The TIMES HUNTINGTON Edition
HUNTINGTON • HUNTINGTON BAY • GREENLAWN • HALESITE • LLOYD HARBOR • LLOYD NECK • COLD SPRING HARBOR Volume 2, No. 18
March 12, 2009
Photos by Ted Taylor
Welcome, whether friend or rover! Everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day and, due to demand for parading pipe and drum bands the Island over, the saying applies through much of March as well. This past Sunday, the O’Hare clan — above, from left: Juliana, Billy, Danielle, Frankie, Eric, Ashley, Eric, Matthew, Tara, Michael and Michael — celebrated their hometown’s 75th annual St. Patrick’s parade, as did fellow revelers, at right: Kathy Eklund, Jamie Brzustoski and Michael Brzustoski, also of Huntington. More parade photos on our website.
Dollar wrenching Two districts hit their caps, but at what cost to kids? BY ARLENE GROSS
BY ARLENE GROSS
The 2 percent spending increase that the Harborfields school district has proposed would mean cuts to staff, administration and programs districtwide if the board and public adopts it for the 2009-10 school year. As noted at a public workshop last Saturday, the Harborfields school district would have seen a 5.04 percent or $3.46 million spending increase Continued on page A6
Huntington school administrators on Monday proposed a draft $105.56 million budget with a potential 3.95 percent tax rate increase, hitting the board’s target of a 2 percent cap. The proposal, if adopted this spring, would carry a tax rate of about $197.98 per $100 assessed value. Spending typically goes up every year due to Continued on page A6
He lived boldly, outside the lines
‘Close to Home’ exhibit opens
Artist embodied spirit behind ‘Ride for Life’
Residents rail against spate of shootings near school
St. Patrick once again on the march Sunday
On our website
For breaking news, visit www.northshoreoflongisland.com
PAGE A2 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • MARCH 12, 2009
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THURSDAY, April 2, 2009 • 6:30-9:30 pm $60/person or $75 at door We are pleased to announce our honorees: DENISE AND CHUCK ADAMS OF ADAMS CYCLERY Community Volunteers of the Year Part of the proceeds of the event will be shared with Food Pantries of St. Anthony Padua and Northport Food Pantry.
Many sponsorship opportunities are available. Please check out our website at: www.eastnorthport.com for all the details.
Courtesy Vanderbilt Museum
The Whale Shark exhibit, one of the many educational features the museum offers to children from across the Island.
Parks fee hike passes BY ARLENE GROSS firstname.lastname@example.org
In a 12-6 vote, the Legislature overrode County Executive Steve Levy’s veto last Tuesday and increased park fees to bring an additional $1 million into the county’s coffers. Most of the money will aid the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, which took a big hit last fall when its endowment dropped precipitously, along with the rest of the declining stock market. The bill’s sponsor, Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D-East Setauket), said she had been exploring park fee hikes for more than a year, “just because our costs have gone up and they’re not reflected in the fees.” The cost of fuel for the parks department, for instance, has increased by about 500 percent and people with larger recreational vehicles with more appliances have not been asked to help defray the costs. “During these very difficult economic times, the taxpayers of Suffolk County should not be subsidizing recreational activities on as high a level as we had been in the parks. We have not raised user fees in our parks for seven years. There’s just a sense of fairness in asking people who are engaged in recreational activities to at least keep up with inflationary prices.” Dan Aug, a spokesman for the county executive, said Levy was proud to have not raised park fees for five years. “So he was disappointed that the Leg-
islature went in that direction,” Aug said. “At the same time, however, he’s pleased that the museum will be open and operating for a period of time, that will allow all parties to endeavor to find a long-term solution leading to continued operation of the facility.” Though he is for the county propping up the Vanderbilt, Legislator Lou D’Amaro (D-North Babylon) voted to sustain Levy’s veto, he said, “because this is not the time to be raising park fees — when the economy is in free fall and the fees would be paid by those who could least afford to pay it.” D’Amaro also questioned the wisdom of relying on a short-term solution: the park fee windfall is only for one year. “They’re going to need funding well beyond that one-year period,” he opined. Also, whether higher park fees actually yield more county revenue remains to be seen. It might be that fewer people use the parks as a result, he said. Another of his concerns is that the Vanderbilt won’t see any of the funding until late summer, after people have been using the parks for a few months. “Based on the testimony I’ve heard at the Legislature from the Vanderbilt representatives, their cash flow crunch is occurring now. To wait three, four or five months is not going to help them.” Still, Carol Ghiorsi Hart, executive director of the museum, sounded upbeat about the Legislature’s vote. “We are very, Continued on page A4
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BY ARLENE GROSS email@example.com
The Huntington Bay artist who died last Wednesday of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis worked up to his final days, his wife said last week. “He would get in his studio and try to do something, which was amazing because physically doing anything was extremely challenging,” Donna Simonetti said of her husband, Mark Kuhn, 57. Two years ago, Kuhn was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease affected the bulbar region of his brain, inhibiting his speech, swallowing and breathing. “Eating became more difficult because he would choke and he couldn’t clear his throat,” Simonetti said, “so last July he had a feeding tube inserted.” Due to his illness, Kuhn could no longer work with sculpture, so he returned to his artistic roots: painting. “At his soul, he was a painter.” Up until last week, Kuhn was working on “The Lifeline Series,” which Simonetti described as “an extension of the images he had done in his sculptures over the years but brought to a flat surface with great emphasis of color.” It was a dead oak tree his wife wanted removed from their Huntington property that inspired him to start sculpting 18 years ago. “He said ‘Oh no, don’t do that. I see an image of a face, about 30 feet up.’ We had them top the tree off and he created what we called ‘The suburban totem pole.’” When their daughter Paige attended Flower Hill Primary School in the early
Courtesy Kuhn family
Mark Kuhn: a steadfast artist through ALS.
1990s, her class and the rest of the second grade toured Kuhn’s studio, gathering around the totem pole to sketch it. “That was a choice moment in our lives, all those little kids sitting out there.” Because the tree’s roots were still in the ground, however, it had rotted from the inside out. “From that he learned that if he’s going to do sculptures, he’s got to put them on pedestals so that their root systems are not intact,” Simonetti said. Over the years, Kuhn continued to paint and sculpt, creating a centerpiece statue of the assumption of Mary that still graces the lawn of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Centerport. About a year ago, he began “The Lifeline
Series” of “very colorful figurative forms that seem to float or swim through interesting atmospheres,” Simonetti said. The 12 canvases and dozens of drawings will be on display at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, from July 15 to Aug. 16, where Kuhn taught for many years. When he first joined the Art League after moving to Long Island 19 years ago, Kuhn wanted to reach out to other local artists and called upon Huntington painter Stan Brodsky. Ever a fan of Kuhn’s work, Brodsky was most impressed with “The Lifeline Series.” Brodsky said, “These paintings are very bold, large and extremely fresh; they’re not worked over in any way. It seems as if he knew what he wanted.” Former Art League teacher Sue Contessa, of St. James, said she was happy that Kuhn had worked to the end. “Truthfully, I don’t know how he had the strength to do it.” Simonetti conjectured that Kuhn, a creative artist since childhood, used art during periods of personal crisis to express what he was experiencing emotionally. “I think this was no different than that,” she said. “It was like an essential part of his being to express himself in his art, particularly if he was going through a difficult time.” Kuhn taught in an atypical, free-spirited manner, bringing in unusual objects for still life pieces, such as shoes and his mask collection, Contessa recalled. “It wasn’t like the normal flowers and fruit. I think he had more fun and I think he hoped it would make it more fun for them,” she said, referring to his students.
