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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

The Ram’s Head Inn.

To the Editor:
With all due respect, I consider your publication of Mrs. Eklund’s paid response to the letter submitted and printed by your publication by Judy Bennett, Re: the Rams Head Inn’s expansion, a serious and questionable violation of the Reporter’s duty to report the news in a reliable and unbiased form.

Unlike “advertisements,” such as political endorsements during voting years, Mrs. Eklund’s “advertisement” was a pointed attack on both Mr. and Mrs. Bennett.

If those of us who reside as permanent residents of Shelter Island can purchase/buy our personal opinions with regard to the many problems that concern our Island, where does the Reporter draw the line?

It is no secret that Mr. and Mrs. Eklund have been trying to sell the Inn for decades. Let us not forget the issue of the Inn’s negotiations with “a rehabilitation center” some years ago.

The Eklunds certainly have the right to sell their property, but only within the requirements of the codes that, hopefully, are protected by our Island’s various offices.
If the Reporter becomes a conduit for those who have their own agenda, in this toxic age, I can only hope that this independent Island can be a beacon of democracy and the Reporter can be its voice.
Shelter Island

Fight Easton Porter
To the Editor:
The Ram’s Head Inn was built before the town’s Zoning Code and wouldn’t be allowed in a residential neighborhood today.

The Inn can’t change its grandfathered use and any expansion is strictly limited. But the Inn’s owner is again trying to expand in a big way, this time in partnership with a wedding mill operator called Easton Porter. (Some may recall that the Inn tried to convert to a drug rehab facility a few years ago until a packed auditorium of Islanders shot the proposal down).

The plan will double the footprint of the Inn with substantial new buildings, 12 cottages and a 5,000-square-foot water-using spa.

This is what Easton Porter needs for its large 150+ person events. The increased noise, traffic and most importantly, the use of the fragile Ram Island aquifer, in an area where neighbors already have well problems, will damage our quality of life and property values.

Perhaps emboldened by its forthcoming partnership, the Inn more recently has erected yard tents with outdoor amplified music, and revelers cruise the roads looking for parking because there is little off-street parking legally available. Certainly the town’s noise ordinance isn’t enforced here — my requests to turn down the music, when the noise becomes unbearable late at night, are met with indifference.

Communities elsewhere are fighting Easton Porter’s takeovers of old inns and its attempts to rezone quiet neighborhoods. We should insist that Easton Porter publicly release its business plan and financial projections for the Inn.

Put simply, Easton Porter would not invest in this project without a massive increase in size and use of the Inn.
Shelter Island

Why no testing?
To the Editor:
I am glad to read in the Reporter that a filtration system has been installed at the Senior Center and that the water there is now potable. It has been alarming to learn about the presence in the water supply of MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), a gasoline additive that was banned in 2004.

Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but throughout the life of this issue I don’t recall any mention of the fact that the Senior Center is 650 feet away from a gas station — one that has operated in the same location for decades.

Has there been testing by the town or appropriate state or federal agency of the gas station’s gas storage tanks for leakage — past or present? If yes, why hasn’t it been reported upon? If there hasn’t been testing of the tanks, why not?
Shelter Island

Coca-Cola or Champagne?
To the Editor:
Appears Lakeside, Michigan mirrors (Your Letters, “What works,” June 21) Shelter Island as we also have a few good neighbor rules. It’s all quite taken care of by the Shelter Island Police Department, should they be violated.

I didn’t know Mr. Dougherty did not get along with the other board members during his run as supervisor. You learn something new every day. Truly amazing.

Regarding the comments attached to the short-term  rental (STR) petition in favor of legislation, titled “Houses are not Hotels” with a sub-title, “Fighting for the soul of Shelter Island,” I make the following comments:

• To say STRs are taking business away from hotels and B&Bs is rather odd, since STRs are sought after because the aforementioned establishments are booked.
• To say they affect the affordable housing base is fictitious. Most of the houses are being used by the owners on a part-time basis; some may have had job transfers and don’t want to sell their houses and can only use them for a short vacation period and rent the rest of the time until they are able to return to the area. Not a mortal sin.
• To say we need limitations in this absurd legislation that are consistent with other East End Towns is yet another ridiculous comment. We are the un-Hampton, an entity unto its own.
• Crime? The crimes relayed in the police report in this paper have absolutely nothing to do with STRs as far as I can tell.
• To say you were able to count your neighbor’s guests outdoor showers, was rather amusing. Some have taken indoor showers or bathed in a tub. Someone has too, too much time on their hands.

There certainly were some comments that were justified, with references to noise, extreme partying, rudeness, just plain unpleasantness and overall lack of respect for the common man, plus a lack of common sense.

It is my hope that those in favor of this legislation got the message in my sterling silver vase and the daffodil comment. Not everyone can afford a mega-mansion by the sea as some of the signers of this petition for the legislation have. But then again, more people buy Coca Cola than champagne.
Shelter Island

Thank you, volunteers
To the Editor:
In 2017, I was asked to join the Shelter Island 10K Committee as the volunteer coordinator. I felt very honored. I work alongside the people I have always respected. I love running and I have participated in many races, including the Shelter Island 10K and 5K runs.

The process to register for a road race is always easy. The runners show up at the starting line and navigate the race course without any worries at all about the logistics along the way. It is so enjoyable and welcoming to participate in, and it is always an exciting day to be on Shelter Island.

However, the races just don’t magically happen. It takes a tireless race director and a dedicated committee and lots and lots of volunteers who dedicate their time to the community and to the charities. All the humble tasks, including stuffing the goodie bags, handing out the T-shirts, tending to the water stations, installing the fencing, assembling the tents and tables, carrying heavy cases of water, collecting the garbage and wrapping up the entire event afterwards.

Volunteers are a crucial part of the race and I can proudly say that our volunteer family has over 150 committed members every year.

Some of them I know only through email exchanges or phone calls, but I know they are out there, working hard, being flexible and making sure that the runners have a fantastic experience. All of you are doing an outstanding job and I can’t thank you enough. Your efforts are highly appreciated.

There’s no doubt that the runners and the Race Committee owe the race volunteers a huge debt of gratitude. The next time you run a race, be sure to say “thank you” to these folks who give their time so that everyone can have a great time. If you cannot participate as a runner, please consider becoming a part of our team next year since we will be hosting the big, 40th Shelter Island 10K in 2019.

Our race is growing steadily and the extra hands are always needed. I will certainly enjoy meeting you, and seeing our veteran volunteers again. Meanwhile all I have to say again is:

Thank you volunteers and a huge thumb up. You rock!
Shelter Island 10K Volunteer Coordinator