Letters to the Editor: YMCA support, mange and politics


Support for the Peconic YMCA

The group that has been trying for 15 years has once again found what seems to be a great site in Aquebogue for a YMCA for our community. As seems to be the norm, no matter where a site is proposed in a town comprised of some 200 square miles, the naysayers and NIMBYists quickly step forward with their objections to the proposed site.

In general, the objections concerning having a YMCA stem from a general ignorance of what a YMCA really is. YMCAs are good neighbors and bring far more positives to the community than negatives.

The YMCA is a greatly needed amenity for our town. YMCAs are a benefit to a wide range of people, from young children to the elderly. They are welcomed with open arms by communities throughout our country and the world, the exception being Riverhead.

It is time that those who support the YMCA, that is the majority, let it be known. It would also be nice to see a greater level of support from our Town Board, which has been generally apathetic in working to bring a YMCA to our town.

Jeff Fulcoly


There’s no downside

Congratulations to the Peconic YMCA committee, working to finally bring a YMCA facility to the North Fork in a location that is convenient to residents of both towns.

Let’s hope that this time NIMBYISM doesn’t thwart the project as it did many years ago in Southold Town.

Each of my three adult children lives in a community with a thriving YMCA. All three facilities are exceptionally well-maintained and attractive additions to their residential neighborhoods. The educational opportunities are varied, with offerings for the youngest child to the oldest grandparent.

My grandchildren have benefited from their beginner swimming lessons as babies to classes in CPR and baby-sitting, physical conditioning and strength training, arts and crafts, chess, and drama, to name only a few, and from participating in service projects that benefit the entire community.

The Y provides a number of recreational programs, providing for the needs of everyone at any skill level. Each of the YMCAs collaborates with the local municipalities, libraries and school districts in a constructive way.

There is no downside to having a vibrant YMCA on the North Fork. I hope the residents of Riverhead and Southold see the proposed Peconic YMCA as a long overdue project that all will support.

Joyce Grattan


No NIMBY, please

The proposed YMCA to be built in Aquebogue is a needed addition to our community.

The closest YMCA is about 30 miles away and I know because I drive to it several times a week to swim. It was noted in last week’s paper that the proposed location is on a rural corridor with specific limitations on what may be built.

It seems to be that this argument is more of a “not in my backyard” argument than a real reason for not allowing a valuable educational and recreational resource in our community.

I live off Church Lane and am very familiar with Main Road. It is my understanding that there will be ample parking and traffic patterns will not be disrupted any more than those visiting wineries or farm outlets out east.

Let’s keep an open mind and do what is best for our community and its residents.

Ed Borella


Remember seniors

I am writing in support of the YMCA, with a few additions.

Since the majority of the population on the East End is age 50-plus, I would like to strongly recommend the addition of a hot tub/spa to the proposal. The healing benefits of soaking in warm/hot water are well known.

As aging progresses, it is essential for soothing injuries and maintaining movement.  Otherwise, it’s a very long ride to Gurney’s Inn from the North Fork.

I would also like to suggest the addition of a wellness center which includes, massage therapy, yoga and Pilates. Again, these forms of exercise are rehabilitative and would benefit all.

Essentially, an old fashioned YMCA will not be sufficient to meet the needs of our community.

It’s high time that North Fork residents have access to swimming year-round. Please design this facility so that it matches the rural East End architecture and also landscape it so that it seamlessly blends in.


Susan Ulrich


A big benefit to all

As a parent of two active children, I support the building of the “Y” in Aquebogue.

It will provide an all-year option for kids to have more to do in the area. Swimming at the indoor aquatic facility exposes them to one of the best forms of conditioning.

Having grown up with schools that provided indoor swimming all year round, I feel that it is something our community could benefit from.

With all of the other activities it will also provide many social and physical benefits to residents of all ages.

