Tag Archive | "YARD"

YARD Beach Program Goes On

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By David McCabe

The Youth Advocacy and Resource Development (YARD) summer beach program is on this summer. That news came from the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday, after the Town of Southampton told the district they would help fund the program and provide key administrative assistance.

The board agreed to help with the program this summer on the condition that Friends of YARD, the non-profit that was established to help raise funds for the program, prepare to take over its operation next summer.

Sandi Kruel, who serves on both the school board and on the Friends of YARD board, indicated the non-profit group would do all it could to make that a reality.

In addition to the $10,500 in funding provided by the school district, and $10,000 which the Friends of YARD is providing, Southampton Town will provide $15,000 to the district to go towards the operation of both the beach program and the drop-in after school program which YARD runs during the academic year. East Hampton Town, the county, the Village of Sag Harbor and the Village of North Haven are also contributing funds to the program.

While many board members had worried it would take too long for lawyers to draw up the intermunicipal agreements (IMA) required to secure the funding for the program this summer, Southampton Town’s Director of General Services Russel Kratoville said that the town had an IMA already prepared.

After it was decided the district would administer the program this summer, the school board directed the district’s superintendent, Dr. John Gratto, to have the district’s lawyer draft a generic IMA that could be used for all the municipalities involved.

At the school board meeting on Monday, Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming was in attendance with three town employees: Kratoville, Nancy Lynott, director of the town’s youth bureau, and Virginia Bennett, who works in the human services department at town hall and was present as a resident of Sag Harbor.

“I understood that there were some differing opinions on the school board as to whether the program should continue or how it should continue,” said Fleming, “and so I wanted to do what I could to help clear some of those obstacles, if possible, so that the program could be run in a responsible way.”

Kratoville said he would assist the district in clearing several administrative hurdles that need to be dealt with before the program can operate legally. Foremost amongst these is that the district must obtain a proper civil service title for the director of YARD.

Southampton Town employees will visit the site of the YARD program — something they have done in the past, since they have acted as a funder of the program — to insure it is being well administered.

Board members also raised the possibility that Southampton Town could fully assume operational responsibility of the summer program. Fleming said that would be next to impossible, since such a plan would not have the support of enough of her fellow town board members.

“I don’t think there is the political will on the town council to assume the program,” she said at the meeting.

In recent weeks, the summer program had appeared to be in jeopardy as some members of the school board made it known they could not support the program unless a variety of legal and funding issues were worked out. Those legal issues originally came to light when an auditor found that YARD had been using funds processed through the district, but had been operating without oversight from the school board.

One year ago, the school board decided it would not continue to administer the summer beach program and suggested that YARD supporters form a tax-exempt 501c3 organization to raise funds for the program’s operation. That organization, Friends of YARD, was formed and has been raising funds since last year. However, the Department of Homeland Security has yet to give final approval on the group’s tax-exempt status.

Monday’s decision by the school board essentially gives the Friends of YARD one more year to get their paperwork in order. The greatest challenge, Kruel said, will be to raise the funds necessary to cover the program’s insurance. Currently, the district pays a fairly low fee for insurance. Kruel maintains it will cost Friends of Yard more.

“The problem is having to now fund the insurance policy that could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 dollars. That’s going to be a challenge,” she said — still, she’s optimistic it can be done.

YARD’s supporters hope the beach program will start after the July 4th weekend, though Kruel acknowledged that logistical delays could cause it to start one week later.

Funding Youth 6/7/12

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It’s hard to argue against what the Youth Advocacy Resource Development (YARD) program has meant for this community and its students. From administering after school supervision at Pierson to developing summer beach activities for teens (all at no cost to parents), those who run the YARD program have a dedication to the youth of Sag Harbor unparalleled by most.

And yet the future of the summer beach program is now uncertain.

Historically, YARD has been issued an insurance waiver from the Sag Harbor School District, allowing the YARD summer beach program to spend only $200 on the required insurance, versus the $4,000 to $7,000 it would have to spend if it were a private entity.

This is a considerable difference, especially for a non-profit organization with a relatively small annual budget to begin with.

However, the YARD program had been using the district’s insurance without actually being adopted as a district program.

Ok, you say, the solution’s really simple: the board of education approves the YARD summer beach program, issues an insurance waiver and then teens throughout the Sag Harbor area can continue to avoid trouble by congregating on Long Beach three nights out of the week in the summer.

Unfortunately, it’s not that cut and dry.

