Tag Archive | "Amagansett"

Surf Benefit for Disabled

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The crowd at the first annual ONCE surf benefit in memory of Sax Leader. Photo courtesy of Jacqui Leader.

The first annual ONCE surf benefit for the learning disabled was held at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett on September 6 in memory of Sax Leader, who died nine months ago.

Mr. Leader loved the ocean and  cared very much for people who are mentally challenged, the saxleaderfoundation stated in a release. “We believe he would have loved seeing professional surfers donating their time to take a person with special needs out on a surf board ONCE in their lifetime.”

People donated $30 to sponsor a surfer, and friends and family cheered on the surfers and their students.

All proceeds from the event will go toward sending a person with drug, alcohol or depression issues to counseling at a reputable drug rehabilitation center.

For further information or to help support the effort, visit saxleaderfoundation.com or call (631) 678-7560.

East Hampton Calls for Volunteers for Beach Cleanup

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The East Hampton Town Recycling and Litter Committee announced this week that it will participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day this Saturday, September 20.

The program asks volunteers to come out and clean up any local beaches while recording the types of trash found on the beaches, according to a press release from Councilwoman Sylvia Overby on September 16.

“This information will help the Conservancy collect and analyze data that will raise awareness, identify debris hotspots of unusual trash events and can help communities adopt policies that will work towards cleaner oceans,” the release read.

Garbage bags and disposable gloves will be supplied by the town of East Hampton; anyone interested in participating can pick up free bags and gloves and a data collection form from Town Hall through Friday, September 19. Volunteers can leave full trash bags by town garbage cans on Saturday and they will be picked up by the parks department.

Volunteers who document their day of cleanup on Saturday are asked to e-mail them to soverby@ehamptonny.gov so they can put on the town’s website. For more information about the Ocean Conservancy’s Coastal Cleanup Day, visit oceanconservancy.org.

 

CfAR Cheers Beach Access Ruling; But Suit Still Alive

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By Mara Certic

After almost five years in court, a decision has been made on two lawsuits filed against the East Hampton Town Trustees and the Town Board, determining that beachfront homeowners on Napeague do not own the stretches of beach in front of their houses.

In September 2009, home- and business-owners along the southern side of Napeague filed two separate suits against the town, claiming to own the ocean beach in an effort to prohibit vehicles from driving on it.

The first of the suits, named the “Seaview” case was filed by several Napeague homeowners associations claimed owners of oceanfront property owned a 4,000-foot stretch of beach along the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Trustees, who have jurisdiction over most town beaches. In a decision dated September 3, 2014, New York State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo found that the homeowners do not have jurisdiction over the area between the beach grass and the high-water marks.

Affectionately and quite appropriately known as “truck beach,” the area has for years been popular with local families who access it in four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Soon after the lawsuit was filed, a grassroots, not-for-profit organization called Citizens for Access Rights (CfAR) was formed in order to oppose the privatization of East End beaches. CfAR, which is not affiliated with any political parties, raised thousands of dollars over the years in order to support the Trustees in the lawsuit.

White Sands Motel Holding Corporation filed another suit with the same claim over a smaller stretch of beach in front of the motel, further east than the “Seaview” property.

“There’s some pluses and minuses for both sides,” Tim Taylor, the president of CfAR, said of the recent decisions on Wednesday. “There are two separate cases so there are two separate rulings.”

The judge handled the two cases at the same time, he said, because “the plaintiffs in those cases are looking for the same results.”

“They found in the Seaview case that the homeowners of the subdivisions do not own between the edge of the beach grass and the mean high water. They did not find on the White Sands case, that the town owns that beach, but they did find that the homeowners don’t own it in the Seaview case,” he said.

The White Sands decision rejected the town’s effort to have the suit dismissed by a summary judgment, which basically determines the suit to be without merit.

The court did not rule that the White Sands beach property was owned by either the Trustees or the motel, but merely determined that the ownership was unclear, Mr. Taylor said.

“Either way we do expect an appeal process on both sides and we would just really hope the town Trustees and the town board continue their fight of this case and we don’t lose sight of what’s at stake here. It’s not really an all-out win for either side,” Mr. Taylor explained.

Assistant East Hampton Town Attorney John Jilnicki said Monday that the town was in the process of reviewing the decision in order to figure out how to proceed. “We could appeal it and not let it proceed to trial, but I don’t think the decision’s been made yet,” he said. He added the town hopes to have made a determination within the next week or so.

