Saunders, Real Estate, Hamptons

2963 Comments by Nature

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Whale beached in East Hampton survives first attempt at euthanization

A lot of people are under the impression that this animal could have been saved or dragged off the beach and back into the sea, but Mr. Bowman chose not to for unscientific reasons. I'm being completely serious when I ask this:

What does Mr. Bowman gain by leaving the whale to die? Why would he *NOT* do what is best for the animal? What is the *angle* he is playing?

perhaps the answer is just lack of knowledge/experience? " Apr 8, 10 7:15 PM

Why would he purposely *NOT* do the right thing? That doesn't make sense to me." Apr 8, 10 9:38 PM

I do not know Mr. Bowman, and I am not attempting to defend him - more asking what the consensus is out there as to why someone would not do the right thing and "save face".

What I do know, is that Mr. Bowman is the president of the *ONLY* licensed/accredited marine mammal rescue facility in NYS and has staff has been successful in saving many seals and sea turtles and dealing with other emergency situations.

I also know that NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association) has been brought in to help and even THEY do not know how precisely to proceed. Fortunately, there aren't a lot of people on this planet who have experience euthanizing an endangered whale which means this situation almost never happens.

There also are federal and state regulations as well as the general safety and well being of those involved which all need to be considered in this matter. Could this have been handled better? Perhaps, but my guess is that there will be a full and complete review after this ordeal is over and Science, biologists, marine mammal rescuers and the general public are all learning a lot from this matter which can be applied in the future.

I'm not sure why so many of you are ready to burn this man at the stake and are complaining about him being in front of the camera. As president of the organization, he is the face of it and should be answering questions and giving information. " Apr 8, 10 10:24 PM

They brought the whale out to sea because it was already dead. This whale was alive and would likely just beach itself again. Plus, there are "liability" issues in this day and age unfortunately with this sort of thing - so if someone ran their boat into the whale you know they'd sue.

In 1970 in Oregon, a dead whale washed up and officials didn't know how to get rid of it (apparently bringing it out to sea didn't cross their minds). So, they used a 1/2 ton of TNT to blow it up. Whale chunks showered people who came to watch and destoryed a car - while 1/2 the whale didn't even explode and had to be buried on the beach anyway. We have come a LONG way since then." Apr 9, 10 10:30 AM

A lot of them look young and as if they're right of college, becuase they *ARE* young and right out of (or in) college. They're either interns or volunteers - very few people get paid at the Riverhead Foundation. Those who volunteer or intern with the Riverhead Foundation almost certainly are marine biology or a similar area of study majors and have a passion and interest in marine mammals and sea turtles.

The Riverhead Foundation has a superb track record for rescuing and rehabbing seals and sea turtles - but a whale is a completely different ballgame. As I have previously pointed out, other agencies (notably, NOAA) have been called in to help.

The Riverhead Foundation does not 'control' the entire coast of Long Island. They are the only accreddited group to rescue and rehab marine mammals and sea turtles, but there are federal and state regulations that still apply. If you think they could be doing a better job - volunteer yourself or donate money so they can further educate their volunteers and purchase the best equipment. It was reported that many of the vets were at a conference in Virginia and were not able to arrive at the scene ASAP - because they were getting education for situations like this.

Your friend who stated 'they have no interest in getting their hands dirty" must have been speaking figuretively, because a necropsy on a whale is VERY dirty business - as is feeding and caring for the seals and sea turtles who wash up on our shores.

The quickness to judge an entire organization from ONE event and based mostly on reports in the Southampton Press and Newsday is extremely short sighted and ignorant. Look at the orginzations track record, look at the number of seal rescues and rehabs they do - look at the number of whales that wash up in America and how many are saved. " Apr 9, 10 12:53 PM

Southampton Town Board authorizes emergency dune restoration work in Hampton Bays

The Conservation Boar would have no say, as the ocean is not defined as a regulated Town wetland.

The Trustees have and DO support beach renourishment projects and do not put up road blocks.

The 'roadblocks' are almost always due to the federally threatened/state endangered Piping Plover and the State has and does give exemptions to this in specific situations. All work must be done by April 1st, but in rare instances it's extended to the 15th - with one requirement being that a qualified proffessional inspect the site for Piping Plovers to ensure no harm is done. " Apr 9, 10 12:58 PM

Whale beached in East Hampton survives first attempt at euthanization

I was not speaking of Mr. Bowman, but of the people who work for the Riverhead Foundation - who are actually in the field working with these animals.

Mr. Bowan is the President of the Riverhead Foundation doesn't *have* to be a marine biologist since he isn't adminstering drugs or saving animals or making decisions in the field. The accusations that he should be fired because he is not a marine biologist are akin to saying the President should be removed from office because he is not a Soldier - even though he is the Commander in Chief.

I do not know of Mr. Bowmans professional creditials aside from his company - Land Use Ecological Services (an environmental consulting firm) but obviously he has the passion and desire to work for the Riverhead Foundation, and the board members have found him a competent candidate for such a post. Again, this is *ONE* incident which the majority of those commenting have 0 experience with. The foundations track record speaks for itself." Apr 9, 10 3:05 PM

Beached whale in East Hampton put down; euthanization dart missing on Main Beach

I agree PBR. It's sad to see a giant creature like this die but it's Nature. It's a shame it wont be dragged out to sea to be a food source for the fish and the birds. " Apr 9, 10 3:44 PM

Whale killed with bullet; experts defend how beaching was handled

Re-read the article. It BOUNCED off the whale - which is covered in a FOOT of blubber. Not an easy task. " Apr 10, 10 9:49 AM

The Town of East Hampton would not be responsible for paying to have it dragged back out to sea. It's a federally protected animal - the cost likely would have been paid for by NOAA or the Coast Guard or similar *FEDERAL* agency.

