Tag Archive | "Noyac"

Serve Sag Harbor to Present Traffic Study to Village Board Tuesday

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Proposed plans for traffic calming at the intersection of Main Street and Union Street in front of the John Jermain Memorial Library. According to Serve Sag Harbor member Eric Cohen, the plans are subject to change and represent ideas to make the intersection safer and more pedestrian friendly.

Proposed plans for traffic calming at the intersection of Main Street and Union Street in front of the John Jermain Memorial Library. According to Serve Sag Harbor member Eric Cohen, the plans are subject to change and represent ideas to make the intersection safer and more pedestrian friendly.

By Kathryn G. Menu; image courtesy of Serve Sag Harbor

Serve Sag Harbor board member Eric Cohen drives down Jermain Avenue daily on his way to work as the technology and media coordinator at the John Jermain Memorial Library.

“It’s a nightmare,” said Mr. Cohen of the intersection of Jermain Avenue and Madison Street. The intersection is just one of several the non-profit has asked Michael King of Nelson/Nygaard and Jonas Hagen, a Sag Harbor resident in the doctoral program in urban planning at Columbia University, to look at in the development of a pilot program to create traffic improvements throughout the village.

“We have a problem and that is clear, especially on Jermain Avenue where people cut through on their way to East Hampton,” said Mr. Cohen.

Mr. King, who has been educated in architecture and urban design and has worked in transportation for 20 years, will present a preliminary report to the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees Tuesday, April 8, at 6 p.m.

In addition to presenting plans highlighting traffic improvements at key intersections throughout Sag Harbor, Serve Sag Harbor will also revive long-dormant plans once favored by trustees for a bike lane around the village, according to Save Sag Harbor board member John Shaka.

In an interview on Monday, Serve Sag Harbor board member Susan Mead noted that much of what Mr. King will present on Tuesday night involves improvements to intersections that can be made with the use of paint, occasionally planters, and little else, making them not only temporary and easily removable but cost-effective for a pilot program aimed at studying the effectiveness of these improvements.

“This set of plans is meant to acquaint people with the possibilities of what can be done at key intersections to facilitate traffic calming,” said Mr. Cohen. “There are a lot of options, and while some are very particular to a specific intersection—we take a look at Suffolk Street and Jermain Avenue, which is a really horrible intersection and the solution proposed there is very specific to that spot—others offer more generic solutions. “

Mr. Cohen added that the plans are not meant to be set in stone, but open for discussion and revision by the village board, if deemed necessary.

When reached by email overseas on Tuesday, Mr. King said rather than looking at a strategy, he sought to identify the issues in order to come up with a solution for some of the traffic woes in Sag Harbor. He identified issues like too much traffic, traffic moving too fast, bypass traffic, and streets bisecting village institutions like schools and the library when the streets could be used to bring them together. He also focused on issues such as too few children walking to school and gaining an inherent sense of independence, as well as traffic calming improvements that were economical, he said.

“I’m a strong believer in organic, iterative design especially in the public realm,” wrote Mr. King. “When altering public space, it is almost impossible to predict how people will react, so best start with something malleable. We use the best models and predictions, but nobody is perfect. Also, pilot projects make the changes real, which tends to diffuse acrimony and sharpen everyone’s focus (pro and con).”

If adopted by the village board, Sag Harbor Village would not be the first community to look to Mr. King to help address traffic woes. He has launched pilot projects in New Paltz and St. Louis. Ossining should be rolling out a pilot project on its Main Street this spring, he said.

In addition to the $13,000 the organization has spent to fund the traffic improvement study, both Ms. Mead and Mr. Cohen said with the village board’s approval the organization is committed to raising enough support through fundraising to fund all of the temporary traffic improvements as part of this pilot program.

“We want to give this a real shot,” said Mr. Cohen.

If the improvements are deemed successful, said Ms. Mead, the village could explore expanding the program, and in that case, Serve Sag Harbor would aid trustees in looking at county, state and federal grants to continue to make village streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

“This is a first step,” said Mr. Cohen, “And if this works out we would want to look at a total of 19 intersections throughout the village and maybe make more significant improvements.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Grossman Named to Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame

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Karl Grossman, an investigative reporter who lives in Noyac, has been named to the inaugural class of inductees to the new Long Island Journalism Hall of Fame.

