Tag Archive | "East End"

Gifts of Local Creativity at Hayground’s Homegrown for the Holidays

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


A pillow by Rachel Foster of "Bizzy Bee Designs," one of the local vendors who will have a booth at Homegrown for the Holidays this Saturday, December 6, at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.

A pillow by Rachel Foster of Bizzy Bee Designs, one of the local vendors who will have a booth at Homegrown for the Holidays this Saturday, December 6, at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.

By Tessa Raebeck 

Artisans and creative vendors from across the South Fork will share their crafts, food and ideas at the annual holiday bazaar Homegrown for the Holidays, this Saturday, December 6, at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton. Handmade and custom goods like beach glass jewelry, custom knit hats and ocean inspired pillows will fill dozens of booths.

A fitting follow-up to Small Business Saturday last weekend, Hayground found this year’s vendors through farmers markets held in the summer, its ranks of creative alumni, students and parents, and another local network—artisans who quickly spread the word whenever there’s an opportunity to share their creations.

“The local artisan community is very broad, yet tight-knit,” said Kerri Deuel of Sag Harbor, a Hayground parent and event organizer who reached out to many of this year’s participants.

Over 30 vendors will be in attendance, ranging from 9-year-old Sam and her big sister, Madeline, both Hayground students, to Yu Lu-Bouvier, who is now retired, but began her business, Luluknits, on the train during her daily commute between Westhampton Beach and New York City.

A selection from Ketsy Knits.

A selection from Ketsy Knits.

Ms. Lu-Bouvier, who began knitting with her grandmother as a young child, now sells handmade sweaters and custom hats for babies and children.

“I like those art events because people are so crazy, you always get new ideas and people are so proud of their products,” Ms. Lu-Bouvier said, adding the bazaar and other markets at Hayground are “not like Macy’s [where] the sales person knows nothing about the product—the way to use it, how it comes [as a] specialty—no one knows everything, but in a farmers market, people can give [customers] stories about what they made.”

Mary Jaffe, who has been making pottery on the East End for 35 years, enjoys shows because of the opportunity to teach others about the creative process behind her bowls, vases, platters and other “functional ware.”

“Once the community is involved, they spread the word and it grows very organically,” said Ms. Deuel, adding there will be a “great mix” of new items and favorites from years past.

Madeline, 12, and Sam, 9, started their Etsy store, Ketsy Knits, in August. Sam makes hand-beaded jewelry and Madeline knits colorful hats, scarves and other warm clothes. The girls sell what they make online and give half their proceeds to charitable organizations supporting children in Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

“Everything is made by the two of us, and we knit/make every piece with love,” said Madeline, who has been knitting since she was 8 and was making hats for premature babies in  neonatal intensive care units by 9. Sam learned to make jewelry at Hayground, in an after school program led by alumnus Ella Engel-Snow.

Designs by the Sea.

Designs by the Sea.

“There are a lot of amazing local artists, and one of the reasons we wanted to participate in the bazaar was because of all the incredible work we saw last year,” Madeline said of she and her sister.

Children who won’t be making sales at the holiday bazaar can enjoy face painting, crafts tables and seeing firsthand how vendors’ childhood hobbies have expanded into impassioned business ventures.

Carol O’Connor started collecting beach glass as a teenager, and now combines beads and beach glass for leather bracelets, beach glass chokers and other “one-of-a-kind pieces that just pop into my head,” she said. The “Designs by the Sea” owner teaches classes on her craft at Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton and sells pieces at local yoga studios Ananda and Good Ground and the Sunrise to Sunset and Flying Point surf shops.

MimiPageJewelry1

Mimi Page Jewelry.

Also inspired by childhood walks exploring the woods searching for “treasures to turn into art pieces or jewelry,” Shelter Island resident Mimi Page will show her self-named jewelry line.

“For as long as I can remember, I have been a ‘gatherer’ type of artist,” said Ms. Page, who has explored various forms, including weaving, ceramics and printmaking, and now makes unique jewelry using sterling silver bezel pendants, stones, pieces of tile, sea glass and “whatever I find interesting,” she said.

“The people who live on the East End of Long Island are unique in that they are drawn to a lifestyle that is more community-centered to begin with, so it’s just in their nature to support the local, homegrown businesses,” said Ms. Page, who added she would rather go cage-diving with sharks in Montauk than anywhere near an outlet center this time of year.

