Regarding this past Fourth of July, I thought I’d go beyond a column wishing you the usual round of safe holidays and hearty barbecues. Don’t get me wrong. Of course, I hope your holiday will be all of those things and more, but sentiment alone is never enough for a thoughtful column. Instead, I thought we could reflect on a more particular aspect of the holiday and how it may actually apply to some good news about our home state of New York.
As I was exiting the senate chamber at the end of our legislative session few weeks ago, one of my colleagues wished me a “Happy Independence Day.” His phraseology gave me pause. You simply don’t hear too many people choose “Happy Independence Day” over “Fourth of July” anymore.
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Corpus Christi Church was filled as they concelebrated its feast day. This is the church’s 111th year. The readings and the singing were in both English and Portuguese as the two choirs joined together. The Mass was celebrated with the pastor Msgr. Monsignor Robert Coyle, Father Gabriel and Deacon Mannix. Coyle said the “Lords Prayer” in English and Portuguese. He noted that we have Masses in Spanish also. “We serve three cultures,” he said. Among those present were State Senator Jack Martins and his wife Paula, Jack’s father Antonio Martins, John Davanzo and Bob and Pat Hinck. The Mass concluded with a procession around the inside of the church.
There certainly must have been a lot of disappointment in the days leading up to the Belmont Stakes as thoroughbred racehorse and Triple-Crown favorite, I’ll Have Another, showed signs of tendonitis and was scratched. I imagine it must have wreaked a fair amount of havoc on the sport, but I think most notable was the widespread, collective letdown that people experienced. Maybe we fall victim to so much press hype but I think it has something more to do with human nature. People love a winner, especially one that overcomes the odds, indisputably, three times over.
I feel that same sense of Triple Crown anticipation in the New York Senate as we passed a bill last week that would restore the STAR Property Tax Rebate checks. The bill (S.7447) that I co-sponsored would mean $202 million back in the pockets of senior citizens in the 2012-13 school year and $1.2 billion back to middle class families starting in 2013-14.
Crackling of firecrackers, the searing sound of bottle rockets and shine of sparkling sparklers sets the tone for summer. Not the 21st day of June and certainly not the first 90-degree day, although some would beg to differ.
I remember as a child trekking out to Jones Beach to watch fireworks, at least before it kept getting canceled and the church up the block from my house would put on a show as well.
I’m a sucker for a good movie set “back in the day.” They make me imagine what it was like, considering I’m not of primary source age or knowledge-wise in certain time periods. Maybe it’s because of the way things looked. Maybe everything seemed much more vibrant. I don’t know. I’m rambling.
Places like the Mineola Diner and Biscuits & Barbecue, which is right next door to Anton Community Newspapers, give me that sense of nostalgia when I pass the diner on Willis Avenue and Jericho Turnpike or B&B walking to the office each day. I imagine groups of men and women in hats and fedoras chomping down on breakfast and lunch. I picture an old Coke machine spitting out glass bottles of sweet delight.
I have never made pancakes. I can admit that. I’ve made steak, cooked beefy orzo, linguini with clam sauce, among other things, but not the circle shaped deliciousness that I prefer as a short stack. However, I will try in preparation for Father’s Day.
My inspiration came from the Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast held by Boy Scout Troop 45. They will hold its annual event on Sunday, June 17 at Knights of Columbus Hall on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola from 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Sometimes I look at my four daughters and catch my breath, not just because they’re beautiful (although I think they are), but because I wonder how in the world my wife and I are going to pay for their college educations. It’s not just us. It seems as if every couple we speak to has precisely the same dilemma. And almost everyone’s response is the same: get anxious, then get angry about tuition rates, and then try to ignore it for lack of a better answer. It’s not much of a plan, but unfortunately many people are pinning their hopes on scholarships and loans.
So today, I’d like to share my own thoughts about the student loan crisis, which has been drawing national attention as of late and how I think we’re responsible for a bit of this mess. I think it’s a worthwhile discussion for us to have here at home on Long Island, and of course, I welcome your thoughts should you care to email me.
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