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:


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

09/03/12 11:00am
09/03/2012 11:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A ‘Save Wading River’ bumper sticker.

To the Editor:

At the Aug. 21 Town Board meeting in Riverhead, there was lots of emotion — both pro and con — concerning the proposed development on the Route 25A section in Wading River. Dick Amper claimed those Wading River residents opposed to development outnumbered their neighbors 10 to 1. Could it be due to the fact that the those who are in favor of the development weren’t as well organized as those who oppose it? Taking notice, there was a lack of people under the age of 50 at the meeting. Most in attendance were older folks, and I dare say retired. The development proposed by the Zoumas family and Kenn Barra would bring employment to the younger generation so they too can retire in Wading River.

As has been questioned previously, what good is zoning if someone wants to build according to the zoning, applications are presented to the town, but then opponents of the zoning in place demand a rezoning? The buyer expects to build to the zoning that was in place when he/she bought the property. Perhaps the zoning needs fine-tuning, not a complete change. Those who want to develop their land should be able to do so under strict guidelines in order to maintain the character of the community.

No one likes to see change in land use, especially those who have lived in Wading River for their lifetime. Many of the homes that we live in today are built on farmland. That farmland was sold to a developer who built the home that you live in.

Moratoriums and lawsuits are good for the attorneys but only postpone what can be accomplished by cooperation and compromise. Civic groups and community activists have their place in society. But these groups and activists only represent a small portion of the community. We need to hear from the 18 to 28 age group. They are our future.

Nicholas Dipierro, Wading River

06/07/12 4:00am
06/07/2012 4:00 AM


Advice for the grads

Congratulations, graduates.

I would like to offer my insights on what lies ahead and things you might be able to do that may save you a lot of unnecessary expense and anxiety in years to come.

The advice could come under the heading, “Don’t do it my way.”

No matter what you’re told, everyone and every institution out there is primarily out for themselves. Unless you’re extremely talented, you’ll be lucky to find decent work at all, never mind the work of your dreams.

The best advice I can give is to pursue any path that leads to any government job at any level. Outside of health care, which is the most rapidly growing field in the U.S., when working in the private sector you’ll make less than those in government.

Do not allow idealism to lead you to forsake such vital concerns as health insurance and pensions. When you reach 60 — my age — you’ll most definitely want health insurance, a pension and to retire. But in the private sector, unless you’ve been very savvy, you’ll be without them and the consequences could be dire.

My friends who worked government jobs are now all pleasantly retired, traveling and enjoying a steady stream of income and health benefits. And unless you stand to inherit a business, why bother starting one when so few are really successful?

There are so many career paths leading to a government job. It’s true, a certain level of mediocrity and inertia often becomes the norm. But all the while you’ll be investing in your well-being.

At the same time, you’ll have the strength of powerful unions behind you, something totally unavailable to a business person or an employee in most private sector jobs.

Do not believe platitudes such as “the stars are yours.” But with a little common sense and education, a good government job can be yours. The rewards will be a steady, dependable income and a healthy, relatively prosperous and guaranteed retirement.

Should you get a government job, hang on to it until you retire. You’ll thank your lucky stars.

All the best!

Harry Katz


Pay attention

The upheaval in Europe has been going on for a long time now.

The lead program to stabilize and rebuild the European economy has been austerity, the reducing of debt, the stopping of payments toward as many programs as possible and a general “no spending” mantra.

At the recent G8 summit, attended by President Obama and the European nations, a new approach surfaced. Led by President Obama and France’s prime minister, Mr. Hollande, the continued decline of the European economy was dissected and a changed approach gained headway.

Discarding austerity and embarking on cautious spending to rebuild infrastructure, support education, support social programs and other efforts was discussed and seemed to carry the day. Hopefully it is not too late to turn back a European economic disaster.

This story is current history that we voters need to pay attention to. The current GOP mantra is “reduce spending any way possible” and because of it our recovery is very slow. The Obama direction is to put stimulus spending in the right places to create current employment along with lasting national value.

The president wants investment in our tired infrastructure, bridges and transit systems as well as green energy and a cleaner and healthier environment such as clean air and water and spending on education and more.

This is a program that builds jobs, reduces public misery, upgrades our country, improves our health and reduces our reliance on the oil dictators. This program also grows the economy and GDP. Mr. Obama is logically putting first things first.

