Southampton's People of the Year

10 people who made an impact in eastern Southampton in 2011.

Like Time magazine names a Person of the Year each December, Patch decided to find out who readers think are Southampton's People of the Year. Here are 10 people who had a great year, or did great things for the community this year. And you can help name the Reader's Choice by voting in the poll below.

Here's how the voting will work: From now until Dec. 31 at noon, we will be taking your vote by poll (It's anonymous). Just sign-in and click the person you think is most deserving. Only vote once (otherwise, what's the fun?). In addition, feel free to leave a note in the comments as to why that person deserves the recognition. 

Bob Chaloner, the president & CEO of , is a Person of the Year for stabilizing the hospital since he took the helm five years ago and "putting it on the road to becoming one of the best community hospital's in the region."

Roseann Gentile of  is a Person of the Year for dedicating so much of her free time to helping students, for many, many years. "You can find students both current and from 20 years ago plus, including myself who will attest to her warmth, generosity and reliability," Gentile's nominator wrote. "She has aided in countless programs both in and out of school including roller skating, school plays in both the middle and high schools, the , 5Ks, Christmas gift drives and volunteering" at . "She is not only a wonderful asset to the local schools but to the entire community, as well as an amazing mother and friend to many people."

John v.H. Halsey, the president of , is a Person of the Year because he has "devoted his life to perservation of open space, natural land and working farms on the East End — all of the things that make us who we are as a community. It’s our heritage and our legacy to the next generation that John has worked tirelessly for since he started the Trust in 1982. ... His influence is felt from Washington, D.C., to Albany, to the local towns and villages, to the farmers and landowners for whom he works. A current project of the Trust, and one of John’s personal passions, is keeping farmland affordable and accessible for the next generation of new and young farmers who want to get into agriculture on the East End but find the cost of land prohibitive."

, a former Southampton Town supervisor and to reclaim the job, is a Person of the Year for being Southampton's "Comeback Kid." She waged "a very viable write-in campaign after a stint in the political graveyard due to a a couple of years ago."

Mary Ann Tupper, the executive director of , is a Person of the Year for her dedication to Southampton's neediest. Human Resources provides clothing, food, heating assistance and more.

, an activist for gay rights, among other causes, is a Person of the Year for her dedication to making a difference. According to her nominator, she "was a mover and shaker and rain maker helping the citizens of New York State take the much needed and long delayed moral leap to for all. Look at any progressive campaign or cause vital to democracy on the East End and you will find Lisa not only involved but providing leadership, courage and a great role model for young people. Lisa is active with the Eastern Long Island Branch of the NAACP under the able leadership of veteran freedom fighter, Lou Ware. She has been a stalwart organizer in Democratic politics and has represented women and young people in the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force. Lisa's husband, Matauqus, is a activist."

Katherine Wilson, who provides care to both wild and domesticated animals, is a Person of the Year for selflessly giving to animal causes, personally caring for injured deer, nursing feral cats back to health and volunteering with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rescue and Ducks Unlimited, and much more. "She is not afraid of any wild animal and will do whatever it takes to get the animal treated and back to its natural state in the wild," Wilson's nominator wrote. "Katherine always has the animals best interest at heart and has left her house at 3 a.m. to respond to an animal in distress call. She is absolutely brilliant and her love and respect of animals is most admirable!"

Anna Throne-Holst, the supervisor of Southampton Town, is a Person of the Year for steering the town through a recession and, when it came time for her re-election campaign, no one even wanted to attempt to get on the ballot to challenge her.

Kathleen King Friedman, the owner and founder of , is a Person of the Year because in 2011 she was recognized multiple times for her entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy. The Pioneer Chapter of Hadassah in Westhampton, a Jewish woman's organization, named Friedman its Woman of the Year. Girls Incorporated

Brenda Simmons, a co-founder of the African-American Museum of the East End, is a Person of the Year for all her good works and accomplishments in Southampton Village and the greater area. Simmons has her own show on LTV called "Voices of Wisdom," is a life coach for young women, and a mentor for inmates at the Riverhead Correctional Facility. She from Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman in March during the unveiling of the sign at the museum's future home.

