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The Village News, Bellport's Paperless NewspaperLetters to the Editor

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May 15, 2017

Trash at Mothers' Beach


I was driving to Mothers beach to my surprise the gates were open. It was nice to have them open again. I parked and watch the Ospreys for a while. A family was walking down as well.

I left to get my camera and return.

I noticed driving in later, liter thrown on the left side of the road as I drove in, by the curve in the road which leads to the parking area. I was so saddened by this as it truly shows no respect for this special place or the fact others use it.

When I walked passed the gazebo I noticed 2 bottles of beer left behind. I thought geez first day open is this a sign of what Bellport is becoming? So sad.

Any suggestions for what can be done???

I did stop and pick it up and throw it out, but I was disgusted by the fact that people are so lazy and disrespectful to leave their garbage around.

Jan Shannon
Bellport Village



May 13, 2017

Danielle Skelly: Proven Trustee

Carol P. Malin, President of the Board of Trustees of the South Country Central School District, has endorsed Danielle Skelly for re-election to the Board. This endorsement is entitled to great weight. Ms. Malin knows the needs of the District, the issues facing the Board, and the qualities needed as a Board member at this time. She has served on the Board with Danielle Skelly and knows, first hand, that Ms.Skelly should be re-elected to the Board.

When Danielle Skelly ran for the Board for her first term, she did so with the support of Concerned Residents of South Country, a community group formed to promote the following principles: Integrity, Fiscal Accountability, and Child-Centered Education. Danielle has adhered to those principles during her time on the Board because these define some of her own principles.

Among Danielle's exceptional qualities are her ability to listen, her careful review of facts, and her determination to make the best decision in each circumstance. These qualities, together with her experience, her demonstrated maturity, and her fact-based decision making, are what make Danielle Skelly the right person for the job as Trustee of our school district at this time.

I urge all voters to cast their ballots for Danielle Skelly to re-elect her to the Board of Trustees of the South Country Central School District. Please also vote to approve the budget. Polls will be open on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bellport Middle School on Kreamer Street.

E. Anne Hayes



May 12, 2017

Support for Jack Nix

An outstanding young man, Jack Nix, is running for a position on the South Country School Board, and I urge the voters of the District to support his candidacy.

I have known Jack from my first days at St. Joseph's College, and simply put, he impresses with every interaction. He is a serious, thoughtful person who studies issues carefully before he takes a position, listens intently to those who do not share his point of view, and who has the willingness to take a principled position. These are all admirable qualities in a public official, and to find them in a recent college graduate is indeed commendable. Most important, Jack seeks a position on the Board for a very simple purpose: to use his position to enhance the educational experience of students in the District. What could be more important than that?

I urge your support for Jack Nix on election day. Thank you.

Tim Bishop



May 8, 2017

Through Thick & Thin

BGC Bellport

It has always been the slogan of the Boys & Girls Club that they save lives. Many alumni, both the famous and those of less renown, attest to this frequently, both publicly and quietly to those close to them. Very recently, we were all horrified by the gang-related violence and senseless mutilation and death of four young men, two of whom were from our high school. In speaking with a long time staff member at the Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area, I was told that our members, especially the teens, are being stalked and harassed to join the MS-13 Gang or suffer fierce retribution. It is clear that the Club needs to focus even more intently on saving lives since this plague has reached our back yard.

At this time the entire community needs to unite behind the Club with suggestions, volunteerism and, of course, money. We have many more youth who wish to join the Club and only the hiring of more qualified and dedicated staff stands in the way of their coming on board. This is a definite and loud call to action.

What does the Club mean to us as a community? David Brooks wrote an Op Ed article for the NY Times contrasting what he terms, Thick and Thin institutions. I like to think of our Club as one which has all the attributes of an institution which is Thick. To quote, he says, "A thick institution becomes part of a person's identity and engages the whole person; head, hands, heart and soul." He talks of groups that meet crisis and celebrate the many heroes who bring it back from the brink. To this I say thank you to all who have contributed so much with a vision of what the Club has become and can continue to become. This is opposed to a Thin institution which exists only for personal benefit. Ours, I strongly believe, involves people who collectively serve the higher good.

