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HCC Holds Meet The Candidates Night

Assembly, senate and judicial incumbents, hopefuls address questions at forum

(Editor’s note – More information regarding the candidates mentioned in this article will appear in the upcoming Anton Community Newspapers’ Voter’s Guide, which will be published Oct. 25.) 

The Hicksville Community Council held a meet the candidates forum on Thursday evening, Oct. 4 at the Hicksville Community Center on West Carl Street that provided residents an opportunity to see who could be representing them in several different political positions come November. 

Community Council member Joel Berse – who asked the audience to observe a moment of silence for Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday, Oct. 3 – led the event as judicial candidates Colin O’Donnell, Joy Watson, William O’Brien, Doug LaRose and Anthony Paradiso, U.S. Congressional hopeful in the 2nd District Steve Labate (R) and New York State Assembly incumbent in the 15th District Michael Montesano (R) spoke on their backgrounds and plans if elected (or re-elected) to their respective positions. 

New York State 7th District Senator Jack Martins (R) and challenger Dan Ross (D) concluded the evening with a debate, answering residents’ questions in the form of three-minute answers. 

A father of two, Montesano, a Glen Head resident since 1979, was a police officer and detective for the NYPD for a decade and also served as an EMT supervisor and investigator for the NYC Emergency Medical Service, said his priorities while working as an assemblyman have been job creation and cutting wasteful spending and taxes. Montesano is running against Democratic challenger Mario Ferone, a student at Stony Brook University, who did not attend the forum. 

“I believe that during my [past] three years I consistently delivered to you those promises I made to you regarding the MTA tax, pension forfeiture legislation that became law to deal with public officials who commit wrongdoings, reduced income tax brackets, advanced school aid, Catholic school aid as well as library aid,” Montesano said, adding that he’s helped to eliminate dysfunction in Albany, including delivering on-time budgets, no tax increases and no borrowing, consolidated government departments, eliminating 30 defunct agencies and commissions and closing three prisons. 

“We closed a substantial deficit and we’re paying down debt. We did some initial mandate relief for schools and villages, but not enough. We intend to make that our priority this year going in for substantial mandate relief to help the schools and continue to bring down the school tax rate,” Montesano said, whose district office is on Levittown Parkway in Hicksville. 

Labate is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a financial planner. He and his wife have one set of twins and live in Suffolk County. Labate will challenge incumbent Steve Israel (D). 

“I’m a dad and I’m a soldier. People are looking for leadership, not for people just to manage. We need more veterans in office; we understand that there’s something more important than the individual needs and the greater good is really what counts,” Labate said.  

Martins, the former mayor for the Village of Mineola and father of four, is running for his second term as New York State’s 7th Senate District representative, while challenger Dan Ross, a 10-year volunteer firefighter at Manhasset-Lakeview and owner of Grand Prix Subaru in Hicksville, seeks to obtain Martins’ seat. 

“We need to think of ways that we can, even in tough economic times, to prioritize our public safety, our environment and look at a way we can unite and bring back together our great community,” Ross explained, noting that he will provide a “voice for you up in Albany with no clouding from any kind of special interest and no favors to give out” if elected. 

Senator Martins thanked Ross for his 10 years of service in the Manhasset-Lakeview Fire Department and commented on what has driven him to serve as an elected official. 

“We talk about employing people and we talk about home ownership, those are the things frankly that motivate me. I know what it’s like to have to run a government. I know what it’s like to live here on Long Island. I know what it’s like to pay those high property taxes. I know what it’s like to find a job and employ people and have to make those things work,” Martins said. 

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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