Tag Archive | "East End Digest"

East End Digest: December 17 – December 24

Tags: , , , , , , ,


eliqgMainQuilt

Quilts Donated to Southampton Hospital Maternity Center

Southampton Hospital recently received a very generous donation of more than 45 quilts and wall hangings from the Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild based in Southold. The group of approximately 300 quilters from all over the East End donates their hand-made items to the Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center at Southampton Hospital every December. Additionally, the group makes wheelchair and baby-sized quilts. Fabric donations are always welcome. For more information, call 631-723-0244 or visit their website at www.ELIQG.com.

Above: (l to r) Betty Commander, RN; Jean Bernhardt; Kathleen Pierce and Theresa Kumbatovich, LPN

Peconic Bay
CPF Rev’s Stay Steady

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., reported last week that revenues for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund (CPF) have increased by 8.6% percent for October 2009 as compared to the same month in 2008. For September 2009, the CPF generated $4.21 million. In 2008, the CPF generated $3.88 million for the same month. September marks the 5th consecutive month of improving CPF revenue. For the year, the CPF has generated $30 million for 2009 to date, compared with $50.4 million in 2008, or a 40.5 percent decline.
While revenues for September 2009 increased compared with a year ago, the number of transactions has declined by 7% for September 2009. For the first nine months of 2008 there were 5,444 transactions. For the same period in 2009 there were 4150, or a 23.8% decline for the year.
“The most recent CPF numbers clearly demonstrate two things. First, because of the national economic recession, the annual revenue expected to be generated for 2009 will be in the range of $36-38 million which will be the lowest year since 2001. However, for the last five (5) months the trend has improved with the highest monthly revenues of the year, said Thiele.

Southampton Town
Virtual Tax Office

With the first installment of property taxes due by January 10, Southampton Town residents have an easier way to pay this year, says a release from supervisor Linda Kabot’s office. Taking advantage of a series of technological improvements, tax receiver Theresa Kiernan reported that all tax bills can now be viewed, printed or paid online. To do so, residents can log on to www.southamptontownny.gov and click the link for “Online Services” at the left of the screen.

“It’s a great way to receive proof of payment right on the spot,” said Kiernan. “There’s no longer any risk of it getting lost in the mail. And since there’s no need to fax copies of bills, it cuts down on paperwork at both ends.”

Among the new methods of payment are electronic checks via the automated clearinghouse (ACH) network, with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards accepted over the internet. A one dollar fee will be charged for each ACH transaction and a two percent fee will be applied for credit card processing.

With more than 50,000 taxable parcels in the Town of Southampton, Kiernan’s office collects over $300 million annually in school, county and town taxes. Over 65 percent of bills are paid directly to the town by individuals, with the remaining 35 coming from banks for taxes included in mortgage payments.

“People should try it out,” advised Kiernan. “No one likes paying taxes, so the more convenient we can make it, the better.”

Southampton Town
GOP Screens Sag Harbor Dentist

The Southampton Town Republican Committee screened candidates for a special election on Thursday evening, December 3. The group was in session for several hours at the Villa Tuscano Restaurant in Hampton Bays as the committee heard from potential office seekers hailing from nearly every corner of the town.

The evening began with Supervisor Linda Kabot thanking committee members and their alternates for their support over the years and particularly during the 2009 campaign. She also stated she will not seek the Republican nomination for Town Council.
In addition to three other candidates, the committee interviewed Dr. Tod Granger, who has a dental practice in Noyac and lives in Sag Harbor Village After retiring from 24 years of military service and attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Granger has restarted his dentist practice in the Sag Harbor area. Born in Southampton Hospital and raised in Sag Harbor, he served on the Village Board of Trustees from 1988-1992, as well as on the boards of other town and community organizations.

The committee said they will likely make a decision by the second week of January at a special convention.

Southampton Town

Mortgage Tax Revenue

The East End Supervisors and Mayors Association unanimously approved a resolution on Monday, December 7, by Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot petitioning Suffolk County to distribute mortgage tax revenues owed to local municipalities earlier and more frequently, said a press release distributed by Kabot’s office. The release stated that Kabot has also called upon County Executive Steve Levy to move the initiative forward.

The release continued, saying under the present system, Suffolk County collects mortgage tax revenues and disburses them to its ten townships under state law. However, funds are allocated biannually with a six month lag. In contrast, proceeds from the two percent real estate transfer tax are distributed to each East End town for their Community Preservation Funds on a monthly basis. Kabot said she would like to see the mortgage revenues distributed in a similar fashion, or at least quarterly.

“Since towns rely on mortgage tax revenues to support certain operating expenses, the ability to receive the proceeds on a timelier basis is critical to cash flow needs – particularly during tight budgetary times,” said Kabot.

The Southampton Supervisor also noted how the financial pressures an economic downturn exerts on a municipality can be considerable, especially if it is a local government that is dependent on revenues that are volatile and based on real estate and construction activities. Most of the past 10 years brought in over $12 million annually for Southampton, but the recent slump in home and land sales have put the number around $5.5 million for 2009 and an anticipated $6 million for 2010.

“Towns and villages are finding it more difficult to meet expenses according to their adopted spending plans,” said Kabot. “Like many households, they are living ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’ and this plan would let the payments come sooner and with more accurate predictions regarding the amounts for the following month.”

South Shore
Disaster Area

New York Congressman Tim Bishop sent a letter to New York State Governor David Paterson earlier this month urging him to request a federal disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for areas struck by recent storm occurrences along the south shore of Long Island. Such actions would allow federal disaster aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas that have experienced significant shore erosion, navigation degradation or asset damage, said a press release published by Bishop’s office.
Estimates of the damages to Suffolk County communities from the recent effects of Tropical Storm Ida exceed $26 million, continued the release.
“It is critical for the Governor to issue a disaster declaration as soon as possible for the south shore of Long Island to ensure our communities have adequate protection against future storms and that our maritime industries do not face further economic burden,” said Bishop. “Following the Governor’s decision, I will be coordinating a meeting between federal, state and local agencies to determine the most effective steps forward toward protecting the resources and assets of south shore communities.”
To view a copy of the letter visit http://timbishop.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=39&sectiontree=3,39&itemid=1615.

East End
Helicopter Noise

During a tele-conference held on Friday, December 11, Congressman Tim Bishop reported that he has found a pre-existing law authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to dictate the flight routes of helicopter pilots. Working with Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Bishop presented to FAA representatives a 1989 decision which Bishop says allows the FAA to regulate helicopter traffic. In order to reduce noise pollution caused by helicopters on the North and South Shore of Long Island, Congressman Bishop said a voluntary flight route, keeping the helicopters over water as long as possible, was unsuccessful due to noncompliance.
“The FAA are on board in terms of working with us in bringing this long festering problem [to a close],” said Congressman Bishop.

East End Digest, August 13 through August 20

Tags: ,


image002

Parrish Art Museum Unveils Plans for New Space

The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton unveiled last week a re-conceptualized design for its new museum, to be constructed on the 14-acre site the Parrish acquired in Water Mill. Herzog & de Meuron’s revamped design emphasizes the natural northern light and incorporates the indigenous landscape and local architecture of the East End, especially the many artists’ studios in the area. The proposed design, which has received the unanimous support of the Parrish’s Board of Trustees, is now under review by the Southampton Town Planning Board.

“We could not be more pleased with this design, which enables us to function as a true center for community engagement, serving a broad and diverse audience, including the thousands of school children who visit us each year, by providing access to stellar works of art and ways to explore our special artistic heritage,” said Terrie Sultan, Director of the Parrish Art Museum. “The new plan will allow us to build a beautiful facility within a sensible budget and a reasonable time frame. The design will be flexible, sustainable, and economically achievable.”

The building will provide more than 37,300 square feet of space, which is nearly twice the size of the existing museum in Southampton Village. With 12,000 square feet of unencumbered flexible galleries it also includes the first galleries dedicated to displaying the museum’s important permanent collection. The museum will also include educational and multi-purpose spaces, a lobby, and a café and kitchen. The design incorporates administrative offices and on site space for storage and care of the permanent collection.

Located on the north side of Montauk Highway, the proposed new Parrish will be a horizontal structure consisting of two parallel wings joined by a central circulation spine running the length of the building. The poured-in-place concrete walls are deeply recessed under a long and elegant white corrugated metal roof and will incorporate large sections of glass that permit views through the museum and into the surrounding landscape.

“The new project is in a way a more radical and simplified version of our original design for the Parrish,” said architect Jacques Herzog. “Its clarity in concept, in combination with straightforward construction details and building materials, can be seen as a process of purification in immediate response to the museum’s newly defined brief. Our proposal to collaborate from the beginning with local contractors on the realization of our ideas proved to be an extremely efficient and rewarding process for us as well as for the project.”

In addition, the museum has decreased their suggested donation in light of current economic conditions and in an effort to make its programs as accessible as possible. The suggested donation is now $5, $3 for senior citizens and students 18 and over. Children under 18 and museum members are admitted free. Visitors unable to make the suggested donation are requested to give what they can.

Noyac

Marina Thefts
Citing numerous complaints from Noyac residents, the Southampton Town Board agreed to prohibit parking on Noyac Bay Avenue up to its intersection with Mill Road, between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from May 15 to September 15. A petition was recently submitted to the town with more than a dozen signatures from local residents, who asked the board to prohibit parking in this area in the hopes that it would thwart a rising number of thefts.

“We have been having a problem in recent months with thefts. People have been breaking into automobiles and a home was burglarized. It would help if they didn’t have a place to park their vehicles,” contended local resident Tom Loreto, who added that there are between 300 to 400 yards of parking near the Northampton Colony Yacht Club where there are no homes.

Loreto’s wife Elena added that many of the boats docked in the marina have been vandalized in recent months.

“Electronics, nets, fishing poles, mechanical things, gas tanks have all been taken from the boats. We need some assistance and we need some kind of protection for the houses along the ocean. People who aren’t residents can always park near Trout Pond,” noted Elena Loreto.

Southampton Town

Superintendent of Highways
In the past few weeks, the Southampton Town Board has mulled over having the voters decide this November to change the superintendent of highways from an elected position to an appointed one. The idea faced many initial hurdles, after deputy town attorney Kathleen Murray discovered the shift would make the position subject to regulations from the state department of civil service, who would set the qualifications for the job and make the town hire a person from a department sanctioned hiring list. During a work session almost two weeks ago, Murray informed the board that they could create the position of commissioner of public works for the superintendent of highways, which wouldn’t be subject to the civil service guidelines. However, as the idea was vetted amongst the board several times, it began to lose traction and it appears at the next town board meeting on Tuesday, August 25, it will most likely be voted down.

Southampton Town

Surviving Hurricanes

According to Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, the town board liaison to the Office of Emergency Management, the Official Town of Southampton “2009 Hurricane Survival Guide” has been published. The guide has been updated and revised and includes important telephone numbers, checklists, tips to keep residents and their families safe, and valuable information to help prepare for a hurricane and its aftermath.

Councilwoman Graboski noted that, “There is no way that government can take care of everybody. Rather, we need our residents and visitors to share in this responsibility, so that we can best protect ourselves, our families, and our property. It is up to each of us to see that our homes are secure and our relocation plans are made well in-advance.”

