Tag Archive | "Montauk"

A Mighty Wind Blows Our Way

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London Array, an offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom that produces enough energy to power 500,000 homes a year. Photo courtesy London Array Limited.

By Mara Certic

The East Hampton Town Board made history last month when it became the first town in New York State to establish the goal of meeting all the town’s electricity needs with renewable energy by the year 2020. A proposed 200-megawatt wind farm 30 miles east of Montauk Point could produce up to a fifth of those expected energy needs.

The goals have been described in the media as “lofty,” but renewable energy professionals are adamant that they are not just tilting at windmills—this battle can be won.

In just four years, an old energy substation on the east end of Long Island is slated to become one of the first in the United States to connect to and be powered by a large offshore wind farm. Deepwater Wind, of Rhode Island, won a bid to develop a 256-square-mile area in 2013. Its current proposal is to install 35 six-mega-watt turbines, which would supply the five East End towns with 200 megawatts of energy.

Extending 550 feet from the water line to the tip of the blade when fully extended, the turbines really are “quite large,” according to Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind. Each turbine is pretty much equivalent in size to the Washington Monument which, at 555 feet tall, is the tallest structure in the District of Columbia. Deepwater Wind officials maintain that the turbines will be installed “over the horizon” and therefore will not be visible from any point in Long Island.

Established in 2005, Deepwater Wind is dedicated exclusively to offshore wind and focuses predominantly in the Northeast, from New Jersey to New England. This is the area, according to Mr. Grybowski, where company officials believe offshore wind farms are most likely to be established first “mainly because there are relatively few options in the Northeast for building large-scale renewable energy.” He added that the offshore wind resource here is “one of the strongest in the world.”

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) 4.18 percent of all generated electricity in the United States comes from onshore wind power. Deepwater Wind’s demonstration-scale project three miles southeast of Block Island is on track to become America’s first offshore wind farm in 2016.

As any seaman will tell you, offshore wind is stronger than wind traveling over land, providing Long Island with “a great opportunity,” according to David Alicea of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

Deepwater ONE—the name for the project off of Montauk—would deliver power to an existing LIPA-owned substation on the South Fork via transmission cables buried below roads. Deepwater Wind claims that this specific project could provide electricity to more than 120,000 houses, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.

“Offshore wind really is the best way,” Mr. Alicea said. The 122-year-old Sierra Club, founded by conservationist John Muir, is the biggest non-profit environmental organization in the United States. According to Mr. Alicea, for the past few years, climate change has come to the forefront of environmental issues the organization focuses on because it “really connects to everything.”

“I think Super Storm Sandy is what made it really apparent to the Long Islanders, that there’s a real risk here,” he said.  “But the geography that threatens us also provides us with a solution.”

He stressed the importance of ensuring that the project be good for the environment in every way, and that Deepwater Wind is indeed doing its due diligence to prevent any undesirable ecological impacts. “They have agreed to be really mindful in their construction and they’ve been a great partner to work with for a number of environmental groups,” he said.

But Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, does not share Mr. Alicea’s optimism about the project. “It’s like anything in life,” she said about the proposed wind farm. “If it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”

Ms. Brady’s concerns about Deepwater ONE range from disrupting air traffic (“They have to put lights on them, but then there are these little things called planes!”) to noise pollution (“What travels best on water? Sound.”) Her main worry, however, is the effect that she predicts the wind farm will have on the fishing industry.

“This is an industrial event on the ocean floor and it’s a big deal,” she said. “People hear the word ‘green’ and they think it’s passive and green. This is pile-driving the ocean floor. What do you think a little pile-driving is going to do to [fish]?” Potentially disrupt their habitats and migratory patterns, she fears.

According to Lauren Thompson, an environmental consultant in the renewable energy sector in the United Kingdom, who was interviewed by email, these concerns are legitimate. The United Kingdom currently has 22 operational offshore wind farms and over 50 more in development. Part of her job, she explained, is to help minimize the environmental and social impacts of offshore wind farms.

