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

ORIENT

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

GARDEN CITY

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

SOUTHOLD

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 bebece@optonline.net or at 298-8130.

Barbara Christianson
flotilla commander, Southold Flotilla 18-08

PECONIC

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

RIVERHEAD

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

MATTITUCK

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

LAKE PANAMOKA

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.

AQUEBOGUE

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

CALVERTON

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

RIVERHEAD

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.

CUTCHOGUE

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

JAMESPORT

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

SOUTHAMPTON

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

CUTCHOGUE

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.

RIVERHEAD

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

AQUEBOGUE

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.

JAMESPORT

Disgraceful!

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

JAMESPORT

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

MATTITUCK

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

RIVERHEAD

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

RIVERHEAD

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

ROCKY POINT

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.

JAMESPORT

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

AQUEBOGUE

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

WADING RIVER

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

AQUEBOGUE

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

RIVERHEAD

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

SOUTHOLD

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

GREENPORT

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

03/01/12 5:00am
03/01/2012 5:00 AM

MATTITUCK

Look elsewhere for YMCA

I can’t believe there is no questioning of a 40,000-square-foot building coming to the North Fork. 40,000 square feet. Ouch.

I would think that if a building of this magnitude was to be built behind the East Marion or Cutchogue post fffice there would be a loud uproar. Wouldn’t there? Why no outcry now? Because it’s in Aquebogue? This hamlet is the gateway to the North Fork.

If the Y is going to be built, why not build it in a purely commercial zone — say near the more centrally located bowling alley on Route 25 in Riverhead? This would be two commercial and recreational buildings next to each other. Sounds like a win-win kinda thing.

As “boxes” go, has anybody asked how many small businesses will be destroyed? This would partially include pre-K, child care and possibly fitness centers. Has anybody visited the partially, densely wooded 8.9 acres in this picturesque, rural corridor? A big difference from Route 58, isn’t it? Yes, I know there is a big business right across the street. One is in. Let’s keep it like that. If one wants to keep and preserve open space you cannot pick and choose which ones. They are all important. Some may look at this as NIMBY-ism. When you really look at it, it looks like environmentalism. Open space-ism.

Saving-our-wooded-area-ism. Besides, there already is a white elephant — or to use local lingo, a “white sea robin” — in Mattituck; Capital One is vacating soon. The asphalt is already down. The building is already up. Why not put the Y there?

There are plenty of different alternatives. Oh, and one more thing: Let’s save what’s left.

Dean Sambach

RIVERHEAD

Give better service

Suffolk County Transit has proposed a 25-cent increase on the S-92 bus route effective May 1, 2012. The fare increased on June 17, 2011 to $2.00, supposedly to cover Sunday bus service from July 3, 2011, through September 10, 2011.

Suffolk County Transit claimed the S-92 has the most ridership. If this is true, then why is the fare increasing again? Raise the fare on the other routes instead of always targeting the S-92. Passengers who use public transportation can’t afford a car and all the expenses that go along with it, or they may not have a license or they are just trying to go green.

Suffolk County Transit certainly is not trying to go green, nor are they concerned about the working poor. I ride the S-92 six days a week and can tell you that I don’t even gross $10.00 per hour. If a passenger takes the bus like I do, they’re paying a minimum of $24 a week. That’s $96.00 a month, and that doesn’t include a transfer to another bus when you get off the S-92.

Something has to be done to stop these fare increases. Signs are taped inside the S-92 busses stating the proposed increase, but unless you are sitting in the handicapped seats in the very front of the bus you will walk right past the sign. The sign states that there are going to be public meetings on the fare increase. What a joke. You know it’s already been decided.

The S-92 runs almost every half-hour during the day, but after 4 p.m. the next bus leaving Greenport and heading to the South Fork is not until 6:30, really 6:45 p.m. or later.

What Suffolk County Transit needs to do is increase service. They need to redo the schedule so that there are the same number of buses heading to the North Fork as there are to the South Fork.

