Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

PSEG Phone Scams Continue on South Fork

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An ongoing scam attempting to get PSEG Long Island customers to fork over money under the threat of having electricity service terminated continued this week, with business owners on Main Street in Sag Harbor reporting they had received phone calls from an individual named “Anthony Garcia” stating they owed money to the utility and asking them to pay an outstanding bill over the phone.

On April 8, two business owners contacted Sag Harbor Village Police to report an attempted scam. According to police, while two businesses filed formal reports, other businesses reported similar phone calls with a man stating he would shut off electrical power if customers did not make payment within hours via a Green Dot Money Pak, a prepaid card available at local retailers.

This has been an ongoing scam and PSEG is aware of the situation, according to a “scam alert” section of the utility’s website. Email scams have also been reported. The utility urges any customer who has doubts about the legitimacy of a call from PSEG, especially those where payment is requested, to call the company directly at 1-800-436-PSEG (7734).

Sunday Accident in East Hampton Results in Non Life Threatening Injuries

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Heller_EHFD MVA ifo Red Horse Mkt 4-13-14_5157

At 2:42 p.m. on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 the East Hampton Fire Department was called to Montauk Highway in the area in front of the Red Horse Market to assist the East Hampton Village Police at the scene of a single-car motor vehicle accident after an elderly man traveling eastbound fell asleep at the wheel and left the roadway, striking a telephone pole and a tree. The man and his wife were transported to Southampton Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, after which members of the fire department’s “White Knights” heavy rescue squad stood by while the car was extricated.

Michael Heller/East Hampton Fire Dept.

Katy’s Courage 5K Raises $50,000 for Research, Scholarship, Education

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Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy's Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Katy’s Courage, the non-profit dedicated to education, counseling and pediatric cancer research, hosted its fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K on April 5. More than 1,200 participants, along with babies in strollers pushed by parents and dogs of all shapes and sizes, ran, jogged or walked to the finish line to help raise funds as well as remember Katy Stewart, a Sag Harbor resident who succumbed to a rare form of pediatric liver cancer in 2011. More than 700 participants pre-registered for this year’s race, which raised over $50,000 through donations, money raised by runners and walkers and sponsorships.

“We relish the opportunity to bring the community together with the aim of creating possibilities for children,” said Brigid Collins, Katy’s mother.

Proceeds will benefit a scholarship awarded to a Pierson High School student, a donation to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the creation of Katy’s Kids, a new partnership with the Children’s Museum of the East End.

For more information about Katy’s Courage, visit katyscourage.org. Donations can be sent by check to P.O. Box 3251, Sag Harbor, NY, 11963.

Southampton School District Voters Approve Parrish Art Museum Funding

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Parrish

Voters in the Southampton School District on April 9 approved a proposition to help fund the Parrish Art Museum’s educational programs and exhibitions. The measure will provide $326,509 in funding—the same amount of money the museum has requested since 2009. The funding accounts for 7 percent of the museum’s annual operating budget.

A total of 178 votes were cast, with 101, or 57 percent of those made in favor of the funding, with 43 percent of voters opposing the proposition.

This is the first year the vote was held at the museum and the first year the proposition was separated from the annual Southampton School District budget vote, which takes place next month.

Following the examples of museums and libraries on the East End of Long Island and across the state, the Parrish chose to move the vote to the museum to enable voters to experience the institution firsthand, and to make clear the proposition is not connected to the school budget.

This is the 42nd year voters have approved requested funding for the museum.

Broadway Baby Presented by the Southampton Cultural Center

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Follow the journey through Broadway and the American Songbook of Valerie diLorenzo, an award-winning professional singer and Equity actress in Broadway Baby, a concert presented by the Southampton Cultural Center.

On Saturday, April 26, the center presents an evening of songs, stories and laughter as Ms. diLorenzo recounts her experiences in the entertainment industry. The actress recently portrayed Miss Mona in the critically acclaimed production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” by the center’s performance group, Center Stage. She also acted as one of the principals in “Motherhood Out Loud” and hosted the SeptemberFest music festival last fall.

