Our Goals for 2017

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The Life-Wire News Crew is setting their sights on the new year with fresh goals and aspirations.


“I want to teach people French, singing in French. And I want to learn to cook pasta.” -Sunnurha Vertus
Photo by Harry Rodriguez for Life-Wire News Service.


difato-by-kefalinos-1-13-17“I want to write my own mysteries.” -Anthony DiFato.
Photo by Anthony Kefalinos for Life-Wire News Service.


anthony-k-by-a-difato“I’d like to go to Coney Island during the summertime and take pictures of people on the beach, or at the Aquarium.” -Anthony Kefalinos.
Photo by Anthony DiFato for Life-Wire News Service.

“I want to cover a New York Giants game or a concert.” -Meredith Arout.
Photo by Yoni Chernok for Life-Wire News Service.

“I want to take pictures of the Army.” -Yoni Chernok.
Photo by Sannurha Vertus for Life-Wire News Service.

“I want to improve my interview skills.” -Joseph Padalino.
Photo by Salvatore DiBenedetto for Life-Wire News Service.

“I want to write poetry about people I know.” -Salvatore DiBenedetto.
Photo by Joseph Padalino for Life-Wire News Service.

“I want to learn how to fix a computer.” -Gregory Perosi.
Photo by Joseph Trischitti for Life-Wire News Service.

dolores-by-j-jones-1-4-2017“I want to be healthy.” -Dolores Palermo.
Photo by Joseph Jones for Life-Wire News Service.

Top 10 Life-Wire News Service Stories of 2016

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Life-Wire News Service had a spectacular first full year.  Here are our most popular stories of 2016.

1- Koko Gets Her PBS Close-Up

 Our crew reviewed the PBS/BBC documentary Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks.  Koko lives at the Gorilla Foundation with Penny Patterson, who taught her sign language. -Anthony Pabon

2- Living with Down Syndrome: Eric Schwake

Eric’s video helps people understand what it is like to live with Down Syndrome. We are all the same inside.  -Joseph Padalino

Eric Schwacke. Photo: Sam Villalobos for Life-Wire News Service.

3- Inclusion in Fashion II: FTL Moda Runway Show

People with disabilities can do anything, even in fashion.  I photographed model Madeline Stewart – she is so sweet. Because I’m short, the other photographers let me move to the front row. At the runway show, I stayed in one spot right in front and didn’t move.  I also met model Shaholly Ayers and singer Meredith O’Connor – I loved the dress she was wearing. -Meredith Arout, photographer.

Meredith O’Connor

4- Hamilton’s America Shines on PBS

History comes alive in Great Performances’ Hamilton’s America on PBS. You get to see all the actors and actresses put their heart into it in behind-the-scenes interviews. We reviewed the documentary, and our colleagues Larry Oliveri and Meredith Arout covered the premiere. Check out their interviews with star of the show. Lin Manuel-Miranda, Ron Chernow and many others. -Salvatore DiBenedetto, reviewer.

Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

5- 59th New York Emmy® Awards

I remember how tired I was and how my feet hurt.  It was different.  I never thought I’d cover the Emmys, but I did it. Please check out my photos. -Meredith Arout

She did a magnificent job. I hope to work closely with Meredith in the near future. -Joseph Padalino


6- Mandela Future Leaders Visit Staten Island

It was an experience for me. I got to interview people from all over Africa and I enjoyed it. -Anthony Kefalinos

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

7- Willowbrook Mile Ribbon Cutting

It got really bad when I lived at Willowbrook.  I hope it never comes back. Geraldo’s interview tells us how things are better now.  Never again. -Anthony Buscarello

Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

8- Sen. Lanza Responds to SIDDC Rally

I think this video inspires everyone to help people with disabilities find housing. Don’t give up the fight. Watch this video and learn hat you can do. -Joseph Padalino

Andrew Lanza. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

9- Holy Week Procession in Ferrol, Spain

This is a Catholic parade for Good Friday in Ferrol, Spain. I found it interesting and some people find it unfamiliar.

NWN Photo

10- S.I. MakerSpace: Making Dreams

MakerSpace is an interesting place to work.  They have tools and machines you can use to build all kinds of interesting things.  When I was there, I met a guy making a replica of rhythmicon, an instrument that only two exist in the world.  -Anthony DiFato

Scott Van Campen (left) with Eric Schwake. Photo: Aeneas Jenkins for Life-Wire News Service.

Top picks for holiday movies – a baker’s dozen

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Want to escape the frigid weather or take a break from the hustle and bustle? Lifestyles Media Department recommends watching a movie together, and its members have some picks from the annual favorites. Enjoy a clip and look for the full feature on Netflix, Youtube and network and cable TV channels.

