Legacy of MLK Jr – 2020

When thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. I have often referred back to the great example of his “mentor” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. We commonly know him as Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma means sage, revered person, spiritual leader. I put mentor in quotation marks because the two men never actually met. But Gandhi was the model that King used to shape his mission in civil rights.
There were others examples of that model as well. Nelson Mandela of South Africa was another example. But the model is more ancient than that. One could put Jesus Christ in the same category.
The model of which I speak is one that must win out in the end. The problem is how do we get to peace and harmony by allowing ourselves to be clubbed to death, or nearly so, as in the case of Elijah Cummings when he was a young man?
Most of us will never be asked to endure what, Gandhi, Mandela, Cummings and King were willing to subject themselves. We only need to have the courage to speak out against injustice because we still live in a free society. We will not be dragged off in the dead of night never to be heard from again. We may be ridiculed and if you run a business you may lose sales or be boycotted. Those things are hard to take, but I ask. “What price are you willing to pay for your freedom?”
The Old Testament speaks of an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Gandhi said that would only lead is to a country that is blind and toothless.
We celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. not because he won military battles. His army owned none of the instruments of war. His armaments were imbedded in the ideals that make life among us possible and rewarding.
I also find it interesting that the founding fathers of this great country put the right words on paper as embodied in the “Declaration of Independence” “The Constitution” and the “Bill of Rights” even if they were not initially able to live up to those same words. But it is those words that MLK used to make his points on equality and civil rights. 
Those words were not accidental. They were there for us to grow into.

2020 Refocus

LIMBA Goals in the Past and Outlook for 2020

What We have Been Doing

The future is truly unknowable, but our planning is what we control. We move forward and try to make a difference. At LIMBA we begin by keeping informed. We produce programs that contain useful information on relevant topics

Here is what we are thinking about as we embark on the next 12 months

The environment

This is a very big topic. We had Dr. Tanecredi speak on the protection of the vital animal life, specifically the horseshoe crab and we were informed about its medical uses. We also had a discussion on the water quality of the surrounding bays
On another occasion we Had Suffolk County Water Authority Chairman Pat Halpin give us an overview of the drinking water and what we are constantly learning about maintaining the high quality water we demand

Recreations & Facilities

We are blessed with many great beaches and parks last year we had the superintendent of the Fire Island National Seashore Alexy Romero tell us more about this wonderful resource and what we need to do to protect it. From the State Parks of Long Island we had Director George Hoffman speak on the availability of parks and the state of repair

Transportation

Rails LIMBA has been a supporter of improvements on the Long Island Rail Road and in fact we were instrument in the electrification of the Ronkonkoma line. We are now supporting the electrification of the Port Jefferson line

Airport at MacArthur

This regional airport has been recognized by LIMBA as being essential to the economic health of this Long Island area- Years ago we created a plan under the leadership of Paul Townsend of Long Island Business News and Dick Dunne of Grumman called “USE IT OR LOSE IT” It worked and we have to revisit that old strategy

Maglev Train System

We have been promoting the MAGLEV and we have been inquiring about the viability of a demonstration project that would run a single car on a single track from Ronkokoma to Greenport every 40 minutes making 4 stops and maintain an average speed of 160 miles per hour

We will be asking members who would like to volunteer on any project to let us know. It will be interesting!

Ernie Fazio , Bill Miller, Marguerite Moore, and Ken Nevor

A Mitzvah for Christmas Christmas 2019

A Christmas Remembered- A Mitzvah for Christmas

When I was a teenager Butch and Frankie were my closest friends. They lived on the next street right behind my house. For about four Christmas’s the three of us would set up a tree selling lot. Butch’s uncle was a truck driver and would often be in Wallabout Market in the Bronx. Each year he would pick bundles of Christmas trees for us to sell.

Bill Steck had a candy store on the avenue across the street from the Long Island Railroad. Bill allowed us to run an extension cord to the adjacent lot so we could be there at night all lit up for business. We had an oil drum with the top cut out so we could have a fire to keep us warm.

We bought the trees for $5 per bundle, there were 5 trees in each bundle.There was usually one great looking tree which we could get $5. The remaining trees were less perfect but that is where we made our profit. If a tree was a “Charlie Brown” loser we’d cut off the branches and make wreaths

In the early afternoon on December 24th a man named Eddie from the other side of the tracks came looking for a tree. He looked for a while and quietly slipped away. Eddie had 4 children and he did not want to disappoint them by not having a tree.

We were all poor in that neighborhood but Eddie was a little more poor than most of us. He walked by our lot looking wistful and sure he was out of luck. He didn’t even stop.

