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

Seven Republicans, two Conservatives, and a Blank walk into Riverhead Town Hall …

That might sound like the beginning of a bad joke to some, but after the most recent Planning Board appointment, it’s the actual political makeup of Riverhead Town’s planning and zoning boards.

And that’s no joke. (more…)

03/13/14 11:36am
03/13/2014 11:36 AM
Credit: Flickr/Cave Canem

Credit: Flickr/Cave Canem

To the editor:

I am writing as a ‘Regular Joe’ taxpayer. I am just a middle class Suffolk County resident and taxpayer who is very troubled by the state of Suffolk County’s finances. Our county Legislature and County Executive Steve Bellone recently signed off on and approved multiple police contracts that will cost taxpayers $372 million through 2018. (more…)

03/12/14 6:00am
03/12/2014 6:00 AM
Steve Bellone delivering his State of the County speech on March 5. (courtesy)

Steve Bellone delivering his State of the County speech on March 5. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivered his annual State of the County address last W in the Legislature’s meeting room in Hauppauge.

Below is a transcript of the address in its entirety, as provided by Mr .Bellone’s office.

State of County

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.

(more…)

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.