Letters to the Editor


Prayers in Town Hall could help

I would like to reply to Mary Gardner’s Letter to the Editor (“Keep prayer out of Town Hall, May 13). In “A Historical Argument Against the Separation of Church and State,” found at RightRemedy.org, it reads the phrase “separation of church and state” is nowhere found in the U.S. Constitution. (However, it is found in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto!). The phrase was coined in the U.S. from a letter the principle framer of the Constitution and third president Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association assuring them that he would keep the government out of the church (not the Church out of the government).

Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, wrote in 1917: “In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down-grade.”

The public school system of today is a far cry from the ones I attended many years ago. We had respect for our teachers for one thing — and that’s only one noticeable change in the schools today. Prayer was taken out of our public school system some years ago, hmm, coincidence?

I don’t believe Supervisor Sean Walter wishes to infringe his beliefs on anyone in Riverhead. I do believe that he recognizes that human beings have weaknesses and faults, no matter who they are and that maybe, just maybe, praying for guidance and direction with a humble heart to God will bring about a refreshing wind of change in our town. So, as for prayer in Town Hall, I say let’s go for it. Let’s see what happens.

Vilma Herzog


Plan for Great Rock is misguided

The Great Rock Golf Course, its alleged financial difficulties and development proposals have generated a precedent-setting solution for a private enterprise from a public servant, that being Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter. The North Fork Environmental Council has been asked by a number of residents of the Town of Riverhead to monitor this affair because it has the potential to reduce open space and affect land use.

Riverhead is to be congratulated for its long and studious creation and implementation of its Master Plan as well its land preservation efforts. To that end, Councilman Jim Wooten, when asked about Mr. Walter’s idea of additional housing at Great Rock Golf Course, is to be thanked for his reportedly saying “you might as well throw out the Master Plan.”

Great Rock’s application to build additional housing on its property was denied by the Riverhead Town planning department as of September 2009, as previously reported in the News-Review. While not wishing any ill fortune on the golf course, if in fact Great Rock does fail financially and cannot pay its property taxes, Riverhead, according to town documents, will already inherit the property free of charge and “may use or sell” the property as it desires. Clearly the position that the golf course finds itself in is unfortunate. It does not, however, merit the creation of an excuse to keep the golf course open. Although Mr. Walter should be praised for his desire to prevent a local business from failing, preliminary research by the North Fork Environmental Council indicates that his idea concerning Great Rock Golf Course violates Riverhead’s own Master Plan and the adopted site plan for Great Rock. Furthermore, the residents of Riverhead would not benefit in any additional way from this idea becoming reality.

Ken Rubino

president, North Fork Environmental Council


Great Rock’s problems not ours

I would like to respond to the article entitled “Golf course plan floated,” published last week, as well as the letter to the editor by Ms. O’Brien. I was the fourth person to move my family into this new neighborhood surrounding Great Rock Golf Course 11 years ago. This was my first house and I did my research before purchasing so I would not be surprised down the road!

Back then I was advised that if the golf course business failed, the land reverted back to the town for open space. I really think it is grossly unfair to residents like me, who bought here because it was not overdeveloped, to even consider changing the zoning and handing to make way for development.

So the owners of Great Rock Golf Course are whining again about their profits, or lack thereof. Well, cue the violins! Why should I have to suffer the consequences of their poor business choices? If I, too, find my property taxes too much of a burden, do I get special consideration to put a business on my property that I’m not zoned for? If you can’t get golfers in to pay a fee to play at your golf course, do you really think you can get them to rent a villa? And about those signatures on Great Rock’s petition: Many of them are now being retracted as people realize how the facts were twisted and the scare tactics were baseless. That’s how you get people to sign. I realize Town Board members may feel a certain affinity toward the owners of Great Rock and the Blackwells Restaurant at the course. After all, Blackwells hosted an election fundraiser, the Town Board’s victory party and contributed to at least three of their campaigns.

If this plan to build rental housing (and cater loud parties) was in your backyard, would you still promote this? And I looked at the documents: If Great Rock doesn’t pay its taxes the town can use or sell the property. So why does Sean Walter think he has some bright idea about the golf course handing over the deed to the town when it’s already in there? If my neighbor is the squeaky wheel, then what will I be called because I’m also planning to continue to object loudly to Great Rock’s out-of-control expansion plans! The saddest part is how Great Rock has pitted neighbor against neighbor. Shameful.

Jeanne Marie Krauss


Addicts need help

The recent arrest of the group allegedly responsible for the East End heroin ring is good news, but unless the unfortunate users, most of whom are young, receive treatment, another group of pushers will fill the gap. It’s simply supply and demand.

As a community, we must address the problem of addiction and offer the users treatment if we really want to make a significant impact on this problem. Please print information on where treatment is available; help spread the word for those who desperately need it before other suppliers of heroin move in to fill the void. Coming together as a community now can really make a difference.

Ellen Stevenson


A Great Rock hearing seems logical

I have followed with interest the various articles in your newspaper dealing with potential developments at the Great Rock Golf Club in Wading River.

