Tag Archive | "southold"

Snail of Approval Awarded to North Fork Table & Inn

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The North Fork Table & Inn.

The North Fork Table & Inn.

Slow Food East End announced last week it has awarded its first Snail of Approval to the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold. Since it was founded a decade ago, the North Fork Table & Inn has offered diners a progressive American menu of seasonally inspired, locally sourced biodynamic and organic produce, fresh seafood and artisanal cheeses led by chefs Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming.

The Snail of Approval was created by Slow Food East End to support business establishments that contribute to the quality, sustainability, and authenticity of food and beverages on the East End. The nomination process is now open to qualifying restaurants. Other food purveyors and wineries will be considered in the coming year. In acknowledgement of a restaurant’s adherence to the Slow Food principals of “good, fair and clean” food, Slow Food East End will publicize the business in its web page, newsletter and social media. Approved restaurants will also receive window decals bearing Slow Food’s snail logo to promote their business to the public. Any Slow Food East End member may nominate an establishment. For detailed Information on how to apply, send an email to snailofapproval@slowfoodeastend.org.

The East End Chapter of Slow Food is one of about 200 chapters in Slow Food USA, a non-profit, member-supported organization that advocates for healthy food produced with minimal damage to the environment using honest and fair production practices. Slow Food USA is part of Slow Food International with 100,000 members in over 102 countries. For more information, visit slowfoodeastend.org

Regional Ban on Plastic Bags Could Be in Place by Earth Day

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By Mara Certic

The days of deciding between paper and plastic may be dwindling here on the East End, as local municipalities make plans to join together to enforce a regional ban on single-use plastic bags.

According to Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association is considering a ban on the bags that would span from Montauk Point to beyond the Shinnecock Canal.

Southampton and East Hampton Villages both banned the bags back in 2011, but none of the local towns have managed to adopt such a law thus far. Southampton Town has considered similar legislation in the past, but those discussions were initially struck down by the former Republican town board before they could be taken to public hearing.

Dieter von Lehsten, co-chair of Southampton’s Sustainability Committee, has been one of the people spearheading the movement to ban plastic. According to Mr. von Lehsten, the single-use plastic bag is the largest consumer item in the world.

In America, 105 billion single-use plastic bags are distributed every year; 23 million of those are given out in the Town of Southampton, and it is estimated that only 3ee to 4 percent of those bags are recycled, he said.

The rest of the bags are floating around, somewhere, Mr. von Lehsten said. Many of them get buried in landfills, but a large number of them are found in our bays and oceans.

A lot of plastic pollution shows up in large slow-moving currents called gyres. A large island of plastic has built up in the North Pacific Gyre. “In the center of this gyre sits an island, imagine twice the size of Texas,” Mr. von Lehsten said. According to Greenpeace, this trash island is made up “of everything from tiny pieces of plastic debris to large ghost nets lost by the fishing industry.”

Plastic contains toxic chemicals, which then get passed on to animals when they mistake the small petrochemical particles for food. According to Greenpeace, plastic often then accumulates in animals’ digestive tracts, essentially choking them. Sometimes, animals who mistakenly ingest plastic starve and die from a lack of nutrition. And now plastic has found its way into our food chain, Mr. von Lehsten said.

Mr. von Lehsten said he has been met by overwhelming support among community members and legislators when he has discussed this ban with individuals and civic associations.

“I had meetings in Southold, Shelter Island and East Hampton and talked to all councils in these areas and they are going to vote for the ban of the bag,” Mr. von Lehsten said to the members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on September 22.

“It is now just a question, who makes the first step,” he said. “It is another one of those dances of the politicians.”

“So now we really want to force the issue,” Mr. von Lehsten said, and added he has started a letter campaign to get individuals and associations to ask the town boards to ban the bags.

The sustainability committee is suggesting the BYOB campaign—bring your own bag. One day, he would like to see a ban on all plastic and Styrofoam, he said, “but you’ve got to start somewhere, and the worst culprit is the single-use plastic bag.”

Mr. von Lehsten hinted heavily that he suspects public hearings on the matter to begin at some point in October. Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said a public hearing will be held in the first week of December in Southampton, with the hope of implementing the law by Earth Day, April 22, 2015.

After almost 100 municipalities in the Golden State prohibited the use of the synthetic bags, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the country’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags last week.

