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 People in the News


People In The News - Hauppauge Junior Girl Scouts

Hauppauge Junior Girl Scouts Earn Bronze Award

HAUPPAUGE, NY—Girls in Girl Scout Troops 1687, 1738 and 1765 recently earned their Bronze Award. The Girl Scout Bronze Award recognizes girls who demonstrate—either individually or as a group—extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects that address community needs.  

The troops’ Bronze Award Project consisted of working together to update and beautify the Hauppauge Youth Organization’s sports complex. Through fundraising efforts and community donations, the girls painted picnic tables, parking spaces and doors, constructed planters, created rock gardens, beautified an existing memorial garden and much more.

The girls were recently presented with their Bronze Award at a ceremony held at the Hauppauge Youth Organization Complex. Local officials in attendance included Legislator Tom Cilmi and Salvatore Nicosia, representing Senator Tom Croci. 

“Girl Scouts take a pledge to serve others and help people at all times,” says Yvonne Grant, President & CEO for Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. “The inspiring accomplishments of these young women are a testament to this promise.”

The members of Troop 1687,1738 and 1765 used their strengths, talents, and skills to put their plan into action to earn the Bronze Award, while each taking a leadership role.  They wish to acknowledge the support of their sister scouts, family, friends and the Hauppauge community.

Girl Scouts of Suffolk County is the largest youth-serving agency on Long Island. It serves more than 30,000 girls between the ages of 5 and 17, with the dedicated support of more than 7,000 volunteers. For more information about Girl Scouts, please call 631.543.6622 or visit www.gssc.us.


Reichert Family Foundation Makes A $1,000,000 Donation To NRSP

“There’s not a lot of people in the world like Charlie Reichert. Charlie taught me that sometimes you have to take that extra step to help things move forward.”  Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta

L-R NRSP Foundation President John McQuaid, LI Region NYS Parks Director Wayne Horsley, Charles Reichert,, Legislaor Rob Trotta, Deputy Director LI Region NYS Parks Brian FoleyOn Friday, November 2, 2018 the Charles and Helen Reichert Family Foundation formalized their commitment to donate $1,000,000 to the Nissequogue River State Park (NRSP) when Charles Reichert presented LI Regional Director Wayne Horsley with a $200,000 check as the first installment of his donation. According to Nisequogue River State Park Foundation (NRSPF) board member and former president Mike Rosato this is the NRSP’s largest private donation “The donation was made in support of the NRSPF’s mission to enhance and beautify the park.”  The money will be used to help fund the renovation of the park’s Visitors Center. 

Deputy Director of LI Region Parks Brian Foley worked closely with Charles Reichert, Legislator Trotta and Mike Rosato who carefully negotiated the donation and the timeline for the project. A request for proposals (RFP) issued by NYS Parks for the Administration Building includes the remediation of  the buiding’s roof, HVAC system, addition of an elevator, restoration of windows and cupola, conference room, classroom, park displays, bathrooms and offices. The work is expected to commence in 2019 and be completed in 2020.

John McQuaid president of the NRSPF acknowledged the many contributions the Reicherts have made, “Thank you, we are so grateful for your generosity and your ten years of support for the park. Charles Reichert  is the owner the of IGA Fort Salonga and Larkfield Supermarkets as well as three IGAs. He has been a supporter of the NRSPF since its inception in 2008 and has been the foundation’s largest financial supporter. Past contributions to the foundation have provided support for the annual Turkey Trot, Regatta on the River and  Sunset Run.  

LI Regional State Parks Director Wayne Horsley was quite pleased with the donation and quite eager to get the first installment saying, “The future is bright for NRSP, thank you Charlie Reichert.” “This private/public partnership shows we are in this together to make it a premier park in the NYS Park system.” Projects in the works include a marina and bringing water into the park. He also reminded those in attendance that the added security at the park had resulted in Halloween 2018 without any complaints. Historically, the park with its blighted buildings, has had its share of mischief on Halloween.

Mike Rosato has a long relationship with Charlie Reichert and the NRSPF and offered his heartfelt appreciation, “We could not be more thankful for Charles and Helen’s support and commitment to this park, our community and its residents. We are hopeful that more public-private partnerships, such as the one we’re celebrating here today, will help transform this former state hospital into an active state park that meets the recreational and entertainment needs of our residents.”  





People In The News - Myra Naseem & Elegant Eating

By Stacey Altherr

Myra Naseem  - Elegant Eating - 739 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown

If you ask Myra Naseem how she juggled teaching, being a single mother of two teenage girls, and starting a second career, she will tell you that she is more herself when juggling many balls in the air and looking for something new and different.

“I’m the sort of person that has to change,” she said. “I wake up in the morning and take a picture from one room and put in a different room.” 

That ability to change – actually inspired to make constant changes – is what makes Elegant Eating such a success. Starting while she was still a home economics teacher and raising two teenage girls, she would cook for family and friends, often catering dinner parties and other small gatherings. 

She made a cake and some other dishes for her eldest daughter’s bat mitzvah, and the caterer at the time liked what he saw. He hired her to work for him, which gave her an early insight into the catering world. She was soon supervising.

