It began with a text from my co-worker and good friend, Rich Forestano, asking, “Want to fly in a fighter jet?”
The day of that particular inquiry was May 11.
Sure enough, fifteen days later – Rich is a man of his word – we flew.
Should the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District keep MAP (Middle School Advisory Program), a short program held at the middle schools designed to help students develop positive character traits at a critical time in their development and create a community environment? That was one of the many questions board of education members discussed at the Monday, May 23 board of education meeting. In addition to a MAP report, the board also heard reports, and held discussions on several other topics at the three-hours-plus meeting.
Before delving into the reports, the board awarded tenure to several teachers and administrators: Dolores Binstock (Pupil Personnel Assistant Director Grades 5-8), Maria Carnesi (Social Studies Chairman), Sammy Gergis (Assistant Business Administrator), Catherine Maiman (Pupil Personnel Assistant Director Pre-K through Grade 4), Beth Torreano (Assistant Principal of Mattlin Middle School), and Jeffrey Yagaloff (English Chairman).
Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt decided to mix things up at the special meeting of the Nassau County Legislature on Tuesday, May 24: Instead of adhering to the schedule, he decided to address the redistricting vote—the last item on the legislative calendar for that meeting- first. Angry Democratic legislators pointed out that the residents who had come to speak on the topic of authorizing financing for new projects in the Nassau Hub- the first item on the calendar- would have to wait several hours, and asked that the Hub item be called first, but Schmitt would not budge. As a result, it was nearly four hours before the Hub issue was called, after the legislature passed the redistricting plan 10-8.
Many residents at the May 9 legislative redistricting hearing stated that the Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature was moving ahead with the proposed redistricting plan far too quickly; apparently, they were not alone in that view.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Steven M. Jaeger issued a temporary restraining order against the county legislature on May 12, barring them from implementing the plan until the next court hearing on Thursday, May 26; originally, the item was set to go to a vote on Monday, May 16.
The Girls Varsity Softball team had a very exciting and successful season. Their overall record of 8-4 came from a challenging schedule with many hard- fought wins. The workhorse on the mound was junior pitcher Katie Rutcofsky, who pitched in every conference game. Rutcofsky had to pitch several times on back-to-back days and pitched in four extra-inning games- of which three were eight innings, and one was a 10-inning affair.
As three candidates vied for two seats on the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District Board of Education, incumbents Debbie Bernstein and Ginger Lieberman attempted to leverage their experience, while challenger Charles Mazzocchi said he could offer the board a fresh perspective. While the hour-and-a-half long forum was cordial, with candidates rarely talking out of turn, the challenger did disagree with the incumbents on several issues; the two incumbents mostly agreed. The candidates are presented here in the order that they read their opening statements.
Calling the May 9 redistricting hearing “contentious” would be a gross understatement. While many of the residents and elected officials who took the podium criticized the plan logically and eloquently, there was a lot of screaming and yelling in the chamber. While the audience in the chamber was diverse in every respect, many members of the minority groups whose current alleged under-representation the redistricting plan is supposedly intended to correct, were present to tell Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt-in no uncertain terms-that he does not speak for them.
Minority Leader Diane Yatauro also did not mince words: “This hearing is nothing but a farce...I can tell you how most of this self-serving ‘Republican Protection Plan’ will play out today, over the next week. Here’s what will happen: We know that Peter Schmitt will claim to be the great protector of the minority community…” (the rest of this sentence was inaudible due to audience laughter). “Just as they were spending millions of dollars to defend the NIFA fight, but to no avail, as the Republicans were shot down in court, we’re expecting the same action. And that’s where this will end up again- in court,” Yatauro said.
Students who visit Old Bethpage Village Restoration are usually tasked with imagining what it was like to live in the past. However, during the 13th Annual Long Island Envirothon, held on the Restoration grounds on April 26, high school students from all over Nassau and Suffolk counties were given a very different, but equally valid task: to look at the present, and, more importantly, the future, from the viewpoint of environmental conservation.
The sun smiled down on the parking lot of Manetto Hill Jewish Center on Sunday morning, May 1. On one of the first warm days of spring, the warmth of an entire congregation could be felt. A prideful group of onlookers sat on folding chairs, watching as Rabbi David Ross Senter, ranking members of the temple, and local town officials dedicated a 150-year-old Torah to be used during religious services.
The Plainview-Old Bethpage Library Board of Trustees held their monthly meeting on April 20 in room C&D of the library. The major topic was the upcoming budget vote and general library finances.
Currently, the library is planning to propose a budget of $6,583,900 to be voted on at the May 17 election. $6,180,150 of the total number will be raised by taxpayers. Although the number may seem daunting to some, the board believes that the figure is a fair one, they explained. The only portion of significant increase lies in the money allocated to employee benefits.
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