This week’s letters to the editor


To the Editor:
I read the article in the May 16 edition of the Reporter about the paper gobbler coming to town (“Staying Hungry”).

I am certain we all have many, many pages of written texts that have accumulated over the years, some perhaps we’d rather not acknowledge.

This was a very good project undertaken by the Shelter Island Green Expo 2013. However, the reference to Col. Oliver North shredding documents around the clock need not have been made. It politicized this editorial [article].
May I suggest that the shredder be sent to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, so it could be used to shred all the documents concerning the I.R.S., Benghazi and the Associated Press, which are now being brought to the attention of all citizens.

Shelter Island

Shelter Island blessings
To the Editor:
I enjoyed the Island Profile of my son Jason Shields in all its compelling honesty — it has been quite a journey — but there is one correction I would like to make. The article states that Alan saved me from the “gloom” of the Weber estate — to call it gloom is far from true. Caroline Weber, her family and the other staff became a second family to us.

I consider the opportunity to work there one of the greatest blessings of my life and will always be grateful for that time, that place and those wonderful people who kept us until the next chapter, the next blessing, Alan Shields, came along.
Shelter Island

Let it be
To the Editor:
“The lights are on, but nobody’s home.” So said several concerned citizens at a recent Town Board work session. While pursuing their “dark skies” agenda, they know who have left the lights on and how long they have been away. Are they roaming the streets at night, making a list? Short of checking up on a senior citizen and homeland security purposes, should neighbors be tracking the whereabouts of other neighbors for any other reason?

One person suggested that if she can see the distasteful lights, no matter how far from wherever she is, they should be forbidden via the dark skies legislation. Another audience member wanted all the ugly LED lights banished, whether she can see them or not. Our right to live as we chose to, as individuals, will also be inhibited.

The discussion then turned to noses and your right to swing your arms. Obviously, how big your nose is and how long your arms are becomes the issue. I believe that we should be able to swing our arms as much as we want to, on our own property. Others should just point their noses in another direction if they do not want to see the light. Their eyes will follow.

Some real questions for the Town Board are how the law will be applied and enforced. Will we be able to light our property in late October when it gets dark at about 6 p.m.? I often finish up some outdoor task until about 8 p.m. Will a neighbor be able to file a police complaint if I am quietly working in my driveway with the lights on?

Can I determine what lights are needed for safety and security? Will I be allowed to illuminate my house numbers at the driveway entrance? Our first responders have asked that we all display our house numbers. Will they be able to quickly find a home, with no exterior lights on, in the pitch black, on a dark back road, in the middle of the night?

Will bright interior lighting that shines through large picture windows and illuminates the outdoors also be illegal? If the light on my property is not a problem for my neighbors, then why must I go through the trouble and expense of changing my lamps and fixtures?

As for the environmental concerns, the owls and other creatures of the night have plenty of dark sky at Mashomack and the many other open space areas on the Island.

The perfect dark skies law needs to be tempered with the realistic needs of the majority of the citizens here. Better yet, just leave well enough alone.
Shelter Island

Something in the water
To the Editor:
“It’s the Island’s tradition to protect the environment and preserve its lifestyle as much as possible.” This is a statement from [Councilwoman Christine] Lewis, regarding the impending “dark skies” legislation. According to Ms. Lewis, we’re the only East End town to not have a dark skies law. We’re also the only town on the East End to allow the wood preservative in the pilings, known as CCA.

CCA is lumber that is pressurized with an aqueous solution containing copper, chromate and arsenic. The arsenic is chemically bound in the wood by the chromate, and the copper gives it that slight greenish tint. CCA pressure-treated wood contains arsenic, which can be released from the wood in several different ways. Burning, mechanical abrasion, direct contact and acid release are the means for the extraction of the arsenic. Think about this the next time you see your floating dock rubbing against the piling as it rises and falls with the tide.

Arsenic gives no warning; it doesn’t have a specific taste or odor to warn you of its presence. Like any heavy metal poisoning, it is cumulative. Acid rain can also release the chemical into the environment. Germany, Canada and quite a few U.S. states have banned it completely, and the EPA has banned it from residential use.

So, the question here is what motivates the Town Board to be so inclined to be more concerned with lights, rather than the health and safety of the water, which affects everyone on this Island. As someone who used to be head of a Water Advisory Board, I can assure you that when you compromise the quality of the water, you ruin the integrity of the environment.

It’s time for the Town Board to step up to the plate and make some formidable decisions about protecting the water supply, both fresh and salt. Those are real threats to the quality of life on the Island, not the lighting, which has virtually no negative effect on the environment of Shelter Island.
Shelter Island

Summer 2013
To the Editor:
The summer of 2013 is drawing near
Bring out the chaise and chill the beer
I love the wakening feel of the Island vibe
Along with the sun the grandkids arrive
Some wonderful stewards give of their time
To remind us how the present and past align
On 114 history is preserved at Havens House and Barn
And at the Manor there is Shakespeare and a vibrant farm
On some days we may meet at the PO or the IGA
And if so we’ll take a minute to chat and say hey
“How’s your summer going? Mine’s busy but fun
Friends coming and going, will cleaning and cooking ever be done?”
Shelter Island