Voice December 27, 2011 at 04:52 PM
What a honored to me a nominee for the Southampton Patch Person of the Year. Thanks and Happy Holidays!!!
Surethang December 27, 2011 at 05:27 PM
I choose Brenda Simmons as the Southampton Patch Person of The Year. She is a Phenomonal Woman.....She has a big heart and open mind. Only God knows how she does all that she does; from a doula to the mayor's assistant.....most of all she raised ME-along with my older sister by herslef. I'm so proud to hear the awesome projects and events that she works so hard on. Her hard work and dedication is beyond measure and yes I am bias....she deserves it!
john Strong December 27, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Lisa Votino-Tarrant has my vote for person of the year. She is a tireless worker for human rights.
J. R. Zellner December 27, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Lisa Votino-Tarrant also gets my support. I agree with Big Strong John who knows all about the people in the plush Hamptons who need the most help and get the least. Lisa's relentless optimism and hard work for Human Rights is inspiring for young people. She's a role model who needs to be held up to view.
Katherine Klahn December 28, 2011 at 04:15 AM
I vote for Lisa votino. She is an active member of the community not only in south hamton but throuhghot LI. Her kindness, maturity and loyalty to the causes she believes inare unparalleled
Bob Schepps December 28, 2011 at 03:39 PM
My vote goes to Mary Ann Tupper. She touchs the most needy among us.
Anon73 December 28, 2011 at 06:07 PM
My vote is for Simmons. You think how wealthy Long Island is overall - and the Hamptons specifically -- and how the local black community still struggles here with poverty, welfare, drugs, and incarceration. I like that this woman is working to help change that. Those kids deserve a chance and need a little "pull" from strong community leaders like herself towards middle class opportunities. Thank you Brenda.
Anon73 December 28, 2011 at 06:10 PM
PS Sorry to see Junie Wingfield left off this list of nominees. He's also been a great community leader and role model. I wish I had known about the nominations earlier.
christine December 29, 2011 at 05:20 AM
My vote is for Lisa Votino-Tarrant. She has helped SO many people over the years and deserves this award. Thanks.
Laura Green December 29, 2011 at 06:12 PM
The way this vote is set up is terrible. It is done on the honor system, yet how honorable is it when Lisa Votrino-Tarrant puts a link to this vote on her facebook page to her 2,000+ "friends" and asks them to vote for her. Great, except the majority don't even live in Southampton and don't have a clue who is worthy of this honor. While Lisa does deserve nomination, how fair is it when her voters don't even necessarily live in New York state, never mind locally. Also, people can vote multiple times. Not fair, because not everyone is actually honorable. A fair vote would be one vote per person, and you have to be from Southampton. If Lisa wins everyone should know that the majority of her votes shouldn't be considered legitimate.
Roger Blaugh December 29, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Lisa gets my vote, too. This was a special year for a lot of people and Lisa worked hard and dedicated herself to the one cause where she could make a difference. I'm a big fan of Mary Ann Tupper and many of the others on this list, all of whom must be thrilled to be nominated. But Lisa gets my vote. Well done and "Thank you" Governor Cuomo!
Lisa Votino-Tarrant December 29, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Laura, really? I'm proud of the work I did this year and highly admire all the other nominees. I'm as successful as I am in the work that I do because of my communication on Facebook plus I'm excited. Why wouldn't I post on FB? No matter who wins, it doesn't matter because the real winner is the Southampton community! And isn't that why we all do what we do? We love our community and want to make it an even better place :)
kia houston-gordon December 29, 2011 at 11:03 PM
I would like to vote for Brenda Simmons who is a great mother and role model to all. She not only speaks the word of life she lives it daily. I'm proud to be apart of her family. Mrs. Kia Houston- Gordon
Peter December 30, 2011 at 03:18 PM
unfortunately, this is rigged. Very sad considering there are people on here who really deserve this. Someone also told me that Mary Ann Tupper wins every year and while I respect her and all she does for the community it shouldn't be awarded to the same person over and over when there are so many positive people in the community.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) December 30, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Peter, This is the first time Patch has ever done this.
Peter December 30, 2011 at 04:23 PM
That is why I said I heard because I was not sure it was true. The reason I say something is wrong is because when I voted last night and clicked submit the total number of overall votes went up by three. Weird no?
Peter December 30, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Maryann got 200 votes in a matter of hours, just seems odd that she got half of her total votes in such a short span of time...
Lisa Votino-Tarrant December 30, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Just an FYI - People have been alluding to the fact that people can vote more than once. I use Google Chrome and I can't (which meant my hubby couldn't vote). He tried in Internet Explorer and it did work, but it also allows you to vote more than once. So I guess it depends what internet browser you are using.
Andrea December 31, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Same here, I voted and my boyfriend tried to vote later on our home computer and it wouldn't let him.
Dwayne Kerr December 31, 2011 at 05:31 PM
Dwayne I voted for Brenda Simmons......a heart of service is always a blessing to others!
Miles December 31, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Brendan, any comment on what Peter is saying? I too noticed something was off in the numbers. It is very clear that people were voting over and over for the same person.
Mary Beth December 31, 2011 at 07:33 PM
As the notice at the bottom of the page mentions "this is not a scientific poll" I use chrome and if I close the browser and reopen and visit this page, I can vote as many times as I like. I do not believe the vote tally is meant to be the deciding factor. Ms. Tupper is clearly the most deserving.
