01/20/14 3:20pm
01/20/2014 3:20 PM
PIKE FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | A recent photo of Otis Pike playing the ukulele at a family party.

PIKE FAMILY COURTESY PHOTO | A recent photo of Otis Pike playing a banjo at a family party.

Longtime East End Congressman Otis Pike died in Vero Beach, Fla., Monday. He was 92.

Mr. Pike, a Democrat in a largely Republican area, represented the First District in Congress for 18 years, starting at a time when the district covered all of Suffolk County and part of Nassau County, said his daughter, Lois Pike Eyre of Riverhead.

He also was a Riverhead Town Councilman/Justice for seven years before being elected to Congress. (The councilmen served a dual role as justices of the peace at that time.)

Mr. Pike spent 20 years as a syndicated newspaper columnist for Newhouse Newspapers after leaving Congress.

Before getting into politics, Mr. Pike was a decorated Marine pilot during World War II, where he flew dive bombers and night fighters in the Pacific, Ms. Pike Eyre said.

“He was proud of that,” she recalled. “He earned a Silver Star.”

Ms. Pike Eyre said her father was involved in politics almost as long as she can remember.

“I was five when he was elected as justice of the peace in Riverhead, and he was still in Congress long after I graduated college,” Ms. Pike Eyre recalled.

Mr. Pike was the First District Congressman from 1961 to Jan. 3, 1979. He lost an election for the congressional seat in 1958, but then never lost another one, having chosen not to seek reelection in 1978.

(Scroll down for more.)

NEWS-REVIEW ARCHIVES | Otis Pike announced in February 1978 that he wouldn't be seeking reelection.

NEWS-REVIEW ARCHIVES | Otis Pike announced in February 1978 he wouldn’t be seeking reelection.

“He was sort of a bigger than life guy,” said a longtime friend, Irene Pendzick of Riverhead. “You thought of him as a people’s congressman. When he was home from Congress, he would be working on his boat on the Peconic River. You’d never know he was a congressman. Dressed in these paint-stained pants and an old shirt.”

Mr. Pendzick said Mr. Pike was an environmentalist before it was fashionable.

“He saved thousands and thousands of acres,” she said.

“I feel like an era has passed when somebody like him Otis dies,” she added. “He was in elected office at a time when it was a public service. Not this stuff we have today.”

Land next to the Enterprise Park at Calverton is called the Otis G. Pike Preserve, and he also has a preserve named for him on Fire Island, his daughter said.

Ms. Pike Eyre said her father was famous for wearing a bow tie, and he loved music.

“He used to play the ukelele when he was campaigning and he would write songs about political situations that were appropriate to the occasion. They were very funny,” she said.

Mr. Pike also played the banjo and encouraged all of his children to play instruments, she said.

He moved to Florida shortly after his retirement from Congress, his daughter said.

When family members went down to Florida to visit him at Christmas, they all brought their instruments — her husband, John Eyre, even purchased a used keyboard from a Florida store — and they played music for the neighbors, Ms. Pike Eyre said.

Mr. Pike married Doris Orth in 1946 and the couple stayed married until her death in 1996. In addition to Ms. Pike Eyre, they had two sons, Douglas Pike of Paoli, Pa., and Robert Pike of Riverhead, himself a former town councilman, who died in 2010.

Mr. Pike’s second wife, Barbe Bonjour Pike, is a former Riverhead Free Library director whom he  married in June 2003, Mr. Pike Eyre said.

Mr. Pike had been ill in recent years, and was in a hospice facility toward the end of his life, his daughter said.

A memorial service for him will be announced at a future date, she said.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Planned Parenthood, the Riverhead Free Library, the Nature Conservancy or a local public television or public radio station, Ms. Pike Eyre said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

UNITED STATES CONGRESS | Otis Pike in about 1970.

UNITED STATES CONGRESS | Otis Pike

11/21/13 1:02pm
11/21/2013 1:02 PM
Bishop-McGann-Mercy-football-player-Mike-Frosina-102513

GARRETT MEADE PHOTO

Congress is considering a bill to strengthen public school procedures for preventing, detecting, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions while competing in games and practices, a bill Congressman Tim Bishop supports.

Mr. Bishop (D-Southampton) joined fellow Democratic lawmakers today to  introduce legislation to strengthen k-12 schools’ procedures for preventing, detecting, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions while competing in sports.

Primarily, the bill would set minimum safety standards for concussion management in public schools across the country with plans that educate students, parents and school personnel about how to recognize and respond to concussions — something the Congressman called a first.

“Concussions are an unfortunate reality of competitive sports from the sandlot to the Super Bowl,” Mr. Bishop said in a press release. “This legislation addresses the clear need for nationwide standards and new tools for students, coaches, and teachers on concussion prevention, management, and recovery.”

Mr. Bishop said he was the original sponsor of the bill when it was first introduced in 2009 and the Senate approved similar legislation earlier this year.

The National Federation of State High School Associations estimates that about 140,000 students playing high school sports suffer concussions every year, though many go unreported.

