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also multiple-sport athletes at Mepham, Proto flung himself headfirst into the association, serving as president for three years and treasurer for three years. “Whatever job needed to be done, I did,” he said. “It was to raise funds and help out.” Proto has volunteered for the boosters association for nearly two decades, even after his children graduated from Mepham and moved on. Today he remains an adviser to the group’s executive committee while also volunteering for the Mepham Alumni Association, for which he has served as president and is now treasurer. You might call Proto “Mr. Mepham.” At the Bellmore Herald, we call him the 2011 Person of the Year, in recognition of his extraordinary commitment to his hometown and his alma mater. Proto was born in Brooklyn and moved to North Bellmore in 1959. He attended Saw Mill Road Elementary School, Jerusalem Avenue Junior High School, which is now a BOCES school, and his beloved Mepham, where he was sports editor of the school newspaper. After graduation, he went on to Hofstra University, where he was an announcer for the football, basketball and wrestling teams and a football statistician. At the same time, he covered high school sports for Newsday. He considered a career in sports journalism, but instead chose to major in business. Proto graduated from Hofstra in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and was immediately hired by Haskins & Sells, a major accounting firm that was later taken over by Deloitte & Touche. At Haskins & Sells, Proto met his wife of nearly 35 years, Mary. The couple married on June 4, 1977, lived in Queens and then moved to North Bellmore in 1991. Vincent earned his master’s degree in banking from Hofstra in 1979, and was soon hired by Bankers Trust, which was taken over in 1998 by Deutsche Bank. He is now a vice president of risk analysis for the global banking giant. Deutsche Bank’s old 41-story New York office building sat in the shadow of the World Trade Center and was nearly destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when the south tower collapsed onto it. Proto was among the thousands of financial industry executives who fled for their lives that day. He survived, but the horror of the attacks will remain indelibly etched in his mind, he said. Deutsche Bank is now headquartered at 60 Wall St. Though Proto is less involved in the sports boosters association than when his children attended Mepham, he is more involved than ever in the 3,000-member alumni association. In addition to his duties as treasurer, he writes articles for the group’s two publications, Scuttlebutt, its annual magazine, and Quarterdeck, its annual newsletter, profiling teachers and athletes while also reporting on Mepham’s famed Sprig Gardner

PERSON 2 0 11

OF THE YEAR Bellmore

HERALD December 29, 2011 - January 4, 2012



Courtesy Scott Lipsky

Kennedy High School graduate Scott Lipsky made sports history in 2011 when he won the mixed doubles title at the French Open. Page 8

o t o r P t Vincen

There’s no bigger booster than ‘Mr. Mepham’


I Jeff Wilson/Herald

Hurricane Irene may have been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached the Bellmores, but it caused widespread flooding and damage in August. Page 10

f Webster’s Dictionary were to define “unsung hero,” the entry might simply read “Vincent Proto.” The 59-year-old North Bellmore native, a Little League parent volunteer and coach, shies away from the limelight. He wants no credit for all the good work he has done over the past 20 years. But make no mistake –– he deserves far more credit than we can offer in a single story.

In 1991, Proto, a proud Mepham graduate, began volunteering for the Mepham Alumni Association, and in 1993 he started coaching his children’s softball and baseball teams in the North Bellmore-North Merrick Little League, eventually becoming the organization’s director. In 1994 he joined the Mepham Sports Boosters Association when his daughter Catherine reached Mepham High School and got involved in several sports. With his two younger children, Annemarie and Nicholas,

See Mr. Mepham, page 4



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Mepham senior dies while skiing

Man who ‘terrorized’ Bellmore sentenced to 45 years

“There’s no describing her. She was just beautiful.” That was how childhood friend Nicholas McCormick summed up Erin Clare Malloy-McArdle, 18. Malloy-McArdle, a Mepham senior and president of the Students Against Destructive Decisions club, was killed in a skiing accident at Windham Mountain in Greene County in early January. According to a press release from Windham, the accident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. off an intermediate trail known as Upper Warpath. Malloy-McArdle, who was not wearing a helmet, is reported to have lost control and left the trail at high speed, crashing into a tree about 30 feet off the trail. Though early reports described Malloy-McArdle as a novice skier, McCormick said that she was an avid skier and had been skiing for more than five years. “She knew what she was doing,” McCormick said. “It wasn’t like she was making these poor decisions to jump right into skiing.” According to McCormick, Malloy-McArdle circled “beginner” when she rented her skis, thinking nothing of it.

Leonidas Cotsifas was sentenced in January to 45 years in prison for a series of crimes he committed in Bellmore in October 2009. His charges included assault and burglary. The Bethpage resident’s crime spree ended with the brutal beating of a 71-yearold man with a paving stone in his own home. The man was injured so severely that he was kept in the hospital for three months. Cotsifas began his spree at about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 1 by threatening an 18-yearold woman in her home with a crowbar and robbing her of her laptop computer. He then ran from the young woman’s Centre Avenue home across Sunrise Highway to the nearby Valero gas station, where authorities say he unsuccessfully attempted to carjack a Chevy Trailblazer. Unsuccessful in his attempt to steal the SUV, Cotsifas ran south

The Mepham community mourned the loss of Erin Clare Malloy-McArdle who died in a skiing accident.

Courtesy Nassau County Police

Leonidas Cotsifas at the time of his arrest in October 2009.

on Centre Avenue, then west onto Nassau Street. Once on Nassau Street, Cotsifas broke into the basement of a home where he attacked the 71-year-old man.


