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Joint Civics Work Together In OB-EN

Civic groups partner and party together for the community’s good

It was basically a very nice party for a lot of civic-minded people when the East Norwich and Oyster Bay civic associations held their annual joint cocktail party on May 18. The event alternates between the Sagamore Yacht Club (this year) and the Pine Hollow Country Club (next year) in 2013, ad infinitum. The event is run – at cost – with the profits coming from raffles and a 50/50. The two civics use the funds for a scholarship to an Oyster Bay High School graduating senior, for beautification projects, for holiday decorations and other worthy causes.

Members of the Committee for the Beautification of East Norwich attended the party as is their habit. The local civic groups have partnered up to be a unified force in the community. Both civics have donated funds to the Marie Colvin Foundation, which was set up to honor the Oyster Bay-raised war correspondent killed in Homs, Syria on Feb. 22, while working for the Sunday Times of London. Her mother Rosemarie Colvin, an ENCA board member attended the cocktail party, having just arrived home from London with her daughter Cat. They attended a May 16 memorial service for daughter Marie, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London.

Ms. Colvin said that Marie’s publisher Rupert Murdoch has put out a book of the articles she wrote for the Sunday Times. Her editor John Witherow was reported in the Sunday Times as saying at the memorial, “Our lives are poorer for not being able to see that smile, hear that throaty laugh and simply enjoy the company of a remarkable woman who was the greatest war correspondent of her generation.” He called her “unbelievably special” and talked of her bravery and dedication.

The large church was packed with mourners who held programs with a cover photo of Marie wearing a red blouse and sporting her iconic black eye patch. Rosemary said Mr. Witherow had been Marie’s first editor when she began with the newspaper and they remained close personal friends.

Ms. Colvin said the church is really a cathedral. “Officials from London, France, the U.S. and all over were there. John [Witherow] did the eulogy. Afterwards there was a reception at the East India Company (EIC) building nearby. When you go to school, you hear about the EIC and it was amazing to see the 1840s building. The book of Marie’s writings was being sold at the reception and all the profits from the book will be donated to the Marie Colvin Foundation.

“We just decided to give an award from the foundation at the Oyster Bay High School awards ceremony. It is a $500 scholarship for a student interested in writing or journalism.

“I was at the Overseas Press Club dinner when they announced the plans for an international journalism center that is being planned for Stony Brook University. We will be contributing to that from the foundation.

“The U.S. Senate has been collecting things said about Marie in the press. She was given a Congressional Award by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. I knew him as a kid when Marie was attending Yale. She and her friend Kim decided to live off campus and got an apartment. The kitchen had been painted purple. When Sheldon walked in I handed him a paintbrush. He came from a wealthy family and it was a surprise to him that he was going to work: I used to kid him about it. He became the governor of Rhode Island,” she said.

The story of Marie Colvin is still being told. If you would like to send a donation to the memorial fund, it can be made payable and mailed to: The Marie Colvin Fund at LICF (Long Island Community Foundation), 1864 Muttontown Road, Syosset, N.Y. 11791.

Great Location

FYI: The SYC has gone up a notch as a venue: with white tablecloths and the chairs slipcovered in white, with bows. It has the look of a party location. Rob Brusca who was the event chair said he is currently firming up arrangements to use the club for the upcoming 6th Annual Summer Solstice event for the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum on June 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. The SYC uses Jack Halyards American Bar and Grill as their caterer. The upcoming event features raffles, food and a champagne toast at sunset.

Early in the evening of the civics’ cocktail party, outside on the terrace, Jacqueline (School of Domestic Arts director) and Philip Bocklyn, Oyster Bay Historical Society executive director, listened to Dr. Susan Petersen of A-1 Resumes describe a networking event at the Swan Club that she had attended. It was crowded, offered no food, but was very successful.

Later in the evening, Ms. Peterson won the grand prize of a one-week vacation stay at Bill Von Novak’s condo at The Summit at Gore Mountain. It is a year-round recreational area near Lake George with boating, fishing, hiking, a pool and an amusement park nearby. It is great in summer and winter. The summer retreat went with a high bid of $350.

