Letters to the Editor: 01.03.13

Our readers' comments

Communal Soul
    East Hampton
    December 24, 2012
Dear David,
    I want to acknowledge the imminent opening of the St. Michael’s senior citizen housing development in Amagansett as well as the existing senior citizen housing developments known as Windmill One and Two and Whalebone, which provide housing for people of limited financial means.
    All of these housing developments are a part of the diverse community of East Hampton that we live in and in my view represent an important part of our communal soul. I recently became a new member of the board of directors of the Windmill developments and have learned about them as well as the others.
    Michael DeSario, president of the corporations that own Windmill and St. Michael’s, has devoted time and energy to their well-being and was instrumental in the creation of the St. Michael’s project. He is assisted by Jerry Mooney, who is the on-site manager of the housing developments.
    In a recent editorial, The New York Times urged the continuance of the tax shelter programs that make these affordable housing projects possible, alluding to the significant role that they play in making affordable housing possible in our country.
    In thinking about all of this I was reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of our foremost advocates of human rights. I visit the magnificent statue of her that was erected at the corner of Riverside Drive and West 72nd Street in Manhattan when I take an exercise walk in Riverside Park. Emblazoned on the floor of the rotunda surrounding the statue is a quote from a speech that she gave, which in my mind epitomizes the importance of our community’s affordable housing. She said:
Where after all
Do universal human rights begin?
In small places, close to home
Such are the places
Where every man, woman and child
Seeks equal justice,
Equal opportunity,
Equal dignity.

Source of Friendship
    December 29, 2012
    I have been phoning old folks every Thursday morning for nearly 20 years. I and my colleagues are the volunteers in the R.S.V.P. program, a national organization aimed at aiding the senior citizen community, particularly those who are alone. We call, and by the sound of their voices we have, over time, come to sense whether everything is okay and, if not, chat to find out if they need help or advice. Mostly, though, we gossip a little, tell a story, or talk about the weather. For some of them it is the most important call of the day.
    Well, last Thursday, I called a delightful lady, Mary, and after her usual cheery response, I proceeded to warn her of the impending northeaster. She replied, strangely, that the storm was last night and she and her house were just fine. Feeling sorry for her, I firmly disagreed and said, “Mary, be careful, I heard clearly that the storm would arrive on Wednesday night!” After a pause, she said, “. . .  but last night was Wednesday night. Maybe I should be calling you, rather than vice versa.”
    But seriously, I encourage senior citizens who read this letter, and more important their sons and daughters, to enroll their loved ones in this program. It is fun to be called, it can be the source of friendship, and sometimes it can be a means to receive critical help in the case of medical issues. The volunteers are trained to have at their fingertips the telephone numbers of the local services — medical, police, etc., needed to meet any emergency.
    Please call our office in Amagansett on Bluff Road, 267-8371, to enroll. I assure you that the other volunteers do know the days of the week.

Was a Character
    December 28, 2012
Hello David,
    I want to thank you for the wonderful obituary for my great-uncle Milton Miller. My mom flew up here in late September, and we drove to East Hampton to see him.
    He certainly was a character. He built a tall, arched trellis from his wheelchair. I asked him how he did that. He said, “Not hard to do. I just kep’ it turnin’ then leaned it up.”
    I can honestly say that the Miller side of my family were all amazing. From my Nana (Florence Miller Reed), my Aunt Sissy (Elizabeth Miller Booth), and my Aunt Jay (Jesse Miller Wickens), they were all so much fun when we were around them. Nana used to drive my sister, Kathy, and myself to Montauk during the summer. My Aunt Jay and Uncle Ralph Wickens had card games with everyone I mentioned. They lived above the Montauk train station. Kathy and I had fun playing in the terminal and on the train cars.
    When we were upstairs with them, they would be laughing so hard they brought themselves to tears. When they weren’t laughing they would be in a huge argument about cheating or something. I remember all of those days so well. We used to go “bottle hunting” in the woods in Springs and Amagansett. There were more woods back then. If you found either a hill of clam shells or red brick it was a sign that someone had lived there. So we would dig around and find antique bottles, some in beautiful colors because they were there so long.
    Anyway, sorry for chatting (typing) your ear off. I just have so many memories with all of them. Thanks again.

