Continuing with tradition, here are the Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald's top stories of 2008, 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.
In January, the fourth annual SBPLI First Lego League Tournament was held and 45 teams consisting of 9-14-year olds from Long Island competed in various aspects of robot performance, research and teamwork. This year's theme was power puzzle, and teams were challenged with evaluating energy consumption and making recommendations for improvement. The Plainview-Old Bethpage middle school team was awarded the first-place programming award, for their innovative use of math to develop programming for the robot. The teams were from both Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School, and Mattlin Middle School.
Katherine Bedkowski was named a semifinalist in the INTEL Science Talent Search for her research in the field of astrophysics.
Also included in school science news was the Independent Research Program announcing in March that four students were recognized as Grand Prize winners at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF) - Individual winner Angela Lau; Team winners Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff and Team Winners: Lara Fourman- POB and partners, Sancita Sengal- Herricks HS and Mili Mehta - Wheatley School.
DECA has remained very active in competitions over the years and in March, they sent 94 students to the New York State DECA Conference in Rochester, NY. Some of the students came to states by winning their regional test and role-play competition at regional competition. Sixty students wrote 30-page business manuals. These students had to give a 10-minute presentation to the states judges. Plainview DECA walked away with a lot of fun and a lot of winners. Plainview DECA had 23 winners, who will be attending the International Competition in Atlanta, GA.
Justin Silver received a $1,500 International DECA Scholarship award. He is one of only 10 students in the country to receive this award.
The Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School Quiz Bowl team won the Nassau County Championship of the Long Island Challenge in 2008. Featured on News 12, the Long Island Challenge is an academic television quiz show for high school students. The students participate in a challenge that tests their knowledge of history, arts and literature, math and science. The Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School team beat Hewlett High School to become the Nassau County Champions.
The 2007-2008 Valedictorian was Janelle Schlossberger and the salutatorian was Amanda Marinoff. They were honored at the graduation ceremonies.
In financial matters, the school was included in an audit completed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The district's internal controls, gasoline credit accounts and cellular phone usage were examined in the audit. Overall, auditors found that the district established adequate controls over gasoline credit account usage and the also that the district has been generally proactive in monitoring cellular phone telephone expenses.
The school's budget passed with 1,316 voting in favor and 964 voters against. The budget of $125,228,575 is up 4.9 percent from the current year. Incumbents Debbie Bernstein and Ginger Leiberman ran unopposed for two three-year seats.
In January, Brian Assa, a Plainview-Old Bethpage junior, was killed in a car accident. He was memorialized many times throughout the year by the many people who loved him.
In May, approximately 200 Plainview-Old Bethpage High School students and faculty members participated in the Brian Assa memorial soccer tournament, which consisted of 31 teams of six players, each to compete in soccer competitions. Four games were hosted on the field at a time. The students celebrated Brian Assa's love of soccer and were successful in raising funds that would benefit this educational program.
In July, family and friends joined staff of the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center for a dedication ceremony to remember Brian Assa. He spent many summers as a camper and counselor at the JCC's camp and remained active throughout the year. A passionate young man and community leader who touched the lives of everyone with whom he had contact. The memorial, created through generous donations, consists of a garden and memorial plaque as well as a flagpole erected as a lasting tribute. The JCC plans to continue honoring Brian's memory by supporting the Assa family's foundation, aimed at helping people learn to reduce their risk for injury, as well as providing camp scholarships for children whose families could otherwise not afford summer camp due to financial hardships.
Former Plainview Little League official Joe Green, who was the subject of a four-month investigation into the embezzlement of more than $38,000 from the Little League was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and 10 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree.
In his capacity as the uniform and equipment director of the Plainview Baseball Association, he is accused of stealing over $38,000 from the association by stealing blank invoices from Port Jefferson Sporting Goods and filling them out with fictitious equipment orders that were allegedly being placed by the association. The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The Plainview Water District had a busy 2008. Water District Commissioner Ed Shulroff was honored by the Long Island Water Conference for serving as the 2007 LIWC chairman. Shulroff's dedication to the water conference was recognized by his successor, Chairman Ken Claus.
In March, The Plainview Water District was quick to respond to a recent water main break in the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District. A water main ruptured affecting the Jamaica Avenue School, debilitating the three-day care centers that currently are housed in the building. Water District staff assessed the damage quickly and notified the school district that the building would be without water due to the severity of the break. By controlling the damage quickly, Jamaica Avenue School and neighboring residents had fresh running water before nightfall.
