Tag Archive | "Southampton"

Sag Harbor Candidates Discuss Issues

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Candidates Robby Stein, Bruce Stafford, John Shaka and Sandy Schroeder at a roundtable discussion.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The four candidates for Sag Harbor Village Board gathered in The Sag Harbor Express office last Thursday to outline their reasons for running and discuss how they planned to approach some of the key issues facing the village in the coming years at a roundtable discussion.

The election is Tuesday, June 17, with voting from noon to 9 p.m. at the firehouse on Brick Kiln Road.

Sandra Schroeder, a retired village administrator who fell short in a bid for mayor last year, is making her first run for a trustee seat, as is John Shaka, an active member of the group, Save Sag Harbor. Bruce Stafford, who served one term, from 2009 to 2011, is seeking to reclaim a seat, and Robby Stein, who is finishing his fifth year on the board, is seeking another term.

“The waterfront and water quality are important to me,” said Ms. Schroeder, echoing a concern also raised by Mr. Shaka and Mr. Stein. She also cited traffic, disappointment that the village was unable to settle a contract with its police union, and the need to invest in infrastructure, including the Municipal Building, Long Wharf and the sewage treatment plant.

“We need new things and we need new thinking,” she said, “and someone who is looking to the future at where we want to be.”

“I love this place,” said Mr. Shaka, who owns a painting business and has lived in Sag Harbor for 15 years. “The reason I’m running for trustee is I want to keep it beautiful and livable.”

Mr. Shaka called for better communication between the village and the school district to solve problems like traffic tie-ups at Pierson High School during drop-off and pickup times; a sharper focus on the environment, especially water quality; better efforts at historic preservation, citing the John Jermain Memorial Library expansion of an excellent example; and traffic calming, an initiative he has been deeply involved with in recent months.

Mr. Stafford, a landscaper who was born and raised in Sag Harbor, cited his local ties, including 36 years of service with the Sag Harbor Fire Department and his leadership role as chairman of the board of the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church.

He said there was a need to hold the line on taxes and cited his efforts to rein in spending while on the board.  He agreed that traffic is an issue but noted that options are limited because village streets are narrow because they “were made many, many years ago for horse and buggy.”

Calling Sag Harbor a great place to raise a family, Mr. Stafford added, “this is no longer our little home. It has been found. I’m just trying to keep it as long as possible.”

Mr. Stein, a therapist who now serves as deputy mayor, said there were many key issues facing the village, and cautioned against expecting easy fixes for any of them.

He said he was “passionate” about finding ways to manage “water and the health of the harbor and the way water is absorbed by this whole village.”

Mr. Stein said he would like to see the village review the code to see that it is keeping up with the times. The village, he added, needs to determine what infrastructure projects it will tackle first and where it can find new sources of revenue. An immediate challenge, he added, is that once the village police contract is finalized, the village will be headed right back to the bargaining table because of the short term of the new deal. He noted that negotiations have not been particularly cordial and said it was important to stabilize the contract for the long term because police costs account for more than half the budget.

“I think we really have to look at what our priorities are,” he said. “The character of the village is something we want to protect.”

When it comes to safeguarding water quality in the bay, Ms. Schroeder said a systematic plan needs to be put in place to install larger catch basins and dry wells to prevent as much initial runoff as possible. She also said she expected the village would eventually have to undertake a major upgrade of its sewage treatment plant.

The village will have to work with its neighboring towns and Suffolk County to tackle water monitoring and pollution abatement solutions.

“Sag Harbor can’t do it all by ourselves,” she said.

Mr. Stein, who has focused on runoff and water quality issues during his time on the board, disagreed.

“You can’t build big enough catch basins to hold the rainfall,” he said. It would be far more effective to try to retain as much rainwater on-site through porous natural solutions like rain gardens, which are typically planted depressions, which allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground, he said.

He also disagreed that the sewage treatment plant needs to be expanded, saying it is operating at only about 30-percent capacity now.

