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Why I Love Working With Merlino & Gonzalez
companies, I’m sad to say, view it as a necessary evil and only do the absolute minimum to survive. The most alarming trends I see are businesses underutilizing technology and/or ignoring security. Every company relies on data, whether they want to believe it or not, and I’m always discouraged when my advice falls on deaf ears. Luckily, John and Ken are just the opposite. I wish I had a whole bunch of clients like them. They understand that investing in technology is essential for the continued success of their firm and know that protecting their data is one of the most important insurance coverages they can have. It’s no wonder their clients often praise them for their responsiveness and communication because they give themselves all the tools to facilitate it. Oh, and they’re also just great guys, which certainly doesn’t hurt. In my time in business, the importance of tech has continuously grown. I focus on providing my clients with the latest tech solutions for their needs, as well as best-in-class security. It’s a joy to be able to help businesses of all kinds excel at what they do, which is certainly the case with Merlino & Gonzalez. When I’m not working with computers, you can find me toiling away on antique muscle cars. I have a particular fondness for Mustangs, and one day I hope to own a ‘68 Shelby. I guess getting down to the nuts and bolts of things is just something I was born to do.
In today’s world, you can’t run a successful business without rock- solid technology. If you think you can provide exceptional client service without it, you’re dreaming. In addition to utilizing advancements in technology, protecting the security of your network and data is just as important. In the legal profession, it’s especially critical. Our client’s information needs the highest level of security, which is why we take cybersecurity so seriously. We work with Patrick Buono of Aurora Computer Technology, Inc. to ensure our technology is both up-to-date and protected. Along with being an expert in his field, Patrick is a great guy and an old friend. I’m honored to feature him in the newsletter.
I started Aurora Computer Technology, Inc. in 1987, which has given me the chance to work with multiple generations of business owners. That’s how I came to know John Merlino. I did work for John’s father, so it was only natural to do the same for John when he and Ken opened Merlino & Gonzalez. My company provides technology consulting and IT services for small businesses. Over the years, I’ve seen every attitude toward tech you can think of. Some
IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE! IT’S …
superhero in comics, and it won’t be long before she steps onto the big screen with a live-action movie.
‘SUPER SONS: THE POLARSHIELD PROJECT’ Jon Kent, son of Superman, and Damian Wayne, son of Batman, couldn’t be more different. But when a mysterious force threatens the world, these super sons must learn to trust each other — and themselves — to save the day. Based on the hit “Super Sons” comic book series, “Super Sons: The Polarshield Project” doesn’t hit shelves until April 2, 2019, which means you and your kids have plenty of time to reserve a copy of this graphic novel at your local comic book shop! ‘CHAMPIONS’ “Champions” is a story about teenage superheroes, but don’t expect pizza or relationship drama in these panels. These comics tackle how young people today approach problems, with a readiness to rally together and take matters into their own hands. “Champions” doesn’t shy away from hard topics, making it more appropriate for older kids and teens. But that doesn’t mean this story lacks heart or humor. Featuring comic favorites like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man as well as popular newcomers, “Champions” is about identity, purpose, and what it really means to save the world.
It’s no secret that superhero movies are dominating the box office. The highest-grossing movies of 2018 (and the third and fourth highest-grossing of all time) were “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” There’s never been a better time to be a fan of superheroes or to become a fan of superhero comics. If your kids are interested in reading more about superheroes, here are a few great titles your whole family can enjoy together. ‘MS. MARVEL’ Since her debut in 2013, Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, has been a wildly popular character, and her comic has gained critical acclaim. A 2015 Hugo Award winner, “Ms. Marvel” explores what it means to be a teenager, a first-generation American, a friend, and a superhero. The storylines promote an important message: “Good is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do.” In just a few years, Ms. Marvel has become an established
Find these titles and other incredible stories at your local comic book shop.
AN INSIDE JOB The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags
Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans
appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just can’t comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,” Wallace said. Determined to find out who was to blame, police put up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.
groups and locals were outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags,
Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract g r oundhog s , s ome t h i ng o t he r groundskeepers have experienced as well. “I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner.
one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself.
Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers.
Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.
Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was
Announced in 2008, the New York Wheel was supposed to be Staten Island’s answer to the London Eye. A massive attraction to entice tourists from around the globe to the fifth borough, it served as the catalyst for an unprecedented level of commercial development on the North Shore. Late last fall, after much hand- wringing and litigation, the project was pronounced dead. With parts already auctioned off, there seems to be no chance of a revival. There’s no denying that the demise of the New York Wheel will impact Staten Island real estate and infrastructure, but the degree of that impact remains to be seen. Government officials and real estate developers are worried the death of the Wheel will result in less money invested into public transportation to Staten Island. The Death of the New York Wheel AND WHAT IT COULD MEAN FOR STATEN ISLAND REAL ESTATE
Businesses located near the proposed site seem less worried. The massive Empire Outlets project in the area continues growing, with 75 percent of the proposed storefronts already spoken for. The website SiLive.com is so confident about the area’s growth that it ran an article with the emphatic headline, “The New York Wheel is dead. So what?” Residential real estate should see almost no negative effects from the termination of the project. Prices on the North Shore may level off, but a bottoming out is unlikely. Of course, it’s hard to parse all the ramifications just yet. It will be interesting to see how plans for the neighborhood change over the coming months. Those with real estate interests nearby should follow the news closely.
EVERYTHING POPCORN MICHELE’S RECIPE CORNER
take a break
• 3/4 cup popcorn kernels • 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic • 2 teaspoons granulated onion • 1/3 cup canola oil • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. 2. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Meet Our Tech Expert Super Comics for Your Super Family The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags RIP the New York Wheel Everything Popcorn How to Make Your Sailing Dreams Come True
SET SAIL FOR VACATION Take Your Next Trip Offshore
If you’re lucky enough to have been aboard a ship under full sail, chances are you know the thrill and serenity sailing can give you. If you’ve never been but have always wanted to know what it’s like to get out on the wind and waves, there are many great options available for beginners. Here are some ideas to inspire your next waterside vacation. START SMALL For those who dream of becoming a skipper one day, a great way to start is by sailing dinghies. These one-sail, beach-launch boats fit 1–2 people and can be rented at most water sports shops. If you want to make it a family experience, shops usually have 16-foot catamarans for rent as well. Catamarans have two hulls rather than one, making for a smoother, more spacious ride. If you’ve never sailed before, inquire about lessons. Most rental operations have instructors on hand who can show you the ropes. The great thing about sailing is that whether you’re in a 12-foot dinghy or a 60-foot sloop, the same basic principles, rules, and skills apply.
TAKE A DAY SAIL Many day-sail charters exist for those who want to go out a little farther than a dinghy would permit. If you’ve captained a boat and are familiar with the waters, you can apply for a bareboat charter. However, if you are inexperienced or simply don’t want a local guide at the helm, signing up for a day trip with a skipper and crew is a great option. DO A FULL CHARTER Short of owning your own vessel, chartering a boat for multiple nights is the closest you can get to living out your nautical dreams. Some of the most beautiful destinations on earth — from the Caribbean Sea to the Mediterranean — are best experienced from the deck of a sailboat. Letting the sea guide you to amazing snorkeling destinations, remote cays, and bustling harbors is the stuff of real adventure.
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