Effects on migratory bird paths, marine mammal feeding and breeding grounds, fish-spawning grounds, erosion and noise pollution are all meticulously studied and assessed over a period of several years, she said.

Most of these impacts are “carefully considered during the development phase, and minimized as far as possible,” said Ms. Thompson. “Wind farm developers are required to consult with environmental and fishing groups closely during the planning process to reach agreement on which measures will be used.”

Merlin Jackson, a fisherman based out of Ramsgate Harbor in Kent, England, who was interviewed by email, believes that the studies haven’t gone far enough. He claims to have experienced environmental side effects of several nearby offshore wind farms. “There is no doubt that these farms have had an effect on the fishermen here,” he said. “But it remains to be seen how far-reaching that will be and whether the benefits will outweigh the negatives.”

Mr. Jackson said that in addition to the scientific surveys done by developers, “there are many other surveys and site specific studies that could be put in place to make the impacts clearer and to gain the confidence of the fishermen.”

Ms. Thompson explained that in the United Kingdom, even after environmental studies and consultations have been conducted, developers, in general, end up paying compensation to fishermen if they disrupt their normal fishing grounds during construction.

“You need to pay [the fishermen] for that privilege,” said Ms. Brady. “They need to bring their checkbooks.”

Architect and chairman of the Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee Frank Dalene, however, feels that their worries might be exaggerated. He maintained that although there are legitimate arguments and concerns about offshore wind farms, “it’s really a benign impact.”

“In Europe there are 2,500 wind farms offshore in 11 countries, producing almost 10 gigawatts of energy,” he said. “It’s already developed [there], which is a great way to dispel myths.”

He spoke about a plan to take concerned fishermen on the East End to those European countries where they can see the actual effects of offshore wind farms on the industry. Mr. Dalene added that continuing to burn fossil fuels would have “a more lasting impact on the fishery.”

“We could be one of the first in the country to do this and really make this transition away from fossil fuels,” said Mr. Alicea. Matt Kearns, a Long Island-native and dedicated member of the Sierra Club, is determined for that to happen.

He is so determined that on Saturday, June 14, Mr. Kearns will be running 100 miles, from the Montauk Lighthouse to the Long Beach Boardwalk, just to make a point.

“As a runner I wanted to do something that would connect coastal areas that could benefit from building job-creating offshore wind,” he said. “We’re showing that although Long Island families are at risk from worsening climate disruption, we also have the resources to help solve it by building renewable offshore wind.”

The run, Mr. Alicea said, aims to demonstrate to the powers that be that Long Island is behind the plan. He added that a poll done by the Sierra Club showed 80 percent of Long Islanders support offshore wind farming.

Mr. Alicea, and the Sierra Club, are using the run to demonstrate to Governor Cuomo, LIPA and PSEG that the East End is ready and that this is what they want. “A lot of it hinges on the governor. He’s been really involved in Long Island’s energy policy and making all these decisions,” he said. “If he gives the green light and says New York State is behind this, they’ll do it.”

Environmental studies have already begun for the Deepwater ONE site and when completed, if the project is approved and accepted by the power authorities, wind energy could be responsible for turning on East Hampton’s lights as early as 2018.

Gordian Raacke, the founder of Renewable Energy Long Island,  said “People are afraid of it because it’s something new and something different. It’s like everything else; change is always scary and meets some resistance. But people have to have a change to experience it.”

Emergency Services District

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Ed Downes of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Mary Ellen McGuire of the East Hampton Ambulance Association, representing the East End Responder Project, asked the board to support the creation of a special taxing district, encompassing all fire districts from Bridgehampton to Montauk, to allow the hiring of paid EMT workers to provide backup to the regular volunteer crews.

The board agreed to back the concept of the idea but held off on a formal approval until more information was available.

The plan has been in the works for the past couple of years and has been spurred by both the increase in calls local ambulance companies have been providing as well as their inability to attract a large pool of volunteers who are available at all hours.

The Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Springs, Amagansett, and Montauk fire districts have been discussing the creation of the special taxing district. The Southampton Fire District has already hired paid EMTs.

