Tag Archive | "Southampton"

One Billion Rising

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onebillionrising

On Friday, February 13 at 5 p.m., local dance and theatre company, the Neo-Political Cowgirls, in partnership with The Retreat and the Sag Harbor-based Dodds & Eder, will hold a “One Billion Rising” event for its third year. This global event began as a call to action over the staggering statistic that one-in-three-women in the world experiences physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.  “One Billion Rising,” orchestrated by playwright Eve Ensler, was created to compel women and men across every country to rise up, dance and raise awareness to the injustices women suffer.

“Neo-Political Cowgirls is committed to producing provocative and inspiring theatrical works for and about women,” said Kate Mueth, founder and artistic director of NPC.  “Being able to show our support for such a critical cause and bring attention to it through performance is incredibly rewarding.”

The event will take place at Dodds & Eder, 11 Bridge Street in Sag Harbor from 5 to 7 p.m. and is for all ages. The event will include a flash mob dance, poetic readings, and musical performances by Skylar Day, Lynn Blue and the East Hampton High School Key Club.

East Hampton Town Board Considers Curfews, Limits, Bans to Control Airport Noise

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Frank Dalene, co-founder of the Quiet Skies Coalition, thanked the town board for their openness and transparency during the process of adopting airport regulations. Photo by Michael Heller. 

By Mara Certic

People who have been complaining about noise from East Hampton Airport seemed elated on Wednesday morning when the East Hampton Town Board suggested a year-round curfew for the airport as well as other steps to limit noisy operations, including banning all helicopters on weekends during the summer season.

The steps, which would address 74 percent of all complaints while only affecting 31 percent of all flights, were outlined as the board heard the third and final phase of the independent noise analysis performed by Harrison Miller Miller & Hanson Inc., which was contracted to do the study by the town.

The first two phases of the noise study looked into the number of flights into and out of the airport and the complaints associated with them.

The third part of the noise analysis looked into different ways the town could solve the problem in a “reasonable, non-arbitrary and non-discriminatory” way.

“The town board recognizes the value of the East Hampton Airport to the community and does not want to impose any greater restriction than is necessary to achieve the town’s objectives,” Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said in a press release issued on Wednesday afternoon.

Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez has acted as airport liaison since she took office in January 2014 and sponsored the draft legislation for the four specific regulations presented by HMMH Senior Vice President Ted Baldwin.

What the third phase of the study really did, according to Mr. Baldwin, was to predict the result of each possible restriction by using flight and complaint data from October 2013 through October 2014 so that the town would be able to gain a handle on how many flights and how many complaints would be affected by any rule change.

“We based it on 12 months of operations and complaints,” Mr. Baldwin explained,” the most recent 12 months of information we have.”

The four recommendations, all of which the town is considering adopting as local laws, collectively could address 74 percent of all aircraft complaints and would only affect 31 percent of the airport’s annual operations, restricting only the types of aircraft at the times of day, week and year that are associated with the greatest number of complaints.

The first restriction would be to make the airport’s year-round voluntary curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. mandatory. According to the work done by HMMH, 4.9 percent of all complaints last year were associated with operations that would be forbidden if the curfew were enforced.

The second restriction would extend the curfew from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. for noisy aircraft. Noisy aircraft are those with approach levels at 91 decibels or higher. The town will soon be publishing a list of all aircraft that meet that definition, Mr. Baldwin said.

The third proposed regulation would ban all helicopter flights on weekends and holidays during the summer season. The summer season has been defined as lasting from May 1 through September 30 and the weekend, for the purposes of the law, would start at noon on Thursday and end at noon Monday.

The weekend helicopter ban, in addition to the first two restrictions, would put a huge dent in the number of complaints filed, according to HMMH. Helicopters accounted for 14,935 complaints last year alone, with 12,944 of those complaints were called in during weekend hours.

The last restriction would prohibit noisy aircraft from conducting more than two flights in any calendar week during the summer, in an effort to prevent touch-and-go operations.

All told, helicopter traffic would be restricted the most, by 75.9 percent annually, while plane and jet flights would be reduced by approximately 13.7 percent, if the town chooses to adopt the restrictions.

Peter Kirsch, the town’s aviation attorney, explained that each regulation should be presented as its own separate local law in order to give the public the opportunity to meaningfully comment on each specific restriction.

Violating the laws, if adopted, would be a misdemeanor punishable by fines and possible jail terms ranging from $1,000 or/and 90 days in jail for the first offense to a fine of up to $10,000 for the third offense. A fourth violation would see the individual aircraft banned from the airport for a period of up to two years.

“This was designed to make sure that users understand the town board is serious about the restrictions,” Mr. Kirsch said.

Local officials present were not prepared comment on the legislation, but many got up to thank the board for their transparency and inclusiveness during the process.

“I want to commend the town board for the openness and transparency,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

“This is how government is supposed to work and I think you’ve shown a fine process, it’s very, very important, there’s a lot of information here, the most important part of this is that it’s fact based and the public’s had the opportunity to comment,” he added.

