Rub-a-dub-dub, what’s in the tub?

Copyright Malverne resident Dawn Wladyka drained her tub of the brown water she has become accustomed to, but this time found that it had left behind a mucky residue.

Malverne resident Dawn Wladyka drained her tub of the brown water she has become accustomed to, but this time found that it had left behind a mucky residue.

By Lee Landor

[Note: This article and its accompanying photos originally appeared on on Feb. 9, 2011. This content is the rightful property of Richner Communications, Inc.]

Most people don’t think twice about running a bath or filling a glass with tap water: They simply turn on the faucet and, voilà, out comes clear, colorless water. On rare occasions, you might have to let the water run for a minute to clear out sediments or rust particles that accumulate in the pipes.

That is not the case in some areas of Malverne, where the water, no matter how long many residents let it run before putting the stopper in the tub or filling a glass, remains various shades of brown.

It has been that way as long as anyone can remember. For Dawn Wladyka, it has been six years. For Tom Grech, 10 years. But until recently, most residents believed their brown water was unique to them, to their homes, to their pipes. They didn’t realize it was a widespread problem until late last month, when Grech took to the Internet to gripe about it.

“On a lark, I put something on Facebook,” he recently told the Herald. In just four days, Grech’s Facebook group, “I Love Malverne but hate the brown water (from LI Water),” grew to include 130 members and hundreds of posts.

Grech is now trying to mobilize his fellow Malvernites in a stand against water supplier Long Island American Water, the company that he and other residents believe is to blame. At the very least, they want some answers.

“I’m not going to make it a federal case,” Grech said, “but I am definitely going to hold them accountable.”



While it has long been a nuisance, the problem appears to have worsened in recent months, according to Wladyka, a mother of three young children who enjoy taking baths. The water is more discolored than ever and now leaves a residue in the tub after it’s drained, she said, adding that this is where she draws the line.

“It used to be, ‘Oh, it’s just Malverne water.’ Kind of a complacency,” Wladyka said. “I felt like we were beaten down. You try to do everything you can … but you just deal with it.”

Until recently, that is, when Wladyka began to run a bath for her youngest, who, for the first time, made a face and refused to go in the brown water. “I reached a boiling point,” Wladyka said. She took photos of the water and posted them on Facebook. Shortly thereafter, Grech’s group was born.

Wladyka is certain that the problem is neither in her pipes nor with her water heater. Like many others who have shared their stories on Facebook, she has hired plumbers and others to determine whether something is wrong with her plumbing and has been told time and again that there is no problem.

Malverne resident and former Deputy Mayor Don Pupke said he firmly believes “the common problem is Long Island [American] Water.”

The company opened a new iron filtration plant on the Malverne-Lynbrook border in late October, promising to remove more iron from the water. Iron, according to LIAW President Bill Varley, is what turns the water brown. The recommended limit for iron is .3 milligrams per liter of water, according to the New York State Department of Health, and accompanying concerns include rust-colored staining of fixtures and clothes.

According to LIAW’s own water quality report, its water contains .75 milligrams per liter of iron, but “Higher levels of iron may be allowed by New York State when justified using treatment by the water supplier, as is the case with Long Island American Water.”

Additionally, Varley told the Herald last week, “Iron is not a health hazard — it’s strictly an aesthetic problem. Granted, it’s a nuisance. We know that, and we appreciate it.”

That is one reason the company opened the iron filtration facility. But the plant never came online. Varley explained that the paint in the plant’s new tanks has not yet cured completely, forcing the company to continuously flush the system, which is why residents are seeing more discolored water.
Then why, Pupke asked, has the company been telling residents to check their pipes and water heaters? Why, he wants to know, hasn’t LIAW informed its customers that the plant is not yet online?

“Shame on me for not coming to the mayor and saying, ‘Guess what. That plant we cut the ribbon on a couple months ago — it’s still not in service,’” Varley said at a Feb. 2 Board of Trustees meeting, which he attended to discuss the matter. He told trustees and residents that it could take anywhere from a week to two months to get the plant online.

Although Varley would not comment on why customer service representatives had suggested the problem might stem from pipes and water heaters, he told the Herald he regrets his failure to address the issue. “I should have proactively gone out and communicated,” he said. “It’s a shame — we just spent $7.5 million [to open the plant] and people think nothing’s changed.”

Grech, who called the company’s approach to the matter “disingenuous,” said that LIAW created more problems than it would have with some outreach. But he plans to continue to hold meetings, write petitions and obtain independent tests of water samples throughout the village.

“We’re going to band together as a community and tell Long Island American Water that it is unacceptable,” Grech said, adding that he expects to see the company step up, provide answers and take action. But, he added, “I don’t want promises — I want guarantees.”

The Malverne Civic Association is expected to hold a meeting to discuss the matter with Varley and other LIAW representatives on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the basement of the Malverne Public Library, at 61 St. Thomas Place.

