Banned Books Week Sept. 21-28

Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn, ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom.
— Alfred Griswold Whitney

The week of Sept. 21-28 has been designated Banned Books Week by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. During this time, libraries and schools around the country hold programs and readings to celebrate the “right to read.”

Think censorship and banning books are ancient history, or at least not problems we face here on Long Island? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, there are many myths and misconceptions about censorship that should be challenged. Here are four:

Myth: Censorship occurs primarily in states that would be associated with right-wing conservative views often identified as the Bible Belt.

Reality: Many years ago, the organization People for the American Way, in tracking cases of censorship, listed the 10 states reporting the most incidents of challenges. Only two of the states would be identified with the Bible Belt, in the South. Reported incidents of censorship sent to the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA) continue to have no geographic pattern. The organizati

on considers censorship to be a national problem.

Myth: Censorship is usually identified with conservative political or religious groups.

Reality: Examples include the Harry Potter series—the principal reason, wizardry—as well as and Tango Makes Three—the reason, supposed homosexuality of penguins. However, groups not usually identified as conservative also censor. A few years ago, the NAACP unsuccessfully sought to have the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary redefine the “N” word and limit it to its offensive connotation. (The publisher refused to limit the definition since over time it has had many different meanings). Concern has also been expressed regarding the depiction of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Some Jewish organizations have challenged its inclusion in the Language Arts curriculum in high schools.


and Tango Makes Three: Yes, this is a candidate for banning.

Myth: Censorship in public schools is focused on school libraries and books used in the classrooms.

Reality: In addition to censorship of books, school administrators in many states (not New York) have “for pedagogical reasons,” the final say regarding the contents of official student newspapers. The

Student Press Law Center, which represents students in challenges to their First Amendment rights, reports that more and more students are using the Internet and social media to publish their views without being subject to school officials.

School plays and performances are routinely screened by school administrators. A few years ago, a drama class in Wilton, CT, was prohibited from presenting a dramatic  reading of a cross-section of views by soldiers in Iraq. The students were able to take advantage of several offers to present their reading in theaters outside of their school. They accepted the invitation to present their program at the Public Theater in New York City.
Myth: Current books for children and teenagers which focus on sex, violence and drugs are the principal objects of the censors. [Read more...]

Local Students Receive Scholarships

Although the school year has just begun, three college students and native Massapequans were already awarded scholarships at their respected universities.

North Massapequa resident Brian Kaufman was selected as one of eight Adelphi students to receive the Horace G. McDonell Summer Research Fellowship, which promotes science research in the student’s field of choice on campus.

A passion for physics led Physics major Kaufman ’16, to team up with Assistant Professor Matthew Wright in his freshman year to build a magneto-optical trap (MOT). His research involves using lasers and magnetic fields to cool and trap atoms to ultra-cold temperatures, which will enable the study of ultra-cold atomic collisions. Kaufman hopes that together, they will be able to extend the research and use the methods controlling the production of molecules, enabling control over chemical reactions. He presented this research at Adelphi’s Undergraduate Research Day and said that working on this research has deepened his interest for the theory behind the application of quantum mechanics.


Brian Kaufman is a physics major at Adelphi University.

The Fellowship offers Adelphi University students the opportunity to engage in intensive hands-on research in biology, chemistry and physics for 10 weeks over the summer, with each student receiving a $4,000 stipend in addition to mentorship from a faculty member as they conducted their rigorous research.

SUNY Oswego has awarded $3,000 Merit Scholarships to the freshman class of 2014, with Massapequa Park resident Emma C. Moran among them. She is currently undeclared in her major.

The award recognizes past academic achievement and potential for success and is part of about $4 million in merit scholarship money offered at SUNY Oswego.

These funds are in addition to the more than $80 million in need-based grants, loans, work-study and scholarship awards that SUNY Oswego students receive annually.

Colgate University awarded the Dean’s Award for academic excellence to Massapequa Park recipient John Grossman, who is currently majoring in Physics at the highly selective liberal arts institution.
The Dean’s Award is given to students with a 3.30 or higher grade-point average while enrolled in 3.75 or more course hours.

Best of luck to these young academic stars.

Scouts Shine At Captree

More than 2,000 Long Islanders enjoyed the festivities at Captree State Park as Assemblyman Joseph Saladino hosted the ninth annual Marine and Outdoor Recreation Expo on Sept. 15.

Attendees learned about sustainable sources of energy as well as ways to protect the planet, especially the island’s marine environment. There were demonstrations in camping, boating, water safety, renewable energy, wildlife and environmental education, fly fishing, arts and crafts, face painting, clowns, touch tanks, balloon animals and plenty of rock and roll. But it was the boy and girl scouts that stole the show.


Local boy scouts proudly pose for a picture.

The boy scouts from Troop 5 in Massapequa served up piping hot chili for the families to enjoy.

