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Red Ribbon Week Aimed At Saving Lives

The social workers in Oyster Bay perform an enormous job that often has life and death consequences.  During Red Ribbon Week, the social workers join in a nationwide effort to protect children from the effects of destructive decisions.

Red Ribbon Week was started in 1985 by the family and neighbors of Enrique Camarena, a federal drug enforcement agent who was killed in the line of duty. His family members wore red ribbons and the idea quickly spread until the red ribbon became the symbol of drug and alcohol prevention across the nation. This annual event focuses on the importance of living healthy and preventing drug and alcohol use and abuse.

In Oyster Bay, each school plans a week full of activities and fun ways to raise awareness about these important issues.

A major event at the high school is Grim Reaper Day. Grim Reaper Day is an annual event that draws attention to the devastating effects of driving while compromised.  An adolescent senselessly dies every 32 minutes as a result a direct result of drugs or alcohol. SADD officers and volunteers train to be part of the event.  They “symbolically” die every 32 minutes when the gong rings over the loud speaker. The grim character of the “reaper” (students dressed in costume), enters a room and taps a predetermined student on the shoulder. They stand and wear a placard explaining the tragic circumstances of their untimely death for all of their fellow students to read throughout the day. They remain silent and non-interactive throughout the course of their regular day as if they were “dead” to us. Their presence is a somber reminder to make good decisions to keep them, their friends and family safe, and especially to never drink and drive.

Grim Reaper Day has become a tradition at Oyster Bay High School. This was once only for high school students. The presence of seventh- and eighth-graders at the high school gave rise to the need to incorporate middle level students and age appropriate situations into the somber event.  The goal is to empower middle level students to decline rides from compromised adults, refrain from experimentation with alcohol and drugs, and to avoid risky behaviors and activities, even when they are sober.

After the last bell, all volunteers congregate in the gym lobby so individuals can read all of the placards and SADD officers can continue to share facts.  As students assembled they were serenaded by Oyster Bay High School students.  Laura Broffman kicked off the entertainment singing and playing guitar.  Stevie Matthews led a band of musicians singing “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” Stevie sang and played the piano.  He was joined by Chris Roerden on the bassoon, Josh Tepper on muted trumpet and Jamie Burke on guitar and vocals.  Jamie also performed with her guitar.

In general, the students feel that this is an effective and necessary event to raise awareness and educate.  The event is scheduled as part of Red Ribbon Week which also shares that mission.

On the same day, John Halligan shared “Ryan’s Story” with Vernon students.  His son, Ryan committed suicide when he was 13 years old as a result of being bullied.

News

In a little-known chapter of New York City’s history, the name of police officer Phillip Cardillo is spoken in hushed, revered whispers. Though he was tragically killed in the line of duty back in 1972, the burning embers of his memory are still fanned by a passionate few who wish to finally obtain for the fallen hero the elusive recognition that he truly deserves.

At their Oct. 8 meeting in Mineola, the Nassau County-based Association of Retired Police Officers (ARPO) held a heartfelt ceremony, as both Cardillo as well as the driven NYPD detective who has fought for justice in his name for the past four decades, were honored as the true heroes that they are.

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.


Sports

A number of awards were given to runners in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich area at the Oct. 18 Oyster Bay Town Supervisor’s 5 Kilometer Run, including 23-year-old Justin Nakrin of Oyster Bay, who finished in 12th place overall and second in the 20-24 age group, and 43-year-old Daniel Valderrama of Oyster Bay, who scored in 17th place overall and second in the 40-44 age group. Maggie Reid of Locust Valley earned first place honors in the 15-19 age group.

The indomitable 81-year-old Nina Jennings of Mill Neck was the oldest woman to finish the run, taking first place honors in the women’s 80-84 age group in 35 minutes, 11 seconds, a pace of 11:19 per mile. She was the fastest of all of the five finishers—male or female—who were 80 years old or more.

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.


Calendar

Ghastly Grounds

Thursday, October 30

Trick Or Treat

Friday, October 31

Long Island Baroque Ensemble

Sunday, November 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