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07/29/14 6:00am
07/29/2014 6:00 AM

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A group of Congressional representatives led by Tim Bishop of Southampton is calling on the federal government not to sell Plum Island, as it plans, but to put it under the jurisdiction of a “federal agency such as the U.S. National Park Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” In their June 30 letter to the House and Senate appropriation committees, the representatives says they “remain deeply concerned” about the “ecological value” of Plum Island.  (more…)

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07/27/14 10:00am
07/27/2014 10:00 AM

photo (19)I was sorry, but not surprised, to see The Suffolk Times parroting the leftist party line regarding its coverage of the “border children” arriving in Riverhead.

According to the newspaper, this sudden tidal wave of nearly 60,000 children is the result of the kids “fleeing their violence-plagued homelands in Central America.” Frankly, this is a logic-twisting, flat-out lie. The violence in their homelands has been horrible for decades.

What triggered this onslaught was our president’s determination not to enforce our immigration laws and to “amnestitize” those illegal immigrants already here. A second factor is the exploitation of a well-intentioned 2008 law to stop Central American sex-trafficking, which is why it doesn’t apply to Mexican children.

The following was published in The New York Times July 7: “Originally pushed by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers as well as by evangelical groups to combat sex trafficking, the bill gave substantial new protections to children entering the country alone who were not from Mexico or Canada by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin.”

Instead, it required that they be given an opportunity to appear at an immigration hearing and consult with an advocate, and it recommended that they have access to counsel. It also required that they be turned over to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the agency was directed to place the minor “in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child” and to explore reuniting those children with family members.

At some point, circa 2010, this “message” went viral in Central America. Kids under 17 from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, rather than being promptly sent back, could be given lawyers, “temporarily” taken care of and, when possible, reunited with any family members already living here.

And, oh yes, there is also a third factor in this equation: America’s far-left has no real interest in securing our border and, case in point, it doesn’t want the 2008 loophole law to be changed.

The following was published in The New York Times July 16: “Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, reversed course on Wednesday and said she would not back changes to a 2008 law that gave certain undocumented immigrant children broader legal rights to enter the United States.”

Keeping that law in place is essentially flashing a big green light to keep sending children to the U.S. — 60,000 kids and counting. And, just imagine, they all get lawyers. Of course, the crux of the matter is the divide between those who believe any and all illegal immigrants should be welcomed into the U.S. and those who believe, as I do, that like many beneficial things — sunlight, water — too much of it can kill you.

Which (at least in my politically incorrect mind) begs two questions: Why exactly is it that these Central American cultures have been — for decades — so “violence-plagued”?And isn’t it reasonable to assume that a significant percentage of these would-be citizens are bringing those cultures along with them when they cross our border?

The author is an award-winning songwriter from Greenport.

07/25/14 8:00am
07/25/2014 8:00 AM
FILE PHOTO | The state capitol in Albany.

FILE PHOTO | The state capitol in Albany.

“Anywhere he wants to.” That’s the punch line of the ancient joke about where an 800 -pound gorilla sits.

In our neighborhood, the big bully is Agriculture & Markets, the state agency tasked with “foster[ing] a competitive food and agriculture industry.”  (more…)

07/23/14 7:00am
07/23/2014 7:00 AM
Kimogener Point on the Bay off New Suffolk Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Kimogener Point on the Bay off New Suffolk Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The only Long Islander running statewide on a major party ticket this year, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat, was on the East End last week.

It was an unusual political happening since he was introduced by the top Republican officeholder in Suffolk County government, Joseph Sawicki, and because of the different constituencies involved in the event.  (more…)

07/20/14 8:00am
07/20/2014 8:00 AM
Columnist James Varney said recently that he believes intellectual diversity might not be welcome thing on Long Island's East End.

Columnist James Varney said recently that he believes intellectual diversity might not be welcome thing on Long Island’s East End.

I read with amazement the News-Review article about New Orleans columnist James Varney, who penned a column in his home paper about his negative experience after visiting Riverhead for a wedding.

Mr. Varney’s column in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans titled “The Long Island Internet Blues” indicates that while staying at the Hyatt East End in Riverhead, he was not able to access some conservative websites. He theorized that the hotel, by design, prevented him from doing so and allowed Internet access only to liberal-leaning web sites.

Mr. Varney did not stop there. He continued in his rant and went on to write that “in the big money enclaves of Long Island the concept of diversity may be revered. Intellectual diversity, on the other hand, not so much.”

Give me a break. As a card-carrying liberal Democrat and resident of Riverhead, I feel compelled to respond and defend Riverhead from this big fool from the Big Easy.

As the News-Review article correctly pointed out, there are far more registered Republicans in the Town of Riverhead than Democrats. Supervisor Sean Walter and the entire Town Board are Republicans. As far as Mr. Varney’s characterization of Riverhead as a “big money” enclave, I think most town residents, including myself, would be shocked to learn that we live in a big money enclave. The truth is that Riverhead is a working class community with a very diverse population that encourages and allows a wide range of political beliefs. In my humble opinion, it is a good place to live.

I understand that during his visit to Riverhead, Mr. Varney had some additional observations that supported his belief that Riverhead was a bastion of liberalism. On a visit to the aquarium he noted that most of the fish swam to the left. While driving around town, he thought there were just too many no-right-on-red signs. He was also shocked that he could not find a single citizen openly carrying a gun. My comments are — I hope, clearly — tongue-in-cheek, but illustrate the absurdity of some of what Mr. Varney writes about Riverhead.

I truly wonder what motivated him to target our little hamlet? Did he not have a good time during his visit? Was he disappointed that, unlike in New Orleans, he could not walk around town with an open container of alcohol? Was the Po’ Boy he got at the neighboring Subway not to his liking? Was he disappointed that, unlike New Orleans, Riverhead does not have a big gambling casino in the middle of town? I also question why being unable to access a specific website on a hotel computer was so important for a professional journalist in this age of smartphones and iPads.

I would like to respectfully suggest to Mr. Varney that he consider concentrating his criticisms and writings on his hometown of New Orleans. There appears to be plenty of fodder in the Big Easy to fill many columns. Earlier this month, nine people were shot on Bourbon Street after a gunfight between two men in the heart of the tourist district. In April of this year, the New Orleans Police Department entered into a consent agreement with the federal government that permits the Justice Department to monitor police activities in the city after a multi-year investigation concluded that the New Orleans Police Department engaged in a pattern of conduct that violated the Constitution and federal laws.

In conclusion, I think Mr. Varney owes the Town of Riverhead and its citizens an apology for falsely representing the values for which our community stands. Perhaps he would consider shipping us a large amount of crawfish for a good old-fashioned crawfish boil in the middle of town as a token of his sincerity.

R0815_JERRY-BILINKSKI_C1-150x150Jerry Bilinski is a case manager with a nonprofit group that advocates for incarcerated and mentally ill people. He lives in Riverhead.

07/19/14 8:00am
07/19/2014 8:00 AM
Migrant farmworkers at a North Fork vineyard. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Migrant farmworkers at a North Fork vineyard. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

It was a sunny August afternoon last year when we at the paper got word of police activity — a possible drug bust — in Mattituck. It turned out a 2-year-old boy had fallen from a second story window, dropping through open Bilco doors and landing in a basement below. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center and, miraculously, escaped any major injuries.

Who wouldn’t say Aug. 27, 2013, was a good day for our area?

Well, plenty of people, apparently.

You see, the boy’s name was Javier Cruz. (more…)