Heavy News Week

Newsrooms all over the world regularly have to deal with a common complaint: it’s either feast or famine in the arena of hard news. In slow news cycles, human interest, trend, background stories and essays come to the fore. Feast times present their own challenges: what to lead with? (In journalism circles, that’s often spelled “lede,” but that’s a bit too affected for At Quaquanantuck’s taste.)

Shiny Wave Clouds AB
Early spring manes. —A. Botsford Photo

This is the dilemma facing the At Quaquanantuck newsroom this week: two hot news items—a new director has been named for the Quogue Library, and there’s an update on remediation plans for the severely scoured Village Beach—but the laws of physics and publishing dictate that one has to come before the other. In this case, though, the decision is made easier because the new library director is a bona fide news item and the battle against beach erosion is an ongoing issue. Therefore …

New Director Named for Quogue Library
Through the good graces of board of trustees President Barbara Sartorius, the Quogue Library announced this week the appointment of a new Library Director, Jenny Bloom.

The appointment follows a nationwide search conducted over the past six months with the assistance of Bradbury Miller Associates of Kansas City, Missouri, specialists in library executive searches.

Jenny Bloom
Jenny Bloom

 Ms. Bloom, who grew up in Southold, will be moving back to Long Island from the state of Washington. Her most recent service was as the Branch Manager for the Kitsap Regional Library in Manchester, Washington, a facility servicing 258,000 residents in Kitsap County. 

“We are very excited to have Jenny Bloom come to the Quogue Library,” Ms. Sartorius wrote this week. “She was extremely impressive throughout the search and interview process and we think that her experience and personality will be the perfect fit for Quogue.”

Ms. Bloom returned the compliment. “The Quogue Library Staff and Trustee’s enthusiasm for the community is infectious!” she wrote. “Their track record of responsive programming and caring service has built an impressive foundation. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the next chapter for the Quogue Library and can’t wait to get to know the community.” 

The library is approaching completion of an extensive renovation that has been underway for the past 16 months, and will be reopening this summer after providing service and programming during the renovation period in temporary quarters on Midland Street and at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. 

Ms. Bloom will start in her new position on April 1 to lead the transition into the new library building. 

And now, on to the beach update.

QVB head on AB
Quogue Village Beach. —A. Botsford Photo

A number of readers having expressed concern over the state of the Village Beach and the prospects for even having a beach to go to when summer arrives, At Quaquanantuck paid a visit to Mayor Peter Sartorius this week to find out what the plans are. 

The Mayor’s level-headed response to the current condition of the beach is in line with best practices developed over the past 10 years: an additional single row of geo-cubes, two cubes high, will be installed in front (seaward) of the existing wall of cubes under the beach pavilion; the village has requested approval from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for importing up to 8,000 cubic yards of sand to spread on the beach and cover up the cubes; and a new set of stairs will be installed.  

In addition, Hizzoner has requested approval for a May 15, 2020 date for bringing in the sand. The reasoning behind this request is simple: the later the sand is brought in, the lower the risk that a late winter or early spring storm will wash it all away before the summer beach season arrives. The Mayor is hopeful that the later date will be approved; in the past, he said, he has only been able to get the ok for no later than April 15.

Village Beach, looking west. —A. Botsford Photo

 After a series of nor’easter storms in the fall and early winter tore away the stairs down to the beach and swept away the sand berm, exposing the geo-cubes installed to shore up the dune under the pavilion, several residents started to call for immediate action. The fear was that, left unchecked, continuing erosion would knock out the geo-cubes and the subsequent undermining of the dune would topple the pavilion onto the beach. 

Those fears, the mayor said this week, were unfounded, and he offered a brief history lesson in support of that contention. In 2010, near the start of his first term, the village first installed the geo-cubes to guard against continuing erosion. At that time, the Army Corps of Engineers had been dredging down at the Shinnecock Inlet and had made available to the Village of Quogue and Southampton Town, free of charge, huge piles of sand deposited on Road K that the village was able to use to cover the new cubes and spread on the beach in the spring, paying only for trucking the sand down Dune Road and the work of spreading it on the beach. 

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy washed away the sand at the Village Beach and exposed the cubes. Since the DEC does not permit the redistribution of existing sand on the beach, the village had to get approval to bring in sand purchased from inland suppliers; the approval was granted and the cubes were covered, once again after winter had passed.  

The most recent exposure of the geo-cubes before this fall, the Mayor said, was in 2018. The village got approval to bring in sand to restore the beach, holding off on doing the work until the last possible moment so as not to risk losing the sand and the costly investment required to bring it in. 

