A look back at our community’s biggest stories
This year was a big one for the Village of Westbury, which saw the long-awaited replacement of the 103-year old Post Avenue Bridge in October. New upgrades also took center stage when Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul stopped by the Ernesto Strada Piazza in May to announce the priority projects approved for state funding through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The funding will bring façade upgrades, streetscape improvements, an arts venue, community center upgrades and more to the Village of Westbury’s downtown.
The first half of the year saw tumult on the Westbury School District Board of Education, which found itself divided on several topics, including the effectiveness of superintendent Dr. Mary Lagnado. After several contentious meetings, Lagnado was forced to retire, with Eudes S. Budhai, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, being named interim and later appointed to the position.
One thing the board did agree on was overcrowding at the schools, a problem that was alleviated with the creation of a ninth-grade academy. While the board originally planned for the Class of 2021 to be split into taking classes at either the Nassau Community College Annex building or Cradle of Aviation, the state department of education ultimately only approved the Annex. The freshman class now takes classes at the off-site location, a small remediation on overcrowding at the high school.
Another change in the district was the implementation of uniforms for students in kindergarten through ninth grade, with Fridays as a day of expression. Though wearing the polos and khakis/black pants is optional, Budhai said the district’s decision was intended to help students focus on academics.
In Carle Place, July saw the community mourning the loss of Barry Dennis, the board of education’s longest serving member. The devoted community advocate will be remembered for his dedication to children’s education and his tireless commitment to doing whatever was best for the district.
Hollywood stars came through the area several times this year; comedians Adam Sandler and Chris Rock filmed a scene for an upcoming Netflix movie at Tuxedo Park in Carle Place over the summer, while in January, a filming of a Quantico episode allowed fans of the show to see stars Priyanka Chopra and Jake McLaughlin.
Cheers to 2017 and here’s to more local success stories in 2018.