Tag Archive | "North Haven"

Sunday Ribbon Cutting at New Hellenic Center

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Archbishop Demetrios, the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, will formally open the Nicholas S. Zoullas Hellenic Center at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons after the church’s Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 6.

The center was designed to become the gathering place for the cultural, educational, and social events of the parish. Expected to be used for art exhibitions, lectures, and musical concerts, the new structure, with expansive arched windows on all sides, hardwood floors and room for 250 people, will become home to a myriad of cultural and community events hosted by the Greek Orthodox congregation in Southampton.

The Nicholas S. Zoullas Hellenic Center is the third and final stage in the construction of a new church complex for the parish. In all, the complex includes the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Sanctuary, a cruciform Byzantine church; the Johnides Family Cultural Center, with state-of-the-art classroom, office, meeting, and kitchen space; and the Nicholas S. Zoullas Center.

Mr. Zoullas, a philanthropist and shipping executive, has been a longtime steward of Orthodoxy and Hellenism.

SoMAS “State of the Bays” Report to be Delivered This Friday in Southampton

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Gober, Christopher

Dr. Chris Gobler of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Studies will present “State of the Bays, 2014: Nitrogen Loading, Estuarine Flushing and the Fate of Long Island’s Coastal Waters” in the Duke Lecture Hall of Chancellors Hall on the Stony Brook-Southampton campus this Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.

The talk will introduce a new organization, The Long Island Coastal Conservation and Research Alliance, whose mission will be to engage in coastal research and monitoring that can be used to protect and restore Long Island coastal ecosystems. The seminar will also highlight recent observations and research important for the conservation of these ecosystems.

Over the course of the last year, awareness has grown about the negative effects of excessive nitrogen loading on Long Island’s coastal waters. This attention was partly driven by the continuous outbreaks of red tides, brown tides, rust tides, blue green algal blooms, Ulva blooms, and dead zones in Long Island’s estuaries during May through October of 2013, notes Dr. Gobler in his talk, an excerpt of which was issued via a press release this week. At the same time, research findings have emerged connecting excessive nitrogen loading and the intensity and toxicity of marine and freshwater algal blooms. New evidence has also emerged, according to the release, that estuaries in the region that have successfully reduced nitrogen loading are now experiencing a resurgence in water quality and fish habitats. The talk will also focus on the benefits of enhanced flushing, which can protect bays against the threats brought about by excessive nitrogen.

The event is free and open to the public.

North Haven Tentative Budget Pierces Cap

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Following two work sessions this week, the North Haven Village Board will hold a public hearing on its tentative 2014-15 budget when it meets on Tuesday, April 1.

The budget calls for $1,305,331 in spending. A total of $836,155 will be raised through property taxes, another $294,134 will come from village revenues and $175,042 will be used from the village fund balance.

The budget pierces a state mandated tax levy cap. In March, the village board passed a resolution allowing it to pierce the cap, which otherwise requires local governments to limit any tax levy increase to no more than 2 percent.

The tentative budget actually represents a 4-percent spending cut. The adopted 2013-14 budget was for $1.355 million. Mayor Jeff Sander said the village board has committed to not to spend any more than $175,000 in fund balance to offset the budget, which has resulted in a tax rate increase of 7 percent, and a tax levy increase of 8 percent.

Last year, the village board appropriated $369,997 from its fund balance to help offset spending and avoid a tax increase. During a work session on Tuesday, Mayor Sander said the village anticipates having a fund balance of $690,000 on hand at the end of May and it wants to maintain at least $500,000 in fund balance in case an emergency arises.

According to Mayor Sander, $10,000 has been budgeted for “animal control,” which includes the cost of removing deer hit by vehicles from village roadways.

No funding has been budgeted for the purchase of 4-Poster devices, which are one element of a tick abatement program the village has discussed implementing. The 4 –Poster devices are feeding stations for deer that apply a powerful pesticide to the deer, which then kills ticks.

On Tuesday, Mayor Sander said he was still working with state officials, including New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Ken LaValle, in the hopes of securing a state grant for the use of 4-Poster devices in North Haven Village.