When these benefits take hold, and we continue our reduction in military wasteful spending, we will face a manageable budget and renewed quality of American life. Then we tackle the debt.

We voters must pay attention, for this is really important.

Howard Meinke


A real apology

Barack Obama should be apologizing to the American people for things such as the Solyndra debacle and the wasteful prosecutions of John Edwards and Roger Clemens rather than apologizing to the rest of the world for our nation’s strengths.

Edward Boyd

05/31/12 4:00am
05/31/2012 4:00 AM


Where were they?

I was very interested in your May 17 article on the vets running from Orient to ground zero. It was a great story.

I live in Orient so my daughter, her husband and myself waited for the Marine runners and cheered them on, but we were the only people out there.

We later followed behind in our car on the way to Greenport, but there was no one out to cheer them on there either. To make it worse, when they ran through Greenport no one knew what it was all about.

There was a Channel 12 crew there so I asked how come this wasn’t covered by their news. They never heard of it.

I love all the tall ships and fun and Orient’s lovely parade to the memorials, but I think Channel 12 should have covered it or at least mentioned it on the news. After all, Memorial Day is all about remembering those who gave their lives for us.

Thank you for your article because that’s the only way I knew about it.

Mary Zeballos


Don’t look at us

In your otherwise interesting recent article regarding attorney Brud Rossmann, you incorrectly state that he is “registered” with the New York State Bar Association and imply that in some way the New York State Bar Association has been lax in not disciplining Mr. Rossmann.

It is a common misconception that the New York State Bar Association is responsible for the admission, registration and discipline of attorneys in New York. In fact, the bar association is a private voluntary association of attorneys and has no authority over attorney admission, registration or discipline. Those are all government functions.

Admission to practice law is controlled by the New York State Board of Bar Examiners and the four Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court. Registration of attorneys is done through the New York State Office of Court Administration, and discipline of attorneys is done through the court system and the department disciplinary committees of the four Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court.

A. Thomas Levin
past president, New York State Bar Association


On-target editorial

Your May 25 editorial was on target. We members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary applaud your editorial about attention to safe boating practices and the importance of boating safety courses.

A safety course specific to canoe and kayak sports will be offered by the Southold Flotilla on the evenings of June 19 and 21 at the Southold Town Recreation Center in Peconic. With the increased interest in the sport, there have also been increased accidents, injuries and deaths. This course is designed to address the safe use and enjoyment of these vessels. To register call 765-5182.

We also offer boating safety classes at the town rec center each winter for ages 10-18 and each spring for adults. Anyone interested in these classes, finding additional information or setting up a boating safety class for six or more may contact me at [email protected] or at 298-8130.

Barbara Christianson
flotilla commander, Southold Flotilla 18-08


He is a disgrace

John Copertino is very accurate when he writes of the president, “He is a disgrace.”

Addressing the United States Air Force Academy’s graduating class President Obama said the United States is now more respected in the world. But he’s leaving a friend in a Pakistani prison, a friend who assured us that the mastermind of 9-11 was who he was and where he was.

Dr. Shakil Afridi was arrested by our so-called friend Pakistan and jailed for 33 years for treason. His trial was kept secret until an article appeared in Newsday.

To harbor the man behind the killing of innocent civilians is an atrocity. To punish the person who helped us by using DNA testing is also an atrocity. And to allow someone to jail a patriot of their country is also an atrocity.

We should be sending an armada to free Dr. Afridi, just as we sent troops to get bin Laden. Who can respect someone who leaves their friend behind to rot in jail?

It’s an another disgrace by President Obama to proclaim we are a respected country. To do so in front of thousands of military personnel who are going to protect our freedom is a show of disrespect for our country.

Joel Reitman

05/24/12 5:00am
05/24/2012 5:00 AM


A real disgrace

This is not Riverhead’s worst crime but it’s certainly up there as one of the most incomprehensible and disappointing. The Riverhead Garden Club began restoring the traditional English-style knot garden that sits between the town’s two landmark buildings on East Main Street, where the East End Arts gallery and school are located. The News-Review did an article on the garden club’s restoration project when we put in several boxwoods in December.

