Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Village Reaches Settlement With CSEA Union

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The Sag Village Board, which last summer, came to contract terms with its police department union, has reached an agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents most of its other employees.

The agreement, which is retroactive to May 31, 2013, and lasts until May 31, 2015, will award all CSEA employees with a flat $5,000 salary increase, no matter what their current base salary.

Mayor Brian Gilbride this week said that many village employees are currently paid at lower rates than their counterparts in other municipalities and the raise was an effort to rectify the disparity.

The contract also includes a provision that would require CSEA employees, upon 90 days notice from the village, to switch to a health insurance plan offered by Empire Blue Cross, should the village make that switch. Mr. Gilbride said the village is currently self-insured through a plan administered by the Island Group in East Hampton. The mayor said he expected the village to make the switch to the Empire Blue Cross plan as a cost-cutting measure next year.

Finally, the new contract requires that all CSEA employees submit to random drug testing. Mr. Gilbride said the village has a drug-free policy but has not required the testing before. He said there was no specific reason to require the drug testing now, other than for safety concerns, because village employees operate vehicles and other equipment. “My job is to keep the village safe,” he said.

The village and its union reached a tentative contract agreement on September 14, but the details were not finalized until last month.

At its November 12 meeting, the village board transferred $101,420 from a contingency fund and general fund balance to provide for the salary hikes.

Cormaria Celebrates 65 Years as a Retreat House

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By Mara Certic

In 1949, with just $100 in her pocket, Mother Frances Dunne set out to transform a stately summer home into a retreat for those in need of some peace and quiet. And this Sunday, November 23, Cormaria will celebrate its 65th anniversary of Mother Frances’s dream coming true.

Shipbuilder and real estate tycoon Frank C. Havens built the Victorian mansion atop 18 acres on the waterfront on Bay Street in 1905 when he returned to his hometown of Sag Harbor after making his fortune in California. As the story goes, Mr. Havens wanted to build a summer home on the highest land in the area.

The interior of the house was grand and luxurious. Designed by Tiffany Studios of New York, the interior of the house was decorated with embossed wall-coverings made of leather.

Mr. Havens died in 1917, and that year the house was sold to the Marshall family, owners of the famed Chicago department store, who also used it as a private house.

In 1943, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary bought the building to use as a finishing school for young Catholic women. According to Sister Ann Marino, the director of Cormaria, the majority of the students were Hispanic girls who traditionally had gone to finishing schools in Switzerland after completing their studies. After war broke out in Europe in 1939, however, many thought it was too dangerous to send their children there for schooling, and so Cormaria became a place of learning.

“Then the nuns decided they would take a risk and open the retreat house for women—we never had retreat houses, we were in education,” Sister Ann said during a telephone interview this week.

Cormaria held its first retreat on Thanksgiving Day, 1949 and hasn’t stopped since. The first retreat was rather small. Sister Ann imagines there were 15, possibly 20 women there.

In 1960, an extension was built to add 28 more beds, and in 1999 there was another addition. Cormaria can now accommodate up to 72 guests. Last weekend alone, it hosted 40 women.

Originally a women’s-only retreat, Cormaria now opens its doors to people of all genders, persuasions and religions. In the early 1990s, Cormaria became one of the first retreat houses to welcome people suffering from AIDS and HIV. It now holds weekend retreats for people in 12-step programs, and in the summer time it holds eight-day retreats in silence.

Cormaria also holds workshops, teacher conferences, and students from Marymount schools all over come to visit and stay.

“But the theme is be still and know your God,” Sister Ann said. “It’s a place for people to stop. We’re living in a world that is too busy and we need to slow down,” she said.

Sister Ann built a hermitage at Cormaria in 1989, and the center also has a chapel, a professional kitchen, a dining room and several small conference rooms. The entire building is handicapped accessible.

Sister Ann believes the future of Cormaria “looks good,” she said. But it has had its  share of financial difficulties, and keeping prices of weekend retreats reasonable—they currently cost $180—can be trying, she said.

