It’s a big problem

I find it necessary to respond to a letter written by Richard Conrardy about helicopter noise (“Not a real problem,” June 9).

The reason I complain about helicopter noise is not because I have too much time on my hands. Mr. Conrardy made the statement that they fly by “only” two days a week, for “only” two months a year, for “only” 45 seconds.

As a full-time resident of Cutchogue, I can tell you that the helicopters start flybys the first nice weekend in May and don’t stop until the last nice weekend in September. If my math is correct, this is closer to five months than two months.

A couple of years ago, I attended the first meeting between the Eastern L.I. Helicopter Association and local citizens and politicians. The representative for ELIHA swore up and down that there was no conspiracy to have helicopters heading to the South Fork fly over the North Fork.

When this man was finished his oratory about how the North Fork is not being singled out, Dan Ross, a town councilman at that time, read a letter he acquired written to ELIHA by East Hampton airport, telling them to fly the North Fork route.

I believe the words were “the residents of East Hampton and the surrounding area did not want to hear the helicopters.” As it is, a lot of helicopters fly well below the 2,500 feet the FAA is telling them to.

As anyone with common sense can see from a map, the most logical route to take from Manhattan to East Hampton is along the South Fork because this affects the least amount of people. The problem is there’s a lot of money in that area and that’s who our politicians and airport managers listen to.

As to Mr. Conrardy’s assertion that we are wasting our politicians’ time, that’s why they get the big bucks and great benefits. At the aforementioned meeting, the only politicians present were our local guys. All the others sent staff.

There are places closer to home than the VA hospital to see what real problems are. Visit Calverton National Cemetery around Christmas when volunteers are laying wreaths or Memorial Day when flags are being placed.

Yes, life is good for those of us who can enjoy it. It would be nice if we could sit on our front porches and have a quiet conversation with our loved ones without having to pause mid-sentence.

Bob Duffin


Pilots must love us

Wow! I was so excited and amazed that some residents of Southold are not affected by the helicopter noise.

Only two days a week and for 45 seconds? I wish I were so lucky.

The Eastern Region Helicopter Council has admitted that Mattituck has been used as a primary cutoff point to cross over to the Hamptons.

I could not resist but to contact Robert Grotell at the ERHC to encourage that he contact the helicopter companies to please have their pilots hit their GPS buttons so that they could include Southold as part of their scenic crossover point. Maybe the pilots can share their love for flying over Southold now.

I mean, how selfish of us in Mattituck to want all this noise buzzing over the Mattituck school while in session and endangering our teachers, staff and children on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is a lighter day of travel. What if a chopper went down near the school? But as a parent, that is silly thinking, right?

If only we could have traffic two days a week what a pleasure it would be. I certainly have no concern over the increased seaplanes that are buzzing overhead either.

I can only hope that my family and I could enjoy more time in our backyard with friends and relatives without being drowned out by helicopters’ noisy flights as early as 6:38 a.m. and as late as 10:10 p.m.

Again, if you are affected by helicopter noise please call 1-800-319-7410 or Gabreski Airport, 852-8095. And of course, contact your elected officials because it’s a real problem all days of the week.

Teresa McCaskie


Please sink the signs

While I am a registered Republican, I must take my hat off to the Southold Democrats for their decision to call a moratorium on all political signs for the duration of the upcoming election season, a courageous and visionary move.

The signs are a blight on the landscape, and I was insulted by the implication that voters’ decisions might be influenced simply by seeing a name on a sign.

I urge the Republicans to acknowledge and embrace a good idea when it comes along and join the Democrats’ moratorium, which will ensure a more beautiful Southold.

Julie Amper


What’s the answer?

It is stretch to believe Republicans who ask Mr. Noncarrow for political lawn signs would be seriously disappointed if told for the sake of the environment and reducing campaign costs the major political parties have agreed not to put signs out this year.

