Tag Archive | "Amagansett"

Southampton Town Council: It’s Bender & Glinka, Unofficially

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Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

By Kathryn G. Menu

While the results have yet to be made official by the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE), according to Southampton Town Democratic Party chairman Gordon Herr, it appears that Independence Party member Brad Bender and Republican Stan Glinka have held on to their Election Day leads and will join the Southampton Town Board in January.

On Wednesday morning, an official with Suffolk County BOE chairman Anita Katz’s office declined comment on the race stating official results would not be available until later this week.

However, Herr said the counting of 879 absentee ballots was completed last Wednesday and that Bender and Glinka have secured seats on the town board.

Bender and Glinka bested Bridgehampton resident Jeff Mansfield and Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone in the town board race.

“I am so very thankful to my friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, everyone who was so generous and encouraging during the campaign,” said Glinka, the town board race’s top vote getter, in a statement on Wednesday. “But more importantly I am thankful to the voters of this great town, my hometown of Southampton, for endorsing me with their vote. I look forward to continuing to listen to all the people and to working on finding balanced solutions to many crucial issues at hand.”

“As I committed to be your full time representative, I am currently winding down my workload and finishing off projects that are in progress,” said Bender, who is in the construction field. “I am excited about this next chapter in my life as a public servant. Working for you the taxpayers to solve problems and protect our community.”

“Grading” Sag Harbor Teachers: Administrators Discuss Goals Updates at Board of Education Meeting

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External Auditor Alexandria Battaglia, CPA, addresses the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday night.

External Auditor Alexandria Battaglia, CPA, addresses the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday night.

By Tessa Raebeck

“This has been a week of very special teams,” said Dr. Bonuso, interim superintendent for the Sag Harbor School District, congratulating the champion Lady Whalers field hockey team and the community team that helped pass the district’s two bond propositions.

Passing the bond was a key component of the district goals for the 2013/2014 school year, which Dr. Bonuso presented to a small group of people gathered Monday for the Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

Dr. Bonuso discussed the headway made on the first three of the district’s nine goals. He said progress was made on the first goal, improving academic achievement, through the resubmission and implementation of Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR), an evaluation system required by the state since 2012. It rates teachers as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective, based on a 100-point scale. Half of the review relies on administrative observations, 10 percent on an “evidence binder” of components like electronic posting and 40 percent on test scores. For teachers whose students are not yet being tested regularly, that portion is determined by a project the district assigns in order to produce a score. Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols said the majority of Sag Harbor teachers were graded “effective.”

“We need to take a second look at this emphasis on testing, the over testing,” said Dr. Bonuso. “We need to take a second look at whether or not we have the materials and modules – let alone the mindset – to approach this in a manner where people are feeling good about what’s happening instead of anxious and discouraged.”

Susan Hewett, a parent, asked the board how teachers are rewarded or reprimanded based on their APPR performance. Dr. Bonuso replied teachers are not rewarded, but if they are determined to be “developing” or worse for two years, “we can literally remove them…even if they are tenured.”

If a teacher is rated “ineffective,” the superintendent said, “We don’t have to go through all the gyrations and all the bureaucracy that in the past we had to in order to remove you.”

The administrators reported on the progress of the newly formed shared decision-making teams, a component of the second goal: to build partnerships with the community. Two teams have met, one for the elementary school and one for Pierson. The district-wide team is looking for two replacements for members who left the committee prior to the first meeting.

Board member Mary Anne Miller questioned the inclusion of the middle and high schools in the same team, which BOE Vice President Chris Tice agreed should be revisited.

The third goal is to ensure sound fiscal operation and facilities management. The district added experienced security personnel and hours at both school, enhanced systems at school entryways and held its first lockdown drill of the year last week. External auditor Alexandria Battaglia said Monday the district is in good financial health, with an unassigned fund balance of about $1.4 million.

In other school news, BOE member David Diskin again asked the board to discuss starting to video record their meetings. Board President Theresa Samot said it was a good idea to look at further.

The next BOE meeting will be held December 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson Library.

