On May 5, the Community Chest of Port Washington honored Patti and Doug Wood with its 2014 Citizen of the Year Award, recognizing their many contributions to the Port Washington community. Friends, family, colleagues and community members showing their gratitude packed the Port Washington Public Library to praise the Woods, whose dedication and commitment to causes that improve the health and safety of families in the community and beyond will be appreciated for generations to come.
Nicole Kramer is a leading force in the fight against Marfan syndrome. Her daughter was diagnosed with the disease and Kramer has put all of her energy into raising money for research to find a cure. Marfan syndrome is a life-threatening genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissue. It affects the heart, blood vessels, bones and eyes.
Nicole Kramer’s husband, Michael, was diagnosed with Marfan when he was nine years old. Her husband has had open heart surgery and two spinal surgeries recently. These surgeries were painful and had a long recovery. Their first child, a son, has no sign of the disease. Their daughter, Emily, was diagnosed at three weeks old. She is seven years old now. “The day I found out she had Marfan was the worst day of my life. It was difficult for me to come to terms with,” said Kramer. “I couldn’t talk about it. It was very difficult for me to grasp. I was upset for a long time.”
“We attended our first Marfan conference three years ago and it changed our lives,” said Kramer. “I became active with the foundation over the past 2½ years. I became involved with the foundation to help find a cure someday.”
The Marfan Foundation’s national office is located in Port Washington. Carolyn Levering, emeritus CEO of the Marfan Foundation, said “the Kramers came to the foundation seeking accurate, expert information to best manage the family’s diagnosis. They also were seeking a community of support. Having received that they became one of those exemplary families who genuinely and generously embrace the community and begin to give back. They already have raised meaningful awareness and funds and have become a model for others who are affected.”
“Carolyn Levering is a truly amazing person,” said Kramer. “She brought the foundation to a national level. And she provided us with a second family. It really helps to see and talk to others who are similarly affected. Carolyn is one of the main reasons I do as much as I do. It has been healing for me to meet all these people through the Marfan Foundation.”
The Marfan Foundation’s biggest gala, the Heartworks Gala, has raised more than $10 million for the Marfan Foundation to date. The gala was held at Cipriani 42nd Street this year. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been the honorary chairman for 13 years. “We are thrilled to have him,” said Levering. The gala also honored Baylor University’s Isaiah Austin, who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome shortly before the 2014 NBA draft and has since become a spokesperson for the foundation.
The Marfan Foundation held its second annual Walk for Victory on May 2 at Syosset-Woodbury Community Park. Team Kramer did the walk last year and raised $25,595 for the Marfan Foundation. This year, Team Kramer raised $25,316. In total, team Kramer has raised more than $50,000.
Nicole’s sister and brother-in-law, Kim and Jonathan Ciprian, are also actively involved in the cause. Jonathan was part of the foundation’s Team Victory in the 2014
New York City Marathon and Kim ran in the Long Island Half-Marathon on May 3 to raise money for the Marfan Foundation and raise awareness about Marfan syndrome. “We have a tremendous support system,” said Kramer. “This year we reached out to professionals in the field. Emily’s cardiologist came to the walk this year.”
In June, Emily’s school, Jennie E. Hewitt Elementary School in Rockville Centre, is donating funds from their annual walk to the Marfan Foundation in honor of the first grader. “The principal and student council supported a kid’s walk,” said Kramer. “There are 450 kids in the school and this gets all the families involved. We do what we can to educate as many people as we can about Marfan syndrome.” Both Nicole and her husband Michael grew up on Long Island. Nicole is from Valley Stream and Michael is from Lynbrook.
Marfan is diagnosed in many forms. There is a neonatal form, but some people are diagnosed as late as early adulthood, like Isaiah Austin. Sometimes it is the result of a spontaneous mutation. “My husband’s Marfan resulted from a spontaneous mutation,” said Kramer. “When he was conceived, there was a mutation so he is the first in his familial line with the disease. People with Marfan have a 50 percent chance of passing it on to their children.” It also comes in many different forms and different levels of severity. “We are trying to educate people about the symptoms and characteristics,” said Kramer. “People with Marfan syndrome need to be diagnosed to live with the condition. Otherwise, they are at risk of a sudden early death from a tear in their aorta, the large blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart. It’s essential to know the signs of Marfan syndrome and seek an evaluation if you have these signs.”
They are a family with a purpose, and a mission, and a drive to help all those who are living with Marfan syndrome and related disorders. For information about the Marfan Foundation, go to www.marfan.org.
Most people have at least one junk drawer or overstuffed closet in their homes that they never let anyone see. Some have a bigger clutter problem and others are just slightly disorganized. Jane Abrahams, who lives in Port Washington and has three children at Manorhaven Elementary, started her company, Jane’s Addiction Organization, to help people organize their closets, declutter their home, pack or unpack for moving or camp or purge items they’ve been hoarding.
Abrahams, who has no connection to the band with the same name as her company, stresses the importance of creating a healthy home to have a happy home. “If your home is clutter-free and organized, it creates a stress-free environment. I always say ‘healthy home, healthy mind’ and to me that means keeping your home neat, clean and orderly,” Abrahams said. “I’m trying to instill a positive addiction of being healthy in your home. Once you organize one room, you want it to stay that way. And once you conquer one room, you want to move on to the next.”
She customizes her services for a client’s needs. “It’s a very personal thing to invite someone to look into your bedroom closet,” said Abrahams. Abrahams will do a walk-through consultation with a client to get a game plan. “I’m like having a trainer for your home. We set a goal and accomplish that goal in a few hours from start to finish,” said Abrahams. “With the changing seasons, I have been doing a lot of garages,” she said. “The hockey equipment doesn’t have to be in the front hall.”
Abrahams also helps her clients purge items that aren’t being used. “We get down and dirty. I pull stuff out of the closet and we have three piles, yay, nay and maybe. I try to make it fun, but getting rid of clutter helps to make a home healthy. When you walk into your home and it’s neat and organized, it’s a great feeling.”
Another service Abrahams offers is camp packing. The packing for eight weeks at sleepaway camp can be overwhelming, especially if there is more than one child or if it’s the first time a child is going. “Children take enormous duffle bags, sleeping bags, crates and it can become chaotic,” said Abrahams. “I do a checklist, label all the clothes, stage and pack everything.” Camp packing has become an extension of Abrahams’ business in the months before camp.
Abrahams relies on social media and referrals to spread the word about her business. She has clients in many towns on Long Island, including Port Washington, Manhasset, Roslyn and Great Neck, as well as Manhattan and New Jersey. Abrahams started the business four years ago. “I started this business because organizing comes naturally to me,” said Abrahams. “My children are in fifth grade, third grade and kindergarten, so I have to be organized.” Abrahams believes a cleaner home is a healthier home. “My tagline is ‘organizing your life one space at a time.’ I know some people need to take it slow. But I help them prioritize what’s important. I make organizing stress-free.”
For more info, see her Facebook page at Jane’s Addiction Organization.
The Office of Emergency Management held a community meeting on hurricane preparedness on Wednesday, May 20 at the Manorhaven Village Hall. Running the meeting were Peter Vita of the Office of Emergency Management and Gerard Twombly of the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management. They provided many useful tips for hurricane season, which is right around the corner. In an emergency, the first thing you’ll probably be told is “Stay calm!” or “Don’t panic!” or “Heads down!” But, when a hurricane could rip through your front yard, smashing houses and tearing up trees, you should know what’s coming and be prepared light-years before it strikes.
We all remember Hurricane Sandy. In 2011, the storm knocked on Port Washington’s door and its devastation was unforgettable.