Thick institutions have a common goal. I believe that the Club's goal is to allow each and every young person to identify and pursue the possibilities open to them. I would now like to add - To Save Lives. To have the courage to say no to the gangs with their guise of family, comfort and monetary gain and to have caring adults and role models around them to say, "Yes we stand with you against them."

Through the years so many in the community have followed their desire to do good for others. So often there are needs that you all have responded to and continue to do so. I call upon you again to respond. Follow your well-documented inclination to reach for the higher good. Be involved, ask questions, help with suggestions and just become a part of the Club. We are all responsible for our youth and we need to respond in the way each and every one of us is most able. Help us to maintain and grow this Thick Institution--the future adults of the world will thank you.

Maryann McInerney
Board of Directors
Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area


Join the Boys & Girl's Club of the Bellport Area's Executive Director, Sybil Mimy Johnson and South Country Community Information Cafe's co-founder, Regina Hunt for a panel to address gang violence and community awareness on Monday, May 15 7:00 p.m. at the Club, 471 Atlantic Avenue. Click here for more information.



May 7, 2017

Why I’m Running for Re-Election to the School Board

I am a 23-year resident of the South Country School District, with 4 children currently enrolled in the district and 3 who have graduated. My husband and I have been foster parents for 15 years and have had numerous children pass through our home and our school district.

I believe I have a unique perspective on the board as I have a multicultural household that includes several students who receive special education services, ENL services along with typically developing students. During my first 3 years on the school board I worked on the Health and Safety Committee in bringing ScholarChip to our district to better manage student attendance and visitors. I helped include 11th graders in our BOCES trade offerings so that our students can gain marketable skills prior to graduation. We funded a robotics team in both the high school and the middle school, and we increased intramural programs at Frank P Long. We implemented a dual language program at the primary grades.

As a mother, homeowner and taxpayer I pride myself on considering every issue from multiple points of view and voting my conscience in order to best meet the needs of all stake holders. I would very much appreciate your vote on Tuesday, May 16 at the Bellport Middle School, Kreamer St., Bellport. Polls open 7am - 9pm.

Danielle Skelly
South Country School Board Trustee
East Patchogue, NY



May 3, 2017

Perhaps a Simple Kaufold’s Gazebo?

About 20 years ago, when I had an 1.5 acres of land in the Hamlet, I bought a small Gazebo from Kaufold’s Sheds and Gazebos on Middle Co. Rd., Ridge, NY, delivered on a flatbed, laid down on many leveled railroad ties, bolted down. That went through the awful Nor’easter of March 2009, Hurricane Irene in 2011, and Hurricane Sandy in 12. It’s still standing just fine today.

The photo attached to this letter shows a large version of one of many styles of gazebos which Kaufolds builds and sells by the scores annually. Note a 12x16 foot Regency Oval is $6,825. Too small. The 24 x 14 footer is $11,335. It would be delivered in sections [too big to put on a flatbed and driven on a road.] Then they build the foundation and assembly these larger gazebos by section on site.

Of course, there would be additional costs to have a boat ferry the sections over to HO HUM area. I should think our most able Village Hiway dept. could assist by adding some steel “pylons” to the foundation sections, and digging a wide 8-10 foot deep hole, pour in concrete and sink the steel pylons and foundation in the concrete -- like my mailbox times 10-fold. Next assemble the 2 or 4 prebuild sections together, add the roof sections. Done. Cost would probably be max $20,000. Hopefully, someone sane would this time dictate placement in the gully below the dune. As I said, my Kaufman’s gazebo from the mid 90’s is still right where Kaufold's put it. BUT just say this one blows away in the next hurricane. Too bad. $11,335 to $20,000 blows to Kansas. Our Mayor and his board spent a quarter of a million American dollars to hand build a pavilion that started washing away in one winter and now has been declared a hazard barely standing in the sand in year two. Math: 20,000 goes into 240,000 = 12 hurricanes by my math. Say a bad hurricane every 3 years leaves the Kaufold gazebo standing 36 years; every 4 years standing 48 years – after we’ll all be dead.

