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  •     As if traveling along the scorched shoreline of the River Styx, we were dismayed recently by what we saw among the wrack at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. The season’s first meaningful storm had dredged up a summer’s worth of bonfire remains. Blackened logs and chunks of burned wood littered a full third of a mile to the west — in December.  

  •     While this area’s needy food pantries draw a large measure of the public’s attention and contributions, there are also any number of other outreach efforts that are worth acknowledging. And there are those that could stand a lot more notice — and charity.

  •    The Star suggested last week that an ombudsman (or woman) — independent, forthright, and tough — might well be worth considering for an East Hampton Town government that has suffered from inappropriate or incompetent leadership for nearly a decade. That observation was made before county officials delivered a stunning repudiation last week of a Town Hall plan to create a new high-density housing zone for wealthy, over-50 residents and to apply it to a site in Amagansett.

  •     Where to start? That question has to be swirling around as a new East Hampton Town Board majority prepares to take over in the new year. Unfortunately, because many protections were ignored during the Wilkinson years, there will be a lot of work to do just to bring the town back to a regulatory baseline.

  •     Members of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee were proud last week as they unveiled large new signs at the eastern and western ends of the hamlet. For the life of us, we cannot figure out why adding to the already jumbled roadside clutter along Montauk Highway is desirable, but, if that’s what they want to do, so be it.

  •       In the waning days of the Wilkinson administration in East Hampton Town Hall we have found ourselves wondering if anything could be done to prevent future town leaders from amassing similarly flawed records. The answer may lie in something other local governments have had for years — an ombudsman whose responsibility is vetting residents’ complaints and weighing in on whether proper procedures are being followed.

  •       In a town that is largely affluent, where sterile and perfect lawns and grounds are a powerful aspirational symbol, a small group of ban-the-blower advocates has sprung up, but it is fighting a Quixotic battle.

  •       A Dec. 31 deadline for renewing enrollment for school tax relief, or STAR, is approaching fast. Those who do not register with the state by that date could lose their share of the 2014 break. Even those who have previously been in the STAR program have to sign up; state tax officials hope the process will check for income levels and help weed out cheats, such as those with double exemptions. Eligibility requirements are that a house be a primary residence and owner-occupied, and that household income be less than $500,000.