Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | A view of Coecles Harbor from the St. Gabriel's Retreat Center. property.
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | A view of Coecles Harbor from the St. Gabriel’s Retreat Center. A reader wrote bemoaning the fact that a part of the property will be developed.

More mansions
To the Editor:
I was saddened to see the property that was a spiritual sanctuary for youth and families for decades is now planned as an exclusive, private, residential enclave (see story, “Development plans for St. Gabe’s,” July 23).

The Passsionist Order has yielded a good sum but the Island is not more enriched by these plans. Havens House, the Perlman Music Program, the Mashomack Preserve and Sylvester Manor are shining examples of public/private partnerships to preserve historic properties for the betterment of the Island community.

The pages of the Reporter are filled with luxury homes for sale. Acres of pristine waterfront like [St. Gabriel’s] are finite and this hallowed ground will be forever lost to more mansions.
Shelter Island

Police training?
To the Editor:
In regards to Valerie and Martin Levenstein’s letter “Questions for PD” in last week’s Reporter, I echo their questions and appreciate their concerns, which I believe are held by many people, myself included, on the Island.
To the Levensteins’ list of helpful questions, I wish to add one of my own: Does the Shelter Island Police Department require racial sensitivity training for its officers and staff?

When I was attending Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, all students were required to participate in racial sensitivity training. We were required to do so because the seminary understood that they were equipping tomorrow’s leaders and that these leaders would hold within them the capability to inspire others to stand against racism.

One of the most important parts of the training that I received taught me that the first step in fighting racism was to admit and claim my part in it.

I, as a pastor, am rightfully held to a higher standard and I consider myself a stronger leader because I was required to participate in such sensitivity training.

I believe such racial sensitivity training would be a healthy opportunity of growth for the police department as well as other leadership structures — including churches — on Shelter Island.

I welcome a comment from the Shelter Island Police Department on whether or not they currently require their officers and staff members to participate in racial sensitivity training. If the answer is “yes,” I would like to know what curriculum they use and how other community leaders might get involved as well.

If the answer is “no,” I would like to know if the SIPD will take active steps to require such training of their officers and staff moving forward.
Pastor, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church

Alternative options
To the Editor:
During the past decade I have visited both rural and city historical societies to research my ancestors. I have learned about the funding of these nonprofits, the populations they serve, their staffing needs and the importance of endowments. Thus I am puzzled by our Historical Society’s plan for an approximately $2 million “campus” to serve an annual Island population of 2,200 persons.

As a long-term, full-time Island resident, I have observed the evolution of our local Society for many years. I request the Society to answer the following questions:
1. What is the current endowment amount and what percentage of it covers the present annual operating costs?
2. After the new campus is completed, what are the projected operating costs for one year and five years?
3. What alternative options have been explored? I suggest the leasing of Manhasset Chapel, previously owned by the Society. It has basically the same square footage as the proposed new campus, already has a large meeting/research area with an approximately 300-square-foot vault previously built by the Society, and is located near the school, library, Town Hall and historical cemeteries.

Our Historical Society needs a plan to fit our specific community. Capital building campaigns always come after adequately funded operating endowments. Maybe our community’s most generous donors would agree to apply their gifts to such an endowment that will support programs, salaries and overall operating costs for years to come. We need to keep the Society a viable active community asset, then, once achieved and based on community need at that time, a building campaign could be re-initiated.
Shelter Island

Water supply
To the Editor:
Sorry Peter Grand, Fresh Pond does not supply the Center with drinking water as you report in your letter last week (“Keeping it clear,” July 30). The Center aquifer flows to Fresh Pond. As a member of the Water Advisory Committee, you should know that.
Shelter Island

Fresh Pond
To the Editor:
Water Advisory Committee member Peter Grand clearly omitted some important facts about Fresh Pond in his recent letter to the editor.

We agree that Fresh Pond is an impaired, (polluted), Class C waterbody, as defined by the New York State Department of Environmental conservation: “New York waterbodies are assigned a ‘best use’ classification … Class C — fishing and non-contact activities … The best usage of Class C waters is fishing. These waters shall be suitable for fish, shellfish, and wildlife propagation and survival. The water quality shall be suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation, although other factors may limit the use for these purposes.”

