Tag Archive | "katy’s courage"

Katy’s Courage 5K Raises $50,000 for Research, Scholarship, Education

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Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy's Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Katy’s Courage, the non-profit dedicated to education, counseling and pediatric cancer research, hosted its fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K on April 5. More than 1,200 participants, along with babies in strollers pushed by parents and dogs of all shapes and sizes, ran, jogged or walked to the finish line to help raise funds as well as remember Katy Stewart, a Sag Harbor resident who succumbed to a rare form of pediatric liver cancer in 2011. More than 700 participants pre-registered for this year’s race, which raised over $50,000 through donations, money raised by runners and walkers and sponsorships.

“We relish the opportunity to bring the community together with the aim of creating possibilities for children,” said Brigid Collins, Katy’s mother.

Proceeds will benefit a scholarship awarded to a Pierson High School student, a donation to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the creation of Katy’s Kids, a new partnership with the Children’s Museum of the East End.

For more information about Katy’s Courage, visit katyscourage.org. Donations can be sent by check to P.O. Box 3251, Sag Harbor, NY, 11963.

Thousands Bring Light to Cloudy Day at Katy’s Courage 5K

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Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy's Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Photography and Story by Gianna Volpe

Nina Landi, the race director for Saturday’s fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K race, had tears in her eyes as hundreds of Sag Harbor residents, East Enders and others took off running along the waterfront in memory of one beloved little local, Katy Stewart, who in 2010 succumbed to a rare pediatric cancer when she was 12 years old.

More than a thousand participants signed up for the event with far more on hand to volunteer and cheer, despite the morning’s cold, gloomy weather, which Ms. Landis said spoke to Katy’s unique and vibrant nature.

“I learned more from Katy than I’ve learned from anybody in my entire life span of time on this Earth,” she said. “She was incredible; wise beyond her years and every single person that ran down the street just now either knew her or was affected deeply by her.”

Katy’s father, Jim Stewart, said Saturday’s event netted the Katy’s Courage, a non-profit organization, more than $30,000, which will go toward establishing a bereavement center at the Children’s Museum of the East End this fall, in addition to benefitting pediatric cancer research and providing money for multiple scholarships, including a $10,000 annual scholarship for a graduate of Pierson High School.

“Each year we do the race we say that we feel she is here with us, but it’s even more so this year,” said Mr. Stewart. “I think it’s because each year we’re having more and more people join us and help us. The goodwill people bring to us is absolutely incredible and we thank Katy for that because when people say they’re here, they’re here for Kate. It’s a fantastic gesture on their part just to be here today.”

As Mr. Stewart took photographs at the event and gave out high fives to runners dashing to the finish line, his wife, Brigid Collins Stewart, joined the mass of 5K participants, afterward saying she felt “proud, happy and grateful” on what she described as a “tremendous day” for her family.

“Katy had a light around her,” she said of her daughter. “She’s still here with us, bringing a lot of love to the community.”

And the feeling is mutual.

Sag Harbor resident Benito Vila, 52, whose teenage daughter, Kerrie, was Katy’s classmate in April 2009 when Katy was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer called Hepatoblastoma, said making the choice to attend the annual event was an easy one.

“She was a great kid and was able to bring different parts of the community together,” said Vila. “Kerrie’s friends changed when Katy got sick. It brought a whole group of girls together and then, as Jim and Brigid sought out help — both of them being involved in school districts — they brought together others by reaching out to different churches and groups. All of the faiths were represented at [Katy’s funeral] service.”

Members of the East Hampton High School track team, on hand at the race, correctly predicted sophomore Eric Engstrom, 15, who attended pre-school with Katy, would take the race for the second year in a row, which he did with a winning time of 16:44.9.

“I made my move at about a mile to go and then just coasted in,” the track star said of the race. “I kind of sat back and stayed in, like, third for most of the race before I did that.”

Luis Ramirez, 22, of Southampton finished second overall in 17:01.5 while Doug Milano, 30, of Aquebogue finished third in 17:24.1.

Dana Cebulski, 16, another track star at East Hampton, was the first overall female finisher with a time of 19:42.5. Hannah Jungck, a cross country runner from Pierson who is also on the Bonac track team, was the second female finisher with a time of 19:57.9 while Tara Wilson, 27, of Shelter Island Heights finished third in 20:01.1.

