Tag Archive | "Hamptons"

Dance Troupe Spends Summer Teaching and Performing in East Hampton

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A performance by BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance. Photo courtesy of Teresa Fellion. Photography by Andy Phillips

By Mara Certic

Teresa Fellion was a hyperactive toddler. When she was about two-and-a half, her mother decided it was time to get her involved in an energy-expending hobby. And that’s how she started dancing.

Ms. Fellion’s New York City-based dance company, “Body Stories: Teresa Fellion Dance,” returns to the East End this summer to teach, perform and inspire.

In the past, the contemporary dance troupe has held a few performances on the East End during the busy summer season. This year, however, a partnership with the Ross School’s summer camp program will have the modern dancers posted in East Hampton until mid-August.

Ms. Fellion was traditionally trained in a regional ballet company, but her dancing is anything but traditional. Since she graduated from college, Ms. Fellion has had quite an eclectic dancing career. In a phone interview on Sunday she told the story of how she danced with Phish at their would-be farewell concert.

“My brother is a huge Phish fan, and in 2004 they were breaking up and it was a big thing. I had just graduated from conservatory and I knew I wanted to choreograph—I wanted to make dances,” she said. “And I thought to myself, ‘I bet they need dancers!’”

According to Ms. Fellion, Trey Anastasio and the other members of the band were receptive to a press kit that she put together after her epiphany and “they invited us to perform five or six times with them at the Coventry Festival in Vermont on several different stages.” Plans fell through to do a warehouse performance for a recent album, but Ms. Fellion added that “I’m in touch with [Phish]; someday we’ll do something with them again.”

Ms. Fellion, three teachers from her company and an intern will run the dance curriculum during the seven weeks of the camp. Summer Camp at Ross offers 27 one- or two-week long “majors” that allow participants to explore a certain area in depth, be it dodge ball, surfing, photography or dance.

Those who choose the dance major will learn about technique, improvisation and composition—and even learn some parts of the company’s current repertory.

Like Ms. Fellion, many of the dancers in her company are classically trained and will teach that technical precision during the summer program at Ross. Ms. Fellion also looks for something else: “diverse backgrounds, that’s something that I covet,” she said.

Ms. Fellion spent a year dancing in Cameroon and performed at the country’s national soccer cup finals. “I had never been to a soccer game before. I went to the national soccer cup finals, the stadium was on fire and then you’re on the field, dancing in the halftime show,” she said. “It was a real out of body experience.”

“I want dancers with that versatility,” she said.

But the classes will also be geared toward the students’ needs, she said. A large portion of them will be dedicated to improvisation and composition exercises. “We very much want the students to have self-generated movement,” the dancer said.

In addition to the classes at the camp, the company will also put on a series of drop-in workshops (pre-registration requested!) for adults on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Again, she will cater to her students’ needs and mentioned that she is yoga-certified, and that she could happily teach a yoga class but “if people want to incorporate dance into yoga that’s a class I do too.”

One class would be what she described as a “dance/fitness/fun class.” “This will meet everyone’s needs. It’s lively, there’s some conditioning but also dancing for expression,” she said, adding that all of her classes are open level.

 

For those who would rather observe, on top of a few informal performances for campers, the company will dance for the public on Thursday, July 31, and Saturday, August 2.

 

“The show will be a mix of four of our five active repertory pieces,” she said.

 

“No One Gets Out of Here Alive,” is a humorous tongue-in-cheek piece about junior high school. Whereas “Fault Line” is an all-female piece that starts out balletic “and then gets more and more intense.” “The Mantises Are Flipping (P.S. I’ll Have Whatever They’re Having)” has amusing moments but also “interesting partnering” she said. “They are all so different.”

East End Weekend June 14 – 15

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"Evening Bells" by Christopher Engel.

“Evening Bells” by Christopher Engel is on view at the Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Will it rain or shine this weekend? Doesn’t really matter if you’re in an art gallery.

Here are my top picks for great things to do around the East End this weekend:

 

Christopher Engel at Sag Harbor’s Romany Kramoris Gallery

"Evening Bells" by Christopher Engel.

“Evening Bells” by Christopher Engel.

East End artist and Ross School teacher Christopher Engel has returned to the Romany Kramoris Gallery with “Open Paths,” a selection of his abstract work. An opening reception will be held Saturday, June 14.

“These are simple lines that bend into triangles of red, yellow, green, gold and burnt orange, rushing together in a dazzling display of colors and forms reminiscent of hieroglyphics and simultaneously related to the fabric of life itself. It is as if the viewer is peering through a microscope and capturing a dance of molecules, vibrating and evolving. The lines flow into the light as well as the dark, illuminating paths open to both the literal and the symbolic. The viewer is encouraged to ponder and then allow the journey to unfurl,” the gallery said in a press release.

The exhibit opened Thursday, June 5, and runs through Thursday, June 26. An opening reception is Saturday, June 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-2499.

 

CMEE 2nd Annual Music Fair

Always a fun place to stop on the weekend, CMEE promises extra excitement Saturday at its 2nd Annual Music Fair.

“Play it, Hear it, Try it,” is the theme of the day, during which the museum will transform into an “aural experience” with well-known performers, hands-on interactive stations and lots of activities, organizers said.

