This blog is a little different than the others, but it is about a cause close to Janine's heart.
Her daughter, Sonnie, goes to Port Richmond High School. Any caring parent wants a successful, safe, productive and professional school environment.
Port Richmond was all those things and more. The school had a great reputation. The school's principal, Tim Gannon was keeping the school moving in the right direction. But, what happens when you do a great job? Well, in this case, you get picked for promotion. He got moved to a position in the Department of Education to mentor principals, assistant principals and other administrators.
The person picked to replace Gannon as interim principal is Oneatha Swinton and parents haven't been happy since. I have it on good authority that the first thing Ms. Swinton did was claim that she was sent to Port Richmond because the school wasn't doing well and that she was picked to make improvements.
Improvements? The first thing she cut was the honors program. How is that an improvement? Parents were outraged. Some commented on a blog that Port Richmond's Honors Program were why they sent their children there in the first place.
Also discovered were comments about how Ms. Swinton referred to herself as "Mathtarded." Parents and other witnesses took great offense at this term asking what kind of professional educator speaks like this? She also has referred to students with disabilities as "SpEds (Special Eds)". Does she have any clue how insulting and hurtful that is?
You can read more outrage and comments about the Ms. Swinton by clicking here: Comments.
There are other complaints about her, too and not just at Port Richmond. The parents feel that Port Richmond has been used as a dumping ground by how the Department of Education has put her there. I found many complaints just by Googling her name. Janine has had problems with her directly. Janine has tried three times to call Ms. Swinton in reference to the Honors Program being taken away. Janine couldn't make the PTA meeting covering the issue, so she made a point to contact Ms. Swinton to discuss it.
Janine's daughter, Sonnie, was upset that the programs were being discontinued. Sonnie is due to graduate this year and was anticipating having these courses on college resumes. Janine has called three times to try and have a conversation and has not received any response back. When the superintendent was contacted, the solution offered was to contact Ms. Swinton directly. How can parents contact her if she's not responding to calls?
You will probably see stories about this on NY1 and in other media outlets soon. Hopefully, the community can rally together and have a more appropriate and competent individual take over as principal.
If you are in the Staten Island area, it is time to rally together. On October 3, from 6:30 to 7:30 at P.S. 048 there will be a town hall meeting to address concerns. Join Janine and other parents to voice concern.
There is also a Facebook group to join and keep up to date. Look on Facebook for "Save Port, Get Your Raider Spirit Going" and join!
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Sunday, February 26, 2017
It seems unbelievable but the force larger than life known as "Big Ang" has been gone from this earth and our lives for a year already. On February 18, 2017, a one year anniversary Mass was held at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island.
The Mass was given by Ang's siblings, Janine, Donna and Stephen. It was a very moving service with readings done by Donna, Dom, and Janine's daughter, Jeannie. Janine delivered heartfelt words about her sister. Janine shared sentiments from Ang, who wrote out beautiful messages in cards to Janine. Also shared were a few mementos given to Janine by Angela:
The priest, Father Tom, gave a beautiful sermon about how all of Angela's friends and family ARE her legacy and reminded all of us to "Do small things with great love" because that was what Angela did.
After the service, we all went to the graveyard, where A.J., Ang's son, shared his thoughts about his mother and spoke about how much she is missed. Then, everyone wrote messages to Angela on balloons and let them go into the blue sky of the beautiful afternoon.
|Janine, Stephen and Donna|
There is no denying Angela is missed. She is still missed by friends and fans from all over. We all miss seeing her on our televisions hearing her words of wisdom and her one of a kind hilarious statements that made us laugh. But, most of all, it is so evident that she is missed by her family. It is heartbreaking to see their pain and grief. Angela will never be forgotten. Never.
Janine also shared with me that she takes joy and comfort in knowing that Angela was proud of her. She has heard from several people that Ang would always say how impressed she was with the way Janine could run her store and take care of her family. It's been a year, but Janine still misses the dozens of phone calls she shared with her sister on a daily basis. She added that she is so proud to be her sister and it is her honor to keep Angela's memory alive.
Here is a video by the Staten Island Advance of the service:
Take time to post your memories, and comments for the family below. As always, thank you for reading.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
I want to take a minute to yell HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Janine. I am so happy I know her. She is a kind, sweet, FUNNY, giving person.
On Saturday, June 18, 2016, her husband, Dominick and their daughter, Jeannie, threw Janine a surprise party at Angelina's restaurant and it was such a good time! I was so happy I could go and join in. So many great people were there and you could really feel the love for Janine and her family. I know this birthday for Janine is a difficult one since it is the first one without her sister, Angela. However, I am glad we all came together to show her she is most definitely not alone and that she is loved. A few pictures:
|Janine is shocked!|
|Janine and sister Donna dancing to "We Are Family"|
with a picture of Angela
|Janine and me dancing to "Now That We Found Love" (lol)|
|The lit cake!|
|Janine and Angelina dancing|
|Raquel, John, Louis, Jeannie, Janine, Angelina,|
Ronnie, Dom, Sonnie, and Allie (with Baby Dom
cut off, sorry)
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
This past weekend, there have been things written on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other sites in regards to Janine and Vinnie Medugno. No doubt you have seen some of them. In fact, you may have seen Vinnie's long post about the situation.
