Articles by

Joseph Pinciaro

10/01/14 4:30pm
Gillian Wood Pultz (right) and another African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) volunteer prep a satellite clinic to administer rabies vaccines to dogs in the city of Voi, located in southern Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Gillian Wood Pultz (right) and another African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) volunteer prep a satellite clinic to administer rabies vaccines to dogs in the city of Voi, located in southern Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Most people look forward to spending their precious vacation days enjoying rest, relaxation and the occasional cocktail, but that’s not the case with North Fork Animal Welfare League director Gillian Wood Pultz.

Twice a year since 2010, Ms. Wood Pultz has boarded a plane to Mexico to help spay and neuter 1,600 animals in just six days.

But this year, she decided to take her efforts even further away — about 8,000 miles, in fact — to Africa.

Armed with a sleeping bag and mosquito net, Ms. Wood Pultz flew from Mexico to Kenya on Aug. 19 to volunteer with the African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), which had been working to stop the Kenyan government from using what Ms. Wood Pultz called an inhumane euthanasia practice in an effort to control the spread of rabies.

“The Kenyan government decided that in order to keep rabies at bay in humans, it had to reduce the population of stray dogs,” Ms. Wood Pultz said. “ANAW got involved and started a vaccination campaign.”

Gillian Wood Pultz said the highlight of her trip was helping children and families learn how to better care for their dogs, which included a tutorial on belly rubs. (Courtesy photo)

Ms. Wood Pultz joined a group of helpers from around the globe to vaccinate nearly 2,000 animals against rabies in just five days, sleeping on the roof of a building with other volunteers in order to save money.

The vaccinations replaced the Kenyan government’s use of strychnine, a form of poison that had been used to kill hundreds of stray dogs until March, when ANAW stepped in, according to the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.

“It’s an oral poison, and it is a really harsh form [of euthanasia] — a horrible way to kill dogs,” Ms. Wood Pultz said.

NFAWL, which operates shelters in Riverhead and Southold towns, donated medical supplies and about 400 soon-to-expire vaccines that otherwise would have been thrown out, she said.

To help instill animal welfare, Ms. Wood Pultz said, “it is hugely important that everyone works together. We need cooperation and collaboration locally, nationally, and globally.”

She said her mission in Kenya went well beyond simply vaccinating animals.

“We want to change the way owners think of their animals,” she said.

Ms. Wood Pultz explained that dogs are treated as agricultural animals in that part of the world and frequently used to protect homes and herd cattle.

“Dogs are not considered pets. They are not allowed in the house,” she said. “It was so clear to me that they just didn’t know they were supposed to pet their dogs; they really weren’t sure.”

Ms. Wood Pultz said she set out to change that mindset.

“We started teaching the kids to rub their dog’s tummy,” she said. “One here, another there — and then, all of a sudden — all these kids had their dogs rolling in the field on their backs, wagging their tails.

“All you need is one of them to really get it and it can change an entire community,” she said.

cmiller@timesreview.com

Second photo credit: Gillian Wood Pultz said the highlight of her trip was helping children and families learn how to better care for their dogs, which included a tutorial on belly rubs. (Courtesy photo)

09/30/14 8:12am
Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

It seems as though the county’s tick committee will get more time to sink their teeth into the tick problem.

After learning at its first meeting in July that it might only have one or two meetings to help develop a plan for Suffolk County to stem the tide of a growing presence of tick-borne illnesses, the county legislature’s Tick Control Advisory Committee may be around for another year, at least.

A resolution was approved on Monday by the county’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee extending its life until Suffolk’s 2016 Annual Vector Control Plan is adopted next fall. It now requires support from the full body after passing the committee unanimously.

“It was only meant to make suggestions early on,” said Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Montuak), the South Fork legislator who co-sponsored the legislation creating the committee. “But now the committee is expanding somewhat to have a little bit more of an ongoing role while a plan is being implemented.”

The tick problem on the East End came to a head over the past year most publicly in the form of a debate over whether or not a $225,000 deer cull was the right move to help trip the deer herd. Leaders said before, during and after the cull — which reported killing just 192 of the county’s 25,000 – 36,000 deer — that a comprehensive approach toward trimming the herd would be key in combating Lyme Disease and the presence of ticks in the county.

Dr. John Rasweiler, a Southold Town resident who is on the committee, said at the committee’s first meeting at the end of July that after hearing what was expected of it, its original set of expectations simply wouldn’t fit with the timeline given.

“I understand the head of vector control is under some pressure to come up with a plan … by mid-September. He has to prepare some sort of report but I think that is asking a lot from the committee,” he said at the time. “I think even for the committee to narrow down to a series of serious recommendations, that is a pretty tight schedule.”

