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Bellmore • Merrick VOLUME 1, NUMBER 8

IN PRINT & ONLINE

MAY 2014

Friday Night Car Show is Back! MEROKIAN WINS 'SENIOR' COMPETITION...

ANNUAL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL IS BACK IN BELLMORE...

NORTH MERRICK LIBRARY READIES 50TH-YEAR CELEBRATIONS


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NEWS

Your NewsMag

Memorial Day Parades in Your Neighborhood

Opening of Friday Night Car Show Revvs Up Bellmore MERRICK

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he Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmore’s has begun another season of its “Friday Night Car Show” in the Long Island Rail Road parking lot between Bedford and Bellmore Avenues. EveryFridayhundredsofantique andcustomcarsconvergeonBellmore todisplaytheirbestandenjoymingling withtheirfellowcarenthusiasts. There is a $3 charge for cars to display but spectators are welcome to walk through free of charge. Oldies music helps set the mood throughout the display areas. The Friday Night Car Show is sponsored by AG Electric, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Bellmore Automotive, Bellmore Bean Cafe, Blossom

Farm, Carvalhos Restaurant, Island Greenery, Mediterranean Diner, Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, OverviewComputer Services, Piccolo’s Ristorante, Sandra G Johnson, CPA, TheDirty Dawg, Rock Underground and Umbertos of Bellmore. Live bands performed on a Town of Hempstead Show Mobile for the opening night. Other bands will perform throughout the season. On August 22, an oldies DJ will provide music from his old-time truck. Everyone is welcome to come down, have a bite to eat in one of Bellmore’s many eateries, and enjoy a taste of the past without having to pay a lot.

MAY 2014 | №8

ommander Ken Braum of the American Legion Post 1282 at 160 Merrick Road, Merrick, informed this magazine that the Merrick Memorial Day Parade will be held on Memorial Day, May 26, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Gazebo at the Merrick Long Island Rail Road station. The parade, complete with units from the Merrick and North Merrick Fire Departments, and along with American veterans, American Legion 1282 members, Jewish War veterans, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, school bands from Merrick Avenue Middle School and Calhoun High School, Little Leaguers, the Merrick Chamber of Commerce, and Merrick soccer team players will form and then begin the march north up Merrick Avenue until it comes to the Veterans Memorial Park on Merrick Avenue across from Camp Avenue School.

At approximately 10 a.m.-to-10:15 a.m., or when all the marchers have reached the monument, a memorial service will begin.

BELLMORE A joint ceremony commemorating Memorial Day in Bellmore will begin on Monday, May 26, at Bellmore’s Veterans Memorial Park at the corner of Broadway and Bedford Avenue, Frank Colon, member of American Legion Post 1749 in North Bellmore said, and end at the Veterans Monument at Newbridge Road School in North Bellmore. School bands from Grand Avenue Middle School, and Mepham and Kennedy High Schools, along with members of the Bellmore and North Bellmore Fire Departments, the Corvette Club, the Vietnam War Veterans Association, members of American Legion

Post 948 in Bellmore and their Ladies Auxiliary along with members of American Legion 1749 in North Bellmore, and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, will begin the service at the War Veterans Memorial Park at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m. those gathered will then begin the march north up Bedford Avenue, turn right at Oak Street and proceed to Bellmore Avenue, where they will turn left. The marchers will then follow a prescribed route along Bellmore Avenue under a set of new flags and flag holders reconstructed by Eagle Scout Tim Montera of Kennedy High School and Troop 192, as part of his Eagle Scout project. The marchers will march north along the newly flagged route to the Veterans Monument at Newbridge Road School, where there will then be another ceremony at 11 a.m..


NEWS

№8 | MAY 2014

Your NewsMag

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‘Greed’ Forces Dakota Design Foreclosure Fight

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akota Design Center of Merrick attorney Abe Krieger fired off a tersely worded letter to the Long Island attorney of VFC Partners 26 LLC of Texas, owner of the design center’s mortgage, suggesting that the mortgage firm was motivated by self-interest rather than accepted fiduciary responsibility and practice when it applied hundreds of thousands of dollars secured from insurance monies earmarked to rebuild the design center to the mortgage principal instead, denying the design center the opportunity to rebuild its business. The center was destroyed by superstorm Sandy and now stands closed and boarded along Merrick Road. Kreiger told this magazine that he was “completely shocked” at the action the mortgage owner took to apply insurance resources to the principal after Dakota Design Center owner Patricia Salcedo of PS Micaza Design Interiors met with the mortgage lender to create a schedule of mortgage payments once the insurance refunds would have rebuilt the design center to allow it to re-establish its business within the community and create revenues. “Your client’s conduct is unsupportingly opportunistic and resulted in a windfall [to your client] at the cost of the virtual destruction of my client’s property and business,” the letter stated. The April 22 letter follows closely on the heels of a “notice of default and acceleration of debt” letter received by Salcedo on April 8 from VFC’s attorney Lamb & Barnosky of Melville that gave her until April 30 to pay the balance of the mortgage or face foreclosure. “I was devastated by this action,” Salcedo said. “I felt like I had been completely taken advantage of,” she continued, alluding to earlier actions by the lender of “hounding me daily” to sign over the funds from insurance companies for rebuilding purposes. In that letter to Salcedo, VFC’s attorney claims that “ …you are delinquent in the payments due under the terms of the Loan Documents in that you have not made

This first appeared in www.yournewsmag.com

payment of the installments which became due on November 1, 2013, through the current date, and all grace periods have passed.” Salcedo told this magazine that she had been advised by insurance adjustors and outside attorneys both familiar with Sandy proceedings that banks were not aggressive in pushing for mortgage payments, and she did not pay anything else toward the mortgage. “I had new expenses I incurred to keep the business going,” she said of the limited funding available from the reduced company profile that could no longer sustain the mortgage. “I had a new lease to sign and pay for,” she said, as an example of new costs. PS Micaza Design Interiors is now located at Republic Lighting on Merrick Road in Bellmore. She thanks the owners at Republic Lighting once more for offering her the space to set up a partial design operation to serve clientele.