IN BRIEF A crisis for the L.I. Crisis Center The Bellmore-based Long Island Crisis Center faced a crisis of its own: Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget cuts meant that the center could lose nearly one-third of its budget, possibly shutting down its call center. Part of the governor’s budget proposal called for cuts to many social programs, including those that fund the Crisis Center. Many of the individual programs — like Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention and the Office of Children and Family Services — were eliminated, and the funding was consolidated into one block grant program. “Our concern is that everything is going to go to essentially mandated services,” said Dorothy Jacobs, president of the Board of Directors of the Crisis Center. “It would eliminate services for mostly homeless and runaway youth, and that’s how our hotlines are funded.”

Courtesy Senator Fuschillo

Cohen named semifinalist Kennedy High School senior Joshua Cohen was named a semifinalist in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search. The Intel Science Talent Search is the nation’s

most prestigious pre-college science competition. Cohen was one of only 300 students nationwide selected as semi-finalists.


YEAR IN REVIEW Kennedy sophomore wins wrestling title Kennedy sophomore Robert Person never wavered, even as his early three-point lead in the 96-pound finals of the Nassau County Division I Wrestling Championships against Oceanside’s Rocco Candella was whittled to nothing. Instead, Person kept his composure, and more important, his focus, scoring four of the last five points in the match over the final two periods to emerge with an 8-5 victory and the Cougars’ first individual county championship since 2005. “I just had to keep my mind in it and keep wrestling,” Person said Jeff Wilson/Herald after running his record this season to 40-1. “It definitely helped know- Kennedy’s Robert Person celebrated after capturing the 96-pound Nassau County ing what he was going to do,” he Division I wrestling championship. added, noting that the two had met a week earlier, with Candella on the short end of a 12-5 decision.


Calhoun junior wows audiences on ‘American Idol’ Ten years ago, Robbie Rosen sat in front of his television and watched the first season of “American Idol” in his Merrick home. He was only 7 years old, but even then he knew he had it what it takes to one day perform on the show. “We’d mute the TV, and I’d sing some songs that I heard the Idols singing,” Rosen said. “My mom and I were like, ‘Man, I can do that someday.’” Turns out, they were right. On this past spring’s “Idol,” Rosen beat out more than 100,000 contestants to finish in the top 24. “It’s really cool looking back, and now looking how far I’ve come,” he said. Rosen’s “Idol” journey began when he performed in The American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World, an attraction that simulates the show so people can enter and sing in front of a live audience. Audience members vote on their favorites, and the finalists receive “dream tickets” that allow them to skip to the front of the line at any “American Idol” audition site.

Facebook photo

Dean, left, and Justin Angell arrived on the scene of a car accident on Bellmore Avenue. Justin was shot in the back and rushed to the hospital by his brother and another EMT.

Bellmore firefighter gunned down Bellmore firefighter Justin Angell was released from Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow in mid-March. A little more than 24 hours before his release, Angell had been shot by a car crash victim whom he was attempting to help on Bellmore Avenue in Bellmore. Angell, 20, arrived on the scene with his older brother Dean, both EMTs, to aid in what they believed was a regular car

accident. When Angell stepped out of the ambulance, he was shot at by the suspect, later identified as Jason Beller, 31, of Commack. Authorities said Angell took a bullet to the back from a laser-sight-equipped SKS 7 assault-style rifle. Angell made a full recovery and was later honored by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano for heroism in the line of duty.

BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011



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Wrestling Tournament and the championship-winning girls’ cross-country team. “As a former coach, I just like to talk to the coaches, [to hear] what inspires them,” Proto said. “I just like to see the kids compete, the team camaraderie. That’s what I love to see. They’re good sports, and they’re trying to do their best. That’s what I taught my kids.” Saul Lerner, the BellmoreMerrick Central High School District’s athletic director, said Proto not only deserves to be Bellmore’s Person of the Year, but also should be named Father of the Year. “He’s raised three of the classiest kids you will ever meet,” Lerner said. “They’re intelligent, good-quality kids who are as good a representatives of the community as you will find.” When Proto’s children were at Mepham, Lerner continued, “he was very involved. But now Scott Brinton/Herald he’s just as involved as ever. He’s Proto in front of his beloved Mepham High School. just an unbelievable asset to the Olympic gold medals as a basketball player and school.” two as a coach. Mepham Principal Michael Harrington had Annemarie Proto, 28, holds a number of volthis to say about Proto: “He attends almost every leyball scoring records at Johnson & Wales sporting event. He just gives his heart and soul to University in Rhode Island and was recently this community, to the teachers and students of inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. this community. He’s just a special man … He’s a She earned a degree in baking and pastry arts and reflection of what Bellmore is all about and what was a sous chef for one of Mario Batali’s trendy the Mepham community is all about. He has a New York eateries. She is now a chocolatier at huge heart.” Tumbador in Brooklyn. Proto’s children have already accomplished a And Nicholas, 25, earned a master’s in archigreat deal. Catherine Proto, now 31, earned an tecture from Roger Williams University in Rhode undergraduate degree in sports management and a Island. He is now an architect in Manhattan. master’s in phys. ed. from Springfield College in As a father, Proto said, “I always had in the Massachusetts, where she was a member of a varback of my mind, be what you want to be and be sity basketball team that won two straight regional the best at what you want to be. You can’t lose championships and made two NCAA tournament your ambition. You can’t lose your curiosity.” appearances in 2001 and 2002. She went on to As a volunteer, he said, “I’m not planning to become manager of scouting for the WNBA’s New retire anytime soon. I enjoy what I’m doing.” No York Liberty and is now an assistant basketball doubt, that’s a very good thing for the North coach at Seton Hall University in New Jersey Bellmore/Mepham community. under head coach Anne Donovan, who won two






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YEAR IN REVIEW State eyes fishing at Mullener Pond Shaped like a footprint, Mullener Pond abuts the Meadowbrook Parkway amid a stand of oaks and maples just south of Jerusalem Avenue in North Merrick. It is a quiet place, hemmed in by a six-foot chain-link fence. The New York State Department of Parks owns the property and for years had prohibited people from entering it. So, environmental advocates said, local folks had only been able to marvel at it from afar. That changed this past spring when the Department of Parks and the state Department of Environmental Conservation approved a plan that allowed public access to the woodland, where fishing is now permitted in Mullener Pond.