Kids can participate in improvisational mural painting with artist Bob Crimi and musician Jim Turner, sing along with local crooner Inda Eaton, watch a show by Catherine Shay and jam with Ina of Music Together By The Dunes.

At craft tables, children can create their own instruments, tin drums and rain sticks, get their faces painted and explore instruments across the grounds of the museum—not to mention enjoy the museum itself!

CMEE, the Children’s Museum of the East End, hosts its 2nd annual music fair for families Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the museum, 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton.

 

Writer, Poet and Activist Alexis De Veaux at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor

Award-winning author Alexis De Veaux has two critical concerns: making the racial and sexual experiences of black female characters central and disrupting boundaries between forms.

In her latest fiction work, “Yabo,” Ms. De Veaux explores those concerns in a collection of prose and poetry. The activist author will be on hand at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at Canio’s Books, located at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor, to read excerpts, sign books and celebrate her new publication.

“O yes, there are other heres. Simultaneous to this one,” reads the prelude. “Echoes. Or did you think the story you were told, the story you grew up believing, repeating, about the past, present, and the future—and the commas you see here separating those stories—was all there is?”

As a writer for Essence Magazine in 1990, Ms. De Veaux was the first North American to interview Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. She has traveled extensively as an artist and lecturer and has received multiple literary awards for her biographies of Billie Holiday and Audre Lorde.

Ms. DeVeaux’s cultural partner and best friend Kathy Engel, a professor at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, along with her daughter, Ella Engel-Snow, will also read with Ms. DeVeaux.

"Spring Spirit" by Cynthia Sobel will be on view at Ashawagh Hall in Springs.

“Spring Spirit” by Cynthia Sobel will be on view at Ashawagh Hall in Springs.


“Mostly Abstract II” at Ashawagh Hall in Springs

Curated by local artist Cynthia Sobel, “Mostly Abstract II,” the second annual exhibit of a varied group of “mostly abstract” artists, will be on view at Ashawagh Hall, 780 Springs Fireplace Road, June 14 and 15.

The drawings, paintings, photography and sculpture of 11 artists, including Ms. Sobel, Mark Zimmerman and Bo Parsons, will be on display. From landscapes to mixed media creations to sheet metal sculptures, there’s something for everybody – except perhaps people who hate abstracts.

An opening reception with wine and good ol’ hors d’oeuvres is Saturday, June 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

 

Women Who Rock at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center

If you like music and you like women (which I hope you do), check out Women Who Rock at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Saturday, June 14 and again Sunday, June 15 at 8 p.m.

The summer series kicks off sultry Americana artist Delta Rae on Saturday to pop songstress Vanessa Carlton on Sunday, there’s much to see and hear this weekend.

Westhampton Beach may seem like a hike, but remember, Ms. Carlton would walk a thousand miles for you.

For more information, visit whbpac.org.

Wind Power in a Field Near You

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The wind turbine at Mahoney Farm on Long Lane in East Hampton. Photo by Virgina Briggs.

By Mara Certic

Two 120-foot wind turbines have been gently whirring over Long Lane in East Hampton for over two years.  Although initially met with resistance, they have now been embraced by the community and provide electricity for two farms.

Steve Mahoney knew he wanted to reduce his carbon footprint. After an East Hampton Town symposium on renewable energy several years ago, he spoke with experts about his 19-acre farm, which grows trees and shrubs to sell to nurseries. They suggested he put up a wind turbine.

Mr. Mahoney heeded their advice and worked closely with town employees who “liked the idea,” he said. In spite of this he was met with resistance at the first public hearing. “I was ambushed,” he said. “There were some people [there] who weren’t even in sightline or in anyway possibly inconvenienced. They had a lot of fears.”

After three public presentations, Mr. Mahoney’s wind turbine was finally approved and he contacted neighbor Anthony Iacono of Iacono’s chicken farm. “He said, ‘Listen, if you want to get it now’s the time,’” Mr. Iacono recalled.  “So I applied for it, no one objected to it, and it’s here now.”

Both farmers maintained that neither of them has received any complaints from neighbors or passersby since the installation of the turbines. Neighbors’ fears of noise pollution and decreased property values have since dissipated.

“There’s not much noise. If the wind is blowing heavy, you hear it hum a little, but you also hear the trees rustling.” Mr. Iacono said.

And the fear that it would decrease property value, Mr. Mahoney said, has “gone 180 degrees in the other direction.”

According to a New York Times article on May 26, a 197-unit luxury apartment building in Long Island City, Queens, has just installed three wind turbines to its roof in order to attract green-leaning buyers. The article said that there are plans in the works for at least a dozen more rooftop turbines in New York City.

Mr. Mahoney said that he loves his turbine, which provides 12,000 kilowatts a year: enough electricity for his entire farm—powering an electric well, the irrigation system, a barn, the office and electric vehicles they use on the property. He understands, he said, that not everyone necessarily would want to install one but that “people who want to rely on renewables for their home or their business should pursue it.”