Bob Malafronte, one of just two Southampton residents on the town’s airport noise subcommittee, also thanked the board for its work.

“It has been a hell of a long road, but we can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

A few aviation enthusiasts were present, and expressed their concern with the legislation. Bonnie Krupinski warned the town it was going down the path to closing the airport, and Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft said “even if half of these are initiated it’s the demise of East Hampton Airport and Sound Aircraft Services.”

Gerard Boleis, chairman of the airport planning committee’s aviation subcommittee, said his committee was unanimously against the regulations and warned that this could lead to “years of litigation and hundreds and thousands of dollars the town might lose.”

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesperson for the Friends of the East Hampton Airport coalition, submitted the following statement:

“The town has proposed an unprecedented and drastic set of restrictions that would block access to a federally funded airport, discriminate against helicopters and other operators and will likely fail to ever go into effect for a variety of reasons. If enacted, the town board’s recommendations would essentially shut down the airport during the summer,” he said.

“In addition, the town’s 2015 budget relies on an increase in air traffic. Today’s proposed restrictions would cut traffic by 31 percent, thus creating a significant budget deficit and forcing property tax increases,” he added. Mr. Riegelhaupt continued to say that these restrictions would cause a decrease in real estate value.

Airport opponents say the incessant aircraft noise has already caused a decrease in real estate values, and that noise abatement measures would in fact improve the value of the property near the airport.

Over the next few days, the airport’s budget and financial advisory committee will analyze the regulations to ensure the airport can remain sustainable. Peter Wadsworth, a member of BFAC, said he believes it’s possible to finance a reasonable level of capital programs at the airport and that it’s also possible to make up the possible loss of revenue if these restrictions are put in place.

The town is slated to vote to notice the legislation for public hearing at their next work session on Tuesday, February 10. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, at LTV Studios. Comments can be submitted to HTOcomments@EHamptonNY.gov. A copy of all of the legislation and supporting data will be uploaded to www.HTOPlanning.com.

STORM UPDATE: Travel Restrictions Lifted in Southampton, Still in Place in East Hampton

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Ten plow trucks and two pay loaders have been clearing Sag Harbor roads since Monday night. Photo by Michael Heller.

UPDATE: 7:30 a.m. Wednesday

A travel ban was lifted in Southampton Town at 6 a.m. this morning, while officials in East Hampton are still asking residents to stay put, as highway workers continue to clear the 20 or so inches of snow that fell on the East End this week.

Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst declared a travel ban on Monday evening, which made all nonessential or emergency driving illegal.  Southampton Town Hall will open at noon today.

In East Hampton Town, however, the town offices will remain closed all day to nonessential personnel. According to Alex Walter, executive assistant to the Supervisor, town officials will meet today to discuss when they will lift restrictions in East Hampton.

 

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday

Government officials and local police continue to ask East End residents to stay home as highway workers attempt to clear snow after what many are saying was a historic blizzard.

According to East Hampton Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch, roads in the town remain “full of snow.” East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said it has been difficult to gauge exactly how much snow has fallen in East Hampton Town, but the current reports vary between 18 and 22 inches.

The National Weather Service reports snowfall of 28 inches in Southampton and 20.3 inches in Noyac.

“It’s still snowing and the snow is really deep so [clearing the roads] takes a lot longer to do,” Mr. Lynch said on Tuesday afternoon. “It would be really good if people could stay off the roads,” he added. Mr. Lynch said his department have had to deal with several cars that got stuck while driving around, including a pick-up truck which was abandoned Hands Creek Road.

Several plow trucks have gotten stuck already trying to assist vehicles that had hit snow banks, Mr. Lynch said.

The East Hampton Town Police are pulling over cars on the road, Chief Sarlo said “asking them what their business is on the road and turning them around.” They have not issued any summonses or fines, he said, because of some confusion this morning after Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted the travel ban.

“That was a mistake, it was supposed to still be in effect in Suffolk County,” Chief Sarlo said.

Chief Sarlo also said that people should stay put because the excess weight on the icy roads will only worsen conditions.

According to Mr. Lynch, there are currently has 80 to 90 pieces of equipment out on East Hampton roads this evening.

“We’ve got pretty much all the main roads open,” Mr. Lynch said, but added that workers are still trying to widen the roadways. With any hope the town’s secondary roads will be cleared by tomorrow afternoon, he said.

“We ask people to be patient,” Chief Sarlo said. He also asked that those in walking distance of elderly or shut-in neighbors keep an eye on them.

“If we get emergency calls, we’re going in with a snow plow,” he said. For now, the town has only had to respond to a couple of routine ambulance calls and call for help from vehicles stranded in snow banks.

With snow still falling along much of the East End and two to four inches expected to accumulate before nightfall, it looks as though tomorrow will be another day off work for many in eastern Suffolk County.

“Our company line is that the schools are closed tomorrow and it’ll take most of the day to get roads back together,” Chief Sarlo said.

