Years ago, a huge swath of flat prairie known as the Hempstead Plains stretched across what is now central Nassau County. Just a few years after Kitty Hawk, aviators from all over the country saw the area as an ideal location to conduct their early adventures aloft.
In 1909, motorcycle racer Glen Curtiss joined forces with inventor Alexander Graham Bell and began experimenting with aircraft designs. He visited Mineola, declared it to be “a nice flat place”, and set up operations east of Washington Avenue and south of Old Country Road. The early airport was known as the Washington Avenue Field or, more often, the Mineola Flying Field. Following Curtiss’ leadership, pilots and manufacturers were drawn to this and neighboring fields, setting and breaking speed, distance and altitude records practically on a weekly basis. In 1910, Bessica Raiche, a Mineola resident, became the first American woman to pilot an airplane.
I don’t mind reasonable incremental changes to our children’s education. What I see, however, when you follow the money with Common Core, is an opportunity for billionaires like Bill Gates to apply monetary influence over politicians in order to gain political favor. I see a public school system focused more on testing and memorization of useless trivia, than students truly learning and grasping concepts.
With Common Core, I see corporations eventually profiting from access to our children’s confidential information, and a further invasion into our privacy. Will any of us be surprised if somehow Bill Gates’ Microsoft eventually benefits from computerized testing and educational software in our public schools?
I have a daughter in the third grade, who I think is far too young to be stressing over tests and to not genuinely enjoy going to school most days. I understand juniors and seniors getting tired of the school routines. Is it really necessary, though, to have children turned off to learning by the third grade?
For the past three years, I have had the honor and responsibility of being a representative of the Herricks School District as a trustee of the Herricks School Board, and this year serving as its President. Three years ago, an over whelming endorsement of my candidacy took place when a record number taxpaying residents came out in the pouring rain to vote for a new board of education member, and for the Herricks school budget. These voters represented parents, young adults, senior citizens, and empty-nesters from the many communities that make up
Herricks and all of its fabulous religious and cultural diversity. This year I am running for re-election for another three year term with no opposition. I hope it represents a wonderful endorsement of my past three years on the Board and the time and effort I have put in as a school board member.
I somehow blew up my brother-in-law’s power washer last week. I don’t know how it happened, but you know the feeling. You try never to borrow anything but when you finally do, not 20 minutes in, the otherwise indestructible machinery that’s been well-used for 15 years suddenly and inexplicably starts sputtering and belching smoke like a wounded Godzilla.
It’s a shame too. I was trucking right along, smoothly blasting away muck and grime and basking in the glow of my rejuvenated siding when I suddenly heard a bolt blow clean off the side of the machine. So my meticulously planned three-hour task turned into a full-day excursion as I headed to the Home Depot to educate myself on the wide world of power washers and where I bought new ones for both my brother-in-law and myself. Lesson one: better not to borrow anything expensive, for Murphy’s Law will surely intervene.
Two Mineola World War II veterans Ray Vaz and Tom Scardino were honored at Night on the Town last week. These two fought in the D-Day invasions and deserve commending.
Vaz and Scardino represent a group of people that should be remembered, because without them, we may not have the freedoms we cherish, and sometimes take for granted, today. If there is one thing that can be called a staple in Mineola, it is the veteran community.
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace have lived in Mineola for 60 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
Our daughter, Sister Annmarie, had a meeting with President Barack Obama recently. Annmarie was chosen because she is part of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious which represents 85 percent of American nuns. President Obama spoke of his admiration for the nuns because of their efforts on behalf of the poor and the forgotten and their support of human rights. Annmarie described the meeting as very upbeat. Republican or Democrat, it’s always an honor to meet with the leader of our great country.
May is Older Americans Month with the message of safe today, healthy tomorrow.
One of the most important things retirees must do to ensure their financial safety today is to protect their hard-earned pensions from being stripped away. Pension stripping is a tactic being deployed by corporate America. Companies do this by offloading their long time retirees defined benefit pensions to an insurer, which then convert those to annuities. More than 41,000 Verizon retirees and 100,000 GM retirees have already been victimized.
One of the best experiences I’ve had while volunteering was on a visit to Ronald McDonald house. I honestly enjoy doing Ronald McDonald service because it’s really a lot of fun cooking with your friends, and it’s a such a rewarding thing to do. Getting Mineola teacher Nancy Regan’s meatloaf recipe is just the icing on the cake!
Of course, at the end of the day you go home reeking of spices, and sometimes you swear your hands faintly smell like onions even days later. Deep down, you love these subtle reminders of the time and effort you donated. They are the proof that you made a difference in someone’s life, and it is hard to find the words to describe such an experience. I am reminded of the quote by John Bunyan, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
I am certain John Owens can respond to the recent critical letter faulting his opposition to the imposition of the new core curriculum in New York State schools. I support Owens’ position. The writer assumes Owens opposes excellence because he describes the psychological factors present in every learning environment. Intelligence and the willingness to apply it are individual endowments. They need the proper atmosphere. A teacher’s job is to provide those conditions favorable to learning. Owens’ insight in this regard is commendable. Excellence cannot be imposed, least of all by bureaucratic fiat nor corporate competition.
Anton columnist Michael Miller was absolutely right to say, about the legal requirement that Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio follow up his publicly-pledged oral oath of office with a signed, written oath, “What a stupid law”. However, he called it an example of “the WORST kind of law, the kind that is selectively enforced”. As bad as I agree it is, I believe there are many more equally bad—and worse—laws. Such as laws written (sometimes purposely? ) with loopholes so big you could drive a truck through them; laws that are almost NEVER enforced; laws “enforced” with pathetic slaps on the wrist, probations, conditional discharges, suspended sentences, concurrent sentences, community service, token fines viewed as a cost-of-doing-business, and other “punishments” that fail to have the most desired effect of any “prohibitive” law : a DETERRENT effect. Therefore, I hope every Anton newspaper will invite its readers to submit their nominees for bad laws that themselves need the “death penalty”.
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