Tag Archive | "Greenport"

Flying Point Sets Up Shop in Greenport

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The Flying Point Shop in Greenport

By Stephen J. Kotz

Flying Point Surf and Sport, a mainstay of both Sag Harbor and Southampton’s main streets, has established a foothold on the North Fork, where it recently opened a new store at 405 Main Street in Greenport.

The new shop, according to owner Mark Zucchero, is similar to the other five stores he already owns, which means that it is stuffed to the rafters with everything from surfboard wax and decals, to board shorts and t-shirts, to wetsuits and surfboards and paddleboards.

Since Greenport has a public skateboard park just down the block and around the corner from the new store, Mr. Zucchero said the new store focuses a bit more on skating than his other shops, with everything from short, plastic Penny skateboards from Australia to the long boards some kids use for basic transportation.

“It’s up and running and it’s been good,” he said of the new shop. “They don’t really have a store there for the skaters and surfers who live that lifestyle.”

For a casual shopper, a visit to one of the Flying Point stores is a bit like stumbling into a virtual catalog. There’s a reason why the shops are stocked with every model of Ray Ban sunglasses, swimming suits, sport shirts and Van’s skate shoes, not to mention a wide variety of surfboards and wetsuits in every size and style.

“It ties up a lot of the bottom line, but with the internet, customers have so many choices that if you want to survive you have to have a wide variety of prices and colors,” Mr. Zucchero said. “I’m not dealing with another surf shop. I’m dealing with a person who is sitting at home in front of a computer pressing buttons.”

For that same reason, he keeps his stores stocked Wiffle Ball sets, pool floats and toys, as well as toy shovels and pails for the beach. “It can’t be all apparel,” he said. “The beach is why they are here. “You gotta remember what brought them here. Why everyone is coming here is because it is a magical place. Everyone wants to escape the city.”

While his customers might be hoping to get out of the city, Mr. Zucchero said he is all about preserving Main Street as a shopping destination.

“You gotta be part of the community,” he said. “You can’t just come in and pop it up an shut it down a couple of months later. You gotta be in it for the long haul.”

He also believes that hiring young people helps build stronger communities. “All my help is local he said. “I take  ’em young. A lot of people won’t talk to them until they’re 18. I’m thinking abbot the future of America.”

The Greenport shop is being managed by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Chris and Stacy Rule, and just as he does on the South Fork, Mr. Zucchero says he plans to hire local help.

Mr. Zucchero was born and raised in Hampton Bays. A former owner of the Life nightclub on Route 27 just east of Southampton, he opened his first surf shop on Main Street in Southampton in 1995.

“It’s been a long run,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of ebbs and flows.”

He eventually bought the building on Main Street in Southampton that was the former site of the Southampton Hospital thrift shop and moved his flagship store there. He maintained his other shop, however, and stocked it heavily with eyewear and other accessories.

Mr. Zucchero expanded into Sag Harbor, where he now has two shops on Main Street, one with a everything from flip-flops to tow ropes and another, the Flying Point Boutique, which focuses on women’s clothing and swimsuits. He also has a small shop next to the Bridgehampton Florist on that hamlet’s Main Street.

The shopkeeper said he was not finished expanding and would love to some day open a shop in Malibu and perhaps one in New York City.

But don’t count on a store opening in East Hampton anytime soon.  “You don’t think I’d like to have a store in East Hampton?” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t sell $800 Prada board shorts. That’s a lot of board shorts to pay $400,000 for rent.”

Douglas Elliman Expands to Greenport

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Douglas Elliman Real Estate has announced that it will open its second North Fork office, in downtown Greenport. The new office is located at 124 Front Street, which is across from Mitchell Park, a popular attraction for both residents and tourists with its antique carousel and Greenport Marina.

Karla Dennehy, the current manager of Elliman’s other North Fork office, in Mattituck, will manage the Greenport office.

The new Greenport location is housed in the former office of Lloyd’s Real Estate. Kathy Lloyd Rosenbaum, who headed operations at Lloyd, and her team have joined Elliman and will be among the first agents in the new Greenport location.

“The North Fork is in the midst of a big resurgence, and we needed to grow along with the success of the region,” Elliman President & CEO Dottie Herman said in a release. “Greenport is a beautiful community that attracts both year-round and seasonal buyers and renters. We go where our clients are, and Greenport simply makes sense for strategic growth in the North Fork.”

Douglas Elliman Real Estate has over 70 offices in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Putnam counties, Los Angeles and South Florida. For more information, visit its website at elliman.com.

