December 26, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray:
It gives me great pleasure to thank three members of East Hampton’s finest — not for their bravery, but for what they did to rescue me from a most embarrassing situation. Over the past few days, I have been suffering the ill effects of an inflamed disk in my back, which, last Friday evening, culminated in my falling to the floor in my garage and not being able to make it up the stairs into my house after having returned from an M.R.I. My thanks to Officers Kess, Bori, and Izzo for their assistance in speedily getting me back on my feet, into a transport chair, and into the house.
All too often, we hear complaints about people who fail (or who we think fail) to live up to expectations, while good service and performance are taken for granted and not brought to anyone’s attention. In this case, I would like to be clear that I consider that what these officers did was superior — especially as I am sure they typically have more pressing things to attend to!
In this day and age when all too often we hear calls for curbing the police and reducing their budgets, I hope this thank-you will remind those naysayers how important an asset officers like these can be to people like me who live in a community like ours.
JAMES R. WELDON
The Real Heroes
December 27, 2021
Now and then in the course of our everyday lives we are faced with a situation where we can choose to put another person’s needs before our own. And every now and then, that unselfish decision on behalf of a neighbor, a co-worker, or even a stranger can change another person’s destiny and, at the same time, our own. At that moment, real people become real heroes.
Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are to all of you who have supported the East Hampton Food Pantry. Our dedicated volunteers are brimming with compassion every day, giving of their time and skills to assist other human beings who are in need just to make it through another day. This act of kindness from our volunteers makes them the real heroes who serve others.
Whether you are a big shot or a little shot, a regular folk or a big-time celebrity, from a mom-and-pop shop or a big-box store, every one of you has helped the East Hampton Food Pantry to continue to serve our community. We are grateful to the hundreds and hundreds of you who believe in what we do and who have helped us and who will continue to help us to feed those in need.
For the 2020-21 year, over 10,000 households, that is, 7,706 adults, 4,240 senior citizens, and over 3,000 children, have benefited from our pantry. We take nourishment to homebound folks and the disabled, and we have high school food pantry programs for students.
Hunger creates a deep, lingering, dull ache that needs to be nourished for a human to survive. We at the pantry continue to try to extinguish that ache for all in need. As the new year approaches with the pandemic continuing, your food pantry never shuts down. Seniors, adults, and children still get hungry every day, and we will provide what we can.
What makes this all work is faith and hope and you. You have given what you could for another human being not to go hungry. And for your help and time and skill and belief in what we do for the community, we here at the East Hampton Food Pantry are grateful and we thank you for helping us to continue to help those in need.
Thank you and a happy new year to all.
December 26, 2021
2021 has been a year like no other. In my lifetime, other than 2001, I cannot think of a more challenging year for our community and nation. So here we are at the dawn of 2022. There are many challenges ahead of us, and I am reminded of a saying my grandfather would tell me: “patience, persistence, and perseverance.”
I apply what my grandfather said every day, and in my darkest and most trying moments have found comfort in his words. The stories of Hanukkah and Christmas changed the world. Both miracles, both the will of God and both a message of hope, salvation, and renewal.
On behalf of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, it is our sincerest hope that 2022 finds you and your families in good health and prosperity.
December 22, 2021
To the Editors,
I have been a subscriber now for a few years as I believe in supporting local and enjoy getting town information direct.
However, in the December 9th police logs, I was surprised by the extremely aggressive and blatant, prejudiced report about a local citizen. Can you explain why almost everyone else is described as “a Bull Path resident” or “a Bay Street shop owner” but for some reason you distinctly referenced “a television news anchor recently fired from his job at CNN”? Could you be any more specific? Oh, sorry, yes, only one detail: his name!
You aren’t Page Six or Us Weekly. You should be embarrassed. Whether you do or do not agree with the circumstances, there are other family members involved. Stick to the news. You should really issue an apology to your readers and citizens.
Please keep the news to news and withhold judgment and opinion. If this continues you will absolutely lose a subscriber.
Believe in the Mission
December 20, 2021
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Alexandra Emanuel, and I write to you on behalf of an interested and passionate group of young adults who believe in the mission of LongHouse.
The recent actions of the LongHouse Board of Directors are tremendously irresponsible and are causing irreparable damage to the organization and community.
I, personally, as a longtime member and neighbor who grew up on the adjoining property on Hand’s Creek Road, have spent my life enjoying the educational experiences at LongHouse and with Jack and Matko.
