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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

Two brothers achieve the American dream

with their barbershop

Twenty-one years ago, brothers Solomon (“Sal”) and Albert (“Al”) Basanelov of eastern Uzbekistan joined some four dozen relatives from their small city of Fergana and traveled more than 9,000 miles west to America, where they sought escape from the tightly controlled and repressive regime that marked the former Soviet state.

In 1993, the brothers established themselves in Rego Park in Queens and began seeking out careers where they could live what they saw as the American dream—ownership of their own business and the freedom to pursue their own lives and fortunes. After working for a short while caring for patients in a Queens nursing home and motivated by two cousins, Al and Sal went to a New York City barber college and after finishing the course, worked as employees for their cousins who owned barber shops in Franklin Square. Eventually, they decided to open their own shop—Al and Sal’s Barber Shop—in a small shopping strip on Stewart Avenue in Hicksville.

Hicksville’s interim School Superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso gave a review of the district’s recently completed capital projects and facilities updates at Nov. 19’s board of education meeting. Most of the projects were completed over the summer in each of the district’s schools.

“Thanks to Director of Facilities and Operations, Dave Bell and his staff, we are structurally sound,” said Bonuso. “So much of what we do is in-house which saves the district money and our staff makes the facilities as special as the students they serve.”


Sports

For the past 11 months, Hicksville’s Marlo Signoracci has been training for IRONMAN, one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there. The triathlon includes a swim, bike and run portion. Signoracci recently traveled down to Florida to compete in IRONMAN Florida. Here’s a look at her experience.

Nov. 1, 2014 will be a day in my life I will never forget and will carry with me forever. It truly was the celebration of the last 11 months of training.

The fall athletic season seemed to move quickly, but all teams had outstanding seasons with all teams reaching the playoffs except for two who had their best season in many years.

In addition to athletic acheivements, all of the varsity programs at Hicksville High School also participated in raising more than $4,000 for several charities this past fall: pediatric cancer, breast cancer awareness and cystic fibrosis.


Calendar

Model Railroad Open House

November 28-30

Popcorn Balls

November 30

Craft Fair

November 30



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