BEHAVIOR SCRUTINIZED Applying scrutiny to the suddenly contrary behavior of VFC, Krieger’s letter said that “…without limitation, Dakota and its principal, Patricia, who also served as guarantor, endorsed all of the casualty insurance checks expressly based upon prior agreement, discussions and understanding with VFC’s assignor that the insurance proceeds would be used for precisely the purposes set forth in the insurance policies in effect at the time.” Insurance, Krieger maintained, protects the mortgage’s integrity

against destruction of the property. In using the insurance [to rebuild the business and guarantee continuance of mortgage payments] to pay down principal rather than to rebuild the business, the mortgage itself becomes vulnerable to the guarantee of it being paid back in full. It is precisely this action by the VFC in which Krieger sees a lawsuit as being the only remedy. “I would like to see them [VFC] sue Dakota for the mortgage balance,” he said, because it would then expose to the court their lack of fiduciary responsibility to their client and her business. Krieger did explain that in any mortgage there are a couple of sentences that indeed permit the mortgage holder to use “securities” such as insurance funds to apply to the mortgage. But he added that after Dakota believed it had worked in good faith with not only VFC but Capital One, the original owner of the mortgage, to come up with a mortgage payment schedule after the design center had been rebuilt, VFC then changed the tone and timbre of the agreement. Because it is now well documented that many homeowners and some businesses left the area once they had received substantial insurance funds to rebuild - essentially absconding with those funds, calls to VFC’s attorney to learn if VFC quickly decided Salcedo would have used the insurance funds for other than their intended purpose of rebuilding the business were not returned. Randi Satnick, spokeswoman for

Dakota, said she has reached out to U.S. Senator Kristin Gillibrand’s office for either remedy or relief in this banking issue. Senator Gillibrand’s office directed her to the state’s Department of Financial Services for review of her case. Gillibrand’s office informed Satnick that the newly formed federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau did not have regulatory jurisdiction over the case. But the case may be beyond regulatory jurisdiction at this time, Krieger maintained. Regulatory matters normally play a role when signing and closing the mortgage agreement, to see to it that all parties are being treated fairly. “VFCmayberegulatedlocally,where theyareestablished,”Kriegersaid. A spokesman for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer remarked that the case appears to be a purely legal one that is juncture.

HOME TO LOCAL FUNDRAISING Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg spoke of concern over the latest actions on the interior design company. “This is a place that does so much for the community,” he said. “They hold charity events, fashion shows” and help the community in so many other ways, he continued. He added that he had proposed a bill to the Nassau County Legislature that would have regulated locally the type of behavior VFC is now displaying. But that bill was tabled by the majority. Indeed, the wildly popular Dakota Design Center at 1565 Merrick Road had become a highly visible business known for sponsoring local charitable events. Dakota held the first Pink Out in the Bellmores and Merricks, recruiting students from local high schools to pin pink ribbons in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout the communities, for example. “I miss the design center so much,” Salcedo remarked. She insists that while she still can have up to 10 jobs working per week on such design items as window treatments, accessories, furnishings and kitchens and baths, her specialty, “I am losing clients because of the limited

space” she has to provide building and fabric materials to show clients how a room can come together. A designer for 27 years, she has had the Dakota Design Center for seven years, and has been in the Bellmore-Merrick area since 1992. She perceives the design center as being an important piece of property in Merrick, a “vital part of the community.” At the design center, Salcedo was able to hold several events that raised funds for a variety of charities. To name a few of its events, its first fundraiser, an art show featuring one special artist, benefitted the Make a Wish Foundation. The center engaged local middle and high school students to design the forms for lamps, and then invited students’ families, friends and the community to join in a silent auction afterward. The proceeds went to Children International, a global charity that helps children rise above the poverty level. Ladies’ Nights were popular fundraisers that benefitted local breast cancer charities. Dakota Design Center was also the venue for a Green Event and a Health and Wellness fair. The Green Event showcased a green architect, green products, Q&A and experts on solar power, etc.  The Health and Wellness fair brought together Long Island-based professionals and offered classes and lectures on topics such as holistic veterinary care, spirituality, nutrition, yoga, tae kwon do and more.  “I can’t hold these events now that the design center is closed,” she said.  Living in South Bellmore, Salcedo was spared any damage to her home from superstorm Sandy. But, she told this magazine that she assisted her many clients as they sought to rebuild after Sandy. Satnick said that “After the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, and the fire that followed, Patty stood outside the building taking cell phone calls from clients desperate for assistance. She worked from home and a diner, and managed to assist each and every client in need at that time.”


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MAY 2014 | №8

Your NewsMag

Exciting things are happening in the Bellmores and Merricks

☞ TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGES 2 -12: NEWS Bellmore Car Show opens for season; Memorial Day Parades in your Neighborhood; ‘Greed’ Forces Foreclosure Fight; Day Care Center Coming to Bellmore?; Churchwide Yard Sale in Merrick; Strawberry Festival to Sweeten Spring Season; JFK Alumni Raises Funds for Kennedy HS Brick Walk; North Merrick’s Cape May Bus Trip; Boy Scout Fundraiser at Applebee’s; BMRH Raises $4500 for league; Feel-Good Volunteerism.

PAGE 9: FEATURE: Merokian In a ‘Senior’ NY State of Mind Jane Rubinstein seems to be getting better as she ages, winning her first pageant while also becoming a Town Pathfinder winner for volunteerism as well.

PAGE 14: COVER STORY: School Budgets Up for Vote The five school districts in the Bellmores and Merricks reveal their lowest budget figures in decades.

PAGE 18: LIBRARIES Celebrating 50 Years! The North Merrick Public Library readies a 50th-year celebration that will last three years –and cover all the significant dates in its history.

PAGE 21: ACCOMPLISHMENTS A Bellmore student and a Merrick student both are recognized for their work in helping shape a community’s spirit.

PLUS: Who’s running for school trustee; one-man comedy-plays are all the rave on Bellmore stage; a rose wine … by any other name

WHO’S WHO AT YOUR NEWSMAG Advertising and Publishing Jill Bromberg

Editing Doug Finlay

Reporting

Online Erin Donohue

Sharon Jonas Linda Delmonico Prussen

Contact us with story ideas and news at: Edit@yournewsmag.com info@yournewsmag.com To advertise, Jill@yournewsmag.com

Phone: 516-633-8590 P.O. Box 15, Bellmore, New York 11710

Bellmore • Merrick

T

he weekly Friday Night Car Show at the Bellmore train station is now in full swing. It is a great way to spend a Friday night between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. My family enjoys walking around, looking at the cars and talking to the car owners about their cool vehicles. After making our rounds we like to walk through the town and grab a bite to eat, and then end the night at the Bellmore Bean Café for a cup of joe.  Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner. It’s time to make plans for a long weekend celebrating with friends and family. It is always nice to see people line the streets for the parade on Memorial Day – this year May 26 - showing their patriotism by waving a flag in honor and memory of those who died while serving our country.  See page 2 for details about the Memorial Day Parade in your town. If you enjoy festivals and strawberries, you are definitely in luck, the Bellmore annual Strawberry Festival is May 29 through to Sunday June 1. I look forward to the festival every year. It is good family fun brought to you by the Bellmore Kiwanis and Lions Clubs. They are volunteers that work hard to raise funds that go towards strengthening our communities and helping children. Please support their efforts and plan some time to enjoy the festival. With all of the fun things going on this month don’t forget to cast your vote on Tuesday, May 20, for the school budget and trustees. Look for details inside on who is running and where to vote. Good schools and parents that care are part of what makes the Merricks and the Bellmores desirable places to live in Nassau County and raise a family. Congratulations are in order. Jane Rubinstein, Merrick’s own Ms. New York Senior America 2014, is an outstanding inspiration to us all. I want to congratu-

