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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor



A speedy recovery
To the Editor:
Robbie Gorcoff was at work last Wednesday. Nothing unusual. He’s worked for the Shelter Island Highway Department for a long time. You’d recognize his face, if not his name. He’s done the cleaning, paving, plowing, fixing and whatever else our roads require. Roads, by the way, that are spectacular compared to the metropolis up Island — Manhattan.

Robbie was anticipating another beautiful weekend, the predicted best of the summer. But he didn’t come home that evening. He was struck down by a vehicle in a frightening incident on South Midway road

To many, government workers are a metaphor for frustration — you’ll hear people speaking that they generate high taxes, are incompetent, lazy and grossly overpaid. So, what does the government actually do?

For starters, it provides a national defense and our local police force; educates our children; builds and maintains our highways; licenses and monitors our food and drugs; insures that 100,000 flights a day safely land where they’re supposed to; invests in high tech from the Internet to Mars probes; administers justice; regulates our commerce, sets standards for jobs from brain surgeons to barbers; and for Robbies’s sake, supports our health safety net.

I will run out of verbs before responsibilities. All this for 20 percent of the overall economy.

All of us can use Robbie as a representative of the government worker.
I — and I hope all Islanders — wish Robbie a speedy recovery from injuries he suffered on the job he was doing for all of us.
Shelter Island

No more walks in the woods?
To the Editor:
Letters to the Reporter call for the extermination not the “culling” of the deer!

Why are these folks here? They belong in a manicured suburb. Shelter Island has some of the last wilderness left on the East End.

The Shelter Island Association sent out false information in a full-page ad. This ad was done by only two or three people and not by a consensus of the group. Our supervisor called for an apology, saying the 4 poster was working and the DEC supported it.

We were lied to just before the town sent out its questionnaire. Everyone knows by now that ticks feed on every creature with blood, including our pets and us. Let our wildlife live!

If we have to have a hunting season let it be brief and not drag on for three months. Not only does the long season stress all animals, but people as well.

No more walks in the woods — we become prisoners in our homes.
Shelter Island

A sincere question
To the Editor:
This is a sincere question to someone on the Island with scientific expertise related to animals and ticks: Given that we now have a large population of ticks on the island, what role do smaller animals have in carrying and spreading ticks?

I have heard that ticks are not able to grow to maturity on mice, but what about chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, red foxes or even birds?

We are trying to agree as a community on ways to treat the deer or reduce their population on the Island. Even if we are successful in this, are ticks and tick-borne diseases now here to stay and something we have to live with? If yes, what can we do?

Please respond to the Reporter so that we may all learn from your response.
Shelter Island

Lives forever changed
To the Editor:
My journey with Lyme disease began in the summer of 2008. I was working in a theater for the summer when I started to notice how difficult it was to focus and how extremely tired I felt. As the months went on these symptoms increased.

I was a theater student at Eugene Lang College and I was entering my senior year. As the summer was coming to an end, the symptoms became more prevalent and it was hard to imagine entering a new semester.

Getting through my first semester as a senior was extremely challenging. The normal star student and athlete that I had always been was no longer. These symptoms had become my life. During those months I started to see many doctors. No one could figure out what was wrong. Many said, “You are just depressed.” They prescribed sleeping pills and antidepressants.

When it was time to start my final semester I was bedridden and so disoriented I hardly knew where I was. I had to take a medical leave of absence. During that absence I continued my search.

The thought of Lyme disease came to mind as my family has spent all of our summers in Dering Harbor since I was a young child. I saw many infectious disease doctors. They tested for Lyme, but it showed up negative.

We now understand that those tests are only 30 percent to 50 percent accurate so most people who have it go undiagnosed.

After many months, I finally found a doctor who understood the complex nature of Lyme. She sent my blood to two specialty labs that understood how to test for the disease. I came back positive at both, but this was just the beginning of my journey.

I was put on intravenous antibiotics and various other treatments for many years. Now, at 30, I have been treated for eight years and have not been able to pursue my passions and dreams. It feels that my life has been stolen from me. I could never have imagined a small tick causing such devastation in my life and the lives of so many others.

I hope that we can find a cure for this horrible disease and take as many steps as we can to prevent more people from being infected and having their lives forever changed.
Estero, Florida

No new Hamptons
To the Editor:
I was honestly dismayed to read that the Chamber of Commerce has hired a PR person to promote Shelter Island as a great tourist destination — the new Hamptons!

This is the kiss of death to our sense of community. The South Fork has changed from genuine communities where people lived, worked, raised families, and yes, vacationed during the summer, into a blighted theme park geared to tourism.

Locals cannot remain there due to the increasing development and exorbitant housing prices, and the infrastructure cannot handle the load on the roads, water supply and basic services.

Small communities like the towns on the East End and here on Shelter Island are fragile ecosystems. They can absorb a certain amount of increased traffic and residency during the summer months, but not unmitigated growth.

Yes, the money looks great — to those who actually get it — but the character of a community can be irreparably lost. Large metropolitan centers like New York, London or Paris can handle the huge tourist industry and still maintain communities within. But small places like Amagansett and Shelter Island cannot.

It is ironic that in the same issue we read of the ongoing concern about the water supply and waste disposal. The more development, the more stress on the water and sewage systems and eventually pollution or lack of water for everyone.

Higher rents will drive out the stores that serve year-round residents and our small town centers will be replaced by luxury merchants, but good luck if you need thread or an aspirin. Instead of encouraging an array of job and career options that support the financial ecosystem of a town, the pressure will be for everyone to work in industries that cater to a narrow window of Memorial Day to Labor Day.

I know I sound like a crusty curmudgeon who hates summer people. I am not. But having witnessed the destruction of my home town on the South Fork, I was so happy to find that Shelter Island had avoided the curse of the “Disney Hamptons.” Shelter Island can maintain its balance of summer visitors/residents and year-round residents without going out to the media and luring more and more people here.

Go driving over on the South Fork on a weekend, and think about what we have now and whether we really want to become “a Hamptons destination.”
Shelter Island

Issues under review
To the Editor:
All I can think of after recent national events is the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

The profile for one of the local candidates for Town Board, Marcus Kaasik (“Clamming, fishing, carpentering and politicking,” August 10, is wonderful — love the comment he is a “natural Islander.” And natural Islanders are what make Shelter Island so special, they welcome the new people, realizing their value and contributions.

There were some pretty funny bumper stickers here and there, I never would put one on my car, but stick them inside my kitchen cabinet doors and get a chuckle out of them.

First one I ever did that with was “Ralph Nader protect us!” That tells you how old some of them are. There is one about a village in Texas missing an idiot, and next to it is, “Because Nice Matters,” and of course “No outfit is complete without dog hair,” but my favorite is, “God laughs when you make plans.” I’m going to make one up that says, “The Shelter Island Town Board laughs when you make plans.”

The short-term rental (STR) legislation has to be, and must be amended so it’s for the people, not against the people. Seems we still have the right to a little bit of privacy. And we have the Shelter Island Police Department who are beyond capable of taking care of STR issues. What is going on here?

And ticks — stop talking and get rid of the blasted mouse. Stop wasting money. Can’t the Fire department burn off small sections of grassy areas in the spring? I don’t think the various chemicals applied are the best thing for our aquifer or the environment in general.
Shelter Island