December 9, 2023
I was never going to write this, but a few weeks ago I read a letter in The Star from Sam Lester III, written from Harrisburg, Pa. So first, a shout-out from a fellow Bonacker. I’m now retired in Pennsylvania, about 35 miles west in Cumberland County. Though I can’t recall meeting him, I can’t imagine I didn’t. In any case, he reminded me of who I am.
I was born and, except for a few years, lived and worked in East Hampton until January of this year, when I moved here permanently. Even though a while ago an East Hampton Town trustee seemed to tell me I had no right to express myself about my concerns for East Hampton because he knew I was trying to sell and move away, I can’t break my ties. I still read The Star and know people in town and I see it slipping away from everything I knew. And if I hadn’t been taught at my grandfather’s knee the worth of my legacy, his wisdom, and the value of my life’s work along with a sense of place and community, I likely wouldn’t care. So, in spite of that trustee trying to shut me up, I think I might write more often, and with a distant point of view you might see it for what it actually is. So, with that, here goes.
People love to think they have a right to call themselves Bonackers if they bought a beach house or spent some time clamming. Then they have the right to try to change things, even our names, like “Springs” to “The Springs” or how to spell the name of a beach. Then they tell us how wrong it is to hunt or drive on a beach. Then they tell us what they’re doing to us is what’s best for us because they know better. Then . . . screw it, we’re leaving. And then there’s no more Bonackers, and that clears the field so anyone can be and do what they want in the name of Bonackers.
But, what the hell, it’s only a name and it’s meaningless to anyone except those who think they can influence politicians. If it’s good for Bonackers it’s good for me . . . er, I mean everyone. Yup, I know everything changes and ends, but as Bonackers are gone, the “Hamptons” are there.
December 11, 2023
Amidst the daily din of gas-powered leaf blowers poisoning their users, the Democrats have an opportunity to appoint a member to the town board. There may be something to be said for appointing a Republican in the name of equanimity. On the other hand, the Republican Party has a long history of opposition to environmental causes, climate change denialism, and fostering development at all costs. I respectfully suggest that the appointee be a citizen who cares foremost for preservation of what remains, while strongly advocating for us to be as green as possible. Adding a person with knowledge and passion to push the board forward, rather than slow it down, is what this community needs. (I can think of many locals who fit this description.) East Hampton groans under incessantly increasing noise, pollution, congestion, overbuilding, clear-cutting, tear-downs, waste, and water problems, etc. We’ve been confronted with this degradation for 50 years. We don’t need hesitant town government beset by the monied interests intent on developing every square foot and extracting every dollar. We need bold proactive measures that benefit the vast majority of those who live and work here.
December 11, 2023
The proposed stainless-steel reflective shingles for East Hampton’s new senior center will create a little-known but very real problem for people with sensory disabilities. The problem is enhanced by the apparent mirrored and warped surface of the shingles.
The reflective, “mirrored” stainless-steel shingles proposed for the exterior of the new senior center will create a building that appears to be in constant motion as it reflects anything and everything that moves: people, cars, planes, trees blowing in the wind, birds, clouds, and sky, all while reflecting light back into the natural landscape. To some people this may be beautiful but for an increasing number of our friends and neighbors this seemingly harmless visual activity creates a sensory overload that can have a very debilitating effect.
People with concussions, dementia, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to have some degree of hypersensitivity to stimuli such as bright lights, moving lights, strobe lights, movements of light and shadow, movement in general, even people gesturing, large crowds, smells, and more. Overexposure to stimuli can trigger any number of debilitating effects. For example, over-stimuli for people with concussions can trigger immediate dizziness, nausea, and spinning which create a fall risk. Not very pleasant. Other symptoms of sensory overload include: difficulty focusing, restlessness, aggressiveness, irritability or agitation, dissociating or shutting down, and more.
The severity of sensory overload, its triggers, and its effects differ for people based on the person and the root cause of their hypersensitivity, whether it’s a concussion, dementia, autism, P.T.S.D., or some other condition. A building that is in constant motion with light, shadow, and objects can be a trigger for people with sensory-overload issues. The point being that the aforementioned conditions affect some of our friends and neighbors and our new senior center should be a place where everyone feels welcome, safe, comfortable.
