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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

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.

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.


Sports

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.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



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