Its Fair Share
June 4, 2012
Back in the day (Bastille Day, that is), it was quite a show, with George Plimpton and, later, James Lipton, dedicating the shells. We sat in boats and gave money for a great night; other times we went ashore and gave more money to be on the grounds for a good cause, Boys Harbor. Then it all just ended almost abruptly.
The Clamshell Foundation came to the rescue, no questions asked. No dedicating shells, but hey, they should all be dedicated to Ross Perchik.
The Clamshell Foundation has been paying the bill and giving the leftovers to local charities for the last three or four years. I hope the high-end barbeque donates its fair share to the Clamshell Foundation, otherwise I’ll feel like it is the 99 percent bailing out the 1 percent (again).
May 29, 2012
After last week’s papers came out with full-page color ads for the “Max Cure Fireworks” I started getting a lot of phone calls asking what was going on. Is the Clamshell Foundation not involved anymore? What happened? Some were angry, some confused, and others were going to withhold donations. There are three points I would like to make in order to set the record straight.
First, rest assured, the Clamshell Foundation is the host of the Great Bonac Fireworks Show. We are all volunteers, and 100 percent of all profits are used to support the people, programs, and projects here on the East End. Since the first SandCastle Contest we have made almost $120,000 in local grants. If you were withholding a donation, please come back — we need your support!
Second, I’ve been in direct contact with Richard Plotkin, co-chairman of Max Cure. He’s a very forthcoming, honorable man who has devoted his life to raising money for pediatric cancer research and is going above and beyond to correct the misconceptions and revise their advertising. The Max Cure Foundation is also going to make a generous donation to the Clamshell Foundation in support of our fireworks.
Third, this brings up a bigger issue, which is service to others. There’s no greater feeling a person can have than doing something good for someone else. I urge everyone to do just that for your neighborhood, your neighbors, and your country as a whole. It can be something simple or not. It can be as easy as picking up a piece of trash on the beach.
While there are many benefits during the summer that you can support, I suggest two: the Clamshell Foundation and the Max Cure Foundation. They are going to have a really great party that night, July 21, and I suggest you go to it. That is, after you’ve made a contribution to the Clamshell Foundation.
The Clamshell Foundation
June 1, 2012
I’m writing because I’m not terribly thrilled that Whole Foods seems to be making inroads into our town. Not that it’s a bad place to shop; it’s just not a great place to shop. And calling it a farm stand is probably stretching the truth just a bit. No, clearly I’m not a fan of Whole Foods; I can’t afford to shop there. And I fail to see how this chain can replace our wonderful local seafood stores and roadside stands. Yes, Whole Foods is a place for the upscale summer folk, and with any luck at all it will shut down and leave at the end of the summer.
Now, what I would love to see in East Hampton is Trader Joe’s. Why? Simply because Trader Joe’s is a great place to shop. T.J.’s prices cannot be beat, across the board. And a struggling family doesn’t have to buy 20 of something to save money. T.J.’s makes deals direct with the growers, packagers, etc. This means you can get a huge box of Cheerios for $1.99, peanut butter for less than $2, very large cans of tomatoes for $1.49, large bottles of extra virgin olive oil for $5.49, tuna fish (with and without sodium) for $1.49 — the list is endless. It seems to me that every family who’s out in the Hamptons year round would really appreciate such prices.
Those of us who are lucky enough to spend time in Manhattan are willing to stand in lines that always wrap around the perimeter of the T.J.’s stores because the savings are that good. Not to mention: T.J.’s is the only supermarket to carry a lot of items that have zero sodium added. Delicious, salt-free, healthy, cheap. This is what our town needs, no?
Look, Whole Foods is one of the most expensive places on the planet. And the fact is that local people are being hard-hit by the economy. So local people don’t need another upscale place not to be able to shop at to feed their families. Local people would love Trader Joe’s. And the people who run our town should be petitioning T.J.’s to come here and at least do a feasibility study. No kidding.
(I have no vested interest in Trader Joe’s, just a very refined sense of fair play.)
