NEW YORK – The year 2018 was marked with striking events, important issues, and the departures of extraordinary members of the Greek community. The National Herald takes a look back, month by month, at the top stories of the year.
Greek-American William Samaras took the oath of office as mayor of the historic city of Lowell, MA on January 2.
Olga Gatzoyiannis-Bartzokis, sister of renowned author Nicholas Gage, passed away at the age of 90 in Needham, MA.
The community was shocked by the loss of 37-year-old Estia Zafeiraki, who was found dead in her apartment in Long Island City, 20 days after her death.
The Honorable Judge John C. V. Katsanos, husband of the New York State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, was sworn in at the Civil Court in Queens.
Greek-American businessman George Tsunis began his tenure as the new Chairman of the Board for Nassau University Medical Center on February 1.
The National Herald Educator of the Year award was presented to Demosthenes Triantafillou at the offices of TNH in Long Island City.
Lawyer Michael J. Hartofilis is sworn in as a Judge of the New York Civil Court.
The Greek-French composer Alexandre Desplat wins the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, and thanks his 90-year-old mother, adding “she’s Greek, by the way.”
The legendary shoemaker at the World Trade Center in New York City and later Wall Street, Minas Polychronakis passed away at the age of 76 on March 7.
A great turnout of eminent Greek-Americans at an event with New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis as the keynote speaker at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan.
The National Herald celebrates its 103rd anniversary of dedication to the community.
Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos makes his statements to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Thousands attend Greek Independence Parades across the United States.
A permanent exhibit of the bust of Cephalonian seafarer Apostolos Fokas Valerianos, perhaps more well-known by the Spanish version of his name, Juan de Fuca, was unveiled at the Museum of Vancouver.
Laval becomes the 12 city in Canada to recognize the Pontian Genocide.
The American premiere of Nikos Karathanos’ The Birds takes place in Brooklyn and is praised by the American media.
The renowned Maria Farantouri performs at Carnegie Hall.
Greek-Canadian tech entrepreneur Matthew Staikos, age 37, was shot to death on May 28 in front of the Bay St. Pusateri’s in the Yorkville neighborhood of Toronto.
Five police officers from New Jersey, including four of Greek descent, were charged with official misconduct and theft over “side jobs,” allegedly being paid for extra-duty jobs they did not actually perform.
The chapel of Saints Constantine and Helen was inaugurated on the ground floor of Saint Catherine and Saint George Church in Astoria, as a donation by Konstantinos (Gus) Antonopoulos, funeral director, and son of Protopresvyteros of the church, Father Ioannis Antonopoulos, in memory of his mother, Presvytera Katerina.
Dr. George Stamatoyannopoulos, a pioneer in blood disease research, passed away on June 16 at the age of 84. The professor of medicine was the University of Washington’s chief of medical genetics from 1989 to 2005 and a Pancretan Association of America Kritiko Pelagos member who spearheaded the research and published on the Genetic origin of the Minoans of Crete and Mycenaeans and the genetics of several Greek populations.
At age 94, Louise Athens, wife of the late Andrew Athens, passed away.
Actress and writer Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding-fame filed for divorce from her husband and fellow actor Ian Gomez after 23 years of marriage due to irreconcilable differences.
The Municipality of Athienou honored businessman and philanthropist Nikos Mouyiaris with the golden key of the city for his many contributions to Cyprus and his hometown.
On July 22, the 29-year-old Faisal Hussain fired a handgun into crowds on Danforth Avenue in Toronto’s popular Greektown neighborhood, killing two, including Greek-Canadian 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, and wounding 13 people.
The fires in coastal areas of Attica claimed 100 lives and affected more than 4,000 residents.
At least 164 adults and 23 children were taken to hospital with injuries, including 11 adults in serious condition and at least 15 of the injured later died in the hospital. Greeks around the world begin organizing the relief effort.
Constantinos (Costis) Daskalakis, an MIT professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and principal investigator at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, won the 2018 Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, one of the most prestigious international awards in mathematics.
Faye Spanos, matriarch of the Spanos family, passes away at age 92.
