Letters to the editor: Gratitude for dog park refresh


Thank you!

I have been a resident of Riverhead for 12 years. I as well as many of the Riverhead community utilize the Duke Dog Park. A group of us have been requesting some upgrade to the park as it is very muddy and unkempt. After speaking to the Building and Grounds Department, our community park finally received the much needed attention. We now have a clean wood-chipped area for our dogs. Thank you so much.

Mary Hanlon


Thank you for writing this editorial

I wanted to commend you for your excellent opinion article in the latest News-Review (“Maybe the sky is falling — so now what?”). I think it outlined the dire problem we have here on the North Fork with affordable housing. You clearly quantified the housing unaffordability with the analysis of homes advertised for over a million dollars. You also effectively demonstrated the impact that has had in our schools, particularly at Mattituck High School.

My perception is that Southold gives lip service to wanting affordable housing but when proposals are submitted, some excuse is used to turn it down. A good example is the Cutchogue Woods proposal that was submitted a few years ago. I went to a hearing about the plan and was impressed with the quality of the presentation. It was turned down.

I am afraid the town has equivocated for too long and viable options are closing rapidly. As a person who will spent the rest of my life on the North Fork, I shudder to think what we will do to keep the services we want operational into the future.

Don McCallion


This debt forgiveness makes no sense

President Biden knows he needs votes so he cancels $1.2 billion in student loan debt en masse, or so he thinks. But these loans were made through congressional acts using taxpayer money up front with an expected repayment over time. The repayment is now not going to happen. He just wasted taxpayer money by violating a congressional law that established the student loan program. So much for “we are a country of laws.”

This forgiveness now transfers to the nation’s ever-increasing debt. The taxpayer be damned. Yes, including those hardworking individuals who paid off their debt, those who never took on the debt and those who have yet to start working, or better yet those who are just now taking out student loans.

Don’t get me wrong, there are extenuating circumstances where individual borrowers should be allowed to claim bankruptcy that includes student loan debt. However, to offer blanket forgiveness is just wrong! On top of all that, it has been recently reported a college graduate will make on average of more than a million dollars over their lifetime than someone who didn’t go to college. 

So, Mr. President, here’s the thing: the debt is not forgiven, it’s passed on to those who never took on the debt and are now saddled with it. Just so you can buy votes. Talk about a threat to “democracy!”

Bob Bittner


Our allies must pay their fair share

Putin is a ruthless autocrat with no regard for human life. He and his country must be held accountable for starting an unprovoked war. That Putin banned me and 50 other lawmakers last year from entering Russia is a badge of honor. I anticipate supporting a bipartisan military aid package, led by Congressman Don Bacon, that would help defeat Putin and Hamas while deterring conflict with China. This package, which doesn’t have any humanitarian aid, expects to also have a detailed accounting for all U.S. aid sent to Ukraine, a country with a long history of corruption, to ensure it is being appropriately utilized. We need to ensure any future aid is also properly used and that our European and NATO allies are contributing their fair share in aid to Ukraine.

Nick LaLota

Mr. LaLota is a Congressman from New York’s 1st Congressional district.


We must find a better way

Chris Francescani’s article in the News-Review (“Opioids fueling rise in area sex trafficking,” Jan. 25) highlights how women with opioid use disorder are exploited by sex traffickers, prompting the Riverside County Jail to establish a new unit to identify victims. While I hope for their success, what else can we do about this issue?

As a physician-in-training, I am familiar with the FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine (i.e., Suboxone), and naltrexone. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only 18% of those who could benefit from these receive them. Locally, Suffolk has few Suboxone clinics. Other barriers include prescriber restrictions, prior authorization requirements, transportation challenges and the criminalization of medication possession without a prescription. All of these undermine one’s pursuit of care.

Does it have to be this way? Things look different in Portugal, for instance, where drug treatment programs are free at the point of entry. Their police are also trained to prioritize counseling over arrests, fostering support rather than punishment and isolation. To preserve the livelihood of our neighbors suffering from opioid use disorder, we also should move beyond abstinence-only and reactive criminalizing approaches.

Patients with a stable and safe supply via FDA-approved medical therapy or through their relationship with a supervised consumption service (such as OnePoint NYC) face lower risks of engaging in crime, becoming ill and fatally overdosing. Patiently embracing harm reduction over punitive measures allows people who use drugs to safely use under observation without having to rely on dangerous and coercive sources of drug supply.

Sebastian Mendez


This debt will destroy democracy

I just read that the Biden Administration will automatically discharge $1.2 billion of student loan debt for 153,000 borrowers/voters, an average of $7,850 each. To grasp the significance of $1.2 billion of YOUR tax dollars, think of $1 as a second of time.  How long do you think 1.2 billion seconds would be in years? 38 years! Ben Franklin said it succinctly, but Alexander Fraser Tytler said it best:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

Does $33 TRILLION ring a bell? If a dollar were a second, that’s 1.5 MILLION YEARS! Where do YOU think we are headed?

John Kramer


EPCAL would be a better fit for charter school

Conflicting comments at the last Town Board meeting between supporters and opponents of Riverhead Charter School’s aspirations for a high school campus on Sound Avenue produced a solution that should satisfy most of the community. RCS could buy land at EPCAL, where there is plenty of space for academic buildings and athletic fields distant from Route 25.  The attractive campus of the Wellbridge addiction treatment and research center provides a good example of the positive integration of job-producing not-for-profits at EPCAL. 

A traffic light is already in place that will enable safe bus, parent and student driver access. EPCAL is also much closer than the proposed Sound Avenue site to the current RCS primary school and to the homes of most of the 50% non-Riverhead students who attend. Payment to the town of the $62,500 per acre allotted for the Sound Avenue location is substantially better than the $25,000 per acre offered by the Ghermezians.

There are two ostensible obstacles, zoning and the hostile Ghermezian suit against Riverhead. Current zoning actually permits educational uses at EPCAL but if there is a problem it could be easily solved by the Town Board. The suit means that the court must be asked to remove the Ghermezians’ notice of “pendency” affecting all 2,124 acres that make it difficult if not impossible for the town to sell, lease or otherwise encumber the property.

Hopefully RCS will file an amicus (friend of the court) brief and the judge will be more resistant to Ghermezian intimidation that interferes with construction of an educational institution.

John McAuliff

Mr. McAuliff is the coordinator for EPCAL Watch.