Community support vital to Gilgo Beach arrest
As I am sure you have by now seen or heard that after 13 years the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office was finally able to bring an indictment against Rex Heuermann for three of the Gilgo Beach serial murders, and we expect the fourth to be resolved soon by the grand jury.
Our work is continuing until all of the murders are fully investigated.
During my campaign, I had promised the families of these victims that I would make my best efforts to solve these cases. After taking office in January 2022, we set up a task force.
I appointed three assistant district attorneys, plus my chief ADA, my chief investigator, four detective investigators and a team of analysts to work daily in collaboration with the Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We met weekly to review developments and strategize. Six weeks after the first task force meeting, Heuermann was identified as a suspect, and over the next 16 months, we gathered evidence using more than 300 subpoenas and search warrants until we had the evidence we needed to make an arrest.
Your support led directly to solving these serial killings.
Your support allows me to get the important work of the district attorney’s office done day in and day out. Without your support, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and this significant case would likely not have been solved.
Thank you again for your help — and expect more good things to come.
Ray Tierney (R)
Suffolk County District Attorney
Editor’s note: One is innocent until proven guilty. While it is with great relief that we seem to be moving toward justice, we are decidedly not there yet. All involved in this enormous effort are to be commended for their efforts to bring about justice, but we must wait for the final verdict before we convict in the court of public opinion.
Clarifying recent village treasurer appointment
It was disconcerting and disheartening that The Port Times Record, the official newspaper for the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson, first published incorrect information regarding what transpired at a recent Village Board of Trustees meeting, and then “corrected” that record in a way that cultivated negativity instead of noting a true positive outcome.
A majority of the board ultimately acted in concert, and voted to approve the appointment of Donald Pearce as treasurer following an executive session. While the executive session discussion is privileged, please note that I have invited the Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Division of Local Government and School Accountability to conduct a comprehensive review and audit of our villagewide operations.
This is a “gold standard” of review and accountability undertaken by many new mayors which will be objective and fair, will provide a clear path for our village to move forward properly in terms of process and procedure, and will reestablish clear-cut guidelines for the highest level of fiscal responsibility. I have undertaken this initiative to ensure that the village government is the most efficient and responsible entity that it can possibly be for the benefit of our deserving residents.
To that end, please remember that a treasurer takes an oath of office, as do members of the Board of Trustees. Our decisions are ours alone and they have a significant impact. Accountability is paramount, and I believe that our new treasurer will bring that accountability and service to the residents of Port Jefferson, which is why I am so grateful that he has agreed to return to his roots and once again serve the Village of Port Jefferson.
We look forward to a new, positive, forward-thinking relationship with our partners at The Port Times Record, to encourage free and open dialogue and the dissemination of factual information — another tangible benefit to our valued residents.
Mayor, Village of Port Jefferson
Sherwood-Jayne animals are part of our community and family
My name is JenniferJane Cortes and I am a Three Village resident. My husband and I along with our two young children purchased a house here eight years ago.
My dream has been to buy a farm ever since leaving our family farm in New Jersey 20 years ago. When we were looking in the Three Village area, we happened to be driving down Old Post Road coming from Port Jefferson. I remember the day well.
We came upon a beautiful farm with sheep in the pasture. There were also goats and a pony, but my eyes were fixed on the sheep. I asked my husband to please slow down so I could just “be” with them for a moment.
As we drove by, I said to myself and then my husband that if we can’t find a small farm for ourselves, then we must find a house on this street. About a week later and many more drives past the farm, we found a house within a 2-minute walk.
“Look no further,” I said. “We have found our house near the farm and animals.”
We visit with the animals so often that they feel like they are part of our family. My children know their names and call them over. We have grown quite attached to Snowball.
This farm and the animals mean so much to our small family and also to this community. Their caretaker, Susanna [Gatz], does an amazing job caring for them and the property. It is such a joy to see someone enjoying them and caring for them on a daily basis.
To see them moved would be absolutely devastating.
I am praying that the animals and Susanna get to remain one of the best parts of residing on Old Post Road.
Removing Sherwood-Jayne animals is callous
In the late 1980s, my mom and I walked daily from our house on Old Post Road to Play Groups School, where I attended preschool. We always stopped to greet the animals at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, often packing apple slices or carrots for Chester, the brown horse, who waited by the street for his morning treat from a delighted toddler.
I am currently pregnant with my first child and temporarily living back on Old Post Road, where I once again visit with the animals on my daily walk, and I am devastated that my son will not be able to stroll down the street with his grandparents to visit the “unicorn,” aka Snowball, or attend the Sheep Shearing Festival. No matter where in the world I have lived, greeting the animals at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm has been a part of my homecoming ritual and I am saddened to learn that Preservation Long Island has made the callous decision to relocate them.
Contrary to [PLI executive director] Alexandra Wolfe’s statement in your article [“Animals to leave Sherwood-Jayne Farm,” July 27], I would argue that the animals are the only thing connecting the community with the property. The bucolic scene of grazing animals helps visitors envision the historical significance of the house and farm, which otherwise offers very little community programming. Many more passersby pause to marvel at the majestic Snowball than at the house itself. How can you have a historically significant farm without animals?
Wolfe states that liability is a concern. I am curious how frequently PLI has issues with trespassers into the pasture and how realistic that concern is. She also states that she is bothered by concerned animal lovers who call PLI because they are worried about the geriatric pony’s health. This could be fixed inexpensively by erecting an informational sign explaining Snowball’s age and ailments, perhaps including a QR Code to donate to the animal’s upkeep and care.
While Wolfe does not state this, I presume the true limiting factor in maintaining the animals, under the loving care of Susanna Gatz, is the cost. PLI should be transparent and invite the community to tackle this challenge. How much, exactly, would it cost to maintain the animals on this property for the duration of their lifespan? Plenty of animal lovers, myself included, would gladly contribute to Snowball & Friends being allowed to live their lives in a familiar and safe environment.
Water, water, not everywhere
Now that we’re coming to our senses and starting to realize the importance of the water below us, I’d like to share my epiphany.
A professor told me about his annual trip to Kenya. He visited a rural village that had no electricity, toilets or local source of water. The older children had the responsibility to fetch water for their families.
He accompanied the barefoot children and noticed that they walked through human feces on the way to the community well, which was but a crude pit … a few feet across and a few feet deep, with a dark puddle at the bottom.
He handed me a photo, saying, “Notice that the children are standing in the water. The very water that the family will be drinking.” I thought, although uneducated and poor, didn’t these people have the good sense to not poison their own well?
Aren’t we all born with an innate sense to not do harm to our life-sustaining water? How could the elders not instruct the children to carefully avoid stepping in it when going to the well or to somehow clean their feet before standing in the water?
Then, an afterthought: Isn’t that exactly what we’re doing to our precious gift … our aquifer? We pour insecticides and herbicides on lawns. We broadcast chemical fertilizer to make greens greener. We flush unused antibiotics down toilets. Our cesspools seep human waste down into our aquifer.
With soiled feet, we stand in our own well.
Legislatures are failing us
Congress adjourning and leaving Washington for the traditional August recess to return to their districts is actually great news.
Our civil and economic liberties are continually at risk when any legislative body — be it the New York City Council, New York State Legislature or U.S. Congress and so on — is in session.
Elected officials on a bipartisan basis routinely pass legislation to increase spending, taxes, borrowing and deficits. They also pass bills benefiting their “pay-for-play” contributors, funding pork-barrel member items along with new rules and regulations infringing on our day-to-day lives.
When Congress is not working, members can’t cause mischief and grief for the rest of us. I wish they would stay home even longer.