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“My dream is to own my own newspaper,” said my boss at the Binghamton Press, the daily I used to work for. I thought, good enough for him, how about Grace and I starting a paper? I went to every village in Nassau and the only place with no paper was Mineola. I had just $2,000 in the world, but 60 years ago in 1952 that was more money than it sounds like today. The first issue came out Sept. 3. Each week we prayed there would be another week and there always was.
Who knew newspaper subscriptions cost $2 more than 60 years ago? Lou Sanders did, and he knew it well. I interviewed him recently as part of a feature that will appear in the upcoming Guide to Mineola. At the inception of the Mineola American, his kids even helped on the paper.
Never in my life have I seen a street flooded like Jericho Turnpike or East Second Street on Aug. 15. As I worked on the Mineola American issue of Aug. 22, the building was pummeled by high winds and flowing water.
I went to a wake in Woodside the other night. A good friend of mine lost his grandmother a few months shy of her 106th birthday. As soon as I stepped into the funeral home, I could tell this family matriarch was revered and was going to be sorely missed, but there was a celebratory air about the place, a proverbial “Irish wake” with joy and laughter for a life well lived.
As I sat listening to her family and friends, I got to thinking about just how much this remarkable life had seen. Born in 1906, she’d witnessed the development of almost all of the technological advancements that shape our world. She was there for the development of radio, telephone, television, the instant camera, the washing machine, gas ovens, and a new-fangled thing called the “icebox.” She observed the rise of motorcars and mechanized flight. She watched as we developed the atomic bomb, broke the sound barrier and put a man on the moon. She marveled at computers and in her later years she spoke to far-away family on their smart phones while looking at their photos via the Internet, all thanks to the miracle of satellites.
My journey toward the 60th anniversary edition of the Mineola American took me back in time again last week, when I had to stop by a small, unassuming building on Westbury Avenue. At first glance it looks like a typical house, but once inside, hidden treasures from the village’s past remain preserved for everyone who’s interested.
President Obama and Anderson Cooper have it right. Don’t mention the name of the killer in Aurora, Colorado. A lot of these people relish seeing their names and pictures everywhere. This is one of the reasons for their crimes.
The one story that dominated the last few years has been the development of the Winston Manor complex, which recently attained Nassau County Industrial Development Agency approval. It’s been at the forefront of the village’s psyche since 2008.
Back in February of 2011, I met Susan, a resident of New Hyde Park, who shared with me yet another of those Long Island Rail Road stories that can drive sane people mad.
Just a few weeks before, Susan had decided to avoid the snow-covered roads and purchased two one-way tickets at the New Hyde Park railroad station. She didn’t use the return fare since she was able to get a ride home. When she tried to refund the ticket, she was shocked to learn MTA policy called for a $10 processing fee regardless of the ticket’s price. That was more than her $7.25 ticket. Imagine a refund fee more costly than the actual product itself.
With 2012 being the 60th anniversary year, I have been assigned the task of documenting from Nov. 21, 2001 until 2012. Most would say ‘It’s only 10 years? Joe Rizza did 50.’ That’s one shadow I’ll never get out of; a shadow I’ll gladly reference back to and carry on my shoulders until my knees buckle.
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Bill Greene, president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce, announced that Mayor Scott Strauss would be the guest speaker on Sept. 18. The meeting, with all residents invited, will be held at the Village Hall. After the mayor delivers his “State of the Village” speech, those who wish can have dinner at the Piccola Bussola restaurant. Greene said that the speaker for October would be State Senator Jack Martins.
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