The Town of Oyster Bay got it right with its “One Town, One Book” program, namely in choosing the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, The Great Gatsby. First, the novel has a Long Island setting with “West Egg” as the fictional name for Great Neck, plus it tells the ancient story of wealth, desire and ruin. T. S. Eliot called the novel “the first step forward in American literature since Henry James,” and indeed, Fitzgerald’s own career was a turning point. When Scribners published his first novel, The Beautiful and The Damned, it promptly took American literature in the twentieth century. Fitzgerald was a kind man who enjoyed promoting the work of others, including his friend, Ernest Hemingway who was also, at Fitzgerald’s urging, published at Scribners. So with The Great Gatsby, readers are not only introduced to an American classic, but also to the Golden Age of American Literature: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Eliot, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane and others. Such creative outbursts only happen once or twice in the history of any civilization.
Currently, newspapers have published dozens of articles highlighting the public pension system. In addition, letters to the editor and editorials underscore public workers and private workers arguing about who has the best wages and retirement benefits. Meanwhile, the millionaires who have caused these animosities to surface make sure all middle class workers will continue to get the least during the current economic crisis.
These millionaires have spent vast amounts of their money on campaigns to insure that friction between public and private workers continues and shields their involvement in the criminal Wall Street practices that has destroyed millions of families. Unfortunately, Big Brother State Government Officials who raided and failed to keep their commitments to fund the public employees pension system, now use this balance deficit as an excuse to vilify their public employees.
Summer is here and life is more reckless than ever. Recently, there were two accidents alone on Merrick Road, one that, tragically enough, resulted in a fatality and another that involved teenage girls. Ideally, drivers would navigate these busy thoroughfares in a prudent fashion, but that’s never going to be the case, especially in the summer. On top of this, several local young people, in recent days, have found themselves held up at gunpoint. One incident was late at night, the other in the early evening. Both took place on or in the vicinity of Clocks Boulevard and Merrick Road. Local residents are advised to keep this in mind: Where they travel and at what time and above all, the conditions on Merrick Road. Summer evenings are best spent on the front porch (or back porch), talking with family and friends. Summer is here and it’s not all fun.
The Dignity for All Students Act was signed into law on September 13, 2010 and took effect on July 1, 2012. According to the New York State Education Department, the Dignity Act “seeks to provide public elementary-school and secondary-school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, on a school bus and/or at a school function.” According to an official from the New York State Center for School Safety, the dignity act “takes a major step in creating more nurturing environments in all our schools.”
The impetus for passage of the act was the increasing number of complaints about bullying at school and through social media. Schools are now expected to provide education and human-relations training for students of all ages to prevent discrimination and harassment. Schools must implement codes of conduct and procedures for reporting incidents of discrimination or harassment on school grounds. Last month, the state legislature passed an amendment to the dignity act that will address cyber-bullying. This provision will take effect a year from now and will enable schools to address ways to curb bullying in and out of the classroom.
We are writing to apprise your readers as to the current state of affairs related to Nassau County. Agencies throughout the county that serve children, families and those struggling with drug and alcohol issues have been recently defunded as the result of county politics. We have begun an online petition and are securing signatures so that our elected officials understand that children and families are important. We encourage you to use the information you see on the petition to move this effort forward in a way that rises above politics and ensures that every person’s voice is heard. Our constituents do count. Our elected officials must understand that they were elected to represent everyone’s voice.
To read more about what we are trying to do and to sign this petition, go the following site: http://tinyurl.com/YESPetition.
Jamie Bogenshutz, YES Community Counseling Center
In response to Susan Lerner’s opinion piece in Newsday on July 3, entitled “Voters Are The Losers In Nassau Fight,” The League of Women Voters of Nassau County believes in many of the same principles Ms Lerner proposes. As a nonpartisan organization, the league has repeatedly spoken before the county legislature and to the temporary advisory redistricting commission for a fairer and more transparent process for redistricting than is currently being considered by this advisory commission.
The league believes first that the advisory commission should conduct hearings to receive input from residents about how the process should occur and suggestions on how district lines should be drawn. Then, after the commission creates proposed districts, there should be additional public hearings to discuss them. These hearings should be in all three towns and two cities in Nassau County and should occur at a variety of times (day and evening) and at multiple locations in order to accommodate as many people as possible. Equally important is that all meeting locations be handicapped-accessible.
The real story of this past Independence Day was not the parade in Massapequa, which, as usual, was a big success. Instead, it was the unveiling of the plaque honoring John Capano, the deceased federal agent and Massapequa resident. Capano, it goes without saying, was an extraordinary individual, a man of uncommon courage. Abroad, he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here at home, he had a long career in law enforcement, one that ended in tragedy. Remembering local heroes is one of the more attractive qualities of the Massapequa area. And so, congratulations to the Town of Oyster Bay for this worthy gesture. Along with a similar plaque to Sgt. Jason A. Santora, such public memorials will inspire future generations of young Long Islanders.
It is difficult to express my disappointment that the Assembly did not pass our CPR in Schools bill (S2491/A3980) to ensure that all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. In August of 2006, my 14-year-old daughter, Leah, went into sudden cardiac arrest while trying out for the volleyball team at Bethpage High School. Thankfully, Leah’s life was saved by her coach. However, to think that her fellow teammates could have saved her life as well after a short CPR lesson is empowering.
I am truly thankful to my representative, Senator Kemp Hannon, for sponsoring and helping champion the passage of the CPR in Schools legislation in the Senate. He is well aware how important this bill is to saving lives.
Aqua NY, which for years, was the major water supplier to customers in the Massapequa area has now been acquired by New York American Water. As reported in a recent issue of The Massapequan Observer, the new suppliers have gone public to assure customers that water rates will not change. Let’s hope so. We have also been contacted by anonymous readers delivering warnings about the ways of large corporations. In the entire controversy, residents in the Massapequa Water District obtained 5,400 signatures demanding the halt of groundwater contamination plume to local water supply wells. That vigilance is impressive and should always be reinvigorated if necessary.
When the past Democratic Party Nassau County Administration proposed the 13 percent general tax increase, the opposition lambasted the measure.
Many voters finally accepted the argument that the tax increase was avoidable. As a result, the Republicans gained control of the county executive office and the Nassau County legislative body. The 13 percent tax increase was eliminated, along with the home energy tax of $38 million, which would cost homeowners about $8 a month.
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