Perhaps no one symbol of the generous spirit of the season is more iconic than the bell ringers of the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” brigades. These hardy fundraisers brave winter’s chill outside grocery stores and shops, as a reminder to holiday shoppers that charity may begin at home, but it doesn’t end there.
In Levittown, the Key Club of Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Center is taking the lead in supplying Red Kettle volunteers. Standing outside the King Kullen on Hempstead Turnpike on a very frosty Saturday, the students sang and cavorted in holiday get-ups.
“Levittown is not affluent, but when there is a need, these people come out,” said Claps Key Club adviser Lillian Creedon. “The support from Levittown is always amazing.”
It was warmer than average this past Friday, Dec. 20, on the last day before the official arrival of winter. Boxes of toys were stacked up high inside and outside of the Police Benevolent Association in Freeport for the annual United State Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
Inside the PBA headquarters, Retired Marine Major Chuck Kilbride was hard at work, overseeing operations for the event that delivers gifts to underprivileged kids.
“I do it because I want to give back to the community,” said Major Kilbride, as he sorted through a myriad of games and dolls piled atop large brown tables inside. “I do it because it makes me feel good...putting smiles on children’s faces.”
The Robodawgs robotics team—a group of five intellectual Island Trees High School students—were given a warm welcome home, after taking first place in the Incredible Bionic Man challenge. The regional competiton, sponsored by the Smithsonian Channel and Cablevision, put the Robodawgs up against some of the best and brightest from 10 different states and Washington D.C., with the goal of creating a working bionic body part out of common household items.
According to the team’s advisor, Dr. Andrew Sass, the group was first inspired to enter the contest after attending a presentation at Half Hallows High School, last October, where the students were able to meet the researchers behind the Increidble Bionic Man. He said that when people ask why the group of high schoolers decided to enter the contest by building a bionic arm-hand combination—a robotic body part that researchers said was the most challenging to construct—that he would reply much the same way as George
Mallory did when he climbed Mt. Everest. “Because it was there,” Sass said.
A routine traffic stop on Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown recently turned into an arrest after detectives with the Nassau County Police Department’s second precinct found that the 25-year-old driver was in possession of fraudulent gift cards.
According to police, the reporting officers pulled over Farnell Florestal of Baldwin, on Dec. 13, for a traffic violation nearby Center Ln. in Levittown. After interviewing the driver, police conducted an investigation and found Florestal in possession of 15 fraudulent American Express and Visa debit/gift cards.
Florestal was placed under arrest at the scene and is currently being held on charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, criminal possession in the fifth degree, and a vehicle and traffic law infraction.
In a symbolic stand against pressure from the New York State Education Department, members of the Levittown Board of Education recently rejected the changes to the special education curriculum.
Based on the most recent set of rule changes to the statewide Common Core, the Levittown school district, as of July 1, 2013, can no longer dole out IEP diplomas to special education students.
According to Special Education Director Lisa Carelli-Lang, the state education department has determined the individualized education program [IEP] diploma is “arbitrary” and not “aligned with the Common Core curriculum.”
Two pint-size beauties are sweeping the top awards at local kiddie-pageants across the region. Sayjel and Shanel, daughters of Heinrick and Mojill Tan of Levittown, recently earned finalist spots in the National American Miss Pageant.
“My parents wanted me to not be shy anymore, but I am still shy,” said 8-year-old Sayjel. Her mother, Mojill, said pageantry has really helped both of her daughters over the past year. “We are happy that they are slowly coming out of their shyness,” she added.
Sayjel won the talent competition portion of the pageant. Her talents were gymnastics and also playing the piano. She also was a winner in the Top Model Search portion of the pageant.
Voters in Levittown braved the ice and snow in order to cast their ballots in last week’s fire district elections. On Dec. 10, voters re-elected Levittown Fire Commissioner John E. Rottkamp and Treasurer James Behrens to another term.
Running unopposed, Rottkamp was re-elected to his third consecutive five-year term as Levittown Fire Commissioner—receiving a total 179 votes.
Division Avenue High School senior Jason Orellana has been selected as one of 2,200 national semifinalists in the 2014 Coca-Cola Scholars Program for having demonstrated leadership, academic achievement and commitment to the community.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is one of the nation’s most recognized corporate scholarship sponsors; more than 4,250 students have benefited from approximately $38 million in college scholarship awards.
Last summer, Wal-Mart amped up the supermarket competition in Levittown, opening a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Hempstead Turnpike—the first in New York State, according to the company's website.
Both eager customers and angry protestors showed up to the spot formerly occupied by Waldbaum's in the Levittown Mews for the grand opening.
Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets, as distinct from Wal-Mart stores, offer fresh produce and fruit, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, household supplies, health and beauty aids and a pharmacy. By now, Levittown residents have had a chance to evaluate the mega-retailer's grocery offerings. Some are embracing the new competition, although not necessarily for its price competitiveness.
The MacArthur boys basketball team recently served as international hosts to a group of Danish competitors, while defeating a neighborhood rival in this year’s Jeff Shaw Memorial Basketball Tournament. The four-team tournament is held each year, in memory of Jeffrey Shaw, a Levittown electrician who was working on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower on Sept. 11, 2001—the four-team tournament
For the first time in the tournament’s history, MacArthur invited a high school from outside the United States to compete. Hjemly Sports Boarding School of Ringe, of Denmark, joined the Generals as well as Division Avenue and Massapequa squads in the four-team tourney.During the competition, the Danish students spent two nights with families of the MacArthur players and attended classes with the students.
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