Tag Archive | "Shelter Island"

All for the East End Adds Avicii to August 19 Dance Party Lineup

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Nile Rodgers announces Avicii will join the All for the East End dance party this August during a press conference last Thursday at the Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. 

By Tessa Raebeck


Swedish sensation Avicii will join legendary producer and musician Nile Rodgers in an event that Rodgers is calling the “greatest dance party the East End of Long Island has ever seen.”

Presented by Bridgehampton National Bank, the Nile Rodgers Dance Party is the inaugural event of All for the East End (AFTEE), an organization formed to raise funds for local not-for-profit organizations. The concert will be held on Monday, August 19 at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead and will benefit a range of East End not-for-profits.

Rodgers has produced such chart-toppers as “Like a Virgin,” “We are Family” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which is currently the number one song in 79 countries (and counting). Along with curating the event, Rodgers will also be performing with his band, CHIC (perhaps best known for their 1978 disco hit “Le Freak”).

“Dance music unites,” said Rodgers at a press conference announcing the lineup last Thursday, June 6, at Martha Clara Vineyard. “Dance music is happy and the Nile Rodgers Dance Party will bring all ages to the dance floor.”

One of the world’s premiere acts, Avicii is the name behind such hits as “Fade into Darkness” and “Silhouettes.” Rodgers asked Avicii — with whom he is currently working — to headline because he is “a really hot young superstar that represents the next generation. That represents the continuation of music on the next level,” he said.

Rodgers plans to announce “other stars” who will be joining the festivities over the next few weeks.

The dance party will benefit a number of local not-for-profit organizations. As testament to the event’s commitment to the East End, 25 percent of all tickets sold are reserved for locals at the heavily discounted price of $50. General admission tickets are $149.

“Everybody thinks of the East End as a wealthy community and an affluent place,” said Rodgers. “But not for everybody. So, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to put together an event that’s accessible by all.”

“To have folks grace the Town of Riverhead with the presence of doing something like this is just phenomenal,” added Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter.

AFTEE’s “primary purpose is to raise awareness of the role not-for-profit organizations play in making the East End of Long Island one of the most desirable places to live in the world and to establish a fund of new money that they will have access to through a grant process,” the organization said in a press release.

With over 1,075 registered not-for-profit organizations in the five East End towns — East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold — AFTEE plans to benefit a wide variety of local groups with proceeds from the show.

“What struck me is how difficult it is right now for not-for-profits to make it,” said Walter. “Many of them have failed. So, to have a group that has come together to create AFTEE is truly — you are truly doing God’s work here.”

“We are very excited about this inaugural concert,” said Myron Levine, AFTEE president and founder, in a press release issued at the event. “And we are very lucky to head out of the gate with such an amazing program produced by Nile Rodgers. We anticipate this will be the first annual AFTEE, Nile Rodgers Dance Party and the funds raised will help the not-for-profits here fulfill their missions.”

Organizers of AFTEE also note that Bridgehampton National Bank (BNB) was quick to commit as the presenting sponsor of the event.

“It’s important to us,” said Kevin O’Connor, the BNB’s president, director and CEO. “We can give back so much for everything that we’ve gotten from this community. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Rodgers has been a visitor to the East End since 1978, when he received his first large paycheck (after producing nine hit singles) and “bought a speedboat.” He now spends time in the area “every single year when I get a little break in my schedule.”

AFTEE plans to sell 5,000 tickets to the Nile Rodgers Dance Party, including the 1,000 that have been set aside for locals.

“All my friends are out here,” said Rodgers. “You know it’s going to turn into a party. We’re going to have a bunch of people up on that stage. We’ll have some of the hottest DJs, some of the hottest acts. It’s going to be crazy.”

Rodgers and Avicii have been working on several new songs that the DJ may unveil at the event.

“Back in the day, we used to write songs and we would perform them live. And based on the response of the public, we would decide what songs we wanted to put on the record,” Rodgers explained. “The fact that Avicii and I are doing things like that now in today’s world — for me, it’s so cool. It’s like, ‘We get to try this out?’ That’s like the coolest thing in the world.”

