09/01/12 1:43pm
09/01/2012 1:43 PM
Greenport, Shelter Island, Verizon

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Verizon workers Scott Hickerson and Tom Meyer at work in Greenport.

Verizon employees are working around the clock to repair a severed phone cord that runs from Greenport to Shelter Island, Verizon officials said.

A would-be thief cut the cord — about the width of a grapefruit — Wednesday night at the shoreline just east of the town beach in an attempt to steal copper wiring, said Verizon splicer Tom Meyer.

But the person succeeded only in cutting phone service to many Shelter Island phone lines.

Those lines remain out of service as of Saturday and could continue to be out of service until the cord is completely repaired.

Because the large cord is made up of bundles of wire pairs, which represent specific phone lines, Verizon employees must first identify each line and ensure it is working before they put the bundle back together again, Mr. Meyer said.

“We’ll be working all day and night until this is resolved,” he said as he worked Saturday morning. “The police are aware of the situation.”

The employees work in 12-hour shifts.

Scott Hickerson, another splicer, said the job could take another three or four days before it is completed. The so-called submarine cord runs under the water to Shelter Island from Greenport.

Southold police officers said they could not comment until the chief and captain return to work after the three-day break Tuesday.

Shelter Island Supervisor James Dougherty called it “unacceptable” that it would take so many days to resolve the problem.

He said the town should consider using two phone providers for land lines in the future, so there is redundancy in the case of an emergency with one.

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With Peter Boody

08/30/12 9:00pm
08/30/2012 9:00 PM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Campers at Camp Good Grief in Southold.

Camp Good Grief, the free five-day youth bereavement program now in its 16th season, came to the North Fork for the first time this summer and hopes it’s found a permanent home at Peconic Dunes Camp in Southold.

“I think we’re very much looking forward to making this our base of operations if possible,” said Michael Pitcher, chairman of the board for the camp’s sponsor, East End Hospice.

“It’s a fantastic facility and I think our staff would love not having to reinvent the wheel every year because they’re at a different spot,” Mr. Pitcher added.

Camp Good Grief is designed to ease the pain suffered by young people who have lost family members. Previously located on Shelter Island the camp, and the bereavement care it offers, are free.

“That’s why we have to raise so much money for the camp,” Mr. Pitcher said. “In this crazy medical world, no insurance provides money for bereavement care, but it’s an essential part of what we do and I think offering it for free is a key part of doing it right.”

Campers Thomas Shannon and Brenna O’Reilly, both 11, said the camp has helped them work and play through their grief.

“Basically you come here to try to get over the grief,” Thomas said. “You go to small group and you talk about what happened and how it happened and when it happened and that’s basically it. It’s helped me a lot. My dad had a heart attack while he was sleeping and died in April. I miss him a lot and talk to him all the time. Whenever nobody’s looking or I think he’s sending me a sign, I’m always like, ‘Come on, Dad, really? Really?’ ”

In addition to attending small group and art therapy sessions, this year’s campers also swam, kayaked, played sports and did arts and crafts.

Brenna said her favorite part of the experience was the new friends she made after her grandfather died in March. “It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s helped a lot.”
Mr. Pitcher said the camp deliberately places the youths in small groups.

“Small groups give kids an opportunity to open up because they’re surrounded by kids that have gone through the exact same thing instead of feeling like an outsider,” he said.

Camp director Sarah Zimmerman said small group and art therapy sessions are broken up by recreational activities to tailor a bit-by-bit grieving process and that being a day camp instead of overnight is an important part of that.

“We believe an overnight camp wouldn’t work because the kids do a lot of work during the day and even though we make sure that it’s balanced with fun and entertainment, they really need to go home to their safe places and their pillows at the end of the day,” Ms. Zimmerman said. “We had a kid staying with friends on Shelter Island and he had to drop out because he just didn’t feel comfortable enough. There are some overnight bereavement camps out there, but I can’t imagine it works.”

She added that although changes have been made at Camp Good Grief over the years, such as the color-coding of 13 different groups of kids between the ages of 4 and 17, the program has remained the same.

Ms. Zimmerman said day four, when campers are asked to bring in a memento or photograph of their lost loved ones for the “memory” theme, is the most emotional.

Mr. Pitcher agreed and said while volunteering on Shelter Island more than 10 years ago, he noticed a boy about 9 or 10 years old who wasn’t paying much attention to the group session.

“Someone said to take him over to the ball field, so I threw him over my shoulder and took him out there and when we got there he asked if I wanted to see his dad,” Mr. Pitcher recalled. “I said, ‘Sure,’ and he pulled out a picture of a young man in a Greenport High School football jersey. It was just heart-breaking.”

