Our season is off to a good start. The last two weekends had bang up weather and I am told by the merchants in the harbor that business on recent weekends has been excellent.
The contract to build the dunes, walkways and ramps to the beach has been awarded to Weeks Marine. I know the project that Weeks was working on in Long Beach has completed and thus the dredges and other equipment are available to move to Fire Island. I have been in touch with the Army Corps this morning, the contractor has provided much of the necessary documentation and work plans to the Army Corps. The information is being reviewed by the Corps construction group assigned to our project. They will complete their review in the next week and we anticipate a meeting with the contractor and the Corps in the third week of June. We will learn then the plan for constructing the dune and where the contractor will begin sand placement.
Fire Island Boulevard
Our project working with the Brookhaven Highway Department to improve the roadway has been delayed by an equipment problem. I understand the equipment has now been fixed and we will finish up the project. The plan is to plow the roadway from Coast Guard Walk to the west end of the community and lay down a path of the large rocks. Additional work will also be done in the Ozone Walk area.
During the recent revisions of recycling regulations, Tony's Barge worked hard to ensure that all our trash is picked up in the same week avoiding an alternative week schedule for different material. Tony's is committed to collecting glass, but it must now be separated from other recyclables and put in a clear bag. Glass will not be picked up otherwise. Please review the
Pines residents are the best recyclers on Fire Island, let's keep it up!
Please do not dump landscaping or large items on Fire Island Boulevard or in dumpsters paid for by your neighbors. It is illegal and subject to a $1000 fine. Dumpsters are paid for by contractors (and in turn by their homeowner clients) and they get angry when the residents misuse them.
The Lavender Scare
Last night I was fortunate to attend the premier of the Movie "The Lavender Scare". This is an important story in the history of achieving equality for gays and lesbians. In the early days of the Eisenhower administration, Eisenhower signed an executive order mandating the firing of homosexuals in the military and civilian agencies of the federal government. A witch hunt then ensued and thousands of gay men and lesbians, many of long tenure, were swept up and fired or forced to resign. In several cases this led to the affected government employee committing suicide. The movie interviews ex-soldiers and federal workers, many with distinguished records of service before being fired. Many of the investigators were also interviewed and when asked how they felt about their actions leading to a person's suicide, they did no more than shrug.
In the late 1950s, a government astronomer named Frank Kameny was fired. He fought back, appealing it all the way to the Supreme Court but was not able to overturn the discrimination. In the process he became an early gay rights activist and founded the Mattachine Society, an important organization in the movement for gay rights organization.
I worked for the government in Washington during the years the ban on the employment of gay men and lesbians was in effect. I was always in fear that if it came out, I would be terminated. I had a boss who was very homophobic. In the late 1980s, I was caring for a lover who had AIDS. I had to hide this from my boss for fear she would take adverse action, a combination of AIDS hysteria and homophobia. I was not able to take advantage of regulations giving special consideration for employees caring for a terminally ill family member. The night he died, I was in the hospital all night with him, but I had to be in the office at 9 o'clock in the morning and pretend that nothing was going on in my life.
The movie was produced, in part, by Pines residents Paul Austin, Paul Boskind and Andy Tobias. Hats off to Paul, Paul and Andy for bringing this important gay-rights story to life.