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Former Illustrated News Editor Honored By Trustees

Community icon Maggi Whitely feted by
village officials and local leaders

Anyone who passed the electronic sign in front of New Hyde Park Village Hall and wondered what “Thank you Maggie Whitely for supporting our village” was all about, obviously wasn’t from New Hyde Park. The Maggi Whitely referred to in the sign was the editor of the Illustrated News for 27 years, during which time she became a beloved fixture of the village. She left the post earlier this year.

So it was no surprise that at the beginning of the Dec. 18 village board of trustees meeting, that time was carved out for board members and local organizations to pay homage to Whitely. Arranged by Deputy Mayor Dan Lofaro, the ceremony featured well-deserved accolades, starting with Mayor Donald Petruccio, who quipped to the honored guest that, “all seems right in the world again Maggi [with] you sitting in the front row.”

“At a time when our news on a national level is so controversial and parochial in that there are sides, positions and people making their points and not presenting the news anymore…Maggi has made her stories about the facts of the stories,” Petruccio said. “She let you draw the conclusions as to what was happening. She didn’t infer what was going on. She didn’t editorialize.”

Other officials praising Whitely were Mark Laytin, president of the New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, Village Recreation Director Richard Pallisco and Carol Nowakowski, the New Hyde Park historian who also made Whitely an honorary member of the New Hyde Park Museum.

Fellow local journalist Ellen LaRegina was similarly complementary.

“I’ve known Maggi for about 26 years and I’ve always referred to her as the lady with the hats because every time she came to an event, she had a different hat on,” LaRegina said with a smile. “She made our community look better than it really is in print…. She went above and beyond the call of duty and I appreciate that.”

As pictures were taken and hugs dispensed, Whitely beamed. Clearly moved, she shared her feelings about covering the village.

“I loved [covering New Hyde Park]. I never ever felt like it was work. It’s the greatest place. It really is.”