Subway Series Bound?

As of press time, both New York major league baseball teams occupy first place in their respective divisions. The New York Yankees are a game-and-a-half up on the Toronto Blue Jays while the New York Mets have four games between them and the second place Washington Nationals.

The last time both teams were in first place this late in the season was 2006, when the Bronx Bombers wound up winning the American League East before falling to the Detroit Tigers 3-1 in the 2006 American League Division Series. The Metropolitans took the National League East and fell one game short of going to the World Series after a Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals (it was also the last season the Mets reached the postseason.)

Present day, both teams dominate weak divisions but have contrasting strengths and weaknesses. While the Mets boast one of the best starting rotations in major league baseball, their bullpen is highly suspect and only recently has the team’s lineup gotten a power surge thanks to trade deadline acquisitions of Yoenis Céspedes, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.

By leaning heavily on one of the best bullpens in the league, the Yanks  have lived up to their name led by veteran hitters Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and a rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez while the starting rotation has been forced to carry a floundering C.C. Sabathia as a steady stream of starters has been shuttled back and forth from the minors. The staff present-day staff ace turns out to be Nathan Eovaldi (13-2), who’s been out-pacing Japanese savior Masahiro Tanaka.

From 1947 to 1964, the World Series was played in New York City except for the years 1948 and 1959. We could wind up with another Subway Series 15 years after Yankees-Mets Part I. It’s a great time to be a local baseball fan.

America The Sensitive

Our Founding Fathers would be spinning in their graves if they were alive today because America as a country has turned into one giant, sensitive, wimpy baby.

Focusing on the latest and seemingly one-sided current event of the removal of the Confederate flag (including the backlash from the cartoon in the July 8 issue) I think it is absolutely absurd. The Confederate flag is a piece of history. But no, instead of using it as a symbol to illustrate how far we have come as a nation, we have instead been bullied by the tragic act of one hateful individual who was inspired by said flag to end the lives of several black worshippers. Here’s a thought: What if another gunman was inspired by the American Flag and his hatred of Americans to open fire in a school? Would we take that flag down?

But this sensitivity to seemingly every issue is just not about events that happened this year. I was appalled when in 2011, a special edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn removed the “N” word for political correctness. Who are we to alter America’s literary history?

Kids don’t know how to lose or be wrong because they are rewarded for those things. They suffer from inventive spelling in elementary school, where kids were applauded for misspelling words, the “No Child Left Behind,” act where a student who should be left back a grade moves on just as easily as an above average student, and receiving the same set of trophies whether they win or lose because participation ribbons would make kids cry.

We are not all equal. If we can’t all speak our minds freely without getting a slap on the wrist for every word that comes out of our mouths that people don’t like, then maybe we should reconsider the First Amendment, and if America really is the land of the free and home of the brave.

When Small Change Brings Big Impact

What do your pockets, the counter at the supermarket and the sidewalk have in common? Odds are you can find loose change scattered about, with little to no second thought given to it. What if we picked up all that change? Could it be enough to help those in need?

Last year the TSA collected $76,000 in change left at security checkpoints in New York City area’s three major airports. While pocket change may seem too small to make a difference, it can have a big impact on our community.

I am fortunate to work at TD Bank, a company that engages deeply with our customers. For example, we recently launched a charitable program called “Bring Change,” which uses the coin-counting Penny Arcades in our stores. From now through February 2016, we’re inviting 500 communities to donate a few coins to support organizations locally. TD will support the effort by matching the donations up to $2,000.

Recently launched in New York City, the charitable campaign now extends to Long Island. I’m proud that my TD Bank store, located at 1354 Hicksville Rd. in Massapequa, was chosen to participate. On July 24, we will collect and count change to support YES Community Counseling Center, a non-profit organization offering social work, counseling and drug/alcohol treatments to the residents of southeastern Nassau County. Small change can chip away at the costs associated with maintaining YES Community Counseling Center and providing services to those who are struggling and seeking help.

Think of it like dropping a pebble in a pond. No matter how small, it will create ripples. By supporting the causes that matter most in our communities, we can all take pride in knowing even small change can bring big impact.

Iraklis Nikolopoulos, TD Bank Store Manager in North Massapequa

Everyday Is Earth Day

April has come and gone, but the highest point on the eastern seaboard is still a landfill.
North America is home to 8 percent of the world’s population yet consumes one third of its resources and produces half of its garbage. According to The Green Book, the average American family has 10,000 items in their home; worldwide it’s 127.
If we want to leave the planet in better shape than our predecessors did, we must contemplate and modify our habits to preserve our resources.
• Remember that reduce is the first R. Buying products with minimal packaging can decrease waste by 30 percent; recycling can lower it 75 percent; composting cuts 23 percent.
• Reusable bags, lunch containers and coffee mugs reduce school and office trash 50 pounds annually.
• Though 71 percent of the Earth is
water, only 1 percent is drinkable. So take shorter showers and install water-saving devices.
• To save gasoline, arrange carpools, take public transportation, ride your bike and walk.
• E-banking saves gas, paper and time.
• Lowering the heat and raising the air conditioner one degree conserves enough energy to save $100 annually.
• Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard ones.
• Buying locally grown food reduces transportation costs and air pollution—and helps our economy.
• Since each cow produces 100 gallons of the greenhouse gas methane every day (which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and comparable to the pollution of a car) and requires 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound beef, eliminating two pounds of beef impacts global warming and conserves enough water for a five-minute shower every day for a year.
So what are you waiting for? If we each do a little every day, we can make a world of difference.

Fly Your Flags With Pride

Over the next few days, you might notice more American flags lining the streets, displayed in front of private homes or flying in front of governmeFlag-Day-Background-6nt buildings.

