Letters to the Editor: 12.29.16

Our readers comments

Eternal Gratitude

East Hampton

December 23, 2016

To the Editor: 

As always, East Hampton Village first responders came through with glowing colors and empathy when they came to my home last Wednesday. East Hampton Town Police Officer Luke McNamara was the first to arrive and couldn’t have been more welcome. The ambulance driver, A.J. Labrozzi; Deborah O’Brien, the nurse, and Ed Downs, E.M.T., have my eternal gratitude and blessings for a happy and healthy holiday season. 


Homebound Neighbors

East Hampton

December 26, 2016

Dear David,

The holidays can be a difficult time for those who live alone and are homebound, so the efforts of community organizations to provide special holiday meals for our East Hampton Meals on Wheels clients are most welcome.

On Thanksgiving Day, East Hampton Presbyterian Church volunteers prepared turkey dinners with all the trimmings for our many clients.

On Sunday, Dec. 11, the Springs Fire Department kindly provided a choice of meals — ham or turkey — to our clients.

And on Christmas Day, our friends at American Legion Post 419 in Amagansett prepared not just a full meal, but also holiday treats for our homebound residents.

All the meals were picked up and delivered by our volunteer drivers. Our clients were delighted and thoroughly enjoyed the delicious food. We are grateful to all the folks who took time out of their busy holiday schedules to share their own good fortune with their homebound neighbors.

If you would like to help during this holiday season, please visit our website at ehmealsonwheels.org or call 631-329-1669.


Caring About You

East Hampton

December 26, 2016   

Dear David,

Once again, I bring the praises and gratitude through your paper for the nurses at Southampton Hospital. This time my stay was at Two North. They not only care for you, but are caring about you while they give you medical attention. Two North: Please remember it.

And there was a special case on the housekeeping staff — Maria, a woman from Poland who mopped up the blood and understood the world. Maria grieved for the West Coast grandma who found her 3-year-old dead because something evil got angry because she drove her car too slow.

Thank you, 2 North at Southampton hospital. You give a special meaning to the word “care.”


Truly Missed

Melbourne Beach, Fla.

December 22, 2016

To the Editor:

We read in The Star with dismay of the death of Frank Hollenbeck. When we were planning to build a new home in Montauk in 1986, we interviewed a number of architects and found him to be the most helpful, a choice which was not only wonderful for all the technical reasons but one which gave us a new very good friend. His design has provided us with a beautiful place to live for 30 years.

As we worked on the ongoing design, he was always gracious and quick with an eraser to change a plan when something new or different occurred to us. It was a joyful experience. He made absolutely the best of the building site we had. During construction, he was always on call and made frequent visits to see how things were going.

Years after the house was finished we would stop in his East Hampton office just to say hello or to consult him about a home we had planned to build in Florida. He had become a part of our lives. He will be truly missed.


Utmost Respect

Durham, N.C.

December 20, 2016

To the Editor:

I am saddened to read the passing of Richard Higer. I recall the first time I read his letters, over 10 years ago. I had worked for The Star’s printer and grabbed a copy off the press. 

I enjoyed reading his views, though I rarely agreed with him. I have the utmost respect for him, because anything he wrote he believed — a trait becoming increasingly rare these days. Rest in peace, Mr. Higer.


Hook Pond Crossing

East Hampton

December 9, 2016

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Thank you for your thoughtful Dec. 1 editorial, which highlighted issues connected with the Maidstone golf club’s Hook Pond crossing application and raised concerns regarding the proposed bridge. The Star has additionally, through numerous articles, provided important coverage of advocacy efforts toward maintaining the sylvan beauty and purity of this town we cherish.

An early colonial settlement — ironically, under these circumstances, named Maidstone, after a town in Kent — East Hampton is renowned internationally for its historic cultural richness and bucolic surroundings. For the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals at its Jan. 27 meeting to allow the Maidstone Club’s disregard for the public to succeed, is to deny a proud heritage — one in which even King Charles II in the 1660s had limits placed upon his rights in East Hampton through the Nicolls Patent. 



Senseless Destruction

East Hampton

December 26, 2016


In response to Linda Brandi’s letter regarding the “off-Dunemere Bridge”: Is she serious?

Her attempt to set the record straight is as full of mistaken facts and misconception as those she has accused of other folks’ concerned comments. You can throw in some misdirection as well. 

