Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Sag Harbor School Board Appoints New Member

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Sag Harbor school board members and new School Business Administrator Jennifer Buscemi watch as new board member Thomas J. Schiavoni is sworn in by District Clerk Mary Adamczyk Monday in the Pierson Middle/High School library. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Thomas J. Schiavoni was sworn in as the Sag Harbor School District's newest board member by District Clerk Mary Adamczyk on Monday, August 18. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Thomas J. Schiavoni was sworn in as the Sag Harbor School District’s newest board member by District Clerk Mary Adamczyk on Monday, August 18. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

The Sag Harbor Board of Education appointed Thomas J. Schiavoni of North Haven as its newest member on Monday, following the resignation of Daniel Hartnett mid-term last month.

Mr. Schiavoni, who teaches middle and high school social studies in the Center Moriches School District, is active in volunteer and civil service groups throughout town. He is also the newest village trustee in North Haven Village, having been elected June 17. He is a former member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, past president and treasurer of the Bay Haven Association and an active member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

A lifetime resident of the village known around town as Tommy John, Mr. Schiavoni is married to Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni. The couple has two children in the district, Anna and Thomas Jr.

After Mr. Hartnett, was required to leave the board due to residency issues, the board had several options on how to move forward.

At its July 28 meeting, the board, citing the advice of its attorney, Thomas Volz, outlined its options as follows: Holding a full interim election to allow the community to vote for the candidate; not filling the empty seat, which could allow the New York State Education Commissioner Roger King to fill the position for the board if he chose to do so; and screening applicants to choose a candidate who would serve until the next election, on May 18, 2015.

Following the precedent of similar situations in the past, both in Sag Harbor and at neighboring districts like East Hampton, the board chose to solicit the community for interested parties, screen applicants and appoint its newest member.

In a press release issued on July 30, the board announced it would accept applications and appoint a community member to fill the position. The deadline for applications was Monday, August 11, with the goal of presenting a candidate at the next scheduled meeting August 18, a deadline that was met today.

The school board said Monday that, after screening four interested candidates, its decision to appoint Mr. Schiavoni was unanimous.

“It was an unwelcome task to have to fill the vacancy of Dan Hartnett, whose insight and input was universally valued by this body and the community at large,” board member David Diskin, who was not in attendance, said in a statement read aloud by Theresa Samot, president of the board. “However, because of legal advice we were obligated to fill this spot.”

“Tommy John Schiavoni,” he continued, “is a man of character and integrity and has relevant and valuable experience for our school district. I am sure the board will be well-served by his presence as a trustee.”

Mr. Diskin added he is hopeful Mr. Schiavoni will seek re-election to a standard three-year term in the annual community-wide elections in May 2015.

Diana Kolhoff, a new board member who also did not attend Monday’s meeting, said in a statement she was pleased with the candidates who came forward. She said she hopes the candidates, who all “have a lot to offer to the school and to the board,” will be willing to serve on committees and find other ways to be involved.

Ms. Kolhoff added she is in “total agreement” with her fellow board members and that Mr. Schiavoni’s commitment to education is clear.

“We were very fortunate to have four people in the community that were so qualified to step up,” added Chris Tice, vice president of the board, who also reiterated Ms. Kolhoff’s sentiments on how she hoped the candidates who were not selected would seek other ways to be involved.

“I am delighted that you are going to be joining the board,” Ms. Tice told Mr. Schiavoni. She said the board really valued Mr. Hartnett’s participation as a colleague due to his experience working in the East Hampton School District and that she is “very confident that Tommy John will continue to help us with that as well.”

“It’s an honor to have you serve with us,” added board member Sandi Kruel, “to have you serve with us, to bring what you’re going to bring to the table—which is definitely an educational piece, which is what Dan [brought]. Those are really big shoes to fill, but I don’t think for one minute you’re going to have any problem filling those shoes.”

After the board unanimously passed the resolution to appoint Mr. Schiavoni, District Clerk Mary Adamczyk swore in the new trustee, who took his seat at the table behind a shiny new name plaque.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 15 to 17

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"Pont de Tournelle" by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

“Pont de Tournelle” by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art, films, and alternative energy; there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend:

 

“Water 2014″ opens at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor on Saturday, August 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

The annual exhibition features contemporary and classic photography “depicting life in and around the most powerful force of nature,” said the gallery. Dan Jones, Karine Laval, Herb Friedman, John Magarites, Blair Seagram, Tulla Booth, Anne Gabriele and Jay Hoops will show their work at the gallery, which is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

 

Furthering on your water weekend, visit the Parrish Art Museum for the Maritime Film Festival, a 70-minute screening of short film selections, on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m.

