Sag Harbor community notes

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The confluence of historic events this week is enough to rouse in even the most pessimistic Harborite some glimmer of optimism, if not quite inauguration euphoria. The huge “We Are One” concert cum love fest at the Lincoln Memorial last Sunday got us fired up. Then Martin Luther King Jr. Day was commemorated with a national call to service by President Barack Obama.

Two Sag Harbor writers responded to the call. Poet Kathryn Levy and children’s book author Kate McMullan organized a food collection on Monday to help stock the Sag Harbor Food Pantry. Kate was overwhelmed at the tremendous outpouring of early support for the effort. More than 50 people locally sent pledges and checks totaling $2,000 days before the designated day of service.

“People really want to do something,” said Kate. “It’s the start of something new.”

Kathryn sees a reinvigoration of that spirit of service she grew up with when John F. Kennedy was president. She spent Sunday afternoon watching the concert while organizing the next day’s food collection. Even though people are suffering financially, she said, “we have a sense we can make things better when we think of ourselves as part of a community.”

Bruce Springsteen belted out “The Rising” his post-9/11 anthem in the background. Participating in the food drive made Kathryn realize “we really could reshape this country.” If you didn’t get a chance to help out on National Day of Service, you can still participate by sending a check to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry, 44 Union Street, P.O. Box 1241, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.

On Tuesday, Bay Street Theatre threw open its doors for the community to watch the inauguration together so those of us who decided to skip the massive crowds and security checkpoints in D.C. could still feel part of the action. A friend commented that during this financial crisis, it’s community that will matter most. It’s no longer about what’s in your bank account, but it’s that circle of neighbors working together for the greater good that will provide the most capital. In Sag Harbor, at least, we feel we can count on some measure of community currency.

Dr. King’s dream of a time when individuals are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin was realized this week when Barack Obama became our first African-American president. To honor the far-reaching vision of Dr. King’s dream, the St. Andrew Church Community of Faith and Peace will present the film “King: Man of Peace in a Time of War” tonight, Thursday, January 22, at 7 p.m.

The hour-long film, made in 2006, includes interviews with Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell among others. It includes a fascinating clip from a 1967 Mike Douglas Show in which Dr. King explains the parallels between his work in the civil rights movement in the United States and his stance against the war in Vietnam. A discussion of King’s prophetic voice in the 21st century will follow.

The event will be held in the parish center and all are invited. For information, call Cathy at the church office, 725-0123.

The Sag Harbor Hysterical Society will offer another Sunday afternoon of live music and merriment at Spinnaker’s Restaurant on January 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20, with proceeds going to local charities. Call Charlie at 725-7936 for further information.

Local musicians Steve Shaughnessy and Tom DePetris will play jazz standards and original compositions at Canio’s Books on Saturday, January 24, at 6 p.m. Tom, a Bridgehampton native, was the lead in the popular Solar jazz funk band in the late 1970s. Steve has played classical music with numerous chamber groups and orchestras, as well as jazz with many local bands. There is no admission charge, but a donation will be asked. For more information, call 725-4926.

Congratulations to Meredith O’Connell, a sophomore and Samantha Spehler, a senior at SUNY Cortland. The two students have been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2008 semester. They each earned a grade point average of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale while taking a full load of courses.

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