Last Saturday, we came by the garden to get it ready for spring planting and found someone had uprooted and stolen 11 dwarf boxwoods. The garden looks awful; this is so upsetting. Club members worked hard to plant the boxwoods, not taking into account the cost of the plants, which comes out of our limited budget. We had a dream of a historic restoration of this once-beautiful garden. We need about 20 boxwoods and now we have to replace what was stolen as well.

I am not even sure if it is safe to replace. We believe Riverhead’s Main Street can be welcoming and beautiful once again with all its historic significance. I believe the people who live in Riverhead want to see improvement and that this was someone who doesn’t live in Riverhead and has no sense of values.

Judy Kayton
member, Riverhead Garden Club
restoration committee


Sorry for family’s loss

I want to express the deepest sympathy to the Trionfo family regarding the tragic loss of young Dominic’s life this past Sunday in Mattituck’s Peconic Bay.

As a lifelong resident here, it brings me great sadness that this beautiful place has been connected to such a tragic and awful thing.

No parent should ever have to face losing their child.

Please accept my apologies and sincerest concerns. May God keep you and bless you indefinitely. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Erica Wells


Bring the family

With the pro forma environmental review under way for the Wading River 25A Corridor Study, there’s not much hard news to report. But all the talk of preserving community character got me thinking about broader community character. I recently was introduced to the Shoreham-Wading River Community Band, which will hold a free concert Friday, May 25, at Shoreham-Wading River High School, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The band is some 30 years old and comprises music lovers young and old. From Brian Radonavitch, the band’s 13-year old trombonist to Pat DeRosa, who plays clarinet at the age of 90. The band is directed by Jim McDougal, who has been at it for the past nine years.

This week’s concert, “Salute to Our Armed Forces,” will feature patriotic music to honor our men and women in uniform, along with classics like the “William Tell Overture” and the family-friendly “Peter and the Wolf,” which I have been invited to narrate.

This is the Prokofiev treat where the characters are represented by instruments or whole sections of the band.

The Shoreham-Wading River Community Band has 55 members and performs 13 times a year, with three major concerts such as this week’s in December, March and May.

The band plays at Calverton National Cemetery in connection with Memorial Day and Veterans Day and entertains at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University. In addition to saluting our veterans, the Friday concert will offer something for everyone with the music of Irving Berlin and even some Dixieland jazz.

So, it’s clear that community character comes in all shapes and flavor, not just through land use.

This will be a great performance — and it’s free! Bring the whole family!

Richard Amper

Editor’s note: Mr. Amper is the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, an environmental advocacy group.


Some taxing questions

Here’s a few quick points on spending in the Riverhead School District.

• The district had 4,898 students in 2010. (The district’s website does not publish 2012 data.) Assuming the number is still the same now, it costs $22,375 per student per year, going by the adopted budget for 2011-12, and $22,820 under the approved 2012-13 budget. Contrast that to New York City, which has 1.1 million students at an annual cost of $24 billion, or $21,818 per student. We all know how much more expensive the cost of living is in the city. One would have expected a significantly lower cost for Riverhead. What accounts for this aberration?

• From 2007-08 to 2009-10, the number of teachers in the district went from 393 to 355, a 10 percent reduction. Yet in all years since then the budget has been going up. Something is wrong with that picture.

• A large bond was approved last year by a slim margin, with those voting in favor representing less than 10 percent of the town’s population. It is, of course, too bad that there is such voter apathy. No sooner did that bond pass, that the district declared a 20-acre parcel on Tuthills Lane as surplus. That should have been known before the bond vote and should have been used to reduce the amount of the bond. At a minimum, the voters should have been informed that this asset will be sold.

While education is crucial at this time in our national debate, it does not mean that to support education we have to give a blank check. These are serious questions and they deserve some answers from district officials. The district’s website is not easy to navigate and there is little disclosure that would help answer the above questions. More transparency is needed and certainly more accountability as to why their cost per student is higher than New York City’s.

Charles Massoud


What do the candidates think?

Last week a letter appeared entitled “He is a disgrace.” In it, the writer says that the president is a “disgrace … to this great country, which he is attempting to convert into his socialist empire.” He goes on to say that the president “is committed to converting our nation into a plantation society” and that “he will live in memory as our worst president, and he will not only have disgraced our flag, but his family as well.”

