Give the Ferry a Chance
The proposed pilot program to operate a passenger ferry service between Sag Harbor and Greenport Villages for one season is a very worthwhile experiment for all involved—Village and local area residents, businesses, tourists and even the ferry service operators themselves. There are so many variables that no amount of prior research can predict what would happen.
As much as I believe it would be beneficial to our quality of life by possibly reducing the number of automobiles entering the Village, no one knows for sure. In my opinion, the pilot program would be the best way to research possible outcomes of passenger ferry service to and from Sag Harbor. And I applaud the proposed operators for being willing to undertake an experiment without having any long-term commitment from the Village.
The Village literally has no control at all over the number of vehicles that come here during the season. Our traffic and parking woes keep growing every year and the only “solution” I hear is to build more parking lots. And of course, that would only make our traffic problems worse.
Whether we like it or not, Sag Harbor Village is a major visitor destination. We need to find creative ways to get some of those visitors here without their cars. The problem isn’t the people, it’s the cars!
The Hampton Jitney has done a great job of bringing visitors to Sag Harbor from New York City without autos. For example, I know of many people who divide their time between Manhattan and Sag Harbor and don’t even own a car. They use the Jitney and then walk or bike ride when here. Now the Hampton Jitney owners, in concert with Response Marine Inc., are willing to explore the possibility of bringing some visitors to Sag Harbor by passenger ferry, with connecting shuttle buses if needed, to further reduce the impact of autos in the Village.
We should do everything we can to insure their success.
Hank de Cillia
Preserve the Wellness Policy
The issue I’m writing about is being voted on Wednesday, April 18th, by the Sag Harbor School Board of Education. The school’s Wellness Committee has worked hard to create a district nutrition/wellness policy that was adopted about a year and a half ago. The policy supports optimal nutrition and wellness standards and creates a template for the school system to maintain healthy guidelines and practices for its students and staff. This comprehensive policy is now in danger of falling apart.
Apparently several school board members believe certain aspects of the policy should be revisited. Like allowing food and beverages back in our school that contain high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and non-nutritive sweeteners. The fact that this is even open for debate is like re-examining a woman’s right to vote or the world is flat theory.
Having three children in the school system, I know first hand that part of the curriculum is devoted to educating the students about healthy eating and regular exercise. Good hygiene. Caring for your teeth. Don’t smoke or use drugs. Safe sex. Don’t bully. It’s a long list and I’m all for it. I don’t know a parent who isn’t. But for the school to teach our children about good nutrition and healthy food choices and then knowingly sell items in school vending machines and the school cafeteria — that national research evidences are carcinogens and leading causes of obesity, type two diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer — why on earth would we deliberately teach one thing and then sell them the exact thing we teach against? Why would a school system enable students in developing habits that lead to chronic disease? It’s both irrational and irresponsible.
It’s true, we can’t always control what our kids do outside of school. Beyond the walls of Pierson and our homes are a world full of choices — good and bad. But this same school board and administration is ready to bring in drug sniffing dogs and that’s a pretty extreme measure. We know kids can still use drugs and alcohol outside of school but the attitude seems to be: well, while they are in school, we’re going to keep our kids safe from drugs and set the best possible example. So then shouldn’t we apply the same reasoning to our Wellness Policy? We can’t really control what kids will eat or drink outside of school, but while in school, we can at least set the right example and practice what we preach.
And I would expect nothing less of educators.
We know outside of school, some kids will still drink soda, not floss, smoke cigarettes, play video games instead of ride their bike and, yes, even take drugs and have unsafe sex. But as a school system we haven’t abandoned those parts of the curriculum that teach our children not to engage in unhealthy behavior simply because we can’t control them outside of school. And we limit and ban unhealthy choices in other aspects of our school — we don’t say to our students after teaching them about the dangers of smoking, “Okay kids, at recess you can either play kickball over on this field or go smoke cigarettes over by the playground.”
We don’t teach one thing and practice another in any other area of school. So let’s be consistent and apply the same standard to our nutrition and wellness policy.
In the end, teachers and parents bear the same burden. We’re both raising children and hoping we don’t screw it up. At a young age they love us both unconditionally. They trust us. They believe us. We hold a lot of power in shaping these young supple minds. So we start early, filling their little heads with everything we know to be right and good, honest and true, and just. They soak it up like sponges.
But at some point they test us.
They question, reject, mistrust and rebel. And as both parents and teachers we hope that we did the best we could. That we gave them all the information available and the tools to analyze, create, process, synthesize, think critically and thoroughly (not just learn how to take a test, sorry, just a little dig there) and yes, we pray that we ourselves set the right example. And before we know it, it’s entirely up to them. They are grown and off on their own. Our fingers crossed, we worry and wonder whether we did everything possible to lead them in the right direction so they go on to make healthy, responsible choices.
This issue is not a bar that anyone should be in favor of lowering. I fail to see how negotiating below the best possible standards can even be an option for our children. Particularly in the environment of education.
Parents, teachers and community members all have a vested interest in seeing that future generations learn and practice a healthy lifestyle. It’s for the greater good. And we can all make a difference toward that goal by starting in our own little village. One email or phone call to our school. Please go to www.sagharborschools.org and contact a member of the school’s Wellness Committee. By signing the petition you can help ensure that the current policy remains in place so the school district can continue to promote a healthy learning environment that includes a quality nutritional and physical education program for the children in our community.
Thank you Bryan and to your readers.
You can’t help wondering if, in a few years from now, we will look back and shake our heads at the last few years when food and energy prices have soared, where droughts, floods and tornadoes were the norm, and the world population reached a staggering figure.
Among the multiple reasons for this plight is a reluctance to face them squarely, and take action, particularly in our battle against global warming. And in the same way we avert our gaze from the consequences of a “popular” action being considered here, now.
At first a ferry to Greenport on a catamaran sounded wonderful. I could picture myself flying along with the wind in my hair and getting off at Greenport in time for a concert. Next thing jumped to mind was children’s safety on the water in the summertime near a giant catamaran. They’re having fun on kayaks, sailboats, canoes, jet skis and on paddle boards balancing along, crowds of them, and there could be accidents.
I thought of the congestion of cars and people near the water. I began to worry about what would propel this large catamaran on a windless day. Some extra fossil fuel I expect for our already polluted waters. And finally I saw the increase of heavy buses rumbling through our picturesque streets spilling a little nectar from their exhaust pipes.
The ferry to Greenport? Think about it. Not good for our very small planet, Sag Harbor. Emphatically NOT in the summer.
I VOTE AGAINST.
Thanks for the Feedback
The NCC wishes to thank all those who attended and/or spoke at the Public Forum it hosted on the Cromer’s/Whalebone traffic remediation plan. The entire Town Council and other key administrators in the Town of Southampton attended: Supervisor Throne-Holst; Council persons Fleming, Malone, Nuzzi and Scalera; Deputy Supervisor Frank Zapone; Executive Assistant to the Supervisor Janice Wilson; Deputy Town Attorney Kathleen Murray; and Director of Transportation Tom Neely. Noyac residents, business owners, landlords and neighboring folks who frequently pass this intersection filled the Bridgehampton Community Center beyond capacity. Everyone who wanted to address the issue was given a chance to present his opinion.
The feedback from our constituents indicated that the forum was constructive and positive. The NCC appreciates the time and consideration the Town representatives gave to this complex issue that impacts the lives of many Noyac residents on various levels.
Elena Loreto, President
Noyac Civic Council