June 2, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I hope our community has come to recognize the name Nana Cares over the past year. Nana Cares is a 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in order to provide financial assistance to community members who are struggling due to medical or mental health issues. Additionally, we provide financial assistance on a yearly basis to the American Legion Post 419 Ladies Auxiliary Christmas dinner, East End Hospice’s inpatient facility, a charity of the year, and a $500 human services book Scholarship.
In our inaugural year, the Lucia’s Room at Southampton Hospital was chosen as our charity of the year and received $1,500 toward the construction of this amazing room.
On May 20, at a wonderful luncheon hosted by the Kalimnios family at the Montauk Lake Club, we were pleased to announce that our charity of the year for 2012-13 is the Retreat. We hope to make a sizable contribution to them this year.
As I said, our main goal is to help community members in need. In order to do so, we need everyone’s help. This week alone, we have received requests from five different families in need. These families have been referred to us by other community members recognizing their struggles and trying to help. That is what Nana Cares is all about, community members reaching out to each other.
We will be hosting our second annual dance, Woodstock 2012, on July 28 at the American Legion Post 419. Once again, we will also host our annual Nana’s Christmas cash raffle and cocktail party in December. There will be more information on that shortly.
Of course, any donation would be greatly appreciated. Donations of $250 (cash or value) or more would be considered a sponsorship and the giver’s name or business would be included in our pamphlets and all signage for the year. Any donations can be mailed to Nana Cares Inc., the Katie O. Berkoski Foundation, 81 Newtown Lane, Ste. 303, East Hampton 11937.
I hope to see you all at our events and look forward to your donations. Our community needs your help!
TARA M. MANSIR
Makes no Mention
June 4, 2012
To the Editor,
Beginning with the headline “Wild Chase on Highway” that makes no mention of the shooting of Frederic Stephens, the entirety of the article (The Star, May 31) about the ensuing car chase focuses on the aftermath of a shooting that is utterly ignored. When the article does get around to mentioning the victim of the shooting, Mr. Stephens, it refers to his prior record as well as his father’s.
The article leaves readers with the knowledge that Stephens’s father made a big dent in the local drug industry, an example of journalistic foreshadowing which leads readers to assume that 20-year-old Stephens junior is a criminal following in his father’s footsteps. Through its conclusion, this article insinuates that Mr. Stephens’s shooting is related to further criminal activity, without any description of the shooting itself.
It is unnerving that the phrase “extremely disturbing” is reserved to describe the car chase but not the shooting that precluded the reckless driving. The detective notes that somebody could have been killed during the car chase but there is no mention that Mr. Stephens himself could have died from the gunshot wound. This failure to discuss the circumstances that led to Mr. Stephens’s being shot in the arm, as well as any mention of his recovery process, contribute to the assumption that Mr. Stephens is involved in criminal activity and, as such, is already a citizen whose well-being is considered unimportant.
Lastly, The Star makes no effort to report why Ms. Delrio did not call an ambulance or police to safely get Mr. Stephens to the hospital, which is an unfortunate lack of investigation given the weight of this decision and the fact that it puts Ms. Delrio at risk for a felony. Why did Ms. Delrio make this decision, risk a felony, risk her health, and the health of others? And why wasn’t she interviewed for the article?
Potholes and Ruts
June 4, 2012
To The Editor:
Who is in charge? No one seems to be doing anything. The East Hampton Town beach at Beach Lane, Wainscott, is a disaster. The road-end parking lot is usually flooded, the potholes and ruts along the sides of the road are enormous, sand is covering the front area, and the two-lane street becomes one lane when both sides are parked up (the bushes are never trimmed so the cars park into the street instead of on the shoulders). Beach Lane was recently paved but they did not do near the beach and left the ruts on the sides unleveled and unpaved.
The sand has come up to the parking lot and over. The front fence is almost totally covered. The bench that was put in just a year or so ago (at what cost?) is completely covered with sand and unusable. Only the top back of the bench is showing. Someone moved the bicycle rack to the front, covering the 15-minute parking sign, which no one can see or read anymore. No cars can turn around at the top because parking is too close to the top.
The beach itself is dirty, littered with sticks, charcoal, and logs. Why are Indian Wells and Atlantic well maintained and Beach Lane is left to rot?
