01/28/12 10:30am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Members of the Shelter Island Deer & Tick Committee with a 4-poster feeding station. Pesticide is applied by rollers on four vertical posts as deer feed on corn contained in buckets between each pair of posts.

After many years of debate, political wrangling and scientific investigation, New York State has joined the rest of the lower 48 in approving for widespread use the permithrin-based pesticide that is applied to the heads and necks of deer as they feed on corn at “4-poster” deer-feeding stations.

The purpose of the device is to kill ticks and reduce the incidence of tick-related illnesses among humans.

The approval limits the pesticide or “tickicide’s” use to Nassau and Suffolk Counties, where Lyme disease and other illnesses associated with tick bites have become endemic. Special permits will still be required to deploy the 4-posters because they violate a state DEC rule that bans the baiting of deer.

The decision is nothing less than momentous to the people — spearheaded largely by Shelter Islanders — who have been lobbying for it for nearly a decade.

It follows a three-year 4-poster test program on Shelter Island and Fire Island conducted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension under a special state permit. Its cost of more than $2 million was funded by the state, county and town as well as private donors. The town continues to deploy 15 4-poster stations under an annual extension of that permit. Local taxpayers pay the $75,000 bill for that. The test program deployed 60 units on Shelter Island.

The three-year test was conducted only after Shelter Island’s Gov. Hugh Carey wrote the sitting governor at the time, George Pataki, to order the DEC as a matter of public health to allow a test to see if 4-posters could lower the tick population. Until then, the DEC in Albany had adamantly opposed the use of 4-posters in New York State even though every other state except Hawaii and Alaksa had no rules against then.

The DEC said that drawing groups of deer to baiting stations might spread chronic wasting disease among the state’s deer herd; it also said that the tickicide deployed by the 4-poster was not registered for use in the state. The state’s hunting lobby bitterly opposed the 4-posters, fearing the tickicide it deployed would taint deer meat.

According to a Cornell report on the test-program that was released last spring, 4-posters were found to be highly effective in killing ticks while introducing no more permethrin into the environment than can be found by testing deer on North Haven, which was used as a control site. There were no 4-posters there and yet trace amounts of permithrin were found in its deer, most likely from the broadcast spraying of private yards and lawns by pest control companies with permithrin-based chemicals.

The DEC’s Vincent Palmer, who oversaw the Shelter Island test program, announced that the state had “registered” the 4-poster tickicide in an email sent to 4-poster stakeholders on Friday.

He reported that the DEC had agreed to register the tickicide on January 9. It was approved “in conjunction with Special Local Need (SLN) Supplemental Labeling that is assigned the following registration number: SLN No. NY-120001. The SLN labeling specifies the restrictions, geographical use limitations, and conditions which must be complied with in order for 4-Poster Tickicide to be legally used in New York State. For example, 4-Poster Tickicide is registered for use only in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and may only be used in conjunction with a valid deer feeding permit issued in accordance with the provisions of 6 NYCRR Part 189.”

He wrote that “details associated with procedures involved with applying for a Part 189 permit authorizing the baiting of deer in connection with the use of 4-Poster Deer Treatment Devices are being developed. The NYSDEC’s Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources will provide details in the very near future.”

Shelter Islander Janalyn Travis-Messer, a real estate agent who was among those who lobbied for the 4-poster program, called the news “very exciting” in an email reply to Mr. Palmer that was copied to all the stakeholders. Her late husband Jim was a town councilman who suffered from Lyme disease.

01/15/12 1:32pm

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTOS | Sellout crowd on Shelter Island for nationally acclaimed bluegrass band Blue Highway Saturday night.

Award-winning bluegrass band Blue Highway played to a sellout crowd at the Shelter Island School on Saturday night. The group has been wowing crowds since 1994 and features some of America’s most talented pickers and singers.

The original concert was to have been at Sylvester Manor last summer but Hurricane Irene postponed the show. Proceeds from the concert benefit Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island. The  farm encompasses the remaining acreage of the original 17th century Sylvester Manor plantation, which once included all of Shelter Island; it is being operated as a non-profit educational institution intended to celebrate and preserve organic farming and locally produced foods.

Blue Highway’s new album, “Sounds of Home,” is number five on the national bluegrass charts and two songs from the album are in the top 20.