VIP, general admission, and East Ender tickets are available online at www.AFTEE.org.

Thiele: Working on Early Voting in New York

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Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced he helped pass legislation that would strengthen the state’s electoral process by instituting early voting in all general, primary and special elections in New York.

“Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy, and we have to find ways to get more people involved in the process,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “Unfortunately, less than 46 percent of New York voters cast their vote on Election Day 2012. The Assembly’s legislation would provide voters with more opportunities to cast their ballots. Increasing voter participation is extremely important to me because it will make our democracy more representative.”

Under the bill, early voting would begin on the third Thursday prior to a general election and go right up until the Thursday before Election Day, providing voters with a two week time frame to cast ballots. In the case of a primary or special election, early voting would run from the second Thursday before regular voting until the Thursday prior to the actual election date, giving voters up to a week of early voting. Early voting polls would be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Local boards of elections would designate at least five early voting sites in each county. The local board of elections would automatically be designated as a polling place in each county. Boards of elections would also be allowed to staff early voting sites with appointed inspectors or their own employees. Early votes would be secured throughout the early voting period and the results would not be released prior to the close of polls on Election Day. In addition, the names of each early voter would be recorded to ensure that early voters are properly removed from Election Day poll books.

“This early voting reform would give disabled voters and those who work non-traditional hours more flexibility to cast their votes well ahead of

Election Day,” Thiele said, “it would also create shorter lines at the polls and give local boards of elections enough time to ensure that no one votes twice in the same election.”

If made law, New York would join 32 other states and the District of Columbia in permitting an alternative to in-person voting on Election Day, Thiele noted.

Nuzzi to Challenge Schneiderman in Suffolk County Legislature Race

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi announced this week he is interested in seeking the Republican nomination for Suffolk County Legislature this fall.

Nuzzi made the announcement during a screening in front of the Southampton Republican Committee Tuesday night.

If endorsed by the Republican committee, Nuzzi would be running against incumbent Jay Schneiderman, a member of the Independence Party, who is seeking his sixth and final term with the legislature.

On Wednesday, Nuzzi, a Republican, confirmed he has expressed an interest in running for county legislature and said he hoped to have the Republican Committee’s support. Their response to his interest, Nuzzi added, was “positive.”

Rumors first began swirling that Nuzzi would seek a seat on the legislature after Schneiderman was nominated by the East Hampton Republican Committee to run for supervisor, a candidacy Schneiderman ultimately turned down.

Nuzzi is prevented from seeking another term as a Southampton Town councilman due to term limits. On Wednesday, he said he believes he could bring a lot to the table as a member of the legislature and despite reaching his term limit on the town board felt his career in public service was far from over.

“I am still very interested and committed to public service,” said Nuzzi. “I would like to explore moving on to a different position with different challenges and one that expands the area that I serve.

In addition to Southampton and East Hampton towns, the county’s second legislative district extends to Shelter Island and into a portion of eastern Brookhaven town.

A resident of Southampton, Nuzzi grew up in East Hampton and said the South Fork as a whole is precious to him.

“The finances and the structure of county government is something that clearly remains a pressing issue,” said Nuzzi. “We have to ensure its financial solvency is maintained. We have made some very difficult decisions in Southampton that has caused a lot of debate but our government is working and we have not had to raise the tax levy in three years, we cut staff through attrition and we have been able to reorganize government where the community is well served through common sense solutions.”

Ensuring the county maintains its support of environmental initiatives on the South Fork, particularly with funding cuts, is critical, added Nuzzi.

On Wednesday, Schneiderman said that while no formal endorsements have been announced, he expects the support of his own party, as well as that of the Democratic Party.

Schneiderman added he would also seek the endorsement of the Working Families party. He was not asked to screen by the Republican committee.

“I will be running on my record which I believe is a strong record of achievement,” said Schneiderman, pointing to the widening of County Road 39 in Southampton, the new sidewalk on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike and the creation of Sunday bus service as examples of local initiatives he championed in the legislature.