When they support small businesses, added Ms. Page, shoppers are “directly helping someone in your community live their dream and follow their passion.”

There will be plenty of local food on hand, including Lorna’s Nuts, owned by Lorna and Walter Cook of East Hampton, who have doubled their business in the past year and expanded from three flavors to 14 since starting in 2012. Former Hayground parent Anastasia Karloutsos will serve her Old School Favorites, “simple and delicious” chocolate sauce and nuts covered in maple.

A selection of Lorna's Nuts.

A selection of Lorna’s Nuts.

“Really, it is these small shows, speaking with customers, getting to know other vendors that really gets your product out there,” she said. “If you have one enthusiastic person at your booth that person can bring over so many others. The people who want to support and buy local are so very important to our small business.”

“We are very fortunate to live and work on the East End,” added Deborah Lukasik, who founded Southampton Soap Co. with partner Chris O’Shaughnessy. “Local artisans all network and cross promote one another’s brands and products. Everyone thinks about who might be a good contact for someone—I love that.”

Homegrown for the Holidays is Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hayground School, 151 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. For more information or to become a vendor, contact Kerri Deuel at greenmama@optonline.net.

AFTEE Lends a Helping Hand to East End Charities

Tags: , , ,


Heller_AFTEE at Dodds & Eder 12-2-14_3964_LR 

Members of the charitable organization All For The East End held a gathering at the Dodds & Eder store in Sag Harbor on Tuesday night, to raise awareness and inform interested parties on the current status of the organization. Among those attending were AFTEE board members, from he left, David Okorn, Myron Levine, Danielle Cardinale, Claudia Pilato, Dottie Simons and Bob Edelman. Photo by Michael Heller. 

By Stephen J. Kotz

To celebrate what has become known as “Giving Tuesday,” All for the East End, or AFTEE, a grassroots charity that was formed just two years ago with the goal of keeping charitable donations local, held a reception at Dodds and Eder in Sag Harbor on Tuesday, December 2, to celebrate the grants it awarded this year and get a kick start on raising money for 2015.

And what a start it got. After it was announced that Bruce and Luke Babcock through their Pope Babcock Foundation and Bridgehampton National Bank would donate $10,000 each and Myron Levine, one of AFTEE’s founders, would give $7,500, Dan’s Papers chief executive officer Bob Edelman said the company would give $12,500.

With $40,000 already in hand, Mr. Edelman and Claudia Pilato, BNB’s marketing director, who are both on AFTEE’s board, both pledged personal donations of $1,000, an amount Kevin O’Conner, BNB’s CEO, matched.

Soon, another half-dozen pledges from the audience had brought the unofficial total raised for the evening to $47,000.

That’s nearly as much as AFTEE distributed this year when it provided 20 different nonprofit organizations with micro-grants of $2,500.

“We’re hoping it can be a model around the country,” said Mr. Edelman of the idea of targeting local nonprofits with meaningful donations.

“There is a great need, and every organization is doing really valuable work,” added Ms. Pilato.

Mr. Levine, who has become an active fundraiser for a number of causes after the death of his son, Josh, in an accident at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett in 2010, said he hoped that East End residents with the means to do so would consider making bequeaths in their wills to AFTEE so an endowment could be established to allow the organization to become self-sustaining.

“If they are passionate about the East End, they should consider leaving something to AFTEE,” he said.

To demonstrate firsthand the impact the organization has had, Ms. Pilato asked recipients of this year’s grants to tell the audience what they had done with the money.

Theresa Roden, the founder of i-tri, a program that focuses on raising the self-esteem of middle-school girls by having them complete a youth length triathlon, said her organization, started a nutrition program. Girls in the program and their families were able to learn the importance of eating a healthy diet, she said.

Sarah Benjamin, the director of Community Action Southold Town, said her group had used the money to set up a program to encourage parents of young children to both read to them and play with them, basic activities that help children get a head start in school.

Angela Byrnes of East End Hospice said her organization had recognized that children are often overlooked in the grieving process. To raise awareness, the organization held a conference that was attended by more than 100 representatives of schools, hospitals and other community organizations to discuss ways to provide better services for children who have lost a loved one.

Zona Stroy of Open Arms Care Center in Riverhead, an organization which over the years has found its niche as a food pantry, said her all-volunteer organization used its grant money to buy food.

