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g fun a n i k c m o re t t i l fa i h e o ell r r F B Bellmore, NY 11710

The Community Newspaper

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Bellmore Life photos by Douglas Finlay

Vol. 51 No. 39 (USPS

photo by Harrison Bromberg

NAMES MAKE THE NEWS: Read about y our neighbors! 85 local people’s names were in y our community newspaper last week. Maybe yours is in this week! See inside.

Bellmore’s Mark Bonilla arrested page 2

Dedicating a living memorial page 5

Mepham 75th Homecoming a blast page 7

Meet a Bellmore “Woman of Distinction” page 8

However, she said the charges are criminal in nature because of Mr. Bonilla’s efforts to discredit the alleged victim. “He used his position in public office for blackmail,” she said. “He tried to use his public office to shield himself.”

A case of alleged sexual harrassment, usually a civic matter, is now a criminal case, said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice at a press conference Tuesday. Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla is DA Rice explains being accused of sexAfter a $10,000 payual harrassement of a ment offered to the 21-year-old woman alleged victim of the who works in his sexual harrassment was office, and is charged refused, Mr. Bonilla with Official Misconapproached another duct, Coercion and employee, Alex Petit Larceny. Desidero, for help. He was charged on “Mr. Bonilla knew Friday in Nassau that Mr. Desidero had a County Court and relationship with her [the released on his own young woman in quesrecognizance. He is tion]. He [Mr. Bonilla] due back in court on said she was a bad perOctober 26. son and did Mr. Mark Bonilla All charges against Desidero have any information to deter her,” said Mr. Bonilla are misdeDA Rice. meanors. The charges do not infer any “Mr. Desidero said he had intimate evidence of physical sexual assault or photos and Mr. Bonilla asked for harrassment, said DA Rice.

Stand Up For ... 3 your community

them. Mr. Desidero was threatened. If he refused he would lose his job or he could [comply] and be promoted,” explained DA Rice. “Mr. Desidero created a CD and gave it to Mr. Bonilla’s assistant but it didn’t have any [compromising] photos,” she said. “This is unacceptable for a public official to do this. That is why I am encouraging anyone with information on this to reach out to us, directly.” However, DA Rice said other victims have not come forward as of Tuesday.

office to continue to do his job, Mr. DiLuzio said, “I told him to go back to work.” Mr. Bonilla was back at work yesterday in his office executing the duties as town clerk. Susie Pokalsky, a town spokeswoman, told Bellmore Life that locks were changed on Mr. Bonilla’s door to protect personal belongings in his office. Mr. Bonilla was given a new key to get into the office.

he believes that “all of the accusations are sufficiently vague and unsubstantiated.” “There is no proof at this point, and no written statements.” He called it a “he said, she said” case thus far. When asked about whether Mr. Bonilla was allowed back into his

Friday. Ms. Murray said that, should he be exonerated of the charges, he would not be permitted to regain his office again. When asked whether the town con-

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By Douglas Finlay


Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 2

Mark Bonilla charges explained; he vows to fight charges



Page 3 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Bellmore Life

Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 4

BELLMORE LIFE USPS (049-500) 1840 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, N.Y. 11566 Telephone 378-5320 FAX 378-0287 e-mail: AN INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER ESTABLISHED 1964 AS A COMMUNITY SERVICE Published Weekly on Wednesday by L & M Publications FAITH AND JOHANNES LAURSEN, FORMER PUBLISHERS L & M Publications Subscriptions Dept. Classifieds Dept. Display Ads Editorial Dept.

Publisher: Editor: Paul Laursen x 20 Assistant Editor: Sales Manager: Staff Writer:

Linda Laursen Toscano x 19 Supervisor: Nicolas Toscano Douglas Finlay Jill Bromberg x 16 Laura Schofer Production Manager: Marilyn Loheide Graphic Artists: Judy Ammerman, Pat McKay, Ilana Mele x 22 Circulation: Kathleen Murphy x 25

Periodicals postage paid at Bellmore, N.Y. Price 75 cents a copy, $20 a year, $36 for two years, $49 for three years; (Outside Nassau County $40 per year). Postmaster: Send address change to: 1840 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, N.Y. 11566 Composition responsibility: Not liable beyond cost of space occupied by error. All art work, layout and editorial content are the sole property of Bellmore Life and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of L & M Publications. All editorial submissions are subject to editing. Not responsible for return of materials submitted for publication. Materials submitted may be used in print and online editions.

