For as bad as the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy was, LIPA’s response to the Island-wide power outages has been equal parts disgraceful and embarrassing. Governor Cuomo has already labeled the power authority’s efforts a failure, outraged citizens have picketed outside a Hicksville utility office and according to Bloomberg Businessweek, as of Monday, Nov. 12, “The state-owned authority’s customers accounted for about 58 percent of an estimated 136,936 still without power today, including homes and businesses with property damage unable to reconnect.” Stories of customers still without power receiving LIPA bills only rubs more salt in the wounds of those who’ve had to endure darkness, cold showers and plummeting temperatures at night. Although the likelihood is slim of this monopolistic entity prorating its billing so customers aren’t asked to pay for services they’re not receiving, we can only hope LIPA is sent packing sooner than later and a far more responsive power authority is brought in to serve some of the nation’s most highly taxed citizens.
– Dave Gil de Rubio
Something has to be done about the Long Island Power Authority! We are paying some of the highest power rates in the U.S. while LIPA risks our lives, limbs and homes with poor management and antiquated equipment!
Information has recently come to my attention that the catastrophic power outage we have suffered this week is due in a great part to disorganized executives and management at LIPA, and a poorly maintained infrastructure. It is a fact that many of the poles and much of the power equipment on Long Island hasn’t been replaced since the 1920s. The 1920s!
The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) suffers from a significant handicap relative to other large municipal utilities in the nation, and this handicap is a major contributing factor in its inadequate preparedness and response to Hurricane Sandy. Unlike the vast majority of municipal electric systems in the nation, since its creation in 1985, LIPA’s CEOs have been political appointees, not seasoned utility veterans who understand the fundamental complexities, dynamics and nuances of the industry that are needed to turn LIPA into a well-run provider of electric service.
Although LIPA has a first rate staff and was fortunate that several of its former leaders were exceptional managers, none of them head the industry expertise and long-term vision needed (utilities’ strategic plans typically have a 10 – 20 year horizon) to turn the system into a first-class electric provider. Instead, LIPA has been lead by a revolving door of CEO’s who, despite their impressive skill sets, dedication and access to Albany, had little or no utility experience (intervening against or for specific power projects does not qualify someone to operate a utility). Consequently, their first allegiance was to the governors office rather than LIPA’s customers.
By the time you read this, hopefully any power you may have lost will have been restored and any damages caused by Hurricane Sandy will have either been fixed or on the way to arriving at that state. While those who had the misfortune of being in the path of destruction wrought on Staten Island, the Jersey shore and the south shore of Long Island running from Brooklyn all the way out east have oftentimes been only left with the clothes on their backs, the response of donated time, money and supplies has been a reaffirmation of people’s inherent good in times of strife and struggle. Closer to home it’s been those who toil for law enforcement, the fire department, emergency services and public works who have been instrumental in helping residents get through this catastrophe in as safe and expedient a manner as possible. This kind of selflessness and determination is what is going to get everyone through this particularly difficult time in the end.
– Dave Gil de Rubio
As Hurricane Sandy headed toward the now-devastated Tri-State area, North Shore Animal League America - the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization – reached out to local residents already suffering tremendous losses, providing preemptive emergency rescue services to several Long Island shelters, ensuring the safety of pets who had to be separated from their displaced families. Shelter and rescue groups in the Long Island area who were forced to evacuate also took advantage of Animal League’s facilities. As more animals filled the shelter, dedicated staff members have worked around the clock to ensure all were being evaluated and ready for adoption. Every bit of space is now being utilized for animals in need of care, including the more than 650 animals at the adoption in need of new, loving homes.
Every adoption makes room in the shelter for other animals needing care. Adoption fees for all adult cats and dogs one year and older will be waived the rest of the week (through Sunday, November 11).