Mr. Iacono, who received grants from both the Long Island Power Authority and the federal government, is pleased with his decision but said that without $53,000 in grants, plus other incentives that lowered his out-of-pocket costs, he “wouldn’t even consider it.” Mr. Iacono, who said he is now saving around $3,000 a year in electricity, expects the turbine to have paid itself off in seven to eight years. Without incentives, the windmill would have cost about $90,000, he said.

Both men have had technical issues with their machines. The chicken farm’s broke following an electrical storm. “Lightning is one of those things they don’t like,” Mr. Iacono said. It was out of commission for nine months, but Mr. Iacono believes that the reason it took so long was in part due to employee reshuffling after a falling-out at the Oklahoma-based manufacturer. The warranty covered all repairs.

Mr. Mahoney’s was down for less than two months and he was told that the problem was three $2 parts. “The manufacturer was just really responsive,” he said. “And he gave me a check for my lost production.”

Turnout for Traffic Calming and Dog Park

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An overflow crowd filled the Sag Harbor Village Board’s meeting room Tuesday night to support traffic calming and a dog  park. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz

By Stephen J. Kotz

An army of residents of Sag Harbor and the surrounding area crammed into the Sag Harbor Village Board’s meeting room Tuesday night, spilling out into the hallway and sitting on the floor.

They were there to lobby the board to approve a traffic calming pilot project promoted by the organizations Save Sag Harbor and Serve Sag Harbor and to show support for a Bay Point woman’s request for the village to set aside a portion of Havens Beach as a dog park.

Traffic calming proponents, who were hopeful that they would finally be given the green light to launch their pilot program, left deflated, as the board tabled the matter yet again. While dog park supporters were buoyed by the board’s agreement to form a committee to further study the request.

“Can I at least tell the people who have donated their time that we’ll be on the agenda next month?” asked Susan Mead of Serve Sag Harbor, who has spearheaded efforts to fund the traffic-calming project.

Board members promised that they would pick up the discussion either at their July meeting or at a work session later this month.

“I support the concept, but I have a lot of issues,” said Trustee Ed Deyermond. “I’m not prepared to vote on this.”

Trustee Ken O’Donnell said he also wanted to move forward, as soon as possible. “Let’s pick an intersection and get it right,” he said.

He also complained that he had not been given adequate time before Tuesday’s meeting to review the proposed sites and lashed out at Mayor Brian Gilbride over the lack of communication.

“I gotta look at Facebook. It’s the only way the board finds out about traffic calming tonight is to look on Facebook,” he said.

Trustee Robby Stein also pledged support for the pilot program. “We’re in agreement that something has to be done,” he said, adding that he wanted to make sure that concerns of emergency services representatives were also met.

Mayor Gilbride, who has in the past encouraged the traffic calming supporters, waffled a bit on Tuesday. “Being born and raised here, I’m not seeing the need for it, he said, adding, nonetheless, that Save Sag Harbor and Serve Sag Harbor had done a good job and he would support a pilot program.

“Traffic calming happens in Sag Harbor every summer,” the mayor later quipped, “because you can’t go that fast.”

Earlier in the meeting, a steady stream of visitors stepped up to the podium, most of whom were strongly in favor of the traffic calming measures.

Among the supporters were Neil Slevin, the planning board chairman, and Anton Hagen, the chairman of the zoning board.

“I’ve lived on Main Street for 34 years. Traffic and speed have always been an issue,” Mr. Hagen said.

“Main Street has gotten so much busier than when I moved in 28 years,” said Mr. Slevin. “I’m asking you as a neighbor and as a leader of this community. I’m asking you to give it a chance.”

Bob Plum, another Main Street resident, also called for the board to support traffic calming. “I think in the big picture this is a great opportunity to establish a precedent,” he said. “Robert Moses can roll over in his grave.”

Drivers speed down Main Street “as they try to catch the light” at the intersection with Jermain Avenue and Brick Kiln Road, said Mary Anne Miller. “No one ever abides by the speed limit. I believe it will do a great amount of good for the village.”

April Gornick of North Haven was one of several people from outside the village who supported the traffic calming effort. “We’re trying to make this as flexible as possible,” she said. “I think the benefit would be enormous.” She added she hoped that Jermain Avenue and Madison Street could be targeted because the intersection is so close to the school.

“Change has come. Whether we like it or not, we’re all under siege by cars,” said Eric Cohen of Collingswood Drive, just south of the village.

“Until we try something we don’t know if it will work,” he added. “Try this. If it doesn’t work, try something else.”

Jane Young, a resident of Northside Drive in Noyac, said, “I think traffic is getting crazier and crazier out here by the year I hope you will give the pilot program a chance.”

But not everyone was in favor of the program. Rue Matthiessen, a Main Street resident, said while supported “efforts to control traffic,” she opposed the changes proposed for Glover and Main streets that she said would reduce the width of the road. “There have been attempts to explain to us that putting obstructions in the road will not narrow the road, but we fail to see how this is possible,” she said.

Ann Marie Bloedorn, a Hampton Road resident, said putting planters in the road would make it too hard for fire trucks to maneuver.

Sag Harbor Fire Chief Jim Frazier agreed. “It was stated earlier that or trucks didn’t have difficulty negotiating some of those circles. That’s not the case,” he said.

And Ed Downes of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps said that when traffic lanes are narrowed to slow traffic, it also slows emergency responders. “It makes it more difficult for us to get to the ambulance or get to the person in trouble,” he said.

