East End Digest – August 28


Kids Take Charge At CMEE

Michael Petersen, 9, of the Ross School, Nin Damiecki, 8, of the Ross School, Alison Clarke, 9, of Sag Harbor Elementary, Alyssa Ortiz, 11, of Hampton Bays Elementary, Adam Ortiz, 9, of Hampton Bays Elementary, Sarah Jannetti, 9, of Sag Harbor Elementary, Oriana Tannenbaum, 10, of Katonah Elementary and Milo Mushin, 8, of Sag Harbor Elementary participated in the first Youth Advisory Group at the Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) on Monday, August 11. Organized by Eva Petersen, CMEE’s Education Outreach Coordinator, this new outreach initiative is designed to involve kids in determining how to make the museum’s programming and exhibition themes engaging to older children.

Assemblyman Thiele: Mass Transit Discussion

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. reported this week that South Fork elected officials, including County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and himself, as well as members of the South Fork Shuttle Committee, met with Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams and Suffolk County Department of Public Works Commissioner Gil Anderson to assess the success of the reconstruction of County Road 39, the success of the South Fork Commuter Connection (SFCC), and the future of mass transit service on the South Fork.

The group reached consensus on several issues including an understanding that the reconstruction project on County Road 39 has reduced traffic congestion from Sunrise Highway to Montauk Highway, but that east of the project, congestion is still significant. They also agreed that while ridership was popular through the County Road 39 reconstruction, it waned after the project was completed. Regardless, the consensus was that mass transit is a viable option for the East End and needed.

Thiele stated that through this efforts with State Senator Ken LaValle and Congressman Tim Bishop, nearly $1 million in state, federal and county grants were committed to run six additional LIRR trains each work day from Speonk to Montauk from October through June and to provide bus services from train stations to downtowns and work centers. More than 40,000 passengers took advantage of this service.

“The shuttle proved that mass transit could work on the South Fork, even with the limited number of existing trains that could only meet the needs of a limited number of commuters,” said Thiele. “Further, while the County Road 39 reconstruction has relieved congestion for commuters to Southampton Village and points north on North Sea Road, congestion remains unabated to the east. Commuters with a destination from Water Mill to Montauk still face a harrowing commute. Mass transit must be a part of the South Fork’s future.”

Thiele added that the responsible course of action is to put resources into devising a workable permanent solution and not a band-aid solution.

“Through the Volpe Study, we will learn the level of service that will be required for a permanent shuttle to be successful and the needed infrastructure improvements that will be required to provide that level of service,” said Thiele. “We can then assess the costs and benefits and make informed decisions. This is a more responsible and cost effective course of action than simply continuing with a limited approach. The shuttle was the correct approach during the County Road 39 reconstruction, now we must plan for the future.”

Suffolk County: New Parks Trustee

With its legislature’s unanimous approval Tuesday night, Hampton Bays resident Edward Walters Jr. will join Suffolk County’s Board of Trustees of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation.

Appointed by a resolution sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, Walters will become one of 13 members who serve in a voluntary capacity, and meet monthly to assist the county with regard to parks, recreation, and open space. Duties include making recommendations concerning park and recreation policy; assisting in development of long-range plans for park and open space acquisitions and facilities development; approving an annual capital projects plan; and approving all matters having to do with the regulation, use fees and charges to county parks and recreation facilities. In addition, the board occasionally conducts field visits and holds meetings on specific subjects.

“The County is very lucky that Ed has agreed to serve in another way,” said Schneiderman. “Even with all his commitments, he has shown such exemplary dedication to our community and I look forward to him serving as a parks trustee.”

Of the board’s membership, one is appointed by the county legislature from each of the 10 towns of Suffolk County. As a resident of Hampton Bays, Walters was recommended and nominated for the post by Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot.

“Ed has made so many excellent contributions to his community,” Kabot said. “He has served Southampton Town in a multitude of ways and will be an asset to Suffolk County.” Walters is a member of both the Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee and the Town’s Parks and Recreation Committee. He is also involved with the Hampton Bays Little League, the American Legion, Quogue’s Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Our Lady of the Hamptons Church. He is now the current field supervisor of student teachers at Dowling College.

Southampton Hospital: Health Fair

Southampton Hospital, with support from many local businesses and organizations, will sponsor a Family Fun Health Fair on Saturday, September 6, at the Hampton Atrium, on Montauk Highway at Route 24 in Hampton Bays.

Free to the public, the fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will take place rain or shine. The Health Fair promises activities for the whole family. There will be free screenings, including cholesterol, glucose, body fat and blood pressure. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists and therapists trained in respiratory, physical, occupational and massage therapy will be on hand to answer questions. Guests can tour the Hampton Radiology’s full service suite featuring the open MRI and more. For children, there will be special health “stations” where they can learn interesting facts about healthcare, plus relay races, face painting and other fun activities.

Information will be available on breast health, dental care, podiatry, infection control, wound care, medications and many more health topics.

For more information, please call 723-7013.

East Hampton: Financial Manager

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill McGintee announced last week that East Hampton Town has retained a financial manager to consult with the town regarding financial matters.

Nicholas Lynn holds an MBA degree in finance and international business from the University of Chicago and has 15 years of financial management experience with major corporations, according to a release issued by the town.

Lynn will begin work in early September, overseeing development of the town’s 2009 budget. He will report to the town board.

He is a resident of East Hampton and a member of the East Hampton Fire Department. McGintee noted that Lynn is not a registered Republican or Democrat.

McGintee also said he expects to announce the appointment of an independent oversight committee for the town’s fiscal activities.

NY State Senate: Zone Pricing Prohibited

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele announced last week that the State Senate passed legislation creating “The Consumer Protection and Fair and Equitable Motor Fuel Pricing Act,” which prohibits “zone pricing” of gasoline.

The Assembly passed this bill in June before the end of the 2008 session. Thiele has sponsored similar legislation since 2000. Under this bill, a wholesaler is precluded from participating in the marketing technique known as zone pricing. Zone pricing refers to a marketing technique used by petroleum companies to set prices according to the demographics of a particular area.

“This bill will help alleviate the burden our hard-working, tax-paying families, especially on Long Island’s East End, where a monopoly on motor fuel has manipulated year-round residents for far too long,” said Thiele. “In fact, South Fork gasoline prices are often higher than any other price on Long Island. For this reason, I had requested the Attorney General’s Office to investigate prices on the East End. We all know that competition in business is a good thing for the consumer and, should this bill become enacted, it would pass along cost savings directly to the year-round East End residents who have been forced to pay excessively high gasoline costs, even after the tourists leave town. Fuel prices should be set by cost, not by competition.”

The bill authorizes the Office of the State Attorney General to prosecute any violations of these provisions and imposes a civil penalty of no more than $10,000 per violation.

“Across the nation, motorists are feeling the rising costs on gasoline and adjusting their budgets,” said Thiele. “However, there is no place like New York where gasoline process are so out-of-control. This bill is a big step in the right direction in providing real, tangible relief to Long Islanders.”

The bill awaits delivery to New York State Governor David Paterson, according to Thiele’s office.