Tag Archive | "Hampton Library"

Petitions Due for Library Elections; Five Openings in Bridgehampton, Three in Sag Harbor

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Hampton Library Director Kelly Harris uses the library's new 3D printer on February 24. Photo by Michael Heller.

Hampton Library Director Kelly Harris uses the library’s new 3D printer on February 24. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

The deadlines to submit petitions for positions on the board of trustees of both the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library are this week.



The deadline at the Hampton Library, where five seats are open, is Tuesday, September 2, by 5 p.m. Four seats will be voted on and filled by Bridgehampton residents; the remaining seat is in Sagaponack and will be voted on by residents of that school district.

Incumbents Jackie Poole, Tom House and Dr. Louise Collins are all seeking re-election.

Elizabeth Whelan Kotz, the board’s president, who has served four three-year terms, will be stepping down after reaching her term limit.

Sarah Jaffe Turnbull chose not to run for re-election due to other commitments.

In order to make sure term limits line up with the library’s annual reorganizational meeting, the terms for the trustees who will join the board this year will run from October 1 to December 31, 2017. Terms previously ran from October 1 to September 30, but will now run for a year and three months for as long as it takes to get all trustees serving three-year, January to December terms.

“The other thing we did this year,” said Library Director Kelly Harris “is in order to make sure that Sagaponack is represented.”

The library’s nine-person board formerly had seven seats reserved for Bridgehampton residents and two for Sagaponack residents, but starting this year, one of the Bridgehampton seats has been switched over to Sagaponack, “so that there’s just a little bit more representation of Sagaponack on the library board,” she said.

Starting in October, three of the trustees will be from Sagaponack, with the remaining six from Bridgehampton.

“Board members are really advocates for the library, but they also represent the community,” Ms. Harris said. “One of the things I’m very proud of at the Hampton Library is we really are a community center and a community library.”

“And we want the library board to not only reflect the community and be a representative of the community,” she added.

The budget vote and trustee election will be held Saturday, September 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hampton Library located at 2478 Main Street in Bridgehampton.


Sag Harbor

In Sag Harbor, three seats are opening on the board of the John Jermain Memorial Library. The deadline to submit petitions is Friday, August 29, at 4 p.m.

The terms of three board members have expired. Ann Lieber and Jackie Brody are both seeking re-election for their second term, while Toby Spitz has decided not to run for a second term.

Those who win the three-year terms will be in office from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2017. Candidates can run for two consecutive three-year terms.

The library board meets every third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. and members usually also serve on committees that may meet monthly depending on the need, but oftentimes do not.

“Formally,” said library director Catherine Creedon, “being a board member entails attendance at the meetings, supervision and hiring of the director, long-range planning and the setting of policy. So, there’s a formal, very narrow charge, but in fact—particularly in a community like Sag Harbor—board members are really the ambassadors for the library.”

“I always think they are the best people to go out and understand our mission, to talk about it, to look at the community and see ways we might be able to better serve the community and bring that information back to the library,” she added.

“Right now, I think is the most exciting time to be a board member at John Jermain,” the director continued, “because we have this gorgeous new building about to open and at the same time, there are all these amazing changes in technology.”

The budget vote and trustee election for the John Jermain Memorial Library will be held Monday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Pierson auditorium, located at 200 Jermain Avenue in Sag Harbor.

Lighted Crosswalk Proposed in Bridgehampton

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The existing crosswalk in front of the Hampton Library. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Southampton Town is looking to install warning lights at what many say is a dangerous crosswalk on Bridgehampton’s Main Street.

Christine Fetten, the town’s director of municipal works, and Tom Neely, its public transportation and safety director, sought out community opinions at Monday’s Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meting regarding the installation of the lights in front of the Hampton Library.

Library Director Kelly Harris approached Senator Kenneth P. LaValle for a grant for a lighted crosswalk system, they said, which the senator has secured.

The town had initially looked at in-ground lights, similar to those used on East Hampton Village’s Main Street, but it now has its eye set on Rapid Flashing Beacons. These solar-powered lights that flash to warn oncoming drivers when sensors detect a pedestrian, or when they are activated by pushing a button from the sidewalk.

