In November 2010, a reputable accrediting agency found that the Nassau Police Lab had, for some years, improperly conducted drug and alcohol testing. The results of those tests potentially impacting on more than 7,000 defendants, were brought into serious question. Commendably the Governor appointed the Inspector General as a Special Prosecutor to review the procedures at the Lab.
As a New Yorker I was disheartened to hear that the New York State Tobacco Control Program has been slashed to $41 million. This will no doubt be a disservice to the people of New York.
Over the years, the Tobacco Control Program has helped the rate of smoking among the youth of New York drop from 27.1 percent to 12.6 percent. The Tobacco Control Program funds smoking cessation centers, the New York State Quitline, distribution of nicotine replacement therapy, and media campaigns to let people know the program was available. This program helped the 116,000 New Yorkers who called the Quitline last year for help with their smoking habit, which is the greatest risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
While we can applaud the fact that the budget was on-time, these cuts to tobacco control will mean higher health care costs down the road as fewer smokers are supported to quit and more children become addicted.
I want to thank those who supported me during the last village election for justice. I have now served a total of 20 years with four more ahead. My focus over those past years has been to establish a model court. We have accomplished that and will endeavor to build on that record. But at the same time, the simple problems that we face in our village court are often caused by problems beyond our control such as the national recession.
On March 14 at North Shore-LIJ Hospital in Manhasset, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by local veterans groups, veterans’ advocates, and Michael Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System called on Long Island businesses to join a new online campaign to connect unemployed veterans on the Island with local jobs. Schumer pointed out that while there are an estimated 13,500 unemployed veterans in Nassau and Suffolk counties, only nine businesses on the Island currently participate in the Employer Partnership of the Armed Services online job bank that connects our nation’s service members, veterans, and their family members with local employers.
The riveting video of the natural catastrophe in Japan captured attention while a simultaneous human-made catastrophe with grave implications for this island played out on the other side of Asia. In Qatif, on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, security forces opened fire to disperse protesters. Many of the protesters are part of a repressed Shiite minority, who also live over much of Saudi Arabia’s remaining petroleum reserves.
Governor Cuomo has proposed to eliminate funding for 4201 Schools (for deaf/blind/physically challenged students) for the 2011-12 school year. As a result, Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf students, and those from 10 other 4201 schools, are in jeopardy! A child who is deaf, blind or physically challenged did not cause the state’s $10 billion deficit. It is wrong to abandon the state’s more than 100-year commitment to these special schools through which these students become productive citizens. It is also wrong to shift these costs to the more than 45 school districts, which send students to Mill Neck Manor!
Westbury, the “Community For All Seasons,” is proud of the accommodations it has reached for the expansion of the Islamic Center of Long Island. That was great leadership in action. Our diverse community has blended races, cultures and religions together in what is a model for others to follow.
I want to say thank you all for coming out on Feb. 4 for Game Night for Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA). This was a great night for the children and us. Thank you to the district staff and the community members for partaking in this family night event.
Both before and after the enactment of a control period by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority on Jan. 26, budget reform and the renegotiation of union agreements with Nassau County have been the call of the day.
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