Bagging Plastic

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PIC DAVID CRUMP.TESCO PLASTIC BAGS

The Southampton Town Board will schedule a public hearing on a proposed plastic bag ban during the first week of December, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst announced at a Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday.

Dieter von Lehsten, the co-chair of the Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, gave a presentation to the CAC about the proposed ban. Southampton Town uses 23 million plastic bags every year, he said, and he estimates the town only recycles about 3 million of them.

“That still leaves 20 million bags that are somewhere,” he said. Plastic bags never disintegrate entirely, he explained, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Research has shown that fish eat the tiny plastic particles, which are now a part of the food chain.

Mr. von Lehsten also said the latest research has shown there is now more plastic in the ocean than plankton.

“It is a movement which is better to do from the bottom up,” he said, adding “the politicians depend on us because we are the electorate.” In California, 78 municipalities banned the bags, he said, which has resulted in a state-wide ban.

“We want to force the issue,” he said. Mr. von Lehsten and the sustainability committee have started a letter campaign to the town board to tell it to ban the bags.

Ms. Throne-Holst said the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association are on board with a regional ban. “I think it has a lot of value if it’s done regionally,” she said of the ban.

The East Hampton Town Board has not yet set a date for an informational meeting on a potential plastic bag ban but it will be in the next few months, Supervisor Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday.

According to Ms. Throne-Holst, the plan is to have the implementation date be Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Over 300 Show Up to Discuss Aircraft Noise in East Hampton

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helicopters

Helicopters at the East Hampton Airport on Wednesday evening, just down the road from where over 300 residents gathered to discuss the aircraft noise problem. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

More than 325 people from all over the East End turned up to a special meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the East Hampton Airport.

For almost three hours, residents from East Hampton, Southampton, Noyac, North Haven, Shelter Island and the North Fork told the board their concerns, their stories, and their solutions. Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who acts as the board’s airport liaison made a statement before the public hearing began. She assured the public the town board was committed to do everything they can legally do to address the problem.

She also asked those who had signed up to speak to stay respectful of each other, and the board, and said “I request everyone observe basic rules of civility.”

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s wish came true. There was a sense of support and unity among the residents and elected officials who gathered to speak at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Southold, Southampton, Shelter Island, North Haven and Noyac passed memorializing resolutions in the past few weeks, all calling for the East Hampton Town Board to refuse any future grant money from the FAA and then impose regulations on the airport.

Currently, the board is receiving grant assurances from the FAA, which will expire on December 31, 2014. “We implore you to not accept the funding from the FAA,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I can just tell you that from a North Haven standpoint, we’ll do everything to try and support you,” said Jeff Sander, Mayor of North Haven Village. This feeling was repeated throughout the evening, by residents as well as elected officials.

“We’re behind you 100%,” said Shelter Island resident Jim Colligan.  ”Don’t be in fear of those helicopter companies, if we need to rally behind you, we will definitely rally behind you.”

Speakers expressed concern about non-stop noise, which many say goes from as early as 5 a.m. to as late as 2:45 a.m. Frank Dalene, who sits on two of East Hampton’s Airport subcommittees, likened the endless noise to torture. “Will there be satisfaction if you just stop the torture?” he asked. “The only relief is to stop torture. We will not be satisfied until helicopters stop.”

As well as noise, many brought up issues of health and safety. A specialist in animal behaviorism and a Northwest resident explained that the “looming” sound of the helicopters has damaged wild life on the East End, and could be damaging people, too.

Solutions were put forward by the public, as well. Many called for banning helicopters, some called for shutting down all commercial operations in and out of the airport.  Certain residents suggested closing the East Hampton Airport and moving operations to Montauk Airport. This may prove slightly difficult as the 40 acres of the Montauk Airport is less than a tenth of the size of the East Hampton Airport.

“It’s truly a pleasure to listen to th voices on the East End and the conduct at this meeting was exemplary,” Supervisor Cantwell said on Wednesday.

Another Good Month for CPF

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Another month, another windfall for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund.

According to figures released by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., the CPF collected a total of $9.94 million during the month of July in the five East End towns. Last year for the same period, CPF revenues were $8.8 million.

Total revenue for the first seven months of the year has been $55.7 million an increase of 5.8 percent over the same period last year when $52.7 million was collected.

