Flanders column: Holiday acts of kindness

01/17/2011 11:22 AM |

Hello, friends and neighbors. I hope you enjoyed your week. I’m not too happy with all that snow, but what can you do, we live in the Northeast. I guess I should be used to the snow, but honestly, no matter how beautiful it looks I could live without it.

I’m happy to mention two acts of kindness in this week’s column. Both have to do with holiday spirit and the generosity of others. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to mention names (at the request of those involved), but it’s still a nice couple of stories. I hope you enjoy them.

On the Wednesday before Christmas I received a phone call from a Flanders couple who don’t have children of their own and who wanted to make a child’s Christmas extra special. After a few phone calls I found a family who was really struggling and I’m happy to report that the boy woke up on Christmas morning to many presents under his tree, including a new bike, new snow pants and a sled (I bet he’s happy we got all this snow), new clothes and lots of toys. I know his Christmas was extra special and I want to thank the secret Santas for all their help in making it possible.

The second random act of kindness came to my attention through a phone call from a woman who was at a local store early Thursday morning standing behind a man with a shopping cart full of stuffed animals. She asked the gentleman who could he possibly be buying all those stuffed animals for. It turns out the man is a teacher at Phillips Avenue School here in Riverside/Flanders and he was buying a stuffed animal for every child in his class as his gift to them. Wow! Again, I can’t mention names but the teacher who did this will get wind of this column and I personally want to thank him for being so generous. That was a very nice gesture and I’m sure many of your students were very happy that Thursday.

I know there are a lot of unknown stories of donations and help given by our residents here in our community and just because I don’t know about them, so couldn’t write about them, doesn’t mean your contribution to a child’s and family’s happiness is any the less valuable. Thanks to everyone who gives to those who are struggling. God bless you all.

Don’t forget to visit The Big Duck if you’re searching for that special, unique gift for someone for Valentine’s Day or a birthday. Proceeds go to helping him and the grounds look their best.
Happy birthday to my brother Mike Zaleski, who celebrates on Jan. 26, from your wife, Kim, and son, Ryan, your family and friends, and especially all of us here. We love you and we hope you enjoy your day! I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t snow for you.

If you’re a graduate of the Riverhead High School Class of 1986 give me a call. The 25-year reunion is approaching and it’s going to be “off the hook!”

Please drive safely and put those cell phones down. It’s not just the teenagers who are talking or texting while driving. Sit at a corner one day and watch how many people drive by, breaking the law and putting everyone’s life in danger. It’s very scary.

Take care, call or e-mail me with any news and have a wonderful weekend!



5 Comment

  • hello exactly

  • Marrone, with a face like that, no wonder she is so pissed off.

  • From an environmentalist and scientific standpoint, snow dumping in Long Island Sound is an environmental disaster! There is no filtering of all the toxic petroleum products and other chemicals from the streets that will contaminate the snow before dumping it into the Sound. The Federal and state governments of CT and NY have spent millions in efforts to clean up the Sound, not pollute it with contaminated snow. Anyone that cares about the quality of the Sound should let their states know that this is totally unacceptable and flies illegally in the face of the Clean Water Act!
    With regard to the Suffolk County Skeet & Gun Range there is no reason what so ever to shut it down! This range is a vital community resource for all those interested in hunting, target, skeet, and other sorts of competition. It is also the best place to teach our children gun safety to protect them and instill in them
    responsibility and respect. It is a place to bond with our children and strengthen family ties. Those complaining of the noise should shut up or move elsewhere! They knew what they were doing before they bought their homes next to a gun range. That was their choice. I live close to the local police shooting range and the noise doesn’t bother me a bit! Those complaining have no legal standing to force the range to close down. The owner of the range has been the victim of DA Rice’s attempt to direct heat away from her botched irresponsible handling of the Nassau Crime Lab by targeting legal law abiding firearms dealers. She is looking for any way out that will take the heat off her incompetence!

