02/21/13 6:00am
02/21/2013 6:00 AM

To the Editor:

Over the past number of years Peconic Bay has been subject to a number of brown tide events. These brown tides are examples of HABs, or harmful algal blooms. 

The brown tide is an explosion of algae that reduces the light penetration through the water and causes sea grass and other bottom-growing organisms to slow down or die off. This was a part of the scallop loss, among other things. Importantly, though, human health was not threatened. This past summer there was a new harmful algal bloom in Peconic Bay, a “rust tide” or possibly the start of a red tide. I saw this “rust” tide myself for the first time in many years of bay watching. It was rusty streaks in the water and not yet widespread over the bay.

This is an algal bloom that is very different from the brown tide. Is it preliminary to the red tide? We don’t know, but I certainly worry. The red tide can kill fish and cause floating carcasses to create a horrible smell up and down the beach as well as litter the beach with dead fish. I witnessed this mess in Sarasota, Fla.

These HABs are directly tied to pollution of our surface and groundwater. Our out-of-control septic discharge and cesspool waste are a large part of the problem. This is not nature running amok, it’s us.

It would behoove us to pay attention to these HABs and to be aware that going from our brown tide and rust tide to the very damaging red tide may not be a large leap. The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies here. Let’s pay attention and act now and save the bay before it is too late.

Howard Meinke, Laurel

12/28/12 7:59am
12/28/2012 7:59 AM

To the Editor:

Walter vs. Krupski: What a quagmire!

What are the voters of Riverhead to do.  A vote in January for Mr. Walter kicks him upstairs and creates a movement of political chairs that would equal or dwarf the deck-chair movement on the Titanic.

Should Mr. Walter become a County Legislator after all the recent Riverhead Town Board squabbles, could he do the same within the County Legislature?

It’s quite a dilemma for Riverhead Republicans.  I, for one, would like Mr. Walter to remain in our town and not cause more chaos on the county level.

Martin Walicki, South Jamesport

12/17/12 8:00am
12/17/2012 8:00 AM

To the Editor:

I have literally felt sick to my stomach after hearing about the horrific tragedy that has happened in Connecticut. My thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to those parents who are now living a Hell on earth.

Now is not the time for the media to fan a “gun control” flame. Now is not the time to put gun owners against those who don’t support the right to bear arms. This tragedy is not all about guns. In fact, I had this discussion with a close friend. I will go as far as to say that the media is partially to blame for this act of violence.

The manner which the media covers many inhumane acts of terror and violence is creating a new subculture of superheroes. The media indirectly glorifies these maniacs and overexposes them. To those of us who are normal, we just look in disgust and sympathize with the victims. For those who may be mentally ill, a new hero is created. Fame is immediately achieved. Legend is immediately created. And a new copy cat is always watching.

The copy cat is now even getting ideas that may have never entered his mind. The media always gives us all a detailed description of how the psycho put together the master plan. Good food for thought for the next super-villain.

The fact that there have been so many school shootings that we can now actually rank them boggles my mind. What has become of our society? Furthermore, the media can put whatever subject matter it wants out there to the public without any system of checks and balances. Barring foul language and nudity, what content guidelines do they have to follow?

I don’t know the answer or the remedy on how to fix people or better society, but I think if people want to challenge the second amendment, we may also want to take another look at the first amendment as well.

David Muntner, Mattituck

12/16/12 10:00am
12/16/2012 10:00 AM

ABC NEWS COURTESY PHOTO | A sign welcoming visitors to Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of Friday’s mass school shooting that left 27 people dead.

To the Editor:

It is impossible to articulate the magnitude of the horror of the massacre in Connecticut .

Those who say “guns don’t kill, people do” are so wrong. If that mentally ill young man had a knife, there would have been loss of life, but nothing nearly as horrific.

It is time, for us as a nation of good and decent people, to  band together to have the gun laws changed. Please.

Rosellen Storm, Southold

12/02/12 11:15am
12/02/2012 11:15 AM

This is an open letter to candidates for 1st legislative district, Sean Walter and Al Krupski. Gentlemen, please tell us “on the record” what you intend to do to repeal the 3.25 percent Suffolk county tax on home heating oil.

If you want my vote and respect be specific and intelligent with your plans to repeal this almost exclusive tax on Suffolk county’s working class. To allow this tax to exist is a direct insult to us. We are fed up with excuses and double talk.

