Tag Archive | "Noyac Civic Council"

Noyac Civic Council Makes Plans For 2015

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By Mara Certic

A road committee, CPR training, new seat cushions and good news are just four things that the members of the Noyac Civic Council will have to look forward to in 2015.

At its last meeting of the year, the council invited its members to suggest and discuss speakers, agendas and topics for the coming year over coffee and donut holes.

“Now this is the best part of our meeting: what do you want to do in 2015?” Elena Loreto, the council’s president, asked.

Suggestions for CPR training and a question-and-answer session with a financial advisor both were met with some enthusiasm by the 10 members who were present.

The most popular suggestion, perhaps, was the reforming of a roads committee for Noyac. A similar committee existed in 2002, explained the council’s former president, Chuck Neuman.

“Through this committee we can spend time building relationships and getting certain things accomplished,” Mr. Neuman said.

The new roads committee, he explained, would generate a list of road hazards around Noyac to present to Southampton Town. There is a tree growing around a stop sign, making it difficult to see—this is just one example of some 80 hazardous conditions Mr. Neuman said are out there.

One of Mr. Neuman’s primary fears is that, in an effort to alleviate traffic along County Road 39, the town might one day add another lane in each direction on Noyac Road.

“That would be the end of that spine and the end of the way we know life here in Noyac,” he said.

James Ding brought up Noyac’s most controversial new road feature, the recently completed parking lot in front of Cromer’s and the Whalebone General Store on Noyac Road.

“We inherited the mess left by Alex Gregor, and that is the Cromer’s area,” he said.

“All of a sudden we’ve got 15 to 20 of these reflectors when none are needed. The plantings, I don’t know who’s responsible for them but they’re pathetic-looking,” Mr. Ding added.

Several members noted that the new roadwork in front of Cromer’s Market is dangerous. The new reflectors “can be blinding,” one said, and the markings on the road are not visible enough, and will possibly cause chaos when Noyac has its first heavy snowfall this year, some feared.

For 2015, Mr. Ding also suggested the Noyac Civic Council spring for new seat cushions, perhaps with a different foam or cover. Mr. Ding, who has been a member for a year or two, he said, knew the cushions had been there since he joined the organization.

“I think we could dress it up a little,” he added.

Another popular suggestion for the 2015 calendar year is to bring in speakers to discuss environmental issues and also to hold one meeting the Sag Harbor Fire Department, where members could perhaps be instructed in CPR.

The suggestion of a water safety course quickly morphed into a Water Safety Kick-Off of Summer Festival that the Noyac Civic Council would host as a fundraiser at Long Beach.

“That’s such a good idea because we all live within so close to the water,” one member said.

In order to both accommodate children and avoid jellyfish, Mr. Ding suggested holding the event the weekend after July 4.

The event planning will begin when the organization holds its first meeting of the new year, on March 10.

Elfie Winkle made another popular suggestion on Tuesday evening. “When we send out this newsletter, whether it’s here or on the computer, I’d like to see a section on the bottom called good news,” she said. Ms. Winkle suggested people send in any happy news they have going on: a new engagement, a new job, a new baby in the family.

“Even if it’s ‘Guess what I just won $10 on a scratch off,’ that’s good news to somebody and why not? We’re inundated with yuckies all the time,” she added.

In other action, Mrs. Loreto said several businesses are offering discounts to Noyac Civic Council members in good standing. These are Serene Green Farm Stand, Whalebone General Store, Cromer’s, The Wharf Shop, Maura’s Hair Studio, Tightlines Tackle Shop and Revco Lighting and Electrical Shop.

Noyac Hosts Last Tick Talk of the Season

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Jerry Simons discussed tick-borne disease diagnosis and prevention during a symposium at the November meeting of the Noyac Civic Council. 

By Mara Certic

As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, East Enders sometimes fall into a false sense of security, believing tick season is over for another cold winter. But with the ever-increasing number of tick-borne diseases and infections, medical professionals emphasize the importance of remaining vigilant against the virulent arachnids all year long.

In response to the growing number of infections, State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle convened a tick-borne disease task force last year to search for solutions to the problem, which is particularly prevalent on the East End. An advisory panel for Southampton Hospital’s Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center has come up with a multi-pronged mission to help reduce the number of tick-borne diseases and infections on Long Island and around the world.

