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Letter: Our Veterans Deserve Better

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has come under fire for delays with veterans’ benefits and care at their facilities. While I have already called for a criminal investigation into wrongdoing at the VA, I am writing to inform readers of my bill that would enact a common-sense solution to ensure veterans aren’t left waiting for claims.

Currently, New York veterans wait an average of 297 days to receive disability compensation and benefits, a time table that falls far short of the 125-day goal the VA has set for filling these claims. This is unacceptable.

That’s why I introduced the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act. This bill would give provisional benefits to veterans filing for disability if a claim hasn’t been processed within 125 days. The provisional benefit would be based on what a veteran with a similar disability receives or would be calculated based on a 40 percent disability rating. Put simply, this legislation would ensure no veteran filing a claim has to wait more than125 days for the benefits they’ve earned.

To date, my office has recovered more than $7.4 million in back pay and owed benefits to my constituents by cutting through the red tape at the VA. If you, or a veteran you know, needs help with a VA benefits claim, please make my office your first resource.

You can reach my office at 631-777-7391, 516-505-1448 or 718-875-1675. We are eager to help.

Rep. Stev­e Israel

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

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



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