At a time of school tax increases surpassing those of personal income while education costs, including benefits, far exceed the inflation rate, it is imperative that elected school boards be sensitive to current and future financial liabilities as well as community educational needs. The era of knee jerk yeses to every demand must cease. It is not other people’s money. It is our money and should be managed for the common good, not special interests.
At the April 16 meeting of the Oyster Bay-E. Norwich School Board, I commented that the budget process was a disservice to the community due to not having the Preliminary Budget Draft available until the night of the budget adoption. The purpose of a Preliminary Budget is to compare figures from the prior year(s) and include the proposed figures. This draft should have been available in March to allow time for the school board and for the public to review before being adopted.
On April 25 the Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay celebrated 35 years of recognizing the contributions of its volunteers. Staff and seniors selected four volunteers for their efforts in making the Center a warm, welcoming and important resource for seniors in the surrounding communities.
As Silvana Gullo, Executive Director, explained, “Every volunteer is important to the well-being of the Center.” The seniors themselves help make up the 300+ daily volunteers performing such tasks such as preparing the monthly calendar mailed to members, which would be a very difficult undertaking if not for volunteers who fold, stuff and mail it to over 1,000 members! This is done with smiles from seniors and staff who enjoy working side by side. Other important volunteer tasks include driving seniors to medical appointments, visiting homebound seniors and nursing homes, organizing trips, managing the “Silver Threads” thrift shop, decorating for events, and greeting guests at reception.
For a board that has forever championed the term “transparency” as the hallmark of its administration and governance, now is the time and the opportunity for this board to demonstrate to the entire community of Oyster Bay-East Norwich its commitment and dedication to such a valuable concept.
With the departure of Superintendent of Schools, Phyllis Harrington, our school district finds itself at a most crucial crossroad. The transition from former Superintendent Harrington to the new superintendent can and should be a seamless transition.
Homeowners, who first filed for New York State’s School Tax Relief program (STAR exemption) in 1998, are looking at some new regulations that will require them to register again in order to receive their 2014 exemption.
These new rules are tied to a New York State Comptroller’s report that indicates that abuse and fraudulent filings for the Basic STAR program, on the part of some people within New York State, have cost all of us as taxpayers millions of dollars to date and promised to cost millions more if nothing changed.
On Saturday, April 27, the Town of Oyster Bay, the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association (NOBBA) and Friends of the Bay will, once again, join forces to sponsor the annual Oyster Bay Harbor Cleanup Day. Volunteers are needed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the boat ramps in Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, Larrabee Avenue, Oyster Bay.
This annual event is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, and the co-sponsors are hoping for an especially strong turnout of volunteers so the heavy debris loads created by Superstorm Sandy and the winter’s nor’easters can be cleared away. Local Baymen, among the hardy few who are on the water in every season, report that our beaches and shores are showing the effects of the extraordinary weather this past year.
As communities today struggle to recover from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, let’s take a look at how one community on Long Island faced a financial crisis during the 1969 recession…
During the summer of 1969, the cost of living was soaring and meat was increasingly more expensive. Middle-class consuming families were choosing to buy cheaper cuts; while, many working-class families as well as senior citizens on fixed incomes were finding it impossible to afford even the cheapest cuts of meat like hamburger. Unwittingly following in the footsteps of thousands of housewives before them, two women in Levittown kicked off a consumer protest that gained national attention.
While I’m in total agreement with John Owens’ “Buttafuocoed” views about Long Island, I have some disagreements with John Collins’ reaction letter published last week (“Joey’s Legacy”).
Collins is absolutely right when he says that “[Long Island] lacks political leadership that has any sense of vision for this area. The politicians are too vested in partisan politics and patronage. They lack the intelligence, experience and commitment to develop any bold, creative solutions to Long Island’s challenges...how dysfunctional the governmental process is in both counties. It is a half-century history of one stupid decision after another.”
I’ll spare you the family photos of the Eiffel Tower and the parking lot where King Richard 111 was buried, but I’m just back from a family trip to France and England.
There’s nothing like going abroad to pick up a new appreciation for a great American habit of mind: we are people of the present. Americans tend to believe that we can and should remake the world anew in our own image, and that all solutions come from bringing the freshest possible thinking to today’s challenges.
One of our surest signs of spring around Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor is the return of our ospreys. Males should be arriving any day now, and their female companions should follow in a couple of weeks from their wintering grounds in Florida and South America. Ospreys mate for life, and often return to the same nest year after year.
Ospreys inhabit every continent except Antarctica, and populations appear to be healthy and stable after a serious decline in the 1960’s and 70’s, probably due to the pesticide DDT.
There are a number of nesting sites around our Bay and Harbor, many on purpose-built platforms, easily recognized by the large tangles of sticks, which form the foundation of the nest.
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