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Mineola Schools Could Decrease Its Polling Places

Cost saving, impending scanner machine requirement could see one or two polling places for school elections

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?”

News

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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