Montauk Waves from the Shore

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

By Mara Certic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Navy SEAL Foundation Fundraiser

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Navy Beach restaurant in Montauk will host its second annual fundraiser for the Navy SEAL Foundation with a cocktail party, “Honor our Warriors, Supporting their Families,” on Saturday, June 21, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The fundraiser will raise awareness and funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation, an organization that provides support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families.

Guests will be able to mingle with retired Navy SEALs and Navy SEAL Foundation representatives. There will be live music by Nancy Atlas, wines provided by Turquoise Life, beer from Brooklyn Brewery and signature light bites. Admission is $40.

Last year, the restaurant raised $17,000, and this year will match the first $2,500 raised through this season’s efforts. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, a $1 donation will be added to each dining check in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation and diners can increase the donation.

Navy Beach restaurant is located on Navy Road in Montauk. The restaurant will be open for regular dinner service after the event. Reservations are recommended.

For more information or to place a reservation, visit www.navybeach.com or call (631) 668-6868. To make a donation for the Navy SEAL Foundation, visit www.navybeach.com/help-navy-beach-support-the-navy-seal-fundation/.

Coram Woman’s Body Found in Montauk

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By Tessa Raebeck

The East Hampton Town Police Department, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Medical Examiners Office, is investigating the death of a woman from Coram that occurred at the overlook parking area along Old Montauk Highway, south of Washington Drive in Montauk.

The woman, Nikole Doering, 37, of Coram, was found deceased in her car at approximately 3:03 p.m. Monday, June 2, after police responded to a report of an unresponsive female in a vehicle.

Ms. Doering had been reported missing by her family to the Suffolk County Police Department on Sunday, June 1.

The investigation is ongoing and does not appear to be suspicious in nature at this time. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at (631) 537-7575.

Value of Montauk Beach Work Debated

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By Stephen J. Kotz

A new economic analysis by East Hampton Town of a proposed beach stabilization project for downtown Montauk has calculated that the project’s value in total economic benefits would be more than double the amount projected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

First Coastal Consulting Corporation prepared the report at the request of the town and estimated that saving the ocean beach in the downtown Montauk area would be worth an estimated $238.9 million. URS, a consulting form that undertook a similar study for the Army Corps, estimated that the project would provide an estimated $103.9 million in economic benefits.

The finding lends support for Montauk to receive significantly more relief than what the Army Corps has already committed to the hamlet, the town stated in a press release on Monday.

The Army Corps’ latest proposal calls for only half of the Montauk project to be built this fall. A more extensive project is proposed to be built under the greater Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study two years later.

“Without the construction of a feeder beach, the emergency project as currently proposed places Montauk in a vulnerable position,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

Since the economic analysis is key to the Army Corps’ justification for this project, Supervisor Cantwell has urging the Army Corps to build a much more substantial project in Montauk as soon as possible.

Citizens for Access Rights to Host Annual Fundraiser Thursday

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Citizens for Access Rights or CfAR will hold their annual fundraiser on Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.

The event will feature live music, auction items and a raffle. The cost is $20 for CfAR members renewing at the door, $10 for current 2014 members and $25 for non-members. All proceeds go to CfAR to protect beach access on the East End.  CfAR t-shirts will also be for sale.

CfAR is a group of East End residents who support open access to local beaches. In response to two lawsuits in which private individuals are claiming to own the ocean beach at Napeague, CfAR has supported the East Hampton Town Trustees, the town board and any other governmental body, which is willing to oppose the privatization of the beaches.

For more information on CfAR, visit citizensforaccessrights.com, or “like” CfAR on Facebook.

Advocates Discuss Lack of East End Youth Services

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By Stephen J. Kotz

East End youth advocates gathered on Thursday, May 29, at the David Crohan Community Center in Flanders to solicit ideas about how Suffolk County could both maintain and improve the services to young people.

The impetus for the forum was the completion of a draft report by an East End subcommittee of the Suffolk County Youth Board Coordinating Council that focused specifically on the East End. The subcommittee was one of four convened by the county, the others being tasked with studying behavioral health issues, teen pregnancy and unemployment.

