Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

The Lure is the Thing

Tags: , , ,


Lures will be on display at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum in "The Lure of Striped Bass," opening Friday, August 8.

Lures will be on display at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum in “The Lure of Striped Bass,” opening Friday, August 8.

By Stephen J. Kotz

To the casual observer, the scene at Montauk Point during the fall striped bass run is chaotic. Fishermen, standing shoulder to shoulder, cast all manner of fishlike devices into the surf, hoping to entice a trophy bass to clamp down on the one at the end of their line.

But if one takes a closer look into the tackle bag of a seasoned angler, one will soon learn there are lures made of metal, lures made of wood, and lures made of plastic, all coming in an array of colors. Some drop to the bottom, some dive and dart, and some float on the surface. Their designs have evolved over decades, and all serve a purpose in different fishing conditions that can change on a dime.

“The Lure of the Striped Bass,” a new exhibit opening this week at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, will celebrate the history of the innovative lure designs that have played a key role in making surfcasting the sport it is today and helped give rise to the East End as a fisherman’s paradise.

Besides literally hundreds of vintage lures, many from the collection of one of the show’s curators, Stephen Lobosco, the show will feature other fishing equipment, magazines, books, carvings and artwork related to the topic.

“I’ve been collecting fishing lures since I was about 15 years old,” said Mr. Lobosco this week. “My uncle, Frank Pintauro, was the leading authority on the subject.” Mr. Pintauro, in turn, had been initiated into the art of collecting by none other than the painter Cappy Amundsen, who, Mr. Lobosco said, traded lures from his own collection for fish.

Mr. Lobosco was hooked, pardon the pun, when his uncle gave him a pair of lures autographed by Stan Gibbs, an early designer. It would be like giving a young Yankees fan a ball signed by Mickey Mantle.

“My friends don’t know what’s wrong with me,” said Mr. Lobosco of the collecting bug that has become his obsession. Mr. Lobosco is also an avid fisherman, a hobby his co-curator, Richard Doctorow, the museum’s collections manager, doesn’t share.

“I don’t know this world,” Mr. Doctorow said. “But once you begin to look at these objects they really are beautiful, miniature works of art., so this is not a show about fishing lures per se, but about these objects as art.”

Surfcasting for striped bass has been popular since the late 1880s, but early anglers were limited in their choice of lures to heavy, metal ones with bucktails that were called “tin squids.” They worked fine when the bass were feeding on the bottom, but when the bass worked the surface, they were useless.

In 1944, at the Cape Code Canal, Bob Pond saw a fellow fisherman catching fish left and right while using a floating lure he did not recognize. The next day, Mr. Pond found one of the stranger’s lures. He tied it on his line, caught 14 fish in a row with it, and knew he was on to something.

“He found this exact lure floating in the Cape Cod Canal,” said Mr. Lobosco, displaying one of the prizes of his collection. The lure was a Creek Chubb Pike, used for catching freshwater game fish.

Mr. Pond set about duplicating the lure—Forget about it, collectors, Mr. Lobosco owns that one too. At first, he made lures for family and friends, but soon enough he was convinced to sell them, so he loaded up his truck and made the rounds to various fishing destinations up and down the Atlantic Seaboard, demonstrating his lures’ prowess and selling them to fishermen looking for an edge. He named his company Atom Lures after the atom bomb that had put an end to World War II. The company’s Striper Swiper is still in wide use today.

Returning veterans, who could not find work, helped revolutionize the industry even more, with many taking the designs they made for their own personal use and putting them on the market. Over the period of about seven years, Mr. Lobosco said, a design revolution had taken place that would change the world of fishing.

Among the other lures from his own collection, Mr. Lobosco will display a darter, circa 1949, that was made by his hero, Stan Gibbs. It is one of about five remaining in the world and was made “specifically for Montauk to handle the pounding rips,” he said.

He will also display models from the Snook Bait Company, a short-lived company based in the Bowery in New York City that gave wise guy names to lures like the Big Weasel, the Big Snook, and the Surf King. “For the collecting world, these are the Cadillac of lures,” said Mr. Lobosco.

