Anyone who passed the electronic sign in front of New Hyde Park Village Hall and wondered what “Thank you Maggie Whitely for supporting our village” was all about, obviously wasn’t from New Hyde Park. The Maggi Whitely referred to in the sign was the editor of the Illustrated News for 27 years, during which time she became a beloved fixture of the village. She left the post earlier this year.
So it was no surprise that at the beginning of the Dec. 18 village board of trustees meeting, that time was carved out for board members and local organizations to pay homage to Whitely. Arranged by Deputy Mayor Dan Lofaro, the ceremony featured well-deserved accolades, starting with Mayor Donald Petruccio, who quipped to the honored guest that, “all seems right in the world again Maggi [with] you sitting in the front row.”
It was time to crunch the numbers of Williston Park at the monthly trustees meeting on Monday. Financial data was the furthest thing on folk’s minds, however.
The trustees held a moment of silence to remember the victims of last week’s Newtown school shooting tragedy. Several commented on the incident as well, with one overriding theme: never forget.
The New Hyde Park Board of Education discussed the district’s progress on the five-year plan pertaining to special education during a meeting held on Monday, Dec. 10 at Manor Oaks School.
Dr. Raymond Brodeur, director of Pupil Personnel Services for the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, shared with the board and community members that the district is fully on track with meeting its goals for the five-year plan in regards to special education. The district offers numerous services to special needs students, including co-teaching services, resource room services, speech, language and physical therapy, counseling, hearing and vision help and behavior intervention services. It also emphasizes the idea of the “least restrictive environment,” which means that students are placed in special classes or schools only if their disability prevents them from learning in a regular classroom, but still allows for maximum contact and interaction with non-disabled peers, as well as the same opportunities.
When word got out about the Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown, CT, reaction from local school districts was immediate. Superintendents took the lead in contacting staff members regarding security policies and dealing with reactions from students and parents.
In the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Union Free School District, Superintendent Robert Katulak made sure that on Monday morning of Dec. 17, all school principals met with their faculty to review emergency procedures and answer questions regarding the Newtown events. This was done in part to provide a framework for offering assistance to any child experiencing fear or concern over the events that happened. Calls were also placed to parents over the weekend offering counseling services to returning students on Monday and for the remainder of the week. In addition, an administrators met to review safety procedures and talk about potential upgrades.
According to the 2011-12 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, there are 164.6 dogs and cats that are owned as pets in the United States. So is it any wonder that Abe Kanfer and Aharaon Blachorsky would decide to open up their second Pet Menu location in New Hyde Park roughly two months ago? For the duo, this is an industry that they’ve enjoyed great success with ever since Kanfer approached his partner about opening a store back in 1989.
“I was leaving another line of business because of the real estate crash in 1989 and [Aaron’s] brother and I were college friends,” Kanfer recalled. “I knew his family was involved in that industry—family-owned manufacturing of dog and cat food. His brother was involved in rawhides and other treats. I said he knew this industry and I love pets so what can you do? I wanted to open up a store and I needed a partner. I asked him to think about it and he said he’d see what he could do. In two days, he said his brother wanted to do it and we’ve been doing it since 1989 and it’s worked out great.”
What started out as a disagreement on two QWERTY keyboards ended in a 26-year-old woman being shot on Marcellus Road in Williston Park, police revealed at a press briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Jared Gurman, 26, was charged with second-degree attempted murder after the 2:40 a.m. shooting.
Lt. Ray Cote of the Third Squad said the argument sparked during a discussion of the AMC television show The Walking Dead while the two were together on the night of Sunday, Dec. 2. According to Cote, Gurman was growing concerned over the idea that a possible real-life situation, like a military accident, could occur resulting in catastrophe.
New Hyde Park Village Hall was all aglow on Saturday, Dec. 1, as the village hosted its annual Christmas tree lighting and magic show. Valley National Bank and the Village of New Hyde Park Cultural Commission sponsored the event, which was held at the Marcus Christ Community Center.
“On behalf of the Village of New Hyde Park, I’d like to welcome you all to the annual tree lighting ceremony,” Trustee Donald B. Barbieri said to a standing-room-only crowd. “I want to first thank Rich DeMartino and Mary Durkin from Valley National Bank for sponsoring the event today. They’ve been good friends of ours for many, many years,” he said. Indeed, as in previous years, DeMartino and Durkin presented a check for the event’s magic show. This year, guests were entertained by Amore, a magician who engaged audience members of all ages.
When the tractor-trailer rolled into the parking lot on Thanksgiving night, the 550 trees and 200 wreaths had made a seven-hour trip down from Quebec. A few days later, a virtual army of residents came down to unload this precious cargo. Among the New Hyde Parkers pitching in were members of the New Hyde Park Fire Department, students and alumni of New Hyde Park Memorial High School, various New Hyde Park Lions and Boy Scout Troop 298 from New Hyde Park and Garden City Park. The occasion was the 50th Annual Christmas Tree Sale that was being spearheaded by the New Hyde Park Lions Club. Three hours later, this considerable task was completed and the Christmas tree lot was open for business. All trees are selling for $45 and as is the case with all Lions-related endeavors, sale proceeds will be donated to charity.
It takes a village to raise a child is a much-used trope/African proverb that was recycled as part of the title of a 1996 Hillary Rodham-Clinton-penned book. In the case of recent Hometown Hero recipient Diana Biehayn, her selfless participation in the local Girl Scouts troop and countless other organizations have very much made her a New Hyde Park community stalwart. But for all the accolades she gets for her mostly unsung efforts, the Queens native is shyly modest about it all.
“[Public service] just evolved from when my daughter was in Girl Scouts and I moved along with her,” Biehayn explained with a smile. “I went to Queens College as an adult and my major was sociology, so it just seems to be my calling. I never used it professionally, but I used it in my everyday life.”
While life is slowly returning to normal on Long Island and in the village following superstorm Sandy, stories continue to surface on how deeply residents were affected by the hurricane as well as last week’s nor’easter storm.
At last Tuesday’s village board meeting, resident Andrew Faglio related a story of a 30-foot tree which fell across the street from him, on South Park Place, as it was knocked down during the nor’easter storm.
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