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2010: Year in Review

Review III October to December
October

In 1,000 years when the Martians land the only human remains will be plastic bags and the Pyramids, opined Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, kick-off speaker at the first Environmental Education Fair. The event was sponsored by the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce and the Port Washington Federal Credit Union. The Village of Munsey Park has been awarded a $50,000 grant from The Dormitory Authority of New York to repair sidewalks on Park Avenue and Manhasset Woods Roads. Munsey Park was badly battered by the storm that caused storm drains to flood, stranding a few motorists whose cars were swamped in the middle of Park Avenue when between 4 and 6 inches of rain fell on the north shore of Nassau County early on Oct. 1. The third annual Community Service Day took place at the high school. It’s a trifecta benefiting students, organizations and the community at large-especially in this economy. Students receive valuable, even marketable experience, organizations benefit from volunteer activity and the community prospers from improved services.

Second annual Court of Champions Principal’s Classic was held at the Manhasset High School tennis courts to raise funds for the Dr. David H. Dorman Tennis Center slated to break ground in June 2011. Leslie House is distinguished as the eighth recipient of the “Maggie Award,” given to celebrate the volunteer efforts of community residents.

What is Sepsis? It is a toxic and life-threatening medical condition caused by the body’s overblown response to infection or injury. If not detected early and treated, sepsis can lead to organ failure, shock and death. It is the cause of 25 percent of U.S. hospital deaths—that’s one in four. Jackie Wang of Manhasset is among the half-million Americans every year who develop sepsis or septic shock and she is one of the lucky ones. She survived. Incumbent.

At the school board meeting Armand Markarian, director of facilities, provided a construction update for Summer 2010 including the new fence at Memorial Field. Projects were completed at both elementary schools where this year Munsey Park welcomed 950 students and Shelter Rock welcomed 750 students. The auditorium in the secondary school was beautifully refurbished. The school board passed a resolution because as part of the plan to close the current $315 million County budget gap, Nassau County Executive Mangano has proposed ending the county guarantee. The guarantee holds school districts harmless from payments of property tax claims and dates back to 1948 when the New York State Legislature determined that Nassau County should be responsible for costs and penalties resulting from its errors in assessment.

Manhasset Boys Varsity Cross Country team races to its 500th win under the coaching magic of Don Scott. In 1938 Mr. and Mrs. Joseph D. McGuire and their son, Robert, moved into their new home on Abbey Road North, and remained there for four generations. This year the family gathered up their memories and bade a fond farewell after 70 years. Elena Avalos-Bock and Audrey Edelstein are the recipients of the 2010 Robert E. McGuire Music Award established by the Manhasset Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5063.

The League of Women Voters of Port Washington/Manhasset hosts “Meet the Candidates” night showcasing incumbents and challengers for the 7th Senate District, 16th Assembly District, 5th Congressional District and Receiver of Taxes for the Town of North Hempstead. Incumbent Senator Craig M. Johnson, Democrat of Port Washington, voted for the payroll tax in 2009, which was met with much scrutiny by the public. His Republican challenger and current Mineola mayor is Jack Martins. Tax Revolt Party candidate Elizabeth Berney, a resident of Great Neck, brought up war costs and highlighted the disdain people feel for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in seeking a seat in the 5th Congressional District. Incumbent Democrat Gary Ackerman, who has been in the House for 28 years, said that he regrets voting for the Iraq war. He also said that all options should be used to avoid war. His Republican challenger was James Milano. Incumbent Democrat Michelle Schimel seeking her second term as assemblywoman, is being challenged by Republican Scott Diamond. Town of North Hempstead Receiver of Taxes, Democrat Charles Berman is being challenged by Republican candidate Jeffrey Bass.

The Apple Store in Manhasset recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, yet it seems, somehow, to have always been part of the landscape on Northern Boulevard. Well over 100 people representing local businesses attended a free business seminar on ways social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) could help them improve and streamline their businesses.

In the late spring, the seventh- and eighth-grade Long Island Senior Girls’ Youth Lacrosse League teams brought home the Long Island championships in each grade. The Nassau County Bar Association hosted a free public education seminar addressing all aspects of cyber-bullying and sexting. With the advancement of technology and the availability of smart phones, laptops and computers, bullies today have the tools to target and harass their victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This program was offered to help parents protect their children from abusive relationships and to provide parents with the tools to effectively deter cyber-bullying.

