Shamrocks celebrate 2017
Jul 26, 2017 | 118 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Players of the Year
Players of the Year
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The NY Shamrocks Soccer Club hosted its end-of-the-season awards banquet at Astoria World Manor. Players of the year were Giuseppe Barone (First Team), Darren Coleman (Reserves), Johnny McGeeney (Over 30s), Mick McAnea (1960), Eoghan McParland (Legends), Teresa Ferarro (Women A) and Sam Horvath (Women B). Top goalcorers were Kwesi Mills-Odoi (First Team, 8 goals), Sean O’Neill (Reserves, 15), Johnny McGeeney (Over 30s, 29), Dave Harvey (1960, 12), Karol Hughes (Legends, 14), Chloe Wheeler (Women A, 18) and Cassie Esposito (Women B, 10). Wheeler (top scorer) and Jackie Gawne (top defender) were also both recognized for league honors on behalf of the New York Metropolitan Women’s Soccer League. Guest of honor Scotty Shevlin, former club president, recalled his two decades at the helm. “I’ll always be very grateful for my time spent on the Shamrocks committee,” said Shevlin. “People like Mick Haley, Johner Guildea, Paul Wilson, Kevin McPartland and so many more. They are friends and we share many great memories.” Saturday began with a very successful soccer match honoring beloved Rock Robbie Walsh who passed away in November. The first annual Robbie Walsh Exhibition Game paired two teams of Shamrocks Legends selected by Eoin Sweeney and Emmett Harvey. “Robbie was a great human being and he meant a lot to the Shamrocks,” said Sweeney. Two goals from Dave Harvey won the game for the Whites, the enjoyable encounter ending 2-1 but played in very good spirits. Suzanne Mills received an honorary lifetime membership. She said she dared to tryout for the club 50 years ago, but was turned down by what was then a men’s only club. “I’m very happy to see the women’s team do so well,” she said. “It just goes to show, if you live long enough you get what you want.”
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Vertullo tapped to lead Knights
Jul 26, 2017 | 77 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Frank Vertullo, who turned Suffolk Community College into one of the premier junior college teams in the nation, has been named head coach of the Queens College men’s soccer team. Vertullo, a former National Coach of the Year, comes to Queens after spending the last 10 seasons as head coach at Suffolk, where he led the Sharks to their first two NJCAA National Championships in school history. “I look forward to implementing a culture of recruiting strong student-athletes that fit the expectations of the athletic department, the men’s soccer program and the college,” he said. Over Vertullo’s 10 seasons at the helm, Suffolk owned one of the best records for junior colleges in the country at 161-24-13. Vertullo guided the Sharks to national titles in 2010 and 2014. Two of Vertullo’s players at Suffolk earned NSCAA National Player of the Year honors, and he mentored 13 NJCAA All-Americans and nine NSCAA All-Americans. Additionally, Vertullo coached two NJCAA Region XV Player of the Year honorees, one Academic All-American (Eddie Hackett, 2010) and 60 NJCAA All-Region players. Prior to Suffolk, Vertullo served as assistant coach at his alma mater, Dowling College, from 2001-2006. “I truly am thankful to be back in the East Coast Conference,” said Vertullo. “And I look forward to building the men’s soccer program to compete in such a great conference.”
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The Accent Adjustor Who Hears the Difference
by Nancy A. Ruhling
Jul 26, 2017 | 73 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Liz, the founder of Better Speech Now, helps people reduce their accents.
Liz, the founder of Better Speech Now, helps people reduce their accents.
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A lover of languages, Liz has traveled the world.
A lover of languages, Liz has traveled the world.
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Liz, who says she has a New York accent, was born in Manhattan.
Liz, who says she has a New York accent, was born in Manhattan.