“I am in my tenth year and in 10 years I have been able to get resources for this district without increasing county property taxes,” he added.



Whalers Stomp League Rivals

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By Gavin Menu

With their floor general down, the Whalers have responded with an army 10 deep.

Jake Bennett, Patrick Sloane, Joey Butts and Forrest Loesch have played at or near the top of their games since junior point guard Ian Barrett went down with a knee injury last month. And the team’s bench continued to develop during two recent wins that pushed the Pierson boys basketball team’s record to a perfect 5-0 in League VIII play.

But the fun is just getting started and the Whalers’ gym is expected to be packed tomorrow night, January 11, as rival Bridgehampton is scheduled to travel up the turnpike for a showdown between schools with close ties and rich histories of basketball success.

The fate of the game was hanging in the balance on Wednesday, however, as the Killer Bees had to forfeit their game against Shelter Island on Tuesday with two players out for medical reasons and another two having been ruled academically ineligible. Bridgehampton head coach Carl Johnson said the two were “key” players but could not offer names under school policy. Johnson said the fate of the two players and whether they would be able to play on Friday would be determined today, January 10.

The Whalers, meanwhile, will travel to Stony Brook, the undefeated defending league champion, for what could be a showdown for first place on Tuesday, January 15.

To say this is a critical stretch of games for the Whalers is an understatement.

“I think we’ve moved on,” Pierson head coach Dan White said Tuesday night when asked about the team’s performance following the loss of Barrett, who is expected to miss another week. “But we’ll see when we play Stony Brook and Bridgehampton.”

The Whalers shutdown both Shelter Island and Southold in the last week, winning both games by large margins.  After getting off Shelter Island with a 52-38 win on January 4, Pierson came home and dominated Southold, winning 70-50 in a game where the team’s entire bench saw significant action.

Loesch led the Whalers against Southold, a strong program having a down year, with 20 points and Liam Doyle came off the bench to score 10. Sloane and Butts each chipped in with seven points as 12 different Whalers were able to score in the game.

Pierson can legitimately go 10 players deep when Barrett is in the line-up and gets scoring from across the board. Sophomore Robbie Evjen joined Loesch, Butts, Bennett and Sloane in the starting lineup on Tuesday, and Doyle led a team of reserves off the bench including regular reserves Jackson and Cooper Marienfeld and Aidan Kirrane.

During timeouts, White said he asked his players as the game turned into a blowout to work on their full-court pressure defense as well as strong ball movement on the offensive end.

“We scored 70 points, so I think they did a pretty good job,” White said.

White went on to say that to beat a team like Stony Brook, which is undefeated in the league as well and boasts a towering front line, his team would have to consistently work the ball into “the box” as he calls it, or the paint, and work to get layups instead of outside shots.

Tuesday was another high-energy game from Loesch, who had 15 points and zero fouls at halftime as the Whalers took a 43-22 lead into the break. The deceptively quick junior forward had 23 points against Shelter Island and is averaging 20 points per game in his last five games, all Pierson wins.

“He’s got an engine like you wouldn’t believe,” White said about Loesch, who spent most of the second half on Tuesday riding the bench his with his fellow starters. “Last year he was like a bull, but now he has some skill to go with that.”

Greenport AD Gulluscio Named Sag Harbor Athletic Director

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By Amanda Wyatt

Todd Gulluscio is a man used to wearing many hats. During his tenure in the Greenport School District, the Shelter Island native learned how to juggle responsibilities as its director of athletics, physical education department chair and dean of discipline.

This experience may serve Gulluscio well in January, when assumes his post as Sag Harbor’s new director of athletics, physical education, health, wellness and personnel.

Gulluscio was appointed to the position for the Sag Harbor School District at the board of education’s Monday, December 3 meeting, where he was warmly welcomed.

“This gentleman duly impressed me,” said Dr. Carl Bonuso, interim school superintendent. “He just has an enthusiasm that is infectious.”

