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Mineola Reacts To Connecticut School Shootings

Nagler: ‘Safety plans may be modified’

The horror that struck Newtown, CT on Friday, Dec. 14 sent a wave of terror across the country after a 20-year-old man gunned down 20 elementary school students and seven teachers. Since then, local school officials have faced questions about safety and security.

Whether it was a coincidence or a sign of safe planning, the Mineola School District held safety and lockdown drills at two buildings just before shooting, District Superintendent Michael Nagler told the Mineola American on Monday, Dec. 17. Drills were held at Mineola High School and the Hampton Street School.

“We do lockdown drills in conjunction with Nassau County Police,” he said in a phone interview.

District officials assured that administration would review all its safety policies and modify them if needed. Nagler expects Thursday’s [Dec. 20]  school board meeting to detail those initiatives.

“It is unimaginable to me that children are the target of such violence,” said Nagler, a father of two school-age children. “We try as parents and as educators to shield kids of the harsh realities of an adult world. It rocks you emotionally.”

Mineola guidance counselors will be visiting elementary schools throughout the week. One thing that Nagler said is key for younger kids is routine.

“Younger kids like routine,” he said. “When you deviate from them, they know something is up. We try to keep it as normal and as usual as possible as they go through their day.”

Parent Sheri Wilgosz wanted to break her routine when the news came over the radio while she was driving Friday morning. Her first reaction was to go get her 7-year-old daughter, but rethought her next move.

“I didn’t want to scare her,” she said. “She was in good hands. My initial reaction was to drive and get her out of there. Not that I thought that anything would happen to her. I talked myself down because I didn’t want to upset her.”

Mineola’s Ann Marie Egan held her breath when she first learned of the shooting. Her niece is a guidance counselor for a middle school 30 minutes from Sandy Hook.

“My niece works with some people from that neighborhood,” she said. “She said she knows people from that school and they’ll be getting together to help out. They’re all heartbroken.”

Mineola parent and nursery school teacher Maria Luca said working with children close to the age of the victims jarred her psyche when the news came in. She stated further that her hopes and prayers are with the families.

“You think of your children,” she said. “That was my first instinct. When my children were students at Jackson [Avenue School] I would never even consider this happening.”


News

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com