Sensory-friendly spaces and events are now trending across America, and for good reason. Corporations and nonprofits are introducing sensory-friendly hours and sensory-friendly performances for people with sensory overload issues or neurodivergent audiences. These include Walmart on the national level to Bay Street Theater on a local level. It’s time for the Town of East Hampton to join this group of forward-thinkers. It’s not too late to choose a different shingle for the exterior of the senior center, let form follow function, and create a community asset where everyone feels welcome and safe.
David, I would urge you and your readers to Google the topic. The issue is more prevalent than I can address in this letter and more prevalent than most people are aware of. There is still time to fix the problem of reflective stainless steel shingles on our new senior center, regardless of how beautiful and maintenance-free it may be in the eyes of some. An alternate suggestion was made to use traditional cedar shingles which can last for decades. Let’s have a senior center for everyone!
Hall of Fame
December 10, 2023
What a wonderful bunch of editorials in this week’s edition. I particularly enjoyed “The Mast-Head,” with some great history and facts I can’t say I knew before, and “Guestwords,” with a riveting tale of the 1973 East Hampton championship football team. A shame they haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve in the East Hampton High School Hall of Fame. To celebrate the 50-year anniversary in the program’s 100th season seemed like a no-brainer. Heck, my brother-in-law’s 2002 cross-country team just got in last year. Not even half the wait.
Go Down in History
December 11, 2023
To the Editor:
Judith Hope called me sometime in 2019. We had never met, but I knew her by reputation as a dedicated and effective public servant. Judith asked if I would be willing to serve with a group of a half-dozen scrappy environmentalists to support plans for an offshore wind farm. Together with Jerry Mulligan, Alice Tepper-Marlin, Cate Rogers, Michael Hanson, David Posnett, and, later, Tina Plesset, we formed Win With Wind.
Becoming an advocate for offshore wind seemed a logical extension of my passion for, and my commitment to, sustainability. I built my own home on Montauk with those principles in mind, from a rooftop solar array, to geothermal heating and cooling, to sustainably produced and reused building materials. An offshore wind farm seemed like such a no-brainer, especially in the wind-rich federal waters 35 miles off Montauk. Boy, was I ever naive; I didn’t know that my W.W.W. involvement would strain local relationships that I had spent years forging, and even cost me some friendships.
Skepticism about the South Fork Wind project abounded; even a few environmentalists, and plenty of folks with legitimate concerns for the welfare of whales and birds, fell prey to disinformation campaigns funded by deep pockets and special interests. Bogus claims about how offshore wind was going to destroy — not improve — the environment were cleverly designed to appeal to folks who truly care about the climate challenges we face, both locally and globally.
Our David versus Goliath fight, amid well-funded legal and political challenges designed to delay or stop South Fork Wind, taught me the importance of forming coalitions. Indeed, we might not have succeeded without partnering with Long Island labor groups, other environmental advocacy groups like Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and a rigorous pro-bono legal defense. This last component is what really leveled the playing field for us and enabled W.W.W. to go toe-to-toe with the big boys and girls: Michael Gerrard and his dedicated team of brilliant lawyers at Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law were our “secret sauce.”
It took four long years, but wind power is now flowing from the first operational South Fork Wind turbine into the Long Island electrical grid. The remaining 11 turbines will be spinning soon.
I am grateful to live in a town led by board members and trustees who were willing to withstand years of pressure and personal vilification to do what they knew was right. As C.C.E.’s fearless leader, Adrienne Esposito, says, it takes real courage to make this kind of monumental change.
The Town of East Hampton will now go down in history as the first in the nation to embrace industrial-scale offshore wind technology that may help to stem the tide of climate change. I am so proud to be a member of this community.
I did not know any of members of W.W.W. when I joined the group, but I have been honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and have enjoyed developing friendships based on our shared belief that we can — and must — all do our part to try to cut our unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint.
If you’re late to the game but would like to find out more about the local story of offshore wind, visit winwithwind.org and windworksny.org.
Happy holidays to all!
December 11, 2023
To the Editor:
Congratulations to Orsted for a job well done. East Hampton was in dire need of more electricity, locally generated without using fossil fuel. Orsted, with the approval of East Hampton Town Board and trustees, New York State Public Service Commission, and many other state and federal agencies, fulfilled that need after a hard-fought battle with the well-funded anti-wind power naysayers.
When South Fork Wind is fully operational in early 2024, it will provide clean power to 70,000 homes and businesses on the South Fork. At that time, East Hampton will be the proud home of the largest offshore wind facility in the United States and the first in New York State.
Thank you to all who fought on behalf of South Fork Wind.
Win With Wind
An Exciting Day
December 8, 2023
This past Wednesday was truly an exciting day for East Hampton. After years of meetings, forums, and many local and state reviews, the first turbine of the 12 located 35 miles east of Montauk Point was turned on. Wow — we now have the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm to go online in the United States! Just imagine, it will be capable of producing 132 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 70,000 homes.
East Hampton is first in many ways and on Wednesday we felt celebratory. Listening to the many speeches at the Town Hall celebration, we walked away with a message that resonates — vision, fortitude, attention to detail, community involvement, multiple stakeholders, and perseverance are the essential ingredients to actualizing a complex initiative like this. Congratulations to all who made this happen.
We are so proud to call East Hampton home!
MAX AND TINA PLESSET
Strike for Cease-Fire
December 11, 2023
As I write this letter, I am participating in a global strike in support of a cease-fire in Gaza. This is why I strike today: I strike because the call came from Palestine. I strike for cease-fire. I strike because the United States was the only country to vote against the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. I strike against genocide. I strike against apartheid. I strike against occupation. I strike to be counted.
I am currently in the process of getting my master’s degree in social work. As a social work intern I make phone calls to all kinds of agencies about housing, health care, and social services. I am finding that our health care institutions are understaffed and overworked. Our social service institutions are understaffed and overworked. Our educational institutions are understaffed and overworked. Housing is not available. Many people are struggling on a daily basis just to get by, even here, with one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the world. Meanwhile, we are spending billions of dollars bombing children, mothers, grandparents, doctors, journalists, and civilians in Gaza. We don’t have to accept this. I don’t accept it. There are many ways to join the call for a cease-fire, and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. We can make phone calls to Congress, we can boycott, we can participate in protests in New York City and Washington, D.C. Some of us in this community have been gathering in Sag Harbor on Sundays, for a weekly demonstration to show our resistance to this horrific violence and our commitment to protecting the basic human rights of all people. As a community group, we are deeply concerned about increasing Islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-Arab racism, and all forms of bias. We need each other during this dangerous time. Please consider joining us on Sundays, at 3 p.m. in Sag Harbor by the windmill.
December 11, 2023
The BBC, which has historically and currently reported in favor of Palestinian causes and complaints, ran a recent feature (Dec. 4) that showed Hamas planned sexual violence as a “weapon of war.” More than 1,500 testimonials, according to the report, from medics, released hostages, and Arab-Israeli citizens have been collected. This includes videos taken by the terrorists themselves. A range of perverse behaviors from gang rapes (where women’s pelvises were broken by the trauma) to the sexual mutilation of murdered victims are among the crimes documented. Not surprisingly, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women has been mostly silent about these atrocities. No wonder: Iran, yes Iran, has just been named head of the United Nation Human Rights Social Forum! Iran not only ranks at the top of listings of human rights violators, but they are the sponsors of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and the Lebanese Houthis who have been firing rockets at the United States in the Gulf. All these organizations proudly and joyously chant “Allahu Akbar” whenever they kill a Jew. It took eight weeks for U.N. Women to acknowledge that gender-based crimes were committed on Oct. 7. It has also been reported that men were also the victims of gender mutilation both before and after death. It’s impossible to reconcile the protests on elite college campuses for “microaggressions” such as not using someone’s “preferred pronouns” while there is no outrage about the sexual atrocities committed against Jewish civilians! These are war crimes, not discretionary insults.
A mandatory Title IX training last year at Harvard warned all undergraduate students that “CIS heterosexism, fat phobia, and using the wrong pronouns” qualified as “abuse” and perpetrated “violence” on campus. Yet when it came to bullying and threatening Jews as well as calls for a “Jewish genocide,” Claudine Gay, the university president, testified before Congress that “it depends on the context.” She clarified this as reaching the status of harassment “when it crosses over into action.” That is to say, that only when physical violence is committed against Jews would it be considered “against school policy.” Otherwise, it is considered “free speech.” Try using that standard when an African-American, Native American, or member of the LGBTQ+ community is hazed and discredited. It is this kind of moral inconsistency that allowed Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to publicly say that “he was happy to see people’s actions on Oct 7.” He continued, “The people of Gaza have a right to defend themselves. And, yes, as an occupying power, Israel does not have the right to self-defense.” In expressing such morally bankrupt sentiments, he was joined by Osama Abuirshaid, the director of American Muslims for Palestine (a leading organizer of anti-Israel rallies on college campuses). He told a rally on Dec. 1, “What they alleged that happened on Oct. 7 turned out to be a lie. Most of the Israel civilians were killed by their own army.” He advised his audience that “The language we use in Gaza doesn’t work in the U.S. So, talk less about violence against Jews and more about the violation of human rights.” So, the bestiality committed by agents of Hamas on Oct. 7 is justified because it is against “oppressors” who have no rights and any acts done to obliterate them are “justified.”