What is the coffee shop talk? This wily Mayor/Board is considering dismantling their quarter million dollar “turkey” and trying to reposition it somewhere else. Dumb? or Dumber?

Torch the 2 year old turkey before it falls and kills people, and order a Kaufolds gazebo. It can be delivered by Monday, ready for Memorial Day. Again, LOOK AT THE PHOTO - it’s a beautiful structure. Whoever built the quarter million dollar top heavy pavilion probably did not build any other -- or so it would sure seem by hard evidence now seen by our Mayor/Board and by us via photos or personal boat trips. How many gazebos do you think Kaufolds has built in the last decade or two decades compared to they who did the Mayor’s two years ago?

Larry’s last editorial says he favors an inexpensive shelter in lieu of rebuilding or moving the current turkey. So now the Mayor and his board could take a bus trip in a Village Van and zip up to Ridge before their coffee is cold, and walk through a vast field of models at Kaufholds. Fat Chance. Former Trustee D. Terwilliger, who always was the sage one when on the Board previously, would demand “Show Me The Money” when a board member would suggest spending a boat load of taxpayers’ money. She just wrote: “At this time, it seems unlikely that FEMA money will ever be received for our pavilion. . . it was never guaranteed. . . . time for some board members to be shown the door.” I once again agree with Ms. Terwilliger.

We still owe the bank $600,000+ That will come from whose pockets? Can you vision the FEMA inspectors walking over to our topsy-turvy pavilion and whipping our a government checkbook and handing the Mayor a quarter mil? Or will they bend over slapping their knees laughing like mad?

While many of the Village residents have seen the photos of the now ghostly Pavilion on Facebook, I had the horrifying experience of being shown videos of it taken during the 3 day Full Moon stage at high tide in the day time a few weeks ago in April. What the sea was doing reinforces the awesome power of waves --- WITHOUT any hurricane winds. PUT A NEW CHEAP GAZEBO IN THE GULLY. It isn’t rocket science. It may well last 36 to 48 years!

P.S If the Village opens the walkway and pavilion this summer, they first better triple their directors and officers liability insurance policy (premiums paid for by me and the other Bellporters naturally), and secondly they bloody better quadruple their personal Umbrella insurance coverage for litigation, as their personal fortunes could be at risk from wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits. Any proffered apologies like “Oh well, he tries hard, don’t ya know” doesn’t cut the mustard. Look up the word ineptitude; it’s not reason for resting on one’s laurels. Also, individuals should not boat over to the bay side privately and try to walk over to the sand/dunes to the ocean side. In about 3 hours your body would be a mass of thumb nail size blisters from poison ivy, and you would probably have dozens of microscopic deer ticks imbedded in your feet and legs -- Lyme disease can cause dreadful life long joint disease and permanent dementia.

Will Struyk
Bellport Village



May 2, 2017

Pick a New Door Editorial

Larry, as always, an insightful and well written editorial about an ongoing dilemma in the village. The problem with your analogy is that if it were your business and your bankroll, you would probably make a much different decision than our board has. In this case, no one on that board has to pay from their own bankroll and there is no limit on the amount that they can spend. As a trustee, I always tried to remind the board that money spent did not belong to us, but to our taxpayers, but I was outnumbered. My final words to the community reflected my ongoing concerns about continued spending and what each dollar means to different people that they represent.

At this time, it seems highly unlikely that FEMA money will ever be received for our pavilion and it was never guaranteed. Maybe it is time for some board members to be shown the door.

Dorothy Terwilliger
Bellport, NY



May 2, 2017

School Board Elections

In response to Ms. Toni Huffine letter to the editor dated April 30 2017.

The South Country Central School District established the nine member board of education in 1956 after the consolidation of the Bellport, Brookhaven and East Patchogue School Districts and not after the merge of the Southaven School District.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Gianni signed a contract with the district in 2014 and it has been extended. Making an issue over the superintendent’s salary is a way to draw attention away from the many issues of a budget and trying to make his salary more relevant to a budget of $129, 595, 729.

