Tag Archive | "Hamptons"

Serve Sag Harbor Traffic Study Fundraiser This Week

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Serve Sag Harbor, a non-profit founded last year to help raise funds for projects and initiatives that improve the quality of life in the village, will host a fundraiser this Sunday, March 30, at 5 p.m. at Page restaurant on Main Street in Sag Harbor, celebrating the new book by local authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, “The Heart of Everything That Is.”

The proceeds of Sunday night’s event are earmarked to support Serve Sag Harbor’s Traffic Calming Fund, which is being used to support a study currently underway looking at traffic solutions for 19 intersections throughout the village. The results of the study will be presented to the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees for consideration.

The cost to attend the event will be $75, which includes a complimentary raffle ticket with prizes including a seven-day stay at a home in San Miguel de Allende, as well as books signed by Mr. Clavin.

Reservations can be made by sending an email to servesagharbor@gmail.com.

Hamptons GLBT Center Hires Program Manager

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The Long Island GLBT Network has expanded its presence on the East End by hiring two new staff members at its Hamptons GLBT Center at the Old Whalers’ Church on Union Street in Sag Harbor. Manny Velásquez-Paredes and Lilianne Ogeka have recently been named the center’s program manager and program assistant, respectively, and have been charged with increasing services and programs for the East End’s GLBT community.

With the new staff in place, the Hampton’s GLBT Center can remain open on a full-time basis, expand its youth and senior services, and continue its outreach and visibility within the local community.

“The network is extremely pleased to welcome Manny and Lili to its organization. In their new roles, Manny and Lili will help lead the strategic direction of our Hamptons center and expand the network’s many programs and services in health, advocacy, education and more, and strengthen even further our ties with the community and encourage overall growth on the East End,” said Dr. David Kilmnick, chief executive officer of the network.

As program director, Mr. Velásquez-Paredes, a Riverhead resident, will manage the center and create engaging programs for the East End’s GLBT community and its allies. With more than 18 years of management experience in customer relations, events planning and non-profits, Mr. Velásquez-Paredes is a marketing and communications professional focusing in multicultural/diversity marketing/branding of the Hispanic and GLBT communities.

As the program assistant, Ms. Ogeka, a Quogue resident, facilitates programs and events that serve the GLBT community, as well as coordinate activities for the Hamptons Youth Group. Ms. Ogeka is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she received her bachelor of science degree in physical education, health education and adapted physical education, as well as a minor in psychology.

For more information, visit liglbtnetwork.org.

Oddone Sentenced to Time Served

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Anthony Oddone, 32, was sentenced on March 19 to time served, or just over five years in prison, as well as five years probation, after pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge tied to the 2008 death of a Suffolk County corrections officer, Andrew Reister, a Southampton resident who was killed after an altercation with Mr. Oddone at the Southampton Publick House.

The sentence was a part of a plea deal worked out between the defense and prosecution at the request of Mr. Reister’s widow, Stacey.

Mr. Oddone was initially convicted of first-degree manslaughter in 2009 after he put Mr. Reister, 40, in a headlock in August 2008 during an altercation at the Publick House where Mr. Reister worked a second job as a bouncer. Mr. Reister was left unconscious and ultimately declared brain dead two days later.

That conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals in December after the court found Justice C. Randall Hinrichs had erred when he did not allow the defense to cross examine a witness about statements made regarding the length of time Mr. Reister was held in a headlock by Mr. Oddone. Mr. Oddone was released on $500,000 bail pending a new trail.

While the prosecution maintained that it believed it could gain another conviction against Mr. Oddone, it chose not to proceed and seek the plea deal at the request of the Reister family.

Raymond de Felitta Shows How to “Rob the Mob”

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By Danny Peary

Rob the Mob fits my category Movies That Should Play in Sag Harbor.  This Friday it opens in New York at the Angelika, an indication that it’s not the predictable mob comedy one might expect from the title.  The true tall tale told by director Raymond de Felitta and screenwriter Jonathan Fernandez includes humor of the absurdist variety, but as in de Felitta’s smartly-cast, superbly-acted mass-audience-would-love-them-if-they-bothered-to-see-them little films Two Family House and City Island (which won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival), it blends the wit with off-kilter romance/love, quirky plot twists, tricky family relationships, and serious themes. And at the center is a big heart.

rob-the-mob-600x337 A quickie synopsis: “Rob the Mob is the true-life story of a crazy-in-love Queens couple who robbed a series of mafia social clubs [in the early 1990s] and got away with it…for a while…until they stumble upon a score bigger than they ever planned and become targets of both the mob and the FBI.” Michael Pitt (Funny Games, TV’s Boardwalk Empire) and Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris; Tony-winner for Venus in Fur) are sensational as the doomed Tommy Uva and his clever girlfriend Rosie, heading a terrific cast that includes Andy Garcia (City Island), as soulful mob don Big Al, a serious Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) as a reporter on the mob beat, Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull), and Michael Rispoli (star of Two-Family House).  I spoke last week to De Felitta about his stars and new movie.

