Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Bay Street Theatre’s New Works Festival Explores the Craft of Playwriting

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By Tessa Raebeck

With three staged readings and an interactive panel discussion, Bay Street Theatre’s first New Works Festival will give up-and-coming playwrights a chance to develop their work in front of an audience—and give that audience a chance to see the culmination of the playwrights’ creative process firsthand.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, an “Artist Interact” panel discussion moderated by award-winning writer John Weidman will allow the playwrights to explore the challenges of being a modern playwright and the process of developing new work in the theater.

At 8 p.m. Friday, the festival starts with a reading of “Fight Call” by Jess Brickman, a comedy about the backstage of the theater world. The play explores the boundaries of trust and professionalism between a veteran theater star and a young up-and-coming actor when one of them threatens to commit an actual act of violence—as opposed to an acted act of violence—on stage during their performance.

A contemporary reimagining of Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard,” according to playwright P. Seth Bauer, “The Orchard Play” will be read Saturday at 8 p.m. It follows the struggle of a Pennsylvania family farm as it tries to contend with outside pressure to sell their land to oil companies interested in “fracking,” hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas.

The final reading is of “The May Queen” by Molly Smith Metzler Sunday at 2 p.m. The comedy focuses on the disappointment of Mike Petracca when he is reunited with the high school flame he has been obsessed with since her departure years before. It examines the unreliability of expectations and the roles people play in one another’s lives, often unknowingly.

“Talkbacks” in which the audience can interact with the writers will follow each reading.

The New Works Festival is at Bay Street Theatre, 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information or tickets, call 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

Fit4Mom is Fit for Sag Harbor

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By Kathryn Menu

Like many first-time mothers, Brooke Cracco fell instantly in love with her newborn twin sons, William and Dean. But her pregnancy and her sons’ premature entry into the world, had not been without their challenges.

While her children were healthy, Ms. Cracco found that motherhood was an isolating experience.

That was until one day, less than a year ago, when she bundled up the twins for a daily walk on a boardwalk in Sunken Meadow Park near her home in Northport.

“There was a mom instructing a group of 20 women, each with a stroller,” said Ms. Cracco. “And these girls were sweating and crunching and singing to their babies. I needed that. And so I took my first class.”

What Ms. Cracco didn’t know was in taking that first Stroller Strides and Fit4Mom class she was about to embark on a journey that would change the shape of not only her body, but also her professional career.

Ms. Cracco earned her national certification from Fit4Mom last September to teach classes in Nassau County. But the Sagaponack native kept hearing from friends on the South Fork about how they were looking for a similar experience—a place where they could engage in a full-body workout with like-minded moms without the burden of having to figure out childcare arrangements.

“I wanted to bring it home and then this opportunity came up in December,” said Ms. Cracco.

Ms. Cracco now owns the Hamptons Fit4Mom franchise and began by teaching a series of indoor classes at Evolution Fitness in Southampton. After meeting with the Mashashimuet Park Board, Hamptons Fit4Mom will launch its outdoor Stroller Strides classes in Sag Harbor, starting Wednesday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m. If Wednesday weather calls for rain, the event will be held on Tuesday, April 29.

Photographer Diana Lee will be on hand to shoot portraits of everyone who signs up for the grand opening class, the first 25 participants will receive goodie bags, and raffle prizes from both local and national sponsors will also be offered. A free stroller strides class will begin at 11 a.m.

Following the grand opening, the class will be held at Mashashimuet Park every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m., with classes moving inside at Evolution Fitness on rainy or cold days.

Fit4Mom is the country’s largest fitness program for expectant and new mothers, with more than 250 franchises offering classes for every stage of motherhood.

Ms. Cracco will also launch a stroller barre class on Thursdays at 10 a.m. at the YMCA East Hampton Rec Center on Gingerbread Lane.

“The stroller barre class mixes stroller strides, the barre method, L.A. Pilates and yoga,” she said. “It’s a great, killer transform-your-body kind of class.”

While all of the Hamptons Fit4Mom classes are designed to give clients a full body, strenuous workout, Ms. Cracco noted it is about more than just getting your body in shape. It’s also about connecting with other mothers.

“It’s a community of moms that develops through these classes,” she said. “It is a full-body workout, but it is also about getting your mind refocused and your spirits recharged. It really becomes a culture, a community.”

“It’s just nice to have an outlet for yourself, and to be able to find that connection with other people,” she added.

And don’t forget those helpful endorphins.