American Airlines announced seasonal direct flights from Chicago to Athens beginning in the summer of 2019.
Congressman Gus Billirakis secures $200 million for homeless veterans.
New York State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, Wyoming State Senator Stephan Pappas, and Rhode Island Senator Leonidas Raptakis were among the Greek-American delegation at the Thessaloniki International Fair.
The Hellenic Initiative honored Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and THI’s Regeneration program partner, and Corinne Mentzelopoulos, philanthropist, owner, and CEO of Chateau Margaux, and raised over $2 million at its 6th Annual Gala at the Hilton in Manhattan.
Abbot of the Holy Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, Elder Ephraim visits the United States at the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta.
Dr. James Dimitriou was elected as the new President of the American Hellenic Council in California.
Governor Andrew Cuomo endorses Greek-American Andrew Gounardes in his election campaign for New York State Senator.
Alex Spanos, businessman and owner of the Los Angeles Chargers, passed away at age 95, just two months after the passing of his beloved wife, Faye.
Konstantinos Katsifas, aged 35, was fatally shot by Albanian police after placing a Greek flag in a cemetery for Greek soldiers killed fighting fascist forces at the outbreak of World War II near Vouliarates in North Epirus. Many Greeks made the trip to Vouliarates to attend the funeral which took place in November.
Favorable election results for Greek-American candidates with six Greek-Americans win their respective races for the U.S. House of Representatives: Dina Titus (D-Nevada), Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida), Michael Waltz (R- Florida), Charlie Christ (D- Florida), John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) and Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) won their respective races.
In California, Democrat and former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis became the first female Lt. Governor, and in Connecticut, Susan Bysiewicz, of Greek and Polish descent, also won her race for Lt. Governor.
There were also positive results for the Greek-American candidates in the state legislatures. In New York, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, secured their re-election early on, since they ran unopposed, while Andrew Gounardes won a tough race against the eight-term incumbent State Senator Marty Golden. In the New York State Assembly, Republican Nicole Malliotakis had a comfortable majority against her opponent (Adam Baumel), with 61% against 39%. Assemblymembers Simotas and Malliotakis will be joined by a third Greek-American, James Skoufis, who scored a clear victory against his opponent, Tom Basile. In Rhode Island, Leonidas Raptakis won his race with 55% of the vote. Judge Helen Voutsinas was elected to the Supreme Court of New York in the 10th District.
Telemachus Orfanos, 27, a U.S. Navy veteran, was one of the victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. His devastated father, Marc Orfanos, spoke to TNH about the loss of his beloved son and urged President Trump to stop his indifference to uncontrolled gun violence.
The Greek-American philanthropist and patriot Leonidas Lois passed away on November 13 at the age of 93.
The 74th National Convention of the Pan Arcadian Federation of America included the book presentation for The Arcadians of America – History and Offer by writer-researcher Petros Sarantakis on November 15 and the gala on November 17 which honored Founder and President of the Demos Pharmaceutical Company Stavros Demos and EMBCA Founder and President Lou Katsos.
Elias Betzios, co-foundersof Ellios Pizza, philanthropist, and former President of the Panepirotic Federation, passed away at 91.
Mourners gathered on December 2 for the funeral of a New Jersey family whose bodies were found at their burning mansion two days before Thanksgiving. The service for Keith Caneiro; his Greek-American wife, Jennifer, and their two young children, Jesse and Sophia, took place at the Holmdel Funeral home in Holmdel, less than a mile away from their home in Colts Neck. Keith Caneiro’s older brother, Paul, was charged with the killings and pleaded not guilty.
Albanian protesters gathered outside the Laconian Pan-Hellenic Cultural Center in Brooklyn where an event was held in memory of Konstantinos Katsifas.
Dr. Panagiotis Manolas was elected President of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York.
The Hellenic Classical Charter School Staten Island was approved by New York State Education Department Board of Regents.
TNH Publisher-Editor Antonis H. Diamataris, spoke about the Greek community at the New Democracy Conference during which ND President Kyriakos Mitsotakis committed to settling the issue of votes for the Hellenes living abroad immediately after taking office.