Other lures made by Charlie Russo, whose work was “very ornate, the paint schemes at their best,” to Donny Musso, who invented the Super Strike in his Babylon shop in the mid 1960s, will be included in the show.

The show will include information on fish preservation efforts, and other, related gear as well as illustrations by Lynn Bogue Hunt, Harry Discole, and Goadby Lawrence, carvings by Aage Bjerring, and paintings by the artists Paton Miller, Barbara Thomas, Anna Demauro, Nathan Joseph and David Pintauro.

“What makes this special is Stephen’s connection to the fishing community,” said Mr. Doctorow. “Once we put out the word, all these offers of help came in.”

An opening reception for “The Lure of Striped Bass” will take place at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 8. The exhibit will be on display until August 25. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Call 631-725-0770 for more information.

Sag Harbor School District’s New Business Administrator Excited About Small Town Possibilities

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Jennifer-Buscemi

Jennifer Buscemi.

By Tessa Raebeck

After managing a budget of just under $100 million, a staff of about 900 and seven separate school buildings, school business official Jennifer Buscemi is grateful to be coming to Sag Harbor.

The Sag Harbor Board of Education wasted little time in appointing Ms. Buscemi on July 28 to the school business administrator position vacated by John O’Keefe in early July. She comes to Sag Harbor from the West Babylon School District, where she served as executive director for finance and operations for nearly three years.

“I was basically looking for a change,” Ms. Buscemi said in a phone interview on Tuesday, August 5.

With about 4,200 students, a $99.3 million budget and a payroll of about 900 full- and part-time employees, West Babylon is a “fairly large school district,” she said—and monstrous when compared to those on the East End.

Sag Harbor, in turn, has about 1,000 students and, at $36.8 million, this year’s operating budget is slightly over a third of the size of West Babylon’s.

“There were many projects and many things that I wanted to accomplish over the years at my other school district that I just couldn’t move forward on, because there was just so much to do… I spent a lot of time constantly putting out fires,” Ms. Buscemi said of her previous position. “So, I was really looking for something on a smaller scale, so that I would be able to go ahead and move forward on those projects that I’ve always been thinking of doing.”

Once settled in Sag Harbor, Ms. Buscemi hopes to spend time looking at programs and doing “a lot of cost-benefit analysis,” as well as finding new sources of revenue.

“These are all the things that I want to sort of delve into, but I could never do that in such a large school district. So, I’m hoping to be able to get to do that here in Sag Harbor,” she said.

Attracted to the village’s “small town feel” and the options it affords her professionally, she plans on moving to the East End once her husband, Frank, retires, which he’s planning on doing sometime in the next one to three years.

Ms. Buscemi received her bachelor’s degree, with a major in accounting and a minor in economics, from Queens College in Flushing. She went on to Dowling College in Oakdale, where she earned a master of business administration degree in Public Management, and advanced certificates in Human Resource Management and School District Business Administration.

Prior to joining the West Babylon School District in 2011, she worked as an intern in the business office of the Commack Union Free School District for a year in order to fulfill advanced certificate requirements.

This past May in West Babylon, the district attempted to pierce the state-mandated 2-percent tax levy cap.

“We tried to pierce the tax cap because we didn’t want to make drastic cuts to programs and that’s what we were faced with,” Ms. Buscemi said of the decision. “The board wanted to move forward with trying to pierce it, but because of the property tax rate this year, I think a lot of voters came out and, unfortunately, the budget got voted down.”

With 51.3-percent voter approval, the district was shy of the 60-percent supermajority required to pierce the cap.

“So, what we did,” she explained, “was we revised the budget. We did end up reducing some programs, but from out of nowhere [State Senator Phil Boyle] was able to find $125,000 for us to restore those programs. So, we were able to go into the June 17 vote with a reduced budget that was within the cap and everyone was eligible for their property tax rebate check at that point.

On its second go-round, West Babylon’s budget passed with over 70-percent voter approval.

Although Sag Harbor has not yet had to ask voters to pierce the cap, Ms. Buscemi believes the tax cap will continue to be a challenge for all of New York’s school districts.

