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Home Government News: Rye City Finally Gives a Cr*p About Hen Island, Demands Clean-Up

News: Rye City Finally Gives a Cr*p About Hen Island, Demands Clean-Up

In a remarkable turn of events, Rye City finally seems to give a cr*p about Hen Island.

In letters to Kuder Island Colony, Inc.(the cooperative that owns the 34 homes on the island) and the Westchester Division of Environmental Health, Rye City officials discuss actual and alleged health, environmental and building code violations on the island. For issues under their jurisdiction, the city has demanded remediation. Excerpts from the letter and the actual documents are below.

Attention to the Hen Island and allegations of leaking sewage into Long Island Sound has been brought to life by island homeowner Ray Tartaglione and Mr. Floatie, a seven foot turd that serves as the mascot of Tartaglione's advocacy group, Heal the Harbor. The island, sans its problems, is a remarkably beautiful place in Rye's Milton Harbor.

Hen Island South DSC03350  

Still, Ben Minard, the president of Kuder Island Colony, issued fighting words about Tartaglione in an email to fellow Hen Islanders on April 14th. Tartaglione has had a contentious relationship and ongoing legal battle with fellow homeowners for years. In Minard's email he says:

"Today, we were notified that the City of Rye has issued a violation against Hen Island based upon their visit to the island on April 1st, 2009.  As you will recall from our shareholder meeting on April 7th, the Board informed you that the Island was under attack by Mr. Tartaglione and that he was making every effort to damage the Corporation and through it, you the shareholders. In support of that, I am forwarding to you for your review a copy (below) of the spiteful and scurrilous accusations that Mr. Tartaglione is making against your individual cottages.

On Wednesday evening, April 15th, members of the board will be at the Rye City Council meeting to represent us. Any of you who would be interested in attending, would be more than welcome, to support the Island and your corporation."

The First Letter to Kuder Island Colony

In a letter to Kudder Island Colony on April 8, 2009, Rye City's building inspector Vincent Tamburo itemized at least eight violations across many of the homes on the island. These violations, all under Rye jurisdiction, include fire code violations around the unsafe storage of propane tanks, structures in need or repair and possible structural issues with four of the homes. The letter concludes:

"You are hereby notified of the above conditions and are directed to correct them immediately. A follow up inspection will be necessary.

It is sincerely hoped that further action by this department will not be necessary and that you will cooperate in correcting these conditions."

The Second Letter to the Westchester Division of Environmental Health

In a second letter to Deputy Commissioner Leonard Meyerson of the Westchester Division of Environmental Health dated April 9, 2009, Rye's acting city manager Frank Culross forwards a three page list of "alleged violations… submitted to us by Mr. Ray Tartaglione". It references the April 8th letter (above) and notes that many of the matters are under the jurisdiction of Westchester County. The letter says "We respectfully request that your agency undertake a review of these matter under your jurisdiction and take whatever action you deem appropriated." 

'Septic' Hen Island DSC03328

The most serious allegations are under county jurisdiction including improper sewage controls, rodent infestations, lack of potable water and mosquito infestations. According to Tartaglione, Deputy Commissioner Leonard Meyerson has been completely unresponsive in the past.

Tartaglione told MyRye.com "Although the city of Rye has written violations that are very significant the sewage and potable water issues have not been addressed as of yet. I do commend the City for taking a giant forward step in rectifying the Hen Island conflict and hope that we can continue the forward motion. Hopefully Deputy Commissioner Lenny Meyerson and the Westchester County Department of Health will also reconsider their previous position. Should he refuse to do so, the city of Rye has the authority along with the laws and codes to force compliance should the health commissioner fail once again."

Read both letters yourself. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Mr. Floatie at City Council 10-01-2008 Item number 10 on the city council agenda for Wednesday night (April 15, 2009) is an update on Hen Island. It is the council's chance to finally flush Mr. Floatie away (after proper and environmentally safe treatment, of course).


  1. Hey, I’m not the only one who was crucified on Good Friday this year! Now wood piles in Crye are considered fire hazards. Glad I have a gas powered fireplace.

  2. Was Vinnie Tamburro the only one in Crye that didn’t know Hen Island has had solar panels for over 20 years?? His dept gave Certificates of Occupancy to houses wired for 110v. Where did Vinnie think the power was coming from?

  3. I got an idea! Lets srew Hen Island. Let’s issue violations on debris washed up on shore 4 days after the Marina opens that way there’s no way they could possibly have a chance to clean up the mess before I issue the violations! Hey, That’s a great idea, Vinnie Tamburro!

  4. Hey Ben Minard –

    Hope you’re bringing big photographs of all the safe, code conforming structures on Hen Island for us all to see. Can’t find any? That’s a shame.

    Your ancient “we don’t have no steenkin laws on Hen Island” has worn thin.

    Don’t come and demand your rights to pollute and endanger – bring us a reasonable rather than infinite timetable for bringing the Island into legal compliance.

  5. As a Westchester life long resident, i can only say thank you to Ray Taraglione who has pursued a cause for the safety and health of all Westchester residents especially Rye. The violations on Hen Island are so obvious a blind man can see them. My father always told me, elected Officials represent the people that voted them in office, and the desicions that they make should always be in the best interest of those people and the children of the future. Having said that, lets do the right thing and clean up this Island.

