Letters to the Editor: YMCA talk takes a dive

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The entrance to the 'Country Barn Store' on the Main Road, just west of the land where the YMCA wants to build.


Y talk takes a dive

Troy Gustavson smears Aquebogue residents as racists; Fritz Trinklein accuses local politicians of flip-flopping and is surprised that anyone would think $775 is a lot of money. None of this sounds very “Christian” but it sure sounds like a bunch of rich white men trying to bully their way to building the country club of their dreams.

Alan Scott


Tim Bishop’s strength

The Republicans have got to be kidding. Not content with attacking Tim Bishop unfairly on a number of fronts, they are now hitting him in an area of perhaps his greatest strength, the environment.

They claim he has not been an advocate for improving the environment. The truth is that he has been in the forefront of environmental protection. One example is the federal money he secured to dredge Mattituck Inlet in 2004.

He also got money to protect a 58-acre property on Long Island Sound, reduce road runoff in the Peconic estuary watershed, for a pedestrian connection project in Riverhead and on and on. We’re talking about millions of dollars.

Mr. Bishop has won environmental awards from numerous groups, including the North Fork Environmental Council, the Maritime Port Council, The Nature Conservancy (twice) and the Bay Guardian. Most recently, in February the New York Water Environment Association gave him the Nelson Rockefeller Award for making substantial and meaningful contributions to advancing water quality management.

If Tim Bishop hasn’t been an advocate for improving the environment, who has?

Steve Weinstein


Their voices soared

Sometimes it takes a kid to enrich our lives by reminding us to take time for things that inspire and lift us up. Greenport School’s Music In Our Schools concert on March 13 was one of those things.

What I liked about this concert best were the solos. Sixth-grader Nellie Spackman was the first to bravely emerge into the spotlight, setting the tone for the rest of the performers. I know Nellie, but I never knew she could sing — and she can sing. Her voice was as melodically crisp as the birdsongs I’ve been waking up to. What a treat.

Seventh-grader Adrianna Chandler, whose only vocal training, according to her dad, involves singing in the church choir, surprised me by belting out a solo in a rich, gospelly voice that seemed bigger than slight Adrianna. Wow. Kinda makes me want to attend her church.

Seventh-grader Sydney Mulvaney sang once at my house years ago. Her voice was lovely then but my eyes widened and my jaw dropped as I listened to her flawless tone last week. Junior Nina Papamichael is pure athlete when she smashes her serves over the volleyball net, but as a concert soloist she was pure music.

It was sheer joy watching multi-talented eighth-grader Jewel-Joy Stevens alternate between the use of drumsticks and fingertips on the trap set during the junior high band’s jaunty performance.

The senior high chorus used their hands and feet to create sounds of the rainforest before performing the dreamy song “Africa” by Paich and Porcaro. And the senior high band nailed its performance of the exciting “Ascentium” by E. Huckeby.

This group has come a long way since kindergarten, and a new crop is coming up behind them. Fifty-eight children from the elementary school’s two bands performed together, filling the entire stage and making a huge statement in our small town.

Pam Goodland and Deanna Beyer, who direct the band and chorus, are clearly doing something right. Thank you.

Lisa DeLuca


What price profits?

Apple Incorporated, Steve Job’s fantastically successful company, is now valued highest of the stock exchange-listed companies. Apple is making stupendous profits and the stock is going ever upwards. The company is the icon of the two ideals of capitalism, profit and efficiency, and has become a CEO’s dream.

Apple products are made in Chinese factories with attached dormitories where workers put in long hours and pocket about $2 per hour. Last year Apple’s profit amounted to $400,000 per employee. The company has 20,000 overseas employees and 70,000 additional overseas subcontractor workers who build and assemble various components of the Apple product line.

How can it be that Apple is now saying that it would be unable to find the worker or engineering skills in America to have the manufacturing success they are now having in China? Wasn’t the United States the undisputed technological and scientific and entrepreneurial leader of the world just a few years ago?

Let’s look at capitalism’s ideals of efficiency and profit. Setting up production in a foreign country where $2 labor is competing for jobs is a profit and efficiency gold mine for CEOs and stockholders. But it causes severe economic inequality here at home, as well as the loss of our world leadership position.