East Hampton Town and the Riverhead Foundation had *NO* jurisdiction because it was a *FEDERALLY* protected animal" Apr 10, 10 9:51 AM

If it was pulled out to sea and too weak to swim - it would have drowned. Not exactly a great way to go... or perhaps be eaten alive by Sharks.

That being said, I don't agree with darting it and shooting it - would have preferred they left it alone but dragging it out to sea would have accomplished nothing. " Apr 10, 10 9:53 AM

Thank you for the correction - East Hampton VILLAGE would not have to pay for it." Apr 10, 10 4:19 PM

I wouldn't say defensive as much as annoyed at the ignorance of the general population who are spouting off on topics they know nothing about. " Apr 10, 10 4:20 PM

Dart used to try to kill whale in East Hampton is still missing

Why do you continue to spew anti-Riverhead Foundation propoganda when all of the reports made it CLEAR they had NO jurisdiction and therefore cannot be held responsible for the decisions made?" Apr 10, 10 10:25 PM

Additionally, the youtube link you provided is an entirely different situation. There are no waves, no surf, no deep water and it's in a funnel shaped embayment which has significantly larger tidal cycles meaning when high tide arrived it would be significantly easier to push it back out to sea. This is not the same as a whale beaching itself along the shoreline of the ocean. " Apr 10, 10 10:27 PM

I have no association with the Riverhead Foundation but I know what they do and and have seen the good work that has been performed by their dedicated staff (I'm not including Mr. Bowman in that group). I have taken the time to understand and learn what the Riverhead Foundation does (have never volunteered or donated money) and have visited their facilities. I have personally called the foundation about distressed seals which they promptly rescued and rehabilitated and I have seen them release seals back to the wild.

Mr. Bowman spoke to reporters because he is the President of the Riverhead Foundation and as such is responsible for communicating with the media. Did he do a good job of communicating to the media? No. If no one from the Riverhead Foundation was answering questions, my guess is many people would be outraged that no one was answering their questions and that they were being silent.

A better question in this is why NOAA was so quite in all of this and did not make clear until several days had passed that they had full "jurisdiction".

You (and others) need to understand what the Riverhead Foundation does and their responsibilities. They do not respond to these situations because they think it's fun, they do it because they are THE ONLY accredited/licensed marine mammal (federally endangered whales excluded) and sea turtle rescue organization in NYS. They were called to the scene because they are local and could be there and begin to assess the situation and communicate that to NOAA. The Riverhead Foundation has a highly educated and qualified staff on-hand and they volunteered there time to remain at the scene of the whale and assist NOAA and takes notes and make observations which will be used in the future to educate fellow biologists and rescuers etc. etc.

To the best of my knowledge and understanding it was in no way Mr. Bowman's call (though he clearly did not make this fact evident) as to how to proceed once the whale had been washed up - he was and is a mouthpiece.

Is it your belief that all of the wonderful work this organization has done to save turtles and seals is moot because of one incident, in which the federal government was actually in charge? There may not be true "marine biologists" on staff, but I can assure you there are Marine *Mammal* Biologists on staff who ARE the experts.

I don't agree with NOAA shooting this whale to end its life and believe that this was a last ditch effort in order to quell the rising anger and frustration by the media and general public. " Apr 10, 10 11:02 PM

Officials: Missing dart used to try to euthanize whale most likely washed out to sea

This is just out of curiosity... did you choose the name Montauk? I haven't read it in any reports.

What is your source that, "The custodians of the whale "Montauk" are hereby notified that tampering with the whale carcass, failure to preserve it for further analysis, or destruction of it, will be punishable to the full extent of the law."

The area that the Whale washed up is not Trustees property. To the best of my knowledge and understanding of the Dongan Patent and NYS Law, the ocean beaches contain Easements to the Trustees allowing the public to access them. The Trustees have no jurisdiction over OCEAN bottom lands - only bay bottoms. NYS has full control of everything *below* the high tide line, which is where the whale was.

Some people have expressed or intimated that my responses are combative or defensive, but I'm merely trying to provide facts and ask questions so that slander and misinformation isn't spread haphazardly. If you do not know something for fact, don't make an argument about it. " Apr 11, 10 5:48 PM

Thank you for clarifying.

What was, in your opinion, "illegal" with the way the federal government handled this situation?

It is my guess the Trustees have been quiet because they know a claim would not be supported as per case law and they would have no interest in the situation which in theory could result in them paying for the removal of the Whale.

Why would they want to be involved? What would be the benefit?" Apr 11, 10 7:05 PM

Evidence of what?

I don't understand why you think something criminal was done. The FEDERAL government was in control the whole time (regardless of what was portrayed by the local Riverhead Foundation). What legal authority is going to step in? NOAA is the *TOP* authority in the country and this happened in US Waters on US Land.

You seem to not understand that a necropsy was performed by NOAA in conjunction with the Riverhead Foundation and samples of various parts of the whale were sent to a multitude of labs for further testing. " Apr 11, 10 9:13 PM

I'm not being defensive - I'm trying to answer your question. NOAA is the top authority - therefore, no legal authority will step in because no one has the authority to do so.

