No vote was taken on Monday, Feb. 27, on the plan to close four Nassau County police precincts and convert them into Community Policing Centers.
The Nassau County Legislature’s Republican majority had hoped for such a vote, one that would close the First and Fifth and Sixth and Eighth precincts. However, according to a spokeswoman for Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt (R-Massapequa), County Executive Edward P. Mangano asked the legislature to delay the vote for at least a week, while his office remains in negotiations over unspecified issues with the Police Benevolent Association (PBA).
On the doors of Bollinger’s Family Restaurant in the weeks leading up to its closing on Sunday, Feb. 19 was a sign notice to customers that the owners had decided to close the doors for good. It said, “To our valued customers, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your years of support and patronage. It has meant a great deal to those of us who have had the pleasure and honor to meet and serve you. Unfortunately, due to these difficult economic times, we can no longer afford to remain open. As a result, it is with much sadness and regret that Bollinger’s Family Restaurant will be closing its doors for good on Sunday, Feb. 19.”
As one lifelong customer, Jill (Smith) Chow, a resident of Farmingdale, passed through the doors on Friday, just days before the closing, she could hardly believe the news, and the reality of what this meant.
Don Zirkel, of Farmingdale, has recently published, Couple Power: Conversations with Donny and Marie, a memoir of his life with his late-wife, Marie “Re,” weaving the affects of the changes in the Catholic Church over the past 60 years.
The book highlights the Zirkels’ family life in the area diocese, and parish ministries, including Hicksville and Farmingdale. Oral historian, Ed Thompson, of Farmingdale was the main contributor to the book.
The Village of Farmingdale Board of Trustees met Monday, Feb. 6 at Village Hall to continue public discussions on LLG-2011- the agenda item that would have added new allowed uses in the Conklin Street zoning district.
In December, Mayor George Starkie and the village board voted to eliminate “restaurant use” as a permitted option for the area in question- located after Hempstead Turnpike, before Main Street and essentially next to Fulton Street- after residents voiced concerns over the potential for increased pollution and food odors.
At the Feb. 6 meeting, Starkie discussed the background of the situation and provided reasons why he decided to discontinue the public hearing on it. “After hearing from the public and one person in particular, we were informed this might fall under the category of spot-zoning,” Starkie said. “Sometimes you need that ‘aha’ moment. So we continued the public hearing with the understanding that we’d definitely eliminate ‘restaurant use.’ Subsequently, that property has sold. Nobody is telling us to who; nobody has come in with any applications. At this point, I think it would be unfair to the public to continue the hearing.”
At the Wednesday, Feb. 1, public board meeting of the Farmingdale School District 34 people were in attendance, including many student teachers from Molloy College in Rockville Center, observing as part of a classroom assignment.
Many of the student teachers in attendance were shocked to learn firsthand how the state-mandated learning objectives and student assessments will be evolving, as presented by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Joan Ripley.
Ripley gave an overview of the Student Learning Objectives (SLO) and Assessments. SLO and assessments for students are related to the legislation on annual professional performance (APPR) for teachers, instructors.
Carrying signs that read “Save Our Police Precincts,” “Precincts Save Lives” and “Keep Crime Out of Nassau,” dozens of police officers, firefighters and Nassau County residents converged on the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building on Monday, Feb. 6, to protest a committee vote on closing down four precinct houses and turning them into community policing centers.
Speakers warned of increases in both the workloads for detectives and response time for police officers on patrol if the proposed precinct closings are approved by the Nassau County Legislature. The precincts in question are the First, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Precincts.
The day ended with public comments made before the Public Safety Committee. Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt also announced that there would be public hearings on the matter on Monday, Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. in front of the Public Safety Committee and another hearing on Monday, Feb. 27 in front of the full legislature.
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer was given a warm welcome when he visited the Village of Floral Park Fire Department Headquarters on Monday, Jan. 27. Schumer revealed to a small crowd that more than 70 Nassau County fire departments and seven volunteer ambulance corps are facing major budget hikes in order to meet the year-end deadlines to upgrade existing radio equipment due to federal mandates.
Schumer had only the highest of praise for the volunteer firefighters who came from cities across Nassau County, including Stewart Manor, Garden City, Bellerose, New Hyde Park, Great Neck, Island Park, Valley Stream, East Williston, Port Washington, Bayville, Freeport, Wantagh, and Oceanside, Lakeview.
“As you know I care a lot about our firefighters; they are great people. Nassau County volunteer fire departments are among the best in the country,” Schumer said, adding, “They risk their lives, they don’t get paid to make us safe. It’s a great thing and everyone here in this county is blessed by the quality of the fire departments.”
On Saturday, Jan. 21 families and friends of Catholic schools across Long Island braved the freezing temperatures and icy conditions to rally in protest of the closings announced by the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Dec. 6. Families not only wanted to voice their opposition to the closings scheduled for the end of this school year, but rallied in support of Catholic school education in general. They pleaded for Bishop William Murphy and all Catholics in the Diocese to hear their concerns and understand that despite the threat of their schools closing, they do value and support the Catholic elementary school education.
Most of the rally crowd came from the six schools stated to close, along with St. Agnes parishioners who came out to show their support. The organizers of the rally reported more than 400 supporters turned out for the event.
In the original school-closing announcement Bishop Murphy said, “While these choices have not been easy and closing schools is one of the most painful parts of my ministry, I want to assure the parents and children that they are uppermost in my mind.”
There are easier tasks than the one facing Kevan Abrahams. As a Nassau County Legislator, he will be grappling with the issues facing the cash strapped county and in particular will be deliberating on a budget which may call for more layoffs of county workers, reduction of services and changes for Nassau police precincts. As the Democratic Minority Leader in the legislature, he will be one of the more prominent figures as those discussions take place, a position that requires he walk a political tightrope as he leads the opposition to some of those proposals while also trying to get Republican County Executive Ed Mangano and the Republicans in control of the Legislature to give consideration to his party’s suggestions and input. And, he will also do so while getting a feel for his new role as he has just taken over the position of the Minority Leader in the Legislature after being chosen by his party last November. Yet, despite all of this, there is a calmness and confidence about him as he takes this all on, something that he attributes to many years of experience in both politics and finance.
The Farmingdale 2035 Party has announced their candidates for the upcoming election. Current trustees, Ralph Ekstrand and William Barrett are on the ticket. Newcomer, and longtime village resident, Thomas Ryan is joining the team.
Ralph Ekstrand, a longtime resident of the Farmingdale community and village will run for mayor. The Farmingdale 2035 Party states, “His long-term experience and dedication to the town and people of the town have given him the experience for this position.” Ekstrand has been the pharmacist at Moby Drugs for 31 years and has served on a number boards for various institutions, such as, the Eagle Scout Review Board, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and The Farmingdale United Methodist Church. He has been the village trustee for the past four years and states that he “continues to strive for excellence on a daily basis.”
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