“It’s very affordable, and we try to keep it affordable,” she said. When Cormaria first opened, there were retreat houses both on Shelter Island and in Water Mill. Now, Cormaria is one of only two retreat houses on Long Island. Sister Ann attributes the dwindling number of these escapes to not only staffing shortages, but also financial difficulties.

The immediate future of Cormaria may involve some renovations, Sister Ann said.

“The lady on the bay has weathered many storms, and we’re hoping to give her a facelift—she deserves one,” she said.

“We’re not tearing anything down but painting and plumbing,” she added.

“Cormaria is here, it’s a treasure, it’s a jewel in the heart of Sag Harbor. And it’s here for people to come and be still,” she said.

“Every week I get calls from people to pray and we feel we’re really part of the community. People do come, and anyone can come, we never close our doors to anyone,” she added.

“Mother Francis told me when she began all this all she had was $100,” Sister Ann said, “Never in her wildest dreams would she have thought Cormaria would grow like this.”

On Sunday, November 23, at 2 p.m. Bishop William Murphy will celebrate a liturgy of Thanksgiving at Cormaria.

 

Noyac Hosts Last Tick Talk of the Season

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Jerry Simons discussed tick-borne disease diagnosis and prevention during a symposium at the November meeting of the Noyac Civic Council. 

By Mara Certic

As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, East Enders sometimes fall into a false sense of security, believing tick season is over for another cold winter. But with the ever-increasing number of tick-borne diseases and infections, medical professionals emphasize the importance of remaining vigilant against the virulent arachnids all year long.

In response to the growing number of infections, State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle convened a tick-borne disease task force last year to search for solutions to the problem, which is particularly prevalent on the East End. An advisory panel for Southampton Hospital’s Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center has come up with a multi-pronged mission to help reduce the number of tick-borne diseases and infections on Long Island and around the world.

In addition to facilitating treatment and educating medical professions about the various diseases carried by ticks, the panel has been charged with educating the public at several informative medical symposiums.

Jerry Simons, a physician’s assistant at East Hampton Urgent Care, gave the last such presentation of the year, on November 12 at the monthly meeting of the Noyac Civic Council.

Mr. Simons has been treating Lyme disease for almost 20 years.

“I saw my first Lyme disease patient in 1995,” he said at the meeting. Although the disease is named after a town in Connecticut, a lot of progress and discoveries made on Lyme disease happened out here on the East End, he said. “So it makes sense for the tick center to re-blossom here,” he added.

One of the difficulties of treating Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, Mr. Simons said, is figuring out what the exact strain of the disease is. Whereas people in the past have been told to look out for bull’s eye rashes, Mr. Simons noted that 30 to 50 percent of people with Lyme disease do not develop one.

“In 2014, like there are different types of flu germs or Epstein Barr, there are also different kinds of Lyme disease,” Mr. Simons said. Some of the literature says there are four different strains, whereas some claim there are as many as 12. According to Mr. Simons, those strains can then have up to four different subtypes of their own.

In addition to the many strains of Lyme, there are also diseases such as babesiosis, IA, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and, most recently, the Alpha-gal allergy to meat.

“Sometimes it’s a matter of checking for the right germ,” Mr. Simons said, suggesting that anyone with a worrisome tick bite should ask for the Tick-Borne Disease Panel 3 work up, which tests for many different strains and diseases.

“But what I need you to remember is it’s not just Lyme disease,” he added.

Several medical publications have recently suggested that the ticks with the highest rate of infection in the world are those within a 50-mile-radius of Shelter Island.

“If you were in North Dakota and got a tick bite it would be a different story,” he said. Mr. Simons advocates getting treated with antibiotics right away, adding that they can prevent further, more serious problems four, eight or 12 weeks down the line. Also, spending $20 or $30 on early antibiotics could save thousands of dollars on blood work.

One of his pet peeves, he said, is when patients find a tick on themselves and wait to have it removed by a professional.  “You need to remove it immediately,” Mr. Simons said. Once removed, the ticks themselves should be taken to a doctor’s office, where they can determine the type of tick, its sex and whether or not it’s swollen, he added.