John Bradley


Not in our backyard

My husband and I moved to Colonial Drive in Aquebogue 11 years ago. We love sitting on our back porch listening to the birds and watching the wildlife (fox, groundhogs, turtles, etc.). Just yesterday we saw three young bucks in our backyard. Needless to say we were shocked and angry to hear of a YMCA being planned for the property behind us. Our tranquil setting will be replaced by a 40,000-square-foot building, a parking lot, an outdoor aquatic center and a camp — imagine the noise. Besides the noise this project will have impact on the environment and the traffic on Route 25.

As stated in the article in the News-Review on Feb. 9, the YMCA will be on a main thoroughfare, not a quiet residential neighborhood. Last time I checked our street is still a quiet residential neighborhood. Maybe the EPCAL property would be a better place to build a Y, or is the town still holding out for a grand scale project there? Yes, the residents of Colonial Drive are concerned.

Lynne Van Name


How misleading

I was shocked to read Ricky Muller’s letter (“Good things happen at shelter,” Feb.9). He should have mentioned to readers that he had been a kennel attendant, a good one, and is still employed by Riverhead Town. I’m sure his superiors were pleased with this misleading letter, not based on current facts. Deplorable conditions have been going on for well over a year under Mr. Muller’s former boss, who killed a dog named Bruno based upon reports that turned out to be untrue. The controversial ACO resigned.

Many dogs desperately needing rehabilitation sit in their cages 24/7. Some were adopted out with severe heartworm.

Riverhead dogs need help. It will be hard work because of the horrendous neglect they’ve endured but you have some good people there at the shelter who volunteer their time when they can. Dare to do the humane thing — the right thing — for the animals.

Pat Lynch


Quite generous

My name is Tracy Raynor and I am a friend of Denise Lucas, president of the Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter group. (rmtas.org.)

I’m sure you’ve heard of her and her quest to build a new animal shelter in Riverhead. I told Denise I would help her gather items for the raffles that she holds at each event. Now mind you, I hate asking anybody for anything, but I have to tell you I cannot believe the outpouring of generosity in this community.

I would just like to thank all the local businesses that gave me a donation. I know that times are hard, but I want everyone to know how lucky we are to live in a community that gives when they are asked.

We should be reminded that we should shop locally and support our local people.

Tracy Raynor


Highway department combats litter

On behalf of the members of the Town of Riverhead Anti-Litter Advisory Committee I want to thank the Riverhead Highway Department for its efforts to remove litter from the sides of the town’s streets, particularly the vast improvement in the appearance along Edwards Avenue in Calverton.

As someone said during the last monthly meeting of the Calverton Civic Association, Mr. Woodson is the only person whom she ever voted for who actually delivered what was promised during a political campaign. Mr. Woodson then garnered a well-deserved round of applause from the audience.

Of course the limited staffing of the highway department cannot address all of the town’s litter problems. It will unfortunately remain a recurring problem no matter what the penalty for littering might be, which currently is a maximum fine of $1,000. The Anti-Litter Advisory Committee has scheduled this year’s spring cleanup for Saturday, April 21, between 9 a.m. and noon. As in past years, we will be meeting volunteers at the Riverhead Town Hall on East Main Street, where we will loan trash bags, vests and “litter grabbers” to those interested in devoting a couple hours of their time to improving the appearance of our community. This could be a way for you to celebrate this year’s Earth Day.

George Bartunek

chairman, Riverhead anti-litter
advisory committee


Can’t we end mange?

Regarding the article on mange in last week’s edition, my dog was one of the cases reported so I speak with experience.

The AP photo of the two beautiful red foxes does not depict mangy animals, so heads up to all the locals saying “aww.” The one on my property is big like a dog, no longer has hair on its tail — or most of its body, for that matter — with big beady eyes and a lot of lumps, resembling a nasty, mean-looking cartoon character, unlike that photo.

The fox gave it to my dog and my dog gave it to me, as we were first misdiagnosed as being allergic to Carpet Fresh and told to give the dog a bath. Needless to say, that’s when the transference of mange occurred from my dog to me and my family.

