Letters to the Editor - 06.09.11

This Season
    East Hampton
    June 3, 2011
Dear David,
    Just a quick note before the golf team heads up to the state tournament. We would like to express our thanks to certain members of our community. First, the East Hampton High School athletic department for its organization, dedication, and care for our extra season, especially Pat Hand and Joe Vos.
    Second, to our principals, Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini, for meeting us at 6:15 in the morning to wish us good luck for the Long Island championship.
    We could not have accomplished what we did this season without the graciousness of the South Fork Country Club, the Maidstone Club, and Poxabogue, and the use of their facilities.
    Thanks to Jack Graves and your newspaper for the coverage of our extraordinary season.
    Thanks also go to those at the Springs Athletic Awards ceremony, for holding up the program to greet us as we exited the bus in front of the high school after we won the Long Island championship, and to the team members’ parents and families who have dedicated and sacrificed many aspects of their lives to help us succeed.
    Last, and we will never forget this, we’d like to thank the East Hampton Fire Department (Ray Harden and volunteers) and the East Hampton Village Police Department (Jerry Larsen and his staff) for escorting us into the village of our hometown. We were over the moon with our reception, and one of us yelled as we entered the village, “This is why we won! It makes it all worthwhile.”
    We are fortunate to live in the community of East Hampton, and this experience made us appreciate the area and its people even more than we could have ever imagined.
    For the East Hampton 
    High School Golf Team

Never Forget
    June 6, 2011
Dear Editor,
    We would like to thank all who participated in making the first annual Montauk Memorial Day Parade a huge success.
    Thanks to the United States Coast Guard Montauk Station, Montauk Troop 136, Cub Pack 136, the Girl Scouts, Little League, Montauk Public School, Strawberry Fields, Montauk Fire Department, Town of East Hampton Police Department, the Patriot Guard, Uihlein’s Marina, Richard Val­cich for his military vehicles, and of course all of the veterans who marched. We shall never forget the sacrifices that our military has made to keep America free.
    Montauk Memorial Committee

Best Last Chapter
    June 6, 2011
To the Editor,
    Last week I lost my friend Susan Mannes. After many surgeries and months in Stony Brook hospital, the doctors delivered the sad news there was nothing left they could do. Susan was sent to Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson.
    It was a very difficult and painful decision for Susan’s elderly parents to keep her there for the last chapter of her life. As I walked through the doors of Good Shepherd for the first time, my anxiety melted away. I knew her parents had made the right decision.
    The outpouring and support of the community went above and beyond the call of duty. Through her entire illness, Susan was not at a loss for love, comfort, and the company of all her friends and loved ones. Her exhausted parents made the drive back and forth almost daily.
    From her days spent in Stony Brook to her last days in Good Shepherd, holidays, birthdays, sleepovers, movie nights, and good old-fashioned family time were spent with Susan, Her room was always filled with love, joy, and laughter.
    I am so grateful for the support of our local community that allowed Susan’s friends and family to give her the best last chapter of her life and to the employers, who let her friends spend all the time they wanted with her, and the local businesses that helped the family get through this very difficult time.
    It is not in nature to take a daughter from her parents. I want to thank from the deepest depth of my soul all the wonderful people of our community. I feel so proud to have had Susan as a friend and equally as proud of all the wonderful local people who put their own lives on hold to be there for a very special woman who touched all of our lives.
Thank you and God bless,

Leo the Barber
    East Hampton
    May 31, 2011
To the Editor,
    Leo is back.
    Bridgehampton once again has a barbershop.
    But Leo the barber has reappeared in a little subterranean shop down the alley beside the deli on Main Street. (Call 875-7373 if you get lost.)
    It’s nice to see a local businessman survive.