The Water District signed an intermunicipal agreement with the Plainview-Old Bethpage Auxiliary Police unit to store the Unit's four marked patrol vehicles at the Plainview Water District's parking lot. The Water District set aside four parking spots for the patrol vehicles, assisting the unit that protects the Plainview-Old Bethpage community.
In October, Commissioners Edward Shulroff, Kevin Langberg and Joel Kessler announced the District's plan to install nitrate gauges to monitor various plant sites. These gauges detect and measure the level of nitrates. Once the level rises to exceed health standards, the gauges trigger a series of actions that automatically shut the well down. When a well is shut down by the system, an emergency message is automatically forwarded through the District's computer SCADA system notifying our employees to take action. With the ability to adjust nitrate gauges to read levels below required standards, the District can detect and prevent contamination ahead of time.
The chamber of commerce held many successful events throughout the year and they remain at the center of the community. Chamber president Francesca Carlow and co-owner of Trio Hardware and Paint, spent countless hours along with the chamber's board promoting the chamber's accomplishments and meetings and also attended meetings at the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce.
The Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community Inc., were very busy in 2008 looking out for local residents. Over the past decade the Concerned Citizens have been active in their efforts advocating to preserve open space as well as many other campaigns ranging from the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Watch Program to issues concerning MTBEs, Toxic Vapors, Republic Airport, Green Energy, Parks Improvements, etc.
Last year, the Bethpage-Plainview Rotary was contacted to give assistance to Harvey Parry, a 2-1/2 year-old double amputee and his family from Northern England.
Thanks to generous donations from many individuals in the UK, as well as the Rotary clubs in England and of Bethpage-Plainview and Hicksville-Jericho, the Parrys were able to make the trip to the United States so that Harvey could receive his artificial legs. He got them on June 30, and took his first steps by July 3.
Daniel Holmes and Caroline Fanning, owners of Restoration Farm, a privately run, economically viable organic vegetable farm at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, had a very successful 2008.
Holmes and Fanning, who were married in early 2009, operate a farm stand on the property as well. Restoration farm is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage. E-mail email@example.com or visit www.restorationfarm.com for more information.
Democratic candidate Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States with 349 Electoral Votes and also won Nassau County with 316,523 voting for the president-elect and 272,765 Nassau County residents voting for Republican candidate John McCain, who finished the night with 147 Electoral votes. Obama is the first person of African-American heritage elected president of the United States.
The local elections saw no surprises - all of the incumbents were re-elected. Residents approved Proposal Number 2, which will abolish the county board of assessors and replace the county-wide elected chair of the board of assessors with an assessor who would be appointed by the county executive, subject to the confirmation by the county legislature, for a term of three years and who would be required to meet standards of educational and professional experience. Residents voted 89,963 in favor to 78,438 against this referendum.
There were high hopes for Eliot Sptizer when he became the 54th governor in New York State history, but his political career came to an end in March when he resigned after being connected to a prostitution ring. Lieutenant Governor David Paterson was sworn in on March 17 as governor.
Todd Kirschner, general manager of Trio Hardware in Plainview, was named Young Retailer of the Year in the under $2 million sales volume category by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA). This prestigious award recognizes young hardware/home improvement retailers who represent tomorrow's future.
Two local students were named Town of Oyster Bay Kids of Distinction winners - sixth-grader Rachel Konel and senior Rachel Albert.
Justin Silver was selected as one of 48 Eagle Scouts from across the country to receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by the National Eagle Scout Association.
Longtime Plainview resident Howard Mann received an Excellence in Transportation award from the New York State Department of Transportation for exceptional achievements in freight planning for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC).
Josh Seiden from Plainview and close friends Jason Feldman and Matthew Melnyk from Old Bethpage started a special fundraising called "Stand Up For A Cause." All proceeds from the event benefitted the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. The event was created to support families in need. The three friends, who have volunteered their time at past Ronald McDonald House of Long Island events, now look to put on their own event to support the House and its families.
Francesca Carlow was named a recipient of the Nassau County Trailblazers in the New Millennium award as part of Women's History Month. Francesca and her husband Bruce own and operate Trio Hardware.
The Plainview VFW Post #5942 celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2008. Commander Joseph Verrone and Ralph Plaisance accepted a citation from the Town of Oyster Bay to celebrate the anniversary. The VFW supports programs to increase awareness of the sacrifices of America's veterans, promotes citizenship, education, volunteerism and positive youth programs and also facilitates aid for veterans and their families in need of medical, rehabilitative, educational and employment services. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the paper in 2008 especially our regular columnists Stanley Greenberg and Michael Givant. We, at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald, wish you all a happy and healthy 2009.