Barry Levitt, the former artistic director for the 92nd St. Y Lyrics and Lyricists series, will accompany Ms. diLorenzo. Guests artists Anthony Santelmo Jr., a favorite of the New York City Cabaret scene, Jon Burr on bass, Henry Gordon on drums and The Barry Levitt Trio with Barry Levitt on piano will join her on stage.

Featured composers in the concert include Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Alan Menken, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren.

Broadway Baby will grace the stage of The Levitas Center for the Arts Saturday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. The center is at 25 Pond Lane, across the street from Agawam Park in Southampton. Admission is $15 for general audiences and $10 for students and seniors. Reservations are encouraged. For tickets, call the Southampton Cultural Center at 287-4377 or visit scc-arts.org.

Ken Dorph

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Sag Harbor’s Ken Dorph will discuss his experiences in the Arab world as both a business consultant and interested observer at the Bay Street Theatre’s inaugural “With My Eyes” series, sponsored with the John Jermain Memorial Library, on Thursday, April 10, at 7 p.m.

By Stephen J. Kotz

You will be speaking at the Bay Street Theatre tonight on your experiences in the Arab world. Can you give us an overview about what your talk will cover?

The title of my talk is “An Evening with my Friends, the Arabs,” and that sort of sums it up, with a heavy emphasis on friends. I have spent a good chunk of my life in the Arab world, and I have a passion for it. I think the Arab world is the most misunderstood part of the world on the part of Americans and I feel it is my responsibility to do something about it.

We know you have a background in banking and are now a consultant. Can you tell us a bit about your career and how it led to your work in the Middle East?

I was actually pre-med and I switched to anthropology—a real useful major—and I went on a junior year abroad to Morocco and later was in the Peace Corps in Tunisia. I went to graduate school at Ann Arbor, which is a great place for Arabic, and went on a Fulbright to Damascus while at Michigan…. I decided that I did not want to work for the U.S. government. I started to look around to see who was doing interesting stuff and it was business. I worked for Citibank, Smith Barney and the World Bank and then became a consultant.

I happened to be in China on September 11. I was planning on coming home on September 12…. I was so hoping somehow by some miracle the Americans would respond intelligently, so, of course, we invaded Iraq. I just decided as I was sitting in China, I wanted to come back to the Arab world.

What kind of work have you been doing lately?

I have been working with the World Bank to help the Tunisian government restructure their banks after the revolution. I’ve been working with USA ID [The United States Agency for International Development] helping the Libyans extend political power and services to local governments, and that has been extremely interesting because you have to go out in the countryside. I’ve also been working in Morocco with the World Bank to encourage investment, Saudi Arabia to get small business financing, and to set up a [agricultural] bank in Egypt.

You obviously don’t think Americans have good reason to be suspicious of the Arab world. Why is that?

I don’t see things the way I see things portrayed by the American media. It’s not my experience. I’m on their side. I work with them, I’m trying to help I’m not the enemy.

Fundamentalism is a problem, but that’s everywhere—Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian. There is nothing inherent about Muslims that is any worse than Christians. I’m none of the above, I was raised a Universalist. I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I do think there is a lot of unfairness.

Yet, there does seem to be plenty of Arab animosity directed at the west. Is that a misconception?

The Muslim world has grown more Muslim because of what the rest of the world has done to it. In the 1960s, most of the Arab leaders were secular…. Do you know who Mossaddegh was? He was the democratically elected president of Iran who was overthrown because he wanted to nationalize the oil fields. The shah was put in power and he was extremely ruthless. The Iranian revolution took on a fundamentalist flavor. Then Saudi Arabia had to crack down and become more fundamentalist. People are not any more crazy in Yemen than they are in California.

