02/13/14 1:57pm
02/13/2014 1:57 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Southold Town Trustees Michael Domino, John Bredemeyer, Jim King, and Charles Sanders listen as the Southampton Town Trustees' attorney discusses the injunction.

Southold Trustees Michael Domino, John Bredemeyer, Jim King and Charles Sanders listen as a Southampton Trustees’ attorney discusses an injunction Wednesday night. (Carrie Miller photo)

Southampton Town Trustees were hit with a court injunction Wednesday afternoon that’s forcing the 374-year institution to stop conducting official business, as the Board of Trustees was ordered to turn over all of its finances to Southampton Town. (more…)

11/04/13 9:00am
11/04/2013 9:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | A freshly shucked scallop on the half-shell.

Sunrise today marked the official opening of scalloping season on the North Fork.

Area baymen are heading out into state and Southold Town waters in search of the Atlantic bay scallop, found mostly in the small bays and harbors of the Peconic Bay, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Ed Densieski, a baymen from Riverhead said, “you never really know what to expect until the first day of the season.”

He has gone out scouting bay waters for baby scallops, and said he was hopeful it was going to be a good season.

According to the Peconic Estuary Program, during scalloping’s height about 500,000 pounds of bay scallops a season could be harvested from bay waters – equaling almost $2 million in dockside value.

But the scallop population was soon decimated following the first appearance of brown tide in 1985.

The sought-after shellfish has since been making a comeback over the past decade, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

In Southold and Riverhead Town waters, commercial fisherman are limited to five bushels of scallops per person per day.

Two or more people occupying the same boat may take not more than 10 bushels of scallops per day for commercial purposes.

Recreational fisherman can harvest a limit of one bushel per person per day.

11/02/13 8:00am
11/02/2013 8:00 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Trustee candidates debate issues like water pollution and beach access during Tuesday's forum.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Town trustee candidates at last month’s debate.

TOWN TRUSTEE
Four-year term, three open seats
Salary: $18,344

John M. Bredemeyer III
Hamlet: Orient
Occupation: Incumbent Trustee, professional assistant at Suffolk Community College, retired county health department employee
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Bredemeyer, 62, lives with his wife in Orient, where they raised two children. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has more than 35 years’ experience in environmental monitoring, pollution assessment and public and environmental health enforcement. He formerly worked in the marine unit of the Suffolk County Health Department’s office of ecology. He has worked on numerous environmental initiatives, including building and running a collector for atmospheric nitrogen inputs to the Peconic Estuary. Mr. Bredemeyer was first elected in 1984 and presently chairs to the town’s shellfish advisory committee. He is also a volunteer firefighter.

His pitch: Mr. Bredemeyer believes his experience and education with environmental issues has given him the understanding to make valuable contributions to the Board of Trustees.

In his words: “Your vote for me insures that you, the voter-taxpayer, get a ‘dividend’ on the huge public investment you have already made in my education, training and professional career.”

Michael J. Domino
Hamlet: Southold
Occupation: Incumbent Trustee, real estate investor, retired science teacher
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Domino, 69, has been a Southold resident for the past 17 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology as well as master’s degrees in engineering and education. He is a retired earth science teacher at Rocky Point High School and is currently CEO of Greenport Real Estate Investment LLC. Mr. Domino is a former U.S. Marine, past president of the North Fork Environmental Council and a 15-year member of the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force. Additionally, he is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation, a certified DEC water sampler and a member of the Southold shellfish advisory committee. In 2012, he was appointed to fill the Town Trustee seat left vacant by current Town Board member Jill Doherty.

His pitch: Mr. Domino said that in his nearly two years on the board, he has placed community and environmental interests first, looking for ways to mitigate potential damage to the environment without compromising constituents’ property rights.

In his words: “As one of two incumbents seeking re-election to the Southold Town Board of Trustees, I possess a unique and balanced skill set that sets me apart from other candidates and makes me worthy of your vote.”

