Tag Archive | "East Hampton"

Amazon Debuts Animated Pilot for “The Stinky and Dirty Show” Based on Sag Harbor Author’s Books

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Amazon has produced an animated pilot for preschool kids based on the work of Kate and Jim McMullan, who, respectively, are the author and illustrator of a series of picture books including “I’m Dirty!,” “I Stink!,” “I’m Brave!,” and “I’m Fast!” detailing the lives of different vehicles including a garbage truck, a tugboat, a backhoe loader and a fire truck.

Titled “The Stinky and Dirty Show,” the pilot can be viewed at amzn.to/1C2w0qG. With enough views and comments, Amazon may make pick up the series and develop it into a full fledged children’s show, according to Ms. McMullan who informed readers and fans about the program via email this week.

Several of the books have been made into videos already. The McMullans’ announced on their website—katemcmullen.com—that Scholastic is making a video of “I’m Fast!” with Stanley Tucci playing the voice of the train. Ms. McMullan also created the Myth-o-Mania series, a parody of Greek myths starring Hades, Helen of Troy and Perseus, among others, as well as several other books geared for children and young adults alike.

To learn more about the McMullans, visit katemcmullen.com and to view “The Stinky and Dirty Show” visit http://amzn.to/1C2w0qG.

 

Hampton Theatre Company to Present ‘Time Stands Still’

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Kate Kenney, John Carlin, John L. Payne and Sandy York. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Kate Kenney, John Carlin, John L. Payne and Sandy York. Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Tessa Raebeck

While we often think of completed scripts as specific ideas that were long-brewing in the head then finally put to page, sometimes a new play can begin with an idea as simple as “A new play.” Donald Margulies started “Time Stands Still,” by writing that unassuming idea in his notebook, followed by “A loft,” and a series of questions that became a play framed in the extreme circumstance of the Iraq War, but cemented in questions that plague all relationships.

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Sandy York and John Carlin. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Presented by the Hampton Theatre Company, “Time Stands Still” will open Thursday, January 8, at the Quogue Community Hall, the second production in the company’s 30th anniversary season. Directed by Sarah Hunnewell, HTC Executive Director, the Tony Award nominated drama follows photojournalist Sarah Goodwin, who has returned home to Brooklyn after nearly being killed by an IED while covering the Iraq War. Sarah struggles to adapt to life at home with her partner James Dodd. A freelance journalist, James was also reporting on the war, but returned home before Sarah, traumatized by his own horrendous experience and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

James, portrayed by John Carlin, takes care of Sarah, who was hurt by the explosion. As the longtime couple struggles to adapt to a new life together, they are contrasted by the blossoming, promising marriage of Sarah’s editor, Richard Erlich, played by John L. Payne, and his much younger girlfriend Mandy, played by Kate Kenney.

The couple’s respective experiences at war helped to create the issues they grapple with once back home, but their struggles are inherent to many relationships; one partner wants to settle down and lead a “normal” life, while the other aches for the action provided by his or her career.

“It’s really a love story,” said Ms. Hunnewell, the director, adding, “The intensity of the jobs these people do has raised the stakes in their domestic situation.”

As their desired paths diverge, Sarah and James struggle to find a way in which their love can be enough to sustain a relationship that is no longer practical.

“You can have the best intentions and you can actually really love someone, and sometimes it still doesn’t work out. It’s this really beautiful, bittersweet aspect of just, life sometimes has other things in mind,” said Mr. Carlin.

The four actors, who are all newcomers to the company, and Ms. Hunnewell are working to find the truths of their characters beyond what the script provides, from where they were born to whether they took the subway or a cab to get to the stage that day.

“What every actor tries to do,” said Mr. Payne, a Long Island native who plays Richard, “is to make the person a real human being, and a real human being has lots of stuff that they carry around with them—they have history from their previous life, they have history from that day.”

Despite the traumatic circumstances surrounding the play, there is much humor found in the script, often in the form of Richard and Mandy, Sarah’s 55-year-old editor and his 25-year-old fiancé, who are having a child together. The trials of James and Sarah’s love are counteracted by the ease of the story’s other couple.

For Sarah, “this is the most insane thing she’s ever heard in her life,” said Ms. Hunnewell, “but he is incredibly happy, so it’s a question of priorities and what works for one couple and doesn’t work for another. It’s a study in relationships of all kinds.”

