This is a golden opportunity to determine the best approach to ameliorate the airport noise issue. Let the FAA obligation expire on December 31, 2014. Take control of the airport as the FAA says you can. Implement curfews, hours of operations, numbers of flights. And other non discriminatory protocols. See how effective a control tower is though logic should tell you a control tower will only redistribute flight patterns thereby spreading the misery not abating it.
The town can always apply for FAA money but it is extremely rare to have such an opportunity to justly deal with an issue that effects such a large population that extends well beyond East Hampton. I’m asking the East Hampton Town Board to withdraw its application to the FAA for money for a deer fence especially when the airport is self sufficient and can build the fence on its own. Do the right thing by trying the stated alternative. Nobody gets hurt. What can be better than that.
At No Cost to Taxpayers
In a March 8th letter to the editor, entitled “Are Dogs Worth the Dollars?” the writer questions, “whether the use of sniffer dogs would be an effective use of my taxpayer dollars.” Several points need to be made to inform the readers of the Sag Harbor Express about the issues of drug-sniffing dogs and the fact that they have no relationship whatsoever to the school budget.
First, there is no cost to the school district to use drug-sniffing dogs. That is because the Suffolk County Police offer this free service to school districts as a drug deterrent activity and the sniffing and searching of student lockers is permissible under New York State Education Law because lockers are the property of the school, not students. Next, readers should know that the Sag Harbor School District is committed to a healthy, drug-free, school environment and the use of drug-sniffing dogs is one additional strategy within a very comprehensive drug and alcohol prevention program in place at Pierson.
Students receive drug prevention knowledge through direct instruction in health classes as well as assemblies, guest speakers, visits to the county jail, and a pre-prom presentation to students and parents to name just some of the activities. In addition, the school’s commitment to help students prevent or overcome drug and alcohol abuse is furthered by one of the school counselors who is certified as a NYS substance abuse counselor. In our ongoing efforts to help students make healthy choices, the use of drug sniffing dogs is just a tool in the toolkit, so to speak, one of about 20 different strategies in our ongoing efforts to keep students from drug and alcohol abuse.
The focus of all of these activities is to keep students safe by preventing drugs from entering the school in the first place and, of course, to keep students from using illegal drugs. In addition, the policy about the Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs adopted by the Board of Education also strongly encourages counseling for people found to be in possession of drugs. Please read the policy at http://shweb1.sagharborschools.org/policies/index.php/PERSONNEL#SUBJECT:.09USE_OF_DRUG-SNIFFING_DOGS_-_POLICY_6152.
Finally, in terms of deciding upon the whether to vote for or against the upcoming 2012-2013 school budget, I encourage readers to become well-informed about it. It is a budget that maintains quality programs for students while simultaneously being under the allowable tax levy cap. Please read a summary of it at www.sagharborschools.org, invite me to give a thorough presentation of it to your community group, and attend a presentation of it at the Board of Education meeting on May 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson library.
Dr. John Gratto
Superintendent of Sag Harbor Schools
Lament Boxwoods’ Demise
I’m writing to you about the slaughtered ancient boxwoods at Sleight-Rysam, opposite Bulova on 114. I won’t address the non-enforcement of village code regarding the historic landscape surrounding one of the 16 specially designated structures within the Historic District of Sag Harbor Village. Others will write to you about the mysterious interpretations of our code’s provisions.
My subject is boxwood, dwarf edging box (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’). These plants were all grown from 2 sprigs that arrived on a wedding cake, according to a fairly good source, the late Mrs. Steuart of Sag Harbor, descended from the Sylvesters of Shelter Island. Probably Charles T. Dering’s wedding cake in 1816 when he came to live here. There are always a lot of boxwood legends, just as there are about George Washington peripatetic sleep habits. But this one has legs, as the box at Sylvester Manor were venerated by the family through the generations. (The old boxwoods behind the Charles Dering house on Route 114 opposite the elementary school also doubtless came from Sylvester Manor.)
What is more important: those vanished blobs of green were a magnet for love and pride in our community. They were worth more consideration. They were symbols of Sag Harbor’s integrity and character. They should have been a privately held public charge.
I am sure that it was easy to testify that those plants were diseased. Boxwood is heir to many ailments, but every single disease can be CONTROLLED. I worked for years with Ted Conklin on keeping those plants healthy. With adequate plucking to keep up circulation, oil sprays, applications of chipped crab shell (produces chitin), no overhead watering, and no cultivation of their surface roots, boxwoods can continue to make a good show even in great age. Even to 196 years….
Such precious creatures are like having your grandma around: if she has arthritis you don’t dig her up or cut her down!
To have this happen on top of the clear cutting of 50 or so trees at the Egan property on Main Street (another of the 16 designated structures within the Historic District), and the wholesale clearing of a property on Oakland, surely means a big review of oversight procedures should be in the works, as well as more public education about historic landscapes within the village. And maybe cuttings can be taken from the few sad remnants, just to grow history forward.
Director of Archival Research, Sylvester Manor Project
Sag Harbor’s Hidden Talents
To the Editor,
On Sunday, March 4, the first Sag Harbor Elementary School’s Variety Show — Sag Harbor’s Hidden Talents was held at Bay Street Theater. There was gymnastics, singing, a father-daughter duet that got the whole audience singing, dancing that had everyone moving, a rock band of two (that rocked!), — really something for everyone. ALL the performers were awesome and truly blew everyone away with their courage and talent – it was a great family day!!
A special Thank-You to Bay Street Theater – this day would not have happened without the support from them. They opened their doors, giving each performer an amazing opportunity to be on a stage where many great actors, actresses, singers and dancers have been before them. Hopefully, Bay Street will continue to be with us and inspire our children to go for their dreams!
The judges, Police Chief Fabiano and 2nd Assistant Fire Chief Jim Frasier, gave words of encouragement and advice to the performers. They not only encouraged those who were on stage, but made others start to think what they want to do for the next “Hidden Talents”. How great it was they took the time to spend with our children, inspiring them and helping believing in themselves – Thank You!
And to the performers: Sophie Browning, Reilly Rose Schombs, Sofia Mancino, Anne Browning, Kiara Bailey-Williams and her dad Doug Williams, Ava Ignatowich, Brendan Burke, Sarah Levine and Blair Potter, Grace Brosnan, Abby Hallock, Rosie Foulds and Caroline Doctorow, Emily Brownstein and Francesca Vitale, Colby Wilson and Mark Balserus, Hudson Galardi-Troy and his mom Susan Galardi: You guys were INCREDIBLE!!!
I look forward to the next “Hidden Talents” and hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy the same great afternoon that was given to us that Sunday.
Kelly K. Bailey
It is somewhat of a paradox that the Roman Catholic hierarchy is vehemently opposed to President Obama’s health care initiative requiring that health insurers fund birth control measures (contraceptives and abortion). Paradoxical in that the hierarchy seems to preach what it does not practice: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
What is the effective difference, in the ultimate result, between priestly celibacy and birth control pills or abortion? Or is it a matter of “Do as I say, not as I do”? Just asking, lacking any training in the fine points of biblical exegesis and theology.
Likes Limited Government
Obama laments that the constitution that has served our nation for 225 years, “doesn’t say what the federal government or the state governments must do on your behalf.” He elaborates with, “generally, the constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you.”
That, fair reader, is one sick interpretation of the document that guides our nation. Our liberty is established and preserved by a government that is supposed to be severely limited in its power to do anything “on our behalf.” Limited government is a positive liberty, not a negative liberty.
Obama does not like the document that he has sworn to uphold. And his view of the constitution as stated above establishes the fact that he just does not like America.