Joseph J. Finora Jr.
Hamlet: Laurel
Occupation: Independent businessperson
Party line: Democratic

About him: Mr. Finora, 53, lives in Laurel with his wife and children. He is a self-employed financial media-relations specialist and business writer. Previously a journalist, he has also written two business books and one novel. Five years ago, he establish the North Fork Ospreys baseball team in Peconic. He is a longtime volunteer youth baseball and basketball coach and recently raised money for new dugouts and modernizing the Mattituck High School baseball field. This is his first time running for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Finora said he believes in fairness, openness and helping neighbors. He said there is a need for greater balance in Southold’s government and looks forward to hearing and resolving the concerns of Southold Town residents.

In his words: “Most people around Southold know me due to my affiliation with sports. I’ve recently worked as an umpire learning to enforce rules and settle disputes. This is a great place to live and raise a family, but there’s much to be done. What we do today will affect how we live tomorrow in Southold Town.”

William C. Funke
Hamlet: Cutchogue
Occupation: Retired insurance manager
Party line: Democratic

About him: Mr. Funke, 66, retired to Cutchogue after living in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Germany. He is currently working toward earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in environmental science. He spent more than 30 years insuring ships, cargoes and terminals. As a marine underwriter, he was part of the team implementing the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970. He later went into software and hardware development for several small companies in New Jersey. This is his first time running for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Funke believes his experience as a marine underwriter taught him how government and the private sector can work together for a common goal. He said he wants to apply his skills to improve Southold’s waterways.

In his words: “The Sound and bay are unquestionably in a death spiral and I want to do what I can to help stop that.”

Charles J. Sanders
Hamlet: Greenport
Occupation: Associate broker, Town and Country Real Estate
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Sanders, 45, has lived on the North Fork since 1996. He worked at Hargrave Vineyard before beginning a career in real estate in 1999. He previously owned a real estate business and retail store. He is currently an associate broker at Town and Country in Southold. He joined the Air National Guard in 2008 and has served two tours in Afghanistan. This is his first run for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Sanders said he wants to contribute a balanced approach to the administration of Southold’s wetlands and the protection of a residents’ right to enjoy their property.

In his words: “My civilian and military experience has instilled in me a strong work ethic and extensive administrative and interpersonal skills that I pledge to bring to the job of Trustee.”

Geoffrey M. Wells
Hamlet: Southold
Occupation: Retired television IT specialist; writer
Party lines: Democratic, Working Families

About him: Mr. Wells, 60, retired to Southold in 2013 with his wife. He grew up on a farm in South Africa before immigrating to the United States in 1980 and beginning his career in information technology. Mr. Wells was vice president of television information technology at Disney, ABC and Fox. In those roles he was responsible for creating and managing three new IT departments, implementing sales and creating and staffing a new East Coast data center. Mr. Wells is currently working full time on his second novel. His first, “A Fado for the River,” was published in 2012. This is Mr. Wells’ first run for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Wells believes his experience in communication and problem solving in the corporate world will be an asset to the Town Trustees. He said he would seek win-win outcomes and work toward making the board’s processes more transparent for residents.

In his words: “Change is inevitable. As Trustee, I will ensure that change is managed in such a way that our shoreline is protected and our quality of life as both private citizens and public custodians is not diminished.”

Read our endorsements for town trustee here

11/02/13 7:59am

(from left) John Bredeymeyer, Michael Domino and Geoffrey Wells.

There is perhaps no candidate better qualified for his position in this year’s Southold Town elections than incumbent Trustee John Bredemeyer.

Ivy League-educated and armed with a résumé that boasts more than three decades of experience in the areas of public health, science and the environment, Mr. Bredemeyer is almost too qualified for the post. It’s a blessing for the people of Southold Town that someone with this type of experience has been on the Board of Trustees for a total of 14 years, having served from 1984 to 1994 before being elected in 2009 to his most recent four-year term.

Having Mr. Bredemeyer, a Republican, and Democratic challenger William Funke on opposite ends of the table during the recent Suffolk Times debate was poetic. On one end of the spectrum, Mr. Bredemeyer proved to be a passionate and knowledgeable incumbent that night, while Mr. Funke showed he was simply the opposite. He declined to answer the first question of the night and failed to offer much of anything in the way of perspective for the remainder of the debate.

Profiles: Meet the candidates for town trustee

“How am I supposed to know?” might as well have been Mr. Funke’s campaign slogan.