What do we do now? We admit to our growing income disparity and set up better regulating tax rules. We seriously reinforce education, establish reality-based minimum wage rules so that all necessary jobs pay a living wage and establish logical tax legislation so that outsourcing bears a financial cost.

This is extremely important to the future United States. This is not class warfare, it’s the opposite. It’s reestablishing humanitarian connections among the members of our society so that the country is united once more in our search for excellence.

And finally, we must add a third concept to the objectives of our CEOs and of capitalism in general. To the selfish goals of profit and efficiency we must add the CEO’s unequivocal support of our United States.

Howard Meinke


Healthcare security

I cannot communicate the tremendous sense of relief I felt when President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act into law two-years ago this month.

The act, which extends coverage for young adults under their parent’s insurance policy until age 26, guaranteed that my son wouldn’t lose insurance coverage once he graduates from college next year.

This is especially significant for my family because my son has epilepsy, a lifelong disease that is controlled with medication, the cost of which is in excess of $750 per month. Without medication, my son experiences debilitating seizures.

Prior to the enactment of the law, even if my son could find an insurance policy that would cover him, the cost would most likely have been prohibitive because of his pre-existing condition. He was ineligible for programs like Medicaid or Healthy New York because our income was considered too high, even though we struggled financially as most middle-class families do in this day and age. This caused many a sleepless night in our household.

Through a second component of the law, which will go into effect as of January 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

These two components will not only help our family tremendously by guaranteeing my son will have seamless health insurance coverage, but the law also has provisions that will protect all consumers by keeping premiums affordable, ensuring that 80 to 85 percent of all premium dollars will go to providing or improving health care.

That will prevent insurance companies from dropping coverage for people diagnosed with a major illness and will make it easier for consumers to appeal decisions by their insurance companies when they deny coverage.

This law is making significant improvements in the lives of real people. My family is an example.

More information about the law can be found at www.healthcare.gov.

Gwynn Schroeder


A failing grade

Imagine it is test day and the question is “What has Temik taught us?” Your response — the solution to pollution is dilution — brings the teacher to tears and earns you an F.

For an acceptable response, ask anyone reasonably fluent in earth science.

Mike Domino

Editor’s note: Mr. Domino is a Southold Town Trustee, but the opinions expressed are his own.


Not the answer

No, no, no. The correct adage is, “The solution to pollution is not dilution.” This past week’s editorial on the lessons learned from Temik did not go far enough.

Temik has a half-life up to one year. That means that for every year in the ground, only half of the Temik is rendered inert. What we’re seeing 30 years later is that because of the amount of Temik used across such a wide area, a large amount still remains active and potent in the environment even with years of dilution.

And over all of these years, we still cannot fully understand how much Temik remains in the soil, how much will continue to leach into our drinking water supplies, how much may be present in the sediments of our creeks and bays and where it is moving.

Temik is acutely toxic to birds, earthworms, honeybees and fish, all important parts of the ecosystem and the local economy. It’s harmful to people who eat affected fowl, fish or animals, or who drink or even swim in tainted water. Children are especially susceptible.

Dilution only serves to spread a soluble toxin, like Temik, across a greater area, posing even greater danger to the environment and the people of the North Fork.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Long Island’s Temik history it’s that we should be thankful that our elected officials, the Suffolk County health department and farmers acted early and quickly in stopping the use of this particular chemical.

It took the U.S. EPA an additional 30 years to appreciate the danger and finally put into effect a 2014 total ban on its production and use. Because of these early actions, we were spared an even greater environmental disaster that over 20 other states are now experiencing.

The North Fork Environmental Council stands by the sound practice that addressing environmental issues begins with verifying the facts and then seeking clear scientific research so that solutions and the public policy that emerges are rooted in sound science.

Dilution is not a solution.

Bill Toedter

president, NFEC


About the water taxi

I am in full support of the water taxi between Greenport and Sag Harbor and believe it would benefit merchants on both Forks.

