Letters to the Editor


Let’s be responsible for our beaches

Have you been to the Sound lately? If you haven’t, you are in for a shock! The last few years our beaches, sadly, have been abused by people who leave fishing hooks, fishing line, boxes from bait, cigarette butts, bottles and more bottles, dirty diapers, bags of garbage and on and on strewn all over the beach. It is starting to look more like the town dump instead of the town beach!

Where is the Town of Riverhead in all of this? The all-terrain vehicles run up and down the cliffs all year, and have ruined all the plant life on an entire area of the cliffs. If something is not done soon, our beaches will be ruined. Honestly, I would be embarrassed to bring someone from out of town to Iron Pier. Frankly, if I can’t enjoy the beach, why would I live on the East End of Long Island?

Think about it. If the beaches continue to be dumped on, no one will want to buy in this area. I can’t imagine a realtor driving down to Iron Pier to show families thinking of moving to the area our lovely Town Beach. By the way, Reeves Beach is not much better. There is so much truck traffic that you are constantly making sure the kids won’t get run over! Take a walk down to the wrecks, it is also filled with garbage.

If everyone who saw a plastic bottle or piece of paper picked it up we would have a much cleaner beach. If you see something on the beach please pick it up. These are our town beaches and we need to treat them with the respect that we have for our own property. Maybe if each one of us does our part, the beaches will be pristine again. On the other hand, I don’t know what you do about the traffic on Reeves Beach. Maybe a traffic light? Or how about telling people to go back to walking on the beach. What a concept.

Rosemary Malone



Undertaxed, overprivileged

The people putting up No Trespassing signs on beaches should show a little more magnanimity — even gratitude. After all, these are the same people who are getting away with murder on their property taxes.

Riverhead Town has not had a townwide reassessment in more than 40 years. In the interim, the market value of beachfront properties has accelerated at a far faster clip than the value of other homes. As a result, when it comes to determining property taxes, beachfront homes are grossly undervalued while other homes are grossly overvalued. That means that less privileged residents are being hit with taxes that are higher than would be the case if owners of waterfront properties were made to pay a fairer share.

Two weeks ago, I was encouraged to read that Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter had decided to take a stand against the signs. But last week, alas, it was reported that he backed down. No profile in courage there.

John Stefans



Lacks understanding

In his column in the June 24 issue, the former publisher and current corporate officer of Times/Review Newspapers Corp. shows an immense lack of understanding of and regard for how good neighbors, whether personal, geographical or political, maintain their friendships.

His whole column about Riverhead being or not being “North Forkey” lacks the substance for even good cocktail party chatter. It is insulting to all residents of not only Riverhead, but also the whole North Fork. The column only stirs controversy and unnecessary divisiveness. Couldn’t he find a subject more substantive and interesting?

Nor do the opinions of most of his surveyed unmanned “opinion makers” add any meaningful information. I am a North Fork native who for nearly three quarters of a century has enjoyed the benefits that our neighboring Riverhead Town and its hamlets have provided. I will not be concerned about who is a true North Forker and who is not. I treasure our shared heritage.

The responses of Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and my good friends Nancy Gilbert and Richard Wines in the July 1 issue speak for me, too. As Supervisor Walter concludes, “Leave your passport at home because there are no barriers among friends.”

Jim Grathwohl



End double-dipping

All you hear from Albany is that the state is bankrupt and we may not be able to pay state employees since there are no funds. We have been hearing this for months and the only proposals so far have been to tax certain beverages and impose further sales taxes on clothing purchases.

But the state never talks about taxing the hundreds of thousands of municipal and agency employees receiving pensions totaling hundreds of millions of dollars who are not paying a penny in state income taxes.

To add insult to injury, many are double-dipping, that is, receiving pensions from one job and taking another position with yet another governmental agency and in due time qualifying for another tax free pension. What happened to those candidates who said they support fair tax reform? When elected they soon forget.