Just like the cards the county drivers handed out to passengers asking if they would ride the bus on Sunday, there should be a petition on the S-92 buses asking passengers if they would be willing to pay an additional 25 cents bus fare. My solution to the problem is to have only passengers who ride the bus on Sunday pay the additional fee.

Brenda Brust

JAMESPORT

Sorry for what?

I look at the television in disbelief and wonder just what makes the leader of this once-great country apologize for accidentally burning Korans. Here is a president of one of the most tolerant countries on the entire planet apologizing to a country whose intolerance of other religions is beyond belief, a country that looks the other way when suicide bombers blow themselves up in mosques, killing innocent women and children in the name of holy war.

Therefore I stand up and say to everyone and anyone who will listen: Today I am ashamed to be an American.

Thomas W. Smith

EAST MARION

I don’t see it

I can’t find contraception, condoms, etc., in my copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Can somebody please help?

P.S. When we elect a community organizer, that’s what we get.

Next time, ignore the speeches and check the résumé.

Ken Stein

RIVERHEAD

Well worth it

On behalf of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Riverhead Fire Department, we would like to thank the members of the department and our local community, as well as our surrounding departments and surrounding communities, for supporting our old-fashioned all-you-can-eat breakfast event last Sunday.

It was a huge success due to the great support of all the people combined and we thank you for making it an annual event. It is indeed a lot of work but it is well worth it to hear people in the community say they truly enjoyed themselves, had a great meal and had a chance to meet up with other friends. Once again, on behalf of the members and officers of the Ladies Auxiliary, we thank you.

Kathy Berezny and Peggy Sparrow

SHELTER ISLAND

Other factors, too

A portion of the Feb. 23 editorial (Hope springs eternal) presented what I believe is an incomplete explanation for our unusual weather.

While all scientists probably agree that an “arctic oscillation” (AO) has long been a primary factor influencing much of our climate and weather, many believe something quite significant has begun to change how that complex cycle works.

The AO system is powered by the energy from the sun, which is trapped by certain greenhouse gasses of our atmosphere.

That’s their normal function, which makes life on earth possible. However, due to man’s activities, particularly since the Industrial Revolution, the amount of those gasses, including carbon dioxide and methane, has increased significantly.

Consequently, more sun energy is being retained close to the earth.

Some of that additional trapped energy is also being incorporated into the AO system, resulting in it becoming, in effect, more energized and consequently disrupted.

Formerly mild, predictable weather patterns are becoming increasingly erratic and more intense.

Yes, the arctic oscillator is still at work, but it’s no longer the same old AO it used to be. It’s becoming supercharged, and as a consequence, so is our weather.

Is there absolute proof? No, but this perspective certainly presents a strong possibility that something else is at work.

Global warming may well be causing the weather, and entire climates, to change. Basic physics, and much increasing research, suggests that is what may be happening.

Herb Stelljes

MATTITUCK

‘Moral progress’

Mohandas Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Gandhi was considered by many to be of great wisdom. If I may transpose the above quote to read, “…its moral progress can be judged by the way its unborn innocents — the babies in their mother’s wombs — are treated.”

Since Roe vs. Wade, 40 years ago in this nation of ours over 43,000,000 innocent babies have been willfully aborted.

Are we still a great nation? Only God knows.

I think we’re now at that point in time where that judgment will be made. Now it’s up to us to show “moral progress.”

Jack McGreevy

ORIENT

Bishop is the best

There was a day that most Americans voted for the candidate, not the party. The fact that the East End’s “conservative” electorate has sent Tim Bishop to Congress through five election cycles indicates that many here still do.

It’s clear why: He’s the best man for the job and is experienced, smart, fair and transparent. While his likely Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler, has had to pull in GOP bigwigs to bolster him, Congressman Bishop can stand on his record.

Mr. Altschuler can complain, but he has none of his own on which to stand.

Mr. Altschuler has absolutely no experience in government. He may be a successful, wealthy businessman, although that status has been gained by outsourcing Office Tiger’s jobs overseas, but what does he know about critical international issues?