In addition to facilitating treatment and educating medical professions about the various diseases carried by ticks, the panel has been charged with educating the public at several informative medical symposiums.

Jerry Simons, a physician’s assistant at East Hampton Urgent Care, gave the last such presentation of the year, on November 12 at the monthly meeting of the Noyac Civic Council.

Mr. Simons has been treating Lyme disease for almost 20 years.

“I saw my first Lyme disease patient in 1995,” he said at the meeting. Although the disease is named after a town in Connecticut, a lot of progress and discoveries made on Lyme disease happened out here on the East End, he said. “So it makes sense for the tick center to re-blossom here,” he added.

One of the difficulties of treating Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, Mr. Simons said, is figuring out what the exact strain of the disease is. Whereas people in the past have been told to look out for bull’s eye rashes, Mr. Simons noted that 30 to 50 percent of people with Lyme disease do not develop one.

“In 2014, like there are different types of flu germs or Epstein Barr, there are also different kinds of Lyme disease,” Mr. Simons said. Some of the literature says there are four different strains, whereas some claim there are as many as 12. According to Mr. Simons, those strains can then have up to four different subtypes of their own.

In addition to the many strains of Lyme, there are also diseases such as babesiosis, IA, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and, most recently, the Alpha-gal allergy to meat.

“Sometimes it’s a matter of checking for the right germ,” Mr. Simons said, suggesting that anyone with a worrisome tick bite should ask for the Tick-Borne Disease Panel 3 work up, which tests for many different strains and diseases.

“But what I need you to remember is it’s not just Lyme disease,” he added.

Several medical publications have recently suggested that the ticks with the highest rate of infection in the world are those within a 50-mile-radius of Shelter Island.

“If you were in North Dakota and got a tick bite it would be a different story,” he said. Mr. Simons advocates getting treated with antibiotics right away, adding that they can prevent further, more serious problems four, eight or 12 weeks down the line. Also, spending $20 or $30 on early antibiotics could save thousands of dollars on blood work.

One of his pet peeves, he said, is when patients find a tick on themselves and wait to have it removed by a professional.  “You need to remove it immediately,” Mr. Simons said. Once removed, the ticks themselves should be taken to a doctor’s office, where they can determine the type of tick, its sex and whether or not it’s swollen, he added.

Inspecting the offending tick is one of the ways doctors can quickly and more efficiently diagnose patients, he said.

The bite of the Lone Star tick larvae, for example, can cause the Alpha-gal meat allergy and also other diseases in some cases. When bitten by an infected Lone Star tick, the alpha gal polysugar gets into the body. Once the enzyme is in your body, eating fatty red meats can cause a delayed inflammatory reaction, similar to a bee sting, Mr. Simons explained.

Whereas for some, the Alpha-gal allergy affects them only when they consume red meat, others can have reactions to dryer sheets, cosmetics, even lanoline strips on razors.

Recent research has shown people with Alpha-gal have very low glutamine levels, Mr. Simons said. Glutamine is one of the most abundant naturally occurring nonessential amino acids.

“You’re hearing it here first,” Mr. Simons said, “the advice is to run—not walk—to the store and get a big thing of glutamine.”

High doses of glutamine combined with six months to a year without any sort of meat contact could perhaps reverse the effect of the allergy, he said.

“It’s like in the ’80s when we were trying to figure out AIDS and HIV—you’re living in history,” Mr. Simons said.

For more information about tick-borne diseases call 726-TICK, or visit tickencounter.org.

Home Prevention

While ticks are most active from May through July, they will remain active until the temperature drops below 32 degrees. While the pests can be hard to avoid, here are some ways to keep ticks away:

  • Mice carry the most infectious ticks, so removing leaf piles and brush and other rodent retreats will help keep dangerous ticks away from the house.
  • Damminix tick tubes can be used to kill ticks on rodents. The product is available online, but DIY-ers can create the products themselves by putting cotton balls soaked in permethrin into cardboard tubes in mouse-infested areas. The mice, in turn, collect the cotton balls for their nests and the permethrin kills the ticks on contact.
  • Ticks are very unlikely to cross a 3-foot-wide wood chip boundary, so putting one around a house can help keep them away.
  • Ticks of all species apparently hate the smell of lavender; so dryer sheets and sprays imbued with the scent can also repel them.
  • Diluted DEET should be sprayed on shoes once a month, to keep ticks away.
  • Natural repellents, such as Buzz-Away can be applied directly to the skin.
  • Experts suggest spraying yards or lawns once a month from April to November, as well. Organic sprays are available from East End Tick and Mosquito Control.
  • Applying permethrin to clothes will kill all ticks on contact. Clothes pre-treated with permethrin are also available.

