The year in Roslyn began with long-awaited road improvements for the Warner/Lincoln Avenue and Round Hill Road sections of Roslyn. It ended with a fire on Old Northern Boulevard, which destroyed a 19th-century building that housed a restaurant. In between, natives of the village continued to showcase their creative talents and another Roslyn native became the First Lady of one of the 50 states.
The Roslyn Fire Company monument in Gerry Park.
In recent years, Roslyn native Judith Steinberg Dean, the wife of Howard Dean was the First Lady of Vermont. In December, Carole Rome, another Roslyn native, became First Lady of Florida. On Dec. 12, Ms. Rome was married to Charles Crist, the current governor of that state. The couple were engaged in July. Ms. Rome is a 1987 graduate of Roslyn High School and ran the successful family business, Franco American Novelty, before relocating to Florida in 2006.
The road improvements in Roslyn Heights completed a project that began in the early 1990s and did not achieve funding until late 2006. It includes regraded Round Hill Road, added left turns to Roslyn Road, widening Lincoln Avenue, and reconstructing the intersection of Railroad Avenue with Warner and Lincoln Avenues.
In May, voters approved a 2008-09 budget for the Roslyn School District, one that included a 4.62 percent spending increase, along with a 4.90 percent increase in the tax levy, and a 5.95 percent increase in property taxes. New programs, including reading and writing projects, and foreign language studies were also part of the budget. Also in May, Roslyn native Captain James Gregorski led the USS Kearsarge into New York for that city's Fleet Week celebrations.
In July, Roslyn High School dedicated a Courtyard Memorial Garden in memory of four alumni who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack as well as two members of the Parent-Faculty Association who died in recent years.
Also that month, a Farmer's Market opened at Christopher Morley Park. In addition, Town of North Hempstead officials unveiled a monument to the Roslyn Rescue and Roslyn Highlands fire companies, one located at Gerry Park in downtown Roslyn.
On the development front, work on Temple Beth Sholom's Early Childhood Center was under way by the summer. In February, the Village of Roslyn Board of Trustees sent environmental findings on the proposed B.I.T.I. residential development in downtown Roslyn, one that would include 80 luxury row house units, to Nassau County officials.
Later, in December, a plan by Lowe's stores to open a megastore at the old Pall Corporation property was first discussed and cancelled. Lowe's made its announcement just as local civic associations were set to discuss and debate the planned megastore.
Roslyn natives are known for their many creative endeavors and 2008 was no exception to such outpourings. In February, Sherri Miller released her debut EP, "Mantra" to excellent review. To showcase the EP, Ms. Miller performed concerts in both Manhattan and Los Angeles. In May, she made a triumphant homecoming with a successful concert at the Bryant Library.
This past year was the centennial of the Vanderbilt Cup Race, an event that helped to speed along road construction in Long Island. To commemorate that race, East Hills resident Howard Kroplick published Vanderbilt Cup Races of Long Island. Kroplick also announced that all author royalties would go to the Roslyn-based CAPS (Child Abuse Prevention Services.)
Norbert Krapf, former Roslyn resident and current poet laureate of his home state of Indiana, continued his prolific ways, publishing Bloodroot, a collection of his poetry from the past 35 years.
Today, the dazzling Park at East Hills stands on ground that for decades belonged the Air National Guard. That base, a product of the Cold War years, has been forgotten, however. In September, Glen Cove resident Jan Klebukowski published The History of the Roslyn Air National Guard Station, a volume complete with prose, photos, and historical documents.
The year 2008 also saw the passing of notable local residents. In February, Helene Fisher, a longtime and highly esteemed English teacher in the Roslyn School District, passed away.
In June, Sylvia Grossman died at age 90. Ms. Grossman's illustrious career included a stint as Deputy Nassau County Attorney, president of the Roslyn School Board, and the founder of two local synagogues.
November saw the unexpected passing of Michael Crichton, certainly the most famous writer to come out of Roslyn since Christopher Morley. Crichton died in early November following a long and courageous struggle with cancer.
A prolific and iconoclastic artist, Crichton wrote 25 novels and four works of non-fiction. He also wrote or directed 10 motion pictures. He was well-known as the creator and executive producer of the television drama, ER. In 1994, Crichton achieved a unique trifecta: He had the nation's No. 1 movie, Jurassic Park; the No. 1 television show, ER; and the top best-selling paperback, Disclosure.
A major theme of Crichton's work was plots in his fiction and films, which "portray scientific advancements going awry," and their resulting worst-case scenarios. Crichton claimed that he was not anti-technology, but he also enjoyed debunking current trends, criticizing, for instance, such popular theories on nuclear winter, the dangers of second-hand smoke, and global warming.
Other awards won by Crichton include an Emmy, a Peabody, Writer's Guild of America award, and The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Journalism Award.
As a major screenwriter, Crichton was also something of a celebrity in Hollywood. In 1992, he was named to the list of the "Fifty Most Beautiful People" by People magazine.
No year is complete without sports news. In January, the Roslyn High School varsity wrestling squad defeated Hewlett High School to win the Nassau County Conference 3B title.
In the fall, the Roslyn Bulldog Boosters sponsored the first ever Friday night game at the renovated Roslyn High School football field. The contest, which took place on Oct. 10, saw a capacity crowd and convincing win by the Bulldogs over archrival Jericho, 30-14.
Finally, in December, Roslyn High School running star, Emily Lipari, escaped the winter cold to travel to San Diego to compete in the Foot Locker Cross Country High School championship.
The competition capped another successful year for Emily, who is now the top female high school cross country runner in New York State. In 2008, Emily won the 5K New York State Federation title. In early November, she captured her second straight Nassau County cross-country title. Later in the month, she won the New York State cross-country championship, also for the second year in a row.