Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 21 March 2014 00:00
After proposing to develop 147 to 250 condominium units for seniors 55 and up on 11.3 acres of property currently housing the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow schools, members of the Levittown Property Owners Association invited Superintendent Dr.
Charles Murphy and the Island Trees Board of Education to attend a special meeting, on March 11, to address concerns surrounding the district’s transparency.
According to LPOA Vice President Brian Kelty, out of seven commercial real estate appraisal vendors that responded to the district’s request for professional service, only five were contacted by the district’s purchasing agent. Based on documents posted on the school district’s website, one estimate from Breslin Appraisal Co., Inc., was submitted to Dr. Murphy a day in advance of the notice being sent out to bid.
“I didn’t know if [Breslin’s bid of] $4,750 was a good or bad amount for the appraisal,” Murphy said.
According to Murphy, since the district did not know if the quote was a reasonable estimate or not, it put the request out to bid.
Bill Fitzgerald, a trustee with the Island Trees Public Library—which is located within the Stephen E. Karopczyc facility—also expressed outrage with the school district’s efforts to poll the public through its Farmedge Vision Facebook poll.
A key factor behind the proposed development of senior housing, the poll indicates that 64 percent of residents polled feel limited availability of housing for seniors is a more important priority than housing for youth. According to David Panetta, with the district’s real estate firm Oxford and Simpson, the poll results were based on approximately 102 to 103 residents polled.
However, in a district with approximately 2,525 students, several residents have asked why the public was not more informed of the online survey.
“It didn’t get a great number of sponsors,” Murphy said. “Is it an exact science? No.”
In light of the concerns from the community, school officials say the district will go back to the drawing board and plans to create a committee of community stakeholders.
“We heard you,” said Board Vice President Kristen Daum. “We haven’t signed contracts to sell anything.”
Although school district officials say they plan to restart the process, they have refused to release the name of a developer or the estimated cost of the project.
“If [the school district] has disclosed information to people in the community, it doesn’t matter if they haven’t signed an agreement,” said Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government. “I don’t think that they have any basis to withhold information.”
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.