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Reporter Letters to the Editor



To the Editor:
Despite the continued, and strongly voiced opposition to helicopter and aircraft traffic over residential areas on the East End, there seems to be very little political will to affect any significant change.

After 2011, outbound air traffic was redirected west, away from the town of East Hampton to fly over Sag Harbor, Noyac, North Haven and Shelter Island, as well as over Southold on the North Fork. This decision was taken after strenuous complaints by residents of Georgica Pond — over whose roofs planes and helicopters were flying toward the Atlantic Ocean.

In all likelihood, the aircraft were flying over the homes of the very passengers who hire them.

The western, or so called “ECHO” route has been experiencing greater volume of traffic with each subsequent year and in a recent article, the New York Times disclosed how comparatively easy it is to charter a helicopter for $3,150 and split the cost six ways between passengers. Hiring a helicopter on Friday through an UBER or Blade app is easier than hailing a taxi in midtown.

The other reason for routing air traffic over residential neighborhoods as opposed to open water is simple: It’s the faster, less expensive way.

As though the extra $50 it would cost to reroute the aircraft over water is going to burn a hole in the pocket of the passenger(s).

In choosing the route, the pilot, hand-in-hand with the Eastern Regional Helicopter Association over which there is no FAA jurisdiction, will satisfy the most cost and time effective way on behalf of the client passenger.

It is unacceptable that the routing of inbound and outbound aircraft over residential neighborhoods and wildlife sanctuaries be determined through the cost benefit to a demographic for whom cost is no object.

It is furthermore outrageous that there are no regulations to govern safe air traffic; on multiple occasions two helicopters within close proximity in both altitude and distance have flown directly over my home.

If helicopters, Gulfstream jets and propeller planes are not redirected to fly over open water only, the town of East Hampton should be prevailed upon to shut down the airport.

As far as the celebrity, hedge fund founder, glamour girl and boyfriend crowd goes: Let them be driven.

A meeting of the Noyac Civic Association will be held in Bridgehampton on August 12 to determine what steps can be taken to eradicate this problem.
Shelter Island

A clean solution

To the Editor:
Karl Grossman’s column about Bill Smith’s campaign to convert Plum Island (“Pick the Plum for power,” July 24) to an alternative, renewable power generation plant was right on the money. Despite the entire island being too toxic to live on, it is still valuable land on the East End. It is feasible that a land developer might buy it, dig it up, cap it like a landfill and start building homes or resort hotels. The Feds are anxious to sell Plum Island and might grant environmental easements to do so. They need the money to pay for the new USDA laboratory in Kansas.

Shelter Island could be in jeopardy if there was a nuclear event at the Millstone nuclear power plant. Plum Island is within the 10-mile evacuation planning zone, or “10 Mile EPZ.” The current plan is to evacuate Plum Island via Orient Point and the North Fork. This is not a problem, given the less than 100 employees who work there now.

But what if there was a resort community and several thousand people were trying to evacuate, all at the same time? Many might take Shelter Island as a shortcut to the South Fork. If they and their vehicles are already “hot” with radioactivity, they will contaminate Shelter Island as they drive ferry to ferry.

We are just outside of the “10 Mile EPZ” and within the “50 Mile EPZ.” If you heard that there was a meltdown at Millstone, would you decide to leave Shelter Island also? That is known as a “shadow evacuation.” It is an unplanned evacuation that will cause chaos and panic. Total gridlock and nobody gets out.

Millstone was temporally shut down last Memorial Day because of an “event.” Last year, it was discovered that the only radioactivity release monitor was not functioning. Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted an easement to allow the two aging, nuclear reactors to operate with higher “cooling” sea water temperatures, again. Although there is a radio link from Millstone to the Southold Police Department, we are not included on the notification list if there is a nuclear “event.”

As the Union of Concerned Scientists once stated, Millstone is the “second most dangerous nuclear power plant in the country.”

A clean alternative energy, wind, solar and tidal current power plant on Plum Island could begin to replace Millstone. Our Town Board needs to get behind Bill Smith and work toward his goal.
Shelter Island

To the rescue

To the Editor:
Regarding the note in the July 24 police blotter about the turtle caught in a mooring rope: The two people who enabled the rescue were sailing on Gardiner’s Bay when the captain saw something out of keeping on a mooring and on closer inspection discovered a leatherback turtle entangled in the rope. The woman onboard wanted to dive in with a knife between her teeth and free the creature but on second thought they called all the rescue organizations, gave the coordinates and waited for help. The turtle could lift its head above water so it was not going to drown. Two boaters in Sag Harbor overheard the call for help and raced out, were able to cut the rope and before the turtle swam off,  removed it from around its neck. A good ending for all.

Following are numbers to call when you find an animal in distress: Riverhead Marine Research & Preservation, 369-9829, Turtle Rescue, 779-3737, and Wildlife Rescue, 728-9453.
Shelter Island

No oddballs here

To the Editor:

Thanks to the Reporter for keeping us informed. As the people who may be the most impacted by a proposed substation at the South Ferry Road site, I felt I had to respond to this plan.

First and most importantly, our well of fresh water is about 15 feet from the property line that will be the location of this electric plant. Any problems, any toxic chemicals, any explosions, any fires will have a serious effect on our home and that fresh water well.

To read that the Town Board is rethinking the “idea” is truly a breath of fresh air.

On Friday, July 25 at 8:30 a.m., the folks at PSEG fired up one of the temporary diesel generators now located at that site. The noise was so loud my wife and I jumped up and went outside to see what was going on. We’re aware this is a temporary situation, but the noise and diesel fumes were horrible. We have lived here in this residential community for almost 30 years, choosing this area because of the peace and quiet and the wonderful surroundings that were once a haven for Mother Nature, and her fabulous critters. We once felt safe being in a residential zone that offered all of these things to us.

A power substation will destroy, the center of Shelter Island as it has been since the original zoning regulations were adopted. In summary, to the honorable Town Board members, please consider all of this, for not only these two seniors but our surrounding neighbors as well and rethink this location. Please spare us from all of this, and as a PSEG spokesperson has said , deliver us from being labeled “oddballs.” I have not heard of one person in this area that wants a power station for a neighbor.

Of one thing I am certain: If Mr. Havens himself were here today, he would be opposed to this as well!
Shelter Island

No to substation

To the Editor:
Regarding the July 24 article, “Board rethinks S. Ferry substation,” it is not feasible nor is it desirable to locate a substation at the intersection of West Neck Road, New York Avenue and Menantic Road.

A cable beneath the bay is the time-honored solution. To consider a substation in the context of this Island is unreasonable. Could we be catering to PSEG, which is bellyaching about costs? Why?
Shelter Island

Party for a cause

To the Editor:
The annual “Real Men Wear Pink” cocktail party to benefit East End Breast Cancer charities will be held at The Maidstone Tennis Club Saturday, September 6, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

I have tickets priced at $100, which includes food, an open bar and silent auction. A separate raffle also has dozens of cool prizes. Tickets are $5 or 5 for $20. You do not have to attend to win raffle prizes.
Please let me know if you would like to attend and/or stop by Shelter Island Wine & Spirits on Bridge Street Tuesday through Saturday and I will give you more information about tickets.

If you can add to the raffle prizes or a silent auction donation with something, please let me know. It would be greatly appreciated!
Shelter Island