My personal experience with this facility has been as a customer of both the golf club and the restaurant at the course, Blackwell’s, over the past five years. During this time, I have witnessed a steady stream of improvements to both the golf course and the restaurant. The owners appear sincerely motivated in an effort to enhance the product and services they offer the public and also to be good neighbors to the residents in the immediate area.

The request by Mr. Elliot, one of the Great Rock owners, for an informational public hearing seems like a reasonable request. Wouldn’t this type of hearing provide a convenient venue for all interested parties to present the relevant facts concerning the issues under consideration? I would have to question the motives of those who would oppose this idea. Could it be they feel they have the upper hand with town officials at the moment, and fear a public hearing might detract from their efforts?

An open dialogue benefits the public at large by making them better informed as to the true facts surrounding this situation. Even so-called neighborhood “civic activists” should not be opposed to this type of public discourse.

John LaForce


Cruise Night would be welcome sight

Hats off to Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter for his suggestion to relocate the Wading River Cruise Night to downtown Riverhead. As we all know, our Main Street could use some enlivening. The introduction of a collection of handsome classic cars on our beautiful but under-used Riverfront would be a welcome weekly visitor. Although I am sure it would be sad for the folks in Wading River to lose their Cruise Night, maybe they can instead gain a Riverfront Cruise Night only a few miles away, where they could see the cars, walk the riverfront or even check out the latest exhibit at the East End arts Council. It’s all here on Main Street, and hosting Cruise Night is a great way to get the word out on all there is to do downtown. I must admit, as a dedicated Democrat I did not vote for Mr. Walter last November, but this idea has certainly gotten my attention. Looking forward to what happens next!

Mary Beth Motz


All this government, for what?

Nearly two months ago, we got hit with eight inches of rain and many homes were flooded. Do you ever see anyone cleaning the sewer drains? Some areas of the region consist of four layers of government (village, town, county and state) and none of them seem to be functioning to take care of the flooding problems. I have called Riverhead Town twice as the storm drain down my street has not been cleaned in at least two years. They told me they were “working on it.”

Our roads are full of potholes and need to be fixed. Our highways are dirty and we need to be cutting out the dead trees and planting new ones and flowers. Why not be a little creative and take the nonviolent prisoners from the jail and have them pick up the litter and plant trees and flowers? I am sure the prisoners would like to get out in the fresh air rather than being cooped up in the jail all the time.

For each day they work, knock off a day of their sentence. They would be contributing something and saving the taxpayer some money. They do it in Florida. Why not here? Instead of the county executive running for another office, he ought to concentrate on cleaning up Suffolk County.

Robert Svoboda


Walter got it wrong on Great Rock

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter is misstating Richard Amper’s position on rezoning. I know this because I attended the work session where he made his presentation.

Mr. Amper clearly stated that the coalition he represented opposes the granting of additional density beyond what a developer is entitled to.

He went on to say that increased density should only be considered when the public finds it beneficial, not merely to accommodate a developer’s wishes.

Town ownership of the Great Rock Golf Course is not a public benefit that would justify the housing project Great Rock proposes.

Sid Bail

Editor’s note: Mr. Bail is the vice president of the Wading River Civic Association.


Car show is a good thing

What a shame it is to find something negative about a growing tradition like the Thursday night classic car show at the Wading River Shopping Plaza.

The May 7 article (“Getting together for the love of cars”) written by Jennifer Gustavson of the North Shore Sun was a nice way of kicking off the car show season. How could one anticipate that it would cause a negative reaction? How far is too far for health club clients to walk to a spa to get exercise?

The exhibitors put a lot of time and money into their craft and are only too happy to display their work and discuss it with viewers at any level.

I am deeply disappointed in property owner Charles Serota for getting the Riverhead Police involved. There was no crime committed and now it’s left up to the police department to resolve this issue.

The classic car show season is so brief, and they only hold it on Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. The exhibitors patronize the local stores and attract customers. To avoid unfavorable attention, their area of the parking lot is kept in good condition and boisterous activity is strongly discouraged.

Kudos to Grant Parpan of The North Shore Sun and Scott McMillan of Bella Gusto for their support.

Jack Guthy


Leave car show alone

I am retired military and it is a shame I spent time protecting the ideals we so value, to have the right to assemble, trashed by people too lazy to walk to a health club on a Thursday night.

All of the talk about liability and whatnot is bull. There are at least 10 car clubs, five fire departments and the Moose and Lions clubs represented at Wading River Cruise Night each week.

I belong to two car clubs, a fire department and a retired military organization.

If the owners of that shopping center do not want the revenue we and all of the people we talk to bring, then maybe we should go to Kohl’s shopping center in Rocky Point, where I am sure our money would be more appreciated.

It is three to four hours on a Thursday night when the weather is nice.

The cars we bring are in better shape with more innovations than the cars everyone else goes shopping in. It is a growing hobby that will not be put down for a handful of patrons.

Ken Thuilot