Please explain what you believe was done illegally? You have continually implied and/or stated a crime was done, but have not laid out the basis behind this. " Apr 11, 10 9:38 PM

I went on Wednesday for an hour to observe - that is my only connection to this event.

My apologies if I am coming off as combative - it is my frustration that is showing as you continued to imply something illegal was done but did not provide further explanation.

You have asked questions to which I replied, and the answers apparently were not satisfactory which resulted in having to reaffirm them. NOAA is in charge and will likely have an internal review.

It is my opinion that this matter was not handled as gracefully as it could and should have been - but find the media and many people on this and other sites have been unfair and harsh to both the Riverhead Foundation and NOAA. Spouting off assumptions and guesses is not productive. I am trying to be the bearer of facts.
" Apr 11, 10 10:50 PM

Apples to Oranges. Whales were stranded because of the tide - and the article doesn't give nearly enough information to make an educated comparison. It is likely the whale species was considerably smaller in size.

That being said, it's commended and I'm completely for rescuing wildlife when possible." Apr 12, 10 9:05 PM

Whale killed with bullet; experts defend how beaching was handled

In an effort to spread facts and not lies/misinformation, it was not the Riverhead Foundation who shot the whale in the head, nor did they have any say in the matter. NOAA - aka, the federal government - made the decision.

Newsday has a wonderfully thorough article in their paper today about the situation, the players, and the decisions that were made.

Do I agree with everything that was done? No. Do I think it went swimmingly (no pun intended)? No. But it seems from the Newsday article, the people involved didn't either and they want to improve their skills and knowledge. The person who shot the whale claims he didn't get any sleep and intimated he is wracked with guilt and torn about what he had to do. That alone speaks volumes about the situation.

Further, while the Riverhead Foundation takes in a large amount of $$, their employees do not make a lot, and many are volunteers. Being a non-profit, I'm sure their budget is accessible to a certain degree, and you will see that it is extremely expensive to rehab and rescue animals. They are doing good things with their funds. They are far from experts at rescuing live humpback whales - but there isn't a person on this planet now or ever who was or is an expert at rescuing humpback whales.

Pointing to other whale "rescues" across the world involving other species, in completely different georgraphic and oceanographic circumstances only displays ignorance and it should be understood that each and every stranding is a completely unique instance. " Apr 13, 10 3:32 PM

NOAA was called as soon as Riverhead arrived on the scene and assessed the situation because the strnaded whale was a federally endangered Humpback Whale which means the Federal government must assume lead agency.

Riverhead handles seal and dolphin and turtle strandings because they are not federally endangered species (though they are all federally *protected* species).

Please, stop spreading lies and misinformation. It makes you look ignorant and is a diservice to the volunteers and biologists at the Riverhead Foundation (i.e. Rob Digiovani, Kim Durham)" Apr 13, 10 4:06 PM

Again, NOAA was called because it was a Humpback Whale. Not all whales are federally endangered species.

Furthermore, Riverhead Foundation does help with the rescue and rehab of whale species, even if its as simple as answering questions, taking down observations, providing equipment etc. " Apr 13, 10 4:24 PM

Non-Profits, by nature, don't "make" any money. " Apr 13, 10 7:52 PM

"A non-profit organization is an organization that does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders"

I know you are smart enough to understand what a non-profit is. Those in charge of the Riverhead Foundation are not making money. Atlantis Marine World, on the other hand, *is* a for-profit enterprise, with their owners taking home big paychecks.

A large majority of NPO's pay at least a handful of employees. It is near impossible (especially in a relatively low-population area like the East End of Long Island with a high cost of living) to get qualified, educated, skilled biologists to do real serious work and be on call 24/7 without giving them compensation. " Apr 13, 10 8:14 PM

Another non-profit wouldn't have showed up, because there is only one in NYS. Too my knowledge, I don't think there can be another one (there may be federal guidelines # of rescuers/rehabbers in a state or given area, I could be wrong though). Furthermore, it wouldn't be necessary - NYS had an excellent one, and even if you think it's not excellent, changes can be made to make it excellent. Also, I believe members from CT's rescue/rehab facility did show up to assist.

It would not be fiscally sound to have a facility (on the East and/or West Coast) that can take in whales up to the size of a full Humpback due to transportation costs and how little is known about keeping baleen whales in captivity. There needs are so above and beyond the needs of a Killer Whale or Beluga Whale, the 2 can really not be compared. Does this mean a price is being put on the life of an animal? In a sense, yes, but again, the general scientific consensus is that the majority of whales that are beached are sick and can not be saved/rescued anyway.

Saying that, "Nonprofits are on money quest and on power trip over numerous college age girls who basically support these organizations with their volunteering, donations and hope that one day they will too "work with marine animals". is an unfair jab at people who literally dedicate their lives to rescuing marine mammals and sea turtles. Plenty of volunteers at the Riverhead Foundation and throughout the country are men and many of them begin volunteering later in life (after retiring for instance). It's a disservice to make thoughtless comments like that and does nothing to get your point across.

I don't think we would see a different picture based on the number of animals rehabbed. The Riverhead Foundation is excellent when it comes to rescuing and rehabbing seals and sea turtles and have been successful with dolphins that have been brought in to their facility (getting a pod of dolphins to leave a harbor is a different story and inexperience tends to shine through in these situations).

Please back up your statement that: Big whales strand all the time, and now with even more seismic exploration we will see even more strandings.

I do not have the data, but it's my understanding that *live* whales, especially of humpback size, rarely end up beached or stranded. Even dead whales are a rather rare occurrence on East Coast beaches.

