Letters to the Editor: Life after Hurricane Sandy

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A dock in Greenport, the day after Hurricane Sandy.


ELIH says thanks

Hurricane Sandy was an event of unprecedented consequence. Thanks to all who assisted, Eastern Long Island Hospital weathered the storm without any casualties or structural damage.

Despite record-breaking surges, ELIH employees remained calm and did what needed to be done, all while watching out for the patients under our care and each other’s safety.

Accolades to all of the staff who came in, stayed overnight or accepted reassignments, while making personal sacrifices in order to do so. When patients needed to be evacuated, the rapid response of Peconic Bay Medical Center, North-Shore University Health System, Peconic Landing and Stony Brook University Hospital facilitated the safe relocation of 46 patients.

Due to collegial relationships and genuine concern, this monumental task was accomplished within four hours. Keeping the lines of communication open and pooling resources was reassuring to all involved. Keeping patients safe and out of harm’s way was clearly the first priority.

As we all know, and can now better appreciate, while emergency plans serve as a guideline, it takes ingenuity and fortitude to assess immediate needs and take action to ensure a positive outcome. To all of the employees, who were front and center, going above and beyond, you are the true assets at ELIH and in our community.

To those who cared for patients, transported patients, were reassigned or volunteered to stay, who kept the water out, the pumps going, the physical plant intact, everyone fed, medical supplies coming, diagnostic testing going, you should all be proud of the herculean effort undertaken through one of the worst storms on record.

Paul Connor III

president and CEO,
Eastern Long Island Hospital


Not much help at all

What a wonderful group of young people came to Town Hall on Nov. 5 to represent FEMA.

They are volunteers for FEMA from AmeriCorps and are from all over the country, including California, Indiana and Washington State. Most were in their early 20s, looking to help us as they could.

The FEMA representation here was strictly to secure homes in immediate danger. At this point, they were not here to distribute food, clean up property or even help with a tree in a precarious position. It was disappointing to me, and of course to so many of the senior citizens there, to ask for help with downed trees, destroyed fences, food spoilage and flooding.

FEMA is a great organization but they could not help anyone that I could tell, as their mission was more appropriate for Rockaway disaster than the East End.

The volunteers basically directed people to fill out online applications, period.

Still, it was good to see dedicated sincere young people trying to help.

On another matter, how did gas prices jump over 30 cents in one week at some gas stations? Gouging?

Eve Randall


Outstanding efforts

I want to commend the staff of The Suffolk Times for the outstanding efforts during Hurricane Sandy.

The use of written articles, pictures, videos and the blog was extremely well coordinated. A special thanks goes out to those who monitored the blog over a 24-hour period and worked tirelessly to provide real-time comprehensive perspectives, pictures and videos to hundreds of interested readers.

Speaking specifically for myself, I don’t live permanently in Southold so I was particularly concerned about the impact of the storm in the area and its effects.

One reporter specifically made his way to Beixedon to provide some video coverage of the beach. Although the video was not all reassuring given the damage, it certainly removed some of the uncertainty involved with the situation.

Once again, I wanted to recognize the professionalism and work by The Suffolk Times and thank you for bringing the coverage to your readers.

Jeff Caravella


Thanks for the pics

I want to thank both The Suffolk Times and the Riverhead News-Review for posting pictures of the recent storm.

My family lives in Riverhead and Laurel and because of the power outages, I couldn’t get in touch with them.

It was helpful seeing pictures and realizing, although it was bad, it looked like most folks were doing OK.

Lynn McNulty


Hi from Afghanistan

I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and I would just like to thank you and everyone who works at The Suffolk Times for allowing me to see what’s going on back home.

Kyle William Wilkens 

Mr. Wilkens is a 2010 graduate of Southold High School


Hello from the UK

We were shocked and sorry to see the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in Greenport.

We had one of the best holidays we have ever had staying there in August, and much of that was down to the warm and friendly local community. We were made welcome everywhere; Claudio’s, the brewery and the extremely wonderful Alice’s Fish Market, where we got the best fresh lobster.

There were too many pleasant encounters to detail here, but a memorable one was when we visited the hardware store on Main Street to fix a bike tire puncture. The owner could not have been more helpful, carrying out the job in a manner I would describe as both efficient and relaxed, during which time we shot the breeze, covering the fishing history of Greenport to the subtleties of the Scottish dialect.

We also enjoyed several nights and a few beers in the Rhumbline, watching the Olympics with great services from the staff there. We spent a lot of time on the several beautiful and varied beaches, all within easy reach.

I must say, the town cast its spell over us and we can’t wait to return. We sincerely hope you recover from the terrible damage quickly, and our thoughts are with you. We have been acting as informal ambassadors, encouraging friends to visit your lovely town as I am sure they would enjoy it as much as we did.

