Featured Story

Reporter Letters to the Editor


Elizabeth Pedersen
To the Editor:
Elizabeth Pedersen fought and underwent treatment for one of the most deadly cancers for four years.

All of that time, she worked tirelessly with her husband, Bill, and her colleagues at the Shelter Island Historical Society to create a state-of-the-art facility for the safe preservation of treasures Islanders have donated, and for the education of generations to come in our Island’s history. Fortunately she lived, undoubtedly against all odds and with pain, just long enough to see the recent and stunning completion of her vision.

She is remembered for her energy, gracious and always positive outlook, generosity, and immense contribution to our community …and will be missed.
Roberta Martin
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
As a co-owner of two properties adjacent to the properties that are the subject of the building application that was before the Town Board on July 19, I want to thank you for the article about the public hearing and for placing it on page 1 (“Board hears mega-house proposal,” July 25).

Too often when a building application for a project in excess of 6,000 square feet is automatically denied, the public hearing for the application for special permit flies under the radar. How many Islanders regularly check the bulletin board in Town Hall or the Reporter for notices of such hearings? Ten days prior to this hearing, a notice of the hearing was mailed to each adjacent property owner at the address on file with the town’s receiver of taxes — in most cases the property owner’s winter address.

Many more Islanders are now aware of a proposed project to build 11,000 square feet of living space in an already water-challenged area that might otherwise have gone unnoticed until the application was approved. The project as presented at the hearing is not compatible in its size and nature with other homes in the neighborhood, which consists of more than Nostrand Parkway. The look and feel of our quiet, historic neighborhood will never be the same, not to mention the strain on the fragile aquifer, if the project in its current form is allowed to proceed.

There is still time to raise concerns at Town Board work sessions or in letters to Town Board members ahead of the next Town Board meeting on Aug. 9, at which the application could be voted on.
Sandra D. O’Connor
Shelter Island

Big enough?
To the Editor:
Word is that the Town Board will O.K. the enormous house proposed at Bootleggers Alley.

Tear down one there because it isn’t big enough? That’s ridiculous. Besides the fact it is right on the shore and they want something like 10 bathrooms. Who needs that many bathrooms? And what about our precious aquifer and salt water intrusion?

I hope they deny it and the proposal goes back to the drawing board. Talk about Nu Hampton. Jeez.
Penny Kerr
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
What a gift the 1743 Havens House makeover is for the entire Island and beyond.

Like Maya Lin’s iconic, iconoclastic Vietnam Veterans Memorial, our new History Center transcends and topples staid restrictions and boundaries. Historical societies around the country are struggling to remain relevant.

Let us give a deep and heartfelt thanks to architect Bill Pedersen’s vision and his late wife Elizabeth’s leadership as president, the Historical Society board (now the Shelter Island History Center), the volunteers and the generations of families who have made this project possible. History and the future are alive and well on Shelter Island.
Jackie Black
Shelter Island

Best is yet to come
To the Editor:
Well, we have arrived back on Fantasy Island after a bit of a sabbatical. Have never lost touch daily through the magic of cyberspace and with all the technology it has to offer. Whether it be magic or “voodoo,” I was able to attend every recent Town Board meeting at my computer.

Last week’s letters and the editorial were most interesting and certainly food for thought. Our home is virtually at the base of Gardiners Creek and from our deck we enjoy the music from Sylvester Manor.

Seems to me we have a neighbor across the water from Sylvester Manor who is terribly disturbed by their few fundraisers, then another that enjoys the music across the Creek. I watched the board meeting with the complainant. She seemed terribly disorganized. Basically quoting some “legaleeze” about “quiet enjoyment” and some such business. According to the editorial it seems the police department did its job and spoke with the “powers that be” at Sylvester Manor, and all settled this complaint in an orderly fashion.

Too bad the short-term rental (STR) situation cannot or could not be handled in an orderly fashion. One big cat fight and a lot of “hissy fittin’” going on right down to the new Rental Law of the Town of Shelter Island, that is so wrong for our beautiful island. It is a travesty! Do not ever see or have not seen any editorial addressing this outrageous law. Why not?