“As a community, we should be patient and take tomorrow as a day to dig ourselves out,” Chief Sarlo said.

Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton schools will be closed tomorrow.

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m. Tuesday

Emergency orders remain in effect in Sag Harbor Village, where the highway department has been trying to clear roads for the past 30 hours, according to Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride.

“It really is a pretty tough storm,” Mr. Gilbride said over the phone on Tuesday afternoon. While driving through the village, he has seen areas of two to three feet as snow, and some snowdrifts as high as five feet, he said.

“I see people out, there’s no real reason to be going out because there’s no stores open, there’s nothing open. It’s best if everybody just stays home and gives these guys a chance,” Mr. Gilbride said.

In the village, nine trucks and two pay loaders have been out since 5 p.m. last night, Mr. Gilbride said. The vehicles have plowed the streets of the village nine times so far, but the wind continues to blow snow back into the streets. They are now going to take a short break before getting back to work through the night.

“We’ve got another day ahead of us,” Mr. Gilbride said, before the roads in the village are clear.

As of now, Sag Harbor has not seen any coastal flooding, the mayor said, apart from some slight flooding on Glover Street due to slush clogging a street drain.

“The city lucked out this time,” Mr. Gilbride said, “And we didn’t.”

 

UPDATE: 11 a.m. Tuesday

The twin forks bore the brunt of the blizzard of the year, which continues on in the Eastern most parts of Suffolk County.

High winds and periods of heavy snow have dropped two to three feet of powder across the East End, with many roads still cut off and unplowed.

Although a travel ban has been lifted in New Jersey and in other parts of Long Island, it remains in effect in East Hampton and Southampton Towns.

According to the Southampton Town Police, most people obeyed the 11 p.m. travel ban ordered by Governor Andrew Cuomo last night and stayed off the roads.

Police and town officials continue to urge residents to stay home and hunker down.

A blizzard warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. this evening, although the heaviest snow and strongest winds have likely passed, according to the weather service.

 

UPDATE: 4 p.m. Monday

The Town of East Hampton has issued a state of emergency, effective 4 p.m. this afternoon, urging residents to refrain from travelling through Tuesday. All

As in Southampton Town, parking on public roadways is prohibited and vehicles will be towed.

Southampton Hospital cancelled all nonessential services at 3 p.m. today. Dialysis will be available through tonight’s shift, but will be closed tomorrow; emergency dialysis will be available. All Meeting House Lane medical practices will be closed tomorrow. The hospital departments are all prepared for the blizzard, they said, and have taken all the necessary precautions.

Southampton will be in a state of emergency at 7 p.m., at which point any nonessential driving will be illegal, according to a press release issued by the town.

“High winds, high accumulation and drifting snow, frigid temperatures, power outages and local flooding are expected. The storm is forecast to last through Wednesday morning. Residents in low lying areas or without an adequate alternative heating or power source should consider evacuating prior to the full onset of the storm and before the effective time of the state of emergency (7PM),” they said.

There will be a full travel ban in effect in Long Island as of 11 p.m. tonight, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon.

Southampton Town residents with special medical needs should call (631) 728-1235 before 5 p.m. if they anticipate needing assistance. Residents who may need to shelter pets should call (631) 728-7387. Local emergencies can be reported to (631) 728-3400. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.

 

UPDATE: Noon Monday

The Town of Southampton will be calling a state of emergency at 7 p.m. this evening, according to Southampton Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, which means non-essential vehicles must be off the road by that time.

“Don’t be out driving tonight and please don’t park on public roads or parking lots,” Mr. Gregor said. Those parked on the road after that time will be ticketed and towed at the driver’s expense.

“But please just don’t go out in the snow, please don’t walk on the side of the road. We can’t see you if you’re walking in whiteout conditions,” he added.

The town is organizing 50 trucks with plows and their 10 pay loaders; as weather conditions worsen, more trucks and vehicles from large East End subcontractors will hit the roads.

The town will be responsible for plowing the 950 miles of town-maintained roads, as well as 100 miles of smaller, secondary roads in areas of Noyac and North Sea, Mr. Gregor said. Once they begin to see snows of 2 to 3 inches, they will hold off on plowing the roads until the heaviest snow stops.

There will also be a flood watch in effect; those in Sag Harbor Cove, Pine Neck and Bay Point should be particularly vigilant, Mr. Gregor said.

County Executive Steve Bellone is scheduled to give a press conference on the upcoming storm at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, which will be broadcast on local news channels.

 

UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. Monday

Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton Schools will have early dismissal on Monday and will be closed all day Tuesday in preparation for the potentially historic storm expected to hit Long Island Monday afternoon.

Students at Pierson-Middle High School will be dismissed at noon today, and elementary students will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. There will be no afternoon Pre-K classes. All sports, SHAEP, after school and evening activities on Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled.

All students at Bridgehampton School will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. on Monday, and the school will be closed on Tuesday. All sports and after school activities, including ASPIRE, have been cancelled.