  6. This is another example of the rich in this country using there $$$ to beat up on a bunch of people who cant defend themselves. The large majority of people who have homes on Hen Island are blue collar and dont have the time or resources to hire a man dressed up like a turd to carry there message.. I would have thought the people living in Rye would have been a bit more sophisticated to allow themselves to be manipulated by a man whos motivation is questionable at best

  7. Mr. Tartaglione recalled scoffing when his friend first told him about a cottage for sale on ”this little island in Rye.”

    ”I told her, ‘I grew up in Westchester; I worked at Playland for three years in high school, and there ain’t no little island in Rye.’ ”

    But he wound up buying the shack and fixing it up. Tearing into the back walls, he found that they were made of pieces of wooden stockade fence. Now he has a a large room with high ceilings and a fluorescent Caribbean color scheme. He has a television, a stereo and a propane fireplace, as well as an air-conditioner and a propane-powered refrigerator.

    I wonder if Mr. Floatie obtained permits for his electric system?

    The article says that he was Board president at the time. I guess he wants to screw his neighbors because they don’t want him as president. What a great guy….not!

  8. I stand corrected. Tamburo was on Hen Island on April 1. That was 3 days BEFORE the marina opens. There is no way Hen Island could have cleaned up before Tamburo arrived. What an asshole.

  9. The article in the Journal News today says Ray has been a home owner on the island for 11 yrs and the article above claims he was president of the it’s board of directors for a number of those yrs. Is that correct? Why did he wait until he was kicked off the board to pursue these environmental issues that he’s so passionate about? That seems a little coincidental. Did he not know of these alleged issues as the boards president? Also, anyone know why he was kicked off the board? So he gets kicked off the board and all of a sudden becomes an environmentalist??? I agree his motivation is questionable. What other environmental issues has Ray worked on in the past? Has he done any work outside of Hen Island? Seems like an odd place to start for someone who is so determined to clean up our town……..

  10. This is a classic case of where the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The posting above makes a good point, how many of these issues did Ray raise with the city council while he was acting president? I have a hard time believing these issues arose out of thin air the moment he was removed from the board of directors. I have 2 kids under the age of 10 yrs old and I can spot a childish grudge a mile away. Can we start acting our age and stop embarrassing our town.

  11. AIG, You should know about greasing first hand….AIG says it all.
    Questions, What ever Ray’s motive…. I could care less!

  12. NTOUCH…Do you live in Rye?…Graduate from their schools?…
    “..IS there or IS there not violations..?” Brother…a sad commentary on the educational system….It’s a good thing you don’t post your name…people you know would have further verification on how stupid you are…

  13. Grammar Guy cut us a break. Was that NTOUCH error significant in your view or was it just a way for you to dump on Rye?

    And yes AIG Bonus I have been all over Hen Island recently and it is a fantastic place. Imagine the day when it’s legally safe and legally clean.

  14. Hey Grammar Guy,
    I’ll tell you what… give me your address, I will be more than happy to slap the shit out of you & when I’m done you can tell the world who slapped you around. If you want you can even post it on MYRYE!!!

  15. tedc who brought you out there? A interesting study would be the environmental footprint of hen island vs the footprint of a avg home in rye. Hen island may not be perfect, but do we really think the island is the biggest threat to the local environment when there are sewer spills seemingly every other month? This reminds me of the public being concerned about the 180million in bonuses for aig and not the 180 billion being spent to keep aig solvent. Lets focus on the big picture..

  16. It should be obvious to all that the best way to make Hen Island clean, and to keep it clean, is to remove all traces of the homes there and leave it to wildlife.

  17. I’m glad Mr. Tamburo has decided to set precedent that firewood piles, shubs next to houses and standing water in gutters are on the “most wanted” list in Rye. I’m sure Mr. Tamburo will make sure ALL of Rye complies with these new rules and not just hold Hen Island to a higher standard. And to think this all started with a guy who isn’t a Rye resident.

  18. Greenhaven Hypocrite,

    I guess Hen Island would have a discrimination lawsuit on their hands if Crye treated them differently than the rest of the town. BTW, did you see the millions of gallon of run off from Greenhaven into the sound during the last big storm? WOW! And to think all the landscaping trucks had just laid down TONS of fertilizer. I’m surprised there’s any marine life forms able to survive that onslaught!

  19. “BTW, did you see the millions of gallon of run off from Greenhaven into the sound during the last big storm? WOW! And to think all the landscaping trucks had just laid down TONS of fertilizer. I’m surprised there’s any marine life forms able to survive that onslaught!”

    Finally someone is seeing the big picture. It has not been proven that there is or has ever been any sewage emission from Hen Island. If any did exist it would be entirely insignificant.

    The millions and millions of gallons of raw sewage that gets dumped into the Sound after every significant rainstorm is both appalling and troubling.

    It is amazing that someone who pays people to dress up like a turd and a jackass can get so much attention to an imaginary or insignificant problem while an ongoing environmental disaster takes place on a regular basis.

  20. Greenhaven should be banned from using fertilizers on their lawns. We might have to change the name to Brownhaven but Greenhaven is destroying the sound.

  21. Ban Fertilizers –

    “Greenhaven is destroying the Sound” is one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve heard in a long, long time. Do you realize that Long Island Sound is a watershed area that is affected by areas from as far away as Vermont? Tanneries in Massachusetts do more damage than Chemlawn in Westchester. There is more damage done to the Sound’s eco-system in a single day from sewage spills from water treatment plants than 10 years of fertilizer run-off from Greenhaven.
    Prior to making such statements, you should consider getting some education – people would be more willing to hear what you have to say if they thought you spoke truth instead of drivel.