The community newspaper - the glue that helps hold a community together, and the spur that helps keep it moving forward

‘Landstrike’ Former publisher of the Chelsea-Clinton News Robert Trentlyon once told fellow New York community publishers it is easy to get out in front of a crowd of citizens who are protesting something and help them win the battle. It is not so easy to lead a group of citizens who want to build something. But he somehow managed in a decades-long effort to help get the Chelsea Pier park built and provide a recreation area for his neighborhood. Now the indefatigable retired publisher is setting his sights on protecting his beloved city in the case of a hurricane hitting Manhattan head on, as Hurricane Irene almost did a year ago. He notes the subways came within a foot of being flooded, which would have caused incalculable damage from salt water, especially since some older parts are no longer made. Congressman Jerry Nadler, who represents waterfront areas in Brooklyn and Manhattan, recently wrote to the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability about the need to study ways to protect the city from flooding, including storm surge barriers. Mr. Trentlyon explains that these walls would be constructed under the Verrazano Bridge, and at other points leading to Manhattan and lifted in case of need. The cost would be high but nothing compared to the damage a major hurricane could wreak. Our readers should be interested because even if the hurricane skipped our shores, we would suffer collateral damage from one that hits Manhattan, especially the financial district. Sometimes fiction can be more powerful than facts. “Landstrike,” a novel by Ken Bass, published in 2009, predicts what would happen if a major hurricane hit the Big Apple. He wrote it to “raise awareness and spark debate.” Residents of Seaford will find the description of their beloved hometown as “picturesque waterfront” and having a “quaint business district” with the “feel of Main Street, USA” endearing. But then they will be riveted by the story of how members of a small Lutheran Church rode out a fictional hurricane catastrophe. It will not be comforting to hear at least 50,000 people moved out of Nassau County after that hurricane, which caused billions of dollars in flood damage, plummeting housing and property values and high unemployment rates. Eyewitnesses to the 1938 hurricane, which emptied the Great South Bay and then filled it with floating houses from Fire Island, can tell you that it could happen here, because it did. When our ex-publisher friend started reading “Landstrike,” he could not put it down. It should also be sobering reading for our readers and their elected officials.

IN LIVING MEMORY: Firefighter Carl Bedigian, a role model to former Bellmore Fire Depar tment firefighter and distant cousin, Rober t Odabashian, is formally memorialized with a red maple tree, which was planted after 9/11 in Mr. Bedigian’s honor. Town Councilwman Angie Cullin and county Legislator Dave Denenberg attended the memorial.

bellmore bits BELLMORE-MERRICK CONCERT: The Merrick Bellmore Community Concert Association will present Ran Dank, an award-winning Israeli pianist, and his wonderfully captivating and romantic piano concert of works by Schubert, Chopin and Liszt on Sunday, October 14, at 4 p.m. at Calhoun High School, 1786 State Street., Merrick. Admission is $20. For information see our website or you can phone Barbara at 868-5366. ©©© C H S D T O M E E T: T h e Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education will meet on Wednesday, October 3, at 8 p.m. in the board room, 1260 Meadowbrook Road, North Merrick. All are welcome to attend. ©©© VIVA ITALIA: The Bellmore Knights of Columbus, 2333 Bellmore Avenue, will hold an Italian night dinner dance on Saturday, October 13, from 7:30 p.m.-midnight. Sing along and dance to the music of The John “Giovanni” Weber trio. There will be a four-course meal and an open bar. The cost is $40 per person. For reservations contact Jack Falci at 804-2850 or 5120474, or Bob Felice at 221-7875 or 582-3726. ©©© PUMPKIN AND FALL FLOWER SALE: Giddy up on down to a pumpkin and fall flower sale hosted by the Bellmore Knights of Columbus and the Ladies Auxiliary at 2333 Bellmore Avenue. There will be fun for all and a free treat for the children from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, October 6, 7 and 8, and Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14. Rain or shine. ©©©

BLESSING THE ANIMALS: Grace Evangelical 1294 Lutheran Church, Bellmore Avenue, North Bellmore, will have its annual “Blessing of the Animals” service. Pastor Krauser welcomes all animals for a “blessing” at 10 a.m. on Sunday October 7. For information call 785-5029. ©©© CHOCOLATE MAKING: The Merrick-Bellmore Dayan Lilah Group of Hadassah invites members and friends to its Chocolate-Making Night, Wednesday, October 24, at 7:30 p.m. at The Chocolate Duck, 310 Main Street, Farmingdale. Participants will make handrolled truffles, hand-dipped and sculpted chocolates and fondue. Wine, cheese and snacks will be served. The cost is $40 per member or $45 per nonmember. RSVP by October 17. There will be no walk-ins as space is limited. For information or to RSVP, email Proceeds from this event will go towards the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower in Jerusalem. ©©© KIWANIS TO INSTALL NEW OFFICERS: The Kiwanis Club of the Bellmores will install its new officers and board members for 2012-2013 on Monday, October 1, at 7 p.m. at the Coyote Grill in Island Park. The Kiwanis Club holds several fundraisers – The Strawberry Festival in June, a pancake breakfast in April and the Bellmore Family Street Festival. All proceeds raised go to help families and children in need in the community. It also sponsors 11 children who go to camp every summer. ©©© LUPUS WALK: The Lupus Alliance of America, Bellmore Chapter, will holds it 19th annual Walk Along for Lupus on Sunday, October 21, at Eisenhower Park, Field 6. Registration will begin at

