We have good news

It is rare to hear good news, and rarer still is good news you want to share. I’m writing to celebrate some great news with you! Last month, The Suffolk Times published a front page article about The East End Seaport Museum’s Lifeguard Scholarship entitled “Help! More lifeguards wanted.” Within a few days, Ms. Aurelie Lang from Mattituck contacted the museum.  She read the article and wanted to offer her support by donating a third scholarship.

But wait — there’s more! I then received a lovely email from a Greenport family who had read the article as well. The gentleman and his wife wanted to support the museum’s scholarship, too! I contacted Janet Douglas at Southold Town Recreation Department to say that we could now offer up to four scholarships. She immediately posted the good news on Facebook to get the word out. Thank you to Ms. Lang and the anonymous donor who helped make this all happen.

We will be announcing the recipients of the scholarship at our season launch on May 23, 2024. Congratulations to Janet Douglas and all the North Fork beachgoers who will have a full staff of lifeguards this year and that is great news! It is with my deepest appreciation and thanks to The Suffolk Times for helping to get the word out. Thank you all!

Tracey Orlando

Ms. Orlando is executive director of the East End Seaport Museum.


A smart move

I am glad to see that the town has finally eliminated the completely outdated buy-out option for affordable housing. That figure, even if it were remotely close to current values, only kicks the can down the road to a housing fund that sits there for years. The town is not equipped to build affordables. Maybe they could have done more with the money sooner, but this is now a move in the right direction.  The idea that the town can buy “modest homes” is not realistic, and a municipality will likely spend much more than an bottom-line driven builder to build or convert any home to an appropriate living unit. I do hope that the town will cooperate with developers who do  propose developments that properly address the housing crisis we are facing.

Gail Wickham


Why the fare increase?

A couple of months ago, the Hampton Jitney sent out the word to those of us who use it to go from Greenport and other towns on Long Island into Manhattan and back. They wanted customers to contact the New York City MTA about the proposed congestion pricing, which at the time looked like it would apply an extra fee to the Jitney buses, thus “necessitating” a fare increase to an already pricey ride.

Eagerly a number of us wrote to the MTA requesting that the Jitney be exempt from this fee, as the Jitney is an important mode of transportation for many out this way — which also helps keep vehicle congestion down. 

To my surprise, right before the MTA decision was to be announced, I noticed online that the Jitney had already quietly raised the price of tickets a few dollars.

Then the MTA rightfully exempted the Hampton Jitney from the congestion pricing — but we got the fare increase anyway. So much for that.

Peggy Backman


‘Mean Girls’ was a fine production

“Mean Girls” is not intended for elementary-aged children. The musical, like the movie it is based on, is rated accordingly, and is meant for a teenage audience. A preview for the elementary school was not shown as they have done for other shows in the past. 

The assertion that the production was a “crude and degrading view of teens” is unfounded and out of touch with the realities of modern adolescence. “Mean Girls” addresses important issues such as peer pressure, social dynamics and personal identity in a nuanced and thought-provoking manner. It is a show that resonates with today’s youth and provides valuable insights into their struggles and experiences in high school.

The production of “Mean Girls” was an extraordinary and upbeat musical that the students and many members of our community (of different age groups represented at all four shows) thoroughly enjoyed.

Barbara Cuenin


Thank you!

Both Tom Wickham, owner of Wickham’s Fruit Farm, and Heather Lanza, director of the Town of Southold planning department, should be commended for their efforts to create affordable housing that is practical and beneficial to the community. I have read, too often, about landlords who justify illegal rentals in violation of town code as a legitimate means for providing affordable housing.

John Viteritti


‘Dr. Trump’ is wrong on Roe v. Wade

No doubt about it. A medical degree from Trump University really is of limited value. According to Dr. Donald Trump, who previously demonstrated his medical knowledge when he recommended injecting bleach in our bloodstreams to treat COVID-19, he now takes pride in being responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade because he says that’s what the majority in this country want. Actually, about two-thirds of the country didn’t want Roe v. Wade reversed, but Dr. Trump doesn’t deal with facts.

Now, according to the country’s fake doctor, the law is where it should be. He says each state can decide how it wants to handle the abortion issue and that’ll be the “law of the land.” This, of course, begs the question of which state — New York, which permits abortion care, while South Dakota, which has banned abortions with no exceptions — is entitled to claim “law of the land” status.

What Dr. Trump’s latest approach comes down to is the luck of the draw when it comes to the accident of where a woman was born. If born in a state where termination of a pregnancy is left to the woman and her doctor, she will have access to reproductive health care. But if born in a state where politicians have decided that forced births, even those which are the products of rape or incest or risk death to a pregnant woman must be carried to term, she’s just out of luck. That’s not law of the land. It’s law of the jungle.

Once again, Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Which begs the further question of how in heaven’s name this ignorant, uninformed clown ever got to be the nominee of the Republican Party for the presidency of what used to be the best country on the planet until he came along.

Michael Levy


Good reasons to forgive student debt

I am writing in response to the letter from Mr. Bittner in which he states that repayment of loans is an ethical responsibility. I am someone fortunate enough to have paid off their loans, thanks to 15 years in international humanitarian response, where my employer covered my housing, transportation, and health insurance costs while I lived and worked in places like Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan (to name a few). Because of this I was able to pay down my principal and interest at the same time.

However, for most borrowers, the burden of student debt becomes insurmountable due to exorbitant interest rates imposed by loan servicers. One thing we seem to agree on is that the mere existence of a student loan industry contributes to a vicious cycle of rising tuition, which has made it very easy to take on crippling amounts of debt, often when the borrower is at an age where they lack the full understanding of the consequences.

Ethically, debt forgiveness resonates with principles of compassion, justice and human dignity. Christianity, for instance, advocates forgiveness, as articulated in the Lord’s Prayer and embodied in the biblical Jubilee Year, where all debts are erased. Islam prohibits usury, or interest charges, citing Quranic verses that condemn exploitation of financial vulnerability. Judaism’s shemitah, or Sabbatical Year, mandates debt forgiveness every seven years, affirming the importance of justice and compassion.

Beyond religious considerations, secular arguments for debt forgiveness emphasize fairness, empathy and societal cohesion. By absolving debts for the most vulnerable, we acknowledge systemic injustices and stand in solidarity with the financially burdened. Moreover, governmental spending on various initiatives — such as forgiving loans to small businesses, subsidizing farmers, providing tax breaks to homeowners and constructing stadiums — underscores a belief in societal benefits and the inconsistency of drawing a hard line at student debt strikes me as very strange.

Jackie MacLeod

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