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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: May 11, 2023

Enforce the regulations

To the Editor:

Reel Point is one of my favorite places on Shelter Island. It is beautiful and the home of many wildlife and flora species. It is no secret that it is also a great fishing spot at certain times of the year.

I understand that Reel Point is part of the Peconic Land Trust and the Stern Family in conjunction with the town and the residents of Ram Island have worked hard to preserve the Point and have done an exceptional job in doing that.

What I would like to know is, who has jurisdiction over this piece of land? I have noticed that often there is overnight camping, open fires, cooking, and disposal of waste on the beach, not to mention there are no restroom facilities.

Other than posting Fire Lane restrictions at the entrance to the beach, there is no restricted parking (Permit Required) at the end of the road. 

Often there are vehicles parked at the dead end and the adjoining roadway for days and nights. Seems to me that the Point has become a camping area.

My concern is that Reel Point is becoming another Bootleggers Alley. Back to my original question, is this “Public Land”? If so, then the town has every right to enforce Code Section 36-11. I suggest looking into this and enforcing the regulations to the full extent.

GREG SENKEN, Shelter Island

From the School Superintendent

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Shelter Island community for always being so supportive of our school. Our budget vote is next week and I wanted to point out a few important facts. 

Our high school ranking in US News and World Report has risen steadily in the last three years: 2020 — top 40%; 2021 — top 30%; 2022 — top 22%. These results are based mainly on our Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Our elementary results have also shown significant improvement.

Our Elementary State Exam results have risen on all three levels that are measured over the past three years: performance (score), growth (improvement), and participation rate. The state also recently acknowledged the district for how much we improved.

Our budget for next year is proposed to rise by 1.76%. This is the 60th out of 67 lowest percentage increase among school districts in Suffolk County. The Suffolk County average increase is 5.57% and the Long Island average increase is 5.78%.  This proposed increase also follows last year’s budget to budget increase of 0%. 

If this budget is approved, the school property tax levy would have only increased by $218,570 in two years. Over the same time period, the Board of Education could have increased taxes an additional $387,345 and still stayed under the tax cap.

The district’s theme for this budget is “Continuous Progress and Financial Responsibility.” We aim to provide the community the best education possible at the most efficient cost to the taxpayer. Thank you.

Brian Doelger, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Understanding the ballot

To the Editor:

I want to make it very clear that events by “Campaign for a Better Island For All” is not affiliated with the Shelter Island Democratic Committee in any way.

They are an independent entity. It seems there is some misunderstanding about this. I encourage voters to become familiar with all candidates and issues. The Primary will clarify Row A on the November ballot.

I feel it is necessary to remind Shelter Island voters that the Shelter Island Democratic Committee interviewed, vetted, and selected two candidates for Town Council: Bert Waife and Albert Dickson.

The committee made the decision to not endorse a supervisor candidate and to let the registered Democrats make that choice in the June 27 Primary (including the 10 days early voting).

This was decided with a firm understanding that the Primary race should be fair and cordial without undue influence from our committee.

Any registered voter has a right to follow procedure and election rules to get on the ballot. This is why there is now a third candidate vying for a Council seat on the Democratic line, which generates a Democratic Primary for Town Council. That is the way New York State Election law works. It’s democracy in action.

HEATHER REYLEK, Chair, Shelter Island Democratic Committee

Asking for your vote

To the Editor:

I want to thank the Shelter Island Democrat Committee for unanimously selecting and supporting my candidacy for Town Board.

A reason for my entering the race for councilman is the relentless opposition from a chorus of well-heeled, part-time residents to sensible proposals by our current Town Board. The numbing effect and distortion that has taken hold from large sums of funding to promote this viewpoint now seems to have invaded the Democratic Party.

I feel that my lifetime association with Shelter Island and 30-plus years as a full-time resident provides me a vision to help keep this island affordable. To the democratic voters of this primary, I urge you to break up the three who claim to be for all, except for me, and probably you.