Mr. Grossman, who is also a professor of journalism in the Media and Communications program at SUNY College at Old Westbury, will be inducted into the hall of fame at the Press Club of Long Island’s media awards dinner on June 5 at the Woodbury Country Club. The Press Club of Long Island, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, created the hall of fame to recognize trailblazing journalists, past and present.

Mr. Grossman joins 23 inductees, including Walt Whitman. Mr. Grossman earned an automatic induction  as a past winner of the Press Club of Long Island’s Outstanding Long Island Journalist Award.

Mr. Grossman has been a professor at Old Westbury, where he teaches investigative reporting, for nearly 35 years, and has specialized in reporting on issues related to the environment and nuclear technology. He is also the author of books including, “Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed To Know About Nuclear Power,” “Power Crazy,” and “The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet.”

Mr. Grossman also hosts the television program, “Enviro Close-Up,” and has written and narrated television documentaries including “Three Mile Island Revisited,” “Nukes in Space,” and “The Push to Revive Nuclear Power.”

Mr. Grossman writes a column, Suffolk Close-Up, which appears in The Sag Harbor Express. 

Regional Drug Court Creates Path for Sobriety

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Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein, Shelter Island Justice Helen Rosenblum and Riverhead Justice Allen Smith at the Southampton Town Drug Court on Tuesday. 

By Kathryn G. Menu; Michael Heller photography

Almost two decades ago, Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein was on the bench before a case involving an 18-year-old from Noyac, facing marijuana possession charges, a violation in the eyes of the court. She agreed to adjourn the case in contemplation of dismissal for one year’s time, a common decision but a moment that would change her life forever.

During the course of that year, the young man died of a heroin overdose. His older sister was a court clerk, and Justice Kooperstein attended the man’s wake in a moment of solidarity with her colleague.

“He was 18 years old, and there I was looking at him in a funeral parlor in Hampton Bays,” she said. “It just shook me. I cried the entire way home to Bridgehampton. I just kept asking myself, how does someone go from smoking pot to this?”

The moment led Justice Kooperstein to begin researching a restorative model of justice that would ultimately lead to the founding of the East End Regional Intervention Court, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in February.

The court—often referred to as drug court—is available to those over the age of 16 who face non-violent, drug-related charges on the East End. According to the court coordinator Charlene Mascia, EERIC has served 146 participants to date, with 83 of those individuals officially graduating from the program.

“We average about 25 participants a year,” said Ms. Mascia. “There have been times when we have had 40 participants and times when we’ve had 20.”

To officially become part of the program, individuals must enter a guilty plea with the court and sign a contract that lays out an alternate sentence they will face if they don’t follow the court’s orders or if they leave the program. Often, that sentence is jail time.

The court is held weekly in Southampton and Riverhead Justice Courts, with Justice Kooperstein, Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith, Southold Town Justice William Price and Shelter Island Justice Helen Rubenstein presiding on the bench. However, an interdisciplinary team, including probation officers and clinicians, offer participants a comprehensive strategy toward a drug-free, and crime-free, life.

According to Justice Kooperstein, who was instrumental in the founding of EERIC, the drug court has a 75-percent success rate in terms of its graduates going on to lead healthy, successful lives, and not face prison time. Conversely, she said, those who are incarcerated have a 75-percent likelihood of ending up back in that system within a five-year period.

While the drug court helps those facing a variety of substance abuse problems, “nothing is cheaper than heroin,” said Justice Kooperstein.

“Most of the people we have right now are heroin addicts,” she said. “It’s a real struggle.”

Justice Kooperstein said from the bench she has seen the impact of heroin in every demographic.

“I would say it’s substantially increased in use in the upper and middle classes, people with businesses,” Justice Koooperstein said.

EERIC, she said, currently has participants as young as 18 and as old as 47 years old. Last week, a 58 year-old graduated from the program.

Justice Kooperstein said she had learned from speaking with those involved in drug court that while heroin use is common among many participants in the program, often drug abuse starts early, with substances like marijuana, and increasingly what is found in the unlocked medicine cabinet. From there, it can escalate.

At the drug court, participants attend weekly meetings and must adhere to court orders as far reaching as a requirement for in-patient rehab to whom one can communicate with on the telephone. In addition to the justices, probation officers and a assistant district attorney, participants in the drug court work with clinicians like Jack Hoffmann, LCSW, of Eastern Long Island Hospital. Mr. Hoffman is a Sag Harbor resident with a private practice as well.