“The lines that we received when we called for his references said, ‘You don’t have a good man. You have a great man,’” he added.

Chris Tice, vice president of the school board, said in January, the board would look for opportunities for parents and community members to meet with Gulluscio, such as at PTA and PTSA meetings. More information on times to meet with the new athletic director will appear on the school website at a later date, she said.

Gulluscio will serve a two year probationary term beginning January 2, 2013 and ending on January 2, 2015. He will earn a $90,000 salary annually.

For over seven years, Gulluscio has worked in the Greenport School District, and he has spent the past two and a half as its director of athletics. However, he said in an interview this week, teaching and playing sports have been his lifelong passions.

“Ever since I was a kid … [I knew] that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

While attending Shelter Island High School, Gulluscio was an avid basketball and baseball fan. After graduation, Gulluscio headed to Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, and while still an undergraduate, began coaching basketball, and eventually moved into coaching field hockey, soccer and other sports as well.

Gulluscio returned to the East End where he received a master’s degree in elementary education from Long Island University’s Southampton College, now Stony Brook Southampton. He also has an administration degree from Dowling College, as well as a permanent certificate in physical education.

A self-proclaimed “lifelong East Ender,” Gulluscio still lives on Shelter Island with his family. His wife, Jennifer, is a teacher in the Shelter Island school district, where his two children, Tyler and Caitlyn, attend elementary school.

Over the years, Gulluscio said he has noticed an increase in the variety of sports played at local schools.

“There are more travel leagues and more opportunities, actually, for kids than when I was growing up,” he said. “I think it’s fantastic, the amount of the opportunities there are for kids. I hope we can strengthen them.”

Gulluscio plans to do just that when assumes his new job next month. Still, he said he is aware that working in Sag Harbor will be a different ballgame than working in Greenport or even Shelter Island.

“When I get here in January, I’m really going to have to grasp hold of the Sag Harbor culture,” he said. “While they’re all small East End towns and villages, each one of them does things a little differently.”

“It may not necessarily be the biggest challenge, but it’s the first challenge,” Gulluscio said. “For me, it’s most important to assess where we are now when I come on board, and to listen to folks and see what the interests are.”

In addition to overseeing athletics, Gulluscio’s job will also involve a number of administrative duties. In this capacity, he will have to contend with new state mandates, such as Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) and concussion management plans.

When asked whether he was concerned about how these new initiatives would affect his new job, Gulluscio said he wasn’t too worried.

“We’re all going through the process together, it’s not one thing on me,” he said. “For me, we’re all in this together — one big team.”

“I’m really looking forward to being here,” he added. “In January, I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

Shelter Island Farmland Preserved

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More than 57 acres of farmland was donated to the not-for-profit Sylvester Manor Educational Farm last week, a gift from Sylvester Manor owner Eben Fiske Ostby. As soon as the land was transferred to the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, both Suffolk County and the Town of Shelter Island protected it as farmland through conservation support.

The gift brings total farmland owned by the locally governed nonprofit to over 83 acres and the total land preserved at Sylvester Manor to over 105 acres.

“Protecting a second parcel of the historic Sylvester Manor property is a remarkable achievement, both for the local and county governments and for the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm,” said Fiske-Ostby, the tenth generation proprietor of Sylvester Manor. “We now have a significant landholding preserved for future generations, and with it a crucial foundation for the Educational Farm and its mission. So many people contributed to making this effort a success, and I am both indebted to them and proud of the community that supported it.”

“We are truly thankful for the generosity of Eben Ostby and the commitment of the town and county in supporting a sustainable future for Sylvester Manor,” said the organization’s executive director, Cara Loriz. “With the help of Peconic Land Trust and our many supporters, we can now celebrate the realization of our initial preservation goals for this remarkable property.”

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm now operates on the 243 acre property, and as part of its mission is working to cultivate, preserve and explore the manor’s lands, buildings and stories, inviting new thought about the history and culture of food, both on Shelter Island and across the country.