This Sunday marks a little-known and not widely celebrated New York state holiday that is easy for many to overlook. Held three weeks after Memorial Day and several weeks prior to Independence Day, Flag Day is observed on the second Sunday in June, right in the middle of the bigger celebrations in which we take pride in this country and the freedoms it offers its citizens. [Read more…]

Thank You…

Dear Massapequa Residents,     Massapequa-Public-Schools-Logo_cxq6wy
On behalf of the Massapequa Board of Education and administration, I am pleased to extend my sincerest gratitude to our registered voters for approving the 2015-16 school budget. Because of your continued support, the budget passed with a resounding approval rate of 80.6 percent.

Your affirmation is the key to success for our students and our district as a whole. Your support enables us to maintain our high quality programs that are so vital to our students’ growth and acknowledges our efforts to minimize the burden on our taxpayers as we continue to operate under the New York State property tax cap.

Thanks to you, our students are part of a school district that is consistently recognized for its academic, athletic and artistic scholars, has been twice named to the Advanced Placement Honor Roll for its rigorous curricula opportunities, and where 98 percent of graduates continue their studies at two- or four-year colleges, technical schools or the armed forces.

Thanks to you, we can move forward with confidence in knowing that our legacy of educational excellence and high student achievement will continue to run strong.


They’re Not All Crying Wolf

When Rolling Stone (RS) published a story about a girl who was viciously gang-raped at a University of Virginia frat party, they wanted to raise an alarm about campus sexual assault, and challenge universities to handle such incidents better.
But soon after the article was published in November 2014, questions were raised as to the veracity of the report. RS voluntarily submitted the article to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for a review, which called the article a “journalistic failure” that may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations.
And there lies what may be one of the biggest fears sexual assault victims face—that people won’t believe them. A 2008-2012 study by the Justice Department says that 68 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. With the complete obliteration of the RS article, there’s a fear that women will continue to bear the trauma alone for fear of being thought of as “crying wolf” or exaggerating.
It seems fitting that all of this unravels in April, which is sexual assault awareness month. While the RS article may be moot, the general point still rings true—sexual assault on college campuses is a huge problem and needs to be addressed. Sexual assault and rape should never be part of part of campus culture—or any culture for that matter. There are too many stories of college administrations brushing aside stories of assault and not conducting proper investigations. A person’s college memories shouldn’t be marked by sexual abuse or a lack of justice after it is reported. College administrators need to fix the sexual assault policies, instead of turning a blind eye to what is going on on their campuses.
Victims of sexual assault may have their own reasons for not speaking out. But that reason should never be fear of not being taken seriously or having their stories heard.

Massapequa Educators Making A Difference

Good Evening Massapequa Family and Friends,
We hope that you were able to enjoy your holiday and spring recess from school. Unfortunately, the break was darkened by the passing of the state budget with its damaging educational reforms. Now we must return to school Monday to spend yet another day preparing for the state assessments, which begin on Tuesday, April 14, with the administration of the ELA. [Read more…]

Ignorance: The Ultimate Kryptonite

My best friend is dying.

She’s smart, funny and beautiful. But her size makes her fragile and when I see her lying in the hospital bed, my stomach feels like it’s tied in a knot. Her’s actually is.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, there are more than 20 diseases and conditions that get under $10 million of funding for research and testing. These diseases may be overlooked by society due to lack of information or because they are embarrassing to talk about—but they’re still life threatening.

My friend eventually got the courage to tell me that she had Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease. She was so nonchalant I didn’t think anything was wrong.

But then she missed one day of school. Then two. Then 20. Next thing I knew, I was visiting her in the hospital. She came back two weeks later like nothing happened. She was as lively, energetic and sharp-witted as usual. I didn’t understand how she could act this way. “You’re a superhero!” I told her.

I took my concerns to Google and searched Crohn’s to find basically nothing. Crohn’s research gets little funding—in fact, its funding dropped more than $10 million between 2012-2013. How many people are dying from illnesses because lifesaving research goes without funding? It seems that if there isn’t a huge media campaign or a celebrity trying to support a disease, then it doesn’t matter.

But my friend matters. This year she had to drop out of college in order to be closer to her doctors. Although she’s struggling, she’s fighting her disease just like Superman would. The Kryptonite can be easily disposed of if we just open our ears and become aware. Then maybe we can be the superheroes.

—Mary Awad

Cast Your Vote Today

Dear Friends,

Today, Nassau County’s 12th District will elect its next County Legislator. I will be voting for my friend, Democratic candidate Joseph A. Stufano, Sr. I’d like to take a few moments to tell you about Joe.

First and foremost, I am voting for Joe because he’s not a career politician, nor is he is a political family insider. Instead, he is a public servant. From his time in the Air Force to his his time volunteering with the Farmingdale School District, Joe has demonstrated unequivocally that he is passionate not only about protecting his own family, but ensuring the safety of all children and families.

As a business owner, Joe has contributed to the growth of local economic activity by creating dozens of jobs for our county’s residents and neighbors. As a taxpayer, Joe understands firsthand the challenges facing Nassau County’s families. He views the newly-adopted assessments, tax increases, and fees as mechanisms that only harm our residents. Additionally, Joe realizes that exorbitant fees derived from programs such as the Red Light Traffic Camera Program place undue hardship upon Nassau County’s overwhelmed taxpayers. If elected, Joe will never be a rubber-stamp, puppet politician. He will be the voice of our friends and families, fighting poor fiscal policies and programs that have hurt our families; the Republican-controlled County Legislature’s policies that include the constant nickel-and-diming of County residents through unfair tax hikes, such as the Mangano-approved 3.8 percent property tax increase.

Please join me and elect Joseph Stufano.  See you at the polls!

Wayne Rivenburgh

For polling locations, click here.