The Village of Massapequa Park has now agreed to purchase land from Nassau County on Sunrise Highway for a new cell tower. It’s a tough call, but, in fact, the village’s hands were tied. Mayor Altadonna has expressed concerns over possible health matters with the new structure. But what can the village do? The notorious 1996 Federal Communications Act – one passed by a Republican congress and signed into law by a Democratic president – allows companies to install such cell towers, even over local objections. Village officials in Massapequa are hardly the first ones to express misgivings over this unprecedented power grab by the federal government. Over the years, numerous mayors and trustees in Nassau County, many of them invoking the 10th Amendment, have voiced the same objections. The 1996 FCC Act runs roughshod over the delicate balance of power that once existed in our federal system. The fact that there are health concerns makes it even more frustrating to local officials. The FCC law is still young, but someday it will have to be revisited.
Recently I set out to run a few errands; I needed to take heavily traveled Hicksville Road, which is one lane in either direction. I quickly realized the small van in front of me was driving at about 20 MPH. I looked in my rear view mirror and there was a caravan of cars and trucks behind me. Just as I expected, the van’s driver was on his phone. He was oblivious to all the honking that was going on behind him. There was no escaping him until I drove up to the intersection. I wanted to give him a disgruntled look but I knew it was fruitless since he wasn’t remotely aware that the symphony of blaring horns was being directed at him.
Nearly all politicians willing to speak publicly on the recent court decision overturning the MTA payroll tax were pleased with the result. Nor did it break down on partisan lines. Judicial review is part of the governing process in the United States, but if the payroll tax is undesirable, then the ideal place to overturn it is through the legislative process, which has happened in certain elements of the tax. Higher courts, after all, can overturn lower court rulings. Long Island politicians, obviously, have to stand for the interest of local commuters. In doing so, they often run into the voting bloc that is the New York City delegation in the state assembly. The hard work of grass roots politics and old-fashioned arts of persuasion will have to go forward.
Bob, my younger brother, was a die-hard Penn State football fan going back to the early 1960s. In later years he became a college coach and athletic director. Presently, he is Chair of the Sports Studies Department at Guilford College. He has written and researched extensively on maximizing the educational value of sports participation for youths, middle and high school, and college athletes. I thought there was no one better to ask about the Penn State mess and what lessons parents could take from it? Here is what he told me:
“For the past few months, we have been inundated with news about what is now commonly known as the ‘Penn State Scandal.’ Although the focus has been on the horrific acts of Jerry Sandusky and decrying the actions – or lack thereof – of Penn State administrators and others, it may be helpful to consider what the parents of young athletes can learn from this tragic affair.
The month of August has not brought another heat wave, but instead, some cooling off in the temperature. As we pointed out in a recent editorial, it has been a trying summer, disputes over block parties seem to be the least of problems. We can echo District Attorney Kathleen Rice in praising various law enforcement agencies for their heroic work in what is allegedly one of the more bizarre crimes in recent Long Island history. We also note the time and money it cost Long Island taxpayers. The weather is cooling down and hopefully, that affects the always strange workings of the human psyche.
New Yorkers are debating the many serious issues related to the extraction of natural gas from shale deposits that underlie parts of upstate New York. Recent news stories indicate that the state Department of Environmental Conservation may soon begin to permit high-volume hydraulic fracturing in our state on a limited basis.
We need a program that will ensure New Yorkers are protected from harm and cleanup costs are covered if contamination from drilling happens. We simply cannot afford to cross our fingers and hope accidents won’t occur.
The 2012 Olympics in London have ended. Since the Olympic spirit has always been about competing, we congratulate the Long Island contingent who performed in a variety of challenging sports: Sue Bird of Syosset, Debbie Capozzi of Bayport, Brandon Escobar of Rocky Point, Amanda Clark of Shelter Island, Jamel Herring of Coram, Lisa Karcic of New Hyde Park, Erik Storck of Huntington and Maria Michita of Nesconset.
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District has long provided cost- effective, efficient, and valuable services to all of the people of Nassau County. Since the district opened in 1977 it has been serving residents, businesses, nonprofits, agencies, schools and municipalities with environmental expertise and assistance. Like all conservation districts throughout New York State and the nation, it is a proven public-private partnership that leverages local taxpayer dollars by bringing in funding from grants, state matching funds and other sources. Yet, Nassau County may soon become the only county in the state without a Soil and Water Conservation District. The steady decline in funding over the last four years has depleted the district’s small reserves and it is in danger of closing.
If you think that a vacation to Canada might be an escape from the heat, you’re wrong. It was pretty humid in Quebec province last week, also. Since Canada is a cold weather nation, the businessmen keep hotel pools well heated year-round. They are at least as hot as the weather. In Canada, the Summer Olympics were an important event. Each medal winner, even in obscure sports such as synchronized swimming, is a front-page story, complete with four-column color photos, a cause for great national pride. This year, 2012, is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. This, too, is an important event in Canada. In fact, a Canadian studio has produced a full-length movie on the war. A promotional advertisement displayed both European settlers and Native Americans coming together to repel an invasion from the United States. The youngsters we were with wanted to know if this was true: Did the United States invade Canada? In that brief conflict, the U.S. was at war with Great Britain. Canada was British territory. So it did make sense for the U.S. to take the battle deep into enemy territory.
Recently while watching the hit movie The Bucket List, I found myself wondering why a person waits until there are stressful health issues on the horizon in order for them to give themselves the permission to accomplish feats that they never were able to address before.
Most of us do not aspire to jump out of planes, get tattooed, or go on a safari through a jungle as these mega stars portrayed. We cross the threshold of milestones every day of our lives. Maybe they aren’t lofty ones but it is just these accomplishments that make us who we are. Looking back to early years, starting as young as a toddler – wasn’t it an accomplishment to fill our pail with sand and then turn it over to see little mounds that we created? A small accomplishment but never the less it made us laugh and be happy. Some years down the road making the sports team, achieving badges in Scouts, being in the drama club, wasn’t that having your goals met at a young age? On to college the opportunities for achieving and excelling abounded and hopefully the plans for the future were in our grasp. Somewhere on this journey raising a family would undoubtedly offer challenges and rewards that are priceless.
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