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Local attorney Don Taylor swore in Manhasset Chamber of Commerce trustees for three year terms of service: Nancy Morris, State Farm Insurance; Ed Wassmer, Young's Liquors; Don Holden, St. Ignatius; Vincent Stempion, CFP; CJ Coleman, Manhasset Hoops; Glen Corbett, HSBC; and Pat Grace, Manhasset Press. Photo by Steve Trachtman

The chatter level was high at Nick and Pedro's, the restaurant selected for the Jan. 13 Manhasset Chamber of Commerce Installation Luncheon. When the crowd settled down, local attorney Don Taylor swore in the chamber trustees for their three-year terms: Nancy Morris, State Farm Insurance; Ed Wassmer, Young's Liquors; Don Holden, St. Ignatius; Vincent Stempion, CFP; CJ Coleman, Manhasset Hoops; Glen Corbett, HSBC and Pat Grace, Manhasset Press.

Chamber President Nancy Morris recapped the accomplishments of the preceding year including: publication of Access Manhasset, the directory of businesses in town; "thinking outside the box" to implement the park district initiative allowing free parking in December; support for the Gift of Life Raindrops program; publicity in the Manhasset Press and Public Access TV; the ever-popular business card exchanges; Adopt-a-Pole program; concerts in the Mary Jane Davies Park; meetings with TONH officials to keep each other in the loop; addressing parking and traffic problems on Plandome Road; and continuing to work on the chamber website.

Networking is a major part of chamber membership. Margaret Minichini, The Amsterdam at Harborside, proudly declared the community is 90 percent reserved and with construction already to the fourth floor, occupancy is expected in late spring 2010. Minichini said they are beginning to prepare future residents for their move to the community. Sitting on a panel later this month to facilitate their transition will be Diane Harragan, Coach Realty and Barbara Feldman, Nu Start New York, both chamber members. Feldman, who jokingly calls her operation "rent a daughter," assists the homeowner in creating a timeline for the move and the eventual downsizing. Minichini added she is delighted with Access Manhasset, the newly completed brochure listing all Manhasset businesses. "We had one covering Port Washington business concerns to distribute to prospective residents, and now we have one for Manhasset too."

Katie Miller, CSM, petition in hand, solicited members to sign her petition to have a crosswalk at the intersection of Plandome Road and Memorial Place. As of the luncheon she had over 700 signatures.

CJ Coleman was promoting Manhasset Hoops.com, a not- for-profit men's basketball program, acknowledging "there's a huge demand in Manhasset for basketball after college and I'm the go-to guy if you want to keep playing." The organization has been around for over 25 years, he said, and players in their 40s and 50s, are still going strong. Games are played 10 hours each week: Tuesday, 6 to 10 p.m., at Munsey Park Elementary; Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m., at Manhasset High School; and Saturday, 7 to 10 a.m., at St. Mary's.

Pat Pitta, local psychologist, explained she has been practicing in Manhasset for 25 years in the field of family and marriage therapy, child centered problems and divorce mediation. She also teaches psychology at the doctoral and post-doctoral level at St. John's University. Pitta serves as the chair of mental health ministry at St. Mary's Parish and writes articles once a month in the parish bulletin.

Diana Merenda, Plandome Heights mayor, was considering joining and said it was a creative group, very entrepreneurial, seeking practical solutions for the business community. A good thing too, she said, because empty storefronts don't instill confidence in any community. Merenda had attended the State of the State address by Governor David Paterson and was speaking that evening before a group of village officials. Merenda mentioned that a village resident had suggested a swap or sale of items on the village website, more or less as an acknowledgment of tougher times. Originally the response was a knee-jerk no, she said, seen as a way for an individual to advertise. But, she said, the suggestion is now being considered as "good public purpose," as a reduction of waste complementing the move toward a greener environment.

Members enjoy the spirited meetings and networking events; they contribute to the exchange of ideas, and value a forum to express what is working and not working in their town.


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