Neighbors In The News

The board of trustees recently adopted a $66.2 million operating budget for 2020-21.
(Contributed photo)


In Mineola, Boy Scout Troop 45 received their big disappointment when they recently learned that for the first time in nearly a century, they cannot go to summer camp this year because of coronavirus social distancing rules.

Instead of thinking about what could have been, Troop 45 developed and implemented an immediate action plan to use the summer camp money they earned and saved all year long to honor local front-line heroes.

Troop 45 scouts voted to honor recognized and unrecognized hometown heroes with special contributions to the nurses, doctors and staff of NYU Winthrop Hospital as well as the men and women of the Mineola Post Office, Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Mineola Department of Public Works, Mineola Water and Sewer Department and Nassau County Police Department’s 3rd Precinct. The troop purchased a truckload of special treats and goodies, which they packaged into many boxes and containers and included cards with heartfelt messages, photographs and notes from the scouts to their front line heroes.


The village held its annual Memorial Day tribute while maintaining social distancing. The village canceled its usual parade, but insisted upon continuing the important community tradition of honoring their fallen sons.

Organized by members of the American Legion, the names of the young men from New Hyde Park who gave their lives in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan wars were read in front of village hall. A wreath was placed at the memorial, “Taps” was played and the National Anthem was sung.  Several villagers turned out at village hall, braving the harsh weather conditions to pay their respects.

The tribute continued to Memorial Park, where a prayer was said, led by American Legion Commander John McGuire. A wreath was laid at the monuments on Hero’s Walk by VFW Commander Mario Obertis while Mrs. Obertis sounded “Taps.” Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino, trustees Richard Pallisco and Rainer Burger joined Mayor Lawrence Montreuil representing the people of New Hyde Park.


The board of trustees recently adopted a $66.2 million operating budget for 2020-21. Careful review of proposed department spending plans and capital projects led to revisions following six budget work sessions. The result is a spending plan that includes a tax levy revenue increase of 1.78 percent, well below the legal tax cap.

The cost of capital projects for 2020-21 is $16.2 million and $50.3 million for the five-year plan. The majority of the projects fall within investments in infrastructure ($4.4 million), including the continuation of the village’s aggressive road paving program, equipment purchases for various departments and building improvements, upgrade to the children’s room at the library, roof replacements, brick repointing and St. Paul’s abatement.

To read more about the village’s 2020-21 General Fund operating budget, visit and click on the finance tab on the left side of the homepage.


The Westbury Carle Place Chamber of Commerce is asking for help in supporting the Long Island FQHC, whose mission is to improve the health status of the community, especially for the underserved and vulnerable. The Long Island FQHC is still in dire need of PPE due to the continued demand for COVID-19 and antibody testing as well as caring for patients with other health care concerns. The chamber asks that if you or those in your business network have the resources to support the Long Island FQHC, they would be very grateful. Items needed include gloves (preferably no latex), head covers, face shields, isolation gowns (level 2), N95 masks and shoe covers.


Abani Ahmed, a junior from Division Avenue High School, was recently recognized for her academic excellence with two prestigious distinctions. She was selected as a 2020 College Prep Scholar from QuestBridge and a Rensselaer Medal award recipient from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Ahmed is one of 3,779 students to be named a College Prep Scholar from a pool of more than 12,600 juniors. Each year, students are selected as a result of their academic excellence, personal qualities and financial need. The notable distinction shows the program’s 42 college partners that Ahmed is a strong candidate for admission. She also has the potential to be an exceptional candidate for the QuestBridge National College Match.

To top off her year, Ahmed was designated a Rensselaer Medal winner from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The prestigious award is granted to students who show excellence in mathematics and science. If she chooses to apply to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is admitted, Ahmed will receive a scholarship worth $30,000 per year for four years.


Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D—Woodbury) partnered with The Home Depot in Syosset to coordinate a donation of dozens care packages to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Syosset Post No. 6934 as part of his office’s ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. Leaders of the Syosset VFW are delivering those the care packages to local senior veterans to ensure they can remain stocked up on essential supplies without leaving home.

“This is but a small token of gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our local heroes, helping to further our office’s mission to love and care for our veterans during this pandemic,” Lafazan said. “I thank Mike Gallo at the Syosset Home Depot for his generous support and VFW Syosset Post No. 693 Commander Kris Kilgour and Vice Commander Mitch Furman for their tireless efforts to support our local heroes.”


Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D—Plainview) recently joined local volunteers to assist Island Harvest during a food distribution event in Hicksville. The pop-up distribution center is part of the nonprofit organization’s ongoing efforts to address food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Island Harvest has been a key partner in Nassau County’s ongoing efforts to provide residents with essential resources during these challenging times,” Drucker said. “We were all delighted to roll up our sleeves and lend a hand in support of their outstanding work.”

Visit to learn more about resources provided by Island Harvest or to make a donation.


Hicksville High School (HHS) is pleased to announce that it will hold a Commencement Ceremony on June 27 at 9 a.m. To accomplish the graduation, the high school will use a hybrid ceremony comprised of a virtual ceremony and vehicle processional. The Class of 2020 will have the opportunity to wear their caps and gowns, receive their diplomas and have photos taken in front of the high school.     

The community can safely watch the ceremony from their homes at 9 a.m., with a link posted before the event on the district and HHS websites. Graduation 2020 will feature pre-recorded speeches by board of education representatives Kevin Carroll and Carla Hoene, Superintendent Marianne Litzman, Williams and Class of 2020 Valedictorian Sejal Gupta, who will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall, and Salutatorian Alaha Nasari, who will be attending Harvard in the fall. In case of rain on Saturday, June 27, the vehicle processional only will be moved to Sunday, June 28. Rain or shine, the virtual graduation will take place on Saturday, June 27 at 9 a.m.


The Farmingdale Board of Education recently adopted the 2020-2021 Farmingdale School District budget. The budget calls for a spending plan totaling $173,076,607—an increase of $1,992,807 (1.16 percent) from last year’s budget—and a tax levy of 1.95 percent. Voting on the budget, along with the school board and library trustee elections, will take place on June 9, due to the coronavirus pandemic. All votes must be cast by absentee ballot only. Ballots will be mailed to all district registered voters beginning May 28, along with a postage-paid return envelope. Absentee ballots must be received by District Clerk Mary Rogers no later than 5 p.m. on June 9.


Plainedge High School recently announced that Adam Ayroso and Mina Sarmas have respectively been named the valedictorian and salutatorian of the Plainedge graduating Class of 2020. Valedictorian Adam Ayroso has demonstrated excellent character and community leadership along with academic ability throughout his high school career. Designated with high honors since freshman year, Ayroso has received several awards and recognitions including the Plainedge We Make a Difference Award and two Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Salutatorian Mina Sarmas is a focused, dedicated and well-rounded student. Sarmas has shown interest in a variety of areas and has excelled in each as she has been a member of the National Honor Society, science, math, English and music honor societies since her freshman year.


The EOC Food Pantry, run by the Manhasset Shelter Rock Church volunteers, received a grant to purchase a new freezer. The refrigeration unit was purchased with a grant from the Manhasset Community Fund, which fundraises in the local community in support of local charities.

“We are seeing up to 50 percent increases each week,” Jim Owens, the church pastor who supervises the pantry’s work said. “The SRC Food Pantry has gone from serving 65 families each week to 475 families. There are a number of people from Great Neck as well as the town of North Hempstead since many of the other food pantries have closed. Our strategies on collecting food and distributing food are constantly changing. We have had great partnerships with many people and organizations in the area as the community has pulled together.” Donations for the food pantry are appreciated. See for more information.


Neither rain nor coronavirus could stop 13-year-old Jacob Podwall from fulfilling his mitzvah project of a food drive for St. Aloysius in Great Neck.

Several months ago, all he could talk about was his bar mitzvah weekend and the exciting party that was being planned. This pandemic put a pause on it all, as he was forced to experience a new reality. No longer was he able to participate in his planned mitzvah project, but as he learned about the needs of the food pantry, he decided that his new mission would be to help fulfill those needs.

With the support of his family, he organized a birthday celebration that was filled with love from a community of friends and family. Car after car drove by and left boxes and bags of food. Everyone had a mask, but there were smiles behind them as they felt grateful for what he was doing. Fortunately, Podwall will be able to have his immediate family present in person for his bar mitzvah on June 6. The rest of his friends and family will watch on Zoom.

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