late her on her success and wish her the best of luck in the October Ms. Senior America competition. Your NewsMag is rooting for you. Last month Your NewsMag had several winners. Congratulations to Susan Kleinert who entered and won a great night of dining and entertainment. She won dinner for two at La Strada of Merrick and tickets to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at NYCB Theatre at Westbury!   Congratulations also to Brianna Alaron, Theresa Schefer and Charlene Niedfeld who won a family pack of ride tickets to the Merrick Kids Fest.  Each month Your NewsMag will bring opportunities for readers to win.  This month all are welcome to visit www.YourNewsMag.com and enter to win a dinner for two at the wonderful Piccolo Ristorante of Bellmore and tickets to see the very funny Wanda Sykes Live at  NYCB Theatre at Westbury. See the ad in this month’s issue for more details. Your NewsMag is delivered to every home in the Merricks and Bellmores free of charge because you live here and are members of the community.  Advertising support pays for Your NewsMag, so please support participating businesses by shopping locally.  If you know something that is newsworthy please let us know.  If your business is having an anniversary or someone in your family is celebrating a special occasion, we want to know.  After all, your news is our news.  Please join us on facebook and visit www. YourNewsMag.com for daily and weekly news updates throughout the month.  I hope you enjoy the May issue of Your NewsMag. JILL BROMBERG Publisher Jill@YourNewsMag.com


NEWS

№8 | MAY 2014

Your NewsMag

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Kennedy High School Develops “Cougar Walk of Recognition”

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ennedy High School will be the first school in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District to install a customized brick walkway thanks to the Bellmore JFK Alumni Association Inc., which will sponsor the “Cougar Walk of Recognition” as part of its beautification project for Kennedy. All funds raised will go toward scholarships and other projects to benefit Kennedy students. The walk, to be constructed by A. Alfieri Contractors, Inc., will be located at northeast end of the football field complex, next to the bleachers. Every year thousands of Kennedy alumni, students and friends enter the Kennedy complex for athletic events and community activities. The “Cougar Walk of Recognition” will be a highly visible

and a permanent testimony to the community’s loyalty to Kennedy. Please consider being a part of the “Buy A Brick” Fundraiser. Purchase a brick engraved with your special message. You may want to consider a brick to honor the memory of a loved

one, to celebrate a special event or accomplishment, or to commemorate your family and each of your children. Companies/businesses, local store owners, organizations, clubs, teams, faculty past and present, JFK alumni may wish to support the

walkway with a customized brick displaying their names. “Congratulate your child on his or her graduation!” is an example. Choose the size brick(s) you would like to purchase and use your own wording. Or, you may have the brick la-

beled as follows: In Memory of ,  Congratulations, Business / Organization, Name of Class, The __ Family, Team Accomplishment, Name— Class of__ & or Club/Sports Award,  Name  Type of Teacher years xx-xx. This first phase is open to all Kennedy 11th graders (class of 2015) and the 12 grade (graduating class of 2014)  all past  and  present faculty, teachers and staff, all clubs and organizations, all JFK Alumni and their families and to any business, local store owners or corporation. Checks must be received by July 1. For information, to print out a form and to purchase a brick, go to JFK Alumni website at www.bellmorejfkalumni.org/ alumni_projects Or you can contact Ron Steiger at 917-807-3394

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NEWS

Your NewsMag

Day Care Center Coming to Bellmore?

North Merrick Library Trip to Cape May

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pend a day by the sea in this world-renowned resort area known for many years as “Queen of the Seaside Resorts” when the North Merrick Public Library sponsors an all-day bus trip to Cape May, New Jersey, on Thursday, May 22, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. After a leisurely ride, the day begins with luncheon at The Pilot House. After lunch you’ll have time on your own for a walk along the Washington Street Mall. The walking mall has numerous small independent shops, many of which are multi-generational and family owned. A visit to the Vic-

torian showplace, the Physick Estate, will follow. You’ll enjoy a tour of this 1879 estate with 15 rooms authentically restored to their original grandeur, and home to the Carriage House Gallery. Before heading home, ride one of the picturesque trolleys as docents point out landmark buildings and "painted ladies" as well as their architectural features, while entertaining you with gossip of Cape May’s days of glory. Registration has begun. A check for $91, payable to All Around LI, is due at this time. For information call the library at 378-7474.

Boy Scouts to Hold Breakfast Fundraiser

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oy Scout Troop 577, North Bellmore will host a breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s on Sunrise Highway, Bellmore, from 8-to-10 a.m. on Saturday, May 24. The cost of a ticket is $10 for a breakfast of pancakes, sausage,

scrambled eggs and a beverage (coffee, juice, soda or tea).There will also be over 20 different raffle baskets to bid on. For information contact Marie Spohrer at 783-7994 or email to sjjmjp5@yahoo.com.

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MAY 2014 | №8

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wo vacant lots on Royle Street in Bellmore, behind the Rite-Aid strip mall housing Piccolo’s Ristorante and the Rite-Aid Pharmacy – and in back of Bellmore Steel on Bellmore Avenue - are being proposed for use as a day care center by Bellmore Royle LLC, a loose ownership of several principals, one of whom, Mark Friedman, purportedly owns the land. The day care center would be called The Learning Experience, at 2800 Royle Street. Online searches found only a Bellmore Royale LLC on Madison Avenue in New York City, with no Facebook or Twitter presence. It has been in operation since May 2006. BRLLC presented its case to the Hempstead Town zoning Board of Appeals in March to request two variances and a special exception to build on the property. Attorney Bill Bonesso of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana LLP, represented BRLLC. The Learning Experience would be a 9203-sqaure-foot building that would service 146 children and students, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. With a maximum capacity of 20-21 employees, there would be two shifts: 6:30 a.m.-to -12:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. to, roughly, 12:30 p.m. Students and children would be dropped off daily between 8-9 a.m., and picked up between 4-5:30 p.m., with main occupancy of the building between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. “Only 5% of drop-offs would be before 8 a.m.,” Bonesso told the board. Christine Cotton, a pre-k administrator who is familiar with such day care setups, testified for BRLLC. She said that 8 a.m. would be the big dropoff time, and would be for children 18 months-to-three years. She said there would be three classes for infants under 12 months, and classes for twaddlers, between 2 and 2/12 years. When the board asked if soil samples of the property had been conducted, due to construction materials being prevalent from the property’s earlier use, Joel Modeski, another principal of BRLLC, testified that samples had been taken and no questionable contaminants had been found in the soil. Bonesso told the board that the day care center “will be a one-story structure at the front of the property, zoned for business, and we will ask for variances and a special exception to build 34 parking spaces from 32 in the back of the structure in a residential B zone.” The park-

Empty lot stands on Royle Street in Bellmore. ing lot would abut Midwood Place, a residential zone, so the need for a special variance. He added there is another variance to put a dumpster in the residential zone as well. Eileen Casazza, a vice-president of the Bellmore Preservation Group, told this website that the group learned of the Bellmore Royle LLC’s intentions and reached out to Bonesso to help take the temperature of the neighborhood surrounding the empty lots for their reactions to the proposed use. She said the developer was helpful in sharing plans and making adjustments. She said that she and Matt Walden, president of the group, spoke with residents on the streets south of the property, on Clarendon, Midwood and Winthrop, for example. Issues raised among those talked to included fencing, planting, lighting control and dumpster placement. She added that all the issues and requests were met by the developer, including increasing the fence height, relocation of the dumpster and motion control lighting. Landscaping to beautify the area and provide a natural buffer between the parking lot and the fencing, and the residential area, were also addressed and resolved. Casazza concluded that “the plans for the building are very nice and will greatly improve this neglected property.” She added that King Kullen also agreed to upgrade its adjacent lot to create ‘visual continuity.” During the public’s opportunity to speak, a neighborhood woman requested that the tall trees in the area be spared of being taken down. Bonesso responded that there were no plans to remove trees or any fences that presently reside on property abutting the property. The lots have been vacant for years after having been used as storage sites for construction materials and vehicles.