Sag Harbor Schools Defended at Noyac Civic Council Meeting

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By Tessa Raebeck

Members of the Noyac Civic Council expressed a grim outlook for the future Tuesday evening when they gathered in the Old Schoolhouse in Noyac to hear a presentation from Sag Harbor School District administrators.

Some 15 people, including Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and Sandi Kruel, a member of the school board, heard presentations by Superintendent Katy Graves and School Business Administrator Jennifer Buscemi on testing results, the Common Core, the district’s financial status and other topics chosen by the council, such as “plans to improve student achievement.”

Ms. Graves and Ms. Buscemi, who are both in their first year with the district, introduced themselves to the group and stressed the strength of Sag Harbor’s students and schools. Those gathered in the room were predominately retired members of the community who do not have children who attend schools in the district.

“My guiding principle is, I do what’s best for children, what’s fair for adults and what the community can sustain,” Ms. Graves told the group, adding that she always has time to speak with all community members. She expressed the need for school administrators to communicate with the many families who are not connected to the district because they do not send their children there, but who pay taxes to the schools and “want to know what the value is.”

Ms. Graves shared figures and charts on Sag Harbor’s performance on mandated state, federal and local tests for students. “Assessment is only one piece, but we have a really shiny piece,” she said.

Despite data, information and personal anecdotes from Ms. Graves and Ms. Buscemi about the district’s financial health, “extraordinary” programs, staff and students, the room appeared unconvinced.

“Katy,” John Arendt, a Noyac resident, said to Ms. Graves, “we love our results here, but let’s fact it, we’re inundated every day with the failure of our education system, so we want to see results.”

“They don’t even teach penmanship anymore,” said Noyac resident Vincent Starace.

Although students still learn how to write, New York State no longer requires cursive instruction.

Other members of the council said teenagers no longer have summer jobs, “can’t write a sentence” by the time they get to college, and raised concerns over drug use, as well as teacher benefits and salaries.

Meet the Candidates Night Becomes One-Man Show

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U.S. Representative Tim Bishop listened to Sag Harbor resident Bob Malafronte at an evening sponsored by the Noyac Civic Council. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

What was supposed to be a meet the candidates night with U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and his Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin, sponsored by the Noyac Civic Council Tuesday night, instead turned out to be a one-man show featuring Mr. Bishop.

Citing a scheduling conflict, Mr. Zeldin first tried to cancel his appearance Tuesday afternoon, before agreeing to arrive at 9 p.m., two hours after his scheduled slot, to informally meet voters.

The Republicans sent Southampton Town Trustee Ed Warner as a stand-in, who deferred most questions of national issues to Mr. Zeldin.

Noyac Civic Council president Elena Loreto on Tuesday said that Mr. Zeldin’s camp had informed her its candidate would not be able to attend the event at 2 p.m. that day, citing another scheduled appearance upisland and despite confirming on Friday that he would appear.

Mr. Bishop said at his previous appearances before the council, helicopter noise was the chief concern. This time none of the two dozen people attending asked about that, instead peppering him with questions about everything from budgets to energy policy.

In his opening statement, Mr. Bishop said he was proud of his record of constituent service and cited his role as one of four sponsors of federal waterways legislation, which he described as one of only 26 pieces of “substantive legislation” passed by the current Congress. The bill successful, he said, because its sponsors engaged in the lost art of compromise, which, he said, has become a “four-letter word” in Washington.

Mr. Bishop said he was particularly proud of his role in helping reform the federal student loan program, which he said, ended $61 billion in bank subsidies and resulted in an additional $26 billion being funneled to Pell Grants to aid the neediest students.

“I ran for Congress because I wanted to be a voice for the middle class,” Mr. Bishop said, recounting how his father used to work an average of  80 hours a week for the phone company to put five children through college. “I used to hate the phone company because I couldn’t understand how they could make this guy who had five kids work every Christmas.” It was only when he was in college, he said, that he learned that his father had put in for the overtime.

Audience members had some tough questions. Reg Cornelia of Springs, said Democrats had prevented inquiries into many scandals.