For the district to take on a recreational program like YARD’s, it isn’t enough to issue a waiver and allow the program to carry on. The school functions under specific state rules which require all programs to not only be overseen by a teacher or, in this case, the YARD director, but by a district administrator. In other words, if YARD becomes a district program it, too, must abide by the state’s regulations.

In many ways, we’d like to see the district take a stronger, more supportive role in the YARD program. It not only gives working parents a safe place to send their kids after school and provides a haven in the community for otherwise at-risk teens, most importantly it serves a function that helps the school district itself by keeping students out of trouble.

But running the program through the school district would come with problems of its own. Providing district supervision would not only make more work for school administrators (we can already detect the faint smell of labor negotiations that would be sparked by such a prospect), but it would most likely involve costs (we can’t imagine anyone working for free, especially in the summer).

So, where does this leave YARD?

Of course the program could latch onto another entity and obtain an insurance waiver outside the district. It’s certainly possible. But, as long as the program is beholden to a parent organization, it loses its autonomy.

The YARD program has been so successful in its 13-year history, we feel the best way to ensure it maintains the programs and the oversight it’s been able to provide all these years is for it to function as its own governing body. For this, it needs to be able to provide its own insurance.

It’s not the most desirable option, we know. But it seems the most viable for all parties.

Already, the YARD program receives roughly $80,000 in funding from government municipalities, including the Sag Harbor School District. By working hard in this next year to raise an additional $4,000 to $7,000, the YARD program will be able to make certain its summer beach program remains intact and untouched.

As for this year, we sincerely hope the district and the YARD board are able to come to some agreement for the immediate future.

But come next year, should the district maintain the position it took this time last year (that it would not administer the YARD summer beach program), we hope the district makes it’s stance very clear. And we hope YARD works accordingly in the months ahead to prepare itself for summers to come.

Board Questions Operation of YARD Summer Beach Program

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By Claire Walla

The future of the Youth Advocacy and Resource Development (YARD) summer beach program is in flux. Again. And the Sag Harbor Board of Education remains at a standstill.

Last year around this time, school board members discussed the feasibility of continuing to run the summer beach program at Long Beach in Sag Harbor. The question was not the viability of the program — board members agreed it served an important function for the community, catering to 60 to 80 kids a night — but rather the manner in which it operated.

Issues first arose a few years ago when auditors discovered that while YARD had long operated autonomously from the district — running programs without formal approval from the school board — its finances had in fact been funneled through the district.

This was mitigated last year when the YARD board formed a non-profit entity, “Friends of YARD,” to collect all funds solicited for the program.

However, Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. Gratto pointed out that last year the school board decided not to be involved in the summer beach program after summer 2011, leaving the organization to find another entity to oversee its operations going forward.

YARD has been in discussions with Southampton Town, which is a big proponent of the summer beach program. However, according to Russel Kratoville, Southampton Town Management Services Administrator, while the town will continue to fund the program with its annual contribution of $15,000, it does not have the means run the program. (This would require hiring additional staff.)

Now, as discussed at a school board meeting last Monday, June 4, the board faces many of the same problems it faced last year.

The nut of the issue comes down to a simple philosophical question, Dr. Gratto said: should the district be responsible for administering a summer program?

If the district decided to formally take on the program, one necessary course of action would be to assign district supervision, which Mary Anne Miller, school board president, said is necessary for any district program. Not only might this involve extra costs, she went on, but it would add more to administrators’ summer schedules.

“I don’t think our administrators are looking for more work,” board member Walter Wilcoxen added. If the district was responsible for the program, he continued, “There are many costs in the YARD function we may end up paying for.”

Currently, the school contributes $10,000 annually to YARD.

The total cost of YARD services, including both the summer beach program and the afterschool program during the school year, is about $80,000, according to school board member and YARD Board of Directors member Sandi Kruel. And $23,000 of that goes to the summer beach program.

Kruel went on to explain that the vast majority of funding for the program comes not from the school district, but from different municipalities: New York State, Suffolk County, Southampton Town, Sag Harbor and even North Haven Village.

She said cost isn’t an issue.

“We haven’t been short on money in 13 years [since YARD was founded],” a noticeably frustrated Kruel stated. “I don’t foresee us coming up short this year.”

For the school to run a program that incorporates donations from several different municipalities, however, Dr. Gratto explained the district would need each entity to sign what’s called a Municipal Cooperative Agreement. He is currently figuring out how long that agreement — requiring signatures from the village, town, county and state — would take to get finalized.

Board members Miller and Wilcoxen additionally expressed concern that they still had not seen contracts from any entity other than Southampton Town, and would not be confident with YARD’s funding going forward until they could be certain these funding streams were officially designated for the year.

