(Editor's Note: Due to space constraints, not every story from 2006 will appear in this year in review.)
Congresswoman McCarthy Toured Floral Park and Bellerose
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy visited Floral Park and Bellerose to get first-hand information from local community leaders who have asked her to oppose the additional MTA/LIRR track project. Here, she spoke with Floral Park Mayor Phil Guarnieri and other community leaders following a recent bus tour by the Committee Against Rail Expansion (CARE).
TOH Inducted Incumbents Into Office
In a Jan. 4 ceremony at Town Hall, the Hempstead Town supervisor, clerk and three council members were inducted into office.
Republican incumbents Supervisor Kate Murray, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla and council members Gary Hudes (6th Councilmatic District), Anthony Santino (4th Councilmatic District) and Democratic Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby (1st Councilmatic District) were sworn in by the person of their choice.
Murray, a Levittown native and the first woman elected supervisor of America's largest township, was inducted for her second term. Bonilla of Bellmore, who made history by becoming the first Hispanic ever elected to a town-wide position, was inducted for his second term as town clerk.
Ginny Appel Honored for 25 Years of Service
Mayor Guarnieri and the board of trustees, as well as former mayors Ann Corbett and Tom Hayden, congratulated Floral Park Village Administrator Virginia Appel on her exemplary dedication to the best interests of the village and its residents. Appel's co-workers honored her for 25 years of service. The party was held at Crabtree's. Family, friends, current employees and retired employees attended.
State Passed New Megan's Law
Governor George Pataki signed into law legislation that extended the Sex Offender Registry's requirements. Without the new law, which Senator Dean Skelos wrote, 168 convicted sex offenders would have escaped Megan's Law Jan. 21, with 226 leaving the Registry by the end of January 2006 and 3,579 by the end of the year.
The new law requires Level 3 sex offenders, the most dangerous sexual predators, to remain on the Sex Offender Registry for life; that Level 2 sex offenders remain on Registry for life, but could petition a court to be removed from the Registry after 30 years; and that Level 1 sex offenders would remain on the Registry for 20 years.
One of the sponsors for the law was Assemblyman Tom Alfano, who noted that there are 437 registered sex offenders in Nassau County. "I'm relieved that sexual predators will no longer be able to slip through the cracks or be dropped from the registry and hinder parents and neighborhoods from protecting themselves," he said.
Trustees Adopted Flood Insurance Program
At the Jan. 17 Floral Park village board meeting, Trustee Tom Tweedy offered Resolution No. 2006-09 to enable the National Flood Insurance Program, which was seconded by Trustee James Rhatigan and adopted by the full board.
The program, in short, provides relief in the form of federally subsidized flood insurance as authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 if certain areas of the Village of Floral Park are subjected to periodic flooding, causing serious damages to properties within these areas.
Test Scores, Attendance Records Improved at SCHSD with Pilot Program
As one of the only districts on Long Island and in the state to serve homebound students with cyber education, the Sewanhaka Central High School District (SCHSD) continues to improve student test scores and attendance records with its Virtual Education Academy (VEA).
"...The burgeoning cost of adhering to state mandates in homebound education and less-than-optimal results for students led our district to seek a 21st century solution through the use of technology," Dr. John Williams, former superintendent of SCHSD, said. "Right Reason Technologies developed a program for us to improve homebound students' academic achievement. The results speak for the success of what this program has done for our students."
For ninth- and tenth-graders in the VEA, 79 percent passed the district English final, 83 percent passed the science district final, 72 percent passed the Math A Regents and an astounding 100 percent passed the Social Studies 9 Regents. Benefits of the VEA go beyond student test scores. It has opened up lines of communication between teacher, student and parent, provides a safe learning environment and improves social skills. In the 2004-2005 school year, the VEA helped improved attendance records with 97 percent of students attending class.
To geographically accommodate students, the district expanded the VEA with an additional site at H. Frank Carey High School. Floral Park Memorial will remain a VEA site to service students who live closer to that location. Additionally, the VEA serviced a New Hyde Park Memorial High School student who underwent extensive surgery at Mount Sinai of Baltimore in late 2005. The customized web-based curriculum in English, math, science and social studies is delivered via computer and supported by certified SCHSD teachers in a small group setting. Classes operate from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Balboni: Long Island Not Prepared for Disaster
"We're an island and no one is getting off," Senator Michael Balboni said as he discussed emergency preparedness with editors of Anton Community Newspapers. Balboni, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, addressed his report, "After the Storm ... New York's State of Readiness." And while the state made some improvements in countering a catastrophic event, the senator gave barely passing grades to both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Unity Party Introduced Candidate Alissa Amato
On Feb. 2, the Floral Park Unity Party announced that Alissa Amato would be their candidate for Floral Park village trustee in the 2006 village election. Amato, a lifelong resident of Floral Park whose family retains deep roots in the village, is a graduate of Floral Park Memorial and St. John's University School of Law and is currently a practicing attorney.
Floral Park, CSEA Finally Agreed on Six-Year Contract
After almost two years of negotiating, the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and the Village of Floral Park's negotiating team finally agreed on a six-year contract for more than 100 employees working for the village, including clerks, librarians, dispatchers, mechanics, cleaners, mechanical equipment operators and crossing guards. The budget, according to Floral Park Mayor Phil Guarnieri, reflected increases for two prior years as well as new wages applicable June 1, 2006.
The two parties began talks back in April 2004; CSEA and management had been at odds over a series of financial- and work-related issues. Negotiations reached a resounding stalemate in February 2005 and the union declared an impasse over the dispute. CSEA officials hoped the intervention of a neutral third party would have brought both sides to a fair agreement in 2005. The formal declaration of impasse moved the negotiating process to mediation, where a Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)-appointed neutral mediator met with both parties in an attempt to reach a compromise.
Then CSEA union workers protested - demanding better wages - outside the Department of Public Works building during a candidates' forum just weeks before the 2005 village election. Approximately 30 employees, who had been working without a contract since May 31, 2004, chanted, "We want our money. That's what we want!"
FP Man Allegedly Stole Competitive Papers at Local Newsstand
The Third Squad reported details of two arrests that occurred in Garden City Feb. 8, at 5:30 a.m. According to detectives, the owner of the newspaper stand at the Long Island Rail Road's Nassau Boulevard station in Garden City reported that between Oct. 6, 2005 and Jan. 19, 2006 his delivery of the New York Times and the New York Post were stolen. After MTA police, Garden City police and the Third Squad investigated, two employees of the Daily News were arrested for grand larceny.
The subjects, Marc Rosenfeld, 56, of Middle Island, the driver of a Daily News delivery truck, and Scott Miller, 42, of Floral Park, his helper, were allegedly taking bundles of other companies' newspapers while they were making their deliveries; the loss incurred by the owner of the newsstand was approximately $2,100, according to police reports. Both subjects were charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and were released on a desk appearance ticket for a future court date.
CARE Committee Kicked Off Letter-Writing Campaign
Members of the Floral Park and Bellerose CARE (Citizens Against Rail Expansion) Committee began planning a letter-writing campaign to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer objecting to his recent comments regarding the LIRR's third track project. Committee members said Spitzer's endorsement of the project and his support of taking private property through eminent domain is a cause of great concern.
The CARE Committee believes this project will adversely and irrevocably affect the quality of life and vitality of Floral Park and Bellerose. They hope Spitzer is simply unaware of residents' concerns. Trustee Jim Rhatigan headed up the letter-writing campaign to "educate" Spitzer of the concerns. He also prepared packages for the 140-plus organizations and hundreds of residents who have already registered their opposition to the third track project.
Bellerose Village Mayor Donna Sherrer and Floral Park Mayor Phil Guarnieri personally invited Spitzer to take a tour as Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy did in January. Trustee Rhatigan said, "This is the pivotal moment in our village's history. If you haven't written before, please do so now; if you have already written please, do so again."
Our Lady of Victory Earned Middle States Accreditation
"Today we celebrate Our Lady of Victory and all that we do," Monsignor Charles Nosser, retired pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish, said during the Feb. 1 celebration of the school's accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools. "It's a compliment to the staff. The team of principals, teachers, parents and students worked very hard on this," he continued. "It's a great honor for them and they deserve every inch of it."
Our Lady of Victory School has been in existence for 65 years. This was the first time it had been named a school of excellence. Accreditation is for 10 years and incites a school's commitment to goal setting, planning and continued academic excellence.
Keith Heine Nominated for Merchant Marine Academy
United States Senator Charles Schumer announced his nominations to the US service academies: United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy and United States Merchant Marine Academy. The nominees were chosen from a large group of qualified applicants and were interviewed by a panel of staff, veterans, educators and community leaders. The senator nominated six from Nassau County and six from Suffolk. The Nassau County nominees include Keith Heine of Floral Park (US Merchant Marine Academy).
Nominations to all the service academies are received from members of Congress across the country. Following the completion of the Congressional nomination process, these students will compete with each other for academy appointments. Receiving a nomination is only one of the requirements for gaining admission to the academies. Each academy will inform each applicant whether or not he or she will receive an offer of appointment.
Weitzman: Police Ambulance Bureau in Need of Major Upgrade
County Comptroller Howard Weitzman warned at a February news conference that the Nassau County Police Department's Emergency Ambulance Bureau is not adequately prepared to meet the growing demand for ambulance services in the county.
"Nassau's police ambulance bureau already handles the majority of the county's ambulance calls, and that number is growing as Nassau's voluntary ambulance providers have found their resources increasingly strained," he said. "Unfortunately, our audit of the police department's ambulance bureau found serious deficiencies in technology, equipment and in the training and supervision of ambulance personnel, as well as a critical lack of record-keeping, that will hamper the department's ability to meet the growing demand.