There are some troubling visibility issues at the existing crosswalk, officials said. On the south side of the street, there is a very large linden tree that blocks visibility for eastbound motorists. Also, Ms. Fetten noted that the crossing is right next to the exit of a municipal parking lot.

According to Ms. Fetten, Bartlett Tree Experts examined the tree and determined that it was “not in very good condition.” CAC members unanimously agreed that they would be in favor of the removal of the tree if it were replaced with a more street-friendly tree.

They also said that they would support the installation of the rapid flashing beacons. Members of the CAC also suggested that Bridgehampton could benefit from more traffic cops during the summer who could help direct traffic.

Fridays at Five Continues at Hampton Library

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Mr. Clavin and Mr. Drury will discuss their latest collaboration, pictured above.

The Hampton Library in Bridgehampton will kick off its long-running Fridays at Five program with a discussion by Tom Clavin and Bob Drury on Friday, July 11.

Back for its 31st year, the Fridays at Five program is a series of book discussions that runs for eight weeks over the summer season.

Mr. Clavin and Mr. Drury will discuss their latest collaboration The Heart of Everything That Is; The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend, which recounts the history of the Sioux warrior-statesman who was the only American Indian to defeat a United States Army.

Mr. Clavin, the associate editor of The Medical Herald and The Spiritual Herald, has written for newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Men’s Journal and Reader’s Digest. He also was the editor-in-chief for The Independent newspaper and currently writes for The Southampton Press. Mr. Drury is a contributing editor and foreign correspondent for Men’s Health magazine and is an award-winning journalist who has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Vanity Fair and GQ.

The hour-long discussion will begin at 5 p.m., but the gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served outside in the garden. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase and signing.

Admission is $15, but attendees can buy a pack of five tickets for $60.

For more information, call the Hampton Library at (631) 537-0015 or visit its website at www.hamptonlibrary.org.

A Special Anniversary for Fridays at Five

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By Stephen J. Kotz

For the past 29 years, you could set your watch to “Fridays at Five, which, as its name implies, began promptly at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoons on the back lawn of the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton.

So why not throw a little curve ball when it comes time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the long-running author lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the Hampton Library by holding the party at 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, May 10?

One thing’s for certain. If the series had been named “Saturdays at 4:30,” it probably wouldn’t still be around today.

This year’s eight-week lineup is made up of familiar faces including E.L. Doctorow, Gail Sheehy, Roger Rosenblatt, and Tom Clavin and Bob Drury, as well as newcomers Allen Salkin, Alexandra Styron, Kim Stolz, and Jon Robin Baitz.

The kickoff party will feature a roundtable discussion led by the author Steven Gaines that will focus on the past, present and future of publishing as well as the impact of “Fridays at Five” on the community. Joining Mr. Gaines in the discussion will be the authors Ms. Sheehy, Linda Bird Franke, Paul Goldberger, and publisher Bill Henderson, the owner of Pushcart Press.

“I’m hoping it will be like people sitting around the dinner table having a discussion,” Mr. Gaines said on Monday. “It’s definitely not going to be a lecture. I’m hoping it will be lots of fun and very loose.”

All the participants, he added, “have our apprehensions about where publishing is going.” That said, Mr. Gaines said he was not expecting doom and gloom.

Of the “Fridays at Five” series, at which he has appeared several times, Mr. Gaines was effusive in his praise.

“I don’t think there is anything else like in the world,” he said. “It’s just a great, great event where writers and readers come together. It’s up close, and very intimate in that beautiful backyard.”

Anne Marshall, the president of the Friends of the Hampton Library, said that “Fridays at Five” got its early start time, in part, because of a compromise reached with Elaine Benson, the owner of the eponymous gallery down the street, who typically held her own openings on Friday evenings. If the Friends held their gatherings at 5 p.m., the groups decided, Ms. Benson would hold hers at 6 p.m., allowing people to glide from one event to the next and have a pleasant way to start their weekends.

“It has developed a pretty solid following, Ms. Marshall said of “Fridays at Five.” “The time has been honored by a lot of other organizations” when they schedule their own summertime activities.

