Letters to the Editor: Thank you, Lions


Thank you, Lions

Last Thursday, my daughter Maren was selected to participate in the Strawberry Festival’s first [fully] accessible event. Held an hour before opening to the public, the event hosted about 30 North Fork children with a variety of special needs and their families. Participants were welcomed to ride the rides and play games in a quieter setting, without lines and with the help of occupational therapists and other volunteers to access the activities. It was magical — we were truly welcomed to just enjoy the afternoon. Maren rode the Ferris wheel for the first time, followed by her first roller coaster ride. We spent time with her classmates (and their families) outside of school. She threw a dart (with lots of help) and won a prize. We had a blast, all without the worry of so much that normally comes with trying to navigate her limitations at an event like the Strawberry Festival.

I want to thank the Lions Club, the West family, The Catered Fork, the occupational therapists and, most of all, Erin Van Gelder for their generosity of time and effort to not only make this event happen, but have it be so full of fun. I also wanted to thank the carnival ride operators who were kind and helpful. Having a child with severe needs is hard, but it comes with this amazing upside of meeting the volunteers, teachers and therapist that give so much of themselves regularly. I am so humbled and thankful.

Lena DeSantis


Do your homework

I was hoping to copy [former TRMG sports editor] Bob Liepa on this so he could be included in this message. (Bob knows me and is a great reporter and a better human being.)

Your June 13 article about the retiring SWR AD, who was not there when I coached the SWR boys lacrosse team from 1995 to 2013, talks about myself being fired because I was “too controversial.” [That] is 100% incorrect! I was not rehired (not fired) because I refused to bring a BOE member’s son up from the JV to the Varsity. If I did not bring up to the young man (a sophomore) I would not be board approved for the 2014 season.

So I don’t know why I was mentioned in an article about an AD who was not there when I was coaching at SWR and your reporter did not research and get the facts straight about something that happened 11 years ago.

There are enough good things going on in our community, so please don’t revisit the past without researching it first.

Tom Rotanz


Offended by logo

I saw the caricature logo of the Village Idiot Restaurant [at Indian Island Golf Course]. It is inappropriate and condescending to developmentally challenged persons. Just as the Cleveland Indians baseball team’s old logo and the Washington Redskins logo were inappropriate, so is the Village Idiot’s. What is the mission statement of the restaurant’s name? I am curious to hear other people’s opinion on this.

Warren McKnight


Thank you, Steve

I’d like to offer my thanks and best wishes to Steve Wick on his departure from the paper. Steve has chronicled our community’s history and put a spotlight on how it has changed over the years, both for good and for bad.

As our community continues to evolve, Steve’s brand of journalism is a prime example of why local reporting is so important. It is critical that the paper act as the eyes and ears of the community so an informed citizenry can become involved. Without it, things will move forward in the dark and the community will miss the chance to influence how our towns grow.

Steve’s departure leaves a big hole in The News-Review. It is my hope that the next generation of reporters will take up the baton and run with it. As our towns are making critical decisions about our future, we need local journalism to bring the same professionalism, historical knowledge and compassion that Steve modeled.

Jeff Pundyk


Western Suffolk votes matter

This primary, please join me in voting for Nancy Goroff. Goroff is the stronger candidate in November, and we need our best shot at turning the House blue as a hedge against a possible flip of the Senate and Presidency red. We lost running Perry Gershon, who, like Goroff’s opponent, John Avlon, was a rich guy from NYC with a vacation home in the Hamptons (Sag Harbor in Avlon’s case). Neither has a natural base in Brookhaven, Huntington or Islip towns, where our district’s votes are, and neither had campaign experience. We lost with Bridget Fleming, an East End legislator truly of the district, who had won multiple elections. She had no western base. And, yes, we lost with Goroff in 2020.

2024 is not 2020. First, Lee Zeldin is not on the ticket. Second, we are not in COVID lockdown; Goroff is fielding over 300 volunteer canvassers, whereas in 2020 she could not reach voters at their doors. 2020 lessons have improved her messaging, too. Third, Goroff has spent the intervening years helping the western part of the district defeat over two dozen MAGA extremist Moms for Liberty candidates. She co-founded a non-partisan nonprofit for the purpose, and personally trained the winning, non-partisan candidates. That work built bridges and deepened her power base.

