Carol DiPaolo is Honored for her Deep Commitment
A sell-out crowd of community supporters gathered to celebrate the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor’s 30th anniversary at the Sea Cliff Manor on Friday night, May 6. “We’ve come a long way since those early days in the mid-1980s when Hempstead Harbor had the most toxic waste sites of any area on Long Island,” said Karen Papasergiou, President of the Coalition. “Who would have thought 30 years ago, that Hempstead Harbor would produce the second largest shellfish harvest on Long Island in 2015?,” she continued.
In large part, the remarkable success of the Coalition’s efforts was sustained and guided by its Community Programs Director, Carol DiPaolo, who was–unbeknownst to her–the secret honoree of the night. In 1991 Ms. DiPaolo created the Coalition’s award-winning citizens water-monitoring program which tracks a variety of water quality indicators and she has been instrumental in helping other communities set up their own programs. But beyond her expertise, “She is the one who ‘saved’ the Coalition itself over the years, when board members suffered burn-out,” board member Kay Bromberg said. Former Executive Director Lynda Schroeder added, ”Quite simply, Carol is the heart and soul of the Coalition!”
Several public officials attended the dinner and presented proclamations in honor of Ms. DiPaolo including Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Eric Swenson, Executive Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee and also representing Town of Oyster Bay, and Sea Cliff Village Trustee Ed Lieberman. North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth also presented a proclamation, but was unable to attend in person. Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi praised the Coalition for staying the course for 30 years and credited it with improving the environment and the quality of life for all the harbor communities and residents.
To commemorate the occasion, Coalition board member Charlie Weinstein created a slide video showing some of the original toxic waste sites and the decrepit state of the harbor 30 years ago. In flashback photos, the video covered the incinerator battles in North Hempstead and Glen Cove, cleanup of Glen Cove Creek, and the gradual progress made through the positive efforts of the water-monitoring program, beach cleanups, and hundreds of volunteers who have contributed time and energy to restoring Hempstead Harbor. The efforts have paid off beyond expectation with the return of whales to the harbor last year and sightings already in April this year.
The evening was a great success with music provided by Brian Boehm and Chicken Head and wonderful support from local shops and businesses who donated raffle prizes.