Southampton leads all towns, having collected $32.4 million this year, up from $30.8 million over the first seven months last year. East Hampton has collected $17.4 million, up from $16.9 million. Southold has collected $2.8 million, up from $2.2 million; Riverhead has received $1.9 million, up from $1.4 million, while Shelter Island has seen a dip to $1.2 million from $1.4 million.

Since its inception in 1999, the CPF has generated $940.4 million. The CPF has generated $98.47 million over the last 12 months.

East Hampton Town Board to Hold Special Meeting on Aircraft Noise

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DSC_0968

 

Due to overwhelming interest, the East Hampton Town Board has announced that it will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, August 27, where residents from both forks are invited to air their concerns. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Mara Certic

The East Hampton Town Board will hold a special meeting next week to give residents from the North and South forks the opportunity to express their concerns about aircraft noise.

The board’s decision followed a meeting of the Noyac Civic Council at the Bridgehampton Senior Nutrition Center last week that attracted a crowd of well over 100 residents, a large number of whom had to stand in the back of the room for the entirety of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting. Residents from as far away as Mattituck attended the meeting to air their concerns in front of Congressman Tim Bishop, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., other East End elected officials and several Federal Aviation Administration representatives.

All of the East Hampton residents at the Noyac meeting urged those who live in Southampton Town and elsewhere to attend the East Hampton Town Board meeting, scheduled for the evening of Thursday, August 21.

Charles Ehren, vice chairman of The Quiet Skies Coalition, urged all of those gathered to “make your case to the East Hampton Town Board.”

But with the prospect of a large crowd descending on Town Hall, the East Hampton Town Board scheduled the special meeting to discuss the airport for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 27, at LTV Studios, 75 Industrial Road in Wainscott.

Bob Malafronte, who with Barry Holden, represents Southampton residents on East Hampton Town’s helicopter noise abatement committee, made the same plea and said next week’s meeting “is going to be an important one.”

“We understand a large number of East End residents wish to address this issue and many planned to attend the August 21 regular meeting of the Town Board. Based on the turnout of citizens attending recent meetings on this issue in Southold and Southampton Towns, we would anticipate an overflow crowd on the night of August 21 when the Town Board already has 13 public hearings scheduled,” Supervisor Larry Cantwell said in a release issued on Monday.

“Such a turnout will leave many people without seating, standing in the entryway and outdoors. In order to adequately host the number of people who wish to address the Town Board, we are inviting residents of the North and South Fork to attend the special meeting on August 27 at LTV Studios,” he continued.

The Quiet Skies Coalition also issued a press release on Monday informing its members of the change. “Quiet Skies Coalition congratulates the supervisor for recognizing the importance of this issue and making a special effort for community input. QSC urges all noise-affected residents to attend this meeting to voice concerns regarding aircraft noise,” it read.

There has been little doubt, according to airport critics, that the current town board in East Hampton has been much more responsive than previous administrations.

“It’s a different board now,” said Barry Holden at last Tuesday’s meeting.

“The people on the board are looking in the right direction. But we’re up against a group of business people and owners of corporations.”

Residents, who say they are being tormented by the noise, and environmentalists hope that the town board will stop accepting money from the FAA when the current grant obligations expire on December 31, 2014.

At that point, the board would be able to impose stricter regulations on the airport and, some hope, ban helicopters.

 

North Fork Helicopter Panel

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South Fork residents aren’t the only people complaining about helicopter noise. Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork, and the Southold Town Board will discuss that very topic at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 11.

Speakers will include Adam Santiago, the district director for U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s office, Kyle Strober, the director of the Long Island District Office for Senator Charles Schumer, and Debbie Tinnirello, Long Island regional director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition, several citizen advisory committee  members from communities of the South Fork will provide their perspective as well as airplane pilot Joseph Fishetti.

In an effort to accommodate all interested parties, panelists will speak for a total of five minutes and residents will have three minutes to ask questions or offer comments.

The meeting will take place at the town’s Recreation Center at 970 Peconic Lane in Peconic.

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CPF Up 5 Percent for Year

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The Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund has raised $28.26 million for the first five months of the year, a 5 percent increase over the same period last year when it collected $36.38 million, according to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

Since it was created in 1999, the CPF, which is funded by a real estate transfer tax in the five East End towns, has collected$923 million.

