East End Digest: August 21


Posthumous MVP Award

Brenda Siemer Scheider displays commemorative t-shirt and pendant presented to her by jewelry designer and publicist John Wegorzewski just prior to the start of the 60th Annual Artists & Writers softball game. The pendent is a 14-karat hold baseball mitt with rotating ball, designed by Wegorzewski in honor of Siemer Scheider’s late husband, Roy Scheider. Roy’s illness had prevented an earlier presentation of the honor so Brenda requested it be given on the pitcher’s mound where Roy tossed out the first ball last year. The game was played in his honor with the teams wearing commemorative t-shirts bearing his name. 

Assemblyman Thiele: East Hampton Funding

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced this week that the town and village of East Hampton will receive over $31,000 in grants funded through the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund to help them manage records and archival information.

“I am very happy to see funds distributed to educational programs,” said Thiele. “It is necessary to make sure that historical records are archived and made accessible to the public. Being educated about our past is very important, whether it be our local or national history.”

According to the New York State Archives Web site, grants and awards are offered to “support, promote and recognize sound archival and records management practices, as well as to encourage creative and valuable uses of archival records.”

“I am positive that East Hampton will put these funds to great use.  I applaud them for going through the application process and receiving the grant,” said Thiele.

Specifically, the Town of East Hampton will receive $20,000 and the Village of East Hampton will receive $11,400.

Ellen’s Run: 1,001 Participants

Ellen’s Run, the East Hampton race to benefit breast cancer patient services, attracted more than 1000 participants to this past Sunday’s 13th annual 5K race. The event raised a record $180,000 from race registration, sponsors of the run and donations related to the race. Proceeds benefit breast cancer patient services on the East End.

Luis German of Southampton won the race in 16:34 and Jessica Van Binsbergen of East Hampton was the first female finisher in 18:55. The first breast cancer survivor across the line was Karen McGlade of Amagansett at 21:27. Twenty-four breast cancer survivors finished the run.

The ages of runners and walkers in the event ranged from six to 83. The 3.1-mile course started and ended at the East Hampton High School on Long Lane.

Ellen’s Run Director Julie Ratner said the perfect weather and the first Ellen’s Run Health and Wellness Fair all added to the celebratory atmosphere of the event.

“It’s about memory and love as well as the racing and walking, she said.

Suffolk County: ADA-Compliant Buses

Seeking to make mass transit friendlier and more accessible to all passengers, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced last week that all Suffolk Transit fleet buses will be equipped with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant automated bus stop annunciators.

By the end of the year passengers riding any of Suffolk Transit’s 162 buses will be informed of what stop they are approaching, as well as the bus’s final destination, via a pre-recorded announcement. An electronic sign will also be positioned inside at the front of the bus as visual notification of the next stop on the bus’s route.

Levy secured 90 percent aid for this project from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Suffolk will be responcible for covering the remaining 10 percent of the $430,000 total cost associated with providing the automated annunciators in 55 Suffolk buses which have yet to be outfitted with the devices; the other 107 buses have already been retrofitted with the technology over the past year.

“Suffolk’s bus system has always been ADA-compliant, following all federal mandates to announce upcoming bus stops,” said Levy. “However, in the past, our bus drivers would be the ones to announce an approaching destination. Having an automated system is a more efficient system, as the automated announcer speaks loud and clearly enough for everyone to understand.”

Levy’s annunciator initiative comes just weeks after launching a progressive mass transit program to outfit all county buses with bicycle racks for those bus patrons who wish to ride their bikes to and from transit hubs.

“Tough economic times and the advent of $4 per gallon gasoline have led to an increased reliance on mass transportation,” said Levy. “That is why we must make our Suffolk bus system as accessible as possible for all people.”

Southampton Rotary Club: North Pole Journey

Southampton Rotary Club President Kevin Luss announced last week that the club has extended an invitation to the community to attend their September 4 meeting to hear the dramatic and inspirational account of 76-year-old Barbara Hillary’s quest to reach the North Pole.

In 2007, Hillary, a retired nurse, community activist and lung cancer survivor became the first African American women on record and one of the oldest people to reach the North Pole – the literal top of the world. The New York native is training and raising funds for another trip, now to the South Pole, in December. She will be the first African American woman to reach both poles, and one of the oldest as well.

The event will take place at 12:15 p.m. at the Southampton Village Levitas Cultural Center at 25 Pond Lane.

Congressman Bishop: “River Keeper”

Last week, Congressman Tim Bishop was recognized by Save the Forge River as its 2008 “River Keeper,” the organization’s highest award, for his extensive work to help clean up the Forge River in Mastic Beach.

??”The Forge’s health has been wrecked by too many chemicals and other forms of pollution and decisive action is needed,” said Bishop. “Save the Forge River has been an outstanding partner in this vital effort and I am grateful for this honor from them. The Forge has been crying out for help, and because of the community’s efforts, all the way to the United States Capitol, people are listening.”

??“Congressman Bishop has been one of the best friends to the Forge River,” said Ron Lupski, President of Save the Forge River. “Not only did he help lead the way to get the federal government involved in protecting the Forge River, he even got personally involved by participating in our cleanup. We will bring the Forge River back to health and one of the main reasons why is Congressman Tim Bishop.”??

Bishop, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, successfully passed legislation to authorize a critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reconnaissance Study of the severely polluted Forge River. Launched last year, the $100,000 study will assess environmental problems and determine if there is a federal interest in conducting an environmental restoration project, as well as what local resources are available to partner with federal agencies. In addition to his work in Congress to protect the Forge, Bishop personally took part in a cleanup of the watershed earlier this year, which was organized by Save the Forge River. ??Last week Congressman Bishop chaired a meeting with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, representatives of Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Brookhaven Supervisor Brian Foley, Legislator Kate Browning and other Suffolk County officials, and Save the Forge River to ensure that all parties are coordinating their efforts. One of the goals of the meeting was to see what could be done to expedite the process and bring help to the river sooner. Bishop is working to make sure the Army Corps has data which has been compiled by local researchers at Stony Brook University and the Suffolk County Department of Health, which can help with their study.?? Polluted by increasing runoff over several decades, the Forge River has become nearly uninhabitable to wildlife. In response, environmental advocates – led by Save the Forge River and the Peconic Baykeeper – have mobilized to protect the Forge.