Kruel said she would like for the summer program to begin the week after graduation.

But whether it will have untangled all these details before then remains to be seen.

Visibility Counts-02/09/2012

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It’s only February, but already “belt tightening” seems to be emerging as the phrase of the year. Looming on our horizon for 2012 is the state-imposed two-percent tax cap levy on schools and municipalities, a county budget with a sizeable shortfall and a federal deficit that … well, we leave that one for another day.

The point is, in times like these, it’s a good idea to keep your head low and stay out of the cross hairs — especially if you’re a small non-profit organization that relies on public money to survive.

This week, we write about the YARD program and the Sag Harbor Youth Center, both of which provide an after school haven for the youth of the village and both of which have traditionally received funding from the county.

While in the past, this arrangement worked fine, that is not the case this year. Looking to preserve as much county money for youth programs in Sag Harbor as he could, our county legislator Jay Schneiderman, was forced to choose between the two similar programs. In the end, he chose to eliminate the $14,500 the county had budgeted for YARD in the past, rather than sacrifice the larger dollar amount — $48,177 — that goes to the youth center.

Schneiderman points out that his decision was based purely on a motive of preserving the greatest number of dollars he could for Sag Harbor youth — not on the merits (or lack thereof) of either program. He is now pursuing another source of funding to make up for some of YARD’s lost income for the year, but he noted the reality of the situation is this — the county is going to continually be forced to cut back on this sort of spending in the future.

One thing is certain, going forward the county will no longer be able to offer the same level of funding it has in the past to organizations that offer similar services. Instead, it’s likely legislators like Schneiderman will be required to choose between groups, and it’s likely that his or her choice will be to keep as many dollars as possible in the community.

Like we said in this space last week, in times like these it’s important to share resources and reduce budgets through collaborative efforts. The youth center and YARD now must start those discussions and see what can be done. Since both organizations offer an after school program, perhaps a solution can be found if the lesser attended program is eliminated and the money used to operate it is redirected into creating new programming that doesn’t duplicate current services. Special field trips, outdoor activities or community service projects are just some examples of what could be offered.

There’s another reason to eliminate duplication and think outside the box when it comes to offering new youth programming — and that is visibility. As municipalities make ever deepening cuts in non-profit funding, being able to point to an organization and demonstrate what it has done for the community will be vital.

In addition to publicizing all the events they have coming up through press releases to local newspapers and flyers sent home to parents, both organizations should work toward designing their own websites with a detailed explanation of activities, hours of operation, age of the children served and mission statements clearly explained. Photos of kids having fun and testimonials from parents are also a good way to draw interest and raise awareness.

And raising awareness, we feel, is going to be paramount in budget cycles ahead. What will the county be looking at when it’s deciding who is to be funded next year? Having something substantial to show them is not a bad idea. It would be a shame to see Sag Harbor’s youth miss out on well deserved funding because an up island organization happens to have a better PR person or web designer.

Times are tough. For many groups, the time has come not only to collaborate, but think competitively. You know plenty of other groups are already doing that.

YARD is Good for This Year

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By Claire Walla

After meeting with representatives of the Youth Advocacy Resource Development (YARD) program, Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto announced that the two parties had come to a decision.

“We agreed that the YARD summer beach program would remain under the auspices of the school district for 2011,” he said.

The school board has agreed to operate the program and the district will still essentially “own” the summer beach program this year.

However, Dr. Gratto continued to say that going forward the school board expressed an interest in detaching the summer beach program from the school’s list of responsibilities. The program could remain in operation, in this case, if it were to become a separate entity entirely (YARD is currently under the school’s insurance policy); or, Dr. Gratto added, “perhaps it could be run by Southampton Town.”

“It’s not a done-deal, per se,” school board president Walter Wilcoxen added.  From here on out, the future of YARD and it’s dependence on the school will be based “on the will of the board.”

School board member Dan Hartnett added that YARD was created at a time when “it was a completely different era,” before districts were subjected to such strict financial controls and annual audits.  “The question now is: how can we look at the needs of the kids and still be served in an era of accountability.”

He continued, “I’m happy that we’ve reached a decision to look at the beach program this year, because it is a beloved program.  And certainly there is time between now and next year to look at ways to administer and supervise it in a way that doesn’t harm the school.”

In other news…

To address the ways in which technology has changed the nature of communication, the board of education will revise board policy to take into account new ways of distributing information, i.e. texting and tweeting… yes, even Facebook.

“This is an important topic,” said school board member Dan Hartnett. He explained that there is a Sunshine Law in New York State, which prevents a board of elected officials from meeting in private when a majority of members is present.  Understandably, this notion is complicated when it comes to today’s swift back and forth of snippets of information.

