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Shelter Island Letters to the Editor: Jan. 27, 2022

To be grateful

To the Editor:

Regarding a letter to the Editor (Jan. 13, 2022), and last week’s Paw Print cartoon, I am saddened by the recent negativity towards the Soloviev family in the Reporter.

I think we all need to understand the commitment they have made to our island. If it weren’t for their dedication restoring The Chequit to its original grandeur, it most likely wouldn’t survive. They have encountered problem after problem and still they persevere, undeterred from the original task. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the holiday lighting ceremony at The Chequit. The donuts, hot chocolate and hot apple cider were delicious.

As the Northforker magazine Person of the Year article stated regarding the amount of property the Soloviev family owns on the North Fork: “ … while some may remain skeptical of that fact, Stacey Soloviev has taken good care over the past several years to ensure the businesses she helps run are a positive for the community.”

Stacey has shown this dedication on the gut renovation of The Chequit. Just recently, the general manager of Jack’s Marine reached out to the Shelter Island Yard Sale Facebook page on how to donate toys and kids items from the store. Stacey also shows her dedication to the East End in many ways. She is always promoting local businesses.

Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm has had a complete transformation after being purchased by the Solovievs. This Christmas season, in addition to the Christmas trees, Santa visits, ice skating rink, bouncy house, hot chocolate and a fire pit to roast your marshmallows, Stacey hosted Sensitive Santa visits for people with special needs. Here is a link to the Northforker Person of the Year article (and yes, you will be able to read this article without taking out a subscription): northforker.com/2022/01/stacey-soloviev-is-northforkers-person-of-the-year-for-2021/.

It is time to be grateful, not hateful!

BETSY COLBY, Shelter Island


To the Editor:

My family did not save the Klenawicus Airfield and surrounding property in an open space agreement with the magnificent vision of Jim Dougherty, to see it polluted and destroyed by a sewage and wastewater treatment plant. Development is prohibited.


No response

To the Editor:

The Jan. 20 meeting of the Water Quality Improvement Advisory Board (WQIAB) revealed that the Town Board is proceeding with a $15,000 septic grant in connection with a new house. The grant would appear to violate New York State law and the WQIAB rejected the application. Nevertheless, a resolution to authorize this grant is apparently going to be considered at the Jan. 28, 2022 Town Board meeting.

My Oct. 1, 2021 letter to the editor challenged the legality of the Board’s proposal to amend the Town Code to give the Board the power to award septic grants (more precisely, to create an exception to ineligibility) for new residential construction where, for example, the Board determines that the grant will result in a substantial public benefit. My letter noted that this attempt to access WQI funds appears to violate NY Town Law Sec. 64-e 1.(e), which defines a “water quality improvement project” to exclude “[p]rojects which have as a purpose to permit or accommodate new growth.”

At the Oct. 2, 2021 Town Board meeting, the public was told that my concerns would be considered further. To my knowledge, the Board has neither acted on the challenged proposed Code change, nor gotten back to the public (or me) regarding the legality of using WQI funds for new growth, such as for a new house.

At the upcoming Board Meeting, the public deserves to hear the basis, if one exists, for why the grant in question would be legal, despite the law quoted above. The issue presented has nothing to do with the Board’s intentions, whether they are laudable, or what the Board or any members thereof promised someone in the past. The issue is simply whether the Board would be acting legally if it now proceeds to use WQI money in connection with new construction that entails new growth.

STEPHEN JACOBS, Shelter Island

A human right

To the Editor:

According to the United Nations, “Universal access to safe drinking water is a fundamental need and human right.”  As property owners of land abutting the Klenawicus Field, we have followed the ongoing discussions over the Proposed Municipal Wastewater Treatment System in despair. 

An essential element to these discussions has been ignored or overlooked. The groundwater is already contaminated and not drinkable in parts of this direct neighborhood. Covenants have been placed on properties legally requiring owners to disclose that the water is not clean if their property is sold.

At our own cost of $10,000_plus, a water filtration system was installed in our home with annual maintenance in the thousands of dollars.  We purchase our drinking water from the IGA. 

And, now? This long-lasting contamination of our well water, located not 30 feet from Klenawicus Field, will never be resolved if a wastewater system is placed in the Klenawicus Field’s center. According to the town engineer, “Clean is a relative term,” when referring to the quality of the wastewater entering the ground after treatment — an insult to an already injurious situation.


Bravest, Finest

To the Editor:

We all know some things are amiss in this world. We let little things drive us crazy so we don’t have to focus on the big things. I focus on litter and profess a very un-Christian loathing for litterers, especially those on Shelter Island. 

I verbally blast (behind closed windows) frenetic drivers, those who tailgate, pass on the right as well as the left, and zoom in and out of the lanes. These are just a few of my petty concerns.  It’s easier to rail against these things than focus on the huge issues that plague our existence. We all know what they are.  

But driving on the LIE from Queens to Shelter Island yesterday caused a mental collision.

On each overpass fire trucks draped massive flags over the highway, honoring the two NYC police officers shot the night before. Volunteer firemen flanked the bridges, standing in 24-degree weather doing their part to honor others whose lives are endangered every time they go to work.

I was only aware of the shooting, because my son and daughter-in-law, both NYPD, mentioned it in the previous night’s Facetime with their daughter. They were both stricken, as were my husband, a retired member of the force, and I. 

However, my morning internet news feed made no mention of the shooting of 22-year-old Jason Rivera and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora. Jason was killed and Wilbert is in critical condition. A third police officer was also a victim as he shot the assailant, a memory that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Both my husband and son were involved in shootings during their careers. Even though they were physically unharmed, they have been scarred by those events.  

I have to admit how much I take for granted  — even having police officers in the family. There are things I know I could never do: I can’t imagine running into a burning building to rescue a stranger and I can’t imagine dealing with people at their worst on a daily basis. New York City’s Bravest and New York City’s Finest do this every day, as do all firefighters and all police officers everywhere.

God help us if we cannot appreciate all those who serve in this capacity.

EILEEN HUDON, Shelter Island

Back to the future

To the Editor:

Although I am a member of the Community Housing Board, the ideas herein are mine alone and I write as a private citizen unaffiliated with any group.

Whenever I think about the crisis of moderate income housing on Shelter Island, I say to myself: I wish we could take the Island back to how it used to be. Here’s the “used to be” I wish for: You could get a house here without being a millionaire. You could build a house that was eco-friendly without even trying because your house was modest in scale and fit into the landscape.

Your house didn’t put a strain on any natural resources because your house had humility. Houses didn’t have to make big statements. Houses didn’t have to have five bathrooms or massive HVAC systems, or three car garages, or swimming pools that butt up against the water.

Houses were simple because the values of this Island were simple — be a good neighbor, respect the town and its beauty, don’t be a show off. This was the Un-Hamptons, remember?

I wish some of our new residents were like the ones I met when I first moved here 22 years ago. Teacher, postal worker, painter, plumber, cop, ferry worker, store clerk, small business owner, construction worker, artist. Some of those folks are still here but a lot aren’t because they simply can’t afford it.

And they simply can’t afford it because the average price of a home on Shelter Island is over $1 million. No one who works the kinds of jobs I just mentioned makes that kind of money. And most of the people who work the jobs I just mentioned already have more than one job.

I want a future that looks more like our past than our present. A place where you don’t have to be rich to raise your kids or your chickens or your voice. I believe this is possible and we don’t have to fight about water to do it. We just have to remember our past — modesty, humility, community and the dogged insistence that this place is special because it still believes that the best place to live is a place where everyone is welcome.

MARIA MAGGENTI, Shelter Island