Tag Archive | "Amagansett"

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.

 

Firefighters Battle House Fire in Springs

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Heller_SFD Working Fire 52 Cedar Drive 7-1-14_2652_7x

 

Photo by Michael Heller

At roughly 5:00 p.m. the Springs Fire Department was called to 52 Cedar Drive for a report of a structure fire. First arriving units reported flames extending up the front of the building and into the roof, but firefighters were able to know the flames down quickly without incident. The East Hampton Fire Department’s RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) was called to the scene to stand by, and one engine from the Amagansett FD was called to stand by at the Springs firehouse. All units were back in service within two hours, and the East Hampton Town Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire’s cause and origin.

Proposed Beach Alcohol Ban Has East Hampton Town Boards at Odds

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By Mara Certic

A proposed ban on alcohol at two beaches in Amagansett has the two elected branches of East Hampton Town’s government at odds.

The East Hampton Town Board has suggested a ban on drinking at Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue Beaches in Amagansett during lifeguarding hours in the summer months in an effort to curtail what many believe to be inappropriate behavior that has become more prevalent over the past few years.

One speaker at the public hearing on Thursday, Mark Schultz, referred to Indian Wells Beach as “frat beach.”

But the town board’s proposal has frustrated many of the Trustees, who obtained their power from King James II in 1686 and to this day own and manage the beaches on behalf of the commonality.

In the past few years, Indian Wells Beach has transformed. In 2012 the family-friendly beach in Amagansett began to host a different sort of beach-goer after various media began advertising the town beach as “the place to party.”

According to Police Chief Michael Sarlo, this resulted in hundreds of people showing up to the beach on weekends with coolers, kegs and loud music—and about 60 summons a year, roughly half of which were issued for open containers of alcohol in the parking lot, the rest for public urination, littering and failure to follow posted regulations or directions from the lifeguards.

The situation “became dangerous” and the “flow of traffic became burdensome,” according to Chief Sarlo. The problem, however, is difficult to enforce, as officers must physically witness violations in order to issue a summons.

Another problem, according to the police chief, is that the acts that are being committed do not actually rise to the level required by the New York State penal code, even though they “may be offensive to some, and may be morally questionable.”

For example, he explained, according to state law, the revelers cannot be cited for unlawful assembly unless their reason for congregating is to engage or prepare to engage in tumultuous or violent conduct.  “Once again,” he said. “[Unlawful assembly is] a class b misdemeanor and the courts have not found, unfortunately, that beer funnels or drinking games are tumultuous and violent conduct.”

The proposed ban would prohibit drinking alcohol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, in an area spanning 3,000 feet—1,500 feet both east and west of the road end.

The Trustees had suggested that the ban be in effect only on weekends and only in 500 feet in each direction from the parking lot.

Trustee Deborah Klughers expressed concern that increasing the area of the alcohol ban would, in fact, worsen the current situation, because the revelers would move farther down the beach, out of lifeguarded areas and farther away from garbage cans and the restrooms. “They will be urinating in the dunes, they will be littering more,” she said. “Pushing these people away will push them even farther away, to other beaches in our community.”

Many of those who spoke on Thursday—both for and against the law—said that this was a problem unique to Indian Wells Beach, and they did not understand why the beach at Atlantic Avenue was included.

Ms. Klughers said in Thursday’s meeting that Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc had forwarded her e-mails that the town board had received from the public concerning this issue, but that they mentioned solely Indian Wells as the problem beach in the town. “They were clear in their e-mails that they were in favor of banning at Indian Wells, but not at Atlantic,” she said.

Mr. Schultz, who is in favor of the ban, spoke after Ms. Klughers and said “I agree, this is an Indian Wells problem, for now.”

In an interview on Tuesday, East Hampton Town Trustee Clerk Diane McNally said that the town board had included the beach at Atlantic Avenue into this law “just because of its close proximity” to Indian Wells.

Ms. McNally said that the Trustees “were hoping that the issues of public intoxication or disorderly conduct could be addressed in another fashion instead of a new law.” What the alternative could be, however, she was “not clear on,” she said.

“We want to just be sure that we’re not going to inadvertently cause more problems,” she said.