I can truly say that LongHouse was a huge part of my upbringing. Visits to the property from a young age taught me the importance of maintaining balance between nature and art. I can recall fond moments playing hide and seek with friends on the property and waking up to my Dad sipping coffee with Jack on the deck discussing plantings that would go in between our two properties as privacy screening.
Jack and Matko were both the epitome of what it means to be a good neighbor. Throughout the years, Matko was a constant reminder to my family and me of how important LongHouse was to us and our community. Matko was always there when you needed him and always so kind.
One of my favorite memories at LongHouse was an event that Matko encouraged my Mom and me to go to, when Philippe Petit celebrated the 40th anniversary of his high-wire tightrope walk between the World Trade Center Twin Towers, which was re-enacted over LongHouse’s iconic pond. This was one of the last days I spent with my mother before her passing only a few days later.
For all the reasons I described, Longhouse has always been a place that I wanted to share with friends, many of whom I took there for their very first time and who were so impressed by this gem that is Jack Larsen’s and Matko Tomicic’s lifework.
As a group of young adults who would like to continue to have access to the LongHouse we all know and love and have the peace of mind knowing that it will be here for future generations to bring our own children and grandchildren to, we feel the need to speak up and be heard. Along with Jack, Matko was LongHouse. We cannot comprehend the actions of the current board in dismissing him. What is this board missing?
We can offer no other solution to this misinformed decision than the resignations of the current board and its officers, as well as the immediate rehiring of Matko. Perhaps a good new team would be the sharing of responsibilities between Matko and the new interim director, but without him, the spirit is gone, and we are certain this is not what Jack would have wanted.
We are the future of LongHouse.
In Childhood’s Fields
My nephew and I would walk
In some cold seasons.
Stubble in winter’s fields.
Under a sun, when the light was cold.
Water pooled in the fields
Of brown mudded soil.
Black and white cows
Ate straw in these pastures.
We walked the train tracks,
Icy culverts underneath.
Deer in far fields raised their heads,
Before they were tame.
Seems like yesterday
Seems like forever ago.
My nephew is an old man now.
He was a blond laughing boy
When I knew him.
It was winter then,
Dust from the fields came in the house,
And the windows rattled.
We saw snowbirds once
Grazing in the potato lots.
I remember the white white snow
Glowing under the black sky
And stars twinkling.
Winter was barren and quiet then.
A Perfect Use
East Hampton Village
December 26, 2021
To the Editor,
I’m late to these pages in praising the donation by Ralph Dayton of additional parkland right in the center of the village. I’m fairly sure this is the property that used to be open to the far back side of Whitmore’s Nursery, originally the Vetault Nursery, which I will always think of it as, when I purchased my own place here from Bob and Dorothy Vetault, Bob being the son of “Pop” Vetault, a charming man with whom I spoke on many occasions. The lawyers overseeing the closing on my purchase were an Osborne and a Dayton.
I used to wander into that area whenever I visited Whitmore’s. It was magical, like a secret garden, yet thoroughly accessible. I remember one stone or concrete item made to resemble a well and busts and pieces of sculpture — and trees, beautiful mature trees. That this will be an arboretum is a perfect use. Profuse thanks to the Daytons, both present and past.
December 26, 2021
To the Editor,
I’ve recently read that the town is looking at Maidstone Park as the possible location of the 88-foot-tall cell on wheels, or COW. Just a friendly reminder that the 22 acres making up Maidstone Park were sold to the town by Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Gallatin in 1911 for $1 under the following conditions:
•That the said premises shall be held as a public park forever.
•That the said premises shall bear the name of “Maidstone Park.”
•That should the premises at any time in the future cease to be used as a public park or be used for any other purpose than as a public park then the said premises shall revert thereupon to the grantors or their heirs.
Therefore, putting a temporary cell phone tower on wheels anywhere at Maidstone Park would be using the land for a purpose other than a public park.
I am all for the cell phone tower at Camp Blue Bay, but the town will need to look at other options for this temporary tower.
CHELSEA E. WASSMER
December 24, 2021
Within the last two weeks, two very important and impressive outdoor lighting laws passed. One was for all of Suffolk County facilities to reduce the “blue” in light sources to provide lighting to see better at night, protect flora, fauna, and human health, and reduce ugly sky glow so we can see the stars. Legislator Bridget Fleming sponsored the amendment and it passed unanimously.
