05/31/12 10:00pm
05/31/2012 10:00 PM

Probably, everybody needs to run away to sea at least once. In the first chapter of Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick,’ our narrator, Ishmael, explains it as “a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul … whenever … it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street and methodically knocking people’s hats off — then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

I have always loved the beginning of “Moby Dick” and have read it many times with delight and high expectation of continuing and finishing the whole book, but I never do. I get bogged down somewhere. I forgive myself for this. I think people are allowed to put down books that are not working for them.

I, myself, ran away to sea when I was 17, but it was on a Norwegian freighter, not a whaling ship or a four-master like the tall ships that will be in Greenport Harbor this weekend. The ship was cheaper and, I thought, more exciting than an airplane. I spent two weeks of a damp, drizzly December mostly locked in my cabin to avoid the unwanted attentions of the captain and the only other passenger aboard. I looked out at gray water meeting gray sky, saw some whales, read a lot of books and felt all the enormous feelings that 17-year-olds can feel.

Written by a 19-year-old, ‘Maiden Voyage’ by Tania Aebi is the true story of the first American woman and youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe alone. She went in 1987, in a 26-foot sloop her father offered as an alternative to a college education with the stipulation that she sail solo around the world. The maiden survived storms, collisions and loneliness and lived to tell the tale, like Joshua Slocum before her in his famous 1900 book, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World.’

Another fabulous true story is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘The Story of a Ship-wrecked Sailor,’ written in 1955, when Marquez was a young journalist, as a series of newspaper articles. The book’s subtitle is “who drifted on a life raft for ten days without food or water, was proclaimed a national hero, kissed by beauty queens, made rich through publicity and then spurned by the government and forgotten for all time.” Apparently the Colombian dictatorship of the time was unhappy when the sailor and the journalist contradicted the official version that there had been a storm (there hadn’t) and that the ship, a destroyer, had not been overloaded with contraband cargo (it had been). Soon there was a new dictatorship, which was also unhappy with Garcia Marquez — and vice versa.

Two other superb nonfiction accounts of going off to sea are John Moynihan’s ‘The Voyage of the Rose City’ and Harvey Oxenhorn’s ‘Tuning the Rig: A Journey to the Arctic.’ Mr. Moynihan, son of New York’s famous and beloved senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, left Wesleyan University to ship out in the Merchant Marine for a 45-day trip that turned into a four-month ordeal and learning experience. Harvey Oxenhorn sailed on The Regina Maris, a white oak barkentine built in 1908 and once a feature of the Greenport waterfront. When he signed on, Mr. Oxenhorn had romantic expectations about the voyage from Boston to Greenland to study humpback whales. A poet and an academic, he was unprepared for the rigors and discipline of shipboard life. (He must have gotten bogged down somewhere while reading “Moby Dick” or he would have had more of a clue.) Eventually, he begins to get a grip on how he fits into the little world of the crew and the big world of economic and environmental conundrums. Whales are only one part of it.

One of my favorite stories about a young person going off to sea was written by Maurice Sendak. The book is ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and the young sailor is Max, who is sent to his room without any supper for making mischief of one kind and another. Luckily “an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.” He becomes king of all wild things and leads a wild rumpus, until he gets lonely and wants “to be where someone loved him best of all.” He also smells good things to eat, so he sails back “into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him and it was still hot.” This is an awesome picture book, with a sea monster (but no whales), many, many fewer words than “Moby Dick” and a much happier ending.

May all our voyages into the great unknown, including yours, dear departed Maurice, resolve themselves with such wisdom, comfort and exuberance.

Ms. Johnson, of Greenport, is assistant director at Floyd Memorial Library and moonlights as an artist and newspaper columnist.

05/31/12 8:00pm

The smells of bourbon, sirloin steak on live coals, hash browns and strawberries conjure up America’s heartland to me, especially around Memorial Day.

My very first cooking position in a serious restaurant was in 1965 at Trentino’s, an Italian steakhouse in Omaha, Neb. The restaurant was downtown, near the Union Pacific Railroad station and just a few blocks from the stockyards, which at one time were the largest in the country for beef cattle. Right in the middle of the stockyards was a famous fine dining restaurant called Johnny’s Cafe, which I think is still there. (Johnny’s was featured in the movie “About Schmidt” starring Jack Nicholson.)