The East Hampton Town Trustees did not return phone calls by the time of this paper’s publication. Their attorney, Anthony Tohill, said he was not prepared to comment on the decision on Tuesday.

David Lys, founder of CfAR, was asked in a 2011 interview with The Sag Harbor Express if he thought property owners would ever stop seeking to privatize beaches on the East End. “Will it ever end?” he was asked.

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will,” he said. “With the turnover rate in housing out here, and the monetary wealth combined with the fact we live in a litigious society, people will throw their money around and sue over something like this because it is the easiest course of action they can take.”

Just last week those proposing a members-only club at East Deck in Montauk called for an adjournment on the decision after outcry from the public. Over 5,000 people signed a petition calling for the East Hampton Town Planning Board to deny the application or require an environmental impact study. The Ditch Plains Association held a memorial paddle-out where hundreds of surfers mourned the potential loss of the family friendly beach.

ED40 LLC., owner of the motel, issued a statement saying a significant number of public comments had led them to offer the land to the board for public acquisition. Mr. Taylor had no comment on the potential purchase of the land but said, “We hope that no matter what happens there, the public has access to that beach. Whether it is purchased by the town or whether some sort of development does go through there, we would just like to see that the public is able to use and access this beach.”

PSEG Gets an Earful in East Hampton

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach, Jr., and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell listened to a presentation by Mike Voltz of PSEG and a public hearing at the East Hampton Emergency Services Building on Tuesday, August 26. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

There was hardly a spare seat in the house on Tuesday, August 26, for an informational session and public hearing hosted by the State Department of Public Services on PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 Long-Range Plan.

PSEG Long Island, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based PSEG, submitted the plan to the DPS on July 1, and almost immediately came under fire for failing to provide specifics about it as well as its decision to install 50-to-65-foot utility poles through portions of East Hampton Village last winter.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. wrote a joint letter to PSEG, asking that it hold a public meeting in East Hampton because the utility targeted the East End for major upgrades in the plan.

“We believe the Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan needs clarification, detail and public discussion, and we urge a public dialogue for this plan for the Town and Village of East Hampton,” they wrote.

“This is a time my office can hear you, your concerns and take it all into account,” said Julia Bovey, director the New York State Department of Public Services, who hosted the meeting.

And hear from people she did, with many people lining up to once again voice their objections to the installation of the poles.

“They’re an assault on our very core,” said town resident Elena Prohaska Glynn.  “We cannot afford to despoil the landscape. Remove them; bury those lines,” she said to much applause from the audience on Tuesday night.

The new poles have resulted in the creation of two organizations—Save East Hampton and Long Island Businesses For Renewable Energy, a stop-work order issued by the town and even a lawsuit.

Some wore bright orange Save East Hampton t-shirts with “Bury The Lines” written on the back. Many of the orange shirt wearers spoke not about the new plan, but about what they feel to be a more pressing issue: the danger and unsightliness of the new, taller poles in the village.

“It’s not only a matter of aesthetics, it’s a matter of life and death,” said Helen Mendez. “Be the company that you say you are, help us have green solutions. Do what’s safe, do what’s right and bury the lines.”

All three elected officials who spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting also called for the new lines to be buried, including State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

“They have been willing over and over again to tax themselves to protect the quality of life here,” he said of his constituents.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell also called for the lines to be buried, to thunderous applause.

Jeremy Samuelson, president of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, gave DPS and PSEG Long Island some “history.” He explained that the public meeting process prior to the installation of the taller poles left much to be desired. The process lacked any transparency or community engagement from the utility company, he said.

“You come back a year later, and you have to eat some crow,” he said to the representatives from the DPS and PSEG. “You guys got it wrong, so that’s the history.”

“The question is,” he continued, “are you going to be our partners in fixing this mess? This thing is an atrocity; I won’t sugarcoat it for you. So the question is: LIPA isn’t in charge anymore. Are you going to help us find the somewhere between $20 million and $30 million to fix this mess?” he asked.

Elected officials and environmentalists also seemed unsatisfied by the lack of consideration for the town’s existing policy. “With regard to the presentation: that is something we would like to see more of, alternatives to fossil fuels,” Mr. Thiele said.