Lastly, for the umpteenth time, the Riverhead Foundation did not shoot the whale in the head, nor euthanize it. The federal government did." Apr 13, 10 9:44 PM

I never said this was done by the book, or done properly. Riverhead Foundation is proficient at rescuing seals and sea turtles, and should not be used as a scape goat because of this incident. It's a shame that they would get a black eye because of this - can you imagine if someone finds a seal or sea turtle in need of help and they don't call the Riverhead Foundation because of what they read about them in regards to the failed Whale rescue? Would you call them if you found an injured seal on NY beaches?

I have compassion. I would have preferred nothing be done and for nature to have run its course - who are we to interfere? But, that is not what happened.

I've stated I do not agree with the whale being shot in the head. I've stated that Mr. Bowman did a very poor job communicating. I've stated that this was not done perfectly, or well for that matter.

I don't believe I'm rationalizing everything. I'm understanding that what happened happened and it cannot be changed but as a result future humpback whale standings will be handled differently.

I'm for change, I'm for rescuing and rehabbing wildlife, whales included. Apparently I wasn't clear enough and I apologize for that. This situation was handled poorly by the federal government, and everyone involved. However, I don't believe it was done intentionally, or that pushing the whale back was an option (due to threats of drowning/shark attacks/size)

As for JJ the Whale, I only know what was in the link, but they did not state how long it was in captivity. I'm inferring however, that the baleen grey whale (much smaller than a humpback, mind you) was able to be held in captivity because it relied on milk. Feeding a baleen whale milk, and letting a baleen whale feed naturally on krill are two different things. This is not a rationalization, it is a fact.

Lastly, my goal is not to be 'right' or to 'win'. As previously stated, my goal is to present facts and steer this conversation on this thread in the right direction without pointing blame at people who are not at fault. " Apr 13, 10 10:30 PM

Thank you Sam for clarifying and helping me and all of us better understand how this situation works. I was unaware that ALL of the turtle species are federally endangered and the exact protocol. Regardless, the Riverhead Foundation was not in charge and did not make the end decision, and I am in agreement that Rob and Kim should not come out of this with a black eye.

" Apr 13, 10 10:41 PM

Your first two points are excellent.

Your third point makes no sense. The highway yard is "under 5 feet of water" because it was constructed decades ago in a low lying area directly adjacent to freshwater wetlands . There is a drainage area along North Sea Rd. which collects water and does what it is supposed to do, but currently the water table is at record highs in many areas of Long Island (North Sea I'm sure is no exception) and as such there is no where for the water to go. Eventually the water table will go down and so will the area of standing water.

The Trustees have nothing to do with flooding at the highway yard, nor did they have anything to do with the beached whale (ignoring the fact that we are talking about seperate towns here). The DEC and the Town Board have nothing to do with it either - the fact of the matter is the highway yard was constructed in an area prone to flooding a long time ago - likely before NYS wetlands laws (1970 I believe) or Town Wetlands laws were enacted. The Town is not immune to its own laws - though I am not so niave to believe it does not skirt them from time to time." Apr 14, 10 9:59 AM

It's highly probable that NOAA was involved in the dolphin stranding in MA.

Also, as I have previously stated, you cannot compare a 30' humpback whale in relatively rough surf in April on Long Island to unknown species of whales in a tropical area that were likely stranded for tidal reasons (inferred from the very limited information in that article)

Again, I do agree changes should be made, and this wasn't doing properly, but it doesn't do any good compare a dolphin rescue in Tasmania to this. That's like comparing a domestic hostage situation on Long Island to the terrorists taking a US soldier hostage. Two totally different scenarios even though they are both "hostage takings"" Apr 14, 10 8:06 PM

A whale of a mistake


I'd love to see you in your hip waders pushing this 30' whale back out to sea. I heard reports that at one point the whale lifted its head and tail out of the water and slapped its tail back down - that's certainly not a risk worth taking.

I'm not sure how dragging a Whale out to sea by its tail for it to drown and/or be eaten alive by sharks is better than letting it die on the beach.

To be clear, I don't agree with it being shot, and think the situation was handled poorly, but I believe the desire to haul out back out to the ocean comes from a desire for this to be out of the public eye.

I also believe that stating the "Riverhead Foundation resigned themselves very early on" does a disservice to the Riverhead Foundation and lumps everyone together and ignores the fact that NOAA was involved and took lead agency.

No more comments for me, I just had to put in my 2 cents here. " Apr 14, 10 11:55 PM

*Michael " Apr 14, 10 11:56 PM

Stony Brook Southampton students seek $10,000 by end of day for legal fund

I'm all for saving the college (just like I was the first time around). I do, however, find it ironic that people are donating money, to keep NYS from closing SBS due to financial reasons, which results in the NYS spending $$$ in order to "save" money. I understand there are separate funds and all of that, but it seems like some circular logic to me - though I guess it will pale in comparison to the $78 million already spent." Apr 16, 10 6:08 PM

Southampton Town Board promotes three police officers to sergeant

Wait wait wait... we hired someone from NESCONSET to be our town attorney? I mean, I can understand someone from Brookhaven Town or East Hampton Town... but NESCONSET?! " Apr 17, 10 1:17 AM

IRS says Southampton Town comptroller owes $650,000 in back taxes

"The taxes the IRS claims Ms. Wright owes date back to 2002 and 2003, when Ms. Wright was working as a chief operating officer in the financial industry in the United Kingdom."

