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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A question at the recent candidate's forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Shelter Island sparked a letter from a reader.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A question about Fresh Pond at the recent candidate’s forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Shelter Island, sparked a letter from a reader.

Unfair to the public
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters, aka LWV, has been an important part of our democracy since its inception in 1920. It is particularly disheartening when someone uses their good name to promulgate a falsehood.

A “question” at last week’s League of Women Voters of Shelter Island candidates debate was about Fresh Pond. “There is a small group of residents who want to stop swimming in Fresh Pond, which is a local treasure. Would you consider closing Fresh Pond?”

There is no group or person that wants to stop swimming in Fresh Pond. Some years ago, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services attempted to prohibit swimming when they observed an illegal beach on Fresh Pond’s access road and two other town landings.

I have always advocated for safe and healthy swimming in Fresh Pond and there are folks here who support this. I also believe the town can do more to mitigate the pollution and monitor the water quality as per established standards. Twice-a-year testing is inadequate.

For the record, I only asked that the public, especially those without local knowledge, be notified that Fresh Pond is officially an un-monitored, impaired water body. We must be warned when blue green algae cyanobacteria levels threaten human health and pets. Folks could then assess the risk for themselves and their children to make an informed decision.

The town, not any citizen, has temporally closed the pond and beaches to swimming in the past when required. In any other community, protecting the public health is considered a good thing to do.

Here, some people have self-serving agendas and choose to disregard any new awareness of environmental health hazards. The League of Women Voters should not promote such imposed ignorance or be party to anyone’s rumor mill. Free speech does not mean that they must reinforce a fabrication and deception.

The debate moderator must ensure that a question is actually a valid question, not a misleading statement or false accusation in disguise. The questioner should be identified in a public forum. Is there a reason for anonymity?

The Shelter Island LWV chapter is a vital community asset. They must be true to the national LWV mission and not allow anyone’s bias to degrade the reputation of the integrity and core values that so many women have worked so hard for.
VINCENT NOVAK
Shelter Island

Congratulations
To the Editor:
I just returned from a week down South and did not have a chance to take the golf team to Riverhead to qualify for the county tournament that takes place in the spring.

I want to congratulate two members of the team who qualified both this year and last year. My hat’s off to Nicholas Young and Erik Thilberg for two fine rounds last week and I wish you both the best in the spring.
BOB DeSTEFANO
Shelter Island

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