The nation’s new Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has a provision that could put local fire departments—as well as local governments—at considerable financial risk. Firefighting departments with 50 or more members could be forced to provide health insurance for their volunteer firefighters or else pay substantial fines.
“It would really hurt the volunteer fire departments,” said William F. Murray, president of the Volunteer Firefighters Association of Southern New York.
The health care law has specific insurance requirements for employers with 50 or more employees. While the U.S. Department of Labor terms these firefighters “volunteers,” the Internal Revenue Service classifies volunteer firefighters as employees.
For more than 30 years, some of the most talented and most memorable comedians graced the stage right here on Long Island, at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown. “There is no comic that isn’t aware of this place or hasn’t worked here before,” said John
Trueson of Governor’s. “This is definitely in the top ten comedy venues in the country; everybody has been here,” like Jay Leno, Tracy Morgan, or Jerry Seinfeld (Massapequa), or the late Andy Kaufman (Great Neck), and the late Lenny Bruce (Mineola).
“People don’t realize just how many comics come from Long Island,” said Trueson.
Not only do the top acts take to the stage at Governor’s, but dozens have gotten their start and honed their craft like Bobby Collins (New Hyde Park), Wendy Liebman (Roslyn), Jackie Martling (East Norwich), Bob Nelson (Massapequa), Judd Apatow (Syosset), and
Carol Liefer (East Williston).
Oxford and Simpson Real Estate Services—a firm hired by the Island Trees School District Board of Education—are currently reviewing proposals for the development of an 11.3 acre property that currently houses the Geneva N. Gallow and Stephen J. Karopcyc schools on Farmedge Road in Levittown.
“We are still in the process of settling on a developer, so nothing has been determined yet,” Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy said, regarding selling the property to help stablilize the local tax base. “The board will not rush into this, because whatever is decided has to be the right decision for the neighbors and the community... This is land we will never get back.”
Perhaps no one symbol of the generous spirit of the season is more iconic than the bell ringers of the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” brigades. These hardy fundraisers brave winter’s chill outside grocery stores and shops, as a reminder to holiday shoppers that charity may begin at home, but it doesn’t end there.
In Levittown, the Key Club of Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Center is taking the lead in supplying Red Kettle volunteers. Standing outside the King Kullen on Hempstead Turnpike on a very frosty Saturday, the students sang and cavorted in holiday get-ups.
“Levittown is not affluent, but when there is a need, these people come out,” said Claps Key Club adviser Lillian Creedon. “The support from Levittown is always amazing.”
It was warmer than average this past Friday, Dec. 20, on the last day before the official arrival of winter. Boxes of toys were stacked up high inside and outside of the Police Benevolent Association in Freeport for the annual United State Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
Inside the PBA headquarters, Retired Marine Major Chuck Kilbride was hard at work, overseeing operations for the event that delivers gifts to underprivileged kids.
“I do it because I want to give back to the community,” said Major Kilbride, as he sorted through a myriad of games and dolls piled atop large brown tables inside. “I do it because it makes me feel good...putting smiles on children’s faces.”
The Robodawgs robotics team—a group of five intellectual Island Trees High School students—were given a warm welcome home, after taking first place in the Incredible Bionic Man challenge. The regional competiton, sponsored by the Smithsonian Channel and Cablevision, put the Robodawgs up against some of the best and brightest from 10 different states and Washington D.C., with the goal of creating a working bionic body part out of common household items.
According to the team’s advisor, Dr. Andrew Sass, the group was first inspired to enter the contest after attending a presentation at Half Hallows High School, last October, where the students were able to meet the researchers behind the Increidble Bionic Man. He said that when people ask why the group of high schoolers decided to enter the contest by building a bionic arm-hand combination—a robotic body part that researchers said was the most challenging to construct—that he would reply much the same way as George
Mallory did when he climbed Mt. Everest. “Because it was there,” Sass said.
A routine traffic stop on Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown recently turned into an arrest after detectives with the Nassau County Police Department’s second precinct found that the 25-year-old driver was in possession of fraudulent gift cards.
According to police, the reporting officers pulled over Farnell Florestal of Baldwin, on Dec. 13, for a traffic violation nearby Center Ln. in Levittown. After interviewing the driver, police conducted an investigation and found Florestal in possession of 15 fraudulent American Express and Visa debit/gift cards.
Florestal was placed under arrest at the scene and is currently being held on charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, criminal possession in the fifth degree, and a vehicle and traffic law infraction.
In a symbolic stand against pressure from the New York State Education Department, members of the Levittown Board of Education recently rejected the changes to the special education curriculum.
Based on the most recent set of rule changes to the statewide Common Core, the Levittown school district, as of July 1, 2013, can no longer dole out IEP diplomas to special education students.
According to Special Education Director Lisa Carelli-Lang, the state education department has determined the individualized education program [IEP] diploma is “arbitrary” and not “aligned with the Common Core curriculum.”
Two pint-size beauties are sweeping the top awards at local kiddie-pageants across the region. Sayjel and Shanel, daughters of Heinrick and Mojill Tan of Levittown, recently earned finalist spots in the National American Miss Pageant.
“My parents wanted me to not be shy anymore, but I am still shy,” said 8-year-old Sayjel. Her mother, Mojill, said pageantry has really helped both of her daughters over the past year. “We are happy that they are slowly coming out of their shyness,” she added.
Sayjel won the talent competition portion of the pageant. Her talents were gymnastics and also playing the piano. She also was a winner in the Top Model Search portion of the pageant.
Voters in Levittown braved the ice and snow in order to cast their ballots in last week’s fire district elections. On Dec. 10, voters re-elected Levittown Fire Commissioner John E. Rottkamp and Treasurer James Behrens to another term.
Running unopposed, Rottkamp was re-elected to his third consecutive five-year term as Levittown Fire Commissioner—receiving a total 179 votes.
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