To the Editor:
As the letter in last week’s Reporter from a former supervisor states, “Shelter Island has been the leader in preserving open space.” I was chairman of the 2 percent Open Space Committee from its inception in 1999 until I became supervisor in 2008 and can tell you discretion has always been critically important for success with open space preservation. Sellers and buyers don’t want their stories in the papers on a weekly basis regarding discussions. Recently a conservation buyer button-holed me to explore a possible conservation purchase of the 1.23-acre parcel on Manwaring Road described in the first paragraph of the front page story in last week’s Reporter — these approaches happen all the time. (The other 1.23-acre parcel on Manwaring Road donated to the town by Peconic Land Trust became the site of two businesses some years ago, and I will do anything to prevent this from happening with this parcel.) But it’s academic — with the curious publicity, he’s gone.
Portions of the former highway barn property — 4.1 acres — could be temporarily leased to generate some income for the town, reducing taxes for all of us. I have had some conversations re: same, but would need to get Town Board approval if we reached an understanding. In any event, I am at a loss why preliminary conversations rate negative front page coverage.
Re: our finances. We’re getting proposals from several quarters to spend additional non-budgeted taxpayer money on equipment, projects and headcount. We must respectfully listen to these requests but we also need to ask where the money would come from, other than from your pockets in increased taxes.
The Reporter, in this front page story last week, indicated some of my Town Board colleagues feel we’re in fine shape financially and tax wise. I would appreciate being let in on the secret. Meanwhile I remain very cautious and vigilant.
Supervisor, Town of Shelter Island
To the Editor:
I’m a new member of the Deer and Tick Committee, but I’m not writing as a committee member, but as a concerned citizen who believes that protecting the health of our community is of utmost importance. I have spent the last four months reading as much information as possible about deer management strategies. Shelter Island and East End communities are not alone; the overabundance of deer has clearly impacted human health and ecosystems throughout the United States. Restoring balance on Shelter Island and the East End has become a political hot potato.
As president of the Silver Beach Association, I asked the almost 60 residents who attended last year’s annual meeting if they thought the deer herd needed to be reduced. A total of 84 percent voted in favor of culling the herd. The residents most commonly cited property damage, car accidents and tick-borne illnesses as reasons for better deer management. Having had personal experience with babesiosis some three-plus years ago, I clearly understand why it’s important to protect human health. People who live on, or come to visit our beautiful Island, love the outdoors. It is the responsibility of both individuals and local governments to help protect the health of its citizens.
Both Richard Kelly’s letter and Jack Kiffer’s guest column in the Reporter take great pleasure in trying to convince the readers that the Deer and Tick Committee and its chairman, Mr. Mike Scheibel, have it “all wrong.” Both the letter and column are filled with inaccuracies and personal attacks. Somehow I don’t think that accomplishes anything.
Attending recent committee meetings has taught me a great deal. This is an emotionally charged issue that brings out the extremes — those who love deer and feed them in their backyards as well as those who want to kill them all. This overabundancy of deer didn’t happen overnight and the solutions to help restore balance will take time. But let us not throw science out the window when it comes to finding solutions to problems.
We can learn much from communities that have tried different deer management strategies. The use of the 4-poster units throughout the Island, including at Mashomack, is designed to help reduce the tick population and protect human health. Once the deer population meets recommended numbers and there is a drastic reduction in ticks, it may become possible to reduce the number of 4-poster units accordingly. It is important to mention that the committee has consistently supported the efforts of local hunters in helping to cull the herd.
The committee is also seeking to develop several key “success indicators” (ie: lower number of deer-related vehicle accidents, lower rates of tick-borne illnesses, less damage to private properties, regeneration of our forest understory and trees.) By monitoring, measuring and recording these success indicators, we, as a community, will be better able to know if we have restored a sense of balance to our ecosystems. We need to support good decisions based upon scientific data, not on the off-base comments of a few.
Constructive criticism is always appreciated and is a necessary part of finding answers to difficult questions. Learning to be team players, to compromise if necessary, to appreciate and respect differences of opinion, is what’s inherent in successful groups.
I, for one, deeply respect the knowledge, experience and leadership that Mr. Scheibel brings to our committee. I also respect the insights of all the committee members who have volunteered their time to help find solutions that work for our community.
Calm and professional
To the Editor:
Recently, a family member needed to be taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital and many of my colleagues at the Shelter Island EMS Department showed up and gave their usual excellent level of care. I thank them all for their rapid and professional service.
I would also like to point out that at every ambulance call, there is the presence of Shelter Island’s Finest, and this time, it was Police Officer Dave McGayhey who arrived. As one of the drivers of the ambulance who depends upon the assistance of the police, I would like to add my thanks, this time, to Officer Dave, and my appreciation, every time he shows up. His calm and professional manner at otherwise hectic scenes always makes our job easier.
ARTHUR P. BLOOM AND FAMILY
A coach’s thanks
To the Editor:
After being extended by a month and five playoff games, this year’s basketball season has come to an end. It’s been a great year and a wonderful journey. A big part of what has made this season so special is our Island community, school, students and alumni.
As we progressed through the playoffs, the distance to the games got greater and greater, and our crowds of fans grew bigger and bigger. After each game, arrangements were instantly made to get transportation for our fans, students and community to our next game.
I would like to personally thank my wife Rebecca, Garth Griffin and the Town Recreation Department, Mike Hynes and Jacki Dunning from our school district, Cliff Clark and South Ferry, the 10K Community Fund, the Lions Club, the Highway Benevolent Association, the Police Benevolent Association, Margaret and David Doyle, George Kneeland, and all the others who donated money and time so that this would happen.
Special thanks to all the fans who traveled miles and spent hours out of their lives to support us, and the alumni, who I haven’t seen in years, who also traveled hours to support us. And, many thanks to our post-season community sponsors: Shelter Island ACE Hardware, Binder Pools and Liberty Lawn & Landscape.
I can’t pretend to be the master of this year’s success. I am just one piece to the puzzle that is our coaching staff. Again, I want to personally thank Jim Colligan, Jay Card, Ian Kanarvogel and Jimbo Theinert for all they have done and sacrificed to make our program a success.
To our athletes: I want to say that I am proud not of your victories, but of your hard work and effort and the way you have conducted yourselves on and off the court. We have all learned things about ourselves and our teammates and we will carry these lessons with us forever.
Shelter Island High School varsity boys basketball coach
To the Editor:
I’d like to sincerely thank the anonymous man who found my wallet and cash blowing around the IGA parking lot last week and returned it to the store.
I’d also like to thank Jerry from the IGA for going out of his way to find me and return it.
As valuable as this stuff is to me, ultimately it’s replaceable. Living in a place where this happens, isn’t.