In organizing Saturday’s event, Ms. Marshall said the Friends decided to address a major issue addressing its writers. “Certainly, publishing has changed over the years,” she said. “Why not talk about what publishing has meant to them?”

All the participants, she added, have “presented at ‘Fridays at Five’ in different ways.’ We didn’t want to pick people who had only written a memoir. We wanted to concentrate on professional writers and we know Steven is a really good interviewer.”

This summer’s lineup of authors “looks great,” Ms. Marshall said. “There is a good variety of older and young writers.”

Tickets for Saturday’s anniversary event, which takes place at the library are $20 and can be purchased at the library. For more information call 537-0015.


The 2014 “Fridays at Five” Authors

July 11, Tom Clavin and Bob Drury, whose latest collaboration is “The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend.”

July 18,  E.L. Doctorow, the award-winning novelist, whose latest book is “Andrew’s Brain.”

July 25, Allen Salkin, the journalist, whose recent book “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network,” was named by NPR as one of the best books of 2013.

August 1, Alexandra Styron, the author of “Reading My Father: A Memoir,” which explores her life as the youngest daughter of the novelist William Styron.

August 8, Roger Rosenblatt, whose most recent book is “The Boy Detective.”

August 15, Kim Stolz, whose first book, “Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I’ll Never Do,” was recently published.

August 22, Jon Robin Baitz, the playwright who is the author of “Other Desert Cities.”

August 29, Gail Sheehy, the author of many books, whose most recent is a memoir, “Daring: My Passages.”

“Fridays at Five” Talks take place on the back lawn of the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton at 5 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $15. For more information, call 537-0015.

Supervisors Talk Budget Constraints, Sharing Services & Deer at League of Women Voters Forum

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East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Southampton Town Supervisor at a League of Women Voters-sponsored forum Monday night at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton. 

By Mara Certic

Newly-elected East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell joined re-elected Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at a League of Women Voters forum at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton on Monday to discuss plans to improve quality of life through cooperation and consolidation across town boundaries.

Being a supervisor is “about balancing the needs of the community with balancing the need for environmental protection, with a need for economic development and local jobs,”  said Mr.Cantwell, “and finding that balance is really what we do almost every day.”

The supervisors discussed how improving water quality, affordable housing, sustainable energy, transportation and deer management within the constraints of their budgets would meet the towns’ needs. In order to do that, both supervisors said sharing services was critical in order to fall below a New York State-mandated 2-percent property tax levy cap.

Ms. Throne-Holst discussed potential benefits of a centralized information technology core that would allow for information-sharing between towns and villages and would expedite permit approval processes.

“East Hampton has been involved in consolidating some services and facilities between the town and the village,” said Mr. Cantwell, referring to a $400,000 government grant to build a new joint-fuel facility. “Over time we’re going to save millions of dollars because instead of building three, we’re going to build one, and that’s the whole point of the consolidation process.”

He added, however, that he is “not a big fan” of the 2-percent tax cap.

“In communities that are growing,” he explained, “you’re increasing your tax base and therefore increasing the amount of property tax collected. If you’re in a growth community and more services are required, you can’t take advantage of that increase in growth of the tax base because there is a 2-percent tax cap, not on the rate, but on the amount that you can raise taxes.”

Mr. Cantwell said the budget restrictions will force the towns to become more cost-effective, but also help them find other sources of income to balance the budget and fund the needs of the community. An example is East Hampton Town’s planned participation in three energy proposals through PSEG, which, if approved, would produce renewable energy in East Hampton by leasing appropriate town-owned sites to solar contractors. The contractors, in turn, would build solar arrays that would feed into the electric grid. The revenues from those arrays would be shared by the contractor and the town, and would help supply an already overburdened electric grid.

“There’s a potential here to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional revenue for the town and to contribute to the energy needs of the South Fork and to do it in a sustainable way,” said Mr. Cantwell.

While stating that the assessment system in East Hampton Town is “broken and should be fixed,” Mr. Cantwell does not envision the town spending the required $3 to $5 million for reassessment in the near future.

