05/28/10 12:00am

Questions, concerns and frustration
have prompted federal representatives to call for a meeting to hear
from East Enders on the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed
rules for helicopters flying over Long Island.

Gerry Petrella,
who runs Senator Charles Schumer’s Long Island office, has called for a
meeting at East Hampton Town Hall at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The FAA
posted its proposed rules on Wednesday, which were expected to mandate
routes from Manhattan to East Hampton Airport and Gabreski Field. But
the proposed regulations only mandate a 2,500 foot altitude and travel
on the “North Shore Route,” an established flight path one mile off the
North Shore from the New York City area to Orient Point. It says
nothing about how the helicopters will get from that route to the
airports near the South Shore.

The FAA is accepting comments on
the proposed rules, and one outcome of Tuesday’s meeting may be filing
a joint proposal to strengthen the new regulations with regard to
helicopter traffic over the East End.

The rules are posted at
regulations.justia.com/view/176708. Instructions on the many options to
submit comments, which are due by June 25, 2010, are listed there.

Comments can be seen or posted at regulations.gov. Search for rule FAA-2010-0302.

05/28/10 12:00am

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy might include full funding for a program that provides homeless sex offenders with daily stipends for food and lodging in the 2011 county budget.
The voucher system would replace the county’s current policy of placing homeless sex offenders at two construction trailers at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside and on county-owned property in Westhampton.
Full implementation of the voucher system, which the county executive originally proposed in January, has been stalled for months as the county Legislature repeatedly voted against increasing the amount of petty cash in the Department of Social Services budget needed to get the program running.
“If the Legislature continues to refuse to fund the voucher system, the County Executive will explore funding it in his 2011 budget,” said Mark Smith, a spokesperson for Mr. Levy.
In the meantime, homeless sex offenders are still sleeping in the trailers, though a few have been moved over to the voucher program, county officials have said.
Last week Mr. Levy described the voucher system, which is used in Nassau and other counties throughout New York State, as being on “life support” after the Legislature voted 14-4 to bar the program.
Mr. Levy on Wednesday vetoed that bill, which also would require the socials services officials to find suitable locations for private shelters elsewhere across the county.
It now requires a 12-vote override and since it passed by 14 votes, it appears to have enough support in the Legislature to survive. Legislators will vote on whether or not to override Mr. Levy’s veto on June 8.
It is not clear how the bill will effect Mr. Levy’ plan to include the voucher program in next year’s budget.
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, whose town encompasses both trailers, said under the voucher plan, homeless sex offenders “will now be more likely to go back to their homes or hometowns” rather than be taxied to the East End.
Ms. Throne-Holst, who said the trailer program burdens local fire departments and police, said that implementing the voucher program would be a preferable option to directing social services to devise a plan to house the offenders at smaller sites throughout the county.
“I just have no confidence that that would in fact be achieved by this bill,” she said.
Still, the Legislature is free to delete items from Mr. Levy’s proposed budget.
“They propose, we dispose,” said county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches).
Mr. Romaine, whose district encompasses the North Fork though not the two trailers, could not say whether he would be for or against the budget line come November when the Legislature votes on adopting the budget. He said the voucher plan is not, in his opinion, an ideal solution.
Meanwhile, the county faces pressure to provide running water at the two trailers. A state judge has ruled that they are inadequate due to their lack of running water. That ruling came after some of the 20 or so sex offenders filed a complaint about tight quarters and a lack of showers or toilets.
County officials have said the Riverside trailer must be moved to obtain access to a water system because Riverhead Town would not let the county run sewer lines to a larger trailer it had intended to place there.
In Westhampton, the county earlier this month tried to place a newer trailer that would have hooked into an existing septic tank, but Southampton officials acquired a temporary restraining order to block that move.
[email protected]

05/27/10 12:00am
05/27/2010 12:00 AM

“A handful of old men walking down the village street

In worn, brushed uniforms, their gray heads high;

A faded flag above them, one drum to lift their feet —

Look again, O heart of mine, and see what passes by!

There’s a vast crowd swaying, there’s a wild band playing,

The streets are full of marching men, or tramping cavalry.

Alive and young and straight again, they ride to greet a mate again —

The gallant souls, the great souls that live eternally!”

from “Memorial Day”

by Theodosia Pickering Garrison

Memorial Day is mostly thought of as the beginning of our tourist season, but its real significance is as a time to remember our veterans, especially those who have given their lives for America. And nothing is more American than picnics and backyard gatherings with hot dogs, baked beans and lots of friends and family.