If you read the article, you would have seen the above quote. She didn't make her money as a Town Employee, and if its a situation that probably lends itself to tax "mistakes"" Apr 18, 10 1:56 PM

Stony Brook Southampton students seek $10,000 by end of day for legal fund

Slamminsammy was reffering to the State AG fighting the lawsuit brought by the students. So, NY tax dollars will be spent, fighting "Save Southampton" to move forward with closing the campus, to save money. It unfortuantely is circular logic. At least when it happend with LIU there were no tax dollars being spent.

Additionally, the local Pols are reportedly bringing action against the State on their own terms, which will cost tax payers more. " Apr 19, 10 4:28 PM

Town Highway Department warns of wide trucks on Dune Road in Hampton Bays

@ ICE: I think political pawn was being sarcastic...

As for the plovers, both Political Pawn and yourself come across as ignorant. Part of that is due to 27east simplifying the story and leaving out the fact that Least Terns also nest on the beach and are protected by both the State and Federal Government, so even if the plovers are taken off the endangered species list, the trucks would still not be allowed to drive along the beaches.

Additionally, the fact that vehicles can't drive along the beaches now is because the County is too lazy to properly fence their beaches and instead block access and put up large swaths of fencing. Southampton Town, on the other hand, only blocks access when the plovers have hatched and the chicks (which are extremely vulnerable to being run over) are present.

There are hundreds (if not more) species of ground nesting birds. The problem isn't that they nest on the ground, the problem is that humans damage their habitat with 4X4s and bulkheading and other activities which not only present a risk to the birds that can't fly (the chicks) but also reduce suitable habitat. It has nothing to do with ecological succession which you should look up in an encyclopedia.
" Apr 20, 10 7:41 PM

Common Terns and Roseate Terns nest on the dredge spoil islands, but Least Terns are on the Ocean Beaches (and bay beaches), right next to the Plovers, please do your research before spouting off without facts. Saying Least Terns don't nest on the ocean beaches is almost as bad as when people say they hate Plovers because they divebomb them when they are walking along the beach. It's the Least Terns that are responsible for that.

Encyclopedia = Wikipedia. Phrases aren't listed in the Dictionary.

Ecological Succession refers to plants/climate not animals. Animals only come into play when the climate/plants change. I believe the correct term for what you are reffering to is Survival of the Fittest which is a fair arguement.

Only a percentage (less than 50%) of plover nests are enclosed for protection from dogs/fox/raccoons/ferral cats and they are usually located in areas that are known to be heavy in ferral cats or fox. Least Tern nests are never enclosed, only marked off with "string" fencing.

With regards to driving on the beach - as I previously stated the County is guilty of blocking vehicle access well before chicks hatch and after they are able to fly. This has to do with the number of staff and amount of beach and is something I don't agree with. In Southampton Town, the beaches are only blocked once chicks hatch and you can thank the Southampton Town Trustees for that who take residents right to use the beach seriously and do what they can to ensure access.

They get special treatment because they are protected by both the Federal and State Government - just like the Humpback Whale that everyone was so upset about. The best explination for why Plovers are important is because they are an indication of the effects humans are having on the rest of the planet. If humans allow Piping Plovers to go extinct due to human actions, then why should humans care if any species goes extinct? How do you decide what is and what isn't important? Should Humpback Whales not be protected either? Or are they different because they are mammals? (these are questions, not accusations.) There also are unknown possible negative effects which could occur if one species is wiped out of the range that could have a domino effect on other species. If plovers dissapear and Least Tern numbers explode it's my guess that beachgoers would rather have a few plovers around then be constantly harassed and dive-bombed by the Least Terns." Apr 21, 10 9:47 AM

Southampton Town comptroller works out tax lien issues

"Southampton Town comptroller works out tax lien issues" - SH Press, that's a misleading headline.

Ms. Wright has not worked anything out. She submitted documentation and is awaiting the IRS's decisions. Why not state the truth in the headline, instead of misleading your readers?" Apr 21, 10 3:43 PM

For the record: The press is standing by their erroneous headline?" Apr 22, 10 2:58 PM

Officials want to use Southampton Town's Community Preservation Fund to save Stony Brook Southampton

I'm a big fan of Southampton College and think it brings a lot of good to the East End. I feel for the students now, and for the ones who went through this with LIU. However, to suggest that CPF money be used to by the development rights is beyond asanine. Taxpayers already supplied the $78 million to buy/rehab the university. WHY would the taxpayers of Southampton then fork over $6 (10? 20?) million for the development rights when the property is already owned by the government? So Southampton residents should have to pay SUNY for the land, that was already bought with tax dollars?! There is NO way that's legal under CPF" Apr 22, 10 7:40 PM

I understand that (and am fine with it, but that's my opinion). But the Town has other recourses that don't involve bailing out the state with CPF dollars which should be spent preserving farmland or areas in the Pine Barrens/Aquifer Protection Overlay District.

The Town could change the zoning and forbid Industrial applications, create a special zoning district for undergraduate/graduate programs, enact a moratorium on new construction/development etc. etc. Additionally, the Southampton Town Trustees own a few R.O.W. across the campus which gives them a say in what happens there (at least was the case when LIU owned it).

The biggest problem for me with buying the development rights in order to float the college for 2 years when it can become it's own SUNY entity is it's just a band-aid. Southampton and Stony Brook Southampton closed because they weren't profitable. Throwing money at a failed idea is stupid. There is no endowment (as was the case with LIU). There is no alum, so endowment will take decades to be established. Prospective students would be awfully bold to choose a college that closed TWICE in 5 years, even if it becomes it's own university. It would still be part of the SUNY system, and as such could be shut down due to budgetary reasons. It flies in the face of why CPF was put in place, (Btw, Thiele was the brains behind it, which makes this more amazing to me). I didn't vote for CPF so my tax dollars could be spent bailing out NYS.