“What bugs me the most is this IRS scandal,” Mr. Cornelia said. “You and your colleagues have done everything to thwart this investigation.”

“Your characterization is simply not accurate,” Mr. Bishop responded, pointing out that the Internal Revenue Service’s inspector general, a nonpartisan investigator, had determined that the IRS had simply not targeted Tea Party organizations in its efforts to determine whether political groups qualified for tax exempt status, but had also investigated liberal organizations.

Carole Campolo, another East Hampton resident, said the country has been brought to the precipice of financial calamity annually and asked why the federal government has failed to pass a budget since 2009.

Mr. Bishop said that while the budget itself may be an “overrated document” in that Congress achieves the same ends by passing appropriations bills, he said it was a “bipartisan failure,” said that both President Bush and President Obama had sent annual budget proposals to Congress.

Stu Jones, another East Hampton resident, said it was his understanding that no more soldiers were being sent to Afghanistan, but said his son had just received his third posting there. Mr. Bishop thanked Mr. Jones for his son’s service, but explained his being sent back to Afghanistan had to do with troop rotations, not a clandestine increase in force levels.

“If it was up to me I would have been out of Afghanistan a long time ago, and if was up to me I have never gone into Iraq,” Mr. Bishop said. “I think that was the single greatest foreign policy mistake this nation has ever made.’

James Sanford of Sag Harbor wanted to know why New Yorkers pay more for natural gas, a problem he said was caused by a shortage of pipelines and storage capability. He also wanted to know Mr. Bishop’s position on fracking.

The congressman responded that most pipelines are privately owned said he saw no “federal impediment” to more lines being built. As to fracking, Mr. Bishop said he supported Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cautious approach, saying a national policy has to be formulated for dealing with wastewater.

Gene  Polito of Noyac pressed Mr. Bishop on his support of natural gas as a source of energy, saying “global warming is for real” and carbon dioxide levels had to be reduced. “We ignore its implications at its own peril,” he said.

Janet Verneuille of Sag Harbor wanted to know what Mr. Bishop’s stance on the practice of corporations moving their headquarters offshore to save on taxes and asked if he favored lowering the American corporate tax rate.

“I think it is an obscenity that corporations are more interested in the bottom line than in the country that has allowed them to be successful,” Mr. Bishop said, pointing out that they had benefited from a publicly educated workforce and publicly provided infrastructure.

He added, though, that while the American corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world the actual amount collected as a percentage of gross domestic product is the lowest. He said he favored reforming the corporate tax structure.

Nada Barry of Sag Harbor asked about the prospects for meaningful immigration reform. Mr. Bishop said he was not optimistic and said when the Senate passed a decent bill, House Speaker John Boehner announced it “dead on arrival.”

 

Noyac Civic Council Celebrates 60 Years With Gala to Benefit Ambulance Corps

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The Noyac Civic Council will celebrate 60 years of community services with a gala celebration on Saturday, September 27 from 6 to 10 a.m. at Harlow, 1 Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. The event, which is $90 per person with tickets available at The Whalebone General Stone, will feature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a sit down dinner with all proceeds benefiting the Sag Harbor and Southampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The civic council is offering a group discount rate of $80 per person for purchases of six or more tickets at one time. For more information, email cnmn@optonline.net.

Sand Mine Expansion in Noyac Draws Critics

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“Sand Land” has submitted an application to the DEC to increase its 50-acre site by 4.9 acres and deepen it by an additional 40 feet. The floor of the mine is currently 65 feet below the original grade, at 175 feet elevation. Photography by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

Environmentalists and civic leaders are calling on the State Department of Environmental Conservation to deny an application to expand an existing sand mining operation in Noyac.

“It was almost 40 years ago that the State of New York said agencies cannot simply act on their own, the environment is too complex. And they passed the law called the State Environmental Quality Review Act,” said Bob DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End, at a press conference held by his organization on Monday at the Old Noyac School House to discuss the potential 20-percent expansion of Sand Land Corp., which is owned and operated by Wainscott Sand and Gravel.

“Going back to the 1980s, the area that we’re talking about was designated by the town as a critical environmental area because of water quality protection concerns,” he continued.

“The site is located within the Town of Southampton Aquifer Protection Overlay District, a zoning overlay with regulatory provisions for clearing, fertilization and housing density, intended to protect the quality of the ground water aquifer below the overlay district,” Kyle Collins, the town’s  planning and development director, wrote in a letter to the DEC dated Thursday, August 14. The area is also in a New York State designated Special Groundwater Protection Area. The aquifer is the sole source of drinking water for much of the East End.