Diane Walker spoke out in favor of the ban on Thursday: “The East Hampton Town Trustees who are the property managers for our beaches want peace and good order,” she said.  The East Hampton Town Trustees are conditioned to be defensive about their jurisdictions. The East Hampton Town Trustees sometimes lose perspective. What must be agreed upon is a good faith experiment to restore peace and good order at Atlantic and Indian Wells Beaches.

Ms. Walker suggested a mobile court to allow arrests to be adjudicated at the scene.

The town board and the Trustees will continue their discussions over the coming weeks, according to Ms. McNally.

 

Ceremony Planned At Amagansett Lifesaving Station

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East Hampton town officials and the Amagansett Life Saving and Coast Guard Station Committee have invited the public to attend a ceremony at noon on May 3 to commemorate a new flagpole on the grounds of the Amagansett Life Saving Station at Atlantic Avenue Beach.

The Amagansett Life Saving Station was built in 1902 and operated by the U.S. Life Saving Service until 1915, when it was taken over by the U.S. Coast Guard, which operated it until the mid-1940s.

In 1966 Joel Carmichael saved the building by moving it to Bluff Road and converting it to a home for his family. Forty years later, the building was given back to the town by the Carmichaels. It was lifted off its foundation at their property and moved down the road back to its original site where it is now being restored.

Bridgehampton National Bank Donates $25,000 to Local Food Pantries

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The Bridgehampton National Bank (bridgenb.com) Annual Apple Campaign, which was started in 2011 to provide contributions to local food pantries, culminated Monday with the distribution of $1,000 checks to each of 23 food pantries from Montauk to Greenport to Deer Park and Melville. At a presentation and reception at the BNB Bridgehampton office, pantry representatives Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Southampton, Springs and Sag Harbor were on-hand to accept the funds.   Maureen’s Haven, which helps the homeless on the East End, also received a check for $2,000. This is only part of the $25,000 donated by bank customers, employees and the company itself.

“This is one of the community programs we are most proud,” said Kevin M. O’Connor, president and CEO of Bridgehampton National Bank.  “It is a true collaboration between the bank, its customers and employees, working together to help those most in need in our communities. It is the essence of what it means to be a community bank.”

The Apple program began nearly five years ago with a conversation initiated by the East Hampton Food Pantry. They suggested the “apple” as a means of recognizing donations. With 26 branches across Suffolk and Nassau Counties, BNB took its Apples bank wide. The program is an annual holiday tradition which runs through the end of January.  In lieu of a holiday gift, BNB donates in the name of its employees, customers enthusiastically participate and BNB matches donations and fills in any gaps to reach the goal and fund one pantry in each of its markets. In addition to the financial gift, branch staff collected non- perishable foods during the months of November, December and January, which are also distributed to local pantries.

Daniel Schoenheimer and Mellisa Hin at the Crazy Monkey Gallery

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"Cotton Candy Sky - Sunset at Sands Point" by Mellisa Hin.

“Cotton Candy Sky – Sunset at Sands Point” by Mellisa Hin.

By Tessa Raebeck

The Crazy Monkey Gallery in Amagansett will display the work of two of its member artists, Daniel Schoenheimer and Mellisa Hin, on view April 4 through May 4. The show at the Co-op gallery will present landscapes from the American West to Long Island.

With her emphasis on “exploring the expression of emotion,” Ms. Hin said, the artist will show a collection of her large landscape paintings, many of them inspired by the Long Island landscape.

A resident of Miller Place, Ms. Hin instructs at two galleries, “combining my love of people and my love of art,” she says, and serves as a Brookhaven Arts and Humanities Council Board Member and is President of the North Shore Art Guild.

Assistant Director of the Crazy Monkey Gallery, Daniel Schoenheimer will show his new series of digital photographs, highlighting the diverse landscapes from Arizona to the East End.

"Shadmoor II" by Daniel Schoenheimer.

“Shadmoor II” by Daniel Schoenheimer.

“The Arizona desert provides the perfect counterpoint to Montauk,” Mr. Schoenheimer said of his series of photographs, “where rolling hills and the blues of the Atlantic give way to rocky canyons, spiky plants and dusty browns. Every once in a while the desert blooms – an unexpected festival of flowering that gives rise to tiny petals, giant cactus and an abundance of fauna. This is what I seek to capture.”

From up close, detailed photos to “sweeping desert landscapes” and panoramas, Mr. Schoenheimer hopes to show “the vast range of desert life in an ‘uninhabited’ environment.”

