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.
On Dec. 30, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest of a Nassau County Corrections officer for multiple offenses related to his involvement with female inmates at the Nassau County Correctional Center (NCCC).
According to the DA’s office, Officer Mark Barber, 47, of Levittown, was arrested and arraigned on charges of rape, forcible touching and sexual abuse of female inmates. He is charged with three counts of rape – 3rd degree; 10 counts of sexual abuse – 2nd degree; three counts of forcible touching; receiving reward for official misconduct – 2nd degree; six counts of promoting prison contraband – 2nd degree; and 35 counts of official misconduct, the DA’s office said. He faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.
Westbury native Damon “Dave” Mock who, for more than two decades, was best known as the “voice” of the Green Dragons, passed away suddenly Dec. 26 from a heart attack. Mr. Mock, who had suffered a mild stroke in September 2009 that hindered his ability to communicate, was just 41 years old.
Mr. Mock had a varied media background that began some 26 years ago as a writer. In 1983, at the age of 15, Mr. Mock received his first paycheck for writing; it was at this time that he had an article published in Advertising Age magazine. Later that same year, while a sophomore at Westbury High School, Mr. Mock became a staff writer for The Westbury Times. His relationship with the newspaper would last for 10 years, including four years as editor of the Times, and earn him several state and Long Island region journalism awards. He was also the recipient of a New York Press Association Writer of the Year award during a 1997 editorship of Anton Community Newspaper’s Levittown Tribune.
On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi held a farewell party at the Garden City Hotel. He reflected on his years as county executive in front of staff members and supporters.
“Never forget you were part of something positive that made people’s lives better,” he told his staff members and supporters.
He also encouraged his supporters and staff members to stand by each other and take pride in the job they have done. “The challenge for each of us is to take this defeat and define meaning from it,” Suozzi said.
Despite narrowly passing a 2.5 percent home energy tax earlier this year, the Nassau County legislature last week voted 13-5 in favor of repealing it. During a meeting Dec. 21, the 19-member legislature voted 13-5 in favor of eliminating the tax; Republican Nassau County Executive-elect Edward Mangano, who currently represents the 17th District, was not present for the meeting and therefore did not vote.
The home energy tax, approved by the legislature in February and implemented in June, was imposed on all residential home energy sources – including LIPA electric usage, oil, natural gas, steam services and even coal, propane and firewood.
Republican legislators were opposed to the tax since initially proposed but earlier this year the 10-member Democratic majority approved it. As a result, Republicans, specifically Mangano, promised elimination of the tax once in office and, as of Jan. 1, the GOP will have an 11-8 majority.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced last week that 13 additional social networking sites, including those owned by Google, Yahoo! and AOL, have agreed to remove New York sex offenders from their sites. This comes in the wake of the attorney general’s announcement earlier this month that Facebook and MySpace – the two largest social networking sites – successfully removed over 3,500 sex offenders.
As of press time, 15 major social networking companies have agreed to use New York’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP), authored by Cuomo, to purge registered sex offenders from their sites. The law requires all registered sex offenders to register their email accounts, screen names and any other Internet identifiers with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). That information is then made available to social networking sites. Several other companies continue to ignore this critical measure to make the Internet safer.
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