Inspecting the offending tick is one of the ways doctors can quickly and more efficiently diagnose patients, he said.

The bite of the Lone Star tick larvae, for example, can cause the Alpha-gal meat allergy and also other diseases in some cases. When bitten by an infected Lone Star tick, the alpha gal polysugar gets into the body. Once the enzyme is in your body, eating fatty red meats can cause a delayed inflammatory reaction, similar to a bee sting, Mr. Simons explained.

Whereas for some, the Alpha-gal allergy affects them only when they consume red meat, others can have reactions to dryer sheets, cosmetics, even lanoline strips on razors.

Recent research has shown people with Alpha-gal have very low glutamine levels, Mr. Simons said. Glutamine is one of the most abundant naturally occurring nonessential amino acids.

“You’re hearing it here first,” Mr. Simons said, “the advice is to run—not walk—to the store and get a big thing of glutamine.”

High doses of glutamine combined with six months to a year without any sort of meat contact could perhaps reverse the effect of the allergy, he said.

“It’s like in the ’80s when we were trying to figure out AIDS and HIV—you’re living in history,” Mr. Simons said.

For more information about tick-borne diseases call 726-TICK, or visit tickencounter.org.

Home Prevention

While ticks are most active from May through July, they will remain active until the temperature drops below 32 degrees. While the pests can be hard to avoid, here are some ways to keep ticks away:

  • Mice carry the most infectious ticks, so removing leaf piles and brush and other rodent retreats will help keep dangerous ticks away from the house.
  • Damminix tick tubes can be used to kill ticks on rodents. The product is available online, but DIY-ers can create the products themselves by putting cotton balls soaked in permethrin into cardboard tubes in mouse-infested areas. The mice, in turn, collect the cotton balls for their nests and the permethrin kills the ticks on contact.
  • Ticks are very unlikely to cross a 3-foot-wide wood chip boundary, so putting one around a house can help keep them away.
  • Ticks of all species apparently hate the smell of lavender; so dryer sheets and sprays imbued with the scent can also repel them.
  • Diluted DEET should be sprayed on shoes once a month, to keep ticks away.
  • Natural repellents, such as Buzz-Away can be applied directly to the skin.
  • Experts suggest spraying yards or lawns once a month from April to November, as well. Organic sprays are available from East End Tick and Mosquito Control.
  • Applying permethrin to clothes will kill all ticks on contact. Clothes pre-treated with permethrin are also available.

Sag Harbor School District to Consider Six Options for Later Start Times at Pierson

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By Tessa Raebeck Start Times Sidebar copy

Striving to be leaders in the national trend toward later high school starting times, Sag Harbor administrators have outlined six options of potential time changes for the school district.

In early October, in response to concerns expressed by parents and students and a growing body of research that supports moving start times later for students’ overall health and success, the Board of Education created an ad-hoc committee, to explore possibilities and develop plans to present to the board. The committee is in the midst of eight scheduled meetings, with each meeting designed to tackle a specific challenge, such as after-school program scheduling at the elementary school, transportation and budget challenges and athletics schedules.

The decision to pursue a schedule change came shortly after the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report in late August that called insufficient sleep in teenagers “an important public health issue” and recommended all high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The report, and others, showed that teenagers’ circadian rhythms make it nearly impossible for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. and wake before 8 a.m., and that growing adolescents have less ability to focus in the early morning than younger children and adults.

The school board voiced its support of making a change for students’ benefit as early as last spring, but remained wary of the challenges of altering the long-ingrained schedules of school buses, interscholastic athletics and extra-curricular activities.

As it stands, the day at Pierson Middle/High School starts at 7:25 a.m.—which is on the earlier side of national start times—and ends at 2:26 p.m. After a 45-minute route, Pierson buses drop students off between 7:10 and 7:15 a.m. The Sag Harbor Elementary School day begins with morning program at 8:35 a.m. and ends at 3:10 p.m. Elementary school buses also have a 45-minute route, and students are dropped off at the school between 8:20 and 8:25 a.m.

