Letters to the Editor

08/11/2011 6:39 AM |


From Michael’s mom, with love

I would just like to take this time to express my heartfelt love and thank you to my hometown Riverhead and Long Island. The support by praying and fundraising to help us has been unbelievable. My wonderful son, Michael Hubbard, is still at Stony Brook Hospital since that tragic day, May 28. I sit here day after day, thinking and saying there are so many people to thank. We plan on having a big homecoming parade and party ­— but until then I feel the need to send my love.

Michael is still recovering from the burns and now we face a brain injury. What tomorrow brings us we do not know, but during the 13 minutes my son passed away his brain suffered without air. So our next hospital will be a brain therapy hospital. A lot of prayers are still needed and, for anyone wishing to send a card to Michael, our address is P.O. Box 2162, Aquebogue, NY 11931. Someday he will be reading a lot. We also have a caringbridge.org web page that gives you updates on Michael; his code is michaelhubbard16. On closing, thank you to the News-Review for all your support and help. Without all of you I would not get through this terrible time in our lives.

Nancy Reyer


In support of ‘Michael’s Law’

On Aug. 16, the Suffolk County Legislature will be voting on a bill to stop the sale of gel candles in Suffolk County. Legislator Edward Romaine has put forth this bill, which is called “Michael’s Law.”

The ironic thing about this great law is that Aug. 16 is also Michael Hubbard’s birthday.

My nephew remains at Stony Brook University Medical Center recovering from third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body. Michael suffered brain damage from his cardiac arrest. Michael is not in a coma; his brain is not awake.

He will need to be transferred to another facility to help the brain, but not until his burns have healed. My sister, Nancy Reyer, remains vigilant at his bedside. So I urge our Legislature to please pass this bill.

Please make sure this product stays off the shelves so no one else gets injured.

Fran Reyer Johnson


A town inspired

As chairman of the Michael Hubbard Calverton Links fundraiser, I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone who made this fundraiser such a success. To all the business establishments that unselfishly donated raffle prizes and donations, their effort made this happen. Space prohibits me from naming everyone personally but you all were mentioned in our thank-you board prominently displayed at our fundraiser.

Michael has reached so many hearts, receiving personal donations, from the New York Yankees to a retired World War II veteran who is also a burn victim. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen, from schoolchildren to our seniors, who all worked together. Our widespread community support shows that we live in a loving and caring town that came together for a young man and his family.

Trisha Burton


Yes, downtown needs a nightlife

The Our Views editorial last week entitled “One crucial component to a downtown resurgence” hit the mark. A downtown needs nightlife, or at least an evening life to survive. With Borders book store closing on Route 58, now is the time to seek out another book store willing to open on Main Street. But that’s just the beginning, we could use a few coffee houses, clubs and concert halls with live entertainment and open mic nights. (The owners of the old East Enders Coffee House should get a business equivalent of the Purple Heart medal for holding out as long as they did.)

As soon as the Suffolk Theater opens with it’s marquee aglow once again, the gap will be bridged between the Hyatt Hotel and the restaurants closer to Roanoke Avenue. New entrepreneurs will be drawn to Main Street and we can then count on competing for tourists visiting the Hamptons. (Though approving site plans for banks and pharmacies in areas they don’t belong doesn’t help.)

Paramount to this, above anything else, is the ability to maintain a well-lit and safe environment downtown that stays active after midnight. Have businesses install lighted awnings that help light the sidewalk up like the Suffolk Community College has done. Shoppers at Tanger Mall have always felt safe after dark. Why not downtown?

Conrad Dabrowski Jr.


Mr. Carey saved us

Those of us who live on the North Fork owe a great debt to former Governor Hugh Carey, who died on Sunday.

Without his active intervention we would all today be neighbors of two 1,150-megawatt Fukishima-type nuclear plants in the hills behind the Hallockville Museum Farm.

In 1974, the Long Island Lighting Company announced plans for two large nuclear power plants on the 500 acres it had recently acquired from Levon Corporation, which had attempted to disguise a huge sand mine operation on the property as an industrial park and harbor. Local opposition, led by the Farm Bureau and other civic groups, began to form almost immediately, although the Riverhead Town Board remained adamantly in favor because of the potential taxes and jobs.

