Letters to the Editor

Deer damage dollars
State Farm Insurance Company and Fortune Magazine recently surveyed deer collision with motorists. Included was cost of repair.
Nationally, 1.1 million cars/deer accidents cost almost $4 billion per year.
New York State had 77,582 collisions, at a cost of $260 million. Not addressed were the 100 to 200 folks who won’t be with us because of these accidents.
Richard Bishop

Better protection
I am writing to correct some information that was included in the recent article, “County sued over farmland protection (Oct. 28).”
The article stated that, “In the past, construction for agricultural operations was allowed to cover up to 10 to 15 percent of a preserved property…. The new rules, adopted Sept. 16, allow farmers to develop up to 25 percent for a parcel for which development rights have been sold if they can show the county’s farmland commission that a lower limit would pose a hardship.”
This statement may lead the reader to conclude that the county has loosened the restrictions on preserved farmland. This conclusion would be completely incorrect. The revisions enacted in September place legal limits on the percentage of a farm that can be utilized for agricultural structures for the first time in the history of the program.
Prior to this amendment, the only restrictions on such structures were in the form of guidelines (not law) that only applied to greenhouses. The new law limits all structures to no more than 10 to 15 percent of the farm site and limits any variances to a maximum of 25 percent. The new law is much stronger than the old law.
Other highlights of the new law include:
All variances require a public hearing and approval of the farmland committee along with the approval of the County Legislature’s environment, planning and agriculture committee.
The new law adds restrictions on mining, soil disturbance and solid waste disposal that were not previously regulated.
All non-agricultural uses are expressly prohibited.
The new law creates enforcement requirements, including the ability to require (through a court) restoration of any damage to the county’s interest and to also impose penalties of up to $10,000 a day.
Thomas Isles
Suffolk County Department of Planning

It takes two
I too am outraged.
Everyone knows who she is, but she did not get pregnant by herself.
He should be made to wear a sign that says “I did it.”
Ann Farrell

What the voters said
If there were two conclusions to draw from this month’s elections, one is that a significant number of voters has grown frustrated by elected officials who just don’t care what their constituents have to say.
How many times did we have to hear how we just didn’t understand the bailouts, health care reform, etc.?
It was dispiriting when Supervisor Russell joined that choir in responding to a letter I wrote by saying in part, “When it comes to the merit of this budget … I am more inclined to follow the advice of fiscal experts (than the taxpayers of the town)”.
The Town Board’s decision this week to forgo raises to elected town officials in response to taxpayers’ concerns was very welcome news. I would like to thank the board. As I have said in this space before, how we act locally can have more of an impact on state and national elected officials than we may realize. The board has sent a positive message about the relationship between the government and its private sector constituents. It may just be one step, but long journeys are comprised of lots of small steps.
A second inescapable conclusion from the elections is that when citizens take the time to pay attention, speak up and get out and vote, anything is possible. I’d also like to thank my neighbors who took the time to reach out to the Town Board and express their concerns.
A lot of powerful special-interest folks are none too happy when voters begin to realize the ultimate power they still possess in our republic. Those folks have a lot of money at stake (that would be our money) and they will not give it up easily.
Will we maintain the vigilance? Will more friends join us?
Now I have to get back to raking the leaves, again.
Vincent LaRocca

Things don’t change
The article on why there are so few primary care physicians struck too close to home for me not to comment.
Years ago my mother, Sherley Ballen Katz, worked with other East Enders to bring a sliding fee scale clinic to Greenport. Al Martocchia and then-Governor Carey were supportive of it. The project was named the Fanny Behlen Health Clinic and the office was located in the Lipmann block of stores.
Unfortunately, a local entity opposed it and, while the clinic received state approval, the federal government was ultimately prevailed upon to withdraw its support and the clinic never opened. The clinic was to have had three primary health care physicians supplied by the National Health Corps.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Harriet Katz

