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  • Friday’s devastating fire in Sag Harbor did more than destroy several buildings, including a beloved, if fusty, cinema lobby and facade, it struck at the very heart of the village’s identity. It also proved resilience and compassion among residents and business owners as well as the wider South Fork community.
  • Back in the 1970s when the East End towns and Suffolk County began paying the owners of farmland hefty sums in exchange for forgoing ever having any houses on the land, no one could imagine the changes in South Fork real estate that were to come. Today, some of these agricultural reserves are used, not for farming, but for lawns, stables, and low-property tax annexes for the wealthy. These uses are contrary to the original intention of the preservation programs, but are legal because the development rights deals crafted years ago did not require that the land be kept in crop production.
  • It may be worse than anyone anticipated. Donald Trump, who is about to become the president of the United States of America, is quite clearly surrounding himself with cabinet members who have spoken against or stood in direct opposition to the work of the very departments they will be asked to control.
  • Voters in two school districts will let their boards of education know what they think about plans for major projects next week. Although some residents argued that voting was inappropriate at this time of year, the votes, which are expected to be decisive, are scheduled for Tuesday in Bridgehampton and Wednesday in Sag Harbor.
  • Across New York State, fire commissioners are elected on the second Tuesday in December. Five commissioners on each of the boards oversee the firefighters and emergency medical service personnel in their districts, and elections are coming up in Montauk, Amagansett, Springs, and Bridgehampton, which all serve residents in East Hampton Town.
  • The Maidstone Club has at last, it seems, gone too far, what with a spate of recent projects including a massive new irrigation system and with a proposal now for a new bridge over an upper reach of Hook Pond. The bridge has drawn the attention of no less formidable opponents than the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society’s landmarks and nature trail committees, as well as well-known local environmentalists.
  • As the year draws to a close, it is worth reflecting on the ongoing success of the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund in East Hampton Town. As of this week — and with several deals pending — money from a 2-percent tax on most real estate transactions had saved 2,063 acres of land from development. The money went for environmentally significant parcels as well as historic sites and properties that provided public access, recreational opportunities, and helped link the town’s growing woodland trail system.
  • Sea level rise is the single greatest long-term threat to eastern Long Island, yet it is one that our towns and villages are least able to combat for practical and political reasons.
  • Two recent bits of news concerning the area’s citizens advisory committees have further added to our sense that the concept needs a little refining. Instances involving the Amagansett and Bridgehampton groups, while unrelated, indicate that they could be stepping beyond their intended role.
  • East Hampton Town officials and beach-driving enthusiasts celebrated this week as news spread of a court victory in a lawsuit brought by a number of Amagansett property owners seeking to end most four-wheel-drive use on two portions of Napeague oceanfront. However, the win does not mean that the fight is over. The residents who brought suit will probably appeal, and new conflicts are sure to arise.