Public safety administrator Cheryl Kraft, head of the Office of Emergency Management, stressed that, “Evacuation means relocation, often no farther than one mile out of a flood relocation zone.” In the event that residents do have to relocate, it is especially important to plan ahead to make alternative arrangements, well in-advance of a hurricane threat, to stay with a family member, friend, or co-worker. Residents who do not live in a flood relocation zone or in a mobile or manufactured home should shelter in place. Additionally, she noted that residents should be prepared for the possibility of being without electricity for an extended period, and that it could be some time before there is a return to normalcy.

According to Kraft a limited number of shelters, managed by the American Red Cross, will be opened in the town. However, residents needing to relocate out of flood prone areas are encouraged to make alternative plans well in advance, with shelters to be used as a last resort.

The “2009 Official Town of Southampton Hurricane Survival Guide” is available online atwww.southamptontownny.gov, under the Emergency Preparedness link. To request a copy by mail, residents may call 287-5745.

Suffolk County Legislature

Public Hearings

Legislator Jay Schneiderman announced last week that the general meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature would be held on Tuesday, August 18, at the Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center in Riverhead, which was the second of the two legislative meetings held on the East End this year due to the renovation of the Riverhead County Center building. The meeting featured a number of public hearings dedicated to legislation of significant interest to East End residents.

The day gave constituents a chance to offer five minutes of testimony on topics ranging from wireless communications surcharge to a local law to further enhance and strengthen the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Act. Along with legislation to reauthorize the Hotel and Motel Tax, the Suffolk County Legislature is considering increasing county taxes on hotel and motel stays in an effort to increase revenue.

Additionally, the Montauk legislator stressed the particular importance of the hearings on Introductory Resolution 1709 and Resolution 1722 both seeking to amend the Drinking Water Protection Program to increase funding for property tax relief.
Southampton Town

Comptroller Visit

As a prelude to a long-awaited state audit of town’s finances, representatives from the New York State Comptroller’s Office visited Southampton Town Hall yesterday to conduct “entrance interviews” with Supervisor Linda Kabot, the town board, and key administrators.

The sessions with the state’s local government team served to provide an opportunity for town board members and other officials to learn more about the state auditing process and ask additional questions. The actual audit and in-depth analysis will begin in late September and is anticipated to last approximately six months.

“At the request of our comptroller and business manager, the official state audit will begin in late September after the completion of the town’s forensic audit of the capital budget, the restatement of the 2007 financials, and the annual audit for 2008,” said Kabot. “The state intends to examine the financial transactions for all of 2008 and eight months of 2009, through August 31.”

The town board formally requested that the state conduct a risk analysis of the Town’s financial accounting system by way of a resolution unanimously adopted on February 24. The intention, said Kabot, is to have the State’s auditing team do a performance evaluation and render recommendations on strengthening internal controls. “This will help the Town improve public accountability, decision-making, and result in timelier financial reporting,” Kabot added.

“The input of the State Comptroller is critical for the Town to complete its corrective action plans and address several financial irregularities that have come to light from prior years,” concluded Kabot. “We have been looking forward to the state comptroller’s analysis for some time, and the opportunity to review any recommendations they have for the Town of Southampton during this tough economic time.”

Southampton

Town Hall Meeting
On Thursday, August 27, Congressman Bishop will host a “Town Hall” meeting at the Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville. The meeting is open to all members of the public and constituents are encouraged to ask the congressman about any issue regarding health care reform.

“I hold ‘Town Hall’ meetings to hear from my constituents, learn from them, let them know where I stand on the issues, and hopefully they learn something from me,” said Congressman Bishop. “Health care reform affects every family, and I have had so many good conversations with people. I expect this ‘Town Hall’ will also be a productive discussion. All I ask is for everyone who attends to treat one another with the same respect that they would expect themselves.”

Congressman Bishop says he has spent the month of August focused on health care policy, including meeting with dozens of constituents to discuss where they stand, hosting tele-Town Hall meetings with thousands of people, studying the legislation that is currently before the House of Representatives and personally calling constituents who have contacted his office. Congressman Bishop maintains that he is currently undecided on how he will vote on health care legislation.

“If you live in the 1st Congressional District and you have an opinion on health care, I want to hear from you,” said Congressman Bishop. “However, just as I am studying the bill and learning the facts, there is so much incorrect information out there about this legislation that I hope everyone will take the time to learn the facts.”

Congressman Bishop has posted a special “Health Care Reform” page on his website where constituents can read the bill, listen to an unedited health care tele-Town Hall meeting, and learn the truth about common myths concerning health care reform.

East End Digest: June 11 through June 18

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


“Landscape Pleasures,” the Parrish Art Museum’s annual two-day horticulture event and fund-raiser, will explore the use of color in the garden, fashion and the world around you. Scheduled for Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, the program will kick off with a morning symposium, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring a conversation between renowned designers Isaac Mizrahi and Charlotte Moss, as well as talks by landscape historian and author Judith B. Tankard and garden designer Dan Pearson.

Self-guided tours of six private Southampton village gardens — those of Bruce and Maria Bockmann, Mr. and Mrs. Brownlee Currey, Juergen and Anke Friedrich, Parker and Gail Gilbert, David and Simone Levinson, and Betty and Virgil Sherrill—will round out the program on Sunday.

Judith Tankard will start off the symposium with a lecture on the color theories of influential female gardeners including Gertrude Jekyll, Beatrix Farrand and Ellen Biddle Shipman. Tankard received her M.A. in art history from New York University and has been teaching at the Landscape Institute, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University since 1987.