I would like the Times/Review editors to show that letter to Randy Altschuler and George Demos and get their reaction on the record for your readership. In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a man universally recognized as a hero and a patriot, stood up to similar hate speech during his campaign. His response to a woman at one of his rallies was that then-Senator Obama is a “decent family man and citizen who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” It would be important for the voters of the 1st Congressional District to know whether our two Republican candidates for Congress have the backbone and decency to do the same.

Jerry Silverstein


Here we go again

Randy Altschuler, the biannual candidate for Congress, made a fortune by sending 10,000 American jobs overseas. He spent $3 million two years ago and lost to his opponent. It’s a shame he didn’t use that money to help the communities to which he recently moved. Mr. Altschuler is a wheeler-dealer and an opportunist. He has not done anything to merit his running for Congress.

This country needs builders and doers for our district.

Warren McKnight

04/19/12 4:00am
04/19/2012 4:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Virginia Lammers of South Jamesport (left) and Helga Guthy of Wading River show their lack of support for the Village at Jamesport.


A quest for truth

A democracy becomes dysfunctional when the representatives reject a sincere quest for truth. America has been mired in just such a morass for around five years now.

It’s time to place country above party. To do so, our representatives must embrace the truth of an argument at hand and reject the ideology of the party for the good and well-being of the governed. That really is why we elected them.

Every day we hear on the news of a politician saying another is lying. One says another is cheating. Yet another calls a colleague a socialist, even though they took the same position on the same issue 10 years ago. The one says another is trying to destroy America. This destructive rhetoric is tiresome.

It should be “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts” as Sgt. Friday would ask on “Dragnet.” The facts need to be accepted by our representatives in order to move the country forward beyond the one-upmanship that rules the day.

The alienation and polarization we’re experiencing is rendering our political system dysfunctional and preventing (so far) reasonable political solutions from being crafted and enacted. The American people are the victims.

We need to get our representatives back to the point where they look at facts, explore the facts and consider the facts. We need to get back to the point where views are formed by people who know what they’re doing and don’t rely on bureaucrats behind the scene working with computer programs and numbers.

We need leaders who can find the ray of sunshine even on a cloudy day. We need leaders who will stop the destructive rhetoric for the good of the country rather than rely on it to get elected and re-elected.

We need Americans to become aware of the facts of the issues of the day. We all need to have a sincere quest for truth and not be swayed by destructive rhetoric.

We can solve our many issues if we seek the truth and not the rhetoric or ideology of the moment. We need to seek answers that have a vision.

We need to leave this nation better than what we inherited it, for the sake of the sacrifice made by many to “preserve, protect and defend” it.

Bob Bittner


Who do they speak for?

Do we need more shopping centers and restaurants on the North Fork? Aren’t there enough on Route 58 in Riverhead? It appears that our leaders like blight. Most of us live here because we like green more than blacktop. If Supervisor Walter and his cronies like blacktop and concrete more than trees, flowers and grass, perhaps they should live in Manhattan.

Then there is the argument about “building a tax base.” Hogwash! Our taxes will not go down because the owner of the new Sloppy Sam’s Sizzling Steak, Salads and Sushi Restaurant pays taxes. The property owners will probably get big tax breaks anyway.

What happened to “majority rules”? Or the democratic process? If 250 Jamesport residents do not want shopping centers on Main Road and four politicians want them, why did our supervisor and his cronies even come to the meeting?

Jim Dreeben


How can this go on?

Last week the Riverhead animal shelter had only one person, the part-time animal control officer, running the shelter. She had to clean up the kennels, feed the dogs and exercise them. The advisory board coordinator called volunteer trainer Gina Rizzo to help get dogs that badly need rehab back to their kennels, Ms. Rizzo told me.

Make no mistake, the town shelter is being run like a bad pound and few officials care. The good citizens raising money for a new shelter should dwell in the present reality for these dogs and raise money for the present. There is less than a skeleton staff to manage 24 dogs. It’s never been this bad. The only good news is the town is letting Ms. Rizzo do her job, and no dogs have been killed.

As I have asked so many times, doesn’t anyone care about these poor animals that spend 24/7 mostly in their cages? Rico, a lovely dog who was bruising his legs by banging them against the cage in frustration, was taken by Kent Animal Shelter. His legs have healed. Maybe he’ll get a home, like Buster, because the people at Kent really care about living creatures and their fates.

Pat Lynch


Random kindness

On April 7 I was the very happy and grateful recipient of a random act of kindness.

