04/21/14 3:00pm
This Riverhead house in foreclosure was scheduled to be sold on the steps of Town Hall in 2010. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

This Riverhead house in foreclosure was scheduled to be sold on the steps of Town Hall in 2010. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

To the Editor:

Swaying in the wind, their presence hides an escalating problem that virtually affects us all.

Once the symbol of upward mobility and a promising future, real estate signs on front lawns in many cases signify another casualty inflicted by the high cost of living on Long Island.

Change is inevitable, we are told. That often overused phrase has more meaning now than ever before. For many, the suburban lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to is slipping away, not by choice but for economic reasons.

Surveys in the past, taken by Nassau and Suffolk residents asking if they planned to continue living here, showed the desire to exit is increasing dramatically. It should come as no surprise that many residents plan to leave the island. The cost of buying a home or renting one on Long Island has become exceedingly high and beyond the reach of many who would continue to live here, if they simply could afford to.

For many, living here is no longer feasible. The cost of owning and maintaining a home has become such a financial burden that the only realistic alternative is to relocate off the island.

Affordable housing has become a serious issue that continues to threaten the demographic profile of both Nassau and Suffolk counties. For many, the dream of owning a home and raising a family here has become just that: a dream.

A growing number of residents in the 18- to 24-year old demographic profile are either moving or are planning to leave the island, primarily for economic reasons. Although this is alarming, the fact remains that little is being done to retain this segment of our population. As a result, the demographic profile of our island will shift in favor of older, established residents, who can somewhat better handle the financial drain of living here.

This precarious situation is quite problematic as the status-quo of our island is undermined as this transition progresses. The void left behind by our newly evolving social landscape will not easily be filled. This is in stark contrast to an island that was a prime destination for countless young adults who wished to stay here and maintained a quality lifestyle.

As more and more residents are forced to vacate their homes, a sense of despair takes hold. Like characters from John Steinbeck’s ‘ Grapes of Wrath’, families are exiting Long Island in search of a better and most importantly, affordable lives.

Jason Hill, RIDGE

12/12/13 7:00am
JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

To the editor:

It was appalling to learn that a tentative plan is in place to kill thousands of deer across Brookhaven and the East End using trained snipers to manage the growing population.

The plan, which would also include bow hunters to come within 150 feet of private residences rather than the current regulation of 500 feet, is extremely dangerous and perhaps deadly.

Rather than create an inhumane agenda to deal with the growing deer population, why were methods not in place all along to inhibit the expansion of this docile species across eastern Long Island?

Deer culling, the management of a deer population in a certain area, using birth control vaccines has been successful in national parks for years. Instead, we choose to have hunters hanging from trees in the dark targeting innocent animals. Rather than tout this plan, we should be ashamed to even present it.

Jason Hill, Ridge

11/18/10 7:45pm

As the last remaining rays of sunlight succumb to the brisk chill of the autumn night sky above my home, a sense of despair signals the end of another day filled with emotional turmoil and frustration. Much attention has been given to breast cancer and the valiant attempts to find a cure. Unfortunately, this insidious disease continues to cause pain and suffering for countless women and their families. October is designated breast cancer awareness month, but for far too many, this evil disease makes its cognizant presence felt far longer than a mere month.
Life, in its own peculiar fashion, has a way of presenting us with the unexpected. Like a wounded soldier retreating from enemy lines, my sister-in-law returned home from the hospital recently. Silently, and with little warning, she has become a faceless statistic. Her diagnosis — metastatic breast cancer. The same disease that took my mother’s life nearly three decades ago. Left with limited options, which include chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she must once again engage in a fierce battle that began in 1995 when her breast cancer was first detected. This time, however, the enemy has proliferated to other parts of the body. Although she is not one who enjoys making her private life public, she felt that her unfortunate circumstance might help shed light on this terrible disease, which strikes one in nine Long Island women.
Living on Long Island, she was greatly aware that the odds were stacked against her. She knew that breast cancer was not a remote threat but, rather, a distinct enemy that could attack with little warning. She was aware that both Nassau and Suffolk counties had nearly the highest breast cancer rates in the nation. Like most women living here, she hoped for the best. She hoped that this life-threatening disease would spare her. Instead, it has come back with a vengeance. She did all that she could do to hold this disease at bay. She never smoked, consumed nutritional foods and made the effort to exercise every day. Despite all her hopes and prayers, she must now deal with the fact that this disease could take her life. Although I commend her for her positive attitude and outlook, I cannot imagine the emotional pain and suffering she must be enduring. As I look into her eyes, I can see the sadness she is trying to conceal. Like her, the pain I am feeling is enormous, but I, too, try to hide it. Unfortunately, like countless families across Long Island, we must deal with the tears and void this disease brings.
My sister-in-law continues to insist that there must be a reason why she got this disease. As she continues to soul search between twitches of pain, she is optimistic that something good can be found among all the bad. She feels that maybe she was afflicted so that she could relay an authentic impact on a disease that has taken far too many innocent lives.

*****
When I originally began writing this piece there was a sense of hope that I refused to surrender despite the intensity of this wicked disease. Once again, I am behind the computer screen telling a story that I wish would never have to be told. Sadly, my sister-in law, Marilyn Hill, passed away on Nov. 1 with her family by her bedside. The sadness that filled her room that day could not be described in words. As she left this unkind world to enter another I am certain is far more forgiving, she left behind a family filled with a void that may never be filled. Now her room is silent. No longer is the sound of an oxygen generator a part of our lives. The portable hospital bed no longer adorns that once-cozy room. She has been silenced. She is gone. Her physical presence has vanished. I am certain she is in a far better place. Death is never easy. As time goes by, I am confident the sunshine will return to our lives. Her smile and laughter will always be a part of our lives.
This is the true face of breast cancer that we cannot ignore.

Mr. Hill resides in Ridge and is a Stony Brook University graduate and freelance writer.