Legally, the word “shall” means “may” or “should.” In other words, “The water quality should be suitable for swimming, but may not be.” It is not stated that Class C water “is” safe for swimming. Rather, it is a goal.

The DEC states: “In order to meet the federal Clean Water Act goal that all waters be ‘swimmable,’ water quality of New York State waters Class C, SC (and above) shall be suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation.” However, other factors (such as flow/depth, access, conflicting use) may limit this use.”

The DEC receives federal funding though EPA grants. By modifying Class C requirements, many more lakes become “swimmable” and the state can apply for larger grants. Towns can request this funding to monitor recreational water quality, in accordance with New York State Department of Health protocol. We don’t.

The “Catch 22” is that if we actually properly tested the swimming water quality of Fresh Pond, we might likely find very high bacteria levels and be required to temporally prohibit swimming. A responsibility the town obviously prefers to avoid.

It was once stated in Town Hall that “… there is the public, then there is the other public.” Many residents will not swim in Fresh Pond and some choose to ignore the DEC. But it is the “other public” that is deceived into believing that Fresh Pond is always pure and safe. It is not. Waterborne diseases can be devastating for some people.

I have asked that a sign informing the public that Fresh Pond is, in fact, polluted and is not monitored, be posted, as it once was. Folks can then make an informed assessment of the risk for themselves and their kids. The town has refused my request. The “other public” be damned.
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
I am a Board member of the Shelter Island Friends of Music. I would like to share with you my delight when I picked up the July 9 edition of the Reporter and first viewed the front page photo of Dalia Lazar, our July 5 concert artist. What a truly beautiful photo.

Congratulations to Beverlea Walz for capturing such a moment! Not only does the photo evoke an emotional response on sight, but it truly reflects one of the many sublime high points of that evening’s concert.

As a Friends of Music Board member, I disclose to you, that although we, as a Board, strive to make ourselves as visible and present as possible on our small, but very active Island, it is not easy. But to that end, the Reporter has consistently been good to us, for which we are grateful, and the front page coverage of Ms. Lazar’s concert was a jackpot.
Thank you!
Shelter Island

Making it happen
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Committee of the Friends of the Library second annual Beach Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, August 1, I would like to thank the Reporter for its promotion and coverage of the event. Thank you also to the eight teams — Baby Giants, Wildcats, Diana’s Team, Camp Read, Team #2 (Callie’s team), Ospreys, Team #5 (Matt’s team) and the Hometown Hunnies — and thanks to the library staff and the director, Terry Lucas, to Arleen West who enabled online registration, to volunteers at the beach including Western Bascome, and especially to our raffle prize donors, the Shelter Island Pharmacy and Sunset Beach. A special note of gratitude to Ann Biddlecom who made it happen!

The Friends and the library benefited by over $900.
Shelter Island

All quite cricket
To the Editor:
A huge thank you to all who made this year’s Shelter Island Cricket Club charity match such a huge success and to, again, raise over $16,000 for the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation. Donations can still be made at sicricket.com.

We’d like to thank those who showed up to play, those who came and watched and who helped us have fun and raise money on the day.  A particular thank you to this year’s sponsors: Academy Printing Services, ACE Hardware, Amaden Gay Insurance Agency, Apple Bank, BC Partners, Chaloners of the Hamptons, Co. Collective, Florin Pensions, Indus Capital, M. Wein Realty, PURE Insurance, Shelter Island Party Rental and Star Magazine.

Thanks to Grady Riley Gardens and the Shelter Island Highway Department for helping to prepare the pitch and to John Yang for another hit with the SICC merchandise. A special thank you to c for organizing the food and drink and for donating the proceeds and to the Island Boatyard for providing the field.

And last but not least, our thanks to the many hardworking volunteers who put in long hours throughout the year and provide lifesaving services as part of the Shelter Island Emergency Medical Services.

See you all next year on Saturday, July 30, 2016.
Shelter Island