The Sag Harbor Board of Education meeting scheduled for this evening will now be moved to Monday, February 2.

Original Story:

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the East End, with one to three feet of snow expected to accumulate from Monday afternoon through Tuesday night.

The storm, which will likely begin around 1 p.m. on Monday, could be “crippling and potentially historic,” according to the weather service.

Light snow in the morning will pick up intensity in the evening, with the heaviest winds and snowfall starting Monday at midnight and lasting through Tuesday afternoon.

The weather service discourages all unnecessary travel starting on Monday afternoon, as whiteout conditions are expected. If travel is absolutely necessary, the weather service advises having a winter survival kit. The weather service has says that it may become impossible to drive on secondary roads and advises those who get stranded in their vehicles to remain there.

The Town of East Hampton has advised residents to refrain from driving on Monday evening and all day Tuesday in a message posted on its website (www.town.east-hampton.ny.us) on Sunday.

“All residents are urged to monitor the National Weather Service advisories, network news channels, LTV channels 20 & 22, and this website for further information,” the message reads.

“Regardless of the track of this storm it appears that a significant snowfall is likely, and residents should take all necessary precautions prior to Monday afternoon,” it continues.

A moderate flood warning will be in effect in low-lying coastal areas from late Monday night through Tuesday morning; shore road closures may be necessary.

High winds Monday night and Tuesday could cause trees to fall. To report an outage to PSEG-Long Island, call 1-800-490-0075, text OUT to 773454 or through their website psegliny.com.

Environmentalists and Hunters Say Lower Waterfowl Count Shouldn’t Cause Concern

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Hundreds of American mallards taking flight on Mecox Bay on Monday. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic 

Although the black duck and merganser populations were down, East End birders came out in record numbers last weekend to take part in the 60th annual winter waterfowl count.

On Saturday and Sunday, January 17 and 18, environmentalists and volunteers spent hours at ponds, beaches and coves, counting the number of ducks, swans and geese in local waters. Frank Quevedo, avian enthusiast and executive director of the South Fork Natural History Museum, organized the count from Montauk to the Shinnecock Canal.

“I was the regional compiler,” he said in an interview on Monday, “I had about 20 birders there, the most I’ve ever had. I think that’s a reflection of more and more people enjoying birding,” Mr. Quevedo said.

The information gathered in the waterfowl count is passed along to the New York State Ornithological Association, who publish the data and also share it with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which in turn uses it for long-term analysis of waterfowl populations wintering in the state.

Not all of the data were available by the time of this paper’s publication, but Mr. Quevedo said that 47 species in total were counted last weekend, and apart from a few variations, the figures seemed to be in keeping with annual trends.

He seemed particularly excited about a greater white-fronted goose spotted in Southampton. The large birds are usually only found west of the Mississippi River in this country.

“One other thing I noticed was that our merganser population was down this year,” Mr. Quevedo said.

Al Daniels, a lifelong hunter and conservationist, was responsible for counting all of the waterfowl in Sag Harbor. After tallying up the birds at Long Wharf, Long Beach, Otter Pond, Tides Beach and Sag Harbor Cove, Mr. Daniels also determined that the merganser numbers seemed low.

“But nobody hunts mergansers,” Mr. Daniels said of the birds, which are not considered “good eating,” as hunters say.

The waterfowl population on the East End is made up of migratory birds that travel down from parts north in the early winter to find food and water. According to local hunter Tanner Bertrand, these birds will only travel as far south as they need to get sufficient nutrition for the winter.

“They only go as far down as the water freezes,” he said, adding, “as long as they have water and food they stay put.”

The American black duck, which just last month was named one of the species of greatest conservation need in the state, was also not as populous east of the canal as it had been in previous years.

According to Mr. Bertrand, this is not immediately as concerning as it might seem. “The weather’s been so good this year, which has made the hunting season difficult. The birds are content where they are,” he said.

“We’re always affected here by the weather,” Mr. Daniels said on Tuesday.“[Waterfowl] season started in November, and for the first month puddle duck hunting was down,” he said.  He attributed that to the mild weather and noted that since last week’s cold snap, larger numbers of mallards and black ducks have been finding their way south to Long Island.

“A lot of local ponds were frozen, and that displaces a lot of birds in the area,” Mr. Quevedo said. “That was one reason why perhaps we didn’t get the numbers we usually do.” He added that his report to the New York State Ornithological Association includes weather conditions, which are taken into account when final statewide figures are tallied.

With all migratory animals, it is difficult to establish whether the dwindling populations are caused to some sort of dire conservation need, or simply part of a natural cycle. But those who have been hunting for years know that different species of birds change from year to year.

“When my father was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, there were always broadbills and canvasbacks,” Mr. Bertrand said. “They always had them down in the Chesapeake, but they weren’t here for a while.”

“Then three or four years ago we started seeing them in Mill Pond and down in Mecox Creek. Now each year they’re coming up in thicker numbers,” he said.