Hundreds turn out for Callahan’s funeral


A funeral mass was held for James Callahan III at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hempstead on May 31, 2011.

By Lee Landor

[Note: This article and its accompanying photos originally appeared on on May 31, 2011. This content is the rightful property of Richner Communications, Inc.]

Hundreds of people filled the pews at the St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hempstead last week to pay their last respects to James Callahan III, who died May 26, several weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke.

Friends and family members said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they received, and thanked the various elected officials and public servants who attended the May 31 funeral mass of the late Malverne deputy mayor, who was also the commissioner of the county’s emergency management office.

As Callahan’s wife, Patricia, walked in behind the casket to the altar with her children, Thomas, Katherine, Elizabeth and Christina, people began to sob, drowning out the soft organ music that played in the background. More tears were shed when Patricia decided to follow the eulogy her brother, Joseph Canzoneri Jr., had given with one of her own.

“The emptiness I feel today cannot be described adequately by words,” she said. “Jimmy and I shared every aspect of our lives together. We were truly best friends. We were partners intellectually and in managing our household and children. I have no regret today as I stand before you because Jimmy and I shared a very special love, one that caused us to say ‘I love you’ multiple times throughout every day.”


Hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects to the late Malverne deputy mayor and commissioner of the county Office of Emergency Management.

Patricia went on to say that her husband had shared his life with many people and touched many lives. “We have all lost today — not just me and my children,” she said. Out of respect for Callahan, she added, she must share her family’s loss with everyone.

At the Malverne Village Board’s June 1 meeting, it was clear that Callahan’s death had a far-reaching effect. Almost everyone who spoke at the meeting — including the board members, department heads, civic leaders and village residents — had something to say about the late deputy mayor.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work with Jim,” Mayor Patricia McDonald said. “He was wonderful at guiding this board. … When I look to my right and Jim’s not here, it’s very surreal. … It will take a very long time for it to sink in.”

Trustees Michael Bailey, Joe Hennessy and John O’Brien, and village Attorney James Frankie, each spoke about their experiences working with Callahan in his 12 years on the board. “His knowledge … was inspiring,” Bailey said. Hennessy called Callahan an “attribute” to the village and O’Brien described him as “the quintessential public servant.”

Frankie said Callahan’s presence on the board was of great help to him personally: prior to taking on the role of commissioner for the county’s emergency management office, Callahan was a partner in a Baldwin-based law firm. “Unless you worked with him, you have no idea how bright he was,” Frankie said. “He made all of our jobs easier.”

While he loved his work, both in the county and the village, it was his family that Callahan put first, according to Hennessy. He recalled something Patricia Callahan had said at the funeral mass about notes — with messages like “I love you,” “I miss you” or “I’ll call you soon” — Callahan would leave hidden around the house for his children to find when he went on business trips.

“I think if you really want to know about Jim Callahan, that says it all,” Hennessy said.

Paul Jessup, head of Malverne’s Department of Public Works, said that he and Callahan became close in the 11 years they worked together. Even when they socialized, he said, they were getting work done. “Jim always gave 110 percent,” he said. “He was the only one I could call at 3 a.m. and know he was sitting in his office.”

On behalf of the Malverne Public Library, Cathy Wellikoff read a note expressing condolences to Callahan’s relatives. “None of us have been able to shake this feeling because he’s a neighbor and someone we see on T.V. and we feel close to him,” she said. “The tragedy of it is beyond our ability to comprehend and accept.”

Callahan, who was 42 when he died, had been re-elected to his fourth term as a trustee on the Malverne Village Board on March 15. County Executive Ed Mangano, who attended the funeral mass, swore Callahan in to his seat on April 4. Less than a week later, Callahan suffered a stroke. He was hospitalized for six weeks, during which time he was diagnosed with cancer.

Mangano was among the numerous county officials who attended Callahan’s funeral mass. Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter was there, along with dozens of uniformed officers and county fire marshals. Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray also turned out for the funeral.


Dozens of town and county officials lined up outside the church to watch as the casket of James Callahan III, the late commissioner of the county Office of Emergency Management and Malverne Village deputy mayor who died May 26, was placed inside the hearse.

Outside the chapel, in a line down the center of Westminster Street, which was blocked off by police cruisers and fire trucks, dozens of county and town leaders stood with their hands over their hearts. They watched as Callahan’s casket was brought out and a county bagpipe ensemble began to play a piece. As mourners filed out of the church, three county helicopters in a “V” formation flew overhead, giving the sign that it was time to load the casket into the hearse.

The elegance of the funeral mass, procession and burial at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury were a testament to the respect people had for Callahan, and for the love and support they provided his family during his illness and after his death, McDonald said. Many who shared their feelings about Callahan said they were only giving back for what he had given the village and county in his professional roles and personal character.

