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Herricks Road: Crunch Zone

Traffic divider missing a safety feature?

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.


News

The trusted “Two Pauls” were locked in for another two years as the Village of Mineola held its Organization Night on Monday, April 7. Local officials swore in Paul Pereira and Paul Cusato, as well as Village Justice John P. O’Shea and acting village justice Jackie Carway. 

 

The event took place at the Village Hall Community Center, with Senator Jack Martins, Nassau County Court Judge Scott Fairgrieve, Village Attorney John Spellman and Mayor Scott Strauss accepting/hearing/give the oaths.

 

O’Shea takes over for Richard O’Callaghan, who recently retired, as village justice. Mineola resident Jackie Carway was tapped to serve as acting village justice, in the event O’Shea is unavailable. Trustees George Durham, Dennis Walsh and Mayor Scott. The three will be up for re-election next year.

The Wheatley Theater Company wowed audiences with four spectacular performances of Gypsy on March 27 through 29.

 

Loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of the famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy spotlights Lee’s mother, Rose, the ultimate stage mom. The musical presents an affectionate look at the hardships of life behind the curtain while chronicling Rose’s dreams and struggles as she raises her two daughters, June and Louise, to perform onstage.


Sports

 

Mineola Tops Cold Spring
Harbor 12-5

 

With the Mustangs trailing 4-0 going into the third inning, big hits by Ryan Kelly and John Lusardi helped the Mustangs take the lead on March 25.

In the top of the fifth with two out, the Mustangs scored three more runs with the help of a lead-off double by sophomore Steve DePalma (with his first varsity hit), he was followed by Robbie Lang getting on  base with a walk and Mike Conte’s single. These guys were all driven home by Nick Iadevaio’s bases-clearing triple. 

James Gerstner

Junior James Gerstner has nine goals and four assists in four games and is the leading scorer for the Mineola Mustangs’ boys varsity lacrosse team. He is the team’s top face-off guy, plays midfield and plays on the extra man offense unit. He was selected captain as a junior and was an All-Conference performer last year. Gerstner has led the team to a 3-1 record in the opening stages of the season. 


Calendar

Mustangs Travel To Seahawks - April 9

Pops Concert - April 13

Egg Hunts - April 19


Columns

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

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com