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Shelter Island Letters to the Editor:


Questions for PD
To the Editor:
Jackie Black’s letter to the editor of the Reporter last week, describing a house guest’s encounter with a local police officer as she waited for a cab at South Ferry after midnight, described a very upsetting situation.

The trope, “Show me your papers,” immediately conveys feelings of fear and oppression.

On a summer night, a lone woman stands in the dark at the South Ferry landing and an officer drives up. Does he ask if she needs help? Does she have a ride? No, he immediately wants to see if this young black woman, returning from a fundraising event on the South Fork, might have been involved in a North Haven robbery. He asks for identification and when she tells him she doesn’t have any with her, he asks to search her purse.

Is that legal? She allows him to search. A sensible decision in light of what’s been happening nationally when minority men and women are stopped by the police. What if she said “no?” Would he say “Oh, okay,” and walk away? I’m not so sure it would work out that way. The situation might have escalated, confirming the fear that lone woman must have felt.

Why did the police officer take this approach? Is it because she didn’t look like a Shelter Islander? If he had questioned her respectfully, his concerns, as described in the weekly police blotter, would have been allayed; she was waiting for a cab to take her to a resident’s house where she was a guest and would spend the night.

Apparently satisfied after finding a business card during his search, the police officer left her to wait for the cab.

Did he offer her a ride? Did he apologize? I don’t know, but I hope so.

The blotter stated there would be further investigation of the incident. By whom and to what end? The community deserves to know the outcome of this “further investigation.” The supervisor and the Town Board should insist on knowing every aspect of what occurred. Should the officer involved be disciplined? Will the police department review their policies and standards of policing? Are the rights we enjoy as citizens so easily set aside? The public deserves reassurance, that no one will be asked to “show me your papers” without cause.

Shelter Island
Editor’s Note: The Town Board, in its role as Commissioners of the Shelter Island Police Department, said in a statement Tuesday that “there was no evidence of any racial issues” during an encounter with a police officer and a woman at South Ferry on the night of July 18.

Lapses in logic
To the Editor:
Imagine my surprise on seeing a story on the Shelter Island Reporter’s website: “Update: Town Board says police encounter not ‘a racial issue’” on July 28.

It’s curious to me that the Town Board as police commissioners have already met and passed judgment on the incident at South Ferry on July 18.

To quote Charles M. Blow, New York Times columnist: “When there are lapses in logic in what people think would be reasonable explanations, suspicion spreads.”

Oh, and none of us are racists, and surely not Atticus Finch.
Shelter Isalnd

To the Editor:
I must congratulate Georgiana Ketcham (see “Your Letters,” July 23) and the three people who stood up and said “enough is enough” to the Historical Society ( “Three resign from Historical Society Board,” July 16).

I also must echo Ms. Ketcham when she asks, “What is going on here?” Unfortunately, I fear, the question goes beyond the Historical Society. I would ask, what is up with the sweetheart deal that PSEG tried to cut with the Historical Society to gain unlimited access to taxpayer-owned property for a permanent power plant at the rear of the Society’s property?

They gained it anyway, not for a permanent power plant, but a temporary generator plant with diesel engines and Lord knows how many fuel oil tanks to supply those engines. I ask: Since this energy company — the highest priced in the U.S. — has been given permission to use taxpayer-owned property, what did the taxpayers of Shelter Island get in return? Is there a lease agreement? Have any environmental studies been made? What happens to our water system? And the fresh water pond, what happens if there is a fuel spill? What about a potential disaster if a fire or an explosion should ever occur? Obviously PSEG has a good thing going.

Four huge spotlights have been installed that shine into adjacent homeowners’ yards every night. And the town is totally silent about all of this? Remember the outcry over “dark skies” a few years back?

Nu-Hampton — it sure is starting to look like it! And if this is ‘progress,” we are all in trouble. I agree with Ms. Ketcham that we need “some serious accounting here.” And with more than just the Historical Society. A power company that charges what PSEG does, getting a sweetheart deal on town-owned property, stinks to high heaven. How about it? Has anyone been given any discounts from PSEG for the use of our property? Perhaps this needs more than some accounting. Maybe it needs a district attorney’s investigation.
Shelter Island

Keeping it clear
To the Editor:
Why does Fresh Pond matter?