National politics is horrible, bringing neighbor against neighbor, and the STR law is doing the same thing locally. Seems this “Preserve Shelter Island Group” has done nothing but destroy Shelter Island and all the beauty it had. The ugliness that is being spewed out by some of these supporters is vile, I want to know where these so called “party palaces” are and who are the “they” that is referred to in their petition. All quite mind boggling.

I just love plagiarizing. I stole, “That was then, this is now, and the past is not happening anymore,” so now I steal “what?? the what!!!” expressed on Facebook, by someone who came upon a traffic jam of all things on Shelter Island.

Just have to appreciate how wonderful Shelter Island is and the generosity of many second homeowners, who appreciate the year-rounders who so freely volunteer their time, some now second and third generations. This has always been the beauty of this island and soon will be again when the STR law is repealed and the Island can return to what it does best ….Shelter us all!
Enjoy the rest of summer of 2019, the best is yet to come!
Georgiana Ketcham
Shelter Island

Invalid law
To the Editor:
Shelter Island’s STR law is invalid as it was significantly altered when submitted to Albany.

We urge the Town Board to halt approval of Shelter Island Local Law entitled CHAPTER 105 – RENTAL OF REAL PROPERTY, No. 10 – 2019 amendments which were sent to the Secretary of State following a public hearing held on June 14, 2019 at 4:45 p.m. in Shelter Island on the following basis: evidence that final form as published in the local newspaper Shelter Island Reporter issue May 30, 2019 pgs. 34-35 and as available online at Shelter Island Town website for discussion at the public hearing has significant changes, and form sent to the Secretary of State for approval.

According to Section 13-1 Public hearing; publication of notice: No local law shall be adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Shelter Island until a public hearing has been held thereon in its final form before such Town Board not less than three days after public notice has been given of the time and place of the holding of such public hearing. Such notice shall be given by the Town Clerk by causing same to be published once in the official newspaper of the Town. Such notice shall contain the title of the proposed local law and a brief explanatory statement thereof.

Six significant material changes have been noted in the version sent to Albany, likewise as appears online now for residents to download, as well as distributed by Town Clerk, if requested. These changes were not in the public notice pre-hearing. Residents did not get access to the true final form, and therefore the Town Board voted on a different version. Accordingly, the STR law is invalid and given the blatant discrepancies as per procedures of Section 13-1, the STR law as submitted is null and void.

And — Shelter Island does not want this law. It destroys our businesses and hurts the elderly, the disabled, women, and working families. Visit repealthislaw.com for more information regarding removing this law from this beautiful island and reinstating your property rights, civility, and electing a Town Board that cares in November.
K. Klenawicus
Shelter Island

Racism and voter supression
To the Editor:
We northeasterners love to criticize Trump and his administration. But calculated divisiveness, regulation of individual rights, “laws do not apply to us” attitudes, racism and voter suppression exist here, too.

The impetus for the STR law was a change in the type of renter. Seventy-five percent of persons renting their homes are women — contrary to their prior role as mothers summering while their husbands worked. Rental periods are shorter because women now work in demanding jobs that do not allow multi-week vacations. Some renters are not white or American. These nativist feelings were seized on by new members to the Town Board and the Island to curry favor with certain vocal constituents with too much time on their hands. Observations:

1. “Preserve Shelter Island” supports laws motivated by a fear of change and people not like them. Shelter Island has never been a Leave It to Beaver community because 2/3 are second homes.

2. Some claim second homeowners should not vote on the Island.

3. The Silver Beach Association pre-determines an unopposed slate of board members without stating in the notice that members can nominate from the floor. “Full-time residents” are preferred, disenfranchising at least 2/3 of homeowners.

4. After I left the Silver Beach meeting, a member complained that Hispanic families, with Queens car stickers, used Bootleggers Alley beach. Last spring a truck I was in was pulled over because a resident had told the police a Hispanic man in a truck was taking photos; he was facetiming for directions to my house.