â„–8 | MAY 2014

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NEWS

MAY 2014 | №8

BMRH Raises $4500 for League Play

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lumni of the Bellmore Merrick Roller Hockey League, in existence since 1980, raised $4500 for the league through the sale of T-shirts, raffles and memorabilia as they played their annual alumni roller hockey game last month at the roller rink on Bellmore Avenue in North Bellmore, next to the old St. Mark the Evangelist Episcopal Church. The league, which includes 225 boys and girls in the league from Bellmore and Merrick - in addition to surrounding communities, expects a large turnout of new players this year. “Already for the 2014/2015 season we are registering many new players and are expecting a large turnout this year for players,” remarked league President Mark Smith in an email to this magazine. “This is a great day for the league and it is great fun,” said Dan Ginsberg, who makes the drive from Long Beach for the game yearly. “We can all get together and play like we used to when we were in the league.” Fred Brandonberger, a Mepham graduate who was selling T-shirts for the alumni cause, said that every year the word spreads even more about the event. “As alumni, we sell raffles on the memorabilia, which helps to pay for things the league needs to continue to exist,” he said. Kevin Rollando, whose father Rich helped found the league in 1980, said that the “league had given us a chance to make something of ourselves and to play a game we loved to play, so we are here to give back to the community by raising funds to help maintain the league,” while playing with teammates they all played with in the league years ago.

During warmups and before the alumni games began, alumni players were inducted into the Hall of Fame, such as Pat Briglia, Sam Slutsky and Pat McCaffrey. Retiring from the league and presented plaques from the league were Peter Purpue, Mike Vento and Mike Lugassy. Said Purpue of his retirement, “I won’t be able to play anymore because I’m going to a university outside of the area.” But he insisted he would be back to volunteer his time for the league cause. Alumni Al Manara was surprised when the Alumni Cup, which the alumni play for each year, was dedicated to his mother Maxine this year. “I’m speechless. I’ve been in this league since I’m 5,” he told this magazine, and his mother could always been seen around the rink helping organize things and raising funds. His father, he added, helped found the league. Meanwhile, Luke Lane of Dinkelmeyer School in North Bellmore dropped the ceremonial face-off puck, as he was named an honorary coach of the league. Luke is battling a childhood disease. Both state Assemblyman Dave McDonough and county Legislator Dave Denenberg were on hand to present citations to deserving alumni on the occasion of their annual game. As to a player, the Bellmore Merrick Roller Hockey alumni all agreed on a variation of a motto made famous by NHL coach Bob Johnson: It’s a great day to play roller hockey! Indeed it was …

FEEL-GOOD VOLUNTEERISM: The Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh Chapter of SPLASH (Stop Polluting Littering And Save the Harbors) has kicked off its seasonal operation of cleaning up the bays and would like to recruit you to join them on fun – and safe! - excursions nearly every day of the week into the East Bay and environs to work to remove floating debris that could be dangerous to boaters and boating. “It’s a day that makes you feel good about volunteering to help clean the bays,” remarked Carolyn LaRosa. Bulkheads and docks are known to have come apart and fallen into the bays, and need to be removed for safety’s sake, for example. Call SPLASH chapter President Gary Smith at 785-4234 to learn what you can do to help.


FEATURE

№8 | MAY 2014

Your NewsMag

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Merokian in a New York 'Senior' State of Mind Pageant Winner Promotes the Grace of Aging Sharon G. Jonas

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elieving that aging women are still full of vitality and capable of anything, Merokian Jane Rubinstein took a chance and entered her first pageant at the age of 62. But lack of experience didn’t impede her from walking away a winner. Last month the mother of two competed against 12 other women, all over the age of 60, and won the title of Ms. New York Senior America 2014. In its 29th year, the Ms. Senior America pageant seeks to motivate seniors to continue on their paths of leading vibrant, productive lives. Brimming with energy, talent and a positive perspective steeped in gratitude, for Rubinstein promoting an active lifestyle

Jane Rubinstein poses for Your NewsMag at home in her formal gown seems custom-made to handle. “I’m looking forward to helping advance the dignity and

value of women who are aging,” said Rubinstein of the role she will now play for a year as Ms. New York Senior America and traveling across the state. Posing in a bright blue evening gown with her tiara sparkling almost as bright as her wide smile, she expresses enthusiasm about upcoming appearances at hospitals, nursing homes and other community centers, where she will act as a spokesperson for seniors. “There are so many instances where society cuts women out after the age of 50 and opportunities get slimmer in the workforce and elsewhere. I want to get the message out that as we age we are still capable and vital.” Rubinstein says it’s common for women to isolate them-

selves as they grow older. “When I went for my initial interview in January and saw these gorgeous women in their 60s, 70s and 80s…who were so gracious, welcoming, beautiful on the inside and out, I felt such a sisterhood…and the connection felt wonderful.” Participating in the pageant, along with ongoing volunteer efforts in the community, are some ways she works at keeping involved – and creeping isolation at bay.

CATEGORIES JUDGED ON In addition to the private interview used to determine a contestant's communication skills, three other categories were used to judge the women, including an evening gown competition, inner beauty and

talent. Allotted only 2-1/2 minutes for the talent portion, the time restraint prevented Rubinstein from showcasing her artistic ability by painting while on stage, but she creatively thought of a way to incorporate her art. Taking up ballroom dancing five years earlier, she performed a solo rumba-style number in front of a large painting she created of a beach scene emblazoned with a red glitter silhouette of herself dancing on the sand. Although a bevy of trophies topped with dancing couples line the wall of her den that confirm her skills and competitive spirit, Rubinstein said she was not trained - or experienced - in dancing alone. Performing solo in front of a large audience, she [CONT. ON PAGE 10]


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FEATURE

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[CONT. FROM PAGE 9] said, took her “out of my personal comfort zone,” supporting a belief that it is good to take some risks in life. To evaluate a contestant’s inner beauty, a statement explaining a personal philosophy of life was required. For Rubinstein, gratitude is an essential part of living a good life. Her message included: “Life is your canvas. You can paint any picture you want. My picture is one of gratitude. The word grateful says it all. If you want a great and full life, be grateful. It’s the power to paint a masterpiece.” For the evening gown competition, she wore a stunning sparkled dress from Alta Moda of Merrick. “I believe in supporting local merchants.” Her nails and long, dark hair, which to date she says has never required color, was done by Bangz in Bellmore, and her portrait was taken by Fontana Studio in Merrick. Friends, family, her favorite shops and even her dentist supported the pageant by placing ads in the pageant’s journal.

