Tag Archive | "2012"

Three Run For Two Open Seats on the Sag Harbor School Board

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By Claire Walla

There are two open seats on the Sag Harbor School Board this year, and current board members Walter Wilcoxen and Gregg Schiavoni are vying to keep them. However, a third contender has stepped in, making this election much more of a race.

Sag Harbor resident Tom Gleeson has been part of the Sag Harbor School District for the past five years. And this year, with his youngest daughter about to graduate from Pierson High School, he’s decided to make a run for the school board.

“Some people had asked me about running,” he said. “I come at things from a different perspective than some of the people on the school board now.”

Gleeson has a long history with the public school system, having been involved with every grade from kindergarten to 12th during his 33-year career, teaching history and philosophy, as well as physical education.

“For me, the most important part of education was always the kids,” he said.

While he’s not inclined to focus on any one issue just yet, saying that if he joins the board his first priority will be to learn the process, one issue Gleeson’s paid attention to in the past year is curriculum development.

It’s no secret that Gleeson was staunchly opposed to the International Baccalaureate (IB) program this year and last, when the board was still discussing the idea of bringing it into the district. Instead, he believed the district should have focused on developing a school-wide curriculum for all grade levels.

This is where he, Wilcoxen and Schiavoni differ.

“I basically want to continue supporting IB, make sure it gets instituted and gets a lot of support,” said Wilcoxen, former school board president who is running for his third term on the board.

Though the school board formally approved the district’s IB application this winter, Wilcoxen said implementing the program in the fall will require a lot of effort school-wide.

“I feel like the job’s not done,” he added.

The other issue Wilcoxen said he’d like to focus on is negotiating new teacher contracts.

“We need to come up with a new dynamic with the community,” he said. “I’d like everybody to be educated [on teachers’ salaries and benefits] so that we can discuss this from a place of knowledge, not this argumentative dynamic.”

Schiavoni, who was elected in the heat of teacher negotiations, agreed that the teachers’ contract discussions were crippling for the board.

“That took up an enormous amount of time,” he said. “It was a big stumbling block in terms of what we’ve been able to offer students.”

Schiavoni continued to say that his main impetus for running for his second term stems from the fact that the board has gained a lot of momentum since teachers’ contracts were finally settled.

Both he and Wilcoxen pointed to the board’s resolution to allow Pierson to move ahead with the IB program, as well as the implementation of a Pre-K program as very positive steps for the district.

“I feel like I owe it to the district to stay on,” said Schiavoni who currently has two kids in the district, both of them at Sag Harbor Elementary School.

Wilcoxen sent two children through the district, the younger of the two is just now finishing up college.

Gleeson retired from the public school system before moving to Sag Harbor and now works in the college admissions office at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst, N.Y. He also consults with students here in Sag Harbor on the college admissions process.

“I think Gregg [Schiavoni] and Walter [Wilcoxen] have done a very nice job,” Gleeson said of his opponents. “But, sometimes there’s a need for a new voice.”

Celebrate Earth Day Across the East End

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By Claire Walla

This coming Saturday, Christine Fetton will spend most of her waking hours at the Southampton Town transfer station in North Sea, doing what most people probably consider a most undesirable activity: monitoring trash.

As the director of waste management for Southampton Town, monitoring trash at the town’s transfer station, where she keeps an office, is a relatively routine role for Fetton. However, this Saturday is Earth Day, which means Southampton Town will be holding its annual Great East End Clean-Up (which runs through Sunday).

This time last year, Fetton said the town collected a grand total of 56 tons of garbage.

“I think we’re going to be a little busier this weekend than we are during normal weeks,” she said with a grin.

As in years past, the Clean Up will bring hundreds of East End residents to beaches and parks throughout Southampton Town for a conscientious environmental cleanse in the name of Earth Day, the one day out of the year when communities around the world make an effort to beautify their immediate surroundings.

In addition to the Great East End Clean Up, residents here will also be able to take part in a smattering of other nature-oriented events. The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center (on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike) will host a cleanup of its own at Sagg Main Beach from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, followed by an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The open house will not only include a Live Raptor and Animal Show at 1 p.m., but also a walking tour that requires nothing but your eyes and a working cell phone.

“You dial a number on your cell phone and it goes to a recording with information about that stop [on the nature walk],” said Nature Educator Lindsay Rohrbach.

Out in Montauk, Earth Day will be widely celebrated on Earth Day’s official date: Sunday, April 22. From 9 a.m. to noon, people will be invited to clean up areas around Edgemere Street (garbage bags will be available at the movie theater), and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. kids will be able to decorate reusable grocery bags at the Montauk Playhouse.

The emphasis on reusable bags is also a big part of this year’s town-sponsored events in Southampton. During the Great East End Clean Up, trash collectors will be asked to separate single-use plastic bags from the mix. According to Fetton, this accumulation of plastic will be used as data.

“This way we can work to establish a baseline of usage, which we can compare to next year’s numbers,” Fetton explained.

While the town voted against instituting an all-out plastic bag ban (like the one now in place in Southampton Village) earlier this year, it has embarked on an educational campaign, urging residents to limit their dependence on plastic.

This entire effort, called Greener Southampton: The Solution is in the Bag, will be kicked-off this Saturday, as well. Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera and Councilman Chris Nuzzi, in addition to the town’s Sustainability Coordinator Liz Plouff will be at the King Kullen Supermarket on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton from noon to 2 p.m. to discuss the environmental hazards of plastic bags. (Those shopping within that time frame who spend $10 or more at the store will receive a free reusable bag.)

