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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

If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, and many of them were in costume, a new addition to the popular champagne party. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date Daphne, a 3-month-old long haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.

The 1907 Courthouse building is now known as the Marguerite and Joseph Suozzi Building, marked by a special ceremony held at the North Shore Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 3 to a packed house.

“It’s a great day for the Suozzi family and a great day for the museum. We are so grateful for the Suozzi family for this generous donation,” said Brian Mercadante, president of the museum.

Mercandante then gave some history on the building, which was built in 1907 by the Town of Oyster Bay, when Teddy Roosevelt was president and the Gold Coast was in its heyday. He described how it came to be a museum, explaining that Tom Suozzi came up with a plan for redevelopment during his term as mayor of Glen Cove in the 1990s.


Sports

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.

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay will once again be the site of the Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.

The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at  Roosevelt  Park.


Calendar

Bayville Car Show

Friday, Aug. 22

Junior Triathlon

Sunday, Aug. 24

Historic Church Service And Tour

Sunday, Aug. 24



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