Massapequa

Massapequa Honors Vets

Thousands of Long Islanders streamed into Burn Park in Massapequa recently for the Town of Oyster Bay’s annual Salute to America concert featuring Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pop Orchestra with fireworks by Grucci.

The event paid tribute to veterans, past and present, and honored three deserving honorees: Guillermo Torres, Robert Reahl and Barbara Tortorice.

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Guillermo Torres earned the Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award.
(Photos by Cynthia Paulis)

Torres is the winner of the Town’s Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award. A Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Torres was wounded while on maneuvers. He later served on veteran organizations for more than 17 years, including the board of directors of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82 for 10 years, and is the senior vice commander of the William Gouse Post 3211 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is also the senior vice commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 417.

Robert E. Reahl, a Plainview resident, was the recipient of the Town’s Veteran Volunteer of the Year. A Navy veteran of the Korean War, Reahl is a member of the American Legion Post 1812 in Plainview and is past commander of the Nassau County American Legion. He was the Post Legionnaire of the Year 2014-2015. Reahl volunteers at the VA nursing home and hospital as well as the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter. He has been involved in collecting items needed for the soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been very active in the community reaching out to those veterans and families who are in need.

Barbara Tortorice is the winner of the Non-Veteran Volunteer Award. She is a member of the American Legion Auxillary Archie McCord Post #86 in Bethpage. She has volunteered as committee chairperson for many projects benefiting veterans, soldiers and children, both for the Archie McCord Post in Bethpage and the Nassau County American Legion Auxillary. She regularly attends the “Stand Down” which helps veterans receive assistance securing benefits, job counseling, legal advice, clothes, food, haircuts, medical screening and enrolling in the VA health care system.

Each honoree was awarded a gold medal from town officials along with a proclamation by the town officials.

Prior to the event, Paul Masi of Bethpage, a marine who served in Vietnam, shared these thoughts of how the town of Oyster bay treats it veterans.

“They are all behind us and its great to be loved by a lot of people in our community,” he said. “Nassau County has well over 100,000 vets. That’s a large number of people who served and sacrificed. For me as a Vietnam vet, I am glad to see that they are supportive. Back then, we were public enemy number one to the people who didn’t like what was going on. You are only serving your country and doing your job and no one knows what is going to happen. We did what we had to do and the Vietnam Veteran Memorial is built and that honors all of us who served and died.”

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AMVETS Post 88 was on hand at the event.

Legislator Michael Venditto and Assemblyman Joseph Saladino handed out awards and later mingled with the crowd handing out flags, thanking many veterans for their service.

“On this beautiful evening we are here to honor these men and women who served and sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy our lives,” said Venditto. “The only reason why we are here tonight and able to enjoy all of our concerts and all of our freedoms in the town is because of their efforts.”

Saladino praised the efforts of Venditto for bringing these concerts and entertainment to the community.

“The music tonight is fabulous and everybody is very happy to have an inexpensive way to stay home and enjoy this world class entertainment and fireworks,” he said. “It’s great to be home in Massapequa and the freedoms we enjoy are because of our wonderful veterans.”

Robert Lane of Massapequa Park was manning the booth for AMVETS and explained that this is the only organization in Nassau County that accepts all veterans, both those that served in foreign wars and stayed stateside.

As the sun slowly settled on the horizon and the full moon rose, Teddy Roosevelt, aka James W. Foote., a Navy Veteran (1968-72) from Sea Cliff walked among the crowd.

“I have been dressing up as Teddy Roosevelt for 32 years and this is how I make my living,” he said. “I do this because I look like him and I enjoy history.”

The sky darkened and the crowd was treated to a spectacular display of Grucci fireworks along with patriotic songs played by the Concert Pops Orchestra, marking another spectacular event put on by the Town Of Oyster Bay.

Pequa Pudgie’s Takes Flight

A craving for fried chicken — and a year’s worth of free meals — prompted many Massapequans to spend a recent morning waiting outside for a new local business to spread its wings and fly.