Warren McKnight, Wading River

09/24/12 8:09am
09/24/2012 8:09 AM

Randy Altshculer, left, and Tim Bishop, right, will take part in a debate we’re cosponsoring this Thursday at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall in downtown Riverhead.

About two weeks ago, we posted a poll asking our readers to vote on whether we should ban letters on national issues.

We gave readers two options: Yes, letter writers should stick to local topics or No, if the writer is local, so is the letter.

‘No’ won out … barely.

A total of 366 readers voted in the poll and 190 (52 percent) voted no.

When I discussed the issue internally with my fellow Times/Review editors, we agreed that letters on national issues should continue to be printed. There are several reasons for this:

– Like the answer states, any letter written from a local resident is a local letter.

– We want you to dictate what gets discussed on the letters pages, not us. Unlike the internet, where commenting is enabled for almost every story, the letters to the editor section is the only designated place in our print edition where anyone can have their say.

– One of the big reasons some folks, including 48 percent of people who voted in our poll, would like to have national letters banned, is due to the tone of the letters. Many folks told us they believed the letters stretched the facts, were based largely on biased cable TV news talking points and were just plain nasty. While I tend to agree with a lot of these concerns, I also see the value in a letter that gets our readers’ blood boiling a little. When one letter inspires other letters, I think that’s a good thing. Within reason, of course.

– National letters can have local impact. The line on which letters would be acceptable is a little blurry.

As always, we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received on this topic. It’s great to see such an engaged and passionate readership out there.

• Speaking of national issues, we’re co-sponsoring a Congressional debate at Vail Leavitt Music Hall this Thursday night between Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James.

The 90-minute debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. I’d recommend getting their early since seating is limited to 250 people. We will, however, broadcast the debate live on our site for anyone who can’t be there. We’ll keep the video archived on our site, too.

This debate is the first of two we’re co-sponsoring along with The Press News Group of Southampton, publishers of the Southampton Press, Southampton Press Western Edition, East Hampton Press, and 27East.com. The second debate will be held on Oct. 15 at Bridgehampton School.

The first half of the Vail Leavitt debate will be focused on health care and the second half will cover general topics. The first half of the Bridgehampton debate will focus on the economy.

• We’ve received a bunch of emails, letters and web comments on Troy Gustavson’s column about driving drunk and DWI arrests this week. We are packaging many of your responses for an equal time in the paper. Check that out on newsstands Thursday. Subscribers can also access the responses digitally through our epaper.

09/13/12 6:00am
09/13/2012 6:00 AM

AP/DAVID GOLDMAN PHOTO | The Supreme Court is reflected in the sunglasses of Susan Clark, of Washington, as she demonstrates against President Barack Obama’s health care law while awaiting the court’s ruling back in June.

To the Editor:

I emphatically agree with the point made by Diana Van Buren in her letter last week regarding letters to the editor about national politics.

I read the News-Review for local news and views on local issues. There are myriad places to tune into the discussion and shouting about Obama vs. Romney and Republicans vs. Democrats, but very few where one can find opinions about the latest zoning controversy in Jamesport.

I understand that the newspaper’s rationale for printing letters on national issues is based on the “localness” of the points of view expressed, but as far as I can tell these opinions don’t vary much from the steady, mostly mean-spirited stream coming from Fox News, MSNBC and countless other media outlets.

Michael McLaughlin, Riverhead

Below is Diana Van Buren’s original letter on the subject:

GREENPORT

A thought about letters

I’m writing to suggest that Times/Review Newsgroup consider placing a moratorium on publishing letters to the editor related to national politics, at least until the presidential election is over. In my opinion, though, this moratorium should be extended indefinitely.

The tone of the letters to the editor that take the side of one presidential candidate or another tend to be negative and even ugly, at times. Sometimes the writers quote statistics and “facts” that can’t be supported and that the Suffolk Times certainly can’t spend the time to verify.

I don’t think these letters serve the community in any way. (They might serve sales of the newspaper.) They create or increase divisions among neighbors and friends because of the tendency of these letters to be inflammatory, extreme and full of blame, not positive ideas for solutions to the problems faced by the citizens of our nation.

But here is the most important reason: don’t you think it would be better if we focused on the issues and elections that we have on the North Fork?

That’s what a local newspaper is for. Could you possibly keep the politics local, like the news?

I think that you would be doing a huge service to the community.

Diana Van Buren