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Rebuilding Together Long Island

Written by Pete Sheehan Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00

After Massapequa resident Sol Goldstein and several friends helped finish building a house for a family 20 years ago for Habitat for Humanity, they had a question: “What do we do now?” They were all retired, had enjoyed working together and accomplishing something for a family in need, and wanted to do more. 

 

“I was looking for something [to do] hands-on,” said Joe Botkin, of Williston Park, a retired principal, who had worked with Goldstein in building the home.

 

Soon, Goldstein, a retired technician and technical manager for ABC television, learned of a national volunteer organization based in Washington, D.C., that offered free home repairs for low-income seniors, persons with physical handicaps, veterans, and families with small children. 

 

After sending $12 for a handbook, Goldstein and his friends began  “Rebuilding Together Long Island,” now one of the 189 affiliates of “Rebuilding Together” around the country.

 

“It exploded,” Botkin said, attracting both people who needed home repairs and volunteers eager to do the work — everything from fixing a faucet to installing wheelchair access ramps to undertaking major repairs on homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

 

The group, based in Massapequa, is working on opening an office in Farmingdale. They will celebrate their 21st anniversary at their annual dinner, May 22, at Stuart Thomas Manor, Farmingdale. For information, call 516-541-7322.

 

“There has been a greater demand for our services since Superstorm Sandy,” noted Bob Ellis, director of Rebuilding Together Long Island, their only paid staff member. The organization has made major repairs on seven houses devastated by the hurricane, including three in Massapequa.

 

“We average about 100 homes a year,” Goldstein, president of Rebuilding Together Long Island, said. “We have about 300 volunteers” working on houses around Long Island, especially in Western Suffolk and Nassau.

 

“The experience of helping people is fantastic,” said Botkin. “We’ve all had good lives and we’re happy to give back. Besides, it beats sitting inside the house and watching the boob tube.”

 

“Our volunteers are mostly retired and they get a lot of joy in the good they do and in working with each other,” Ellis said. 

Rebuilding Together relies on financial donations as well as donations of materials, supplies, equipment, and time from contractors and craftsmen, and others.

 

“We wish we could do more,” Botkin said.

 

Organizations like The Long Island Board of Realtors and the Nassau County Bar Association work with Rebuilding Together, offering donations as well as recruiting volunteers to work alongside them.

 

Rebuilding Together receives referrals from social services agencies, churches and other houses of worship, and veterans’ organizations. 

Their projects vary. The organization does light carpentry, plumbing and some electrical work, but for any new electrical work, they hire an electrician. “We also do sheet rock and spackling. We paint only what we repair.”

 

Their biggest projects have been hurricane repairs. “That might take us two weeks,” Goldstein said.  “On one of those homes, we had to put in 50 sheets of sheet rock.”

 

Others have noted the organization’s accomplishments.

 

“We are engaged in a joint endeavor with them to help people who can’t afford home repairs,” said Elaine Leventhal, director of We Care, the charitable arm of the Nassau County Bar Association. “Our members, especially our Young Lawyers Committee, receive a lot of satisfaction working with them.”

 

Rebuilding Together also receives appreciation from those they have helped.

 

Cindy Johnson noted that Rebuilding Together built a ramp for her 93-year-old mother’s Massapequa Park home. 

 

“It is a fantastic organization,” said Johnson.

 

Having the ramp has helped immensely for them to get their mother in and out of the house for medical treatment and even socially and recreationally.

 

“We took her outside for Mother’s Day and she said: ‘How wonderful it is to be in the sun,’” Johnson said.

“We also receive a lot of letters,” Goldstein said. “Many of them are heartwarming.”

 

“I’m very grateful for those wonderful people coming into my home and giving me the help that I needed very badly,” one Levittown woman wrote.

 

“Without your help, sometimes I think I would go under,” an Old Bethpage resident noted.

 

An 89-year-old Massapequa resident and her 92-year-old husband appreciated the work on their home, including a wheelchair ramp, which has helped her get safely in and out of their home for a doctor’s appointment, and also the installation of pull bars, which have helped him take showers without assistance. 

 

“They did a magnificent job,” she wrote. “I cannot say enough to express my gratitude.”

 

Rebuilding Together Long Island

Written by Pete Sheehan Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00

After Massapequa resident Sol Goldstein and several friends helped finish building a house for a family 20 years ago for Habitat for Humanity, they had a question: “What do we do now?” They were all retired, had enjoyed working together and accomplishing something for a family in need, and wanted to do more. 