Mr. Shaka said he was equally concerned about nitrogen seeping into the bay from overtaxed septic systems and said the village needs to collect baseline data of the situation by conducing regular water sampling.

He agreed with Ms. Schroeder that the village would be hard pressed to correct pollution on its own and said it would have to forge alliances with neighboring communities and levels of government to tackle the problem.

Mr. Stafford said the village could convert a portion of the Cilli Farm into a drainage and filtering area.

“Right now, it’s just a brushy pile of nothing down there,” he said, “and we’ve owned it for how many years?”

The ongoing contract dispute between the village and Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association was also a source of concern.

“The bottom line is taxes,” said Mr. Stafford. “The smart thing to do is wait and see what the arbitrator is going to come back with and eventually put on a referendum and let the village taxpayers decide” if the village should maintain a department.

“I like having a police department,” he said, “I like having two on at one time.” But he added that the PBA has been unwilling to work with the village and suggested that the village would be better off going with a reduced force and hiring more part-time officers.

“If it goes to arbitration, you are in trouble,” said Ms. Schroeder. “Arbitration rarely benefits the village.”

Mr. Stein said the problem went deeper than negotiations. The village is limited because it can only hire officers from a local Civil Service list or the county list. He said the department would be able to hire young officers at lower wages if it could use the Southampton Town hiring list.

He said it was important that the police pay be controlled much as the village is controlling spending elsewhere.

“It has to be a consistent piece of the pie,” he said, adding that police will have to ask for smaller raises and contribute to their health care costs in the future.

“I like having an affordable police force,” said Mr. Shaka. “Let’s wait until the arbitration is in, but I can tell you what isn’t affordable—if police have 4-percent raises every year.”

All candidates, save Mr. Stafford who praised Mayor Brian Gilbride’s pay-as-you go approach, said the village would benefit by borrowing money now, while interest rates are at historic lows, to tackle major infrastructure projects, like repairing Long Wharf.

Mr. Stein said the village should lobby East Hampton and Southampton Town for a larger share of Community Preservation Fund money, which, he said, might be used to buy easements from waterfront property owners to plant buffers to protect the bay.

“There’s no property here,” he said. “We aren’t going to buy anything else. There’s only one thing left on the East End and that’s the water.”

Sag Harbor needs to ramp up its code enforcement and revisit its zoning code, the candidates agreed, if it wants to protect its character.

Mr. Stein said the zoning code should be updated to limit the construction of oversized houses on small lots, as well as not overly restrict commercial uses.

“Code enforcement would be a good place to start,” said Mr. Shaka. A leader of the fight against a plan to redevelop the Harbor Heights service station with a convenience store and other amenities, Mr. Shaka said such plans should be stopped in their tracks.

Mr. Stafford said he was particularly concerned about illegal rentals and overcrowding in homes.

All four candidates agreed that there could be better communication both among board members and with the public.

Mr. Stein called for a better website and regular newsletters to taxpayers. The board should also hold monthly work sessions, he said.

“If nobody says anything you don’t hear anything,” quipped Ms. Schroeder, who said the board needed to be willing to listen to people who may have more expertise than they do.

“If you get enough people talking, you’ll solve your problems,” she said.

 

Southampton Considers Trails Map

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The Southampton Town Board last Thursday after meeting with Ross Baldwin, the director of its Geographic Information Services, and members of the Southampton Trails Preservation Party, agreed to support a pilot program to print maps of publicly owned trails in the town.

“We have spent so many millions of dollars preserving these trails, it’s a way of highlighting them,” said Councilwoman Bridget Fleming.

“If we had 100, they would go like hotcakes,” said Howard Reisman of the trails society. “We do get a lot of demand.”

The board debated whether it should try to find a contractor to print the maps or do them in house. Councilman Stan Glinka suggested that the trails society might want to work with local chambers of commerce to sponsor the maps and pledged to work with the group to find a way to print a small number of the maps.

Glorian Berk, the president of the trails society, asked the board to handle the distribution “because the trails society is not really a business.”

