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#BringBackOurGirls

By  now,  I’m  sure  you’ve seen or heard the phrase, “Bring Back Our Girls.” It’s  the rallying cry of a movement to pressure the international community to rescue the 280 teenage schoolgirls who were brazenly kidnapped from  their Nigerian classrooms on April 14th.  The words have been tweeted over  one  million  times  across  the Internet and have generated numerous Facebook  pages  that  count  hundreds of thousands of followers.  Even the “old”  media  has  joined in as 24-hour news outlets vie to be the first to flash  photos  of  celebrities  holding  the  words emblazoned across their chests.

 

These  kidnappings  are  just the latest in a long list of atrocities perpetrated  against the Nigerian people by the deadly extremist group Boko Haram  who further outraged the world with a video broadcast threatening to sell the girls into slavery.   New Yorkers in particular, always leaders in social  justice,  were  enraged  at this blatant human trafficking.  Today, with this column, I hope to tap into that rage to bring your attention to a problem we have right here at home.

 

I’ll  begin with an uncomfortable fact –Human trafficking takes place here in New York State.  It also takes place every day on Long Island.  And yes,  it  happens  on  the main streets and shopping centers of your town–where  you  and  your families eat, shop, work and live.   Let me emphasize that point:  As you read this, human-trafficking is taking place throughout the  great  State  of  New  York.   How  big is the problem? One study from Hofstra  University  conservatively  puts the number of trafficking victims that have come forward here at more than 11,000.

 

And  you  know  what’s  worse?  Our  pitifully feeble and politicized response.  You  see,  last year the New York Senate passed the Trafficking Victims  Protection  and  Justice  Act  which  gives  our  law  enforcement authorities  a  fighting  chance  to  take  down  abusers.   The bill makes engaging  in  human trafficking a B felony, with stiffer penalties of up to 25  years  in  prison, while also making it easier for prosecutors to build cases  against  suspected  human traffickers.  And while the bill has clear bi-partisan  support  in both houses, a group of dissenters in the Assembly have  kept the bill tied to expanding abortion provisions within the state.

 

As a result, it’s been at a standstill for more than a year.

 

We  can all appreciate that true debate and discussion are what makes our  political  system work.  No one side has a lock on the truth and we’re certainly not expected to agree on everything.  But continuously tying this much  needed  bill to one that is unrelated and explosively divisive simply for the advantage of political leverage is despicable.  We can do something to fight human trafficking and we can do it right now.  Instead, the effort (and  the  victims)  are  being held hostage.  It troubles me and it should trouble  you too.  I am working with Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and  Assemblywoman  Amy  Paulin (D-Scarsdale) to have this bill stand alone and  we need your support.  If we come together maybe we can save the human trafficking victims right here at home.


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



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

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