In order to address these deficiencies, Weitzman called for the immediate implementation of a program to monitor and assess response times, improve staff training and supervision, and technology upgrades aimed at improving response times. "The bureau may need additional EMT staff as well, but that decision will require better information on current response times and an assessment of future needs," Weitzman said.
Responding to the comptroller's audit, the Nassau County Police Department stated, "The Nassau County Police Emergency Ambulance Bureau is one of the finest municipal ambulance services that exists in the country. Our AMT staff saves countless lives throughout the year ... The Nassau County Police Department employs an integrated response wherein an officer responds first, provides assistance and advises medical technicians of the situation while they are on their way to the scene."
The police department also stated that the average police unit response time is less than two minutes and that the average ambulance response time is six minutes as of January 2006.
Floral Park Bank Robbery Under Investigation
The Robbery Squad investigated a bank robbery that occurred in Floral Park Feb. 24 at 3:35 p.m. According to police, a black male, approximately 6 feet tall and 20 years old, entered the Astoria Federal Savings Bank located at 155 Jericho Turnpike, walked up to a teller, stated he had a gun and demanded money. After taking an undetermined amount of cash, the male subject allegedly left the bank and was last seen on foot heading northbound on Tyson Avenue. There were four customers and 13 employees in the bank at the time of the incident. No injuries were reported.
Suozzi Threw Hat in Gubernatorial Ring
It was with great enthusiasm and support, albeit little surprise, that Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi stood before a crowd of more than 1,200 supporters in front of the Glen Cove house where his grandparents lived to announce that yes, he is declaring his candidacy for governor of New York State.
"Now more than ever, New York needs a governor who is going to shake things up," he said. "New York needs a strong chief executive with a proven record of government reform and results. New York needs a skilled manager who knows how to balance budgets and tame bureaucracies. New York needs an independent leader who owes nothing to the insiders and the lobbyists and answers only to you," he said as folks cheered and waved banners reading "Tom Suozzi for Governor" and "Amigos de Tom Suozzi."
In an animated speech Suozzi declared that he "launched Fix Albany in large part because the values my [family] taught me, and which have always defined the Democratic Party at its best, seem to have vanished from our State Capitol."
The county executive summed up his major goals. "One: We can start to fund a settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, and by giving schools in New York City and in low-income areas the funding they need and demanding more accountability and reform, we can give every child the quality education he or she deserves;
"Two: We can lower the property taxes that are crippling families and stifling the economy here on Long Island and throughout the State;
"Three: We can provide economic incentives, which, in conjunction with property tax relief and legislative reforms, can jumpstart a devastated upstate economy that, if taken alone, would make New York one of the poorest states in the country;
"And four: We can substantially increase our affordable housing stock, and relieve a huge strain on our state's working families."
Three Candidates Vied for Two Open Seats
Thomas J. Tweedy sought re-election to his third term as Floral Park trustee, running on the Citizen's Party ticket. Former Mayor Ann Corbett appointed him trustee back in 2001. He is a lifelong resident and a 25-year homeowner and taxpayer in the West End. He and his wife, MaryAnn, have two children: Michael, a junior at St. John's University, and Caitlin, a freshman at Boston College. Trustee Tweedy graduated from Our Lady of Victory School, Xavier High School and Boston College.
James E. Rhatigan also sought election to a two-year term as Floral Park trustee, running on the Citizen's Party ticket. He currently serves as Floral Park trustee - representing the South Side section of the village - having been appointed by Mayor Phil Guarnieri to complete the mayor's unexpired term.
Alissa Amato also sought election to her first two-year term as Floral Park trustee, running on the Unity Party ticket. She is a licensed attorney in New York and New Jersey and currently works as an attorney in Nassau County. While attending law school, she worked for the Nassau County Legislature writing ordinances, resolutions and local laws. She was also a summer intern with the Town of North Hempstead where she made recommendations for improvements to update the Town Code and drafted various motions on behalf of the Town of North Hempstead.
Balboni Unveiled Emergency Preparedness Package
Senator Michael Balboni and Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno unveiled a comprehensive package of legislation that would greatly enhance the ability of state, local governments, businesses and New York citizens to prepare and respond to any type of catastrophic event, whether manmade or natural, by requiring counties to put preparedness plans into place, establishing standards for evacuating and sheltering nursing homes during emergencies, and increasing penalties for individuals who tamper with nuclear power plants.
The legislation was announced at a Capitol news conference and came in the wake of a report released by the federal government, "Katrina:
Lessons Learned," which served as a wake-up call that New York must focus on preparedness now, before the eye of the storm is upon us. The Senate package covers a wide range of disaster preparedness issues, reflecting a shift in the mission of homeland security to an "all-hazards" approach in which localities must be prepared for all manner of disaster.
Senator Balboni, chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said, "Many lessons were learned from Katrina, but New York has its own lessons. We've had our share of catastrophe, and these lessons teach us that we must be prepared."
The Race for Bellerose Village Trustee
(Editor's Note: Michael Brandt was the Open Government Party candidate for Bellerose Village trustee. He was unable to provide the Floral Park Dispatch with a bio and headshot on deadline.)
Rosaleen Shea was a Community Party candidate seeking election as Bellerose Village trustee. She ran with Jo Ellen Cortapasso on the same ticket.
Jo Ellen Cortapasso was also a Community Party candidate seeking election as Bellerose Village trustee.
Thomas Ryan was an incumbent Bellerose Village trustee seeking re-election to another two-year term. He ran with Carl Soller on the Village Party ticket and had been a trustee for the past six years.
Carl Soller was an incumbent Bellerose Village trustee seeking re-election to another two-year term. Soller had been a village trustee for more than 10 years.
The Race for South Floral Park Mayor
Angel Soto was the Resident Party candidate seeking re-election to his second term as mayor of South Floral Park.
Jose Santos was a Civic Party candidate seeking election as mayor of South Floral Park. He has been a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for South Floral Park's fire department for almost two years.
The Race for South Floral Park Trustee
Kathleen Sharkey sought re-election as South Floral Park trustee, a position she has held since 1997. She has served as deputy mayor and commissioner of highway and police. She is currently fire commissioner working closely with the mayor, fellow trustees and fire chief to obtain the village's current ambulance from neighboring Floral Park.
Ernest Jackson sought re-election to his sixth term as trustee of the Village of South Floral Park. Jackson has been active on the board during the past 20 years. Not only has he been active on the board, but also with the village fire department where he once earned the rank of captain.
Elton McCabe was the Citizen Party candidate seeking election as South Floral Park trustee. McCabe has been a village resident for approximately 24 years. He hoped to be elected because he "believes in community awareness, wants to see residents involved in future initiatives and wants to restore accountability to the position of trustee."
G. Michael Godfrey was the Alarm Party candidate seeking election as South Floral Park trustee. Godfrey has been a village resident for 39 years.
For the past 30 years, Godfrey has worked to better his community in several ways: he negotiated the cost effective purchases of two fire trucks for the South Floral Park Fire Department; served on the South Floral Park Board of Appeals; received multiple grants for the purchase of fire equipment; secured the acquisition of an ambulance for the village at no cost; and has held the chief's office of the South Floral Park Fire Department for a total of 15 years.
Alfano Blasted Third Rail Proposal
A crowded room at Koenig's restaurant in Floral Park was the scene where the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce had its annual monthly meeting and heard from Assemblyman Tom Alfano on current issues impacting the community-at-large. Alfano thanked chamber members and community groups for leading the charge against the third rail and discussed property tax relief with the community leaders.
"The people here had led the way toward educating our communities about the third rail. With our village boards, CARE and community groups, you have made the difference, I for one want to thank all of you," Assemblyman Alfano said, adding, "Through your work, I received over 1,000 emails from residents saying 'no' to the third rail."
During the luncheon, Alfano outlined his opposition to the MTA plan and called upon the community to redouble their efforts in fighting the plan. "We all know what this plan will mean to Bellerose Village, Floral Park and Bellerose Terrace. It means more noise pollution. It means homes will be taken. It means loss of our quality of life. It means more ground vibrations from trains," Alfano said. "We have to continue to stand together and we have to keep up the pressure on the MTA. People-power works and, so far, we've shown the planners that we will not sit idly by and watch our community be taken for granted."
Village Election Results Are In
Village of Floral Park
Floral Park Trustee
Incumbent Thomas Tweedy was re-elected to another two-year term as Floral Park trustee. Tweedy, a Citizen's Party candidate, received 1,575 votes.
Fellow Citizen's Party candidate James Rhatigan, who was appointed by Mayor Phil Guarnieri to finish his unexpired trustee term, had to officially run for the position in this month's election. He held onto his seat with 1,560 votes, elected to a two-year term.
Unity Party candidate Alissa Amato, a licensed attorney in New York and New Jersey and currently working as an attorney in Nassau County, received 1,323. Amato is a graduate of Floral Park Memorial High School.
South Floral Park
South Floral Park Mayor
South Floral Park Mayor Angel Soto was re-elected to serve another four-year term. The Resident Party candidate received 144 votes. Soto has lived in South Floral Park for 31 years. His opponent, Civic Party candidate Jose Santos, received 111 votes.