In addition to “March of the Wooden Soldiers,” two other black-and-white classics get an honorable mention — “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you have any favorites, let us know. Here is the list from LIfestyle Media Department. Enjoy.

Watching the 1964 movie is a tradition for people of all ages. In it Rudolph meets the girl he loves, and she loves him. But Dad says, “No” to having the reindeer with the red nose in the family. (Dolores Palermo) 


Frosty is a snowman that has a top hat that causes him to move around in the school yard. But the top hat belongs to the self-obsessed magician named Professor Hinkle who wants his hat back. Karen, one of the school kids, and Hocus Pocus, the professor’s rabbit, help Frosty escape to the North Pole. Avoiding melting is a major problem. (Anthony DiCostanzo) 

The “round-headed kid” searches for the true meaning of Christmas with his friends. (Anthony Kefalinos)


Eight-year-old Kevin McCalister (Macaulay Culkin) gets left behind when his family goes on vacation. It sounds scary, but it ends up in a lot of comedy as he protects his house from two thieves. Is the original “Home Alone” your favorite or do you like one of the sequels better? (Meredith Arout)


Even Santa isn’t safe. In this 2006 comedy, he nearly loses his job when Jack Frost, takes over the Elves and remakes Christmas. (Kareem Ellison)


You will love the part where the children are in the mall and they’re getting ready to see Santa Claus. Santa Claus asks the children, “What do you want for Christmas?” Ralphie says, “A gun.” Santa says, “You’re gonna poke your eye out kid,” and kicks Ralphie down the slide with a “Ho, ho, ho.” The 1983 movie is an annual favorite. (Joseph Padalino) 

One night is crazier than the other when Davey Stone tries to reform during Hannukkah. The 2002 animation deals with adult themes such as alcoholism, depression and loss.  

As Santa’s helper, Will Ferrell, who plays Elf has a hard time fitting in. For one thing he is a human being and a lot taller than all the other elves. The 2003 Christmas comedy is funny and happy. (Riki Garcia) 

Watch the live action film starring Jim Carey or the 1966 animation. Whichever version you prefer, this Seuss classic is a delight for all ages. A new Grinch with the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch will be arriving next year, so it’s time to get familiar with these two. (Anthony DiFato)

Somewhere in Jerusalem, Mary is working in the fields. She hears the voice of an angel say, “You will bear a child.” This 2006 film tells the story that is behind the glitter of Christmas — the birth of the child, Jesus, and the visit of the Three Wise Men who follow a star to see him. (Sal DiBenedetto) 

It’s Jack Skellington vs Oogie BoogieJack reveals the fact that Oogie’s body is nothing but a bag of bugs when he defeats him. (Andrew Moszenberg)

Miss Piggy and Kermit lead the Muppet crew in a retelling of the Dickens’ classic tale and in many good songs such as “‘Tis the Season” and “Thankful Heart.” (Harry Rodriguez) 



Put ‘March of the Wooden Soldiers’ on holiday to-do list

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“March of the Wooden Soldiers,” 1934

The 1934 version of “The March of the Wooden Soldiers” is an annual holiday treat for the whole family. Also known as “Babes in Toyland,” the black and white classic will be shown on Christmas Day from noon to 2 p.m. on WPIX 11.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy star as Stan Dee and Ollie Dum. They live with the Old Woman in the Shoe and are trying to save Little Bo Peep from marrying Silas Barnaby, the heartless landlord. In the end everyone unites with the Wooden Soldiers to fight him and the Bogeymen.

The plot involves a comical misinterpretation of Santa’s orders – just part of the many laughs for all ages provided by slapstick and hilarious punchlines. Music, nursery rhyme characters, including Mother Goose, and a rousing community spirit add to the movie’s appeal for kids and adults.

“Watching a classic movie together provides great memories,” says Sal DiBenedetto.

“And you learn to never turn your back on a cannon,” adds Anthony DiFato.

– Sal DiBenedetto, Anthony DiFato, and Sam Stone with Kathryn Carse.

“True Smile” Brothers at JCC’s ReelAbilities Fest

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In the film, True Smile, two brothers ride a tandem bike from Spain to Morocco.  The brothers, spoke with Life-Wire News Service’s Samuel Stone at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Manor Road, Staten Island as part of the ReelAbilities Film Festival on March 16th, 2016, hosted by Christina Tesoriero, Director of Special Needs Services for the JCC.

This introduction was written, in part, with the words of Gregory Perosi, edited by Edward Gregory.