New York City passed two lighting laws with the help of the Audubon Society to protect birds during migrations. Eliminating unnecessary night lighting (not needed for pedestrian safety) will reduce energy costs for the city as well. Birds migrate at night and need the stars to navigate and will collide with lighted structures. Hundreds of millions die unnecessarily this way in our country.
I have been giving educational Zoom talks about the why and how to reduce light pollution to, among others: Group for the East End, the Noyac Civic Association, wildlife rescue organizations, and many others. I am available to give this talk to anyone who asks.
It has been said about lighting: “Never have so many known so little about so much.”
International Dark Sky Association
Habitat Sorely Needed
December 26, 2021
As the new year approaches, it’s time to think about what we can do better, how to live more mindfully next year. Here are some simple resolutions we can make that will improve things for all of us.
In 2019 the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology reported that we had lost up to 30 percent of the North American bird population since 1970. That’s somewhere around 3 billion birds in my adult lifetime. At about the same time, other scientists observed that we had lost about 80 percent of insect biomass in the last 25 to 30 years. These numbers are both alarming and connected, alarming because our entire ecosystem is threatened by the loss of birds and insects. Their loss will have cascading negative effects on our agriculture and economy, just to name two obvious examples. The numbers are also connected because the loss of insects contributes directly to the death of birds. Ornithologists have found that over the last 50 years, insect-eating birds have lost about 2.9 billion individuals. Yes, the loss of insects seems to be a major culprit in the bird die-off.
So, what does this have to do with our new year?
Insects and birds are dying because we are destroying and poisoning their and our habitats. When we kill grubs to keep our green grass pretty, we deprive a healthy and complexly connected balance that keeps our world going. When we plant invasive, foreign ornamentals, we do the same. As my neighbor, Gail Pellett, has recently written, “our yards are killing us” and the world that sustains us.
No, this doesn’t mean we need to dig up our favorite ornamentals and ditch our turf lawns. It does mean we should resolve to give some adequate portion of our yards back to native plants. The University of Delaware’s Doug Tallamy points to a clear, simple solution to get us on this path: “We need a happy compromise that shifts us from a majority of nonnatives to a majority of natives in our landscapes.”
Compromise. We can do this. We can leave some portion of our yards to the bees, birds, and native flora. We can even make it attractive. Take a look at the native gardens at Edwina von Gal’s Perfect Earth Project in Springs or any of the Garden Club of East Hampton native gardens. We can learn to lighten up on the leaf blowers, shut off the yard lights at night, do without the insect-killing treatments, — including the so-called organic sprays — and begin to restore some of the wild, beautiful land that was here long before us.
If we do this, our little native meadows, gardens, and woods will grow into what Tallamy calls a “homegrown national park,” connecting our separate native habitats into a network of restored habitat sorely needed by dying insects, birds, and our wounded planet.
Or, of course, we can continue the drive to extinction. It’s only our children and their children who will be left with the mess.
I don’t expect us to all undergo a great awakening at once. We need first to understand what’s wrong with what we’ve been doing. It’s up to institutions like The Star, our local governments, schools, and libraries to lead the way. Sounds like a solid resolution.
Happy new year,
December 27, 2021
The decision regarding the status of the airport is festering. I previously wrote individual letters to town board members and alerted them to a study for them to be aware of concerning a 10-year (2010-20) study at Reid-Hillview Airport outside of San Jose, Calif., that is similar to ours. The 10-year study revealed that 17,000 children had dangerous lead levels in their blood all from leaded fuels — 21 schools in close proximity there — and we have many here as well. There is a preschool located just 150 yards east of runway 16-34. No reply was ever received.
Now the same authorities have instituted a new study to determine lead levels in the soil. In the early 1990s. I wrote to the state regarding leaking barrels of unidentified petrochemical solvents at the old East Hampton Air Terminal.
Apparently that was not addressed. Now there is mention of the Department of Environmental Conservation doing a lead soil sampling, but when is that supposed to commence?
I had also advised the town of illegal bathrooms installed in some hangars. My friend Sheetrocked many of them and confirmed that. I question if Health Department and building permits were ever issued? That apparently went unanswered as well. Why?
We have the sole source aquifer; the deepest part lies under the airport, and yet there is deliberation of allowing the pollution to continue. How does a small group of polluters take precedence over the thousands of homes and people that are impacted by a threat to our drinking water and the danger of low-flying aircraft?
