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.

09/26/13 6:00am
09/26/2013 6:00 AM
Suffolk theater opening

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

To the editor:

I take exception to the “downtown Riverhead” references as expressed by Mike Roth of the Wading River Chamber of Commerce in last week’s feature article about Wading River’s ailing business district. Mr. Roth’s references that after years of decline, Wading River is “all of a sudden downtown Riverhead” and that the “worst case scenario is status quo, nothing moves on and it becomes another downtown Riverhead” are way off base.

These negative connotations may have applied to Riverhead’s downtown a few short years ago, however they do not apply at all today. Our downtown is now an example of successful downtown revitalization with over 15 new businesses opened up or planning to open soon. I have been here all of my life and have seen many attempts to turn our downtown around that did not take hold, however it is unmistakable that this time, downtown Riverhead’s revitalization is for real.

It is becoming a more vibrant and safe place to live, work and play as a result of the efforts of Supervisor Sean Walter, the Town Board, the Business Improvement District, Industrial Development Agency, the town’s community development office and the residents and businesses here. I have strolled through downtown many evenings to see people fishing and eating dinner along the riverfront and enjoying Grangebel Park, once a drug haven, now a wonderful park where people say hello to each other as they walk by.

Downtown Riverhead is back, it is safe and it is becoming a successful destination that no longer deserves or is representative of its past negative perceptions similar to those expressed by Mr. Roth.

Martin Sendlewsi, Riverhead

Editor’s note: Mr. Sendlewski is a partner in the Summerwind Square complex and sits on the downtown Business Improvement District board of directors.

09/19/13 6:00am
09/19/2013 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Democratic nominees, from left, Icilio ‘Bill’ Bianchi, Millie Thomas, Angela DeVito and Greg Fischer in May.

To the editor:

Grant Parpan’s column last week walked us through the corrosive infighting that we’ve witnessed among the members of the all-Republican Town Board these past four years. He ended it with a wonderful quote from Republican Councilman Jim Wooten, who observed: “If I were a Democrat, I’d seize the momentum. I hate to say it, but it’s true. They have a real opportunity here.”

I agree with Mr. Wooten. But we Democrats have an advantage that extends far beyond voter disgust with the self-dealing government we have all had to put up with, to our great detriment. Our unquestioned potential to take back Town Hall is found more fundamentally in the highly qualified and selfless candidates who will appear on the Democratic line on Nov. 5: Angela DeVito for supervisor and Bill Bianchi and Millie Thomas for council.

These good people also have a unified Democratic Committee behind them – the strongest party organization I’ve seen in decades, led by our new town leader, Marjorie Acevedo, a dynamo with boundless energy and smarts. Our current supervisor — the modest, self-effacing and breathtakingly charming Sean Walter — is fond of referring to his opponents as “toast.” This November, it will be Mr. Walter and his Republicans who will be toast.

John Stefans, Northville

Mr. Stefans is a Riverhead Town Democratic Committee member.

09/12/13 6:00am
09/12/2013 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Anthony Coates delivers a concession speech Tuesday night.

To the editor:

I believe the voting public is always open to support a challenger who places ideas and principles above party loyalty. However, based on the primary election results, the Anthony Coates campaign seemed unsuccessful in articulating either.

The campaign strategy to go negative instead of focusing on a positive reform agenda — what he would do differently from the incumbents — never materialized and Mr. Coates paid the price at the ballot box. That stated, I would hope all of us can refrain from continued personal demonization of any candidate and stick to the important issues the town has to wrestle with.

Unless you have been willing to run for office and opened your entire life and family to public scrutiny, personal attacks of any individual with the courage to run for office is uncalled for, and perhaps the reason why so many good, qualified folks stay out of the fray.

Steven Romano, Riverhead

09/09/13 10:00am
09/09/2013 10:00 AM
GRANT PARPAN PHOTOS | Bicyclists would be wise to remember a few basic rules, one reader suggests.

GRANT PARPAN FILE PHOTO | Bicyclists would be wise to remember a few basic rules.

To the Editor:

I am not a serious bicycle rider, but I do occasionally mix it up out there with our summer traffic. I am a motor vehicle driver, however, and over the past couple of weeks I’ve witnessed three categories of bicycle/motor vehicle incidents that I believe are worth mentioning. Hopefully, it’s not too late in the season to save an injury.

First, while driving on a shady, country lane, I encountered a bicycle coming straight at me in the shoulder of my lane. New York state law requires bicycles to ride in the right-hand lane in the direction of other vehicle traffic. The reason behind this is that the distance between bike and car closes so fast when riding “head to head” that things can happen more quickly than either vehicle can safely anticipate. Another reason is that at intersections, right-turning drivers don’t normally expect any vehicles coming at them from the right.

The second instance involves bicycles riding single-file. Again, this is required by state law, but it is so frequently ignored, especially on our back country roads. It is exactly on these more narrow roads where passing widths are reduced, which makes this requirement so important.