I find it rather early for Republicans to have ordered signs, which usually are put out in October. I wrote Mr. Noncarrow on June 3 requesting a sign moratorium. Had the Republicans ordered signs, he should have told me then. I never did get a reply from him.

What’s to negotiate regarding a sign moratorium? Republicans either will or will not agree. Evidently the Republicans do not want a sign moratorium and are using excuses to not agree to one. His comments in The Suffolk Times indicate Republicans are putting politics ahead of Southold’s appearance.

Bob Goodale, chairman of the Conservative Party, joins Southold’s Democrats in seeing a sign moratorium as something positive for the appearance of our town. We believe most residents of Southold see political signs as something that does not enhance Southold’s roadways and neighborhoods.

For that reason the Southold Democratic party awaits an answer from Mr. Noncarrow and continues to desire a sign moratorium.

Art Tillman

chairman, Southold Democrats


That’s not America

I never write letters to the editor but I need to respond to a letter written by Jerry Barkan.

The America he talks about is not America at all. It sounds a lot like France. He speaks of an America in which a person that takes a chance and builds a successful business is to be held hostage by his employee. Sounds like he’s not a businessman.

He speaks of an America in which you should not talk about the bad job our president is doing. I wonder if he felt that way when George W. Bush was in office.

He speaks of the tea party as if spending less money is a bad thing. On the other side, the left uses the race card when their policies are not working.

He puts people down, then wants us all to get along.

I have some news: Our president is not doing a good job.

Sorry, but the truth hurts.

Dan Wilcenski


Keeping it clean

We appreciate that The Suffolk Times last week called attention to a very important issue — the quality of the groundwater Suffolk residents depend on for their drinking water.

We also appreciate the dedication of the advocates quoted in the front page story. There has indeed been an increase in levels of nitrogen and other chemicals in our aquifer system, as noted in the draft of the county’s comprehensive water resources management plan, and this should absolutely be addressed.

We will be at the table when potential solutions are discussed and we look forward to offering our thoughts on how best to protect our groundwater for current and future generations.

However, it’s also important for Suffolk residents to understand the distinction between groundwater and the water that comes out of your tap.

To be clear, the water provided to the Suffolk residents who receive water from the Suffolk County Water Authority is safe to drink now, will be safe in 10 years and will be safe in 2050. What may change if steps are not taken to address the issues highlighted by advocates last week is that it may cost more to ensure that your drinking water is as safe in 2050 as it is now.

But we will take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that the water we provide continues in the future to be what it is now, and that’s some of the best drinking water in the country.

James Gaughran

chairman, SCWA


Other options

Wastewater solutions are not limited to single or central treatment systems.

Clustered systems are appropriate here.

Glynis Berry


Time to get loud

Last week Bill Toedter wrote asking us to make our voices heard about the lack of rail service here on the North Fork.

I couldn’t agree with him more when he said, “We pay our share of commuter taxes … but only get weekend service half the year and weekday service that hardly meets the needs.”

Paraphrasing many of Mr. Toedter’s remarks, we read the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) really doesn’t care about our piece of land; all they want is our money. They would not even run a rail service to coincide with a wine/B&B tour when it was suggested.

In a recent Newsday article they call Greenport an “outpost.”

Reliable train service just might give commuters the incentive to ride the rails, just as they do the S92 bus up and around the entire East End. Incidentally, this service was just extended to include Sundays.

The Suffolk bus system is another public transportation system that together with a light rail service just might make traveling on the East End affordable and convenient while reducing energy usage and pollution.

The LIRR is not the only agency lagging on this issue. Mr. Toedter suggests we use our tax dollars to develop a system like the one proposed by a local agency, the Five Town Rural Transit (FTRT). Looking on the Internet, I cannot find out anything newer about the FTRT other than an East End Shuttle web page last updated on June 2, 2010, a meeting in Southampton with the LIRR in April 2007 and the transit survey of August 2005. All not very current.

While the LIRR does little to provide us with public transportation using money they already received, they are not the only ones absent on this issue.

