Thank you, Lions

Last Thursday, my daughter Maren was selected to participate in the Strawberry Festival’s first [fully] accessible event.

Held an hour before opening to the public, the event hosted about 30 North Fork children with a variety of special needs and their families. Participants were welcomed to ride the rides and play games in a quieter setting, without lines and with the help of occupational therapists and other volunteers to access the activities.

It was magical — we were truly welcomed to just enjoy the afternoon. Maren rode the Ferris wheel for the first time, followed by her first roller coaster ride. We spent time with her classmates (and their families) outside of school. She threw a dart (with lots of help) and won a prize.

We had a blast, all without the worry of so much that normally comes with trying to navigate her limitations at an event like the Strawberry Festival.

I want to thank the Lions Club, the West family, The Catered Fork, the occupational therapists and, most of all, Erin Van Gelder for their generosity of time and effort to not only make this event happen, but have it be so full of fun. I also wanted to thank the carnival ride operators who were kind and helpful. Having a child with severe needs is hard, but it comes with this amazing upside of meeting the volunteers, teachers and therapist that give so much of themselves regularly. I am so humbled and thankful.

Lena DeSantis


Legionnaires say ‘Thanks!’

To meet the need for an emergency repair fund for the Greenport Skating Rink, the members of the Greenport American Legion recently held a lobster bake fundraiser.

Residents from Greenport as well as the rest of the North Fork responded to the Legionnaires’ request and were rewarded with a truly amazing evening. The meal prepared by Charlie Manwaring’s team from Southold Fish Market included steamed hard clams, mussels, soft clams, an ear of corn and a potato as well as a pound-and-a-quarter lobster. As if that weren’t enough, there was an unlimited raw bar with oysters donated by Oysterponds Shellfish Company and clams provided by Charlie, plus an endless supply of clam chowder along with music by DJ Mayo.

So first of all, we want to thank Charlie and his team for a job more than well done! Local businesses donated over 20 door prizes, thank you all. Two local girls sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” a cappella and five local NJROTC members did an awesome job of busing; thank you. Last but not least, thank you to everyone who supported this function.

This was our first lobster bake, and those who attended, as well as those who could not, can look forward to the second annual lobster bake in 2025.

Greenport American Legionnaires


Approach rentals rationally

The debate in Greenport concerning short-term housing is becoming contentious and the village is becoming a bit rigid.

It must be objectively and not intuitively obvious that there is a qualitative difference between a 30-day rental and, for example, a one-week tenancy. It is the burden of the village to not only distinguish the effects of various times of habitation but demonstrate based on data how each leads to a public benefit. The mayor’s anecdotal references to his own experience with longer term renting is insufficient. A declaration that a 30-day minimum will lead to more worker housing in Greenport is similarly inadequate.

It should be understood that landlords are community “merchants.” They, like the clothing store in town, operate upon a profit motive. The government, though sometimes permitted, steps into dangerous territory when it dictates the terms of a “sale.” The playing field should be level; there should be horizontal equity among businesses. The real property landowner is generally understood to freely use the land for legal purposes, as one sees fit. The village should bring this predicate thought and an open mind to the discussion. The process should be deliberative and not intuitive.

If the problem involving shortterm rentals is noise, garbage, illegal parking or bright lights, the code and its enforcement is the remedy. If it can be dispassionately shown that 30-day rentals are indeed, beneficial to housing availability, the village should begin with incentives. Those who commit to 30-day rentals perhaps can receive discounts on fees, or reduced renewal costs, or even an expedited annual inspection and permit. Maybe public recognition or, with appropriate laws, tax reductions or abatements might be possible.

The point, of course, is to engage in and display problem-solving skills, not dictate the “solution.”

Michael Butler


Thank you, Steve

I’d like to offer my thanks and best wishes to Steve Wick on his departure from the paper. Steve has chronicled our community’s history and put a spotlight on how it has changed over the years, both for good and for bad.

As our community continues to evolve, Steve’s brand of journalism is a prime example of why local reporting is so important. It is critical that the paper act as the eyes and ears of the community so an informed citizenry can become involved. Without it, things will move forward in the dark and the community will miss the chance to influence how our towns grow.

Steve’s departure leaves a big hole in The Suffolk Times. It is my hope that the next generation of reporters will take up the baton and run with it. As our towns are making critical decisions about our future, we need local journalism to bring the same professionalism, historical knowledge and compassion that Steve modeled.

Steve, we wish you well and thank you for your years of dedication to telling our story.

Jeff Pundyk


Keep it up

I commend the Suffolk Times and Steve Wick for much of its reporting in the last few years on historical aspects of the North Fork and on the issues facing community leaders trying to balance the interests of preservation, housing and business. I hope in finding a replacement for Steve the paper will continue this reporting and will maintain the thoughtful editorial page I have come to look forward to each week.

