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The Year In Review

Anton Newspapers looks back on the

most memorable moments of 2012

St. Ignatius Loyola’s Last Days

On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, families and friends of Catholic schools across Long Island braved the freezing temperatures and icy conditions to rally in protest of the closings announced by the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The schools that closed their doors in June 2012 were: Farmingdale: Saint John Baptist de La Salle Regional School, Franklin Square: Saint Catherine of Sienna School, Hicksville: Saint Ignatius Loyola School, North Merrick: Sacred Heart School, Lindenhurst: Our Lady of Perpetual Help School and Sayville: Prince of Peace Regional School.

Challenger Explosion Home Video

On Jan. 28, 1986, Hicksville resident Bob Karman and his family were waiting at the Orlando International Airport following a Disney World Vacation when they were treated to a rare event: witnessing a space shuttle launch 45 miles away from nearby Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Seventy-three seconds after takeoff, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart, killing all seven crew members on board, and Karman’s camcorder, like many others that day, captured the tragedy in its entirety.

“I had never been to Florida or seen a space shuttle go off. You are waiting for the stages to separate, something to happen, but something just wasn’t right. Obviously at the time we didn’t know exactly what had happened. It wasn’t until we got on the plane that the captain made an announcement on the flight that we knew,” said Karman.

Resident Donates Kidney To Boss, Gets Fired

In a story that garnered national headlines, Hicksville resident Debbie Stevens claimed that she was fired after taking additional time off from work to recover from donating a kidney – one that was intended to help her sick boss.

Stevens, a 47-year-old divorced mother of two, said she offered to donate a kidney to her boss, Jackie Brucia, 61, in September 2010. In August 2011, Stevens underwent surgery and though her kidney wasn’t a match for her boss, the surgery would help Brucia get her name higher on a transplant list.

Upon returning to work, Stevens said she was berated and harassed. Stevens also claimed that she was pressured to return to work though she still needed additional days off to recover.

And though the idea of being used for her organ is upsetting, Stevens thinks that may be the case.

“The thought of that being what really happened sickens me. It’s a very surreal thought, but I can’t help but feel that way. Now that I’ve put it on paper and read my own timeline, it appears that way. It appears that I was used,” Stevens said, adding that if she could go back in time, “No, I wouldn’t give it to her again.”

All Aboard! LIRR Station Renovation

Over the next five years, Long Island Rail Road commuters from Hicksville, Westbury and Mineola will notice some significant changes at their hometown stations.

The MTA Long Island Rail Road announced that $211.5 worth of capital improvements – dubbed the MTA Capital Plan – will result in major renovations at the Hicksville train station, a new bridge on Ellison Avenue in the Village of Westbury and drainage improvements in Mineola.

Of the $106.6 million devoted to the Hicksville train station, one of the LIRR’s busiest, $55.1 million will go toward what the MTA describes as a “facelift,” which includes new station platforms, waiting rooms, canopies, stairways, lighting, elevators, escalators and a digital audio communication system.

The LIRR set aside $37.7 million for an additional 3,000 feet of new track, along with power and signal work, which will enable the LIRR to add three morning and evening peak service trains between Hicksville and Grand Central Terminal once the East Side Access project is completed. The additional track will improve the railroad’s ability to reroute trains due to maintenance, construction or service disruptions, according to an MTA press release.

Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams said, “These projects will improve our service reliability in a critical stretch of the LIRR. The signal and siding improvements at Hicksville will benefit thousands of customers who pass through this junction each day while the station improvements will make for a brighter commute for our Hicksville customers and we welcome community input as we go forward.”

The LIRR will also spend $13.8 million to modernize the signal system at the Divide Tower located just east of the Hicksville station, which controls all train movement on the Huntington/Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches east of Hicksville.

Hicksville Resident Named CPHS Principal

The halls of the Carle Place Middle and High School will welcome a new principal when the school year starts in September as Thomas DePaola will take the reins from former principal Neil J. Connolly, who retired from his position after 37 years of service to the district.

Prior to his position at Carle Place, DePaola served as vice principal at Long Beach High School for the past three years. He served as a biology and chemistry teacher for 13 years at Farmingdale High School and was also a union officer for six years.

Storms Bring Out Best, Worst In Hicksville

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and Winter Storm Athena, Hicksville residents have been put to the test as uncertainties loom regarding electricity returning to homes and the availability of gasoline.

On Nov. 6, according to detectives, defendant John Mullaly, 30, of Hicksville, was observed in the parking lot of Lifetime Fitness pulling on door handles of vehicles in the lot. A Second Precinct Officer stopped Mullaly and during the investigation, defendants Michael Ioveno 37, of Hicksville, and Jaclyn Accetta, 23, of Sea Cliff, approached the officer and a subsequent investigation revealed that the three defendants were attempting to siphon gasoline from vehicles, police explained.

On the other hand, residents could count on one local business during the storms, Hicksville Beer and Soda, located on 70 Woodbury Road. Andrew Preston, who has owned the store since late January, lowered the price of ice by $1 following Superstorm Sandy.

“In the days after the storm, even without power, he was there selling ice and trying to reach out to the community. Andrew should be commended and was truly a shining light during an otherwise trying time,” said longtime Hicksville resident Ted Urban in an email to the Hicksville Illustrated News.

Preston, who formerly worked at Port Beer and Soda in Port Washington and attended Utica College, kept residents updated through the Hicksville Beer and Soda’s Facebook page.

“Everyone has been through tough times recently and we should all think of ways we can help. There is devastation all around us in places we call home, but nothing can stop us if we stick together and help out in anyway we can,” Preston said via Facebook.

NYS Coach Of The Year Lives Here

Robert Malandro’s coaching awards are almost as numerous as the number of years he has spent coaching the Holy Trinity boys baseball team.

With a quarter-century worth of experience and five Catholic League Championships, Malandro has been paving the way for successful high school baseball players for more than two decades. Humble, enthusiastic and dedicated are only a few words that adequately describe the five-time NSCHSAA Coach of the Year.

After playing baseball all around the country with the Nassau County Police Department, Malandro found coaching to be the next natural step after his retirement. A Hicksville resident himself, Malandro began coaching baseball at Holy Trinity in 1989 after answering an ad in a local paper. One of the most important things Malandro has ever learned, he said, comes from one of his old coaches.

“He told me that the main thing about coaching baseball is to love your team. That is where you get the most satisfaction,” Malandro explained.

Malandro lives for baseball and has not only been a coach, but a role model and teacher, to the 25 Holy Trinity baseball teams that have flourished under his direction.

News

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.

Some students returning to school the first day might see a new face on the bus: Hicksville’s new interim superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso.

“Every year on the first day of school I ride one of the buses. To see the face of a kindergartener on that first ride just reminds you of why you’re in the field,” he says.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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