Contrast this bedeviling lie with reports from acclaimed journalists working for established news organizations. Christina Lamb, writing for the London Times, for example, described barbaric action at the Super Nova Music Festival. While a young woman was being raped, Hamas fighters captured another woman. “She was fighting back, not allowing them to strip her. They threw her to the ground and one of the terrorists took a shovel and beheaded her.” A few days later, Reuter’s quoted written testimony that dozens of dead women were scattered about at the music festival in the Negev. “Their clothing was torn on the upper part, but their bottoms were completely naked and often bloody.” Rolling Stone reported exclusively on the deaths and destruction of young people who came to the festival. It was cosponsored by a Brazilian group. The report sums up the 354 people killed by quoting one of the surviving victims who said: “They tried to kill me. Not just me, everyone at the festival. We were helpless. We were unarmed civilians who just wanted to have fun.” Lucy Williams reported in the London Times that she saw “videos of naked and bloodied women filmed by Hamas on the day of the attack.” Katherine Rosman and Lisa Lerer, New York Times reporters (testifying at a UN meeting), explained that mortuary workers sometimes couldn’t identify if corpses were of male or female because their “genitals were too mutilated.”
Charles Lane, a columnist at the progressive-left leaning Washington Post, saw footage of Hamas’s vicious brutality on Oct. 7. He wrote: “What was so revelatory — what you must see and hear to believe — is the attitude of the terrorists. They are having the time of their lives. Some whoop with delight over dead civilians lying on a highway. A terrorist calls home to tell his parents that he is in Israel and killing Jews; he boasts, including a woman whose phone he is using to transmit pictures of his handiwork. ‘Their blood is on my hand,’ he cries, joyously. ‘Your son is a hero.’ “
In the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal (Dec. 9) Peggy Noonan wrote that “Some stories don’t have two sides. This is one of them. As many progressives like to quote Maya Angelou’s advice that ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ The events of Oct. 7 were Hamas’s showing ‘who they are.’ Believe them. And believe them when they shout ‘Allah Akbar, death to America and Israel!’ “
Demagogues Don’t Stop
December 10, 2023
I am a subscriber and live in East Hampton and I appreciate you publishing this letter. To the ramparts! Trump declares 2024 election stolen! The villainous Dems, taking a break from grooming minors, have, as Trump has declared, stolen this year’s election as they did in 2012, in 2016 (by sleight of hand only the popular), and, sadly, in 2020.
As is his way, rooting for riots, Trump repairs to a wide-screen TV (the biggest and best) to watch the action and supervise the Fox coverage.
Demagogues don’t stop — they are stopped.
November 24, 2023
To the Editor,
As Dr. Molly Miosek’s vet clinic’s office manager, I’m admittedly biased, but my view is rooted in experience — my pets were patients before I was an employee.
I’m writing to address concerns raised in the article “What Was Built and Should Have Been,” published on November 22. The piece discusses a building plan’s issues yet notably omits a critical element of the story. Ninety-four South Euclid Avenue will be Montauk’s first brick-and-mortar vet clinic. The clinic’s significant role in our community is merely mentioned in passing. This oversight not only skews the story but raises questions about an apparent bias, which seems out of step with your publication’s standards.
Dr. Molly’s unmatched care and dedication, from handling challenging treatments to accommodating the summer surge, are indispensable. The new clinic will significantly bolster Montauk’s veterinary services, a need underscored by the long drives now required for pet care and grooming on the East End.
We’ve been mired in procedural delays. It’s time for the town board to provide a clear plan for us to meet the necessary requirements. This isn’t just about a building; it’s about enabling timely, quality care for our pets.
