|May 1, 2000
Wasn't Going To Tell
Elevated Bacteria Causes Chlorination
by Stewart Lilker
Monday nightís village board meeting was marked by the return to village
hall of former village trustee, Vince Campion. He told Mayor Glacken,
"I told you last time I wasnít coming back here unless there was a
problem with the water and now Iím back. My wife is sick because she is
allergic to chlorine and you put chlorine in the water without telling
The water quality issue was the main topic
of discussion at the Board meeting. As of Monday, Freeport had been
chlorinating the water supply for one week. During the public portion of
the meeting, Ken Bagatelle, NW Civic Association President, asked why we
were chlorinating the water. The Mayor explained, "The coliform
(bacteria) level was slightly higher than normal. It has to be treated
with chlorination and flushed." Glacken told Bagatelle that since the
treatments began "the levels of coliform have come down to where they
should be and the situation will continue to be monitored closely."
We will continue chlorinating and a systematic flushing of the entire
system." Glacken said that they would be chlorinating for the next
thirty days, or until the health department told them they could stop.
Glacken explained how the problem was
found, "We take about forty samples a month. In a couple of the
samples the readings were higher than permissible." Glacken didnít
know where the samples were taken. He told Bagatelle, "We shouldnít
pinpoint one area as opposed to another. Itís really a system wide
situation." Glacken said the water was absolutely safe to drink.
Trustee Campion asked the Mayor,
"There is chlorine in the water. It's going to be there for thirty
days. You donít think you have a responsibility to tell people that?"
Glacken responded, "We have to give a report to the public which is
due sometime in mid June giving a detailed explanation of what happened,
the steps that were taken and the results."
Campion asked, "I have to wait till
June to find out why?" Glacken said, "We followed the
requirements of the Health Department and that includes the reporting
requirements." Campion said, "If the law says you don't have to
do it, you're not going to do it no matter what. The public doesn't have
the right to know you're putting something into their water? My wife is
home sick because of it. Last time we had a emergency, you said it wasn't.
(During the last water crisis, Dr. Gaffney head of the Nassau County
Department of Health had to stand up in the middle of the meeting and
correct Glacken when he said that the water problem wasn't an emergency.- ed.)
Glacken explained that the village began
chlorinating the water the day after Easter. Campion asked Glacken how the
chlorinating was done. Glacken didn't know. Campion again asked Glacken
why he didn't notify anybody. Glacken didn't answer. Campion said,
"You don't understand the point. It doesn't make a difference what the
law says. You are the Mayor. The people trust you. There was something
wrong with the water and you didn't tell anybody."
Glacken said, "The Health Department
told us what to do." We were not required to notify the residents.
Nobody had to boil the water."
Campion concluded by saying, "My wife
is sick from the chlorine in the water. She could have avoided that if
somebody would have told her you were putting the chlorine in the water. I
don't care if it's not a requirement, its just something you should
At the conclusion of the meeting, your
reporter asked public relations person Pat Murphy why Jack Brick, the head
of the water department wasn't at the meeting. Murphy shrugged and walked
On Tuesday, FNYN checked with the Nassau
County Health Department. They confirmed that the water department
routinely takes forty samples a months, explaining that seven of the
routine samples came back positive. The water department was then required
to re-sample. Five of those came back positive.
The Health Department further explained,
"This constitutes an MCL (Maximum Contaminate Level) violation.
"That is why they are chlorinating now. They have to go to public
notification. They have to tell the public what happened. They donít
know what happened. They have to try and identify the source. They have to
figure it out. It could be a crack in the main. Any crack in a pipe could
introduce coliform bacteria. It could be a problem at one of the wells or
the elevated storage tanks."
