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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

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.

Multiple options help village avoid problems

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, it’s not necessarily the case for Garden City residents, who have five departure points to choose from. The stations—Nassau Boulevard, Garden City, Stewart Manor, Country Life Press and the south side of Merillon Avenue—provide a grand total of 866 spots. (See page 13 sidebar for lot-by-lot breakdown). It’s a luxury many municipalities don’t have, particularly during the holidays. Annual permits run $150 for residents and $300 for non-residents and while people who call Garden City can use any of these five stations, non-residents are restricted to using the 70 spots allocated for their use over at the Stewart Manor station.

LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town.


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