Dan Pearson will discuss the importance of color in his extensive garden designs, which include an Italian garden where white is the predominant color, and his own London garden. One of Britain’s foremost garden experts, Pearson has created and starred in several popular British television series on gardening. He is on the editorial board of Gardens Illustrated magazine and is a weekly gardening columnist for The Observer.

Keynote Speaker Isaac Mizrahi will take the stage with celebrated interior designer Charlotte Moss for a lively conversation about color. A leader in the fashion business for almost twenty years, Isaac Mizrahi is Creative Director for the Liz Claiborne brand, has been awarded four CFDA awards, written the book “How to Have Style,” created costumes for movies, theater, dance, and opera. A Parrish trustee since 2002 and co-chair of Landscape Pleasures, Charlotte Moss is founder of Charlotte Moss Interior Design, the author of six books, and the designer of houses throughout the United States and Canada. Her design work has been featured in numerous publications.

Sag Harbor

Candidates Lobby for Support

With elections for Sag Harbor Village mayor just around the corner, on Tuesday, June 16, this week candidates Michael Bromberg, Brian Gilbride and Jim Henry worked the campaign trail, visiting constituent groups, talking to residents, announcing endorsements and hosting a press conference in an effort to take the helm of Sag Harbor’s Board of Trustees.

Bromberg, the current chairman of the zoning board of appeals, was a guest at Friday’s Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, talking to the group about some of the issues he sees the village coming in the next two years.

Bromberg sees himself as representative of both the old and new Sag Harbor, and said he would like to see a village government elected that is interested in reaching out to the myriad of people in Sag Harbor who can aid government in accomplishing their goals. He said he was also concerned that an affordable housing trust, created during the approval process for luxury condos at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory, had yet to get off the ground, something he would like to see changed. Bromberg has also suggested the village could consider building both additional parking and affordable housing over the current village lot behind Main Street.

On Saturday morning, with roughly half a dozen residents in attendance, Henry threw a press conference at Havens Beach, stating a need for a village government willing to address a storm water runoff issue at the bathing beach and calling for the creation of a dog park. Henry, an attorney and economist, said while village officials “may be proud of a tight budget” projects like the $500,000 Cashin plan, proposed years ago to create a bio-filtration system for the Havens Beach drainage ditch have gone unfunded.

Henry also announced the endorsement of Congressman Tim Bishop, who on Tuesday withdrew his endorsement.

“As a Southampton Village resident, I understand that village politics occupy a special place, free of outside interests,” said Bishop in a statement. “As a rule, I do not insert myself into village politics. I recently made a snap decision and broke that longstanding rule. Upon reflection and with apologies, I withdraw any endorsements I have made in village races and I look forward to working with Sag Harbor’s next mayor.”

On Tuesday, Henry did pick up the endorsement of Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, who called Henry a “person who puts community first and exhibits sound decision making.”

On Monday, Brian Gilbride said he had been sticking to a basic campaign strategy of knocking on doors and visiting with residents to share his goals for the village, which center around maintaining a fiscally conservative budget, he said. In addition to residents, Gilbride hoped to reach out to members of the business community as well as local not-for-profits.
Sag Harbor

Column Award
A column by Karl Grossman, published in the Sag Harbor Express last June, was chosen last week in the annual competition of the Press Club of Long Island as the best general interest column published in a weekly newspaper on Long Island in 2008.

The column — titled “Legally Corrupt” — concerned the selection of “official” county newspapers. It noted how each year the Suffolk County Legislature — and because of New York State law, governing bodies throughout the state — pick two “official” newspapers, one “representing the principles of the Democratic Party,” the other “representing the principles of the Republican Party.” These are then paid to publish legal advertising.

This “selection explicitly based on politics is a throwback to an era in American journalism when newspapers were avidly partisan, indeed many declared that in their names,” the column noted. It pointed to such “newspapers (still) called the Tallahassee Democrat (in Florida), Democrat and Chronicle (in upstate Rochester), Star-Democrat (in Easton, Maryland), The Republican (in Springfield, Massachusetts).”

It continued: “Change came to journalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as many and then most newspapers sought to report the news objectively.”

The column stated that this selection of “official” newspapers “based on their ‘representing the principles’ of the major parties is antiquated—and corrupting to journalism.” It questioned whether a paper “would get such a designation if it offended” the politicians who do the choosing and declared: “Independent journalism is sacrificed by this system.”

In an acceptance speech upon receiving the award Thursday in Woodbury, Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, said the system should be changed.

Sagaponack

Road Repairs
After years of drainage issues, Sagg Dune Court is creeping into a disheveled state, said members of the Sagaponack Village Board of Trustees, and is in need of repair. Mayor Don Louchheim reported driving on the road last week and said it was in a “horrendous” condition. However, Louchheim added that the village wasn’t looking to invest in a major road construction project, but did want to solve the underlying drainage issues at the site. Drew Bennett, a consulting engineer for the village, presented the board with three separate plans varying in cost and construction intensity. Bennett also noted that only 26 percent of the road was in fair condition, with the rest of it being in poor to very poor condition.

Trustee Lisa Duryea Thayer suggested the board explore going out for a bond for general road construction throughout the town not just at Sagg Dune Court.

“We could get some kind of statement from [village attorney] Anthony Tohill on if we can acquire performance bonds for not just here but for the whole village,” said Louchheim.

East Hampton

Muskets, Militia and More

History lovers of all ages are invited to experience an historic reenactment with the 3rd New York Regiment or the Brigade of the American Revolution and revolutionary encampment at Mulford Farm on James Lane in East Hampton Village.

Visitors will have the chance to meet the “Colonial Kids” between 10 a.m. and Noon, try on 18th century costumes, take part in butter-churning and play colonial games.

