Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Plans for Waterfront Park in Sag Harbor Move Forward

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Sag Harbor Cove Park

The latest draft of a proposal for a waterfront park in Sag Harbor. Courtesy of Edmund Hollander.

By Mara Certic

After the discussion was reopened last year, a plan to develop a waterfront park under the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge is moving forward.

The original proposal for a waterfront park in the area dates back to 1996, but was resurrected around this time last year. This summer, landscape architects Edmund Hollander and Mary Anne Connelly have been working with an intern, Rachel Jawin, a student at Cornell University, on adapting Mr. Hollander’s original plans from the 90s into what could become the new Sag Harbor Cove Park.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride brought Mr. Hollander’s latest mock-ups to a special meeting of the Sag Harbor Village Trustees on Monday morning to show his colleagues the progress that has been made on the proposal, which he described as “absolutely beautiful.”

According to Mr. Hollander, there are three goals this project is attempting to meet. The first is to open up a piece of waterfront to the community. The property in question is currently derelict, or as Mr. Hollander described it, “an amalgamation of abandoned buildings and debris.”

The second aim is to build the park in an ecologically friendly way, Mr. Hollander said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “What we’re trying to do is build the park using as many recycled materials as we can from other construction sites,” he said. Mr. Hollander hopes to recycle local plants from nearby areas, which he said would create a natural buffer. Mr. Gilbride said this was also a way to “save the village some money.”

The third goal is to connect some of Sag Harbor’s waterfront amenities together, creating a boardwalk under the bridge and theoretically around Long Wharf.

“It’s just a great project,” Mr. Gilbride said on Wednesday. “It certainly has the potential to tie the entire waterfront of the village in.”

“I cannot thank Mr. Hollander enough,” he added, several times. The plan is a “continual evolution,” Mr. Hollander said, and there are remain many questions that need to be answered before the proposal can move forward.

“There are questions about docks: should there be one? Two? Three? Should there be a fishing pier?” Mr. Hollander said.  Mr. Gilbride said he has been considering the dock project “phase two” of the park, as it could be quite expensive.

“Before that could be productive we need to get [the area] cleaned up,” he said.

According to Mr. Hollander, the organization Serve Sag Harbor has shown interest in hosting a fundraiser to help support the project, but, if the proposal continues to go forward, the village will also be very much involved in funding the new park.

“It has the makings of a great welcome as you’re coming in over the bridge,” he added. Mr. Hollander will present the current proposal to the Sag Harbor Village Board at their next meeting on Tuesday, October 14 at 6 p.m.

Also on Monday morning, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees decided to raise the price of memorial benches from $575 to $1000. The price of benches, Mr. Gilbride said, had not gone up in some time, and the new price seemed to reasonably represent how much material and labor cost to install the seats.

Trustees Ed Deyermond said he would support this but only if it were to replace or repair existing benches. Mr. Deyermond believes there are already too many benches in the village, he said, and suggested memorial trees might be more appropriate and appreciated.

The trustees also voted to allow members of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce to have their tri-annual sidewalk sale this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12.

East End Towns Budget Money for South Fork Behavioral Health Initiative

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By Mara Certic

Supervisors in both East Hampton and Southampton kept to their words this week when they put $25,000 aside in their tentative budgets to go towards improving mental healthcare in South Fork school districts.

In April, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle awarded $150,000 in state aid as seed money for the first step of the three-pronged South Fork Behavioral Health Initiative.

Senator LaValle secured an additional $5,000 each for the Sag Harbor, Southampton, East Hampton and Hampton Bays school districts. Each district, in turn, is expected to match that amount.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman managed to get his hands on $17,000 more from the county, bringing the anticipated total funding on the South Fork up to $257,000 for phase one.

This first phase, which Mr. Thiele had anticipated would require $320,000 in total funding, would establish a crisis service that would provide immediate mental and behavioral health needs specifically to South Fork area students. It is proposed one full-time psychiatrist be hired to work at the Family Service League’s East Hampton and Westhampton Mental Health Clinics. The first step is also slated to include the hiring of two full-time social workers.

“It also establishes Family Service League as the interim point of contact for crisis intervention,” Mr. Thiele’s proposal reads. “A permanent point of contact will be established in the second phase, which builds on and expands the crisis service through a mobile unit and community collaboration.”

