It was another memorable year in the Village of Mineola. Here is a look at some of the stories that made the headlines this past year:
The Long Island Rail Road's proposal for a third track between the Hicksville station and the Floral Park station caught the attention because of the potential impact to the homes and properties along the tracks. As it turned out, because of budgetary problems, the third track was derailed - at least for now.
Mineola Superintendent of Schools Dr. Larry Licopoli announced that he would resign at the end of the year because of health reasons. Dr. Licopoli was later given a clean bill of health to continue working so the board of education rescinded the resignation. However, the board did not grant Dr. Licopoli a contract extension so his tenure at the Mineola School District ends this coming June 30.
Dr. Licopoli's former secretary Lana Illiano alleged in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that Dr. Licopoli and deputy superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler created a hostile work environment and made offensive comments. The two school administrators vehemently denied the allegations.
The Village of Mineola Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Winston, a nine-story, 285-unit, luxury condominium complex to be built by Polimeni International.
Mineola saw its share of bank robberies. On Feb. 23, Citibank, located on Second Street was robbed. On March 27, Commerce Bank (now TD) on Jericho Turnpike and Herricks Road was robbed. The Roslyn Savings Bank, located on Jericho Turnpike, was robbed on July 2, then again on July 24 and July 26.
As part of a grade configuration study conducted by School Leadership LLC, a survey was sent out to gauge public opinion on whether the board of education to decide to close one school or two schools in the Mineola School District in an effort to save money or keep the educational program as it is. The board held a community meeting in the Mineola High School auditorium where residents voiced their opinions. Some favored keeping the school system as it is while others favored closing schools in order to help district residents deal with financial problems. The school board hasn't officially made a decision on whether to close schools.
The Jericho Diner on Jericho Turnpike closed and was demolished to make way for a new CVS store that is currently being built on Jericho Turnpike and Roslyn Road.
In the annual village election, Trustees Paul Cusato and Tom Kennedy were re-elected. However, Linda Fairgrieve failed in her re-election bid as she was defeated by Paul Pereira, who became the village board's newest trustee.
After the annual Mineola School District budget vote and school board election, the board welcomed two new trustees. After Mary Ellen Williams decided not to run for re-election, Terry Hale ran unopposed for her seat. In a contested race, Will Hornberger was elected to the seat that had been occupied by Lisa Lao. Voters also passed the proposed budget for the 2008-2009 school year.
The Friends of the Mineola Library dedicated a new grand piano for the library. The Friends of the Library raised the funds to purchase the piano by selling sponsorship of the keys.
The Mineola Board of Education voted by a 3-2 margin to ratify a new four-year contract with the Mineola Teacher's Association. Trustees Laraine Salvatore and Will Hornberger voted against approving the contract because they didn't feel the district received enough concessions from the union.
After hearings held by the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief, headed by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, a recommendation was made to cap school tax levy increases at 4 percent. Governor David Paterson endorsed the cap. However, it has yet to be passed by the state legislature.
School board member Laraine Salvatore proposed an idea to save the school district money by eliminating some administrative positions including the deputy superintendent. The majority of the board defeated the proposal before it went further after a report by Dr. Licopoli, the superintendent, that said the elimination of the positions would hurt the district and lead to possible litigation.
Some of the members of the Mineola Junior Fire Department make an historic trip to Germany as part of an exchange program with a youth fire brigade from Hamburg, Germany.
The Mineola Board of Education decided on a new superintendent when they appointed deputy superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler to succeed Dr. Licopoli beginning July 1, 2009.
In the historic election of 2008, Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins failed in his attempt to unseat Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. Senator Craig Johnson, Assemblyman Tom McKevitt and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel were all re-elected for another term.
Mineola resident Bill Urianek, who had been collecting bottles and cans to raise money for the family of Christopher Levi, an American soldier who was badly wounded in Iraq. At a village board meeting, Urianek presented Chris' mom Debbie and sister Emily with nearly $8,000.