Finally, wear your bicycle helmet! Many bicyclists believe helmets are for when they hit another vehicle, and they reason (maybe correctly) that their helmet won’t do them much good, so why wear one? But the main reason for wearing bike helmets is to protect your head when you fall for whatever reason. Think about it: your unprotected head is six feet or more above the pavement, and your hands are holding onto the handlebars for dear life during a fall. That leaves your head completely unprotected.

This was brought home to us recently when we were invited to a friend’s home for dinner. When we arrived, everyone seemed pretty gloomy and our hosts were not in sight. Turns out their daughter had just been in a bike accident and they were waiting for more news. Fortunately, their daughter was wearing a helmet, and except for some temporary cosmetic issues, she’ll be fine. If she had not been wearing her helmet, the story would have had a much sadder ending.

With school about to begin, there will be many more kids on the road heading off to school on their bikes. So, bicyclers and drivers alike, please consider each other when out there “sharing the road.”

Jim Baker, New Suffolk

09/05/13 6:00am
09/05/2013 6:00 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO  |  At the site of the Costco development, trees were cleared up to the property line of Foxwood Village.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | At the site of the Costco development, trees were cleared up to the property line of Foxwood Village.

To the editor:

This Town Board continues to provide an excess of comedic material to its residents. This board, and several of its predecessors, have allowed Route 58 to become not only the eyesore that it is, but have fully supported all of these mega-store projects to encroach within 10 feet of the property line of private citizens for decades.

And now, when virtually 100 percent of Route 58 has been built out, or is in the process of being so, they determine it is finally the time to consider more restrictive buffer zones. Myself and all my fellow citizens continue to laugh — what else to do, but cry? — at the nonsensical behavior of these board members, who presumably have the responsibility to protect the citizens of Riverhead.

Jim Hyndman, Aquebogue

09/02/13 5:00pm
09/02/2013 5:00 PM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

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

To the Editor:

As election time quickly comes upon us, I urge each and every voter to get out and question those running for election to the Riverhead Town Board.

The current board has been stuck in neutral as they are fixated on the constant development along Route 58. They claim the development is needed for the additional tax base. As most, if not all, residents can attest, we have not seen any tax breaks while these numerous development projects are granted substantial tax breaks. What we do see is increased traffic, severe business loss on Main Street and a complete change to the country environment we have long enjoyed, as well as utter disregard for the residents who have to live alongside these projects.

The question we must ask these candidates, as I see it is, is simple: If we need to improve the amount of revenue we have in our town, what are you doing or going to do to cut the unnecessary waste and spending? If the only solution they have to generate and manage funds is to keep building for increased tax revenue than it wont be long before we will resemble one of New York City’s five boroughs. I for one came here because of the country and peaceful surroundings. If I wanted to live in a urban setting, I could have stayed in western Nassau.

Paul Spina, Calverton

09/02/13 8:46am
One of the things the British get right is leaving the long weekends that begin and end summer without names weighed down with significance.

Over there they’re called “bank holidays,” a generic term simply meaning a long weekend with Monday off.

We insist on calling the summer kickoff Memorial Day, which has recovered some of its original meaning because many of us remember Americans for their service and sacrifice in the misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By remembering them, our thoughts turn again to the veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Korea and the first Gulf War. So better Memorial Day than a “bank holiday.”

But Labor Day long ago lost its original meaning.

The first Monday in September was earmarked Labor Day as an election year appeasement by President Grover Cleveland. During the Great Depression of 1893, a strike by Pullman railroad car workers in Chicago went national and took 12,000 federal troops to break it. The leaders went to federal prison and the group spearheading the strike, the American Railway Union, was disbanded and most of the other industrial workers’ unions were done in.

But protests still boiled, and soon after the bloody end of the strike, Congress passed legislation and President Cleveland signed Labor Day into law to cool things off. It wasn’t looked at as just a paid holiday, but as a sort of victory, and, as one labor leader said, a day when workers’ “rights and wrongs would be discussed.”

It was an early example of something created out of a need for good PR that has since died along with the once-essential movement that produced it.

Unions went into hibernation after the Pullman strike, but roared back during the Great Depression II beginning in 1929. Organization and collective bargaining thrived for several generations, contributing to one of history’s triumphs: the rapid and extensive expansion of the American middle class. In the 1950s, 50 percent of American workers held union cards. Today, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 11.8 percent of workers are unionized.

With fast food and big box workers beginning to make noise about organizing for better pay, it’s important to remember that most of the employees aren’t kids but people trying to support families. The U.S. Labor Department found the median age of fast food employees is over 28 and those working in Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and other big boxes is over 30.

There’s no time, really, to reflect on summer’s passing because Labor Day is in many ways the opening gun for another race, to get the kids ready for school — and to face the shopping that requires.

It should be a time to remember what the day was named for, and to understand what it took to achieve the quality of life we all have.

Labor Day