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Legislature Honors Veterans Sylinthia Burges, Frank Colon, Jr., and Ralph Esposito

US military veteransAt a meeting of the Nassau County Legislature on June 18, 2018, Legislator Laura M. Schaefer and the members of the Nassau County Legislature honored three outstanding U.S. military veterans for their service. Ms. Sylinthia Burges, Mr. Frank Colon, Jr., and Mr. Ralph Esposito, who were also recently inducted into the NYS Senate Veteran’s Hall of fame, were recognized.


Ms. Sylinthia Burges enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1984 and served in South Korea working in a military law office. She has worked at the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency since 2015 and was the first female ever hired there to help former military personnel manage issues relating to health, housing, finances, and more. She is also the founder of an organization called “Women in the Military” which is dedicated to connecting female veterans with needed resources.


Mr. Frank Colon, Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1972 and served in Germany, Italy, and as the Commander in Chief of all Allied Forces in South Korea before coming back to the U.S. assigned to the United States Instructor Group and the Army Recruiting Command. Mr. Colon is the recipient of many service awards and retired as a Sergeant First Class in 1994.


Mr. Ralph Esposito enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1961 and served on the Ticonderoga CVA 14 aircraft carrier. Here in Nassau, he has served as a first responder for 43 years as a member of the Elmont Fire Department and is very dedicated to veterans’ causes as a member of the American Legion and VFW. Mr. Esposito is currently the Director of the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency.


“I would like to express our thanks and gratitude for all that you have given of yourselves to secure this nation’s freedom. Each of these veterans has spent periods of time away from your families to serve us and put your lives on the line for our safety. In addition, after your formal military service, each of you has gone on to work to personally protect and improve the lives of veterans here in Nassau County. We are deeply grateful for your sacrifices and selflessness,” stated Presiding Officer Nicolello.



Pictured above (left to right) are Presiding Officer Richard J. Nicolello, Sylinthia Burges, Ralph Esposito, Legislator Rose Marie Walker and Legislator Schaefer.  (Missing from the photograph is honoree Frank Colon, Jr.)


Visit Legislator Schaefer’s webpage

Saladino and Hand Seek Veteran Applicants for Long Island ‘Honor Flights’

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Thomas Hand announced that Honor Flight Long Island is currently accepting World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran applications for a free flight with peers to Washington, D.C. to tour of military memorials.


“Created to honor war veterans and thank them for their sacrifices, Honor Flights fly military veterans to our nation’s capital for a VIP tour which often includes the World War II Memorial, the Korean and Vietnam War memorials, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) Memorial,” said Supervisor Saladino. “Honor Flight is an exceptional organization that provides and amazing service to our veterans, as these trips allow us to honor America’s veterans for their service and sacrifice, and for all they did to help preserve our freedom and democracy.”


Long Island Honor Flight, a nonprofit group, is part of the national Honor Flight network and organizes, hosts, and pays for the trips, which depart from Long Island MacArthur airport. Flights are scheduled in the spring and the fall, and as part of the day’s itinerary, veterans and ‘guardians’ (volunteers who help make these trips possible) fly in to Baltimore Washington International Airport, where a waiting motor coach takes them on the 50-minute drive to Washington DC and the WWII and Korean Memorials, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, and visits to the Navy Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, or other area high-points.


“This mission flies our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect together at our national memorials,” said Councilman Hand. “If you or any eligible veteran you know has interest in participating in an Honor Flight, I urge you to take on this wonderful and charitable opportunity.”


Each trip includes about 50 veterans, who are taken for free. They are accompanied by about 50 volunteers, who each pay $400. The volunteers assist those in wheelchairs or who use walkers and provide whatever help is needed along the way. Honor Flight trips are provided for veterans who have not already visited the memorials in Washington D.C.


For more information regarding Long Island Honor Flights, apply for a spot on an upcoming flight, or to make a contribution or volunteer, visit or call Virginia Bennett at (631) 702-2423.