The hot dog has a somewhat cloudy history because it started as a sausage and ended up in a soft roll as a “dog.” In 1987 Frankfurt, Germany, celebrated the 500th birthday of the hot dog, but Germans don’t eat hot dogs as we know them today. They were transformed over time into one of America’s most popular foods — served in ball parks, backyards and off of hot dog trucks. Most hot dogs are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Perhaps the most important aspect of hot dog cookery is not the dogs but what goes on them and around them. Here are a few suggestions:

Chicago Dog

For 8 all-beef frankfurters (preferably skin on) and hot dog buns of your choice, prepare the following condiments: yellow ballpark mustard, chopped cucumber (remove seeds), chopped pepperoncini, chopped onion, chopped fresh tomato, celery salt and dill pickle spears. Grill the franks and toast the buns and then spoon on equal portions of condiments, placing the dill pickle on the side.

Grilled Hot Dogs with Texas Wiener Sauce

Start with 16 frankfurters of your choice with buns. Make the sauce by browning 1 pound of ground beef in a sautà pan. Pour off excess fat and stir in 1 can of tomato paste and 2 cups beef broth. Add 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer for one hour. Serve over the grilled dogs with mustard and chopped fresh red onions.

Boiled Hot Dogs with Sweet Vidalia Onion Relish

For 8 hot dogs and buns of your choice. In a sautà pan heat 1 tablespoon canola oil and add 2 sliced Vidalia onions along with 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper and 1/2 cup diced green pepper. Sautà until soft and remove from the heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, 1 teaspoon honey and coarse salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add the franks. Bring them back to a boil and remove. Place them in toasted buns and top with onion relish.

Brewed Bratwurst with Caraway Sauerkraut

Prepare a marinade by pouring 2 bottles of dark beer into a soup pot and adding 2 cups chopped onion, 1/2 cup mustard, 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, and 1 teaspoon ground coriander. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 12 bratwursts and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave bratwurst in liquid until service time.

For the sauerkraut, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sautà pan and add 1 cup chopped onion and 1 tablespoon caraway seeds. Cook until onion is soft and stir in 1 tablespoon mustard, 2 cups rinsed and drained sauerkraut and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

Drain the bratwurst and split lengthwise. Grill until brown on the chargrill. Toast kaiser or other rolls and coat them with mustard. Add a slice of Swiss cheese to each roll along with the bratwurst and kraut. Sprinkle chopped dill pickle on top and serve.

Fresh Polish Kielbasa

Purchase 2 pounds of fresh kielbasa (not smoked). Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and simmer kielbasa for 30 minutes. Drain, then cut sausage into 4-inch lengths and split lengthwise. Thinly slice half of a green pepper, half a red pepper, and 1 medium-sized onion. Heat a sautà pan, add 2 tablespoons canola oil and sautà onions and peppers until soft. Stir in 2 tablespoons minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in one 6-ounce can tomato paste and 1 small can tomato sauce. Season with 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon each of coarse salt and pepper. Grill the split kielbasa and place on toasted ciabatta rolls. Cover with sauce.

Serves 8.

Boston Baked Beans

Soak 2 pounds of dried navy beans overnight in 3 quarts cold water. Drain and rinse. Remove the rind and dice 8 ounces of salt pork. Brown in a Dutch oven and add 2 cups diced onions. Cook the onions until soft and add the beans along with 2 quarts water, 1 cup molasses, 1/4 cup mustard and 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Bring to a boil, cover and place in a 300-degree oven for 3 hours. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and another 1/4 cup molasses if desired.

Serves 8.

Baked Lima Beans

Purchase 2 pounds of dried lima beans. Soak overnight in 3 quarts cold water. Drain and rinse. Dice 6 slices of bacon and brown in a Dutch oven. Add the lima beans, along with 1 tablespoon coarse salt and 1 whole peeled onion studded with 6 cloves. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup dark rum, 1/2 cup mustard and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Cover with 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven and cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Check for seasoning and serve.

Serves 8.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. E-mail: [email protected]

05/27/10 12:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
Peconic Bay Medical Center’s medical director, Dr. Richard Kubiak (left), and CEO Andy Mitchell at the demonstration of the new surgical robot in the hospital lobby last Thursday. The patient who underwent the first robotic surgery at the Riverhead hospital was also on hand.

Earlier this month 39-year-old Denise Sears checked into Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead to undergo a hysterectomy.

Four hours later, Dr. Hannah Ortiz had successfully removed her reproductive organs. But this surgery had a twist. The doctor and patient were on different sides of the room.

Dr. Ortiz’s hands never made an incision.

Ms. Sears, a nurse’s aid from Holtsville, was the first patient at Peconic Bay Medical Center to undergo surgery using the hospital’s new da Vinci surgical robot.

