The Biggest Stories of the Year

Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, above, were killed in a plane crash in June along with their grandson, William Maerov, and pilot, Jon Dollard. Below, boats searched for the plane’s wreckage off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett on the day of their funeral. Durell Godfrey Photos

As we begin the new year, it’s good to look back and reflect on all that happened in 2018. It comes as no surprise that the biggest news occurred in June when a small plane carrying Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, their grandson, William Maerov, and their pilot, Jon Dollard, crashed into the ocean off Amagansett.  

The loss of two East Hampton leaders was felt in all corners of the community. The Krupinskis were benefactors and philanthropists who supported many notable causes and projects. Their grandson, who was in his third year at Georgetown University, was just 22. Hundreds turned out for a funeral for the couple and their grandson at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, though there were only two caskets; Mr. Maerov’s body was never recovered. 

The Star published more than a dozen stories regarding the crash, its victims, and their long-lasting legacies. In a preliminary report on the accident from the National Transportation Safety Board in July, bad weather was blamed as the major reason the plane went down. 

Two of the Krupinskis’ planes had left Newport State Airport in Rhode Island, where they had flown earlier that day to pick up the Krupinskis’ granddaughter, Charlotte Maerov. The smaller of the two planes, carrying her, flew farther south as it returned to avoid a bad storm that had cropped up. It landed safely at East Hampton Airport. The other plane, carrying the Krupinskis and their grandson, did not. 

Another story that captured readers’ attention in 2018 was the death, just hours apart, of Judith Leiber, the famed evening bag designer, and her husband, Gerson Leiber, a noted abstract painter. They were 97 and 96 when they died on April 29, Mr. Leiber first, his wife a few hours later. The couple, married 72 years, lived on Old Stone Highway in Springs, where they had built an extraordinary brick museum for her handbags and Mr. Leiber’s artwork.

Not surprisingly, a major drug bust in Montauk in August also was one of the most read stories. The arrests of 15 people in the restaurant industry, including bar backs and line cooks who reportedly sold cocaine and pills while living in housing supplied by the restaurants they worked for, “struck at the heart of the drug supply in Montauk,” the Suffolk County district attorney, Timothy D. Sini, said. Ultimately, several others were also charged in connection with the bust. Their cases are pending. 

Then there was the drowning death of a 22-year-old in a private Springs pool in September, the news of a great white shark recently coming close to shore and killing a seal in a popular Montauk surfing spot, and news in June that a teen was found overdosing in the front yard of an East Hampton Village house he had broken into and destroyed. 

Many also will remember the photos of a 44-foot Meridian yacht submerged in deep waters near the Montauk jetty in August. 

And, who could forget the largest fire of the year — a blaze at the Creeks, the famed estate now owned by Ron Perelman, the billionaire chairman of Revlon, on Sept. 29. The size and site of the fire was a firefighting challenge, bringing out several local departments to help quell it. The fire remains under investigation, though there did not appear to be anything suspicious involved. 

Here at The Star, we were most surprised that a February article announcing that Il Molino in New York City was opening an outpost on the South Fork in the former Astoria Salina in Wainscott gained all sorts of attention from online readers. 

Lee Katzoff, whose family owns the Il Mulino chain of more than a dozen restaurants in New York City and the surrounding suburbs, as well as in Florida, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Nashville, and other locations, said at the time that Il Molino’s patrons had long asked when the family might open on the South Fork. When the space on Georgica Pond at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road became available, “We said, ‘Yes, we’ll try it.’ ”

Here are the top 18 stories of 2018: 

1. Coverage of the Plane Crash That Killed the Krupinskis, Their Grandson, and Pilot

2. Famed Evening Bag Designer Judith Leiber and Artist Husband Die Hours Apart

3. Montauk Restaurant Workers Charged in Massive Drug Bust

4. Apparent Drowning in Pool at Springs House

5. Shark Hunts Montauk Surf Spot

6. Teen Found Overdosing in Front Yard He Destroyed

7. Boat Sinks After It Strikes Montauk Jetty

8. Firefighters Saved Ron Perelman's East Hampton House

9. Il Mulino Adds East Hampton Location

10. Fisherman Found Dead in Water at Montauk Pointe

11. Man Arrested After Alleged Rape in School Parking Lot

12. Harassment Charged After Bikini Photos

13. Police Say Drunken Driver Injured an Officer Before Flipping S.U.V. 

14. Police ID Victim of Apparent Drowning at Wainscott Beach

15. Tate's to Be Sold for $500 Million

16. Panic Over Grey Garden Redo

17. Moby's to Open at East Hampton Pointe

18. 'Unnoticed' Fire Destroys House in Springs

Judith Leiber, a noted handbag designer, and her husband, Gerson Leiber, an artist, died within hours of each other in April. Sandra Geroux, Courtesy of the Leiber Collection
Alexander Sigua Pintado, the valedictorian of East Hampton High School’s class of 2018, was accepted into eight Ivy League schools. Judy D’Mello
Firefighters battled a September blaze at the Creeks, Ronald Perelman’s estate on Georgica Pond. Michael Heller
The attorney Daniel Rodgers with supporters of Bryan Siranaula outside County Criminal Court in Riverside in February after Mr. Siranaula was charged with raping a woman in the Springs School parking lot. He pleaded guilty to rape last month and was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years on probation. Right, more than a dozen people were arrested in Montauk in August in a bust targeting what investigators described as the “largest narcotics distribution ring in and around Montauk.” T.E. McMorrow, Carissa Katz
The deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., prompted South Fork students to join their counterparts across the country in school walkouts calling for an end to gun violence.Durell Godfrey
The Block Island wind farm, seen from the beach in Montauk, offered a glimpse of the future, as a 15-turbine wind farm to be constructed 35 miles off Montauk remained an oft-debated topic in 2018. Jane Bimson
Christian Bermeo’s motorcycle was left in pieces after a fatal collision with a Honda Fit on Springs-Fireplace Road in July. Franklin Bermeo
Following an especially tumultuous year in East Hampton politics, in November David Lys won election to the seat he had been appointed to 11 months earlier. Durell Godfrey
Storms in the winter and fall continued to batter the downtown Montauk beach, again and again exposing a sandbag seawall installed there in 2015 by the Army Corps of Engineers. Jane Bimson