Tag Archive | "Peconic"

North Fork Helicopter Panel

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South Fork residents aren’t the only people complaining about helicopter noise. Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork, and the Southold Town Board will discuss that very topic at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 11.

Speakers will include Adam Santiago, the district director for U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s office, Kyle Strober, the director of the Long Island District Office for Senator Charles Schumer, and Debbie Tinnirello, Long Island regional director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition, several citizen advisory committee  members from communities of the South Fork will provide their perspective as well as airplane pilot Joseph Fishetti.

In an effort to accommodate all interested parties, panelists will speak for a total of five minutes and residents will have three minutes to ask questions or offer comments.

The meeting will take place at the town’s Recreation Center at 970 Peconic Lane in Peconic.

East End Winemakers Call 2013 Best Vintage Yet

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Grapes being picked at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. Photo by John Neely.

Grapes being picked at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. Photo by John Neely.

By Tessa Raebeck

As if anyone needed another reason to drink wine, the 2013 vintage is the best local winemakers on both forks have ever seen.

“It’s really spectacular,” said Roman Roth, winemaker for the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. “You hear about these fabled vintages like ’76 and ’45 – this is one that we have.”

“The entire East End is producing great wines,” agreed winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez of Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead.

Winemakers were nervous last spring, when May was a particularly rainy month and June was the second wettest on record. They soon found their worry was preemptive.

“Then came the most fantastic summer,” said Roth. A heat wave in July followed by a generally dry, long summer helped the winemakers to overcome the wet spring.

The summer was good, but the fall was better.

“What almost always makes a fine harvest – an excellent harvest – is a sunny, dry fall,” explained Larry Perrine, winemaker at Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton. “It doesn’t have to be hot, but it’s sunny and dry. And basically from Labor Day on, it didn’t rain. It rained the day after Labor Day and then it didn’t rain for the next seven weeks.”

The dry weather moves the ripening schedule of the fruit forward, preventing any rot. Because the fall was dry without being too hot, the tender varieties were not adversely affected. The yields were substantial and the quality superior across the board, ensuring that the 2013 vintage is excellent for whites, rosés and reds.

“All conditions were great,” said Lisa Freedman, a PR representative for Martha Clara Vineyards, “as far as weather and Mother Nature – and there were no hurricanes.”

Regions renowned for wine, such as Friuli, Italy or Bordeaux, France, have heavy rainfall during the growing season and a dry end of season. This year, the East End of Long Island got a taste of that perfect wine weather.

2010 previously held the crown as the best year in local winemakers’ memory and 2012 was also a landmark year, but it just keeps getting better, they say.

“There’s a lot of great wines up in the pipeline,” said Roth. “But it will all be topped by this 2013 – that’s for sure.”

The sun rises over the harvest at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack.

The sun rises over the harvest at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack.

Since he started making wine in 1982, Roth has seen maybe three lots (batches separated by varietal, date picked or vineyard section) “that are really special” each year.

“But this year,” he said. “We have thirty lots. The lots came in with the highest color, the deepest color, so it’s an amazing opportunity where you have lots of options for great wines.”

The first 2013 wines released will be the rosés in the early spring, followed fairly quickly by the aromatic, fresh white wines, such as sauvignon blancs. Fermented in stainless steel and bottled early, those white wines will be released by the spring or summer of 2014. Other whites fermented in oak, like Chardonnays, could take as long as 2015.

The reds take the longest, spending at least a year in the cellar. Channing Daughters is just now bottling its 2012 reds, so 2013 reds won’t be available for over a year, most likely two. At Wölffer, the top 2013 reds won’t be released until 2016. As Roth said, “good wine takes time.”

The goal of the North Fork’s Lenz Winery in Peconic is to release wine that “will be among the very best of its type, made anywhere in the world.”

Several years ago, that would have been a bold claim for a Long Island winery to make, but these days, it appears to be quite realistic.

Micieli-Martinez calls it the “Napa-fication” of Long Island’s wine industry, referring to the initial disregard of Napa Valley wines. It was believed California couldn’t compete with French and Italian wines, but today Napa Valley is considered to be one of the world’s premier wine regions.

“I think it contributes to the growing really positive perception…of the quality of Long Island wines and of New York wines in general,” Perrine said of the 2013 harvest. “It does improve steadily the reputation of the wines as being first-rate, world class wines.”

“It’s truly a special year,” the 30-year winemaker continued. “We’ll always remember.”

“It’s just perfect,” said Roth. “It’s a dream come true, basically.”

Three East End Hospitals Form and Alliance

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The three East End hospitals last week rolled out a new agreement they have forged together crafted to bring a broader and more balanced menu of services to local residents, give them a stronger bargaining position and find economies that will make the three institutions more financially stable.