Sylvester Manor’s Bennett Konesni and friends — Jeff and David Lewis — playing under the moniker of the Free Seedlings opened Saturday night’s concert.

Bennett, Sylvester Manor’s steward, fronted for the Route 7 Ramblers when he was a student at Middlebury College and toured the Northeast with Circus Smirkus. After college, he collected farmers’ work songs in rural Africa, Asia and Europe during a post-graduate year of field research as a T.J. Watson Fellow.

Hailing from North Carolina, David Lewis played pedal steel and bass in rock, country and jazz bands before returning to acoustic music in the early 1990s. His son, mandolinist Jeff Lewis, was learning guitar chords from his father when he was 10 and soon the father/son duo was playing at bluegrass festivals across Maine, where Jeff is currently in school.

The event was sold out. Shelter Island’s resident acoustic artists Tom and Lisa Hashagen joined in before the rest of  Blue Highway took the stage for a special song (“Two Soldiers”) that was  dedicated to Shelter Island’s Joey Theinert and Jordan Haerter of  Sag Harbor, who both died in combat.

A standing ovation brought Blue Highway back for a parting song at the end, CD’s were selling fast in the lobby  and feedback was 100-percent positive.

Photos by Beverlea Walz.

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01/13/12 1:46pm


A former Shelter Island town justice and her husband both were sentenced on Jan. 10 to probation after pleading guilty Nov. 15 to reduced charges after their embezzlement trial in Riverhead.

Prosecutors alleged that the couple had stolen more than $1 million over a four-year period from an elderly Water Mill woman who suffered from dementia.

Katharine Pope, who pleaded guilty to fourth-degree identity theft, a misdemeanor, was sentenced to three years probation; her husband, Wayne, who pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, was sentenced to five years probation, according to the clerk’s office at the Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead.

There was no requirement that they pay back the estate of the woman they were charged with bilking, according to the clerk’s office. A call to the DA’s office for comment has not yet been returned.

The couple was indicted in August 2009, one month after the victim, Mary Abbott Estabrook, died at the age of 89. Ms. Pope was no longer on the bench on Shelter Island at the time.

Mr. Pope allegedly obtained power of attorney from the victim while he worked as a handyman in her home. He then wrote checks to benefit himself, according to the DA’s office.

Ms. Pope, who served as a town justice on Shelter Island from 1998 to 2002, was initially charged with first-degree grand larceny and two counts of first-degree identity theft. The ID theft charges are related to telephone transactions made in 2006, when Ms. Pope allegedly identified herself as Ms. Estabrook and liquidated more than 12,000 shares of stock, according to the prosecution.

Mr. Clifford said Ms. Pope’s other charges are considered “covered by the plea,” meaning her sentence won’t include them but they’ll remain on her criminal record.

The Shelter Island Town Board appointed Ms. Pope, a Democrat, in 1998 to fill a positions in Justice Court that had been left vacant by the death of Judge Howard Cronin. That November, she ran against Garth Griffin and was elected to serve out Judge Cronin’s four-year term. She ran for re-election in 2002 and was defeated by Republican William A. Sulahian.

01/02/12 4:01pm

PETER BOODY PHOTO | No one was hurt when a Piper Seneca made a hard landing at Klenawicus field on Shelter Island Monday.

The landing gear of a twin-engine Piper Seneca with only the pilot aboard collapsed during a landing mishap Monday afternoon, January 2, at Shelter Island’s Klenawicus Airport. No one was hurt.

The pilot, Michael J. Russo of Queens, said that a gust of wind upset the aircraft just as it was touching down on the grass strip. A main landing gear struck the ground hard and collapsed, he said, and the plane veered into the grass on the edge of the landing strip.

The aircraft is based at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, the pilot said. It is listed by the FAA as registered to a Delaware corporation, Northeastern Aviation Corp.

Shelter Island Police were on the scene with the pilot at about 3:30 p.m.

12/17/11 10:09am

COURTESY SAILINGPIX.DX | Sarah Lihan (left) and Amanda Clark competing this week in Australia.

“We did it!” was the triumphant message from Shelter Island’s Amanda Clark on Facebook early Saturday morning Eastern Standard Time after she and her crew Sarah Lihan won a berth on the 2012 US Olympic sailing team in Perth, Australia on Saturday.