  22. Scooter your so smart!!! So why dont we all agree that we should focus on the 180 billion problem rather then the 180 million problem. There are so many environmental issues in this area and specific to Long Island sound that its too bad this much focus has been given to such a small portion of the problem… GIVE ME BACK MY BONUS!

  23. Aig,Grammar Fool,
    Don’t worry… this clown isn’t man enough to put an identity to his bold remarks! His face is safe! BTW- IT IS MY ANSWER… LIKE IT OR NOT!

  24. AIG –

    Going after a small group of individuals is certainly a much easier solution than doing real work, which is why the government has started this class war.

    NTOUCH –

    And you are…?

  25. NOW NOW SCOOTER…. PLAY FAIR. YOU FIRST! You have been asked several times to identify your self…….
    we are waiting!

  26. NTOUCH –

    Your words – “give me your address, I will be more than happy to slap the shit out of you”.
    Why would any blogger let a pyscho like you know their identity? If your mother disagreed with your decision to walk to school instead of riding the short bus, did you smack her up the head a few times? When your boss at K-Mart criticized your poor grammar, did you go postal on him?
    You can continue to be a cyber-bully, but I don’t want to run the risk of broken bones at the hand of a deranged idiot, thanks very much. So go ahead, call me chicken. I prefer to think of myself as wise. Sticks and stones…

  27. NTOUCH and Scooter,

    I think you guys should “get a room”. Your love affair is getting too hot and torrid for this blog.

  28. FLMFAO…. SCOOTER you wouldn’t expose your identity even if I invited you to dinner. Slapping you up side your peanut head has nothing to do with it. Nice comment about the short bus you ass. Did your mother teach you that? BTW- never needed a school bus… my parents did not bring me up w/a silver spoon like 99% of the spoiled brats of Rye today.”WE WALKED” – NOT CHAUFFERED!

  29. OUTTATOUCH……….99% of the kids in Rye are “spoiled brats” ?…Really?…Because one takes a school bus does not make them a spoiled brat…Hey, I might have liked getting out of a chauffered limo in fron of Ressurection or Rye High School, back in the day…may have been a kick…who knows…But, alas, I walked too…..be easy on the kids…they will be governing you one day…
    Yeah…it’s me, Grammar Guy.
    No slaps in the head for me either, thanks.

  30. Grammar Girl,
    Not that I would stoop to your level….but the correct spelling is “FRONT” with a T. I’m sure that was done on purpose…right??? Is that how you spell it in Port Chester? Chauffeured as in driven in any vehicle not a limo.
    Your right… one kid on a school bus does not make a spoiled brat…
    It’s the ones that get driven from 3 blocks away by mommy or daddy that I am referring to!!!
    Maybe if you had a higher education other than P.C. Schools you could decipher a little better.

  31. OUTTASYNC….So, apparently, the person who reads these little blurbs to you picked up the mis-spelling…I knew HE would..
    And, just so I have it right….If, as you say, 99% of the kids in Rye are spoiled brats (’cause they get driven to school, from 3 blocks away, by mommy or daddy); are you saying 99% of Rye kids live within 3 blocks of their respective schools?…That’s very unlikely.
    Now, slamming Port Chester too….wow!
    If I went to Port Chester schools, I’d be happy to tell you. I went, as stated, to Resurrection and Rye High School….Oh, tell your guy friend (the one who reads these to you), he missed the mis-spelling of Resurrection previously posted….
    Maybe, if mommy or daddy drove YOU to school occasionally, you wouldn’t be so easily upset.

  32. Oh GOD, another n’oreaster coming in on Monday. More fertilizer being washed into the Sound from Greenhaven. When is this onslaught going to stop. Wait until you see the sewage spewing out of the sewer holes near the High School. Just what I want my teenage kid wading thru. Where’s the BOH when you really NEED them.

  33. Greenhaven Hypocrite,

    Wait until the wind starts blowing 40 MPH and tree’s start flying. Joe Sacks and Jay Sears seem to be oblivious to the real issues of Crye. Anyway, Crye will get a good lesson in reality soon and it’ll have nothing to do with brush piles on Hen Island. Too bad Joe Sacks and Jay Sears are too immature to have any insight into the real issues.

  34. The following follow up on this issue was published on LoHud:

    Hen Island cottage owners vow to clean up
    By Theresa Juva
    tjuva@LoHud.com • April 18, 2009

    RYE – Hen Island cottage owners are defending the safety and upkeep of their summer retreat after the city slapped them with violations this week.

    Ira Goldenberg, an attorney for Kuder Island Colony, the corporation of 34 shareholders, did not dispute the fire and building safety problems city inspectors found during an April 1 visit.

    “We apologize these issues have come to this point, and we intend to resolve it promptly,” he told the City Council on Wednesday, adding that owners had already planned to address some of the problems when they return to the island in the next few weeks.

    Violations included improper propane tank storage, cottage wall and foundation problems, and shrubs and debris next to buildings that could spread a fire. Rye also sent a letter to the county environmental health commissioner asking him to re-evaluate possible health violations there.

    Hen Island homeowner Helen Cunningham said the recent city review was an unfair depiction of the 26-acre island, which sits near Milton Harbor and is accessible only by water.

