Group completes poll of Staten Islanders on traffic and transportation issues focuses on possible travel solutions between Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn & New Jersey

The College of Staten Island-Staten Island Project (CSI-SIP) with the generous support of Con Edison, recently announced the completion of a Staten Island-wide polling initiative on traffic and transportation issues.

Staten Island (Richmond County) is not only the fastest growing borough in New York City but also the fastest growing county in New York State. Census data suggest that working Staten Islanders have the longest commute time in the nation, and “it is important to determine what Islanders think of possible solutions to their travel-related headaches,” according to Steve Johnson, director of institutional research and assessment at CSI.

“Determining how much residents know about proposed solutions, whether they like what’s being proposed, and whether they would use new forms of transportation if they were available is an important first step in addressing the challenges facing Staten Island,” he continued.

The survey of 600 Staten Island residents took place January 21-25, 2004 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. According to Johnson, the data are still being analyzed, and the results should be available as early as the end of this month.

The polling initiative is part of an upcoming conference that has scheduled policy makers, academics, and members of the political, social, business, environmental, and disabilities communities to discuss the changing landscape of Staten Island and the region. Its focus will be on mass transportation and traffic, as well as its funding, examining current projects and innovative future directions.

The conference, “Staten Island Mass Transportation and Traffic: Environment and Economy,” will convene on Friday, March 19, 2004 at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts at 2800 Victory Boulevard. Participants include representatives from state and local government, transportation leaders, noted traffic analysts and industry watchdogs. The conference offers roundtable discussions with question and answer sessions and the chance for attendees to share a table with conference participants during lunch and the post-conference reception. Registration is open to the public at $30 per person. For more information contact Faith Olzman at 718-982-2365 or visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information visit or contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328.

Casino Night New CSI fundraiser provides an entertaining evening while helping make a difference in the future of CSI students

The Staten Island Mall’s Center Court will be transformed into New Orleans for an entertaining night at Mardi Gras on Sunday, February 8, 2004 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The event, called Casino Night: A Sure Bet, is a new College of Staten Island Foundation fundraiser chaired by Jim Easley, vice president and general manager of the Staten Island Mall.

Jim Easley has long history of supporting and chairing some of CSI’s most successful fundraisers has been with the Staten Island Mall for the past eight years. He was in mall management for the seven years prior. Easley moved from western Massachusetts to New Jersey with his wife of 20 years, Cathy, and their two children, Britney, age16 and Courtney, age 18. Easley is vice president of the College of Staten Island Foundation board of directors and a part time adjunct lecturer with the college’s business department.

CSI’s Casino Night will feature blackjack, roulette, and other games of chance, as well as a live Dixieland band, tarot card readers, a caricaturist, and culinary delights prepared by the American Grill Restaurant. Players can turn their casino winnings into platinum or gold level prizes, such as a four night vacation in New Orleans, including airfare and hotel, donated by John Mazza,

Other “fabulous” packages which are still being finalized according to event coordinator Donna Lindsey include theater, show and sporting event tickets, an all-day spa package, health club memberships, sports memorabilia and overflowing baskets of cheer, as well as the signature pampering services of Brooklyn’s Pilo Arts Day Spa and Salon for over 100 guests.

The ticket price for Casino Night is $150, and includes $50 of gaming chips, raffle tickets, sumptuous food and beverages, fabulous gifts, and other big surprises, according to Lindsey. Business attire is suggested and valet parking will be available.

For more information or a reservation, call CSI’s advancement office at 718-982-2365 by January 30, 2004.

All proceeds from Casino Night will benefit student scholarship programs and undergraduate research opportunities at the College of Staten Island.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photography is available.

International conference on China's agricultural issues focuses on world trade, urbanization and peasant population

China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in late 2001 has brought fundamental change to the country by boosting its economic growth to become the fourth largest trading body in the world, advancing the country’s legal and governmental reforms, and creating a “floating population” class of 80 million migrant farmers.

Approximately 800-900 million people (70% of the country’s population) live in rural China, many of whom are family farmers. By bringing the country in line with WTO commitments to consolidate the land and improve efficiency, many of these farmers are being forced from their farms and into the cities.

Tackling the largest issue in the Chinese government today, The Foundation for China in the 21st Century hosts a two-day, two-borough conference that will examine the reforms and challenges China faces from its WTO entry, and the crisis faced by the country’s agriculture industry.

The first day of the conference will be held Friday, December 12, 2003 in the Presidential Conference Room of the Willowbrook campus of the College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island New York, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Morning sessions on Staten Island include a “Historic Review of Modern China’s Agricultural Issues,” moderated by professor Ming Xia (College of Staten Island) and “Institutional Problems and Reconstruction in Rural China,” moderated by Mr. Song Yongyi (Dickenson University).

Afternoon sessions include “Identity Issues of Chinese Peasants,” moderated by Mr. Hu Ping (Editor-in-Chief, Beijing Spring magazine) and “Reconstruction of China’s Rural Society,” moderated by professor Hu Shaohua (Wagner College).

Many questions will be raised at this conference. For example:

What is the essential reason for of China’s miserable agricultural issues and how is it traced back in history?

What is the root cause of Chinese peasants’ poverty and what are the possibilities of resolving it by abolishing the discriminatory residence laws against them on the basis of identity segregation?

How can villages be autonomously ruled and property rights of the farmland be settled?
Is it necessary to privatize the farmland and if so, how?

What is the impact of China’s WTO entrance on all of the above agricultural issues?

Internationally recognized experts, scholars, and researchers from China, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, and the United States will address these questions and present to the conference their points of view from different angles and various social levels, and tell us how they think about the past, evaluate the current, and project the future of Chinese agricultural problems.

The second day of the conference will begin with public lectures at 12 noon in the auditorium of the Queens Borough Public Library.

The two-day conference is jointly sponsored by The Foundation for China in the 21st Century, the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, and the Queens Borough Public Library.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are invited to send a reporter and/or camera crew. If you plan to attend or send a representative, please contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328 to make arrangements or for more information. Participant names and photographs available upon request.

Electronic music lab brings high tech audio equipment to campus

The College of Staten Island hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Electronic Music Lab on Tuesday, November 25 at 5 p.m. in the Willowbrook college’s Center for the Arts (1P) room 124.

The event features Miss Staten Island 2002, Ryan Kelly (who is also Miss Gotham 2003), performing in front of an original electronic arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “I’m just a lucky so and so” programmed by Victor Magnani, the technician who set up the lab.

The lab is currently in use by its first class, and students have 4 projects due by semester end.

Ryan Kelly“It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work” said Kelly, “we’re learning how to mix tracks and create original compositions, and I don’t know any other place that can give five-day-a-week access to such a high quality lab.”

Representing the culmination of years of planning and an investment of approximately $50,000, the creation of Electronic Music Lab signals the start of a new era in the history of CSI’s Music Program. The students’ musical education will be enriched by the hands-on training in the use of the latest audio technology, and will prepare them for a wide variety of careers in the field of music.

The lab consists of eight top of the line MIDI PC workstations, offering students the latest software and hardware in support of audio production, music theory, ear training, and electronic music composition.

Inauguration of new biotech research center focus will be on disease, vaccines, and healing

The City University of New York (CUNY) inaugurates a Macromolecular Assemblies Institute (MMA) at the College of Staten Island (CSI) dedicated to biotechnology research and development on Tuesday, November 18.

The CUNY Institute, which last year received a $2.5 million grant as part of New York State’s Gen*NY*sis Program, will help expand the state’s biotechnology research industry by studying the underlying causes of disease. By studying these assemblies, researchers may gain valuable insights into the fundamentals of healing and disease, such as cellular resistance to chemotherapy, and may discover methodologies to fabricate new assemblies, such as vaccines.

One of the event’s guest speakers, Dr. Robert Kurtz, is son of Leonard Kurtz who’s company Deknatal brought the application of technological and scientific discovery to biomedical issues and developed a suture that “revolutionized” the surgical suture field by creating a product distributed by nearly every major suture supplier.

“My father and I suspected that the basic research in peptide science conducted by Fred Naider could have practical ramifications,” commented Robert Kurtz, whose company BioResearch Inc. went on to discover and develop the reagent that is used in the synthesis of Val-gan acyclovir, one of the more effective antiviral drug on the market.

Helping people regain their health and fight disease has been a key motivator in the Kurtz family, and Robert Kurtz strongly believes “that a synthesis between basic academic research and industry leads to advances that ultimately benefit humankind and improves the quality of our lives and I take great personal satisfaction from the fact that my company [was] spurred on by advice and interactions from academic scientists.”