The bottom line is this. On July 16, 2016, Angela's husband, Neil, Vinnie Medugno and others are hosting a "dance party concert" in Angela's name. Some of Angela's favorite artists are performing and proceeds are being donated to "Angela's favorite charities." Sounds good, right? I have talked to Janine several times over the weekend so wait just a second.... Look, I know that people are more than free to do what they think is best and maybe intentions were to do something nice. I truly feel that BEFORE ANYTHING was decided, Janine and her family should have had this idea run past them. In any event, if there was EVER any indication that Janine and the other family members were not ready to have any such event, maybe it should have been thought through a little more.
Janine and her siblings are absolutely heartbroken over losing Angela. Janine and Angela talked MANY times EVERY day. Can you imagine losing someone in your life like that? Janine carries on because she has no choice. She is helping take care of her great nieces and nephews. Oh, and that reminds me. There are sources who claim that Janine is no longer speaking to Raquel, Angela's daughter. How is that possible when Janine has Raquel's children over her home quite a bit of the time? What? Janine has Raquel's children over but she's not speaking to her? Is she kidnapping them? I think not.
Janine said it best when she said on social media that she is busy with her family, with her great nieces and nephews, her business and most of all grieving her sister and certainly in no mood for a "party." Angela hasn't even been gone four months yet. I have said this multiple times in other posts. Sure, "Big Ang" was on television, but she was a real person with a real family who is missing her terribly.
This post has been strictly my opinion. Feel free to comment. No disrespectful comments will be tolerated. But for those who think this is a great idea and you are ready to "party" to honor a celebrity, remember she has a heartbroken family that was left behind... one who won't be there or supporting this at all.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that Angela Joyce Raiola, known to many as "Big Ang" has passed away. What a force of nature she was. There really are no exact words to describe her. My heart breaks for her family and close friends. I had the great honor of spending time with her a few times, including at a dinner when she kept telling my husband, "Eat!" :) She was nothing but gracious and sweet every time I saw her. She would do anything for anybody.
Angela was on television, but did you know how much she helped countless people after Hurricane Sandy or about how she helped families at Christmas time? Did you know about her grandchildren? Did you know that she was one of seven children herself?
I don't say she "lost" her battle to cancer, because she fought like hell. And not only did she fight, she took that time to make a statement and stand against smoking to try and help others. So, she didn't lose any battle...I like to think God showed His mercy.
There really is an outpouring of love on Twitter and Facebook and that's what should be focused on. Love never dies...not the love you show for people and not the love you get in return.
It amazes me how Angela grabbed so many hearts along her journey in this life and that is one wonderful legacy to leave behind.
Rest in peace, Angela. You surely have touched many.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Hope this blog post finds everyone well. As you may or may not know, Angela is fighting a very serious cancer battle. Her sister, Janine has set up a Go Fund Me page. No medical insurance policy covers everything that is needed and Janine has provided more details in her post on the page. Even if all you can offer is 5.00 please do so. If you are in a position where you cannot help financially, please keep Angela and her family in your prayers. You see Angela on television and in magazines, but just like anyone in the public eye, try to remember she is someone's mother, sister, friend, grandmother, (she just became a grandmother again just recently) aunt and more--just like YOU have.
Here is a link to the Go Fund Me page: Go Fund Me for Angela Raiola
Please comment below if there are any questions or post your well wishes for Angela and her family.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
It's official! Janine and her daughter, Jeannie have officially opened Bee Tween! If you missed the last blog, go ahead and read all about how Janine was inspired to open her new store just up the block from her other store, Country Mouse!
|Raquel, Stephen, Dom, Jeannie, Janine, Sonnie, Donna, Ang and Friends|
The grand opening was some event! The store opened on August 20, 2015 and was a real party. There was dancing, singing, prizes and special guests. One of the special guests was disco great Carol Douglas where she sang her hit, "Doctor's Orders"! Here is Janine's brother, Stephen, with Carol!
|Courtesy Stephen Raiola|
|Stephen, Janine and Angela (courtesy Stephen Raiola)|
|Jeannie helping a customer (from SI Advance)|
The neighborhood came out to support the new local business, which is always a good idea! The Staten Island Advance did a story on the opening which you can read here: Staten Island Advance Article
You should shop local when you can! If you are in the New York/New Jersey area, here is the information for the store:
Bee Tween Boutique
646 Forest Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10310
Also, follow the boutique on Instagram to see all the fantastic items: https://instagram.com/beeetween/
And finally, visit the website to shop online! http://www.beetweenboutique.com/
If you do visit Bee Tween, take a stroll down the street and visit Janine's other store, Country Mouse.
I wish Janine and Jeannie nothing but the best with the store!