Fresh Pond is not simply a puddle filled with rain water. Fresh Pond, a 50-foot hole poked into the ground by glacial ice is, in fact, the exposed portion of the drinking water aquifer for the Center! What goes into Fresh Pond disperses directly into the Center’s drinking water. That’s true for man-made waste and gardening products and it’s also true for any toxins that an algae bloom may potentially produce.

Similarly, any septic waste that reaches the Center’s ground water will also show up in the pond. Continued testing of Fresh Pond’s water is critical to protecting our aquifer. When we look at toxic algae blooms in our bays and saltwater bodies, the key factor is nitrogen from septic waste. For the inland fresh water that we drink, on the other hand, phosphates are the key. In 2012, Fresh Pond experienced a spike in such phosphates and a predicted bloom materialized. We have experienced other smaller blooms, but repeated and detailed testing since 2012 shows no evidence supporting claims that the pond is polluted. The fish, bullfrogs and turtles are thriving.

Nevertheless algae blooms in our aquifer threaten both the pond itself and the quality of the Center’s drinking water.

Phosphates are produced by decaying of grass clippings, which are in turn concentrated by the lawn grazing and bathing habits of geese. This season’s flocks of migrating geese appear to have been delayed in arriving and are much reduced in number so far. The resulting natural experiment of bloom-free waters after late July heat waves adds strongly to previously suggestive evidence of the geese’ impact.

Homeowners on the pond must keep in mind that natural vegetative buffers both keep geese off your lawn and are crucial to the pond’s health and the quality of our drinking water by taking up excess nutrients and preventing run-off. Gardeners must not illegally cut them down! Phosphate fertilizers should not be used anywhere near the pond.

Just to keep our facts straight, Fresh Pond is indeed “class C,” specifically defined by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, as “suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation” — in other words, fishing, boating and swimming.

Let’s keep it clear!
Shelter Island
Editor’s note: Mr. Grand is a member of the Water Advisory Committee.

Battling invasives
To the Editor:
Bittersweet and multi-flora were introduced to the Island quite a while ago when Supervisor Evans Griffing started raising pheasants (see “The summer of invasions,” July 23). He decided the berries on the vines would provide food for the birds during winter months and the vines would provide shelter.

He got the Gun Club on board with the project and they planted them. I am sure no one knew how invasive these two species were at the time. But we know now. I think it will be almost impossible to control now, as the roots of bittersweet seem to go on for miles and there is no killing it.

I try to control it on my property, but I am losing the battle.
Shelter Island

Thanks, whoever you are
To the Editor:
A very considerate soul picked up the front license plate, which had apparently fallen from our car, and put it on the hood last Thursday night. Magically, it remained there on the trip from the North Ferry to our garage, where I found it — making its replacement so very much easier than a report or trip to the DMV. With or without a citation for its absence, who knows how long it would have gone unnoticed. Your courtesy is much appreciated!
Shelter Island

Expanding health services
To the Editor:
Thank you for your extensive coverage of Eastern Long Island Hospital (ELIH) and the board’s unanimous decision to embrace a new course for the residents of the North Fork and Shelter Island by affiliating with Stony Brook University Hospital (“ELIH joins SBU,” July 16).

When it comes to healthcare, nothing is more important than keeping care accessible and keeping it local. The Stony Brook affiliation strengthens ELIH’s ability to provide and develop new services. As your paper so aptly reported, our residents can look forward to greater access to Stony Brook subspecialty care, similar to the current Spine/Neurosurgery model that allows our local residents to have spine surgery at ELIH. Additionally, an emphasis on expanding primary care, positions ELIH and Stony Brook to meet the evolving healthcare needs of our community. Dr. Reuven Pasternak, CEO, Stony Brook University Hospital, Thomas Murray, chairman, Board of Trustees, Eastern Long Island Hospital, and I will be speaking to the entire community about the many exciting changes our residents can expect as this new relationship unfolds. All are welcome to join us on August 4, at 7 p.m. at Peconic Landing for an open forum.
President/CEO, Eastern Long Island Hospital