East End Digest August 7


Southampton Hospital: Honored Employee

(Left to Right) Paul Davin, Vice President of Human Resources, Robert S. Chaloner, Anna Capozello, Sheryl Bahamondes, Robin Pfennig and Matthew Cicillini at a ceremony honoring Capozello as employee of the quarter at Southampton Hospital.

Capozello, a cashier/dietary worker in the Nutritional Services department at the hospital, has been chosen as the Hospital’s Employee of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2008. Her selection was celebrated at a brunch in her honor last week, where Hospital President and CEO Robert S. Chaloner presented her with a trophy and various gifts recognizing her achievement. 

Montauk: 77-Acre Preservation

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill McGintee and The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today announced they have reached an agreement in principle to purchase a 77-acre oceanfront parcel of land in Montauk. Negotiations for the agreement were spearheaded by The Nature Conservancy.

The $18 million acquisition of the property owned by television talk show personality Dick Cavett will be shared equally between the three parties, and adds to the vast amount of publicly held, environmentally significant lands in Montauk  – which includes the 125-acre Amsterdam Beach, the Sanctuary State Preserve (the former Andy Warhol Estate now owned by The Nature Conservancy), Camp Hero State Park, Montauk Point State Park and Theodore Roosevelt County Park.

“Partnerships such as these, among three levels of government, are exactly what are needed right now to ensure that vital tracts of open space and farmland in Suffolk County are protected,” said Levy. “The Cavett property was one of the first parcels to be included in my comprehensive inventory of environmentally sensitive lands. Through the hard work and diligence of The Nature Conservancy, and with the cooperation of the town and the state, we will ensure this unique property will remain as it is today.”

“We are thrilled that Mr. Cavett has accepted the offer,” said Nancy Kelley, executive director of The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, which negotiated the deal with Mr. Cavett.  “It is not an exaggeration to say that we have worked toward this outcome for 20 years.” 

 “We greatly appreciate the financial support from Suffolk County and New York State,” said McGintee.  East Hampton will fund its $6 million share of the acquisition from the Community Preservation Fund, a 2% transfer tax on real estate sales. 

“This is a key parcel for us to protect,” said McGintee, “One that demonstrates exceedingly well the importance of having the CPF.”  

Erik Kulleseid, deputy director for land acquisition of the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said the State has long recognized the importance the Cavett parcel. 

“The entire 265 acres of the Montauk Moorlands has been a state conservation priority for years, and we are pleased to support the Town and County in their efforts to protect this unique part of the State,” he said.  

The property consists of scenic bluffs along the Atlantic Ocean, as well as freshwater wetlands that support several state rare species. The deal is subject to execution of contracts and governmental approvals over the next few months.

Since Levy’s inauguration in 2004, Suffolk has preserved nearly 5,500 acres – which is six and one-half times the size of New York’s Central Park – including 49 farms. The program continues to aggressively pursue the purchase of environmentally significant parcels and farmlands.

Southampton: Strides For Life

The third annual Strides for Life fundraising race will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, August 24 in Southampton. The three-mile fun run/walk around Lake Agawam is a cornerstone event of the Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF), which funds innovative lung cancer research grants at leading cancer centers across the country. Co-Anchor of FOX 5 news Rosanna Scotto is Honorary Chairman of the race and will be at the start and finish line to cheer participants on.  Following the race at 9:45 a.m., there will be a 50-yard dash for children, and a medal presentation ceremony.

One hundred percent of proceeds from last year’s Strides for Life went directly towards ten lung cancer research grants of the highest scientific merit. In two years, LCRF has awarded grants totaling over $700,000 to expedite research and possible cures for the disease that will claim an estimated 160,000 lives this year in the U.S. 

“The money raised from this year’s race will allow LCRF to fund additional scientific research grants at leading cancer centers across the country,” said Deborah Walsh, Executive Director of LCRF. “It is incredible how many people from the surrounding community and all over New York turn out to help give this deadly disease a stronger voice, and positively impact research funding,” she adds.

For more information about Strides for Life, including registration instructions, or to make an online pledge for lung cancer research, go to www.lungcancerresearchfoundation.org.

Suffolk Legislature: Public Safety For EH

The Suffolk Legislature this week voted to give East Hampton Town $1.1 million for public safety purposes—funds that the financially-pressed and, according to critics, financially inept town, would have otherwise lost because of its failure to file the proper paperwork.

“See we have a big heart!” declared William Lindsay, presiding officer of the legislature after the vote Tuesday in Hauppauge.

Not only East Hampton Town but the Town of Shelter Island, the Village of Westhampton Beach and several villages in western Suffolk that are not part of the Suffolk County Police District also received funds—all due to them but for which they, too, failed to properly apply, Deputy Suffolk County Executive Ben Zwirn told the legislature.

“Even though they didn’t meet the requirements, we want to give them the money,” said Mr. Zwirn speaking on behalf of the administration of County Executive Steve Levy.

The money derives from the quarter-percent of the sales tax earmarked for public safety.  Most of this money goes to the Suffolk County Police Department. Indeed representatives of towns (all five East End towns) and villages outside the police district have long complained that far too much of it goes to the county police. This alleged inequity was the subject of a recent lawsuit, later dropped, brought by the East End representatives on the legislature joined by several municipalities outside the police district.

However, some of the sales tax money—even if not what the towns and villages think is enough—does go to the towns and villages outside the police district.

But they must properly apply for the funds.

Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk, whose district includes East Hampton Town, told his fellow legislators that the failure of East Hampton Town and the other municipalities to do that was “embarrassing.” He and Legislator Edward Romaine of Center Moriches, the other legislator who represents the East End, were lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit brought earlier this year.

Zwirn detailed to the legislature the amounts of money involved. East Hampton Town would get the lion’s share: $533,767 in monies due to it in 2006 and $586,217 for monies due for last year. He said that because the town failed to make proper application for the 2006 dollars, the 2007 funds were “held up.”

The Town of Shelter Island is to receive $95,561 and the Village of Westhampton Beach $66,501.        

Zwirn said that the “money was isolated” in the county’s books by its financial officers — so the county knew how much the towns and villages were due, even though they did not do the proper paperwork to get the funds.

Schneiderman asked whether there was a “legal requirement” for the municipalities to now receive the dollars.

Zwirn said there was no such requirement, prompting Mr. Lindsay to make his comment about having “a heart.”

The resolution to provide the otherwise lost dollars was sent to the legislature under a “certificate of necessity” signed by Levy, which allowed for immediate action by the panel on the measure, and was approved by a vote of 18-to-0.

-Karl Grossman