“I think every district is just going to have to rethink the way they’re providing programs at this point. [Governor Andrew Cuomo] wants us to find efficiencies and cost savings and be able to share services. So, eventually…we’re going to have to move in that direction,” she said.

Aside from size, another significant difference between Sag Harbor and West Babylon is the extent of state aid given to the districts.

“In my previous district, we relied very heavily on state aid, so whenever the governor’s budget came out, whenever the governor’s proposal came out, it was a real defining moment for us during the budget process, because if we did not get a decent increase in state aid, we were done,” Ms. Buscemi said.

“So, I have to say,” she continued, “in Sag Harbor, what is unique is that we don’t rely on state aid as much; I think less than 5 percent of our budget is funded through state aid… It’s a real community school, because the funding comes 100 percent pretty much—95 percent—from the tax levy.”

Unlike most school districts, especially those up-island (East End school districts have historically received less state aid than others on Long Island because of their high property values), Sag Harbor taxpayers bear most of the financial burden. Although this can be tough on residents, it means the district doesn’t have to deal with the unpredictability of being supported primarily by the state.

“They have to deal with fluctuations in state aid and when state aid does go down, that could mean drastic reductions,” explained Ms. Buscemi.

A self-described “numbers person,” Ms. Buscemi first gained administrative and financial management experience in state government. She was part of the management team at the New York State Comptroller’s Office and worked as a tax auditor for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

“I’m very, very analytical, so I love the fact that I’m doing something that is very rewarding,” she said. “Because, ultimately, we’re benefitting students; we’re providing really great educational opportunities and programs, and I know that whatever I do in all of my work on a daily basis is contributing to that.”

“When I worked as a state auditor,” she continued, “the job just was not as rewarding as [working in schools]. It was sort of like a thankless job. No one ever liked us coming in, no one ever liked us leaving, no one was happy to hear from us.”

“But when you work for a school district as a business official,” she continued, “every single thing you do is contributing to the benefit of the students, which is really great. So, at the end of the day, you feel like you actually did something wonderful and accomplished something.”

Ice Cream Social Returns

Tags: ,


ice-cream-cone1

The Old Whalers’ Church will hold its annual Ice Cream Social on Saturday, August 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the front lawn of the church at 44 Union Street in Sag Harbor.

Admission is $4 for children and $6 for adults. That includes an ice cream sundae with a choice of flavors and toppings.

A Sag Harbor summer tradition, this year’s social features games for children, plus a bouncy house and a ticket auction for adults. Game tickets are $1 and auction tickets are $2, or 15 tickets for $25. Hot dogs, bottled water and soft drinks will also be available for purchase.

East Enders Go Green With Solar Panels

Tags: , , , , , ,


IMG_20140728_172757_655

Steve D’Angelo’s rooftop solar panels at his house on Widow Gavitt’s Road in Sag Harbor. Photo by Steve D’Angelo.

By Mara Certic

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Steve D’Angelo was looking for a way to invest his money. Instead of putting it into stocks or hiding it under his mattress, he decided to put that money onto his roof.

Six years later, the 24 solar panels that he had installed on his 3,500-square-foot Sag Harbor house have already paid for themselves. “For me it was a long-term investment; I had money and I didn’t know where to put it,” he said. After reading about rebates from LIPA and Southampton Town, the decision to have Green Logic design and install solar panels for his house was a “no-brainer,” he said.

“I’m adding value to my house and I’m not paying as much outright every month,” he said. “It’s really not much different from a municipal bond to some extent, where you’re getting 2 percent or 3 percent on your money—it’s just a money move,” he said. Mr. D’Angelo explained that he thinks that solar is a hard sell out on the East End because of the large number of investment properties and second homes.

“At the time, I knew I was going to stay in my house until my kids were going to move out and they were around one at that time,” he said. Mr. D’Angelo paid around $19,000 out-of-pocket, he said, and got a state credit of $5,500, a LIPA rebate of $6,600 and also a rebate from Southampton Town.

“I ended up paying 50 percent of the actual installed cost,” after the various rebates, he said. “You know you’re going to be getting every cent back on that solar system because you’re going to use it every single day.”

