Continuing with tradition, here are the Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald top stories of 2005, as selected by the editor. They are listed here in no particular order. Due to space constraints, not all information can be included in this list. We encourage residents to write or e-mail in their top stories of the year. E-mail D.Nash@antonnews.com or send comments to the Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald at 132 East Second Street, Mineola, NY 11501.
The Plainview Water District has the responsibility to provide drinking water to the 32,000 residents of the Plainview and Old Bethpage area. The Water District started 2005 by swearing in Joel Kessler as commissioner and Edward Shulroff was selected as chairperson and commissioner Kevin Langberg as treasurer.
Water District officials held meetings throughout 2005 to review and inform the public on the remedial actions that are being taken to provide treatment for the threatened water supply well located at Plant No. 2 on Donna Drive. The construction of a wellhead treatment system at the supply well 2-1 located on Donna Drive started at the end of 2004. This capital project also included various site and facility upgrades for improving public health, safety and security protection. Water district officials and engineers presented new design options outlining the future benefits of the new construction, while repeatedly assuring the community of the current safe and excellent quality of the water.
The Water District was recognized by Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli over the summer as he presented them with a certificate to recognize the district's efforts to lead the fight to ban MTBE and protect the drinking water supply from contamination.
In September, Plainview Water District Superintendent Paul Granger was elected to a three-year term on the NSF Certification Council. NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization, is dedicated to being the leading global provider of public health and safety-based risk management solutions while serving the interests of all stakeholders.
In October, the water district was recognized by the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community. The group presented a bench to recognize the district's hard work and dedication to the Plainview-Old Bethpage community.
In December, it was announced that the Plainview Water District would be among the 200 special districts to be audited by Howard Weitzman, who released a Nassau County Special Districts: The Case for Reform, a 25-page "white paper" study. The Water District said they will fully cooperate.
To end 2005, Plainview-Old Bethpage residents re-elected Edward Shulroff to the Plainview Water District Board of Commissioners.
In January, three outstanding young scientists from Plainview-Old Bethpage School District were named semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS). The students were Heather Casper, Marissa Goldblatt and Matthew Schlossberger.
Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School was ranked as achieving the best overall performance last spring on an Advanced Placement test in macroeconomics. The ranking is part of a report by the college board which details performance on college level-level Advanced Placement tests.
In March, the gymnasium at the Old Bethpage Elementary School was renamed in honor of retired physical education teacher, Mel Marks. The entire school community dedicated the gym to the "one and only Mr. Mel Marks," who has been a legend in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District for promoting good sportsmanship attitudes with exceptional teaching. Mr. Marks served as an excellent role model for students and teachers alike during his 37 years with the district. The dedication plaque reads, "Mr. Marks is a modest hero who has made all the children who entered this gym believe they were gold medal Olympic athletes."
Also in March, over 10,000 spectators gathered at Hofstra University to watch 40 teams of high school students compete at the first Robotics Long Island Regional competition to earn a spot at the FIRST USA Championship. The Robotics team from Plainview Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, the POBOTS, received the Motorola Quality Award. In October, the POBOTS competed in a local competition in Deer Park. Each of the students had a chance to experience operating the robot while engaged in competition. The team as a whole placed second for the day's competitions.
Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District's 2005-2006 budget was passed on Tuesday with 3,831 voting in favor and 1,779 voting against it. The 2005-2006 budget is $104,446,548 - an increase of $5,795,358, which is 5.87 perent over the current year's budget. There were two open seats for the Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education and Ginger Lieberman and Debbie Bernstein were running unopposed for these seats and were thus re-elected. Five years ago, universal busing for the Plainview-Old Bethpage School district was approved by voter referendum. Proposition #3 was placed on the ballot this year and aimed at repealing universal busing. The proposition failed with 1,493 voting in favor and 4,113 voting against. The district's universal busing will remain.
In June, the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District hosted the second annual Relay for Life in honor of victims and survivors of cancer. The relay was a great success and one of the reasons was the new track. Carol Meschkow, president of Plainview-Old Bethpage Cares, approached Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and the town board to see if there was any way they could help POB repair the track at POB Middle School. Venditto and the board members decided to grant the funds for an all-weather, state of the art track for the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District.
Venditto and the board left the decision of where the track should go, either at POB Middle School or POBJFK High School, up to the community and the school district and the Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education held an open meeting at Mattlin Middle School for the board of education to hear from interested residents and staff members about the location of the new track being donated to the district by the Town of Oyster Bay. After the public comment session and a discussion between the members of the board of education, the board made a unanimous decision that the track should go to POBJFK High School.
