11/21/13 6:00am
11/21/2013 6:00 AM

I have had the pleasure of being a town resident for the past 33 years. I attended and graduated from the Riverhead school system and have owned a business for the past 12 years. There are a few experiences I would like my son to enjoy that I was able to have growing up. Among those is walking down Main Street and having breakfast at “Poppa Nick’s.”

Actually being able to do Christmas shopping — all of it — downtown and not at a 65,000-square-foot super store that has Christmas trees on display in October! Enjoying the Polish Fair with classmates and not worrying about crackheads, gang members or sex offenders at each corner. Quality of life is very important. In my business, and many others, bigger is not always better; it’s the quality of what you offer not the quantity that separates you from the rest.

There is no need for three sporting goods stores, four grocery stores, countless “big box” stores, two home improvement warehouses, three super sized wholesale clubs and seven pharmacies within a three-mile stretch of road. Oh yeah, and lets not forget Tanger Outlets. (Everything but a cinema, which would be great.)

My point is that growing up here was possible and very enjoyable without every major brand chain store breaking ground and taking up what little space we have left. Our elected officials should have a long-term view of quality additions to our town, not short-term, low wage, non-community-based or -supported projects.

If even a quarter of the amount of effort that is being spent on finding the magic plan for EPCAL was focused on Main Street and the surrounding area, Riverhead would be a true destination for people to live in, start and grow businesses — and not just visit for its “retail” stores. When I tell friends from upstate that I live on Long Island, they think it is going to look like Nassau County when they visit. Let’s make sure that we don’t let that happen.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | East Main Street looking west near the theater.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | East Main Street looking west near the theater.

11/15/13 11:00am
11/15/2013 11:00 AM
An artist rendering of the First Baptist Church (far left) and the community center.

An artist rendering of the First Baptist Church (far left) and the community center.

To the editor:

The Rev. Charles Coverdale and Shirley Cloverdale have my admiration for their dedication to their church and community. But the Riverhead Town Board must consider the impact on the whole town before it approves zoning that would allow a high-density housing project exempt from property taxes, which will add millions of dollars to our school budgets.

The town’s auditors have warned of a “catastrophic” tax increase and our schools are bursting at the seams — with 200 more kids than expected this year alone. With the cost to educate a student upwards of $16,000 per child in the Riverhead district, just one student per household in the proposed, 132-unit complex would add $2.1 million per year to the school budget.

The claim that there is a compelling need for work force housing is belied by the limited success of another government subsidized project — Summerwind Square, which is still not fully rented.

The Rev. Coverdale has flatly rejected payment of school taxes because his organization is tax-exempt — the effect of which is to have the rest of Riverhead’s already strapped taxpayers subsidize his ambitious project by a likely double-digit increase in property taxes. When added to a catastrophic increase in town taxes, the burden that would be created by a tax-exempt project is far too much for our citizens to bear.

Ron Hariri, Aquebogue

11/07/13 6:00am
11/07/2013 6:00 AM

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To the editor:

I disagree with those that think Common Core can be adjusted to the point were it is acceptable to all. It’s the start of selling any control of your child’s education over to the federal government. Some may say there are some good points to it. Some said there were good points to many disasters in world history. This can only be an all-or-nothing battle. We can’t open this door and try to close it in years to come; it’s the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent.”

I suggest doing your homework on this. Check out the businesses that are pushing this and what they stand to gain once there is no turning back. It’s sad; it’s all about the money. Not the children’s future.

Let them take over the Department of Motor Vehicles or something like that. Let’s let our teachers teach. It’s worth the fight.

Denis Noncarrow, Peconic

10/31/13 1:00am
10/31/2013 1:00 AM

R1024_Bike_TG_C.jpg

To the editor:

I have no doubt that if reporter Tim Gannon continues biking regularly on the EPCAL Recreation Path he will be ready for the 2014 Tour de France. Furthermore, if he had started using the path last winter for improving his skiing techniques, we would be sending him to the winter Olympics in Sochi with the rest of the U.S. Ski team. Next time, Tim.

One correction to Tim’s column on bicycling: the Town Board vote on the resolution to apply for the grant funding to complete the path was 4 to 1, with Supervisor Sean Walter dissenting. Regardless, Sean later mentioned to me he likes the path because he can drive on it to show off the real estate at EPCAL to potential buyers. We really need to fix that.

