West Africa has an Ebola outbreak. It has become global. Hysteria abounds. It is not theirs alone. It is now humanity’s outbreak which has no borders. However, in fact, everything in the world today transcends borders: from the Internet to capitalism to climate change to wars.
VFW’s congressional charter was signed in 1936, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the military consisted only of men. The VFW is asking members of the House and Senate to support passage of legislation that will update its congressional charted. H.R. 5441 and S. 2782 will make two small, but significant changes in the wording of the charter- replacing the word “men” with “veterans” and the word “widows” with “surviving spouses”.
VFW National Commander John W. Stroud said, “We’re changing it because being an eligible veteran is what’s important to our great organization, not one’s gender, and changing widows to surviving spouses is more representative of today’s military as of Dec. 1.
Every week I read the Mineola American and lately I am always struck by the negative vibes emanating out of the Village of Williston Park, particularly by Mayor Paul Ehrbar. While most villages on Long Island are going out of their way to provide dog parks and dog runs, Williston Park is going out of its way to make sure that no dog is ever allowed to stretch their legs anywhere Williston Park.
Oscar Pistorius, whom I used to root for because of his great running accomplishments despite a severe handicap, killed Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend, by shooting her to death. While South African Judge Thokozile Masipa believed Oscar’s claim that he shot her accidentally,
I view it as a cold-blooded murder.
Recently, a friend of mine told me about the trees that are designated for demolition along South Oyster Bay Road. The removal of these 180-plus trees, spans the distance between Syosset and Bethpage. A debate surrounds this issue, with residents on one side and county officials on the other. Those in favor of the demotion state that the trees, which are at least 40 years old, have uprooted sidewalks along South Oyster Bay Road. This poses a serious safety concern for those who walk there. Those opposed have stated that trees lend a charm and beauty to the area; they have also argued that trees help the ecosystem, as well as offer shade from the heat. As anyone who has driven along the roadway knows, rush hour traffic can be hampered by the angle of the sun at that time.
Michael Miller wrote a piece in last week’s edition that was viciously anti-Christopher Columbus. It would have made his intelligent and sophisticated cocktail party, too-smart-to-like Columbus types proud. Michael even pointed out in the column that after Columbus landed in the New World, that “millions died.”
On Thursday, Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day, we will be preparing and delivering hot meals to homebound senior citizens, coordinating this program from our home. Last year we provided over 400 meals and we expect to be doing the same this year.
We were puzzled to see the letter from the Mineola School Board President outlining financial concerns of the downtown redevelopment projects underway. Since the revitalization process began over the last decade, the Village of Mineola has completed a Master Plan with broad public input, approved an intermodal bus and parking facility, expanded Winthrop Hospital, brought in a high-tech incubator, new restaurants and shops, and developed a series of tax-positive senior and multi family rental units that will bring minimal children into the school district. It is our understanding that the bulk of these endeavors leveraged new private investment and state and federal grant assistance at no cost to the taxpayer.
Mineola is one of the leading downtowns in Nassau County along with the villages of Westbury, Farmingdale, Rockville Centre and Great Neck Plaza that are using their assets to generate jobs, redevelopment and bring life to their main street.
Thanks for your quick response to Board President Artie Barnett’s letter regarding the Board of Education’s concern about the construction of almost 900 one, two and three-bedroom rental units under PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Tax) agreements. Under these agreements, these 900 units would pay a substantially discounted school tax for the next 20 years. While developers may have imagined these apartments for young professionals, certainly it would be discriminatory in practice to turn down families. And having become established in our community, young professionals will likely start families here. Nine hundred units over 20 years will have its share of children. But the buildings will not be picking up their share of the tax burden, which will be shifted to taxpayers and small businesses in the Villages of Mineola, Williston Park, Garden City Park, Albertson, and Roslyn Heights. Our Board of Education must address any sudden bump in our school population and the attendant cost while keeping our promise to the school district taxpayers to honor the 2 percent tax cap.
We believe the Village of Mineola ought to be working with the board of education in a timely and collegial manner on any decisions that affect school taxes.
I write this letter in response to an Oct. 15 letter to the editor in the Mineola American from the Mineola Board of Education, with “unanimous consensus, under the signature of Artie Barnett, president. I am writing directly to the board of education because I believe it most appropriate that municipal boards communicate with each other on a board-to-board basis rather than by playing media games.
The basic point of the school board’s letter is that the Mineola Village Board acted in a “shortsighted” and “negligent” manner in formulating its Master Plan and in approving several major residential development projects as part of the Village’s Downtown Revitalization Program because it undertook actions “without the input of the local school board.” The school district claims that these new projects will generate a “significant” increase
in school population resulting in an increase in class sizes, the need for new sections and the need to expand the Pre-K—2 building at Hampton Street School. It also claims that the PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) Program awarded by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) constitutes a sweetheart deal with residential developers which may leave the apartment buildings “empty, or worse, subsidized” and create an unstable tax base.
The facts and the truth do not support these charges. Allow me to analyze the school board’s claims item by item.
The claim that the school district was not consulted with respect to the revitalization activities undertaken by the village board is bogus. The school district was invited to participate at every step of the way. All activities of the board of trustees were conducted in public, were televised in the community and were widely covered by local print media. Everyone, including the school board, was invited to participate.
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