My 2-year-old son, Dillan, and I braved the weekend traffic to venture to Target for all our necessities — diapers, wipes, snacks and toys. Dillan was in deep-snoring snooze-mode, so I put him in his stroller then attempted to push him and pull a cart, neither of which was cooperative.

While over by the laundry detergent I was approached by a woman who referred to herself as “Chas.” She said she’d watch me struggle, and after putting her own purchases in her car came to find me to offer assistance. At first, I admit, I was a bit suspicious, but she explained that she would follow me with the cart so that I could get my shopping done without the struggle, as she had wished someone would have also done for her when her own children were younger.

Chas followed me through the store and when we got to the register she announced that this was where she would say goodbye. I thanked her profusely and offered to get her a coffee, soda, snack or something to convey my gratitude, but she deferred all and proceeded to the front door.

I just wanted to state my thanks to Chas and make the world, or at least the North Fork, aware of what an absolutely wonderful person this lovely lady is.

Too bad Dillan slept through the entire event, not aware that he was in the presence of such a fantastic individual. Hopefully, we can “pay it forward” sometime in the future.

Thanks again, Chas.

Heidi Wysocki

03/29/12 6:00am
03/29/2012 6:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Anthony Coates was offered a $65,000 per year non-union job from Supervisor Sean Walter, but the Town Board put off voting on the controversial resolution Tuesday night.


He’s the right man for the job

As a person who knows a bit about getting public policy legislation approved in Albany, and also about the sad history of efforts to develop EPCAL, I strongly support Anthony Coates’ recruitment to advance the town’s EPCAL agenda.

Only about 4 percent of bills introduced in the New York State Legislature ever get approved; an infinitesimal number in the year of their introduction. Winning approval requires an exceptional combination of government, political and campaign skills, of which Mr. Coates is uniquely possessed.

While previous town administrations have falsely scapegoated the environment as obstacles to EPCAL development, Mr. Coates has already met with environmentalists to reconcile our interests with the shared interest of advancing economic development at EPCAL. Protection of water quality and the critters that live there need not prevent productive development of the property and Mr. Coates obtained significant understanding and cooperation during a recent exchange with the East End’s leading environmentalists.

The Town Board should view Mr. Coates’ professional compensation as a smart investment in the economic vitality of Riverhead Town and a small price to pay for finally getting EPCAL out of the realm of laughingstock and into the world of reality.

Richard Amper

Executive director, Long Island Pine Barrens Society


Not buying it

Sean Walter’s failed attempt to get a job for his “political conscience” Tony Coates is starting to look more and more like Nixon’s cover-up of the bungled Watergate break-in. Love him or hate him, it cannot be denied that Tony can be engaging, often intelligent and politically savvy. But trying to slip a taxpayer-funded job for Tony through (when a financially strapped town has laid off employees) without disclosing material information within his personal knowledge, calls into question the supervisor’s own integrity and judgment. In light of Tony’s intimate access to Town Hall and the supervisor, including potentially inside information, his background, associations and qualifications are a legitimate matter of public concern.

This concern is heightened where he is proposed as the town employee to lobby state officials in something as important as development at EPCAL.

What is outrageous and irresponsible is the supervisor’s intentional omission of Tony’s substance abuse issues and ties to what have been reported — in this newspaper and elsewhere — to be some of Long Island’s most notorious criminals, in lobbying for the appointment, as well as the sourced information that the supervisor helped foot the bill for the rehabilitation stay. (The supervisor denies this.)

The supervisor’s last attempt to circumvent the vetting process involved the $500,000 “no-bid” contract to an outside consultant for EPCAL. The same consultant that, by negligence or malfeasance, overstated the projected tax revenues for a much-maligned Jamesport project by 100 percent; it was approved by the Town Board over vehement public objection.

I personally wish Tony well and commend him for getting help. Rather than misleading the public and board, the supervisor should hope that, even if there is no opportunity in Town Hall for him, Tony recovers enough to get back to giving good political advice — including telling Walter to stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Ron Hariri

Editor’s note: According to town officials, the hiring of the Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB) firm to conduct studies at EPCAL was not subject to competitive bidding requirements because the firm provides specialized professional services. Court decisions and advising agencies have determined that such “unique services” are not subject to the bidding process under municipal law, said town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz.