A fact sheet on the bill is available at:  http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/Concussion%20fact%20sheets.pdf

The full bill text is available at:  http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/11.13.13%20BISHNY_027_xml.pdf

10/01/13 1:44pm
10/01/2013 1:44 PM
Democrat, Congressman, New York

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop.

The following list of local offices and services impacted by the federal government shutdown was provided by Congressman Tim Bishop’s press office. We will update it as more information, including reports on the Plum Island research facility, becomes available:

Social Security District Office

The office in Patchogue is open to handle urgent issues such as appeals and benefit applications. Applications for a social security number and to replace a social security card (about 100 requests are received per day) will not be processed.

Social Security benefit payments will not be affected, and will be delivered on time.

Army Corps of Engineers

The Superstorm Sandy supplemental appropriations legislation will continue to fund work on Sandy-related construction projects including the Fire Island to Montauk Point Study and the emergency project to stabilize the beach in Downtown Montauk. Impact on Sandy construction projects and other future operations could be affected in the event of a prolonged shutdown.

106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski Air Base

All or nearly all of the 218 “dual status” technicians who had been previously furloughed due to sequestration budget cuts will now be furloughed for the duration of the shutdown.

Calverton National Cemetery

Operations at the Cemetery are fully funded until Oct.15. Should the shutdown continue past that date, approximately two-thirds of the cemetery’s 100 employees will be furloughed, leading to reductions in the number of burials performed and maintenance such as groundskeeping at the cemetery.

Stony Brook University

The direct student loan program will not be affected.

The payment management system at the National Institutes of Health, SBU’s largest source of research funds, will be available, but administrative support will not. Researchers can draw down money from their grants unless the request needs to be reviewed or approved. New grant applications can be filed but they will not be acted upon until the workforce returns.

Federal Wildlife Preserves

Fire Island National Seashore will be closed to visitors. Residents and contractors will still be able to access Fire Island at Robert Moses State Park.

Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley and Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Noyac will be closed.

IRS Facility

The IRS field office and the Taxpayer Advocate Service is also closed, employees are furloughed.

US Customs and Immigration Service

The USCIS field office in Holtsville and the entire agency is operating at full capacity because they are primarily funded by user fees.

10/01/13 1:05pm

The following is a statement released Tuesday by local Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) on the government shutdown in Washington:

“The House GOP has voted to ensure a harmful, and completely avoidable, shutdown of federal government operations beginning today. It is deeply reckless that the House leadership and its Tea Party-dominated caucus have abdicated their responsibility to govern and, instead, have chosen to pursue partisan political goals at the expense of the American people’s interests.

“I share the frustration of my constituents that Congress failed to reach an agreement to keep the government operating. However, having failed repeatedly to overturn the Affordable Care Act through the democratic and judicial processes, the House GOP has taken the government — and potentially the nation’s full faith and credit — as a hostage. Funding the authorized operations of the government and paying our bills is not a concession to Democrats. It’s our job.

“My GOP colleagues should not demand a ransom for simply fulfilling their responsibilities. That is not negotiating or governing in good faith. Giving in to these unreasonable demands would not only jeopardize affordable health coverage for millions of Americans but also further embolden those willing to use destructive tactics to get their way.

“I remain hopeful that there will be a change of heart among my colleagues and the destructive effects of this shutdown will be reversed soon. My offices on Long Island and in Washington will remain open to serve my constituents during this period. It is important to note that Social Security payments, and Medicare and Medicaid coverage are funded through a mandatory appropriations process and will not be affected.”

11/08/12 6:00am
11/08/2012 6:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Senator Ken LaValle delivers his acceptance speech Tuesday. Mr. LaValle has served in the New York State Senate since 1976.

The past couple years haven’t left us feeling warm and fuzzy about our government.

The historically partisan 112th Congress accomplished very little before returning home Sept. 21, the earliest it’s broken up to begin an election season in more than 50 years.

Our state government’s most effective moments over the past 15 months were spent undoing past missteps, like battling the MTA tax and finally approving marriage equality.

At the county level, we’re constantly reminded that we’re broke, then we have to stand by and listen as legislators and the county executive argue over just how broke we are. Meanwhile, the only fixes they seem interested in making are short-term and we remain no better off financially then we were the year before.

Our one saving grace here on the North Fork has been strong local representation. Now, it appears, we’ll need our elected leaders to flex their muscles more than ever before.

According to early election reports and projections, each of our local elected officials at the state and federal level will likely serve in the minority caucus next year. That will certainly be the case for Congressman Tim Bishop and state Assemblyman Dan Losquadro — and it appears Ken LaValle could be back in the minority in the state Senate.

If a Republican is elected this February to replace Ed Romaine in the County Legislature, we’ll also be represented by a freshman legislator in the minority party.

Now that the election is over, we need our representatives to turn their attention to delivering for the North Fork. And we need them to fight harder than ever before.