What happens if in 3 years SUNY says, it's not working, it doesn't make money, we have to shut it down? Yes, it won't be turned into a subdivison or golf course, but it doesn't solve the fundamental problem of having a university out here. " Apr 22, 10 8:15 PM

I should clarify, however, that since SBS is owned by the State, they don't have to abide by Town Zoning laws or moratoriums if they are doing things in-house. Where it can come into play is bringing in outside companies and non-government organizations. " Apr 22, 10 10:02 PM

Southampton Town delays vote on land swap between CPF, Westhampton Cemetery

Looks like the people who run the cemetery aren't very savvy. They assumed the Trustees would swap land, then when they (surprise!) said no, they go crawling to the Town. This defeats the purpose of CPF and is an insult to all those who have paid the tax. The town bought this parcel to preserve it, not to trade it so it can be used as a cemetery. Why didn't the Westhampton Cemetery BUY the land when it was for sale in the first place? That would have avoided this whole mess. If the Town gets into the business of horse trading CPF lands, it won't be long before arrests are made. Look at what happened in East Hampton - this is the first step to serious corruption.

Also, it's my understanding that once a cemetery is full, the owners have the right to give it to the Town who has to take care of it in perpetuity. So after this land swap, the Town will end up with it anyways. What a waste of precious CPF dollars. " Apr 22, 10 10:19 PM

Officials want to use Southampton Town's Community Preservation Fund to save Stony Brook Southampton

Please Mr. Thiele, tell me which one of these categories buying a DEVELOPED PUBLICLY OWNED college falls under:

Includes the following:
Establishment of parks, nature preserves, or recreational areas.
Preservation of open space, including agricultural lands.
Preservation of lands of exceptional scenic value.
Preservation of freshwater and saltwater marshes or other wetlands.
Preservation of aquifer recharge areas.
Preservation of undeveloped beachlands or shorelines.
Establishment of wildlife refuges for the purpose of maintaining native animal species diversity, including the protection of essential habitat to the recovery of rare, threatened or endangered species.
Preservation of pine barrens consisting of such biota as pitch pine, and scrub oak.
Preservation of unique or threatened ecological areas.
Preservation of rivers or river areas in natural, free-flowing condition.
Preservation of forested lands.
Preservation of public access to lands for public use, including stream rights and waterways.
Preservation of historic places and properties listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and/or protected under a Town historic preservation local law.
Undertaking any of the aforementioned in furtherance of the establishment of a greenbelt." Apr 22, 10 10:35 PM

How does buying the rights to public land, with public funds = a profitable college? If the *new* \Southampton College is still losing money (which odds are, it will be) will Southampton Taxpayers be forced to bail it out too? " Apr 22, 10 11:26 PM

I presume you're talking about the one in Southampton Village. The purpose of that was for parkland. Once Eply came out with his plan to make it a hiring site, Southampton Town sued the Village saying it was an improper use, as per CPF.

That being said, I'm sure there are questionable CPF purchases out there. The Town is now considering swapping a CPF piece next to 7-11 in Westhampton with the Westhampton Cemetery. What a joke CPF is becoming. Why does the Town care if the Westhampton Cemetery runs out of land? All cemeterys run out of land. " Apr 23, 10 11:31 AM

The Town does have to put it to vote in order to get approval for this - but if it is done at a special election, we all know what kind of turnout those tend to generate. " Apr 23, 10 12:34 PM

ATH was quoted in Newsday as saying, "I dare Stony Brook to get in the way of this."

ATH, you DO understand that Stony Brook can veto this right? Then you will have zero recourse and the CPF proposal will be dead. Or the State Legislature can veto it. Or, hopefully, the state AG will stop it before it gets to that point because it's illegal.

All I can do is hope and pray these politicos don't understand CPF and don't realize what they're doing is illegal. Unfortunately, Thiele DOES know better, since he was the brains behind it. " Apr 23, 10 12:42 PM

I suggest you take a tour of the campus (before its closed anyway). Stony Brook re-did the dorms, re-did the dining hall, re-did, well everything. It's a beautiful place and nicer than Stony Brook main campus in my opinion. Lots of people want(ed) to go there when LIU was in charge, but they mismanaged it and enrollment dropped. SBS was poised to jump in enrollment next year (numbers were kept low because they didn't have suitable housing on campus yet) but this is putting the nail in the coffin.

There are plenty of examples of colleges that thrive in the middle of nowhere, but they are managed better than this place." Apr 24, 10 11:02 AM

You get points for creativity, but unfortunately your (admitted) lack of knowledge about CPF makes your arguement moot.

The purpose of CPF is to take 2% from every real estate transaction and use the money to preserve land under the criteria I listed above (straight from Town Code). One offshoot of the CPF program is PDR or purchased development rights. The point of PDRs is to buy farmland that would otherwise become a subdivision. The farmer gets millions for his land and is able to continue to farm. Even if the farmer wants to take his money and leave, the farmland is preserved so it will always be available for production of crops.

Purchasing development rights on a parcel which is already developed is a misuse of funds, especially when that property is already owned by the government.

The historic structures on campus (I believe only the Windmill and Mansion would qualify) would certainly be appropriate for purchase, but only the land beneath those structures could be purchased - not the entire campus.