“Every month I save on the average of $200 to $300. And during the wintertime my LIPA bill comes in at zero,” he said, explaining that the pool pump and the air conditioning that run all summer expend a lot of electricity. Last month, he said his bill was $228, before he got solar panels his June utility bill would have cost him around $460, he said.

“Green Logic have it down to the penny, they know exactly how much you’re going to save on an annual basis and then you can decide if it’s worth it,” he said. “They maximize your investment, they’re not just trying to cover your house in solar panels,” he said, adding that he had suggested putting solar panels on his garage, which Green Logic advised against.

The trick is, he said, you have to have the money up front to do it. “That’s why a lot of guys don’t do it, they’d rather go out and buy a car than put solar on their house,” he said.

Brian Kelly, owner of East End Tick and Mosquito Control, definitely has his eye on a new (electric) car in the future; but before he makes that investment he, like Mr. D’Angelo, decided to put some money into solar panels.

Around two months ago, Mr. Kelly had 48 250-watt solar panels installed onto the roof of his business headquarters in Southampton Village. “I’ve always liked the idea of solar, but I never thought it was in the cards for me,” he said on Tuesday. After meeting with Brian Tymann of BGT Consulting, LLC, who told him that his business had the “perfect roof for solar,” he realized it was time to act.

“I just said to myself, now’s really the time, and I just did it, it was a no-brainer. And I love it,” he said of his 12,000-kilowatt system. His meter spins backwards now, he said.

Mr. Kelly had a total out-of-pocket expense of $36,000 and is still waiting on a rebate from the Village of Southampton. He expects to recoup his costs in 10 years. “The one thing a lot of people don’t think about is that your electric bill is constantly rising. Over the next few years my $400-a-month bill could turn into $600. And that’s money I now won’t be paying.”

“It really makes sense. You do have an out-of-pocket layout and that’s tough for a lot of people. But they do have a lot of financial programs to help people out,” he said.

There’s no fear if one of his panels breaks, Mr. Kelly has a 20-year warranty on the solar panel array. He explained that each of the panels is separate and that a problem with one will not affect the other 23.

“And what’s really cool is that the guy who set it up for me put an app on my phone that can tell me all day long exactly how much energy I’m producing by the hour,” he said.

At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kelly’s solar panels had produced 11.3 kilowatt hours  of energy. Powering a light bulb for one month uses 9.6 kilowatts, he said. “Isn’t that so cool?”

The Lid’s a Hit with Kids

Tags: ,


DSC_0836

By Stephen J. Kotz

Like many young children these days, Matt Mogol’s 2-year-old daughter loves watching videos on Daddy’s laptop or talking to Grandma via Skype, but when little Penelope gets excited, she likes to pound on the keys. Sometimes, when she inadvertently shuts down the movie she is watching, the tears flow. Sometimes, when she pulls a key off the keyboard or spills her juice on his laptop, Daddy feels like crying too.

Fortunately, though, Mr. Mogol is an inventive sort. Instead of taking the computer away from Penny, he started brainstorming solutions. He found one in a piece of leftover plastic that he had fashioned into a cover that slips over the open laptop screen and secures to the keyboard, creating a flat surface that is impervious to a child’s hands, drink or food.

It wasn’t long before Mr. Mogol, who is also of an entrepreneurial bent, saw a business opportunity. When he was out with Penny and he set up the prototype of the product he has named the Kid Lid, strangers asked him where they could get one. He got a patent for his invention and began working with friends in the business world to come up with a marketing campaign for his new company, Mogolo, and hopes to have the product, which will sell for about $30, in stores as early as Christmas.

“I’m really trying to create a brand that makes technology safe not only for the child but for the device, which are expensive and fragile,” he said this week.

“Not only is it a board to protect my computer, but it has allowed me to introduce technology to my daughter and not use the word ‘no,’” he added, noting that he wants to give his daughter autonomy, but when he hovers over her because he is worried she will damage the computer, it sends a conflicting message.

Like many modern entrepreneurs, Mr. Mogol turned to Kickstart.com to try to raise money for his product. Although it appears he will fall short of his goal to raise $17,500—his campaign ends today, July 31—he said the experience has provided him with invaluable feedback from would-be consumers about everything from the color they would like to the sizes they think he should make.

