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Nursery School Closing In East Norwich

The installation of a cell phone antenna in the steeple of the Community Methodist Church of East Norwich has outraged parents, causing them to seek alternative preschool options for their children and resulting in the closing of the nursery school held at the church. The decision to close the school was announced last week, and the school shut its doors on the summer camp on Tuesday.

“We knew this might be coming, since the numbers were so low, but we didn’t know the summer camp would close so soon,” says Carolyn Wilson, who has been teaching at the Wesley United Method Church Nursery School for 35 years.

She says she attended a meeting on Tuesday, July 24, when the decision was made, though her staff was not allowed to attend the meeting. She says she was told by the church council the staff would be contacted individually, though as of Monday, July 28, she had received no correspondence. About 30 kids were attending the summer camp, which was supposed to last until Aug. 14. She and five other teachers, three assistants, a music teacher and a hall monitor are now all out of work.

“This is so disrespectful to myself and the staff,” says Wilson.

The battle over the installation of the Verizon cellular antenna has been going on since 2011. The church had wanted to move forward with it, while many parents, staff and members of the community, including the East Norwich Civic Association (ENCA), were opposed.

“A few years back, we were trying to stop the church from installing the antenna, or at least have them engage in a dialog with the community,” says Matthew Meng, president of the ENCA. “Historically, the church has not been very forthcoming with information,” he adds.

He says that, ultimately, the decision was approved by a court, and there was nothing more the community could do.

“When I asked the church why they didn’t reach out to the civic association for a dialog, they said, ‘sorry, we forgot’ and I let it go," says Meng. "Now, I think they are disingenuous and not being truthful...shame on them.”

Wilson says this is the only nursery school in East Norwich, and its closure will have a big impact on the community.

“How do you get your things packed up so quickly? How do you even wrap your head around all this?” says Wilson of the abruptness of learning of her job loss. “We did this as a community service to the church. We’re talking generations coming here.”

Pastor Nelson Kalombo Nguy confirmed that the decision to close the school came from the church council of the United Methodist Church. By press time on Monday, however,  he had not returned calls for comment.

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News

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


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In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


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