Trip to Israel a Life-Altering Experience

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Arline Blake in a self-portrait with the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in the background.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Diana Stone said she had too many concerns about security to ever consider visiting Israel on her own. David Weseley, who had visited the country before, said it had never occurred to him in his wildest dreams that he would take part in a temple-sponsored tour. And  Dr. Bradford Tepper, who had visited the country twice before as a young man, said he had always dreamed of returning but had never found the time to do so.

Despite coming at the journey from different viewpoints, the three members of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, who were among the 20 people who visited Israel in late March on a trip led by Rabbi Leon Morris and Rabbi Gadi Capela of Temple Tifereth Israel in Greenport, were unanimous in describing the 12-day tour as a life-altering experience.

That goes for Rabbi Morris too.

“I knew I was providing a meaningful experience for my congregation, but I don’t think I was prepared to see Israel through their eyes,” said Rabbi Morris, who announced earlier this year that he would be leaving Sag Harbor and moving with his family to Israel this June. “The experience of seeing them see Israel reminded me of all our reasons for moving our family there this summer.”

“This was more than a trip. It was really a kind of personal spiritual journey for everyone,” he continued. “This was both an experience in which we were doubly touched by the people of Israel and the places that we saw, but it also had some kind of a transformative effect on us as a group, the connection that we experienced with each other.”

Participants ranged in age from 32 to 89. The itinerary included stops in the new Israel: bustling Tele Aviv, the center of modern Israeli business, educational, and cultural life; and the old: the ancient City of David, where archaeologists have excavated the ruins of the palace built there by King David 3,000 years ago when he established Jerusalem as his capital, and the Western Wall, one of the Judaism’s most sacred sites.

“Approaching the Western Wall—I don’t think I can put it into words,” said Dr. Tepper. “Touching the wall is like being in contact with God.”

There were stops in Haifa, a fashionable resort city on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, a kibbutz, where young Jews are committed to establishing a society of co-existence with the Palestinians, and a visit to the Golan Heights, where the group could look across the border at Syria, one of its fiercest enemies, as well as visits to Ariel, a settlement in Samaria on the West Bank.

“I think the people of Ariel are very brave. I was very proud to be there,” said Dr. Tepper of that visit, although he was quick to add that residents may have settled there  “to make a specific political statement” or simply because it was a place they could find affordable housing.

Dr. Tepper, like others who took part in the trip, expressed hope for peace between the Arabs and Jews, but stressed that the political differences remain wide. Ariel, for instance, could be described, depending on one’s viewpoint, as a city in “Samaria, in the occupied territories, on the West Bank or in the liberated territories,” he said.

“I would love for there to be peace. From those I had conversations with, everyone says they want peace,” he said, “but when you have generation upon generation of animosity in your bones, peace will be something that has to be nurtured.”

Although exploring the issue of Jewish-Arab co-existence was not the primary focus of the trip, Rabbi Morris said “it loomed large. We did not avoid it. We embraced it.”

“On the grassroots level, there are many things that are happening, many things that are quite hopeful” for improved relations, he added.

Ms. Stone said she expected to discover a country with armed guards everywhere, but found it to be the opposite of what she expected. “Now, I can’t imagine why everyone in the world, no matter what their religion, shouldn’t go to Israel,” she said. “I can’t wait to go back. I’m excited that Leon is moving there—even though I’m also heartbroken—because I can go visit.”

Ms. Stone, like the others on the trip, said she was impressed by a sense of progress and purpose in the country. “I’ve never been in a place where everyone seems to be moving in one direction and that’s forward,” she said.

Dr. Tepper, who said he could not recall any buildings taller than four or five stories when he last visited in the early 1980s, said he was awed by the economic development and the high level of research being done at universities in the country.

Another important element of the trip, according to Rabbi Morris, was to help participants grasp the notion that “the Jewish people are a nation. This is our indigenous place. This is our homeland. To many American Jews, who understand their Judaism only through a religious lens, it is important for them to know that Israel is not only the birthplace of their religion, but also of the Jewish people.”

For Mr. Weseley, a highlight was the bonding among the participants. “On the bus, we created a beautiful community,” he said. “It’s like those of us who went to camp as kids and didn’t think we could ever have that experience as adults.”

That extended to the group’s guide, an American-born Jew named Ezra Korman. “There was a wrap-up session on the last night, and we had an extraordinary guide. He’s on the level of Leon, and that’s saying a lot,” said Mr. Weseley. “He’s done hundreds and hundreds of these tours, and he cried.”