I know I would use it as an escape means for an afternoon in Sag Harbor and the employees of Brewer Yacht Yard who service boats in the waterfront marina might also use this service. That being said I have some concerns:

Regarding the terminal location, we must all remember the volunteers who helped design and plan the operation of Mitchell Park Marina were unanimous in the desire to maintain this marina in a transient boat status forever.

These volunteers understood the parking situation on Front Street and realized transient boaters do not leave automobiles parked on the street all day, as do permanent slip rental customers. This is even more relevant today with the village’s continued inability to manage parking.

Allowing a commercial ferry company to rent seasonally is counter to both aspects of the planning discussed by the original volunteers. It would allow seasonal rental to a vessel that will require numerous parking spaces both for employees and passengers.

It also allows a private business to operate within the park, which would open up the park for applications for other businesses there. If one is allowed, how do you exclude others?

The village owns and operates another docking location which could be modified, at the expense of the tenant, to accommodate a ferry. This location also has established long-term parking a short distance from the business district. It already handles train, bus and ferry traffic.

The village should consider the hard work of those volunteers who in planning Mitchell Park truly cared about the well-being of the residents, merchants and visitors of Greenport.

Mike Acebo


It’s simply not safe

On behalf of all the boaters who use Mattituck Inlet, most especially the commercial fishing industry, but also other marine businesses and recreational boaters, we want to thank the Town Board for taking up the dredging problem.

It’s not as safe as it should be, as the Army Corps of Engineers knows well. They have a mandate to keep the Inlet navigable and shouldn’t wait for an accident to happen.

Cindy Kaminsky


The inlet is crucial

Mattituck Inlet is a vital part of the commercial existence of the hamlet of Mattituck.  Without the inlet our businesses suffer. When our businesses suffer, crucial revenue and jobs are lost by this community.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ own research has shown that the sand clogging the inlet is caused by the jetties and they admit that fact.

It was presented to everyone at the public meeting in 2010. The Army Corps prepared a dredging schedule, but it was not followed and nothing has happened to remediate the problem. The lack of completion of this much-needed project has been a detriment to the businesses and the people in the hamlet of Mattituck and surrounding areas.

Waterways in Patchogue, Shinnecock and Center Moriches areas have been dredged, but Mattituck was not. We understand that there have been multiple requests from several groups within the community, asking that Congressman Bishop respond with action to the situation, but those requests have been denied.

There is a responsibility to this community, its homeowners and businesses for Mr. Bishop to publicly insist that the Army Corps meet its obligation to the people of Mattituck without further delay.

Donielle Cardinale

president, Mattituck Chamber of Commerce, for the board of directors


Inlet funds diverted

In reply to Congressman Bishop’s claim that dredge funding was not diverted to a South Fork project, leaving the project at Mattituck Inlet unfinished in ’04, the facts are as follows:

Fact 1: $700,000 was originally secured for Mattituck Inlet dredge of 20,000 cubic yards.

Fact 2: Congressman Bishop requested $350,000 taken from the Mattituck Inlet allotment and used for dredging Patchogue River before the Mattituck Inlet job was to begin.

Fact 3: $350,000 went for dredging Mattituck Inlet with only 13,785 cubic yards removed.

The job was half done with half the money.

The ’04 Mattituck Inlet dredging was supposed to be a “Band-Aid” approach while the congressman was to move forward with plans to remediate the problem causing the shoaling and clogging of the inlet. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the job was to be completed in ’05, but then pushed back to ’06, then ’09, then ’10, ’11 and now ’12 and waiting. If Mattituck Inlet has been Congressman Bishop’s focus since he took office, the project has been a nonstarter under his 10 years in Congress.

North Fork reasonable people get it. The congressman has two offices located on the South Shore, Patchogue and Southampton, for easy accessibility for those residents while he shut down the one in Mattituck.

Is he really proud to represent the North Fork or is he polarizing his constituents with uneven representation for privileged groups?

Doris McGreevy

Mattituck Park District trustee


Y is for everyone

While I agree with Troy Gustavson’s argument that objections to the proposed YMCA are pure nimbyism (“Why are they preying on the YMCA?” March 15), I strongly assert that his opinion about the underlying cause lands off the mark.

