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Make Me Smile

Cleft palate kids

have a friend in

Dr. Rachel Ruotolo

According to international children’s medical charity Operation Smile, every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip and palate, a congenital deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation. It’s the kind of condition more often found in Third World countries and one of the many medical missions of mercy annually conducted by Garden City-based Long Island Plastic Surgical Group (LIPSG).

Dr. Rachel Ruotolo is one of the group’s 13 partners and craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery are her specialties. And while the practice has only started doing these missions in a concentrated fashion in the past five years, Dr. Ruotolo has already visited Vietnam and helped out scores of children in need of corrective surgery. It’s this kind of work that found her receiving a citation from Legislator Norma L. Gonsalves for this kind of work during a recent Toys for Tots appearance. But while television commercials make cleft lip and palate out to be a condition only suffered by children in these more impoverished areas of the world, Dr. Ruotolo is quick to point out that she deals with a significant amount of these cases on Long Island.

“Cleft lip and palate surgery is literally the bread and butter of my practice. I do several a week and people are always asking me where my patients come from and I tell them, right here on Long Island. It’s important to focus on the kids here because clefting is just as big of a problem here as it is elsewhere,” she explained. “On a daily basis, I’m taking care of these kids. I feel like I’m doing the work every day. The kids that you see on the side of a bus are three years old and their condition is uncorrected. But it’s just as common here. And that’s why when parents that do have a baby born with a cleft, they feel very alone because they think that it doesn’t happen here. And it absolutely does. And there aren’t as many support groups for these parents as you would think.”

A major reason why most people are unaware of how common cleft lip and palate abnormalities are is because prenatal ultrasound technology oftentimes allows for the diagnosis to be made in the womb. From here, the primary portion of this type of corrective surgery is done within the first year of life, According to Dr. Ruotolo, some children may need multiple surgeries throughout their lives, be it for revisions, bone grafting or other stages of reconstruction. But for the Upper Brookville resident and mom of two, the positive effect she has on these children and her families makes her all the more eager to go overseas and wield her medical mastery. Unable to leave the country due to the recent birth of her four-month-old daughter, Dr. Ruotolo is eager to return Vietnam, where the memories of her inaugural trip are still fresh.

“At the facility over there, we wound up operating on 16 patients in a day where they were all in one room. There are no nurses there. The families take care of them post-operatively. Obviously the facility there was very rudimentary, but the people are so grateful,” she recalled. “I think when you go on these trips, you’re forced to be given adequate perspective of how lucky we are in this country. I think that’s what these trips do for doctors that are going on them. You get back here and think that the things you worry about on a daily basis are nothing compared to what these people have to worry about. It just puts things in perspective and makes you appreciate what we have here.”

News

Longtime village administrator to

receive President’s Award

The Garden City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the presentation of its President’s Award to Robert (Bob) L. Schoelle, Jr., a Garden City resident for 43 years, at the 2014 Pineapple Ball at the Garden City Hotel on Friday evening, May 9. Initiated in 2011, the Chamber of Commerce’s “President’s Award” recognizes above and beyond volunteer spirit and contributions within the Garden City community and beyond. Not an annual award, it is only presented occasionally, which makes this recognition for Schoelle all the more special.

Bob Schoelle has served as chief administrative officer of the Incorporated Village of Garden City for the past 34 years, working with 18 mayors and many boards of trustees. He has served as a member of both the Village Planning Commission and Board of Police Commissioners. His contributions to numerous village projects have contributed remarkably to the quality of life in the village.

Garvies Point hosts Waldorf parent-child program

Garvies Point Musuem and Preserve, a place known for its Native American history and artifacts, is now home to the Garden City Waldorf School’s Parent-Child Program. The location is an ideal match since the Waldorf educational philosophy enjoys many parallels with the Native American culture exhibited at the museum. The classes are held in the museum’s interactive exhibit room for children, which features a dugout canoe, a wooden wigwam, woven baskets and a model of a native garden. Since the exhibit encourages creative play with natural materials, it is a perfect fit for the Waldorf program which promotes the same.

One of the interesting features of the program is that it is in truth a parent-child class; parents are learning right alongside the children. Children are encouraged to play cooperatively with their peers, while adults learn to knit nearby. Throughout the program, parents are given advice and tips on how to slow the pace of parenting, how to deal with tantrums and manage technology in our lives. “It’s really nice to get good advice on finding a natural rhythm to our lives,” said Laura Franco of Sea Cliff. “I would say the program is very unique in that way.”


Sports

Lady Panthers

start season 7-0

The number two ranked Adelphi Panthers Women’s Lacrosse team has gotten off to a fast start to their 2014 season and show no signs of slowing down. Head Coach Rob Grella, entering his third season at the helm, has led his team to an impressive 7-0 record to kick off their campaign. Six of the Panther’s first seven games have been won in commanding fashion in which they have outscored the opposition by a staggering margin of 122-14.

Last season, the Panthers continued their tradition of playing hard and fighting off tough challenges. They would finish the 2013 season with an impressive 11-1 record within the Northeast Ten Conference and overall at 18-3, making it to their fourth consecutive trip to the NE-10 Conference Championship where they eventually lost to Le Moyne.

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This year three hunts will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.


Calendar

Dinner & A Movie: An Inconvenient Truth

Thursday, April 10

Breakfast With The Easter Bunny

Saturday, April 12

'Needleworks' Exhibit Opens

Through April 30



Columns

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com