Worthy of Praise
February 12, 2023
It was my great privilege to have been a student at the Montauk Public School and one of Jack Perna’s students. That was almost, but not quite, 50 years ago. I can say without reservation that teachers like Mr. Perna gave me a chance for a future beyond my dreams, or even those of my parents. The attention, guidance, and care he showed a little boy gave him the confidence and ability to become anything he set his heart on.
Jack’s dedication to the children of Montauk over the past half-century has been a life worthy of praise and admiration. The children he taught and nurtured are now part of the larger community giving back, being thoughtful and, above all, the kind and loving human beings he encouraged us to be. If our community can rely on teachers such as he, then our future will assuredly be brighter than we can imagine.
EDWIN KEESHAN, M.D.
February 18, 2023
Adults who care for other adults with dementia, regardless of type, are called caregivers. Few caregivers can take care of a loved one with dementia for weeks or even years without help and support. Even if the patient is sent to a nursing home, the caregiver needs support to ensure that they have made the right decision and to see that the patient has the best care available from the institution.
This support is available free from the Alzheimer’s Association and the following local libraries: At the East Hampton Library at 11 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month and at the Montauk Library at 2 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month. For further information call 631-668-2498, 631-629-6950, or 800-272-3900.
Item of the Week
February 16, 2023
We really enjoyed seeing Moriah Moore’s “Item of the Week” in last week’s Star (got our hard copy today). Averill Dayton Geus used this photo in one of her chapters of “From Sea to Sea.” As you may know, the picture is of Carol’s grandmother, Edith Banister Huntting (second from left), who came to East Hampton in 1901 as one of the newer teachers at the Union Free School. She was your grandmother, Jeannette Edwards Rattray’s sixth grade teacher. Her husband, Jeremiah Miller Huntting, (second from right) is beside Jud Banister holding baby Beryle Huntting, second cousin to your grandmother.
Beryle was born Jan. 20, 1904, so this picture (we have it and two more as prints from the plates) was taken that spring, likely very shortly after the laundry had opened. Beryle was born in the Huntting family home on Cedar Street, very close to the laundry. The story of the 1907 fire tells of the department unable to save that building but focused successfully on preventing it from spreading to the house. That house, at 20 Cedar Street, built in 1790, stands almost across the street from the village Emergency Services Building.
A Financial Hole
February 18, 2023
To the Editor,
I read the mayor’s letter in The Star this week, and it seems that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of how insurance plans actually work (or don’t work) for the average working class East End family. The insurance company has already devised a way not to pay!
When you don’t work for the Police Department or the schools or some other Civil Service job, you don’t have a Cadillac plan, like New York State Health Insurance Program for State and Local Government where there are no or low deductibles or co-pays for services. Most working class folks need to have a $5,000 deductible per person, per year to afford the monthly health insurance premiums and an affordable auto policy commonly has a $500-to-$2,000 deductible per claim.
Any ambulance bill to a patient’s “insurance company” is coming out of that deductible and directly out of the pockets of most working people. It’s money they will not be spending in our restaurants or our shops! A $1,000-plus ambulance ride is enough money to put a working family in a financial hole for years! They may never recover.
These bills, once they are generated, lead a life of their own that is entirely beyond the control of the village to waive them. A billing agency wants to be paid its percentage for the work it did in collecting the bill, so it will not be willing to waive the debt; they’d rather sell it to collections. How else will it be paid?
The health insurance company will demand satisfaction of a pending bill before it will apply it toward the patient’s deductible, so the patient will be paying out of pocket for the remainder of the year for any and all health care services till that deductible is satisfied. An auto insurance company will do the same.
These ambulance bills will not just vanish once they are created; they will immortally appear as a delinquent red mark on the credit ratings of our working people. If the debt is waived, then there are taxes due because the Internal Revenue Service considers a waived debt as a gift. Seriously, you pay income taxes as if they gave you money to pay a bill you should never have been given in the first place. You can’t make this up.