“We should ask that all broadcast emails be copied to the [district] clerk, so that [all information] can be accessible to the public,” said school board president Walter Wilcoxen.

Cathy Carlozzi

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web carlozzi

By Marissa Maier

From heading the Sag Harbor Elementary School Parent Teacher Association to spearheading popular programs like bingo night and family movie night, Cathy Carlozzi has spent the last nine years as a valued member of the school community. As she recently stepped down from these duties, the Y.A.R.D., Youth Advocacy and Resource Development, program will honor Carlozzi at their annual benefit this Friday, October 15. Carlozzi reveals to The Express the success behind her numerous events and campaigns, and what led her to volunteer for her community.

Cathy you have been a long time member of the school community. Did you grow up in Sag Harbor or was this partnership fostered when your children started attending the school?

I didn’t grow up here. We moved here 18 years ago and once I started having kids, I got more involved with the community. My husband and I lived in Florida beforehand and the house [here] was his uncle’s who used to teach at Pierson.

When you first started becoming involved was Sag Harbor a tight knit community or did you see areas where it could improve?

Yes, compared to all the other schools, absolutely. I just wanted to get everyone together. I wanted to do things but I didn’t want to charge people. Everything costs money but for bingo and movie night, we didn’t charge. It brought everyone together, those who couldn’t and those who could afford it.

As a former president of the Parent Teacher Association, you were integral in launching a number of projects and events at the elementary school, like the walkway, bingo night, family movie night and the holiday gingerbread night. Where did these ideas come from?

A lot of the ideas were from Ms. Remkus who now teaches kindergarten. I went with it to try and get everything together. I looked online for equipment. I held fundraisers for the movie night for the projectors. And the brick walkway was a good fundraiser.

And did you have ideas for other events that didn’t quite pan out as you expected?

The kids liked to play wall ball and I wanted to put up a wall. But I kept hitting a brick wall. It was little things that came up every time I tried to get it. There wasn’t enough property or space for the kids. But the idea is not to quit. If one thing doesn’t work out something else will.

Why do you think the events like the bingo and family movie night are successful?

Because I think everyone realizes that they do have extra time to spend together. Those events are always free, the bingo, the movies. It’s nice to see friends and family and not have to worry, “How am I going to be able to afford this?” The events aren’t mandatory. You went because you enjoyed it. Last year I had tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders coming. The older kids were babysitting the younger kids. It wasn’t just the moms and the dads. Grandma and grandpa were coming too.

You helped fund raise for the Sag Harbor Elementary School walkway, a donation drive which also helped pay for benches and picnic tables, and in 2006 you helped raise over $5,000 for cancer research with “Sag Harbor Happy Feet,” a group of Sag Harbor moms. What makes your fundraising work successful?

I don’t think personally that it is because it is me. I think it is how you go about it. [Instead of going outside the box], I think it should be all the way around the box. The more you help the more you get. And it is important not just to depend on yourself. It is okay to ask for help. Some people are shy, but everybody can’t do everything. So it is okay to ask for help.

Earlier in the year you stepped down from your role as a leader of elementary school events after working with the school in this capacity for nine years. Why did you feel it was time to refocus your energies?

Other people want to get involved and it is okay for them to be heard. They might want to change some things. I hope it continues to stay the way it is [in terms of] staying free for everyone. That was my whole highlight. Everything costs a lot of money, but this is something everyone can do together.

You are being honored this weekend by the Y.A.R.D. program. What is your relationship with Y.A.R.D.?

I was on the Y.A.R.D. committee for a year or two. If [program director] Debbie Skinner needed help, I would help. Which is why I say it is okay to ask [for help]. Some people might say, “Yes,” some people might say, “No.” But if you don’t ask you never know. The outcome is those eight beautiful benches out there [at the walkway].

The walkway must be a nice tangible way of seeing your accomplishments in the community.

To me that is why I do the bingo night and the movie night. The benches are just materials. To actually go and see the family and friends gathered, hanging out and showing up in their pajamas that is the nice thing, that togetherness.

Where you raised with this sense of community service or is this something that was cultivated when you first moved to the area?

I was a foster kid. I went from one house to another house. In my mind and head and in my heart, I said, “There has to be something more to this.” And that is what kept me going.

