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Opt-Out Chatter

Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 03 April 2014 00:00

The Mineola School District will have only one student opting out of the next week’s much-debated common core English Language Arts assessment.

At a recent school board meeting. Superintendent Michael Nagler revealed there is a plan is in place for possible opt-outs. 


“I do not anticipate many children opting out,” he said. “We did not have many last year. I do not believe it’s any different this year than it has been in past. According to [New York State], there is no such thing as opt-out.”


You Can Go Everywhere Too

Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 02 April 2014 00:00

Think of a place. Any place. Chances are good that former Williston Park resident John Massaro has been there. He’s traveled to 87 countries and 49 out of 50 states. 


Massaro, 60, has even been to North Korea, a country very few Americans have seen, in August 2013. And he's got one message: it’s not that bad. In fact, he wants to take your kids there. 


“North Korea is as safe as any country,” he said. “It has only been in the last four years that American citizens have been allowed to visit. My educated guess is that only about 1,000 have done so.”


A Pair Of Pauls Entrusted With Two More Years

Written by Rich Forestano Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:00

New Line Party member Paul Pereira and Hometown Party mainstay Paul Cusato may be from different sides, but the two were clearly of the same mind last Tuesday, March 18 on Election Day. The two incumbents were unopposed in the at-large election for two open seats on the board for a third consecutive election cycle.


Pereira and Cusato garnered 306 and 275 votes respectively. Village Justice John O’Shea also ran without a challenger as the top vote-getter with 336 tallies.


“I think tonight demonstrates just that we’re breaking bread together, we’re working together. There really isn’t teams here,” Pereira said at Heart of Portugal last week. 


Aid Talk

Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 28 March 2014 00:00

While most revenues in the current draft of the Mineola School District Budget are pretty much set, New York State is another story, according to District Superintendent Michael Nagler.


“I can tell you the latest saga with state aid...our state government, we don’t know where state aid is going,” Nagler said last week. “We do know the house and senate have proposed increases into state aid. We don’t have any [figures] to see what that means for Mineola specifically.”


The Mineola School District saw a 5.87 percent increase ($5,623,800) in preliminary state aid figures released in January. The state awarded Mineola $5,311,988 in 2013-14.


Oscar Winner Has East Williston Roots

Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

The road to an Academy Award wasn't easy for Anthony Katagas. The East Williston native did something some young men would never do: choose a path away from the family business. The road less-traveled proved difficult but worthwhile for the Wheatley School graduate, culminating in a Best Picture Oscar as producer of 12 Years A Slave.


“I was very proud, very humbled by the experience because there are a lot of really worthy and great filmmakers that didn’t get [an Oscar],” Katagas said in an interview with the Mineola American.


Katagas, 44, seems eager to give credit to others.


Mr. Mineola Passes Away

Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Mineola lost one of its pillars on Friday, March 21. John DaVanzo, a lifelong resident of Mineola, died at Winthrop University Hospital. He was 92.


If you frequent Mineola, you have probably seen him at Village Hall, the Hampton Street Stadium, the community pool (which bears his name), the Station Plaza Diner and the list goes on. He has met U.S. presidents and has been a fixture in public life for years. His footprint in Mineola has been cemented for decades, and will continue to be so for many years to come.


Mr. Mineola is his name and the village will always be his playground. DaVanzo loved Mineola, he loved the people, but most of all...he loved his family.


Wander To Wheatley For Gypsy

Written by Sheri ArbitalJacoby Saturday, 22 March 2014 00:00

The extremely talented students at The Wheatley School will be performing the spectacular musical Gypsy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 27–29, at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Many gifted cast members from Mineola, East Williston and Albertson will belt out classics from the play.


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 show-biz life while chronicling Rose’s dreams and struggles as she raises her two daughters to perform onstage.


Demolition Delayed

Written by Michael Scro Friday, 21 March 2014 00:00

Village of East Williston Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff announced on Monday, March 10 that the much-debated 8 Sumter Ave. property will most likely face demolition, however not right away.


Blinkoff was in Nassau County Supreme Court recently, where Judge McCormack gave the owners 30 days to sell the house, or prove the inspection report was incorrect.


“It’s not unexpected for the judge to say that, and I objected to it,” Blinkoff said.  “It does appear the demolition will proceed, just not today.”


Grant Funds Discussed In Mineola

Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

The Village of Mineola is applying for $335,000 in community development block grants for 2014, officials revealed last week. The grants, if approved by the federal government, would be used to revamp local storefronts on Jericho Turnpike between Mineola

Boulevard and Willis Avenue, an updated public handicap bathroom at Memorial Park and residential rehabilitation.


If approved, funds will not be available until January or February 2015, according to Community Development Coordinator and past mayor Bob Hinck. The federal funds are distributed to the Department of Housing and Governmental Affairs of Nassau County and are administered to municipalities on a need basis.


Fifty Years For Joseph Conlon

Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Joseph Conlon couldn’t picture himself lasting five decades with the Mineola Fire Department. Today, after helping put together a groundbreaking unit for junior firemen, he would not have it any other way. Conlon will celebrate his 50th year with the department on

April 14 at a special gala honoring his commitment on April 25. 


Conlon’s dedication to Mineola will forever be linked to the Mineola Junior Fire Department, which he helped found in 1976. Juniors learn fire prevention techniques, respond to fire calls and participate in numerous real-life drills, including wall-scaling and vehicle extraction, among other techniques.


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