The Year In Review January - April 2004

      Tinnerello has long been a driving force in the community, a largely unheralded volunteer who years ago helped resurrect the disorganized and moribund East Meadow Little League.       
      Over the years he dedicated virtually all of his free time to the league, attending board meetings, planning fund-raisers, courting sponsors and the like.

The ax falls at hospital

      The Nassau Health Care Corporation announced that it was laying off 260 employees to close out 2003.
      The cuts were part of a 7.5 percent corporation layoff announced by then President and CEO Richard Turan in September.
      Up until that point it was the second time in as many years the Nassau Health Care Corporation, which runs the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, cut staff to close a gaping financial deficit.

Fire claims two lives

      Volunteers with the East Meadow Fire Department rushed to fight a dramatic Rosemont Street blaze in North Bellmore on New Year's Day.
      The fire claimed Christine Matisil, 82, and her 54-year-old son David, who had Down Syndrome.
      David was bedridden and couldn't escape the fast-moving fire. Christine and her husband Max, 82, manage to lift David and though the husband fled to safety, the mother refused to leave her son's side.

Vandals target temple

      Just two months after three windows were broken at the Community Reform Temple in an apparent anti-Semitic act of vandalism, another Salisbury synagogue was targeted.       
      In three separate incidents from Jan. 2 to Jan. 9, eight windows were broken at the Temple Sholom, 675 Brookside Court.
      The temple is just blocks from the Community Reform Temple.

Nocturnal nuisance

      Residents shined the spotlight on a 24-hour car wash at Hempstead Turnpike and Front Street, where, they said, bright lights shine through the night, disrupting neighbors' sleep and blinding passing drivers.
      Ron Lupski, who lives in a Front Street home directly across from Miami Car Wash, said the light from the roughly 20 fixtures that line the building's perimeter shine intrusively into his elderly mother's bedroom at night, even when his blinds were fully drawn.
      Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes said he received several complaints on the car wash, which was asked to shield its lights.

Student named Intel semifinalist

      Emily Mathews, a senior at W.T. Clarke High School, was one of 300 students nationwide named a semifinalist of the prestigious Intel Science Research Competition.
      Mathews' project examined whether a high school's diversity has an impact on how its students view various racial and ethnic groups.

Navy takes 2nd look at analysis

      The U.S. Navy decided to re-evaluate the results of its 2002 Long Island housing market analysis, which precipitated the planned sale of the military quarters at Mitchel Manor and Mitchel Field.
      The original analysis found enough affordable private housing on Long Island to sustain the military families stationed locally.
      Residents of Mitchel Manor and Mitchel Field argued, however, hotly contested that contention and lobbied the Navy to review its results.

Students charged in attack

      Four Clarke High School students were arrested for beating an East Meadow High School teen and his friend.
      The superintendent of the East Meadow School District mulled what disciplinary action, if any, to take against the boys.

Burn Center in jeopardy?

      Fed up with Nassau University Medical Center's financial woes and the snail-like progress of the planned renovation of its renowned Burn Center, the Nassau County Firefighters Burn Center Foundation considered taking its money elsewhere.       
      The foundation, which raises thousands of dollars for NUMC's Burn Center, fired off a letter Jan. 7 stating that "several developments have occurred that have caused the foundation's board of directors to question NUMC's ability to maintain the center."
      While the care at the Burn Center is still second to none, the foundation said that the facility is run down and in need of repairs.


Hospital report released

      A law firm hired by Nassau County to study the Nassau Health Care Corporation's financial woes, revealed in its report that without serious reductions in staffing, the elimination of certain service and the development of affiliation contracts with successful health care systems, the corporation's future is bleak.
      The report and its solutions, devised by Manatt Phelps Phillips LLP, is now being used as a comprehensive road map for the corporation's road to recovery.

Chamber fete

      At its annual installation dinner, the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce welcomed Brandon Bloom as its next president.
      At 27, Bloom, co-owner of Sir Speedy Printing in Westbury, was the youngest to ever serve as chamber president.

A heart-felt gesture

      The Herald chronicled the story of Shelby Caban, the 10-year-old East Meadow girl who received a heart transplant in January.
      Shelby suffered from restrictive cardiomyopathy, a condition in which heart muscle stiffening prevents the chambers of the heart from properly filling with blood.
      Through her long stint in the hospital and recovery at home, the Caban family received an outpouring of support from the East Meadow community.

Teens punished

      Superintendent Dr. Robert Dillon suspended the after-school privileges of the four W.T. Clarke High School students who allegedly beat up an East Meadow High School football player and his friend.
      The punishment meant the student would not be able to take part in any after-school programs, including sports. Three of the four boys were co-captains of the Clarke varsity football team.

