Written by Jack Martins Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Things happen for a reason and if you look closely enough you may find signs that, no doubt, the universe is progressing as it should. There is a synergy to it, a cycle. I was reminded of this just recently by two seemingly unconnected events.
I’ll begin with Leonard Wurzel, the long-time (22-years, to be exact) mayor of Sands Point who recently passed away at 95. He supposedly retired from his office in 2011 but anyone who knew Mayor Wurzel also knew that was impossible for him. He loved his village and the people in it too much to simply walk away, even if it was much-deserved. I know that his passion and joy were wrapped up in his public service.
After retirement, Mayor Wurzel remained at the village hall as an unpaid volunteer, working on numerous projects and offering his steady advice from behind the scenes. That guidance was available for anyone who asked. When I heard the news of his passing, I felt as if someone had punched us in our collective, public-service gut. He was a giant, a person who left an indelible fingerprint on the greater Port Washington community. He will be sorely missed.
The very next day I received a letter from a youngster named Sebastian who lives in our Senate district. Interestingly enough, it begins, “One day my dad and I were at the mall getting clothes.” With my interest peaked by the most intriguing opening I’ve read in a long time, I continued. It seems the author and his dad ran into a homeless family begging just outside of the mall. He wrote, “The thing that upset me the most was that the kids were living on the street and begging for food. I’ve never seen a family living on the streets and I hope to never see that again. In the future if I see another family homeless I will do whatever I can to help the family.” Most notably, he signed his heartfelt letter, “future lawyer and senator.”
And just like that, young Sebastian renewed my faith. In a few simple words and with clarity that belongs only to children, he reminded me of why I do what I do, gave me hope-filled assurance that future generations will do the same, and motivated me just as Mayor Wurzel had for so many years. Most important, Sebastian reminded me to make a difference.
As your state Senator I am afforded the opportunity to reach our neighbors on a large scale, so I send this message on behalf of Sebastian: The holiday season is now upon us. Soon most of us will be swept up by the excitement of parties, decorations, and neatly wrapped, shiny packages. Before that happens, I strongly urge you to please remember our most vulnerable neighbors. We live in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, therefore the world. There’s no reason there should be a family living on the streets, exposed to the elements, begging for food. Not here in our own backyard.
Before the holiday rush consumes us, before you write your greeting cards or buy any gifts, might I suggest taking a moment to give to one of our many worthy Long Island nonprofits? If you will, make it the first thing on your to-do list. If you don’t have a favorite, a gift to one of these would be much appreciated and put to excellent use.
• The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network) addresses hunger and homelessness head-on right here on Long Island by providing food, shelter, and support services. They operate 19 soup kitchens throughout the Island and feed 7,500 neighbors per week. Visit www.the-inn.org or call 516-486-8506.
• Island Harvest is the largest hunger relief organization on Long Island. By relying on volunteers, in-kind services, and donated food, it devotes more than 95 cents of every dollar contributed directly to its programs. Visit www.islandharvest.org or call 516-294-8528.
• Last but not least, Newsday Charities’ McCormack Foundation administers the venerable Long Island tradition known as the Christmas Help-A-Family Fund. They assist the numerous Long Island agencies reaching out to local families in immediate need during the holiday season. Notably, the foundation will match your gift.
Visit http://www.newsday.com/services/programs/newsday-charities/newsday-charities-help-a-family-1.1549286 or call 631-843-3056.
Thank you, Mayor Wurzel for your years of tireless public service. Thanks, Sebastian, for reminding me of the Mayor. And thank you all in advance for helping make the holidays a little brighter on Long Island.
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.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
One fortunate New Hyde Park resident was rescued from the freezing cold on Tuesday, Feb. 25 thanks to Dr. Julia Harmon, DVM, of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital. That night, at approximately 8 p.m., Harmon was going to her car after work when she saw Spike, a wandering bulldog near Brooklyn Avenue, one block from the vet’s office on Jericho Turnpike.
Harmon immediately brought Spike, who was not wearing a collar and did not have a microchip implanted for identification, back to the vet’s office. The temperature outside was already at 31 degrees, but felt like 20 degrees with the windchill. Luckily Spike was
brought in from the cold early; temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees that night.
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.