January 8, 2013
On behalf of our board of directors, I want to thank all of our members and patrons for their recent generous donations to the Springs Historical Society and Springs Library.
We wish them and everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
January 11, 2013
To the Editor:
My friend Bob Lamparter, a tireless advocate and steward of Montauk, suddenly passed away on Jan. 10.
Besides being a Montauk original (and my curmudgeonly pal), Bob was a selfless and energetic community activist. He was a past president of the Montauk Beach Property Owners Association (and current vice president, working hand-in-hand with his dear friend, business partner, and current M.B.P.O.A. president Bob Mulligan).
Bob Lamparter worked hard to keep our beaches clean, beautiful, and maintained and was always at the ready if he perceived any abuse or threat to his beloved Montauk.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk and the Stern family wish to extend to Bob’s family and his friends our heartfelt condolences. The unforgettable Bob Lamparter will be deeply missed.
January 10, 2013
I also commend Dr. Turetsky on his recent award. He not only ministers selflessly to the health of our beloved pets, but to the human hearts that love them.
You may not be aware that, upon the deaths of our pets, Dr. Turetsky and the Veterinary Clinic of East Hampton make a donation to the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I will, too.
So many of us are grateful that Dr. Turetsky calls East Hampton his home and work place.
Caregiver to Scooter, Minky,
And now, Mr. Boo
January 14, 2013
It was very sad to see the strandings of two whales on our town beaches last week.
Unfortunately, it is another grim reminder of our general lack of regard for the environment. Most sea mammal-related incidents are caused by human activities. Ship collisions and pollution are responsible for most whale injuries and deaths. Seals and sea turtles are other frequent victims of our irresponsible behavior.
Poor planning, personal greed, irresponsible behavior, and the commoditization of public trust resources, such as the sale of bottled water, encroachment of wetlands, contamination of groundwaters-open waters, fracking on public lands, are the root causes of most environmental challenges.
We can all make simple changes to our daily lives and make a local impact.
Real change will only come when the voice of many will be heard above the money and special interest of a misguided few.
Let the Deer Live
January 13, 2013
To the Editor:
Last week, my wife, Ellen, and I went on a three-day hunger strike to protest deer hunting. It was the fifth straight year that we have done so. By going through difficult fasts, we have tried to express how serious we consider hunting’s effects on deer to be. Hunting causes them terrible fear, pain, and loss.
During last week’s fast, Ellen had to care for rescued animals in upstate New York, but each day I stood in front of Town Hall, near the highway, holding a sign that said “Hunger Strike for Deer.” As in the past, I felt a little nervous when I first walked to my standing place. I am never sure what the reaction will be. But as cars and trucks passed by, I was soon encouraged by their honks of support.
I believe there is widespread love for the deer in our town, but it isn’t coming through at town board hearings. Residents primarily go to hearings to register their grievances, not to say how much they enjoy the small things in our town. It would be rare for a person to travel to Town Hall to tell the board how much he or she enjoys the wildflowers on a roadside, the bright stars on a winter night, or the deer at dusk. But many people do take delight in these things, and the deer rank high among their pleasures. I bet if there was a poll or referendum on the town’s draft deer management plan — a plan that proposes expanded hunting and culls — most people would oppose the plan. Most would say let the deer live.
Deer enrich our lives in a special way. They possess a quiet gracefulness that is out of place in our noisy mechanical world. It is difficult to find serenity amidst the sounds of cars, radios, planes, and cellphone chatter. But on occasion we see deer elegantly standing by or gently walking past, hardly making a sound. Their silence is almost uncanny. And for just a moment, we feel transported to a different place, to nature’s quiet and grace. It is a comforting feeling.
I realize that deer present problems for some residents, but I believe that if our town put its mind to it, it could work effectively on the problems through nonlethal methods. Our group, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, has offered several recommendations. The suggestion that may prove most valuable in the long run is a slow-driving campaign. Slow driving not only can reduce auto/deer collisions, it also can be part of a general effort to slow our lives down and appreciate nature around us.
In a world in which nature is rapidly disappearing, East Hampton can set an example by doing all it can to protect nature‚ not only our beautiful environment, but all wildlife as well. Let’s encourage our town leaders to do so.
Group for Wildlife
January 13, 2013
To the Editor,
Just a quick letter to the guys who insist on riding their dirt bikes on the trails at Hither Woods in Montauk. Not only are you riding illegally back there but you’re also ripping the trail to shreds, especially the moron riding the big paddle tire on the back end (where do you think you are, the Sahara?).