The class is ultimately designed to give mothers an invigorating workout, starting with a warm up that leads into stretching, power lunges, and cardio and muscle exercises.

“You are constantly on the go,” said Ms. Cracco.

And your child? They are entertained.

“The kids really stay engaged in this class,” she said. “There have been so many moms who tell me, ‘My kid will never stay in the stroller’, but they do. They are listening to goofy songs, and it becomes something the children look forward to because it is interactive. This is fitness for the mom, fun for the baby.”

For more information on Hamptons Fit4Moms, visit hamptons.fit4moms.com or call 516-480-4341. 

Arson Charge Levied After Bridgehampton Fire

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Michael Heller photography; reporting by Kathryn G. Menu

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Update, Sunday, April 20:

Southampton Town Police Detectives arrested David Osiecki, 54, of Sagaponack and charged him with arson in the third degree, a class C felony, in connection with a house fire at a $34 million home on Dune Road in Bridgehampton Saturday.

According to police, Mr. Osiecki, formerly of Sag Harbor, was arrested at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. He was also charged with arson in the fifth degree, a class A misdemeanor, for his alleged involvement in a prior brush fire in the Bridgehampton-Hayground area. He was held overnight for arraignment and was expected to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Sunday.

On Saturday, several fire departments on the South Fork were called in by the Bridgehampton Fire Department to battle a blaze on Dune Road. The fire, which was dispatched to the Bridgehampton Fire Department at 5:53 a.m., was fought with additional firefighters from the Amagansett, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, North Sea, Southampton and Hampton Bays Fire Departments, was declared suspicious by the Southampton Town Police Department, whose detectives, along with the Suffolk County Arson Squad, were investigating the fire’s cause and origin.

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Ross Students Offered a Lesson in the Transience of Life

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Lama Tenzin, a Tibetan Monk, creates a Mandala of Tara with colored sand at the lower campus of the Ross School on Thursday.

Lama Tenzin, a Tibetan Monk, creates a Mandala of Tara with colored sand at the lower campus of the Ross School on Thursday.

By Tessa Raebeck; Michael Heller photo

In 1961, two years after Communist China invaded Tibet, 8-year-old Tenzin Yignyen and his parents fled their homeland for India, where they found refuge with other exiled Tibetans in Dharamsala.

Their possessions were gone, and their life uprooted, but rather than giving into hatred toward the Chinese and distrusting the world, the Yignyens—like many other Tibetan families—turned to compassion.

“War is the worst, and it cannot solve any problems; Love and kindness is the fundamental source of our happiness,” Lama Tenzin, now an ordained Buddhist monk, told students in a presentation at the Ross School Friday morning.

Lama Tenzin, who was ordained by the Dalai Lama and earned the highest degree from the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, spent four days at the school last week meditating and meeting with parents, students and staff. His visit culminated in the creation of a mandala, a cosmic diagram representative of the universe, and in this case, a celestial mansion for Tara, the female deity of clarity.

An ancient art form originated in 6th century B.C India, mandalas can be used as spiritual teaching tools to develop virtuous intentions and paths. Lama Tenzin brought white marble dust from India and dyed it into various shades of green, yellow, orange, red and blue. Using a long metal funnel called a chakpu, Lama Tenzin meticulously applied the colored sand to an outlined design, working his way from the center outward. Each line is precise, with every inch of the mandala taking minutes to construct.

By Thursday afternoon, Lama Tenzin had constructed a full mandala, a large circular design about 5 feet in diameter.

Sand mandalas are created in the spirit of impermanence and non-attachment; the monks spend hours creating beautiful designs and when they are finished, they destroy them. The Tara mandala was dismantled in a ceremony Friday morning, when Lama Tenzin chanted, blessed the sand and made the first “cuts” through the mandala, dispersing the sand. The children then used sponge-like brushes to push the sand from the mandala’s edge to the center, blending the distinct, orderly blocks of color into a chaotic rainbow.

“When I cut the mandala,” Lama Tenzin explained, “you should envision all the obstacles in the whole world—particularly for your school—have been removed.”

The sand, blessed by the monk, is then offered to a body of water “for the benefit of marine life, the environment and all sentient beings,” according to Lama Tenzin. Following the dismantling, students, parents and staff members accompanied Lama Tenzin to Long Beach in Noyac to disperse the blessed sand into the bay.

“He makes mandalas to represent that nothing can last forever,” said Francesca, a fourth grade student at Ross, of Lama Tenzin.

