Neighbors In The News



Mineola High School principal Whittney Smith, along with his family and another family, owns Philly Pretzel Factory in Franklin Square. In doing their part to help out, the Philly Pretzel Factory recently donated 500 pretzels to NYU Winthrop Hospital through Justin Burke, who is NYU Winthrop’s Director of External Relations.



Together with the Jericho Fire Department, the Nassau County 2nd Precinct Police Department, and the friends and families of the residents at Amber Court of Westbury Assisted Living, organized a Parade for their Heroes. This drive-by parade was intended to show gratitude and support for the incredible staff at Amber Court and all of the front-line supporters that assist them in meeting the needs of the residents every day, acknowledging these heroes for their dedication while also showing the residents how much they are loved and appreciated.



Dr. Eva Chalas recently became the 71st president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), based in Washington, D.C. Since the 2020 ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Garden City resident was sworn in during ACOG’s Virtual Annual Business Meeting. During her speech, Chalas announced that her presidential initiative will include finding new opportunities in the ways in which obstetrician-gynecologists care for patients in order to personalize care and support better health outcomes.



This year, Grenville Baker Boys and Girls Club’s Youth of the Year is Jimmy Mejia. Mejia is a senior at Locust Valley High School, where he maintains an A average and is a member of the varsity soccer team, the Kendama Club and the LVTV Club while working part-time for the Locust Valley Chamber of Commerce. He will be the first member of his family to go to college and will study film at Ithaca College this fall.

As an active member for 12 years, Mejia has participated in many of the club’s programs including College Prep, City Club and Money Matters. Last spring, he helped organize the club’s National Keystone project called Vibezzz, a wellness fair that worked to create a stress-free environment for teens to relax from the pressures of school work, family issues and other struggles. As president of the Keystone Club, Grenville Baker’s community service and leadership organization, Mejia’s goal has been for every club kid to feel accepted for who they are.



Lee Avenue Elementary School student-musician Grace Cho was selected as concertmistress of the Hicksville School District’s Elementary All-District Orchestra, an annual concert that combines the talents of all seven elementary schools into a 100-plus-member orchestra. Cho’s outstanding scores at last spring’s New York State School Music Association Spring adjudication festival earned her seats in the Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Festival and her selection to participate in the Long Island String Festival Orchestra.



Massapequa Park resident Andrew Goodman recently joined the Barnum Financial Group. Goodman provides in-depth guidance to small businesses and families on investment, insurance, retirement and estate planning and taxation. He is also active in philanthropy in the community and has been a volunteer with the Long Island chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association since 2010.



Foodie Card, which is based in Syosset, has raised more than $1.5 million to help feed the hungry. Each subscription to the service is $29.99, with customers receiving 10 percent off for restaurants that work with the service.

With COVID-19 shutting restaurants’ sit-down service, Foodie Card has created a take-out meal program, with more than 700 restaurants signing on. For each card that’s purchased, Foodie Card donates a day’s worth of meals to the Island Harvest food bank. Thanks to Ruttenberg Gordon Investments and a handful of other investors, the Syosset-based firm will have the opportunity to grow after the pandemic and continue to make a difference.



Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay is currently offering virtual field trips for free to schools to help ease educators’ burden of coping with new distance learning options. The program is available to libraries as well, and is designed for youngsters from grades 4-11. Two programs are available at present: The Townsends in the Revolution and Standing Where They Stood, which explores the history of slavery in Oyster Bay.

“Oyster Bay Hamlet’s history is chock full of historical importance that many of our younger residents may not be aware of, and that is why I am so delighted to see that Raynham Hall Museum has found a creative solution in virtual field trips to still be able to fulfill their important mission to perverse our history and educate our children on the past,” Supervisor Saladino said.

For more information regarding virtual field trips offered by Raynham Hall, interested educators should reach out to Claire Bellerjeau at



Students from Central Boulevard Elementary School in the Bethpage School District participated in a paper chair challenge as part of the district’s 21st Century Scholars Program. Organized by 21st Century Coordinator Lorraine Marcis, the challenge was to build a chair using only paper and tape that could hold a stuffed animal. Students were directed to draw a design before they began constructing, and also reminded to adapt their designs after failures.

The Bethpage School District has been continuing district-wide programs while schools are closed. The 21st Century Scholars’ Program is designed to assist students in fulfilling their full potential as students and citizens.



The Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center (SJJCC) recently launched a fund to help provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers and first responders at the greatest risk of exposure to coronavirus at the workplace. The fund allows people to choose a list of local organizations to contribute to that are all working to provide PPE and meals to at-risk workers, including All Hands and Hearts, Mask A Hero NY, Roslyn Softball First Responders Project and the UJA Federation of NY. Visit to make donations online.

“There is an urgent race to mask our health care workers,” Mask A Hero NY Co-founder Dr. Emily Levin said. “We need at least 3 million N95 masks in New York alone to fight COVID-19. If you have these at your home or office, Mask A Hero NY can donate them to area hospitals urgently in need.”

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