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  IN THE NEWS                                                                          FEBRUARY 2012

March 2
General Meeting

For more information:
Calendar of Events

February 16
Executive Board Meeting

For more information:

POSTED 2/1/12
By Lauren Himiak, About.com Guide
Reprinted from About.com," National & State Parks"

     To some, the observance of Presidents' Day in the United States goes very much unnoticed. Local newspapers splash ads of “President’s Day Sales!” and many get the day off from work. But have you ever stopped to think about this important day of recognition?
Presidents' Day is intended (for some) to honor all the American presidents, but most significantly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. According to the Gregorian or "New Style" calendar that is most commonly used today, George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. But according to the Julian or "Old Style" calendar that was used in England until 1752, his birth date was February 11th. Back in the 1790s, Americans were split - some celebrated his birthday on February 11th and some on February 22nd....Read entire article online.

Published: January 11, 2012, Newsday.com
By Jo Napolitano and John Hildebrand
    Samantha Garvey was overjoyed. She didn't think a kid living in a homeless shelter would have a chance in the national Intel science competition, but the 17-year-old Brentwood High School senior was.. (The complete article can be viewed at: Newsday.com/Samantha Garvey)

POSTED 2/26/12

     Doug Lennon, who retired from East Middle School, passed away. The wake is on Monday, Feb. 27 at the Fox Funeral Home, 9807 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills, N.Y. and the phone number of the funereal home is 718-268-4466.

POSTED 2/29/12

    There is a request to have blood donors donate this Friday, March 2nd at the Bay Shore Fire Dept. Headquarters from 3:00 - 9:00 pm for Robert Wiedmann (an Islip Fireman who was badly burned fighting a fire in Brooklyn).
     This request appeared in the March/April BCA Newsletter hoping that they have a large presence of Brentwood School District employees & retirees.
POSTED 2/1/12
The following is reprinted from History.com.

     Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
     Check out the following website where you can view more articles, speeches, videos, photos and games pertaining to Black History Month.
Black History Month @HistoryChannel

POSTED 2/22/12
Reprinted from NYSUT UNITED, March 2012, p.7, "Add Your Voice! Act Now!

If you don't think pension reform could impact you, think again. The risky Tier 6 proposal being pushed by the governor reduces the long term stability of defined benefit plans.
     You can stop this proposal. Besides sending a fax through mac.nysut.org you can:
     Call 877-255-9417. Follow the options to get to the governor, state Senate or state Assembly. Whether you get to talk with your lawmaker or leave a message, make it clear that you do not support Tier 6 .
     Call 518-474-4044 and thank state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for opposing Tier 6.
     Watch the video about retirement security featuring NUSUT retiree Jim Frenette, pictured above. The video is posted at mac.nysut.org.
     Support the New York State AFL-CIO's ad campaign and view their fliers at www.nysaflcio.org. The information can help when you talk to your lawmakers, or when you write them a letter.
     Gather information about what a secure pension means to you. Give those details to the point person in your local union who's making appointments to meet lawmakers March 1-2. 

POSTED 2/1/12
The following is reprinted from History.com.
     Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.
     You can go to Valentine's Day@HhistoryChannel where you can read more about Valentines Day and view photos and videos.

POSTED 2/29/12

     Clara Cannavo, who retired from Laurel Park in '95, passed away on February 26, 2012. Visitation will be held Wednesday the 29th from 3-5 pm and 7-9 pm at the Fairchild Funeral Home located at 1570 Northern Blvd, Manhasset. Funeral service will be at 7:30 pm Wednesday evening. Interment will be on Thursday at Pinelawn Memorial Park.
     In lieu on flowers, donations may be made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
     Condolences may be sent to 40 Fairway Dr., Manhasset NY 11030.


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     The following was written by a parent of three Brentwood youngsters all of whom went through and graduated the system. Ted is still married to Laura Morelli, a highly respected nurse in the district, since retired. Outspoken and always forthcoming, Ted joined the Writers Group where he continued to participate even after moving from Suffolk Avenue, Brentwood; next to Knoll Farm, to begin life anew in Tennessee, where the Morelli's reside today. "Truth and Consequences" he called it when he wrote this in August of 1997.

