Historically governors in New York State – in most states, in fact – have presented very tight budgets in the first year of their term. The presumption is that they do so in order to be able to present more upbeat budgets in their second, third and fourth years. In the case of Governor Cuomo this year, that history is irrelevant. New York State’s finances are clearly in trouble. The only real debates between experts are about how deep the hole is and how likely a recovery is and when it will occur. In light of this there is a strong assumption that the school aid picture for 2011-12 is likely to be quite bad.
What has received relatively little attention is the fact that aid for the current school year, 2010-11, has not been firmed up and that over the past few months the Governor’s office or the State Education Department has been tinkering with or talking about tinkering with the school aid formula. We expect to receive several hundred thousand dollars less in aid for the current year than we had anticipated. The Board provided for this in August by setting aside a reserve to deal with a potential shortfall in order not to impact the tax level. That shortfall is still a potential one since the New York State Legislature has yet to approve the final aid formula. The expectation is that this will happen sometime in the next several weeks now that the election is over and the legislature is more likely to reconvene.
On behalf of the students in the New Hyde Park-Garden City School District, we would like to thank you for your support in passing the Capital Reserve Vote. During the process, we listened to our constituency regarding the fact that they wanted additional opportunities to offer input in financial matters. As a result, we will be exploring new ways to gather community input regarding the creation of the school district budget. The district’s goal is to obtain small group input/recommendations regarding budget building. We began this process last year at the Public Input Budget meetings by asking the following questions:
What is it in terms of programs and services which you feel you cannot live without to offer our students a well-rounded education?
A few years ago at the request of a couple of local papers I began writing a weekly column. The experience gave me an even deeper appreciation for professional news people who write columns for a living. I had always known that it was a tough job, particularly if one was committed to producing columns of a consistently high caliber, but I found that it was even tougher than I had realized.
On Friday morning I attended the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Annual Breakfast. Our own Marilyn and Ron Doughty,(Williston Plumbing and Heating), were honored as Chamber Persons of the Year. It was a nice affair with many of our elected officials in attendance. But, the highlight of the morning was the announcement of the honorees. Congratulations Marilyn and Ron.
Saturday, Deputy Mayor Terry Thomann, Trustee Barbara Alanga , former Mayor Doreen and myself attended the grand opening of the East Williston Village Hall. The event was only overshadowed by the building itself. Mayor Nancy Zolezzi, Trustees David Tanner, James Daw, Mike Braito and John Ferro are to be commened for their efforts to bring an updated, fully functional facility on line. While designed to match the old charm of their original village hall the building is a modern marvel. Congrats to the residents of East Williston and hats off to all those involved in the planning and construction, especially architect Robert Campagna.
On Tuesday, Nov. 2 there are clear choices for the New York State Senate and the United States Congress. To end the fiscal insanity and corruption in Albany, I’m voting for Mineola Mayor Jack Martins for State Senator. To end the fiscal insanity in Washington, I’m voting for County Legislator Fran Becker for Congress. Both these men are men of accomplishment and integrity. They believe that our state and federal governments have run off the rails of common sense.
Mayor Jack Martins has righted the fiscal ship of Mineola by substantially reducing long term debt and broadening the tax base with innovative ideas allowing the private sector to grow jobs and revitalize the downtown area. He was the head of the spear, bringing LIRR mainline village communities together in a cohesive effort to push back against the third track of the unresponsive monolith called the MTA. Jack Martins will go to Albany and repeal the MTA payroll tax that your school district is paying. Jack Martins will go to Albany and restore your STAR rebate checks. Jack Martins will fight to return our school aid that has gone to New York City. Jack Martins will be part of a new State Senate majority that will be a rebuke of the current State Senate leadership from New York City.
As we all know, distracted driving has become a very serious problem for our state and our country. In New York State at least one out of five motor vehicle crashes has distracted driving listed as a contributing factor. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than 440,000 were injured.
As commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, I was honored to be invited recently to attend U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s second Summit on Distracted Driving in Washington, D. C. Also participating at that meeting were leading national transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement agencies, industry representatives, researchers and victims affected by distraction-related crashes. Together we addressed challenges and identified opportunities for national anti-distracted driving efforts.
Barring the Hillside Islamic Center’s moving to a new location, or being able to successfully work out an agreement with CVS for the use of CVS’s parking lot, I would like to offer a suggestion that might prove to be feasible. And it would avoid the problems created by expansion of the Islamic Center’s parking lot into a residential area and the demolishing of any residential structures.
Immediately north of the Islamic Center is an open area that includes an existing undeveloped triangle shaped piece of land as well as a short section of Clausen Place (road) between North Third Street and Hillside Avenue. The geometry of this configuration makes for decent sized trapezoid that is actually quite a bit larger than the currently proposed parking lot.
This is a public thank you to Mr. Michael DeMartino, the principal of New Hyde Park Memorial High for what he calls an inspirational thought, but what I call, to paraphrase my kids, awesome.
This inspirational thought has become character building lessons for our seventh- and eighth-grade children. He has, together with Ms. Melissa Argaman, started an anti-bullying course which begins with character building and has been incorporated into a monthly theme.
It can take one action of bullying, be it a nickname or an incident to alter the mental health and growth of a child. This action can be carried silently or manifest later to show up in failing grades, personality changes, the use of drugs, alcohol or in some cases suicide.
On November 7, I shall run the NYC Marathon; something I never dreamt of six years ago as I was preparing myself for brain surgery. While my fellow college graduates were searching for new jobs, I was researching Chiari 1 Malformation (CM).
I did not come to the decision to have brain surgery lightly. All my life, I suffered from headaches. During my junior year in college, I had a bad fall out of my bunk-bed and slowly started experiencing additional symptoms: more intense headaches, loss of vision (had to get glasses for the first time), floating black spots, intense tingling in my hands and feet (so bad I cried in agony), dizziness, vertigo, balance issues and difficulty focusing. The moments I remember most of my graduation weekend from Providence College were my continuous episodes of vertigo and weakness.
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