Letters to the editor

Town Board should work with Woodson
I congratulate Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson for asking that some things be changed in town in order for the highway department to be more efficient and save money as well as wear and tear on equipment and our roads. But I don’t see Riverhead’s Town Board giving him much support. Instead, board members just keep coming up with reasons why his ideas can’t work.
When I hear announcements concerning Southampton Town’s rules and regulations, they are very specific about when, how and how often town workers will pick up leaves and other yard waste, and about requests for cars being off the roads when they need to plow. Why can’t Riverhead residents be notified the same way to get things cleaned up more efficiently?
Supervisor Sean Walter’s comment about his not wanting “a police state” is a bit over the top, yet he is the one firing people because of budget problems. Riverhead residents may not like some things being changed, but when they see things getting done more efficiently, and know money is being saved, I can’t believe they would not be willing to help out. The town could at least try some of Mr. Woodson’s ideas and see if they would work.
Helga Guthy

Looking ahead to Blues Fest
Over the past few weeks, various media outlets have inquired about the Council for the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall’s plans for the anticipated 13th edition of the Riverhead Blues and Music Festival. As most are aware, the festival is a fundraiser for the charitable nonprofit corporation — staffed by volunteers — which preserves and maintains downtown Riverhead’s oldest historic theater.
The 2010 festival still benefited the Vail-Leavitt, and I don’t regret having made a good-faith effort to engage in discussions with civic and business leaders. While the factors leading to the ultimate outcome have been well documented, I am surprised that a few posing as “leaders” could act as they did against a local charitable and cultural organization. (Welcome to downtown Riverhead … kindly pardon our appearance during revitalization.)
It’s logical that our board would consider all viable alternatives during planning — including a potential change of venue. While the traditional location features the Music Hall on site, the festival as a commodity is what benefits the organization. In light of our town’s financial hardships, a move from the downtown riverfront may potentially save thousands of dollars in town personnel costs. I ensure you that our board will strive to act in the best interests of both our community and the Vail’s mission to it as we continue.
The Blues and Music Festival became legal property of the Vail-Leavitt through our own vision, innovations and efforts since salvaging it from ruin years ago. Its success and survival keeps the Music Hall running throughout the year. The Council wants to work with sincere and cooperative partners for our community’s best benefit. Therefore, I would like to publicly invite a member of the Riverhead Town Board as well as representatives from the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce to meet with members of our board as soon as practical to discuss plans for this year’s festival. Best wishes to all for a happy and productive 2011!
Bob Barta
president, Council for the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Inc.

Wish we had a hotel
The new hotel on East Main Street in Riverhead is moving along even though there is not much parking there and even though the project will cause congestion on Main Street.
Many years ago there was an application to build a hotel complex on the other side of the river, in Southampton Town, with a bridge walkway to Main Street and Atlantis. There would have been plenty of parking on the other side of the Peconic as there is a lot of empty land located there.
The residents in Southampton Town could have certainly used the additional taxes generated by this hotel in Riverside. This never came to be, and the answer is buried somewhere in red tape. If my memory is correct, the problems included cesspool sites, wetlands, parking and traffic among other things. No one was sure of the real reason, but it was turned down more than once.
Now a large hotel is being built right across the way in Riverhead.
Same river, or is the Riverhead site not protected by the EPA and the Board of Health?
Interesting, does anyone know the answer, or is it just one more rejection for improvement to Riverside and the other Southampton hamlets located in this area?  The only thing we seem to receive is a higher tax bill each year.
Doris Schneider

Tea Party group has indeed ‘fallen flat’
As a former Tea Party member, I found your comments in the Dec. 23 Year in Review spread about Riverhead being “Tea Party central” very accurate. I would add that the leadership has had a negative effect in some elections by pushing for an extremely weak gubernatorial candidate, for instance, and demonizing a very strong candidate in CD-1. The movement hasn’t gained momentum on Long Island despite some hardworking and dedicated members because the leadership has provided a narrow platform to which most Long Islanders cannot relate. The members would better serve their community and themselves by joining their local political party and making positive contributions from within the party.
Maureen McCormack

