Letters: Helicopters, scoreboards and ticks

Helicopter as symbol

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, Cliff Clark, Matt and Shelly Rohde and I had the honor of participating in the South Fork Soldier Ride. For me, it was an uplifting and emotional event. The eastbound lanes of both Route 114 and Route 27 (and in some stretches west, also) were shut down from Amagansett to Sag Harbor.

Imagine that — on a Saturday morning in July — over 30 miles of highway and major intersections were closed while 1,000 or more bicycles rode through. I did not hear one motorist complain. Most clapped and said thank you.

After the race, my wife Rebecca and I held hands and cried while a young Marine who was serving with Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter [of Sag Harbor] spoke of the morning that Jordan and Corporal Jonathan T. Yale laid down their lives to save so many others.

I remembered how, four years ago, Joey Thienert, an Army officer, and Sean Clark, an Annapolis midshipman, brought my son with them to Jordan’s funeral.

I asked Joey to make sure that Zack saw Jordan’s mother, saw her pain, so that he would have some understanding of the harsh realities of war. But did I understand those realities myself?

Four years ago, I never gave a thought or worried that things might end up the way that they have. Maybe that’s what hurts the most. The very lesson I wanted my son to learn was lost on me. I never gave Joey a hug. I never told Joey I was proud to have him as a friend. I never told him thank you.

But this Labor Day, I will honor not only the memory of Joey but all of the young men and women who are, and have, served this great nation by participating in the first annual Lieutenant Joe Theinert Spur Ride [on Shelter Island on Sunday, September 2].

While most people across the U.S. merely gas up their boats and fire up their barbecues, I will be on Shelter Island where we will gather together with over 40 Purple Heart recipients to ride our bicycles for a good cause, then gather at the Legion for a cook out where we can personally thank some of the veterans who have sacrificed so much for this country.

JFK once said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

Over the past two months, I have witnessed the Vietnam-era helicopter fly-over not only the South Fork Soldier Ride but also the Joseph Theinert Foundation’s Claudio’s boat cruise. In Vietnam, the helicopter was what brought you off the field; it was the first step in bringing you home. This is why I find our helicopter to be a symbol that represents most of today’s living veterans. I hope that we can find a way to have it land on Fiske Field, where it will be seen and appreciated by everyone on the Island.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for the neighbors of the field to have every community event (from the 10K to Bucks games) happen in their backyard. But I can also not imagine what it would be like to be Joey’s mother, Chrys Kestler, back in June when I experienced the best day in my life — the day we welcomed Zack back home from Afghanistan.

Chrys came with us that day. I watched her cry in the airport as she helped us welcome my son home, knowing that her own son would never make the same trip. It was truly an honor to have her there.

Shelter Island

Another reminder

To the Editor:

Now that we are finally extracting our precious troops from the no-win humiliations of Iraq and Afghanistan, do we need another reminder of the embarrassment of our defeat and withdrawal under fire from Vietnam in 1975?

Who can forget the front-page photos of American helicopters on the roof of our Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) embassy as we evacuated our staff and abandoned many of our loyal allies? The idea of landing a Vietnam-era Marine helicopter on Fiske Field (or anywhere else on Shelter Island) would, in my humble opinion, constitute a symbolic insult to the millions of Americans whose peaceful protests brought our ill-conceived and insensitive involvement in Vietnam (which cost us 58,000 American lives) to an end.

Surely, the proponents of this ill-advised and insensitive concept can find less provocative and more positive ways of honoring a fallen soldier than by turning Shelter Island into a memorial to defeat and disillusion, and more importantly, a staging area for further military recruitment of our most treasured possessions, our unsuspecting young.

Shelter Island

Instrument of death

To the Editor:

Why we would land a helicopter (in this case an instrument of death) on Fiske Field would be a thought-provoking question to ask the people of Shelter Island.

And another: Is this the only way to memorialize a young man, now one of over 6,000 servicemen and women dead from war in Iraq and Afghanistan?

And: Is the landing of such aircraft meant to be an incentive for supporting our wounded 500,000 and counting, as PTSD and deep psychic wounds surface?

And: Is Fiske Field not a place for the gathering of people celebrating sports?

And one more: How many Iraqis and how many Afghanis were on the planes that flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania?”

Shelter Island

Why a scoreboard?

To the Editor:

Regarding Ellen Cava’s “Scoreboard downsides” letter to the editor, August 9, 2012:

Fiske Field is school property, not private property.

It has always been used for Shelter Island High School baseball but lacks any scoreboard, which now will be provided by private donations.

The new scoreboard is the best that can be provided for the game that meets game and spectator requirements.

A wooden scoreboard with manual numbers (as suggested by Cava) is just as view-restricting as an electric LED number scoreboard, so Cava’s compromise does nothing for improving the view.