The program includes a brief talk by artist Duke Riley, a live musical performance and a special sampling of Sag Harbor Rum.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.

 

Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the Hamptons International Film Festival presents “Last Days in Vietnam,” on Saturday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The documentary, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy,  follows United States soldiers during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, when the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

A question and answer session will follow the screening, which will be held at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call the box office at (631) 324-4050.

 

The East End Climate Action Network will host its first annual Sustainability and Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday, August 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett Village.

The event features exhibitions from leading companies in the sustainability and renewable energy fields, as well as informal lectures from energy and environment experts, local food and fun games and other activities for kids. Local artists will perform at the end of the day.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read "The Tempest" at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read “The Tempest” at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

There will also be opportunities to get involved in local sustainability and climate change efforts, including solar energy consultations, beach clean-ups and membership sign-ups for local environmental groups. For more information, visit Renewable Energy Long Island.

 

Celebrating the launch of The Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative, Bay Street Theater will present two outdoor staged readings of The Tempest starring Tony award-winner John Glover as Prospero, on August 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the first performance is a VIP benefit held on a private waterfront estate on Shelter Island. The evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails followed by a 7 p.m. reading, includes a reception with the cast.

Sunday’s reading, which is open to the community free of charge, also starts at 7 p.m. at a thus far undisclosed location. There will be bleacher seating, although guests are encouraged to bring chairs, picnics and blankets. The reading will take place as the sun sets, with the stars coming out as Mr. Glover reads Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.

For more information, call the Bay Street box office at (631) 725-9500.

UPDATE: Armed Suspect of Violent Bridgehampton Home Invasion Sought

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By Tessa Raebeck

Southampton Town Police, in pursuit of an armed suspect from an earlier home invasion, sealed off the Huntington Crossway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on Tuesday evening at about 7:30 p.m., according to multiple reports from witnesses.

Sag Harbor Village Police Clerk Gigi Oberlander confirmed Wednesday that the Southampton Town Police Department had called Sag Harbor police to the scene as backup, asking them to maintain the perimeter because a suspect was at large.

Sag Harbor police assisted in searching several properties, but the suspect could not be found, and the investigation remains with the Southampton Town Police, who declined to comment Wednesday.

Tuesday evening, a Bridgehampton resident told the Sag Harbor Express that police officers were on the Huntington Crossway armed with automatic weapons. Several minutes later, another passerby told the Express they were driving by the scene and saw cops with shotguns. A police helicopter arrived shortly thereafter, other residents said.

Another Bridgehampton resident was notified by a friend in the police department that police were searching for a male suspect armed with a firearm in the neighborhood.

A Sag Harbor police officer, speaking anonymously, said Southampton Town Police were called to a home invasion by an armed man on the Huntington Crossway on Tuesday afternoon. Police could not find the man at that time but were called back several hours later after receiving word that the suspect had returned to the neighborhood.

UPDATE: In a press release issued late Wednesday, Southampton Town Police confirmed they had received a call of a “burglary in progress” at a residence on Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton on Tuesday at approximately 11:31 a.m. Upon arrival, officers were told there was a 26-year-old male upstairs who was a victim of violence. Once the scene was secured, the man was transported by ambulance to Southampton Hospital, where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries.

An initial investigation of the site revealed to police that a man possessing a handgun had forced entry into the residence by violently shoving a 51-year-old woman when she answered the door. After entering the house, the armed man went upstairs and demanded that the 26-year-old victim give him money. The robber then hit the man repeatedly with the handgun and stole multiple electronic devices from the home, before fleeing on foot.

With the assistance of Sag Harbor Village Police and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, Southampton Town Police searched the area but were unable to find the armed man. The Southampton Town Police Detective Unit is undergoing an investigation into the incident. They have ascertained that the residence was not selected randomly, but targeted for the crime.

Arbitration Panel Awards 2.5-Percent Raise to Sag Harbor Cops

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By Stephen J. Kotz

A three-member arbitration panel this week has ordered that Sag Harbor Village police officers receive retroactive 2.5-percent raises, covering the period from June 2011 to June 2013, but also required that any new hires to the department be required to contribute 15 percent toward their health insurance costs.

In their final offers before going to arbitration, the PBA had sought raises of 4.5 percent for 2011 and 2012, while the village had requested a wage freeze in 2011, a 1-percent raise for 2012, and a 2-percent raise for 2013.

The village had also requested that newly hired officers be required to contribute 25 percent of their health insurance costs and that in the future all members of the department share in the burden of paying for rising health insurance costs by contributing half toward premium increases after May 31, 2012.