Mr. Daniels said he too remembers the days when local hunters spent most of their time shooting “white birds.” He also recalls when hunting was more prevalent, before all local waterfronts were peppered with second homes.

“[Hunting] is sort of like keeping the [local] traditions going,” Mr. Daniels said. “It’s sad for the children born today won’t see what we had.”

“I still got to see the good stuff,” he said. “When I was young, we ate wild ducks every Monday for the whole year,” he reminisced.

Duck-hunting season ends on Sunday, January 26. The season for hunting geese will end on Wednesday, February 4.

 

 

Amazon Debuts Animated Pilot for “The Stinky and Dirty Show” Based on Sag Harbor Author’s Books

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Amazon has produced an animated pilot for preschool kids based on the work of Kate and Jim McMullan, who, respectively, are the author and illustrator of a series of picture books including “I’m Dirty!,” “I Stink!,” “I’m Brave!,” and “I’m Fast!” detailing the lives of different vehicles including a garbage truck, a tugboat, a backhoe loader and a fire truck.

Titled “The Stinky and Dirty Show,” the pilot can be viewed at amzn.to/1C2w0qG. With enough views and comments, Amazon may make pick up the series and develop it into a full fledged children’s show, according to Ms. McMullan who informed readers and fans about the program via email this week.

Several of the books have been made into videos already. The McMullans’ announced on their website—katemcmullen.com—that Scholastic is making a video of “I’m Fast!” with Stanley Tucci playing the voice of the train. Ms. McMullan also created the Myth-o-Mania series, a parody of Greek myths starring Hades, Helen of Troy and Perseus, among others, as well as several other books geared for children and young adults alike.

To learn more about the McMullans, visit katemcmullen.com and to view “The Stinky and Dirty Show” visit http://amzn.to/1C2w0qG.

 

Three Southampton Town Board Members Renounce 2015 Salary Hikes

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By Mara Certic

Three of the five members of the Southampton Town Board have rejected their 2015 wage increases, requesting instead that the dollar amount of their 3-percent raises be returned to town funds.

At last week’s organizational meeting, when discussing a resolution to accept salary schedules for the five members of the Southampton Town Board, Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka asked to forego their $2,000 salary hike.

The salaries for the four members were slated to increase from $60,000 to $62,000 in the 2015 budget, which Ms. Scalera objected to during budget talks late last year. Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s salary was raised from $102,000 to $104,040.

Last week, Councilwoman Bridget Fleming asked that the resolution be tabled in order to give her more time to consider the implications of the decision. Her fellow board members seemed reluctant to do so but eventually the discussion was postponed until Tuesday, January 13.

At Tuesday’s meeting Ms. Fleming thanked the board for giving her time to consider the amendment, and said that after speaking with her family, she too had decided to do without this year’s wage increase.

However, unlike her Republican colleagues, who requested their money be returned to the general fund, Ms. Fleming, a Democrat, asked that $1,000 go toward Farm Fresh Farmers Market in Flanders, and that the remaining money go to the Water Quality Protection Cost Center.

Mr. Bender said last week he would be keeping his full salary because his position as councilman is his only job and source of income. He added that he had no objection to his co-workers’ request. Supervisor Throne-Holst also said she understood the implications of the decision, and that she would vote in favor of the amendment.

After Ms. Fleming offered her amendment, the resolution establishing salary schedules for the town board passed unanimously.

In other action, the town board adjourned a public hearing to discuss possible amendments to the Special Exception Uses permit, in order to create stricter standards for retail businesses between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet.

This amendment came to the forefront in the fall, seemingly in response to controversial plans for a 9,030-square-foot CVS on a busy intersection on Bridgehampton’s Main Street.  It aims to create specific standards and safeguards for large stores, in an effort to tighten the zoning code.

At the first public hearing about the amendment in September, members of the Bridgehampton Citizen Advisory Committee, who have been fighting the CVS tooth and nail for months, spoke in favor of it.

At the same hearing, local attorneys representing CVS and BNB Ventures IV, the owner of the property, called the amendment “illegal” and unethical.

Ms. Scalera asked that the hearing be adjourned until the board’s first meeting next month, on Tuesday, February 10, to allow it more time to work on the law with the planning department, adding that the process has been more challenging than anticipated.

 

 

 

 

SUNY Board of Trustees Unanimously Approves Stony Brook-Southampton Hospital Merger

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By Mara Certic

After more than two years of negotiations, the first step was taken toward a merger between Southampton and Stony Brook University hospitals on Tuesday when the full SUNY Board of Trustees approved the long-awaited alliance.

The board unanimously approved an affiliation agreement between the two hospitals after hearing from a member of its five-member Academic Medical Centers and Hospitals Committee.

SUNY’s hospital subcommittee, which was appointed to make recommendations about the university’s health centers, unanimously supported the affiliation agreement between the two hospitals on Monday morning, finally moving it out of committee.

Trustee Cary Staller gave the presentation to his fellow board members, filling in for the committee chairman John Murad, who was watching the meeting via webcam.