Universal Pre-kindergarten enrollment this year numbered 168 with 115 utilizing district transportation. Ms. Toni Huffine states that studies indicate that early learning programs are crucial for future academic success yet many do not agree. Given the very low numbers of attendance in UPK the majority of the board voted to eliminate the transportation. These children are only four and it is my belief that children this age should be at home and at play with others their age and with the low numbers enrolled in UPK I suspect that many agree and that UPK should be eliminated.

Only one vacancy on the board is open for a vote and I recommend Ms. Allison Stines she has been a dedicated board member dedicated to education, the staff, and the students and to the taxpayers. She is a true independent and has not received any endorsements from any unions.

Ronald Kinsella
Brookhaven, NY



April 30, 2017

School Board Election

Since this year's election for the South Country School Board only in involves one available seat, your vote is that much more important. The board will be reduced to 7 seats as compared to the 9 seats that have been standard since the merge with South Haven District.

What the voters should know:

*The present majority board (5 of 4) voted consistently to increase the superintendent's salary to $322,568 (includes benefits) making that position the 6th highest in Suffolk County. Our poverty level is over 50%. Pat-Med superintendent, Michael Hines is $297,668 (including benefits) with a larger student population.

*The present majority board voted down busing for UPK for next year which affects those residents who do not have the advantage of transportation for their children. As in the past, these children represent low-income families who will be deprived of the early learning programs that are crucial for future academic success.

*The change in one seat could change that majority block that appears to vote consistently together. It is time to break the majority block. Vote for an independent trustee who has fresh ideas and will vote without concern for the opinions of others.

I thank you for voting me in, but it is time for a younger voice. VOTE FOR: JACK NIX

Jack is a Bellport High graduate who is bright and energetic. Don't let his youth dissuade you. He has fresh ideas and is an independent thinker. We need him!

Toni Huffine
Bellport Village



April 30, 2017

Why I'm Running for School Board

As a former student of the South Country school district (class of 2012), I am extremely passionate that the current and future students get a valuable education. Bellport is fortunate enough to have great diversity, terrific educators, and engaged students; we must make sure that we secure this for the future and make it even better. I want to give the board a newer, and younger perspective.

I am a recent graduate of St. Joseph’s College with a B.A. in sociology. It is there that I developed a deep passion for education and public service while learning from brilliant professors and mentors, such as former congressman Tim Bishop. I am proud to be an employee of the South Country Library for three and a half years as the head of outreach and a circulation clerk. While working at the library I have connected with the community and continue to learn what makes them proud to be members of the South Country district, and what concerns they may have.

I want South Country’s voice to be heard, make sure the taxpayer’s money is put in the right areas, help the art and music departments get what they need to help students achieve creative potential, and stand up for what is right for public education as a whole. It has not been too long since I was a student myself in South Country schools; I can bring modern ideas to the table to help students, teachers, and the community that I have lived in all my life. Please go to, follow Jack M Nix on facebook, @jackmnix on instagram & twitter, or send me your thoughts at I am inspired to make sure we have a prosperous future, and bring our welcoming/good reputation back. I hope to have your vote on May 16th at Bellport Middle School!

Jack M Nix
Bellport, NY



April 11, 2017

Saving a Gazillion

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and the pictures of the Gazillion at Bellport Beach on the Bellport Village Residents FB page speak volumes.

Mr. Struyk’s letter is right – had more thoughtful heads been involved in the decision making, the Gazillion could have been located in a more secure spot.
But that’s really not the main point. Rather, the better than $560 thousand spent on this monstrosity should never have been spent at all, and any funds spent to “save” the Gazillion at this point – much like the $30 thousand in bracing spent last year because, as Mayor Fell said “well, when it drops into the ocean in a few years at least no one will be able to say we didn’t try” – is simply throwing more money into the ocean.

They say bad decisions come in threes. Here, our Village Board made a bad decision to rebuild the Gazillion forward on the dune; then there was a bad decision to “re-brace” it and waste more money; and there was another bad decision, the decision to spend approximately $530 thousand on the initial construction – regardless of who was supposed to pay for it. It simply wasn’t necessary at that cost, a gold-plated faucet – nice to have but wholly unnecessary for its purpose. This points out a fourth bad decision though, one that made all the successive ones possible – and it’s ours: We, the Village residents, put the Feckless Fell Administration in office.