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Danny Peary: When I saw the title Rob the Mob, I assumed it was going to be a full-fledged comedy, which it isn’t. Did you keep the humorous title because you wanted the film to maintain a light-hearted tone even when things become darker?

Raymond de Felitta (left): Some people said it wasn’t serious enough a title for the movie, but I always loved it because it’s cheeky and I feel the movie in general is cheeky. When I watch it with audiences I see there are good laughs through the first half and absolutely none in the second half, when it turns into a different movie. To me, that’s cheeky. If I did my job right, you don’t really see what’s coming and that’s part of the movie’s fun. I got a little pressure here and there to change it, but ultimately it’s Rob the Mob. It is what it is.

DP: In New York, it’s going to open at the Angelika, a site for art films. Is that surprising to you?

RDF: I guess the bigger question is: what are “art films?”  I don’t know any more. I think Rob the Mob is an art film under the guise of a genre film, which reflects my own preference in movies.  If you don’t care about film and you just want entertainment, you’ll like the title and love the idea of the movie, that somebody with an Uzi robs mob social clubs. And if you are a serious filmgoer, you might hear that it is not just a mob movie but has little more going for it.

DP: You’ve called it an “anti-mob movie.”

RDF: Yeah, because “mob movies” are over with, in a sense. Rob the Mob was not going to be The Godfather or Goodfellas or Casino.  There’s no more room, it’s done. So you’re either going to make a really bad mob movie, or find a new wrinkle.  This movie is not really about the mob.  The more we developed the script and the closer we got to doing it, I began to feel that this movie will live or die with the romance of these two people Tommy and Rosie. If you understand that it’s about their love for each other, I think the movie will have heart and be special and won’t slide off into a genre and be this kind of movie or that kind of movie. It had to have a center and their romance is the center.  I love when things are disguised as other things, and that’s why I wanted to do this movie. It’s a mob movie, but it’s really not, it’s about these two people in love. I guess you could fit it into a genre with Gun Crazy, They Live By Night, and Thieves Like Us.  There is some of those films in mine, but mine is more kinetic. It was a bit of a magic trick. I don’t know if I pulled it off, but I liked doing it.  Whatever people think this movie is, it’s not quite that; it a different animal.

DP: So where does the mob fit in?

RDF: While it’s not primarily about the mob, I love that the mobsters are the victims in the movie. They’re kind of the worn out, tattered remains of their former selves. I thought that was a fun, interesting angle, because to me it humanizes them rather than makes them larger than life.  It brings them way down to the actual size they are. They’re the guys at this stupid club on the corner. That’s where they hang out, and they don’t do much there other than sitting around. It’s not at all glamorous.  They can’t even figure out how to deal with Tommy and Rosie, the amateurs who are robbing them.  That’s the truth, they did not know how to deal with this couple who was making fools of them and threatening the organization.  Those are the things that I liked in the script.  I felt it turned our view of the mob upside down.

DP: In the production notes, you say that Rob the Mob’s coming from a true story made it more interesting for you. If it were a fictional story, would you have been interested in doing it?

RDF: You know, it’s hard to say.   Because it weren’t true, if it was made up, it might be too silly to believe.  This story is so unbelievable and so strange and has so many odd things about it, that it being true is what makes it interesting; as fiction it would be far-fetched. Somebody really did pull off those robberies on the mob!  Tommy and Rosie were really rubbed out.  The facts of the case make it interesting. I compare this story in terms of its truth to Dog Day Afternoon. Similarly, if I write a movie about a married man with a secret gay lover and he needs money for a sex change, and he has a Vietnam vet friend who robs a bank, you’d be like, “Where’s this coming from? Did you hear this story somewhere or did you make it up?” In fact that story happened, too.  Also similar about the two stories is that neither had any real notoriety. The Dog Day Afternoon story also came and went in just a few weeks and never was a big, nation-wide story.  I think dramatizing these stories is a little more poignant because you’ve discovered such a large theme and such a big and bold story in something relatively obscure. I’d never heard of Tommy and Rosie Uva.