South Floral Park Trustee
Incumbent Resident Party candidate Kathleen Sharkey was re-elected to serve another four-year term as South Floral Park trustee. She received 152 votes. Sharkey has held the position since 1997. Her running mate, Resident Party candidate Ernest Jackson, also an incumbent, received 131 votes. Jackson began his sixth term as South Floral Park trustee and has been active on the board for the past 20 years. Citizen Party challenger Elton McCabe received 124 votes. Alarm Party challenger G. Michael Godfrey received 94 votes.
South Floral Park Justice
Incumbent Resident Party candidate Scott Gumpert, who ran unopposed, received 154 votes. He was re-elected to another four-year term as South Floral Park justice.
Bellerose Village Trustee
Community Party candidate Rosaleen Shea received 204 votes, besting both incumbent Bellerose Village trustees. She is currently serving a two-year term. Open Government Party candidate Michael Brandt also proved victorious in this year's election, receiving the second most votes, 181. He too is serving a two-year term as Bellerose Village trustee. Community Party candidate Jo Ellen Cortapasso received 154 votes; incumbent trustee Thomas Ryan, a Village Party candidate, received 142 votes; and fellow incumbent trustee Carl Soller received 92 votes.
Suozzi Tapped Wang-Reckson as $1.6M 'New Suburbia' Developer
Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi announced that the proposal from the Lighthouse Development Group met each of his seven core goals for the redevelopment of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site, and lays out a plan that is consistent with his vision for "New Suburbia."
Among the highlights of the Lighthouse Development Group's $1.6 billion proposal are: a $200 million renovation of the Nassau Coliseum; a commitment from the Islanders NHL team to stay until 2025; a canal lined with retail shops and mixed-use residential-commercial development; the creation of a pedestrian-friendly 'Nassau Centre'; an investment in a transportation system; the construction of a minor-league baseball stadium and the development of next generation housing.
"After a thorough, competitive and open review process, my evaluation team has chosen the Lighthouse Group's proposal," Suozzi said. "Their plan stood up against top-notch competition, and emerged as the best of the best. It matches the vision I've been talking about for 'New Suburbia.' We can look forward to a new minor-league ballpark, a renovated Coliseum, new housing and office space that will create excitement at the geographic heart of Nassau County and create an engine for economic growth. And we accomplish this at no cost to the taxpayers, while significantly increasing the tax base."
The project is expected to generate approximately $160 million in net new taxes through 2025, Suozzi stated.
Rice Called Drunk Driving an 'Epidemic'
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice unveiled the first step in her strategy to combat drunk diving in Nassau County and in New York State. Flanked by Nassau County Police Commissioner James Lawrence, State Senator Charles Fuschillo, Major Walter Heesch of the New York State Police, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and members of the Nassau County Department of Probation and the Transportation Safety Board, D.A. Rice laid out sweeping changes to how her office will deal with prosecuting drunk drivers. She also voiced her commitment to working with legislative leaders at the county, state and federal levels to stiffen laws designed to combat drunk driving and to offer more treatment alternatives for those offenders with substance abuse problems.
"I stand before you today the proud member of a coalition devoted to saving lives in Nassau County. Behind me are leaders in the law enforcement community, in Albany, in our county government, and in our communities. I cannot take on the reckless decision by those 4,100 drivers alone - that's why I am honored to be part of this team and look forward to taking this first step together," D.A. Rice said. "Today is day one in our assault on drunk driving in Nassau County. It will be a long and hard process, certain to create opposition from the other side of the court room, but this step, and the steps that will follow, must be taken before more innocent lives are lost."
Ambrosino Attended Unveiling of Bellerose Village Upgrade Plan
Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino joined Bellerose Village Mayor Donna Sherrer for the unveiling of the Bellerose Village Beautification Plan. The new plan for the business district included adding more trees and shrubbery, improving the overall landscape of the villages of Bellerose and Bellerose Terrace and improvements to the street lighting, curbing and building facades.
Mayor Soto Participated in 'Mayors for Meals' Campaign
On March 22, South Floral Park Mayor Angel E. Soto participated in Nassau County's Mayors for Meals campaign by helping to deliver meals to homebound participants of the Meals on Wheels Program. This campaign was designed to promote public awareness of the program, recruit new volunteers to assist with the meal delivery and increase local fundraising efforts. Concurrently, other elected officials were also delivering meals to residents of their communities to support this valuable service.
In the South Floral Park area, the delivery of the meals is coordinated by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre. Mayor Soto started his day at First Christ Church in Hempstead where he joined Rockville Centre Mayor Eugene J. Murray and Garden City Mayor Gerard P. Lundquist in picking up the meals to be delivered. He was accompanied to the home of Maurice Wilson, a program participant, by Mindy Levine, RD nutritionist for the Department of Senior Citizen Affairs and Gabriel Boscarato, driver for Catholic Charities. At the home, he greeted Wilson and delivered his meals and a cheery balloon.
Balboni Brought Home More State Dollars for Local Villages
"Local governments are the backbone of our community. I remain committed to ensuring that our localities get their fair share. That's why I successfully fought for an increase in state aid for each and every one of the towns and villages I represent in the Senate," Senator Balboni said.
The 2006-07 state budget, which the legislature approved, included more than $6.7 million for the towns in Nassau County and over $5.7 million for Nassau's villages to help ease the burgeoning pressure of local property taxes. The breakdown in the increase in aid for Bellerose, Floral Park, South Floral Park and Stewart Manor was as follows, including each locality's total aid, followed by the increase in aid from 2005-06 in parentheses: Bellerose $14,565 ($2,424); Floral Park $277,245 ($46,139); South Floral Park $31,666 ($5,270); and Stewart Manor $44,286 ($7,370).
Ex-Chief Honored for 50 Years of Active Service
Active Engine Company #3 of the Floral Park Fire Department honored John Syzmanski for 50 years of active service. Syzmanski is an ex-chief of the department and has also served in a number of offices in Company #3, including 2nd Lt., 1st Lt. and captain. Trustee Tom Tweedy, Deputy Mayor Kevin Greene, Paul Syzmanski, John Syzmanski, Legislator Rich Nicolello, Mayor Phil Guarnieri and Trustee Jim Rhatigan joined Syzmanski in the celebration.
"Fifty years is a long time in the span of any human life and such unflagging devotion deserves to be honored by a commemorative event. My presence at this occasion, however, was more than a public acknowledgment, more than the discharging of an official duty for it bespoke of a personal tie reaching back nearly as far as the memory of life itself," Mayor Phil Guarnieri said. "As a child I lived across the street from John Szymanski. I remember my elation, as if it were only yesterday, when he became chief of our fire department and the pride I felt that he lived so close, that he knew my name - that he would take the time and talk with me. That was many years ago and now he is no longer the chief and I'm now the mayor. Yet whenever I'm with him I still feel the same pride and the same sense of awe as if I was still that wide-eyed little boy who lived across the way.
"I wish every child or adult for that matter could have a John Szymanski in his or her lives. He turns 94 years young this month and yes, I still on occasion stop in and have a chat. His sparkle has never withered and one needs to converse but a short while to sense the inner grace and dignity of the man, his selflessness, his love of community, his deep and unwavering faith in God that shines through whenever we have the pleasure of his company or touched by the grandeur of his humanity."
Hempstead Became First Town in State to
Approve Cable TV Choice
Hempstead became the first town in New York State to authorize cable TV choice, approving a cable television franchise agreement with Verizon Communications. Supervisor Kate Murray announced that the town board acted on a Verizon proposal at its April 4 meeting.
"The town board has heard the call for competition from neighbors across the township," Murray said. "I am proud that Hempstead Town is poised to be the first town in the state - and one of the first municipalities in the country - in which two cable television companies will compete for business."
Under law, local government permission is required in order for a cable provider to operate in the community. Additionally, the state's Public Service Commission (PSC) must approve the agreement between Verizon and the town before the telecommunications giant can broadcast cable programming to residents of Hempstead Town.
Cablevision was the only cable television provider in Hempstead Town but never had an exclusive contract with the town. However, the huge costs associated with establishing a cable infrastructure have discouraged potential competitors from entering the local market until Verizon filed an application with Hempstead to service town residents.
"Over the years, many residents expressed frustration that cable television was the subject of a monopoly," Murray continued. "With the approval of Verizon's cable franchise agreement, residents will be able to choose among competitors in the cable TV marketplace."
Trustees Reserved Decision on Proposed Village Budget
The Floral Park Board of Trustees presented the village's 2006-07 tentative operating budget of $20,360,609 during a public hearing April 12. The board reserved decision. The net amount to be raised by taxes was $16,483,045. This meant that the proposed tax rate per $100 of assessed valuation was $8.87, 24 cents more than it was in 2005-06.
Total appropriations resulted in $22,098,573 with $20,360,609 for the General Fund, $1,237,874 for the Library Fund, $475,090 for the Pool Fund and $25,000 for Community Development. Although the swimming pool is contained in the budget, it is self-sustaining and not supported by taxpayer dollars.
FP Fire Department Chiefs Swore In
Floral Park Fire Department 4th Assistant Chief Everett Ulmer, 3rd Assistant Chief Richard Militello, 2nd Assistant Chief Frank Wakely, Jr., 1st Assistant Chief Kevin Kelleher and Chief of Department Joseph O'Grady swore in before Mayor Phil Guarnieri at a April 18 ceremony in village hall.
Comptroller: Nassau Public Hospital 'Effectively Out Of Cash'
The public corporation that runs Nassau County's only public hospital is "effectively out of cash" and will require additional county subsidies in order to pay its bills, Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman said in April as he released his monthly analysis of the Nassau Health Care Corporation's cash balances.
