Letters: Iron Pier handicap ramp needs to be repaired


It’s about respect

The Iron Pier handicap ramp to the beach is covered with sand up to the handrails and has been this way all season. After a number of calls to the recreation department and advising them of this condition, as well as handicap and disability laws, the deplorable conditions still remain the same. My brother, who is a disabled Vietnam veteran who visits Riverhead and loves our beaches, is unable to gain access to the beach due to these conditions on the handicap ramp, as well as the handicap residents who live in our town.

This needs to be corrected immediately and Riverhead Town must abide by handicap and disability laws to give our veterans and handicap residents access to our beaches.

Phillip Piegari


Pay the landfill debt

The Riverhead Town has just awarded a 20-year lease to a San Diego solar energy firm to erect solar panels on the former landfill site and to receive a minimum payment of $145,600 a year for 20 years.

Unfortunately the reclamation of the site started out with the Town Board voting on the separation of the garbage from the sand, and to sell the sand while having the garbage trucked away and burned. This was the idea of our most astute elected officials and which was completely contrary to all state and federal agencies and their suggestion of just covering the landfill.

So after all of the budgeted money was spent, along with an additional $10 million, it finally dawned on both the town supervisor and board that this was in fact an error of epic proportions, and which the taxpayers of the town must continue to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for both the extra costs as well as the yearly interest on the $10 million.

Therefore, as an idea to our current town supervisor and board, may I suggest that any and all money received for the lease of the landfill be used to assist in paying off the landfill debt as quickly as possible, instead of just putting the money into the general fund and wasting it on unnecessary expenditures.

Thomas W. Smith


Sad situation

It’s been almost two years since I signed up to volunteer at the Riverhead Animal Shelter, which insiders call “the pound.”

A wonderful senior pit named Champ who was filled with heartworm and destined for euthanasia was adopted by Riverhead citizen Vince Taldone. Vince gave Champ the only real home he ever had. Recently, that wonderful dog died. Sadly, the pound is the same and great dogs like Chester and Preston sit and wait. Why spend money when you can get away with running a pound with a skeleton staff and no one complains? It seems that just a temp and the police chief run the place.

Vince’s shelter beautification program is still in limbo. Bob, a professional photographer and Vince’s friend, never got a chance to film the dogs, put them on the Internet and get them adopted; that was Chief Hegermiller’s decision.

I was banned for revealing the murder of a great dog, Bruno, by the retired animal control officer who followed official orders. Almost two years ago I gave the News-Review the real story given to me by Councilman Jim Wooten.

The town supervisor no longer talks about privatizing the shelter to the North Fork Animal Welfare League.

Why help the dogs at the pound when most of the public don’t care? Supervisor Walter likes to save money, and dogs don’t vote. Trainer Gina Rizzo still volunteers her time, as do some other good people. You’d think Supervisor Walter would find a place for Ms. Rizzo? She cares.

I and others recently helped save the life of Henry, a dog who was going to be killed. He has a great life now at a place I know well — Silverstreak Sanctuary upstate — and is on his way to having his own home. A success story. And I haven’t been able to volunteer since Bruno’s killing. And so it goes. How terribly sad for the animals. This situation reflects badly on the good people of Riverhead.

Pat Lynch


Puppy store concerns

I am concerned about these puppy stores. How many animals come from the puppy mills?

There is not enough being done about this situation. My main concern is the store in Aquebogue, where there’s been an effort to shut it down. There are too many dogs there that I believe are not being taken care of.

If you’re an animal lover like myself we need more people to get involved.

Elizabeth Day


Her hard work

The organizing committee for Riverhead High School’s Class of 1962 reunion would like to thank Kathy Berezny for her help in locating the whereabouts of three 1962 graduates. No one knew where these people resided. When contact was made with these individuals they were thankful just to know we were concerned and wanted to have them with us for the Aug. 11 ceremonies at the Olde Vine Golf Club.

At the event, a scrumptious cake was brought out with the writing “SENIORS TO SENIORS, 1962-2012, Riverhead High School.”

Frank Stepnoski


Overwhelming help

In the August 16 issue of The Riverhead News-Review, Bob Liepa wrote a great column describing the recovery of my son, Joe Crosser, from an injury sustained during his senior year of high school baseball. Such an amazing recovery could never have happened without the many people who helped Joe get through a most difficult time.

