The Year In Review

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The leading news stories in Great Neck in 2017

Some of the most talked-about items in the past year have mirrored what’s been going on across the country.

The North Shore chapter of Indivisible and North Shore Action were organized by community members to protect the rights of women and minorities, as well as express concerns about a host of other issues in this new political environment. One high schooler even spoke out about her experiences with sexism at Great Neck North, and neighbors were outraged when three teens were robbed at knife point in Kings Point.

Mayor Pedram Bral (center) addressed Great Neck Village residents at a town hall meeting on March 7 regarding their concerns about a meeting between the nine mayors of all Great Neck villages and Northwell Health to discuss the possibility of an ambulance agreement and the termination of Vigilant Fire Department. (Photo by Celine Macura)

The community bonded together when residents became concerned about a meeting between the nine mayors of the Great Neck villages and Northwell Health to discuss the possibility of an ambulance agreement and the termination of Vigilant Fire Company. Mayor Pedram Bral assured the attendees at a packed town hall meeting on March 7 that no proposal was on the table. Still, residents were anxious about the effects a possible termination would create concerning the safety hazards of not having local, immediate responders. 

After a heated election, Great Neck Public School Board of Trustees Rebecca Sassouni and Jeffrey Shi were sworn in at the Board of Education meeting on July 5. From left: The new board is comprised of Barbara Berkowitz, Donna Peirez, Shi, Sassouni and Donald L. Ashkenase.

 

A great deal of drama surrounded the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Trustees and bond votes. Ultimately, representatives from the underrepresented Persian and Asian communities were elected and the bond passed but, unfortunately, there was some divisiveness prior to the community uniting. Residents from across the peninsula spoke out about their support of our public schools, while some private school parents were against the bond because they felt that they were already paying their share.

After several fatal drug overdoses of young neighbors, the community room of the Main Library was filled with attendees, who had come for the Not My Child forum on opioid addiction and overdose.

Arrests for possession of drugs as well as deaths from overdoses were in the news, but the community responded by holding the informational seminar Not My Child to educate both parents and children so this epidemic will stop.

Fortunately, she returned home safely, but Yanyin Lin, 14, who was reported missing on Valentine’s Day, was again reported missing on June 27, according to Nassau County Police Department Missing Persons Squad detectives.

While many students received impressive awards, sadly, several teenage girls were reported missing. Fortunately, they all returned home safely and, apparently, several who relocated to Great Neck from other communities actually ran away to spend time with old friends.

Jivanna Bennaeim holds a picture of her husband, Oren, who was hit and killed on Middle Neck Road last fall, and son, Tristan, as she advocates at the pedestrian safety press conference, while Baldwin Civic Association’s Karen Montalbano and Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander look on. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Some stories were sparked by 2016 events, including advocacy from Jivanna Bennaeim whose husband, Oren, was struck by a hit-and-run driver at the corner of Middle Neck Road and Barstow Road last Sept. 30, and died six days later. Ever since, Jivanna has been campaigning for safer pedestrian laws to spare other families from such tragedies. In a Vision Long Island/LI Complete Streets Coalition gathering on July 7, she pleaded, “Something needs to change. The tragedies need to stop. Oren was an amazing husband and father. He served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Army for three years. And it still shocks me that this is how he died. I’m here for a call of action in Great Neck.”

More than 150 people were tested to see if they were a match for Dr. Hetty Chung (pictured with her husband and young daughter), a local OB/GYN in kidney failure who was in search of a kidney donor. Fortunately, she received a kidney transplant in March, but she continues her crusade for organ donation to help others.

When local OB/GYN Dr. Hetty Chung was in kidney failure and in need of a transplant, she reached out to the community and more than 150 people were tested to see if they were a match. Dr. Chung received a kidney transplant on March 8 and has continued her crusade for organ donation to help others.

Among the photos Michael Weinstock developed from a stack of 4-by-5 negatives his grandmother received in her husband’s letters during WWII, were pictures of a Seder for 2,700 soldiers and sailors on the tiny island of Guam. Until now, there were no known photographs of the service. (Photo courtesy of the Weinstock family)

Before Passover, longtime Great Neck resident Michael Weinstock developed a stack of his grand­father’s negatives from WWII, which the combat photographer had mailed home to his wife one by one in letters. Before these negatives were printed, no known pictures existed of a large Seder hosted by the U.S. Army for 2,700 soldiers and sailors on the tiny island of Guam. These images certainly gave the family another reason to celebrate.

Ever since the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees voted to switch the 832 streetlamps from high-pressure sodium to LED (light-emitting diode) lamps on Aug. 1, residents have expressed concern that the new bulbs would be too bright and shared studies about sleep problems and health issues. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees voted to switch 832 street lamps from high-pressure sodium to LED (light-emitting diode) lamps on Aug. 1. At future board meetings, residents expressed concern that the new bulbs would be too bright and shared health studies about LEDs causing sleep problems and breast cancer. Their concerns were dismissed. As the year ends with the lights just having been installed, home owners are saying that they don’t need to turn on lights to do the dishes after dinner or before going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Once all of the light shades are installed in 2018, perhaps we won’t be reading about the entrepreneurs who opened window treatment businesses.

Wishing all of our readers a happy, healthy and safe New Year, where we all work together so Great Neck continues to be great.

Read more of our special Year in Review coverage at www.longislandweekly.com.

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Sheri ArbitalJacoby brings more than three decades of publishing experience at national magazines to her position as editor of the Great Neck Record. She also writes decorating, travel, food and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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