Friday, 28 December 2012 00:00
Over the past several weeks, the acronym PILOT has caught the attention of community residents, and caused them to band together in solidarity of resistance once it was learned what the motive was all about.
Embroiled in this controversy are The Bristal Assisted Living Facility located in Westbury and the Nassau County IDA (Industrial Development Agency); the former sought an extension of its PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) privileges from the latter, the quasi-governmental agency that has the authority to grant it.
The application process appeared to have adopted an “under the radar” approach, and might have succeeded had it not been noticed, almost by chance, by Westbury’s Mayor Peter Cavallaro, who took steps to notify the school district and other taxing entities that would have lost millions in terms of tax dollars that The Bristal would have been exempted from paying. The egregious aspect of the application that really got the ire of the public is the fact that this would have been the second time around for The Bristal, having enjoyed more than 10 years of tax holiday under the first agreement, and had this been approved, it would amount to more than 20 years of tax abatement without any commensurate benefits to the community. The general public and the elected officials would have none of it, and sprang into action.
Not since the water bill crisis of 2001, where community residents rallied against the exorbitant increase in their water bill, (some as high as a 200 percent increase) have I seen such a united push back from the community and such unflinching resolve from our elected officials in uniting around a common cause. In the end it proved too much for IDA; public sentiments were too much against this deal, while words like greed and avarice were used with impunity to express such thoughts. The IDA did the right thing in not pressing forward with the issue.
But PILOT is not necessarily a bad thing for any community, if applied responsibly; the Yes We Can Community Center in New Cassel bears testament to this. The community center was part of a negotiated PILOT agreement approved by the IDA in 2004 whereby LIPA entered into an arrangement with Neptune Regional Transmission System to bring electricity from New Jersey via underwater direct current line to a converter station in New Cassel. The agreement also allowed for Westbury school district to receive funding through the course of the 20-year contract. Said then Councilman Robert Troiano at the time, “The community center will put an exclamation point on the already exciting revitalization efforts occurring throughout the Westbury/New Cassel area.”
Politicians are often given a bad rap for any number of reasons, and sometimes there is reluctance to extend kudos (or give them their “props”) when they are deserved. But this is one time when our local elected officials really stepped up to the plate, in rallying the public, and kept us in the loop all the way. Kudos are therefore in order for our County Legislator Robert Troiano, Mayor Peter Cavallaro and Councilwoman Viviana Russell for a job well done.
Saturday, 18 May 2013 00:00
For most of the ’80s, ZZ Top was an inescapable presence thanks to a plethora of videos, often times containing underdog storylines revolving around gorgeous gals, a 1933 Ford hotrod and the hirsute threesome serving as a Greek chorus of cool to the aggrieved protagonist. But amidst all the bells and whistles, the most impressive feat pulled off by this Texas power trio was using 1983’s Eliminator to adapt its bluesy hard rock boogie sound and modernize it with synthesizers and drum machines sans any kind of artistic compromising.
Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
John Romandetti saved six people, but he shies away from the title hero.
“I don’t think of myself as a hero,” Romandetti says. “It’s nothing anyone else wouldn’t have done.”
During Hurricane Sandy, Romandetti risked his own life to go out to Howard Beach and get his girlfriend’s family out of their flooding homes. The Bethpage Air Show recently recognized his bravery, naming him the grand prize winner of the Hurricane Sandy Community Heroes contest. Romandetti, along with nine other winners, will receive VIP tickets to the Bethpage Air Show, plus the reception, and GEICO Skytypers Planeside Meet and Greet. As the grand prize winner, Romandetti also gets the chance to fly with the GEICO Skytypers during next week’s airshow.
Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
Westbury Okinawan Karate recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary of coming to the Westbury Recreation Center. Since then, the dojo has trained 250 students, ages six and up, in the art of karate with the style of traditional Okinawan ShorinRyu Shidokan.
Founded by sensei John Power, the classes seek to instill the confidence and strength needed to obtain success in everyday life.
“A lot of kids are lacking confidence,” said Power. “We let them practice leadership in the class and this contributes to their confidence.
Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
Members of the Carle Place Sparc/Interact club recently donated their time and talents at the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Queens. Working together with students from Mineola High School and Holy Cross High School in Queens, the SPARC members planted over 1,000 indigenous trees to help replenish one section of the 600-acre forest park. The group’s efforts were part of the NYC Plant a Million Trees Project in honor of Arbor Day, celebrated on Friday April 26th. The Carle Place planters were: Sarah Megiel, Kelsey Feit, Julia Powell, Sabrina Feit, Monique Slater, Matt Carr, Katie Megiel, Rob Ibos, and Lauren Powell. They are led by faculty advisor Kieran Morris.