The newly designated preserved farmland extends south along Manhanset Road from the historic farm field along the northern boundary of Sylvester Manor which was preserved in August. The new acreage is gradually being cleared of succession old field vegetation and supported cover crop and livestock this past season. The farm’s plans for the protected acreage include expanding livestock and row crop production, establishing orchards and making acreage available to lease farmers and community gardeners.

In North Haven, 4-Poster Tick Management Unlikely Unless Done Privately

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By Kathryn G. Menu

When it comes to deer and the ticks they carry, the Village of North Haven will not fund or erect any 4-Poster tick management devices on its own for now. But during another contentious village board of trustees meeting last Wednesday night, the board said it would consider allowing private residents to place the devices on their properties, if the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) allows it.

On Wednesday, November 7, in the midst of a nor’easter, North Haven resident Dr. Josephine DeVincenzi — an ardent supporter of the Village of North Haven implementing a 4-Poster tick management system, which she says will curb tick populations in the village — implored the board to reconsider a decision it made last month. In October, the village board said it would look to aggressively cull the deer population in North Haven rather than use 4-Poster devices, citing environmental concerns and the financial burden of implementing the program.

A 4-Poster device is a duel feeding station which forces deer to rub up against applicator rollers treated with the tickicide permethrin as they feed. The permethrin is then transferred to other parts of the body when the deer grooms itself.

From 2007 to 2010, Shelter Island studied the impact of the 4-Poster tick abatement system. While those opposed to the concept in North Haven have argued there is little information to show how successful it is at combating tick borne illness, Shelter Island officials and the DEC say drag tests performed by Cornell Cooperative Extension showed a significant decline in ticks on the island.

Peter Boody, the editor of The Shelter Island Reporter and a North Haven resident, has been another advocate for the implementation of a 4-Poster program in North Haven.

Last month, North Haven Village board member Jeff Sander said the board believes if it culls the village deer herd significantly, it will be able to reduce tick populations without the concern about the environmental impact concentrated doses of permethrin could have on the environment.

Last Wednesday night, DeVincenzi came to the meeting armed with every article written in The Shelter Island Reporter since 2004 about the 4-Poster programs there. At a two-hour forum in May 2006, DeVincenzi noted two scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) addressed issues like the toxicity of permethrin and, according to DeVincenzi, said it was “less toxic than fabric softener and more targeted a solution than spraying” pesticides.

DeVincenzi noted many residents, including her neighbor Chris Gangemi, are concerned about the amount of pesticide spraying occurring in North Haven to combat ticks. While board members have argued the permethrin used on the 4-Poster devices is in a concentrated form, and toxic to the point where licensed individuals are required to administer the tickicide to the devices, DeVincenzi argued spraying has a larger impact on the environment because it is not targeted.

She said she believes residents, many like her who spend upwards of $1,800 annually in spraying, would happily reapply that money towards the implementation of a 4-Poster program.

Mayor Laura Nolan sharply questioned the effectiveness of the 4-Poster program, stating the data simply did not show it was truly as effective as the DEC or Cornell Cooperative Extension has led people to believe.

“It was a lot of money on Shelter Island,” she added.

“That is because they are 11-acres,” replied DeVincenzi. “We are 2.6-acres.”

She added there are studies from across the Northeast that she believes show how effective the devices has been.

Sander said he did not believe residents support the village taking on the initiative.

“Then let’s put a referendum up,” said DeVincenzi.

“It’s a consideration we have had to put this up for public referendum,” said Nolan. “We are thinking about this. It’s not that we are being inactive.”

Nolan said at a recent meeting of the East End supervisors and mayors, she was not alone in her skepticism.

Sander said the only way he believed this would go through in North Haven is with private funds and on private property.

DeVincenzi urged the board to apply for a DEC permit so at the very least that would be a possibility.

“We are considering the village could be a vehicle to have the permit if there were private properties willing to purchase the mechanisms, pay for the costs, pay for the professional licensed applicator, pay for the maintenance, pay for everything,” said Nolan. “We are considering that if the DEC allows that.”