In July 1977, opponents got their most powerful supporter when Governor Carey announced his opposition. He cited the problems and dangers of nuclear waste as his main reasons. However, he was undoubtedly listening to the strength of local opposition.

His stance may also have been strengthened by the fact that his summer house on Shelter Island (where he died) was directly downwind of potential nuclear fallout from the proposed plant.

After several years of raucous hearings, in January 1979 the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission finally gave LILCO approval for the first of the two proposed nuclear plants on the site. This was not a surprise, since up to that date the NRC had approved all applications from other utilities.

However, New York had a parallel process for the approval of nuclear power plants and four out of the five members of state’s Nuclear Siting Board were key members of the Carey administration. In January, 1980, the state board denied the application for both of LILCO’s proposed plants, putting a formal end to the company’s quest to build nuclear facilities on the North Fork.

Richard Wines


We’re not done yet on puppy mills

As your newspaper has reported, I had been working to draft legislation to ban the retail sale in Suffolk County of puppies obtained from substandard commercial breeding facilities known as “puppy mills.” Unfortunately, our legislative counsel ultimately concluded that such a law was preempted by Article 35-D of New York State General Business Law, which prohibits local municipalities from enacting any legislation regulating pet dealers. Because of this state preemption, I had no choice but to withdraw my original bill.

However, I am pleased to advise I will now be moving forward with an alternate proposal that is not preempted by state law. This new resolution will create the nation’s first rating system for pet stores that sell puppies. It will be modeled after rating systems already widely in place for restaurants.

In addition to providing consumers with the information they need to patronize pet stores that provide the best care for puppies on their premises, the rating system will also incentivize stores to obtain puppies from responsible breeders which provide the most humane care for dogs at their facilities. The ultimate goal is to use the power of market forces to reduce the demand for puppies sourced from “puppy mills.”

Over the coming weeks, we will be drawing up a detailed list of criteria that will be used to rate both pet stores and breeding facilities, which will form the basis of Suffolk County’s new “Puppy and Dog Protection Rating System.” I invite public input into this process and look forward to receiving recommendations from concerned individuals regarding the specific criteria that should be included in the rating system. Suggestions may be emailed to my attention at [email protected]

Legislator Jon Cooper


School board care about the taxpayer?

I’ve been rendered comatose after reading in the News-Review that two Riverhead school board members got on their white steeds and rode to the rescue of district taxpayers when they asked the IDA to reject Hampton Jitney’s request for a tax break. (“Schools ask IDA to reject bus company’s request for tax break,” Aug. 4.) Where were school board members when our so-called representatives in Riverhead granted a 10-year tax break to the Atlantis Marine World aquarium? Where were these board members when another decade of tax breaks were granted to the new Hyatt hotel next door to the aquarium?

Will these same board members be there when the town grants tax breaks to future businesses that open along Main Street? Will these same board members be there when the next school budget and school capital improvement plan is put up for vote, requesting no further taxes for the homeowners and taxpayers of the school district?

Unfortunately we’ll see a cow jump over the moon before we ever see that ever occur!

Thomas W. Smith


Just in time for tough fiscal times

Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale is the Democratic nominee for supervisor again this year. His leadership and strength as a fiscal leader will be a welcome relief.

The bond-rating agency Moody’s upgraded the town’s credit rating during his tenure and, among other things, said the town had demonstrated steady growth in its tax base, maintained a healthy reserve fund (which is important to maintain steady, low and predictable tax rates) and a much lower cost for a big capital project — capping the town landfill — than had been expected.

With Riverhead now facing a state-mandated 2 percent cap on property tax increases, it’s clear that taxpayers will need proven leadership to deal with the challenges that emerge as a result. Mr. Cardinale’s candidacy is welcome news this year for every resident of Riverhead.

Vasso Patrikis

Editor’s note: Ms. Patrikis is a Riverhead Town Democratic Committee member.


Fix the real problem

Remember a year or so ago when the discussion about the recession was centered on what was seen as the main problem, that’s the fact that consumers were not consuming?

As soon as confidence could be restored, the argument went, the purchasing public would get back to the malls and the economy would pick up; and voilà, back to business as usual.