“We decided people should eat all year long, not just at the holidays,” she said.

AFTEE received 82 applications this year. The task of determining where that money should go fell to the Long Island Community Foundation, whose executive director, David Okorn, said he established a committee with one member from each of the five East End towns to make the decisions.

They learned, he said, that it is difficult choose one organization over another because all of the applications were for well-deserving programs.

AFTEE is a registered nonprofit organization. More information about making donations or applying for a 2015 grant can be found at aftee.org.

A Bumper Scallop Season is Celebrated

Tags: , , , ,


Heller_Scallop Shucking at Dan Lester Fishery 11-17-14_2535_LR

 

George Merritt, Wayne Fenelon and Jim Bennett shuck scallops at  Dan Lester’s facility in Amagansett on Monday. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Stephen J. Kotz

East End baymen and diners alike have grown accustomed to scallop seasons that begin with a bang but end with whimper in a matter of days. But this year has been different, with an abundance of the tasty shellfish being harvested from the bays and finding their way to local tables.

“So far, they have been pretty plentiful,” said Charlotte Sasso, an owner of Stuart’s Seafood Shop in Amagansett. “They are reasonably priced for the customer and the fishermen are getting rewarded for their hard work.”

The scallop season opened November 3 in New York State waters and on November 10 in town waters.

“A week after town waters opened, we’re still receiving 200 to 300 pounds a day,” Ms. Sasso said this week, adding that she was optimistic there would still be scallops available well into winter this year.

Danny Lester, 41, an Amagansett bayman who has spent a lifetime on the water, concurred. Even with increased competition from part-time commercial baymen and recreational scallopers, “who have come out of the woodwork because it’s a good season, there is stuff all over the place,” he said. “You can still go out, put your time in and get your limit.”

Mr. Lester said he was confident that he and his brother, Paul Lester, with whom he works most days, would be scalloping well into January. “You might not get your limit, but if you get six or seven bags, it’s still a good day’s pay,” he said. The season closes on March 31, although in practice it has not lasted that long in decades.

Commercial license holders can take five bushels a day, while recreational permit holders are limited to a single bushel.

Make no mistake about it, even when they are plentiful, scallops are not cheap. They have been selling for $20 to $23 per pound in East End seafood shops early in the season, but as the supply begins to decline, Mr. Lester said he expects prices to rise.

“The price is less than they started out at last year when they were about $30 a pound and averaged $25 to $30 during the course of their availability,” added Ms. Sasso.

A year ago, early prospects for a successful scallop season were dashed when rust tide spread through East End waters in the summer, killing all manner of shellfish. Mr. Lester said believed “the cold winter last year helped, but we did not have the rust tide like they had the last couple of years.”

He said there were a large number of bug scallops, which, barring a return of harmful tides next year, bode well for another successful season.

Since 2008, East Hampton Town’s Shellfish Hatchery has been growing scallops and seeding them into sanctuaries in Napeague and Three Mile harbors, according to  John “Barley” Dunne, the hatchery’s director, who said “some credit has to be given to restoring the shellfish beds” for the successful season in East Hampton. “Next year, we are hoping to expand into other harbors in town and that this bounty will occur in those harbors as well.”

But he added the revival may be more cyclical in nature.  “There’s been a good scallop harvest on other parts of the island,” he said, adding baymen were having good luck in Southampton Town and even as far north as Martha’s Vineyard.

Like Mr. Lester, he agreed the lack of harmful algae blooms also helped this year’s set thrive. “The one we worry about is the rust tide,” he said. Although the rust tide affected waters in parts of Southampton last summer, East Hampton was largely been sparred.

Kevin McAllister, the director of Defend H2O, an environmental organization dedicated to protecting water quality, said he was skeptical that this season’s rebound will last.

“We haven’t remotely turned the corner. We’ve got big challenges ahead of us,” he said of water quality issues. “As far as a modestly good scallop season, let’s hold the applause here and see if five or six years follow or if this is just a blip.”

If the East End wants to restore its fisheries, it will have to do much to reverse long-term trends in water quality degradation, according to Mr. McAllister.

Mr. Lester sounded a note of caution of another sort. He pointed out that commercial baymen are required to obtain separate permits for their shucking sheds that must have running water, refrigeration and be inspected by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to make sure the shellfish are not tainted.

“There are some people who are selling scallops for cheap,” he said. “But if you are buying them you might be getting them from someone who is opening them on the tailgate of his truck.”