The da Vinci uses state-of-the-art technology to remotely perform prostate, gynecological and renal operations, among other procedures, hospital officials said.

Dr. Ortiz, director of the hospital’s gynecological oncology robotic surgery program, demonstrated the new machine for members of the press and hospital staff in the Peconic Bay lobby last Thursday.

Tying a knot using a needle, thread and tiny clamps at the end of the robot’s arm, Dr. Ortiz drew a round of applause from onlookers watching her movements on high definition monitors.

She noted the fine movements of the robot are less invasive than traditional surgery and shorten recuperating time after operations.

“It’s become a wonderful way of getting women back on their feet,” said Dr. Ortiz, the only female board-certified gynecological oncologist in Suffolk County.

To use the machine, the surgeon, sitting at a separate console, operates two remote robot hands via video screen, hand controls and foot pedals. There are two monitors, one for each eye, giving the doctor 3-D depth perception while operating.

“It actually feels like your inside the patient doing surgery,” added Dr. Scott Press, a urological surgeon who will also be using the new machine.

Peconic Bay and Stony Brook University Medical Center are the only hospitals in Suffolk County to boast da Vinci robots.

Dr. Ortiz said the 360-degree rotating hand is actually a better instrument than the human wrist. The robot’s fine motor control allows for smaller incisions, less bleeding and less pain for patients.

Nine days after her March 11 surgery, Ms. Sears, who has undergone numerous procedures while battling endometriosis, a reproductive condition that renders women infertile, said she felt great. She said her trust in Dr. Ortiz precluded any fears, though she won’t return to her job at Mather Memorial Hospital for some six weeks as she heals.

Though this month marked the first time Dr. Ortiz used the robot in New York, she said she had used it while working in Miami. Her training began with online tests. Surgeons then train on animals — Dr. Ortiz trained using pigs and Dr. Press using dogs — before working with a proctor on a human patient. Now they perform the same surgeries they have done countless times, but using the robot.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re doing something new,” Dr. Press said.

[email protected]

About the da Vinci robot

* The system was named after artist Leonardo da Vinci, who is credited with inventing the first robot.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for use in operations in 2000.

* More than 1,000 units have been sold worldwide for operation in hospitals.

* The robot costs about $1.3 million, in addition to several hundred thousand dollars in annual maintenance fees.

05/27/10 12:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
A fond memory
Aquebogue Elementary School principal Phil Kent reads a remembrance of former head custodian Allen Goleski at Thursday afternoon’s dedication ceremony for a new garden planted in his memory in the school’s north courtyard. Mr. Kent spoke of Mr. Goleski’s helping hands and smiling face and said he will always be missed. Mr. Goleski had worked at Aquebogue for many years and previously at Riverhead Middle School.

Plan to head to the Jamesport Meeting House tonight, Thursday, May 27, 7 p.m., where there will be an illustrated talk by Fred Bender and Richard Wines about the making of Bender’s painting “Sunday Morning in James Port, May 1839.” This presentation, back by popular demand, should be of interest to anyone who lives in Jamesport or is interested in the area’s history. For information about this event and the Meeting House, see jamesportmeetinghouse.org.

Everybody loves a parade! Let us join in honoring our veterans and our country’s servicemen and -women at the 2010 Riverhead Memorial Day parade, on Monday, May 31, at 10 a.m. You can bring your lawn chairs and the kids, along with American flags to wave. Let’s keep patriotism alive and well in Riverhead.

The Music at the Meeting House Series continues. Coming up next week, Friday, June 4, at 7 p.m., the Eastbound Freight Bluegrass Band will perform at the Jamesport Meeting House. It is a local band with a great sound and fans throughout Long Island and the New York metropolitan area. They have been playing for 20 years at the vineyards, country fairs and festivals. My husband and I attended the concert last summer and we really enjoyed it! Don’t miss this evening with these local treasures and the ambiance of the meeting house! Tickets are $17 and a limited number will be available at the door. For information call 722-2650.

Times/Review is closed this Monday, in observance of Memorial Day. So please send me your announcements tonight.

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer! We will be celebrating my daughter’s graduation on Sunday. Congratulations, MaryAngela! Please take the time to thank a veteran or any servicemen and -women that you know. Their dedication to service and our freedom is worthy of our support and gratitude. Have a great weekend!

05/27/10 12:00am

Before you go any further, my friends and neighbors, please take the time to send me any news you’d like to share because my deadline for next week’s column is actually today, Thursday, May 27, because of the holiday.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I did. The weather really cooperated and for that I’m thankful. Congratulations to all the college graduates from our area and all the new inductees into the National Junior Honor Society at the Riverhead Middle School. You all should be very proud. We are! Best of luck in the future and keep up the great work!

