As Roger Federer and Andy Roddick battled it out with tennis rackets at Wimbledon, I realized that both these gentlemen could be role models for ourselves and for our children. Both are happily married (whatever that means) and speak intelligently and have a reasonable lifestyle.
Roger was kind to Andy when he was quoted with “Sports, or tennis is cruel sometimes. We know it.” We have been attuned to brash, insincere, brazen heroes of the gridiron, basketball court and the pastoral green fields of baseball. It is usually “me, me, me” in their quotes to the media. How refreshing it is not to hear Mohammed Ali sniping at his opponent before a boxing match.
The Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library earned its distinction as a “Five-Star Library” because of the top quality programs and services it provides to its customers. During the months of July and August we offer an even greater array – especially for our younger visitors.
This season’s summer reading initiative, “Be Creative @ Your Library,” features programs that make reading fun for kids from infancy through high school. In fact, every year the Library awards a trophy to the school that has the highest percentage of its students reading three or more books over the course of the program. Old-Bethpage Elementary School, last year’s winner is angling to take the trophy for the second year and the competition is just beginning to heat up!
In one scenario that person may become a spendthrift and react totally against all things that remind him/her of the years of deprivation. Poverty is not pretty and it may burn scars into the psyche that are not evident at a quick glance. “I’ll show the world that even though I came from a poor home I won’t allow anyone to see my inner feelings,” is one way of reacting.
It is time to prepare, and to help Nassau County residents get ready for the unexpected Pet Safe Coalition would like to have families with pets send us their family’s disaster plans and the family may win a prize. Once a month the family with the best thought-out plan and resources will win a prize in the Pet Safe Coalition’s “Pet Safe Families” competition. Families with pets are invited to write or call the Pet Safe Coalition to share their plans to keep their pets safe in emergencies. This can include plans to evacuate from the home or plans to have a trusted person take care of the animals in the family’s absence.
How many of my married readers remember the first meal that your spouse cooked and presented before you? I would guess unless the meal was truly memorable most of you have forgotten the details. Not me! Let me tell you why I have a distinct memory of that supper meal, almost 47 years ago.
Lorraine and I had moved into an apartment in downtown Jamaica. It was on 163rd Street and only three blocks from my first and only dental office, on Parsons Blvd. It was a six-story apartment house, and we were on the 5th floor. One bedroom, a large living room, an eat-in kitchen and a full dining room, a large bedroom all for $127 a month. It was heaven!
When I was first introduced to Amedeo Modigliani, the Bohemian Sephardic Jew from Livorno, Italy, I assumed he was only a caricaturist. After viewing his life work, I decided he was a great modernist who created enigmatic portraits that had universal appeal. He captured the inner essence of his subjects. His popularity came from having an accessible style easily understood by the masses.
Golf Digest is hosting a U.S. Open Challenge prior to the event. Justin Timberlake, Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger and a contest winner will be in Bethpage to play the Black Course and take part in the challenge. Again, more traffic and congestion. Wait – I can go? Great. Media credentials for myself and another Anton editor – priceless.
In the spring Alley Pond Park is a magnet for migrating birds offering them the gift of rest and food on their long journeys north. A few years ago during the spring migration I started to walk it with serious birders who know not just its paths but also its plentiful trails off the beaten path, which are rich with bird life.
A small red and black bird, which looks much like a male cardinal, the male scarlet tanager, is directly overhead. This bird is a treat. He has a bright red body and the under part of its tail is black as are the sides of the bird’s folded wings. Nicknamed the “firebird” this migrant winters in South America and likes tall trees making it difficult for birders to see.
Seven hundred and fifty miles southeast of New York lies the tranquil archipelago of Bermuda. Our huge ship, the Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas landed at the Royal Naval Dockyard, on the western tip of Bermuda. Lorraine and her two sisters and their husbands and I arrived on the 400-year anniversary celebration of Bermuda’s settlement.
The capitol, Hamilton, was filled with music and children marching to bands and the sound of drumbeats everywhere. Approximately 66,000 people live on the 20 inhabited islands of Bermuda.
Healthcare issues have always been at the forefront of my policy initiatives, both as County Comptroller and during the 35 years spent in the healthcare field. Throughout my two terms, I have been a squeaky wheel when it comes to finding ways to trim the escalating costs of Nassau County’s health benefits. Several years ago I persuaded the County Legislature to eliminate the practice of offering two family health benefit policies to one family, to lengthen the number of years of employment required to vest lifetime retiree health benefits and to increase the health benefit buy back amount to encourage employees with other coverage options to drop County health benefits.
Last year County Executive Tom Suozzi and I released a report showing that the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) was over-collecting premiums from local governments and had accumulated an excessive $540 million on top of statutory reserves. The State agreed and applied some of the excessive premium to keep the 2009 rate increase to an average 1 percent, instead of the 7 percent originally forecasted by NYSHIP. This effort saved Nassau County taxpayers approximately $11 million in health insurance premiums for 2009 and approximately $116 million for local schools and governments. I will also be working to recoup a portion of the excess NYSHIP premiums charged in prior years – an amount equal to $540 million statewide and $21 million for Nassau County, that could be made as a one month premium holiday for all NYSHIP participants. The vast majority of Nassau’s schools and local governments also participate in NYSHIP.
Recently I received an appointment to the New York State Health Insurance Program Participating Agency Advisory Council (PAAC). This is good news for taxpayers because now I will have the ear of the people who make the policies. Nassau County is the largest local government participating agency in NYSHIP and prior to my appointment, no one from Nassau County had served on the board! The Council also includes representatives from other participating agencies, such as local school districts. Nassau County Director of Risk Management John Brooks was also named to the PAAC.
As a member of this council I will continue my call (and the use of my squeaky wheel) for an outside review of NYSHIP because I believe there are many more opportunities for savings and I look forward to serving Nassau County.
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