“Hey Eddie. Come back in an hour we’ll have a tree for you” I shouted”Ok but I don’t have much money” “Don’t worry”

Butch and Frankie looked at me and asked what I had in mind.”We’ll build him a tree”

We got out the hand drill and started drilling holes in the stem of this pathetic looking tree. We had plenty of branches left over from our wreath making and when we stuffed that stem full of branches it was a great looking tree.When Eddie returned we brought forth the tree.”What do you think?””Looks great. How much?”How much ya got?”I only have 75 cents”

“Sold”.

Eddie gave the money to Frankie. Frankie pressed the money back into Eddie’s hand and wished him a Merry ChristmasAt that point Eddie hurried home with his tree.

About a week after Christmas we saw Eddie on the streetI asked “How did the kids like the tree””Oh they thought it was great, but few days later the tree dried out and all the branches and the ornament wound up on the floor but it was great on Christmas morning, Thanks guys”

Ernie Fazio

Thanksgiving 2019

The theme of this holiday is never hard to identify. That is because we live in a country where there is so much for which to be thankful. But one day I heard someone say “you can’t trust anyone these days”. I could not disagree more. We trust other people all the time and with important stuff. Like our lives for example.

Earlier this year I was on a tour bus threading our way through mountain roads and following hairpin turns. The terrain was most unforgiving and if that bus driver was not as skillful as he was tragedy awaited around every turn. Why was I and the rest of the passengers trusting this operator when none of us ever met him before going on that trip?

There is an army of people we may never meet. They sit at consoles guiding pilots to land and take off in a safe manner. There are train engineers we trust to read the road signs and obey the railroad guidelines to get us to our destinations. These are not super human beings. They are well trained in their craft, but otherwise ordinary people

We trust because we must. Life is not possible without that precious element. We trust the airlines to safely reach their destination without incident. We trust our doctors to successfully complete operations and keep us healthy.

We trust our government to protect our rights, our property, and our freedoms. Do we always guarantee that we will be safe? That we will not be betrayed some criminal element? No, I’m afraid that is not possible. That is why we have police to help prevent crime and courts to help us redress our grievances when they do occur

We live in a country of approximately 330 million people. The vast majority of our citizens are unfettered, and unencumbered by restrictions on our movements. That’s because until you do something that requires closer scrutiny you are free.

The next time you see a cop, a service person, any public servant and all the good people who will be working as we enjoy our holidays, just give them a smile. It may very well make their day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the LIMBA staff

Norman Rockwell “Freedom From Want”

Labor Day 2019

Appreciating All Who Make Our Lives Possible

Sometimes I will observe a craftsman busy at his work and you can see the concentration written on his face. You can see it in his eyes and the furrows on his brow. When you see that level of focus you can bet he or she is dealing with a problem that is “not in the book”
As a practioners in any pursuit we operate from a body of knowledge that we gained from apprenticeships or formal studies. But there comes a time when all that we learned does not seem to answer the question at hand.
This will happen with auto mechanics, lawyers carpenters or doctors. No matter how any of us make our living there will come a time when we will have to make that leap of intuition, invention or risk in order to go forward. We probably do it more often than any of us give ourselves credit.
It is this belief in the working person that creates respect. Respect is one of those outward signs that validates us all. We all like it and we are rewarded for showing it.
The attitude toward labor in the early days of the industrialization was more like labor as a commodity. It was just another ingredient that you added to the formula. Capital, Labor and raw materials and at the end of the pipeline you got a finished product. That concept is no longer acceptable. The modern worker in the industrialized west wants more than that. Frankly I think he deserves more than that. Being part of an equitable labor market regardless of where we are in that mix, we all do better.
Workers who have decent working conditions, adequate compensation and good healthcare are the backbone of a functioning democracy. Only when we have the time and some energy left to participate in our communities do we prosper as truly enlightened society.
When I began this essay I lauded the efforts of all the contributors of this economic juggernaut we are all part of, but, if we do not foster equitable rewards to the people that put their shoulder to the wheel we lose our position in the world and we risk losing our hard won democracy.
Lastly we do have a disparity of wealth and that represents an enormous difference in the resources of our citizens. Is that a problem that we should mitigate? Yes it is. But it would not be as big an issue if the bottom rung of the economic ladder wasn’t so deeply sunk the mud. No person who works a 40 hour week should be living in a Kelvinater box under the expressway.
The best way to tip your hat to the hard working people of this country is to make sure that all that toil have a living wage.

