2006-10-13 / Columnists

Chamber Chat

Commentary By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

JOANIE OMESTE The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce Dinner Dance will be held on Monday, October 23, 6:00 p.m. at Russo's on the Bay. We are proud to announce our 2006 honorees.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall

Helen Marshall is the first African American and the second woman to assume the post of the highest elected official in a borough with a population of more than 2.2 million people. Marshall, a native New Yorker, has been in public service for 20 years. Before her election to the City Council, Marshall was elected in 1982 to the first of five terms in the New York State Assembly.

She is one of the driving forces behind CUNY by the Sea, bringing this much needed branch of education into the old courthouse in the Rockaways. She is an inspiring speaker and when you see her and speak to her it's easy to see why Borough President Marshall is Queens' most passionate supporter.

Marco and Lucille Minuto, Red Castle Bakeries, Inc.

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, Marco Minuto got his start on the unemployment line. In 1996, after nearly a quarter of a century happily heading up sales and marketing for a maker of Jamaican beef patties, he became unemployed.

He lost his job but not his experience. Marco and his wife, Lucille, launched Red Caste Bakeries, Inc., and, in 2001, after months of working with a nutritional consultant to develop a low-

sodium, low-fat beef patty, Minuto landed a contract as the exclusive provider of patties to the city's school system. Four months later, he moved Red Castle into its current quarters, a 23-000-square-foot building in Rockaway Beach. The family contributes to the neighborhood they love so much by helping disadvantaged people from the community with training and employment. More than half the company's employees are ex-offenders, high school dropouts or individuals trying to get off public assistance.

Danielle McShane, Danielle's Rockaway Florist

Danielle McShane is the proud owner of Danielle's Rockaway Florist on Beach 129 Street, and has more than 11 years of experience as a florist, with two years in the Rockaways. McShane has a great passion for what she does combined with a love for the business, and an even greater love for this community, combining it all into an extremely fulfilling career. Danielle and her husband Michael McShane have built the first part of their dream together.

The McShanes had a beautiful wedding, opened the florist shop, and moved to the Rockaways. The first addition to their family was made a year ago with their dog, Shane McShane. The McShanes are involved in as many local events as possible, and support endless organizations as members of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council, the Rockaway Park Homeowners Association, the Belle Harbor Yacht Club, and the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce.

Danielle is a member of both the Shore Garden Club and the Belle Harbor Garden Club and supports the Rockaway Theatre company by sponsoring shows in Fort Tilden every year.

She enjoys sharing what she has learned by writing a monthly gardening column in the Wave, titled "The Diary of a Green Thumb."

Ocean Grande Condominiums, The Engel Burman Group and Cedar Summit Property Group

Ocean Grande Condominiums brings to the Rockaways quality, experience and integrity. The Engel Burman Group, developer of the Ocean Grande, is proud to have built a waterfront condominium that will be an integral part of the revitalization of the Rockaways. The Ocean Grande is a visionary development that will have a very positive effect on the community. The Project is a joint venture between The Engel Burman Group and Cedar Summit Property. Sydney Engel, Chairman and founder, of Engel Burman has been involved in industrial, residential and commercial real estate development since 1946.

He has a depth of firsthand experience not commonly found in the industry today. President, Jan Burman, brings a unique style and personal sensitivity to the business of real estate development, and has an insight for spotting hidden opportunities that lesser-trained eyes overlook. Steven Krieger, Principal and co-founder, augments this formidable group of industry pros with an innovative zeal in property acquisition that only further widens the spectrum of the group's real estate development expertise. The Cedar Summit Property Group are owners, managers and developers of hotels, residential apartments, and commercial space in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey and South Florida.

Ocean Grande Condominiums is a welcome neighbor and partner in the Rockaway community bringing a luxury aspect to this wonderfully changing area.

Valerie West, Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp.

Valerie L. West, born in Trinidad and Tobago, and came to the United States in 1968. She is the fifth of seven children born to the late Victor and Mary Leon.

In September, 1968 she began employment at AT&T, advancing to a Management position while pursuing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management at the New York Institute of Technology. After retiring in June, 1998 she wanted to give back to her community and accepted an appointment as Chief of Staff by the late Hon. Pauline Rhodd Cummings.

During her tenure, West was privileged to serve the constituents of the 31st Assembly District. She quickly learned the political process and responsibilities, enabling her to effectively attend to the needs of the community. As a result, she was successfully elected as the New York State Committee Woman of the 31st Assembly District in September, 2002 and was instrumental in the formation of the Deerfield Civic Association.

In 2003 Valerie was hired as a Business Associate for RDRC within the Business and Professional Services Division which enables her to work closely with existing merchants and new entrepreneurs wanting to establish or expand their businesses on the Rockaway peninsula.

West is a member of the Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club and continues to perform her Civic duties diligently. Giving back to her community has enriched her life as well as the lives of all of those that she has affected with her service in the Rockaways.

Dr. Peter Nelson, The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center

Dr. Peter Nelson has been described as having a passion for God and for social justice. As an Episcopal clergyman and a healthcare professional who from as early as 1959 took part in Civil Rights activities in the South, he has displayed a commitment and a sense of personal integrity that has won both the admiration and ire of many.

Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the defining issues of his youth were the spiritually charged culture of the south and the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Nelson took part in Civil Rights actions from the sit-downs of the early 1960's through the historic march in Selma, Alabama across the Pettus Bridge, which led to the Civil Right Voting Act of 1965. He has devoted his adult career to community health and serving the underserved.

Dr. Nelson has led the staff at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center to a remarkable series of innovations.

To mention just a few of his achievements over the past nine years, the Addabbo Family Health Center has affiliated with Peninsula Hospital Center, opened a new 13,000 square foot site in Far Rockaway, opened a Children's Day Treatment Program, opened a 3,000 sq. ft. medical center in Springfield Gardens, Queens, and expanded mental health and dental services. In May 2006, the Addabbo Family Health Center opened a 22,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art health care facility in Arverne.

The Addabbo Health Center served 14,500 patients in 2005 with 72,000 visits, and employs 185 persons.

Dr. Nelson is married to Lynne R. Newbold Nelson and has three children: Joshua; Abagail; and Charityas well as three grandchildren: Jonathan; Benjamin; and Rachel.

Barbara & Marvin Eisenstadt

What can we say that people already don't know about this wonderful couple. Barbara is Chair of the Board of Rockaway Music & Arts Council after serving as its President for fifteen years.

She envisioned and created the RMAC Fall Festival Of Music, Art & Crafts 23 years ago, an event that has become a Rockaway tradition, as well as the RMAC Sunset Picnic Concerts. In addition she has been past president of Rockaway section National Council Of Jewish Women, president of the Friends Of Rock Hall Museum, is a board member of the Belle Harbor Garden Club and the Neponsit Property Owners Association.

Marvin began working with his dad, who owned the Cumberland Packing Company, in 1956, creating machinery to package everything from sugar to ketchup and was the first to package soy sauce for Chinese restaurant take-out. It was Marvin's mom, who after contemplating unsanitary sugar bowls in restaurants, suggested that sugar be packaged individually like tea. The color pink was chosen to stand out in a sugar bowl and the name was borrowed from the Tennyson poem, a favorite of Marvin's dad.

The product that grew out of his inventions and creativity was Sweet N' Low, at one time the largest selling sugar substitute in the world market.

Marvin and Barbara Eisenstadt met while she was in college and he had just returned from the Army. They have been married for 47 years, have four fabulous children, nine incredible grandchildren and have lived in the Rockaways for forty-one years.

Please call the Chamber office at 718-634-1300 for tickets.

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