By the time you’re done having your fun there won’t be a usable trail left for any of the other user groups. The hikers and mountain bikers not only help maintain the trail network but are also the ones allowed to use it.
Please, if you want to ride a bike on the trails of Hither Woods, or anywhere else where biking is allowed, pedal it like everyone else.
January 13, 2013
To the Editor:
We were nearly killed last night (Saturday at 6 p.m.) crossing Main Street at Huntting Lane going toward the parking lot. The driver of a speeding black convertible in the right lane did not stop at the blinking yellow lights in the pavement as did the cars in the first three lanes.
It is very dark at that intersection. Brighter lights or possibly (gasp) a traffic light is needed.
MARILYN and JIM RYAN
Makes Us Nervous
January 15, 2013
To the Editor,
As a senior citizen living in East Hampton, I would like to say a word and give a vote to the East Hampton senior citizens bus service provided by the town.
Some of us no longer drive, and the town provides this service at a very nominal fee. It is our only way to go to the bank, the doctor, the pharmacy, the food store, and other errands in town.
Now another town driver, Carol Bennett, has been suspended for alleged “incompetence.” Carol is known and appreciated by her passengers, and we rely on her. This is the third person to be suspended recently and makes us nervous about the town continuing this service.
If she is called incompetent, we are all in trouble!
First Class Jury
January 8, 2013
I’m a veteran of Manhattan jury service. I saw it as my duty, unpleasant as it often was. Jury duty in East Hampton Town is like being upgraded to first class.
East Hampton Town Justice Court is clean, staffed by the most civil of servants. I was almost sorry that my jury pool was dismissed.
What was the sleek middle-aged gentleman, whose lawyer lived to charge another day, in the midst of? Were his pilasters too tall? Did his ex run out on their Ralph Lauren bill? Had he donated his real estate tax payment to the libertarians? Oh well. Godspeed to him, and the jury of my peers.
All good things,
Indian Wells Beach
January 10, 2013
To the Editor:
I would like to challenge our local politicians to find and enact a solution to a grave problem at Indian Wells Beach.
For the past two summers, this local beach, traditionally enjoyed by families, was inundated every weekend by hundreds of partying 20 and 30-year-olds. These young men and women took over the entire west end of the beach, forcing others to sandwich themselves into the space between the lifeguard stand and the Amagansett Beach Club.
While families gathered and 9-to-15-year-olds attended Ocean Rescue’s junior lifeguarding program, literally hundreds of men and women were gathered close by, drinking excessively and loudly, often playing music at volumes more suited to a dance party than a beach. They urinated and vomited on the beach and in the dunes, and their partying created an all-around unpleasant atmosphere in an area that was once and should still be a pristine beach.
There was also an overflow of taxis idling in the parking lot and blocking through traffic while they waited for partiers too drunk to drive themselves back to their rental properties. In addition, there were massive amounts of garbage overflowing the cans from those partiers who were conscientious enough to throw their refuse away, although many left loads of garbage behind on the beach.
As if all this was not menace enough to take action, there was at least one incidence of a group of these men asking two young 15-year-old girls walking by on the shore to join the party.
This is a local quality-of-life issue that will not go away unless something is changed. This coming summer will likely be worse than last, as more people head to the East End as a result of the devastation on the Jersey Shore.
I have heard varying solutions‚ such as that we should increase garbage pickup, add more lifeguards, or be tolerant of those who are future home-buyers. None of these “solutions” solve the problem. These people are coming to Indian Wells Beach for one reason: to drink with their friends. The only real solution is to eliminate drinking during lifeguarding hours. The party exists at Indian Wells because it legally can. If a drinking restriction is put in place, the party will disappear, and this local beach can be enjoyed again by families. We will have the full beach back.
There is no need to increase our expenditures or reduce our quality of life. We do not have to hire more lifeguards or pay for more garbage pickup. There are five months until Memorial Day, when the party will start again if action is not taken. It’s time our elected officials do something. Enact a drinking restriction during lifeguarding hours.
January 14, 2013
Let’s hear a big Bravo! for the East Hampton Town Trustees! They spoke up for all our law-abiding residents by challenging in court a ruling by the zoning board of appeals that violates East Hampton’s own coastal erosion law.
