Tag Archive | "Town of East Hampton"

Thiele Finds Funds for Farmers

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced last week he had launched several new programs to assist new and early-stage farmers in order to encourage agribusiness throughout the state.

The New York State New Farmers Grant Fund kicked off last week and is seeking out applications from eligible farmers. The $614,000 fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 for farmers who “will substantially participate in the production

of an agriculture product, and employ the use of innovative agricultural techniques at commercial farm operations,” according to a release from Mr. Thiele’s office. The application is available at esd.ny.gov/BusinessPrograms/NewFarmersGrantFund.html. The deadline for those applications is January 28, 2015.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Bell will convene a working group in order to identify the barriers associated with initiating an agricultural operation.  The first meeting will take place at the Department of Agriculture and Markets in Albany on Thursday, October 30.

Also currently seeking applications is the New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, which offers breaks on student loan repayments for those who obtain an undergraduate degree from an approved New York State college or university and agree to operate a farm in New York full-time for five years. Applications are available at hesc.ny.gov and the deadline is December 15, 2014.

Hundreds of Protestors Gather at “No Cull” Rally in East Hampton to Protest Government Plan to Kill Deer

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Protest organizers concert promoter Ron Delsener and East Hampton Group for Wildlife founder Bill Crain at the "No Cull" rally in East Hampton Village Saturday, January 17. (Michael Heller photo).

Protest organizers, concert promoter Ron Delsener and East Hampton Group for Wildlife founder Bill Crain, adress the crowd at the “No Cull” rally in East Hampton Village Saturday, January 17. (Michael Heller photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

Some three hundred people gathered in East Hampton Saturday in opposition to the village’s plan to bring federal sharpshooters in to cull the deer herd. Hunters and wildlife activists joined together at the “No Cull” rally, organized by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife and supported by hunting organizations like Hunters for Deer and Long Island Archers.

Chanting “What do we want? Stop the cull? When do we want it? Now!” demonstrators, some who had driven hours to reach the village, marched from the Hook Mill in East Hampton to Herrick Park.

East Hampton Village and Southold Town have agreed to a Long Island Farm Bureau (LIFB) program that would bring USDA sharpshooters to the East End to cull the deer herd, which many local residents and farmers say is overpopulated and destructive. LIFB executive director Joe Gergela estimates 1,500 to 2,000 deer would be killed during the 40-day cull.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has not yet issued a permit for the cull (see sidebar).

Proponents of the plan say the deer population, with no natural predators, has outgrown the available food supply and natural environment on the East End. Deer, they say, create hazardous conditions on roads, carry tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and negatively impact the local agriculture industry.

East Hampton Town agreed to the program in December under the last administration, but new town supervisor Larry Cantwell said last week he is unsure whether the town will still take part.

The program is funded by a $200,000 state grant LIFB received for deer management and would be one of the largest removals of deer ever undertaken by the government.

The hundreds who gathered Saturday are calling on the LIFB to stop the cull and for all municipalities to withdraw their support. East Hampton Village has committed $15,000 to the farm bureau and Southold Town has pledged $25,000. Those funds support sharpshooters coming into public lands, but the cull can continue on private land without official support from local governments.

In December, The Group for Wildlife, along with 13 individual plaintiffs and the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays, filed suit against East Hampton town, village and the town trustees.

“We’re going to sue each and every town or village that even thinks about entering into this plan,” Wendy Chamberlain, a Bridgehampton resident who helped organize the rally, told the crowd Saturday.

“It gets better,” she added, “We’re also going to sue the heinous USDA!”

Despite the uncommon collaboration of hunters and animal rights advocates, the rally was peaceful aside from one disruption, when concert promoter Ron Delsener shouted at East Hampton school board member Patricia Hope.

Hope was passing out flyers supporting immuno-contraception as a more peaceful way to cull the herd than the “wholesale slaughter of does and fawns” when Delsener, who has a house in East Hampton and is funding the anti-cull lawsuit, yelled, “This lady wants to kill the deer!”

