As we enter the 12th month of the year 2001, we welcome a most festive season. Front yards with twinkling lights cheer us, doors with wreaths and ribbons beckon us, candle flames warm our spirits and visions of little ones baking star, bell, angel and snowmen cookies delight us. While the joys of this holiday season are dampened by a garland of melancholy that drapes upon us, we look to the hope and dreams that only the true meaning of the holidays can provide. Regardless of one's religion, beliefs or sentiments, December is a time to rejoice and to look to a new year and the unfolding of its promises for peace and good will.
Equipped with suntan lotion, straw hat and sunglasses, Bill and I boarded a flight to the Bahamas for a few days of R&R. Only for a fleeting moment did I even consider some terrorist deed could end it all. However, other concerns grew deep when I didn't see many people at the airports, the beach, the hotels and restaurants. The terrorist threat has had a devastating effect on the economy here and abroad, but even worse, it successfully instilled fear, anxiety and insecurity in our people.
I rarely talk much about my travels but after flying to and from over 40 countries in my lifetime, this little trip was eerie due to the effects of the September attack. The trip did have a sunny side. I relaxed with Bill on the beach and read McCullough's best seller John Adams and marveled at the patriotism, character, intellect and strength of both John and Abigail Adams.
Local merchants look to this season to satisfy resident shoppers. Before a trip to a mall, how about visiting the stores located along what makes up our triangle of byways - Jericho Turnpike, Tulip Avenue and Covert Avenue. Some local shops even offer online service so check it out.
A special thank you to the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce for maintaining our holiday street decorations and to the Public Works Department for the installations.
The names of drugs of abuse tend to mystify us when we hear them - "ice," "ecstacy," "crack." Many of us feel out of touch with the problems associated with alcohol and illicit drug use. Perhaps this is because some of us have adult children and we don't have the woes of a parent of a pre-teen, a teenager or a young adult. The average person may not even be inclined to read a newspaper or magazine article or watch a TV show on the subject, especially now with war and peace on their minds.
The Floral Park Substance Abuse Prevention Council, after assessing community needs, will sponsor a workshop, "Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness and Prevention Update 2002." It will be held on the evenings of Tuesday, Jan. 8, and Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Village Hall. Kirk Kaplan, an educator and specialist in the field, will conduct the workshop. The workshop will afford community leaders and others a unique opportunity to become more informed about current trends, prevention and other aspects of this important issue, which affects our families and community. Local civic, school, service and church leaders will be contacted and urged to register a representative (s) to attend the workshop. Others interested in attending the two-session workshop can reserve a spot by calling 326-6300.
Autumn leaves are colorful to see but as they trickle to the ground, they spell work until December when the clean-up chores finally end. In bygone days, homeowners just raked the leaves into the street and a village truck vacuum sucked them away. The exorbitant cost of yard waste disposal led to the end of the vacuuming. Children playing and hiding in the leaves and parked cars with catalytic converters sparking fires were recognized hazards. Also, a trend developed of property owners contracting for lawn and yard services. For the most part, residents rake their leaves and put them in clear plastic bags in receptacles marked with a "Y" for yard waste for pick up by the Sanitation Department. Landscapers, however, are required to remove yard waste and dispose of it themselves.
The trend for homeowners to utilize landscape services appears to be on the rise. Mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers were introduced to neighborhoods by landscapers without much ado. Nowadays, more and more residents voice their concerns over the noise, debris and dust created by the equipment.
The village board is reviewing the local regulations concerning landscapers and licensing requirements. Truthfully, it is unlikely that "leaf blowers" will be outlawed as some have suggested. Material on the subject has been gathered, including a sampling of regulations from other Nassau communities and suggestions from residents and landscapers. The village board will decide if any changes are appropriate before spring clean-ups begin.
The traditional December decorations of red and green will have the accent of red, white and blue of Old Glory. Flag production has finally caught up with the demand brought about by the events of Sept. 11 and the onset of the war in which our nation is now engaged. This period of heightened patriotism makes for a perfect time for teaching young people flag etiquette. Our United States flag is always flown above all other flags. At night, a light should shine on it and it should never touch the ground. In my office and the court/board room, the flag stands properly at the left.
President Truman, June 14, officially established Flag Day. Since so many flags are displayed at this time, it is likely that many will fade or get tattered. Keep in mind that the American Legion collects old flags and conducts a flag burning ceremony on Flag Day every year.
George Washington said of our flag, "We take the stars from heaven and the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, those showing we have separated her and the stripes shall go down through posterity representing liberty." It is interesting to me that, at this time of war, how comforting it is to Americans to have the unwavering support of Great Britain.