Both Mr. Hoffman and Justice Kooperstein said while the court is strict, with penalties including incarceration on the table, its goal is success.

“It takes a lot for us to let someone fail,” said Mr. Hoffman. “The judges are rigorous in their encouraging people to remain with the program and my role is to continue to offer education to the court about psychological and social needs, what treatments people may need.”

Upon graduation, which can occur a year or more after a defendant signs up for drug court, misdemeanor charges are reduced or sometimes dropped altogether.

Jacquie Gettling was 18 when she began using drugs. Her drug of choice was cocaine. She began by snorting it, before moving on to freebasing the drug before finally trying crack cocaine.

“I used off and on for more than 20 years,” said Ms. Gettling, an East Hampton resident. “My drug use almost cost me everything. Thank God for drug court.”

Ms. Gettling, now 50, was 40 years old when she was stopped for speeding in Southampton Village.

“I was carrying about $200 worth of crack cocaine in my pocket at the time,” said Ms. Gettling. “This offense would have landed me in prison for 18 months. As a mother of three and the proprietor of a kids’ karate school, this was definitely my rock bottom.”

Ms. Gettling’s husband spoke with Justice Barbara Wilson and told her his wife was battling a drug problem. Justice Wilson recommended that she go to drug court.

When Ms. Gettling reported to the program, she was told she could either accept the court’s help or go to jail for 18 months.

“At the time I thought, of course I would take drug court because I didn’t want to go to jail for 18 months,” she said, “not because I wanted to stop doing drugs.”

She agreed to the terms of the court, which included abstinence from all alcohol and drugs. Justice Kooperstein stressed the importance of honesty and abstinence.

“Immediately upon leaving court, I went and got high again,” she said.

When Ms. Gettling tested positive for drug use it wasn’t the drug use that led Justice Kooperstein to send her to the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside—it was the fact she lied about it.

“You see, the court knows drug use is an addiction and there is a very high chance you will relapse,” she said. “So from that I learned that honesty is the best policy.”

That night in jail changed Ms. Gettling.

“My program was to show up on time,” she said. “To be accountable for my actions; to refrain from the use of all drugs and alcohol; to attend NA and or AA meetings daily; to get myself in an outpatient program and, of course, to report into drug court.”

“I also had a probation officer who would check in on me from time to time,” she said.

“I did the program to the very best of my ability and because of it I was one of the very first graduates of the East End Regional Intervention Courts,” said Ms. Gettling.  “I believe I was in the system for a little over a year, but the system remains in me today.”

Today, Ms. Gettling runs a successful business—G5 Studio, which teaches karate, exercise, mixed martial arts  and dance classes out of Evolution Fitness Gym in Southampton. She is also the manager of the Eileen Fisher Clothing Store in East Hampton and a board member for the Friends of EERIC, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the court and members of the court.

On August 8, she will celebrate 10 years of sobriety.

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.

Oddone Enters Not Guilty Plea in New Trial for Southampton Killing

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By Stephen J. Kotz

As expected, Anthony Oddone, whose 2009 conviction in the death of a bouncer in a Southampton bar was overturned last year, pleaded not guilty on Thursday, February 6, to a new felony charge of first-degree manslaughter in the case.

State Supreme Court Justice C. Randall Hinrichs, who presided over Mr. Oddone’s appearance in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside, allowed the defendant to remain free on $500,000 cash bail at his arraignment on the new indictment, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Mr. Oddone is due back on court on February 19, according to his attorney, Serita Kedia of New York, and is only allowed to remain in New York City or travel to Orange County, where his mother lives, as well as Suffolk County for court appearances.

Mr. Oddone had been serving a 17-year sentence for first-degree manslaughter in the 2008 death of Andrew Reister, 40, when the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, overturned his conviction in December, setting the stage for a new trial.

The case revolved around an altercation at the Southampton Publick House between Mr. Oddone and Mr. Reister, a Suffolk County corrections officer who was moonlighting as a bouncer at the bar.

Mr. Reister lost consciousness after Mr. Oddone put him in a headlock, and later died from a lack of oxygen to his brain. An autopsy found that Mr. Reister’s death was caused when his neck was compressed and pressure put on the carotid artery, reducing the flow of blood to his brain and causing his heart to stop.

The Appeals Court overturned the conviction, also presided over by Justice Hinrichs, after Mr. Oddone’s defense argued that witnesses had provided conflicting accounts of the length of time Mr. Oddone held Mr. Reister in the headlock.