June 1, 2012
The East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance has reviewed the town’s deer management plan and we are unanimously in support of it. This plan has been very thoroughly researched and the conclusions are completely with merit.
Thanks to the efforts of Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione and the town’s deer management working group, many meetings were held to come up with an approach that can be implemented now to reduce our exploding deer population. Attendees of these meetings included state biologists and officers, administrators of North Haven and East Hampton Village, East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Peconic Land Trust, the Mashomack Preserve, East Hampton Group for Wildlife, nursery operators, town and village police officers, local food pantries, and other interested groups.
The overpopulation of deer in East Hampton Town is destroying the understory of its woods and forests. The average adult deer eats about 40 salads a day, including acorns, nuts, and berries! This negatively impacts many native populations of birds, smaller animals, and plant species. Deer versus vehicle crashes in East Hampton are common and increasing at an alarming rate from year to year. No less than four major tick-borne diseases common to East Hampton involve deer as a reservoir. There is no doubt, the town’s environmental well-being is in dire straits because we have too many deer. It’s that simple.
On North Haven, and in Westchester County, the Princeton area in New Jersey, and similar communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts, local authorities and residents have used hunting as an effective method to control deer herd populations. Bow hunting has been the method of choice in many of these areas for several reasons: It is quiet; the arrows have a much shorter range than guns. It is safe, and using modern bow hunting equipment responsibly, it is very effective and greatly reduces the likelihood of wounded deer.
Within approximately two to three years, North Haven reduced its deer herd to a number that the environment could sustain without damage. Deer versus vehicle crashes dramatically declined, natural plant species, along with bird and small animal populations, were rebuilt, and the food pantries got hundreds of pounds of venison each year. Deer were not eradicated; they’re being controlled.
Hunters come at no cost; they actually put money into the government and spend money locally to support their efforts. To the best of our knowledge, not one American government entity has an effective, approved program of birth control, sterilization, or deer relocation in place that can control deer herds.
In the past several years, East Hampton hunters have routed thousands, yes, thousands of pounds of venison into local food pantries. It is welcome, and it all goes when it’s available.
Public lands within the township are being utilized to their maximum during the months that deer hunting is allowed. The hunting pressure on those lands causes the deer to quickly migrate into privately owned lands where access for hunters is scant, difficult, or impossible.
Despite the efforts of hunters, the overpopulation of deer continues because resulting births from the survivors far exceeds the harvest every year. Most does have twins; many have triplets. Just imagine how much worse we would be without the hunters.
One major and significant key to being more successful with hunting here in East Hampton is for private property owners to take action and contact their town or village officials to find out how they might approach using hunting as an effective method of deer-herd control in their neighborhood. Neighbors have to work with neighbors.
The East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance is a readily accessible and free resource to help answer questions about how to get involved with responsible hunters as a readily accessible, legal solution to deer herd overpopulation. Our e-mail address is EHSportsmen@aol. com.
Treasurer and director
East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance
May 30, 2012
To The Star,
Having decided the futility of writing to The Star, trying to bring some “real world” sense to the deer population debate, I decided on a different approach.
In the arena of what will be seen as “ridiculous” is, in my mind, no more extreme than Bill Crain and his anthropomorphic views whereby he and his ilk advocate taking the word predator out of the vocabulary.
If I understand Mr. Crain’s concept of the natural world correctly, he would envision that no killing of one species by another be striven for and implemented, whether it be animal versus animal or human versus animal.
With that being said, how about this scenario? In order to resolve the deer population situation in the Hamptons and the North Fork of Long Island, let’s consider this option:
1. Have all of the human population east of the William Floyd Parkway move back to their primary residences in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, etc., or re-establish their former residences in those areas. (Bonackers and native Montauketts would be exempt.)
2. Take down all those wonderful deer fences. (They could be recycled and used to corral all of the illegal aliens in this country.) Bulldoze all of those empty McMansions, which are empty 90 percent of the year anyway.
3. Replant native vegetation in all the space created by those in the McMansions.
4. Reintroduce wolves, cougars, black bears, and bobcats to restore the predator-prey balance of all animal species. (Uh-oh, did I bring up the concept of predator again?)