Buying land to preserve drinking water only makes sense on parcels that are 100% natural vegetation - not filled with buildings and septic systems and whatever else is in the ground at SBS. Think chunks of pine barrens, or swaths of woods in North Sea or Noyac. Shinnecock Hills was purposely excluded from the Aquifer Protection Overlay District (APOD) in Town Code because it was so heavily developed and devoid of natural vegetation.

As an SBS student, you obviously are passionate about keeping your school and being part of a sustainable community. I suggest you and your classmates learn about the purpose of CPF and the legislation behind it (call the Southampton Town CPF office where they will be more than happy to explain it). Once you realize what its for, you would understand that this is a terrible idea that will rob the residents of Southampton Town of precious CPF lands that could be purchased instead. At that point, hopefully the student body can urge Thiele and the SH TB to come up with another plan.
" Apr 25, 10 10:49 AM

What is wrong with bringing in brilliant minds from across the world to study and learn and discover? BNL (which works in conjunction with Stony Brook) is filled with these "foreign" minds and has *SEVEN* noble peace prizes to its name. It's also the lab where U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu once worked and I'm willing to bet he worked closely with the "foreign grad students". Stony Brook University is a largely multi-national institution with brilliant minds working in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, computer science, etc. They are a main factor in why Stony Brook is rated as such a good school in the US and in the World.

Why would I regret not using CPF funds and having some of the smartest people in the world working and living in my town? I'm not following your logic, and I find it ironic your name is "vote no" as you apparently will be "voting yes" to using CPF funds for this project. " Apr 25, 10 10:57 AM

I believe Stony Brook still needs to cut $20 million at the MAIN campus, and there were stiff cuts at Stony Brook Manhatten" Apr 25, 10 12:13 PM

The statement about the college losing money is a reflection of what the future holds. At this point, 1/2 the students are already enrolled at SBU and all incoming students are going somewhere else (SBU or otherwise). With all of the negative press, and the college "closing" twice in 5 years, it will be extremely difficult to get students to come to Southampton College even if something ends up being worked out. The damage is done and it will take much longer to get to the max # of students now. Also, it's a leap of faith to extrapolate into the future from enrollement increasing "54%" for one year.

I don't think it will be too hard of an investigation to determine that more money is going out than is coming in - this was the same problem when LIU ran the school. LIU was floating Southampton College for years which was OK because LIU had a lot of money laying around, but as soon as those funds dried up they had to make the tough decision to shut it down. SUNY Stony Brook needs to cut ~$30 million and are closing Southampton "for the time being". That's not to say I don't think it's nearsighted, or foolish, or that I don't trust/believe the officials, but there is some truth to it. It's nearly impossible (especially in this economy) to run a college with $0 endowment.

Even if the school isn't "making money" (bringing in more than it costs to run), the endowment should be increasing each year, or at the very least stay the same - when there is no endowment, the money has to come from somewhere." Apr 26, 10 9:21 AM

"officials said its proposed cuts would save SUNY about $6.7 million a year"

How does that = $2 milllion / year?

Stony Brook was forced to make serious budget cuts and decided this was a good way to save some $$. They also had serious cuts at Stony Brook Manhatten, and will have severe cuts at Stony Brook main campus. It may be stupid and nearsighted and foolish, but it's likely that the root of this problem was a lack of proper funding in the first place. Same with LIU Southampton - there was $0 endowment. " Apr 26, 10 9:27 AM

"this fund which I am told is over a half a billion dollars" I hope you are not referring to the CPF fund, which was quoted by Southampton Town's supervisor as "$10 million" which I was told isn't even accurate because some of that money is already promised to other acquisitions. On top of that, the CPF program is running a high debt because bonds were taken out (as they should be) to purchase land that will be paid back over time because land is relatively inexpensive right now. The 1/2 billion may represent the total amount of $$$ that has come in since the programs inception.

As I have stated to another student who posted here, there are historic structures on campus (windmill and mansion) and it would be appropriate to buy purchase those entities outright but not purchase the development rights for the entire county.

If SUNY lets Stony Brook branch off there still will not be money in the budget, and there is $0 endowment. That is the biggest problem, without endowment, the only way to make a college work is to have tuition costs cover the operating costs of a university, which is impossible at State tuition costs. Colleges like Harvard and Yale have endowments in the *billions* and they still charge a premium to be a student.

I urge you, as I urged your fellow student, to read up on the CPF law and call the CPF office for Southampton Town which will be happy to explain the details of Purchased Development Rights and CPF funds and you will realize this is a gross misuse of that fund. By saying CPF monies should be used to buy development rights from an already developed, already government owned facility, you are robbing the residents of Southampton Town from precious lands that will preserve drinking water and crucial habitats. Stony Brook's decision to close LIU Southampton does not prohibit them from teaching classes and having majors in environmental sustainability and as such Southampton should not be bailed out.

It's environmentally irresponsible and goes against everything that the students of SBS believe in and are passionate about and studying for to deplete CPF funds in order to keep the college afloat. " Apr 26, 10 6:49 PM

Please excuse the few typos such as "entire county" = entire campus and "LIU Southampton" = SBU Southampton

In an article from the NY Times in December of 2008, Harvard's endowment was quoted as $36.9 billion. Maybe some letters should be sent to Harvard and they can make SBS a satellite of Harvard?