Touched by an angel
I want to share a story about something that was either a Christmas miracle or an angelic visit.
My daughter and her husband had driven from Savannah for a Christmas visit. The day after Christmas we women decided to go shopping in Riverhead. I went to pay at a register and discovered my wallet missing, with my whole life in it, including bank and credit cards, driver’s license, $450 cash, name, address and, of course, my entire identity.
We both stood there horrified at the prospect of what could happen.
A retracing through the store proved fruitless. A security person was summoned, who took down all the information. He then advised us to file a police report, which we did. The officer told us to cancel all cards and go to the DMV to apply for a duplicate license.
There was nothing to do but go home and cancel the credit cards as soon as possible.
On Tuesday we got my new bank card. Next, with coats on and ready to head to the DMV, we heard a knock on the door.
There stood a young Hispanic man who asked if I was Jewell Gonzalez. I nodded yes and he said (paraphrased), “I have your wallet. I found it in Target parking lot. I waited 10 minutes to see if anyone came for it, but no one did, and I couldn’t find your phone number. I knew you would be worried, but I couldn’t get here until today because of the snow. Everything is there.”
And everything was there! I tried twice to give him a reward, but he refused it. So I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and told him he was an angel, and then he left. I didn’t get his name but did find out that he came from Colombia.
It is important for us all to realize that there are still many good, honest people out there, even in these often despairing, tough times. And yes, some of them are immigrants.
I can’t say thank you enough to this wonderful young man, and I wish him many blessings in this New Year.
Jewell Gonzalez

Food for thought
Some thoughts and questions for the New Year.
Whoever started this thing called “political correctness” is incorrect.
In order to vote, you must be a citizen of the U.S. and prove that you can read, write and speak English. Then why are the signs posted at our local polling places in a foreign language?
If Obama really wants to protect us from terrorist attacks, then why doesn’t he completely secure our borders?
Shouldn’t Obama stop his political goal of acquiring future Hispanic votes and start fully protecting us?
Obama can enhance our national security by bringing our kids home from this unwinnable Afghan war and posting them along our borders.
President Eisenhower stated, ”we must guard against the acquisition of unwanted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.” We haven’t listened.
Why aren’t our feminists protesting the mistreatment of women under Sharia law? Come on, Hillary, speak up.
When will English be established as our official national language?
I never heard of anyone enlisting in the armed forces of this country in order to protect a socialist government.
Why hasn’t the leftist press and news media fully reported the “entitlement riots” in the near bankrupt countries of Greece, Portugal and England?
Obama and his Marxist cohorts should start concentrating on economic growth instead of class warfare.
The easiest way for a government to exercise complete control over its citizens is to create economic chaos.
When economic chaos occurs, who do the people turn to?
Think about Germany in the early thirties.
John Copertino

Boundless thanks
On Christmas Day I was in Peconic Bay Medical Center’s emergency room because one of my artificial knees popped out. It was my second time there in December after the same knee dislocated as I simply took off a shoe.
But apart from having to face the prospect of more knee surgery, I witnessed something that deserves recording and praise.
Fifteen police, ambulance and fire personnel responded to our 911 call when they could have been with their families for Christmas. All were solicitous and helpful in keeping me as pain-free as possible while getting me into the ambulance and to PBMC. To each one I offer my heart-felt thank you.  
What I do know is that most of the 15 were volunteers who respond to emergencies in the Mattituck area and we are blessed to have such community-minded people. Their selfless sense of duty to help others embodies values that we liken to the Christmas spirit, but it is a spirit that they demonstrate all year long.
The same applies to the hospital’s staff, who were as comfortingly efficient as could be imagined. So were the doctors who repositioned my knee.
It ultimately took three of them half an hour, but to doctors Alban Bailey, Lincoln Cox and Brian McMahon, my praise for your care and concern during that difficult manipulation is offered along with boundless gratitude for your perseverance.
To all who helped me, I thank you and wish you the best for 2011.
James David Porteous