07/03/14 3:30pm
07/03/2014 3:30 PM
Columnist James Varney believes intellectual diversity might not be welcome thing on Long Island's East End.

Columnist James Varney believes intellectual diversity might not be welcome thing on Long Island’s East End.

Does the Hyatt Place hotel in Riverhead have lefty-leaning computers in its lobby?

That’s what a columnist from New Orleans is claiming after he stayed there recently and found that the guest computers in the hotel’s lobby blocked websites he considered to be conservative leaning.

Yet the computers freely allowed more liberal leaning sites, he wrote.

(more…)

01/03/13 8:01am
01/03/2013 8:01 AM

JUDY AHRENS FILE PHOTO | Troy and Joan Gustavson outside the original Suffolk Times building in the late 1970s.

If you have not already perused this week’s business news section, let me be the first to inform you that this week marks a changing of the guard at Times/Review NewsGroup.

Effective with the new year, the former Joan Giger Walker and I have transferred ownership of the company and the three community newspapers it publishes — The Suffolk Times, The Riverhead News-Review and The Shelter Island Reporter — to our daughter, Sarah Olsen, and her husband, Andrew Olsen, who has served as publisher since Joan and I stepped down as co-publishers in 2003.

This is, as you might imagine, a bittersweet time for the Gustavsons. We purchased the business from the Dorman family in November of 1977, and our 35 years as owners have been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream that began when I “published” The Coolidge Place Gazette as a 10-year-old in Hackensack, N.J. So this is the end of an era, and that’s the bitter part.

The sweet part is that Times/Review will remain in our family for the foreseeable future. Sarah and Andrew are ready, willing and able to take the helm, and Joan and I are confident that they and their amazing staff will continue to produce high-quality, prize-winning newspapers and websites.

You can assess the Olsens’ qualifications for yourself in the aforementioned business story, but here’s one most people are unaware of: Back in the late ’80s, before they were married, Sarah and Andrew were co-editors of The Quill, the newspaper jointly published by students from Greenport and Southold high schools. (Sarah went to Greenport, Andrew to Southold.) So, you see, they’ve had newspapering in their blood for a long time, too.

On Jan. 5, 1978, as the new owners we published an editorial under a headline that read: “What We Stand For.” It appeared in both The Suffolk Times and The News-Review, and the sentiments expressed applied once again when we acquired the Shelter Island paper some 20 years later. We’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide if those promises were fulfilled or not, as follows:

“The changing of the guard at The Suffolk Times hopefully will be taken for what it is: a natural evolution. Newspapers are bigger than their owners, and The Times will be here for a long time after we’ve all played out our part in its life.

“Nevertheless, the community has a right to know what we stand for. And that will be up to you — our readers — to determine over a period of time. What follows is offered to help you keep score in the months and years ahead.

“We stand for truth. The truth will always be our guiding light.

“We stand for excellence. There is always room for improvement, but we intend to build upon the record of excellence that has become the standard at the Times.

“We stand for fairness. If we fail to be even-handed in our reporting and editorial policy, we hope it will be merely because we are human and not in the business of grinding axes.

“We stand for self-determination. The right of the individual to determine his own fate — beyond the influence of outside forces — is supreme in our eyes. And that goes for outside forces who would overdevelop our diminishing farmland, supply power to points west by despoiling the North Fork’s natural resources and endangering its people, or bring interstate ferry service to a village that has serious reservations about that service.

“We stand for non-partisanship. It doesn’t matter to us whether someone is a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. Honesty, integrity and performance are what matter.

“That is what we stand for. Now it’s up to you to determine whether we live up to our word.”

