Staten Island organizers kick-off 16th annual Dine Out Against Hunger event scheduled for April 10

o out and eat.

That’s the simple clarion call for this year’s 16th annual Dine Out Against Hunger event, scheduled boroughwide for April 10.

“If there’s one thing I do well, your mom does well, and most of us here do well is eat,” said the Rev. Terry Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality, during the kick-off lunch Tuesday in the agency’s Community Services Center in Stapleton.

The all-day Dine Out campaign will see 125 Island restaurants open their doors for breakfast, lunch and dinner, providing 20 percent of that day’s proceeds to benefit Project Hospitality. But the message behind Rev. Troia’s initial lightheartedness goes much deeper: massive federal cuts have hit food benefit programs, as even more Island residents become dependent on local pantries and food kitchens.

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Staten Island’s Lavelle Prep school hosts education luncheon

The future of education for Staten Island students was at the fore of Thursday’s luncheon at Lavelle Preparatory Charter School in Bloomfield.

Although they sat on opposite sides of the aisle in Congress, former Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella, a Republican, and his successor, former Rep. Michael McMahon, a Democrat, who shared the keynote spot at the luncheon, put aside party views to agree that the future of education lies in putting children first.

“We share in common the idea that the children in our district deserve the best education,” McMahon said.

“We put the kids at the center,” agreed Fossella. “Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, if you’re not putting the kids first, you’re in the wrong business.”

The two, who both served in the City Council before heading for Washington, agreed also that the future of education rests on forging a strong partnership among parents, teachers, principals, administrators, businesses and the community.

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Staten Island Filipino community joins Hilton owners to stage benefit for typhoon victims

The typhoon that devastated the Philippines In November may be a distant memory to many Staten Islanders, but not to the more than 7,000 Filipinos who live here.

Staten Island’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Association and Filipino community leaders will join hoteliers Lois and Richard Nicotra to stage a fund-raiser to assist the tens of thousands still suffering in their homeland at the Hilton Garden Inn on Jan. 15.

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Nicotra Foundation makes $30,313 in donations to Staten Island students, local organizations

The Lois & Richard Nicotra Foundation awarded $30,313 to local organizations and students Thursday morning at the Commons Cafe, Bloomfield.

“This is truly in the spirit of what the Paul Newman Foundation does,” Nicotra said.

Since it was established on Dec. 15, 2011, the Nicotra Foundation has donated $191,623 to a total of 129 local organizations and students.

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Avis-Budget rental car kiosk opens at Staten Island’s Hampton Inn & Suites

Visitors to Staten Island staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites  now have the convenience of renting a car right in the lobby of the Bloomfield-based hotel via a new Avis-Budget kiosk.

“The addition of Avis-Budget is one more piece of the puzzle that reinforces that the Corporate Park of Staten Island is a center for business and travel on Staten Island. The Avis-Budget kiosk is already busy, and guests and Island residents are happy with the addition of this key amenity,” said Hotelier Richard Nicotra.

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Hurricane Sandy One Year Later: How Hotels Helped During the Superstorm

“Hurricane Sandy tore up the Atlantic coast one year ago, and hotels played a crucial role in the wake of the storm. Many travelers were stranded, and locals had to move into hotels when they found themselves suddenly homeless. The following are just a few of the venues who went above and beyond standard hospitality to protect property and guests, and who gave back to their communities in Sandy’s wake.

Hilton Garden Inn, Staten Island

While Manhattan was grappling with a blackout, things were even worse in New York City’s southernmost borough, where thousands were left homeless after Sandy’s catastrophic impact. TheHilton Garden Inn Staten Island, along with the Hampton Inn Suites across the parking lot, crammed more than 700 stranded New Yorkers into just over 300 rooms, plus 50 Red Cross workers on cots in its ballroom. The hotel’s owner, Richard Nicotra, has continued to raise money for Sandy relief and reconstruction, including a benefit party in late 2012 that raised almost $150,00 for the the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation for Sandy Relief. Volunteers from Hilton Garden Inn’s “You Can Count On Us” volunteer program have continued their work in Staten Island, for which they earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award this past May.

” – The New York Traveler.

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