The mayor said this week that bringing in sand comes out to about $30 a yard, which covers the cost of the sand and paying to have it trucked to the beach and spread out with earth moving equipment. If this year’s project requires the entire 8,000 yards for which he is requesting approval, the cost would come out to approximately $240,000. “Fortunately,” he said, “the village has that much money on hand for just this sort of contingency.”

QVB east AB
Level beach, ebbing tide, looking east. —A. Botsford Photo

Coastal geology being what it is, this will not be the last time the village will have to restore the beach. For the long term, Mayor Sartorius is hopeful the Quogue will benefit from the Army Corps of Engineers Fire Island to Montauk Point project; an updated draft plan for the project was released in February of this year. More on this plan and how it might affect the Village Beach in a future column. 

Making Mobile Payments Workshop
The Quogue Library is hosting a workshop on Making Mobile Payments at 4 p.m. today, Thursday, March 5, at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. 

Led by tech wizard Russ Wiesenbacher, the workshop will give participants the ability to “say goodbye to cash, checks, and credit cards.” There are several mobile payment apps that have been created to allow users to purchase products and services or exchange money with family and friends, all from a mobile device. 

The workshop will introduce participants to PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and other mobile payment products to find out which works best for their needs. For information or to register, call the library at 631-653-4224. 

Floral Arranging Workshop Saturday
All are invited to welcome spring by learning the art of floral arranging with everyone’s favorite Quogue florist, the inimitable Rori Jones, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. 

Plants will be provided at this program for adults. The cost is $20 per person, and seating is limited, so all are asked to RSVP in advance, 631-653-4224.

Sand abstract GR
Sand abstraction. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

Full Moon Night Hike March 10 at QWR
Nature lovers are invited to celebrate the last full moon before the vernal equinox by enjoying a Full Moon Night Hike at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday, March 10, starting at 7 p.m. 

During the 90-minute walk through the forest up to North Pond and back, adults and families with children age 11 and up will look and listen for nocturnal creatures and undertake some night vision activities under the light of January’s Wolf moon. 

This program is $5 for Wildlife Refuge members; $10 for non-members. Reservations, by telephone or in-person only (631-653-4771) are required at least 24 hours in advance, along with payment of the appropriate fee. No online reservations are accepted for this program. 

A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” Up Next for Hampton Theatre Company
“Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney will be the third play of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season, opening on March 19, 2020 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through April 5. A talkback with the cast and director will be offered following the 7 p.m. performance on Friday, March 27. 

Because the play deals affectionately with issues related to animal adoption/rescue, the HTC is dedicating the dress rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, to a benefit for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. For more information on the benefit or to buy tickets, visit southamptonanimalshelter.com

In this romantic comedy about a marriage and an adopted pet, a sassy stray dog (played by a human) is brought home from Central Park and becomes a major bone of contention for empty-nesters Greg and Kate.

More info on this show next week. Visit www.hamptontheatre.org or call 631-653-8955 for more information right now. 

Full-Time Employment and Internships at Refuge
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge has an opening for a full-time Administrative Assistant/Benefits Coordinator, as well as several internships, including: Summer Ecology Program Educator; Little Naturalists Educator; Environmental Education; and Nature Center and Animal Care. Visit quoguewildliferefuge.org or call 631-653-4771 for more information or to apply. 

Abstract sand. —A. Botsford Photo

Sign Up Now for QWR Summer Field Ecology Program 2020
The fine folks at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge are currently focusing on early signups for the eight one-week sessions of the children’s Summer Field Ecology program, which will be marking its 51st anniversary this summer.  

With separate programs tailored to first-timers and returning campers in grades two through six; six and seven; eight through 10; and Little Naturalists age 4 to 6, the one-week-per-customer sessions offer hands-on, intense exploration of some of nature’s secrets, always stressing the importance of the natural world and respect for the Earth and its inhabitants. 

Due to limited class size, popularity of the program, and priority registration for QWR members, sessions may fill up. Early signups are encouraged; visit quoguewildliferefuge.org/summer-camps or call 631-653-4771 for more information. 

Inn Spot on the Bay Closing for Two Weeks
Due to a family emergency, the Inn Spot on the Bay will be closed until March 13. The Inn Spot will reopen on March 13 and will be serving an Irish dinner on March 13 and 14. 

The cost will be $39 for the three-course prix fixe; there will be seatings from 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. The Inn Spot on the Bay is just north of the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays. Call 631-728-1200 for more information or to make a reservation, or visit  www.theinnspot.com/internationaldiningseries to see the complete menu. 

Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.  

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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