Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00
On May 20, 1648, at what’s now the corner of West John Street and Cantiague Rock Road in Hicksville, Robert Williams and a small gathering of Christian men met with Pugnipan and other representatives of the Matinecock Indians and acquired the rights to settle the land that became Hicksville, Jericho, and parts of Woodbury. The event was captured in a 1936 WPA mural by Joseph Phsioc and resides in the Hicksville Middle School. Most interesting is what these Quakers and their Indian hosts pledged to one another: “do for miself and in beehalfe of [others] to bargin sell and make over unnto the sayed Robert Williams his ares executors administrators and asines from teme pesuably to ingay forever for us our ares and sucksessers forever also.” Other 17th century Indian deeds in our area read similar.
The peaceful Quaker folk from England granted the right to live in harmony amongst the Indians and their posterity. Their “ares and sucksessers” included Ellias Hicks who, from the Jericho Meeting House, called slavery “the most unrighteous and cruel act anyone can be guilty of short of murder,” and those Quakers in Jerusalem (North Wantagh/South Levittown) who shunned addictive and injurious things like tobacco. And they who signed the Flushing Remonsterance calling for religious freedom and sought negotiation in the face of the Duke of York’s truculence and nonviolent resistance a century later when British troops occupied Long Island and stationed a Hessian force in Jericho. These Christians, first to speak out against slavery, the oppression of the helpless and the poor, and the conspiring to sow discord and instigate wars, would have been far more flabbergasted by our moral condition than our technological capacities.
Our school districts here on Long Island are assuming the necessary measures to ensure the safety of children in light of the recent mass murder of elementary school students in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet evil against children is the new moral stain comparable to slavery in days of old and we - like the Quakers of Jericho, Jerusalem, and Bethpage - see it far and near. Our malls, box stores, and shopping centers with their poverty wages and Christmas Day openings overflow with merchandise manufactured by child slave labor in Third World sweatshops. Our communities, proudly established for soldiers who fought the tyrants and warlords who would subdue us, must confront the fact that our national leaders now wage wars against countries that never attacked us, killing thousands of innocent people - many children. Children grow up in poverty - yes, even in our community - because of rising taxes, falling wages, and billionaire business executives who outsource their parent’s jobs. Too many children in urban (and some suburban) areas attend schools overrun with guns, gangs, and drugs; live in communities that have become havens for people who live destructive and anti-social lifestyles and parasitize off the honest and hardworking.
We have much to learn from the Quakers and their Matinecock brethren who endeavored to plan a future in which their heirs and successors would know prosperity and peaceful coexistence. Still, the outpouring of sympathy for the people of Newtown, Connecticut, from a nation so depraved in its indifference to the plight of the world’s children, is a hopeful sign.
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.