The report, which reviewed cash-on-hand as of April 14, found that the hospital corporation's cash and "cash equivalents" have fallen from $12.9 million in March to only $3.6 million in April. Working capital decreased to $2 million, a critically low level for an agency with an annual budget of approximately $490 million. In addition, the corporation had been deferring payments on a number of accounts payable, a practice likely to lead to a deterioration of the hospital's relationship with its vendors.
"Nassau's public hospital is in critical condition," Weitzman said. "Nassau University Medical Center remains the only safety net hospital system for Nassau's uninsured population. In addition, because the county guarantees the corporation's $300 million debt, its failure could have a drastic effect on Nassau County's own finances.
NHCC's new Chief Operating Officer, former Deputy County Executive Arthur Gianelli prepared an updated strategic plan that was expected to project the amount of additional county subsidies required to stabilize the corporation. The county's consultant, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, assisted in that plan's development.
FP Centre Ex-Chief Honored at Installation
Councilwoman Lee Seaman, Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Sandra Moon, Ex-Chief Steven Moon, Legislator Rich Nicolello, Chief Bill Delgado and Thomas Garofalo attended the Floral Park Centre Fire Company's installation, which honored Steven Moon for his year of service to the company and the community. Ex-Chief Moon received citations from state, county and town officials.
FP Fire Department Earns Unit Citation for Act of Heroism
The Floral Park Fire Department was awarded a unit citation for its acts of heroism, courage and valor at the annual Nassau County Firefighter's Awards Ceremony April 26. Police Officer Steven Derenze was also awarded a Civilian Silver Medal of Valor. These awards were presented for individual and department efforts made when two workers were electrocuted and revived after a construction accident on the corner of Calla Avenue and Zinnia Street. Pictured (rear row, from left) George Schlicter, Shawna Bennett, Ed Rothenberg, Ed Munz, Charles Zuba, Police Officer Steven Derenze, Chief Joseph O'Grady, Brian Hammerman, Trustee Jim Rhatigan, Assistant Chiefs Frank Wakely, Jr., Everett Ulmer and Rich Militello, Mayor Phil Guarnieri, Trustee Tom Tweedy and Deputy Mayor Kevin Greene.
Steve Corbett Earned 2006 Environmental Stewardship Award
The dedication ceremony for the new plantings at the Garden City Bird Sanctuary was held Sunday, April 30. Several families had donated towards trees and shrubs at the community nature preserve in memory or honor of loved ones. Ian Rottenberg, director of Youth and Family Ministries with the Garden City Community Church, read the names of the honorees and a poem.
Rob Alvey, Bird Sanctuary president, joined him and the group in a song, In the Bulb There is a Flower, and presented the 2006 Garden City Bird Sanctuary Environmental Stewardship Award to former Floral Park mayor Steve Corbett. Corbett talked about the volunteerism in both villages and that both sites owe their success to the many people who have given so generously of their time and financial support. The Floral Park Centennial Gardens and Bird Sanctuary will be an important aspect of the village's 100th anniversary in 2008.
Alfano DiNapoli 1 Percent Bill Signed by Governor
"This is a great victory for all homeowners and is yet another tool to help local taxpayers save more off their taxes," said Assemblyman Tom Alfano as he celebrated the governor's signing of legislation he sponsored with Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli that saves taxpayers hundreds of dollars off their property tax bills by slowing tax shifts from commercial properties to residential homeowners. The tax shifts were a result of the new assessment system.
Alfano and DiNapoli joined forces to write what local school districts dubbed the "1 percent bill." The bill was drafted in response to reports that local districts throughout the county and locally were facing higher tax hits to homeowners as a result from an assessment tax shift from commercial to residential taxpayers. The tax shifts in Franklin Square, Elmont, Floral Park and West Hempstead alone would have placed a greater increase in school taxes on residential homeowners. The shift was an after-effect of the new countywide reassessment by the County of Nassau. The Alfano-DiNapoli law cuts the shift and saves school taxpayers in communities up to $200 on their tax bills."
Joining Alfano and DiNapoli in sponsoring the tax savings bill were Assemblymembers Harvey Weisenberg, Charles Lavine, Rob Walker, Earlene Hooper and Bob Barra. In the Senate, State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean Skelos sponsored the bill.
Suozzi Signed 'Tobacco 19' Into Law
Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi signed 'Tobacco 19' into law April 26 in an effort to curb teenage smoking in the county. The law's definition of "tobacco products" includes cigarettes, cigars, bidis, chewing tobacco, powered tobacco and other tobacco products. With the exception of four states, the legal age for purchasing cigarettes is 18. In Alabama, Alaska and Utah the age is 19. The law went into effect 120 days after it was signed and is being enforced by the Nassau County Health Department.
Emergency Medical Services Week May 14-20
The week of May 14-20 was designated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in the Village of Floral Park. Deputy Mayor Kevin Greene invited all residents to attend the village board's May 16 meeting at Floral Park Village Hall when trustees honored the Floral Park Fire Department and Rescue Company No. 1 for their dedication and commitment to the village in providing this "vital" public service.
FP Man Allegedly Photographed 9-Year-Olds in the Nude
The Nassau County Special Victims Squad reported the arrest of a Floral Park man May 2, at 8:30 a.m. According to detectives, the defendant, Terrance O'Brien, 43, allegedly photographed two alleged female victims, both 9 years of age, in the nude and then downloaded the photographs to his computer. O'Brien had been charged with four counts of using a child in a sexual performance and four counts of promoting an obscene sexual performance of a child.
School District Budgets Passed
The following was a breakdown of school budget and school board trustee votes from Super Tuesday, May 16:
Floral Park-Bellerose District Budget
Residents passed the Floral Park-Bellerose District budget by a 1,042 to 681 margin. It called for a budget-to-budget increase of 4.69 percent and a tax levy increase of 2.91 percent. Further, incumbent school board members Archie Cheng (trustee) and David Fowler (president), who both ran unopposed, received 1,308 and 1,272 votes respectively.
Sewanhaka Central High School District Budget
Residents of the Sewanhaka Central High School District, which includes Elmont, Franklin Square, Floral Park-Bellerose and New Hyde Park-Garden City Park, approved the budget by a 4,066 to 3,552 margin. The budget called for a 5.94 percent spending increase and a 4.9 percent increase in the tax levy.
Elmont School District Budget
Residents passed the Elmont School District budget by a vote of 1,343 to 920. The budget called for a 5.92 percent spending increase and a 2.86 tax levy increase. In the race for the seat that once belonged to Joy Madera, who did not run for re-election, Pamela Byer bested Patrick Nicolosi by a 1,252 to 1,187 margin. Incumbent school board member Kenneth Williams received 1,165 while his challenger, Frank Ragona, proved victorious with 1,249 votes. The Elmont School District includes Stewart Manor.
Sewanhaka District Made Community Advocacy Top Priority
On Monday, May 15, the Floral Park Substance Prevention Council hosted its First Community Awareness Event at Floral Park Memorial High School. Student groups, law enforcement and staff gave speeches and presentations to students of the Sewanhaka Central High School District and their families.
"It was important to have the first annual community awareness event here in the district because with more than 8,500 students, we need to be aware of the issues our students face," Dr. John R. Williams, the former superintendent of the Sewanhaka Central High School District, said. "We hope to continue this relationship with the Floral Park Substance Prevention Council to raise awareness and build unity among the community we serve."
SADD, Sewanhaka Peer Helpers, Justice Edward McCarty and Scott Maidat from the S.E. Nassau Guidance Center talked about issues regarding peer pressure, substance abuse and how to stay safe. Sewanhaka Peer helpers acted out skits and fun prizes were distributed.
Bellerose Village Received Homeland Security Grant
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy announced that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $52,588 in grants to four communities in New York's 4th Congressional District, including Bellerose Village. The grants were awarded through the department's Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP). Bellerose Village received $13,922.
"Since 9/11, we've given our first responders quite a bit of new responsibility, but hardly any new resources to do their job," McCarthy said. "These well-deserved and long overdue grants will help ensure our area's preparedness should the worst occur."
Heritage Park Marked Fifth Anniversary
May 19 marked the fifth anniversary of the dedication of Heritage Park in Floral Park. The park is located opposite Floral Park Village Hall and is a quiet oasis and an area filled with beautiful and colorful annuals and perennials, which flower throughout the year. Benches are set throughout the park for one to sit and read or perhaps have lunch or a cup of coffee while enjoying the pleasant and peaceful surroundings.
Water Authority Board Approved Rate Increase
At its May 30 meeting, the board of directors of the Water Authority of Western Nassau County approved a 7.56 percent increase in water rates after approving the 2006-07 operating and capital plans. This rate increase, which went into effect June 1, was required to provide the revenue necessary to offset increases in power, chemical and construction costs.
The quarterly bill for the minimum use customer increased from $21.47 to $23.09. Average annual residential charges (based on an average of 110,000 gallons per year) increased from $239 to $257. Average annual commercial charges (based on 481,400 gallons per year) increased from $970 to $1,043. The annual rate charged per fire hydrant increased from $519 to $558.
Gas Tax Cap Agreement Provided Much Needed Relief
Senator Michael Balboni announced a legislative agreement that provided New York motorists relief from high gas prices by capping and reducing the sales taxes on gasoline. The plan, which lowered the cost of gasoline by up to 8 cents per gallon and saved New York drivers as much as $450 million annually, went into effect June 1.
Under the agreement, Nassau and Suffolk Counties have the option of passing laws to cap the local sales tax on gas at a fixed rate, which would provide further relief for Long Island motorists. "The state should not reap a windfall when the price of gasoline soars, nor should big oil companies get richer," Senator Balboni said. "The plan agreed upon by the Legislature will freeze the tax when gas prices soar over $2 per gallon, offering immediate and much-needed relief for struggling New York motorists."
