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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

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



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