Letters to the Editor


Cloaking bigotry

Whatever the origin of letter writer Jack McGreevy’s antipathy toward gay citizens, the U.S. Constitution provides him the right to express his views.

Curiously, Mr. McGreevy cites a passage from the Bible as reason to restrict other U.S. citizens from sharing the same rights he enjoys, specifically the right to marry.

Using his logic, if the U.S. government utilized the Bible to make law, a person who maims someone else should receive the same fate as punishment. As we know, this is ludicrous.

Religion teaches us to understand and love others who may be unlike us. By cloaking his bigotry in the name of God, Mr. McGreevy disparages his religion.

Seth Bank



Irrational screed

Just back from a winter in sunny Florida, I eagerly opened the most recent issue of The Suffolk Times and knew I was home when I read another irrational screed from Jack McGreevy on the subject of gay marriage.

Citing the Bible and Adam Clayton Powell, he makes vague assertions about how “our country has suffered for years” and once again rails against the idea that same sex-marriage should be legal.

As usual he ignores the fact that civil laws in America are not governed by a particular religion, that many prominent religious leaders are in favor of same-sex marriage and that a growing number of Americans support equal rights for their gay sons, daughters, friends and neighbors.

Perhaps Mr. McGreevy would be happier living in a true theocracy where the prevailing religion is imposed on all citizens, regardless of their personal beliefs.

I am sure that his world view would be more than welcome in Uganda, where a law is pending which requires the killing of all homosexuals.

Jerry Barkan



Kudos to NJROTC

We would like to congratulate Major Bill Grigonis, Senior Chief Charlie Turner, NC 1 Felicity Turner and all the cadets in the NJROTC for being chosen as the top unit in the nation.

In earning this award, our local program outperformed 622 units worldwide in leadership, community service, annual inspection and drill competition results, academic and athletic achievement, host-school support, scholarship appointments and other criteria.

The NJROTC is an asset to our schools and community and we should do everything we can to support this program.

Thanks to all past and current cadets for working so hard to earn this honor. We are very proud of you.

Keep up the great work.

Chris and Andrea Pickerell



Truly the best

We have personally seen the Southold NJROTC program grow over the years. Our two girls participated and got so much out of it.

They learned about honor, respect for others, teamwork and respect for country. What great traits for teenagers to have.

We have been to many drill competitions and also to the nationals three times. We have seen the unit in action and the cadets are amazing. You should see the pressure that the 40 cadets are under. What poise and grace they maintain while being individually graded, asked questions and having their uniforms reviewed for correctness, all while standing at attention.

You should see them perform their drill routines under the watchful eyes of the officers grading them. The routines can last for 4 or 5 minutes and they can not make one mistake. There is also academic testing at drill competitions. The Southold NJROTC program has many of the best all-around students in Southold, Mattituck and Greenport.

If the cadets did not feel it was worth it, the program would not continue to grow by leaps and bounds as it has been. We would recommend this program to any eighth grade parent. It will be one of the best things your child will do in high school.

We want to congratulate all of the cadets and also Major Grigonis, Senior Chief Turner and Petty Officer First Class Turner for a job well done. You all have worked so hard and now you are best in the nation. Not many people can say that.

John and Sue Stype



A shocking letter

After arriving home Monday I finally had the opportunity to read The Suffolk Times’ May 12 edition. While it takes a great deal to shock me, let me say that one of the letters did so.

Walter Strohmeyer and I work well together as Oysterponds Board of Education members and I had a great deal of respect for him. That respect is seriously eroded based on last week’s missive.

To say that graduates from a “teachers college” (whatever that is) have six years of education barely comparable to four years at a “different” institution is ludicrous at best and prejudiced at worst. I wish I knew where these colleges were.

I know that on “Little House on the Prairie” there was something like that. If he is referring to SUNYs many would be surprised to hear that they are so inept as to produce incapable graduates.

Yes, my daughter is a teacher at Greenport High School. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and Hofstra University with degrees in human services/social work and master’s degrees in elementary and special education. She had been accepted into Columbia for her master’s work but based on finances decided to attend Hofstra.

Good thing, too. According to Mr. Strohmeyer, Columbia Teachers College (yes, the real name) would have been a substandard school.

LIU/Southampton was known as a marine science school. The LIU system grants education degrees. SUNY/Maritime has educated many a teacher, one in particular that Mr. Strohmeyer knows well. If the teacher is the person who prepares students to go on to more prestigious institutions, then they themselves must have been prepared by a very good institution.