The health department told FNYN, "If
they want to get their chlorination waiver back, they have to identify the
source. They have to prove to the health department they have cleaned it
up and have fixed it. Then they go on a trial basis requiring a lot of
samples. Upon a demonstration to the health department that all is OK,
they can get their chlorine waiver back." FNYN asked if they might
not get their waiver back. "There may be reasons that they donít
get their waiver back. It wonít be until thirty days, but chlorination
could continue for up to a year. Each case is taken individually."
The Health Department further explained
that the water regulations can be found in the state sanitary code, part
5. Public notice is required within 15 days and individual consumer notice
is required within 45 days. Public notice can be a notice buried among the
FNYN was unable to contact Jack Brick, the
Village water department head, on Tuesday.
Other issues discussed at Monday nights
meeting were the pollution from power plant number 2, the closing of the
end of Miller Avenue to parking and the lack of police presence in the
central business district.
The regular session of the Board meeting
ended at 9:30 p.m. As usual, the trustees of the Glacken administration
had no comments, other than trustee Miller explaining that if you put your
water in the refrigerator, the chlorine will turn to gas.
|May 19, 2000
(posted May 30, 2000)
Former Mayor's Dream Comes
by Stewart Lilker
Former Mayor Arthur Thompsonís dream of a revitalized Woodcleft Avenue
finally came true with
the official dedication of the Nautical Mile on May 19th. The Nautical
Mile project began years ago with Mayor Thompsonís securing a Federal
grant to begin the revitalization. After Mayor Thompsonís death in July
of 1995, Mayor Wissler continued the project. Wissler had many meetings
with the local business people and many community meetings regarding the
Villageís Comprehensive Plan. Residents gave their input into the
Woodcleft Avenue area, as well as all the other areas in the Village.
Glacken, who had run unsuccessfully against Wissler, did not attend any of
the Comprehensive Plan community meetings. One local businessman, who did
not want to be identified, recently told FNYN, "I always thought this
area was going to be designated as a Business Improvement District (BID).
I thought that would have been fair and so did many of the other merchants
on the canal. Iím not going to complain about all the residents paying
for this improvement." Although the Glacken administration has been
less than forthcoming with the actual amount spent on the Nautical Mile so
far, it appears that the amount is approximately ten million dollars, with
the funding evenly split between grants and the Village taxpayers.
morningís festivities began after a brief, nonalcoholic cocktail hour.
Trustee Bill White Jr., on the left, introduced Freeportís Mayor
Glacken, calling him "the architect of what you see here today."
Mayor Glacken began by stating that the project began in October of 1998.
He thanked all the officials attending. "I publicly want to thank all
the Federal, State and Local representatives, who helped in the
revitalization project. Without their assistance, we could not have
accomplished so much, so quickly."
Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Richard
Guardino, commenting on the Woodcleft revitalization project said,
"This is a great day in the Village of Freeport. It really is
fantastic. It just looks terrific." Guardino continued, "The
idea of encouraging revitalization, while trying to preserve whatever
remaining open space that we have here in the town and in the Village is
so very important."
County Executive Tom Gulotta was introduced by the Mayor, Gulotta, picking
up a giant plastic lobster claw, told the amused audience that some of the
wild days of his youth were spent right here in Freeport. "I caused
more havoc here than anywhere else."
Gulotta said that the Village of Freeport
"has a heritage that is truly second to none. The history of Freeport
is an incredible story, that is really worth reliving. In the process of
revitalizing Woodcleft Avenue, this is probably one of the finest examples
of what can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time, with all
levels of government, of all party affiliations working together to place
the interest of the citizens first, before politics."
NYS Secretary of State, Alexander
Treadwell, came to Freeport for the occasion and commented on the fine job
by saying, "Waterfront revitalization is what the Nautical Mile is
Freeportís County Legislators, David
Denenberg and Joe Scannell, and Hempstead Town
Councilwomen Dorothy Goosby and Rita Kestenbaum were also present.
