On Sunday, the Lutz family of East Setauket, New York thought they had simply been invited to attend an afternoon baseball game between the Yankees and the New York Mets. Instead they were surprised to find out they would be the latest recipients of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” re-build via the Jumbotron screen at Yankee Stadium. In place of design team leader Ty Pennington’s traditional morning wake up call to the deserving family, he stormed the field and announced the good news just before the game.
Adding to the excitement of both the spectators and family was the appearance of several New York Yankees baseball players who were there to offer encouragement and support. Also, hundreds of volunteer workers, clad in the now- iconic “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” blue shirts, ran out from the dugout to join the Lutz family, Ty and fellow designers on the baseball field.
In an episode that will air later this season, the theme of this build will be “New York! New York!” There’ll be a Broadway-like production, with the entire blue shirt crew and design team singing and dancing while the home is being demolished. Also, during the week of the build, there will be an extravagant parade on the family’s block, complete with huge floats.
The Lutzes are another representation of the kind of family “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” aims to help by building a new home in just seven days. Unable to have children of their own, loving couple Grace and John Lutz gave their hearts to 18 adopted kids, including seven with Down Syndrome. After the couple passed away, their daughter, Kathleen, gave up her career and gladly came home to take care of six Down siblings who currently range in age from 20 to 25 years. Everyone agreed that putting the kids in a group home or institution was not an option. It was a good plan, until Kathleen suddenly and unexpectedly had a grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Her brother, John Jr., was next at bat, sacrificing his successful career as a gymnastics coach to move home and care for his sister and siblings. Kathleen’s health is now stabilized and both brother and sister care for their family as a team.
Nothing can dampen the spirits of this cheerful group. They love to sing and dance, cook and play games together. But the crumbling condition of their 40-year-old home has become a concern. The electrical wiring is unsafe, water leaks everywhere and there is mold and woodrot. Everybody in town loves this charming and special family. They’re local celebrities, and the community rallies to help them in every way. Unfortunately their home is at a point where band-aids are not enough. The Down siblings will not grow up and move away, they will not marry or drive cars. They need their home to be a safe, permanent one, with everything to accommodate their special needs.
The Lutz family will go on vacation to the Hamptons while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Tracy Hutson, local builder Alure Home Improvements and community volunteers rebuild their home.
ESPN is in a New York state of mind with ESPNNewYork.com, the latest edition of ESPN’s network of local sites and newest destination for New York sports news and information. The site features exclusive, original content from local contributors, locally relevant content created from ESPN’s multiple platforms and branded programming.
“We are committed to offering a truly local experience with these sites, and thus with the launch of ESPNNewYork.com, we are dedicated to finding contributors and authentic voices that have a passion for all things New York, an expertise on the hometown teams and a real, meaningful connection with fans in the NY area,” said Jim Pastor, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Local. “Our mission is to serve sports fans, and in just one year, we’ve managed to establish a deeper relationship on a local level with fans in Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles. They are each among the top local sports destinations for fans in their respective markets, and we have high hopes for New York as we build our presence from the solid foundation we’ve established through the success and reach of our owned and operated station, ESPN Radio 1050 AM.”
The site launches under the day-to-day editorial leadership of new executive editor Leon Carter, a news veteran with over 24 years of experience with the NY sports media world, most recently as sports editor for the New York Daily News and previously with Newsday. He is an award-winning editor who has covered the NY area sports scene since 1984.
In 2009, Carter was honored with the Legacy Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for his efforts promoting diversity in the newsroom and guiding the careers of more than 250 minority journalists over the past 16 years. He co-founded and continues to instruct at the Sports Journalism Institute, an intensive nine-week training and internship program for aspiring minority journalists held every summer since 1993.
“New York is one of the world’s greatest sports cities, home to one of most passionate fan bases and some of the most storied franchises in sports,” said Rob King, vice president and editor-in-chief, ESPN.com. “Leon is a veteran of the NY media world who truly understands the NY area sports landscape. His leadership will drive the editorial direction of ESPNNewYork.com and build a sports site for true NY sports fans.”
GARDEN CITY, NY and CELEBRATION, Fla., Oct. 17, 2009 – The recently opened Disney Doorway to Dreams offers Roosevelt Field shoppers and New York-area residents a convenient and interactive way to discover the excitement of Disney Vacation Club, an innovative vacation-ownership program that allows families to enjoy flexibility and savings on decades of future vacations.
Disney Doorway to Dreams showcases the spacious, family-friendly accommodations featured at Disney Vacation Club resorts. Through Disney Vacation Club, families can relax and spend quality time together, either at Disney destinations worldwide or at more than 500 other popular vacation locations around the world. Disney Doorway to Dreams’ convenient mall location gives visitors a chance to explore the many vacation choices they have through Disney Vacation Club, including magical stays at the Walt Disney World Resort, relaxing cruises aboard Disney Cruise Line and family-friendly, interactive Adventures by Disney trips where families can choose to travel to one of six different continents.
“Disney Doorway to Dreams gives us a chance to reach one of the top markets for our rapidly growing membership base and help Roosevelt Field visitors discover the many benefits of becoming a Disney Vacation Club member family,” said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. “We aim to duplicate the popularity of our original Disney Doorway to Dreams location in Chicago with our new location on Long Island, sharing the vacation-ownership experience with a whole new group of people.”
To help families envision the ways Disney Vacation Club Membership can enhance the way they vacation, Disney Doorway to Dreams features a full-scale, two-bedroom model of a vacation villa at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Central Florida, one of Disney Vacation Club’s newest resorts. Located on the second floor near Nordstrom, Disney Doorway to Dreams presents a variety of interactive features, including a wall lined with doors that open to display videos, photos and even touch-screen activities. There’s even a kid-sized door that allows children to look through a portal into the kid’s clubhouse, where they will discover a dry-erase mural they can color.