After a few more days of uncontrollable, 24/7 itching, we returned to the vet and were given the correct protocol. Although the article states that people get “mild itching,” take it from me, it’s out-of-control itching.

We are now four weeks into it and the fox is still lurking around. We don’t want this back! I called all the animal control authorities, who basically said there’s nothing they can do. But then a wildlife rescue group said if we trap it they’ll come get it. We now have a trap, the humane kind, but so far we’ve managed to trap a cat. The fox is now feeding from a beautiful doe that someone hit and ran at the entrance to my driveway last Friday night.

It may not sound like it but believe me, I am a huge animal lover. However, there has to be a better procedure in place for authorities to catch a fox, treat it and release it on some desert island or something.

We just need to stop the spread of mange. Isn’t there a better way?

Jeanne Genovese


It’s unconstitutional

Our Constitution is probably the second or third most radical and important document in the history of mankind, the other two being the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta.

The Constitution was created in secrecy to form a new government from the failing Articles of Confederation for our new and struggling nation. The fact that it has been amended only 18 times is astounding. The first 10, or the Bill of Rights, all at once and 17 others all added individually.

What should concern us now is the attack on the First Amendment by the Obama administration. This attack is mandating or controlling religious institutions to conform to the commands of the government in violation to religious freedom contained in our First Amendment. The mandate and arbitrary compromise presented by the administration oversteps the bounds of executive authority in relation to this amendment.

The late Justice Black, a former member of the Supreme Court and a staunch defender of the First Amendment, took an absolutist approach, firmly believing “Congress shall make no law …” and stated, “The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the government commands.”

It then becomes a slippery slope once we as a nation fail to protect any right contained within the Constitution. Many argue this controversy is about the right to contraception, but I do not see it that way at all. I see it as an affront to all our rights contained within the Constitution. Plain and simple, I believe the full intent of the First Amendment is as Justice Black said.

William Douglas, another former member of the Supreme Court, puts the intent of the Constitution this way: “The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.” I can only echo that sentiment.

The government has no right to command a religious institution to violate its own principles, just as a religious institution has no right to command the government to follow theirs. This is the basis of constitutional law. Please do not be led astray to believe otherwise.

If we fail to “preserve, defend, and protect” the Constitution, we no longer have a United States of America. It’s ironic that a president who took an oath to do just that can not see the Pandora’s box his administration is opening.

Robert Bittner


A truly bogus issue

A double standard is bad enough. To then use it to stir up fear and rage is shameful.

Let’s be clear. The Catholic Church and other religions have always been exempted from paying for contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans. Let’s also be clear. President Obama has proposed no change here.

Religious-run hospitals, universities and charities are another matter. For years, many prominent Catholic universities and hospitals have provided this coverage on their own initiative with little or no fanfare. Here are four good reasons for this:
These institutions provide services to all Americans. They accept federal funds for their existence. These institutions hire people of all religions and no religion. Lastly, the use of contraceptives is the best way to reduce abortions.

Consider that this same rule was signed into law by Gov. Romney. Even more telling, this same rule was signed into law by Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas. The reason this rule has been adopted by 22 states and these two Republican governors is that it respects and protects both the First Amendment and the moral beliefs and rights of American women to protect their own health and organize their lives.

The reason this rule has had broad support is because it was the perfect compromise that respected American women and our religious institutions.

So what has changed? Compromise that allows us all to get along has become an anathema to Republican leadership. Even ideas that have had Republican support in the past are now regarded with hatred if proposed by President Obama.

And now that the economy is showing signs of consistent improvement, Republican congressional leadership and presidential hopefuls can’t resist concocting an issue to stir up fear and rage where there is just a sensible attempt to accommodate the rights of all Americans and our religious institutions.

Let’s drop the double standard and get along with each other. It can be done.

Mort Cogen


An old problem

I was bullied 65 years ago and my daughter was bullied 30 years ago.

It’s not a modern problem to be blamed on teachers, churches, or other groups.

Richard Brewster