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From the desk of Assemblyman David McDonough: February 23, 2012

Written by David McDonough Friday, 24 February 2012 00:00

2011 was the year the state Legislature was finally able to come together, put politics aside, and pass some of the most taxpayer-and business-friendly legislation in decades. Despite these accomplishments, however, from the property tax cap, a reduction in state spending, repeal of the MTA payroll tax, and a reformed tax code, there remains one piece of the people’s business left undone: Medicaid.

With an annual tab of nearly $54 billion, nearly a third of the total state budget, Medicaid continues to be one of the top cost-drivers in New York State. There are currently 4.9 million enrollees in our state, with every indication that this number will only continue to rise. Twenty-five percent of our state population is eligible to receive 33 percent of our state’s spending in 2012. That statistic alone is a bruising example of how poorly the Medicaid system is administered. What’s worse, New York currently spends $1 billion per week on Medicaid, with costs skyrocketing annually.


Letter: Black History Month

Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00

This Black History Month, I’ll be remembering the four people most responsible for stamping out slavery: the journalist William Lloyd Garrison, the Quaker preacher Ellias Hicks, the parliamentarian William Wilberforce, and the ceramics manufacturer (and grandfather of Charles Darwin) Josiah Wedgwood. Like most of the tens of thousands of men who died fighting in the Civil War for the Union and the Royal Navy’s sailors who enforced the outlawing of the slave trade on the seas, these people were white Anglo-Saxon, Protestant males.

If many young people are unfamiliar with these men - and, indeed, all-too-many are - it’s because the historical facts don’t fit the current politically correct orthodoxy: that white people are inherently racists, that Western culture is intrinsically oppressive, and that Christianity is an apologia for racial discrimination. But, indeed, slavery was abolished, ultimately, by the very society that practiced it in the first place. Ralph Waldo Emerson, speaking on August 1, 1844 about the emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies noted, “Other revolutions have been the insurrection of the oppressed. This was the repentance of the tyrant.”


Letter: Thanks to Community For Donations

Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00

The MacArthur Track and Field team held a Night at the Races on Friday, Feb. 3 at Levittown Hall. The event was well attended with almost 200 people and very successful. The Mercury Club, the parent club for the Track and Field team, put on the event.

We would like to thank Dr. Grossane, superintendent of Levittown schools and Mr. Mike Pappas, president of the Levittown school board for supporting us that evening.

Many, many thanks to all the parent members of the Mercury Club who either cooked, baked or donated an item to the event. The parents of the current track and field team are very supportive, as well as the founding members of the Mercury Club who continue to help us.


Letter: Levittown Swimming Association History

Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00

While googling, I found an article in the Levittown Tribune dated July 26, 2002 about the history of the Levittown Swimming Association. I was fascinated because my mother, Marge Boettger, was mentioned as playing an instrumental part of the origin of that organization. It brought a tear to my eye remembering those great times in Levittown with my mother and the great times we had there in our youth. I may have traveled far from Levittown, but Levittown is never far from my heart.

Marge was an extraordinary woman with countless accomplishments throughout her life; one of which was her passion for swimming and sharing her passion with her swimmers and divers. She would be very happy to know that the Levittown Swimming Association continues on providing training and fun for the young people of Levittown.


From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: February 9, 2012

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00

Not everything is always as it appears. My paternal grandfather worked as a detective for the New York City Police Department. He was an identification expert in the Brooklyn morgue and could be described as an introverted guy who was well suited for this particular job. He actually enjoyed working in this cold, quiet environment where very few people interfered with his work. In fact, the majority of the people he interacted with daily were very cooperative with him. His biggest challenge was mentoring new detectives. They had so much to learn, but talked more than they listened and talked much more than they observed.

During one particular case, a group of new homicide detectives had been notified about a badly decomposed torso floating in the East River. They were able to retrieve this huge, headless, barrel-chested corpse from the water and take it down to the Brooklyn morgue for identification. These neophytes seemed to be very impressed by their find and were all going on and on jumping to all sorts of conclusions about their discovery. In fact, one young sleuth impressed by the body’s sizable proportions said, “Now that’s a MAN”!