“The kids love it and we give everyone our world famous chili and try to get the young kids interested in the scouting program,” said Scout master Russ Palumbo. “Scouting teaches kids how to behave themselves, how to teach and learn procedures, and to figure out how to handle things and do it to the best of their ability.”

The Girl Scouts also put in a strong showing with three Golden Awardees explaining their projects to the visitors. Marina Sapeta, an eleventh grader from Plainedge High School had a very unique project.

“I want to put a handicapped swing into Marjorie Post Park,” she said. “The closest one now is in Eisenhower Park. There are two types, one where you take the person out of the swing and the other is a platform swing where you put the entire wheelchair on the swing and they can be completely independent. I am looking for different opinions on what people want to see,” she continued. [Read more...]

Scouts Clean Up Preserve

Webelos Scouts from Massapequa’s Pack 696 gathered last weekend to take a three mile hike and clean up the Massapequa Preserve.

The scouts were greeted by several Sunday morning bikers and joggers as they embarked on the path from Merrick Road up to Sunrise Highway. MassScoutsPreserve_091914A

Along the way, they collected trash and identified several members of the Preserve’s wildlife inhabitants; including turtles, geese and even a stray cat. The favorite of the morning was a very large, gentle, Golden Retriever accompanied by his scout-friendly owner. The scouts enjoyed petting the gentle canine and interviewing his owner.

The boys also were intrigued to see signs of the lake being dredged. It was a morning that underlined the importance of caring for the preserve in many ways.
Thank you scouts, for your efforts to keep Massapequa clean!

Click here for more pictures of your favorite scouts.

Addiction Series

CommunityCome to Massapequa High School on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 7-9 p.m. to learn about how addiction is affecting our community.

Hear a panel presentation from experts in the fields of prevention, addiction treatment and law enforcement.

Learn about these issues and how they can be addressed.

For more information, please contact YES Community Counseling Center at 516-799-3203.

This event is sponsored by the YES Community Counseling Center in partnership with the Massapequa School District.

Walk To End Alzheimer’s

Eight hundred people from around Long Island and out of state braved the 90-degree temperature to walk at the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center 11th annual fundraiser event at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration recently.

The event featured a Coney Island theme, with 90 teams walking the paths around the village. The event raised close to $150,000 and the donations are still being tallied. Executive director Mary Ann Malack-Ragona was pleased with the turnout given the sweltering heat of the day. Malack-Ragona said two grants were recently awarded, with $5,000 to the New York Stem Cell Foundation and $3,000 to Dr. Irving Gomolin, chief division of Geriatric Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola.


Many local residents came out in support.
Photos by Cynthia Paulis

“The Stem Cell Foundation makes stem cells not from embryos, but from skin grafts of people who have Alzheimer’s disease,” said Malack-Ragona. “This is ground breaking research. The second grant to Dr. Gomolin is doing a study on how the removal of Namenda from the marketplace, which is set to take place at the end of the year and the use of the substitute, an extended release formulation will impact the blood levels of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Team leaders were asked to come to the stage to be recognized. Randy Bet from Old Bethpage with her group Team Cousins raised the most money for this event coming in at $10,028.

“I am proud to be a part of this organization. I want to thank Mary Ann Ragona for all of the work she is doing to keep the funds we raise here on Long Island,” said Bet. “She has met so much resistance but keeps going.

My father and my mother-in-law both had Alzheimer’s, so my two children have Alzheimer’s on both sides of their family. It is really important for us to find a cure for this disease.” [Read more...]

Lola’s Boutique On Wheels

There is no question that Laura “Lola” Tingwall has an eye for style. So when this budding entrepreneur decided to start her business, she created every girl’s dream; a mobile closet.

Nicknamed “Lola” from Barry Manilow’s song “Copacabana,” the Massapequa Park native – who turns 27 this November – is no stranger to the design circuit. Enter Lola’s Lookbook.


Lola’s Lookbook: “A Boutique on Wheels” (Photos by Deja Vu Studio)

“I’ve always been interested in business and like most women, I love to shop and I love fashion,” said Tingwall, who holds a Bachelor’s degree from LIM College in New York City. “I got a ton of hands on experience there; I even got to intern in the fashion closet of Harper’s Bazaar magazine.”

Although Tingwall had a dream to own her own boutique, she lacked the capital to start one.

“I began working on the concept of Lola’s Lookbook in February of 2013; getting shipments of clothing to start selling at street fairs by just using rolling racks and mannequins,” said Tingwall, who started selling clothes in June of that year.

When she made the decision to quit her job at Bridal Reflections and lose a stable paycheck, Tingwall’s family was right there with her.

“I knew if I wanted to grow Lola, it needed my undivided attention,” said Tingwall. “I’m lucky to have such a loving and supportive family and friends who support my dream, especially my boyfriend, Sal. I don’t have any employees, but if I need a hand people are always there to help,” she continued. [Read more...]