    “We are keeping it as best we can for a wetlands area, and what you saw is not what is generally there,” said Cunningham, a cottage owner for 27 years.

    Kuder Colony board President Ben Minard said residents understand safety concerns in a place with no fire or police protection.

    “We do not want anything that endangers anyone,” he said from Syracuse, where he lives. “We understand our vulnerability.”

    City officials examined the area after homeowner Ray Tartaglione, the plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against Kuder Colony, complained that the city wasn’t monitoring health and safety conditions there.

    Even though a judge ruled against him last year, Tartaglione still claims that some property owners fail to properly dispose of trash and allow sewage to seep into Long Island Sound. County health inspectors and city officials surveyed the island in July 2007 and reported no problems.

    Mayor Steve Otis said Wednesday that acting City Manager Frank Culross had discovered that the City Council had been misled by then-City Manager Paul Shew, who was removed by the City Council last month.

    “We had been advised that a fuller inspection had been done,” Otis said. “Mr. Culross brought it to our attention that that was not accurate and we were misinformed.”

    Jordan Glass, Tartaglione’s attorney, pressed the council to take another look at possible health code violations, arguing that Rye has the authority to regulate waste disposal on the island.

    Goldenberg fired back, pointing out that a judge has never sided with Tartaglione, who has been angry with Kuder Colony since he was ousted from the board several years ago. “As you can see, it is difficult to know his motivation,” Goldenberg said. “The reality is, whatever Kuder Island tries to do, he will be unhappy.”

    Rye is still waiting for a response from the county environmental health commissioner.

    Nice job by LoHud. Unfortunately, MYRye refuses to print both sides of the story. Instead MyRye chooses to act as Mr. Flotie’s mouthpiece. For shame. MyRye should learn some jounalistic integrity and print both sides of the story instead of slanting every article in favor of the floating turd.

  35. Grammar Guy, You really are an ass. Of course I was not insinuating that 99% of the kids live within 3 blocks of the schools. Maybe if you took your head out of your ass you might be able to notice SARCASM! And yes I did notice your intentional mis-spells….COULD CARE LESS!!! BTW-I didn’t waste my parents time with the selfish lazy act of a ride to school!!! They were too busy trying to make ends meet to put food on the table for their children. I’M sorry you went to resurrection and received those slaps upside your head w/a ruler. It obviously did some damage!!!

  36. The other night Joe “Friday” Sack made it obvious that he is in Mr. Flotie’s pocket with his “Just the violations, Sir” rhethoric. Hen Island’s only appearance to defend itself was interrupted by Joe “Friday” Sack because Hen Island’s lawyer was giving the council relevant backround. Why would Joe “Friday” Sack be so inclined to stop Hen Island’s attorney?

    What is also revealing is Mr. Tartaglione was cited for propane violations. This is the guy who knows all the propane codes, they’re posted on healtheharbor, and he still was cited. WHY?? He still collects rainwater and dumps his sewage into a sess pool. He is the President of healtheharbor! Is he purposely making sure he is cited for violations? Does he seem like he’s making a good faith effort to lead by example? It may be in his best interests to make sure he is cited for future violations. Pathetic.

  37. There are no Hen Island Association requirements that you catch rainwater on Hen Island. There are no requirements that you put your sewage in a sess pool. You are free to bring potable water out from the mainland and use either composting toilets or chemical toilets for sewage. Your also free to make trips to the marina to relive yourself if you so desire. Mr. Tartaglione has chosen neither of the above alternatives. He chooses to complain about something he could easily take responsibility for and change. He has chosen NOT to set an example of someone taking responsibility for his own life.

  38. I went to the Rye website and watched the Council meeting again. It is clear that Tartaglione is disappointed that the first inspection in 2007 did not “shut the place down” as he hoped.

    Why would someone want their own vacation house shut down?

    I think the answer lies in the statements made by the Hen Island attorney. Tartaglione appears to have no sense of community and is carrying out a vendetta because his leadership was rejected by the majority in the past. He wants the island his way or no way. If he truly feels that change is needed, he should work in cooperation with his neighbors instead of suing them and attacking them publically. I am glad that he is not my neighbor.

    It was telling to hear that he complained about a dilapidated house and then sued the person who spent the money to rebuild it.

    It is also telling that all this money is being spent by Heal the Harbor to attack one community in one harbor and make no mention of any other enviornmental issues. The motivation is clear as day, and it certainly isn’t enviornmental.

    Finally we get to hear the other side of the story. The other residents who spoke made it clear that they have no problem clearing up the violations issued and are not the careless polluters that they are made out to be.

    It is a shame that MyRye only wants to tell one side. How much is Mr. Floatie paying MyRye for their obvious bias?

  39. YOU ARE ALL NUTS!!! IF these law biding people are so eager to do the right thing maybe they should have done so a long time ago. Do you actually think they needed Ray or the City of Rye to point out the obvious. I’ll bet the house that their permanent residence tells a different story!
    What was that word of the night….oh ya- PRESTINE!!! They were caught with their hand in the cookie jar & that is the ONLY REASON they are so willing. How come no one is pointing out that these people do not live in Rye as you were so eager to point out that Ray doesn’t??? That woman that spoke said she lives in Tuckahoe! Why don’t you jump all over that? Pictures tell the story! I wouldn’t let my family anywhere near a place that looks like what is portrayed in those pictures. Why didn’t the Lawyer dispute those photos???

