Biologists detangling 800-pound Oriskany from the lines of a conch pot off of Montauk. Photo courtesy of The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.
By Mara Certic
An 800-pound leatherback turtle got tangled in the lines of a conch pot off of Montauk on Sunday, June 29.
The U.S. Coast Guard called in the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research on Sunday when the huge turtle was found entangled in the lines marked by red buoys. No one had claimed responsibility as being owner of the pot as of Wednesday, July 2.
Biologists from the Riverhead foundation packed up their disentanglement gear and traveled the 40-some miles out to Montauk, where a Coast Guard boat took them out to the struggling reptile.
Leatherback turtles are the largest species of turtle in existence today, and the fourth largest reptile. They survive predominately on a diet of jellyfish and have been reported to live up to at least 30 years.
Upon reaching him, biologists quickly managed to free the turtle, which dove underwater and swam away. The members of the Coast Guard who helped with this lifesaving operation decided to name the turtle “Oriskany” after a U.S. aircraft carrier that was sunk eight years ago and now acts as an artificial reef.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research reminds the public to call their 24-hour hotline to report sightings at (631) 369-9829.
John Stefanik of Sag Harbor is currently exhibiting his black and white photographs in a group show at the Elizabeth Fox Overton Gallery in the Riverhead Free Public Library.
The show, which includes eight other artists who teach or work at the Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus, is running until July 25. The other artists included in the exhibit are Jeannette Fischer, H. Alan Feit, Margery Gosnell-Oua, Cheryl Dons kind, JoAnn Dumas, Dawn Lee Di Peri, and Meredith Starr. It was curated by Chris Vivas.
The library is located at Osborne Avenue, with the main entrance on 330 Court Street. For more information, call (631) 727-3228.
The Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund has raised $28.26 million for the first five months of the year, a 5 percent increase over the same period last year when it collected $36.38 million, according to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.
Since it was created in 1999, the CPF, which is funded by a real estate transfer tax in the five East End towns, has collected$923 million.
It is on pace this year to better the 2013 totals, which was the second most successful year in its history, after 2007.
“This reflects the continued strength in East End real estate and the continued availability to local towns of the necessary revenues to protect community character,” he said in a release.
Southampton is leading all towns, collecting a total of $22.5 million this year, while East Hampton has collected $11.66 million. Southold has collected $1.7 million, Riverhead $1.58 million, and Shelter Island, $820,000.
By Tessa Raebeck
This weekend at the Remsenburg Academy, East End Arts will celebrate the long-awaited arrival of summer with an invitational art show featuring five artists from the East End.
Leo Revi of East Hampton, a self-described painter of light, captures the effects of sunlight in his paintings, drawing inspiration from impressionist painters such as Claude Monet and Winslow Homer.
Also using the area’s unique light quality, Riverhead’s Michael McLaughlin, a research analyst by trade, turned to photography when he found the East End and felt compelled to capture its natural beauty.
Sag Harbor’s Linda Capello, a figurative painter, will also show her work, which focuses on the body’s natural movement.
“What I am drawn to—what I draw—is the lyrical, sensual form; the body as icon of power and grace. I try to capture the body in that split second as movement stops—the turn of the head, flex of the arm, movement for the sake of movement, line for the sake of line,” Ms. Capello said.
A sculptor and mixed media artist out of East Quogue, Jonathan Pearlman transforms everyday objects into a new, imaginative form in his sculptures, with the goal that the viewer will discover the intrinsic beauty in the mundane.
Lucille Berril Paulsen of Water Mill will share her figurative paintings, which aim to create visual personality and capture “the attitude behind the face,” she said in a statement.
Here Comes the Sun will open on Friday, May 16 and run through Sunday, June 1. An artists’ reception is Friday, May 23 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, WLNG’s Dan Duprey and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone last Wednesday as Mr. Bellone stopped by the Sag Harbor radio station on a tour of the East End. Photo by Mara Certic.
By Mara Certic
During a whistle-stop tour of the East End last Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared that encouraging economic growth and improving water quality remain among his top priorities.
“I’ve always tried to recognize, even when I was a town supervisor in Babylon, there are a lot of regional things that impact all of us locally,” Mr. Bellone said at a panel discussion with local government officials at the County Center in Riverhead Wednesday morning. “What is happening on the East End in a multitude of ways impacts what’s happening on the West End and vice versa.”
Mr. Bellone and representatives from Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island, Riverhead and East Hampton discussed the need for economic growth west of the canal. “We need jobs on the East End that will allow our young people to live here,” the County Executive said. “I think transportation is key.”
