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The East Hampton Star. (East Hampton, N.Y.) 1885-current, December 22, 1977, Image 1

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Main Street House Offered As Museum An offer to East Hampton Village of a Main Street home built in 1735 or earlier to be used as a museum was left hanging this week after the East Hampton Historical Society disagreed with two stipulations suggested by the Village Board. Nevertheless, it seemed likely that the historic salt box, known as the Jackson-Osborn House, at 101 Main Street, would by year’s end be either owned by the Village and operated as a museum by the Historical Society or owned by the Society and operated by it. It is proposed that the William Efner Wheelock collection of Colonial furni­ ture, much of it made locally, be housed in the Jackson-Osborn House. Discussion The Village Board last Friday agreed to accept the gift, offered by Lionel and Patricia Jackson of North Haven, Conn., and East Hampton, but, after discussion in an executive session with Averill Geus, curator of the Home Sweet Home museum and the Hook Mill, proposed to amend the operating agreement so that there would be a five-year term, instead of the 15-year term suggested by the Society, and “an oversight committee” of Village mu­ seum curators. The proposed oversight committee of curators was a modification of Mrs. Geus’s suggestion that a board of man­ agers for the Jackson-Osborn House be established, its membership not to ex­ ceed seven, made up of representatives of the Village Board, Historical Society, Ladies Village Improvement Society, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, which, she noted, could provide volunteer guides in return for using the museum as a meeting place in the winter months. “Broad Support” “To be successful, the Jackson House should have the broad support of the community,” Mrs. Geus said, “to en­ sure continued interest and financial support.” Mayor Douglas Dayton didn’t object to the committee idea, though he said, “it seems silly not to let professionals run it.” Other Board members were persuaded by Mrs. Geus’s argument that the Village “ought to have some input.” “It’s strange,\ she said, “to take title and maintain and provide money and not be able to decide what happens to the house in the long run.” Directors of the Historical Society, which manages the Town Marine Mu­ seum under a similar arrangement, and which manages Clinton Academy and the Mulford Farm in the Village, met Tuesday and counter - proposed an agreement term of ten years and elim­ ination of the proposed oversight com­ mittee. Direct Acceptance The Society’s directors also decided that should the Village Board disagree, it would accept the deed of gift direct­ ly, thus eliminating Village participa­ tion. This arrangement would appar­ ently be acceptable to the Jacksons. Should the Village be deeded the house, it would be responsible under the operating agreement for mainten­ ance of the building and grounds, and heating and lighting. It has been estimated that the Jack­ son-Osborn House would require $20,000 to $25,000 worth of restoration work to put it in excellent condition. Mayor Dayton said he’d been told the Society could raise the money through private donations, but if it could not, and the house was deeded to the Village, he said the Village could either seek a grant for the work or foot the bill itself. More Meetings Mayor Dayton and the Historical Society’s president, Robert C. Osborne, who had discussed for some time the possible gift with the Jacksons, were to meet this week to further discuss the matter. The Village Board is expected to take it up again at a special meeting set for next Tuesday morning. The Board’s public meeting on Fri­ day was brief. A local law was adopted during it that eliminates parking in front of the Hedges Inn. Board mem­ bers noted that the intersection there was a dangerous spot. Also, a local law was passed prohibit­ ing vehicular access at the eroded Georgica Coast Guard beach, thus leav- Continued on Page 6 Housing: A Program? The East Hampton Town Housing Committee began discussions Monday night of a recently-completed housing “need and demand” survey which sug­ gests that the Town should pursue an “assisted housing program . . . that would produce approximately 200 units of housing for senior citizens and young people.” The survey, prepared for the Com­ mittee by Samuel Mozes, an urban planner, notes there is a need for “at least 500 dwelling units, out of which a total of 335 units represent actual demand.” While need was determined “object­ ively,” demand represented “those who not only need alternative housing, but who are actually ready, willing, and able to accept such new accommoda­ tions,” Mr. Mozes said. Mr. Mozes found that there was a demand for 145 units in the “senior citizen” category (60 and over) and for 50 units in the “young people’s” group (18-30). Findings He suggested that 100 units be built in “the initial four-year period, followed by another 100 units if the first devel­ opment is successfully occupied.” Of the first 100 units he recommended that “about 75 should be for the elderly and about 25 for young people.” Further, the planner suggested that the units be distributed throughout the Town, perhaps in five clusters of 20 units or four of 25. “With regard to type of housing, the overwhelming majority in all age groups preferred a one-family house — most as owners and some as renters. Second preference, especially among senior citizens, was for a garden-type apartment in a small structure.” “With regard to occupancy, an over­ whelming majority of senior citizens wish to live in developments open to all ages, rather than restricted to people of their own age (nearly five to one).” Separate Clusters The Committee, which had five of its ten members present, accepted Mr. Mozes’s assessment that there was a demand for 335 units and also accepted his recommendation that, initially, 100 units be built, in separate clusters, though there were doubts that this Continued on Page 4 School Survey Is Eyed A majority of East Hampton High School graduates answering a recent questionnaire about the School’s cur­ riculum indicated a need for “career- related” programs, Christopher Sarlo, High School principal, told the School Board Tuesday night at a meeting in the Middle School cafeteria. Seventy-seven per cent of those an­ swering the survey, he continued, said a course on “study skills” would have been useful to them, and 47 per cent of the respondents who did not go on to college said they would have liked more emphasis placed on job placement and vocational information. The survey also showed that 65 per cent of the respondents who are now in college wanted more advice on college entrance requirements, and 56 per cent wanted more information about avail­ able scholarships. The questionnaires were sent out by a special District curriculum committee of teachers, parents, administrators, and School Board members established by the School Board “to determine the effectiveness of the School curriculum and to make recommendations for im­ provement where necessary.” Six hun­ dred of the questionnaires were mailed out to the graduates of the classes of 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976. Mr. Sarlo said Tuesday that 155 of the 600 sent out were returned, ap­ proximately 25 per cent, which he said was “consistent with percentage re­ turns for this type of questionnaire nationwide.” The answers have been compiled by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and are now be­ ing studied by the curriculum com­ mittee. Partial Information The committee expects to make a full report on the survey’s findings coupled with recommendations based on those findings at the School Board’s Feb­ ruary meeting, according to Wilson Stone, a Board member who is chair­ man of the committee. The information released Tuesday night was only part­ ial. The answers to many of the ques­ tions, particularly the open-ended fill- in-the-blank questions, were not pro­ vided. Mr. Stone said Wednesday that a lot of “personal criticism” cropped up in the answers of some of the graduates which the committee felt should not be publicized before it was carefully re­ viewed. Mr. Sarlo, who is also on the com­ mittee, said it was also difficult to report on the open-ended questions since in most cases each of the 155 respondents had different answers. “The curriculum committee has a lot of work ahead” making sense of the an­ swers and drawing some conclusions from them, Mr. Sarlo said. ' Clues To Problems What the committee was looking for, he said, were clues to problems with the existing curriculum and possible solutions to those problems. All the percentages gathered in the survey had to be examined closely, he said, particularly where the response to a particular question was low. It should be remembered, he added, that those answering the questionnaire had personal biases, a point made in a “cautionary note” attached to a sheet explaining the survey’s purpose. The “note” was written by two employes of the Education Retrieval Information Center, a branch of the New York State Education Department which col­ lects educational research data, and read as follows: “Because the data of follow-up stud­ ies are largely derived from students’ opinions, they are subjective and open to a high degree of bias . . . the committee charged with interpretation of the data must be aware of subject­ ivity and bias. At the same time they must be aware that strong feelings often have basis in fact.” [Under the State freedom of informa­ tion laws, all of the responses are apparently part of the