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Straight Talk on Snakes

Only a minority of snakes, like this Bush Viper, are venomous. (Shutterstock)

By Jungle Bob

Snakes have always fascinated me. My first encounter was as a 6-year-old who just moved from Manhattan to Babylon. A snake slithered out of the hedgerow and right up to me, so I picked it up!

That’s where it all started. The neighborhood kids stopped in their tracks, their mouths wide open. My mother looked out the kitchen window and said, “WHAT IS THAT?”

Then the screaming started. My dad, a World War II veteran and New York City police officer, sprinted for his revolver.

Clearly everyone there had a preconceived idea of about the intentions of that snake.

Words like evil, slimy and venomous were clearly present. It was a surreal moment that left an indelible mark on me and ignited a spark that has burned passionately for decades.

Thousands of educational programs and countless encounters with snakes, and that city kid is doing just fine. I received a glimpse of nature’s grand plan and learned that all creatures play an important role. Hating any given group based on misinformation is the definition of prejudice.

The truth is as interesting as it is enlightening and needs to be told. So let’s set the record straight and dispel some myths about snakes.

1. Snakes are not slimy. So stop saying they are, ok? Their skin is bone dry, and being cold blooded, they don’t even perspire.

2. Not all snakes are venomous. Of the 3,300 known species on Earth, less than 10 percent of them have venom. And no venomous snakes are native to Long Island.

3. Snakes are not inherently evil. Yet bad press from the Bible to social media lingers.

4. Snakes don’t hypnotize their prey. They do stare, but that is not an attempt to mesmerize anyone. Snakes simply don’t have eyelids! So they are staring 24/7, even sleeping with their eyes wide open.

5. Snakes are not “charmed” by music. Despite the image of a cobra swaying out of the wicker basket, the reality is they lack ears, so they hear nothing. They are just reacting to the swaying of the musician, who they perceive as a threat.

So the snake that is so loathed I have strived to give a break to ever since.

Fake News From The Animal Kingdom?

Poison dart frogs are pretty but deadly.

Some animals conjure up negative emotions at the mere mention of their name. They are victims. That old Jim Stafford song “I don’t like spiders and snakes” was a hit for a reason!

These adverse feelings are mostly derived from fake news, reinforced in literature and media. Snakes and spiders are just unloved it seems, while other creatures, such as frogs, are universally liked. Why?

Many grew up watching a frog on Sesame Street playing the banjo and singing to a pig, lamenting how hard it is to be green. Children’s books show frogs sitting happily on a lily pad, smiling or lazily eating flies out of the air with their tongues. Then there are fables about frogs becoming handsome princes from a princess’ magical kiss. Stories about frogs are often upbeat and seem to end on a happy note.

Frogs must have a great PR department, because the truth is, they are not so innocent. Frogs are actually predators! They have teeth and will hunt and eat almost anything they can fit into their mouths, often swallowing prey with a single gulp. As a rule, they do not feed on just flies or shoot their tongues 10 feet in the air. Although I’ve never personally kissed one, I wouldn’t expect much magic to happen if I did.

Some frogs, like the poison dart frogs from South America, release toxins through their skin which, if ingested, cause sickness or death. How nice! These brightly colored “jewels of the rainforest” have long been utilized by native peoples who rub their wooden arrows or darts on the skin of the frog, turning their missiles into deadly weapons. Isn’t that cute?

These poisons aren’t natural to the frogs. They’re “manufactured” by the frog only after a series of food chain events involving fungus, ants and plants. That is, it’s not the frogs’ fault. Still, they get positive press. In captivity, they produce no toxins, as their food is from farm-produced insects. Somehow these frogs are among the most popular of terrarium subjects. Animated and bold, they quickly win over the hearts of their keepers, even with the “poison” moniker.