Rubinstein is an award-winning dancer, which helps keep her fit.

MAKING A CLEAR DIFFERENCE In addition to the pageant, Rubinstein won recognition earlier in April when she and a dozen other volunteers were recipients of a “Make a Difference Award” presented by the Town of Hempstead. A retired art teacher, she has given her time and talent to the commu-

nity in a number of ways, beginning in 1983 when she moved into Merrick from Bellmore with her husband, Jack. Rubinstein says her biggest volunteer effort started in 2001 when she canvassed every business in Merrick and offered to paint their store front if they made a donation to the Ja-

MAY 2014 | №8

Rubinstein was recognized this year for her volunteer efforts by the Town of Hempstead. son F. Gruen Foundation, which supports research for sudden death heart disease. The foundation is operated by Susan Helsinger, Jason Gruen’s mother. After reading about Jason, a 15-year-old Merrick boy who

succumbed to cardiac arrest, she was moved to take action. Every year since, Jane makes the same offer, branching out to other towns, including Bellmore. To date she has raised at least $35,000 for the foundation. “I wasn’t affected by this disease in my lifetime, but I am a very grateful person,” said Rubinstein. Since this health issue seems to be most prevalent with boys, she felt it helped her express her gratitude for her sons being healthy. Next up for Rubinstein is the national Ms. Senior America competition at the end of October in Atlantic City, where the winner will be crowned. All 50 states and the Virgin Islands are welcomed to send contestants who they feel best represent women in the “Age of Elegance.” Your NewsMag joins with her family, friends and community members in wishing Jane Rubinstein the best of luck!

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Churchwide Yard Sale, Progressive School World Day

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NEWS

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he annual United Methodist Church of Merrick’s Church Wide Garage Sale and Progressive School’s World Day Celebration will take place on Saturday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1425 Merrick Avenue, North Merrick, ½-mile south of Southern State Parkway. Great buys, ethnic foods, fun and games. For information call 378-9222 or email to MUMC@merrickumc.org.

MAY 2014 | №8

Strawberry Festival Sweetens Spring Season!

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he Bellmore Kiwanis Club and the Bellmore Lions Club will hold their annual Strawberry Festival at the Jerusalem Avenue BOCES schoolground, at the corner of Jerusalem Avenue and Newbridge Road in North Bellmore, from Thursday, May 29, through Sunday, June 1. Hours will be from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, May 29; 6-11 p.m. on Friday, May 30; noon-11 p.m. on Saturday, May 31; and noon-11 p.m. on Sunday, June 1. A special feature of this year’s annual event will be The Ultimate Beatles Tribute Band celebrating 50 years of Beatles music. They will kick off their first rousing set of classic Beatles tunes on Saturday, May 31, beginning at 7 p.m. and play all night long! Treats throughout the fourday Strawberry Festival will in-

clude favorite strawberry products on sale such as strawberry shortcake, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberries and

strawberry daiquiris. There will also be pie-eating contests with some great prizes. Carnival rides and games will be provided by Blue Sky Amuse-

ments and pay-one-price bracelets will be available. You can also download a discount ride coupon from www. nassaucountystrawberryfestival.com/ In addition to the terrific variety of entertainment, foods and rides, the annual Craft and Gift Show will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, throughout the day. Visit www.nassaucountycraftshows. com/677170.html for details on how to display your gifts and crafts at the Strawberry Festival. There is a $2 admission fee on Friday through Sunday, and children under 5 will be admitted free. Come down and support your local Lions and Kiwanians as they raise funds to help the children and residents by giving back to the community! Hope to see you there!


№8 | MAY 2014

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COVER STORY: SCHOOLS

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MAY 2014 | №8

Voters go to polls to choose new budgets, trustees

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uesday, May 20, is traditional voting day all across the Bellmores and the Merricks as voters go to the school polls to determine how much they will pay in property taxes for the 2014-15 school year, and to decide who they will let sit on a seat on one of the four component district school boards. If there is any good news to paying taxes this year, it will come in the fact that the component elementary districts of Bellmore, Merrick, North Bellmore and North Merrick - as well as the Central High School District, will all offer budgets that stay well below the New York State tax cap threshold of 2%, imposed several years ago by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature as a caveat to school districts and municipalities to reduce continued spending in a new age of accountability – and belt tightening. Further affecting school board budget decisions was the recent State Appellate Court decision denying Nassau County the authority to transfer payment of tax refunds onto the school districts. The decision relieved school boards of having to put aside extra tens of thousands of dollars had the court decided in favor of districts having to pay businesses and homeowners who grieved their taxes and won.

NORTH MERRICK The North Merrick School District has prepared a new $29,517,000 budget for 2014-15 that presents a 2.15% increase from its 2013-14 budget of $28,897,000. Dubbing it the lowest budget in recent memory, the tax levy will be just 1.63%.

Dr. Steve Draper, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, would not put a final number on how much the 1.63% increase might impact residents’ wallets. “The average assessment depends upon a lot of factors,” he maintained, such as winning a grievance or getting a STAR exemption, making it difficult to calculate how much more an average homeowner might pay out of his pocket with the new budget when faced with these factors. He did say the state had given the district $189,000 more in state aid, which had gone to keeping the tax levy at 1.63%. On the subject of veterans receiving tax exemptions, he noted that the North Merrick school board had voted in favor of those exemptions. But, he added, it could be more difficult for districts in which there were many more veterans living there, because reductions in veterans’ taxes means the balance would need to be made up by other residents. This could cause a dilemma for such school boards with high veteran populations because, in reducing veterans’ taxes, the boards would essentially be raising taxes on non-veterans. Incumbent Jonathan Butler is running unopposed for a second 5-year term for a trustee seat on the school board, and Lisa Katz is entering the school board ring for the first time to run for the seat Dr. Matthew Kutchner, a member of the North Merrick School District Board of Education has held for some 18 years.