Name of the Game
    Shelter Island
    June 6 2011
Dear David,
    Last week, a “Little Bit of Pixie Dust” by Bridget LeRoy gave readers a wonderful taste of turn-of-the-century Shelter Island. When Shelter Island was populated in season by the era’s industrial business tycoons, opulence and grandeur were the name of the game.
    Visits by elegant steam yachts, many over 150 feet long, were so common that the New York Yacht Club created station number five in Dering Harbor so its members would have a base of operations way out east.
    In that time period, coined the Gilded Age by Mark Twain, the rich were not burdened by income tax, and those leaders of the pack were way out in front of the rest of the population. On Shelter Island, there was more than one “gentleman’s plantation” among the large spas, hotels, and sprawling summer cottages on the island. The idea of actors flying from Westmoreland’s high chimneys and towers for a private invited audience of theater folk and locals makes for an intriguing story. The word history contains the word story, and Frances Row Kestler’s book is filled with them.
    “Never-Never Land: The Saga of Westmoreland Farm” by Ms. Kestler is available for sale at the Shelter Island Historical Society, as are other books and images of the period, including portraits of the Montauk Steamship Company’s large paddlewheel steamships that ferried New Yorkers directly to and from Shelter Island in comfort and style.
    Best and cheers,
    Executive director
    Shelter Island Historical Society

Exuberant Musical
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    The Studio Playhouse community theater at LTV is about to present its first production next week — the musical comedy “Destry Rides Again.” In the movie, James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich played the classic roles of Destry and Frenchy. That was back in 1939. The musical comedy with music and lyrics by Harold Rome and a book by Leonard Gershe, played on Broadway in 1959, with Andy Griffith and Delores Gray in the starring roles. The great Michael Kidd won a Tony that year for its choreography.
    For the past two months, under the amazing leadership of Anita Sorel, an intrepid group of East End citizens has been preparing to perform this exuberant musical comedy for you. Our Destry and Frenchy are your neighbors and friends, Nick Lynn and Lee Michel. And there are about 20 more  East End thespians singing and dancing their hearts out. The show has it all — saloon girls, shoot-outs, bad guys, good guys, romance.
    We do hope you will join us at LTV next Thursday through June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at LTV Studios in Wainscott, right near the East Hampton airport. We hope to see you there!
    Board Member
    Studio Playhouse at LTV 
Save Sharks

    May 31, 2011
To the Editor:
    Seven years ago an amazing thing happened in a cave in northern Arizona. At Salt Creek, in the Grand Canyon National Park, high up in the red wall, the first California condor in 100 years was born in the wild.
    You can imagine the joy at the Peregrine Fund, the San Diego Zoo, and the National Park Service. In 1987 these birds were 22 away from extinction. It was their joint efforts, including a captive-breeding program, which ultimately resulted in 70 condors being reintroduced into their ancestral habitat in the Grand Canyon.
    How do we know the canyon was once the home of the most endangered bird in the world? Condor bones dating back 10,000 years were found in that Salt Creek cave.
    There was also another discovery. The chick had died.
    I don’t know if parent condors mourn their loss, but I did. I had seen 13 of these birds with their nine-and-a-half-foot wingspans on one of my winter Grand Canyon treks. Four were so close I could read the numbers on their massive wings.. Hunters had killed the baby condor and they didn’t even know it.
    When a hunter dresses a deer or elk, the wounded part of the animal is left in the field. Condors are vultures. The parent birds found the carrion and brought it back to their baby. The infant died from lead poisoning from bullet fragments in the meat!
    The National Park Service was faced with a dilemma: how to allow hunting, which is important for maintaining healthy herds, and how to protect the condor? The decision was to give out free copper bullets for hunters to use instead of lead. Copper bullets cost twice as much but they don’t harm condors. This was a small price to pay. Today, 87 percent of the hunters in the park now use copper bullets instead of lead.
    This program was so successful that the State of California has now banned lead ammunition from certain parts of their state just to protect these birds. The California condor population now stands at 381.
    I have no idea how many sharks are left in the world. But I do know this. Every year 100 million of them are killed for their fins to make soup. The Chinese, and those who just see dollar signs, have done everything in their power to prevent international efforts to protect sharks.
    Eleven of the largest species of shark along the East Coast of the United States have all but vanished. Many sharks don’t even reach sexual maturity until the age of 7 and some not until they’re in their 20s. When they do reproduce they may have between 2 to 100 young.
    Soon this year, Montauk will again hold the first of its four annual shark tournaments. Kill the biggest one (a potential breeding fish), and you could win up to $500,000!
    Taking a page from the preservation efforts of the condors, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and April Gornik, an artist, are once again providing in-line circle hooks to shark fishermen to use in these tournaments — free.
    Sharks swallow everything. Circle hooks catch in the mouth, not in the gut. Traditional J hooks can rip a shark’s internal organs apart.
    Since only one fish may be kept per boat a day, when the leader is cut on a shark caught with a circle hook, the hook rusts. Over time, it dissolves away. The odds that the fish will survive are greatly improved. When the leader is cut on a J hook, even if the hook is seen in the mouth, it may have already been mortally wounded and the fisherman doesn’t know it.
    Nobody is trying to stop fishing. We are trying to save sharks by replacing one kind of hook with another, just as the Park Service replaced one kind of bullet with another. Carl Darenberg of Montauk Marine Basin, Rich Etzel of Montauk Boatmen’s and Captains Association, and Rich Janis of Star Island Marina get it. They have been working with C.C.O.M. and April to bring about the use of circle hooks.
    We’re taking baby steps together, but they are steps in the right direction.
    For C.C.O.M., I thank them all.
    Concerned Citizens of Montauk

