Written by Ron Scaglia Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00
After serving in the New York State Assembly for six years, the 17th Assembly District will shift drastically beginning next year. Whereas the district previously went from the western Nassau border to East Meadow, it now extends from East Meadow to the eastern border of Nassau, including a huge portion of Levittown. Tom McKevitt has represented the district since early in 2006 and will continue to do so with the new boundaries.
So what about his relationship with his new constituents?
“I am looking forward to a great relationship with them, trying to help our people,” McKevitt said. Some in Levittown may already know McKevitt, as serving the neighboring district, and others may have already met him while he has been out in the community. For those who haven’t, he hopes to meet everyone in his newly redefined district soon.
He says that he plans on visiting every elementary school within the district and that he wants the people he now represents to know that he has “an open door policy” and that those in his district should bring their issues and concerns to him.
“I really do look out for the interests of the constituents and I don’t bow to the interest groups,” McKevitt says. “I’m really looking out for the people I represent.”
The assemblyman comments that the communities that he will soon be representing are very similar to the communities he has represented for almost seven years, consisting of people who want a good education for their children who are trying to make life as affordable as possible. He says this has been getting more difficult during the past several years.
“The economy has been poor, so people just don’t have as much money,” he remarked. “Health care costs and pension costs have been a great stress on local governments so that creates the issue of taxes. That’s why the tax cap was enacted two years ago but that creates even greater stress on school districts and local governments to provide the basic services.”
Because of this, McKevitt says that one of his most important tasks is to fight in Albany to get as much state aid as possible for his district. He says that is going to become extremely important in the coming years, as the state doesn’t have enough revenue, so communities will be fighting over a decreasing amount of state aid. In addition, because of the costs in helping the state recover from Sandy, the amount of funds available figures to decrease as more state aid will be going to storm recovery as the Federal Government will not be providing enough money to cover all of the expenses. McKevitt was also hoping that state funds could go to job creation, but once again, the money needed for storm recovery may prohibit that.
“I’m going to fight hard as we always do to provide some needs for rebuilding but we can’t expect people to pay any more taxes,” McKevitt says.
The assemblyman has also been an outspoken critic of the Long Island Power Authority. He said that there is a lot of agreement among colleagues in state government that LIPA, as it exists today, is not a good situation, and that there is a strong possibility that a private utility will be running all of the electrical operations on Long Island. He adds that this needs to be done as soon as possible.
On a personal level, McKevitt and his wife, Samantha, who is a social studies teacher, have two young children. A devoted family man, McKevitt routinely makes a long daily commute back and forth to Albany so he doesn’t spend too much time from his family. McKevitt says that residents will soon learn that he is someone they can turn to for help.
“Whenever people call for help we never ask for their registration,” he commented. “We’re just there to help. That’s my job.”
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.
All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.
Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.
Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.
In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.
“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”
With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.
Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.
The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.
The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “
At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.
Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.
Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.
The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county.
The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.
In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.
Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games.