photo courtesy the Odabashian family

8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. The minimum donation is $20 per person. To receive a walk package in the mail call the Lupus Alliance of LIQ at 783-3370, or email Or visit ©©© FUNDRAISER: The Bellmore/North Bellmore Mercy League will hold an October luncheon and fundraiser on Wednesday, October 17, at the Oak Chalet, 1940 Bellmore Avenue, from 1-3 p.m. Cost is $30. For information call Emily at 781-7330. Make checks payable to Mercy Medical Center. ©©© PENNY AUCTION: Court Mother Seton 2413 of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas will hold their annual Penny Auction on Friday, October 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School on Bedford Avenue. Admission is $5 and includes 25 tickets, coffee and cake. For information call Pat at 795-2109. ©©© NB SCHOOL BOARD MEETS: The North Bellmore School District Board of Education will meet on Thursday, October 1, at 8 p.m., at the Martin Avenue School, 2616 Martin Avenue, North Bellmore. All are invited to attend. ©©© VENDORS NEEDED: Vendors are needed for the Harvest Craft Fair at Grace Lutheran Church, 1294 Bellmore Avenue, North Bellmore. Saturday, November 3, 9-5 p.m. The fee is $45 per table. “Craft Vendors Only.” For an application call 785-5029 or email the church at ©©© 1982 REUNIONS: Calhoun High School Class of 1982 will

have its 30-year reunion on Saturday, October 13, at 7 p.m. at the Melville Marriott. Kennedy High School Class of 1982 is also having its separate 30-year reunion also on October 13 at the Melville Marriott at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the website at www. Any questions about Calhoun’s Reunion, email Laura Schieffer Peterson at Any questions about Kennedy’s reunion you can email Nancy Kasoff Mauser at Both Kennedy and Calhoun Class of 1982 are having a combined picnic the day after the reunion at 1:30 p.m. Reservations and details about the picnic will be emailed to all signed up to attend either reunion. ©©© PREVENTING SUICIDE: Long Island Crisis Center of Bellmore will hold its 4th Annual “Let’s Walk, Let’s Talk... Stepping Together to Prevent Suicide” in Long Beach beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, September 30, on the Long Beach Boardwalk at Riverside Boulevard. The benefit will help the Long Island Crisis Center save lives on Long Island. $25 minimum is the suggested donation per walker.

Walkers can register at or by calling 826-0244. ©©© SHOWBOAT: The Bellmore/North Bellmore Mercy League will sponsor a trip to the Atlantic City Showboat on Monday, October 22. The bus departs the St. Barnabas Church parking lot at 7:45 a.m. Cost in $40, $25 to play the slots. For information call Alice at 781-2783 or Emily at 781-7330. Mail checks payable to Mercy Medical Center to Alice Goldsmith at 2055 Bergen Street, Bellmore. ©©© THE GARDEN IS OPEN: The Garden at St. Mark, an organic garden begun last year by the congregation at St. Mark the Evangelist Church at 1692 Bellmore Avenue, North Bellmore, is now open to purchase organic vegetables at its farm stand on Sundays, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Whatever vegetables are in season are what will be sold at the stand. Crops include lettuce, cucumber, radishes, zucchini, squash, potatoes, garlic, onions, beets and cabbage. Herbs and flowers are also being sold. All proceeds from the sales are put toward supporting the garden and helping those in need.

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Carl Bedigian and all those lives lost on 9/11, and anointed the tree with holy water. Amid tears, Delores Bedigian, Carl’s mother and a Brooklyn resident, recalled her son’s memory. She was deeply touched by the ceremony. “It was beautiful today, it really was,” she said. It was so touching and very, very nice.” Concluded Mr. Odabashian, a former Bellmore volunteer firefighter who greatly admired his cousin, “Carl was a brave person for what he did.” “All firefighters, law enforcement...each day they put their lives at risk for us.” – from the Odabashian family

©©© DROPOFF SITE: County Legislator Dave Denenberg’s office at 2818 Merrick Road is an official dropoff point for donations to Long Island Cares, Inc., The Harry Chapin Food Bank. Needed are cereals, juices, peanut butter, rice, jelly, pasta, cookies and crackers, pancake mix and canned fruits, meat, vegetables, soups and

Carl Bedigian

fish, among many foods. Also welcome are school supplies, pet foods, new toys, baby care, birthday party supplies, new blankets and personal care items. For information call Mr. Denenberg’s office at 571-6219, or the Harry Chapin Food Bank at 631-582-3663. Or visit

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“Carl was a member of Company 214, stationed out of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn,” he said. “He responded to the Twin Towers disaster and we never heard from him again.” Eventually, his body was found along with five other members of his company in the Trade Center lobby. A small ceremony was held on Monday, September 10, in front of Mr. Odabashian’s Williams Court home. Family and local officials, including County Legislator David Denenberg, (D-Merrick) and Hempstead town Councilwoman Angie Cullin, gathered around the red maple tree, decorated with American flags and a plaque. Father Valentine Rebello of Saint Barnabas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church intoned a prayer in the name of

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Robert Odabashian of Bellmore decided it was time to commemorate the memory of his cousin, Carl Bedigian, a FDNY first responder who lost his life helping others during the collapse of the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001, Ground Zero. Mr. Odabashian dedicated a red maple tree – which he planted in front of his house to Mr. Bedigian 11 years ago, where he was joined by local elected officials. Carl Bedigian, 32, was a Queens resident, and had only been married for nine months when he lost his life. Mr. Bedigian, a former New York Transit Authority worker, changed careers and served as a New York firefighter for eight years to that point, according to his brother Joseph Bedigian.