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Bob DeLuca, executive director of the Group for the East End, discussed his concerns about the expansion of Sand Land at a press conference in Noyac on Monday.

Monday’s press conference came after the 60-day public comment period for the sand mine expansion ended on Friday. The DEC has already issued a “negative declaration” for the project, which means the agency has determined  it will not have a negative impact on the environment and will, thus, not require an environmental impact statement.

Letters from environmental organizations, Southampton Town and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., have all asked the state to rescind the ruling and require that a full environmental impact statement be required before the application is approved.

Agencies have also asked that the DEC deny the application for expansion. The sand mine is a pre-existing, non-conforming land use in a residential zone. Mr. Collins wrote the mine “should be allowed to continue and operate under the parameters of the current mining permit with ongoing reclamation as mining is completed in mined areas.”

“To date, this parcel has been in use for sand mining and other industrial activities for more than 50 years,” said executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito. She said the DEC reported in 2006 the site was coming to an end of its life as a sand mine. “And here we are, in the year 2014, and they’re requesting another 25 years,” she said on Monday.

“Allowing mining facilities to continue operating in perpetuity does not adequately fulfill DEC’s obligation to protect public health and the environment,” she wrote in a letter to the DEC.

Mr. Thiele has introduced legislation, which authorizes local agencies to require water quality testing at mining operations within counties with a population of 1 million or more where the primary source of drinking water is a designated sole source aquifer.

The Noyac Civic Council collected 150 signatures on a petition calling for the DEC to install test wells in order to monitor how the operations are affecting the groundwater quality.

When asked about the installation of groundwater monitoring wells, John Tintle, owner of Wainscott Sand & Gravel, said on Wednesday, “There’s no link between sand and gravel mining and groundwater contamination.”

One of the main concerns that the environmental advocates had about water quality, was the possibility that the facility’s composting and mulching operations could affect the drinking water. “We know for a fact, according to a New York State DEC Report that was released in 2013, that these types of facilities that have compost material on them and mulching materials cause ‘significant groundwater contamination in the form of heavy metals, manganese and thorium, as well as increased radiation including alpha and beta radiation levels,’” Ms. Esposito said at Monday’s press conference. “This area has never been tested despite our calls for doing so.”

Mr. Tintle said on Wednesday that he had personally conducted water quality testing at his facility and that he had passed along that data to both the DEC and the town. A town representative said on Wednesday evening that Southampton Town was not aware of any submission of groundwater monitoring by Sand Land in the past two-to-three years, but did say an independent third party should be responsible for conducting the water quality testing.

Groundwater monitoring wells test the water at various levels, as well, which some other techniques do not.  “The Town of Southampton requires this for new gold courses, whether over our aquifer or not, and the same should be expected for existing and expanded sand mines,” Mr. Collins wrote.

The Bridge golf course, which neighbors Sand Land, is one such course where water quality monitoring has proved to be successful. There have also been complaints, and even a lawsuit, from neighbors about increased traffic, dust, noise and a fowl odor emanating from Sand Land. Greg Stanley, the superintendent at the Bridge, said that on many days golfers are treated to a strong smell of manure from the neighboring mulching, mining and composting operation.

An application from Sand Land was going to be discussed at tonight’s meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals but has been postponed indefinitely, according to ZBA secretary Kandice Cowell.

 

 

Elected Officials To Pressure East Hampton Town on Ending Helicopter Crisis

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Congressman Tim Bishop answered questions about helicopter noise at a very well-attended meeting of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday, August 12. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

It was a full house at the Noyac Civic Council’s August meeting on Tuesday, as residents from all over the East End perched on desks and hovered outside open doors to hear Congressman Tim Bishop and other elected officials address the ongoing issue of helicopter noise at the East Hampton Airport.

Residents from Sag Harbor, East Hampton, North Haven, Noyac and Mattituck gathered at the Bridgehampton Community House on Tuesday, August 12 and expressed their frustration with the seemingly endless helicopter traffic that continues to plague eastern Long Island.

Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, played a recording of helicopter noise taken at her house to the FAA representatives who had come to answer questions and listen to grievances at Tuesday’s meeting. “This is what it’s like when you’re having company, or having a birthday party,” she said over the sound of whirring blades and engines.