The flagship location for the brand new Pudgie’s Naked Chicken Co. launched last week on Hicksville Road — in the Uncle Giuseppe’s shopping center — with plenty of fanfare and a line of close to 50 customers who showed up early for gift cards good for one free meal per week for a year. A promotion that had many first-time customers clucking excited.

“A free meal once a week for year, there is nothing wrong with that,” said Massapequa’s Alan Pess, whose early bird effort, along with his sister Michele, was good for first in line. “I remember the original Pudgie’s from back in the day. It was good then and their new approach sounds even better.”photo

As first reported by the Massapequa Observer in April, the rebranded Pudgie’s looks to make an impact on Long Island. The franchise eatery’s original incarnation, Pudgie’s Famous Chicken, got its start in Bethpage in the early 80s. But after plenty of initial success, many locations on the island were closed due to financial failings. And while a couple of the orginal restaurants remain, the brand’s owner, TruFoods, LLC, is excited to rebrand the proudly remembered poultry.

“It feels great to bring this place back to where it was born and update it, bring it into the 21st century, with fresher, higher quality menu offerings,” said Gary Occhiogrosso, president and CDO of TruFoods, LLC, who was busy breading chicken and tending to customers on opening day.

Occhiogrosso said the free meal promotion brought in plenty of attention, but he believes the quality of the product will bring customers back.

“We couldn’t believe the crowd, it was like we were giving away iPhones,” said Occhiogrosso, adding that he and his crew “muscled through” the frenetic pace of that first morning, performing better and better with each shift. “We have a great group of young people working here, local kids, many from high school and college.”

Local young people were also on the other side of the counter, having their first taste of Pudgie’s Naked Chicken. Massapequan  Michael Anthony Cristiano, along with James Myers and plenty of friends, earned a spot near the head of the line.

NewPudgies_080114E“We are dedicated fried chicken fanatics,” said Cristiano. “And we wanted to make sure our chance at some free meals didn’t fly the coop.”

Meanwhile, long-time Massapequans Diana Gillis, Pat Rogers and Joan Dandrea thought this was a great opportunity to support a new local business.

“We all live right up the block,” said Dandrea. “Every dime I spend helps the economy, that’s what I always say.”

As for the sustainability of this new Pudgie’s incarnation on Long Island, Occhiogrosso said there is already interest from three individuals to open franchises, including in Bethpage and Amityville. He said the Pudgie’s goal is to set a new standard for quality food, served quickly, without the heat lamps and grease of typical fast food establishments.

“When people walk into the new Pudgie’s, they understand it’s not a fast food joint with heat lamps and boxed food,” he said. “They walk in and see the level of quality in the environment and the menu offerings. We cook our food fresh and our chicken is fried fresh. It’s not sitting in a heater. It is worth waiting for.”

Cat Fight In Massapequa

A nonprofit no-kill cat shelter in Massapequa has been caged. Town officials, citing code violations, forced it to cease operations—angering volunteers and cat lovers alike in a Facebook face-off.

But the shelter’s existence has raised some health concerns for people in neighboring businesses.

As the Massapequa Observer first reported on July 24, supporters of All About Spay Neuter Inc., which humanely captures and sterilizes feral cats in Levittown, Farmingdale, Hicksville—indeed anywhere it’s needed—said the violations were not properly communicated and the storefront shutdown is an injustice.

“I’m fighting politics and it’s disgusting,” said Massapequan Joanne Monez, director of All About Spay Neuter, which also facilitates pet adoptions and opened a storefront on Merrick Road in November. “We spoke to officials and were on track to complying with the code. Then they came in and shut us down without warning.”

Monez said a town code enforcement officer entered the facility on July 17 and issued the nonprofit a notice to immediately cease occupancy, citing a strong odor and complaints from a neighboring storefront, Reliance Healthcare Staffing, which did not return a request for comment as of press time. The town also cited the cat shelter for lacking proper permits for use, construction and alterations which it made, and with creating a nuisance.