“The town has adopted a very important and ambitious goal,” Mr. Cantwell said of East Hampton’s decision to power all of its community-wide electricity needs with renewable energy by the year 2020. “I would urge that the power sources on the South Fork be met with renewable energy sources,” he said.

Gordian Raacke, president of Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI) criticized the shortsightedness of the plan. “I know you will make sure that while PSEG may not be in the room anymore, they will hear our comments,” he said to Ms. Bovey—about 20 minutes prior to that, it had become apparent that Mike Voltz, the director of energy efficiency and renewables for PSEG Long Island, who gave an overview of the plan, had left the meeting in the middle of the hearing.

“The plan is not a 2.0 plan. At best it’s a utility 1.1. It’s more business as usual and fails to provide a vision for utility or the future,” he said. “Work with the Town of East Hampton, work with us to build a sustainable energy future and we’ll work with you.”

PSEG needs “to be a collaborator, not an opponent,” he added. “You need to propose a better plan.

The meeting kicked off with a presentation by Mr. Voltz, who tried to shed some light on the plan and presented a series of slides and bullet points.

Mr. Voltz discussed items on the five-year plan, including a call to spend approximately $60 million on energy saving steps over the next five years, including providing programmable thermostats to upward of 60,000 residential customers.

The plan also includes a four-year-long educational campaign, at a cost of $8 million, an energy efficiency expansion in the Rockaways, which was explained in great detail as well and a $15 million initiative that would aim to install 6,000 new advanced meters in hard-to-reach locations.

The information on South Fork improvements left much to be desired, according to some of those who spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting. In that section of Mr. Voltz’s presentation, he discussed plans to use solar energy, battery storage and programmable thermostats, and also discussed the need for new generators to boost electricity output during periods of peak usage in Montauk, and other places. “They’re very old,” Mr. Voltz said of the generators, “they’re getting worn out.”

East Hampton Wins $9.9 Million Federal Grant to Acquire Flood-Prone Properties

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Cantwell coastal erosion

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell visits the Napeague-Lazy Point neighborhood with a resident of Mulford Lane, Amagansett.

By Mara Certic

The Town of East Hampton announced on Tuesday, August 26, that is has been awarded a $9.9 million federal grant to purchase a number of properties in Amagansett in order to turn them into protective storm buffers.

According to a release, the money will go toward purchasing approximately 16 properties in the Napeague and Lazy Point area, on Mulford Lane and Bayview Avenue. Some of the properties are vacant lots and some are developed and owned by people who have expressed in interest in selling out.

The program will enable homeowners to voluntarily choose to move out of the high-risk waterfront area and also to protect and possibly restore the coastal floodplain, the town said.

“With the help of this grant, achieved with the support of the Nature Conservancy and the hard work of Kim Shaw of the Town Natural Resources Department, we can preserve building parcels that will otherwise be developed and eliminate existing development clearly vulnerable to erosion and future storms,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said.

Areas of Napeague are particularly narrow, and Route 27— which is the only road connecting Montauk and the rest of the town—has been breached by water in the past, most recently for a short time in October 2012, during Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Cantwell mentioned the very delicate stretch of land at a public hearing about PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan on Tuesday, August 26, when he called for an emergency energy plan for Montauk. “Montauk it 25 miles from here, it’s separated by some of the most fragile land areas,” he said. “It’s been breached more than once in our living history.”

Ms. Shaw, the town’s natural resources director, said, “We can look forward to this area being restored to natural conditions which will enhance water quality, wildlife habitat and floodplain resiliency.”

According to the town’s press release, land parcels with structures already on them will be cleared in order to put floodplain restoration efforts in place.

Director of the Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Nancy Kelley said

“The Nature Conservancy applauds the Town of East Hampton for bringing Sandy recovery funds to Lazy Point in Amagansett,” said Nancy Kelley, the organization’s Long Island director.

According to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery website, Congress approved roughly $60 billion in disaster aid for the states hit by Hurricane Sandy, with New York State expected to be allocated half of that total.

“Efforts like these,” she said, “as part of comprehensive plans to manage our coasts in the face of rising seas and excessive nitrogen pollution from wastewater, are vital to ensuring healthier and more resilient coastal communities across Long Island.”

A resident of Bay View Avenue for the past 30 years, Steve Graboski said the plan is “a good thing.”