Free, half-hour guided tours of the Mulford Farm House restoration will be given at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and will offer clues to the 350-year history of the house. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again between 3 and 5 p.m., costumed interpreters will demonstrate traditional methods of spinning yarn with a drop spindle, weaving on the historic barn beam loom and basket making using age-old techniques.

The farm will reopen for a candlelight tour of the Revolutionary encampment at 7:30 p.m., and contra dance and refreshments in the colonial barn. Music will be provided by “Dance All Night.” The group features Larry Moser on hammered dulcimer, Mary Nagin and Jack Dillon on fiddle, and dance caller Chart Guthrie. All are members of the Long Island Traditional Music Association and have a wide repertoire of fun and easy dances for all ages.

For more information, please call 324-6850.

Shinnecock

D.C. Meeting

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation met in Washington, D.C., on June 3 with representatives from the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) to participate in the process to secure recognition from the federal government for the tribe. The session was an integral part of the time line agreed to in a court-ordered settlement arising from litigation the tribe launched against the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The forum was hosted by the Department of the Interior in order to provide an opportunity for the Shinnecocks and other interested parties to present additional background on the documents submitted in response to OFA’s March 16 letter to the Shinnecocks. The letter, which was circulated to interested parties, identified records known to OFA that were not part of the information submitted with the Shinnecock petition. The petition seeking federal acknowledgment comprises over 500 pages, with 40,000 pages of additional documentation.

The settlement reached between the Shinnecocks and the federal government provides for expeditious review of the tribe’s original petition and its more recent submissions, as well as that provided by the interested parties. OFA sought materials from Southampton Town and New York State that were used in the earlier lawsuit over the Westwoods property, a 79-acre parcel in Hampton Bays which the tribe had began clearing for a casino. Additional records sought included expert reports from New York State’s genealogical researchers and a trove of historical documents from town clerk Sundy Schermeyer containing Indian lands, deeds and statistics.

Since first applying for recognition in 1978 and more formally in 1998, the Shinnecocks have litigated over what the tribe has called the Bureau of Indian Affairs “unreasonable delay.” With the agreement reached May 26 that led to the June 3 gathering, the Department of Interior must issue a preliminary decision on recognition by December 15.

“As town supervisor, I attended in order to represent the town board and show our support for the settlement with the Department of Interior, and to obtain a better understanding of the rigorous standards the Shinnecocks must meet to become federally acknowledged,” said Kabot, who was accompanied by the town’s legal adviser, Michael Cohen.

The meeting was moderated by OFA Specialist George Roth and attended by representatives of the U.S. Solicitor and U.S. Attorney General. Several representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation were also present, including Tribal Trustees Randall King, Gordell Wright and Frederick Bess, as well as their attorneys and research team.

Another purpose of the meeting was for federal researchers to explain the process, methodology, and general status of evaluating a petition. The OFA research team is comprised of historian Francis Flavin, anthropologist Holly Reckord and genealogist Alycon Pierce. There are seven mandatory criteria that must be met under federal regulations to establish that an American Indian group exists as a tribe. Questions posed to the Shinnecocks focused on membership lists, their functioning as a single autonomous political entity, while explaining how evidence is reviewed to determine parentage and descent to establish family histories.

“The Town of Southampton appreciates that the OFA will be completing a thorough, objective review of current and historic documents,” said Kabot. “We have fully cooperated with the requests of OFA for town documents. The Town of Southampton did not engage any researchers as part of this federal acknowledgment process sought by the Shinnecocks, nor do we intend to do so, and therefore we did not pose any questions on the submissions made by the Shinnecocks. Our relationship with the Shinnecocks is not an adversarial one. We are friends and neighbors.”

According to Kabot, Shinnecock Tribal Chairman Randall King requested an opportunity to convey remarks and “spoke eloquently about the need for the federal government to humanize the process, rather than making repeated requests for more documentation.” She also described the meeting as “exciting and interesting, but highly technical,” as it focused on federal criteria mandating extensive research, a peer review process and lengthy comment periods to raise inquiries and objections.

“At the end of the day, the Shinnecocks have long-awaited a decision on federal recognition,” concluded Kabot. “This meeting brings them one step closer to realizing their vision of sustaining their culture and enhancing the prosperity of their people.”

East End Digest: May 29 through June 4

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


Gospel Benefit

On Saturday, June 6 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. the Maidstone Club in East Hampton will host a gospel benefit for the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center. Making its first appearance on the East End, “Songs of Solomon,” the award-winning inspirational choral youth ensemble based in Harlem, will perform at the benefit. The world-renowned group, created and led by Chantel Renee Wright, herself an award-winning choral conductor from Chicago, has performed all over the United States and in South Africa. It was at the Gospel Music Workshop of America three years ago that Bonnie Cannon, Executive Director of the Bridgehampton Child Care Center, first heard them.

“They blew me away,” she says. “I knew right then that someday I’d get them out here.”

The high energy group, whose repertoire ranges from gospel and spirituals to jazz and classical music (they sang the Bach Magnificat in D at Carnegie Hall) has performed with such artists as Elton John, Gladys Knight, Earth Wind and Fire and Aretha Franklin.

Chairing the benefit is U.S. Congressman Tim Bishop, who served on the board of the Bridgehampton Child Care Center for five years and remains a member of the advisory board.

“The programs at the Center play a vital role in the lives of so many of our lower income and immigrant families,” he says. “The Center serves what is often an invisible population and I’m grateful to the Maidstone Club for supporting our mission.”

The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center was born out of tragedy in 1949 when a house fire killed the untended children of migrant farm workers. The shocked community rallied to found the first, community-based migrant child care center in the country. The Center continues to serve the less fortunate on the East End and offers after-school programs, a low cost summer camp, youth programs and adult development services such as ESL and GED. It also hosts Head Start for preschoolers from as far away as Montauk and Westhampton.

For reservations to hear “Songs of Solomon,” call 537-0616. There will also be cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Tickets are $150 per person. Seating is limited.

Southampton
Dems Pick Candidates

On Friday evening, May 29, the Southampton Town Democratic Committee nominated its candidates for 2009 during their nomination convention at the Southampton Inn. Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst, a Sag Harbor resident, was unanimously nominated for the position of Southampton Town Supervisor. The unity theme was echoed as incumbent councilwoman Sally Pope was nominated to run for a full term. Pope won a special election for her post last November. Bridget Fleming, a Noyac resident and attorney, was also selected to run for the open council seat. The Dems candidate for town highway superintendent is Alex Gregor of Hampton Bays who is the Southampton Town Independence leader.

Sitting Southampton Town Justices Deborah Kooperstein and Barbara Wilson were nominated to continue in their judicial roles. Selected as town trustee candidates by the Democrats were Southampton Town bayman and oyster farmer Bill Pell and Chris Garvey, a Hampton Bays resident and member of the Hampton Bays School Board.

Southampton Town

Board Honors EMS Staff

During last week’s Southampton Town Board meeting, held on Tuesday, May 26, supervisor Linda Kabot honored the town’s emergency medical service workers.

“These individuals truly embody the citizen service has been a cornerstone of our nation’s prosperity since the days of its founding,” said Kabot of the assembled group. “They are among the countless Americans who have stepped forward throughout history to assist others, and they have strengthened their communities in the process. EMS volunteers are a critical asset in every community. They provide care at the scene and on the way to the hospital, which dramatically improves survival and recovery rates.”

Kabot added that the town’s eight different EMS agencies responded to over 5,000 medical calls in 2008. The Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance responded to 620 calls last year, and Bridgehampton Volunteer Ambulance responded to 116.

From May 17 through May 23, the town celebrated EMS week, with the theme being “EMS: A Proud Partner of Your Community.” Initiated by President Richard Nixon in 1973, National Emergency Medical Services Week has been celebrated each year to recognize the accomplishments of those who dedicate themselves to saving others.

Hampton Bays

Video Game Tournament

Two Hampton Bays High School students have organized a Video Game Tournament to be held on Sunday, June 7. The event is open to anyone over the age of 13. In order to compete, participants under 18 must bring a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian. The evening is a fundraiser for the Hampton Bays High School Class of 2010, though a portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to a local hospital or charity, yet to be determined. The evening consists of three games: Halo 3 as a team and doubles, Super Smash Brothers Melee and Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Each game costs $4. The event will be held at the Hampton Bays Middle School and begins at 10 a.m. For more information call (631) 525-1825.

Peconic Bay

MTA Tax Exemption

New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr., has introduced legislation that would exempt all employers within the towns of East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold from the provisions of the 0.34 percent payroll tax recently enacted in the 12 county MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) region, as part of the financial bailout of the MTA. Despite the increased taxes and fees in the MTA region, fares on the Long Island Railroad were still increased an average of 10 percent.

The payroll tax will raise an additional $1.5 billion in annual revenue for the MTA. The MTA region has a population of more than 13.1 million people. The Peconic Bay Region has a population of approximately 140,000 or about 1.1 percent of the region.

“The MTA is a bloated bureaucracy that has a demonstrated record of fiscal shortcomings,” Thiele stated. “To throw more money at the MTA without true reform is irresponsible. To increase taxes and fees during a period of deep recession is even more foolhardy. As for the Peconic Bay Region, our year-round residents get minimal service, at best, with just a few trains a day. Further, we already pay an additional [a portion of our] sales tax and a mortgage tax to subsidize the MTA. We will also pay the new fare hikes for their declining service.”

“It has been estimated that as part of the Volpe Study on improved rail/bus service for the East End that we already pay $40 million to $60 million more than we receive in service from the MTA on an annual basis,” continued Thiele. “In short, we pay way too much for way too little. The East End simply does not have the same level of NYC commuters, yet we pay the same as everyone else. The only fair solution is to exempt the East End from the new tax.”

Thiele stated that in addition, he will continue to pursue the option of the establishment of a Peconic Bay Regional Transportation Authority separate from the MTA to provide for the East End’s transportation needs.

NY State Assembly

Clean Act

A broad coalition spanning business, economic development, labor, and environmental groups called on the state last week to place a $5 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act on the November 2009 ballot. New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney convened a hearing in Albany to discuss the merits of the draft legislation that would place the measure on the ballot.

State officials say the measure will invest in long-term improvements to waste water infrastructure, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection and economic development projects; and is expected to provide opportunities for “green-collar” jobs.

Bond act supporters noted the long term benefits of investing in bonding funds. A recent study shows that a $1 billion investment in water and waste water infrastructure creates $3 billion in economic activity and supports up to 26,000 new jobs with an average salary of $50,000. Each $1 billion invested generates $82.4 million in state and local tax revenue.

“Even a conservative view of this bond act suggests that it would create over 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. These would be good-paying jobs in management, construction, and innovative industries,” said Jim Melius, administrator NYS Laborers Tri-Funds.

“The last Clean Water and Clean Air Bond Act, which passed in 1996, has been spent down yet the challenges of climate change continue to grow,” added Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The Clean Water, Clean Air & Green Jobs Bond Act of 2009 will help meet those challenges, while putting New Yorkers back to work and creating permanent taxpayer savings.” ?

East End Digest: February 26, 2009

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


Bridgehampton
Citarella to Open

The former location of the IGA in Bridgehampton will be opening under the name Citarella come April 2009. Citarella considers itself the “ultimate gourmet market.”
Clare Vail, a Southampton Town Planner said that applicant and property owner, Joe Gurrera, submitted an application of expedited review, “a speedy request,” on February 5, 2009.
The planning department held a favorable view and asked the applicant to submit the application on expedited review because there were only going to be minor changes to the building. The application was approved on February 12.
“The applicant wants to spruce up the building, and move the entrance way,” Vail said.
The entrance to the building will be moved to the north east side, from its original location on the west side facing the parking lot, according to the application.
Vail said the applicant wanted to add outdoor seating and improve the parking area – but that would need to undergo a full site plan review at a later date.

Sag Harbor
Library Moves on Building Plans

The John Jermain Memorial Library Board of Trustees continue to work with Newman Architects to develop a library plan that will, in the words of the architects, “serve the Sag Harbor community’s library needs.” During the past weeks a number of firms working in conjunction with Newman have visited both John Jermain and the library’s property at 425 Main Street near Mashashimuet Park.
Philip Steiner, principal from Altieri Sebor and Weber structural engineers, spent January 27 at the library reviewing the mechanical systems, the exterior of the building, and the roof. On February 5, two preservationists, John Glavin and Michele Boyd, from Building Conservation Associates spent 10 hours with the director of the library, Catherine Creedon, touring the building and reviewing the history of John Jermain including photographs, newspapers clippings, blueprints and board reports. It was the third site visit from this firm, headed by Ray Pepi.
On February 13, Deborah McGuinness and Ed Meade, structural engineers for Robert Silman Associates spent the day in Sag Harbor, evaluating both sites with an emphasis on examining the roof, the exterior envelope, the brick wall, existing blueprints, and documentary evidence related to repairs, additions and renovations.
New York State has also proposed an 18% cut in funding to libraries for 2009.

Southampton Town
Interviews for Board Candidates

Southampton Town board members have decided to open an interview process for vacant and holdover positions.
The appointees who serve on the three boards have salaried positions over a specific term of office consistent with state law. Their decision-making powers are exercised by a majority vote of the membership to approve certain types of land use applications.
The Planning Board processes applications for subdivisions, site plans, special exception use permits, lot line modifications, and also renders advisory reports to the Town Board on amendments to the zoning code or requests for changes to the zoning map. The Zoning Board deliberates on requests for variances from zoning strictures on dimensional requirements, changes of use, abandonment proceedings, and appeals of denials or approvals rendered by the Town’s Building Inspector. The Conservation Board processes applications for construction near regulated wetlands areas and prepares advisory reports to the Planning Board and Zoning Board.
Candidates seeking to be considered should send a letter of interest to Supervisor Linda Kabot and members of the Town Board at Southampton Town Hall, 116 Hampton Road, Southampton, NY 11968 prior to February 27.

New York State Assembly
No to Cap

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr., the ranking republican on the Assembly Education Committee, blasted Governor Paterson’s proposal to cap state property tax payments to areas to school districts for state owned lands pursuant to existing state law. Under the Governor’s plan, payments to such areas would be permanently frozen.
The State of New York currently makes property tax payments to certain school districts for state lands. In Riverhead, including Southampton and Brookhaven, the payments are related to the Central Pine Barrens Preserve. Riverhead receives payments for all state alnds within the school district within the Town of Riverhead.
In 2007, Suffolk school district received around $20 million in such payments. A freeze in 2009 will cost these schools nearly $1 million. The freeze would be permanent and apply to all future years.
“There is no doubt that the costs diverted from communities hit by this tax freeze will be borne by local property taxpayers,” Thiele said. “This proposal assumes that school districts will decrease their spending. But the reality is that many districts are struggling in this tough economy.”
“It is the height of fiscal irresponsibility for state government to try and balance its budget on the backs of property owners. If the Governor truly wants to do the right thing for New Yorkers, he would support the swift passge of our ‘New York State Property Act.’ which would put the brakes on ever increasing property taxes and allow families and local eployers to stay in their communities,” Thiele continued.
Thiele said the legislation would prevent school district property tax levies from increasing by more than four percent each year or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. It would also provide voters with the ability to override this limitation by a two-thirds majority vote. The initiative also provides significant unfunded mandate relief for school districts.
In other news, Thiele also introduced a comprehensive “home rule” plan to address the issue of school consolidation in the State of New York.
Thiele stated, “Exisitng state law inhibits the consideration of school consolidations. Many times school consolidation is derailed by special interests without even allowing the voters to be heard on the issue. In contrast, the Suozzi Commission has proposed a school consolidation procedure which would be imposed by the state with no local referendum. To be successful, we must first have an objective investigation of each potential consolidation in the state. Second, we must permit local voters the opportunity to evaluate these objectiv investigations and make the decision by referendum.”
Thieles bill includes several provisions. It would require the State Education Department (SED) to identify school districts that might benefit from consolidation. The study would include districts with 1,000 or fewer students and school districts that either share a common boundary with such a district, or school districts that have an existing contract with such a district to educate its students.

Suffolk County
Veterans

Last week, the Suffolk County United Veterans Project and other local veterans organizations held a press conference to highlight the impact of Governor Paterson’s proposed budget cuts on homeless veterans in Suffolk County.
County Legislator Kate Browning joined the veterans organizations and spoke out against deep cuts to many of New York’s homelessness prevention and assistance programs. She endorsed the Fair Share Tax Reform as an alternative budget solution that can ensure vulnerable veterans continue to get the care they need.
The press conference was part of an ongoing compaign by the Long Island Fair Share Tax Reform Coalition to advocate for a fair budget solution.

