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Great Neck Pols For Fair Elections

New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and State Senator Jack Martins have fought for years for villages, school districts, fire districts, library districts and other municipalities required to hold elections, to be permitted to use the old lever machines. The forced use of the new optical scan machines would be a financial burden on these municipalities and, in some cases, even be impossible to find. Several times over the past few years the two legislators successfully, though temporarily, fought for the exemption and won. During the last legislative session the exemption was extended for just one more year. And now the question remains: What next?

Will the lack of opportunity to find and use these optical scanner machines, or significant increased if found, force local municipalities to move backwards and use paper ballots? The Nassau County Board of Elections has already made public that they cannot supply the machines without millions of dollars of funding.

At the Oct. 27 Great Neck Village Officials Association meeting, Schimel presented the whole picture to Great Neck’s mayors and district leaders and advised as to how they can speak up and help. On or before Jan. 31, 2015, the state board of elections is required to submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the assembly, the temporary president of the senate and the chairs for the committees on election law of the senate and the assembly concerning the administration and financial implications of elections held by villages, school districts, fire districts, library districts and other municipalities required to hold elections. This report must contain recommendations and guidance for such villages, districts and municipalities concerning their ability to move to the use of voting systems compliant with the current election law. The report must also include an analysis of the cost and fiscal impact to each such municipality regarding the transition to a new voting system that complies with current law.

The law further states that, prior to preparing the report, the State board of elections is required to “solicit, and take into consideration, recommendations from stakeholders.”

Schimel then urged all local officials affected by this election law to write to the state board of elections by Nov. 17 (the deadline for comments selected by the board of elections) and submit their relevant information. Officials should submit any reports, impact statements or other adjunct information via email: election_ops@elections.ny.gov. Hard copies are to be mailed to: 40 North Pearl St., Suite 5, Albany, NY 12207.

“This is the right fight,” Schimel said.

And she added that mayors should “put residents on notice” that state law could well force these burdens on villages and districts, causing financial burdens ease of elections.

Great Neck Bridge Gets Rebuild

At long last the Metropolitan Transit Authority will replace the 115-year-old Colonial Road Bridge in Thomaston and extend a pocket track east of the Long Island Rail Road’s Great Neck Station. The total estimated cost for the entire project is $45.1 million, according to the MTA. This three-year project addresses the inherent safety fears surrounding the old bridge and finally permits the pocket track, which is a key component of the  LIRR’s East Side Access Readiness Plan.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2017 with the pocket track to cost an estimated $25.2 million and the new bridge $19.9 million for a total estimated cost of $45.1 million. The balance of the budget represents the cost of work that will be done by LIRR employees in the construction of the pocket track including utility relocation and power, signal, and switch installation.

“These infrastructure improvements will enable the LIRR to provide safe and reliable service on the Port Washington Branch for many years to come and give us the operational flexibility to provide better train service, especially when the East Side Access project is complete,” said LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski.

The new pocket track will extend an existing storage track to accommodate an additional 12-car train. Once complete, it will enable the LIRR to increase the number of trains it can turn at Great Neck, provide better rush hour service as well as seat availability from Great Neck and stations west of Great Neck.

The Colonial Road Bridge, built in 1897, crosses over the LIRR track a half-mile east of Great Neck Station in the Village of Thomaston. Maintenance of the bridge is the sole responsibility of the LIRR, whose engineering staff determined the structure is at the end of its useful life.

According to MTA officials, the new bridge will meet New York State Department of Transportation standards, which means wider travel vehicular travel lanes and improved pedestrian sidewalk. The project will also involve the construction of a new drainage system at track level that will eliminate a flooding problem that often hampers train service and include a retaining wall and landscaping which together will act as a sound barrier between the LIRR Right of Way and the local neighborhood.

East Side Access is scheduled for completion in 2022 and will enable Long Islander railroad riders to ride the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal and the East Side of Manhattan for the first time, saving customers who work on the East Side as much as 20 minutes commuting time in each direction. The Great Neck Pocket Track and new Colonial Road Bridge is part of the East Side Access Readiness Plan, one of five major infrastructure improvements the LIRR is planning in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk in support of future train service at Grand Central.

Former Thomaston Mayor Robert Stern, who recently retired, had worked long and hard over many years, fighting for his residents. Over the years Stern met regularly with MTA and LIRR officials, and, as well, worked with local public officials to ensure that Thomaston residents were protected from noise, pollution and possible encroachment on their property both during and after track work.

Current Thomaston Mayor Steve Weinberg was set to also meet with railroad officials, to discuss the new plans. He expected MTA and LIRR officials to discuss all planned work and to further advise him of all scheduled work and to discuss all safeguards that would protect his residents. And he expressed much appreciation for the support offered by New York State Senator Jack Martins.

At this point, Weinberg did tell the Great Neck Record that the LIRR has promised residents a noise barrier and that no trains will be permitted to idle; they will only be permitted to park for specified periods of time.

Great Neck Resident Named To Siemens

Jay Zussman, Great Neck South High School’s first ever Siemens Competition in Math Science and Technology regional finalist, is ready to take the next step, competing at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh just before Thanksgiving and a chance for additional scholarship money that could add up to as much as $100,000.

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Dr. Carol Hersh (l.) with Jay Zussman, Great Neck South’s first ever Siemens Competition finalist.

