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Aug 13, 2014 9:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Petition Calls For Sister Jackie Memorial Sign In Water Mill To Remain

Aug 13, 2014 10:04 AM

An online petition is calling for a memorial sign honoring a nun who was killed on a Water Mill street to be reinstated.

The petition, titled “Keep the memory of Sister Jackie,” had received more than 1,200 online signatures as of Tuesday afternoon, after being posted on the petitions page of the political action website MoveOn.org last week and referenced in the comments section of 27east.com stories about the controversy that had arisen over the sign.

The petition—which, in fact, was reportedly created by a 27east.com commenter—asks that the street sign at the intersection of Rose Hill Road and Montauk Highway remain adorned with a blue memorializing sign dubbing the road “Sister Jackie’s Way,” as it had been for the 10 months. The sign commemorated the life of Sister Jacqueline Walsh, a Catholic nun who was fatally struck by a car on Rose Hill Road in 2012. The driver of the car fled the scene and has still not been caught.

The memorial sign was removed last week by Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor because the nuns who live at the Sisters of Mercy convent on the road asked him to take it down, after other residents of the road said they found the reminder of the grisly incident uncomfortable.

Mr. Gregor did not ask permission from the Town Board to dedicate the street before he put the sign up last fall. He maintains that he did not have to get permission, since it wasn’t officially renaming the street, which still bears the standard green Rose Hill Road sign at the intersection.

But town officials have said otherwise—and this week Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the Town Board would entertain proper proposals to dedicate the roadway.

“Anybody who wants can come to the Town Board and say, ‘Could you put this sign up in honor of this person,’” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “That would allow for the public hearing process and so forth. If it had happened that way from the beginning, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

After some area residents complained about the sign, the town supervisor’s office sent out a survey to 43 homeowners on the road asking if they minded the sign. Just 21 homeowners responded, but 17 of them said they would prefer that the sign be removed.

When Mr. Gregor refused to take it down, Parks Department employees removed it at the behest of the Town Board. But Mr. Gregor subsequently retrieved the sign and put it back up. Mr. Gregor took the sign down again after, he says, the nuns told him they didn’t like the negative attention it was generating.

The head-butting over the sign was picked up by News 12 and New York City newspapers, and later went national, even being discussed jokingly on the cable show “Chelsea Lately.”

The vast majority of those who clicked their support for the online petition appear to be from western Suffolk and Nassau County—and from as far away as Texas. Many have posted comments with their e-signatures that say they knew or were taught by Sister Jackie, who worked in a Syosset parish and was visiting the order’s convent in the Hamptons on a retreat when she was killed by the hit-and-run driver.

“Sr. Jackie was the most wonderful person in the world,” wrote Janice Boyd, from Plainview, on the petition. “She was a true gift from God. Please don’t take away the sign.”

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A day late and a dollar short.

Worried Alex Gregor might take her on in next year's Supervisor's race? Worried about the Catholic constituency she has angered?

Exactly what section of the Town Code sets forth the manner in which street memorializing signs are processed?

And why is the Supervisor's July 15 periodic campaign finance report still not filed with the State Board of Elections? Are checks being returned to certain donors? Returned checks must still be reported ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Aug 13, 14 11:53 AM
"The petition—which, in fact, was reportedly created by a 27east.com commenter—"

And people say that nothing good comes from these comment sections. Pure poppycock. Thanks to whoever started it.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 13, 14 11:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
Where did the Registered owner of the car reside ?.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Aug 13, 14 3:34 PM
There are two sides to the Sister Jackie sign situation but because Superintendent Gregor likes to do things on his own a negative situation has developed which didn't need to occur. As outlined in the article the proposal should have been discussed at a town board meeting with both sides presenting their positions after which our elected officials would make a decision. Another example of Superintendent 's Gregor power trip is the controversy over the Bridge Lane bridge. Here Mr Gregor sought an ...more
By Stolzr (11), Bridgehampton on Aug 13, 14 4:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
The vehicle owner resides on Rose Hill Road.

There is no provision in the Town Code with regard to Memorializing Signs. In fact there is one in Hampton Bays which to my knowledge never underwent any Board procedure.

The Supervisor should have the Town Attorney draft said procedure and then schedule a public hearing on the acceptability of the procedure.

As for the Bridge Lane Bridge. You neglect to point out that using federal grant funds require that the bridge meet ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Aug 13, 14 4:49 PM
1 member liked this comment

When the teflon fails and is followed by 2 weeks of negative press (internationally btw), its time to go turn on the spin machine.

