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The Sky Is Falling In Stewart Manor

Aircraft debris found in local man's backyard

Falling aircraft debris that landed last week in the backyard of a Stewart Manor resident who was on his way out to walk his dog was the talk of the jam-packed Aug. 25 meeting of the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNAC).

Lee Ackerman typically walks his dog twice a day; when heading out for his afternoon jaunt with his four-legged friend on Tuesday, Aug. 19, he noticed something in his backyard that wasn’t there that morning — an 11-inch by 12-inch sheet of metal, covered with aircraft maintenance text and graphite soot.

“I didn’t realize what it was at first, but according to the text, it was instruction information for monitoring and servicing the landing strut of an AirBus 380,” he said. “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has since confirmed that it’s from the interior of the wing landing gear...when the door opened to drop the landing gear down, the sign was in the landing gear bay.”

According to local residents, Stewart Manor is already inundated with regular overhead air traffic heading to and from nearby John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport; needless to say, Ackerman finds the prospect of metal debris potentially raining down from these ever-present aircraft all the more troubling.

“Beyond the constant noise from the planes, it’s disconcerting to have parts of the planes falling on your home,” he said. “I was just happy that I wasn’t underneath the sign when it fell, but I don’t think anyone ever imagined that this would be happening.”

The FAA is still investigating the incident.

TVASNAC is a committee, appointed by the Town of Hempstead, that has been in existence for more than 40 years in order to give residents of the Five Towns and their surrounding areas a voice in regard to the issues they have been experiencing with excessive air traffic; Ackerman’s neighbor and TVASNAC board member Cristina O’Keeffe attended a meeting of the organization held in Stewart Manor on Aug. 25 where the issues raised by the falling debris incident were addressed.

“Kendall Lampkin, our executive director, said that he had called the FAA to get someone from there to attend the meeting, but they declined. He had also called the National Transit Safety Bureau, but they said they only investigate crashes and not just random debris,” he said. “In addition, Mr. Ackerman came and described what it was like, his experience with it, and people were able to ask questions and talk about what happens next.”

 O’Keeffe noted that in her four years with TVASNAC, the group has been working vigilantly to effect real change to help improve the lives of residents in the middle of the concentrated air traffic area near JFK Airport; however, more help is needed from the public in order to find a lasting solution to the problem, and to ensure that what happened to Lee Ackerman isn’t a sign of things getting worse before they get better.

“I think that the main concern of Stewart Manor residents is that, in July of 2014, we received 42.2 percent of arrivals into JFK...they flew over our heads,” she said. “As of August 2014, construction started on a new runway at JFK, which means that we’ll get even more volume over our heads. That’s a big concern for us, because the more planes that go over our heads, the more possibility that, if stuff is falling, it will fall on us.”

“TVASNAC is informational, educational, and we have the ear of and the opportunity to have meetings with the New York Port Authority and the FAA,” O’Keeffe added. “We offer a forum where people can come and voice their concerns, inform their elected officials, and help to make change.”

To find more about TVASNAC, please visit www.toh.li/tvasnac.

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



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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