to the Republican Party. It belongs to the people of Southold Town. It’s our responsibility to find the most qualified person for the position, regardless of party affi liation.”
He said the board will consider all its options, adding that there’s no shortage of qualified candidates available in either party.
“We have to look at the larger picture here and do what’s best for the people of the town,” Mr. Russell said.
We want to know how our readers think the town should proceed. Send us a letter to the editor for publication in this week’s paper or share a comment below.