“I think it is fair for both sides,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride, who said he had yet to read the arbitration panel’s complete ruling and deferred additional comments to Vincent Toomey, the village’s labor lawyer, who represented it on the arbitration panel. Mr. Toomey could not be reached for comment by this edition’s deadline on Wednesday.

Although Mayor Gilbride said the village sought a lower pay hike, he said the panel’s ruling marked the first time in New York State that arbitrators had required police officers be required to contribute to their insurance costs.

Officer Pat Milazzo, the president of the Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association, could not be reached for comment by this paper’s deadline on Wednesday.

State law limits an arbitration panel’s rulings to two years, said Fred W. Thiele Jr., the village attorney, so the deal will only cover the two-year period ending June 30, 2013, which means both sides are back to square one.

“We will continue to negotiate,” said Mr. Gilbride. “The process starts again.”

The mayor has had a stormy relationship with the department in the past, over staffing levels and even threatened at one time to disband the department, citing its rising costs.

Although relations between the police and the mayor have been testy in recent years, Mr. Thiele said he thought the arbitration panel’s ruling gave both sides an opportunity to turn the page.

“This is an opportunity for a reset between the PBA and the village,” he said. “Now that you have an award from an arbitrator with a finding on health insurance and a modest increase in wages, both sides have a better idea of what a future arbitration would result in and may be more likely to reach a negotiated settlement in the future. It gives both sides an idea of what the trend is.”

Mr. Thiele agreed with the mayor that it was “to my knowledge the first binding arbitration where a health insurance premium has been awarded to a municipality.”

Mr. Thiele added that such contributions have been negotiated in the past, most prominently in Suffolk County, but in that deal, the county gave up hefty wage increases, he said.

The panel also provided an increase in longevity pay for police officers. For 2011, an officer with five to seven years of experience will receive an additional $2,475; an officer with eight to nine years of experience will be due $2,825; those with 10 to 14 years will receive an additional $3,925; those with 15 to 19 years of service will receive $4,425, and those with 20 or more years of experience will receive $5,075. For 2012, those amounts will be boosted to $2,600 on the lower end and to $5,300 on the higher end.

Officers will also be allowed to carry over up to 25 days of vacation from year to year or for future pay.

Homeless in the Hamptons: An Invisible Community Struggles to Survive

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Bill watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Bill, 56, watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

To Bill, the two most important things are his feet and his socks, followed closely by matches and plastic bags. The matches keep him warm, the plastic bags keep his things dry, and the feet and socks keep him going.

Bill, 56, has a college degree in economics and a minor in business administration from SUNY Oswego. He is kind, articulate and witty. Like thousands of people across the East End, he is also homeless.

Ten years ago, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services counted 435 homeless families and 222 homeless singles countywide. Those figures—which increased drastically in the economic downturn since—only account for those who meet the official criteria and choose to apply for help. In reality, the numbers are much higher.

It is no secret to locals that the image much of the world conjures up of “The Hamptons” is far from the realities of daily life on the East End, but for the countless homeless residents of these hamlets, that image is a blatant farce.

“How can you miss us?” Bill asked, staring out at the sailboats docked at Lazy Point in Amagansett as two women in a kayak paddled by. Scores of homeless people live here, but, in part due to their own security concerns, they remain largely invisible.

If you look closely, however, you can see the faint paths used by homeless people off wooded trails, under bridges and sometimes right in town. A man who lives behind a popular business in Montauk leaves before dawn each morning, but his footprints have worn down a path to his campsite. Born and raised in Sag Harbor, Andy, a friend of Bill’s, lives hidden in the center of the village. An expert on Southampton history, a man called Mahoney holds fort at a park in the village, regularly entertaining tourists who have no idea he lives where they stand.

At a clearing off Route 27 in Wainscott, local homeowners leave food for the homeless people who camp in the woods nearby. If neighbors buy a sandwich and only end up eating half of it, they’ll leave the rest on one of the lids of two garbage cans stationed at the clearing in an unspoken act of charity.

According to a 2013 report compiled by the federal government, New York State, with 13 percent of the nation’s documented homeless population, is one of only three states in which homeless people account for more than 6 percent of the population (the others being Florida and California). With over 77,000 reported cases in 2013, the number of documented instances of homelessness in New York jumped by nearly 8,000 people between 2012 and 2013. New York’s homeless population has increased by 24 percent since 2007, the largest increase by far in the country—and the numbers are far from the actual figures.

On a single night in January 2013, an estimated 610,042 people were homeless in the United States. Over one-third of those people, about 215,000 of them, live in unsheltered locations, such as under bridges, in cars or in abandoned buildings.

To Bill, living in a car does not make you homeless; there’s a roof over your head and a place you can count on.