The first thing to do to prepare for another one is to get a disaster kit with basic supplies. Homeland Security says that a quality disaster kit contains:
• 1 gallon of water
• 3 day supply of non-perishable food
a battery-powered or hand crank radio,
• extra batteries
• a flashlight
• a whistle
• duct tape
• print maps
If you have a pet, keep food and supplies for them. This may seem trivial, but we cannot forget about our pets. In fact, at the meeting for Hurricane Preparedness, a pamphlet was handed out explaining the importance of pet safety and preparedness. It’s no joking matter. Never leave a pet behind, because there is no telling how a pet will react in a disaster and they will not survive on their own. If Will Smith’s family could take their golden retriever with them when aliens attacked in Independence Day, we can take our pets when confronted with a hurricane.
Secondly, make a plan that describes what you and your family will do in an emergency. Pick two places to meet should you all get separated: one outside the family home and one outside of the neighborhood, maybe at the home of out of area friends or family members. Write down emergency phone numbers and have copies of important documents and family photos. For after a disaster strikes, have pictures of the inside and outside of your home and keep important recites of large value household items for the insurance company. Also, remember to top off fuel tanks, clear clogged rain gutters, trim deadwood so no timbering trees impact the house or power lines. Back up computer files should the electricity be lost. A temporary fix to storm power surges is to buy a generator. During Sandy, some households didn’t have power for weeks and households with generators became safe havens for those who hadn’t showered.
A third way to prepare is to make a “Go Kit”. A Go Kit is a kit you bring in event of evacuation or the dire need to leave your home. This includes all titles, deeds to the house, Social Security cards, birth certificates, vital phone numbers, money, photographs.
Do not wait to take shelter in a hurricane or emergency and do not go outside until you hear the all clear has been given from the government.
You can listen to the government during emergencies with a hand cranking radio, as well as receiving North Shore text alerts. The link for receiving them is found on the Manorhaven Website. Other important websites to check out before a hurricane are www.ready.gov and www.floodsmart.gov and www.dhses.ny.gov/oem.
The priority in a hurricane is to be prepared well before the hurricane actually impacts our homes.
As part of its ongoing mission to improve the quality of life and overall image for all those who live, work and visit Port Washington, the Board of Directors of the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District (BID) has placed 148 beautiful pink cascading geranium hanging baskets on the Town of North Hempstead’s Battery Park Lamppost located along Port Commons (Port Washington Boulevard) and Main Street. [Read more…]
Mitchell Drossman will be the honoree at the 24th annual UJA-Federation of New York, Trusts & Estates Group, Lawyers Division gala at the New York Marriott Marquis on Tuesday, June 2. Drossman, who grew up in Port Washington and attended Guggenheim, Sousa and Schreiber, and whose parents still live in Port Washington, is currently the National Director of Wealth Planning Strategies for U.S. Trust. He is “humbled” to be the honoree at this marquee event of the Trusts and Estates community. Over 400 people will attend the gala, including attorneys, auction houses, valuation firms, accounting firms, trust companies and wealth management firms. [Read more…]
Cinema on the Bay has become a favorite summer tradition enjoyed for years by residents and visitors to Port Washington’s Sunset Park. What could be better and more idyllic than bringing lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner (or better yet, ordering take out) to a park along the water on a summer evening? Doing it with family and friends, capped off with a movie the entire family will enjoy. [Read more…]
On a very un-summer like evening, with temperatures in the 50’s and breeze that gave boaters a chill, the official summer season began with the Town of North Hempstead Fireworks Extravaganza over Hempstead Harbor on Saturday, May 23. The fireworks shows included beautiful starbursts, giant flower displays, stars and even the letters “USA” appear in the sky.
Joshua Curtis, a senior at Schreiber High School, recently participated in the League of Women Voters New York State Education Foundation’s annual Students Inside Albany conference. The conference is designed to increase high school students’ awareness of their responsibility in a representative government and to provide the tools necessary for meeting that responsibility. Students from all across the state come to Albany to learn about state government and how individual citizens can get involved in the policy making process.