The Port Washington Police District has canceled their contract of sale with Publishers Clearing House for the property on Channel Drive, which the district had planned to use as the site of a new police headquarters facility. There was an escape clause in the contract, stating that if the district received significant public input against this project, they could pull out of the purchase.
In an open letter to the community, the Police Commissioners noted that they re-evaluated their plan and canceled the sale due to the concerns voiced by area residents at the Dec. 2 Public Meeting. These concerns included the cost to build a new headquarters facility, the funding of the project through bonds and how it would affect local taxes, and a lack of communication with the community. In addition to the worries expressed by the Port Washington community, Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner spoke about the village’s concerns at this meeting. He said that the village had been planning on buying this specific property on Channel Drive, which is located within Port North. Their plan was to use this property for a new Village Hall and Village Court, and that this property would also be incorporated into the BayWalk Project, providing a park area for everyone in Port Washington. He explained that the village had grants riding on the purchase of this property, and was disappointed that the police district did not notify the village of their plans.
The Library Budget Vote and the Trustees Election for the Port Washington Library takes place on Tuesday, April 12.
The board wants to announce that residents are welcome to run for a position as library trustee. The responsibilities associated with this position include, but are not limited to, maintaining operations of library services and creating library policies.
Two incumbents, Myron Blumenfeld and Lee Aitken, will be running for five-year terms in the upcoming election. Judy Gellar will be relinquishing her seat, which leaves a vacant seat for a new challenger. This position will be for a four-year term.
This winter, the talented student actors at Schreiber High School are rehearsing for Our Country’s Good, a fictionalized depiction of the establishment of a penal colony in Australia in 1788. The play follows one officer’s attempts to put on a theatrical production with a cast of male and female convicts.
The play is based on the historical novel The Playmaker (1987) by Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s List. The source for both the play and the novel are the letters and journals of various officers that were members of the “First Fleet” of convict ships that sailed to Australia.
If you asked most residents of Flower Hill about the pre-revolutionary war cemetery located in their village, the most likely response would be “what cemetery?” At least, that would have been true until recently.
The historic cemetery, which dates back to the 1600s and contains the graves of some of the earliest residents of Port Washington, was covered with debris, dead branches, leaves and dirt. Even neighbors didn’t know that the apparently vacant land was a cemetery.
All of that changed when village resident James Morgan McLaughlin decided that he would make the restoration of the cemetery his Eagle Scout project. James won the support of the village and the surrounding community and organized his fellow Scouts to remove tons of debris from the cemetery. It has now been restored to its proper condition and the village intends to assure that it remains that way.
At the Jan. 4 Port Washington Board of Education meeting, matters involving unfunded state mandates were once again discussed. In particular, the board’s main discussion item was the ESL Program and Special Education, and how the state has pulled away funding from these programs while increasing mandated requirements, such as staffing.
School Board Vice President Bill Hohauser announced at the beginning of this meeting that School Board President Karen Sloan was not in attendance, because her mother had passed away the night before. A brief moment of silence was held for her at this time.
During the first round of Community Comments, Hank Ratner asked if the board had directed Superintendent Dr. Gordon about potential budget increases, and whether it should be under 2 or 1 percent. Mr. Ratner also asked for an update on whether the board would purchase a new message board, which he believes would increase community participation at meetings by notifying people about meeting dates.
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-L.I./Queens) on Wednesday, Jan. 5, sponsored a daylong bus trip to Washington, D.C. for local residents from Nassau County and Queens to witness the swearing-in of the new 112th Congress. Nearly five-dozen constituents – including several from Port Washington – traveled to the nation’s capital for the historic day.
The group watched Ackerman and the new Congress take the oath of office and toured the United States Capitol. They also heard speeches from Ackerman and took photos with the Congressman on the steps of the Capitol.
The constituents, who included community leaders, elected officials and others, left for Washington from Ackerman’s office in Bayside at 6 a.m. and arrived back on Long Island at approximately 10 p.m.
At the Dec. 14 Port Washington Board of Education meeting, the school board held a preliminary budget discussion, with board members noting many unfair economic burdens that have been handed down to the school district from New York State. The board also announced that they have formed a Legislative Task Force in order to mobilize the community to fight back against these unfair burdens, and they are looking for community members to get involved.
The school board and the administration also went into greater detail on the tough financial situation that the district is facing at this point, and that there will be painful cuts to next year’s budget. Board members offered suggestions for possible cuts and discussed which areas they believed should not be cut.
Several people in the community attended this meeting because they were interested in hearing preliminary budget numbers. In the Community Comments portion at the start of the meeting, Stephanie Rich stated that she had two questions about budget numbers – one was the administration’s projected dollar amount increase for 2011/2012 in the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) and projected dollar amount increase for 2011/2012 for the Employment Retirement System (ERS).
North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilman Fred L. Pollack led the North Hempstead Public Meeting on Proposed Town Skate Parks on Monday, Dec. 20. The primary focus of the meeting was to inform residents of the plans and to discuss a design for the proposed skate park with the Director of Spohn Ranch Skate Parks, Jason Baldessari.
A heavy blizzard hit Long Island this past weekend, dropping about 15 to 20 inches of snow on Port Washington. The National Weather Service issued a Blizzard Warning for Sunday, Dec. 26, beginning at 6 a.m. and continuing until 6 p.m. the following day. According to the National Weather Service, hazards from this blizzard included heavy snow and strong winds gusting 40 to 60 miles per hour, creating blowing and drifting snow and near zero visibility at times.
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