The old saying, “Busy as a Bee” comes from the fact that bees pollinate at least 70% of our crops, which is 1 out of 3 bites of food that we eat - encompassing at least 95 varieties of crops.
The world’s bees are in jeopardy of extinction. Bees have been dying off in droves since the mid 1990s. This disaster began in France and kept spreading throughout the world, hitting the U.S. in 2006. It was given a name – colony collapse disorder, or CCD. Much has been made over the so-called mystery surrounding CCD.
Like most, if not all, of your subscribers, I was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. My family and I grimaced through 12 days with no power, flitting between houses of relatives and friends in the latter half just to regain some sanity.
Months later, my brother and I still jokingly point to newspaper front pages that bring up the Sandy recovery effort because they seemingly have nothing better to write about and because it is an easily relatable story. Our personal situation was no Long Beach, but even so, our Massapequa home on Overlea St. North put us close enough to the Great South Bay to flood our crawlspace. Still, it just seemed like something I could tell a story about later and mostly forget.
I started writing for my school newspaper, St. John the Baptist’s The Prophet, when I was 14 years old. I’ve written for several papers since then, including my alma mater’s publication The New Paltz Oracle and a now defunct home and green-living magazine called New York House.
In today’s climate of ever-shrinking funding, hard decisions need to be made in order to balance the school budget. As you consider where to make cuts and what programs to eliminate, please consider the following information about school library programs and school librarians.
While all school libraries are important, we believe that school libraries, especially elementary school libraries, and certified school librarians to staff them, are needed now more than ever. As you know, elementary school provides the basis upon which all further education is built. A strong school library program in elementary school will result in the future success of your students as they move toward college and careers.
Spring is a great time of the year. The temperature is rising, the amount of daylight continues to increase and a feeling of renewal fills the warmer air. In our 12th Legislative District, the season brings many exciting events, with one of these being the opening of the Little League season. After a cold winter, the beginning of the Little League season is always a welcome event. With the season having just begun, let’s send the young athletes our best wishes for a successful season while also thanking the coaches and parents who make the games possible.
The spirit of community involvement is demonstrated at Massapequa Park’s annual Earth Day program when many of our local Scout troops, as well as other residents help clean up the village and make it even more beautiful. This year, it will take place on Saturday, April 20. Groups will begin assembling around 9 a.m. in Brady Park. I’m looking forward to joining village officials at the park to support and thank those who will be giving back to our district with their efforts.
While I’m in total agreement with John Owens’ “Buttafuocoed” views about Long Island, I have some disagreements with John Collins’ reaction letter published last week (“Joey’s Legacy”).
Collins is absolutely right when he says that “[Long Island] lacks political leadership that has any sense of vision for this area. The politicians are too vested in partisan politics and patronage. They lack the intelligence, experience and commitment to develop any bold, creative solutions to Long Island’s challenges...how dysfunctional the governmental process is in both counties. It is a half-century history of one stupid decision after another.”
Homeowners who have not filed property assessment appeals in the last two years should file prior to May 1, 2013 deadline
Home prices fluctuate annually throughout Nassau County due to market conditions. In some cases, the price fluctuations may be uneven within the same area or amongst individual homes. The annual property re-assessment process, from the creation of the tentative roll to the end of the grievance process, is intended to deliver a final roll, which is as fair as possible, and free of errors. The grievance part of the process is intended to give homeowners the opportunity to point out and correct any errors in their individual assessment.
Last week, state lawmakers brought back the good news that proposed school aid funding would be restored to Long Island districts. It is always a fight for Long Island to get its fair share of school aid and this year proved to be no exception. In fact, it is even worse considering the damage that was caused by Sandy to the area, and yet many Albany lawmakers still proposed taking away funds. Therefore, our local state representatives Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, Senator Charles Fuschillo and Senator Kemp Hannon should be recognized for their efforts. Long Island still is not receiving a fair share, but thanks to the efforts our local lawmakers, at least the cuts are not devastating.
- Ronald Scaglia
Trustee Joe LaBella also questioned district administration and he raised two good questions. First, he wondered why 35 teaching positions needed to be eliminated, but administrative cuts were minimal. Superintendent Charles Sulc responded that the new teacher evaluation system has doubled the work of administrators. Huh? Yes state mandates have required school personnel to work harder, including teachers implementing the Core Curriculum, so it must be asked why teachers may be reduced but not administrators. There has been very little mention of an administrator’s pay freeze or, gasp, an administrator’s pay cut. Why? Shouldn’t administrators bear the burden equally?
When there is a presidential election, there is usually a “buzz” about it. Folks seem to get excited about national, state and even county elections. However, when it comes to local politics, particularly school issues, the interest level seems to be one of apathy. Many complain about school taxes, but it seems that few actually attend their school board meetings and participate in them. This is perplexing as school boards and the budgets they pass often have the greatest impact on property taxes as well as the quality of education afforded to children.
Therefore, it was quite inspiring to see how well attended last week’s school board budget discussion was. It is important for the community to get involved in these matters. By coming out and getting involved, Massapequans are sending a message that they care about the quality of the education being offered in Massapequa and also about how the budget will impact them. Well done to everyone who attended and got involved.
- Ron Scaglia
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