Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 07 October 2011 00:00
Prior to the start of the last Williston Park Village Board meeting, the mayor and trustees honored the 11-12-year-old girls baseball team for its second consecutive season winning of the District Championship for their age category.
The girls presented Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar with a signed ball and with a trophy to put in the village trophy case. All of the girls were present with village trustee Kevin Rynne, who is one of the coaches, along with Dennis Gannon and Steve Gilhooly.
It was explained that it was a special victory for the girls since it is the second year in a row that they have accomplished such a feat, having played 30 games throughout the season.
Coach Rynne added, “Now we are set to see if we can make it three years in a row!”
The regular meeting then got underway. Mayor Ehrbar started the meeting off with a moment of silence since it was the first meeting since the 9-11 memorials were held; one at the Town of North Hempstead at Clark Gardens and one in Williston Park at Kelleher Field.
He commented that both ceremonies were very impressive and meaningful and he thanked deputy mayor Bill Darmstadt for handling the ceremony at Kelleher field in such a wonderful and heartwarming manner.
Ehrbar said, “I just want to make a comment regarding two separate commentators I heard that day. One referred to 9-11 ceremonies as a ‘celebration’ and the other ‘festivities.’ Neither word is anywhere near appropriate in my mind. We remember and honor those and their families who lost their loved ones. We will never celebrate or hold festivities on this date. We must continue to honor all those who lost their lives and continue to remember them in our prayers.
“I find it an honor to represent the village on this type of occasion. I’ve been to three out of the four at Kelleher Field and trustee Darmstadt has done an excellent job in organizing the garden and putting this together.”
“I want to comment briefly on Irene. No one did better than Williston Park during that storm. Superintendent of Public Works Keith Bunnell did a wonderful job. He had a plan in place. During the storm he went out and checked the village and kept his eye on what was happening and as soon as the storm stopped he gave the go-ahead and his men knew what was the first priority. He and Superintendent of the Building Department Kerry Collins worked all night long monitoring the situation and throughout the next day. That didn’t happen in neighboring villages. If you went through towns days later, they still had trees down.
“We, too, had trouble with Long Island Power Authority, we couldn’t get through. We called anybody and everybody, who we knew, but it didn’t work. And there were actually cases where we had to do tree work with lines involved, but we do have skilled workers and so they were safe.”
Ehrbar continued, “Ironically, we had the pool back open on Monday by 2 p.m. Interestingly enough a call came into village hall. They had no power and they wanted to know if they could use the pool facilities to take a shower. They were told, why not and it will go into any future plans since it was such a good idea.
“I do have to acknowledge that Jon Kaiman called me the Friday before the storm and said to stay in touch and gave me this cell number in case we had issues that needed help. We were pretty much working under the impression that we were by ourselves and our plan worked beautifully.
“I just want to report on Solomon Schechter moving into the Cross Street School. It was a big issue in the village. Since they opened I have been there when they opened and at their closing and there has been no impact on traffic. In fact, I think it is less than when Cross Street School was in operation and everything is going smoothly. I was invited to opening and it was an excellent program. They reached out to the neighborhood. They brought a ‘care’ package here and one to the fire department and went to the library. They went to all the neighbors and invited all the neighbors to the dedication. So, they worked hard to try to make it a smooth transition. So what I have seen they have made no impact on the village at this time. So, I welcome them into the neighborhood and they have shown they will be a good neighbor and they are willing to work with the village.”
Deputy Mayor William Darmstadt:
Deputy Mayor Darmstadt announced several upcoming meetings:
One was already held by the Parking Committee and the other was by the Neighborhood Watch Meeting on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at village hall.
He then thanked all those who helped at the 9-11 ceremony he organized at Kelleher Park including the American Legion, the Boy Scouts and the Williston Park Fire Department and all those who helped set up the day of the event. He also thanked the Nassau Illustrated News for giving it so much publicity prior to the event, which was very nice to hear.
