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Community Garden Springs Into Action

It seemed like it would never come, but spring is finally here. The sun’s out a little longer, the days are getting warmer and the showers promise blooming flowers in weeks ahead.  

Another telltale sign that spring has finally sprung in Hicksville is the opening of the community garden. An outreach of Trinity Lutheran Church, this garden has been both maintained by, and served, the local community since 2011.  

“We might be from one church and school, but we’re looking to get the whole community involved,” said coordinator Melissa Valencia. “We want the whole community to come work here with us.”

The community garden is aptly named. It’s maintained by community members, and the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor go towards helping other community members in need. Anyone is welcome to volunteer at the property, regardless of religious affiliation, age, gardening experience, or any other factor.  All the produce that is grown is donated right back to the community through various food pantries.

“We’re trying to help people who need help in the most basic way,” Valencia said. “Come here one day and harvest food that’s going to feed someone that very day. You’re directly impacting someone’s life.”

“You have to start small and help the people you live with,” she continued. “Once you take care of those people you can reach out even further.”

The garden, which is located at 46 W. Cherry St., has 33 raised beds and is hoping to expand in the next couple of years. This past Saturday, volunteers of all ages from Westbury, Massapequa and Hicksville got the garden ready for the new season and planted cabbage, lettuce, pea, beet and radish seeds for the first harvest. Come late April, they will start planting seeds for warm weather plants such as tomatoes and peppers. Volunteers are continually harvesting and planting new seeds throughout the whole season.

Valencia says there are several of ways people can get involved with the garden and that no experience is necessary, it’s just basic gardening.  

“Once you get those seeds in the ground, it’s just keeping it weeded and watered and keeping an eye out for any problems,” she said.

Problems, which for many gardeners can mean critters like raccoons, squirrels and rabbits. But Valencia says they haven’t had any issues with animals or insects, which has also allowed the garden to avoid using any pesticides.

Meredith Canavor from Hicksville has been helping at the garden since its inception and was at the workday on Saturday with her son. She says she enjoys being able to work alongside her community members while doing something she loves so much.

“I love it because we get to partner with the town and other churches and the community,” Canavor said. “It’s such a great experience because you’re doing something positive. Especially after a cold winter, there’s nothing better than putting your hands in the soil, it makes you feel so well connected.”

Starting April 7 and going through November, the garden’s workdays are every Monday from 6:30 until dark, and the first and third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, contact Valencia at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

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.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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