Cathy Carlozzi will be honored by the Y.A.R.D. (Youth Advocacy and Resource Development) program at their annual fundraiser on Friday, October 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. at B. Smiths, located on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. The evening includes food from a selection of local restaurants, music, a grand prize raffle featuring an iPad, plus other prizes and a 50/50 raffle. Admission is $25. For more information or to purchase tickets call Y.A.R.D. director Debbie Skinner at 725-5302 ext. 750. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Conversation with Debbie Skinner

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Deborah Skinner

Debbie Skinner, the Director of the Youth Advocacy and Resource Development Program, better known as YARD, took time out of her preparations for YARD’s annual silent auction to talk with the Express about how the organization is coping with recent cuts in government funding.

How has the Y.A.R.D Program been affected during this recession?

We are mostly funded by municipalities. In the past year we lost all of our East Hampton funding, most of our Suffolk County funding and just recently heard there will be a 10% cut from the new Southampton Town budget. Thankfully, the villages have remained strong and the School District stepped up to help keep the program afloat. Needless to say, we have had to step up our fundraising efforts. Actually, the Silent Auction is our one big fundraiser each year.

How will you work around the budget cuts?

It is time to re-evaluate the programs for attendance and redesign programs that may cost less. Some programs may be offered less frequently or for a shorter season. At the same time, I would like to . . . consider developing parent volunteer/ mentoring within some of the programs. Our Youth Board helps to steer the programs through what they would like to see offered, our YARD Board could use more parents volunteering their time.

What is the YARD Program?

Y.A.R.D., an acronym for “Youth Advocacy and Resource Development”, is a teen recreation program in existence for nearly 12 years. The program was designed to provide and develop “out-of-school” activities, events and bus trips at little to no cost to the children. It was the creation of [former] school superintendent John Barnes and Jerry Wawryk, who was the school board president at the time. I was hired by the school district before the summer of the first “Safe Summer Beach” program. Dr. Barnes’ office went after the original grants and I have followed up with the grant work since then.

What are some of the YARD Programs?

We are probably best known for the Beach Program, which takes place on Long Beach three nights each week throughout the summer. It is the most visible and our visiting summer guests are so grateful that their children get a chance to meet our Sag Harbor kids. In addition, the YARD program developed the proposal for the High School Sailing Program, contributed to the “Look / See” program at the Elementary School, run the Saturday Night Open Rec Program and All-Day Open Rec during Parent/Teacher Conference Days to name a few. We also bring in Cornell Cooperative Extension to teach the Babysitter’s Workshop and bring high school students to the East End Youth Leadership Summit. We offer bus trips during school vacations and most of the year you can find me in the Community Room after school program.

What do you have planned for this year’s Silent Auction?

We like to honor someone who has given their time or has been resourceful for youth advocacy. In the past, we have honored Jay Schneiderman, Joan Frisicano and this year we will honor Frank Venesina, a real supporter of the kids in Sag Harbor. Frank is a humble guy so I hope friends and family will come out and show him their appreciation. We will have over a hundred auction prizes, lots of door prizes, music, food and good energy. So often parents ask “How can I help out?”. I hope we will see [everyone] at B.Smith’s this Saturday night.
“Best of the Hamptons” a silent auction and cocktail party to Benefit Sag Harbor’s YARD Youth Recreation Program. 6 to 8:30 p.m. B. Smith’s Restaurant, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. Dinner by the bite and music by Brad Beyer. Guest of honor will be Frank Venesina of Conca D’Ora. $25 in advance at 725-5302 ext. 750 or at the door.

YARD News: The Kids of Summer

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By Deborah Skinner for YARD

Everyone loves this time of year. The days are longer, the temperature is warmer and the boys and girls of summer are playing ball in the park. The professional players have new stadiums; it is truly an exciting time. But, you don’t need to be a baseball player to enjoy the events coming your way.

The YARD Youth Advisory Board and Pierson’s senior class are planning a music event to share with Sag Harbor’s teen audience just for the fun of it. The two groups have joined together to host a Band Night on Friday Night, May 15th in the Pierson Auditorium.  At least 4 bands will perform back to back, for an evening of fun for friends & family beginning at 7:30pm. There will be a minimum charge of $6.00 at the door or $5.00 for tickets purchased in advance, with all proceeds going to hiring the stage for Band Night, this summer, at the Beach Program. Advance tickets will be sold in the Community Room, by senior class reps. or by calling 899-3111. We are kicking off the season with a night of rock and roll. Are you in? Call YARD’s number listed below for more information or see the “Sag HarborYARD” Facebook group .

