Letters to the Editor

Seven Lakes, N.C.

Not the first

How wonderful of the Class of 2010 to dedicate the yearbook to Rodney Shelby, custodian at Mattituck-Cutchogue High School. Just one correction to Erin Schultz’s story, however. This is not the first dedication to someone other than a teacher. The 1957 MHS Reflector was dedicated to the “maintenance staff.”

At that time, they were called janitors, and we had four; Gordon Cox (who also drove the school bus), Herbert Young, Harry Charkow and John Hass. Of course, we called them Mr. Cox, Mr. Young, Mr. Charkow and Mr. Hass.

If you have the opportunity read this dedication page, it will make you smile. There are many fond memories of these four. I know the Class of 2010 will take with them fond memories of their own.

Polly Loper-Cummings



More non-educators

Mattituck High School news always catches my eye since I’m not only a grad of MHS, but a retired employee of the district as well.

I noticed that in the article regarding this year’s dedication of the yearbook, it stated that this is the first time a non-educator has received this honor. Looking back to 1982, the yearbook was dedicated to Madeline Haas, the high school secretary, and then in 1985 it was dedicated to me (I was a guidance secretary). In 1990, it was dedicated to Marie Milazzo, who was also a guidance secretary. So we join Rodney Shelby as part of the non-teaching staff who also received this honor.

Joan Lademann



Make it simple

I, too, protest the sentence that the drunk driver got. It ought to be simple. Lose your license permanently! We have a good friend who can no longer drive and she has learned to manage quite well.

And, by the way, why put a mom with a small child in prison?

Richard Brewster



Seeing the light

As mentioned in Julie Lane’s nice article on the East End Lighthouse tour, Horton Point is the only onshore lighthouse of Southold Town’s eight. It is also the only one open to the public. A visit to this historic site is a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon.

You might want to bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful grounds and the nature trail. Then step up on the porch and sign the guest register. Inside the dwelling house is the Southold Historical Society’s lovely nautical museum, where volunteers will explain the exhibits and answer your questions.

Next, you’ll want to climb the tower. Since the lighthouse is on a bluff approximately 52 feet above sea level, it’s an easy climb and is often a child’s first lighthouse. In the lantern room, another volunteer will explain the functioning light and the reason for the lighthouse’s location at Horton Point.

Finally, don’t miss “The Tale of the Whale” in the oil house. Listen to whales talking and find the stepping stones indicating the length of the whale whose skull bone is inside.

Horton Point Lighthouse is open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day. A donation of $3 per adult is appreciated: children under 12 are free. We look forward to your visit!

Jean Mirchel and Anne Schwiebert

co-chairs, Horton Point Lighthouse Committee Southold Historical Society



Surprise of my life

I have been going to the Southold Human Resource Center since it opened in Mattituck on Pacific St. and Old Sound Ave.

I enjoy the food and all they offer seniors — movies, parties, trips to supermarkets, malls, doctors, etc. Best of all, I meet people to talk with. At my age (91), I have lost many friends and family members. It would be lonely and depressing if I stayed home. When I return from Florida, I am so happy to see everyone.

Last week, I got the surprise of my life when a new couple was about to join our table. They were Bob Mallgraf and his wife, Phyllis.

I was immediately drawn to the cap Bob was wearing. It read “USS Franklin.” I asked him if he served on that ship. Bob said he was on the USS Franklin from the day it was commissioned until March 19, 1945. I could hardly speak. He was the first person I have met since I received the telegram that my brother, Staff Sgt. Edwin W. Hill, was killed on the USS Franklin, March 19, 1945.

Edwin joined the Marines at 17 years of age, just before Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, he was shipped to the Pacific for three years. When he returned to California, he got married and she became pregnant; Edwin learned he was shipping out again. Ruth, his wife, was ready to deliver her child prematurely, so we contacted the Red Cross to have Edwin come home to New York. He saw the baby girl in an incubator, and then returned to California.

My Marine brother was under the command of “Pappy” Boyington’s Black Sheep Squadron.

Bob has given me information on the Marines of the Black Sheep Squadron, and a copy of “Inferno,” written by Joseph A. Springer (all about USS Franklin in World War II).

I understand a documentary of USS Franklin is in the works. I am so excited! I may see my brother in the picture!

Sixty-five years have passed since that fatal day, March 19, 1945. I now possess more information about what happened — thanks to Bob.

I am the last of 8 children alive. I am excited to tell my story. Immediately, I called my daughter in Staten Island because each Memorial Day she runs in a race honoring my brother.

I am thankful to the Southold Human Resource Center that brought the Mallgrafs and me together.

Lillian Wagner



Playing chicken

“Permitting Keeping of Hens” has such a Tudor ring to it, one can imagine the Boleyn girls appearing before the Village Board next Monday to speak to the proposed ordinance. With all of the real issues faced by the Village, it is astonishing that the board will spend its time on such nonsense.

Interestingly, the ordinance is proposed to be made part of Chapter 13 of the Village Code. Unless I have misread the copy available in Village Hall, Chapter 13 is the Code of Ethics. Is there a connection between ethics and chicken droppings? Let’s hope not.