Page 5 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Bellmore Life

Living memorial dedicated to firefighter



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Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 6

Town Clerk Mark Bonilla vows to fight charges from page 2 fronted Mr. Bonilla with the information, and asked him to resign or resolve the issue before having him arrested, Ms. Pokalsky told Bellmore Life that new information came to the town both last Thursday and Friday “that had to be shared with the DA’s office.” Mr. Diluzion told Bellmore Life that a discussion between town attorneys and Mr. Bonilla did take place weeks before his arrest. Mr. Bonilla responds Mr. Bonilla, on his Facebook page, denies any wrongdoing. Responding to friends’ comments on his arrest, he said, “All I ask is that people keep their minds open that the allegations may be false. Because they are!” Saying that party politics is ugly, he said, “I’m a fighter and will fight to the end,” adding that, “I’m seeing the true colors of my fellow colleagues.” Town Attorney Joseph Ra said

librarylife Bellmore

Bus trip to the High Line and Eataly There are a few seats left for the Wednesday, October 10, bus trip. The cost is $45. Sign up now at the reference desk. Novel nights The new evening fiction book club with moderator, Dee Abrams, is discussing “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak on Thursday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m. She will also discuss “Molokai” by Allan Bennert on Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. The community is welcome to attend. “Hunger Games” On Friday, September 28, adults are welcome to view the award-winning movie ”Hunger Games” at 2 p.m. Teens only, grades 8 -12, are welcome to a special “Hunger Games” movie and event at 5:30 p.m.

Bellmore resident arrested for child pornography

that if the charges had been felonies, Mr. Bonilla would have automatically been removed from the office. But because the town provision for removing Mr. Bonilla was “nebulous,” the town is “researching options” to replace Mr. Bonilla’s place as the town clerk. Mr. Ra added that the person chosen would then occupy the position and run in the election for the seat in 2013. Supervisor Murray said the town delivered a letter to Mr. Bonilla’s residence asking him to resign. Ms. Murray expressed sadness, disappointment and surprise caused by the allegations. Mr. Bonilla, the first Latino to hold public office in the Town of Hempstead, became town clerk in 2003. A criminal attorney, he is a 1981 graduate of Island Trees High School. – with Laura Schofer

Homeland Security agents arrested Bellmore resident Alfonso Marino, 63, last week after he confessed to possessing pornographic images and videos of children during a federal search of his residence, according to an affidavit by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Glenn Buchan. Mr. Buchan said Mr. Marino told him he retired last year from teaching at Flushing High School. Mr. Marino told Mr. Buchan he had been collecting child pornography for 10 years, actively searching peer-to-peer file sharing networks for ages 7-18. Mr. Marino also said he had not “touched anyone,” and that he “didn’t need to lie about anything because he knew why the agents were there,” Mr. Buchan stated. Homeland Security agents recovered more pornography from a safe in Mr. Marino’s home, as well as a .38 special handgun and a .22 caliber semi-automatic Beretta handgun. His pistol permit with Nassau County expired in 2002. The search was the result of an

undercover operation in which agents found child pornography being shared publicly on peer-to-peer file sharing networks and downloaded by people such as Mr. Marino. The images also appeared to be real and not virtual. Law enforcement sources know the identity of children in the pornography files, Mr. Buchan stated. Nassau County’s Seventh Precinct police assisted in the arrest. – Krista Giannak ©©© Nassau police arrested a North Bellmore man for Criminal Mischief on Monday at 12:20 p.m. According to detectives, Nicholas Trapani, 41, of Briggs Street, pushed the 55-year-old male victim and intentionally damaged a video camera on Briggs Street. No injuries were reported. The victim is an employee of WABC-TV in Manhattan. Mr. Trapani is charged with Criminal Mischief.

October 2, at 7:30 p.m. Join Dee Abramson for a lively evening for mystery lovers!

EXCEL on Wednesday, October 17, at 2 p.m. On Wednesday, November 7, at 2 p.m. learn all about Facebook. Classes are $5/each and you can sign up at the help desk at the library.

Senator Fuscillo’s Senior ID Program Senator Charles J. Fuscillo Jr. will sponsor a free Senior ID card program on Wednesday, October 24, 12-3 p.m. All Town of Hempstead residents age 60 and over are eligible to participate and receive a free senior ID card.

Defensive driving classes Steve Schwartz teaches a class on two Thursday evenings, October 4 and 11, from 7-10 p.m., the fee is $35. The next AARP class will be held on Saturday, October 11, from 10-4 p.m. Fee: $17 for those with an AARP card, or $19. Sign up now at the reference desk. Memoir Writing workshop On Tuesday, October 9, at 10:30 a.m., columnist Florence Gatto and poet Beverly E. Kotch of the Long Island Writers Guild will show you how to get started writing your stories, memories and musings. The program is free and the community is welcome to attend.

Broadway Melodies and More concert Dr. Bill Saperstein tickles the ivory on the piano on Sunday, September 30, at 2 p.m. Come and enjoy a free Sunday afternoon concert.