East End Funding in County Budget

Tags: , , , ,


Suffolk County’s proposed $2.89 billion operating budget will including funding for a number of East End initiatives, according to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.

Among other things, the budget includes additional money for East End police departments, funding for an East End teen suicide prevention program, and new positions to improve water quality and respond to the Lyme disease epidemic.

An additional $3 million from county sales tax revenue will be earmarked over the next three years for East End municipalities that have their own police departments. A disproportionate amount of sales tax has always gone to the Suffolk County Police Department, which only serves western towns, according to Mr. Schneiderman, who has lobbied for a greater contribution to East End departments since joining the legislature.

Legislator Schneiderman said he was able to secure $50,000 for a South Fork teen suicide prevention program that will also receive funding from Southampton and East Hampton towns as well as several local school districts. The program will be administered by a new mental health consortium formed by the Family Service League in conjunction with Southampton and Stony Brook hospitals.

The county budget also includes $500,000 to expand Sunday bus service to additional routes and for longer hours into the evening. Previously, only about 20 percent of bus routes had Sunday service.

Mr. Schneiderman said in a press release that he was also able to secure additional funding to add positions, so the county can take more water samples and investigate ground water contamination. He also said he secured funding for an entomologist to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce Lyme and other tick-borne illness in the county.

The adopted budget will now go back to County Executive Bellone who will have the opportunity to veto any amendments made to his originally proposed $2.89 billion budget.

Rally for Renewables

Tags: , ,


Several East End environmental organizations are  joining together for a “Rally for Renewables,” at which they intend show the LIPA board and Governor Cuomo there is public support for renewables and in particular for offshore wind power.     

According to an e-mail from the East End Climate Action Network (eeCAN), “This is the final board meeting before a decision is made on an offshore wind farm that will power more than 120,000 homes and create hundreds of jobs on Long Island.  Our presence will show LIPA, this is their chance to make a bold investment in renewable energy.”

The Sierra Club, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, NYPIRG, various elected officials and others will be present.

The Rally for Renewables will take place on Thursday, October 30, at 10 a.m. at 333 Ovington Boulevard in Uniondale.

Contact David Alicea with any questions at david.alicea@sierraclub.org. Those interested in carpooling from the South Fork should contact Dea Million at (612) 644-1162.

East End Elected Officials Agree on Local Issues at LTV’s Second Village Green Meeting

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


By Mara Certic

East End elected officials offered a strong, united front, seemingly agreeing on each and every local and national issue that cropped up during a “village green” discussion hosted by LTV Studios in Wainscott on Friday, October 17.

LTV hosted its second village green meeting of the year in an effort to give the public an opportunity to ask the five major East End elected officials about issues of concern.

Representative Tim Bishop, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst spent an hour and a half answering questions about various subjects including the potential of “Peconic County,” offshore wind farms, planning issues, heroin and Ebola. Robert Strada, the board president of LTV, moderated the discussion, and questions were submitted by the public through the website phlive.at.

The oft-examined notion of a new “Peconic County” was the first question to crop up during Friday’s forum, which Mr. Thiele and Mr. Schneiderman answered.

The discussion of Peconic County first began many years ago, when Suffolk County offices were moved from Riverhead to Hauppauge. Peconic County would be made up of the five East End towns, which officials have often complained that the county ignores their needs.

“We will never get our fair share from Suffolk County,” Mr. Thiele said, adding the East End represents 8 percent of the county’s population and yet pays in excess of 15 percent of the sales tax and over a third of the county’s property tax. He said Suffolk’s population of almost 1.5 million people is much larger than what a county’s should be.

“The East End is simply going to be the tail on the dog,” he said, “and it is only occasionally that the tail gets to wag the dog.”

Mr. Schneiderman said he had always been a supporter of local control but that starting a new county would be “an awful lot to take on,” and that now might not be the time. Mr. Thiele added there was currently a big push from the governor to consolidate and “we would be swimming against the tide.”

“The politics of creating new local governments is something that’s extremely hard to do,” he said. “The issue is whether or not you can get the political stars to line up to create the county.”

Supervisors Cantwell and Throne-Holst described some of the measures they have employed to protect local beaches, including the Army Corp of Engineers program in downtown Montauk and a $10 million grant East Hampton Town was awarded to protect the low-lying Lazy Point area of Napeague.

