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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

AMBROSE CLANCY Residents weigh in on the continuing controversy surrounding Fresh Pond.
AMBROSE CLANCY Residents weigh in on the continuing controversy surrounding Fresh Pond.

Long-range, short-term
To the Editor:
Fresh Pond is only the visible symptom of larger issues that are affecting the Island’s aquifer as a whole, of which it is but a part.

This year, Fresh Pond has remained noticeably clearer and fresher than in the past several years, perhaps in part due to local efforts, including vegetative buffer restoration and moving large flocks of geese off the pond.

Signs of algae bloom have been minimal despite the heat. That is encouraging, but we are not out of the woods yet.

Fresh Pond is telling us, and USGS-well data at two locations confirms, that nitrate and phosphate levels are present and rising in groundwater that we drink. The main sources of nitrates and phosphates are old and improperly maintained septic systems and unwise application of lawn fertilizers.

But the Island faces multiple interconnected concerns, and saltwater intrusion at our shoreline areas threatens homes and further compresses our precious supply of drinking water. There are appropriate actions to address all of these issues, if we have the knowledge and wisdom to act.

It is essential that we prioritize water quality and budget intelligently for both gathering information and implementing long-range and short-term solutions.
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
My letter in last week’s issue was not meant for publication. I was upset about being misrepresented in a Reporter online article and sent the letter to the writer, Julie Lane. It was only copied to the editor as a courtesy. The online article was corrected but my letter to Julie was printed in error.
Honest mistakes happen.

What is not justifiable are the irresponsible acts of an elected official: Supervisor Dougherty attempting to take credit for initiating the recent water quality test of Fresh Pond.

Mr. Dougherty implies on the town website that there is ongoing monitoring of Fresh Pond. There is no mechanism to monitor the pond and certainly not in compliance with the New York State sanitary code.

I informed the Department of Environmental Conservation of the beginnings of a blue green algae bloom and they contacted the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to test the water. My original photos were emailed to the DEC’s Harmful Algae Bloom office and were copied to the Town Board and this newspaper

While other bacteria levels were not reported, it was confirmed that there is a low level blue green algae bloom in the pond. Cyanobacteria from a HAB can cause long term illnesses.

The response should have been to warn the public to be extra vigilant and to order additional water quality monitoring. Instead, Supervisor Dougherty invites the public to swim in the pond without worry. He either is ignorant of the possible health threats or doesn’t care. Either way, his approach is reprehensible.

The pond remains a great place to boat and fish in. It may not be the healthiest place for some people and pets to swim in. They need to know the risk and be protected.

Mr. Dougherty and the Town Board should remember their agreement with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. When the SCDHS ordered that swimming in Fresh Pond be prohibited, the town balked. The town agreed to post a sign declaring that the Fresh Pond town landing is not a bathing beach and, most importantly, that the town would not promote swimming in Fresh Pond.

Supervisor Dougherty either has a short memory or is not a man of his word. He should worry less about how to spin this issue to his political advantage and more about the health and safety of the public at large.
Shelter Island

Thank you, IGA
To the Editor:
During the summer of 2013 and 2014 our four grandchildren had several bake sales at the IGA to support the Orfegaza orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, managed by Sainte Marie Guadeloupe Catholic Church. My grandchildren were able to raise $684.

We want to thank IGA for permitting them to sell in front of their supermarket and all the people who bought and contributed to this much-needed cause. These are children who lost their parents during the 2010 earthquake. You have been very generous.

My family visited the orphanage in Haiti this past July and delivered the goods (clothing, shoes etc.) bought with the raised money.

My grandchildren plan to continue to support these children in the future and hope to see you all again.

Thank you again to IGA and all who helped us reach our goals.
Shelter Island

Near impossible
To the Editor:
Mr. Waldner has done the near impossible. His cartoon (Paw Print, August 27) actually achieves what the Donald’s personal hairdresser has yet to accomplish. Maybe the D has come to Shelter Island to Louie the Clip, undercover, of course.

I hope the D gets to see how he can have a coif indicative of his perception of himself — very, very similar to Louis XVI!
Shelter Island