Born in Jamaica, Queens, and a graduate of Hauppauge High School, Bill has suffered from bi-polar disorder his whole life, but was not diagnosed till he “was old.” He came to the East End when he was 17 because he was drawn to the service industry.

“I like the whole premise of restaurant business: Helping people, service, making people happy, learning to deal with difficult people,” he said. “I thought—and I still think—I’m good at it.”

The “extracurricular” affairs of the restaurant industry—namely, drugs and drinking—became too much for Bill, who, like many who suffer from bipolar disorder, also struggled with addiction. After years of drinking to excess, Bill is now a recovering alcoholic who said he hasn’t had a drink since the early 90’s when his son was three.

“I think in extremes, everything…you’re either super happy or ready to commit suicide,” he explained.

Struggling with his condition and unable to find balance between complete bliss and extreme grief, Bill lost his six-figure job and his wife left him. He briefly lived up-island with family, but returned to East Hampton, where he has spent the past year searching for shelter, food and friendly faces.

He takes “top half of body” showers in public restrooms and jumps in the ocean to stay clean, a feat that, like most conditions of homelessness, becomes much harder in the cold winter months.

Although Bill doesn’t like to ask for help, when he’s especially down on his luck he goes to Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead.

Funded solely through donations, grants and funding from all the eastern townships, Maureen’s Haven offers shelter, support and “compassionate services” to homeless adults on the East End. There is a crisis hotline and a day center that provides opportunities like AA meetings, ESL and GED classes to help people find work and permanent housing.

From November 1 to April 1, the center transports homeless people from the North and South Forks and takes them to one of 18 host houses of worship between Greenport and Montauk. They are given a hot dinner and a bed to sleep in and are taken back to where they were picked up, be it a bus stop or a side-of-the-road clearing, at 7 a.m.

Since its 2002 inception, Maureen’s Haven has sheltered over 2,500 individuals. In the 2013-14 winter season, the program served 337 adults and was able to secure employment for 40 percent and place 52 percent in permanent housing.

Although a lot of homelessness “has to do with disability, incarceration, drug use, alcohol abuse and job loss,” Program Development Director Tara Murphy said, there are “a number of different issues and each case is different.”

One woman, Mary, arrived at Maureen’s Haven “terrified and desperate,” the center said, after fleeing an abusive relationship. She began the healing process at the center and is now living independently with support from a local domestic violence agency.

A 77-year-old man suffering from dementia with no family nor support system, James had been living disoriented on the streets. The center secured supportive housing for him in a program specializing in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s not about homelessness, it’s not about tough times, it’s not about addictions,” Bill said of the stigmatization of the homeless. “We all wear the same clothes…what I’m saying is, if we have two different socks on, who cares?”

To volunteer at Maureen’s Haven, call (631) 727-6836, email info@maureenshaven.org or visit their website.

Sag Harbor Village Board Recognizes Policeman’s Long Career

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Sag Harbor Village Police Sgt. Paul Fabiano will retire next month. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday wanted to take a minute to celebrate the long career of Sag Harbor Police sergeant Paul Fabiano, who is retiring next month, but first it had to wait until both he and his older brother, Chief Tom Fabiano, returned from handling calls.

On Wednesday morning, Sgt. Fabiano said both officers were called from the meeting to handle calls related to a reported manhunt in Bridgehampton, in which officers from East End departments, including Sag Harbor, converged on the Bridgehampton Turnpike and Huntington Crossway in a fruitless search for an armed suspect in a home invasion.

With the crowd thinned out, Chief Fabiano approached the podium to praise his brother, who interrupted him from the back of the meeting room, insisting there was “no relation” between the two.

“Paul takes the brunt of everything I give because he is my brother, and I’m proud to have him as a brother,” the chief said, before returning the favor. “He brought a lot of ideas to me; he just always forgot that my ideas were better.”

The chief said that Sgt. Fabiano had joined the force as a part-time officer and served as a detective before being promoted to sergeant and served a key role in training other officers as well helping establish the multi-jurisdictional emergency services arrangement with other East End departments that was pressed into service Tuesday night.

“He was always here for the village, always here for the department and always here for me,” Chief Fabiano said.

Mayor Brian Gilbride described Sgt. Fabiano as an officer “who has served the village with distinction for a good many years.”

“We really thank you and hopefully you’ll have some time to be with your family,” added Trustee Ed Deyermond.

“It was a pleasure to serve my time,” Sgt. Fabiano responded. “It was a path I chose early on. I saw what my brother did and I wanted to do it too.”

