(Police Chief Charles Gennario of the Rockville Centre Police Department, is a member of the Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task Force and submitted this letter on behalf of the Task Force.)
Prescription drug abuse in the nation is at an unparalleled height and it’s having a detrimental impact on our society. Nassau County is no different than the rest of the country and we are seeing ever-increasing abuse in our communities. It is affecting people of all ages, but is having the greatest impact on our youth.
Nassau County was shocked last week with the sad news of Peter Schmitt’s untimely death. As the presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, Schmitt was a prominent political figure and often the voice of Nassau County Republicans. He was opinionated and often quite blunt about defending his stance on county issues and he frequently sparred with the leaders of Nassau County Democrats. If you are a Republican, you often chuckled at his comments, and if you are a Democrat, you probably have clenched your teeth in anger at something he said. Much like his favorite baseball team, the Yankees, you were either strongly with him or strongly against him, but there was often no room for being in-between.
However, there was a side to Peter Schmitt that most of Nassau County didn’t know, which is how I will remember him. Despite the hard image, which he sometimes portrayed, Schmitt, or simply “Peter”, as he was known around Massapequa, was tremendously approachable and friendly. I often bumped into him in the local stores in and around Massapequa, and he would be quick to strike up a conversation. Recently, the conversation would always turn to his grandchild, who he had recently welcomed into the world. He was a devoted family man who adored his wife Lois, and he was so proud of their daughter, Samantha.
Tragedy came to the local community when the body of Garden City Park resident Harsha Maddula was pulled from the waters of Lake Michigan. An exemplary student at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, the aspiring physician was entering his sophomore year at Northwestern University. He had in fact returned a week early to the campus to help incoming freshmen with their transition into campus life. According to something Harsha Maddula had written that was reprinted in the program from his memorial service, he sought to become a sophisticated man with “the mind of an engineer, ethics of a scientist, soul of a poet and skill of an academic.” Words cannot express the sorrow felt for the loss suffered by the Maddula family but we at the Illustrated News extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this exceptional young man.
– Dave Gil de Rubio
Now that I’m an honest woman, as they say, people have started to ask about whether or not my husband and I are planning to have a baby soon. I don’t know the answer to that myself. Sure, I want a baby—babies are so adorable that I turn to mush every time I see anything that looks even remotely like a baby. I coo whenever they show a baby during a commercial, even though I know they’re just trying to sell me overpriced soap.
However, am I ready? First, there are financial concerns. I feel like I should wait until I have money safely invested in a house before I take on the responsibility of caring for another person. At the very least, I don’t think I could safely carry a baby up and down the steps to our two-floor walk-up, so if I had a baby in my current apartment, I would never be able to go outside.
New Hyde Park’s slogan is “A great place to live.” That was evidenced at the annual street fair, which was recently held. It is heartwarming to see so many members of the community turn out to support local merchants and enjoy each other’s company on a beautiful autumn day.
Last week, the New York Institute of Technology hosted three events in which Paul Burrell, who was the butler to Princess Diana, was the guest of honor. I attended one of these events, and was eager to do so as I have always found Diana to be a fascinating historical figure. Despite her fame and fortune, she gave of herself to help others who were suffering. She was an individual who was truly working to change the world for the better and tragically, she was taken from us much too soon. During his presentation, Burrell spoke of this.
“It’s better to give than to receive because when you give there are no strings attached,” Burrell recalls Diana saying.
With this edition, we are assuming the role of editors of The Illustrated News. It is quite exciting because the region that the Illustrated News reports on is a wonderful area. New Hyde Park, Williston Park, East Williston, and Albertson are all charming villages with terrific community-minded people and excellent schools. Yet it is also challenging, because we know how highly regarded our predecessor, Maggi Whitely, was in these communities. Maggi was a fixture at school board meetings, village board meetings and community events. Over her many years of service she earned your respect and your trust and we hope to do the same. We wish Maggi well in all of her future endeavors.
This past Tuesday, on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, I attended two separate memorial services representing Williston Park. Both were emotional affairs as that horrible day of 11 years ago, and the effects of that event were discussed by all the prominent speakers present. The first was held in a serene setting at Clark Gardens hosted by the Town of North Hempstead, at 8:30 a.m. The early morning weather conditions were eerily similar to the weather conditions of eleven years ago. The second was held at Kelleher field. Once again this was a highly emotional event attended by a number of local dignitaries, local clergy, representatives of the WPFD, American Legion, VFW, WP Auxiliary Police, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, young athletes, both male and female, and many of our residents. I’d like to use this opportunity to present my speech as given on Tuesday, September 11, 2012.
“Good evening, 9/11 related families, honored guests, dignitaries, clergy, and residents on this somber occasion of the remembrance of the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
We had an excellent opening for the district. After a very tight Capital Projects schedule, our students reported back to school last Tuesday to beautifully renovated and sparkling buildings. We opened school with 1619 students this year. This evening, our director of Facilities, Architect and Construction Management firm are here to give you highlights of the work that has been completed and to answer any questions the board of education may have.
All of our staff received training on the Right to Know and the new Dignity for All Students Act. Parents will also be informed of the components of the law and district policy at our Back-to-School night on Sept. 20. Teachers will be working as grade level teams this year, implementing the Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts and mathematics. Our curriculum committees met all last year to check our district frameworks and make adjustments whenever necessary for our curriculum and materials to be in alignment with the new CCLS.
Now that all the children are back in school and the busses are buzzing up and down every street, please take the time to drive carefully.
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