I have had the great privilege of serving the past 11 years as a trustee of the Village of East Hills, the beautiful community in which I grew up and where my wife and I are now raising our own family.
So it is with some sadness, but also great anticipation, that I say goodbye to the village government of East Hills and especially my mentor, Mayor Michael Koblenz, as I assume the responsibilities of North Hempstead Town Councilperson for District 2.
There was a study done some years back on the psychological impact that daily bumper to bumper traffic has on motorists. Its upshot was that daily traffic jams would have the effect of driving commuters stark raving mad. However, the human psyche has proven remarkably resilient to all sorts of stresses and as it turns out we are more likely to adapt than fall to pieces.
Still, traffic snarls are never joyous. When gridlock involves police, fire departments and school buses it’s a problem that affects everyone. So when a traffic jam is manipulated by some vengeful government types as payback for a lack of political support, it’s grist for controversy.
I found it disconcerting that an article titled “Concussions: Stop The Invisible Injury” which talked about “concussion prevention,” “fostering an atmosphere of safety first,” “the athlete’s health is first priority,” “protecting an athlete’s future,” “the lifelong impact this injury can have on an athlete,” and “parents can reinforce a safe sports environment by not promoting or encouraging moves that might compromise an athlete’s safety,” never once suggested the advisability of simply not allowing one’s young child to endanger his growing brain by playing (tackle!) football, playing other helmet-required sports like hockey, becoming a boxer or playing a brain-rattling (from “heading” the ball) sport like soccer.
The article began with several false premises and assumptions. One is that “a concussion can occur in any sport,” as if it’s as common in basketball as in football. It also said that “a concussion...can occur in both contact and non-contact sports,” as if the incidences are equal in frequency or severity. I daresay concussions are nowhere near as common in baseball as in football. There’s a good reason that some sports require helmets be worn to protect one’s head and the brain inside the skull.
Much has been written and debated about the merits or pitfalls of the Common Core Learning Standards, but one thing is certain in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District: our teachers and students are moving forward to provide and master the necessary skills in language arts and mathematics, so they are prepared for a rigorous curriculum when they enter New Hyde Park Memorial High School.
No doubt you’ve seen the full page ads that Target recently placed in major newspapers around the nation. The massive retailer was apologizing to the 110 million customers who likely had their credit information stolen in one of the largest security breaches in retail history. If you shopped at Target before Christmas (unnamed members of my family practically lived there) then you may have been affected. By Target’s own admission, the hackers may have stolen credit and debit information from 40 million shoppers and personal data from another 70 million. Under pressure from the U.S. Attorney General’s office, they’re even offering a year of free credit monitoring to all of their customers in the hopes of mitigating the situation. Yet none of that, however well-intentioned, will fix the damage now.
The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in late April 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam War. After more than a decade of fighting that brutally snuffed out 58,000 American lives, who could forget the pathetic and pitiful scene on the morning of
April 30. As the NVA ominously and murderously approached the capital of South Vietnam, the last U.S. Marines were evacuated from the U.S. Embassy by helicopter. As the helicopters whirled off into the great blue yonder, panicked Vietnamese poured into the grounds around the Embassy. Many of them had been employed by the Americans but were now left to their bitter fate.
It was not America’s finest hour. The war had been lost not by the military, which certainly made their share of blunders, but by Congress who felt beleaguered by the war’s political unpopularity at home. Depressed and devastated by our sojourn into Southeast Asia, many Americans had resolved never to enter a war they were not prepared or willing to win. War is a much too costly and tragic affair to take half-measures with.
The same organization that brought the all-inclusive playground to Eisenhower Park, Let All The Children Play (LATCP) of Jericho, will host an all-inclusive sports clinic at Hofstra University on Saturday, Feb. 8. Hofstra’s student-athletes will be coaching baseball, softball, and soccer to child and young adult participants.
Happy and healthy New Year to all. With winter upon us, more time is spent indoors and communication with neighbors becomes less frequent. It is important that we all maintain contact with our friends and neighbors, especially the senior population and those living by themselves. Checking on others during these winter months, especially with this brutally cold weather, is important to ensure the safety and well-being of all. Working with each other is what helps to make this Village a great place to live.
I’d like to commend residents for keeping their vehicles off the streets during the recent snow storm. The majority of residents followed village regulations regarding snow emergency stipulations. While it can be difficult to comply, it is necessary to keep our village roads empty so that plowing can be done in a safe and efficient manner.
As we enter 2014, a superintendent finds himself reflecting on all the accomplishments of a district and factors that contributed to making our district go from “good to great.” As I reflect, I would like to extend a strong sense of gratitude to everyone for helping us in our accomplishments and helping us in making plans for our future as an educational community.
To the board of education, I thank you for asking the difficult questions, adopting a multi-year academic and fiscal plan, and supporting the efforts of all members of our educational team in supporting our students.
A few years back, I wrote an article on the decriminalization of marijuana. The next weekend, I attended a retirement party in which a middle-aged woman, professionally distinguished and temperamentally conservative, told me she read the article and then with a wink and a smile gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up.
I felt somewhat aghast because the last impression I wanted to give was that legalization of marijuana is something to celebrate. I think legalization is more of a necessary evil than a great blessing. When Colorado, on January 1, became the first state to legalize marijuana sales for recreational use, it unleashed a fusillade of oracular disputations; giving a chance for those in favor of the measure to dilate grandiloquently on its libertarian virtue and, those opposed, on its multifaceted evils. That such a philosophical asymmetry exists between the two sides is not necessarily a deficiency of ratiocination but rather the inherent perplexities of human behavior that surrounds this question.
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