Councilwoman Goosby, commenting on the contribution of the residents, told
FNYN, "This project showed the concern and determination of the
citizens of Freeport. They raised over five million dollars to assist in
the revitalization of the Nautical Mile." Ms. Goosby did not comment
on the failure of any of the speakers to actually make mention of the
residentís contribution. Pictured left to right are Councilwomen Goosby,
Mayor Glacken and Councilwomen Kestenbaum.
the conclusion of the festivities, the dignitaries were treated to rides
up and down the Nautical mile in the trolley car pictured here. The
Village Trustees had recently agreed to rent the trolley car for four
hundred and seventy five dollars an hour. These funds were not aidable by
the state and the trolley car rental was paid for by the Village
taxpayers. The so called official Village web site, FreeportNY.com, made
no mention of the planned Nautical Mile festivities
nor invited the residents of the Village, who funded half of the project.
Freeport Fire Department tour busses sat parked by the curb, as the meter
ran on the trolleys that carried the invited pubic officials up and down
the Nautical Mile.
22, 2000 (posted May 30, 2000)
BONDS ALMOST 4 MILLION DOLLARS
APPEARS UNPREPARED AT VILLAGE MEETING
night, The Board of trustees approved, among other things, the
bonding of $1,465,000 to be spent on the Villageís water system.
Last year, the water system also had serious problems, which
resulted in a water emergency. At the Village meeting in which
discussion regarding the past emergency took place, Dr. Kathleen
Gaffney, the Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Public
Health, had to stand up in the audience and correct Mayor Glacken
after he said that incident was not an emergency. Dr. Gaffneyís
exact words were, "Mayor Glacken, this was an emergency."
Is the Glacken
Admnistration coming clean on the Village's water problems? Many
residents don't think so.
Resident Alan Jay, apparently with last
yearís water crisis in mind, asked Mayor Glacken, "Is this
scheduled maintenance, or is this a result of the recent problem with the
water?" Mayor Glacken was not able to answer the question and
deferred it to his brother in law, Village Attorney Edwards. Edwards
answered, "These are not a result of the recent water problems. These
are scheduled maintenance items, some of them are upgrades." Glacken
added, "We have to update our wells. We may have to drill some
additional wells and we may have to install equipment on some of the
existing wells." Mr. Jay said, "We donít want to go the way of
Nassau County and over bond ourselves."
Your reporter then came to the microphone
to ask the Mayor and the Board about many of the items being bonded at the
request of Village Counsel Edwards. FNYN asked what in the Water
Department was being bonded for $515,000 and which wells were being
reconstructed or rehabilitated. The Mayor responded, "I donít have
that in front of me right now and Mr. DiGrazia is not here." From way
in back of the conference room, Mr. Olin of the Water Department advised
the Mayor and the Board which wells were being reconstructed and
rehabilitated. Mayor Glacken never invited Mr. Olin to the microphone and
after Mr. Olinís explanation, the Mayor was still confused regarding
which wells were to be rehabilitated.
Your reporter then asked the Mayor and the
Board if they knew of any reason that the Superintendent of the Water
Department, Mr. Brick was not in attendance. When it became clear that the
Mayor was stonewalling the question, your reporter asked, "Mr. Brick
is still head of the Water Department, is he not?" The Mayor
responded, "What relevance does that have to what is going on here
tonight?" Your reporter responded, "We are spending an awful lot
of money tonight on the Water Department, it would have been nice if he
was here." Glacken said, "He is not here tonight." Upon
further questioning, the Mayor refused to answer whether or not Mr. Brick
was still the head of the Water Department. FNYN has recently learned that
the Nassau County Health Department called the Village looking for Mr.
Brick. It appears that they were also told that Mr. Brick was not
The next two items of the eveningís
agenda also were for the bonding of various items in the Water Department.
One was for a $200,000 Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA),
which is an electronic monitoring system for the Village water wells. The
Mayor explained that we do not have an electronic monitoring system now.
The other was for $50,000 to construct chemical transfer stations. Mr.
