Letters to the Editor: Nov. 10, 2011


Open the 7-Eleven

I have been involved with the study of the Factory Avenue and Main Road corner since 1996. I have personally spent countless hours on that corner watching traffic flow.

In 1996 the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce petitioned the DOT and the town to put a light on that corner and they put a blinker there.

Do you remember the cries for the blinker light to go red and green?

Take a look at the site now and then remember just a few short months ago what it looked like as the CITGO station. It’s a vast improvement.

The changes to the corner of Factory Avenue are not going to interfere with the ingress and egress of the 7-Eleven property. The re-work of the corner was to facilitate the ease of traffic flow going northbound onto Factory Avenue from Main Road, making it easier to make right and left turns on to Factory Avenue.

This redesign will make the corner better, but is not so essential that it should hold up the project and cost the business owner thousands of dollars more in delays, or the loss of new jobs. It can wait until spring when the DOT can do the work. The corner has been that way for years; it can wait a few more months for the makeover.

The site plan was to be designed so that any truck that supplies the store could be loaded and unloaded on site and not interfere with traffic flow on Main Road and Factory Avenue. The entrance and exit patterns were designed to ease traffic flow and were placed strategically by a traffic engineer.

If we are truly business-friendly in Southold, then we should work with our fellow Southold resident trying to open a business that will employ our neighbors. Pete Harris and Jaime Richter have been at that site enough to determine if it is safe. Or a letter from DOT should be more than enough to allow them to open.

Why cost this business owner more money and more delay? Look around and see how many empty stores are in our hamlets. Is that what we want for Mattituck? Isn’t the Hudson City site enough blight for Mattituck? Vacant stores and buildings don’t add to the beauty of our community or its property values.

As the former vice chairman of the Planning Board and a past president of the Mattituck C of C, I understand what the board is going through. These are tough economic times and we have to be able to compromise.

I hope they’ll have the wisdom to bend just a little so as not to cause an economic hardship to another business owner. There are enough of us having a hard enough time just to keep our doors open and provide services to the community.

George Solomon


Consider alternatives

Kudos to The Suffolk Times for discussing a topic that is not glamorous, but essential for the East End.

Yes, cesspools are not the best solution for our wastewater treatment, as the solid waste is a source of pathogens that leak into groundwater and then migrate to our bays. Microorganisms actually process the waste in the septic tanks, which is why the timing of pump-outs should be tailored to individual household use.

While waiting too long can cause failure and contamination, pumping too soon destroys the optimal treatment process, as the microorganisms need to be re-established. Upgrading cesspools to the septic systems required by the county health department mitigates the pathogen issue, but does not address the impact of nitrogen on our environment. An overabundance of nitrogen builds up in the aquifers, affecting drinking water quality and migrates to the bays, where it triggers algal blooms.

On the North Fork we have some of the highest groundwater nitrogen levels in the county. While the costs to mitigate nitrogen are high, especially when compared to the septic systems we typically install, the cost for treatment is less than central sewers.

The costs of doing nothing are even higher. We need to start thinking about how we can protect our natural assets. Some actions we can take are:

• Identify the need for nitrogen mitigation and submit this to the EPA Clean Watersheds Needs Survey in 2012. While this does not guarantee funding, it does raise consciousness of the issue at all levels of government and identifies estimated costs.

• Assess decentralized wastewater as an infrastructure component of the town’s comprehensive plan.

• Install test projects for single, on-site systems and small clustered systems, taking advantage of Suffolk County’s new incentive program.

Communities have been afraid of the cluster systems, as they view them as central sewers. Appropriate for our hamlets and dense waterfront developments, the clusters are quite different, being smaller, less intrusive and capable of being installed in parking lots.

Their use will not unleash development, as the environmental need is so high. New goals, criteria and a strategy for implementation need to become part of our planning efforts for the North Fork.

Glynis Berry

Editor’s note: Ms. Berry is an architect and a member of the Suffolk County Planning Commission.


A voice of reason?

This is regarding the article in the Nov. 3 edition about the upcoming Mattituck Park District election.

