During the past year, young people in Massapequa made the news, most of it positive, such as stellar performances by local athletic teams. Unfortunately, a local tragedy made news, also.
As the year ended, lawmakers in Nassau County approved a law that would require law enforcement to notify school officials when an arrest is made for heroin possession and/or sale. The legislation, sponsored by Legislator Dave Mejias (D-Farmingdale), was titled the "Natalie Ciappa Law" after an 18-year-old high school student from Massapequa who died from a heroin overdose at a party in June.
In November, a concert was held in Rocky Point, one designed to raise awareness of Long Island's drug problem and to also highlight the need for the kind of legislation that was approved in December.
On a brighter note, football teams from three local high schools all ended the season strongly. Seaford High School roared into the Class IV title game on a 21-game winning streak and with the Nassau Conference Class IV title already under their belts. The Vikings lost the Long Island title match to Babylon, but that hardly spoiled a terrific season.
Likewise, both Plainedge and Massapequa High Schools advanced to Nassau County title games in their respective divisions. Although neither team won county championships, both made it to the title games in impressive fashion. Massapequa, relying on the air game of All Star quarterback Rob Von Bargen, defeated Hempstead, 30-22, while Plainedge used both a grinding ground game and an aerial attack to handily top Lawrence, 27-14.
Also from Plainedge, the girls' varsity softball squad went undefeated, with a 10-0 record. The always-brilliant Massapequa girl's varsity basketball team advanced to the Nassau County Class AA semifinals, where they lost a tough one to Calhoun, 58-56.
From Little League action, the Massapequa International Little League 9-10-year-old Williamsport Tournament Team, in October, won the New York State District 31 championship, defeating Merrick in an exciting last inning, come-from-behind victory.
On the academic front, Alec Slatky, a senior at Massapequa High School, was one of only two students on Long Island to receive a 2008 Presidential Scholar distinction, as conferred by the United States Department of Education.
In more school news, Charles Sulc was appointed superintendent of the Massapequa School District at an April 3 meeting of the Board of Education. A 38-year veteran of the district, Sulc had served as acting Superintendent. His current tenure will last until June 30, 2012.
In the May 20 school board elections, Christine Lupetine Perrino and Jane Ryan were elected to the BOT, while the 2008-09 budget passed by a 2,930 to 2,395 margin. Ms. Ryan defeated her closest challenger, Gary Bennett, by a 1,691 to 1,690 margin.
In both February and August, six month building moratoriums for the Village of Massapequa Park were approved by the Town of Oyster Bay.
In July, two new pastors, Father Kenneth Zach and Rev. Msgr. James Lisante were approved for, respectively, St. Rose of Lima Parish and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, both in Massapequa.
In October, a local highway project, one entitled the Massapequa Safety and Mobility Improvement Project, was completed on the Sunrise Highway.
No year in Massapequa is complete without the great Memorial Day and Independence Day parades that grace the downtown area. This year was no exception as perfect weather brought over 1,000 people to each parade.
On the arts front, Massapequa resident Salvatore J. LaGumina, a professor of history at Nassau Community College, published The Great Earthquake: America Comes to Messina's Rescue, a book about this nation's involvement, under the presidency of Long Island's own Theodore Roosevelt, in one of history's greatest natural calamities.
Meanwhile, Patrick Fenton's play about Jack Kerouac, the famed Beat Generation novelist who spent time in Northport during the 1960s, continues to gain audiences. All throughout the year, Massapequa's own Movie Man, John Carpenter, delighted audiences at the Massapequa Library and at those throughout Long Island, with his presentations and lectures on classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age in the 1930s and '40s.