Neighbors In The News



Edward and Dorothy Cosenza Onorato have been blessed to have reached their 76th wedding anniversary—May 7, 1944. They are residents of Mineola’s Wellington Road for 62 years. Congratulations; what a milestone.


Recently, the Garden City Board of Education appointed Janine Villez as the district’s new director of pupil personnel services and Eamonn Flood as the district’s new director of athletics, health and physical education.

Villez possesses more than 20 years of diverse experience and expertise in the field of special education, having served in a leadership role in a public school setting since 2010. For the last five years, Villez served as the director of elementary and preschool special education for the Longwood School District, supervising K-6 special education programs.

With more than 20 years of experience working in a public school athletics and physical education environment, Flood has served as the athletic director and physical education department chairperson at Great Neck North High School, where he supervised the high school interscholastic athletics program and physical education program for approximately 1,200 students. This included evaluating professional staff, hiring interscholastic athletic team coaches, developing schedules, planning and organizing awards ceremonies and many other duties associated with running the departments.


For the last seven years, one would often see village resident Paul Sokol with his metal detector in Memorial Park.

Mike McBride, who is the owner of New Hyde Park Funeral Home, had lost his beloved Claddagh ring in 2013, during set up of the fourth annual Katie’s Run, which the McBride family holds in memory of their young daughter. In doing so, they raise money for the treatment of childhood cancer as well as Ronald McDonald House.

The ring was a gift from McBride’s wife, Jeanne, when the couple was only 19 years old. McBride would continue wearing it as his wedding ring until it was sadly lost. Recently, Sokol would continue to search periodically and his tenacity paid off when he found what was thought lost forever. Sokol, along with his wife Cathy, was thrilled to present the ring to McBride this month, who was speechless.


Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the nation’s leading realtors, has announced that Donna Rubertone has been appointed the sales manager of its Port Washington office. Chief Executive Officer Deirdre O’Connell made the announcement.

“Donna Rubertone is a dedicated and inspirational manager with a proven record of success during her time as the manager of our Bayside/Flushing and Astoria/LIC Offices,” O’Connell said. “She will play an integral role in guiding and assisting the Port Washington sales team in their continued achievements. Her uncompromising integrity, along with her unparalleled interpersonal abilities, will continue to be a great asset to our team.”

Donna has a diverse background in financial services and sales having worked with Disney Vacation Club dealing primarily with the sale of real estate timeshares. During her four years with Disney, Donna received specialized training in customer service and sales giving her invaluable experience. She was the top sales professional throughout her time there and brings that same level of excellence and impeccable professionalism to her sales team at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s.


Laughter Saves Lives Foundation is not letting COVID-19 stop them from making people laugh while raising money for first responders. Last month, they held a comedy ZOOMATHON that lasted for five hours featuring 18 comics, including their very own chef, Pat Marone.

The virtual event raised almost $12,000, which was used to purchase 4,000 much needed N95 masks. The masks were distributed to the Veteran’s Hospitals in St. Albans and Northport. The Regency Assisted Living was also a recipient of this wonderful donation.   

“Chef Pat is a comic that works with our organization for the last four years. We are very proud of the work that The Regency has been doing to help their residents by keeping them happy and healthy,” John Larocchia, founder and president of Laughter Saves Lives Foundation, said.

The Regency sends a huge thank you to the Laughter Saves Lives Foundation for their generous donation. For more information, check their website at


In a time of unprecedented challenges, North Shore Synagogue continues to find creative ways to connect with its congregation and community. The clergy, Rabbi Jaimee Shalhevet and Cantor Mariel Ashkenazy, continue to reach out to the congregation via phone, email and text and send spiritual uplifting messages and songs out each week, providing pastoral care.

However, nothing can replace the in-person connection that we are missing in everyone’s daily lives right now. In addition to North Shore Synagogue’s continuing plethora of imaginative online programming and services, the synagogue reached deep into its heart and personally hand-delivered Shabbat bags to each of its more than 400 local member families.

Congregants were personally wished a “Shabbat shalom” by receiving a bag with a special note, Shabbat candles, Kedem grape juice provided by Royal Wine Corp, an individually wrapped and personalized challah provided by Zucker Bakers and a sheet with Shabbat blessings.

President Larry Henin said he received an overwhelmingly positive response as we brought the warmth of Shabbat into the homes of our congregation. He also pointed to dozens of favorable thank you posts from congregants on the synagogue’s Facebook page. He added, “this is what being a part of a synagogue and community is about.”


Jonas E. Salk Middle School in the Levittown Public Schools was re-designated as a National School of Character by This year, 84 schools and seven districts from 15 states earned the distinction. Jonas E. Salk Middle School is only one of three New York schools to be selected. This is the second time that the school earned the national title, the first being in 2016.