John Marchi, New York State Senator
Louise Mirrer, CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Robert J. Kurtz, M.D., President of the Kurtz Foundation
Marlene Springer, President, College of Staten Island
Ruth Stark, Director, CUNY Macromolecular Assemblies Institute

Inaugural Ceremony and Reception

Tuesday, November, 18, 2003; 1:30 p.m.

College of Staten Island
Center for the Arts Recital Hall (1P-120)
2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314

The CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies was originally funded in October 2002 when Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and State Senator John Marchi announced a $2.5 million grant to CSI from the state of New York as part of its Gen*NY*sis Program (Generating Employment for New York Science) initiative. Since then, CSI has matched those funds, and CUNY has established 5 new faculty lines for the college in support of the research.

The Institute will specifically study large molecules which assemble themselves into organized structures. The HIV virus, which has an outer skin made of proteins, is an example of a macromolecular assembly. A cell is also an assembly of molecules, and it is these very “assemblies” that are fundamental characteristics of all life.

As a CUNY institute, the MMA will operate on its home campus at CSI, within the university-wide consortium of colleges, and alongside metropolitan New York scientific research institutes.

According to CSI President Marlene Springer, having CSI as the home campus of this CUNY wide research initiative is formal recognition of the value of the research already underway at CSI, and will help the college expand and extend its fundamentally important research objectives.

Fred Naider, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry, is one of the founding faculty members of the MMA. He was a part of the BioResearch development team that discovered and developed the new family of reagents that was named UNCAs. This family of compounds was patented world wide and still has great potential, according to Robert Kurtz.

Ruth E. Stark, PhD, Professor of Chemistry, is a veteran researcher at CSI and head of its nuclear magnetic resonance facility. She earned her doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, and obtained postdoctoral training in molecular biophysics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. She teaches general and physical chemistry at CSI, and has co-directed The City University of New York’s Center for Applied Biomedicine and Biotechnology.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are invited to send a reporter and/or camera crew. If you plan to attend or send a representative, please contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328 to make arrangements or for more information.

Paris comes to Staten Island an evening with Music’s Modern Muse

Step back in time to the allure, charm, and mystique of high-society French salons for a one night musical journey to turn-of-the-century Paris with A Soiree with the Princesse Edmond de Polignac.

One of the era’s most influential and colorful personalities, the Princesse Edmond de Polignac, a powerful and passionate lover of the arts, used her colossal fortune to benefit the 20th century world of music, letters, science, and culture, and her influences on these domains remain incalculable.

Sylvia KahanOn Tuesday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the College of Staten Island, Sylvia Kahan, narrator and pianist, presents this world premiere performance based on her recently released book Music’s Modern Muse: A Life of Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac, published by University of Rochester Press.

Princesse Edmond de Polignac, born Winnaretta Singer, was the 20th child of sewing machine magnate Isaac Merritt Singer; her mother was Paris-born Isabelle Boyer, who, according to legend, was the model for Frédéric Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty. After the death of her father, she inherited a substantial part of the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, making her a millionaire at the age of eighteen.

Her 1893 marriage to Prince Edmond de Polignac, an amateur composer, brought her into contact with the most elite strata of French society. After Edmond’s death in 1901, she used her fortune to benefit the arts, science, and letters.

Sylvia Kahan, chair of the Performing and Creative Arts department at the College of Staten Island (CSI), spent a dozen years researching this legendary Yonkers-born Parisian in the European archives of the Singer and Polignac families. Kahan was particularly assisted in her work by Prince Edmond de Polignac, great-great-nephew and godson of the arts patron.

The performance will be presented in the Recital Hall of the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 at 7:00 p.m.

Michael Shugrue and Sylvia KahanKahan will be assisted by Janet Pranschke, soprano; Olivier Fluchaire, violin; James Hopkins, viola; and Jieun Cecilia Kim, cello. The event is presented by Michael Shugrue, the Friends of CSI, and the Performing and Creative Arts department.