When the EPCAL path is completed and the proposed trail between Port Jefferson and Wading River becomes a reality, all bicyclists will need to do is bike the three or so miles on wide shoulders of Route 25A to get from one to the other. Wow.

George Bartunek, Calverton

To read more letters to the editor, pick of a copy of this week’s Riverhead News-Review on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

10/17/13 7:00am
10/17/2013 7:00 AM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation in July at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

To the editor:

There certainly should have been more consideration afforded the adjacent community by the contractor of the Shops at Riverhead. I fully support the protesters for the lack of local workers — both union and non-union.

Jobs should be a primary consideration in approving any major construction.

However, the protesting politicians who are against the coming of Costco, and view it as an issue to hang their hats on, are in for an unpleasant surprise. Everyone I have spoken to has only one major complaint: “What’s taking so long to open? We can’t wait!”

And all reports indicate Costco pays relatively excellent pay and benefits, while also offering a realistic path to advancement. Sounds like a great addition to Riverhead.

Ed Goldstein, Baiting Hollow

10/10/13 6:00am
10/10/2013 6:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO |  Workers harvest grapes at a North Fork farm this summer.

To the editor:

In last week’s letters section, a Jamesport resident asked, “What’s wrong with this picture?” and then answered that the problem was due to the “entire attitude of workers in today’s American welfare state.” He then went on to support his conclusion by citing recipients of unemployment benefits and those “on welfare” who “sit at home doing nothing except watching television.”

There is a difference between entitlement and eligibility and since 1997, when it replaced “welfare” with TANF, the government has made critical changes to shift attitudes from the former to the latter.

TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, has as one its four goals “to end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation and work.” [It] provides the infrastructure to accomplish this and also sets a time frame of 60 months, at the end of which supports such as food stamps terminate. (As an aside, food stamps represent federal money that goes directly into the local economy.)

Many food stamp recipients today are the working poor, whose jobs don’t generate sufficient income and who need food supplementation for their families to survive. Some folks receiving food stamps were once well-off, until catastrophe — a devastating illness, job loss, accident, financial setback, or any number of ways misfortune strikes — set their lives spiraling from being comfortably in control to becoming dependent on the greater community for their daily bread. Not everyone has lifetime immunity from personal disaster.

The writer of last week’s letter posits that he lives in “an American welfare state.” I live in an America that realistically understands there are no guarantees in the pursuit of happiness and, if the pursuit is ever blocked by disaster, that dignifies each citizen with a safety net.

Catherine Harper, Mattituck

10/03/13 6:00am
10/03/2013 6:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Workers harvest grapes at a North Fork farm this summer.

On your story regarding the problem North Fork farmers are having in hiring people to help with the crops and the harvest, this is just a small part of the entire attitude of workers in today’s American welfare state.

A person who is out of work in New York can receive up to $405 a week, or $21,060 a year, for doing nothing except sitting home watching television. A person who is on welfare in NYC can also sit at home doing nothing except watching television, even while welfare provides the equivalent of an hourly pre-tax wage of $14.75, or $30,680 a year.

All while people who are not a citizen of this country, and are here to make enough money to support their families back home, wherever that might be, labor for a $12/hour salary working in 100-degree heat.

So the farmer on the North Fork is caught on the horns of a dilemma, where on one hand he is unable to get Americans to do the farm work and, on the other hand, there is less and less foreign labor to do the same work at equivalent costs.

09/29/13 2:31pm
09/29/2013 2:31 PM

Anonymous commenting online

To the Editor:

There is one thing that many find irresponsible about your publication. You continue to allow people to comment anonymously about articles and letters on your website.

Riverheadlocal stopped that practice a while ago and all the mutant morons who love to knock almost everything have taken over your site. I will defend anyone’s right to comment even if I disagree with them. However, most people I speak to agree and take exception to them hiding behind their assumed identity, without the courage or conviction of associating themselves with their own opinions. It should not be permitted.

It is cheap gossip that is promoted by your publication, which brings it down to gutter gossip publication level, not an award-winning weekly newspaper.

Why not allow letters to the editor to be published without identity also, which is not your policy. Having different policies seems unethical.

You won’t print it, but you allow them to do so on the website. Which is it?

Start printing anonymous letters or stop them on the web site. Which is it?

Martin Sendlewski, Riverhead

P.S. Gee Mike, I can’t wait to see if you publish this.