Berner Introduces Chromebooks


Administrators and students are equally excited about the school-wide distribution of Chromebooks at Berner Middle School.

A new digital dawn is shining on Berner Middle School. As part of Massapequa School District’s “Learning…Anytime, Anywhere” initiative, all seventh and eighth-grade students will soon be issued Chromebooks as a way to access a host of web-based educational tools that will help them advance and succeed as 21st century learners.  [Read more...]

What’s Next For The Plume?

Part two of three:


South Farmingdale Water District’s Plant no. 3 at Hicksville Road, is designed to deliver high quality water and to meet the challenge of the Grumman plume head on. It has been fully operational since the end of summer 2013.

As previously reported in the Jan. 21 issue of the Massapequa Observer, the Grumman Plume bill was recently passed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill has been the legacy of NY State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, who is about to embark on the next phase of the cleanup plan.

“Over the years, before we realized how chemicals have an effect on our bodies, companies would empty their byproducts into steel drums and bury them in the ground,” said Saladino of the industrial sites on Long Island where construction work was done. “Over time, the drums would rust and burst. In the case of Grumman, the company used floor drains to direct the chemicals into the ground or put them in ponds to evaporate.”

As an aerospace company, Grumman was the hub for plane construction and remodeling. When planes were built, they were then washed off with chemicals, including dangerous oils and the carcinogen trichloroethylene (TCE). According to Saladino, those chemicals—along with various sediments—made their way into the ground, and in turn, Long Island’s drinking water.

“This took place for many years; the chemicals found their way into the Upper Glacial and then into the Magothy aquifer,” said Saladino, who also added that the underflow of water does not flow in a straight direction but goes toward the Great South Bay on the south side and towards the LI Sound on the north side.

In order to prove that Grumman was incorrect about the danger of the plume, Saladino enlisted help from across Nassau County, including the help of former Deputy Commissioner John Caruso.

“At one point in time, the county had a site called the Purex in East Meadow, which was responsible for decontaminating chemicals,” said Caruso, who was also the former commissioner of the Massapequa Water District. “We went after Purex and recaptured the contaminated water, treated it and put it back into the ground. After 25 years, it worked there.” The cleanup process also worked at the Nassau County Fireman’s Training Center, as well as other places across the United States.

According to Saladino, Long Island is a complicated, geologic nightmare with natural breaks in the lens and other areas due to natural formation. It is in those areas where the clay is more permeable, allowing chemicals to seep through at a faster rate.

“There have been limited studies around the nation to tell us what will happen if the plume ever got into the Great South Bay,” said Saladino. “We do know it will reach the Great South Bay and that it will have consequences, but to what degree, we don’t know. Hydraulic containment is the only way to prevent any leaks.”

With a background in marine science (he is also a diver and avid fisherman), Saladino has done extensive research on the subject, including what contaminated water means for Long Island’s seafood industry.

“In terms of the contaminants getting into our seafood, we do not know if they will stay in the fish and shellfish, and if we will be able to consume them,” he said. “However, we do know that sea creatures are bio-filters; a clam is a perfect example. It brings in the water, filters it and then siphons it back out, feeding on what is in the water. The latest indicators show us that the Great South Bay is not diluted.” First and foremost, Saladino and his team, which includes Caruso, want to take the safest approach and protect people’s health and the environment. In order to do that, he must stop the encroachment of the plume, get it remediated, and remove the chemicals.

“We would draw the water out in different areas and bring it back to a treatment plant, which the state would be responsible for paying and building,” said Caruso. “Instead of injecting it back into people’s homes, we would pump it into the aquifer.”

Saladino added that the process is very similar to that of the role of a fish tank filter.

“The cycling of the water over and over would take the contaminants out, just like a fish tank filter. In order to do this, we need to bring everyone together, all of the elected officials and water districts, and find the best way to go about it.”

According to Saladino, the best option is to utilize a combination of hydraulic containment and well head treatment.