With Something for Every Budget, In Home Helps Sag Harbor Shoppers Tackle Holiday Shopping

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David Brogna and John Scocco show their wares at In Home

David Brogna and John Scocco show their wares at In Home

By Tessa Raebeck; photography by Michael Heller

As Sag Harbor residents begin checking items off their holiday shopping lists, In Home is hosting a storewide clearance sale to ease the process, offering great deals on everything from sofas to stocking stuffers. With up to 70 percent off selected items, the sale includes regular clearance items, as well as closeouts from brand name manufacturers like Calvin Klein, Dansk and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

Since 1996, In Home co-owners John Scocco and David Brogna have filled their Main Street shop with a carefully curated collection of furnishings for every room, occasion and budget. Brogna, an award winning Home Products Development Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), has an eye for design and a background as a buyer for companies like Macy’s. Scocco complements Brogna’s expertise with his own background in interior design and as an industrial film production manager. Together, they have built a longstanding store dedicated to both local and seasonal markets.

“We do have higher priced items,” said Scocco of In Home’s selection. “But most people don’t want to spend a lot of money these days, so we try to gear things for those shoppers.”

Brogna and Scocco have stocked their shelves with fun gift items under $25 or $50, “things that people would just come in and just want to pick up,” said Scocco.

One such item is the Corkcicle, a popular gift In Home was asked to restock after selling out last summer. For $23, the corkcicle is a long tube that resembles an icicle with a cork on top of it. After being chilled in a freezer, the corkcicle is inserted into a bottle of white or rosé wine. Unlike ice, the corkcicle won’t melt or water down your wine; instead, the bottle is both chilled and aerated upon pouring.

Another fun gift that was a hit this summer is the citrus sprayer, on sale at In Home for $15. After cutting the tip off of a lemon or lime, the citrus sprayer, which resembles the top of a spray perfume bottle, is placed on top of the fruit, allowing its owner to spray a mist of the juice directly from the lemon or lime.

“It’s really amazing,” says Scocco. “It really, really works.”

For under $20, In Home has a variety of other gift items from companies like Kate Spade and RSVP, including soap sets, candle sets, picture frames, personal care items and other home accessories. $10 can get you a chrome rabbit that doubles as a ring holder or a snow globe that’s also a ring game for children, as well as a variety of other “little fun stuff.”

“Of course, we do have a lot of other high end, more special items as well,”
said Scocco. “But our focus primarily is on the less expensive items.”

Brogna and Scocco are committed to keeping the shop stocked with reasonably priced gift items for the holidays, but they also hope to clear out the larger home furnishings in order to make room for next season’s stock.

“There’s a wide assortment of things,” said Scocco. “Some people feel intimidated, people that don’t really know us hear ‘Oh, that store’s really expensive…’ We do have a wide range and our pricing is really very, very fair and very well priced.”

The In Home team hopes to sell all the clearance furniture by January. Regularly priced at $1,980, a Stratton leather chair by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, modern with a dark, lightly distressed wooden frame and creamy stone leather seat, is on sale for $899. A soft, 100% Egyptian cotton king-sized blanket from Sferra’s home collection regularly priced at $250 is half off at $125. Framed mythological star maps of the astrological night sky, 23” by 23”, are marked down from $190 to $99. Also on sale are sofas, coffee tables, end tables, throw pillows and virtually anything else you need to decorate your home.

“There’s so much you can get overwhelmed with all the product that we have in our space,” Scocco said with excitement.

In Home is located at 132 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-7900 or visit inhomesagharbor.com.

East Hampton Man Charged in Federal Child Pornography Case

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By Tessa Raebeck

Michael S. Bonnet of East Hampton was arrested last Wednesday afternoon on charges that he transported child pornography, according to federal officials.

A registered sex offender, Bonnet, 28, is being held without bail in federal court in Central Islip, after being arraigned around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30 said Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode. He is being charged with one complaint of transporting child pornography for interstate commerce, or distribution, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Under the alias “Bob Jones,” the defendant knowingly sent numerous images depicting child pornography to an undercover FBI agent in February 2013, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court on Tuesday. Public defender Randi Chavis, who is representing Bonnet in the case, declined to comment.

Bonnet, of Cosdrew Lane in East Hampton, is currently on probation with the Suffolk County Office of Probation after being convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 2008, states the complaint. While Bode did not have the exact location of the 2008 incident, he said it did occur in New York State.

According to the complaint, the defendant responded to an advertisement seeking to “trade” images of child pornography which was posted by an undercover FBI officer on a “Human Sexuality forum” website. Using an email address that includes the first initial of his first name and his full last name, Bonnet responded to the undercover advertisement on February 24, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that Bonnet, using the name “Bob Jones,” and the undercover agent exchanged several emails that day. In one email, according to the complaint, Bonnet wrote to the undercover agent, “Just hoping your [sic] not a cop or anything don’t need trouble.” On February 24, “Bob Jones” sent the undercover agent a pornographic image of a prepubescent female, the complaint states.

