Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 17 January 2014 00:00
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) announced on Wednesday, Jan. 8 that she would not seek re-election this year. The former nurse has been battling lung cancer since last year.
“It just hits you,” she said. “There’s an expression called “chemo-brain,” which makes you kind of forgetful and tired. I said jokingly ‘That’s great. I can see myself sitting next to my chairman and fall asleep by accident.”
The Mineola resident said that cancer was not the reason she decided to not seek re-election. Ending her run in Congress entered the picture after the December 2012 Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Sandy Hook, two decades after the tragedy she and her family faced when Colin Ferguson killed six (including her husband, Dennis) and wounded her son Kevin on the Long Island Rail Road, cut her to the core.
“That hit right at the sole of my heart,” she said. At the same time, McCarthy saw others galvanized by their tragedy as she had been by hers, and taking up her cause.
“A lot of the victims got involved and became voices of reducing gun violence,” she noted. “Other voices are speaking up now. We need another face up there.”
McCarthy, 70, grew up in Mineola. A nurse and homemaker at the time of the LIRR shooting, she did not see herself fighting her way on to Capitol Hill. Now, however, she can’t imagine any other path.
“I loved nursing, but one of the things that I found working in Congress is that it’s just like nursing,” she said. “It’s taking care of people.”
In a phone interview with Anton Newspapers, McCarthy noted that she’ll be back in Congress in a couple of weeks. She finished her final round of chemotherapy and radiation last September at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
“I actually felt worse [at the end of chemo than] during the whole treatment. I was getting antsy wanting to get back to work,” she said. “The doctors would always say ‘let’s give it another week.’ The next week would go just into another week.”
While McCarthy loves her job, the typical 70-hour workweek that most congresspeople tackle may be too much, she said.
“I thought about this for quite a long time,” she said. “It was getting harder. And when I go back, I know I’m not going to have the energy I had before.”
However, McCarthy still plans on being active after her run as congresswoman ends. With her cancer battle, the former nurse says she may tackle health issues in the community.
“I couldn’t imagine not being active,” she said. “I think that’s why a lot of politicians hang on so long: because they don’t know what else to do. But I would say to those ones, ‘there is a life out there.’”
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 00:00
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.
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
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.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
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.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
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.