On Wednesday morning, Sgt. Fabiano said he entered the police academy in 1985 when he was 19 years old. He served as a part-time officer in Southampton Town for two years before being hired for a similar position in Sag Harbor in 1988. He became a full-time officer in 1989.

Sgt. Fabiano said after 25 years, it was time for a change, noting that a police officer “is always on call—not that you mind it” and that he had missed a number of family functions over the years, although he said it was a pleasure working this year with his daughter, Christianna, who is a traffic control officer.

After he leaves the department, Sgt. Fabiano said he would work full time in sales with Scan Security, a job, he said, that would allow him to come and go as he pleases but still serve the public.

Of his career with the village, he offered, “I’d like to think I made a difference.”

Harbor Committee Changes

In other action, the board accepted the recommendation of Mayor Gilbride and reappointed Stephen Clarke to another term on the Harbor Committee and named him chairman to replace Bruce Tait, who has been engaged in a one-sided verbal sparring match with village officials over their enforcement of the zoning code and the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

The board also appointed John Shaka of the organization Save Sag Harbor to replace John Christopher and named Joseph Tremblay, an owner of Bay Burger, as the committee’s alternate member.

Both Mr. Tait and Jeff Peters will remain on the committee as “holdovers,” Mr. Gilbride said.

Before leaving the meeting early, Mr. Tait urged board members to read the LWRP and be ready to refer actions that have any impact on the waterfront to the Harbor Committee for what’s called a consistency review.

On Wednesday, Mr. Tait said he did not understand the concept of a “holdover” member, and suggested that board may be on shaky ground by allowing board members whose terms have expired to continue to serve.

The board also heard from Chip Dineen, a resident of Latham street and a member of the Southampton Town Transportation Committee, who said the village has ignored a promise made more than 15 years ago to mark a number of streets with bike lanes. He cited village minutes from 2009 in which Sinead Fitzgibbon, a cyclist, told the board that Ken Dorph had outlined proposed bike routes as long ago as 1997.

“I feel adding some kind of markings on the street would bring to the attention of motorists that there are bicyclists a on the road,” said Mr. Dineen. “How are we going to proceed and not let another 20 years go by?”

Mayor Gilbride countered, telling Mr. Dineen that he often sees bicyclists ignoring the rules of the road, but Mr. Dineen said the behavior of a few should not derail an effort to make the roads safer.

Chief Fabiano also groused that he had tried to meet with bike lane proponents on a number of occasions but had been ignored.

Trustee Ken O’Donnell then stepped in and said he would meet with Mr. Dineen’s group to see if they could reach some compromise.

James FitzGerald, the high school student who has been inventorying plant and animal species at the village’s Cilli Farm preserve, gave a follow-up report, and suggested that a basic trail be established, running from Long Island Avenue on the south to West Water Street on the north, with another trail cutting west to Glover Street.

He said the preserve has a serious problem with litter but said he thought “it’s a dumping ground because it’s not in the public eye” and that more public use might, in fact, discourage dumping.

Mr. Stein added that besides dumping, a number of homeless people have lived in the preserve from time to time.

The board did not take any official action on the report.

Physician Shops the Rainbow at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market

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Dr. Neil Barnard, right, was joined by Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, for a tour of the Sag Harbor Farmers Market on Saturday and stopped to talk with Matt Laspia, left. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

It was a bit like preaching to the choir when Dr. Neil Barnard, the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, whose books on the advantages of a plant-based diet, are widely read, paid a visit to the Sag Harbor Farmers Market on Bay Street on Saturday morning.

Dr. Barnard, who is based in Washington, D.C., led a whirlwind, “Shop the Nutrition Rainbow” tour of the various stands, pointing out the health benefits of everything from tomatoes to watermelons, as part of an annual weekend visit the East End.

On Friday, he held a talk on nutrition and signed copies of his books at Urban Zen on Bay Street, Saturday night, he attended the “Passion for Compassion” benefit at the Amagansett home of John Bradham.

For Saturday’s tour, he was accompanied by Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, who praised the farmers market. “Other farmers markets have tried to mimic this,” the mayor said of other locations on the East End, “but none have succeeded like this one.”

Dr. Barnard said he decided to visit Sag Harbor, in large part, because of the reputation of its thriving farmers market. “The market here is legendary,” he said. “What they are providing is so wonderful and fresh.”

Stopping by Bonac Farm’s stand, tended by Matt Laspia, Dr. Barnard pointed out fresh tomatoes.

“Honestly, I eat them out of the field like apples,” Mr. Laspia replied when asked how he prepared them.

A few minutes later, Dr. Barnard was offering slices of fresh watermelon that David Falkowski was selling from his stand.