“There is a lot of agreement that this is an under served community,” said Nancy Lynott, the director of the Southampton Town Youth Bureau in an interview on Monday. She added that while it was reassuring that the county recognized the East End’s special needs, the region must still fight for its fair share of funding.

That will be particularly true in years to come, she said, because of a change in how funding for youth services is doled out at the county level by New York State. “There have been changes that give the county some flexibility in how state funding is used,” she said. “It used to be designated for each municipality, but starting in 2014, it all goes to county” to allocate as it sees fit.

The report, which is due to be completed next month, will be an important tool if East End providers of youth services want to maintain their share of the county pie. “We want to be able to show why East End communities should be getting priority,” she said. “They are aware of our situation, but they wanted not just stories and anecdotes, but hard information.”

What the report found was that it is difficult to get everything from mental health services to employment counseling on the East End because it is so far east of the county’s population centers, there is a lack of public transportation, and services are available on a spotty basis.

“Service delivery is fragmented,” Ms. Lynott added, “with some provided by towns, villages and even the county. We also have 30-some school districts on the East End. So what we have to do is get everybody on the same page.”

Last week’s event was co-sponsored by youth bureaus in Southampton, Riverhead and Southold towns as well as by Suffolk County Legislators Jay Schneiderman, who represents the South Fork, and Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork.

Although the image of the East End is one of wealth and glamor, Ms. Lynott said there is a darkly different reality behind the façade. “We have some terrific wealth out here, but we also have some terrific poverty,” she said.

During her presentation, she said that East End communities routinely turn up in lists of the most underprivileged in the county. Six of the most economically distressed communities in the county found on the East End, with 76 percent of teens between the ages of 16 to 19 unemployed. Seven of the 15 communities with the highest number of uninsured families are also here. East End children also qualify at higher averages for free or reduced-fee school lunches, and young people on the East End “are well above the national average in their use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.”

East End youth are priced out of the housing market and have limited social outlets, the report found. And those who finish school find “they don’t know what they are going to do next and we have we have very little to offer them,” Ms. Lynott said.

“Government doesn’t understand that if you spend $2,000 on prevention, you might save $30,000 to $40,000 down the road” in treatment or jail costs, said Riverhead Councilman Jon Dunleavy, one of several public officials to attend Thursday’s roundtable.

Rachel Toy, a Sag Harbor resident and a recent college graduate, said providing good jobs for local youth is a must.

Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender suggested that local building contractors could be enlisted to launch an apprentice program to help in that effort.

Kerry Laube, a Westhampton Beach Police Department sergeant, said teaching kids about the dangers of substance abuse should be a priority.

Helen Atkinson-Barnes, who runs educational programs at The Retreat, a non-profit that provides shelter and counseling for domestic abuse victims in East Hampton, called on educating young people about the importance of developing healthy relationships. “Underlying a lot of those issues” contained in the report “are unhealthy relationships,” she said.

“First, I want to address transportation,” said Laura Smith of the North Fork Alliance, who said better bus service is needed to help young people get to jobs and appointments.

Improving mental health services was the concern of Andrea Nydegger, who works with the Eastern Suffolk BOCEs on the North Fork. “I have kids who get referred to me constantly,” she said, adding that she tells parents counseling is cheaper than paying for a tutor.

Kim Jones of the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force agreed there was a “dire need” for better mental health services, and said that the community had recently learned of the second suicide this year of a young person.

“Our high school students are not asking ‘where are you going to college?’” she said. ‘They are asking, ‘who do you think is gong to commit suicide next?’”

“We realize this is just the beginning,” Ms. Lynott told the gathering. “I hope we can continue these discussions. Maybe we can get some real changes started.”

Nessel Brothers To Be Honored at Montauk Dinner

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Richie and Jacob Nessel will be the honorees at the annual Montauk Harbor Old Timer’s Dinner, hosted by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday June 5, at the Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s from 5 to 8 p.m. The two brothers have made their living fishing in Montauk for over 50 years. They own their own boats and have also worked on various charter and party boats in the hamlet.

