Press Covers Annual Southold Town Meeting on Fishers Island

by Jane Ahrens

Southold-Local-logo-312SQFishers Island residents express concern over healthcare at Southold Town Board meeting held on the island yesterday

by Courtney Blasl Southold Local
Aug 4, 2016, 9:38 am

Candace Whitman and Dicky Riegel, representatives of the Island Community Board, spoke at the meeting about healthcare concerns and gave an update on the boards' activities. Photo: Courtney Blasl
Candace Whitman and Dicky Riegel, representatives of the Island Community Board, spoke at the meeting about healthcare concerns and gave an update on the board’s activities. Photo: Courtney Blasl

Fishers Island community members expressed concern that their health needs are not being met under New York State insurance at yesterday’s annual Southold Town Board meeting held on Fishers Island.

Candace Whitman, a member of the Island Community Board, told town board members about someone she knew who recently had to pay out-of-pocket to get a prescription filled in New London, Connecticut since her New York State insurance was not accepted there.

“Due to our geography and our only direct transportation is to Connecticut, when we have to see a doctor or use services in New York state, it really leaves us in a lurch,” she explained.

New London is about a 20-minute ferry ride from Fishers Island. The only way for Fishers Island residents to get to Long Island is not by direct ferry, but to take the boat to New London and then a second ferry to Orient.

“For our families whose children are on the CHIP program, a federal program, they are required to see doctors in New York,” Whitman explained. “For seniors… when it comes to receiving home health services, after surgery, there’s no agency in Connecticut that will send someone to New York because it’s across the state lines.”

It can be costly just to do routine doctor visits as well, she said.

“We have one family on the island with six children and when they go to get their yearly ‘well visit,’ they have to take the ferry to New London, then to Orient Point, stay overnight in a motel and then see the doctor before they come back,” Whitman said. “It’s a lot of money out of pocket.”

Whitman says their hope is to be able to get access to Connecticut health insurance, and hinted that she and Senator Ken LaValle and representatives from Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s offices were “working towards a solution.”

“This really illustrates some of the ways the Island Community Board can be effective going forward in terms of helping us solve community problems when we don’t have a great deal of government structure here,” Whitman said.

The Island Community Board was created in 2005 to help better represent Fishers Island community members. During the meeting yesterday they gave a presentation on their progress — they’d recently held elections, completed a two-year plan and are working on creating a brochure targeted towards people interested in moving to the small community.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell presided over the meeting, which was held yesterday in the Fishers Island school gymnasium.

Riegel gives an update on the board’s progress. Photo: Courtney Blasl
Riegel gives an update on the board’s progress. Photo: Courtney Blasl

The yearly meeting gives Fishers Island residents a chance to voice their concerns to their representatives. Members of town, county and state government all made the trip and were in attendance.

Russell started off the afternoon with a thank-you.

“Southold Town and Fishers Island School District saw a need for an emergency generator,” he said, explaining that the school serves as the island’s shelter in case of emergency. “We came together, created an agreement and shared a cost of about $50,000.”

Russell said he had run into LaValle and had a brief conversation with him, during which he mentioned the generator purchase and how it exemplified the town and island’s “spirit of working together.”

“Within two days, he contacted my office and let me know he secured $50,000 to reimburse the town and the school district,” Russell said. “That money should be forthcoming.”

LaValle, who was in attendance, received a round of applause — but it wouldn’t be his last of the day.

“Then, knowing how that worked out, I happened to run into him at another meeting,” Russell said to laughter. “We discussed the terrible conditions the roads were in and the fact that the budget was so stretched due to the cost of resurfacing.”

This time, the wait was a little longer than two days. A week later Russell’s office received a call that the senator had secured $250,000 for road restoration in the Town of Southold.

Other items of note on the agenda:

  • The board passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of a replacement phone system for the police department, which will cost $14,470 and includes installation, warranty, equipment and software.
  • The board ratified and approved a Fishers Island Ferry District Board of Commissioners amendment to the 2016 district budget to the amount of $29,000.

Patch-logo-225SQElected Officials, Staffers Head to Fishers Island for Annual Southold Town Board Meeting

Fishers Island residents had the ear of elected officials, who listened to concerns and goals.

By Lisa Finn North Shore Patch
August 3, 2016

FISHERS ISLAND, NY — Southold’s annual Fishers Island town board meeting was held Wednesday, and a full contingent of elected officials and staffers turned out to listen to the concerns of residents and shape goals for the future.

The meeting was held at the Fishers Island School, with elected officials including New York State Senator Ken LaValle, New York State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and the entire town board gathering for the annual Southold town board meeting, held each August on the island.

Southold Town Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando, Trustees John Bredemeyer and Glenn Goldsmith, and Charles Sanders, Commander of the American Legion Griswold Terry Glover Post 803 in Southold, were among the many in attendance.

During the meeting, the Fishers Island Community Board discussed its goals over the coming months.

“They look forward to a cooperative spirit with the Town to try to address big issues such as affordable housing and encouraging people to move to the island to maintain a viable year-round population — and to address smaller issues such as road and sidewalk repair,” Russell said.

Southold Town Board, Town Clerk and Town Attorney
Back Row: Town Attorney Bill Duffy, Town Clerk Elizabeth Neville, Councilwoman Jill Doherty, and Councilman Jim Dinzio. Front Row: Councilman Robert Ghosio, Justice Louisa Evans, Supervisor Scott Russell, Councilman William Ruland
Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens Editor’s Note:

In addition to ICB Representative Dicky Riegel’s presentation below, he thanked the members of the Town of Southold for the following:

  • Road paving to date
  • Engagement on the Rec Path
  • Engagement on the Planning Chapter of Southold 2020
  • Support of FI Downtown Revitalization Grant for street lighting around the School and Community Center
  • Commitment of funds toward the FI Emergency Generator for the Emergency Shelter

He also asked for the Town’s going support of the Island’s initiatives, such as those listed in the ICB Priorities and Hamlet Study mentioned in the report: ICB Report Update for Town of Southold.

Many thank yous go out to so many people who made this annual meeting come together including our Town Board Rep and Justice Louisa Evans, the Village Market for the lunch, the Fishers Island School for hosting the meeting, those that met the ferry and gave the visitors island tours. And, thank you to all who attended – from near and far – and to the Fishers Island Ferry District for making the special round trip to Orient Point for our guests listed in the link below.

Town, County, State and National representatives arrive at Fishers Island, NY for the day.
Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

A Fishers Island Community Center Program and the accompanying Fog Horn eNewsletter serve as the communications resource for the Fishers Island community. The content – news, calendar, links and photos, milestones, ads, and more create a clear image of Fishers to those on and off the island.

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