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Meet The Candidates

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.  

 

“I am looking to make the board more transparent,” Fielding said. “I believe they are far from that.”

 

Amid several issues facing the school district, the challengers forum primarily focused on the proposed sale of 11.3 acres of school district property that is currently used to house the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow schools.

 

Although the district plans to go back to the drawing board, school officials have continued to keep mum on the identity of the developer.

 

Challenger Paul Giambona has lived in Island Trees for the past 34 years, the last 20 years of which he has worked in law enforcement. From his experience, he said, while certain things should not be made public, residents shouldn’t be required to put in a Freedom of Information request for access to public information. 

 

“Why weren’t we all involved in the process?” Giambona said.

 

According to Giambona, Island Trees Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy has said in the past that he would not reveal the bids because he didn’t feel it was a smart business move. 

 

Michael Rich, a 1992 Island Trees High School graduate, will also run for school board this May. Rich said that after speaking with Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, he learned how to appropriately use executive session. 

 

“It's a shame it takes an issue like this to get the community involved,” Rich said. 

 

Running independently, but in support of the three challengers, Dominic Ciaramella also staked a bid for school board president. According to Ciaramella, after attending the community forum on Feb. 10, he decided to pick up petitions to run for school board president. 

 

Following the meeting, Island Trees School Board President Kenneth Rochon said he was unable to attend the forum due to other commitments, but will be attending the upcoming League of Women’s Voters Meet the Candidates night on May 12. School Board

Trustee Pat Mahon reiterated that the LPOA was already notified that they planned to hold a separate event at the high school. School Board Trustee George Storm could not be reached for further comment, as of press time. 

News

A group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.

 

“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua. 

 

For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February. 

On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown. 

While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.


Sports

The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally. 

 

The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.  

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

 

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

IT Board of Ed - September 17

All Star Comedy - September 18

Irreversible Paul Lynde - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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