Letters: Graduates, use your gifts to the utmost

JAY WEBSTER PHOTO | Southold graduates celebrate their graduation.


Do your honest best

To all you high school grads: Congratulations on the first of what I hope will be a number of significant achievements in your lives.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a series of letters supposedly offering you advice that invariably turn into missives about the writers’ likes and dislikes, political beliefs, etc., and somewhere along the line forget all about you. Don’t worry; this is what happens when people get old.

But do worry about the fact that these very same individuals, plus millions more, are eventually going to be your responsibility. An increasingly large senior population is just one of the major problems you and your peers are going to face down the road.

Now when I was your age (stop groaning!), we had three primary issues to contend with: Nuclear annihilation, the civil rights movement and Vietnam. The situations you face are just as complex but far more numerous and in all honesty some scare me right down to my socks.

My advice on how to respond to the mess you’ve been handed? If you feel something is wrong or you don’t understand it, ask questions and don’t stop until those “in charge” give you a straight answer.

If you come across a problem, take the responsibility and try to fix it or at least be part of the solution.

Remember, all of us are born with certain capabilities and the greatest mistake you can make is not to use those gifts to their utmost. In other words, do your honest-to-God best.

No one can ask more of you.

Patrick Lohn


Ban bamboo? Yes!

Glad to see that the subject of banning bamboo is on the table and hopefully Southold Town will be part of that ban.

My wife and I have lived in Orient since 2004 and have been dealing with a bamboo “invasion” ever since, with the problem getting worse each year.

A neighbor planted it and let it run amok. It’s literally a bamboo forest now, every year encroaching on my property and others.

There’s a sense of hopelessness about it since we have no one to turn to for help.

Joe Papa


Taking responsibility for clean water

Last week’s attack by a certain environmentalist on Bob Villa was off base. As I understood his story, he was saying that our local officials along with other agencies, including the health department, have done a good job of protecting the water quality within the confines of Southold Town. I agree.

The taxpayers of this town have supported, through various initiatives, the preservation of hundreds of acres of farmland and open space along with upzoning for the sole purpose of protecting our water supply and surrounding bays for future generations. At present, Southold Town averages 12 acres of land for each person living within its borders.

Can the town do some things better? Yes.

It can more strictly enforce rules already in place with respect to nonconformities that are a result of upzoning.

It can continue to support the programs and laws already in place with respect to drainage and placement of cesspools and wells.

And most importantly, the town government should encourage higher density development in areas that can support it with public water and sewer. The heavy concentration on preserving land is wreaking havoc on another important resource in our town: our children, who can no longer afford to live in town so that we might reap the benefit of the education we also take the responsibility to provide.

Lastly, clean water is not a right; at least I cannot find it in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. It is a responsibility; one that, I think, the town has taken very seriously.

James Dinizio Jr.


Why wait?

While watching cable TV, a woman at the board meeting in Town Hall made a brief but powerful statement that Love Lane will have a tragic fatality if the traffic situation is not remedied. Unfortunately, the Town Board was silent.

Some time ago while at Town Hall, I spoke to Mr. Russell about this same topic, but nothing has been done. It seems we are only motivated when tragedy occurs.

Vincent Pisano


Here’s why we
stayed home

I and seven to 10 other friends missed the music and fun times at this year’s Riverhead Blues Festival, our first absence ever. No, it was not the Mattituck Strawberry Festival or the Shelter Island 10K Run that was the reason. It was the short-sighted policies of Vince Tria and the festival organizers.

What was once free admission became $5 per person, then $10 and now $15. What was a “bring your chair and cooler” was now a “no-no.” What was once a rare opportunity for Riverhead Town to showcase its riverside venue for residents and visitors is now just a continuing political squabble and another money-making event.

Ed Goldstein


Best days ahead
for the Vail

On behalf of the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, we thank the community for the many successes of this year’s Riverhead Blues and Music Festival. While attendance numbers were less than we had hoped for, I was encouraged by the overwhelming support voiced by everyone involved, audience, crew and many local businesses.

As most know, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall provides a venue for fundraising events supporting charitable groups like Toys for Tots, East End Hospice, Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter, as well as medical benefits helping locals in need. We presented programs for the East End Arts Council, I Love Riverhead, and every year of the annual Riverhead Idol competition as well as public forums, Business Improvement District meetings, graduations for Riverhead Charter School and town inauguration ceremonies.

These and other events have been presented without charge for the community’s benefit. We appreciate all support in our continuing work.

I thank the Town Board for approving the festival and the fates above for two days of great weather. Many people complimented the free performances given in Grangebel Park, showcasing acoustic acts in a beautiful and relaxed setting.

We thank Joe Lauro of Historic Films for previewing the opportunity beginning next month when the Vail brings movies back to downtown Riverhead (albeit in digital form). Unique performances at the Vail will help establish the downtown as an entertainment district with an active nightlife.

With insufficient space here to express thanks more fully, a complete version of this statement may be found on our website at vailleavitt.org.

Finally, I would especially like to thank my colleagues on the Vail-Leavitt board. I encourage interested community members to contact us via our website — vailleavitt.org — or email us at [email protected] Whether offering suggestions, assistance or volunteering, I ask you to help us grow and develop through your participation in this community. With your involvement, I believe the best days of the festival and our Music Hall still lie ahead. Thank you.

Robert Barta

Council for the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

2012 Riverhead Blues and Music Festival


The obvious choice

As the presidential campaign rolls along, a few points of importance stand out amid the babble, overstatement and downright lies.

For instance, Mr. Romney goes to great lengths to give no credit to President Obama for actual accomplishments, and revels in giving him credit for former President George Bush’s run up of the debt. The current fiscal deficit, actually created during the Bush term through very large tax cuts for the wealthy and two unfunded wars, is laid with fanfare on Mr. Obama’s doorstep. Romney assumes no one will look at the facts.

Romney criticizes President Obama for his current support of humanitarian efforts in Syria as opposed to launching a unilateral military engagement. Since China and Russia support Assad, current U.N. efforts are at stalemate. However, we all know that our past single-handed military actions drained the treasury and were not a logical course. Why would it be logical now?

As a result of doing careful security spending and planning, the Obama team got rid of Bin Laden and other Al-Qaida operatives at minimal cost. Again, this is not Romney’s ever-expanding military presence, but it is effective.

The GOP, with Romney support, gutted state and federal budgets and caused massive teacher layoffs. This, in the face of our well documented education decline, is another example of ideology overrunning intelligence.

President Obama followed his environmental passions and in cooperation with the auto companies pushed through large efficiency increases for automobiles. The passenger car fuel economy rating will go up to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This is a big gain. Less petroleum use leads to cleaner air and less dependence on oil dictators. It also adds auto company jobs.

When you weigh these arguments, President Obama is the obvious choice in November. The president has a list of accomplishments and a list of desirable future programs. Gov. Romney only has his own list of “Obama’s mistakes” that he assures us his election will immediately cure.

How? You just have to wait. Nobody knows his solutions yet; not even Mitt.

Howard Meinke