Ms. Loreto complained about the “B-team” of FAA representatives who had been sent to the meeting, asked where FAA administrator Michael Huerta was, and accused them of being mute.

FAA representatives responded that Mr. Huerta was in Washington D.C. and that they would report back to him. “A lot of what we’re doing is listening to what your concerns are,” said Mark Guiod of NY TRACON. He was the only FAA official to express sympathy to the crowd and said, “what you’re experiencing just shouldn’t happen.”

“The issue we’re going to focus on is what’s in the best interest of the people that we represent,” Congressman Bishop said on Tuesday. He added that he has reached out to the senior leadership of the FAA inviting them to a meeting with Senator Charles Schumer and supervisors from the five East End towns. “We hope to have that meeting in the next week to 10 days,” he said.

Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Doherty announced loudly, “Shelter Island cannot take it anymore.” The island recently banned the taking off or landing of any helicopters other than emergency services. “What has been our reward?” he asked. “We’ve become a dustbin.”

“We’re fed up and we’re with you all the way,” he said to the crowd.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. encouraged the masses.  “Our goal is to get the federal government to act as soon as possible,” he said, adding that they need to identify exactly what changes need to be made. “It’s not good enough to rearrange the furniture on the Titanic,” he said to great applause.

There was much discussion and some confusion throughout the meeting of the various helicopter routes, but it became apparent that no new route could provide a satisfactory result. Wainscott resident Barry Raebeck said, “Shifting helicopter routes does not solve the problem of noise and pollution. It does not even lessen the problem. It simply shifts the problem to other people. There is no such thing as an all-water route to a land-locked airport.”

The way to solve the problem, he said, “is to eliminate commercial operations at East Hampton Airport.”

Kathy Cunningham of the Quiet Skies Coalition, and countless other speakers, implored the citizens of neighboring towns to attend the next East Hampton Town Board meeting on Thursday, August 21. “They need to see this support,” she said.

When asked what chance the East Hampton Town Board had of imposing regulations on the airport, Congressman Bishop directed that question to the amassed FAA representatives. Mary McCarthy from the FAA answered that until the grant assurances expire on December 31, 2014, the town board would not be able to restrict the use of the airport except for safety reasons.

After that point, however, if the town board decided not to take anymore FAA money, the airport would be able to impose flight restrictions. Frank Dalene, who serves on the airport subcommittee of the town’s finance advisory committee, said they have found that if helicopter traffic were eliminated from the airport, it would still be able to support itself without the help of FAA money.

“The decision maker on January 1, 2015 will be the town board,” he said. He added that East Hampton lawmakers needed to know there are people who would support new regulations.

All those who spoke about the East Hampton Town Board mentioned the encouraging changes that they have seen in the new administration, including North Haven Mayor Jeff Sander. The next step, he said, is to get the board to regain control of the airport from the FAA.

“But I think there’s a much larger problem here. I’ve seen letters from the other side, and I’ve seen the distribution of those other letters,” he said, adding that every billionaire on the East End is on that distribution list, and that an expensive lawsuit will ensue.

“This is a regional problem. We’ve got to make it a regional fight,” he said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at this point announced that the board was planning to have a special meeting on Thursday, July 14 to pass a memorializing resolution that would support East Hampton in a decision to refuse money from the FAA. She added they are encouraged by the change in town board, and addressed the representatives of the FAA, “We should not have to worry about getting sued for making decisions that should be happening on your level,” she said.

When asked if they would support the East Hampton Town Board if they were to make this decision, both Congressman Bishop and Assemblyman Thiele said that they would support whatever decision the town makes.

“When the people lead, the leaders will follow, and I think that’s what it’s about here tonight,” Mr. Thiele said.

Editor’s note: Barry Raebeck is the father of Sag Harbor Express reporter Tessa Raebeck.

Bishop, Thiele To Meet with Noyac Civic Council

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The Noyac Civic Council has chosen a slightly larger venue than the Old Noyac Schoolhouse for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 12, when it welcomes U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. to discuss helicopter noise.

Tuesday’s meeting will take place at the Bridgehampton Senior Nutrition Center on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike at 7:30 p.m.

The elected officials, along with a representative from Senator Charles Schumer’s office, will talk about the status of the changes to the northern route, which directs helicopters north over Long Island Sound, as well as discuss what additional restrictions the East Hampton Town Board can impose on the airport.

