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From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins: May 8, 2014

The Power Washer Approach

I somehow blew up my brother-in-law’s power washer last week. I don’t know how, but you know the feeling. You try never to borrow anything but when you finally do, not 20 minutes in, the otherwise indestructible machinery that’s been well-used for 15 years suddenly and inexplicably starts sputtering and belching smoke like a wounded Godzilla.

It’s a shame too. I was trucking right along, smoothly blasting away muck and grime when I suddenly heard a bolt blow clean off the side of the machine. So my meticulously planned three-hour task turned into a full-day excursion as I headed to the Home Depot to educate myself on the wide world of power washers and where I bought new ones for both my brother-in-law and myself. Lesson one: better not to borrow anything expensive, for Murphy’s Law will surely intervene.

But that old adage aside, my column is actually about the process. If you’ve ever used a power washer you know how strangely satisfying the experience can be. To be sure, it’s slow and tedious work that requires careful attention so as not to let the water’s force damage what you’re cleaning. But as you progress inch by monotonous inch, you’re rewarded with a renewed surface gleaming back at you.

In reality, this is precisely how so many of life’s challenges have to be managed. I think power washing might be the perfect chore by which to teach our teenagers the value of slow and sustained effort. It’s also what came to mind this past week as I spoke at the WOR Business Breakfast at Jericho Terrace. As the newly appointed Chairman of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, I was invited by WOR and CNBC contributor Ron Insana to speak with more than 100 local business owners about the business environment and what’s being done to help it flourish.

The session immediately took off because our hard-nosed, passionate business owners have no problems telling you what needs improvement. But that’s the kind of honest discussion that has been lacking in New York’s business policy-making for far too long. In the past, officials took businesses for granted and let New York City special interests dictate the discussion.

I think we all agreed though, that we’re finally turning that corner. In just the past four years we’ve delivered on-time, balanced budgets with no business or personal tax increases. We cut personal income taxes to their lowest level in over 50 years, kept state spending to less than two percent growth and even established a real property tax cap. In essence, we’ve maintained state finances much as a successful business would maintain its own.

But we also agreed that we have to strike while the iron is hot and incentivize existing businesses to stay, while convincing new ones to open in New York. That simply can’t be done until we tackle New York’s notoriously excessive regulations. I’ve already reviewed thousands of pages of what appear to be ambiguous and often duplicative regulations, but untangling this mess, with an eye toward simplification is very appealing to me. Much like the power washer, it’s slow and steady work, taken inch by painstaking inch. The reward will be a much improved and attractive business environment that’s better for all working people.

Yet, I know I’ll need help. I’ll be hosting a series of Senate hearings where business people can share their insights and expertise. Just like this week’s WOR breakfast, the more frank the discussions, the better. In the meantime, I urge any small business or would be start-ups to reach out to the Long Island Business Council (516-396-0600) and the Nassau IDA (516-571-1945). They have a wealth of resources that many people just aren’t aware of, as well as invaluable advice, garnered from years of collective experience. These are business people just like you, and they’re dedicated to helping in whatever way they can.

So break out your power washers (be sure they’re not borrowed) and together, let’s get to work.

News

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.

 book shops in Hicksville and around the country will hand out free comics on Oct. 25, to celebrate the second biggest free comic book event of the year—Halloween ComicFest. On Saturday, anyone who goes into a participating comic shop can choose from 19 free comics and participate in fun activities comic shops host for their customers to enjoy, while discovering new types of comics and the treasures found in store.

In Hicksville, both Game Master Games (954 S. Broadway) and Amok Time (108C New South Road) will be taking part in the Halloween ComicFest festivities. Game Master Games just recently started carrying comic books and this will be the store’s first comic book-related event. Coincidently, the event runs in the middle of an in-store gaming convention, and store owner Dave VanderWerf is looking forward to the increased exposure for the store.


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

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