Letters to the Editor: 2/7/19


Take a Pause

Dear Editor:

This was addressed to Mayor Schroeder and the Sag Harbor Village Trustees regarding events at Haven’s Beach.

I’m Anne Hansen, living at 151 Bay St. here in Sag Harbor. During the summer there were three organizations using the beach.

The fire department carnival, the Antigua Barbuda Hamptons  challenge 2018, and the Fighting Chance swim, were all occupying Havens Beach during August of 2018. In addition, mounds of gravel, used by our highway department for road repair were stored in the northwest corner of the beach west of the parking lot. (Is this storage a violation of the Village Code?)

Because of summer rains, the village was unable to use these materials in a timely manner. As a result, the carnival was setting up, the highway crew and trucks were moving gravel, the Fighting Chance group was bringing in their equipment, and within the same week, the Antigua Barbuda group had their sail and cocktail party.

Although this sounds easy, no one was monitoring the many large semi-trucks driving the wrong way around the circle, it was a traffic nightmare.

Nancy De Castro Merritt and I were amazed no one walking, driving, or riding a bike was not injured in this chaos. For safety sake, is anyone assigned to monitor these operations?

I hereby request a pause between these activities of at least two or three weeks to ease the congestion.

Thanks for your attention to these issues,

Anne Hansen

Sag Harbor


The Cowles Effect

Dear Editor,

Have you ever noticed that the villagers in Sag Harbor have an uncanny ability to resolve their differences? As a resident for 35 years, I’ve been struck by that, and it is part of the charm of the town.

What’s the “secret”? Part of the answer is that our small town has a newspaper and there are thousands of towns about the same size — all across this great country — who no longer have a local paper.

Every small town, despite everyone’s best intentions, faces controversies — often about everyday “growing pains.” CVS wants to take over 7-Eleven … maybe not a good idea. Big box retailers want to take over Main Street … also not a great idea. The library needs renovations … do taxpayers fund a $10 million bond issue? The cinema burned down … how do we replace it? The list goes on.

And how, exactly, do these controversies get resolved and common ground discovered? Well, when people have differences of opinion about something, a good start — towards resolving them — is to agree on the facts. That’s where the Sag Harbor Express comes in. Its articles provide everyone with the facts, and they almost always are accurate. If the paper is also going to offer its opinion, it is clearly labeled on the editorial page and usually steers a middle course, trying to build consensus.

As villagers, the local paper is really “helping us help ourselves.” That’s in the DNA of the Sag Harbor Express partly because of Pat Cowles, who was its owner and publisher for some 25 years and died last week. But I can still hear Pat saying something like “when you’re talking, you’re not learning;” and teaching by example, the importance and art of being a good listener.

So perhaps that’s Pat’s legacy. That Cowles DNA that still runs through the blood stream of the Express and continues to shape the tone of village debates, and perhaps will continue to do so for years to come. Thanks, Pat.


Duncan Darrow

Sag Harbor


Where is the Environmental Protection?

To the Editor,

The Noyac Civil Council (NCC) recently met with Southampton Town officials to review the status of efforts to end the blatant contamination of our drinking water by Sand Land Mine (SLM.) Although the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) modified the SLM permit, effective September 27, 2018, to cease all activities (except reclamation), SLM operations continue unabated — polluting our water.

The fact is that in the case of SLM, the NYSDEC has not yet been effective in protecting our drinking water.

Why, in this era of purported sensitivity to environmental protection, is it left to the local citizenry to sound the alarm? Where are the current day investigative reporters in the spirit of Rachel Carson and Erin Brockovich to report on this issue? And where, oh where, are our elected officials?

Must we wait until the Sand Land Mine becomes a candidate for a Super Fund site, like the Wainscott Sand and Gravel facility in East Hampton, before anyone pays attention?


Joan Morra

Sag Harbor