In Appreciation
    Sag Harbor
    December 29, 2012
Dear David Rattray,
    Professor Harry Carlson, who died on Dec. 22, loved Shakespeare, August Strindberg, theater, films of Ingmar Bergman, politics, teaching — and the Amagansett Free Library. All but Strindberg he was able somehow to incorporate into his Saturday Shakespeare audiovisual discussions at the library. He did not lecture but probed the material being presented with his audience, who did not just lend to the program an ear and an eye but voiced, often combatively, their opinions.
    Professor Harry had a way of drawing out the feelings, the questionings, and the often surprising knowledge of his participants. No one sitting in the chairs before him felt intimidated about having a say.
    Harry did this by reading and explaining Shakespeare’s texts and by showing on video the same scene from three different productions for comparison. The audience consisted mostly of senior citizens‚ and sometimes, happily for Harry, a youngster. No doubt all were his junior, yet Harry with his unabated enthusiasm gave to all the touch of his youthful spirit.
    Not so many years ago when he sought out Ms. Cynthia Young, the director of the Amagansett Free Library, he gained from her not just a room but a home. If the gods permit an earth visitation rite, Harry’s first stop would be to the Amagansett library to personally tell Cynthia Young thank you.

Deer Dilemma
    East Hampton
    December 31, 2012
Dear Editor,
     With the hunting season in progress and almost over, the abundant surplus of deer is getting worse. How sad that most of us live inside fences to protect ourselves and property. The president’s wife once said “Grow a garden, it’s healthy for your body and mind.” If she lived here she would be out of her mind.
    I believe most folks would like to see the East Hampton deer program go into effect as soon as possible. For more information or ideas about our deer problem, contact Councilman Dominick Stanzione at Town Hall. He is the main man spearheading our deer dilemma and has worked very hard and long following public protocol.
    However, for the town to spend huge sums of taxpayers’ money to count deer from the sky in my opinion is a little much. Does the town need to know the population of deer? Please get a grip and look out your window. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals or a professional environmental actuary specialist could give you a pretty good idea with some basic facts and a little math at far less than what it’s going to cost us.
    Many years addressing the problem, the folks over at North Haven spent huge sums of money (just $40K) for their deer-counting flyovers, with much controversy as to its accuracy. The end result was a culling program that worked, of which I add was addressed from the very start of their issue. As a matter of fact these people (the mayor) had attended several deer summit meets here and stated that it was very expensive, long, and tedious, with an accuracy of plus or minus 10 percent.
    There have been public hearings and debates for two years, many from professionals and desperate locals. Plans drafted and rewritten several times and still nothing other than “we are working on it.” My government is supposed to protect my family and my property for the taxes we pay. I have had babesiosis (twice) and ehrichiosis, with a cost that I could have bought a car, and all we hear are empty words and unproduced actions.
    So please, Mr. and Mrs. Government, make the New Year worthwhile and be proud of yourselves for doing the right thing. Please act and get off the potty and let us tear down our fences.

No to ‘Professionals’
    East Hampton
    December 28, 2012
Dear David,
    I just read a comment from a fellow community member referencing the proposed Stanzione Deer Management plan and the suggestion we bring in professional sharpshooters to exterminate a large portion of the deer population. In her mind the concept did not seem inappropriate, over-aggressive, or dangerous. I certainly don’t hold their intrusion to be anything but!
    It is well known that in its entirety the proposal is lacking in foresight. I do oppose a “culling” and feel that if it is decided it is necessary, our local hunters and their organizations can co-ordinate and accomplish an intelligent and constructive goal. Who better to assess the numbers and migrations of our local herds? Don’t have to spend money to hire professional counters. Expanding and opening territories where deer migrate as bullets fill the air, combined with larger quotas for our local guys, will gently and gradually thin the herds. It will not stop the munching of hydrangea nor prevent the denting of our fenders. If the area holds even one deer it is going to eat and meander into the streets, angering some people.
    It is an insult to our community and the dignity of our wildlife, their habitat, and our townsfolk to think we need to bring “professionals” from outside. It reeks of a cheap movie scenario; smarmy and tragic! It will forever change the wonderful natural character of our community, because once this door is opened it will never close.
    I propose that the preposterous number of dollars already budgeted for this process be reallocated for a different purpose. I would like to see this money divided up to reinforce our local counseling centers, allowing them to reach out more vigorously to the youth in our community. Suicide, bullying, and the taking of mass lives begins at home. I think the schools could use some of these funds to reinforce security, supervision, and counseling for our kids. Our young ones need this money far more than any deer count or “professional” extermination.