New York State collected 4 percent of every gallon of fuel in sales tax, an average of 12 cents per gallon at current prices. As the price of gas goes up, the state collected more and more tax revenue. The legislative agreement required that service station owners pass along the savings to consumers in the form of lower gas prices. The State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, in conjunction with the chair of the State Consumer Protection Board, enforce the cap.
D.A. Announced Plan to Protect Nassau's Elderly at Nursing Facilities
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that her office would begin offering an extensive in-service training program to the more than 30 Nassau County skilled-nursing facilities caring for some of the county's most vulnerable citizens.
"Part of my job as D.A. is to provide communities with information and educational programs that can prevent crime and ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are not exploited," said Rice. "Rather than wait for a crime to occur, my office is taking pro-active, preventative measures with a goal of decreasing instances of abuse, neglect and mistreatment of the county's elderly."
The program is designed to supplement previously existing programs run by both the county and private facilities. Nassau County has 35 nursing homes and more than 50,000 residents over the age of 75. In February 2006, Rice also created the Special Victims Bureau, designed to handle crimes involving and victimizing the elderly in Nassau County. At that time she promised more changes in how her office dealt with elder abuse and neglect and vowed to hire specialists that have experience dealing with these types of crime.
Public Transportation Bill Passed for People With Disabilities
The New York State Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill, sponsored by State Senator Michael Balboni, which allows people with disabilities to more easily cross over the Queens County and Nassau County border on public transportation. Under the legislation, Long Island Rail Road and Long Island Bus service must coordinate with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to coordinate a system to improve service between the two counties.
Queens and Nassau counties provide services for disabled persons, including those disabled due to illness, injury, age or other semi-permanent incapacity, who are generally unable to utilize mass transportation. Individuals are picked up at their residences and transported to a doctor's appointment or other location. If, however, the individual starts his or her trip in Queens and his/her destination is in Nassau County, that person would be dropped off at the border of Queens County and then required to cross over on their own or be picked up at the border by a bus service from Nassau County.
Under Balboni's legislation (5.3575A), the LIRR and Long Island Bus must set up a reciprocal agreement with the MTA to traverse the Queens County and Nassau County borders within a five-mile radius of the borderline to deliver disabled passengers to their destination. The legislation also passed the State Assembly.
Sewanhaka Superintendent Announced Resignation
Sewanhaka Central High School District Superintendent Dr. John Williams announced his resignation at a meeting of the board of education. Dr. Williams stayed on until Aug. 31, 2006 and then stepped down from the district he has headed for the past two years.
Dr. Williams arrived from Scranton, PA, where he served as superintendent, to succeed Dr. George Goldstein, the longtime superintendent of the district. Now, the Sewanhaka Board has to find its next superintendent, as Dr. Williams resigned, he said, to pursue other opportunities in a K-12 school district and teaching and administration in higher education.
In a statement, Dr. Williams said, "I have truly enjoyed my work overseeing the learning and activities of the nearly 8,600 students who attend school here and administering the work of this dynamic organization of 1,200 staff members. The recent passage of the $134 million budget is evidence of the hard work of the board and strong community support we are enjoying in the Sewanhaka Central High School District presently. This leaves our district in a strong financial position to face the next and future years."
SFP United Methodist Church Held Rededication of Sanctuary Service
The South Floral Park United Methodist Church held a rededication of Sanctuary Service. Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby presented a Certificate of Recognition and congratulated the Rev. Emmanuel Asamoa-Amoako and the Rev. Dr. Allen J. Pinckney, Jr. on this happy and holy occasion.
Deadly Car Accident in Floral Park Killed Four
The Homicide Squad reported a fatal auto accident that occurred in Floral Park June 14 at 12:40 a.m. A 1998 Toyota Avalon, operated by Max-Lesly Auguste, 19, of Elmont, was southbound on Plainfield Avenue when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree just south of Clarence Street. The collision resulted in the deaths of Auguste and three other passengers: Kevin McArthur, 18, of Elmont; Michael Richardson, 20, of Elmont; and Nyana Adingupu, 16, of Elmont. A fourth passenger, a 16-year-old female, received non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Winthrop-University Hospital.
Police Arrested Three After South FP Armed Burglary
The Fifth Squad reported details of three arrests made in connection with a burglary that occurred June 10 at 4:05 a.m. in South Floral Park.
According to detectives, the three defendants, acting in concert, allegedly forced entry into the Kingston Avenue home of a 31-year-old victim, who is allegedly known to at least one of the subjects.
Once inside, police state the subjects reportedly shared use of a handgun to threaten the victim, directing him to the basement. In the interim, other residents of the home were able to notify police, who apprehended the subjects in their vehicle on Elmont Road and Hempstead Turnpike. There was no loss and no reported injuries, the subjects having fled when they became aware that 911 had been called.
Arrested and charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and second-degree possession of a weapon were Carlos Francis, 24, of Freeport; Dayvon Green, 25, of Laurelton; and Keith Boney, 28, of Elmont.
As Graduation Neared, FP Memorial Grappled With Students' Deaths
As Floral Park Memorial High School seniors prepared for the road ahead, they celebrated a legacy of true friendship, good will and humor classmates Kevin McArthur and Robert "Bobby" Getschel left behind.
Kevin and Bobby died a day apart from one another, just one week before their high school graduation. During a memorial service in the high school's gym June 20, district faculty and administration posthumously presented their parents with their sons' diplomas. And as classmates gear up for the high school prom and anxiously await diplomas of their own, they mourn friends who helped them see the bright side of life with a laugh, a smile or a lending hand.
Family and friends buried Robert Getschel June 19 and Kevin McArthur June 21. They planned on attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Nassau Community College respectively and were just 18 years old.
Floral Park Memorial's Class of 2006 Graduated
More than 200 Floral Park Memorial High School seniors graduated during ceremonies held Saturday, June 24, at the high school.
New Pastor Assigned to Our Lady of Victory Parish
Bishop William Murphy assigned Father John V. O'Farrell pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Floral Park, effective June 28. Father O'Farrell, formerly associate pastor at St. Anthony of Padua in East Northport, said he was surprised to hear of the appointment. "I was not expecting it," he said. "I'm delighted. The people here are absolutely wonderful."
Father O'Farrell holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and psychology from St. John's University, a master's degree in counseling psychology from Fordham University and a professional degree in school administration and leadership from St. John's University. He also completed graduate work at New York University, Boston University and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Suozzi Signed MOU for Nassau Centre Proposal
Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with developer Scott Rechler of Reckson and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, moving the $1.6 billion 'Nassau Centre' proposal forward and paving the way for a lease with the Lighthouse Development Group, LLC concerning redevelopment of the 77-acre Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site.
"This brings us one step closer to creating a 'Nassau Centre' at the Coliseum site that will include thousands of new units of housing, office space, restaurants, and shops and a renovated, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility," Suozzi said.
Under the agreement, the developers and the county are seeking Town of Hempstead zoning approval as required for the project. A final lease negotiated between the developers and the county will be submitted for approval to the County Legislature. The Memorandum of Understanding between Suozzi and the developers calls for the developers to make annual nonrefundable option payments of $1.5 million to the county and obligates the developer to pay the county's legal and third-party consultant fees in connection with redevelopment of the Coliseum site, including for required environmental reviews.
The agreement notes that the coliseum redevelopment is "expressly conditioned" upon the construction and operation of a minor league baseball park at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex by the developer or a third party.
The county intends to issue a separate Request for Proposals for the Mitchel Field site to invite developers, including the Rechler-Wang group, to build a minor league stadium and bring a baseball team to the county. The Mitchel Field site is adjacent to the 77-acre Coliseum site.
Jacobs Endorsed Spitzer for Governor
On July 6, Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs announced that she changed her gubernatorial endorsement - she previously supported Democrat Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi in his bid for governor, but then supported Democrat Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. "Eliot Spitzer has a strong agenda for Long Island and property taxes are his main concern," Jacobs said outside of her Woodbury home standing with Spitzer. "What he has done for Wall Street, he can do for New York State."
When asked why she changed her endorsement, Jacobs said she thought Suozzi would be more valuable in Nassau County. When asked for his reaction to Jacobs' endorsement, Suozzi said, "Eliot Spitzer has all the endorsements, all the lobbyist money and all the insiders lined up with him. All I have is my record of accomplishments reforming Nassau County and turning it around, and my detailed plans to lower property taxes, improve our troubled schools and create more jobs in our state. I will let them decide."
Jacobs said that her decision, which she said was a personal one, was not based on any negativism toward Suozzi, but her thought that Spitzer is "very qualified" to be governor.
South Floral Park Hosted Armed Forces Day
Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino presented an official Town of Hempstead Certificate of Recognition to South Floral Park Village Mayor Angel E. Soto (third from left) during the 16th Annual South Floral Park Armed Forces ceremony held at the South Floral Park Fire Department. Participating in the event was the Color Guard from the US Marine Corps Garden City Detachment with keynote speaker, Master Sergeant Smith of the USMC. Also involved were American Legion Post 1033, Western Long Island Detachment of the Marine Corps League and the South Floral Park Fire Department. Pictured from left are SFP Trustee Ernest Jackson, Legislator John Ciotti, SFP Mayor Soto, Councilman Ambrosino, Master Sergeant Smith, SFP Trustee Andy Russac and Jason Munch of the US Air Force.