For a complete list of results visit island-timing.com/katy.html.

Members of the East Hampton track team came out in large numbers to compete in Saturday's race.

Members of the East Hampton track team came out in large numbers to compete in Saturday’s race.

Katy’s Courage 5K Brings Community Together

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Runners sprint from the starting line on Long Island Avenue at the start of the 2013 Katy's Courage 5K Run on Saturday. Photo by Michael Heller.

Runners sprint from the starting line on Long Island Avenue at the start of the 2013 Katy’s Courage 5K Run on Saturday. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Runners of all ages and abilities will converge on West Water Street in Sag Harbor this Saturday for the fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5-K run.

The event will raise money for scholarships, pediatric cancer research, and, perhaps most importantly this year, a new bereavement program for children the organization has recently founded in conjunction with the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton.

“We hope a lot of people will come out,” said Katy’s mother, Brigid Collins Stewart. “It’s early in the morning, it’s a beautiful course, and it’s the kind of race that draws everyone from elite runners to mothers with baby carriages.”

The entry fee, if paid in advance, is $25. The fee on the day of the race is $30. Check-in starts along the waterfront on West Water Street at 7 a.m. and runs through 8:15 a.m. The race starts at 8:30 a.m.

Prizes will be given for the top three male finishers, the top three female finishers and the top three males and top three females in nine different age categories, ranging from 14 and under to 80 and older.

Despite enduring the heartbreak of losing her daughter more than three years ago, Ms. Stewart said events like the 5-k run, an annual student classical concert, and a skate-athon at the Buckskill Winter Club in East Hampton help ease the pain and remind her of her daughter’s impact on others.

“She still inspires people. There are people I don’t even know who still call me to tell me what a great inspiration she was,” said Ms. Stewart. “We were very proud of her—and we still are. She went through a lot as a child and even though she did get a bum deal she handled it well.”

Ms. Stewart said she expects anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 runners to take part in this year’s run, and she was keeping a somewhat nervous eye on the weather report, which calls for a chance of rain and temperatures in the low 50s, for the weekend.

If proceeds keep pace with last year, Katy’s Courage will raise about $30,000 from the run, making it the charity’s biggest money maker.

“We’re excited because this is the first year we have fulfilled our third goal, Katy’s Kids @ CMEE,” Ms. Stewart said.

Although still in the development stage, Katy’s Kids @ CMEE will offer bereavement programs for children, including private and group therapy with mental health professionals with a special focus on play therapy. Ms. Stewart said the goal is to have pilot programs operating by the fall.

The Stewarts became convinced of the value of play therapy in helping children cope with the loss of a loved one from firsthand experience. Their son, Robert, was only 6 and staying with his grandparents when Katy died.

“Robert was upset and told us, ‘I never got a chance to say goodbye,” recalled Ms. Stewart.

She said she and her husband first tried to talk about Robert’s grief with their son, but learned that children grieve in their own way and need time and the right situation to open up. A friend recommended the family visit the Children’s Bereavement Center in San Antonio, Texas, where they saw Robert make great strides in his own healing journey through play therapy.

“We believe so much in play therapy, and there is really not much available out here,” Ms. Stewart said.

Proceeds from Saturday’s run will also help underwrite a $10,000 scholarship that Katy’s Courage awards each year to a Pierson High School senior. The stipend is paid out over four years and presented to a student who leads through example characterized y by kindness, goodness, respect and empathy toward others.

The third beneficiary of the run is the Katy’s Courage Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, which the Stewarts began with a $25,000 donation in 2012.

Ms. Stewart said the run would never be the success it has become without its many sponsors and other community volunteers. “We are grateful to all our sponsors,” she said. “Everyone gives what they can.”

She said that Ben Krupinski is a major sponsor, through his 1770 House and Citta Nuova restaurants as well as his building company. Other major sponsors include Wainscott Sand and Gravel, Mickey’s Carting, Suburban Sanitation, Riverhead Building Supply, the Bagel Buoy, Sag Harbor Beverage, and Starbucks Coffee.