Public transportation beyond just rail service is a very worthwhile issue. We need to rally our forces and use the money that is ours in our own towns.

Yes, we need to speak up. But to whom and through what venue? I say call, write and email your elected officials. After all, the LIRR is a public entity.

Joel Reitman


Reasonable regs

Exterior speakers and amplified music are violations of current Village of Greenport code. The code also provides for a variance to allow exterior amplified music.

This variance provides for a public hearing and allows the village to impose restrictions, including the times and hours during which the music can be played.

The argument for allowing businesses to continue to operate contrary to code is that several businesses violate the code. By this theory, should we be able to operate in violation of code and laws if others are doing so? Should codes not be enforced?

If members of the community seek relief from the code, they could apply to the Village Board and all stakeholders can input during public hearings. Or a revised code can be drafted. Ignoring code violations, such as allowing exterior speakers and loud music to proliferate, sets an unsustainable precedent.

Do we want to live in a village of earsplitting cacophony with different amplified music coming from every direction at all hours?

There are large populations of people in the village and town who have become upset and are turning out to protest the sacrifice of late night peace and quiet in favor of a few businesses that feel entitled to disturb the rights of others to the peaceful enjoyment of their property. Recently many neighboring stakeholders have been protesting the use of B&Bs as catering operations for large wedding parties.

It seems appropriate to have a conversation about amplified music heard throughout the village, particularly into the very late night and early morning hours. The code needs to be rational and take into consideration all stakeholders. This might mean music and entertainment during certain hours, but a cessation by a reasonable hour of compromise that can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

The State Liquor Authority solicits the community for input on both new licenses and renewals. Stipulations are routinely written into the methods of operation in many communities, which include reasonable restrictions on amplified music late at night.

These kinds of compromises can insure all stakeholders have a voice in the community and insure the right of peaceful enjoyment to all.

Sigrid Burton and Max Brennan


An informed choice

We’re well into 2011, and it’s a time for reflection of the last six months. Have we been good parents, good friends and good citizens?

If we look back over the last several years, can we say we have always made good decisions with no regrets? Can we say we are proud of things we have done in our lifetime?  Would any of us go back and do things differently?

In reading the article about Steve Brautigam’s DWI, I think it’s very disingenuous to bring this situation to the forefront just because he is running for office by highlighting a situation which obviously has caused Mr. Brautigam and his family an embarrassment. Let’s focus on what Mr. Brautigam’s experience brings to the table. Let’s try to keep the focus on which candidate is the right person for position of trustee.

As with anything we do in life, we must educate ourselves before making decisions and passing judgments. During this campaign season, make a point of attending events where Mr. Brautigam can share his work experience and get to the know the person before judging him so when we go to the voting booth, we’re armed with good information to make an informed choice.

We don’t want this to be a campaign of politics as usual where mudslinging becomes the campaign mantra. Let’s not divert our attention from the goal and what Mr. Brautigam’s experience can bring to the people of Southold.

Marie Domenici

Editor’s note: Ms. Domenici is running on the Democratic line for a Town Board seat.


Don’t forget Jim

Beth Young’s story on the June 17 gala for North Fork Community Theatre noted that 30 “theater legend” past presidents will be honored, but listed only 29. The omission was Jim Barney, who all local theatrical people knew to be a tireless creative force in our community.

At first glance I thought that Jim was not named because he left us last February, but I then noted that other “passed” presidents were listed, including Jim’s friend and colleague, Todd Bibey.

I know that Todd would have wanted Jim’s name on the list to expand the gala’s fundraising potential by attracting people who knew and appreciated Jim’s many contributions to the NFCT.

To all who are swayed to attending the gala by knowing that it will include a tribute to Jim, I offer more news: Jim’s and my daughter, Amanda Barney, will accept the honor on his behalf.

I hope that many who read this will attend, because the worthy cause of buying the theater’s building deserves support by all of us.

