There are weeks I feel like I should wear a football helmet to the office. That’s because whenever powerful, special interest groups feel I’ve somehow threatened their status quo, they launch attacks. This past week a number of local teachers’ unions targeted me as the “deciding vote” in favor of the tax cap and, in that vote, as having participated in an attack on our children’s education.
I’d like to set the record straight. The tax cap passed the Senate with a near-unanimous 57-5 bi-partisan vote and was enthusiastically signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. It limits increases in school and local property taxes to 2 percent a year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
Senator Jack Martins should be commended for understanding that hydraulic fracturing poses a grave threat to New York State in his column Let’s Look Before We Leap on Nov. 1. Fracking threatens our air, water and food. Senator Martins must call for a ban on fracking!
A controversial new method of natural-gas drilling, embraced rapidly across the U.S., has contaminated water supplies with radioactive waste, according to an investigation by The New York Times. Fracking produces hazardous wastewater, which can contain radioactive substances as well as toxic chemicals, making disposal difficult and dangerous.
Crime doesn’t pay. Three years ago the New York Times broke a story about almost every person that retired from the L.I.R.R. received disability payments. Then the story seemed to disappear. Several times we asked in the column, “what happened?” Now we see that detectives were watching these “disabled” people play tennis, jog and shovel snow. Arrests have been made and more will follow. We were particularly interested because we knew one of the two doctors allegedly involved. We always thought he was a good guy, but you never know!
When I was elected Senator, I would have never guessed that I’d participate in a hearing regarding high school cheating. Yet this past week, there I was with the Senate Higher Education Committee, examining the actions of several high school students who allegedly paid a former student to take the SAT college entrance exam for them.
By way of background, students aren’t required to take the SAT in their home school where they are known to the test proctors. In order to accommodate the large numbers taking the exam, students can use any test center in the country, provided they present home school identification. That’s why a former Great Neck student was apparently able to use fake ID to take the exam for current students. In turn, they would pay him a dollar per point with his average score somewhere just above 2000.
Senator Jack Martins should be commended for understanding that hydraulic fracturing poses a grave threat to New York State (Let’s Look Before We Leap,” Mineola American, Nov. 2, 2011). Fracking threatens our air, water and food. Senator Martins must call for a ban on fracking. This is the only safe way to deal with this dangerous practice.
Bishop John Dunne celebrated Mass at Corpus Christi as the church celebrated its 110th year. Concelebrating the Mass were the Pastor Robert Coyle and the priests Msgr. Edward Tarrant, The Rev. Tomaz Gomide, Rev. Gabriel Miah, Rev. Polycarp and Deacons Brian Mannix and John Reinhart. Bishop Dunne served at Corpus Christi 37 years ago. John Davanzo, Mary Ann Iaquinto and Antonio Martins were honored for their great service to the parish. Among those present we had a chance to talk to were Kitty Connors, George and Helena Sommer, Carl Marchese, Ed and Jeri Solosky, Ann Marie Jankay who was born in Mineola 66 years ago, Marion Horner, Dan and Tom Flynn, Tom Rudolph, whose dad Joe is very ill, Charlie and Sally Paterson, Terry and Pat Connors, Pat Robin, Dolores Mangold, John Macedo, Chris and Ann Gannon, Bill and Diane Cassidy, Bob and Kathy Mondello, Bernadette O’Brian, Mike and Jill Dougherty and Joe and Marge Wood. The bishop said in his homily that he met a German priest whose parish was marking 1,000 years. He spoke of the long history of the Roman Catholic Church. Grace and I had a chance to speak with him later and he said he followed the career of our daughter, Sister Annmarie.
When I first heard about hydro-fracking a few years back, I thought it was going to be played on my children’s X-box and cost me at least $100. While I happily discovered it wasn’t another video game, what I did learn gave me cause for concern.
Hydro-fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, a unique process that allows us to collect natural gas from shale (rock) formations deep below the earth’s surface. Typically, a company will drill a very deep hole, anywhere between 5,000 to 20,000 feet. They then pump millions of gallons of fluid into the rock formation itself, creating great pressure, which ultimately fractures the rock and releases the trapped gas. Given that the United States sits on trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, this technology initially seemed to be an answer to our country’s perpetual energy crisis.
Wally is a friend of mine. He’s 90 years old and a World War II veteran. He’s also a gentleman who long ago stopped worrying about what people think. Don’t get me wrong. He’s as sharp as a tack. It’s just that he speaks his mind and doesn’t sweat the outcome. You could be mayor, senator, or President of the United States, you work for him and he prides himself on “giving it to you straight.” I guess that’s a fringe benefit of a long life. It’s also why I have always valued his opinion.
I appreciate the strong desire on the part of the town and many of its community members to “acquire” and “preserve” the park portion of the Roslyn Country Club. However, I wish the town’s desire to preserve and improve upon the parks and land it currently owns was just as strong. Granted, Manorhaven and Tully just underwent major renovation, but those are just two of the many parks that the town owns. What about North Hempstead Beach Park? It is one of the largest of the town’s parks, it (like the Roslyn Country Club) has the potential to generate significant revenue, but it is in woeful disrepair.
Seven thousand people came to the Mineola Chamber of Commerce Street Fair between the opening at 11:30 a.m. and the closing at 6 p.m. The village co-sponsored the event and Mayor Scott Strauss was there with his son Bryan. We also met Robert and Olga Bauer, Trustee Bob Durham, Tyler Wolf, Bob and Catherine Mondello, Edith Henrichs, Sandy Pusey, Dr. Gary Levine, Peggy and Paul May and their son Tim, Lynn Drake, Max Gold, Joe and Anne Tartaglia, Ed and Mary Hilbert, Roy Gold, Jack Fernandes, Bill Gresalfi, Tony Lubrano and Mom, Pat and John Carroll, Margaret Frankola, Donna, Sean and Ryan Burke, Ed and Ann Pale, Jane Centrella, Frank Cadus, Donna and Robin Smith, Scotty Meliere, Tom Jacoberger, Larry Blessinger, Nancy Becker, Gary Katz, Dara and Jon Perlow, Linda Doerrbecker, Malissa Valderama, Lorraine and Jennifer Ciesinski, Julian Mikowski, Richard Vieira, Toby and Jack Flax, Chester and Doris Lubowiecki, John Taveras, Ann and Chris Ganon, Corine Portillo, Joy and Marty Wyler, Diane and Erin Buckley, Pat Carfagno, Michelle Lombardo, Pedro and Graciela Quintanilla, Mikayla Katz, Julio Lazo, Fay Fez, Glenn Stewart, Giacomo Ciccone, Marta De Sousa, Tricia De Rosa, Richard and Sandy Holecek, Tony Donnelly, Lisa Lao, Michael Vezza, Jonathan Baker, Mary Ann and Frank Iaquinto, Michael and Margaret Spalding and Joe and Eileen Watts.
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