At first appearing to be the standard, happy 25-year-old bride-to-be that is oft positioned as the natural nemesis to an older female, Mandy challenges Sarah in a much more human, and intriguing, manner. The significance of Sarah’s career in her own eyes is heightened by the sense that photographing the war helps the situation by telling its truth to the world, but Mandy questions the substance behind seeing the bloodshed.

“I guess,” said Ms. Hunnewell, “it could be said about the value of anyone’s work—particularly for workaholics and for people who just put work above everything—is what any of us actually do for work that important? Are we achieving something? Is it changing the world for the better, is it not changing the world for the better, and if a job is as dangerous as hers, is it worth it?”

“Time Stands Still” runs Thursday, January 8 through January 25 at the Quogue Community Hall. For more information and special dinner packages, visit hamptontheatre.org or call 1-866-811-4111.

The Affair Takes Top Honors at The Golden Globes

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Ruth Wilson and Dominic West in “The Affair.”

Ruth Wilson and Dominic West in “The Affair.”

Showtime’s “The Affair,” a drama that takes place in and is shot on location in Montauk, took top honors during Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards, beating out Netflix’s “House of Cards,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” PBS’s “Downtown Abbey,” and CBS’s “The Good Wife” for the best television drama award.

Ruth Wilson, who stars in “The Affair” alongside Dominic West, Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson, also took home the best actress award for her portrayal of Alison, a waitress in Montauk who embarks in an affair with Brooklyn-based teacher Noah, who is summering in the hamlet with his wife’s tony family. The drama, created by Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi, tells the story of the affair—before and after a suspected murder—from the perspective of both Alison and Noah. Shot almost exclusively on location in Montauk, the show features iconic locations like The Lobster Roll, Deep Hollow Ranch and Ditch Plains. It was renewed for a second season a month after its October debut on Showtime with new episodes expected to air later this year.

Hamptons Wellness Week Takes Over the Month of January

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Anastasia Gavalas and Kiley DeMarco, founders of Hampton Wellness Week. Michael Heller photo.

Anastasia Gavalas and Kiley DeMarco, founders of Hampton Wellness Week. Michael Heller photo.

By Emily J. Weitz

Kiley DeMarco and Anastasia Gavalas came from totally different perspectives when they met a couple summers back at an event at Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack. Ms. DeMarco was behind the web site onehealthyhamptons.com, where she writes about wellness on the East End. Ms. Gavalas was an author and busy mother of five.

“We just hit it off,” said Ms. DeMarco, “and started brainstorming ideas of working together.”

Ms. Gavalas’s book, “Wing It”, is about staying sane in the madness of parenthood. She also started the Wing It foundation, which helps fund global and local education initiatives. The women were supportive of one another’s work, and wanted to figure out a way that they could bring the backgrounds of wellness and family together to create a healthier community.

“We like different things,” said Ms. Gavalas. “How we relax, fitness, eating. We have different lifestyles but we both want balance.”

They were both tired of spending lots of money trying to find a wellness regime that worked, often without success. They thought about how in the winter, there are so many wellness businesses struggling to stay on people’s radar.

“We wanted to find a way,” said Ms. DeMarco, “to allow locals to try fitness classes for free or for less to empower themselves to be healthier.”

That’s how Hamptons Wellness Week was born. Last year, more than a hundred people and about 18 businesses took part. This year those numbers have already grown exponentially. The event will now span the entire month of January. More than 30 businesses are already on board, and more are joining every day.

“You buy a bracelet for $45,” explained Ms. Gavalas, “and you wear it for the month. You get free fitness classes and 50-percent off wellness treatments, from manicures and pedicures to massages and facials.”

The businesses involved really stretch to the limits of the wellness industry, including dentists and acupuncturists, chiropractors and yoga studios.

“We want people to be able to find what they like,” said Ms. Gavalas. “It can be fitness, wellness, or nutrition. We were able to encompass everything: essential oils, nutritionists, colonists. Anything that will better your life.”

They decided to make it a month long so that people really have time to explore. If they’re away for a week, they can still take advantage. If they’re late to start, they can still buy a bracelet. And, they have time to try and fail and try again.

“It takes 21 days to form a new habit,” said Ms. DeMarco. “It’s not just going to the gym for three days and giving up. This is about forming a new habit that you’ll stick to and love. It’s about doing something you love that improves your life in so many ways.”

Restaurants and hotels have also gotten involved. Some, like c/o at the Maidstone, Forever Bungalows, and the Quogue Club bought packages of bracelets that they’ll be giving out to their guests in the month of January. Some restaurants, like the Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack, will also offer special wellness menus.

“We wanted to involve more businesses and more people in the community,” said Ms. DeMarco.

The timing of Hamptons Wellness Week (or month) is consciously chosen to coincide with people’s New Year’s resolutions.

“It’s kicking off the New Year in a healthy way,” said Ms. Gavalas. “But this is also the most realistic goal you can set. This is four weeks of possibilities for anything you want to try. Air quality assessments in your home, haircuts, you name it. You get to try these things and see if it’s something you can fit into your lifestyle.”

Ms. DeMarco added, “It’s head to toe wellness. You can take this month and take care of every part of your body.”

Check out the full list of participating businesses, which are located from Montauk to Westhampton, at their web site hamptonswellnessweek.com. You can also buy bracelets online, or at Blow Hampton in Bridgehampton.

 

Fundraising Effort for Amagansett

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A GoFundMe site has been established for Kate Mund of Amagansett, a self-employed seamstress and single mother who was stricken last fall with a mystery illness that has left her confined to a wheelchair without full use of her feet and hands. Ms. Mund’s diagnosis is still uncertain, and she needs help with living and medical expenses.

The “Kate Mund Medical Fund” site can be found at: www.gofundme.com/ic6awc . Local fundraising events are also being planned.

In the fall, Ms. Mund began experiencing flu-like symptoms and was treated for them by her local doctor. When she began to experience weakness and lack of dexterity in her hands and legs, she was sent to a neurologist. When an MRI revealed a herniated disc in her neck, she underwent surgery for disc replacement and the insertion of a titanium brace, and was sent to a rehabilitation facility.

Her recovery did not go as expected, and she has been confined to a wheelchair.  Just before Christmas, Ms. Mund was re-admitted to Stony Brook Hospital for more tests, and on Christmas Eve, she was diagnosed by one of her doctors with ALS, and was given a limited time to live. However, as she wrote in a message describing her ordeal, “We are not accepting their diagnosis for so many reasons I couldn’t possibly list them.”

Because severe tick-borne diseases can be mistaken for ALS and other ailments, Ms. Mund has scheduled appointments with her neurologist and with an infectious disease doctor specializing in tick-borne illness.

She has returned home and is feeling stronger. “My hope is to wake up from this nightmare and be able to return to life as it was before September, 2014,” she wrote in her message, in which she thanked all those concerned for their care and support.

Ms. Mund is a lifelong East Hampton resident whose late mother, Alice Mund, was a volunteer with the Ladies Village Improvement Society and whose late father, Henry Mund, was an East Hampton Town councilman and executive assistant to former New York State Assemblyman Perry Duryea. Her sister, Lauren Mund, has left her home and business out of state to provide her with the constant care she now requires.

They could use the help of the community. Donations may be made through the GoFundMe website, through the link above or by searching “Kate Mund Medical Fund,” or sent directly to Ms. Mund at P.O. Box 1798, Amagansett, N.Y. 11930.

New Year Brings New Hunting Seasons

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Hunting seasons in Suffolk County were extended this year as a way to deal with the large deer population on the East End. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt and Jill Musnicki. 

By Mara Certic

Several amendments to New York State hunting regulations have gone into effect this year in an effort to encourage recreational hunters to increase the deer harvest as one means of managing the expanding white-tailed deer population on the East End.

The regular bowhunting season, which historically has ended on December 31 and includes weekends, will now be extended through January 31. The special firearms season, which began on Sunday, January 4, will end on January 31 and will, unlike previous years, allow for weekend hunting.

These are two of the amendments that came from legislation sponsored by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.

“The recent population explosion of white-tailed deer on Eastern Long Island threatens public health, public safety, personal property, and the environment,” Mr. Thiele said in a release.

“Local municipal deer management plans describe the uncontrolled increase in population as an emergency, requiring immediate action. Without controlling the deer population, human health and safety will continue to be put in jeopardy,” he added.

In response to the new regulations, East Hampton Town has updated its code to try to keep bowhunters and shotgun hunters as far apart from one another as possible.