The third phase would involve seeking out support from Stony Brook University’s psychiatric residency program.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the issue of seriously lacking mental healthcare on the South Fork was first brought to his attention by the East Hampton School District over a year ago.

As it stands now, there is no appropriate process set in place for a student who might be experiencing a crisis at school on the East End, be it threatening self-harm or contemplating suicide. According to Karen Boorshtein, president and CEO of the Family Service League, “When a school district encounters a crisis, they usually need to involve the police and have the youth transported over 60 miles to the psychiatric emergency room at Stony Brook.” Not only does this place strain on local police departments, but more often than not, these troubled children are handcuffed and placed into the back of a police vehicle for their trip up to their evaluation.

Once students return from their emergency evaluations, they then often face long waiting lists at local mental health clinics. There is not a large pool of mental health professionals on the East End, which many attribute to our remote location and rather sparse year-round population. Those who do operate on the South Fork often do not accept insurance and typically charge $200 to $300 an hour, according to Ms. Boorshtein.

“The last two years have seen the completed suicides of three youth and a significant increase in the number of mental health crises being experienced by youth and requiring school districts to respond,” Ms. Boorshtein wrote in a e-mail on Monday.

According to the CDC, the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24 is suicide. In a 2011 nationally representative sample of high school students, 15.8 percent of youths reported they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months preceding the survey.

According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), an organization dedicated to suicide prevention, the strongest risk factor for suicide is depression. The organization also claims that 80 percent of those who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.

“The grant will increase and improve coordination of community mental health services to avoid future mental health crisis and suicides,” Ms. Boorshtein said.

The initiative also calls for telepsychiatry, which will provide secure phone lines on which troubled students can talk to licensed psychiatrists. The American Psychiatric Association recently deemed telepsychiatry “one of the most effective ways to increase access to psychiatric care for individuals living in underserved areas.”

The Family Service League is gearing up to start making these changes, and soon enough, phase one will be implemented on the South Fork. But the battle ahead is long, and much more money will be needed to complete all three of the steps.

“The potential catastrophe here is around the corner if we can’t deal with this better than we have been in the past,” Mr. Cantwell said.

Thursday, October 9 is National Depression Screening Day on which individuals can take a free online mental health screening at helpyourselfhelpothers.org 

Plein Air Peconic Celebrates Land, Sea, Sky

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Hendrickson Farm by Kathryn Szoka.

Hendrickson Farm by Kathryn Szoka.

“Land, Sea, Sky,” Plein Air Peconic’s Ninth Annual Show, will debut with an artists reception this Saturday, October 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Ashawagh Hall, 780 Springs Fireplace Road in East Hampton. The show will be on view throughout Columbus Day weekend.

“Land, Sea, Sky” celebrates art inspired by direct observation of the East End’s cherished local farmlands, wildflower fields, salt marshes, and beaches in an exhibition and sale by the artists of Plein Air Peconic.  Many landscapes that have been conserved by Peconic Land Trust will be included.  Plein Air Peconic includes painters Casey Chalem Anderson, Susan D’Alessio, Aubrey Grainger, Anita Kusick, Keith Mantell, Michele Margit, Joanne Rosko, and photographers Tom Steele, Kathryn Szoka.  Plein Air Peconic has announced that two guest painters, Ty Stroudsburg and Gail Kern, will be exhibiting as well.

The show will partially benefit the Peconic Land Trust. To learn more about the artists of Plein Air Peconic visit PleinAirPeconic.com.


“Harvey” Opens Hampton Theatre Company’s 30th Anniversary Season

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Elwood P. Dowd is coming to Quogue.

The role that helped shape the career of Jimmy Stewart will be featured as the Hampton Theatre Company’s opening production of its 30th anniversary season with “Harvey,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic comedy by Mary Chase about the hilarious havoc wrought by a 6-foot tall rabbit who is visible to only a few. The show will run October 23 to November 9 at Quogue Community Hall.

The play, which ran for 1,775 performances on Broadway from 1944 to 1949 before being adapted for a movie of the same name in 1950, is the story of Mr. Dowd, an affable if a bit eccentric fellow who is eager to introduce his invisible rabbit friend to everyone he sees.

