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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

Question the decision

To the Editor:
We were dismayed to discover that an adult would think it appropriate to submit such a negative letter to the editor (“Distraction,” June 18) about one of our high school students — a child of this community. The letter written to the editor was an example of exactly how we teach our children not to behave. We found it to be mean and hurtful.

We also question the editorial decision to publish this. We all stand for the free press. However, the emotional welfare of our young people should always be paramount. The negativity of the letter to the editor has indeed been buried by a tidal wave of love and support from the larger community and for this we are so thankful.

Our children make us so proud each and every day.
Brian Doelger, Ed.D.,Superintendent
Kathy Lynch, President, Board of Education
Mary Kanarvogel,President, Shelter Island Faculty Association

An insult

To the Editor:
I am writing in response to your decision to publish a specific letter to the editor (“Distraction”) in the June 18 edition.

The “distraction” letter was, in my humble opinion, unkind — and could most certainly be considered malicious, as it aimed to insult the work of a teen by questioning her education and ability to write. Emma is wise beyond her years. Her words are powerful and carry purpose. She deserves better from her hometown paper.
Janine Mahoney, Shelter Island

Alum weighs in

To the Editor:
Congratulations to Shelter Island High School valedictorian, Emma Gallagher. Your achievements are impressive and your hard work is evident.

In addition to those achievements, you have also learned a hard lesson, earlier than most, that when you speak up for what you believe in, people will work to tear you down.

A perfect example being Theresa Kilb’s inappropriate Letter to the Editor in the June 18 Reporter.

You now join a impressive club of volunteers, coaches, helpers and neighbors who have been on the wrong side of her path, but right side of history.

Please continue to make this community proud by advocating for causes you believe in, educating those around you on causes beyond our shores, and serving others. You’ve already begun to improve the community you grew up in and, in doing so, you’ve made (most of us) better people for knowing students like you.

While I don’t know you personally, as an alum of SIHS, it makes me proud to know the caliber of this year’s graduating seniors.

In these challenging times, it gave me great hope for the future to see the photos and hear the speeches of such a well-organized, peaceful protest.

I wish you all the best in this next chapter.
Maggie (Reilly) Forestieri,Exeter, N.H.,

In charge

To the Editor:
After reading Linda Puls’s unenlightened take (Letter to the Editor, June 18) on the long overdue revolution sweeping the country, bemoaning the “foul language” of demonstrators speaking out against 400-plus years of brutality and injustice; spewing terms like “gays” and “good blacks;” and blaming “socialism” for our country’s “poverty and oppression,” I can’t wait until she figures out what capitalism is all about.

And Theresa Lydia Kilb’s frankly bitter attempt to bully a brave young woman, all I can say is I’m looking forward to the not-too-distant future when millennials like me and Gen Zers like Emma Gallagher are finally in charge.
Elena Hershey,Shelter Island

Not a fan

To the Editor:
I do not know Marie Eiffel. I sat next to her partner Jason Penney at a dinner, I heard Marie’s compelling story, had a pleasant evening, and would welcome dining next to him in the future.

Marie certainly overcame much to survive her car accident, she must be driven to have gained her business mogul status. She found a niche catering to experiential vacationers who in most years fits with the Shelter Island experience. In many ways the Shelter Island community has accepted her style amongst their own.

I’m not a fan of her marketing campaigns. Continuous self-promotion over product promotion doesn’t attract me to her wares, so I don’t shop at her stores. I don’t know who declared her “the Hamptons’ most beloved shopkeeper” and I don’t agree that her seasonal market is “a community center.” She can call herself whatever she wants, if I don’t agree, I won’t shop there.

I’m concerned that our local newspapers are legitimizing these monikers with articles by editorial staff, when these puff pieces read more like advertising than news — but this isn’t unique to Marie.

