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Letters May 28, 2009

Posted on 29 May 2009

An American Approach to Healthcare


Dear Editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to concerns raised about our nation’s health care crisis in a letter to the editor last week, as well as by thousands of Long Islanders with whom I have spoken. They are angry and frustrated at our dysfunctional health care system and rightly so.

Skyrocketing health care costs are hurting our families, dragging down small businesses and threatening our nation’s economic future. With insurance premiums now growing faster than wages, we must reduce high administrative costs and other inefficiencies that lead to higher costs with no added health benefits. 

We have all heard these problems catalogued before, and this is usually where politicians offer vague promises of reform and the promise of action another day. Not this time.

In just the first four months of this Congress working together with President Obama, we have taken real action to control costs and cover all Americans. 

As a member of the Budget Committee, I worked on the new federal budget which supports President Obama’s goals for health reform: making health coverage affordable and available to all, improving safety and quality, and providing Americans with a choice of health plans and physicians, including the choice of keeping their current health plan. In addition, funding from the Recovery Act has already been directed toward consolidating medical records and upgrading information technology. These are proven tools to improve care and reduce costs.

Because the health care industry sees how serious this Congress is, all the major players in the industry have joined with the President to announce a plan to save $2 trillion over the next decade.

We now have a window of opportunity and I believe that by working together—Republicans, Democrats and Independents—we can set aside the stale debates of the past and build a uniquely American approach to health care that will improve quality and contain costs. I will continue to seek the ideas and feedback of all Long Islanders as we move forward.

Congressman Tim Bishop


Message Delivered


Dear Editor,

Congratulations to Gregg Schiavoni and Walter Wilcoxen on their winning the Sag Harbor school board election, a wish I had expressed to the Express reporter last week, but which never made it into the story.

I would like to thank those who supported me in this election. Although I did not get elected, I feel victorious for many reasons. First, I met hundreds of residents from a broad cross-section of the population. I had the pleasure of meeting many who live on fixed incomes, many who are affected by the economic downturn, many who toil all day in running a business and even those who have children in school. I was vociferous in spreading my dual pronged message of reinvigorating the curricula while producing greater efficiencies. I gave a voice to those who are concerned with the rising costs of educating Sag Harbor’s youngsters, many of whom could not attend meetings. Making decisions with tomorrow in mind is what I believe. Others viewed some of my ideas as radical, but none are as radical as a teacher who believes that the quality of education can improve while also saving money. My career as an educator was successful, in part, because I never lost hope that things can improve.

Elena Loreto

Sag Harbor


Cleaning Up


To the editor,

Many thanks to everyone who helped out with the planting and cleanup at the Tuckahoe Hill Preserve on Sebonac Road. The work is part of a larger project to create a memorial for Kurt Billing at this preserve – one that Kurt was instrumental in creating – a 150-acre gem of woodlands dotted with vernal pools and boasting one of the most spectacular views on Long Island.

Anita Wright and the Group for the East End – an environmental advocacy organization whose board Kurt served on for many years – organized the planting and provided most of the plant material as well as staff members Jenn Hartnagel, Jenn Skilbred, and Kate Schertel to help out. Anita also enlisted students from nearby Stonybrook/Southampton College’s wildlife and environmental club to pitch in. Vicki Bustamante of Warren’s nursery donated additional plant material, John White provided Hollytone and help transplanting some red cedars, Scott Chaskey of Quail Hill Farm/Peconic Land Trust donated a truckload of compost, Dai Dayton supplied some cedar posts to protect the planting area, and George Lira brought his landscaping crew to help. Other friends of Kurt who helped out were Dave Steiber, Kevin McAllister, Jennifer Keller and Dan Oliva. Dan offered the use of one of his nearby water faucets to get the transplanted material through the summer season – that will be a huge help.

The cleanup effort was spearheaded by the Southampton Trails Preservation Society – another organization whose board Kurt served on for many years. Tony and Joan Garro, Ken Bieger, Grace Lloyd, Dave Stieber, Elizabeth Yastrzemski, Gregory Yahayan, and Jim Rewinski hauled five truckloads of debris out of the trailhead area of the preserve. Ray Smith & Associates provided manpower and a machine to begin cleaning up the summit of Tuckahoe Hill. More cleanup work remains on the summit; if you would like to help please contact me at 631-267-5228.

Special thanks to Southampton Town staff Laura Smith, Ron Carter and Mary Wilson, and Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and Village Superintendent of Public Works Gary Goleski. Without their help and support this project would not  be possible.


Mike Bottini


Successful Plan


Dear Bryan,

I’m so glad that the current plan is to keep the John Jermain Library on Main Street! This is where a community library belongs, in the heart of the community.

If we allow ourselves to begin shaving away land from our public park, someday there won’t be a park. Across the country you can see what happens to small towns where basic services are moved away from their downtowns — they die.

It may be a bit of a bumpy ride to renew our historic library, but we owe it to our children to make the best choices that we can.

Stacy Dermont

Sag Harbor


Supports Library Decision


Dear Editor:

I would like to congratulate the Sag Harbor Library Board, its director Catherine Creedon and its architects for their proposal for the repair and expansion of the John Jermain Library.

I am convinced that for everyone in Sag Harbor, of all ages, the proposed expanded library, with its combination of beautifully restored existing fabric and new spaces, will be a wonderful addition to the village.

I urge everyone to vote in favor of the upcoming referendum.


Nicholas Quennell

Sag Harbor


Best Mother’s Day


Dear Sag Harbor:

I just had the best mothers day in many years. I’m writing this letter on an airplane heading home to California after having spent Mother’s Day with my mom for the first time in a very long time. And it wasn’t spent in beautiful Sag Harbor. It was spent in Schenectady.

Here’s my story – I have been HIV positive for over 25 years. Since testing positive my ‘work’ has been spreading a message of prevention, awareness and compassion to young people in universities nationwide. I was invited last week by my nephew to speak at his college – Union College. What an honor! And as always mom (with my brother) was there smiling in the background.  

Thanks Mom


Gregg Cassin


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