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Schimel: State Assembly Update

Admittedly “very busy” up in Albany, New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel is at least equally busy down the 16th Assembly District.

 

While she always seems to be working on overload on environmental issues and working to stop illegal guns, Schimel’s district office in Great Neck Plaza bustles with constituents and their concerns.

 

“A good percentage of our time is spent helping people...insurance issues, health care, even stop signs,” Schimel told Anton Community Newspapers during a recent interview.  

 

Both in Albany and downstate, Schimel resident is working on a range of issues. Here are some addressed in the interview:

• Common Core curriculum. She has called for “at least a two-year delay in the Common Core.” While she does support the Common Core standards, the “hasty incorporation of the Common Core standards and the revised state assessments” are a “great concern.” She has spent a great deal of time meeting with parents and educators, as well as attending public hearings. 

• Student privacy. “It is imperative that the sharing of student information with inBloom is delayed until questions regarding the protection of student data from security breaches, the necessity of the details being shared and the potential for the commercialization of this sensitive and private data, have all been answered,” she said of the private data company underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

• School funding. Schimel is working to eliminate the use of the GEA formula, and to restore GAP elimination funding to school districts. The GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) is a formula in the state budget that reduces the amount of aid each school district receives. Introduced a few years ago to trim the state’s budget deficit, the program has cut state aid to school districts by $6.35 billion, with Long Island school districts losing nearly $1 billion. Schimel explains that the GEA increases dependence on local property taxes to fund schools, yet the school districts are faced with a tax cap.

• Tax cap. She is introducing legislation to amend the tax cap law so that school districts can increase their budget over the tax levy limit without a super-majority vote.

• The Women’s Equality Act (WEA). As a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, she has been “advocating for the passage of the full 10 points of the WEA.” The points include: a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body; pay equity; stopping sexual harassment in the workplace; strengthen human trafficking laws; better protection for domestic violence victims and ending their housing discrimination; stopping pregnancy discrimination; removing barriers to remedying discrimination; stopping source-of-income discrimination. She is proud that the Assembly passed the full measure of this bill.

• The environment. She recently introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale of personal-care products and cosmetics that contain microbeads, tiny micro-polymer (plastic) particles used in many such products. “Recent scientific studies have found that microbeads are polluting our waterways,” she said. Fish eat these pollutants and the fish eventually become food for humans. Her bill, she said, will help prevent further such pollution.

• Triclosan. Schimel introduced legislation to prohibit the sale of personal products containing triclosan, which she reports that “several studies” claim to cause adverse health effects.

• Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). “It is an international trade agreement currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries ... which the Obama Administration is trying to fast-track.” Further, she said “Fast-track approval would prohibit Congress from making any changes to the trade deal once it is finalized.”

She has organized a bipartisan group of 40 New York State Assembly members to send a letter to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, asking him to assess TPP’s potential impact on state and local governments.” She added that “Of particular concern is the threat that TPP poses to the rights of states to enact and enforce environmental and health protections.”

• Gun control. A longtime advocate for putting an end to illegal guns and gun violence, Schimel is still fighting.


News

While this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair takes place one day before the first official day of fall, the event keeps the spirit of summer alive a little longer for the 20,000-25,000 attendees. 

 

Organizers are looking to up the ante for the 19th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 20, with the usual clowns and crafts supplemented by a petting zoo, pony rides and a new children’s carnival, from New Hyde Park-based Send in the Clowns.

 

“We try to capatilize on all the elements of the fair that work and modify ones that need work,” said New Hyde Park Village Board Research Assistant/Fair

Coordinator Janet Bevers. “The fair has been in place for 19 years now so in essence we follow a similar format. We invite all the village merchants to participate.”

 

The pony rides will be stationed near the Green Meadow Farms petting zoo on Lakeville Road, with the carnival setting up shop in the village’s Central Boulevard parking lot.

 

“It’s exciting to see a local company taking on a big piece of the fair,” Bevers said.

 

Fair reps expect at least 220 vendors to line the street fair this year. In the fair’s inaugural outing in 1995, just 90 craft vendors showed up.

 

“I think it’s one of the biggest events in Nassau County,” Queens-based Craft-A-Fair President Tony Ciuffo said. “The fair accentuates the local merchants.

Every year it gets more and more exciting. I expect new vendors this year. Around 25 percent of the vendors will be new this year.”

 

Each year, vendors rent space on the turnpike from New Hyde Park Road, continuing west to Covert Avenue. Last year, a few extra blocks were added near Lakeville Road.

 

Former trustee Florence Lisanti was one of the first organizers of the street fair, who trustee Donald Barbieri commended for leading the charge.

 

“[The fair] is a great day for the community,” he stated. “We’re proud to have all our local organizations along the turnpike. The merchants get to showcase what they do. We are very proud of the street fair.”

 

Local merchants, Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members, charity and service groups can set up tables on the sidewalk free of charge, Bevers said.

 

“We view the fair as the premiere street fair on Long Island,” Bevers stated. “It goes about a square mile. The community feel to the fair is crucial. It’s a big fair and still retains its local charact

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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