Visit the Town of Oyster Bay website

Senator Phillips Joins Colleagues To Call For Passage Of ‘Jacobe’s Law’

Measure Would Ensure Schools Notify Parents When Their Children Are Bullied


Senator Elaine Phillips joined fellow legislators and Christine and Richard Taras, the parents of 13-year-old Jacobe Taras, who tragically took his own life as a result of bullying, to call for the passage of “Jacobe’s Law.” The measure would require schools to notify parents when a bully is threatening a child.


“No child should be alone dealing with the mental anguish that results from being bullied,” Senator Phillips said. “Parents must be notified to ensure the situation does not escalate and that proper actions and counseling can take place to prevent tragic outcomes like the one the Taras family and countless others have experienced. Too often, we hear horrifying stories of children taking their own lives as a result of bullying, including right here on Long Island. This measure closes a loophole in state law so parents must be made aware of these incidents occurring at school. I urge the Assembly and Governor Cuomo to take up this measure that can save lives and bring an end to these senseless tragedies.”


S.1355B: “Jacobe’s Law,” which passed the Senate in February, would require that school employees charged with receiving reports of harassment, bullying or discrimination contact the parents or guardians of the students involved – both the bullies and victims –when an incident of bullying or harassment occurs.


In 2012, the Dignity for All Students Act became law as a means to address bullying in schools. Although schools are required to report incidents to the state Education Department, the Dignity for All Students Act does not require schools to alert parents when their child has been bullied or is believed to be the perpetrator of bullying. Rather, the law currently leaves it up to each school district to decide whether they will or will not notify parents of children involved in an incident of bullying. This serious gap in state law has led to fatal consequences.


Jacobe’s parents said they were not notified by his school of the extent of bullying he faced. This was not an isolated incident as there are many heartbreaking stories of young people injuring themselves or taking their own lives because of bullying.


“Parents have a right to know what’s going on with their children as our schools should be safe places for children to enjoy learning and not fear for their physical and emotional well-being. Bullying is not ‘kids just being kids,’ it’s abusive behavior that can have devastating and potentially fatal consequences as my family knows all too well,” said Christine Taras, Jacobe’s mother. “If we had known what was going on behind school and bus doors, which was detailed in Jacobe’s suicide note, we know he would still be with us today. Now all we have are our broken hearts and memories. The Senate has done its job, we now ask that the Assembly bring this common sense bill forward for a vote. We hope Jacobe’s story can help lead to positive change and save lives.”


Bullying is defined based on what’s listed under the Dignity for All Students Act and what incidences schools are currently required to report to the New York State Education Department.


Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Legislator Muscarella to Host Narcan Training, Overdose Prevention Workshop

Every day, at least one Long Islander dies from an opiate overdose. And those are only the ones we know of – the ones directly caused by heroin or prescription painkillers such as Percoset or Oxycodone. If you don’t think it can happen to someone you care about, please think again. Overdoses can happen to anyone.


To make this epidemic even worse, other deadly drugs called Fentanyl and Carfentanil, which are much stronger than heroin, have entered Nassau County and are having devastating effects on addicts. These synthetic opioids can be fatal if inhaled or absorbed into the skin and dealers are mixing them in with heroin and cocaine to amplify their potency


Legislator Vincent Muscarella is sponsoring this event to teach residents what to do in case of an overdose and to help them learn how to administer the life-saving, overdose-reversal agent called Naloxone, or “NARCAN.” NARCAN is the antidote to an opioid overdose and all attendees will receive a free kit.


Monday, April 9, 2018 • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
West Hempstead Public Library
500 Hempstead Ave., West Hempstead, NY 11552


Seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your seat and free NARCAN kit, please contact Legislator Muscarella’s office: 516-571-6208 or


You may also register online at:


Visit Legislator Muscarella’s webpage


Legislator McKevitt Honors Lisa Williams Schary as 2018 Trailblazer

Lisa Williams ScharyNassau County Legislator Tom McKevitt recently honored Lisa Williams Schary, a resident of North Bellmore, as Legislative District Thirteen’s 2018 Trailblazer Honoree. Each year, women from each legislative district are honored as a “Trailblazer” for their accomplishments in the community.


