Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 08 February 2013 00:00
Mineola resident George Sommer can never forget the morning in 1982, when he awoke to learn that nine teenagers had been killed when a van in which they were riding was struck by an LIRR train at the now defunct Herricks Road train crossing, after the van’s driver went around lowered gates.
Sommer’s son was supposed to be with them in the van, but Sommer kept him home to do school work.
Although the crossing is now raised and is no longer a danger to errant drivers, Sommer, who was a highway engineer, believes one fatal flaw remains: the lack of a “crash cushion” at the south end of the traffic divider.
The area, which had once been named the most dangerous in the country by the National Transportation Safety Board, prompted the Long Island Rail Road to raise the track in 1994. The $25 million project was completed in 1999. An NTSB report also said that the van’s driver had “driven around a properly functioning lowered gate with flashing lights onto the crossing.”
For more than a decade prior, the crossing was “popular” for its traffic jams and impatient drivers.
“I wanted [the schoolwork] done and if he got it done during the week, he’d have Friday off,” Sommer said. “He didn’t and so I kept him home. He didn’t give me a hard time. The following morning I woke up and heard the commotion.”
Sommer recognized some movement, but feels much is left to be done.
“They removed all the shredded guardrails, the metal guardrails on either side of the barrier,” he said. “All the crumbled stuff underneath and the three or four orange barrels were previously positioned.”
Crash cushions serve as a velocity dampener to crashing cars. According to Sommer, they absorb the shockwaves and prevent cars from converging on the other side of the road.
“I see a risk there that was never taken care of,” he said. “I know from experience where we put these crash cushions to eliminate any dangerous action when a car goes errant or someone gets killed or maimed.”
Herricks Road is a Nassau County road and is subject to county jurisdiction. According to spokesman Michael Martino, when the road markings at the underpass are complete within the next week, crash attenuators will be put in place. He confirmed that county road maintenance crews would monitor the condition of the attenuators on a regular basis.
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
Mineola doesn’t fancy itself as a San Francisco treat, but if the $360 million Nassau Hub plan comes to fruition, residents could see a trolly-style-like tram rolling down East Second Street. Funding for the trolley would likely be funded by the federal government, according to village officials.
Nassau County spent a $5.1 million federal grant on the county/Federal Transit Authority-led feasibility study analyzing the practical nature of a transportation service through Mineola, as part of the Nassau Hub plan. One end of the plan would be the Mineola Train Station, with the Hempstead Bus and Rail Station being the other.
Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00
Across Nassau County, residents are reacting with confusion to the Nassau County District Attorney’s recent arrests of more than 100 men for soliciting prostitutes, including five from Mineola, ranging in age from 23 to 50.
The DA’s office not only arrested the men, but made public their names and photographs. That, some feel, is an over-reach. East Williston Attorney Jeff Kalenka thinks prostitution is a problem, but thought publishing the names “embarrasses” the men caught in the act.
“It doesn’t surprise me although I do disagree with what Kathleen Rice did because I think the ‘Johns’ or reported ‘Johns’ are innocent until proven guilty and to put their names in the paper embarrasses them, embarrasses their families and possibly unintended victims like their children,” Kalenka said outside the Mineola train station.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Brianna O’Brien’s tie-breaking goal with a minute remaining propelled the GU14 Mineola Mustangs to a thrilling 3-2 win over a skillful Syosset team on June 1. With the score knotted at two, Mineola’s Natalia Cotto raced to a loose ball ahead of the Syosset goalkeeper and poked the ball loose to the onrushing O’Brien, who calmly drove the ball into the goal.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Albertson’s Gabrielle Schreib will be wrapping up her record breaking Kellenberg Memorial High School Spring Track season this month running in the NYS High School State Championship in Middletown, NY and the New Balance High School Nationals in Greensboro, NC. She attended Mineola Schools until 2012.