The staff consists of one person for every two campers, including 90 volunteers and art therapy interns from NYU.

“We also have youth volunteers. A lot of our campers go on to become youth volunteers,” Ms. Zimmerman said. “We couldn’t do this without them.”

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05/09/12 3:00pm
05/09/2012 3:00 PM

A Shelter Island man was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital following a motor vehicle crash in Southold Tuesday night, Southold Town Police said.

Frank Emmett, 60, was driving down Main Road in Southold when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle being driven by Jeannine McKillop, 45, of Cutchogue. Ms. McKillop was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Main Road from Jockey Creek Drive, police said.

Mr. Emmett was transported by Southold Fire Department to ELIH for undisclosed injuries, police said.

03/05/13 8:00am
03/05/2013 8:00 AM

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Rick Jackson (left) and Howard Johansen clearing a path Saturday morning at Turkem’s Rest Preserve.

Charles Kraus swung a three-foot long machete into a tangle of vines, which never had a chance.

Mr. Kraus, along with a dozen other volunteers, was clearing a path just off south Midway Road opposite Dickerson Creek on Shelter Island Saturday morning. Their work would allow public access to one of Shelter Island’s newer pieces of open space preservation, about six unspoiled acres of woods flanking a marsh. The path they cleared snaked a hundred yards or so back from the road to a slight rise overlooking Fresh Pond.

Dubbed “Turkem’s Rest Preserve,” Saturday’s path clearing was organized by Shelter Island’s Vine Busters, a volunteer organization founded to combat invasive plant species that ruin woods and trails.

The Turkem’s Rest woods had certainly been invaded, especially by bittersweet vines thick as rope, but Saturday morning the primary goal was making the path passable for the public. For the past few weeks Peter Vielbig, chairman of the town’s Community Preservation Advisory Committee (CPAC), had come with a chain saw to do the heavy work of clearing downed trees from the path, said Tim Purtell, a Vine Buster volunteer.

Purchased jointly with Suffolk County in 2006, Turkem’s Rest was formerly the Sposato property. Almost half of the six acres is tidal wetlands. It has a history of aboriginal people living on or near there 3,000 years ago. The previous owners had commissioned an archeological survey in 1999, and found that a Native American, called “the Turkey Man,” (hence the property’s name) lived in the woods, along the marsh and on the banks of Fresh Pond.

This property will be “unimproved,” according to the town’s management plan. It has, the management plan states, “extensive encroachment by vines and undergrowth.”

The volunteers used silky saws, machetes and strong arms and backs to clear the path Saturday. Mr. Kraus, a member of the CPAC, said the goal was for every member of the committee to take stewardship of a property to help maintain it.

Turkem’s Rest has a maintenance budget of $500 to be used, for example, when a downed tree has to be cleared from the path by the Highway Department. The rest of the work is done by volunteers.

Mr. Purtell gave a tour of the property, walking back into the woods. He pointed out stunted holly trees, their green, spiky leaves glistening in the morning sunshine. Strangled by vines, when they are freed the ivy trees should flourish and grow, Mr. Purtell said.

Someone said the vines themselves were beautiful. “Beautiful and deadly,” Mr. Purtell said

Ahead was a glint of light and motion through the trees: Fresh Pond rippling with the breeze with geese just breaking the surface into flight.

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04/28/17 2:00pm
04/28/2017 2:00 PM

With little fanfare, the Greenport Village Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously agreed to authorize Mayor George Hubbard Jr. to sign two agreements allowing Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island to begin construction of an underwater electric cable stretching from the Fifth Street to Shelter Island. READ

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04/28/17 8:00am

The Greenport Village Board voted Thursday to send a letter to County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) asking that the legislature allow a “landing fee” for cars entering Greenport from the North Ferry the next time the ferry company goes before the legislature to seek a fare increase. READ

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04/21/17 12:00pm
04/21/2017 12:00 PM

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08/07/11 10:52am
08/07/2011 10:52 AM

RON GALELLA/WIREIMAGE | Shelter Island resident and former Governor Hugh Carey at the 1979 Special Olympics on the SUNY Brockport Campus. Gov. Carey died Sunday at 92.

Former New York Governor Hugh Carey died at his summer home on Shelter Island Sunday, the New York Times reported. He was 92.

Mr. Carey, a Democrat, served as the state’s 51st governor from 1975 until 1982.

It was thanks to him that the state Department of Environmental Conservation reveresed course and agreed to let Shelter Island experiment to asses the ability of the 4-poster program in reducing the tick population. In 2006, he sent a letter to then-governor George Pataki in support of the tick killing program.

The program was found to be successful earlier this year.

He and his family have been residents of Shelter Island for many years. He generally kept a low profile though he was frequently seen at major events around the Island.

