Letters to the Editor


Not the whole story

Although I feel that Tim Kelly’s article, “Food, wine and a vintage fight” (May 13) was fair and well written, I believe that it only covered part of the issue.

The concerns that I addressed to the Town Board on March 18, well before I was aware of Peconic Bay Winery’s Mother’s Day brunch, were many.

There is an undeniable perception of a “hands off” approach by the town when it comes to enforcement at agricultural-based venues.

The concerns that I addressed include a horse farm advertising catering for up to 400 people and food service/catering at a B&B. I also expressed concern about food service at vineyards and the fact that some wineries may not enforce the ABC law of carrying off-premise alcohol on site.

If anyone thinks these concerns are unfounded, just look at the commercial kitchen at Raphael Vineyards.

There is an immense competition to attract customers to these venues and it may lead some to offer what may not be allowed by SLA law or town code. The Mother’s Day brunch and bingo night are good examples.

Jim Silver is not being truthful when he states that “most wineries close around 5 p.m.” Many of the wineries, if not most, have night hours. I am sure that most wineries do follow the ABC law, but a few definitely do not. They should be under the same scrutiny as any licensed premise.

Regarding Ron Goerler’s mention of the ABC law pertaining to food, it continues to read “…not specifically prepared for immediate consumption on premises.” I challenged the vending of food at wineries because it would seem that neither the SLA law nor town code would allow it.

I am certain that most would support food pairings and special events at wineries, but I urged the Town Board to define the code as to what a “special event” is. Is an oyster bar every weekend a special event? A bonfire with a tapas menu?

This issue is involved and there are three agencies, each with their own laws, that need to be reconciled. This cannot be characterized as “the complaints of one or two restaurants” as Bill Edwards so dismissively wrote. The Town Board does “need to refine the town code so that everyone knows the ground rules.” This was obviously not something accomplished during his tenure on the Town Board.

The recent opening of a “farm stand for wine” sits on only 10 acres of vines, has a very small production, yet has the capacity for 300 people, and offers “ladies’ night and parties every Friday, with food and drink specials.” All restaurants and taxpayers should be questioning why our town code would allow this.

The wine industry is an important one for the future of the North Fork. One would hope that all businesses would be important and be represented by Southold Town Board equally.

Our goals should be the same: a clear and fair town code, cooperation among industries and equal enforcement for those who do not follow the rules, whether intentional or not.

Eric Russell



Fill an Rx for change

Right now the people of the United States are being damaged by a serious and growing health crisis.

Over the years we’ve dealt successfully with TB, diphtheria, swine flu, cholera, AIDS and on and on and have conquered one serious health problem after another. Now we have a very serious medical condition on our hands, afflicting many of our wealthiest citizens, throwing our country into chaos and it is being totally ignored.

How can this be?

We are talking here about a nutritional deficiency of monumental proportion. It’s a severe shortage of moral fiber.

You read the accounts of how the Wall Street rating agencies are paid by the same people who design and offer the securities. Need I do more than point to AAA-rated “sub-prime mortgages?”

You read how a broker who you thought was working on your behalf was really engaged in “risk management,” and simultaneously selling the identical securities short. You read how mortgages are written without benefit of financial verification or appraisal. You read how legal gymnastics and verbal gobbledygook is used to justify this behavior.

This is not simply an economic mess that “just happens” every so many years. It is the unfortunate result of untreated moral-fiber deficiency.

If we are going to bring our country back to economic health we must recognize this insidious problem and come together to fight it. We must demand strong medication; in this case, serious financial reform.

This is an important time in our history. We can join together and fight this disease, or we can ignore it and continue our slide toward a republic populated by oligarchs hiding behind high fences and peons doing the real work of the nation. It’s our choice.

Howard Meinke



God bless the USA

Many years ago I enlisted for four years in the U.S. Navy. Like many others before me and many that followed, I took an oath to protect and defend not only the people of this great country, but to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, the greatest document of justice and freedom ever written.

Whether we enlisted or were drafted, we in effect told our government, “Do with us as you wish. We have faith in you and you have our loyalty.”

Many of us returned to civilian life relatively unscathed, but unfortunately many did not.

Many heroes gave their lives while protecting the rest of us from the threats of foreign governments and to preserve our freedoms. These valiant men and women knew that we can never be defeated by those from foreign lands and they sacrificed themselves to keep our country safe from attack.

Now we find ourselves being attacked from within. We are being governed by a group of ideologues who seek to “fundamentally transform” this country to emulate the failed socialist countries of Europe.

Will these anti-American malcontents succeed? Will Obama’s dream of a “one world government” be realized?

Will those that gave their lives to protect our American way of life have died in vain?

We must honor our fallen heroes by resisting those that are dedicated to destroy us.

What follows is a poem that was put into song I learned in school a long time ago, but still has a lot of meaning for many today. I hope our schools teach the meaning of this beautiful song, “America, the Beautiful.”

O beautiful for heroes prov’d

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life.

May God bless all that served and those that sacrificed.

God bless America.

John Copertino



A day to remember

Some still call Memorial Day “Decoration Day,” some call it the unofficial beginning of summer. But whatever you call it, this day will be upon us soon.