The village is also reaching out to homeowner associations, added Mayor Sander, to see if they would be willing to designate places for 4-Poster devices in their neighborhoods, and also if they would be willing to pay for the maintenance cost. Resident Chris Miller, said Mayor Sander, is certified to maintain 4-Poster devices and will give the board an estimate on the cost of weekly maintenance. The village is also speaking with the Shelter Island Deer and Tick Management Foundation to see if donations can be made through that non-profit to help pay for the systems.

The village plans to give an update on this issue, said Mayor Sander, at its April 1 meeting.

 

The Sounds of Silence

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The silence emanating from the North Haven Village Board over its decision last month to hire a private company to undertake a deer cull in that community is frustrating for anyone who wants to know what their government is up to and downright childish on the part of the board.

Readers may recall that last year the village, after holding a series of very public and well attended meetings, determined that its longtime efforts to control the deer population needed to be improved because of concern over the rise of tick-borne illnesses, safety on the roads, and damage to lawns and gardens.

In February, the board authorized Mayor Jeff Sander to negotiate a contract with White Buffalo, a Connecticut firm that specializes in reducing the deer population of suburban communities. At the time, Mayor Sander explained that the company would bring in hunters, armed with shotguns, who would be charged with reducing the size of the village’s deer herd to about 100, a process, he said, that could take several years.

But the village’s decision just happened to coincide with the hullabaloo surrounding a broader deer cull championed by the Long Island Farm Bureau and involving sharpshooters from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. Once opponents of that effort went to court and East Hampton Town and Village dropped out of the Farm Bureau program, North Haven officials, no doubt concerned over the threat that they too would face a legal challenge, clammed up.

Requests from this newspaper and others for the most basic of information about the village’s deal with White Buffalo have gone unanswered. Village officials will not say whether the village has been sued, whether a contract has even been signed, how much the hunt is expected to cost or what it will do if it can’t strike a deal before spring arrives, the trees fill out and seasonal weekenders return, making a hunt both impractical and dangerous.

The board’s refusal to discuss its deer cull is ironic in light of the fact that, judging by the attendance—or more accurately the lack of attendance—at recent board meetings, village residents either completely agree with the policy or simply don’t care one way or the other about it. Contrast that to the scene 20 years ago when the board, faced with a growing deer population and angry residents who didn’t want to see their expensive (and often inappropriate ) landscapes being denuded by hungry deer, agreed to allow bowhunting within the village limits. Opponents of hunting crowded Village Hall for months before and months after the board made that decision, with meetings often devolving into angry shouting matches between the two camps.

It’s a good bet the village attorney has advised board members to zip their lips because of the threat of a lawsuit. That would be understandable if reporters were trying to ferret out details of the village’s legal strategy, but they are not. They are simply inquiring about a decision adopted by an elected board on behalf of its citizenry.

That’s what North Haven Village Board members have seemed to forgotten: They have been elected to do the public’s work—and to do it in public. They might be able to get away with silence now because of the lack of interest in the deer cull, but some day they will touch a nerve, and their constituents will be well justified in demanding answers.

Suffolk County to Create Tick Advisory Committee

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At its March 4 meeting, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to create a tick control advisory committee. The committee will advise the county’s Division of Vector Control on developing a plan to reduce tick-borne illnesses in the county.

The committee will consist of 12 members, including a person knowledgeable in the area of tick control designated by the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services who will serve as the chair. Mr. Schneiderman will also be on the committee, as will County Executive Steve Bellone, Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Legislator Al Krupski, the chair of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee; Legislator William Spencer, the chair of the Legislature’s Health Committee, Commissioner Greg Dawson of Suffolk County Parks, a representative of an environmental advocacy group, a public health professional, a representative of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association and a representative of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

In 2013, Legislator Schneiderman sponsored a resolution that requires the division of Suffolk County Vector Control to submit a yearly plan to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 300,000 yearly cases of Lyme disease. There are 1,000 cases of West Nile per year, making it 300 times more likely that a Suffolk County resident will contract Lyme disease than West Nile virus, said Legislator Schneiderman.