“He’s very respectful and he’s a very nice person,” her classmate Gabe added.

Lama Tenzin uses the Tara mandala as a tool to educate the children on overcoming obstacles. The intention, he said, is “to let them know they are spending many, many years to become a smart person…. Smart cannot make them happy.”

“Most important to make them happy is to educate your heart,” he said of the children. “To remind them that [a] good heart is extremely important, compassion is extremely important.”

“We don’t need breakfast, we don’t need cell phones…. Our future generation should be the happier people, as well as make the world a better place to live,” he added.

Lama Tenzin outlined life’s obstacles and the intentions that can overcome them. Doubt and suspicion is overcome with trust, ignorance with wisdom, and wrong views and expectations with realistic views and common sense.

“He teaches us about peace and teaches us to not be greedy and be happy with what we have,” said student Dorothea.

“I think it’s good to have him at the school because he told us we shouldn’t be paying so much attention to what we want,” her classmate, Evvy added. “We should be really thankful for what we have instead of wanting more things…. It’s very important to just learn new things.”

“Surrounded by loving people, you are more happy,” he said, citing the importance of moral ethics. “Educating the heart is extremely important for individual happiness and world peace—how to see the wider perspective, not the narrow point.”

Lama Tenzin said one could be a billionaire with no financial worries and still be miserable if one’s heart did not have compassion.

“Good people with big hearts should live long on this planet,” he said. “Bad people… they die soon.”

“Whenever a problem comes, you should [look at the] wider perspective, different angles,” he added. “You reduce suffering that comes from that problem cause you look from every direction. Mandala is [the] guide map to reach [a high] level of happiness.”

“He’s a good inspiration and role model,” Ross student Elyse said of the monk Thursday. “He teaches good things and you can look up to him.”

“He teaches us about important things like patience, wisdom, love, and compassion,” her friend, Maya, added. “He also taught us that the best way to take care of mistakes is not to make them.”

“I really love you and I really see very many beautiful students,” Lama Tenzin told the group gathered for the dismantling ceremony Friday morning. “You have a bright future and you will make this world a better place to live. The essence of this message is: if you can, help others.”

“If you hurt all the time other people—you lost all your friends and good people, so you feel very lonely on this planet,” he continued. “You should love everyone, but don’t be too attached. Enjoy, love each other, but don’t expect too much from that person or that object.”

Holding up his index finger and thumb about an inch apart, he said, “Human life is very short.”

“We don’t have time for stress, worry,” he said, shrinking down under his hands. “Why you do that? Enjoy each and every moment—that is very important, okay?”

At Long Beach Friday, Lama Tenzin chanted and blessed the sand, reconnecting it to its home in nature. Once a detailed painting, the colored sand was blended together in a vase, with the individual shades lost.

After his prayer, the exiled Tibetan brought the sand to the water’s edge, chanting as he dispersed clumps into the water and the gray-blue mounds were swept away by the waves.

“No single part of the world is independent, everybody is for each other,” Lama Tenzin said. “Whoever you are, if you have love and compassion, that will make you beautiful forever.”

East End Heroin Task Force Formed to Battle Growing Threat

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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.

 

 

 

 

Goats to Munch Away Invasive Plants in Greenbelt

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By Gianna Volpe

It’s been nine years since the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt began their effort to transform Vineyard Field in Bridgehampton back to native grassland after it was overgrown by an invasive plant species. Now goats will join the fight in stemming the tide of the unwanted autumn olive.

Upstate New York’s Rhinebeck-based Green Goats will provide a herd of weed-eating goats next month to the South Fork to aid in the restoration of the field, which lies behind the South Fork Natural History Museum. The property is part of the greenbelt, which runs from Sag Harbor Cove to the Atlantic Ocean.

The autumn olive, a flowering plant with light silver bark, was originally planted for its beauty. It also attracts birds because its fragrant flowers become berries. But the thorny plant is also so invasive it outgrows and shades out native species, ultimately forming a an impenetrable thicket.

The FLPG believes Green Goats is an ideal choice for getting an upper hand on the autumn olive as the invasive plant reasserts itself with a vengeance during the growing season when the Friends refrain from using mowers on the field to protect the its wildlife, including snakes, turtles, and snails.

“We’re losing the battle, so we’re hoping these goats are going to help,” FLPG president Dai Dayton said of the project. “They can graze throughout the summer without hurting any animals, so we’re hoping they will put an end” to the fight against the autumn olive.

