Mara Levi sits at the bar of her restaurant, her feet hanging over the black and white checkered floor, enjoying a sandwich and a glass of white wine. She laughs as her son, and restaurant chef, Josh, on the other side of the bar, yells at her for swearing.
“When the kids were little,” Levi laughed, “they had a curse jar that they’d make me put a dollar in every time I swore. They’d take the money and go to the movies.” That lighthearted, kitchen-table spirit imbues Mara’s Homemade, her family-run Southern cuisine restaurant in Syosset. Known for its crawfish boil, Cajun flavor and Arkansas-styled barbeque, Mara’s is The Real Thing. “I eat here every day,” she said with her slight Southern drawl. “We all do.”
The turbulent redistricting process in Nassau County came to an end last week with a party line vote approving a map drawn up by the Republican majority, But the strong possibility of a lawsuit by those opposed to the new map looms.
Republican legislators were booed by members of the audience as they voted for the GOP map. Critics of the map had held out hope that Legislator Denise Ford, who had voted against a similar Republican map in 2011, would vote against her caucus, but she voted with the majority. The map passed 10-9.
Though he has to contend with Tom Suozzi to challenge Ed Mangano for the Nassau County seat, Democrat Adam Haber said he knows what will happen.
“I’m not going to get the nomination,” he said in a sitdown with Anton Newspapers last week. “I’m going to run a primary. I’m going to do exactly what Suozzi did against [Thomas] DiNapoli. He didn’t get the nomination. He ran a primary and I’m going to win the primary.”
It all began with a flier.
When Lisa Haime’s son came home from school with a flier about the Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit organization that allows inner city kids a chance to spend a week in the suburbs with a host family during the summer, she knew she had to be involved.
“I knew immediately it was what I wanted to do. These kids don’t have much and I thought it would be a good chance to make a difference,” Haime said.
You can’t spell the word casino without “no,” and that’s what many people are saying to the idea of a casino in Nassau County—loudly and emphatically. Local elected officials Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, Legislator Delia Deriggi-Whitton, Legislator and Mayor Wayne Hall have partnered with N-RAGED (Nassau Residents Against Gambling Enterprise Development) to lead the fight against gambling in Nassau County. N-RAGED, a newly-created coalition of concerned Nassau residents, hopes to prevent gambling establishments from invading Nassau neighborhoods.
Hundreds of illegal guns were taken off Nassau County Streets, thanks to a gun buyback program held at Grace Cathedral in Uniondale. The 330 guns removed from communities include 195 handguns, 15 assault rifles, 7 sawed off shotguns, two Tec-9’s and more.
The Gun Buy Back Program is strictly anonymous and individuals were paid $100 cash for every turned in operable rifle, $200 cash for each turned in operable handgun and $400 cash for each turned in operable assault rifle. Not accepted were: licensed guns, BB Guns, air pistols, long guns and replicas.
New map, different day; after passionate complaints from the public about the redistricting map proposed by the Republican members of the Nassau County Temporary Redistricting Commission (now dissolved as per the county charter), the Republican side of the legislature has presented a new, revised map: however, as far as most speakers at a hearing at the Feb. 11 Rules Committee hearing were concerned, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Nevertheless, the rules committee passed the map 4-3 in a party line vote; barring an eleventh-hour surprise, it is expected to pass the Republican-controlled legislature at the next meeting on Feb. 25.
Tom Suozzi, who last week announced he is a candidate for Nassau County Executive, said Syosset would be among the “cool downtowns” where he would like to see businesses, residences, and entertainment venues, all close to the LIRR stations, open up in an effort to revitalize the local economy.
Suozzi, a Democrat, called his plan “Redevelop 1 percent:” He explained that this means keeping most of the county the same, but putting what resources there are into redeveloping key downtown areas situated near train stations, such as downtown Syosset. According to Suozzi, if the downtown areas in the county are smartly redeveloped into places where people can affordably shop, work, commute to work, live and hang out, businesses—as well as the Island’s fleeing young people— will want to stay.
Television crews from channels 12, 5 and 11 came to the Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School’s grand opening of its “Heroic Long Island” museum on Jan. 31.
They came to cover the story of one of their own, foreign correspondent Marie Colvin, with roots in Oyster Bay and East Norwich. The museum, located in the high school library honors legendary Long Island figures now including journalist Colvin, who was slain while covering the Syrian uprising in February 2012. Colvin’s mother, Marie, and sister, Cat, attended the opening.
“They were coming to cover the story of a fellow journalist,” said Rosemarie Colvin, Marie’s mother.
More than three months have passed since Superstorm Sandy struck Long Island, but its effects are still very much present. At the most recent board meeting of the Town of Oyster Bay, recovery from the storm dominated the conversation.
“I don’t know if everybody understands the level of human suffering that is still going on,” said Town Supervisor John Venditto. “I don’t think there is an awareness of how ugly it is and just how hard the Town of Oyster Bay workforce is working.”
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