“People will be able to reclaim the value from their properties,” he said. “The nor’easters are the storms that really affect us the worst. The erosion is like a chip-away effect, chipping away at the shoreline over the years.”

 

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 15 to 17

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"Pont de Tournelle" by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

“Pont de Tournelle” by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art, films, and alternative energy; there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend:

 

“Water 2014″ opens at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor on Saturday, August 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

The annual exhibition features contemporary and classic photography “depicting life in and around the most powerful force of nature,” said the gallery. Dan Jones, Karine Laval, Herb Friedman, John Magarites, Blair Seagram, Tulla Booth, Anne Gabriele and Jay Hoops will show their work at the gallery, which is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

 

Furthering on your water weekend, visit the Parrish Art Museum for the Maritime Film Festival, a 70-minute screening of short film selections, on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m.

The program includes a brief talk by artist Duke Riley, a live musical performance and a special sampling of Sag Harbor Rum.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.

 

Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the Hamptons International Film Festival presents “Last Days in Vietnam,” on Saturday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The documentary, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy,  follows United States soldiers during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, when the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

A question and answer session will follow the screening, which will be held at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call the box office at (631) 324-4050.

 

The East End Climate Action Network will host its first annual Sustainability and Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday, August 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett Village.

The event features exhibitions from leading companies in the sustainability and renewable energy fields, as well as informal lectures from energy and environment experts, local food and fun games and other activities for kids. Local artists will perform at the end of the day.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read "The Tempest" at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read “The Tempest” at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

There will also be opportunities to get involved in local sustainability and climate change efforts, including solar energy consultations, beach clean-ups and membership sign-ups for local environmental groups. For more information, visit Renewable Energy Long Island.

 

Celebrating the launch of The Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative, Bay Street Theater will present two outdoor staged readings of The Tempest starring Tony award-winner John Glover as Prospero, on August 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the first performance is a VIP benefit held on a private waterfront estate on Shelter Island. The evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails followed by a 7 p.m. reading, includes a reception with the cast.

Sunday’s reading, which is open to the community free of charge, also starts at 7 p.m. at a thus far undisclosed location. There will be bleacher seating, although guests are encouraged to bring chairs, picnics and blankets. The reading will take place as the sun sets, with the stars coming out as Mr. Glover reads Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.

For more information, call the Bay Street box office at (631) 725-9500.

Food Trucks: A Family Affair on the East End

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Laurie Trujillo-Mamay’s Hamptons Foodie truck at Sagg Main Beach on Monday. Photos by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

As August begins and the masses descend in full force upon the East End, it seems to take longer to do everything. Longer lines mean that the simple process of buying a picnic lunch to take to the beach can eat up a full hour of valuable Vitamin-D time. But entrepreneurial gastronomes are providing an option with affordable food trucks just steps from the dunes.

Laurie Trujillo-Mamay grew up in Southern California, where food trucks are a dime a dozen. She has never had any formal training but has fond memories of being young and vigilantly watching her mother’s every move in the kitchen. “I just love to cook,” she said. “I cook for my family and people always said that I should open something up.”

With rental prices through the roof, opening up an actual restaurant was not an option for Ms. Trujillo-Mamay. One day, a little over 10 years ago, Ms. Trujillo-Mamay saw a food truck for sale in Montauk and decided to look into the feasibility of opening up her own.

Now, her truck ,“The Hamptons Foodie,” is in its 10th year, and has been feeding beachgoers at Sagg Main Beach for the past six summers. Her menu changes and she is always coming up with new recipes, she said. She predominately makes what she describes as “food for foodies.”

Kale and vegetable dumplings are new to the menu this year, and her sesame noodles and fish tacos are also particularly popular. But then again, so are her burgers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. “There’s gotta be some things that you cater to everyone,” she said, adding that people often compliment her on her wide range of choices.

“It’s all about good food, friends and family,” she said, and she was not kidding. Not only have Ms. Trujillo-Mamay’s daughter, mother, niece and nephew all helped out in the truck at times, but this summer she has also employed two other groups of mothers and daughters to work in the truck on the busy weekends.

Family involvement is pretty common in the food truck business, it seems, if Montauk-mainstays The Beach Dog and The Ditch Witch provide any indication. The Ditch Witch, located near East Deck motel in Montauk, is the original alternative food truck and is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary this season.