The town only has jurisdiction over town-owned parkland, with private properties and state parkland coming under the purview of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“On town properties, where big game gun hunting is occurring, bowhunting is not allowed at all,” explained Andrew Gaites, the senior environmental analyst in the town’s Department of Land Acquisition and Management.

“However, the town has plenty of properties open to bowhunting with no gun hunting allowed, so we updated our code to reflect that,” he added.

The changes were made in order to prevent hunter conflict, Mr. Gaites said. The required setback for bowhunters was recently reduced from 500 feet to 150 feet, giving them more opportunities than shotgun hunters. This new law will give shotgun hunters full access to the few lands that remain open.

Town permit quotas have been increased to reflect deer management needs, and next year several new permitting requirements will come into effect.

Despite the extended season, the state has declined to open its parkland in Montauk to additional hunting, meaning there will be no January bowhunting or any weekend gun hunting.  There will also be no weekend gun hunting in Noyac, according to the DEC.

Bill Crain, founder of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, spoke up at East Hampton’s work session on Tuesday morning, admonishing the town for allowing weekend hunting on town-owned land.

“Who suffers from this decision?” Mr. Crain asked. “The deer. I imagine what it’s like to be a deer out there. It’s just very upsetting to have any empathy for these animals.”

Human residents of the East End will also suffer, he said, as the new regulations will make weekend walks in the woods more dangerous.

“Another victim is democratic decision-making,” Mr. Crain said, adding that the town should have publicized its hunting rule changes.

For more information about hunting in Suffolk County visit dec.ny.gov/outdoor/hunting.

Southampton, East Hampton Towns Get Organized

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Larry Cantwell photo for web

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell announced some of the town’s goals for the coming year. 

By Mara Certic 

The year 2014 was a busy one for the East Hampton Town Board. It closed the scavenger waste facility, voted for a townwide ban on plastic bags, and accrued more Community Preservation Fund money than ever before. But according to Supervisor Larry Cantwell,  2015 has just as much in store.

The East Hampton Town Board held its 2015 organizational meeting immediately before its first work session of the year on Tuesday, January 6. Supervisor Cantwell discussed the many triumphs of the previous year and some of the goals for the next 12 months.

“I wanted to reflect for a moment on the past year and look forward to 2015, and first I want to express my appreciation to each of the board members,” Mr. Cantwell said in his opening remarks on Tuesday morning.

“Listening to the public, allowing for disagreement and maintaining courtesy and respect, we established civil discourse at town board meetings. Civility is the glue that holds us together as a democracy and as a community and it allows all of us to participate in a reasonable dialogue,” he said, adding that the board has done more to improve its transparency than previous administrations, and to improve the cooperation between departments.

Mr. Cantwell also announced some of the new initiatives the town hopes to fulfill in in the coming year.

The town plans to move toward adopting restrictions to tackle the noise problem at East Hampton Airport. Grant obligations from the Federal Aviation Administration expired on December 31, allowing the town to exert more control over the airport, officials say.  The third and final stage of a noise analysis is currently under way, and the board plan to adopt restrictions in time for the summer season.

Plans for a new community center will also be discussed in the coming year, Mr. Cantwell said, noting the town plans to replace the Senior Center on Springs- Fireplace Road.

The town is planning to adopt amendments to increase penalties and fines for zoning and code violations, and will also look to restrict the creation of new nightclubs.

East Hampton will adopt a water quality protection program this year, in order to replace failing septic systems in harbor protection districts.

Although plans for a rental registration law fell flat in 2014, Mr. Cantwell said the town will strengthen the existing code in order to combat illegally occupied housing.

The board will work on several studies, including a comprehensive review of hamlet studies of Amagansett, Montauk, Wainscott and Springs as well as a townwide business needs study and a coastal resiliency plan.

The town board will continue to encourage elected officials to call for PSEG power lines to be buried. The town has plans to adopt improved setback requirements on highways, in order to prevent what the supervisor has a called a planning mistake, the Wainscott Home Goods store, which is still under construction.

Finally, the town will also consider the creation of the office of town manager, in order to improve the efficiency of the town government.

Supervisor Cantwell also announced new members for the various appointed boards within the town. Kathy Cunningham will be the only new face on the planning board, which Reed Jones will continue to chair, with Nancy Keeshan as his vice chairperson.

There will be no changes to the Zoning Board of Appeals this year, with John Whelen and Cathy Rogers both re-appointed in their roles as chair and vice chair of the board, respectively.

