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Hail To The Chief

Epple named 37th Levittown Fire Chief

 

As a kid growing up, Donald J. Epple Jr. would mount his bike whenever he heard sirens, following the bright red fire truck to scene where he would watch as his father and members of the Levittown fire department put out the blaze. Following in his father’s footsteps, Epple joined the Levittown Fire Department on May 20, 1979, as a probationary firefighter and before long became a member of Ladder Company No. 1. 

 

Now, 35 years since first joining the department’s ranks, Epple has been named the thirty-seventh Chief of the Levittown Fire Department.

 

“I call it my career,” Epple said, jokingly. “I love what I am doing.”

 

Epple was first elected to the position of Second Lieutenant in April 1984 and within a year, he moved up through the ranks to First Lieutenant. By 1987, he was named Captain of Ladder Company No. 1. After moving to the other side of Levittown, Epple transferred to Engine Company No. 7, where he served as company Captain in 2007-2008. 

 

With experience as both a Truck and Engine Company Officer under his belt, and an unbrideled love for the firefighting profession, Epple decided to run for higher office. In 2010, Epple won his bid for the position of Third Deputy Chief of the department, and would win again in 2012 as Second Deputy Chief and then First Deputy Chief in 2013. 

 

“After 35 years, it just becomes second nature,” Epple said, about managing the department. 

 

In addition to his duties as Chief of the department, Epple works full time as a county employee and is currently divorced with three children—Jacqueline, Collette and Donald—who he said stood by him through it all.

 

“My children had to suck up a lot,” Epple said.

 

He also has an extensive training resume, is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and has been member of the Drill and Softball teams since he joined the department. On March 1, 1997, Epple received a letter of commendation for his actions during an out of state incident. 

 

As the 37th Chief of the Levittown Fire Department, Epple added that he envisions enhancing camaraderie within the department, as well as providing firefighters the best training possible in order to provide the highest standards of firematic and emergency medical services to the businesses and residents within the Levittown Fire District. 


News

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.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


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
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com