“Clearly we’re dealing with the issue of climate change,” Mr. Cantwell said. The elected officials all sprung at the opportunity to answer a question about Deepwater ONE, a proposed 200-megawatt offshore wind farm that would, if all goes according to plan, create enough electricity to power 120,000 homes.

“Wind has to be part of our energy portfolio going forward,” Mr. Bishop said, but emphasized the importance of siting the project appropriately so as not to disrupt aesthetics, fishing grounds or shipping lanes. “My own view is that it’s a pretty big ocean out there, and we should be able to figure this out,” he added. Legislator Schneiderman agreed it was important for the offshore wind developers to continue to work in conjunction with commercial fishermen but added, “This is too important for us to put up too many obstacles.” Mr. Schneiderman said the farm has “great potential to get our region off the grid”

“The reality is we’re woefully behind,” said Supervisor Throne-Holst about the use of renewable energy on the East End compared to the rest of the world.

Next week, the board of LIPA and Governor Cuomo are slated to have their last meeting about Deepwater ONE on Thursday, October 30. Environmental organizations have organized a “Rally for Renewables” to show the governor how much support an East End wind farm would have.

Governor Cuomo came under some fire when the assembled elected officials were asked how they allowed the 60-foot PSEG utility poles to be installed in East Hampton Village and Town. “That’s got a sorry tale, really,” said Mr. Cantwell.

“Public outreach and public notice isn’t opening up the window at the corporate headquarters at Hicksville at 3 o’clock in the morning and whispering ‘we’re going to build utility poles out in East Hampton,’” Mr. Thiele said. “They simply did not do what you would expect a public utility to do.” He went on to describe PSEG as “an unmitigated disaster.”

“The governor has been absent. I don’t know if he’s on his book tour, or what he’s doing but he’s not helping with this particular problem,” Mr. Thiele added.

At the end of the forum, each member of the panel was invited to make a closing comment. “We’re very, very fortunate to have this great and responsive group of people,” Ms. Throne-Holst said of her fellow elected officials. Representative Bishop said the good, professional relationships among the group of legislators “represents government at our best.”

“Really, I feel like we have an incredible team,” said Mr. Schneiderman, who is serving his last term as county legislator. Assemblyman Thiele said he knew he had said some “nasty” things about Governor Cuomo and added, “I just want to let you know, I’m not taking any of them back.”

Great Grapes! East End Vineyards Have Another Banner Year

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Grape harvesting at Wolffer Estate Vinyards on Tuesday, 10/13/14

Grape harvesting at Wölffer Estate Vineyard on Tuesday, October 14. Photo by Michael Heller. 

By Mara Certic

East End oenophiles were elated last year when the 2013 Long Island grape harvest was lauded as the best ever vintage. According to local winemakers, celebrations are in order again, as 2014 is proving to be another banner year for South Fork vineyards.

“The harvest is coming along fabulous,” said Roman Roth, the winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, in a phone interview on Monday morning.

Mr. Roth became the vineyard’s first winemaker in 1992. Beforehand, he worked in the industry in Germany, California and Australia before settling in Sag Harbor.

“2012 was an amazing vintage, ’13 was the best vintage in history—Long Island history—and then now ’14 is looking very close. We had a couple of rains, but it’s still a great, great vintage,” he said.

“We had three great years in a row. That’s really spectacular,” Mr. Roth added. The year 2011 was difficult, he said, but 2010 had been great as well. “Out of the last five years we had four banner years,” he said.

Christopher Tracy, winemaker at Bridgehampton’s Channing Daughters Winery, also praised the quality of the harvest thus far. “It’s been awesome, it’s been fantastic, it’s been a great growing season,” he said on Wednesday morning.

Both winemakers attribute the seemingly excellent crop to the dry, warm growing season, which according to Mr. Tracy, was “perfect” up until the rain that hit on September 30. Nevertheless, “the quality’s been fantastic and the quantity has been great as well,” he said.

Mr. Tracy was not prepared to qualify the best vintages of the past decade, and said he is “hesitant” to discuss the actual wine until it is ready for consumption. He added “there really aren’t bad vintages anymore.” He attributed this to the advance of viniculture and improvements in vineyards.

“There are warmer and dryer vintages that promote different styles of wine,” he said, but there are very few definitively bad vintages these days.

