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Reporter Letters to the Editor: No fireworks for 2015

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Fireworks last July over Crescent Beach. This year, the Chamber of Commerce has announced in a letter to the Reporter, there will be no fireworks display.
BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Fireworks last July over Crescent Beach. This year, the Chamber of Commerce has announced in a letter to the Reporter, there will be no fireworks display.

Fireworks given a pass
To the Editor:
Sadly, the Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel its annual fireworks show for this summer.

As some folks remember, during 2005, the Chamber became aware by various regulatory agencies that launching the fireworks from a barge rather than from land would be required to keep the venue at Crescent Beach. Therefore, the introduction of a barge, expected to exceed $10,000 for 2015, had a significant impact on the overall cost of the production. Gallant efforts were made each year to solicit additional funding from the community to support the event, but annual donations did not keep pace with the aggregate cost of the event, which now exceeds $37,000.

In 2012, 2013 and 2014, the Chamber lost $4,800, $3,900 and $11,000, respectively, to sponsor the event. As a very small organization, these losses are too much of a strain on our treasury.  Additionally, there remains internal controversy among segments of our business membership regarding the show’s validity and purpose to our mission.

Therefore, we have decided to allow this year to pass by, which will give the community at large — ourselves, and other local organizations — an opportunity to evaluate the logistics and value of this annual event.
President, Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce

A good thing
To the Editor:
Your article on the Common Core (“Chewing out Common Core,” March 12) seemed to veer away from news and into commentary. After School Superintendent Skuggevik was quoted as objecting to the program, you need not have given the bulk of the article over to the views of Congressman Zeldin. The congressman, a politician as well as a legislator, has joined the Republican majority, which is trying to fan anti-government sentiments whenever it can.

Many citizens such as myself believe that the Common Core does not dictate how teachers teach, or set a rigid curriculum for students. The curriculum remains in the hands of teachers, principals and local school boards.

Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more competency than ever before. The Common Core standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten to the end of 12th grade.

Common Core sets standards that will equip American students for successful and fulfilling lives. I think that is a good thing.
Shelter Island

Taking exception
To the Editor:
I attended the meeting Thursday, March 12 inviting public comment on the adoption of the four resolutions that will affect the operation of the East Hampton Airport.

Having attended the meeting from the outset, I recalled at the introduction the recommended guidelines of conduct including an assertion that the meeting was not to be used as a platform for personal attack.

Regrettably my experience encompassed many instances that disregarded this advice, including inappropriate and provocative attacks aimed at members of the East Hampton Town Board and at private residents, myself included.

I was named, along with six others, by Wainscott resident Irving Taylor in his presentation, accompanied by a graphic of the region showing red dots purportedly conveying the volume of noise complaints registered to the airport. One of these red dots, in fact possibly the largest and reddest of all the red dots, Mr. Taylor attributed to me. After having logged as many as 55 complaints in one day, I would not deny the possibility that would account for this distinction.

How Mr. Taylor obtained this information, which was not released by the Town of East Hampton, should be a matter of investigation. The reason for this letter is not that I have been publicly outed for taking a position in this matter. I have written numerous times to the members of East Hampton and Southampton town boards, Senator Schumer, the Sag Harbor Town Association, the Nature Conservancy and to the Reporter and other local press voicing my concerns.

I take exception to the inference made by Mr. Taylor that not “having much of a life” I must be one of “these people” who have dedicated themselves to the registration of complaints. What Mr. Taylor claimed is that people like me are liars, that we have inflated and exaggerated our grievance because we have nothing better to do. Without illuminating the absurdity of this claim, I will counter that his is a thinly veiled attack on character that falls just short of slander.

For this reason, I have prevailed on the East Hampton Board to recognize Mr. Taylor’s presentation as an affront; one that disregards all the recommendations for a fair, impersonal and objective exchange of views. As a form of character defamation, I would not allow for his kind of presentation to remain in the public record and it is my very strong advice that it be stricken.
Shelter Island

Blatant violation
To the Editor:
As they did in August last year, Shelter Islanders again courteously voiced their opinions at East Hampton’s public hearing last Thursday, this time in support of airport access restrictions at East Hampton Airport, and a string of residents from the towns of Southold, Southampton and East Hampton agreed.

In stark contrast, and perhaps sensing that the crowd was largely supportive of the Town Board proposals, several aviation proponent resorted to name-calling, threats and one vindictive individual attempted to ridicule those who had phoned or emailed complaints to the East Hampton Airport noise hot­line by reading their names aloud. (Those names were applauded by many in the crowd who supported the restrictions.) The Town Board members and many others were greatly angered by that blatant violation of the individuals’ right to confidentiality. The consequence of that aviator’s vindictive attempt at ridicule has been a surge of support in favor of access proposals, many from people formerly sitting on the fence on this issue.

As a frequent airport noise hotline complainer myself, I would be proud indeed to stand next to the Shelter Island gentleman and others whose names were read aloud, for without those calls East Hampton Town would have been unable to propose the restrictions currently under consideration.

Thank you, fellow activists, for your complaints; please continue to call if you are assaulted by aviation noise. Our names are right behind yours on the noise hotline list of those championing the campaign for peace and quiet over our homes.
Executive Committee member, Quiet Skies Coalition

School, not town
To the Editor:
In a recent article and a subsequent Letter to the Editor, the topic of the New York State Tax Rebate was discussed. This rebate is based on local taxing authorities staying under the 2 percent tax levy cap. The Board of Education of Shelter Island UFSD wants the public to know that this rebate is due to the district staying under the cap, not the town.

While this rebate is small, it reflects our commitment to providing an outstanding educational program while keeping the tax burden as low as possible. As we are preparing the budget for the 2015-16 school year, we have once again committed to staying under the cap; something we have done for the past four years, since its inception, and for two years prior to its inception.
SHELTER ISLAND BOARD OF EDUCATION: President Stephen L. Gessner; Vice President Thomas V. Graffagnino; Alfred L. Brigham Sr.; Linda C. Eklund; Mark A. Kanarvogel; Elizabeth Melichar; Marilynn Pysher