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Honoring A Young Victim

I love being a legislator for so many, many reasons; being able to secure the health, safety and welfare of my constituents to the best of my ability, being able to draft laws which have benefits for the people I represent and meeting the most wonderful, giving people and having the opportunity to work with them to make miracles happen. About two weeks ago just such an incident happened and I would like to share this with you.

I was contacted by a former Woodbury resident, whose family still lives in the area. He inquired about possible donations to help make a dream become a reality. The family suffered an overwhelming loss during the Sandy Hook school incident in Newtown, Conn. Their beautiful family member Madeleine was one of those who was taken by the gunman.

The family’s local church pastor, Rev. A Erik Rasmussen and the church committee is dedicating their current playground at the United Methodist Church in Woodbury in the child’s memory, named “Maddie’s Playground” (the playground dedication will follow the UMC Church service is scheduled for Sunday, July 6 at 10:30 a.m.). This project is for the Newtown Family and their relatives that have lived in Woodbury for many years. Whenever the Connecticut family visited their Great Grand Aunt, Mrs. Dorothy McGough, who is a church member, Madeleine would play at the church and she was always happy and had a beautiful smile.

The gentleman contacted me because the Church is very close to where I live and the Connecticut family is originally from Long Island. Some financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation Community Fund with additional funding received towards the playground from the Sandy Hook Special Revenue Fund. He wanted to know if I would be willing to assist in efforts to secure additional purple flowers and daisies, which this child adored, and anything else I could think of to help this dream bloom with life.

The story touched my heart and soul and of course I responded that I would do whatever I possibly could. I thought of writing to various landscaping firms in our area and farms; contacting the Scouts, both girls and boys, to help when the actual playground is being reworked or if they wanted to create a Boy Scouts project to make some needed wood benches, and if the Girl Scouts would like to create decorative outdoor flower garden sticks and ornaments; and felt that I would reach out to our wonderful community to ask for donations for this loving effort.

Please realize that out of respect for the family and what they have already endured, I am not mentioning all names but I have verified the fact that the story is real. The family would prefer to receive items such as new playground safe flooring, perennial flowers, weed tarp, garden mulch, etc., they mentioned a living Christmas tree to plant to have a holiday tree all year round, because the incident occurred before the Christmas holiday on Dec. 14, 2012. The family feels that many of the needed additional items mentioned might be unattainable and asked for help because of the cost associated. The family is planning this project to honor Madeleine’s beautiful spirit and, in accordance with the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation’s beliefs, promises to honor victims and turn tragedy into a moment of transformation and to bring happiness to others and community.

For information about the Sandy Hook Promise’s mission go to: www.sandyhookpromise.org/mission.

If people prefer to give a check to support the ongoing maintenance of the playground, the family would graciously accept any donation amount and would be made payable to the “Woodbury UMC” and earmarked for the Church’s Children’s Playground. Every dollar donated would help purchase flowers, landscaping supplies, or for the perpetual care of the play area and garden. The Woodbury UMC does not accept donations online; their mailing address is: 577 Woodbury Rd., Woodbury, NY 11797.  

I can be reached at my Legislative office at 516-571-6216 and would appreciate hearing from you. You could also email me 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