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Letter: Captain, Oh Captain! Turn this Ship Around!

On February 10th, over 500 concerned citizens packed the Island Trees High School auditorium to voice their concerns and their anger at the notion that someone would dare to attempt to sell school property including a building dedicated to a Medal of Honor recipient. American Hero Lt. Stephen E. Karopczyc was first wounded in action and later that same day killed in action in Vietnam 47 years ago. That building was dedicated on Flag Day, June 14, 1969. Was the Karopczyc family contacted by the district and told that their son’s school would be razed? Of course not.

At that February meeting, we were assured that this notion was in its infancy stage. What we weren’t told that night was that an appraiser, a realtor, and an attorney, all with strong political ties to one another, had already been hired by February 10th. The Huntington Three was assembled and this community was none the wiser...not yet. Many have said that this Farmedge Property Proposal was ill-conceived from the outset and destined to fail. Others feared that this troika would succeed in redesigning Island Trees. The February 10th forum and its aftermath was the precursor to May 20th’s results.

On May 20th, the Island Trees voting community turned out in record numbers to have their voices heard. Three incumbents were swept out of office by three challengers in what can only be described as a landslide. Had all seven incumbents been up for reelection, there is a good chance that seven new board members would be taking their oaths of office during this July’s reorganization meeting. This community wanted accountability. This proud community hit the reset button on Election Day...well, at least partially.

It is a foregone conclusion that, just as Carlo had to answer for Santino, Island Trees Board of Education incumbents will face stiff challenges next May and the May after that.That will be the true referendum on the decisions they made and votes they cast during these trying times. Voters will again have the chance to have their voices heard. During healthy and spirited political debates, incumbents will get a chance to defend and explain their votes and challengers can lay out their vision for the future. Then, the voters will decide who stays and who goes. That is democracy at work. That takes care of the political science lecture.

Two administrators played leading roles in this debacle,  spearheading this campaign which caused such a conflagration in our community and cost three incumbents their seats. These administrators were never elected. They were selected. Island Trees voters will never get a chance to go to the polls and weigh in on their standing in the district. One can only speculate as to the outcome had their names appeared on a ballot on May 20th. One thing is certain. Voters summarily rejected this property proposal which was originally proffered by these administrators. This was their brainchild. They assembled the Huntington Three. They polled 70 people. May 20th’s election polled over 1,600. The three trustee-elects and 73 percent of Island Trees voters diametrically oppose the proposal. How can both camps co-exist? They cannot. After careful consideration and after months of research and conversations with all involved, most importantly my neighbors, I called for the resignation of  Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Charles Murphy and the Assistant Superintendent for Business Susan Hlavenka during the May 21st school board meeting. I did that with a heavy heart but I stand by those words. The district and the community needs to heal. By a 73-27 margin, voices were heard. 500 showed up on February 10th. No one listened. Over 1,100 showed up on May 20th and now they have to. This ship needs to be steered in the right direction, but first the  water needs to be put back in those pipes, the oil needs to be put back in that burner, and a new captain needs to be at that wheel. Full steam ahead! Don’t forget to polish up those SCHOOL FOR RENT signs. We’ll need them now.

Brian Kelty

Island Trees Taxpayer

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