July 17, 2022
After torrential rains yesterday afternoon, the skies cleared just in time for an absolutely beautiful and spectacular Three Mile Harbor Fireworks show last night! While certainly different from the solitude you described in your column about your peaceful overnight anchorage on your sailboat Cerberus in Cherry Harbor, the “city of lights” on Three Mile Harbor was peaceful and serene in its own special way.
A big thanks to Billy Kalbacher and the rest of the volunteers at clamshellfoundation.org for their ongoing efforts and for their support of our very worthwhile local charities and food pantries. I highly encourage our boating and land-based community members to contribute to them at their website to support their ongoing good work.
And remembrances to Rossetti Perchik, the founder of the Clamshell Foundation, who was a unique and talented and caring man. Lastly, thanks to the crew on the fireworks barge, and to all of the East Hampton Town staff and Marine Patrol and police officers and fire department members, as well as the Coast Guard and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, who help make the event safe and organized — without their support this event would not be possible.
Dancing With Lobsters
July 18, 2022
My name is Mary Ganzenmuller. I am a lifelong part-time member of the East Hampton community and love it here very much. I am also the woman on the front page of last week’s Star — photo-bombing (inadvertently) the trustees of the Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station. Your photographer asked me to smile for a photo as I passed through to my table — never did I think The Star would use a photo of me blocking the assembled trustees! The trustees have, undoubtedly, worked incredibly hard to keep the organization open, beautiful, and relevant.
My family would like to express tremendous thanks to Bostwick’s for providing the heavenly meal and to the Life Station organization for the evening. All, including the station’s volunteers, should have been front and center of The East Hampton Star last week — and celebrated for the amazing event!
I would urge everyone in The Star community and beyond to buy a lobster bake dinner to go to benefit the Life-Saving Station (www.amagansettlss.org), and I will continue dancing with my lobsters (as I was doing in the joyous photo) at events supporting local East End organizations!
Thank you so much,
MARY TODD GANZENMULLER
July 12, 2022
To the Editor,
As a lifelong resident of East Hampton — and in my first year as a Little League coach — as the 2022 Little League season comes to an end, I want to take this time to thank the local board members for all of their hours of volunteer time. Many hours are devoted behind the scenes to put together such an amazing program for this community, which extends from Wainscott to Montauk.
I would be remiss if I stopped there. It goes without saying that all of the coaches, many of whom are local business owners juggling work, practices, and games, volunteer their time to make the season happen.
Most important, I also want to thank the parents for supporting this program, many of whom played here when they were kids. It has been great to see new families, many who have been longtime second-home owners, and also new residents participating now that they are calling East Hampton their home. I think this is truly merging a gap and continues to strengthen our community with new talent.
Lastly, the social well-being between the children meeting new players, parents meeting other parents, and coaches working with coaches is invaluable. I look forward to continuing to watch this program grow and strengthen our local community.
Help for Caregivers
July 15, 2022
As my wife’s dementia caused by Parkinson’s disease moved from mild to moderate, I found it increasingly difficult to care for her. Finding the help we needed in Montauk was difficult — and often impossible. Aides were unwilling to travel three to four hours a day to earn $15 per hour. Fortunately, in The Star I discovered an announcement of a local meeting for caregivers.
These caregivers’ meetings are designed to help those adults caring for other adults with dementia. Problems such as bathing, sleep for patient and caregiver, taking the car keys away, finding help and respite have solutions.
Most caregivers find that they cannot cope alone. Hiring an aide is, at best, a partial solution. Often additional problems present themselves. The Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association 631-629-6950 has a caregivers’ meeting in the East Hampton Library the second Tuesday of each month at 11 a.m. This and all other meetings are free.
Montauk will have its first meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month (July 26 at 11 a.m.). This meeting will be at the Montauk Public Library. For additional information, call 631-668-2498.
A Little ‘Wild’
July 16, 2022
I grew up UpIsland, but it wasn’t until I moved upstate that I saw my first American kestrel. They are beautiful birds. Robin-size falcons with striking plumage, they are great hunters and always a delight to watch. Upstate, I’d often see them on fenceposts or atop telephone poles surveying the fields for prey.
When I moved back to the Island 30 years ago, I was pleased to see kestrels out this way. They were plentiful on the Napeague stretch. Then over the years, I noticed that I just didn’t see them any more. I haven’t seen one out this way for years.
