The body of a woman found Feb. 14 in an unoccupied home on Ocean Avenue has been identified as 60-yerar-old Irene Luetje, known to her family as Renee, according to Nassau County police.
Police responded to a call at 27 Ocean Avenue around noon and discovered the body. Det. Lt. John Azzata, commanding officer of the Nassau County homicide squad, reported that Luetje was found wearing a black jacket, black Capri pants, a black pullover shirt and silver shoes. Her purse, which contained money, was found with her, as was her driver’s license. What is not clear is how Luetje ended up more than five miles away from her apartment at 124 West Drive in North Massapequa, where her car was still located. The landlord of the home had a conversation with Luetje at 11 a.m. on January 6. Azzata said that is the last time Luetje was seen alive. Police are hoping someone may have spotted Luetje after Jan. 6 and will come forward.
Nassau County police are investigating a house fire that claimed the life of an occupant of a Massapequa Park home. Approximately 100 firefighters from the Massapequa Fire Department responded to an active fire in a home at the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Park Boulevard during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 20.
When they arrived, a man was discovered on the second floor, apparently trapped by the fire and unable to escape. A Nassau County advanced medical technician pronounced him dead at 2:50 a.m., about one hours and 45 minutes after firefighters arrived.
The Nassau County Police announced that the arson bomb squad is investigating the fire. It is considered non suspicious, although the investigation is ongoing. As of press time, police had not released the identity of the victim, pending notification of his family as well as the report of the medical examiner.
Last week, the political scene in Nassau took an unexpected twist when Tom Suozzi, the former Democratic county executive, announced that he is seeking to reclaim the office he held for two terms before being narrowly defeated by Republican Ed Mangano in 2009 in a bid for a third term. Right after his announcement, Suozzi kicked off his campaign and stopped at Anton Community Newspapers for a meeting with editors. He was questioned about his relationship with Massapequa, a town dominated by Republicans. He expressed an affinity for the area.
“Southeast Nassau is one of the only places that is still consistent with the original suburban concept,” he remarked. “It’s still the closest to the original suburban dream and I would like to keep it the way it is,”
What is the secret to a long and happy marriage? For two Massapequa couples, the answer is, at least partially, both fate and faith. Grace and William Smith will mark their 63rd wedding anniversary this April, while Angela and Fred Esposito have been married for 61 years.
Both couples were invited and scheduled to attend a special Valentine’s Day reception hosted by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. This is significant as Valentine’s Day holds a special meaning for the Espositos. Their romance began at a Valentine’s Day dance in 1945.
Massapequa Superintendent Charles Sulc stunned the community at a recent school board meeting, announcing he would retire on June 30, the end of this school year. The school board immediately announced Sulc is to be replaced by Lucille Iconis, currently the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
“I think I’ve made a difference,” Sulc told the Massapequan Observer. “One of the things that I always want to be remembered for is that I would never let this place fail. Whatever it took to get something done, I would do it. I’ve had great teams to work with and those great teams have made this a better place. We’ve had a lot of success in my six years as superintendent.”
Mayor James Altadonna expressed frustration at the cuts in state aid given to the Massapequa school district in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed 2013/14 executive budget. At a recent village board meeting, the mayor lashed out at the proposal, saying that the governor has not taken into account how badly damaged the Massapequa area was by Superstorm Sandy.
“This community is hurting,” Altadonna said. “We need to have a number of years where we can rebuild. We still have people not in their houses. We need to recover.”
Continuing an alarming increase in criminal activity in the Massapequa area, eleven vehicles in Massapequa Park and an additional four in Massapequa were entered and items taken from inside.
The thefts occurred between 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday Jan. 23 and 11 a.m. on Jan. 25, although based on the police report, most of the thefts occurred during the evening hours of Jan. 23 and the early morning hours of Jan. 24.
Massapequa schools would see an 8.7 percent decline in aid under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state package released last week, according to district officials.
Massapequa Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock at first thought his district would be receiving a slight increase in state aid. However, Adcock says that upon further evaluation, the governor’s proposal actually decreases the amount of state aid. This adds to other budget issues that Adcock has been warning of which could result in a $6 million budget shortfall for next year’s budget.
“This is a devastating general operating aid package to Nassau County and Massapequa in particular,” remarked Adcock.
It may only be January, but the upcoming November election already appears to be on the mind of Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. At a recent board meeting, the supervisor defended the decision to spend millions of dollars to upgrade town parks and facilities.
“Every level of government is suffering,” remarked Venditto about the fiscal woes faced by municipalities. “Having said that, in some municipalities the infrastructure has not been addressed. This [the renovations to town facilities] is going to protect our infrastructure and quality of life. Just remember that when fall comes around and people are shooting arrows at us.”
Those who park their vehicles at the Massapequa railroad station should be concerned about whether their vehicle will be intact when they return to it. On January 11, the catalytic converter was stolen from a 2005 Toyota Sequoia that was parked at the Long Island Rail Road Massapequa Train Station. It marked the fourth time such a theft has occurred at the station since June and the second incident over a three-day interval.
These thefts continue an unsettling pattern in the area. Five cars that were parked at the Wantagh station between July and December had the catalytic converters stolen, as did a Hyundai Sonata that was parked at the LIRR station in Seaford during the week after Thanksgiving.
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