Harix Linares, code enforcement officer for the Incorporated Village of Westbury, typically checks into the village’s new code enforcement hotline at least hourly during his Saturday shifts, just to make sure that any residents who have called the line receive quick response to issues that arise.
“One time, I called the hotline and there was a message from the mayor, calling about a particular problem that he wanted me to look into. I guess he wanted to make sure that I was checking in, because he has other ways to reach me if he wants to. I am glad I checked,” Linares joked.
On another occasion, a resident called in a noise complaint regarding a party late on a Saturday evening. Within a few minutes, Linares was knocking on the door of the offending residence to ask them to turn the volume down. These are the kinds of responses that residents can expect by utilizing the hotline.
As the magnitude of the devastation caused by the earthquake that recently rocked Haiti unfolds, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilwoman Viviana Russell, along with local, county and state lawmakers joined with a Port Washington business and local Westbury residents Feb. 5 to pledge contributions of clothes, food and a generous monetary donation to the stricken Caribbean island.
The gathering, which also included community leaders and officials from the school district who helped coordinate the effort, assembled inside the home of the Westbury Salvation Army Corps on Prospect Avenue in New Cassel – the staging area for the pallets of food and clothes destined for Haiti.
The 15th Assembly District (A.D.) is up for grabs with Democrat Matt Meng of East Norwich and Republican Michael Montesano of Glen Head scheduled to face off in a special election on Feb. 9.
The seat, which has been held by Republican Rob Walker since May 2005, became vacant as of midnight Jan. 2 when Walker stepped down to accept a position as Nassau County’s Deputy County Executive. As a result, the winner of next week’s special election will, under state law, have to run again in November 2010, which is when the seat would normally be up for re-election.
On Jan. 25, the Westbury Zoning Board of Appeals granted a zoning variance to Lowe Properties, the developer of the Westbury movie theater site on Post Avenue. The variance is conditioned upon the applicant’s construction of a parking deck over the existing village parking lot on Madison Street.
“The variance is consistent with the special use permit that the board of trustees granted to Lowe Properties in November 2009, and keeps the approval process moving forward. Design work is already being done on the parking deck and it looks as if that structure will yield up to 160 spaces for the theater and other uses that are contemplated by the plan,” said Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro, adding, “The planning board still needs to review the project, but they have already commenced their hearing, and I am hopeful that the process can be completed quickly so we can meet the target for the start of construction of the deck and the renovation of the theater in the spring.”
Westbury resident and former Nassau Legislator Roger Corbin appeared in U.S. District Court in Central Islip earlier this week and before Magistrate William Wall pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and lying to federal agents.
Corbin, who was arrested last May, pleaded guilty to seven counts, including three counts of filing false tax returns; three counts of income-tax evasion; and one count of lying to a federal agent. As of press time Monday, it appeared he would face 12 to 18 months in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The charges against Corbin were all personal; he was not charged with abuse of the public trust, bribery or corruption of his office. “I have always taken full responsibility for my actions but continue to believe that this matter should have been resolved civilly and that I was unfairly targeted. It is time for me to move on with my life,” said Corbin in a statement issued through his attorneys Thomas F. Liotti and Jennifer L. McCann. “I will continue to serve the public in whatever capacity I am permitted to do so.”
Corbin helped form the Nassau County Legislature in the 1990s and served the 2nd District for 14 years; last year he sought re-election to an eighth term but was unsuccessful in a Democratic primary, losing to Robert Troiano.
January 2010 marked the Westbury-based McCoy Family & Youth Center’s first anniversary. In the past year, the center has become a neighborhood fixture.
“It is a tremendous support for families, regardless of economic status and social concerns,” said Executive Director William Pruitt. “It’s a place to turn to, a place to go.”
Named for Shirley McCoy, 90, an active community member who owns the Prospect Avenue building, the center strives to meet those needs with a variety of initiatives, including after-school and summer day programs, teen pregnancy prevention, tutoring and a Prevention & Post Institutional Project (PPIP), which works with young people who have been involved with the criminal or family courts.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced that the county plans on sending aid to Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake. Mangano set up a phone number for people to call to ways in which to help the people of Haiti, many of which have ties to residents of Nassau County.
“Nassau County is prepared to assist the Haitians who are suffering from the earthquake,” said Mangano.
According to the county executive, in working with the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and several community groups, the county is prepared to send 10,000 ready-to-eat meals and 20,000 bottles of water over to Haiti. The county will also be collecting items such as summer clothing, shoes and non-perishables such as rice, canned goods, beans, cooking oil, diapers, toothpaste, toothbrushes and toiletries.
At 5 a. m. Nov. 5, Richard Forenza steered his 18-wheel tractor trailer eastbound on the Long Island Expressway. Suddenly, an SUV cut in front of him. Forenza, 40, lost control of the truck and flipped over on the Expressway. The cab immediately burst into flames.
Forenza, a lifelong resident of the Salisbury section of Westbury, was rushed to Nassau University Firefighters Burn Center at Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) with second and third degree burns covering 85 percent of his body. The next morning, he underwent eight hours of skin graft surgery. He was scheduled for an additional surgery a few days later, but succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 9, before the surgery could take place.
Taking the oath of office commencing his fourth term as North Hempstead Supervisor, Jon Kaiman declared it “a new beginning.” The New Year’s Day inauguration ceremony also included the swearing in of Town Clerk Leslie Gross and town board members Angelo Ferrara, Viviana Russell and Lee Seeman.
Kaiman, who was sworn in by United States Senator Charles Schumer, said he was ‘privileged to have been elected to another term as North Hempstead Town Supervisor.” Despite the historic difficulties confronting all levels of government, Schumer said, “This is a great day for Jon. His is a tough job, a difficult job, but he has done this better than anyone else.”
In an effort to reform a property tax assessment system he feels is broken, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano unveiled his plan to repair the assessment system to lessen the burden property tax refunds have on the county budget.
Property taxes are viewed as the most serious issue affecting Nassau County residents. Mangano, who took office on January 1, feels that a more accurate assessment system will lead to a decrease in assessment errors and thus a decrease in the amount of money the county pays out for property tax repayments or certioraris.
The new county executive campaigned on having to fix the assessment system and now he will get his opportunity. “It’s one of the most significant issues affecting our residents,” said Mangano.
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