Simonetti also spoke of Kuhn’s unique spirit. “He had his own way of looking at the world. He questioned and evaluated everything on his own terms He didn’t take anything at face value. … He approached everything with great passion whether it was his art work, his family, his music.” Learning the bass guitar several years ago, Kuhn formed a rock band called “The Barking Men,” which performed at Huntington’s Summer Arts Festival last year. “He’s always driven,” she said. “He takes up the guitar, he’s practicing for ten hours a day until he becomes proficient enough to play with professional players who had played all their life. He was not going to let adversity stop him from doing what he wanted to do.” One of those band members, Peter Galasso, of Setauket described Kuhn as fiercely adventurous in life and in art. “In music, he was always exploring, either rhythmically or tonally, different ideas that you wouldn’t expect, which is a great thing — not only for him but [also] for the people that are playing with him. You want to hear things that spark your imagination. That’s what Mark was good at. He always took chances.” Kuhn’s 20-year-old son, Bennett, who took a leave of absence from Tufts University to help his father work, said spending the last few months with his dad was a blessing. “To be here for him, to comfort him and to help him with his work.” Bennett had taken a road trip with his dad to get closer to him after his diagnosis but soon realized that “we already been best friends for a long time. There wasn’t Continued on page A4
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MARCH 12, 2009 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • PAGE A3
His paintbrush was his ‘Lifeline’ in illness
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Parks fee hike
Continued from page A2 very happy here at the Vanderbilt that we will be able to keep all our doors open to the public through the end of the year.” In the meantime, the museum is fundraising with the help of the recently established Friends of the Vanderbilt group. Behind the scenes, museum trustees are working to secure corporate and foundation support and apply for grants. “We’re trying to develop some special event programs to bring in more visitors,” she said. “We do expect our attendance to go up as people stay closer to home. We’re going to be offering more of what we do so well.” Hart has high hopes for a new summer program for children called Wizard University. “Our site with the planetarium as well as the historic mansion with the collections is the perfect site to really excite the mind in imaginative ways and teach real science and history but in a fun way.” What’s more, the museum has added vending machines and is exploring food service options, like partnering with local restaurants or catering facilities. However, there is one revenue stream that is down this season — catered weddings. Fewer couples booked their weddings there this season. “Because weddings are planned usually a year ahead, it’s going
to be hard to make that up.” Viloria-Fisher sees the recent legislation as a win-win solution. “The point here is that whether or not we passed this bill, we would have had to put some money into the Vanderbilt,” she said. “What this bill does is prevent us from having a hole in our budget. We have a commitment to keep the Vanderbilt alive. We would have had to find the money somewhere else. And in these times, where were we going to find the money?”
Continued from page A3 much catching up to do.” Calling his father a devoted family man and friend, Bennett said, “The space he put into all aspects of his life was not very distant. They were all very connected. They flowed seamlessly.” Bennett’s sister, Paige, 23, formed the “Making Our Mark Team,” raising $7,000 for the ALS walk last September. Paige said, “It seems like everyone that we run into, the way they describe him is: he was alive, vivacious and full of energy always.” Brodsky added, “I will miss Mark’s presence and his friendship a great deal. It was a great pleasure knowing him.” In lieu of flowers, the Kuhns request donations be made to the ALS Association online at alsa.org/goto/markkuhn.
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PAGE A4 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • MARCH 12, 2009
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MARCH 12, 2009 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • PAGE A5
Courtesy Jim Hoops
Huntington’s Stevens Merilan plays defense, above, on March 4 against a tough East Hampton team. His teammate John Patron, left, fires away a pass under heavy pressure. Anthony Brown, lower left, feels the pressure and looks for an open Blue Devils player.
