“Hurricane Irene wasn’t even a hurricane,” said Peter Forman, commissioner of the Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management (PWM OEM), when he recently met with Anton Community Newspapers to provide updates on this organization. In describing that “Hurricane Irene” was categorically a tropical storm, he noted, “We lost power in many areas for a week to a week and a half. Had this been a stronger storm, or had it hit east of us, we theoretically could have lost power for many weeks.”
The event of Hurricane Irene in 2011, which wasn’t even a hurricane, shows the significance of emergency preparedness. It also validated the importance of NorthShoreAlert.org, a system comprised of all of the incorporated villages on the Port Washington-Manhasset peninsula and the unincorporated areas of Port Washington, which provides information to area residents through phone calls and emails. This system is a service of the municipal members and the affiliates of the PWM OEM.
When Myron Blumenfeld and his family settled in Port Washington in 1965 they were drawn by the beauty of the peninsula, the diversity of the community and the vibrant life on Main Street. Blumenfeld always felt a pride in this community and an intense desire to participate in community life. Therefore, it wasn’t unusual for him to respond to an article in the newspaper about a public hearing that would be considering a proposal for the expansion of a local garage. He took the day off from work and attended the town meeting. “Why don’t you ask the garage owner to put in a tree to beautify the area?” he asked of the town board. Local representatives thought he had a good idea and required the gas station owner to put in a tree as part of the expansion.
Blumenfeld treasured his small victory and thought, “If one guy can make a difference what about a group of people.” And so, 43 years ago an organization was born. At first, Blumenfeld solicited his neighbors and they met in one another’s homes, but from the beginning, he proved himself astute at putting together people with complimentary skills sets. Eric Pick, an architect was one of the first members of the fledgling group and along the way Blumenfeld tapped attorneys, accountants, land use experts, environmental specialists and urban planners The small group of like-minded citizens came up with the name Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington, “Residents” primarily because everyone believed they already lived in a beautiful place which simply needed to be safeguarded and wherever possible made more beautiful.
Governor Cuomo’s proposal to open New York to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has come under fire for failing to protect the state’s residents from a method of gas drilling that pollutes the environment, explained a host of speakers at a rally to ban fracking held Dec. 15 at Mary Jane Davis Green in Manhasset.
In this challenging economy the buzzword is job creation and Cuomo has also been criticized for claiming fracking will create jobs, but, as speaker Patti Katz, Reach Out America (ROA), said, “You can’t drink money.” The complaint period against fracking has been extended to Jan. 11, 2012 and rally speakers encouraged everyone to visit amillionfrackingletters.com and to send Governor Cuomo one of their own letters.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced recently $324,968 in federal funding for the Port Washington Fire Department to purchase new protective gear for firefighters. The new equipment would help firefighters battle fires and emergencies more effectively. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
“This grant will go a long way towards ensuring that the Port Washington Fire Department has the resources they need to respond quickly and effectively to local emergencies,” said Senator Schumer. “By allowing our local heroes to purchase needed equipment, these funds will make our communities safer and more secure.”
A law requiring landscapers working in the Village of Port Washington North to be licensed by the village will take effect on January 1, 2012. The new regulation was passed at the Village Board meeting on June 7, 2011 but the trustees chose not to implement the amendment to the code at that time. Instead they allowed for an extended period of education and communication regarding the licensing procedure and other aspects of the new regulation.
To secure a license the business owner will need to obtain an application from the village website or in person at the Village Hall, located at 71 Shore Road in the Stop & Shop Plaza. Landscapers are required to present an insurance certificate and a license from the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs. Upon paying a fee of $25 for their first truck and five dollars for each additional truck landscapers will receive a decal for each of their trucks.
James B. Duncan won re-election to the post of Port Washington Police Commissioner on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Duncan, a retired Nassau County police officer and decorated war veteran has held the post of Police Commissioner for the past 15 years. The Commissioner ran a highly visible campaign using newspaper advertising and signage all over town. After the results were announced, Duncan said that he was honored to be elected and he pledged his full support to the community.
Paul Faulk, the 18-year-old community college student waging his first political campaign, was proud of his showing and said that he would remain in public life. Faulk’s campaign was low-key and illness caused him to miss the public debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
Animal lovers looking to save a life this holiday season are encouraged to visit the Animal League – the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. Over 8 million animals enter shelters each year and, tragically, more than 4 million of them are euthanized. There are many healthy and beautiful animals at local shelters, looking for loving, permanent homes.
In what was a surprise to many members of the public attending the Dec. 7 meeting of the Board of Commissioners, police department attorney Ames Ressa proposed a resolution to the Board that they appoint outside counsel to investigate charges brought by Commissioner Angela Lawlor-Mullens regarding a hostile work environment.
The charge was brought to the Commissioners’ attention during the Nov. 10 meeting in the form of the following statement, which was read into the record by Lawlor-Mullens. “I submit notice to this board that a hostile work environment is in violation of the law and harmful to members of this district and the public trust. This statement is in reference to the behavior at the arbitration meeting held on Oct. 27, 2011. Please note that this is the second notice of hostile work conditions. The first notice was submitted to the Board on May 12, 2010.” Attorney Ressa recommended that the commissioners engage Steven Leventhal, Esquire to investigate the charges. The resolution passed unanimously.
The Port Washington North Board of Trustees’ meeting on Dec. 6 was preceded by a Public Hearing on Bill 6-2011, which will allow for a six month extension of the moratorium on “subdivision, special permits and building and demolition permits for parcels of land at or near the waterfront in the village.” The original version of the bill was passed in February 2010 and was extended in February 2011. The moratorium prohibits development and alteration for parcels of land over 10,000 feet in size and less than 2000 feet from Shore Road.
Provisions of the original bill made the Village Planning Board the lead agency to investigate all options available to protect and preserve the waterfront and nearby properties. To assist in this task, the consulting Company H2M was engaged by the Planning Board to perform a study. Although H2M has made progress in their research, the firm has not yet submitted a completed report. The trustees want to provide H2M with more time and allow themselves enough time to consider a final report and take action on any recommendations. Therefore they sought an extension of the moratorium for a final six-month period that will commence at the end of the current moratorium, which expires on Feb. 1, 2012.
Last Thursday evening, Police Commissioner James B. Duncan welcomed attendees to “an historical event for the community and the Port Washington Police Department.” The occasion was a special meeting of the commissioners called to introduce to the community the Port Washington residents who have been appointed to the Building Committee. The purpose of the Building Committee is to assist the commissioners in determining the best way to provide more space for police headquarters.
The appointees are Milan Schiff, Stan Ronell, James Cowles, Mark Hanlon, Reid Markham, John Immitt and Fred Blumlein. Commissioner Duncan invited the committee members to inspect the police headquarters building during the next month. Mark Hanlon was asked to submit a proposed mission statement for the committee’s approval at the first meeting in January.
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