Congratulations to Christine Lennon, who graduated from Dowling College last Saturday with a master’s in science and education. Best wishes from your mom, dad, Eric and son, Ethan.

Tis the season for graduations, so it’s fitting to mention that the Riverhead High School Class of 1985 is planning its 25th reunion on the weekend of Oct. 8. For information, see the event’s Facebook page by typing “Riverhead High School Class of 1985 25th reunion” in the search bar, or e-mail [email protected]

The Friends of the Big Duck are hosting a flea market/craft fair on Saturday, June 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., to be held at the nest here in Flanders. Rain date is Sunday, June 6. Make sure to stop by. Thanks to Marie Leonard, Bob Maxson and Fran Cobb for the beautiful plantings and spring cleanup at the duck. There is a little more work to be done, so if you want to help out, they are meeting this Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Happy 21st birthday to Joe Jasinski, who will celebrate on May 28, from your mom and dad. They love you and wish you a great birthday and many more.

Steve and Trish Jeski would like to thank the volunteers of the Flanders and Riverhead fire departments, the Gabreski Airport Fire Rescue team, Southampton Town Police officers, the N.Y. State Police officers and the Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance members for their very quick response to the garage fire at their home in the early-morning hours on May 19. Until we need them, we don’t know how lucky we are to have such selfless men and women in our community, who drop everything in an instant to help us. Thank you, and God bless.

Get well wishes, feel-better-soons, along with hugs and kisses are sent to Kathy Kruel from all your friends and family. You’ll be up and at SSRqem in no time, I’m sure; in the meantime, take it easy and just get better.

Don’t forget Spencer Shea’s fundraiser on June 5. Call me for more info!

Well, my friends, that is all for this week. Please have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend and do not forget in all the hoopla of sales and parties that the holiday is called Memorial Day for a reason. Remember to say a prayer for all our servicemen and -women who gave their lives for our freedom.

Don’t forget, my deadline is right now, so call or e-mail me. Stay safe.

05/27/10 12:00am

State lawmakers and area educators joined together this week to show unified support for the school property-tax relief act — legislation they say will provide property-tax relief to Suffolk County residents.

The bills call for 50/50 funding from the state and the district, increased reimbursement for state-mandated programs and a change to the school aid formula.

Introduced by Sen. Brian Foley and Assemblyman Steve Englebright in their respective houses, the school property-tax relief act — dubbed the “Framework for the Future” proposal — aims to make property taxes more equitable throughout the state, lawmakers said. The legislation is the latest in a string of proposals that has been introduced in an effort to address the disparity between increasing school taxes and decreasing school aid on Long Island.

Eastern Suffolk BOCES chief operating officer Gary Bixhorn said there needs to be an overhaul of the way state aid is generated, in order to fix the inequity.

“The structure of the basic system puts Long Island at a disadvantage,” said Mr. Bixhorn at a press conference sponsored by the Long Island Education Coalition at the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Huntington Station campus. Mr. Bixhorn said the committee began meeting about five years ago to troubleshoot ways school districts can work together with lawmakers to bring some relief, not only to taxpayers on Long Island, but also to school districts that have to keep up with unfunded mandates imposed by the state. Mr. Bixhorn said the proposal will help reduce dependence on property taxes, enhance school efficiency and promote fairness in the distribution of state aid.

The proposal includes a provision where the state would provide equal funding in education and a change to the state aid formula that would recognize the costs associated with mandates for special education, employee health insurance and pension plans.

The proposal also calls for the replacement of $4.2 billion in property tax revenue with an equal amount of state aid, which lawmakers said would result in a 15 percent reduction in statewide property tax. Provisions for expense-driven state aid formulas, support for districts with high needs, and limits on state aid for high-wealth districts are also included in the proposal.

Mr. Foley likened the challenge faced by Long Island school districts to an opportunity in disguise.

“The opportunity now is perhaps not having as much funding as we’d like to fund education,” Mr. Foley said. “The opportunity now is to talk about the basics, the fundamental underlying principle, and framework that, quite frankly, is causing the problem we speak of.”

Though the legislation is still at the committee level, both lawmakers said they would like to see it passed within the next year. “It’s a blueprint for the future,” Mr. Englebright said. “It’s a blueprint for optimism. And it is optimism that will ultimately prevail.”

Longwood superintendent Allen Gerstenlauer, a member of the coalition’s legislative committee, called the bills a good effort to fix school aid funding problems in the state.

“This has got real potential,” he said.

[email protected]