It is on pace this year to better the 2013 totals, which was the second most successful year in its history, after 2007.

“This reflects the continued strength in East End real estate and the continued availability to local towns of the necessary revenues to protect community character,” he said in a release.

Southampton is leading all towns,  collecting a total of $22.5 million this year, while East Hampton has collected $11.66 million. Southold has collected $1.7 million, Riverhead $1.58 million, and Shelter Island, $820,000.

East End Heroin Task Force Formed to Battle Growing Threat

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By Kathryn G. Menu

State government leaders announced this week an initiative aimed at combating heroin abuse on the East End, as law enforcement, public health and court officials acknowledged the growing threat the drug—and other opioids—in Suffolk County.

On Monday, New York State Senator Ken LaValle, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo announced the formation of the Heroin Addiction Legislative Task Force, or HALT.

The legislators said the group was created to identify causes of and solutions to fight the growing heroin epidemic. The task force will specifically look at the five East End towns, according to Assemblyman Thiele.

The creation of the task force was spearheaded by Senator LaValle, after Senate leaders formed a statewide task force in March.

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Thiele said state officials representing the East End recognized approaches to battling the epidemic would need to be tailored for the region—a region with many law enforcement jurisdictions, local court systems, and its own set of obstacles when it comes to mental health care and treatment.

“The increase in heroin use has reached alarming levels and we need to take action to address this critical situation,” said Senator LaValle. “A broad based East End approach will help us to identify areas where we can be productive in combating the scourge of heroin and other opiates. The initial meeting will be the first in a series that will assist us in determining the types of resources that are needed on the East End.”

“The issue of heroin abuse certainly became more high-profile after [the actor] Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death, but if you talk to people in drug treatment programs and law enforcement, this has been a growing problem in the state for several years now,” said Assemblyman Thiele in an interview Wednesday.

“We don’t have a county police department or district courts, we have town and village police departments and town and village courts, so from a law enforcement perspective, dealing with this issue on the East End is different than the rest of Long Island,” he continued.

According to Assemblyman Thiele, the first meeting will be held on May 16 at 10 a.m. at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center on Main Street in Riverhead. That session, he said, will focus on bringing together law enforcement officials, counselors, representatives from treatment groups, as well as town and village justices and government leaders to talk about the epidemic before the task force begins to look at targeted solutions that can aid the East End.

On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said he expects the village will be represented at the forum.

“I think this is a great initiative because this is a problem and it seems to be growing at a crazy pace and is affecting a lot of people,” he said. “Either myself of one of the members of the village board will attend that first session.”

“This first meeting we largely expect it to be us as legislators doing a lot of listening,” said Assemblyman Thiele. “Before we can decide what government can do from a policy perspective we have to talk to the people on the ground dealing with this issue.”

The creation of the task force comes on the heels of two major heroin arrests by the East End Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional agency led by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office that includes officers from town and village police departments across the North and South forks.

In February, nine men—six from the Riverhead area—were charged with multiple felonies for their alleged involvement in the sale of “Hollywood” heroin, a particularly potent brand of the drug that was sold to residents on the East End, including Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. During the course of a years long investigation into that ring, police said they confiscated 2,000 bags of heroin and thousands of dollars in cash.

In April, Suffolk County Police announced the arrest of 14 individuals in connection with an alleged sales ring that ferried heroin from Brooklyn throughout Suffolk County. According to Mr. Spota, that ring had flooded Suffolk County with 360,000 bags of heroin with a street value of $3.6 million.

The arrests come at a time when law enforcement and mental health care professionals are reporting an increase in the amount of heroin and opioid abuse in Suffolk County.

According to a report issued in 2012 by a special grand jury empanelled by Mr. Spota, heroin use between 1996 and 2011 accounted for a 425-percent increase in the number of participants in the Suffolk County Drug Court Program. Opioid pill abuse, according to the report, accounted for a 1,136-percent increase in the number of drug court participants. According to data issued by the county medical examiner’s chief toxicologist Dr. Michael Lehrer, there were 28 heroin related deaths in Suffolk County in 2010, which increased to 64 in 2011 and to 83 in 2012 with 82 deaths officially reported for 2013, although that figure is expected to rise as investigations into other deaths are completed.