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  • There are simply too many animals in our house, and, to be honest, there were too many a month ago before we brought a new pug puppy home. But a surprising, if unlikely, relationship between two of them gives me hope.

    By the numbers, Luna the pug did not really skew things all that much. We had promised Evvy, our 10-year-old middle child, that she would be next in line for a dog of her own when our ancient pug, Yum, died. So, when Yum Yom’s time was up, the ticker started toward Evvy’s big day.

  • They really have the cleanup thing down pat in Port Jefferson, where I was for two days last week for a newspaper conference. Early Saturday, when I was out looking for a cup of coffee and something to eat instead of the hotel buffet, I noticed that the main route through the business district was littered with castoffs from the previous night. Plastic cups, waxed-paper remnants of late-night pizzas, cigarette butts, empty soda bottles, napkins, and other garbage spread over a two-block stretch.

  • The next couple of days will spell the end of the remarkable beach plum crop of 2014. A mild, relatively dry summer made for good growing conditions, and the dunes from one end of town to the other were full of the tart purple fruit. A prodigious turnout of wild grapes in the understory was related to favorable weather as well.

  • Voters from the East Hampton, Springs, and Wainscott School Districts will be eligible to vote Saturday on the 2015 East Hampton Library budget. The polling will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the library.

    Next year’s spending plan of just over $2.2 million contains an $85,500 increase in expenses over 2014, a total increase in taxes of $104,000. The largest growth, about $76,486, is for salaries, benefits, insurance, and related staff costs. Facilities costs, including building and grounds keeping, rise by about $19,000.

  • A judge has cleared the way for a trial in Suffolk Supreme Court on intertwined lawsuits from Napeague property owners seeking to ban all but emergency vehicles from the ocean beach in front of their residences and claiming private ownership of the beach.
  • You hear from time to time how tight East Hampton Town is when it comes to handing out construction permits. “You can’t get anything approved around here,” the complaint goes. Well, that is not really the case. Although the paperwork may mound up and the review process be painfully slow, you can generally get what you want.

    During a late-August getaway, I visited a California community that was really restrictive and puts East Hampton’s supposedly hard-nosed preservationism into sharp perspective.

  • An erupting fight over the former East Deck Motel property in Montauk has pitted a wealthy new property owner against scores of residents and visitors who would like to see Ditch Plain Beach remain the way it was for so long. More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition opposing J. Darius Bikoff’s plan to convert the iconic motel into a private surf club, of sorts.

  • We pulled the car into the driveway the other night, Lisa, two of the children, and I, coming back from picking up a takeout dinner in Montauk. It was a dark night, no moon, no haze to catch the reflected light from the ground. Lisa hustled the youngest one inside to get him ready for bed. But, looking up, I told the other child to stop. “There’s the Milky Way,” I said.

    “Where? Oh, yeah,” she said.

    A clear band of dusty white hung from above the horizon to the south, all the way to straight overhead.

  • On my way home from the office a couple of weeks ago, I passed an elaborate lemonade stand set up at the Dunemere and Egypt Lane intersection. A classic Volkswagen bus sat on the side of the road with its doors wide open. There was a low table and a tall, impressive, hand-lettered sign. I didn’t stop.

  • Admission is by donation, with a suggested amount of $10 per person. The first pitch is at 2 p.m. Proceeds go to the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, Phoenix House, the Retreat, and East End Hospice.

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