He said he anticipated that the trip would have positive impact on the synagogue. “There is clearly a wonderful new energy impulse coming back from the trip,” he said. “A highly energized bunch of people have come back.”

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

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

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

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

Bridgehampton School Ranks in Top 15 Obese Schools on Long Island

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Bridgehampton School personnel work in the district's new community garden last April, 2013. (Photography by Michael Heller).

Bridgehampton School personnel work in the district’s new community garden last April. (Michael Heller photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

Although rates of childhood obesity in New York are showing signs of dropping, schools across the state are still reporting alarming rates of overweight students.

According to New York State Department of Health (DOH) data, Greenport is the most obese school district on Long Island, with Bridgehampton, Riverhead and Springs not far behind.

Between 2010 and 2012, 17.6 percent of New York public school students (excluding New York City) were considered obese, according to the DOH.

The Student Weight Status Category Reporting System, through which the data was compiled, was established in 2007 to support state and local efforts to understand and confront the problem of childhood obesity.

It requires students in kindergarten and grades 2, 4, 7 and 10 to have a student health certificate completed based on a physical examination, thus the data used in the DOH report only reflects students in those grades. Schools collect the health certificate information and the district then reports a summary to the DOH. The DOH does not receive data on individual children, only summaries of the district total and of students categorized by gender and grade groups, i.e. elementary versus secondary.

Although the appraisals used to collect the student obesity data are mandatory, parents can opt out of having their child’s data included in the school summary report sent to DOH. Approximately two percent of all parents opt out, according to DOH spokesman Dr. Jeffrey Hammond.

The percentages are therefore not definitive comparisons of districts’ obesity rates, noted Bridgehampton School superintendent Dr. Lois Favre.

Bridgehampton School, for example, is reported to have 15 obese children and a rate of 27.3 percent obesity. Both numbers are based on the 56 students in the grades for which data was submitted, not the entire district population.

Although the data is not all encompassing, it is nonetheless alarming.

According to the DOH, obesity is more prevalent among children raised in low-income households. Rates of obesity in New York are significantly higher in school districts in which a higher proportion of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch.

In Bridgehampton, 57 percent of students are on free or reduced price lunch, according to Dr. Favre.

“We work hard at Bridgehampton,” said Dr. Favre, “to assure that all students receive the state mandated amount of time for physical education [and] have daily recess that encourages movement.”

“We were one of the first schools on the South Fork to begin a school garden,” she added, “and pride ourselves on getting healthy foods to our students.”

In Riverhead, 315 students, or 24.7 percent of the sample population, were reported to be obese.

According to Superintendent Nancy Carney, 48 percent of Riverhead students are on free or reduced price lunch.

“With a poverty level of this rate,” said Carney, “families tend to rely on foods that are high in calories and low in cost to satisfy their nutritional needs.”

Riverhead schools offer low calorie meals of high nutritional value and encourage students to participate in the breakfast program, to save parents money and hopefully afford children the opportunity to make healthier food choices.

With 64 obese children in the sample data, Springs has an obesity rate of 22.9 percent.

Principal Eric Casale said although the school does not have its own cafeteria, the district works with parents to monitor students’ nutritional habits and a lunch cart filled with healthy foods is available. Its Springs Seedlings school garden has also been a success.

“Our mission as a district,” Casale said, “is to enrich the intellectual, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of our student body.”

Greenport School District had a reported childhood obesity rate of 33.4 percent.

The DOH rate of childhood obesity is 16.8 percent in East Hampton, 14.7 percent in Southampton and 9.9 percent in Sag Harbor, the lowest district on the East End

Thiele Praises Shared Superintendent Announcement in Greenport, Southold

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In 2011, the New York State Legislature enacted Chapter 97, which is most well known for establishing the 2 percent real property tax cap. However, the legislation also included a number of provisions for mandate relief for school districts, including a provision promoted by State Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

Specifically, Thiele’s proposal permits up to three school districts with enrollments of 1,000 students or less to enter into a contract to share a school superintendent. It could not impair any existing school superintendent employment contract in effect before July 1, 2013.

There are 19 school districts in Suffolk County with 1,000 or fewer students, mostly on the East End. Before the enactment of Chapter 97, each district was required to have its own school superintendent.

Southold and Greenport school districts, with enrollments of 850 and 650 respectively, are the first school districts on Long Island to take advantage of the new law. They will share a school superintendent beginning July 2014.