It will be the second Olympic medal quest for Clark, 29, who started sailing lessons at age 5 at the Shelter Island Yacht Club. She competed in Beijing in 2008 and has been ranked on the U.S. sailing team since 1998 . She has represented the nation in 16 world championship events.

Clark-Lihan finished a week of sailing in 12th place in the women’s 470 category among 48 international competitors at the ISAF Sailing World Championships, a close three places ahead of her American competition for the Olympic team, Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar.

After a day off on Friday, Clark-Lihan beat Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar in both races Saturday, finishing 7th to Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar’s 16th in race nine of the week-long competition and 14th in race 10 to Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar’s 17th.

Going in to Saturday’s final two races of the regatta, the teams were in a literal dead heat. Having placed 8th to Clark-Linhan’s 11th in June’s first round of the Olympic trials in Weymouth, England, Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrrar were ranked number-one in the world and had a three-point lead when competition began for the 470-class on Monday.

It was a seesaw battle through the week, with Clark-Lihan doing well on Monday and Tuesday, including a third-place finish, but stumbling on Wednesday, losing two races — one with a 33rd-place finish — on Wednesday. That put them in 16th place, two spots behind Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar.

But they resumed their winning ways on Thursday, finishing 13th and 5th in races seven and eight to Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar’s 16th and 20th. That dropped Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar from 14th to 16th place in the standings on Wednesday.

“We executed our day as planned,” Ms. Clark commented on her Team GOSAIL Facebook page on Thursday, “and now have a small lead in the standings going into the last two scheduled races. Looking forward to an exciting day of racing tomorrow!”

The winner of the US Olympic spot in the women’s 470 category was the team with the lowest combined overall placement in Perth and the previous Olympic trials in Weymouth, where the 2012 Olympic races will be sailed. Clark-Lihan finished in 11th place there, three places behind Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar.

The women’s 470 regatta in Perth was won by a Spanish boat followed by teams from Israel, Great Britain, New Zealand and Japan.

Clark-Lihan in 12th place were the top finishers of three American 470 teams, with Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar close behind at 15th and Cara Vavolotis and Lara Dallman Weiss in last place of the 48 boats.

12/16/11 7:00am

COURTESY PHOTO | Sarah Lihan, left, and Amanda Clark racing in Perth on Tuesday.

Shelter Island’s Amanda Clark and her crew Sarah Lihan beat their American Olympic trial competition in two races Thursday to stand in 12th place in the ISAF Sailing Championships in Perth, Australia.

They finished 13th and 5th in races seven and eight in the women’s 470 competition while the duo they must beat for a berth on the 2012 US Olympic team — Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar — finished with a 16 and a 20. That dropped Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar from 14th to 16th place in the standings on Wednesday.

“We executed our day as planned,” Ms. Clark commented on her Team GOSAIL Facebook page, “and now have a small lead in the standings going into the last two scheduled races. Looking forward to an exciting day of racing tomorrow!”

The winner of the US Olympic spot in the women’s 470 category will be the team with the lowest combined overall placement in Perth and the previous Olympic trials that were held in June in Weymouth, England, where the 2012 Olympic races will be sailed. Clark-Lihan finished in 11th place in Weymouth, three places behind Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar.

After a day off on Saturday in Australia, the competitors will be on the water for races nine and 10 beginning at 1:30 a.m. EST on Saturday followed by the final medal race on Sunday at 12:10 a.m. EST.

The American competitors are in the top-middle of the pack of 48 international sailors meeting in Perth. The Spanish team of Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos is in first place followed by boats from Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Great Britain in the top five positions.

Clark-Lihan are leading two other American boats, ahead of Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar and the team of Cara Vavolotis and Lara Dallman-Weiss, who are trailing the crowd in 48th place.

Recapping the seesaw results since racing started on Monday, Clark-Lihan slipped behind their American competitors on Wednesday in races six and seven. They landed in 16th place Wednesday, two spots behind Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar, who were ranked 14th.

After beating their American competition in three of four races on Monday and Tuesday, Clark-Lihan struggled to a 33rd-place finish in race five on Wednesday morning while Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar came in 5th. In race six, Clark-Lihan finished 27th to Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar’s 12th.

The Clark-Lihan team started the competition Monday very well, with 12th and 3rd place finishes for a 5th-place ranking. Maxwell-Kinsolving had a bad day and finished back in 27th place.