This Saturday, April 25, the Glazzies (one of the bands playing at YARD’s Band Night) are playing at the Stephen Talkhouse Battle of the Bands at 7 p.m. The cost is $5 at the door. There are three nights of semi-final rounds, with the winner of each night going to the finals. The grand prize is $1,000 which the Glazzies need to record their album. Those of you that missed the “All for Alex” benefit will have this opportunity to hear some new sounds, some old favorites and a chance to show your support for the band. For more information, please go to www.theglazzies.com or www.stephen talkhouse.com.

Summer’s coming. Believe it or not, we have chosen our date for the end of the school year trip to Splish Splash. That date is Friday, June 26. Students have already reserved seats on the bus. The sign-up sheet is posted in the Community Room but you may call or email to save your place. Look for more information next month.

Who needs a few Community Service hours? An interesting project with a fun twist has just come to our attention. The Sag Harbor Whaling Museum will hold two “Tom Sawyer” days on Saturday May 2 and May 9. Come down and help them paint their picket fence. Pick up your brush anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and join in. Stay one hour or stay the entire time. Don’t need service hours? Come down and join in for fun and help your community spruce up for our summer guests. If there is rain on either Saturday, painting will take place the same time the next day. 

The Southampton Town Youth Bureau will hold their 5th Annual Photography Contest and has extended their deadline to May 15. This year’s contest theme is “Protecting Our Environment”. Entries will be accepted from middle and high school students (and only a maximum of three entries per person). Be creative, be abstract – share your vision of recycling with everyone across Southampton Town. The top three winners will be eligible for gift certificates and will be displayed in Southampton Town Hall. Call 702-2421 or email your photos to: tkolsin@southamptontownny.gov.

This is the time of year to plan ahead for your summer job. Those of you that get off to an early start, will line up the best positions for the summer. This is also the time to get your working papers in order. Don’t wait until the last minute and watch your dream job go to someone else. Maybe you have pictured yourself sitting in a lifeguard’s chair, overlooking the beach. Lifeguard training starts as early as May 13 with training in Lifeguard CPR beginning May 5. You must be 16 or over to work as a lifeguard and be above average in your swimming ability and physical condition. Don’t wait, register now by calling 728-8585 or head over to Southampton Town Parks & Recreation at 6 Newtown Rd. in Hampton Bays.

They have other summer employment opportunities, as well. You, or someone you know, might be interested in becoming a beach attendant; skate park attendant, recreation / sports counselor, and sailing or tennis instructors.

You can also wait a couple of weeks and see a greater selection of employment opportunities at the Youth Bureau’s Summer Job & Internship Fair to be held mid-May. The internships are at a premium, this year with cut-backs to the department affecting youth programs. For more information about the Job & Internship Fair, you may call 702-2428.

Youth Advocacy and Resource Development (YARD) provides “out-of-school” recreational activities for the Sag Harbor community. For more information about any of the events found in this column, you may call 725-5302, ext. 750 or email: YARDDirector@aol.com.


Letters November 6

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Cleaning a Beach


Dear Editor:

We are eighth grade students at Pierson Middle School. We are writing this letter out of concern for our beaches, specifically Haven’s Beach. Recently we took a field trip to the beach with our local bay keeper, Kevin McAlister. He helped us understand how our ecosystem works, and how marshes are the “kidneys of the bay.” Marshes filter the water for bacteria, waste and other hazardous material. Without them our swimming beach will be filled with toxins.

Unfortunately we have learned that Havens Beach, a very popular swimming site is the dumping ground for toxic runoff. If no actions are taken immediately, these toxins can harm your body and the bodies of future generations. We are the concerned youth of Sag Harbor who enjoy swimming, fishing, sailing, jet skiing and wake boarding in our local waters. Our hope is that Havens Beach will be there for our kids to enjoy someday.

Furthermore, we learned the village had the chance to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money to restore the marsh, but they didn’t take action. It seems that the people who don’t support the project are turning a blind eye to this serious situation. Evidently local homeowners are afraid of the changes that the new marsh would bring and have fought against it. Yet the marsh would not only filter the bad bacteria that washes into the bay, but it would create an estuary for birds and fish. We feel the community is afraid to undergo alterations, but in order to save the beach, it is necessary.

Please help us in this matter by supporting future products that would help the filtration system at Havens Beach. Hopefully this letter will sp[ark the interests of others concerned with Havens Beach.

Raleigh Gordley, Chris Abt, Angela Piro, Gabe Garro and Emily Shafonda (teacher)

Sag Harbor Middle School


An Eye on Restoration


Dear Bryan,

Thank you for such complete coverage of “Fixing House’s Eyes” in the October 30th Express.