Yours for a real-world approach,
June 4, 2012
Dear Mr. Rattray:
East Hampton Town residents need to start attending town board meetings and work sessions, or at least watch them on LTV in order to protect their money.
In the span of just a few weeks, fiscal austerity and responsible financial management practices have taken a back seat, as Dominick Stanzione, Sylvia Overby, and Peter Van Scoyoc (and this newspaper) lick their lips over the so-called East Hampton Town budget surplus.
The word surplus somehow implies it belongs to politicians to do with as they wish. Surplus is unspent taxpayer money, period. Budgets are like dieting; it takes enormous discipline, pain, and skill to balance one and keep it in check, as Bill Wilkinson has done these past two years. But it only takes a few missteps here, adding some permanent staff there, and politicians frittering away “surplus” tax dollars here and there, for disaster to strike. Black ink turns to red in the blink of an eye.
In the past few town board meetings, we have seen Mr. Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley try to hold together the team responsible for East Hampton’s miraculous recovery. But unspent taxpayer money, political aspirations and power, making friends, and keeping powerful special interests happy are temptations that can befall even the most disciplined and conscientious elected officials.
Taxpayers beware! Your money is sitting in the town’s coffers and there are only two elected officials guarding it. They are vastly outnumbered. But vigilant and involved East Hampton residents outnumber even the most aggressive special interests. Do not relinquish your power and your rights. Stay involved.
Working the Process
June 4, 2012
To the Editor:
A disturbing pattern appears to be emerging regarding real estate zoning and environmental issues in the Town of East Hampton. It seems that entities wishing to do business or needing property variances believe they should speak first to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and then go to the building inspector, Planning Department, planning board, and/or the zoning board of appeals.
Working the process backward has caused pain for both the enterprises and the town. Under the mistaken impression that because Mr. Wilkinson has given a nod to their proposal, and they are now free to proceed with their plans, developers, businesses, and individuals find themselves stymied when they encounter code enforcements and legalities they had not anticipated. Developers find themselves embroiled in community rebellion, and the town finds itself the object of costly lawsuits.
Some of the obvious cases are last year’s proposed concert in Amagansett, the sale of the Ronjo alley, and most recently in the news, the permission to use property on Bull Path for a rehabilitation clinic.
Distress and financial pain could be eliminated if everyone — including the supervisor — followed the rules and the accepted protocol of going first to the building inspector, planning board, or Z.B.A. These are the people who know, understand, and enforce the codes. They are impartial, apolitical, trained personnel who should be doing their jobs before, not after, the supervisor puts his stamp of approval on projects that affect the town.
June 4, 2012
It’s very unfortunate that the drug rehab program (Dunes East Hampton) has found itself in a quagmire of legal actions, all of which could have been avoided had proper procedure been used from the outset.
According to the May 31 Star article (“Drug Rehab Center Working on Town Deal”), the owners of the facility approached Supervisor-elect Bill Wilkinson and Tom Preiato, the town’s acting chief building inspector, both of whom approved the project.
It was only because the owner of a similar facility in Westhampton Beach complained about the absence of site plan review that Mr. Preiato reversed his decision.
As a result of this highly flawed process, everybody loses. The owners invested a great deal of money establishing the facility, the neighbors are paying for legal representation, the town is defending itself against a lawsuit, and the program participants may be booted — talk about a lose-lose-lose situation!
This could have all been avoided if Mr. Wilkinson (who appears to have been the first one approached about the project) had simply directed the owners to the planning board, the appropriate town agency that handles such matters. They, not the supervisor, are the experts on the town code and permit requirements.
This supervisor (King Bill) seems to think that he has the power and right to unilaterally make decisions and rulings without considering the consequences to the individuals and community.
We Will Lose
June 3, 2012
To the Editor,
I am lucky enough to live in Springs, out of the approach path of most of the helicopters that arrive in East Hampton, but I can imagine how uncomfortable it must be to listen to these things landing as the weekends approach with their free-spending cargoes of the entitled.
