Letters to the editor

Coffin’s final nail
Riverside is the County Center, the traffic circle and home to about 3,000 people.  There are no major businesses, no summer homes, no nothing.  It is a place where people drive through to get somewhere else.
In reference to the Jan. 13 News-Review story, “Big hotel dreams are dashed in Riverside,” each and every civic group in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton supported the long-proposed Peconic River hotel known as “Rivercatwalk”  for the some 100 jobs, for the expanded tax base, and for the symbol of renewal.
A decade of delays has forced the owner to abandon her development dream  and sell the land to Suffolk County for preservation. Even though Riverside’s five miles of Peconic River front is more than 95 percent preserved — and off the tax rolls ­ — this last sliver of land was denied its best use for the community.
Why did Southampton Town let this happen? Why did Suffolk County kill the golden goose?
Why did the State of New York throw roadblocks? Why did the federal government walk away from the stimulus funds table? All four levels of government had a hand in hammering the coffin.
These co-conspirators remind us of Agatha Christie’s mystery “Murder on the Orient Express.”
In the film version of the story, it is revealed that “they all did it.” And they all got away with it.  But the final look of Detective Hercule Poirot as he studies the guilty faces is one of pathetic pity.  
The investigator knows, and the guilty know, and the audience knows! The Hollywood film presented a morality tale . But here, in reality, government lacks a moral compass.  There is no intelligence, no vision, no compassion, no soul.
In the end, the true crime is the murder of a dream .  This corner of the world will remain a place folks drive through to get somewhere else, and a place without hope —  a testament to government indifference.
Our only consolation is in the lesson we were thought as children:  In the afterlife there is a judgment day that will sort this all out.  For the guilty, that day will come.
Chris Sheldon

Just a bad dream?
Looking back over the past 15 years I see a downtown that is still mostly a ghost town, a movie theater that’s still closed, a landfill fiasco that is costing taxpayers tens of thousands in extra taxes each year. Then on top of it all it’s now back to square one for the Enterprise Park at Calverton, which the U.S. Navy handed to Riverhead on a silver platter. But instead of making this a tax- and job-producing enterprise, our duly elected town government has been running around in circles ever since, apparently not having the foggiest idea of what needs to get done to make it a viable operation.
Please, someone, anyone, tell me that it’s all just a bad dream and that I’ll wake up and see a bustling downtown with its own movie theater, an enterprise park that is creating many jobs, as well as contributing millions of dollars in tax revenue to help pay for the landfill-overrun costs due to town officials who knew better than the experts.
Thomas W. Smith

A call to listen
For Black History Month I would like to share an original poem I compiled.
(Swahili — means to “listen” with your spirit)
Kusikiliza … (listen)
Place your ear
So very clear and (listen) to the struggles that got us here.
As the distant drums pound
A sound so profound
Thundering miles around
telling the story of how we were illegitimately found.
History lies deep within our minds
Yet difficult for some to find
So let’s remind
Our young kind
Of the value of our history that so many left behind.
Kusikiliza … (listen)
To the subtle cries
From our ancestors up on high
As they chorus from the heavenly sky
Trying to understand it better by and by
Freedom or die
Amazing grace how sweet they sigh … (listen)
As our history sings
About the triumph of Dr. King
Freedom was his ring
Not some bling bling
Or this violence thing
That clings
To the material of our fabric like wings.
Kusikiliza … (listen)
And listen good
As we should
Instill the strengths of our history into our livelihoods …
so listen…
Carnal Hobson Jr.
Mr. Hobson is a Riverhead native.

Some ideas for downtown
As a lifelong resident of Riverhead, I would like to make some suggestions that I envision could provide a safer, more comfortable experience downtown. There are many existing assets that attract foot traffic that can be identified. Obviously, the Atlantis aquarium and new Hyatt Regency Hotel. Also Riverhead Free Library and the often overlooked Suffolk County Historical Society on West Main Street. Town Hall is a vital part of our infrastructure. The courts draw day visitors downtown. Nearby is Polish Town, which has a large, open air pavilion that is sorely underused.
We need to unite these components so that they will complement one another. The streets that connect these and other venues is where our “streetscape” efforts should be focused. We should be willing to initiate growth by providing better conditions for pedestrians both day and night.
Improvements should include reconstructing sidewalks and curbing on both sides of Osborn Avenue, from Pulaski Street south, so that the red brick and lampposts come as close as possible to the railroad track. This will create an inviting appearance for visitors to walk across and patronize a popular part of town hidden just out of view from the transportation hub. Next is West Main Street, which remains barren of streetscape right up to the distinguished eternal flame war memorial. Going over to Roanoke Avenue, the main boulevard north, a dark uneven block exists. Level the sidewalk from the building entrances to the curb and add the lampposts from 2nd Street on south. Many people use this avenue, especially after a big event, to walk to their cars when it’s dark. The streetscape stops again a block short of the aquarium on East Main Street. Further down, within sight of the new hotel, are the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and the entrance to Town Hall. Streetscape here would complete the link between the center of government with the upcoming downtown, creating an elegant corridor viewed by the traffic entering town and by hotel guests.
We should strive to produce an atmosphere that will inspire visitors to return. Riverhead needs some good nightlife. Build the infrastructure and the businesses and people will come. Then the downtown could indeed become the crown jewel of the East End.
Conrad Dabroski Jr.

Hold back the gas
Since I’ve been feeling pretty chipper the last couple of days (and I admit my mood probably has something to do with my son Ben’s honorable discharge after five years in the U.S. Marine Corps — which included achieving the rank of Sergeant and completing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan), I’ve been thinking how I could help lift everyone else’s spirits during what I hope is the last month of a dismal winter.
Realizing I’ve complained several times in the past about the vitriolic and sometimes idiotic content of certain letters that have been printed in this space, I now want to suggest a solution to, or at least a truce in, the constant bickering we’re all subjected to on a weekly basis: “Flatulence Free February!”
For the next few weeks, let’s see if all you naysayers can refrain from emitting any more written bilious attacks, no matter how unrelenting the pressure from within.
Imagine everyone else’s relief at not being exposed to the usual scolding negativity, and the relief of the letter writers when sometime next month they’re finally able to relieve all the pressure that’s been building up by again writing one of their trademark missives.
Why, the very thought is mind-boggling. With any luck at all this could easily turn out to be the methane gas release of the century!
Patrick “Beano” Lohn