It is an insult to Riverhead taxpayers for the town to hire Tony Coates. I’m surprised at you, John Dunleavy, because I thought you were one of the most honest and upstanding politicians Riverhead Town ever had. There are probably over 10,000 residents in Riverhead who have better qualifications than Mr. Coates and who are not friends of Mr. Walter and have not been to rehab.

Mr. Gabrielsen, Mrs. Giglio and Mr. Wooten, please don’t wimp out on this one. Stand your ground and do right by the taxpayers.

If all else fails, perhaps the town could hire a limousine with a driver to take Mr. Coates to Albany, with a stop on Broadway to see “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.” Just befriend the supervisor!

Jim Dreeben


Look elsewhere

The proposed Y facility in Aquebogue consists of two major components, a state taxpayer-funded pre-school and an indoor pool.

There will be activity programs, but disappointingly no indoor recreation center for basketball, volleyball, tennis, etc. commonly found at YMCAs. Y officials talk about phase two for a gym but, as we all know, phase two never happens. This is not going to be your mom-and-pop YMCA most people would expect. The indoor recreation center — recommended by the Riverhead recreation advisory committee for the past two years — was ignored by this particular YMCA consortium. I feel our youth’s needs should be a top priority at this facility.

There were other suggested sites as well. One was an eight-acre county-owned parcel adjacent to Stotzky Park. Even at this centrally located site, an indoor recreation center was recommended by the committee. When discussing the need for indoor basketball, one of the Y’s responses was to let people play at the state armory, obviously a location away from the Y. Something is wrong with this picture. Also, the county was willing to lease to the YMCA at no charge. The YMCA refused, because when building a facility on county land, it is stipulated that one would be subject to pay prevailing wages during construction. Y officials told me this would drive the cost of the project up a substantial amount. The Y could get around paying prevailing wages only if the county gives it sole ownership of the property, but this alienation of parkland would have to pass two sessions of the state Legislature. The YMCA refuses to go this route, as it would be a long and cumbersome process. The town also offered acreage at EPCAL.

I would like to discuss the location at Aquebogue.  At first blush, this appeared a somewhat good location. But finding out this was not commercially zoned land, but RB80 residentially zoned property, immediately raised concern by some Town Board members.

The neighbors justifiably were upset and concerned about this location. Despite YMCA representative Fritz Trinklein’s accusation of Town Board members flip-flopping, we are actually filling the duties of our office by listening to the people that elected us. For sure, Mr. Trinklein has been disingenuous in his dealing with the town and the people of Riverhead, not only in Aquebogue but in the two years that I have been trying to work with the YMCA at other sites. The last issue is with the traffic. All who have lived here, including fire department members, know this would be a traffic nightmare. There have been numerous accidents at this deadly curve in the road.

This property would be coming off the town’s property tax rolls, and would be a Riverhead taxpayer-subsidized country club that will also be used by Southold and the South Fork. Let’s look for a YMCA that really includes the affordable needs of our Riverhead youth and families at a centrally located area.

George Gabrielsen

Councilman, Riverhead Town


We aren’t about big

I live out east because I like it out here. I don’t want the area to become like Western Suffolk.

It is our job to keep our rural character the way that it is. Tourists, who spend money, come out here to get away from it all — the houses, the big buildings, all the stoplights. You get the picture.

It seems the SIIMBYs (stick it in my backyard) don’t like this rural quality we enjoy. They want a really big building built out here.

This 40,000-square-foot YMCA should be built in a more centrally located area of Riverhead so people all over can have easy access to it.

How about near a school or park so our children can have easy access to it?

Have you noticed the Ys in Patchogue, Bay Shore and Huntington are centrally located in their towns? None are out in the country, away from the people. Why here? Possibly an exclusive country club kind of thing?

If it’s a pool everyone wants, why doesn’t the Town of Riverhead build it?

Dean Sambach


Not about anti-YMCA

I am not against a YMCA in the Riverhead area.

I am against the destruction of nine acres of heavily wooded land when trees are our most effective way of combating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The United Nations estimates that 17 million acres of rain forest alone disappear each year, and somewhere and at some time we must make a stand in order to save woodlands and take control  of our climate in the future.

I am against making the beautiful hamlets of Aquebogue and Jamesport into an extension of Route 58; keep the development confined to that barren and ravaged area.