DP: I vaguely remember something about a list of Mafia names that proved there was an organized crime organization.

RDF: That’s why I focused so much on the list. I wanted to show that there was something bigger that happened than what Tommy and Rosie ever knew about, that they even understood. We couldn’t fit it into the movie, but the different mob families all started arguing about who actually made the hit on Tommy and Rosie.  One of them was caught on tape taking credit for it and he wound up being sent to prison for the rest of his life. I couldn’t dramatize any of that because it happened after they were dead, and the movie has to end when Tommy and Rosie are shot. I didn’t really want there to be a long coda. But yeah, there were things about them that were a bigger story.  Jonathan Fernandez, the writer, and I talked about the size of a movie that’s just a caper film. And Jon pointed out that what The King’s Speech was really telling us is that if this guy didn’t fix his speech impediment, England would have lost the war. It’s not that cynical, but the gist of our story is that a little act led to something heroic. We started looking at Tommy and Rosie as two little people who actually took down a big chunk of the mob. They didn’t mean to, they didn’t know they were having that effect, but Tommy’s crusade against the guys who beat up his dad when he was as a little boy actually leads to big things. He got somewhere in his life, he did finally accomplish something, and I find that very moving. If you can twist the story that way, then I think you’ve got a great character arc.

DP: There seems to be a parallel story.  Big Al tells the FBI that he doesn’t want to be humiliated in front of his grandson and as a boy Tommy experienced his own father being beaten up and humiliated in front of him.

RDF: I don’t know if other people get it but the fact is that Tommy and Big Al had so much in common.

DP: I think Big Al would have liked Tommy, actually. He would have understood Tommy’s anger toward the mob from what happened to his father.

RDF: I think you’re right. They’re both haunted by deaths in their pasts, they’re both haunted by things they can’t change or avenge.  And ultimately Tommy’s actions have a huge impact on Big Al, although they’ve never met.  When we were editing a scene with Big Al in post-production, we’d cut to Tommy and Rosie just to reiterate that their stories are impacting on each other. I think it’s so interesting in life to look back and realize the people who’ve impacted you whom you’ve never met. You’ve somehow had this parallel existence, and one person’s actions have paid off positively or negatively in someone else’s life.

DP: Tommy has charm according to Rosie, but Big Al’s the person who really has the charm in the film.  And he’s probably the one really smart person in the movie. Do you think a reason Tommy and Rosie are so vulnerable is because they’re not smart enough?

RDF: I think they’re idiot savants.  They don’t really know what they’ve gotten themselves into. They think they’ve got a handle on it, but no. She’s reasonably more polished than he’s ever going to be, but yeah, they’re not smart enough.  Andy Garcia plays Big Al as a guy who was actually too smart to be a mob boss. He really shouldn’t have wound up where he is. He should have been a businessman.

DP: He loves to cook so he could have run a legit Italian restaurant.

RDF: That part Andy and I developed together. We were looking to create a Don that hadn’t been done. He’s not Powerman; he’s tired, he’s a grandfather, he doesn’t really understand how he got where he is.  I felt the way he’s portrayed by Andy is a big part of our turning the whole mob concept on its head.  What if it’s not about a powerful Don and about “respect” and all that crap, which we’ve seen so many times? What if it’s about a guy who wants to play chess with his grandson?  Big Al’s fatal flaw is ultimately his humanity–he doesn’t order a hit on Tommy and Rosie at the very beginning before things escalate.  That’s what you’re supposed to do as a mafia don.

DP: The Uvas were really married, but in the movie they’re not married.

RDF: Yeah, we took that liberty because I wanted us to see Tommy ask Rosie to marry him.  I just felt it was such a beautiful place for them to finally get to. The fact is they really were murdered on Christmas Eve, so I wanted them to have that moment before it happens.  That’s the sentimental Italian in me.

SPOILER ALERT

DP: There’s a Bonnie and Clyde reference in regard to their being shot in their car, but you are very protective of them and we don’t see them get torn up by the hail of bullets.  What happens to them could be shown with as much brutality as what happens to Bonnie and Clyde in Arthur Penn’s movie, but you don’t, won’t, let that happen.