Getting kids involved to keep score is a huge resource burden on the people of Shelter Island that is not easily met for each and every game played by Shelter Island Bucks and Shelter Island High School baseball teams over many months. An electric scoreboard reduces the manpower requirement to one person, which is already available from the staff of each team.

Electric costs are minimal (again, due to technological innovation) as LED lighting requires very little voltage/amperage compared to older, candescent lights.

Use of Fiske Field should include the requirements of baseball as well as those of soccer, golf and dog-walking (which Cava mentions). Nowhere does a baseball scoreboard interfere with those sports (although I doubt that Fiske Field was intended for golf, which needs far more acreage than is available). Nor does it interfere with the finish of our popular Shelter Island 10K run, which Cava somehow ignored as an athletic field use.

Denying this new scoreboard would be detrimental to spectator enjoyment of our new and very popular Shelter Island Bucks Collegiate League Baseball team as well as to deny our high school baseball teams a no-cost improvement to their seasons.

The scoreboard helps those of us who know the game to see at a glance what the specific jobs are of the current batter and those on the field. There is a reason for sacrifice bunts and flies dictated by runners on base and number of outs (advance the current runner to a scoring position); for deliberately walking a batter to load the bases if there is one out and any base is open (enable a double play); know what type of pitch to expect based on current ball-strike count, etc.

The new scoreboard will allow all of the spectators to be immediately informed of the status of the game at any moment and therefore enjoy how well or poorly the players execute their assignments.

Finally, this scoreboard reflects the fabulous ability of Shelter Islanders to come together for the benefit of their town when it is needed.

Shelter Island

Opinion on ticks

To the Editor:

I have lived on Shelter Island since 1975 and this is the first time I am writing a letter to the editor.

I have read Ms. Robotti’s articles with interest and overall I find them quite helpful except for some minor points of disagreement that I have with her.

Ms. Robotti states that nymphal and adult ticks can attach on humans. This is incorrect as the adult tick never attaches on humans. As their name clearly implies, deer ticks have the deer as their main host. The statement that ticks are carried by mice, birds chipmunks etc. is incorrect to the extent that deer ticks rarely infect these small animals with the exception of the white-footed mouse. As studies have shown, only about 10-percent of these small animals carry Lyme disease.

I have no problem with the rest of the article until she mentions the Damminix treatment, which was shown to be ineffective at least 15 years ago and is no longer available except perhaps on eBay.

Mr. Reilly mentions a prophylactic course of doxycycline for two days. A controlled study comparing the efficacy of this treatment with no treatment at all came to the conclusion that, while there was a slight benefit from the treatment, the side-effects of the doxycycline were slightly greater than no treatment at all

The TB/4 test is useless in the case of Lyme disease as the only way to diagnose Lyme disease accurately is by seeing the typical skin lesion. A blood test six to eight weeks later only tells you that the patient has had Lyme disease sometime in the past. In the early stages of Lyme disease, patients do not have fever or muscle aches as an indication for treatment. The typical rash is unlikely to appear 72 hours later especially if the prophylactic treatment that Mr. Reilly recommends is effective. I would recommend that you send the blood for a Lyme test to the Eastern Long Island Hospital lab, which uses a very good lab in Massachusetts where they will do an eliza and western blot [tests.]

Babesiosis and Erlichiosis can be diagnosed immediately by looking at the blood smear. Babesiosis is a form of malaria and the organism can be seen in the red blood cells on a routine blood smear. The same goes for Erlichiosis, which are present in the lymphocytes and can also be seen on a routine blood smear.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is quite rare in this area. I saw only two cases in the 32 years that I practiced here. This seems to be related to the disappearance of the dog tick. I would not treat it unless I saw the typical rash and other signs of the disease.

I do not understand why one should not have a bird feeder in the spring and summer unless one hangs it over the mulch pile.

The number of deer ticks that are infected with Lyme disease depends on the part of the Island you canvass, as in Mashomack, where there were areas that 90-percent of the ticks were infected.

In regard to Mr. Reilly’s recommendation for removing the tick, squeezing it with a tweezer only pumps the bacteria that are in the tick’s gut into the patient.

The correct way to remove a tick is to scrape it off with a knife without rupturing the engorged tick. The head of the tick usually stays attached to the skin but it is harmless, as there are no bacteria in it. The best way to remove the head is to leave it alone as it will eventually fall out. Trying to remove it is a painful, useless procedure.

I would like to recommend to the mayor of North Haven not to deploy the 4-poster as the problem is not the epidemic of ticks but the epidemic of deer. I don’t know if there are any people there who remember that approximately 15 or 20 years ago you went through the same situation that you have now minus the 4-posters. In those years traveling on 114, there were deer everywhere, which made travel on that road extremely dangerous. At that time, the town had a plane with an infrared camera to count the deer and found there were 600 deer in parts of North Haven and based on that information they hired sharpshooters who culled the herd and reduced the problem significantly.

