Letters to the Editor


Report those copters

A new summer season is upon us and the North Fork will shortly be inundated  with  helicopters buzzing overhead.
The Eastern Region Helicopter Council had admitted that Mattituck continues to be a turn-off point which pilots continue to use to get the Hamptonite clientele to their summer homes.
It is very important for all North Fork residents affected by the helicopter noise to please call the toll free complaint hotline at 1-800-319-7410 or fill out the online noise complaint form at planenoise.com/erhc. Each complaint is logged and mapped.
In order for change to happen, please don’t wait for your neighbor to do it for you. We can make a difference together.

Teresa McCaskie


What’s the deal?

Currently a resident of Southold Town pays $72 for a book of 10 North Ferry round-trip tickets, but a resident of Shelter Island pays $48.

The ferry goes both ways, so why do we get short changed?

Jack Gismondi


Proud? You bet!

It was a wonderful day in May when our family received the phone call from Major Grigonis sharing the great news of our NJROTC being named number one NJROTC unit in the nation/world.

Knowing the struggle of preserving the three schools as one unit from 2006-08 brought back the sweet echo of “together we make one unit.” A little thing like making the Department of Defense understand our unique situation was a lifelong lesson — what we call “a teachable moment” — for our children. Our thanks to Congressman Tim Bishop and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former senator from New York, for their hard work and assistance in keeping our three schools intact as one NJROTC unit.

As educational advocates and parents of two former NJROTC cadets, we have never seen a more positive educational program where all students have the opportunity to grow. With responsibility, respect, reverence, self-discipline, citizenship and patriotism, the cadets all stand a little taller, with pride, when in uniform.

NJROTC affords them the opportunity to take lifelong values with them. We are hard pressed to find another young adult program in our community that is so encompassing.

Maj. Grigonis, Senior Chief Turner and the welcomed NC1 Felicity Turner, as a female naval science instructor, shape and mold our cadets and the program. For this we are grateful. As for the cadets, some achieve and are able to soar, others achieve and walk the walk. They all take with them a little part of their experience.

Congratulations to cadets who over many years helped to build such an accomplished NJROTC unit. Your successful competitions, academic achievements, community service and leadership allow you to stand proud and tall.

Family, friends and supporters smile and be proud of our community and commitment to our young adults. They are our future.

Suzanne and Stephen Conlin


The stars and stripes

I am your flag. I have been kicked, trampled, burned and shot full of holes. I have fought battles, but I prefer the untroubled air of a world at peace.

I am your flag. I represent the freedom of humanity and I shall fly high, thundering in silence for the whole world to hear. My gentle rustling in the breeze sounds out the warning to all who would bury me forever that below stands a population dedicated to liberty.

For those who have perished for my right to freedom of flight, for those who will die and indeed, for those who will live, I stand as a symbol of freedom-loving people.

I have been carried into battle in faraway lands, always for the cause of freedom. I am bloodstained, torn and many times wearied and saddened by the thousands who have made the supreme sacrifice.

Do not let it all be for nothing. Tell me the brave have all died for a worthwhile cause. Be proud of what I represent and display me for all to see.

Whether you call me old glory, stars and stripes or star-spangled banner, I shall fly forever as a symbol of your freedom, as I did for your ancestors and as I shall for your heirs.

I am your flag.

Author unknown.

Richard Supinsky


Remember the fallen

This Memorial Day let us all take time to remember the brave men and women who have given their lives for our country.
Let us remember the fallen, the true heroes whose lives ended in defense of this great nation.

The following is a stanza from ”America the Beautiful.” I hope you read it aloud, sing it and recite it.

I wish that every teacher would explain the meaning of this (our most beautiful) patriotic song to their young students.

Have them sing it out in honor of the brave who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”

God Bless America
John Copertino


An Obama hater

John Copertino’s unbridled hatred of all things Obama continues to rear its ugly head.

Instead of acknowledging that the president went after and killed the most wanted terrorist in the world, Mr. Copertino attacks him for reiterating a distinction that president Bush made after 9/11. In other words, we are at war with terrorists, not Islam, a religion shared by over a billion people worldwide, many of them American.