Specifically, the court ruled that defense attorneys should have been allowed to refresh the memory of Meagan Flynn, a waitress at the bar, who testified that the headlock could have lasted a minute or so but who in an earlier statement said it could have lasted for as short as six to 10 seconds.

At his first trial, a jury acquitted Mr. Oddone of second-degree murder, which could have carried a life sentence, but instead found him guilty of manslaughter.

Mr. Oddone, a former caddy at The Bridge golf club in Noyac, has been free on bail since shortly before Christmas.

At Sag Harbor CAC Meeting, Four in Attendance Focus on Recruitment

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By Tessa Raebeck

With just four people in attendance, the discussion at Friday’s meeting of the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) centered on recruitment.

CAC Chairman John Linder was joined by members Susan Baran, Eric Cohen and Bob Malafronte in expressing the need for better visibility and outreach in efforts to enlist new members for the all-volunteer group.

During the 1980s, the Town of Southampton organized ten CACs, volunteer branches of government designed for the town’s hamlet areas, in order to more effectively address localized issues and concerns.

In Bridgehampton, the CAC is a driving force on local policy that has dozens of members. With no elected government in Bridgehampton, the CAC largely operates as the hamlet’s vocal leadership.

Sag Harbor’s CAC, however, has enacted few legislative actions over the past several years and has seen its numbers dwindle. The town’s website lists eight active members of the CAC, but meetings this year have seen only four or five in attendance.

In cards designed by Malafronte to solicit new members, the CAC asks for those who are concerned, caring and committed to the Sag Harbor community to join. The cards outline the CAC’s primary areas of focus as the East Hampton Airport, water quality, pollution of the bays, over development and traffic.

“I would say our history – at least in terms of intention – is legislative,” Linder said at the meeting Friday evening. “We do want to see legislative changes.”

The group discussed bringing town board members Brad Bender and Bridget Fleming to future meetings as guests, in order to both let them know of the group’s goals and to draw in interested attendees.

A goal for the New Year is developing a community email list that would include the members of similar local groups, such as Save Sag Harbor, to expedite communication with like-minded individuals.

The CAC also contemplated visiting Pierson Middle/High School to educate students on the different avenues of government and how such grassroots organizations work.

“I’m always amazed at what people don’t know about that affects their property values,” said Linder. “If people know what outlets they have to participate in their community, they don’t have to participate, but maybe one day they will. Or they’ll tell their friends and neighbors – or somebody.”

“If we could just get two or three [members],” he added, “that would be fine, we don’t need a landslide here.”

The next meeting of the Sag Harbor CAC will be held January 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Pierson Middle/High School library. For information, call 725-6067.

Immigration Reform Rally in Southampton on Sunday

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The East End Immigrant Advocates (EEIA), a local outreach and advocacy organization celebrating its first anniversary, is hosting a rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform on Sunday, December 8. Speakers at the rally will include Anita Halasz, Executive Director of L.I. Jobs with Justice, and Ana Martinez, an attorney, member of the Brentwood School board and community organizer. The rally will be held next Sunday, December 8 at 1:30 pm at Lola Prentiss Park, 151 Windmill Lane (opposite Waldbaum’s grocery), in Southampton Village. EEIA invites immigrants, neighbors, and friends to show support for this national cause and send a message to Speaker John Boehner to allow H.R. Bill 15 on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) to come up for a vote.

The Senate passed its CIR bill by a large majority in June. The bi-partisan bill was introduced by New York Senator Charles Schumer, along with Arizona Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham and other senators from both parties. The Senate and House CIR bills both include a path to citizenship for adults that would likely take as long as 13 years. Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, would be able to earn green cards in five years, as would some agricultural workers. The bills also call for increases in border security and an E-Verify system to prevent businesses from hiring unauthorized workers. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that CIR would reduce the deficit by as much as $900 million.

Speaker Boehner has declined to let the bill come to the floor for a vote.

“We are all immigrants,” says Sister Mary Beth Moore, of Sisters of Charity, and a founder of EEIA, one of the sponsors of the December 8 Southampton rally. “Seventy-one percent of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, an expanded visa program and legal status for immigrants. We want immigrants to know this and draw hope and faith from our rally.”

From Clara to the Snow Queen, a Ballerina Grows Up

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Rose Kelly as the Snow Queen in the 2012 performance of the Nutcracker.

Rose Kelly as the Snow Queen in the 2012 performance of the Nutcracker.