The town board addresses the drinking water quality and should be commended. However it apparently doesn’t apply to the threat to the aquifer, where leaded fuel still pollutes. We know of the political contributions. The decision should be based upon protecting our drinking water supply, not cater to a handful of elitists to continue the threat. The time to stop the pollution is now. Oh! The 5:45 a.m. on a recent Sunday takeoff doesn’t count because it is winter? The population takes precedence over a handful? Apparently not.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Used to Feel Sorry
December 26, 2021
When the pandemic hit last year, I looked at the hospitalization and death rates, and very quickly began wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. I was very eager to get vaccinated and was lucky enough, due to my senior status, to get vaccinated early. I supported wholeheartedly the mandates established by local and state governments. I thought that if all Americans got vaccinated Covid-19 would be history by the end of the year.
My first epiphany occurred when I visited the Montauk Recycling Center. There were several signs mandating that people wear masks. As I made my garbage deposit, I walked by a man who was not wearing a mask. Very respectfully, I stated that he (I called him “sir”) should be wearing a mask. He replied, “You really should grow up.”
I was very taken back by this reply for two reasons: First, I was 40 years older than this individual, second, I thought to myself that this individual could not possibly be so stupid.
Fueled by Governors Abbot and DeSantis, the mandate dispute very quickly morphed into another aspect of our contemporary cultural division. The anti-mandate advocates had many arguments: Governments were taking away their freedom to choose, vaccines contained C.I.A. microchips, Covid-19 was a plot by the Democrats to eliminate Christian white people, Covid-19 vaccines killed people, Dr. Fauci conspired with the Chinese government to murder Americans on behalf of the Italian government. Many anti-mandate supporters compared themselves to Holocaust survivors who had miraculously survived Nazi genocide.
And now we have Omicron. Back to the future. More masks. More school closings. More businesses being destroyed. People dying because they cannot get a heart operation or a kidney or lung transplant. Doctors, nurses, and support staff running on empty. We have to ask, “Why?”
The answer is very simple. It is because millions of Americans refuse to get vaccinated and are overwhelming hospitals and spreading the virus throughout our nation. I used to feel sorry for these people. I no longer do — I am now angry. I no longer care about arguing against their Luddite mentality or their rejection of science and reality. Due to their selfishness, our nation suffers as the virus marches on. They all should reap what they sow. Unfortunately, the people who are vaccinated are also reaping what they have sown.
Happy holidays and cheers,
December 26, 2021
Montauk needs a Covid testing facility. We had one but it most inconveniently closed seven weeks ago. I urge the town to bring it back.
December 26, 2021
Last week, a Star reader issued a challenge in the Letters section, asking one of your “progressive” readers to explain what the result of Build Back Better (which he called “madness”) would specifically mean. I accept the challenge. Here’s what Build Back Better would mean for New Yorkers:
1) The leading cause of the shortage of workers in the state is the lack of access to affordable child care, made much worse by the pandemic. B.B.B. would provide access to affordable child care for about 1 million kids in families earning under 2.5 times the New York median income (about $250,942 for a family of four). These families would pay no more than 7 percent of their income on high quality child care. It will cover 9 out of 10 young children in the state. It will also give our kids a head start with expanded access to free, high-quality preschool to more than 297,920 additional 3- and 4-year-old New Yorkers per year and increase the quality of preschool for children who are already enrolled.
2) Don’t care about kids? How about surviving climate chaos in our vulnerable coastal community? From 2010 to 2020, New York experienced 31 extreme weather events, costing up to $100 billion in damages. That’s lost lives, lost homes, wrecked communities. B.B.B. is the biggest effort to combat climate change in American history; it will invest $500 billion in technologies to reduce carbon emissions, expand clean energy tax credits, electrify buildings and transportation, and help New York State transition to a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040. It will create thousands of well-paying clean-energy jobs, boost our competitive position against China (which is angling to be the world’s leader in clean tech), and make our air — some of the most polluted in the country — cleaner, thereby saving countless lives from carbon pollution-induced heart and respiratory disease
B.B.B. will create a new Civilian Climate Corps that will put our young people — so many of whom are losing hope that they have a future — to work in conserving our public lands, strengthening community resilience, and addressing the changing climate, all while getting paid and training for future jobs.