That frog’s spin doctors deserve a raise!

nuBest Salon and Spa Celebrates 45 Years of Beauty, Family

The main styling floor at nuBest, with photo on back wall of supermodel Janice Dickinson, styled for the shoot by Michael Mazzei circa 1980s for a fashion magazine

Since opening its doors in Manhasset on June 19, 1973, nuBest Salon and Spa has provided several generations of customers with a combination of exceptional service and unparalleled quality, combined with an experience that includes the latest, cutting edge trends in beauty and fashion.

Celebrating its 45th year in business this month, the two generations of family at the helm of nuBest continue to provide a diverse customer base from across Long Island, New York City and beyond with the same winning combination that is key to its long success.

“This is Michael’s legacy,” Christian Fleres, nuBest artistic director/colorist, says, referring to his uncle, Michael Mazzei, the salon’s founding owner. “There’s something to be said for being in business for 45 years and still be considered cutting-edge.”

Mazzei is one of the most beloved and well-respected individuals in the professional hair care industry. His vision of beauty and avantgarde approach to style has inspired stylists from all over the world. He has been instrumental in defining modern hair for men and women. Mazzei and his collaborator, Leland Hirsch, also developed ARTec Worldwide, an innovative global hair care brand that was purchased by L’Oreal in 2002.

“Celebrating nuBest’s 45th anniversary feels like a dream,” says Mazzei. “I am so proud of what my family and I have been able to achieve with nuBest. We have created a community for our clients, with the help of some of New York’s best stylists.”

Michael’s son, Jamie Mazzei, joined his father in the business about 30 years ago and serves as creative director and senior stylist. Michael’s nephew, Vincent Cascio, also joined the business about 30 years ago and serves as senior stylist, too. Their clientele has included countless celebrities who have pampered themselves at nuBest over the years, including Lance Bass and Joey Fatone of boy band ‘NSYNC.

But bringing in big names isn’t necessarily the endgame. Mazzei’s ultimate goal is to make every single client feel like a high-profile glamorous superstar. nuBest stands out from competitors on numerous levels.

“We change our uniforms every six months,” Fleres says. “It’s not just about your hair. It’s an entire experience that we’re selling.”

Although nuBest’s customers used to be mostly women, it’s now close to 60 percent female and 40 percent male.

“There’s a lot more men that come in and have their cut, as well as other services on a regular basis,” including hair coloring, than was the case several years ago, Fleres says.

NuBest has also become more social media-driven in recent years, he adds, explaining that to “attract a lot younger clientele, you have to move with the times.”

“Everything here is always evolving,” he says. “From the design of the salon to the way that we do hair to the way that everything is followed.”

The Manhasset location on the Miracle Mile has also been a key to nuBest’s success. Noting that it’s “very centrally located,” near the beginning of Nassau County and end of Queens, Fleres says the Gold Coast location adds to the diversity of nuBest’s clientele and helps keep it “very family oriented.” At the same time, “it’s not that far away from Manhattan” and “we have the Long Island Rail Road that’s walkingdistance,” he says, noting some clients come in from the city… and even as far away as Connecticut.

As the business celebrates its milestone anniversary this month, he adds: “We really strive to be at the forefront of the industry. We’re constantly working on different things to improve ourselves. A lot of times, people kind of stay stagnant. But we really understand the fact that you have to move with the times.”

nuBest Salon and Spa is located at 1482 Northern Boulevard in Manhasset. They can be reached at 516-627-9444 or nubestsalon.com

Left to right: Jamie Mazzei, Vincent Cascio, Michael Mazzei and Christian
Fleres mark 45 years of nuBest.

Health Tech 2.0 Summit To Demystify Healthcare Technology

More than 250 healthcare technology industry leaders will meet July 12 to discuss exciting and challenging new trends in their field, such as the digitalization and personalization of modern healthcare.

The Health Tech 2.0 Summit brings together chief technology officers and other senior executives from prominent hospitals, health networks, and technology corporations, including leaders from private and public sectors. Dr. Purna Prasad, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President for Information Technology at Northwell Health — Long Island’s largest employer — is the featured keynote speaker, who will discuss
the future of healthcare technology and its role in patient participation.