RECenter Pools
    December 27, 2012           
Dear Editor,
    Regarding your front-page story concerning health problems caused by the East Hampton Town RECenter pools, I wish to state that I have been swimming there on an almost-daily basis for the past eight years and have never experienced any of the symptoms described in your article.
    I would add that I have found that the director, Mr. Juan Castro, has always been most vigilant in all aspects of hygiene and maintenance at the center. Also, the lifeguards and the rest of the staff are attentive and professional in every way.
    Of course, every effort should be made by the town to upgrade all the systems that keep the facility running in an efficient and safe manner. As it is, I consider the RECenter to be very well run and a valuable asset to the community.

Drain and Refill
    East Hampton
    December 30, 2012
Dear Editor:
    Re the article Air and Water Qualms at RECenter (Dec. 27)‚ the fact that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services didn’t find any public health hazard at the facility does not necessarily mean that the facility does not pose a public health problem.
    The formation of disinfection byproducts and their subsequent health effects was recognized several years ago by those of us at S.C.D.H.S. responsible at the time for permitting and inspecting pool facilities. Our investigation resulted in the recommendation that heavily used facilities drain and refill their pools on a routine basis (S. Schell and R. Nuzzi, “Elimination of Rashes and Irritation Associated with Indoor Swimming Pool Water. Proceedings of the World Aquatic Health Conference, Atlanta, Ga., October 2009”).
    If the town is indeed investigating a facility upgrade (which I suspect would be advantageous, considering recent improvements in equipment and methods), great care should be taken to ensure the selection of the most up-to-date treatment methodology. In the meantime, a modification of current breakpoint chlorination procedures, along with more frequent dilution with fresh water, will likely provide a safer, more enjoyable facility environment.

    East Hampton
    December 31, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Our community is rich with interesting and talented people who make living here such fun. One such person is Durell Godfrey, a woman of great style, a huge animal lover, and an outstanding photographer. The montage of her sunset photographs on the front page of The Star last week was sublime.
    Thank you, Durell, for documenting life in East Hampton so beautifully.

The Right Place
    December 29, 2012
Dear Editor,
    Oh, those glorious sunsets of 2012! Thank you to Durell Godfrey for somehow always being in the right place at the right time. And thanks to The Star for publishing such outstanding work.

Needs No Captions
    East Hampton
    December 29, 2012
    Re: the two otherwise-splendid Durell Godfrey photographs in this week’s Star: The first, of a man taking a digital snapshot of a shadowless ocean from the beach, is captioned, “Days of long shadows.”
    Even more mysterious, her absolutely astonishing photo inside, of caution being literally thrown to the winds (read the yellow ribbons!) is labeled “Short beach.”
    To my eye, Ms. Godfrey’s work for the paper is consistently of such superior caliber as to need no captioning at all (as in the montage on page one).
    But if custom calls for titling, the pictures deserve more aptly chosen words than the dull examples above.