“We have been proving all along that this is the right thing to do to protect our water and the Great South Bay and to stop the plume from moving,” said Saladino. “It’s the best way the experts —all water districts, engineers, environmental engineers—have come up with and I want to make sure that we use all data, resources and that we get money from the federal government, namely the Navy and Grumman, because both are responsible parties. We need to do this right and not cut corners to save money.”

This is part two of a three-part series. The next issue will discuss the people involved who helped pass the bill, and what hurdles they must now overcome to see the decontamination plan through.

Make A Resolution You Will Keep

If you’re like most Americans, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape; and right about now, you may be wondering whether or not you will be able to stick to your new self-imposed diet restrictions and exercise routine for the next 11 and a half months. Luckily, local residents have several options for guidance, including the Meta Burn Fitness Studio in Locust Valley, which will be opening a second location in Oyster Bay next month.MetaBurn_012315C [Read more...]

Art Speaks

The Other Side

Marian Floyd’s tombstone. (Photos courtesy of Xiomáro)

Lifelong New York artist Xiomáro (pronounced SEE-oh-MAH-ro) has recently begun to put his stamp in Long Island. Born in Brooklyn and currently living in Roslyn Heights, the Manhattanville College alum has been busy with his new art exhibit, The Other Side–Charles, Caesar, Harry, Sam, Pompey, Lon and Isaac, currently on display at the Oyster Bat Historical Society. But his career as a photographer has been a little less than photogenic. [Read more...]

Grumman Plume Bill Passes

Part One Of Three

New York State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino of the ninth district has been tirelessly working for the past five years to put an end to the Grumman Plume, an issue that has caused severe environmental problems on Long Island’s South Shore. The issue at hand—bill A.9492, also known as the “Grumman Plume” legislation. [Read more...]

Women And Investing

How unique traits can lead to financial success
Over the last decade, there has been a clear shift in household money management—women are taking the reins more than their male counterparts, due, in part, to changes in socioeconomic norms and the pressing need to have a tighter grasp on financial goals. [Read more...]

Lockhart Raises $4,000 For Make-A-Wish


Lockhart School is joined by Board of Education members, central administrators and local dignitaries during its Make-A-Wish assembly.
(Photo courtesy of the Massapequa School District)

A 5-year-old boy with leukemia was granted his wish for a backyard “paradise” complete with a swing set, rock-climbing wall and water slide, thanks to Lockhart Elementary School’s fundraising campaign that raised more than $4,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. [Read more...]

Intel Science Semifinalist

Senior Delaney Lenaghan of Massapequa has been named an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist in the 2015 competition. She is one of 300 students in the nation and the first female student from IntelSemifinalist_012315ASaint Anthony’s High School to be given such an honor.

St. Anthony’s is the only Catholic High School on Long Island to have a student in the competition this year.

Under the guidance of Mr. Paul Paino, Science Research Director, Lenaghan’s chose to conduct her research in the field of biochemistry. Her topic for the competition was “High-Throughput Screening Identifies Fluticasone Propionate as an Inhibitor of PEDF-Induced Activation of Macrophages.”
Best of luck, to this bright star!

Drew Is Determined

When senior Andrew Rakitzis’ name is mentioned, the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is Plainedge football. A dominant lineman and varsity all-star who helped push Plainedge to the Nassau County Championship his junior and senior season, Rakitzis ended his last football season as a Devil with the honor of going All-County. However, he is not ready to retire his days as a Plainedge athlete just yet. This winter Rakitzis will take his strength back to the mats to pursue his sixth year of wrestling. [Read more...]

Fit For Life


Jillian Donaldson

Health and fitness, while very important aspects of maintaining a balanced lifestyle, are not always at the top of everyone’s priority list. Jillian Donaldson, a 26-year-old certified exercise instructor, knows the power physical activity has in transforming a person’s life. From personal struggles to professional progress, Donaldson credits Beachbody—a fitness and nutrition company–with helping her realize her health goals, and uses her success to inspire others. [Read more...]