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst agreed, saying that public transportation plans “mostly have been sitting on the shelves for dollar and cent reasons and must be dusted off and attended to now.”
Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who accompanied Mr. Bellone on his tour, mentioned some improvements that have already been made to public transportation in eastern Suffolk County.
“Now, year-round, for the first time … we have seven-day-a-week service,” Mr. Schneiderman said, in reference to Suffolk County Transit buses now operating on Sundays.
Mr. Bellone and Mr. Schneiderman announced last July that Suffolk County received $4 million in federal funding to expand its Sunday bus service which started in in January 2014. The service is now year-round rather than seasonal in nature.
Mr. Bellone emphasized the need for a good county bus system for workers, for those he referred to as “non-choice riders,” but also suggested that transportation market solutions could be broader-based. He stressed that a good bus system could have wide appeal, and would serve to take some cars off the road during the busy summer season.
“I would love to work with you on developing all those transportation plans,” Mr. Bellone told his colleagues on the panel. The county will be bringing on new transportation experts, he said, whose aim will be to continue to increase and improve train and bus systems.
Mr. Schneiderman discussed the difficulties of living under the New York State-mandated 2-percent property tax levy cap. He added, however, that in order to work around this, Suffolk County has an assembly and senate bill that would install speed cameras in every school district, one per district, within a quarter mile of schools. Mr. Bellone explained that the municipalities would earn ant revenue generated from tickets issued through speed cameras and handle all of the contracts involved. This bill – which also places cameras in Nassau County and increase the number in New York City –passed last week in both the New York State Assembly and the State Senate.
Using innovation and technology to develop a sewer system to improve water quality is one of Mr. Bellone’s main goals, he said. There are 360,000 homes in Suffolk County without a sewer system – using a cesspool systems instead – equal to the number of non-sewered homes in the entire State of New Jersey. Suffolk has received a $500,000 grant from IBM in order to determine the best sewering system for each watershed area and to create a program to assist with the expense of implementing those systems.
During a live interview with WLNG’s Dan Duprey in Sag Harbor Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bellone discussed his program Operation Medicine Cabinet, which would encourage the safe disposal of prescription drugs in an environmentally friendly way to protect local waters.
This program placed secure receptacles in each of Suffolk County’s police precincts to allow residents to dispose of prescription drugs anonymously. The Sag Harbor Village Police Department has its own drop box on Division Street. Mr.Bellone last month announced the expansion of Operation Medicine Cabinet to senior centers throughout Suffolk County.
The County Executive continued his tour of the East End in Montauk, where he visited with local business-owners and fishermen. Plans to meet with farmers in Southampton later that afternoon were postponed due to weather.
Fishermen aired concerns about methoprene mosquito-spraying during a roundtable discussion with the county executive and legislator at the Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s Dock in Montauk. The use of methoprene has been linked to killing and stunting the growth of lobsters.
Mr. Schneiderman introduced a bill in July 2013 that would restrict the use of methoprene in estuaries, using alternatives such as Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (BTI) that has not been shown to harm the development of lobsters or other crustaceans. Similar bills have been passed in both Connecticut and Rhode Island.
There is some debate as to what danger, if any, is caused by methoprene, but Mr. Schneiderman continues to seek support for his bill.
“They started using methoprene in 1996,” he said. “In 1995 there was about 4 million pounds of lobster in the Long Island Sound. Now there’s nothing. The sound is pretty much dead to lobsters now.”
By Tessa Raebeck
With the rapid growth of craft breweries on Long Island, East End chefs now have the opportunity to expand local menus beyond homegrown produce and meat to also include the homebrewed.
After spending an afternoon enjoying beers at a few of the local breweries, Chef de Cuisine Kyle Koenig and his wife, Jessica, the restaurant’s beverage director, came up with the idea for the festival, which will feature myriad innovative pork dishes and craft beers from eight breweries.
“We decided, let’s partner with Niman Ranch, where we get a majority of our pork from, and let’s try to get very local brewers together and do a few of our favorite things—to barbecue and have some really great beer,” Mr. Koenig said Monday.
Niman Ranch and New York City-based DeBragga, which supply meat to Topping Rose, quickly signed on as sponsors, as did The Independent, Southampton Publick House, Great South Bay Brewery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Moustache Brewing Company, Long Ireland, Crooked Ladder, Port Jeff Brewing Company and Montauk Brewing Company. A representative of the Montauk Shellfish Company will also be on hand shucking fresh Montauk pearl oysters.