The civic council also invited Federal Aviation Administration administrator Michael Huerta to answer questions, but he did not respond to the organization’s invitation.

Senator LaValle and Assemblyman Thiele Address Concerns in Noyac

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President of the Noyac Civic Council Elena Loreta, left, and New York State Senator Ken LaValle in a meeting on Tuesday, July 8. Photo by Mara Certic

By Mara Certic

New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. were special guests at the monthly meeting of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday, July 8, where they spoke to their East End constituents about local concerns.

“I have a slogan,” began the senator, who arrived wearing his trademark baseball cap. “First district first,” he said. “If you look at the legislation that Fred and I have introduced, easily 50 percent of it deals with local issues and local problems.”

Both the senator and the assemblyman said they were pleased to see so many other elected officials at the Old Noyac Schoolhouse that night; Southampton Town Board members Bridget Fleming, Christine Scalera and Brad Bender were present, as well as newly elected North Haven Village Trustee Thomas J. Schiavoni.

“We spend a lot of time talking to people and listening to people,” the senator said as he mentioned one of his mother’s favorite sayings: God gave you two ears and one mouth and he did that for a reason: so listen!”

Senator LaValle and Assemblyman Thiele answered questions about topics ranging from gas prices to speed cameras, but most of the meeting was spent discussing taxes, education and water quality.

“One of the things I felt is that taxes are too high, property taxes in particular,” said Senator LaValle. “So we passed a multi-year plan,” he said in reference to the state-mandated two-percent tax levy cap that went into effect three years ago.

“You’re all familiar with the property tax cap and quite frankly it’s not perfect,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “But I think it’s worked very well.”

The tax cap was coupled with a tax freeze for the next two years, he explained, and residents of Sag Harbor will receive a tax rebate check this year. In future years, he explained, a tax credit will be given to those who live in a school district that does not pierce the tax cap.

Next year not only will the town, the school district and the county all have to meet the cap, but they will also have to submit a government efficiency plan to reduce the tax levy by 1 percent over the following two years. These plans will have to be approved by the state, the assemblyman said.

“Southampton and Tuckahoe are exploring the idea of consolidation,” he said of the neighboring school districts. “That might qualify for a government efficiency plan.”

“All of us agree that our schools should seek to have higher standards, we have to compete in a global economy now,” he said. That being said, Mr. Thiele quoted a colleague of his in the Assembly who said that “the Titanic had a better roll-out than Common Core.”

Mr. Thiele went on to say that he believed that the implementation of the Common Core this year was “a failure.”

“It was implemented from an ivory tower in a top-down fashion that didn’t take into account parents or teachers,” he said, adding that it should have been put in place “from the ground up.”

“The last thing that both Fred and I were very, very busy with,” Mr. LaValle said, “is the protection of our groundwater and surface water.”

The two men have spent the past year working on legislation called the “Long Island Water Quality Control Act.”

“In spite of all our best efforts we’re still seeing a decline in water quality,” said the assemblyman, who is in part responsible for the creation of the Peconic Estuary Program.

Previous legislation, he said, had focused on regulations for “future land use” when town land was split evenly in three: vacant, occupied and protected.

Today, he said, less than 10 percent of the land in Southampton and East Hampton is unspoken for. “If we’re going to change the issue, we need to change how we treat existing land uses. That’s how we’re going to make a difference and that’s what this legislation seeks to do.”

The two men lauded Southampton Town for the leadership role it has taken regarding research into new technology and alternative septic systems. The two state officials had a meeting organized for the following day at Stony Brook University about creating such new technology.

“We all want to see clean drinking water, but if you tell people they’re going to have to pay $25,000 to $30,000, people can’t afford that expenditure. The technology has to be evolved,” Mr. Thiele said. “Clean water is not just an issue on Long Island, it’s an issue globally.” He said he hopes that Suffolk County can become an incubator for water-quality technology, which would also create high-paying jobs, he said.

Mr. Thiele heard from the DEC, he said, that Governor Cuomo plans to release his own report on water quality in the next two to three weeks. “When he wants to do something, he’s going to take center stage. Nobody preempts the governor.”

Mr. Thiele encouraged Noyackers to write to the DEC about wells that monitor water quality near sand mines, such as Sand Land off Millstone Road in Noyac. In light of a recent ruling that instilled home-rule powers in upstate New York over hydrofracking, Mr. Thiele suggested that local officials might have an existing authority to mandate the monitoring by local law.

