Two signs designating Levy-Lakeside School’s front baseball field as Forever 9 Field, which the Merrick-North Merrick Little League hung in April without permission from the Merrick School District, will remain up for the rest of the year, the Merrick Board of Education decided on June 4.
The board also ruled that the Little League can apply in 2014 for permission to keep the signs up.
Little League President Joseph Rocco said the league wanted the signs to pay tribute to the Robbie Levine Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Merokeans Jill and Craig Levine that has donated automated external defibrillators to youth ball fields locally and around the nation. The foundation is named for the Levines’ son, Robbie, who died suddenly at age 9 in 2005, when his heart stopped while he was running the bases during a Little League team practice at Levy-Lakeside’s front field. Craig Levine administered CPR to his son, but an AED was nowhere to be found.
The lack of access to a potentially life-saving AED led the Levines to create the foundation, which, in addition to funding the defibrillators, now also offers CPR/AED classes for local youth leagues, fire departments and schools, including Merrick Avenue and Grand Avenue middle schools. The classes will be offered at Calhoun High School in 2013-14, and at Kennedy and Mepham high schools in the near future.
Merrick Superintendent Dr. Dominick Palma said that a number of people complained or questioned the Little League independently renaming part of school property, and that more than one board trustee had heard complaints as well.
At the board’s June 4 meeting, Palma told Rocco, “Please do not have anybody hang signs until it’s cleared by our director of facilities.”