Editorial: Celebrating a local postmaster’s service

A milestone of public service was set this week with the retirement of Heights Postmaster Cheryl Brown.

The words “public service” are often forgotten when it comes to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), but it is one of the hallmarks of a free society, with easily available and safe private communications among citizens protected by law.

It’s been that way since 1789 when, in Article 1 of the Constitution, Congress was granted the right to establish Post Offices.

And since there has been a Heights Post Office, established 140 years ago, no one has led it as long as Ms. Brown. The tributes by colleagues and customers to her dedication and concern for customers speak for themselves.

The USPS has been under attack of late from some quarters, led by President Trump, who has called it “corrupt” and “a joke,” which are vile insults to those who work to deliver the mail. It was therefore heartening when at the end of August, demonstrators in support of the USPS went to the Center and Heights post offices to show support for the service and its employees, including Postmaster Brown and Center Postmaster Mary Payne.

We wish Ms. Brown all the best as she retires, and as many people have said, she will be missed by all of those she served so ably for so many years.

Yard sale dust-up

The latest concerns by some of a traditional way of life on the Island being threatened is a result of the Town Board opening discussions on a draft law regulating yard sales.

The cries that the nanny state was taking over Shelter Island was expected, along with voices raised that the powers-that-be are creating a solution to find a problem, and government’s over-regulation is suffocating citizens.

We’ve been here before, with contentious — and often malicious — and lengthy debates over a simple lighting law and regulating short-term rentals.

The argument is: Why make laws with penalties, when all it’s really about is cleaning out the garage of stuff you never use anymore while passing the time of day with your neighbors on a Saturday morning and picking up a bit of cash?

That’s all fine so far as it goes, but what if you live next door to junk of all description for sale, strewn in your neighbor’s yard all year long? When the draft regulations were rolled out at the Sept. 22 Town Board work session, Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. said the board isn’t seeking to impose draconian rules, but with no law on the books, anyone could run a business every day of the year from their residence.

The question is: Does a government have the right to regulate businesses for the common good? Some say no, their logic defined by the joke: Q. How many Libertarians does it take to change a light bulb? A. None, because the free market will take care of it.

The draft law is going to be open to public hearings, and all are urged to participate in a civil discussion on what will work, and what won’t