Pam Barney


Getting wordy

Recent letters to the editor are very long. I miss Bill Albertson.

Jim Hinsch


You can’t make it up

We live in amazing times.

In just one week, yet another politician has been “uncovered” in more ways than one, Sarah Palin (the only person in America capable of guaranteeing Barack Obama’s re-election) decides to rewrite history, Marshal Matt Dillon cashes in his chips, the Libyan Lunatic orders his soldiers to rape his own people.

And the helicopter noise we all endure is described as more or less trivial compared to what we would go through if we lived in Howard Beach which, by the way, figures prominently in my conception of Hell, as does most of Queens.

Honestly, where and how do you start dealing with this lunacy? Except for James Arness’ passing, you can’t make any of this stuff up unless you want to be labeled a slanderous psychotic and if you speak your mind you immediately become someone’s blood enemy.

I mean it’s only 10 o’clock in the morning and after reading the paper I’m already overwhelmed. As Rodney Dangerfield once said, “Hoo boy, you’ll be drinking early today!”

Hey, that gives me an idea. Maybe I’ll just mosey over to the Long Branch, hoist a couple with Matt, Doc and Kitty and reminisce about when things seemed more or less sane. Care to join us? Matt’s buying!

Pat Lohn


She made a difference

The recent tribute to Viola Cross from Merle Levine reminds me of how one person can effect change.

Mrs. Cross ferreted out the indignities visited on people of color. She exposed the special dangers they lived with. Mrs. Levine writes that it was Viola Cross who discovered that the houses at Church Lane had all been down-zoned to commercial use without notification to the residents and without the protections that residential zoning provides.

Mrs. Cross, a lifelong resident of Southold Town, alerted the community to the injustices that were being done to Church Lane residents and was able to have a successful rezoning.

Viola Cross is an example of how important it is not only to speak out, but to take action to correct injustices that are many times foisted upon people of color.

Marjorie Day


What a blessing

Special thanks to Clarke’s Garden for donating and planting the beautiful flowers around Greenport Village.

While I was escaping the heat by slipping into Harbourfront Deli the other day, Clarke’s Garden owner Peter Clarke was happily restocking the planters that line Front Street.

What a blessing to have shopkeepers who care so much about this community. He deserves an award.

David Stires


We get twisters here

I’m writing in regard to Nancy Wells’ May 26 letter, “Plan for a tornado.”

According to the “Nature Company Guides on Weather,” a tornado forms when high speed winds in the upper levels of a storm cause it to rotate. The rate of rotation will be much higher at the center of the storm, near the main inflow of warm air.

A spinning column of air descends through the updraft area and emerges below the cloud base. As it reaches the ground, a tornado forms. The winds can exceed 300 mph.

They travel anywhere from an average speed of 35 mph up to 65 mph, cut a path from 300 ft. to over a mile and a half wide and a few yards to hundreds of miles long.

According to the National Weather Service Office at Brookhaven Lab, from 1950-2010, 28 tornadoes were recorded in Nassau and Suffolk counties, 20 of them in Suffolk. According to the Fujita Scale, these ranged from F-0 with winds of 65-85 mph, causing minor damage, to F-2 with winds of 111-135 mph, causing considerable damage.

On Long Island overall, statistics reveal a tornado is observed on average every 2.1 years. In Nassau County, it’s one tornado every 7.5 years and in Suffolk, one every three years.

Tornadoes can and do develop as a result of a passing tropical storm or hurricane. Most tornadoes form as the summer heats up, the majority from July onward.

The last tornado to affect the North Fork occurred on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 8, 1999. This storm formed over the Sound north of Mattituck, then headed east over Peconic Bay, causing severe damage in New Suffolk before weakening near Nassau Point. Classified as an F-2 tornado, this storm caused $1 million in property damage and one injury.

Leonard Llewellyn Jr.

Editor’s note: Mr. Llewellyn is a cooperative observer for the National Weather Service.