Thursday, November 18, 2010

The end of another chapter...

As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end". On Saturday night, I passed on the title, the job responsibilities, and the crown of Miss Richmond County to my successor. Wow, what a surreal moment...

The Miss Staten Island Pageant took place at its usual home, New Dorp High School, on November 13th. This was a special event as the organization celebrated its 45th anniversary.The Miss Staten Island Pageant is one of the longest local pageants in the Miss New York Organization. It is such an honor to be a part of this milestone as a former Miss Staten Island. As a little girl, I looked up to all the Miss Staten Islands as my role models, my big sisters, my inspiration. I wanted to be just like them; to grow up to one day become Miss Staten Island. And it finally happened in 2009. That crowning moment was something I have been waiting for my entire life. The opportunity to represent my hometown was an exhilarating feeling and an unbelievably experience. You can imagine I had the same excitement as Miss Richmond County. To have a legacy as the first Miss Richmond County to compete in the Miss America Organization is an encomium I will never forget. I also feel honored to be a part of new traditions not only for the Miss Staten Island Pageant, but for the borough of Staten Island. This was the first year the pageant crowned FOUR winners: Miss Staten Island, Miss Richmond County, Miss Staten Island Outstanding Teen, and Miss Richmond County Outstanding Teen. It is a wonderful opportunity that now two native Staten Islanders can represent the borough. I was ebullient to do so, and I know that future generations will appreciate the legacy that began with me.

Borough President James Molinaro and Jerry Ruggiero, President of the Miss Staten Island Pageant

Crowning my successor: Amanda Alicea, Miss Richmond County 2011

Amanda Alicea, Miss Richmond County 2011; Maria DeSantis, Miss Staten Island 2011; Shreya Jain, Miss Staten Island's Outstanding Teen 2011; Victoria Dugay, Miss Richmond County's Outstanding Teen 2011

Olivia Devoti, Miss Richmond County's Outstanding Teen 2010
Shelley Jain, Miss Staten Island's Outstanding Teen 2010
Kimberly Cantoni, Miss Richmond County 2010
Jennifer Scacco, Miss Staten Island 2010

Miss Richmond County 2010 and 2011

Miss Staten Island 2009, 2010, and 2011

Claire Buffie, Miss New York 2010

Jeoffrey Watson, Mr. New York 2010

All the local and state titleholders present at the pageant

My blog would not be complete without a post about my platform. November is National Lung Cancer Awareness month. Most lung cancers are caused by cigarette smoking; it's the cause of 87% of all cases and is the direct factor of 90% of lung cancer-related deaths. Around 8.6 million are affected by serious illnesses associated with smoking, including: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, heart disease, pneumonia, acute myeloid leukemia and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Smoking may also lead to other cancers, such as of the throat, bladder, esophagus, cervix, stomach, pancreas, and kidneys. There are crucial short and long term reasons as to why smokers should quit. However, the clincher of reasons to quit: it's as simple as to save your life.

Today marks the 35th annual Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Smokers are encouraged to make a plan to quit or quit smoking today. The Great American Smokeout challenges smokers to stop using tobacco and helps them become more aware of the tools they can use to quit for good. Tobacco use remains to be the world's most preventable cause of death. So let's start to end this epidemic by help smokers quit the habit, and educating non-smoker (especially our children) to never start smoking. Students from PS 29 on Staten Island submitted short stories and poetry to the Staten Island Advance about the Great American Smokeout. Here is a poem that struck my interest, proving that children do know what smoking is and the dangers it causes:
"If you never smoked, please don't start!
And if you have, you'll tear yourself apart.
Listen up, don't ever smoke,
Because what I'm saying isn't a joke.
When I pass a smoker, there are tears in my eyes.
I hope he has said his last good-byes.
If you've never smoked, please don't try it.
If you see it in the store, please don't but it.
If you think it's cool
You're a fool."

Before I wrap up my blog I wanted to share an exciting announcement that I'm happy to share with you all on my last blog post...drum roll please...THE MISS NEW YORK PAGEANT IS COMING TO STATEN ISLAND!!! Words cannot describe how happy I am that the Miss New York Organization has chosen Staten Island as the new home for Miss New York. Here is the press release in the Staten Island Advance. You can also check out all the amazing things Staten Island has to offer at SINY- Proud of It!
Well, the time has come to say good-bye as your Miss Richmond County. It has been an amazing journey, one that I am happy I had the opportunity to share with all of you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Marriage Can Be Murder

Howdy y'all!!! I had an amazing weekend in Warrensburg, New York at the Ridin' Hy Ranch. Kill-Her Entertainment presented a three day murder mystery extravaganza titled Marriage Can Be Murder. The object of this show is to have the audience figure out who is the murderer, what their motive was, and the evidence. Clues were provided during the show and on certain activities to help audience members solve the crime. The person who correctly guesses the murderer, motive, and evidence wins a gift certificate to the ranch. My character, Jilly Bean, was the maid of honor to her Bridezilla sister Betty Lou. I had a blast playing Jilly mainly because I was a suspect in the murders! (don't worry I didn't do it). I also got to teach the audience the Boot Scootin' Boogie line dance. The cast did get a chance to enjoy everything the ranch had to offer during some much needed downtime. We even got to go horseback riding! My horse, Shortcake, was adorable but clearly wanted to go faster than I was allowed to ride. The weekend was truly successful, leaving with a set date for next year and some very excited patrons who cannot wait to see what we have in store for next year.


Teaching the Boot Scootin' Boogie

Boot Scootin' Boogie

The Wedding Scene

The Cast with the Winner of the Murder Mystery

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Smoke Alarm

I was reading this week's Time Magazine when I came across an interesting article about thirdhand smoke. Unlike secondhand smoke, which is the toxins nonsmokers inhale when someone is smoking nearby, thirdhand smoke can remain long after the cigarette has been finished. Research has shown that the harmful compounds in tobacco residue that get embedded in clothing, hair, furniture and almost any other exposed surface may still be active enough to cause health problems, especially sudden infant death syndrome as well as asthma, allergies, and other respiratory ailments in young children. Nicotine levels are relatively constant in a room where a smoker lights up regularly. This is because the residue does not dissipate along with the smoke. It is also proven through the Berkeley National Laboratory that children living in apartment buildings who have smoking neighbors but no smokers in their own unit have double the level of cotinine (a remnant of metabolized nicotine) in their blood compared with children living in single family homes without smokers. The current evidence surrounding thirdhand smoke should be enough to convince parents that no level of cigarette smoke exposure is safe for their children, let alone themselves. If you are still unsure if thirdhand smoke is actually that dangerous to your health, "here's a bit of advice for the families of the more than 22 million children in the U.S. who are exposed to smoke in the home: it's not enough to have smokers stand outside on the porch---unless they're planning to take a shower and change their clothes before they rejoin the party in the living room".

Don't forget that today is ELECTION DAY! You still have time to get out to the polls and HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD!