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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: March 9, 2023

Marshaling support

To the Editor:

As a Shelter Islander for over 30 years, I have become increasingly concerned about the Town’s struggle addressing complex problems in an efficient manner that takes into account community perspectives and professional input.

Because of this concern, I have begun to marshal support to become a candidate for Town Board.

My wife and I first came to Shelter Island in 1992. We rented a house off Cobbetts Lane, fell in love with this place, and have been here ever since.

In my professional life, I have acquired decades of expertise in law, business and charitable organizations. It is this expertise that I hope to bring to the Town Board as it balances demands for development and modernization with the need to protect our aquifer and bays and to spend tax dollars wisely.

I am a life-long Democrat who has voted here for a long time. Unfortunately, I “raised my hand” too late to be considered by the Democratic Committee for their slate of candidates.

So, I have now embarked on a personal campaign to gather petition signatures so that I can be included in the upcoming Democratic primary.

I have a long history of civic/public/private involvement in this community. For example, in 2019, I was selected by the Town Board to serve on the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee. Since 2009, I have been deeply involved with Sylvester Manor, including helping establish the CSA, and acting as Board Chair from 2016-2020.

It would be my privilege to help chart a course for the Town’s future as a member of the Town Board. If you would like to sign my petition to enter the race, or just learn more, please contact me — [email protected] — or you can find me around town.

BENJAMIN DYETT, Shelter Island

A great opportunity

To the Editor:

I’d like to thank the Republican and Democratic parties for endorsing me for highway superintendent. If elected, I look forward to serving the people of Shelter Island and following in the footsteps of my family’s commitment to our community.

My last nine years as a Highway Department employee have given me a unique perspective and understanding of the needs and requirements of the highway superintendent.

We have a very strong department with excellent employees, and I hope to continue to improve on the work of past leaders, while also building a new direction for the department. I plan on being approachable and maintaining an open line of communication not only with the employees, but also with the community.

I look forward to working with my fellow elected officials and the community to create short- and long-term plans for our aging infrastructure. I see an opportunity to develop green initiatives and renewable energy implementation in the coming years for the town and its buildings.

I have lived in this community most of my life and raised a family here. I feel that this is a great opportunity for me to give back to a place that means so much to me.  Thank you for this opportunity and for having the confidence in me to lead the Highway Department and serve the people of Shelter Island.

KEN LEWIS JR., Shelter Island

A solution for Center water

To the Editor:

Many Shelter Island residents are under the false belief that drinking water and wastewater systems are separated.  

This assumption, and the way we like to think about these systems, is that they are distinct and safely separated from each other within the sand beneath our feet. 

In most portions of the Island this is true. The one area where this separation has failed is the Center. From concentrated and prolonged use, nitrates from sewage are now found within most wells. The Town urgently needs to address this with a holistic approach.

At this time, it is only addressing septics by proposing the pumping of sewage discharge to other areas of the Island with healthy wells. Even accomplishing this and stopping the flow of sewage into the ground at the Center will not clean up overall drinking water problems for decades.

If it is possible to rethink the problem of water and sewage in the Center, based upon the conditions in the ground, and the primary goal of providing safe water and public health, a different engineering solution becomes evident.

The solution would be to install in the Center multiple IA systems or a central plant to limit flow of effluent (sewage) into already polluted soil. Leave unpolluted areas of the Island alone except for clean water access. It has been long recognized that Sachems woods would provide the Center’s drinking water. The time is here now to provide safe drinking water to the residents of the Center.

This approach becomes visually apparent by looking at mapping of clean and polluted subsoil conditions and remembering to keep clean with clean, and dirty with dirty, even when dealing with plumbing at Island scale.


Thank you, Robert Strugats

To the Editor:

I am so grateful for (“Approaching century mark, Islander looks back,” March 2) an interview with a 99-years-young serviceman on Shelter Island.

Thank you, Robert Strugats, for sharing your World War II story and your return to active duty during the Korean War. And thank you for the donations to the Air Power Museum you and your wife Mollie have gifted.

My dad passed in 1981, spending his last seven years at the Northport Veterans Hospital Campus as a patient. He was the Commander of the East Elmhurst/Jackson Heights Post 96 in Queens, N.Y. during the 1960s and 1970s. My mother served as president of the Auxiliary. Therefore, I have chosen to serve the American Legion Auxiliary Mitchell Unit 281, Shelter Island as a member and volunteer. It has been a very rewarding experience.

On behalf of our American Legion Auxiliary, please consider joining our efforts to support those who have served years ago, and those who are serving now. Please reach out to Membership Chairman Pam Jackson at 631-965-0860.

JANET B. RESNICK, Shelter Island

Support one another

To the Editor:

I was thrilled to see high schoolers taking action to bring a soccer program back to Shelter Island, and even more excited to learn that a fall 2023 soccer team was written into the school budget for 2023/2024.

I know the Board of Education and administration will work tirelessly to stay below the tax cap. I encourage you to support this initiative when the budget vote takes place on May 16 so we can all enjoy soccer this fall on Shelter Island and show the kids how we support one another.

BRETT SURERUS, Shelter Island

Thanks to the Senior Center

To the Editor:

I have returned home after 57 weeks away, including seven at Southampton Hospital. Oh, what a feeling to be home at last. I don’t know how to thank all who helped arrange this, especially our Senior Center. With the help of a healthcare aide I will soon be out on the street checking out all the changes and trying to catch up.

Last week’s Reporter was a tad bit alarming, in more ways than one — the front page news that the building with the peeling paint is going to be demolished and render the current tenants homeless. (But it’s perhaps for health reasons, since they apparently have been living amongst lead paint and asbestos.) And just when the “snow birds” are returning, some or many will be seeking housing. I guess time is of the essence and affordable housing is a long way off?

Just a thought: Perhaps the town should be liable and willing to help with relocating these tenants.

But lots of good stuff in the paper, however. The columnists always seem to hit home and the award-winning cartoonist has certainly hit home.

Be kind to each other.

, Shelter Island