“I don’t want to kill the deer,” Hope replied, moving away from Delsener.

Group for Wildlife founder and Montauk resident Bill Crain encouraged the crowd to write letters and call their government officials to “let them know we will not stand for this.”

“They don’t have a chance of re-election if they are going to pursue this barbaric, murderous slaughter,” Crain said.

Many protestors dressed in hunting gear and held signs with slogans like, “Cull the board not the herd,” “Slaughter, savagery, stupidity,” and “Deer epidemic NOT proven.”

One sign said, “Are the swans next?” referring to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) new proposal to kill or capture all mute swans by 2025. Another had a photo of fawns and the words, “Are you going to kill my mommy?”

“They don’t deserve to die,” Sag Harbor’s Anne Plucis shouted to passing drivers, “They’re not the reason for this.”

Plucis said mice and rats are to blame for the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses, not deer.

Mike Tessitore, a former Sag Harbor Village policeman who is a member of Hunters for Deer, called the proposed plan “a slap in the face to the community, as well as the hunters on Long Island and in New York State.”

“If hunters were given the same opportunity as USDA in killing deer they would be successful,” said Tessitore.

The LIFB has said all meat would go to Long Island Harvest to be processed and sent to food banks, but with a cost of $50 to $80 to process each corpse, many of the cull’s opponents are skeptical the meat will be properly used.

Tessitore called the plan “$250,000 to $500,000 to throw deer in dumpsters.”

“Hunters,” he added, “actually use the meat to provide for their family and friends – and we do it for free.”

Local residents remain divided on whether or not the federal sharpshooters should be welcomed. Usually allied, many farmers and hunters are on different sides. Some wildlife advocates favor culling the herd, saying deer overpopulation negatively affects the habitats of other animals and that being shot is more humane than starving to death.

Those wildlife activists opposed to the cull, however, were in clear view Saturday.

Calling the plan “cruel and inhumane,” ARF co-founder Sony Schotland said immunization worked to control the population in several other areas. East Hampton resident Brooke Spencer circulated a petition against the cull through the crowd.

“I’m here,” East Hampton resident Elizabeth Mensch said, “because I just think this whole situation is extremely unethical and inhumane. I believe they have every right to be here and we have no right to say if something dies or lives.”

K.K. Shapiro, Mensch’s longtime friend and former classmate in East Hampton, added, “If you really have a problem with wildlife, move to the city.”

Moving Town Hall

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by Courtney M. Holbrook

When Zak Powers took on a job to photograph a collection of historic buildings, he may not have realized the long process he would undergo. One of the most ambitious and sensitive examples of preservation on the East End, the historic buildings of Further Lane have made the journey from old houses to hated memorials and, finally, to a sign of new beginnings.

The collection of 11 historic buildings has been reconstructed as the new East Hampton Town Hall. Stately, with deep brown wood and well-fitted beams, concerned citizens and politicians will now sit and work under these roofs.

“These buildings have been symbols of many things,” Powers said. “Unfortunately, because of outside circumstances, they’ve been a symbol of financial crisis … But now, they can be appreciated for what they are — these amazing historic artifacts that represent the town [of East Hampton].”

The result of Powers’ photographic record of the new (or rather, old) Town Hall buildings of East Hampton is the book, “Further Lane,” which includes a written introduction by the architecture critic, Paul Goldberger. On Saturday, July 23, the publishers of “Further Lane,” W.W. Norton and the Quantuck Lane Press will hold a Town Hall reception centered on the book’s release. The event will feature a book signing and exhibition. The community can tour the Town Hall structures from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 159 Pantigo Road in East Hampton.

“It’s just so wonderful to be experiencing this, not just for me, but for the whole town,” Powers said. “I’m so grateful the book came together. But really, I’m thrilled that now people can have these beautiful historic records, so to speak, as their place of government.”