East End Digest, January 15

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



Stony Brook Southampton

Bay Street Co-Founders Create New Programs at Stony Brook

Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Writing and Literature Program announced two new initiatives for 2009: a Playwriting Conference as part of the Southampton Writers Conference, and the Young American Writers Project, an interdisciplinary writing program for middle and high school students.
The Playwriting Conference will be directed by Stephen Hamilton and Emma Walton Hamilton, co-founders of the Bay Street Theatre. The conference will run concurrently with the Children’s Literature, Southampton Writers, and Screenwriting conferences, in three sessions from July 8 to August 2. Established and emerging playwrights will have the opportunity to develop their work in a collaborative setting with professional actors, directors and members of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Three graduate credits are available to eligible students in each conference.
“When Stony Brook acquired the Southampton campus, we promised to build real strength in the arts,” Robert Reeves, director of the MFA in Writing and Literature program said. “We are proud to be able to carry out that mandate by broadening our programs. We are also thrilled that Emma and Steve accepted our invitation to become the newest members of the MFA program.”
For seventeen years, Stephen Hamilton served as the Theatre’s Executive Director and produced over 50 productions. Emma Walton Hamilton is a theater professional and arts educator, as well as a best-selling author and editor. Until 2008 she was Director of Education and Programming for Young Audiences, and spearheaded the Young Playwrights Program in area schools.
In addition to the new Playwriting Conference, Stony Brook Southampton’s will also establish the Young American Writers Project (YAWP). The inaugural YAWP program, focusing on playwriting, will be offered to middle schoolers in the spring of 2009. The YAWP curriculum calls for teaching artists to visit designated classrooms twice weekly during a two-month period, guiding students to create and develop their own plays. One play from each participating class will be produced at Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Theater in April of 2009. Among participating schools in the inaugural YAWP program for 2009 are: Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, and Eastport South Manor.

Schools
Inaug. Invite

Several local students will attend the inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20 in Washington, D.C. Jocelin Kalish of Bridgehampton was invited to attend by the University Presidential Inaugural Conference. Kalish is an alumni of the National Youth Leadership Forum and was the valedictorian of Bridgehampton High School last year. Fellow Bridgehampton graduate, Eddie Gholson is working for Ultimate Staffing and will help chaperone a group of children around D.C. and accompany them to the inauguration ceremony for the company. Ross tenth grade students Spencer Kuzon and Devon Leaver will also be in attendance. Kuzon and Leaver will participate in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference from Saturday, January 17 to Wednesday, January 21. This five-day program provides students with a deeper understanding of the electoral process and its history, as well as the traditions surrounding the presidential inauguration.

Harbor Committee
“Mary E” Sails Elsewhere for Home

After months of dialogue between the owners of the “Mary E” schooner and the village Harbor Committee board, the board has finally decided to deny the owners request to permanently dock the schooner on Long Wharf. Although, the decision ultimately lies with the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, the Harbor Committee agreed to draft a letter to the board recommending the denial of the owners request. During a committee meeting on Monday, January 12, Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait cited the owners lack of a comprehensive plan for upland support for the “Mary E” as the primary reason for the refusal of their petition. The owners of the “Mary E” sought to run a charter sailing business from the boat. Tait said at a previous meeting that parking would need to be provided for charter clients.
Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees member, Ed Deyermond swung by the meeting to treat the committee members to an update on the Keyspan/National Grid remediation project in the village. Deyermond said there wasn’t much to report as the project is on somewhat of a hiatus due to a delay in the shipment of equipment, specifically a tent.

East Hampton
Farmers Market

The Peconic Land Trust is requesting proposals for usage of the
farmland adjacent to the Amagansett Farmers Market located on Main
Street, Amagansett. The farmland consists of 5.7 acres of conserved
land that the Trust anticipates leasing in early 2009 with the idea
of integrating the produce into the Amagansett Farmer’s Market.
Interested parties are asked to submit a letter of interest to Pam
Greene, the Director of Stewardship, by February 1. A formal proposal
will be requested from those submissions. The formal proposal will
require a business plan and land use plan for the farm. For more
information call 283-3195.

SH Rotary Club
Inter. Grants

Kevin Luss, President of the Southampton Rotary Club has announced that Rotary International (RI) has approved a matching grant application, submitted by Southampton Rotary and the Rotary Club of Guntur (India). The approved matching grant, sponsored by the Southampton, Northport and Riverhead Rotary Clubs, will be used to finance the purchase of equipment that is critical in the medical mission being undertaken by International Surgical Mission Support, a group of local doctors who will be traveling to the NRI General Hospital, located in Andhra Pradesh, India.
During their short stay in India, the doctors will conduct several hundred medical screenings and life saving surgical procedures and will leave the newly purchased equipment with the local medical center.
Southampton Rotary will coordinate the project internationally, while the Rotary Club of Guntur will coordinate on a local level. The total grant budget for this project is equivalent to $62,000.

SHDC
New Dem. Chair

The Southampton Town Democratic Committee has unanimously elected Gordon Herr to succeed retiring Chairman Mike Anthony.
Anthony assured the committee that he was not leaving and would still play a significant role in the Democratic Party. He added that working with Gordon Herr for the past few years gave him full confidence that his efforts would be built upon for even greater Southampton Town Democratic Party achievements in the future.

Suffolk County
New EPA Chair

Legislator Jay Schneiderman has been named chair of the County’s
Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee (EPA) by presiding
Officer William Lindsay for the second year in a row. Schneiderman
has a background in science education and has been involved with
numerous environmental initiatives including land preservation and
water quality protection. Schneiderman currently has a bill pending
before the EPA committee that would establish a county-wide setback
from wetlands for fertilizer application. “Nitrogen and phosphorus
from fertilizers are contributing to nutrient overload in our bays
and harbors,” claims Schneiderman, “this is causing algal blooms that
are devastating shellfish populations and other marine life.”
Schneiderman believes the new law will be adopted earlier this year.