To receive the high honor, schools and school districts must meet’s 11 Principles. The principles were developed by school leaders and character development researchers to serve as a guide for schools throughout the country to plan, implement, assess and sustain their character development initiative. Building administrators and staff members from Jonas E. Salk Middle School applied for re-designation and the school received a site visit by a representative who pushed into classrooms, spoke with students, staff and parents.

Character education has played a significant role for years, starting with Jonas E. Salk Middle School’s R.I.S.E. program (respect and responsibility, integrity, safety and staying healthy and empathy). The program is committed to fostering each students’ social-emotional development and create opportunities for academic excellence, civic education and the development of moral character. This year, the school created R.I.S.E. Day, which is held once every quarter and focuses on one of the R.I.S.E. themes for the entire school day. Students participate in team building, problem solving and social-emotional activities.

The middle school also started a R.I.S.E. newsletter based on each quarter’s theme. Students who demonstrate the theme receive a R.I.S.E. Award and are highlighted in the newsletter. Outstanding students also receive a postcard in the mail from their teacher acknowledging them for their excellent character.


Seaford High School Class of 2020 valedictorian Jason Linzer and salutatorian Matt Karounos attended a special, socially distant ceremony hosted by the Town of Hempstead in late May at the Merrick Road Park Golf Course. With the COVID-19 pandemic altering the usual pomp and circumstance of graduation, the event recognized the achievements of top graduates from high school throughout the town.

Supervisor Donald Clavin, joined by other elected officials, congratulated Jason and Matt on their accomplishments. Jason will attend Stony Brook University to study biochemistry and Matt is committed to the University of Notre Dame where he will major in applied and computational mathematics and statistics.


Gregory Kies, a senior at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School (POBJFKHS), recently earned the opportunity of a lifetime. He has received offers from the United States Military Academy at West Point, as well as the United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Kies is a heavily involved student at POBJFKHS. He actively participates in many extracurricular activities such as holding the position of POBJFKHS class president, president of the band and public relations secretary for the National Spanish Honor Society. He is also an active member of the POBJFKHS track and cross country team, where he served as team captain. One of Kies’ most cherished accomplishments is being the founder and administrator of “Supplies for Soldiers,” an initiative that ships hundreds of supplies to soldiers that are stationed overseas. As the program grew steadily through the Plainview-Old Bethpage community, Kies was astonished by the large number of people willing to support the cause.


Community helpers was the focus of a recent digital lesson for English as a New Language (ENL) students at Fairfield Elementary School in the Massapequa School District. Working with ENL teachers Colleen Corrigan and Mary Gaynor, they learned vocabulary pertaining to important people who work in the community and discussed the different roles that each of them serves. Corrigan and Gaynor hosted virtual lessons over Google Hangouts for kindergartners and first graders. One of the chats included a guest speaker, Corrigan’s husband, who is a firefighter. Students were able to ask him questions about his job. ENL students also participated in the Buncee initiative, #Hugs4Heroes, in which they made digital thank-you cards for essential workers. Second and fourth grade students from Michele Ritchie and Jill Korwan’s classes were engaged in letter-writing lessons, incorporating the digital cards they made.


The Hicksville High School Chamber Singers were recently named one of only eight national finalists in the high school division of The American Prize choral competition. Back in February, the 27-member Chamber Singers group and the school’s concert choir were named semifinalists in the competition. Both groups are led by Hicksville High School choral director Michelle Shmuel. Winners of The American Prize awards are expected to be announced before the official end of the 2019-20 school year.


The Eighth Squad reports the arrest of two individuals for a burglary that occurred on April 9, in Farmingdale. According to detectives, a 50-year-old male victim noticed that his business Woody’s Goody’s, located at 695 Main St., had been burglarized. Investigation discovered that two males entered the business through a skylight and stole assorted merchandise before exiting the establishment. After an extensive investigation, defendants Jonathan Diaz-Alfaro, 24, and Douglas Mejia-Gomez, 23, were arrested on May 17, for the above burglary. Both defendants are charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny. They were arraigned on Monday, May 18, in Mineola.



Sage Spiegelman, a Roslyn High School sophomore, wanted to show her appreciation to first responders battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“I had been making pretzel pies as a hobby for my family and friends for several months prior to the pandemic,” Spiegelman said. “I thought it would be a great idea to create custom pies with inspirational sayings, such as ‘strength’, ‘hero’, and ‘courage’, and distribute the pies to first responders.”

After posting several photos of the completed pies on her Instagram account, @Uofsweets, the requests came pouring in from others, asking if they could purchase them.

“Since the pandemic shut down all parties and celebrations, people are finding other ways to make these events special for loved ones,” Sage’s mother, Deborah Spiegelman, said.

Spiegelman, along with her older sister, Ariel, have been working to complete all the orders. They have already completed more than 100 requests and raised more than $1,000. Profits have been donated to several local charities including Long Island Cares, the CDC Foundation, the COVID-19 Fund and Food for the Frontline.

—Submitted by Deborah
and Gene Spiegelman

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