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Great Neck Notebook: April 4, 2012

Human Nature

As a writer, I spend a lot of time observing how people act. I can tell you without fear of contradiction, that all of us are creatures of habit. Allow me to offer three examples.

In the small medical office building where my dentist plies his trade, I got on the elevator to return to the lobby after my appointment was over.  There was a middle-aged woman already in the elevator.  She was also going down to the lobby and had pushed that button on the elevator display.  I could tell she had pushed it because it was already lit.

Knowing all that, I pushed the button again. Pushing the button wasn’t going to get us to the lobby any more surely or any faster.  The woman and I exchanged a mutual look of understanding. “I couldn’t help myself, ” I admitted. She nodded and smiled sympathetically.

The next morning I was in the gym on a treadmill trying to burn off the residue of calories from the previous night’s dessert. A lady a little younger than myself got on the treadmill next to mine. Before she started the machine, she took a wet-wipe and carefully cleaned the grips on both sides, the display panel that shows you the distance, time, and calories expended, and then for good measure cleaned the mini-television monitor that each machine has.

As sole witness to her dedication to cleanliness, I felt compelled to comment. “Do you make house calls?” She smiled but made no reply.  Within a few moments, we were both concentrating on working up a good sweat.

For those patrons of the gym who arrive at the ungodly hour before 7 a.m., there is an elderly gentleman who sits at a little desk in the hallway as a token of building security. Like most of the gym early birds, I always make a point of saying, “Good Morning,” to him. And he always replies in kind.

The other day, I decided to add something extra. So, I asked, “How are you today?” Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Too early to tell.” Sometimes you find wisdom in the most unexpected places.

News

The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.

To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.

At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.

The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also.  Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.


Sports

The Bears team before a recent game at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink with Coach Dan Marsella.

Great Neck’s Ayal Hod is the proud coach of Great Neck’s winning Top Gun sixth grade team in the Island Garden Fall League. Hod puts together the team every season, mixing local youngsters from Great Neck and children son Dillon’s AAU Jamaica Queens team. The league is very competitive and challenging and it teaches the children many valuable lessons: “how to be great teammates by sharing the ball, how to compete hard on every possession and what you put in is what you get out.”

Hod says that the main challenge is for every child to bring their individual talent to the team and collectively they have something special. an ex-player, he says that “basketball was very good to me, it helped pay my college education and it  paid my-bills for many years to come via several basketball commercials ... basketball also opened many doors for me and it helped me tremendously in my business career.”

Hod enjoys sharing his basketball journey background with his son and his friends and having them learn lessons too.


Calendar

Park District Swim

Saturday, Dec. 7

Board of Education Meeting

Monday, Dec. 9

Peter Max Exhibit Presentation

Tuesday, December 10



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