The maps would be sold at the town clerk’s office and the town Parks Department. A price was not set.

League Offers Stony Brook Southampton Tour

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The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons has invited the public to take part in a tour of Stony Brook Southampton’s state-of-the-art School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Building on Monday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. and to learn about the program from its manager, Christopher Paparo.

The $8.3 million, two-story, 15,000-square-foot building, which opened last fall, is a high tech research facility on Little Neck Road, overlooking Old Fort Pond, which connects to Shinnecock Bay.

It houses a seawater laboratory with a computerized circulation system, two wet labs, an analytical lab, classrooms, a conference room, and other spaces such as an outdoor tank area.

Moored outside is a fleet of three research vessels used to collect specimens and conduct classes.

The facility is being used for Stony Brook University’s graduate programs in marine sciences, four undergraduate degrees and programs such as Semester-by-the-Sea, and high school field trips and two-week summer oceanography classes.

Refreshments will be served at the beginning of the meeting.

Parking is available on Little Neck Road, just past the SoMAS building, which is diagonally across from the Stony Brook Southampton campus on Montauk Highway.

Additional information is available from the League at (631) 324-4637 or by visiting www.lwvhamptons.org.

For Anti-Poaching Efforts, a Benefit for Elephants and Rhinos in Southampton

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Image by artist Lucy Cookson, courtesy Artists for Elephants.

Image by artist Lucy Cookson, courtesy Artists for Elephants.

By Tessa Raebeck

An art show to benefit the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), “Artists for Elephants and Rhinos” opens Saturday, June 14 at the Dora Frost Studio in Southampton.

“Wildlife crime is sweeping the planet,” organizers Dora Frost and Carolyn Chichester wrote in an email. “The illegal trafficking of wildlife is now one of the world’s largest criminal industries, with repeated links to terrorism networks. It is an industry now worth close to $20 billion a year, ranking it fourth behind drugs, weapons, and human trafficking as a global criminal activity.”

Blair Seagram Archival Print 13 inches x 19 inches  "School of Fish, Mangroves, Bonaire" Bonaire, Dutch Islands, 2014

Blair Seagram
Archival Print
13 inches x 19 inches
“School of Fish, Mangroves, Bonaire”
Bonaire, Dutch Islands, 2014

“High Target Species such as elephant and rhino are being hunted to extinction. These animals are the most difficult to protect, as poachers go to the most extreme lengths to kill them. If we can safeguard these animals, then entire ecosystems are protected,” they added.

The International Anti-Poaching Foundation trains, equips, manages and supports anti-poaching rangers to defend these targeted species. Ms. Chichester spent time observing the anti-poaching effort this past winter with IAPF rangers and Founder and CEO Damien Mander in Zimbabwe.

You can watch two 60 Minutes segments on IAPF and Damien Mander here and here.

The participating artists include: Dora Frost, Blair Seagram, Dalton Portella, Kimberly Goff, Judith Witlin, Sander Witlin, Lucy Cookson, Dinah Maxwell Smith, Alice Ryan, Allan Ryan, John Rist and Trevor Boteler.

The benefit is invitation only at the Dora Frost Studio, 15 Windmill Lane in Southampton on Saturday, June 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. The show will run at the gallery through Tuesday, June 17.

BLT Steak Returns to CAPRI Southampton

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BLT Steak at CAPRI Southampton has returned for the 2014 summer season.

The pop-up restaurant debuted at the boutique hotel on County Road 39A on May 23over Memorial Day weekend.

BLT Steak is the flagship of ESquared Hospitality, an international restaurant and hospitality group that has BLT locations all over the world. The restaurant will be run by ESquared Hospitality’s corporate executive chef Clifford Crooks and feature signature dishes, such as tuna tartare along with seasonal specials like scallop crudo.

“We’re thrilled to return for a second year and have the chance to offer our signature dining experience to visitors once again, as well as participate in the hotel’s exciting programming for this summer,” Jimmy Haber, ESquard Hospitality’s managing partner, said.

