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Taxi Turmoil

Hicksville-based Sunset Taxi owner Phil Fortuna is suing the MTA and the Town of Oyster Bay, stating that parking spaces reserved for taxis have been illegally changed.

A 30-year veteran in the taxi industry and president of the Long Island Taxi Transportation Owners, Fortuna said that the MTA (which owns the land) and the town (which formerly controlled use of the space) violated the terms of a lease signed in 1965.

Fortuna explained that the MTA eliminated a taxi stand that provided space for 10 taxis, which were previously shared by his 20 cabs and those from other town-approved companies. Those spots were recently given to two competing taxi companies, who were awarded the spaces following a bidding process.

“This doesn’t just affect Hicksville, the busiest train station in Nassau County, if not all of Long Island. It affects all residents because they don’t have a choice. Before they had a choice of seven cab companies, now they have a choice of two,” said Fortuna, who said that the original 1965 lease noted that a minimum of three companies must have access to that area.

Oyster Rides Taxi Co. and Long Island Yellow Cab are Fortuna’s two competitors that currently lease the designated taxi spaces. The number of parking spaces offered to these companies, 27, also violates the amount specified in the 1965 lease (22), according to Fortuna.

Neither company could be reached for comment as of press time.

The MTA recently put taxi concessions at 15 LIRR stations up for bidding. Later this year, the MTA will begin a major renovation project at the Hicksville LIRR station to improve the overall efficiency and appearance.

“So how do you sink $130 million on a train station and take away the taxi stand? I’m hoping that the Town of Oyster Bay’s elected officials come to their senses and do what’s right for their constituents, not their political allies,” Fortuna said.

The Town of Oyster Bay, citing ongoing litigations, declined to comment.

 

News

Alan Yu, an external auditor from the firm, Cullen & Danowski LLP gave the findings of the annual district external audit at Oct. 22’s Hicksville Board of Education meeting. Discussed at the meeting were the financial statements of the 2013-14 school year which officially ended June 30.

According to Yu, the Hicksville School district has a fund balance of $34 million. Roughly 26 to 27 percent of the general fund balance comprises the total budget.

Levittown Hall in Hicksville comes alive every Thursday night with music, dance, fun and laughter as students are swept away into the world of Latin dance.

Under the instruction of professional teacher Mark James, dance hopefuls learn a trio of Latin dance, including salsa, meringue and what James describes as the biggest craze in Latin dancing today, bachata.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

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


Calendar

Safe Trick or Treat

October 31

Election Day

November 4

Senior Luncheon

November 6



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