Boy scouts run the water stations and still other students run the Katy Bug Lane Boutique, which sells baked goods, hair accessories, bracelets and other small items, and the Sag Harbor Fire Department helps set up and take down the event. Nina Landi is the race director and Bruce and Kelly McMahon also provide invaluable help.

“It takes a village,” said Ms. Stewart. “Everyone goes out of their way to help.”

Student Musicians in Classical Concert for Katy’s Courage

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Christopher Ritter, Benjamin Hoertnagl-Pereira, Georgia Bennett and Kivlan King, who will perform as Classical Students for Katy's Courage Sunday. Christopher Golden photo.

Christopher Ritter, Benjamin Hoertnagl-Pereira, Georgia Bennett and Kivlan King, who will perform as Classical Students for Katy’s Courage Sunday. Christopher Golden photo.

By Tessa Raebeck

They have performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Pierson High School auditorium, but on Sunday 10 classical musicians will join together with a sole purpose: to honor Katy Stewart.

At the sixth annual Classical Students for Katy’s Courage Benefit Concert at Bay Street Theatre, student musicians from across the East End will perform in memory of Katy, a beloved Pierson student who passed away in December 2010 from a rare form of liver cancer. At just 12 years young, as her parents Brigid Collins Stewart and Jim Stewart say, Katy had already touched the Sag Harbor community with her bright personality, inherent kindness and contagious positive energy.

The 10 students, who come from East Hampton, Southampton and Sag Harbor and range in age from 13 to 19, will perform 12 classic pieces by composers such as Handel, Mozart and Chopin. Local professional pianists Ellen Johansen of East Hampton and Alvin Novak of Water Mill, as well as 21-year-old Manhattan School of Music student Ge Gao, will accompany the students.

The classical concert is a fitting celebration of the life of Katy, who had a true love for music. Katy played the piano and treasured her violin, taking lessons with David Fox every Saturday morning. Mr. Fox, also the strings teacher at the Sag Harbor Elementary School, will introduce the students on Sunday.

All proceeds from the 100-minute concert will benefit the Katy’s Courage Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research and Katy’s Kids @ CMEE, which will open in the fall to provide counseling and play therapy opportunities for grieving children and their families.

“Through performing for Katy’s Courage, I hope that I am able to honor Katy’s memory, as she was able to touch so many hearts herself, and use my gift to support this cause,” said Matthew Maimone, 19.

A Sag Harbor resident, Mr. Maimone started playing the piano at age 6 and was accepted to the Julliard Pre-College at age 10, receiving an education that helped him to earn acceptance to the Juilliard School College Division last year.

“What I enjoy most about classical music is being able to give whatever story, whatever feeling, whatever aura a composer intended in his composition to an audience,” said Mr. Maimone, who will close the evening with a Chopin composition.

Opening the event will be Pierson graduate Christopher Beroes-Haigis, 19, on the cello and Benjamin Hoertnagl-Pereira, 17, of Southampton High School, on the violin.

“Playing music and writing music, in general, is an art form that people, if they want, could use to express themselves or to send out a message, to form bonds with others, or to give a gift for others to enjoy, which can help them in many ways,” said Mr. Beroes-Haigis, who is now studying at Bard College.

“I feel that music is a beautiful way to express oneself, just like an artist expresses oneself by painting,” agreed Leo Panish, 16, a sophomore at East Hampton High School. Mr. Panish began playing the violin when he was 2 ½, asking his parents if he could learn after watching his brother Maxfield, who will perform on the piano at Sunday’s concert, play.

“What I love about classical music,” he said, “is that I can listen to a piece again and again and each time I get something new from it. There are so many complexities in the music that it requires listening to a piece many times to even begin to understand it.”

Pianist and Pierson sophomore Christopher Ritter, 15, who began studying with Ms. Johansen when he was 6, will play “Toccata in E flat minor” by Aram Khachaturian. His classmate at Pierson, Emmanuelle Bernard, will perform a Mozart composition on the piano, followed by a cello piece by Kivlan King, a student at Southampton High School.

Ross School eighth grader Tristan Griffin began playing piano at 4 ½ and had his first solo concert at Steinway Hall when he was 7. The 13-year-old will perform two piano compositions Sunday.

Vocalist Georgia Bennett, 16, will sing “Lascia Ch’io Pianga,” a sad but beautiful opera piece in Italian.