What was omitted in Frank Polistena’s bio was his effort in 2011 to petition the MPD to build more beach volleyball courts in the protected dunes at Breakwater Beach.

A number of organizations, including North Fork Beach Volleyball, the North Fork Environmental Council and the Captain Kidd Property Owners Association, fought against this development. Ultimately it took the Town Trustees to put a logical stop to this ill-conceived project.

How can anyone who wishes to bulldoze beach dunes for their own selfish interest consider themselves a “voice of reason?”
This year we complied with the park district’s request for a full list of our club’s members and budget for the past three years. Our group has been running volleyball events for years, many for local charitable causes. Mr. Polistena has done nothing but try to disrupt our events and take away dates from our youth and adults alike.

Since our club has provided all the equipment at the Breakwater Beach courts since they were built in 1998, it would be interesting to see what Mr. Polistena does with his league funds.

The voters should be aware of these facts and decide for themselves.

Kathy Ryan, NFBV director of youth volleyball


Shop and buy locally

I wanted to write to encourage readers to use local workmen and merchants, and there in my emails this morning was a wonderful suggestion called “2011 — A new holiday tradition.” It goes on some, but the gist is this:

Don’t buy foreign-made items for your friends and loved ones, buy something from local merchants or businesspeople, either made or sold locally. That could be a beautiful craft or painting by a local artist. Give gift certificates from local stores or services, barbers and hair salons and local restaurants. The list goes on and on.

I recently had all of my area rugs steam cleaned by Southold Professional Cleaning Service, which did an excellent job. I’m sure that’s a gift certificate someone would really appreciate.

But the thing that really brought this idea home to me was the quote, which happens to be my favorite, at the bottom of the email.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This really matters because Americans need a boost. We all spend money at the holidays. Think about how you’ll improve someone’s life in these difficult times by putting our hard-earned money back into our own community.

Have a peaceful, wonderful holiday season.

Marion Wipf


Lousy water

According to a United Nations report there are now 700 billion people on earth, 900 hundred million of which do not have clean water.

The people of Orient now have the distinct honor of being on par with the countries on the horn of Africa. We have to thank the Orient Association, Tim Bishop and, last but not least, Scott Russell, for this outstanding achievement.

Nice going, people.

Bill Gibbons


Grateful seniors

The senior class of Greenport High School would like to thank the Andersons, East Marion Fire Department, Carl Demarest and Brick Oven Pizza for all their help and donations.

They helped make the senior barbecue, the spaghetti dinner and the football concession stand fun and successful fundraising events.

Mark Pagano, senior class president


Why even work?

I am the owner of a small pest control business in Calverton who had an employee quit his full-time position with us in August 2010. He took another job and was fired a month later. He filed for unemployment benefits and was granted them. My account was charged for his weekly benefits of $382.50 per week. I objected and requested a hearing.

Two months later, at the hearing, I was informed the law states that even though he voluntarily quit, he was fired by the new employer and therefore, my account had to be charged for his benefits and my objection was denied. I offered him his job back the next day but he refused to report. I then reported his refusal to report.

After another two months I was told he did not renew his state certification, which he needed for the job, because he couldn’t afford the $450 fee. The state denied my objection and allowed him to continue collecting unemployment benefits charged to my account.

I offered to hire him back and recertify him, pay for his license renewal and give him $17.78 per hour, full time, and 100 percent paid medical, dental and prescription plan. Plus a Simple IRA pension, holidays and paid a vacation. His pay during his training period, approximately one week, would have been $12.78 per hour.

Yesterday I got a determination letter stating only that my job offer of $12.78 per hour for an apprentice was “substantially below that is prevailing for similar work in the locality, ($13.76.)” They did not allow or ask me to increase the offer; they just let him stay out of work collecting benefits.

This exemplifies a problem with the systems of our government, which allows people to abuse the system to collect benefits to which they should not be entitled, which in turn is unfair to employers and out-of-work Americans that really want to work!

Skip Weaver, Another Pest Control Corp.