A hike through the woodlands of North Merrick, south of the Brookside School, revealed widespread environmental damage. At left, oak trees with their roots exposed by erosion caused by dirt-bikers and all-terrain vehicle riders. With the roots exposed, the trees eventually die and fall. Scott Brinton/Herald

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BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011


December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD




Bellmore flips for pancake breakfast

Central District freezes salaries Teachers and administrators in the BellmoreMerrick Central High School District agreed to voluntarily freeze their salaries for the 2011-12 academic year in order to avoid further budget cuts and preserve student programs. In all, the wage freeze saved the district $840,000 in 201112, according to Central officials. “We thank each and every teacher and administrator in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District for their selflessness in these tough economic times, “ said the then Board of Education President Nina Lanci. In February, the district announced that 25 teachers and staff members would be let go at the end of this school year. According to officials, the number of teachers and staff members expected to be laid off would remain the same, but the district would be able to avoid eight additional teacher layoffs because of the freeze.

Past Bellmore Kiwanis Club president John Monks led the kitchen and cooked up the pancakes at the club’s 39th annual Pancake Breakfast.

Skyler Kessler/Herald

Courtesy Bellmore Merrick Central High School District

Mepham senior crowned poetry king


Mepham High School senior Steven Tsai was crowned New York state champion in the Poetry Out Loud competition, a national contest that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. The 18-year-old Bellmore resident beat out thousands of other competitors from across the state, and participated in the national finals in Washington, D.C. at the end of April. “I’m both nervous and excited,” said Tsai. “I’m representing New York state now. It’s an honor.”



BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011


Legislature’s redistricting hearing gets heated as Democrats cry foul In a public hearing that turned raucous at times, the Nassau County Legislature heard testimony from a long line of speakers who charged that a Republican plan to redraw the lines of the county’s 19 legislative districts would, if passed, dilute the minority vote while shifting roughly half of the county’s population –– 576,000 people in all –– into new districts. Meanwhile, the Legislature’s majority leader, Peter Schmitt, a Republican from Massapequa, defended the plan, saying that the county must redraw lines after the U.S. census if a district’s population is 10 percent greater than the allowable maximum of 70,000, which, in many cases, it is, while in others population has decreased. Thus, Schmitt said repeatedly, immediate redistricting is required. May’s hearing was the only public forum on the proposed redistricting plan. The Legislature planned to vote on redistricting immediately, which led many to say that the Republican majority was acting hastily to push through its proposal while “slicing and dicing” a number of legislative districts that have stood for years. Democrats challenged the GOP redistricting plan in the courts, which ultimately decided that it could not apply to the 2011 election.

Scott Brinton/Herald

More than 250 people turned out for a public hearing to voice their opinions on a Republican plan to redraw the Nassau County Legislature’s district lines. Among the attendees was Golena White of Hempstead.

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Kennedy grad wins French open Those who know Scott Lipsky say he is a man of few words. Lipsky, who grew up in Merrick and graduated from Kennedy High School in Bellmore, has never been one to boast or complain. And that, in large part, was the secret to the 29-year-old’s success at last week’s French Open, at which he won the mixed doubles title at this Grand Slam event. His resiliency in the face of any chal-

lenge was what kept him going through the ups and down of his tennis career and what ultimately brought him to the mixed doubles finals at the French Open on June 2, his past coaches said. Alongside Australian partner Casey Dellacqua, Lipsky defeated the top-seeded Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia to win his first Grand Slam title.

Janette Pellegrini/Herald

A memorial at the corner of Merrick Avenue and Sunrise Highway in Merrick that pays homage to 9/11 victims Ronnie Gies and Brian Sweeney.

Merrick-Bellmore ‘thrilled’ that bin Laden is gone “I’m thrilled that he’s gone.” That was what Merokean Carol Gies had to say about the death of Osama bin Laden, shortly after President Obama announced to the world that the al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind was killed in a 40-minute firefight with U.S. Navy seals at a fortified compound outside of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. Gies’s husband, Ronnie, a New York City firefighter and Merrick Fire Department chief, died trying

to save others inside the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He was one of 343 city firefighters who were killed in the worst terrorist attack perpetrated on American soil. Ever since, Carol Gies said that she and her three sons –– Tommy, Ronnie Jr. and Bobby –– have struggled to make sense of the attacks and find some sense of closure, some relief from their psychic pain. News of bin Laden’s death

reopened the “raw” wounds that Gies felt in the days and weeks after 19 al Qaeda hijackers slammed two jets into the Twin Towers, causing them to crash to the ground in a fireball. At the same time, Gies said, news of his death gave her a moment to pause. She said she worries about her two oldest sons, Tommy, 28, and Ronnie, 26, both of whom followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the Fire Department of New York.

Facebook photo

Scott Lipsky, a Kennedy High School graduate, won the mixed doubles title at the French Open.