Mr.  Mogol is already brainstorming other products such as a keyboard cover with oversized keys that would make it easier for young children to use a computer or smaller Kid Lids that would fit on cellular telephones or devices like iPads.

He is also negotiating with stores ranging from GeekHampton in Sag Harbor to the national chain Target to carry Kid Lids once the logistics are figured out.

Mr. Mogol was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and studied business at Babson College outside Boston. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he eventually launched his own cosmetics and body products firm, focusing on private labels for the hotel industry.

He later joined the company of a friend who had a digital marketing company, where he was in charge of business development. “We tried to really understand what their problems were as opposed to just providing marketing, he said. “And then we’d work to solve their problems through technology.

Mr. Mogol found himself on the East End about four years ago. “I found myself asking, ‘What am I going to do for work?,’” he said. “Go into real estate, open a restaurant, become a mailman?”

Now that Mogolo is getting off the ground, Mr. Mogol said he hoped he could base his company in Sag Harbor. “I can see myself in Sag Harbor,” he said, “becoming an employer,” hiring sales and customer service staff to work here.

In the meantime, though, he said he would enjoy spending as much time as possible with Penny. “If I’m busy and need a few minutes to fold the laundry, a little Mickey Mouse does the trick,” he said.

“Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” Hits East End Farmers Markets This Weekend

Tags: , , , , ,


Food Book Cover

 

The cover of “The Delicious Nutritious FoodBook.” Photography by Ellen Watson.

By Mara Certic

The days of mystery meat at school lunch seem mercifully to be coming to an end.  Since First Lady Michelle Obama began updating the White House vegetable garden in 2008 and started the “get moving” campaign, school lunches have steadily been improving and there seems to be a new focus on nutrition and health all around the country.

This is not necessarily a new trend; schools such as Ross have had the means to provide healthy, balanced meals for their students for years. Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz taught Landscape Design at the Ross School before moving to the Bridgehampton School District. Upon changing jobs, she noticed a disparity in the quality of food at the two schools.

“I thought that was fundamentally unfair,” she said, “Food should be a right, not a privilege.” Through her position as a nutrition and culinary arts teacher, she worked with various edible school garden groups on the East End in an effort to teach children about healthy food.

When she was teaching nutrition and culinary arts at Bridgehampton, she said she noticed that even after her hard work, students were going home and eating unhealthy dinners. She decided that she wanted to “remove all obstacles of good eating,” and create an accessible way to educate parents and children alike about what, how and why they should be eating.

Now, after two years of planning, compiling and raising money through a Kickstarter campaign, the “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” is available for everyone.

“It demystifies nutrition and cooking,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said of the 96-page color book that resembles the Edible East End magazine. “We kept saying we really want something that looks great,” she said.fruits & veggies

Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz and her team sought out healthy recipes from parents, students and teachers in the Edible School Garden network as well as from chefs at some of the best restaurants on the East End. Elementary, middle and high school students have their recipes printed right alongside those from Sen, Nick & Toni’s and many others.

The “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” is much more than a cookbook though, she said. “What we wanted to do was talk about what is food rather than tell you how to make stir-fried chicken,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said. With production manager Annie Bliss and art director Kathleen Bifulco (and other contributors) she put together a sort of how-to guide to buying food, growing food and cooking and enjoying it.

The book begins with an introduction to “what food is” as well as a handy list of the things that should always be stocked in a pantry. Another section on “how to source food” provides information on the differences between growing food (as well as helpful gardening tips), eating local foods and buying produce in supermarkets. In the section of breakfast, the book talks about the importance of the first meal of the day, including research from the American Dietetic Association that mentions many benefits of eating a hearty meal in the morning. Sections on greens, beans, meat, fish and grains follow, with recipes and helpful tips guiding the reader along the way.

The recipes are not always strict, but are more there to provide certain guidelines, “Part of what we’re trying to tell people is that you don’t always have to know what a quarter cup is,” said Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz.