5. The loudest supporters of the STR law act like it doesn’t apply to “people like us.” They ask us to rent to their friends/family for a weekend; then they rent illegal apartments and/or are not registering long- or short-term rentals.

6. Intrusions on our privacy by requiring us to disclose dates our homes are rented and obtain permits for party tents and kayaks.

7. The “hardship” clause creates two categories of property owners to further divide the Island.

8. The town encourages neighbors to “rat out” neighbors — yes, Codger, this is commonly referred to as a “STASI” tactic.

I have worked on Democratic elections since 1984. I will be voting Republican this November. The Republican candidates for Town Board stand for principles of fairness, pragmatism and the property and individual rights my forefathers fought for in the Revolutionary War. Colligan and Shepherd do not.
Shelly d’Arcambal
Shelter Island

Saving lives
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Town of Shelter Island, I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to make the 4th annual summer blood drive at the EMS Building on July 25 a huge success.

Sixty pints were collected at this drive. One pint of blood can help to save three to five lives. You helped between 180 and 300 patients.

Whether you booked an appointment or just stopped by because you saw the signs, your time and donations are greatly appreciated.

Thank you to Director of EMS Services Jack Thilberg, for allowing the drive to take place in the EMS Building once again. It was a great location. Donors and staff were very comfortable.

Thank you to the Shelter Island Reporter, Shelter Island Fire Department, North Ferry Company, South Ferry Company and Sylvester Manor for getting the word out. A special thank you to Annmarie Seddio for her assistance and Giovanna Ketcham for cleaning up the day after.

Please remember that blood donors are continually needed to ensure that blood is available year round.

Hope to see you next summer!
Judy Meringer
Shelter Island

Without you …
To the Editor:
Another season of top-class baseball entertainment was provided by the Bucks, a team that, in January, seemed on the brink of extinction, but went on to post-season play by securing a spot in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League wildcard game.

None of this would have been possible without members of the Shelter Island community rising to the occasion. The following (and many more) are owed a debt of gratitude.

In the dark days of winter, Carol Galligan kept hope alive by insisting the Bucks could find people to step up. And she was right: John Spinelli took on the general manager’s job, and did what it took to see an actual team of talented players arrive and start the new season. Others became essential components in this success: Brian Cass, tirelessly promoting sponsorships (and thank you to all those sponsors and advertisers), as well as taking care of daily essentials like the concession; Chuck Kraus, organizing the schedule of announcers. Ebeth Lones took charge of our social media and organized the batboy schedule. Alison Binder returned as reliable as ever to run the merchandise stall and supervise the postgame meals (helped by high-schoolers Dayla and Valeria Reyes and Angelina Rice).

Thanks to The Islander, Flying Goat, SALT, Stars Café, Piesano’s, Chrissy Gross and Colleen Smith, we gained the reputation of being the best after-game meal providers in the league. Franny Regan took charge of the scoreboard, helped by Coal Austin and Tyler Gulluscio. Deanna Locascio, the school music teacher, and Tom Milton ensured we had a live rendition of the National Anthem at every game: thanks to all who sang (or played alto sax) for us. The Lions Club not only helped run the concession stand, but provided a venue for us to appeal for housing for our team. Without those individuals and families who responded to the call to host a player (or two), there would have been no season. To the more than 30 people who opened their homes, a massive thank you!

And last but not least, thanks to all the fans, whether you attended one or all 20 home games!
Frank Emmett
Interim General Manager Shelter Island Bucks

Skateboard return, please
Letter to the Editor:
This past Saturday, I mistakenly brought a skateboard to the Goody Pile at the Recycling Center.

It was taken almost immediately.

Afterward, I learned that this skateboard is a cherished childhood memento of my son-in-law.
I would be very grateful for its return and am willing to pay for it.

Please contact me at 516-817-9208, or email me at [email protected]
Jerry Zisfein
Shelter Island