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 People in the News

Sunday
Nov202016

People In The News - Author Talia Carner Talks With Smithtown AAUW

 

Recently Talia Carner, author of Hotel Moscow: A Novel, was the guest speaker at the Smithtown Chapter of American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) author luncheon meeting at Voila in St. James. AAUW was founded in 1881, its mission is the empowerment of women.  

Author Talia Carner autographs copies of Hotel Moscow: A NovelMs. Carner is a native of Tel Aviv, Israel and currently has a home on Long Island. She has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Hebrew University and a master’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook with a concentration in economics. She is an award winning author who has published four novels and many articles.  While living in Israel she served in the Israel Defense Force. Talia is married to Ron Carner and they have four grown children.

Patricia Huber was the winner of Lilli Ledbetter autographed AAUW BagThe author was a perfect fit for this group of educated and aware women. The luncheon took place prior to the November 8 election and there was an element of excitement amongst the attendees. Perhaps this election would be historical and a female would be elected as the next president of the United States.

Hotel Moscow is about a young woman in her late thirty’s who is the child of Russian Holocaust survivors. She visits Russia in 1993 during the Yeltsin uprising. The protagonist, Brooke Fielding, is in Russia as part of a mission to help Russian women as they transition from communism to a capitalistic society. Achieving the goals of the mission is complicated by societal norms where women are not respected, crimes against women are rampant and mafia style protection and payoffs are accepted as the norm. There is a character in the book who states matter of factly, that ‘Italians are lucky they have only one mafia”. Life is difficult for the women in Russia’s paternalistic society where alcholism has reduced the productivity and average life span for men, leaving women to fend for themselves and thier families. In Hotel Moscow, women face greed, abuse, rape and dispair with little support and many obstacles.

Hotel Moscow is disquieting. It is about conflict of many varieties. The conflict of an adult child visiting a country that had taken the very soul from her parents. The conflict of a nation where people are indoctrinated to a lifestyle of dependency on government and are unprepared to navigate a free-for-all world in which they find themselves. There is the conflict of women who are in a society that pits them against one another and who live with the philosophy of your gain is my loss. Lastly, there is the conflict of a woman working through issues of her lifestyle.

While the book does not come close to resolving the many issues set in the story, it does explose issues and offers an explainations for the many obstacles faced by the women of Russia. Hotel Moscow: A Novel is not for the faint of heart but it is for those who may want a glimpse of the life of Russian women. 

Click on the links for more information about Talia Carner and the AAUW.

Tuesday
Nov152016

Girl Scouts Do It All! Teresa DeSantis, Victoria Pirrera, Marissa Piccininni 

Remember these names: Teresa DeSantis, Victoria Pirrera and Marissa Piccininni. They are all students at Smithtown High School West, Girl Scouts and have the distinction of being Gold Award recipients. The three high school seniors recently completed environmental projects at Smithtown’s Mt. Pleasant Elementary School thus fulfilling the requirements for Girl Scout’s highest and most prestigious honor, the Gold Award. 

The Gold award is limited to high school students and the requirements are stringent. There is a seven-step process that begins with identifying an issue and doing diligence in planning . One of the most challenging requirements is the need to make a commitment of dedicating a minimum of eighty hours to their project.

Teresa DeSantis, Victoria Pirrera and Marissa Piccininni chose the Mt. Pleasant Elementary School’s environmental center for their project. The girls, former students at the school, recognized an opportunity to give back to their community by building planting boxes for vegetables, creating a video and cook book on nutrition, and expanding a brick walkway leading to the garden area. Quite an undertaking.

The young women planned, solicited donations and did the construction work. According to the three women they got dirty, “very dirty and there was a lot of sweat”. The three Gold Award candidates were a little shy and very grateful that the event was recognized with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Mt. Pleasant Elementary School on October 29th. 

Mr. Ierano, Marissa Piccininni, Teresa DeSantis and Victoria PirreraMr. Ierano, principal at Mt. Pleasant, surrounded by PTA president Kathy Ehrhard , Marissa, Teresa, Victoria and many members of the community who have participated in the development of the ecological site at the school cut the ceremonial ribbon. In addition to the Gold Award project the school has a butterfly garden and a pathway previous students and PTA boards have built. Mr. Ierano made a special point to thank the community members who donated to the projects, the Smithtown’s Board of Education, Mr. Bill Stockmann and Mr. James Harrell as well as the entire school custodial staff. 

Victoria Pirrera, Teresa DeSantis, Marissa PiccininniVictoria, Marissa and Teresa are members of Girl Scout Troop 474. They have been in scouting together since they were elementary students at Mt. Pleasant Elementary. Committing to an eighty hour project in your spare time means giving up a lot. For the girls it meant learning to use tools they had never touched before and doing hard manual labor. It meant working on the project during the hot summer months and calling on family and friends to help out. Teresa, Victoria and Marissa are an example of Smithtown’s young women willing to commit to taking on a challenge and seeing it through to completion.  When asked if they were proud of their project they gave an unequivocal  “yes”. Were they glad it is over? That was unequivocal as well. The Girl Scout thanked their families and the business owners who contributed to the project.

