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  •    As spring on the South Fork really gets under way, a jarring discrepancy between how we think about this area and how run down it looks in many places is becoming apparent. For a resort and second-home community of such renown, East Hampton Town is looking a little down in the dumps these days. Litter is everywhere. An increasing welter of utility lines mar the overhead view. Roadsides, at least those outside the incorporated villages, are left without mowing or maintenance. Trees downed by Hurricane Sandy, now more than six months on, are still in evidence.

  • The space industry is playing a high-stakes game of chance that imperils every human being on earth. Just how perilous hit home this week when an unmanned Russian space probe carrying 200 grams of plutonium - the most toxic substance known - malfunctioned and came crashing back to earth.

  •    After an unnecessarily messy period in which the East Hampton School District denied tenure to a well-regarded elementary school principal, stumbled into a likely lawsuit by bus personnel, and repeatedly defied state law on sharing documents under discussion at open meetings, it is little surprise that as many as five newcomers will seek places on the school board next month.

  •    The united call from a number of South Fork environmental groups that the Town of East Hampton proceed no further on coastal policy until at least one top expert has signed on as an adviser is welcome. Post-Hurricane Sandy, East Hampton has been among many shoreline communities rushing to rebuild and reinforce damaged property, in many cases without taking the time to be sure the work will not do more harm than good over the long term. East Hampton Town has fast-tracked scores of permits, and more are headed to the zoning board of appeals for review.

  • Intuition could have told us what East Hampton Town's comprehensive open space plan finally put into words last year: We have entered what may well be the "final chapter" in the town's long history of land preservation.

    At the rate vacant property is being subdivided and, as it is called, "improved" in East Hampton, "it is reasonable to expect that all major tracts of land will be committed to one particular land use or another within the decade," the plan states.

  •    During a meeting of the East Hampton Village Board last week, two members of the public spoke of the dangers that the continuing increase in automobile and truck traffic poses to pedestrians and bicyclists. Among other things, they suggested that bike lanes were needed. Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. told them to take their ideas to Village Police Chief Gerard Larsen. This is something that should be explored, but it will take more than a knowledgeable law enforcement officer to figure out how to solve Main Street’s problems.

  •    A proposal unveiled last week for an 89-unit housing complex in Amagansett for the well-off 55-and-older set is — there’s no other word for it — audacious. And, once you get past the shock factor, it has to rank among the just plain most-unwelcome and ill-conceived notions to come down the pike in a long time.

  •    The take-away from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to toughen the state’s public-official corruption law, announced yesterday, is that things must be really bad in the Albany halls of power these days.
        If the legislation outlined this week eventually passes the Legislature as the governor envisions, it would expand the definition of bribery to make the “intent” to influence an official or, conversely, an official’s willingness to be influenced, a felony, provided the value of the bribe was in excess of $5,000. Under

  •    It is ironic that in a place that boasts New York State’s biggest-dollar commercial fishing port and is surrounded by a natural abundance of fish in inshore waters it can be oddly difficult for consumers and restaurants to buy local, fresh-caught fish and shellfish. Most of what is landed here is taken by trucks to the Hunts Point reincarnation of the Fulton Fish Market, where it can be put back on trucks and brought back to the South Fork.

  •    An article in these pages this week about local enforcement of regulations governing access to businesses and public accommodations for people with disabilities points to a looming problem: East Hampton Town departments have been left unable to provide needed services as a result of three years of budget-cutting. Seeking compliance with disabilities laws, both local and federal, would take a considerable investment of time and staff, something the departments involved lack.