“The system is archaic and creates a lot of inequities, but how those balance out is in the detail,” he said.  In Springs, for example, reassessment would not necessarily shift away the tax burden to another area, he explained.

“The assessed value base of the Springs School District is still going to be the same,” he said. “The truth of the matter is, the tax dollars are in your school taxes.”

Ms. Throne-Holst was asked to comment on the recent lawsuits that challenged the financial practices of the Southampton Town Trustees.

“Lawsuits questioned how they spend their money and questioned whose jurisdiction some pieces of land belonged under,” she said. “I, 100 percent, if not more, support the trustees.”

“I did not bring those lawsuits,” added Ms. Throne-Holst. “I have supported them in fighting those lawsuits and will continue to do that.”

Ms. Throne-Holst explained that although trustees have complied with the judge’s orders to  hand over their books to the board, there is a system in place for that allows them to retain autonomy over their finances while they put together their appeal.

On the subject of water quality, Ms. Throne-Holst stated that all local industry relies on ground and surface water, but that nitrogen and pathogen pollution have degraded water quality to a critical level.

Although there are retrofitting systems and technologies available today to mitigate this situation, she said, the price tag of $15,000 to $30,000 per household makes them cost-prohibitive.

“The idea that each and every homeowner would be able to cough that money up is not realistic,” said Ms. Throne-Holst.

Ms. Throne-Holst has created a proposal already presented to Governor Cuomo, where the state would work with the county, county health department, SUNY Stony Brook and other organizations to tackle water degradation problems cooperatively. The first phase of her proposal involves a feasibility study in which every waterway in the region is mapped in order to understand more fully their levels of degradation. The second phase is to create a water technology hub on the East End.

“Think Silicon Valley for information technology, think Suffolk County for clean water technology,” she said. Ms. Throne-Holst suggested that this would be an opportunity to deal with this environmental crisis while creating economic development and jobs.

Ms. Throne-Holst lamented how “woefully inadequate” the town has been in terms of the availability and types of affordable housing, which she deems vital to Southampton so young professionals can afford to live here and provide necessary services. “We cannot attract school teachers out here, or retain our volunteer firefighters,” she said. She aims to design and put forward a master affordable housing plan to conquer this problem.

The supervisors were asked about the possibility of resurrecting plans for the Five Town Rural Transit Authority, which was intended to create a transit authority for the East End, a concept that has had support but failed to gain steam before largely folding in 2008 as an economic crisis bloomed. Although costly and difficult to execute due to local geography, Ms. Throne-Holst proclaims herself a “huge proponent of mass transit.” She said the creation of a new transit authority must be reconsidered as the economy continues to improve. “It’s the way of the future,” she said.

When asked about East Hampton’s new flexible deer management plan, Mr. Cantwell explained that it will expand the opportunity for local hunters to take deer while also exploring more humane methods such as immunocontraception and 4-Poster devices, deer feeding stations that apply a tickicide to the necks of feeding deer and are designed specifically to reduce the tick population.

Ms. Throne-Holst pointed out the many shortcomings of the Long Island Farm Bureau’s planned cull, explaining that a wider, more scientific and long-term approach would be more successful. She said she is working with the DEC and other agencies to create such a proposal.

“I think this is a perfect example of how we need to come together as a region”, she said. “Deer don’t know boundaries,” Supervisor Throne-Holst said. “I can put out a great plan in Southampton and they’ll all just run over to East Hampton.”

The Hampton Library Announces HVAC Solution

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The Board of Trustees of the Hampton Library has entered a contract with H2M Architects + Engineers to engineer a solution to fix the library’s geothermal water source heat pump systems—a heating and air conditioning system constructed as a part of the library’s $6 million expansion in 2009. The total cost of installing the geothermal system was $592,582.

That geothermal system, using an open loop system, broke down last summer. The library has been using an emergency heat system to keep its doors open throughout this winter.

According to library director Kelly Harris, the firm will soon begin work designing a new closed loop evaporative cooling tower system that will use the existing heat pump system already installed at the library. Using the water in the closed loop of an evaporative cooling tower instead of a geothermal well, said Ms. Harris, will remove the impact of iron on the system, which was what caused the system to fail in August.