 

“I was looking for something [to do] hands-on,” said Joe Botkin, of Williston Park, a retired principal, who had worked with Goldstein in building the home.

 

Soon, Goldstein, a retired technician and technical manager for ABC television, learned of a national volunteer organization based in Washington, D.C., that offered free home repairs for low-income seniors, persons with physical handicaps, veterans, and families with small children. 

 

After sending $12 for a handbook, Goldstein and his friends began  “Rebuilding Together Long Island,” now one of the 189 affiliates of “Rebuilding Together” around the country.

 

“It exploded,” Botkin said, attracting both people who needed home repairs and volunteers eager to do the work — everything from fixing a faucet to installing wheelchair access ramps to undertaking major repairs on homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

 

The group, based in Massapequa, is working on opening an office in Farmingdale. They will celebrate their 21st anniversary at their annual dinner, May 22, at Stuart Thomas Manor, Farmingdale. For information, call 516-541-7322.

 

“There has been a greater demand for our services since Superstorm Sandy,” noted Bob Ellis, director of Rebuilding Together Long Island, their only paid staff member. The organization has made major repairs on seven houses devastated by the hurricane, including three in Massapequa.

 

“We average about 100 homes a year,” Goldstein, president of Rebuilding Together Long Island, said. “We have about 300 volunteers” working on houses around Long Island, especially in Western Suffolk and Nassau.

 

“The experience of helping people is fantastic,” said Botkin. “We’ve all had good lives and we’re happy to give back. Besides, it beats sitting inside the house and watching the boob tube.”

 

“Our volunteers are mostly retired and they get a lot of joy in the good they do and in working with each other,” Ellis said. 

Rebuilding Together relies on financial donations as well as donations of materials, supplies, equipment, and time from contractors and craftsmen, and others.

 

“We wish we could do more,” Botkin said.

 

Organizations like The Long Island Board of Realtors and the Nassau County Bar Association work with Rebuilding Together, offering donations as well as recruiting volunteers to work alongside them.

 

Rebuilding Together receives referrals from social services agencies, churches and other houses of worship, and veterans’ organizations. 

Their projects vary. The organization does light carpentry, plumbing and some electrical work, but for any new electrical work, they hire an electrician. “We also do sheet rock and spackling. We paint only what we repair.”

 

Their biggest projects have been hurricane repairs. “That might take us two weeks,” Goldstein said.  “On one of those homes, we had to put in 50 sheets of sheet rock.”

 

Others have noted the organization’s accomplishments.

 

“We are engaged in a joint endeavor with them to help people who can’t afford home repairs,” said Elaine Leventhal, director of We Care, the charitable arm of the Nassau County Bar Association. “Our members, especially our Young Lawyers Committee, receive a lot of satisfaction working with them.”

 

Rebuilding Together also receives appreciation from those they have helped.

 

Cindy Johnson noted that Rebuilding Together built a ramp for her 93-year-old mother’s Massapequa Park home. 

 

“It is a fantastic organization,” said Johnson.

 

Having the ramp has helped immensely for them to get their mother in and out of the house for medical treatment and even socially and recreationally.

 

“We took her outside for Mother’s Day and she said: ‘How wonderful it is to be in the sun,’” Johnson said.

“We also receive a lot of letters,” Goldstein said. “Many of them are heartwarming.”

 

“I’m very grateful for those wonderful people coming into my home and giving me the help that I needed very badly,” one Levittown woman wrote.

 

“Without your help, sometimes I think I would go under,” an Old Bethpage resident noted.

 

An 89-year-old Massapequa resident and her 92-year-old husband appreciated the work on their home, including a wheelchair ramp, which has helped her get safely in and out of their home for a doctor’s appointment, and also the installation of pull bars, which have helped him take showers without assistance. 

 

“They did a magnificent job,” she wrote. “I cannot say enough to express my gratitude.”

 

Budget Vote, Trustee Election

Written by Christy Hinko and Gary Simeone Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

Farmingdale School District 

The Farmingdale School District budget vote and trustee election will be held on Tuesday, May 21 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Howitt East gymnasium at 74 Van Cott Avenue in Farmingdale. Voter parking will be available in the Van Cott Avenue parking lot. All voters should enter through the Howitt building main entrance near the flagpole. 

