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North Shore Peace Group

Photo by Raymond Janis
Members of the North Country Peace Group advocate against nuclear proliferation on Saturday, Aug. 5. Photo courtesy Myrna Gordon

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The North Country Peace Group observed the 78th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at our weekly vigil in Setauket on Saturday, Aug. 5. 

This is a time for our community to gather in mourning, remembrance and in solidarity with all people affected by the destructive power of nuclear weapons at every level of their development, testing and use. It is also a time for us to amplify the call that nuclear weapons must never be used.

Myrna Gordon

North Country Peace Group

Fare hikes don’t help Port Jeff LIRR riders

Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] and MTA Chairman Janno Lieber’s boosting of the new MTA One Metro New York fare collection system does little for Port Jefferson Branch riders on the Long Island Rail Road. 

In 2017, the MTA awarded a $573 million contract to Cubic Transportation Systems to replace the Metro Card. OMNY was originally promised to be completed between 2019 and 2023. 

The cost of OMNY has grown to $645 million. The project is currently $130 million over budget. The MTA has never made public any detailed recovery schedule from the contractor. Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will not reach substantial completion until late 2025.

In 2022, the MTA lost over $600 million to fare evasion. There is no indication in 2023 that this financial loss will be significantly reduced. Neither Hochul nor Lieber is able to explain how OMNY will end routine fare evasion as it continues to flourish today.

Another critical failure that Hochul, Lieber or their predecessors never acknowledge, is the inability to come to agreement for integration of OMNY with NJ Transit, Port Authority Trans Hudson subway and NYC Economic Development Corporation Private Ferry fare collection systems.

Larry Penner

Great Nec

Sherwood-Jayne Farm animals represent our local history

The recent upheaval at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket has primarily been focused on the current animals and myself, but it should really be about preserving our local history. 

History isn’t something that just is, it is something that was and then becomes. The organization, Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, was founded in 1948 by many people, including Mr. Howard Sherwood. He did this to bequeath his property, the Jayne Farm, to it. 

Sherwood’s vision was to preserve a bucolic farm setting and educate the community about its history. He started a flock of sheep in 1933 and had blankets woven from their wool. 

Preservation Long Island, formerly known as SPLIA, has since kept a flock as a tribute to him. Current PLI executive director, Alexandra Wolfe, was quoted in the July 27 TBR article written by Mallie Jane Kim as saying, “The animals serve as a visual respite for people on the road, but they don’t really connect the property to what we do.” 

Historically, livestock were an integral part of life. Horses and cattle were used for plowing, poultry for eggs and meat, everyone had a family cow and sheep were kept for their wool. Our ancestors didn’t hop on their phones to order a new shirt and have it show up in two days on their doorstep. 

The sheep were shorn, the wool washed, carded, spun, woven into fabric and sewn into clothes. So how does getting rid of the resident sheep help to connect the property better to history? It doesn’t. What it does is take away from it. 

A visual respite is what people love about this farm. The animals draw their attention. So let them be drawn in, and then educate them about what life was like. Let’s build the flock back to what it was and really teach about the “sheep-to-shawl” process. 

People love farms because they show a different way of life. This farm was preserved for the community. Let’s teach the community about the place they live in and what makes it so special. Let’s allow the locals to learn the old ways of life. Let’s bring life back to the farm instead of taking it away. 

What we do in the days, weeks, months and years ahead will impact our children’s children. Please help preserve our local history. The current animals and I will thank you and all the ones to come will as well.

Susanna B. Gatz

Caretaker, Sherwood-Jayne Farm

East Setauket


Attendees arrive for a Lee Zeldin fundraiser at the Flowerfield Catering Hall. Photo by Donna Deedy

It’s a book signing. … It’s a political fundraiser. … It’s the latest trend in party politics.  

Donald Trump Jr. attended an event at the Flowerfields Catering Hall in St. James Thursday, Nov. 21, where campaign lawn signs for U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) were planted along the walkway into the venue. Inside the reception hall, stacks of  Trump Jr.’s new book, “Triggered,” were piled high. Released on Nov. 5, the book shot to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list after the Republican National Committee bought the book in bulk, spending nearly $100,000, to distribute as donor prizes, according to a New York Times report.

Tickets for Zeldin’s VIP Reception at Flowerfields cost $1,000 per person, which included a signed copy of Trump Jr.’s book. General admission cost $200 per person with a signed copy of the book or $150 with an unsigned copy. Additional copies of a signed book were being sold for $100. Checks were to be made out to Zeldin Victory Committee.

“The Congressman is grateful for the sweeping support he’s received, highlighted by record fundraising numbers this year,” Zeldin’s spokesperson Katie Vincentz stated. “Attended by over 350 people and raising over $200,000, this latest smash success fundraiser builds on that increasing momentum.” 

Members of the press were turned away from the event.  

“Sorry, the Secret Service said no,” reporters were told at the reception desk inside. A Secret Service representative, though, later stated in an email that the agency does not facilitate media access issues. 

Outside the Gyrodyne Property on Moriches Road several dozen protesters assembled.  

“No public town hall in two and half years,” they yelled out to cars passing by. “Tell Zeldin to hold a public town hall.”

St. James resident Maria LaMalga was among the protesters. She said she asked to speak with the congressman, had left messages and submitted written requests to talk with Zeldin, but she said that she has not yet received a response. 

“I only see him tweeting about impeachment,” she said. “I wish he would work for his constituents.”

The North Shore Peace Group organized the protest. The group’s priority issues include comprehensive gun laws, deficit spending and U.S.-Mexico border policies, especially concerning ongoing detentions and restrictions and limitations put on refugees.

In response to the criticism, Zeldin stated in an email that an open town hall meeting was hosted in September by the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association.   

To date, Zeldin has raised $1.8 million, according to FEC filings.


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Holding coat hangers and signs high above their heads, nearly 20 protesters stood at the corner of Nesconset Highway and Route 112 shouting “Keep your hands off our bodies,” and “We won’t go back.”

The locals, organized by the North Shore Peace group, came out in protest decrying several states’ moves to severely restrict abortion, including Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri. In Alabama’s case, abortion will be restricted to only in cases that the woman’s health is in danger. It also restricts abortion for people who are victims of rape, and doctors who perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison.

The laws have largely been seen as attempts to move abortion to the plate of the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes that landmark case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions, would be overturned.

Protesters held coat hangers high above their heads to symbolize the instrument used when abortions were illegal to perform
“backroom” unsanitary abortions, often out of desperation.

“I’m speechless, I just don’t know what to say anymore,” said Myrna Gordon, a protest organizer.

One protester, Janet Sklar, had a charm necklace that she plucked out of her shirt and laid over her sign. One charm, a coat hanger, had been on that necklace for close to 40 years.

“We were marching in the ʼ70s for this, and look how far we haven’t come,” she said.