Marie’s latest marketing campaign is new territory, with the introduction of her GoFundMe campaign she should not be treated as a business, but instead as a charity. During this time of uncertainty many Shelter Island charities are suffering and have lost their regular avenues to solicit contributions. A gift to Marie Eiffel is likely a gift that won’t go to one of our island’s 20-plus beloved charities. These charities fundraise year-round and many receive less than what Marie’s GoFundMe raised in 48 hours. I am deeply saddened that her story is more compelling to donors than a retreat house for veterans suffering from PTSD, a bone marrow registry, an Island preschool, or our East End food pantries.

The donors who give to Marie have every right to give according to what they feel is right and good — it is their money. So my challenge is — how do we tell the story of our charities in a way that our local newspapers dedicate a page to each one of them? How do we get our causes to be written up in regional and national newspapers or lifestyle magazines?

How do we get people to be as passionate about supporting education, saving lives, and healing wounds as they are about a coffee shop?
Craig Wood,Shelter Island
Editor’s note: Mr. Wood is the chairman of the town’s Board of Assessors. Other publications, not the Reporter, called Ms. Eiffel “the Hamptons’ most beloved shopkeeper” and referred to her market as “a community center.”

This picture

To the Editor:
As I watched petite poulette running down Bridge Street crying the sky is falling, the sky is falling, please save my croissants and croque monsieur, I felt compelled to enlighten you to a GoFundMe page for a local man that is in dire need of your support.

Alex Cannon, a long-time resident, a former South Ferry captain, is a soft-spoken man with kind blue eyes and a quick smile. On November 18, 2019, Alex fell off a roof while on a power washing job, compressing the vertebrae in his neck and leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down.

He had no health insurance. A GoFundMe page was started for Alex in December with a goal of $200,000.00 – to date it has raised only $23,085.00. The page started for petite poulette has raised $170,000.00 in a mere three weeks. What is wrong with this picture?

I stand back horrified at how our priorities have become so skewed and am asking you to please help Alex raise the money needed to bring him home. I know that at the end of the day, as you are slicing your baguette you will feel like you have done something that mattered.
Linda Zavatto,Shelter Island

The magic words

To the Editor:
Last week’s letters were certainly thought provoking and “spot on” in many different areas.
Suffering from “Pandemic Paranoia,” I stay home as instructed and try to stay safe, and have become very good friends with my computer. I especially am addicted to Shelter Island Local. Of course I can make an immediate reply to many comments with the tips of my fingers and I see many others do as well.

Even though I’m basically at home, except for my daily ride around with Cinnamon and a trip to the Recycling Center, I’m still active through the magic of cyberspace at my real estate office. We have had the normal influx of summer residents and vacationers, along with ex-pats from Manhattan who arrived early on. And all real estate brokers at this point are still subject to the COVID-19 disclosure policy set by New York State. Sales are happening and rentals are non-existent.

As I check in with Shelter Island Local daily, there certainly is a bit of angst among the natives, and I don’t blame them. Suddenly all the Airbnb, and Home Away from Home, etc. arrivals have decided what is best for Shelter Island. I think perhaps many of the people who comment on this site may have a history here, but I recognize very few of them. Those I do recognize, I must agree with them, they are justified in their comments.

And, referring back to the letters from last week, I’m familiar with each writer. Each one had solid opinions and I agree and sympathize with all of them. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

When we make choices, we all need to be sympathetic and respectful, to our town leaders, our law enforcement, our first responders, who I believe live here 24/7, and most of all to our precious island. And remember my mantra: “That was then, this is now and the past is not happening anymore.” The past is over and done with, we must all try to move forward with, faith, hope and charity, all there for your “choice” — the magic word.
Georgiana Ketcham, Shelter Island

Understanding the risk

To the Editor:
In last week’s Reporter, Robert Lipsyte, in his “Codger” column, wrote, referring to a swim he took in Fresh Pond some 20 years ago: “Suddenly, weekday yard workers began appearing on the town landing on weekends with their families and hibachis. It was around then that the adjacent neighbor began an incessant campaign to keep people out of Fresh Pond, claiming pollutants.”