“It’s a good way to express myself and it is a release from everyday life,” she said of music, adding, “It’s such an honor to be singing to benefit Katy’s Courage.”

“The idea of the benefit concert makes it less about the criticism and the close scrutinizing found in other concerts, and more about giving back to the community,” said Mr. Beroes-Haigis.

“Music is a gift that can change a person’s life,” said Mr. Maimone. “Hopefully, through my music, I can encourage people to give to help support pediatric cancer research. This would make Katy proud.”

The sixth annual Classical Students Benefit Concert for Katy’s Courage will be held Sunday, March 23, at 4 p.m. at Bay Street Theatre. A suggested donation of $15 has been suggested. For more information, call 725-9500 or visit katyscourage.org.

Katy’s Courage Partners with CMEE to Provide Grief Counseling for Children on the East End

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CMEE Executive Director Stephen Long, Jim Stewart, Robert Stewart and Brigid Stewart Collins play with a sand table at CMEE on Tuesday, March 4. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

CMEE Executive Director Stephen Long, Jim Stewart, Robert Stewart and Brigid Stewart Collins play with a sand table at CMEE on March 4. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Katy’s Courage and the Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) have announced a new partnership, Katy’s Kids @ CMEE, to provide counseling opportunities for children experiencing grief or heartbreak, as well as support for their families.

Kathryn Stewart was a Pierson Middle School student and beloved member of the Sag Harbor community who died in December 2010 at the age of 12 from a rare form of liver cancer. In memory of their daughter, Brigid Collins Stewart and Jim Stewart founded Katy’s Courage, a not-for-profit dedicated to education and support for families and children through support for counseling services, scholarship and pediatric cancer research.

Still in development, the collaboration will fulfill the organization’s goal of providing group counseling and play therapy for grieving children. The organization’s aim is to provide private and group sessions with mental health professionals to children who have lost someone through death, or who may need support due to divorce, adoption, immigration or other issues. Katy’s Kids hopes to be piloting programs by the fall of 2014.

After Katy passed away, a close friend of Ms. Collins Stewart’s recommended the family visit the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas in San Antonio. They hoped the trip would help Katy’s younger brother, Robert, 6 at the time, process and understand his grief, as well as teach his parents how to emotionally support him so the family could heal together.

“It was such a transformative experience for all of us,” Ms. Collins Stewart said, adding that she and her husband quickly knew there was a real need for such a center closer to home.

Last spring, the vision of bringing similar support to the East End began to materialize through conversations Ms. Collins Stewart and Mr. Stewart had about their belief that healing for children centers on play therapy. Hoping to start a center, they came across a familiar East End problem: the lack of affordable real estate. A friend mentioned CMEE, and, after meeting with Executive Director Steve Long, both parties, realizing their uniform missions, decided to forge a partnership.

“They were very welcoming and very happy to have the community collaboration,” Ms. Collins Stewart said of CMEE. “Their mission really is, as an organization, to reach out and address issues that concern families in the East End community, so really we feel like it’s a perfect fit.”

When the family traveled to Texas, they were immediately impressed by the beauty and warmth of the bereavement center, which works with children between the ages of 3 and 18. Each room offers a type of play of some sort, such as a dress-up room, a room for dance and art rooms.

“Every room is a different way for a child to express [his or her self],” said Ms. Collins Stewart. The expressive therapeutic play models will be recreated at CMEE.

The child gets to choose where they want to play. In Texas Robert chose the sand tray room, where the therapist asked him to take a tray of sand and build a world for Kate.

“As he built the world,” recalled Ms. Collins Stewart, “he would say things or she would ask him questions and that was the first experience we had. And what was amazing about it to us was that through this play, he was able to articulate what he hadn’t really been able to say before. So, we knew that it was what small children— and most children, really—need to be able to talk about their feelings. They can’t just always express themselves without having the metaphor of play to work with.”

To learn more about Katy’s Courage, call 725-7437 or email info@katyscourage.org. To make a tax-deductible donation, send checks payable to Katy’s Courage to PO Box 3251, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 or donate online.

 

Upcoming Katy’s Courage Events:

Katy’s Courage Skate-a-thon at Buckskill Winter Club

This Saturday, March 8 at 4 p.m. Katy’s Courage is hosting a Skate-a-thon at the Buckskill Winter Club, 178 Buckskill Road in East Hampton. Pre-event registration is $20, including skate rental, and 100 percent of the proceeds to benefit Katy’s Courage. Skaters can collect pledges from friends and family for either a fixed amount or per lap skated (i.e. 25 cents a lap) or register on the day of the event with no pledges for $35. The top fundraiser wins a free membership to the Buckskill Winter Club for the 2014-2015 season.

Classical Students for Katy’s Courage

Bay Street Theatre hosts the 6th Annual concert to benefit the Katy’s Courage Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research on Sunday, March 23 at 4 p.m. Ten student musicians will perform a classical concert to celebrate the life of Katy Stewart. There is a suggested donation of $15.

Katy’s Courage 5K

The Katy’s Courage Annual 5K to benefit the Katy Stewart Scholarship Fund is Saturday, April 5 starting at the staging area at 21 Water Street in Sag Harbor. Check-in time is from 7 to 8:15 a.m. and the race starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. The course is rather flat with a few small hills around the village. All ages are welcome and awards are given to the top three males and three females overall, as well as the top three in each age group. Registration is $25 beforehand and $30 on the day of the race.

Letters to the Editor 7/5/12

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Bring Out the Best


Dear Bryan,

We would like to express our gratitude to the generous people of Sag Harbor and neighboring towns. We held a car wash and bake sale at the Sag Harbor Elementary School on June 16th. Our goal was to raise enough money to buy a bench in town in memory of our classmate and friend, Katy Stewart. Due to the kindness of our community we exceeded our goal. Our customers waited patiently in line to get their cars washed and buy baked goods. The class is proud of our accomplishment, and we can’t wait to sit on the bench, watch a pink sunset and think of our friend. We think it is pretty amazing how Katy continues to bring out the best in people!

Sincerely,

Hannah Jungck and the Pierson Class of 2016

PS  Katy’s family has set up a fund in Katy’s memory that supports education, childhood bereavement, and pediatric cancer research.  For more information please go to www.katyscourage.org.


Laments CPR Bill’s Non-Passage


Dear Editor

It is difficult to express my disappointment that the Assembly did not pass our CPR in Schools bill (S2491/A3980) to ensure that all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. In August of 2006, my 14-year-old daughter, Leah, went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest while trying out for the volleyball team at Bethpage High School. Thankfully, Leah’s life was saved by her coach. However, to think that her fellow teammates could have saved her life as well after a short CPR lesson is empowering.

I am truly thankful to my representative, Senator Kemp Hannon for sponsoring and helping champion the passage of the CPR in Schools legislation in the Senate. He is well aware how important this bill is to saving lives.

Today, far too many people die suddenly from cardiac arrest. If no CPR is provided or no defibrillation occurs within 3 to 5 minutes of collapse the chance of survival drops significantly. With the passage of this bill, every high school graduate will be prepared to save lives in their own homes and communities. With hands-only CPR, it is now even easier to teach this lifesaving skill. In less than the time it takes to watch a 30 minute TV episode, we can give students the skills they need to help save a life.

Please think of Leah this August 31st who will be celebrating her “6th re-birthday” as a college senior at Fordham University. Encourage your state representatives to pass this bill in the next session.

Claudia Olverd

Plainview


July Fourth


Dear Editor,

July Fourth is the day we set forth to declare our independence. We were young and free, a brand new country which had no equal. We had Uncle Sam. He was our man. He swore he would never let us down.

We were full of life and vigor, until someone pulled the trigger. We joined the fight. We thought we were right to fight with all our might till Johnnie came marching home. They shot him and gassed him. They thought they’d outlast him, but Johnnie kept marching on.

He marched through the fields and climbed the highest mountains.

He marched till he could stand it no more. And so the war ends, he’s lost all his friends.

But Johnnie comes marching home.

Richard Sawyer

Sag Harbor


Folly at the Airport


To the Editor:

Residents in the airport noise affected community who believed airport management and Town Board rhetoric that the seasonal control tower would proactively address noise abatement protocols must abandon that hope.