What I see in the Arab world are normal people trying to live normal lives and do their best, loving their children and going to work. I think it is important to try to have a bigger heart. I tend to be an optimist. It is my nature to believe that humans are rationale. I think it is in our interest to work together.

Sag Harbor Likely to Move Forward with Traffic Calming This Spring

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An aerial map of Sag Harbor Village highlights key intersections being explored for improvement under a traffic calming initiative spearheaded by Serve Sag Harbor.

An aerial map of Sag Harbor Village highlights key intersections being explored for improvement under a traffic calming initiative spearheaded by Serve Sag Harbor.

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

Sag Harbor officials appear ready to move forward with a pilot program to calm traffic at key intersections throughout the village.

The pilot program could be launched as soon as June of this year, said Mayor Brian Gilbride, following a presentation Tuesday night by the non-profit Serve Sag Harbor. The group wants to focus on passive ways the village can reduce the speed of vehicles and make its streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Serve Sag Harbor, and its sister non-profit Save Sag Harbor, have been working with Michael King of Nelson/Nygaard and Jonas Hagen, a Sag Harbor resident in the doctoral program in urban planning at Columbia University, on traffic calming solutions for the village since last October. With the village board’s approval, the organizations created an ad-hoc committee including Trustee Robby Stein to discuss the issue, with Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley tapped by the group for their input.

“This really all comes out of the idea of safety,” said John Shaka of Save Sag Harbor at Tuesday’s village board meeting. Mr. Shaka went on to describe several traffic related fatalities and a handful of non-fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists in East Hampton and Southampton towns since 2012.

“I am here to tell you, I was shaken up by this—we were shaken up by this,” said Mr. Shaka.

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Mr. King noted vehicle speed literally is the difference between the severity of a traffic accident involving pedestrians or cyclists.

“If I get hit by someone driving 20 mph, the chances of me surviving is really, really good,” he said. “If I get hit by a car going 40, my chances of dying are really, really good.”

The organizations have tasked Mr. King and Mr. Hagen with planning for traffic calming solutions at a total of 19 intersections throughout the village. The pilot phase would involve the repainting of roadways, extending sidewalks, and strategically placing planters and garden beds. On Tuesday, Mr. King showed the board a handful of examples.

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The village board looked at options at Main and Union streets in front of the John Jermain Memorial Library and the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, as well as improvements at the intersections of Main and Glover streets, Main and John streets, Jermain Avenue and Madison Street, Jermain Avenue and Suffolk Street and Jermain and Oakland avenues.

Some intersections, noted Mr. King, involve large scale plans, while others are more simple. He suggested the trustees consider tackling two small intersections, and two complex intersections, in the first phase of the program in order to track the effectiveness of the traffic-calming solutions.

At Main and Union streets in front of the library, Mr. King has proposed the village bump out the sidewalk on all four sides of the intersection to increase public space, which could be lined with planters. Mr. King’s proposal also calls for four crosswalks to be painted—two on Main Street, one on Garden Street and one on Union Street—as a part of the plan and that Main Street be painted a different color at this intersection to create a plaza-like feel that will slow vehicles down.

Proposed traffic calming improvements at the intersection of Suffolk Street and Jermain Avenue.

Proposed traffic calming improvements at the intersection of Suffolk Street and Jermain Avenue.

At most of the remaining intersections, repainted crosswalks, small sidewalk bump-outs lined with planters, and small plazas in the middle of roads just before intersections entail most of the traffic calming improvements. The intersection of Jermain Avenue and Suffolk Street represents a more complex proposal, including a large interior plaza breaking up the roadway, and four crosswalks to ease pedestrian travel. In front of Pierson Middle-High School sidewalk extensions are also proposed as is the creation of a plaza-like road on Jermain Avenue to slow traffic.

“What I recommend always is pilot programs,” said Mr. King. “If you like it, you can get some more money and make it better. If you don’t like it, you can take it out.”