Walk Over the Dune
    Melbourne, Fla.
    December 27, 2012
To the Editor,
    A recent letter to the editor suggested that the beach community of Amagansett Dunes be sacrificed for the sake of a view of the ocean. The writer wanted the much-needed and recently constructed dune removed for aesthetic reasons.
    Is the writer kidding? The view of the ocean from the Napeague Road and Marine Boulevard parking lot should not be equated with the scenic overlook of the north rim of the Grand Canyon or even the Route 27 overlook of Gardiner’s Bay. It’s a parking lot, a few feet above high tide. Many years ago it replaced a dune. The lot holds 14 cars, parked diagonally, and a garbage pail. People go there to surf and swim and now all they have to do is walk over a dune to surf and swim.
    The writer’s assertion that dunes do not protect the property is incorrect as the recently constructed dune (replacing the original one) saved the area from flooding and damage.
    The writer further asserts that people living there should be aware of the risk of owning a home in the dunes. We are aware of the risk, and of the storm of the last century, the 1938 hurricane, and if it was an annual occurrence, we would not be living there. But it is not, and we are living there.
    So walk over the dune. It’s what Mother Nature would have wanted!

No Good Reason
    December 31, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    My name is William Gosman; I am one of the residents and homeowners who signed the petition calling for a ban on hunting on Fort Pond.
    I have been living on Fort Pond since 1972, and, despite what Supervisor Bill Wilkinson says about generations of hunting, that is no good reason to say it should continue.
    Up until about 10 years ago I don’t remember hearing a lot of gunshots and never worried about — maybe an occasional gunshot throughout the winter. Also, a lot of the time during the winter, the pond would be frozen and people would be ice skating on it. But times change, and recently winters around the pond sound like Dodge City from the repeated blasts of 12-gauge shotguns.
    We already have to tolerate the partying and extra-loud noise of rock bands in the summertime because of the look-the-other-way attitude of local government. Now we have to listen to chaotic symphony of 12-gauge shotguns re-enacting an outdated coming-of-age ritual of “duckin’” in my backyard. My tolerance has reached an end.
    I am not against hunting, just don’t do it in populated areas. Also, in light of recent events, I don’t think the children at the school and local areas need to hear a background of multiple shotgun blasts.

The Deer’s Plight
    December 31, 2012
To the Editor:
    Monday, Jan. 7, is opening day for East Hampton’s firearms deer-hunting season. Hunting with guns will be allowed on weekdays until Jan. 31. It is difficult to imagine the suffering, terror, and loss the deer will experience.
    For the fifth straight year, I plan to go on a three-day hunger strike in a personal effort to dramatize the deer’s plight. My wife, Ellen, cannot be with me this year because she must care for rescued animals in upstate New York. But others are welcome to join me. I will stand in front of the East Hampton Town Hall on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, from noon to 1 p.m.

Dear Jerry
    New York City
    December 24, 2012
To the Editor:
    Dear Jerry: Sorry to learn that you are leaving East Hampton and selling your house after so many years as a fixture in the Hamptons — and so sorry that you are only getting $25 million for the home you originally purchased for about $4 million — and, of course, I totally understand you as a multimillionaire, billionaire, trillionaire don’t want to be taxed any additional dollars because of the fiscal cliff. Why should you want to pay more in taxes just because this country gave a poor Italian boy from a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn so many opportunities to become an extremely successful entrepreneur?
    By the way, did you ever go back to visit your old neighborhood and see how your buddies were faring? Chances are they need more help now than before. Really, why should you want to give back, especially since this would go to the poor and needy citizens of this country?
    Are you still planning to leave this country for Italy, as you stated before, if Barack Obama won the presidential race? I bet you have enough to live very well wherever you choose to reside. And, by the way, when you purchased your house, the capital gains tax was exactly what it will be if President Obama has his way — which he will have. Only your buddy Bush reduced the rates.
    I was hoping that you were more of a patriotic American and would support a president honestly elected by the American people and not be such a poor sport.
    Shame on you, and God bless America.
    And Family

Winter, Hook Mill
    December 26, 2012
Dear Star,
    Kids rolling down hill, decorated evergreens, in front of Hook Mill.

Angels of God
Kids are kids,
they are angels of God,
they are here to remind us
of what we have all forgotten,
the spiritual way
that once kept us in balance
sooner than later,
they grow up and become
what we are and, the older they get,
the more they forget that they once were
the angels of God.

Young Men
    New York City
    December 29, 2012
To the Editor,
    Young men with guns are the dangerous ones. They are ready and willing to engage in mass killing.