Written by Daniel Offner Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:00
Nassau County Police are on the hunt for a hit-and-run driver, who struck and killed a 13-year-old Levittown student along Hempstead Turnpike early Father’s Day morning.
According to police, Wisdom Lane Middle School student Brianna Soplin was crossing at the corner of Gardiners Ave. when she was struck by the driver of a blue Town and Country minivan at 12:02 a.m. on
Sunday. She was immediately rushed to Nassau University Medical Center with head and body trauma and was pronounced dead by hospital staff at 4:30 a.m.
In response to the tragedy, Levittown School District Superintendent Dr. James Grossane informed students, faculty, staff and parents that grief counselors will be made available to students as needed.
"We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bryanna Soplin...she was always smiling and had a zest for life," Grossane said. "Bryanna was an enthusiastic participant in school and always lit up the room. She touched all of her classmates and teachers in a special way and the children and staff will miss her deeply. The Levittown Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff extend their deepest condolences to Bryanna's family and friends during this difficult time."
News of the ongoing investigation comes just four months after another incident in February, when a 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in a hit-and-run at the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Shelter Lane. Last May, another pedestrian—81-year-old Robert Chapman Sr.—died around the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and Gardiners Avenue.
More recently, on Mother’s Day, five teenagers in the nearby Village of Farmingdale tragically lost their lives when their car collided into a GMC Suburban driving along Conklin Street—which is also known as Rt. 24, Fulton Ave. and Hempstead Turnpike in other parts of Nassau County.
Over the past 10 years, an average of three pedestrians a year have died along Hempstead Turnpike, making it one of the most dangerous thoroughfares in the state.
Detectives have also indicated that the driver of the minivan failed to stop after the collision and was last seen traveling eastbound on Hempstead Turnpike and then northbound onto the Seaford-Oyster Bay
Expressway. Police are requesting anyone with information regarding this crime to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-8477. All callers will remain anonymous.
On June 16, Nassau County Police apprehended Michael Elardo, 48, of Syosset, on charges of leaving the scene of an incident.
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.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
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.
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.