Blue Devils fall in county finals to East Hampton BY JOHN WESTERMANN
The Huntington boys’ basketball team fought its way past John Glenn to the Class A final at Longwood High School on hustle, poise and timely outside shooting. The East Hampton Bonackers won
this game last year. The building was full and loud on March 4 with student sections chanting good-natured abuse at each other. The game broadcast live on radio. The winner advanced to the small-school Suffolk County final against Greenport and the state regional game on March 13 against Roslyn at Farmingdale State. A perfect setting and a perfect opportunity — except the Blue Devils outside shooting turned ice-cold and they fell 52-32. “East Hampton played a great ball game tonight,” Huntington head coach Mike Schmitz said. “They were under control, doing what they usually do; and we couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean. Plus, we made a bunch of mistakes. Every mistake against East Hampton winds up an easy bucket. I said it before: when we don’t shoot well, we lose.” The Blue Devils got a good start and
led 5-1 after a drive and 3-ball from senior forward Ted Calligeros. Senior forward Anthony Brown soared to block a Bonacker layup and Calligeros took a charge on the defensive end. Still, East Hampton fought back to an 8-8 tie at the end of the first period. Calligeros worked the offensive glass for an early second-quarter put back but then drew his second foul and had to go back on defense. The Bonackers got hot from outside and surged to a 24-13 lead at the half. Huntington kept the game within the 10-point range during the third quarter but Calligeros picked up a few more touch fouls. When Calligeros was called for his fifth and sat down, the Blue Devil deep threat was much reduced and the Bonackers were able to concentrate fully on smothering senior guard Matt Duff y. Huntington freshman John Pa-
tron grabbed a rebound and scored, and Brown dropped in one final layup to make the 52-32 final score. Center Hayden Ward scored 26 points to lead the East Hampton offense. Point guard Jerome Russell added 16 points and showed almost limitless range. Brown had 11 points slashing to the basket for Huntington. Calligeros finished with 10 points. Patron had six, Duff y three and Stevens Merilan added a bucket. “I’m proud of the kids,” said Schmitz. “We went even further than I thought we might. They gave a great effort this year.” He continued, “I’m definitely not a fan of using three referees in these playoff games. They don’t practice it, and I don’t think they’re very good at it. I thought they let their guys jump over our backs for rebounds and then fouled out Calligeros on very little contact. I watched the AA game the night before, and I think they were a problem there, too.”
Ryan scores 10 for Tornadoes in small-school championship loss BY ROBERT LEUNER
Like a swarm of pesky gnats, or worse, hungry, biting blackfl ies on a hot Memorial Day afternoon, the Wyandanch Warriors, Class B champs, pestered and ultimately got the better of the Class A champion Harborfields Tornadoes in a Suffolk County small-school girls’ basketball game played at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue on March 6. Wyandanch’s 53-39 victory was due to their tenacious defense and the Tornadoes’ inability to fi nd their offense. Wyandanch junior guard Kim Weathers led all scorers with 19 points while senior center Natassya Wright chipped in with 9 points and six rebounds. Eighth-grade forward Bridgit Ryan paced the Torna-
Wyandanch @ Harborfields girls’ hoops Team Wyandanch Harborfields
1st 2nd 13 13 11 10
3rd 14 7
4th Final 13 53 11 39
does with 11 points while senior captain Dominique Hendrickson added 7 points and 13 rebounds. “I think we played hard but they shot better,” said Harborfields head coach Russ Tietjen. “Give Wyandanch credit, their press worked. We tried to pass upcourt but their speed and quickness were too much.” The Wyandanch defense forced some 30 Harborfields turnovers with their court press. The most dominant was a steal and basket by Syriah Celestine in the Harborfields backcourt as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter and put Wyandanch up 13-11. Harborfields managed to stay close in the fi rst half behind the long-range shooting of sophomore Lynn Zhong, senior Casey Bishop and Ryan, but the Wyandanch defense proved to be all but impenetrable. The Tornadoes were only trailing by two points when Wyandanch senior Charneice McCullough let go a bomb from beyond the half-court line that found the basket as time expired. The Warriors went into the half with a 26-21 lead. Somehow Wyandanch turned up their defensive effort in the third quarter. They forced three Har-
borfields turnovers in the fi rst minute of play and opened the second half behind a solid 8-2 run. The Warriors began to open their offense up behind a ferocious transition game that netted several fast-break baskets. Flustered and frustrated, Harborfields hardly stood a chance at regaining their composure. At the end of three quarters the Warriors had extended their lead to 11 points at 40-29. Wyandanch padded their lead to 15 points with two straight baskets to open up the fourth. Meanwhile, the Tornadoes continued to remain cold from the floor. At times they appeared desperate too. Several times they let go with long shots that failed to fi nd their mark. Nor could they fi nd any success on the inside. Earlier in the game Hendrickson enjoyed some freedom in front of the basket, but as the game wore on the Warriors adjusted and limited her mobility. Fortunately the loss does not deter Harborfields from their quest for a Class A New York State championship. The Tornadoes will face Nassau County champions Floral Park in the regional fi nals on March 14 at Hofstra University beginning at 2 pm.
