Letters to the Editor: 8/11/16


Moving Lions Forward

Dear Editor,

I am very grateful to all of the friends and acquaintances who have wished me well during this first month of my presidency with the Sag Harbor Lions Club. I want to express my thanks to Lion Ernest Schade for his years of service to the club. He became president in 2007, succeeding the late Russell Hall. Lion Ernest led the club through ups and downs with his baritone voice and unparalleled ability to weave a story.

It has been nine years since the club has had a new leader and as I begin my new office, Lions Clubs International is entering its next century of service by observing its Centennial Celebration – 1917-2017. During the Centennial, our club hopes to unveil a Centennial Legacy Project utilizing a portion of a generous bequest from the Estate of Lion Robert W. Espach, to give the club an updated image, expand our exposure to the community, and to present a project supporting a specific area in our village. We will also conduct a “Community Needs Assessment” to identify needs of our citizenry that may have gone unidentified to this point.

This year our first goal is to continue the service projects we’ve presented throughout the years, but to increase the receipts above previous years, which were donated to: The Guide Dog Foundation; The Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry; several Sag Harbor and New York State youth programs, including our own scholarships; East End Hospice; Lions Eye Bank, eyeglass recycling, personal vision care assistance, mobility equipment, other assistance for individuals and families in need; and the Lions Club International Foundation.

Our service projects: Andy’s Run for a Guide Dog 5K Race, Christmas Tree Sale and St. Patrick’s Dinner will grow this year in different ways with some fresh ideas and added appeal to boost our fundraising goals, stimulate enjoyment, and to blossom community awareness of what the Lions represent and what Lions accomplish for our community and throughout the world.

Our Easter Egg Hunt is a fun community event for children and families, which we sponsor each Easter Sunday. We are examining new ideas for the hunt this year to make it more enjoyable for all the children in the community.

The Sag Harbor Lions Club was chartered in 1954 and our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status for the Charitable Trust was approved by the IRS in 1972. All the money we raise where the public is involved goes to the Trust and that money can only be disbursed for charitable needs and to prepare for the next service project. No public funds are used for administration of the club. Those funds are raised through dues and our own donations.

It is an honor to assume the presidency of the club and especially during the Centennial Celebration. I look forward to leading our club into its sixty-third year and I’m hoping that our community will embrace our changes and help us raise more money and more membership during our Centennial Celebration.

Steve Espach, President

Sag Harbor Lions Club


Still Original

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my congratulations to, and support for, the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review; kudos to the ARB for fighting to maintain both the visual character of the village and the quality of life of its residents, especially the full time residents that call Sag “home.”

What is happening in Sag brings to mind a cautionary, true tale of a traditional New York-style Italian restaurant in Manhattan that had been doing good business for over 80 years. It was a restaurant where the neighborhood went, you walked in and barely sat down when your “regular” drink would appear; it was warm and everyone was welcome.

Unfortunately for the neighborhood, outsiders wanted to open a new “traditional New York-style Italian restaurant” on the same block, so they worked with the building landlord to have the original restaurant’s rent raised ten-fold, driving the original restaurant out of business and taking its location. The new faux traditional New York style Italian restaurant opened and eventually failed. But the original restaurant, its history and all that went with it, was lost forever. And for what? The whole neighborhood lost.

Sag Harbor is fortunate to be an original, so I say to the ARB, “Stand your ground, so many of us are counting on you!”


Anne Springer

Sag Harbor


With Gratitude


To the Editor:

I wanted to take a few minutes to thank a very kind young man, Robert Huneken.

I had a blow out just over the North Haven bridge on a busy Saturday in July. I am 75 and suffer from COPD. I could never have been able to change my tire. Robert stopped and changed my tire, even though he was on his way to work.

Our young people don’t get complimented often enough; they should be.

Thank you very much.


Joe Ambrose

Sag Harbor


Managing Stress

To the Editor:

When I was walking point in the canine corps in Vietnam, I was assigned another dog handler whose nickname was “Chicken Shit”. He was given that name by the other dog handlers because he was so afraid of walking point that he would do anything to avoid walking in that point position.

When helicopter dropped the two dog teams off for a search and destroy mission, one of the other dogs started limping. I would ‘t be surprised if his handler had kicked his dog in the leg to make him limp. According to proper protocol, the senior dog handler should have radioed for another helicopter to pick both dog teams up and bring them back to their base camp where the dog could b given proper first aid, but he did not.

