03/22/14 9:00am
03/22/2014 9:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay.

This is the time for action. Recently, I announced the single most important initiative of my administration and what should be the single most important goal for all Long Islanders: curbing decades of nitrogen pollution we have been inflicting on our ground and surface waters here in Suffolk County.  (more…)

03/18/14 6:00am
03/18/2014 6:00 AM

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Since the moment I was sworn in as your assemblyman, the one topic that seems to come up in just about every conversation is the implementation of Common Core. I have listened to parents, educators, students and taxpayers about the myriad Common Core issues and problems that plague our children and schools. The Common Core mandate provides for a series of new national education standards administered at the state level through a series of federal mandates and grants. Though well-intentioned, the rollout and implementation of Common Core has been acutely fl awed, raising the ire of most parents and stakeholders in the education system. (more…)

03/17/14 6:00am
03/17/2014 6:00 AM

This week marked the third anniversary of the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Long Island anti-nuclear activists are still taking a deep breath and expressing thanks a similar catastrophe didn’t happen here. “Fukushima shows how we dodged a bullet,” said Jane Alcorn of Wading River, former coordinator of Citizens Lobby Opposing Shoreham.

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It’s hard to believe the harebrained scheme now, but the Shoreham nuclear plant was to be the first of seven to 11 nuclear power plants the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) wanted to construct. LILCO sought three nuclear plants at its Shoreham site — “Shoreham 1” was fully built when stopped — four at Jamesport and several plants in between, some on Long Island Sound. LILCO also considered building a nuclear plant in Bridgehampton.

The East End of Long Island would have had a nuclear complex similar to that in Fukushima. Daiichi is the Japanese word for “one,” thus Fukushima Daiichi involves one set of six nuclear plants. Four miles south is Fukushima Daini with four nuclear plants.

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03/10/14 6:00am
03/10/2014 6:00 AM

grossman

I’ve been giving presentations on my experiences of 50 years as a journalist on Long Island. Recently I spoke before a business-linked group — the Environmental/Green Industries Committee of the Hauppauge Industrial Association-Long Island. I opened by telling them something they didn’t know; the home base for their organization was a key to the hugely successful preservation of the Long Island Pine Barrens. (more…)

03/09/14 12:00pm
03/09/2014 12:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River student Giavanna Verdi created this bulletin board where people can post compliments, inspirational quotes or song lyrics.

Shoreham-Wading River student Giavanna Verdi created this bulletin board where people can post compliments, inspirational quotes or song lyrics. (Credit: Giavanna Verdi)

There’s something I’d like to add to a bulletin board that’s being used to display thoughts on compassion. The board is mounted to a wall in Shoreham-Wading River High School.

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03/08/14 5:00pm
03/08/2014 5:00 PM

Jitney

Occupying a space can be both a sign of power and a threat to power. This has been the case, it seems, since the beginning of recorded time.

Think of the folks who camped out for months near Wall Street during the worst of the U.S. financial crisis.  Think of the demonstrators who took over public spaces in Syria or Ukraine, or people packed behind walls in Berlin or Derry or more recently, Palestine.

The space itself is about who has power or who wants to challenge power.

In my own limited experience, I get to see how this basic struggle for space and power plays out on the local level.  I speak of riding the Hampton Jitney.

First off, I need to say that the Jitney is a great resource for those who live on eastern Long Island.  Instead of an interminable ride on the less-than-edifying Long Island Rail Road, or a long drive to an expensive parking garage in Manhattan, there’s the Jitney in all its wondrous predictability.  I

t usually arrives at its stops on time; it will store your luggage for you; a polite attendant serves you snacks; it has an onboard bathroom; it imposes tight restrictions on cell phone use; its drivers know how to circumvent traffic snarls.  Basically, it’s excellent.

Going to Manhattan, I board the North Fork Jitney in Riverhead near the Route 58 CVS, usually on a Sunday morning.  I know in advance that my fare will be the same as for those who boarded at Orient Point or Greenport or Southold or Mattituck.  Unfair as that is, I have reconciled myself to the fact that such a policy is unlikely to change unless the company were to feel some heat from those with power.

So a change in the existing rate structure seems not likely at all.

Boarding at Riverhead I look down the long center aisle for an empty seat.  There are lots of heads but there are usually available seats as well.  That is, there would be available seats except for what I call the Hampton Hustle:  seats occupied by jackets, purses, laptops, backpacks, or newspapers while the owners of those things stare grimly straight ahead, look out the window, or pretend to be profoundly asleep.

I readily admit that I too prefer two seats if I had the audacity to ignore my fellow creatures.  Frankly, my conscience bothers me if someone is looking for a seat while the seat next to me is occupied only by my belongings.

But I think there are those who see themselves as somehow more privileged than others, more godlike, if you will.  Should the new passenger insist on sitting there where all that stuff is piled, the owner often takes several minutes to step out into the aisle to store things in the overhead bin, drop some on the floor, and so create a delay before the bus can get underway again.

Meanwhile, looks are exchanged that signify how deep the struggle is over that particular space and how bitter the feelings of yielding it to another.

“This land was made for you and me,” Pete Seeger used to sing.  Oh yes, but “When will they ever learn, when will we ever learn.”

Catherine McKeen is a retired college teacher and a working historian. She lives in Baiting Hollow.