Some of our top 15 stories of 2015 may surprise you. Clockwise from left, flames destroyed a building at Hartman's Briney Breezes Motel in Montauk on Oct. 30; Betsey Johnson held a yard sale of personal clothing at her house this summer; A mess from a big party the night before on a Montauk beach outraged locals; and a ride along the beach didn't end well for a Chevy Tahoe in July. Dalton Portella, Durell Godfrey, T.E. McMorrow, and Phyllis Morgano photos
Surfers in the water and supporters on the sand formed a symbolic “line of defense” in protest of the Montauk beach project.Joanne Pilgrim
Sean P. Ludwick, a major real estate developer in Manhattan, was led out of the Southampton Town Police Department for his arraignment back in August. He has since been indicted on aggravated vehicular homicide charges in the death of his passenger, Paul Hansen.Taylor K. Vecsey
The roof was already on fire when firefighters arrived at Harman's Briney Breezes Motel in Montauk on Oct. 30.Dalton Portella
Thomas Miller, far left, before he retired, with fellow Officers Rich Balnis, Nelson Vargas, and Peter Schmitt around 2000. Mr. Miller died in October.Courtesy of Nelson Vargas

Riverhead dispensary will open in January

Medical marijuana as ‘cure for cancer’s dehumanizing effects’

When the branches begin to sag and needles litter the floor, it's time to take down the Christmas tree. Durell Godfrey

39.3 miles in two days for leukemia fund-raiser

In the East Hampton High School cafeteria on Monday, members of the school’s Key Club sorted some 1,000 toys collected for local children in need by the Kiwanis Club of East Hampton Toys for Tots program. Morgan McGivern

Durell Godfrey

One grassroots effort for refugees has local volunteers ready to do more
Bob Miller of Montauk, right, worked with a Greek sea rescue team off the island of Lesbos to save refugees who met trouble while crossing the open water from Turkey.
A shoreside medical bus staffed by two South African doctors was well stocked with medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other supplies thanks to donations collected by Denise Schoen, standing at center back, a Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps critical care E.M.T., and others among the volunteer team that worked with refugees recently on Lesbos, including Freshta Po, standing at right, a nurse.
Along the beach at Skala Sikamineas, a Greek village just six miles from the Turkish shore, volunteers formed lines to guide refugee rafts to shore and help their occupants safely disembark. The beaches are littered with the remains of the flimsy boats and the lifejackets, often fakes inadequate for flotation, that were sold to refugees. Joanne Pilgrim
The Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, where those arriving in Greece must register with the government, provides limited and rough short-term accommodation, such as these pup tents on "Afghan Hill." Joanne Pilgrim
Smugglers charge around 1,000 euro per person for passage to Greece on overcrowded rafts, which refugees must pilot themselves. Volunteers on shore wave rafts toward the safer landing spots, and are on hand to help all get safely to land, where dry clothes and shoes, hot soup, tea, and medical assistance, if needed, are provided, along with reassurance and smiles. Joanne Pilgrim
Denise Schoen, at left, worked alongside doctors from all over the world who have volunteered on Lesbos to treat refugees with hypothermia and other medical conditions. At right, Emma Newbery of Montauk holds one of the younger refugees.
A little girl, left, with a new toy and warm clothes, walks through Moria camp. At right, a Syrian boy paints an image of his experience crossing the sea to Greece on the wall of a children's art and play tent. Joanne Pilgrim
Instructions in Arabic and English, left, provide new arrivals at Moria with information about the procedures they must follow to register as refugees. Scenic shores all along Lesbos show the evidence of the thousands of refugees that have arrived at Greek beaches seeking a safer and more peaceful life.Joanne Pilgrim, Bob Miller photos
The volunteer team sponsored by East End Cares and Do Your Part arrived in Greece with bags of medical supplies to help the doctors at beachfront sites and the refugee camps provide better care for those in need.Joanne Pilgrim
Eugene DePasquale, standing at right, of Montauk, helps refugees who have successfully made it across the sea to Greece, in an image from a photo essay shot by a German photojournalist.Martin Gommel