“It’s kind of like any chef’s hobby to do tons of stuff with pork,” Mr. Kotz said. “And we kind of just started going nuts, so we’re going to have this huge spread.”
The chefs are preparing five different types of sausages grilled on a live station, tables of charcuterie, house made terrine, various vegetable sides, house made sauerkraut, sliders, chicharrones, and bacon, to name a few dishes—and the menu is still being expanded.
“We’re still throwing stuff on the bandwagon, our flyer is just a smidgeon of what’s actually going to be produced,” Mr. Kotz said.
Two machines will spin hand-carved pork shawarma, layered meat similar to Greek gyros and Turkish kebabs that spin on a stick vertically. A pork belly will be marinated Indian-style, then sliced to order, put in a pita and served with fresh vegetables. The other spit-grilled meat will be a Mexican-style pork shoulder al pastor.
Guests can also enjoy several porchettas, dishes in which the chefs take the whole loin of the pig, wrap the belly around the loin and cook it as a single piece, resulting in a savory, fatty and moist roast.
“It’s boneless, but because it’s essentially the loin wrapped in bacon cooking, it’s very tender and juicy and you get this incredible, incredible flavor,” Mr. Kotz said.
One table will feature charcuterie slicing with prosciutto Americana from La Quercia, an Iowa company that uses all heritage breeds of pigs to make rare American-made prosciutto.
“It’s just extraordinary,” Mr. Kotz said, “because they don’t salt it as much, so you can actually taste more of the pork.”
Pastry Chef Cassandra Shupp is “doing all kinds of stuff” for the festival, Mr. Kotz said, including making “everything” potato rolls and pretzels that are the chef’s take on everything bagels.
“Everything sticks to what we do here,” Mr. Kotz said, “and that’s local and farms.”
All the meat at the festival is naturally raised and antibiotic free with no hormones.
“So, not only is it just a bunch of pig, it’s pig you want to put into your body,” he continued. “It’s what we believe in and what [Topping Rose Chef Tom Colicchio] believes in. It’s really pushing for better food in our food system in America.” Knowing the benefits of better nutrition, the restaurant tries to “really practice what we’re preaching” he added.
Expanding that practice from the plate to the pint glass was an obvious and easy choice, as the local breweries were eager to join in on the festival.
“They were all like, ‘absolutely,’” Mr. Kotz said, “We didn’t have to twist their arm to be a part of this. This is an excuse to get a lot of people together with a lot of great food.”
Incorporated in 2010 and opened just two years ago, the Montauk Brewing Company has grown rapidly, with its beer now available on draft in about 200 locations from Montauk to the Queens border of Long Island.
Montauk Brewing is bring its flagship beer, Driftwood Ale, and the newly released Guardsman Stout to Saturday’s festival.
“The style is an extra special bitter, and relies on its balance between malt and hops for its drinkability,” Montauk’s Vaughan Cutillo, co-founder and brewer at MBC, said of the Driftwood Ale.
“Driftwood Ale turned out to be a beer that paired well with our local foodshed—from beef to fish to local greens and, most importantly, pork—the beer just worked and we couldn’t be happier,” he added.
Released this winter, the Guardsman Stout is a smooth, bold beer that’s dark in color with a “roasty” finish.
“Our beer recipes to date have accompanied a variety of dishes from our local community, and we would like to continue this tradition,” Mr. Cutillo added. “Doing too much with a beer can sometimes destroy the intentions of the chef. Instead, our beer truly pairs with the meal. The beer and the meal are enjoyed and their nuances complement one another.”
The Pork and Craft Beer Festival is Saturday, May 3, at the Topping Rose House, 1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. VIP admission is $125 and grants access to an exclusive hour with the brewers and chefs at 12 p.m. For $100, general admission grants access to the festival, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information or to reserve a space, email email@example.com.
By Kathryn G. Menu
State government leaders announced this week an initiative aimed at combating heroin abuse on the East End, as law enforcement, public health and court officials acknowledged the growing threat the drug—and other opioids—in Suffolk County.
On Monday, New York State Senator Ken LaValle, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo announced the formation of the Heroin Addiction Legislative Task Force, or HALT.
The legislators said the group was created to identify causes of and solutions to fight the growing heroin epidemic. The task force will specifically look at the five East End towns, according to Assemblyman Thiele.
The creation of the task force was spearheaded by Senator LaValle, after Senate leaders formed a statewide task force in March.