Green Goats has been providing the chewing power to eliminate unwanted plant populations throughout the state—its goats chomp up poison ivy, phragmites and other undesirable plants—for seven years now.

Mozart the goat and his band of hungry friends began their work in 2007 when they cleared out invasive plants threatening a Civil War gun battery at New York City’s Fort Wadsworth, according to the Green Goats website.

“Larry brings his goats to the location, and they munch away for the season, and then he takes them home for the winter,” Ms. Dayton said of Green Goats owner, Larry Cihanek. “The goats prefer to browse, so they’ll really go after those autumn olives. They like to eat shrubs.”

Mr. Cihanek’s four-legged weed whackers are not shy and their reputation for browsing aggressively precedes them, according to Ms. Dayton. Though some autumn olives stand 6-feet-tall, she said the animals will gang up on a single plant to get the job done.

“They stand up on their hind legs and Larry said they will actually push the plant right over and they all jump on it and eat it,” she said. “It’ll be fun to watch…. We need those big goats to get up there and defoliate the plants so they finally die.”

Mr. Cihanek’s goats should arrive at Vineyard Field in the beginning of May.

Southampton Town has already contributed $3,500 so that Mr. Cihanek’s goats begin their work on the town-owned land next month, but Ms. Dayton said that will cover only half of the cost for the six-month initiative. She is asking the public to help the cause through donations to the Friends of Long Pond Greenbelt website (longpondgreenbelt.org) and has invited all to see the project in action first-hand during an educational program called “Project Goat,” which will take place at Vineyard Field on August 16.

“With My Own Eyes” Explores Arab Culture with Sag Harbor Resident Ken Dorph

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Sag Harbor resident Ken Dorph in Tunisia in 1976. 

By Tessa Raebeck

Ken Dorph has lived with a polygamous family in Morocco, was kidnapped in Mexico City and picked olives with Palestinians next to an Israeli settlement. In his career in international banking, Mr. Dorph, a longtime Sag Harbor resident, has traveled the world, meeting people and learning about their respective cultures, histories and prejudices. In all his travels over a 40-year career, Mr. Dorph says he has never encountered a people so misunderstood by Americans as Arabs.

On Thursday evening, Mr. Dorph talked about the history, misconceptions and politics of the Arab world. The talk was the first of a new series, “With My Own Eyes,” sponsored by Bay Street Theatre and the John Jermain Memorial Library. with the intent of bringing local residents together to learn from the experts in their midst.

“We really can bridge our differences with enough information,” said Catherine Creedon, the library’s executive director, who on Friday called Mr. Dorph’s talk “the realization of a longtime dream for me.”

“History is never fully objective,” Mr. Dorph began, citing both his own subjectivity and the manner in which schoolchildren are taught. “History is always told from the perspective of which facts are chosen, how you speak it.”

The presentation was dedicated to two of his friends, Rob Deraney, who died in the World Trade Center’s north tower on September 11, 2001, and Tracy Hushin, who was killed by a car bomb in Amman, Jordan, in 2005.

“September 11 profoundly affected me,” Mr. Dorph said, “Not just the loss of a friend, but this sense of misunderstanding between the Arabs and the Americans. I decided I wanted to come back to the Arab world; I had to be an ambassador. I had to show the Americans that not all Arabs are evil and I had to show the Arabs that not all Americans hate them.”

Mr. Dorph emphasized that, contrary to its representation in popular culture, the Muslim world is not monolithic. From democratic, secular Turkey to the fundamentalist absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the Arab world is spread across a myriad of dialects, nationalities and continents. Some 90 percent of Arabs are Muslims, but only about 20 percent of Muslims are Arabs. Of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority live in Asia—India has more Muslims than the entire Arab world.

The center of civilization for centuries, the Arab world once boasted most of the world’s largest cities and flourished with art, architecture, music, philosophy and all forms of culture.

“Before the discovery of America, Middle Eastern dominance seemed inevitable,” Mr. Dorph said. “Most of the great urban centers of the world until the 20th century were in the Middle East, Europe was a backwater…. this whole idea of Europe ruling the world is a relatively new concept.”

In addition to the misguided view of the region as uncultured, primitive. and monolithic, Mr. Dorph said there is grave misunderstanding of women’s position in Islam.

“For its time,” he said, “Islam was a feminist religion, remarkably feminist.”

The first wife of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was a businesswoman who didn’t wear a veil. The Muslim holy book, the Quran, banned female infanticide, gave women inheritance rights and right of witness and limited polygamy, divorce and dowries, all radical policies for the 7th century.