My becoming part of the Suffolk County oyster lease program in Noyac Bay and creating Eel Town Oysters gives me a great appreciation of the natural environment of this area and the accessibility of Shelter Islanders to the waterfront. Doing nothing is not an option, i.e. water, housing, recreation. Doing everything isn’t possible, ditto.

Bringing balance to the environment with the influx of huge money in housing while considering vulnerable parts and members of our community is essential.

Please vote for the only real Democrat in the June 27 Democratic Primary. There will also be 10 days early voting.

BERT WAIFE, Shelter Island

Exercising my right

To the Editor:

Please allow me to introduce myself, again. I am the mysterious and unnamed Democratic candidate for Town Board referred to in the widely distributed Letter to the Editor from the Shelter Island Democratic Committee (SIDC).

Yes, I exercised my right to follow procedure and election rules to get on the ballot and confirm that my run for office is not affiliated with the SIDC, as they specifically denied my request to be considered for their slate.

I, with the help of many local Democratic supporters, gathered the requisite signatures and successfully petitioned the Suffolk County Board of Elections to place my name on the Democratic Primary ballot.

I am honored for the opportunity to offer a broader choice to the voters of Shelter Island, and look forward to a fair and cordial primary.

Please be advised that the “Campaign for a Better Island for All” is not some new watchdog group, but simply an effort by three Democratic candidates to organize our campaign for office. Our organizing was not intended to confuse or mislead.

Our efforts, together with the help of a many enthusiastic supporters, are designed to deliver a better Island for all Shelter Island residents.

I invite you to come meet me and my running mates this Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. at White Oak farm.

BENJAMIN DYETT, Shelter Island

Go Green Options

To the Editor:

This is to applaud the efforts of Tim Purtell and the other members of the Green Options Committee in regard to their efforts to secure expertise for sustainable energy projects on Shelter Island (“Crafting a plan for clean and sustainable energy,” May 4).

Active assistance from the town, as well as individuals, groups and businesses in the community would certainly be beneficial.

We now have a couple of electric vehicles and charging stations, but a lot more could be done to give us greater resilience in regard to facing the challenges of climate change, as well as general economic matters.

For one example, solar panels have long been considered for some of our town buildings, but very little has been achieved.

We are a fairly affluent community, and much can be accomplished towards such objectives. It can truly be a win-win series of projects benefiting the entire community, resulting in a more resilient and prosperous future .

Hopefully, others will join this recent effort, and possibly even produce some unexpected synergistic outcomes.

HERB STELLJES, Shelter Island

Yioula’s mail service

To the Editor:

Shelter Island has an envious record for the longevity of its residents. I write on behalf of one of these special people — Yioula Van Rynbach, whose recent passing (see page 4) occurred just days before her 101st birthday.

Yioula touched many people through her mission to recognize and protect the trees, many, like her have contributed to our Island for over a 100 years.

Here is one story she shared that forecasts her entire life. A little history. The Nazi invasion of Poland officially started World War II. Yioula was born in Greece in those turbulent times. Her morning walks in her father’s hometown where they went after the German conquest passed a POW compound holding British airmen.

As a vivacious teenager, she would have provided a welcome diversion. Far more important was these soldiers’ desire to get word of their conditions to their families. Yioula bravely agreed to pass their names to the anti-Fascist Greek underground radio network. What relief such news represented to the families!

On the other hand, this was no misdemeanor. When the Italian occupiers discovered Yioula’s “mail service,” the entire family was at risk. Their survival came only through her charm and intelligence and her mother’s fluency in Italian. The family then made an immediate escape back to their home in Athens.

During this same period, my uncle Glen Denning flew 40 missions over Germany as a B-29 gunner and navigator in the U.S. Army Air Force.

Yioula’s bravery is connected to my uncle’s brave service.


Free flowers for mother

To the Editor:

Please pick a big bouquet of fresh lilacs for mom for this weekend. Beautiful on her table and just in time for her special Sunday. 46 West Neck Road (corner of Shore Road). I never lived until I was a mother.