Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00
One of the most important responsibilities an elected official has is to provide an open and transparent government for constituents. I have been committed to government transparency throughout my 23-year career in public service. Transparency can be achieved in a variety of ways, but it always involves access to governmental proceedings and decision-making, as well as opportunities for meaningful community input. During my first two months in office, I have held community meetings and extensive public hearings on various issues important to our residents. Building on that, we can take the next step by embracing new technological resources to open a wider pathway to exchange information between government and residents. In the Town of North Hempstead, I have already introduced several new technological initiatives to help achieve that very goal.
The advent of smartphones in recent years has changed the way that people receive information. From taking photos, to sending emails, and accessing the Internet from anywhere in the world, you can accomplish practically anything on a smartphone. Previously, smartphone features did not enable residents to access the wide array of government services available to them in the Town of North Hempstead. We had the novel idea of marrying the capabilities of a smartphone with the resources of our 311 Call Center.
North Hempstead’s 311 Call Center is open seven days a week and answered 171,000 calls from residents last year on a wide variety of topics. Whether you want to report a pothole or a broken street light, or find out information on the latest Town events, 311 can help you do that. Now, with the “My North Hempstead” mobile app, available in the iTunes and Android app stores, residents can take a photo of a pothole or non-functioning streetlight and submit it to 311, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The GPS coordinates of where the photo is taken will be tracked so the department that needs to address the issue knows exactly where to go to fix the problem. Other features of the app include syncing your garbage and recycling schedules to your phone’s calendar, and finding out the latest news from the Town.
On Feb. 25, we introduced another program geared toward making government more accessible to residents. We became the first town in Nassau County to stream Town Board meetings live on our website. Often times, residents are unable to leave their homes for a variety of reasons and cannot attend a Town Board meeting. Now, r residents who are not able to make it to Town Hall can still view our Town Board meetings on their smartphones, tablets or computer screens. This is something that was done when I was a County Legislator, and I wanted to bring this to the Town of North Hempstead.
The information superhighway is one of the primary ways that people receive information. The best way for us to provide pertinent news about the Town is through our comprehensive Town website www.northhempsteadny.gov. We have re-designed the homepage to link directly to items that are important to residents, such as the live streaming and our mobile app. One of the concerns many residents have communicated to me is their inability to find the forms they need online for various Town departments, including the Building Department. Now, you can just click on the “Online Forms” button on the home page of the Town website and you can access and print the forms from your home computer. The next phase of this process will allow for residents to track their applications online, which I expect to have in place later this year.
We are also working to overhaul the Parks and Recreation portion of our website to allow residents to search for the park they want to visit based on the activity in which they want to engage, or their location. Integrated with that will be a new online registration component that will allow residents to view all of the activities, classes and lessons available and sign up online without leaving their home. One of our crown jewels in North Hempstead is our beautiful parks system, and I believe that this new tool will make it easier for our residents to take advantage of it.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Only once a year a 25-foot movie screen sits in the middle of Wilson Park in Mineola, ready to entertain residents. This year’s Movie Night in the Park feature The LEGO Movie, sponsored by the Village of Mineola and Mineola Chamber of Commerce on Friday, July 18.
The event, which was free of charge to all of the moviegoers, was meant to help promote local Mineola businesses, according to president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce Bill Greene.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the American industry, and we feel that this is a great way of giving back to the community with hopes that they’ll remember to shop locally,” said Greene.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Mineola resident Frank Zuniga and his wife, Charlotte, were heartbroken. It was bad enough that they had to take Mollie, their rescued beagle/terrier mix to the veterinarian on July 4, but it wasn’t until last week that they found out what happened to her until last week.
It started on Independence Day when Mollie, who the Zunigas adopted in February, started vomiting. Their regular vet was closed for the holiday, and the couple found that the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center of Westbury would see them.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Runners from all over Long Island came to run at the fourth annual Katie Oppo Memorial 5K on Sunday, June 15. The runner first across the finish line was Mineola resident Michael Mariotti, general manager, owner and host of the famous local restaurant Cafe Continental in Manhasset.
The day was glorious as the runners and walkers began their trek through Flower Hill from the starting line at Flower Hill Park. Organizers of this year’s event made the race a USATF Certified 5K race, timed by Long Island Race Timing.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Mineola Hurricanes lost a battle of the bats on Sunday, June 29, at St. Joseph’s Field in Kings Park, falling short in a 9-8 ball game against the St. Joseph’s Saints in the first game of a doubleheader.
The top of the first saw the Hurricanes take an early 2-0 lead. The runs came home for the Hurricanes when T.J. McManus scored on an error and Connor Eakin scored on a fielder’s choice. The Saints never surrendered the lead after the first inning, scoring five runs on two errors and an RBI single by Jonathan.