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Top 11 Stories of 2011 in Mineola

With 2012 out of the starting gate, what were the top news items in Mineola in 2011?

The year 2011 is over and 2012 has just begun. The Mineola American decided to start off the New Year with a quick look back at the stories that warmed hearts, humbled many, raised eyebrows and kept Mineola and the surrounding community buzzing.

11. Mineola Resident Kicks 1,000 Field Goals

In 24 Hours Craig Pinto edged former New York Yankee great Reggie Jackson for the title of “Mr. October” in philanthropic terms anyway.

The Mineola resident kicked 1,000 field goals in 24 hours on Oct. 9 at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay. Pinto inadvertently christened the football field, being that it hadn’t been officially opened yet.

He previously kicked 717 forty-yard field goals in 12 hours in October 2010 at Bethpage High School. The previous record was 500, which was an arbitrary number set by the Guinness Book of World Records because no one had ever attempted it before.

10. Governor Cuomo Signs Property Tax Cap In Nassau County

It was met with ire by school districts and local villages and commended by residents and businesses. But on June 30, the bill was officially signed.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Lynbrook to sign the 2 percent property tax cap into law. Cuomo signed the property tax cap on the front lawn of the home of James and Janet Gannon.

Like many taxpayers in Nassau County, the Gannons, parents of four children, have made sacrifices to afford the state’s skyrocketing property taxes.

9. Hurricane Irene Rocks Long Island

Although Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it made its way up the East Coast of the U.S., making landfall on Long Island on Saturday, Aug. 27, it left a path of downed trees and power lines as it crossed the Island headed toward New England. According to LIPA officials, approximately 500,000 homes in Nassau County lost power due to the storm.

8. Jack Martins Sworn in As Seventh District Senator

After launching his campaign in March 2010, standing outside train stations, restaurants and local businesses and after a long and arduous court battle, Former Mineola mayor Jack Martins was sworn in as the seventh district senator in January. Martins was accompanied by his wife Paula and the rest of the Martins family as he took the oath of senator.

7. Village Board Reorganizes with New Mayor, Trustee

The Village of Mineola held its Organization Night on Monday, April 4, 2011. With approximately 350 people in attendance, which included Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Legislator Rich Nicolello and State Senator Jack Martins, a mayor and two trustees were sworn in to the board.

Scott Strauss was sworn into the office of mayor while current trustee Larry Werther took the oath which locked him into the village as its longest board member at five terms and 10 years when his term ends. George Durham is the newest member to the board. He ran for trustee in 2006.

Nassau County Clerk and Mineola native Maureen O’Connell swore Strauss into the office of mayor. Strauss was appointed to the board as trustee on Dec. 15, 2010.

6. Mineola Junior Fire Department Visits Germany

The Mineola Junior Fire Department (MJFD) has had a partnership with Stellingen-Hamburg Jugendfeuerwehr for the past five years. In that time, both junior fire departments have visited each other’s countries twice, creating a partnership that stands unique among the fire service in all of America.

In 2007, the Stellingen-Hamburg Junior Fire Department visited Mineola for 10 days and the following year, 2008, the Mineola Junior fire Department went to Germany for 10 days. In August 2010, a second cultural exchange began with Stellingen coming to Mineola where they trained and visited Washington DC, New York City, and the sights of Long Island.

On July 30, 2011 it was Mineola’s time to go to Germany with 14 junior firefighters.  Everyone had to report to the Mineola headquarters at 11 a.m. where the parents of the junior firefighters gave them a send off that was something to see. The Mineola Juniors have a great bunch of parents who supported these young adults in this historic venture to Germany.

5. Troop 45 Announces Scout of the Year

On Friday, Feb. 18, Boy Scout Troop 45 held its annual Scout Family Dinner. During the course of the evening, the troop celebrated the achievements of the Scouts during the previous year with their families and friends.

One of the highlights of the dinner is the awards ceremony, which reflects upon and honors the dedication and hard work of the scouts and adult volunteers in the troop. The most prestigious award of the ceremony is the Scout of the Year Award, an honor voted on by every member of Troop 45. This year’s recipient was Daniel Gavin, a Life Scout.

4. Mineola Gets First Intel Semifinalist

Mineola High School senior Bethanne Bartscherer was named a semifinalist in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search. With the science research program only fully established in the last three years, it is extraordinary for Mineola to already have a student acknowledged in this way. It was reported that this is the first Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist the Mineola School District has ever had.

3. Golden Rule Project Reaches Binghamton

After Hurricane Irene, the PTA with several other student and parent-based volunteer groups, organized the “Golden Rule Project.” The groups collected school supplies to aid the Binghamton/Owego area of New York State, which suffered flooding of immense proportions.

The MacArthur Elementary School in Binghamton was under 4 ½ feet of water while the Owego Elementary School, located directly on the Susquehanna River, was found to be toxic due to flood waters and labeled a hazardous area from which nothing could be salvaged,  according to Robin Bischoff and Phyllis Badinger of the PTA. The two, along with district superintendent Michael Nagler, drove supplies up to the area that had been collected throughout the district. The golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” shined through this initiative.

2. Two Schools to Close Under District Reconfiguration

The future configuration of the Mineola School District became clearer last Tuesday, Feb. 8 after the $4.4 million bond vote, which failed by 366 votes. Over 1,782 district residents visited the polls, with 1,074 voting no, while 708 voted yes.

The default option included the closure of Willis Avenue in 2012 and Cross Street this past September with a new configuration (pre-K-2 North/South) at Hampton Street and Meadow Drive, fifth through seventh grade in the middle school and eighth through twelfth grade high school. The Solomon Schechter Day School is currently renting the Cross Street School.

1. Mineola Remembers 9/11 Ten Years Later

It’s as if it were yesterday that smoke was billowing from Lower Manhattan after terror struck the Big Apple on September 11, 2001. But here we are, 10 years later and the memories are as clear as the sunny day that was upon the world until two planes hit the World Trade Center.

A memorial service was held to honor those lost in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 at Memorial Park in Mineola. Members of the village flocked to the park to honor those lost in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center ten years ago.