During the mission, I saved an entire platoon of soldiers from walking into an ambush by reading my dog’s alert on the enemy’s position. I saw my life go through my head on that mission and I’ll never be the same. I have b suffering from post-traumatic stress, eventhough my dog and I saved all those men. It is ironic, I saved all those men, but I couldn’t even save myself. Part of me died when I stuck my chest out to receive the final piece of Vietnamese lead. I felt it ricochet off my helmet and hit the dirt. I swore, after surviving Vietnam, I would never let the government use me in any way, shape or form again; especially supporting the government getting involved in senseless wars.

When I returned to the base camp, after the mission, I was on an emotional high because I had just saved an entire platoon from an online ambush. An online ambush is one in which the enemy is parallel to its target . I was also elated because I had just escaped from a near brush with death in that ambush.

Since I was not the senior dog handler and Chicken Shit was, he had me walk point for three days with my dog, while he and his dog, who was limping, walked in the rear of the patrol in a much safer position.

In the meantime, Chick Shit had put me on report for forgeting my dog’s food and water on the mission. I had started my food and water with my dog for three days. He was well and alert enough to detect that ambush.

I was livid when I found out that had reported me for maltreating my dog. I started yelling at the top of my voice, “Chicken Shit you have a big mouth!” He responded by saying “I am going to stick you with my bayonet, if you don’t shut up!” I picked up my M-16 and pointed it at him.

Thank God the safety was on, or I might have been writing this story from prison.

After I pulled the trigger on my weapon, I realized what men in uniform must be going through when confronted by a stressful situation which makes them do something that they ordinarily would not do.

After that incident, I started jogging around the base camp perimeter to lose some weight. Not only d I start shedding some pounds, I started feeling better. I was more relax and less stressed. There is nothing more stressful than walking point with a German shepherd in Vietnam. As a matter of fact, my job was the most dangerous job in Vietnam. I started feeling sharper and more alert on my missions and so did my dog. After all, he was jogging with me.

I feel, from my own personal experience in Vietnam, that exercise is one of the best ways to help reduce stress. If police departments throughout this country would initiate exercise programs, including walking, running, biking, weight training, yoga, tai-chi or meditation, there might be a noticeable reduction in stress among police.

Stress is the real enemy, not people, black or white, who are involved in police traffic stops or carrying a weapon with a concealed weapon permit. Stress can be heightened, improper rush to judgment and actions which may be extremely dangerous and regrettable. There is nothing more stressful than having the power of life or death over someone else.

According to Clint Eastwood’s movie, “The Unforgiven,” “When you take a man’s life, you take away all that he is, all that he was and all that he ever will be.”

Richard Sawyer



The Problem

He thought he was…

A sensual man

Who started to drink

When each day began


Whether he was working

Or on a vacation

His glass was ever present

With his favorite libation


From a little nip of brandy

In the early morning light

To that big old bottle of whiskey

Which he’d finish off that night


Sometimes a beer at breakfast

Just on a whim

Shots of rye at noontime

Seemed sociable to him


If he felt slightly bored

In the afternoon hours

He could make things seem much better

With a couple of whiskey sours


There was never a single day

That he didn’t think

That his life improved so greatly

Every time he took a drink


That went on for years and years

Living life without a goal

Till the debilitating effect of it all

Started to take it’s toll


First hands would slightly tremble

Then speech would slur a bit

And balance problems surfaced

Why stand when you can sit?


Then the occasional incident

Perhaps a mishap with the car

And the curious blank space in time

Like, “Who brought me home from the bar?”


Little problems on the job

Life at home not going well

Wife claiming that he’s “drunk again.”

She noticed when he fell


Now the people that are near him

Are watching as he fails

Some even roll their eyes

If they’re close when he exhales


He knows there’s a slight problem

He’s not sure exactly what

Seems his life’s not going right

He just might be in a rut


And suddenly those who love him

Attempt to intervene

They speak to him sincerely

They’re not trying to be mean


They’ve called a spade a spade

And told him that he’s sick

They ask him to take certain steps

He has choices….He can pick


Now he admits there’s a problem

He even knows it’s name

He’s powerless, it’s unmanageble

Theres no one else to blame


Yes, it’s time to start recovery

That’s the point of this whole rhyme

And he’s perfectly capable of doing it

Just one day at a time


Richard Sellentin

Florida and Bridgehampton