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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor, May 26, 2022

Burial notice for Howard F. Jackson

To the Editor:

It will be 2 years, 9 months and 25 days since the Lord took Howard into his arms.

I have tried to work with Arlington National Cemetery, to no avail. Now it is time. I have decided to bury Howard’s ashes here on Shelter Island, surrounded by family, friends and veterans, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Isle Cemetery. A lunch reception will follow at the American Legion Post 281. All are welcome.

We had a great life together, married June 7, 1986, and now, rest in peace, Howard, June 7, 2022.

I thank you for your support and love.

PAMELA JACKSON, Shelter Island

It takes an Island

To the Editor:

We need the help and support of the Shelter Island community.

We need your help with our June 4 fundraiser for East End Hospice at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club.

Our goal is $75,000. When we reach our goal with your help, $25,000 will be donated to Camp Good Grief. Right now, we are $45,000 away from this goal. Please dig deep and help East End Hospice.

We also ask for financial support from Island businesses and contractors.

East End Hospice serves our community well. Many Island families have benefited from their services.

It doesn’t takes a village, we say “it takes an Island.”

Please note: at Gardiner’s Bay CC, there will be an outside entrance to the patio for the benefit.


State of the Town

To the Editor:

There have been a lot of comments about the lack of transparency on the part of the Town Board, but I have to say that was not the case at the State of the Town meeting with Superintendent Siller on May 13.

Mr. Siller made it abundantly clear that he has no idea how he’s going to ensure that any affordable housing that is built will remain affordable in the future. The six houses built on Bowditch Road some 25 years ago turned into a windfall for the six lucky winners and are no longer affordable.

Mr. Siller also acknowledged that he cannot guarantee that the housing will go to a Shelter Island resident, much less a family vital to our community.

It was also made clear that he intends to go forward with it regardless of whether the Peconic Bay transfer tax referendum is passed or not.

This tells me two things. One, he hasn’t a clue as to how he will fund it (read: higher taxes) and two, he will go forward with it even if the voters vote against it.

Wake up, Shelter Islanders.

STEVE KOLER, Shelter Island

No on referendum

To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing the recent letters highlighting concerns of our natural environment and conflicts with affordable housing.

The letter by Jolanta Zonca (“No to affordables” May 12) correctly asked why is it difficult to connect the dots between stressed out aquifers and overcrowding. Admirable efforts to preserve open spaces, led by the dedicated Gordon Gooding, are aimed at protecting our environment and precious drinking water. But multi-unit housing directly conflicts with those efforts.

Ms. Zonca noted there is nothing unfair about having to commute to work. I agree. The ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan takes three times longer than the commute from the North Fork to Shelter Island. But no one has proposed raising taxes to help people in Staten Island buy condos in Manhattan. Affordable housing can safely be built on the North Fork unlike Shelter Island, as they have the water infrastructure to handle it.

Beth van der Eems (“No one helped me” May 12) reflected the feelings of every hard-working person who struggled for years until they could afford a home here. Using their money to give “free-stuff” to a “small cabal of noisemakers,” as Ms. Van der Eems described, is a slap in the face to all hard-working Shelter Island homeowners.

We are not fooled by the argument, from Supervisor Siller’s administrative assistant (“Unreasonable attack” May 5), that the new taxes to pay for all this high-density housing will not cost Islanders. Any economist will tell you that a 1/2% tax on real estate transfers lowers the value of your home by 1/2%, because the Referendum will make buyers pay that much more to acquire it. To add insult to injury, you still have to pay property taxes on 1/2% they are taking away from you. Should the Town get sued for being an incompetent landlord, that will cost us even more.

Issues of “affordability” are hardly solved via subsidized housing doled out to a chosen few — we all pay hefty premiums; property taxes, utilities, groceries, local business pricing — that’s the cost we endure in order to be here. Supporting housing for our emergency services professionals whose local presence is critical, and incentives for employers who open/hire here is appropriate. But I urge everyone to vote “No” on the November Referendum to raise the transfer tax. We want open spaces protected — not risk high-density housing to negatively impact our uniquely vulnerable environment.


Dock issue

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my dismay about how the Town Board has treated valued neighbors of ours: the owner and employees of the Ram’s Head Inn. Customers of the Inn have been watching how they have been treated with delay after delay over the Inn’s use of a dock that the Inn has used to support its business for over 50 years.

The Inn has claimed clear ownership of the dock, having used it exclusively for decades and even paying property taxes for the dock over those years. Then, out of the clear blue, the Town claimed ownership of the dock. But instead of going to court to prove its case, last week and without notice, the Town chainsawed off the planks on the dock leading to the shore.

Is this how to treat a valued Island business and neighbor?

Let’s hope the Town Board comes to its senses and resolves this so that the Inn can make use of a dock for its business. We finally have a caring owner who has made the Inn a delightful place to dine and meet with family, friends and neighbors. Losing the Inn would be a big loss to the Island.

PAT BLEISTEIN, Shelter Island

Hall of Fame

To the Editor:

I’d like to congratulate every inductee into the Athletic Hall of Fame for their performances, dedication, and love for the Blue and Gray. But there is one flaw in the selection: alumni from the early 1970s.

1971: Rick Dalton, golf, basketball and baseball. Rick was a member of the Basketball League Champs of 1969, an All-League player, and an honor student.

Ken Morgan, basketball. He was a member of the Basketball League Champs of 1969, and an All-League player.

1972: Norman Sanwald, Basketball and Baseball. Norm had the ultimate shot from the corner, tough underneath as he controlled the boards and played great defense. In baseball he was an outstanding pitcher with a commanding fastball that would blow the opponents away, and a great bat. Norm was an All-League player.

Bob Chiaramonte, golf, basketball, and baseball. Bob was one of the top golfers in his senior year. In basketball he could shoot from the outside and drive to the hoop. In baseball he was a top-line catcher with a great arm and great bat. Bob was an All-League player, and a high honor roll athlete.

1973: George Hoffmann, basketball and baseball. Either one or two all-time assist and steals leader for Shelter Island (with Bob Brown). He was an avid defender and he could drive to the hoop, either shoot or dish. George was an All-League player.

Artie Springer, basketball and baseball. Scored 1,000 points. Closed down the middle, grabbed a ton of rebounds and loved to reject shots.  Baseball was a strong point as his fastball would blow away hitters. Artie was an All-League player.

Vonnie Dickerson, golf, field hockey, basketball and softball. Vonnie played golf on the Island men’s team, and was the number 2 seed in her senior year. Vonnie was an All-League player.

1974: Bill Hannabury, golf, basketball and baseball. Billy was the one to put the Island Golf Team on the map. He was a number 1 seed, who competed in the State finals for three years. He was also a great shortstop with a bat that kept him in the 3 hole of the lineup. Billy was an All-League player.

I know I’m missing a bunch of people during this period, especially the women.

CHUCK HOFFMAN, Rockville Centre