The 11 buildings have had fascinating histories — if not reputations — from the beginning. Years ago, Adelaide de Menil and her husband, Edmund Carpenter, began buying historic barns originally built on the South Fork and had them moved to their Further Lane property. Carpenter was an anthropologist and de Menil a history lover; both were fascinated by examples of the “first representations of the timber frame barn. And here they were, all but forgotten. They wanted to save them,” according to Powers.

After collecting 14 barns and houses, the couple’s 40-acre property on Further Lane became a “living museum” of historic architecture. According to Powers, de Menil and Carpenter wanted these structures to be “sanctuaries” for artists and writers in the community.

“Adelaide always wanted people to use these houses … she wanted to keep the property alive,” Powers said. “When she hired me to document them, she suggested I move here with my family to record everything, to keep the houses alive. Ed was an anthropologist as well, so this was incredibly important to him too — keeping these historic buildings.”

When the couple decided to sell the property, they wanted to give something to the town and thought of these buildings. They donated 11 of the 14 structures to the town of East Hampton. Thus began the massive “Town Hall reconstruction” process that often has been shrouded in rumor, anger and curiosity.

Moving the homes became a two-year process. Powers documented it all, every step of the way. His photos showcase the immense effort and planning that went into moving 11 historic structures. When they finally hoisted the buildings up, they moved them down Route 27 via remote control machinery.

“Adelaide and Ed just wanted to give something back,” Powers said. “Originally, the town was going to pay for the restoration, but [Adelaide and Edmund] would pay for all the expenses to the city [sic] for upkeep and maintenance. They also donated some money for the restoration.”

But then came the financial crisis of the previous East Hampton administration, and everything seemed to fall apart. The original intent was to use money from the East Hampton Community Preservation Fund in order to restore the buildings. However, that money was not allowed to be used for such a purpose. After years of alleged financial mismanagement, the homes were left next to giant holes, in a state of unfinished disarray.

In short, the town hall buildings became “symbols of the town’s financial crisis. It was easy for people to see this as government, you know, cutting school lunches and cutting the budget, while wasting money on this construction,” Powers said.

They became a horrible joke; one never intended by de Menil and Carpenter. When the new administration of East Hampton finally began the reconstruction process, Powers was thrilled.

“I wanted to tell the real story through my photographs,” Powers said. “Adelaide and Ed wanted these buildings to be a wonderful gift. It wasn’t their fault that everything just went bust.”

Powers believes de Menil, Carpenter and their properties became “scapegoats” in the turmoil of the financial crisis and the previous administration’s problems.

Now, with bonding and $2 million from De Menil, the Town Hall buildings have been restored. Eight of the houses have been placed in a tight formation, carefully organized as a testament to the new Town Hall. The large barn is being used as the meeting place for town meetings. Instead of sitting in a “courtroom, they’re sitting in this gorgeous, elegant structure,” according to Powers. The gala will be held in that large barn.

It is appropriate that the new structures have finally come to fruition, both for the town and for de Menil and Carpenter; Carpenter passed away last Friday.

“It is in some ways a memorial for [Carpenter] as well as a book launch,” Powers said. “He always wanted these buildings to be a gift.”

Powers noted that the current administration is pleased with the project and he has been speaking with East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson in preparation for the gala

“These buildings are beautiful, but I’m just glad the whole thing is over,” said Councilwoman Julia Prince who declined to discuss the details of the drawn out process. With the gala approaching, Powers is happy to have a record of the events surrounding the deconstruction and reconstruction of the buildings. To him, they are a testament to what de Menil and Carpenter originally intended — a gift to the town of historical importance.

“It’s been an unbelievable process, watching and photographing these homes and the people who worked on them,” he said. “Now, we can celebrate the book and the buildings as part of the community.”

East End Digest – July 17

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Sag Harbor: A Legal Education
Twenty East End lawyers and 10 Suffolk County District Attorneys gathered at The American Hotel on Friday for a seminar on “Evidence at the Drunk Driving Trial,” taught by Albany lawyer Peter Gerstenzang. The seminar was co-hosted by Patricia Weiss and Edward Burke, Jr. — both Sag Harbor attorneys. Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano joined the attorneys who were instructed on the topic of police officer testimony at trials.

