Tag Archive | "Hamptons"

A Different Kind of Home on Show in Sag Harbor

Tags: , , , ,


houseofthewhaleweb bluedorn.

“House of The Whale,” by Scott Bluedorn.

By Mara Certic

A house is a walled structure with a roof and a floor and a number of other features. A home, however, is typically defined in a more abstract manner: where the heart is, where one starts from or, according to Emily Dickinson, where thou art. This ambiguity and flexibility is mirrored in “A Different Kind of Home/ Show” on view at Dodds & Eder in Sag Harbor.

Curator Kathy Zeiger, who is also the founder and director of ArtWalk Hamptons, was inspired to put on the exhibition after seeing “House of the Whale,” an ink drawing by local artist Scott Bluedorn.

“I just thought that’s so interesting,” she said of the drawing. “There are a lot of home shows that go on in the Hamptons. I’m going to do a different kind of home show.” And so the project was born.

“I have always been inspired by nautical things,” Mr. Bluedorn said in an interview on Monday. “The initial inspiration for the entire series was photographs that I took on a trip to Nova Scotia last year, and a lot of the old fishing houses, which are similar to the ones we have,” said the artist, who grew up in East Hampton.

His intricate drawings show a hybridization of nature and architecture. “I’ve always been very involved with detail in my drawings; I’ve always used texture,” he said. “That’s why shingles are such a big part of the series.”

Ms. Zeiger was determined to make this “not just your typical kind of home show,” but still wanted a homey and cozy element, which is why she chose to include textiles artist Casey Dalene. Ms. Dalene, a native of North Carolina who has lived full-time in East Hampton for the past decade, has decorated “the front nook” of the Dodds & Eder showroom for the exhibition. “I thought she would be great as ‘home sweet home,’” Ms. Zeiger said.

“I want this space to feel really warm and inviting and that’s why I chose to use drapery frames,” said Ms. Dalene who also has decorated the area with hand-painted pillows and six acrylic paintings on paper. Ms. Dalene “loves showing the artist’s hand in the work,” she said, explaining her use of obvious paintbrush strokes.

Through working with John Cino, a sculptor and the president of the Patchogue Arts Council , Ms. Zeiger met Paul Farinacci, an artist and sculptor based on the North Shore of Nassau County.

Assisted Living(composite exterior and interior views)

Exterior and interior views of Paul Farinacci’s multi-media sculpture, “Assisted Living”

“He’s fantastic,” she said. “I was floored.”

For the past few years, Mr. Farinacci has been creating multi-media architectural pieces that are “kind of a response to how our private and public lives are getting blended together,” he said.

At first glance, Mr. Farinacci’s structures look like miniature papier-mâché buildings. “If they’re not in a room that’s totally dark [viewrs] don’t know to look inside,” the artist said of his sculptures.  But when spectators peek inside the handcrafted buildings, they catch a glimpse of the “dirty little secrets hidden within.” Mr. Farinacci at first used nightlights to illuminate interiors, but has since started wiring his own lights to brighten up the interiors.

Much of his artwork touches on controversial issues ranging from body image to big business. One structure, a small house within a cage, reveals on closer examination a slightly bewildered elderly woman inside, sitting alone with a cat.  Described by the artist as a commentary on the elderly, that piece is called “Assisted Living.”

Mr. Farinacci builds his sculptures entirely from recyclable paper and other materials related to the subject at hand. “I save everything you can think of,” he said.

“I get excited about artwork, I get excited about artists and I get excited about the process,” Ms. Zeiger said.

“Alexis Duque is a wonderful artist,” she said of the Colombian-born painter who now calls New York City home.

Mr. Duque creates highly detailed, whimsical acrylic paintings of cityscapes on canvas for his series “Metropolis,” which will be on view as part of the show. “I like the possibility of imagining and recreating my experience in the big city,” he wrote.

Ms. Zeiger noted similarities between the intricacies of the works of Mr. Duque and Mr. Bluedorn.

“How am I going to do something that breaks up the eye?” Ms. Zeiger asked herself. The curator always tries to include paintings, sculptures and photography, she said. Esperanza Leon recommended the mixed media artworks of Long Island artist Darlene Charneco, which “explore ways of seeing our human settlements, communication networks and communities as part of a larger organism’s growth stage,” the artist wrote.