I am against the ZBA constantly tinkering with property zoning. The spirit of the law in this sense is an educational facility. Would a pizzeria owner who showed first-graders how to make pizza dough be able to claim his business to be an educational institution as well?

I am against another traffic light stopping traffic and beginning to make a trip east on Route 25 in Aquebogue as frustrating as a trip west on Route 25 in Commack.

Mark Hobson


She will succeed

I wanted to thank you for the article highlighting the efforts of Move the Animal Shelter Inc. and its founder, Denise Lucas. It’s a breath of fresh air to see the efforts and dedication from a community member to address the needs and conditions of our animals.

I have worked closely with Denise over the last five months, and when she was made aware of my legislation to create a series of dog parks in the community, she immediately wanted to help and began reaching out to friends and companies and networking to obtain enough in donations to fund the lion’s share of these parks.

Riverhead is well known to have beautiful parks and gathering places, and in this economy more and more are taking advantage of them. I am confident that Denise and her organization, which grows every day, will accomplish the goal of assisting Riverhead in erecting a state-of-the-art shelter, putting in the best that is available, and making it a haven for education and adoptions; and a place that can house felines as well. I applaud her efforts and appreciate the positive direction and energy to create a change. The only misphrasing in last week’s article came when Paul Squire referred to Denise as an animal activist. Believe me, she is a community activist, and one that will be successful.

Jim Wooten

Councilman, Riverhead Town


Get serious on shelter

In response to the recent animal shelter coverage, if you look at the budget history of the shelter, it reached a peak in 2009, with a budget of $254,000 and four full-time employees. Estimating 40 percent of salaries for benefits, the total cost was closer to $334,000, 80 percent of which went to personnel.

The shelter was an institution unto itself. Back then, the average shelter population was approximately 12 dogs and no cats, which are still not allowed.

The Town Board has been slashing the budget ever since.

It is to the point where operating a functional, humane shelter is untenable and problems are exacerbated. Management makes matters worse, banning volunteers, dictating ludicrous restrictions and failing to embrace simple, progressive measures toward improvements. The shelter now has more dogs and fewer volunteers than ever.

The Town Board needs to be realistic, commit to privatization and begin working with NFAWL as a partner and not some outside contractor they are trying to lowball.

Sue Hansen

03/15/12 1:43am
03/15/2012 1:43 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The proposed Village at Jamesport would be built on this lot just west of the hamlet's business district on Main Road.


An abomination

In a recent News-Review Guest Spot about the proposed “Village” at Jamesport project (“Town Board vote will shape Jamesport’s future,” Jan. 26), I focused on the damage that 25,000 square feet of new offices and restaurants would do to the hamlet’s economy, which already suffers that much empty space. Parts of Jamesport look like downtown Riverhead, with all the empty storefronts, and this project would make things much worse.

I also said there’s either a massive error in the project’s site plan or it’s designed to deceive. “Bistros” with 80 square feet per customer will never happen.

Naively, I thought this would cause Town Board members to pause and ask tough questions of the developer. I was wrong. Last week, board members voted — 5 for, 0 against — to approve the last regulatory step. They’re now free to decide on required special use permits.

But here’s big news: Projected tax revenues were wildly overstated. The 423-page environmental impact study erred. No one noticed, and the Town Board voted to accept. Actual taxes, if the project thrives, will be $172,000 less per year than promised.

This shopping mall was a bad deal at the stated $350,000 tax contribution. At just half that, it’s an abomination.

If you agree, remind your supervisor and councilmembers that they have the power and the obligation to deny special use permits.

Larry Simms


Just say no

If all goes as planned and a 40,000-square-foot building is built in Aquebogue, we can all say goodbye to our bucolic North Fork.

Aquebogue is the first town east of 105; it begins the true North Fork that tourists, locals and newcomers alike all love. We are surrounded by farms, beaches and wineries. If the construction of this project moves forward and commercializes our land, we can only ponder what would come to follow — more buildings that could eventually extend the commercial density of the Route 58 corridor out to Greenport. I vehemently oppose a building of this size and scope to be built in a rural area. Building a Y is going to destroy our local businesses, which provide some of the same amenities as what the YMCA does, make for more vacant buildings as well as removing traffic from downtown, further contributing to the decline of the area.