YEAR IN REVIEW Central graduation Much was the same about this year’s Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District graduation ceremonies. Seniors came attired in their caps and gowns –– blue robes for Calhoun, green for Kennedy and red for Mepham. Excited parents showered their now adults children with flowers and balloons, and snapped hundreds of photos. But much was different. For starters, there was the venue. For the first time, Central District officials moved the ceremonies from the high schools to the NYCB Theater at Westbury, formerly the Westbury Music Fair.

Kennedy High School seniors celebrated outside the NYCB Theater in Westbury just before their graduation ceremony got under way. Scott Brinton/Herald



IN BRIEF Autism bill passes Legislature The State Senate and Assembly passed legislation on June 17 to ensure that people with autism receive insurance coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The legislation, which passed unanimously in the Senate and by a large majority in the Assembly, was sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for consideration, and he ultimately signed the measure. State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., a Republican from Merrick, was the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “This is a giant step forward towards helping families with autism get the care they need,” Fuschillo said. “Many of these families are literally going broke paying for this care because their insurance companies refuse to provide coverage.”

Jeff Wilson/Herald

A crowd turned out for the expo’s opening-night festivities.

L.I. film expo a success in its 14th year ` A little Hollywood glitz and glamour came to Bellmore in July for the 14th Annual Long Island International Film Expo, which boasted eight days of independent films from around the world. The festival kicked off with a preview night on July 7 and an openingnight party the following evening. Some 115 films graced the screens at this year’s festival at the Bellmore Movies, including 28 documentaries –– one of them by

Bellmorite Leslye Abbey. Abbey’s documentary, “Experiencing Aging,” her third film screened at the expo, explored the work and writings of social worker and educator Catherine Papell. Also featured was the movie “Jesse,” part of which was filmed in Bellmore in September 2010. Director Fred Carpenter brought the cast and crew to shoot a scene at KJ Farrell’s Bar and Grill on Pettit Avenue.

The film follows Jesse, a Nassau County detective, played by Stephanie Finochio, who gets involved in the investigation of her brother’s murder. After accidentally walking into a robbery/hostage situation at a local convenience story, Jesse seeks solace at a local bar — KJ Farrell’s. There she meets the bartender, Chris, played by Eric Roberts, and the two become romantically involved.

BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011




Hunger Does Not Take A Holiday!


Cuomo signs property-tax cap into law

Come support the work of The INN

Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to the home of a Lynbrook family to sign New York’s first property-tax cap –– six days after the New York State Senate approved the legislation that proponents said would usher in a new era of

fiscal responsibility. Cuomo was joined y local officials, including Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.

August at

Irene swamps the Bellmores

“Art for Hunger’s Sake” featuring Jen Chapin

Nearly 525,000 Long Island Power Authority customers lost electricity in Tropical Storm Irene, which struck Long Island in late August, as the storm’s strong winds, gusting up to 70 mph, sent trees crashing into power lines. Trees were particularly susceptible to collapse, officials said, because the ground was saturated with water, first from

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Aug. 14’s record rainstorm and then from Irene, whose storm surge, combined with a driving rain, put many coastal communities south of Merrick Road under one to three feet of water.

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“Art for Hunger’s Sake”



Jeff Wilson/Herald

Even though Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm when it hit Long Island, it still flooded many parts of Bellmore, like these Shore Road homes, with three feet of water.

Allison Lutz Ruggiero


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December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD


Married in Irene Allison Lutz and Tom Ruggiero celebrated after marrying only a short while before Irene struck Long Island at the Alpha Sigma Boat Club in south Bellmore.



BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011


Bill Kelly/Herald

Four would-be robbers who forced their way into a North Bellmore home sent scores of police on a chase through local neighborhoods.

Home invasion sends cops on chase Four Brooklyn men brandishing knives and a handgun forced their way into a North Bellmore home on Bellmore Avenue, and later, as they attempted to escape, Nassau County police officers pursued the men by car into Merrick and later Wantagh, firing shots at and wounding one of the suspects,

Bellmore street fest, a success once again Tens of thousands of fairgoers from across the South Shore and beyond thronged Bedford Avenue in Bellmore Village for the 25th annual Bellmore Family Street Festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores. The weather –– sunny, with a slight breeze –– was ideal for the festival, which has gained widespread acclaim as Nassau County’s largest family fair.

Sue Grieco/Herald

authorities said. The Nassau County Police Department identified the four men as Eduardo Cruz, 35, Gustavo Arroyo, 33, Dario Guerrero, 55, and Carlos Enrique Segura.




Kennedy celebrates school spirit Kennedy football captain Matthew DelBianco ran through a welcoming crowd of cheerleaders during Kennedy High School’s Homecoming pep rally as students met in the gymnasium to show their Cougar pride. Following the pep rally, the football team took the field, defeating Carle Place 34-28.


Donovan Berthoud/Herald


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BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011


Pit bulls maul North Merrick woman A pit bull that mauled 64-year-old Shashi Sharma at the Brookside School in North Merrick –– one of two that dug their teeth into her arms, legs and head –– eluded capture as police closed in on the animal in North Merrick. Nassau County police officers fired at and possibly wounded the dog, but it ran off. Officials cautioned people to stay away from the animal


and to call 911 immediately if it was spotted. Weeks later, police shot and killed the second pit bull on Jerusalem Avenue in North Merrick, outside a day-care center. Two pit bulls attacked Shashi Sharma at the Brookside School in North Merrick.