On Wednesday, Assemblyman Thiele said state officials representing the East End recognized approaches to battling the epidemic would need to be tailored for the region—a region with many law enforcement jurisdictions, local court systems, and its own set of obstacles when it comes to mental health care and treatment.
“The increase in heroin use has reached alarming levels and we need to take action to address this critical situation,” said Senator LaValle. “A broad based East End approach will help us to identify areas where we can be productive in combating the scourge of heroin and other opiates. The initial meeting will be the first in a series that will assist us in determining the types of resources that are needed on the East End.”
“The issue of heroin abuse certainly became more high-profile after [the actor] Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death, but if you talk to people in drug treatment programs and law enforcement, this has been a growing problem in the state for several years now,” said Assemblyman Thiele in an interview Wednesday.
“We don’t have a county police department or district courts, we have town and village police departments and town and village courts, so from a law enforcement perspective, dealing with this issue on the East End is different than the rest of Long Island,” he continued.
According to Assemblyman Thiele, the first meeting will be held on May 16 at 10 a.m. at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center on Main Street in Riverhead. That session, he said, will focus on bringing together law enforcement officials, counselors, representatives from treatment groups, as well as town and village justices and government leaders to talk about the epidemic before the task force begins to look at targeted solutions that can aid the East End.
On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said he expects the village will be represented at the forum.
“I think this is a great initiative because this is a problem and it seems to be growing at a crazy pace and is affecting a lot of people,” he said. “Either myself of one of the members of the village board will attend that first session.”
“This first meeting we largely expect it to be us as legislators doing a lot of listening,” said Assemblyman Thiele. “Before we can decide what government can do from a policy perspective we have to talk to the people on the ground dealing with this issue.”
The creation of the task force comes on the heels of two major heroin arrests by the East End Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional agency led by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office that includes officers from town and village police departments across the North and South forks.
In February, nine men—six from the Riverhead area—were charged with multiple felonies for their alleged involvement in the sale of “Hollywood” heroin, a particularly potent brand of the drug that was sold to residents on the East End, including Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. During the course of a years long investigation into that ring, police said they confiscated 2,000 bags of heroin and thousands of dollars in cash.
In April, Suffolk County Police announced the arrest of 14 individuals in connection with an alleged sales ring that ferried heroin from Brooklyn throughout Suffolk County. According to Mr. Spota, that ring had flooded Suffolk County with 360,000 bags of heroin with a street value of $3.6 million.
The arrests come at a time when law enforcement and mental health care professionals are reporting an increase in the amount of heroin and opioid abuse in Suffolk County.
According to a report issued in 2012 by a special grand jury empanelled by Mr. Spota, heroin use between 1996 and 2011 accounted for a 425-percent increase in the number of participants in the Suffolk County Drug Court Program. Opioid pill abuse, according to the report, accounted for a 1,136-percent increase in the number of drug court participants. According to data issued by the county medical examiner’s chief toxicologist Dr. Michael Lehrer, there were 28 heroin related deaths in Suffolk County in 2010, which increased to 64 in 2011 and to 83 in 2012 with 82 deaths officially reported for 2013, although that figure is expected to rise as investigations into other deaths are completed.
The Bridgehampton National Bank (bridgenb.com) Annual Apple Campaign, which was started in 2011 to provide contributions to local food pantries, culminated Monday with the distribution of $1,000 checks to each of 23 food pantries from Montauk to Greenport to Deer Park and Melville. At a presentation and reception at the BNB Bridgehampton office, pantry representatives Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Southampton, Springs and Sag Harbor were on-hand to accept the funds. Maureen’s Haven, which helps the homeless on the East End, also received a check for $2,000. This is only part of the $25,000 donated by bank customers, employees and the company itself.
“This is one of the community programs we are most proud,” said Kevin M. O’Connor, president and CEO of Bridgehampton National Bank. “It is a true collaboration between the bank, its customers and employees, working together to help those most in need in our communities. It is the essence of what it means to be a community bank.”
The Apple program began nearly five years ago with a conversation initiated by the East Hampton Food Pantry. They suggested the “apple” as a means of recognizing donations. With 26 branches across Suffolk and Nassau Counties, BNB took its Apples bank wide. The program is an annual holiday tradition which runs through the end of January. In lieu of a holiday gift, BNB donates in the name of its employees, customers enthusiastically participate and BNB matches donations and fills in any gaps to reach the goal and fund one pantry in each of its markets. In addition to the financial gift, branch staff collected non- perishable foods during the months of November, December and January, which are also distributed to local pantries.