The EMTs who arrived at the scene used their training, skill, expertise and humor to keep Joe calm and transport him to Peconic Bay Medical Center. Teammates, coaches, classmates, friends and parents provided support.

The PBMC staff was amazing. Vince Barry and the staff of Maximum Performance in Riverhead provided the physical therapy expertise to help Joe move from patient to participant. Joe was able to participate in a 120-mile Bike for Life Retreat thanks to the conditioning he received. Motivation to work hard to heal quickly so he could participate in that retreat was provided by fellow McGann-Mercy students and chaplain Father Jerry Cestare.

A happy ending to this story would never have occurred, however, without the skill and expertise of the surgeon, Dr. John Brennan.

Fifty days after bloodcurdling screams echoed over the Mercy baseball field, Joe walked to the front of the auditorium to receive his high school diploma. One hundred and three days after that injury and 120 miles later, Joe completed the Bike for Life journey, his leg intact with hardware.

It is said that people are put in our path for a reason. There is no doubt that these many people were clearly put in Joe’s path so that, as the headline read, “Crosser finds there is life after injury.”

Thank you just seems so inadequate.

Diane Crosser

St. James

Time for a change

I am sure most, if not all, of you have now read about the very serious ethical and legal questions surrounding Congressman Tim Bishop and his shady fundraising practices.

The fact that Newsday, other local newspapers and the leading non-partisan ethics group in Washington are all calling for an investigation into Congressman Bishop, suggesting he may have even broken the law, speaks volumes.

Congressman Bishop’s attempts to blame others for his own actions — going so far as to claim that the allegations are somehow an attack on his family — reek of desperation.

If this whole sordid tale teaches us anything, it’s that the career politicians who have made a mess of Washington simply cannot be the ones trusted to clean it up.

We need to change Congress. And we can start by changing our congressman.

My 10-point plan, which I encourage you all to read at www.Randy2012.com/jobsplan, outlines real solutions to the problems we face. My plan will foster a climate of job creation, boost small businesses, attract new jobs to Long Island and help to transform our local economy for the future.

As the father of two children under the age 6, my wife and I are deeply concerned about what awaits them in the future. On the campaign trail, one of the chief concerns I hear from parents and grandparents is the lack of jobs for their children and grandchildren here on Long Island. I couldn’t agree with them more.

With your support, I will work with common-sense people on both sides of the aisle in Congress to clean up the mess we have now and build a brighter future for Long Island and our country.

Randy Altschuler

Editor’s note: Mr. Altschuler is the GOP candidate in this year’s 1st Congressional District race.


Debating a
moving target?

Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, he’s also doubled down on his previous support of Paul Ryan’s budget as well as Ryan’s extreme social positions. Unfortunately, immediately upon joining the ticket, Ryan began out-Romneying Romney by flip-flopping on many of his long held beliefs.

For example, Ryan has attacked President Obama for “raiding Medicare” of over $700 million. The fact is that in the Ryan budget passed by the Republican House in 2011, Congressman Ryan included the exact same $700 million elimination of waste from Medicare

Advantage! When he originally proposed this, it was hailed by Republicans as making Medicare more efficient. Secondly, this weekend Senate candidate Todd Akin, congressman from Missouri, answered a question about why he opposes abortion even in the case of rape. His extreme language brought cries of outrage from Democrats and Republicans alike, including Mitt Romney, but previously there had been no daylight between Akin’s positions on abortion and Paul Ryan’s. In fact, Akin and Ryan co-sponsored a personhood bill that would have classified abortion as murder (declaring that a fertilized egg is a person) and effectively outlawing many common types of contraception. Since both Romney and Ryan have publicly supported personhood amendments, who can believe Romney’s faux outrage now that Akin’s (and in effect Ryan’s) views are being scrutinized in the national spotlight.

At a time when the country hungers for a serious discussion of the issues, how can we have a reasonable debate with two candidates like Ryan and Romney, whose former and current beliefs are moving targets? Presidential candidate Rick Santorum summed it up best during the Republican primary when he said to CBS News on March 19 that “Mitt Romney is someone who doesn’t have a core. He has been on both sides of almost every single issue over the last 10 years.”

Jerry Silverstein


Safety net shredder

Mitt Romney has selected Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, a radical choice.

Paul Ryan is by any measure a radical conservative. He is the author of the tea party budget plan, and that plan will cut taxes for the wealthy and shred all the social safety net that has been developed in the United States over the last 80 years.

He wants to change Medicare into a voucher program that has no provision for rising health care cost and may cost senior citizens an additional $6,000 a year.

Mr. Ryan’s budget makes drastic cuts in education funding, from Head Start to college loans and Pell grants. Hundreds of thousands would be denied funding.

Like Mr. Romney, he would kill the Affordable Health Care Act and offer nothing in its place. He would ban all choice for women when it comes to health care issues.

He believes climate change is a myth and his budget severely limits the EPA’s ability to address environmental issues. But he supports large tax cuts for the wealthy and does not explain how his budget choices will reduce the fiscal problems without major tax increases for the middle class.

When Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan talk about the federal budget they’re not talking about real numbers and calculations. It’s all words and no analysis. Nobody has sat down with a pencil and a calculator and run the numbers.

They’re making very large claims about how all of this will increase jobs and bring the economy back to life, but in reality they are proposing exactly the same policies put forward by George W. Bush, which caused the problem in the first place.

We’ve already had 12 years of the Bush tax cuts and where is the economy today?

Steve Curry


Profit over patients

During the Bush administration, whenever the Democrats criticized the president they were called unpatriotic, yet when Mitt Romney traveled to Europe he not only insulted our allies but also bashed the present U.S. administration. How come there were no calls about his lack of patriotism?

If the Romney/Ryan team wants to privatize Medicare, and their plan really affects those in nursing homes right now, who will pay for my mother in a nursing home I could not afford?

Talk about killing grandma, one of the Republican charges against Obamacare.

If you want to know why Romney hates Obamacare, read The New York Times August 15 front page article “A giant hospital chain is blazing a profit trail.”  Profit, not patient care, is the topic. This is exactly why we need the new programs for health care for everyone, not just the rich.

In the late 19th century, businessmen ran the government on almost every level. They claimed they were defending capitalism and freedom. What were they called? The Robber Barons.

Barbara Ripel, Ph.D.


Spending isn’t cut

Howard Meinke continues to wail about ”massive cuts” in federal spending supposedly promoted by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan that would lead to all kinds of horrors.

But as Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute pointed out in an article in The Wall Street Journal last week, the budget proposed by Mr. Ryan projects federal spending will increase at an annual rate of 3.3 percent over the next 10 years. That compares with the Obama administration’s projected increases of 4.3 percent a year over the same period.

The only “cut” would be in the rate of increase.

Mr. Mitchell also noted that federal spending now amounts to 24 percent of gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nations’s economy. That’s 32 percent higher than the rate in 2001, when Bill Clinton was president.

Jack Abele


Who’s serving whom?

The Obama administration has succeeded in its efforts to make us all dependent on big government.

Think about it: How many government employees and their spouses will vote against Obama in this coming election? Why would they, since they make on average $20,000 more than the comparable private sector employee.

Why do you suppose that the only significant new hiring has been by the federal government? More votes and dependency? Is Mr. Obama trying to buy more votes?

There are 107 million Americans receiving some kind of government welfare. No, that doesn’t include Medicare and Social Security.

Neither does it include benefits that the illegal immigrants are receiving. They’re soon to include educational benefits that you as a taxpayer may not have access to for your children.

Mr. Obama would lead you to believe that the wealthy are too wealthy. How absurd, since the top 20 percent earners paid 70 percent of all federal taxes collected and more than 50 percent of working Americans pay no federal income taxes at all.

So what’s the gripe?

A question we should ask is why go into debt to send my kids to college if their education will eventually enable the entitlement group to sit back and leech off their taxes?

Keep this in mind: The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government doesn’t first take from someone else.

Read the history of the failed regimes of the smooth-talking socialist dictators of the past and compare this to that of the Obama administration’s blueprint for government control over our lives.

Be aware that if the government controls health care, it then controls you.

God help America.

God bless America.

John Copertino