PAGE A6 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • MARCH 12, 2009
Be careful with our parks We have radically mixed feelings regarding County Executive Steve Levy’s plan unveiled last week to seek corporate sponsorships and advertising at county facilities, in the name of addressing his particular level of government’s fiscal woes. Granted, thinking outside the box is needed and welcome in times of crisis, and we have no doubt this proposal qualifies. If Levy can tap into a significant pot of gold to keep taxpayers from reaching deeper into their pockets at precisely the time when they can least afford it, terrific — to a point. His proposal is to solicit “targeted marketing” at county parks, golf courses, campgrounds and hiking trails. His request seeks offers of “advertising, displays, signs or corporate sponsorships throughout the county’s expansive parks and recreation system.” Responses are to be directed to the Suffolk County Naming Rights Committee — we didn’t know either that the county had such an animal. Our ambivalence toward Levy’s idea comes in the breadth of his request. Golf courses already consist of acres of advertising, beginning at the pro shop but included in every foursome walking the fairways — golfers decked out in their Titlist Golf Ball caps and Jack Nicklaus shirts and carrying their Wilson golf bag with the large logo proclaiming that golfer’s choice and who willingly provides free advertising for the company. A modest sized billboard on the trail to the first tee; a logo attached to each ball washer; some golf attire clothing company
Continued from page A1 just to maintain the current budget. Even a contingency budget would bring a 3.78 percent or $2.6 million spending increase. Amping the budget by 2 percent over its current $68.65 million would yield a tax rate increase of $8.46 per $100 assessed value, up 4.37 percent from the current $193.64 rate. Revenues, including state aid, applied fund balance, interest and reserve appropriations, if applied, are expected to drop by $818,000 to $16.92 million or 4.6 percent less than this year. “Those are very, very sketchy at this point,” William Nimmo, assistant superintendent for business said. A father of three, Derek McKane, of Greenlawn, said he is concerned that people are overreacting to news reports and cutting off much needed funding as a result. “As I understand it,” he said, “the difference between a contingency budget, which is a radically reduced one, and the budget that is being discussed, which is even further restrictive, is less than a dollar a day per household for the community,” McKane said, “It seems like that little amount of money to have to increase class sizes, approaching 30 kids in a class, to cut out sports programs and all these kinds of enriching programs that make a school district a good school district for less than a dollar a day seems like a bad decision.” He continued, “As much as this com-
name displayed across the front of each golf cart — why not? The advertising is already there; encourage more of it to ease the burden on the citizenry, possibly providing the funding needed to keep the courses operating. But — billboards in campgrounds and along hiking trails? We don’t think so. The whole idea, is it not, of those facilities is to get away from the norm, from civilization so to speak, for a few hours or days. The last thing any nature-loving hiker would tolerate along her favorite trail through some of the few pristine acres still left on Long Island is an advertisement for hiking boots staring her in the face at the beginning of her walk. Campers and hikers are trying to get away from it all, not just most. We urge the county executive to tread very carefully into this new venture. Let’s not ruin the valuable county facilities he’s trying to save. Let’s not sell out completely to the corporate mentality that says everything — the Mets new home, the Ducks ball field, Jones Beach theater and the rest — must have an international corporate giant’s name plastered on the side of it. (We shall miss Shea Stadium, named for — would you believe — a person?!) Be careful, Mr. Levy, how you treat our parks, our woods, our open spaces. I think that I shall never see, A billboard lovely as a tree. Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, I’ll never see a tree at all.