“I was proud to shepherd the Shared Superintendent Program through the state legislature in 2011,” said Thiele. “I am equally proud that the first school districts have taken advantage of the program. Southold and Greenport are to be commended for taking advantage of this opportunity to share administrative services and reduce taxes. Other East End school districts should take a hard look at this groundbreaking initiative.”

 

Costs Rise for Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum Restoration Projects

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By Tessa Raebeck

With the first phase of a three-part plan to renovate and restore the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum nearly complete, necessary additional repairs — and fundraising efforts — are on the rise.

Following complaints about the museum’s exterior appearance voiced to building inspector Tim Platt last May, restoration of the historic 1845 building, also the home of the Waponamon Lodge No. 437 Free Masons, began September 15.

“We can certainly say the scope of the project has grown,” Barbara Lobosco, president of the museum board, said Tuesday. “Like most planned undertakings, things crop up during the course of the project.”

The first phase of the plan covers the repairs and painting of the building exterior, including removal of 10 layers of paint — the last being lead.

The contractor, Ince Painting Professional of Westhampton Beach, which has worked on historic buildings like the Hannibal French House in Sag Harbor and the Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, originally estimated the first phase of the project would cost $180,000.

More product removal was required than was originally allotted for and, at this point, the estimated cost for the first phase is closer to $260,000.

“With any project,” Lobosco said Tuesday, “what happens is you underestimate budgets and so on and so forth, other things open up that need to be fixed as well. When you work with an historic building of this age, new doors open up to new repairs.”

The actual application of the new paint is almost entirely completed. The museum is now in the midst of repairs to the porches and gutters, as well as partial repairs to the capital tops of the building columns.

The finials on the roof, which resemble blubber spades and whale teeth, are also undergoing restoration.

The building’s interior is covered by the second phase of the restoration project, which is not expected to begin for a year or so. Several issues have already materialized that necessitate projects the museum had planned to address in the future to be confronted within the next few months.

“We’d rather replace the pipes before they burst,” said Lobosco, referring to deteriorating, galvanized pipes in the basement that need to be restored.

Additionally, the entire basement must be cleaned.

“As we get inside the building,” said Lobosco. “We’ll need more [repairs] as well.”

The third phase of the capital campaign addresses repairs to the building grounds and will likely be implemented prior to the second phase of interior renovations.

“We want to finish the outside first so that it’s cohesive,” said Lobosco.

The museum plans to landscape the property before the summer, fix the front and back porches and repair the exterior fencing.

“The fence is going to be another big issue,” said Lobosco. “We’ve cleaned it up now, but it’s going to cost at least $60,000 just to repair.”

With continuous costs and essential repairs yet to be determined, the museum’s fundraising for the capital campaign is ongoing. Close to $180,000 in funding has been raised so far. The total cost is at present around $260,000, which will only cover the cost of painting. More funding is essential for the museum to move forward with the rest of the restoration process.

Last March, the museum’s fundraising efforts for the capital campaign kicked off with a $50,000 matching grant from the Century Arts Foundation earmarked towards the repair work. The Whaling Museum plans to host three fundraising events this holiday season, exhibit several beneficiary shows this spring and continually solicit private donations throughout the course of the project, according to Lobosco.

This Friday, the museum is hosting an auction at the Peter Marcelle Gallery in Bridgehampton. Available items include a 200-year-old woven basket, gift certificates to a variety of restaurants in Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, donations from In Home and other local stores, and framed film posters from the 1960s and 1970s donated by the notable filmmaking couple Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, who live down the street from the Whaling Museum. Value of auction items range from $50 to $1,000.

“We’ve been getting local donations which have been great,” said Lobosco. “The community’s been terrific, especially with the auction items. The merchants in town have been very supportive of the museum and our efforts to move forward.”

On December 23, the museum will raffle off a brand new 2013 Fiat 500 Cabrio Pop from Brown’s Fiat in Patchogue. The sleek, black convertible has red and ivory seats and an ivory and black interior. Just 350 tickets are for sale at $100 a piece.

To further aid with fundraising, BookHampton is sponsoring a holiday book sale on the museum’s front lawn on weekends throughout the holiday season. The store will match money raised “dollar for dollar,” said Lobosco.

With its interior closed for the winter, the museum plans to reopen for the season on Earth Day with a show by local artist and Pierson Middle/High School art teacher Peter Solow, with sales from his work also earmarked for the capital campaign.

