Sag Harbor Community Notes, October 31


Most everyone I know is breathing a sigh of relief that the Sag Harbor-area serial burglar was caught last week.I don’t want to impugn a neighbor but the culprit was, sadly, a village native who graduated from Pierson and who eventually became addicted to drugs. He committed the robberies, it’s been reported, in order to feed his 2-year-old heroin habit.

Justin Bennett, 35, pleaded not guilty during his day in court last week but he has admitted that he accepts responsibility for the string of robberies, and has expressed his shame and remorse over committing the crimes. He’s going to focus on getting clean, according to recent news reports.

I know a few people whose cherished family keepsakes were stolen and they’ve all said the same thing. It’s not the loss of material possessions but the items of sentimental value that are most likely gone forever that haunt them the most.

This is a sad story with many victims. Drugs aren’t fun, they are simply and plainly bad news. Parents, teach your children to always say no if they are offered. In my opinion, addiction that is not treated inevitably leads to two things: jail or death—neither of which is a goal anyone starts out with when they take that first hit.

On to happier news about another of our neighbors. Congratulations to my friend and the head Media Maven herself, Bonnie Grice. The 88.3 Peconic Public Broadcasting radio star and her partner of seven years, Stephen Gould, got engaged two weeks ago during a trip to Ireland. Yay!

Bonnie’s now back and on-air at the station so tune in and let the good times roll. I’m hoping that we get a chance to talk about her trip when I stop by the studio on Friday morning, November 1, at 9 a.m. during our broadcast hour.

In the meantime, I just want to say that I heart these wonderful people and am so happy for the both of them. Cheers. Or should we say, sláinte.

Another friend, Annette Hinkle (also an original member of the Media Maven crew), will be telling ghost stories at Canio’s on Saturday, November 2, at 5 p.m. Stop by and learn about lights flickering in attic windows, gauzy apparitions in the dark, eerie whaling tales, and more. To learn more, visit

Vroom, vroom. The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum will be raffling off a 2014 Fiat to raise money for its capital campaign. The tickets are $100 each and only 350 of them will be sold. This sounds like a good gamble to me. A hundred bucks and one in 350 chances to own a brand-new luxury sports car—awesome!

Tickets can be purchased at beginning Sunday, November 3. To learn more, or to purchase tickets offline, call the museum at 725-0770.

Want to get out and enjoy the fall weather while socializing? Then meet up with Glorian Berk and like-minded hikers for a Laurel Valley Excursion on Sunday, November 3, at 10 a.m. Meet at the kiosk located on Deerfield Road in Noyac, across from Deerwood Path, in North Side Hills, for a moderately paced 3-mile hilly hike through wooded knolls and laurel-filled ravines. Call Glorian at 283-2638 for details.

I’m happy to inform you that Goat on a Boat is back! After suffering flood damage and renovations, the puppet theater will reopen on Monday, November 4. Offerings will include Puppet Play Groups, Tot Art and Puppet Club Mondays. To learn more, visit

Attention art lovers. On Thursday, November 7, Temple Adas Israel of Sag Harbor will sponsor a trip to the Jewish Museum in New York for a private docent-led tour of the current Marc Chagall exhibit, “Love, War and Exile.”

A bus will leave the temple at 11 a.m. and will return to the temple at 7:30 p.m. The cost of the trip is $65 per person, which includes round-trip bus fare, admission to the museum, a 45-minute tour of the exhibit, a 10-percent discount in the museum’s gift shop, a vegetarian sandwich on the bus and a coffee and pastry buffet in the museum’s cafe.

Those interested should contact Toby Spitz via email ASAP at For further information, please visit or call 725-0904.

Lastly, congratulations to the Old Whalers’ Church, which will be getting a face-lift. Last week, Reverend Mark Phillips, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Sag Harbor, announced that the historic trompe l’oeil mural in the building’s sanctuary will be restored.

The mural was part of Minard Lafever’s original design of the church, which was built in 1844. The restoration work will be conducted by International Fine Arts Conservation Studios of Atlanta, Georgia, and phase one will begin next week.

The cost of the initial phase is $4,500. A member of the congregation has agreed to underwrite the expense.

For those who’d like to learn more about the project, Geoffrey Steward, the firm’s chief executive officer, will discuss it on Wednesday, November 6, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. All are invited to attend the free talk.

Approximately $40,000 more has already been donated for the restoration from other congregants. The second phase, which is expected to cost $45,000, will begin after Easter in 2014 and will be completed in time for the 170th anniversary celebration of Old Whalers’ current building in May. Read all about the project at

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