East River Blues Band If you enjoy the sounds of Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, you’ll love this band. Experience the intense and gritty blues beat of harmonica, guitar, drums and vocals on Sunday, October 14, at 2 p.m. Pick up your free tickets at the reference desk.

Mystery Lovers Book Club “Killer Heat” by Linda Fairstein is the book under discussion on Tuesday,

Upcoming computer classes Learn how to use the world’s most popular spreadsheet program, Microsoft

Books sandwiched in Join librarian Patti Paris for a lively discussion of “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles on Friday, October 12, at 12:30 p.m. Knitting and Crochet Club Enjoy an evening of crafting with a lively group of people on Thursday, October 18, at 7 p.m. Bring your project and you will find lots of help available. Power plays Lantern Theatre presents three one-act plays written by Elaine May and Alan Arkin for adult audiences only on Sunday, October 21, at 2 p.m.

Meditate Relax and enjoy a free group meditation with Greg Gordon on Wednesday, October 24, at 7 p.m. Island songwriters Three performers from the Island Songwriters Showcase perform at the library on Sunday afternoon, October 28, at 2 p.m.: Maria Elaina deFalco, Michael Wells and Tim Petersen. The concert is free and open to the public. Come and enjoy an exciting Sunday afternoon concert of original music.

County to host model train show Nassau County and Trainville Hobby Depot will host a model train show on Saturday, September 29, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Sunday, September 30, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Butler Building at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale. This year’s model train show includes door prizes, refreshments, Trainville Hobby Depot exclusive vendor and an information table for other model train and hobby events.

Exhibitors and train clubs invited to attend include: Trainville Hobby Depot’s N scale layout, Long Island Hottrack, Long Island Traction O gauge trolleys, Great South Bay Club O gauge layout, Trainmasters of Babylon O Gauge Club, Long Island N Trak, N-Scale T-Trak, MTA LIRR Police and more. Admission to the train show is $6 for adults and $4 for children 2-12 years of age, seniors and veterans and free for children under five years of age. For train show information call Trainville Hobby Depot at 433-4444, or visit the website at

GAS FIRE: The Bellmore Fire Depar tment was called to a gas leak with fire on Barbara Road east of Bellmore Avenue last week after contractors replacing the water main accidentally cut the gas line going from the main to a home. Firefighters stretched hose lines to protect the adjacent homes. With the gas main shut of f, the remaining gas harmlessly burned of f. Remember if you smell gas to leave the area immediately BFD photo by Vin Scaduto and notify the fire depar tment.

by Joann Lee DeLauter

at noon on Saturday, September 15, at the Bellmore train station. The parade included Mepham’s marching band, cheerleaders and Pirettes as well as the classes’ themed floats, such as the Sophomores in Space, Jammin’ Juniors and Surfin’ through Senior Year. This was all followed by teacher, alumni and Grand Marshal [Mike] Mascara and Homecoming nominees Karl Hintz, Brian Meyers, Casey Getzler, Giana D’Avanzo, JoAnn DeLauter and Kim Ponton. Back at the home of the Pirates, the parade led into the Homecoming game against crosstown rival Kennedy High School. With the stands filled and the hard-hitting football team playing its best on the field, Mepham’s clubs and town vendors filled the parking lot with food, face-painting and games. Vendors such as Taste of Home, Madison Smoothies and more served the food for the event. Mepham’s clubs such as AWOD, The Buccaneer newspaper, Art Club and more added Mepham spirit with Henna tattoos, Mepham trivia and face painting. The Alumni Association played a huge role in the celebration. proving that school spirit lasts forever.

Seventy-five years later Mepham High School is still filled with opportunity, industry and achievement with a combination of spirit and pride that sums up the 75th Anniversary Celebration last weekend. The kickoff to a fun-filled weekend started on Friday the 14th where, in between the girls and boys soccer games, Mepham held its first nighttime pep rally in many years. With a screaming crowd, dressed in garnet and grey and illuminated by donated stadium lights, it was a night to set the bar anew on future pep rallies. The pep rally started off with all of the sports teams running onto the field with spirited recognition, while soon after kickline showed off their skills and cheerleading pumped the crowd up with their high-flying stunts. As the night went on the faculty went against the students in a 4x4 relay, with the students claiming victory. The night came to a close but everyone went home knowing it was just the beginning to a great weekend. The festivities continued in a day of Pirate pride, victory and reunions. The traditional Homecoming parade started

During halftime, Giana D’Avanzo and Brian Meyers claimed the title of Homecoming King and Queen, representing the character of the Senior Class. As the game continued, it soon ended in a victory for the Mepham Pirates, 27-7, thanks to key players such as seniors Joe Alberti, Shane Agostino and Dante Ippolito. To celebrate 75 years and a weekend to remember, the day came to a close with raffles, a teacher dunk tank, obsta-

cle courses and bounce houses. The weekend wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of the students, teachers, administrators and the efforts of the Mepham community, past and present. Their hard work and extra hours were not taken for granted, but utilized in making that weekend to be what some describe as “the best Homecoming in years.”