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Liz Schwartz is sitting on her living room sofa talking about effective communication. She speaks clearly and concisely, choosing her words with care and confidence in this, a casual conversation. Her pronunciation is impeccably generic: Your ears would never be able to guess where she’s from. And that’s the point. Sort of. “Everyone has an accent,” says Liz. “I have a New York accent.” I still don’t hear it. “You’re not from New York,” she says before I can tell her this. “I don’t know where you’re from – somewhere in the Midwest – but it’s not New York.” Her assessment is astute: I am from St. Louis, and for the record, I don’t think I have an accent. As a speech-language pathologist, it is Liz’s job to listen to Lilliputian linguistic lilts and lessen them to lift the prospects of the pronouncers. “The people I work with always face a stumbling block because of their accents,” she says. “People don’t understand them, and they have to repeat themselves. This is usually related to employment. I have some clients who can’t get interviews or jobs because of thick accents.” Her work, she emphasizes, is not about erasure. It’s about accenting the positive points of the accent. “An accent is part of who you are just like the shape of your nose,” she says. “It’s part of your culture and your heritage.” Liz, who is compact, cerebral and composed, became interested in accents through her fascination with language. She was born in Manhattan, and when her parents settled in Queensview, she and the co-ops were new to the world. “It was a close-knit community of young families who were mid-level professionals,” she says, adding that although she left the complex briefly, she came back in the 1970s and stayed. “As an only child, it was a great place to grow up because everyone was in and out of each other’s houses all the time.” After graduating from the all-girls Julia Richmond High School in Manhattan at 16, Liz enrolled at The City College of New York, where, true to her love of languages, she majored in French and minored in Spanish. There are no words, in any accent, to express how difficult college was for her. Although she was an excellent and ardent student, when she was 17, her mother died. It took her five years instead of four to graduate. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career,” Liz says. “So I took secretarial jobs.” At 24, she married and continued to work after the births of her son and daughter. When the children were small, she went back to school to earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Hunter College. “I worked part time during the day and went to classes at night,” she says. “My husband was a huge help; he kept the kids busy on the weekends with activities. I always say that half of my diploma belongs to him.” Liz took a job in an early-intervention center, and after 14 years left to become a mentor to speech-language therapists. Through the years, she enriched her interest in languages and cultures through travel, visiting Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Canada and the Caribbean. “Although I majored in French, I don’t speak it well,” she says. “I’m rusty, which is why I’m taking lessons. But I do speak Spanish.” In 2011, she opened Better Speech Now, which helps adults, word by word, tame and train their accents. “It’s a difficult process because you are retraining the brain, the mouth and the face,” she says. “You have to learn to position the tongue and lips. It’s tough for adults to change lifelong patterns.” Liz, who has clients from as far away as London and Budapest, says it’s rewarding because she literally can hear the difference she makes. “People gain confidence, and that’s life altering,” she says. As far as her own life, Liz, a grandmother to two, hopes to continue to expand Better Speech Now. “Most people don’t know that accent reduction exists,” she says. “I’d like to do more in the corporate world.” Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at nruhling@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyruhling and visit astoriacharacters.com.