“What I have often marveled about is how he did it so humbly,” Patricia Callahan had said in her eulogy. “He never boasted or bragged, he was wonderfully selfless in the things he did for so many people. He was happy being in the background and never sought recognition for his kindness.”

Patricia had maintained her composure until she began to speak of the lesson her late husband’s death has taught her. “It is up to all of us here today to fill the tremendous void left by Jim’s absence,” she said. Her voice caught in her throat, but she continued to speak, determined to deliver an important message. “I think we all now realize how fragile and precious our lives are,” she said. “Please spend that time on the things most important — your family, good friends and don’t worry about the small stuff.”

Read the full obituary.

Oh-so-sweet frozen treats on Malverne street

Family opens new ice cream shop with a taste of nostalgia

Copyright Diane Angelis and her husband, John (not pictured), opened an ice cream shop named Scooop in Malverne. Their three sons, from left, Nicholas, Alexander and Evan, take turns working shifts.

Diane Angelis and her husband, John (not pictured), opened an ice cream shop named Scooop in Malverne. Their three sons, from left, Nicholas, Alexander and Evan, take turns working shifts.

By Lee Landor

[Note: This article and its accompanying photos and videos originally appeared on on August 11, 2010. This content is the rightful property of Richner Communications, Inc.]

When you walk into Scooop, Malverne’s new ice cream shop, it feels like you’ve walked into a scene from Now and Then, the 1995 movie that made many a little girl wish for a time machine to travel back to the early 1970s.

The family-owned Scooop, which Malverne residents Diane and John Angelis opened in place of Crystal Ice on Aug. 1, is a throwback to that era, depicted so well in the film as a time when ice cream sodas were the rage and kids could ride bikes all over town, swinging AM radios from their handlebars.

There’s no question that summery, care-free, youthful vibe will go a long way toward achieving Diane’s goal of making the shop Malverne’s favorite hangout. And it doesn’t hurt that the place, which is decorated with old family toys, stays open until 10 p.m. every day until Labor Day.

Copyright Scooop offers a wide selection of toppings for its ice cream flavors, sundaes, banana splits and milkshakes.

Scooop offers a wide selection of toppings for its ice cream flavors, sundaes, banana splits and milkshakes.

But if the inviting signs and colorful decor aren’t enough to draw in customers, the selection certainly is. Patrons can choose cones, cups, sundaes, banana splits, ices, shaved ice, soft-serve, floats, milkshakes and fat-free yogurt. While children need little convincing to go to an ice cream shop, they get a bonus for coming into Scooop: chalk-board tables where they can doodle and scribble their heart’s delight.

For adolescent girls, there’s always the other incentive: the Angelis’ three teenaged sons who take turns working shifts. Until school starts, Evan, 21, Nicholas, 18, and 14-year-old Alexander are serving up scoops with their mom, who is loving every minute of owning the shop.

“What’s not to love?” Diane asked on a recent hot August day. “I love Malverne, I love the people, the community. It’s so tight-knit.” That’s what brought the Angelis family, who owns a number of restaurants throughout New York City and parts of Long Island, including Nick’s Pizza in Rockville Centre, to Malverne from Queens 13 years ago.

And Diane’s not the only one who loves Scooop. Her children love it, neighbors and friends love it and even Malverne Village Mayor Patricia McDonald loves it, according to Diane, who said people have been coming in regularly since the store’s opening. And everyone’s got suggestions: stay open year-round, serve soup in the winter, offer frappes and dessert, sell candy and so on. The shop already offers coffee and sells cakes, and Diane has already ordered two benches and a new awning to make the place more inviting, but she welcomes all suggestions, as she’s still unsure of what her next steps are.

Thinking ahead, Diane is planning to add frozen yogurt to the menu and stay open at least through holiday lighting. She’s also working to put together contests for kids to make ice cream even more fun. But there are still many details to figure out. Buying the store in mid-July and having it open and running barely two weeks later, the Angelis family had to move quickly. Although they’re still in the very early stages of running this business, they’ve managed to create an atmosphere of familiarity that makes patrons feel as though the shop has been around for decades.

“It was very sudden,” Diane said of the decision to buy the store. “At first I said to my husband, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this’ — I was scared. But what made me decide was the thought that a stranger could come in and buy this place.” By opening the place herself, Diane felt she would be contributing to that sense of community that defines Malverne. She would also be helping to recreate for her children and those of the neighborhood what she had as a child: growing up, Diane would frequent Jahn’s Restaurant and Eddie’s Sweet Shop, where ice cream cost mere pennies and hours were passed laughing with friends. The bottomline, Diane said, “I just want it to be a happy place.”

Scooop is open from noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week, although hours will change once school starts. Although the shop does not have a website yet, patrons should keep an eye out for a Scooop Facebook page. Until then, Diane welcomes everyone to drop in and check it out.