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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

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Consider other options
To the Editor:
When Bennett Konesni and Eben Fiske Ostby inherited Sylvester Manor grounds and made the vital decision to transform the property to create a nonprofit educational farm, it was a game changer for the community.

Privately owned grounds could be easily turned into a luxury housing development. Instead of putting more pressure on the land and a fragile water aquifer, extensive grounds are now open to the public and the Manor House museum and organic farm were established.

Sylvester Manor cooperates with so many local organizations, including Mashomack Preserve, the Historical Society, the Shelter Island 10K Run, the Educational Foundation, Perlman Music Program, Shelter Island Public Library, and more. Children from the local school, preschool and from neighboring towns are visiting Manor grounds routinely and absolutely free of charge. Wonderful programs are organized here year round, including our family favorite Christmas tea and cookies. Locally grown organic produce is within reach for the entire community and visitors to the Island. Kids’ activities, youth summer camps, archeological digs, archival work, exhibitions, outdoor theatre, concerts, hiking trails and more are offered to the community by this organization.

Sylvester Manor cannot sustain itself without fundraising efforts and thanking its donors with a celebratory event is a must.

I live across the creek from the Manor House. We have 362 quiet days in our neighborhood. I cannot wait for the next concert. Perhaps, we’ll just grill some vegetables from the Sylvester Manor farm stand, sit on the porch, and be thankful for the joyful music accompanying our evening.
Kristina Martin Majdisova
Shelter Island

Bigger picture
To the Editor:
I was sitting in the living room with my wife discussing the weekend plans. I had to advise her to keep her voice down, since my sound meter was showing 52 dB. The Town Code says that sound levels in excess of 50 decibels is considered as unreasonable noise.

Then she used her hairdryer, which was 90 dB and I was really concerned that the neighbors would call police. When a car was passing by our house, 70 dB were measured. The neighbors’ lawn mower woke me up at 8 a.m. screaming a whole 95 dB. Then we had a quiet afternoon and we finally complied with the Town Code. Rainfall measured only a reasonable 48 dB.

It seems to me that local organizations should be equipped with wireless headphones for all concert goers to enjoy the music. Let’s include weddings, too, of course. People should be just texting to each other while enjoying outdoor family gatherings. Let’s add into this whole mess that according to simple physics and the website school-for-champions.com “sound seems to be amplified when it travels over water.”

As an across-the-creek-from-the-Manor resident, I very much enjoy the view of the woods, the quietness of the creek and the serenity of the area. Those couple of concerts and one fundraiser is just a way to maintain this state for the rest of the year. Sylvester Manor Educational Farm organizes small events for the community and children year round, supports so many local organizations, creates year-round jobs for the residents, and preserves our history and the land. I cannot imagine that the creek-side music could be an issue.
Billy Martin
Shelter Island

Big story
To the Editor:
Sylvester Manor has two concerts from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. each summer with very respectable and wholesome music. These concerts support the mission, history and preservation of the Manor.

We know some nearby neighbors love to sit on their decks and listen to these concerts. We don’t understand why one neighbor wants the police to use their valuable time to measure decibels, nor why the Reporter has made this such a big story.
Barbara Warren & Jim Preston
Shelter Island

Getting help
To the Editor:
I’m reaching out to both educate people and reduce the stigma of domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV). IPV is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as “physical, sexual, or threatened abuse that is perpetrated by a current or former romantic partner.”

It affects persons of all socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, educational levels, genders, ages and sexual orientations. Often, persons suffering from IPV are reluctant to disclose their situation out of fear, embarrassment and even guilt. Leaving an abusive partner is not always an option — keeping this in mind when reaching out to someone is exceptionally important.

It is not uncommon for people to say, “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” It’s this type of comment that could inadvertently encourage someone to continue to keep his or her situation a secret.

On the East End there are dozens of animal shelters, which is wonderful, but there is only one shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault — The Retreat. The Retreat provides counseling, legal advocacy, residential shelter and other forms of advocacy, all free of charge. It also works to educate in the community through school programs and special events.

For those who believe they may be in an abusive relationship, or suspect someone they know might be, the following guidelines could be an indicator. Does the person you love:

• “Track” all of your time?
• Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
• Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
• Prevent you from working or attending school?
• Criticize you for little things?
• Become angry easily when drinking or abusing drugs?
• Control all finances and force you to account for what you spend?
• Humiliate you in front of others?
• Destroy your personal property or items with sentimental value?
• Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or the children?
• Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
• Threaten to hurt you or hurt the children?
• Force you to have sex against your will?

It is not uncommon to read about a domestic abuse incident in a police blotter. Shelter Islanders, if you find that you are in an abusive situation, please reach out.

Our police department is extremely responsive, professional, well trained and, above all, compassionate.