“Patients traveling to a clinic to get their physiological [vitals] monitored is a thing of the past,” Dr. Prasad said. “Digital technology revolution commoditized medical equipment and made it affordable for the community to monitor themselves at home with acceptable clinical accuracy.”

The panel agenda will cover healthcare innovation in the realms of tele-health systems, wellness apps, and cybersecurity. Speakers aim to navigate issues of commoditization in a more digital healthcare system, as well as the upcoming healthcare revolution as a result of emerging technologies.

“The glut of monitoring, diagnostic and therapeutic gadgets in the hands of the consumer is confusing and overwhelming,” says Dr. Prasad. “A panel of experts will help unclog the complexity of these technologies and help consumers maintain a good quality of health.”

The event is sponsored by SVAM International, the Long Island Software and Technology Network (LISTnet), the Long Island Press and its parent company, Schneps Communications. It will begin with a breakfast and networking session from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., with the panel scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The Health Tech 2.0 Summit will be held 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, July 12 at Simplay, which is located at 180 Commerce Dr. in Hauppauge. Parking is free. For more information on packages, sponsorships and tickets, contact Joanna Austin at 516-284-3331 x237 or jaustin@longislandpress.com

Kravet Inc. Opens Warehouse Sale To Public for First Time

Bethpage-based Kravet Inc., the industry leader in the to the trade home furnishings industry, is hosting a not-to-be-missed groundbreaking event — its first ever Designer Home Furnishings Warehouse sale open to the public.

The fifth-generation family business is offering up to 85 percent off retail prices on more than 45,000 yards of upholstery and drapery fabric by the roll. Starting at $5 per yard, the possibilities are endless. More than 400 pieces of furniture, including sofas, sectionals, chairs and tables, and 300 decorative accessories, including mirrors, wall art and more will be for sale, as well as wall coverings, trimming and carpet.

For 100 years, Kravet Inc. has helped designers and homeowners looking to spiff, spice, or spruce up their decor by offering superior, unique home furnishings that appeal to shoppers of various styles. The family’s commitment to innovation has helped the company grow from its humble beginnings to a global leader, representing brands and designers from all over the world. And now, for a limited time only, hundreds of these items will be available with astronomical savings.

The sale of the perfect springtime opportunity to rejuvenate the home or office with materials found under one roof at unbeatable prices.

Designers and design enthusiasts alike can immerse themselves in this home furnishings paradise, discovering new inventory and floor samples from luxury brands Kravet, Lee Jofa and Brunschwig & Fils.

 

Kravet
@Kravetinc
Kravet is the go-to brand for superior decor in the widest range of colors, patterns and textures. Kravet is known for its extraordinary quality and offers the finest fabric, furniture, wallpaper, trimming, carpet and drapery hardware.

Lee Jofa
@LeeJofa 
Lee Jofa embodies English design with fresh and refined fabrics in a wide range of styles, including both classic and contemporary designs.

Brunschwig & Fils
@Brunschwigfils 
Brunschwig & Fils is one of the interior design world’s most prestigious sources for exclusive fabrics, wallpapers, trimmings, furniture and carpet, with a distinct point of view.

Furniture
Sofas, sectionals, and chairs. Tables ranging from dining to coffee to accent and side. Kravet’s furniture is available in an array of styles, upholstered in vibrant patterns and plains, too. Choose from traditional, modern and transitional.

Carpet and rugs
The world will truly be at your feet with Kravet’s wide range of both traditional and modern themed carpets in a variety of sizes, and knotted floor coverings from Nepal, India and Pakistan in sizes ranging from 3×5 up to 12×15. Featured rugs are comprised of all wool, wool/viscose, wool/bamboo or wool/silk. Styles range from traditional eastern rugs to modern and contemporary abstracts, as well as transitional patterns and textures. 

Decorative accessories
Embellish simple sofa pillows with vibrant trimmings. Vases, bookends, wall mirrors and more can enhance a home’s style in an instant.