Howard Kanovitz’s Suffolk Street property is one of the few large houses in Sag Harbor which is still in use as a multi-family dwelling, offering year-round rentals to local people.  Since he purchased it six years ago, as tenants have moved out, he has completely up-graded each apartment.  At considerable expense, he created new, organized parking spaces on narrow Concord Street.  He has been restoring the historic building’s exterior as well—case in point the porch with custom made column mentioned in the article.

It was as part of that program that he petitioned the ARB to replace the deteriorating windows with double pane, energy conserving Andersen windows he selected, after considerable research, which exactly replicate the originals stylistically.  He was rejected and told that he should consider restoring the crumbling, narrow muttons individually.  Most other similar residences in Sag Harbor have evicted tenants and have been converted to single family (part-time resident) Trophy Houses! Perhaps individually piecing together original building fabric is a possibility in such cases.

I have been involved with historic preservation all my life, but other civic issues should be taken into consideration by responsible boards of review, such as maintaining a diverse community offering a range of housing possibilities, and all important energy conservation.  Kanovitz’s proposals should have been supported. He shouldn’t be asked to pay through the nose to maintain the house’s eyes.

A Sag Harbor lover,

Carolyn Oldenbusch (Kanovitz)

Sag Harbor



Time for a Parking Garage


Dear Editor:

With the summer people having summered and gone, taking the buzz with them; followed by Halloween celebration and the blocking of streets without prior notice — to the great inconvenience of residents hopelessly searching for non-existent vacant parking spots; it is time, again, to raise the issue of a Sag Harbor Village parking garage that the Sag Harbor Village Board refuses to consider. For no apparently good reason.

The building under construction at the inter section of Bay and Burke streets is exactly the type required for a parking garage on one of the existing village-owned parking lots. This should ease the parking problems for both residents and visitors from near (surrounding areas) and far. The 2-hour parking limit would continue to apply, with tickets (or fees for the garage) for overtime parking.

One wonders what it takes to get the attention of the village board for such an eminently sensible and revenue-earning project. With the summer season over and prevailing low interest rates, now is a good time to borrow money for the project, putting unemployed labor to work and giving a little kick to the sagging local and national economy.

Yours sincerely,

David Carney

Sag Harbor


Community on the Air


To the Editor:

As a WPKM programmer and volunteer I read with interest your story “New Radio Station To Hit Airwaves in ’09″ (Express, October 30). 

I’d like to point out that the new station you write about will not be the only ‘community radio’ station on the east end but will actually be the third station to originate programs from here. 

Specifically, WPKM at 88.7 FM with transmitter in Montauk has been broadcasting since 2005. Although the bulk of its unique programming originates at WPKN 89.5 FM in Bridgeport, Conn., its volunteer staff includes several programmers from Long Island and two regular programs are produced on the east end. 

These monthly local programs include  “East End Ink” with readings recorded in Sag Harbor at Canio’s Books and other nearby venues and an interview and essay program “Tidings From Hazel Kahan” which is recorded in Mattituck and edited in Southampton.

With a local broadcast studio being established by WPKN in East Hampton, the number of locally originated programs will increase as will unique news, viewpoints and music not heard elsewhere on the air.

This is because WPKN and WPKM are entirely listener-funded and do not accept advertising or grants, giving their programmers complete programming freedom,

As a WPKN/WPKM volunteer, I invite our neighbors to tell us about your programming ideas and to participate as volunteers. Please call 631-259-2482 to talk about this some more.

Anthony Ernst



YARD’s Party


Dear Bryan,

Thank you for your recent article by Annette Hinkle about Youth Advocacy and Resource Development (better known as the YARD Program). For 10 years, the young people of Sag Harbor have enjoyed summer evenings at Long Beach, high school sailing in the spring and fall, the after school Community Room program during the academic year, bus trips during school vacations, Saturday Night Rec., leadership and enrichment  because of the YARD Program. Although a large portion of the funding comes from surrounding municipalities, the county and state, we still must privately fund raise to meet our annual budget.

I would like to thank the parents, teachers, administrators, staff, custodians and the community members who recently attended YARD’s Third Silent Auction. We were treated to a fabulous evening of fun, fine food, intesting auction items and prizes. This event, hosted by the YARD Board of Directors for the children, would not have been possible without the generous contribution of food, products, music and services from the community. The Directors would like to thank the following businesses for their generous contributions: Cove Deli, Provisions, New Paradise Restaurant, Sen Spice, Il Cappucino, Conca D’oro, Sen, Spinakers, Espresso’s East Hampton Golf Club, Agave, Cromer’s Market, Golden Pear, Schiavoni’s Market and Cappeletti’s.

