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Making Themselves Heard

Aircraft noise complaints garner response

Excessive aircraft noise may be the bane of many residents in the area, but apparently the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally heard people’s complaints of long being fed up by all the racket. The Stewart Manor Board of Trustees heard a report from the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNAC) at their regularly scheduled board meeting on May 6. Residents’ ongoing fight against the excess noise caused by congested overhead air traffic is finally eliciting a response from the government.

Cristina O’Keeffe, who represents Stewart Manor on TVASNAC, says that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as the FAA, is stepping up and responding to residents’ complaints after a mandate handed down by Governor Cuomo last November. “It’s baby steps, but there’s actually some change going on,” O’Keeffe says.

Last November, Governor Cuomo ordered the Port Authority to conduct a noise and land compatibility study in response to complaints over the disrupting noise of airplanes flying over residential areas.

A new website allows residents to track in real-time what flights are passing over their houses. The site has supplemented the pre-existing phone line for lodging complaints.

Community roundtables are also being established to discuss the noise issues. The Port Authority and different local committees such as TVASNAC are represented at these meetings, although the FAA is also encouraged to attend.

Despite their close quarters, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport are represented by two different roundtables. O’Keeffe says most other major airports in the country already have these groups, but one was only created for JFK in response to the governor’s recent mandate.

Part of the Port Authority’s response has also been to increase the amount of noise monitors in the communities surrounding the airports. These monitors link to the 4G network and measure noise in a unit called Day-Night Sound Level, or DNL. The monitors must be installed in locations without any other ambient sound, such as a highway or train tracks.

Some airports have up to one hundred monitors in their surrounding communities, but our area only has around a dozen.

The maximum DNL allowed in the United States is 65, although other countries go as low as 55. If an area registers a 65 on the monitors, they qualify for federal funding to sound-proof buildings such as schools and churches.

“We have ten points higher than the World Health Organization dictates that we should for noise level,” O’Keeffe says.

Changes to the acceptable DNL level must be made at the federal level.

An environmental impact study is underway to determine the full extent of the noise pollution, but the process is a lengthy one and despite recent steps in the right direction, there’s no guarantee that the airports will have to make significant changes to reduce noise.

“If the environmental study finds that there’s issue with noise, it will generate some federal funding but it’s not necessarily going to change the paths of the airplanes,” O’Keeffe warns.

Trustee John Egan says the noise isn’t his biggest issue with the planes and that he worries more about the danger all the air traffic congestion may be posing to pilots attempting to land.

“My concern is landing safely. La Guardia is the most difficult airport to land in because the runways are so short,” he explains.

O’Keeffe mentioned that among the new changes being implemented is the creation of a safety buffer around La Guardia for the surrounding communities.

TVASNAC has been representing the Town of Hempstead and fighting the noise pollution caused by aircraft since its founding in 1966. The committee is comprised of twelve villages including Garden City, Stewart Manor, and Floral Park.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 19 at Hempstead Town Hall and is open to the public.

News

The Senior Advisory Committee is the Senior group that helps plan trips, parties, and programs for all seniors in cooperation with the recreation and parks department. It consists of: Kathy Auro, Richard Bankowsky, Evelyn Iagrossi, Joe Leto, Ellen Moynahan, and Gloria Weinrich. Please feel free to suggest trips to anyone on the committee.

Preparedness is the best remedy for Ebola

Winthrop University Hospital hosted a presentation on the current Ebola epidemic, at the Garden City Library, on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sponsored by the village’s Property Owners’ Associations, John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop University Hospital and Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Officer provided an overview of the disease along with an update on Winthrop’s preparedness plan.

Dr. Ammazzalorso began his presentation heeding that despite the waning in the press, the disease is still with us. He provided both historical and current day perspectives regarding the epidemic, advising that Ebola is not a new disease. The medical community has been aware of the disease for at least 40 years. Originating in the Congo, Ebola is a zoonosis a disease which has its reservoir in animals and was known for small sporadic outbreaks associated with people who handled bats and rodents or those who consumed bush meat. The current outbreak originated in West Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He noted in Africa that more than 45,000 people have died from the disease.


Sports

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes begin the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, please visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave. Space is limited so please register early.


Calendar

Sultans of String to play

Friday, November 21

Garden City Chamber Music Society Performance

Sunday, November 23

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com