This Labor Day let’s think about, and appreciate all of the people that work to make our lives possible. We salute you. Happy Labor Day

Ernie, Bill, Marguerite, and Ken

July 4th 2019

July 4th Message 2019 — Ernie Fazio

We are about to celebrate the founding of The United States. Think about what we chose to call ourselves. The United States? Really? Are we still united? Have we allowed ourselves to drift apart? Maybe we are now like an old marriage that has grown tired and unexciting.

Let me caution those among us that think the end is near. It isn’t! But the strength of our fabric is being tested. That is not new. We have had crisis before and serious divides that we eventually dealt with. We will again.

There was nothing in our history that was more divisive than our Civil War. After killing 600,000 of us we managed to repair that horrendous chapter of our existence and go on.

Think about the positives that we embrace. With 330 million people we live in relative peace with each other. I do not wish to present this country in a Pollyanna fashion because I realize as well as anybody else, this is not a perfect country. We are like the person who once asked, “Why is it I am always in a state of becoming? Why is it that I never am?” The person who stops growing is dead either physically or intellectually.

The country that stops growing is also dead. But in the same manner as the individual, this country has grown in fits and starts. We may well be in that phase, but that hiatus in our growth will end, and growth will continue.

When I refer to growth I am looking at the way we treat our people. How we devise policies that fosters world peace. Over my own lifetime I have seen an America that created peace and prosperity for us and trading partners (The Marshall Plan). I have seen a country that treated soldiers returning from WWII fairly by offering them what came to be known as the GI Bill. (In previous wars we stiffed the veterans after the wars were over and that goes back to the war for independence)

This nation’s founders knew from the beginning that we were not emerging in the world as a “finished product”. We still had slavery, women and poor people could not vote. We made those adjustments and many others.

The Constitution was created to form a more perfect union. We were not perfect at birth. We are not perfect now, but no one can deny that we came a long way. And no one can deny we have a long way to go. I promise you we will.

The journey is not over!

Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day 2019A year ago or more I joined the American Legion. I should have joined long ago. The comradeship is great fun. I never had the harrowing experience of ever being in a battle zone, while many of these seasoned veterans saw some awful things in their tours of duty in uniform. In this group I feel a deep sense of patriotism and that love of country is contagious. What I do hear being discussed is the way they interact with the community. They enjoy the places where they live and appreciate their fellow citizens. Many of our fellow citizens will say “Thank you for your service” and I’m sure they appreciate it, but they don’t ask to be praised and the reason that they served was based on their love of country.There is a light hearted banter I enjoy hearing while sitting down among my fellow vets. One night I was mulling over what some of these people saw while serving in the military. Many are old and some are infirm but once upon a time they were young and virile warriors. As they taunt and tease each other you come to realize that they rarely talk about what they have seen.Perhaps they are just basking in the realization that what they fought for is here for their grandchildren to inherit. I may be making too much of this but there is a happiness about them despite the frailties of age that they deal with. The knees and shoulders that are no longer the painless springs that served them when they were young are not things you hear them complain about.We wish them all the best this Memorial DayErnie Fazio

Meeting Recap – Fire Island & National Parks Discussion

On April 26, Alexcy Romero, superintendent of Fire Island National Seashore (FINS), was the guest speaker for LIMBA. He talked about what FINS does and some of the sites that National Parks Service oversees.

A New York native, Superintendent Romero joined FINS in October 2018. He previously worked at the Public Health Sanitarium at the National Recreation Area. He also served as district manager at the Breezy Point District, assistant supervisor at Prince William Forest Park, supervisor and deputy supervisor at National Capital Parks East and supervisor at George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The National Parks Service is one of nine agencies within the U.S. Department of the Interior. On August 25, 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson established the Organic Act, which called for the creation of the National Parks Service. Before that, in 1872, Yellowstone Park was established as the first national park.

Superintendent Romero said the purpose of the National Parks Service is to “promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations,” as stated in the Organic Act. Its park managers are dedicated to protecting the parks’ natural resources for this generation and for generations to come.

There are 481 national parks in the U.S., including Hawaii and the territories of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Some examples include Acadia National Park, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, Great Smoky Mountains, Stonewall Inn National Monument, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Antietam National Battlefield, Fort McHenry National Monument and Cesar Chavez National Monument.

Superintendent Romero discussed the characteristics of Fire Island. Stretching across 19,758 acres and surrounded by 15,000 acres of open water, Fire Island is home to 350 year-round residents and hosts 2.5 million visitors every year. It also has two marinas, two historic sites on the National Register and 26 campsites. This year, he said, Watch Hill Marina will offer “glamping” experiences for visitors, complete with European-style design and comfortable beds.

