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American Idol Comes To Albertson

Elise Testone performs at Reach for a Star Luncheon

The annual Reach for a Star Luncheon at the Henry Viscardi School is always a major event, raising important funds for this nationally renowned institution. This year’s event was a particular special event in that Elise Testone, a 2012 American Idol finalist was able to perform. 

Performing in front of an appreciative crowd of over 350 guests, plus students, parents and faculty members, Testone helped to make the 31st annual luncheon a significant event. Testone performed her own material, plus a rendition of the Bill Withers classic, “Lean On Me.” As with any great performer, Testone included student participation during that number.  Afterwards, Testone toured the school in December and jammed with one of the music classes.

Proceeds from the luncheon, Henry Viscardi officials note, fund after-school clubs, sports and activities that give the students the opportunity to socialize with their friends and continue the lessons learned during the school day. One of those activities is Friday Night Rec. Or in the words of Chris, a ninth grader attending the Henry Viscardi School, “You can always tell when it is a Friday Night Rec day by the smiles on the kids faces.” 

“Our after-school programs encourage kids to take chances, be bold, act like leaders, work as a team, cultivate school spirit and give back to their supporting communities,” added John D. Kemp, president and CEO of The Viscardi Center during his remarks at the luncheon. “These experiences also let them dream big. Their dreams include being a football player, business owner, doctor, and fashion designer to quote a few.”

The day was a homecoming of sorts of Testone as she is a native of New Jersey and once had a voice coach from New York City. A graduate of Coastal Carolina University, Testone remained in South Carolina and began performing in bands and writing her own songs. In the summer of 2011, Testone auditioned for American Idol, earning a spot to the finals. In her nationally-televised debut, she performed songs as different as Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Billy Joel’s “Vienna” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Testone received praise from Stevie Nicks and Jennifer Lopez, even though famed record producer Jimmy Iovine criticized her choice of songs. But none of that looks to slow down Testone’s career as she made numerous admirers in the record industry and as important, with a nationwide audience. 


News

A lot of people think that our world would be better off without all of the insects in it. Not so, according to Lois Lindberg, volunteer naturalist at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Lindberg and fellow naturalist Wendy Albin gave a presentation about the importance of butterflies and insects in our ecosystem at the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s former home on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“Butterflies and other insects are very important in nature,” said Lindberg. “People see bees, wasps and ants and other insects as pests, but they actually contribute to our ecosystem by each doing their own unique job. They pollinate the flowers and fruits and without them we would not be able to eat a lot of the stuff we eat every day.”

Building J at Oyster Bay’s Western Waterfront is again up and running as the Ida May Project builds the 40-passenger oyster boat that will be operated by the WaterFront Center. The Ida May Project of the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corp. is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve Oyster Bay maritime heritage by involving the community in traditional boat building.

Bill Shephard, Herb Scheirhorst, President Clint Smith and Project Manager Hank Tiska were there on a recent Thursday. Smith had left at around 2 p.m. to get a part he had at home they needed to fix the tractor they use to move the logs they cut to size in their saw mill. Fixing their equipment and cutting logs are some of the many projects that encompass the work.


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



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