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Levittowners Ring Bells For The Needy

Perhaps no one symbol of the generous spirit of the season is more iconic than the bell ringers of the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” brigades. These hardy fundraisers brave winter’s chill outside grocery stores and shops, as a reminder to holiday shoppers that charity may begin at home, but it doesn’t end there. 


In Levittown, the Key Club of Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Center is taking the lead in supplying Red Kettle volunteers. Standing outside the King Kullen on Hempstead Turnpike on a very frosty Saturday, the students sang and cavorted in holiday get-ups. 


“Levittown is not affluent, but when there is a need, these people come out,” said Claps Key Club adviser Lillian Creedon. “The support from Levittown is always amazing.”


Shoppers at the Levittown King Kullen were full of their usual generosity, but the unpredictable, but mild weather was accommodating, likely the reason for the increased foot traffic. Creedon said in years past the students were out there in the rain and snow and temperatures in the 30s. 


“We’re a little different,” said Creedon. “Working with high school students, I wanted to distract them from the cold, so I have them all dress up and we sing holiday songs. It draws a lot of people in.”


This year is many of the G. C. Tech Key Club students’ first year of community service with the organization, involved on average for their junior and senior years at the tech school in Levittown. 


“The people in Levittown are really generous,” said Casey McRae, a junior at Claps. “It’s important for us to serve, and for people to see us out here trying to make a difference while representing G.C. Tech and the Key Club.”


The support of lively, engaged volunteers is critical to the success of the Red Kettle drive, and especially this year, with the Christmas season shortened by a late Thanksgiving holiday compounding larger economic pressures. 


Music and youth, experienced volunteers know, boost donations. 


“When you add music to a Kettle, the giving is enhanced exponentially,” explains Major Philip Wittenberg of the Salvation Army’s Hempstead Citadel Corps. “And if there are small children, it really warms people’s hearts.” 


The wintry chill isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, when you’re trying to raise money. 


“People have more sympathy when you’re standing in the cold,” says Bill Moseley, a Salvation Army advisory board member who has been working the Red Kettle—often with his guitar, because it brings in “two to three times the donations”—for 25 years. On

Saturday, Dec. 14 he was busking for the needy at Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. 


With the exception of last year, the Claps Key Club has supported the Salvation Army’s holiday fundraising drive in Levittown for more than a decade. But it’s not their only holiday effort to help the needy. The school district participates in an adopt-a-family giving program, with student groups banding together to buy gifts and supplies for families that social workers have identified as being especially needy. 


“Some students said they wanted to [adopt a family] on their own,” Creedon says. “That’s unusual.” But, she said, students could see the privation behind the anonymous requests. One family had a 9-month-old child, and their wish list included food for the baby.

“That’s heart-wrenching,” Creedon says. “It’s nice to see these kids, how they look at the list, and they really care for those in need.” One student recruited her mother’s office to sponsor a family; another persuaded her mom to supply diapers. 


Although schools and civic organizations take the lead in providing bell-ringers, the organization easily accommodates solo volunteers as well. 


“We get individuals that call and say ‘I want to teach my kids about service. Can we ring the bell for three hours at Roosevelt Field?’ and we always say ‘yes’,” explains Major Philip Wittenberg of the Salvation Army’s Hempstead Citadel Corps.  “With lots of people it has almost become a tradition.” 


“We do see quite a bit of volunteers from the North Shore,” Wittenberg adds. 


— Additional reporting by Christy Hinko


Five year projection shows tough road ahead

The Levittown Board of Education unanimously adopted a $198.7 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, which comes with a proposed tax levy increase of 1.62 percent. This represents a $2.1 million increase from last year, for a proposed levy of $133.2 million.   


The Levittown school district will receive $49,163,299 in state aid for the 2014-2015 school year, which increased by $690,049 from last year’s budget. The other revenues also show an increase of $684,250 from last year. 


In the past seven years, the district received its largest percentage of state aid in 2008-2009 with 30 percent. According to Assistant Superintendent Bill Pastore, state aid has decreased since then, leveling off for the past few years and coming in at slightly below 25 percent for 2014-15.

Seven in contest for three seats on school board

On April 8, members of the Levittown Property Owners Association invited all seven candidates in the running for Island Trees School District Board of Education to a “Meet the Candidates” forum. Of the seven only four attended, and only three spoke on the dais. 


According to Levittown Property Owners President Diane Kirk, members of the Island Trees School District were invited to attend the forum, but declined stating that they were going to attend their own forum on May 12.


Challenger Brian Fielding, a 1995 Island Trees High School graduate, opened the forum with the promise of more transparency.  


Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero. 


Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more.  The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. 

Friday Pins, Pizza & Pepsi

Trevor Williams 166,101


Keith Kyte 137,119,115


Anthony Baio 111,73


Alyssa Williams 141,133,120


Lauren Walpole 114,105,96


Kaitlyn Insinna 106,68,67


Robert Brooler 107,97


Frank Pietraniello 94


Friday Bumper Stars

Matthew Banfich 140,95


Nicky Barrera 115,99


Jake Mauro 107


Anthony Barrera 97,79


Michael Pietraniello 97,87


Ty Peranzo 95


Steven Tiemer 92


Nick Bevinetto 90,82


Ava Banfich 103,101


Julianna Mauro 103,87


Gianna Centonze 102,91


Victoria Gray 91,87


Mike Rosen 87,86


Steven Brauer 85,83


Stephan Mandola 83


Joey Mohaudt 81


Pantelis Siriodis 80


Kelsey Casperson 85,73


Stephanie Tiemer 71,67


Kathleen Hoffman 68,65


Friday Rising Stars

Jason Tiemer 191,169,138


Max Benson 179


Andrew Scarpaci 168,162,148


Avery Benson 151,149,135


Matthew Brezinski 143,110


Ted Fiber 128,115,114


Paul Klein 126,107


Nicholas Pisano 123,115


Billy Walsh 108



Levittown Island trees


Michael Beck 117,89


Zach Pilser 114,110


Sophia Bloom 93,90


Olivia Bloom 81,79


Christian Tucci 88,85


Louis Bonaventura 84,79


Ava Tucci 74,65


— Submitted by the South Levittown Lanes


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