Mr. Staller explained the committee is in favor of the integration and affiliation agreement, as it is formally called, on three conditions. The first is that Stony Brook University and Stony Brook University Hospital are not allowed to seek funding from the state or SUNY for capital projects related to the affiliation on the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

Southampton Hospital has shared some services with Suffolk County’s largest hospital since 2008. The two medical centers signed a letter of intent in October of 2012, which said Southampton would operate under Stony Brook’s license, in hopes that a new facility would be built on Stony Brook Southampton’s 85-acre campus.

The first condition of the merger does not in any way put a damper on those plans, according to Robert Chaloner, president and CEO of Southampton Hospital.

“We never were looking for money from the state to do that,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “We always believed the hospital should be built with private philanthropy.”

The second provision is that Stony Brook University Hospital must establish sufficient cash reserves to cover Southampton Hospital’s liabilities and the final condition stipulates that Stony Brook University Hospital must come up with a comprehensive plan for the integration including specific tasks and milestones.

According to Mr. Chaloner, the merger will allow Southampton Hospital some security at a time when long-term trends for small, independent hospitals “are not great.”

Mr. Chaloner said the two hospitals hope to work side-by-side to extend healthcare teaching programs, share and improve information technology and tap into each other’s resources.

There is a chance of coordinating the Meeting House Lane practices with Stony Brook University Hospital, he said, which has a similar organization.

“We’d like to tie things together, but if anything that’ll be somewhere we need to go full speed ahead,” he said, adding that there is a huge need for more doctors on the East End. For that reason, there will be no employee cuts as a result of this merger.

“One of the major fundamentals is to ensure employees stay in place and that they retain their current union memberships,” he said.

“We don’t want people to leave, we need everybody,” Mr. Chaloner said. “This is a merger to bring two organizations together to grow, not to cut.”

All 18 members of the board voted in favor of the resolution. Trustee Eunice Lewin said she had been concerned about the merger until she visited Southampton Hospital and was “pleasantly surprised.”

Dr. Samuel Stanley, president of Stony Brook University Hospital, was at Tuesday’s meeting and thanked the board.

“It’s not completed yet, there’s still work to be done, but this is an extraordinarily important first step,” he said.

“For both Southampton Hospital and for Stony Brook, this is a win-win in every sense of the word,” he said, “We look forward to the implementation process.”

“This affiliation is a step in the right direction for expanding and improving health care on the South Fork. Both Stony Brook and Southampton Hospital officials are to be commended for their efforts,” State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

“Assemblyman Thiele and I have worked hard to impress upon the SUNY system the need and benefits of bringing these two hospitals together and commend the Board of Trustees for recognizing the changing face of healthcare and advancing this initiative,” Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said in the same release.

“The possibilities are endless. This affiliation could help revitalize the Stony Brook Southampton campus by bringing in new health care based academic programs, and also a new state-of-the-art hospital at the Southampton campus. The agreement could serve as an anchor, ensuring that the college be a permanent fixture in our community,” Mr. Thiele added.

 

Hampton Theatre Company to Present ‘Time Stands Still’

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Kate Kenney, John Carlin, John L. Payne and Sandy York. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Kate Kenney, John Carlin, John L. Payne and Sandy York. Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Tessa Raebeck

While we often think of completed scripts as specific ideas that were long-brewing in the head then finally put to page, sometimes a new play can begin with an idea as simple as “A new play.” Donald Margulies started “Time Stands Still,” by writing that unassuming idea in his notebook, followed by “A loft,” and a series of questions that became a play framed in the extreme circumstance of the Iraq War, but cemented in questions that plague all relationships.

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Sandy York and John Carlin. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Presented by the Hampton Theatre Company, “Time Stands Still” will open Thursday, January 8, at the Quogue Community Hall, the second production in the company’s 30th anniversary season. Directed by Sarah Hunnewell, HTC Executive Director, the Tony Award nominated drama follows photojournalist Sarah Goodwin, who has returned home to Brooklyn after nearly being killed by an IED while covering the Iraq War. Sarah struggles to adapt to life at home with her partner James Dodd. A freelance journalist, James was also reporting on the war, but returned home before Sarah, traumatized by his own horrendous experience and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

James, portrayed by John Carlin, takes care of Sarah, who was hurt by the explosion. As the longtime couple struggles to adapt to a new life together, they are contrasted by the blossoming, promising marriage of Sarah’s editor, Richard Erlich, played by John L. Payne, and his much younger girlfriend Mandy, played by Kate Kenney.

The couple’s respective experiences at war helped to create the issues they grapple with once back home, but their struggles are inherent to many relationships; one partner wants to settle down and lead a “normal” life, while the other aches for the action provided by his or her career.

“It’s really a love story,” said Ms. Hunnewell, the director, adding, “The intensity of the jobs these people do has raised the stakes in their domestic situation.”

As their desired paths diverge, Sarah and James struggle to find a way in which their love can be enough to sustain a relationship that is no longer practical.