public record, but District officials and Mr. Stone told reporters that since there were 155 separate answers and that these were now being circulated among members of the curriculum committee it would be impossible for a reporter to read them and write about them until the committee’s work was completed. Ed.] Some of the other information re­ leased Tuesday about the survey in­ cluded the following: • There was a much greater re­ sponse from those graduates who are attending college than those who are not. • Sixty-three per cent of those re­ sponding indicated they benefited most from their study of English in high school. • Thirty-four per cent indicated they benefited most from mathematics. • Thirty-one per cent indicated they benefited most from science. • Forty-two per cent said parents were their chief source of help in making educational plans, while 26 per cent felt counselors were. • Sixty per cent indicated a need for more work in English composition. • Fifty-one per cent indicated a need for more required reading and liter­ ature. • Fifty-nine per cent indicated a need for more work in grammar. In general, 47 per cent of respond­ ents now in college indicated that their high school preparation was adequate, while 43 per cent indicated it was not, and 61 per cent of working graduates said it was adequate while 31 per cent said it was not. More Counseling Mr. Sarlo said the survey reinforced decisions already made by the adminis­ tration regarding counseling and car­ eer education. The guidance depart­ ment realized there was a need for more counseling to help students pre­ pare for college and jobs and less need for counseling aimed at personal prob­ lems, and changes will be made, he added. Mr. Sarlo also said the administra­ tion has realized the need for more career education and has begun incorp­ orating these programs into the regu­ lar curriculum with the aid of Anthony Continued on Page 5 Karl Grossman Hook Mill, Christmas, 1977 -4 ' .. Town P o lice Defend Record East Hampton Town’s policemen, upset by the “bad press” they say they have been getting for two years, mounted a public-relations counter­ offensive Friday in the form of a manifesto, read at a Town Board meet­ ing by their union’s president, in which they characterized themselves as hon­ est and hard-working men who had been unjustly ridiculed and slandered by Police Officer Alex Wasilewski. The statement, which began by ac­ cusing the media of publishing “in­ nuendos,” ended with a demand that Mr. Wasilewski “voluntarily release any and all records of his past for the public to see.” It said that the Town’s taxpayers “must at last know the whole truth of Mr. Wasilewski’s past,” but it did not say what this truth might be. “Allegations” Queried after the meeting, Town Police Benevolent Association presi­ dent John Claflin, a detective, ex­ plained that he had been alluding to “allegations about Mr. Wasilewski’s mental background, allegations that he may have a criminal background — he may have been arrested — and allega­ tions that he has applied to three other police departments and was turned down.” If the public were acquainted with “the facts,” Detective Claflin sug­ gested, it could form an accurate judg­ ment of Mr. Wasilewski’s “credibility.” Such allegations were explored in detail in July, 1976, in a report by a Riverhead law firm that the Town Board had hired three months earlier, at a cost of several thousand dollars, to investigate charges that Mr. Wasilew­ ski had concealed an arrest record and a “history of mental illness” when applying for police jobs. Mr. Claflin said the PBA would be satisfied if this report were made pub­ lic together with the police and psych­ iatric documents from which its in­ formation was drawn, which were ap­ pended to some copies of it. The report was in fact made public in 1976; the appended documents were not. 1968 Arrest The report, which the Star described and quoted at length at the time, confirmed that Mr. Wasilewski was arrested for disorderly conduct in 1968, underwent psychiatric treatment in 1971, and indicated on job application forms that he had never been arrested or suffered any mental ailment. His account of these events, which the press also reported at length, was that his arrest followed a scuffle with a man he thought had robbed him; he went to a psychiatrist to get a draft exemption so he could support his family while his father was hospital­ ized; and Town Police Chief John Doyle had advised him not to bother men­ tioning these things on his Town appli­ cation. The Chief denied this. The County Civil Service Commis­ sion, to which the Town later referred the question of what action to take against Mr. Wasilewski, reported 14 months ago that it could find “no basis to substantiate a claim that illegal, irregular, or fraudulent statements were made on his application.” He