Dog Park

Tina Pignatelli of Bay Point, whose dog Huckleberry was struck and killed at Havens Beach a month ago, appeared with a phalanx of supporters to devote a portion of the field on the southeast side of Havens Beach as a dog park.

“I want to make this park safe for dogs, so what happened to Huck never happens again,” she said.

Ms. Pignatelli said she wanted the park to be a place for people and pets to enjoy and repeated her vow to find private funding to landscape an area for the project.

Ms. Pignatelli’s father, North Haven Mayor Jeff Sander also spoke. “The loss of Huck was devastating to her and our family,” he said.

A steady procession of speakers also supported the proposal, for which the landscape architect Jack deLashmet has agreed to provide plans.

“I support something like this being done down there,” said Mr. Deyermond looking over a rough sketch of the proposal. “I’m afraid that this takes up most of what’s there.” He asked if the plan could be scaled back.

Mr. Stein also said he would support the plan, but would like to make sure it is landscaped with plants that would prevent erosion and runoff into a dreen that drains into the harbor.

“I tell you, I never thought that was a spot for a dog park,” said Mayor Gilbride before addressing Mr. Sander. “You sure you don’t have an property over there, Jeff?”

Despite the joking tone, Mr. Gilbride promised to set up a committee to work with Ms. Pignatelli to come up with more formal plans.

Sag Harbor Candidates Discuss Issues

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Candidates Robby Stein, Bruce Stafford, John Shaka and Sandy Schroeder at a roundtable discussion.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The four candidates for Sag Harbor Village Board gathered in The Sag Harbor Express office last Thursday to outline their reasons for running and discuss how they planned to approach some of the key issues facing the village in the coming years at a roundtable discussion.

The election is Tuesday, June 17, with voting from noon to 9 p.m. at the firehouse on Brick Kiln Road.

Sandra Schroeder, a retired village administrator who fell short in a bid for mayor last year, is making her first run for a trustee seat, as is John Shaka, an active member of the group, Save Sag Harbor. Bruce Stafford, who served one term, from 2009 to 2011, is seeking to reclaim a seat, and Robby Stein, who is finishing his fifth year on the board, is seeking another term.

“The waterfront and water quality are important to me,” said Ms. Schroeder, echoing a concern also raised by Mr. Shaka and Mr. Stein. She also cited traffic, disappointment that the village was unable to settle a contract with its police union, and the need to invest in infrastructure, including the Municipal Building, Long Wharf and the sewage treatment plant.

“We need new things and we need new thinking,” she said, “and someone who is looking to the future at where we want to be.”

“I love this place,” said Mr. Shaka, who owns a painting business and has lived in Sag Harbor for 15 years. “The reason I’m running for trustee is I want to keep it beautiful and livable.”

Mr. Shaka called for better communication between the village and the school district to solve problems like traffic tie-ups at Pierson High School during drop-off and pickup times; a sharper focus on the environment, especially water quality; better efforts at historic preservation, citing the John Jermain Memorial Library expansion of an excellent example; and traffic calming, an initiative he has been deeply involved with in recent months.

Mr. Stafford, a landscaper who was born and raised in Sag Harbor, cited his local ties, including 36 years of service with the Sag Harbor Fire Department and his leadership role as chairman of the board of the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church.

He said there was a need to hold the line on taxes and cited his efforts to rein in spending while on the board.  He agreed that traffic is an issue but noted that options are limited because village streets are narrow because they “were made many, many years ago for horse and buggy.”

Calling Sag Harbor a great place to raise a family, Mr. Stafford added, “this is no longer our little home. It has been found. I’m just trying to keep it as long as possible.”

Mr. Stein, a therapist who now serves as deputy mayor, said there were many key issues facing the village, and cautioned against expecting easy fixes for any of them.

He said he was “passionate” about finding ways to manage “water and the health of the harbor and the way water is absorbed by this whole village.”

Mr. Stein said he would like to see the village review the code to see that it is keeping up with the times. The village, he added, needs to determine what infrastructure projects it will tackle first and where it can find new sources of revenue. An immediate challenge, he added, is that once the village police contract is finalized, the village will be headed right back to the bargaining table because of the short term of the new deal. He noted that negotiations have not been particularly cordial and said it was important to stabilize the contract for the long term because police costs account for more than half the budget.

“I think we really have to look at what our priorities are,” he said. “The character of the village is something we want to protect.”

When it comes to safeguarding water quality in the bay, Ms. Schroeder said a systematic plan needs to be put in place to install larger catch basins and dry wells to prevent as much initial runoff as possible. She also said she expected the village would eventually have to undertake a major upgrade of its sewage treatment plant.

The village will have to work with its neighboring towns and Suffolk County to tackle water monitoring and pollution abatement solutions.

“Sag Harbor can’t do it all by ourselves,” she said.

Mr. Stein, who has focused on runoff and water quality issues during his time on the board, disagreed.

“You can’t build big enough catch basins to hold the rainfall,” he said. It would be far more effective to try to retain as much rainwater on-site through porous natural solutions like rain gardens, which are typically planted depressions, which allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground, he said.