MEPHAM COMES HOME: In photo at left, Senior Class float, ”Surfin’ Through Senior Year” shows its spirit with, from left, Alex Moske, Alison Boyle, Melissa Gillott, Ashely Hickey, Breanne Handwerker, Nicole Madison, Ilana Morra, Rachel Santos, Briana Plantyn, Nicole Benevento, Joe Skidmore, Kalin Agoglia, Deanna Parlagreco and Regina Bell. Above, the Mepham cheerleaders line-up for the Homecoming parade.


Bellmore Life photos by Paul Laursen



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Mepham celebrates 75th blowout anniversary

officer, Abilities, Inc. at The Viscardi Center. “Despite illness and trauma in her personal life, she has persevered beyond what many thought was humanly possible. The respect we all have for her, personally and professionally, is enormous.” Ms. Birbiglia is an active member of several professional organizations, including the New York State Rehabilitation Association’s School Partnership Committee as well as the Nassau Placement Network (treasurer), Nassau County Mental Health Association (taskforce executive member), Schools Administrators/ Gang Awareness, LIFT for Kids and MADD.

She also created an organizationalwide Adopt a Family initiative at The Viscardi Center to support families of adults and children with disabilities. Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center, founded by Dr. Viscardi, comprises Abilities, Inc., the Henry Viscardi School and the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC). A global leader, it employs more than 300 professionals, including experts in education, human resources and technology. Visit the website at uuu

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Bellmore resident Patricia Birbiglia has Highly successful, over 80% of those received the 19th Assembly District’s students who complete the programs “Women of attend college, Distinction” Award enroll in vocational for 2012, selected by training or secure state Assemblyman employment David McDonough. opportunities. The The award pays tribbasis of these proute to the extraordigrams is for stunary efforts made by dents to gain an women to make the understanding of community a safer, the relevancy of better place to live. education as it Ms. Birbiglia is relates to the world the director of tranof work. sition and placement services at Fighting personal Abilities, Inc. at The challenges Viscardi Center, In recent where she has been years, a variety of employed for 30circumstances – plus years. She including a tragic Patricia Birbiglia began her career auto accident and a assisting senior citifight to survive zens and adults with pancreatic cancer – disabilities by securing competitive has given Ms. Birbiglia a different perspective on the field she has become a employment, later shifting her efforts to leader, mentor and advocate for. Through working with the youth community. her own permanent disability, Pat knows Ms. Birbiglia is one of the most respectfirsthand that a disability should never ed people in the field of transitional servhold someone back from reaching high, ices and has developed, implemented and realizing dreams and to never give up. expanded numerous programs that have “Pat Birbiglia has been a very importransformed the lives of thousands of inditant and key staff member. She is deeply viduals with disabilities. committed to her work, and through her They include PROSPER, a retention direct efforts, has helped to place people attendance program designed for youth with disabilities of all ages and levels of with and without disabilities attending employment, as well as develop and local high schools who have been identidirect our transition/school to work profied as at-risk of achieving graduation sucgrams, which have flourished under her cess. It is also a school-to-work transition guidance and support,” said Jessica program that is utilized by over 20 school Swirsky, president and chief operating districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.


Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 8

Bellmore woman named ‘A Woman of Distinction’

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Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 10

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"Margaret, a great big THANK YOU to you! You have gone above and beyond the call of duty as a realtor. You were always available at any time with any question or issue we had and whenever we asked you for something you came back to us instantly. You are one the of most hard working and committed women in the real estate industry and you know your stuff! We met at anopen house and after the sale and purchase of our home I can say you are a friend and the best realtor out there. We felt like we weren’t just a sale to you but that you had the interest of our family and especially our kids future’s in all decisions made. You helped us every step of the way with the many decisions with your experience and vast knowledge of the real estate market. Again, thank you so much for being part of this experience, I know it would not have gone so well without you. We "Highly" recommend you to anyone looking to buy or sell a home."

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©2012. Financial, Inc. and its related entities. An and independently ownedmember and operated broker member of Prudential Real aEstate Affiliates, Inc., acompany. Prudential Financial company. ©2012. Prudential Financial, Inc.Prudential and its related entities. An independently owned operated broker of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., Prudential Financial Prudential, logoare andservice the Rock symbol are service marks ofInc. Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registeredworldwide. in many jurisdictions Prudential, the Prudential logo andthe thePrudential Rock symbol marks of Prudential Financial, and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions Used underworldwide. license. Used under license. Equal Housing Opportunity. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is subject to errors, Equal Housing Opportunity. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject torepresented errors, omissions, without changesnotice. or withdrawal without notice. Allincluding, property information, including, butfootage, not limited to count, square number footage,ofroom count, and number of bedrooms the school district in property omissions, changes or withdrawal All property information, but not limited to square room bedrooms the school districtand in property listings deemed reliable,bybutyour should verifiedarchitect by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert. listings are deemed reliable, butare should be verified ownbe attorney, or zoning expert.