Mr. Rasweiler — a member of Southold’s deer management committee who has submitted opinion pieces to The Suffolk Times on the topic himself — said on Monday afternoon that giving the committee an extension was undoubtedly the right call.

“It’s probably necessary becasue were dealing with some very complex issues, and anybody who thought we were going to have this all wrapped up by this time was dreaming,” he said. “It’s better to do the job properly than in haste.”

By this time next year, the committee could have another set of tasks on its hands, so it could be given another goal or extension. Time will tell, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“The narrow respect which it was formed for — to guide the division to develop a plan — I don’t think they are going to need to do that forever. Maybe another year is enough, and then it can do other things — research better diagnostic tools, research into a cure — whatever that might be — or look at ways to improve public education.”

09/28/14 12:00pm

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09/23/14 2:00pm
Ten students board a school bus at Hulse Avenue and 17th Street last morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Ten students board a school bus at Hulse Avenue and 17th Street last morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Weeks after a couple of Wading River parents told school board members their children’s bus was overcrowded — to the point that some children sit in the aisle on their way to school — the district is expected to speak about transportation in the schools after looking into the problem.

Doreen Moore and Allyson Matwey said that while district policy calls for three children to a seat, the 11 kids at the second-to-last stop en route to the Pulaski Street and Middle Schools are much too big to fit on the bus at the tail end of the route.

While 62 kids are on the route for that bus — which is supposed to fit 66 kids once backpacks, sports equipment, musical instruments and the like are added in, there isn’t any room for kids to sit on seats.

“You can’t accommodate three children to a seat,” Ms. Matwey said at the board of education’s last meeting on Sept. 9.

Ms. Carney told her that some children have simply refused to share their seats, which poses a problem. She told a reporter if the district were to reduce their requirements from three to two children per seat, then the district would “need to purchase many more large buses and hire many more drivers.”

A more in-depth analysis will be presented at tonight’s board meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at Philips Avenue School.

09/20/14 1:29pm

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 1.27.21 PMA kayaker was rescued about five miles off the coast of Riverhead in the Long Island Sound this morning, saved quickly due to a radio beacon she had on hand in the event of an emergency.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the female — identified as 60-year-old Martha Bailie of Cheshire, Conn. — sounded a distress signal around 10:30 a.m.

Kevin Brooks, first assistant chief with the Riverhead Fire Department, said his crew received a call, though the woman had already been saved before they could get their boats in the water.

The USCG said a Suffolk County Police Department helicopter was the first to respond, making contact with the woman at 11:08 a.m. through the use of her Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which gave off a signal of her approximate location.

Shortly after the Suffolk chopper arrived, a rescue boat crew sent from Coast Guard Station New Haven helped the woman out of the water.

The woman was evaluated and was not in need of medical assistance, according to the Coast Guard.

“Her preparedness was a major factor in us rescuing her today,” said Chief Petty Officer Frank St. Pierre. “We hope that others who are looking to go out on the water take into consideration that they should be prepared for the worst, because being prepared could help save your life.”

09/20/14 11:00am
 Alfonso Triggiani of Westhampton Beach teaching the 'Electric Slide' to joint replacement patients. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Alfonso Triggiani of Westhampton Beach teaching the ‘Electric Slide’ to joint replacement patients. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Though one day they didn’t think it would be possible, they danced the afternoon away on Friday afternoon.

Peconic Bay Medical Center hosted its 10th annual joint replacement reunion barbecue and dance, a yearly gathering of individuals who have had surgery that gives patients mobility they didn’t have at one time.

Friday’s dance at East Wind in Wading River brought close to 500 individuals who have received hip and knee replacements for dance lessons from Alfonso Triggiani, the host of TV’s “Touch Dancing,” which has been on air since 1990.

According to PBMC’s Director of Rehabilitation Paul Furbeck, 2014 has been a banner year for the hospital’s joint replacement program, with close to 1,000 operations done so far. In total, PBMC has completed around 4,000 joint replacements.

Ninety-six-year-old Betty Negro of Riverhead said she has been one of those patients. After getting her hip replaced originally 15 years ago, she had it repaired at PBMC in 2011 and said it’s been “great” since.

Betty Negro, who had her hip repaired at PBMC in 2011, with PBMC Health president and CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Betty Negro, who had her hip repaired at PBMC in 2011, with PBMC Health president and CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Close to 500 joint replacement patients showed up to the 10th annual reunion dance and barbecue on Friday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Close to 500 joint replacement patients showed up to the 10th annual reunion dance and barbecue on Friday. (Courtesy photo: Jim Lennon/PBMC )