He also disagreed that the sewage treatment plant needs to be expanded, saying it is operating at only about 30-percent capacity now.

Mr. Shaka said he was equally concerned about nitrogen seeping into the bay from overtaxed septic systems and said the village needs to collect baseline data of the situation by conducing regular water sampling.

He agreed with Ms. Schroeder that the village would be hard pressed to correct pollution on its own and said it would have to forge alliances with neighboring communities and levels of government to tackle the problem.

Mr. Stafford said the village could convert a portion of the Cilli Farm into a drainage and filtering area.

“Right now, it’s just a brushy pile of nothing down there,” he said, “and we’ve owned it for how many years?”

The ongoing contract dispute between the village and Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association was also a source of concern.

“The bottom line is taxes,” said Mr. Stafford. “The smart thing to do is wait and see what the arbitrator is going to come back with and eventually put on a referendum and let the village taxpayers decide” if the village should maintain a department.

“I like having a police department,” he said, “I like having two on at one time.” But he added that the PBA has been unwilling to work with the village and suggested that the village would be better off going with a reduced force and hiring more part-time officers.

“If it goes to arbitration, you are in trouble,” said Ms. Schroeder. “Arbitration rarely benefits the village.”

Mr. Stein said the problem went deeper than negotiations. The village is limited because it can only hire officers from a local Civil Service list or the county list. He said the department would be able to hire young officers at lower wages if it could use the Southampton Town hiring list.

He said it was important that the police pay be controlled much as the village is controlling spending elsewhere.

“It has to be a consistent piece of the pie,” he said, adding that police will have to ask for smaller raises and contribute to their health care costs in the future.

“I like having an affordable police force,” said Mr. Shaka. “Let’s wait until the arbitration is in, but I can tell you what isn’t affordable—if police have 4-percent raises every year.”

All candidates, save Mr. Stafford who praised Mayor Brian Gilbride’s pay-as-you go approach, said the village would benefit by borrowing money now, while interest rates are at historic lows, to tackle major infrastructure projects, like repairing Long Wharf.

Mr. Stein said the village should lobby East Hampton and Southampton Town for a larger share of Community Preservation Fund money, which, he said, might be used to buy easements from waterfront property owners to plant buffers to protect the bay.

“There’s no property here,” he said. “We aren’t going to buy anything else. There’s only one thing left on the East End and that’s the water.”

Sag Harbor needs to ramp up its code enforcement and revisit its zoning code, the candidates agreed, if it wants to protect its character.

Mr. Stein said the zoning code should be updated to limit the construction of oversized houses on small lots, as well as not overly restrict commercial uses.

“Code enforcement would be a good place to start,” said Mr. Shaka. A leader of the fight against a plan to redevelop the Harbor Heights service station with a convenience store and other amenities, Mr. Shaka said such plans should be stopped in their tracks.

Mr. Stafford said he was particularly concerned about illegal rentals and overcrowding in homes.

All four candidates agreed that there could be better communication both among board members and with the public.

Mr. Stein called for a better website and regular newsletters to taxpayers. The board should also hold monthly work sessions, he said.

“If nobody says anything you don’t hear anything,” quipped Ms. Schroeder, who said the board needed to be willing to listen to people who may have more expertise than they do.

“If you get enough people talking, you’ll solve your problems,” she said.

 

North Haven Candidates List Goals

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North Haven Party candidates, James Davis, Dianne Skilbred, Tommy John Schiavoni, and Jeff Sander, are running unopposed.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Election Day promises to be a quiet one in North Haven Village, where Mayor Jeff Sander and his North Haven Party colleagues, Dianne Skilbred, James Davis, and Tommy John Schiavoni are running unopposed.

Voting takes place on Tuesday, June 17, from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall on Ferry Road.

Mr. Sander, who became mayor a year ago when Laura Nolan resigned, said on Tuesday, “North Haven is a small village without a lot of issues.”

But one of them is deer.

“We are going to continue to focus on trying to keep the herd down so it is not a significant problem to people,” he said. He said the village would continue to pursue seasonal hunting, explore contraception and seek state aid to put in 4-Posters, which are feeding stations that apply anti-tick insecticide to a deer’s head and neck when it stops to eat.

Another focus will be on a growing problem with helicopter noise. Mr. Sander said as efforts have been made to reduce helicopter flights over Noyac and parts of East Hampton Town, North Haven residents have been forced to put up with a growing number of flights over their homes.

“They have been unsuccessful in trying to reroute the noise,” said Mr. Sander, who added that he hoped to schedule a meeting with airport officials to discuss his concerns.

“North Haven exists because it is all about zoning and the code,” he said. “We want to make sure we continue to look at what we have in place and make sure the process for getting things done is fair, equitable, and makes sense.”

Ms. Skilbred, who served for 15 years on the North Haven Architectural Review Board, six of them as chairwoman, is seeking her third, two-year term.

“All of us take this job seriously, to preserve the quality of life here,” she said.

Ms. Skilbred is the village’s liaison to the Peconic Estuary Program and has worked to get the village tennis court resurfaced and is now working on updating its playground equipment. She also said she wants to work on getting solar panels installed on the roof of Village Hall.

