06/02/14 10:00am
06/02/2014 10:00 AM
Protestors outside the Riverhead Post Office Saturday afternoon. (Credit: Jerry Bilinski, courtesy)

Protestors outside the Riverhead Post Office Saturday afternoon. (Credit: Jerry Bilinski, courtesy)

To the Editor:

On a visit to my local post office this Saturday, I was shocked to be confronted by a disturbing display on the sidewalk in front of the building.

Two protestors who said they were supporters of Libertarian politician  Lyndon Larouche had set up shop on the curb in front of the Riverhead Post Office. I have seen them before while driving around Suffolk County. However, I was still surprised by their appearance in the town where I live.

Apparently, they have been traveling around the county and setting up displays in front of post offices across Suffolk County. While they may be engaging in free speech on public property, and don’t appear to be violating any laws, I personally believe they are promoting a form of hate speech that harms our community.

One large sign they display prominently specifically portrays President Obama with a Hitler mustache superimposed across his face. I found this to be particularly troubling in that it associates the President of the United States with a heinous figure who facilitated the Holocaust. I think it crosses over the line and goes beyond just bad taste.

I approached the two people running the protest and politely asked them to please take down the photo of the President with the Hitler mustache. I let them know that I was a resident of Riverhead — they were not — and that this specific sign violated my sense of community standards.They were very polite, but refused.

When I invoked the connection to the Holocaust they replied that “Obama was engaging in a Holocaust right now all around the world.” That’s an absurd statement insulting not only to victims of the Holocaust, but also the memory of that event.

Now many people in the community would say just ignore this type of fringe group. I disagree.

Who in the community would say just ignore them if the Klu Klux Klan or a Neo-Nazi group started demonstrating in front of the Riverhead Post Office? I say its important to shine a light on their views and activities.

Hatred and ignorance needs to be confronted wherever and whenever it raises its ugly head. We should not be fooled by those espousing hateful views just because they are ordinary looking citizens and present themselves politely and in a non-threatening manner.

We should always be vigilant in not allowing hatred to creep into the mainstream culture here in America.

Besides being personally offended, I feel pain for my Jewish and African American friends in Riverhead who have to be exposed to this on a routine trip to the post office. Unfortunately, community apathy sometimes allows ugly and hateful messages to go unchallenged.

What can be done? How about a counter protest everywhere these people choose to set up shop? If they choose to return to Riverhead next week, I feel compelled put together a counter demonstration with the theme being “Free Speech, Not Hate Speech.”

I sincerely hope that like-minded residents here in Riverhead will join me.

Jerry Bilinski, Riverhead

05/29/14 7:00am
05/29/2014 7:00 AM
(Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

The National Boat Safety Week started May 17. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

To the editor: 

I am writing in response to your editorial from last week, entitled “When out on the water, expect the unexpected.”

As you note, the 2014 boating season has gotten off to a bad start. There have been two boating accidents, in which one boat operator is confirmed to have died and the other is still missing and presumed dead.

As New York State’s longest-serving boating instructor, with over 50 years’ experience, I can say it is most important that anyone who plans to operate a boat on the water take a boating course. Your editorial makes the point that if you don’t respect the water, the water will not respect you. On Sept. 23, 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law that any youngster who plans to operate a boat alone on New York State waters, born on or after May 1, 1996, between the ages of 10 and 17, must take a boating course, and anyone age 14 and older who plans to operate a jet ski must also take a boating course.

These classes are offered by both the Peconic Bay Power Squadron and Flotilla 18-8 United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

In closing, as a member of both of these organizations, I have been involved in boating education with both of them. To find out when and where these courses are given, look for their announcement in the Riverhead News-Review.

Leonard Llewellyn, Mattituck

05/22/14 6:00am
05/22/2014 6:00 AM

password

To the editor:

We all know the pain Joe Werkmeister cites in his column last week, “We’ve gone too far on passwords.” Technology moves pretty fast these days and many of us are left clueless about how to best mitigate these issues and the unnecessary information security peril we place ourselves in.

These alternatives might be helpful (none of which I have any affiliation with besides finding them useful).

For passwords, use LastPass or OnePass password managers. You’ll only need to remember one password ever again. Never save passwords in your browser.

Use a VPN (which encrypts communications from server to server) and a proxy server, which provides some anonymity from advertisers and trackers. These are everywhere and can be free up to the cost of a subscription to The Suffolk Times for an app that does both and makes it brain-dead simple. Lastly, use browser extensions like Adblock Plus and Disconnect to further control the data we unknowingly share with the world. Some services pretend to do this but are actually run by marketers.

None of the above is over-the-top digital behavior. They should be considered basic best practices in this day and age.

At the very minimum, they should be in all of our toolkits as solutions to safe surfing.

Mark Ghuneim, Southold

05/08/14 6:00am
05/08/2014 6:00 AM
Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg .

Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

To the editor:

Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core Learning Standards implementation and its testing requirements. So his expressed desire to apply “common sense” to education is not surprising.

But hey, it’s common sense to put things back where you found them. But why, then, are shopping carts all over the parking lot at the end of a market day?  (more…)

05/01/14 7:00am
05/01/2014 7:00 AM

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:

Re: Jason Hill’s recent letter to the editor regarding Long Island’s affordable housing.

I write regularly on Long Island’s land use issues, with my work appearing in Long Island Business News, Newsday and various other publications. I have a bachelor’s degree from Fordham in both urban studies and political science and a master’s degree in public policy, where I studied urban planning with Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran planner.  (more…)

04/21/14 3:00pm
04/21/2014 3:00 PM
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.  (more…)