New York gubernatorial debate at Hofstra University offered the seven gubernatorial candidates a chance to answer questions. It was a banner year with many characters: Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo; Republican Carl Paladino; and joining the two major party hopefuls were third party candidates Charles Barron (Freedom Party); Kristin Davis (Anti-Prohibition Party); Howie Hawkins (Green Party); Jimmy McMillan (Rent is 2 Damn High Party); and Warren Redlich (Libertarian Party).

Coach Don Scott’s illness prevented him from attending the ceremony in his honor, on the occasion of his 500th Boys’ Varsity Cross Country win. so it was filmed for him, and each time the audience burst into applause, which was often, they simultaneously rose and faced the camera waving, smiling and cheering for the honoree.

November

November Election Results were predictable with victorious incumbents except for a contested senatorial election that has Republican Jack Martins running ahead of Craig Johnson Andrew Cuomo (D) was elected NYS Governor.

Project Share is a new SCA committee geared to help children in local schools whose families need assistance. The group has already provided basic need items such as clothing, bedding, diapers and food to local families. The intention is that the provision of these items will enhance or make a difference in the everyday life of the family in need. Social workers and school personnel are responsible to ascertain and forward the needs of families. MHS Theater presents Into the Woods.

For the second year in a row, the Manhasset High School girls tennis team has won a division championship. The team finished with a regular season record of 12-2, tied for first place with Cold Spring Harbor and Great Neck South.

The MHS Swim Team captures Division B Title. The Plandome Road Architectural Integrity Alliance, a Manhasset resident organization, recently received permission from the Long Island Rail Road to paint the Plandome Road railroad overpass in the traditional English Tudor color scheme to improve the downtown business district. The Alliance was formed about 6 months ago, in the spring of 2010, and currently has about 10 members that have contributed time and financial resources. On another overpass in town, the one on Manhasset Avenue, graffiti appeared on both sides of the overpass. The LIRR maintenance crew painted over the offending graffiti.

Popular drinks such as Four Loko and Joose contain as much as 2-3 coffee cups worth of caffeine and twice the amount of alcohol as a bottle of beer per container – a potent, dangerous mix that can be extremely hazardous for teens and adults alike. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, in his letter to the State Liquor Authority Nov. 10, noted that the FDA has never approved or determined that caffeine in alcoholic beverages like Four Loko is “generally recognized as safe,” which therefore allows the New York State Liquor Authority to implement a state ban on their sale.

For the first time in Manhasset’s rich history, two athletes have earned All-State status in a single season—Junior Charlie Morris and sophomore Stephen Bourguet. On Halloween night, the Manhasset Middle School was transformed into a ghoulish scene.

Developer Michael Puntillo, Jr. of Jobco Realty and Construction presented a new preliminary proposal for the Christ Church Parish House and property to members of the community. Plans have not yet been submitted to the Town of North Hempstead. An earlier proposal for this property was to demolish the Parish House building and erect a high-end, age restricted condominium structure which was largely opposed by residents. In contrast to previous plans, the current proposal includes restoring the 20,000 square foot Gothic-style building to allow for retaining usage by some not-for-profits. A remaining portion of the building (roughly 15,000 sq. ft.) and land would become property of the developer to be renovated for commercial office space rentals.

Currently the town allows a 4-foot fence around the entire house, and if you want any higher you go before the Board of Zoning and Appeals to get a variance. Councilman Fred Pollack originally proposed the 6-foot fence height in unincorporated areas (not the villages) but in the face of opposition has amended his original proposal: roughly, 4-feet in front; 5-feet on the sides; and 6-feet in the rear yard. There would be some exceptions. A decision was postponed to the next board meeting on Dec. 14.

The town continues to accept applications for “Hometown Heroes.” The fate of LI bus service is still unknown. Buckley Country Day School has been selected to become an affiliate school of Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. North Hempstead’s 311 Call Center celebrated a milestone – 500,000 calls in its five-year lifespan – and it was announced that constituents can now report concerns, have their questions answered or file service requests seven days a week. An amazing 26 not-for-profit organizations attended a fair at the Manhasset Public Library sponsored by the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce. The community was invited to interview them, making it easier for residents to choose an organization to volunteer their time. Daffy’s has resumed renovation after the fire that closed the store.