This vintage is being lauded, he said, because “it’s just easy.”

“It’s an easy harvest and pick,” Mr. Tracy said. “There’s no mess, there’s no rot, it just makes life quite easy in terms of the harvest.”

So far, Mr. Roth said the grapes have not been affected by any diseases or disease-pressure but will make “healthy, great tasting wine.”

East End vineyards typically begin their harvests in mid-September, when they start picking the grapes for the lightest white wines.

“The grapes for the lighter, crisper, fresher, more elegant wines are picked first,” Mr. Roth explained. On September 15, grape pickers at Wölffer began picking pinot noir grapes for sparkling wines and the other crisper white wines. “The hallmark of Long Island wines, and Wölffer wines, is to make 11.5 to 12 volume percent,” Mr. Roth said. “Now these elegant wines, with a little bit of acidity, are very fashionable and that’s what our region can produce.”

As of this week, Mr. Roth estimated Wölffer had completed approximately 60 percent of the harvest and the vineyard is now harvesting grapes for its chardonnay and their heavier white wines. The busy pickers at Wölffer have picked all of the grapes for the rosé, which debuted this summer and, according to Mr. Roth, was a “major hit.” “Rosé will be back,” he said.

Mr. Roth added this year’s aromatic whites are all in and described them as “very fruity, very clean, very pure.”

The harvest at Channing Daughters began on September 11 and has been “pretty much nonstop since then,” Mr. Tracy said. As of Tuesday, October 14, the harvesters at Channing Daughters had picked 217 tons of grapes. Mr. Tracy said they look to finish at approximately 260 tons.

At Channing Daughters, the first grapes to be picked are for the light Muscat and pinot grigio.  The last white to be picked, Mr. Tracy said, is their ribolla gialla. The grape-picking season typically comes to a close with the harvest for the cabernet sauvignon, which typically takes place either in late October or early November.

Mr. Roth said there have been some years the harvest went on as late as November 7. He explained as long as there is a good canopy late into the year, the richest red wines will remain elegant and “won’t become cough syrup,” he said.

“The only thing we’re praying for now is that we get to keep sunshine and there’s no more rain,” Mr. Roth said. He explained he looks for extra concentration and dehydration for his red wines, in order to have a higher skin-to-juice ratio he said.

“You know when you have a berry, there’s so much skin and so much juice and when there’s dehydration the ratio changes.  Then there’s more skin and less juice which gets you more color, more flavor, more tannins, more of everything,” Mr. Roth said. “And so now we just hope for a little bit of an Indian summer,” he said.

“For the reds we need two weeks of sunshine, and that’ll do it,” he added.

As Long Island vineyards continue to gain repute in the eyes of wine drinkers worldwide, Mr. Roth said the bar continues to be set higher and higher.

“You just can’t make bad wine anymore, not that I ever made bad wine, but certainly the pressure is there, which is good. It makes you focus; you fight on all fronts. You make sure everything is clean and you work harder,” he said.

After the huge success of Wölffer’s rosé this summer, Mr. Roth said the winery is slated to make “a little brother or a sister of that,” which will be a white blend that will debut in the spring.

Mr. Tracy wouldn’t divulge the specifics of any upcoming projects but said a couple of new projects will launch in the spring. “There’s always something new and exciting happening here,” he said.

Panel Talks Ticks in Sag Harbor

Tags: , , ,


tick 2014-09-20 10.25.05

 

Deirdre the Tick greeted people arriving for a panel discussion sponsored by Southampton Hospital’s Tick-Borne Disease Center at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

A human sized deer tick named Deirdre, who would have given Godzilla a run for his money at the box office, stood at the foot of Sag Harbor’s Long Wharf Saturday morning, greeting the audience arriving at Bay Street Theater for “Tick-Borne Diseases: What You Should Know.”

After Deirdre hammed it up a bit for the cameras before the event, sponsored by Southampton Hospital’s Tick Borne Disease Center, things got serious.

Robert Chaloner, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, said the hospital had launched the tick center earlier this year to provide information to the growing number of East Enders who have come down with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases such as babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.

“As public health people we believe the best way to combat disease is through education,” he said, noting that the goal of the center is to educate both the public and health practitioners.

Another goal, he said, is to provide the public with help to find they kind of medical services they need to cope with tick-borne diseases. To that end, Deborah Maile, a registered nurse, will be available by phone at (631) 726-TICK to answer questions, Mr. Chaloner said.

According to one of the panelists, Dr. Steven Schutzer, a physician and professor at Rutgers-NJ Medical School, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now estimates that there are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, which he largely attributed to better reporting. Not long ago, he added, the estimate was perhaps 30,000. By comparison, there are about 54,000 reported cases of salmonella a year, 10,500 cases of tuberculosis and about 5,700 cases of West Nile virus.

Despite improvements in recognizing Lyme, Dr. Schutzer said better tests are needed and researchers are working to provide them. Because Lyme is a slow developing disease—it can take 12 weeks to create a measurable lab culture—it is essential that more blood tests are developed, he said.

Treatment has also lagged, said Dr. Benjamin Luft, a physician and professor at the Stony Brook School of Medicine.

“Since the late 1980s and 90s, we have not been 100 successful” in treating Lyme and “we are stymied as to how to go forward,” he said.

If Lyme is diagnosed and treated early, “it is cured in the vast majority of patients,” he said, while acknowledging that a small number of patients to not respond well to typical treatment, which, he said, is also common among other diseases.

“If I treat you early, there’s no problem. Virtually everyone gets cured,” he said. “If I wait a week, two, four, six weeks, or six months, all of a sudden the ability to treat effectively diminishes.”

He complained that insurance companies are shirking their responsibility in providing coverage, governments are failing to invest enough in research and drug manufacturers are unwilling to take the risk of developing new tests and drugs.

Coming up with a vaccine against Lyme has proven to be difficult, he added, because Lyme has so many different strains. Lyme disease in Connecticut is different than Lyme in New York “and that is just across the Sound.”

Dr. Erin McGintee of East Hampton addressed the growing concern about the Alpha-Gal meat allergy, which she called “midnight anaphylasis.” The allergy to fatty red meats is caused by the bite of the Lone Star tick. Typically patients will get bitten by a tick and a week or two later, they will develop a serious allergic reaction after consuming red meat that includes swelling, redness, hives, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and other symptoms. Often the symptoms appear late at night, typically after the sufferer has consumed red meat at dinner.

She said the allergy could be passed to humans by the bite of Lone Star tick larvae, the only tick larvae to feed on humans and which are often mistaken for chiggers, she said. Lone Star ticks, which were typically found only in the southeast, are now found in half the country.

Since 2011, Dr. McGintee said she has diagnosed 208 cases and now is diagnosing as many as three or four each week.

Physician assistant Jerry Simons focused on offering practical advice for avoiding ticks. Ticks hate the smell of lavender, he said, suggesting that East End residents use soaps and shampoos with that fragrance, spray their yards with insecticide and apply permethrin to their shoes. He also recommended using insect repellent when out in areas where ticks are commonplace. Homeowners should remove piles of leaves and brush from their property to limit nesting options for mice, and he also suggested getting rid of bird baths and bird feeders because birds can carry ticks as well. Mr. Simon added that ticks will typically not cross a 3-foot barrier of wood chips, so he suggested residents might want to ring their property with one.

“The days of having your dog sleep in your bed are really over,” he added, noting that pets often bring ticks into the house.

“Each time I listen to these lectures, I want to go home and wrap myself in Saran Wrap, douse myself with Deet and hid under a rock,” Mr. Chaloner said during the morning’s presentation, “but clearly that is no way to live.”

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


"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.

Homeless in the Hamptons: An Invisible Community Struggles to Survive

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Bill watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Bill, 56, watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

To Bill, the two most important things are his feet and his socks, followed closely by matches and plastic bags. The matches keep him warm, the plastic bags keep his things dry, and the feet and socks keep him going.

Bill, 56, has a college degree in economics and a minor in business administration from SUNY Oswego. He is kind, articulate and witty. Like thousands of people across the East End, he is also homeless.

Ten years ago, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services counted 435 homeless families and 222 homeless singles countywide. Those figures—which increased drastically in the economic downturn since—only account for those who meet the official criteria and choose to apply for help. In reality, the numbers are much higher.

It is no secret to locals that the image much of the world conjures up of “The Hamptons” is far from the realities of daily life on the East End, but for the countless homeless residents of these hamlets, that image is a blatant farce.

“How can you miss us?” Bill asked, staring out at the sailboats docked at Lazy Point in Amagansett as two women in a kayak paddled by. Scores of homeless people live here, but, in part due to their own security concerns, they remain largely invisible.

