Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor Express"

Sag Harbor Express Named Newspaper of the Year

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The Sag Harbor Express was named Newspaper of the Year at the New York Press Association convention last weekend in Saratoga Springs. The Express earned the most contest points in the state for a single flag newspaper, based on editorial and advertising awards given out during NYPA’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest. The paper  scored 415 points to best its closest competitor by 120 points.

A total of 158 newspapers submitted 2,760 entries to the contest, competing for awards in 63 categories, including Newspaper of the Year, the Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence and the John J. Evans Award for Advertising Excellence.

The Express placed first overall, second in editorial contest points and third in advertising contest points.

“The content is a good mix of hard news, features, and sports, with plenty of family/living material added to the mix,” wrote judges. “It’s great to see such a robust opinion section, with plenty of local letters and nice house editorial voice. The paper is very solid, as are the special sections which accompanied several entries.”

Advertising director and sports editor Gavin Menu placed second in the Sports Writer of the Year contest and earned a first-place award for sports coverage. Cailin Riley, the sports editor of The Southampton Press, finished first in the Sports Writer of the Year competition for the second year in a row.

“A great sports story should be entertaining and easy to read,” wrote the judges. “Gavin met both criteria in smooth writing that flowed well in each of his submissions.”

Mr. Menu also earned top honors for sports feature story. His piece explored the impact of concussions on the game of football, from a local and national perspective.

Express staff photographer Michael Heller took third place as the state’s Photographer of the Year. The Express also earned a first-place award for photographic excellence, with Mr. Heller placing first for best feature photo, sports feature photo, art photo and spot news photo.

“Michael exhibited a solid proficiency and consistency with the camera in a variety of challenging lighting conditions,” wrote the judges.

The Express also took top honors for education coverage, for Peter Waldner’s editorial cartoon, for best special section for “The Summer Book,” for best special section advertising and for best house ad.

The staff earned a first-place award for Best News or Feature series for a June 2013 issue dedicated to tick-borne illnesses on the East End.

“This series is remarkably sophisticated with deep, current research behind each story, lively, well-edited writing throughout, and a very attractive design,” wrote the judges.

Annette Hinkle was awarded a first-place prize for her feature story “Forgotten Dead Poets? Nevermore,” a story looking at Walter Skold’s mission to visit the graves of dead poets across the country. Ms. Hinkle followed that with a second place award for a feature story on local reactions to the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Express also earned nine second-place awards, five third-place awards and three honorable mention awards, including a nod to editor Kathryn G. Menu for best news story.

Cash Mob To Strike Sag Harbor

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By Claire Walla

So, you wanna be part of the Cash Mob? Here’s all you gotta to know:

You’re going to spend $20.

So will dozens of your friends.

You don’t know where you’re going to spend this money.

And you won’t know until minutes before you actually do.


Ok, despite how it may sound, Cash Mob is actually a concept that refers not to illicit black-market activities, but to an international movement meant to spur commerce on a hyper-local scale.

The idea stems from a movement called Flash Mob, which brings a large group of people to one particular destination for some pre-planned, yet seemingly random event for a brief period of time before quickly dispersing.

“It’s about bringing together a group of community members en masse to descend upon a local business — with cash,” explained Cash Mob East End organizer Laura Houston, “the idea being that when we come together as a community, our $20 can have a big impact on a local business.”

The element of surprise is an integral part of the Cash Mob experience, which will take place for the very first time this Sunday, May 6 in Sag Harbor Village. All participants — with $20 in tow — will gather at the Sag Harbor Windmill at precisely 3 p.m. with no knowledge of where they’ll be going from there.

After a brief introduction, finally, the name of one Sag Harbor business will be revealed, and the mob will migrate accordingly.

It’s not difficult to imagine the benefits such a mob would bring to the business. With roughly 100 people expected to show up, that’s at least $2,000 spent in one place in the span of two hours.  But, Houston continued, the long-term benefits exceed this singular act.

Not only will neighboring businesses see more traffic, but community members will get the chance to meet and converse. (Houston said local efforts have already come together to make Cash Mob East End a reality: freelance graphic designer Jill Kampf designed the event logo, and Montauk Printing and Graphics donated “Cash Mob East End” stickers.)

The event is more a celebration than a shopping spree, Houston continued, inviting participants to come with “spirit” in addition to cash. Houston said participants are encouraged to dress-up and make Cash Mob-inspired posters, like this one from Cash Mob Charlotte: “Give ‘Em All Your Cash!” or this simple design from Cash Mob Lakewood: “Mob Boss,” the words creatively scripted with bullet holes for ‘O’s.

“I really hope someone sings me a song,” Houston mused.

She said mobbers will get major points for creativity, because, in the end, the person with the most spirit will receive a gift certificate for dinner for two from Muse Restaurant, which just opened in its new location on Main Street Sag Harbor. And it is to Muse where the mobbers will head immediately after spending their $20 for an after party of sorts with hors d’oeuvres and drink specials.