The FFA has a love affair with wasteful spending: From proposals to rip up this village and spend nearly $20 Million for sewers that aren’t needed; to proposing to “raise” the level of the marina by as much as two feet; to hiring a $30 thousand sewer study prepared by the sewage treatment plant’s engineers to justify the cost; to spending an additional $30 thousand to re-brace the Gazillion after it was clear that its location was problematic; to financing and rebuilding an “historic” gazebo at the dock for an excessive cost; to hiring a “free” landscaper to aerate the marina park and who then cuts the newly laid underground cables causing the need for costly emergency repairs; to relocating the newly erected electric service at the marina because – as they admitted at a board meeting - no one had reviewed the plans and they didn’t like the location; to alienating our neighbors; to doubling the property tax levied on the residents in the past 10 years; to trying to soak the residents by creating a new tax on renting residential property; to putting the Village in a place where it has to bear two years of debt and pay off a portion of the principal funds borrowed to build the Gazillion because the Village’s paperwork isn’t sufficient to support FEMA paying it back – these and other bad decisions and plans are the legacies of the FFA.

So, how do you save a Gazillion? – Get rid of the guys who see no problem in spending a Gazillion in the first place. The three of them are up for de-election this year.

J. Lee Snead, Esq.
Bellport, NY



April 11, 2017

Ho Hum

I told you so. Read my past letters. What a disgrace. Fell should be fired!

Tony Dwyer
Stuart, FL



April 9, 2017

Castles in the Sand

Wash away; “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”

There was a modest deck with benches midway on the walkway to HoHum Beach. It blew to Kansas in 2013. The Mayor and Board of Trustees decided to rebuild. Reports then were that the Corp of Engineers strongly advised rebuilding in the same place. But NOOOOoooo. Mayor Fell and the majority of his Board wanted the new “pavilion” smack on top of the dune by-the-then-beach. Trustee Rosenberg announced he had lined up a low interest loan for about $600,000+ at a bank in Patchogue. News articles followed stages of construction, especially about the marine company driving multiple pylons 26 feet into the sand. Next came the floor boards and benches. Lastly came the massive pergola roof, normally built with single sun filtering slates, but our new pavilion has triple thick sun slates which resulted in a very top heavy structure, more like an upside down ark than a sun shelter.

Last spring about 6 feet of the sand under the pavilion floor washed away and one heard the Corp suggested adding criss-cross steel bands to the pylons; done.

This spring, if you go to Bellport Village’s Facebook page, you see new photos of the pavilion at Ho Hum – it looks like a giant ostrich with its long legs stuck in the sand about ankle height. The ocean has washed away much more sand. I would estimate the pavilion floor is three-man heights – about 18 feet – up in the air, with the high tide waves washing completely under the pavilion many times each hour. The top heavy ark pavilion is now only stuck in the sand the remaining say 7ish feet. The slanted stairs going down to the beach end in mid-air. The Board is going to have to declare the pavilion is too unsafe for human traffic, if it survives to Memorial Day. It could just tip over and crash down into Ho Hum Beach remnants any time it seems to my non-engineers eyes. People who do manage to boat through the Inlet and go by the ocean to a beach should not be near the giant pavilion because if it does tip over with people below, it would kill and injury many.

Too bad the Corp of Engineers’ suggestion to build it in the gully at the foot of the dune wasn’t followed. And I understand FEMA will not release any funds spent on the dune-top pavilion for two years from final construction – not good news for we taxpayers (nor lessors of homes here for 4 or 5 figures.) A student of American History could call this “Mayor Fell’s Folly”.

On the bright side, it seems the Board will save money by not bringing the ferry out of storage, not hiring the Captain, not hiring the local high school youths to assist boarding and debarking the ferry, and not hiring those non-resident lifeguards because the beach isn’t a beach anymore. Maybe a trustee with ambition could seek permission from Davis Park to dock the ferry there a few times a day if the situation at Ho Hum remains or worsens by Memorial Day.