The science and environmental experience of Mr. Bredemeyer and fellow incumbent Mike Domino, a retired science teacher and a past president of the North Fork Environmental Council, are unmatched by any of the four challengers.

Of those four, we believe Mr. Wells is the best fit for the seat being vacated by Dave Bergen, a two-term Trustee who was dumped from the Republican ticket this year.

A systems and processes guy with an impressive background in corporate information technology, Mr. Wells, a native of South Africa who moved here from New York City this year, is a bright candidate who could offer a unique voice to the board. He may lack institutional knowledge of the community, but we’re confident he’d be a quick study. We’re especially curious to see what type of advancements Mr. Wells, who ran the most passionate campaign of any of the six candidates, can make in the way of technology and modernizing the Trustees’ office.

Both Democrat Joseph Finora and Republican Charles Sanders, a late addition to the ticket after original GOP nominee David Zuhoski dropped out, failed to display much passion during the election season.

The only issues raised during the campaign — both by Democrats — related to beachfront property rights and perceived transparency issues with the current board. Republicans dismissed the former as a bay constable enforcement issue and the latter as not an issue at all. We tend to agree with the Republicans on both counts.

Instead, we wish we’d heard more from both sides about the very real issue of water pollution. During The Suffolk Times debate, Mr. Bredemeyer and Mr. Domino said the board has made improvements in this area, while Mr. Wells said there’s plenty more to be done.

“Leaching is happening on a daily basis,” he said. “It is a very serious situation.”

We’d like to see those three candidates work closely together on helping to improve our water pollution problem over the next four years.

10/17/13 11:07am
10/17/2013 11:07 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Trustee candidates debate issues like water pollution and beach access during Tuesday’s forum.

Democratic Trustee challengers took aim at their Republican opponents Tuesday on the issues of water pollution and public beach access at a candidates’ forum sponsored by The Suffolk Times and hosted by Peconic Landing in Greenport.

Democratic challengers Geoffrey Wells, Joseph Finora and William Funke are opposing incumbent Republican Town Trustees John Bredemeyer and Mike Domino and Republican challenger Charles Sanders for three open seats on the board.

[Related: Deer management, Vineyard 48 hot topics among Town Board hopefuls]

Here’s what the candidates had to say about the issues.

WATER POLLUTION

All the candidates agreed that water pollution, specifically nitrogen loading, is a major and ongoing issue facing Southold Town.

When nitrogen gets into streams, ponds, Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay, it causes an overgrowth of algae, which sucks up oxygen in the water, the candidates said.

Mr. Bredemeyer and Mr. Domino said the board is keenly aware of groundwater conditions and, as a waterfront community with a strong agricultural industry, monitoring nitrate levels is a top priority.

Mr. Bredemeyer said the Trustees base permitting on science and work with sister regulatory agencies, such as the state Department of Environment Conservation, to control water contamination.

It’s a system Mr. Domino says doesn’t need fixing.

“Things are getting better in Southold Town,” he said. “We have to use scientific data to find out what we need to address first.”

Mr. Finora said he believes Southold Town does a better job than municipalities further west, but he suggested there’s room for improvement.

He and Mr. Wells said the primary source of Southold’s nitrate problem is not the farmer, but failing residential septic systems.

“Leaching is happening on a daily basis,” Mr. Wells said. “It is a very serious situation.”

Mr. Wells suggested that the Trustees revisit the manner in which town septic systems are monitored and reach out to other communities dealing with the issue of nitrate pollution, giving Cape Cod as an example. In recent years, several towns on the Cape have adopted legislation to oblige homeowners to purchase new septic systems to reduce nitrogen output, according to news reports.

While stating that nitrates are “the single worst problem” facing the Trustees, Mr. Funke said it would be unfair to ask residents to pay for expensive upgrades to their septic systems.

Mr. Finora disagreed sharply with his fellow Democrat.

“Little by little, we are losing the battle,” he said. “People will realize it’s better to have clean water than green grass.”

PUBLIC BEACH ACCESS

Where does waterfront beach property cross over to public land?

The Democratic challengers argued that the present town government hasn’t been doing enough to protect Southolders’ right to walk along local beaches.