“Throughout the Arab world, women are as literate—in some cases more literate—than Arab men, actually in many cases now,” he said.

“I have worked all over the world and I have found that in Egypt, Turkey, in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Morocco, there are more women in authority—in banks at least—than there are in the United States—and way more than on Wall Street. I worked on Wall Street and Wall Street was like Saudi Arabia…[that] may have changed now, but [was] certainly true in the ’80s—worse than Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Mr. Dorph said in Korea and Japan, the opportunities for women are “way worse than in the Arab world,” yet people rarely comment on the treatment of women when discussing those countries.

When thinking of Muslim women, many Westerners conjure up images of  women in burqas, with nothing but their eyes showing through black cloaks. In reality, most Muslim women who wear veils choose to don a hijab, or simple headscarf.

In an informal survey of some 50 Muslim women, Mr. Dorph asked why they choose to wear the hijab. He received an “amazing series of responses,” he said, “but almost all of them have to, number one, deal with identity. The Muslim world knows that America is on their case.”

In response to prejudice against their religion because of the perception that it oppresses women, many Muslim women have decided to wear the veil in a proud statement of their Islamic identity.

Mr. Dorph recalled a Syrian woman who said to him, “The Lebanese girls with their makeup, with their hair, nobody takes them seriously. But when I wear my hijab with no makeup, people take me seriously.”

Mr. Dorph also spoke in-depth of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, noting, “Israel’s creation was devastating to the Arab world in many ways.”

When the newly formed United Nations partitioned Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1948, the Arab world was essentially divided in half. The centuries-old trade route from the cultural center of Cairo to the intellectual capital of the Arab world, Damascus, was eradicated.

“All these trade routes that had existed for thousands of years were gone because you had this hostile area in between,” Mr. Dorph said.

“I think it’s part of our culture that we see the world through the Israeli lens,” he said, adding that a third of American foreign aid goes to Israel and the United States is the only country in which over half the population views Israel favorably.

“Life in the occupied West Bank is a series of obstacles,” he said. There are areas Palestinians are allowed to build, areas they can go with permission, areas where they are not allowed and “checkpoints everywhere.”

“It’s a disturbing place,” said Mr. Dorph, adding that the West Bank is a “different place” than the rest of Israel, which is considerably more progressive and secular.

When he first saw the wall in the West Bank, Mr. Dorph thought it was a prison. When his cab driver told him otherwise, “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I cried. I just thought this is wrong, this is not the way to build a future.”

“The extremists are killing us, they’re the ones. It’s not the Israelis, it’s not the Egyptians, it’s the nutcases that are the problem,” he said.

A film of Mr. Dorph’s presentation can be found at the library’s temporary space at 34 West Water Street in Sag Harbor. 

Temple Adas Israel Seeks Cemetery Expansion

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Temple Adas Israel’s effort to expand its Chevra Kodetia Cemetery on Route 114 just south of Sag Harbor received a sympathetic hearing when it was unveiled before the East Hampton Town Planning Board on April 2, but board members nonetheless pointed out that a number of significant hurdles need to be overcome before it can be approved.

The key barrier to the congregation obtaining site-plan approval for the expansion is that the 1-acre property proposed for it, which the congregation purchased more than two years ago, is in a water recharge district, where clearing restrictions are stricter than for similar sized lots elsewhere to help protect the groundwater from pollution.

The situation is further complicated, said Miles Anderson, the Sag Harbor attorney representing the synagogue, this week because town law requires that burials must be done in sealed caskets, “which is against the Jewish faith,” if a cemetery is in a water recharge area.

Yet another twist to the application is that Suffolk County tax maps erroneously show the original Chevra Kodetia Cemetery as part of a larger, 6.3-acre parcel, which includes 5.3 acres owned by the Jewish Cemetery Association. In fact, the properties were legally split in 1891, Mr. Anderson told the planning board, with Temple Adas Israel owning only a 1-acre portion of the larger parcel.

In their initial review of the site-plan application, town planners erroneously thought the two cemeteries shared a single parcel. As a result, they overestimated the amount of land that could be cleared.

“Our current cemetery is practically filled. We have been looking for this opportunity for a long time,” Howard Chwatsky, a synagogue trustee and chairman of its cemetery committee, told the planning board. “We are here out of need. As they say, people are dying to get in.”

Mr. Chwatsky told the board that the two cemeteries were split in the 19th century because two groups of Jews, some from Hungary and some from Russia, did not get along and quipped that they were still fighting today.

This week, Rabbi Leon Morris of Temple Adas Israel took pains to stress that there was no animosity between the groups, “I do a lot of funerals in both cemeteries,” he said, adding that the different cemeteries were the result of different waves of Jewish immigration. “It’s akin to the differences between a Roman Catholic Church that is Irish and one that is Italian,” he said.

Of more pressing concern is whether the town will even allow the cemetery to expand because of limits it imposes on cemeteries in water recharge districts that require “caskets to be encased in watertight liners to restrict the entry of body decomposition and embalming chemicals into ground or surface water.”

Rabbi Morris suggested that when the town adopted those restrictions “it didn’t have in mind Jewish burial practice” in which bodies are not embalmed and buried in simple pine coffins. “Maybe the restrictions were based on the assumptions bodies would be embalmed and that a lot of toxic glues would be used in coffins,” he said.

A key now, he said, was determining how “arbitrary the lines are in demarking an area next to a historic cemetery” as a water recharge district. “We only purchased that land so we could increase the size of our cemetery,” he said.

Mr. Anderson told the planning board the synagogue would be happy to go before the town Zoning Board of Appeals. “We just need direction so we can get off square one,” he said.

“I see no reason why they can’t grant a variance,” he said on Tuesday. “The question is will they?”

Mr. Anderson added this week that he expects to meet with the town’s building inspector and planners in the coming weeks to discuss the application and what needs to be done to get it moving. “It is going to result in a catalog of issues we have to address,” he said of that meeting.

Board members said they wanted to work with the synagogue, but they had questions about a plan to provide access to the expanded burial ground via Six Pole Highway. That road now serves a single house and would have to be improved to provide access. Synagogue representatives said they did not envision heavy use. Rather, they said the access would be used during the development of the site, to allow backhoes to enter the property to dig graves, and allow hearses to get closer to gravesites.

Eric Schantz, the town planner assigned to the application, stated in an email on Tuesday that the planning board has the authority to issue a special exception permit that would allow additional clearing, provided the property meets a minimum size, but he added that he did not believe the synagogue’s property would meet that threshold and would likely require a variance from the ZBA.

Mr. Anderson said it was anyone’s guess why the county tax maps had never differentiated between the two, separately owned, cemeteries. “They were classified as one cemetery. Because nobody was paying taxes on it — and nobody was required to pay — it was overlooked,” he said.

Ceremony Planned At Amagansett Lifesaving Station

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East Hampton town officials and the Amagansett Life Saving and Coast Guard Station Committee have invited the public to attend a ceremony at noon on May 3 to commemorate a new flagpole on the grounds of the Amagansett Life Saving Station at Atlantic Avenue Beach.

The Amagansett Life Saving Station was built in 1902 and operated by the U.S. Life Saving Service until 1915, when it was taken over by the U.S. Coast Guard, which operated it until the mid-1940s.

In 1966 Joel Carmichael saved the building by moving it to Bluff Road and converting it to a home for his family. Forty years later, the building was given back to the town by the Carmichaels. It was lifted off its foundation at their property and moved down the road back to its original site where it is now being restored.

School Board Candidacy Petitions Due Monday in Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor

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Residents interested in running for school board in the  Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor School Districts must submit their petitions for candidacy by Monday, April 21.

In Bridgehampton, there are two, three-year terms open this year. One seat is currently held by Elizabeth Kotz, a former board president whose son, Henry, is a senior at Bridgehampton High School. Ms. Kotz was first elected to the board in 2005, but resigned for personal reasons in 2011 before being brought back onto the board last summer in the wake of the resignation of then board president, Nicky Hemby. Ms. Kotz was appointed to a one-year term to fill the remainder of Ms. Hemby’s term. A second three-year term is also up for election this May. That seat is currently held by Gabriella Braia.

In Sag Harbor, three, three-year terms are open this year. Those seats are currently held by board president Theresa Samot, and board members Sandi Kruel and Mary Anne Miller.

Candidate petitions must be turned into the district clerk in both school districts by 5 p.m. on Monday. Both district budget votes and board elections will be held on Tuesday, May 20. In Sag Harbor, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Pierson Middle-High School gymnasium. In Bridgehampton, polls will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

The Sag Harbor School District will host a voter registration day on Tuesday, May 6, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the district clerk’s office. On May 13, Bridgehampton School will host its own voter registration day, from 4 to 8 p.m.