Both tomatoes and melons contain an important antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer, he said. “As a doctor, I like them because they are cancer fighters,” he said.

The new potatoes offered by yet another stand “don’t raise your blood sugar like your normal baking  potato,” he added.

The Nutrition Rainbow focuses on eating a “naturally colorful,” heavy on the fruits and vegetables, light on the meats and dairy products, because of the presence of so many cancer fighting compounds contained in them.

It’s well known that America is suffering an epidemic of obesity. “What’s happening is Americans are starting to die earlier,” said Dr. Barnard. “By the time they are in their 30s, they are overweight. By the time they are in the 40s they are on four or five prescription drugs. By the time they are in their 50s, they have quit exercising because they are too unhealthy.”

His simple message, he said? “Let’s stay healthy.”

Harbor Committee Meeting Dominated by Redwood Road Applications

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By Stephen J. Kotz

It was all Redwood all the time on Monday as the Sag Harbor Harbor Committee heard five applications for wetland permits in the neighborhood.

Despite objections from two neighbors, the committee said it would likely approve a permit for Palo Aalto L.L.C., which owns a house at 232 Redwood Road to build a 425-square-foot pool, decking and the installation of a 90-foot-long retaining wall along the western side of the pool and the property line.

William Frazier, who lives at 226 Redwood Road next door, said the retaining wall, which as proposed would only be 18 inches from the property line, could pose a threat to his own property if it were ever breached in a storm.

“What happens when it crumbles?” he asked. “Gentlemen, this is an ill-conceived plan. Don’t approve it.”

Another neighbor, Cam Gleason, showed the board photographs of flooding in the neighborhood following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“Sandy changed everything,” she said. “It was a wake-up call, so let’s not be in a coma.”

She said if the committee denied the request for the pool, the retaining wall would no longer be an issue. She said she was less concerned that the pool would be destroyed by a storm than the fact that it would replace permeable soil in a low-lying, flood-prone area.

But committee member Stephen Clarke said the board’s hands were tied because the pool and retaining wall both met the required wetland setback.

Chairman Bruce Tait agreed that the committee would probably not have legal grounds to deny the application, but added, “I think it’s time to be stricter and stricter and look at these things with a sharper lens” of applications near the waterfront.

“Sandy was just a storm here,” he said. “When we see the Hurricane 1938 come through again, we’re going to see a lot more damage than that.”

Joshua Schwartz, the owner of a house at 188 Redwood Road, appeared before the committee seeking a 3-foot-tall, 76-foot-long retaining wall to be placed behind a recently replaced bulkhead. Although the application appeared straight-forward on its face, board members said that after receiving approval for the bulkhead, Mr. Schwartz had brought fill in that was not included in his previous application.

Mr. Schwartz tried to explain the discrepancy, telling the board only about 9 yards of fill had been added to his property, as part of landscaping work, but he was unable to provide proof of that.

Committee members were skeptical. “I don’t buy it,” said Mr. Clarke. “I’m looking you in the eye and I’m telling you I don’t buy it for a minute.”

“The big key,” added Mr. Tait, “is you did something in a wetland zone for which you don’t have a permit. Before we deal with this new permit, we have to deal with the fact that we have a violation for the previous permit.”

The board tabled the matter until September, pending Mr. Schwartz being able to provide it with an accounting for how much fill was brought in.

“You wouldn’t need the retaining wall if you didn’t bring in the fill,” said Mr. Clarke. “Anybody can say ‘I’m a man of my word.’ What’s worse? Doing something without a permit or violating the permit?”

In yet another hearing on Redwood Road, the committee said it would approve a wetlands permit allowing Howard and Sydney Druckman, who own a house at 192 Redwood Road, to tear down the existing 800-square-foot house there and replace it with a two-story house with a footprint of 1,511 square feet, a 468-square-foot deck, and a 220-square-foot pool, all requiring reductions in the required 75-foot wetlands setback. As part of the project, a new septic system will be installed along with 420 cubic yards of soil, to keep the system above groundwater.

At a previous meeting, the board had asked Dennis Downes, the Druckmans’ attorney, to prove the lot was too small for reasonable development without reducing the setbacks. Mr. Downes presented a survey showing that 51 percent of the property was wetlands, and meeting a 75-foot wetlands setback and 30-foot front yard setback would limit work to 16 percent of the property,

“You’ve done a good job illustrating that phrase that its so small that it can’t be built on,” said Mr. Tait.

One neighbor, Victoria Van Dyke, said she had not received notice for the hearing because it had been sent to her former address in the city, but the committee said the posting of a public notice on the property was sufficient notice. Although Ms. Van Dyke said she was concerned about the lack of a retaining wall between her property and the Druckmans, but Rich Warren, the board’s environmental consultant, said one was not warranted, given the modest grade. When she was told the garage would not be elevated to meet FEMA standards, as the house would, she expressed relief. “That was my only concern,” she said.

