© THE LONG ISLAND ADVANCE - September 9. 2010, p. 22
Visit the Long Island Advance
Honor history and cut the grass
There's no doubt that Brookhaven Town's Parks Department has their hands full In November 2008, when the Long Island Advance did a story on the Fire Place History Club and their quest to get help in maintaining their historic gravesites, a statement was issued that the parks department was responsible for maintain- ing 114 cemeteries in addition to 200 ball fields, more than 100 parks and other recreational facilities.
That being said, this local Brookhaven group who are fighting to keep the area's historically significant stamp evident, attempted many different ways to work things out with the town so that they didn't have to haul lawnmowers in their cars to preserve the gravesites of significant Revolutionary War participants as well as founding families. All they wanted was some help twice a year at 10 gravesites; they received help at one of them.
We are told that after a while, phone calls were not returned and there was no communication on the parks department end. We can't speak for the parks department on this because they haven't responded to our request to hear their side.
So the Fire Place History Club filed an Article 78, via Bellport resident and lawyer Reggie Seltzer known for her pro bono work when she feels passionate about a cause—she did about this. Seltzer takes American history classes at Stony Brook University and is aware, as are Fire Place History Club members, of our significant heritage.
Acknowledging history doesn't just entail attending parades. When you tour Europe, there are ancient cemeteries tended and still standing, not to mention statues, walls from Roman times, plaques and other reminders of moments in time that will never be Seen again but Were important nevertheless in creating a country.
Also, people made sacrifices. Those aren't just headstones. These folks whose bodies are in- terred underneath, migrated here, faced a land- scape that was basically woods and animals, didn't know if they were going to live through a philosophy that became a mantra, a war, and then a democratic example for most of the world.
Councilwoman Connie Kepert said basically, it would have been nice if this could have been worked out in the fust place and agreed with the court ruling. Now the town must mow the lawns of these gravesites, which do have right of ways, three times a year.
The Fire Place History Club only asked for that support twice a year. .