Demand more of the Navy

On short notice, the U.S. Navy held an informational public meeting on its suggested plan to clean up the toxic plume at the former Navy/Grumman airfield in Calverton. The meeting, like the plan, was only a good first step. More — much more — is needed.

Only a dozen or so interested people showed up at this meeting. The North Fork Environmental Council and others are hoping the Navy will agree to hold a better publicized meeting at a larger, more central venue, as this is a matter important to all who are concerned about polluted groundwater, drinking water and waters flowing into the Peconic River.

Public comments on the plan can be submitted in writing up through Dec. 12. While we encourage people to read the full report before submitting comments, we strongly suggest that you raise your voice and demand another, more interactive informational hearing so that you may hear and better understand the details of the plan directly from the Navy and their consultants.

While the plan is well thought out, it is but half a solution. For now, full active remediation efforts will take place only on the Navy property along the fence line and north, which includes the area at the heart of the plume. The larger portion of the plume — which extends from the fence line area down through the Peconic River Sportsman’s Club, whose wells are tainted and closed, to the Peconic River — will have no active cleanup steps taken for the time being.

The reason given for the delay is the Navy’s need to collect more data from this ever-shifting portion of the plume and the need to study and develop new active cleanup processes that won’t adversely affect the wetlands and river, and the wildlife each supports.

While such a delay and actions have some merit, the history of this plume has been one of delays and inaction. We can’t just sit and hope that the problem will fade with time. That’s how we got to this critical position in the first place.

A copy of the Navy’s plan can be found at Riverhead Free Library and online, including the NFEC website.

Bill Toedter, president NFEC


What about that?

Regarding the letter “They ‘misspoke’ ” in last week’s Suffolk Times, I want to thank George Dengel, the German propaganda expert, for setting us straight on the issue of the political big lie.

However, Mr Dengel conveniently forgot to mention George Bush’s invasion of Iraq due to WMD. Perhaps he’s not aware of this event.

Seth Bank


It doesn’t add up

In his Oct. 27 letter, George Dengel makes the extraordinary assertion that “the current administration has added more to the deficit than all the preceding administrations combined.”

Extraordinary because I find it hard to believe that Mr. Obama has managed to amass more debt in three years than his 43 predecessors did in 219. Mr. Dengel does not provide numbers, nor does he cite a source of his information, but his comment is at odds with figures from the Congressional Budget Office Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as reported in The New York Times July 24.

According to the budget office figures for 2002-09, policy changes under George W. Bush added $5.07 trillion to the deficit. The Bush tax cuts were the single largest contribution, at $1,812 billion, followed closely by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and defense spending at $1,468 billion.

Projected additions to the deficit from Obama policy changes, for a comparable period of 2009-17, are a relatively modest $1.44 trillion. The largest single contributing factor is $711 billion in stimulus spending, a substantial number, but less than the $1,381 billion under Bush for TARP and other bailouts and the 2008 stimulus (and other changes not specified in the Times article).

Health care reform and entitlement changes, which his detractors cite as proof of Mr. Obama’s profligate spending, are projected to add $152 billion to the deficit.

Not chump change, to be sure, but certainly not excessive, particularly if compared to the $180 billion of Bush’s Medicare drug benefit.

Ellen Krieger


To the point


Look that one up in your Funk & Wagnalls, or in Webster’s if you’re of that generation.

It seems to be an adequate assessment of how our Congress has declined in the past several decades.

It speaks loads.

Marianne Selwyn


‘The other’ Carol Lee

I am writing regarding the letter from Carol Lee. It was not from me, but another person named Carol Lee. My husband and I have always had very positive experiences at Peconic Bay Medical Center; nothing to complain about at all! I would also like to thank the many people who have inquired about my husband since reading the letter about her husband’s post-surgery struggle.

Carol M. Lee


In the cross hairs?

The “other” Times reported this week that Shell Oil earnings in the third quarter of 2011 have doubled to $6.98 billion.

Shell’s CEO said, “We are making good progress against our targets …

I wonder who his targets are?

Bob Feger

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