In the true spirit of the season, representatives of the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior recently visited several military hospitals to not only bring holiday cheer but also to express their gratitude for the sacrifices that wounded soldiers have endured for the country.
Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior (NCFF-OWW) is a non-profit organization centered on providing much-needed items to the wounded men and women of our armed services. The organization works closely with military representatives to ensure that useful clothing, personal entertainment electronics and Get Well cards are properly channeled to recovering service personnel.
With nearly 10 days left to shop-until-you-drop, residents still have an opportunity to help support local businesses this holiday season. Shop local and shop in Garden City was the passionate message from John Wilton, the chairman of the Merchant Professional Retailers Group, who spoke at the most recent board of trustees meeting.
Wilton, who said he sometimes feels like the town psychiatrist, emphasized that village merchants have voiced a need for support in this sluggish economy. “I need everybody to clearly understand, times are still tough out there at the retail level...This is the last shot; this is it. This is the shopping season,” Wilton said.
“Any infusion of capital that you can expend in our village, in our stores, in our shops. Do all your catering, do all your Christmas parties; do all your purchasing locally. This is the time because this is their last shot for net profit for this year,” Wilton said, adding “Let’s keep the hospitality in Garden City and let’s keep the bucks in Garden City.”
Members of “Team Astoria,” from Astoria Federal Savings, the sponsor of the Village Tree Lighting Ceremony, held the village tree lighting on Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Gazebo on the Village Green. The festivities featured the Garden City High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble, along with holiday instrumental music by Chris Covais and Exit 36, Santa and King’s “Kingsley Bear” mascot.
For those driving through the village of Garden City, all roads somehow lead to Franklin Avenue. The highly traveled thoroughfare was on the minds of several vocal residents, who say the road has become increasingly hazardous for drivers, as well as pedestrians. Former Garden City Mayor Richard Benack appeared at the most recent board of trustees meeting to raise awareness of the matter and ask the board to consider taking measures to control the pace of traffic.
Benack explained that the traffic situation was first addressed 12 years ago when the village and the business community got involved to rehabilitate Franklin Avenue “from a wide open raceway that people couldn’t cross and they didn’t walk along into the pretty place it is now.” Benack expressed that there is an attitude among the drivers that they are pressing and exceeding the speed limits. “I know the village has a problem in that it is a county road, but you have a strong voice to keep a control there so that our residents and the people that we invite into Garden City to spend their money here and their stores will be safe there and they are very hesitant in crossing the road now,” he added.
They say every dog has its day and for dog owners in Garden City, new dog licensing rules are taking effect next year. On January 1, 2011, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will no longer provide dog tags, issue license renewals or maintain dog-licensing data as a service to municipalities. As a result, the village will assume the responsibility for dog license issuances and the administration of all facets of licensing programs.
On June 22, 2010, Governor Paterson signed a measure into law as part of the 2010/2011 State Budget that moves the remainder of the dog licensing function required by Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law to the level of local government. Consequently, the existing roles of both county government and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) in the licensing of dogs will be eliminated on January 1, 2011, according to the NYSDAM website.
Representatives for the Garden City Golf Club recently attended a board of trustees meeting to request final site plan approval to build a new 12,000-square-foot indoor storage facility and a reconfigured new parking area. In order to complete the project, the Club is also requesting to remove 47 trees from the grounds.
Currently, the site consists of an outdoor storage area where equipment and machinery are stored under blue tarps. “What we are proposing to do is build a new structure to store equipment and machinery inside the building,” Michael Rant, an engineer representing Bladykas & Panetta explained to the board. Also being proposed is a new defined parking area that would allow employees to park their vehicles and curbing for safer, easier access to the maintenance facility. In conjunction with the application, Rant also said the project will require the removal of 47 trees and all the necessary permits have been obtained.
During a lengthy board of education meeting on Nov. 16, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen addressed two countywide tax issues that directly affect the Garden City School District and local taxpayers.
At an October board meeting, Feirsen announced that he learned that the county legislature building, located at 1550 Franklin Avenue, had appeared in error on the school tax rolls resulting in a staggering $1.3 million tax bill for the Garden City School District.
Rockaway Avenue residents and neighbors of Garden City High School came en masse to the board of education meeting on Nov. 16, to adamantly oppose the current bond construction project taking place at Garden City High School. Among the many issues that were raised, residents were focused on the safety of the stadium, citing the dangerous traffic conditions and noise from construction, and requested the bleachers be moved to the opposite side of the athletic field.
In October of 2009, Garden City community members voted and passed the school investment bond to address substantial facilities and space needs throughout the district. The $36.5 million bond includes renovation costs to meet health and safety code requirements, as well as reclaim and add learning space for academic programs. The bond called for several structural repairs to the damaged exterior at the high school, which was built in 1953. As a result, the high school’s stadium bleachers were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The open wood risers pose potential safety hazards and needed to be repaired, according to the district’s website.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a jury has convicted a Garden City woman of agreeing to pay a hitman $20,000 to kill her husband. In reality, the hitman she thought she was hiring was actually an undercover Nassau County Police detective.
A jury took less than four hours to convict Susan Williams, 44, of Conspiracy in the Second Degree and Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. She faces up to 25 years in prison at her Dec.17 sentencing. The trial lasted nearly two weeks.
Residents got their first chance to see and hear about the long-awaited revisions of the village’s zoning code. Superintendent of Buildings Michael Filippon presented the zoning amendments at the most recent board of trustees meeting. Some of the items that are being considered for change are the permitted accessory structures, widths of driveways, dwelling regulations and the requirement for advance approval by the Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB) for amendments to the size and appearance of residences.
According to Filippon, the project was first discussed eight years ago under Garden City Mayor Lewis’ tenure. “As you know this has been a very long, often delayed project,” Filippon said. “What prompted this was, in that particular part of the village, certain residents were complaining about what they perceived to be obvious violations of our accessory structure laws in the zoning code, that is that there were any number of variety of structures in front yards which, by our code, is not permitted.”
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