Massapequa Chiefs Look To Rebuild

One of the downsides of having a senior-laden football team one season is that the following season will undoubtedly be a transitional year. In 2013, the Massapequa Chiefs fielded an experienced team that was one quarter away from winning the Nassau County title, but ultimately lost on a last-second field goal to the Farmingdale Dalers.

The 2014 team will feature only one returning starter from last year’s group—Paul Dilena. Third year head coach Kevin Shippos is not fazed by this challenge.

“It’s similar to my first season,” he said. “We had a lot of guys that were unproven.”

That team finished the season at 6-4 after losing to rival Farmingdale 12-9 in the first round of the playoffs.

Once again, the Chiefs will be looking to get retribution on the Dalers for the previous season. In addition to the exhilarating playoff game, they lost their only regular season game against Farmingdale, 33-8, on Oct. 15.

The two teams face off against each other on Sept. 13. Shippos doesn’t feel the game should be treated any differently because of the opponent.


The Chiefs open their season at home against Farmingdale on Saturday, Sept. 13.

“Every game is a challenge, it doesn’t get any easier for us,” he said. “But the talent is there, I believe we’ll be right there at the end of the season.”

The Chiefs will be counting on a bevy of newcomers. Some of which have actually never played football.

“We have a lot of guys that played lacrosse last year,” said Shippos. One of those players is Griffin Barnathan, whom Shippos believes can be a big playmaker as a wide receiver.

In the backfield will be Chris Bacotti and Brett Clarke.  Both players were on JV last year, but they will be expected to play crucial roles at this level. Shippos stated that Clarke is the fastest player on the team despite being among the largest at 6’1” 210 pounds. Bacotti and Clarke will also play in the defensive secondary.

While most of the positions are settled, there is an ongoing competition for quarterback.  Last year’s backup, Joe Butterworth, is the favorite to land the spot. He will have the difficult job of following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Matt Caracappa, who was ranked among the best quarterbacks on Long Island last season. Caracappa threw for 1,392 yards including an incredible touchdown to interception ratio of 22 to 1.

The Chiefs will also have to fill the void of Craig Berge, the go-to receiver, who caught 14 touchdowns for 561 yards last season.

On defense, the team will be relying on the front seven – Dilena, Dom Sofia, Chase O’Mahoney and Frank Americo – to patrol the line of scrimmage.

Despite the challenges facing this team, Shippos is confident they will still make noise in the ultra-competitive Conference-I. “Our strength is our work ethic,” said Shippos. “The guys had a good summer of practicing, even during the two-a-days, they gave it their all.”
Although he noted that the team was “spoiled the last two years with talent,” this season’s Chiefs should not be counted out because of inexperience.

Scouts Honor 9/11 With 2,977 Flags


Photo credit: Nicolette Bove

On Saturday Sept. 6, local cub scouts gathered to plant 2,977 flags in the lawn of Massapequa Park Village Hall as a tribute to honor 9/11 victims; one flag for each life lost. Five larger flags symbolized the loss of five Massapequa residents.

“The idea to plant the flags came from Tim’s Florist in the village of Massapequa Park around the time of the first anniversary of 9/11,” said Andrew Kaufman, Assistant Scout Master. “Some scouts were helping out on their own and then Troop 660 was asked to take over.”

It took a few hours to stake each flag, but it was time well spent.

“The display serves as a remembrance to all, to not forget those who perished that day,” said Kaufman.

Some scouts, especially the younger ones, were not even born 13 years ago, and learned about the tragedy and the importance of the flags.

“As the scouts become older, they understand the significance of this and help in passing it on to younger scouts,” said Kaufman.

For a bird’s eye view, the perfect spot to spectate is atop the Massapequa Park train station platform. The beautiful scene serves to not only demonstrate national pride, but to never forget those lives lost.

A Good Feeling Inside And Out

A muscle-softening massage makes you feel good physically, and on Sept. 17 you can get a massage that will also make you feel good spiritually.

Massage Envy in Massapequa and Farmingdale, as well as its other Long Island locations, will once again flex its fingertips to host Healing Hands for Arthritis, an annual nationwide fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. For every one-hour massage or facial session provided to its members and guests on that Wednesday, Massage Envy will donate $10. Its partners Murad, BioFreeze and Wyndmere are joining the effort, and will donate 10 percent of product sales in Massage Envy clinics on Sept. 17.Massage_ArthritisFundraiser_091714“Now in its fourth year, Healing Hands for Arthritis makes a significant contribution to research and the fight against arthritis,” said Joe Luongo, Massage Envy Spa chief operating officer. “None of these efforts would be possible without the ongoing support of our members and guests, which is why we encourage everyone to join us on Sept. 17 and make this another great event.” The spa group’s efforts raised more than $2 million in the first three years.

Massage Envy is also a national sponsor of the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis, which usually takes place in early May. Spa owners, therapists, estheticians and staff attend local events to share information about massage therapy, provide chair massages and support the Arthritis Foundation mission. Massage therapy can play an important role in alleviating pain and swelling caused by arthritis, improving flexibility and circulation, and reducing stress and anxiety.