Serve Sag Harbor board member Susan Mead said the organization would like to work hand-in-hand with the village to select four intersections to focus on as a part of the pilot program.

“Let’s pick two or four intersections, get some costs and then let the public see how they work,” said Mayor Gilbride.

“I think we will all work together to at least get some pilot projects started,” he added, saying that to measure the success of the improvements they should be completed prior to the busy summer season.

“The chief and Dee [Yardley] have to be involved in this 100 percent,” said Mayor Gilbride. “We have a couple months.”

Sag Harbor Fire Department First Assistant Chief James Frazier said it appears some of the intersection improvements block access to fire hydrants. Mayor Gilbride suggested the department attend the next traffic calming meeting to discuss that that issue.

In other village news, the board held a public hearing and adopted a new law establishing a board of ethics to implement the code of ethics written into the village code in 2009. According to village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr., while the village complied with state law by writing the code of ethics, it never established the ethics board, which will consist of three members to be appointed by the village board of trustees.

Trustee Robby Stein suggested the board look into installing attendant parking at the former National Grid gas ball site, located on Bridge Street and Long Island Avenue. The village current leases that property from the utility and uses it for parking. Mr. Stein said with attendant parking, the village could potentially see an additional 60 parking spaces in that lot.

“Where I am is there are companies that do this professionally and we know we have a parking problem in the village,” he said, suggesting the board invite some private firms to present the board with options.

 

Gregor Offers Noyac Road Update to Civic Council

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor on Tuesday said he was optimistic a long awaited construction project on Noyac Road at Cromer’s Market should be completed by the end of June.

Speaking to the Noyac Civic Council, Mr. Gregor said PSEG Long Island had finished moving electric lines serving the area to new poles and that he was waiting for Cablevision and Verizon to move their lines. Verizon crews will then be in charge of removing the old utility poles before DeLalio Construction begins to work on the road itself.

“Since we had such a hard winter, we had a hard time getting the utilities motivated,” said Mr. Gregor, who added that he hoped that the poles would be moved by the end of this month. “The contractor will need two months to complete the project.”

The project is expected to improve traffic at a busy and dangerous curve, improve traffic circulation to Cromer’s and other businesses and side streets, and reduce stormwater runoff.

Mr. Gregor was joined at Tuesday’s meeting by Supervisor Anna Throne Holst, Councilwomen Christine Scalera and Brigid Fleming and Tom Neely, the town’s director of public transportation and traffic safety.

The town officials also answered committee members’ questions on other topics, including deer and the East Hampton Airport, although Noyac Road took center stage.

Improving the short stretch of road has proven to be a controversial project. First proposed seven years ago, the project went through numerous changes before ground was finally broken this year.

Mr. Gregor said that it had already been decided that Noyac Road is too busy even during the offseason for any work to be done on the weekends. Crews will work five days a week, he said, and try to keep two lanes open at all times. He said he expected the project to be wrapped up by the end of June, but if weather, or some other situation slows work and traffic becomes “too horrendous,” crews will not work on Mondays and Fridays during the latter stages of the project, to reduce traffic tieups around busy weekends.

Despite the fact that the project has been discussed for years, some council members said they were concerned it would not do much to improve traffic on the curve.

Glenn Paul said the new layout, which would require vehicles entering and leaving Cromer’s to do so at either end of the store’s parking lot, would result in tie-ups and more congestion.

“Do you think that will alleviate accidents at that spot?” he asked.

“That’s what we’re working on,” replied Mr. Gregor. “There has been some skepticism, but we think this is an improvement.

The highway superintendent said he expected a newly designed drainage system would dramatically reduce the amount of stormwater that runs down Bay Avenue and Dogwood and Elm Streets to the bay.

Mr. Gregor said he was pleased to report that he road work would cost about $521,000, well below initial estimates of $780,000 or more.