By Ted Morelli

     Are there any alarm bells going off in school districts? Does anyone really have a clue as to the agendas of school boards? Who are these people to decide what is right or wrong for our children when they are not at home but supposedly in the safe confines of a schoolroom?
     How do you account for a person to be on a school board for more than 30 years, another for 20 years and so on?
     What is the fuel that drives the engine of school boards? Is it possible that there are perks that the taxpayers of a district do not know about or share in? Yeah, yeah, yeah—a lot of questions, but so few answers.
    My own personal experience with school boards was distasteful but educational (no pun intended.) I found out that on any given board there were some members who honestly believed they were acting in the best interests of the children and there were others who seemed to be pushing their own personal vendettas against teachers, some parents and especially other board members.
     Month after month I stood at meetings and in a calm and modified tone pointed out the misdeeds of the board. I called for the resignation, month after month, of a few board members who, I was sure, were acting vindictively and then one day I looked about the audience and noticed that I was usually standing alone with only a half dozen of the same people, meeting after meeting. I also noticed that there were only two or three teachers in attendance. This always surprised me because I had thought that teachers should have tried to contribute some input into the system. When I questioned several teachers I was told that there was a fear factor I hadn't considered and that they were worried about the ramifications that might occur if they spoke out in dissent. Too bad, I thought, there is little dignity in hiding out from responsibility. I than decided that it would be in the best interests of my children and by extension the children of others, if I could gather a small group of people whose goals were for better education and work to remove the rascals.

     The Brentwood School District was the laughing stock of 'the Island. Newsday was running daily stories about the disturbing actions stemming from the machinations of the school board. One of the cave people on the board had a pipeline into Newsday in the form of Steve Wicks, a reporter. He always managed to write a story that was favorable to the three members who caused the disruptions to the district. When I tried to get him aside and speak with him the first question he asked me was whether I was an official of the district, was I a teacher, or what? When I told him I was a parent, a resident ana a taxpayer in Brentwood. He turned me aside.
     I decided to dig in. I worked doubly hard to remove three members from the board, I vilified them from the floor of the meeting room, I chastised and ridiculed them in print, I spoke to many people, or at least to those who would give me the time and eventually a group, very small I might add, were able to oust the three who we thought were corrupt, if not criminally, then morally. Eventually we succeeded but not without some ridiculous events occurring,
     My wife, a school nurse at the time, was charged with leaving the school ground during the school day without authorization. It was a false accusation and a scurrilous attempt to show me that they could get to me if I didn't back off. When it was proven by dozens of witnesses that she was at school at the times the trustees claimed she wasn’t, they apparently thought it was better to cut their losses and they relented. They had, however, by their actions, reinforced our resolve. It had all come about because I had attended a case in which one board member drew a gun on another board member during a closed meeting and charges were leveled. I sat in the courtroom listening as the judge dismissed the case, stating that the cause of education is not furthered by the adolescent actions of school board members and that they all should be ashamed of themselves. As it happened I had heard the whole thing and as it also turned out I was the only member of the community to witness it. Thus, the three members took the precipitous action against my wife.
     These trustees were a strange lot, indeed. One of them would rant and rave and say the most outrageous things and do things few rational people would do (severing phone lines and scattering papers from desks.) Another would be the one to make numerous motions, bogging down the machinery, and the third would rubber stamp whatever the other two would advocate. They would turn up at various schools at all hours of the night, searching desks and classrooms in quest of something, or anything that they could use to ignite an issue. No one ever knew what they were seeking.
    One security guard told me in confidence that once he attempted to question their presence at a school near midnight, one board member imperiously told him that, as trustees, no door could
or would be locked against their entry and no school was exempt from a visitation, day or night, by them. Their actions seemed to be reminiscent of Gestapo tactics used to bully and intimidate.
     After our ardent and arduous labors bore fruit and they were voted out of office it seemed as if things ran more smoothly but I must state in all honesty that I was burnt out and decided that I would let the group go on by itself or eventually, as it did, dissolve itself. I'm not sure if there is a moral somewhere in here, but if there is one then it may be that a battle can be won even over forces greater than your own if you have the will and the force of purpose that allows you to take chances recognizing that the outcome may not be the one you seek.
     Many of us realized that the steps we were taking to have the trustees removed might result in retaliation against me, my wife, a few teachers whom the trustees suspected supported us, another board member who worked with us sub-rosa and a few others. We were a small group waging hand to hand combat with the trustees and a rather large segment of the community who were vocal in their support of them, but I am most proud to say that none of us were deterred from forging ahead.
     My own personal truth is that there is no shame in losing if you are trying to do the right thing.

