Letters to the Editor


Noise code needed

How is it possible that with all the restrictions we have placed on our town by not allowing big business onto the North Fork, like fast food chains and other recreational facilities, that we could be the last town on Long Island to have and enforce a noise ordinance?

I have been suffering with this issue in particular for several years where I live in Mattituck. Our wonderful neighbor, known to many people in Southold Town to possess the loudest, most annoying car on the North Fork, insists on sitting in his driveway throughout the entire day and night revving his engine loudly. He speeds down our block and his car sounds like it belongs on a raceway.

In the spring and summer most people love those moments where they open their windows and let the fresh air in. I have to keep my windows shut because of this constant noisy burden. It’s embarrassing to have people over for a nice dinner with that noise going on.

I find it to be very disrespectful. It takes away from the quality of life that many of us value so much here on the North Fork. My great-grandparents who lived in my beautiful home before me sat outside all day long listening to the birds. I sit outside and am forced to listen to my one neighbor’s dog bark incessantly and the other neighbor rev his engine for no reason.

Despite our constant attempts with petitions, pleas to the town police Justice Court and a personal tongue-lashing or two from myself or my neighbors, the noise and disturbances haven’t stopped. The police won’t help us because there is no noise ordinance. Yet, when I have a party at my house and a neighbor calls the police about the noise, the police use it as an excuse to come onto my property and interrogate me and my guests.

There shouldn’t be a double standard. If there is no noise ordinance then both me and my neighbor should be equally free to make noise.

I support the noise ordinance because people who constantly abuse it, like my neighbor, should have to face the consequences for their disrespectful, loud and disruptive behavior.

Erica Wells


All bark, little bite

We may soon get the long-awaited noise ordinance, and it seems to be a good regulation. The problem with the law is the capacity to be all bark and very little bite.

By bite I mean the first offense is a fine “not exceeding” $500 and the third offense is a fine “not exceeding” $5,000. Now $500 is an amount that would make the offender stop and think, but the regulation says “not exceeding” that amount. The guilty party may be fined only $5, or the case may be dismissed.

This law should have a penalty that is better defined and not open-ended. A penalty should have enough bite to give offenders cause for concern and make them think twice about calculating the fine into the cost of doing business.

Scott McIntire


The Haven continues

I am the newest member of the Peconic Community Council board of directors. That being said, Maureen’s Haven has been up and running successfully for eight years under the direction of a number of different directors, and I have been intimately involved for seven of those years.

We deal with a population of often unstable and unpredictable group of people. Maureen’s Haven has been successful and without major consequence to date, because each individual house of worship has managed itself and clearly defined how to operate their “haven.”

For some unknown reason the focus, which unquestionably needs to be on the well-being of our guests, has shifted because of personnel decisions. Peconic Community Council will, as it always has, provide transportation and screening seven days a week. We are working toward increased security at the screening places and training for individual houses of worship on conflict resolution and effective communication.

Maureen’s Haven will be up and running on Nov. 1 and Peconic Community Council will support all of the dedicated people who are unselfishly waiting to do what we are all here to do, serve our guests as best we can.

Maureen’s Haven has been a growth experience for every house of worship that has participated, as well as the surrounding communities that have so generously contributed. We must not allow anything or anyone to become bigger than the need of our guests.

Jay Batterman


Give them a chance

It surely is the height of arrogant irony for three members of the previous Oysterponds school board to be crying foul and wringing their hands over misspent taxpayer money.

It is they who pushed through the most expensive tuition contract in the history of the Greenport/OP relationship, a contract that has now been deemed illegal by the very law firm they selected to advise them.

A tuition contract for longer than two years is only legal if it is affirmed in a public referendum. Lawsuits in nearby districts where referendums were not held were nullified by the courts at great cost to school districts.

The previous board cancelled at the last minute the public referendum required by law when they sensed that a three-year contract would fail at the polls. They compounded their error in the waning days of their lame-duck control of the board by ramming through a two-year contract extension they should have known was also illegal and forced its signing at an 8:00 a.m. session less than 12 hours after its enactment to ensure that no injunction preventing it – which was sure to come -could be sought.

The new board seeks only to do business within the law and not one of the members has yet to suggest terminating the long relationship between Greenport and Oysterponds. I suggest the small cadre of letter-writing critics wait and see what the new board does rather than publicly fret about what they think they might do.

There are two things the critics might think about before being so quick to make wrongheaded conclusions.

First, the current board voted to negotiate a legally binding contract with Greenport. The current board passed a resolution to accept Greenport K-6 students in Oysterponds. Sounds like an olive branch to me that those who want to “gin up” sentiment for a lawsuit might want to consider.