Also, while some people argue Southampton College could fall under several categories of appropriate CPF purchases, please remember that the proposal is to purchase the underlying *development rights* which doesn't preserve the campus in any way shape or form, and which doesn't entitle the residents of Southampton to have access to the property. SUNY could still sell the campus to a private developer or lease it out to a chemical lab, it would just forbid them from constructing new buildings and increasing the sanitary load. The only appropriate use of CPF monies under the guise of development rights is to purchase Farm/Ag lands with prime farm/ag soils which don't exist in Shinnecock Hills" Apr 26, 10 7:04 PM

I believe what that means is they will be "saving" $6.7 million/year but the first year or two they have contractual obligations which will eat up some of that money, so it won't be until year 3 that the full $6.7 million will be "saved". However, I agree that it's nearsighted, and a bit dishonest to say they will be saving that much right off the bat when they have contracts they need to honor. Thanks for posting that article" Apr 26, 10 9:03 PM

It's impossible to get hold of the development rights with objectives consistant with CPF because the only situation in which the purchase of development rights is applicable is when the property is actively farmed, or has the potential for active farming/agriculture (prime soils, flat topography, etc.) which is not the case for Southampton which is already developed and has the allowable density of 2000 people as per suffolk county.

The unmowed grass meadow was the idea of the students who thought it wise to nite waste time/energy/fuel mowing grass to have a pretty lawn that no one uses. To say Stony Brook failed and imply SUNY won't is foolish, SUNY runs Stony Brook." Apr 28, 10 9:14 AM

A model home for green living

I commend the property owner for creating a platinum LEED certified building, but have to question how "green" a 4,700 square foot house is, even for a family of 5 or 6. If they were really totally 100% commited to being green, they would construct the smallest house possible for them to function in so as to use less heat, less electricty and less building materials (oh, and less land). But then again that's a tall order in the Hamptons.

Please give us an update once the landscaping is in - I'd like to see if they do a raingarden or if they go the conventional hamptons sod route. Furthermore, was the enitre parcel wooded? Seems to me the "green" thing to do would be to leave the parcel wooded except for the area needed for the house. These are not critisicms of the property owners because they certainly went above and beyond what is required and what 99% of people do, but it's far from total green living.

Also, the photos indicate a windmill to be constructed ontop of the house. Is that something that's in the works or was scrapped? And photo captions would be helpful." Apr 28, 10 2:31 PM

Officials want to use Southampton Town's Community Preservation Fund to save Stony Brook Southampton

I'm all for saving the school and think Stony Brook is being foolish with its actions. But using CPF funds is illegal and I'm completely against the Town bailing out the State to float the college for 2 years with no guarentee that the college will ever be successful. It's a waste of public $$$ and incredibly irresponsible - it goes against everything SBS stands for it. i.e. it's wasteful.

I have not taken a business course, but I do have a general grasp of how business works. I know it takes $$$ and time to create a successful business, and I know/understand SBS was in that stage, but Stony Brook had to cut $30 million + so it had to come from somewhere. It's not like they are axing SBS and nothing else - Manhatten was hit hard and Stony Brook main campus will be hit hard.

Please explain to me how SUNY Southampton will be able to bring in more money than it costs to operate, with $0 endowment? As prevously mentioned, Harvard's endowment is in the hundreds of *billions* of dollars, and they still charge a premium for their tuition and housing. " Apr 28, 10 3:17 PM


I count 33 individual posters against using CPF dollars (not including myself). I've spoken to others (yeah I know, that's not a reliable source) who are against it. If you took the time to read all the comments, you will see many people are against using CPF $$ for this, and it appears the majority of those FOR it are students.

To be clear (because you haven't taken the time to read my posts). I am FOR the college. I'm for SAVING the college. I was for SAVING the college the first time it closed. But, I'm not for thiele and the town board treating their consituents money as a slush fund to prop up fiscally mismanaged colleges which are already owned by the public.

How can you support an illegal wasteful tax payer funded idea like this? Honestly, tell me how in any way shape or form, purchasing the underlying development rights of SBS qualifies as an appropriate expenditure of CPF. But please, before you do that, call the CPF office and read the town code to get a true understanding of what CPF and PDRs are for.
" Apr 28, 10 3:26 PM


I like the multi-pronged approach at tackling this problem, however there are some issues. You want professors to work for $1/year because other CEO's can work for $1/year... those CEOs are able to do that because they have made their millions, and are still getting heavily compensated in stock options. The better their companies do, the more they make in stock sales. The former chancellor of LIU Southampton (a billionaire) took only $1/year AND gave millions to the college for buildings and it still went belly up.

The alumni idea would normally be a good one, but there is no alumni for Stony Brook Southampton, so SBU alumni would probably not want their $$$ going to a campus they never visited.

It's easy as a resident of Mattituck to say that Southampton CPF funds should be used for the development rights, since it's not your money. But hey, since it's on the "east end" maybe CPF monies from Riverhead and Southold should be used too, you wouldn't mind that right? Who cares that it's illegal and that the property is already developed.

The only way to save this school is to have a serious stream of continual income - not living fundraiser to fundraiser, constantly under the threat of closure. Maybe a corprorate sponsor can be brought in - certainly a first for a public university, but isn't SBS about being the first to do things? SUNY (and Stony Brook) has to go along with any and all proposals, and the $$$ has to be in the budget. When the economy turns around and SUNY/Stony Brook can begin to get a revenue stream from this campus again, things will improve. Fighting and suing SUNY won't accomplish anything if there is no $$. That's like suing Bernie Madoff to get your $$ back - yea you might win a lawsuit, but there is no money to get back.
" Apr 30, 10 9:42 AM

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