From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: February 2, 2012

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00

There are many ways for parents to help their children be successful in school. From the start, I recommend that parents show their children they are interested in their child’s school and schoolwork. Typically, children are pleasers and look for their parent’s approval. Therefore, it is crucial for children to know that school and academic performance are important to their parents. If you place a great emphasis on school and your child’s work, then in turn, children will take this responsibility serious.

To begin, simple things parents should know and surprisingly some do not. Do you know your child’s teacher? In elementary school, most parents deal with only one classroom teacher and these parents should cultivate a strong working relationship and make sure their child is aware of it. For example, let your child know that you communicate with the teacher regularly; let your child know that you speak with their teacher about academic progress; and, talk to your child about their day and make sure you ask about their teacher.


Letter: Part Two: Selling Off the County’s Sewage Treatment Plants

Friday, 27 January 2012 00:00

(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appeared in the Thursday, Jan. 14, edition of The Roslyn News. This is the second of two letters from Claudia Borecky. The first letter appeared in last week’s edition.)

County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. He stated in a Long Island Press article, “In this case, we have the ability to protect the taxpayer, increase efficiencies and protect the environment.”

In last week’s letter, I discussed how Nassau County will lose its ability to protect the taxpayer and sale of our STPs will mean a huge increase in our sewage tax bill. Research has also shown that the quality of service often declines when operated by a private system. Although faith in the private sector to outperform government agencies is ingrained in the American psyche, facts disproving that belief are steadily mounting. Private companies seek to maximize profits, often by cutting corners to reduce costs. This can greatly impair service quality and maintenance. Over 60 percent of governments that brought functions back in-house reported this as their primary motivation.


Letter: Darwin Day

Friday, 27 January 2012 00:00

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 marks the 203rd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. By one of those curious coincidences in history, it’s also the birthday of Charles Darwin. Whilst the former is well known to most Americans (hopefully), the latter has been obscured by misconceptions about the man and his work notwithstanding the growing popularity of Darwin Day in museums and other scientific, historical, and philosophical institutions around the world. It’s important that we know something about Darwin and Darwinism because they not only provide the basis for the modern natural sciences, but also shed light on such fields as economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, theology, and history. This Darwin Day, let’s consider a few facts:

1. There’s no intrinsic philosophical contradiction between Darwinism and Christianity (or Judaism, Islam...etc.). Nothing in The Origin of Species or his other writings that is at odds with the fundamental principals and assumptions that circumscribe these faiths. Indeed, over the years there has been a growing body of work amongst scientists and theologians - especially in the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions - to harmonize faith and the science of evolution. If these endeavors are unfamiliar it’s because media sensationalism has shown only the evolution vs. creationism debate that arises from militant atheists attempting to use Darwinism to disprove God’s existence and from fundamentalist sects who interpret Scripture literally and, consequently, fail to take into account the complexities of its multiple translations, metaphorical elements, historical and literary contexts, and theological nuances.


Letter: Selling Off the County’s Sewage Treatment Plants

Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00

(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appeared in the Friday, Jan. 13 edition of the Levittown Tribune. This is one of two letters from Claudia Borecky. Her letter next week will address how she thinks privatizing will affect the efficiency of the sewage treatment plants and the affect on the environment.)

County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on Feb. 16, 2010 seeking Public/Private Partnerships (P3) to help fix the County’s fiscal woes. Morgan Stanley won that bid and was paid $24,750 (a bid under $25,000 does not require NIFA approval) to help prepare Requests for Qualifications (RFQ), to seek qualified bidders to purchase or lease our STPs. Three viable entities were found:


From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: January 19, 2012

Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00

With midterms on the horizon, it is important for students to prepare effectively for these exams. First and foremost, cramming the night before is not an effective way to prepare for a test. In truth, the best practice is to review your notes and your readings each day. If this is done consistently, there will be little need to worry about midterms. The student will be well prepared and likely to experience success.

Next, I’ve mentioned this in the past, but finding a good place to study is key to good studying habits. Students do not need a desk, but they do need a quiet spot where they can lay out all of their materials and books. When I was a youngster, the kitchen and dining room tables were designated as study spots for the entire family. It also enabled “Attila the Mom” to supervise our studies to ensure we were making good use of our time.


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