Future of Sag Harbor-Greenport Ferry Service Unclear

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Whether or not the Peconic Bay Water Jitney — a passenger ferry service between Sag Harbor and Greenport that operated on a pilot season basis throughout the summer of 2012 — will be proposed for 2013 remains uncertain.

The passenger ferry service has been running since July after both Sag Harbor and Greenport villages green-lit a trial run in May. The Peconic Bay Water Jitney is a partnership between the Hampton Jitney and Response Marine’s Jim Ryan, who oversees the water Jitney between the villages. The Jitney seats 53 people below deck and has over 20 seats on the top deck.

The permit from the Village of Sag Harbor allows the service to run through October 31 when the temporary law allowing passenger ferry service from Long Wharf will sunset and ferry service will become illegal in Sag Harbor without board intervention.

Since the service started, the village has been studying the impact of the ferry service through its environmental planning consultants, Inter-Science Research Associates.

According to Inter-Science President Rich Warren, that study will not be completed until later this month.

According to Ryan, there has been no official discussions about the future of the ferry service while the Hampton Jitney awaits financial statistics about the ferry service expected later this month.

While Hampton Jitney vice-president Andrew Lynch did not return calls for comment this week, in last week’s edition of The Southampton Press, Hampton Jitney President Geoff Lynch stated the service generated less than $200,000 in revenue, with daily ridership around 200 passengers, short of the 300 to 350 the company originally said was necessary to keep the business afloat.

In that interview, Lynch said outside investors would likely be needed for the service to continue in 2013.

On Monday, Lynch said nothing was off the table and that he has personally met with investors regarding the future of the passenger ferry, which he said, despite rumors, has no intention of expanding to include a Connecticut launch to casinos, nor has any dream of making Sag Harbor Village a passenger ferry hub.

If anything, said Lynch, if the service moves forward, because of the lack of infrastructure in Sag Harbor it would look to a maritime port like Greenport to become a hub, but that even for 2013, the company was simply not there yet.

If they do want to move forward in 2013, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney will need the approval, again, of the Suffolk County Legislature as well as the village boards in Sag Harbor and Greenport.

In Sag Harbor, if the Peconic Bay Water Jitney hopes to operate outside of a conditional license it will likely need approval from not only the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, but also the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee, its planning board and potentially its zoning board of appeals.

North Haven Village Board Will Cull Deer, Rather Than Seek 4-Poster Devices to Combat Ticks

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By Kathryn G. Menu

North Haven Village will attempt to aggressively cull its deer herd this year rather than apply to the state for approval to implement a 4-Poster tick abatement plan.

Following another lengthy discussion at the village’s Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night, trustee Jeff Sander said he belived culling the herd would be the most effective tool in decreasing tick populations, therefore reducing the incidence of tick borne illnesses among residents.

“There seems to be a lot of evidence, in things I have read and other research, that if you get rid of deer or perhaps the ticks on deer you significantly eliminate the incidence of ticks and Lyme disease,” said Sander noting that in communities like Fishers Island, culling has proved an effective tool in lowering the incidence of tick borne illnesses.

While North Haven’s deer population has decreased, said Sander ­— aerial photos from 2008 show the herd at 69 or 70 deer down from 450 over a decade ago,  he added, “Many residents have noted the herd seems significantly high this year and I would be one of them.”

Sander added the village plans to do another aerial scan in late winter 2013 to assess North Haven’s actual deer population.

“I believe the most effective way to address the situation is to continue the hunting program and accelerate it,” said Sander.

While Sander admitted he doesn’t love the idea of killing deer, he said research shows if the herd is reduced to between seven and 10 percent per square mile (or 25 to 30 deer in all) the number of ticks will be significantly reduced.

He added the cost of the 4-Poster program, which involves deer feeding stations and the use of a powerful tickicide, can cost around $100,000 annually. With no monies budgeted this fiscal year to implement the program and questions about the environmental impact of the tickicide, Sanders felt culling was the best step forward at this time.

