Albany is playing games again, and it looks like those of us who enjoy our state parks might be the losers!
The governor’s 2010-2011 budget calls for a 20 percent cut in the amount allotted for [New York] State Parks. What that means is that programs are going to be cut, and many state parks, including Heckscher, Valley Stream, Hempstead Lake and others here on Long Island, may be closed and dramatic cuts in hours and available services will be made at Connetquot and even at Jones Beach and Bethpage. Both environmental programs and recreational programs such as the State Parks Summer Run Series and State Parks Winter Run Series could be on the chopping block.
Compounding the problem is that none of the bureaucrats in the governor’s office seem to be willing to give the public any firm official word as to what is planned.
On Feb. 9, I stood with some of you and announced that I had lost the race for Assemblyman in the 15th District to my opponent.
We had only a month to prepare for that day, to make it known that there was a special election, to build support and to let people know what my ideas are and how I could move us forward.
I want to thank all my supporters who, on Feb. 9, elected me to serve as their assemblyman. I appreciate your vote and your support and I will work hard as your representative in Albany to make you proud. For those who did not vote for me, I want you to know that I will fight for you too and work diligently to give you the kind of dedicated representation you will be glad to support.
This is a new year for the Westbury School District.
As a taxpayer I already see things happening. Some administrators got raises [and] we have a new assistant superintendent, Robert M. Brisbane, who will be making $170,000 a year, four times as much as my husband makes a year as a truck mechanic, a hard job out in the cold. I hope the new assistant superintendent will be good at his job and worth the money he receives.
On the other hand, the school’s secretaries have been without a contract since June 2009. They work very hard in our school district and long hours. Also, the principal at the middle school has been out almost a year and a half with a paid salary; the district will not tell us why or what happened but the acting principal, Mr. Hinson, is doing a great job and should be able to keep the job title.
In an effort to fight waste in New York state government and bring our state back into prosperity, Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R, C, I – East Meadow) joined his Assembly Republican colleagues in launching a new website, www.stopgovernmentwasteny.com, which will aid taxpayers and state employees in reporting any waste of taxpayer dollars.
“It is no secret that our state is in a fiscal crisis and is struggling to pay its bills. In order to keep ourselves afloat, we need to focus on reining in spending and, more importantly, eliminating waste of valuable tax dollars,” said McKevitt. “This website is just the beginning of what my conference and I are planning this year in the way of reform. We will be proposing many non-partisan bills in order to combat waste, fraud and abuse of the hard-earned money of New York residents.”
“For the last year, I have been working with my colleagues in Congress and the administration to avert drastic school safety cuts the president proposed in his 2010 budget. Sadly, a few weeks ago, it was officially reported that Long Island schools will lose more than $1.5 million next year because of the elimination of the state grants portion of the Safe and Drug-Free School (SDFS) program. I am greatly concerned by these cuts and have formally asked the administration to provide an explanation for the cuts and what they plan to do to assist our schools to provide a safe zone for our children.
“In Nassau County over the last few years, there has been a 91 percent spike in arrests on heroin-related crime. We have also had a problem with gang violence. While I appreciate that the funding level for national SDFS programs has increased, the cuts to the state grants piece is a big loss to our schools. While the funding, when spread throughout the various school districts, might seem small, it is extremely important to the schools and will cause school administrators to eliminate programs. Particularly in this tough economic climate, schools are already faced with difficult choices.
Nassau County Legislator Robert Troiano (D-Westbury) is pleased to announce a new website – www. coverage4healthcare.com – sponsored by the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council (NSHC) that helps the uninsured enroll in Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus.
“This new and improved, user-friendly, bi-lingual website helps our uninsured residents to enroll in the public insurance programs offered by NY State. The site is sponsored by the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council (NSHC), the association that represents all Long Island hospitals.”
At the recent memorial service for Damon “Dave” Mock, I heard stories about the fine man Dave was and his work at CBS radio and other venues. But I have fixed in my mind the Damon (I never learned to call him Dave, which irked him, and rightly so) I knew from our days at The Westbury Times together: the teenager bursting with talent and enthusiasm who seemed eager to get his life and career started.
I inherited Damon when I came to the Times in April 1985. He wrote a column about Westbury High School, “A View from the Bridge,” and spent as much time in the office as he possibly could. I sometimes found neatly typed notes on my desk: “If my mother calls, I wasn’t here today. I wasn’t here yesterday. You haven’t seen me all week.”
On behalf of the entire Westbury \Village family, I want to express my deep concern and sorrow for the tragic events that have occurred in Haiti these past days.
Westbury is the home of a sizeable Haitian community, and each and every one of those families has certainly been affected directly or indirectly by the earthquake and subsequent events in Haiti. Many still have family, friends and loved ones with whom they have not been able to communicate.
I want to wish all Westbury residents a very happy new year. With each new year comes new challenges and goals, and 2010 will not be an exception for the village.
The general feeling in the media and press seems to be that the economy is slowly beginning to turn more positive and that the past year’s economic crisis is subsiding. However, for municipal governments, like the Village of Westbury, the impacts of last year’s economic turmoil will likely be more evident in 2010 than last year. This is because last year, federal stimulus dollars were available to federal, state and county governments to fill in budget gaps. That money is not likely to be available in 2010. Governments will therefore have to resort to their own resources to make their budgets work.
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