Taking a momentary break from the plastics discussion, Plouff will also talk about the town’s Green Homes initiative, through which homeowners in the town of Southampton can request free audits on their home’s energy efficiency. She will also mention the town’s anti-idling campaign.

In the end, Fetton said there may only be one organized town-wide cleanup in Southampton, but she hopes this year’s educational efforts will have long-lasting effects.

“The key is continuing education,” she said.

While plastic bags may take center stage this year, Fetton said these educational efforts, which have branched out to civic associations and other community groups, try to incorporate all aspects of sustainability, from limiting the use of plastics to diminishing the number of idling vehicles.

“All of these issues mesh very well because they have a ripple effect for one another, and when you live more sustainably you reduce the amount of pollutants in the environment,” Fetton continued. “We have to get away from the mindset that Earth Day is just one weekend out of the year.”

Imagining the New Year in Color

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By Claire Walla

Tangerine Tango. It’s bold, it’s exciting; it’s probably one of those colors you either love or you hate. But whether you like it or not, Pantone has named this vibrant shade its official color of the year, which — considering the influence of Pantone, a widely regarded authority on color — means you’ll probably soon be seeing it in retail venues and storefronts across the nation.

When I told Pantone color forecaster Keith Recker I thought the color was fine, but, unfortunately, it was probably the least flattering color combined with my rather bland complexion, he seemed to understand.

“I know,” laughed Recker, whose skin has a similar pigmentation. “Who looks good in tangerine?”

We agreed that Tangerine Tango is a color you either have to have really dark features for or be super-pale to pull off.

“But that’s part of the message,” he continued. “We are operating on two extremes these days. It’s either super expensive, or it’s a bargain. You’re either on the left, or you’re on the right.”

For Recker, as well as the color professionals at Pantone who boldly predicted 2012 as the year of vibrant orange, selecting colors to characterize the entire year takes more than a hunch and intuition.

When selecting colors to represent a given year, Recker, who works from an office in the Loeffler building on Bay Street in Sag Harbor, begins far away from the color wheel. Instead, he gathers information from such sources as current events, hot topics, fashion trends and pop culture. In essence, he tries to take the pulse of the nation far in advance to get a good grasp of what the most prominent issues will be during the course of the year. To these trends and events he assigns emotion, and to these emotions he then attaches color.

For instance, Recker said this year will largely be defined by the 2012 election.

“This color talks to the heated debate we’ll be seeing in 2012,” he explained. “Tangerine Tango is definitely a warning, super-bright, keep-you-on-your-toes color.”

The bold, radical hue, Recker said, could “propel you into achieving more and being more inventive.”

(Just to clarify: Recker was not directly involved with selecting Tangerine Tango as the color of the year, but he stands by Pantone’s decision to single it out. As a color forecaster who works for companies, including Pantone, Recker himself puts together a more wide-ranging handful of color palettes for the year. But, tangerine just so happens to fit in with the gist of his own forecast.)

But if orange is not your thing, have no fear: 2012 is about duality. To better characterize this idea, Recker hand selected two unique color palettes for The Sag Harbor Express, each made up of color swatches culled from the comprehensive color forecast he submitted to Pantone for 2012.

The first palette — containing Tangerine Tango — is a collection of bright, bold, almost candy-coated colors representing the energetic, ambitious side of the year.

“It’s this idea of technology, innovation and moving forward,” Recker explained.

The colors themselves stem from what Recker referred to as “the primacy of technology” in our everyday lives.

“I’m much more conscious of the control technology has over me these days,” he said. “We’ve got all these things that are constantly offering news and stimulation, demanding response and attention, and the response loop is quite small; people want to hear back from you super quick. So, we are faced with on-screen colors most of the day.”

He noted that the fashion world is already broadcasting this message. From Christopher Bailey at Burberry and designer Paul Smith to Ralph Lauren, Recker said spring and summer collections are already featuring bold, brilliant colors.

To complement this message, however, Recker also put together a line of more muted tones: a rich red wine color (which Pantone calls Red Plum), a mustard hue (which Pantone calls Arrowwood) and series of greys. These colors, he said, are about “staying calm, rooted, sensible and grounded.”

These shades have the characteristics of a color palette Recker initially modeled after the vibe of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“It’s more of an intellectual take, all the warm colors of leather book bindings — that’s where the Arrowwood comes from,” he explained. “It’s the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and really enjoying that.”

The idea behind this pair of palettes ultimately urges you to tow the line between being bold and creative, and calm and sensible. And according to Recker, we need both to move forward.

“Unless we make some bold, brilliant changes, what are we going to do?” he asks. “And if we don’t keep our feet on the ground and address some of the fundamentals we’ve really neglected we’re not going anywhere, either. We really need to be strong in both ways, and we need to move back and forth across the divide.”

Which brings us back to the color of the year. Still wondering how to incorporate Tangerine Tango into your life? Take a tip from Recker: he said he actually stepped out of his comfort zone and bought a jacket that definitely sits in the same vein as this vibrant orange hue. What’s more, he said he’s already worn it in public. Twice.

“I feel like a lollipop when I wear it,” he admitted. “But, you know what? I feel great. I have felt so vibrant and so on. Normally, I’d never… But, honestly, it’s felt really good to do something so out of my comfort zone.”

He continued, “For me, if you have to plan how to engage with these colors, just pick one and see how it goes. Get yourself a Tangerine Tango coffee mug and see if you don’t notice a difference. All it takes is one little thing. See what happens… you might like it.”