According to North Haven Mayor Laura Nolan, she has already begun working with building inspector Al Daniels to identify property owners willing to allow hunters on their property and will attempt to expand that number.

North Haven resident Brian McIver, who owns six acres, said he supported culling, but said if this was the path forward, the Village of North Haven would need to be more proactive in helping residents apply for permits and understand what is required.

Under North Haven Village code, property owners can apply for a deer nuisance permit, which allows hunters to hunt during season on their properties, provided homeowners within 500-feet from where a hunter will cull on that property agree.

Nolan said she would study where new permits would best be served based on what is already out there in North Haven. Nolan added ultimately she was concerned about the concentration of permethrin used in the 4-poster system, noting 10-percent of the solution is pure permethrin, and the impact that could have on deer meat or the environment.

However, for Peter Boody, editor of The Shelter Island Reporter and a North Haven resident, many of these questions and concerns have already been addressed not only in studies across the country, but in the years long process it took to get the 4-Poster program implemented on Shelter Island.

From 2007 to 2010, Shelter Island studied the impact of the 4-Poster tick abatement system, installing 60 feeding stations armed with permethrin around the island. While those opposed to the concept in North Haven have argued there is little information to show how successful it is at combating tick borne illness, Shelter Island officials and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) say drag tests performed by Cornell Cooperative Extension showed a significant decline in ticks on the island.

Late last month, the Shelter Island Town Board approved the installation of 20 4-Poster devices around the island in a continued effort at tick mitigation.

On Tuesday, Boody also argued that on Shelter Island there were trace amounts of permethrin found in the deer, the same amount found in deer from North Haven, which allows spraying of permethrin and other insecticides.

“I must say I think that if the 4-Poster was done here after three years we would have a lot less spraying,” said Boody adding with 40 devices sitting on Shelter Island it was possible North Haven Village could lease them for a reasonable price.

Richard Gambino, a staunch objector to implementing 4-Poster devices in North Haven continued to question the cost, effectiveness and safety of the devices. He wondered who would want to eat venison if they knew deer had been exposed to permethrin.

Richard Kelly, with the Shelter Island based Coalition for Sustainable Fish and Wildlife on Shelter Island, said permethrin is highly toxic to fish. Kelly added he did not believe the study could go far enough to show it was 4-Poster devices, rather than other variables like weather, that impacted the number of ticks on Shelter Island during the test period.

Janalyn Travis Messer, president of the Shelter Island Deer and Tick Management Foundation, a not-for-profit able to collect funds from residents and other sources to help fund the 4-Poster study on Shelter Island, said her organization could help if North Haven decided to look at using the 4-Poster devices.

Messer said unlike sprays, which are water based and enter the Peconic Estuary through runoff easily, the permethrin used on deer is oil based. Messer said that meant it did not contribute to runoff.

North Haven resident Chris Gangemi said as a father, he was more concerned about the spraying in North Haven — six of his neighbors spray once a month using permethrin — and the impact that could have on his daughters.

“Whatever you choose to do whether culling the herd or the 4-Poster program, I think it would be great to have some ordinances on spraying,” said Gangemi. “It seems to be worse than ever. It can’t be the Wild West, I am going to spray every month or every three weeks.”

“When you are spraying you are allowing hundreds of thousands of gallons each year,” said Messer. “With 4-Poster, Shelter Island was lucky if it used two gallons a year.”

“But it is more concentrated,” said North Haven trustee Diane Skilbred.

Finding Culture at Plant & Sing

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By Emily J. Weitz

In the five years since Sylvester Manor’s Plant & Sing was first conceived, it has evolved from a harvest festival to an all-inclusive celebration of food on the East End.

“The culture of food is really the big thing at Sylvester Manor,” says Bennett Konesni, executive director of the Shelter Island farm and 15th generation descendent of Sylvester Manor’s original family. “We’re looking at what a food system really looks like – the music, the poetry, the plays, the dishes and restaurants, the farm work and the yoga. We are saying that food doesn’t have to be just a thing on your plate.”

