Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:24
On a glorious day, the Village of Plandome Heights celebrated its 80th Anniversary by hoisting a new flagpole and Old Glory, a gift from the Nassau County Legislature put in place by Legislator Judi Bosworth. The ceremony began dramatically with the flashing lights of patrol cars as Sgt. Michael Hospodar, representing the Nassau County 6th Precinct Command, road up to the flagpole. Mayor Diana Merenda initiated the ceremony by noting the World War II service of resident Lawrence Kaplan, a veteran of “D-Day” who served under General Patton.
Plandome Heights became an incorporated village on June 11, 1929, in fulfillment of a desire for home rule, for self-determination. “It is ironic,” noted Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, “that we celebrate this occasion at a time when the NYS Legislature is changing referendum requirements. But Plandome Heights was formed during a difficult time in our nation’s history and continues to thrive today!”
About a year ago, the VPH decided to hold a party to commemorate the event on Saturday night, June 6. Several months later, it became obvious that the economy was suffering and because of that, the board of trustees decided to cancel the event.
Upon hearing the news, Nassau County 10th District Legislator Judi Bosworth suggested that something still could be done to commemorate the event, and sponsored a Community Revitalization Project bill to approve a new 40-foot flagpole for the village, replacing an older 30-foot pole.
Quinn Flags was the contractor that managed the flagpole installation and Matt Quinn, raised just down the street at 88 Brookside in Plandome, had been inspired by the flagpole he saw every day growing up and wanted to do something special for the occasion. He donated two dozen little flags and transplanted the old shorter flagpole, and installed it on the Preserve, as a gift to the village.
As with any milestone birthday, Mayor Merenda noted that this was an opportunity to take stock and to thank the many men and women who have served and continue to serve in the management of the village. Referring to the village’s own “King Solomon,” Merenda gave special acknowledgment to the Chairman of the Zoning and Appeals Board, Eugene O’Connor, who has served Plandome Heights on the BZA for the last 25 consecutive years. In recognition of this achievement, the New York Conference of Mayors awarded Mr. O’Connor a special certificate.
The mayor also acknowledged the youth of the village, including the Boy Scouts who tend to the village flag; Sebastian Barrera-Gomez, a member of the Manhasset High School Crew Team that recently won the Nationals for an unprecedented second year in a row; Alison Liu, about to enter her Junior year at Duke University, who is a summer intern for Legislator Bosworth, as well as Great Neck resident Amy Reynolds, a St. John’s University intern to the village who redesigned a new village website.
Dr. Jerry Scharfman, Congressman Gary Ackerman’s chief of staff, announced that on the actual village anniversary, June 11, a flag will have been flown over the Capitol in Washington DC and will have been sent to the village hall.
Senator Craig Johnson arrived and with the help of his son Benjamin, held a symbolic ‘big check.’ In January, Mayor Merenda had submitted a proposal for capital projects and Senator Johnson took the occasion to announce that Plandome Heights had been awarded a combined $200,000 for Capital and Economic Development Assistance. “With this announcement, there is no better way to end this wonderful ceremony,” said Merenda as she thanked the Senator.