Like Herman Cain, who also had no experience in politics but thought he might run for president, Mr. Altschuler emerges as a successful businessman thinking he can run for Congress. There’s a disconnect here. America’s choice is not just about business but a myriad of other issues that make an experienced candidate so attractive.

Mr. Altschuler makes Congressman Bishop personally responsible for the mess the country is in. Didn’t it start in the Bush administration? And couldn’t we have gotten out of it sooner without the obstructionist Tea Party? I’m sorry — eastern Long Island is not Tea Party territory like the Midwest and South, nor should it ever be, with such an educated, successful populace that can see beyond party politics.

Mr. Altschuler and his supporters have labeled Congressman Bishop a “target,” the language of warfare. In comparison, I attended a packed public meeting last Friday to hear Congressman Bishop talk on issues for the elderly. Not once did he attack or blame his Republican colleagues but instead praised the bills he helped pass with bipartisan support.

Edwin Blesch

02/09/12 5:00am
02/09/2012 5:00 AM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Frank Fish of BFJ Planning spoke to Wading River residents about proposed changes along the Route 25A corridor.

WADING RIVER

Don’t change our hamlet

I felt compelled to write after attending Saturday’s meeting at St. John’s Church regarding development proposals for Wading River. I’ve lived in Wading River since 1974 and have seen many changes, and as I feel compassion for the livelihood of these developers, I also feel we have everything we could possibly want or need only within a few miles east or west of us. There is no true need for any of those projects in our beautiful hamlet. So, I guess my question to the Town Board would be this: When is enough enough?

Kristine Nolan

SOUTHOLD

The message is clear

Rarely does a community meeting on any topic draw hundreds of participants, but when it does, it speaks volumes.

Last Saturday, by my estimates, 400 people packed a community-planning meeting for Wading River. Good for them! Clearly, this kind of turnout affirms the case (made over and over by the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, Group for the East End and the Wading River Civic Association) that engaging the local public is critical to the formation of intelligent and acceptable land-use policy for any community — and that the community cares enough to participate.

When finally asked, a vast majority of Wading River residents sent a clear message that they oppose the kind of strip mall-dominated sprawl that has devastated the Route 25A corridor to our west; that they want to protect the rural character of their community; and that the potential development density currently allowed along the corridor must be reduced.

I encourage all your readers to continue to insist that the Riverhead Town Board take decisive action to implement a new land-use plan for Wading River that is fundamentally grounded in the public interest.

Jenn Hartnagel

RIVERHEAD

Good things happen at shelter

I would like to ask the people of Riverhead and the surrounding towns if they have ever adopted a dog from the Riverhead Town animal shelter and had a pleasant experience. Was the shelter clean? Did it have heat, hot water? Did the dogs have food, water, blankets, toys or treats? Did you see the volunteers walking or playing with the dogs or the staff playing with the dogs? If they needed medical treatment, did they receive it? Did you ever lose your dog in a storm or the kids let it out and the shelter picked it up? Was your dog hit by a car and the shelter took it to the vet? Were you relieved to have your dog back, safe and sound? Did the shelter go out of its way to help you? I know you have! I’ve heard the stories and the shelter has adopted out thousands of dogs and returned thousands to owners. So write in and tell everyone your positive stories. It costs absolutely nothing to write in, so everyone can see the good side of the shelter instead of the same old bad stories. Tell everyone about the most positive experience with the shelter for you and your best friend.

Most of the dogs at the shelter have never had it so good. Sad, but true.

Ricky Muller

WILTON, CONN.

What a man!

Thank you for the entertaining, informative articles on the area’s greatest athletes in history. I live in Connecticut and my dad saved the articles for me to read, for which I am grateful.

I am a Riverhead High School, Class of ’87, graduate and I felt special to know three of the athletes on your list. What was great for me was that both Carl Smith and Kevin Braunskill, besides being great athletes, were both extremely nice, humble people and well-liked by all. I played baseball against Keith Osik while he played at Shoreham-Wading River and one of my life’s baseball highlights and memories was pitching against him on a chilly spring day at Riverhead.