The East End Health Alliance comes about ten years after the three hospitals had formed the Peconic Health Corporation, an ill-fated agreement that, some say, was restrictive and hamstrung the institutions.

“It’s too cumbersome a structure if every decision has to be approved by everyone in the room,” said Southampton Hospital President and CEO Robert Chaloner. “Nothing gets done.”

The organization of the earlier agreement required that each of the three hospitals had to agree unanimously on a proposal in order for it to move forward, said Chaloner. And that is the biggest difference between the two organizations. The Alliance includes a board made up of 21 members, seven from each hospital, and a simple majority will get a proposal approved. A super-majority — a much higher percentage of aye votes — would still be required for certain major decisions, such as creating debt.

As designed, the board will have authority over long term and strategic planning, and will be responsible for approving each hospital’s budget. In addition they would implement and approve programs and approve affiliations and partnerships, such as one being developed with Stony Brook University Hospital.

Individual hospitals would still be responsible for day-to-day management of services and operations, fundraising and developing the budgets that would be approved by the Alliance board.

“I lived through the first alliance, and I think there is a whole new spirit,” said Southampton Hospital Vice Chairman Richard Hiegel at signing ceremonies for the new alliance at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead on Friday. Hiegel said he believed the alliance would put an end to what he called “destructive competition,” and would allocate services between the three “in a reasonable way.”

“The board and staff are committed,” he promised. “There is no doubt we will succeed — we must succeed.”

The new alliance is largely the result of recommendations from the Berger Commission, a state constituted panel that was formed to look at health care in New York for the 21st century. The panel, which released its recommendations early last year, was charged with studying the needs and services of hospitals and nursing homes across the state to ensure they were appropriate to meeting community needs, as well as providing affordable and meaningful care with economies that would guarantee fiscal stability.

In some cases, the Berger Commission actually recommended the shutting of some facilities, said Chaloner. In the case of the East End hospitals, they were urged to work together.

“When we were told by the commission to work with fellow hospitals, I said ‘Sheeeesh, here we go again’,” said Jesse R. Goodale III, chairman of the Peconic Bay Medical Center (formerly Central Suffolk Hospital).

Goodale, who will serve as the Alliance’s second vice chair, said his own hospital was undergoing a major construction project at the time.

“I said ‘Keep your eye on the prize, and that’s the construction’,” Goodale related during Friday’s ceremony.

But Goodale was enthusiastic about the new arrangement.

“The construction is still the major prize, but it’s not the only prize,” he told the crowd. “The new goal is when I can say to someone, ‘Why don’t you visit our hospital,’ and take them to Southampton; or say ‘Why don’t you see what we’re doing,’ and bring them to Eastern Long Island.”

Southampton Hospital itself is confronting demands and pressures on its facility, and will now be subject to review by the East End Health Alliance for any major changes. It has explored possible sites for expansion or building a new facility, and while property owned by the Elks Lodge of Southampton on CR 39 has been targeted, Chaloner said they are still considering other options.

“We need to do something with the facility, that is accepted,” said Chaloner. “What goes into it is something we will have extensive discussions about. Also, what is the financial reality? And what is a good site?”

In all, the alliance will serve a population of about 300,000 people across eastern Long Island’s 300 square miles, and provide care to approximately 16,000 inpatients and 60,000 emergency room patients. And while each of the hospitals continue to have a mandate to offer services such as emergency rooms, operating rooms and a minimum number of in-patient beds, each hospital will also be developing their own specialties. Peconic Bay Medical Center will specialize in physical rehabilitation and Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport will expand their already significant psychological services. Southampton will continue to grow its women’s services and will begin phase two of their obstetrics and gynecology expansion, which will be regionally dominant.

“People ask why, if we’re going to move, would we still do this,” said Chaloner. “Any move is still five or six years away and a lot of babies are going to be born between now and then.”

 “All these services require great expense,” said Chaloner. And the creation of the Alliance brings with it a $14 million award from the state to further develop the specialties.

Part of the challenge all three hospitals face is the migration of patients to hospital and health facilities further west on Long Island and into New York City.

“Our agenda is to focus on needs and opportunities across the East End,” said Chaloner, who will serve as a board member for the new alliance. “Over the next two years we will do a fundamental analysis.” In particular, he said, they want to pursue the patients who are leaving for cancer and cardiac care.

 “When we went through the Berger process, we were told that we had created a model,” said State Senator Ken Lavalle at Friday’s ceremony, who acknowledged the process had been a difficult one. “Today we are bearing the fruits of tough decision making and putting in place a health care delivery system that will be the envy of the rest of the state.”