GHS Class of 1965

Health care fears
We have now entered the open enrollment period, the time when all people ages 66 and up have a choice and a chance to choose a drug plan.
You cannot get Part D drug coverage at any other time of the year. You know, of course, that you have to have a drug plan. Medicare has a penalty set up if you do not have continuous drug coverage from age 66, or whenever you started Medicare.
Yes, Medicare in its infinite wisdom has decided that if you do not have a drug plan you will pay one percent of the national base beneficiary premium, this being $32.34 in 2011, multiplied by the number of months you did not have drug coverage.
This penalty is not a one-time payment. This is a lifetime penalty. This money is added to your premium payments.
Who will receive this penalty money? That is the question I am asking anyone who may know.
Why was this put into the Medicare contract and who does it benefit? It certainly doesn’t benefit the seniors, especially seniors who have taken care of themselves and are not on medication. They must pay for drug coverage anyway.
This is our government-run health care. I am very nervous about health care for the general public.
The insurance companies are charging premiums now that are higher than some monthly mortgage payments. The drugs that are prescribed cost more per pill than a Big Mac.
What is going to happen?
Does anyone have an answer?
Maureen Chiavola

A wonderful article
Mr. Gustavson wrote a wonderful and beautiful article on Josh Horton. He is certainly a Renaissance man.
Back in 2002, I was writing for the Traveler (died and gone to Hamptons) and I interviewed Josh at the Front Street Café in Greenport. We talked mostly about his experiences as a tugboat captain.
This was before his political agenda and rock star career. However, he did mention his beginnings in the Greenport High School chorus.
An excerpt:
It was 2 a.m. in New York Harbor and things were nasty. The wind was blowing like hell and the rain was pelting sideways. Whichever direction the wind was howling from, the current was pushing the opposite way. This made for a sloppy chop, which did nothing to ease the vessel’s maneuverability.
The tugboat captain knew that docking at the 500-foot-long oil barge wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Even in the best weather conditions, the task would be a challenge. Despite the hour and the conditions, traffic in the shipping lane was heavy. Nobody was flashing a “we brake for tugboats” neon on their hull. The incoming tankers were steaming. At a full 17 knots.
The tug, with the 500-foot-long oil barge, was doing 4 knots. It was just about 3/4 miles past the Verrazano. Suddenly, both engines died.
He was (is) a truly remarkable person. Reminds me of that Irish song, “I can dance, I can sing, I can do most anything.”
Thank you for a great read.
Nancy Deegan

End American idle
Everyone has pet peeves, and some have more than others.
There are different levels of peeves, and they are quite personal. Some belong to a lot of people, like loud cell phone users in public places. That’s one of my favorites.
Uncollected dog poo is right up there for me. How about the plastic bottles and bags that clog our planet? That one makes me grit my teeth.
But there’s one that, thus far, seems to have been able to stay below the radar. Idling of any fossil fuel-powered vehicle (except hybrids) creates a noxious cloud of toxic fumes that destroys our environment and most assuredly our lungs.
If you have ever walked, biked, perhaps jogged through this gathering of rancid air, you have experienced its disgusting taste and smell. Vehicles that need fossil fuel to function shouldn’t be allowed to idle for more than, say, five minutes. If the vehicle needs to produce power while stationary, a backup power source should be in place instead of its idling for an hour, or longer.
Occasionally in my travels I have seen signs at bus stands forbidding idling for longer than five minutes. Bring it to the public’s attention, like the signs along the unfortunate streets leading to and from our ferries.
The biggest offenders in my community are the hardworking utility vehicles that belong to the town and our diligent and wonderful fire equipment. All too often, an empty school bus idles at the side of a quiet road while the driver reads the paper. Or a neighbor who has pulled their car over to the side of the road lets their engine idle while they talk to another neighbor.
I don’t understand why we don’t care more. The personal cost to us as a society in health and dollars is huge.
Turn the vehicle off when it’s not going anywhere for a reasonable amount of time. Turn it back on when it is.
It’s a fairly easy concept to embrace and it applies to almost everyone.
Judi Mogul

A case to watch
Southold Town is making news and it may well involve a constitutional issue pertaining to a legal problem in town government.
The constitutional questions is, is Fishers Island, a part of Southold Town with a year-round residency of 290 voters, guaranteed a seat on the Town Board because of the 1977 state law creating the dual Town Board/justice position?
The State Court of Appeals in Albany will consider a case presented by Dan Ross of Mattituck that “is of a constitutional significance.” This important issue and legal concern, which could have widespread ramifications if upheld, is a case to watch.
It might well be that the case brought forth by Mr. Ross could come before the highest court in the country, the U.S. Supreme Court, to be adjudicated in the near future.
As a resident of Mattituck, I’m pulling for the Constitution and Mr. Ross.
Jack McGreevy

