Even rain couldn’t put a damper on children’s faces as they marveled at the Mineola tree across from Village Hall on Friday, Dec. 6 during the annual Christmas tree lighting. With the Chaminade High School Jazz Band rocking the community center across the street, residents and kiddies waited with bated breath and excitement for the tree to come alive, along with a visit from old St. Nick.
As the area between the Mineola Fire Department and Piccola Bussola began to fill up, the tree ignited with blue, green and red glory for all attendees to gaze at, while cars buzzing by on Jericho Turnpike now had a beacon in the night to guide them. Inside the community center, the band provided much needed holiday cheer, playing “Jingle Bells,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Eleni Pitzel has lived in East Williston since 1975, having raised five children. Prior to that, she and her family lived in Floral Park. Pitzel is a longtime club member, and served as corresponding secretary for two years.
Pitzel has been the club’s art instructor for four years; she also teaches art at St. Paul’s Orthodox Cathedral in West Hempstead. “My artistic skills are a gift from God, and from that gift I give back to others,” Pitzel said.
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.
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.
The Village of Mineola is in the process of acquiring multiple properties as a result of the completion of the Long Island Rail Road Crossing Elimination project. The board of trustees recently passed a resolution to start the process.
All open items involving the project have been resolved by the New York State Department of Transportation. State law, according to village attorney John Spellman, allows villages to attain properties within the project.
“That project involved eliminating at-grade crossings at Herricks Road, Roslyn Road and the reconstruction the Mineola Boulevard Bridge,” Spellman said. “We recommended that the village pass a resolution accepting these properties so that we can begin the process of officially acquiring them.”
There will be a flurry of noise and color at the Community Church of East Williston’s fourth annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec.15. The Severn River Brass Quintet will be in concert with Church Musical Director Raphael Fusco to help kick off the holiday season on a high note. Fusco has been working at the church since September and he is an accomplished composer, keyboardist, and conductor in the U.S. and in Europe.
“I am beyond excited that the quintet has agreed to take time out of their busy schedule to make a rare public appearance here in East Williston,” said Fusco. “The quintet is made up of some of the world’s finest brass players and we are very lucky to host them.”
Commuter Mary Anne Svetter of Williston Park was pleased to hear U.S. Senator Charles Schumer pushed Amtrak to enforce major changes in the way it maintains and repairs the East River tunnels. At the Long Island Rail Road station in
Mineola on Monday, Nov. 18, Svetter was waiting for her train to go to New York City’s Penn Station.
“Hopefully when these changes take effect my relatives from out of state will benefit from it,” she said.
Voters approved two propositions on Tuesday, Nov. 19 that will allow the Mineola School District to tap $3.8 million capital reserve funds to make various repairs at its schools and to fund its reserve up to $15 million.
Voter turnout was low; a rarity in Mineola’s case, which routinely showcases high voter participation, from the most recent contested school board election in May or dating back to school reconfiguration.
Proposition one, which lets the district use monies for improvements, passed 363 to 112. Windows and doors at Jackson, Hampton Avenue, Meadow Drive and Cross Street schools need to be replaced, according to District Superintendent Michael Nagler.
It was Dec. 8, 1888 when a group of people met to discuss forming a fire department in Mineola. Within three weeks of its inception, the company gained 23 members at its first meeting in February of 1889. In the spring of that year, Mineola’s Engine Company No. 1 blared its first siren.
One-hundred twenty five years later, the company is still going strong, responding to calls at all hours of the day. The Village of Mineola commemorated the company’s anniversary on Wednesday, Nov. 20, presenting honorary pins to each member of the engine company.
Mineola American Legion Commander Carl Marchese led the Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11. He addressed a gathering of Mineola residents held on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, coinciding with Armistice Day, which marked the end of hostilities in World War I, the so-called “war to end all wars.”
Marchese served at Fort Bragg, N.C. for airborne training. He trained with the U.S. Rangers at Fort Benning, GA in 1961. From there, he received his posting to Fort Dix, N.J. as a company officer for advanced infantry training. What was supposed to be a short stay ended with an 18-month commission because of the escalation of the Berlin Wall crisis.
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