“A primary function of government is to protect the health and welfare of residents of Suffolk County,” he said. “This committee will help Vector Control develop a plan to reduce the incidence of tick borne illnesses.”

North Haven Woman Charged in Serial Burglary Case

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By Kathryn G. Menu

A North Haven resident was arrested last week and charged in connection with a string of burglaries in East Hampton in 2013.

On Monday, March 3, Erin Reiser, 32, turned herself into East Hampton Town Police, Captain Chris Anderson confirmed on Wednesday. Ms. Reiser was charged with three counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, a felony crime, as well as a felony count of possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and two counts of possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor.

According to police, Ms. Reiser was the girlfriend of Justin Bennett, a resident of Springs who was arrested in October and charged in connection with a rash of burglaries on the South Fork. On Wednesday, Capt. Anderson confirmed that Ms. Reiser was in a 2003 Toyota sedan occupied by Mr. Bennett when detectives pulled the vehicle over on Route 114 in October.

“We recovered from the interior of the vehicle jewelry, with some electronics, and that is what these charges are connected too,” said Capt. Anderson.

In November, Mr. Bennett pled not guilty to 25 counts of burglary in the second degree, one count of attempted burglary in the second degree and one count of attempted burglary in the third degree, all felony crimes. According to police, beginning in January of 2013, Mr. Bennett burglarized 25 homes in East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton.

The thefts totaled over $126,000 in cash, jewelry and prescription medications, according to the indictment. Mr. Bennett admitted to police that he suffered from a severe heroin addiction, which led him to commit the crimes.

He has been held in lieu of $200,000 cash bail or a $400,000 bond, at Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank.

The charges Ms. Reiser faces in connection to the case are directly tied to the evidence police recovered from the Toyota in October, said Capt. Anderson, adding that Ms. Reiser’s arrest was delayed as a result of the ongoing investigation.

Ms. Reiser was arraigned on March 3 before East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky, and posted $2,500 bail at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside.

 

 

Mum’s the Word on Status of North Haven Deer Cull

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By Stephen J. Kotz

A veil of silence has fallen over North Haven, where village officials last month gave Mayor Jeffrey Sander the green light to negotiate a contract with a private firm to cull the deer herd.

Reached at home on Wednesday morning, Mr. Sander was decidedly tight-lipped.

“There is no status update other than what was discussed at the last meeting,” Mr. Sander said, apparently referring to a vote taken by the board on February 4 authorizing him to negotiate a contract with White Buffalo Inc., a Connecticut firm that specializes in controlling the white-tail deer population in suburban communities.

“I really can’t tell you anything other than that,” Mr. Sander said, when asked if he still expected to have the contract finalized in time to undertake the cull this spring.

Asked if he was not willing to talk because of concerns the village would face a lawsuit over its deer culling plans, Mr. Sander replied, “It’s not anything I’m going to talk about.”

Earlier this year, East Hampton town and village dropped out of a separate plan to cull their deer herds, one backed by the Long Island Farm Bureau that would bring in sharpshooters hired by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, when they were sued by animal rights activists.

Last week, a lawsuit filed againsts Southold Town, by the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island, which consists of animal rights groups and hunters, was tossed out, allowing the deer cull to proceed in that town.

USDA sharpshooters have also reportedly been invited onto private property on South Fork residents as well.

This week, Wendy Chamberlin of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition, said her group was trying to obtain an injunction preventing the state Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing nuisance permits on Long Island until a scientific rationale is advanced for the deer cull.

“This isn’t being done scientifically. This is being done emotionally and anecdotally,” said Ms. Chamberlin, who said she would support hunting if other measures were inadequate to control the deer herd.

She said it was “shocking” for village officials to refuse to discuss the cull. “Officials who behave like this and do not attend to the opinions and desires of their constituents should resign,” she said.