Help bring sunshine into the lives of families coping with cancer It costs $6,000 to send a child with cancer to Sunrise Day Camp. Thanks to the generous donations of people like you, we have been able to brighten the lives of hundreds of kids each year. Even a small gift can make a big difference. Sunrise Day Camp is offered free of charge to all children, ages 3 1/2 -16, being treated for cancer and their siblings on a non-sectarian basis. Operated by the Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC on the 300-acre Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, Long Island, Sunrise Day Camp is the only dedicated day camp in the nation for children with cancer and their siblings.

Where children with cancer find a new beginning every day...

Bill Kelly/Herald

Nassau County police officers searched for clues into the fatal shooting of a North Bellmore man outside his East Meadow Avenue home.

At 11:36 a.m. in early November, Nassau County Police received a call that shots had been fired at 925 East Meadow Ave. in North Bellmore. At the scene, officers found Hasan Kaya, 49, lying on the front stoop, bleeding heavily from multiple gunshot wounds, Detective Lt. John Azzata said. Kaya was rushed to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was pronounced dead. Police said that Kaya might have been targeted.

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Man shot and killed in North Bellmore

December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD


Chabad lights the night with giant menorahs By DEIRDRE KRASULA and DAVID WEINGRAD or

f you happened to notice a U.S. military Humvee leading two limousines with giant menorahs atop them through Merrick and Bellmore streets last week, you were not dreaming. On the first day of Hanukkah, on Dec. 20, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Bellmore-Merrick held its annual Great Menorah Car Parade and Menorah Lighting. Members of the U.S. Army’s 69th Infantry Division led the procession, which began in south Merrick, made a stop at Sunrise Highway and Newbridge Road in Bellmore, and completed the journey at Sunrise Highway and Merrick Avenue, where a 12-foot-tall menorah was lit.


A LIMOUSINE CARRYING CHABAD’S Hanukkah wishes made its way through the Bellmores and Merricks. Sue Grieco/Herald

RABBI MARC VOLK lighted this menorah with the assistance of a cherry picker.

RABBI SHIMON KRAMER, of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, thanked the U.S. Army veterans in attendance.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS enjoyed the menorah lighting, despite the rainy weather.

YEAR IN REVIEW Five Towners, Bellmore-Merrick Central coaches lend a hand Dozens of volunteers from the Five Towns and Bellmore-Merrick communities turned out to help at Rock and Wrap It Up’s annual Thanksgiving feat at the First Congregational Church at Beach 94th Street in Rockaway Beach, Queens, which provides a hot meal of turkey and ham with all the trimmings to families in need. The nonprofit global hunger-relief organization Rock and Wrap It Up, founded by longtime Cedarhurst resident Syd Mandelbaum, has sponsored the Thanksgiving meal each year for over a decade and a half.

IN BRIEF Tempers flare at county hearing

Scott Brinton/Herald

Volunteers came from the Five Towns and the Bellmore and Merrick area to help at Rock and Wrap It Up’s annual Thanksgiving feast in Rockaway Beach, which offers a hot meal to families in need.


Kennedy earns top cheerleading title The Kennedy High School varsity cheerleading squad took first place at the 29th annual Nassau County Cheerleading Competition on Dec. 11 in Valley Stream. The team beat out 10 other squads to earn the top prize. At right, the Kennedy team, with Coach Mallory Cogan, at right, middle row, celebrating after the competition.

Courtesy Rhonda Bachenheimer

A Nassau legislative hearing to review the county’s $2.63 billion 2012 budget turned chaotic when residents and MTA Long Island Bus drivers refused to cede the floor, demanding more time to be heard during a 30-minute public comment session. Peter Schmitt, a Republican from Massapequa and the County Legislature’s presiding officer, walked out of the meeting, only to return a halfhour later. Meanwhile, Grover Howell, union chairman of MTA Long Island Bus and a driver, railed against a decision by County Executive Ed Mangano to privatize the municipal bus system, whish serves upward of 100,000 riders daily. The county later signed a contract with Veolia Transportation to take over the bus system as of Jan. 1.

BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011



December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD



Gunther Elementary School to close

IN BRIEF Charged in statewide gun probe

Deirdre Krasula/Herald

North Bellmore Superintendent Arnold Goldstein, Board of Education President Grace Cramsie, and Vice President Jo Ann DeLauter at the Dec. 13 board meeting, at which it was decided that Gunther Elementary School would close next June.

At the close of the workday on June 30, 2012, Gunther Elementary will close its doors to North Bellmore School District children. That was the decision the North Bellmore Board of Education rendered on Dec. 12. It came following the 21-member Committee to Explore


Sacred Heart School to close next June After more than 50 years of educating South Shore children, Sacred Heart School in North Merrick will close next June. The announcement was made on Dec. 6 by the Diocese of Rockville Centre. In a letter posted on the diocese website, Bishop William Murphy explained that the decision was the result “of a decline in school-age population and the economic climate of Long Island.” Parents vowed to fight the closure and were later incensed when Murphy declined to meet with them to discuss possibilities for keeping the school open. Sacred Heart takes in students from throughout the Merricks and Bellmores. Penny Frondelli/Herald

Katherine Keegan, 6, and her mother, Karen, were among the protesters at a candlelight vigil at the Sacred Heart School on Dec. 14. Parents say they hope to keep the school open, but Bishop William Murphy insists that it must close.

Educational Options’ recommendation to close Gunther at the group’s final meeting in November. The Board of Education voted midway through its December meeting. Following the decision, many parents stood up and left the room. The CEEO also recommended extending

the busing mileage requirement to two miles, a measure that would require approval in a public vote. More than an hour of public comment followed the board’s decision to shut down Gunther, with parents voicing frustration and anger.

