Nassau OKs Silver Alert system for elderly wanderers

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The Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved a bill Monday creating a Silver Alert system for reporting elderly people who wander away, similar to an Amber Alert system in place for missing children.

"It was an idea that had been percolating in my mind since last year, when an old and dear friend of mine, Hal Doliner, got the car keys and drove off and ended up killing himself in a one-car accident," Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) said after the vote.

"We have had too many cases of older people wandering off and winding up in hospitals before they are reunited with their families," Wink said.

The bill requires Nassau County police to establish a registry into which families can put the names of adults with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Police would send out immediate alerts to the media, hospitals and other police departments if they are reported missing.

Doliner, 80, was suffering from Alzheimer's in March 2008 when he somehow got the keys to the family car and drove away from his Port Washington home. He was killed shortly afterward in a crash in Sands Point.

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$204M NCC budget OKd

In other action, the legislature approved a $204-million budget for Nassau Community College for the upcoming school year, which calls for no additional property taxes. The college will increase tuition by $70 per year, to $3,622.

The tuition increase should raise $3.3 million, and the school will tap into reserve funds and take other steps to balance its budget for the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1, college officials said.

"I don't think we could have given you a better send-off," Legis. Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) told college President Sean Fanelli, who is retiring in January. "This was the first time in a long time we were able to get a budget together without any problem."

With Celeste Hadrick

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