Sure enough, kestrels are suffering a severe decline. According to All About Birds, the American Kestrel population has dropped 50 percent in the last 50 years. We can mostly blame the usual causes: habitat loss and pesticides.
Even if you’ve never seen one of these magnificent birds, you should care. Every time we lose a species our environment grows less resilient. We are undergoing enormous environmental stresses around the globe. Ecological resilience and species diversity will be indispensable as we face a difficult future.
What can we do to maintain kestrel populations? The University of Minnesota Raptor Center has the following suggestions: Don’t let your cats roam outside; besides killing millions of birds annually, they outcompete raptors for the small mammals these birds hunt. Avoid pesticides and poisons; not only do they deprive raptors of prey, they end up poisoning birds who may eat the dead rodents. Don’t be so quick to remove dead or dying trees. Birds and other animals live in them. And here’s my favorite, “Plant a diversity of native and local plant species. This helps all species, from local insect populations to the predators that rely on them.” Kestrels hunt everything from small rodents to insects. With insects on the decline, is it any wonder that their hunters are too?
It’s all connected, and we are part of it. As our environment unravels, as we replace more and more native grasslands and forests with lawns, we are increasingly suffering the consequences: population collapse of insects, birds, and fish, toxic algae blooms, contaminated aquifers.
Try to make your yard more habitat-friendly. Include native plants in your lawn and garden mix. They have an integrated place in the local ecology that nonnatives do not. Do your best not to replace native trees with exotic species. Our oaks are keystone species in our local ecology. Take it easy on the fertilizers and pesticides. They are killing all of us, slowly but surely.
Integrate a little “wild” back into your landscape. If you need inspiration, have a look at the ever popular High Line or any of the New York botanic gardens that have incorporated native meadows and gardens into their designs. With a little imagination, we can make our yards and public spaces attractive and environmentally friendly. The alternative is increasingly unattractive.
Natural Green Space
July 18, 2022
To the Editor,
Last week, the East Hampton Town Nature Preserve Committee voted in favor of Springs community members’ nomination of the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands to the town’s nature preserves.
The woodlands were purchased by the town years ago for the purpose of preserving open space. For decades, the Springs community — children, families, and wildlife — have enjoyed and appreciated this small piece of heavenly greenery and the serenity the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands lends to a densely populated residential and commercial area.
Springs enjoys a balance of commercial, residential, and recreation space, including the Maidstone playground and ball fields and the tennis courts at Springs School, but there are few places with natural green space for enjoyment. I hope the woodlands will be preserved as one of those.
East Hampton Village
July 18, 2022
It’s encouraging our benevolent mayor, Jerry Larsen, has reinstated monthly work sessions, albeit rebranding them as organizational meetings. Hopefully, the benevolence will extend to public discourse and full abiding by New York State’s Freedom of Information Law and open meeting statutes?
Holding future meetings at various historical locations is a nice touch. But, honestly, I’m more interested in transparency and a good governance process than in a history lesson. As an aside, please ensure all the locations are Americans With Disabilities-complaint unless Vinnie has a workaround.
The July 6 board meeting included Lombardo Associates’ recommended approach to creating an “underground” sewer district — a fundamental cornerstone for Jerry’s campaign platform. If successful, the new district would allow expansion of the central business district’s existing wastewater systems, creating economic expansion opportunities.
Over the past months, a work-in-progress document was shared with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the sole permitting agency for municipal wastewater projects. In response to the work in progress, the D.E.C. requested an extensive list of deliverables ranging from detailed drawings and chemical analysis to missing yes or no questions. These deliverables, detailed in a two-page memo, are required for D.E.C. determination. Moreover, I welcome the scrutiny as it will be the first “underground” municipal wastewater system in New York State.
Most rational people would embrace the D.E.C. position — but not Jerry. He voiced his frustration about D.E.C.’s delay in issuing approvals. Jerry, how can they approve a project without all the information? Only Jerry can.
Our village leaders need to provide Lombardo’s Associates with the current and planned data points to calculate estimated wastewater flows accurately. The businesses have changed dramatically since the information initially was provided. It’s alarming that our village leadership and department heads didn’t notice the outdated data. Time for a do-over?
Jerry, unlike many of your other projects, this isn’t one you can make up changes for as you go.
July 18, 2022
When offered modest regulation, the airporters (1 percent of our population) countered with eight different lawsuits. With the judge then issuing a “temporary” restraining order that has lasted two months, our out-of-control airport ruins peaceful safe enjoyment of the summer season for thousands of residents.