Tuesday’s competition kept Clark-Lihan ahead but Maxwell-Kinsolving Farrar, the number-one ranked women’s 470 team in the world, narrowed their gap. Clark-Lihan scored a 15-16 in Tuesday’s two races while Ms. Maxwell (of Wilton, Connecticut) and Ms. Kinsolving Farrar (of New York City and Fishers Island) finished 6-19 to climb to 19th overall.

Races can be tracked at: http://static.sportresult.com/federations/isaf/Sailing/raceviewer/index.php?v=25&id=503c9387-66e7-4773-ac45-90867ca9a8dd&event=82.

12/12/11 9:33am

ELEANOR LABROZZI PHOTO | StndAIR’s Cessna Caravan seaplane off Crescent Beach in August.

Concern that a new dock off a residential property on Nostrand Parkway on Shelter Island will be used for commercial seaplane operations has a neighbor warning there may be a lawsuit in that town’s future.

Douglas Knight, one of the trustees of an estate that owns a large holding including three houses on Nostrand Parkway, wrote Shelter Island Town Board members last week to argue they should not grant a dock permit to André Balazs, owner of Sunset Beach restaurant and hotel, for his property at 33 Nostrand Avenue because it would be used commercially.

Mr. Knight did not know when he wrote the letter that the board had voted to grant the permit on November 10.

In his letter, Mr. Knight noted that Mr. Balazs had established a seaplane service to shuttle guests from New York to Sunset Beach and predicted that the dock might handle up to 11 landings a week, according to the schedule on its website. The neighborhood could be subjected to increased traffic as passengers are shuttled between Nostrand Avenue and the hotel, he wrote.

The dock appears designed to accommodate seaplanes, Town Board member Peter Reich commented last month when the Waterways Management Advisory Council reviewed the application and went on to recommend unanimously that the Town Board approve it. Peter Needham, chairman of the WMAC, said as his panel reviewed the application that neighbors should be notified so they were not caught off guard. “Nobody likes surprises,” he said.

Mr. Reich commented this week that the dock conformed to the town’s requirements and that if Mr. Balazs makes only personal use of it there would be nothing illegal about it.

The Town Board approved the dock on November 10 after a hearing at which nobody spoke in opposition. The permit allows for a 5-by-100-foot fixed dock with a 5-by-40-foot “L” at offshore end, stairways to beach, electric and water service at offshore end and one 2-pile dolphin in Shelter Island Sound.

The landings, takeoffs and beachings of StndAIR’s Red Cessna Caravan on pontoons were a familiar sight last summer off Crescent Beach. There were some grumblings that surfaced at Town Board work sessions about the potential dangers of a seaplane taxiing through congested waters to the beach to let off or pick up passengers. Councilman Reich commented then the only regulation on the town’s book that affected the operation was a speed limit for all vessels of 5 mph within 100 feet of the shoreline.

Mr. Knight learned of the dock in a November 17 story in the Reporter. Mr. Reich commented for that story that the absence of pilings would enable wings to easily pass over the dock. He said that when he “saw that the pilings for the last 20 feet or so were cut down to the lower dock surface, coupled with the fact that Mr. Balazs is part owner of Sunset Beach where seaplanes were landing all summer, [it] made me realize why he wanted the low dock with no pilings.”

When Mr. Knight learned in an email last week from Mr. Reich that his letter to the board had come in too late, Mr. Knight replied that the trustees of the Becker Appointment Trust, which owns the lands of the late Robert J. Fallert, were “looking into appealing this decision. The code is very clear as it pertains to the commercial characterization and use of docks. Clearly, the WMAC in its advisory role to the Town Board has ruled incorrectly and has ill-advised you. I would have liked to have handled it differently, but due to the lack of remaining time for filing an appeal, I have no other choice.”

In his November 30 letter, Mr. Knight wrote that the “Becker Appointment Trust owns 60 acres of largely undeveloped woodland stretching over 1,800 feet along the shoreline on West Neck. The family has owned the land since the early 1890s, maintains three all-season homes there, and has a vested interest in preserving the Island’s ‘out–of-the-way’ lifestyle as well as its unique sense of place.”

He wrote that “the proposed seaplane dock by André Balazs certainly gives us pause — especially in light of the fact that André just started his own airline, ‘StndAIR,’ last spring.”