Paul and Tania Donnachie


A job well done

Like so many others, Claudio’s waterfront was rocked by Sandy’s tough punch in the gut, sustaining substantial damage to our docks and infrastructure.

It’s going to be costly, but we’ve been there, done that and we’ll be back better than ever. It’s just what we all do here on the North Fork.

That was perfectly clear even before the beginning of Sandy’s relentless body blows to all of us. The preparation and follow through of both Southold Town and the Village of Greenport’s hard-working crews was nothing short of outstanding.

Even at the height of the storm the Southold Highway Department and our great cops were constantly keeping the pathways clear to ensure we’d be able to get where we had to go. With the lashing wind and surf-like waves rolling into the village, our crews were out there facing up to Sandy’s pummeling ensuring clear pathways for our always ready EMTs and fire departments.

While LIPA is a continuing disaster for all Long Island, including the North Fork, Greenport’s utilities, leaders and crews alike including Mayor Nyce were on top of it from the beginning. They faced the potential electrical disaster, communicated with the community and businesses alike and executed a carefully planned rolling shutdown for the village.

With Sandy running out of blows, they kept us in the loop for the orderly start-up of our grid and Greenport was mostly back on line in less than 48 hours. How’s that stack up?

Sandy may have landed some pretty heavy shots, but with the fighting efforts of a lot of people, all who are our neighbors every day, we got the TKO.

Well done.

Bill Claudio


When the tide is out

Recently I was mopping the salt off my buckled kitchen floor and wondering how low the motor in my washing machine is.

I thought of my favorite quote: “The cure for anything is saltwater: tears, sweat, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen. It didn’t seem to apply until I started thinking about how people have been acting the past few days.

I thought about the people I met wandering around in the middle of the night in New Suffolk trying to figure out what they could do.

I thought about the gawkers taking pictures on my front lawn while I tried to get the boards with nails sticking out from under their feet.

I thought about all the people who offered me help, lodging and elbow grease.

I realized that the best and the worst in us is more obvious when the tide goes out. And I realized that in some sense this storm has washed something away and offers us a chance to be grateful and to continue to do something that matters.

George Cork Maul


Love thy neighbor?

“Love thy neighbor” are words to live by. But I don’t have to love that landscaper’s gas-powered leaf blower at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we should all be neighborly and we should help each other in any way we can.

But when people are in gas lines, wasting gas to make an unscathed home look pretty, that’s not very considerate.

A rake, now that’s something I can love.

Thomas Lambert


He kept the peace

A note of thanks to Sergeant Helinski and the Southold police officers who responded to a potentially problematic situation at the Valero gas station on the Main Road in Cutchogue early Saturday morning Nov. 3.

There was information circulating that the station had received a gasoline delivery early that morning, which was confirmed by the employee within the 24-hour store. The employee stated that they would start pumping gas at 6 a.m. and a line starting forming up Depot Lane.

At about 6:15 a.m., when they had not started pumping gas, Sgt. Helinski asked about the delay and the worker told him the owner had decided not to open until 8. Sgt. Helinski insisted on speaking with the owner and said a public danger could be brewing with the line-up of cars and an angry group of citizens.

After a contentious discussion, gasoline was flowing a half-hour later. Throughout the incident, the sergeant and the other officers were calm, professional and respectful to all involved.

The peace was maintained and a temporarily scarce resource was appropriately dispensed.

Tom Mauri


We will save it

I was dismayed to see the Galley Ho in New Suffolk characterized by The Suffolk Times as “all but destroyed” after the hurricane. Especially since our engineer thoroughly inspected the site and advised us that “damage to the structure is minimal, the structure needs to be supported to limit additional damage.”

There was damage along the length of our shoreline and the New Suffolk waterfront property was no exception. But I think the hundreds of individuals who have contributed to preserving this property would have appreciated accurate reporting, not guesswork, about its status post-storm.

As I write, another storm is headed this way and we can only hope that the Galley Ho will again remain intact. We plan to stabilize it as quickly as possible and move it, temporarily, away from the marina to facilitate bulkhead repairs which had already been scheduled for late November.

For the record, and to be perfectly clear and accurate, we are continuing to fundraise to preserve and protect this community asset.

Barbara Schnitzler

chairwoman, New Suffolk Waterfront Fund

board of directors


Go underground

Last year in the aftermath of Irene I submitted a letter which basically said LIPA’s decision not to move power lines underground due to financial reasons would ultimately lead to even greater expense in the form of future storm damage. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy has driven that point home and the results are painful to watch.

