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Hicksville Teacher Goes To The Dogs

Krystin Stehle is dedicated to helping animals in need

Each year, thousands of animals end up in shelters in desperate need of healing and care. Volunteers like Kyrstin Stehle provide that much-needed love and attention, giving countless animals a second chance at life.

Stehle, who has worked for the past 16 years as an ESL teacher at East Street Elementary School and is also a member of the Hicksville Congress of Teachers, loves children, enjoys languages, and is committed to helping animals in need at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter in Wantagh.

After Stehle and her husband Walter lost their six-year-old dog Shea, a Bull mastiff, to cancer, they donated her medication to a shelter in Freeport and learned about the need for volunteers. In September 2012, Stehle filled out an application to volunteer at the shelter. After a one-on-one interview with a volunteer coordinator she was accepted into the program as one of 80 volunteers, attended an orientation and was assigned a mentor to train and assist her in working with the animals.

Stehle and her husband now volunteer every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays for three hours each day and on Wednesday nights for one and a half hours.

Many of the dogs have stranger issues and are afraid of people. Stehle sometimes wears different types of uniforms or outfits with hoods and may even use props such as wheelchairs or crutches while interacting with the dogs who are then rewarded if they react in a positive way. These behavior modifications are used to make the animals more adoptable.

Stehle also worked with the shelter’s head trainer in “Buddy Classes” and has learned to teach dogs the basic commands in order to get them acclimated to living in a home.

In her classroom, Stehle often talks about her love for animals with her students. She models writing personal narratives for her students by using her experiences at the shelter as examples.

“My students see my photographs of the animals and use them as a springboard for their writing activities,” explains Stehle. “I believe that it’s important to give back to one’s community. Service learning plays an important role in our schools, and it’s gratifying to see my students inspired to express their wish to volunteer at an animal shelter.”

When asked what she’d like people in the community to do to help, Stehle repeated her motto: “Adopt, Don’t Shop! There are amazing dogs and cats who really deserve to be in homes. I can say that because I know the animals. Please get involved!”

There are many ways local residents can get involved and help animals in need. The Hempstead Town Animal Shelter will be holding its next big adoption event around St. Patrick’s Day.

Also consider downloading an application to either volunteer at the shelter, provide foster care for an animal in need, or donating items such as dog/cat toys and treats, newspapers to line the cages, grooming tools such as brushes and combs, and blankets. Since the floors of the shelter are concrete, the bottom side of the blanket needs to be a rougher sort of material, like wool, and the top side could be a soft, thick fleece.

The Hicksville Congress of Teachers is supporting Stehle, who is a member of the HCT Board of Directors, by holding an “Animal Shelter Supplies Drive.” Community members can drop off pet supplies at the Hicksville Congress of Teachers Office located at 183 Broadway, Suite 302, in Hicksville on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

They are collecting food, treats, toys, blankets, newspapers (for lining cages), and pet beds, for both dogs and cats, as well as monetary donations (checks can be made out to the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter) until March 31.

“There’s a feeling of satisfaction and pride every time an animal that I’ve worked with is adopted,” said Stehle. “Although there is a bittersweet element in saying goodbye to ‘friends’ that get adopted, knowing that they’ll now have a home with a loving family and be given the life that every animal deserves brings sheer joy to my heart.”

Find out more at www.townofhempstead.org/animal-shelter or call 516-785-5220.

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



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