Sometimes it seems Mr. Strohmeyer, Mr. Demarest and Ms. Goldsmith are only interested in shoveling the most taxpayer money they can to Greenport via the highest rate contract for which they could muster four votes. And now they appear to be encouraging Greenport to sue Oysterponds, the very board on which two of them still sit. They have become the unofficial three additional members of the Greenport school board as surely their loyalty is no longer to the citizens of Oysterponds.

They are right about one thing. Let’s refocus on education and stop wasting taxpayer money on lawyers as the Strohmeyer/Demarest/Goldsmith trio has been doing for all too long.

Dick Leslie


A wonderful picnic

The first Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force picnic at Strawberry Fields was a huge success — great weather, entertainment, food, family activities, Scottish bagpipes, etc.

But we couldn’t have done it without the willingness of our Town Board and town employees to not only cooperate but to willingly pitch in.

Special thanks to Mike Eckhardt of the department of public works, whose energy and cheerfulness set the standard for all of our volunteers. Looking forward to an even bigger and better event next year.

Mike Domino

member, Southold Anti-Bias Task Force


Bad journalism

I would like to address an article published in The Suffolk Times Aug. 12 entitled “Man killed in car crash.”

As the family, friends, neighbors and community are still reeling from the tragic loss of Austin Comando, I am compelled to write this letter out of respect for him and the memory of this wonderful young man.

The article reported on two separate crashes on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 7. The way the article was written, combining information from two separate accidents and two separate individuals, was confusing and misleading.

The inappropriate quote you published from the other crash victim’s Facebook page relating to Mr. Cizmeli’s use of alcohol, then going on in the next paragraph to describe Mr. Comando, was bad journalism, the writing, editing and reporting notwithstanding.

I know many who were outraged by how this article read and its openness to misinterpretation. I ask you as editor of The Suffolk Times to clarify to your readers the quote and actions of Mr. Cizmeli had absolutely nothing to do with Austin Comando.

Ann Vandenburgh

Editor’s note: The two accidents were covered in a single article because both took place on the same evening and both involved Jamesport residents. Mr. Comando’s accident occurred in Southold, seven hours prior to the other, which was in Jamesport.


There are other ways

Thanks to Ched Baker for his clear and rational response to my Sept. 2 column concerning the presence of deer in our area. But certain points need review.

We do neuter and spay our dogs and cats, even some feral ones. Their gestation period is about 63 days and they typically have litters of several babies. In contrast, the gestation for deer is 200 to 205 days. A doe giving birth for the first time will only have a single fawn. Thereafter, most of the time she will have twins. A far more limited capacity to reproduce than our canine and feline friends.

It is true that deer will have many more offspring than humans. But humans live long lives, about seven to eight times longer than deer. This puts the comparison between them and us in a less worrisome light.

Sure, some of us would be less concerned about the fate of warthogs, not known for their pretty faces. To prove the point, a not-so-pretty cousin, the Visayan Warty pig, is now extinct in the wild.

One lesson the deer can teach us is let’s slow down. What’s the hurry? To gain 40 seconds to a destination? A book to read: “In praise of Slowness” by Carl Honore.

It troubles me that to fix a mistake we made in our poor management of nature and our taking over so much land from wildlife, the proposed solution is to kill the deer by the hundreds or more. Not a compassionate exchange for the few dozen killed by cars in our area. Have we explored seriously all birth control solutions or any other approach?

Once I arrived in my driveway at night to find a small family of deer resting peacefully there. I didn’t have to wait. In 10 seconds they were gone. A fleeting and beautiful moment.

There was a time when deer were almost extinct, not one left in Connecticut and Rhode Island and not many in the rest of New England. I don’t see large herds of deer today, but I know they have survived. Their beauty and “doe-eyed” appeal have brought excitement to children and grown-ups alike.

Beauty in nature is a gift we should respect. I still hope there are ways to help beyond the bow and arrow and the gun.

Pierre Gazarian


What about us?

As a longtime resident of the East End and a recent transplant to the North Fork, I was thrilled to learn that we will be getting the opportunity to participate in our first Soldier Ride this coming Saturday, what I hope will be the first of many.

I urge my neighbors to donate, cheer, ride, and meet some of the truly amazing individuals who have sacrificed so much for us.

Unfortunately some of my neighbors and I will not have the opportunity to be part of this event. We are Jewish, and the ride has been scheduled for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

I’m not an event planner, and I don’t know what factors needed to be considered in scheduling this ride. But I do know that many Jews served and continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, my own cousin being one of them. I also know that Jews continue to come home among our wounded, or worse, do not come home.

And I know that Jews who reside right here on the North Fork would have loved to have been present as participants with their neighbors on this special occasion but can’t.

The feeling of solidarity one gets from being part of this event can’t adequately be put into words. I had the privilege of participating in the first leg of the very first ride, in which Chris Carney left Montauk and rode all the way to California, and got to pedal alongside some of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met.

Perhaps next year our friends at Wounded Warrior will take this into consideration and let everyone participate.

Andy Semons


ELIH is at the top

I am proud to be associated with our community hospital, serving as Eastern Long Island Hospital’s chairman of the board. Having quality health care services available close to home is important to me.

HealthGrades, the leading independent health care ratings company, has designated ELIH as a recipient of the 2010/2011 HealthGrades outstanding patient experience award. ELIH is one of 338 hospitals throughout the nation to receive this honor, placing our community hospital in the top 15 percent of hospitals nationally.

This award is based on an analysis of patient surveys at 3,775 hospitals across the country through the federal government’s hospital consumer assessment of health care providers and systems survey, also known as HCAHPS. The HealthGrades outstanding patient experience award aggregates recommendations from patients and identifies those hospitals that provide a superior patient experience.

This third-party recognition validates the delivery of quality care. As people make health care decisions, they consider not only the outcome of a procedure or treatment, but also overall experience expected. You can’t have high patient satisfaction without providing quality care.

While we are truly honored to be receiving this award from HealthGrades, we do credit the patients for giving us their stamp of approval. We thank the community for this recognition and commend our staff for their commitment to compassionate care.

Eastern Long Island Hospital stands alongside the prestigious facilities of St. Francis Hospital (Nassau County) and the Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City) as one of eight recipients in New York State, one of two on Long Island and the only awardee in Suffolk County.

Achieving the No. 3 spot in New York City and Long Island is the culmination of many years of patient-focused initiatives within the hospital. We continually strive for excellence at Eastern Long Island Hospital and are pleased that our efforts are being recognized.

Thomas Murray Jr.


Many hands helped

That was a fine article about the Bug Light, a true community project, but a few important facts were not included.

We realize that it is impossible to thank everyone who contributed to a project of this size, and most people wouldn’t expect public thanks anyway. Steve Clarke was mentioned, but if it wasn’t for the fact that a large waterfront area at the Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding was allocated for the construction, it would have been an impossible project.

Richard Saetta and crew did the major construction, along with North Fork Welding and Supply. Bill Malloy from Thames Dredging and Dock Co. in New London did the heavy lifting from the railways to the barges and from the barges to the foundation at Long Beach Bar. And we shouldn’t forget Isabelle Wiggin, who handled the mountains of paperwork that go with a project of this size.

Without these people, this project would have never gotten off the ground.

Anyone interested in seeing a listing of a majority of the donors is invited to check out the commemorative plaque located on the south side of Route 25, just east of Dam Pond bridge in East Marion. At that spot you get a nice view of this great project.

Lillian and Bob White


Let’s work together

As the owners and stewards of Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, the Bug Light, the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation is always pleased to see media coverage about our lighthouse.

We have sole responsibility for the lighthouse’s maintenance and upkeep. We do not receive funds from any other organization. In fact, we are dependent on the generosity of our community and the annual maritime festival to generate the necessary funds for this effort.

It is unfortunate that the organizers of the screening of the movie about the reconstruction chose not to include our organization in their fundraising effort. We believe that our community is better served when people of good will come together to support important causes.

We encourage your readers to learn more about Bug Light by checking our website: eastendseaport.org, calling us at 631-477-2100, and by joining our foundation. In addition to our lighthouse responsibilities, our foundation offers a museum with nautical displays, children’s educational programs, a maritime festival, an authentic blacksmith shop in the center of the village and many other activities throughout the year.

Edward Webb

secretary, East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation


Democratic ideals, RIP

Whether Barrack Hussein Obama is a Muslim or not is a moot point.

What he is, is a communist.

But unlike his Stalinist counterparts, who planned on destroying us with nuclear weapons, he is attempting to destroy our economy.

He has no desire to reduce unemployment because he is adding to the unemployment rolls through excess taxation. He will continue the assault on our economy through his wasteful stimulus packages, entitlement spending and cap and trade taxations.

In November we, the silent majority, will vote out of office all of Obama’s eligible politicians who aid him in his assault on America.

In 2012 we will finish the eradication of the radical left politicians by booting Obama and the rest of his cronies into oblivion.

I have news for the misguided socialist elitists among us, who have thus far stifled the majority by accusing us of bigotry, prejudice, intolerance, bias and other names that have put some on the defense: Your attacks are ineffective.