There are plenty of vacant commercial buildings in downtown Riverhead, which is centrally located. In addition to revitalizing downtown, a downtown location would better serve the diverse socioeconomic population of Riverhead at this central location. We who are true North Fork natives and continue to want our land to stay true to what it means to live on the North Fork, need to say no to this immense commercial project, or you can say goodbye to the North Fork.

Christina and Timothy McElroy


How do you figure?

I am writing to express my complete dismay and sense of frustration with the Town Board and the consulting team, BJF, with regard to the Wading River planning study. This firm, hired through resident tax dollars, has concluded that our hamlet of Wading River can sustain an increase of 230 percent of additional retail. That’s 123,000 square feet. This is after a recent economic study by the same firm, which was also hired by Brookhaven Town, stated that 23,000 square feet was the maximum amount of increased retail that Wading River could sustain. Additionally, this study does not include the “Venezia Square” proposal, which includes a large commercial development west of Wading River Manor Road between May’s Farm and Tuthill Alexander Funeral Home.

What happened to the “red and blue dot resident survey” that BJF took a few weeks back? A majority of residents there strongly opposed this type of development. BJF’s suggestions are not a balanced approach to development, nor do they consider resident input. Obviously the town meetings to gather ”input” from the community were smoke and mirror ploys to make residents feel like their voices mattered. I can’t believe that BJF, or the Town Board for that matter, had any intention of listening to the community or considering the cumulative effects that these five developments will have on Wading River and the quality of life for its residents.

Michele Dougherty


How can this happen?

Last year, I warned of the dangers of an unchecked Republican Town Board in pushing through a developer’s agenda that will make our town look more and more like Crookhaven East. The public outcry about overdevelopment from Wading River to Jamesport confirms my worst fears. Unfortunately, being able to say I told you so gives me no solace.

Nor do I derive any comfort from the supervisor’s sojourn to Albany with his “political conscience” Anthony Coates (an unelected personal adviser to Mr. Walter with an unvetted past) to lobby for the creation of a new bureaucracy modeled after, of all things, the Pine Barrens Commission, to control development at EPCAL. According to Mr. Walter, the new bureaucracy will come up with rules that will allow certain projects to be fast-tracked for approval. Walter says he met with Republican legislators Ken LaValle and Dan Losquadro and a bill is already being drafted. The last time Mr. Walter relied on outside advice about EPCAL, he told us he was directed by a party boss from Brookhaven to give another extension to the joke called Riverhead Resorts.

I hope the supervisor can offer some explanation on how he can unilaterally give up control of a multimillion dollar asset that belongs to the citizens of our town to politicians from dysfunctional Albany, bankrupt Suffolk County or elsewhere — without any public input or Town Board vote.

Ron Hariri


A good guy

Every so often, something happens that restores one’s faith in people’s goodness. Saturday afternoon I lost my wallet while I was out shopping. I was upset with the potential loss of credit cards, driver’s license, insurance cards, etc. Shortly after returning home, a gentleman knocked on my door and returned my wallet. My dog was barking so loud that my wife didn’t get a chance to ask his name. His thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. There are some very good people out there and this was one of them!

Guy Fein


The cause of pain

I am rarely shocked after being on this earth a long time, however, today I saw a bumper sticker that had a map of the USA with the words underneath. “Don’t re-Nig in 2012.”

Like or don’t like Mr. Obama, but that’s so unacceptable on more levels than I have words for. Blind hatred has caused much of the pain on this earth over the centuries since we’ve come out of the cave.

Remember the old saying, “Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, character is everything.”

Rosellen Storm


It’s inhumane

We have a responsibility to treat humanely the animals we use for food. There is nothing humane or natural about the force-feeding of geese and ducks, whether using a traditional metal funnel or a smaller plastic feeding tube, as stated by Chef Arie Pavlou at Comtesse Thérèse Bistro (“Delicious or plain inhumane?” March 8).

According to PETA, as much as four pounds of grain and fat are forced into the animals’ stomachs two to three times daily, causing their livers to bloat to up to ten times their normal size.

Many animals choke to death, have their organs rupture during the force-feeding process or experience other physical abnormalities.

As of July 2012, the sale of foie gras will be illegal in California. New York State needs to take the same action, but until then, you can express your objection to this cruel practice.

We go out to dinner several times a week and do not patronize restaurants that serve foie gras.

Alexandra Simmonds