09/02/19 6:01am
09/02/2019 6:01 AM

A front-page article in last week’s Suffolk Times described a petition that spreads misinformation and insinuations about the recent listing of the East Marion Main Road Historic District on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and about the East Marion Community Association. READ

08/30/19 6:00am
08/30/2019 6:00 AM

The fate of the abandoned oyster factory at the end of Shipyard Lane in East Marion remains uncertain after an auction to sell the property was canceled earlier this month.

Following a judgment of foreclosure and sale dated June 20, a public auction of the 18-acre waterfront property was scheduled to take place at Southold Town Hall Aug. 16. According to a legal notice, the approximate lien amount was $2.9 million, plus interest and other fees. It wasn’t clear if that figure was the reserve price for the property. READ

Featured Story
11/25/17 5:59am
11/25/2017 5:59 AM

The auxiliary room at the East Marion Fire Department Saturday filled with gasps as the audience at a tick-borne illness forum, presented by the East Marion Community Association, learned an adult female tick can have hundreds to thousands of offspring at a time.


Featured Story
11/16/17 5:59am
11/16/2017 5:59 AM

The East Marion Community Association will host an informational meeting on “Treacherous Ticks, Deer and Disease” this Saturday at the East Marion firehouse.

This is the third forum the group has hosted on this particular issue, EMCA president Anne Murray said, noting that the first was held in 2014.


06/03/14 12:00pm
06/03/2014 12:00 PM
The restaurant at the Blue Inn is currently only open to guests. The owner of the East Marion inn wants to change that. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

The restaurant at the Blue Inn is currently only open to guests. The owner of the East Marion inn wants to change that. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Does the East Marion community want to eat at the Blue Inn? That’s a question that came up during a public hearing before the Southold Town Planning Board Monday night.  (more…)

11/24/13 4:00pm
11/24/2013 4:00 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Amber Abolafia of Orient plays with her daughter Dakota, 2, at Old Schoolhouse Park in East Marion, where she believes she was bit by a tick.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Amber Abolafia of Orient plays with her daughter Dakota, 2, at Old Schoolhouse Park in East Marion, where she believes she was bit by a tick.

Between daily naps and popping medicine to help with achy muscles and joints, 25-year-old Lyme disease patient Amber Abolafia of Orient has spent the last six months doctor shopping – looking for a physician who’s truly knowledgeable about her disease.

“It’s scary,” she said. “Our doctors are not informed enough and I don’t think they have the tools to be informed enough. There is just so much more to learn about the disease.”

Her struggle with Lyme led her to join more than 50 other area residents  many of whom also have issues with tick-borne illness – for an opportunity to hear from health experts at a special East Marion Community Association forum held last Saturday at the East Marion firehouse.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Rajeev Fernando of Southampton Hospital and Jerry Simons, certified physician’s assistant and expert contributor to the national publication Lyme Times magazine, spoke about illnesses common on the North Fork — and answered questions from anxious audience members.

The two have teamed up with Southampton Hospital to start the Tick Borne Disease Resource Center, which seeks to educate both health care professionals and the public about tick-borne illnesses — and the correct steps to take if one gets bitten.

The experts said differences in the way physicians test and treat patients can play a huge role in whether the patient is cured or left suffering and searching for answers.

“I am trying to just educate the local doctors and say, ‘This is what we should be doing,’ ” Dr. Fernando said.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an estimated 300,000 new cases of Lyme annually in the United States – a tenfold increase over the previous year’s estimate. Dr. Fernando said New York State leads the U.S. in reported cases.

“[The East End] is one of the worse tick areas in the country,” Mr. Simons said. “People in the area should be the smartest people on the planet about Lyme disease because it’s so bad out here.”

The experts spent most of their time discussing Lyme, which is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. The tick’s bite transfers the bacteria, which can cause fever, headache and fatigue and sometimes — less than half the time, according to Dr. Fernando — leaves a distinguishing bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, the nervous system and the brain, Dr. Fernando said.

Like many other diseases, Lyme disease comes in different strains — and experts warned those attending Saturday’s forum that not all tests check for all strains. Where patients get tested can also play a role in whether they are properly diagnosed, Mr. Simons said.