It’s bad enough people have suffered such great losses, but to have more than 980,000 people on Long Island without power is very hard to take. I’ve lived in many places throughout the U.S. and the only one I can recall not having underground power lines was the town where I grew up in New Jersey. Everywhere else, from NYC to Laramie, Wyo., the only time customers lost power was when they didn’t pay their bills.

LIPA has said repeatedly the cost for a project like I’m suggesting is prohibitive — and perhaps at first glance it is. But let’s look at this problem in a little more detail.

An undertaking of this size requires two main ingredients: labor and financing. How many new jobs would be created by this massive endeavor? I think quite a few and if you listen to anybody running for office on Long Island their number one priority is keeping and creating jobs.

And what about the money? Surely the federal government with its endless supply of funding for projects of dubious or no merit and all its “stimulus” money that by all accounts hasn’t created one new job should be called upon to significantly participate in financing a project of this size and scope.  To be sure, I wish at least one of our elected officials, especially at the federal level, would seriously look into this matter. Who knows? The bill might end up being named after them!

On another matter, last week a letter criticized The Suffolk Times’ policy of not printing the names of email contributors whose letters are posted in your online edition. I totally agree their names should appear.

The Internet freely allows people to spew out all kinds of garbage under the veil of anonymity. But ultimately, what value can be placed on the opinion of someone who won’t even sign their name to it? They might as well be leaving their “message” on the wall of a public toilet because that’s all it’s worth.

Patrick Lohn


Crossed messages

In the editorial page endorsements of your Nov. 1 edition it was stated that I declined to be interviewed by Newsday as the Democratic candidate for the 2nd Assembly District.

Quite the contrary, I was interviewed by Mitchell Freedman in connection with my candidacy at my home in Mattituck. A photographer sent by Newsday had taken my picture prior to interview. I also appeared for a debate for Channel 12.

Perhaps there was some confusion over crossed voice messages, but I most certainly didn’t decline the opportunity to give my views and thoughts on how best to represent the 2nd Assembly District to the editorial board.

Nicholas Deegan


Sign your name

I strongly agree with Mr. Brennan regarding the anonymity of people’s postings on media websites.

When I make a statement I’m willing to stand behind it with my true name, not some pusillanimous cloak of a nickname known by only a few. Yes, many of the postings are gross untrue accusations and characterizations put out there in a cowardly way.

If what these people are saying is true, then why are they afraid to use their real names? The Suffolk Times is not alone here, as many other online media sites allow the timid to engage in this form of misinformation.

The Internet is a wonderful thing for people in a real and true democracy to participate in. Let it not be changed into a false ideology of the mean-spirited few.

Rick Kedenburg


Creating roadblocks

Mr. Paterno objects to Troy Gustavson’s claim that Republicans spend their energy thwarting and discrediting our president.

The writer may object, but he can’t ignore Mitch McConnell’s declaration that his party’s number one priority was to be sure Mr. Obama was a one-term president. The obstructionism on the Republican side has been unrelenting, and undeniable, despite the president’s compromises and attempts to reach across the aisle.

The letter goes on to deny the Republican swing to the far right, claiming that the approach to fiscal and economic issues has been “consistent over time.” This is not true.

For example, from 1982 to 1992, under Republican administrations, the highest tax rate went from 70 percent to 50 percent to 31 percent. With each reduction of taxes, the deficit rose. Now, with a continuing deficit the Republicans blame on Mr. Obama, they not only don’t want to raise taxes on the rich, they want their tax cuts to continue.

This is not consistent or healthy fiscal policy. You can look it up, not make it up.

The Republican position on economic policies cannot be considered without including social and cultural policies in the conversation.

We have a Republican presidential candidate who endorses people like Rich Mourdock, senator of Indiana, who says pregnant victims of rape should bear the offspring because it’s “something God intended.”

Then there’s Todd Akin of Missouri, who claims women’s bodies can prevent conception after rape, and John Walsh, representative of Illinois, who declares the life of the mother is “absolutely” never a reason to terminate a pregnancy. There are at least 15 Republican candidates/senators who would forbid abortion in case of rape.

If these positions are not “far right,” I’d be terrified to find out what Mr. Paterno considers “far right.”

Teresa Taylor 


A truly fine captain

As a true courageous sea captain of old, Captain Robin Walbridge went down with his ship, The HMS Bounty, lost during Hurricane Sandy off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Knowing Capt. Walbridge, that’s the way he, as an old salt, would have wanted to go — steady at the helm.

When aboard his vessel, Capt. Walbridge was a no-nonsense guy. As I remember him, when I worked and sailed on Bounty not that long ago, he was in command at all times. It was his strong presence and leadership that saved Bounty from going down when she was in Fall River, Mass., being worked on a while back.

No question, Capt. Walbridge’s crew on Bounty can thank him for their lives being saved. He was that kind of man.

Jack McGreevy