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by John Didden I retired as Mepham’s principal in June 2008. During my 43-year career as a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal and principal, I amassed many wonderful memories. I still do, as I am still involved in education and work in schools now. However, none of the memories that I have gathered during my career are more special to me than those from the 15 1/2-years I was privileged to spend as Mepham’s principal. I started as the principal on January 4, 1993, and learned that very first day what a wonderful, caring place it is. During that first day, I was called to the second floor to see a teacher in room 214. I hurried upstairs and quickly found room 213 and 215 but no matter how many times I walked up and down the corridor, I could not find room 214. A young student with a hall pass watched curiously as I passed him several times in the hall. He offered, “May I help you, mister?” It was my first day and he didn’t know that I was his new principal. Somewhat sheepishly, I explained that I was the new principal and that I was looking for room 214. The young man’s eyes lit up and with a broad smile, he explained to me that I was on the “odd” side of the building and that the even-numbered classrooms were on the other side of the building. Then, with a wink and an equally broad smile, he said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Didden, I won’t tell anyone.” I will

never forget that simple little encounter because it typified the wonderful, caring spirit and attitude that I found permeating Mepham during my years there. Mepham was the first high school in the district and is affectionately referred to as the “Mother School.” Many think that the title of “Mother School” was given solely because it was the oldest school in the district. It didn’t take long for me to learn that the title also, and more importantly, refers to the nurture that the “Mother School” provides for its students and members of the school community…the Mepham “family.” Mepham holds many memories for me. There were so many activities: plays, concerts, sports events, club activities, assemblies, awards and graduation ceremonies that allowed the students to shine and the faculty and staff, the parents and me to smile and be proud of our students’ efforts and accomplishments. They achieved academically too, and as we gave up “tracking,” our students rose to the challenge and excelled.

They excelled even further as we opened the “doors” to our Advanced Placement classes and challenged students to try the AP curricula. Today, I continue to smile and be proud of the efforts of the teachers as they constantly raised the academic bar for our students and helped them attain more Regents and Advanced Regents Diplomas than ever before. Our students worked hard and earned college credit through the AP program, and consistently won national recognition in Intel and other competitions. The academic, extracurricular and athletic successes of the students certainly bring back fond memories for me; however, the memory of the spirit of the school family is what abides within me the most. Throughout those almost 16 years, I saw the Mepham spirit of caring and effort “carry the day” for our students through all of the challenges in the classrooms, on the playing fields and in any crisis. The amazing staff, Alumni Association, PTA, Booster Club, parents

– all pulled together as family to help our kids learn and succeed. As principal, I was fond of stating that the most important thing that Mepham could do for its students was to help them graduate as “good people.” Time and time again, I witnessed our students look out for each other and reach out to those in need through walkathons and benefit concerts; and food, toy, blood and clothing drives. They demonstrated through their charitable efforts that they were good people and concerned about those in need. As I look back now at my time at Mepham, I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of that wonderful, nurturing community. I learned so much from the students, staff and parents, and am so very grateful for all of the support that they gave me. Congratulations, Mepham on your 75th anniversary, I know that the Mother School will continue for many, many years to come to provide our young people with that special nurture that will enable them to be good people and lifelong learners.

Holiday schedule of services Bellmore Jewish Center 2550 South Centre Avenue 781-3072 Sukkot Sunday, September 30: 8 p.m. Monday, October 1: 9:30 a.m., 8 p.m. *Special Kiddush/Luncheon in the Sukkah Tuesday, October 2: 9:30 a.m. Hol Hammoed Wednesday, October 3; Thursday, October 4; Friday, October 5: 6:20 a.m. Friday, October 5: 8 p.m. Saturday, October 6: 9:30 a.m. Hoshanah Rabbah Sunday, October 7: 9 a.m. Yizkor services, 8 p.m.

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e-mail Bellmore Life:


Shemini Atzeret Monday, October 8: 9:30 a.m. Yizkor, 11 a.m.

Page 17 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Bellmore Life

Memories of Mepham – The Mother School

Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 18

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Are you looking to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your music skills? Playing in front of an audience with another musician will satisfy that next challenge you crave. Getting ready to perform in front of an audience requires the same sort of preparation you’ve been doing while practicing alone: playing cleanly, eliminating awkward pauses and knowing full songs. While preparing to perform with one or more musicians (your band), there are specific steps you can follow to keep band rehearsals productive and on-track. Just remember the acronym PIRT: Prepare, Identify, Record and Troubleshoot to make sure you have the most important essentials covered. Prepare. Know your parts like you know the back of your smartphone. One easy test is to play along with a recording of the songs. Can you play from beginning to end without stopping, pausing or forgetting your parts? Yes? Congratulations, you are ready to rehearse with the others. No? Then play it again (and again), Sam. Identify those areas you need to play faster, smoother or cleaner. At band rehearsal, apply this analysis and pay special attention to any song element requiring everyone to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. Chops, cuts, stabs, hits, intros and outros fall under this category, and they deserve more attention and care. Record. The true test of your perform-

ance is listening to your practice sessions with a critical ear. Use your smartphone or tablet to video yourselves, or use the memo function on your phone to create an audio file. Now ask yourself: How do I sound? Would I pay $10 to hear someone who sounded like me? Would I give up a Friday night to hear me perform? As you listen, jot down those things that need more work. Troubleshoot. Using your recording, focus on parts that need the most work. Go right to those measures and rehearse them over and over. Record again. Listen back. Take notes. Discuss solutions. You’ve got dynamics (softs and louds), right? If not, add them to make the songs more interesting. How about those intros and endings? If you mess up a little in the middle of a song, the audience might forget. But start or end the song with a blunder and you can bet that’s what the audience will remember. Audiences have come to expect a high level of musical proficiency from instrumentalists and singers, in part from their exposure to talent competitions on TV and skilled performers on YouTube. Making band rehearsals more productive gives you the resources to exceed audience expectations and make that all important good first impression.