  40. I don’t care about Ray and his reasons. But If you live on Hen Island and your crap goes in the Sound. You should fix it.

    You choose to get rid of your outhouse and update to a bathroom. You should comply with codes like the rest of us.

    Don’t whine about other polluters that pollute more then you. You’re just admitting that you pollute.

  41. Wealluse,
    It’s called circling the wagons.
    Could not agree more….
    Whatever Ray’s agenda – GUILTY is GUILTY!!!
    I guess they think they should fly under the radar because it’s a part time gig! A bunch of stuck up cry babies who would not dream of living in those conditions year round. They are only kiddn themselves!!! I have not personally been on Hen Island, why would Ray invite the world to see a lie! No doubt he is not wasting his time. I don’t see those Hen Island Ray Haters inviting any one to show the opposite!!! mmmm I wonder why???
    Mr.Curloss is a straight shooting guy,I’m sure he saw just what Ray has stated all along. Mr.Johnson said he doesn’t even know if those propane tanks are full! Why Not Mr.Johnson??? You would subject your family & friends to such dangers…shame on you! And if they are empty why are they still there???

  42. Where did the City Council say anything about polluting? Are they even in a position to comment on pollution? There is no proof of “crap” from hen island going into Long Island Sound.
    Lets remember that there are no permant homes on the island, and the marina is open from April to October so lets call that 30 week of POTENTIAL use. Now lets assume some of the “stuck up cry babies” on hen island have jobs.. thats 60 days a year of use.

    Movin on.. your point of you never being on Hen Island speaks volumes.. please be somewhat educated on the topic before posting. There is a annual pick up and drop off for the propane tanks and its somewhat difficult (read impossible) to tell if a tank is full or empty by looking at a picture. Your post begs the question… Do you have shrubs next to your house? What are YOU going to do to eliminate that fire risk??

  43. No Shrubs here dude. At least not ones that should be removed.
    BTW-Accidents,Tragedies,Mis-Haps,etc. DO NOT TAKE DAYS or WEEKS….. IT ONLY TAKES A SECOND!
    I will tell you this….I am damn sure going to make sure those propane tanks are properly,stored,used,removed,or what have you before I put my loved ones @ risk!!!
    Like I said… PICTURES TELL A THOUSAND WORDS!!! I never said you can tell if a tank was empty or full from a picture…I said you should know!!!!

  44. TEDC.. i have no idea if that photo has been doctored but if i drew 2 signs and pointed them at the ground making a accusations would you just blindly believe them?

    Movin on… your shrubs are fire proof? Everybody knows which tanks are full or empty when your trying to move them. I am sure Mr Johnson would agree with that.

    My point on overall usage was with regards to the amount of waste going through the septic systems on the island.

  45. Did you update and put a bathroom in? Did you have a permit? If you did, you would be subject to building codes that would force you to install a compliant septic system. Not a hole in the ground. Otherwise your in violation of city and county codes.

    I don’t care if you use it once a year. Doesn’t change the facts.

    I’m sure it’s not for shrubs next to the house. It’s for dead shrubs and other debris that are a fire hazard.

    You already had a propane fire on the island.

  46. We Have a Problem

    Would you agree that people should be praised for doing the right thing? Of course. Would anyone deny that the “right thing” should be done at the outset? No. Yet that is the very point the Rye City council (for the most part) and the Westchester County Health Department continue to avoid.

    Rye City Council and Mayor Health- and building-code violations on Hen Island reported two years ago … The gallimaufry of missteps and tug-of-war that has been the Schubert case for three years and counting … The big issue is not that wheels have finally been set in motion to address these problems, the point is that the mayor and the city council (for the most part) still refuse to admit they should have investigated these problems thoroughly in the first place. We have a problem.

    When pressed recently by outraged Rye residents as to why both matters weren’t acted upon sooner, Mayor Otis said, “we were misinformed.” One council member laid blame at the feet of former city manager Paul Shew. Mr. Shew’s share of opprobrium is well earned, but he didn’t act alone: no city manager does. And Mayor Otis also opined with respect to the Schubert case, that an investigation, at the time, might have incurred an expense that could have jeopardized the city’s AAA bond rating! So — bond rating first, problem solving — optional. Got it. We have a problem.

    It’s time for every voter in Rye to realize that the childish expedient of taking the easier, less costly route in the short term will usually be more troublesome and expensive in the long run. And it has. Remember that this November. Meanwhile, Rye residents are still waiting for the council and mayor to admit that there are problems with their philosophy of governing. As one frustrated attendee at the April 15 meeting remarked to Mayor Otis, “I’m appalled by the lack of answers.” We have a problem.

    Westchester County Department of Health
    Allegations of serious health and safety issues on Hen Island were brought to the county’s Department of Health in August 2007. At that time, Ron Gatto, the county’s eminent lead investigator saw conditions serious enough to warrant, “closing the island down.” Shortly afterward, he was removed from the Hen Island case. His successor, the county’s Deputy Health Commissioner, Leonard Meyerson has denied that any problems exist on Hen Island. Here is another local government twisting and turning to avoid facing the issue. We have a problem.

    Then as now, serious conditions do exist on Hen Island. On April 8, 2009, subsequent to citing the owners of Hen Island for various health and building code violations, the city of Rye sent a letter to Westchester County asking that it review those Hen Island health code violations under its jurisdiction. As of April 20, Westchester County has not responded. Why? Let’s hope that they will shortly.

