The fourth annual Christmas Concert was held last month at the Community United Methodist Church in East Norwich. The concert was a benefit for the local Youth & Family Counseling Agency, and concert-goers brought generous donations of canned goods and new children’s toys for those in need within the local community. Pastor Nelson Kalombo Ngoy gave a warm welcome to the audience, which filled the church to capacity. He also called for a moment of silence and reflection to honor Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday, Dec. 5. Linda Gier spoke about the concert beneficiary, Youth & Family Counseling Agency, located in Oyster Bay, but a great resource to surrounding communities as well.
Oyster Bay artist Barbara Ernst Prey’s iconic painting The Collection was selected by the U.S. State Department for the cover image for all invitations sent out by every U.S. Embassy and U.S. Ambassador worldwide for their Independence Day celebrations at the Embassies.
Prey, recognized as one of the most significant American artists, is known to the U.S. State Department through her participation in the ART in Embassies program, which exhibited her paintings in Paris, Madrid, Oslo, Prague and through her lectures worldwide about American art. This holiday season Prey will donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale from The Collection print to support Habitat for Humanity.
Giving dolls, toys and trucks to the annual Toy Drive of the Inter-religious & Human Needs Council (IHNC) of Oyster Bay was very successful again this year, thanks to Carol and Randy Daub of Oyster Bay. It is an extension of the Holiday Sharing Program.
Carol Daub said, “It’s the highlight of my year. Randy and I sit down at the dining table the day after Thanksgiving to work on the Toy Drive. Especially this year, when there is such a short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can’t wait.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
The end-of-year holiday is the season of giving, when we are infused with the spirit of generosity, empathy for those in need and “good will to all” (not to mention a Dec. 31 tax deadline for deductions).
Unfortunately, this year the peak giving season is shorter than usual. The late Thanksgiving holiday truncated the number of fundraising weekends leading up to Christmas. That’s on top of a challenging macro-economic environment, and it is putting the squeeze on charities. Some local fundraisers have quietly indicated that they are worried about meeting year-end objectives.
Santa Claus visited the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, Sunday, Dec. 15. It was a great time for photo ops with the bearded icon in the fur trimmed red velvet suit. This year, a mini-Santa, the North Shore’s Tristan Michael Higdon of Locust Valley, was there to get his first view of the North Pole’s Santa Claus.
Oyster Bay resident Sam Lingen is a big fan of Santa Claus, but he is an even bigger fan of our country’s presidents. The Vernon School student was at the museum to see Santa and meet Teddy Roosevelt, played by actor James Foote.
“Presidents are my thing,” said Lingen. “I like Santa but I really wanted to see President Roosevelt today.”
If you’ve ever thought about immortalizing your pet with a high quality portrait, Yvonne Dagger is the artist to go to. The animal lover/activist has a knack for capturing the essence of each animal she paints, and her work is on display at The Painted Pet, the gallery that recently opened in Locust Valley. The portraits on display are mainly of at-risk shelter animals who Dagger felt “needed a voice” and decided to keep their stories alive and relevant through the oil paintings.
“I wanted to elevate them to a status of fine art, give them a chance to have something better, even if it’s just to be in a painting.”
Peter and Marguerite Casparian will find it easy to adjust to their retirement home when they move to Austin, TX in August of 2014. The Rev. Peter Casparian and his artist wife, Marguerite, collect religious folk art; at a recent fundraiser at the rectory at Christ Church, their collection created a visual delight, demonstrating that they will be able to re-construct that warmth, wherever they live.
“We have even more items in storage,” said Marguerite. When they arrive in Austin, near their daughter, it will be easy to make their new home comfortable and familiar. The two are used to world travel: before coming to Oyster Bay, he was the Rector at St. James American Church in Florence, Italy, and he is involved with an NGO in Guatemala. They began their careers in Kansas, the heartland of America.
There is a lot that goes into putting together a school district’s budget. At last week’s Oyster Bay/East Norwich School Board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Christopher Van Cott explained the basic fundamentals of preparing a finalized budget.
“The budget formula is to adopt a spending plan which is voted on by the community to operate our district,” said Van Cott.
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