Above: Sag Harbor attorney Brian De Sesa, lecturer and attorney Peter Gerstenzang and Sag Harbor lawyer Edward Burke, Jr. at a Continuing Legal Education Seminar on Friday. (patricia weiss photo)

Amagansett Farmers Market: Purchase Complete

John v.H. Halsey, President of the Peconic Land Trust announced on Monday, July 14 the formal closing of the transaction that conserves the Amagansett Farmers Market. The Trust will lease the property from Margaret de Cuevas, a long-time supporter of its conservation work. Ms. de Cuevas purchased the property from Pat Struk for $5.5 million; simultaneously, the Town of East Hampton purchased the development rights on 7.56 acres of the 9.33-acre property.

The conservation of the Amagansett Farmers Market and attendant farmland has been under discussion for many years.

“Conservation transactions are complex, and it is not unusual for these transactions to take years before they reach fruition. We are very grateful to Pat Struk for working with us to conserve the market and cannot express fully our gratitude to Maggie de Cuevas for her on-going support of the trust’s conservation work as exemplified by this important acquisition,” said Halsey.

In addition to de Cuevas and Struk, Halsey noted the critical role that the Town of East Hampton played through the purchase of the development rights on the 7.56 acres of farmland included in the market property.

“This transaction shows the power of public and private partnerships. It is a wonderful day for the Trust, the town, and the Amagansett community. We look forward to a vibrant market in Amagansett that highlights the importance of our regional agricultural economy,” Halsey added.

At the closing, the trust announced that it will be signing an operator’s agreement with Eli Zabar, the Manhattan Upper West Side food purveyor, through November 30, 2011. Zabar plans to maintain the community orientation of the market. He, and his wife Devon Fredericks, a long-time East Hampton resident who started Loaves and Fishes, vow to work with the Trust to highlight the importance of regional produce and provide an opportunity for local farmers, fishermen, artisans, and others to sell their products at the market.

Citizens For Fred Thiele: Four Endorsements

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. of Sag Harbor has received the nomination of four statewide political parties for re-election to the New York State Assembly from the second Assembly district, which includes East Hampton, Southampton and southeastern Brookhaven town. Thiele, an independent Republican, has served in the state assembly since 1995. For the 2008 election, Thiele has been endorsed by the Republican, Independence, Working Families and Conservative parties.

“First, let me thank the rank and file members of all four political parties who signed petitions on my behalf,” said Thiele. “I also want to thank the hard working political activists of these parties that made the effort to go door to door during these hot summer days to insure that I would be on the ballot this fall.”

“I am proud to be the nominee of four different political parties which span the spectrum of political ideology in New York State,” he continued. “It demonstrates that my approach of working with people of all political stripes for the common good of eastern Long Island is what people want from their government officials. Excessive partisanship and attack politics may serve the interests of short-sighted political leaders, but it doesn’t solve the problems faced by every day people. Voters want proven leaders who can get things done.”

The seven-term incumbent emphasized that he will campaign on his record of accomplishment during the coming campaign.

“I have worked tirelessly on issues such as education, the environment, health care, and tax reform,” said Thiele. “My district has benefited from record increases in school aid, the new SUNY college campus at Southampton, the Community Preservation Fund to protect open space, state funding for our local hospitals, state funding to protect our bays and waterways like the Peconic Bay and the Forge River the defeat of Broadwater, and new and innovative transportation projects like the South Fork Commuter Shuttle.”

Congress: Hurricane Supplies

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Peter King welcomed news from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin to pre-deploy hurricane supplies to Long Island as early as the end of next week. Because of Long Island’s unique geography, Clinton and King have been pushing FEMA to provide hurricane supplies to the area as was previously done in 2006. In the event that a hurricane does hit Long Island, having supplies already positioned will ensure that residents will be able to receive the assistance and goods that they need in the immediate aftermath.

