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Teaching Speeders A Lesson

School zone speedsters face an new round of surveillance in the state’s effort to thwart their reckless ways. 

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently enjoyed a photo-op at nearby Bethpage High School, signing legislation that authorizes the addition of school speed zone cameras in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Proponents say the new law aims to enhance safety in school areas by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding. 

 

“New York State will not tolerate drivers who exercise reckless behavior and put other people at risk—especially around our schools,” Cuomo said. “By empowering Nassau and Suffolk Counties to install dozens of speed cameras in school zones, we are helping to protect our students and ultimately save lives. This should send a message to all drivers.”

 

But some taxpayers see the move as another revenue gimmick. 

 

The addition of school speed zone cameras comes after five Farmingdale High School teens—Carley, Tristan, Jesse, Noah, and Cody—died in a car wreck on Conklin Street this past May. Conklin, also known as Rt. 24 and Hempstead Turnpike, has seen an average of three pedestrian deaths a year, over the past decade. 

 

Although the accident was nowhere near a school zone, it has become a sensitive issue. 

 

Following the accident, Cuomo sent a letter to Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, informing him that the state recently installed two speed controller trailers to inform motorists of their speed. Additionally, in an effort to try and prevent any future accidents, Cuomo said the state plans on installing new radar technology that will identify speeding vehicles, which will trigger the connected traffic signal to switch to red, forcing the driver to come to a stop.  

 

Camille Toma, a member of the Farmingdale PTA, said that residents have been complaining about people speeding down Conklin and Rt. 24 for years.

 

“If he really cared then he should have done something when people were complaining,” Toma said. “I think the Governor is capitalizing on our tragedy ... I think it’s disgusting.”

 

While some in the Farmingdale community feel Cuomo’s efforts are too little, too late, others agree that catching more speeders is a necessary measure towards saving young lives.  

 

In the adjacent community of Bethpage, Round Swamp Road resident Scott Grann said he has been living in front of the Old Bethpage Elementary School for close to 20 years. In that time, he said he has seen and heard many drivers burning rubber, just steps away from his house. 

 

“People drive like animals down this road,” he said, adding that he hopes cameras will deter high-speed driving. “It’s beyond people just going a touch over the speed limit. Trucks driving to the

expressway from Farmingdale come barreling down the road, right past the school, going at least 50. They don’t care.”

 

The new law, which will take effect in 30 days, authorizes Nassau and Suffolk counties to establish a pilot program with speed cameras in school speed zones—one per school district—to record speeding violations as they occur, without requiring a police officer to be present at the scene. The law enables speed cameras to be placed in up to 56 school speed zones in Nassau County. 

 

According to data released by the governor’s office, there is a 70 percent chance that a child hit by a vehicle going 40 mph will be killed, but a child hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph has an 80 percent chance of surviving. Officials said implementing speed cameras in school speed zones will supplement police presence on the streets in catching speeding violations and preventing the accidents that arise from speeding. 

 

Aside from catching drivers in the act, officials said the presence of speed enforcement cameras will also encourage drivers to proceed with caution through school speed zones, thus enhancing the safety of children, pedestrians and drivers alike.

 

“A school zone safety report indicates 200 motorists per hour exceeded the posted limit by 25mph,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. “I thank Governor Cuomo for approving this pilot program as it protects our children and serves as an important message to motorists to exercise care in our school zones.”

News

At a recent meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Education, school district superintendent John Lorentz discussed New York State’s proposal to invest $2 billion into districts statewide

through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

 

If approved by voters in the upcoming general elections, the act would allow the state to borrow $2 billion in the form of a capital bond to provide students with access to classroom

technology and high-speed internet connectivity, with the goal of equalizing opportunities for children to learn, adding classroom space, expanding pre-kindergarten programs, replacing classroom trailers with permanent instructional space and installing high-tech security features in schools. 

Over the weekend, thousands of Long Island residents flocked to the Village of Farmingdale for its 26th annual Columbus Day Weekend Fair and Fireman’s carnival. Running from Oct. 9

to 13, the five-day affair featured live music from Farmingdale’s own Electric Dudes and Long Island party band Superbad, a Fire Department barbecue, food vendors, a street fair, fireworks, carnival rides, games for kids of all ages and, of course, the Columbus Day parade. 


Sports

Last week, officials with the St. Kilian Saints baseball team inducted John Lombardi and Aaron Powell into their Hall of Fame. 

 

—Submitted by Farmingdale PAL and St. Kilian Baseball 


The 2014 Reilly Cup finals featured the two most successful OTHG teams over the last 9 years. Sal’s Place and Singleton’s have had 11 finals appearances and 7 championships between them during this period of time. They split 2 games during the regular season and Singleton’s became the winner’s bracket representative in the 2014 Cup by beating Sal’s deep in the tournament.

 

Sal’s took the first game 14-7. The game was close until the 8th inning when Sal’s broke it open with some timely hits and taking advantage of a Singleton’s miscue or two.  Sal’s held

Singleton’s to 7 runs with outstanding all-around defense, which was particularly impressive given that some of their significant contributors were visibly fighting through late-season injuries. 


Calendar

Homecoming - October 24

Autumn Fair - October 25

St. Kilian Blood Drive - October 26


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com