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Oscar Winner Has East Williston Roots

Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

The road to an Academy Award wasn't easy for Anthony Katagas. The East Williston native did something some young men would never do: choose a path away from the family business. The road less-traveled proved difficult but worthwhile for the Wheatley School graduate, culminating in a Best Picture Oscar as producer of 12 Years A Slave.


“I was very proud, very humbled by the experience because there are a lot of really worthy and great filmmakers that didn’t get [an Oscar],” Katagas said in an interview with the Mineola American.


Katagas, 44, seems eager to give credit to others.


Mr. Mineola Passes Away

Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Mineola lost one of its pillars on Friday, March 21. John DaVanzo, a lifelong resident of Mineola, died at Winthrop University Hospital. He was 92.


If you frequent Mineola, you have probably seen him at Village Hall, the Hampton Street Stadium, the community pool (which bears his name), the Station Plaza Diner and the list goes on. He has met U.S. presidents and has been a fixture in public life for years. His footprint in Mineola has been cemented for decades, and will continue to be so for many years to come.


Mr. Mineola is his name and the village will always be his playground. DaVanzo loved Mineola, he loved the people, but most of all...he loved his family.


Wander To Wheatley For Gypsy

Written by Sheri ArbitalJacoby Saturday, 22 March 2014 00:00

The extremely talented students at The Wheatley School will be performing the spectacular musical Gypsy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 27–29, at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Many gifted cast members from Mineola, East Williston and Albertson will belt out classics from the play.


Loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of the famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy spotlights Lee’s mother, Rose, the ultimate stage mom.

The musical presents an affectionate look at the hardships of show-biz life while chronicling Rose’s dreams and struggles as she raises her two daughters to perform onstage.


Demolition Delayed

Written by Michael Scro Friday, 21 March 2014 00:00

Village of East Williston Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff announced on Monday, March 10 that the much-debated 8 Sumter Ave. property will most likely face demolition, however not right away.


Blinkoff was in Nassau County Supreme Court recently, where Judge McCormack gave the owners 30 days to sell the house, or prove the inspection report was incorrect.


“It’s not unexpected for the judge to say that, and I objected to it,” Blinkoff said.  “It does appear the demolition will proceed, just not today.”


Grant Funds Discussed In Mineola

Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

The Village of Mineola is applying for $335,000 in community development block grants for 2014, officials revealed last week. The grants, if approved by the federal government, would be used to revamp local storefronts on Jericho Turnpike between Mineola

Boulevard and Willis Avenue, an updated public handicap bathroom at Memorial Park and residential rehabilitation.


If approved, funds will not be available until January or February 2015, according to Community Development Coordinator and past mayor Bob Hinck. The federal funds are distributed to the Department of Housing and Governmental Affairs of Nassau County and are administered to municipalities on a need basis.


Fifty Years For Joseph Conlon

Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Joseph Conlon couldn’t picture himself lasting five decades with the Mineola Fire Department. Today, after helping put together a groundbreaking unit for junior firemen, he would not have it any other way. Conlon will celebrate his 50th year with the department on

April 14 at a special gala honoring his commitment on April 25. 


Conlon’s dedication to Mineola will forever be linked to the Mineola Junior Fire Department, which he helped found in 1976. Juniors learn fire prevention techniques, respond to fire calls and participate in numerous real-life drills, including wall-scaling and vehicle extraction, among other techniques.


Choo Choo, Vrroom At Willis Hobbies

Written by Rich Forestano Saturday, 15 March 2014 00:00

The brown awning that drapes over 300 Willis Ave. has been a staple in the community for more than six decades. For Willis Hobbies’ owner Steve Ford, it’s about tradition.


“All of us that work here know the industry,” he said. “We know the lingo, we use the items ourselves and that helps service. You won’t get the personal nature on the Internet.”


Ford’s dad, Alfred, bought the business in 1970, but the area had always had a hobby shop, dating back to 1949 when it was located next to Foresto’s Men Shop across the street, before moving in 1998. Steve worked stocking shelves part-time while he was in high school, before taking over the shop in 1988, when his father retired.


An Eclectic Mix Of Asian Cuisine

Written by Gary Simeone Friday, 14 March 2014 00:00

If you are a fan of a wide variety of Asian fare, you will love the mix that Niji, a new Asian fusion restaurant at 121 Mineola Blvd., has to offer. Niji opened this past December, taking the place of Jani Restaurant, which offered a similar Asian Fusion menu.


“We serve a combination of Chinese and Japanese food with over 130 Chinese dishes and 40 different choices for sushi,” said owner Alen Gao. “Our menu consists of items like the crispy duck, Indonesian Sambal and the Niji Triple Delight, which is a combination of jumbo shrimp, chicken and beef sautéed with garden vegetable in house.”


Trustees OK Bigger Bar, Nix Shake Shop

Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

For Jeremiah O’Carroll, owner of O’Carroll’s Recovery Room, when it comes to town politics, something is better than nothing. 

Still, he did want a little more. 


Last week, the Mineola Village Board voted 4-0 to let O'Carroll expand his restaurant/tavern at Station Plaza in Mineola, but at the same time nixed his plan to also build a health shake shop next door. Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, who was not present at O’Carroll’s December hearing, abstained from the vote.


School Budget Draft Revealed

Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00

The Mineola School District’s 2014-15 draft budget is $87.5 million, a 1.65 percent increase from the 2013-14 budget, which was $86.1 million when it was certified last May.


The budget also includes a 1.46 percent increase in the tax levy, the maximum allowed by the state. The 2014-15 levy sits at $79 million.


District officials said pensions, salaries and special education costs drove the increases. Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler estimated salaries and pensions would total $400,000 each; special education, $300,000.


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