Notable News

December 1, 2014, Department, by NRPA

Tony LangoniTony Langoni, an influential park and recreation professional with more than 45 years in the industry, died November 1 at the age of 79. Langoni began his career in the late 1950s as a recreation specialist for the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, Colorado, and later served within that institution as acting recreation director. Later, residents would report high levels of satisfaction with recreational and leisure programming under his direction as the park and recreation director for the City of Pueblo. Langoni is also remembered for his assistance in creating one of Colorado’s earliest known partnerships between a municipal park and recreation department and a local school district. His vision as a recreation professional also helped create one of the first multipurpose recreation centers in Pueblo. Langoni served as past vice president and president of the Colorado Therapeutic Recreation Society; past member of the NRPA Standards Committee; Midwest representative on the NRPA Forum; past member of the executive board of the Therapeutic Recreation Society; and past area coordinator for the Colorado Special Olympics. In 1993, just prior to Langoni’s retirement, the Pueblo City Council passed a resolution naming the city’s new multifield soccer complex the “Anthony J. Langoni Sports Complex,” recognizing him for his dedicated service to the community. Among his other accolades, in 2003, Langoni was awarded NRPA’s Fellow Award for his professionalism, leadership ability and outstanding job performance.


John “Jack” Hewitt, former executive director of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), died Saturday, October 25. He first joined M-NCPPC staff in 1946 as an administrative assistant and was appointed administrative aide to the vice chairman and park commissioner in 1948. By 1957, he was appointed director of parks. Outside M-NCPPC, Hewitt was an instructor at the Revenue Resources School at North Carolina State University; a contributing author and member of the editorial board at the international park and recreation professional journal Trends; a lecturer for the Indiana University-sponsored Great Lakes Park and Recreation Training Institute; a faculty member with the Southwest Park and Recreation Training Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma; and a consultant for a seminar on stream control for Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia. Among his many accolades, Hewitt received the American Institute of Park Executives’ Mr. Chairman Award in recognition of his enthusiastic devotion to public service and outstanding leadership, as well as the Governor’s Citation in 1992 for outstanding contributions in the field of parks and recreation. He was also cited for excellence in William H. Whyte’s national award-winning book on urban planning, The Last Landscape; given special recognition by the Izaak Walton League of America, Silver Spring Chapter, for outstanding accomplishment in the field of conservation; and was honored by the Maryland Recreation and Parks Society for his outstanding service.


A feature common to most schoolyard playgrounds is slowly being phased out of the Richland School District in Washington State. Swings, which the district cites as being the culprit behind a number of playground injuries, will be eliminated to mitigate ongoing liability concerns. "As schools get modernized or renovated or as we're doing work on the playground equipment, we'll take out the swings,” said Richland School District's Steve Aagard in an interview with “It's just really a safety issue. Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground." Richland School District has already removed swings from some campuses.


Brownsdale, Minnesota, children are celebrating the installation of a new playground at a local park, thanks to the work of dedicated volunteers and the Brownsdale Park Committee. The new equipment is modern, ADA-compliant and replaces items that Brownsdale Mayor David Pike estimates are about 40 years old. The approximately $100,000 installation cost was provided through fundraisers with the local park committee as well as monies from the city’s general fund. While some parts of the old equipment are no longer usable, those items that have been deemed salvageable will be sold at auction.


Outdoor enthusiasts in Utah are pushing back against proposed changes to the state’s participation in Daylight Savings Time, which began in the state November 2. In 2013, state lawmakers passed a bill asking the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to study the possibility of keeping the state on Mountain Standard Time year-round. But, residents who count on a smidgen of daylight to brighten their outdoor activities after a long day at the office say losing that time would negatively affect their health and wellness. In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Brian Anderson, who describes himself as an avid fisherman who also enjoys bicycling, hunting, golf and running, says he works during the day and only has “between 6 p.m. and dark to do those things.” “If I lose that time, my health would go downhill and I would lose family time. Those things are huge for me.” Adopting a year-round standard, according to the state’s Clark Planetarium, would make for longer mornings, including 4:46 a.m. sunrises in early June. There would be shorter evenings, too, with darkness starting to fall about 7 p.m. and the latest sunsets of the year at 8 p.m. A recent poll found most Utahns prefer some form of daylight savings — 44 percent of Utahns surveyed want to dump daylight savings altogether, another 37 percent like the state’s current system of springing forward and falling back. And 19 percent of the 800 voters polled would like to keep daylight saving year-round. If lawmakers pursue a change, Utah would be one of three states — along with Arizona and Hawaii — that have elected not to follow Daylight Saving Time practices.