Edward Krug and Peter Michael Gumpel will join the Architectural Review Board. Mr. Krug will fill the unexpired term of Rossetti Perchick. Richard Myers was named the chairperson of the ARB and Patti Lieber the vice chair.

Southampton

It was business as usual at Southampton’s organizational meeting later that day.

“This is the town board’s organization meeting for 2015, which is really our housekeeping meeting as we start off the year, and most of these are rather pro forma,” Supervisor Throne-Holst said before the board launched into a series of resolutions.

The real work, she added, will begin at next week’s work session on Tuesday, January 13.

The town board moved speedily, and passed 56 resolutions in 20 minutes, with just one inciting ample discussion.

The majority of the resolutions involved reappointing committees, setting fees and making other authorizations.

The membership of the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee remained much the same, with Dieter von Lehsten and Scott Carlin remaining co-chairs. Jenn Halsey Dupree, a 12th-generation Southampton resident, fruit farmer and co-owner of the Milk Pail, is the only new appointment to the board, replacing Dee Russell.

The majority of the discussion took place after Councilwoman Christine Scalera requested to amend a resolution adopting the annual salaries for elected officials. Ms. Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka both asked that their salaries be reduced from $62,000 to $60,000, and that the remaining $4,000 be put back into the town’s general fund.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming requested the resolution be tabled in order to give her more time to “understand the implications” of their decision. Ms. Scalera said it was a matter of principle, rather than a political decision.

After much deliberation, discussion and some confusion, the board voted 3-2 to table the resolution until it meets next Tuesday, in order to give Councilwoman Fleming the time she requested.

 

 

 

Bay Street Theater Celebrates The King with Tribute Concert

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Gene Casey

Gene Casey

By Gianna Volpe

If Elvis Presley lives, he’ll be in Sag Harbor this Saturday for a celebration of his 80th birthday that will surely blow any fan of Rock and Roll – “King” or not –  right out of the water.

Two of the East End’s most beloved musical acts will take the stage at Bay Street Theater to pay tribute to a 20th century cultural giant who musician Gene Casey – who tops the bill alongside his Lone Sharks – claims to “think about everyday” in the leading song to his 2012 rockabilly record, “Untrained.”

“It’s not that I’m obsessed – or maybe just a little,” Mr. Casey sings in “I think about Elvis Everyday,” a song he said was borne from “one of those very absurd, funny things you find yourself saying in conversation” but one that is “very true” for the well-known local musician who keeps his Christmas lights lit through January 8 out of reverence for “The King.”

“Elvis is such a cultural icon because of what he did,” said the baritone vocalist. “He wasn’t conscious of it, but there’s something very pure about his original music because of a natural melding of influences that still resonates to today when people are mixing genres and being influenced by world music. Elvis was doing all of that quite naturally back in the ’50s without any kind of grand design. That’s just what he was.”

For Mr. Casey, this weekend’s show is not about paying tribute to a “King of Rock and Roll,” a misnomer the guitarist said is part of  “the ridiculousness and absurdity about Elvis that people latch onto,” distorting the soulful superstar’s grandeur into a caricature of gyrations, glitter and misguided claims that the handsome young Hound Dog himself invented Rock and Roll.

“Elvis never claimed to be the ‘King of Rock and Roll’,” Mr. Casey explained. “He wasn’t trying to be that. He was trying to be an all-around entertainer; that was his ideal. He wasn’t hung up on Rock and Roll. He wanted to be a movie star; he wanted to sing all types of songs. What I actually think, my own personal take on what he actually brought to Pop music, was the notion that a white singer could be sensitive and sensual because before Elvis all the white entertainers just stood there staring straight into the camera holding the microphone. It was forbidden to move your body and the irony was that Elvis really got all that stuff – all those outrageous moves, all those gyrations and the expressiveness in his voice – he got that from Gospel music, which in the South was very, very fiery and very emotional. That’s really what Elvis loved; that’s who his models were as far as Rock and Roll. He wasn’t so much a Blues man, but he listened to Black Gospel very heavily and I think that’s what was really new about him. He was a white singer who was singing with this churchy feel.”
Unlike some of his contemporaries, who misappropriated works by black musicians – Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was initially credited as the sole composer of his group’s first hit single “Surfin’ USA,” though the tune is actually Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” with different lyrics – Mr. Casey said Mr. Presley always gave credit where it was due.