Wallpaper
Accent any space with superior style, durability and dimension with Kravet’s permanent wall coverings, available in vinyl, grasscloth textured wallpaper and more. Choose from a variety of colors and patterns—geometric, striped, traditional and the ever so elegant chinoiserie.

Fabric
Reupholster living room or dining room furniture or create delightfully delicate drapery. Fabric is available in hundreds of styles, colors, patterns and textures. Choose from weaves and textures to prints, in wool, chenille velvet, linen, cotton and more in a traditional, floral or modern style or bold solids to make a statement.

Doors will open for designers on April 26 & 27 and the public on April 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shipping will be available on premise. Credit cards will be accepted.

Kravet is located at 225 Central Ave. South in Bethpage. Call 516-293-2000 for more information.

 

 

North Shore Towers and Country Club: The ‘Best Deal’ in Town

There may be other options for golf and tennis memberships in the Queens and Long Island area, but none offer the many amenities that North Shore Towers and Country Club provides to its members at a reasonable price.

“It’s the best deal in town,” says Mary Anne Langone, country club manager. North Shore Towers and Country Club is located right off the Grand Central Parkway, in Floral Park, and “offers luxury living with the added surprise of a beautiful 18-hole golf course, which is challenging enough for the low handicapper but still playable for the average golfer, and five Har-Tru tennis courts,” she says.

In addition to the golf and tennis, sponsored members also get access to year-round indoor/outdoor pools, a fitness center, card rooms and restaurants. Other country clubs offering golf and tennis typically hit their members with hidden assessment and social minimum fees, but not North Shore Towers and Country Club, says Langone, who has worked there for more than 30 years and served as manager for about the past 16 years. There are close to 300 golfers and 50 tennis members, and nearly 100 of them are non-residents, who must be sponsored by a North Shore Towers resident to be approved, she says.

As general manager for the past 16 years, Glen Kotowski, employed by the Charles H. Greenthal Management Corp., oversees every aspect of the daily operation of the North Shore Towers community.

“We’re right on the border of Nassau and Queens, and they call us Long Island’s best-kept secret because when people come into the community, they can’t believe” all the amenities that are offered, says Linda Rappaport, an on- site broker at North Shore Towers and Country Club.

Other amenities at North Shore Towers include express buses to Manhattan, a movie theater, a beauty salon, a drug store, a supermarket and a laundromat even though there are washers and dryers in the apartments, she notes. Studio apartments start at a “a very affordable” price of about $200,000, while penthouses sell for $1 million and up, she says.

Rappaport has been living at North Shore Towers for 30 years and has an adult son who lives there with his wife and 2-year-old child (with another baby on the way), she says, adding that her mother and mother-in-law live there as well.

“Everybody loves it for different reasons,” she says. “I love it for the convenience and all the shopping and the gym. The baby loves it for the indoor pool. My mother-in-law loves it. She likes to play cards and there’s several card rooms and bridge rooms. And my mother loves it for the fact that they offer over 60 fitness classes weekly in the gym.”

“It’s a melting pot of people that come here and lend their talents to make this a wonderful place to live,” she says, pointing as an example to Maria Termini-Miller, a former board member who’s been living there 20 years and helped design the North Shore Towers website.

Warren Glenn, meanwhile, is a new board member who’s been a resident for about two years and chairs the House and Grounds committee. Glenn states one of the goals on his committee’s agenda is “to help create an active, multi-generational community living in a country club setting.”

He goes on to describe North Shore Towers as an “all-inclusive gated community” offering “luxurious living” with “beautiful” apartments and “terrific” amenities and services.

Mario Carmiciano, the board president and chairman of the Towers Country Club Committee, is looking forward to another successful country club season, he says.

North Shore Towers and Country Club is presently offering a first-year, promotional rate of $3,995 for golf membership, plus applicable fees. Junior golf memberships are also available. For details and to book a tour, call Bob Guido at 718-279-1848 ext. 5. North Shore Towers and Country Club is also offering a first-year, promotional rate of $1,750 for tennis membership, plus applicable fees.