Pondview Estates by Darlene Charneco angle1500

“Pondview Estates” by Darlene Charneco

“Pondview Estates” is made from resin and mixed media on wood; it is a commentary on “suburban developments encroaching,” Ms. Charneco said. “Humanity only partially aware of the land it is a part of.”

Ms. Charneco’s “dreamscapes and storage memories” got Ms. Zeiger thinking about “how we contain our own memories, and how we, as individuals, are our own personal homes,” she said.

The idea of each of us as our own home, she said, inspired her to exhibit portraits by Brooklyn-based Israeli photographer Rafael Fuchs. Mr. Fuchs moved to New York from Tel Aviv in the 1980s. He is a well-known commercial and entertainment photographer, and has done portraits of a diverse group including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Regis Philban and David Blaine.

“Art doesn’t necessarily have to be new to be found,” Ms. Zeiger said: A portrait of Michael McKean of “Spinal Tap” fame taken in the late ’90s is included in the show at Dodds & Eder.

Rafael Fuchs is “like the mayor of Bushwick,” Ms. Zeiger said. Several years ago he did a series of portraits of artists from his neighborhood that included Mr. Bluedorn, who was living there at the time.

“There’s a connection all the time between artists,” said Ms. Zeiger. “It’s just like what happened with Pollack and deKooning, and it’s happening again. There’s a whole new generation of artists who are coming through. It’s simmering, it’s getting ready to go pop!”

 An opening reception for “A Different Kind of Home/ Show will be held at Dodds & Eder, 11 Bridge Street, Sag Harbor from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 12.

East End Weekend: Highlights of June 27 – 29 Events

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Marc Dalessio, "Tina Under the Olive Tree" 43 x 35 inches, Oil 2014.

Marc Dalessio, “Tina Under the Olive Tree” 43 x 35 inches, Oil 2014.

By Tessa Raebeck

Marc Dalessio, "Laundry in the Wind" 36 x 28 inches, Oil, 2014.

Marc Dalessio, “Laundry in the Wind” 36 x 28 inches, Oil, 2014.

There’s a lot going on on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:

The Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor is hosting an opening reception Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a new solo show of Marc Dalessio, a regular artist at the gallery who spent the last year traveling the world looking for beauty. “Ironically, the most beautiful subject was found right at home,” gallery owner Laura Grenning said in a press release, speaking of “Tina Under the Olive Tree,” a plein air painting of his newly wed wife at his longtime farmhouse in Tuscany.

According to Ms. Grenning, Mr. Dalessio’s “humility, a rare commodity in the art world today, is sincere–just look at the paintings. These ideas, although not articulated at the time, explain my personal choice to leave the world of international finance and move to [the] East End almost 20 years ago.”

“The Grenning Gallery,” she added, “was created to provide a stable exhibition space and steady source of capital for these artists to continue their efforts to seek out and record nature’s beauty for the rest of us.”

Ocean the seal in rehabilitation in Riverhead.

Ocean the seal in rehabilitation in Riverhead.

 

A seal named Ocean will be released by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Ocean the seal will return to his home and namesake following two months of rehabilitation at the foundation after he was found in Montauk suffering from a broken jaw and respiratory condition.

After Oceans of Hope, the foundation’s annual fundraising event Friday, Ocean the seal will be released from under the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays.

 

 

Design Night Sag Harbor opens high-end stores for charity Saturday in an evening of shopping, wine, and fundraising for at-risk youth. Participating stores are donating 10 percent of sales to Community of Unity, a non-profit that empowers young people at risk to make good choices for their futures.

Ten Sag Harbor boutiques are participating: Urban Zen, Bloom, JanGeorge, Sylvester & Co., La Lampade, Ruby Beets, La Maisonette, Black Swan Antiques, JED and MAX ID NY. Design Night runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

 

Rounding out the weekend Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Sylvester & Co. At Home is hosting an opening reception for EJ Camp’s show “Faces of the Sea.” The Amagansett branch of the store, which also has a shop in Sag Harbor, will show the photographer’s photos of the East End sea, from fog over Orient Bay to the tide crashing into the jetty on Georgica Beach in East Hampton.