Continued from page A1 contractual expenses, including teacher and administrative raises. So, to arrive at the 3.95 percent tax rate hike, the district proposed reductions of about $1.9 million: $1.45 million from staff and $448,000 from programs. Many members of the public showed up to voice their concern for two of the proposed cuts: one to shelve half the four librarians at the primary school level; the other, to reduce the number of elementarylevel SEARCH enrichment program teachers from three to one. Noting that for many children in Huntington, the school library is their only library experience, Cindy Tietjen, the librarian and media specialist at Jefferson Primary since 2001, said, “Over 15 years ago, a shared librarian was tried on the elementary level and all who were present during that brief time recall it as a dismal failure. The room was dark, shuttered … resources disappeared, books were piled all over and, worst of all children, were left
Another classic station
TO THE EDITOR: In April 2004, Daniel Karpen made a proposal to the school district to conduct a wind energy study to determine the feasibility of installing a wind turbine on school grounds at the Oldfield Middle School. We should all be working to keep costs as low as possible and that means exploring every opportunity for savings. Among the things that should be considered is the cost of energy. I have been told that the electric bill for the district is approximately $700,000 per year. This is a substantial amount of money and a good place to start for savings. Modern electrical generating equipment using wind may be an answer. In addition to amortizing the equipment over time, we may be able to remove that cost entirely. This is keeping with our desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are created by conventional oil and gas-fired electrical generation that is used on Long Island. Mr. Karpen’s proposal is a serious one, and it should be put on the agenda, examined, and approved if deemed feasible at the next scheduled meeting on March 18. Ernest Fazio Centerport
Ogden Nash 1933
munity is hit as any other, the dollar a day is something that we can always pull together no matter how bad it gets. We have to be careful not to run scared and constrain ourselves in ways that we’re going to regret.” The next budget hearing and community forum is set for Wednesday, March 18, at 7:45 pm in Oldfield Middle School. Budget cuts breakdown on our website.
OPINION Wind power, a real option
without a friendly face to deliver instruction. In a time when reading scores are of the utmost importance, does it make sense to limit access to books?” Before she left the podium, Trustee Elizabeth Black pointedly asked Tietjen if she is a taxpayer in the community. “No, I am not,” came the reply. Suzanne Miller, a Woodhull parent, made the case for keeping SEARCH, which is an acronym for Scholastic Enrichment and Resource for the Children of Huntington. “The opportunity for enrichment is not something that should be taken from our children,” Miller said. “It is a fundamental part of what stimulates their learning skills. … Just because a program isn’t required, doesn’t mean it should be eliminated. … Are we a district that can only afford to properly educate 85 percent of our students?” Max Strieb said, “SEARCH is my son’s favorite part of the week,” and noted that federal stimulus education aid was designed to avert layoffs so the monies could be spent on saving enrichment program teachers. Though she was somewhat skeptical about the SEARCH program when she learned of it last year, Pauline Messina said, “What we found was that it expanded [my son’s] horizons tremendously by allowing a special type of hands-on learning that just wasn’t feasible in a class of 25. … It is essential to continue to cultivate the love of learning and passion for curiosity.” Jennifer Reda, vice president of Jack
DEAR MR. MCKINNEY: I couldn’t agree more with your comments about WQXR and the fading away of classical music on radio (“Classic music struggles to survive,” March 5). However I wish you had mentioned our other classical music source in Suffolk County, namely WSHU 91.1 FM Public Radio. Our main transmitter and translators cover the whole of Suffolk County, all the way out to Montauk Point. We have classical music programming every weekday from 9 am to 4 pm, and again from 8 pm to 5 am. On Sundays we have Baroque music from 8 am until 1 pm and my own classical program (temporarily hosted by Lauren Rico while I am away) Sunday Matinee, from 1 until 6. This is also broadcast on WSUF 89.9 FM. This is a pretty impressive line up of classical music, I think. You can see details at www.wshu.org People sometimes think of us a Connecticut station, but half our listeners and supporters are on Long Island (where I am based) and we have a studio at Suffolk County Community College in Selden. If you get a chance in future, please mention WSHU to your readers. We are nonprofit, and need all the listeners we can get! David Bouchier WSHU essayist and music host