RDF: Well, you’re not going to beat Arthur Penn’s ending.  But I also don’t need to see their death.  I only need to know that they get gunned down and what the ending is going to be.  I was inspired in some ways by the ending of The Wrestler, where he goes leaping off the ropes into the ring, after he’s told he can’t wrestle anymore.  You don’t need to see anything after that.

DP: I love that it’s elegiac, even sweet and super romantic, oddly enough.

RDF: I thought the same thing. To me, that was very important – how do we feel about Tommy and Rosie at the end?  Do we end with a huge downer and see blood everywhere ? That was something we developed as we were doing it, we figured out a way to give them some dignity and let their romance live on.

END SPOILER ALERT

DP: In the production notes Nina Arianda says that the romance between Tommy and Rosie is kind of a combination of Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde, and Sid and Nancy. Actresses usually don’t bring up Sid and Nancy in conversation, but there’s a madness in the romance that really appealed to her in that film and in Rob the Mob.

RDF: Michael Pitt and I talked about how great love, passionate love, is actually a destructive force. It doesn’t have any boundaries, it does whatever it needs to do, it has its own fierce energy.  That’s how we saw the romance of Tommy and Rosie.  It’s a force that can’t be stopped. They create their own catastrophe. The way I always read the real story of Tommy and Rosie is that she was trying to show the world what she saw in him. She wanted the rest of the world to see it. It was so much bigger than what anyone else had ever thought of this guy who seems pretty much like a druggy ex-con. He had this side to him that she believed in, and that was his humanity and poignancy. The whole act of what they do–coming up with his bizarre scheme and pulling it off–is his work of art and his gift to the world. She was so proud of him for it. That’s what I loved about their real story.  It was about two people who in their sociopathic way thought they were doing something light and beautiful for each other.

DP: In Gun Crazy and Bonnie and Clyde the robberies themselves are sexual acts to communicate the love the two lead characters feel for each other.  Are you trying to show the same thing when they kiss in the car before he commits the crimes and when they celebrate in their apartment afterward, throwing the money into the air?

RDF: I do think what we show after the robbery is like an orgasmic release for them. But they also have a practical consideration. They are trying to put together enough money so they can settle down and finally be normal.  There’s the whole concept–One of these days I’m going to be like everyone else– that a lot of us carry around, mistakenly. If only I could organize the world to fit my needs, then I’ll finally be part of the normal world.

DP: Do Tommy and Rosie have a death wish and is their being ill-fated part of the romance?

RDF:  I guess so, but I look at it as Rosie being so in love with Tommy that she’ll do whatever he needs to complete his journey. She’s not necessarily the doomed one. She’s just so profoundly in love with Tommy and so believes in his misunderstood genius that’s lost in the world, that she’ll do whatever.  That of course leads to their doom.

DP: And she sacrifices her career at the collection agency for him.  Granted, it’s a weird career, but you see what talent she has to do it. And he has no talent to do it. She could take over the agency some day.

RDF: She absolutely could be working in a hair salon or be a teller in a bank. Rosie is every one of those great girls from Queens who maybe had some drug issues in high school, but got over it and now have jobs. Tommy isn’t capable of working a real job. He is a dark, sad, sociopathic young man.

DP: Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda are perfectly cast. I think you might look at the film now and say, nobody else in the whole world but these two actors could play these parts. I’m sure you recognized they have the potential to be superstars down the road, but at this particular time, you could still afford them. You were very lucky. Is that how you see it?

RDF: Absolutely. It’s funny how these things come about, the weird journey of filmmaking. The very first actor we sent the script to was Michael Pitt. The script was not exactly the script we ended up shooting, but it was a pass at it and you could understand what the basics were. And Michael “got it.”  I thought, “If this guy gets it, he’ll become a collaborator through the whole process.” I wanted to have a relationship with the actor playing Tommy.  I wanted it to be like Scorsese and De Niro, and we’d do this film together, and create Tommy. I thought that if we got that character right, the movie would have heart and soul. If we didn’t, we’d have simply a guy playing a young thug.  So Michael and I became very close while working on the development of the story and his character.

DP: With dark hair, Michael Pitt looks a little like Elvis in your movie, a good-acting Elvis.