The advertisement posted by the undercover FBI agent said, “send to receive,” according to the complaint. In response to the pornographic image allegedly sent by Bonnet, the undercover agent sent a corrupted video to “Bob Jones” with a title alluding that the file contained child pornography, states the complaint. Using an online program that is available to the general public, the FBI identified the IP address, a unique number that identifies a computer or device using the Internet, being used by “Bob Jones” when the file was opened by the recipient, said the complaint.

The complaint states the agent then determined that the IP address was associated with a cellular phone. During the conversation between “Bob Jones” and the undercover agent, the defendant allegedly said he used a cellular phone so the IP address could not be linked to a particular device, the complaint states. “Bob Jones” sent the undercover agent two more pornographic images of underage females, states the complaint.

According to the complaint, the undercover agent located additional postings under the name “great times” by a user using the same email address on a different forum, each time with the location of East Hampton, New York. Using the letters in the defendant’s alleged email address, the undercover agent then searched for subjects with the last name “Bonnet” and the first initial “M” in East Hampton, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that the search provided the undercover agent with one name, Michael S. Bonnet of Cosdrew Lane, East Hampton. An additional search revealed that the defendant was a registered sex offender located at the same address, according to the complaint.

On or about October 24, the defendant was interviewed at his probation office after being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights, the complaint states. According to the complaint, the defendant stated that he had sent the images of child pornography to the undercover agent in February 2013, that he traded and received child pornography with others via the same website and that he had approximately 100 pornographic images of children on his cellphone.

According to the complaint, after searching the content of Bonnet’s cellphone, authorities found “numerous images of apparent child pornography depicting victims ages five to 11 years old.”

Because of his prior conviction, Bonnet faces a minimum of 15 years in convicted.

Exploring the Roots of the East End Suffrage Movement

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By Amanda Wyatt

Elizabeth Cady-Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul. May Groot Manson and Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage.

While the last two may not be household names around the country, Mrs. Thomas L. Manson and Mrs. Russell Sage — as they were better known in their time — led the fight for women’s suffrage on the East End a century ago.

“The Suffragist Movement: Women Work for the Right to Vote” was a lecture presented by Arlene Hinkemeyer last Friday at Clinton Academy in East Hampton, in honor of March being Women’s History Month.

Donning an old-fashioned suffragist costume for the occasion, Hinkemeyer outlined the history of the suffrage movement in the United States and locally, including “amazing women suffragists right here in East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton.”

While the movement started in the mid-19th century, the 1910s saw a flurry of political activity regarding women’s voting rights. And as rallies, parades and marches were taking place in cities like New York and Washington, D.C., local suffragists were also hard at work.

In Sag Harbor, the first major suffrage meeting took place in July of 1912. Sage, the benefactress of John Jermain Memorial Library and Pierson High School, paved the way in the village for the suffrage movement.

Ironically, The Sag Harbor Express was not particularly progressive when it came to women’s voting rights. Between 1915 and 1917, Hinkemeyer said, “the paper was filled with many anti-suffrage articles.”

Just a few miles away, Manson — a Manhattan socialite who owned a home in East Hampton — was also championing the cause. The chairman of the Women’s Suffrage League of East Hampton, she spearheaded a large outdoor rally in August 1913.

The list of attendees was “a veritable ‘who’s who’ of East Hampton and New York City society,” said Hinkemeyer. There were also 20 representatives from the Sag Harbor branch of the Women’s Political Union (WPU) who joined in the march.

Another major moment on the East End came in June 1915. As The New York Times reported, “relays of women carrying a suffrage torch to enlighten the state of NY upon the needs of its women will ride by automobile from Montauk Point, L.I., to Buffalo.”

“Mrs. Manson motored across Long Island with the torch, holding open air meetings along the way, and then handed over the torch to another woman…who took it New York City, and others in the relay who carried it up to Buffalo,” said Hinkemeyer.

Major suffrage rallies also took place in Southampton between 1913 and 1915, with women like Lizbeth Halsey White, the chair of the town’s branch of the WPU, leading the charge.

