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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

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

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.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



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