Page 24

Judge Leo McGinity's vision

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from page 5 on a high volume of car traffic will only intensify the problem. "We're approaching gridlock at certain intersections," he says. At St. Luke's Place he drives behind the businesses into the town parking lot on the west side, pointing out poor maintenance, the underutilization of space, the unkempt rear of buildings and the absence of rear entrances for most of the businesses. Also, it is here that the grassy strip of land under which a creek flows is obvious. It is that creek, behind properties on the west side of Grand Avenue, that concerns the judge. "How can they develop the property at Merrick Road without considering the creek?" At the proposed revitalization site at Merrick Road and Grand Avenue, the judge points out more problems - the long expanse of unused land behind homes on Gale Avenue, the badly maintained and poorly, lighted parking lot, the lack of safe and convenient access to Grand Avenue and the absence of business entrances at the rear of buildings. And again he talks about a more widespread condemnation process to revitalize the whole community and not just one small parcel. Referring to original overtures by both the town and county to landlords to improve their property through facade projects, he stresses, "The incentives to improve were ignored. They didn't fix up. Now if we don't improve the properties which have apartments along Grand Avenue, we are only allowing them [landlords] to be there to rent tenements." He believes that owners have long since made their money on the buildings and it is time now to think of the entire community. Judge McGinity has reached out with the first step. He has spoken to a fire and sanitation official and asked if those

local entities would be willing to spon- U) sor a community meeting at the high school so that all residents could be edu- jjf cated and provide input. cL It remains to be seen if these elected officials will take up the offer. Meanwhile, we two journalists have "O spent three fascinating hours with the judge who has made a clear and con- ON vincing case for a more comprehensive ts) view of zoning. What residents who attend this proposed meeting won't hear, however, are the stories behind the story - how the former Milburn Golf Course on Grand Avenue, which ran east all the way to the rear of houses on Pennsylvania Avenue in Freeport, was condem'ned with part of the land used for the high school and part for commercial development. "It was the first time that the commercial strip was extended to 400 feet," said the judge as he spoke of the initiatives of Walter Michalis, who was the school district's attorney and > a shrewd businessman. Residents might not hear the detailed history of the various locations of the public library and the post office or of the personal interactions and undercurrents that made certain sales happen or not happen. They also won't hear about the decisions of many long-ago elected officials and politicians and of the real estate deals by decades-ago developers. What they will hear, however, is that today's zoning laws are inadequate and that a true communitywide revitalization and economic development will require something more. Judge Leo Me Ginity is ready to help explain what that "something more" should be. "We need the town and county, the police, the fire department and sanita- • tion, we need the people to understand. We all have to work together."


Viewpoint: A different perspective from page 8 If we examine communities that are venerated for academic success and achievement, we will quickly see that the culture of these communities and their respective resident families is one in which the value of being educated transcends other less important notions and endeavors. It is not the issue of more available money, as most would assume. Staring at dollar signs spares us the discomfort of looking directly at the actual, albeit uncomfortable, causes of our educational impasse. If we are to effect change, I believe it will happen because of a renaissance in core values manifesting in the emergence of new cultural imperatives and traditions, emphasizing the importance of being educated - a value that must

transcend other momentarily more gratifying but ultimately less important notions. In my opinion, we must take the blinders off'and recognize the impact of culture and values on the educational process. I suggest that it is time to find creative and dynamic ways to remove and revise more dysfunctional cultural traditions. Early in our young students' lives, we need to instill and nurture new and healthy values...values that embrace the power, beauty and joy of being an educated individual. Maybe it should be a mandatory component of their educational experience. If we cannot make this transition, then we are destined to wallow in academic mediocrity. Like Moses, we will wander aimlessly, seeking the Promised Land.

Baldwin approves school budget from page 2 votes will take place on May 16, as well as the election of candidates for both boards. The terms of office for Mary Jo O'Hagan and B.A. Schoen (three years) on the school board and Anthony Tarantino (five years) on the 'library board will be completed. Candidates for those positions must submit their petitions of candidacy to the school district clerk no later than 5 p.m. on April 17. Although the school- district -will be

closed for classes, the district clerk's office at the District Office will remain open on that day. A Candidates' Forum sponsored by the PTA will be held on Wednesday, May 3, at 8 p.m. at the District Office. The mandated Annual District Meeting and Budget Hearing, primarily for informational purposes, will take place on Tuesday, May 2, at 8 p.m. also at the District Office, even though the expendiUire.budget can no longer .be.changed.

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