Living here on this fragile finger of land, we must depend on our town government and its important partner agencies — the trustees, the planning board, the zoning board — to preserve and protect our special environment. If and when one of these units makes a serious mistake, such as the Z.B.A.’s granting the Lazy Point revetment, it is necessary and proper that protective action be taken by another responsible board. In this case, the trustees’ lawsuit is that protective action.
East Hampton cannot afford to ignore its rules and regulations nor its own professional planning advice. Thank you, trustees, for the reminder.
January 14, 2013
Last week, after months of direct requests of airport liaison, Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, to her credit, was able, after intense sleuthing, to find the scope of work for a noise study the town commissioned to support plans to restrict helicopter access to East Hampton Airport.
Councilwoman Quigley initiated this process with an Aug. 2 resolution identifying the need to produce a noise analysis in the pursuit of access limits on helicopter traffic.
A contract with Harris, Miller, Miller, and Hanson, noise consultants, was signed on Sept. 5. This is the firm hired during the Schneiderman administration which compiled noise analyses substantiating what the noise-affected community already knew: The airport generated unacceptable and unhealthy levels of noise for surrounding residents and animals and their environments.
Until Councilwoman Quigley’s efforts unearthed the contract which binds the town to pay a consultant somewhere in the vicinity of $20,000, a fact even she and her fellow town board members did not know, neither the public nor the town board had any knowledge of what the study parameters were. Councilman Stanzione’s obfuscation is simply beyond the pale. And, honestly, why all the secrecy?
Airport noise has been a contentious issue over the decades, but the disturbances to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s home and property have never been more pronounced with the growing numbers of helicopters taxiing visitors to our area. It is only through cooperation with the noise-affected that any meaningful noise abatement can be achieved. Representation from the noise-affected community must be folded in to any approach the town board plans to take to reduce noise at the airport.
Partnering with the noise-affected, rather than keeping them at arm’s length by denying access to important information, is the only way forward.
Capitalism at its Best
January 10, 2013
To the Editor:
Yes it is freedom of the press, freedom to print nonfactual statements or is it opinion press?
Biked by, ran by, drove by Cyril’s for 38 years morning, noon, and night and never ever was disturbed or shocked or creeped. What you are seeing is capitalism at its best, willing buyer and seller meeting to do business.
Why are you bashing the U.S. great economic machine at work by untruths!
Shame on you!
January 14, 2013
To the Editor:
Re your editorial “Giving up the Gun‚” (Jan. 3).
The tone of this editorial was very condescending. The power of the pen can be a double-edged sword; you should know.
On one hand you question the legal act of someone practicing shooting sporting clays, and then you’re performing an illegal act if you fired a .22 rifle in the field on Long Island. Talk about a double standard! Discharging a rifle on Long Island is illegal and carries the penalty of a misdemeanor. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially coming from someone who editorializes on the action of others.
Without trying to get too technical, the maximum, effective life-threatening range of a shotgun, using birdshot for duck hunting, is 80 yards, or 240 feet. The range of your .22 rifle, as a warning on the box of ammunition, is one mile!
Please note, the no-discharge safety zone required by New York State law is 500 feet from a residence or school. An exception is for waterfowl hunters. It is permissible to fire a shotgun within 500 feet of residences as long as the line of fire is away from any residence.
So, it all boils down to the perception and “sound annoyance” of this duck hunting or sporting clays practice shooting that is at issue here. Your overreaction of “not letting my children play on the beach until the fusillade is done” is simply that — an overreaction!
Bear in mind, your “plinking” with a .22 rifle is far more life-threatening than any legal duck hunting or sporting clay practice could ever be. And I guess your father (no disrespect intended), who said that there was enough killing in the world‚ did not indulge in a nice steak, fried chicken, or a tuna sandwich from that point on!
Your comment on not renewing your state-issued hunting license — not good! The very people you contacted to protect your rights, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is funded in part by the sale of hunting licenses.
So let’s see, the legitimate, legal act of duck hunting, which has a deep tradition on Long Island, is not acceptable to you, but a little plinking with a .22 rifle or shooting off a shotgun just for the hell of it‚ is okay? Tell me where I’m going wrong here?
To quote from Pogo‚ “I have met the enemy and he is us.”
A confused resident,
P.S. If your unused Stevens 12-gauge shotgun would like a new home, please let me know.