Documented pollution by air (carbon emissions), soil (lead), groundwater (PFAS chemicals), and noise erode our lives. Why reserve 600 acres of public land for our own destruction? We are held hostage by Blade helicopters and arrogant billionaires who refuse to consider any regulation of their poisonous activities.
Rather than remaining hostage, our town should close the airport immediately. While airporters sue (unsuccessfully) to reopen it, this community and region will realize the benefits of closure while designing alternate uses that are healthy and sane.
Flick a Switch?
July 12, 2022
It has been many years since I have written a letter to The Star, but after reading the article “Eyeing All-Electric” I just had to say something. Where do these groups that support such a radical idea think all of this electric power is going to come from? You don’t just string some wires and flick a switch.
Our infrastructure cannot keep pace with the demands on it now and we are many, many years away from having enough solar or wind generated electricity for today’s needs, never mind a town of all-electric homes. If they think that air-conditioning puts a strain on the grid, wait until everyone turns on the heat.
Using the scare tactic of gas stoves causing asthma is irresponsible. We humans have been cooking and heating over open flames in our homes for centuries. Look more toward the air outside and off-gasing of a million other products for asthma causes before you blame my stove.
Forcing homeowners and businesses to choose only electric appliances is un-American. Do they even make commercial grade induction stoves? I don’t think so.
When the power goes out, as it sometimes does, I still have heat, hot water, and can cook in my home, all thanks to propane. All-electric homes would have to power up gas or diesel generators, propane heaters, and Coleman camp stoves.
I think this idea needs to be wrapped up and put away as a pipe dream. Long live my gas stove!
I’m still here, too.
Goal Not Realistic
July 15, 2022
To the Editor,
I found the recent article “Push for All-Electric Could be a Big Jolt for New Construction” (July 7) interesting, as it discussed several steps the town might take in terms of upgrading building codes. Unfortunately, these potential regulations will only apply to new buildings, so they will only have a negligible effect on the town’s often cited 100 percent renewable goal for 2030. This goal is not realistic, and the town loses credibility by still talking about such a target in 2022. The reality is the town probably produces more greenhouse gases today than it did in 2014, when it first made this pledge, given the housing boom and the record amounts of traffic both on the roads and at the airport.
For perspective, both the federal government and the state have recently increased their targets in this area, but to the more realistic levels of 50 percent and 45 percent, respectively, for greenhouse gas-emission reductions by 2030. Sadly, there are legitimate questions about whether those goals can even be reached, given we continue to pump out global warming gases at a record pace still.
Perhaps instead of talking about these far-off goals, the town should focus on cutting its emissions by a small amount every year and then follow through. In terms of the building sector, the town really should be focusing on the 20,000 existing houses that account for roughly a third of our emission’s footprint.
I’ve suggested in the past that the town consider offering $4,000 rebates to low-to mid-income residents to help finance the upgrades to either residential solar or heat pumps, or both. This program could be similar to the one the town runs for septic upgrades where they offer a small incentive too, but do not cover the entire cost of the project.
The question of course becomes how does the town finance this? The septic rebate is funded by the community preservation fund. The town could hopefully tap the fees that are supposed to eventually be paid by the developers of the offshore wind project for such a program. This would be a good idea and something that the town should commit to with those funds. Another source though, potentially up to a $1 million a year range too, could be fees if the town ever seriously pursued a community solar project.
We have a once in-a-generation chance to take a public good like the airport, something that benefits few and creates serious air and water pollution issues (it is already a designated toxic SuperFund site over our main aquifer due to past airport operations), and turn it into a significant community solar project of perhaps 35 to 40 megawatts that could help thousands of residents go green and save hundreds of dollars a year on their utility bills — the savings could be in the range of $500,000 per annum total for both local residents and businesses while the town might get $1 million in annual leasing fees. All of this could be done by just using half of the already-cleared land at the airport.
Amazingly, our town board had this option back in 2015 and it chose to back the Deepwater/South Fork Wind project instead of pursuing a 37-megawatt solar project at the airport that was also approved at the time. The tragedy of this mistake is that the town most likely would have gotten more in leasing fees from the proposed solar project and it would have been built by 2018 and paying those fees to the town for years now.