Union protests hospital cuts

      Wielding signs and shouting slogans like, "Chop from the top," doctors, nurses and other Nassau Health Care Corporation staff gathered in the shadows of Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow last Wednesday to protest the recent layoffs.
      The rally--organized by the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents about 3,000 health care corporation workers--was called in response to a Nassau County report that recommended the corporation consider, among other measures, cutting more staff to close its gaping financial wounds.

Navy changes its mind

      The Navy decided that about half the homes in Mitchel Manor and Mitchel Field would be kept as military housing when the other half is sold off in 2006.       
      Following a meeting in Washington with Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, vocal opponents of the Navy's attention to sell the properties, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England agreed to keep 250 of the 510 units at Mitchel Manor and Mitchel Field for families of servicemen and women stationed locally.
      The Navy had previously considered selling the entire properties, until the servicemen and women living there spoke out against the move.

Librarian mourned

      Marilyn Bunshaft, who worked as a community information and referral aide at the East Meadow Public Library for 15 years, died after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 68.

Marathon takes to the streets

      The Herald revealed that the Long Island Marathon was planning to shift its route off the Wantagh Parkway and onto local streets, including those in the Salisbury-East Meadow area, a move that had civic leaders concerned.       
      Citing safety, traffic and sanitation concerns, East Meadow civic leaders were afraid the new route would create a logistical nightmare.

Bush bash
      It was revealed that President George W. Bush was planning a fund-raiser at the Carltun in East Meadow's Eisenhower Park in March.

Home Depot concerns raised
      Representatives of the Home Depot on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow met with Hempstead Town officials and a Front Street resident to discuss ongoing gripes locals have with the hardware superstore.
      Since the Home Depot moved in nearly 15 years ago, homeowners living directly behind it on Front Street have lodged myriad complaints with the store and the Town of Hempstead, saying delivery trucks are unloading as early as 3 a.m. when they should be unloading no earlier than 7 a.m.
      They also charged that the trucks, which block parking spaces and free access to the lot, idle for extended time periods, giving off fumes and excessive engine noise.


Illegal rentals discussed

      Residents spoke out against illegal rentals in East Meadow, saying they drain tax-driven services in the neighborhood, destroy the quality of life and drive down property values.
      Those who lived in the community for years said they've noticed a marked increase in illegal rentals, including homeowners who fix up rooms to rent out for extra income who fix up rooms to rent for extra income and absentee landlords who buy houses and parcel them out to as many as four families at a time.
      Speaking at a Council of East Meadow Community Organizations meeting, Hempstead Town officials said they're fighting an uphill battle.
      The lack of the affordable housing in Nassau County has been largely viewed as the reason for the spike in illegal rentals.

Scores soar at Meadowbrook

      Meadowbrook Elementary School significantly raised its scores in the fourth-grade English Language Arts exam and was among the most improved schools in the state over the past five years, according to a state Department of Education analysis released.

East Meadow burglaries up

      A Herald report revealed that burglaries in East Meadow were way up since the beginning of the year.
      There were 11 burglaries between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23, police reports showed compared to the one break-in that happened during the same period in 2003.
      Residents were urged to keep doors and windows locked and a few lights on when leaving their homes.
Deal on mosque proposal

      The Long Island Muslim Society has agreed to build a significantly scaled down version of the house of worship it originally proposed for East Meadow Avenue, a plan warmly received by East Meadow community leaders.
      In a quiet, closed-door meeting that was a stark contrast to the loud and contentious one held over a year ago, the Muslim Society revealed plans to build a 2,590-square-foot house of worship, about 35 feet wide and 18 feet high.
      The Muslim Society originally planned to combine the two small houses it owns on East Meadow Avenue into a two-story mosque, which many nearby residents opposed.

Bush breaks ground

      President George W. Bush came to East Meadow, to break ground on Nassau County's Sept. 11 memorial in Eisenhower Park and to raise funds for his bid for re-election.
      Bush's visit drew significant demonstrations from both supporters and protesters alike.

County pushes to control geese

      Nassau County put the call out for volunteers in its crusade to control Canada geese, the birds that have had the run of most parks and other open spaces in recent years.
      Thanks to a $200,000 federal grant, the county was looking to expand the non-lethal geese abatement project it introduced over a year before.

Fire claims young life

      Some 55 firefighters and eight trucks from the North Bellmore Fire Department rushed to 76 Taylor Ave., where a fire broke out, eventually claiming the life of 25-year-old Mark Bernetti.
      Bernetti, a student working on his master's in history at Hunter College, had dreamed of one day becoming a teacher.

NHCC officials settle ethics charges

      The seven Nassau Health Care Corporation administrators charged in 2003 with violating state ethics law reached a settlement.
      The group, which included NHCC President and CEO Richard Turan, agreed to pay over $12,000 to the state Ethics Commissioner after they had been charged with accepting gifts from companies seeking contracts with the corporation.
      The charges dealt with violations of the public officers law, which prohibits public employees from accepting gifts over $75 from anyone seeking to do business with that entity.