The school district, which owns all of its buses and runs transportation itself to save money, has seven large buses, five mini-buses and one van, and 13 bus drivers and two substitute drivers. There are 750 students who are eligible to ride the bus.

The committee has come up with six possible options (see sidebar) to change the high school start time, which will be presented when the board meets on December 1.

Under the first option, the morning bus runs would remain separate, but the afternoon runs would be combined, meaning that students in kindergarten through 12th grade would ride the bus together. Both the morning and afternoon runs would be combined under options two and three. For those three options, administrators project that five additional buses would be needed. Purchasing two buses and contracting out three buses would cost an estimated $690,799, or $511,769 if the two buses were leased instead of bought. That cost includes an additional parking lot to store the new buses, as the current lots are at maximum capacity.

“Economically,” Superintendent Katy Graves said Monday, “it’s such a challenge to combine the bus routes.” The committee also expressed concerns over having five-year-olds ride the bus alongside teenagers.

“The combined bus runs—again, I always think we can work through issues and we would—but initially, that would pose some obvious difficulties and challenges,” said Sag Harbor Elementary School Principal Matt Malone.

“We’re always aware of the goal of trying our best, within reason, to keep these little kids young as long as we can…that’s something that we’re very cognizant of, so [sharing buses] would be something that we’d have to really talk through and work through,” he added.

Under options four and five, the district would keep the separate bus runs and thus need no additional buses or funding, administrators said. Option six was just added last Thursday and hasn’t been thoroughly vetted yet, but Superintendent Katy Graves said the plan, which is a less ambitious option with a still early start time of 7:45 a.m., “could possibly increase our busing to athletics.”

Ms. Graves said the fourth option, “flipping” the elementary and high school start times, is a popular choice in districts that have successfully implemented a change, but “culturally, the way we built our district with the morning program and everything—I would be very concerned about that.”

Another concern, which was echoed by Mr. Malone and Donna Denon, the elementary school vice principal, is the potential loss of the time allotted for after-school programs, if there was a later dismissal time at the elementary school.

“There’s no way to do this without some kind of effect and a compromise,” said Chris Tice, vice president of the school board, who has been vocal in her support of moving high school start times later.

“Unequivocally,” she continued, “it is so much healthier for kids to go to school later…. Every piece of research documents that this is a worthwhile process to go through, but we have to acknowledge that, I think, almost every choice or recommendation that’s made—it’s going to have some pain associated with it…. That’s going to be the conversation—what is most beneficial with the least negative impact on children?”

The administrators are creating a survey about the potential changes to get feedback from parents, students and staff.

Representatives from Section XI will discuss the impact a change would have on athletics at the committee’s next meeting, on Wednesday, November 19, at 7 p.m. in the Pierson library. The committee will draft final plans on Thursday, November 20, also at 7 p.m., and present those plans when the school board meets on December 1 at 6 p.m. in the Pierson library.

Tait Steps Down From Harbor Committee

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Sag Municipal Building

By Stephen J. Kotz

Bruce Tait, a long-time member of the Harbor Committee, who was stripped of his chairmanship after an ongoing public dispute with Sag Harbor Mayor Gilbride and the Village Board, tendered his resignation on November 5.

“I resigned at this time because I felt the committee was in good hands with a strong leadership and membership and very capable of carrying out the duties that the trustees give them,” Mr. Tait said in an email message from Sorrento, Italy, where he is on a business trip.

“I have been on the committee for many years. And my professional commitments and my volunteer work with the junior sailing program and high school sailing programs at Breakwater Community Sailing are taking more of my time.”

The board’s new chairman, Stephen Clarke, announced Mr. Tait’s resignation at the board’s meeting on Monday.

“I want to take a second to acknowledge his contributions not only to this board, but also to this village,” Mr. Clarke said. “He’ll be missed.”

Mr. Tait, who said he had served on the committee for at least 15 years, found himself in political hot water when he began to publicly criticize first the mayor, and later the entire village board, for what he said was their failure to pay close enough attention to the village waterfront.

This spring, he complained that the village board ignored its own Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) by failing to ask for the Harbor Committee’s input on a number of proposals affecting the waterfront. Furthermore, he said the village was squandering the opportunity to maximize revenue from its docks and mooring field by not better managing the process by which moorings are awarded. He also charged that it was allowing waterfront assets like Long Wharf to deteriorate.

His complaints did not go unnoticed. When the village board held its annual reorganizational meeting in July, Mr. Tait’s name was conspicuously absent from the list of Harbor Committee members up for reappointment.

Mayor Gilbride later said that Mr. Tait’s public chastising of the board was too much and that it was time for a change and appointed Mr. Clarke to replace him as chairman. The mayor said Mr. Tait would continue to serve in a holdover capacity without an official appointment.

This week, Mr. Tait said he believed the committee was in good hands with Mr. Clarke as chairman and the recent appointments of John Shaka as member and Joseph Tremblay as an alternate member.

At Monday’s meeting, committee members said they would soon offer the village board a list of potential replacements.

East Hampton Town Budget Stays Below Tax Cap

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By Mara Certic

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell’s $71.5 million budget has seen some changes to both its revenue and expenditure sides since it was first presented in September, but will remain well below the state-mandated 2-percent tax cap.

East Hampton Town Budget Officer Len Bernard presented some of those changes at a board meeting on Thursday, November 6.

Mr. Bernard explained certain adjustments had been made since the tentative budget was released in September. In the budget, the town had anticipated $50,000 in  revenue from a proposed rental registry law, Mr. Bernard said, which was removed after residents came out in opposition to the law at a public hearing last month.

In its place, Mr. Bernard added $80,900 for lease options the town is entering into with a solar company, he said. “This revenue source may become a recurring revenue source depending on what is discovered during that lease option period, in terms of whether or not the solar energy production is feasible on the sites they’re going to be testing,” Mr. Bernard said.

Mr. Bernard added he had $104,900 for additional public safety into the revenue side of the budget. Mr. Bernard said Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman told him he was “99 percent sure” the town would end up receiving a greater share of sales tax revenue to be used for public safety. This agreement, Mr. Bernard explained, was established as a way to reimburse East End communities that have their own police forces and do not use the Suffolk County Police.

On the expense side, approximately $70,000 was added for police funding, $10,000 for the fisheries committee, $2,500 for the cemeteries fund and $20,000 for a part-time youth coordinator, he  said.

The town has budgeted to close its scavenger waste facility, which will save the town $450,000 between 2014 and 2015.

“It really doesn’t affect revenues, other than the fact that there will be no revenue other than tax revenue for that district. There are going to be no fees because the place is going to be closed,” Mr. Bernard said.

“We’re not realizing any kind of increase in fees, we’re actually realizing a substantial drop is costs that will be going down over time until eventually the place is fully shut down and all of the old debt is paid off,” he said. Mr. Bernard added that the current budget will be $315,000 below the state tax cap, which can be applied to next year’s budget.

Tom Knobel, chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, spoke up during Thursday’s public hearing and said he found some flaws on the revenue side of the budget.

“I believe there are a couple of flaws. I believe you are aiming to a more fee-based budgeting for the town and fees can be punitive,” he said.

Mr. Knobel also expressed concern that the town had anticipated a revenue increase of 18.3 percent, when there has been talk in the town of possibly limiting flights in and out of East Hampton Airport. Mr. Knobel said reducing the number of flights would “would limit the profitability of the airport.”

Other than a $10,000 line item for fisheries, Mr. Knobel said there was nothing in the budget to suggest the town was trying to attract new jobs or strive toward economic development.

Amos Goodman, of Springs, also commented about the town relying on future revenues with “where we are year to date in 2014, really being significantly less than what the previous year’s budget indicated,” he said.

“At $71.5 million, the budget’s less than it was six years ago,” Mr. Cantwell said on Thursday.

Mr. Cantwell added that the New York State comptroller announced on November 4 that after significant review, he had found East Hampton Town’s budget to have both reasonable revenue and expenditure projections.