    Classified Section
Why did we do it? What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; the one for which we’ve evolved a script of questions with corresponding answers from over one hundred and fifty dedicated volunteers for nearly two decades?
      We couldn’t answer the question in ‘94 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational and informational purposes we had better document our record or lose any chance to preserve innumerable poignant accounts, humorous stories and touching tales told to us by exemplary educators and dedicated public servants, who shortly and for reasons unknown might soon be leaving our Brentwood for good.
     We decided to let time sort out the details as we commenced making appointments to ask questions and simply listen. Listen we did as this project evolved saving for subsequent generations the very essence of what it means to have been an educator or employed in a large student centered public school system during the latter half of the twentieth century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all the others; a diverse microcosm and accurate reflection of the approximately one hundred and twenty seven neighboring school districts on Long Island and the thousands across this country. We’ve accomplished something here, something we can all be proud of having been part of, whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few other professionals in the State of New York are positioned to share in a like manner.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting for an hour with the Subject of our interview and giving them one hundred percent of our focused attention for that period of time seemed a little threatening to many of our friends and former colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined repeated invitations to be interviewed as they left careers behind or retired from full time employ with the District. Despite all assurances that this was not to be about investigative journalism or invading their privacy, they’ve deferred. Until now, almost seventeen years after we began, some say they may finally be ready. We say, “Better late than never”. However, to all those among you who were willing to share openly not only your classroom experiences but personal stories, precious memories from your lives and fondest hopes for the future, we say thanks for allowing us to be able to continue the process of giving as we now are able to share interviews with you, with the community and with countless regional professional educators and researchers through tentative acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University.
      You can now enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org/ where you’ll see and hear segments from the History Project Interviews featured here in the ROBS History Project section on the Announcements Page archived each month thereafter for those wishing to return again and again.






THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn DePlaza
"The Town Crier" was set up a number of years ago so that the retirees of the Brentwood School District could have an email center to stay in touch. Since I began to send out all sorts of information, retirees from all over the country have sent me their email addresses. Some have asked, "Do you have any idea where so and so is?" Others have sent proud news of their accomplishments, their family news, photos,etc. and sadly, we often get bad news. Many retirees whom I have never met write me to thank me for keeping this connection going, as everyone remembers the Brentwood years with warm feelings.
POSTED 2/17/12

If anyone can help, please write me at marilyndeplaza@aol.com

     Hi, Marilyn, the B'wood library history dept. contacted me to see if I could help them with a project they are working on to do with the Brentwood cemetery. The questions concerned the Rosa M. Kohler family. I know Florence Kohler, her son Conrad's wife, was a member of ROBS, too, and was somewhere down south the last I had heard. Is there anyone who knows where Florence is and if she is able to help with some info RE: the Kohler family? I know she will be 100 years old this year and since there has been no mention of her passing I was hoping someone would have news of her whereabouts (or of her children) and if she would be able to assist the library in obtaining the info they are after. Can you help? Thank you.
Eleanor Bazata.

POSTED 2/28/12

     Gabe Gengler, who was Asst. Principal in the Ross High School, passed away on Monday.
     The following is the Obituary as it appeared in Newsday on February 28, 2012:

GENGLER - Gabriel J. Jr. on February 27, 2012 of Calverton, NY. Beloved husband of Maureen. Loving father of Matthew and his wife Stephanie, Christine Medina and her husband Fernando, Karen Buckley and her husband Daniel, Jeanine Wickmann and her husband Paul, Amy Gengler and Richard Gervais, Gabriel and his wife Corinne, and Michael and his wife Cristin. Dear stepfather of Gina Timpanaro and her husband Benjamin Throop, Deanna Davis and her husband Jeffrey, and Frank Timpanaro Jr. and his wife Ashlee Witek. Cherished grandfather of 17. Reposing at the O.B. Davis Funeral Home, 1001 Rt. 25A, Miller Place, L.I. Visitation Wednesday 7-9pm & Thursday 2-4 & 7-9pm. Funeral Mass Friday 9:30 am. St. Isidore R.C. Church, Riverhead. Interment, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
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