At the same time, the anti-suffrage movement was heating up. As Mrs. William A. Putnam, president of the statewide League Opposed to Women Suffrage, said at a 1913 rally in Southampton, the present position of women was “a much higher one as the queen of the home than it could possibly be when dragged from her high estate to the mire of political turmoil and politics.”

Still, suffragists eventually claimed victory in November 1917, when New York State gave women the right to vote. Two years later, the U.S. Congress passed the 19th amendment, which provided suffrage on a national level. The amendment was formally adopted after Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify it in August 1920.

While New York had been the fifth state to ratify the 19th amendment, some states were a bit late to the party. Mississippi, for example, didn’t get around to ratifying it until 1984.

Sadly, Hinkemeyer noted, some leading suffragists never lived to see their dreams realized. Sage died in 1918, before the 19th amendment was ratified, although she did see the passage of women’s suffrage in New York. But Manson, who died at a relatively young age, missed the passage in New York by merely two months.

“We in East Hampton can all be proud of the meaningful life [Manson] led, and of all she accomplished for the good of our community,” said Hinkemeyer. “We owe a great debt to her for working — and now we know how much work it was — to give women the right to vote.”

Thiele: Montauk Highway Rehab Clears Major Huddle

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced on Monday that the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted his request and that of 10 other elected officials representing areas traversed by Montauk Highway, the key South Fork arterial. The agency has agreed to amend the State Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) to include reconstruction of a 10-mile stretch of Montauk Highway from CR 39 to Stephen Hands Path. The proposed construction would cost approximately $12.53 million. State DOT already had scheduled the reconstruction of a 2.3 mile stretch of the highway from SR 114 to Stephen Hands Path for the spring of this year.

“Congressman Bishop, State Senator Ken LaValle, County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, and every South Fork supervisor and mayor joined with me to request the reconstruction of Montauk Highway,” said Thiele, referencing a February letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state DOT. “Not only did the Governor and Commissioner Joan McDonald respond favorably, they were quick in responding so that this project can get underway in 2013. I thank them for their fast action.”

The project would be funded by federal and state funds. The comment period on the proposed amendment to the TIP will end on March 22. After that, the project will be included in the TIP and detailed design work will begin. The construction of the segment between SR 114 and Stephen Hands Path will begin this spring and the remaining work from Stephen Hands Path to CR 39 will commence after Labor Day this year.

“I urge all local elected officials and the public to weigh in with the State DOT before the Friday deadline,” said Thiele.

Comments should be submitted to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, Attn: David Drits 199 Water Street, 22nd Floor New York, New York 10038 or email davis.drits@dot.ny.gov

“The importance of this highway cannot be underestimated. It is the only major road bringing people to and from the South Fork of Long Island,” said Thiele. “There is no alternative route. It is the most highly trafficked road on eastern Long Island. It is essential for both local residents and the substantial second home industry. It is important for business and commerce in that the delivery of goods and services as well as the transportation of workers and tradesmen depend on this road.”

“Most important, local fire, ambulance, and emergency service workers depend on this road to do their jobs, particularly to transport patients to Southampton Hospital,” added Thiele. “Finally, in the case of an emergency or disaster, this road is the only evacuation route for the region. At a time when the economy has suffered from a deep recession, this project will mean not only construction jobs but will also foster the tourism/second home based economy of the region. Now, the entire stretch from Southampton to East Hampton will be repaved.”

Siegler Quartet Brings All That Jazz to the Parrish Art Museum

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By Emily J. Weitz

This Friday night, people strolling through the Parrish Art Museum will get more than a feast for their eyes. As the Richie Siegler Quartet plays jazz in the lobby of the museum, the music will float down the spine of the space and into all the galleries. While hearing the gentle croon of a saxophone, patrons will also take in the winding ribbons of a deKooning painting, and the bold sheen of a John Chamberlain sculpture.

“I believe music in general and jazz in particular is an art form and it belongs there [at the Parrish],” says Richie Siegler, who plays the drums in the quartet and is the founder of Escola de Samba Boom. “DeKooning and Pollock? Who do you think they were listening to? They were listening to Coltrane. It’s like a big circle.”

When Siegler came to the executive director of the Parrish, Terrie Sultan, he says she lit up at the idea.

“The new building offers endless possibilities for programming, including heightened potential for live performance,” says Andrea Grover, curator of special projects at the Parrish. “Richie is a talented and popular East End musician who knows how to inspire and mobilize a crowd.”

While there is a special performance space, the Lichtenstein Theater, the staff decided to set up the Richie Siegler Quartet right in the lobby.

