Pictured Above: The second Shinnecock monument under construction on Sunrise Highway in late January.

DOT Vs. Shinnecock Monuments

Feb. 8, 2021
to the editor:

The NY State highway department (D.O.T.) is waging a propaganda campaign to support its attack on the the ability of the Shinnecock Nation to operate 2 advertising signs it calls monuments, in the tribal territory known as “Westwoods”.

Revenue from the sale of the advertising is sorely needed to fund social programs on Shinnecock, exacerbated by the virus pandemic.

The D.O.T. is threatening to demolish the two billboards/monuments, one operating and a second under construction.

As pointed out by Shinnecock attorney Tela Troge in a talk to supporters last week, the D.O.T. errs in its assumption that the public will buy its assertions that the land where the highway signs are located is not Shinnecock territory and that the signs violate the Federal “Highway Beautification Act”.

In fact, a 1640 “Indian deed,” the earliest treaty between the Tribe and what is now Southampton Town, reserved the Shinnecock the rights to use that portion of their land.

The land was never alienated to New York State or Southampton.

According to a February 8 Newsday report, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said: “The state is required under federal law to control outdoor advertising adjacent to the federal-aid highway system in order to protect the safety of the traveling public.”

The Highway Beautification Act passed by Congress in 1965 exempts Indian tribes.  

Since the monuments are in Shinnecock territory, the act does not apply.

The tribe asserts it has taken measures to ensure the safety of motorists
passing through the area as the second monument is being constructed.
The action by the state D.O.T. is just the latest in a long series of attempts
to restrict the Shinnecock Nation from economic development on its own territory.

Anthony Ernst

More ‘Garbage’ Will Lose You A Subscriber

Feb. 1, 2021

As a subscriber to your paper, I have enjoyed reading it, until the last disgusting, outrageous, long rambling by a Miranda Johann. (“Living History: A Young Woman Responds to the Inauguration,” Feb. 2021)

What kind of a person is so filled with hatred that she sinks so low! Hating the President is bad enough — but then talking about Mrs. Trump’s “stilettos” is ridiculous and sick.

Calling the President a “sociopath” is absolutely unacceptable and disgraceful. I’m surprised you would allow it. People like that might just be doing the racial situation more harm.

More garbage like that, and I surely will not be subscribing again.

Unsigned, via U.S. Mail

Editor’s Note: The women in charge of this publication stand unified in our displeasure with stilettos. Here’s how you can support us.

Riverhead is Playing with Fire

Feb. 8, 2021
To the Editor;

Riverhead Town is playing with fire in that a very dangerous traffic situation exists on Riverside Drive in Riverhead, where we reside.

For the past 30 years, we have been pleading with the town to rectify the situation, but nothing has been done to date. Our present town board was notified, and our concerns were listed on the agenda as part of the last town board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Two board members commented, one acknowledging that “. . . that area of road is dangerous.” The other board member used the idiom “in progress” that it is “a work in progress.” We have heard this phrase and similar language for 30 years — such comments as “studying the matter,” “looking into the issue,” et cetera.

The problem is that drivers often fail to negotiate the 90° bend along Riverside Drive, hitting and/or downing utility poles, crippling support cables and electrical wires, plowing through and across front yards and damaging neighbors’ properties, smashing into parked vehicles, nearly crashing into a home—potentially causing the loss of life and limb. No sooner than the town board met, four days later another accident occurred at the bend involving two vehicles.

It is imperative that the Riverhead Town Board immediately address this ongoing hazardous traffic situation for the welfare of Riverside Drive residents, as well as those folks traveling into and out of town from Route 105 and East Main Street, respectively.

Speed humps (as opposed to speed bumps), which slow vehicles down to 10 – 15 miles per hour, along with related caution signs on both ends of the 90° bend, would be one remedy to this most perilous situation. Scoring the road would be another solution. As the years go by, the matter continues to worsen exponentially. The time to act is now!

Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Letters to the editor may be emailed to editor@eastendbeacon.com or sent via U.S. Post to P.O. Box 665, New Suffolk, NY  11956. The Beacon will print all letters that are deemed to not be defamatory, obscene or advertisements, and may edit submissions for clarity and grammar.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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