He’s already won $1,000 for being just one of only five regional finalists in the state. There are five other regions across the country that have each named five individual finalists. If the 17-year-old scientist, who grew up in Thomaston and went to Saddle Rock Elementary and then South Middle School, can win in Pittsburgh, he would go to Washington, D.C. in December to compete against the five other regional winners. There is a separate Siemens competition for team entries.

Winning in Pittsburgh would earn Zussman $3,000. A finalist in Washington will earn no less than $10,000. The national champion will win $100,000 in scholarship funds. A second place finish is worth $50,000. [Read more...]

Great Neck Biz Seminar Set

 North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the town board announced the North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) will hold a seminar that will teach entrepreneurs how to turn a business idea into a reality. The event titled “From Idea to Exit:  How to get a Business Up and Running, Funded and Sold” will take place on Friday, Nov. 14, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Harbor Links Club House in Port Washington. [Read more...]

Righteous Food In Great Neck

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Chef Reinhard Stihl

Lamed Vav, 20 South Station Plaza, recently opened in Great Neck. Its name derives from the Talmud, in which it was stated that at all times there are at least 36 righteous people in the world. In the Hebrew alphabet, “Lamed” is the 13th letter and “Vav” is the sixth letter. After dining there, you could easily come to the conclusion that Lamed Vav is one of the 36 righteous restaurants on Long Island.

Lamed Vav is the concept derived from owner Alex Levine and manager Reed Goldstein. Levine is also the owner of Brasserie Halevi, in Cedarhurst. Astute foodies will recognize Goldstein as the former owner and manager of the legendary Angelo and Maxie’s Steak House, in Manhattan. Both have teamed together to bring this fine Kosher restaurant to fruition. The cuisine, according to Goldstein, can be described as “Continental,” with a definite French influence. The chef is the gregarious Reinhard Stihl, a native of Austria. He studied six years at the Bad Leonfelden Hotel and Restaurant School. His first job, after graduating, was serving three years with the royal family of Saudi Arabia. He then worked, for two years, at the Ritz-Carlton, in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  Chef’s last place, before arriving in the U.S., was at the Hotel Sacher, in Vienna. Stihl is also a classically-trained tenor and delights in entertaining his customers for special occasions. [Read more...]

Great Neck Doctor Inspired By Author

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Phoebe Lazarus

When Great Neck’s Dr. Phoebe Lazarus, who will be a very active 94 years old in February, read prominent American author Pearl Buck’s The Child Who Never Grew when it was published in 1950, little did Dr. Lazarus know that the inspiration she found from the book would lead her to a correspondence and meeting with the famed Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Peace Prize writer that would develop into a lifelong career in special education. [Read more...]

Great Neck Election Contested

The upcoming Dec. 9 Great Neck Park District commissioner election has two seats available. Commissioner Dan Nachmanoff is seeking re-election to a three-year term, opposed by Neil Lieberman. Frank Cilluffo and Sharon Epstein are seeking election to the remaining two years of former commissioner Ruth Tamarin’s term. Nachmanoff announced his candidacy earlier this summer, with an article in the Great Neck Record. This week, Cilluffo and Epstein make their announcements. Leiberman will announce his candidacy in a future issue. [Read more...]

Great Neck Cemetery Renovation

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The Allen Family Cemetery, as seen from the rear of the Gussack Plaza parking deck, in its current state. The gravestones (some hidden) can be seen leaning against the white picket fence.

With a seven-page document clearly listing the responsibilities for both the Town of North Hempstead and Great Neck Plaza for the restoration of and access to the Allen Family Cemetery, which sits on a small lot behind the houses at 15 and 17 Pearce Pl., now in place, there’s still a matter of a $500 mystery that needs to be solved.

In 1861, Daniel K. Allen willed the farm that contained the approximately 20-foot by 10-foot burial grounds to two of his nephews but stated that the cemetery, where six family members who died between 1810 and 1861 were interred (including Daniel), must remain in the family. The agreement between the Town and the Plaza, signed recently by both Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Mayor Jean Celender, specifically refers to a $500 deposit that “may have been deposited with the Nassau County Treasurer for the upkeep of the cemetery.” [Read more...]

Gold Coast Film Fest Coming

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 19 the Gold Coast Arts Center, in conjunction with the Town of North Hempstead, will present the fourth annual Gold Coast International Film Festival (GCIFF). Everyone is invited to this special week of films, parties, panels, and glamour.

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The Dove Flyer

GCIFF is proud to offer an exciting slate of films and events in Great Neck, at the Bow Tie Squire Cinemas and at the Gold Coast Arts Center. [Read more...]

Great Neck School Board Sets Goals

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The GNPS Board of Education (from left): trustees Donald Ashkenase and Monique Bloom; Vice President Lawrence Gross; trustee Susan Healy; President Barbara Berkowitz

With all of their goals, as always, centered around meeting the needs of every student, Great Neck School District Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz presented the 2014-2015 board goals. Berkowitz discussed each of the six goals at the October public action meeting.

Goal number one addresses communications, communicating “effectively” with constituents (parents, faculty and administrators) as well as the “larger community.” The board plans to reach out to share ideas; communicating with the district and the community by conducting an electronic survey. Berkowitz also said that they will also look for ways to increase participation in the budget vote. All of this will be accomplished by offering full support, with translations to Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish and Farci. [Read more...]