11/15/13 11:00am
11/15/2013 11:00 AM
An artist rendering of the First Baptist Church (far left) and the community center.

An artist rendering of the First Baptist Church (far left) and the community center.

To the editor:

The Rev. Charles Coverdale and Shirley Cloverdale have my admiration for their dedication to their church and community. But the Riverhead Town Board must consider the impact on the whole town before it approves zoning that would allow a high-density housing project exempt from property taxes, which will add millions of dollars to our school budgets.

The town’s auditors have warned of a “catastrophic” tax increase and our schools are bursting at the seams — with 200 more kids than expected this year alone. With the cost to educate a student upwards of $16,000 per child in the Riverhead district, just one student per household in the proposed, 132-unit complex would add $2.1 million per year to the school budget.

The claim that there is a compelling need for work force housing is belied by the limited success of another government subsidized project — Summerwind Square, which is still not fully rented.

The Rev. Coverdale has flatly rejected payment of school taxes because his organization is tax-exempt — the effect of which is to have the rest of Riverhead’s already strapped taxpayers subsidize his ambitious project by a likely double-digit increase in property taxes. When added to a catastrophic increase in town taxes, the burden that would be created by a tax-exempt project is far too much for our citizens to bear.

Ron Hariri, Aquebogue

11/07/13 6:00am
11/07/2013 6:00 AM

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To the editor:

I disagree with those that think Common Core can be adjusted to the point were it is acceptable to all. It’s the start of selling any control of your child’s education over to the federal government. Some may say there are some good points to it. Some said there were good points to many disasters in world history. This can only be an all-or-nothing battle. We can’t open this door and try to close it in years to come; it’s the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent.”

I suggest doing your homework on this. Check out the businesses that are pushing this and what they stand to gain once there is no turning back. It’s sad; it’s all about the money. Not the children’s future.

Let them take over the Department of Motor Vehicles or something like that. Let’s let our teachers teach. It’s worth the fight.

Denis Noncarrow, Peconic

10/31/13 1:00am
10/31/2013 1:00 AM

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To the editor:

I have no doubt that if reporter Tim Gannon continues biking regularly on the EPCAL Recreation Path he will be ready for the 2014 Tour de France. Furthermore, if he had started using the path last winter for improving his skiing techniques, we would be sending him to the winter Olympics in Sochi with the rest of the U.S. Ski team. Next time, Tim.

One correction to Tim’s column on bicycling: the Town Board vote on the resolution to apply for the grant funding to complete the path was 4 to 1, with Supervisor Sean Walter dissenting. Regardless, Sean later mentioned to me he likes the path because he can drive on it to show off the real estate at EPCAL to potential buyers. We really need to fix that.

When the EPCAL path is completed and the proposed trail between Port Jefferson and Wading River becomes a reality, all bicyclists will need to do is bike the three or so miles on wide shoulders of Route 25A to get from one to the other. Wow.

George Bartunek, Calverton

To read more letters to the editor, pick of a copy of this week’s Riverhead News-Review on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

10/17/13 7:00am
10/17/2013 7:00 AM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation in July at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

To the editor:

There certainly should have been more consideration afforded the adjacent community by the contractor of the Shops at Riverhead. I fully support the protesters for the lack of local workers — both union and non-union.

Jobs should be a primary consideration in approving any major construction.

However, the protesting politicians who are against the coming of Costco, and view it as an issue to hang their hats on, are in for an unpleasant surprise. Everyone I have spoken to has only one major complaint: “What’s taking so long to open? We can’t wait!”

And all reports indicate Costco pays relatively excellent pay and benefits, while also offering a realistic path to advancement. Sounds like a great addition to Riverhead.

Ed Goldstein, Baiting Hollow

10/11/13 5:00am
10/11/2013 5:00 AM

It’s about this time each year that the job of putting out a quality weekly newspaper and maintaining 24-hour news websites gets jammed up with phone calls and emails from local political party leaders, candidates and their supporters regarding letters to the editor. Many complain about how letters or Guest Spots were edited and which letters ran or didn’t run.

First, anyone reading this paper should know that, above all, Times/Review Newsgroup strives for fairness in its editorial content — including reader input, be it letters or other opinion pieces. That means if some items of factual concern were removed from your letter or your language was changed for some reason, please trust that other submissions are being treated the same way. All letters, guest columns and even political ads are vetted for blatant factual errors or potentially libelous charges. Other than that, the editors try not to be too heavy-handed.

As for which letters make it into the paper, here are the basic ground rules (in addition to our standard letters policy):

• Each candidate will be allowed just one letter each between today, Oct. 10, and Election Day.