At the time, all the steakhouses in Omaha used the restaurant cut — top butt sirloin — for their steaks. The top butt is not the most sought-after cut of the hindquarter of beef compared to the strip sirloin from which we make the famous “New York” strip steak. But I learned that all the strips were sent east to the lucrative New York market and the less desirable top butts were left for the locals. I grew to really like steaks cut from the top butt. They’re very lean and lack the rich marbling of the pricier cuts, but they make up for it in flavor and lack of fat.

One of my favorite recipes for these cuts is to marinate the meat in bourbon, chili sauce, a little brown sugar and some Dijon mustard, grill it on the barbecue and glaze it with the marinade. The perfect side dish is Omaha-style hash browns or cottage-fried potatoes. These recipes follow. Top butt sirloin can be found in the market under various names, but all include the word “sirloin.” The perfect dessert for this meal is strawberry shortcake. The version below is adapted from the excellent cookbook “Rustic Fruit Desserts” by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson.

Bourbon Steak
Purchase about 2 pounds of sirloin steak (one piece or individual steaks). In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons each brown sugar, chili sauce and minced shallots; 1 tablespoon each Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, red wine vinegar and canola oil; 1 teaspoon coarse salt; 1/2 teaspoon pepper; and 1/4 cup of Jack Daniels
Place the steak in a shallow pan and pour the marinade over all. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours. At service time, remove the meat from the marinade and wipe it off with a paper towel. Brush with oil (or spray with no-stick) and cook on a hot charcoal or gas grill. After turning once, spoon some of the marinade over the steak and finish cooking to desired doneness.
Serves 4.

Pan Seared Sirloin with Bourbon Sauce
Season 2 pounds of sirloin steak with coarse salt and pepper and let it come to room temperature. Heat a cast iron skillet to high and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the steak(s), being careful to not crowd the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Remove to a warm plate. Lower the heat and add 1/2 cup chopped shallots and 1 tablespoon butter to the pan. Then add 1/4 cup of Jack Daniels and let it come to a boil before adding 1/4 cup of beef broth. When this reduces a little, add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and swirl in 2 tablespoons cold butter. Strain over the steaks and serve.
Serves 4.

Hash Browns
Place 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on, in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool in the refrigerator. When cool, peel off the skins and grate the potatoes into a bowl with the coarse side of a box grater. Toss gently into the potatoes 2 teaspoons coarse salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.

Lay out 4 squares of double tin foil about 12 inches on a side. Spray them with no-stick and divide the potatoes in piles on the foil squares. Place a pat of butter on top of each pile and fold the foil to make a package. Punch a couple of holes in the foil to let out steam and place the packets on the grill, but not directly over the flame. Cook, covered, about 30 minutes. The bottom side will be golden brown, so flip them to serve.
Serves 4.

Cottage Fried Potatoes
Purchase 2 pounds small new potatoes — white, red, purple or a mixture of all three. Wash and slice them into 1/4 inch slices, leaving the skin on. Slice a red onion as thinly as possible and set aside. Mince 2 tablespoons garlic. Heat a cast iron skillet and add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon canola oil. When the butter is about to turn brown, place all the potatoes in the pan. Turn down the heat to medium and let them turn golden brown before turning them over and adding the onions and garlic. Add 2 teaspoons coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Shake the pan, turn down the heat to low and cover. Let the potatoes cook another 15 minutes and serve.
Serves 4.

Strawberry Shortcake
Hull and slice 6 cups of strawberries into a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup amaretto and 1 tablespoons lemon juice. Place mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so the berries can release their juices. Meanwhile combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in the zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon before pouring in 1 1/2 cups heavy cream. Using a dinner knife, combine this mixture into a loose dough as you would for a pie crust — do not overmix. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. When it holds together, flatten it into a thick round and cut it into 8 pieces. Dust the pieces with a little flour, roll them into balls and set aside. Melt 3 tablespoons butter and place in a shallow bowl. Add 1/3 cup sugar to another shallow bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper (or foil). Dip the balls of dough into the butter, rolling them to coat. Then dip them into the sugar, coating only one half. Place the dough sugar side up on the sheet pan, bake for 25 minutes and cool on a rack. At service time, cut the shortcakes in half, placing the bottom on a dessert plate. Spoon the berries and juice over the shortcake and place the lid on top. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Serves 8.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. Email: [email protected]

05/31/12 5:38pm

A Cutchogue man was arrested Thursday morning for third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and a misdemeanor speeding charge in Mattituck, according to Southold Town Police.