The issue was brought to the forefront of the campaign two weeks ago, when the full slate of Democrats running for town offices — all currently all held by Republicans — purchased an advertisement in The Suffolk Times claiming that “some people” want to take away residents’ beach access.

During the debate, Mr. Finora said the ad was designed in response to an issue the public was bringing up “time and time again.”

The New York State Public Trust Doctrine says that anything seaward of the mean high water mark on the beach is public land and anything landward of the mean high water mark on the beach is private property. The wrack line, where debris washes up on the beach, is often considered an informal high tide mark, but it can change from day to day.

Mr. Finora and Mr. Wells said the town is responsible for drawing the line in the sand.

“We need to create a system where the community is involved in deciding were the mean high water mark is,” Mr. Wells said.

Republican hopefuls said the law is on the books and it is an enforcement issue outside the town Trustees’ purview.

“If you are doing something inappropriate, the bay constable should show up,” Mr. Bredemeyer said.

Mr. Funke said beach access “doesn’t seem like it is that much of a problem” and agreed with the Republicans’ stance on enforcement.

“I’m not sure what we can do with the wrack line, we certainly can’t monument it,” he said. “The people that are involved should just step down and stop fighting.”

TRUSTEE REPORT CARD

The current Board of Trustees is doing fairly well, according to hopefuls on both sides of the party line.

When asked to give current Trustees a letter grade, Mr. Wells gave a “B” rating.

“They uphold code and work hard,” he said. “However, they don’t reach out to the community.”

Mr. Wells feels the Trustees need to step up communication efforts with the public and make the process of applying for permits more transparent and easier for the average citizen to follow.

Incumbent Mr. Domino disagreed, saying members are accessible to the public and rewarding the board an “A+” grade.

“We hit all the bullet points in the mission statement,” he said.

Mr. Sanders echoed Mr. Domino’s response, while Mr. Finora and Mr. Bredemeyer said the voters would answer that question on Nov. 5.

Mr. Funke declined to respond.

“How am I supposed to know?” he said.

[email protected]

08/01/13 10:00am
08/01/2013 10:00 AM

Charles Sanders

The Southold GOP has replaced a Town Trustee candidate who was told by his employer that he had to chose between his job and seeking public office.

David Zuhoski of Cutchogue, a fisheries technician for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program, withdrew from the race last week, said town Republican leader Peter McGreevy. In his place, the party selected Greenport real estate agent Charles Sanders, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard who has never before sought public office.

In May, the Republicans selected 26-year-old Mr. Zuhoski over incumbent Republican Trustee Dave Bergen of Cutchogue. At that time, Mr. McGreevy said that although the incumbent had “a very successful eight years in office,” the committee decided “it was time to go in a different direction.”

Mr. Bergen and Mr. Sanders were the only two contenders to replace Mr. Zuhoski, the leader said.

“It’s very difficult to find a candidate to run for a Trustee position because they have to take a full day off work every other week,” Mr. McGreevy said. “That narrows the pool of candidates.”

Mr. Sanders, who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, “best represents what the committee wanted in a candidate,” Mr. McGreevy added. On Mr. Bergen’s status with the party, he said, “Dave Bergen is a good Republican. We know he’ll continue to be a party supporter and we hope to consider him for future available positions.”

Mr. Sanders said he hopes to be an effective advocate for property rights while protecting the environment.

“A balance is my main focus,” he said.

A Midwest native, Mr. Sanders said he first came to the North Fork to visit a friend who spent his summers here.

“He invited me out and I absolutely fell in love with it,” he said.

After moving to Greenport in 1999, Mr. Sanders entered the real estate field and is currently an associate broker for Town & Country in Southold.

He returned from his second tour in Afghanistan in January.

“My experience in Afghanistan made me love America a hell of a lot more than I did before, I can tell you that,” he said.

Mr. Sanders will join GOP incumbents John Bredemeyer and Mike Domino. The Democrats selected candidates Geoffery Wells, Joe Finora Jr. and Bill Funke.

[email protected]

05/18/13 3:00pm
05/18/2013 3:00 PM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | The remains of bulkheading on Veterans Memorial Park beach in Mattituck are slated to be replaced this year.