Richie Nessel, who captains the “Nasty Ness,” recently received the Chester Wolf IGFA Sportsman Award at the first annual Shark’s Eye Tournament, which is a tag-and-release event to promote conservation of sharks. He was also instrumental in easing this year’s New York State fishing regulations and catch limits, specifically addressing the summer flounder restrictions in the state compared to neighboring states.

To do, he reached out to Governor Andrew Cuomo and invited him for a day of fishing on his boat. That resulted in the governor learning of the unfair regulations and a change in the daily bag limits by the Department of Environmental Conservation, which will have a positive impact on charter and party boat business in Montauk Harbor this summer.

Jacob Nessel began fishing in Montauk with his dad in 1951. By 1955, as a 15-year-old, he was already working as a deckhand on Montauk party boats on weekends and summer vacations. Captain Jake spent the next 15 years running the Marlin 3, 4 and 5.  His own charter boat, “Sportfisher,” fished in 1994 and 1995. Since 1996 he has captained the Marlin5/Ebb Tide.

Tickets for the event are $40., which includes dinner with wine or beer.  The evening begins at 5 p.m. with a roast of both brothers. Tickets are available at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce office, or by calling (631) 668-2428. Tickets can also be purchased online by going to www.montaukchamber.com, scrolling to the “Events” tab and using PayPal or a credit card to purchase a ticket.

East End Services on Memorial Day Celebrate Those Who Served, Those Who Fell

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The color guard makes its way down Main Street during the 2013 Sag Harbor Memorial Day parade. Michael Heller photo.

The color guard makes its way down Main Street during the 2013 Sag Harbor Memorial Day parade. Michael Heller photo.

By Kathryn G. Menu

Residents across the East End will honor those men and women who died while serving in the military during this country’s wars at Memorial Day services beginning Sunday and continuing on Monday.

In Sag Harbor, remembrance will begin this Sunday, May 25, said Martin Knab, commander of the Sag Harbor American Legion Chelberg & Battle Post, as members of the Legion and the Sag Harbor VFW are joined by Sag Harbor Boy Scouts in replacing the flags on the gravestones of veterans in cemeteries throughout the village. Flags and wreaths will also be laid at the veterans memorial at North Haven Village Hall, and on the South Ferry Lt. Joseph Theinert, named for the Shelter Island resident who perished in Afghanistan in June 2010. A flag will also be placed at the 1812 memorial on High Street in Sag Harbor, said Mr. Knab.

On Memorial Day—Monday, May 26— veterans, government officials and scouts will begin the Memorial Day Parade at the World War I monument at Otter Pond at 9 a.m. to lay a wreath, and march down Main Street to the Civil War monument to do the same before stopping in front of the Municipal Building and the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge. The parade will continue to Bay Street and to Marine Park, stopping at the village’s memorials to those who fought and died in World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. Both Mr. Knab and Sag Harbor VFW Commander Roger King will speak, as will James Larocca, a Sag Harbor resident and veteran who has dedicated much of his life to public service.

Residents will be invited back to the Legion for refreshments and hot dogs, said Mr. Knab.

Sag Harbor will not be alone in celebrating and honoring fallen soldiers.

On Sunday, May 25, the Montauk Veterans and Service Club will host its annual Montauk Memorial Day parade at noon, beginning at Kirk Park and moving east through Montauk to the village green. On Monday, May 26, beginning at 9 a.m. the annual Bridgehampton Memorial Day service will be held at the war monument at the corner of Ocean Road and Montauk Highway, hosting by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, Nathaniel Howell Topping Post 580. Members of the Bridgehampton Fire Department and the Bridgehampton School band will also be on hand for the ceremonies. The Village of Southampton Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events will host its Memorial Day service on Monday starting at 11 a.m. at Agawam Park, after a brief parade at 10:45 a.m. starting at the First Presbyterian Church and heading down Jobs Lane to the park.