Tickets for the nearly sold out premiere cost $20 and may be purchased by calling the college’s advancement office at (718)982-2342. All proceeds benefit the music program of CSI and student scholarships.

photography available


Gabriel Fauré: “Mandoline” from Cinq Mélodies de Venise

Edmond de Polignac: Lamento

Maurice Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte

Igor Stravinsky: Renard (recorded excerpt)

Erik Satie: La Mort de Socrate (recorded excerpt)

Manuel de Falla: El Retablo de Maese Pedro (recorded excerpt)

Igor Stravinsky: Eclogue I from Duo Concertant

Francis Poulenc: “Le Garçon de Liège” from Trois Poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin

Gabriel Fauré: Quartet No. 1 for Piano and Strings in C Minor, Op. 15 (•Allegro molto moderato, •Scherzo: Allegro vivo, •Adagio, •Allegro molto)

BACKGROUND: A Soiree with the Princesse Edmond de Polignac

WINNARETTA SINGER’s most significant contribution to the 20th century was in the musical domain: in addition to subsidizing individual artists (Nadia Boulanger, Clara Haskil, Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz) and organizations (the Ballets Russes, l’Opéra de Paris, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Paris), she made a lifelong project of commissioning new musical works from composers, many of them unknown and struggling, to be performed in her Paris salon.

The list of works created as a result is long and extraordinary: Stravinsky’s Renard, Satie’s Socrate, Falla’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro, and Poulenc’s Two-Piano and Organ Concertos are among the best-known titles. In addition, her salon was a gathering place for luminaries of French culture such as Proust, Cocteau, Monet, Diaghilev, and Colette. Many of Proust’s memorable evocations of salon culture were born during his attendance of concerts in the Polignac music room.

Singer-Polignac supported the work of several women composers, including Ethel Smyth and Adela Maddison, using her influence to have their operas mounted in major European theaters. The Princesse de Polignac also was a patron of the Ballets Russes and the composers whose music became associated with the troupe’s productions. Her patronage extended to the worlds of science and architecture as well, and she counted among her protégés Marie Curie and Le Corbusier.

SYLVIA KAHAN is chair of the Performing and Creative Arts department at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island. She is a member of the music faculties of the CUNY Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island.

Kahan has written extensively on late 19th-century and 20th-century French music and culture. Her book, Music’s Modern Muse: A Life of Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac (University of Rochester Press) has been recently released. She has been featured in prestigious concert series in major cities, including the Tuesday Matinees Series (Merkin Concert Hall, NYC), the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts (Chicago) and the Fondation Singer-Polignac (Paris). Her concerts have been broadcast on WQXR and WNYC (New York) and National Public Radio. She has performed at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Waterloo, Delta, and Nancy summer festivals, and has collaborated with the English Chamber Orchestra, sopranos Roberta Peters and Shirley Verrett, the Meridian String Quartet, and members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Sylvia Kahan earned degrees in Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Michigan State University, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and continued her piano studies with distinguished artist Richard Goode.

JANET PRANSCHKE was a national finalist with the Metropolitan Opera, and a winner in the Munich International Voice Competition and the Liederkranz Foundation Competition. She serves on the voice faculties at the College of Staten Island, CUNY and Wagner College, and maintains private voice studios in Manhattan and Staten Island.

OLIVIER FLUCHAIRE performs on a rare Tomaso Carcassi violin dated 1751 throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States and is currently a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. He serves on the music faculties of the College of Staten Island and the Brooklyn/Queens Conservatory’s Professional Division.

JAMES HOPKINS is a violist, a tenor, and a Certified Fund Raising Executive. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied viola with Francis Tursi and voice with Jon Maloy. He currently serves as Director of Development for The English-Speaking Union of the United States.

JIEUN CECILIA KIM was born in Seoul, Korea. She began piano study at age five, but, encouraged by her mother, switched to the cello at age nine. Cecilia Kim has recently moved to Staten Island, and performs regularly in the New York area.

Going above and beyond CSI President celebrates some of the college’s best and brightest at the 2003 Convocation

College of Staten Island President Marlene Springer treated the 375 attendees at the college’s 2003 Convocation in the Center for the Arts Williamson Theatre to a showcase of some of the college’s achievements, and profiles of some members of the CSI community who have gone above and beyond over the past year.

EliotBudDr. Springer began her 10th annual Convocation address on a light note by turning the spotlight on Bud, the College’s goose chasing dog, with a humorous video showing the canine in action, while receiving some “coaching” tips from her own dog, Eliot. The two pups even made a guest appearance on stage.