I am writing to add my two cents regarding your list of the greatest athletes. If you had said greatest achievers, I would not be writing you. I believe one of the greatest athletes not to make your list was Dr. Chris Lao, another 1987 Riverhead graduate. I teased him and still tease him today as being the best athlete not to get a sports scholarship. He played soccer, basketball and tennis, as well as other somewhat less popular sports that got very little notoriety. There was not a sport he played — and he played them all — that he did not excel in. Nor is there anything he seems to do, for that matter, that he does not excel in (except getting back to you in a timely manner, but that’s for another day and another letter).

He’s blessed with great hand-eye coordination, quickness, athleticism, intelligence and among people who knew of him, they would say the same thing. I play golf with him on our annual golf outings and it’s no surprise to see him — even though he barely has played the sport — drive the ball 300 yards. Obviously, I am only one man and one letter, but I thought the man should deserve at least an honorable mention.

John Chrabolowski

SHELTER ISLAND

Take an active role

There have been many articles and letters in this newspaper about the importance of early breast cancer detection. They have raised our collective awareness and consciousness about combating this disease and finding a cure.

As a husband, I have always thought that my role was simply to be supportive. To go with my wife to the doctor when she had her annual breast exam. To remind her about doing her self-examinations and ask her how she is doing.

Husbands, significant others, partners, lovers and BFFs need to take a more “hands on” approach. No joke.

While doing a self-exam, your woman might miss a very small lump or mistake it for an insect bite. A small mark or bruise on the skin might be an abrasion from a new bra, or it might be the initial stages of a cancer. She might err on the side of not wanting to panic or upset others. Or she might think that it is most likely nothing. And then there are doctors who’d rather be optimistic and not order an “unnecessary” test. That’s all what I term as “optimistic denial.”

We need to be a “second opinion”. If two heads are better than one, then another pair of hands properly inspecting her breast can’t hurt. Learn how and how often to examine her.

Do it while you are doing a tick check. Have fun or be absolutely serious about it. If you find anything suspicious, run, don’t walk, to a specialist. No democracy here. Make a pact that if either one of you suspect something, it will be checked out.

Too many brave women here have been the victims of breast cancer. Is it caused by the MBTE in our water or the constant “controlled” radioactive discharges from nearby nuclear power plants? Is it the chemicals in our food or the air pollution that we breath? Is it stress or is it genetic? It’s all suspect.

There are continuing advances in medicine to battle this insidious disease. The “magic bullet” may happen in the near future. But until then, we do know that early detection is the best hope. The earlier the better and your involvement is an additional step toward that goal.

So, to all those husbands, significant others, partners, lovers and BFFs, I suggest you join her in a breast examination as an extra Valentine’s Day gift this year. It won’t cost you anything, but she will value it as priceless, for sure. Hopefully you also gave her a card and flowers or something else, too.

The life you might help save may very well be the love of your life.

Vinnie Novak

02/02/12 4:00am
02/02/2012 4:00 AM

RIVERHEAD

RFD annual report

During 2011, Riverhead Fire Department responded to a total of 1,091 alarms. This total was four fewer than the previous year. Of this total, 84 were structure fires, 82 carbon monoxide alarms, 41 alarms for reports of gas odor and 25 vehicle fires. Over half of the alarms were for automatic alarms.

The dedicated volunteers in our department spent 10,346 hours responding to these alarms. Members also participated in about 15,000 hours of training, drills, meetings, work details, and other activities to maintain their proficiency in keeping lives and property safe in our community. Fire safety training for the children in all our schools and at the annual open house is an important component of our community education program. In 2011, RFD volunteers dedicated 902 hours to this program and over 2,500 children received this important training in our elementary schools.

As chief of the Riverhead Fire Department, I would like to thank the community for your continued support. Our 180 volunteers live and work in our community and it is important that many businesses allow their employees to respond when called to protect lives and property.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Nicholas Luparella
Chief, Riverhead Fire Department

CENTER MORICHES

With our future in mind

Your Jan. 19 editorial pointed out that the current property tax system is often confusing, complex and frustrating and is awash in inequities. Obviously this is something our state legislators need to address.