A whole slew of recipes from “101 Salads” by food journalist, author and New York Times columnist  Mark Bittman are included in the book under the “Eat the Rainbow” section, which discusses the phytonutrients and the reasons why one should eat different colored foods. Mr. Bittman’s recipes are short, unintimidating and do not require any measuring: “Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil and basil or cilantro.”

There is a two-pronged approach to selling and distributing the “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said. When school starts in the fall, the book will be available for purchase at back-to-school nights and similar events for the nominal fee of $1, which the school will be able to keep for its own purposes.

Funding the book through a Kickstarter campaign means that there are no residual costs to cover. But Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz has decided to expand the project and so, starting this weekend, the book will be available to all at farmers markets on the North and South Forks with a donation of $10 to Edible School Gardens, Ltd. “We want to use these funds to print more copies and maybe we could do a Spanish language version of it,” she said.

“What I would also love to do is get this to Southampton Hospital,” she said. All of the proceeds from those sales will go toward expansion of the project.

The book will be available for purchase at the following farmers markets: Montauk, East Hampton, Shelter Island, Hampton Bays, Hayground School, Flanders, Mattituck and Greenport. It will also be available at the Balsam Farms farm stand in Amagansett, Serene Green in Sag Harbor and at the North Fork Table & Inn farmers market in Southold.

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Motyka and Megan Minutillo

Tags: , , ,


baystreet

Julia Motyka (right), director of education at Bay Street Theater, and her summer intern Megan Minutillo (left), are the driving forces behind Bay Street’s expanded education and camp programming this summer. They discussed their backgrounds and some of the exciting options there are for budding thespians on the East End from now until Labor Day.

By Mara Certic

Why did you two decide to get involved with the summer camps at Bay Street this year?

JM: Well this year, Megan and I came on board to kind of help diversify the programming and extend it to a new location and give that a little more focus. I actually came to teaching through performance, I still work primarily as an actress in New York City. I was actually just in “Travesties” at Bay Street, and we just closed that show. I started teaching a bunch of Shakespeare workshops when I was 24. It becomes about wish fulfillment–What do I wish I’d had when I was falling in love with this? I feel like as a performer; it’s incredibly grounding to come back and to teach and to watch the light bulb moment with kids.

MM: I’ve always loved theater. And when it came time to study further, after college, I saw that NYU has a really wonderful educational theater program. And I decided to do that program and it was wonderful, I taught in the city for a bit. This summer, I wanted to do a little bit more of a crossover of the professional and teaching aspects and so I came to Bay Street. I have a real interest in producing and directing as well, and Scott Schwartz has so graciously made me the assistant producer on “Black Out at Bay Street,” our new late night programming.

How does this year differ from last year?

JM: In the past there were generally two or three camps and they were generalized musical theater camps. And what we’ve done this year is diversify from just the Bridgehampton location to Bridgehampton and Southampton. And we’ve also shifted from three to four camps and shifted to a more diverse age group. In the past it was 8 to 12, and now it’s 7 to 9 and 9 to 12. And then in terms of actual programming we have two different tracks; in Bridgehampton we have two Shakespeare-based camps. One for the younger campers is called a “Mini-Midsummer Night’s Dream” and for the older age group is “Green Eggs & Hamlet”—It’s like a Dr. Seuss sort of send-up of the great Bard’s tale. And in Southampton we have two make-your-own-adventure camps. There’s a camp called “Land of Make Believe” which is like a fairytale mash-up and kids get to make their own fractured fairytale over the course of the week. And then there’s “My Life is a Musical” where the kids create their own musical over the course of five days.

“My Life Is a Musical” sounds a little familiar, how did you come up with the idea for that?

JM: The show that’s about to open at Bay Street is called “My Life is a Musical” and we thought it would be really cool this year to take the theme of that show and use it as the structure for the musical theater camp this year. We thought it would be fun to say to the kids, what would happen one morning if you woke up and your life was a musical. It’s basically all songs with a little bit of dialogue, we’re looking at having at least five songs in the 10-to-15 minute production that will be performed to friends and family at the end of the week.

Will you two be teaching the camps?