Town Trustees on Tuesday approved plans to install a retaining wall along superstorm Sandy-ravaged Veterans Memorial Park beach on the bay in Mattituck.

The approved plan varies slightly from the Mattituck park commissioners’ original request to install 619 feet of bulkheading along the beach, which the commissioners say is highly vulnerable to additional storm damage.

The idea received mixed reviews when the commissioners first approached the Trustees last month. The Trustees were concerned that bulkheading — intended to protect the beach from future storm damage — would distract from the beauty of the beach.

The new site plan calls for the construction of a 619-foot retaining wall, which will be set back farther from the shoreline than the proposed bulkheading, leaving a wider beach in its place, according to Trustee James King.

[Previous Coverage: Trustees suggest installing boulders at Veterans Park]

The retaining wall will replace the skeletal remains of bulkheading on the property’s west side and the cracked and sinking concrete barrier along the edge of the parking lot on the east side with standard bulkheading. It includes two openings ­— at least one will be used for a handicapped-accessible ramp, in front of the old concession stand.

“The wall will help project the property,” Mr. King said Friday. “The community benefits from [the beach] and I’d like to see it preserved.”

It’s unclear whether the work will be completed by Memorial Day. Mattituck Park District Commissioner Gerard Goehringer said the beach will be opened to the public.

[email protected]

04/25/13 6:00am
04/25/2013 6:00 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Water tubers in the Peconic Bay.

COURTESY PHOTO | Water tubers in the Peconic Bay.

To the editor:

It’s that time of year when preparations are being made to launch your boat.

Recreational boating is one our most popular activities here on the North Fork. We’re also aware of just how important our marine environment is to our quality of life and our local economy. It’s the responsibility of every boat owner to make every effort possible to protect our valuable marine resources.

We wish to once again bring to attention to the technology incorporated into the manufacturing of bottom paints. It’s a fact that the only bottom paints that were effective in the past for battling harmful marine growth used copper as an active ingredient. These copper paints leached into our waters toxic metals that were dangerous to the marine ecosystem.

Over the past few years a new bottom paint additive called Econea has been developed that is both safe and effective for use on all boats. Econea is the future of antifouling paint technology. This copper-free biocide offers unsurpassed protection at very low concentrations. Econea’s copper-free composition breaks down quickly in the environment, producing by-products that are totally biodegradable.

The Southold Town Trustees are asking all boat owners to do their own research and consider having their boat bottoms painted with products that include Econea rather than traditional copper or toxic metals. There are various manufacturers that currently offer these paints on the market.

We encourage you to discuss this matter with either a local boatyard manager or marine supply store before selecting bottom paint for the coming season.

As always, we thank you for your efforts in helping us protect our waters.

Trustee Dave Bergen, for the Southold Town Trustees

To read more letters to the editor, pick up a copy of this week’s Suffolk Times or click on the E-Paper.

10/18/12 6:00am
10/18/2012 6:00 AM

To the Editor:

While I have great faith in our town government and applaud our community’s longtime focus on preservation, I am concerned about the methods and judgment used by our Town Trustees in approving new residential construction.

I am particularly alarmed by the common practice of granting variances that allow building closer to the wetlands than the standard 100-foot setback.

The most recent example of abuse allowed by the Trustees sits at the intersection of Moore’s Lane and New Suffolk Avenue in Cutchogue. Not only was Douglas Moore’s historic residence demolished, but all 20 or so century-old oak trees surrounding the old structure were removed.

A massive concrete structure is now covering most of the firm ground remaining. Unfortunately, much of this new structure violates the 100-foot setback established by our town to protect our wetlands.

Why was the variance granted?

Why was removal of the trees allowed?

Why did our Trustees disregard our community rules about building near the marshland?

And how did we as a community allow the guidelines that were designed to protect our precious marshlands erode to the point that these very guidelines mean nothing?

Our Trustees can and should play a vital role in protecting our way of life. Sadly, they have repeatedly let us down.

I encourage all residents who are concerned about our delicate environment to drive south on Moore’s Lane in Cutchogue and view the horrendous mess allowed by our Trustees.

Then, go call your Trustees.

Russell McCall, Cutchogue