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Editorial: Suburban Boogeyman

The abduction of 6-year-old Etan Patz 33 years ago was not only a horrendous crime, but it also was the actualized embodiment of every parent’s deepest and darkest fear.

With the May 24 arrest of 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez, there appears to be closure on this heretofore unsolved crime. Patz became the first missing child to appear on the back of a milk carton. His disappearance not only helped heighten awareness surrounding missing and abducted children, but it also spurred President Ronald Reagan to declare May 25 National Missing Children’s Day and for congress to establish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1983 and 1984 respectively. While this high-profile crime happened in an urban setting, there’s always been the concern of these insidious transgressions making their way into seemingly bucolic suburban settings. In fact, Hernandez hails from the middle class burg of Maple Shade, NJ, a community whose motto is, “Nice town, friendly people.” 

But aside from high-profile victims like Patz and Adam Walsh, the notion of children being scooped up by the proverbial stranger in a van with promises of candy and puppies is more myth than reality. According to statistics provided to Garden City Life by Janine Kava, deputy director of public information for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, a total of 865 missing children reports were filed in 2011 for Nassau County. With 748 of these cases being reported as runaways, none of the 191 cases remaining open at year’s end were classified as stranger abductions. Suffolk County’s 2011 numbers were similar; 1,486 missing children, 1,389 runaways and no stranger abductions among the 72 remaining cases that remained open at the start of 2012. With parents taking a more precautionary route in warning their offspring about speaking to strangers along with the hundreds of public service announcements and programs warning of the same perils, apparently the message is getting through to the youth of today. While this may provide cold comfort to the parents of Etan Patz and other families who’ve been subjected to these horrific acts, these deaths did provide a wake-up call to the naïvete of a populace.

— DGdR

News

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, residents and community members joined with the Floral Park American Legion to honor veterans at the annual Veteran’s Day ceremonies at Memorial Park, following a march down Tulip Avenue to the park with the members of the veterans of the Legion post, American Legion Auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion, Boy and Cub Scouts from Troops 482 and 678 and local officials.

During the ceremony, a plaque was dedicated in memory of General Kazimierz Pulaski and others of Polish heritage who have served in the U.S. military. The plaque dedication was led by members of the Polish American Congress, Long Island Division, President Grzegorz Worma and Honorary President Richard Brzozowski. An invocation was delivered by Father Peter Rozek of St. Hedwig Church, followed by a POW-MIA ceremony by Post 334 Vice Commander Matthew Cacciatore.

While parking around Long Island Rail Road train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town.

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Calendar

Floral Park Memorial PTSA Fall Fest Fundraiser

Friday, November 21

Buy A Meal, Wag A Tail

Saturday, November 22

Hanging of the Greens and Potluck Luncheon

Sunday, November 23



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