Letters to the Editor: 12.19.13

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Close Calls at Sea
    Amagansett
    December 15, 2013

To the Editor,
    As one dragger captain said, “We all have had our close calls at sea.”
    The morning Billy and I left the dock on Billy the Kid to join the search for John from the Anna Mary is a day none of us will ever forget. Every boat has its own story to tell. When you are looking for someone in the ocean it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. The debris out there — balloons, garbage — every little thing catches your eye. The more eyes looking, the higher the chances are.
    The radio sounded and we heard, “Coast Guard’s got him!” Another voice shouting, “Is he alive?” “Yes, yes, he’s alive, he’s alive!” I don’t think there was a dry eye out there that day. Coming around the Lighthouse gave a whole new meaning to life. Miracles do happen, that’s a big ocean.
    Coast Guard Station Montauk had a ceremony to honor everyone who joined in the search for John. What a great feeling to know, when push comes to shove, there is an awesome group of fishermen in Montauk!
    Afterward I recalled a dragging trip. We were three days into our trip, catching the biggest sea bass and scup I had ever seen. I was awakened to alarms and black smoke so thick I couldn’t see. We had a bad fire in the engine room and were now disabled and afloat.
    The ocean was like a mill pond. It took one and a half days for the Coast Guard cutter Bainbridge Island to reach us. I will never forget seeing the Coast Guard coming, and they couldn’t come fast enough. After all, its not like towing your car to the Mobil station.
    As Anthony said, they, meaning the Coast Guard, listened to him that day, as the government is always out to hurt commercial fishermen. We were in no immediate danger once the fire was out and the four of us onboard were towed safely back home.
    A very big thank-you to the men and women of the Coast Guard. We can’t thank them enough for keeping us safe out there!

KELLY LESTER

Lee Had Noble Grace
    East Hampton
    December 16, 2013

To the Editor,
    Lee Hayes was a remarkable man. And the amazing thing was that Nelson Mandela died at almost the same time. How could that be? I know it sounds crazy, but I always thought of Lee as a king, even though his life never had the awesomeness of Nelson’s. But Lee in his orbit had the race and gorgeous will to take his fortune — racism — without complaining.
    This country refused people of color the life they deserved. East Hampton was a racist community. Lee was a first-rate pilot and he couldn’t get a job flying. Isn’t that lousy? Yes, it is. So he ended up a carpenter.
    I wish I could have helped him. I knew Lee well because I married David Myers, who restored houses and hired Lee to assist him all the time. So not only did I watch him at work, but after David and Lee retired, Lee would come over to our house to chat with David; they were really close friends.
    Lee had noble grace. You can’t buy that quality. He had an inner handsomeness and a sweetness. You can’t fake that. I find it impossible to share with you his special charisma, but I’m sure you get it.
    At the funeral Monday, I saw handsome Craig, his son. I went over to him and embraced him, crying. Even though it was his father who had just passed, he spent the whole time calming my tears. Of course, he would do that; he is Lee’s son. I really appreciated that. Lee lived a valiant life. We all respect him. Believe it.

CLAIRE HOOTEN

Tree Lights
    East Hampton
    December 16, 2013

Dear David,
    East Hampton Village at Christmas has always been a place of great beauty. Unfortunately, over the past few years, the elegance and serenity of the village has been transformed by the garish and cheap lights strung on the Christmas trees along Main Street.
    We just have to look at the traditional and thoughtful tree lights along the Main Streets of Bridgehampton, Water Mill, and Wainscott to remind ourselves how beautiful East Hampton used to be.
    Why has East Hampton Village cheapened itself?

GAIL and TIM HEALY

Price of Propane
    Montauk
    December 15, 2013

Dear Editor:
    We reside at Montauk Shores Condo with 200 units in our complex. Back in July we were paying $2.99 for propane with Schenk Gas Co. They were sold to Suburban Propane during the summer.
    We had been on a 45-day delivery for a 100-pound tank, so on Oct. 31 we paid $3.12 per gallon, totaling $258.76. Twenty-two days later, Nov. 22, we paid $4.11 per gallon, totaling $176.12. Fourteen days later, on Dec. 6, we paid $4.42 per gallon, totaling $161.85. Then one week later, Dec. 13, we paid $4.83 per gallon, totaling $135.12.
    In 42 days we have received delivery of 182.1 gallons of propane for a grand total of $731.85. We called Suburban’s office in East Hampton and asked them to put us back on the 45-day schedule, to no avail, stating that we didn’t ask for biweekly or weekly deliveries, we were just fine last year with 45 days of delivery and at times once a month.
    When we go on the wholesale propane website there is no increase noted. We both are in our late 70s and live on fixed incomes. This has gotten out of control, with increases on a weekly basis totaling $1.95 in just over a month’s time.
    We can’t be the only family this is happening to. We purposely changed over our heating system to gas a little over a year ago, and installed an instant hot water heater, hoping to avoid the high cost of oil. Looks like we were wrong.
    The company’s answer is that they don’t want us to run out. What do they expect us to use in one week’s time?

    CHARLES and
    AURELIE HASENOUR

One Significant Name
    Amagansett
    December 16, 2013

Dear Editor:
    Over the last few years, from time to time, I sat down, usually pretty angry, to write a letter to this great newspaper about the shocking performance of what I dubbed the Republican “gang of three” majority on our present town board. Happily on Nov. 5, a significant majority of my fellow citizens of all three major parties decided it was time to get back to sane, sensible governance. So I was particularly delighted to hear, at a small Democratic “victory” party last week, the incoming supervisor, Larry Cantwell, announce that he has invited the incoming Republican board member, Fred Overton, to attend all the transitional meetings held prior to the board’s installation on Jan. 2. Quite a difference an election makes.
    At this party last week, as in all such events, many attendees who had worked hard during the year were named; even I was one of them. However, as I drove home that night, it occurred to me that one very very significant name was not noted for her outstanding contribution over the past few years, namely, our diminutive Demo­cratic dynamic leader, Jeanne Frankl. So, on behalf of us all, we belatedly congratulate you on a job well done.

IRVING HIRSCHBERG

555 Was Mismanaged
    Amagansett
    December 12, 2013

Dear Editor,
    I read with some surprise the report you carried this week of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. I’m puzzled by Chairman Brew’s fulminations, particularly his suggestion that those opposed to the 555 scheme, as presented, are creating “hysteria” via “scare tactics.”
    By chance, I attended the ACAC meeting last April as an observer. I’ve been a homeowner in the hamlet since 2002. I was keen to see how ACAC affairs were conducted. Almost casually, a number of executives from “Putnam Amagansett” stepped forward to present their scheme. I was appalled that an idea with such huge consequences would be framed to the advisory committee almost as “for your information.”
    As I recall, Mr. Brew made it clear on that evening that the 555 scheme was not up for discussion by the committee. He implied that there would be plenty of time for discussion later in the year. The next thing I heard was a “call to arms” in November — posted on Facebook — after the lame-duck town board had given the project its support. And Mr. Brew wonders why the 555 protest group whirled into action?
    At a meeting in November, we had hoped to open dialogue with the 555 representatives, but they failed to show up. They did, however, appear at the Dec. 4 meeting of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. Their wrong-headed proposal was soundly defeated, for all the reasons outlined by our protest group.
    It seems to me that Mr. Brew might be angry at himself as much as with others who have thwarted him. I suspect he knows that 555 was mismanaged from the outset — by the developers, by officials who might have given them false hope, and by others in the town who, let’s face it, had a fair chance of gaining financially from it.
    Most people in the area would agree that we do need more affordable housing. We should open dialogue and we should welcome modest, environmentally sensitive ideas that chime with the town’s comprehensive plan. The 555 scheme failed on all those criteria. “Hysterical”? So be it.

BRIAN JOHNSON

Covered in Rye
    Boston
    December 9, 2013

To the Editor,
    Re: Near field communications.
    Dear student of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may your field be covered in rye and your boats be tied up for Christmas and New Year’s.

    Yours,
    GEORGE RICHERT