At the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations (Greater Council) meeting Legislator Judi Bosworth divulged that the proposed merger of the 6th and 2nd Nassau County Police Precincts was withdrawn because the early retirement of 145 police officers, who will not be replaced, provided savings of $20-22 million. Tom DiPaoli was appointed the new Commanding Officer of the 6th Precinct. Bosworth addressed the elimination of the tax certiorari County Guarantee as the result of a broken, complicated assessment system. Before, when the county made an incorrect assessment, the county was responsible to pay the refund to the taxpayer, now that obligation has been shifted predominately to the school districts. Eighty percent of the certiorari reductions, she said, are commercial properties, often in litigation for years, causing millions of dollars, not only in refunds, but crushing interest. The county has been borrowing funds to pay for the successful challenges causing major budget deficits. So now school districts/ municipalities are responsible to pay those refunds and they individually must budget for them, forcing them to create new reserves. Regarding an update on FAA helicopter noise, a Greater Council member reported that a Senator Schumer aide was unsure about any changes in local airport patterns. No FAA rule change as yet. The Greater Council unanimously opposes increasing the fence height to 5 feet on a side yard and 6 feet in the back yard.

December

The gazebo at the Mary Jane Davis Park was aglow with lights and strung with garlands, ready for the hundreds of residents who attend the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, a harbinger of the holiday season. The event itself illustrated this year’s poster competition theme, “Celebrating Together.” Alexandra Penzi is the grand prize winner voted by the community, a first, with over 1,000 hits on the chamber website.

Standing room only at Edison’s Restaurant when the Manhasset Republican Club met for their monthly meeting with over 40 people, including Jack Martins, apparently the incoming New York State Senator. Manhasset voted for Martins three to one, according to initial poll returns.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, Munsey Park residents lined the street in front of their homes with candle bags and at 5 p.m. sharp everyone simultaneously lit 7,500 candles and the whole neighborhood was illuminated in candlelight. Tara Kirkwood spearheaded the event, a community celebration that allows everyone to participate and a first for the village.

Already there are too many vacant storefronts on Plandome Road, then factor in the going out of business sale at Fleur de’ Lis, and death throes of Ziering Interiors. Manhasset Sporting Goods, Les Corbeilles, Merle Norman, and Van’s Garage Door Store are all gone, and there are three vacancies on the south side of Park Avenue. Reasons advanced are a combination of contributing factors: high rents, lack of adequate parking, lack of sewers, and the overall economy. Against that bleak background brothers David and Afshin Haghani operate three shops on Plandome Road, catering to local fashionistas—Gallery Couture, Loop and G Couture. This season they did their part decorating for the holidays greatly enhancing the view on Plandome Road.

Alarmed about the increase in prescription drug abuse among young adults and the heroin epidemic on Long Island, Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Town Board hosted Nassau County’s first pharmaceutical take-back program at Manhasset High School. Three Manhasset cross country runners competed against the best runners in New York State at the Federation Championships in Wappinger Falls, NY.

The U.S. Supreme Court certified the 7th Senate District race declaring Jack Martins the winner; Craig Johnson said he will appeal.

Sixteenth annual Manhasset Children’s Holiday Spectacular spearheaded by the Bayview Civic Association held once again at the Clearview Cinema on Plandome Road. Manhasset High School’s girls’ varsity volleyball team tied for second in the conference with a 10 and 4 record, securing a three seed for the playoffs.

Students attended the Manhasset Middle School Dance in honor of former Manhasset student and lacrosse star Neil Barber. Admittance required three cans of food for the homeless, in honor of Neil’s Wheels. The total amount collected was 821 cans of food for homeless dinners and ecumenical food pantries on Long Island.

Fasten Your Seatbelts for the 2011-12 school budget because at the board of education meeting it was said pension costs alone would catapult the district over the tax cap proposed by Governor-elect Cuomo. According to the New York State School Board Association “a tax cap of 2 percent or the rate of inflation – whichever is less – would limit property tax increases in school districts to an average of $229 million per year over the next four years. At the same time, school districts could have a projected average annual increase of more than $1 billion in salaries, health insurance, and employee pension contributions. That would leave school districts with an average shortfall of $815 million each year just in meeting these basic personnel costs.”

A snowstorm of historic proportions blanketed the area with between 15-22 inches of snow that stopped the railroad in its tracks as well as buses and planes. Winds in excess of 60 miles an hour made it dangerous for LIPA to hoist its repairmen in the aerial buckets necessary to repair the high wires, leaving thousands stranded without power.

As of Dec. 22, red light cameras are installed, or under construction, at 50 intersections with a total of 152 cameras.

Marvin Natiss, mayor of the Village of North Hills and president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association (NCVOA), joined a delegation of mayors from across Long Island to respond to a report on Mandate and Property Tax Relief that contains a significant set of mandate relief proposals, primarily in the workforce arena, that must be adopted by the State Legislature prior to considering any form of a property tax cap.