According to Monez, the shutdown was ordered by Diana Aquiar, the Town of Oyster Bay’s deputy commissioner for planning and development. Aquiar referred all press inquiries to the Town of Oyster Bay and Supervisor John Venditto, who said the forced closure was the ultimate result of a four-month long investigation of code violations by the establishment, brought on by complaints from neighboring business owners.

“As always, the Town of Oyster Bay is looking to attain full compliance for code violations first and foremost, in an effort to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents and all involved,” said Venditto. “Despite the best efforts of the Town’s Planning and Development Department, compliance for numerous issues could not be reached in a timely manner. As a result, occupants of adjoining tenancies became ill from the odors being emitted at this location. At the time of the Town’s most recent inspection, there were over 80 cats and kittens in only 20 cages at this establishment.”

But multiple sources, including volunteers at the facility, have told the Massapequa Observer that the shelter had 40 cages while operational and that the town’s “most recent inspection” came after all the animals — and half of the cages — had already been removed.

“We don’t dispute the number of cats, but the number of cages he mentions is misleading. It nicely makes it sound like a hoarder situation. Many times a cage would have two kittens in it, for companionship or if they are siblings,” said Catherine B. “Whoever his people are, they are telling him these things to justify what they did.”

As for the odor, according to Monez and other business owners in the area, the complaints came from Dana Arnone, owner of Reliance Healthcare Staffing, located next door, as well as Debra Ienna, who owns that neighboring building. Ienna, a Massapequa resident, said her tenant, Arnone, first brought the odor to her attention.

“Dana complained for months that her employees couldn’t work in that environemnt. She has a pregnant employee, who she had to send home numerous times because she, as a nurse, knows that it’s not safe for a pregnant woman,” said Ienna. “My husband and I went there and the minute we walked into Dana’s place, we could smell the pungent odor. The people working at the shelter don’t smell it because they are immune to it. They are used to it.”

Ienna said Monez did offer to install ventilation in the healthcare business, but according to Ienna, that would only have masked the problem.

“I did go to the Town,” Ienna freely admits. “I cannot lose my tenant, this is my livelyhood. The apartment above the Reliance, they can smell it, too. They also complained to me.”

Roseann Leppla, the owner of A Cut Above Hair Studio, which is two stores down from All About Spay, said the cat shelter is clean, quiet and without any detectable odors.

“We have never had a problem with any smell from that place,” said Leppla, who has been in her location for eight years. “My daughter lives in an apartment above this salon, and she said she has never noticed any odor. She walks her dog past that shelter everyday and she said she has never noticed any bad odors. Also, if it smells so bad, how can the volunteers work in there? And if they are animal lovers, would they want the cats to be in such bad conditions?”

But Ienna said it is clear why Leppla isn’t smelling the odor.

“Reliance is one store over, with one wall separating it. Cut Above is two stores down. The odor isn’t going through two walls,” said Ienna, who was the previous owner of the salon. “Plus, the salon has odors of its own and a proper ventilation system.”

When officials arrived at the shelter on July 19 to remove the cats, they found that volunteers had already taken the animals out of the facility. Monez said that North Shore Animal Shelter took more than 30 kittens, and other cats were safe with various volunteers.

“We knew that if the town took the cats, they would be taken to a kill shelter,” said Monez. “And we were not about to see that happen.”

All About Spay Neuter Inc., which as been around for more than a decade, works to trap feral cats in the Town, spay/neuter them, and either release them or search for adoptive families. Monez said the organization has a contract with the town to trap and sterilize cats, and that she never thought the shelter would be closed.

“We took the burden off of the town to take in animals and to help control the cat population,” she said. “We want to be an asset to the community. We had kids come in for community service and we had retired people come in and help. It doesn’t make sense to shut us down.”

Though she went to the town with the initial complaint, Ienna said she is not anti-animal, or a special friend of Town officials, which she said is the common thought among the shelter’s supporters. She said she had her own obstacles working with officials in the past, and she said Monez’s best course of action would be to find a stand-alone building.

