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Mayor’s Message - July 23, 2010

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer.

I would like to recognize our former Police Commissioner Mike Reid for his many years of dedicated service to our village. Back in March, the village board struggled with the decision to replace our police commissioner; Mike has been our commissioner for the past 17 years. The decision did not come easy but, then again, decisions involving personnel matters never are. As we all know times are changing, the world we live in today is a lot different than years ago and we are being challenged in ways we never expected. I am not one for making change for the sake of change, but I am one to make change when I am convinced there is a need or an opportunity that we can build upon what we have. We have a good Police Department and I believe our members are dedicated and have served our residents well, but I also believe there is room for improvement. I will not claim to understand all of the operations of the Police Department, it is a unique occupation but with my years of management experience coupled with observations of the internal workings and listening to a number of concerns raised by our residents, we recognized we needed to take a better look at the Department and to explore our options. With that being said, the village board decided to post the opening for police commissioner. We received over 23 applications and we interviewed 15 candidates, including six applicants from our own Police Department. All of the candidates had many years of experience in law enforcement and each held a position of supervision at various levels within their Department they serve. We found the interview process to be very educational and informative; it opened our eyes to a number of areas where we could improve. Each candidate did a good job presenting their qualifications and each of them had a different strength but one individual’s qualifications and experiences stood out above the rest and that gentleman is Stephen McAllister, a former Inspector of the New York City Police Department. As you read through next week’s Dispatch you have an opportunity to read more about Stephen McAllister’s qualifications.

I have been working closely with the Substance Awareness Council on the development of a village-wide educational program. The Council believes there is more to education than presentation and handouts and they came up with an idea to develop a program that will give our young people another option other than just hanging out on a street corner. The Council partnered up with the Recreation Department on the design of this program and it will run on Friday nights from 7 to 11 p.m. The Village sponsored a similar program many years ago but it did not take off as well as expected; we believe we did not have the right activities. In an effort to develop a program that the young people would enjoy, our Recreation Staff canvassed the teenagers to see what activities they would be interested in seeing as part of this new program. We will offer a number of activities from Frisbee games to handball tournaments to kickball games. For those who do not want to get involved in the activities, they will be able to just hang out in the bleachers or fields and talk. By keeping the Recreation Center open on Friday nights for an additional hour, we are hoping that it will attract the young people to an area were they can go and enjoy a safe and fun night out. The program was designed for ages 13 years through 17 years old.  For more information about the program please contact the Recreation Department.

Well, summer hit us hard with all of the high temperatures this past week. I am sure this is only the beginning so it is important that you plan now for the next heat wave.  First and most important is to listen for the local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes. Although the utility companies design their systems and plan for heavy electrical loads there is always a chance for an outage and you should be prepared. Having flashlights, spare batteries, battery operated radio are important items that you should always have handy. If you have to go outdoors for any reason wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

Go slow, avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

A few weeks ago, Trustee Rhatigan and I attended the Village Emergency Management Committee meeting chaired by our Director of Emergency Management, Joe Terranova. We had an opportunity to listen to a presentation on hurricane awareness and how we can prepare for them. The committee will be working over the next couple of months on education material that will be available for our residents.

Disasters, whether natural or man-made, usually strike quickly and without warning. You and your family may have little or no time to decide what to do next. That’s why it is so important to plan for the possibility of disaster — and not wait until it happens.

Taking measures to avoid or prepare for a disaster in advance — called “mitigation” in technical terms — reduces the likelihood of injury, loss of life, and property damage far more than anything you can do after a disaster strikes. Simple measures that you need to focus on include making sure you have an emergency kit with items such as flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, and a battery operated radio. A communication plan, so that your family members can get in contact with each other during an event. Establish a home evacuation plan and practice it with your family so they know how to get out of your home and where to meet should an emergency arise.

I had an opportunity to visit the Recreation Center several times over the past few weeks, and I am happy to see all of the activities taking place between our youth and adult programs. Once again, our Recreation staff has done a great job with organizing our program and it would not be as successful if it was not for the dedication and commitment of all our counselors. Our pool has been a welcome sight for many of our residents during this past heat wave. I want to wish our swim team the “Pirates” good luck this year. They have been practicing every morning at 7:45 a.m., I want to thank all of the parents for the dedication and commitment to getting the children down to practice each day.