Last month, Mr. Sander said he expected the village to spend about $15,000 this year to start the deer culling, and added that the process could take several years to complete. At that time he estimated that the village had about 200 to 250 deer and would like to reduce that number to approximately 100.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board handled other routine business and did not discuss the deer situation at all. Mr. Sander said he comfortable declining to discuss a public project that involves the spending of tax money, the threat of lawsuits and an invitation to allow hunters to shoot deer with shotguns.

“Nope,” he said, when asked if he had any additional comments.

 

Arrests Made in Corner Closet Case

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Police respond to the scene of an armed robbery at The Corner Closet in November. 

By Kathryn G. Menu; Michael Heller photograph

Two individuals have been arrested in connection with the November armed robbery of the Corner Closet in Sag Harbor, according to Sag Harbor Village Police Detective Jeffrey Proctor, although he would not provide details in what has become a federal case.

“Two people are in custody with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and have been remanded without bail,” said Det. Proctor on Monday. Det. Proctor would not name the individuals or the charges they face, citing an ongoing federal investigation. Calls to U.S. Attorney Raymond Tierney, with New York’s eastern district office, were not returned as of press time.

Det. Proctor did allow that one of the arrests occurred in early January and involved a male suspect. After speaking with officials at the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the case, Det. Proctor said village police believed there could be a connection to the Corner Closet case.

“After putting that individual in a photo spread, the victim was able to positively identify the male subject,” he said.

Det. Proctor remained mum on details about the second arrest made by federal authorities in connection to the case, including the gender of the individual.

Seena Stromberg, the owner of the Corner Closet—a high-end vintage consignment clothing and jewelry store—reported on November 19 that a man and a female accomplice entered her store around 5:50 p.m. and the man held a gun to her head before dragging her to the back of the store and restraining her arms and legs. The couple, described as Hispanic and in their late 20s to early 30s, stole clothing and jewelry from the store, according to police, before fleeing in what police believe was a domestic four-door white sedan.

Ms. Stromberg was able to free herself, and around 6:25 p.m., she asked a pedestrian on Main Street to contact police.

In addition to the male and female Ms. Stromberg reported as being responsible for restraining her and stealing numerous goods from the store, police also sought another suspect—described as a Hispanic male, 25 to 35 years old—who police said entered Illusions jewelry store on Main Street, making similar statements as those made to Ms. Stromberg by the other couple. No goods were reported taken from the Illusions jewelry store.

“I am glad this case has come to a close,” said Det. Proctor. “I hope this puts any doubts to rest and eases the minds of business owners on Main Street.”

Buyers Push Demand for New Construction on the South Fork

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Completed and sold in 2013, this Glover Street residence was built by DeMarco Development. A second new home is currently under construction, also on Sag Harbor’s Glover Street. Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman. 

By Amanda Wyatt

Historic homes have long been part of the fabric of Sag Harbor, a village celebrated for its old-fashioned charm. But newly constructed houses, rather than repaired or renovated historical houses, are beginning to dot this landscape—perhaps heralding the dawn of a new era for the village.

“What we’re talking about is the economy more than anything,” explained Leslie Reingold, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty. “The building going on is sort of a synchronicity of factors. One, the economy picked up. Two, Sag Harbor became very hot and still is…It’s like Sag Harbor has come into its own.”

“Because of the publicity of the Bulova Watch[case] condos, so many more people are becoming familiar with Sag Harbor. Sag Harbor has always been one of the most beautiful and authentic seaside villages. When I finally found a piece of property in the village I was determined to build a Federal style home in keeping with the history of Sag Harbor,” said Toni Curto of Curto, Curto and Curto, LLC

As the village enters into a new era of growth and expansion, the real estate market will likely continue to reflect these changes.

“New construction is a very active segment of today’s market and most older homes purchased are being renovated so extensively they are like new,” agreed Gioia DiPaolo, office manager and broker with the Sag Harbor branch of Douglas Elliman.

As she explained, the trend of building brand new, yet traditional-looking homes has been around for over a decade, although it’s undoubtedly picked up recently.