I commend you for discerning that under the current property tax system, development raises property taxes. To quote your editorial, “More people means more government… More children mean bigger, more expensive schools”.

With that knowledge, municipal planning and zoning takes on an even greater importance. Land use decisions affect the future of communities and the taxes they pay.

In western Suffolk, property taxes tend to be higher and communities more densely developed than eastern Suffolk. We now have an opportunity as we plan our future, to look west and then to look east and make some key decisions about what type of community we want to live in and how much in property taxes we want to pay.

Ed Romaine
Suffolk County legislator, 1st District

BAITING HOLLOW

Don’t ignore the facts

I can no longer characterize the News-Review as that classy hometown newspaper that I was once proud to read.

Within the last year or two, this paper has taken on a decisively biased flavor against public workers. I state “flavor” because it took a reader’s critical eye to recognize the little jabs that were embedded in the tone of the articles. More recently, this paper started to reveal its tilt by publishing hateful letters on a weekly basis, but it was still tolerable and I never imagined that it would cross the line into yellow journalism. But there it was in last week’s paper, a full-page column smearing New York’s public workers, a proverbial kick in the gut to those who educate our community’s children.

Grant Parpan’s article was the most unfair, poorly written piece of “journalism” to ever set print in the News-Review. His rant lacked control and it was stylistically a mess. The resources cited were outdated and the information mostly anecdotal. The author fancies himself an insider on educational matters, but sitting at board meetings for six years doesn’t make one an expert on education; it makes one an expert at sitting at meetings. Furthermore, the anger inherent in the piece only served to muddle the thesis. Was Mr. Parpan actually basing an entire article on his angst about proposed extra-curricular cuts? Quite a flimsy point at a time when reduced state aid forces class sizes to swell so much that individual student attention becomes impossible. Quite flimsy indeed when the state cries poor yet uses millions of taxpayers’ dollars for corporate contracts with test makers (and then bars the public from viewing said tests). Mr. Parpan’s most glaring error was an ethical one. He chose to bury the truth and ignore facts. He chose not to offer an opposing viewpoint, and turned a blind eye to all of the wage freezes, concessions, and givebacks teachers already agreed to. He painted a picture of what he thought readers would want to see, rather than presenting them with information they deserve to know.

I can’t help but wonder that if the young author maligned those he will entrust his future children to, will he do the same to all the public servants he will come to rely on for safety and services? There are a whole lot of folks standing in silent solidarity waiting to see.

Catherine Carella-Dean

Editor’s note: Ms. Carella-Dean is a teacher in the Middle Country School District.

JAMESPORT

Are we stupid?

With school pensions that are in excess of $100,000 a year and rising at an ever-increasing rate, I have to wonder if Long Island homeowners have been lied to all these years when we’ve been told money in school budgets is “for the children,” when in fact the money seems to go mainly to ever-increasing salaries, fringe benefits and pensions. Maybe we, the homeowners and voters, should keep in mind a saying from years ago that applies even more today: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” And to my way of thinking, we are the suckers.

Thomas W. Smith

GREENPORT

Column was off base

If Grant Parpan wants teachers to pay private sector rates for health care, he should be advocating for teachers to be paid on par with their private sector counterparts.

The Economic Policy Institute found in its report, The Teaching Penalty, that teachers are compensated 14 percent less than their counterparts with similar education and work experience. Moreover, this study found that teacher salaries have only grown a paltry 0.8 percent compared with the 11 percent growth for all college graduates since 1990.

If Mr. Parpan did a little research about teacher contract negotiations here on the North Fork, he would have learned (from a Julie Lane story published on Aug. 25, 2011) that Greenport teachers agreed to a salary freeze in 2012-13. And unless he’s been living under a rock, he must also be aware of the massive teacher layoffs that have increased class sizes and reduced budgets in every one of our local districts.

Mr. Parpan uses Mt. Sinai as his shining example of fiscal responsibility. Mt. Sinai’s $100K savings from increased teacher health care contributions averaged out to roughly $30 per household per year — ironically similar to the cost of an annual subscription to

The Suffolk Times — in tax savings for the estimated 3,339 households.

Sure, $30 helps. But if we are serious about reducing our taxpayer burden, we could look a little deeper than teacher compensation to find truly wasteful spending in schools, government and public services that could provide more than $30 a year in taxpayer savings.

Moreover, folks concerned about rising taxes in a struggling economy might benefit from taking a longer view of the issue. The Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Columbia University (cbcse.org) found that if we increase our investment in public schools to prevent dropouts, we could save the American public $45 million per year in taxes, or about $127,000 for each student who graduates instead of dropping out. High school dropouts are much more likely to end up in prisons, on welfare or on Medicaid.

We are all concerned about the very poor performance of American students in mathematics and science compared with students from nations like Japan, China, Singapore, Finland and Denmark. Those nations compensate their teachers on par with, or better than, similarly educated professionals.

A true fiscal conservative should be advocating that we raise teacher compensation so we can recruit and retain the best possible educators to our public schools. An educated citizenry reduces dependence on taxpayer-funded programs.

The editorial pages provide an opportunity for The Times to share creative ideas and compelling research that launches a conversation about how to improve our community while reducing excess costs. Lazy journalism and emotional rants at the expense of one particular group of public servants might stir the pot and sell some papers, but they do nothing to help us figure out how we can do more with less in difficult economic conditions.

Doug Roberts

SOUTHOLD

Reject this project

Kudos to the well-reasoned Guest Spot by Larry Simms in last week’s News-Review (“Town Board’s vote will shape Jamesport’s future), which argued against any special permits for the proposed Village at Jamesport development. There are already too many empty storefronts all over the North Fork. I agree that further blind building of more will make the situation worse. There is nothing “special” about the Village at Jamesport proposal.

John Rooney

MATTITUCK

What’s the benefit?

Are there really any advantages to a wind turbine? I unknowingly thought so until I had to quickly educate myself when I heard the Suffolk County Water Authority intended to place one at perhaps my favorite place on earth, Laurel Lake and the adjacent preserve.

What surfaced from my research were government studies, newspaper stories and scientific data that covered installations gone awry from Maine to California, as well as all over Europe. Wind turbines can create serious issues depending on where they are situated. It’s all about location, location, location.

The most basic issue here is SCWA’s inappropriate choice for the placement of a wind turbine in an area that is a clean water source for the North Fork and Suffolk. The area is a heavily wooded, pristine preserve bordered by residences and also home to all manner of plants, birds and wildlife.

I am concerned about the health hazards from noise, vibrations and infrasound that can cause neurological problems, sleep deprivation, visual disturbances and even developmental issues in children one mile away. Data also suggests that there is a very real threat of fire from a malfunction of the turbine itself and a highly increased risk of fire from lightning strikes.

A fire atop a 150-foot turbine complicated and fueled by 200 pounds of hydraulic fluid cannot be handled by the local fire department, which lacks the foam and equipment to reach that height. The fire would easily spread and jump across the canopy of trees, engulfing the preserve and endangering homes on Laurel Lake, The Cottages, Laurel Links and the Estates, and maybe even as far as Farmveu.

The threat of fire would be constant and the residents and fire department would be helpless, with no hydrants anywhere and almost no access or egress in and out of this area. All of these hazards exist, yet there is no solid evidence of a cost benefit. To make matters worse, there will be nearly two decades until a payout, maybe longer. Evidence from Europe, where they have been using windpower far longer, is showing no cost savings due to irregularities in the power grid that have to be balanced due to the vagaries of wind thrust. Even more fossil fuel is consumed to balance the grid. Gone are cost or environmental savings.

