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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: March 22, 2013

A Wish Fulfilled

As a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Mets baseball fan, I have always desired to go to spring training to see my teams perform in the Grapefruit League. Last week, at 78 years old, my wish came true.

With three other gentlemen, we flew to West Palm Beach Airport. Next we picked up a Toyota Avalon at Alamo Car Rental and proceeded toward Port St. Lucie to watch the 2013 Mets. On the way (Route 95 North), a black cloud filled with rain tried to get in our way, but it could not stop us. We had great hopes that our three-day stay would not be rained out. As it turned out, the Florida sun greeted us in Port St. Lucie. It was great to wear shorts and golf shirts under a sunny sky.  We checked into the Main Stay Hotel ($75 a night).

Our first game against the Washington Nationals started at 6:10 p.m. at the Mets’ ball field. It is named Tradition Field and it is a lovely baseball stadium. The field has high quality grass and a beautiful grass-lined berm in center field. As we lay on the berm, Ike Davis hit a huge homerun, not far from us.

We also saw David Wright, whom we designated as the All-American Boy because he is one. The Mets lost 6-4. Because Manager Collins was trying out his new crop of players, no other Mets were on the field that we recognized, pitchers included.

After a good night’s rest, the next day we traveled south to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida to watch the Mets play the Miami Marlins. The Marlins had just traded our beloved Jose Reyes to Toronto, so we had no love for them.

We had lunch in a strange place in Hobe Sound, Florida. It was called “Harry and the Natives,” established in 1941. There were strange signs all over the place, such as “Eat, drink and be Harry,” “I’ve got friends in low places,” and “Please notify your nurse when you leave.”  Plus there was a life size statue of Marilyn Monroe, with her dress blown up in the air.

The next game, our Mets lost again. We saw Duda and Tejada in this game.  Discontented, we drove back to Port St. Lucie. In the morning, we watched the Mets work out. That afternoon, the Mets were playing the St. Louis Cardinals.  Cardinal fans are so ardent, they almost outnumbered the Met fans. It was a romp and a rout of our poor Mets.  Three games, three losses, but we were not discouraged.

That night, we ate at a fabulous fish restaurant called the Food Shack. Never have I eaten such fresh fish, prepared so wonderfully. I had blackened Tuna.

Our trip came to a close as we boarded the Southwest flight back to Islip. A dream fulfilled: now, if only the poor Mets could win the pennant!

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com