Historical Society Held Fundraising Campaign for New Museum
The Floral Park Historical Society held a fundraising campaign for its new museum, which is expected to open this year. Local artist Mary Gosden donated a 12x15 inch hand-painted tray decorated with flowers based upon the turn-of-the-century seed catalogs of John Lewis Childs. Former mayor, Ann Corbett, Society vice president, holds a special 9.5x18 inch print of flowers, which was sold years ago by the Childs Company, copies of which were available from the Historical Society. Looking on are Village Historian Walter Gosden and former Society President Peter Fleig.
Aviation Museum Audit Discovered Lax Management, Absence of Internal Controls
An audit of Garden City's Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field, which is operated under an agreement with the county by Museums at Mitchel (MAM), a not-for-profit organization, revealed a "distressing lack of financial controls and management oversight across the board," according to Comptroller Howard Weitzman, whose office scrutinized the museum's operations and finances between July 2003 and April 2006 at the request of Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs and Craig Johnson, the Legislature's Finance Committee chair.
"The Cradle of Aviation celebrates Long Island's pivotal role in the development of air travel, from the first biplanes to man walking on the moon," Comptroller Weitzman said. "Unlike the marvelous vintage aircraft on exhibit there, however, the museum has barely gotten off the ground. Attendance is declining and deficits are growing. Our audit found that staff conflict contributes to the dysfunctional operation of the Cradle and impedes efforts at reform. Drastic operational changes must be implemented if the museum is to achieve viability."
In response, Cradle of Aviation board trustees July 19 directed Museum President Eric Ricioppo to address any recommendation not already implemented as outlined in the audit report. The board further directed Ricioppo to report his actions and recommendations within 30 days. Board Vice Chair Raymond Jansen said the report, "while helpful in detailing some operational deficiencies," didn't specifically cast the museum's shortfalls in a correct time frame.
Town and Veterans Declare Victory
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and members of the town board joined with state senators from Nassau County and hundreds of happy veterans as they celebrated victory in a "battle" with New York State's Division of Veterans' Affairs. The clash focused around the division's planned closure of the only N.Y.S. Veterans' Affairs Counseling Center in Nassau County.
"When it really counted, our veterans fought for us...I am glad that some government officials were able to return the favor and fight for them," announced Murray. "Hempstead Town and our state senators joined in a battle against the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs and we forced it to reverse its decision to close the counseling center in our county."
Murray received a letter from the state's Division of Veterans' Affairs, dated May 24, 2006, indicating the plan to shut the veterans service center located at Hempstead Town Hall. In a written response to George Basher, director of New York's Veterans' Affairs Division, the supervisor objected to the planned June 20 closure of the veterans counseling center, and asked the director to reconsider.
Having been rebuffed by Basher, the town turned to New York State Senator Michael Balboni, chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, to intercede. Balboni, along with the entire New York State Senate Delegation from Nassau County, joined the fight to keep the center open. On Wednesday, June 14 the state division of Veterans Affairs reversed its position, announcing that the facility in Nassau will remain open.
Suozzi Came Out Swinging Against Spitzer
The debate between Democratic candidates for governor - Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer - showed that despite both being Democrats who have a proven record in their present positions, the two candidates have their share of differences.
Spitzer was the front runner with statewide name recognition, a sizable war chest and even a book about him that hit bookstores while Suozzi, who never seemed to be short on confidence, claimed to be the candidate who would bring much needed sweeping reform to Albany to fix a broken state government.
Our Lady of Victory Said Goodbye to Monsignor Nosser
Monsignor Charles Nosser, who came to Our Lady of Victory Parish on Aug. 1, 1974, retired. He is surely missed by those in the Our Lady of Victory community that have had the pleasure of knowing him for the past 32 years. Those in particular, students at Our Lady of Victory School, who recently presented Monsignor Nosser with a special shawl they made to honor his retirement.
Monsignor Nosser came to Our Lady of Victory Parish from Notre Dame in New Hyde Park, where he was in residence. He also served parishioners at St. Joseph's in Lake Ronkonkoma and Holy Spirit in New Hyde Park.
A dinner to celebrate Our Lady of Victory School's 75th anniversary, with a special tribute to all of Monsignor Nosser's achievements, took place Oct. 20 at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston.
FP Still Wants More Equitable Air Traffic Distribution
At the Aug. 8 Floral Park village board meeting, Trustee Gerry Bambrick reported that he was again seeking Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy's assistance as the village tried to move toward the goal of a more equitable distribution of air traffic.
Specifically, the village sought the compilation of data regarding the selection of the ILS (instruments approach) and VOR (visual approach) to Runway 22. "We are seeking not only raw numbers as to how many times the ILS approach was used versus the VOR approach in a given period but also why the ILS approach was chosen over the VOR approach," Trustee Bambrick said. "For example, as we understand the selection criteria, when Kennedy Tower selects Runway 22 for arrivals, TRACON will select the ILS approach if visibility is poor. However, there are often instances when the visibility appears clear and the ILS approach will continue to be utilized even though it had been in continuous use for the prior few days."
Bellerose Village Officials Presented Master Beautification Plan
Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino joined Bellerose Village Mayor Donna Sherrer in the presentation of the "Master Beautification Plan" for the Village of Bellerose. The plan calls for a renovation of the village's infrastructure, which includes roads, sidewalks, lighting, facades and curbing in the business and residential communities. Councilman Ambrosino is working with the village board to devise ways of funding the project. Also in attendance were Trustee Rosaleen Shea, Deputy Mayor Ronald DeSouza, Mayor Sherrer, Councilman Ambrosino and Trustee Mary O'Donoghue.
TOH Stepped Up Efforts on Eradicating Graffiti Vandalism
Flanked by more than 100 pieces of town property that were vandalized by graffiti during August, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes joined with the Levittown School District, Chamber of Commerce and 8th Precinct to step up efforts to eradicate such vandalism.
Referring to the graffiti strewn across the traffic, parking and other municipal signs as the "scourge of the suburbs," Supervisor Murray vowed to eradicate such vandalism by joining forces with the local community.
"Graffiti hurts our neighborhoods and the town has a Zero Tolerance policy concerning this crime," she added. "We are working aggressively with the police, residents, schools, businesses and others to catch those who are scrawling graffiti in our area. We will use every tool at our disposal to win the war on graffiti."
During that past month, the town replaced or cleaned approximately 125 signs that have been defaced and destroyed.
Alfano Delivered $26,000 in Road Grants to SFP
Assemblyman Tom Alfano was in South Floral Park presenting Mayor Angel Soto with a $26,000 check for road improvement project grant monies for the village. Alfano was able to secure the monies through CHIPS and grant funding for the village.
Spitzer Won Primary Easily as Expected
Tom Suozzi's dream of becoming state governor ended in September when, as expected, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer easily defeated him in the Democratic primary. With 99 percent of the election district reporting, Spitzer collected 570,205 votes (81 percent) to Suozzi's 135,740 (19 percent). The Nassau County Board of Elections website reported that for the county, Spitzer collected 25,869 to Suozzi's 17,895.
Hempstead Town Unveiled LI's First 'Autistic Child Area' Sign
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla and Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin unveiled Long Island's first "Autistic Child Area" traffic safety sign in Franklin Square. Joining the town officials at the event were Inga Krevatas, the mother of twin daughters who are autistic; representatives from autism advocacy and resource groups, Empowering Long Island's Journey through Autism (ELIJA) and Autism Speaks; administrators and educators from the Franklin Square School District; as well as members of the Franklin Square community.
"Keeping families safe in our neighborhoods is one of the primary obligations of local government," Supervisor Murray said. ""By placing 'Autistic Child Area' signs we are raising the alertness of motorists as they travel on roadways that traverse areas where autistic children live and play."
Town officials believe that the "Autistic Child Area" safety sign was the first on Long Island. Members of various autism advocacy groups have said that the sign might even be the first in New York State.
FP Woman's Club Dedicated New Park, Garden in Front of Library
The Floral Park Woman's Club hosted a dedication of a new park and garden at the triangle in front of the Floral Park Library. The fountain, benches and plantings provide a wonderful respite, under the shade of hearty oak trees, to read a book or just enjoy the day. The plaque, dedicating the park from the Floral Park Woman's Club, reads "In honor of our members past, present and future. Founded by Mrs. John Lewis Childs and serving the community since 1898." The bronze plaque is mounted on a granite sphere from the 1939 World's Fair. The club hosted a small reception after the ceremony on the library lawn.
Suozzi Announced Major Initiative to Save Cradle of Aviation Museum
Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi and the directors of the Cradle of Aviation Museum announced a major initiative to ensure the museum remains a vital part of the county's cultural life. To remedy the museum's current financial difficulties, Suozzi recruited new members to serve on the museum's board of directors and is challenging board members to raise $2 million to help keep the museum viable.
"We are going to do whatever it takes to keep the Cradle of Aviation open," Suozzi said. "This institution - which some aviation experts say rivals the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum - is a wonderful educational resource, right here in Nassau County. It's also a vital fixture on Museum Row. We need to make sure it not only survives - but thrives well into the future. And we are looking for people with the 'right stuff' to help us achieve this goal."
Suozzi sought 10 individuals to serve as board members who would agree to raise or donate $100,000 each. In addition, the county executive sought "super donors" to raise an additional $1 million.
Floral Park Memorial Celebrated 50th Year at Homecoming
Under sunny skies, Floral Park Memorial High School began celebrating its 50th year with the annual homecoming parade. The parade kicked off from the school, with Interim Superintendent of the Sewanhaka Central High School District, Warren Meierdiercks, and Floral Park Memorial Principal, Kathleen Sottile, surrounded by members of the Sewanhaka Central High School District and Floral Park BSD and the PTSA.