A North Bellmore man was charged in a statewide gun-show investigation by Attorney General A.G. Schneiderman. Sam Savino of North Bellmore was one of 10 people arrested for failing to conduct required background checks before selling firearms. Savino was the only defendant from Nassau County charged in “Operation Background Bust.” The eight-month investigation was conducted across New York state at six gun shows, including one in Hauppauge in September. The 10 defendants were found guilty of violating the state’s background check necessary to sell firearms.




BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011


Kennedy sophomore wins wrestling title Robert Person never wavered, even as the Kennedy sophomore’s early three-point lead in the 96-pound finals of the Nassau County Division I wrestling championships against Oceanside’s Rocco Candella was whittled to nothing Feb. 13. Instead, Person kept his composure, and more important, his focus, scoring four of the last five points over the final two periods to emerge with an 8-5 victory and the Cougars’ first individual county championship since 2005. “I just had to keep my mind in it and keep wrestling,” Person said after running his record this season to 40-1. “It definitely helped knowing what he was going to do,” he added, noting that the two had met a week earlier, with Candella on the short end of a 12-5 decision. “He’s a really tough kid and he came after me. I have a lot of respect for him.” Person’s road to the finals as the No. 3 seed was far from easy. He advanced to the championship with a 6-4 decision over MacArthur’s Justin Cooksey in the semis, and his tournament began with an 8-7 victory over Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn after Person opened up what appeared to be a commanding six-point lead. In running up his career win total to 96, Person has demonstrated that he is far from the normal underclassman on the mats.

Jeff Wilson/Herald

Calhoun’s Carla Miguel, left, and Mepham’s Kelsey Simpson vie for control of the ball during a Nassau Class AA semifinal playoff game.

Lady Colts finish 16-1-2

Jeff Wilson/Herald

Kennedy’s Robert Person celebrates after capturing the 96-pound Nassau County Division I wrestling championship. He beat Oceanside’s Rocco Candela, 8-5, in the finals.


Cougars win five straight on gridiron

Donovan Berthoud/Herald

Kennedy’s Matthew DelBiancoplows through the icy mud for some yardage during a Conference II win over New Hyde Park Oct. 29.

A regular season that began 0-3 and with a lot of question marks for Kennedy on the football field ended with a lot of answers and an exclamation mark. The Cougars ripped off their fifth consecutive victory, a 21-6 decision over New Hyde Park Oct. 29, to give the program its longest winning streak since the 1973 team finished a perfect 8-0. “The guys decided that we weren’t done yet,” head coach Nick Martone said of the turnaround that also helped Kennedy squeak into the first-round of the Conference II playoffs as the No. 8 seed. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.” Kennedy, which fell to eventual champion Garden City in the playoff opener, hit the five-win mark for the first time since 1975. “We had a couple of seniors that last couple of days that were [previously] soft-spoken starting to speak up a little bit,” he said of the week leading up to one of the program’s biggest games in years. “The other guys were just latching on to that.” The five-game winning streak also featured a comeback from a 21-point deficit against Carle Place Oct. 6. Racalbuto connected with junior Ralph Faiella for a 38-yard score on the game’s final play to give Kennedy a 34-28 win.

With just under two minutes of play in a Nassau Class AA girls’ soccer semifinal game at Tully Park Nov. 4, it looked like fourth-seeded Mepham was about to spoil Calhoun’s undefeated season. But Lady Colts outside defender Nora Charidah snagged a ball at midfield and lifted it toward Mepham’s goal. Jessica Foley took the pass just in front of the net and drilled a shot to tie the game. In the blink of an eye it was headed into overtime where No. 9 Calhoun would ultimately advance to the finals with a 2-1 win. Senior Mary Hijazi netted the game-winning goal. Calhoun, which upset No. 1 Farmingdale in the quarterfinals on Halloween, would finish the season with a 16-1-2 record after coming up short in the title game against MacArthur. “We had an incredible season,” Lady Colts coach Lori Biscardi said. In the stunning upset of Farmingdale, senior forward Kristina Gandolfo, who ranked among the county’s leading goal scorers, found the net twice and sophomore goalkeeper Alissa Battaglia made 13 saves to spark the upset for the Conference AA-II regular-season champs. Gandolfo had 21 goals on the year.


Gunther joins together to honor heroes Broaching the issue of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with young children is always difficult for the adults in their lives, but it’s also important that they grow up aware of their history. That’s why teachers and staff members at Gunther Elementary School in North Bellmore joined together at the start of the school year to figure

out the best way to teach students about that terrible day on its 10th anniversary. When brainstorming ways to commemorate the event, special-education teacher Christine Meaney came across a website that would give the Gunther community the opportunity to celebrate the everyday heroes of 9/11 while allowing partici-

pants to bring their own messages to the project. The idea of a quilt was born, and soon the larger Gunther community was involved. The materials for the quilt arrived around the end of October, and Gunther students got to work. Each student’s family was sent a swatch of cotton cloth, with instructions about the project attached. “We left it pretty much up to the families,� Meaney said, allowing parents the opportunity to speak with their children about what happened on 9/11 and how that day changed the country. The staff decided it would be “best for the families to decide how they wanted to discuss it with the children,� Meaney explained. Before the quilt project, Gunther held its annual 9/11 assembly during the first week of school. This year, sixth-graders led the assembly, during which they announced that they would contribute to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes kindness, one small act at a time. After the assembly, Gunther students made promises to spread kindness in their community and at home.