He wrote that “StndAIR’s summer charter schedule reveals that between NYC’s Skyport Harbor and the Hamptons, three flights are offered on Thursdays, four flights on Friday and two flights each are scheduled Sunday and Monday — with optional continuing on to or from Shelter Island’ for all of the flights.”

StndAIR’s website lists East Hampton Airport and Crescent Beach as scheduled destinations, with fares $495 one way to and from East Hampton and $595 to and from Crescent Beach.

Mr. Knight wrote that “the neighbors … will not tolerate their quiet enjoyment to be diminished in any way by what will amount to Shelter Island’s first commercial ‘skyport.’” He predicted that the airline’s red 12-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan could deliver up to 48 scheduled passengers on Fridays who “will require land transfer from the new dock to the Sunset Hotel along the already over-travelled corridors of Nostrand Parkway and Belvedere Avenue …”

10/22/11 2:19pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | They're off and running on the 14th annual 5K Turtle Run in downtown Riverhead Saturday morning.

The 14th annual 5K Run for the Ridley to benefit the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles was held in downtown Riverhead Saturday morning.

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, one of the most endangered sea turtles in the world, is found right here on the shores of Long Island.

The Riverhead Foundation operates the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Program. It is the only authorized organization of its kind in New York State. Trained staff and volunteers provide assistance and care to over 150 animals a year.

Some 313 runners preregistered for the race and many others came out because of the beautiful sunny weather and windless conditions.

Here are the top finishers and their times:

1st- Rick Trojanowski of Calverton, 16:43
2nd- Ryan Udvadia of Shoreham, 16:59
3rd- Anthony Galvan of Riverhead, 17:00

1st- Taylor Mauarigoni of Riverhead, 18:40
2nd- Catherine Radzik of Mt. Sinai, 18:56
3rd- Mary Sullivan of East Quogue, 21:26

Age 9 and under:
1st- Christopher Schmidt of Jamesport, 26:38

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09/16/11 5:14pm

PETER BOODY PHOTO | A North Ferry boat lands on Shelter Island.

The Suffolk County Legislature on Thursday approved North Ferry’s application to raise its fares.

Same day round-trip tickets will cost $15, up 15.3 percent from $13. The one-way fare will go up $1 to $10, or 11 percent.

Non-residents will pay $79 for a book of 10 round-trips, up 9.7 percent from $72, and $62 for a book of 10 one-way tickets, up 8 percent from $57.

The rate hike, which may not take effect for at least a month, is expected to give North Ferry an increase in annual revenues of $410,154, according to the company, up 7.8 percent from last year’s revenues of $5,229,709. Most of that additional revenue, more than $275,000, would come from non-discounted fares paid by non-residents of Shelter Island.

North Ferry filed the rate request with the legislature on May 16, saying its costs had kept rising even as ridership had slumped and that it had been operating in the red.

For Island residents, the price of a book of 10 round-trip tickets will rise from $48 to $52, 8.3 percent, or 20 cents per trip. The price of a five-day round-trip pass will rise from $22 to $26, up 18.2 percent, or 40 cents a trip. That would be the same $2.60-a-trip rate proposed for a book of 10 resident round-trip tickets.

Six-day commuter passes will no longer be offered.

The separate higher fare for SUVs will be eliminated, and the truck rate will be applied to vehicles 22 feet long instead of 20. Modified vehicles — trucks and vans with extensions — will no longer qualify for discounted rates.

Same day round-trip tickets will cost $15, up 15.3 percent from $13. The one-way fare will go up $1 to $10, or 11 percent. Non-residents will pay $79 for a book of 10 round-trips, up 9.7 percent from $72, and $62 for a book of 10 one-way tickets, up 8 percent from $57.

No change will be made in the rates for foot passengers, which are $1.50 for residents who buy them in the ferry office and $2 for others. The walk-on rate last went up in 2006 to $2 for everyone but, after a local outcry, the county reduced the fare for residents.

The  increases will not affect the bicycle rate of $5 per trip, or $3 per trip with a commuter discount.

The legislature’s vote was unanimous, according to Julie Ben-Susan, the general manager of the Heights Property Owners Corporation, which owns the ferry company. The legislature’s Budget Review Office earlier this summer recommended that the rate request be approved.

She said the increase won’t be final until County Executive Steve Levy signs off on it and the company did not expect to put it into effect for another month or so.