One-Sided Treatment
    East Hampton
    June 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    Having read the article “Children’s Wing Wins Approval” by Carissa Katz and Bridget LeRoy, I am struck by what an unbalanced piece of reporting it is.
    This is a seven-year-plus story in the making and the only side of the narrative that is presented in this article is that of the library. I would think that a good newspaper would seek to present all sides in this complex and historic controversy and include interviews with members of the zoning board, voices from the village government, and citizens in the community who have been opposed to this excessive expansion, including most of the past chairwomen of the board of the library.
    Anyone reading this story would have no idea that the Z.B.A. pursued genuine concerns (most of them cited in the village comprehensive plan) with the increased congestion and traffic in an already-difficult intersection of the historic district, the need to preserve green space in the village, and the unresolved issue of the additional parking spaces that will be required, just to name a few of the most obvious issues.
    Your article presented a one-sided treatment of the debate between the library and the Z.B.A., as if all the issues were black or white, good guys vs. bad guys, and finally the good guys won! That is simply not the case and anyone who attended those hearings knows that. Carissa Katz was often there and in earlier articles reported fairly despite the tones of editorials to the contrary.
    This most recent article doesn’t even begin to present the whole story.

Better Placement
    June 3, 2011
Dear Editor,
    Tucked away on page A12 of the June 2 East Hampton Star was an article revealing the 2010 town budget surplus, as announced recently by Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
    This piece of news deserves better placement in your paper, considering the economic woes of the town when Bill Wilkinson took office 18 months ago, and in light of the added news that the town has managed to restore $4 million to the community preservation fund.

Critical Issue
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray,
    Once again, I am deeply disappointed by The East Hampton Star’s lack of journalistic integrity to its readers.
    The article “East Hampton Ended 2010 With Surplus,” was placed on page A12 of last week’s paper, while “A Little Bit of Pixie Dust” rated front-page placement with a box around it. Now really, as an editor don’t you believe that informing your readers about the critical issue of the town’s finances would merit better placement in your newspaper than the third-to-last page?
    Where would you have placed the article if the town had ended the year with a $5.9 million deficit? I think, perhaps, that would have merited the front page. No?
     I know it must gall The Star and many of its readers that the Wilkinson administration has so successfully turn­ed the tables on East Hampton’s serious fiscal situation. Are you not even pleased that the administration has returned to the beloved community preservation fund $4 million looted by the previous Town Hall occupants?
    Additionally, $5.8 million went back into the capital fund, while the overall town budget was reduced by some $10 million.
    Oh yes, let me not leave out the 17-percent tax reduction all East Hampton Town residents received. Not a bad track record in 17 months. But, that kind of success doesn’t merit front-page attention at The East Hampton Star.

‘New’ Town Hall
    East Hampton
    June 1, 2011
To the Editor,
    I have just paid my first visit to the “new” Town Hall buildings. I think they are great and what a wonderful statement they make about East Hampton. If you are like me and needed a reason to visit Town Hall for the first time, I would suggest you forget the need to go there and just visit them as a destination in themselves. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
    I am, of course, aware of the controversy surrounding those buildings and find it hard to believe that voices were actually raised to sell them to private interests. That would have been a huge mistake. Future generations of East Hamptoners will appreciate the sacrifices we made during these difficult financial times to keep those buildings. I just hope they are as pleasant to work in as they are to visit.