Like the mayor, she said she wants “to get some peace for our residents by getting the helicopters to fly around” the village. “The only way to do it is to spread it around,” she said of the air traffic at East Hampton Airport. “I documented 55 going over North Haven last weekend and I wasn’t here the whole time.”

Ms. Skilbred agreed that continuing to keep an eye on the deer herd was important, as were efforts to protect the character of the village.

Trustee Jamie Davis, who was appointed to complete Mr. Sander’s term last year, is seeking a one-year term. He served on the ARB for seven years before being appointed.

Mr. Davis cited protecting the character of the village’s neighborhoods, pursing open space purchases, and controlling the deer population as obvious reasons for concern.

He said he would like to work on improving and “modernizing” the way the village communicates with its residents. Too often, he said, residents tell him they have learned about things only after it is too late.

Besides posting things in the newspaper and including them in a village newsletter, he said the village should explore using mass emails to keep residents informed.

He also said overseeing the village’s updated dock law would continue to occupy much of the board’s time in the coming year.

Tommy John Schiavoni, a lifetime resident of the village and a member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, will join the North Haven Party hopefuls. He will replace Trustee George Butts who did not seek another term.

Mr. Schiavoni, 50, who teaches middle school and high school social studies in the Center Moriches School District, said on Tuesday that he wanted to take a wait-and-see attitude before commenting on issues facing the community.

“I’m looking forward to serving my community,” he said.

Bobbie Cohen

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By Mara Certic

Bobbie Cohen has been a resident of Sag Harbor for over 35 years. She discusses her involvement in Hamptons in Transition and some of its upcoming events.

What is the Hamptons in Transition organization all about?

We’re the local chapter. We have a steering committee that is hoping to network with local groups and any interested people to help move Hamptons in Transition back to something more sustainable, to reclaim nature, have people support local businesses, bring things back to a more natural order, have fewer cars on the road, promote biking and public transportation, gardening, affordable housing. Anything that is in keeping with that type of philosophy. It’s not an exclusive thing where we’re only interested in a few aspects of sustainability. Anyone who is attracted to transition—whatever it is that they are passionate about becomes something that is part of the movement. We try to bring people together who aren’t usually on the same page.

What sort of people are you referring to?

Conservationists, baymen, local business owners. You know, local business owners, although I’m sure they hate the traffic, love having more and more people out here to support their bottom line. And if they see that by encouraging people who are here year-round to support their businesses and having partnerships there, that that will help them. If being out here is a more pleasant experience for people – it’s not going to hurt them.  We want to accommodate everyone’s needs.

What causes has Hamptons in Transition lent its support to?

It’s designed to be versatile. I think one of the catchphrases of the transition movement: “capturing the creative genius of the community.” So anything that is in keeping with that type of philosophy. As an example of how we will embrace one of our member’s passions, even if we didn’t set out with that endeavor in mind. Josh Belury spearheads the Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery. It was founded in 2013 and they work in close alliance with Sea Scout Ship 908, who recruits at-risk youth, and they do a lot of the labor in terms of the building and the oysters themselves. They’re instilled with responsibilities and they develop self-esteem while at the same time they are taking millions of oyster seeds and growing them at various stages. They release them into the bay and they in turn clean up the bay because that’s what oysters do—they filter out all kinds of impurities. It’s a really great project on so many levels.

How are you supporting the Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery and their work?

We’re holding a fundraiser at Charles Addams’s house on Friday, June 13, from 5:13 until 8:13 p.m. Friday the 13th is really appropriate for Charles Addams, whose ghoulish cartoons for the New Yorker inspired “The Addams Family.” So this is at the house where he and his wife lived and where he drew many of his cartoons. Part of the appeal of the event is that people will get a tour of his house and see his sculptures, drawings and ghoulish, whimsical things. The tickets cost $100, and will go to finishing construction of the hatchery, acquiring materials necessary to run the program, and creating a marine learning center for people of all ages. The Southampton Historical Society supports the hatchery by letting them use their property.

 

Do you have any other upcoming events promoting sustainability in the area?

On Thursday, June 5, we were going to do “hugelkultur.” It’s a kind of gardening that’s supposed to not need irrigation, but we got rained out. We have postponed it, but we’re going to get together and dig the earth and bury logs and the other things that go into hugelkultur and film it, just promoting sustainable practices. If anyone is interested they should visit hamptonsintransition.org.

East Hampton Lighting Legislation Still on the Table

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By Mara Certic

An amended version of East Hampton Town’s 2006 Smart Lighting ordinance had residents up in arms at Thursday’s East Hampton Town Board meeting.

The law was intended to promote public safety on highways and roads, protect landowners from the intrusive effects of public lighting, protect the rural character of the town and to maintain and restore the beauty of the night sky.

For two years a special committee has been looking into revisions to the law that were spearheaded by former Councilman Theresa Quigley.

A portion of the law that seeks to facilitate lighting fixture upgrades were discussed for more than an hour by environmentalists and business owners alike.

The amendments would change the way the law is administered, with lighting plan applications being sent to the Planning Department rather than the Building Department. The changes would also aim to assist property owners in making appropriate alterations to their outdoor lighting. Not only would they be given more time to carry out changes mandated by the law, but the law would also now expedite or fast-track business lighting plans if insurance coverage is in jeopardy.