You can also call The Retreat hotline at 631- 329-2200 and check out their website at theretreatinc.org.

You are not alone.
Kathleen Lynch
Shelter Island

Recognizing John Mahoney
To the Editor:
Thank you for reminding your readers about the importance of boating safely and for your generous praise of our work promoting that safety on the water.

We are part of the Shelter Island Police Department’s mission to protect life and property and enforce the laws that help contribute to that protection.

We would ask for one addition to your editorial, that you also recognize John Mahoney, who is a three-year veteran and an integral member of our bay constable team.

Thank you, and to all your readers, wear your PFD’s.
Butch Labrozzi & Peter Vielbig
Bay Constables, Town of Shelter Island

Please explain
To the Editor:
With some ceremony, and a welcome mat placed before the public, the Shelter Island Historical Society has unveiled the Havens House after a two-year renovation to the 1734 structure and the addition of an annex providing space for archives, archivists, storage, and exhibition.

Like  Sylvester Manor, the Havens House occupies a singular stature in this nation’s history.
This lengthy project has engendered some criticism due to speculation of a considerable budget; the stylistic incongruities of the various structures; and the hardscaping of stone walls and round enclosures that are now featured on the property, neither of which is typical of both the place and the period of Havens house.

In the interior, the stunning decision to expose the joists and roman numeral-numbered beams in the ceilings, however interesting, is not only inconsistent with historic preservation but shows complete disregard to the crucial consideration of heating the house in winter.

While this may be an informative insight to 18th-century construction, the exposure is an architectural indulgence and not a reflection of functionality.

Were the Havens House a landmarked building, this sort of alteration would never have been acceptable. As in a pre-arranged marriage between two noble families, the Havens House and landmarks are eminently suited to one another.

Havens House, like Sylvester Manor, is unquestionably deserving of landmark designation and why this status has not been pursued for both properties merits some explanation. In landmarks, the parameters of conservation are far more restrictive than with The Historic Registry, but the avenues of funding are far greater and importantly, landmarking demands some interactive return to the benefit of the community.

While possibly regarded as bureaucratic and non-expeditious, landmarks demand compliance to historic accuracy.

Some might say that for an historical society, this is not a bad thing.
Tom Cugliani
Shelter Island

Moon walkers
To the Editor:
When I saw mention of the Apollo 11 anniversary, it sparked in me a recollection.

In 1969, I was seven years old and was enjoying some new found freedom. My parents would let me explore the Pridwin, which they had acquired in 1961 with my grandparents and Paul and Dorothy Mobius.

There was a fascinating man working in the office that summer. He wore black-frame glasses — which couldn’t hide the inquisitiveness of his eyes — and he had a big mustache. He was very excited because there were astronauts in space who were heading to land on the moon. He had brought a model of the Lunar Module to the hotel and put it on the front desk. It was an amazing model, certainly not a toy. I had never seen anything so cool in my life.

And when he wasn’t checking guests in, he was answering their questions since people could not help but be pulled in by his boiling enthusiasm.

Like there is today, there was one television set in the Pridwin lobby, and I remember what seemed like the entire hotel gathered around it as news of the lunar landing was broadcast.

The man would pop out of the office to add commentary to the television’s reports. At one point he said to me, “Glenn, why don’t you take the Lunar Module from the desk and put it on the table near the TV where everyone can see it?”

I could not believe he was trusting me to carry it. But I did and successfully landed the model Lunar Module on the table, not long before the actual landing on the moon.

The man working in The Pridwin office that year was the Shelter Island High School science teacher, working a summer job. His name was Gene Kinghan. Mr. Kinghan would become one of my (and many, many others’) favorite and most inspiring teachers. He brought Shelter Island High School science to a state level and we won many awards, definitely punching above our weight.

Two men walked on the moon that summer of 1969 and made history. But the person who had the greatest impact on me was Mr. Kinghan. Teachers are moon walkers in our midst.
Glenn Petry
Shelter Island

Way to roll
To the Editor:
Regarding the story “Town stalls on going Electric” (July 18), the estimate of the number of electric car owners on Shelter Island is quite inaccurate.

Working on the ferry over the weekend, I encountered 11 electric vehicles (EVs) and four plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with owners on Shelter Island.

Since there are four ferries running with two shifts per day, I had access only to 1/8 of the car traffic on the North Ferry. Clearly not every car on the Island crossed on North Ferry, in fact, far from it.

Volvo, among many other manufacturers, have big plans for EV production expansion in the next few years. Cars like the Chevy Bolt (and not in the Tesla price range) can drive about 250 miles per charge. My guess is that’s more than a day’s travel for a typical town car.

The point is, EVs are coming, thankfully. EVs are the way to roll!
Don Young
Shelter Island

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