Now the argument has changed to reduce the debt and cut national spending and reduce taxes so that business insecurity is assuaged and hiring can begin.

Let’s look at this a bit more carefully. Over the past number of years while CEOs and financial gurus and our wealthiest citizens have made mountains of money, the working class has received minimal wage increases while watching their jobs get sent overseas to the ghettos of the world where wages are the lowest.

Is business going to hire? Not with a public out there with no purchasing power. And they won’t hire here anyway, not when labor is less costly in India and China.

Can we consume our way back to prosperity? Not without wages to buy things with. Is income inequality a major problem? Of course it is.

Does today’s Washington argument make any sense while we ignore the ever-rising income inequality and the lack of purchasing power? Of course not.

Can we redirect Washington thinking and work on the real problem? Not unless the citizens make a lot of noise and beat on our senators and congress people. It’s us against money, and that’s not easy.

Howard Meinke


A great festival

“Open your heart, let the sun shine in,” was a line from a song performed by Corky Laing & The Memory Thieves at last weekend’s NOFO Rock & Folk Festival held at Peconic Bay Winery. It captures perfectly the atmosphere of the festival and the generosity of the organizers, Jim Silver, Josh Horton and Yvonne Lieblein.

They are to be congratulated for a festival that reminds us exactly why the North Fork is a great place to call home. We have people caring for people and everyone caring for the well-being of our children.

Discovering a child’s potential begins with the arts, and the East End Arts Council is honored to have been the beneficiary of the event. Our students had a rare opportunity to perform in a major festival with music greats, and were warmly received by the audience and musicians alike.

Thanks to Josh Horton, who introduced East End Arts Council to master musician Corky Laing, and lit the fire for a very special Masters of Music Fellowship program, partnering professional musicians with high school musicians.

Our sincere thanks to Peconic Bay Winery owners Paul and Ursula Lowerre for believing in the importance of the arts in a child’s life and opening their doors and hearts to us.

Pat Snyder and Steve Watson

East End Arts Council


Bipartisan culpability

In recent months we have witnessed a government beyond dysfunctional.

The message it sent to the rest of the world by its inability to resolve the debt crisis with an effective, sensible long-term solution has reverberated globally and the United States received its first credit downgrade by Standard and Poor’s. The finger-pointing by both parties during the negotiating was vehement, with each party blaming the other for not being able to come to a bipartisan compromise.

The only thing bipartisan about the U.S. government these days is that each party is equally to blame for our nation’s current downward spiral. One of the biggest flaws in our political system is the lack of accountability by our elected officials. Each candidate enters office with a list of promises that he or she claims to deliver successfully. The only downside to actually not delivering on these promises is the possibility of not being re-elected. In the meantime, he or she will receive full pay for misguiding his or her supporters and getting nothing done.

Even worse than not meeting the expectations of those who have elected a candidate into office is an official being part of a collective group who all blatantly fail together. Perfect examples are those congressmen who have contributed to the mismanagement of government money and have brought us to the debt crisis that we have witnessed as of late. Some of these same congressmen actually suggest taking more money from the American public as a good solution to the government’s irresponsible mismanagement of money. Where is the accountability?

When the banks failed, the president publicly crucified them and alienated the banks’ employees and CEOs.

“Receiving bonuses while taking government TARP money is unconscionable” or “they should give their bonuses back” was all the talk on Capitol Hill during the bank crisis. It’s time our government practiced what it preached.

Members of Congress should be compensated based on how successfully they all collectively run our country and balance our finances. Bipartisanship would take on a new meaning. It would be about the two parties coming together to get the right thing done so they can actually get paid a salary.

It’s time we held our politicians accountable for their performance. Taking taxpayer money to pay themselves while they contribute to the overall deterioration of our country’s well-being is not just unconscionable, it’s criminal.

David Muntner


For what cause?

John Kerry once asked a Congressional committee “What do you say to the family of the last soldier killed in a war?” (In this case Vietnam).

On Saturday 30 Americans were killed when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. Can anybody tell me what they died for?

The commanding general called them heroes and no doubt they were honesty doing their duty. But what brought them to this place and for what cause did they die there?

Steve Curry