Survivors include 11 children, 25 grandchildren and 6 great grand-children, the Times reported. He is predeceased by his wife Helen and three sons Peter, Hugh Jr., and Paul.

See complete obituary in the August 11 edition of the Shelter Island Reporter.

02/07/13 7:55am
02/07/2013 7:55 AM

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Yvonne and Herbert Loinig comfort each other Thursday morning in front of the Belle Crest Inn, their home and business, after a fire devastated the historic structure Wednesday night.

A little after 9 p.m. Wednesday Yvonne Loinig had just talked to her daughter Aimee in Connecticut, a nightly ritual, before drifting off to sleep with her husband, Herbert. The owners of the Belle Crest Inn on North Ferry Road were in preparations for a March opening of their 100-year old bed and breakfast.

Ms. Loinig was thankful to be alive, she said Thursday morning, standing in the ruined parlor of the Inn. Thankful, but stunned by the fire that ripped though the historic structure Wednesday night, trashing the two top floors and damaging the entire house.

Ms. Loinig and Herbert had been rescued from the blaze by the actions of passersby Ian and Victoria Weslek who got them out of the house. It  took the Shelter Island Fire Department nearly two hours to fully get the fire under control as it raced through the top of the grand old house perched on a rise above the road.

Ms. Loinig stood in a hat and coat in the wreckage of her home and business, recalling the terrifying night that had begun so routinely. The smell of scorched wood, furniture and carpeting filled the once-cozy room. She stared at large blocks of plaster crumbling on an antique table below a manhole-sized cavity in the ceiling dripping water, and described the rush of events that started when she came fully awake Wednesday night.

“I was almost asleep when I heard some people outside talking loudly,” she said. “I thought they were having some kind of disagreement. I heard a man yelling, ‘Get out! Get out!’”

Her husband went to the front door. Ms. Loinig heard him asking who was making such a commotion outside.

“Then I heard a man say, ‘Get out, your house is on fire,’” Ms. Loinig said.

The Wesleks were returning home from dinner at Sweet Tomatoes about 9:45 p.m. when Victoria spotted flames soaring from the roof of the Belle Crest. She called 911 immediately and Mr. Weslek raced to the front door and began pounding on it.

“If someone didn’t answer the door in a minute I was ready to rip it off its hinges,” Mr. Weslek said, surveying the damage on the second floor Thursday morning. He had come by to offer any assistance he could to the family.

“The fire department was here in four or five minutes,” he said. “It was unbelievable how fast. That’s what I love about Shelter Island.”

The Shelter Island Fire Department responded to the blaze at 9:48, Chief John D’Amato said.

After an investigation by the Shelter Island Police Department and the fire department, it was determined the origin of the fire was the result of “a compromised interior brick and mortar chimney,” according to the police department.

“It took almost an hour for our guys to knock down the fire,” the chief said Thursday, adding that the Sag Harbor and Greenport departments were called to assist. “We needed bodies,” the chief said. “Our guys were getting tired.”

The attic was filled with objects and paper, or what Mr. Loinig described to the chief as “40 years of stuff,” perfect material to keep a fire stoked.

“It was pretty warm up there,” the chief said. One Shelter Island firefighter sustained a minor burn to his wrist. He was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital, was treated and released.

Every agency worked efficiently to prevent a catastrophe, Chief D’Amato said, with the police department securing the area and the ambulance volunteers standing by.

“The only thing important was the two people standing in the street,” the chief said, speaking of the Loinigs.

Aimee Loinig, who lives in New Haven, Connecticut, arrived early Thursday morning to help her parents.  She stood with Mr. Weslek in an upstairs hallway amid fallen plaster, scorched insulation and wooden beams turned to charcoal.

“You’re a hero,” Ms. Loinig said to him.

Devastated to see a place where she had grown up — and still helped her parents manage in the summer — Ms. Loinig comforted her mother in the dark living room. The two women stood on a waterlogged rug as Mr. Loinig  put down buckets to catch drips.

“Things can always be worse,” Ms. Loinig told her mother. “We’re going to be all right.”

02/05/13 12:30pm
02/05/2013 12:30 PM

A Greenport resident with a suspended license and no insurance was arrested Monday morning on Shelter Island for several vehicle and traffic violations, Shelter Island Police said.

Police stopped Rafael G. Azama, 30, for speeding on North Ferry Road around 10:30 a.m. Monday. Police charged him with operating an unregistered motor vehicle, aggravated unlicensed operation and operating with improper plates, to go along with the speeding and no insurance charges.

Mr. Azama’s vehicle was impounded and he was released on $100 bail to appear in Shelter Island Town Justice Court at a later date, police said.