It may only be January, but the upcoming November election already appears to be on the mind of Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. At a recent board meeting, the supervisor defended the decision to spend millions of dollars to upgrade town parks and facilities.
“Every level of government is suffering,” remarked Venditto about the fiscal woes faced by municipalities. “Having said that, in some municipalities the infrastructure has not been addressed. This [the renovations to town facilities] is going to protect our infrastructure and quality of life. Just remember that when fall comes around and people are shooting arrows at us.”
A typical response to criticism is “If you don’t like it, let’s see you do better.” Members of the Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition did just that: they didn’t like the map that the Republican members of the redistricting advisory commission drew for the county at all, so they decided to create their own. Furthermore, unlike the commission, which had a budget of $500,000, they did it with nothing.
“With no money in our budget, we have come up with a better map— an incredible map that involves listening to the community, listening to the vast numbers of residents that showed up to the public hearings, which the commission, oddly, ignored,” said Jackson Chin for LatinoJustice, a member organization of the coalition.
At the Plainview Water District Board of Commissioners public meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 8, Joel Kessler was inducted as chairman of the Plainview Water District and Andrew Bader was sworn in as treasurer. Commissioner Edward Shulroff was appointed as secretary.
“I am grateful that my fellow commissioners have selected me as chairman,” said Kessler. “I look forward to continuing the Plainview Water District’s long standing tradition of providing the highest quality water possible and excellent customer service to our residents.”
For more information, please contact the water district at 931-6469 or visit www.plainviewwater.org.
The Plainview Fire Department was saddened to announce the passing of life member and ex-captain Danny Levy, who died from a 9-11 contracted illness on Tuesday, Jan. 8. After the 9/11 attacks, Levy volunteered many days at Ground Zero with other heroic men and women, and sometime after, and became ill as a result of his time spent in lower Manhattan.
Levy initially joined the fire department in August 1999 as a fire medic and shortly switched from a medic to begin his training as a firefighter. He was eager to learn, and his natural leadership skills, honed in the Israeli military, put him on the path towards becoming an officer.
Josh Seiden’s very first experiences with performing required a captive audience. From a very young age, Seiden, obsessed with circus acts, would recruit his brother to put on shows for his parents, whether they liked it or not.
“We’d literally run around the house, screaming, putting on shows, [and] we’d make them sit through them,” remembered Seiden.
Even under an overcast sky, with some of the dirt roads turned to mud from visiting cars, Saddle Rock Ranch is still beautiful. The 15-acre property, dating back to 1812, is filled with wide expanses of grass, a tree-lined pond, a garden and some of the world’s calmest, gentlest horses. The ranch is something clients of Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) with developmental disabilities have been able to enjoy for some time, but for a group of foster children and teens from the city on a cool winter Saturday on Dec. 8, it was a brand new experience.
It may seem like the goal of the outing was to get city kids out in the fresh air and give them a chance to interact with the horses and other farm animals (and that was certainly part of it), but there was more going on: for Heart Gallery NYC, a nonprofit organization that works to match children in foster care with adoptive parents, it was a chance to begin preparing the children for life beyond the foster care system.
The hundreds who gathered in Mineola for the last meeting of the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission on Jan. 3 didn’t throw any tomatoes at the front of the room, but some came close. For more than four hours, approximately 50 speakers lambasted the map proposed by the Republican side of the commission, generally characterizing it as a transparent power play with no consideration for the public good or even the law. The Democratic commissioners were not completely spared the public’s ire, but most of the anger was directed at the Republicans; the Democrats’ map, proposed at nearly the last minute on Dec. 31, was praised, although somewhat tepidly, as a fair plan.
Considering that hundreds of angry people were crammed into the Legislative Chambers demanding answers from the Republican commissioners, who by and large didn’t respond, it’s remarkable that tempers didn’t flare more.
In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, CT, much of the discussion at the most recently Plainview-Old Bethpage CSD Board of Education meeting on Monday, Dec. 17 was centered on school security. While Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis was clear that security had already been tightened and new security measures are being considered, a balance needs to be struck between security and school climate.
“Schools are not a prison; they are a wonderful place for learning,” said Lewis.
Leave it to Kids Helping Kids to get started on its Ninth Annual “Making a Warmth of a Difference” Winter Apparel Drive long before winter. While the official kickoff for the annual clothing drive took place on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the palatial Oheka Castle in Huntington, the nonprofit organization had already donated 3,000 pieces of winter apparel, including brand-new coats, hats, scarves and other cold weather gear, to those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the fall. While the Superstorm may have presented an unusual situation, being ahead of the game is nothing new for this nonprofit started by Robert A.J. Eslick of Old Bethpage—when he was only 9 years old.
“You don’t have to be a grownup to make a difference,” said Bob Eslick, Robert’s father, who co-founded the organization with his son in 1997. Now, both Robert and his brother Philip are college graduates, but under Eslick’s watch, the organization continues to teach a new generation of kids the fulfillment of helping their peers.
Weeks after the tragic Connecticut school shooting that left 20 children and 6 adults dead, what to do differently going forward to prevent similar shootings from happening in the future is still the hot topic on everyone’s lips. School board meetings throughout the area over the past few weeks were filled with parents requesting tighter security, while other parents questioned the value of extra security cameras and locks, instead suggesting stronger character education programs. Meanwhile, area lawmakers and other community leaders are beginning to attempt to address these issues with the tools available to them.
For Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs, the best way to make a difference going forward is to make sure that funding for mental health services in Nassau County is protected.
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