The Tooth Must Go
January 13, 2013
Dear Mr. Rattray:
Greetings of the season to you. I’ve been scolded recently by a few avid readers for my lack of productivity in these pages, so I’m writing to assure them that I remain devoted to their amusement‚ and to mine‚ and to the greater mission of improving the quality of this newspaper. It is a daunting challenge. The East Hampton Star has been in my family for over 35 years now (remember when I taught you to ride a tricycle?) and for all this time, consistent quality and relevance have been an elusive goal. So let’s reset this new year and make it our best ever, deal? Here’s my rusty boy scout knife — cut your forefinger and press it against my forehead. Deal!
To digress for a moment from our mission, it pains me to report that I ended 2012 and began 2013 with a toothache (lower left molar, if you’re still awake). Try reaching a dentist on Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Day. I hope you never need to. But I was able to secure an appointment with a highly recommended doctor of dentistry in Southampton just days ago and he had special news for me following a thorough examination of my mouth and a complete boxed set of fresh X-rays. To paraphrase: “The tooth must go. There is no point in trying to save it. The roots are dying. You won’t miss it.”
But wait, that’s not all! “I won’t sugarcoat it, Mr. Greenfield‚ you have serious periodontal issues. You should see a specialist. You probably need to have your gums pulled back so the bone can be scraped. The good news is I believe you’ll be able to keep most of your teeth.”
Later that very afternoon I was sitting in the comfortable recliner of an oral surgeon, also in Southampton. My yellow Focus was parked outside next to a very large BMW S.U.V. Sub-digression: Cool young person, if you’re thinking of forming a rock band, forget it. Become a dentist and play air guitar while listening to AC/DC records.
The oral surgeon was warm and understanding. He gave me several shots of novocaine and asked me each time if I was comfortable. I squirmed and told him that I was needle-averse. He laughed and said he’d be back in a few minutes and we’d get me on my way.
There are a lot of excruciating problems in this troubled world of ours, Mr. Rattray. They require our thoughtful consideration, they cry out for solutions and assistance. This is nothing more than a tooth. And now it’s gone. Now I massage the gummy hole where it once was with my tongue. Fortunately, chardonnay does not require chewing, so don’t cry for me. Just yet.
Three days later I was sitting in the comfortable recliner of a periodontist, also from Southampton. They all know each other, these oral people. They attend dentist conventions together, bring their significant others, check out the latest in hi-tech dental gear, play a few rounds of golf. Whatever. So this warm and experienced periodontist looked at all my teeth, probed under the gums, examined the boxed set of X-rays (and took a few more for his own collection) and said, to paraphrase, “I’ll be honest with you‚ there’s a lot of biofilm in your teeth. Plaque buildup. It goes deep, deep into the roots. Filling the pockets. But the good news is, we can save your teeth‚ certainly most of them. I do want to take this upper left molar out. You don’t need it. You won’t even know I took it.” What?
So I asked, “How long do you think this process will take, doctor?”
“Well, 18 visits or so. Maybe 19. Probably 10 or 11 months. But then you’ll be clean, disease-free, and you should be fine for the rest of your life with proper in-home care and checkups every three months.”
“I look forward to it,” I said. “Guess I won’t be buying a new Focus this year.”
And the cheerful periodontist said, “You know, my wife and daughter both have a Prius. Fantastic! Fifty miles per gallon, I’m not kidding. For a hot minute I thought about getting one‚ but I always wanted a Mercedes SL convertible. So I went for it. I figured, I don’t play golf, I’ve been doing this for 30 years‚ why not?”
And I said, “Doctor, you’ve been taking (S-word) from people like me, with their rotten teeth and stinking breath, for 30 years. You definitely deserve a Mercedes convertible.” He laughed. “You’re funny!” And I thought, “My teeth will be paying off the lease on his car, one visit at a time. Maybe that’s where the phrase ‘sweet tooth’ comes from.”
How can we turn this self-centered story into a positive for the new year? Let me chew on that — this digression is over.
And it’s time for another one. I read with more than passing interest Russell Drumm’s informative column on the island of Saint Bartholemy in the French West Indies. In print, Mr. Drumm refers to it as St. Barts. I’ve always used St. Barths. Both abbreviations are in common usage, though mine is a little less travel agent-y. That was petty. Forgive me — it could be the teeth.