Shelter Island

What a league!

To the Editor:

This was my first year involved with Hamptons Collegiate Baseball with my son playing on the Riverhead Tomcats. It was the experience of a lifetime. Not only was my son on the team but we were fortunate enough to host a young man from Louisiana. This gave my son someone to drive back and forth with, since we lived 45 minutes from the field, and someone to practice hitting with on those rare “off” days. They were able to share and blend together the coaching tips from the Northeast and the South. This benefitted them both tremendously.

The league gave each player a gym membership for the summer. Here again, these young men shared their collective knowledge and all became bigger and stronger. Also, I could not believe all of the people who became host families when they did not even have a son on the team. I have never met such nice people in any previous league. The coaches, assistants, managers and administrators were all exceptional. This is a team that my son, my husband and myself will remember forever. Thank you, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball!


Mystery plant named

To the Editor:

This is in response to Melanie Coronetz’s letter with regard to the vine she sees on the Island and was wondering what it is.

The vine, I believe, is called Dutchman’s Pike, Aristolochia macrophylla. It is a deciduous vine that thrives in the eastern United States and people like it for its small flowers that look like Dutchman’s pipes or saxophones, if you will. Great for privacy and it can take over a wall or building if allowed.

Many years ago, when I lived on West Neck Road, it grew next to what was then the Behringer property, the Shelter Island House. It took over the small barn next to my house and everybody marveled at how fascinating the leaves were as they can be from 9 to 10 inches across. If pulled, it will probably just take off again!

Shelter Island

Useless laws

To the Editor:

Recent events have really brought the gun control debate into the national spotlight like never before. I just finished reading the Suffolk Closeup column entitled “Cowering over guns” and I cannot help having to make some comments about it. The first issue I had was where Mr. Grossman stated that if Barack Obama had reinstated the assault weapons ban, then that would have prohibited the AR-15 used in the Colorado theatre shooting.

No, it wouldn’t have! Criminals don’t care about laws and they could obtain one of those weapons any time they wanted one whether it was legal or not. I couldn’t agree more with Randy Altschuler where he stated that “all the gun control laws in the world won’t stop an unstable, violent person from securing a gun and committing a heinous crime.” If I lived in New York State, I would vote for that man tomorrow because he understands basic common sense. I’ve never liked the term “assault weapon” anyway. The word “assault” is a verb not an adjective and you don’t necessarily need a weapon to assault someone.

Another issue I had was with the statement about “6,000 bullets, there is no constitutional right to build a secret ammunition dump.” I hate to inform you of this but we have a God-given, inalienable right to legally buy anything someone feels like laying down their hard earned money to buy. It’s called the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s about freedom. Someone needs a remedial lesson in what our Declaration of Independence and Constitution really stand for. Look up what natural law means. That’s typical liberal thinking — “If I don’t like it and don’t want to do it, you can’t either.”

The closing statement about “the National Rifle Association as always leading the way in blocking action” was yet another example of this attitude. The NRA doesn’t block action. They stand up and fight for people’s constitutional rights. Just because you may not like what they stand for doesn’t mean you can make them sound like they have done something wrong when you don’t like what they do.

This debate will never go away. The liberal anti-gun crowd argues from the point of emotion and what feels good. The conservative pro-gun crowd argues from the point of logic, common sense and facts. Fact is 200 million legal guns didn’t hurt anybody today. It’s also fact that more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens equals less crime and fewer guns in the hands of law abiding citizens equals more crime.

Just look at the level of gun crimes in places where guns are heavily restricted like Chicago, Washington, D.C., Camden, New Jersey and your own New York City. Gun crimes are out of control in these places. Gun laws don’t work. These are facts that some people just can’t comprehend because they’re stuck in their own agenda. More people are hurt or killed by cars than by guns, but we don’t have a raging debate about controlling cars because it’s not a politically loaded issue.

I live in the South where guns are a normal part of everyday life. I carry a gun on my person every day because I live in a state that has basic common sense laws which recognize my freedom to exercise my right as a citizen to be armed and be a deterrent to anyone who may try to harm myself or my family. I know a lot of other people who also exercise that right. It’s a non-issue for us. We are not like the Wild West down here and we have low gun crime compared to places that have restrictive gun laws because the bad guys know that the good guys here are armed. Restrictive gun laws only affect law-abiding citizens and not the criminals who will do whatever they want to do. An armed society is a polite society. Gun control is not about guns, it’s about control.

Hahira, Georgia
(former Shelter Islander)

Retired teachers meet

To the Editor:

The East End Retired Teachers’ Association has many of its members residing on Shelter Island.

Our next meeting is on September 5, 2012. This meeting is a luncheon at the Vineyard Restaurant. Southampton is the host town. Please contact Suzanne and Frank Jessup at 631-288-3827 for membership information.

We all enjoy our meetings very much and welcome new members!

Shelter Island