Ms. Harris said she intends to send an informational brochure to residents in Bridgehampton and Sagaponack and plans to host a community meeting on the issue at a later date. For more information, visit the library website at hamptonlibrary.org.



Hampton Library Showcases New 3D Printer for Bridgehampton

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Hampton Library Director Kelly Harris uses the library's new 3D printer on February 24. Photo by Michael Heller.

Hampton Library Director Kelly Harris uses the library’s new 3D printer on February 24. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

After setting his beloved model train set aside years ago when a vital piece disappeared, an elderly Bridgehampton man was finally able to return to his hobby, thanks to a new 3D printer at the Hampton Library.

Delivered just before Christmas, the new Makerbot 3D printer will enable the library to offer more programs to kids and teenagers, teach other libraries about the innovative technology and provide the community with a practical, useful tool.

“There’s a variety of different things you can really come out and do with your 3D printer,” said Kelly Harris, the library’s director. “If you just have the thought, the imagination, to come up with something to do with it, but also the ability to come up with practical uses for it, too—it’s not just a wow factor thing, it’s not just a cool thing to have—it can be really helpful.”

3D printing has been around since the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the last five years that the technology became widely available for commercial use. Designs can be self-created using computer software or by chosing a model from Thingiverse, a global community in which people share designs for use on any Makerbot printer, to make three-dimensional solid objects in any color and virtually any shape.

“Right now we’re printing a heart, which is made out of different movable gears, and we’re printing that in sparkly, translucent red,” Ms. Harris said.

With funds raised by the Friends of the Hampton Library, the library purchased a 3D printer, a digitizer, which scans objects to turn them into designs to then be printed, and some plastic filament, “which is sort of the ink for the printer,” said Ms. Harris, who estimates the total cost at around $3,500.

After the printer arrived, librarians spent January becoming familiar with the new technology. The Bridgehampton Association provided the library with a $750 grant to send Ms. Harris and four librarians to classes at the Makerbot store in New York City and to purchase more plastic filament. In March, the librarians are taking a class on the Replicator 2, the Makerbot model the library owns. Ms. Harris attended a 3D design class last Sunday.

“We learned how to do some basic 3D design stuff which would be to take something called a primitive shape, which are your basic shapes—your circles, your spheres, your cylinders, cones, things of that nature—and merge them together to build different things. So, you can actually merge them together to build like a little robot or design a sculpture,” she said.

The Hampton Library started its promotional push for the printer this month, printing parts for people to “sort of see it in action, see what we can do,” Ms. Harris said. In early March, the library will host the monthly Technology Information Forum meeting for the Suffolk County Library Association’s Computer and Technical Services Division to show other libraries what the printer is capable of, discuss different online printing programs and demonstrate how the technology works.

3D Design classes for kids and teenagers will start at the library in the spring. “It’s something new, it’s something different, it’s something where they can try and design something on their own. And then we can print it for them in whatever color they like, or if they need it to be two-toned, we can actually print two colors. It’s actually a cool thing,” Ms. Harris said.

In addition to being “cool,” the printer has countless practical uses for the community. One patron is planning on printing a plastic washer to fix a leaking washing machine. The librarians started their training by printing out nuts and bolts. If a family loses a game piece, they can come to the library and print out a new one. Ms. Harris is currently working on a Parcheesi piece, but the possibilities are endless.

“You get those great big Lego sets and all you need is to lose one tiny piece and you can’t put together the battleship you’re making or the airplane,” she said. “Well, now you can really take a piece that’s like it, we can scan it, digitize it and we can print you a whole new working piece for that.”

Hopeful the Makerbot will be open for public printing by the fall, Ms. Harris first wants to ensure the librarians are well versed in the machine and prepared to troubleshoot the printer and professionally assist patrons with ease.

“At this point,” she said, “if somebody came in tomorrow and said, ‘Hey, look I just lost the symbol for my Monopoly game,’ we would find a way to print that for them and we would. It really is fun and the sky’s the limit. You’re only limited by your familiarity with the 3D design software—which we are getting better with every day—and then also, your imagination.”