Other council members asked if a major repaving project on Montauk Highway from Southampton to East Hampton might result in traffic being diverted to Noyac Road, but Mr. Neely said there were no such plans, and he added that he expected contraction crews to have made their way through Bridgehampton, moving eastward, within three weeks.

Dorothy Frankel said she was happy to see the Cromer’s corner being dealt with, but said the time had come to do something to reduce speeding along the rest of Noyac Road. She suggested reducing the speed limit, adding lane dividers at key places or even designating part of the shoulders as bicycle lanes.

The only solution, Mr. Gregor said, was for the town to either increase the number of police enforcing the speed limit, which he said would provide spotty coverage, or installing a speed limit camera that would record a vehicle’s speed, take a photo of its license plate automatically generate a ticket.

Ms. Throne Holst said the town has requested that such cameras be placed along Noyac Road, but said that they are only legal in New York State in school zones.

“Speed cameras, we think, would be the perfect solution for Noyac Road,” she said, “Once you get that picture of your license in the mail and a whopping ticket, you start to notice it.”

 

Sag Harbor School Board Delays Videotaping Policy Approval

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Members and mentors of the champion Pierson Robotics team attended the Sag Harbor Board of Education's meeting Monday to ask for funding for their trip to the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in St. Louis later this month. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Members and mentors of the champion Pierson Robotics team attended the Sag Harbor Board of Education’s meeting Monday to ask for funding for their trip to the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in St. Louis later this month. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

While committed to rolling out a six-month trial starting July 1, the Sag Harbor Board of Education postponed the second reading of a policy aimed at allowing the board to videotape its meetings and share those sessions online. The board paused in approving the policy so it can be reworded to more accurately reflect the district’s intentions, said board members on Monday.

“One of the concerns is some of the language in the policy is really not specific to how we’re going to do this,” said board member David Diskin, a proponent of videotaping meetings, who has said the technology could improve public access to the board as well as board transparency.

Board members said they would review the policy with Thomas Volz, the district’s attorney. The targeted date for running a six-month trial, July 1 through January 1, remains on schedule.

Seth Redlus, executive director for LTV, East Hampton’s public access television station, attended Tuesday’s meeting to answer the board’s questions about video implementation.

Both LTV and SEA-TV, the public access station for Southampton, will broadcast the meetings for district residents in each town. Mr. Redlus said if a meeting was taped Monday evening, it “would be a safe bet” that video would be available to the public by Tuesday at noon on the station’s website.

“I would reach out to SEA-TV and talk to them about finding concurrent air times, so that way you don’t have to tell your East Hampton residents it’s on at that time or tell your Southampton residents it’s on at that time,” he said.

Mr. Redlus also assured the board if a meeting runs longer than the two-hour time period allotted for its broadcast—which they often do—the programs scheduled after are “not critical, so that way they can be yanked on the fly.”

LTV’s policy is generally to leave videos on demand on the website for up to three months, but still hold on to the material in case there are requests for it.

Scott Fisher, technology director for the district, said Tuesday the original estimate for the project was roughly $2,000 but “we were able to pull together some of the equipment from within.” The district still needs to purchase microphones, a camera light and a few other small items, but estimates that cost will be “well under” $1,000, said Mr. Fisher.

In other school news, the board approved $17,000 in funding for the Pierson Robotics Team to attend the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, April 23 to 26.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more inspirational performance than I saw that night,” said Dr. Carl Bonuso, interim superintendent, of the robotics team’s showing at the regional championship two weeks ago. “Or a better example of championship, scholarship and sportsmanship than I saw the night that this Team 28 fittingly won its Engineer Inspiration Award. Inspiration is literally the word.”

The board will cover the cost of the students’ hotel rooms and pay both the airfare and hotel rooms for four chaperones, as well as buses to and from the airport.

The board’s next meeting is Wednesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson Library.