Luis Osorio, 25, was stopped while operating a 2002 Honda for speeding in a school zone. A check with the department of motor vehicles showed that his driver’s license had been revoked.

He was arrested in the Mattituck’s Waldbaums shopping center

05/31/12 3:34pm

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Aldo Maiorana, proprietor of the Greenport café that bears his name, is often mistakenly identified as French because of his accent; however, he was born in Sicily.

Greenporters know Aldo Maiorana as their morning barista, crafting espressos with quick hands, hypnotic eyes and silver cotton candy hair. But how much do you really know about him?

If you think he’s a businessman, think again, because when it comes to making coffee, business is the furthest thing from his mind. Aldo is a welcomer — a lover of life, meeting people and cooking with passion.

What was your childhood like?

I was born in Sicily, near Palermo, and the city was very poor at the time. My parents were doing the best they could after World War II; because my father had this connection, I began hawking shoes and clothes on the street at 6 years old. In the summer we peddled ice cream from a three-wheeled cart.

In 1958, my father had an opportunity to move to France, so I grew up in the Rhone Valley, where I went to school and worked on farms picking tomatoes, string beans, cherries, peaches, grapes, melons — you name it. That was child labor, but nobody said anything back then. When I was 9, my father said to a friend that if something were to happen to him, I was already ready to take charge of the family. Not that I’m bragging or think that’s right to put in a child’s head.

What were your childhood aspirations?

I didn’t have time to think about that because I was already working, but at 12 years old, I dreamed about traveling on a tall ship. I was fascinated with Robinson Crusoe and Christopher Columbus, so at 17, I joined the French Navy. I became first in my class in the food sector and was therefore the first to choose which destination I wanted to go to out of 30. I picked the one farthest from home, 16,000 miles away in New Caledonia. In the following years, I worked for the commander of the Navy and was in charge of all the dinner receptions. If a foreign navy was visiting or there was a captain’s party, I was in charge.

What was your favorite part of your travels?

When I was about 20, I visited a small group of islands north of New Caledonia. These people had nothing — no electric, no telephone, no nothing. I was lucky enough to be present one morning when everyone was dancing on the beach because a merchant ship was arriving. It turned out the ship came once a month to trade with the people. The islanders swapped coconut meat for rice or flour. There was no money involved whatsoever.

One morning I left in a fishing boat and the women of the tribe came out and brought me gifts like chicken for the journey, shells and what have you. It was just like in Robinson Crusoe!

How is America different from France?

In America, the first thing to talk about is money. This is my observation — it’s business. The stock market is up, the stock market is down, we’re in a depression, this, that.

The world goes around with money, but I believe that in the Mediterranean countries, life comes first. Here it’s business first, but for me, it’s about getting some kind of personal satisfaction. Maybe everyone gets that in different ways.

How did you start roasting coffee?

I started roasting in 1987 to please myself because back then, all coffee came in a can. It was very rare to see specialty coffee. I only drink espresso and I tried everything, but nothing would do. I was lucky enough to find that Diedrich Manufacturing Inc. in California was building a small roasting machine. I purchased the very first one they built to use in my specialty food shop.

Then I started manufacturing biscotti and got them into high-end places, but lost it all in my divorce. I’m trying to reinvent myself one more time, which is fine; all I need is me.

I’m still fighting debts from losing my lease across the street four years ago. I’m just taking baby steps and I’m comfortable with that.

Have you ever considered going back to cooking?

