My name is Margaret Ballantyne-Mannion, Ph.D., and I am a candidate for the Mineola School District Board of Education. My family moved to the district in 1972. I graduated from Adelphi University with a B.A. in Spanish and earned my M.A. and Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. Since 1984 when my husband, Luke Mannion, and I married, we have lived in the school district. We have two sons, Thomas, 24, and William, currently a junior at Mineola High School.
The reason I am seeking election to the board is simple: I am excited about the recent accomplishments of the district and I am eager to help the teachers and administrators continue to offer the very best educational experiences and opportunities to all our students, on all levels. We have outstanding teachers who are developing challenging and meaningful curriculum, technology that outshines all other districts in New York State, a recognized music program, a full range of extracurricular activities for all students, a fiscally responsible administration and students who make all of us proud. Mineola is at a tipping point and I think that my educational background and professional experience would allow me to help advance the district’s mission.
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. The two have lived in Mineola for 60 years, and this popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
Daniel Boone and Kit Carson rode their horses down Jericho Turnpike. It was really John DaVanzo and me and a celebration held by the village. Later, John and I rode our horses dressed as colonial soldiers. John and I rode together for many years at the Muttontown Preserve and Bethpage State Park. Later, we rode bikes together, going about 16 miles. I came to Mineola knowing nobody, while John was a man born in the village and the owner of three businesses. When I first saw him, he was pumping gas at his station. I told him my name and that I was going to start a paper in Mineola. John gave me a broad smile and said he would help any way he could. I’m a lifelong Democrat and recently I was honored by the party. Senator Chuck Schumer, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and all the leading Democrats were there. John DaVanzo, the top Republican in the village and in the town came. I was amazed that he would come and be the sole Republican in the room. That’s the way John always was – friendship above party. What a man he was. His soul is now with God.
I will be submitting my petition to run for trustee of the Mineola School Board of Education. As an appointed trustee, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of what the position entails. I’ve witnessed that the wonderful things happen within our district because of the hard work and tough decisions of many people.
I think it was sometime after our tenth snowstorm that some of the most die-hard New Yorkers I know said Florida wasn’t looking too bad. Truth be told, when people leave the Empire State, it’s not in search of better weather, it’s mostly in search of a better life.
Did you know that from 2000 to 2010 New York lost more than 1.6 million residents to other states? They left because life here was just too expensive. Whether it’s seniors on fixed incomes, young people just starting out or fed up couples in between, they started to feel that life elsewhere would be easier. That’s bad for our economy and worse for the families and friends impacted by separation.
Our friends and neighbors are not leaving their childhood homes, the communities they helped build, because they want to; they’re leaving because they need to. That’s the unfortunate truth — New Yorkers have historically been chased away by high costs and taxes.
Nassau County’s animal protection agency just launched a new website feature that offers another way to report animal cruelty, and at the same time announced cash rewards of up to $5,000 for folks who turn in abusers. Officials were joined at a press conference by Miss Harper, a rescued pup whose ears and a leg had been cut off.
The Nassau SPCA has never offered rewards before, in part due to a perennial shortage of funding. But the county has seen a disturbing rise in animal cruelty, officials said, and the outrage sparked by incidents such as the death of 13 dogs in a garage fire in
February opened a floodgate of donations—some $15,000 so far.
Can you hear it? Listen closely and you’ll recognize the harmony of thousands of voices woefully singing, “It’s the Same Old Song” by the Four Tops. They’re parents from Buffalo to Montauk singing because the New York City-led state assembly voted to return three of the four Board of Regents members to their positions this past week. And the fourth one was only replaced because he resigned. That just about locks him in as the smartest member as far as I’m concerned, because he realized he was in over his head.
The Board of Regents is New York’s 17-member board that dictates education policy to school districts across the state as well as shapes procedures at universities, adult education programs and even manages the licensing of professionals like architects and dentists.
This tone-deaf crowd is also responsible for the disastrous Common Core rollout that has become the bane of parents, educators and students. That’s why I voted ‘no’ to reappointing all the incumbent Board of Regents members who were seeking another term.
I wanted to write something poetic here. My intention was to memorialize a good friend with words that would strengthen those of us who loved him while capturing his extraordinary spirit for those who didn’t know him. But I got stuck, starting and stopping a good half a dozen times as no words seemed to be doing my sentiments justice. Then, as providence would have it, I came across a quote from the American essayist, E.B. White, who wrote “To achieve style, begin by affecting none.”
So I will affect none. I’ll do away with flowery phrases and just tell you a little bit about my good friend, John DaVanzo. who passed away on March 21 at the age of 92. He wouldn’t have wanted anything written about him anyway, but if it was to be, my plainspoken friend would have told me to “say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, have lived in
Mineola for 60 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
• • • •
Bill Donohue, head of The Catholic League, says that it is a lie that gays can’t march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They can march with their counties like Derry, Mayo or Tipperary. No special interest groups can march like Clean Air or Stop Russian Aggression. I was talking to Bill at Corpus Christi Church where he attends Mass.
I want to take a moment to clear some things up. There’s been speculation in the New York and Washington media the last few weeks that I would be running for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s congressional seat here on Long Island, as she is retiring after nearly two decades of service. While I am honored by the outpouring of support encouraging me to do so, I will be continuing my work with the New York State Senate.
I admit that I am tempted to try to bring some common sense to the three-ring circus that’s set up tent in Washington. You may recall that I ran against the incumbent Ms. McCarthy for that very seat six years ago and since that time, Congress’ inability to get anything done seems to have only gotten worse. But it wasn’t that long ago that Albany suffered the same malady. Thankfully we’re turning that around but the bi-partisan progress we’ve made in our state capitol is in no way safe.
John DaVanzo never let me pay for lunch in the four years that I’ve been editor of the Mineola American. I managed to sneak a check by him a last year at Shaker’s on Mineola Boulevard, but boy was he angry when he came back from the restroom.
He wasn’t angry in the literal sense, but wanted to set an example. I recall, not entirely what he said, but it went something like this: “I want you to take care of the youngster you buy lunch 70 years from now.”
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