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Reporter Letters to the Editor


To the Editor:
Words are powerful. Let’s take a look at page 16 of the Nov. 7, 2019 issue of the Reporter.

This sentence almost went under the radar, but just for kicks, tell me what “read” you get from it: “He [referring to Mr. Colligan’s speech] also praised Republican Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams, elected in 2017, telling his party members that despite her Republican credentials, she has been a solid, engaged member of the Town Board, with whom they can work successfully.”

Does this mean when asked to work with a member who has an “R” after their name, one should expect behavior that prevents success? Or that members who bear an “R” are expected to not be committed, one-dimensional? Or that we can’t work with “R’s,” but for some reason we can work with this one? Now, take out the word “Republican” and replace with other hypothetical labels.

Despite her age. Despite her Latina roots. Despite her being a woman. Despite her being Jewish. Despite her being gay. Ironic that this sentence is alongside a sentiment printed in the adjacent column that “we need to get rid of the “us and them’ attitude.”
Julia K. Weisenberg
Shelter Island

Editor’s note: Ms. Weisenberg ran unsuccessfully on the Republican line for Town Council in the last election.

Less deer, less disease

To the Editor:
The professional scientists at the state DEC have issued a regulation that prohibits 4-posters within 750 feet of all properties unless every owner gives written approval (“Bye, bye 4-posters?” November 14). This could potentially limit the number of 4-posters on the Island and, importantly, free up to $70,000 we currently spend on servicing 4-posters and corn.

These funds might be better used to provide real financial incentives to our hunters to cull more deer. Hunting is hard work and it helps our island. The work of our hunters in lowering our deer density below the current 100+ per square mile should be rewarded. Most scientists agree: fewer deer = fewer ticks = less disease.

Why might the scientists at the DEC have issued this restrictive regulation? While 4-posters can kill ticks, they are only a temporary aid that requires endless application. They do not provide any long term solution and they create unintended consequences. The units draw too many deer to a localized area and the constant supply of available food encourages the deer to live there. No property owner should be forced to host this abnormally high density of deer.

The troubling effects of this high density of deer can result in deer bedding down and shedding excess ticks while eating plants, thus destroying the plant ecology. The units encourage infestation of excess small mammals such as mice, rats, raccoons, and squirrels who migrate for the corn. All these other mammals also harbor and spread ticks, yet are never exposed to any of the 4 poster’s permethrin. However, all these properties have had more than a decade of exposure to permethrin.

Higher density of deer in a neighborhood may increase frequency of deer-vehicle accidents.

Further, when living by homes, deer often learn that they are in a safe haven from hunters.
Without the constant “all you can eat buffet,” these deer might relocate into the woods away from homes.

Let’s give our precious Island funds to our hard-working hunters and not to the care and feeding of deer. Remember: less deer = less ticks = less disease.

Why? Without a blood meal on deer, an adult tick cannot reproduce and lay eggs.

Scaling back the 4-poster program as regulated by the DEC can financially help our hunters and our Island. It may also please the 82% of Island residents who responded to the survey requesting more culling.
Shelter Island

Editor’s note: Mr. Wein is a member of the Deer & Tick Committee

A distant goal

To the Editor:
Points to ponder on the possible continuation of Shelter Island’s 4-poster program for tick control: Given the new requirement that permission be obtained from every landowner within 745 feet of a proposed deployment site, it’s inconceivable that the recommended density of 1 device per 40 to 50 acres could ever be achieved.

There is no scientific evidence that a few 4-posters, or 4-posters deployed at less than recommended densities, are efficacious in tick control. Published scientific studies indicate just the opposite. Heavy acorn masting (which regularly occurs on Shelter Island) was identified as a probable cause of reduced 4-poster visitation by deer and device effectiveness in one such study. Every county, town or village contemplating the use of these devices need not reinvestigate this issue. The further use of 4-posters is also likely to promote continued fecundity in Shelter Island’s deer population. This works contrary to the essential goal of drastically reducing the population.

Continued device deployment after 11 years of use should only be based upon solid evidence of effectiveness that could withstand scientific peer review. Presently there is no such evidence; Shelter Island still has plenty of ticks. The further pursuit of a strategy that “seems like a good idea” to a committee composed largely of non-scientists, with no expertise in the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, is an unacceptable way of addressing a serious public health issue.

Finally, given the clear harm Shelter Island’s excessive deer population is doing to public health, the environment and biodiversity, it is a misallocation of limited resources to support continued 4-poster use rather than a truly aggressive deer management program. Under the present program, reduction of the deer population to a safe and environmentally-sustainable level remains a far distant goal.
John J. Rasweiler IV

Editor’s note: Mr. Rasweiler is a member, Town of Southold Deer Management Task Force; member, Suffolk County Tick Control Advisory Committee; chairman, Town of Southold Tick Working Group; and member, North Fork Deer Alliance.

Thanks to all

To the Editor:
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church held its annual Election Eve Ham Dinner on November 4. It was very successful and well-attended by the public and many of the candidates.
This year the event took place without the leadership and years of experience of Dot Ross. There are so many volunteers to thank, all of whom took their tasks seriously with Dot very much on our minds.
Those whom we would like to mention for their hard work are Tommy Ritzler, Kris Corbett, Mark Cappellino, Reeves Thompson, John Klupka, Jody Thompson, Joanne Calabro, Ginny Gibbs, and Our Lady of the Isle Confirmands, Marian Brownlie, Wendy Mead, Fr. McCarron, Cathy McCafferty, Lorraine Miller and the Shelter Island Fire Department.

Thank you from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Women.
Jane Babinski
Shelter Island