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Two Locals Face Off For Open BOE Seat

On May 20, Hicksville residents will take to the polls to vote for the school budget and for a new trustee to represent them on the Board of Education. Three seats are up for re-election. Incumbents Kevin J. Carroll and Steven Culhane are running unopposed and trustee Dolores Garger is not running again when her term expires July 1. Running for Garger’s open seat are David Jao and Michael Beneventano.

Jao has lived in Hicksville for more than 20 years. He has four kids; three who have graduated from the district and another who is a sophomore at the high school. This is his second time running for school board and says he now has more time to dedicate to the community.

“I’m running for the betterment of the students in the community as a whole,” Jao says. “I want to do my part in civil service. I have no hidden agendas.”

Jao says there are many issues in the district he would like to help change and that with his over 25 years in corporate experience he will be an asset to the board.

“My experience speaks for itself. I’m the chief information technologist for a Manhattan engineering firm and have a knowledge of budgeting, human resources, accounting, and technology and that will all help me contribute to this position,” Jao said.

Jao is currently the vice president for the Hicksville Garden Civic Association.

20-year-old Beneventano graduated from Hicksville High School in 2012 and says if elected, being a recent grad will be a huge asset.

“Based on how I’ve seen the district run there’s competent board members and we have a great administration but one thing they could benefit from is a student voice, someone who’s been in the school and seen the day to day operations. I think that’s a missing component,” says Beneventano.

He was actively involved in numerous organizations in high school, including orchestra and string ensemble, four honor societies, captain of the cross country and wrestling team. Now, as a sophomore at St. John’s University majoring in risk management, Beneventano serves as the co-chair for the budget committee of the student government.

“To say I have no experience would be invalid. I’ve co-chaired a bunch of committees and handled a budget. It teaches you leadership and responsibility,” says Beneventano. “I’ve taken the time for the past six months to evaluate how school boards function and research procedures and school law. If I get elected, I’m going to be a proactive member from the get-go.”

“It would be a privilege to be elected and I don’t take it for granted. I’m putting my time in and I owe it to my community to do a good job. I take this very seriously,” he said.

Two of the main issues Beneventano says he wants to improve on are community involvement and transparency.

“We had a very small voter turnout last year and board meetings generate low turnout. The school could benefit from hearing all our taxpayers and parents. I think some people feel their opinions and voices aren’t valued,” he said.

In regards to communication, Beneventano says he wants to send out more information to parents via email. He’ll seek to increase transparency by making the website easier to navigate and making information discussed at board meetings more easily available.

“I understand that not everyone can make it the meetings, but I want to put the information online so parents who don’t have time to come to the meetings can still be involved,” Beneventano said. “We want all our residents to know what’s going on. And a lot of parents I spoke to don’t.”

If elected, Beneventano promises to make communication a foundation of his time as a trustee.

“There are four types of people we need to be representing—the taxpaying resident, parent, teacher and student. If these four views are taken into account, we’ll be able to make a collaborative decision,” Beneventano said.

Registered Hicksville voters can vote May 20 at Burns Ave. School, Dutch Lane School, East Street School, Fork Lane, Lee Avenue School, Old Country Road School, and Woodland School May 20 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. For more information call 516-733-2104.

News

Bullying is a serious problem in today’s society and the controversial topic was the focus at last Saturday’s  'Bully-Proof Your Child Seminar’ at East Coast MMA & Fitness Center in Hicksville. State Senator Jack Martins and Legislator Rose Marie Walker attended the program which ran in the newly renovated center on Woodbury Road.

“Bullying is a real issue in our communities and I want to thank East Coast Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness for agreeing to host this forum,” said Martins. “Teaching our kids self defense to protect themselves or to protect those around them is a great thing. We need to take every opportunity to teach our kids important life lessons.”

Old classmates reignited friendships and shared memories of their teenage years as the Hicksville High School Class of 1964 came together recently to celebrate their 50th reunion at the Holiday Inn in Plainview.

Among the attendees was Bob Cheeseman who met his wife, Lorraine (Kirwan) in middle school. They were serious throughout high school and married soon after. Bob said, “I enlisted in high school and went into the Air Force. I did 30 years active Air Force and another 15 after that. I retired in 2010 as a Brigadier General. After I retired, my wife received a certificate from the Governor of Texas and was designated a Yellow Rose of Texas.”


Sports

The Hicksville boys volleyball team improved to 3-3 on the season by topping Sewanhaka in three sets by the scores of 25-14, 25-20 and 25-13.

“We lost the first few matches this year but bounced back to win the last three,” said Hicksville’s second year Head Coach Kevin Bunting. “We have a young team — we lost three starters last year. We have no seniors on this team, but we have three juniors,” he added. Bunting noted that it will bode well for next year’s team when they have even more experience to build on.

It seemed to happen in an instant.

Hicksville forward Michael Osmundsen was touching the ball past Kellenburg goalkeeper Jack Abuin to slot the ball into an empty net to score the lone goal in the non-league 1-0 victory over the Firebirds.

It’s nothing short of what Comets boys soccer head coach Scott Starkey would expect. He described his forward as “very explosive, fast and he’s not just fast — he’s tenacious.”


Calendar

Community Council Meeting

October 2

Indoor Garage Sale

October 5

Movie: God’s Not Dead

October 5



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