Houston first learned of the movement from a New York Times article published last December. She said it sounded easy to organize, and she liked the fact that it promoted both local commerce and community involvement.

“I thought it was inspired and simple,” she explained. “I mulled it over for a couple weeks, then I thought: this is something we should do here!”

The first official Cash Mob was organized by Andrew Samtoy, a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio on November 16, 2011.  Since then, the movement has spread to 45 U.S. states (including Washington D.C.), as well as nine other countries, from Canada to South Korea.

Houston immediately called Samtoy, then got in touch with Terri Hall, a teacher in Southampton, who organized the first Cash Mob Bellport in January of this year.  Through conversations with Hall and by scouring the “suggested rules” on Samtoy’s Cash Mob website, Houston said she picked a business that fits the Cash Mob profile: locally owned, gender neutral and within one block of a locally owned “watering hole’ (in this case: Muse) where the after party will be held.

Houston — who works as an ad sales associate at The Sag Harbor Express — already spends a great deal of time with local shop owners and said she knew how helpful it could be for the business community.

“Working in sales, I spend a lot of time getting to know our local businesses,” she said. “This is just another way to support a community that continues to give the Hamptons the flavor of being home.”

To learn more about the event, visit Cash Mob East End’s Facebook page.

Forged Check Leads to Felony Arrest

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web Richard Klein

By Claire Walla

Last Sunday, January 16 Sag Harbor Village Police arrested Richard Klein, 67, of East Hampton on five felony counts — including two counts of grand larceny in the third degree — and one misdemeanor charge related to a Scheme to Defraud his then employer, the Sag Harbor Express.

Klein was arraigned in Sag Harbor that night and taken to Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverhead, where he is currently being held without bail. During their investigation, police discovered Klein has had two prior felony convictions in the state of New York for which he previously served jail time.

His case is due back at the Sag Harbor Justice Court on Friday, January 21.

The fraud was discovered last Thursday, January 13 when the Sag Harbor Express‘ bookkeeper noticed a discrepancy on the company’s December bank statement. An unauthorized check for over $9,000 had been issued to a local business, one that was currently advertising with the paper.

That day, the bookkeeper and the paper’s publisher, Bryan Boyhan, went to Suffolk County National Bank to get a copy of the erroneous check.

“The signature on it was not my handwriting,” Boyhan explained. “I immediately went to the police with it.”

The subsequent investigation revealed a long line of fraudulent financial transactions stretching back to the spring of 2010, which were initiated by Klein, who worked as a sales representative at the Express.

“Trying to figure all this out was like trying to untangle a piece of spaghetti and make it straight,” said Sag Harbor Police Sergeant Paul Fabiano.

Over the weekend, he and Detective Jeff Proctor sat with financial records of Klein’s transactions since his initial hire in the fall of 2009. They were able to determine that Klein allegedly used credit card information from three local businesses to pay for several other businesses’ ads.

One of these three credit cards belonged to the business to whom the fraudulent check was issued. Last fall, personnel at that company began to notice credit card charges totaling roughly $9,000 over what the company had actually purchased in advertising. According to police, this is where the forged check comes into play.

Sgt. Fabiano went to the business on Friday to speak with the company’s bookkeeper. She reportedly told police she received a check from Klein last month for just over $9,000 as payment for charges Klein allegedly described as “unintentional.”

“He was falsely representing the position of The Express,” Fabiano noted.

What’s more, police also discovered Klein had bartered with local businesses, trading ad space for food and other services. Boyhan notes that Klein did not have the authority to negotiate deals that were not outlined on the company’s rate card. By making a trade deal with an advertiser then recording the transaction as a regular sale, Klein was able to collect commission, in addition to whatever other benefits or services he negotiated with the business.

The Express loses in three ways,” Fabiano continued.  “It loses commission, the commission bonus, if [Klein] qualified for it, and the ad fee.”

“I would say he was struggling to meet his goals,” Boyhan said. “Much of the advertising he was paying for [with stolen credit cards] had never been approved in the first place. It appears he was doing this so he could collect his commission.”

All fraudulent transactions at this point total around $17,000, and involve about 20 local businesses. Boyhan suspects many of these businesses might not be aware that they had been getting what is essentially free advertising.

It’s not yet clear how the situation will be remedied at this point — Klein isn’t expected to be indicted until Friday, January 21. But Boyhan said he’s anxious to make things right for the businesses affected by this situation.

The Express has had a great relationship with the businesses in this community and that’s very important to me and everyone else at The Express,” he said.

Boyhan, who has been at the Sag Harbor Express for 22 years, said this is the first time an employee has breached trust to this extent.

“In personal relationships and in business relationships you have faith that the person you’re doing business with is honorable,” he said. “We at The Express are shocked that someone we were doing business with turned out to be untrustworthy.”