“In the Village of Sag Harbor, [builder] Bob Tortora started a trend over 10 years ago creating new homes that reflected period architecture but offered all the interior proportions and amenities of a new home—the best of both worlds,” DiPaolo pointed out. “DeMarco Development has brought this concept of ‘the new old house’ forward, now completing the second of three historically referenced new homes on Glover Street. These homes incorporate reclaimed wood for flooring, antique lighting fixtures and moldings, and, for the most part, Greek Revival architectural design.”

“On the fringes of the historic village we’re seeing new construction by developers well known throughout the Hamptons, but new to Sag Harbor, for traditional homes offering large square footage and lots of amenities,” DiPaolo noted.

As some realtors noted, the trend of new construction is not so much a shift away from historic homes as it is a practical response to finding space in an ever-growing village. Historic houses, particularly the architectural gems on Main Street, are somewhat hard to come by, and what does exist can be pricy.

Besides, restoring or renovating an older home often comes with unforeseen challenges and difficulties. Buyers may “not know what they’re going to find” once they begin renovating or restoring, Mala Sander, a broker with the Corcoran Group’s Sag Harbor office, pointed out.

“I always call it the ‘you might as well’ factor. Once you get to a certain point, if you’re going to change the floor here, we might as well change the floor there…and then we might as well change the cabinetry and get new appliances, you might as well [tear down the structure],” she said, adding: “When you have homes that aren’t architecturally significant or that interesting there’s no real point to renovating those. It’s best just to take those down. So developers are seeing an opportunity in that, either in open space or tear downs and putting up what today’s buyer wants.”

Curto added that one “of the advantages in building a new home is that we can influence the design and finished product, although it is always still exciting to renovate an older structure.”

However, some agents noted that the market for new homes is usually entirely separate from the market for historic homes.

“I think people that want houses want new houses and people who want historic want historic. I don’t think that it’s really the same buyer. People who want something beautiful and historic will want to do the renovation, and they’ll do it with love and care because they really value the history aspect of the older home. The person that’s buying the new house wants the simplicity of not having to deal with the unknown; they value different things,” said Sander.

“It’s hard to even put the two together in the same sentence,” Reingold agreed. “It’s a whole other animal.”

For those interested in a historic home, renovation and repair is a true labor of love.

“If you’re renovating something that’s beautiful and worth renovating or restoring, yes, it can be very costly to [do so], as opposed to starting from scratch,” Sander said.

“There’s not much of it and what you’re getting is very expensive. 900 square feet for, let’s say, a million, and you’d have to put in [hundreds of thousands of dollars] in maintenance,” said Reingold.

“Not only is it maybe 400 dollars per square foot more to renovate a historic home,” she estimated, “there are very few highly skilled craftsmen and artisans around. A lot of the details [on historic homes] were handcrafted. In all honesty, if you could replicate a historical home for a reasonable amount of money, I’m sure you’d have more people doing it.”

As Reingold pointed out, many people—particularly those with families or those who own multiple homes—simply do not have the time to constantly renovate a house. It can take four times as long to renovate a house as it would to put up a new structure, she said.

Furthermore, many buyers come to Sag Harbor with the intent of having a spacious home, with plenty of room to entertain friends and family. At the same time, “people want to be closer to town” than in previous times, and this presents a problem. Lots in the village tend to be small, and aside from a few of the grand historical homes, many historic structures are tiny by contemporary standards.

It isn’t uncommon for a historic house to have 150 square foot bedrooms, with only one bathroom down the hall, Reingold explained. Even if a buyer decided to gut the house, it may not accommodate the number of bedrooms and bathrooms—as well as amenities and technological extras—that many buyers desire.

“One new thing everybody seems to want now is a downstairs master bedroom. Most of the older structures don’t even have downstairs master suites,” said Sander.

Buyers often prefer homes with an “open flow, open floor plan…[especially] the open kitchen, which people use today as gathering rooms. And then you have the convenience factor, some people out there like laundry rooms on multiple levels, and I’m not even getting into the appliance and amenity factor, just high end kitchen appliances and all that,” she added.