At the official opening on Memorial Day, “a whale show” is going to be on display. Proceeds from the paintings will be split 50/50 between the artists and the restoration project. Funds raised via three additional shows during Summer 2014 will also go towards the restoration efforts. The exact content of the shows is unannounced at this point, but Lobosco said one show will consist of only Sag Harbor artists.

In addition to special events, the museum continues to raise funds through its mail drive and individual donations. Lobosco is also hopeful for another matching grant.

“It will be ongoing for years,” she said of the restoration projects, “so the fundraising efforts will continue.”

The Hookup Culture Has Left a Generation of Americans Unfulfilled and Lonely, says Dr. Donna Freitas

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Dr. Donna Freitas

Dr. Donna Freitas

By Tessa Raebeck

Ask a college student when they last went on a real date and most will stare at you dumbfounded.

Like pay phones and typewriters, traditional notions of dating are altogether extinct on college campuses. Instead, America’s young people are fully immersed in what Dr. Donna Freitas calls “the hookup culture,” a sexual mindset that has replaced courtship, dating and intimacy with casual no-strings-attached encounters known as hooking up.

While academics and young adults alike maintain the hookup culture provides for increased freedom and choices, others, Dr. Freitas among them, say its dominance of sexual encounters has left a generation of young adults frustrated, insecure and unfulfilled.

On Monday, Dr. Freitas will give a talk on “the hookup generation” at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton. An author and religious studies professor at Boston University, Dr. Freitas has completed eight years of clinical research and analysis on sexual activity among young adults and has nearly 20 years of personal experience on college campuses.

In her most recent book, “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy,” Dr. Freitas found college students across genders, religious affiliations and sexual preference were proponents of the hookup culture in public, but expressed a much different attitude in private.

“I have learned from my own students,” Dr. Freitas, said in an interview on Friday, “that talking about sex and relationships and hooking up on campus — they lied about it a lot. So privacy was really a priority.”

Discussions with her own classes, she writes, revealed “an intense longing for meaning — meaningful sex, meaningful relationships and meaningful dates.”

unnamedObserving this dissatisfaction with hookup culture led her to explore the topic further. While researching her book, Dr. Freitas analyzed thousands of students at public and private, secular, Evangelical and Catholic campuses. She administered 2,600 surveys, conducted 112 interviews and collected 108 journals.

“I was sort of taken aback by the level of participation,” said Dr. Freitas. “I think the amount of participation I got — and very, very quickly once the study was open — is just finding in itself of how much students were looking for a safe, private space to talk about this stuff where there weren’t any social repercussions.”

She discovered that while most of the young men and women she encountered were “very pro ‘the hookup’ in theory,” they were privately struggling with the lack of personal connection and longing for other options.

“Hookups have existed throughout human history, of course,” writes Dr. Freitas, “but what is now happening on American campuses is something different. College has gone from being a place where hookups happened to a place where hookup culture dominates students’ attitudes about all forms of intimacy.”

Dr. Freitas found no outstanding differences between Catholic and secular universities, although the attitude was completely different on Evangelical campuses, where abstinence prevailed and there was no viable hookup culture.

One of the biggest surprises in the research, she said, was that both male and female respondents shared the same feelings of dissatisfaction.

“I assumed, like most people do,” she said, “that when I sat down with guys, they would tell me how great hookup culture was for them, but what I got was remarkably similar views between men and women.”

The only difference she saw was, while women felt it was acceptable to publicly express criticism of the hookup culture, “men felt like they absolutely could not do that; they had to go along with it or risk their masculinity.”

Some respondents were in fact in long-term relationships, but couples started as a “random hookup” that turned into a “serial hookup” before they eventually made any serious commitment to each other. The majority of college students in relationships were juniors and seniors, when it “seemed more socially acceptable to be in relationships,” said Dr. Freitas.

“Many of them,” Dr. Freitas said, “had a really hard time identifying a hookup experience that was positive for them or wasn’t just kind of ‘blah.’ They were either very ambivalent to the experience or often very sad and regretful.”

“Students want to talk about dating and romance and other options,” she said, “where the hookup is one possibility among many different possibilities.

 “The Hookup Generation: A Primer for Parents and Teenagers,” a talk by Dr. Donna Freitas, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 2 at the Rogers Memorial Library, 91 Coopers Farm Road, Southampton. To reserve a seat free of charge, visit myrml.org or call 283-0074, ext. 523.

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

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

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

By Kathryn G. Menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Tessa Raebeck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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