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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

Filling a need

To the Editor:

COVID-19 has taken a toll on many lives and businesses globally. The negative effects of the virus have also been felt across our country, New York State and Suffolk County. The Town of Shelter Island is dealing with the same issues faced by many, with an additional burden – the need for continuous ferry service between the island and the twin forks to support Islanders and Island businesses.

Due to restrictions on travel, the shuttering of certain Shelter Island businesses, and the cancellation of many activities that draw travelers to Shelter Island (e.g., fireworks, 10K), traffic volume has been drastically diminished. The commercial traffic and “cash” fares from day trippers that subsidize our resident and commuter discount tickets have been negatively impacted. Unfortunately, running the ferry is a high fixed cost business and our cash flow is seasonal. Our expenses cannot fall at the same pace as our revenues.

The Town Board and North and South Ferries have been working together since the onset of the pandemic to ensure ongoing and consistent service to the island. That partnership extended to working with local lawmakers such as Legislators Fleming and Krupski, Assemblyman Thiele, and Congressman Zeldin — all of whom have been supportive and empathetic to the unique situation Shelter Island faces vis a vis dependency on ferry service.

Bill S. 4150, the CERTS (Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services) Act, is before the Senate now. The town, together with the ferry companies, has reached out to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand. This bipartisan legislation would provide $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding, in the form of grants and other economic assistance to U.S. flag passenger vessel operators, and other U.S. transportation service providers that are deemed essential. North Ferry’s preference is to take advantage of these Federal funds as other publicly-owned transportation companies would be eligible to as opposed to negatively impacting our service schedule and/ or our rate structure in the event of a prolonged decline in traffic.

STELLA LAGUDIS, General Manager, Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation

The golden rule

To the Editor:

I really liked the cartoon in the July 30 issue. While I got the humor of the family disagreement, the real message was exactly what we all need to hear: let’s work together for the common good, respect, decency and the golden rule. And that resonated with me after reading the ongoing series of responses to the Marie Eiffel Go FundMe page debacle.

I do not think anyone has it in for this particular merchant, but how wonderful would it have been if she had seen this outpouring of support from her summer community as worth sharing with all the hard-working businesses here on Shelter Island, many of whom serve us year-round, as well as those who come in the summer, or seek refuge from the pandemic?

Sharing that fund with the struggling others who make up our community would have captured exactly the message of this cartoon.

Well, we all can be sure to give as much support to these businesses as we can to show our appreciation and live up to this spirit of unity.

WENDY C. TURGEON, Shelter Island

A vote for Nancy

To the Editor:

In November, voters will be presented with a clear choice between Nancy Goroff, a trail-blazing scientist who would put the interests of the Island and the 1st Congressional District first, and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who has placed loyalty to President Trump first.

Nancy, the former chair of the chemistry department at Stony Brook, believes that science-based solutions are key to addressing the range of critical problems we face. The most urgent problem, COVID-19, has claimed the lives of esteemed members of our community and had a terrible impact on so many, especially business owners, workers, seniors, school-age children and their parents. Other critical problems include the quality of our drinking water and health of our bays, as well as the impact of sea level rise and other undeniable effects of global warming.

A first-time candidate who would be the first female Ph.D. In Congress, Nancy has always been committed to finding solutions based on facts, not politics. She won a hotly contested primary, despite not having been endorsed by most of the Democratic Party establishment here or elsewhere. 

By contrast, Mr. Zeldin has stood with President Trump as he has been fatally slow to accept mainstream science concerning the seriousness of COVID-19, and how to slow its spread and treat its victims. He has ignored the environmental challenges facing us here and well beyond.

Shockingly, Mr. Zeldin stood by when Republicans crafted a tax bill with a cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes, which hurts many and helps no one in our district, and did not oppose it until his opposition was meaningless. President Trump then signed it into law, which remains in effect, to the delight of lower tax states generally and those in the highest tax bracket everywhere in particular.

For those interested in learning more, visit goroffforcongress.com. To volunteer to help send a scientist to Washington, contact [email protected]

STEPHEN JACOBS, Shelter Island


To the Editor:

Freedom of speech is key to democracy. We should all be able to voice our opinions and beliefs without malice, no matter how varied. Differences need not be derisive.

Hearing another’s viewpoint may be educational and enlightening. Especially when an opinion is reasoned, informed and backed with facts.

Agree to disagree without acrimony. Diversity enriches life.


S LADIK, Shelter Island

Illegal behavior

To the Editor:

For the safety and well being of Silver Beach residents at Bootleggers Alley, Crab Creek landing,  and Peconic Ave. landings, a residents-only parking policy must be implemented immediately.

The behavior of the never-ending large groups of anonymous day transients cannot be supervised by limited police patrols, particularly remote areas that require foot patrols. Bootleggers Alley, Peconic Ave. and Crab Creek Road access points require too much time to patrol properly.

The patrols have failed to stop all the illegal behavior thus far. New groups of non-residents arrive every day that repeat the same offenses and add new unforeseen crimes to the list. The anonymous aspect of these large groups facilitates an accountability problem. No one is held accountable for the bad behavior of the group.  Everyone in the group looks the other way, no one sees the trespassing, defecation, littering, public drinking of alcohol, drug use and broken beer bottles in the sand.

DWI comes with the drinking and drug use; this puts everyone at risk. The pedestrian and bike traffic by resident families is at an all time high in Silver Beach and throughout the Island. That’s what’s happening and that’s what will continue to happen on the remote beaches. It will not happen on the public beaches where there’s accountability.

These folks come from an area of high COVID-19 infection.

The town policy must be to stop large groups of anonymous non-resident day transients from using our town landings and beach access points. Safety of residential neighborhoods must be the priority.

Louis’ Beach, Ward Beach and Shell Beach can be used by these large groups of non-residents. All non-residents that want to use these public beaches must register and pay for a non-resident day pass.

The town landings and beach access point are for residents only and their guests. Folks who are staying here on vacation can get a pass at town hall that will give them access to the public beaches.

Anyone who needs to sleep in their car overnight can do so at the police parking lot.  All roads should have a no overnight sleeping restriction.

All potties must be removed from town landings and beach access points.