On June 26, at the C.W. Post Tilles Center, the fourteenth graduating class received its final awards from Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School; their diplomas. The Class of 2005 Valedictorian, Marissa Goldblatt, shared fond memories of her grandfather and her thoughts on growing up with her family. Marissa also received the $10,000 New York Water Environment Association Environmental Scholarship, funded by the New York Water Environment Association. The scholarship is designed to encourage students who want to obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering, science or technology, related to improving the environment. It will be disbursed over four years, and was awarded to Goldblatt based upon her academic performance, consideration of her two written essays, and recommendations from her teachers.
The salutatorian for the class of 2005 was Matthew Schlossberger.
Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District's Social Studies Chairperson, Dorothy Wohl, was named the 2005 recipient of the Long Island Council for Social Studies Presidential Leadership Award. The Long Island Council for Social Studies (East Setauket), of which Wohl is a member, recognized her for her leadership within the social studies department in the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District, as well for Wohl's support in social studies education. She was honored with a plaque at an awards ceremony held at the Smithtown Sheraton Hotel.
Evy Rothman, member of the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District's Board of Education, was recently awarded Hadassah's National Leadership Award from the TOBAY (Town of Oyster Bay) Chapter of Hadassah. Hadassah is the largest volunteer women's and Jewish organization in the United States, with over 300,000 members. The TOBAY Chapter encompasses Syosset, Woodbury, Plainview, Old Bethpage, Jericho, Hicksville, and other surrounding areas. Rothman received this award based upon her accomplishments and development of leadership within Hadassah and other civic and educational organizations. She was honored at the TOBAY Hadassah Chapter Installation of Officers held in May.
In November, Guy Lodico, director of Technology for Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District, was honored for his statewide body of work spanning 17 years in educational technology. Lodico was honored in November as 2005's Outstanding New York State Technologist at this year's 40th Annual Conference of the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education in Albany.
The Plainview-Old Bethpage School District looks to continue their success in 2006.
Responding to the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused, the entire Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District came together to raise money for the Red Cross International Disaster Relief Fund. Together, students, faculty and community members raised over $21,000 to benefit those in crisis. Many residents and community groups held fundraising events throughout 2005 to help those in need.
In March, Bully Frog, A Teaching Story for Early Childhood Understanding of Bullying, won a prestigious national award as the outstanding book for children. The book was written by educational authors and Plainview residents Roni Benson and Ginger Lieberman and published by Royal Fireworks Press.
Also in March, Anna Goidell was named a Women of Achievement in the Town of Oyster Bay. Anna, a Plainview resident for more than 50 years, was recognized as a Woman of Distinction in Community and Civic Affairs.
Barbara Goldstein, a former resident of Plainview, was one of the authors of the book Beyond Tears, Living After Losing a Child, in which nine mothers share their individual stories of how to survive a mother's worst nightmare - the death of a child.
Janice Costa, who grew up in Plainview, released her first book entitled Everything and the Kitchen Sink: Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Mind. The book, which was published by Andrew McMeel Publishing and co-authored by Daina Manning, is a practical and humorous guide to remodeling the kitchen.
Michael Lipiner grew up in Plainview listening to his grandfather Alexander Taub's stories about being a Holocaust survivor of Schachendorf, a labor camp for which virtually no information exists. Lipiner realized how much he enjoyed his grandfather's stories and thought others would as well. He wrote Magyar, Stars & Stripes, which was published by iUniverse, to recount his grandfather's story.
In following the other local authors in 2005, Plainview resident Dr. Mario Macaluso released his fourth book Dr. Mario Macaluso's Practical Guide to AP Italian Language and Culture this year. This adds to the list of his works, including My Mother: Memoir of a Sicilian Woman, Prickly Pears and Oleanders and Sunday Spiritual Bouquets.
In September, an Old Bethpage native made his television debut. For the first time in the show's four year run, Donald Trump hand-picked the contestants and Brian Mandelbaum, a 1998 graduate of Plainview Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, was one of them.
In August, the Plainview Water District recognized Carol and Lance Meschkow of the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview Old Bethpage Community and presented them with a citation for rendering significant contributions to the Plainview-Old Bethpage community. The Water District said that they greatly appreciate Carol and Lance Meschkow who have dedicated their time to ensuring the safety of the community's drinking water and the protection of the environment. They have diligently fought for a consumer-friendly, sound energy bill, which protects residents from harmful MTBEs.
We are sure that there is much more to come from Plainview and Old Bethpage residents in 2006.
In May, it was standing-room-only as more than 400 residents turned out for the long awaited grand opening of the newly expanded Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library. After waiting in the large, open art gallery space, patrons were welcomed into the beautiful 237-seat Cultural Program Center. Many local government, education and civic leaders joined Library Board President Joseph Eisner, the Master of Ceremonies, in congratulating the library and the community on the completion of this major expansion.
