East Hampton Library Digitizes Whaling Log Collection, Largest Of Its Kind On Long Island

While the East Hampton Library had its doors closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, the staff of the Long Island Collection was busy at work on a long overdue project: scanning all of its historic whaling logs in full, thousands upon thousands of pages, which are now available to read online.

And when Andrea Meyer, head of the Long Island Collection, flips through the archive, the librarian feels like a green archivist all over again.

“When you get something like these whaling logs, that numbness wears off,” she said. “That exciting, amazingness comes back. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s not just another 1690s land deed. Oh wait, this is really cool.’ And you stop and you go, ‘Wait a second, there’s something wrong with me that I think, “Just another 1690s land deed.”’”

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Andrea Spilka, Tireless Civic Advocate for the East End, Dies At 72

The Southampton Town Board meeting room was packed, buzzing with energy ahead of a particularly controversial Planning Board hearing. Everyone was watching everyone, surmising their stance by the company they kept, when Andrea Spilka walked through the door — and immediately locked eyes with Robin Long.

In front of the entire room, the two women threw their arms around each other, until Ms. Spilka pulled away from the Planning Board member.

“Oh my God, am I gonna get you in trouble?” she asked.

“You know something? I can handle it,” Ms. Long replied. “Let them talk — I’m taking my hug.”

Recalling the story years later, she is eternally grateful that she did.

“I would never have given up that hug,” Ms. Long said, “because that hug, I can remember it forever now.”

In an unexpected blow to the East End community, Ms. Spilka — a steadfast civic leader, role model and friend — died on December 28 after a short bout with metastatic lung cancer and was buried on January 3 at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Queens.

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Coal Bin Paintings Find New Home: Southampton African American Museum To Display Segregated Bar Relics

Inside the Herb McCarthy estate, Tom Edmonds pulled two canvases out from a closet in the late 19th-century mansion and took a step back. He turned to his companion, Sheila Guidera, in disbelief.

“Oh my God, how interesting,” he murmured to himself, adding the folk-like paintings to the treasure trove of donations headed for the Southampton History Museum, where he is executive director.

But that is where his wonderment started and, temporarily, stopped.

Without much of a second thought, Mr. Edmonds took the 18-inch-by-24-inch paintings back to the Rogers Mansion and stuffed them into another closet, where they lived for the past 10 years — until their recent rediscovery this past fall, not to mention the piece of forgotten history they represent.

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Astrologer Kate Plumb Looks to the Stars for 2021

For Kate Plumb, the future is written among the stars.

With the closing of a tumultuous year, to say the least, the Sag Harbor astrologer has turned her sights toward 2021 and her gaze upward, looking to the cosmos for clarity on what’s to come.

“There’s meaning in the universe and things are unfolding the way they should be. It’s that faith that’s so important to have: ‘Okay, somehow I might not understand what’s happening now, but in time, I will,’” she said. “It’s that sense of faith in the spiritual world, if you will, that sense of faith in the unfolding process of your personal life and also this country and the world. It can be very dark otherwise.”

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The East Hampton Press Person Of The Year: Holly Wheaton

Holly Wheaton does not own a single little black dress or power suit. Those days are long behind her.

More than two decades ago, the Springs native traded in her sleek Chicago wardrobe for flannel shirts, blue jeans and work boots when she moved back home to join the ranks of the Springs Food Pantry that her mother, Betty Reichart, had started in 1992 — a time when feeding over 200 families was unimaginable.

But that is precisely what Ms. Wheaton faces today.

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Bullies Worse Than Virus: Southampton Family Navigates Brutal Backlash From COVID-19 Diagnosis

Dressed in a medical gown, mask and face shield, Stratis Morfogen had poked his head into his 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom to check on her — when he saw tears streaming down her face.

By way of explanation, she simply handed him her phone.

“F you, Bea! I have to quarantine because of you,” one TikTok user wrote. “Bea this is your fault!” another said on Instagram.

And then came the comment section — brutal, relentless finger-pointing at the Southampton eighth-grader who had tested positive for COVID-19 less than two days earlier and complied with contact tracing.

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A Humanitarian in the Making: Mikayla Mott Helps Raise $10K for Nicaragua Hurricane Relief Efforts

Mikayla Mott takes a seat outside the Ding Repair Cafe on a recent Monday morning, a warm winter breeze tousling her long blonde hair and dancing with the wind chimes nearby.

Under the basking sun, she and the restaurant are sheltered from the noise and traffic and throngs of people at the bustling heart of San Juan del Sur, a coastal town in Nicaragua that the 26-year-old East Hampton native has called her second home for nearly three years.

Here, it is mostly peaceful and quiet, just three blocks from the bay.

A month ago, it was an entirely different scene at the unassuming cafe, which served as a staging area following a pair of hurricanes, Eta and Iota, that landed within days of each other and devastated countless communities across the country. Here, Ms. Mott and her team of volunteers raised over $10,000 in donations and collected countless supplies, which they sorted, divvied up and delivered to those in need.

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Shinnecock Matriarch Harriett Crippen Brown Gumbs Blazed Path Forward, Dies At 99

Lance Gumbs was on a mission to find misplaced beadwork in his mother’s shop last week when he saw them — the thick stack of files piled high on her desk.

It was like she had planned it.

Abandoning his original quest, Mr. Gumbs sat down, opened the first file and started to read. And for four and a half hours, he didn’t stop. When he closed the last one, he saw his mother and her legacy in a new light, her many accomplishments — a handful of which he never knew about — shining bright.

In those hours, he had come as close as he ever would to talking to her again.

Harriett Crippen Brown Gumbs, the matriarch and oldest female of the Shinnecock Indian Nation — a woman who lived her life as an educator, activist, feminist and historian — died on November 25 of natural causes. She was 99.

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East End Clergy Brace for Restricted Holiday Season

For nearly two decades, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Southampton had never once locked its doors, keeping them open for rest, prayer, solace and peace 24 hours a day, seven days a week — with no exceptions.

It was a tradition born from the devastation of September 11, 2001, a time when religious, spiritual and agnostic individuals alike needed guidance, or simply a place to go, following the terrorist attack on New York City that day, just 90 miles away.

Weighed down by uncertainty and fear, parishioners sought a similar degree of comfort when the COVID-19 outbreak reached the East End this past March. Some turned to their houses of worship as beacons of hope — and, in the case of St. John’s, knew the doors would always be open.

Until they weren’t.

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‘Fish & Men’ Exposes Brutal Truths Within Seafood Economy

When Darby Duffin and Adam Jones set out to make their first documentary in 2013, they had no choice but to go big. It’s what the story deserved.

Over the next six years, their journey took them cross-country and overseas. They accrued nearly 400 hours of footage and earned the trust of tight-knit communities up and down the New England coast, compiling nearly six-dozen interviews with men and women who bear their souls to the camera — detailing how they’ve put their lives on the line to feed their friends and family.

For fishermen in the United States, this is the reality of the wild fishery collapse — where only five species make up over 85 percent of the American seafood diet, and 91 percent of the country’s inventory is imported. That is six billion pounds of fish — a staggering number made more offensive by the fact that some of that seafood is caught in the U.S., shipped to Asia for processing and then imported back, just to save a buck.

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