Obviously, “yard workers” is code for the minorities who do the manual labor here. Since I was the only “adjacent neighbor,” Mr. Lipsyte is referring to me.

I do not remember “yard workers” in particular. There was always a mix of residents and visitors.

My “incessant campaign” was never to keep anyone from swimming. My wife and I knew that there were high bacteria levels that would spike after the runoff from a rain storm. We saw folks bringing their babies to Fresh Pond, believing that it was as safe as a chlorinated pool. “Fresh” Pond was a declared “impaired, (polluted), water body”.

I asked the Town Board to simply place a sign to inform the public of the risk. They refused, knowing that unwitting visitors could contract harmful algae bloom, eye, ear and sinus infections without taking precautions. That board could care less.

Without notice, the board replied by building a beach on this landing next to my home. The State Department of Environmental Conservation and the county health department reversed this and posted: “Not a Bathing Beach” signs at town landings.

Mr. Lipsyte infers that I was racially motivated to somehow exclude “yard workers … with their families.” No, we wanted everyone to understand the risk and swim healthy. I challenge Mr. Lipsyte to prove that I ever said or wrote one word that could be construed as bigoted.

The record will show that I never asked for the pond to be closed unless it was exceedingly unsafe. But ignorance is easier than fact checking. Perhaps he assumes that I reacted as he would have.

Mr. Lipsyte, do not imposes your own biases on me.

The editor apologized the last time Mr. Lipsyte attacked me. Mr. Lipsyte obviously writes with considerable malice towards me. I suspect that he is still upset that I criticized the SI League of Women Voters for staying silent when the then town supervisor told a “rape joke” at their annual meeting. Mr. Lipsyte’s wife was the group’s president then.

He should not be allowed to use this newspaper for his personal vendetta.
Vincent Novak, New York City

It’s about you

To the Editor:
To our host families, sponsors, and fans: We may be disappointed about the cancellation of our 2020 season, but what we are encouraged by is each of you. We could not do what we do without you.

Thank you so much for your willingness to commit to this island community and this team by volunteering to host players, fill the stands during games, feed the teams after each game, and provide the much-needed donations to keep this team going.

Opening your homes and providing sponsorships are treasured efforts our team needs to exist, and we are truly grateful to those of you who meet our needs each season. You bring such a boost to our little community, and we appreciate you and your efforts.

The positive influence you are to your neighbors, friends and each player is special not only to us, but makes a lasting impression on the lives of these young players. Some of our players may go on to play professional baseball and some may not, but what is certain is the kindness you have extended to them is something they will remember for the rest of their lives, and hopefully pay forward over the years.

While this summer is an unusual hiatus for our organization, we hope each of you find some unexpected blessings during these uncertain times. We hope you and your families are safe and healthy. And we hope, after this quiet summer of rest, you (and hopefully your friends and neighbors) will be even more excited to get involved and make 2021 the best Shelter Island Bucks season yet.
The Shelter Island Bucks, Shelter Island

Clear cutting

To the Editor:
While the Town Board is busy coping with many important issues at this time, many Islanders’ pulse racing over them, at this inappropriate time I would like to raise an issue which has rarely been addressed in our Island: Clear cutting trees threatening our oak forest, resulting in damage to our air, drinking water and bays.

A new property owner cut almost all the trees on his property. The yard, easily seen from the road, is full of stumps and half-cut trees on a backhoe half as big as the house. The scene is more of a lumber yard than a residential house, visible since January.

These trees, scores of years old, absorbed tons of CO2 over their lifetime, which will be released back to the atmosphere when cut. In many cases the trees are replaced by a fertilized lawn, and the chemicals will seep into our drinking water and bays.

Shelter Island, unlike other towns on the East End does not have any rules, regulations or laws against clear cutting.

Today, it may be a dozen trees on half an acre; tomorrow it may be a large parcel with hundreds of trees.

Please do the right thing and follow the example of our neighbors in the East End.
Orhan Birol,Shelter Island