The Mayor and two trustees are up for re-election in June. One factor to consider is their demonstrated judgment (lapses).

Will Struyk
Bellport Village



April 7, 2017

Thank You

After 37 years, we sadly and embarrassingly had to close Long Island Flower Garden & Florist in East Patchogue on December 31st, 2016. The center has been proudly growing and selling plants, flowers and landscaping for over 90 years when “Pop” Miskosky founded “The Flower Garden! Reasons range from years of on/off health battles (happily in the past!), extreme weather wiping out huge amounts of prime time selling periods, always present healthy competition, to unfairly enabled competition that is unhealthy for your community. I know full well that all decision makers need to work and show local entities such as local Fire Departments ways to fundraise by partnering with, instead of competing, with local businesses. For 37 years I have lived my business slogan, “Shop local, we depend on one another”. Moving forward, I do see solutions developing with hopeful new owners coming to rescue our time honored 3 acre horticultural center. If you have interest for a one of kind opportunity, stop by! My brother Dan who owns Designscapes Design/Build Landscaping relocated locally on South Country Rd and is still very active and available. If you need garden flowers, plants, supplies or florist services, support your local professional businesses such as, Fantastic Gardens, Tall Tree & Mayers Florist Shops and Vanderzalm Greenhouses. When our flower center blossoms again, of course shop and enjoy this special place located in your own community backyard. To friends such as Judy, Larry, Charles, Cynthia, George, John and the thousands of other community friends & customers who have supported us over the years...thank you!

Doug Steigerwald
Yaphank, NY



March 26, 2017

South Country Library Trustee Election

The upcoming election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, offers the opportunity to elect three (3) candidates as Trustees for the South Country Library. It is important to elect Trustees who value the South Country Library and its potential while, at the same time, acting in a fiscally responsible manner to benefit residents and taxpayers in the South Country Library district.

Fortunately, we have three (3) candidates who can serve as responsible representatives of our interests: Sheryl ("Sherry") Binnington, Annelies Kamran, and Cameron Trent. Sherry has been a tireless advocate for Bellport throughout her lifetime and in her previous role as Village Trustee. She can use her experience to monitor the budget of the Library while promoting programs to benefit our residents. Annelies, a current Library Trustee, has consistently recognized the importance of maintaining and enhancing Library resources and being fiscally responsible. Cameron brings a new perspective to the Library Board: Encourage students and young adults to use the Library, thereby increasing the number of residents dedicated to learning, researching, communicating and giving back to our community.

My vote will be cast for these three (3) candidates on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at South Country Library between the hours 9:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. I urge all registered voters in our South Country Library District to vote for these candidates, either in person at the polls at South Country Library, Station Road, Bellport on April 4, 2017 or, prior to that, by absentee ballot available at the Clerk, South Country School District, Dunton Avenue, East Patchogue.

E. Anne Hayes
Bellport, NY



March 15, 2017

State of Emergency

Upon receiving Mayor Fell’s State of Emergency proclamation Monday evening, I was aghast at his statement that “....all vehicles must be off Village streets from midnight on March 14, until noon on March 15”. I initially took that to mean NO vehicles can be driven on any public road in the Village during that time period. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that he probably meant no vehicles can be parked or otherwise left on Village streets for that period. Hopefully the Mayor will make that a bit clearer next time. Assuming of course that my interpretation was correct!

Otherwise kudos to the Highway Dept for another great job of clearing our roads during the storm!

Bob Sherwood
Bellport Village



February 26, 2017

Woodland Park Water Service

After two years of prodding and visits by SCWA including digging up our water service, the SCWA has scheduled a fix of our water service. They tested and say our water pressure is good but or volume is insufficient for fire protection. The solution is a new main on our street. The highway department has already received their request for permits to open the street. Looking forward to better water volume. My thanks to resident Herman Miller for his essential assistance in moving the SCWA along. Overall they were helpful and cooperative.

Greg Thorvaldsen
Bellport Village