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Getting to the bottom of Crazy Eddie
Jul 26, 2017 | 32 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A couple of week ago we ran this undated photo we found in our archives and asked our readers for ideas on what might be going on. Well, a number of you emailed with information on Crazy Eddie, with most of you commenting the annoying commercials for the electronics chain store (someone sent us a Youtube link!) and the subsequent scandal that brought down Crazy Eddie. Here's some details one emailer found on the Internet: Crazy Eddie was a consumer electronics chain in the Northeastern United States, previously called ERS Electronics (ERS stood for Eddie, Rose and Sam, the latter two of whom were Eddie’s parents). It was started in 1971 in Brooklyn by businessmen Eddie and Sam M. Antar. The chain rose to prominence throughout the tristate region as much for its prices as for its memorable radio and television commercials, featuring a frenetic, "crazy" character played by radio DJ Jerry Carroll, who copied most of his shtick from early TV-commercial pioneer, used car and electronics salesman Earl "Madman" Muntz. At its peak, Crazy Eddie had 43 stores in four states, and reported more than $300 million in sales. In February 1987, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey commenced a federal grand jury investigation into the financial activities of Crazy Eddie. In September of that year, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission initiated an investigation into alleged violations of federal securities laws by certain Crazy Eddie officers and employees. Eddie Antar was eventually charged with a series of crimes. Antar fled to Israel in February 1990, but was returned to the United States in January 1993 to stand trial. His 1993 conviction on fraud charges was overturned, but he eventually pleaded guilty in 1996. In 1997, Antar was sentenced to eight years in prison and was subject to numerous fines. He was released from prison in 1999. Unable to sustain his fraudulent business practices, co-founder Eddie Antar cashed in millions of dollars worth of stock and resigned from the company in December 1986. Crazy Eddie's board of directors approved the sale of the company in November 1987. The entire Antar family was immediately removed from the business. The new owners quickly discovered the true extent of the Antar family's fraud, but were unable to turn around Crazy Eddie's quickly declining fortunes. In 1989, the company declared bankruptcy and was liquidated. So there you have it. One responder suggested that Crazy Eddie might have been trying to open a store on Queens Boulevard, which could be what the ladies were protesting. Another jokingly suggested they might be directing their protest at “Crazy” Ed Koch, the former mayor!
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Cut FDA Red Tape So Doctors Can Better Treat Patients
Jul 26, 2017 | 67 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Doctors often fail to treat their patients with the most effective medicines, but it's not their fault. Is an outdated FDA regulation to blame? The FDA prohibits pharmaceutical companies from sharing information about "off-label" uses of medicines with physicians. Many drugs received FDA approval for one disease, but also effectively treat other illnesses that aren't listed on the official label. Off-label prescribing is actually quite common. Physicians prescribe one in five medicines off-label. Currently, doctors have to make these off-label prescribing decisions based on anecdotal evidence, since they have no access to drug companies' clinical trial data. If the FDA were to permit greater information sharing, it would enable doctors to treat patients more effectively. Doctors have good reason to prescribe drugs off-label. Many drugs can treat a wide variety of diseases. In fact, the average drug can treat 18 different illnesses, according to researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. For instance, the diabetes drug Metformin can treat breast cancer. And the cancer drug Bexarotene has the potential to treat Alzheimer's disease. Doctors also prescribe drugs off-label to treat critically ill patients after all approved medicines have failed. For instance, many patients with certain autoimmune diseases don't respond to approved therapies. As a last-resort, doctors will prescribe these patients Prograf, a drug approved to help prevent people's immune systems from rejecting organ transplants. When doctors prescribe drugs off-label, they gather valuable information about how well patients respond. But current FDA policy restricts doctors from sharing this information with each other and with drug manufacturers. Drug makers are even subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability if they discuss unapproved uses of existing drugs. Companies could seek to get their medicines approved for the off-label uses, but the FDA approval process is time-intensive and costly. In fact, the cost of reapproving a drug is greater than the profits an approval would generate, according to an article in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. So drug companies often choose not to go through the process. Policy makers increasingly recognize the senselessness of preventing doctors and drug companies from sharing data. As the new FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, "Patients and physicians make the best decisions when they have access to as much truthful, non-misleading, scientifically based information as possible." In late March, Representative Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) introduced legislation that would make it easier for manufacturers to share information with medical professionals on alternative uses for existing medications. Despite support for reforms, the FDA hasn't yet relaxed its prohibitions on data sharing. The FDA should, of course, impose requirements on this information sharing. For instance, if the information comes from a clinical trial, drug companies should detail the trial's sample size, limitations, and methodology. If it comes from physicians, they should describe patients' conditions and detail how the drug affected them. These requirements would ensure that the information is clear and accurate. But it also would ensure that doctors have the most up-to-date information on a drug and the illnesses it can treat. Off-label prescribing has already has saved thousands of lives. The FDA ought to make it easier for doctors and patients to make the most informed treatment decisions possible. Peter J. Pitts is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.
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