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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

Some students returning to school the first day might see a new face on the bus: Hicksville’s new interim superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso.

“Every year on the first day of school I ride one of the buses. To see the face of a kindergartener on that first ride just reminds you of why you’re in the field,” he says.

Last week, County Executive Ed Mangano declared amnesty for all speed camera tickets issued this summer.

Drivers across Nassau County were up in arms due to the recent implementation of the school zone cameras, which had issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents anger with the county’s speed cameras stems from lack of  warning and the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.


Sports

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday Aug. 7. We had 33 golfers and a record 8 who scored under 40. Low overall score was won by newcomer Ed Hyne with an impressive 33, his second low net in a row. Charlie Acerra scored a solid 35, and won low overall net with a 26; his best score in 4 years.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 % handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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