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Vandals Destroy Gazebo At Veterans’ Memorial Park

Chamber members call for its rebuilding

Calls began streaming in to the news desk at the Levittown Tribune on Wednesday, Sept. 26 as community members were outraged and saddened to see police activity surrounding the gazebo that once stood at the edge of the Veterans’ Memorial Park, near the Levittown Public Library.

“The roof is down on the ground and looks as though all of the supporting beams have been destroyed; so sad,” said Mary Lynn Borst.

As of Thursday morning, nothing but the concrete foundation and the dedication stone and plaque remains at the site. Town of Hempstead workers removed the remnants, which barely resembled a gazebo after the incident just two days earlier.

In a statement released to the Tribune, Louise Cassano of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce and Levittown Property Owners Association (LPOA) said:

“This is an embarrassment to our community in terms of the vandalism, the witnesses who don’t report such incidents and the lack of police controls in an area that is known to be troublesome.

“Years ago, the Levittown Chamber of Commerce was offered a state beautification grant initiated by Senator Kemp Hannon. It was my suggestion to have a gazebo built and gardens planted in Veterans’ Memorial Park to create an attractive central gathering place for residents. It took some persuasion, but the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce did approve use of the grant for that purpose.

“Jacklyn Nogan and Kevin Regan worked many hours on administering the grant for the chamber and when it was completed, the chamber donated it to the Town of Hempstead. There have been continuous problems with vandalism throughout the years, with which the town and the chamber have dealt to maintain the appearance of the gazebo and gardens. It saddens me that our community cannot have a place of respite and quiet beauty that isn’t plagued by selfish and uncaring vandals.”

While the Nassau County Police Department reports the investigation as ongoing, members of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce are calling for the community to rally and rebuild.

“I have mixed emotions, one being anger that those responsible are a step above savages, certainly lacking any intelligence or emotion; the other being sadness, that their peers took no action to stop those responsible and that no one saw, heard or drove past them when this was going on,” said Kevin Regan, of the Levittown Chamber of Commerce, member of the school board and other community involvement. “This was no prank; this was wanton destruction of public property and an attack on our community. I will recommend to the [Levittown Chamber of Commerce], we rebuild the gazebo. Otherwise, the morons win.”

Senator Kemp Hannon and then assembly member, Kate Murray, secured the grant money for originally building the gazebo in 2001. The Levittown Chamber of Commerce donated the gazebo to the town in 2001.

“As an assemblywoman I was proud to join with Senator Kemp Hannon to sponsor the Levittown Chamber of Commerce’s purchase of the community gazebo, which has been a local icon in front of our public library,” said Murray. “I was deeply disheartened to hear of the destruction of the attractive gazebo; the Town of Hempstead reported the vandalism of this community centerpiece to the police department and will work with the community to move forward from this disappointing episode.”

Anyone with information should call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.

News

U.S. Air Force Veteran Mario Dell’aera, 80, of Levittown said he first volunteered for service in 1952, during the Korean War.

 

“They called volunteers ‘regulars,’” he said, reflecting back to when he first enlisted.

 

From 1952-1956, Dell’era called the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev. home. The base, he said, operated 24 hours, 7 days a week, training pilots to fly overseas into Korea.

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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