06/02/14 10:00am
06/02/2014 10:00 AM
Protestors outside the Riverhead Post Office Saturday afternoon. (Credit: Jerry Bilinski, courtesy)

Protestors outside the Riverhead Post Office Saturday afternoon. (Credit: Jerry Bilinski, courtesy)

To the Editor:

On a visit to my local post office this Saturday, I was shocked to be confronted by a disturbing display on the sidewalk in front of the building.

Two protestors who said they were supporters of Libertarian politician  Lyndon Larouche had set up shop on the curb in front of the Riverhead Post Office. I have seen them before while driving around Suffolk County. However, I was still surprised by their appearance in the town where I live.

Apparently, they have been traveling around the county and setting up displays in front of post offices across Suffolk County. While they may be engaging in free speech on public property, and don’t appear to be violating any laws, I personally believe they are promoting a form of hate speech that harms our community.

One large sign they display prominently specifically portrays President Obama with a Hitler mustache superimposed across his face. I found this to be particularly troubling in that it associates the President of the United States with a heinous figure who facilitated the Holocaust. I think it crosses over the line and goes beyond just bad taste.

I approached the two people running the protest and politely asked them to please take down the photo of the President with the Hitler mustache. I let them know that I was a resident of Riverhead — they were not — and that this specific sign violated my sense of community standards.They were very polite, but refused.

When I invoked the connection to the Holocaust they replied that “Obama was engaging in a Holocaust right now all around the world.” That’s an absurd statement insulting not only to victims of the Holocaust, but also the memory of that event.

Now many people in the community would say just ignore this type of fringe group. I disagree.

Who in the community would say just ignore them if the Klu Klux Klan or a Neo-Nazi group started demonstrating in front of the Riverhead Post Office? I say its important to shine a light on their views and activities.

Hatred and ignorance needs to be confronted wherever and whenever it raises its ugly head. We should not be fooled by those espousing hateful views just because they are ordinary looking citizens and present themselves politely and in a non-threatening manner.

We should always be vigilant in not allowing hatred to creep into the mainstream culture here in America.

Besides being personally offended, I feel pain for my Jewish and African American friends in Riverhead who have to be exposed to this on a routine trip to the post office. Unfortunately, community apathy sometimes allows ugly and hateful messages to go unchallenged.

What can be done? How about a counter protest everywhere these people choose to set up shop? If they choose to return to Riverhead next week, I feel compelled put together a counter demonstration with the theme being “Free Speech, Not Hate Speech.”

I sincerely hope that like-minded residents here in Riverhead will join me.

Jerry Bilinski, Riverhead

11/14/13 11:00am
11/14/2013 11:00 AM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO  |  There were mixed reactions from people on the decision to halt Saturday mail delivery.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead Post Office.

A box of weed shipped from California was intercepted at the Riverhead Post Office last week, postal service officials confirmed Wednesday.

The package was pulled out of the mail at the post office on West Main Street in the early afternoon last Wednesday after the parcel ”exhibited characteristics that lead us to believe that package was suspicious,” said Donna Harris, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the postal service’s law enforcement and security arm.

Ms. Harris said it was “pretty evident” the package contained illegal substances and a subsequent investigation revealed marijuana had been packed inside the parcel. She did not say how much drugs were discovered in the package.

A source in the postal service said the package had been mailed from California into New York. The parcel’s intended destination was not released by postal officials.

Ms. Harris said the incident is still under investigation, though no arrests have been made in the case.

Mailing marijuana through the mail is a crime and may be federally prosecuted depending on the amount shipped, Ms. Harris said.

“If they put anything in the mail stream that’s illegal and it’s discovered we will take every step we can to make sure we get it out of the mail stream and if necessary prosecute and bring to justice those who [broke the law],” she said.

psquire@timesreview.com

12/21/10 8:57pm
12/21/2010 8:57 PM

BARBARELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Bobby Goodale holds a bank envelope like the one he inadvertently mailed $900 in last week at the Post Office on West Main Street. The money was returned.

Just two weeks before Christmas, Bobby Goodale had an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment involving a large sum of cash.

And just as in that classic holiday film, there’s a happy ending.

In the film, the Uncle Billy character misplaces $8,000 in cash while chatting in a bank. Truth to tell, Old Man Potter, the bank president, finds it and keeps it.

In this case, Mr. Goodale, the chairman of the Board of Directors at Peconic Bay Medical Center, misplaced a bank envelope containing nine $100 bills at the Riverhead post office. And on Wednesday, a postal employee delivered the envelope, complete with all nine bills, to Mr. Goodale’s Flanders home.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Goodale said. “Now I owe something to the post office.”

After going to the bank to cash a $900 check, Mr. Goodale had headed to the post office to mail several hundred party invitations and 10 or so bill payments. He put the cash, still in an open envelope, and the bill payments on his front seat. When he reached the post office, he picked up two boxes holding the invitations and the other envelopes and, as he discovered later, the cash.

All of it went into the mail.

About an hour later he realized what had happened and went back to the post office, only to be told that all the mail had already been shipped up-island. A clerk took his name and number, but made no promises.

“It was in an open envelope with no name on it,” Mr. Goodale said. “It could have ended up anywhere or someone could have walked off with it. I thought I had lost the whole thing.”

But the next day the post office called to say they’d found the money, and he had it back in his hands the day after that.
“What a nice Christmas present,” Mr. Goodale said. “It is a wonderful life.”

tkelly@timesreview.com