    Do the Right Thing — First

    City and county governments are elected to investigate and solve problems right from the start. When a government’s first response is to shun that responsibility, all of us have something to investigate. As one intrepid Rye city council member recently asked with respect to an investigation, “The question isn’t, why shouldn’t we do one, but why wouldn’t we want to have one?” That’s the way to start solving problems.

    Where do I start……
    CITY MANAGER(corrected)
    RTA…BIG TIME-this ones just gettn started

  48. RyeLifer –

    Morons like yourself (who have their head so far up their ass they can see what they ate for lunch) belong on the list.

  49. Scooter,
    I can always see what you ate for lunch. I can see everything inside of you. I can even see that you are all bound up. (That is not good Scooter) Here is a little song for you to sing along with to “relieve you”:


    And after you are done with the song and the video here is a little Floatie fact about manure that you may find interesting.

    In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer’s invention, so large shipments of manure were common.
    It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a
    lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen.
    Methane began to build up below decks and the first
    time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!
    Several ships were destroyed in this manner before
    it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term ‘Ship High In Trans it’ on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.
    Thus evolved the term ‘ S.H.I.T ‘, (Ship High In Transport) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day, even when reference is made to your head.

  50. OKAY, I’LL Buy into the Culross thing. I’m still very baffled with the Judge Lane thing? How or Why would he fit on such a INFAMOUS LIST?
    Scooter, You are so right, I can see what I ate for lunch,
    I just haven’t finished chewing you up and spitting you out yet!!!
    Mr.Floatie I am a big fan of yours and just love the last paragraph!!! How about you Scooter,wasn’t it GRAND?

  51. Mayor Otis Regrets (He’s Unable to Help Today) … The Rye city council headed by Mayor Otis is still refusing to write violations for: the unlawful, unsanitary handling of raw sewage, and the unlawful, unhealthy collection of potable water on Hen Island. Why? The mayor claims it’s not Rye city’s responsibility but Westchester County’s even though Hen Island is located in Rye. The County, under the head-in-the-sand guidance of Deputy Health Commissioner Lenny Meyerson, claims, “no problems exist.” These problems are real (it was a Westchester County inspector who determined conditions were so bad as to warrant closing the island two years ago).

    Laws exist to deal with them. And (given the childish stance taken by the county) it’s Rye’s responsibility to do so. The city council did make a start: After learning that it had been misinformed by city manager Paul Shew about conditions on Hen Island, the city council admitted it had made a mistake and finally sent inspectors there. This spring inspectors issued violations to Hen Island homeowners for: improper storage of propane tanks, illegally installed water heaters, and non-compliant solar heating systems.

    So why don’t mayor Otis and this city council face up to their obligation to Rye residents and continue to enforce the law? Elected officials may — if they choose — opt not to enforce the laws. This is called discretionary enforcement.

    Undoubtedly, there’s a time and a place where such “discretion” is appropriate. But the Hen Island untreated sewage and contaminated potable water issues don’t fall under that category. The council seems to be exercising its discretionary enforcement of law against the populace. Can their choice not to enforce the law be in the best interest of the people? Hardly. And Rye residents should be made aware of it.

    What can you do? If politicians don’t act responsibly where discretionary enforcement is concerned, your only recourse is to make a stand in the voting booth. Please remember this November 3rd to vote out those council members running for reelection: Mayor Steve Otis and Andy Ball. And remind the other members of the council — George Pratt, Catherine Parker, Paula Gamache, Mack Cunningham, and Joe Sack — that you want health and sanitary laws enforced. Don’t support elected officials who won’t fix real problems. The Rye city council may wash its hands of this situation under the guise of discretionary powers. Please remind them that just because they don’t have to do what’s right doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.

    Ray Tartaglione

  52. The Better Part of Discretion — Responsibility
    People should understand that elected officials may — if they choose — opt not to enforce the laws. This is called discretionary enforcement. Undoubtedly, there’s a time and a place where such “discretion” is appropriate. The Hen Island untreated sewage and contaminated potable water issues don’t fall under that category.

    Give Credit …
    The Rye city council did send its inspectors to Hen Island. After more than two years of denying that serious conditions existed, the city at last acknowledged the problems and this spring wrote violations to Hen Island homeowners for: improper storage of propane tanks, fire hazards, improperly installed solar systems, faulty structural problems ect..ect…ect… Hen Island homeowners are complying.

    But not for Jobs Half Done…
    The city council, headed and directed by Mayor Otis, is still refusing to write violations for:
    the unlawful, unsanitary handling of raw sewage, and the unlawful, unhealthy collection of potable water. Hen Island homeowners are not addressing these issues because no violations have been written.

    The mayor claims it’s not Rye city’s responsibility but Westchester County’s. The County has disclaimed jurisdiction for sanitary conditions on Rye’s Hen Island effectively dumping the problem back in the lap of Mayor Otis. Why doesn’t this city council face up to its obligation to its residents? These problems are real and laws exist to deal with them.

    The council seems to be exercising its discretionary enforcement of law against
    the populace. Can their choice not to enforce the law be in the best interest of
    the people? Hardly. And Rye residents should be made aware of it.

    What can you do? If politicians don’t act responsibly where discretionary enforcement is concerned, your only recourse is to make a stand in the voting booth. Please remember this November to vote out those council members running for reelection: Mayor Steve Otis and Andy Ball. And remind the other members of the council — George Pratt, Catherine Parker, Paula Gamache, Mack Cunningham, and Joe Sack — that you want health and sanitary laws enforced. Don’t support elected officials who leave important jobs half done.

