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Danger In The Walk To School?

Kim Dobres received a letter this summer from the Massapequa School District. When she opened it up and read it, she was quite alarmed. The letter informed her that her son, who would be beginning eighth grade at Berner Junior High School in August, was not eligible to be taken to and from school by district transportation. As a seventh grade student, Dobres says her son was originally denied district transportation, but upon speaking with someone at the district’s transportation office, she was told that her house was “pegged wrong,” and her son rode the bus throughout seventh grade. However, Dobres says that despite her multiple calls to district officials, she has not been able to get her son district transportation this year. Therefore, her son goes to school by walking a path between Unqua School and Berner Junior High that is directly behind a busy shopping center up where Staples, Dollar Tree and Waldbaum’s are located.

“I am not comfortable with that pass-through,” Dobres wrote in an email to the board of education.

Dobres says that she has numerous concerns about that path. First, it is not paved, so when there is precipitation, her son must traverse muddy ground that ruins his clothes. Dobres also says that the path is frequently littered with debris.

Secondly, Dobres says that the gates at the entrance to the path by both Unqua and Berner are not always unlocked in time for her son to pass through the path. In the email that she sent to the district, she wrote that her oldest daughter would encounter locked gates when she traversed the path, and had to climb over a fence, in order to get to school.

In addition, Dobres told that board at its last meeting, that she is concerned for her son’s safety, and the safety of others who travel the path. Although there are gates that can be locked at the entrance to both Berner and Unqua, the path goes behind the shopping center and there is an opening to the path that is accessible from the parking area adjacent to Staples. Dobres says she has been at the path at dismissal time and found it unguarded.

“Safety is the concern,” she told the board.

In response, Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock, said that there is a security guard at the entrance to the path at Unqua, and one or two more security guards at the entrance to Berner.

According to the letter that Dobres received from the district, the transportation policy is to provide busing for students in grades 1-9 who live at least one mile from the school. The distance requirement is at least one half of a mile for kindergarten students and at least one and a half miles for students in grades 10-12. In the letter that Dobres received from the district, it says that using a calibrated odometer, it was determined that the distance between the furthest property line of Dobres’ home and a point adjacent to the flagpole in the street of Berner Middle School does not fall within these limits, and therefore her son may not receive district transportation.

However, Dobres disputes this. She said that the district states that her home is .8 of a mile from the school. Yet, Dobres claims that this route is dangerous, as her son would have to walk along Sunrise Highway to Old Sunrise Highway and then to Carman Mill Road. In the email she sent to the district, she wrote that this would require her son to walk in the street, as portions of Carman Mill Road do not have sidewalks. Conversely, if her son were to travel what Dobres believes is a safer route, by going to Merrick Road and then to Carman Mill Neck Road and approaching Berner from the south, the distance is 1.4 miles, which exceeds the district’s one mile limit.

Adcock maintains that since Dobres’ property is within one mile of Berner, her son may not receive district transportation. Board President Maryanne Fisher said that the board would have Adcock look into her concerns regarding the path between Unqua and Berner.

News

Two hundred business students from high schools across Nassau County, including Massapequa High School, competed for scholarships and cash awards—more than $33,000 in all—from various sponsors at Nassau County’s annual Comptroller’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.

The events on Sept. 11, 2001 had a profound effect on nearly all in the tri-state area, but for first responders, the effects were overwhelming. Long-time Massapequa resident Michael Smith, a member of the New York Fire Department, experienced those effects firsthand.

“While I’ve always been a person that could appreciate life, after 9/11 I became so distraught,” he said. “I realized I need to do something I want to do — something I love to do.”

A 30-year veteran of the fire department, Smith retired in 2002. He and his wife of 33 years, Teresa, began to look for a place they could enjoy life. This mindset brought them to the East End of Long Island, where they often went for day trips. They settled down in a home in Orient Point in 2004; in a home that needed quite a bit of work. And when it was time to landscape the property, a new idea took root — a vineyard.


Sports

Massapequa athletes recently received honors from their coaches at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, the coaches of all of the Kellenberg teams choose one member of their team who stands out as an athlete that has worked hard to improve themselves in their chosen sport.

The Farmingdale State women’s lacrosse team won the first game of their Spring Break trip to North Carolina with a victory over Greensboro College. In wet and muddy conditions, the Rams (8-1) held an 8-5 lead at the half and took the eventual 13-10 win.

In the first half and tied 2-2, the Pride (7-5) pulled ahead 4-2 with two unassisted goals by junior attack Nadya Fedun. Farmingdale State answered with four straight scores for a 6-4 advantage, on goals by juniors Alyssa Handel, Nicole Marzocca and Massapequan Jackie Kennedy.

Sophomore attack Ashlynn Parks put Greensboro within a goal at the 7:03 mark, but the Rams scored two more to lead 8-5 at the halftime break.

Calendar

YES Fundraiser

Saturday, April 26

Massapequa Memories

Tuesday, April 29

Spring Fashion Show

Wednesday, April 30



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