Nationwide, there are 307 million tourists who visit within 60 miles of a national park and spend $16.9 billion, according to Superintendent Romero. Additionally, FINS has created 218 jobs and collected $25 million in revenues from the parks’ visitors.
Among the projects FINS is working on, Superintendent Romero said, include working with the Army Corps of Engineers on replenishing the beaches along Fire Island up to Montauk Point and Moriches Inlet, preserving the Fire Island lighthouse and the William Floyd Estate, updating the permitting system regarding off-road vehicles, conducting a vulnerability study on the rising sea levels that includes looking at beach erosion and measuring the sea levels over the next 10 to 20 years, and working with the towns of Islip and Brookhaven in rezoning the dune district. When asked about the damage done by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Superintendent Romero said FINS is continually working on rebuilding the shorelines.

Thanksgiving Message 2018

I usually reflect on the universal nature of this holiday and that is worth noting, and of course, it is still its greatest asset. But let us appreciate the specific elements of our society. When you pass a hospital on your way to work think about the myriad skills employed within those walls that are helping our neighbors, friends, and sometimes our own families. Are we thankful that they serve?
Down the road you pass a police station and a fire department. They are there to help when the most painful and dire events happen in our lives. Shouldn’t we be thankful for them?
Then we pass a courthouse and a law firm within those walls we resolve injustices that are sometimes in our lives. Such as law firms filing suits against Flint Michigan for causing poison in the water supply or suing the tobacco industry for promoting products that were killing us.
Along the way you pass a school and you know our children are getting educated by dedicated teachers. The teachers that helped you create the self that you are. You remember the coach that helped you find the confidence that still serves you to this very day.
Then there are the commercial and industrial buildings along the way. The places where our parents, our neighbors, our friends, and we ourselves work to carve out a living. Where bright, ambitious business people are creating a future for themselves and the country.
Then there are our government structures that are based on documents that are like roadmaps to un-ending betterment. We began this audacious experiment we call the United States of America still sanctioning slavery, depriving women of the vote, and we limited the right to vote to the propertied class. I think the founders were well aware of the shortcomings. I quote these words from the preamble of the Constitution.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Unionestablish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Have we arrived at our destination? Not yet, but stay tuned we are a “GREAT COUNTRY” and we are always in the state of becoming.
When you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner and Uncle Charlie says something obnoxious, here is what you should say. “Pass the gravy, this is a great meal Happy Thanksgiving Uncle Charlie” (don’t forget to smile.)
Happy Thanksgiving – Ernie Fazio and the LIMBA team

“Don’t Thank Me For My Service” with Colonels Alan Vitters & Michael Canders

dontthankme

At Friday’s program Michael Canders and Alan G. Vitter gave us interesting insights into the military careers of two outstanding leaders. To be sure the experiences of each of them were different.

“Don’t Thank Me For My Service” was the theme of the meeting and they settled on that title for their presentation as a result of an article of that name appeared in the NYT written by Matt Richtel.

According to these now retired senior officers the phrase comes off as trite, and shallow. Perhaps we should be asking questions about the state of their being.

Colonel Vitters experience goes back to Vietnam. As a platoon Leader in the 82nd Airborne Division he saw the nitty gritty of war and experienced the terror of the moment as much as the enlisted personnel that he led. Vitters is the recipient of Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge.

When he returned to the U.S. he was selected to participate in the prestigious “Honor Guard” and had a significant role in the state funerals of Truman, Johnson and Hoover.

He knew he wanted to be an educator and eventually earned his PhD in management. As an assistant professor at St Joseph’s College he has an emphasis in helping veterans.

Colonel Canders had wartime experience in Iraq. Canders however never saw the close-up battles that have deeply affected others. Canders said that there was always the possibility of IED’s but that was a random chance.

Mike spoke about the sacrifice of the families. According to him he always felt that he was doing exactly what he wanted to do. The families were often in the dark and concerned about the safety of those family members in the military.Colonel Canders is now working as the Director of Aviation Studies at Farmingdale College.

There were in the audience that had some affiliation with veterans and some of them were veterans themselves, so there were many questions and comments.

Col. Vitters introduced the idea of reinstating the draft. Since there is no longer a draft we lose the opportunity to meet people from around the country. That may be contributing our differences. Both agreed that the burden military is borne by too few.

A question was asked about the effect of war on enlisted personnel vs officer. Colonel Vitters suggested that the effects of battle are more profoundly felt by the enlisted soldier that the officer, because the officers are schooled in the whole scope of the risks and resposibilyies of the field, whereas the enlisted soldier is only physical trained to perform and use his weapons

Rosemarie Kluepfel was there and she announced the giving away a house to a qualified veteran by Fairway.