“One of the greatest fears for a business owner is the threat of losing your insurance,” said Margaret Turner, the executive director of the East Hampton Business Alliance.  Ms. Turner served on the committee that was asked to make recommendations to revise the law.

Other changes to the law include the decision to allow lights on utility poles—on the condition that the poles are on private land, where it previously did not.

The change that really riled up the amassed residents, however, was what town planner Eric Shantz described as a change to one of the guidelines the planning board is supposed to follow.

This particular amendment, under the lighting specific standards and restrictions section, would require that bulbs used in outdoor lighting should aim to have “a color temperature of no greater than 3000 Kelvin.”

Dark sky enthusiasts were not pleased with a section that would allow the planning board to “permit light sources to be higher, but not to exceed 3500K based on energy and effective, efficient lighting design which may include a reduction in the number of fixtures and poles.”

“You’re almost there, you’ve almost got it exactly right. This isn’t the lighting code that I would write, but I’m an environmentalist,” said Jeremy Samuelson, the executive director of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. “I think this represents a compromise, but I think there’s one line that goes a step too far.”

The higher the Kelvin, it was explained, the “cooler” and “bluer” and brighter the light.

Anne Tait, a resident of Amagansett, read a letter to the board on behalf of Terry Beanstalk and the other members of the board of directors of the Montauk Observatory. The letter said that lights at 3,000K are “better for night vision, [have] less impact on flora and fauna and less sky glow.”

Mr. Samuelson added that he did not believe anyone had made a “compelling case” as to why the town should allow more powerful lights.  “Go ahead and reflect on the policies that have been adopted by Suffolk County, “ he said, citing Brookhaven as an example. “This is not some rabid band of hippy liberals from Oregon we’re talking about. This is Suffolk County.”

Jim Broderick of Amagansett read from an article that appeared in the East Hampton Star in September 2010, which quoted former Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin McCarrick at a public hearing in East Hampton about this very legislation, saying that “I’m here to tell you it’s working fine in Brookhaven,” and suggesting that the same thing could work in East Hampton.

Mr. Broderick added that he knows a bit about color temperatures and that he has “expensive” meters with which he reads them. “There is a substantial difference between 3000K and 3500K,” he said. “In terms of vision there’s zero difference; in terms of the bad effects of it, there’s a big difference.”

Ms. Turner, in turn, read from a study done by the Lighting Design Lab, a non-profit energy-efficient lighting design resource, which defined lamps with a lower color temperature as those that register at 3500K or less.

Mark Jarbo of Montauk, who also sat on the committee to amend the law, expressed frustration at the residents’ opposition. “We worked tirelessly for two years to try to make this law simpler,” he said. “Keep it simple, keep it safe,” he warned the board.

Montauk Waves from the Shore

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“Leviathan,” by Aubrey Roemer, waved in the wind on Sunday, June 4 during Montauk’s annual Blessing of the Fleet. Photo by David Rey.

By Mara Certic

Whether skillfully strung on a ferry or quietly decorating an unassuming dinghy, flags are everywhere during Montauk’s annual Blessing of the Fleet. But this year, when the adorned yachts, trawlers and skiffs left the inlet and traveled west toward Culloden Point on Sunday, they were met with a different sort of flag: 77 blue portraits of assorted Montaukers painted on handkerchiefs, pillowcases and napkins waved in the wind on the beach as lost friends and fishermen were remembered at sea.

The flags are the creation of Aubrey Roemer, who escaped to the South Fork a few months ago. The artist, who studied at the Pratt Institute, was living in New York City when she found herself stuck in a rut and decided on a whim to move the 118 miles east to Montauk. Ms. Roemer, who knew very little about the East End, had been warned by city-dwelling friends that “the locals can be really cold and salty,” she said.

She ignored her friends’ admonitions and checked into the Atlantic Terrace Motel, right on the beach overlooking the ocean. She had no specific plans to create an art project, she said, until she met her first locals.

“I came here with no anything, and the locals weren’t jerks to me; they actually made me feel really pretty awesome,” she said. March interactions with bartenders, fishermen and other hardy souls inspired Ms. Roemer to create a series of portraits of the local residents who welcomed her with open arms.

Ms. Roemer began painting the people she met in the sleepy, off-season town, and hopes to complete 500 portraits by the end of the summer season. Each portrait is painted with a blue, water-based paint onto a piece of fabric foraged from around town. T-shirts, bed sheets, and tablecloths are just some of the canvases that the artist managed to obtain through people she met at the Community Church and other local spots.

Ms. Roemer’s artistic routine is about as laidback as the hamlet she now calls home. Models of all ages are invited to her makeshift studio—the basement of a friend’s house to be photographed. Then she spends around 20 minutes casually chatting to them while painting their likeness, or what she calls “a perceived gestural expression.”

A long ream of fabric sits permanently on her worktable, effectively creating mono prints of each face as the paint soaks through the original canvas. The ream, which she refers to as a “scroll,” contains a copy of every portrait she has done and intends to do.

Ms. Roemer’s inspiration is an ocean dotted with white caps, but in her work, the white caps are by people. “The people are going to punctuate the white more aggressively here. Every single person I’ve painted is on here,” she said of the scroll.