BELLMORE Bellmore School District’s 201415 budget of $33,246,182 is a 1.06% increase from 2013-14’s budget

Where to vote

O

n Tuesday, May 20, residents from the four communities can vote for their elementary school district budget and for the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District budget – along with trustees running for their school board:

NORTH BELLMORE: In North Bellmore residents can vote for the North Bellmore School District budget – and for the Central High School Budget - at Newbridge Road School, 1601 Newbridge Road, from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. In

and represents a tax levy increase of 1.49%, “the lowest tax levy increase the district has put out in 30 years,” according to one school official. With a modest $56,000 increase in state aid for fiscal year 2014-15, those funds are earmarked toward keeping the tax levy low, the official said. Diedre Gambino, assistant superintendent for business and technology services, told this magazine that the district drew $200,000 from its EBALR [Employee Benefit Accrued Liability Reserve] fund set up for teacher retirement, and $600,000 from its ERS [Employee Retirement System] reserve fund toward the budget to keep the tax levy at its lowest in decades. While providing a projected real dollar amount of $46 more per year the average assessed household in Bellmore may pay for the budget, Gambino called it only a projection that could be altered when the county finalizes it assessments in August. When asked if it were possible to calculate what the cost would be to a Bellmore resident in real dollar value of both the increase in the Bellmore district and in the Central High School District, she said there are formulas for that, but the CHSD would have to break out its specific Bellmore portion only of its increase to get an accurate value of how much a Bellmore resident would pay from both school district increases. And the CHSD has different proportions for each of the component districts. Gambino appeared pleased with the State Appellate Court’s decision to deny the county the authority to

place tax refunds on the shoulders of the school districts, saying it would have created a new expense line item that had to be paid. “We were watching and were hoping for a positive response” from the court, she said. Jay Breakstone was running unopposed for another 5-year term on the school board.

addition, John Ferrara is running unopposed for a trustee seat. For information call 992-3214. BELLMORE: Bellmore residents can vote for their budget and for trustee Jay Breakstone running unopposed for re-election at Shore Road School, 2950 Shore Road, from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Call 679-2950 for details. NORTH MERRICK: In North

Merrick Fayette School at 1057 North Merrick Avenue will serve as the polling place for North Merrick residents looking to vote on the North Merrick School budget, and on two candidates vying for trustee seats: Jonathan Butler and newcomer Lisa Katz. Call the school at 489-3090 for complete details. MERRICK: In Merrick the place to go to vote for your

MERRICK The Merrick School District budget will come in at $45,801,563 for the fiscal year 2014-15, a modest 1.28% increase over last year’s $45,223,466 budget. “This is historically the lowest we’ve had in decades,” if ever, said Dr. Christine Grucci, the district’s assistant superintendent of business and technology. She told this magazine the district did not start with its new budget by adding in the traditional 2% increase, but instead began at 0% increase and worked from there. She did add that the district tapped into $1.65 million in reserves to add to the budget in order to keep the tax levy at 1.44%, another historical low for the district. Dr. Grucci would not speculate on how much the 1.44% increase translated into dollar value in residents’ wallets [how much more they would pay in 2014-15], saying that traditionally the county does not set assessment values until August, making calculations about the amount residents might pay premature. She said the $40,000 more in state aid was put toward keeping the tax levy down. She praised the State Appellate Court’s decision denying the county the authority to transfer payment

of tax refunds to school districts and municipalities. “It has taken a lot of pressure off the school board because we really didn’t have much left in our reserves” to set aside for such payments. Butch Yamali is running unopposed for another term as trustee, and Sharry Iskanderian was giving up her trustee seat so that Jill Levine, founder of the Forever 9 – Robbie Levine Foundation, could run unopposed for the seat.

NORTH BELLMORE The North Bellmore School District budget for 2014-15 will be $52,291,099, receiving $240,000 from state aid that will go toward keeping the tax levy at 1.75%. Assistant Superintendent for Business Richard Schissler told this publication that homeowners with an average assessed home value in North Bellmore could expect to see an increase of roughly $60 in their tax come November’s first school tax payment for 2014-15. John Farrara was running unopposed for a second 5-year term for the school board.

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District budget for 2014-15 will be $139,418,645, a 2-1/2% increase from last year’s budget. This year’s tax levy comes in at 1.866%, or $108,807,688 that will need to be raised in taxes this year to meet the new budget. While the school district received $883,823 in new state aid, it also dipped into its ERS and EBALR reserves for $2.8 million to create the new school budget. school budget and the Central High School District budget is Norman J. Levy-Lakeside School, 21 Babylon Road, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Trustee Butch Yamali willl be running unopposed for a trustee position, and newcomer Jill Levine will be on the ballot as a trustee as well, replacing Sherri Iskendarian. For details call 992-7230.


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MAY 2014 | №8


SCHOOLS

№8 | MAY 2014

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Trustees Running Unopposed for District Elections NORTH MERRICK SCHOOLS Jonathan Butler Trustee onathan Butler and his wife, Cheryl, have been residents of North Merrick for the past 33 years. They have two children, Paige and Adam, as well as a golden retriever named Buddy. Mr. Butler is a trained and practicing educator. His degrees include a Bachelor of Science in elementary educa-

tion, a master’s degree in special education, and a professional diploma in educational administration and supervision. He was employed by the New York City Department of Education for 33 years and is now retired. Mr. Butler became a board trustee in 1996 and has served on many committees - Special Education, School/Community Relations, Finance Committee and has a been a

member of the PTA Council of North Merrick. He has served as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Merrick and is a member of the North Merrick Civic Association. His community spirit is reflected in his comment: “I really enjoy representing and working for the children and residents of North Merrick, and consider it a privilege to do so.”

Lisa Katz Trustee isa Katz and her husband Glen have lived in North Merrick for 15 years. They have three children who attend both Central District and North Merrick schools. Katz has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Hofstra University. Courses in secondary education placed her in

public school classrooms, where she gained valuable experience within the education system. Katz believes in community and realizes a strong school system is vital to the development of children. She feels that for children to receive the best possible education, parental involvement is vital to the decision-making process. Watching the educational changes over the past few years,

she felt compelled to advocate for the children. The main catalyst was the need for children’s data to be kept safe from the dangers of cloud storage. It is vital that their information remain safe and secure. Being a parent with students in both elementary and high school, she feels she has an understanding of the changes happening in our schools.

J

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Jay Breakstone Trustee for the Bellmore School Board of Education ou’ve asked why somebody who has served six terms on the school board would run again, for a seventh term. Because my work is not yet done! Having dealt with several problems over the years, the primary job of a school board member — which is educating a community’s children — is a never-ending challenge.   It doesn’t become easier, you just become better at it.  For someone who has been a school board member for 18 years, I have learned a bit about what works in educational administra-

Y

tion and what doesn’t; what can be accomplished in Albany and what can’t. I have grown in that knowledge from a parent with three children in the school system, to an older citizen with some different concerns. I know that good schools make good Americans, and that good schools are also one of the best foundations for good property values. I have dedicated a substantial portion of my life to this challenge.  It is an honor to serve my neighbors and to see all the good that a fine public education can do for a community.  I look forward to a new term and new challenges.   [CONT. ON PAGE 19]


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LIBRARIES

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MAY 2014 | №8

North Merrick Public Library Readies th For 50 -Year Celebration This Fall Director Tom Witt Explores Cultural Impact of a Library the 50th anniversary of the decision to form a Friends of the North Merrick Public Library, and January 28, 2015, when we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the library provisional charter. As matters of fact, the library has 15,786 square feet housing a collection of 82,050 books and about 61 databases that access various types of information. We featured 315 programs last year, with some 10,709 who attended those programs. We also had 503 registrants for last year’s summer reading program, and 3063 who attended those readings.

Your NewsMag spoke with North Merrick Public Library Director Tom Witt recently on the upcoming occasion of the library’s 50th anniversary of service to the community and the important dates over the next two years in celebration of that anniversary; and also to find out what the future of libraries might entail.

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hat is the current state of the North Merrick Public Library? The library is doing well. It is used regularly by our hundreds of patrons on a daily basis. Of note, we are looking forward to begin celebrating our 50th anniversary, which will actually span two years, from the first vote taken by North Merrick residents on November 21, 1964, to establish the library, to opening the first library storefront at 1148

Merrick Avenue on December 5, 1965 - next to Pat’s Farms, to opening the library in Meadowbrook School on October 3, 1966. We will celebrate these three important dates in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as acknowledgement of their historical significance, with the largest celebration on October 3, 2016, concerning this building’s opening 50 years ago. We will add in two other significant dates as well: November 23,

Tom Witt

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North Merrick voters voted down a bond that would have rebuilt much of the library build-

ing. What have you done to make up for those obvious needs? Trustees are now making the improvements on a slower scale. Among the many things we have accomplished since that vote are the installation of a new roof, the addition of a second meeting room, the replacement of eight public computers in the reference room, the addition of a new scanner and a color printer, construction of a curb cut for easier access to the library, the application and grant of $85,395 in New York State construction aid money for a new reference room window and central air conditioning, the application of an added $64,625 in construction money [CONT. ON PAGE 20]

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SCHOOLS

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[CONT. FROM PAGE 19]

MERRICK SCHOOLS

Butch Yamali, Trustee utch Yamali has resided in Merrick for the past eight years. His wife is Linda, and his three children are Danielle, a student at the University of Delaware; Celeste, a student at Kennedy High School; and Abe, who attends Merrick Avenue Middle School. Butch is serving his fifth year as president of

the Merrick Little League, which has been rated number one in New York State for several seasons. In 1989 Yamali purchased an ice cream truck and hired drivers to operate the vehicle, using the name Carnival Ice Cream. He expanded the ice cream business by purchasing additional trucks, eventually becoming the largest Good

Humor distributor on Long Island. Today, Butch Yamali owns and operates the Dover Gourmet, consisting of Dover Gourmet Corporation, Quick Snack, Dover Hospitality Services and Carnival Ice Cream Company, and is one of the largest food service, catering, vending, and ice cream providers in the metropolitan area.

Jill Levine, Trustee have a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan, as well as MSW and MPH degrees from Boston University. I am the founder and director of Forever 9-The Robbie Levine Foundation. I moved to Merrick 14 years ago with my family, and chose our community for

the excellent school district. My children have attended the Merrick schools for 13 years, and I have daughters attending Levy-Lakeside elementary school. I have been involved as class parent and class captain for many years, been a chairperson of several committees and held various positions on the PTA board. After serving on other commu-

nity boards, I feel that now is the time to direct my interest to the education of all of our children, and run for trustee on the school board, especially in light of the many new trends and concerns in education as a whole. I reside in Merrick with my husband Craig, son Josh (freshman at Kennedy), daughter Sami (third grade) and daughter Rylie (second grade).

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LIBRARIES

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[CONT. FROM PAGE 18] to replace the remaining windows in the library, and being awarded as $20,000 Nassau County grant from county Legislator Dave Denenberg. We also added the Long Island Museum of American Art and the History & Carriages Museum in Stony Brook to the museum pass program, selected the new domain name of nmerricklibrary. org, and received a $5000 grant from former state Senator Charles Fuschillo to establish an outdoor area for library patrons. Within two-to-three months we will plan to a create a more parklike surrounding immediately outside the library that will include sitting benches and a picnic table that we hope can become a destination point for people who like to walk, and surround themselves in a recreational setting. Once we complete the exterior, we will again move indoors to install the central air conditioning and replace the windows. Once those projects are complete we will move to address the spacing of interior rooms,

such as the Children’s Room, and Community Room and other rooms to see if we can open them up. In this, the age of information, does a library need to promote or re-invent itself as a community center, or a cultural center for that matter, to stay relevant? I’ve never heard it thought of as a cultural center before. But first to a library’s relevance in today’s digitized world: our goal as a library is to help people get access to information they need for whatever purpose they need it. And digitization is just another format to get that information. Residents may have their own preferred method of accessing that information, whether it’s in book form, CD form, on the Internet, in audio form or in e-book form. We offer all of those avenues of access into the world of information at their disposal in this library. We are the only library I know of that lends out three different forms of digitized media. We lend out Kindle, we lend out Nooks and we lend

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out Sony Readers, for example. All of which, of course, come pre-loaded or can be used to download volumes of material from our website. As to a library’s significance as a cultural meeting place, it does in fact promote interpersonal interactions throughout one’s life, yes. A child first learns socialization in a library. They come to know the bigger world of interaction at a library, interacting at playtime and getting to know about other children and about books, which are all about getting to know their culture and society. I used to watch a mother come and read the same book to her little child all the time. When I asked her why she didn’t just purchase the book at a book store, she answered that it was important her child learn where he can go to get the book if he wants to read it. One of the pinnacles, I think, of a specific teen program we offer is that the teens interact with children, to act as mentors and friends for them so they come to trust grownups, for example.

MAY 2014 | №8

The library also offers programs and events that are cultural in nature we won’t often find anywhere else, such as music, dance, painting or vocal performances. We will host for the seventh consecutive year the Merrick Makes Music series Outdoor Summer Concert on Tuesday, June 3, beginning at 7 p.m. that will feature the North Merrick Jazz Band, the seventhand eighth-grade Merrick Avenue Middle School a cappella group Word of Mouth, The Calhoun-Mepham Chamber Orchestra and the Calhoun High School Jazz Band. So libraries appear to be in good shape heading into the future, according to these acknowledgements. For the youngest children there are the board books, books they

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can actually play with and bite on. For teens we have the graphic novels that have big print, and are actually teen novels that read like comic books. And for the adults we have both print and digital choices. And let’s not forget the popular summer Book in a Bag program we share with the other local libraries, such as Merrick, North Bellmore and Bellmore. I do sense that in the future, however, if there are fewer than 50,000 print runs for a particular book someone would like to borrow, I could see the library begin printing these books out for people to have. We won’t be a book store, but an access point to get that book that won’t be published by big print houses otherwise. That’s where I see the library headed in the near future.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS

№8 | MAY 2014

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Bellmore Student Meets State Assembly

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tate Assemblyman Dave McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick) welcomed Bellmore resident David Collins, recipient of the New York State Senate Liberty Medal, to the Assembly chamber earlier this month. On June 29, 2013, David, a student at Grand Avenue Middle School and 12 at the time, was at a graduation party at a friend’s house swimming in the pool when he noticed another boy lying motionless at the bottom of the deep end. While other children in the pool thought the boy was playing, David immediately swam to the deep end, dove down 10 feet to the pool bottom and pulled the boy up to the surface, at which point he was lifeless. Adults performed CPR on the boy, who was taken to the hospital and released the next day. As a result of his actions, thenstate Senator Charles Fuschillo and McDonough presented the New York State Senate Liberty Medal to David. “It was an honor and privilege to welcome David to the Assembly. His quick thinking and ability to stay focused on the task at hand proved crucial in getting the help needed to prevent a disastrous loss of life. I was pleased to honor Da-