By Tessa Raebeck
Long Islanders have been enjoying homegrown potatoes for generations, but rarely has the local harvest been in their vodka.
At “Hops and Brews” this Sunday, a farmer, a brewer and a spirit maker will discuss the various manifestations of the rapidly growing alcohol industry on Long Island. Panelists John Condzella of Condzella Farms in Wading River, Duffy Griffiths of Crooked Ladder Brewing Company in Riverhead and Rich Stabile of Long Island Spirits in Baiting Hollow will reflect on the collaboration between local producers and the strength of Long Island’s wide variety of goods.
The second installment of the “Conversations With…” lecture series presented by the Peconic Land Trust, “Long Island Grown: Food and Beverage Artisans at Work” will be moderated by Laura Donnelly, a resident of East Hampton, pastry chef, author and the food editor for The East Hampton Star.
“Some Long Island farmers are making really unique or non-traditional products as they strive to meet a growing demand for locally grown and produced items,” said Kathy Kennedy of the Peconic Land Trust, “We’re excited to be able to showcase some of them.”
“I am very excited to have a chance to moderate this panel,” said Ms. Donnelly. “I am a huge fan of craft brewers and love trying local beers and ales.”
With the recent—and fast—growth of craft beer on Long Island, small hops farming has become economically feasible, creating a symbiotic relationship between farmers and brewers. The hops farmer needs the craft breweries to survive and the craft breweries need the supply from their local farms.
Brewers working with wet hops must do so within 24 hours of the harvest, so finding a local source is crucial to a successful wet hop brew. John Condzella, a fourth generation farmer at Condzella Farms, recognized this demand, adding Condzella Hops to his family farm six years ago.
“I wanted to grow a unique crop, something that no other farm was doing,” explained Mr. Condzella. “During college I developed a love for craft beer; I know that was an important catalyst for my hops growing endeavors.”
Initially, Mr. Condzella was picking his hops by hand, enlisting the help of family, friends and local volunteers, until a Kickstarter campaign last spring enabled him to purchase a Wolf WHE 170 Hopfen Pflückmaschine, a German machine that picks them for him. In 2013 alone, Mr. Condzella harvested 800 pounds of hops.
“I think demand on Long Island is growing, the industry is very young. Most local brewers aren’t accustomed to using local whole cone hops. Mainstream hops pellets from around the world are their hops of choice,” Mr. Condzella said.
The demand is indeed growing: Some of that farm-to-growler beer will be available next year at the Crooked Ladder Brewing Company, which opened in July 2013.
Head Brewer Duffy Griffiths said the brewery will start using local hops in September, “when the fresh hops round comes out.” Condzella’s Hops is an option, although Crooked Ladder hasn’t yet chosen its supplier.
“It’s a matter of just using whole hops and supporting your local industry, rather than buying them from the Pacific Northwest or having them imported, so we try to keep everything local,” Mr. Griffiths said. “It helps out the area.”
Keeping everything local is at the core of Long Island Spirits. Founded in 2007, it is Long Island’s first craft distillery since the 1800s. The flagship product, LiV Vodka is made from Long Island potatoes, many of which are grown on the 5,000 acres of farmland surrounding the North Fork distillery.
Supplied by a variety of local farmers, the marcy russet potatoes arrive at Long Island Spirits in one-ton sacks. Three days a week, the distillery goes through roughly eight tons of potatoes. Every 25 pounds of potatoes makes about one liter of LiV Vodka.
The distillery also makes Rough Riders and Pine Barrens whisky and a collection of Sorbettas, liqueurs infused with fresh fruit.
“We’ll use local raspberries or local strawberries,” explained spirits maker Rich Stabile. “We’re using real fruit infused with the vodka that we grow on Long Island, made from Long Island potatoes.”
“We all know Long Island potatoes are the best,” said Ms. Donnelly. “Rich believes it is the sweet, buttery flavor of the potato that makes his LiV vodka so good. I have tried this vodka and it is excellent.”
“Long Island farmland is some of the best agricultural land in the world,” said Mr. Condzella, whose family farm started with dairy in the 1800s and evolved to a potato operation in the 1920s. “Our maritime climate, fertile soils and abundant sunshine are great for growing most crops, and hops are no exception.”
“Hops and Brews” is Sunday, April 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bridge Gardens, 26 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. To reserve a seat, call Robin Harris at 283-3195, ext. 19, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.