Exploring Ways to Combat Bullying

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By Claire Walla

Karen Ross, the director of non-residential services for The Retreat, came to the Hampton Library last Thursday, October 20 for a discussion on bullying.

Bullying has recently become a much talked about topic across the country. In addition to this being national anti-bullying month, the federal government has recently passed the “Dignity for All Students Act,” which will require all public schools to have anti-bullying measures in place by July of 2012.

“We really have to change the environment of the schools,” Ross explained. “From the administration to the cafeteria staff, everyone needs to be trained to handle bullying in the same way.”

One of the first things she did at the presentation was pass out a piece of paper with a collection of drawings featuring kids with a full spectrum of expressions spread across their faces. It depicts a diagram known as “The Bullying Circle.” The momentum moves counter-clockwise from angry-looking Bullies and smiling Active Supporters, to rather aloof Disengaged Onlookers and fervent Defenders. The Targets, looking rather downcast, stand in the middle with their head bowed down.

“A lot of people think there’s just a bully, and the person who’s being bullied,” Ross explained. “But everyone here on this page is participating,” she said, pointing to the black-and-white figures on the page.

Ross’ presentation last week did not attract a large crowd, but she was able to draw from the experiences of those in attendance to punctuate her point.

Dan and Darlene Claud — the father and aunt of a high school student at Southampton High School who they say has been suffering from physical abuse and verbal taunts from a bully at his school for over a year —came to hear Ross speak because, as Darlene said, “we’re at our wits’ end.”

She and her brother expressed frustration that the school district has not been able to prevent the bullying their family has experienced.

“We’ve been doing so much it’s kind of overwhelming,” Darlene went on. “A few weeks ago we went to the school board and told them how we felt. It drew a little attention, it at least made [the school district] react, but it’s not necessarily going to provide a better environment at the school.”

Alluding to “The Bullying Cycle,” Ross emphasized that many more students are involved in bullying than the bully and his or her victim. And in that sense, she said, one of the best ways to prevent bullying is to change the culture of a school district so that more students will step in to stop bullying when they see it occur.

“If we can get some kids in the school who are acting as leaders to educate their peers on these different levels,” she explained, “It might help the situation.”

Ross said students like Rashida Perez — who also attended last Thursday’s discussion — are exactly the type of student that would benefit Darlene Claud’s nephew to have around.

Perez, who is currently participating in The Retreat’s Teen Leadership Program, is a junior at Bridgehampton High School, spoke about incidences of bullying she has witnessed at her school. According to Perez, last year there was a fight at her school between two students.

“People knew it was going to happen and they didn’t say anything,” she explained. “I got up and got in front of them and yelled, ‘Stop!,’” she continued. “I was the only one doing something.”

When Ross asked Perez why she suspected no other students stepped in to prevent the fight, Perez responded: “Everyone wants to be ‘in,’ they want to do what everyone else is doing.”

“I think it’s important for everyone to know what bullying is. You really have to get out there and stand up for everyone,” she added. “It’s like a domino effect. If one person stands up, others will.”

Storytime is for the Dogs

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Reading to a Dog

By Claire Walla

After strolling through the Hampton Library with their father one Saturday afternoon, nine-year-old Sean Murphree and his sister Keara (six) stumbled upon something quite unexpected.
Standing there in the middle of the library’s children’s section were two pooches named Lucie and Miele, panting profusely as they waited for kids like Sean and Keara to come take notice.
The dogs were visiting as part of the library’s outreach initiative to help kids develop reading skills.
“The real idea behind it is to help kids relax when they read,” said children’s librarian Emily Herrick. “Basically, a dog is a non-judgmental listener.”
It took a minute to get the high energy lab mixes to relax, but Sean and Keara quickly chose their narratives and dove into their texts. Keara — an animal lover who said she normally reads to her cat — took breaks from her book, “Sally Goes to the Beach,” to address Miele directly, even petting the top of her head. Sean settled effortlessly into “A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever.” But eventually Keara read uninterrupted, and the dogs, like any good listeners, sat patiently absorbing every word.
“Reading out loud is a good skill to develop,” Herrick said. In addition to absorbing the fundamentals of speech, she added, “It’s another way of developing confidence, just like public speaking.”
Lucie and Miele (who belong to Herrick) were brought in when Maxx, a white cockapoo and certified therapy dog, never showed up. Thankfully, Herrick said only one kid who signed up to read with the dog was there, and her own dogs were readily available.
“Mine are strictly pinch-hitting today,” Herrick mused.
Librarians hope Maxx will be available for another reading session on August 13. Though Sean and Keara weren’t expecting canine companions, they seemed to be pleasantly surprised to find them ready to listen.
“Is it more fun to read to a dog than to mom or dad?” asked Jeff Murphree, the children’s father.
Both kids smiled, then answered in unison.