• Letters from supporters will be considered for publication. In the past, Times/Review Newsgroup has rejected such letters outright but that stance has softened in recent years. Letters voicing political support for a candidate may run, but they will be judged according to several criteria, including whether the paper is being fair in giving equal space to other candidates’ supporters and whether the letter itself raises clear, factual and interesting points.

• Letters that pour in as part of an obvious writing “campaign” will be largely ignored. If several letters come in regarding one particular candidate before an edition’s publication date, we’ll publish one of them.

• No letters critical of a candidate or raising issues new to the campaign will appear in the Oct. 31 edition, the last one before Election Day, since that candidate would have no opportunity to respond in print.

• Letters expressing thanks to community groups and residents will be given minimal priority during the election season.

Above all, the Opinion pages of this newspaper should be an informative and enjoyable experience for the average reader.

And the average reader is our primary concern, even in a local election season.

10/10/13 6:00am
10/10/2013 6:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO |  Workers harvest grapes at a North Fork farm this summer.

To the editor:

In last week’s letters section, a Jamesport resident asked, “What’s wrong with this picture?” and then answered that the problem was due to the “entire attitude of workers in today’s American welfare state.” He then went on to support his conclusion by citing recipients of unemployment benefits and those “on welfare” who “sit at home doing nothing except watching television.”

There is a difference between entitlement and eligibility and since 1997, when it replaced “welfare” with TANF, the government has made critical changes to shift attitudes from the former to the latter.

TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, has as one its four goals “to end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation and work.” [It] provides the infrastructure to accomplish this and also sets a time frame of 60 months, at the end of which supports such as food stamps terminate. (As an aside, food stamps represent federal money that goes directly into the local economy.)

Many food stamp recipients today are the working poor, whose jobs don’t generate sufficient income and who need food supplementation for their families to survive. Some folks receiving food stamps were once well-off, until catastrophe — a devastating illness, job loss, accident, financial setback, or any number of ways misfortune strikes — set their lives spiraling from being comfortably in control to becoming dependent on the greater community for their daily bread. Not everyone has lifetime immunity from personal disaster.

The writer of last week’s letter posits that he lives in “an American welfare state.” I live in an America that realistically understands there are no guarantees in the pursuit of happiness and, if the pursuit is ever blocked by disaster, that dignifies each citizen with a safety net.

Catherine Harper, Mattituck

09/19/13 6:00am
09/19/2013 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Democratic nominees, from left, Icilio ‘Bill’ Bianchi, Millie Thomas, Angela DeVito and Greg Fischer in May.

To the editor:

Grant Parpan’s column last week walked us through the corrosive infighting that we’ve witnessed among the members of the all-Republican Town Board these past four years. He ended it with a wonderful quote from Republican Councilman Jim Wooten, who observed: “If I were a Democrat, I’d seize the momentum. I hate to say it, but it’s true. They have a real opportunity here.”

I agree with Mr. Wooten. But we Democrats have an advantage that extends far beyond voter disgust with the self-dealing government we have all had to put up with, to our great detriment. Our unquestioned potential to take back Town Hall is found more fundamentally in the highly qualified and selfless candidates who will appear on the Democratic line on Nov. 5: Angela DeVito for supervisor and Bill Bianchi and Millie Thomas for council.

These good people also have a unified Democratic Committee behind them – the strongest party organization I’ve seen in decades, led by our new town leader, Marjorie Acevedo, a dynamo with boundless energy and smarts. Our current supervisor — the modest, self-effacing and breathtakingly charming Sean Walter — is fond of referring to his opponents as “toast.” This November, it will be Mr. Walter and his Republicans who will be toast.

John Stefans, Northville

Mr. Stefans is a Riverhead Town Democratic Committee member.

09/12/13 6:00am
09/12/2013 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Anthony Coates delivers a concession speech Tuesday night.

To the editor:

I believe the voting public is always open to support a challenger who places ideas and principles above party loyalty. However, based on the primary election results, the Anthony Coates campaign seemed unsuccessful in articulating either.

The campaign strategy to go negative instead of focusing on a positive reform agenda — what he would do differently from the incumbents — never materialized and Mr. Coates paid the price at the ballot box. That stated, I would hope all of us can refrain from continued personal demonization of any candidate and stick to the important issues the town has to wrestle with.

Unless you have been willing to run for office and opened your entire life and family to public scrutiny, personal attacks of any individual with the courage to run for office is uncalled for, and perhaps the reason why so many good, qualified folks stay out of the fray.

Steven Romano, Riverhead