If the club’s paramount concern is to improve safety, then why isn’t the real danger being discussed: the club’s crossings at both multiple intersections at Old Beach and Highway Behind the Pond? Here are clearly the two most-lethal zones on Dunemere from beginning to end, where the same members, families, and guests must cross the main roadway.

The one at Highway Behind the Pond is at a misaligned four-way intersection with a triangular split. 

The other crossing at Old Beach Lane is where the mentioned summer driver incorrectly navigated the turn and flipped his vehicle, which is actually nowhere near the bridge. Nowhere did Ms. Biandi mention speed being an issue for the wreck. 

Those two areas alone should be paramount of the club’s concern, not a 20-foot-long straight stretch of road.

What does the chief of police have to say about those areas? I happen to have cleaned roadside litter on both Dunemere and Further Lanes quite often over the past several years. I adopted a mile stretch of it as well. The stretch is a raceway. Perhaps if there was more focus on speed enforcement and reminding folks that a stop sign is not a yield sign, the risk on all our roads would be decreased significantly, and that drop in risk would reflect on not only the club members, families, and their guests, but the entire community, both village and town. 

It doesn’t surprise me that the village chief feels the same concerns as the club. I think it was two years ago that, while the town set an example by fining a party for leaving its litter on Navy Beach overnight, the village did the exact opposite after I reported a club member’s party had left its trash, alcohol, fire, food, cutlery, glass, etc., on the beach overnight until I discovered the mess the following morning. I think the chief gave them a pass. Now that’s setting a great example, and, sure enough, it happened again this past year. I didn’t bother reporting it. Just took photographs and cleaned up the garbage. Fool me once, right? 

Furthermore, Ms. Brandi’s attempt to use the Department of Environmental Conservation as a positive authority in the club’s proposal is simply laughable. The D.E.C. will permit anything to promote its diabolical interests, which doesn’t include the best interests of our wildlife or our more nature-minded community. This was best proven in permitting the village’s Frankenstein fiasco with the White Buffalo buffoons, where their failed attempt to control the deer population has charges still pending in the New York attorney general’s office. 

Oh, and Ms. Brandi, who are these “expert consultants” who have “concluded” (such a strong and finalizing word) that your plan will cause minimal to no impact on fish or wildlife? I think that information is extremely important, particularly to the public. Was it someone who came out for a day and looked around, or was it someone like myself who is there almost every single morning, for years now, watching and photographing the wildlife from that bridge? 

Did her experts get to see a spawning cycle of the giant carp in that spot? How about all the wonderful waterfowl and shorebirds that feed and nest in that very location? What about the muskrats and turtles? Have the “experts” considered everything? I’d like to know who these “experts” are, and then I’d like to remind them that minimal impact is impact, and that impact at any level is unacceptable.

There is absolutely nothing she said in her letter that makes this issue anything less than another environmental disaster — and clearly for the sole benefit of the club members, families, and guests. The pond should be left alone, rather than fall victim to senseless destruction. The town and village suffers enough from this endless progression and smothering of her natural beauty. 

Enough is enough already.


Food Revolution

East Hampton

December 26, 2016

Dear Editor:

The coming New Year’s resolution should be pretty obvious, particularly when it comes to diet: 2017 will go down in history as the year when plant-based meats have revolutionized the food industry.

A dozen start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating plant-based burgers and other meats that are more delicious, convenient, and healthy than the old-fashioned animal-based variety. They are backed by tech industry pioneers like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt of Google, and Peter Thiel of PayPal. Even animal meat behemoth Tyson Foods has announced a $150 million venture capital fund to explore and invest in these products.

The plant-based food revolution is going mainstream. Hundreds of school, college, hospital, and corporate cafeterias have embraced “meatless Mondays.” Fast-food chains Chipotle, Panera, Subway, and Taco Bell are rolling out plant-based dinner options. And American consumers are responding, with fully one third reducing their intake of animal-based meats, milks, and other food products.

Let’s make this New Year’s resolution about exploring the rich variety of delicious, convenient, healthy plant-based dinners, lunch meats, cheeses, milks, and ice creams available in every supermarket. The internet offers tons of recipes and transition tips.



Bad Suggestions


December 25, 2016

To the Editor:

One can certainly hope that the Town of East Hampton is not going to take Susan McGraw Keber’s two suggestions, as published on Dec. 22, too literally.

“Closing the airport the week after firing Mr. Kirsch” might make her feel fuzzy, but might not be such a good idea after all. You have on airport property  about 50 hangar owners and other lessees who, incidentally, pay leases and property taxes to the town. And the week after, the town might very well have to deal with the same number of entities suing for damages, punitive damages, or even a class action, my modest part included. And that would just be the tip of the iceberg.