The role of Elwood P. Dodd will be played in Quogue by Matthew Conlon, last seen on the HTC stage in the title role of “The Foreigner” in the spring. Pamela Kern, a veteran of four HTC productions, plays Elwood’s sister, Veta Louise Simmons, and a newcomer to the Quogue stage, Amanda Griemsmann, plays Veta’s daughter, Myrtle Mae. The staff at the local sanitarium, Chumley’s Rest, is headed up by John Kern in the role of Dr. Chumley and HTC veteran Sebastian Marbury as Dr. Lyman Sanderson. Krista Kurtzberg, who also appeared in “The Foreigner,” plays Nurse Kelly, and Russell Weisenbacher plays the orderly Duane Wilson.

The production will be directed by HTC artistic director Diana Marbury.

“Harvey” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from October 23 through November 9, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Information about the dinner and theater packages is available on the company website, hamptontheatre.org, or through the libraries.

BNB Announces Quarterly Dividend

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Bridge Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for The Bridgehampton National Bank, announced the declaration of a quarterly dividend of $0.23 per share. The dividend will be payable on October 31 to shareholders of record as of October 17.  The company continues its trend of uninterrupted dividends.

Bridge Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company engaged in commercial banking and financial services through its wholly owned subsidiary, The Bridgehampton National Bank (BNB).  Established in 1910, BNB, with assets of approximately $2.2 billion, and a primary market area of Suffolk and Southern Nassau Counties, Long Island, operates 27 retail branch locations.

For more information, visit bridgenb.com. 

Mattituck Junior Girl Scouts Donate Handmade Blankets to East Hampton’s The Retreat

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To support the East End’s domestic violence services and educational programs, the Mattituck Junior Girl Scout Troop 1334 created more than 30 handmade blankets and welcome bags for children staying at The Retreat’s residential shelter for women and children in East Hampton.

“We always have children staying in our shelter and we are so grateful to be able to give them security blankets and welcome bags when they arrive,” shelter director Minerva Perez said. “Many times, women and children come to us for help with nothing and to be able to give them something they can keep is so important to us.”

The Retreat provides safety and support for those dealing with domestic abuse by offering a 24-hour hotline, shelter, counseling, advocacy, educational programs, housing assistance and more. The residential shelter housed 58 women and 59 children from the East End in 2013. For more information, visit theretreatinc.org.





Veterans Tell Their Stories to Heal Themselves

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From left to right, Adrienne Brammer, Matthew Thomas Burda, BR McDonald, Roman Baca and Sandra Lee, all veterans, told their stories at Bay Street Theater on Saturday. Photography by Jody Gambino.

By Mara Certic

Every soldier has a story; a report of why they enlisted, a personal account of rigorous training, their experiences in war and, very often, their difficult civilian epilogues.

On Saturday, October 3, Sag Harborites had the opportunity to hear some of these stories when “This is What We Fought For” came to the Bay Street Theater. The Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund, in collaboration with The Telling Project and the Veteran Artist Program, welcomed veterans and their family members to the stage to tell their honest, scripted and rehearsed tales of war.

Shelter Island native Lieutenant Joseph J. Theinert was killed in action during combat operations in Afghanistan on June 4, 2010. In his honor, the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund was founded to award scholarships and to provide support to organizations that enrich the lives of active and veteran United States service members. By the end of this year they will have given out $20,000 in scholarships and $15,000 to various military service organizations.

One of the organizations the foundation supports is the Veteran Artists Program (VAP), which helps artists who happen to be veterans, propel their work into the mainstream.

This original production began with Lt. Thienert’s brother James, affectionately known as “Jimbo,” recounting the story of when he found out his brother had been killed. He was working on the South Ferry when his father broke the news to him. He talked about how he tries to deal with that loss, and about the importance of the performance to follow, and telling your story.

“The men and women on stage tonight will never forget their experiences… it is just not possible,” he said.

“It is part of the mission of the Joseph J Theinert Memorial Fund that we help to create a world that allows them to share these experiences so they are not shackled by them for the rest of their lives,” Mr. Theinert said.

Five veterans of the armed forces, all members of VAP, took to the stage, weaving their stories together in little vignettes, intertwined with the occasional song or military chant.