In addition, the proposed solar project would have solved the grid pocket issue that we have on the South Fork that Deepwater won’t. Ironically, the Deepwater project was chosen to reduce the need for $240 million in grid upgrade costs and instead it will require all Suffolk ratepayers to shoulder an additional $600 million? This does not have to be the case, and I wrote about this issue on March 31 to this paper in a letter titled “Corporate Gouging” if any are interested in more information. Despite these past mistakes, we still have a chance to do a community solar project at the airport and the only question is how large it could be depending on whether the airport was open or not.
In the big picture, if the town is serious about reducing its emissions, it will have to start spending some money, though. From my following of this issue for five years now, the town has spent virtually none of its own money to reduce emissions and this is despite its pledge in 2014 to do so. That needs to change. Its policy so far is to rely on small New York State grants each year that are in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. Thus, the town is on pace to spend perhaps $1 million to combat climate change before its own 2030 deadline when probably hundreds of times that amount of money would be necessary to get even 65 percent of the way to its unrealistic goal. This is disappointing, given the recent coastal management plan shows our town is one of the most vulnerable to climate change in the entire state.
Many of the things like installing solar and heat pumps at town property, or buying electric vehicles for town operations are not brain surgery, but the Town of East Hampton has clearly had a hard time moving forward in all of these areas for some reason. A greater focus needs to be taken with the allocation of the town’s annual $10 million capital improvement budget — many of the renewable upgrades would actually save taxpayers money in the long run if they were finally taken. Obviously, just making pledges doesn’t change anything. Real action is finally needed.
July 15, 2022
To the Editor,
My parents bought our house in Ditch Plain over 40 years ago. They were the original owners. I was very sad at the demise of the East Deck.
The new building being erected is such a slap in the face to the community, totally tone deaf to the vibe of the neighborhood, asserting its towering dominance.
I’m really shocked that this megastructure was approved.
July 18, 2022
To the Editor,
Illegal structures become memorialized. A turn of the head or closing the eyes? Days become months and, now, years pass by. Injustice becomes the norm. Goes hand in hand with our town board not enforcing the law. Why should any other government agency?
July 17, 2022
Last week, I wrote about a 10-year-old rape victim who was forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion because she was three days outside the six-week ban in place in Ohio. When advocates talk about the importance of reproductive health care in the lives of women, actual patient stories serve to humanize the often complex legal and medical concepts involved. In this light Dr. Caitlin Bernard told the story of her young Ohio patient as an example of how restrictions on reproductive health care can impact the most vulnerable.
Rather than sympathize with the horrific experience this girl suffered, conservative pundits and politicians sought to erase the event from the public’s conscience. Not surprisingly, Fox News led the charge with numerous pundits questioning whether the rape even happened. The Ohio attorney general — the leading law enforcement official in the state — said that he had not seen a scintilla of evidence to suggest the rape occurred. Then other G.O.P. politicians joined the fray with numerous accusations that it was all a lie to foment opposition to the overturning of Roe.
Conservative lawmakers and mouthpieces across the country denounced her integrity, and articles in numerous news outlets cast doubt on the story, with even the once-reputable Wall Street Journal editorial board declaring the rape a “fanciful tale” that was “too good to confirm.”
What I found particularly horrifying were the vicious and immediate attacks on the doctor for just doing her job: caring for a most vulnerable patient. Even more shocking was the reaction of the drafter of the Ohio law who in a fit of incredible insensitivity said that had she stayed in Ohio, she would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child. Seriously? A 10-year-old?
On Wednesday, a suspect in the Ohio rape case was arrested and arraigned after he reportedly confessed to the rape. He is being held on $2 million bail. Undeterred, the G.O.P. politicians persisted, doubling down on their now-flawed claims of “fake news.” And the attacks against Dr. Bernard have continued. Even though the abortion performed on the 10-year-old girl was legal under Indiana law, Indiana’s attorney general said on Fox News on Wednesday evening that his office is investigating her. Then Fox News showed her photo on the air with the only possible reason being to have her incur public denunciation and protest.
Appallingly, now that the hard-right dog has caught the car with the overturn of Roe, it has turned a deaf ear on the protests against the loss of rights women have had for 50 years and is enacting increasingly hostile restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. Our lame-duck congressman and wannabe governor, Lee Zeldin, is at the head of this pack. One of the most ardent opponents of women’s rights, Mr. Zeldin would set women’s status in New York back to the 1950s. We have fought too long and hard to have Mr. Zeldin be the arbiter of our rights. Vote for a Democrat wherever you can.
