Back in October of 2005, Defenders of Wildlife, a well-respected national environmental organization, selected the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge as one of America’s 10 most endangered national wildlife refuges. The selection of the Oyster Bay NWR from more than 540 refuges nationwide served as a wake up call for many people. The fact that this NWR was literally in the back yard of Sagamore Hill, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt, who created the national wildlife refuge system, was an irony that was not lost on our community.
The Defenders of Wildlife report listed a number of issues that threatened the health of the bay. Among those issues were failing septic systems and outdated sewage treatment facilities, pollution from boating activities, and development projects that would further erode important habitat and increase sewage flow into Oyster Bay. Also listed as jeopardizing the health of the bay were “the future redevelopment and decontamination of two sites where massive heating oil storage tanks have leached pollutants into the water. Exxon-Mobil’s plans for the tanks no longer in operation on Cold Spring Harbor have yet to be disclosed. Tanks on the eastern waterfront owned by Commander Terminals LLC are still in operation, and it is unlikely that Commander will address contamination concerns any time soon”
Once upon a time, there was a cobbler whose child ran around town without any shoes.
“Look at her,” one villager whispered to another. “Barefoot again! Is he such a workaholic he can’t make his own daughter one pair of shoes?”
“Maybe he’s lazy,” continued a third. “Or greedy, and wants to keep all the merchandise for himself.”
If this column is confusing it means you haven’t lived in Oyster Bay for very long. It mentions several men, whose last name is Robinson: Rick, Tom and James, none of whom are related. It doesn’t mention two more Robinsons: Ed Robinson, Esq. who grew up in Oyster Bay and was the OB-EN School attorney, and his son Chris Robinson, an engineer who attended St. Dominics.
Additionally, the next three are Oyster Bay High School graduates: Rick Robinson is white and came to Oyster Bay from LaGrange, Indiana. Tom Robinson is the only black man and James Robinson who grew up in East Norwich.
“School boards have long supported the goals of the new teacher and principal evaluation system as a way to improve student achievement,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “Our analysis, however, shows that the cost of this state initiative falls heavily on school districts. This seriously jeopardizes school districts’ ability to meet other state and federal requirements and properly serve students.”
The announcement last week by Northrop Grumman Corp. (Grumman to those of us who have been on this Island awhile) that it will transfer 850 jobs from its Bethpage facility to Florida and California should come as no shock.
The company, once Long Island’s largest and best-known employer, has been sending jobs South for more than two decades. At one point, in the 1980s, the company employed 25,000 people on the Island, built the Navy’ premier fighter, the F-14 Tomcat, and, in the 1960s, built the Lunar Lander that took Apollo astronauts to the moon.
When I was elected County Executive, in the midst of the worst economic downturn in decades, I knew I would need some creative ideas, call it a new way of thinking, to help people who had lost their jobs get back to work.
Recognizing that jobs are the key to a growing economy, I instituted job fairs to link the unemployed with businesses and corporations in need of workers. I also invested funds in job training and retraining centers with our local towns. In partnership with the County’s Industrial Development Agency, I offered incentives that helped create and retain more than 3,500 private sector jobs. My administration worked hand-in-hand with businesses and corporations to ensure they–and their employees—stayed in Nassau County.
When I was a boy, I watched the volunteer firemen play in the local softball league and figured how much fun they had. On Memorial Day, I road on the fire trucks, attended the festivities at the firehouses, and watched them as they marched in the local parades and figured how much fun they had. And, when gaining access to the inside of the firehouses and seeing the trucks up close and the bottles of Coke that we were permitted to take directly from the refrigerator, I figured how much fun they had.
And, over time, reality settled in, as it does for everyone. And I saw and experienced and had the great benefit of that part of the job description that I never figured as a boy- many times, wishing that I never had to be a part of it as an adult. I have watched the selfless men and women of our volunteer fire departments come running (literally) to the homes of my family and friends, rush to the scene of nearly any circumstance that called for assistance, showing up at all hours of the day- and night, in blizzards and hurricanes and everything else, to transport a loved one to a local hospital, to tend to them for any and every condition, to console and assure those left behind, for things big and not so big, when accidents just happen, and when just about anything else occurs that is in fact not too much fun at all.
We are winning a fight against higher taxes. In 2010, rather than fix the assessment system that creates your tax bill, County Executive Edward Mangano repealed what is known as the “County Guaranty.”
His move would push expenses onto other governments and schools, forcing them to cover for his mistakes when your property is wrongly assessed and you are due a refund. This would likely mean higher taxes for you.
Spring is a time of renewal. It will be welcome this year after an historic blizzard, which followed a power outage that had most of sitting in freezing houses for weeks.
From my seat in the Legislature, there is renewal that needs to happen and I am concerned that the county executive’s administration here in Nassau is – once again – not taking the needs of our area seriously.
In what is rapidly becoming a regular feature, here are some of the most striking comments about the new map from the latest hearing. Lest there be any concern that positive comments are being ignored, rest assured: there weren’t any. Not a single one of the dozens of speakers at the Feb. 11 meeting spoke in favor of the map.
“It is embarrassing, it is disgusting, and it is an act of institutionalized racism…I hope when you go home and you look at your children and your grandchildren that you’re proud of what you’re doing.”
-Jill Williams, Village of Hempstead
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