Letters to the Editor: 10/13/16


Homecoming Spirit

Dear Editors,

As president of the Pierson Parent Teacher Student Association, I need to thank the people who made the 2016 Pierson Homecoming such an extraordinary event.

There’s no way for me to thank everyone—so many people throughout the community participated at the school, at the park, in the float building, and in the planning and coordinating of each event. Thank you to everyone who showed up to help, who donated time and who provided the kids with everything from donuts to spray paint, from extra hands to flat bed trucks. And, of course, thank you to all who came to participate and to have fun! You made the weekend something everyone will talk about until next year.

I must thank the Pierson administration for their trust and support, especially Athletic Director Eric Bramoff, who served as Master of Ceremonies throughout and who worked tirelessly coordinating all the details at school and in the park. It’s clear Eric has the trust and admiration of the students and always knows how to get them into the Whaler spirit!

Our Homecoming program set off in a new direction this year, and the administration made sure the PTSA’s approach found its champions within Pierson’s student government, empowering those young leaders to create Friday night’s celebration at Pierson.

I must also thank the teachers who supported our effort, especially the class advisors: Terri Federico, Toby Marienfeld, Kevin Roode, Kathleen Sullivan, Rocio Guttierez, and Sue Denis.

And big thanks must go out to the float-building host families: the Powells, the Kinsellas, the Nills, and the O’Donohues. Here again, the PTSA implemented new procedures (especially around safety and supervision) and gratefully those were embraced. Thank you all for the effort and the commitment – and for putting up with my constant pressing for accountability on these procedures. Each float, house and grade had friends, parents, and teachers step into supervisory roles as well as become coordinators of food, costumes, music and much more. Thank you to all who helped out!

I must thank the Sag Harbor Village Police, Ambulance and Fire Departments for their supervision at each Homecoming event. Those departments led the way in the parade, lit up the back field for an unforgettable night and made sure everyone was safe. Thank you.

Special thank yous must go out to The Sag Harbor Baking Company, Sagtown Coffee, The Sag Harbor Booster Foundation, The Sag Harbor Fireplace Company, The Sag Harbor Express, Griffin Federico, Frank Atkinson-Barnes, Bethany Deyermond, Kyle McGowin, Cathy Carlozzi, Robert Kohnken, Michelle Wilks, Kathleen Mulcahy, Stephanie Bitis, and Brian Gilbride. You helped make all the events special for the kids.

It really does take a village!

I must thank ALL my fellow PTSA members and district superintendent Katy Graves, without your helping hands, guidance, connections, and diligence, there’s no way the weekend would have come off as well as it did.

Finally, I must thank the PTSA board; Vice-president Fran Nill, Secretary Chris Alotta, and Treasurer Diane Bucking; your willingness to serve and lead (and keep me sane) made a huge difference for the whole community.

Let’s all keep the spirit of this Homecoming going as we move through the school year.

Go Whalers!

Aura Winarick

Pierson PTSA president


Disappointed in Board’s Choice for Field

Dear Editor,

I am flabbergasted by the decision of the Sag Harbor Board of Education to ask the voters to use approximately $300,000 from unreserved funds to subsidize the installation of a smaller version of the artificial turf plan.

Countless times members of the public expressed concerns for the health of children who will use the artificial turf field. Toxic chemicals are released from the rubber fill that is used on the plastic “grass.” Lead, other heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are examples of what is released by this fill. Lymphoma cases have radically increased in young adults who played goalie on soccer teams that had artificial turf fields.

Athletes complain of the many more abrasions and burns from falling on artificial turf. The artificial turf heats up to unhealthy temperatures. For example, in Edmonton, Canada, at a Women’s World Cup game, the outdoor temperature was 73 degrees. Yet the artificial turf was at 120 degrees. Imagine what the turf will feel like when Sag Harbor’s temps reach 90 degrees. Ouch! And the board thinks it’s safe to send Junior out there to play. Forget the marketing ploy to call one type of fill “Cool Fill.”

We now have this scientific info that was not available when the bond was approved several years ago. Shouldn’t the board look at this issue one more time? I am asking the community members to attend the next board meeting on Oct. 11 and voice an opinion. I will be there to voice my concern for the health of children and how disappointed I am in this decision by the board of ed.

Elena Loreto

Sag Harbor


Artificial Turf May be More of a Problem

Dear Editor,

I have been asking questions, researching and fighting against the installation of a synthetic turf field at Pierson since before 2013. There are so many reasons why this is wrong for our community. I think most people understand this. Over 700 people signed a petition asking to halt construction of this artificial turf field. However, four board of education members still want to destroy the grass field that is getting healthier every day by installing costly and toxic artificial turf — forever changing the future health of our community.

They are ignoring the risks of Synthetic Fields—way too many to mention—but I’ll list a few…

Health Risk:

  • EPA has withdrawn its endorsement and raised safety questions that it says warrant further study.
  • Synthetic turf is associated with a myriad of health issues from burns, inhalation of toxins, skin irritation, MRSA infections, cancer, and more.  Why are these risks being ignored? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F3cOBZxml8)
  • An artificial turf system lacks the ability to self-sanitize as natural turf systems do.

Environmental Risk:

  • A rug made from plastic and recycled tires is a pollution micro-climate under the feet of children, in the space in which they breathe, and has runoff that impacts water quality of drinking water and health of aquatic life.
  • They do not cool the environment or allow biodegradation like natural turf would.
  • Require toxic chemicals to sanitize and anti-static sprays.

Fiscal Risk:

  • Artificial turf fields cost a fortune to install, cost more than advertised to maintain, don’t last the touted 10-15 years (more like 7-8), and are extremely costly to replace ($400K)…  Let’s just add that into the budget every 8-10 years while trying to maintain the tax cap.
  • According to Safehealthyplayingfields.org/costs, the cost for the user of a fake field is three-times that of a real grass field over 20 years.


Incomplete science does NOT = safety!

  • Many of the studies are funded by the turf industry itself!
  • The Federal government is finally performing studies that will take years to complete.
  • The infill “cool fill” is being explored now by our district. This acrylic coated crumb rubber infill further increases costs and environmental hazards. I find this quote quite insane:  “if the product turns out to be hazardous, Sprinturf, the company providing the Cool Fill, will pay the cost of removing it from the fields.”Will they also pay for the children’s lives that have been the guinea pigs in the process?

Seems to me, common sense says:

  • The District can get three natural playing fields for less money than the price of the proposed smaller scaled back artificial field (not even what voters approved) and we have a community partner (The Bridge Golf Course, and others) that wants to help as long as the district will accept it!
  • Vitally important to consider are the many benefits of spending money on solutions that help humans achieve athletic goals without hurting our future fiscal, environmental and human health.


Diane Hewett