For the baby boomer generation, this day is a day of reflection taught to us by our fathers and uncles who fought in places like Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, the Bulge or Okinawa, and so many more. They were the lucky ones who made it home, found employment and built the good life for us.

In their memories are the faces of friends who paid the ultimate price for all so that the good life would survive. Many of our fathers and uncles could or would not speak of the horrors of the war they had just won. Even years and decades later it is all too painful. But our gratitude to them can never be too high or too much.

Memorial Day is a day to honor those who fell in battle alongside the lucky ones, and to remember that the good life is fragile and should never be taken for granted. In this year many of our veterans are passing on to another muster at a rate that seems shameful. It is the reality of life, for none of us live forever.

The gardens of stone at our veterans’ cemeteries will be decorated with our flag, a simple gesture of honor. On this day, wherever you may be, take time to remember those who died forever young so that you may enjoy your life free.

This is an American holiday. Take time to enjoy being an American.

Bob Bittner



Support the arts, downtown Riverhead

It’s nice to see the energy building in downtown Riverhead. Major developments, including the Dark Horse restaurant, Summerwind complex, Atlantis hotel and the Suffolk Theatre, all point to a brighter future. If you were downtown Saturday night it was clear there are many committed to the revitalization. The East End Arts Council’s Downtown Dance Party was the face of Riverhead, reflecting a true cross section of our community. The “I Love Riverhead” bumper stickers were a hot item and entirely scooped up by our guests. That tells us something.

Let’s keep the momentum going. Take a moment to see where you can be involved. It is an opportune time to do what you can to help our town. Everyone in their own way can make a positive impact on downtown, like Steve Wirth of Digger O’Dell’s for sponsoring the dance party and Shelly Gordon for providing the dance space and for providing window access for the storefront gallery, along with the Area Properties group. It’s a good time to stroll Main Street and see the momentum in action. Check out the storefront art display and the very special video in the window of the old Sears building.

The dance party, with great music by Center Stage, was a timely kick-off to an ambitious summer in Riverhead, immediately followed this coming Sunday with the EEAC’s annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival. The Riverhead Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce, Peconic Paddler, Townscape, I Love Riverhead and Vail-Leavitt Music Hall all have great plans for drawing the community downtown this summer, and EEAC will be holding a free community drum circle on Wednesday evenings. You can help by attending the events and afterwards take the time to eat at any of the exceptional restaurants we are lucky to have and shop in the local businesses.

EEAC is grateful to be situated in the middle of downtown and appreciates the commitment received from Riverhead Town. My board of directors, staff and I are dedicated to being part of the revitalization efforts. You can help us help the community by getting involved with the East End Arts Council. You can support our fund drive, volunteer, become a member, take a class or just visit the gallery. Check us out at www.eastendarts.org. When the arts are strong in a community, the community is strong.

Pat Snyder

executive director, East End Arts Council



Bee story was sweet

Thanks to Erin Schultz for the brilliant May 13 article “Bees may be in decline but interest in them is abuzz.”

Sixty years ago a prediction attributed to Albert Einstein stated, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” While I hope this forecast never comes to fruition, evidence of the bee’s decline is apparent. Two years ago, our lavender bushes swarmed with honeybees. Last year I only saw one bee.

I hope the article might either inspire more people to take up beekeeping or practice gardening and landscaping habits to support bees.

Keep up the good work, Ms. Schultz. The bees and humankind need you.

Tom Gahan



Heartfelt thanks

The North Fork continues to prove to me that it is the most wonderful place in the world to live. What I saw on May 16 was, to me, the definition of the word beautiful.

May 16 was the first-ever American Heart Association Healing Heart 5K on the grounds of Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. The event was a huge success, with 650 registered participants.

It was a beautiful day and an amazing location, but where I found the most beauty was in the hearts of all the volunteers, survivors, donors and participants. I would like to recognize Martha Clara for being such a gracious host and inviting us onto their property.

I would also like to recognize East End Cardiology for working very closely with me on this event to help raise awareness that heart disease is the number one form of death and that leading a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the disease.

It was amazing to see so many families participating in the event and supporting each other. It is our hope to encourage more people to participate in activities such as the Healing Heart 5K. Many thanks to the wonderful committee, the volunteers that helped on the day of the event, the donors that contributed to the American Heart Association and to the participants that are taking steps to a healthy heart.

Barbara Poliwoda

regional director, American Heart Association



Time to go West?

Remember back to the days of old when sea captains were bold, and disobedient crew were subjected to bottom-cleaning detail while under full sail? Correct, this disciplinary technique was indeed known as keel hauling.

The culture of corruption and the insecure controlling powers are still navigating the village economy by means of fear from a rudderless helm. Past-held vengeance still persists within the pillars of mainstream society toward those who confront malfeasance or ask politically incorrect questions while consuming a beverage in public.

Because my skills go beyond the combined depth of Silver Lake and a cold 40-ounce beer, I hereby announce my second attempt to achieve the open position of Greenport harbor master.

Unfortunately for the next drowning victim, an avid year-round commercial diver, retired merchant marine engineer/medical officer will be discounted from consideration. This may be due to my numerous attempts to regain credibility through the production, regulation and transfer of power.

Your support, or angst, will be appreciated.

West Ruroede

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