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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson - June 5, 2009

Belmont Happenings

Last week, the MTA reversed its short-sighted and wrong-headed decision to eliminate regular train service to the Belmont Park Race Track.

This is good news for Belmont’s host communities and for Nassau County and New York State as a whole. As we work together to make Belmont a world-class destination, the MTA’s decision to limit the availability of mass transit options was simply counterproductive.

The restoration of the “Belmont Special” along with the rollback of other Draconian cuts to Long Island Rail Road service, came as a result of the MTA rescue plan that recently passed the Legislature.

This move by the MTA puts it in sync, for the first time, with community leaders, local elected officials, and the rest of state government that has been developing plans to make Belmont an economic engine, instead of a burden, for the communities that surround the track.

These revitalization efforts could be affected by a related development on the other end of Long Island. Last week, news broke that the Shinnecock Indian Nation was on the verge of federal recognition. This recognition would enable them to build and operate a casino. Belmont has been mentioned as a possible site for such an operation.

I have long believed that installing video lottery terminals at Belmont is a central component to any revitalization effort.

The prospect of a full-scale Shinnecock-run operation on the track is certainly an interesting one. However, the devils are always in the details and we are a long way off from determining the feasibility of a Shinnecock casino at Belmont.

As this process advances, it is essential that the residents of Elmont, Floral Park and the other surrounding communities are provided for, protected and continue to be involved every step of the way.

 

Johnson to Support 5K Run For Autism Awareness

 

Senator Johnson is encouraging everyone to support this year’s Jack’s Run for Autism Awareness at North Hempstead Beach Park (formerly Bar Beach) on June 6.

The run will begin at 9 a.m.     

All proceeds from the 5K (or 3.1 mile) trek will benefit Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism (NSSA).

The event is the brainchild of Michael Miranda and his wife, Ondine Sloan Miranda, and named after their nephew Jack.

Autism is a neurological disorder affecting portions of the brain that control social interaction, communication and cognitive development. One in every 150 children is born with this disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Once again, I commend Mike and Ondine for spearheading this effort and bringing our community together for such an important cause,” Senator Johnson said.

North Hempstead Beach Park is located off West Shore Road. To register or to get more information, please go to www.firstgiving.com/nssa.