Hank Murray-Brown December 31, 2011 at 08:41 PM
So Lisa admits to trying to vote for herself multiple times and posting a link on Facebook. So what is the point? There is no honor, no achievement. It's not something to be proud of. It should be "Who Is The Vainest Person?" Linda, if it "doesn't matter who wins" why are you trying so hard to win? My guess it'll go on your resume tomorrow--"Voted Person Of the year!" Without mentioning you rigged the vote. Like I said -- a joke, an embarrassment. Wake up Southampton, in East Hampton there are 40,000 votes. Five candidates have mastered the autovote mechanism --one got 1000 votes in a matter of hours. Lisa do your homework you'll win by a landslide!
Lisa Votino-Tarrant December 31, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Hank, I admitted that my husband wanted to vote and Google Chrome wouldn't let him. He always uses Internet Explorer, so when he clicked on this article in ie it let him vote, but then didn't show him the results. It was an observation and for the Editor's info. I also don't get how someone gets upset because I posted a FB link to an ONLINE ONLY publication? Are you completely dismissing the other people who wrote comments for me and other people who live in Southampton? Mary Ann does amazing work in our community. The truth is that she, all the other nominees and all the people out there who try to make our community special but didn't have their names listed here, are awesome people. I don't understand why anyone is taking an online poll so seriously?! It was fun. It was nice to be recognized for the work I've done. I was glad to see people I admire also be nominated and gleeful that there were names I didn't recognize. Stop worrying about something so trivial and worry about MUCH bigger, more important things! It's New Year's Eve, go celebrate and have a great 2012!
Laura Green January 03, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Lisa, if you dont care about winning why did you continue to repost your facebook plea many times begging "friends" to vote for you and fan the flames by not informing them of the controvery. Letting people think its ok to vote for you when it shouldnt be open to them in the first place only hilites your lack of ethics in this. Its all about your vanity. Unlike other nominees you dont have a sustaining passion for the group or issue you focus on. You pick the hot topic of the moment and jump on an existing hard-working bandwagon to glory ride-needing to be at the front of the parade and in every picture. For example, gay rights has been an issue for decades. When things come to a head you decide to join in and work it at rallies and press conferences, as if you’ve been out there pushing hard for years. When the bill goes through, there you are getting your ego stroked for all you did to make it happen. Besides your husband's blood rights, what east Southampton issues have you worked on not just as flavor of the month. ALL other nominees have made the type of difference you haven’t - out there every day because they care about the community not about the recognition. Working hard on a lot of issues with big groups doesn't necessarily make you an activist, it just makes you look like one. The vote is skewed and everyone should know it. Even with all your fb friends voting you barely beat out Mary Ann or Roseann who got local votes from people whose lives they’ve touched.
Lisa Votino-Tarrant January 03, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Laura, have we met? You seem to have an huge grudge against me & I have no idea who you are. I guess it's really easy to throw insults at someone through a message board. You sit here questioning my ethics - from an online poll - & access to my FB page (which is weird considering there is no one named Laura Green on my friend's list)? Really, you have no better way to spend your time? Would you like to get coffee one day? If you still didn't like me at least then you could say you gave it a go! Right now you just seem like some weird, bitter person acting like a child in something that should have been fun. I have worked on plenty of issues out here, many of which I do in the background, so obviously it's NOT about the attention. A lot of the things I have worked on have been on a broader scale, but have affected people who live here. Do you see me bragging anywhere? I do what I do for two reasons - 1) to make our world a better place and 2) To know that at the end of the day when I go to bed, I did something good. I'm 32-years-old, how long could I have possibly been doing anything?! A bulk of my adult life has been living here and working as an organizer. And I didn't become an organizer for money or for glory, but to hopefully make our world a little better. As far as this whole local v. some other random place you think my votes came from - How do you know where my votes came from? All votes came directly from people chancing upon this site? This is just silly.
Corrin January 03, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I have known Lisa Votino since I believe 1992 or 1993 when we met in junior high school. Then, we were not friends (we were just in different social circles) even at the age of 13, Lisa was already making the world a better place. Now, at the age of 32, I am honored to call Lisa a friend. I think so highly of her that last year, while revising my will, I discussed the possibility of leaving custody of my daughter to Lisa . My daughter has special needs so the question of who would care for her in my place is daunting. During my daughter's frequent hospitalizations, Lisa has driven to Stonybrook to make a sick little girl's life a little brighter and in doing so, has helped me greatly. If you have never actually met her, Lisa tries to make the world a better place, everyday. She is the kind of person that I wish I had it in myself to be. She is the kind of person I would like my daughter to have as a role model. There is a saying, "Adversity introduces a man to himself." I believe adversity introduces us to our true friends. Adversity reintroduced me to Lisa Votino, a true friend to me and a true asset to her community. In closing, because I suspect it may come up, I did not vote in this poll for Lisa. I was actually unaware of her nomination until reading her Facebook wall earlier tonight. I felt moved to post here only because I hate seeing someone who does so much for so many without ever asking for anything in return being falsely maligned.


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