“The state comptroller’s findings reflect the town’s goal of conservatively projecting non-tax revenue and restraining spending in order to produce a balanced budget,” Supervisor Cantwell said in a release.

 

 

 

Hudson Galardi-Troy

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HUDSON TROY ABRAMS ARTISTS

Hudson Galardi-Troy was bitten by the theater bug when he played Dill in “To Kill A Mockingbird” at Bay Street three years ago. Since then he’s gotten himself an agent, been in countless plays, and has again landed a part in this year’s production of the same play – but this time as one of the leading roles, Jem. The 11-year-old spoke to us about his love of acting and some of his hopes and dreams for the future.

 By Mara Certic

What was it about that first performance that made you want to keep on acting?

Well, playing Dill was my first real performance, so when I went on I realized it was really fun. I just get this good feeling when I’m on stage. With everyone watching you it can get sort of pressure-ish, in a good way. So I just said “I want to do more of this,” so we went into the city and got me an agent and then we were sending me out to some auditions. I changed agents a few times and now I’m with Abrams Artists Agency and they’re really good.

Your mom, Susan Galardi, played Miss Maudie in “To Kill a Mockingbird” when you were Dill and now she’s your acting and singing coach. How do you like working with her?

It’s fun. I mean, I get to rehearse at home, so it’s not like I’m with someone I don’t know, so I don’t hold back. Like if I’m getting a singing lesson, maybe some people would be nervous but since I’m with my mom it’s just like “Oh hey, Mom!”

Literature LIVE is designed specifically for middle and high school students. How has being in the performance helped you learn about the book?

Well when I was first in it, in third grade, my mom read me five pages of the book every night until we finished it, which took a long time. But even though there are some bad words, and it’s from a time that wasn’t very nice, I felt that I was learning about the time period way before we started learning about that in school. So when we ended up studying that time in school it really helped me.

How does it feel to be back in the role that got it all started?

It’s a different director so it has a different sort of take and the other actors are very different. Playing Dill in “To Kill a Mockingbird” three years ago was really the first time I was in a play. Since then I’ve been in readings in the city, I got offered to go on the tour for Broadway, around the country, I’ve done my mom’s theater camp, I did readings called “Ashes and Ink” and “The Silent and the Beautiful” and I did “Galapagos”—I was a tortoise.

Right now, what would be your dream role to play?

Well, I know I’m too young to play the role but I really, really, really want to be in “Les Mis,” as that Javert guy. I also told my agent I want to be on “Modern Family,” but kind of as a joke. I really want to be on a sitcom. I just auditioned for a show on Nickelodeon, it’s a TV show based on the movie, “School of Rock,” and the call backs are next week. It would be for two months in L.A.

How much time do you spend at home in Sag Harbor versus travelling to the city?

Right now I’m not going to any auditions unless it’s really, really big, because I’m in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and I don’t have time. But after that, after “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I’ll go to the city for maybe one or two a week.

How do you strike a balance between your acting and being a kid?

If I get offered a role we make a list of pros and cons, so like: you’ll get a lot of money, but you’ll have to stay away from your friends, stuff like that. But normally, when I get home from school I take a 20-minute break, so that can be reading or playing outside. Then I get all of my homework out of the way. And then after that I can have a friend over, and we can go outside or go swimming. I like hanging out with my friends, I surf, I snowboard, I play a lot of sports. And I like to swim, I really like to swim.

To Kill a Mockingbird will be at Bay Street Theater until November 29. For more information or to reserve tickets call (631) 725-9500.

 

New Bookstore Coming to Sag Harbor’s Main Street

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By Mara Certic

A new bookstore called Harbor Books is scheduled to open on Main Street in Sag Harbor just in time for the holiday season.

“There is truth to the rumor. I am opening up an independent bookstore,” Taylor Rose Berry said in a phone interview on Monday morning.

Ms. Berry, a resident of Sag Harbor, got all of her bookstore experience working at BookHampton, she said.

“I was lucky to learn so much from the folks over there,” she said. “It reaffirmed how much I love the book industry.”

