Written by Maryann Sinclair Slutsky Friday, 13 April 2012 00:00
Last year, my son decided to leave his bachelor life behind. He moved in with his longtime girlfriend – now fiancée! – packed up his apartment in New York City, and bought a house back in the Glen Head neighborhood where we raised him. I couldn’t have been happier.
As you know, he’s the exception. Hordes of young people are leaving Long Island and not coming back: a lack of jobs, affordable housing, and entertainment are luring them away: to Brooklyn and Queens, to other parts of the country, and to strange places like Manhattan.
The numbers are unsettling. From 1990 to 2007, the number of native born Long Islanders in prime working age (20-34) decreased by 222,000, or 39 percent, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute. Normally we would depend on these young people to start businesses, raise families, and pay taxes – but they’re just not here.
What’s keeping Long Island from becoming a ghost town is this: immigrants. Immigrants are coming to Long Island from countries around the world – Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America – to follow the American Dream, strengthening our communities and growing our economy. During the same period I mentioned before, the number of foreign born people in prime working age on Long Island grew by 40,400.
That’s been a boon to our troubled economy – as those workers are paying taxes, serving as customers for existing businesses and creating their own businesses, and making Long Island a culturally richer place.
But while immigrant communities have buoyed the Long Island economy, our policies aren’t serving those residents.
One small but important example is state funding for college. Many children of immigrants aren’t eligible for New York State tuition assistance. It doesn’t matter if you were brought to the U.S. as a child, if you grew up here, went to high school here, or if this is the only country you’ve ever known. You’re not eligible.
The New York DREAM Act would change this, making it possible for the estimated 5,500 undocumented students in New York to access state aid. It wouldn’t solve the bigger problem – that there needs to be a way for these students to earn citizenship– but for these talented young people, it’s a sign of hope.
But it’s not just good for the students themselves. It’s a low-cost way to make a serious investment in our future. Students who are bright and committed enough to go to college and interested in staying here will have the means to do so.
When I think about the future of Long Island, I think about my son, and I’m thrilled to have him close by. But I also think of all the other mothers whose kids might stick around thanks to the stronger Long Island the DREAM Act would help create. Let’s make it happen.
Maryann Sinclair Slutsky is the executive director of Long Island Wins, a nonprofit organization that promotes practical immigration solutions that work for everyone, rooted in respect and dignity for all. Visit its website at www.LongIsland Wins.com.
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
With kids today obsessed with all the latest electronic gaming gadgets — the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, and the like — you’d think that the comparatively antiquated concept of pushing a piece of plastic along a sheet of cardboard would be eschewed by your average teenager; however, judging by the crowd of kids at the Massapequa Public Library’s Board Game Café, this actually may not be the case.
Young Adult Services librarian Peter Cirona, who created the Board Game Café at the library’s Central Avenue branch (in addition to a whole host of other young adult programs), said that it’s a great way for kids to socialize and play some classic board games in a fun and friendly environment.
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
On Feb. 27, parents in the Levittown, East Meadow, Massapequa and Farmingdale school districts came together for an informal pannel discussion on the New York State Education Department and the implementation of the state Common Core Learning Standards. Panelists included New York State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Jeanette Deutermann of the Long Island Opt Out Facebook page, and former public school teacher David Greene, who came to the Farmingdale Public Library to talk with local parents about key concerns and questions with the curriculum.
Outspoken parent and founder of the Long Island Opt Out movement, Deutermann, delved into some of the factors behind what led to the state’s adoption of the Common Core, and how the state education department cites High School graduation rates as its reasoning behind the curriculum.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:47
One of Major League Soccer’s top front office executives has many fond memories of growing up in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). Bill Manning, the President of Western Conference champion Real Salt Lake and the club’s field, Rio Tinto Stadium, played for the LIJSL Select Team from 1979 to ‘83 as well as the Massapequa Soccer Club from 1972 to ‘83.
Manning’s Massapequa teams had virtually the same players from Under-10 to Under-19, but kept changing their name depending on who their coach was. He played for the Massapequa Flying Dutchmen (coached by Kurt Knoblauch), the Massapequa Bugs (Dick Roche), the Massapequa Cosmos (Jerry Lyons) and the Massapequa Bulls (coached by his father, also named Bill Manning). The Bulls might have lost in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) State Open Cup finals to B/W Gottschee in overtime in 1983, but his teams won the LIJSL division championship in 1974, ‘76 and ‘79 plus the Long Island Cup in 1980 and ‘83.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:58
If the games were played on paper, Massapequa would’ve had no shot. The Chiefs faced a tall order last week playing Elmont, which boasted a 12-3 record and four premier scorers. They gave a tremendous effort, but ultimately had their season cut short, 69-62, despite Alex Cosenza leading the scoring with 29 points.
“I can’t ask for anything else from these guys,” said Head Coach Matt Voigt. “I am so proud of them. I applaud their efforts,”