Her installation on the unnamed beach to the west of the jetties is just one of three she hopes to do by the end of the summer.  The complete project, “Leviathan,” will culminate in an installation on the beach in Eddie Ecker County Park. Her vision is for the flags to be attached along the hangar dock, while the scroll of mono prints will be installed along the waterfront on posts. She hopes that spectators will approach it both by land and sea, as the double-sided nature of the project allows for a multifaceted installation.

Each painting has two distinct sides, she explained.  “One side is going to stay wonky and weird, the other side I’m going to tighten up. They’re totally just loose and awesome.”

She was inspired to entitle her project “Leviathan” when it popped up in a word-of-the-day e-mail. Although the word derives from the name of an Old Testament sea monster and it is now synonymous with any large sea creature (Psalm 104: 25-26: “So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein”). “I just thought it was really appropriate,” she said.

She explained that the strongest metaphor of the project is that of “crashing whitecaps,” adding, “there’s something about blue and white in this town.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ef-batvqLw&sns=em)

Ms. Roemer’s quiet respect and understanding of her new home has added a thoughtful element to the project. In addition to all of the smaller works, the artist is creating one large portrait—roughly the size of the bed sheet that she is painting it on—of Donald Alversa, a 24-year-old fisherman born and raised in Montauk, who died in a fishing accident last September.

And last week she created a likeness of Tyler Valcich, a 20-year-old from Montauk who died in May. She presented it to his parents. “I understand the acute pain from the loss of someone in a tight-knit community,” she said.  A memorial portrait is, she said,  ”the least I can do.”

 

 

Scout Soap Box Derby Returns to Sag Harbor

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Sage Witty works on this year’s soapbox car with brother Aris. Photo courtesy Witty Family.

 

By Mara Certic

High Street will be closed to all motorized traffic for a few hours on Sunday, June 8, to accommodate Sag Harbor’s favorite high-speed car race—the second annual Scout Soap Box Derby.

Over 40 girl, boy and cub scouts, ranging in age from 7 to 17, will take to the streets to race soapbox cars that they have spent hours designing, assembling and painting with help from their friends and families.

Cub Scout leader and Wolf Den mother Laurie Barone-Schaefer resurrected the 80-year-old tradition last year, in an effort to get children off the couch and into the great outdoors. “We need to get these kids back to basics,” she said. “Not driving virtual cars, we need them in those cars and experiencing it first hand.”

Second-grader and first-time racer Ryder Esposito will take to the streets in his brand new American flag car on Sunday. “My Dad, Mom and sister helped me build it,” he said. “We all thought of ideas. It’s red with blue stripes and white stars; it looks awesome!”

“I’m most excited to race my car down the hill at the derby,” he said. “I’m excited to show my friends and see their cars too!”

Last year’s runner-up Bryona Hayes will don her racer’s helmet again this weekend. The 9-year-old has decided to revamp last year’s car, changing it from a black with the name of her sponsor, “East End Fuel,” to a white car with sparkles.

She really enjoyed last year’s race, she said, and added that she “went pretty fast.” She has no real change in strategy this Sunday, she said, and will stick with her tried and tested tactics that won her a second-place trophy: “I’m just going to keep leaning forward,” she said.

Although the race begins on Sunday afternoon, the event really starts on Saturday when the cars will all be impounded at the Sag Harbor Elementary School, and a panel of judges will then determine the winners of six secondary prizes who will be awarded plaques after the races on Sunday, along with the first, second and third places trophies for two weight divisions.

On Saturday evening, scouts of all ages will convene at Long Beach for an informal gathering “to enjoy downtime together before the big race,” Ms. Barone-Schaefer said. Marshmallows will be roasted on the beach as the King and Queen of the Soap Box Derby are announced.

This year, the winners of an essay contest, entitled “What Scouting Means To Me” will be donned with crowns and sashes and honored during the parade down Main Street directly preceding the race.

The parade, which will begin on Main Street at 1 p.m., will include the fire department, local vintage cars and memories of friends past. This year’s event is dedicated in memory and honor of Katy Stewart, whose brother, Robert, will be competing in Sunday’s race. Katy’s Courage will have a pink beetle bug car in the parade and Katy’s friends will be walking along side it and throwing candy to the crowd. Last year’s derby was dedicated to Jordan Haerter, who was a member of troop 455 himself.

After the parade, the speed-racers will make their way down to High Street, whose residents they presented with preemptive thank you letters and coupons for hot dogs, snacks and drinks on Tuesday.

“We need them to get to know the people in our community,” said Ms. Barone-Schaefer. “And through this process, they’re meeting all these people. They would not usually have that opportunity otherwise.”

The children, she explained, met village officials when they accompanied her to a Sag Harbor Village Board meeting in March to seek approval for this year’s event.

“They know Chief Fabiano, where they wave and say hi to him when they see him on the street, they know Rusty from WLNG,” she added.

“It’s just a really fun day. It’s a day of community, a day of family and a day of old-fashioned fun.”

The Sag Harbor Scout Soap Box Derby will take place on High Street on Sunday, immediately following a 1 p.m. parade down Main Street. For more information visit sagharborderby.com