The once great Democratic Party is dead and Obama is driving the nails into its coffin lid.

Yes, the party that was instrumental in legislating civil rights, child labor laws, voting equality, collective bargaining, etc. has allowed itself to be taken over by Marxist elitists who have contributed nothing to this country except the desire to “fundamentally change” the core values of America.

Many of our local leftists and contributors to this letters section are college-educated and live comfortably in an above-average lifestyle. These, the misguided, don’t have the common sense to realize that if Comrade Obama has his way, they will lose more than we, average citizens, will.

I wonder if those that extol the party line were indoctrinated into the radical left by their Marxist professors. Or were they influenced by family members who joined the Communist Party in the 1930s?

Were these aged hippies the same ones that were burning the American flags in the SSRq60s, protesting what they called the “establishment”? After all, they do fall into that age category.

I am waiting for their impotent reply. So bring it on, you fellow travelers. I quote a truly great American; “We shall overcome.”

God bless America.

John Copertino


Put politics behind

We all witnessed the destruction of the financial system of the United States, and our rapid spiral into recession. And now people expect recovery in a year and a half? Wow!

Watch a disaster of this magnitude unfold and then expect immediate economic renewal? Please, a little logic and common sense. Maybe a beneficial sprinkling of fairy dust is anticipated.

Building this economic house of cards occupied the best financial minds in the country for years. Some people out there actually think that a year and a half of arguing and saying no will fix it? Not really. This is simply partisan politics at its deadliest.

“Cut taxes and cut spending and lower the deficit.” This statement echoes loudly among certain leaders in the minority party and that part of the media that thrives on mindless criticism. The problem is that there is never a hint of how to accomplish these things.

Sure, you can cut taxes and grease the skids to ever-larger deficits. The mantra “cut spending and reduce the deficit” is motherhood and apple pie. But how will these loud opinionators accomplish this in these economic times? The silence is deafening.

We did stave off the worst consequences of the crash with the immediate stimulus. We have much economic growth germinating in more complicated stimulus programs, including green energy research and development, computerized medical records, infrastructure improvements, advanced battery research to complement alternative energy development, and more.

This is a very important time for the U.S. We either unite behind what is started and come out stronger than we went in, or block activities, frustrate growth initiatives and ultimately prove that “no” is a very damaging policy.

Howard Meinke


A regional concern

The stormwater road runoff problem in the Peconic Estuary is a regional problem.

Since the polluting of the estuary is a concern of the five eastern townships, it should be addressed and solved working together as a unified region.

If we work together and declare the overall contributing factors from all five towns as one, the substantial amount of money required to solve this serious condition may be more obtainable from the federal government as “shovel-ready-projects” ready for funding.

As we are well aware, in unity there is power. Regionally, working together we have leverage.

Jack McGreevy


It’s the little things

A beautiful thing happened the other day. A swarm of dragonflies was born at the edge of West Creek in New Suffolk.

I felt truly blessed to witness this event for the first time in my life. It’s little things like this that make me smile.

Denise Tjornhom


Coming to the rescue

I am very grateful to my congressman, Tim Bishop, and my assemblyman, Marc Alessi, because they and their staffs worked together to rescue my granddaughter’s career. My granddaughter, Vicky, is studying to be a nurse, and she had a grant to help pay tuition for this fall and tried to register for her classes when an insurmountable roadblock was thrown in her path. The local college had sent Vicky’s $1,200 past-due tuition bill to a collection agency, which now was demanding $2,200, money both Vicky and I did not have, and the school would not let her register without immediate payment.

Thanks to the efforts and influence of Congressman Bishop and Assemblyman Alessi working together, Vicky’s collection fees were reduced, and my granddaughter now can attend nursing school. Congressman Bishop and Assemblyman Alessi have demonstrated that they truly care about the people they represent and will take action to help them when the need arises.

Vasso Patrikis


This is nuts

I once heard a hilarious Amos n’ Andy radio skit, where Amos “slipped the dog.” Turns out he had used up all the church picnic money and only had enough money left for one hot dog. He tied a string to the dog and pulled it out of the roll just before his patrons took a bite, and reused it for the next customer. So you weren’t really getting what you paid for.

Fast-forward to the recent and increasingly popular idea whereby developers have installed a 1 percent fee for every subsequent sale of real property they sell their clients. Thus, if your house is sold 20 times in its lifetime, the developer gains 1 percent from each sale and can resell these income flow contracts to Wall Street. It tethers a property to a developer for 99 years! Sort of sounds like “slipping the dog,” except it’s not funny. It’s nuts!

Caveat emptor!

Fred Terry