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Precautions Need to be Taken

As a Schreiber High School senior I see many near accidents everyday. While I cross my fingers and hope it doesn't happen, I do see how it can be prevented.

I am speaking of the traffic problems at the entrance to Monfort parking lot. The first problem is those who intend to go to the post office and make a U-turn in front of the entrance to Monfort. Others leave the parking lot next to Monfort turning onto LuEster Mertz Plaza without looking out for others. Many times I have avoided near accidents with these drivers while I pull in or out of Monfort. These drivers have no concerns for us drivers who have the right of way going straight in or out of Monfort. these drivers do not signal as to their intentions of turning, nor do they look for other cars before they turn.

Something must be done before an accident does take place. U-turns must be made illegal at the end of LuEster Mertz Plaza, where the entrance to Monfort lot is. Also a stop sign must be placed at the turn from the other parking lot onto LuEster Mertz Plaza. These precautions must be taken in order to keep our drivers safer.

Stop Teacher Bashing

( Editor's Note : Following is a statement made by Jane Tafarella at the Dec. 18 BOE meeting and printed here at her request.)

My name is Jane Tafarella. I have been a resident of this town for 22 years. I have also been on the teaching staff for 27 years. I have a long history with the schools in Port Washington both as a parent and as a professional -- a history of pride and accomplishment.

This year, I have had the privilege of being a member of the Committee of Professional Growth and Curriculum Development. This is a joint committee of administrators and teachers, formed so that educational issues could be considered and acted upon by the people who know educational theory and practices. The PGCD committee is co-chaired by a teacher, and an assistant superintendent of schools. The teachers and the administrators each have one vote in the decision-making process. The members consider and deal with a number of areas of educational impact in this district. Recommendations are developed jointly with administrators, and are taken to the teaching staff for additional input before being forwarded to the superintendent, who has the final voice. This is a system of joint management and collaboration which enables those people most closely involved with the education of our children to make informed, appropriate educational decisions. The professionals who sit on this committee do so on their own time, and without additional pay. They are dedicated people, working to provide the best education that can be offered. It is an organizational framework that has served as a model of professional collaboration in New York State for over 25 years. As such, the Professional Growth and Curriculum Development Committee, and its members deserve the gratitude and respect of this Board.

The structure and process of this committee is clearly defined in the teachers' contract. There is no reason, beyond malice, that this should be misrepresented by any member of the Board of Education.

Additionally, the most insulting attack has been made on the leadership of the P.W.T.A. Our organization is a democratic one. We meet together, discuss issues, and vote on ultimate decisions. What you hear from our leadership, is the voice of the membership.

We are proud of this leadership. They are our elected officials. They have shown wisdom, integrity and patience in the face of this unwarranted attack. They have the full support of the teaching staff. We cannot - and will not - be divided. We stand together united.

And to those of you who are thinking - "This isn't me. I haven't said these things," your silence has served to add credence to those who do speak. This is not a time for silence. We are not a group of cheats and liars. We are the people who have educated the children of Port Washington. We have prepared 92 percent of the Schreiber graduating class for higher education. Show respect to the educators of your children. Treat them with the dignity they deserve. Put a stop to this teacher bashing. Enough is certainly enough!

Fred Pollack Steps Down

As my term as a town councilman draws to a close, I want to thank the people of North Hempstead for giving me the privilege and honor of serving in that capacity.

We live in a wonderful and vibrant community. Its diversity provides endless challenges and equally endless opportunities for local government. Throughout my term I have worked with hundreds of people from all parts of the town to meet those challenges and take advantage of those opportunities.

Whether it was creation of the town's Environmental Trust Fund, development of a coordinated effort to enhance our waterfront, legislation to protect trees or finding a solution to a complex traffic problem, my experience has been that the best ideas come from our residents. When I was elected, I believed that the town's most important natural resource was our three harbors and bays. Quickly, I learned that it was actually our people.

Of course I was disappointed with the results of the election, but the ability to change government is fundamental to our system. Although I will no longer serve as a councilman, it is my firm intention to remain active. My commitment to a healthy and vibrant waterfront, a modern zoning code, a beautiful environment and decent, affordable housing will not expire with my term.

Again, thank you and my best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

Town Will Benefit From Decision

I applaud the decision of the town board to not impose a ban on commercial traffic on Beacon Hill Road. It should not be viewed that the contractors opposing the ban won but rather that the entire town will benefit from this democratic and equitable decision.

The contractors and businessmen who opposed the ban were not only thinking of the inconvenience to themselves but also of the impact that such a ban would have on the entire community. Many of these contractors are the men who, working from midnight to 8 a.m., cleared the streets of Port Washington for two nights during a severe snowstorm in the winter of 1995-96. They were not paid - and did not ask to be paid - for their services; they did it for the community.

Many of these contractors are second and third generation residents of Port Washington. Their fathers and grandfathers are the people who helped build this town and make it what it is today. My father-in-law, who settled here 90 years ago, helped build the post office, St. Peter's Church and several of the stone houses in Beacon Hill.

Some of these contractors are the men who drive the ambulances and firetrucks and fight fires. As men who serve the community, their interest in this matter derives from more than their own business interests.

I, too, hate the trucks that rumble by my house at all hours of the night and day. I hate the "take your life into your hands" attitude necessary to cross the treacherous road I live on. I hate the difficulty in getting into and out of my driveway. I raised seven children and two dogs on this road. The children survived (one dog, however, did not; he was hit by a truck). This is not Beacon Hill Road that I live on, it is Port Washington Boulevard, the same road that some residents would have more traffic added to.

It should be noted that the traffic in Port Washington is a problem for everyone; not only a select group of residents. The increased volume of traffic parallels the growth of the community; Port Washington has grown tremendously in 50 years. In searching for solutions to the problem, we must acknowledge that commercial traffic is a necessary accessory to the life of the community. We must also be mindful of communitywide effects of proposed solutions.

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