“The Town will cut you down and slice you up if they want to. I spent $22,000 trying to expand my old store and did all the necessary steps and I was denied,” she said. “I am a huge animal advocate and I think she does work. But she is digging herself into a hole.”

A Crash Course In Love

What’s the secret to a relationship that lasts?  It’s a question that’s been asked time and time again, and Stefan Deutsch and Dr. Roberta Karant believe they have the answer.

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Dr. Roberta Karant and Stefan Deutsch

This Monday at Westbury Manor, the two will present a Forever Love workshop aimed to help couples (both engaged and married) learn how to maintain a healthy relationship well beyond the honeymoon phase.

Deutsch, who has a 30 year background in human development and psychotherapy, says that the thinking behind the Forever Love workshops is that a lot of people don’t have the necessary tools to sustain the love they had when they were dating or first married. While people will act respectfully and considerately in the beginning of their relationships, over time, these behaviors stop and problems arise.

Deutsch says that the reason so many relationships fall apart is because people don’t have the right idea of what love is.

“When we say love, we generally think of love and attraction and passion, but that’s a different type of energy that doesn’t nurture us,” he says.

Deutsch’s theory is that love is nourishment. He says that healthy relationships need nurturing beyond just the dating phase.

“Usually only during dating and getting engaged do we put the full effort toward nurturing and giving. So after that, we ask ‘what happened? Where did the love go?’ There’s communication issues and other problems,” says Deutsch.

Once we start to think of love as something that can nourish and nurture us, it changes the way we act. Deutsch describes most people in the world as malnourished of true love.

“We’re starving for love. Love as nourishment is really vital for every human being to understand so they become more aware of their behavior. When people become aware, that’s the beginning of the change in their behaviors and attitudes,” says Deutsch. “But if you don’t understand it, you act disrespectfully and unappreciatively, and you deprive another person of nourishment.”

Karant says that at the workshop (which will be Deutsch and Karant’s third this year) couples will learn how to become aware of how their actions affect their mate, what they’re looking for and how to go about getting their needs met.

“People get married because they’re looking for unconditional love.But after a year or two it’s not what they get anymore We don’t have communication and listening skills, we say it in the wrong way, we get defensive,” says Deutsch. “No one goes to relationship school. Everyone tries to figure it out for themselves.”

“We’re trying to give couples a preventative approach to explain that love is nourishment,” he says.

The workshop, which will include a teaching time and activities, will teach couples ways they can safeguard their relationship. One of these ways is realizing your spouse did not hurt you on purpose.

“Most things are done unintentionally,” he says. “People do the best they can. First people have to be aware, maybe they forgot to say thank you or criticized someone. These things might seem like nothing but we tend to be sensitive when someone raises their voice or walks away from us.”

Another safeguard to protecting a relationship is noticing the positive and doing simple things like saying thank you.

“Catch each other being loving,” says Deutsch. “When people do things that we like, we feel we deserve it but we always catch the other person when they’re being unloving. We should notice the good things the other person does, because we always notice the bad stuff.”

Deutsch and Karant say they have seen their methods, both in the workshops and through private sessions, prove effective.

“Couples often get stuck and don’t know where to go. These skills can help people get past that getting stuck phase. It sounds so obvious that love can heal, but most people don’t know how to love unconditionally,” says Karant.

The Forever Love workshop will be held at Westbury Manor from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, July 28. The cost is $50 per couple and includes dinner and refreshments. Find out more and register at www.westburymanor.com/forever-love.php

Stay Safe In The Summer Sun

With summer in full swing we can breathe a sigh of relief that the polar vortex is finally behind us. As we load up our car and head to the beach we have to keep in mind that there are still hazards out there so we still need to be vigilant.Dr_summer_lyme_disease_082314

Lyme Disease

The beauty of summer is cooking outside and having seaside picnics but while you are ready to take a bite of that juicy hamburger there is a little critter ready to take a bite of you, the deer tick which is the culprit for transmitting Lyme disease. This is the season when the “nymphs” are active. They are no larger than the size of a poppy seed and easy to miss. Ticks are seeking out a blood meal and will go to the area with the greatest supply, usually the groin, armpits, and scalp. A tick has to be attached 36 to 48 hours before Lyme’s Disease will be transmitted. When they are done feeding they will fall off. If you find a tick on you remove it by taking a pair of tweezers and grab it by the head and pull it out. Don’t crush the body. See a doctor and if possible bring the tick with you. Use insect repellant that contains 20-30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent bites and 10 percent on children. Check yourself regularly and shower when you get home to remove any possible loose ticks. Early removal can reduce the risk of infection.

Food Poisoning

Since we are ready to break open those grills make sure you practice some safe cooking tips because the last thing you want is food poisoning. Each year food poisoning puts about 300,000 people in the hospital every year, hitting the peak season during summer months. Anything that has mayonnaise, dairy, or eggs in it and any meat products can develop nasty bacteria after only a couple of hours unrefrigerated. Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

• Clean and wash your hands as well as the surfaces where you will be preparing foods.

• Separate and wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other food items.

• Bring a thermometer. Meats brown quickly on the grill but that doesn’t mean it is safe to eat. Steaks should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef and pork to 160 and poultry to 165 degrees.

• Chill. Keep everything refrigerated as long as possible. Store perishable picnic items in an insulated cooler packed with ice and follow the first in first out rule. Whatever you are going to eat first should be at the top of the cooler. I personally freeze water bottles and pack everything in that and then you have nice cold water to drink later.

Dr_summer_sunburn_082314Sunburns

Before you head outside make sure you apply sunscreen. Ditch your old sunscreen and invest in a new bottle. Melanoma is on the rise in this country and your risk doubles if you have had just five sunburns in your life. When buying sunscreen look for products that protect against both UVB and UVA rays. Apply liberally and often every two hours, especially if you are swimming. The best number to get is 30 and should be applied 30 minutes before going out. Avoid the most intense sunrays between the hours of 10 and 4, stay in the shade. If you are prone to sunburn wear long sleeves and a wide brimmed hat as well as sunglasses. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your feet as well. If you get a bad sunburn, which you shouldn’t if you follow these instructions, drink plenty of water to replace your fluids lost. Soak the burn in cool water for a few minutes or put a cool cloth on it. Take an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol. Apply an antibiotic ointment or an aloe cream with emollients that soften and sooth the skin. Remember to be sun smart. Even on a cloudy day you can get a bad burn.

Dehydration

As you are running around and having fun it is very easy to become dehydrated, and no that cold Heineken is not going to take care of your dehydration. In fact it may make it worse. If you feel dizzy and lightheaded you may becoming dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, take regular rest breaks in the shade and try not to schedule intense activities during the heat of the day. If you think someone is suffering from dehydration or heatstroke, get them inside a cool place and have them lie down, cool them off with ice packs especially under the arm pits, the groin and the head. If they are seriously dehydrated seek medical help.

Stings

What would summer be without the proverbial bee sting? For some people it is just a painful experience for others it can be life threatening. Steer clear of bees and don’t attract them by wearing heavy perfumes and scents, wear light colored clothes and stay away from floral patterns. They may confuse you for a tasty flower. Stinging insects love dark colors and flowers. Guard your sugary drinks. So many times as an ER physician I was treating patients who took a sip from their canned soda not realizing a bee had gotten inside and was now stinging their mouth. It is a good idea to pack an Epi-Pen with you and learn how to use it. The pen is designed to hold a prescription medication, which will buy you some time for acute allergic reactions but you should still follow up medically. It is also a good idea to keep some oral Benadryl on hand for allergic reactions.

Now that you have learned some basic summer safety lessons go out and enjoy this beautiful island.

Massapequa Wine Tasting

Massapequa’s Vine Wine Cellar, 438 Merrick Rd., welcomes wine aficionados to an Australian wine tasting event, featuring Shiraz, Cabernet and more. Event is tonight, July 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. For more information, call 516-590-7005.CalMass_072514C

Language Students Honored

Recent Massapequa High School graduates Casey Devenish and Michelle Geyer were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Morris and Eve Brown Foundation in recognition of their excellent foreign language skills and for planning to major in a language in college. Devenish will attend Marist College to study French Education with a minor in Spanish, while Geyer will enter the American Sign Language-English Interpreting program at Rochester Institute of Technology. Pictured with Geyer, left, and Devenish are Massapequa High School Principal Dr. Barbara Williams and Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Curriculum Associate William Anderson.Language_072514A

Claws Come Out In Cat Closure

*Editor’s Note: Supervisor John Venditto’s spokesperson sent a statement via email to the Massapequa Observer’s editor after the story was posted to this website. The statement and background info has been added to the story below.

A Massapequa-based organization aiming to spay/neuter feral cats and facilitate pet adoptions had its services snipped recently after town officials forced it to cease operations citing code violations.

But volunteers at All About Spay Neuter Inc. said those violations were not properly communicated and the storefront shutdown is an injustice to the town it serves.

“I’m fighting politics and it’s disgusting,” said Massapequan Joanne Monez, director of All About Spay Neuter Inc., a nonprofit cat shelter on Merrick Road. “We spoke to officials and were on track to complying with the code. Then they came in and shut us down without warning.”

Monez said a town code enforcement officer entered the facility on July 17 and issued the nonprofit a notice to immediately cease occupancy, citing a strong odor and complaints from a neighboring storefront, Reliance Healthcare Staffing, which did not return a request for comment as of press time. The town also cited the cat shelter with “not having the proper use permit, construction or making alterations with a permit and creating nuisances.”

10453307_344085542422670_3640163777480382686_n[2]In an emailed statement, Supervisor John Venditto said:

“As always, the Town of Oyster Bay is looking to attain full compliance for code violations first and foremost, in an effort to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents and all involved.

“This establishment had been in violation of Town code now for about four months, and despite the best efforts of the Town’s Planning and Development Department, compliance for numerous issues could not be reached in a timely manner.  As a result, occupants of adjoining tenancies became ill from the odors being emitted at this location.  At the time of the Town’s most recent inspection, there were over 80 cats and kittens in only 20 cages at this establishment, all of which were removed overnight by the owners.

“The Town is pleased that the owners are moving forward toward achieving compliance, they have removed the cats from the premises, they have sanitized the building, and they have retained counsel, who has been in communication with the Town’s Commissioner of Department of Planning and Development. We will continue to work with the proprietors to resolve any and all outstanding issues, and bring the establishment up to code.”

Residents from across Long Island are voicing their outrage about the closure on the shelter’s Facebook page. The Massapequa Observer has fielded close to 10 phone calls this afternoon alone, all from residents calling for Venditto and the Town of Oyster Bay to rectify the situation.

Leave your comment on the Massapequa Observer Facebook page in support or against All About Spay Neuter Inc.

“The shelter provides a fantastic asset to the community,” said Joan Chairello of Hicksville. “Joanne Monez is a professional in this business. She would never ignore any accusation of violations. Who else is going to do what she does for no pay?”

“I’ve had many feral cats in my neighborhood, and the Town of Oyster Bay was always too busy to take care of it,” said Denise Watson, also of Hicksville. “I’ve been in that store and it is spotless. I do not believe that the complaint of odor from the business next door is warranted.”

“The shelter has been there for almost a year and it is very clean. It is not the visual of a crazy cat lady, hoarding cats. The place is spotless,” said Massapequa resident Catherine B. “I think the Supervisor needs to be a gentleman and see what he can do to help. It’s disappointing for the community, because Joanne was out there helping to control the feral cat population. The Town wasn’t doing it.”

“It’s terrible seeing animals starving. My husband and I found four kittens starving on the Jones Beach boardwalk. We called the Town and called shelters and no one could help. Finally we called Joanne and she trapped the cats the next day,” said Diane Silverberg of Levittown. “When we had nowhere else to turn, she was more than willing to help.”

“I don’t think Joanne was given fair notice to correct whatever violations the Town claims she had,” said Allison D’Andrea of St. James. “All About Spay Neuter does an invaluable service for the Town at no cost.”

“Years ago I had many feral cats in my yard, I called Joanne for help and she came and showed me how to trap, out of the goodness in her heart,” said Carol Stumpf of Syosset. “Those cats were spayed, neutered and release back to my neighborhood and that colony has not grown since. Supervisor Venditto started the TNR (Trap Neuter Release) program and I think very highly of him for doing that. But this is upsetting. I hope he contacts Joanne and finds a way to help her because her service is invaluable.”

“I got involved with Joanne eight years ago. I had a mother cat and her two kittens on my property. I started feeding them, then said I’m perpetuating the problem by doing this. I called Joanne, she came out, trapped them, neutered and vaccinated them, then returned them to me for only a small donation. Eight years later, it’s still only those three cats on my property instead of 300 or 600,” said Rosalie Weston of Seaford. “I can’t say enough about Joanne. It’s upsetting that she is not getting any answers from the Town. She was willing to comply with the code, but then all of a sudden they brought in the police and shut her down. All because of one complaint? It doesn’t make sense.”

Officials Name Smoking Spots

Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker recently announced the unanimous passage of a resolution to accept the donation of “No Smoking” signage from the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island to place in Nassau County Parks.

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Pictured, left to right, are: Legislator Donald MacKenzie, Legislator Laura Schaefer, Legislator Dennis Dunne, Legislator Rose Walker, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, Carol Meschkow, Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Parks Commissioner Brian Nugent, Legislator David Denenberg, Legislator Judy Jacobs and Legislator Siela Bynoe.

In recognition of the difficulties that smokers face with breaking the smoking habit, county parks will now have signage at designated areas for smoking. All smoking areas will be situated away from playgrounds, ball fields and restrooms.

“Smoking is not permitted in Nassau Parks except in these designated areas,” stated Walker. “We are all aware of the negative effects that smoking has on your health. With that in mind, I encourage smokers to use every available resource to quit the habit, but until then, they will have a place to go in Nassau’s outdoor parks.”

The signage is being donated by the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island.

“The Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island is very pleased to be able to assist Nassau County in their efforts to communicate the new rules that restrict smoking to designated areas through the donation of free signage on behalf of the health and welfare of the residents of NC,” said Carol Meschkow, Nassau Project Coordinator for the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island.

Scout Grabs Gold Award

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Melanie Sheehan

Girl Scouts of Nassau County recently recognized Melanie Sheehan, a senior at Massapequa High School, for earning the Gold Award, the highest and most prestigious award within the Girl Scouts Organization. In order to be eligible for a Gold Award, a Girl Scout must have completed two Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador Journeys or have already received the Silver Award and completed one additional Journey. The Gold Award also requires the completion of 80-hours or more of an individual leadership Take Action project that makes a sustainable and measurable impact on an important issue, or need in the community, and that serves to educate and inspire others in the community.

“We are so proud of all the Gold Award recipients. Earning the Gold Award is a huge accomplishment and takes a great amount of dedication,” said Donna Ceravolo Executive Director and CEO of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Fewer than 5 percent of all Girl Scouts throughout the nation obtain this award.”

This award recognizes the Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts for their leadership skills and excellence. It must be completed before or during the Scout’s senior year in high school. To the majority of the girls winning the Gold Award, it is the peak of recognition and achievement.

Sheehan’s Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action Project, “Ocean Safety Awareness Campaign,” was established to address the large amount of deaths due to drowning and the increasing number of skin cancer diagnoses across Long Island. Sheehan created a video that was shown at workshops throughout her community, as well as making it viral to spread awareness even further. Those who viewed Sheehan’s video gained a better understanding of the dangers of the ocean and the skills needed to avoid these dangerous situations. From her project, Sheehan learned to think outside the box as well as how to be an effective leader in her community.