Tom Wickham


Welcome, Chief


The news of Capt. Grattan as [Southold Town’s] new police chief is very welcome and heartening.

He richly deserves the promotion to this important and challenging position. He timely reminded the community to not take police department work for granted. Surely it is a collective effort that makes the difference and will go a long way to help the department to make our wonderful community lively and lovely.

Capt. Grattan graduated from the Police Academy in 2002 and climbed the ladder of success and promotions. I wish him all the best in his new position and assignment.

I also would like to convey a boatload of thanks to outgoing Police Chief Flatley for his worthy contribution and service in making our community safe and sound. I wish him happy retirement!

Muneer Haleem


Western Suffolk votes matter

This primary, please join me in voting for Nancy Goroff. Goroff is the stronger candidate in November, and we need our best shot at turning the House blue as a hedge against a possible flip of the Senate and Presidency red.

We lost running Perry Gershon, who, like Goroff’s opponent, John Avlon, was a rich guy from NYC with a vacation home in the Hamptons (Sag Harbor in Avlon’s case). Neither has natural base in Brookhaven, Huntington or Islip towns, where our district’s votes are, and neither had campaign experience. We lost with Bridget Fleming, an East End legislator truly of the district, who had won multiple elections. She had no western base. And, yes, we lost with Goroff in 2020.

2024 is not 2020. First, Lee Zeldin is not on the ticket. Second, we are not in COVID lockdown; Goroff is fielding over 300 volunteer canvassers, whereas in 2020 she could not reach voters at their doors. 2020 lessons have improved her messaging, too. Third, Goroff has spent the intervening years helping the western part of the district defeat over two dozen MAGA extremist Moms for Liberty candidates. She co-founded a non-partisan nonprofit for the purpose, and personally trained the winning, non-partisan candidates. That work built bridges and deepened her power base.

In sum, Goroff has an expanded power base in the vote-rich part of the district, she’s running on a track record of impactful achievements and she’s an experienced campaigner with a potent field operation. While party leadership tells you they know (without offering evidence) that Avlon has a better shot in November, I urge you to do your homework and make up your own mind. If your research leads you to Avlon, okay; but don’t just do what you’re told. The stakes are too high.

Abigail Field

Southold Democratic Committee member, ED-18


We voted for Avlon

We cast our votes this week for John Avlon and encourage fellow Democrats to do the same. We were first introduced to John when he debated Nancy Goroff in March. Regarding policy issues, the candidates were similarly minded and thoughtful, but what moved the crowd was John’s communication skills. It was clear he was a candidate who would inspire independent and cross-party voters to vote for him in the general election.

John has been endorsed by the Democratic committees in Southold, Shelter Island and Riverhead. On 9/11, John witnessed the horrors of extremism firsthand. he says that one of the greatest privileges of his life was writing/ editing nearly 400 eulogies given by [former] mayor Giuliani or his surrogates for the uniformed heroes who lost their lives. He went on to become editor of the Daily Beast, senior political analyst, an author of many books, including “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America” and “Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics.” John is fed up with Trump and his MAGA-minions grinding Congress to a halt, and wants to help Democrats flip our district and Congress and get it legislating again.

We voted for Nancy during the last cycle and she lost. Simply put, John Avlon is informed, experienced, and can win this critical race. Your vote for John will ensure we elect the strongest candidate possible in June to flip our district.

Maria McBride, Southold Barbara Horowitz, Jamesport Becky Chidester, Mattituck


Time to untidy our landscapes

As I drive through the picturesque towns of eastern Long Island, I’m reminded that our notion of aesthetically pleasing landscapes must evolve. The immaculately manicured lawns and landscapes that line our streets may once have been a symbol of beauty and status, but our planet’s perilous state demands a new perspective.

The neatly trimmed grass, mechanically blown away leaves and meticulously pruned shrubs that dominate our properties are, in reality, eco-deserts that offer no sustenance or shelter for local wildlife. These “tidy” landscapes fragment habitats, making it difficult for species to survive and thrive. The use of harmful chemicals, motorized machines and excess water to maintain these landscapes only exacerbates the issue.

It’s time to redefine beauty and embrace wild, biodiverse landscapes on our properties. By incorporating native plants, reducing lawn size and embracing “wild” spaces, we can create habitats that support local wildlife and contribute to a healthier ecosystem. We must recognize the value of pollinator and wildlife pathways to the overall well-being of all life and embrace the beauty of biodiversity.

Let’s work together to create a new standard of beauty that prioritizes the health of our planet and its inhabitants. Our properties can become sanctuaries for wildlife, and our East End communities can lead the way in sustainable landscaping practices.

Sharon Kelly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *