Tag Archive | "michael heller"

Chariots of Firefighters: The Practice of Firematic Competition in New York State

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Firematic Competition. Photo by Michael Heller.

Firematic Competition. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

Award-winning—and Sag Harbor Express—photographer and journalist Michael Heller has continued his documentation of the friendly competition of fire departments in “Chariots of Firefighters: The History and Practice of Firematic Competition in New York State—Volume II: The Practice.” “Volume I: The History” was published in 2009.

The histories, the second of which Mr. Heller spent the last five years writing, chronicle the birth and rise of inter-department contests over 200 years and the present practice of modern-day firematic competition, with detailed descriptions and historic photographs alongside Mr. Heller’s stunning work.

“It is an in-depth look into a unique culture and facet of the world of firefighting in the United States that is unparalleled anywhere else in the entire world,” said a press release about the books, which chronicle a custom that is more prevalent in New York State than anywhere else.

An active volunteer firefighter with Hook & Ladder Co. #1 of the East Hampton Fire Department for the last 25 years, Mr. Heller has used his camera to document both fires and firematic competition. He has won numerous awards from the New York Press Association, the International Fire Photographers Association and other organizations for his writing and photography. In 2004, Mr. Heller took home the Grand Prize “Golden Firefighter Award” in the international photography Bombero de Oro (“Fire Photography Contest”) held in Spain.

Both volumes of “Chariots of Firefighters” are self-published and available for purchase here. For more information, email Mr. Heller at mheller@nysdrillteams.com. To see Mr. Heller’s portfolio, visit hellercreative.com.

Sag Harbor Express Named Newspaper of the Year

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The Sag Harbor Express was named Newspaper of the Year at the New York Press Association convention last weekend in Saratoga Springs. The Express earned the most contest points in the state for a single flag newspaper, based on editorial and advertising awards given out during NYPA’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest. The paper  scored 415 points to best its closest competitor by 120 points.

A total of 158 newspapers submitted 2,760 entries to the contest, competing for awards in 63 categories, including Newspaper of the Year, the Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence and the John J. Evans Award for Advertising Excellence.

The Express placed first overall, second in editorial contest points and third in advertising contest points.

“The content is a good mix of hard news, features, and sports, with plenty of family/living material added to the mix,” wrote judges. “It’s great to see such a robust opinion section, with plenty of local letters and nice house editorial voice. The paper is very solid, as are the special sections which accompanied several entries.”

Advertising director and sports editor Gavin Menu placed second in the Sports Writer of the Year contest and earned a first-place award for sports coverage. Cailin Riley, the sports editor of The Southampton Press, finished first in the Sports Writer of the Year competition for the second year in a row.

“A great sports story should be entertaining and easy to read,” wrote the judges. “Gavin met both criteria in smooth writing that flowed well in each of his submissions.”

Mr. Menu also earned top honors for sports feature story. His piece explored the impact of concussions on the game of football, from a local and national perspective.

Express staff photographer Michael Heller took third place as the state’s Photographer of the Year. The Express also earned a first-place award for photographic excellence, with Mr. Heller placing first for best feature photo, sports feature photo, art photo and spot news photo.

“Michael exhibited a solid proficiency and consistency with the camera in a variety of challenging lighting conditions,” wrote the judges.

The Express also took top honors for education coverage, for Peter Waldner’s editorial cartoon, for best special section for “The Summer Book,” for best special section advertising and for best house ad.

The staff earned a first-place award for Best News or Feature series for a June 2013 issue dedicated to tick-borne illnesses on the East End.

“This series is remarkably sophisticated with deep, current research behind each story, lively, well-edited writing throughout, and a very attractive design,” wrote the judges.

Annette Hinkle was awarded a first-place prize for her feature story “Forgotten Dead Poets? Nevermore,” a story looking at Walter Skold’s mission to visit the graves of dead poets across the country. Ms. Hinkle followed that with a second place award for a feature story on local reactions to the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Express also earned nine second-place awards, five third-place awards and three honorable mention awards, including a nod to editor Kathryn G. Menu for best news story.

Power in the Bullpen

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Whalers sitting in first place in League IX

By Andrew Rudansky

It seems that the rich just keep getting richer, at least when it comes to the bullpen of the Pierson varsity baseball team this year.

Already in first place of League IX, coming off a series win over Smithtown Christian, the Pierson Whalers are expecting several pitchers to return from the disabled list.

Whalers Head Coach Jonathan Tortorella said that both sophomore righty Forrest Loesch and senior lefty Brendan Hemby are ready to return to the mound this week.

“We needed some depth out of the bullpen,” said Tortorella. “We had a lot of questions, but thankfully our defense has picked it up big time.”

Most recently the team took two out of three games in a series with second- place Smithtown Christian (11-4). The teams split the first two games of the series, each winning a game by only one run.

On Friday, April 27 the Whalers won the final game of that series, again in another razor-thin 9-8 decision.

Aaron Schiavoni was given the start for the Whalers. The sophomore managed the game through four innings, allowing 6 runs before he was replaced with Tim Markowski. Markowski was credited with the win, his first ever on the varsity stage, while reliever Jake Bennett was awarded the save.

The final game went back and forth between the two teams until a sacrifice RBI to centerfield by Pierson/Bridgehampton’s Michael Heller in the bottom of the sixth let Paul Dorego tag up and score the winning run.

Smithtown Christian had one final chance to even up the score in the top of the seventh when a deep ball sent to right field looked to be enough to send a runner home from second. Colman Vilá fielded the ball in right field and flung it towards home. Schiavoni was their at the plate to beat the runner with the tag, causing the third and final out of the game.

Schiavoni led the team at the plate going 3-4, with 2 runs, 2 RBIs and a double. Sean Hartnett went 2-2 at the plate, with 2 walks, 2 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. Hunter Leyser went 2-4 with a stolen base and a run.

“It’s good right now to be tested by a team like Smithtown Christian,” said Tortorella, “because we cruised through some games early and we weren’t really tested.”

The Whalers started a three game series with the Greenport Porters at home on Wednesday, May 2. The Whalers took the game 9-3, improving to a record of 13-2. Junior lefty Colman Vilá was credited with the win.

The series against Greenport continues today, May 3, when the team travels to the North Fork at 4:30 p.m. Tomorrow, May 4 at 4:30 the Whalers will finish the Greenport series away.

HarborFest September 11-13 2009

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