“We wanted the music to travel through the spine and into the galleries,” says Grover, “reaching the ears of those experiencing the works on view. The building’s central corridor is a great delivery system for sound and more – it connects all activities in the building.”

Siegler has been playing the drums since he was four, and he grew up in Greenwich Village listening to jazz masters. Both at home and on vacations with his family in the Catskills, Siegler was introduced to Latin jazz, including legends like Tito Puente.

While Siegler can play the drums for any genre, it’s jazz, and in particular Latin Jazz, where he has found a following.

He founded the Escola de Samba Boom, a free, year round music school with Monday night workshops. During the summer, when the workshop is held at Sagg Main Beach, it turns into an all out party with hundreds of people crowding around a tight circle of 60 or so drummers. Siegler is often found in the middle, directing with a whistle and riding the sound.

“It’s like cooking a stew,” says Siegler. “We have all the ingredients – 12 people in one section, six in another. My job is to make it all gel. Maybe we need a fresh herb, or some pepper and salt. I make a little adjustment, and when it kicks in, it’s a high. Often we’ll go out afterwards, and we’re all buzzed from the performance.”

At the Parrish this weekend, Siegler brings together a quartet of local talents that includes Siegler on the drums, John Ludlow on alto saxophone, Jeff Koch on bass, and Max Feldschuh on the vibraphones.

“We do some straight jazz,” he says, “and Latin-influenced. We do our own arrangements. I like the group because it has a light sound. There’s no keyboard or guitar. There’s a lot of air in what we do, and I try to stay off the ground.”

Of these four instruments playing together, Siegler doubts it’s the first time a quartet has been comprised of drums, alto sax, vibes, and bass, although he can’t recall another group that had this combination.

“But jazz has been around a long time,” he says. “Everything’s been done.”

Because of the stark design of the Parrish, marble and glass, Siegler feels particularly strongly that there needs to be a good crowd.

“People are acoustical tiles,” he says. “They absorb a lot of sound.”

Siegler has ideas for the Parrish, and he hopes to ride on the success of this weekend’s performance to create a more lasting relationship. Siegler remembers growing up in Manhattan, spending Thursday evenings at MoMA, enjoying live jazz.

“I’d like to see it become a monthly thing at the Parrish,” he says. “People will be encouraged to walk through the galleries and the music will follow them.”

The Richie Siegler Quartet will kick off the evening at 6 p.m. at the Parrish. Tickets are $10 for non-members and free for members.

“Membership is an exceptional deal,” says Grover, “paying for itself manifold if you plan to attend just four or more of our events in a year. I feel lucky, and hope others do, too, to have a major museum in a small community – it makes the bonds of art and life even tighter and more meaningful.”

Quail Hill’s Scott Chaskey Named Farmer of the Year

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By Tessa Raebeck

As a student in England struggling to support himself, Scott Chaskey found a job as a gardener. Several farms and many successful seasons later, Chaskey will be honored as Farmer of the Year at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York’s Winter Conference. Chaskey will also give one of the keynote addresses at the conference, which will be held in Saratoga Springs January 24 through January 27.

“I fell in love with using the spade and turning the soil over,” recalls Chaskey, now the farm director at the Peconic Land Trust’s Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. Chaskey returned to the United States in 1989. His homecoming coincided with the national emergence of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a locally based socioeconomic structure of food distribution that intends to narrow the gap between families and farmers.

In 1990, Quail Hill became the first CSA farm in New York state. At the time, there was only one other organic farm on the East End, the Green Thumb in Water Mill.

“They were wonderful to us,” says Chaskey, recalling how the farmers there helped Quail Hill get its start. The Green Thumb supplied the young farm with transplants for its inaugural season, which Quail Hill then grew and harvested.

In addition to supplying locally grown, organic food, CSA hopes to build community through education and support long-term sustainability efforts by connecting consumers to their food source. CSA farms sell shares of produce for an annual fee, offering consumers both awareness of where their food is coming from and involvement in its cultivation.

“I just loved the idea of not only growing food organically, but also building community,” says Chaskey, “My actual farming career has been entirely involved with building this community up at the same time that we were growing the soil to grow good food.”

For the past 23 years, Chaskey has helped to build community here on the East End through his work at Quail Hill. Education is fundamental to CSA, and Chaskey said he is dedicated to teaching the next generation of farmers.