The mayor is proposing we charge working people for ambulance service that they are already paying for in their taxes. Billing for ambulance services is a tax increase on the working people and a relief of taxes for the wealthiest residents. It is not “responsible government” to balance the village budget on the backs of the citizens least able to pay. It is an absence of leadership and a lack of moral compass.
The road to hell is paved with good intention, and this issue is more complex than political campaign sound bites. How is it our mayor manages to feel compassion for the $300-K tax burden of our wealthiest residents while never closely examining the financial lives of ordinary people who work for an hourly paycheck? Working people live here, too. We live here year round, and we vote.
February 17, 2023
To the Editor,
As a resident and voter in the Town of East Hampton raising three kids with our local fishing and hunting traditions, I am writing to express my support for following the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s lead in the opening of turkey hunting in Suffolk County this spring.
The D.E.C. has the scientific, rule-setting, governing, and law enforcement expertise and resources necessary to establish healthy, safe, rational, and enforceable rules and limits for wildlife management. It has 50 years of experience in every type of jurisdiction statewide, including those facing more challenging situations with respect to population density.
Wild turkey restoration in New York is one of the greatest success stories of modern wildlife conservation. The D.E.C.’s management of wild turkeys has allowed the birds to maintain self-sustaining populations throughout Suffolk County. The D.E.C.’s wildlife managers believe the turkey population is ready to handle a season limit of one bearded bird.
Creating our own arbitrary rules for hunting exclusive to our town would only lead to contention. Also once we embark on that path, every aspect of our town hunting regulations will be bitterly contested forever more by unelected nonexperts who pit their passions against sensible and scientific, modern conservation practices which include safe and ethical hunting by town residents.
A second set of rules would increase the burden on town employees, resources, and policing. This would cause unnecessary grief and burn more taxpayer dollars.
By following the D.E.C.’s guidance, we can ensure that we are following the advice of actual experts and not just responding to the emotional pleas of a vocal minority, or the influence of those who wish to impose a difference of values upon us from the outside.
I believe that continuing to follow the D.E.C.’s guidance would preserve our existing rational, easy to follow, and easy to justify practices and policies. It is more defensible to take our lead from their authority than to come up with our own arbitrary rules.
Hunting in East Hampton is a tradition that dates back beyond the middle 1600s, when the area was first occupied by Europeans, to the First Nations before that. I urge our community to support this important issue, to help maintain both a rational standard for policy-setting and the preservation of our local traditions. Thank you for your time and consideration.
February 29, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Having watched the landscape around me be slowly transformed, scared, and diminished by the relentless predation of deer, I thought your readers might be interested in reading a Feb. 17 Opinion piece from The Washington Post: “I bought a gun — and I intend to use it,” by Dana Milbank. He writes, “Deer are no longer an adorable nuisance, munching our shrubs and flowers but otherwise minding their own business. They are causing an ecological disaster.”
I read it and thought, “my sentiments exactly.”
Every Square Inch
February 15, 2023
You remember it, don’t you, the slogan “our rural way of life,” for years the mantra of Democratic Party regulars like Sylvia Overby?
Somehow, Boss Tweed was going to hug a tree and not find a way to break the zoning code in order to forgo the whole lot of money to be made from developing every square inch of what was once farmland and scrub forest into McMansions.
During the Schneiderman-inspired comprehensive plan sessions several decades ago there was even a brief suggestion that the size of houses would be limited to, say, 4,000 square feet. Very brief.
To protect “our rural way of life” Charlie Whitmore’s attempt to have more parks and land set aside for public recreation in a rapidly suburbanizing community was condemned to oblivion. The library in Amagansett almost wasn’t rebuilt. Development!
So what did we end up with? Well, I suggest every one of you drive down Handy Lane on the fringe of Amagansett, near Brent’s. There you will find our rural way of life, a cul-de-sac surrounded by mega-mansions stacked one on top of another. It is impressive, a wall of “them,” the East Hampton real estate industry version of the Roman Colosseum. Five and a half bathrooms anyone? This at the same time that East Hampton has no senior housing for its burgeoning senior population. Quite an achievement.