3) How about senior citizens and other health care consumers? B.B.B. will slash the price of lifesaving prescription drugs, like insulin (price to be capped at $35 a month, instead of the $1,000 it costs now) and add hearing benefits to Medicare. (Progressives pushed to include dental and vision, but Long Island Representative Kathleen Rice nixed that.) It would also expand access to long-term care, enabling more seniors and disabled people to be taken care of at home and without spending down their assets to qualify for Medicaid in a nursing home. Kids’ health is important, too. B.B.B. would make the Children’s Health Insurance Program that my granddaughter depends on permanent.
4) Are you a patriot? The United States is second to last in investing in work force development among the world’s major economies. B.B.B. will boost made-in-the-U.S. manufacturing and supply chains for critical goods, benefiting American businesses, workers, consumers, and communities. It invests in worker training for good jobs in health care, manufacturing, I.T., and clean energy. Over 40 public community colleges in New York State will have the chance to get grants to develop innovation work force training programs. With college tuition supports also from B.B.B., that will give people a chance to train for the skills the state’s economy needs.
5) Conservatives will love this one: The B.B.B. will cut taxes. It will raise the hated SALT tax cap from $10,000 (imposed by Trump) to $80,000, helping many Long Islanders afford their property taxes again. It will make the enhanced Child Tax Credit permanent, providing a lifeline to countless middle class, working class, and poor families. It will provide a tax cut of up to $1,500 for 982,700 low-wage workers in New York by extending the Earned Income Tax Credit expansion.
6) Affordable housing on the East End is in crisis — B.B.B. will invest $150 billion in the construction and preservation of affordable housing options, some of which funds will end up here, so that our kids and their families, as well as the workers we need, can afford to live here.
7) Finally, I hear you ask, “How’re you gonna pay for it?” The B.B.B. is paid for — if the I.R.S. is given the means to go after the billionaire tax cheats (like our former president) who have been starving our government of the funds to help us while they’re laughing all the way to the bank — and the rest of us end up paying more. B.B.B. would give the I.R.S. $80 billion for tax enforcement so that even the rich would have to start paying their fair share. That would shrink the deficit — and fully pay for the Build Back Better Act.
Since Day One
December 27, 2021
At dinner in a friend’s apartment in Paris, the conversation moves to the rise of fascism in Europe. A dozen countries including France and Germany are dismayed by the way people have embraced anti-immigrant and anti-government dogma. We talk about Nazi Germany and its use of the U.S. model of racial purity as a guideline for its Aryan purity campaign. We talk about Black Lives Matter, the 1619 Project, and critical race theory.
It is difficult to explain how, in the face of 400 years of historical data, America hasn’t come to the point of accepting the racial piece of its history. There is little to dispute or disagree with. The race profile that has been put out for analysis is hardly perfect but it is real and necessary to dealing with our country.
There aren’t two sides to our racism, to our white supremacy, to our struggle to marginalize non-white people. This is who we have been since day one. Who we are and continue to be in all its myriad forms. It is an indisputable truth.
What we do about it is another story. But what we do begins only with the recognition of what we’ve done. If you don’t recognize the problem, you can’t find a solution. The political idiocy needs to be separated and marked as such. Wokedness, communist infiltrators, and all the attendant drivel serve only to obfuscate the issue “If you are Black and a jerk, you are still Black.”
What is unique to America is that color is the driving force to our problem. For people of color in a society of color bias, the only way out is changing color. Or there is no way out.
For most Americans the problem is that they don’t see themselves as racist. There is too much time between the period of slavery and Jim Crow. We don’t relate to and barely recognize the implications. For 250 years we created a society with all of its basic institutions using race as a critical factor. We debated and legislated whiteness well into the 20th century. Everything that exists today is based on what we created at our beginning. Consequently, if the system is racist, and you support the system, you are a supporter of racism.
For example: When B.L.M. started it received huge support all over the world and in the U.S. After the violence in our cities, support dropped by 20 percent. The violence didn’t change the basic premise of B.L.M., but people associated the violence as a part of the movement. The violence was real and absolutely useless, but the essential racism of our institutions remained the same.
American history is so overloaded with us as the “good guys,” how we saved the world from communism and fascism and tons of other evils. Some of it is real; too much of it isn’t. Reality isn’t lollipops and waving flags. Jan. 6 happened. It’s all on tape. Covid is real. See the dead bodies. Racism is real. It’s not in the eye of the beholder.