Elected Officials To Pressure East Hampton Town on Ending Helicopter Crisis

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Congressman Tim Bishop answered questions about helicopter noise at a very well-attended meeting of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday, August 12. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

It was a full house at the Noyac Civic Council’s August meeting on Tuesday, as residents from all over the East End perched on desks and hovered outside open doors to hear Congressman Tim Bishop and other elected officials address the ongoing issue of helicopter noise at the East Hampton Airport.

Residents from Sag Harbor, East Hampton, North Haven, Noyac and Mattituck gathered at the Bridgehampton Community House on Tuesday, August 12 and expressed their frustration with the seemingly endless helicopter traffic that continues to plague eastern Long Island.

Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, played a recording of helicopter noise taken at her house to the FAA representatives who had come to answer questions and listen to grievances at Tuesday’s meeting. “This is what it’s like when you’re having company, or having a birthday party,” she said over the sound of whirring blades and engines.

Ms. Loreto complained about the “B-team” of FAA representatives who had been sent to the meeting, asked where FAA administrator Michael Huerta was, and accused them of being mute.

FAA representatives responded that Mr. Huerta was in Washington D.C. and that they would report back to him. “A lot of what we’re doing is listening to what your concerns are,” said Mark Guiod of NY TRACON. He was the only FAA official to express sympathy to the crowd and said, “what you’re experiencing just shouldn’t happen.”

“The issue we’re going to focus on is what’s in the best interest of the people that we represent,” Congressman Bishop said on Tuesday. He added that he has reached out to the senior leadership of the FAA inviting them to a meeting with Senator Charles Schumer and supervisors from the five East End towns. “We hope to have that meeting in the next week to 10 days,” he said.

Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Doherty announced loudly, “Shelter Island cannot take it anymore.” The island recently banned the taking off or landing of any helicopters other than emergency services. “What has been our reward?” he asked. “We’ve become a dustbin.”

“We’re fed up and we’re with you all the way,” he said to the crowd.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. encouraged the masses.  “Our goal is to get the federal government to act as soon as possible,” he said, adding that they need to identify exactly what changes need to be made. “It’s not good enough to rearrange the furniture on the Titanic,” he said to great applause.

There was much discussion and some confusion throughout the meeting of the various helicopter routes, but it became apparent that no new route could provide a satisfactory result. Wainscott resident Barry Raebeck said, “Shifting helicopter routes does not solve the problem of noise and pollution. It does not even lessen the problem. It simply shifts the problem to other people. There is no such thing as an all-water route to a land-locked airport.”

The way to solve the problem, he said, “is to eliminate commercial operations at East Hampton Airport.”

Kathy Cunningham of the Quiet Skies Coalition, and countless other speakers, implored the citizens of neighboring towns to attend the next East Hampton Town Board meeting on Thursday, August 21. “They need to see this support,” she said.

When asked what chance the East Hampton Town Board had of imposing regulations on the airport, Congressman Bishop directed that question to the amassed FAA representatives. Mary McCarthy from the FAA answered that until the grant assurances expire on December 31, 2014, the town board would not be able to restrict the use of the airport except for safety reasons.

After that point, however, if the town board decided not to take anymore FAA money, the airport would be able to impose flight restrictions. Frank Dalene, who serves on the airport subcommittee of the town’s finance advisory committee, said they have found that if helicopter traffic were eliminated from the airport, it would still be able to support itself without the help of FAA money.

“The decision maker on January 1, 2015 will be the town board,” he said. He added that East Hampton lawmakers needed to know there are people who would support new regulations.

All those who spoke about the East Hampton Town Board mentioned the encouraging changes that they have seen in the new administration, including North Haven Mayor Jeff Sander. The next step, he said, is to get the board to regain control of the airport from the FAA.

“But I think there’s a much larger problem here. I’ve seen letters from the other side, and I’ve seen the distribution of those other letters,” he said, adding that every billionaire on the East End is on that distribution list, and that an expensive lawsuit will ensue.

“This is a regional problem. We’ve got to make it a regional fight,” he said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at this point announced that the board was planning to have a special meeting on Thursday, July 14 to pass a memorializing resolution that would support East Hampton in a decision to refuse money from the FAA. She added they are encouraged by the change in town board, and addressed the representatives of the FAA, “We should not have to worry about getting sued for making decisions that should be happening on your level,” she said.