At the information session held by the air traffic controllers, Councilman Stanzione, Jim Brundige and EH Aviation Association leadership this past Saturday to familiarize pilots with required tower protocols, it was clearly and unequivocally stated that the control tower would not address noise issues. All the bluster about how the control tower would mitigate noise at the airport was distinctly and completely put to rest.

Some representatives from the Quiet Skies Coalition went to listen and learn. And we got quite a lesson.  Interestingly, the only noise abatement questions fielded from the audience came from some local pilots genuinely inquiring how the tower procedures would dovetail with noise abatement procedures.  The answer, over and over, was clear – this “is not about noise”.

QSC never had much faith that the control tower would provide measurable noise abatement, but would spread the nuisance to more neighborhoods, rather than reducing noise by limiting flights.  Another theory held that controllers would influence altitudes, another demonstrated noise mitigation tool – the higher the craft, the less noise on the ground. This notion was also dispelled at Saturday’s meeting. The controllers said they will not dictate altitudes.

This meeting clearly demonstrated the disingenuous treatment of the noise affected by the Town Board and most particularly, Councilman Stanzione, whose lip service to the noise affected and many statements declaring the control tower as the best hope, have now been completely refuted.

As a safety improvement, the tower adds value. As a noise abatement tool, it is simply folly.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cunningham

Quiet Skies Coalition

East Hampton


Questioning Tower’s Purpose


Dear Editor

The “Million Dollar Seasonal Control Tower” became operational at East Hampton airport on Friday, June 29th, and noise-weary residents across the East End looked forward to the promised relief from the non-stop aerial barrage over our homes; that never happened. On Saturday, during an information meeting held at EH airport, the audience learned why.

At the beginning of the meeting, EH Councilman Stanzione expounded at length on difficulties he’d encountered in bringing the new control tower to EHA, and called the tower opening an “historic” event; in the annals of environmental misdeeds it will be, as it will bring increasing commuter air traffic and pollution to our area. On Saturday, Councilman Stanzione failed to mention that earlier claims by EH town officials, airport management and aviation proponents — claims that the airport’s control tower would bring about noise abatement — were not part of the agenda for control tower operators. He did clearly state that noise abatement was not a tower controller issue. Minutes later, Charles Carpenter, spokesman for Robinson Aviation, the control tower operators, said the tower’s purpose is solely safety and efficiency, not noise abatement. An FAA representative nodded his assent to Carpenter’s statement and the leadership of the East Hampton Aviation Assoc (EHAA) smirked.

Readers may recall having seen in East Hampton and Southampton media a number of costly newspaper ads paid for by EHAA, prior to last November’s EH Town Board election. Some ads appeared in the form of 10 questions and answers including: YES, a control tower would alleviate neighborhood noise, not only in East Hampton but over a 10-mile wide, half-mile high airspace surrounding the airport. Residents on the twin forks therefore harbored hope that aircraft noise reduction would follow after the installation of the tower. The EHAA ads also contended that rejecting FAA funds would give EH town “local” control over operations at the airport; both statements are misleading, at best, given the official statements made on Saturday about the scope of operations the tower can control.

The official statements made at the airport this past weekend give rise to immediate questions: Was EHAA ignorant of the facts? Were they “re-educated” by their own high-cost advertising; were they merely duped by EH town officials and airport management? Or did they deliberately misinform the public to help re-elect EH town board members known to support aviation interests and vehemently favor increased airport operations?

The disinformation campaign being waged by EH airport expansionists will continue unabated, but it will merely be a matter of time until the many “facts” circulated by them and EH town and airport management will be exposed as disingenuous. This past weekend and the coming weekend’s 4th July celebrations did and will take place under the usual aerial assault that elected officials at local, state and federal levels have been unable or unwilling to prevent. Area residents daily impacted by noise and air pollution from EH airport deserve better representation from elected officials.

Patricia Currie

Sag Harbor



Help for Grieving

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by Andrew Rudansky

After the passing of their daughter Katy in December of 2010, Brigid Collins and Jim Stewart said they were looking for answers. Katy, only 12 at the time, died after battling a rare form of liver cancer, leaving the couple and their six year old son, Robert, devastated.

On the suggestion of a friend, the family took a trip to San Antonio, Tex. to visit The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas. Their time there was a time of grieving as well as healing.

