Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


Why ban the bags?
To the Editor:
The Reporter’s September 24 editorial, “Ban the bags,” should remind us of the need to revisit this issue as it applies to Shelter Island. Before considering the pros and cons, just think of the volume of products sold at BJ’s and Costco, all of which are carried away without the use of any bag provided by the business. And what has happened? No meltdown that’s for sure.

The well-documented negative effects of single-use bags are serious and widespread, while the various alternatives pose only minor inconveniences for our habits and economy. Many other communities, both near and far, have successfully made such a transition.

If we were to approve some sort of change that seems best for us — there are several options worth consideration — wouldn’t we still make those very same purchases anyhow, and realistically, who would be bothered to go off-Island just because some other merchant provided a cheap plastic bag?

With just a little creativity on our part we can tweak and fine-tune any such proposal, and we can also do our part for the environment. This could possibly be a win-win situation, if we just care enough to reflect and reconsider our priorities.
Shelter Island

Fix it to share
To the Editor:
Instead of closing New York Avenue to bike traffic, as was suggested by a letter writer last week, why not fix it so that bicycles, pedestrians and cars can all share the road?

Making it one-way, enforcing the ban on commercial traffic and installing speed bumps or other traffic-calming features should certainly be looked into as well. But the shoulders of the road could be improved so that bicycles have room to travel safely on the side of the road.

As it stands now, the shoulders are uneven, full of loose sand and gravel and there’s overgrown landscaping and trees that prevent anyone from staying solely on the right side of the white line of the road itself. We should be looking to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on the Island, not ban them from roads and making travel by foot or bicycle harder than it already is now.

How about a bike lane there? How about a sidewalk?
Shelter Island

Witch hunt
To the Editor:
I read with much interest the suggestion of community service instead of fines (“Community Service for building violations?”, September 24).

Why must we bypass the present legal system and attempt to do such a thing? Do the terms “innocent until proven guilty” mean anything to anyone anymore? And trial by a jury of your peers is a basic part of our system of laws.

To give the power of punishment to a group of politically appointed people in Town Hall terrifies me. As a taxpayer on Shelter Island, I can see the town being subjected to severe lawsuits with something like this.

As long as we are going back to public punishment and humiliation, how about putting up colonial stocks in the middle of town? Is this a stupid idea? I agree.

I suggest the town fathers toss the community service idea into the trash. It would open up a whole new avenue to witch hunting on the Island. What’s next? You really want to get that rich guy? How about burning him at the stake? It worked in Salem, Massachusetts, so why not on Shelter Island?
Shelter Island

No protection?
To the Editor:
It is hard to find a home in the Northeast that is not near a nuclear power plant. The difference between those communities and Suffolk County is that we are not protected by an otherwise required “radiological emergency plan.”

In the 1980s the county legislature made it illegal to develop such plans in order to keep the Shoreham nuclear plant from attaining an operating license. That law was invalidated by a federal court. However, then-Governor Mario Cuomo said he would respect the counties’ wishes.

When New York State Executive Law Article 2-B, concerning “Radiological preparedness,” was enacted, Suffolk was excluded from the “coalition of nuclear counties.” The rationale and intent was all about Shoreham. This logic is still applied to us and the Millstone nuclear power plant, less than 20 miles from Shelter Island.

In 2005, Millstone applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 20-year reactor license renewal extension. Suffolk attempted to include us in ingestion pathway radiological emergency planning. The NRC rejected Suffolk’s request because of a late filing technicality.

Short of a Fukushima-type disaster, an “extraordinary radiological occurrence” could contaminate our drinking water, soil, food and homes. Radiological emergency planning would immediately warn us to avoid the dangers and would monitor our environment to let us know when it is safe. This could mean preventing future cancers and birth defects.

Homes and cars might need to be decontaminated. Several inches of top soil would need to be removed and disposed of as nuclear waste.

Your homeowners’ insurance will not cover radiological damages.

There is, however, the “Price – Anderson Act.” It is a combination of private and federal insurance for nuclear power plant mishaps. My questions are if we have no required radiological emergency plans, if we take no protective action, would this insurance plan pay us less, if at all?

Out of 61 nuclear power plants in the U.S.A., Millstone is in the top 10 of the most vulnerable terrorist targets. There have been numerous operational malfunctions and unplanned radioactive releases. A full- time NRC inspector is now on site. The two atomic reactors are operating beyond their designed-for 40-year life span. Millstone is currently licensed for an additional 20 years.