The restaurant can seat 110 guests both inside the restaurant and on its covered patio. For poolside fare, visitors can also attend the Bathing Club at CAPRI during daytime hours and the outdoor bar and lounge areas will be catered by BLT Steak during the evenings.

BLT Steak will also cater the après-beach party at the Bathing Club every Saturday night. Hosted by pop-up maestro Travis Bass, there will be notable DJs, surprise guests and other special events and programming.

BLT Steak will be open for dinner Thursday through Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through July 4 weekend, and Wednesday through Sunday until Labor Day weekend.

For more information or to place a reservation, call 631-259-2641 or visit www.CAPRISouthampton.com/BLT_Steak.

New Offerings on Tap at Taps in North Sea

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Bartender George Williams pours a glass of one of Taps’ 14 draft beers. Stephen J. Kotz

 

By Genevieve Kotz

 

As the owner of Studio 89 gym, Rich Decker is no stranger to making over clients’ bodies, but his latest project was his own restaurant.

Mr. Decker recently gave his North Sea Tavern a complete renovation, doubling both the size of the bar and the number of draft beers available, and renamed it, appropriately, Taps.

Taps, which is located on North Sea Road in Southampton, opened on April 10 and is the kind of place that caters to customers who want to stop in for a beer, grab dinner or enjoy live music.

“We have the number-one beers in the world and we have local IPA’s,” Mr. Decker said of the restaurant’s extensive beer offerings.

At Taps, there are 14 different draft beers offered, including but not limited to Lagunitas, Miller Lite, Guinness, Lager, Blue Moon, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Peroni as well as eight different bottled beers. A pint of beer is between $5 and $6, which is “ridiculously priced for this area,” according to Mr. Decker. The restaurant also has a full bar and specializes in mojitos and margaritas.

With entrees ranging from $8 for a burger to around $25 for higher priced entrees, customers can expect good food and beer for a good price, according to Mr. Decker.

“It’s a very friendly restaurant,” Mr. Decker said, “We are kind of like a Hamptons-style restaurant without the Hamptons prices.”

While the sign above the door boasts “Brews, Burgers and Wings,” Taps also serves a full menu of pastas, steaks, seafood and other American pub-style dishes.

The restaurant has seven big screen TVs with surround sound, making it an ideal location for watching major sporting events like the ongoing Stanley Cup finals. Soccer fans will be glad to hear that Taps will be showing all of the FIFA World Cup matches this summer.

Besides catering toward sports fanatics, Taps regularly features live music and other musical performances. Every Friday night, it has live music with different performers booked until the end of summer.  On Wednesday and Saturday nights, there will be a DJ, and it will host Reggae on the Deck every Sunday afternoon. Starting in July, they will be hosting a new music venue, Summer Acoustic, from 9 p.m. to midnight on Thursday nights.

Mr. Decker, who has been on the East End for the last 30 years, has made a career with nightclubs, health clubs and restaurants. Five years ago, he opened Studio 89, a private fitness studio in Sag Harbor that offers one-on-one training as well as fitness classes such as TRX, Spin and Zumba.

Because of his experience with fitness, Mr. Decker made sure that his menu allows people to enjoy their meals without having to sacrifice their health. Most of the meals are based on proteins and complex carbohydrates and Taps also serves plenty of chicken and grilled vegetable dishes for people that want to eat on the leaner side. There are also plenty of gluten free and vegan options. The restaurant is also willing to substitute menu items with something healthier, at no extra charge.

“If it’s not on the menu, just ask and we’ll make it for you,” Mr. Decker said, “We’re very customer friendly.”

Taps is open seven days a week. It opens Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m. for late lunches and dinner, Fridays at noon for lunch and dinner, and it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 9 a.m.

For more information, check out its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TapsSouthampton.

 

Consignment Coupons

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The Collette Consignment stores, with locations on the East End and New York City,  are currently offering a set of specials for customers.