During one musical interlude, Roman Baca pirouetted across the stage. Mr. Baca, who served in the United States Marine Corps, was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq from 2005 to 2006. “I didn’t tell anyone in boot camp I was a ballet dancer,” he said in one vignette. When he finally told three of his friends, “two of them thought it was the greatest thing they’d ever heard. One never spoke to me again,” he said.

Mr. Baca likes to remember the humanitarian missions he went on, delivering soccer balls to children and giving food and water to people in need. But that didn’t stop him from becoming angry when he left the army. He was often enraged, he said, and his relationships suffered. Ballet has helped him, and recently Mr. Baca returned to Iraq to teach young adults how to express themselves through dance.

Air Force veteran Adrienne Brammer also served in Fallujah. Ms. Brammer joined the air force to see the world, she said. She worked as a reporter, anchor, cameraman and radio deejay for the American Forces Network in Iceland, South Korea and Italy. She loved traveling and exploring and enjoyed her work, but when she was reassigned to the 1st Combat Camera Squadron, she felt somewhat underused.  She left the air force after 14 years, without benefits, and is now following her dream and studying acting at Marymount Manhattan College.

BR McDonald, founder of VAP, always had a strong love of the arts. Mr. McDonald joined the army after the events of September 11 and served for seven years as an Arabic linguist and a Special Operator in the Joint Specials Operations Command. He lived his life in “cover,” he said. He lived his covers; he became who he needed to be to get missions done.  This made him one of the best at his job, but changed his personal life forever.

Mr. McDonald kept his life in America with his girlfriend completely separate from his life overseas. When living a cover on one mission, Mr. McDonald fell in love. He sweetly told the story of how he spent time with this woman for months, until one day he was re-assigned and had to leave without telling her why.

The evening was awash with unexpected, honest and raw tales of the military. U.S. Air Force veteran Matthew Thomas Burda’s stories of working security in an Afghan prison were interwoven with U.S. Army veteran Sandra Lee’s account of the first time she was blown up by an IED. This would happen to her three more times before she eventually left the army.

Ms. Lee served in civil affairs in the army; one of the many things she did overseas was to oversee the rebuilding of schools in Western Baghdad. She had never seen anyone so excited to have working plumbing, she said, adding there was “a lot of good” that happened.

“A lot of not so good things happened too,” she said.

After leaving the army, she went back to finish school and immersed herself in her studies. It wasn’t until more than a year after returning to civilian life that Ms. Lee fell into a deep, debilitating depression and was eventually diagnosed with PTSD.

She’s doing better now, she said. “I’m on medication that stops me remembering my nightmares,” she said, which helps, but that also means she cannot recall her good dreams.

“But now I study acting,” she said. “It’s been my therapy, my healer.”

Osiecki Honored for Heroism

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A year-and-a-half after the night she swam into Napeague Harbor to rescue a drowning woman, Sag Harbor’s own Katie Osiecki received a proclamation on Thursday from the State of New York and the Town of East Hampton recognizing her heroism.

Ms. Osiecki was one of 20 to receive a Carnegie Medal this year. The award was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1904, and is reserved for individuals in the United States and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving, or attempting to save, the lives of others.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Supervisor Larry Cantwell presented Ms. Osiecki with a proclamation at the East Hampton Town Board’s regular meeting on Thursday, October 2.

“Therefore be it proclaimed by the State Legislature, by the New York State Assembly, that she be recognized for winning the Carnegie Medal,” Mr. Thiele read.

“This act, I think, really tells you all you need to know about Katie Osiecki. She’s a really special young woman, a special resident of the town of East Hampton,” he said.


Man Arrested After East Hampton Manhunt

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Sag Harbor Schools, like their counterparts in East Hampton, were briefly put on lockdown on Friday as East Hampton police sought a man, who was reportedly suicidal, and had left his Springs home after wounding shooting a family member with a shotgun.

Friday afternoon, East Hampton Police said they had taken Valon Shoshi, 28, of Springs into custody at approximately 12:40 p.m. and given local schools the all-clear.

East Hampton Town Police Captain Chris Anderson said the victim, who he would only identify as “a relative” of Mr. Shoshi, was taken to Southampton Hospital for treatment of minor injuries from a shotgun blast.

Capt. Anderson said “charges were pending” against Mr. Shoshi, who he, added, was taken into custody near One Stop Market on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton.