And it’s through celebrating the many facets of food that Konesni believes people can get back in touch with their environment.

“We’ve lost something really major – that deep connection to the land and the things that live on the land,” he says. “It used to be that people knew what things were blooming at which time and which trees had good wood for different uses. That has been lost with industrialization.”

Plant & Sing started out as a way to bring people back into that realm of knowledge. By inviting their neighbors onto the farm and teaching them how to plant garlic or pick a banjo, the Sylvester Manor crew found that they could help people develop that connection, not just to the land, but to life itself.

“People are starting to come to taste our tomatoes and sweet peppers,” says Konesni, “to embrace this place in its new form… It’s really gratifying. To have this place where people can come and nourish themselves with food and fun, and start living the life they want to live by taking music lessons or having a fresh pie. This is a place where it is not unusual to have a positive attitude and enjoy life and music and the fruits of human culture.”

One person for whom this message resonated deeply was Béla Fleck, the Grammy Award-winning banjo player who will be headlining Plant & Sing this year. Fleck has been nominated in more categories than any other musician in Grammy history, and has taken home 13 Grammy Awards.

“He thinks what we’re doing is a great idea,” says Konesni, “so he is donating this performance. The festival will be held on the lawn by the water, looking out over Gardiner’s Creek behind the manor house.”

Because of the historical significance of this setting, Konesni believes Fleck’s performance will be especially powerful.

“In the 1600s, ships used to sail in here to empty their cargo of sugar and molasses and rum, and also slaves. This was a slave plantation. And slaves brought the banjo to this country,” he adds. “So to have Béla playing the banjo, in this place where Europeans and Africans and Native Americans were exchanging culture and technology in a real way… The banjo is symbolic.”

He believes the music is also a way to put the realities of perhaps the most difficult chapter of this country’s history into perspective.

“How do you begin to understand what slavery has meant for American history and what it’s meant to this site?” he asks. “You call attention to it and start to think about what the Africans brought here, and the ways our cultures are intertwined just by having this music around.”

In addition to the profundity of having a master banjo player on these grounds, Konesni is excited because, as a musician himself, Fleck is a personal hero.

“He’s driven a lot of my own musical direction,” says Konesni. “He’s been to Africa and traveled all over hunting down the origins of the banjo. He’s a musical polymath, and so humble and kind and fun. We are really lucky.”

And it’s the connections that ultimately form the essence of Plant & Sing — connections to the land, connections to the music and connections to the history.

“It’s about those cultural things that come straight from the soil and the land itself,” says Konesni. “Our pigs are heritage pigs. The music is heritage music. The furniture is heritage furniture, and the ideas are heritage ideas. They need to be updated, of course, but they are old ideas that resonate. I feel so lucky to be living on an island with neighbors that support that alignment and these ideas.”

What’s Happening at Plant & Sing

Saturday will be jam-packed at Sylvester Manor with a Literary Lounge running from noon to 6 p.m. Featured writers, poets and playwrights include Quail Hill farm’s director and poet Scott Chaskey reading from his new book “Seedtime” at 1:30 p.m., Megan Chaskey and the Green Theater Collective at 3 p.m., Kathy Lynch and Christian McLean reading at 4:30 p.m., and Tom Leopold and Bill Persky sharing Food Stories and Songs at 5:15 p.m.

There will be a film screening of “Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement,” at 7 p.m.

Music will start at 1 p.m. Saturday with the Who Dat Loungers, followed by 10 other acts ranging from bluegrass to Gothic Americana. Headliners Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn take the stage at 6 p.m.

Farm events will also take place throughout the day, including sunrise yoga with Heidi Folkine at 6 a.m., the sweet potato harvest from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., a nature hike at 10 a.m. and a tour of the historic grounds at 2 p.m. A traditional contra barn dance will start at 9 p.m., followed by late night garlic shucking from 10 p.m. to midnight.

Sunday will be a simple day of yoga at 6 a.m., followed by garlic planting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.