We would also like to extend our thanks to a number of kind individuals, Richard Udice who transformed B.Smith’s for the evening, Sandi and Kevin Kruel, Marion Cassata and Robert Schneider, Brad Beyer, Robin Piro, and Rich Moran who gave so generously of their time. We greatly appreciate your support.

The YARD Board would like to thank in particular, Barbara Smith and Dan Gasby for their hospitality and use of their wonderful facility. What a magnificent waterfront location for our special event. And finally, a big thanks to the Sag Harbor community members who so generously donated goods and services that enabled us to meet our annual fund raising goals which, in turn, will go directly back to the kids.

On Behalf of the YARD Board of Directors,

Barbara Schmitz,

Board President


Ten Years for the Kids: YARD marks an anniversary

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When Debbie Skinner looks back on her last 10 years at the helm of Sag Harbor’s YARD program, one thought comes to her head.

“That was fast,” says Skinner.

YARD stands for Youth Advocacy Resource Development. The non-profit program, which has its own board and operates under the umbrella of the Sag Harbor School District, was designed a decade ago to create recreational opportunities for middle and high school students — particularly those who don’t take part in traditional offerings for teens.

“From the beginning, the program was designed to reach out to at-risk youth and kids with unstructured time on their hands,” explains Skinner. “Not everyone plays sports — this is a good outlet for them.”

YARD’s flagship offering is the Safe Summer Beach Program which is held on Long Beach every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the summer.

“Right from the very beginning, they wanted the beach program to be the anchor program of YARD,” recalls Skinner who explained the program was modeled on other programs on Long Island, including one at Smith Point Park.

“It took off immediately,” says Skinner of YARD’s beach program. “There’s a lot of free time in the summer and we were serving kids at a time when they were available to be served.”

Southampton Town’s Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees Long Beach, provides lighting and other equipment for YARD’s program. Teens come to the beach to skateboard in the parking lot, play basketball or just hang out with friends.

“Some of them just want to sit on the lifeguard stand and watch the sun go down,” says Skinner.

There are also special offerings, including movies on the beach, which the town offers each summer, and a night when local teen bands take the stage.

Skinner notes that while the Smith Point Park program has since ended due to the threat of West Nile Virus, the Sag Harbor program is going strong.

“We probably had over 2,400 kids this summer,” says Skinner. “I have a lot of kids from England. We’ve had them from Paris, Germany, London, Chile, Ireland.”

“That’s the best part of the beach program,” she adds. “It is the fabulous Hamptons, so people do come from all over the world. There’s so much exposure for our kids to meet kids from other places. They make friendships they wouldn’t have made otherwise, and they’ll go to the ocean together the next day or correspond via email.”

But YARD’s offerings don’t end with summer. Skinner notes that one of the program’s most important functions begins with the final bell of the school day. That’s when Pierson students who are between activities or not yet ready to go home come and socialize in YARD’s community room at the school.

“It’s a place of transition,” explains Skinner. “Some kids go there right after school and wait for the parents to pick them up. Some go there after homework club. Some go and wait for a 3 p.m. practice to start, or for a 4:30 game. Some have play practice and go there when it’s not their scene.”

With the colder months approaching, YARD will soon be starting the Saturday open recreation night where students can burn off a little steam with activities in the school gym. New this year is equipment that will allow Skinner to offer movies on a big screen.

“We also do bus trips during the school holidays, like cosmic bowl which we do the night after Thanksgiving,” add Skinner. “It’s always a very popular trip.”

After 10 years, when asked if YARD has in fact influenced those kids it was designed to reach, Skinner says, “Just participating has probably changed the track for many kids. I think if you’re offering something to the children that is of interest for them, you’ll reach them.”

This Saturday, it’s the adults YARD is looking to reach with its annual fundraising cocktail party and silent auction from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at B. Smith’s Restaurant on Long Wharf. Admission is $25 and guest of honor will be Joan Frisicano, principal of Sag Harbor Elementary School.

Given the current economic woes, Skinner worries that YARD may feel the pinch in the coming year. She is hoping for a good turnout at the cocktail party.

“The fundraiser is a very big deal,” says Skinner. “With the economy the way it is a lot of funders of our program are cutting back. Suffolk County Youth Bureau usually gives us 15 percent, they’re cutting back to eight percent. I’ve heard from another source an impending cut is probably coming.”

“We’re working to keep our own safety net beneath us,” she adds. “We don’t know what’s on the horizon.”

For more information on the fundraiser, call 725-5302 ext. 750.

 Above: The flagship program for YARD is the Safe Summer Beach Program, which hosts an annual Battle of the Bands