In sum, Goroff has an expanded power base in the vote-rich part of the district, she’s running on a track record of impactful achievements and she’s an experienced campaigner with a potent field operation. I urge you to do your homework and make up your own mind. If your research leads you to Avlon, okay; but don’t just do what you’re told. The stakes are too high.

Abigail Field

Southold Democratic Committee member, ED-18


We voted for Avlon

We cast our votes this week for John Avlon and encourage fellow Democrats to do the same. We were first introduced to John when he debated Nancy Goroff in March. Regarding policy issues, the candidates were similarly minded and thoughtful, but what moved the crowd was John’s communication skills. It was clear he was a candidate who would inspire independent and cross-party voters to vote for him in the general election.

John has been endorsed by the Democratic committees in Southold, Shelter Island and Riverhead. On 9/11, John witnessed the horrors of extremism firsthand. he says that one of the greatest privileges of his life was writing/editing nearly 400 eulogies given by Mayor Guiliani or his surrogates for the uniformed heroes who lost their lives. He went on to become editor of the Daily Beast, senior political analyst, an author of many books, including “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America” and “Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics.” John is fed up with Trump and his MAGA-minions grinding Congress to a halt, and wants to help Democrats flip our district and Congress and get it legislating again.

We voted for Nancy during the last cycle and she lost. Simply put, John Avlon is informed, experienced, and can win this critical race. Your vote for John will ensure we elect the strongest candidate possible in June to flip our district.

Maria McBride, Southold; Barbara Horowitz, Jamesport; Becky Chidester, Mattituck 


Time to untidy our landscapes

As I drive through the picturesque towns of eastern Long Island, I’m reminded that our notion of aesthetically pleasing landscapes must evolve. The immaculately manicured lawns and landscapes that line our streets may once have been a symbol of beauty and status, but our planet’s perilous state demands a new perspective.

The neatly trimmed grass, mechanically blown away leaves and meticulously pruned shrubs that dominate our properties are, in reality, eco-deserts that offer no sustenance or shelter for local wildlife. These “tidy” landscapes fragment habitats, making it difficult for species to survive and thrive. The use of harmful chemicals, motorized machines and excess water to maintain these landscapes only exacerbates the issue.

It’s time to redefine beauty and embrace wild, biodiverse landscapes on our properties. By incorporating native plants, reducing lawn size and embracing “wild” spaces, we can create habitats that support local wildlife and contribute to a healthier ecosystem. We must recognize the value of pollinator and wildlife pathways to the overall well-being of all life and embrace the beauty of biodiversity.

Let’s work together to create a new standard of beauty that prioritizes the health of our planet and its inhabitants. Our properties can become sanctuaries for wildlife, and our East End communities can lead the way in sustainable landscaping practices.

Sharon Kelly


Tip jars out of control

So tell me: What are the tip jars all about? I went to Aldo’s for a delicious macchiato yesterday. Two scones, a macchiato, $14. ($4.50 per scone = $9. $4.50 for the macchiato. Charged $14. 50 cents tax? Not sure.) Anyway, I did not leave a tip in the jar at the register. My friend in back of me put a dollar in the jar for her coffee. As we were waiting for our coffees, Joshua yells out, “Thank you for the tip.” They never thank you for the tip — especially after you’ve moved up the line to wait for your order. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I’m sure the yell was meant for me, especially since he didn’t even direct it to [my friend]. Wish I’d said something, like: “Are you talkin’ to me?” The tip jars have gotten out of hand and I refuse to supplement their workers’ salaries. Also, like Starbucks, they rack in a lot of money, so share it with your workers! I tip very generously in restaurants, deliveries, etc., but not for a sandwich in a deli, a couple of bagels or for a freakin’ cup of coffee!

Anyone else feel this way?

Barbra LaCorte