July 14, 2022
On the abortion rights up to and including birth, puts us on a level with North Korea and China. Do you really want to continue on this road, Dictator Biden? Do you realize the pain you cause this baby, realize how the child cries in excruciating pain?
When you can’t have your way, your choice is to scream, destroy, burn down, do whatever you can for attention, I want my way. I will taunt and scream, throw things until I get my way. There is such a thing as peaceful demonstrations; try it.
Merrick Garland, thank God you never were appointed to the Supreme Court; you’re a puppet for Biden. Law is never in your language, e.g.: never permitted to protest in front of the residence of a Supreme Court judge and or their family. What are you doing about it, as protesters keep up the entire neighborhood most of the night? Where’s the safeguard for the justices? Next, Garland is the head investigator for Hunter Biden; what a joke, I would be more impartial than him. Joe Biden’s puppet investigating Joe Biden’s son. Kangaroo court coming up.
On Hillary Clinton’s claims she went to school with Justice Clarence Thomas, called him a person of grievance, he is loaded with resentment, grievance, and anger. Look who’s talking, the queen of resentment and anger and definitely the king of getting even.
One piece of advice to the liberals, progressives, $1 trillion spent, no need for a $400 billion tax hike on small businesses.
In God and country,
July 17, 2022
To the Editor,
In a recent report issued by a group of conservative judges, they stated that the 2020 election was in no way rigged or stolen but was safer and more efficient than in previous generations. Any statements to the contrary were incorrect and possibly worse. Enter the issue of treason. With the full knowledge that the election was not stolen, certain politicians insisted that it was with the full knowledge that they were misleading the American people for the purpose of overturning the election results, in fact, brazenly attempting to steal the election.
In a simpler world, the connection between actions and consequences was clearly defined. You did something wrong, like killing your neighbor, and you suffered the consequences. It didn’t matter what kind of story you fabricated. Today clarity is obscured by drivel. Whatever drivel one makes up has almost instant credibility. We normalize drivel to distort reality. Drivel is about cowardice, weakness, and stupidity — not the qualities that make a country livable.
How we define treason and those who participated in an act of treason is the question. Treason is basically an action that is aimed at overturning the existing system that the country has chosen or elected. The stolen election narrative and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol both fall into the category of treason. The people who attacked the Capitol did so with a clear and stated purpose. Basta. Nothing, absolutely nothing, to discuss. Trial, prison, probably the death penalty.
The stolen-election purveyors are different animals. They knowingly and relentlessly committed to a fraudulent narrative for the purpose of overthrowing the election. (According to the judges, not a single piece of evidence in 64 cases demonstrated electoral fraud.) This group of elected officials committed treason. Again, uncomplicated. Trial, jail — or worse?
Betrayal, on the other hand, is more normal but equally troubling. Two examples are both on the Republican side, but in no way limited to Republicans. McConnell’s refusal to allow Obama to put a justice on the court betrayed all of the essential principles of how the separation of powers operated. He threw away the norms of Supreme Court appointments and eviscerated 200 years of precedent.
Justice Kavanaugh would not have been appointed to the court if he hadn’t lied about his position on abortion. What else did he or other appointees lie about? How do we amend the process or the system to minimize, rather than reward, this kind of behavior. Betrayal by someone with a lifelong appointment compromises the court system. If we normalize lying, how do we differentiate between fact and fiction?
What McConnell did was to breach the normal boundaries of the Supreme Court process. He disrespected the system, the president, and the American people. Not a single Republican questioned his action. He violated his oath of office and engendered a new level of distrust in government. His action was consciously criminal but not against the law.
Perhaps the solution to the Supreme Court questions is easier to resolve. There is no proscribed number of judges for the court. If we expanded the court to, say, 21 judges with term limits (20 years), the country could be better served with a wider range of views interacting to form a consensus. It would also eliminate the excessive power that one justice has over the court as it does now — a fairer, more nuanced court.
As for the supporters of the stolen election, every politician who participated in the treason should be required to resign from office. What example do they set for the country? Are we normalizing treason? If they don’t understand that they committed treason, should that alone not disqualify them from holding office?
Does anyone actually believe in America?
July 14, 2022
To the Editor,
“Cleanliness is next to godliness” was never true; especially since that Uvalde “We don’t serve or protect” police officer protected himself from Covid-19 by applying hand sanitizer while listening to the sounds of bullets shooting 19 screaming 10-year-olds to death inside the Robb Elementary School.