Civic leader wins awards

      Helen Meittinis, president of the Community Association of Carman Avenue, won the Nassau County Trailblazer and Hempstead Town Pathfinder awards, which both honor the outstanding achievements of local women.


Cops tackle burglaries

      First Precinct police officials met with residents to discuss, among other things, the recent spike in house burglaries.
      Inspector Patrick O'Connor, the precinct commander, said East Meadow's increase was part of a precinct-wide trend that encompassed nearby Bellmore, Uniondale, Baldwin and Roosevelt.
Clarke robot wins big

      The robot the W.T. Clarke High School students built for the FIRST Robotics Long Island regionals took home the Motorola Quality Award and placed as a second finalist in the competition.
      The FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, robotics competition challenges students and their professional mentors to design a robot out of a kit of parts and a standard set of rules that solves a specific problem posed.
      The students, under the instruction of teacher Mike Conners, spent six weeks conceptualizing and building their robot. The result was a creation the students affectionately nicknamed "The Schwartz," a term pulled from the 1980s movie comedy "Space Balls."

Turn up the juice

      The Herald detailed Trigen power company's plans to build an 80-megawatt power plant to provide the Long Island Power Authority with enough juice to light 80,000 homes.
      Residents and environmentalists cautiously eyed the plan, questioning the plants impact on the surrounding ecology, emissions and sound output.
      Trigen has run the county's Central Utilities Plant in Mitchel Field since 1987, as well as a 57-megawatt generator it built there in 1991, and provides heating and cooling for the Nassau Coliseum, the Nassau University Medical Center and other nearby buildings.

Herald garners 13 awards

      New York Press Association judges recognized Herald Community Newspapers staffers for their commitment to quality community journalism, calling them to the podium 13 times at awards ceremonies in Saratoga Springs, NY for NYPA's 2003 Better Newspaper Contest.
      The East Meadow Herald won first place for best news story, an article on a job action at the Nassau County jail, and third place for coverage of crime.

Brothel busted

      A Flushing woman was busted for prostitution, as police and town officials slammed the door on another East Meadow house of ill repute.
      The brothel was adjacent to a deli in a shopping center on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike, across the street from the old Pep Boys and Staples buildings.
      There a woman was arrested after allegedly offering an undercover detective a sexual favor in exchange for money.

A look at Megan's law

      State Assembly Republicans proposed legislation aimed at Strengthening Megan's Law, after 11-year-old Carlie Brucia was raped and strangled in Florida. The young Brucia had lived for a time in Bellmore.
      The legislation called for all sex offenders to register with the Sex Offender Registry, not just the level-three sex offenders, who are consider the most dangerous.

Alcohol series begins

      The Herald kicked off its year-long series on teenage drinking with a story on a new machine that scans the bar codes on various forms of identification to show that they're valid and the person is the age he or she claims to be.
      The prevailing belief among local bar owners and managers is that the new devices keep underage kids out and protect business owners from having their liquor licenses revoked.

New route agreed on

      Police and Long Island Marathon planners finalized the new route for the annual race, shifting it onto more local thoroughfares, including roads in Salisbury and East Meadow.
      By cutting out much of the long trip down the Wantagh Parkway and adding more local streets, it was hoped that the new route would encourage more spectators to come out and see the race.
      Though East Meadow civic leaders worried that the new route would raise traffic, sanitation and safety issues, Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said she didn't think it would have as much of an impact as some worried.

Curtain opens on Little League season

      The Central Nassau Little League officially kicked off its season with a parade and ceremony paying homage to deceased coaches and players as well as outgoing President Ron Landini.
      Escorted by Nassau County police and the East Meadow and Westbury fire departments, scores of children paraded their way down Carman Avenue to the ballfields on Salisbury Park Drive, as small handfuls of proud parents looked on.

Down in the dumps

      Town of Hempstead sanitation workers staged a rally in protest of the department's decision to eliminate overtime and hire outside mechanics to work on garbage trucks and other vehicles.
      More than 100 members of Civil Service Employees Association Local 880, gathered in front of its headquarters at 1580 Merrick Road in Merrick.

Woman murdered in illegal apartment

      Police were looking into the murder of an unidentified woman who was found stabbed to death in an illegal apartment on Post Street in East Meadow.
      The woman was found stabbed to death under a bed, covered with a blanket at 2389 Post Street, which was being rented out to five tenants.
      Those who have lived in the community for years said they have noticed a marked spike in illegal rentals and cite myriad problems that have come with that increase.

Teens back on field

      The East Meadow School District cut a deal with the W.T. Clarke High School athletes who police charged in a January assault of two other students, allowing them to take part in sports in exchange for school service.
      News of the deal angered William Tuthill, whose son William was assaulted along with a friend, because the superintendent assured him that the boys would not play sports until June 1.

Budget blues
      The East Meadow School District revealed its 2004-05 proposed budget, under which it estimated property taxes would go up 8.8 percent.