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Page 19 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Bellmore Life


Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 20

ENTERTAINING LIFE Animal rescue fundraiser at the Bellmore Movies A star-studded lineup of comedians promises to shake the house down with an evening of laughter and entertainment not seen in Bellmore since the grand tribute to the late ventriloquist-comedian Vince Dantona on Sunday, October 7, at 7 p.m. at the Bellmore Movies. The comics will gather specifically to raise funds for animal rescue, with Paul Bond’s Cat Placement and Rescue and C+H Animal Rescue for Dogs receiving 100% of the donations from the fundraiser. “I have a great love for animals,” remarked Rick Morgan, MC of the event. “I rescued a cat from the Brookhaven Animal Shelter from a certain death” by adopting him. He added that, while his daughter at first questioned why he had rescued the cat, she now looks forward to seeing the cat greet her when she comes home at night. Paul Bond, a comedian sharing the marquee with several others, “owns 20 cats,” Mr. Morgan said. “Coach” Tom Whiteley, another comedian on the bill, “has 12 cats at home.” Mr. Morgan said Mr. Bond’s approach to rescuing cats is to find those in distress by word of mouth or other means, and feed them to health. “He then finds homes for them,” or takes them to a cat junction across

state lines, where the cats are taken care of and live out their lives on spread-out land, he said. Among comedians making an appearance for the animals is Greek international sensation Basile, from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” A&E’s “An Evening at the Improv” on HBO, “Caroline’s Comedy Hour” on Comedy Central, Showtime’s Comedy Club Network and other cable comedy programs. “He’s flying in from his schedule on the road on his own time to be here to promote animal rescue,” remarked host Gary Smith. During the second half of the show Basile will team with Ellen Karis, the Greek goddess of comedy, who has appeared on radio, TV and in Atlantic City. “Their routine will be strongly American comedy,” Mr. Morgan suggested, “with some Greek comedy thrown in.” Besides Mr. Bond and “Coach” Whiteley, also on the bill are the comic duo of Isaacs and Baker of the Long Island Comedy Festival, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods; Tom Daddario of Foxwoods and New York City comedy clubs; and Fran Capo. “Fran is the author of 17 books, has had a book signing on Mt. Kilimanjaro, been to the Titanic site

beneath the ocean in a Russian vessel and is dubbed ‘the world’s fastesttalking woman,’ ” continued Mr. Morgan. Animals need humans’ help and the benefit is precisely to help animals get the respect and dignity they deserve, said Mr. Morgan. Tickets are $25 or $30 VIP per person. They can be purchased by calling 785-4234 or 631-654-0507. You can also visit or for information and tickets. The show is billed for mature audiences only. – Douglas Finlay

BASILE will be one of the performers at the October 7 fundraiser.

Who’s got talent – for a monthly talent show? The Bellmore Movies and Showplace will embark on a new monthly talent show series beginning Friday, November 9, at 10 p.m. Calls are going out from the producers to interested talent to audition and take the stage for fun-filled variety shows. “We’re looking for muscians, comedians, singers, poets, acoustic acts, magicians, duos, jugglers” and anyone else who thinks they have an act they want to perform and perfect on stage, remarked Gary Smith, co-producer and owner of “People who juggle knives, poets who want to get their words out, duos who want some recognition, these are the kinds of performers we are looking for to create great variety of entertainment,” added Rick Morgan, co-producer. “Our goal is to incorporate more talents into the open mic concept, and provide a fabulous variety show,” said Mr. Morgan. To sign up to be a star, call Mr. Smith at 785-4234, or the theater at 783-3199.

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Page 21 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Bellmore Life

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STAFFING BELLMORE LIFE BOOTH at the fair are Olimpia Santaniello and Teresa Albanese, above. Top photo, bowling for fun. Above, middle, are happy Bellmore Life subscribers, the Christies. Youngster feeds a goat, at left.

JAM DANCERS per form, above, Ford was a major sponsor of the fair, top left photo. A children’s show was entertaining, at right.

Bellmore Life photos by Harrison Bromberg, Douglas Finlay and Paul Laursen


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Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 22

Frollicking fun fills the festival!

Page 23 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Bellmore Life

CHAMBER DREAM TEAM welcomes local elected officials. Above them are photos of festival fun throughout the fair.

Bellmore Life photos by Doug Finlay, Paul Laursen, Theresa MacDonald and Paticia McKay.

Todd Litz

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Trudy Stern

Ronnie Gerber

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Franca Dalfume

Elyse Whiton

Doreen Teta

Annette Greenfield


Bellmore Life Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Page 24

Barbara Schultis

Gail Rattner

Linda Alfino

Marlene Morris

Michael Byrne

Debra Fisher

Gloria Rabson

Marie Skarren

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bl 9.27