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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

Our experience of 9/11 has changed; today it is seen as part of a journey and not an isolated event. On Wednesday, Sept. 10, President Barack Obama spoke to the nation saying the battle against terrorism is ongoing. 

 

That awareness that we had gone through the experience of the fall of the Twin Towers and had rebounded, but the danger is not over, and the battle is still to be won was repeated by Senator Carl Marcellino at the Day of Commemoration at the Oyster Bay 9/11 Memorial Garden on the Western Waterfront on Thursday evening.

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



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