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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Nov. 16, 2023

St. Nicholas Fair

To the Editor:

Praise and thanksgiving to all the volunteers from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church who helped to keep alive the tradition known as the “Election Eve Ham Dinner.” Special thanks to Rhonda Corbet, her husband, and their extended family trees, together with numerous others too many to mention here.

On December 2, 2023, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., St. Mary’s will hold its  St. Nicholas Day Craft Fair & Cookie Walk.  Vendors will have a variety of items for sale.

The popular  “Cookie Walk” will again appear with an assortment of homemade cookies, not to mention, soups too!  There will be a Silent Auction featuring donated items especially a pair of Metropolitan Opera tickets, for Madama Butterfly, January 20, 2024, 1 p.m. performance.

You won’t want to miss the chance to Christmas shop and enjoy the walk around the cookies.

JANE BABINSKI, Shelter Island

Looking more deeply

To the Editor:

I know that racism is a reality in our country and believe it to be a scourge on our personal and national psyches. I was abruptly reminded of that fact by Gary Blados’s quote in the Reporter on November 9 about the election of Ben Dyett and Albert Dickson who “will now serve their financial masters…,” an undisguised and deeply offensive remark.

That such racist feelings were espoused by the chairperson of the Republican Party on the Island was alarming at the least. I hope that Mr. Blados will be repudiated quickly and resoundingly by those he ostensibly speaks for, and that all of us will be moved to look more deeply into why such fear, hate and prejudice continue and what role each of us has in their dissipation.

PETE DANDRIDGE, Shelter Island

Dog whistles

To the Editor:

I would like to congratulate all of the winners in last Tuesday’s election and offer my respect to those who did not prevail.

I look forward to working with the new Town Board/supervisor to chart a new path forward for our town’s government. I also would like to thank everyone who worked on our campaign, along with all who voted for the candidates from the Campaign For A Better Island For All. You have my gratitude.

While I am excited about Shelter Island’s future, I am also saddened by the us vs. them rhetoric perpetuated by Gary Blados’ post-election comments. It is embarrassing for all Shelter Islanders that the leader of the Shelter Island Republican Committee chose to push our community toward greater division at that moment instead of choosing to help bridge our differences.

It is even more embarrassing that he chose to do so by using an unfortunate dog whistle stating that Albert Dickson and I serve certain “masters.” Gordon, Albert, and I proudly ran a clean campaign and Mr. Blados should have followed our lead.

I look forward to representing all Islanders, whether they voted for me or not. Shelter Island’s future is bright. Let’s realize it together.

BENJAMIN DYETT, Shelter Island

Election post mortem

To the Editor:

With the recent election results — whether you are elated, depressed, angry, or just confused — we should be relieved that the process itself worked. No one makes the huge effort to run with the goal of losing. Thanks to those who accepted the results stoically. I know how bitter defeat can be. My father was a politician of the old school. He ran John Glenn’s first campaign for the U.S. Senate. Glenn did not win that election, but his subsequent career remains a good example of why not to give up.

Here, when the voters are your friends and neighbors, how much more painful are losses? Yet votes count! Anyone who puts their hat in the political ring has a moral (aside from legal) obligation to accept the results, or bring overwhelming data to prove otherwise.

Sophocles said, “Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.”

RICHARD F. DENNING, Shelter Island

Support our caregivers

To the Editor:

November is National Family Caregivers Month.

In New York, 546,000 family caregivers provide care worth over $19 billion to their loved ones with dementia. Though these caregivers provide significant savings to the state, they are not getting enough support in return. The funding for New York’s Alzheimer’s Disease Community Assistance Program (AlzCAP), which offers care consultations, support groups, educational programs, and other services, has been stagnant for years, while the number of caregivers who need these services has continued to grow.

I have seen the caregiving struggle firsthand. I was my mom’s caregiver until we lost her to this awful disease in 2017. To honor my mom’s memory, I became a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter. Each month, I facilitate an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group where I see the heartbreak and challenges caregivers face every single day. It is imperative that New York supports them, not only to mitigate their financial, emotional, and physical struggle, but also because it will be less of a financial burden for the state than costly nursing home care.

Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s is expensive. One study found that 47% of family caregivers have cut back on their food, transportation, and healthcare expenses to pay for a loved one’s care. And many caregivers struggle with mental health issues, such as depression, and often, do not have the financial resources or time to take care of their own physical health.

I experienced this myself and see the toll it takes on the caregivers in my support group.

New York can do better in supporting caregivers. Please join me in calling on New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo and Assemblymember Fred Thiel and the other members of the State Legislature to increase funding for AlzCAP.