“As a resident of Sag Harbor, I thought it was time to open a book store,” she added. “I thought it was the right moment.”

Harbor Books will be located at 20 Main Street, where BookHampton stood until the owners decided the 2,200-square-foot space was too big for their needs. For the past two years, the building has housed Hampton Culinary, which was open seasonally and sold kitchen goods.

By next month, if everything goes according to plan, 20 Main Street will become a new and improved version of its former incarnation.

Ms. Berry said she is trying to emulate the ambiance of an “old English bookstore.” There will be “big cozy chairs,” and free Wi-Fi, she said, adding she has already bought two sofas from her new neighbors at Black Swan Antiques that will be in the “really cool salon area.”

Ms. Berry added she already has some “amazing” author events lined up, as well as organized story times for the younger set.

Harbor Books will also be home to Sag Harbor’s very own “Phantom Tollbooth,” as both an homage to Norton Juster’s 1961 fairytale and also a place for imaginations to run wild.

“Eventually we’ll have a café,” she added, “but that’s a while down the road”

“I want the community to feel like they have a place to hang their hats in the village,” Ms. Berry said. Her current plan is to open the store on November 22.

“But we shall see,” she said. “That’s my goal.”

Since BookHampton closed, Sag Harbor’s only bookstore has been Canio’s, at 290 Main Street, a few blocks south of downtown.

With Ample Jobs to Choose From, Coding Could Become Sag Harbor Schools’ Newest Pursuit

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By Tessa Raebeck 

Coding, or computer programming, for which there is an abundance of jobs but a lack of workers with the requisite skills, may be incorporated into all levels of the curriculum in Sag Harbor’s schools if Superintendent Katy Graves has her wish. At the Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, November 3, Ms. Graves said she intends for Pierson High School to offer an elective in coding by the next school year, as well as an extra-curricular coding club—as a start.

Coding is learning the language of computers. Students would learn several languages used to structure and style websites, such as HTML, CSS, Python and Javascript. Using knowledge learned in a beginner course, a student could build a professional website entirely on their own, without having to use a host platform.

According to the Conference Board, a global, independent business research association, there is a demand exceeding the supply of available workers of more than 15 percent for computing jobs in New York State, while in all other jobs, the demand surplus is less than 5 percent. In a presentation to the board, school personnel and a small audience, Ms. Graves emphasized that there are far more jobs in coding than there are skilled laborers to fill them.

“At least for the foreseeable future, if you have skills in coding, you’re going to be employable,” she said.

A 2010 to 2012 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the United States is adding over 130,000 jobs a year in computing across all industries, and a study by the Georgetown University Center of Education revealed that over 60 percent of those computing jobs are outside the tech sector. Yet the National Science Foundation estimates that less than 2.4 percent of college students—about 40,000 annually—graduate with a degree in computer science.

“This is the biggest explosion of jobs—and these are not low-paying jobs,” Ms. Graves said.

Despite the increase in students’ access to technology, the number of computer science graduates across the country has actually declined in the last decade.

“Now, since children are born with an iPad in their crib, we don’t usually give them computer classes anymore,” explained Ms. Graves. “So, actually our exposure—exposing children to computers—has gone down, so children thinking of that as a career has gone down as well… we’re not even exposing kids, so kids don’t even think of [computer programming] necessarily as a job.”

New York is one of 25 states where students can count computer science for credit toward high school graduation. The New York State Department of Education does not recognize computer science as a “core” class, but Ms. Graves said programming could be offered as an elective through the math or science departments.

“If we expose children to coding and to computer software, we’re also teaching them computational thinking,” Ms. Graves added, supporting her position with recent editorials in The Guardian and The New York Times that argue coding is not only a hands-on way for students to learn the language of computers, but also teaches them a new way to think about the world, breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable steps.