Every day someone asks me that, but food, for me, cannot be just a business. It’s not like any other business, in my mind. The way food is now, there’s a lot of noise and presentation, but the substance, the soul, is lacking. We talk about local, organic, baby greens, baby spinach, baby this, baby that, but it’s not about color, presentation or sound. It’s not about having a nice building or a great location. It’s about the soul, the love, the hospitality and the passion that’s put into it.

What is your life’s dream?

I love to meet people, talk to them and understand their feelings. I’ve been very lucky in my life because I have nothing but debt to deal with. I don’t even hope to get through the debt; that’s not what I’m living for.

My dream is to get to a point where I can sit and talk and exchange feelings with people, not just words.

What is your message to the North Fork?

I just hope that Greenport doesn’t become just a business town for tourists. I hope we can preserve the sense of family, community, passion and giving of ourselves, not just knickknacks. I want people that go home from visiting here to say, “I went to Greenport and I was welcomed and I had a good experience” not, “I went to Greenport and ate dinner and it cost $115.”

[email protected]

05/31/12 1:30pm

Dr. Bill Zitek, founder of the North Fork Animal Hospital and retired veterinarian, is also the head volunteer for the bluebird nest box project at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island.

During the bluebird’s breeding season, beginning in April, he and other volunteers make weekly visits to all of the trail’s nest boxes, recording the activity within. Dr. Zitek said this year they recorded their earliest fledgling on April 4.

On May 17, he and birders Vivian Lindemann and Corky Diefendorf joined together to make the weekly rounds.

To learn more about Dr. Zitek and the nest box project, buy this week’s issue of the Suffolk Times.

05/31/12 11:19am

JERI WOODHOUSE

The Southold Democratic Party has selected Jeri Woodhouse of Orient to face incumbent GOP Trustee Mike Domino in November’s special election.

No stranger to town government, Ms. Woodhouse served as chairwoman of the town Planning Board during the administration of former supervisor Josh Horton. She ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Town Board in 2009.

She owns and operates the Taste of the North Fork food business in Cutchogue.

“Jeri is a strong candidate with a background of Democratic Party participation, community affairs and is a business woman,” said Art Tillman, Southold Democratic chairman. “We are most pleased Jeri has decided to  run.”

She’ll be up against Mike Domino of Southold, who in January was appointed to a one-year Trustee term to fill the vacancy left when GOP Trustee Jill Doherty was elected town councilwoman. Mr. Domino is a retired science teacher and former president of the North Fork Environmental Council.

05/31/12 10:00am

A Bay Shore man was struck by a vehicle on Saturday afternoon in Southold after William Nass of Rocky Point tried to pull into a parking stall that victim was reportedly standing in to save for another vehicle, according to police.

Police said the right front bumper of Mr. Nass’ 2009 Jeep struck the victim on the back of his leg. The man was taken to ELIH.

• An employee of Cornell Cooperative Extension reported Friday that someone had stolen equipment valued at $850 from a beach in Peconic between May 16 and May 23, according to police.

• The head of a Greenport church’s property committee reported that during the last three weeks someone stole 15 feet of copper wire and a ground rod valued at $200 from the property, according to police.

• A Greenport man reported the theft of his specialized black 15-speed bicycle from a Front Street parking lot on Saturday, police said. The bicycle, valued at $600, was reportedly left unlocked between 11 p.m. and midnight.

• On Saturday a Greenport resident reported the theft of a large exterior air conditioner from a Front Street residence, according to police. The air conditioner was reportedly disconnected from the wall and removed from its base.

Those who are named in police reports have not been convicted of any crime or violation. The charges against them may later be reduced or withdrawn, or they may be found innocent.

05/31/12 8:00am

PETER BOODY PHOTO | The Tall Ships in Greenport Harbor from an aerial view Sunday.

Asked if he could finally relax a little bit with the first day of the Tall Ships Challenge 2012 behind him Saturday night, Greenport Mayor David Nyce paused for a moment.

If the skies were clear again Sunday, if lots of people came pouring into village businesses that day and if no more snafus popped up, he estimated that he might finally be able to feel a sense of relief come Sunday afternoon.

His projection was off — by 48 hours.

It was Tuesday afternoon when the mayor was finally able to settle in and digest the fact that the biggest party he’d ever thrown was not just well-attended, it was a success in many ways for the Village of Greenport, even financially.