When asked if they would support the East Hampton Town Board if they were to make this decision, both Congressman Bishop and Assemblyman Thiele said that they would support whatever decision the town makes.

“When the people lead, the leaders will follow, and I think that’s what it’s about here tonight,” Mr. Thiele said.

Editor’s note: Barry Raebeck is the father of Sag Harbor Express reporter Tessa Raebeck.

Toxic Tide Shows Up Early in Sag Harbor

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High levels of Cochlodinium detected in Sag Harbor cove last week could put shellfish and finfish at risk. 

By Mara Certic

Just weeks after blue-green algal blooms were detected in Georgica Pond, extremely high levels of the toxic rust alga Cochlodinium have emerged in Sag Harbor and East Hampton waters.

Cochlodinium first appeared on Long Island in 2004 and has been detected in local waters every summer since. According to Professor Christopher Gobler, who conducts water quality testing and is a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, densities above 500 cells per milliliter can be lethal to both finfish and shellfish. The Gobler Laboratory recorded Cochlodinium at densities exceeding 30,000 cells per milliliter in Sag Harbor Cove, and over 1,000 in Accabonac and Three Mile Harbors.

The eastern location and timing of this year’s bloom surprised scientists, because for the past 11 years, the water quality experts have tracked west-to-east algal migration. “With blooms typically emerging in the tributaries of the far-western Peconic Estuary in mid-to-late August,” Professor Gobler said.

“Our Long Island Water Quality Index program samples all of Long Island from Queens to Montauk on a weekly basis and has found the western Peconics to be clear of rust tide.  Late last week, we saw rust tide at moderate levels in East Hampton and thought it might be a blip,” he said.

“However, this week, the rust tide spread to at least three distinct harbors and reached a level in Sag Harbor we have not seen anywhere on Long Island in several years.”

According to a laboratory technician who helps conduct the water quality testing for the Trustees, Cochlodinium was detected in small amounts in Accabonac Harbor two weeks ago. The algae were not visible at that time, he said, but made it more difficult to see the sea floor.

The following week, the rust tide was detected in similar levels in Three Mile Harbor and at levels so high in Sag Harbor Cove that the algae bloom was noticeable on the surface of the water in some areas.

Professor Gobler might have an explanation as to why these blooms appeared in Eastern waters this year. “We have found that nitrogen loading makes these blooms more intense and more toxic. As nitrogen loading has increased into our bays, these events have intensified,” he said in the release.

Professor Gobler addressed the Southampton Town Board during a work session on Thursday, August 7, during which he proposed two projects, which would provide the scientific data local lawmakers need to mitigate nitrogen loading.

The first of these proposals would be a series of questions online which would allow residents to figure out their nitrogen contribution to the watershed. “This can certainly be tailored, improved upon and altered,” Professor Gobler said, adding that it could even be on the new Southampton Town website.

Professor Gobler said that outdated septic systems are responsible for the majority of the nitrogen loading on the East End. Southampton Town has been looking towards developing water quality technology and improving septic systems.

“What level of nitrogen reduction, on a bigger picture, does that require? And that’s a question that no one can answer these days,” Supervisor Throne-Holst said at the work session. The second proposal would attempt to determine by how much nitrogen levels would need to be reduced.

“We’re all dedicated to trying to figure out any way possible not to kill the health of the bay,” Sag Harbor Village Trustee Robby Stein said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We’re trying to do what we can,” he said, adding that the Village is trying to encourage better policy around nitrogen loading, and has recently created a septic rebate system, which would provide rebates for the replacement of septic systems installed before 1981.

Professor Gobler’s lab has also begun to understand why these algae blooms have occurred every year since they were first detected. “We have discovered the organism makes cysts or seeds, which wait at the bottom of the bay and emerge each summer to start a new bloom,” he said. “At the end of the bloom, they turn back into cysts and settle back to the bay bottom.  This allows for the blooms to return every year.”

During the rust tides of the past few years, scallop populations decreased dramatically in the Peconic Estuary. This year’s high Cochlodinium densities in Sag Harbor have not been seen for a few years, Professor Gobler said.

“While this is somewhat uncharted territory, we anticipate the rust tide will spread and emerge in the western Peconics and Shinnecock Bay in the coming weeks,” he said.

Professor Gobler said that blooms typically continue until water temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

Larger finfish typically can outswim the algal blooms, and are not always affected by the toxic tides. Fish stuck in pound traps, however, can be killed in a matter of hours when the tides roll in.

And although scallops are better swimmers than other bivalves, it is unlikely that they would be able to swim away from a lethal tide. “They’re at the mercy of the environment,” said John “Barley” Dunne, director of the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery. “They can’t escape an algae bloom,” he said.