01/26/15 10:00am
01/26/2015 10:00 AM
Local historian Richard Wines (left) along with Doris McGreevey and Richard Radoccia stand in the Jamesport Meeting House, where Mr. Radoccia and Ms. McGreevey hope to present a play about the Civil War on the 150th anniversary of its end. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Local historian Richard Wines (left) along with Doris McGreevey and Richard Radoccia stand in the Jamesport Meeting House, where Mr. Radoccia and Ms. McGreevey hope to present a play about the Civil War on the 150th anniversary of its end. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Richard Radoccia of Laurel said he was stunned to hear little local fanfare was planned to observe the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.

So the amateur historian is setting out to change that.

Mr. Radoccia and Doris McGreevy of Mattituck plan to produce a play he wrote about the Civil War to commemorate its April anniversary.  (more…)

01/02/14 9:00am
01/02/2014 9:00 AM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Doris and Ron McGreevy of Mattituck survey the stretch of Long Island Sound beach east of Mattituck Inlet that will be rebuilt with material dredged from the inlet.

Residents living east of Mattituck Inlet have long watched their sand-starved beach recede, thanks to two stone jetties that block the sand’s natural drift.

The jetties not only contribute to coastline erosion but also raise navigational safety concerns for commercial and recreational vessels entering and leaving Mattituck Inlet, which is a federal waterway under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In May, the Army Corps accepted responsibility for the jetties’ inadvertent effects and agreed to dredge the inlet, deepening the waterway and using the dredged material to rebuild the heavily eroded area of the Sound beach to its east.

This was a project more than 15 years in the making.

While most neighbors, boaters and nearby business owners supported the project, one Mattituck couple spearheaded the effort to get it done, mostly by pursuing government officials to push for funding — no matter the mood in the nation’s capital.

“They fought hard over the years, starting at the local level, eventually concentrating their efforts toward Washington … refusing to take no for an answer,” said Dave Bergen, a former Southold Town Trustee.

For their role in pressing political leaders and the Army Corps to act, Ron and Doris McGreevy of Lloyds Lane in Mattituck have been named The Suffolk Times’ Civic People of the Year.

Doris McGreevy, who credits her husband with doing “most of the work,” said the journey began while she chatted with two of her neighbors one random afternoon.

“We said, ‘We have to do something about this,’ ” she recalled. “We saw the inlet was blocking the flow of the sand, and it was one of the reasons we have extreme damage to our beach.”

The McGreevys said they wanted the Army Corps to be held accountable and believed that going through the legislative process would make it happen.

“We felt that we had enough trust in that process to go that route,” Ms. McGreevy said. “We felt if we engaged our representatives, and they understood the situation, they would then go through the political channels they knew to come up with the remedy.”

In choosing that route, the couple took on a more than decade-long battle, but never lost sight of their goal.

In May, the federal government agreed to dredge the inlet under Section 111 of the 1968 federal River and Harbor Act, requiring the Corps to mitigate erosion caused by its projects. In December, the Army Corps of Engineers finalized a $2.2 million agreement with Port Jefferson-based contractor Village Dock Contracting Inc., said Chris Gardner, an Army Corps spokesman, adding that a project start date is currently being discussed.

The dredging work, which calls for the removal of close to 100,000 cubic yards of material from the inlet, will both widen and deepen the inlet channel to a depth of 11 feet below mean low tide. The dredged sand will be placed on the beach in a 20-foot-wide strip about 4,500 feet long from the eastern jetty, according to Congressmen Tim Bishop’s office.

“I was first exposed to the project while running for the very first time, in the summer of 2002,” Mr. Bishop said. “It was brought to my attention by Doris McGreevy. They were very informed and very forceful advocates. I am delighted they are going to be able to see the fruit of their effort.

“They worked very hard at this and I’m glad it is paying off,” the congressman said.

While sitting at his kitchen table last month, surrounded by notes, charts and environmental studies on the inlet, Mr. McGreevy received a call from an Army Corps of Engineers official, who informed him the contract had been finalized.

“I’m finally glad,” Mr. McGreevy said, looking out his bay window. “We’ve had a lot of disappointments along the way, but we persevered.”

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05/09/13 8:00am
05/09/2013 8:00 AM

Mattituck Inlet

In 1998 Mike Forbes was the area’s congressman, Jean Cochran was town supervisor and Doris and Ron McGreevy, who live in a house overlooking the Sound in Mattituck, began pressing the federal government to do something it rarely does: take responsibility for a problem it created and take steps to rectify it.

The East End has been represented by two other House members and Southold has had two more supervisors since then, but the McGreevys are still in Mattituck and and have never given up their quest for the Army Corps of Engineers to admit that the huge stone jetties on either side of Mattituck Inlet have caused and continue to cause significant erosion on the downdrift side to the east.

The McGreevys’ persistence paid off this week with Congressman Tim Bishop’s announcement that the Army Corps has accepted responsibility and will dredge the inlet, eliminating a navigational hazard as well, and pump the sand east to rebuild the damaged beach. The $3.4 million project is to start in the fall.

If there’s one immutable truth about how things are accomplished in Washington, it’s that the squeaky wheel may not always get the grease, but the quiet wheel gets nothing. A dredging project isn’t the most exciting of issues, especially in D.C., and in a time of diminishing federal resources it would be easy for lawmakers and the administration to follow another tried and true government policy and shelve the idea.

But the McGreevys didn’t give up, nor did town officials or Mr. Bishop, who not all that long ago took considerable heat locally after the Mattituck dredging was stripped from the Army Corps’ budget. But he pressed for and succeeded in gaining an emergency allocation to dredge Montauk Harbor. Thanks to the perseverance of all involved, the Army Corps admitted what had been clear for decades: The jetties trap sand on one side and cause significant erosion on the other. Congratulations to all involved.

Now that this issue’s settled, perhaps it’s time to take another look farther east, along the Sound in Peconic, where there’s a significant buildup of sand on one side of Goldsmith Inlet and continuing erosion on the other. The problem is clear — and so is the solution.