“When we went down to San Antonio we were not sure what to expect, and it turned out to be a life changing event,” said Stewart. “It really helped Robert, and both of us as well, digest what had happened. I think it took us a long way towards healing.”

In Texas the Stewart family saw mental health professionals helping children deal with the loss of loved ones through use of art, dance and music. They saw the positive effects the center was having on the other children there. They saw the bereavement center as a place of healing.

“We were more than impressed by the center there,” said Stewart. “After we were there for a few days, Robert actually came up to us and said ‘wow mom, wow dad, other kids have lost brothers and sister too, did you know that?’”

Their visit left Collins and Stewart pondering the lack of a dedicated childhood bereavement center here on the East End.

“We want to have a bereavement center close to Sag Harbor because, quite frankly, we can see the need for it right here,” said Collins.

East End Hospice, located in Westhampton, already holds childhood bereavement groups in local area high schools as well as individual sessions and their annual Camp Good Grief. However Stewart and Collins wanted to export the model of a specially dedicated childhood bereavement center on this side of the canal.

While Collins and Stewart don’t yet have a location or even a name for their East End bereavement center, they have plenty of vision.

“Over the years we have known so many children who had lost a parent, or grandparent or friend and of course we had lost Kate,” said Collins. “And when we saw the expertise involved in working with children and their families, I guess we were anxious to have something here.”

Collins added that the planned bereavement center would have many of the features offered at The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas. The proposed center on the East End would also serve children as young as three dealing with the grief associated with the death of a loved one through a variety of therapies.

“We are really in the infancy of this project,” said Stewart. “We have a dream, it is a clear vision.”

In order to take that dream to the next step, Stewart and Collins plan to divert a portion of the funds from their nonprofit organization Katy’s Courage and put them toward creation of the bereavement center.

Katy’s Courage currently funds pediatric cancer research at the Memorial Sloan Cancer Center in Manhattan and provides a $10,000 award for a graduating Pierson senior who plans to enroll in a four-year college.

The Katy’s Courage charity 5K run is scheduled for this Saturday, April 28 at 8:30 a.m. (check in 7 to 8:15 a.m.) starting on Water Street, Sag Harbor. Collins and Steward added that a portion of the proceeds from the run will go towards the proposed bereavement center.

For more information about Katy’s Courage and donating to the establishment of a bereavement center on the East End please visit www.katyscourage.org.


Over 1700 Compete in Katy’s Courage 5k

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By EJ Yennie

When planning Katy’s Courage 5K, Tom O’Donoghue was told that expecting 1000 runners for an inaugural race was unlikely. By the closing of the pre-registration at 3 o’clock on Friday, 937 had signed up. With only 1000 bib numbers, they scrambled to get another 400 bibs and Saturday morning registered another 400 runners; they then signed up between 400 and 500 additional runners who participated without numbers. The race director estimated between 1700 and 1800 runners participated in total.
Mike Semkus, 23, of Sag Harbor was the overall winner with a time of 17:48. He commented “I haven’t been running much, but after the first mile, I thought I could win. I knew most of the volunteers so I felt good because people were cheering for me.”

In second was Ross Kadri, 18, of East Hampton, in 18:06. Luis Ramires, 20, of Water Mill came in third with a time of 18:08. The first place woman was Laura Brown, 43, of Westhampton in 19:19. In second place was Kathryn Hess, 16, of East Hampton. Alexandra Copeland, 39, of Brooklyn took third in 20:50. Additional results can be found on line at Island Timing.

The goal, of raising $20,000 to go towards an annual scholarship in memory of Katy Stewart, was easily met. Although all the final figures are not yet in, O’Donoghue estimates that the profits were easily triple of what he had initially hoped for. He attributes this to both the number of runners and the generosity of the sponsors.

“It’s an annual event; we will do it again next year” declared O’Donoghue.
Although it was a fund raiser, O’Donoghue is adamant that he wants it to be a race as well. By offering cash prizes to the top winners, he hopes to attract a serious crowd of runners in the future, as well as a core group who are willing to run for charity. His next endeavor is to get a group of 40 runners to run as a team in the Hampton Half Marathon in the fall, raising money to fight childhood cancer as well.