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The Ditch Witch at Ditch Plains

Lili Adams has run the Ditch Witch since 1994, and her children both help her with the day-to-day operations, as do other local kids, year after year. A ceramic tip jar sculpted by local artist Maura Donahue has the words “college fund” taped onto it.

The Ditch Witch serves a range of sandwiches, wraps, and salads as well as a large selection of iced teas, coffees and other drinks. An extensive special menu changes over the season. Last week it included exotic options such as a bahn mi sandwich and Thai chicken wraps.

Pickier eaters can find a selection of hot dogs, grilled cheeses and nachos around the corner at the first parking lot at Ditch Plains. Sisters Jenna and Jaime Bogetti have worked in their grandfather’s food truck, “The Beach Dog,” for years. Jenna, now 24, recalls helping her grandfather, John Bogetti, out from the age of around 12. Mr. Bogetti was in a car crash in May, and so this year his granddaughters have been running the truck on their own.

“The Beach Dog” has been around for 25 years, according to Ms. Bogetti, but this year the girls are running the business out of their cousin’s truck, a grilled cheese truck aptly named “Beacheesy.” But the name shouldn’t fool anyone. Their menu is the same that it always has been and hot dogs are available with all the fixings every day it doesn’t rain.

One of the newest food trucks to the East End is the Purple Truck, owned and run out of Indian Wells Beach by best friends Kerri Wright and Kristen Walles. “Well, we’re family,” Ms. Walles said. The women met at basketball camp when they were 15 and “have been best friends ever since.” Ms. Walles had the idea of opening up a truck serving acai bowls after traveling to Hawaii with her boyfriend, Leif Engstrom, a professional surfer from Montauk.

“We talked about it a lot when we were Australia and we said we should definitely do it. And then we got back here and we said, no really let’s do it.” Ms. Wright said. As restaurants in the Hamptons began to focus more on healthy eating, Ms. Wright and Ms. Walles decided it was the right time to bring the anti-oxidant-filled Brazilian berries to the East End. Their very purple Purple Truck sells dairy-free smoothies and smoothie bowls topped with granola and fresh fruit every day. “We just thought people would love it,” Ms. Wright said.

Kerri Wright, left, and Kristen Walles, right, in the Purple Truck at Indian Wells Beach

Kerri Wright, left, and Kristen Walles, right, in the Purple Truck at Indian Wells Beach

“We don’t add anything else to it, we don’t add sugar,” she said, but added that their younger customers are fans of the Reeses bites and chocolate chips that they keep on hand in the truck.

Occasionally, Ms. Walles’s brother and father help them out, but usually the two girls run the show alone. “It’s easier for us because we understand each other without talking,” Ms. Wright said. “We just balance each other out and it’s good teamwork.”

All four of the trucks are at their spots every day (except during downpours,) during the summer season. On Friday, August 9, East Enders will get a chance to sample food from over a dozen food trucks from as far away as Manhattan that will congregate at Hayground School for the third annual Great Food Truck Derby. The general admission price is $65, and guests can taste samples from each truck. Ms. Trujillo-Mamay and the Hamptons Foodie will be there.

Indian Wells Beach Goes Dry

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After months of discussion and disagreement, East Hampton Town has adopted a law that will restrict alcohol at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett.

The East Hampton Town Board and Trustees had been negotiating provisions of the beach alcohol ban since complaints started flooding in recent years about inappropriate behavior and huge parties organized on social media at Indian Wells beach.

The law, which will go into effect in August, will prohibit drinking within 1,000 feet on either side of the entrance to the beach, during lifeguarding hours on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays until the law sunsets on September 30, 2014.

Amagansett resident Stuart Vorpahl spoke out to say that a law could have been in place throughout the summer had only the board “recognized the sovereign authority of the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton.”

“Instead,” he continued,  “you folks grabbed on to illegal New York State Legislature,” he said of municipal Laws, which allowed the town board to adopt this law without the Trustees’ input.

Brian Byrnes, an East Hampton Town Trustee, thanked the board for working with the Trustees on the issue.

“I’m very thankful we have the board that we have today and not the board of the past. I don’t think we would have gotten nearly as far,” he said.

“I don’t necessarily think everybody’s happy, but I think this is something we can live with,” Mr. Byrnes said. “And I’ve been down at the beach on a number of occasions and it’s good to see a police presence there.”