Committee Recommends Scaled Down Parking Lot Option for Pierson

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The Educational Facilities Planning Committee recommended the school board pursue Option 3 for the Pierson parking renovations. Plan courtesy Sag Harbor School District.

The Educational Facilities Planning Committee recommended the school board pursue Option 3 for the Pierson parking renovations. Plan courtesy Sag Harbor School District.

By Tessa Raebeck

After hearing input from concerned residents Tuesday, members of the Sag Harbor School District’s Educational Facilities Planning Committee decided to recommend the third and smallest of three options for a new parking plan at Pierson Middle-High School to the school board.

The committee will bring its recommendation—overwhelmingly favored by the those in attendance—to the board’s April 23 meeting, when the board is expected to make the final decision on the parking lot reconfiguration.

The bond project, which the community approved in November, originally included plans for 46 parking spaces at the Jermain Avenue lot at Pierson, an increase of seven over the 39 spaces currently in place. Throughout the process, the facilities committee said all proposals were primarily focused on improving students’ safety, not on adding parking.

Just prior to the vote, a group of concerned citizens and neighbors of Pierson came forward in opposition to the plans. The group of dissenters, many of them involved in Save Sag Harbor and traffic calming efforts in the village, were critical of what they saw as unnecessary encroachment on green space and the disruption of the vista of Pierson Hill.

Those community members said they were in favor of many aspects of the bond project, but could not vote for it if their issues with the parking lots were not addressed. Dr. Carl Bonuso, interim superintendent, assured the group the plans were “conceptual schematics” that could be adapted following the vote. The district said should the bond pass, a community conversation on the parking plans would follow.

The three options, devised by the district’s architect, Larry Salvesen, with help from landscape architects in his firm, were first presented to the board and the public on March 25.

Option 3, which eight of the 11 facilities committee members voted for on Tuesday night, provides the district with a net gain of one parking spot. It expands the Jermain Avenue lot at Pierson westward, but considerably less so than the first two options. The plan has 30 total spaces in the Jermain lot, five spaces for on-street parking if permitted by the village, and an optional three spaces that could be constructed in the future.

Under this option, there is “still a slight increase in asphalt,” according to Mr. Salvesen, with the pavement growing by somewhere between 5 and 8 percent. It addresses major safety concerns of the committee by eliminating cars from backing out onto Jermain Avenue and providing safer access for emergency vehicles.

Trees that would be removed under the other plans, such as a Norway maple, would not be affected, although two others would still be relocated.

“My real observation from walking the [Pierson] hill was to discover that this is really a commemorative slope up here and the more we can save of the view shed and the hillside, the better off we are,” said Mac Griswold, a Sag Harbor resident and landscape historian. Of the dedication trees, she said, “It’s as though people understood that this part of Pierson Hill is a really good spot for commemoration for people who have passed on, for celebrations; it’s an important place. So Option 3 should be the only option we should consider in terms of that aspect for the village.”

Ms. Griswold’s comments elicited applause from the some 20 community members in attendance.

“I’d really like the people who are voting on this—whether the committee or the board—to think about legacy,” said Ken Dorph, a district parent.

“Mrs. Sage gave us this land 100 years ago with trees, with a view, with a spiritual sense of place,” he said of Pierson’s benefactor. “One hundred years later, our generation already made a huge chunk out of it for the automobile and we’re thinking of adding more parking. Our descendants will be ashamed of us. Adding parking at this stage of American history is a disgrace.”

“I’m not in favor of more parking,” said facilities committee member Ellie Janetti, a parent with kids in each of Sag Harbor’s three schools. “But I am committed to making sure that the environment our children are in is safe. When I heard that the fire and safety vehicles didn’t have proper access, that is number one.”

“I can assure you that this committee has met for three years and, if not all of us, most of us, I would say, have the same feeling you do. We’re not sitting here thinking of how to create more parking, I assure you,” she said.

The committee’s recommendation of Option 3 will be presented to the board at its April 23 meeting, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson Middle-High School library.