“You can have the best intentions and you can actually really love someone, and sometimes it still doesn’t work out. It’s this really beautiful, bittersweet aspect of just, life sometimes has other things in mind,” said Mr. Carlin.

The four actors, who are all newcomers to the company, and Ms. Hunnewell are working to find the truths of their characters beyond what the script provides, from where they were born to whether they took the subway or a cab to get to the stage that day.

“What every actor tries to do,” said Mr. Payne, a Long Island native who plays Richard, “is to make the person a real human being, and a real human being has lots of stuff that they carry around with them—they have history from their previous life, they have history from that day.”

Despite the traumatic circumstances surrounding the play, there is much humor found in the script, often in the form of Richard and Mandy, Sarah’s 55-year-old editor and his 25-year-old fiancé, who are having a child together. The trials of James and Sarah’s love are counteracted by the ease of the story’s other couple.

For Sarah, “this is the most insane thing she’s ever heard in her life,” said Ms. Hunnewell, “but he is incredibly happy, so it’s a question of priorities and what works for one couple and doesn’t work for another. It’s a study in relationships of all kinds.”

At first appearing to be the standard, happy 25-year-old bride-to-be that is oft positioned as the natural nemesis to an older female, Mandy challenges Sarah in a much more human, and intriguing, manner. The significance of Sarah’s career in her own eyes is heightened by the sense that photographing the war helps the situation by telling its truth to the world, but Mandy questions the substance behind seeing the bloodshed.

“I guess,” said Ms. Hunnewell, “it could be said about the value of anyone’s work—particularly for workaholics and for people who just put work above everything—is what any of us actually do for work that important? Are we achieving something? Is it changing the world for the better, is it not changing the world for the better, and if a job is as dangerous as hers, is it worth it?”

“Time Stands Still” runs Thursday, January 8 through January 25 at the Quogue Community Hall. For more information and special dinner packages, visit hamptontheatre.org or call 1-866-811-4111.

Hamptons Wellness Week Takes Over the Month of January

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Anastasia Gavalas and Kiley DeMarco, founders of Hampton Wellness Week. Michael Heller photo.

Anastasia Gavalas and Kiley DeMarco, founders of Hampton Wellness Week. Michael Heller photo.

By Emily J. Weitz

Kiley DeMarco and Anastasia Gavalas came from totally different perspectives when they met a couple summers back at an event at Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack. Ms. DeMarco was behind the web site onehealthyhamptons.com, where she writes about wellness on the East End. Ms. Gavalas was an author and busy mother of five.

“We just hit it off,” said Ms. DeMarco, “and started brainstorming ideas of working together.”

Ms. Gavalas’s book, “Wing It”, is about staying sane in the madness of parenthood. She also started the Wing It foundation, which helps fund global and local education initiatives. The women were supportive of one another’s work, and wanted to figure out a way that they could bring the backgrounds of wellness and family together to create a healthier community.

“We like different things,” said Ms. Gavalas. “How we relax, fitness, eating. We have different lifestyles but we both want balance.”

They were both tired of spending lots of money trying to find a wellness regime that worked, often without success. They thought about how in the winter, there are so many wellness businesses struggling to stay on people’s radar.

“We wanted to find a way,” said Ms. DeMarco, “to allow locals to try fitness classes for free or for less to empower themselves to be healthier.”

That’s how Hamptons Wellness Week was born. Last year, more than a hundred people and about 18 businesses took part. This year those numbers have already grown exponentially. The event will now span the entire month of January. More than 30 businesses are already on board, and more are joining every day.

“You buy a bracelet for $45,” explained Ms. Gavalas, “and you wear it for the month. You get free fitness classes and 50-percent off wellness treatments, from manicures and pedicures to massages and facials.”

The businesses involved really stretch to the limits of the wellness industry, including dentists and acupuncturists, chiropractors and yoga studios.

“We want people to be able to find what they like,” said Ms. Gavalas. “It can be fitness, wellness, or nutrition. We were able to encompass everything: essential oils, nutritionists, colonists. Anything that will better your life.”

They decided to make it a month long so that people really have time to explore. If they’re away for a week, they can still take advantage. If they’re late to start, they can still buy a bracelet. And, they have time to try and fail and try again.

“It takes 21 days to form a new habit,” said Ms. DeMarco. “It’s not just going to the gym for three days and giving up. This is about forming a new habit that you’ll stick to and love. It’s about doing something you love that improves your life in so many ways.”

Restaurants and hotels have also gotten involved. Some, like c/o at the Maidstone, Forever Bungalows, and the Quogue Club bought packages of bracelets that they’ll be giving out to their guests in the month of January. Some restaurants, like the Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack, will also offer special wellness menus.

“We wanted to involve more businesses and more people in the community,” said Ms. DeMarco.

The timing of Hamptons Wellness Week (or month) is consciously chosen to coincide with people’s New Year’s resolutions.