I’ve visited the island almost 60 times since 1984, spending over a year and a half of my life there. Friends ask me if I have a bucket list. And I say yes, I’d like to visit St. Barths 100 more times before I die. The place is unique and compelling for many of the reasons Mr. Drumm chronicles in some detail. He raises an eyebrow at the conspicuous spending of the super-rich‚ from watches to yachts to villas‚ then expresses some psychological relief at the sight of a large party of “French Bonac” folk at the Hideaway restaurant. The local working class citizenry who give the island some sort of gravitational center.
In this respect, I’ve always seen a social parallel between St. Barths and East Hampton. The seasonal flow of migrant tourist bullion (see Main Street, East Hampton, in August versus mid-January‚ or Gustavia in Decembre-Janvier versus Aout.) The tides of commerce rise and fall with the jet streams! Those sturdy local working people, like the craftsmen, farmers, and fishermen of East Hampton, confront similar issues with regard to affordable housing and other costs of living. Something we don’t quite view from the next table over in the restaurant.
But the Hideaway (known locally as Andy’s Hideaway, for its exuberant proprietor, Andy Hall) welcomes one and all. I suppose a bit like Rowdy Hall, or Bostwick’s Chowder House. The Hideaway’s slogan since opening its doors some 15 years ago: “Corked Wine, Warm Beer, Lousy Food and a view of the Car Park.” As a former copywriter, I say perfect!
If you go to St. Barths, bring all your money. And if you want to bring any back, go to the Hideaway. Say hi to Andy, from Lyle and Russell.
Bonne annee, mes amis. And remember to get your teeth checked regularly.
Look to Scotland
January 11, 2013
My cousin Dave has a small plumbing business in Scotland. It was once extremely lucrative. Enough so to buy several apartments to let, a new car every two years, and a beautiful home by the water. But the bad economy is like a ticking clock — slow, but relentless. Driving his business into the ground. He can’t decide whether to throw in the towel or keep slogging along. The 50 people, now 40, who work for him have agreed to take lower wages to help make ends meet. It isn’t really working. He thinks the business will go down. They will all go down together.
Scotland is different from the U.S. in many ways, both good and bad. But the most important difference for the Scots is that they are in it together. They may go down but not alone. There are no huge profits accruing to a small part of the society while everyone else scrapes by. There is not a consistent eroding of wages and benefits to increase company profits. There is not a sense that the middle class is slipping away while the wealthy thrive.
The Scots don’t talk about their values, their religious convictions, their need to feel superior to everyone else. Reality may be a kick in the chops, but it’s in everyone’s chops.
Sixty-six percent of the jobs created in the U.S. pay less than $40,000 a year. Forty thousand dollars a year could be $25,000 after taxes and health insurance. Could be $12,000 after rent and utilities, $10,000 after insurance and gas, $8,000 after clothes, $155 a week to eat with. Are we creating a servant class?
So, we are told that Social Security and health care need to be reformed to save the economy. Yet $200 billion of health care costs are the wastes and profits going to insurers, drug companies, and providers. Two hundred fifty billion are the tax loopholes and deals for corporations who need these incentives to create jobs, which they haven’t done for 10 years. Three hundred billion are useless military and security expenditures to protect us from Al Qaeda and the terror war. Fifty billion to imprison drug users, et al., et al.
That’s $8 trillion over 10 years that could completely revitalize the economy and save the middle class. Fix our bridges, tunnels, and roads, and the deficit. Redo our education system.
But it won’t happen, because we aren’t all in this deal together. The drug companies, insurance companies, the military and security complexes, corporate America, and the prison system control the country, and they don’t want to give any of it up. So the subsidies continue, pointlessly.
If you think we cut bad deals with the teachers’ and auto workers’ unions, check out the deals we have with corporate America. When was the last time G.E. paid taxes?
The problem we face is similar to writer’s block. All the old methods of tax cuts, deregulation, huge subsidies, no longer work. We bailed out the banks but they didn’t increase lending. We bought up bad mortgages but didn’t help the homeowners. Almost everything our government does in the name of sparking the economy is about protecting existing wealth. Good-paying jobs are an afterthought, a trickle-down, some strange collateral damage.
Can we look to Scotland and find a collective solution to our economic problems? Or do we continue to fantasize that we are a mass of individuals staking our claims to a vast wilderness of undeveloped lands? Should we all do our best for the benefit of the few? Take up arms and pray to our gods to guarantee that if the American people are going to get screwed they are going to do it alone?