Saltaire Summery

By Hugh O’Brien

Well, it’s official. The season, if not quite yet the technical summer, of ’17 has begun. In Saltaire that meant the Club’s formal opening, the first large-scale dash to the market, the SVFC’s unadvertised Pancake Breakfast, the opening kickoff of softball (to mix sports metaphors), the Village elections and the sudden streaming of light from windows hitherto darkened lo these many months. Oh, and in a follow-up to our wildlife report last time, the frogs are out in force, in full screech every evening. It’s been so long since we’ve heard that din at din-din time that even seasoned Saltairians have stopped passersby to ask what that awful noise is, though there seems to be a dearth of passersby with the answer. Fact is, nature recycles its annoyances (ticks, pollen, meteors) periodically and now it’s time for the resurfacing of the mini-frog population. I don’t know their genus but it doesn’t take a genius to realize their shrill droning is very off-putting. Dr. Richard Rieger seems to have cornered their abode near his corner abode at Broadway and Harbor, where if you peer into the adjacent duck pond several will hop up and stick their tongues out at you. (He’s got a couple of ducks there too, though they regard it as a frog pond.) Anyway, no one seems to know how long these toads will make their presence so vociferously felt, so the best advice is nap while you can, because the nights are going to sound like a cheap ’50’s British sci-fi movie. (“Cosmic Monsters,” if you insist.)

From pools to pols: The May 25 municipal balloting resulted in the election to the Board of Trustees of Nat Oppenheimer and myself, an honor for which we thank our supporters amongst the citizenry, but I must take some moments to acknowledge the departure of Alex Chefetz, who’s served on the board since his appointment in 2010. Alex has been a conscientious, thoughtful trustee, a man of honesty and integrity whose only agenda was in the highest Saltaire tradition – doing what he thought best for the village, without fear or favor. Those of us who’ve served with Alex know his love of the community and its residents and his boundless good temperament, and he deserves the thanks of everyone for our seven years’ good luck in having had the benefit of his devoted services.

Speaking of things municipal, each year we like to roll out the roster of Saltaire’s security officers, except with the code change over the winter they’re now officially, if somewhat cumbersomely, labeled public safety. Still, roses by any name: Chief Robert Rittenhouse; Lt. Alan Rudy; Sgt. Chris Degni (our year-rounders); plus summertime staff Charles Fagan, Jim Wilde Sr., Dan Coyle, Ryan Coyle, Felix Ramos III, Robert Benes, Anthony Campos, Anna Kahler and Ritch Higham. Some familiar names scattered in there, and as the season begins they’re all out dutifully keeping the peace. Alan Rudy, who just joined Saltaire as a full-time resident, is also a paramedic and firefighter, which means we get to run him ragged on about four or five fronts for the price of one. This is known as fiscal responsibility. Alan has already proven his professional worth and is in the process of immersing himself in the quirks of the community, which with his fealty to the work ethic pretty much guarantees he’ll be around for the next 40 or 50 years.

Smoothly segueing as always, here’s a reminder who to call in emergencies. For local problems, ring up Saltaire Public Safety (formerly Security) at 631-583-5572 (formerly “Ahoy, operator, will you connect me with Juniper 3-5572?”). For medical or fire emergencies, dial 911 and ask for the Saltaire fire dispatcher. This is the fastest way of getting help to your door, or to the victim in your home if your door isn’t the one that needs assistance. Try to avoid going through Public Safety, the Village Doctor or others since this will only delay the arrival of helpful personnel. Give the address and nature of the emergency. The appropriate rescue service will do the rest!

On civic matters at a non-official level, the SCA (formerly SCAA) will hold its annual (formerly yearly) meeting Saturday, June 24, at 11 a.m. in the firehouse meeting room. There’s a sign on the bulletin board detailing SCA’s donations in 2016 – $2,000 each for the library, FIA and the new ambulance, $15,000 for the ever-polite courtesy cart and over $18,000 for the picnic fireworks. That’s a lot of bang for one’s membership bucks, and all for the common weal, considering the dough they’ve doled out for various common wheels (qv ambulance, cart). Chair Grace Corradino and the gang ask that you tote along any ideas you may have for the organization or the village in this, our centennial year.

For a few peeks at the few weeks ahead, the new, improved and generally revamped camp starts July 3, with preliminaries already underway. More later. The Post Office’s officially posted opening is June 22 (through Sept. 5), at the same old stand in the Village Hall, pending construction of its new bayfront digs with the Allison Williams Amazon Package substation. And under the rubric of offers you can’t refuse, twice-weekly (Monday and Thursday) trash collection begins the week of June 12. It closely coincides with the absolute, final, no-more-excuses, obey-or-release-the-hounds, Village-mandated deadline for installing an outdoor garbage box at your house. This will certainly make for more efficient collection and a cleaner, more secure, more deer-, raccoon- and possum-proof refuge for your refuse, but harried local contractors are in a frenzy to get their projects finished quickly. Ken Larson, for one, is banging his head over the work to be done, but like the others he’s not one to doze before the job’s completed, so soon our streets will be positively littered with tidy trash-can containers. Thus does Saltaire embark upon its second century: securely tied and properly bagged.

Trustee Hugh O’Brien takes the oath for the 13th time. (Photo by Catherine O’Brien.)

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