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The Gift Of Giving For The Holidays

A North Massapequa family continues to send out massive seasons greetings this year with an array of twinkling lights, carolers, reindeer and even Santa himself — all in an effort to raise some funds and the Christmas spirit.

This is not the first year the Oemcke house at 186 N. Syracuse Ave. has kept the block well lit during the holiday season. Steve and Carrie Oemcke have always had an affinity for Christmas decorations, but they kicked the yuletide into high gear about three years ago and have expanded their display exponentially with each Christmas.

The Oemckes knew the display would attract many onlookers, so they decided to use their holiday house to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Visitors to the house can walk up the driving, and after viewing the reindeer stable and the Claus’ living room, they can drop some donations in a charity box.

“We knew a decent amount of people would come by so it’s a great opportunity to make it charitable,” said Steve Oemcke, adding that their donation goal this year is $5,000 — which would give them $10,000 in funds for St. Jude’s in three years. “I build it up to make it worth it for people to get out of their car and walk up to the donation box.”

Oemcke said he chose St. Jude’s because it is a reputable organization and people can trust that the money they donate will go to the young people who need it most. St. Jude’s works to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

Grateful for his own childrens’ health, Oemcke said a Christmas display is the perfect way to help sick children on Long Island and beyond.

“This is a holiday for children,” he said. “There are sick kids out there and we want to help them. All the people that come to see the house see the St. Jude’s banner. That is everyone’s favorite charity; it is the one they want to give to during Christmas.”

Oemcke’s own children — Hannah, 13, Jake, 11, and Steven, a second-grader — have helped the decorating tradition plenty over the years, with young Steven getting involved for the first time this season. He helps his dad monitor the traffic flow, figuring out the perfect time to shut down the display for the night.

The decorating process starts in bits and pieces just before Halloween, but once Oct. 31 passes, ghoulish get-ups give way to festive cheer. And though some might think all of those wires and bulbs jack up his electric bill, Oemcke said he recently switched to LED lights and other energy-saving set ups.

“If anyone does this and it’s costing them thousands of dollars in electric every month, they should think of switching over to cost effective lighting, because that is nuts,” he said.

And even though setting up the lights, then taking it all down again can get arduous, Oemcke said he’s reminded of why he does it whenever a school bus passes by his house.

“The kids get really excited to see it,” he said. “That’s the fun part of it.”

To check out the Oemcke’s holiday house and to donate to St. Jude’s, the lights stay on until about 10 p.m. on weekdays and around 11 p.m. on weekends.

News

Two hundred business students from high schools across Nassau County, including Massapequa High School, competed for scholarships and cash awards—more than $33,000 in all—from various sponsors at Nassau County’s annual Comptroller’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.

The events on Sept. 11, 2001 had a profound effect on nearly all in the tri-state area, but for first responders, the effects were overwhelming. Long-time Massapequa resident Michael Smith, a member of the New York Fire Department, experienced those effects firsthand.

“While I’ve always been a person that could appreciate life, after 9/11 I became so distraught,” he said. “I realized I need to do something I want to do — something I love to do.”

A 30-year veteran of the fire department, Smith retired in 2002. He and his wife of 33 years, Teresa, began to look for a place they could enjoy life. This mindset brought them to the East End of Long Island, where they often went for day trips. They settled down in a home in Orient Point in 2004; in a home that needed quite a bit of work. And when it was time to landscape the property, a new idea took root — a vineyard.


Sports

Massapequa athletes recently received honors from their coaches at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, the coaches of all of the Kellenberg teams choose one member of their team who stands out as an athlete that has worked hard to improve themselves in their chosen sport.

The Farmingdale State women’s lacrosse team won the first game of their Spring Break trip to North Carolina with a victory over Greensboro College. In wet and muddy conditions, the Rams (8-1) held an 8-5 lead at the half and took the eventual 13-10 win.

In the first half and tied 2-2, the Pride (7-5) pulled ahead 4-2 with two unassisted goals by junior attack Nadya Fedun. Farmingdale State answered with four straight scores for a 6-4 advantage, on goals by juniors Alyssa Handel, Nicole Marzocca and Massapequan Jackie Kennedy.

Sophomore attack Ashlynn Parks put Greensboro within a goal at the 7:03 mark, but the Rams scored two more to lead 8-5 at the halftime break.

Calendar

Free Wine Tasting

Friday, April 18

Boating Course

Saturday, April 26

Massapequa Memories

Tuesday, April 29



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