The sixth-graders would present their completed acts of kindness to the rest of the school during an assembly, when the completed quilt would also be presented. The quilt comprised 225 swatches, which were buttoned together. Each student contributed a swatch, as did members of the Gunther staff. A unique message appeared on each piece of cloth, carrying a message of hope for the future, Meaney said. Many swatches depicted American flags, while others had quotes of hope and heroism. In addition to allowing the students to express their thoughts on the 9/11 anniversary, the project gave students a chance to work together for a greater cause. “They got a better sense of their school and their community,� Meaney said. The school presented the finished quilt to the North Bellmore Fire Department to pay tribute to the everyday heroes from their community. The fire department doesn’t have a place to house the quilt, so it remains on display in Gunther’s all-purpose room. The fire department plans to display it as soon as a space for it is created.

Š Disney

To Advertise In The Herald Community Newspapers Please Call 516-569-4000

Don’t be overrun by clutter! Place a 2-week ad in the Herald and PrimeTime to sell your hidden treasures fast! Call the Classified Department today at 516-569-4000, press “5�.

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December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD


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BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011


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December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD

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Health & Fitness

Health & Fitness

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My best advice: follow the rules Q. It’s getting more expensive to build, and I’m really having problems finding a contractor to do a job. I don’t want to have to get a permit but plan to build to code, and I don’t need a licensed contractor who has expensive insurance. I have plenty of family and friends who can do this job, but I want to know if I’ll get “stuck” later for having done this. I have to save the money and will take my chances, but what should I know so I don’t have a problem I can’t get out of later? A. That’s like asking a criminal attorney for the best method to beat the system because you’re planning to rob a bank. Maybe the attorney can even drive the getaway driver. What you can be “stuck” with is myriad problems I can only guess at, based on the fact that building to code these days is like playing Monopoly with a 4-year-old. The rules keep changing, and you can’t win against a 4-year-old or the codes. For example, many ONTE EEPER municipalities are changing, and changing again, their local zoning requirements, so what’s passable today may not be in a year or two. Window sizes and flood requirements have changed, energy requirements and fire protection are next up to be instituted, and plumbing systems may be right behind. I work with many people who are “stuck” when trying to sell their homes but have construction that wasn’t permitted. Some come unraveled when told that the home they’ve lived in for years needs costly changes to meet current codes because of updates. The codes do have provisions for existing buildings, but still have issues that can’t be “grandfathered.” Just because you lived there and used something the way it was for a long time is meaningless to an official whose job is to enforce regulations or face their own consequences if they don’t. It’s ironic that codes were put in place for our protection, but can have the opposite effect because more people these days are opting to do what you’re planning to, leading to less-safe structures that, skirting the authorities, may cause injury, even death, and/or legal problems, and lead insurance companies to not settle. You need to save money. We all do. The best advice I can give is the same advice I give to those who tell me, up front, that they’re not going to file plans for permits and will be doing the job themselves. It’s my job, as a professional, to advise you to follow the law and to prepare documents that meet the legal requirements of your state and local jurisdiction. Fortunately, using computers, we can revise plans without a lot of messy eraser dust when the time comes, but you have the burden of reconstruction to make things right when the time comes. That’s the chance you take.

Ask The Architect




HERALD Crossword Puzzle



© 2011 Monte Leeper Readers are encouraged to send questions to, with “Herald question” in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper, architect.

W3 12/29



BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011

Home Sales A sampling of recent sales in the area

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Broken or Missing Baluster/Spindles Weak or Broken Steps




Autos Wanted

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Composite Week Ending Dec. 16



1 Year Adjustable Week Ending Dec. 16 Previous Week

3.68% 3.67%

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Composite Week Ending Dec. 16




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Autos Wanted


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Source: The Multiple Listing Service of Long Island Inc,, a computerized network of real estate offices serving Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, and Brooklyn.

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Quality Doesn’t Cost - It Pays!


Lynbrook $370,000 Lakeview. Tudor. 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms.

Valley Stream $540,000 Van Dam. Split. 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Finished basement. Eat-in kitchen. Den with stone floor and fireplace. North Woodmere area. 2 car garage. Central air conditioning. Taxes: $8,633.78

• Tree Removal


Elmont $470,000 Cameron. Colonial. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Finished basement. Eat-in kitchen. Taxes: $9,950

Rockville Centre $610,000 Harvard. Colonial. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Finished basement. Eat-in kitchen. Taxes: $14,726.03,



East Rockaway $360,000 Second. 2 Story. 3 bedrooms, 2, bathrooms. Eatin kitchen. Living room with fireplace. Taxes: $7,100

Merrick $445,000 Parkwood. Ranch. 3 bedrooms , 2 bathrooms. Finished basement. Updated eat-in kitchen with granite and stainless steel countertops and sliders to deck. Living room with fireplace. Formal dining room. Central air conditioning. Taxes: $10,119



Cedarhurst $590,000 Roselle. Tudor. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Finished basement. Eat-in kitchen. Finished attic. Central air conditioning. Taxes: $8,900

Finished basement. Eat-in kitchen with breakfast nook. Living room with fireplace. Patio. Taxes: $7,968.63


Baldwin $352,000 Carl. Colonial. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Finished basement. Eat-in kitchen. Screened front porch. Formal dining room. Taxes: $11,300


Find it in the PRIMETIME Classifieds.