President Springer highlighted some of the College’s many accomplishments over the past year, such as the approval of the CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies and the inauguration of the CSI Staten Island Project, as well as some things to come, such as the opening of a small high school on campus, which is scheduled for fall 2004.

The President also profiled the accomplishments of five CSI students, who are examples of dedication to their studies, and to the community: Elie Jarrouge, Vanessa Leigh DeBello, Dana Flores, Kristine Gansico, and Emmanuel Fallah. The Convocation turned sombre, as Fallah, a CSI nursing student and Registered Nurse, who is originally from Liberia, recalled his struggles in his native country during the Liberian civil war, which included the arrest of a nurse who, in her last words to him, urged him to become a nurse so that he might take her place in the profession.

After Fallah’s moving speech, the audience also had the opportunity to preview a CSI video segment that will air on the National College Review program on the E! Entertainment channel.

Summing up the state of the College, President Springer told the story of a people who live in Ladakh in North India. According to Dr. Springer, the Ladakhis live with a high level of co-existence and spiritual enlightenment by experiencing the world through a fusion of ‘heart’ and ‘mind’, focusing on wisdom and compassion as inseparable components of human existence.

Dr. Springer closed on a personal note. While in Cambodia, she told the audience of the cellular phone call she made to her daughter on her birthday, saying that technology let her do that — but it was the heart and mind that made her want to do it.

Before exiting the theater to conversations and refreshments, Dr. Springer urged the attendees to celebrate their “hearts and minds” in this increasingly technological age.

CSI alumni, faculty reunite

Former students, faculty and friends reunite at the College of Staten Island’s Willowbrook campus for a day of learning, networking and fun.

CSI’s third annual Alumni Day honors the classes of 1973 and 1978, on their 30th and 25th anniversaries respectively.

On Saturday October 25, during a day that starts with coffee and ends with a luncheon, CSI faculty will present six compelling programs that focus on war, history, health science, transportation, pop culture, and personal growth.

“Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War.” Michael Foley discusses his recent book that tells the story of draft resistance, the cutting edge of the antiwar movement at the height of the war’s escalation. Unlike draft dodgers, who left the country or manipulated deferments, draft resisters openly defied draft laws by turning in their draft cards and refusing induction.

“New York, Year by Year, A Chronology of the Great Metropolis.” Jeffrey Kroessler discusses his recent book, named Best of Reference by the New York Public Library, highlighting the significant, memorable, and interesting events in the city’s long history, from Giovanni da Verrazano’s discovery of the harbor in 1524 through the tragic events of 2001.

Touring the Tomato and Other Macromolecular Tales. Ruth Stark discusses how plants as well as animals can fall victim to disease, and how the outer skin of fruits and vegetables form their first line of defense. She continues by discussing how CSI researchers seek an in-depth
understanding this plant protection and it relevance to crop protection, and implications for new waterproofing materials.

Transportation: Where Are We Going and How Are We Going to Get There? Jonathan R. Peters and Cameron Gordon discuss recent transportation trends, urban planning, regional development, traffic congestion, and energy consumption.

“Emergency Broadcasting and 1930s American Radio.” Edward D. Miller discusses his book and how new media are changed by commercialization. He looks at the rise of free-form and underground FM radio in the late 1960s as a way to explain the recent–and seemingly unprecedented–popularization of the Internet via the World Wide Web.

Staying Alive: Approaching Life with Wit, Wisdom, and Witality. Irene Deitch examines how we confront challenges that often block our growth and well-being; apply psychological principles that enable us to cope with change, crisis, and calories; develop personal strategies designed to enhance our quality of life.

CSI’s Alumni Day begins Saturday October 25 at the college’s Center for the Arts with registration and coffee at 9:15 a.m., presentations at 10:00 a.m., and a Celebration of Excellence Luncheon at 12:15 p.m.

After the luncheon, retired faculty and staff, lead by Peter Spiridon and Stamos Zades, reunite to dedicate a tree in memory of Walter Willig, the first president of Staten Island Community College.

Reservations for CSI’s Alumni Day 2003 are required. The day is free for retired faculty and $20 for everyone else.

For additional information about Alumni Day, or to make reservations, contact CSI’s alumni office at 718-982-2290.