After more than a year of assisting residents affected by Hurricane Sandy, Project Hope crisis counselors will soon hang up their logo-adorned blue fleece vests. Before they do, they will work with local agencies to ensure a smooth transition of services for those who continue to struggle.
“People had their lives turned upside down by Hurricane Sandy, and getting back to living their life, instead of focusing solely on recovering it, takes time,” said Project Hope Director Ken Gnirke. “For some people, that time can be counted in months. For others, it can take much longer, so we are working to ensure there is continuity of concern as Project Hope phases down and our program ends.”
For one night only, the students of Island Trees High School got to strut their stuff under bright lights and pounding speakers in front of a capacity audience, displaying their natural abilities in the areas of song and dance at the school’s 2014 Talent Show.
J. Peter Hansen, a music teacher at the middle and high schools, has been running the talent show for over two decades, and he said that it’s become quite the spectacle after its initial humble beginnings many years ago.
“I myself have been doing this for 21 years,” he said. “We started with a little tiny mixing board and a DJ set up in the band pit, but when they refurbished the auditorium, they put all this beautiful sound equipment in, and now we can sit back in the booth and run it all.”
“I don’t have a job. I have a life.” These are the words of Father Ralph Sommer, 57, who has dedicated his rich and inspirational life as a Priest to making his community a better one.
Sommer was born in Flushing Hospital and lived in Valley Stream up until he was eight years old. Afterwards his parents and three younger siblings moved to Garden City where he spent most of his life growing up.
“My parents encouraged us to be creative. They always wanted us to be doing something. Sure we had a TV but my parents preferred us to be active. My family would put on puppet shows and we even had a little family newspaper we would put together by getting news from the neighborhood. My entire family was in the parish choir. It made road trips exciting because we could always sing songs in harmony,” Sommer said with a chuckle.
Who could have predicted that a chance encounter at a PTA convention in upstate New York would be all it would take to get the state Deputy Commissioner of Education Ken Slentz to appear for a parent-teacher forum in Levittown?
“We have a lot of people in our community who are concerned about the [state] curriculum,” said Levittown PTA Council President Patricia Genco. “Hopefully [Ken] will put their concerns to rest.”
On Jan. 29, Slentz came to dispel myths surrounding the learning standards adopted by New York and 45 other states in the nation.
After reviewing several proposals for the 11.3 acre property that currently houses the Geneva N. Gallow and Stephen J. Karopcyc schools, the Island Trees School District has announced it plans to sell the property to a developer for construction of 160 to 247 condominium units for residents ages 55 and up.
Presently, the school district spends over $200,000 a year to maintain both Gallow and Karopcyc school facilities, which have been closed for conventional classes for more than 20 years. According to school officials, the sale of the property will not only reduce maintenance costs by $200,000, it will also provide at least $500,000 per year in new tax revenue. The district will gain $700,000 per year by relinquishing the property, plus money made from the land sale.
Last year, Nassau BOCES closed its special education preschool program at the Geneva N. Gallow Elementary School on Farmedge Road. Although the Gallow School has been closed to Island Trees students for over twenty years, the BOCES lease has been a significant revenue stream for our district. In fact, not only did it offset the maintenance expenses for the entire Farmedge property, but it also helped fund our own district programs.
In response, the district searched for a new tenant for the Gallow School. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a new occupant for the building. Without a tenant, the Gallow School has become a financial burden for the school district, as well as a target of vandals.
On Sunday, Feb. 2, there will be ceremonies held nationwide to commemorate the bravery of “The Four Chaplains,” men of the cloth who gave their lives in a 1943 World War II battle so that others could survive. One of those solemn ceremonies will be held in
Roslyn Harbor at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, with ceremonies beginning at 2 p.m.
“It’s not about what they meant to the Levittown community, but what they meant to society as a whole,” said Levittown Veteran Andrew Booth, a former commander of the Nassau County American Legion. “These four heroes sacraficed their lives by giving up their lifejackets.”
A special election will be held Feb. 11 for the Nassau County Legislative District 2 seat, which oversees parts of East Meadow.
Robert Troiano held the title of District 2 Legislator until earlier this month, when he took a position as Director of Operations with the Town of North Hempstead. Up for the position now is Siela Bynoe, who was nominated by the Nassau County Democratic
Committee, and Republican nominee Pepitz Blanchard, who lost to Troiano for the council seat in last November’s election.
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $137 billion spending plan will increase education aid by $807 million for the 2014-2015 school year, but school officials say it will still put them up against the wall.
“Clearly the district is disappointed with the state aid allocations,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “Although the Governor's budget increased school aid three percent, this figure didn’t materialize in Island Trees.”
Based on the preliminary budget figures, the Island Trees Union-Free School District will receive $158,000 less than last year, or a total $14,102,719—a decrease of 1.11 percent.
Parents in the Island Trees School District are up in arms after learning the district terminated Coach Michael Bonsignore. Many parents wondered what motivated the board to let go of a coach who had vastly improved the football program and led a scholar-athlete team this year.
According to Michael's father, Carl Bonsignore, the Island Trees Superintendent, Dr. Charles Murphy, and Athletic Director Dr. James Kramer met with Michael and a union representative over the holiday break to inform him that the district “had decided to go in a different direction.”
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