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Chili Cook-off Warms Plainview Hearts

The money raised goes to the "Dollars for Scholars" award campaign.

The spice of life was evident at a lot of levels Wednesday at where it steamed from heated trays and warmed the hearts of Plainview residents.

More than 120 parents, teachers, school district and community leaders took part in POB Top Chili Chef competition Wednesday night.

While the top award went to Bruce Hymowitz for his delicious concoction entitled "Grateful Chili," the big winners were Plainview students. The money raised from the event ($1,100) went to the "" award campaign.

"We had parents, teachers, school administrators, and community leaders all under one roof enjoying an evening benefitting the dedication of our students," said a thrilled Susan Stewart, one of the organizers.

The JFK gym was packed with visitors and participants in the event that transformed the basketball court into a festive, party atmosphere. As visitors tasted more than a dozen entries prepared by a cross section of the community, they were treated to musical performances by Plainview's talented musical students. Three of Plainview's and its took part. 

As comfortable in his tee shirt as he usually is in a suit, JFK Principal delivered his own version of the chili treat and smiled broadly as he dished out samples.

Thomas Schwartz, an assistant principal at , was at the other side of the gym. His brown chef's apron fended off spills. In addition to his special balance of spices, Schwartz revealed a secret weapon: non-alcoholic beer flavored his recipe.

And a division of North Shore LIJ Health Systems, sent a full contingent of representatives. Margaret Gurlides, the hospital's assistant director of food and nutrition, brought along chef Luke Anuszek, who offered up different heart-healthy variety of the dish.

"We heard about it and wanted to be a part of this community event," said James W. Baker, the hospital's director of service excellence and community relations. "It's a great event."

Dignataries were in attendance also, including Plainview schools , Oyster Bay ,andCaptain Mike Luszczyk, who served as master of ceremonies. A host of , including President Gary Bettan, Vice President Amy Pierno, and Trustees Debbie Bernstein, Angel Cepeda, and Emily Schulman, attended as well. 

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