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At the December Port Washington Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting, Louise Fishman, the director of the Town of North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), was the guest speaker.

Fishman said she really loves her job. Her background includes specialty advertising. One of the biggest events the BTDC has is the Beachfest in September at the North Hempstead Town Beach, formerly called Bar Beach. The BTDC also has a "Winter Wonderland" at Clark Gardens. They have cookie decorating and electric trains plus other attractions.

On Saturday, Feb. 28, the Polar Plunge will take place to raise money for the Special Olympics.

In addition to promoting tourism, her goal is to let residents know what they have close to home. For local businesses, the BTDC has started a series of free business seminars. The next one is Jan. 22 at Harbor Links, from 8 to 10 a.m. It includes a free breakfast. The topics will include cityscapes, parking problems and solutions.

Another part of her job is to interview people for the town's TV show. Her segments include a "Taste of the Town" where she interviews restaurant owners, such as Tava, and "Around the Town" where she interviews other businesses, such as Anthony's World of Floors.

She said many people are not aware that the town has an Empire Zone in New Cassel. Businesses that employ at least 50 people that open in an Empire Zone receive tax breaks. Other initiatives include having meetings with all the heads of the chambers of commerce in the town. She likes to promote new businesses and appears at ribbon cutting ceremonies. She said if anyone has a problem, they can call the town at 311 or call her directly.

Also at the meeting, Chamber co-President Richard Strautman welcomed three new members: Aflac New York and agent Kenneth Schubach; Diane Schubach, licensed Real Estate Salesperson (RE/Max) and Michelle Collins, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at 30 South Bayles Ave.

Strautman thanked Joan Hutchinson, Carl Lalena, Hal Linden and Jerry Rudnick for their help delivering the posters for the Toy Drive. He also thanked John Maura for decorating the tree in front of the chamber office, after Lalena asked him to help.

Strautman said he was very saddened to learn that Sal Milazzo passed away. He had been a friend to many and a long-time board member, and he will be missed.

The SOUPer Bowl will be on Saturday, Jan. 31, from noon to 3 p.m. Many volunteers are needed to help serve the soup. Sponsors are also needed to offset expenses. Chamber Executive Director Bobbie Polay said that major sponsors are listed on the posters and all sponsors will be on a sign at the event and in the "thank you" ad. Fred Falconer installed the holiday decorations on the lampposts and the Town of North Hempstead covered the parking meters with red bags. The bags will remain until the end of the month to encourage shoppers to stay in town. Deputy Chief Ron DeMeo said there is a time limit of 90 minutes on the meters, to prevent commuters from parking all day. Strautman advised that HarborFest will be on Sunday, June 7. The committee has met already and new people are welcome to attend any of these. Polay said the children's model boat regatta needs a new co-chairperson. Andrea Watson has been in charge for several years, but she doesn't have the time this year. It is a major commitment for several months. The new co-chairperson would be responsible for doing an inventory of the parts, ordering new parts and assembling kits for the schools. In addition, the person would need to set up a boatbuilding schedule for each school and ensure there are volunteers to cover each boat building session. George Martin suggested that two or more people may be able to take on the job instead of one person. This month Beth Fiore of Graphicworks won the drawing for December. Fiore said she lives in Soundview, is a mom and has been a resident of Port Washington for seven years. She had trays with samples of her work. She specializes in logo design, package and label design, advertising, website design, vinyl lettering, corporate ID, business card design and photo optimization. One of her clients is Northern Contracting. She has also helped Hal Linden with ads in the Port Washington calendar and has helped distribute it.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Geoff Gordon said the school is participating in a "rock it and wrap it" program to deliver food left over in the cafeteria. He is also very pleased that Port Washington is participating in a pilot program for the town's school recycling effort.

He thanked Debbie Greco for volunteering for the school district every year at budget time. Gordon said there are six former police officers who work as security guards for the schools and they work in cooperation with the Port Washington Police.

He informed the attendees that this year there were a record number of Merit Scholars at Schreiber and the largest percentage of seniors to graduate in four years. He said 96 percent of a very heterogeneous cohort graduated.

Dana Basen said Five J's Jewelry has succeeded in raising several thousand dollars to help the Shelter Connection. They joined with five other merchants to sponsor a fund raising party at Main 415. She urged people to support them as they support the town.

Edna Turner said Twin Pines has been working on a food drive. She thanked the kids at the high school for their help. She is seeing many new people who are in need of food. To preserve their dignity, she asks them to come in to the co-op and work for 1/2 hour. They then get a basket of food. The co-op is now taking winter clothing and baby things.

Jim Duncan said the Pride in Port Committee will be giving framed certificates to all the restaurants that participated in Pride in Port's "Taste of Port Washington."


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