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Transition

A screenshot of Huntington Supervisor-elect Chad Lupinacci's transition team website Dec. 6.

The Town of Huntington’s first major change of leadership in more than 20 years is getting underway.

Huntington’s Supervisor-elect Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) announced the launch of the New Direction Transition Team website Nov. 30, for individuals interested in applying for town personnel openings during the transition period.

“In an attempt to keep the hiring process transparent and evaluate all options in personnel matters, I have launched the New Direction Transition Team website,” Lupinacci said in a press statement.

The website, www.Chad2017.com, was inspired by similar ones constructed by recent presidential administrations and Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran (D), according to spokesman Brian Finnegan. Those interested may submit a cover letter and resume, then select from more than 15 town departments for which they are interested in working. There are no plans at this time to list specific job openings or descriptions, according to Finnegan. Applicants will not be asked for their political party affiliation.

“Regardless of party affiliation, the supervisor-elect plans on vetting and considering all qualified candidates based on merit,” Finnegan said. “He takes great pride in the fact he’s worked beneath several bipartisan administrations.”

At the town’s unveiling of Huntington Station community center plans Nov. 25, Lupinacci spoke about how his first public service position was working as a laborer under former town Highway Supervisor William Naughton (D). He left the town to become a communications liaison for late Republican State Assemblyman Jim Conte, who represented the 10th district for 24 years. Lupinacci was elected to his first political office in 2012, when he took over Conte’s vacated seat.

“Now, no matter your party affiliation or vote at the ballot box, is the time to work together, get things done, check politics at the door and put people first,” reads Lupinacci’s transition website.

The state assemblyman defeated Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) receiving nearly 54 percent of the votes. He takes office Jan. 1 from resigning Supervisor Frank Petrone (D).

Lupinacci’s move back to town government will leave an open state assembly seat for 10th district residents, which spans from Lloyd Harbor south along state Route 108/Plainview Road to SUNY Farmingdale State College, and as far east as Elwood. It is unclear who will take his place as Lupinacci’s term doesn’t expire until Dec. 31, 2018.

“Shortly after the first of the year we will have a screening process to interview potential candidates to fill that seat,” said Toni Tepe, chairwoman of the Huntington Republican Committee.

Under New York State Senate law pertaining to public officers, “A special election shall not be held … to fill a vacancy in the office of state senator or in the office of member of assembly, unless the vacancy occurs before the first day of April of the last year of the term of office. … If a special election to fill an office shall not be held as required by law, the office shall be filled at the next general election.”

Tepe said the decision on whether or not a special election will be held to fill Lupinacci’s state office will ultimately be made by state Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

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Waves of nostalgia can hit at any time. They tend to wash ashore more frequently in between graduations with their “look back, look forward” speeches and weddings. During these transition phases, we recall the days gone by, whether we’re suddenly comparing a memory from a few years to a decade or more earlier.

We watch our children stretch out surprisingly long arms to take a diploma and shake the hand of a school official, recalling how those hands used to reach up high to grab ours as we crossed the street.

We listen to their confident voices as they share detailed, measured and elaborate opinions about politics, sports, social issues or music. At the same time, we replay the high voices in our heads when they shared thoughts that weren’t so complex, as in “Jimmy Neutron is the best.”

When my wife and I walk around town, we frequently stop outside T-ball baseball games, where we soak in the figurative nostalgia bathtub. Johnny swings at seven pitches before he finally dribbles a ball foul. The exhausted coach encourages Johnny to “run, run, run!” Once the boy reaches first base, a small smile fills a round face that will get longer and leaner in the days ahead, until he reaches the stage where he rolls his eyes when people around him speak of sports because he and his razor stubble have tuned into the world of guitars and rock bands.

For some high school graduates, home has become a launchpad, where the NASA countdown to lift off for college will thrust them to a new location.

And then there are the brides and grooms, whose parents may recall their own weddings even as they smile at the way their children are planning to have people on stilts passing out hors d’oeuvres. The reason no one else thought of it, we think, is because it seems impractical, even though we don’t say that because we don’t want to rain on our children’s parade.

The parents of the bride and groom may remember the people who surrounded them at their wedding, from family members to important friends. Parents may have spent extra time searching through alumni directories or online listings to find the addresses of some of those important friends they haven’t seen in decades to invite them to another can’t-miss wedding.

Parents may stare at their children and recall the long journey from the cooties and a fear fascination with love and romance, to this moment when their child plans to travel the rest of his or her life with this marital partner.

What good does nostalgia do? It offers an opportunity to reflect on the past, while overlaying memories with current experiences. While we’re dancing to music we heard years ago, maybe at our own weddings or on an early date with a future spouse, we may close our eyes and reconnect with the younger version of ourselves. We remember who we were and who we wanted to be. We may laugh, realizing how far we have to go, or boost our resolve as we observe the changes in ourselves and others around us that encourage us to believe that anything, improbable or difficult though it may seem, is still possible.

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The first time we hold them, they fit into the corner of our arms with room to spare. Their impossibly small pink toes fit neatly in our eyelids as we kiss their wiggling feet.

We lower their grocery-sack-sized bodies gently into their cribs. During the day we bring food to their toothless mouths, and their bodies process the food as they take what they need and leave the rest for us to clean and remove.

Suddenly they are coasting, looking into the side of a couch, a chair or our legs, standing for the first time. Amid the cheers and squeals, they fall and we rush to the floor near them and congratulate them. Before long we’re bending down, gently holding tiny hands engulfed in our oven-mitt-sized palms.

From their first walking steps, they progress to trotting. It’s a wonderful yet terrible transition, as their developing minds can’t process dangers at the same rate that their feet propel them. We keep up or race ahead, making sure they don’t step off a curb until all movement on the street has stopped.

They no longer want to sit in the car seat. They arch backs that are shorter than our arms, making it impossible to buckle them in. We distract them enough to close the clasps, run to the front seat and bring the car to a high enough speed that they sleep.

We take them roller skating, skiing or ice skating. We start them early so they’ll become naturals. Brilliant idea, except that they need us to put our hands under their armpits to keep them upright. After a time far too short for our kids’ liking, our backs scream to stop. We can’t bend down or our spines will go on strike. At that point, these small people want hot chocolate or the chance to try skiing, snowboarding or rollerblading on their own.

We stand on a field, tossing a ball lightly near their gloves. They throw the ball back in our general direction, discouraged that they haven’t discovered the magic of a catch. We get down on one knee, look them in the eye, pull up their small chins and smile, hoping we can teach the mechanics of throwing before they become too upset to keep trying.

We protect their heads from colliding with the tops of tables, reach for glasses from the cabinet, and help them into the seats at restaurants where their feet dangle far from the floor.

Pretty soon, they want to ride a bike. We promise to hold on but our backs, yet again, have other ideas. They shout at us for letting go or, maybe, they decide they want to do it on their own because they saw Timmy down the street on his bike.

Their faces, arms and legs get longer, they pick up speed everywhere they go and, before long, their heads are above the level of the kitchen table. They reach down to pet the neighbors’ big dog, and they sit in restaurant chairs with enormous feet that rest on the floor and which we wouldn’t dare put anywhere near our eyelids.

We no longer have to bend our necks to kiss the tops of their heads. In fact, with their braces gleaming in the sun, they stare or glare from under the long hair of adolescence directly into our eyes. Pretty soon we hope, as we go to sleep each night, they will be taller than we are.

Wonderful as that moment is, maybe — just for an instant — we remember that the head perched atop this growing body is the same one that fit so snugly into our arms all those years ago.

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