Suffolk County’s capital budget for 2016-18 contains $1 billion for projects countywide, with more than half planned to be spent in 2016. Yet funding for the county’s most economically distressed community — factoring in employment levels, median household income, housing values, etc. — was on the chopping block for a scary amount of time. (more…)
Memorial Day has long been considered the official start of summer in these parts. It’s also fast becoming the unofficial start of silly season. (more…)
Whether it’s Riverhead’s Cardboard Boat Race, the Shelter Island 10K, a bird’s-eye photo of the Main Road corridor, the Enterprise Park at Calverton or the waterfront in New Suffolk, this media company has employed drone operators on a number of occasions to better tell the stories of our lives and times. Larger news outlets across the U.S. have also used drones to cover breaking news events that are difficult to document on foot or by car, such as floods and mass protests.
Images captured from these unmanned flying devices are also used by realtors, travel agents, chambers of commerce and other businesses. Even Amazon hopes to one day use drones to deliver packages to homes and businesses.
Yet much of the attention they’ve been getting lately has focused on the negative, from Peeping Toms using them to spy on NYC apartment dwellers, to worries about a remotely piloted aircraft possibly interfering with a commercial airliner. The federal government has been slow to respond with regulations that would simultaneously address safety and privacy issues and legalize commercial use of these unmanned aerial vehicles by trained and responsible operators. Under current rules, only the recreational use of drones is fully lawful, so long as the devices don’t disrupt air traffic.
The FAA has spent years crafting regulations and still seems likely to miss an official deadline set by Congress for enacting these rules. When any new measures will be adopted now seems unclear.
That’s probably just how government bureaucracies like it — who enjoys deadline pressure?
But in the meantime, many commercial drone operators are keeping their aircraft grounded while they could otherwise be contributing to their local economies and earning a bit of a living for themselves. For those who are still airborne — well, it’s pretty much impossible to enforce the outdated laws currently on the books anyway.
The FAA needs to come up with regulations that are flexible enough to support legitimate commercial uses but still address real safety security and privacy concerns. That shouldn’t have to take too much longer. Otherwise, a hodgepodge of local laws — which we’re already seeing in Suffolk County — will emerge that could unduly restrict both careers and recreation for many law-abiding citizens.
We don’t need another robbery or a similar incident possibly related to gang activity as evidence that downtown Riverhead has a problem with crime. It has plagued the area for years, and it’s worth noting that, unfortunately, downtown Riverhead is not the only place in Suffolk County that could use, for lack of a better phrase, some cleaning up. It’s also worth admitting that crime can never be completely eliminated there or anywhere else.
Nine Suffolk County legislators recently rejected a proposal to move a series of committee meetings from Hauppauge to Riverhead. Ask them why and you’re likely to get nine different answers. One thing none of these lawmakers would tell you, however, is what appears to be the truth: They don’t want to drive out here.
This editorial is not a statement about what should or shouldn’t be built at the United Riverhead Terminal property on Sound Shore Road in Northville. It’s not an editorial about conforming uses, non-conforming uses or variances.
It’s an editorial about respecting your neighbors’ views, regardless of what they are, and disagreeing respectfully. (more…)
Nearly 20 years ago, a News-Review article about Riverhead Town’s decision to create a townwide garbage pickup program started with the following sentence: “There are two sides to every garbage story.”
As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. (more…)