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Editorial: Suburban Boogeyman

The abduction of 6-year-old Etan Patz 33 years ago was not only a horrendous crime, but it also was the actualized embodiment of every parent’s deepest and darkest fear.

With the May 24 arrest of 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez, there appears to be closure on this heretofore unsolved crime. Patz became the first missing child to appear on the back of a milk carton. His disappearance not only helped heighten awareness surrounding missing and abducted children, but it also spurred President Ronald Reagan to declare May 25 National Missing Children’s Day and for congress to establish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1983 and 1984 respectively. While this high-profile crime happened in an urban setting, there’s always been the concern of these insidious transgressions making their way into seemingly bucolic suburban settings. In fact, Hernandez hails from the middle class burg of Maple Shade, NJ, a community whose motto is, “Nice town, friendly people.” 

But aside from high-profile victims like Patz and Adam Walsh, the notion of children being scooped up by the proverbial stranger in a van with promises of candy and puppies is more myth than reality. According to statistics provided to Garden City Life by Janine Kava, deputy director of public information for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, a total of 865 missing children reports were filed in 2011 for Nassau County. With 748 of these cases being reported as runaways, none of the 191 cases remaining open at year’s end were classified as stranger abductions. Suffolk County’s 2011 numbers were similar; 1,486 missing children, 1,389 runaways and no stranger abductions among the 72 remaining cases that remained open at the start of 2012. With parents taking a more precautionary route in warning their offspring about speaking to strangers along with the hundreds of public service announcements and programs warning of the same perils, apparently the message is getting through to the youth of today. While this may provide cold comfort to the parents of Etan Patz and other families who’ve been subjected to these horrific acts, these deaths did provide a wake-up call to the naïvete of a populace.

— DGdR

News

The Saint Mary’s High School Alumni Association hosted another successful Don Monti Memorial Golf Classic and Fall Alumni Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 25, despite the cancellation of the golf outing portion of the event due to heavy rain and wind throughout the day. The event, which was the 22nd annual, honored Tom Raleigh of Floral Park, who was this year’s recipient of the Timothy J. Coughlin ’76 Award for Outstanding Contributions to St. Mary’s High School.

The evening portion of the event brought a large turnout of alumni and guests to Plandome Country Club for the dinner reception to support St. Mary’s High School’s many wonderful programs. All the money raised directly benefits current St. Mary’s students.  

Community gathers together

for 16th annual Liz’s Day

When a young woman named Elizabeth McFarland died of breast cancer, a group of women gathered together for a small meeting and Liz’s Day was born.

On Sept. 27, the 16th annual Liz’s Day took place at the Floral Park Recreation Center. The event featured a used book sale, a Chinese style auction raffle, foods, drinks and music. All of the money raised from the event went to breast cancer research.


Calendar

Next Generation of Spirit Communication

Friday, October 24

FPMHS Athletic Booster Club Fundraiser

Sunday, October 26

Harvest Fair

Saturday, November 1



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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