She has led a varied and exciting life. She has been a K-12 teacher, an artist, singer, dancer, actress, mountain climber, and paralegal. She has also parachuted out of planes. But her true passion is her love of nature and photographing it. She is a dedicated environmental advocate.


Lisa together with her husband, Richard, founded the Friends of the Massapequa Preserve, a non-profit organization which protects, cares for and conserves the Preserve’s 423 acres of undeveloped woods, ponds, lakes and fresh water wet-lands that is home to hundreds of plant and animal species. Lisa has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and educate residents about this natural treasure by sponsoring educational programs and even producing and narrating an award-winning video documentary on the preserve that has been used in local schools and libraries. She is a founding and current board member of the Friends of Norman Levy Preserve and the Friends of Tackapausha Preserve and sits on the boards of many other environmental organizations including the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference and the New York State Department of Transportation’s scenic Bikeways Committee. An avid hiker, Lisa has been the dynamic force behind the creation of the Wantagh Nature Trail and Trailview State Park. She has helped supervise over 30 Eagle Scout projects in our parks and she is also a graduate of the Nassau County Citizen’s Police Academy.


“I have known Lisa for many years. She has served our community through these various organizations,” said Legislator McKevitt. “It was my pleasure to honor her as District Thirteen’s 2018 Trailblazer in recognition of all her accomplishments and achievements.”


Pictured are Honoree Lisa Williams Schary and Legislator McKevitt.


Visit Legislator McKevitt’s webpage

Two Pieces of Substance Abuse Legislation Passes State Senate

Senator Elaine Phillips announced that the New York State Senate passed two bills, which she co-sponsored, providing more funding to substance abuse programs and prohibiting deceptive acts and practices against those seeking substance abuse treatment.


The first measure, S.6544, prohibits any individual, addiction professional, credentialed professional, health care provider, health care facility or substance abuse program from giving or receiving a commission, bonus, rebate, or kickback, directly or indirectly, to induce the referral of a potential service recipient in connection with the performance of substance abuse services.


“Individuals promising admission into addiction treatment programs and top-notch medical care have for too long been able to deceive and extort New Yorkers suffering from addiction,” Senator Elaine Phillips said. “This legislation will protect those seeking treatment while communities across New York, especially here Long Island, continue to be ravaged by the heroin and opioid epidemic.”


The second bill, S.898, authorizes the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to provide funding to substance use disorder and/or compulsive gambling programs operated by for-profit agencies.


“It is paramount that we continue to provide all alcohol and substance abuse treatment services with funding to ensure New Yorkers have a wide-range of access to adequate treatment,” Senator Phillips said. “This measure will allow for-profit facilities to receive funding, which will allow further access to treatment.”


The bills will be sent to the Assembly.


Visit State Senator Philips’ webpage

Montesano Announces Passage of Bill to Provide Identification Cards to Individuals with Disabilities

Assemblyman Michael Montesano is pleased to announce passage of a bill (A.00249-C) he co-sponsored which would establish the use of identification cards for individuals with developmental disabilities. Individuals or their guardians have the option of obtaining a card containing important information on the individual’s developmental disability, which could be essential in assisting first responders and others during interactions such as emergencies.


“There is no black or white way to interact with an individual with a developmental disability,” said Montesano. “Every person is unique and it is important to recognize that when it comes to assisting an individual with a disability, particularly in emergency situations. This is a step in the right direction toward improving the lives of individuals with disabilities and educating the public on how to better assist them should the need arise. Additionally, I am so excited to have this bill pass early in the 2018 Legislative Session and hope we can continue to move forward to get important bills passed in a quick and efficient manner.”


Visit Assemblyman Montesano’s webpage

Empire State Development Corporation Selects the New York Islanders to Redevelop Belmont Park

Islanders Belmont Park

Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has selected the New York Islanders as the winning bidder to redevelop Belmont Park.