Floral Park Man Died in Fatal Hicksville Accident
Floral Park resident Antonio Bianco, 54, was killed Oct. 4 when he collided with a truck pulling a postal trailer in Hicksville. According to Nassau County homicide detectives, Bianco, who was operating a 2005 Nissan pickup truck southbound on Broadway, was attempting to make a left turn onto Old Country Road when he was involved in a collision with a 2001 18-wheeler traveling north and pulling a postal trailer.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., the Hicksville Fire Department received the call for the accident with injuries. Bianco was transported to Nassau University Medical Center and pronounced dead at 8:18 p.m.
Bellerose Woman Accused of DWI With Son in Car
The 3rd Precinct reported the arrest of a Bellerose woman for allegedly driving while intoxicated with her son in the car in Mineola, Monday, Oct. 9 at 12:30 p.m. The defendant, Patricia Lehe, 42, was operating her 1990 Honda Civic northbound on Mineola Boulevard, in the vicinity of Washington Avenue, when she allegedly drove her vehicle into a ditch at a construction site.
Third Precinct police officers responded to the scene and placed Lehe under arrest. The defendant's 4-year-old son was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, police said. He was, however, not injured, according to reports, and was released to a family member. Lehe is charged with DWI and endangering the welfare of a child.
Stewart Manor FD Received $100,976 Check
The Stewart Manor Fire Department was awarded an "Assistance to Firefighters" grant from the US Department of Homeland Security. The fire department used these funds toward the purchase of new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Prior to the grant, some Stewart Manor firefighters used SCBA units that were more than 15 years old.
Weitzman: Nassau Homeowners Shortchanged on STAR Tax Rebates
A report issued by Comptroller Howard Weitzman revealed a $64 million disparity in the size of New York State STAR rebate checks distributed to homeowners in Nassau and Westchester counties with similarly valued properties and school tax bills. Nassau residents are receiving significantly lower rebates in almost every case.
At a Mineola press conference Weitzman said, "The inequitable distribution of the STAR rebates is outrageous. The state school aid formulas and the STAR calculations make no sense. In total, our analysis shows that Nassau taxpayers were shortchanged by $64 million," Weitzman said. The report shows that the average basic STAR rebate check in Nassau is $240.75. By contrast, the average in Westchester is $386.27. In many of the communities compared in the two counties, the difference in checks is frequently $200 or more.
Weitzman and the superintendents called for a revision of current formulas that determine the distribution of state aid to school districts and an overhaul of New York State's school aid and Tax Relief (STAR) rebate program. Weitzman first examined the unfairness of the state education aid formulas in a December 2004 report to state lawmakers entitled, "School Taxes and State Aid in Nassau." That study found that Nassau, which leads the state with the highest school tax bills, also receives the least amount of aid in New York -16.6 percent vs. the statewide average of 37.4 percent (2002 figures). The comptroller called for a revamping of existing aid formulas to take into consideration residents' income levels, saying "any future changes in the formulas should not be weighted heavily on property values, and must consider ability to pay."
$60,000 County Environmental Bond Act Funding Approved for Centennial Gardens
The Nassau County Legislature approved a $60,000 grant from the Environmental Bond Act for Floral Park's Centennial Gardens and Bird Sanctuary. The Floral Park Conservation Society and the Village of Floral Park approved the proposal for the grant. County Legislators Vincent Muscarella and Rich Nicolello sponsored the funding at the Legislature.
Town of Hempstead Honored Nassau County's Bravest
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray honored local volunteer firefighters, including Stewart Manor Fire Department Assistant Chief Daniel O'Keefe and Floral Park Fire Department Chief Joseph O'Grady, at a special ceremony Oct. 18. A total of 20 individuals were honored for their courage and dedication to protecting local communities.
"Firefighters make significant sacrifices and put their lives on the line every day to protect people and their property," Supervisor Murray said. "What makes the activities of our talented honorees so compelling is the fact that they volunteer, giving of their personal time, to ensure that our residents are safe."
Assistant Chief O'Keefe has been a member of the Stewart Manor Fire Department for 12 years and has held every office in the department, including that of chief. In addition to his firematic duties, Assistant Chief O'Keefe has obtained his certification as a New York State paramedic and is an active member of the department's EMS squad. He was directly involved in two recent EMS calls where his actions helped save the lives of persons in crisis.
As an active firefighter for two decades and as department chief for five years, Chief Joseph O'Grady has given selflessly to the Floral Park Fire Department. At the helm of the department, Chief O'Grady has been an effective recruiter and educator in the field of fire safety and an effective advocate for departmental funding for educational programs.
OLV Celebrated Anniversary, Honors Monsignor Nosser
On Oct. 20, Our Lady of Victory (OLV) School celebrated its 75th anniversary at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Douglaston. The evening began with a Mass concelebrated by Pastor John O'Farrell, Monsignor Charles Nosser, the Reverend Glen Kennedy and the Reverend Varghese Kocherry.
A wonderful celebration followed the Mass honoring and thanking Monsignor Charles Nosser for all of the hard work, dedication and compassion he has shown Our Lady of Victory School over the years.
Weitzman: Probation Department Not Monitoring High-Risk Sex Offenders 24-7
Some sex offenders on probation are considered so dangerous that a court has ordered their movements to be monitored via a GPS tracking system. Yet, Nassau County's Probation Department routinely monitors their movements only five days a week until 4:45 p.m., rather than on a 24-hour, real-time basis, according to an audit of the probation agency released by Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman.
"When a court orders that a sex offender should be under constant electronic monitoring while on probation, the people of Nassau deserve a Department of Probation that can provide that level of protection," Weitzman said. "But our audit of the county's probation agency revealed that it monitors the tracking information from these GPS devices on less than a round-the-clock basis. This situation is unacceptable. Probation departments in other counties such as Suffolk and Westchester staff their offices in order to monitor this tracking data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nassau should do no less."
The audit noted that both Suffolk and Westchester counties have staff dedicated solely to GPS monitoring, working in shifts to provide coverage 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. "In its response to our audit," Weitzman said, "the department says it 'would like to run a 7-day operation' and is planning to do so in a pilot program beginning in the first quarter of 2007. That program should begin as soon as possible and be made permanent."
Exceptional Citizens Fred and MaryAnne Dorgler Named Volunteers of the Year
More than 120 devoted volunteers kicked up their heels and shared a wonderful evening of festivities that included dancing, laughter and delicious food at the 2006 Volunteer Recognition Dinner, hosted by the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. Held at Koenig's restaurant in Floral Park, the volunteers, who are the "heart" of the House, were honored for their outstanding efforts during an award ceremony.
In addition to bestowing a first time "service award" to long-time volunteer Joe O'Donnell of Floral Park, special award recipients included Dorothy Donofrio, Vinnie DeGregorio, Ed Bochynski, Connie Holub and Rosanne Tytonne.
Awards were also given to 20-year volunteers who have been with the House since it opened in 1986. Those volunteers were Dottie Bittan, Dot Browe, Vera Fiechter, Goldie Waters and Bernice Glass.
Fred and MaryAnne Dorgler, residents of Floral Park Village, were named the 2006 Volunteers of the Year. This award is given annually to a thoughtful and caring recipient who has dedicated many years to the House. MaryAnne has been a volunteer at the House for the past 14 years; Fred for the last seven.
2006 Election Results
4th Congressional District
Incumbent Democrat Carolyn McCarthy prevailed once again, besting Republican challenger Martin Blessinger by a vote of 98,011 to 53,277.
7th Senatorial District
Incumbent Republican Senator Michael Balboni claimed victory in this year's race against Democrat challenger Joseph Hand by a vote of 42,198 to 30,768.
21st Assembly District
Incumbent Republican Thomas Alfano bested Democrat challenger Alfred Cooper, Sr. in this year's race by a vote of 20,128 to 10,981.
Pilot GPS Tracking Program Monitors Sex Offenders 24/7
Senator Michael Balboni and Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi announced a new state grant to fund a Global Positioning System (GPS) Pilot Program to provide 24/7 monitoring of convicted sex offenders in the county. Balboni secured a $500,000 state grant to implement the pilot program. The funding covers the technology and staffing required for 24-hour supervision, which began Nov. 15.
The pilot program is designed to prevent further sexual victimization by sex offenders released to the community with the realization that traditional practices are not adequate to address the risks posed by this unique population of offenders. The containment model Nassau County adopted under the pilot program is based on protocols established by the Center for Sex Offender Management (a project of the US Department of Justice).
Long-Time Volunteer Joe O'Donnell Earned Service Award
The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island marked its 20th year of service to families by honoring many devoted volunteers of the House during the 2006 Volunteer Recognition Dinner. In recognition of the outstanding efforts of these volunteers, who are the "pulse" of the House, the House hosted its annual dinner/dance.
The House presented the Service Award to Joe O'Donnell of Floral Park, a volunteer since 1989. Joe is a retired florist in a family-operated business that began in Jamaica in 1947. "The House is a special place," Joe said. "You deal with the families who need you. They are so appreciative of anything you do for them, whether you talk to them or drive them where they need to be."
Jasmine Ruiz Won Centennial Logo Contest
At the Nov. 8 Floral Park Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor Phil Guarnieri congratulated Jasmine Ruiz, a sophomore at Floral Park Memorial High School, for winning the Centennial Logo Contest. Jasmine's design was chosen from hundreds of entries the Centennial Committee received.