The administrators and board appeared to support Ms. Graves’s belief that coding is a significant piece of a well-rounded contemporary education. In a separate presentation the same evening, which Ms. Graves said she did not collaborate on, Pierson math teacher Jason LaBatti updated the board on the computer-programming course he teaches, which is part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

Mr. LaBatti, a graduate of Pierson who has been teaching math at his alma mater since 2003, said that in the past, he had many students who went out on their own, taking the initiative to teach themselves coding in the absence of a programming class at school.

“Finally, we made that happen,” he said of his students’ demand for a course. Pierson currently has two computer science classes that are available to IB students; one is 150 hours, the other is 240 hours.

The district has been steadily increasing students’ access to technology in all grades since computers were first introduced to classrooms, and administrators seemed confident Sag Harbor has sufficient laptops and internet access to further implement coding into its curriculum.

Mr. LaBatti said the Smartboard and 25 Macbook laptops he now has in his classroom make “teaching this concept, this whole technology, very, very easy.” He would like to see all students graduate from Pierson with the ability to “design a website from the ground up,” he said.

With most of the technology already in place, Ms. Graves said the financial considerations of implementing a comprehensive coding program would be minimal.

“The curriculum that is supplied is absolutely free of charge,” she said of the program she intends to use, which is offered by Code.org, a non-profit website, funded by top tech personnel like Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, that aims to expand participation in computer science and teach every American student how to code. Launched in 2013, Code.org has a curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade, with instructions, videos, and interactive lessons school districts can use for free.

“The only investment by the district is teaching,” said Ms. Graves, adding that math and science teachers usually instruct computer courses.

“You start out with a small dedicated group and a teacher that’s willing to take on a fairly daunting task,” she said. “We also want to do, if we can, a coding club because that gives us more chance for exposure.”

Pierson Principal Jeff Nichols said a fifth of a teacher’s schedule would be required to implement a high school elective, which is how the district would begin to expand computer-programming opportunities. The school would also offer a coding club as an optional extra-curricular activity after school.

Sag Harbor Elementary School Hopes to Bring Back Once Popular Summer Camp

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By Tessa Raebeck

With hopes of improving student learning and year-to-year retention and helping families who cannot afford expensive local camps, the Sag Harbor School District is considering reinstating its once-successful summer program for elementary students.

Sag Harbor Elementary School Principal Matt Malone and Vice Principal Donna Denon proposed expanding the school’s current summer program to the Board of Education on Monday, November 3. Superintendent Katy Graves said it was the only request made by the administrators when asked what they’d like to see added to the budget.

“It’s important to rest and recharge,” said Mr. Malone of the summer months, “but children definitely regress and the children that regress the most are those that are at risk.”

The elementary school currently has a summer program for special education students; a 12-month learning plan is required for students with learning disabilities as part of their Individualized Educational Program or IEP. It was expanded to also include students who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL) or require Academic Intervention Services (AIS).

About 15 years ago, however, the elementary school’s summer program, Look-See, resembled a camp, open to all students and well attended. It “also offered many enrichment opportunities for boys and girls to take on areas of learning that they maybe aren’t even afforded during the school year,” said Mr. Malone.

Participants could take all sorts of courses: In “Kings, Queens and Castles,” younger students learned the history of monarchs and designed an elaborate cardboard castle in the classroom; Deanna Lattanzio taught a course on scrapbooking in which children gathered their memories into books, and a course on radio culminated with a visit to WLNG to record a public service announcement. The program cost about $120,000 in the annual budget and attracted some 200 students, board member Sandi Kruel estimated.

Mr. Malone said the district “did make a decision to discontinue the program [in the early 2000’s], but each summer when we see the success we have with our current programs, we think maybe there’s a way we can reinstate that.”

“We want to offer courses and discoveries and explorations that are really grounded in reading and writing and mathematics, but also make it fun and engaging for the children,” said Ms. Denon. Traditional courses would be offered in the morning and students could choose which courses to attend in the afternoon, with interdisciplinary options like theater and cooking.

“Out here,” Mr. Malone said, “the cost of camp, the cost of summer programs is extremely high for all of our families and for them to be able to include their children in these programs is cost-prohibitive. If we could find a way in the school district to make something like this a reality we know it would be well attended, much appreciated.”