After 40 years of calling Nassau Coliseum home and winning four straight Stanley Cups in the early ’80s, the New York Islanders are pulling up stakes and heading west to Brooklyn and the team’s new home at the Barclays Center. Owner Charles Wang, who has reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars over the years while trying to keep the team afloat, finally tired of the jousting he’d been doing with Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead in an attempt to renovate the aging barn the Isles called home. Longtime fans may feel betrayed to the point of throwing their allegiance behind another team, but at the end of the day, Long Island’s only professional sports franchise didn’t end up lacing their skates up at locations they were rumored to move to including Quebec and Kansas City. And truthfully, given the sad state of negotiations between owner and the players union during this ongoing NHL lockout, the bigger concern might be whether the Islanders will even have a league to play in.
– Dave Gil de Rubio
I recently had the privilege of attending the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at Hofstra University on Tuesday, Oct. 16. To say there was a charge in the air would be an understatement. And while the day’s main event proved to be considerably more electrifying than the first debate, soaking in people’s passion for democracy and the fate of the country was inspiring, regardless of political preference. Forget the unwashed masses of journalists and politicians who filled up Spin Alley. It was the young people and the electorate who proved to be the greatest form of theater, whether it was Rednecks For Obama’s Sara Viessman driving up from Allentown, PA. to set up her banner of support despite being stuck on the south side of campus due to security measures. Or the silly undergrad running across campus to class bearing a sign that said “Ron Paul is Pokemon,” these were just some of the sights to be seen at the circus that was this presidential debate.
– Dave Gil de Rubio
For those of you who believe the doomsday predictions based on the Mayan calendar, I apologize, but I simply do not believe that the world will end in December because of a calendar that was created more than 5,000 years ago. There is no science to back up any claims about doomsday occurring on Dec. 21, 2012, and no theology to back it up either. Jesus is quoted in the Bible as saying about the end of the world, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Scientists and clergy are not always in agreement, but it definitely seems that both sides concur that the sun will rise on Dec. 22. So I will plan on celebrating Christmas, New Year’s and hopefully a return trip for the Patriots to the Super Bowl with a better result this time. (Note: I know most of you are not rooting for this, but I have had to endure two Super Bowls in which it seemed that every Giants fan in the New York area who was looking to gloat turned to the only Patriot fan in the area they could find, yours truly, so please cut me a little slack.)
The air is getting cooler, school has been in session for almost a month and a half and autumn is in full swing. It can only mean one thing—homecoming. An American tradition that’s been around just north of a century, it’s a chance for alumni to visit their alma mater and for current underclassmen to sup on heaping amounts of school spirit. As the saying goes, go big or go home, and New Hyde Park Memorial High School has always had a reputation for having some of the more spirited homecoming events on Long Island. Last year, more than 1500 people showed up to take part in the festivities and watch the winning float get picked and have the Homecoming King and Queen be announced at halftime. This year should be no exception. On Saturday, Oct. 20, the parade will kick off with a marching band at 12:30 p.m. on Hillside Boulevard, goes down New High Park Road and culminates with the Gladiators taking on the Pirates at 2 p.m. Given the ongoing excellence of the current NHPMHS squad, North Bellmore’s Mepham High School should expect to have their hands full.
– Dave Gil de Rubio
The days have started to get shorter and the air is cooler and we know that fall has arrived. We have had a very busy summer in our district working to complete an 8.5 million dollar capital project in an eight-week time span. Our contractors are now in the last phase of the project, window installation at the NHP Road School and Garden City Park School. Director of Facilities Robert Moss, architect John Grillo, and construction management principal, Brian McClave are now working with our principals and custodians on the punch list. This is the examination of the quality of the finished projects in each phase and the correction of any flaws.
The crispness of autumn awakens us to the realities that once again, all our students and staff have a fresh and clean start to the pursuit of academic excellence. Our teacher staff, under the guidance of our principals and the director of curriculum and instruction are busy developing, adapting and implementing the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) which are part of the Race to the Top Initiative adapted by New York State.
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