The Supervisor could have held a public hearing rather than send out a biased letter if that was truly her concern.

As for the kool aid gang our elected Town Councilpersons have become, well, sure haven't heard much from a single one of them.

Unfortunately for the spin misters, the good people of Southampton recognize spin ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Aug 13, 14 5:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Again all I am saying is that the Superintendent should seek out some community comment before putting up street signs (and getting the nuns involved in a controversy) and spending government money (with all it's restrictions as you point out) on a bridge which has been the center of past controversies without having a discussion with the residents living closet to the project. To be honest this lack of community sensitivity makes me think he is better suited to be a superintendent. not a supervisor.
By Stolzr (11), Bridgehampton on Aug 13, 14 5:01 PM
Let me suggest you add to your summer reading list

"Profiles in Courage" by John F. Kennedy.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Aug 13, 14 5:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Progressive Principles" by Theodore Roosevelt, perhaps?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 14, 14 12:08 AM
The issue, according to Mr Pia Lindstrom, is that visitors ask why there is a blue sign atop the Rose Hill Road street sign. He then has to explain about the hit and run which occurred on the road, which makes people all frowny.

How about this instead?

"Say, how come there's a blue sign above the green sign and it says something about a Sister Jackie?"

"Oh, there's a retreat for nuns on this street and the sign is just in honor
of one of the nuns who passed away. ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 13, 14 11:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
Dirty martini?

My dear, of course you know that one prefers it shaken not stirred, neat and up, in a chilled glass with a twist over (not in)?

Hasn't it bean a GLORIOUS summer?

Ta dah, cheerio . . .

We are off to The Club.

What what . . .

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Aug 14, 14 3:02 PM
No, no. We MUST have olive oil in our martini. Olive oil makes it healthy in a Mediterranean sort of way. Good for the blood vessels and the colonic pathway. And calling it a Dirty Martini sounds naughty, which makes it all wink-wink, know what I mean, eh? Eh?
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 21, 14 10:53 PM
It's tough to explain that the illegal that used to cut their grass killed a nun and the owner of the company aided the fugitive out of the country.
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Aug 14, 14 2:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
"""""It's tough to explain that the illegal that used to cut their grass killed a nun"""""

ALLEGEDLY killed a nun. He never stood trial, because someone wanted him to escape. Why? Perhaps the illegal was not driving the car after all. Maybe someone else was driving the car, and the illegal was paid a lot of money to take the blame, then helped to escape the country so he wouldn't make a mistake under questioning.
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 21, 14 11:00 PM
"Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple."

~ Barry Switzer
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 14, 14 6:38 PM
Stolzr take your arrogant attitude back to the city. Are you really worried about the 100 bucks spent for a street sign. Or are you worried about those dreadful Christian Nuns who devoted their lives to helping humanity. Its ironic that the Nuns residence is surrounded by a street filled with businessman who rob peoples savings under the heading of "financial experts".
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 17, 14 12:43 PM
Now suppose we wanted to see whether any of those Rose Hill Road folks tossed some contribution money over to the Supervisor's Campaign Finance Committee, ya know kinda like a pay to play (oops pay to remove) donation. See we go to the State BOE website to see what the July 2014 Financial Disclosure Report looks like.

But here it is over a month beyond the filing deadline and what do we see? We sure don't see any transparency. Nope. And we sure don't see a filing for July 2014. Isn't ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Aug 19, 14 12:41 PM
The Sisters, who qualify as Sister Jackie's family, have said they don't want the sign. The other residents of Rose Hill Road have said they don't want the sign. Still, these 1200 petitioners, mostly from outside the community (much less the neighborhood), and various others with various axes -- political and otherwise -- to grind, are still trying to impose an unwanted sign on this street.

When will it stop? How many other groups who actually live on the street have to say they don't ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Aug 20, 14 9:54 PM
Nice try George.

However, the Sisters didn't say they did not want the sign. They said the neighbors were treating them poorly due to the sign and therefore they asked that the sign be removed.

In essence the Sisters showed far more compassion for the neighbors than the neighbors did for the Sister and the memory of Sister Jackie.

The behavior of the elected officials clearly has not marked them for inclusion on any updates of "Profiles in Courage".

It is sad ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Aug 21, 14 9:23 PM
2 members liked this comment