“I have a good feeling,” he said. “I think we worked well together.”

Kiteboarder’s Body Found in Amagansett

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By Tessa Raebeck

The body of Nicholas Valtz, 39, of Brooklyn was found floating in Napeague Harbor in Amagansett Sunday.

After Mr. Valtz, a novice kiteboarder, failed to return to his residence in Bridgehampton after going kiteboarding  Sunday morning, his family went looking for him and found him floating in the water secured to his kite and associated kite gear in a grassy area of the harbor, East Hampton Town Police said in a press release issued Sunday, July 20. He was kiteboarding off Lazy Point Road in Amagansett.

East Hampton Town Detectives and the Suffolk County Medical Examiners Office are investigating the death. Anyone with information is asked to contact the East Hampton Town Police at (631) 537-7575.

A Swim to Save Lives

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By Mara Certic 

Hundreds of people are expected to show up to Fresh Pond in Amagansett on Saturday, July 12, in their bathing suits, trunks and goggles for a swim in aid of Fighting Chance, the cancer support group.

“Almost everything we do is fundraising for our community,” said Jim Arnold, one of the 10 officers in the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue, which is hosting its fifth annual swim in conjunction with Swim Across America this weekend.

Swimmers must raise money in order to partake in the event; children under 14 must raise a minimum of $300 and those 15 and older must get pledges for at least $500. According to Mr. Arnold, however, over the years, each swimmer has managed to collect an average of $1,000 apiece for this swim, all of which goes to benefit Fighting Chance and cancer research.

“Pretty much everyone has a story about how cancer has affected their lives,” Mr. Arnold said. He added that this one athletic event has raised over $450,000 since its inception in 2010.

Participants of all ages can choose to swim the half mile, mile or 3-mile course. “This is one of the many areas in how accomplished our swimmers are,” Mr. Arnold said. “Our children are the youngest to start in the Swim Across America events.” He explained that there are over 40 Swim Across America swims throughout the country. “We have 7- and 8-year-olds swimming the half-mile in record time,” he said.

Saturday’s swim, he added, is not competitive. Swimmers vying for a title or prize can compete in the two races organized by Ocean Rescue this summer—the Montauk Ocean Swim later this month benefits the Montauk Playhouse and August’s “Red Devil” Swim raises funds for the East Hampton YMCA Hurricanes Swim Team.  Both of these events are timed.

“If we lived on the mountains in Vermont they’d be racing down hills in record time,” he said. The very high standard of swimming might also be attributed to the Junior Lifeguarding Program organized and taught by members of the organization.

The very popular youth program for children aged 9 to 14 attracts approximately 300 kids a summer to beaches in East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. The summer-long program is taught by Ocean Rescue members and certified ocean lifeguards and is designed to make children more comfortable in the water, to teach them water safety and to instill among them a sense of camaraderie. “They make lifelong relationships,” Mr. Arnold said.

The volunteer organization trains and tests all of the guards, Mr. Arnold said. They hold CPR classes and hold lifeguarding tournaments. “Our little community puts forward one of the highest achieving teams” at the Lifeguarding National Championships, he said. “We’re rated right up there with Santa Monica; they have about 1,000 guards to our 60.”

The first incarnation of Ocean Rescue was the Dory Rescue Squad, a group of dory boat fishermen who realized that there was a need for a group to respond to water-related emergencies.

When that group eventually disbanded, a group of local surfers and lifeguards formed the current organization as it is today. “We’re all leftover lifeguards,” Mr. Arnold said of the organization’s members. “We’re the masters, if you will.”

In addition to responding to 911 calls and spearheading educational programs, these maritime maestros and mavens also guard all of the triathlons and paddling events in the area, including Sag Harbor’s “Paddle for Pink,” which raised $1.1 million for charity last year. “That blows us away,” he said. “That was phenomenal.”

The group is also responsible for one of winter’s most highly anticipated East End events: the Polar Bear Plunge. For a meager fundraising fee of $30, participants get to welcome in the New Year by jumping into the water at Main Beach in East Hampton—and they receive a free embroidered winter hat.

With promises to have five members at any nearby water emergency within five minutes, Ocean Rescue comprises residents dedicated to giving back to the community by saving lives, volunteering their time and supervision and educating the next generation of heroes who keep swimmers safe.