MM: I like to call us the principals. Julia and I both thought that it’s always nice to have some sort of administrator or figurehead who’s going to be troubleshooting everything that we anticipate, and it’s nice to go to someone with questions: especially when you’re a teacher watching 10 or 15 little people.

JM: We’re sort of trying to offer some programming support as well; the teachers have been given a lot of jumping off points for how to structure their lessons and they’re coming back to us with ideas and questions so we can be a sounding board.

The various weekly Bay Street summer camps begin on Monday, August 4, and will continue until the end of the month. For more information visit baystreet.org.

Sag Harbor School District Hires New School Business Administrator

Tags: , , , , , ,


Jennifer Buscemi will be the new School Business Administrator for Sag Harbor.

Jennifer Buscemi is the new School Business Administrator for Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

The Sag Harbor School District on Monday, July 28, appointed a new school business administrator to fill the position left open by John O’Keefe’s departure earlier this month.

The new administrator, Jennifer Buscemi, will start work on Monday, August 4, and serve a three-year probationary term ending August 3, 2017.

“I am very excited to get started in my new role,” Ms. Buscemi said in an email Wednesday, July 30.

Ms. Buscemi, who lives in Brentwood, is leaving her post as executive director for finance and operations at the West Babylon School District. She has held that position since November 1, 2011.

“I feel that my background and work experience will enable me to support the educational and fiscal goals of the superintendent and the board of education,” she continued. “I will work hard to maintain all the wonderful programs the district currently offers, while also working to expand educational opportunities for all students. In the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting and working in partnership with my new colleagues and all the members of the Sag Harbor community.”

Mr. O’Keefe started as business administrator in 2012 and left the district on July 16 for a position as assistant superintendent for business and operations in the West Hempstead School District.

At Monday’s board meeting, school board member David Diskin congratulated the superintendent and those involved in hiring Ms. Buscemi.

“That’s a very difficult thing to walk into and to do it so quickly and successfully—great,” Mr. Diskin said to Ms. Graves, who started in the district this month.

“This was someone with exceptional skills,” Chris Tice, vice president of the school board, said of Ms. Buscemi, adding that she “comes with a wealth of fabulous experience.”

“We’re very fortunate,” agreed board president Theresa Samot.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Ms. Graves outlined her entry plan, saying her focus, especially in the beginning months, would be on listening to and learning from all the various stakeholders in the community.

In her decision making, Ms. Graves said she simply asks herself, “What is best for students, fair for adults and what the community can sustain?”

Ms. Graves outlined a timeline starting in July 2014 that will begin collecting “evidence and documentation of the district’s strengths, challenges and needs.”

She said the remainder of the summer would be spent conducting interviews, reviewing documents and implementing surveys to learn more about her new district.

Ms. Graves also presented a timeline of interviews she hopes to conduct with a number of groups and individuals across the community, ranging from bus drivers and student leaders to the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and local real estate agents.

During October, with the help of the school board, she will analyze that data and prepare a report to reflect the findings, then share that report and solicit feedback from administrators, faculty and staff, and school committees.

By mid-November, Ms. Graves said she will have created a work action plan for the year with “vision, goals, objectives and measurement indicators,” and present a draft of that plan to the district’s stakeholders.

The next meeting of the board of education will be held Monday, August 18, in the Pierson library.

In Wake of Resignation, Sag Harbor School Board Will Appoint New Member

Tags: , , , , ,


A student navigates the halls of Pierson High School. Photo by Michael Heller.

A student navigates the halls of Pierson High School. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

Following the resignation of board member Daniel Hartnett two weeks ago because he is moving out of the district, the Sag Harbor Board of Education decided on Monday, July 28, that it would interview candidates for the newly vacant seat on the board.

The board discussed three options at Monday’s business meeting: Having a full interim election to allow the community to vote for the candidate; not filling the empty seat, which would allow the New York State Education Commissioner Roger King to fill the seat for the board if he so chooses; and appointing a candidate of its own choosing who would serve until May 18, 2015.

Citing similar situations in the past, board president Theresa Samot recommended the board interview potential candidates and choose a new member.

Ms. Samot said the first option of holding an interim election is “a costly one,” adding, “I don’t think we want to leave it open to the commissioner to appoint someone who may not be familiar with the workings of the board.”