In so many words, he feels the real reason behind the objections is the fear the Y will be used primarily as a “youth center” of sorts and not be used by the “gray” members of our community. If this is indeed the source of the objections, those who hold to that point of view are absolutely wrong.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived in many places throughout the U.S. and in every location was able to enjoy the benefits of either a local Y or a municipal fitness center. Did children and teens take advantage of these facilities? Of course they did, but except for the hours between 3 and 7 p.m. during the week, the overwhelming majority of people using them were adults 21 and over, with many of those being seniors, especially during the day.

You’d be amazed at how many people take advantage of being able to exercise before work or during their lunch break. As for retirees, many plan their daily routine around a trip to the Y.

Let’s face it, exercising and feeling better sure beat sitting around watching CNBC being told how much money you’ve lost.

Seriously, the kids and adults in a community of our size need a facility like the Y. The fact that real progress in this direction has been offered and then stymied so many times in the past is as much a disappointment as it is an embarrassment. Worse still is the reality that our community’s need for this kind of facility is not going to disappear.

Patrick Lohn


‘Totally positive’

Let’s postpone discussion of the placement for a YMCA until the rest of us get back home.

I’ve been reading about the issues raised since the site was named and now I read about a meeting scheduled while we were still in Florida. I know that past policy has been to schedule important meetings during the winter when the snowbirds are away, but we do pay our taxes after all.

We have been searching for the “right“ property for a Y for over a decade and you know and I know the “right” property will never be found. This time it seemed like a “good” site was located, but the old “not in my backyard” contingency surfaced with a myriad of objections.

Here’s what I would have said at that meeting: It’s time to put our objections aside and work for the Y, which can truly address the many needs of our community. The Y will not bring a raucous element, nor create a traffic jam. Instead it will provide a safe environment for all ages where we can meet and get healthy together.

This year my 82-year-old husband and I joined the Y in Port Charlotte, Fla. While he used a number of machines, under close supervision, I was instructed in water exercises for arthritis, one of many water programs available.

I took a yoga class and got massages as well. We met new friends and expanded our social group.

All of this took place in a building located much like the site under consideration. When we tried to find the facility the first time, we could not see it easily for it was beautifully landscaped, set way back from the road and surrounded by natural habitat. We certainly could do the same.

The building was a modern structure with cathedral ceilings and a swimming pool surrounded by glass sliders and a beam ceiling similar to my own home. My first comment from the outside was that it resembled a beautiful large house that would fit nicely on the North Fork.

An additional benefit was that there were many young people both employed at and utilizing the facilities.

If you were opposed I hope you’ll reconsider after reading this letter. We had a totally positive experience that could easily be replicated in my backyard.

Gail Berkes Starkie


A critical resource

Thank you for the wonderful obituary you published on the recent passing of my mother, Anna Lou Dehavenon.

I would like to expand on the role San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation played in making a very difficult year such a good one for my mother and our family.

From the treatment she received on admission to hospice care in the last days of her life, the quality, professionalism, dedication and genuine affection with which the San Simeon staff treated her provided the security and stability that allowed her to truly enjoy the end of her life, and for her friends and family to enjoy her for one more very valuable year.

My family and I have lived in Greenport for over 30 years, but it was not until we needed San Simeon that we came to appreciate what a critical resource it is for the community.

On behalf of my family, I thank the people at San Simeon for what they did for my mother, and for us.

David Kapell


They misinterpreted

While away on a short trip I understand there was a statement by Mayor David Nyce accepting my resignation from the Village Planning Board saying I was “leaving town.”

My letter to the mayor and Village Board was apparently misinterpreted. My stated reason for resigning was to have “the ability to travel more often and visit our children and grandchildren on the West Coast, as a new grandson will be arriving this July.”

But an interesting result happened, besides panicking a good friend and neighbor who thought we’d make these kind of plans without letting her know, frequent local customers of my business, Winter Harbor Gallery & Frame Works, rushed in to buy things they had wanted before I closed and moved.

The flurry of income after a quiet winter was a nice surprise, but I’m not closing. Yes, the gallery is for sale, for the same reasons, but I’ve just made arrangements to renew the lease.

Please shop locally and keep the places you like alive and well.

Amy Martin