I was bemused a couple of years ago when Greenport neighbors were feuding over the keeping of geese in the village under the rubric of “customary household pets.” After dragging the village administrator into it and holding public meetings on the subject, no formal determination was ever made, to my knowledge. What a waste of time.

Now, they’re at it again. The chicken law, a Woodstockian dream wrapped in warm and fuzzy greenness, would permit keeping flocks of chickens at every residence in the village. And since, according to the proposal, “each resident [may] keep up to 20 hens,” it would seem that a household of more than one resident can have a flock of birds for each.

Farming and animal husbandry are not among the permitted uses in any district in the village, and for good reasons, not the least of which is that barnyard animals are messy and should be kept where there are barns — on farms, where they will not be a nuisance to their neighbors.

Imagine what will become of our densely populated, built-out village — the stench, the twice-weekly liming of droppings (I want to be around to see this — sounds Gothic), the feathers, the escapee roadkill, the rats attracted by the spilled feed and raccoons by the eggs laid in the lawn — where will it stop?

As I suggested in my earlier letter to you when the subject was geese, perhaps the best countermeasure to the cluckers will be the keeping of foxes, certainly customary household pets. Oh, and they like chickens, too. So do dogs. And cats. It will all become a fabulously Hitchcockian scene, with the Tippi Hedren role played by the building official who will be required to enforce this stupidity.

I can’t wait ’til the show opens.

Arthur Tasker

Village trustee, Greenport



Too close for comfort

We love the Strawberry Festival but what possessed the Lions Club to use a new location for shooting fireworks that showered houses on Cox Neck Road with sparks and debris? Firemen were searching our yards and woods afterwards. You could actually hear the crunching when they landed on the ground (roofs also). Poor choice!

The firemen told us to contact the Lions Club, and that Bissett Nursery gave permission to use the property. What was wrong with the property that was previously used, where the Strawberry Festival attendees had a good view?

I have to admit we had a great view from our driveway, but we also had a great view of everything landing in the road, and in our yard and neighbors’ yards. Thanks to the firemen for being there and taking the time to search our yards but I hope to never have a repeat of that experience and have to find out who would be responsible for paying for the damage to our property or homes.

Susan Shaffer



Miles of smiles

On Saturday, June 12, we met your summer employee Bridget [Degnan, our newsroom intern], while joining other families on a most enjoyable day trip on the LIRR from Riverhead to Greenport. Our 5-year-old grandson Seth is in love with trains, so we decided to make this excursion.

The reading of the book, “Miles of Smiles: The Story of Roxey, the Long Island Rail Road Dog,” written by Heather Hill Worthington, was one of the highlights of the day for Seth and his big sister Paige. We were fortunate to sit at the end of the train car with Heather and Bridget.

You must know that Bridget is a terrific young “inquiring reporter.” What a great opportunity for her to work for your local paper for the summer.

Judy and Ed Steinberg (grandparents)

Deborah Braum (Paige and Seth’s mother)



Now is the time

It was nice to see the rail link for freight get started awhile back. It will be a great public service to get some trucks off our highways. Something that should be considered in conjunction with this is service to the North and South forks on the weekends (maybe modified buses to ride the rails), which may help with tourist traffic.

One more thought. Before we get an indoor ski slope or casino on the Grumman property, how about the five East End towns joining forces and putting a state-of-the-art solar farm with a natural gas generator (for nighttime) on one-third of the property? With all of the available incentives, rebates, grants and the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, maybe now is the time.

Bob Dickerson



Helicopter noise

Congratulations to the Times in reference to its editorial on the helicopter problem. You got it exactly right. Your piece adds needed clarity to where citizens need to focus their resources to stop this invasion of our area. The problem, as you suggest, and my own research supports, began with Sen. Schumer’s early negotiations with copter companies to move flights eastward and fly south over our area. Schumer’s move placed the problem in our backyard and gained him support in western Suffolk and Nassau County. One can say Schumer “did us in” in many ways, such as urging people to call the Copter Council’s 800 number to complain and solve the problem, an organization totally in support of cost-saving flights over Peconic and Southold Town.

Something is wrong with that picture! And in recent FAA negotiations, it’s Schumer again, fooling us one more time. Here he takes credit for changing routes, but in the end, as the Times suggests, changes nothing as copters can still fly the shortest routes to the Hamptons.

In fact, Congressman Bishop along with Supervisor Russell and Legislator Romaine have been the main support to stop the copter flights, with Bishop leading the way for FAA intervention. As the Times suggests, the focus now should be on pressuring the FAA.

Lessons learned? Looking to Schumer, the Copter Council, and calling the council’s 800 number is useless. Let’s not be fooled a third time. As the saying goes, “Fool me once … fool me twice … ” Again thanks to the Times. We needed your wise assessment.

Bill Fibkins



Them is us

Just when we were getting excited about the new brokered helicopter deal that causes the choppers to go over low population areas, we discover that we are the low population area.

Jack Barthel