The first lecture in the 2013 John A. Gable series kicked-off with Roger L. Di Silvestro on March 21 at the Christ Church in Oyster Bay. Di Silvestro journeyed from Virginia to speak about his 2011 book, Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: A Young Politician’s Quest for Recovery in the American West.
There is always debate on whether the West or New York played a more significant role in shaping the character and life of Teddy Roosevelt. The East had TR for much more time, and his involvement in NYC, as State Assemblyman, Commissioner of the NYC Police Board, Civil Service reformer and finally, Governor can be measured. In contrast, TR spent parts of four years in the Badlands of what is now North Dakota, with his day total on the plains just shy of one year. While the East provided stability and accomplishment, the West was cathartic and healed a broken heart after TR’s first wife died suddenly on the same day, and in the same house, as his mother on Valentine’s Day, 1884.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site was the recipient of a great volunteer enterprise by the Long Island Arboricultural Association (LIAA) on Saturday, March 23. Each year, since 1990, members have celebrated Arbor Day by donating a tree and tree care services to a public-owned facility. This year it was Sagamore Hill. In the past they have volunteered locally at Planting Fields, 2011; and at Chelsea-Muttontown Preserve in 2008. Their first event in 1990 was at Belmont State Park, at the Historic Belmont Pines on the Southern State Parkway.
It was a daunting procedure as it was in the middle of the highway. It was done with the help of then NYS Senator Owen H. Johnson of West Babylon who attended the March 23 event representing Governor Andrew Cuomo.
As the deadline for next year’s budget draws nearer, the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school board discussed using this year’s projected fund balance to bridge a $385,000 revenue gap.
Though all the board members at the March 19 meeting at the Oyster Bay High School Library seemed supportive of using some of the fund balance, one area of discussion was how much to use and whether the board should ask for more or less from voters when the proposed budget is placed on the ballot for voter approval May 21. ‘
When people talk of the hidden pearls of Oyster Bay, Opera Nights at Christ Church certainly qualifies. Sunday, March 17, Opera Nights celebrated St. Patrick’s Day as soprano Danielle Davis opened the concert with “Sally Gardens” by Benjaman Britten, followed by “Danny Boy,” which, she said correctly, everyone knew. The concert was closed with a lovely rendition of “Waiting for my Dearie,” from Lerner and Lowe’s Broadway musical Brigadoon by performed by Kimberly Iannuzzi, soprano.
In between, the singers took listeners from country to country in song. The beauty of opera is you don’t have to know the language to love the song. The voices and the emotion the singers send out to the audience bridges the gap.
Photographer Xiomáro proved himself to be very generous with his art and his knowledge of photography, as he talked about the core focus of his exhibit, How I Love Sagamore Hill, at the Koenig Center on March 16. The title is taken from the last words the 26th President of the United States. Theodore Roosevelt said to his wife Edith, “You don’t know how much I love Sagamore Hill.”
Xiomáro told of his history with the National Park Service and said he began his assignment at Sagamore Hill by taking snapshots throughout the house and then returning with his professional equipment: lights, tripod, and light reflecting devices to set up the digital photographs that he then worked on to finally present to the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. He presented Superintendent Thomas Ross with 144 prints, to use to their benefit. Ross was responsible for his taking on the project.
A children’s book publisher has opened for business in Oyster Bay, and has already won awards in its first month of operation, though with no storefront, you might not be aware of it. Bish Bash Books publishes eBooks for children that can be purchased online and read on iPads or iPhones.
Co-founder Danielle M. Taylor says she had the thought of starting her own business as she was preparing to go back to work after having her two sons, who are only 11 months apart. With a background in publishing, and a love of reading, Bish Bash Books was soon born.
Ways to cut an anticipated $937,515 revenue gap in next year’s school budget occupied the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education at their recent meeting.
Phyllis Harrington, superintendent of schools for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District, outlined cutbacks in elementary school class size, reducing one fulltime position in the English as a Second Language (ESL) support program to a part-time positions, and reduction in athletic programs and some elementary co-curricular activities at the board’s March 12 meeting at the Oyster Bay High School Library.
Jose Polo is living the dream of every musician: getting recognized and paid for his talent. The Oyster Bay father of four released his first album, Huracán, last fall, and is recruiting new fans from around the world on a daily basis.
“I’m very surprised at how welcome the music’s been,” says Polo about his growing fan base. Though, he does acknowledge that his personal style of Latin pop is what attracts listeners. “When I sing, I put all my heart and soul in it. I live the music.”
The Oyster Bay Historical Society is collaborating with Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to present “How I Love Sagamore Hill,” a new exhibition of photographs by Xiomáro. The photos were all taken last February, as the house was being emptied of furniture and other artifacts to get ready for renovation. These photographs offer a unique and different perspective on a home and family that many Oyster Bay residents think they know so well. The title of the exhibit refers to words spoken by Theodore Roosevelt shortly before he died.
Xiomáro explained that in thinking about the exhibit, and what the focus of his essay would be, he realized that it would be easy to focus on Theodore Roosevelt, since he is such a dominant personality. However, Xio wanted to reflect the life of the family who lived there, as well as the servants. In all, 20 out of 144 photos are being shown in this exhibition. The pictures were chosen to be representative of all the residents of the home.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Theodore Roosevelt Audubon Sanctuary in Oyster Bay. The Oyster Bay Historical Society hosted Ted Scherff, executive director of the Sanctuary, and Jennifer Zaso of Audubon New York who gave a presentation on the history of the Sanctuary, and the work the sanctuary is doing now to protect birds and advocate for conservation.
The sanctuary is deeply embedded in the Oyster Bay community, both because of its historical association with Theodore Roosevelt, widely respected for his role as a protagonist of the conservation movement in the United States, and as a place so many residents have gone to learn not only about birds, but also about the local environment.
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