RDF: A very young Elvis, yeah.  It took us a long time to get the financing because everyone was trying to get us to get a bigger name than Michael to play Tommy.  They also wanted a big name actress to play Rosie.  But none of them wanted to do it– Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson. You make a list of name actresses, you send it out, you don’t really know if they ever read it. After quite some time, my producer said, “Look, if we make the movie for less money, we can probably get this done and not have to try to rope in a name actress as if we were searching for Scarlett O’Hara.  It’s ridiculous.” So on Michael’s recommendation we went after Nina. She had this tremendous Broadway life that happened to her very quickly, so when they brought her name up, I asked, “Is she going to want to do it, or is she waiting for a starring role in a bigger movie?”  She read the script and really loved it, and met with me and Michael.  Like you say, I can’t imagine anyone else playing those parts now.  A wonderful thing about filmmaking is that once it’s done, it’s real.  Those two amazing actors are in my movie.  But it’s funny that along the way there are always so many bizarre iterations.

 

Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund Revenues Up 54-Percent in February

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Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced this week that revenues for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund produced $7.60 million in revenue for the five East End towns for February 2014, compared with $4.92 million in 2013, a 54.5-percent increase. In 2014, a total of $14.61 million has been raised so far, which is a 9-percent decrease from last year.

Since its inception in 1999, the Peconic Bay Regional CPF has generated $899.34 million through a 2-percent real estate transfer tax. The 2-percent transfer tax under the CPF expires in 2030.

Southampton Town Pays Off Retirement Debt

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The Southampton Town Board on March 11 unanimously adopted a resolution that authorized the payment of nearly $2.55 million of the town’s outstanding debt to the New York State pension system.

In recent years, many municipalities have struggled to meet annual pension contributions required by the state Comptroller’s Office. In general, public pension funds, including New York’s, are still struggling to make up for steep investment losses incurred in the 2008 financial crisis, requiring local municipalities to contribute more to keep the system afloat.

In order to mitigate the budgetary impact of higher pension obligations, New York introduced an amortization process that required the prorating of an employer’s required contributions over a period of time.

Since 2010, the town has participated in the amortization program. Of the five cities and towns in Nassau County, and the 10 towns in Suffolk County, only three towns—Smithtown, Riverhead and Shelter Island—did not participate in the program.

Southampton is the first to fully repay its debt. “Because we have budgeted prudently and conservatively over the last few years, we now have the opportunity to finally pay down this costly debt, saving approximately $300,000 in interest payments,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. “This is very good news for our taxpayers, and reinforces the fact that the stringent budget practices we put in place are indeed working.”

Senator LaValle Requests Nominations for “Woman of Distinction”

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New York State Senator Ken P. LaValle is requesting nominations for a woman to be recognized as a New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction.”

Residents of the 1st Senate District have been encouraged to nominate friends, spouses, coworkers and neighborhood leaders who have performed outstanding work on behalf of their communities.

“This program provides us with a special opportunity to honor extraordinary women for their achievements.” said Senator LaValle. “I am proud that we have many deserving women in the area I represent. I look forward to reviewing the accomplishments of the nominees.”

The Senate will honor a distinguished woman from the 1st Senate District and throughout the state at a May 13 ceremony in Albany, with each honoree’s photograph and biography becoming part of a special exhibit. Previous winners have included leading women from the business world, academics and civic life, as well as those who have performed heroic or selfless acts, made significant discoveries or provided examples of personal excellence against significant odds.

To nominate an individual, visit SenatorLaValle.com.

Southampton Hospital Regional Dialysis Center Earns Accolades

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2014 Dialysis Center - Team

Southampton Hospital’s Regional Dialysis Center, which is located at its Hampton Bays Atrium site, has been recognized for the third consecutive year for its patient safety program. The Five-Diamond Award is presented by IPRO’s End Stage Renal Disease Network of New York, which is dedicated to assisting dialysis and renal transplantation centers in establishing and maintaining high standards of care for their patients.

The network’s interactive program is designed so that each dialysis facility completes one module at a time and submits documentation for review. The quality of each module determines the number of “diamonds” awarded, with a maximum of five diamonds, within the participation period. 

Licensed by the New York Department of Health, the hospital’s state-of-the-art dialysis center offers a full range of treatments in an environment designed for optimum comfort. Individual televisions, WIFI access, as well as the generous donation by the J. Couper Lord Foundation of specially designed reclining chairs with special gel cushions, all enhance the comfort of patients.