As to the notion that Muslims have not played a significant part in building the America Mr. Copertino loves and honors, he must have been absent when his teacher explained the notion of the great American melting pot.

Immigrants representing all cultures and religions have toiled to make America the remarkable country that it is. Despite the current rash of anti-immigrant legislation, this is still the case.

As to getting rid of  Barack Obama, all one can say to Mr. Copertino is “not so fast!” If the country continues to respond to the Republican plan to end Medicare with the same enthusiasm as they welcome root canals, President Obama may have another four years to provoke Mr. Copertino’s unmitigated rage.

Jerry Barkan


Slander and tripe

Mr. Copertino incessantly writes half truths and slanders against the president of the United States and I’m sure he believes the tripe he spews.

Mr. Copertino writes about the president, “I believe he favors Muslim supremacy,” providing as proof a quote taken out of context, inferences from a polite gesture and his provocative innuendo in questioning why the first lady doesn’t travel with Mr. Obama to Muslim countries.

Mr. Copertino prefers to see the world through his own eyes. He seems to be a closet racist, though he will vehemently deny it. His psychotic tirades about the president seem to stem from his hatred for the color of Mr. Obama’s skin and the false belief that the president is a Muslim.

Mr. C. has an unhealthy obsession for Mr. Obama. Why else refer to the president so demonstrably as Barrack “Hussein” Obama? What else can one surmise from the neurotic rants he pens?

His arrogance is astounding. His obsession for writing nonsense intolerable.

He should join the likes of Glen Beck and fade away.

Tom Spackman


Just the latest chapter on saving Sound Avenue

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors of the North Fork Environmental Council, I thank the residents of Riverhead and Southold who participated in the SOS Ave (Save Our Sound Avenue) program at Martha Clara Vineyards on May 13 (Friday, no less). Thanks also to the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times for the great article about the event that was published in last week’s papers. Richard Wines’ great presentation about the history of Sound Avenue was the highlight of the evening program. The NFEC also is appreciative of the public officials who took time from their busy schedules to attend: New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle, Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, among others.

As evidenced by recent “Guest Spot” articles by Tom Twomey and Greg Blass in both North Fork newspapers, the current movement to raise public awareness of the significance of Sound Avenue is not new. The intention of the NFEC is to continue building upon a foundation that was laid down decades ago by farmers, politicians, and environmentalists who were determined to do everything in their power to preserve this historic and agriculturally vibrant corridor. If it had not been for the resolve of these individuals, the fundamental nature of Sound Avenue would certainly have been relegated to the past.

The NFEC and the Hallockville Museum Farm have scheduled a cooperative celebration of Sound Avenue on Saturday, June 18. This program will be held at the Hallockville Museum Farm and will include a trolley tour the entire length of Sound Avenue hosted by Richard Wines. For further information about the event and reservations for the limited seating on the trolley, please call 298-8880.

George Bartunek

vice president,
North Fork Environmental Council


It’s not ours

It has come to my attention that a company, Youth Sports Publication, has been contacting local businesses regarding placing an advertisement in one of their publications.

The publication is called Southold High School Sports Journal, but Southold High School, the Southold Athletic Department and the Southold Union Free School District have no affiliation with this publication.

Joseph Braico

athletic director and dean of students


Let’s make it happen

I want to acknowledge what a great job Professor Preston Gilbert, Professor Emanuel Carter and their SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry planning/design team did in conceptualizing the revitalization of downtown Riverhead. This is just the type of planning initiative that injects a fresh, holistic perspective into the reccurring problem of turning to developers to dream up plans to revitalize downtown.

Professor Gilbert’s observation that Main Street possesses what many are seeking is a poignant reminder to recognize the cultural assets, elevate them as focal points and move forward to support the hard-working business owners and residents striving to make downtown work.

Now the Riverhead Town Board should pick a plan, vet it through the public, adopt it and hire the students to help get it done.

Mark Terry

SUNY College of Environmental Science
and Forestry, ’92


It doesn’t add up

I’m piggy-backing on Linda Goldsmith’s response to the ludicrous letter by Water Strohmeyer (“This can’t continue,” May 12).