Instead of using the Stern’s property, which is a stone’s throw from the maybe, someday Southampton Hospital annex for high-density senior housing, the third-string politicians in Town Hall are planning another affordable housing boondoggle there. Meanwhile, the traffic increases, and send your Christmas cards to all the ex-Town Hall pols moving to South Carolina with their New York pensions.
Thank Boss Tweed for all of this. Be sure to vote for his candidates to protect our rural way of life. And thank your lucky stars you don’t have to find someone to come from up the Island to clean five and a half bathrooms.
Great job, Democrats.
Yours in traffic,
February 10, 2023
To the Editor:
Why do we need a Wainscott commercial development? Hasn’t East Hampton Town heard us? We do not need any more commercial development.
We want the community preservation fund to do its job and preserve the East End. We don’t want homeowners taking over our beach access. We want our natural habitat. We do not want any more development of any kind. Just because we aren’t storming Town Hall does not mean we are in agreement.
The zoning board of appeals needs to change its guidelines. People overclearing their properties, animals’ natural habitats are being destroyed — why?
Unfit to Run
February 19, 2023
To the Editor,
To find out that Brian Lester wants to run for town justice, I almost feel like I just wrote about this. That would be for David Filer, who also seeks the spot.
Whalen and Filer, Tarbet and Lester, along with Aram Terchunian and his company, First Coastal, block Bay View Avenue, denying our almost-30,000 residents rights to access a town nature preserve and town recreational area.
I remember I called into a town meeting this August demanding this road to be open immediately. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, sitting in for the supervisor, showed the glimpse of what we could get: silence.
Two days later on her lead, the town made Brian Lester special prosecutor to the tune of $10,000. So they’ve been told to open a road and don’t do it. Then the town rewards them. All while Rick Whalen was sitting on three committees, even writing legislation! Aram Terchunian is the liaison to Fire Island to Montauk Point reformulation plan and on the Montauk beach preservation committee.
So should we suspect they are running for town justice to ensure they all stay protected? Unfit to run.
We get two George Santoses.
M.T.G. in Montauk
February 19, 2023
To the Editor,
I have to admit the Star letter describing President Biden’s State of the Union address was very amusing and sad at the same time; I did not realize that Marjorie Taylor Greene was now writing letters to the local newspaper.
First and most important, the positions that Rick Scott and Mike Lee have on Social Security and Medicare are not only to “sunset” the programs every five years but to ultimately destroy them — just ask Mitch McConnell. The new prescription drug plan passed by the Biden administration goes into effect in 2025, when the maximum “out of pocket expense” will be capped at $2000 per senior citizen.
According to AARP (Aug. 16, 2022), the Inflation Reduction Act for the first time authorizes Medicare to negotiate the prices of some high-cost prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies, puts an annual $2,000 limit on how much of the Part D prescription drug plan members will have to pay out of pocket for their medications, and levies tax penalties on drug makers that increase product prices by more than the rate of inflation. The new law also caps the cost of Medicare-covered insulin at $35 a month and eliminates out-of-pocket costs for most vaccines under Medicare.
Medicare saves hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years as a result of the new law, with the majority of the savings coming as a result of prescription-drug price negotiations and rebates to Medicare designed to encourage pharmaceutical companies to keep price increases to no more than the rate of inflation, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That means beneficiaries will be able to get the same medications they do now, but some of those drugs will cost them, and Medicare, less. The savings will not be the result of any cuts to the Medicare program.
So, Marjorie, before you keep yelling, “liar, liar,” read! You might want to stop watching Fox News. By the way, Fox is being sued for over a billion dollars for spreading election lies. Liar, liar!
February 19, 2023
I would like to send special thanks to Carol Dray for the great letter she signed and sent to The Star. It’s an improvement, rather than reading a history explanation that makes no sense, contains mostly lies, and makes you wonder about the writer.
I believe if he could there would be a letter daily, with delusions beyond belief.