Abrams’ PTA, explained that SEARCH affects 550 students in the district: 150 in grades 4 through 6; 150 third-graders; and 250 second-graders. “I am very proud to belong to a community that takes so seriously its responsibility to the needs of all of its children,” Reda said. “I ask you to remember that if the SEARCH programs are eliminated, our district will fail to meet the needs of these children.” Board President Bill Dwyer stressed that the board gives general direction to administration, which then visits each of the building principals and program directors to see where cuts can be made. “It’s not just a few guys and the board sitting up here dictating,” he said. “We’re getting feedback from the lowest levels back up, trying to put together a budget that everyone’s aware of.” Trustee Emily Rogan emphasized that SEARCH is not a gifted and talented program, which requires high IQ test scores, but rather a program for “highly capable” children. “It is an enrichment program,” she said. “And it does serve a certain group of students but it isn’t a true gifted and talented program.” Board members asked Barbary Lacey, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, to come to the next board meeting with details about SEARCH and to research how many librarians other neighboring districts have so they could make more informed decisions on both matters.
Male ‘biological clock’ ticking too When an older man fathers a child, regardless of the age of the mother, there seems to be a small but increased risk that the child may score less well in intelligence tests. And although the risk is still quite small, such a child may also have an increased chance of birth defects and neuropsychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorders. These results of a broad scientific study involving 33,500 children born in the United States between 1959 and 1965 are causing a sea change in medical perspective. Until now, the age of the mother has been considered of paramount importance, especially since the biological clock of women is limited while the ability of men to father children continues as they age. With these results, it would appear that men too have a “clock” that begins ticking in their mid-30s. Evidence suggests that the chance of a successful pregnancy falls slightly after the father turns 35 and more so, although the risk is still quite small, after 40 years of age. This information is of particular
relevance today, when more men are delaying fatherhood until their 40s. For example, in 1993, in England and Wales, about 25 percent of births within marriage were to fathers ages 35-54, but by 2003, the number had risen to 40 percent. And according to the National Center for Health Statistics in the U.S., in 2004 about 24 in every 1,000 men aged 40-44 fathered a child — an increase of 18 percent from the previous decade. Further, the children of older mothers in the study tend to fare better in intelligence tests than the children of younger mothers. John McGrath of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, led the primary study. “We report, to our knowledge for the first time, that the offspring of older fathers show subtle impairments on a range of neurocognitive tasks during infancy and childhood. The patterns of these findings were relatively consistent across ages and across neurocognitive domains,” according to McGrath. However, there was no further study to show if these
children catch up with their peers later in life. So what’s going on here? For starters, women are born with all the cells that will evolve into future eggs. These eggs undergo 22 divisions in the womb. Men, however, produce new sperm cells throughout their lives. By age 20, sperm cells have divided 150 times and by age 50 some 840 times. With division there can be “copy error mutations,” or environmentally induced mutations, which in turn could lead to developmental problems. That could explain why the man’s age at fatherhood is relevant to the outcome of the pregnancy. Further, children of older mothers, while less at risk from cell mutation, may perform better also because they receive the benefits of a more nurturing home environment. They are on the right side of the heredity/environment question on both counts. A study recently published in the Archives of General Psychiatry concludes that the offspring of older fathers have a higher risk
of autism than that of younger fathers. If the father is over 40, the risk, though still small, is six times higher than if the father is under 30. Researchers at Columbia University found that men aged 50 and over are three times as likely to father a child with schizophrenia compared to men 25 and under. And men aged 45-49 are twice as likely to have a child with this illness. The researchers estimated that “as many as one in four cases of schizophrenia may be caused by the age of the father.” This conclusion is based on a study of 88,000 people. And in Sweden, in a study at the Karolinska Institute, the conclusion was that the older a child’s father, the more likely he or she was to have bipolar disorder. Children of men 55 years and up were 1.37 times more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder than those of men 20-24. Please note that these are still small risks overall. The risk of preterm birth increases with paternal age, according to a March
BY LEAH S. DUNAIEF firstname.lastname@example.org
2005 issue of Epidemiology. Because of increased risk of genetic abnormalities in the offspring of older fathers, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has limited semen donors to 40 years or younger, and in the U.K., 39 is the top age. Men aged 50 and older are four times more likely to have a child with Down syndrome. Some famous older fathers include the likes of Michael Douglas, Mick Jagger and Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps society should look more kindly on older women who partner with younger men. It’s an idea that tickles me.