MERRICK EAGLE IS LANDING: Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) joins Eagle Scout candidate Max Mogel, and family and members of Friends of Tackapausha Preserve for a check presentation at Tackapausha Preserve two weeks ago. For his projects, Max, from Troop 351 of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Merrick, raised funds to perform a cleanup and build new benches outside of Tackapausha Museum.  Max presented a check for the leftover funds that he had raised, $1000, to the Friends of Tackapuasha. Shown here with Legislator Denenberg (at right) are Glenn Kearney from Friends of Tackapausha, Max Mogel and Friends of Tackapausha Lorraine Bondi-Goldsmith.

vid with the New York State Senate Liberty Medal and I congratulate him for his extraordinary effort,” said McDonough. The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is one of the highest civilian honors that a New Yorker can receive. Similar to the national Congressional Gold Medal, the award is given to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers. Video of McDonough introducing David to the Chamber can be seen at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=mTtN_IflNFQ.

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ENTERTAINMENT

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MAY 2014 | №8

One-Man Comedy-Plays Find Home At Bellmore Theater

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ooking to serve a growing public fascination with compelling tales of truth, justice and growing up the American way as only a comedian can tell them, Gary Smith of the NYEntertainmentclub.com has scheduled several well-known national comedians who will perform one-man comedy plays this summer at the Bellmore Theatre that will surely expose the hilarity – and beautiful underbelly - of life. Smith, who first opened the Brokerage Cabaret in the late '70s and joined with Rich Minervini of the East Side Comedy Club - and Minervini’s brother at Chuckles - to discover the new comedians and expose them all over Long Island while taking comedy to new levels in the 1980s and ‘90s, has seen the maturation of comedy among comedians, where they now have stories to tell about their lives, some broken, some merely disheveled – but all honest and in good fun.

Smith produced Tommy Koenig’s “Boom baby- Boom” on the Bellmore Theater stage about a comedian who was born soon after the first atomic bomb went off and who told – and sang - a hilarious tale of Baby Boomers growing up under the “glowing” cloud of new music, fashions and cultural upheavals. “I’m increasing the number of one-man comedy plays that focus on life,” he said, because these comedians have a story to tell. He noted Billy Crystal’s and Jackie Mason’s successful runs on Broadway – and Koenig’s - as examples of the successful genre of comedic one-man plays. Saying he has talked with several comedians about their interest in one-man comedy plays, Smith said most admit to indeed having a story to tell – and would love to tell it. First up, Joey Vega (the opening act for Marc Anthony’s concert tour, among the most successful entertainers of the year) will appear on Friday, July 18, perform-

Joey Vega ing his one-man comedy play “50 Shades of Love, Sex and Marriage.” Already Smith has seen a segment of the public interested in the show quickly purchasing tickets at the NYEntertainmentclub.com website. After Joey Vega will be Australian Jim Dailakis with his one-man comedy play “Skitzo” featuring … several of Dailakis’ characters!

Dailakis’ comedy is described as “When you’re a bullied, weak and tiny Greek Australian boy, have the physique of a stick insect, resemble a pretty girl, talk to yourself more often than is considered normal, inspired by American icons and want to be Chinese; your choices in life are often limited to becoming an actor or comedian.” “To escape the constant teasing, beatings and the harshness of his elementary school reality, Jim found solace, peace and comfort watching American TV shows. From his first comedic inspiration, Bugs Bunny, and a desire to be just like his American movie star heroes, he promised himself to be an Academy award-winning A-list actor, the next Bruce Lee and the second fastest martial artist in the world. In "Skitso, these icons all come pay him a visit in an effort to help him live out his dreams and to become a stronger, better, faster more motivating force. He plays all of

them; over 25 stars and celebrities as well as original characters.” Steve Marshall then comes into town with his show. A winner of the Long Island International Film Festival for his comic short “Get This Script to Woody Allen,” he’ll provide a viewing of his “Script” and break into his one-man comedic play “Don’t Behave.” These comics are very good writers and actors as well as comedians, said Smith of the one-man comedy plays. He emphasized the nature of these shows at the Bellmore Theater as being distinct from club shows in that there are no minimum requirements to stay in your seat, no minimum drinks to put away. “These plays are made for theaters.” For complete information on the shows and prices visit NYEntertainmentclub.com or call 7854234. You can also call the Bellmore Theater box office for information, at 783-3199.

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ENTERTAINMENT

№8 | MAY 2014

Calhoun's Crescendo Song and Dance Troupe make it look easy as they shine during the school's Blue-Grey Spring Music Festival

Something to wine about… A Rose´ in May–ByAnyOtherName By Linda Delmonico Prussen

W

hile chardonnay is considered a wonderful transitional wine in all its forms - see Your NewsMag’s April story on that fabulous grape at http:// yournewsmag.com/2014/04/12/something-to-wine-about-one-grape-manystyles/ - the month of May, with warm weather on the way, beckons for rose´! Rose´, with its bi-partisan appearance of not-red, not-white, is more controversial than either of its sister wines. But let’s start with what rose´ wine actually is and isn’t. As most wine stores are concerned, it is any wine that falls into a pink- or salmon-colored hue. Not watered-down red, or red mixed with white, it is white wine with a short exposure to red grape skin. To understand this you need to know that despite the color of their skin almost all grapes, with a few rare exceptions, have white flesh. White Zinfandel for example, which I’m reluctant to call rose´, is not its own special grape. It is the white flesh of the Zinfandel grape with short contact to its red skins. Keeping this in mind you can also fi nd the less-popular White Merlot. These “rose´s” are most appealing to those who prefer sweet wines and are a big favorite to those beginning their foray into wine. They work best icy

cold in the hot summer served with casual foods such as barbecue. While any pink wine can be called rose´, I find few that actually should. There are, for me, two regions that produce top-flight rose´s. The first is Cotes de Provence. The traditional Cotes de Provence rose´ bottle is easy to recognize with its curvy shape, and the wine inside is a decidedly salmon color. Cotes du Provence is a region in France famous for its rose´. Interestingly, while it is from France, the only rose´ wine to make Wine Spectators list of top 100 wines in 2013 is Miraval Rose´, from a vineyard owned by Americans Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. And for a Top 100 Wine it’s affordable at only about $26 bottle. It’s just not easy to find. The second region is the Rioja region in Spain. It boasts two types of rose´s: one aged for some time, spicy and salmon in color - which I like; and the other younger and fruitier that, again, does well for icy summer sipping.

UPCOMING TASTINGS: On Saturday, May 24th, from 4-to-7 p.m. I will be pouring OR Chardonnay at Ace’s Wine and Spirits, 1811 Merrick Avenue, Merrick. The story on this exciting wine can be found at http:// yournewsmag.com/2014/04/12/taste-thedream-at-a-bellmore-wine-tasting-may-3/ Come join me for a taste!

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