Trustee Theresa Thomann:
She thanked everyone for handling the events that occurred in the past weeks including an earthquake, a hurricane and the 10th anniversary of 9-11 and particularly singled out the fire department for their professional skill in such situations. Plus, she thanked all in the Department of Public Works for all their hard work.
She mentioned that Chief Joyce is trying to regain some of the money promised by former Senator Craig Johnson by applying for an accessory grant which they hope will come through.
She mentioned Williston Day and how well it was run with the help of the fire department and the DPW. She heaped praise on the Historical Committee and their booth at the Williston Day.
She finished her report by announcing that Fire Prevention Day is on Oct. 9.
Trustee Kevin Rynne:
Trustee Rynne announced that Family Fun Day, held at Kelleher Field by the Recreation Committee was extremely successful with 30 to 40 families. He also commented on the fact that there are so many families in the village with young children.
The next event will be Movie Night on Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Kelleher Field. He said they will be showing a Disney Movie and the committee will be supplying popcorn. He just suggested that families in attendance supply blankets and chairs to watch the movie.
He said that the Beautification Committee would be holding a meeting and he asked anyone interested in joining that committee to reach out to him.
He also announced the results of the court report. Honorable Kevin Kiley heard 200 cases with fines of $18,095 with the mandatory state surcharge of $665. Honorable Beth Swendson Dowd heard 32 cases with fines of $2,765 together with the mandatory state surcharge of $200.
He then read the report submitted by Williston Park Library Director Donna McKenna and it basically mirrored her weekly column seen elsewhere in this paper.
Trustee Barbara Alanga had no report to submit.
Superintendent of Public Works Keith Bunnell:
Bunnell said he wasn’t going to go into the hurricane in any great detail except to say that at each end of the village they placed trucks with snowplows on them in case they had to plow trees out of the way for the fire department.
He also announced that they had to rent an additional ‘chipper’ to deal with the downed trees. So they were able to double the capacity of clearing up.
He said his men worked all night and he also mentioned that Mayor Ehrbar was with them all night as well.
He said that they were still working on a portion of sidewalks that had to be replaced due to the damage of the storm. It was a lot of work and it has taken almost a month.
He also announced that the water tank is completed and it will soon be refilled, and tested by the health department, so in about a month it will be up and running. Further, they started hydrant flushing and he was hopeful it would be just a short time before it was completed.
Bunnell concluded by saying, “One of the first calls we received was from the mayor. His tree came down and both his cars were affected.
He then said, “I attended the FEMA meeting and filed the paperwork to get help and hopefully help will be coming in soon.”
Evelyn Atanas, who owns a real estate office in the village, praised Williston Day and the fire department. Further, she said that she recently held an open house and more than 50 people attended wanting to either move back to the village or move into the village for the first time. She said she was amazed to have so much interest, especially in this economy.
She then mentioned a tree on her block that she was afraid would come down. She said there are a lot of children on her block and she said, “It’s an accident ready to happen.”
The mayor said, “All trees have the potential to fall. But it is difficult to take down trees. Superintendent Bunnell and I both went to look at the tree and it is a healthy tree. I’m not looking at saving a tree that is dangerous. I don’t want to endanger any child in the village.”
Another resident commented that the basic rule should be, “Is the tree bad?”
Ehrbar said, “When we get a complaint we determine if the tree is healthy and if it is isn’t we don’t hesitate to take the tree down.”
Bunnell said, “We send our men out to get training and to get certification. They are not ‘full-blown’ arborists but they are trained in detecting various diseases and rot of the trees. If they say a tree has to come down I say, take it down. We go both ways. There are people who don’t want the trees down but if they are diseased, they have to come down and then we have those who say take the tree down and the tree is not diseased and we leave it up. We try to base our final decision on the health of the tree.”
The meeting ended with the next meeting set for October 17 at 8 p.m. at Williston Park Village Hall, 494 Willis Avenue, Williston Park.