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Letter: Captain, Oh Captain! Turn this Ship Around!

On February 10th, over 500 concerned citizens packed the Island Trees High School auditorium to voice their concerns and their anger at the notion that someone would dare to attempt to sell school property including a building dedicated to a Medal of Honor recipient. American Hero Lt. Stephen E. Karopczyc was first wounded in action and later that same day killed in action in Vietnam 47 years ago. That building was dedicated on Flag Day, June 14, 1969. Was the Karopczyc family contacted by the district and told that their son’s school would be razed? Of course not.

At that February meeting, we were assured that this notion was in its infancy stage. What we weren’t told that night was that an appraiser, a realtor, and an attorney, all with strong political ties to one another, had already been hired by February 10th. The Huntington Three was assembled and this community was none the wiser...not yet. Many have said that this Farmedge Property Proposal was ill-conceived from the outset and destined to fail. Others feared that this troika would succeed in redesigning Island Trees. The February 10th forum and its aftermath was the precursor to May 20th’s results.

On May 20th, the Island Trees voting community turned out in record numbers to have their voices heard. Three incumbents were swept out of office by three challengers in what can only be described as a landslide. Had all seven incumbents been up for reelection, there is a good chance that seven new board members would be taking their oaths of office during this July’s reorganization meeting. This community wanted accountability. This proud community hit the reset button on Election Day...well, at least partially.

It is a foregone conclusion that, just as Carlo had to answer for Santino, Island Trees Board of Education incumbents will face stiff challenges next May and the May after that.That will be the true referendum on the decisions they made and votes they cast during these trying times. Voters will again have the chance to have their voices heard. During healthy and spirited political debates, incumbents will get a chance to defend and explain their votes and challengers can lay out their vision for the future. Then, the voters will decide who stays and who goes. That is democracy at work. That takes care of the political science lecture.

Two administrators played leading roles in this debacle,  spearheading this campaign which caused such a conflagration in our community and cost three incumbents their seats. These administrators were never elected. They were selected. Island Trees voters will never get a chance to go to the polls and weigh in on their standing in the district. One can only speculate as to the outcome had their names appeared on a ballot on May 20th. One thing is certain. Voters summarily rejected this property proposal which was originally proffered by these administrators. This was their brainchild. They assembled the Huntington Three. They polled 70 people. May 20th’s election polled over 1,600. The three trustee-elects and 73 percent of Island Trees voters diametrically oppose the proposal. How can both camps co-exist? They cannot. After careful consideration and after months of research and conversations with all involved, most importantly my neighbors, I called for the resignation of  Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Charles Murphy and the Assistant Superintendent for Business Susan Hlavenka during the May 21st school board meeting. I did that with a heavy heart but I stand by those words. The district and the community needs to heal. By a 73-27 margin, voices were heard. 500 showed up on February 10th. No one listened. Over 1,100 showed up on May 20th and now they have to. This ship needs to be steered in the right direction, but first the  water needs to be put back in those pipes, the oil needs to be put back in that burner, and a new captain needs to be at that wheel. Full steam ahead! Don’t forget to polish up those SCHOOL FOR RENT signs. We’ll need them now.

Brian Kelty

Island Trees Taxpayer

News

Firehouse Subs announces the grand opening of its first Long Island location in Levittown on Oct. 17. The award-winning fast casual restaurant chain is famous for serving premium meats and cheeses steamed piping hot and piled high on a toasted sub roll, which is served “Fully Involved” with fresh produce and condiments. Founded by former firefighting brothers, the restaurant’s firehouse décor is based on the founding family’s decades of fire and police service, and the new location is decorated with firefighter memorabilia from the Levittown Fire Department.

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution. 

 

The Levittown School District has been vigilant with the increase of cases in general. “We are continuing to implement the precautions provided by the health department and the CDC,” said Levittown School District Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Personnel Darlene Rhatigan. “We are also reminding students and staff to be mindful of the importance of proper hygiene including frequent hand washing.”


Sports

 

Four Division Avenue High School seniors have signed national letters of intent to play baseball at local universities next fall. All four players were instrumental in winning the 2014 Nassau County Championship. 

The Island Trees Squirts Rockets U-6 team met with town officials, Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes at the 2014 Island Trees Soccer Club Opening Day Parade and Ceremony held at Stokes Elementary School. Pictured also with the Rockets U-6 team is President Joe Badolato, Event Coordinator Keri Cinelli, Equipment Commissioner Chris Blum, Travel Commissioner Mike Rich, Vice-President Brian Fielding and Rockets U-6 Coach Gina Weyland.



Calendar

Board of Ed Meeting - October 22

League Of Women Voters Talk - October 23

Lecture - October 24


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