2019 Year In Review: Massapequa’s Biggest Stories


The year 2019 wound up featuring many changes throughout Massapequa and its neighboring communities. Here is the year in coverage by the Massapequa Observer.

The Historical Society of the Massapequas

The Historical Society of the Massapequas celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. It was founded in 1969 in response to a direct threat to one of the area’s historic sites. The society has continued to maintain its historic buildings, open them to the public, hold festivals, erect markers, publish a newsletter, sponsor talks and presentations and work with other community groups as needed.

Protesters outside of SeaQuest
(Photo by Frank Rizzo)

SeaQuest rescinded their application to the Town of Oyster Bay requesting to open up a location in Sunrise Mall. The withdrawal came after months of protests and outcry from members of the community, including former Massapequa resident Alec Baldwin, about the animal cruelty allegations and charges against SeaQuest at many of its locations.

The Stray Cats from left: Lee Rocker, Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom
(Photo by Russ Harrington)

The Stray Cats reunited to record 40, the trio’s first studio album since 1992’s Choo Choo Hot Fish. Massapequa’s favorite rock and roll sons—Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom—products of Ames Junior High School (Setzer) and Fairfield Elementary School (Rocker and Phantom), headed down to Nashville’s Blackbird Studio to, “…have a musical conversation that combines the old and the new in a lot of different ways,” according to Rocker.

The Plainedge Red Devils wound up winning their first Long Island Class III Championship after defeating the Sayville Lightning Bolts 56-20.
(Photo courtesy of Plainedge Athletics Facebook page)

The Plainedge High School football program wound up getting unwanted attention when head coach Rob Shaver was given a one-game suspension for violating a Nassau County sportsmanship rule created to discourage teams from running the score up against their opponents. The application of this rule came about after the Red Devils prevailed over previously unbeaten South Side by a score of 61-31. The ruling handed down by Nassau County’s governing body of athletics stirred up a national outcry thanks to the story going viral amid cries of participation trophies and a softening of the sport. Shaver had the last laugh after Plainedge overwhelmed South Side 41-13 in the Nassau Conference III championship before defeating Sayville 56-20 and capturing its first Long Island Class III Championship.

Massapequa Park Mayor Jeffrey Pravato climbed further up the political ladder after he won the race to become the next Town of Oyster Bay Receiver of Taxes when he defeated George Hignell by a 59 to 41 percent margin. Having served six years as mayor, Pravato is promising to help homeowners grieve their new assessment levels and secure property tax exemptions they are entitled to under the law, including those for senior citizens, veterans and volunteer firefighters. Having served as deputy commissioner of the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Public Works, Pravato is looking to apply his fiscally conservative approach to cutting wasteful spending on the town level.

-Christopher Birsner also contributed to this story.

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In addition to being editor of Hicksville News and Massapequa Observer, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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