Please, let’s move forward. Montauk’s pets and people deserve this.
KRISTEN LEIGH SENESE
No Need to Meddle
November 25, 2023
The Town of East Hampton should approve this beautiful building that Dr. Molly Miosek’s vet clinic built. Montauk needs a vet clinic. The Town of East Hampton allows the ugliest, largest, insensitive (to land and human) homes to be built but then gives a local business trouble?!
These are local people with local businesses. The Town of East Hampton has no need to be meddling in the building of this property. They should be happy such a lovely, thoughtful building with a good use was built.
It is not a bar, restaurant, or real estate office. It is a vet clinic that we need!
I am a longtime patient of Dr. Molly. She has taken care of three of my dogs. She is invaluable to the town of Montauk. Dr. Molly needs to be able to have a proper building with equipment to be a full-service vet clinic. When one of my pets needs an X-ray or surgery we have to go to another vet in another town. I am forced to drive out of Montauk and take my business elsewhere.
Why does the Town of East Hampton treat Montauk worse than a stepchild? We have very few services as it is. We have poor human medical services. Our food is outrageously priced. We may be losing our pharmacy if the building is sold. Now the town wants to make veterinary services such as X-rays not available to us.
There are no water-runoff issues at the new building. We have had some of the worst rains this fall and there were no water-runoff issues at all. There were plenty of water issues on Essex Street, where I happen to live, but not at that property.
The town needs to stop acting like they actually know what they are doing because they clearly do not know what drainage looks like or how curbs work. This is a poor excuse to not allow a commercial building with a business we need not get its certificate of occupancy.
Shame on you, East Hampton.
November 25, 2023
To the Editor,
We are writing to you to express our deep appreciation for Dr. Molly Miosek’s veterinary clinic and to shed light on the invaluable role it plays in our community.
Dr. Molly has been a lifeline for pet owners in Montauk, especially during veterinary emergencies. Her unwavering dedication and compassionate care have been a source of comfort and assurance for countless families. In a town without an alternative vet, her clinic is not just a service provider but a crucial support system for our beloved animals.
Beyond urgent care, Dr. Molly’s clinic is planning to extend its positive impact to include grooming services. This not only enhances the convenience for pet owners to stay local but also fosters a sense of community around the shared love and care for our furry companions. This clinic is not merely a business; it is a vital asset that enriches our lives and enhances the well-being of our pets. We are looking forward to the day that the clinic’s doors open for business and our pets can receive the care we’ve all been eagerly waiting for.
November 26, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am writing this letter in support of the new veterinary clinic building at 94 South Euclid Avenue in Montauk.
This is a business that is sorely needed in our town. The number of dogs and cats in our town warrant it. Not to mention the second-home owners that bring their four-footed furry pets with them.
This is a business that is operated by a hard-working, loving, and talented woman. Dr. Molly has taken care of my dog, Fred, for nine years, through tick bites, surgeries, you name it.
The building is beautiful, the landscaping exquisite. I drove by there today to try and see the complaints. The alleyway seems to be constructed nicely, and the paving of the parking lot has ample parking spots.
In view of the “difficult lot” (the one thing everyone seems to agree about), I feel the owners put up a thoughtful, practical, and respectful building right down to the Montauk-signature pink sidewalks.
I hope the East Hampton Town Board and all involved find a speedy and cohesive solution.
CAROLYN P. CLINCH
Fills a Void
November 26, 2023
To the Editor,
I am writing regarding your article about 94 South Euclid Avenue, and noticed that our beloved vet, Dr. Molly Miosek, will be occupying the property. I urge the East Hampton Town Board to try and sort out the zoning difficulties as soon as they are able, as Dr. Molly really fills in a big void for us pet owners. Her new clinic will be a great asset to the local community.
December 11, 2023
Finally the Republicans have reached out and accomplished something. They have included in the defense bill a series of anti-woke measures.
This bill includes stripping of funding for military drag show performances and outlawing instruction in critical race theory.
The bill prohibits funds for any DOD advisory committee dealing with race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or social justice.
The bill would also get ahead of a pending rule that would require the Pentagon to select the greenest contractors for multimillion-dollar weapons awards, as the defense industry races to keep up with growing production needs.
God forbid when the time would ever come for the need for our armed service men/women to fight for us, they need to know how; sitting around and learning C.R.T. and woke measures will not protect us.
In God and country,