You will never see it if you don’t get in touch with your local representatives, since they will continue to put in the fix to benefit their own pockets. The only change you will see is the change that is left in your pocket after they all take their cut. It is interesting to note that our neighboring states do not permit 100% tax free pensions.

Joseph Finora



Impressed with our congressman

I was invited this past weekend to a meet and greet session with Congressman Tim Bishop. Throughout the session, I was very impressed by the thoughtfulness and quality of his comments, and by his responses to all those attending. He answered honestly, explaining his positions on various issues in a commonsense and knowledgeable way. He was also very down to earth, more than willing to share credit and happy to be in a position to help others. The success of getting FEMA aid for the Horton Avenue flood victims had just been announced, but if someone attending hadn’t thanked him for his role in keeping up the pressure to get that help, I don’t think Mr. Bishop would have spoken about it. He is a rare politician who knows he’s in Washington for us, not himself, and who wants to do his best to serve us. We are extremely fortunate to have Tim Bishop as our Representative in Congress, and he definitely will get my vote this November.

Linda Bartunek



Thanks to our community

The men and women of the Riverhead Fire Department would like to thank all the members of our community who made the parade and drill, held on Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11, very successful. The event was the celebration of the 138th Parade and Drill of the Suffolk County Firefighters Association and marked the 75th anniversary of the Ironmen, the Riverhead Fire Department’s drill team.

Special thanks to the commissioners of the Riverhead Fire District, the Riverhead Town Police, and the Riverhead and Flanders ambulance corps for their active participation in all the events. The volunteers from Eastport, Wading River and Westhampton supported us by standing by at our headquarters as we celebrated the drill and parade. Fire police from many Suffolk County departments provided traffic control along our parade route, particularly on Route 58.

Our elected officials, Riverhead’s supervisor and Town Council members, the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and others supported us as we planned and carried out the parade of about 50 departments from Suffolk County. We also would like to acknowledge those businesses along our parade route that may have been inconvenienced by our celebration. We are there for you and appreciate your support of us.

We received excellent media coverage leading up to and during the parade and drill. We would like to thank those in the community who joined us at the drill and along the parade route. Your support of your friends and neighbors means a great deal to our volunteers.

Our drill started on Saturday morning but was delayed by rain before noon and some events were postponed until Sunday. Many of the drill teams participated on both days to complete the events planned.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all the volunteers who worked so hard days before these events. Their dedicated efforts on Saturday and Sunday show that we have a fire department that well represents the best in the Riverhead community.

Nicholas Luparella

chief, Riverhead Fire Department



Thanks for your help

On behalf of our clients and homeless guests, I would like to thank the great people of the North and South Forks for supporting our Maureen’s Haven Yard Sale last weekend.

Many volunteers from our network of thirty houses of worship and private citizens dropped off gently-used items. That enabled us to offer thousands of quality items and furniture to masses of passersby who stopped to browse the rows and rows of tables and displays on the grounds of Our Lady of Good Counsel RC Church on Main Road in Mattituck.

This fundraiser will help fund our flagship programs operating under the Maureen’s Haven banner: the Maureen’s Haven homeless outreach, the HopeLine and the Kay Kidde Achievement Center. These programs operate to help the homeless and those on the verge of becoming homeless on the North and South Forks of Long Island.

Special thanks to Father Joe and the congregation of Our Lady of Good Counsel, my assistant director Karen L. Fellows, super volunteers Daphne Shuttleworth, John Bendick, Joann Piche, George Scott, Thom Pfeifer, Joe Southard, Connie and Vin McSherry, Tom Andrejack and Father Tom, Bill Maddock, Sue Eagan, Marie Dickerson, Sally McGuire and many more that limited space does not allow to mention.

With regard to another fundraiser, I would like to thank the good folks at Cross Sound Ferry for naming Maureen’s Haven one of the beneficiaries of their annual fireworks cruise. It was great cruising with all of you.

Denis Yuen

program irector, Maureen’s Haven