United States Senator Charles E. Schumer was given a warm welcome when he visited the Village of Floral Park Fire Department Headquarters on Monday, Jan. 27. Schumer revealed to a small crowd that more than 70 Nassau County fire departments and seven volunteer ambulance corps are facing major budget hikes in order to meet the year-end deadlines to upgrade existing radio equipment due to federal mandates.
Schumer had only the highest of praise for the volunteer firefighters who came from cities across Nassau County, including Stewart Manor, Garden City, Bellerose, New Hyde Park, Great Neck, Island Park, Valley Stream, East Williston, Port Washington, Bayville, Freeport, Wantagh, and Oceanside, Lakeview.
“As you know I care a lot about our firefighters; they are great people. Nassau County volunteer fire departments are among the best in the country,” Schumer said, adding, “They risk their lives, they don’t get paid to make us safe. It’s a great thing and everyone here in this county is blessed by the quality of the fire departments.”
On Saturday, Jan. 21 families and friends of Catholic schools across Long Island braved the freezing temperatures and icy conditions to rally in protest of the closings announced by the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Dec. 6. Families not only wanted to voice their opposition to the closings scheduled for the end of this school year, but rallied in support of Catholic school education in general. They pleaded for Bishop William Murphy and all Catholics in the Diocese to hear their concerns and understand that despite the threat of their schools closing, they do value and support the Catholic elementary school education.
Most of the rally crowd came from the six schools stated to close, along with St. Agnes parishioners who came out to show their support. The organizers of the rally reported more than 400 supporters turned out for the event.
In the original school-closing announcement Bishop Murphy said, “While these choices have not been easy and closing schools is one of the most painful parts of my ministry, I want to assure the parents and children that they are uppermost in my mind.”
There are easier tasks than the one facing Kevan Abrahams. As a Nassau County Legislator, he will be grappling with the issues facing the cash strapped county and in particular will be deliberating on a budget which may call for more layoffs of county workers, reduction of services and changes for Nassau police precincts. As the Democratic Minority Leader in the legislature, he will be one of the more prominent figures as those discussions take place, a position that requires he walk a political tightrope as he leads the opposition to some of those proposals while also trying to get Republican County Executive Ed Mangano and the Republicans in control of the Legislature to give consideration to his party’s suggestions and input. And, he will also do so while getting a feel for his new role as he has just taken over the position of the Minority Leader in the Legislature after being chosen by his party last November. Yet, despite all of this, there is a calmness and confidence about him as he takes this all on, something that he attributes to many years of experience in both politics and finance.
The Farmingdale 2035 Party has announced their candidates for the upcoming election. Current trustees, Ralph Ekstrand and William Barrett are on the ticket. Newcomer, and longtime village resident, Thomas Ryan is joining the team.
Ralph Ekstrand, a longtime resident of the Farmingdale community and village will run for mayor. The Farmingdale 2035 Party states, “His long-term experience and dedication to the town and people of the town have given him the experience for this position.” Ekstrand has been the pharmacist at Moby Drugs for 31 years and has served on a number boards for various institutions, such as, the Eagle Scout Review Board, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and The Farmingdale United Methodist Church. He has been the village trustee for the past four years and states that he “continues to strive for excellence on a daily basis.”
On Friday night, Jan. 6, a blues/ rock band known as Black Honey, comprised of students of Farmingdale High School, a HS alumnus and a vocalist from Kentucky, performed an astounding benefit concert in honor of Jimmy Ossenfort.
Farmingdale and North Massapequa residents and students, as well as guests from all over Long Island, gathered at Farmingdale High School to raise money to help the Ossenfort Family. Twenty-two-year-old Jimmy Ossenfort suffered multiple, critical injuries as a result of a November 2011 motor vehicle accident.
The band members from Black Honey, Ryan Costello (lead guitar), Matthew Ferrara (rhythm guitar) Mark Morales (drums), Zack Reyes (bass) and Dakota Clayton (vocals) wanted to show their support for the Ossenfort family and decided to use their talents for a benefit concert for Jimmy. Black Honey rocked the house for almost two hours. Jimmy and the Gooch opened the show for Black Honey and the Wantagh-based band awed the audience with their unique sound of vocal harmonies and acoustic instruments.
On Thursday, Jan. 12, County Executive Edward Mangano announced the ‘soft launch’ of “Nassau Now,” the County’s newest mobile and web application for residents to use an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Android smartphone or tablet to contact Nassau County directly. The government app features requests, events, information, news alerts, traffic advisories, and forms.
The system is up and operational; it is being monitored by system administrators to collect data about how the service is being used and tally the volume of inquiries being submitted through the new application. Mangano expects that there could be some ‘bugs’ to work out of the system within the initial 60 days, but is confident that this will streamline the process and eliminate a lot of liabilities resulting from nonemergency reports, such as a request for pothole repair. The county will assess the service in a couple of months and identify any issues with the software that need to be corrected.
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., with the help of dozens of local schools and organizations helped put smiles on the faces of Winthrop Hospital’s pediatric patients by delivering carloads of toys collected through the annual “Extend the Holidays” toy drive.
Representatives from the Nassau County Sheriff Officer’s Association, Laborers Local 66, and Local 1298, all of whom participated in the program, joined Senator Fuschillo in delivering the toys to the hospital.
“Our members look forward to this event every year because it’s a way to give back to the community, to give back to the kids, and to the less fortunate,” said President of the Nassau County Sheriff Officers Association (NCSHOA) John Jaronczyk. The officers, more than 1,000 members of NCSHOA, run their individual toy drive throughout the month of December. They have been participating in cooperation with Senator Fuschillo’s drive for more than five year.
In a scene that has become all-too-familiar to Massapequa area residents, another hero law enforcement agent was laid to rest last week.
On Friday, Jan. 6, a funeral was held for John F. Capano, a Massapequa resident and federal agent who died while trying to apprehend a robbery suspect at an incident in Seaford.
Trustee Ralph Ekstrand gave a brief introduction and reported that the organization is in conversation with the Village for the planning and preparations for bringing their world-class event to Farmingdale.
With the closing of the holiday season, also considered the season of giving, some can honestly say they have volunteered a significant amount of time and energy to those less fortunate then themselves. One local Farmingdale resident and philanthropist, Thomas Gubitosi, can describe himself as a giver; his compassion is laudable.
Gubitosi, a semi-retired stockbroker with a knack for charity, founded the Marie Gubitosi Foundation more than 12 years ago, after the death of his mother.
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