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East Hampton board meeting adjourned over Springs dispute

A resident opposed to using ‘the’ as part of the community’s name wouldn’t step away from the podium, prompting an adjournment and a call to the police.

The East Hampton Town Board adjourned its Tuesday work session after a Springs man, incensed over other residents referring to the hamlet as “The Springs,” refused to stop speaking.

At issue was a recent Newsday story featuring a Springs Improvement Society bumper sticker contest. The organization is selling two versions of the sticker — one that reads “I [Heart] Springs” and another that says “I [Heart] The Springs” — to resolve a long-standing informal debate among hamlet residents. The results of stickers sold will be tallied up later this summer, though the winners receive little more than bragging rights.

Martin Drew, who falls firmly in the Springs camp, brought evidence in support of his argument, including a plaque featuring the town’s seal listing the hamlet as Springs, adopted 61 years ago.

“Since 1957 it is indeed what we are,” he said.

Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc asked Drew to wrap up his presentation several times, though he kept talking.

“Martin, I think we got your point,” Van Scoyoc said.

“You’re not cutting me off, so good luck with that,” Drew said.

The board voted to find Drew out of order, though he still refused to leave the podium. It then voted to adjourn the meeting, and Drew left before the work session resumed.

The East Hampton Town Police were called, though no charges were filed against Drew, who was charged with harassment in September 2017 after allegedly head-butting a town trustee. He is due back in town justice court on that charge June 13.

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