Not everyone can go to Yale, or even in this day and age SUNY/Oneonta, Geneseo or Binghampton. The days when women in skirts were segregated into schools are over.

He should apologize to every teacher on this planet.

Linda Goldsmith
member, Oysterponds school board



Lessons learned

My great-grandfather, John Fleischman, came to this land when the pressure to be a Nazi in his homeland Germany became too intense. My Uncle Frank Stankewicz was the first of first-generation Americans born to Polish immigrants. My uncle lost his life stuck in the boiler room of the USS Sturtevant, a destroyed sunk by three “friendly” mines off Key West.

Paying homage to them, since my early years I loudly shout out to injustice. Their influence shaped my belief system in ways that I never truly understood until I went to the Mattituck school board “meet the candidates” forum last Wednesday night.

It was odd entering the library to write questions for the candidates on index cards, to be posed to the candidates by one moderator. For an hour and a half perfect and concise answers to perfect and concise questions were given by each candidate.

The moderator said he asked condensed versions of multiple submitted questions. It didn’t make sense.

All four candidates spoke eloquently of similar priorities for their future work, seeking open communication between the board and the community, as well as an interest in increasing community member involvement.

Later I asked why none of my questions were asked. The answer was that it was a PTA forum, not a debate, and they reserve the right to pick the questions. I left while the candidates were mid-sentence of why we ought to vote for them.

It was a waste of my time. If open communication is really a goal, then censorship practices ought to be publicly announced at the onset of every meeting.

For more than 10 years, I have taught teachers in summer classes, focusing on helping teachers work more effectively with problem students. Two weeks ago, the company I work for said they never got my paperwork, so I won’t be teaching this summer.

Coincidence? I’m sure.

Being part of the Educated Taxpayer group has been an education of great measure for me. The amount of people who have thanked me is immense, with most saying they cannot speak out publicly for fear of retribution. Fear, coincidence and censorship — what a month it’s been.

I hope that people took advantage of their right to vote. Fear and censorship were the beginning of the tragedy in Germany. Fear to use our right of freedom of speech for fear of harm is a preamble to all that is anti-America. Nazi practices seeped slowly into the daily lives of the German people. By the time they wanted to speak out, the force was too great.

Injustice is my fuel to forge forward. I have no fear of any coincidences. I believe in the power of the people, the power of the vote and the power in numbers.

The Educated Taxpayer will meet tonight, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Cutchogue library. All are welcome.

MaryAnn Fleischman


Do we need them?

There has been much discussion in the news lately regarding teachers’ salaries and I have no problem understanding and appreciating all teachers and the importance of their work.

The idea of consolidation of our schools surfaces every so often and never gets anywhere, except, perhaps, for a few programs.

However, I wish someone would explain why each of our schools needs a superintendent of schools when each level within each school has its own principal, i.e. elementary school principal and high school principal. (Not sure about the middle school.)

I’m sure there is a good argument supporting the fact that principals and superintendents have separate and distinct responsibilities, therefore the need for both; I would like to be convinced.

I wonder if this type of consolidation has ever been considered.

Francine Prato



Welcome & farewell

I couldn’t let the changing of the guard/ownership of the Orient Country Store, the center of Orient village, go unacknowledged.

I first met its proprietor on a Sunday in January of 1981, when I ordered eight cups of coffee to transport to a downstreet group of future friends involved in a home renovation project. It was definitely pre-Starbucks, since Linton Duell had to run his eight-cup Mr. Coffee pot twice.

What I didn’t know then was that Linton and his bride, Diana, were fairly recent owners and the two previous owners, Bert and Ruth Luce and Wilbur and Rene Young, had been the gatekeepers to the Village for two+ and then three+ decades each.

Interesting word “gatekeepers.” That is exactly what Linton was. Whether he and I, or for that matter anyone, agreed or disagreed on an issue, he would be there for the village. He gave thousands of hours for our community, serving the school board, the fire department and the rescue squad.

Our local children knew he had their backs no matter what. He so protected the privacy of everyone. I used to call frantically with problems and he was always there.

Once a bird had fallen down the chimney and was recklessly bouncing off the interior of the wood stove when I put out a call for help. Linton calmly strolled down my long driveway, blanket in hand, said stand back, rescued the sooty bird, released him out the back door and quietly retraced his steps back to the store.

Diana did a yeoman’s job decorating for Halloween parties and church/school events. So we’re not just going to experience the change in the face and consistency we have gotten used to seeing over the counter for the last 30 years. We’re going to miss the couple who was there for everyone and, more importantly, knew where to find them.