Bringing Back the Local Elms

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Heller_Jefferson Elm Tree Planting_3114

By Annette Hinkle

Early last Saturday morning, Mac Griswold of the Sag Harbor Tree Fund and Lee Foster, treasurer of the Hampton Library, met behind the newly renovated library in Bridgehampton to welcome the arrival of its newest residents — two Ulmus americana “Jefferson” trees.

The young trees will join a majestic old Norway maple on the property as part of the library’s permanent landscape and patrons looking out the large window along the back of the building will now be glimpsing a unique bit of this country’s arbor history — as well as its future.

With it’s massive size and beautiful arching canopy of leaves that offer cooling shade on even the hottest of days, the mighty Ulmus americana, or American elm as it is commonly known, was a species that once graced the streets of small towns from coast to coast.

“When the beautification movement started across North America in the 1880s, they picked the elm,” says Griswold. “It was cheap, hardy and they grow like crazy.”

But in the early 1930s, Dutch elm disease, a fungus carried by the elm bark beetle, arrived in Cleveland aboard a shipment of logs from France. Because American elms had been planted in such large numbers, the disease spread quickly and within decades, the American elm was largely a memory.

While there are disease resistant elm cultivars with names like Athena, Liberty and Princeton on the scene (many of them living quite happily in Sag Harbor), the story of the Jefferson is unique.

“Many of the cultivars are very good looking, but in the view of experts, this may be the best looking and most true to type,” explains Griswold.

A few years ago, plant pathologist Dr. Jim Sherald of the National Park Service noticed that one particular American elm growing on Jefferson Drive on the National Mall in Washington DC seemed to leaf out earlier in spring than others, and held it’s leaves much longer in the fall. So Dr. Sherald took a clipping of the tree and propagated it — and he discovered that it was resistant to Dutch elm disease.

From that tree, the Jefferson cultivar was created and in 2007, the Sag Harbor Tree Fund, whose goal is to diversify the village’s tree stock so that it is not susceptible to a single tree disease, obtained 20 of the small trees from a grower in the Midwest and sold them for $600 each as part of a fundraiser. The only caveat was that the delicate small trees had to spend the next few years under the watchful eyes of a local nursery.

“They were less than four feet tall and as big around as a little finger,” recalls Griswold.

“We took them to Bob Strubel at Stony Hill Nursery in Amagansett who mulched them, irrigated them, fed them, put a fence around them and tended them.”

Of the 20 trees, 12 survived and the Tree Fund will report back to the National Park Service about their success rate with the new cultivar. The two Jefferson elms being planted at the Bridgehampton library are the first to leave the nursery, and one of them was donated by Lewis B. Cullman of the Cullman Foundation, which started a nationwide chess program for disadvantaged children.

“His wife, Dorothy [who died in 2009], was a big supporter of the Tree Fund, and she was the one who bought the tree, but Lewis donated it to remember his wife’s interest,” explains Griswold. “I love the idea that this great supporter of education for kids ended up with a tree at the Bridgehampton Library.”

“We were so excited by the prospect and the premise,” adds Foster. “we’re delighted and elated at the opportunity to put these trees in at the library. These trees have meaning.”

In spring, two Jefferson elms will be planted by the East Hampton L.V.I.S., and two more are reserved for Sag Harbor’s Main Street and will be planted by the Tree Fund when space becomes available. The other young trees will be planted on private properties in and around Sag Harbor.