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From the desk of NY State Senator Jack Martins: March 13, 2012

That Dog Don’t Hunt

In the South, if you were to make a plan that isn’t particularly sound or useful, you might hear someone utter, “That dog don’t hunt.”

For example, if a husband planned to golf on his wedding anniversary, that’s definitely “a dog that don’t hunt.”  His decision to smooth things over by telling his wife he’ll take her along - even more so.  If she responds with tickets to a Broadway show on Super Bowl Sunday – well, you get the picture.

In my 10 years as an elected official, first as a mayor, now as a senator, I’ve seen quite a few bad ideas, these proverbial dogs that don’t hunt.  The most recent among these was the reported possibility that waste water from hydro-fracking in upstate New York might be processed at treatment plants on Long Island. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the issue, hydro-fracking involves injecting water and sand along with chemicals into rock formations at high pressure to fracture the shale and release the natural gas trapped within it.  The resulting flow back of liquid slurry is a dangerous mixture of chemicals that could, if not handled properly, contaminate the underground water supplies of nearby communities.  The process has not been approved in New York and is currently a source of debate, much of it centering on that liquid slurry.

In fact, in April 2010, the State Department of Environmental Conservation concluded that hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted in the drinking watersheds for New York City.  That’s probably one of the reasons why New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports hydro-fracking.  His city’s water supplies are already protected.

So the obvious question is why on earth would we accept millions of gallons of that wastewater here at our Long Island treatment plants?  Long Island is surrounded by saltwater, so we derive all of our drinking water from groundwater.  In fact, Nassau and Suffolk counties depend on a sole source aquifer for drinking water and consume an estimated 375 million gallons of water per day just from this source.  Clearly, communities like ours that rely almost exclusively on a single water source can’t afford the possibility of hazardous waste seeping into their supply.  

Now, there are certain things I am willing to accept from upstate.  More money from Albany in education aid to our schools would be one, additional funding to rebuild our deteriorating roads would be another.  Contaminated waste water would not be.  That’s why I introduced a bill (S.6583) that would ban the treatment, storage or processing of that drilling fluid as well as any waste resulting from the exploration, development, extraction or production of crude oil or natural gas, in areas that rely on a single water source such as Long Island. 

You’ll often see me stress in this column the need for people, especially in government, to listen to each other’s ideas.  It’s not just that I’d like to see us return to a more civil discourse, but the fairest solutions to the most difficult problems are usually compromises.  And I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen a lot more of that mindset in Albany this past year than we have for a long time.  

But there are occasions when some ideas are simply not palpable to me or to my constituents. Those dogs don’t hunt and this is clearly one of them. 

When it comes to hydro-fracking, my philosophy is simple: we can’t let economics trump environmental safety.  I hope you’ll agree that protecting our water supplies is job one and that this bill merits your support.  

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



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