The Biggest Stories of the Year
As we begin the new year, it’s good to look back and reflect on all that happened in 2018. It comes as no surprise that the biggest news occurred in June when a small plane carrying Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, their grandson, William Maerov, and their pilot, Jon Dollard, crashed into the ocean off Amagansett.
The loss of two East Hampton leaders was felt in all corners of the community. The Krupinskis were benefactors and philanthropists who supported many notable causes and projects. Their grandson, who was in his third year at Georgetown University, was just 22. Hundreds turned out for a funeral for the couple and their grandson at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, though there were only two caskets; Mr. Maerov’s body was never recovered.
The Star published more than a dozen stories regarding the crash, its victims, and their long-lasting legacies. In a preliminary report on the accident from the National Transportation Safety Board in July, bad weather was blamed as the major reason the plane went down.
Two of the Krupinskis’ planes had left Newport State Airport in Rhode Island, where they had flown earlier that day to pick up the Krupinskis’ granddaughter, Charlotte Maerov. The smaller of the two planes, carrying her, flew farther south as it returned to avoid a bad storm that had cropped up. It landed safely at East Hampton Airport. The other plane, carrying the Krupinskis and their grandson, did not.
Another story that captured readers’ attention in 2018 was the death, just hours apart, of Judith Leiber, the famed evening bag designer, and her husband, Gerson Leiber, a noted abstract painter. They were 97 and 96 when they died on April 29, Mr. Leiber first, his wife a few hours later. The couple, married 72 years, lived on Old Stone Highway in Springs, where they had built an extraordinary brick museum for her handbags and Mr. Leiber’s artwork.
Not surprisingly, a major drug bust in Montauk in August also was one of the most read stories. The arrests of 15 people in the restaurant industry, including bar backs and line cooks who reportedly sold cocaine and pills while living in housing supplied by the restaurants they worked for, “struck at the heart of the drug supply in Montauk,” the Suffolk County district attorney, Timothy D. Sini, said. Ultimately, several others were also charged in connection with the bust. Their cases are pending.
Then there was the drowning death of a 22-year-old in a private Springs pool in September, the news of a great white shark recently coming close to shore and killing a seal in a popular Montauk surfing spot, and news in June that a teen was found overdosing in the front yard of an East Hampton Village house he had broken into and destroyed.
Many also will remember the photos of a 44-foot Meridian yacht submerged in deep waters near the Montauk jetty in August.
And, who could forget the largest fire of the year — a blaze at the Creeks, the famed estate now owned by Ron Perelman, the billionaire chairman of Revlon, on Sept. 29. The size and site of the fire was a firefighting challenge, bringing out several local departments to help quell it. The fire remains under investigation, though there did not appear to be anything suspicious involved.
Here at The Star, we were most surprised that a February article announcing that Il Molino in New York City was opening an outpost on the South Fork in the former Astoria Salina in Wainscott gained all sorts of attention from online readers.
Lee Katzoff, whose family owns the Il Mulino chain of more than a dozen restaurants in New York City and the surrounding suburbs, as well as in Florida, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Nashville, and other locations, said at the time that Il Molino’s patrons had long asked when the family might open on the South Fork. When the space on Georgica Pond at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road became available, “We said, ‘Yes, we’ll try it.’ ”
Here are the top 18 stories of 2018: