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.

Student Performs At Carnegie Hall

Massapequa pianist Athena Ambizas was among the musicians who recently performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as part of the Music Institute of Long Island’s annual gala concert.

She was among more than 80 performers who took the stage. Performances included solos, duos and octets, as well as various combinations of chamber music ensembles, violin, cello, guitar, voice and flute groups.


Massapequa pianist Athena Ambizas (left) is joined on stage at Carnegie Hall’s
Weill Recital Hall by fellow Music Institute of Long Island musician Kamil Georges of Floral Park.

Three MILI graduates who are pursuing degrees in Music Performance at prestigious colleges also performed.

Entering its 25th year, the Music Institute of Long Island provides music education to young children through advanced performers, with instrumental lessons from age three and voice lessons from age five through pre-college conservatory training.

In addition to private instruction, MILI provides chamber music, theory and group classes.

Co-directors and sisters Carol Kushner and Geri Kushner have years of experience working with children, both holding Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Performance from Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, K-12 Music Certification from Aaron Copland School of Music and Suzuki Certification from the School for Strings.
The Music Institute of Long Island is located at 90 Plandome Rd., Manhasset. For more information, call 516-627-7052 or visit www.milimusic.com.

Chiefs Fall Short In Opener

The Massapequa Chiefs kicked off their 2014 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 13 as they hosted the Farmingdale Dalers in a Conference I showdown.

Unfortunately, the Chiefs came up a few yards short in a 10-7 defeat on a rain-filled Saturday afternoon.

Trailing 10-7 late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs were knocking on the door of the endzone. After a blocked kick, Chris Bacotti ripped off a 25-yard run which was followed by a nine yard run by senior running back Paul Dilena. A six-yard scamper from Bacotti set up Massapequa with a first-and-goal at the one yard line.

A two-yard loss on first down and a bad snap that eluded junior quarterback Brad Baldinger backed the Chiefs up to the seven-yard line on third and goal. After Bascotti was stuffed for no gain, Badlinger tried a corner fade to wide receiver Griffin Barnathan but had it knocked away by Farmingdale’s Naquan Qarren to complete the goal-line stand. Farmingdale running back Michael Outing took four hand-offs and busted out 24 yards to run out the clock for the Dalers.

Despite the loss, head coach Kevin Shippos was pleased with his team’s performance.

“Overall, we played a really tough game and I thought our guys did extremely well,” said Shippos, who is in his fourth-season at the helm of the Massapequa program. “Defensively, we were outsChiefsOpener_091914Atanding, one of the best games I’ve seen since being here.”

The defense did its job in shutting down the Daler offense. No points were scored by either team in the second half as the rain became a major factor. The winning points were scored on a field goal by Zach Kolodny in the second quarter.

The kick came after a Massapequa turnover when Baldinger was sacked and stripped by Nick Campo. The fumble was one of three turnovers of the day for the Chiefs, an area that Shippos knows his team needs to tighten up.

“It is tough when you have three turnovers offensively,” said Shippos. “But there are no excuses. We definitely have some room for improvement and will continue to get better.”

Massapequa’s only score came on a nine-yard touchdown run by Dilena in the game’s opening quarter. [Read more...]

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.

Plainedge Junior Makes Record Run

Football player Davien Kuinlan’s legs deserve a break. The Plainedge junior rushed for 333 yards and five touchdowns in a rainy game against Lynbrook on Saturday, Sept. 13, earning him a spot amongst other 300-yard rushers in Long Island history.

The Devils secured a victory over the Owls with a final score of 43-33.

Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

Sex Offender Resides Near Schools

Massapequa parents are Parents in Massapequa are furious that a registered sex offender is living across the street from Grace Day School and Saint Rose of Lima elementary schools.

Thomas Alaimo resides across the street from the two schools on Merrick Road, and is able to continue living there due to a loophole in Nassau County Law. He can also not be forced to relocate.

Staff at Grace Day School has been notified to enforce all safety protocols within the school. Saint Rose of Lima is expected to follow the same protocol.

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.

Safety Rules For Rival Teams

The athletic teams from Massapequa High School and Farmingdale High School have cultivated a competitive rivalry over the years. So much so that special safety regulations have been placed on both teams on game day.

The Chiefs will face the Dalers at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Massapequa High School.

A few reminders regarding safety at all home games:

  • Reserved parking entrance points into the game for all Massapequa supporters will be on the WEST side of MHS. School security will direct all spectators to the stadium from the parking lot.
  • Please do NOT park in the lakeside parking lot or the Southgate shopping center lot.
  • No backpacks, coolers, beverage containers or beverages of any kind will be permitted into the game. Refreshments will be available for purchase at the concession stand.
  • Student spectators must be in attendance before the end of the second quarter and must stay on premises throughout the time that they are watching the game and throughout the halftime performances. Once students leave the premises, they will not be allowed to re-enter.

In addition, the following safety protocols have been put in place for the Massapequa vs. Farmingdale game only:

  • Farmingdale fans must be on an approved gate list
  • Massapequa fans will be limited to current MHS students wearing their ID badges as they enter the game area, pre-approved students from the Ames Campus, family members of varsity football players, cheerleaders, marching band and kick line members. Siblings of these participants must be accompanied by a parent/guardian if they are not current;y MHS student.


Students Found After Leaving Unqua

Letter from Massapequa Superintendent Lucille F. Iconis:


Lucille F. Iconis
September 10, 2014
Dear School Community:
An incident occurred today at the Unqua School whereby two students left the building unauthorized. After a 911 response from the Nassau County Police working with School District security and staff, the students were located and found to be safe.
Following the incident, district officials immediately convened an investigation to determine the course of events and if regular processes and protocols warranted revision to strengthen security measures already in place.
Student and staff safety is our primary concern. As all emergencies are unique, they each provide us with the ability to critique our response. We take emergency planning very seriously and will continue to keep student and staff safety as our highest priority.
Very truly yours,
Lucille F. Iconis
Superintendent of Schools

Speed Cameras Flash Forward

School zone speed cameras are beginning to turn up in Massapequa, and though the robot law enforcement tools are not yet fully operational, drivers are beginning to get road weary at the prospect of a surveillance state.


A recently installed speed camera near Schwarting Elementary School.
(Photos by Joe Pellicone)

While officials at the Nassau County Traffic Safety Board said that only five cameras have been activated, drivers are spotting far more on daily drives through the neighborhood. Fred Bausch, a Massapequan living near Unqua Elementary School, saw one go up recently and said that while he is not a speedster, he fears getting caught in a speed trap.

“My drive to work goes right through the heart of that spot, and I’m really nervous about getting slapped with fines every week,” he said, adding that he also saw a camera at Schwarting Elementary School in North Massapequa. “I don’t know if I really trust these new cameras to enforce traffic safety. I think they are just going to be a new way for the town to inflate its wallet.”

The notion that speed zone cameras are merely a revenue generating tool for the town is not new.  A reader poll on www.massapequaobserver.com finds more than 50 percent of residents believe the cameras are solely meant to raise revenue for the county, while only 11 percent believe children’s safety is the top priority. Just over 36 percent said both revenue and safety factored into the installation of the cameras. Bausch said he believes red light cameras have served the same purpose since that program’s implementation. For him, it’s the camera’s indiscriminate nature that worries him most — a missing element of human judgement lost on the robot eye.

“You can never replace the human element,” he said. “Besides, actual human police officers would not be ticketing drivers the way I think these cameras might be.”

Joe Pellicone, also of Massapequa, said elected officials are always trying to figure out ways of raising money without raising taxes.

“They found out that the red light cameras were successful and now this is the next step,” he said. “To get to Sunrise Highway from my house, I have to drive through a speed camera zone and a red light camera. If I go west instead, I still have to deal with a red light camera, I feel like I’m trapped. I wish both counties [Nassau and Suffolk] would make a public statement about the locations of the cameras and the hours of operation.”

Chris Mistron, director of Nassau County Traffic Safety Board, cited a traffic study showing school districts in other states that have installed speed cameras have found an 80 percent drop in violations.


A speed camera sits perched on Stewart Avenue near a school in Bethpage.

“I want this to be a dinner conversation,” Mistron said. “Positive or negative, they’ll cause some discussion. What we’re trying to do is improve the safety around the school on a school day. We’re not trying to catch people on off hours. We just want to try and slow down the traffic.”

That is of little consolation to Bethpage resident Chandra Klemmer, who, along with her husband, received five tickets July 28 through 30 from a speed camera at Plainedge Middle School in Bethpage. Klemmer said three of her tickets were within minutes of each other.

“My husband and I are fighting all five of the tickets. We are extremely careful,” she said. “I feel these were installed as a sneaky way to bring in revenue. We all have the right to face our accuser and a machine that can be tampered with is not a very accurate accuser. While I feel the safety of all children is important, this is nothing but a racket.”

Another resident near Massapequa, Joe Matthews, said safety is the secondary purpose of these new speed cameras. And worse than creating a revenue source for the town, they are part of a growing surveillance scare reminiscent of a dystopian future.

“It’s the surveillance state creeping in and it’s becoming more and more acceptable,” he said. “Pretty soon you won’t be able to leave the house without being videotaped. This is just another way for them to take your tax money in the name of safety.”