“It’s kicking off the New Year in a healthy way,” said Ms. Gavalas. “But this is also the most realistic goal you can set. This is four weeks of possibilities for anything you want to try. Air quality assessments in your home, haircuts, you name it. You get to try these things and see if it’s something you can fit into your lifestyle.”

Ms. DeMarco added, “It’s head to toe wellness. You can take this month and take care of every part of your body.”

Check out the full list of participating businesses, which are located from Montauk to Westhampton, at their web site hamptonswellnessweek.com. You can also buy bracelets online, or at Blow Hampton in Bridgehampton.

 

Southampton, East Hampton Towns Get Organized

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Larry Cantwell photo for web

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell announced some of the town’s goals for the coming year. 

By Mara Certic 

The year 2014 was a busy one for the East Hampton Town Board. It closed the scavenger waste facility, voted for a townwide ban on plastic bags, and accrued more Community Preservation Fund money than ever before. But according to Supervisor Larry Cantwell,  2015 has just as much in store.

The East Hampton Town Board held its 2015 organizational meeting immediately before its first work session of the year on Tuesday, January 6. Supervisor Cantwell discussed the many triumphs of the previous year and some of the goals for the next 12 months.

“I wanted to reflect for a moment on the past year and look forward to 2015, and first I want to express my appreciation to each of the board members,” Mr. Cantwell said in his opening remarks on Tuesday morning.

“Listening to the public, allowing for disagreement and maintaining courtesy and respect, we established civil discourse at town board meetings. Civility is the glue that holds us together as a democracy and as a community and it allows all of us to participate in a reasonable dialogue,” he said, adding that the board has done more to improve its transparency than previous administrations, and to improve the cooperation between departments.

Mr. Cantwell also announced some of the new initiatives the town hopes to fulfill in in the coming year.

The town plans to move toward adopting restrictions to tackle the noise problem at East Hampton Airport. Grant obligations from the Federal Aviation Administration expired on December 31, allowing the town to exert more control over the airport, officials say.  The third and final stage of a noise analysis is currently under way, and the board plan to adopt restrictions in time for the summer season.

Plans for a new community center will also be discussed in the coming year, Mr. Cantwell said, noting the town plans to replace the Senior Center on Springs- Fireplace Road.

The town is planning to adopt amendments to increase penalties and fines for zoning and code violations, and will also look to restrict the creation of new nightclubs.

East Hampton will adopt a water quality protection program this year, in order to replace failing septic systems in harbor protection districts.

Although plans for a rental registration law fell flat in 2014, Mr. Cantwell said the town will strengthen the existing code in order to combat illegally occupied housing.

The board will work on several studies, including a comprehensive review of hamlet studies of Amagansett, Montauk, Wainscott and Springs as well as a townwide business needs study and a coastal resiliency plan.

The town board will continue to encourage elected officials to call for PSEG power lines to be buried. The town has plans to adopt improved setback requirements on highways, in order to prevent what the supervisor has a called a planning mistake, the Wainscott Home Goods store, which is still under construction.

Finally, the town will also consider the creation of the office of town manager, in order to improve the efficiency of the town government.

Supervisor Cantwell also announced new members for the various appointed boards within the town. Kathy Cunningham will be the only new face on the planning board, which Reed Jones will continue to chair, with Nancy Keeshan as his vice chairperson.

There will be no changes to the Zoning Board of Appeals this year, with John Whelen and Cathy Rogers both re-appointed in their roles as chair and vice chair of the board, respectively.

Edward Krug and Peter Michael Gumpel will join the Architectural Review Board. Mr. Krug will fill the unexpired term of Rossetti Perchick. Richard Myers was named the chairperson of the ARB and Patti Lieber the vice chair.

Southampton

It was business as usual at Southampton’s organizational meeting later that day.

“This is the town board’s organization meeting for 2015, which is really our housekeeping meeting as we start off the year, and most of these are rather pro forma,” Supervisor Throne-Holst said before the board launched into a series of resolutions.

The real work, she added, will begin at next week’s work session on Tuesday, January 13.

The town board moved speedily, and passed 56 resolutions in 20 minutes, with just one inciting ample discussion.

The majority of the resolutions involved reappointing committees, setting fees and making other authorizations.

The membership of the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee remained much the same, with Dieter von Lehsten and Scott Carlin remaining co-chairs. Jenn Halsey Dupree, a 12th-generation Southampton resident, fruit farmer and co-owner of the Milk Pail, is the only new appointment to the board, replacing Dee Russell.

The majority of the discussion took place after Councilwoman Christine Scalera requested to amend a resolution adopting the annual salaries for elected officials. Ms. Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka both asked that their salaries be reduced from $62,000 to $60,000, and that the remaining $4,000 be put back into the town’s general fund.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming requested the resolution be tabled in order to give her more time to “understand the implications” of their decision. Ms. Scalera said it was a matter of principle, rather than a political decision.

After much deliberation, discussion and some confusion, the board voted 3-2 to table the resolution until it meets next Tuesday, in order to give Councilwoman Fleming the time she requested.