Expect to hear much more about the accomplishments of Teresa DeSantis, Victoria Pirrera and Marissa Piccinnini, Smithtown HS students, Girl Scouts and future leaders.

 

Wednesday
Nov092016

Local People Making News - SHSE Honor Student Venkata Pranav Vallapragada

Honor Student Venkata Pranav Vallapragada Nominated for The Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, MA

Congratulations to Smithtown HS East student Venkata Pranav Vallapragada. 

SMITHTOWN,NEW YORK — Venkata Pranav Vallapragada, an 11th Grader at Smithtown High School East of Smithtown is a Delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Lowell, MA on June 25—27, 2017.

The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.

Venkata Pranav Vallapragada was nominated by Dr. Robert Darling, the Medical Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists to represent Smithtown based on his academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine.

During the three-day Congress, Venkata Pranav Vallapragada will join students from across the country and hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science Winners talk about leading medical research; be given advice from Ivy League and top medical school deans on what to expect in medical school; witness stories told by patients who are living medical miracles; be inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.

“This is a crucial time in America when we need more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, Executive Director, National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. “Focused, bright and determined students like Venkata Pranav Vallapragada are our future and he deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give him.”

The Academy offers free services and programs to students who want to be physicians or go into medical science. Some of the services and programs the Academy offers are online social networks through which future doctors and medical scientists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by physicians and medical students; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance and much more.

The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists was founded on the belief that we must identify prospective medical talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of this vital career. Based in Washington, D.C. and with offices in Boston, MA, the Academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to the service of humanity as physicians, medical scientists.

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Wednesday
Oct192016

Smithtown's Kathy Albrecht Called "The Saving Grace For Humanity"

Smithtown Heroine Receives Honor from Smithtown Children’s Foundation

By Nancy Vallarella

Kathleen Albrecht is a seasoned Smithtown resident. Known to many locals as a wife, mother, grandmother, columnist, former Smithtown business owner, community volunteer, current Chef of Staff for New York State Assemblyman, Michael Fitzpatrick and most recently, a life saver.

Five months ago, Kathleen Albrecht became a living donor and helped to save the life of another Town of Smithtown resident, Rachael Eisenson.  

Christine Fitzgerald, Co-Founder of the Smithtown Children’s Foundation presented Kathleen with the SCF’s 2016 Kaylee Rivers Courage Award during the reception following The Friends Fore Smithtown Community Golf Outing at the Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack on October 11th.  It is the foundation’s most prestigious award, given in memory of the girl who inspired them to start the foundation and help the Smithtown community in so many ways. 

 Although the Eisenson family could not be present, a statement was read on their behalf by Fitzgerald. The following excerpt expresses the family’s sentiment of gratitude. “Obviously, Kathleen Albrecht’s generous altruism in selflessly coming forward is worthy of the highest praise imaginable. Our entire family is in her debt, not only for saving our daughter’s life but in a world that seems to be ripped apart by negativism and discord, Kathleen and people like her are truly the saving grace for humanity.” - The Eisenson Family.

Deemed Kathleen “All In” Albrecht by the Eisensons, Kathy continues the mission by raising awareness in becoming a Living Donor. She graciously accepted her SCF Courage Award and encouraged attendees to review the New York State Donate Life Program and to go to the MyDMV page to enroll in the donor program. 

Saturday
Oct082016

Smithtown's Eva And Werner Reich Share Their Holocaust Story On PBS

Treasures of New York: Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center Premieres Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 8 p.m. on WLIW21 and Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 7 p.m. on THIRTEEN

 


Holocaust Survivor Werner Reich, of Smithtown, NY, during filming of PBS’ Treasures of New York: Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center.

Werner ReichGlen Cove, NY…  The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) will be the subject of an upcoming episode of the PBS documentary series Treasures of New York. The 30-minute show, Treasures of New York: Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center will premiere on Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 8 p.m. on WLIW21 and Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 7 p.m. on THIRTEEN. After October 20 it will stream online at watch.wliw.orgTreasures of New York will show how HMTC offers a unique and vital voice on the history of the Holocaust by capturing vivid first-hand accounts and testimonials from Long Island and Queens’ Holocaust Survivors. 

Holocaust Survivors from Long Island who shared their story include Eva and Werner Reich, of Smithtown, NY, who have been married for more than 60 years. Eva was saved by Sir Nicholas Winton and Werner survived  Theresienstadt, Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps. Gloria Glanz, of Port Washington, NY, was hidden by a Polish peasant woman during the war but lost her entire immediate family. Alex Rosner from nearby Long Island City, NY, was the youngest person saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler. 

Steven Markowitz, Chairman of HMTC said, “We are honored to be included among the prestigious institutions featured on PBS’ Treasures of New York documentary series.  The Holocaust resonates to this day and sharing the history and lessons of this period with students and adults is critical in this time of rising antisemitism and other forms of intolerance, as well as bullying within our schools and communities.  We hope the airing of this documentary will attract new audiences to the unique programming being offered at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center.”

For more than 20 years, HMTC has been fulfilling its mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and its lessons through education and community outreach. For more information, call (516) 571-8040, visit www.hmtcli.org or find us on social media at Facebook.com/HMTCNY and Twitter.com/HolocaustTolCtr.