Defending TOB Public Safety

Eileen and Peter Aliani were selling raffle tickets and were talking about a newspaper piece that portrayed the Town of Oyster Bay’s Department of Public Safety as not doing anything worthwhile. Mr. Aliani, a public safety officer said, “We help people when they lock their keys in the car. A lot of cops don’t carry the gadget needed. If someone’s car won’t start, we carry jumper cables to help. If there’s an accident we try to assist them.

“We all carry defibrillators and are certified every year in CPR for adults and children.” Mr. Aliani was sad about the department being portrayed poorly. He was in uniform working at the Sagamore Rowing Association Regatta at Centre Island on May 6, ready and willing to help anyone in need.

At the May 17 Oyster Bay Civic Association meeting, Bob Martin commented on the Town of Oyster Bay Public Safety patrols saying, “We should try to get the town’s public safety division more active but the Police Benevolence Association, their union, tells them what they can do and we’re paying big bucks for a group that can’t give out tickets or make an arrest. They need more training. We have a big organization but it is hampered by the union.”

Ms. Aliani is the CBOEN secretary. His hobby is his volunteer work with Horseability, a group that provides therapy to challenged children.

Talking Politics

Seated between Legislator Judy Jacobs and Pat Power made for interesting conversation. Ms. Jacobs has seven grandchildren. After her husband, Sid, died, her job became even more of her life’s focus, a job that she truly enjoys. A longtime community activist, and before that an elementary school teacher with happy memories of that time, she has been of great help to the civic associations. She recently helped get street signage for East Norwich and antique lampposts for Oyster Bay.

Ms. Jacobs is considering the next challenge for the Democrats in the legislature as redistricting. She said the lawyer hired to work with the county on redistricting is actually working for the Republicans and she sees great problems ahead, especially after the last assault on the redistricting process promulgated by Nassau County Presiding Officer Peter Schmidt, in which she almost entirely lost her constituency consisting of most of Woodbury, Syosset and East Norwich. That initiative was defeated in the courts, but there is more to come.

Back In Oyster Bay

Pat Power has moved back to Oyster Bay. She has volunteered for 11 years at the Abilities Sports Night. Big names in the sports world attend and sign footballs, baseballs and caps brought by fans who can chat with their favorite athletes. She fondly remembers turning a corner at the event and bumping into Joe Namath and asking him to sign her hat, “Or my son won’t forgive me.” He did sign it, and she skipped waiting on a very long line.

Pat’s daughter and son-in-law live in California where he has opened three pizza restaurants: think Kramer’s idea on Seinfeld. “You pick up your pie-dough and go to the next counter where they add the sauce, then on to the toppings and on to where they pop it into the oven. They are located near colleges and are doing very well,” she said. Ms. Power was recognized as a returnee to Oyster Bay and was recruited back into the Coast Guard Auxiliary where she is their social secretary and is arranging their upcoming event, hopefully at the SYC.

Prize Winners

Judy Jacobs won the Vera Bradley bag donated by Dodds & Eder. She said she put all her tickets into that Chinese auction bag. “Now I don’t have to look at any more numbers,” she said. She was very pleased to have won her choice item. It came with a gift certificate, which she returned to the raffle for another winner to receive.

This reporter won a birdhouse I had lusted after. Pat Power won a basket with two wine bottles, two glasses and a crystal bottle stopper. Grace Searby who had donated the gift alerted her to the fact that the package was fragile.

Ms. Searby had been dancing brilliantly to the music. Nick DeSantis, CBOEN member joined her and in a while he was in the middle of the circle dancing with woman after woman. “He’s 89,” remarked Ms. Petersen, one of the dancers.

The 50/50 of $220 was won by Judge Robert Schmidt, who came with his beautiful wife, Barbara, who is a rhododendron enthusiast, and member of the Rhododendron Society that meets at Planting Fields.

For more information on the civics, please call Matt Meng at 606-8053, Bill Von Novak at 922-5551 or Rob Brusca, event chair at 802-0255 or 816-1986.