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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


Island care
To the Editor:
Now that I am nearly recovered and getting around with my walker, I take my pen to thank all the persons who took such good care of me and called the Shelter Island Police Department and the Emergency Medical Services when I fell near the North Ferry office over three months ago.

Thank you to the lady who stopped and called the emergency services; to the lady who held my hand while we waited for the ambulance; to Bridg Hunt for giving up his jacket to keep me warm; to the Shelter Island emergency responders who not only tended to me but who made the right call to send me to Stony Brook University Hospital by helicopter; to the police officers who called my neighbor and family; and to the friends who gathered my belongings and moved my car back home.

Thank you to the two gentlemen who rode in the ambulance with me to Klenawicus Field, where they transferred me to an emergency helicopter for a very cold flight to Stony Brook, where I received first-class care from the hospital’s trauma, orthopedic and plastic surgery teams, who saved my foot and patched up my wrist and hand. Thank you also to the caring and patient staff at Peconic Landing, who saw me through post-surgery rehab and physical therapy.

Because all of you helped me so quickly, I am now home at last, doing well, my foot and ankle in a special boot (which I hope to get rid of very soon!).

I thank you all for your attention and care.

Thank you, Shelter Islanders, I love you!
Josette Schoellkopf
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
We buy our homes with the assumption that we are free to use them as we please, as long as we don’t harm the environment or intrude on our neighbors. We chose private property ownership over the restrictions of a co-op or a gated community.

It seems that there is a group of spoiled, sheltered Islanders who now expect the homes of weekenders and others to always stay vacant most of the time. They believe that they have the right to control the use of their neighbor’s property. Using my home for its intended purpose, be it two or seven days a week, is my right, not an imposition on my neighbors.

A Town Board member once said, “There is the public, then there is the other public,” and recently said that the proposed short-term rental (STR) law is partly about the problem of having “strangers” here. With no dissent, I assume that the board agrees. This over-reaching law is all about discouraging STR rentals because of unfounded paranoia and hysteria by a few.

The “other public” and “strangers” are the tourists that this island depends on. They are of all races, nationalities, orientations, classes and religions that have not proven to be a public safety issue.

It is obvious to everyone, except the Town Board, that an actual majority of taxpayers here oppose this law. They make their arguments against this law at official public board meetings but are ignored.

However, there is a secret citizenry that meets with board members at the post office and IGA that have the ultimate influence.

This past Memorial Day we honored those who died defending our democracy. We can truly honor these veterans by confronting our town government as they avoid the democratic process to promote a law that threatens our liberty and right to privacy in our own homes.

The group of spoiled, sheltered Islanders seem to prefer authoritarianism. Our Town Board is happy to oblige by simply dictating and imposing this oppressive law on all of us, with little transparency or valid reason.

The board recently proclaimed and defined the meaning of “Decency” to the public. But you cannot have decency without honesty and integrity, which the board lacks on this issue. This anti-STR, anti-homeowner law only promulgates racism, fear and distrust.

The Town Board should revisit their oath of office before pontificating about decency to the public.
Vincent Novak
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
The final form of the proposed rental law submitted for publication in the Reporter has been cleaned up in important ways. Still, the law presently under consideration comes up short of the mark.

Consider the law’s definitions of “immediate family” and “nuclear family.” In both of these definitions the law speaks of individuals and his or her “domestic partner” while, curiously, omitting to include an individual’s spouse within that definition. Yes, according to this proposed law a spouse is not included in one’s “immediate” or “nuclear” family. Under New York law it’s possible to be either a spouse or a domestic partner, but one cannot be both. The term “spouse” is reserved for those who are legally married, while “domestic partner” is a legal status afforded to those who have opted to officially register as domestic partners rather than to marry.

Accordingly, the occupancy of a residence by an owner’s spouse would fail to trigger an exception as an owner-occupied premises under Section 105-30 (B)(1) of the proposed law. This is going to come as quite a shock to some.

In any event, it is possible that these and other labyrinthine, seat-of-the-pants musings can be made more precise and effective when the Town Board — as currently comprised or otherwise — deigns to take policy making and draftsmanship seriously.

The proposed law, if enacted, will not be in effect until well into the current summer season. It will thus be very convenient for the board to say (yet again) that it doesn’t have enough data to make any changes until the last quarter of 2020.

Until then it will be a case of full employment for as many code enforcers, clerks, attorneys, forensic income tax reviewers, busybodies, fence peepers, data analysts and interns as the taxpayers of Shelter Island are willing to pay for.
Joseph Kelly
Shelter Island

An Island Memorial Day
To the Editor:
It was, as usual, a very somber Memorial Day. I am sure everyone reading this has many memories of this holiday from the past. Since I was a child, it was always considered the start of summer, but not until we remembered all those who were no longer with us.

First thing on the agenda for the day was get to the cemetery with either a flag or flowers and, with Jack’s mother, geraniums. Next was the parade, always fun to participate in, to get a kid ready for it, and to watch, and to take photos, or, in this day and age, videos. Then, of course, the day ended with a picnic at the beach, a park or in the back yard. And of course I could start wearing my white shoes.

When one is 83, there are lots of memories and just plain nostalgia drifting by.

Through the magic of cyberspace — mostly Facebook — I witnessed all kinds of wonderful happenings.

It was wonderful to see how so many truly honored the fallen. The ceremonies on Shelter Island from Piccozzi’s dock to the Legion Hall and the parade and the involvement of the Lions Club, should be a documentary by HBO. Shelter Island reflects the whole country. God bless America. Enjoy the summer of 2019.
Georgiana Ketcham
Shelter Island