The board’s vice president, Chris Tice, said most districts on Long Island that are currently facing “this challenge or opportunity” seem to opt for the board appointing a new member. She added that was the decision recently made by the East Hampton School District, which saw its president Patricia Hope resign this month.

“Unless it’s a month before an election… there’s almost no districts now that are spending the money to have elections and few districts are leaving it open,” Ms. Tice said.

Board member David Diskin said he was torn over the decision. He said although his heart always feels an election is the best choice, the financial and legal implications make him think it’s the wisest choice to fill the position as a board.

“I’ll concede to the will of the board on that one,” Mr. Diskin said.

“I’m for the appointment,” said school board member Sandi Kruel. “The election, I think, is just too costly and time-consuming. The only time I think you should leave a board position open is if there’s a very short period of time before the next election.”

The next scheduled school board election will not be held until late May.

Ms. Kruel added that this will be her seventh appointment in reaction to a resignation during her tenure as a board member, “so that’s the way it’s been done since I’ve been on the board so far.”

The board agreed unanimously to appoint its next member and expressed the hope that as many applicants as possible will come forward. Board members discussed ways to get the word out to all members of the community; even those who are outside the “school family” and do not regularly use social media.

“I would love to see a ton of applicants,” Mr. Diskin said. “I don’t want to choose between a handful of people because people didn’t know about it.”

During public input, former board member Mary Anne Miller expressed her support of a public vote.

“We should try very hard to let the public decide the board members,” said Ms. Miller, adding she believes a lot of community members would support a vote despite the cost.

She said while the annual 14-hour election in May costs upward of $7,000, the district could consider holding an election on a smaller scale.

In an email Tuesday, July 29, Ms. Miller said the district could keep the polls open less than 14 hours, use one machine, which would cost $550 to rent, as opposed to three, or consider using paper ballots to save on the machine rental altogether.

Ms. Miller said in the September vote held on behalf of the John Jermain Memorial Library, polls are open 10 hours, only two machines are rented and the vote does not include newsletters and associated postage fees. According to estimates given by former Superintendent Dr. John Gratto in 2012, a special election similar to the library vote would cost an estimated $3,841, as opposed to the $7,655 he estimated for a standard, larger vote.

Ms. Miller’s remarks were made after the decision to move forward with interviews had already been made by the board.

The deadline to submit applications to be the newest member of the Sag Harbor school board is Monday, August 11. The BOE is hopeful it will have a candidate by the next scheduled board meeting, Monday, August 18.

Click here to access the school district’s release on the position.

Sag Harbor School District Board of Education Position Now Available

Tags: , , , , , ,


photo 2

The following was released by the Sag Harbor School District on Wednesday, July 30:

The Sag Harbor Board of Education is seeking a person to fill a Board of Education seat that recently became vacant. If you wish to apply for this Board of Education position, please email a letter expressing your interest in and qualifications for the position to Mary Adamczyk, the Board of Education Clerk, at madamczyk@sagharborschools.org by Monday, August 11th.  The Board will review letters from interested applicants. Interviews for applicants will be held on August 13 or 14. The chosen candidate is expected to be appointed to fill the open position at the August 18, 2014 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education members serve on a voluntary basis to provide governance to the school district. The school board is a corporate body that oversees and manages a public school district’s affairs, personnel, and properties. As you consider whether or not you would like to apply for this important responsibility, please first read about the characteristics of effective (and ineffective) school boards and assess your willingness and desire to be part of a highly effective Board of Education by clicking here.

Board of Education meetings are typically held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on two Mondays each month. You will serve on several Board committees and liaisons to outside organizations that would involve additional time.

By agreeing to be appointed to this open board seat, you would fill the position until May 18, 2015.  If you wanted to fill the remainder of the open term, which ends on June 30, 2016, you would need to run for that position at the election held on May 19, 2015, along with any other candidates running.

If you have questions about the position please contact Theresa Samot, President of the Board of Education at tsamot@sagharborschools.org or Katy Graves, Superintendent of Schools at kgraves@sagharborschools.org.