It is time for Supervisor Dougherty and Suffolk County to make certain that we are as protected from a nuclear power plant mishap as other citizens in this state are.
Shelter Island

Ready for action
To the Editor:
As October is again upon us it’s time to remember that it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness/Education month once again.

If you are one of the roughly 100 people on Shelter Island who has a “pink ribbon,” please proudly display it near the street in front of your home or business for the month of October.

The ribbons were cut from wood — donated by Riverhead Building Supply — by the Shelter Island School shop class and painted by volunteers. They should be a reminder to people who drive by about the importance of screenings and knowledge of your own breast density and possible need for further screening.

On October 1 the Town Board will declare by a proclamation that recognizes October as “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” Please come to the meeting to show your support for your friends and neighbors in the battle against breast cancer.

Also, remember to get screened.

October 17 will be “Pink Day” to show support for the Shelter Island 5K Run/Walk. Please wear something pink on October 17 and run/walk or support “Team Flamingo” with a donation that stays on the East End!

Sunday, September 27, a documentary I worked on was aired at the Long Beach International Film Festival. The film, “Happygram,” is about breast density and cancer as well as late stage diagnosis. I’m making an effort to have the film shown on the Island and will keep the community informed if/when it happens.

It’s been shown in several prestigious festivals, including Providence, Rhode Island — taking first place — Portland, Oregon, last week in Los Angeles and in late October will show at the Orlando International Film Festival. The website for the film is happygramthemovie.com. Thank you to those Islanders who supported the Kickstarter campaign to help in the funding!

This Saturday, October 3, there is a “Real Men Wear Pink” cocktail party dedicated to three women — one from the Island — who lost their lives to breast cancer. It will take place in East Hampton at the Maidstone Tennis Club near Guild Hall. Tickets are $100 and raffle tickets are $5 or 5/$20. Call me — 749-1662 — if you’d like to participate or buy a raffle ticket. All the proceeds are used locally in the battle for women’s health.

So, lots to think about in October: display your ribbon; wear pink the 17th and remember to get screened.

Call me if you have any questions, or would like to help.
Shelter Island

Dolly recovered
To the Editor:
About six weeks ago, we adopted Dolly from Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF).

Our sweet, scruffy-looking dog is shy, insecure and skittish. She does not play with a ball and doesn’t accept treats from a human hand. She likes to be petted around the face, but absolutely will not tolerate being picked up. She eats well and toilets herself outdoors. She bolts through doors. She has obviously been abused, maybe even tortured and likes dogs even less than men. Don’t try grabbing her by the collar; but she will sit quietly to clipping on a leash. She is willful about coming when called but accepts being guided gently with a leash.

So, we speak gently, pet her frequently, accept her foibles and keep her on leash, even in the house. Not to force her to do things she doesn’t want to do so much as to be able to catch her without chasing her.

On Friday morning at about 8 a.m. taking Dolly for their morning walk, Edward opened the car door at the top of the driveway to grab the newspaper. He stepped out for a second and seeing an opening, Dolly bolted with no leash attached. She immediately ran west down West Neck Road about a block. It was an hour-and-a-half and miles of running, chasing and luring on West Neck, Midway and Route 114. Finally Edward got her to jump into our car.

Our escapade was over, but not without a great deal of help from absolute strangers.

It was the morning rush hour and everyone was in a hurry. But, that did not deter them from joining in the efforts to capture Dolly. Of particular note was a couple in a white car and a lady and her dog in a red car. They stuck with us for a long time. And there were those drivers who just stopped and let the drama unfold before they felt it safe to drive on.

We want to thank all those strangers who helped in big and small ways to allow Dolly to live yet another day. She is taking her morning nap on our bed, as I write, with her head on Edward’s pillow.
Shelter Island

Fire Prevention Month

To the Editor:
October 4 to 10 is Fire Prevention Week, and we want to remind everyone about the importance of having working smoke detectors in your homes.

The New York State Fire Code — and common sense —  inform us that smoke detectors are required outside of all sleeping areas, inside sleeping areas and on every level of your home. In addition, carbon monoxide detectors are also required on every level of your house where there are sleeping areas.

Have a family meeting and work out an evacuation plan, making sure that everyone knows what to do in a fire.

Have heating units checked. Does the fireplace or wood-burning stove flue need to be cleaned?

Finally, the lack of house numbering on Shelter Island is horrible. Please post your house numbers, visible from the road, so that emergency personnel can find your home quickly.

Time is important — and it’s the law.

October is fire prevention month, but fire safety is year-round. Be safe, not sorry.
Commmissioner, SIFD
Ist Assistant Chief, SIFD