The Noyac Civic Council meets next on Tuesday, August 12, at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center when Congressman Tim Bishop will attend to answer questions about the Federal Aviation Administration. Elena Loreto, president of the council, reminded residents to report disruptive aircraft noise and to send letters to the FAA in the next week to ensure that helicopters continue to follow the North Shore over-the-water route. Senator LaValle and Assemblyman Thiele said that they, too, would contact the FAA.

“We wrote to them before and we’ll be happy to do it again,” said Mr. Thiele. “We have supported this for quite a while.”

 

 

Noyac Civic Council Grants Scholarships, Talks Traffic

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May Evjen, left, and Sara Bucking, this year’s recipients of Noyac Civic Council scholarships. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Michael Zarro was met with traffic questions, requests and complaints from concerned citizens at a Noyac Civic Council meeting on Tuesday, June 10.

Lt. Zarro, who will celebrate his 26th year as a member of the force next month, attended the meeting, he said, to find out “what you as a community think is the problem.”

Trucks and speeding, it turns out, are the two main concerns among the residents who attended, and there is no simple solution in sight.

Several Noyackers complained about loud construction and concrete trucks barreling down the hamlet’s quiet, predominantly residential streets starting at 6 a.m. every weekday. Residents insisted that the trucks drive so much faster than the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit, that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for them to drive around their neighborhood. “You can’t get out of your driveway!” one woman said.

Lt. Zarro said that knowing what specific time to target will help with traffic calming in the area.

One resident suggested that the Southampton Town Police Department station three officers at various spots along Noyac Road at 6 a.m. every day for a month. Lt. Zarro did not think that that would be a possibility but did inform the room that Lieutenant James Kiernan, also of the town police department, will provide more traffic enforcement for the road.

Due to the closure of several bars in Hampton Bays that required police patrols, police officers who previously worked on the busy weekend night during the summer season will now have more time to enforce Noyac speed limits, said Lt. Zarro.

One resident asked if adding traffic lights would help to alleviate the situation, but Lt. Zarro said that he didn’t believe so, “I don’t think they’ll slow traffic down, either,” he said. The stopping and starting of trucks creates also more noise than their passing by, it was explained.

Ralph DiSpigna expressed concern over conflicting figures he was given about the number of traffic accidents on Noyac Road. When he asked the Southampton Town Police, he was told that there had been five accidents in five years. He was told by the Southampton Town Highway Department, however, that there had been 21 in the same time frame. Lt. Zarro said he would investigate this further and get back to him.

The lieutenant emphasized the importance of reporting accidents and instances of speeding to the police department at the time that they occur. He added that a report must be filed for the specific case to go on record.

The police officer also discussed the dangers of telephone scams warning the crowd how professional the scammers can be. A press release authorized by Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa on June 9 was handed out and described three scams to be particularly worried about: the relative in jail scam, where the caller claims to need money to bail the victim’s relative out of jail; the IRS tax warrant scam, in which the caller claims to be an agent from IRS about a past due balance; and the jury duty scam, where the caller pretends to be a police or warrant officer demanding payment of a fine.

Lt. Zarro warned everyone to stay vigilant and never to give out personal information over the phone or the Internet.

During the meeting, Bob Malafronte gave a progress report on East Hampton Airport’s Noise Abatement Committee. Mr. Malafronte is one of only two committee members from Southampton. “They are making incredible progress,” he said, despite the fact that both flights and noise complaints are up this year.

Mr. Malafronte added, “We’re going for a complete helicopter ban. Other things will come up later, but for now it’s just helicopters.” He suggested that residents call the airport every time that they are disrupted by helicopter or plane noise. “I know that your efforts have gotten us some recognition,” he told the room.

President Elena Loreto presented the 2014 scholarship winners, Sara Bucking and May Evjen, both of Pierson High School. Sara has volunteered at East End Hospice’s Camp Good Grief, the Southampton Historical Society and the Easter Bonnet Parade. She plans to attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, in the fall. May is a volunteers at the Southampton Presbyterian Church and the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. She will attend American University in the fall where she will major in communications and media studies.

“She hopes to make films,” said Ms. Loreto. “I hope she makes one about the Noyac Civic Council. I’m sure it’ll be a horror film.”