Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00
With the advent of the new scanner voting machines that roll into every polling place during election season, schools and villages are running out of time using the old lever machines.
Since 2010, Mineola and neighboring villages were granted a reprieve from the state through the intervention of Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Jack Martins, They are allowed to use the old voting units in local elections.
But in 2015, the archaic but reliable lever contraptions will go the way of the dodo bird and the new electronic machines will become a required use. The Mineola School District is attempting to get out ahead of the fray concerning the first use of scanner ballot machines in its polling places.
Mineola may reduce its polling places from four to two; and possibly one. The current polling places are the Jackson Avenue School, Hampton Street School, Meadow Drive School and the American Legion Hall on Willis Avenue. District Superintendent Michael Nagler recommended that Meadow Drive and Jackson Avenue serve as the two district polling places should Mineola consolidate.
If the school board adopts Nagler’s recommendation, Mineola and Garden City Park residents would vote at Jackson Avenue. Albertson, Roslyn Heights and Williston Park residents would trek to Meadow Drive.
The district has not made a decision, according to board of education President William Hornberger. Trustee Artie Barnett suggested the district use one polling place.
“I thought that it would probably be best to go to one [location] while we can still use the lever machines,” Barnett stated. “If that is inadequate because of space, we would still be able to use the levers and the following May, we could increase to two at that point if needed. I’d like to know if one or two could work before we’re mandated to go to the electronic machines.”
If the district went to one location, Mineola Village Hall on Washington Avenue could fill the void. District representatives did not confirm that idea.
“[The village] has a big parking lot there and they are able to handle the village voting and stuff like that,” Vice President Terence Hale said. “There’s still a lot to discuss. We’re still in the investigative stage right now. There will definitely be two for the next [school elections].”
Mineola spent $4,567 on election personnel in 2011 and $4,015 in 2012, with a total election budget of $6,715. The projected 2013 election budget is $7,115.
“I think the less locations we have, the less personnel we need and it’s going to offset a lot of the costs we’re going to be stuck with on mandates,” said Barnett.
Machine rental and transport totaled $1,200 each last year. With the scanner machines, that amount would increase to $1,600.
“I kind of agree with Artie in that lets see if we can handle one site,” said Hale.
Nagler stated in the last few school elections, Mineola had a “tough time” getting polling workers. The hourly rate per Election Day worker may increase, according to Nagler. If Mineola does use the new scanner machines, all employees would need to be retrained.
“It’s the boards decision [to reduce polling places], said Nagler. “You can do either [one or two]. It’s just the logistics of what [the board] decides. We’re an odd-shaped district. We have a lot of people traveling from north that are going to come down, but it’s a matter of convenience and cost. We still want people to vote.”
The sticking point in Hornberger’s assessment is using one location as the centerpiece for thousands of residents attempting to vote.
“From my mind, the concern would be location,” Hornberger said. “Can we handle a couple thousand voters coming out from parking logisitics? You can attempt to go to one and see what happens, but my concern would still be, could one handle it?”
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
A new proposal by interim Town of North Hempstead Supervisor John Riordan seeks to hike pay for elected officials. Riordan's plan would have board members’ salaries jump by $15,000 to a total of $55,000, an increase of approximately 37.5 percent. Other proposed salaries would be $138,000 for the supervisor, $115,000 for the receiver of taxes and $105,000 for the town clerk.
Riordan introduced the proposal at the last town board meeting, on Nov. 19, requesting that a resolution be placed on the agenda setting Dec. 10 for a public hearing to consider the adoption of an amendment that would enable the salary increases for the 2014 calendar year.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The spirit of giving during the holiday season is ramping up and two Mineola-based organizations were one of the first beneficiaries. The Family & Children’s Association and the Winthrop Cancer Center for Kids recently received 325 Toys
“R” Us gift cards totaling $8,125 from MSC Industrial Direct Co., a metalworking supply company headquartered in Melville. The two groups have received gift cards from MSC’s Annual Toys “R” Us Holiday Gift Card Program for the past several years.
The Family & Children’s Association is a multi-faceted organization that helps foster children, homeless youth, runaway teens, struggling families, veterans, and even senior citizens. While the association has a hand in many types of community outreach, it started out as an orphanage and still places an important emphasis on housing. The goal is simple—to keep families together.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
MAA Travel Soccer teams wrapped up their respective fall 2013 seasons recently. Two MAA teams won titles this season in the Long Island Junior Soccer League; the BU13 Mineola Empire went 9-0-1 and the GU14 Red Bulls enjoyed a 8-1-1 campaign to each win first place trophies. The GU11 Honey Badgers went undefeated (6-0-2) and finished in second place in their division, as did the GU15 Mini-Mustangs with a 7-1-1 season record.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The Mineola 12U fall intramural baseball team celebrated their fall season and tournament championship with a pizza party/awards dinner on Nov. 20. In addition to celebrating a great fall season and tournament championship, the boys were treated to an inspirational talk by coach Ken Conrade, the 2013 New York State High School Coach of the Year.
Conrade, the Kellenberg Memorial High School assistant principal for academics and girls varsity softball coach, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner. He presented a very talked about baseball and youth sports.
Conrade’s talk was framed around each inning of a baseball game. He used stories and examples from the first to an extra “10th inning” to drive home both a sports and life lesson. For example, as part of the seventh inning stretch, he had each player stand up, stretch their legs and then go and thank their parents for their support and commitment to their baseball playing.