Commercial blood testing labs, such as Quest Diagnostics, test only for strains required by CDC and Food and Drug Administration. Mr. Simons suggested instead that people find a lab that tests for almost all known strains of the bacteria, such as one of the labs run by Stony Brook University.

While being tested for Lyme, they said, patients should also ask to be tested for other tick-borne diseases, because ticks can carry more than one disease, potentially giving people what’s called co-infections.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask your physician for a four-panel tick-borne disease test,” Dr. Fernando said.

The test, known more commonly as a TBD4 test, checks for Lyme, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis – the four most common tick-borne illnesses in this area, he said. Three of these will show up in tests almost immediately, but it can take up to four weeks for Lyme to register in any of these tests, Dr. Fernando said.

“Unfortunately a lot of doctors aren’t exposed to this and they do the blood test too soon,” he said. This means that some infected patients may walk away without being diagnosed. Should someone get bitten and see any sort of rash, Dr. Fernando said his suggested protocol would be to start antibiotic treatment and “tell your doctor it’s going to take four weeks to do the test.”

Ms. Abolafia of Orient was one of those Lyme disease patients who was tested the second she walked into a doctor’s office – about six days after she believed she was bitten. Luckily, she tested positive, she said.

But because of her ordeal, she’s now worried that she may be in the category of people who suffer from what’s known as chronic Lyme.

Ms. Abolafi a said she has been tested three times for the disease – and has gotten mixed results. In the past six-plus months, despite consulting several different doctors, she said she’s taken only 10 days’ worth of antibiotics, the minimum standard course of treatment according to CDC guidelines.

“If I could give advice to anyone, keep pushing your doctor until you get the care you need,” she said. “It’s never going to get better unless you become your own advocate.”

Dr. Fernando said there’s controversy regarding the treatment guidelines for patients who test positive for Lyme.

CDC guidelines for treating Lyme disease state that patients should be put on antibiotic such as Doxycycline for 10 to 21 days but Dr. Fernando said the guidelines should not be used as the end-all for all cases.

“The patient in front of you is what matters the most,” he said. “It’s important to think outside the guidelines in some cases.”

He said about 25 percent of patients may come back within six months of treatment, some suffering from chronic Lyme disease.

But experts are still fighting over whether this chronic stage of the disease even exists.

“It’s very political,” the doctor said.

[email protected]

11/22/13 10:36am
11/22/2013 10:36 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO |  Experts to discuss how to manage the deer population on the North Fork.

The East Marion Community Association is holding its second weekend meeting in a row on the topic of deer management, featuring environmental, health and town officials.

In September, Southold Town hosted a deer forum outlining the many dangers of overpopulation on the North Fork. The unchecked deer popular has reached crisis level in Southold, according to Supervisor Scott Russell.

“The deer infestation on the North Fork is one of the biggest public health crises we have,” Mr. Russell said.

Last weekend’s meeting at the East Marion fire house featured Dr. Rajeev Fernando, an infectious disease specialist from Southampton Hospital, who discussed tick-borne diseases prevalent on the North Fork.

About 3,500 of the 35,000 deer in Suffolk County live in Southold Town, according to Joshua Stiller, a wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Only about 2,600 to 3,000 deer have been harvested across the county in each of the past three years, he said. A total of 598 deer have been killed through Southold Town’s deer management program since it began in 2008, including 212 a year ago.

Overpopulation is causing famers financial hardship due to loss of crop and  has increasingly become the source of a growing number tick-related illness, according to the supervisor.

Estimates reported this past summer suggest that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease nationwide is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number, due to misdiagnoses and unreported illnesses.

The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. at Poquatuck Hall on Village Lane in Orient.

Topics up for discussion include:

• Ecological damage to Dam Pond and other areas by Thomas Rasweiler, Southold Deer Management Task Force

• Deer Habits, sterilization and the “Four Poster” Program by Jeff Standish, Southold Town

• Tick-borne diseases including Babesiosis by Dr. Robert Walsh, Infectious Disease Specialist, ELIH

• Reducing deer herds to sustainable levels by Sherry Thomas, North Fork Deer Management Committee

• U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sharp Shooter Program by Don Stewart, North Fork Deer Management Committee

For more information contact the association at [email protected] or 631-477-2819.