The staff includes Dr. Gaylord Hoffert, who is a board-certified nephrologist and the center’s medical director; the nursing staff of certified dialysis RNs; LPNs and dialysis technicians skilled in renal therapy and clinical technology; certified social workers who provide assistance on insurance, social and economic issues; and a New York State registered dietitian to provide dietary guidance.

“We have a great team that strives to give each patient the best care possible,” said Dr. Hoffert.

The center offers evening appointments for those who are working during the day and there is 24-hour access in case of an emergency. More information is available at 723-4200.

Congressman Bishop Seeks Medal of Honor for Haerter

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Heller_Haerter Medal of Honor Submission Ceremony @ American Legion 3-16-14_4129_LR

Christian Haerter, father of fallen soldier Jordan Haerter, speaks as New York State Congressman Tim Bishop Congressman, joined by New York State Assemblyman Fed Thiele and JoAnn Lynes, mother of Marine Jordan Haerter, announced a bill to advance the Medal of Honor for Sag Harbor’s Lcpl Jordan Haerter and to Cpl Jonathan Yale during a ceremony held at the Sag Harbor American Legion on Sunday. 

By Stephen J. Kotz; photography by Michael Heller

It started last year as a grassroots effort to have Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter and his fellow marine, Corporal Jonathan Yale, posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Honor for their heroism in Iraq in 2008.

But it received a significant boost when U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, speaking at the Sag Harbor American Legion on Sunday, announced that last week he had co-sponsored legislation with Congressman Robert Hurt of Virginia, who represents the Yale family, seeking a presidential review to determine whether two marines should receive the medal, the nation’s highest military honor.

“We are offering this legislation so that Jordan and Jonathan receive every single consideration for the highest award to which they are entitled,” Mr. Bishop told the gathering made of Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members, scouts and other friends and supporters Lance Cpl. Haerter and his family.

Mr. Bishop’s bill will be sent to the House Armed Services Committee, which has the option of sending it on to the Pentagon. If it passes that stage it will be forwarded to President Barack Obama.

Mr. Bishop was joined at the podium by Mr. Haerter’s parent, Christian Haerter and JoAnn Lyles, Assemblyman Fred. W. Thiele Jr. and Marty Knab, the Legion’s commander.

“These were outstanding young men who died in the service of their country, but first and foremost they were beloved sons,” Mr. Bishop said.

“In Sag Harbor we all know in our hearts he has already won the Medal of Honor,” Mr. Thiele said. “Now we have to convince the powers that be.”

“Time has gone by, but it is important that people haven’t forgotten your son and what he did for his country,” Mr. Thiele continued, “and how proud we are that he is a son of Sag Harbor.”

“It’s hard for me to believe that is coming up on six years that Jordan lost his life,” said Mr. Haerter. “I want to thank all the members of the community of Sag Harbor as a whole for their continuing support from the day he was killed until today.”

Mr. Haerter said he did not know if the review would result in his son and Cpl. Yale receiving the Medal of Honor. “We just feel that it will give Jordan and Jonathan a chance at a review.”

Congressman Bishop also said he did not know what the odds were. “I’m confident it will get careful consideration,” he said, “but I think the likelihood of success is modest.”

Phil Como, representing Sea Cliff American Legion Post #456 and VFW Post #347, who has been involved in the effort to get the two marines the medal, said in his mind they were deserving.

“In six seconds, they made a decision that their lives had to be sacrificed to save 50 other marines and Iraqi staff,” he said. “I feel there is a moral imperative here.”

“The surviving marines, to a man, will tell you that they are going to live the rest of their lives with children, grandchildren, graduations, Christmases and weddings” because of their heroism.

Lance Cpl. Haerter and Cpl. Yale were killed on April 22, 2008, shortly after they went on guard duty at a joint security station in Ramadi, Iraq, when a suicide bomber, driving a truck laden with 2,000 pounds of explosives, tried to drive through the concrete barriers separating the station from the street. The marines returned fire, stopping the truck, but died when the vehicle exploded.

Last year, an anonymous Virginia resident started a petition on the White House website seeking the Medal of Honor for the two marines. That effort has since been replaced by one on the change.org website that has collected 39,000 signatures, Mr. Haerter said.

Sag Harbor’s Modern Day Rum Runners

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Mike McQuade and Jason Laan with their Sag Harbor Rum, photographed at Murf's Tavern in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Mike McQuade and Jason Laan with their Sag Harbor Rum, photographed at Murf’s Tavern in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Annette Hinkle; Michael Heller photography

Since its heyday as a 19th century whaling port, Sag Harbor has built a reputation as a hard-working town with a penchant for spirits — in more ways than one.