For details and to book a tour, call Mary Anne Langone at 718-428-5030 ext. 0. Remember, these memberships include indoor/ outdoor pools, a fitness center and so much more.

Can You Escape This Room in 60 Minutes?

Players trapped inside a dark, mysterious room uncover strange objects and hidden messages that might contain the clues to help them escape—but will they make it out in time?

The heart-pounding challenge is what draws countless players to Puzzle Break, America’s first “escape room” experience, located right here on Long Island. Escape artists seeking to test their mental might can choose from one of four different challenges to see if they have what it takes.

“‘Escape the Lost Temple’ is perfect for ages 8 and up and great for birthday parties, team-building events and even just a night out with friends or family,” says Maria Reyes, the general manager of Puzzle Break Long Island. “When you come and play, you’re  going to love being transported into the world that we’ve created as your group races against the clock to locate and replace the goddess’s stolen artifact, break the curse
and ‘Escape the Lost Temple.’”

“Escape The Lost Temple,” one of the more exciting challenges, features cool special effects that transport challengers into another world. What sets it apart from the rest is that the story, the hieroglyphics and most everything that the team will uncover while trying to escape is true to historical form. It is based on Etruscan history and is historically accurate.

Besides being a fun night out, the games also serve as an excellent team-building activity for the next corporate, off-site, or private event, or for team gathering. Teams of adventurers will join forces to find hidden clues, solve puzzles, and unravel a mystery before the 60 minutes run out.

There is no age limit. Contestants can bring their 80-year-old grandmother or their 8-year-old nephew and still have a blast. There are also in-room game masters in all of the games to provide hints if asked, and to ensure that everyone is having fun and understands what’s going on.

Puzzle Break also offers three other challenges: “Escape from 20,000 Leagues,” “The Grimm Escape,” and “Escape the Midnight Carnival.” Each can include up to 10 to 12 players.

Tickets are $30 per person. Puzzle Break Long Island is located at 180 Michael Dr., Syosset. For more information, reach them at 516-307-0888 or puzzlebreakli.com.

Spring Peepers: A Frog’s Sound of Season’s Change

By Jungle Bob

Ahhhh Spring! The thought of spring conjures up many sights, smells and sounds.

After a long, hard winter, that red, red robin is a sight for frozen eyes to many and a sign of things to come for all. The beautiful colors of crocus’ plants emerging from the remnants of the last snowfall we know will be followed by a kaleidoscope of gorgeous spring flowers and the smell of spring is suddenly in the air!

But for me, it is the shrill call of the Spring Peeper, a tiny little frog native to Long Island that tells me for sure spring has arrived. Many within earshot would think these sounds were made from an insect or perhaps the latest electronic gadget, not some kind of tiny amphibian.

Adventurous types may walk toward the noise to investigate what is causing all that chattering, only to be thwarted every time, as the peeper is secretive, well camouflaged and when “danger “ appears, it goes quiet, only to start again as soon as you walk away. Suffice to say, peepers are heard but seldom seen.

At less than an inch in size, these little amphibians can really turn up the volume as any of you who live near a wetland or small pond can attest. The decibel level of a group of frogs can be almost deafening at night. After a spring shower and right at dusk the chorus amps up considerably.

This truly is nature calling as the sounds are actually mating calls emitted only by male frogs, who fill up their vocal sacs with air, like little balloons and then push it through their vocal chords to obtain the amazing pitch we hear each spring. The bigger the voice sac, the louder the sound and the more a male frog has a chance at a spring romance.

Those nor’easters will hopefully be well behind us when the peeping begins this year. So a take a walk on the wild side one evening and see if you can hear that spring has arrived!

Click here to go to our website at to hear the chorus

Nonprofit Conference Gives Charities Tips to Navigate Rough Patches

From left: Investors Bank CEO Kevin Cummings, Investors Bank Community Development Officer Jennifer Smith and Ed Henry, President And CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Hundreds of attendees in the nonprofit sector will be on hand to hear from experts and network during the ninth annual Investors Bank Not-For-Profit Conference on Long Island next month.

