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SUNY Downstate’s Exercise & Fitness Fair Gets Hearts Pumping

SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Healthy Downstate Program recently held its first-ever Exercise and Fitness Fair at The High School for Public Service. SUNY Downstate “wanted the community to experience a variety of exercises,” said Program Director Rose M. Jackman. Jackman, who is a clinical instructor in Sports Medicine, said she wants people to understand “we’re a resource for fitness and exercise programs, from chair aerobics to boot camp fitness.” She added, “This was also a way to raise money for educational scholarship.” Downstate presented a check for $1,000 to the high school. Downstate plans on holding the fair annually as part of the medical center’s “A Healthy Downstate” program, which was begun by Jackman in 2000. The program was initially offered solely to Downstate employees in an attempt to have them exercise and eat better. This year, the successful program has expanded into community-based initiatives. Activities at the exercise fair included aerobics and strength training classes, yoga, and modem and jazz dance. With a focus on nutrition and fitness, the goal of the fair was to promote healthy living. “It’s promoting being healthy and the importance of diet and exercising,” said Cheryl Hoyte, one of the event volunteers. Registered Dietician Tamara Simpson gave a lecture on nutrition. “The fork is like a lethal weapon. You can use it for self-destruction or self-defense,” said Simpson. About 200 people showed up at the event dressed in their workout gear and participated in the various exercises. “The turnout was good,” said Jackman, adding, “Next year we look forward to doubling our number of attendees.” The three-hour aerobics class attracted the most people, with some 60 to 70 exercisers working up a sweat performing multiple exercises such as push-ups, jumping- jacks, leg-lifts, and in-place jogging. The exercises were all performed in synchronization with R&B, Caribbean, Latin, and Soul music. Physical Therapist Brenda Torres taught low-impact senior aerobics. “See how much fun it is to workout,” said Quinn Harris, an aerobics instructor, fitness specialist, and owner of Q-Fitness. Harris said exercising should not be looked at as a chore but as a means of getting and staying healthy. Sports Medicine Coordinator Joseph Callahan conducted free fitness testing. Yoga classes were held for adults and seniors. The classes taught participants the proper techniques in breathing, stretching, and relaxation. Teens enjoyed a dance class to hip- hop beats. SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in conjunction with the High School for Public Services, will continue adult fitness programs through June 11 to educate people on proper nutrition, fitness, and health. The programs will begin again in the fall. SUNY Downstate Medical Center is located at 450 Clarkson Avenue. Call 718-270-3808 for more information. When it comes to open murder investigations, time trickles by. The pain, however, never ebbs. But it’s that sheer white-hot hole burrowing through the loved ones’ hearts that encourages the police to never stop looking. Such is the investigation into the slaying of Franco Santillo. Santillo’s family and friends solemnly marked the second anniversary of his death Tuesday, as cops continue to search for those responsible for taking the budding architect’s life. In this bizarre case, Santillo was shot in the head on the Belt Parkway near the Bay 8th Street as he and a group of friends were driving home from a Bay Ridge pool hall at 2:30 a.m. on May 17, 2003. Investigators believe that the bullet was fired from a passing white Lincoln LS, which was snapped up by a surveillance camera near the exit. “They’re [the cops] still investigating, but nothing’s really happening,” said Maria Santillo, Franco’s mother, who recently attended a Sunday mass honoring her murdered son. Dozens of Franco’s friends were present. “They’re looking into it, but I feel like they’re really not doing much. After two years, nothing’s been done.” “This changed our whole lives,” she said. “This is not just like, ‘oh, my son is gone.’ None of us are the same, we’re not the same family that we were before. I’m just trying hard to be strong for them.” Just before being shot, Santillo, a graduate of Madison High School who had just began attending Lincoln Technical School in New Jersey, may have stuck his head out of the rear window to talk to a young woman driving the Lincoln. Franco’s buddies rushed him to Coney Island Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. But, after being told that there was no hope for recovery, Franco’s family took him off life support the following day. To this date, cops have yet to find the white LS, the shooter or any other witnesses. Police sources said that they have exhausted all the leads that they had, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve given up searching for new information. “They have the make of the car… the color of the car… and the area it happened—how long does it take to investigate a car?” Maria asked, her frustration lacing over every word. Still, life must go on. Currently, Maria’s family is preparing a Sweet 16 party for her daughter. “It’s very hard that her brother won’t be here,” she said. A $13,000 reward is being posted for information leading to the person(s) responsible for killing the beloved Brooklyn resident. Calls can be made to either the 62nd Precinct at (718) 236-2596 or the NYPD Crimestoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential. —Tom Tracy and Erica Sherman The Bishop Ford High School’s Cultural Arts Department performed at their Spring Arts Festival, in a multimedia mélange, headed up by Joe Mingrone. The day’s events featured a gallery highlighting the work from the Foundations Art, Advanced Drawing and Painting, Photography, Ceramics and Communication Design as well as performances by the Actor’s Group, the Band, the Chorus and the Dance Theater. Bishop Ford is located at 500 19th Street.

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