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.
Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00
Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.
“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.
Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00
A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.
Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.
“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.