 

Cinco De Mayo Benefits Water Witch

Written by Gary Simeone Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00

It was a great day for fun and prizes at Croxley Ales Bar on Sunday, May 5 as the Water Witch Engine & Hose Company #1 held their annual ‘Cinco De Mayo’ event. “This is our fifth annual Spring Fling and it is something we really love doing,” said Fire Chief Tom Lynch.

 

The community fundraiser was a success, with many local officials, including Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand and Deputy Mayor Patricia Christiansen, in attendance. 

 

 “Members of our fire department, village staff and the community enjoy coming to celebrate during Cinco de Mayo,” Lynch added. 

 

Board Focuses On Report Cards, Budget

Written by Gary Simeone Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:00

The annual school report cards and upcoming budget vote were the main topics at the Farmingdale School Board regular meeting on Wednesday, May 1. 

Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Joan Ripley said that overall the school district was in good standing with regard to the 2011-12 State report card scores. She said that special education students saw the most improvement in testing scores, as compared to past years.

 

“We saw significant gains in our students with disabilities on the High School Regents Exams,” said Dr. Ripley. “This section of students scored much higher on the Comprehensive English Regents Exam and U.S History and Government Exam than in previous years.”

 

Multinational Cultural Festival

Written by Christy Hinko and Gary Simeone Wednesday, 08 May 2013 07:59

Farmingdale State College recently hosted the annual showcasing of heritage and traditions of Japan, Italy, Korea, Guyana, India, Taiwan, Guyana, Thailand, Haiti, the Philippines, China, Turkey and many of the Spanish-speaking countries. 

 

Infinite Yarns Thrives In New Location

Written by Gary Simeone Friday, 03 May 2013 00:00

It has been over a year since Infinite Yarns moved from Main Street to its new location on Hempstead Turnpike. The small boutique store which specializes in everything yarn has done quite well in its transition.

 

“We were on Main Street for eight years before our move,” said storeowner, Anne Schneck. “But our customers seem to like our new location because of accessibility and the availability of parking spots.”

 

Schnek who also heads up the website, infiniteyarns.com and has a Facebook and Ravelry page, said a lot of her business is conducted online.

 

On A Mission

Written by Pete Sheehan Thursday, 02 May 2013 00:00

Bethpage-based St. Vincent De Paul Society puts a face on help

You’ve probably seen the St. Vincent de Paul Society trucks in your neighborhood but you might not know who they are and what they do, Who they are is one of the largest voluntary charitable associations in the world, having worked since its founding in 1833 Paris, to serve the needy.  They became established in the U.S. in 1845 and on Long Island in the late 1940s.

 

“We offer emergency assistance in any way we can – food, furniture, utility bills, or help with rent or mortgage,” said Marion Holmgaard, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society conference at St. Kilian’s Church, Farmingdale. Hers is  one of  about 50 parish conferences on Long Island.

 

Author Pens Pirate Adventure

Written by Gary Simone Wednesday, 01 May 2013 12:29

Farmingdale resident, JoAnn Vergona Krapp, has an absolute passion for writing. The former school teacher and Northside Elementary Library Media Specialist has already written four children’s books with a fifth one due in June. 

“I absolutely love the world of children’s literature,” said Vergona-Krapp in a recent interview. “With kids you can make up a total make believe world and let your imagination run wild.”

 

Vergona-Krapp let her imagination run wild in her most recent publication, Missing Treasure Means Trouble, which is a chapter book, best for ages 7 to 10-year olds. The wonderfully illustrated book is set in the Fire Island Lighthouse as it was undergoing major renovations in the 1980s. In the lighthouse’s, lantern room, three young adventurers meet up with a charismatic homeless man who enthralls them with stories of pirates, treasures and shipwrecks.

 

Business As Usual

Written by Gary Simeone Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00

School district talks budget

It is nothing but positive news in this year’s budget plan in the Farmingdale School District. Farmingdale, School Superintendent, John Lorentz said that the district tax levy came in at 2.35% which is below the district limit of 2.96%.

“We worked with the community and were able to come in slightly below the cap,” said Lorentz. “This is good news as we will be able to continue the programs in the district and not make any staff or teacher reductions.”

 

The district is also using its Proposition 2 Ballot, which does not affect the tax levy, to use capital reserves for a district wide window project. The project calls for the replacement and renovation of windows in all of the districts major schools. It is a three phase project.

 

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