We welcome the new owners, Miriam Foster and her fiancé, Grayson Murphy, and wish them well. Miriam’s parents, Dinah Seiver and Tom Foster, will be making cameo appearances as staff and they are all looking forward to settling in and meeting all of you.

The couple comes from a background of baking and chocolate-making so we are looking forward to delightful treats for the next 30 years. (No pressure here.)

Have fun, but you have big shoes to fill. And Linton, we wish you some much-deserved rest.

Carol Gillooly



Answers, please

We would not characterize our objections to Mr. Purita’s expansion as a “feud” (“Purita plan raises ire next door,” May 12).
Our issues before the Planning Board are to address broader questions of what uses are permissible, their impact on adjacent property, enforcement of current code, how the village envisions its future and its implementation.

How should applications for expansion and uses which may be contrary to codes or inappropriate to the lot footprint be processed? If there are existing code violations, should they be corrected in advance of additional permissions?  Should all existing businesses be grandfathered if expanding into an entirely separate property and, therefore, exempt from the restrictions the village places on “new” business?

These are the facts: First, Mr. Purita’s business initially opened under agriculture and markets, not as a restaurant regulated by the health department. As reported by The Suffolk Times, he did not apply for necessary permits to convert his kitchen in advance and no hearings were held.

Secondly, it is currently a violation of village code to have an exterior speaker on commercial property.

Thirdly, there is not even one parking space for Mr. Purita’s current operation or proposed expansion, contrary to current village planning and zoning.

Fourth, should sidewalk cafés be constrained so their operation doesn’t obstruct public sidewalks?

Fifth, how should State Liquor Authority regulations prohibiting consumption of alcohol on public property be enforced with respect to sidewalk cafés that have no clearly defined boundaries?

Finally, should garbage be stored on the individual business’ property? Due to lack of space, Mr. Purita’s garbage is located a half-block away from his property line, abutting our property. The overflow due to lack of pickup makes his garbage our problem.

The purpose of public hearings is to solicit feedback from all stakeholders. We believe the members of the Planning Board are thoughtful, hardworking individuals who will consider the setting of precedent and further proliferation in every application and make responsible recommendations based on the best interests of the village and its future accordingly.

We thank them for their time and service and we continue to appreciate the opportunity to present our concerns to them.

Max Brennan and Sigrid Burton



Working waterfront

Thank you and writer Julie Lane for doing a fine segment on Greenport’s boat building heritage. Your paper recognizes that the word history contains the word story, and what a story Greenport has.

At the height of its yacht- and shipbuilding era, Greenport had over thirty marine railways working concurrently. That meant hundreds of skilled workers: shipwrights, riggers, canvas- and sailmakers, metal workers, chandlers and navigation equipment specialists.

About the time of Greenport’s incorporation in the early 1800s, the village was booming for the same reason it is today — its working waterfront and access to deep water. Because Greenport offered so much work, even Shelter Islanders moved here in great numbers. With housing in such demand, many carried their own homes over by barge.

Boom and bust. It’s been big and it’s been small throughout the years. The Shelter Island Yacht Club was once host to dozens of opulent steam yachts, many over a hundred feet long.

Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, the The Shelter Island Yacht club claims among its early members John Brown Herreshoff and many tycoons of the Gilded Age. Harold Vanderbilt kept his enormous J-Class America’s Cup yachts in Greenport, and they were crewed by Greenport sailors. The prestigious New York Yacht Club had a station in Dering Harbor.

Oysters were abundant and the fishing fleets were enormous. But a falling economy and overfishing led to the demise of both.

Then during the war years, shipbuilding boomed again. The menhaden steamer fleets dominated the fishing piers. Now both are bygone industries.

After another lull in waterfront industry, Greenport is now home to several waterfront industries catering to commercial vessels and custom yacht restoration, their customers’ ships and boats requiring skilled maintenance and repairs.

These companies hire a lot of workers, too. Our working waterfront is authentic, and this is what separates us from the rest of the East End. Fitting for an island surrounded by salt water, the Shelter Island Historical Society will devote this whole season to our maritime history. The East End Seaport Museum at the foot of Third Street is also a great place to absorb our working waterfront heritage.

Like our ancestors, we feel Greenport and Shelter Island are connected by a body of water, not separated by it.

Both institutions aim to show there’s a whole lot more to our waterfront than restaurants and marinas. But then again, that’s what Forbes magazine said, right? We have just the right mix of authentic waterfront and fine dining. But that’s another story.

Pat Mundus
executive director,  Shelter Island Historical Society



Shame, shame

Shame on The Suffolk Times for printing all about the domestic dispute involving our town supervisor Scott Russell.

The Suffolk Times never reports in the newspaper about any domestic disputes, but since Scott Russell is town supervisor it made the front page. I totally agree with what John Copertino said in his recent letter, it was in very poor taste to print this.

If Scott Russell was not a town official, this would have never been put in the paper. It’s just not right to Scott, his wife and his children. There are more important things to put in the weekly Suffolk Times other then a domestic dispute involving a town official like Scott Russell.

Shame, shame on The Suffolk Times.

Nancy Wells



Not the way to do it

The report is the report, not to accept it, as opposed to just questioning the content seems like a really petty way to make a point (“Greenport utilities chief, Village Board spar over monthly report,” May 5.)

What possible motive could a trustee have to publicly comment about and reject something as perfunctory as a monthly report?

You would think a singular trustee with concerns about his job performance would pick a more private setting to admonish a superintendent, and then only with the concurrence of the full board and the mayor.

I have no comment on the quality of the employee’s work, but do take exception to trustees who do not hold themselves to the same standards and job performance as they expect from the rest of village employees.

Personal agendas have no place on the Village Board.

John Saladino



What is it, exactly?

Please send your answer to the following questions to the editor of The Suffolk Times.

Is government welfare a charity? If it’s not a government charity, then what is it?

The definition of welfare is aid in the form of money or necessities for those in need. Also, the agency through which aid is given.

Charity is defined as giving aid to the poor, an institution engaged in relief of the poor or making provisions for the indigent.

Some non-government charities such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, other religious organizations, thrift stores, food banks and soup kitchens are some of the institutions I consider worth while contributing to.

If welfare is a government charity, answer this: If I can take a tax credit when I contribute to any of the aforementioned non-government charities, why can’t I take a tax credit when I contribute to government welfare?

Also, if welfare is a government charity, why am I forced to contribute to a charity I consider to be a bureaucratic debacle plagued by corruption and fraud?

Do you believe the government has the right to force you to contribute to a particular charity?

“We the people” are the government and we can alleviate or change the present corrupt charitable system.

A wise man once stated, “The only bullet you can legally fire at the administration is your vote.”

So, lock and load, here comes 2012.

George Dengel



He just doesn’t get it

On May 1 Barrack Hussein Obama, in his divine wisdom, stated, “the United States is not and will never be at war with Islam, but instead at war with Osama bin Laden and his motley crew.”

Just imagine FDR stating after the Pearl Harbor attack that “the U.S. is not at war with the Shinto/Buddhist religion, but with Hirohito and his motley crew.”

This statement is typical of Mr. Obama’s continual denial that many who practice the Islamic faith hate the West in general and the U.S. in particular.

Mr. Obama must put his Islamic ideologies and roots aside (father and stepfather were Muslims) and he must remember that he is the president of all the people of this country regardless of race, creed or religion.

Another false statement that he made is that “Islam has always been part of America from the beginning” and “that we are no longer a Christian–Judeo nation.”

Someone should remind him that contrary to his statement, Islam has had no influence in the building of this great nation except when we sent the Marines over “to the shores of Tripoli” to fight the Barbary pirates that were enslaving American citizens.

Unfortunately, like the Nisei-Japanese of the 1940s, many Muslims that are decent, law-abiding citizens will be looked at as terrorists in the event of another attack on our soil. That will be an unfortunate product of terror carried out in the name of a religion.

Does Mr. Obama condone Muslim terror? No, but I believe he favors Muslim supremacy. He bowed down to the King of Saudi Arabia. What was that all about?

Mr. Obama is a confused individual whose socialist principles have been vehemently opposed by Congress and whose true, but hidden, religious beliefs are contradictory to those of the principles of the free world.

Why doesn’t his wife accompany him on his visits to Muslim countries? Is it that she disagrees with Sharia law that demeans women?

The good news is that we will rid ourselves of Mr. Obama in 19 months. The bad news is that he will be our president for the next 19 months.

God help us.

God Bless America.

John Copertino



Wonderful hospital

How do we thank those who help us all so much in so many ways? Let me count the ways.

At this moment, I’m thanking God to start with. Today I’m particularly thankful for and to Eastern Long Island Hospital. I was there for a few hours for a CT Scan and pain management procedure for my “wreck of a neck.”.

Not only do I thank ELIH for the superior care and skill it continues to provide, but also for the way it is given. Yes, ELIH puts the care into healthcare.

Thank you so very much.

Susan Utz