Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 05 October 2012 00:00The worst fears of the community were realized on Sept. 27, when law enforcement officials found the body of New Hyde Park Memorial High School graduate and Northwestern University student Harsha Maddula, 18, shortly before 7 p.m. C.S.T. Maddula, a sophomore, had been missing since the early morning hours of Sept. 22, when he was last seen leaving an off-campus party. According to Alan Cubbage, vice-president of university relations, Maddula did not attend a different party later that Saturday evening, which he was expected to attend, prompting a massive search, which eventually led to the heartbreaking discovery of Maddula’s body in Wilmette Harbor in Illinois on the shore of Lake Michigan.
“It’s been really a somber start to the school year,” said Cubbage. “Classes just started. Usually this is a time of optimism and renewal. It’s cast a shadow over the start of the year.”
Cubbage stated that at least 21 different agencies, including the FBI were involved in the search for Maddula. Because the case involves a death, Cubbage said that the Evanston Police Department would now be the lead agency investigating the circumstances surrounding Maddula’s death.
“Detectives from our department are assigned to the case,” said Commander Jay Parrott, spokesperson for the Evanston Police Department. “They’re reviewing the interviews that were conducted by the Northwestern University Police.”
Parrott said at this time, there is no indication that foul play was involved in the death. The commander said that Maddula was found with his cell phone, his wallet, his university ID, and money. Furthermore, he said that police pinged Maddula’s phone to locate its last phone signal, which he said occurred at approximately 1:07 a.m on Sept. 22. Parrott said that considering the location of the party where Maddula was last seen, and the time it is believed that he left the party, the distance to the harbor where the body was found could be traveled by going at “a normal walking pace.”
“There’s no indication that he was in a car or an alley,” said Parrott. “It’s a very direct route [between the party and the harbor].”
According to Parrott, a boater discovered Maddula’s body. He said that there was no indication that the body had suffered any trauma and that the medical examiner’s office has ruled the cause of Maddula’s death to be drowning. He said that it would be several weeks before toxicology reports including blood alcohol level are available. Although police do not suspect foul play, it is still an open investigation and detectives will examine interviews conducted with Maddula’s friends and witnesses from the party where he was last seen and would also look at his personal computer.
“We’re still trying to determined what happened,” Parrott said.
News of Maddula’s death shocked both New Hyde Park and Northwestern University. Cubbage estimates that about 2,000 attended a community gathering on Sept. 28 to provide solace and support to friends of the Maddula family.
Assistant Chaplain Tahera Ahmad said, “Although this week has brought grief and sadness, it made us realize that we are family, and Harsha was one of us. We will always remember Harsha for who he was, a great source of happiness, a great source of joy.”
In his hometown of New Hyde Park, where Maddula’s two siblings are students at New Hyde Park Memorial, he is remembered for his achievements. Sewanhanka Central High School District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie had high praise for Maddula.
“He was an outstanding student and an outstanding individual person,” Ferrie said. “There is nothing but positive accolades. The entire district and specifically the New Hyde Park school community are very saddened to learn of this tragedy regarding the loss of our former graduate Harsha Maddula.”
Ferrie said that the high school staff would be providing support for New Hyde Park Memorial students and also asks the community to keep the family in its thoughts and prayers.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Central High School District’s ad hoc committee is still reviewing options for a second bond referendum, to be put up for a vote either in May during budget and school board elections or a special election in the fall. The district proposed a $99.5 million bond for various repairs to its five high schools in December, which failed by 293 votes.
Five options are before the ad hoc committee. The first is a vote on the original bond for a second time, with elimination of electronic signs and some capital work. The second and third options would decrease the bond issue, to $84,606,691 in one case or $87,029,591 in another. The fourth option would total $89,577,091. The fifth option is split into two: $73,567,876 in infrastructure repairs, improvements; and a separate $16,009,215 in athletic renovations and upgrades. The School Board will review the options in preparation for a special meeting on Tuesday, March 18.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
It’s a family affair for the Winters of Port Washington when they make pilgrimages to Bobb Howard’s General Store in New Hyde Park. “There’s something in that store for everyone,” says Tracy Winters, who has been a customer of this retro candy and toy store for eight years. Tracy goes for the Astro Pops, husband Michael gets Marshmallow Twists and Tracy’s mother, Phyllis Heller of Bellmore, can’t resist the Goldenberg Peanut Chews. Jake, Tracy’s older son, isn’t a candy lover so he gravitates to the old-time toys and nostalgia posters.
Jamie Waller of Queens says it made him feel like a kid again when he saw the wall of candy with treats from the 1990s and 1950s sitting next to each other. “Anything you can possibly want is there,” he says. For Jamie, a big treat is Circus Peanuts, peanut-shaped marshmallows. “My dad used to love them when he was a kid,” he says.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
New Hyde Park Michael Castelli recently participated in the 32nd Black Belt Graduation at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park. He graduated to first-degree black belt.
“Our studio teaches students how to defend themselves responsibly while instilling self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for others,” says Grandmaster Charles Water, owner and director of the school.
Students tested in October, successfully passed their exam recently and received their black belt certificates. “Who says that the youth of America are not committed? A healthy life style at the karate studio, mentally and physically is alive, well and working,” said Water.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
After missing the playoffs two straight years, the Sewanhaka Indians Boys lacrosse team will face tougher odds if it hopes to advance to postseason play in 2014.
The Indians, who start their season March 24 at Oyster Bay, will be playing out of Section 8, Nassau Conference II (Class B) this year; a bump up from their usual spot in Nassau Conference III (Class C). Typically, the schools are divided by enrollment.
“There are no gimmies in this league,” said nine-year coach Peter Burgess. “We were the last team to make this league in terms of population. They kind of drew the line below us. So we’re the smallest school in the league.”
Burgess said another obstacle for the Indians will be facing teams that they have no experience playing before.