  • The misinformation and hyperbole regarding the Suffolk County Trap and Skeet range is staggering. While emotions are bound to run high in such cases, that should not preclude facts from being part of the discussion but that’s exactly what’s happened.
    Aside from the obvious quality of life and environmental issues created by the range’s presence as well as the rather ominous overtones of its vendor’s recent arrest on illegal gun charges, the opinions being stated as fact on behalf of range supporters are either untrue or at best oversimplified. The issues surrounding the reopening of the range are extremely complex and yet the rhetoric belies naïve simplicity that either derives from a basic denial of the real issues or simply a refusal to believe there actually ARE issues.
    For starters, supporters claim that the range brings revenue to the County and indeed there are fees for its use (but curiously there are no “non-resident” user fees as is the case with most other County recreational offerings), but there are also very real and very significant concealed costs to this range that need to be examined as well and these hidden costs dwarf any positive revenue.
    For example, before the range was closed in 2001, the taxpayers were forced to foot the bill for a cleanup of lead shot and clay target debris that was collected from the range and illegally dumped into the public areas of Southaven Park. In an October 2001 Legislative meeting, then Parks Commissioner Peter Scully said, “the Health Department subsequently tested those areas and determined that the lead levels were beyond regulatory threshold, and we incurred significant expenditures through the Department of Public Works, between 200 and $300,000 to clean those materials up.” Considering that from 1990 to 2001 the average revenue generated by the range for the County was averaging just $25,000 per year that single cleanup cost wiped out an entire decade of annuity.
    At the time the range was reopened, Suffolk County had allotted $800,000 for noise mitigation, environmental restoration and general improvements. This exists in the form of bonds, which will be paid back at about 5% interest over 15 years. The current vendor claims that his first full-year proceeds to the county were around $43,000 and figures such as that would be impressive were it not for the fact that the annual cost to the taxpayers to service those bonds is around $66,000 leaving the County operating the range at a LOSS of over $20,000 per year.
    Additionally, after studying the overall effect of the shooting range on homes in the area based on noise complaint calls received by Brookhaven Town, The Town Assessor’s office reduced the assessed value of 178 homes in the area by an average of 6% citing the reopening of the range as the sole reason for the reduction. If one assigns even a modest market value of just $350,000 for each of these homes, that adds up to a loss of almost FOUR MILLION DOLLARS in community equity. That loss in value translates into a loss of revenue (in the form of taxes) for the South Country School District, the Town of Brookhaven as well as for other services such as fire and ambulance and this shortfall is permanent.
    Finally, The County and the concessionaire are now embroiled in two lawsuits. One involves Brookhaven’s Noise laws – laws that were in place long before any contracts were signed and laws that both the vendor and Steve Levy were told would not allow any exemption for noise from the range. The second lawsuit takes on the Pine Barrens Commission which ruled in June of 2010 that the reopening of the range constituted “development” under the Pine Barrens Act citing that the range should not have reopened because it’s almost five-year closure far exceeded the law’s “one-year” non-use provision and ordered that the County file a Hardship Application so that the issue can be reviewed. The County of course ignored this directive and the lawsuit soon followed.
    This litigation is draining the resources of the County and the Town of Brookhaven to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars with no end in sight as both are being dragged out by the County and the concessionaire in order to delay the inevitable—that the lawsuits will prove that the range should never have been allowed to reopen.
    So it’s clear that the so-called profits that this range is said to develop are lost in the overburden of hidden costs and the negative impact on the Town, the community and the school district is affecting far more than just the County coffers. This is especially troubling in these stressful economic times and with a County Executive claiming fiscal responsibility while threatening closures and layoffs it’s insulting to know that the people who are actually footing the bill for this range – the taxpayers – are being treated to fairy tales about the range’s solvency when the reality is that it’s little more than a money pit that’s being kept alive for the sake of Special Interest pandering.
    If you don’t believe what’s written here and you’d like to see for yourself just what the real story of this range is all about, a group of community members have assembled these facts on a website called “Levylead” (www.levylead.com) and I urge you to take a moment to look it over and get to know just what it is through which your hard-earned money is being wasted.

  • In 1958 there were nine houses on Gerard Road and about ten houses on Yaphank Ave. Also, in the area was a private trap and skeet shoot. Today the same area has at least three hundred homes all in The Carmans River watershed. All the homes have cesspools and lawns that many fertlize and use pesticides on. All the cesspools and chemicals leach into Carmans River. So the question becomes, who is the biggest polluter? the trap shoot or the three hundred homes ?