DiPaolo echoed Sander’s comments: “Lifestyle preferences have evolved to a more casual style, with a focus on the kitchen as the place people gather, and floor plan, flow and proportion of rooms now need to be more open with higher ceilings in order to appeal to today’s buyer. The amenities in a new home are, of course, a big draw whereas the time and expense of a renovation project is a proposition many buyers don’t want to endure.  However, for those buyers who value history, renovating a historic home can be a real labor of love.”

While Reingold agreed “size is a huge factor,” she pointed out that “[in the past], construction loans were impossible to get, so that also meant there was no inventory when people were coming out to buy.” She also added that keeping historic structures up to code is also a challenge. There is more leeway with new homes, since the village is less concerned with preserving their architectural integrity.

Another reason why buyers are opting for new construction is that “they’re more energy efficient, they’re less maintenance intensive, it’s going to be more of what you want and less of a compromise, when you’re renovating an older house there’s always compromise between what you really want to have and what exists,” said Sander.

At the same time, DiPaolo pointed out, “Selling a new home that is under construction can be challenging especially when the buyer wants to customize everything. It just takes much longer to bring a deal to closing. However, new construction does come with warranties which is very comforting to a buyer.”

Of course, for those who desire the feel of an older home with all of the modern conveniences, there is the option of using an old architectural plan while building a new home. Some new constructions are being designed with traditional architectural elements, which may help bridge the gap between new construction and historic buildings.

Curto said that she selected an architect for one of her Sag Harbor building projects because he was “very familiar with historic homes and has a passion for them. Once you find your team they will work with you on designing a Federal style home but offer you all the amenities such as a chef’s kitchen, old world moldings, (custom cabinetry built-ins) and beautiful floors.”

Still, as the village itself rapidly grows and changes, architecture will undoubtedly reflect these shifts. But with so many new structures being erected, could Sag Harbor lose a little bit of its old-fashioned charm?

“Yes,” Reingold answered. At the same time, she predicted the village would never entirely lose its historical appeal. Sag Harbor’s rich local history and charm will continue to be a draw for prospective buyers of both new and older homes.

“People are still going to keep coming here because of the historic charm and the quaintness, and more importantly, the vibrancy of Main Street,” she added.

 

Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team Rescue Retriever From Icy Waters

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As fire department and ambulance members render aid, member Stephen Hesler holds and comforts a dog that was rescued by the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team after it had fallen through the ice off of Bayview Court in North Haven on Saturday.

By Michael Heller

Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team braved cold temperatures last weekend to save a two-year-old golden retriever that was struggling in the icy water of Noyac Bay off North Haven.

On Saturday, the dive team was called to Bayview Court after receiving a report that a dog had fallen through the ice. First responders found the retriever with only his head above water roughly 50 yards offshore, barking and crying as he struggled to stay afloat.

A boat was dispatched into the bay with dive team members Alex Smith and Scott Fordham aboard, with dive team member Rich Simmons swimming ahead, breaking the ice by hand so that the boat could proceed.

Mr. Simmons soon reached the canine. After loading him into the boat, the team brought him to shore and into the waiting arms of Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps personnel, who warmed the dog before turning him over to the Southampton Town Animal Control office.

The dog was taken to the East End Veterinary Emergency Center In Riverhead for further treatment.

Attending veterinarian Dr. Gal Vatash reported that the dog, Morgan, was close to death after having been in the frigid water for roughly 45 minutes, and was suffering from petechiae—a low blood platelet count—and hypothermia, with a body temperature below 90 degrees.

“He was definitely looking at the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Vatash.

After an overnight treatment of plasma and warm fluids, however, Morgan was released to his owners the following afternoon, and “…went home wagging his tail.”

Dr. Vatash credited the members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department and Ambulance Corps with saving the dog’s life, as well as simple good luck: He was spotted out on the ice when a family just happened to come down to the shoreline to take some photos and spied the animal in distress. He also credited the use of a microchip embedded in Morgan’s skin for enabling his office to locate and reunite him with his owner.

Dr. Vatash said he would encourage all pet owners to microchip their animals as a protective measure.