I had a taste of this problem years ago while working at an Army post, near the post airfield that hosted a company of helicopters, Hueys, and gunships. Unfortunately, my office was under the approach path and the building was not air-conditioned, so we had the windows open in the summer, and it was impossible to think when one of these aircraft approached or took off. To have to put up with this in a vacation home, where you’ve come to relax, is completely inappropriate. You’re paying high taxes to a government that owns the source of your annoyance, and it’s clear no one wants to challenge this situation.
When we ponder whether to accept Federal Aviation Administration grants to improve the airport versus gaining some measure of control over these common nuisances, we’d better consider what will be coming during the next 20 years, when we will lose any chance to write a few reasonable rules. These years will surely see bigger, louder helicopters introduced as these firms attempt greater economies of scale. Even further down the road is the prospect of civilianization of the Osprey, the double tilt-rotor aircraft now operated by the Marines. The giant rotors can lift it up like a helicopter, then rotate to transition to forward flight. A lot of so-called aviation experts see aircraft like the Osprey to be the future of short-range intercity traffic, and there is no way to make this huge eggbeater quiet.
So as we make the decision on whether to accept F.A.A. money — and the controls it puts on us — or to let the federal grant assurances expire in 2014, we’d better consider not just what the situation is now, but what it is surely likely to be as “progress” continues to visit our quiet little hamlet.
June 4, 2012
Recently the East Hampton Town Board voted unanimously to fund some work required to get a seasonal control tower up and running at East Hampton Airport before the peak of this summer season.
As early as 2006, the Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee recommended a seasonal control tower, subject to periodic evaluation, as an important noise abatement (and safety) initiative. Federal law dictates that only air traffic controllers, and not the town or any employee thereof, can control what aircraft are doing in the air. And air traffic controllers have jurisdiction only if the F.A.A. designates the five-mile radius around East Hampton Airport as class-D airspace. Failure to comply with an air traffic controller’s directive can result in suspension of a pilot’s license. To attempt to enforce noise abatement rules without a control tower would be like trying to enforce traffic laws without police.
Yet several members of the Quiet Skies Coalition have written letters attacking the town board’s decision to fund the control tower. Some have suggested that the control tower would cost $1 million, although the true cost is less than a third of that amount. Another letter writer argued on theoretical grounds that the tower would have little effect on noise since helicopters, in particular, are already complying at such a high rate with voluntary rules — directly contradicting the assertions of other Quiet Skies officials, who claim that helicopters are flying too low.
The common thread among those letter writers opposing the control tower is their anti-F.A.A. ideology. Apparently, cooperating with the F.A.A., even when grant assurances are not extended, is anathema to these Quiet Skies Coalition members. Or perhaps there is another motive. Could it be that the Quiet Skies Coalition wants the current administration’s noise abatement efforts to fail? Hmmm.
So I want to express my appreciation to the town board, especially the two newest members, for putting (good) policy ahead of politics and supporting Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s efforts to get a seasonal control tower up and running this summer. Six years is long enough to wait.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
Has It Out
May 31, 2012
To the Editor,
It seems The Star has it out for Cyril’s Fish House.
During The Star’s previous coverage of the open town meeting concerning the situation at the Surf Lodge, the picture that accompanied the article was of Cyril’s Fish House, despite the fact that Cyril’s was not mentioned even once during the entire meeting. Seems that was just laying the groundwork for this week’s editorial hatchet job.
This week’s article lumped Cyril’s into the same category as the troubled hotspots in Montauk and called Cyril’s the “most troublesome case” and claimed that the crowds put “patrons and motorists at risk” and found a “local resident with a connection to the Driftwood resort” (huh?), who considered the situation a “deathtrap.”
Really? Cyril’s has been doing business in that same location with the same large crowds for 23 years without an incident. Not one. That fact was documented recently in a letter written by the Town of East Hampton chief of police. Private security personnel control the crowds and parking during busy holidays and weekends and restaurant staff ensure the entire area is kept litter-free. Further, there has never been a noise complaint because there are no residential homes within earshot. As for traffic, well, where is there not traffic during peak season weekends and holidays?
And exactly where does it say that “pre-existing, nonconforming businesses in residential zones are supposed to go away over time, not grow?” How un-American.
Further, while Cyril’s was busy this past weekend, it was no busier than it has been over the past 23 years of operation. The worst anyone can say is they had to slow down as they passed by during the few peak busy hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Twenty-three years of safe and successful operation (not to mention Cyril Fitzsimons’s generous support of a multitude of community causes and organizations) and without the need to advertise; he must be doing something right.
For the record: The town board hearing mentioned above concerned a law that would have granted outdoor entertainment permits to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants; it was not held to discuss the Surf Lodge. Also, it is worth noting that on June 18, 2011, Kristina M. Wirt of New York City was injured when she was struck by a vehicle while crossing Montauk Highway to reach Cyril’s Fish House, according to an East Hampton Town police report.
The intentions of the authors of the East Hampton Town code section on pre-existing, nonconforming uses can be construed from a 12-month “voluntary abandonment” condition in the law, after which a property owner’s right to a nonconforming use is terminated. Expansions of pre-existing, nonconforming uses and structures are specifically prohibited. Ed.
Feral Cat Poem #39
She’s an Orange Creamsicle
With paws with claws.
She’s Halloween Candy Corn
With a question-mark tail.
What Matisse-maddening Orange
And Cream atoms had to collide
To make this Marilyn of woods cats?
If ferals had beauty pageants
She’d win in a walk,
Meow for world peace,
And spit in your eye.
May 21, 2012
On behalf of all of us here at the Bay Street Theatre, we wish to thank you and your staff at The East Hampton Star for your terrific coverage and support throughout the year concerning Bay Street’s future location. Everyone on your team was always professional in their coverage and treatment of all sides of the issue.
We want you to know how much we value all that you do for our community and how very fortunate we are to have a paper like yours, and people like you here on the East End of Long Island.
June 3, 2012
While we sit and watch on TV the fight against unions going on in Wisconsin, our very own New York State Senate is refusing to take a vote on raising the minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.25 per hour.
Why do we need unions?
I defy anyone to try to live on the proposed minimum wage of $8.25 per hour, and workers can’t even get that; $7.50 per hour at current food and rent prices alone is a starvation wage.
I would suggest that we all call our state senator, Ken LaValle, at 696-6900 or 518-455-3121, and ask why he isn’t supporting this very minimal increase in the minimum wage. He has had our bilateral support for many years, and his working constituency certainly deserves his support now.
I’m weary of waiting for trickle-down economics to work. Don’t tell me anymore that businesses will be negatively affected by having to pay an increase which is still unlivable.
June 4, 2012
To the Editor,
Can you imagine a Memorial Day when we are not honoring soldiers who have been killed, wounded, or are victims of post-traumatic stress disorder? Can you imagine a world without weapons and with arms merchants unemployed? Or can you imagine we are headed for self-destruction? Which of the three questions is more relevant to you?
A few stumbling blocks may lie ahead but there is hope. A recent poll has indicated 80 percent of the American people are now against the war, Democrats and Republicans.
We’re forever talking about democracy. Remember over 10 years ago we were going to export democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan under the guise of brutal capitalism? We want your oil. We’ll sacrifice our blood after we have trained Iraqis and Afghans to fight our wars. A million have already been killed, mostly civilians.
Apparently war is not working. We have not won a war since World War II. A startling caption appeared on the front page of The New York Times on May 28: “West Point Asks If Our War Doctrine Was Worth It.” The American people need to raise the same question if we are to change course. Change will not come from the top down; only grassroots have this power. We are the solution. The alternative is perpetual war. We owe it to our children.
June 2, 2012
To the Editor,
As long as we choose to kill our future generations, we can count on losing our country. No country that has dropped below its replacement population has ever recovered. The United States is now at 2.1 children per couple, and that is only because of the immigrants’ birthrate of four per couple. There will be no one to improve life in the U.S., to invent a cure for diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or to fund your schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and food stamps. There will be no future Americans.
Now the news is not being broadcast that our legislators voted down a bill that would have made it illegal to abort babies of the unwanted gender. Sex-selective abortions in one-child China have resulted in 120 boys per 100 girls born alive. In England, France, and India the figures are worse.
Infanticide is a grave error on every level. With hundreds of couples hoping to adopt, there are waiting arms to love and nurture unwanted babies. Please choose life.
LYNDA A.W. EDWARDS