This past year has been a successful one for the Friends of the Williston Park Library. The Friends were able to give each child a book at the start of the summer reading program. We are in our second year of providing free passes for the Long Island Children’s Museum and the Cradle of Aviation. We hosted several free programs including Mike from “A Photographer’s Place,” Marty Adler – Talks of Brooklyn, Barber Shop Quartet and Merilee Melodies.
The Friends will be making a donation toward the building of a library in Southern Ethiopia from funds raised at the Williston Street Fair. Todd Schlitt, former children’s librarian, has contacted us in regard to this endeavor.
After my last article, I feel it necessary to provide additional information regarding snowstorms of more than two inches. Once the fallen snow reaches a depth of two inches a snow emergency is declared by the mayor.
At that point cars must be removed from the streets or a summonses is issued to the owner of the offending vehicle. According to the village code the emergency doesn’t end until 18 hours after snow has stopped falling. The fine for tickets issued is $150. If the fine is not paid within 30 days the fine increases to $300. Therefore, in case of a pending or actual snowstorm, Please move your vehicle off the street. Besides avoiding a hefty fine, this will allow our employees to plow effectively, to better ensure, as best as possible, safe, passable village roads.
At the conclusions of the last Herricks School Board meeting I turned, approached the newly elected president of the Herricks Teachers Association (HTA) so I could wish him Happy New Year and to see if he in any way would re-consider helping out our community in these extremely difficult times. His rude and insulting response was that he would never speak to me in public or in private. Is this what we have come to? What kind of union leader and more importantly, Herrick’s employees would act like this in public and treat a resident of this community like that? Do we need to fear being able to attend public school board meetings and professing our opinions for everyone to hear? Isn’t communication the key to solving issues? We don’t hide behind a secret veil; we publicly profess our views without personal insult to any individual member of the HTA. Then to be publicly humiliated in front of other residents who witnessed the display of rude behavior, that is where the line of personal attack and insults were crossed.
The United States has spent much of the last decade focused on increased accountability. So far there is relatively little to show for this, but the focus on this area is important and long overdue. Parents and students need to know whether achievement is real and substantial and whether they are fully prepared to take the next step – from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school and from high school to college or career – when schools say they are. The communities that invest their money in their schools need to know this as well.
Much of the attention over the past decade and currently has been on trying to improve the Grades 3-8 assessments. There are, for example, two large multi-state consortia currently working on much more sophisticated assessments for elementary and middle school students which would be implemented in 2014-15. (They will probably look much like the NWEA assessments which Herricks and a number of other districts began using last year.) While it is frustrating that we have to wait until 2014-15 to get assessments which come closer to actually measuring what we want students to know and be able to do, this is progress.
The residents of the Village must give a big round of applause to Tom Gannon, the new superintendent of the department of public works, and his dedicated men for the superb job they did in the village during the recent snowstorm.
Their hard work in moving all the snow around so travel was a bit easier for residents and businesses solidifies why living in the Village of New Hyde Park is a true blessing.
With only a few weeks under his belt as the new “super” he got hit with a major blizzard that crippled half of the East Coast over the Christmas week-end, and Gannon got his first dose of reality in his new position and he handled it like a trouper.
I would like to thank our residents, businesses and the employees of Nassau County for their patience and cooperation during last week’s blizzard. With the storm dumping over 16 inches of snow in our community, County employees mobilized early the morning after Christmas Day to deal with its cleanup. Crews were instructed to plow lanes adequate for travel in both directions. First priorities for snow removal included major thorough fares and access to emergency services. In all, over 100 County employees were involved in clearing roadways and dropping over 2,880 pounds of salt on our roadways. When those County roadways were cleared, snow plowing operations were sent to assist towns and villages who requested such help with residential streets.
As I write, I can hear the wind howling outside on a frigid December evening. Yesterday Williston Park and the rest of the metropolitan area were hit with a storm of major proportions. Village employees, under the direction of Keith Bunnell, worked, in shifts, from Sunday at approximately 4 p.m. until approximately 2:30 p.m. Monday. They were out in force, plowing every street in our village a number of times. They are to be commended for their efforts. Both Keith and Kerry Collins worked more than 24 hours straight to oversee this operation. Thanks to both.
The New Yorker Magazine of December 20-27 carried a lengthy article by Peter Hessler on the efforts of a Herricks High School graduate, Rajeev Goyal, to raise funds for the Peace Corps. After graduating from Brown, Rajeev volunteered for the Peace Corps. Some of his efforts as a volunteer from 2001 to 2003 in eastern Nepal were described in detail in the article. The stories are interesting and inspiring. Also interesting and inspiring were the descriptions of Rajeev’s current efforts to raise funds for the Peace Corps. His persistence and creativity are extraordinary, even if they occasionally go a bit over the top and rub someone the wrong way. Given the prominence of the Peace Corps it was surprising to read about how it has struggled for funding, but it was encouraging to hear about increased bi-lateral support in Congress.
Students in all four schools have been busy working on building ELA and math skills that were designated needing improvement from item analysis of the NY State assessments. Two of the four buildings already exhibited their musical and artistic talents at the annual Christmas concerts. Tomorrow will be the Hillside Grade School concert and Wednesday will be the Manor Oaks School concert. All students have been generously involved in service projects to help those less fortunate than us.
This past year a movie on the creation of Facebook was very popular and last week Time magazine selected Facebook’s editor as its person of the year. Clearly, social networking via the internet has come of age. It is more and more widespread and more and more mainstream. The opportunities it presents via Facebook and other social networking sites for staying in touch are both fun and valuable to many people.
There are, unfortunately, also some significant downsides. Many of the problems of the three-dimensional, physical world – theft, scams, sexual predators, etc. - have migrated to the world of the internet. In fact, some of these have found the internet to be an easier place to do business given the internet’s openness and anonymity. Bullying has also found a home on the internet.
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