In November, long-time Plainview-Old Bethpage library director Rhoda Orenstein announced her retirement. She started her work at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library 34 years ago as a senior clerk and worked her way up to director, a position she has held for the past 10 years.
Although Orenstein said it was a difficult decision to retire, the library has brought her great joy but she knew it was time to move to the next phase of her life. "It was a difficult decision because I enjoyed this job very much," said Orenstein. "It was a wonderful job. Things change in your life and you realize that it is time to move on."
With the building project's completion, Orenstein said she accomplished her main goals and it was time for someone else to take over with new and creative ideas. After hearing of her retirement, the board selected Gretchen Browne, formally the director of the Rockville Center Library, as the new director. She began her job on Nov. 21.
In May, a car traveling southbound on Old Bethpage Road, jumped the curb and slammed into the front of the Fellowship Hall at Plainview Reformed Church. The Plainview-Old Bethpage Fire Department and Nassau County Police Department responded to a 911 call placed by Pastor David Maris. The driver was removed from the car and transported to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries. Fortunately there were no people in Fellowship Hall, Sunday School or the parking lot and the damage, while extensive, was only to property. There was damage to the exterior brick wall, windows, inside cinderblock walls in both the Fellowship Hall and Sunday School and cross ties between the floor joists.
Also in May, the Homicide Squad detectives reported a fatal motor vehicle accident that occurred in Plainview.
Detectives said that a 54-year-old male victim parked a 2004 black Toyota suburban on the northbound Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway between the shoulder and the exit ramp for the eastbound Northern State Parkway to change a flat tire. The victim was attempting to change a flat tire when a 1998 Ford van, operated by a 33-year-old resident of Brooklyn, attempting to exit to the eastbound Northern State Parkway, struck and pinned the victim between both vehicles. Highway Patrol bureau police officers and AMT Paul Brodowsky responded to the scene where AMT Brodowsky pronounced the victim dead.
In June, the Republic Airport Commission was set to vote on a resolution to widen the distance between Taxiway B and Runway 1/19 from 200 to 400 feet in order to more safely accommodate aircraft wingspans on the ground. This $7 million project was recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration. Originally addressed in 2000, Republic spokesperson Gary Lewi said the FAA recently sent Republic Airport Commission a memorandum stating "you need to make this a first priority in your safety program."
In August, the opening of the new 40,000 square foot Talon Air hangar at Republic Airport left some community activists irritated. The hangar represents another expansion project at the airport that the community members do not welcome. The hangar is part of the Talon Air charter company that was started in August of 2001 by owner and pilot Adam Katz, a recreational pilot for many years. Katz says that his company is only helping the community.
In October, the role of Republic Airport as an economic engine in the bi-county region was strengthened as ground was broken on two premier hotels worth $32 million that will be built at Republic along Route 110 by Long Island Hotels, LLC, with the support of Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone, the Babylon Town Board and the Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency.
In June, business leaders from all over Nassau County came to Haypath Park in Plainview for "A Taste of Plainview-Old Bethpage." Sponsored by the chamber, the event was created for great business networking with magic, music, and mirth.
The chamber also held many meetings and networking events in 2005 and looks to continue their success in 2006.
Although most incumbents prevailed on Election Day, Denis Dillon, Nassau County District Attorney since 1974, lost his seat to Democratic prosecutor Kathleen Rice.
Democrat Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi was re-elected to his second four-year term, defeating Republican and Independence Party candidate Greg Peterson and Conservative Party candidate Robert Bruno.
In the race for Nassau County Clerk, current New York State Assemblywoman Maureen O'Connell defeated Tricia Ferrell for the seat being vacated by Karen Murphy.
Howard Weitzman was re-elected to a second four-year term as Nassau County Comptroller, defeating current Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin.
The Democrats held on to their 10-9 majority in the Nassau County Legislature. In the 16th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Judy Jacobs was re-elected to her sixth term, defeating Republican challenger Joseph Girardi. In the 14th Legislative District, Democratic Incumbent David Mejias was re-elected to his second term as legislator defeating Republican and Conservative candidate Thomas Sabellico in a close race. Mejias, who also ran on the Independence and Working Families Party lines, received 7,587 votes to Sabellico's 7,184.
2005 was a disappointing one for Oyster Bay Democrats. Despite strong Democratic candidates, Republicans garnered all open seats, making the town now completely Republican run.
In the race for Oyster Bay Supervisor incumbent John Venditto was elected to a fourth term in office defeating Democrat Gary Burke. Residents of Oyster Bay Town also voted for three of six candidates for town board. The two Republican incumbents, Angelo Delligatti and Chris Coschignano were re-elected while political newcomer Elizabeth Faughnan, a Republican, defeated Mary McCaffery, the Democratic incumbent. In the race for Oyster Bay Town Clerk, incumbent Steve Labriola defeated Bill Funk.