Let’s examine his numbers.

We can use his supplied salary range of $74,945 to $101,796 as a starting point. First, if we multiply a 180-school-day calendar by 8 hours a day, we find that teachers work 1,440 hours, not the 1,200 he mentioned. Contrary to his beliefs, a teacher’s work day is longer than the students’ school day and works out to a 40 hour work week.

Using the simple math that eludes Mr. Strohmeyer, we find that the average teacher’s hourly wage is $52.04 to $70.69, that’s $10.41 to $14.14 per hour below his guesstimate.

Second, find me one teacher who doesn’t work a single extra hour over the 1,440 and I’ll show you someone who is not a teacher.

In a gross underestimation, let’s assume that between hours after school, the weekend and the summer, a teacher puts in an average of two extra hours per school day. Now, we have a wage of $41.64 to $56.55 per hour.

Since teachers are not afforded overtime pay, night-shift differential, holiday pay or the oft-warranted hazard pay, truly dedicated teachers can find their salaries working down to a possible low of less than $35 per hour. Sure, this may still sound like a lot, but let’s not forget that teachers are professionals that the law requires to hold master’s degrees.

A major mathematical blunder exists in Mr. Strohmeyer’s statistics anyway. By “average” he means the arithmetic mean. The problem is one or two really high salaries (of teachers nearing retirement) will skew the average upwards.

He should have chosen to use either the median or the mode as a way of lodging his baseless argument. He failed to do so, however, because in doing so the “average” would be much lower and the wind would be pulled from his sails.

By showing the average, he also tries to imply that all teachers earn “around” $74,945 to $101,796 yearly. This is simply not the case.

New teachers start in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, and it isn’t until they have been there for decades do they start earning in the high digits. This is how those few high numbers can skew the average when the majority are relatively low.

I feel sorry for the people of Oysterponds, who have apparently elected someone to the board who fails at 7th grade math.

Josh Hubbard


A new waterfront

Much has been said about revitalizing the “working waterfront” in Greenport. But what some people seem to be focusing on is trying to resurrect the commercial fishing industry that because of logistic, politics and regulations unfortunately will never be what it once was.

Perhaps we should look to the waterfront and surrounding water with an eye toward commercial recreational fishing and the recreational boating industry.

Boat dealers, chandleries, detailers, mechanics, logically follow a larger boating population. Increasing the number of seasonal moorings and maybe relaxing some rules for new or established marinas to accommodate more seasonal boaters might be a way to increase the long term, as opposed to transient, boating population. The support business would eventually follow.

Also, relax outdated rules at the railroad dock to encourage new charter and party boats to come and make Greenport their home port.

John Saladino


We’re all still here

Being a born-again atheist, I greeted the news of the promised rapture with glee.

Christian evangelist Harold Camping outdid Santa Claus in checking his Bible more than twice and assured me that all god’s chillun’ were going to that heavenly great reward. And us sinners — even our soulless pets — were stuck here on old terra inferna.

Why was I happy? You might rightfully ask. If you can imagine Greenport in the summer without the tourists, you know the answer.

When I awoke on Sunday morning and looked out the window, I sadly realized that I would still be sharing this overcrowded planet as before.

And that, to my dismay, meant I would be forever destined to read even more letters published in The Suffolk Times written by John Copertino.

What a bummer.

Michael Edelson


Look it up

Before more folks enter the debate on alternative lifestyles, they need to read Genesis, chapter 19.

Paul Hunter


Plan for a tornado

With the recent violent tornadoes across the country, are Southold Town residents and Southold Town prepared for handling a tornado?

We have just set up a small shelter in our basement, and purchased a weather radio so we are prepared. There are no weather warnings on Cablevision for approaching storms of any type, unless you’re on a major network like ABC or the Weather Channel. No sirens to alert the residents of an upcoming tornado.

People need to be prepared for how they would handle our town getting hit with a tornado. I have recently written a letter to Scott Russell and asked what preparations the town has in place.

We have preparations in the Town of Southold for a hurricane and a snow storm. We need a plan for a possible tornado.

Nancy Wells