    The Rye City Mayor may wash his hands of this situation
    under the guise of discretionary powers. Please remind
    him that just because he don’t have to do what’s right
    doesn’t mean he shouldn’t. Please pass this on to anyone
    from Rye that may be interested and please don’t vote
    for Steven Otis in Rye on November 3rd.


  53. Chris,
    Personally I could care less about the real estate values on Hen Island. Some of the Islanders applaud my efforts regardless of how it effects the values and some of them agree that the problems should be address but don’t approve of the way in which I am bring attention to the issues.

    Last year my home on the Island was vandalized on three occasions, my boat was vandalized twice and also cut loose from it mooring twice, once sustaining over 24 thousand dollars in damages and the other over eight thousand. I am not even going to address the thousands in damages to my cars. The Board of Directors tries to pretend they are a community that is concerned for the environment, Milton Harbor and their neighbors. In actuality they are only interested in keep their cost as low as possible. They want to use the Island and take no responsibility for the environment, the safety of the residents or their actions. Their answer to the problems is we have lived this way for the past fifty eight years so why should we change now.

    The sad part is that the past administrations have been enablers and they allowed this to continue day after day, year after year. There has been a lot of movement in the right direction but it has been an up-hill battle. We now have a Mayor that is saying that if you commit crimes against nature it is not Rye’s responsibility, it is Westchester County’s problem. Isn’t that a shame?

  54. “The sad part is that the past administrations have been enablers and they allowed this to continue day after day, year after year. ”

    Did you consider yourself “aiding and abetting” when you served as the President of the board just a few short years ago? Did your workers spray pesticides on the island without licenses before the corporation stripped you of the presidency ,threw you off the board and banned pesticide use on the island? Is the act of spraying pesticides in a wetlands without licenses criminal? Licensed pesticide sprayers are required to keep a record of what pesticides they spray, where they spray them and when they sprayed them. Did you know that? Ever hear of the term “psychological projection”?

  55. I was president in 2001. At that time the Board of Directors did implemented a mosquito control program. I did support that project but only after another board member and I attended a mosquito control educational program given by Clark Mosquito Control. This was the same classes attended by most of the municipalities in Westchester County. Clark is also the same company that Westchester County contracted with to handle mosquito control during the height of the WNV epidemic. To date they are still under contract in a number of sound shore communities. I think that was and still is the responsible thing to do. Maybe you are not aware of a few facts that I would like to make you aware of;

    1. Rye has been one of the first communities in Westchester testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) year after year. That being said, I feel Rye should be a leader in mosquito control. Rye should also pay close attention to the failures of the Hen Island community to control mosquitoes as Hen Island is also responsible for much of the mosquito discomfort in Greenhaven and Milton Point.

    That does not mean spraying. Spraying should always be the last alterative (and I emphasize last) in any good mosquito control program.

    2. The first and best defense against WNV is to remove all standing water. Hen Island cannot remove standing water because each home needs to store water for its domestic use. And store water they do, to the tune of 1000 gallons per cottage. Times 33 cottages equals 33000 gallons of stored water on Hen Island.

    Not only does the stored water encourage the growth of the mosquito population but it also threatens the safety of our residents because the water is collected from rooftops where the birds defecate. This is the water Hen Islanders use for personal hygiene and bathing, washing kitchen utensils, dishes, ECT…

    3. In 2001 at the height of the WNV epidemic, some of the Board members were encouraging residents of Hen Island to bury dead birds rather than report them to the Health Department. The first Board member making that suggestion that comes to mind happens to be the mother of Mayor French’s neighbor, Lorraine Volpe. Mayor French visited Hen Island at the request of the Volpe’s before the election. But he has refused to visit when I asked him to tour the Island with me and observe the leaking septic systems. Interestingly enough to date, Catherin Parker has been the only council person concerned enough to take a tour.

    Additionally a representative from Clark Mosquito Control drove from Mass. to Rye to address the stockholders and educate them in mosquito control, only to be ban from the meeting by the Board of Directors.

    4. Part of the test mosquito control program implemented in 2001 on Hen Island included the installation of bat and bird houses, the purchase and use of mosquito magnets, the encouragement of residents to purchase sealed water storage tanks, regular lawn maintenance never before required on Hen Island just to mention a few. The test spraying was done first with regular household garlic and finally a larvacide that is still used by the city of Rye today. Personally I wouldn’t care if you caught the mosquitoes with chop sticks. But to do nothing and try to pretend that Hen Island doesn’t have the most serious infestation in Westchester County, is what is criminal.

  56. Ever see this link?


    It’s what happens when people run around thinking they know what they’re doing when in fact they don’t know their ass from their elbow.

    You write “The test spraying was done first with regular household garlic and finally a larvacide that is still used by the city of Rye today ….. But to do nothing and try to pretend that Hen Island doesn’t have the most serious infestation in Westchester County, is what is criminal. ”

    Larvacides are hazardous to marine life and wild life. Are you saying that your test spraying of pesticides without proper credentials and training is not criminal but pretending there are no mosquitoes on Hen Island is? WTF? Great. Why are you putting larvicides on the ground that wash into the Sound when you claim the biggest problem is the water tanks? That doesn’t make sense. Why not just ask your neighbors if they bleached their tanks ? Instead , are you saying you unconditionally applied larvicides? The lobsters disappeared around Hen Island during the times you were performing test sprays. Additionally, no one has ever claimed there were no mosquitoes on Hen Island. To do so would get you blank stares considering half of Hen Island is saltwater marshland. The problem is you didn’t do your due diligence and obviously the Hen Island life isn’t for you. If your afraid of a tiny little mosquito you shouldn’t be on Hen Island.

