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Letter: What Do We Really Want?

King James I understood it in 1621 when he said he’d govern England not by the common will but by the commonweal. This point has eluded us today and not merely because we’ve confused the common will with the commonweal, but because the former, having been usurped by individualism, no longer seems sufficiently definable to sire a public consensus. 

 

We no longer seem to have any idea what we want but we are steadfast nevertheless in wanting it and oftentimes expect someone else to subsidize it or at least suffer to endure the inconveniences therewith. We want lower taxes but are unwilling to cut services, salaries of public employees, or zone for the industries that might broaden the tax base. We want our grandchildren to live here but are opposed to zoning for any diversity of housing stock that might give them affordable dwellings. We want good quality schools but reject, baby-and-bathwater, any endeavor to reform education. We want the benefits of efficient and low-cost unified municipal government but won’t relinquish our local yokel hodgepodge of special districts. We want cell phones but not cell towers. We don’t want homeless families but are against low income rentals. We want to live in suburban domiciles that consume more electricity per person than their counterparts sixty years ago, but are opposed to nuclear power stations, coal-burning plants, a natural gas barge, or offshore windmills. We complain about traffic, parking, congestion, and fuel costs but drive everywhere - even to the store two blocks away. We acknowledge that houses-of-worship, museums, civic organizations and charities significantly improve the quality and meaning of life in the community, but only a very small minority bother to donate their time, money, or effort to support them and they’ll doubtless just sigh and shrug their shoulders when these things pass from the scene. 

 

This generation wants a host of mutually exclusive demands and interprets anything less as the death knell of its American Dream. But perhaps its interpretation is the problem. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, ordinary people who remembered the soup kitchens, bread lines, and sidewalk evictions of the Great Depression and the rationing, blackouts, and “we regret to inform you.....” Western Union telegrams of the War years, moved into suburban homes. To them, the good life was about good schools, close-knit neighborhoods, safe streets, quiet nights, and raising families. Now it’s about cars, boats, flat screen TV’s, Florida timeshares, and garages so overflowing with store-bought items that there’s no room for the family’s three SUV’s. And none of those things will bequeath a sense of common values, sire a consensus, or foster a commonwealth. 

 

Paul Manton


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