We will need firm leadership in battling issues like water pollution as we move forward in the months following superstorm Sandy. We will also need our representatives to continue to fight development and preserve the remaining parcels of open space in our communities, even as funding becomes tougher to come by. Additionally, we keep hearing reports that the helicopter noise issue is being resolved, but that’s usually followed by the sound of choppers overhead.

And, of course, these elected officials will have to do their part to mitigate tax increases as they work to level record deficits.

Each of the local representatives re-elected this week received the support of this editorial board. They received our support because we believe they have what it takes to tackle the many issues facing our communities.

Now, even as they serve in the minority caucus, they have to prove it.

07/31/12 1:54pm
07/31/2012 1:54 PM

Randy Altschuler, left, and Tim Bishop

In an email to campaign supporters Tuesday, congressional hopeful Randy Altschuler said new polling numbers show Congressman Tim Bishop is in “BIG trouble.”

But Bishop’s camp likened Mr. Altschuler’s poll to little more than a BIG joke.

The poll, which was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, shows Altschuler leading by four points, with 47 percent of likely voters in support of the Republican businessman from St. James and 43 percent in favor of the Southampton Democrat. Ten percent are undecided, the poll shows.

“We just came out of the field with my first poll of the general election and the results confirm what we are all feeling on the ground,” Mr. Altschuler said in his email. “Career politician Tim Bishop is in BIG trouble.”

Bobby Pierce, Communications Director for Bishop for Congress, called the poll a do-it-yourself operation, and he pointed to a New York Times blog post that labeled Pulse Opinon Research polls as “bias and inaccurate.”

Mr. Pierce urged Altschuler’s camp to release polls he said were conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, an international polling and research firm. Campaign finances show that Mr. Altschuler’s campaign has spent more than $50,000 to McLaughlin & Associates since July 2011, including nearly $17,000 in April.

“We haven’t seen them release any poll from them,” Mr. Pierce said. “That’s a real polling company.”

Mr. Pierce said the most recent third-party poll conducted in the race, which many media outlets have pegged as one of the key races around the country this year, shows Mr. Bishop ahead 24 points.

“Randy saw that poll and figured he better buy his own poll,” he said. “You’d think he would buy a little more than a four-point lead.”

Altschuler spokesman Chris Russell said that poll was conducted by the House Majority PAC. “That is effectively an arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” he said.

Mr. Pierce said the Bishop campaign hasn’t done its own poll since March, but that survey, conducted by Global Strategy Group, had the Congressman ahead by 17 points.

This is not Mr. Altschuler’s first attempt to unseat Mr. Bishop. He lost to an incumbent Mr. Bishop by just 593 votes two years ago, in a vote count that stretched out over several days.

In his email to supporters Tuesday, Mr. Altschuler said he believes the majority of the voting public is on his side this time around.

“After nearly ten years of voting for trillions in higher taxes, more spending and irresponsible debt that has helped to drive more than 30,000 jobs off of Long Island, the people of Suffolk County are tiring of Tim Bishop,” he wrote.

gparpan@timesreview.com

11/19/10 4:46pm
11/19/2010 4:46 PM



Randy Altschuler and Congressman Tim Bishop



Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop has taken an even larger lead — by 206 votes — over his Republican challenger Randy Altschuler as absentee ballots continue to be counted, a spokesman for Mr. Bishop said Monday evening.

Mr. Altschuler had led by 383 votes after Election Day, but Mr. Bishop went ahead by 15 votes on Friday afternoon. In all about 11,500 absentee ballots were cast in New York’s 1st Congressional District race.

As of the close of the work day Monday, counting had wrapped up in Smithtown, Southold, East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead and Shelter Island, and 169 election districts in Brookhaven, leaving ballots from 125 districts.  In total, 9,200 ballots have been reviewed, leaving 1,912 ballots remaining, said Mr. Bishop’s spokesman, Jon Schneider.

Mr. Schneider also pointed out that the Republican side has been much more aggressive in challenging ballots — 95 percent of which, according to Mr. Schneider, typically do not get overturned. As of the close of day Friday Mr. Altschuler’s camp had challenged 337 more votes than did Mr. Bishop’s, Mr. Schneider said in a statement.

But Rob Ryan, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign spokesman, has repeatedly taken exception to that assessment.

“The challenges made by the Altschuler campaign are made on residency requirements as outlined by state law; we expect them to hold up,” he said Saturday. “Bishop, on the other hand has challenged the ballots of active duty military personnel and Election Inspectors who were working on Election  Day in other areas of the county and were unable to cast their vote by machine..They are trying to disenfranchise legitimate voters and that’s wrong.”

The counting of absentee and affidavit ballots began on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

County Board of Election officials will not provide figures until the count is complete.

Neither the Republican or Democratic side seemed to expect military ballots, which have until Nov. 24 to arrive by mail, to affect the election’s outcome. “There’s no major military installations in the district,” Mr. Ryan said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a comparatively huge number [of ballots].”

He did say that military ballots typically lean Republican.

mwhite@timesreview.com