Opinion

Hitler's army invaded Holland in 1940. Sophia Martin and her family had their trusty bikes and peddled to La Harve, France, and then to Dunkirk. Her dad was an officer in the merchant marine and through his connection was able to join the British as they escaped the German trap and made their way to England. The family was again able to board a ship for the Dutch East Indies. After stops in Capetown and Durbin they finally reached the Indies. After the battle of the Java Sea, the Japanese overran the Dutch East Indies and Sophia became a prisoner. The Japanese treated the prisoners with brutality. They worked seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and were fed just three cups of rice a day. She says that the atomic bomb saved her life, as it forced the surrender of Japan. Sophia was able to come to the U.S. and became an American citizen. Today she is a lawyer. She and her husband Tom and daughter Christine live on Garfield Avenue. Christine is also an attorney and their son Eddie is an airplane pilot. Sophia says, "What a great country America truly is."

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One of our greatest friends died March 27. Walter Weismantel lived most of his life in Mineola. He served in the army in WWII and owned a bakery "Weismantels" on Jericho Turnpike for more than 50 years before retiring to Florida. He served for 20 years on the Pool Board and ran for village trustee. In Florida he was a teacher's aide, a hospital volunteer and a member of the Pelican acting group and the VFW. He leaves his wife of almost 60 years, Grace, and his daughters Diana, Karen, Sandra and Janet, and eight grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. He was a wonderful man.

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Sal Lombardo has been donating clothing and toys for some time to the Lupus Foundation. He leaves the package to be picked up at his side door and a couple of times it has been stolen. Several other people have reported similar thefts.

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Matthew, Michael, Anthony and Sharon Demelas, Christopher, James, Missy and Dan Wiercinski, Christopher, Lauren, Christine and Sam Fischer all dined at the Davenport. The Fischers live on DeMott Street and the Demelas on Latham Road.

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Mike Vezzi has been appointed to the Mineola Library Board.

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Always good to see Larry and Luba Egan around town. They spend a lot of time traveling to Australia and New Zealand where they have family.

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Our daughter Sister Annmarie is back from Kingston, Jamaica. It's a place of constant shootings and other violence. The land is one of the poorest in the world and drugs are ubiquitous. The group had to have armed guards when traveling.

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Robbin Valentine is a third-generation owner of his insurance agency. The business was started by his grandfather in 1915. It passed on to his dad, Al Valentine, and then to Robbin today. The Valentine agency is just about the oldest business in Mineola with 94 years in the same location on Mineola Boulevard.

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Bill and Diane Cassidy dined at the Williston Town House.

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Former Mineola Mayor John Colbert lunched at the Seacrest. John is a financial planner and a real estate broker. He and his wife Eleanor live on Emory Road.

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Caroline Kowalczyk of Mineola is the president of the Polish Gift of Life. They work to bring Polish children with life-threatening heart problems to this country. She works with hospitals and orphanages and has saved many young lives. "I feel God wanted me to do this work," she says. She has lived for 37 years on Beebe Road. Caroline was a friend of the late Blanche Paris and attended her 100th birthday celebration.

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We were sorry to learn of the death of Mary Connor, wife of Terry of Pershing Parkway. Mary and Terry were married for 63 years. Terry Connor is a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

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Laurie Whitfield is the spokeswoman for the Dioceses Fellowship program of the Catholic Church. She has been speaking at Masses and goes into the congregation, getting them involved with questions and answers. Laurie has been doing this for 10 years. She and her husband Vincent live in Blue Point and attend our Lady of the Snow parish.

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Patricia Gilhooley Carfagno is a great lay reader at Corpus Christi. She makes whatever she is reading sound interesting and relevant.

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Rebecca Krass of Williston Park enjoyed working at a local bakery, a job she had for five years.

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A group who does so much are the teachers at Corpus Christi School who are Mrs. Raspen, Dempsey, Terra, Bentley, O'Reilly, Robinson, Luniewski, Sanderleef, Carbo, Flynn, Collins, Rainone and Macedo. Also Ms. Scorsese, Petti and Kelly. Also Sisters Annmarie, Therese, Selena and Peggy and Mr. Donodeo.

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On the corner of Willis Avenue and Jericho Turnpike where the mattress company was formerly located is a new store, Cash for Gold.

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Tobacco licenses have cost $100 for the last 30 years. Under Governor Paterson, that will be increased to $1,000 next year. This will force many small stores out of business.

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AAMCO Transmissions has been located on Jericho Turnpike for 41 years. The building has been sold and they are going to open another - you guessed it - bank. AAMCO owner Ken Berry hopes to relocate on Arlington Street right behind Entenmann's bakery.

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Joann Elio and husband Ciro have lived on Albertson Place for 40 years. Joann retired last year as a law secretary and says she loves retirement.


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