Statistics show that approximately one in 110 American children is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in prevalence over the past two decades.
When Hicksville High School special education teacher Margot Horn began her career over 31 years ago, the “autistic” diagnosis was rare and many people confused the term with “artistic.” Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development; however, the most obvious signs and symptoms tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.
Many of Margot’s first students in a private school were severely disabled and non-verbal. Margot ate lunch with them and worked on eating skills and toilet training. She taught them sign language to communicate. Even the littlest amount of progress was considered fabulous and was celebrated. Currently, Margot teaches resource room, Regents algebra (inclusion) and a life skills class, which prepares students for independent living.
On Saturday, Jan. 21 families and friends of Catholic schools across Long Island braved the freezing temperatures and icy conditions to rally in protest of the closings announced by the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Dec. 6. Families not only wanted to voice their opposition to the closings scheduled for the end of this school year, but rallied in support of Catholic school education in general. They pleaded for Bishop William Murphy and all Catholics in the Diocese to hear their concerns and understand that despite the threat of their schools closing, they do value and support the Catholic elementary school education.
Most of the rally crowd came from the six schools stated to close, along with St. Agnes parishioners who came out to show their support.
In the original school-closing announcement Bishop Murphy said, “While these choices have not been easy and closing schools is one of the most painful parts of my ministry, I want to assure the parents and children that they are uppermost in my mind.”
Two homeless men have taken up residency under the Hicksville train station overpass between East Marie Street and East Nicholai, according to Hicksville resident and former U.S. Navy Chief (Ret.) Roy Tringali.
A resident of Hicksville for 53 years, Tringali said he was on his way home from church several Sundays ago and noticed two men sitting near the Long Island Rail Road’s Hicksville station underpass. Tringali approached one of the men, struck up a conversation and learned that both of the homeless men were veterans.
Tringali, a retired U.S. Navy Chief and member of several Hicksville civic groups, said he “took him for his word” and began making some phone calls to see how he could help once he arrived back home.
2011 was an extremely busy year for The Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer, Inc. The nonprofit dedicated to helping children with cancer and their families sponsored numerous fundraisers throughout the year and concluded 2011 with its annual Holiday Party!
Over 150 people (including children and their families) attended The Sarah Grace Foundation’s annual Holiday Party held Dec. 11 at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. The three-hour long party featured face painting from Cupcake the Clown, arts and crafts, entertainment from Barattini Productions DJ Entertainment and refreshments arranged through Bruce’s Bakery of Great Neck and Phil and Son Pizza in Plainview. The event concluded with a visit from Santa, who provided gifts to all the children.
Christopher J. Moskos was sworn in as the 67th chief of the Hicksville Fire Department at Hicksville Fire Department Station #1 on Jan. 1.
Moskos joined as a member of Emergency Company 5 in July of 1983, after he was a member of the Hicksville Fire Department Juniors from 1980 to 1982. Having served just over three years, Moskos was elected as 2nd lieutenant to Company 5, a position he relinquished following his transfer to Floodlight/Heavy Rescue Company 8 in January 1988.
As part of its ongoing mission to provide high quality healthcare to the community regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center recently opened the Bishop McHugh Health Center at 750 South Broadway in Hicksville. The new 3,250 square foot facility will focus on providing primary care to the uninsured and underinsured. Its highly trained medical staff will provide physical examinations, lab work, x-rays, flu shots, appropriate immunizations and specialty referrals as needed.
“We realize that in these tough economic times many people are going without basic medical care because they lack health insurance,” said Ruth Hennessey, EVP and chief administrative officer of St. Francis Hospital. “The Bishop McHugh Health Center brings together our community health, prevention, and outreach efforts with primary care and will provide for enhanced continuity of care,” Hennessey added.
Many children’s lives have been touched by the loss of a loved one to heart disease. Tom Glenn, a physical education teacher at Dutch Lane School and member of the board of directors of the Hicksville Congress of Teachers, recently helped the cause.
For each of the past eleven years that Tom Glenn has worked for the Hicksville School District, he has encouraged his students to participate in the American Heart Association’s “Jump Rope for the Heart” fundraiser.
New York State Senator Carl L. Marcellino presented a proclamation to the Hicksville School District and the high school boys varsity soccer team for having secured the New York State Championship for Conference AA against Webster Schroeder High School. The team, coaches, and members of the administration gathered in the Kristoff Theater to hear the senator’s laudatory remarks about their victorious efforts.
“Teamwork is essential to success,” Senator Marcellino told the team members. “When we pull together as a team, we are strong and can’t be stopped.”
On Saturday, Dec. 3, an enthusiastic crowd welcomed American soprano Barbara Divis and Italian tenor Francesco Pavesi to Our Lady of Mercy’s “A Night at the Opera.” Divis and Pavesi performed a mixture of classical, popular, and seasonal favorites including Libiamo, Con Te Partiro, and O Holy Night.
Barbara Divis has performed over 35 lead roles throughout the country. She is known primarily for roles that demonstrate her expressive ability and acting prowess. She has performed Madama Butterfly with six opera companies and Mimi in La Boheme with seven opera companies. Companies of note that Barbara has performed with are Atlantic Opera, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Santa Barbara Opera, Opera San Jose and Hawaii Opera Theatre. Music from her two CDs is currently being featured with author Michael J. Vaughn in his novel, Operaville; sold on Amazon.com.
Governor Cuomo’s proposal to open New York to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has come under fire for failing to protect the state’s residents from a method of gas drilling that pollutes the environment, explained a host of speakers at a rally to ban fracking held Dec. 15 at Mary Jane Davis Green in Manhasset.
In this challenging economy the buzzword is job creation and Cuomo has also been criticized for claiming fracking will create jobs, but, as speaker Patti Katz, Reach Out America (ROA), said, “You can’t drink money.” The complaint period against fracking has been extended to Jan. 11, 2012 and rally speakers encouraged everyone to visit amillionfrackingletters.com and to send Governor Cuomo one of their own letters.
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