So perhaps it was inevitable in this day of micro-brews and locally sourced food stuffs that someone would produce a drink that evokes the flavor of yesterday.

Business partners Jason Cyril Laan and Michael McQuade are doing just that with Sag Harbor Rum, a decidedly 21st century twist on that most sea-faring of beverages.

The inaugural batch of Sag Harbor Rum is about six weeks from release and is now aging in old bourbon barrels, having been infused with exotic spices and fruits like ginger, black cherry, vanilla, pineapple and a touch of walnut and coffee.

Expect Sag Harbor Rum to hit the shelves of local liquor stores, bars and restaurants sometime in mid-May. A 750 ml bottle is expected to retail for $37 and a total of 6,000 bottles are being produced in this first batch of rum.

For Mr. Laan, it’s about time.

“I’ve been a life-long rum drinker and part of the Sag Harbor sailing community and I felt Sag Harbor was missing its own rum,” says Mr. Laan. “Mike and I worked at Murph’s together last summer and we wanted to do a liquor evoking the spirit of Sag Harbor with its whaling tradition — it’s perfect for an amber rum.”

“We’re not in the liquor marketing business,” he adds. “We’re bartenders who felt the East End needed its own rum.”

“We’ve been coming up with the concepts and we thought about it for a while,” says Mr. McQuade.

Laan brings a fair amount of knowledge to the distilling process, having lived in Amsterdam for six years where he ran a bar with a friend and produced a private label vodka. For Sag Harbor Rum, he and Mr. McQuade are partnering with Baiting Hollow-based Long Island Spirits and Rich Stabile, who brings 20 years of his own experience as a master distiller to the process.

While many big distillers want consistency of flavor in their spirits, Mr. Laan and Mr. McQuade are hoping for the exact opposite with Sag Harbor Rum.

“We’re doing batch numbers and we expect each to be slightly different and have its own profile,” explains Mr. Laan.

Of course, any sailor worth his sea-salt knows rum is made from sugar — not exactly a locally sourced crop. In the old days, seafarers provisioned rum when their ships called at ports in the Caribbean, storing it in whatever empty barrels were on hand. Over time, the rum naturally took on the flavor of the barrel along with whatever fruit or spices had previously been stored in it.

Mr. Laan and Mr. McQuade are using pretty much that same technique in producing Sag Harbor Rum.

“We’ve imported the rum from Trinidad,” explains Mr. Laan. “It’s distilled five times —which means you’re getting the purest rum. We import it at a large volume and put it in bourbon barrels to age here for about six months.”

Mr. Laan explains that initially, the rum doesn’t have much flavor when it arrives from Trinidad and only gains that with time.

“Most alcohols — including whisky or bourbon — get their color and flavor from the wood,” explains Mr. Laan who adds that botanicals such as spices, peppers and fruit are often added in the process. “We’re setting ourselves apart. Instead of traditional tropical flavors, we’re doing nuts, coffee and ginger.”

While there may come a day when Mr. Laan and Mr. McQuade will be able to infuse their rum with locally grown botanicals, for now, the pair are just excited about seeing their first batch of Sag Harbor Rum make it to market.

“We wanted a rum that was a great stand alone — a great sipping rum that mixes well with cocktails or tastes good on its own,” says Mr. Laan. “Because we’re doing small batches and because of the aging process, we wanted that hand-made artisanal feel, which is a bit of a trend right now.”

That feel extends to the hand-drawn label design on the bottle itself — which sports a whale, naturally.

“We’re going around doing pre-sales old school style — door to door, bar to bar — asking people if they’ll take a bottle or do a tasting at liquor stores,” says Mr. Laan. “It’s nice to see these micro industries — that’s what we want to fit into.”

“We don’t want to go outside the South Fork in the first year.”

To learn more about Sag Harbor Rum, visit sagharborrum.com or find them on Facebook.

Sag Harbor Rum Scuttlehole Special 

½ oz Vervino Vermouth – Channing Daughters Winery

2 oz Sag Harbor Rum

2 oz San Pellegrino Limonata

Splash of Bitters

The Montauk to Manhattan – a Rum Manhattan

2½ oz Sag Harbor Rum

½ oz Sweet Vermouth

2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Shake over ice and serve with a cherry of choice