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Covering All Bases: November 19, 2012

An Abuse Of Power

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

This is one of my favorite quotes that I often repeat. During my experiences, I have met individuals who have gained power and used it to make a positive difference, help others, and make themselves true leaders. I have also encountered those who let the power go to their heads and used it in a bad manner. Therefore, I consider this statement from Lincoln to be truly sage advice that I often refer to, and with a movie about the 16th President now showing in movie theaters, it is also timely.

It is also timely because of the last word in that quotation – power. Over the past few weeks, having power – the electrical kind – has been one of the biggest issues on Long Island. Some businesses were fortunate enough to have electricity throughout the storm and these establishments were often packed in the days after the hurricane hit as those left in the dark searched for hot food, supplies, gas, a place to wash their clothing, and other basic needs that suddenly became difficult to meet. During that time, I saw examples of those who used their good fortune admirably as well as those who didn’t.

One gas station that I filled up at did not raise their prices extraordinarily due to the shortage. One night, even though this station was one of the only stations in the area to have gas, and also had a very long line of motorists waiting to fill up, the attendant thanked me for my business. Wow. It was an act of civility among the madness. A pizza place that I frequent often was very accommodating, even though there was a two-hour wait for a pie, as if they appreciated my steady patronage before and knew that it would be their regular customers who would support their business after the crisis had ended.

By contrast, another business that I went to was not so nice. I was treated with arrogance, and prices that I thought were exceedingly high.

I’m sure most of you have similar accounts. There were some who acted very responsibly in the aftermath of the storm and those who you feel abused the “power” that they were lucky enough to have. One common quote that I heard in the immediate days following the storm was, “I hope everyone remembers this after things get back to normal.” I heard that quipped about a gas station, as the speaker believed the prices were way too high. Well, I agree with this quote. I hope everyone remembers how they were treated. I hope everyone remembers those who were there for the community, and did not plunder and pillage. I hope customers continue to patronize these businesses, now that things are getting back to a semblance of normalcy. And I also hope consumers remember those who abused the power, were curt, and raised prices to unacceptable levels.

How people act when they have power, whether figurative or real, says much about their character. Now the power is returning to everyone else. It is our chance to use our “power” to hold others accountable for their actions.

Ron Scaglia is the Special Sections editor of Anton Newspapers.

News

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com