tgustavson@timesreview.com

08/16/12 4:00am
08/16/2012 4:00 AM

WADING RIVER

This lawsuit is unreal

In last week’s issue of this paper, we all read that the owners of Great Rock golf course have filed a $25 million lawsuit against Riverhead Town. Of course, just because they filed a suit doesn’t mean their claims are valid. At the heart of this lawsuit is the assertion that the town maliciously attempted to deprive the Great Rock owners of their property rights. That’s baloney. It’s impossible to deprive someone of a right they don’t have in the first place. Fact is, Great Rock used up all their residential yield so they cannot build condos or golf villas and the catering hall is prohibited by zoning and covenants.
If that wasn’t the case, don’t you think all this would have been built already?
After all, we have what is arguably the most unabashedly pro-development Town Board in town history. Yet we’re supposed to believe the town has been maliciously conspiring to attack Great Rock’s property rights? C’mon.
Then there’s all the revisionist history in the suit. It calls the proposed catering hall a “mandated clubhouse expansion” and claims the “proposed structures conformed in all respects with the zoning ordinances” and that the owners had “vested property rights.” You just can’t make this stuff up; well, maybe you can.
But there’s an even bigger issue. Great Rock filed a Section 1983 action, which means that local government is only liable in damages when its official policy or custom was responsible for the plaintiff’s constitutional deprivation. That’s something this lawsuit does not even attempt to assert. That’s why I’m encouraged that this case will be dismissed once the town makes these and other deficiencies clear to the court. After all, that’s what happens to frivolous lawsuits.
I just hope they make quick work of it so we can just move on already. Enough’s enough!

Dominique Mendez
president, Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition

SMITHTOWN

Whatta league!

This was my first year involved with Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, with my son playing on Riverhead Tomcats. It was the experience of a lifetime. Not only was my son on the team, but we were fortunate enough to host a young man from Louisiana. This gave my son someone to drive back and forth with, since we live 45 minutes from the field, and someone to practice hitting with on those rare off days. They were able to share and blend together the coaching tips from the Northeast and the South. This benefited them both tremendously.
The league gave each player a gym membership for the summer. Here again, these young men shared their collective knowledge and all became bigger and stronger. Also, I could not believe all of the people who became host families when they did not even have a son on the team. I have never met such nice people on any previous league. The coaches, assistants, managers and administrators were all exceptional. This is a team that my son, my husband and myself will remember forever. Thank you, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball!

Diane Gorecki

LAUREL

Over the cliff

As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan press for ever-lower taxes and massive spending cuts while praising entrepreneurialism and the beauty of ever-growing profit-making business unfettered by government and regulation, let’s look at the whole picture.
As the CEOs and financiers grab theirs and competitive pricing continues to be a part of the equation, wages and benefits become further depressed and economic inequality increases. Taxes are lowered, government expenditures are cut and government aid to the disadvantaged, the sick, the poor, the elderly and the unemployed is reduced.
Aid to those trying for college entrance is eliminated, government-financed infrastructure improvement ends and the United States slides further toward mediocrity. This is America’s decline, about to happen in our lifetime. Is this our America? Will we watch or will we act?
Follow the arguments, get mad and get out and vote. With Paul Ryan added to the ticket ,the Romney express will take us all right over the cliff.
Howard Meinke

NEW SUFFOLK

GOP in a nutshell

Romney and Ryan: The perfect embodiment of the 2012 Republican platform.
Solicitude for the rich, indifference to the middle class and contempt for the poor.

Stanley Brown

GREENPORT

What we’ve become

I’m coming into my 89th year. I’ve had a long, full life, supported by a democratic government that provided for the needs of the country and thrived on the creativity and industriousness of the people.
World War II was everyone’s war. The draft providing the armed forces, the government rationing foods, materiel and gas, Rosie the Riveter and many others, working in the factories, growing vegetable gardens, knitting warm socks and baking cookies to send to the troops, volunteers acting as community wardens. Sharing the news and the terrible lists of the dead and the missing.
After the war, the G.I. Bill sent the men to college and they came out as scientists, engineers, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. They propelled the U.S. into an age of economic growth and national dominance. Social Security, to protect the elderly from destitution, Medicare to protect the ill from bankruptcy because of medical expenses. the Civil Rights Movement and later, the Women’s Movement, bringing us closer to becoming “the land of the free.”
Not only a long life, but a grateful one. I am not afraid of dying. But I am dreadfully worried for my children and grandchildren and yours. We are no longer a democracy, providing for the needs of the people, the infrastructure of the country, or all levels of education to build for the future. We have become a corporate oligarchic state, governed in their financial interests, like the Third World countries we used to disdain.
This government cuts food stamps when more people are in need, cuts food and health programs for children, denies money for states to provide teachers and firemen. Wants to cut Social Security benefits and turn Medicare into for-profit enterprises.
Having exploited our natural resources to fill their coffers, they have not put any of their profits back into restoring the land or repaying the workers.
It’s no longer the America I lived in, thrived in and was proud of. I pray that the decent people who are working courageously to bring back our democracy will succeed.
I pray that my children and grandchildren and yours will be able to lead decent and satisfying lives, supported by the essential and humane programs that all other industrial, advanced nations provide.

Merle Levine