E.J. Camp, "Trumans Beach Sunset."

E.J. Camp, “Trumans Beach Sunset.”

 

Fuel Fee Hiked

Tags: , , ,


After presentations, public hearings and pleas, the East Hampton Town Board voted on Thursday, June 19, to double the fuel fee at the East Hampton Airport, effective July 1.

The fee has was at 15 cents per gallon in 1992 and has not been changed since. Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who sponsored the resolution, has said that research has shown that upping the fee to 30 cents is not unreasonable, and that many comparable airports have similar such fees.

Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft Services asked the board to reconsider. “If you pass the resolution put before you tonight that would impose a 100 percent increase in our fuel flow fee. Do so knowing that you are taking a giant and deliberate step toward debilitating and ultimately squeezing out a 24-year-old local business,” she said.

Ms. Herbst then proceeded to “put some faces and names to Sound Aircraft,” and introduced members of her staff to the board and the public.

“These are the people whose jobs are affected by the decision you’re making tonight,” she said.

Before seconding the resolution, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc spoke up to say  “This is really all about revenue, and trying to make the airport safe and continue the maintenance.”

Supervisor Larry Cantwell was the only “nay” vote on the board, saying that he believed that the increase to 30 cents was appropriate but, “I don’t think it should be done all at once,” he said. “I do think that’s somewhat unfair.”

Mary Anne Miller

Tags: , , ,


maryannemiller

Mary Anne Miller will be stepping down from the Sag Harbor School Board this year after serving two terms. She discusses that decision and reflects on her time as a board member.

You served on the school board for two full terms. Many say you would have been a shoe-in for this year’s election. What was it that made you decide not to run?

It was an extremely difficult decision for me to make I will say that. I very, very, very much enjoyed my time on the board. I enjoyed the challenge of advocating and supporting and finding good solutions for public education. And I especially enjoyed all of the achievements and challenges that the district faced while I was on the school board, I would say at first, I thought I was going to run again and then I spent at least three or four months really, really thinking about it and I just came to the conclusion that it was probably best to move on. Again it was a very difficult decision, but I just felt like my time was up and that I should move aside. I don’t intend to disappear. I very much enjoy work-shopping challenges and pushing ourselves to find some new ways to deal with old challenges, and, as a parent and a very active community member, I’m going to stay involved and try to make a positive contribution to the district in a different way.

How are you going to stay involved?

Well, almost by default because I am a parent of an incoming 10th-grader. I can see myself becoming more active in some of the organizations that support our school district like the PTSA and Sag Harbor Booster Foundation. I will definitely continue to stay very focused and involved in the actual school board agendas and meetings. I also manage a Facebook parents’ group (Sag Harbor School District Parents Connect).

What do you consider the biggest achievements that you had on the school board?

Well I’ve been thinking a lot about that, I’m kind of a nostalgic kind of a person. When I got on the board, [it] was involved in an extremely difficult, contentious labor negotiation with our teachers union. We had a brand new superintendent, and the community was very unhappy with the way that the superintendent had been chosen. So he came in under a cloud of negativity and really bad feelings from a large part of the community. Southampton Town had just done a reassessment after many years of not having done one, so people’s taxes had changed and increased sort of overnight. We had a very vocal group of homeowners who were very upset and nervous about how they were going to be able to afford to stay in Sag Harbor. I had just wanted to support educational initiatives. All of sudden, I realized that there were all of these things in a sort of tornado that made it kind of hard to talk about curriculum. And then we received a serious letter from the state telling us that the district was experiencing real fiscal distress. So when I think of all of that, and where our district has come in six years, the incredible amount of programs that we have added and maintained, our enrollment has increased; just incredible, good positive things coming out of the district. I feel happy, and I’m glad to have been a part of all of that.

What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges that the school board will face over the next few years?

We have the looming issue with the tax cap. That’s there, and I think the district has set itself up, at least in the past six years, that we are in very good shape financially, but I do think that the hard days and years are coming. We’ve worked hard to get our reserves to where they should be and try to rein in costs, but I do think that the financial challenges of continuing to maintain what we’re used to maintaining—those days are very close. The balance for this upcoming board and their new super, that’s going to be the biggest challenge. They’ve just got to keep pushing the limits, we have to keep changing.