“Besides providing food,“ Chaskey explains, “we’re also running programs to educate people about what we’re doing and about sustainable agriculture. Lots of different things, that’s what a community farm is about.”

Organic farming on the East End has come a long way since the only farms were the Green Thumb and Quail Hill. Through many successful harvests, Chaskey has had over 100 apprentices. Students can volunteer for a day or stay for a year, and many go on to start CSA farms themselves.

Former apprentices Katie Baldwin and Amanda Merrow founded Amber Waves Farm, also in Amagansett, with the guidance and support of Chaskey and Quail Hill, as well as The Peconic Land Trust, which leases land to both Amber Waves Farm and Quail Hill.Chaskey’s influence on the careers of Baldwin and Merrow is apparent in their commitment to education, sustainability and community building.

Through Peconic Land Trust’s Incubator Program, young farmers like Baldwin and Merrow are encouraged and supported to venture out on their own. In the model of a homestead program, new farmers are leased land to cultivate.

“The whole existence of NOFA is to educate not only farmers, but consumers to be aware of the importance of organic farming,” saysChaskey, ”Those years of educating, I think we’re starting to harvest the fruit of it now.”

Due to growing awareness of the health concerns of processed, unnatural foods, there has been a striking increase in the national demand for organic produce. That demand is especially prevalent here on the East End, where excellent soil and preserved land have not only allowed for the survival of the rich farming tradition, but enabled it to thrive in recent years.

“From that one farm, it’s amazing how it’s spread in the last 20 years,” says Chaskey. The NOFA Conference, he recalls, “used to be attended by a couple hundred people and now it’s almost 1,500 — and well over half of them are in their twenties.”

The influx of youth into organic farming has reinvigorated the business and heartened proponents of natural food.

“It’s very encouraging to see how many young people are interested in getting involved,” Chaskey says with excitement, “It’s amazing — the quality of people who have graduated with this or that degree and want to do some sort of meaningful work. And that’s happening not only here, but all over the country.”

Chaskey is optimistic about the future of organic farming, hoping to see the higher demand translate to higher acreage and larger scale farms. If the past 23 years of success are any indication, Chaskey’s optimism could be right on point.

Gayle Pickering Resigns as Chairwoman of the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals

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Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals Chairwoman Gayle Pickering has resigned from her post, according to a letter she sent to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride on Tuesday, November 20.

Her resignation will be effective December 31, 2012.

Pickering will be away during the December meeting, meaning last month’s session was her last on the dais.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure being a member of the Board, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve the village,” wrote Pickering in her letter. “At this point in time, however, due to personal reasons, I would like to resign my position.”

On Tuesday, Pickering said the resignation comes simply because her architecture practice is thriving and she intends to travel extensively this year, making it difficult to be able to attend the board’s night time sessions each month.

“I don’t feel that I can devote the time needed to the ZBA it deserves,” said Pickering on Tuesday. “I will miss the December meeting to go to Florida to visit my dad, and we are travelling over the February break as well. As much as I truly enjoyed the work, I feel that it is unfair to the village for them to have a board member that is unable to dedicate the time needed to make informed decisions, and that it would be better to let someone else have all the fun.”

Pickering began her foray into public service 20 years ago as a member and chair of the Sag Harbor Planning Board, before joining the East Hampton Town Planning Board. She left that board in 2006 and came back to Sag Harbor where after a brief stint as a member of the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board she joined the Sag Harbor ZBA, becoming its chairperson in 2008.

“We thank Gayle for all of her service to the village and wish her well,” said Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride on Tuesday. “She has done great work and she will be missed.”

First East End GLBT Center Meeting This Friday in Bridgehampton

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The first meeting of the East End GLBT Center Advisory Committee will be held this Friday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Bridgehampton National Bank on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.

The committee was formed in response to the bullying-related suicide of 16-year-old East Hampton resident David Hernandez.

Following Hernandez’s death, LIGALY (Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth) — an advocacy organization based in Bay Shore with youth centers in that community and in Garden City in Nassau County — held a forum at East Hampton High School. Chief Executive Officer David Kilmnick called for the creation of a GLBT Youth Center on the East End, noting the kind of support these centers offer are currently over 60 miles from East Hampton, leaving many youth without a support network.

Sag Harbor residents Beatrice Alda, and her partner Jennifer Brooke, have already promised a $20,000 matching grant towards the creation of this center.

According to Kilmnick, the meeting is open to the public.