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held Saturday, April 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Crazy Monkey Gallery, 136 Main Street in Amagansett. For more information, call 267-3627.

State Education Aid Increases by $1.1 Billion

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced Monday that the 2014-15 state budget will increase state aid to education by $1.1 billion to more than $22 billion.

“The State Legislature has improved the governor’s 2014 state budget proposal by increasing school aid from a proposed 3.9 percent to 5.3 percent across the state,” said Assemblyman Thiele. “Suffolk County’s share of aid also would increase by 5.3 percent. Suffolk had gotten its fair share of this year’s school aid increase.”

A major part of the school aid increase was the reduction of the Gap Elimination Adjustment by $602 million. The GEA was originally enacted to close a state budget deficit back in 2008-09.

Mr. Thiele said the final state budget also includes the governor’s $2 Billion Smart School Bond initiative to improve classroom technology and construct pre-kindergarten classroom space. He expressed support for the governor’s Smart School Bond Act, which must be approved by voters in November.

“The focus on improving quality education is a goal I fully support,” said Mr. Thiele. “This state aid proposal accomplishes that goal for Long Island and New York State.”

“Superintendents in my district conveyed that their priority for this year’s budget was the reduction of the GEA—a budget-balancing fiasco imposed by the Democrats in 2010 when they controlled all three branches of government.” said Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. “This year, we were successful in restoring $602 Million of the GEA money to local school districts. The state’s commitment to education is now well over $22 billion. This budget meets the needs of New York State’s children while at the same time providing property tax relief to residents who help underwrite the costs. I am pleased to have obtained increases for each school district in my area.”

Under the state budget, the Sag Harbor School District will receive $1,637,585, a 5.92-percent increase in state aid. The Bridgehampton School District will receive $656,377, a 10.9-percent increase. The East Hampton School District is set to receive $2.76 million in state aid, a 4.15-percent increase, and the Southampton School District will get $2.6 million, a 9.9-percent increase.

Schneiderman Elected Deputy Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature

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The Suffolk County Legislature’s majority caucus, which holds 12 out of 18 seats, voted unanimously to select Legislator DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville; pictured standing left) as Presiding Officer and Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk; pictured, standing right) as the next Deputy Presiding Officer at its meeting on Friday December 20.

The 12-member caucus met to decide on a replacement for former Presiding Officer Wayne Horsley of Babylon, who has left the legislature to become the regional director of Long Island State Parks. The final vote for these leadership positions took place at the Suffolk County Legislature’s Organizational Meeting on January 2, 2014.

Among the many powers and duties of the presiding officer, the officer chairs all meetings of the full legislature, preserves order and determines when to recess meetings. The presiding officer also establishes independent committees, boards and commissions and designates a chairperson to a specific committee. In the event of an absence from a legislative meeting of the presiding officer, the deputy presiding officer assumes those powers and duties.

Legislator Schneiderman will be the first member of the Independence Party to hold a leadership position at the county level.

“I would like to thank my colleagues for this great opportunity,” said Schneiderman. “I look forward to working with Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and the County Executive towards a proactive agenda and to be a strong voice for Suffolk County.”

Schneiderman said he plans to work on mental health issues, poverty, public transportation and the fiscal issues facing Suffolk County’s budget as he enters his final term on the legislature. Schneiderman also plans to move forward with environmental issues such as improving water quality and reducing the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

 

South Fork Gas Prices Drop

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.  announced late last week his most recent survey of gasoline prices. According to that survey, South Fork prices have declined $0.08 since the last survey late in October.

Long Island prices have increased by $0.09 cents during the same period. South Fork prices are now $0.03 cents above the state and Long Island average. South Fork gas prices were $0.20 cents higher than the Long Island average in October. That differential has decreased by $0.17 cents since October when it was $0.20 cents.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) provides for a regional survey on New York State gasoline prices. However, there is no survey solely for the South Fork. Thiele’s survey also includes prices in western Southampton along Montauk Highway.

“The average price for East Hampton and Southampton along Montauk Highway excluding Amagansett and Montauk is now $3.69,” said Thiele.  “The average price for Amagansett and Montauk is $4.09. A gallon of gas on the North Fork is now about $3.59. The LI average is $3.66 and the State average is $3.66.”