Very, very generous
On Nov. 6, the East End Men’s Group, also known as Team Crazy Horse, had a food drive for Loaves and Fishes at King Kullen in Cutchogue. The amount of food that was collected was enormous — more that we ever imagined in a one day collection.
We’d been worried that we would not have enough food to provide Thanksgiving dinner baskets for the 35 families now in our program. With all the food and money that was donated that day, our families will now have a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.
We were told that children came and contributed coins from the returnable bottles and people generously gave bags full of food. We truly live in a very giving community.
Thanks to the East End Men’s Group and their families. Thank you King Kullen for allowing the food drive.
Thank you everyone who filled our Loaves and Fishes pantry with food.
Mary Raynor and Martha Carter
Loaves and Fishes coordinators

Just like the Indianapolis 500
Another week is almost over, with car after car coming from Southold, using the Indy 500 race track, aka Peconic Bay Boulevard, as an alternative to Route 25. As I walk along the road each and every morning, I see drivers passing me well in excess of the posted 35 mph speed limit.
At least once a week I see drivers crossing the double solid line into oncoming traffic in order to get around the ‘slower’ drivers, those who are only doing an estimated 40 mph. Twice in the past month I have had to do a quick two-step because cars have veered onto the shoulder to avoid collisions with these drivers. But even with repeated e-mails to Riverhead Town Supervisor Walter, asking for a police presence on the road, nothing has been done. I therefore have to wonder just how serious an accident has to happen or whether a pedestrian must be killed before something is done to slow down these speeders.
Thomas W. Smith

A no-fault tragedy
It was a sad day when the state no-fault divorce law came into play this past October.
Divorce used to be a serious, careful and patient process. Now we have drive-through divorce. While there are exceptions to any situation (I’m not talking about physical abuse and criminal behavior here), for the majority this will make it even easier to tear apart families without careful reflection and intervention or true, solid grounds.
It’s astounding to me how many of my school-age children’s classmates are a product of broken families. The statistics prove beyond a doubt how damaging divorce is to all involved, especially children. I am a product of divorced parents and have struggled with the fallout from that trauma, as do many I know. In our country over 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. For second marriages the number is 67 percent, and more than seven out of 10 third marriages fail. The emotional cost to human lives and the society as a whole is incalculable.
The vow to love till death through it all has become a mockery at countless ceremonies. Decisions are made because “feelings” change, or because expectations haven’t been fulfilled, or just out of pure self-gratification. The higher good and the courage of commitment is often sidelined.
Being a guitarist by profession I’ll give an analogy.
Many years ago I owned a number of great guitars, what would now be called vintage instruments. In recent decades a lot of new and exciting instruments became available that were improved, better looking, cutting edge and appealing in every way. Like many others, I began selling off the old guitars for new models. We were seduced by the false promise of something better.
When the novelty of these cool new models wore off, it was clear that these instruments lacked a lot. But it was too late to get them back. I still regret letting go of these treasures that I took for granted.
Anyone who has survived a difficult relationship and fought through seemingly insurmountable problems with professional and or spiritual guidance will tell you how deep and beautiful that relationship becomes. I recently attended an event where I saw people I haven’t seen in decades. The number of guests who were divorced once or twice was staggering. Those I talked with looked miserable beneath their veneer and a few actually admitted that they were.
There was one couple, however, who had been on the brink of divorce five years ago and reconciled. They had redeemed their shared history and there was a deep peace and quite joy about them even though one of them is fighting stage four lung cancer.
If these words help one person reconsider breaking up a family in favor of working together toward something deeper and transcendent, it will have been worth writing. The vast majority of marriages are repairable and renewable. Almost any problem can be risen above with courage and abandonment of childlike selfishness in favor of mature love.
It’s been said that heaven and hell are like a dining table filled with people that have six-foot arms. The souls in hell can’t reach their mouth and are starving. The souls in heaven are feeding each other. If we continue to worship at the altar of me we will continue to slide toward the further destruction of families.
Ray Penney

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