At the March 7 Syosset Central School District Board of Education Meeting, a palpable sense of pride and appreciation permeated the South Woods Middle School Auditorium. By the time the meeting was over, the audience had given three standing ovations.
The high school theater club, under the direction of Gene Connor, received the first standing ovation after performing perfectly choreographed scenes from their musical production of Bye Bye Birdie. Parents, faculty and students stood clapping for nearly a full minute, visibly proud beyond measure. Performances will be held March 17-20 in the Syosset High School Auditorium.
Many elected officials have found themselves in the uncomfortable position of announcing scheduled improvements for pothole-ridden Jackson Avenue, only to have that schedule rendered moot when the latest unexpected development in the troubled road’s history delays things yet again. Perhaps for that reason, Town Supervisor John Venditto was reluctant to give a groundbreaking date for the project at the Tuesday, March 8 town board meeting, but the board did finally award the contract for the project that day.
Members of the Long Island Shields police organization opened their recent meeting, held in Farmingdale, by speaking in honor of the fallen Nassau County Police Officer Michael Califano of Wantagh. Califano was tragically killed when a truck struck his patrol car while he served a summons on the Long Island Expressway on Friday, Feb. 4.
First Precinct Officer Danny Corry was Califano’s patrol partner. Corry was in attendance at the meeting and spoke about what an upstanding person Califano was.
Ellen Meister has been so busy promoting her book that she almost forgot to tell the audience at a book signing at Book Revue in Huntington on Feb. 18 about a particularly exciting development; the fact that her new novel, The Other Life, is now in the running to become an HBO series. While nothing is certain in the world of television, it’s possible that the same network that produced landmark shows like The Sopranos will soon play host to the witty Jericho writer’s latest creation.
Nassau County’s government and the state watchdog agency NIFA entered the next step in their battle for ultimate financial authority over the county, as New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur M. Diamond ruled to put NIFA’s “control period” on hold while the court considers Nassau’s arguments against the legality of the takeover. Nassau County attorneys, under County Executive Edward P. Mangano’s lead, have submitted to the court that the takeover was executed in violation of the law and was facilitated by an unfair change in NIFA’s policies.
Board Discusses Staffing, Transportation, and Employee Benefit Costs
At the Feb. 10 meeting, the Jericho Board of Education honored five seniors who were named as semifinalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search: Matthew Lam, Nikko Price, Sahir Raoof, Suki Sun and Yuxin Zhu. These students were chosen from approximately 1,600 entrants nationwide. Each of the semifinalists, as well as their schools, will receive awards of $1,000 for this honor.
Filed unobtrusively with the other resolutions on the agenda at the Syosset Board of Education meeting on Feb. 14 were three resolutions of great significance to many in the community: agreements with the Syosset Teacher’s Association, Syosset Principals Association, and the Syosset Administrative Assistants Association Unit to forego the 2.75 percent raises for next year that are due these district employees under contract. While the agreement with the Syosset Teacher’s Association had been revealed several weeks ago (the STA voted to forego their raises on Jan. 20), the other two agreements were new.
This unforgiving economic climate has dealt hard blows to many people working in the private sector. Those lucky enough to hold on to jobs do so knowing that, in this era, it is unlikely to expect ideal financial compensation. Many employees are paying larger benefit contributions; some, like the Syosset Council of Teachers voted to do on Jan. 20, are forgoing raises. As the pain persists and time goes on, eyes are turning to the public sector, where many say their own, harder-to-earn tax dollars are funding a better situation than what they themselves are experiencing.
Nassau County has been working to negotiate a new deal with its primary union, seeking to remove what many found to be excessive items of compensation. Across local municipalities and at the state level, the microscope has gone down on the books and taxpayers are looking for change.
The Nassau County Planning Commission wants the development of the Cerro Wire property in Syosset included in the Nassau County Master Plan; however, they aren’t backing any particular vision for the site, explained chairman Jeffrey Greenfield at the Feb. 3 public hearing on the plan, the second such hearing to be held. After responding favorably to Taubman representative Mitchell Pally’s request for the site to be included in the plan at the first public hearing, held Nov. 18, 2010, Greenfield clarified that at that time, he was expressing his approval of the site itself being included in the plan in some fashion, not Taubman’s (or anyone else’s) particular goals for the 39-acre property.
“I clearly want to state on the record that it was never my intent to endorse any one project. The intent of my comments was to say that the site that’s open to development should be included in some way in the master plan, and that ‘some way,’ I don’t think any of us know what that is,” said Greenfield.
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