 

SummerDocs Series Returns to Guild Hall

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


ebert

“Life Itself”, a documentary about film critic Roger Ebert (left), kicks off the Hamptons Internation Film Festival’s SummerDocs season this weekend. Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures. Photo credit Kevin Horan.

By Mara Certic

Since its inception in 2009, the Hamptons Film Festival’s SummerDocs series has screened dozens of documentaries—four of which have gone on to win Academy Awards.

Curated by artistic director David Nugent and board member Alec Baldwin, the series screens four new documentaries over the summer, each one followed by a Q&A hosted by Mr. Baldwin with either the director or a subject of the film.

“He and David Nugent watched them all and made the determination,” said Anne Chaisson, executive director of the HIFF. “It’s really about finding the best that’s out there.”

The series kicks off at Guild Hall on Saturday, June 21, with “Life Itself,” based on the memoir of the same name written by highly regarded film critic Roger Ebert. The film has a slew of executive producers, including Martin Scorcese, and was directed by Steve James, who rose to fame in the early ‘90s when his film “Hoop Dreams” was named “best movie of 1994” and given “two thumbs up” by none other than Siskel and Ebert.

The film chronicles the life of the writer and critic: From his accidental entry into journalism to revolutionizing the business of film criticism and winning a Pulitzer Prize, “Life Itself” also shows a glimpse into Mr. Ebert’s battle with cancer.

In 2002, Mr. Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, which resulted in the removal of his lower jaw and his inability to speak for the last seven years of his life.

“He’s a soldier of cinema who cannot even speak anymore, and he plows on and that touches my heart very deeply,” filmmaker Werner Herzog says of Mr. Ebert in the film.

“Life Itself” received rave reviews after its world and European premieres at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. “Very moved by Steve James’s “Life Itself“ Roger Ebert doc at Sundance” tweeted Kenneth Turan, Film critic for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio.

This Saturday’s screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Mr. Ebert’s widow, trial attorney Chaz Ebert. The film will be released on July 4 in the United States and distributed by Magnolia Pictures.

The second film in the series will be shown on Friday, July 25. “Keep on Keepin’ on” is the directorial debut of Australian Al Hicks; it documents the unlikely and meaningful relationship between Justin Kaulflin, a 23-year-old blind piano prodigy, and his mentor, jazz-legend and trumpeting great Clark Terry, “CT,” whose past pupils have included Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.

The combination of Mr. Terry’s failing health and Mr. Kaulflin’s debilitating nerves invoke a nostalgic poignancy throughout the film, critics have said. During one scene, Mr. Terry lies in bed using an oxygen tube on as he critiques Mr. Kaulflin, who plays next to him. Mr. Terry laughs as Mr. Kaulflin masters a fast-paced ditty, and adds “Thank God for you,” as he looks at his mentee.

The emotional tale premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and won several awards, including the Best New Documentary Director award for Mr. Hicks. The Australian director will be at Guild Hall for a Q&A after his film’s July 25 screening.

“We’re so happy that we have this program and we have this traction,” Ms. Chaisson said in a phone interview last week. “And the festival is well known in the industry. It’s pretty great.” Two other documentaries that have yet to be announced will complete the SummerDocs series in the month of August.

Aspiring directors will get another chance to create their first masterpieces this summer in the HIFF’s Student Filmmaking classes, which will run both from Guild Hall and the Southampton Arts Center.

The board of the HIFF will keep cinephiles entertained all summer with weekly outdoor screenings of retrospective blockbusters at the Southampton Arts Center from June 27 until the weekend before Labor Day. The weekend of August 22 to 24 will see HIFF’s first Family Film Festival, which will screen approximately seven films, Ms. Chaisson said.

The tickets for the SummerDocs series cost $21 for members, $23 general admission. The films begin at 8 p.m. and each is followed by a Q&A hosted by Alec Baldwin. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information visit guildhall.org or call 324-0806.

 

 

Dance Troupe Spends Summer Teaching and Performing in East Hampton

Tags: , , , ,


unnamed

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

Tags: , , , , , ,


"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

Tags: , , , ,


unnamed-2

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

Tags: , , , , , ,


sagvillage

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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


villageboardforweb

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.