“A lot of artists don’t have control over what name is put on a record label, but Elvis never had a problem with giving credit to anyone whether the artist was black or white,” Gene Casey said of this weekend’s rock idol of honor. “For a guy born in the Deep South in the ’30s he was pretty progressive. He had a great respect for black musicians. He was never derogatory…he was a sensitive, respectful person and his upbringing was very much about that. His mom really made him a well-mannered young man.”

For Jay Janoski, whose band The Vendettas will also perform at Bay Street’s Saturday night tribute show, it isn’t just Elvis’s “great voice and matchless stage presence” that made an impression on Mr. Janoski as a developing musician.
“His guitar player, Scotty Moore was hugely influential on every guitar player that I and many people my age listened to growing up, whether they are aware of it or not” said Mr. Janoski. “Clapton, Beck and Page – and later Mark Knopfler and countless others – were all fans and students of Scotty Moore’s guitar playing.”

Similar to Gene Casey’s appreciation of Elvis Presley is Mr. Janoski’s appreciation of Scotty Moore as musicians who both eclectically melded established genres while also bringing something entirely new to the table.

“Jazz, country and blues were all elements of his style,” Mr. Janoski said of Mr. Moore. “A record like ‘Hound Dog’ is a really early example of overdriven power chords, well before The Kinks. He also played with a lot of finesse. If the Punk DIY ethos stated, “Anyone can do this,” Maybe Elvis and Scotty Moore said, “You gotta work to get this good.”

Though Elvis himself may not actually be in the building this Saturday – conspiracy theorists will need to wait until 2027 for the unsealing of Mr. Presley’s autopsy report, which was ordered by and sealed by Elvis’s father for 50 years after his son’s death – both Gene Casey & The Lone Sharks and Jay Janoski & The Vendettas will absolutely be at Bay Street Theater this Saturday, Jan. 10, to perform at “Elvis 80: A Tribute to the King,” which begins at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $25 by calling the box office at 725-9500 or visiting www.baystreet.org

Fred W. Thiele Jr.

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2. 2010 Headshot Thiele 300dpi

2015 will mark New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.’s 20th year in office. A native of Sag Harbor, who represents the 2nd District, Mr. Thiele spoke about legislative accomplishments in 2014 and his hopes for 2015 and beyond.

By Mara Certic

Would you say were the three biggest accomplishments of the past year?

I think the three issues that really dominated life here on the East End in 2014 were one: the increased focus on the need to reverse the degradation of our water quality; two: the resurgence of the East End economy; and three: the need to reform and improve our educational system and our schools. Clearly, the most welcome was the economy. The major indicators of the East End economy saw their biggest rebound since the Great Recession in 2008. For example, the Community Preservation Fund, a major indicator of real estate activity, hit the highest levels since 2007. As for education, issues such as Common Core, teacher evaluations, student testing, and school district reorganization were a focus of discussion on the state and local levels.

Of those, do you think that there is one that stands out as the most important of the year?

 I believe the need focus on water quality is the biggest issue of the year. The decline in water quality is the greatest threat to our quality of life and our economic bases of tourism and the second home industry, as well as our water-dependent industries. I think public awareness and citizen activism has placed this issue squarely on the agenda of every level of government. For the first time, we are seeing a coordinated response that hopefully will yield real results.

In your opinion, what are the top priorities for the East End in the coming year?

My top priorities for the East End for the coming years are several. One: the completion of the hospital agreement between Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University Hospital; two: giving residents the option to add water quality improvement projects to those eligible under the Community Preservation Fund, the completion of needed infrastructure improvements on the East End such as the repaving of Routes 27 and 24, important erosion-control projects like downtown Montauk, and dredging projects such as at South Ferry. And finally…. twice I have passed legislation in the State Assembly to outlaw gasoline zone pricing, which is nothing more than price fixing. This bill needs to pass the State Senate and be signed by the governor.

What are some national, or even global, issues that you think are particularly important here on the East End?

As for national and global issues… the ones that affect the East End every day but are unresolved are one: the need for the federal government to institute real immigration reform that secures our borders and provides a real path for citizenship and two: global warming and climate change. My Assembly district has more coastline than any other district in New York. We need to address coastal resiliency now, before it becomes a crisis.