Boorshtein named president and CEO of Family Service League A licensed clinical social worker, Karen Boorshtein has been with Family Service League, with headquarters in Huntington, since 1993. She has worked to develop critically needed programs in the changing Long Island community. Boorshtein began her career at FSL as director of the agency’s longest running program, County
Wide Counseling. During the past 16 years, she was instrumental in growing their South Shore services from a 1,240 square foot site to the present Iovino South Shore Family Center which encompasses 42,000 square feet. Her efforts resulted in FSL becoming the largest community based agency provider of Universal PreKindergarten services including the Brentwood and Bay Shore school districts. Other program initiatives include bringing the nationally recognized Families and Schools Together program to Long Island and developing a successful intergenerational housing program, HomeShare Long Island. She has worked tirelessly to bring fi nancial support to the agency from local, state and federal levels of government.
Kornfeld assumes leadership role in NERFA Huntington resident Michael Kornfeld was elected secretary of the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance board of directors during the organization’s annual conference. NERFA is the regional affiliate of the Folk Alliance, a Memphis-based organization that seeks to foster and promote traditional, contemporary and multicultural folk music in North America. An award-winning communications and public relations strategist, Kornfeld also attended the 21st Annual International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis in February, where he spoke on a panel and promoted several independent recording artists.
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‘Swifty’ stewards rescue The Greenlawn Fire Department recently dedicated its new ambulance in memory of Firefighter Arnold “Swifty” Stilwell, a 50-year member of the department, charter member of the Greenlawn Rescue Squad and active volunteer who died in October 2006. The new state-of-the-art ambulance is a Horton, unit 2-7-5, and replaces a 14-year-old ambulance that was taken out of service. The new rig was placed into service in July, and dedicated on Labor Day weekend at the Greenlawn Fireman’s Fair. After a welcome by Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman Larry Ancewicz, Chief Scott Demarest presented commemorative plaques and flowers to members of the Stilwell family. The ceremony concluded with the reading of the Fireman’s Prayer by Chaplain John McKenna. Standing, from left, are Greenlawn fire chiefs Greg Moran, Scott Waryold, and Scott Demarest with Arnold Stilwell’s ex-wife, Valerie Stilwell, and his partner, Bea Bivona. Seated is Arnold’s mother, Dorothy Stilwell. PHOTOGRAPHY John Griffin Robert O'Rourk Alan Pearlman Richard Podlesney ART AND PRODUCTION DIRECTOR David R. Leaman ART AND PRODUCTION Janet Fortuna Beth Heller Mason Wendy Mercier
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Kathryn Mandracchia ADVERTISING Mary Chirichella Robin Lemkin Barbara Newman Elizabeth Reuter Laura Satchwill Nancy Solomon Ted Taylor Lynn Tunney Minnie Yancey
CLASSIFIEDS DIRECTOR Ellen Segal BUSINESS MANAGER Sheila Murray CREDIT MANAGER Diane Wattecamps CIRCULATION MANAGER Alyssa Cutler BUSINESS OFFICE Sandi Gross Meg Malangone SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER Terri Caruso
MARCH 12, 2009 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • PAGE A7
Between you and me
PAGE A8 • TIMES OF HUNTINGTON • MARCH 12, 2009
Times of Huntington