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December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD

The masthead The box at the far left side of the page is called the “masthead.” It contains the newspaper’s “flag” or nameplate, and the lion logo of the parent company of the Herald Community Newspapers, Richner Communications, Inc. The masthead offers basic information about the paper and how it functions. Brothers Stuart and Clifford Richner jointly guide the business and news operations for the 15 weekly newspapers in the Herald Community Newspaper group, including: the Nassau Herald, serving the Five Towns, and Heralds for Baldwin, Bellmore, East Meadow, Franklin Square/Elmont, Long Beach, Lynbrook/East Rockaway, Malverne/West Hempstead, Merrick, Oceanside/Island Park, Rockville Centre and Valley Stream. The editor of each paper is responsible for the assignment, selection and placement of stories, most of which the editors and reporters write. The executive editor oversees the editorial department staff and the editorial content of all 15 newspapers in the chain. The production department is responsible for the paper’s design. The advertising and art departments produce the large, often illustrated, “display” advertisements that appear throughout the paper. They help clients decide what the ads will say and how they will look. The classified department produces the small ads at the back of each week’s paper that are arranged by headings. The masthead also lists the paper’s age, the names of its founders, its address, telephone and fax numbers and notice that the contents are copyrighted.

For your information . . . Editorial page

Editorial comment Editorials offer the opinion of the Herald. The editorials are written by the editors, but do not necessarily represent their personal views. That is why they are unsigned: editorial comment is the newspaper’s institutional voice. The editors and publishers meet weekly to discuss positions the paper may take and how those positions will be expressed. Most editorials respond to developments in the news, but they may also be based on independent reporting or discussions with reporters to gain information that goes beyond what has already appeared in print. Editors and the publishers may also talk with advocates for causes or experts in a field to help formulate opinions or policies. Before elections, they meet with candidates for office. Most editorials concern local issues, but the newspaper may speak out as well on national or international questions that are part of the lives of our readers. Usually those editorials will try to address those concerns from a local perspective, since that is what we know best and what makes us different from daily newspapers and weekly news magazines. We hope our editorials are forceful without being strident and that they may persuade our readers to think and act in the best interests of the community.

Editorial cartoon The editorial cartoons are supplied by a syndicate, which represents major cartoonists across the country and the spectrum of political opinion. They are chosen to provide thoughtful or humorous viewpoints on topics of general interest. They do not represent the opinion of the newspaper or its editors.


HERALD Editor: Chris Connolly


HERALD Editor: Scott Brinton

East Meadow

Franklin Square/ Elmont

Editor: Shannon Koehle

Editor: Jackie Nash



Long Beach


Editor: Anthony Rifilato


What are the editorial pages all about? Who writes editorials? How do letters and guest columns get published? This week’s pages offer some answers to our readers. We thank The Riverdale Press for the idea.

Opinion columns

Opinion pages

Special features Other items will also appear on our editorial and op-ed pages, including the “Framework” feature that showcases creative work by the Herald’s photo staff, which, we hope, brightens the page and your week. We also make mistakes, despite our best efforts. We strive to correct them as soon as possible with a correction or clarification notice on these pages, the most prominent in the paper after page 1.

Letters to the editor Because community opinions are so important to us, we publish virtually all letters we receive. This policy, of course, can bring problems with it. Some letters may seem silly, dull or poorly written, but we believe you should have the chance to read them anyway; they are voices from our shared community. Letters may also be tasteless, racist or sexist, but we believe they should be published too. We cannot pretend that such attitudes do not exist; if we are to fight them, we must meet them head-on. We believe deeply that the remedy to “bad” speech is more speech, not censorship. Vituperative attacks on local people or institutions pose a more complicated problem. The laws governing libel apply to letters to the editor with the same force as anything else we publish. Both the letter writer and this newspaper can be held accountable for heedlessly damaging a reputation. Public figures like politicians have less protection from outraged opinion than do private citizens. Robust public debate must take precedence over our feelings and the sensitivities of those who have entered the public arena. We do not publish anonymous letters. Letters must be signed and include a daytime phone number and an address, so we can verify that a letter is genuine. Phone numbers and full addresses will not be published. We are reluctant to publish letters from people who are unwilling to stand openly behind what they have written. We are willing to withhold the name of a letter writer on request only when the letter states a valid reason for doing so. Within those limits, we will publish as much as we can each week, though letters will sometimes have to wait until there is enough room. We usually refrain from commenting on letters, but in certain cases an “editor’s note” may attempt to correct misinformation or misunderstanding.

Lynbrook/ East Rockaway

Malverne/ West Hempstead



Oceanside/ Island Park

Rockville Centre

Valley Stream

HERALD HERALD HERALD HERALD HERALD HERALD HERALD Editor: Mary Malloy Editor: Scott Brinton Editor: Jeff Bessen Editor: Judy Rattner Editor: Andrew Hackmack Editor: Lee Landor Editor: Alex Costello

BELLMORE HERALD — December 29, 2011

Each week, we publish two pages of opinion in addition to the editorial page. Most of these pages are devoted to the columns of our three weekly or bi-weekly contributors: Randi Kreiss, the former editor of the Nassau Herald; Scott Brinton, the senior editor of the Bellmore and Merrick Heralds; former Senator Alfonse D’Amato; and our newest addition, former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer. Our writers come from diverse backgrounds and from different points of the political spectrum. Their columns reflect their own opinions on topical issues. The newspaper does not select the topics on which columnists opine, and their publication is not an endorsement of the positions they espouse.


December 29, 2011 — BELLMORE HERALD


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Two spectacular events at Long Island’s most sought after venue for New Year’s Eve. Visit www.gchevents for details or call 516.663.7172 to reserve.

Bellmore Herald  
Bellmore Herald  

516-284-8248 516-284-8248 f Webster’s Dictionary were to define “unsung hero,” the entry might simply read “Vincent Proto.” The 59-year-old...