The nation’s new Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has a provision that could put local fire departments—as well as local governments—at considerable financial risk. Fire-fighting departments with 50 or more members could be forced to provide health insurance for their volunteer firefighters or else pay substantial fines.
The health care law has specific insurance requirements for employers with 50 or more employees. While the U.S. Department of Labor terms these firefighters “volunteers,” the Internal Revenue Service classifies volunteer firefighters as employees.
Members of Congress are aware of this issue, though so far, no changes have been made at the federal level.
The Mineola School Board is currently reviewing options if parents elect to keep their kids home once the next round of “Common Core” testing hits the district. But leaders have indicated Mineola is in a holding pattern. Trustee William Hornberger broached the subject at a recent business meeting.
He asked if steps are being taken to address possible opt-outs, a tactic parents across Long Island are threatening to resort to.
For Frank Lazzaro, getting into floral design was an accident, a stroke of luck. What started out as a makeshift Christmas decoration in the Army eventually landed him in the Oval Office at the White House serving as Christmas decorator for three presidents.
The former Mineola florist was serving at Fort Bragg, N.C. during the Vietnam War as supervisor of medical supplies in Womack Army Hospital when his boss made a request.
“I was in the military and my commanding officer needed a Christmas tree and some decorations,” Lazzaro said. “We had no money so we used Army socks and beer cans. We decorated a four-foot tree. My commanding officer said I should be decorating the general’s tree.”
The end of year holiday is the season of giving, when we are infused with the spirit of generosity, empathy for those in need and “good will to all” (not to mention a Dec. 31 tax deadline for deductions).
Unfortunately, this year the peak giving season is shorter than usual. The late Thanksgiving holiday truncated the number of fundraising weekends leading up to Christmas. That’s on top of a challenging macro-economic environment, and it is putting the squeeze on charities. Some local fundraisers have quietly indicated that they are worried about meeting year-end objectives.
The Mineola law firm of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein and Breitstone gave back to two Freeport youths this holiday season through the Family & Children’s Association’s “Adopt-a-Family” program. Supervisor of Office Services Stacey Harris and Office Manager Karen
Goldberg have worked with their colleagues at the firm and organized adoptions for the past several years.
The program matches donors with youth, families, and seniors in need of support both during this holiday season and throughout the year. Family & Children’s in Mineola has helped about 800 families over the past seven years of running the “adoption” program.
FCA’s Director of Marketing and Communications Joyce Mullen says “it’s heartwarming for both the donors and families benefiting from the program.”
A construction crane working on the new Winthrop-University Hospital diabetes research facility tipped over on Mineola Boulevard on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 12:40 p.m. The driver of the crane escaped as it fell between the rising building and Souvlaki Stop, according to village and fire department reps.
He suffered minor injuries to his legs and back as he fled the cab and a bruise to his head, according to Winthrop officials.
Mineola Boulevard was closed from Old Country Road to Harrison Avenue all day. Authorities said the Mineola Fire Department, which was on call for a dumpster fire prior to the crane fall, arrived within minutes of the incident.
Village of East Williston Trustee Christopher Siciliano recently met with representatives from the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), a New Jersey-based electric and gas company that will be taking over the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) effective January 1, 2014. They discussed what the village can expect following the transition.
Delivering a brief report at a village board meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, Siciliano said the meeting was productive and that he learned the village will have a liaison from PSEG to communicate with directly—at no cost to the village.
Christmas trees, poinsettias and tinsel. All three are signs that the holiday season is here and while they provide stunning visuals, they could pose harm to your furry little friends, says one Mineola veterinarian.
Pet safety during the holidays is crucial, according to Dr. Aaron Vine of Central Vets of Mineola. For Vine, the leading cause of increased trips to the vet after the holidays is chocolate and tinsel. He has worked for Central Vets since 2003.
“Eating off the floor is a big one,” says Vine. “We see tons of chocolate ingestions during this time of the year. Tinsel is big with cats. There’s a lot of times when tinsel, while it can cause a tummy ache, can get stuck in the intestinal tract. If that happens, it can be very life threatening.”
The Mineola Village Board approved the much-debated, revised plan for Bolla Market to build a gas station and convenience store at 449 Jericho Turnpike last week. The property was hotly contested at hearings in October and November due to the property abutting village residences and the proposal calling for a 24-hour gas station and convenience store.
The 2,250-square foot business will be open seven days, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week, according to papers obtained by the Mineola American. Bolla reps confirmed that this is the first non-24 hour Bolla Market station in the entire company.
Forty-two of CEO Harry Singh’s 85 Bolla locations have a convenience store. The Mineola site will hold six 2-sided gas pumps and one store.
Mineola High School senior, Jennifer Vasek and her mother have suffered for years from a rare disorder called Chiari malformation. Both have endured several brain surgeries yet still suffer from Chiari symptoms on a daily basis. They include headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and loss of balance. Chiari malformations occur when the base of the brain protrudes through the lower skull and touches the upper part of the spinal cord, creating numerous neurological symptoms. The only accurate way to identify Chiari is with an MRI of the neck.
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