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08/22/15 4:12pm
08/22/2015 4:12 PM

John May

John May was many things, but complacent was not one of them.

As Peconic Landing’s board chairman for the last dozen years, he strived to make the Greenport lifecare community the best place for seniors to enjoy their retirement. The nationally ranked tennis player, who continued to compete into his 80s, was also a loving husband and father of 11 children.

The Southold resident for more than 25 years died Friday from complications due to kidney disease. He was 87. READ

11/07/14 10:53am
11/07/2014 10:53 AM
Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin addresses his supporters at the Suffolk County GOP gala at Emporium in Patchogue Tuesday. (Credit: John Griffin)

Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin addresses his supporters at the Suffolk County GOP gala at Emporium in Patchogue Tuesday. (Credit: John Griffin)

“Every election is like a job interview,” Mitch McConnell, the Republican senator from Kentucky and likely Senate majority leader, said in his acceptance speech Tuesday. This year, Democrats weren’t hired for lots of jobs.

Notably for East Enders, Lee Zeldin knocked off six-term incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop in the 1st Congressional District race. (more…)

11/04/14 8:00pm
Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin addresses his supporters at the Suffolk County GOP gala at Emporium in Patchogue Tuesday. (Credit: John Griffin)

Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin addresses his supporters at the Suffolk County GOP gala at Emporium in Patchogue Tuesday. (Credit: John Griffin)

A red wave was felt across America Tuesday in the final mid-term election of Democratic President Barack Obama’s two terms in office.

It was certainly no different here in New York’s 1st Congressional District, where a Republican will be sworn in to office next year for the first time since 2002.  (more…)

10/17/14 7:00am
10/17/2014 7:00 AM
State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

The roles at a political debate are simple and well-defined.

The moderator asks the questions. The candidates answer them. The audience reacts respectfully.  (more…)

10/09/14 11:11am
State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

Republican state Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop (right). (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The two major party candidates for the 1st Congressional District squared off at a contentious debate — at least, contentious between incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop and the GOP-dominated crowd — in a packed Polish Hall in Riverhead Wednesday night.

State Senator Lee Zeldin of Shirley, a Republican and Iraq War veteran who unsuccessfully ran against Mr. Bishop in 2008 before seeking office in Albany, enjoyed a political home-field advantage among the nearly 250 who showed up at the event, organized and sponsored by RiverheadLocal.com, an online news website.

RiverheadLocal co-publisher Denise Civiletti moderated.

At times during the debate, specifically when Mr. Bishop faulted Tea Party members in Congress for much of the gridlock in Washington, the crowd degenerated into shout-downs and name-calling.

“You’re a liar!” yelled one attendee, after Mr. Bishop said “compromise has become a four-letter word in Washington under Tea Party control.” (more…)

07/03/14 10:00am
07/03/2014 10:00 AM
 Plum Island (Credit: file)

FILE PHOTO | Plum Island.

New York lawmakers have joined forces with representatives from Connecticut to push for a new proposal they hope will permanently protect Plum Island by transferring the land to another federal agency instead of selling it to the highest bidder.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) submitted a letter to Senate and House of Representative officials on Wednesday requesting a repeal of the law requiring sale of the island.

The 840-acre island is currently home to the Animal Disease Research Center, run under the Department of Homeland Security, and will be sold to the highest bidder to help offset the costs of building a newer, state-of-the-art facility in Kansas.

The letter outlines an alternative to the sale of the island, instead asking federal officials to stand by its “longstanding existing process” of transferring unutilized federal land to interested federal agencies, such as the U.S. National Parks Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We strongly believe that either the NSP or FWS would be interested in taking possession if the given opportunity,” the letter reads.

Mr. Bishop told the Suffolk Times that while he has not spoken formally with agency officials “certainly they have expressed interest in it to us informally. They recognize the environmental value and importance of the island,” he said.

The letter, which was also signed by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) — as well as eight other members of the House of Representatives from New York and Connecticut — notes that the estimated $32.85 million in funding that could be raised through a sale of the island pales in comparison to the amount needed to build the proposed Kansas facility, which has ballooned to upwards of $1.2 billion.

Wednesday’s announcement marks a change in approach from the legislators, some of whom last year lobbied the woman leading the entity in charge of selling the island — Sylvia Burwell, of the Office of Management and Budget. The group had asked her to sign an executive order blocking its sale, stating that the fate of Plum Island should be separate from selling the island at all.

Legislators have maintained throughout the process, however, that the ecological value of Plum Island is worth far more than its monetary value.

“The sale of Plum Island would be a critical mistake both from a research and an ecological standpoint,” said Mr. Bishop. “If this island is allowed to be developed by the highest bidder, the species that currently exist on the island, including multiple endangered species, could be irreparably harmed.”

Development on the island would be limited, however. Mr. Bishop’s proposal comes almost one year after Southold Town passed zoning restrictions on the island last August, limiting any further development on the island while allowing for maintenance of the research facility and its existing infrastructure.

He said the zoning restriction are “hugely important because it takes away the lure of some developer thinking that they can come and take over the island and develop it with huge homes. That is of the table.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently secured state funding for a year-long biological survey of plant and wildlife on the island which is being conducted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation starting in January 2015.

“We believe the current plan being offered by the General Services Administration to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder could cause more harm than good,” he said.

READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW

Plum Island

06/24/14 9:37pm
06/24/2014 9:37 PM
State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

In the race to see who will face off against incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop, state Sen. Lee Zeldin has defeated George Demos in the Republican primary.

The results, with 99 percent of districts reporting:

Name Votes
Lee Zeldin  9624
George Demos  5841

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Kelly Ward released the following statement after the race was called: “After a brutal and expensive race to the right that drove both Republicans far outside the mainstream, Long Islanders now have a clear choice to make between Tim Bishop, a tireless fighter for his district who has the backs of hardworking families, or Lee Zeldin, who is completely out of touch and would stack the deck in favor of special interests at the expense of the middle class.”

Mr. Zeldin and Mr. Demos did not return requests for comment on Tuesday night.

Mr. Zeldin, 34, is a New York state senator who lives in Shirley with his wife and two children. He’s also an attorney who spent four years of active duty in the U.S. Army, where he was deployed to Iraq in 2006 as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Since 2007, he has been a member of the Army Reserves and currently holds the rank of Major. He established his law practice in 2008.

Mr. Zeldin was elected to the state Senate in 2010, when the incumbent, Brian Foley, was the deciding vote in approving the MTA Payroll tax. Mr. Zeldin later voted against that measure, helping to overturn a large part of the tax.

Prior to running for state Senate, Mr. Zeldin opposed Mr. Bishop in 2008, his first run for public office, and Mr. Zeldin was defeated by a 58-42 percentage margin.

Mr. Zeldin has the support of the Suffolk County Republican Committee; Mr. Demos has launched a primary challenge.

Mr. Demos, 37, is an attorney who lives in Stony Brook with his wife and young son. He is a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Attorney, where he worked from 2002 to 2009 prosecuting corporate fraud cases.

He has run Republican primaries against the Republican committee designee in each of the last two Congress races, losing both times to Randy Altschuler.

In 2012, he announced that he was withdrawing from the race that May, though his name remained on the primary ballot.

Over the past several months, Mr. Demos has taken aim at the party candidate on one specific issue, stating that Mr. Zeldin voted to “fully fund Obamacare.”

Mr. Zeldin’s campaign responded by stating that “the insurance exchange in New York State is 100 percent federally funded and was created by Governor Cuomo unilaterally in April 2012 after the New York State Senate Republicans, including specifically Senator Zeldin, blocked the 2012 legislation to implement Obamacare.”

06/24/14 9:06am

east end helicopter noise long islandA mandate for helicopters to stay off Long Island’s north shore that was set to expire in August has been renewed by the federal government — though a loophole will still permit aircraft heading to the Hamptons to fly over the North Fork, and local representatives are still working to close it and force pilots to detour around Orient Point.

The goal of the renewed route, implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2012, has been to reduce noise in residential areas that helicopters fly over on their ways to other locales on Long Island — namely, the Hamptons. The only way pilots can deviate from the route is for safety reasons, weather conditions, or if transitioning to or from a destination or point of landing.

But Southold Supervisor Scott Russell has said the last excuse to deviate from the plan hasn’t brought the expected results to Southold he was hoping for. And after U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Tim Bishop issued a joint statement last week announcing that the current route was extended — and not expanded to require flights to head around Orient Point — Mr. Russell called the oversight of Southold residents “deplorable.”

“Quite candidly, our federally-elected representatives just sold us out for the interests of western Long Island,” he said. “This is a disaster for Southold.”

Mr. Schumer and Mr. Bishop said last week that the current route — which towns to the west of Southold have embraced — has been extended for another two years, and the two are working to make it permanent. The announcement came weeks after the two stated that they were attempting to get an extension on the current route requirements, while also pushing for an expansion to require flights to go around Orient Point.

The route requires every helicopter operating along Long Island between Visual Point Lloyd Harbor (VPLYD), located 20 miles north of LaGuardia Airport, and Orient Point to fly one mile off the north shore.

If pilots do not follow the route, they may face fines or have their pilots’ license revoked.

“Luckily for Long Island residents, the beginning of August will not also mean the return of onerous helicopter noise that once interrupted dinners, disrupted people enjoying their backyards and had an effect on quality of life and on property values,” Mr. Schumer said in a release.

Mr. Russell said on Tuesday that last week’s announcement was indeed good news for those on the western part of Long Island, and shrugged off any suggestion that it might have anything to do with the political make-up of Southold’s Town Board — which has no elected Democrats on it.

“This isn’t a partisan issue. This is an East versus West issue,” he said. “The lesser populated East End simply has less clout at the voting booth.”

While expressing satisfaction for the current route’s extension, both Mr. Schumer and Mr. Bishop stated that they hope to see further results and relief for Southold residents.

“It is my sincere hope that FAA will continue to review ways to minimize the reach of noise pollution,” he stated.

Mr. Russell said he would be reaching out to Mr. Bishop’s office this week to try to remedy the issue for Southold residents.

06/23/14 8:00am
06/23/2014 8:00 AM
State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

They’ve been slamming each other in campaign advertisements for weeks, with each linking the other to Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, in one form or another. And come Tuesday, Republican voters will decide whether Lee Zeldin or George Demos will be their candidate to oppose incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in the fall.  (more…)