To the Editor:
A major component of my opponent’s campaign is bemoaning the loss of St. Gabriel’s as open space. Where was he when we were fighting to save it?
1. In the beginning of the century, as chairman of the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board (2 percent open space committee, I purchased from St. Gabriel’s as town open space the beautiful 8 acres running from Cartwright Road down Burns Road to the weeping willow trees. Burns Road neighbors chipped in on the purchase price, as did the Shelter Island Fire Department. St. Gabriel’s leaders acknowledged to me that, with their other sources of income and contributions, the approximately $900,000 would provide adequate working capital to continue operating their Island mission for the foreseeable future. (The alternative, by the way, was seven homes on one acre lots.)
2. A decade later, when the Passionists put the remainder on the market, I secured, with Ed Romaine’s invaluable assistance, a commitment from the Suffolk County Parks Department to pay 100 percent of the purchase price for 6 to 8 acres of St. Gabriel’s parkland provided the town pledged to use the house on Burns Road for town purposes — senior services, FIT Center, whatever. St. Gabriel’s turned me down, claiming it would carve out a chunk of the property desirable to a developer.
3. With the property on the market, through the energetic efforts of Collette and John Roe and others, an informal group began meeting regularly to explore all possible options to save St. Gabriel’s. Father Bob, a Passionist Priest, would often travel down from White Plains to join us. I attended and the word was spread among past and present employees of St. Gabriel’s and Our Lady of the Isle parishioners. They were well attended, energetic meetings. My opponent never attended a single meeting.
Apparently his concern for the loss of St. Gabriel’s only surfaced recently when he decided to begin getting involved in Shelter Island activities starting at the top.
4. I urged the 2 percent committee repeatedly to make an offer. They said St. Gabriel’s was ineligible for open space preservation as it had buildings on it. I said this was inaccurate — when I was chairman of the 2 percent committee I acquired, for example, the Shelter Island Nursery, Klenawicus Airport, development rights for the Ryan horse farm, as open space, all with buildings. My colleagues on the Town Board wanted a recommendation from the 2 percent committee before considering acquisition.
Supervisor, Town of Shelter Island
To the Editor:
We want to express our appreciation to the South Ferry and the Shelter Island Police Department.
On Friday, October 13 at 1 a.m. our 11½-year-old Doberman Pinscher, Austin, was very lethargic and drinking copious amounts of water. We were very concerned and called the police department, as well at the East End Veterinary Center in Riverhead.
The police reached out to the South Ferry company and they agreed to take Pierre and Austin to North Haven so we could drive to Riverhead for treatment. Captain Matt Rohde and First Mate Katie Olinkiewicz were not only prompt but very understanding and waived the fee for our trip. We cannot say enough to express our gratitude to these two remarkable people.
We’re pleased to say that Austin is doing much better.
As new year-round residents on Shelter Island we are heartened by the response of these generous people and awed by the commitment of the community on this Island to helping each other in time of need.
DAVID STEWARD and PIERRE FRIEDRICHS