Titled “How To Manage In Turbulent Times,” the event will feature Keynote Speaker Ed Henry, President And CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, who will discuss competitive pressures and a global economy.

“Providing resources for nonprofit organizations is a large part of who we are as a bank,” says Jennifer Smith, the Community Development Officer at Investors Bank. “The conference is an opportunity for us to reach out to community organizations within the bank’s footprint in New York and New Jersey and help with networking opportunities and access to experts in fundraising, development and nonprofit tax law.”

The goal for this year’s Investors’ Bank Conference is to motivate and inspire not-for profit professionals as they work together to help their clients amid the continuing trend of increased demand and decreased donations that makes their work so difficult and critical.

“The conferences have both grown in size and the programs have evolved as well,” Smith says. “Raising funds just gets harder every year. Social media has also dramatically changed how nonprofits reach out to potential volunteers and donors. We’ve tried to incorporate these changes into our programming.”

The speakers will provide guidance and case studies on how nonprofits can think strategically about what is central to achieving their vision.

“We want to thank the Long Island Press and Queens Courier, as well as the Queens Chamber of Commerce, for your help with planning this free resource for nonprofits in Long Island and Queens.”

The Investors Bank Not-for-profit Conference will be held 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Apr. 11 at The Inn at New Hyde Park, which is located at 214 Jericho Tpke. In New Hyde Park. The event is free of charge but registration is required. To register, visit: myinvestorsbank.com/nynfp or contact Jennifer L. Smith at 718-330-3830 or jlsmith@ investorsbank.com

From left to right: David Rottkamp, Terrie Magro, Eric Alexander and Rhonda Klch.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
8:30 am – 9:30 am: Registration and breakfast
9:30 am – 9:45 am: Opening remarks from Investors Bank
9:45 am – 10:15 am: Keynote presentation from Ed Henry
10:15 am – 10:30 am: Q&A
10:30 am – 10:45 am: Break
10:45 am – 11:30 am: Panel Discussion with Rhoda Klch of First Equity, Terrie Margo
of The Magro Foundation and Eric Alexandar of Vision Long Island
11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Expert Session: Tax Reform with David Rottkamp of Grassi & Co.
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Closing Remarks and Raffle

More speakers to be announced

Alure Home Improvements Will Deliver a Truly Alluring Kitchen for Your Home

Watching all those home improvement shows on television may tempt you to take out the sledgehammer and start ripping down walls and cabinets in your own kitchen.

No need to act on impulse. Leave it to the pros. Alure Home Improvements, a design/build firm that has been an industry leader since 1946, in kitchens, baths, and other types of home improvement projects, does all the work for you. The company, which has been the recipients of numerous awards over the years, provides lots of  personal service to ensure clients have a stress-free and pleasant experience and, in the end, a gorgeous kitchen they love.

“We are a one-stop shop,” says Certified Kitchen Designer Patricia Nicolini, who has been with Alure for the past 19 years. “Alure takes full control of the project, so people don’t have to worry about hiring different trades and coordinating the project. This takes away a lot of the fear and puts the clients at ease.”

To get started, the homeowners answer a series of questions that identify their style, taste, and budget. Some of the questions include: How do they entertain? Who does most of the cooking? Are they right-handed or left-handed? Are they attracted to warmer tones or cooler tones? Do they like ornate decor or more streamlined accents?

Based on the responses, Alure comes up with a plan of action.

“All the information we find out allows us to design a kitchen that is specific to their clients’ needs. It won’t be a cookie-cutter kitchen,” says Nicolini, who explains that each client has a designer they work with and a project manager to oversee everything. “For example, if we have a client who always does the holidays in their home, we may recommend a redesign that includes a double oven and an extended island that features more counter and pantry space.”

With new developments taking place in kitchen design daily, Alure stays on top of what’s on-trend and has its team of professionals continually taking courses, so they can continue to deliver outstanding results.

To book your next kitchen consultation contact Alure Home Improvements at 516-296-7777 or visit alure.com.