.

A Word From Mayor John Watras

Year-end reminders.

Congratulations - Garden City Girls Soccer Champs: Throughout the years our young people’s many academic, cultural and athletic accomplishments bring well deserved credit to themselves, the Garden City High School and to our community. It is not uncommon for the Garden City High School teams to advance to a Long Island championship and to move ahead to the New York State championship games. Incredibly, on Sunday, Nov. 17,  the Garden City High School girls soccer team competed in the New York State Girls Class A Soccer championship and was victorious!

The team, coached by Head Coach Mike Heedles, Assistant Coaches Scott McAuley and Junior Varsity Coach Mark Quigley, defeated Honeoye Falls-Lima by a score of 1-0 to bring home the State Class A title. Garden City finished this season with a record of 17-3-1.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I offer congratulations to all of the coaches and the girls on the team. It is truly a testament to all of the team for all their hard work and dedication this season.

Toys For Tots Program: Once again, the Garden City Police Department has been designated as a gift depository for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Toys for Tots Program. As we all know, it has been a very difficult year, not only with the lagging economy, but the extra added burden from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that has affected us all.

There are many displaced families who will not have the resources to provide a gift for their child this year. In the spirit of giving, I ask that if you are able to do so, please drop off an unused, unwrapped gift into the collection box in the lobby of the Garden City Police Department by Dec. 19. Your generosity will be most appreciated.

Year-End Reminders:

Village Hall Holiday Schedule: Village Hall will close at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 24, in observance of the Christmas holiday and will re-open at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26. Village offices will also close at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 31 in observance of the New Year’s holiday and will re-open at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 2. For your convenience, correspondence may be placed in the letter slot at the easterly entrance to Village Hall.

Second Half of Village Taxes: The second half of village taxes, which were due and payable on Dec. 1, are subject to penalty if payment is not made within a 30-day grace period. This year payments received after Tuesday, Dec. 31, will be subject to penalty. Please return the “second half” bill stub with your payment made payable to the Incorporated Village of Garden City. Please note that Village Hall will close at noon on Tuesday, December 31, and remain closed on Wednesday, Jan. 1 in observance of the New Year’s holiday. As stated above, tax payments may be placed in the letter slot at the easterly entrance to Village Hall.

Veterans Real Property Tax Exemption: The deadline for applications for veterans tax exemptions is Tuesday, Dec. 31 (as stated above, village offices close at noon on this day). Applications cannot be accepted after the close of business on that date.

Holiday Sanitation Schedule: Residents are reminded that there will be no regular garbage or recycling pickup on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Also, there will be no rubbish pick up on Thursday, Dec. 25. The holiday week collection will be as follows:

Western half of Village (West of Rockaway Avenue)

Garbage: Monday and Friday

Rubbish: Thursday

Eastern half of Village (East of Rockaway Avenue)

Garbage: Tuesday and Saturday

Rubbish: Thursday

If you recycling day is on a Wednesday, your recycling pick up has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.

Holiday Safety: While we enjoy the holidays it's easy to understand that many holiday traditions have the potential to put us at an increased risk for fire and during the holidays it can be especially challenging to keep fire safety in mind with many other things competing for our attention.

By understanding where holiday fire hazards exist, and taking some simple preventative steps to avoid them, people can greatly reduce their risk to fire and keep everyone in good cheer. Fire Chief William Castoro has asked that I share the following tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

Christmas Trees: United States fire departments annually respond to 250 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Nearly half of them are caused by electrical problems and one in four resulted from a heat source that's too close to the tree. Here are some guidelines for picking, placing and lighting a tree:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure that it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If you choose a fresh tree, please make sure the green needles don't fall off when touched. Before placing it in its stand, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk and add water to the tree stand and be sure to water it daily.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections.  Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and will extend their life.

Cooking: According to NFPA, unattended cooking is the leading cause of United States home fire injuries. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Under no circumstances should you throw water on a grease fire to extinguish it as it will explode and spread throughout the room. As most cooking fires involve the stove-top, keep anything that can catch fire away from it and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it's for a short period of time. If you're simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. For homes with children, create a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.

Candles: Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays, and December is the peak month for home candle fires. NFPA statistics show more than half of all candle fires start because the candle was too close to things that could catch fire. Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles. However, if you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces. Avoid using candles in the bedroom where two of five United States candle fires begin or other areas where people may fall asleep. Lastly, never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.

Continue to Shop and Dine in Garden City: The residents of Garden City are very fortunate to have viable retail businesses on Seventh Street, Franklin Avenue and New Hyde Park Road where there is a good variety of quality merchandise and family dining experiences available to be enjoyed. Please support these businesses and enjoy the products, variety and outstanding customer service. Keep in mind that these merchants save you from traveling outside the Village for your needs. Consider the harsh reality if we did not have these businesses here to service our needs. I look forward to seeing everyone in town.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES’ MEETING SCHEDULE: The next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees’ meeting that will be held in December is on Dec. 19. I encourage all residents to attend Board of Trustees meetings so as to be thoroughly informed of village issues from a first-hand perspective.