Is this a case of the emperor’s new clothes? It sure looks like it. But Laurel Lake is not the place for a test site. It is way too important to Mattituck and the entire North Fork to endanger this environmentally precious spot.

Terry Koch-Bostic

MATTITUCK

The human price

As my husband, Mark, and I first drove down Laurel Way 31 years ago we had no idea what lie ahead.

We had come in response to an ad for a house for sale on Laurel Lake. Never having heard of a lake in this area, we were stunned to discover this pristine paradise less than two hours from New York City. In fact, so overwhelming was our response, that by the end of the day, we had come to terms with the owner of the house.

Over the years we spent every weekend, from Friday to Monday, coming to our retreat, away from the hustle of the city, to where the silence enveloped us and the clean air sustained us.

We would spend hours sitting at the lake, watching the birds and enjoying the return of the kingbirds to their favorite tree, year after year, waiting for the babies to become mature enough to fly off on their own. One year, because we were unable to be there for two weeks, robins had built their nest near the door to the deck, which was our summer living room. Afraid that we would cause them to abandon their young if we were to open the door frequently, we decided not to use the deck until they had left. What a treat.

Every winter, we would await the arrival of the beautiful canvasback ducks and sit outside, bundled up, enjoying their antics. In the summer I spend hours swimming, on my back, watching the hundreds of swallows swooping over the lake, feeding on the surface insects. I once had the awesome experience of having an osprey check me out, so close I could have counted every feather.

Our kids came out whenever they could, never asking if it was OK, just feeling that it was theirs too. As a family we grew even closer having this warm, rich environment. Now our grandchildren, who are growing up having this idyllic place to call home, consider it a birthright. Thinking ahead, my granddaughter told me the other day that her children must grow up there also.

I’ve recounted our family history as it relates to Laurel Lake to emphasize what the loss of this precious environment would mean to the many residents fortunate enough to call this special place home. The erection of a wind turbine by the Suffolk County Water Authority adjacent to the Laurel Lake Preserve would bring to an end bird migration, serenity, physical well-being and a sense of peace that is becoming rare in this world.

It’s time for the SCWA to think in terms of human values and not questionable dollars and cents.

Marjorie Gross

MATTITUCK

Still a local matter

The Suffolk County Water Authority is again taking its “mandate” too far.

The SCWA is not, as they define themselves in their environmental assessment of the proposed wind turbine at Laurel Lake, a “governmental unit.” It is, as their own website states, “an independent public-benefit corporation.” As such, they have no right to bypass Southold Town review or approval processes.

There are many facets to the turbine controversy, such as the environmental impacts on the Laurel Lake Preserve and effects on wildlife, but all are trumped by the concept of home rule. Only Southold Town should have the final say what is and is not built in Southold.

The preservation of Laurel Lake, including its scenic views, wildlife and overall setting are part of Southold Town’s plan and ongoing work. It is not within the SCWA’s purview to determine whether or not the proposed turbine impacts the town’s plan or interests. If they are allowed to overrule the town’s interest, then who’s to say what they can or cannot do elsewhere?

The North Fork Environmental Council recognizes the benefits wind turbine technology has in partially addressing our world’s dependency on fossil fuels, and supports its use, but only where appropriate and where its impact on all other aspects of the environment is comprehensively assessed and minimized.

The SCWA’s own environmental assessment form notes in Part B, item 20, that the proposed project will “substantially affect non-threatened or non-endangered species.” These potential impacts, recognized by all sides, require further study and discussion.

Before any work moves ahead, a comprehensive environmental review should be undertaken and the resulting environmental impact study should serve as the basis of deciding whether this turbine can not only safely coexist with wildlife in the surrounding Laurel Lake preserve and wetlands, but also coexist with Southold Town’s plans and efforts to preserve the natural beauty of Laurel Lake and the surrounding area.

Southold residents cannot remain silent on this effort to usurp the town’s right to control what is built within its borders.

Bill Toedter
president, North Fork Environmental Council

FARMINGDALE

Turbines are needed

The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College would like to express its support for the Suffolk County Water Authority’s proposed Southold wind turbine project to be located in Laurel.