“We definitely did better than break even,” Mr. Nyce said of the three-day event, which cost the village an estimated $190,000.

While the mayor said the village plans to release a complete accounting of the Tall Ships Challenge at a board meeting next month, he said early projections show that as many as 60,000 people roamed the streets between Saturday morning and Monday night.
The streets were so crowded Sunday afternoon many locals say it’s the busiest they’ve ever seen the village, the mayor said.

Village officials are not expected to know exactly how many tickets were sold for the event until the end of this week at the earliest.

And even then, that number won’t accurately reflect just how many people came to the village this Memorial Day weekend.

Tickets allowed visitors to tour the ships, but a ticket was not required to walk village streets, listen to the bands playing on two stages or visit any of the vendor booths. Mr. Nyce said that for every person who bought a ticket, he estimates three more people attended the festival.

Using that formula and whatever information he had available by Tuesday afternoon, the mayor was willing to call the weekend a financial success, even if he stopped short of giving actual revenue estimates.

He did say tall ships ended up costing the village approximately $190,000, about $15,000 above the initial budget. Of that money, $130,000 went toward appearance fees for the ships.

This was the first time the village charged for admission to a Tall Ships Challenge. In 2004, when the tour last visited, the village was awarded a state grant that helped offset the cost of ship appearance fees. But that grant came through the now-defunct “I Love New York” tourism marketing program.

Tickets to this year’s event cost as much as $15 for adults, a fee that allowed visitors to tour the ships. Sailaway excursions throughout the weekend on the tall ship Roseway cost $50.

Although he feels confident the village more than broke even, the mayor said he’s waiting to receive revenue-sharing payments from the Roseway excursions and the Long Island Rail Road, which offered ticket bundles to commuters, before he can fully realize just how much money the village made. The village is also awaiting payment from a handful of sponsors.

In all, seven tall ships made it to Greenport this year, with many arriving in Orient Harbor Thursday afternoon and all of them reaching the Greenport docks by Friday morning. They departed Monday and Tuesday.

The Tall Ships Challenge 2012 tour, which began earlier this month in Savannah, Ga., continues on to Newport, R.I., and will finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

One major reason behind bringing in the ships was to provide a boost for village businesses at the start of a busy season.

Aldo Maiorana of Aldo’s coffee shop on Front Street said the many visitors kept him on his feet all weekend long.

“I was at my espresso machine all day on Saturday for maybe 10 hours,” he said. “Sunday was like murder and my body was in pain at the end of the day, so it was good.”

Monica Smith, assistant manager at Creations By Lisa on Main Street, said the store was the perfect kind of busy.

“It probably wasn’t as crazy as we’d imagined it would be, but it was good,” she said. “It was a good crazy.”

Local business owners and their staffs said the event brought new faces to their stores, while a lot of local regulars shopped outside the village to avoid the crowds, creating a ripple effect of good business to the surrounding communities.

Bill Fish, the head pro at Island’s End golf course outside Greenport Village, said the locals who scheduled tee times on the always busy holiday weekend told him they were doing their best to avoid the crowded village.

George Giannaris at the nearby Hellenic Snack Bar in East Marion said it was perhaps the busiest Memorial Day weekend his restaurant has seen in 36 years. He estimated his staff served as many as 3,000 meals to a mix of locals, regulars and out-of-towners.

“It was the triple crown [of visitors] and we reaped the benefits,” he said. “Without tall ships it still might have been a busy Memorial Day weekend, but that definitely sent us over the edge.”

Considering the heavy crowds, village and police officials believe the number of snags that occurred over the weekend was minimal.

Perhaps the biggest hiccup came when an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train couldn’t unload in Greenport Saturday afternoon due to cars parking too close to a pocket track used when multiple train cars are in service at the station. This led to Southold Town Police being called in to assist, as many passengers who boarded from Riverhead, Mattituck and Southold to avoid traffic were stranded for more than an hour. The train was added specially to accommodate tall ships visitors from the East End.

The parking problem also led to one train from Riverhead being canceled — passengers were instead driven in buses — and delays of more than an hour on the 1 and 2 p.m. trains departing Greenport Saturday. The cars that parked too close to the track weren’t cleared until after 4 p.m.

Southold Town Police announced three arrests in the village over the course of tall ships weekend — two alcohol related arrests and another for a fight in which a 42-year-old Medford man threw a glass plate at a Nassau County man inside Claudio’s restaurant.

Mr. Nyce said that police and other emergency officials told him it was actually the calmest they’d ever seen the village during a major event, something he believes can be largely attributed to the family-oriented nature of the Tall Ships Challenge.

The mayor said that in the days since the event, he’s heard almost entirely positive feedback.

“There’s always going to be a couple people with complaints,” he said. “But in this instance it’s just that — a couple of people.

“Everyone really seemed happy. They were calm, polite and they spent money. It was a great way to showcase the village, and that’s exactly what we set out to do.”

[email protected]

05/31/12 7:59am

In a casual conversation during the captains’ reception Saturday night at Brecknock Hall, Kate Addison, purser on the tall ship Picton Castle, made a funny observation.

“You can tell who all the ship hands are,” she said. “We all look a bit grubbier.”

Yet there they were, mingling with all the well-dressed event sponsors and others who purchased tickets to the cocktail party on the grounds of Peconic Landing. It was a microcosm of the entire weekend.

People from all walks of life, from places near and far, came together for three days in the Village of Greenport for one common reason: to have a good time.

And it sure was a blast.

One thing we kept hearing all weekend long was just how effortlessly the event seemed to come together, even knowing full well how much work it must have taken to get to that point.

Even more impressive is the confidence with which Mayor David Nyce delivered a statement he made this week that the Village “more than broke even” on the $190,000 it cost to host the three-day event.

With no major problems outside of a few delayed trains, no real uptick in police activity and news of the financial success of the event, it’s hard to say this year’s Tall Ships Challenge was anything but a home run for Greenport.

Kudos to all the sponsors and event organizers who helped make this weekend a memorable one.

05/31/12 6:00am

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | The water authority had been planning to install a turbine similar to this one recently installed at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic.

The Suffolk County Water Authority has backed away from its plan to build a 100-kilowatt wind turbine near Laurel Lake in Laurel.

In an email to County Legislator Ed Romaine that was circulated to the media Tuesday, authority CEO Jeff Szabo said that the agency’s chairman, Jim Gaughran, “has informed me that he plans to recommend not awarding this contract at tonight’s board meeting based upon the present proposed return on investment.”

The water authority had estimated it would take between 18 and 25 years to recoup its investment in the half-million-dollar turbine.

Water authority spokesman Tim Motz confirmed after the agency’s Tuesday night meeting that the project had been shelved.

The water authority announced plans early this year to build the turbine to help power its pumping station near the lake. The authority spends $25 million on electricity each year to run some 600 wells. But neighbors quickly rallied against the proposal, citing, in part, the possible risk of fire if the turbine were installed in the middle of the woods and the large number of birds in the nature preserve surrounding the lake.

Members of the Laurel Lake Homeowners Association argued that the dirt roads on which most of the residents live are inaccessible by fire trucks. In one case, they said, a fireman had to walk in to extinguish a blaze sparked by a tree falling on live power lines.

The water authority later said it didn’t believe a fire risk existed at the site.

While it had not taken a position, the town had questioned whether the authority needed local approvals to erect the turbine. The SCWA argued that it didn’t.

But at the town’s urging the authority did seek Town Trustee permits to run new water mains out to Orient two years ago. In the wake of intense opposition from the town and Orient residents, the authority eventually dropped that project, which was to be financed largely with federal stimulus funds.

The town code permits wind turbines only at bona fide farming operations.

Supervisor Scott Russell said Wednesday that he’s glad the water authority listened to residents living near the proposed project.

“I support reliance on alternative and renewable energies and have promoted their use with codes and action,” he said. “The site selection, however, is very important and the proposed location at Laurel Lake seemed to undermine all of the hard work and cooperative efforts of the state, the county and the town in protecting and preserving that scenic and natural treasure. I do believe that the SCWA has shown a real interest in the voices and concerns of the residents in this instance and am grateful to that agency for listening to those concerns.”

[email protected]