“It’s a big sigh of relief,” said Sag Harbor Superintendent Katy Graves in describing how she felt when police called to say the lockdown could be lifted.

She said that school officials were still in the middle of implanting the lockdown when they were informed they could go back to normal business. She said the district immediately sent an automated telephone and text message to the school community informing it of what had occurred.

“I’m very proud of my staff,” she said. “They were all so child-centered and proactive.”

Friday afternoon, East Hampton Town Police issued a press release, stating they were called to 85 Gardiner Avenue in Springs at about 10:30 a.m. Friday after receiving a report of a shooting there. The suspect had fled the scene.

Officers from the East Hampton Village Police joined town officers and members of the East End Townwide Emergency Services Unit and a Suffolk County Police Department K-unit were called in.

Police said they secured a home on Jericho Lane in the village  and told local schools “as well as a few facilities in the immediate search areas” to go on lockdown.

Mr. Shoshi was taken into custody when he was spotted driving north on Abraham’s Path. Police said after a brief pursuit, he was pulled over on Springs-Fireplace Road near One Stop Market and taken into custody without incident at approximately 12:40 p.m.

In Sag Harbor Ms. Graves said the school district would use the incident to sharpen its own procedures. She added that the New York State Police and the state Department of Education are going to hold a joint webcast for school districts to discuss model safety plans on October 16.


Sag Harbor Main Street Named a Top Street

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Crowds on Main Street during HarborFest 2013 on Sunday, 9/8/13


By Stephen J. Kotz

As if we didn’t know it already.

Choked with traffic though it may be in the summer and nigh deserted come February, Sag Harbor’s Main Street is still one of the top 10 “Great Streets in America” for 2014, according to the American Planning Association.

The group, a professional organization of city planners, who occupy themselves with such tasks as designing road layouts and where to put the sewers in communities both large and small, has been compiling a list of the 10 top streets, neighborhoods and public spaces since 2007.

This year, Sag Harbor’s Main Street was singled out along with such well known thoroughfares as Broadway in New York City and Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., as well as smaller and less well known streets in communities as diverse as Ogden, Utah, Portland, Oregon, Charleston, South Carolina, and Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“We welcome suggestions from anybody all year along, residents, visitors, elected officials, said the organization’s public affairs coordinator, Roberta Rewers, who would not disclose just who nominated Sag Harbor for the honor. She stressed, though, that all nominees “go through a rigorous vetting process” that could include visits from members of the ASA.

“It’s still a compact village with a number of family-owned businesses, which make it individualized as opposed to all chain stores,” said long-time village merchant Nada Barry, an owner of The Wharf Shop toy store on Main Street, by way of explaining what may have helped influence the judges.

Ms. Barry said a major drawing card for the village is that “all the major points of interest are within walking distance.”

News of the award might encourage more tourism, she said, before pausing and adding with a laugh, “some people are going to like and some people won’t. It’s going to be controversial.”

Kelly C. Dodds, the president of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news.

“From the chamber’s perspective anything that raises awareness off the unique qualities of our village is good news,” she said.  “We all live here. We all have  all chosen this place to have our businesses, so we already know how nice it is.”

She said she was not concerned that the award might encourage a few more tourists to trek east. “There is no doubt the village is changing and developing, but I think the character of this village is not going to change. That is something that is going to stay because it lives in the hearts of people here.”

Village Clerk Beth Kamper said the village received a notice and certificate from the organization, but she said there were no plans to celebrate it in any way. “I do not believe we are going to have any kind of ceremony or anything special,” she said.

In a press release, the APA offered a summary of why it chose Sag Harbor to be honored:

“First established in 1745…. Main Street in Sag Harbor, New York, is a nine-block, cosmopolitan meeting place for village officials, business owners, residents and visitors going to work, doing errands, shopping, getting coffee, eating or simply people-watching. Today, more than 40 years after it was designated as a national historic district, Main Street still showcases the last vestiges of its whaling industry, which is how the village served the country during wartime. Lately, community leaders and residents have taken to raising funds to refurbish some of the street’s historic mansions into functional retail spaces for commercial use. The result is an unmistakable aura of old wealth, culture and history.”

Ms. Rewers said the APA has designated a total of 230 honorees since it began its
“Great Places in America” campaign in 2007. The awards are made in October, which also happens to be National Community Planning Month, she said.