“it has taken some prodding, but today’s announcement is a clear signal that FEMA intends to take the necessary steps to ensure that Long Islanders get the supplies they need if a hurricane were to hit,” said Clinton on Friday. “While this is a step in the right direction, we are already deep into the hurricane season and cannot afford any delays. I will continue to work to ensure that this process moves forward so that Suffolk and Nassau have the supplies they need.”

“I am pleased to see that FEMA has recognized the urgency in ensuring that Long Island’s prepared to respond in the event of a hurricane,” said King. “I urge them to move as expeditiously as possible to fully stock the facilities.”

According to FEMA, the agency will be moving four pre-positioned disaster supplies containers to Suffolk County by the end of the week. The four 48-foot containers with non perishable item including tents, tarps, generators and first aid kits are scheduled to arrive at the Yaphank office of the county’s fire, rescue and emergency services commission.

State Legislature: Gas Bill Accepted

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced this week that the New York State Legislature has given final passage to state legislation that would promote competition and lower retail gas prices by permitting gasoline retailers to sell unbranded gasoline in addition to their branded product.

The bill amends the General Business Law to invalidate any provision of a franchise with a refiner that would prohibit a dealer or distributor from selling or purchasing unbranded motor fuel. This bill would permit service station dealers who own their own retail locations and distributors who supply such locations to sell unbranded motor fuel.

Motor fuel franchise agreements typically include provisions which permit a service station dealer or distributor to use a particular identifying symbol or trade name owned or controlled by a refiner. In exchange for that right the dealer or distributor must purchase and sell motor fuel supplied solely by the refiner. Distributors are likewise prohibited from supplying unbranded motor fuel to franchised dealers. This situation limits the availability of unbranded motor fuel to New York’s drivers at a time when motor fuel prices are escalating.

“By permitting retailers to sell unbranded fuel, each retailer can go to the wholesale marketplace and find the least expensive product and provide those saving to their customers,” said Thiele. “This legislation breaks the unfair monopolistic practices that Big Oil attempts to impose on retailers. The result will be more competition, more choice, and lower prices for consumers.

The bill now goes before the Governor for approval.

In addition, Thiele has also sponsored and supported the elimination of zone pricing, which has passed the Assembly and the institution of windfall profits on major oil companies with the proceeds to be used for home heating fuel grants and energy conservation, which has also passed the Assembly. Thiele has also sponsored legislation to suspend state taxes on motor fuels, which the senate has passed.

Long Island Farm Bureau: Annual Awards

The Long Island Farm Bureau will honor Dr. Dan Damianos of Pindar Vineyards and Mr. Patrick Voges of NSLGA, both prominent figures in the agricultural community, at Long Island Farm Bureau’s 91st Annual Awards Dinner. The event will take place on Saturday, July 26 at Martha Clara Vineyard.

Dr. Dan Damianos founded Pindar Vineyard in 1979, starting off with just 30 acres of uncultivated land and a vision of grand possibilities for his fledgling vineyard. Now he runs 600 acres in Mattituck, Cutchogue, Peconic and Southold with his three sons Alex, Jason and Pindar Damianos. New vineyards today “have the template” developed by Dr. Dan, one of the industry’s leading pioneers

Mr. Patrick Voges has been involved in the Long Island Horticultural Industry for over 40 years and worked hands-on with the NSLGA. The Farm Bureau commends Mr. Voges for connecting Farm Bureau with NSLGA and realizing the potential behind two strong organizations joining together to speak on behalf of Long Island’s agricultural industry.

In addition, the dinner will boast a cornucopia of “Grown on Long Island” foods and wines provided by local farmers and producers. Ticket sales are open to the public and will include a wide variety of door prizes. Also, the drawing for LIFB’s Annual Raffle will be held at the close of the awards dinner. Prizes include a grand prize of $10,000 cash, a Caribbean vacation and a 42-inch flat panel TV.