No wonder, really, that “Meigs Field in Chicago-style” comes to her mind. (this must make her feel even better). But in fact, this is the perfect quintessential example of exactly what not to emulate. Chicago is called the Windy City not because it has the strongest average winds in the United States (that’s Boston), but because of the enduring corruption of the city government.

The mastermind behind the infamous, illegal, and destructive Meigs Field operation in March 2003 has since moved to North Carolina to raise goats and make cheese (fromage de chevre). The contractor who, under the cover of darkness, actually performed the misdeed of ripping up the single runway of Meigs Field with the bulldozers, was jailed for a while for public corruption. The criminal mayor who ordered the whole thing is now retired (full pension, thank you!). He was investigated, but never prosecuted. He should have been. He also should have been convicted and skinned alive. The city was fined $10,000, pocket change for a city budget. And, last but not least, one of the current candidates for mayor of the City of Chicago is in favor of reopening it as an airport. (Good luck!)

Perhaps Susan McGraw Keber should not intermingle her desires with reality. This always leads to bad suggestions, even if nobody really takes them seriously (I hope!).


Noise Plague

East Hampton

December 26, 2016

To the Editor:

In the letters column of The Star’s Dec. 22 edition, a local pilot wrote a lengthy and mean-spirited attack on David Gruber, a longstanding spokes­man for the area-wide victims of the aircraft noise plague associated with the East Hampton Airport. The author argued that the recent decision of a three-judge panel of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals halting East Hampton town’s airport nose control rules demonstrated that Mr. Gruber’s legal arguments had been “consistently wrong” and have brought on a “fiasco.”

Disproving the fabricated legal basis for the local pilot’s diatribe does not require a lengthy response.

The plain history is that Mr. Gruber’s analysis of the law was solid until the recent shocking and poorly reasoned three-judge panel decision, for which East Hampton town is seeking Supreme Court review. 

Prior to that decision, Mr. Gruber’s legal positions about the Airport Noise and Capacity Act, Federal Aviation Administration grant assurances, and the town’s propriety rights to protect the community from airport-related noise had been established by the same Second Circuit Court in 1998. The case was National Helicopter Co. v. City of New York, which the new three-judge panel effectively overruled. 

Moreover, the F.A.A. itself had confirmed the 1998 state of the law in a 2005 federal court judicial settlement specifically for benefit of East Hampton Town. And the F.A.A. went further, actually declaring that understanding in its 2012 written report to then Rep. Tim Bishop, a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation. 

Under the then Second Circuit law, East Hampton was free after the Dec. 31, 2014, expiration of F.A.A. grant assurances to impose reasonable restrictions on airport access for community noise protection purposes. ANCA would not apply so long as East Hampton did not wish to obtain further F.A.A. funding (with renewed grant assurances). By overruling National Helicopter, the recent judicial panel changed all of that for the first time.

I am surprised that a local pilot would take such pleasure in the current (I hope short-lived) legal victory of the out-of-state corporate helicopter interests that have caused the real “fiasco,” the current noise plague on our community. That pleasure and the attack on Mr. Gruber thus is not only mean-spirited. It also is a shame. I doubt that that one author speaks for many of his local pilot brethren.




One More Cruel Blow


December 25, 2016

To the Editor,

I am writing to express my profound sadness learning of the fire that brought down the Sag Harbor Cinema and seeing the empty spot where she once stood. Like so many in this community, this loss has affected me deeply. Following the devastating election, it was like one more cruel blow.

I am a resident of Springs, not Sag Harbor, but this cinema has played a role in my life since I first moved to the East End in the early 1980s. My husband and I went often — sometimes weekly — in the past 34 years, always sitting in the same seats on the left. 

We loved everything about the cinema — the big screen, the curtains, the slightly moldy aroma, the clanging of the heat pipes, the popcorn smell, the “Blue Velvet”-like atmosphere of the bathrooms, the fact that sometimes it was the same person who sold the tickets, took the tickets, and then would sell the candy and drinks. 

I remember the dinner and movie specials run in conjunction with the American Hotel. But I mostly remember the amazing, obscure, great films we saw, feeling oftentimes like we were in a private audience of maybe 12 patrons. The last film we saw there was “Moonlight,” one week before the fire.

I am grateful to have had the chance to experience the Sag Harbor Cinema all these years and hope she (as well as the Democrats) will rise again.