“Today’s announcement that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has selected the New York Islanders bid for redevelopment at Belmont Park is a long overdue decision, one that has unnecessarily stalled growth in the region for years,” Senator Elaine Phillips said.


“The foundation has now been laid to make Belmont Park a reinvigorated economic engine for our region, which will strengthen the already existing racing industry, and make Nassau County a destination location. This development will create much needed job growth, contribute to economic development and enhance the business district along the Hempstead Turnpike Corridor.”


The Islanders’ proposal includes an 18,000-seat arena, as well as a full service hotel, expansive retail area and community space.


The Empire State Development Corporation was responsible for picking the winning bidder to develop at Belmont Park.


“Ensuring the surrounding communities voice remains heard during the redevelopment is paramount, and I will continue to advocate that the ESDC and NY Islanders keep an open dialogue throughout this endeavor to ensure residents remain informed and have their concerns addressed,” Senator Phillips said.


Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Nassau’s Newest Recovery Program

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano invites all Long Island residents to come and learn about Nassau’s newest and successful treatment program for those who are dependent on heroin or pain pills, by attending one of the County’s free weekly education and support groups. Those suffering from addiction, as well as their family members and friends, are welcome to attend the informational meeting which is held every Tuesday, from 7pm-9pm, at Saint Bernard’s Parish school, 3100 Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown, Room 206.


“I invite all Long Islanders to attend our Tuesday night meeting and hear from those currently on this medication-assisted treatment program. Come learn about this proven pathway to recovery,” said County Executive Mangano. “You can live a life free from opioids. Recovery is possible.”


Statistics indicate that 195 people died in Nassau last year from opioid overdoses. In 2017, as of July 15, 98 residents have died from an overdose of prescription and/or illegal drugs. The County’s program, called a ‘Shot at Life’ combines monthly injections of long acting Naltrexone—an opioid blocker—with substance abuse counseling or other treatment, for about 15 months.


Vivitrol—the brand-name of the non-narcotic, non-addictive shot—is administered by a healthcare professional, and therefore can’t be abused or diverted. It works by capping the brain’s opiate receptors for about 28 days, blocking the user’s high and reducing the cravings for opioids. It’s FDA-approved for relapse prevention, is covered under most private insurance and Medicaid, and is available at more than a dozen substance abuse treatment agencies across the Island. Recipients should be willing to stop, and be opioid-free for 7-10 days, before receiving the initial shot or risk precipitated withdrawal.


The FDA first approved Vivitrol for alcohol dependence, in 2006, and was approved to prevent relapse to Opioid addiction in 2010. About 25 states currently use Vivitrol in their criminal justice systems, resulting in reduced recidivism and incarceration rates, and costly ER visits. Nassau’s Opioid Treatment Program, located in Building K on the grounds of Nassau University Medical Center, offers Vivitrol, Methadone and Suboxone treatment tracks – on an outpatient basis.


To be screened for possible admission into the County’s “Shot at Life” program, call the clinic’s intake number at 516-572-5801.



Visit County Executive Mangano’s webpage

Firefighters Honored at Badge of Courage Gala

Badge of Courage GalaPresiding Officer Norma Gonsalves recently attended the Francis X. Pendl Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center 2017 Badge of Courage Gala to present Special Legislative Citations to the evenings honorees. Those receiving awards that night were Brett Yormark, Gerard Presta and the Nassau County Junior Firefighters Association, the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warriors and the late Keith Lane, who posthumously received the Inaugural Keith Lane Memorial Excellence in Journalism Award.


“I am proud to recognize these individuals and groups for their commitment to our community,” said Presiding Officer Gonsalves. “Thank you for all you do.”


Pictured above  (left to right) are Lakeview FD Ex-Chief Heather Senti, Presiding Officer Gonsalves, Honoree Brett Yormark, Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaefer and Lakeview FD Commissioner Fred Senti.


Visit Presiding Officer Gonsalves’ webpage