was then put back on duty — the Town had suspended him when Chief Doyle first levelled the charges — but he has been suing for a transfer to the County Police and has been off duty again, on “The farmland program will be in trouble.” That observation about the fate of Suffolk’s farmland preservation pro­ gram at the hands of the new County Legislature was made Tuesday by Leg­ islator Joyce Burland of Sagaponack as she defended the plan against attacks which both she and other members of the present panel interpreted as an omen. “The way it looks after today is that continuation of the farmland program may be considered speculative,” said John Foley, a Blue Point Legislator and a supporter of the plan. “It looks like trouble,” said Floyd Linton, the cur­ rent legislative chairman and also a program backer. At issue in Riverhead was a routine authorization measure involving six contracts signed by County Executive John V. N. Klein, who initiated the program, with the owners of farmland in Riverhead Town. This included the first contracts for “development rights purchase” signed in September with farmers—Nathaniel Talmage of Baiting sick leave, since breaking his wrist in an altercation with a defendant last April. Shrimp Case Another portion of the PBA’s state­ ment debunked the notion that Officer Wasilewski “turned in” his sergeant, Bruce Baldwin, after he allegedly saw him take a box of shrimp from a fish store two years ago. Mr. Baldwin was fired and indicted on burglary and petty larceny charges largely on the basis of Mr. Wasilewski’s testimony and that of another officer who had accompanied the sergeant to the store, but he was acquitted of the criminal charges after a trial last June. Reports in Newsday and the New York Times and on ABC television persistently referred to Mr. Wasilew­ ski as the rookie patrolman who turned in his superior. But Mr. Wasilewski himself has readily admitted, and the Star has several times reported, that it Hollow and George Reeve of Aque- bogue. Barely Approved The contracts were finally approved, but barely, 11-5 with two abstentions. Twelve votes will be needed for new appropriations of money for the farm­ land plan. Mr. Klein is seeking $34 million as part of the program’s Phases II, III, and IV. If there is further deterioration of the pro-program bloc on the new Legislature, which takes office next month, and a majority is lost this could be an obstacle to allocation of most of the $21 million already authorized. The challenges to the program came from two directions at the final meet­ ing of the present Democratic-controlled Legislature: from Martin J. Feldman, a Dix Hills Democrat, who is planning to challenge Mr. Klein, a Republican, for County Executive in 1979, and from Legislators whose districts are in the Southwest Sewer District. Dr. Feldman declared there were “other ways” of saving farms than County purchase of “development rights” — the difference between what did not quite happen that way: that he told no other superior officers about the alleged incident until several days later, when they heard rumors about it and asked him. He said he had been too “scared” to speak up earlier. Investigation The PBA’s statement also implies that the County District Attorney’s investigation of the Town Police last year was a result of allegations by Mr. Wasilewski, and asserts that none of these “were ever found to be true.” The investigation resulted in crim­ inal charges against two policemen: Officer Samuel Mezynieski, whom the Town had already suspended on ad­ ministrative charges, which he admit­ ted, of stealing two bicycles and a wrist watch; and Sergeant Charles Morici, whom a grand jury indicted on charges of trumping up two traffic tickets. The criminal charge against Mr. Continued on Page 11 the land is worth in agriculture and in housing subdivision. Dr. Feldman sug­ gested “reassessing land value.” He also charged that “part o f’ Mr. Klein’s approach was to have been simultan­ eous action by Towns to preserve farmland. He noted recent decisions by South­ ampton Town to allow housing de­ velopment on farmland. Districting Mrs. Burland replied that Southold Town was moving toward agricultural districting and told Dr. Feldman: “If you’re that concerned, this Legislature should take the initiative and go to the Towns.” “We can’t spend $30, $40, $50 million to bail out speculators when the East End has the power to zone itself,” said Lou Howard, a Legislator from Amity- ville, in the Southwest Sewer District. Anthony Noto of Babylon, also in the Sewer District, spoke of the owner of “an average house” in the Southwest Sewer District beginning to be charged $300 annually in sewer taxes, even though the system is not working. It Continued on Page 4 Farmlands: “Trouble” VOL. XCIII, NO. 16 DECEMBER^, 1977

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