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Lording Over The Lego League

Garden City Lego teams dominate

qualifying tournaments

It was a successful rookie year for Garden City’s Crazy Creators, one of several Garden City FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams to snap up awards at the 10th annual Long Island FLL Qualifying Tournament, held on Feb. 1 in Central Islip. The Crazy Creators walked away with two of the 12 awards: First place for ‘Robot Performance,’ which is given to the team with the highest score in the tournament’s robot game, and first place for ‘Programming,’ which is given for innovative programming of the robot used in the competition.

Under the guidance of coach Ken Ambach and mentor Dino Stamidis, fourth-graders Charlie Ambach, Julian Bubniak, Max Sclafani and Nicholas Stamidis, who all attend Stratford Elementary, along with Riley Sanz, a student at St. Anne’s,  tackled this year’s theme of ‘Nature’s Fury.’ The teams were challenged to build, test and program a self-directed LEGO robot that could complete a series of missions on a specially-designed obstacle course dealing with a natural disaster, and dream up and present an invention to help people in the event of a catastrophe.

For the project component of the competition, the Crazy Creators decided to focus on earthquakes, specifically the 125th Street fault line in Manhattan. After extensive research, the team invented a debris-clearing machine that would enable rescuers to help those trapped in rubble in densely populated areas, conditions that would exist if a New York earthquake were to occur. As the team discovered, it could very well happen in New York City, as it happened back in 1884, when a tremor struck Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

The Crazy Creators brought their invention and robot to Central Islip Senior High School, site of this year’s FLL Qualifying tournament, where 109 teams competed from across Long Island. In the robot game, teams operated their Lego NXT Robots in several matches against each other in the school’s gymnasium. Divided into groups of two, they raced the clock to complete several tasks in two-and-a-half minutes, on tables containing the obstacle course. Points were awarded based on Lego pieces used for the project (no outside materials are allowed) as well as the successful completion of several pre-assigned tasks.  A new ‘alliance’ match, introduced in this year’s competition, required teams to double up to run the missions together.

In addition to the matches, each team also met with judges in breakout sessions to discuss their work and answer questions about their project, their robot and programs, and complete a teamwork challenge. The Crazy Creators presented a LEGO model of their invention, the Rubble Rescuer, and described how their invention featured an infrared sensor to help it detect humans in rubble, as well as a conveyor belt to help haul away debris.  

Coach Ambach said of the day, “What an amazing morning. We are so proud of the team today. From our innovative project model and presentation to our simple yet highly effective robot, each boy contributed to the success of the team. As a young rookie team, they wildly exceeded all of our expectations and we are thrilled with the results.”

The Crazy Creators weren’t the only winning Garden City team on Saturday. The Thunder Chickens, under coach Kim DeMaro and assistant Martha Yasso, captured the tournament’s highest honor, the first place ‘Champion’s Trophy,’ while the Robotic Rebels, led by Coach Steve Giammona, rounded out the pack by winning the second-place ‘Champion’s Award.’ In the afternoon competition, the Garden City Middle School team, also in its first year of competition, won first place for ‘Robot Performance’ under the guidance of Coach Mike Stano.

With these wins, the teams advance to the next round, the SBPLI-LI FIRST Championship Tournament, to be held at Longwood High School on March 2. The teams invite you to come out and cheer on all of the Robotic League teams. Those interested in learning more about the Garden City Robotic League should contact Garden City Robotic League Director Trish Lynch at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

News

April 19 fundraiser to be

held for baby with rare disease

Tom Onorato, the nephew and office manager of Dr. Joseph Onorato Garden City practice All Island Dermatology Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, recently celebrated the birth of a baby boy with his wife Melissa. Both were thrilled when Thomas Kevin Onorato came into the world on September 10, 2013. Despite being born five weeks early, baby Thomas managed to surprise his parents with his indomitable spirit and was sent home with a clean bill of health. A mere four days later began the fight for Thomas’ life.

Stewart Manor budget, mayor’s salary increase

At a time when municipalities are grappling with keeping expenditures down, the Village of Stewart Manor saw not only its 2014-15 operating budget increase, but its mayor’s salary. At a meeting of the board of trustees held on Monday, April, 8, Stewart Manor adopted a budget of $2,418,548.03, a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, the board approved a raise of $1,000 for Mayor Gerard Tangredi, bringing his salary to $3,000. The salaries for trustees John Egan, M. Carole Schafenberg, and William Grogan are set at $2,000 each. Deputy Mayor Michael Onorato has declined his stipend.

Salaries and benefits make up 42 percent of the total budget. According to the state comptroller, it’s acceptable for that number to be as high as 65 percent. The total costs of salaries and benefits have actually decreased by around 5 percent from the previous year’s adopted budget.  


Sports

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 hunt 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.

Commitment at Kellenberg

Garden City residents continue to excel while participating in the athletic program over at Uniondale’s Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, coaches of Kellenberg sports pick one player from their squad who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the team through their hard work at practice and in competition.

The Village of Garden City has a long history of residents who've excelled both on the academic and athletic side of the ledger at Kellenberg. This time around, seniors Kelly O’Donnell (varsity cheerleading), Stacy Madelmayer (varsity girls basketball) and Bryan Salecker (swimming and diving team) have all been awarded the Commitment Award for their outstanding efforts, devotion, hard work and commitment to their respective teams.


Calendar

Dinner & A Movie: In Transition 2.0

Thursday, April 17

School Budget Meeting

Wednesday, April 23

Judi Mark One-woman Show At Library

Thursday, April 24



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
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com