By Tessa Raebeck

The beautiful swan dances across the stage, slowly succumbing to a graceful death as the ballerina’s performance brings the audience to tears. When the curtain is called, the room whispers its wonder over where the Hampton Ballet Theatre School (HBTS) found such a talented professional. As she bows, the ballerina smiles; it appears this professional has braces.

Just 14 years old and in her freshman year of high school, Rose Kelly has been dancing with Sara Jo Strickland, affectionately called Miss Sara by her dancers at HBTS, since she was a toddler.

“I feel very special,” said Miss Sara, surrounded by young dancers in her Bridgehampton studio, “because I’ve developed her for years and to see it pay off…it’s happening.”

Before she could read or write, Rose could dance. As she grew, so did her dedication.

Throughout the years, Rose’s mother, Rachel Kelly, would ask her time and again, “Do you want to do ballet?”

“Of course I want to do ballet,” her daughter would respond. “Are you kidding me?”

When Miss Sara decided to open her own school, HBTS, in 2007, the Kelly’s followed her there.

“I’ve done it with her my whole life,” Rose says of Miss Sara. “So she is very special to me. A very special person and teacher and I feel like I have a connection with her.”

That connection was forged over the years through countless hours of studio time. Rose is in Miss Sara’s studio almost every day. She takes four ballet classes and one point class each week, in addition to rehearsal time for a spring show, “Peter and the Wolf” in the summer and “The Nutcracker” each holiday season.

When HBTS did its inaugural Nutcracker performance in 2009, Rose, about 10 at the time, was the school’s first Clara.

“That was fun for me to give her that role,” says Miss Sara, smiling at her pupil. “It’s a great memory,” adds Rose.

Next weekend, HBTS will present its fifth annual production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. It is the company’s biggest performance yet, with a cast of over 100 dancers. This year, Rose has advanced to play the Snow Queen, Marzipan and the Dew Drop Princess.

A younger Rose Kelly as Clara.

A younger Rose Kelly as Clara.

“I’m very excited,” said Miss Sara, “because I see all those years from two and a half up are now coming to fruition.”

Rose will dance the Dew Drop number with her longtime dance partner Vincenzo James Harty, who has also been dancing with Miss Sara since he was a toddler. Along with Rose and Harty, three other girls, Maggie Swan and twins Caitlin and Abigail Hubbell, form a group of veteran HBTS dancers Miss Sara considers the leaders of her school.

“When you watch them in class dancing together,” said Miss Sara. “It’s like they are the same people…they have the same style.”

Last year was the first time the group danced timed on point (on the very tips of their toes) and this year their technique has “jumped two levels,” their teacher said.

“Their training has brought them to a new level, so I’m just excited to see them step on stage with renewed confidence,” said Miss Sara, beaming with pride. “So not only do I have this great older group, all the younger kids are following them…they really set a great example.”

In preparation for “The Nutcracker,” Miss Sara’s group of leaders have attended rehearsals, which can last up to three hours, every Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday – in addition to the five classes they take each week.

One would think Rose, who is in the studio every day, would revel in her rare time off, but she misses ballet on the days she doesn’t dance.

“When we have a break and we don’t have ballet,” Rose said, “I feel kind of like there’s nothing to do.”

When asked what her favorite part of ballet is, she cannot pin down one answer.

Rose Kelly as the Swan in the Carnival of Animals last spring.

Rose Kelly as the Swan in the Carnival of Animals last spring.

“I love the music and I love the dances and just how you move to it,” she said, adding, “I just love everything about dance.”

That love has been evident since the beginning.

“There are certain kids that have personalities that kind of relate to ballet,” explained Miss Sara. “She just had that calmness and the regimen didn’t bother her. She could pay attention at a young age…She just took to it – the music, the training – it just came really naturally to her…She just loves it, as you can tell.”

The love of dance is fundamental to HBTS and Miss Sara’s teaching philosophy. Her signature style, which focuses on freely dancing from the heart rather than being bound by strict technique, is well represented in her pupils.

The HBTS style was epitomized by Rose’s performance as the swan in last year’s spring show, “Carnival of Animals.”

“Talk about…using her technique to create something beautiful,” said Miss Sara.

“Watching her grow up has been amazing.”

The Hampton Ballet Theatre School will present Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” on Friday, December 13 at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 14 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Tickets can be reserved by calling 1-888-933-4287 or visiting hamptonballettheatreschool.com.