  57. You’ve got to be kidding me. A self proclaimed environmentalist is applying pesticides at the waters edge on the LI Sound? No environmentalist would ever advocate chemical solutions to a natural habitat like Milton Harbor. I don’t care if you drink bird feces or not, I don’t want to swimming in your larvacides as they wash in to Milton Harbor or witness the extermination of any of the wildlife that I observe every time I use Milton Harbor. What the hell is going on?

  58. I am not sure if “anybody cares” but I thought you may find this article in today’s Journal News interesting seeing as Hen Island is home to Westchester County’s worst mosquito infestation on record.


    Read the last paragraph of the Letter from the City of Rye’s building inspector where he acknowledges Hen Island’s Mosquito infestation.


    There is also a Face book page for West Nile survivors that you may be interested in viewing.

    FYI: It is a known fact kids and seniors are among the highest risk group.

    America / Hen Island “Thank Mayor Doug French”

  59. One person out of 20 million metropolitan area residents contracted West Nile last year. I think most people should be worried about ticks this year instead of foolishly devoting all their worries to harmless mosquitoes.

  60. GBA,
    The reason you keep getting inspections on Hen Island is because the inspectors keep covering up the truth. Meyerson was fired from the County Health Department for his part in the Hen Island cover-up. Now Pick-up and French are filling his shoes and referring to his reports to back up the cover-up.

    Maybe the tables are turning and we can finally put this matter to bed. Maybe we can have a criminal investigation into why and who is responsible for the entire Hen Island cover-up and why it went on so long? If you start looking it’s not hard to figure it out.

    I am trying to limit my post to one a day because you guys are really over the top. You can see the panic in your posts. Try some zanax; it might help to bring the anxiety levels down. While you are at it, if you could send some over to your attorney “Ira Goldenboy” I heard the anxiety levels have risen there also. It seems the $400.000.00 + you paid him to allow the pollution to continue is looking like a waste of money. (Boy that was a cash cow for him.) Got milk?????

    Since you feel that everything is Ok out there, can you tell me when you will be fixing the below:

  61. @Ray Tartaglione

    Please stop lying. You know, and I know, that Hen Island has approvals for everything they have out there dating back to at least 1989. All the septic systems were approved by people who served the Rye community a generation ago. Lenny Myerson was barely a twinkle in his mothers eye when the ALL the septic systems were approved by RYE and the Westchester BOH back in the early 90’s. Mr. Zef was the head of the Planning Commission when all this went down. You lie and tell RYE that there is some sort of coverup but if there is it goes back a generation. We all know now that this whole thing involves MONEY, INFLUENCE and CORRUPTION on YOUR part and George Latimer and has nothing to do with Hen Island. In fact, Hen Island may have more approvals for what they have out there than most residences in RYE. If there are any violations to be issued in the next inspection, it should be issued to George Latimer for CORRUPTION.

  62. GUILT: What is your problem??

    You call ME the most corrupt politician in New York? Are you nuts?

    I have no control over the DEC; I don’t tell Ron Gatto what to do.

    I have no “relationship” whatsoever to Hen Island or any of the people involved. I received two inquiries from two separate people out there, and I have asked the DEC if they were aware of the issue. They make the decision to investigate further or not.

    You are way out of line with your accusations. I’m doing the same job I do every day- asking and answering questions from constituents. You have every right to question me – but to jump to absurd conclusions and accusations?

    I read comments all the time from people I know like Ted Carroll, Charmian Neary, Bob Zahm, Jimmy Amico. They speak with passion, too, but they back up their statements with facts and they are confident enough to say their peace publicly. Whether I agree with them or not on any particular issue, I have great respect for them.

    In the last 72 hours, you’ve stayed anonymous, and said some awful things about me, and asserted all kinds of falsehoods about what I’ve done. I’ve been working for my Rye neighbors for a long time…

    Come out from behind your nom de plume, and we’ll have a real conversation.

  63. @ George,

    Good for you, very well said.

    You can forget about these clowns revealing themselves….COWARDS will always have 2 faces!!!

    We live in a society where some people can’t handle the truth, so what do they do, they become cowards and attack GOOD PEOPLE trying to do a good thing or the right thing!!!

    These people bashing you aren’t worth it, they are scared bc they know what is coming, I have been on the Island and what goes on out there is a DISGRACE, you defended yourself perfectly and “TRUTHFULLY”!!!

  64. I love the smell of troll spray in the morning. Especially when dispenced by people with integrity. Perhaps the curious riddle of Hen Island will finally be solved. But my expectations remain low. The powers that be have much invested in sinking a DEC visit.

  65. Ray…….Are you, as a summer cottage resident of Hen Island, also contributing to the Ira Goldberg defense fund ?…And, are you not also paying YOUR attorney, Mr. Glass to pursue your innane claims about Hen island?….I suspect I’d never see you at a casino….Or, if I did…you’d be the one betting $50.00 on the black and $50.00 on the red, hoping to win..mike johnson