As winner of the contest, former Mayor Tom Hayden, chairman of the Centennial Committee, presented Jasmine with an iPod and former Mayor Ann Corbett, representing the Historical Society, presented her with an iris reproduction of a John Lewis Childs print. Jasmine's design will be featured on stationery, banners and official Centennial memorabilia.
Mayor Joseph Troiano Appointed to NYCOM Legislative Committee
Stewart Manor Mayor Joseph Troiano was appointed co-chair of the Employee Relations/Public Safety Policy Committee of the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM). As a committee co-chair, Mayor Troiano serves on the NYCOM Legislative Committee. Mayor Joseph Delfino of the City of White Plains, president of the Conference of Mayors, made the appointment.
As a member of the Legislative Committee, Mayor Troiano is directly involved in developing and ratifying NYCOM's legislative program for the 2007 session. Additionally, he works with the other Legislative Committee members and NYCOM's entire membership to secure the enactment of bills favorable to local taxpayers.
The Conference of Mayors represents city and village governments in New York State and has 575 members, ranging from the smallest village to the City of New York. NYCOM has been in existence since 1910.
17-Year-Old Allegedly Threatened With Knife, Robbed
The Fifth Squad reported details of two arrests for a robbery made Nov. 20 at 4:35 p.m. in South Floral Park.
According to Detective Robert Conklin of the Fifth Squad, on Nov. 20 at approximately 2:30 p.m. defendants Tomas Terrero, 17, and Alejandro Campiz, 18, both of Arthur Avenue in South Floral Park, acted in concert to allegedly rob a 17-year-old victim of his cell phone and money, allegedly assaulting him and threatening him with a knife before fleeing with the phone.
Subsequently, at about 4:35 p.m., three friends of the victim went to the defendants' residence to retrieve the stolen phone, whereupon the defendants, and a third subject not yet arrested, allegedly assaulted them with baseball bats and a broomstick, causing one victim, Robert Viscusi, 21, of Oak Street in Floral Park, to sustain a skull fracture, for which he was later admitted to Winthrop-University Hospital for emergency surgery. Two other victims were treated at Franklin General Hospital for other related but less severe injuries.
Police officers responding to a 911 call for an assault at the defendants' residence recovered the victim's cell phone as well as the bats and knife. Both Terrero and Campiz were charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree gang assault, first-degree assault (two counts) and second-degree assault (two counts).
1st Battalion Volunteer Fire Departments Launched Operation Wounded Warrior
1st Battalion volunteer fire departments officially launched the 2006 Christmas care package collection - Operation Wounded Warrior. Operation Wounded Warrior delivered Christmas care package items to members of the US military who were wounded in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and are recovering from these wounds at Camp Lejeune, NC-US Marine Wounded Warrior Barracks and the US Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
Residents helped by contributing Christmas care package items, a monetary donation used for the purchase of these items and to offset significant gasoline and tolls travel expenses incurred during the 1,200-mile three-day trip journey to Camp LeJeune, NC, and Bethesda, MD Naval Hospital.
Bellerose Community Members Protested Overdevelopment
Senator Frank Padavan and Bellerose community members gathered Nov. 19 to protest overcrowding and overdevelopment in Bellerose. "With McMansions popping up all over the borough and illegal two-family houses endangering the welfare of our neighbors it is important to address these problems quickly," Senator Padavan said.
Proposed Flea Market at Belmont Prompted Community Concern
Carol DeSanto ran the flea market at Aqueduct for 10 years. She hoped to relocate to Belmont Racetrack come March of this year but the idea has concerned Floral Park village and school officials, who stated - for the record - their opposition at a Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals hearing Nov. 29.
DeSanto, general manager of Plain N Fancy Shows, Inc., which runs the flea market, sought a special exception permit; this lies exclusively within the Town of Hempstead's jurisdiction - not the Village of Floral Park.
The eight-acre area, known as the Green Parking Field at Belmont, would accommodate 400 vendors selling anything from clothing to housewares - 250 less vendors currently selling merchandise at Aqueduct. DeSanto's attorney noted that in the past decade there have not been any security or safety issues at Aqueduct, which is located across the street from a grade school and down the block from a high school.
Part of the proposed site for the flea market at Belmont actually abuts the playing fields of Floral Park-Bellerose School. Superintendent Dr. Lynn Pombonyo told board members she is "very concerned about security and safety."
"We in western Nassau County jealously guard our suburban quality of life," Floral Park Trustee Tom Tweedy said. "We, as elected officials and committed volunteers continually work to achieve that static yet dynamic balance so vital to a successful community; we all agree that suburban quality has evolved and changed over the years, however such a radical intensification of zoning use within the Town of Hempstead would irrevocably change the suburban landscape within the Villages of Floral Park, South Floral Park, Bellerose and the unincorporated areas of Bellerose Terrace and Elmont."
Gerald G. Wright, chairman of the Town of Hempstead's Board of Zoning Appeals, said he and two other board members would inspect the properties with Superintendent Pombonyo to investigate the discrepancies in the photos presented by each side.
Board members placed the issue on the decision calendar. If approved, the flea market would run three days a week - Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays - between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from March through December 2007. DeSanto said she is willing to make changes to put the school district's security concerns at ease.
Third Arrest Made in South Floral Park Robbery
Police arrested a third subject in connection to an alleged robbery and assault that occurred in South Floral Park Nov. 20 at approximately 2:30 p.m. According to Fifth Squad Detective Louie, Fraicor Terrero, 25, of Arthur Avenue South in South Floral Park, was also charged with first-degree assault, first-degree gang assault and two counts of second-degree assault.
Earlier in November, Fifth Squad police arrested Tomas Terrero, 17, and Alejandro Campiz, 18, both of Arthur Avenue in South Floral Park, for acting in concert to allegedly rob a 17-year-old victim of his cell phone and money, allegedly assaulting him and threatening him with a knife before fleeing with the phone.
American Legion Installed Commander Paul Cain
Nassau County Legion Vice Commander Ned Johnson installed Paul Cain as commander of the Floral Park American Legion during a luncheon at Koenig's as Past Commander Peter Fleig looked on. Other officers installed were Vice Commander Joe Reale, Chaplain Jim Reed, Corresponding Adjutant and Past Commander Jim MacDonald, Sergeant-at-Arms Ed LaChapelle, Recording Adjutant and Past Commander Al Trasolini, Finance Officer and Past Commander Don Beetle, Newsletter Editor and Past Commander Ned Johnson and Judge Advocate and Past Commander Bill Corbett.
Suozzi Signed Executive Order to Use 'Green' Cleaning Products in Facilities
In his ongoing effort to improve Nassau County's environment, Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi signed an executive order mandating that "green" cleaning products, free of potentially harmful chemicals, be used in all county facilities.
County workers have begun using environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products in the Executive Building at One West Street in Mineola, which will be expanded to the rest of the county's government operations - comprising more than 800 buildings with 9,200 employees - by early this year.
Stewart Manor School Earned National Distinction
Stewart Manor School, selected by the US Department of Education, achieved national distinction as a "No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School For 2006." The students, faculty, administrators and community have dedicated their time and energy to be chosen for this honor. Legislator Vincent Muscarella presented a citation to board of education members Aubrey Phillips, Frank Ragona, Pamela Monteverde and Robert Nori (board of education president), Principal Hope Kranidis, Superintendent Albert Harper and Pamela Byer, also a board of education member.
Chris Elliott Appeared on Davidson & Co. Show
Chris Elliott, comedian, actor and author, visited Four Village Studio for a taping of Davidson & Co. Elliott, who has appeared in such movies as There's Something About Mary, Groundhog's Day and Cabin Boy, as well as numerous television programs including his own show, Get A Life, was in town to discuss his career and novel, The Shroud of the Thwacker. The program, hosted by Larry Davidson, aired Monday, Dec. 18, and Thursday, Dec. 21, at 8:30 p.m. on Cablevision's Channel 18 in the four village area.
Floral Park Memorial Announced Rising Stars Program
Floral Park Memorial was proud to announce the arrival of the Rising Stars program for students. Created by Assistant Principal Maureen Henry, the program is designed to recognize students for outstanding and unique achievements across academic disciplines.
"Our Rising Stars were selected by their individual teachers and subject area departments and each student has contributed a unique achievement," Assistant Principal Henry said. "This is a program intended to motivate and encourage students to put forth their best effort."
While the typical measures of academic success are grades, this program recognizes any students demonstrating passion and innovation in their approach to learning. In this way, students are provided with yet another opportunity to strive for and achieve excellence.
Taco Bell Lettuce Believed Common Link in E. coli Outbreak
Several Taco Bell restaurants across Long Island were closed in December after an outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7. Six Taco Bell restaurants within Nassau County were asked to voluntarily close down, discard their food and disinfect their premises. They include the Broadway and Roosevelt Field Mall restaurants as well as the East Meadow, Hempstead, Seaford and New Hyde Park locations.
The Nassau County Department of Health received reports of nearly 81 Nassau County residents who became ill after eating at Taco Bell restaurants. Included are 10 people who were hospitalized, three with confirmed cases of E. coli.
While earlier preliminary test results of green onions were "presumptive positive" for E. coli, which prompted the company to immediately remove them from its 5,800 restaurants as a precautionary move, the New York State Department of Health then said there wasn't confirmation that the green onions were the source of the current E. coli outbreak.
The health department then looked to white onions collected Dec. 4 from a Taco Bell in Hempstead as the source but, on Dec. 13, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that it had concluded a statistical analysis on the company's food ingredients that indicated lettuce appears to be the most probable source of the E. coli outbreak in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.