“For me, supervising the staff on the floor was like a classroom,” said Naseem, 76. “It came naturally to me.”

By the time of her youngest daughter’s bat mitzvah, she catered the whole event, with help from current and former home economic students and friends.

During this time, she met Neil Schumer, who also worked for the same caterer and was graduating from college with a business degree. She and he became partners, opening their first storefront in an old deli in Stony Brook in 1986. From there, Elegant Eating expanded its catering business, eventually moving to their present spot on Smithtown Bypass. Although she never went to culinary school, her home economics background and ability to keep those balls in the air led to success. Schumer is strictly the business side, which Naseem said has always helped her concentrate more on the food side.

Elegant Eating currently has a staff of at least 14 people, with 12 of those in the kitchen. A separate wait staff goes out to work the parties.

With more than 30 years, Naseem has seen the business through good times and lean times. The key to success? That ability to constantly change with the times, and the dietary needs and wants of the clientele. For instance, no one wants bread anymore, she said. Crudités are out.

“I think people are much more willing to try new foods,” she said. “Especially vegetables.”

She has always tries to introduce a new idea or food item in her catering. She tells a story of bringing artisan bread years ago to a catered event, only to be told the bread was stale. She explained that it wasn’t stale, but a different texture.

More stories: The time she introduced Jicama at an event, she was told someone put raw potato on the table, or the time she was told the red lettuce was bad, because people were only eating iceberg or romaine.

“I would put out guacamole, and no one would touch it.”

She sees her role as educating the customer to the different variations of a dish they already have in mind. If they want Chicken Francese, she will ask them to think about rosemary chicken.

Not only has the food evolved over the years, but the business model itself. There are many less dinner parties and more corporate catering.

Elegant Eating also does a lot of memorial services. Since people who have moved out of town remember her so well, they will call their old friend to cater the event.

And, of course, weddings. Those have also changed over the 30 something years, said Naseem, from catering halls to weddings in barns out east or on private lawns. Elegant Eating can cater to large crowds with specialized dishes. 

“We cook on a different level, with unique presentation.”

There is a lot to owning a business, she said, since the burden is always on the owner. If the walk-in refrigerator goes down and you lose the food, you have to pay for it. 

“It isn’t as easy as it seems, and it isn’t for everyone.”

Naseem has seen it changed for small mom-and-pop style business. It’s hard to compete with the vast shopping sprees available on the internet. But it is possible to succeed in a small business.

Her advice to new entrepreneurs? If you have a dream, be sure to set a goal and write it down.

“If you set yourself up for success, you will do it. You have to feel really strong and really positive.”



People In The News - St. James Resident June Capossela Kempf

Writer June Capossela Kempf published in Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literature and the Fine Arts

Akron, Ohio – The work of writer June Capossela Kempf of Saint James, New York, has been published in the current issue ofKaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literature and the Fine Arts. Her poem, “Where’s the Bunny?,” appears in Issue 77: The Journey Continues.  Her work was selected from among more than 350 submissions considered for publication.

Kempf is an educator whose two books were published by Keith Publications, Yo God! Jay’s Story (2013) and Lady of the Dollhouse (2017). She was inducted into the Long Island Authors Circle in 2018. Kempf is inspired by the words of Maya Angelou: “One of the worst burdens is an untold story.”

The award-winning Kaleidoscope magazine is published by United Disability Services in Akron, Ohio.  A pioneer in the publication of disability literature and fine arts, the magazine expresses the experiences of disability from the perspective of individuals, families, friends, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.  The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing and sentimental attitudes about disability.  The publication is now available at no cost online by visiting www.KaleidoscopeOnline.org.


United Disability Services has been meeting the social, vocational, community living, low vision, recreational and transportation needs of people with disabilities for nearly 70 years.  For more information visit www.udsakron.org.


People In The News - Mt. Pleasant's Aidan Eddelson Met Kidcaster 

Mt. Pleasant Mets fan finds his ‘calling’  

Aidan Eddelson, a fourth-grader at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District, was chosen to be a New York Mets Kidcaster and had the opportunity to join the broadcasters in the booth on Sept. 25. He is pictured with Mt. Pleasant Elementary School Principal Joseph Ierano. Wearing his headphones, calling the plays and hanging out with New York Mets announcers Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen may have been the highlight of the year for Aidan Eddelson, a fourth-grader from Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District.

Eddelson was chosen as a Kidcaster, winning the privilege of sitting in the broadcast booth and calling the Mets game for a half-inning alongside the Mets broadcasters on Sept. 25. Eddelson won the contest by submitting a video of himself announcing a Mets highlight reel. He found out he was selected as a winner in mid-September. 

Eddelson brought along his mother, father and brother Jack, a first-grader at Mt. Pleasant, to the Mets game. “I talked to the other broadcasters about school, my teachers and hobbies,” he said. “I was able to make my own notecards and use them to talk about some of the players.” Even though he no longer plays baseball, Eddelson still enjoys watching his favorite team and player, Yoenis Cespedes. If he doesn’t become a professional hockey player when he grows up, being a sportscaster is second on his list.  

Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District