Olin explained, again barely audible from the back of the room, that these
stations were required by the Department of Environmental Conservation and
were not presently in the Water Department.
Also requested was $100,000 to purchase
two new trucks for the Water Department. One of the Freeport High School
students attending the meeting told FNYN, "No one ever said that the
trucks they were replacing werenít running. They just said they were
Mr. Edwards also requested $600,000
"for water mains." Once again the Glacken agenda gave no
indication if this was for repair or replacement, and if this covered the
cost of the reconstruction of the roadways. Your reporter commented to the
Mayor, "It almost looks like you are rebuilding the whole water
system here. Do you know why none of this was ever done before? You were
here." Glacken replied, "I canít answer why it was never done
before. All I know is that we are doing it because we need to." Your
reporter asked the Mayor if he knew if all the water mains in the Village
would have to be replaced or if he had any idea what percentage was being
covered by the $600,000. Mayor Glacken said, "No, not at this
Also on the evening's agenda was a
requested $1,300,000 bonding for the "Improvement of Various Highways
and Roads." The administration made no effort to put the names of
these streets on the agenda. It was impossible to tell if the Deputy Mayor
or the other Trustees knew what they were, as they sat in their usual
silence. When questioned by FNYN, the Mayor seemed confused as to which
roads were being improved, so Village Attorney Edwards volunteered that
the following roads would be improved: Brookside, Hampton Place, Florence,
Jeanette, and Westside. Then the Mayor added Sterling Avenue to the mix,
along with South Brookside and South Bayview.
Also requested was the authorization of
$425, 000 to improve "Various Village Parks." Once again,
Glackenís administration made no effort to advise the public what these
improvements were. The agenda was void of any explanation. It was only
after the questioning of the Mayor that it was discovered that the
improvements were to be made in North East Park and Martin Luther King
Park. The Mayor explained that the tennis courts in NE Park had to be
completely reconstructed due to an unsatisfactory job by a previous
administration. When the Mayor was questioned about the courts always
being locked he responded that he didnít know if use of those tennis
courts was by permit or if they were open all the time. Nobody else in
Glackenís administration appeared to know, either. FNYN asked the Mayor,
"How do we find out if they are supposed to be locked?" The
Mayor ignored the question and answered by repeating that the courts were
reconstructed a couple of years ago "by the prior
administration." When FNYN pointed out to the Mayor that it was not
the administration, but a contractor that reconstructed the court, the
Mayor ignored the clearly shoddy workmanship and explained that he was
"doing the whole thing over again."
The Mayor also explained that the $425,000
bond would also pay for the replacement of the fences, the lighting of the
ball field area, renovation of the bathrooms and renovation of the
playground area. Glacken explained that the lighting would cost $100,000.
He asked Mr. Cappozili, a member of the Department of Public Works, if he
had a breakdown of the costs. Mr. Cappozolli responded, "I donít
have a breakdown, just a total."
Glacken explained that the playground at
MLK Park would be renovated. He said, "We are basically rebuilding
all the parks in town, from scratch. This is not maintenance."
FNYN asked the Mayor, "Would you
expect the tennis courts to be unlocked after they are renovated?"
The Mayor refused to answer, threatening to go to the vote unless FNYN
asked another question. A Freeport High School student commented after the
meeting, "This Mayor is unbelievable. I donít believe that he didnít
know if the tennis courts were unlocked or not. He was just trying to
avoid the question."
After a public hearing, in which it was
approved that 53 Roosevelt Avenue should be demolished, the Board
adjourned into executive session to discuss three personnel matter and one
About an hour later, Ray Straub, Glackenís
Chief of Staff, entered the main conference room and announced that the
Board would not be reconvening into open session, or the "second
session" as Glacken calls it. FNYN asked Straub if the Board voted on
anything while they were in executive session. Straub replied, "Not
anything they had to vote on out here."
The Village Board is now on summer hours
and the next meeting is scheduled for June 12th.