Last week, LIPA rejected a plan for a 35-turbine offshore wind project off the coast of Montauk, which could have supplied the five East End towns with 200 megawatts of energy. What do you think of the decision?

LIPA’s decision to reject the Deepwater Wind project and to reduce, in general, its focus on renewable sources of energy like solar power, is misguided and shortsighted. The LIPA Reform Bill, which I opposed, has only given us higher rates, higher debt, and less renewable energy. There needs to be greater oversight of LIPA and PSEG—Long Island to insure that public needs and not private agendas are being served by our utilities.

 

East Hampton and Southampton Towns Adopt Plastic Bag Ban

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By Mara Certic

The days of choosing between paper and plastic are officially numbered here on the East End, as the town boards in both East Hampton and Southampton this week voted on Thursday, December 18, to ban single-use plastic bags by Earth Day of 2015.

For the past few months, mayors and supervisors and other elected officials have discussed the possibility of a regional ban on the bags, which are the largest consumer item in the world.

The ban will target the types of plastic bags that are commonly used in grocery and other retail stores. Bags larger than 28 by 36 inches would be exempt from the ban, as would the thin, clear plastic bags used for produce or baked goods.

Recent studies estimate that 105 billion single-use plastic bags are given out in the United States every year, with 23 million of those being distributed in Southampton Town, where very few of them are recycled.

Shopkeepers will be required to offer customers either recyclable paper bags or reusable cloth or plastic bags for their purchases. Those found guilty of continuing to hand out one-use plastic bags after the law takes effect could face a fine of up to $1,000.

The ban will be implemented on Earth Day—April 22, 2015—in order to give business owners an opportunity to use up their current stock of single-use plastic bags, which are much less expensive than their reusable counterparts.

In Southampton, Councilwoman Christine Scalera who spearheaded the town’s education and outreach program on recycling plastic bags, is of the opinion that continuing her efforts would be more effective than a ban.

“With a prohibition you can’t have it both ways, with incentives and education you can,” she said.

“This ban, this prohibition, fails to recognize that environmental responsibility does not have to be dictated to the residents of the Town of Southampton because our residents and businesses have proven to be environmentally responsible without threat of punishment,” she said.

“This prohibition fails to provide greater environmental integrity to this region as we are surrounded by two of the largest towns to our west and north and are a destination stop from all parts of the world, most of which are not under such a prohibition,” Ms. Scalera added.

Councilman Brad Bender, who voted in favor of the ban, said “it really isn’t a bag ban, it’s a bring your own bag.”

“I’ve travelled outside the country,” he added, “and they look at you with three heads if you don’t have your own bag.”

“The fact of the matter is in the United States of America we’re woefully behind on this issue and other similar issues,” said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who was born in Sweden.

California and Hawaii both implemented statewide bans on plastic bags this year and countries all over the world have either put bans in place, enacted a bag tax or now charge those who continue to use the light plastic bags.

Eritrea, Rwanda and Tanzania are just three African countries that have had similar bans in place for more than five years.

Councilwoman Scalera also expressed concern that the increased use of paper bags will have an equally negative effect on the environment, and that the figures presented to the board pegging the recycling rate for plastic bags at 4 percent was incorrect and unfair.

“I’ve never seen a paper bag stuck in a tree,” Councilman Bender said, adding, “If this gets the plastic bags out of the trees and off the side of the roadways in the community, it keeps them out of the stomachs of our wildlife, of our fish.”

Mr. Bender added he’d love to see the town go even further by one day banning single-use drink containers, too.

“None of us liked it when we were told we had to wear seatbelts,” said Supervisor Throne-Holst, moments before she gave each of her fellow board members small, compact, strong reusable bags.

The measure passed by a 3-2 vote, with Councilman Stan Glinka joining Ms. Scalera in opposition.

In East Hampton, the town board held another public hearing on the proposed ban on Thursday evening. Jay Peltz of the Food Industry Alliance of New York spoke up both at the public hearing on November 20, and when it was reopened last Thursday, December 18.

Like Ms. Scalera, Mr. Peltz suggested that reducing, reusing and recycling and continued outreach would do more to solve the problem.

Following the public hearing, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby introduced a resolution to adopt the law. Councilman Fred Overton said he was not ready to vote due to the new information the board had just got from Mr. Peltz.

Councilwoman Overby said the information was the same the board had previously been given and the board passed the ban 4-to-1, with Mr. Overton offering up the only “no” vote.