It was an event that Peter Schmitt would have loved. This past Saturday, Girl Scout troops from the area dedicated a tree in his memory at Brady Park, in the shadow of the Massapequa Preserve. The event was so appropriate because Schmitt was a tremendous supporter of the Girl Scouts, and also loved both Brady Park and the Massapequa Preserve and fought to keep both places beautiful and enjoyable for area residents.
“Peter Schmitt was a friend to Scouts over the years, so we decided that planting this tree would be a perfect way to preserve his presence with us,” said Debbie Meehan, chairperson of adult volunteers for the Girls Scouts.
When the New York State budget was adopted, a category of aid called High Tax Aid was restored, which restored significant aid to many Long Island school districts, including Massapequa, The good news for some students is that some programs which had previously been cut to close a budget shortfall have been restored. Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock also said that because of the added revenue, the district would not have to dip as much into the reserve fund, and he is recommending to the school board that the district use less fund balance from savings accounts to close the budget deficit, although the district is still projecting to use about $800,000 in fund balance to balance the 2013-14 budget. The bad news for Massapequa teachers is that the plan to excess 35 teachers remains in effect.
“I’m probably one of the most humanistic people you will ever find,” said Superintendent Charles Sulc at a recent school board meeting. “Excessing teachers is very painful to do.”
Sulc, as he had done at previous school board meetings, said that the decision to excess 35 teachers, 17 of which are elementary teachers, is based on declining enrollment in Massapequa and not because of a budget shortfall. He also explained that New York State education law mandates which teachers are laid off based on seniority and tenure areas.
Last week, Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna, was sworn in for another term as mayor. Trustee Tina Schiaffino was also sworn is as were members of the administrative staff, the commission staff, the ethics board and the legal staff.
Deputy Pravato spoke and praised Oyster Bay Town Supervisor for the town’s cleanup efforts following Sandy. Pravato also praised U.S. Representative Peter King for his efforts to lobby and eventually bring federal funds to the area.
Altadonna praised his fellow board members for their efforts in the village and also spoke about the village’s response to Superstorm Sandy. He commended board members for their tremendous efforts in responding to the needs of village residents following the devastating storm.
“We’re reinventing the library.”
That’s how trustee John Laibach described the changes that are taking place at the Massapequa Public Library. Those who still enjoy reading a book in print should not fear. The library will still have plenty of books to enjoy, and will continue to bring in all the latest offerings, including multiple copies of some of the more popular authors such as John Grisham and Danielle Steele. However, the library is also moving with the times and is offering its patrons 21st century items such as computers, wi-fi, DVDs, downloadable electronic books and online databases, which may be accessed from home.
While the news could always be better, the state budget passed last week includes significantly more school aid for Massapequa than had been proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The district will now receive an increase of $1,6 million, or 6.24 percent.
“Education has always been, and continues to be, one of my highest priorities as a legislator, and this year is no exception,” said State Sen. Kemp Hannon, who helped restore the school funding. “I was successful in securing $58 million in operating aid for Long Island schools above what the governor proposed in January.”
Again, Raymond Roth has been charged with pretending to be something he is not, Nassau County police said. Last summer, Roth pretended to be dead. This time, police say, he pretended to be a police officer. He is neither.
Last summer, Roth tried to make it appear that he had drowned in the ocean off Jones Beach. He just recently pleaded guilty to fourth degree conspiracy in exchange for a promised sentence of 90 days in jail and five years of probation from last summer’s incident.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, together with members of the Town Board, honored eight extraordinary recipients at the 15th annual Town of Oyster Bay “Women of Distinction” Awards Ceremony, which was held at Town Hall in Oyster Bay. Three of the eight honorees are from Massapequa.
“The ‘Women of Distinction’ Program has certainly proven to be a memorable tradition, honoring women who stand as role models for the younger generation in the Town of Oyster Bay,” said Venditto. “These women are a shining example of the outstanding citizenship that has made the Town of Oyster Bay such a special place to live and raise a family.”
The winners from Massapequa include:
• Distinguished Woman in Community & Civic Affairs: Massapequa Moms Group
The Massapequa Moms Group started as a Facebook page as a forum for local moms (and dads) to be able to share information to other local neighbors. Facebook ‘friends’ not only were able to share a good place to find a plumber, a new children’s doctor or a local restaurant review, but also were suddenly forming new friendships through this group. That concept took on a life of its own following the events of Hurricane Sandy, when the group became a source of solace for many, where neighbors could turn to help other neighbors in their time of need.
Two young people have been arrested and charged with robbing two victims in the Massapequa Preserve.
According to police, the 16-year-old and a 19-year-old were walking through the preserve, when they were approached by Aidan Boyle, 17, and Boden Woelk. Boyle allegedly displayed a three-inch gravity knife and demanded property from the 16-year-old victim, who handed over a knap sack containing keys and a credit card. Police also allege that Woelk threatened the 19-year-old victim with physical force, who then handed over $10, as he feared for his safety. Both of the accused fled the scene, police said, and were arrested at Burger King in Seaford.
Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna, Trustee Tina Schiaffino, and Justice Gerard Giannattasio, were returned to office in last week’s Massapequa Park village elections. Daniel Pearl, who was appointed as a trustee in December, was also elected. All ran unopposed. There were no write-in votes.
“I want to thank the citizens of Massapequa Park for coming out and supporting local government,” said Altadonna. “We’re appreciative of them taking the time out of their day to cast their vote. We will continue to work hard for them.”
Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock had been warning that the district faced a $5.9 million shortfall, due in large part, to increasing pension costs and the loss of High Tax Aid from New York State. According to Adcock, next year’s student enrollment will continue a pattern of decline in students. Although reducing teachers will significantly reduce the potential shortfall, Adcock said that the cuts are necessary regardless of the budget because of the enrollment situation. According to the deputy superintendent, Massapequa’s enrollment in 2005 was 8,376 with next year’s enrollment projected to be 7,450. The drop between the current school year and next is expected to be between 200 and 300 students, based on next year’s kindergarten enrollment.
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