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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

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

New online company debuts

Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

“When Mike and I decided to start a business, we knew it had to reflect our shared love of food, address the lifestyles of our fellow Long Islanders, and be socially responsible,” said Reich.


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


Calendar

Financial Options For Students

Thursday, October 16

Kids In The Kitchen

Friday, October 17

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 20



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