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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

The Garden City Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the 35th annual Fall Festival Street Fair set for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Seventh Street. The chamber thanks the Garden City Hotel which will serve as the primary event sponsor.

JGS entertainment will return for the 16th year as master ceremonies providing music and vocals. There will be plenty of activities for the kids. Included will be the return of the two trackless trains carrying children 12 years of age and younger up and down Seventh Street sponsored by Coach Realtors and Garden City Teachers Association. There will be the traditional inflatable bouncy house sponsored by SMPL Technologies and the ever-popular money cube sponsored by Calogero’s and Leo’s. The Garden City Parks and Recreation Department will have giveaways and temporary tattoos.

Ever since the Garden City School District passed a $36.8 million School Investment Bond back in 2009, the upgrades throughout the district have been quite substantial. And while most of it has gone towards infrastructure, external visible improvements have rightfully been a source of pride for the board, which has taken to conducting tours at the different schools preceding the monthly public meetings that are normally held at Garden City High School. On the night of the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 14  at the Homestead Building, the school board, administration and Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen went on a guided tour of the building by Homestead Principal Dr. Suzanne Viscovich.

Feirsen described the tour as a new tradition started last year where administration travels around each of the district’s school buildings in the Fall to observe its current offerings and recent upgrades.


Sports

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.

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.


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 1



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