If you look closely, however, you can see the faint paths used by homeless people off wooded trails, under bridges and sometimes right in town. A man who lives behind a popular business in Montauk leaves before dawn each morning, but his footprints have worn down a path to his campsite. Born and raised in Sag Harbor, Andy, a friend of Bill’s, lives hidden in the center of the village. An expert on Southampton history, a man called Mahoney holds fort at a park in the village, regularly entertaining tourists who have no idea he lives where they stand.

At a clearing off Route 27 in Wainscott, local homeowners leave food for the homeless people who camp in the woods nearby. If neighbors buy a sandwich and only end up eating half of it, they’ll leave the rest on one of the lids of two garbage cans stationed at the clearing in an unspoken act of charity.

According to a 2013 report compiled by the federal government, New York State, with 13 percent of the nation’s documented homeless population, is one of only three states in which homeless people account for more than 6 percent of the population (the others being Florida and California). With over 77,000 reported cases in 2013, the number of documented instances of homelessness in New York jumped by nearly 8,000 people between 2012 and 2013. New York’s homeless population has increased by 24 percent since 2007, the largest increase by far in the country—and the numbers are far from the actual figures.

On a single night in January 2013, an estimated 610,042 people were homeless in the United States. Over one-third of those people, about 215,000 of them, live in unsheltered locations, such as under bridges, in cars or in abandoned buildings.

To Bill, living in a car does not make you homeless; there’s a roof over your head and a place you can count on.

Born in Jamaica, Queens, and a graduate of Hauppauge High School, Bill has suffered from bi-polar disorder his whole life, but was not diagnosed till he “was old.” He came to the East End when he was 17 because he was drawn to the service industry.

“I like the whole premise of restaurant business: Helping people, service, making people happy, learning to deal with difficult people,” he said. “I thought—and I still think—I’m good at it.”

The “extracurricular” affairs of the restaurant industry—namely, drugs and drinking—became too much for Bill, who, like many who suffer from bipolar disorder, also struggled with addiction. After years of drinking to excess, Bill is now a recovering alcoholic who said he hasn’t had a drink since the early 90’s when his son was three.

“I think in extremes, everything…you’re either super happy or ready to commit suicide,” he explained.

Struggling with his condition and unable to find balance between complete bliss and extreme grief, Bill lost his six-figure job and his wife left him. He briefly lived up-island with family, but returned to East Hampton, where he has spent the past year searching for shelter, food and friendly faces.

He takes “top half of body” showers in public restrooms and jumps in the ocean to stay clean, a feat that, like most conditions of homelessness, becomes much harder in the cold winter months.

Although Bill doesn’t like to ask for help, when he’s especially down on his luck he goes to Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead.

Funded solely through donations, grants and funding from all the eastern townships, Maureen’s Haven offers shelter, support and “compassionate services” to homeless adults on the East End. There is a crisis hotline and a day center that provides opportunities like AA meetings, ESL and GED classes to help people find work and permanent housing.

From November 1 to April 1, the center transports homeless people from the North and South Forks and takes them to one of 18 host houses of worship between Greenport and Montauk. They are given a hot dinner and a bed to sleep in and are taken back to where they were picked up, be it a bus stop or a side-of-the-road clearing, at 7 a.m.

Since its 2002 inception, Maureen’s Haven has sheltered over 2,500 individuals. In the 2013-14 winter season, the program served 337 adults and was able to secure employment for 40 percent and place 52 percent in permanent housing.

Although a lot of homelessness “has to do with disability, incarceration, drug use, alcohol abuse and job loss,” Program Development Director Tara Murphy said, there are “a number of different issues and each case is different.”

One woman, Mary, arrived at Maureen’s Haven “terrified and desperate,” the center said, after fleeing an abusive relationship. She began the healing process at the center and is now living independently with support from a local domestic violence agency.

A 77-year-old man suffering from dementia with no family nor support system, James had been living disoriented on the streets. The center secured supportive housing for him in a program specializing in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s not about homelessness, it’s not about tough times, it’s not about addictions,” Bill said of the stigmatization of the homeless. “We all wear the same clothes…what I’m saying is, if we have two different socks on, who cares?”

To volunteer at Maureen’s Haven, call (631) 727-6836, email info@maureenshaven.org or visit their website.