Given the serious global problem of climate change and the need to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign fuel sources, there is a need for increased use of renewable energy sources by all sectors.

Wind turbines produce clean, local, emission-free energy, thereby achieving both goals. Renewable energy also helps reduce pressure on the local electric grid, thereby reducing the need for the construction of more fossil fuel-based power plants.

There are many myths about wind, including noise, bird kills and aesthetic impacts. Baseless statements from uninformed people should not just be printed without fact-checking and also including a more well-rounded perspective. Factual information on how wind turbines operate is widely available.

A great resource is www.windworks4li.org, where you can find “myth vs. facts” information, as well as a listing of coalition members who support wind for Long Island.

Numerous land-based wind turbines are currently installed here in the United States, as well as in Europe, and wind is a fast-growing industry. The U.S. has 46,919 MW of cumulative wind capacity through the end of 2011. In fact, Half Hollow Nursery, right in Laurel, is the location for a 100kw wind turbine which was installed in 2010.

We strongly urge you and any interested parties to visit that site and use their experience as an example.

Neal Lewis, executive director

RIVERHEAD

With Teddy in mind

I read with interest George Dengel’s letter (“Dismayed, not angry,” Jan. 26), or perhaps it could better be defined as a diatribe.

I’m writing as a lifelong Democrat who has on occasion voted for a Republican candidate and a believer in the free-enterprise system with controls to see that it does not tread on the rights of the 99 percent of Americans, a category which I assume includes Mr. Dengel. Those safeguards, which are in danger of being weakened, if not removed, were first put into the system by a good Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union speech that he is a staunch advocate of the principles laid forth about 100 years ago by Teddy Roosevelt. He wants to create jobs that will revive the middle class and protect the poor.

He also wants to help most Americans, including those of us on the North Fork, by putting more of a tax burden on billionaires who can best afford to pay more and less on the rest of us, who cannot. He deserves a chance to put America back on its feet after this bitter recession, which was caused in part by the past administration’s tax policy.

On another point in Mr. Dengel’s letter, I thought we were beyond the era when people were being called communists indiscriminately. I doubt that there are many communists left in the world, and no country espousing its theories other than Cuba, which is beginning to relax its dogmatism.

Steve Weinstein

RIVERHEAD

Dems will pay in 2012

The “occupy” movement has gotten much coverage by the liberal media over the past year. They have tried to put forth that they represent the majority of non-Wall Streeters. The truth is, they are about “one percent” of an extremely far left group of violent, lawless thugs. I am amazed that the Democratic party as well as our own president have embraced these thugs. These “one percenters” have wreaked havoc everywhere they have gone. The cost to the communities has been tremendous. They stress resources and leave squalor in their path. These “one percenters” do not represent Americans as most of us know them.

In 2012, the Democratic party will pay dearly for their alignment with this group. The majority of the 99 percent of non-Wall Streeters are really made up of true, honest, law-abiding Americans. As we roll toward the presidential elections, I believe the people of this country will see the difference between true American patriotism and anarchy. By all accounts, the 2012 national elections will be a turning point to this country’s future.

Questions need to be asked. Does the Democratic party really believe that these “one prcenters” represent the majority? When will the Democratic party end their affiliation and denounce their ties to this group? How much taxpayer money is going to continue to be spent to clean up their mess? How much damage needs to be done and how many people need to be hurt before  the people of this country say enough is enough? In 2012, the people of this country will have to ask themselves this question, ”Is this who’s representing me?”

Jim Breitenbach

RIVERHEAD

Flapjack event a flippin’ success

Thanks to Kathy Berezny for mentioning our flapjack fundraiser in her Riverhead community column. The Riverhead High School NJROTC would also like to thank everyone in the community who braved the snow to attend the event at Applebee’s on Jan. 21. Your support was overwhelming and the event was a huge success. We would also like to thank Applebee’s and its staff for offering this opportunity and for doing such a fantastic job.

Dana Hubbard

NJROTC parent group member