Customers will receive a $50 gift card for every purchase of $250 or more, valid in all locations, except Collette’s Basement. All of the merchandise in Collette’s Basement, located on Main Street in Southampton, will be priced at 50 percent off, including all sale items. There will also be an additional 20 percent off clothing at the newly revamped Collette Annex, located on Hampton Road in Southampton.

The specials will last all summer long.

The Collette stores offer designer items at discounted prices, with high-end brands such as Chanel, Hermes and Yves Saint Laurent. The company has a store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, several boutiques in Southampton, and a store on Main Street in Sag Harbor. At the Sag Harbor location, the store has a collection of European designer bags, and customer jewelry at prices of $30 as well as the Sag Town coffee shop next door.

For more information, visit colletteconsignment.com.

Citizens for Access Rights to Host Annual Fundraiser Thursday

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Citizens for Access Rights or CfAR will hold their annual fundraiser on Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.

The event will feature live music, auction items and a raffle. The cost is $20 for CfAR members renewing at the door, $10 for current 2014 members and $25 for non-members. All proceeds go to CfAR to protect beach access on the East End.  CfAR t-shirts will also be for sale.

CfAR is a group of East End residents who support open access to local beaches. In response to two lawsuits in which private individuals are claiming to own the ocean beach at Napeague, CfAR has supported the East Hampton Town Trustees, the town board and any other governmental body, which is willing to oppose the privatization of the beaches.

For more information on CfAR, visit citizensforaccessrights.com, or “like” CfAR on Facebook.

Shinnecock Bay Restoration Seminar

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SoMAS faculty and students among oyster gardener volunteers for SBU’s Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program.

Faculty members of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University will present a seminar, “The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program,” on Friday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Duke Lecture Hall of Chancellor’s Hall at Stony Brook Southampton.

During more than a decade of research in Shinnecock Bay, scientists have documented the strong negative trajectory in the bay’s water quality, bivalve populations, and seagrass habitat.

With the initiation of the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program, these same scientists have identified approaches to reverse these trends and improve the ecological condition of the bay.

The goal of the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program is to use science, outreach, and partnerships to restore the water quality and fisheries of Shinnecock Bay via enhancing natural filtration capacity of the ecosystem with bivalve shellfish, expanding remaining eelgrass beds, and enhancing nutrient removal through macroalgae. The program is specifically focused on using the species or strains of bivalve and eelgrass be best suited as restoration targets in different regions of Shinnecock Bay.

The program involves robust monitoring of the whole ecosystem to assess the efficacy of restoration. This presentation will provide an overview of the program, highlight progress and successes to date, identify challenges, and describe the near term plans of the program.

ARF of the Hamptons Announces New Series of Dog Training Classes

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ARF

 

ARF dog trainer Matthew Posnick. 

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons has announced the launch of three new series of dog training classes.

Puppy Kindergarten resumes on Friday, June 6, from 4 to 5 p.m. Classes will focus on socialization, interactive skills and simple obedience.

The course will run for four straight Fridays and the fee is $100. A reduced fee of $75 is available to those who adopted their puppy from ARF within the past month.

Dog Obedience 101 and Intermediate Classes will start on Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15.

Dogs and their handlers will learn basic obedience using positive reinforcement techniques. The curriculum includes Leash Handling, Let’s Go, Turning Techniques, Stay/Stand, Sit/Stay, Down/Stay, Leave It, Come, No Jumping and Leash Pulling Prevention exercises.

Participants can choose an introductory course on Saturday or Sunday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. for five straight weeks. The intermediate class is held on Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 10 to 11 a.m., also for five straight weeks.

The fee is $150 for all five classes; or $125 for those who have adopted their dog from ARF within the last year.

Recreational Dog Agility classes return on Saturday, June 14. Participants will be the bond of trust between themselves and their pet as they get great exercise working their ways through a variety of obstacles. A class for beginners will be held on Saturdays from 4 to 5 p.m. for five straight weeks. An intermediate class will be announced at later date.

The fee is $175 for all five classes.

All the classes are taught by Matthew Posnick and held at ARF’s Adoption Center at 90 Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott.