Three candidates vie for two Head of the Harbor seats

Newcomer Theresa O'Brien, incumbent Judith Ogden and newcomer Newcomer Theresa O'Brien, incumbent Judith Ogden and newcomer Gordon Van Vechten are vying for two trustee seats in Head of the Harbor. Photo Credit: Handout / Ed Betz / Handout

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Three candidates are vying for two trustee seats in Head of the Harbor.

Incumbent Judith Ogden and newcomer Gordon Van Vechten are running as a team on the Village Party line. Newcomer Theresa O'Brien will face them on the Box Party line.

Ogden, 52, has lived in Head of the Harbor for eight years and is serving a second two-year term as trustee. She has owned Ogden's Design & Plantings, a landscape design firm, in the village for 23 years.

"Running a small business is much like running a village, because you have staff that you have to help . . . and you have to deal with balancing the budget," Ogden said.

She said that as one of four trustees she has helped balance the village budget, and assisted in implementing an email notification system for weather-related emergencies and a village newsletter to provide information to residents.

"I want people to feel connected to their village," she said.

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Van Vechten, 69, is a 33-year village resident. He co-owns Framerica Corp., a picture frame, floor and architectural molding manufacturer that he co-founded in 1969 in Yaphank.

Van Vechten said he is running for trustee to share his business knowledge and ideas.

Among his platform issues is improving communication between village officials and residents, expanding natural gas in the village and repairing and paving village roads.

"I am willing to commit my time to improving the village," Van Vechten said. "I think I have the vision to see what needs to be done, and the ability to get those things done."

O'Brien, 46, who has worked as a fourth-grade teacher at Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School in Rocky Point for 18 years, said she is running to improve communication in the village and engender "more of a positive tone."

"Sometimes phone calls weren't returned from village officials when we had questions regarding village rules and policies," said O'Brien, who has lived in Head of the Harbor for three years.

If elected, O'Brien said she would implement a written policy ensuring residents' concerns are addressed -- something that she said was lacking when her street sign went missing for six months.

"For the people who choose to work hard to live here, they deserve someone that will work equally hard for them," O'Brien said.

Voting takes place from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 500 N. Country Rd., St. James.

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