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Family-Run Acting Studio Opens

One local mom was concerned about her shy daughter’s first acting class at the newly opened Neighborhood Entertainment Arts and Theatre (NEAT) at 166 Center Lane in Levittown; but after her daughter’s lesson with Theatre Director Watson Miller, she was surprised to hear her daughter broke out of her shell, singing not one, but two songs for the class. 


“My husband has a very special gift with kids,” Koula Miller said. “He brings out the best in them.” 


The Neighborhood Entertainment Arts and Theatre celebrated its grand opening on Aug. 2 with a series of theatre games for the children. Watson and the kids also watched the classic 1946 family drama It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, after which they discussed and analyzed scenes from the film. 


“We’re having more fun than I ever imagined,” Watson said. “I teach in Levittown and I love the kids and families in this community.”


The studio is run entirely by Watson and Koula, along with their six musically inclined children: Lauren, 19, Elizabeth, 20, Kurt, 14, Jake, 15, and Jack, 24. 


Apart from his new role as director of the Neighborhood Entertainment Arts and Theatre, Watson works full-time as a fifth grade teacher at Northside Elementary school and has over 15 years experience teaching theatre. He said he decided to bring NEAT to Levittown because he noticed nothing like it exists in the community. 


“More than anything, I want children to develop a love for the arts and theatre,” Watson said, “but also for them to build confidence and feel good about themselves. If they don’t fit in somewhere else,

I want them to fit in here.” 


NEAT offers students in grades 1-12 classes such as beginning acting, drama, improvisation, glee and singing. At the end of the month, Watson said, the children will perform an original comedy that he wrote and directed. He also plans to put on a theatrical version of the 2013 Academy Award winning Disney film Frozen sometime this fall. 


“The kids have a lot of fun,” Koula said. “They make a lot of friends and they seem very eager to come back the next day.”


Those interested in registering for summer or fall classes can call 516-520-6328 or visit 


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.


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.”


IT Board of Ed - September 17

All Star Comedy - September 18

Irreversible Paul Lynde - September 19


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