Author Archives: news

A crowd gathers around for the official lighting of the 25-foot tree in Larchmont’s Constitution Park. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

Larchmont lights up for the holidays

The Larchmont Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 895 and the Larchmont Police Benevolent Association joined forces for the second annual Light Up Larchmont event that took place on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 5 at Constitution Park. Revelers headed over to the Larchmont Fire House at 120 Larchmont Ave. to get into the Christmas and holiday spirit.

The free event returned outdoors in Constitution Park, back-dropped on a colorful holiday scene scape. Some patrons had their photos taken by professional photographers to capture the feeling of the season.

Also at the event were local choirs and bands performing seasonal tunes. All of the musical performances were coordinated by the Larchmont Music Academy featuring the Larchmont Chorale and the French-American School Choir.

Patrons warmed up with hot cocoa and pastries, got creative with arts and crafts, and all children who attended were entered to win various gift certificates to local businesses. In addition, the French-American School across the street from the park hosted their annual holiday fair.

To end the celebration, revelers counted down to light up the 20-plus-foot Christmas tree which featured hundreds of spectacular lights. (Submitted)

 

LAURA-BRETT2

Column: On being a Rye City Council member

 

 

It has been a great privilege to serve as an elected member of our city council. When I ran for Rye City Council, I was inspired by the spirit of volunteerism in our community. After serving for four years I remain awed by the commitment exhibited by the volunteers who serve our city on the council, on our boards and commissions and as advocates for issues. I am also inspired by the dedicated and professional staff that serves our city every day.

When campaigning for a position on the city council, I promised I would prioritize a few issues. For me, the most important issues to the city were efficiently managing services costs, developing solutions for flood mitigation, implementing pedestrian safety initiatives, prioritizing historic preservation, protecting Rye’s interests in Playland and Rye Town Park, and, most importantly, governing in a way that inspires public confidence.

In my four years on the city council, we have restored public confidence in the integrity of a city government. We uncovered fraud at the golf club, replaced the golf club manager and have outsourced the golf club catering facilities to a private operator who agreed to allow golf club members access to the restaurant facilities. We negotiated a resolution to three of four outstanding labor contracts. We adopted a change to the city charter, which requires that city council members be allowed access to all of the city’s books and records, and we replaced our outside auditing firm. We also hired a new city manager who shares the goal of an open and transparent city government.

An unexpected and welcome result of restoring public confidence in city government is that our regular council meetings have become significantly shorter. The increased confidence in the integrity of the city government seems to have decreased some of the antagonism between members of our community and the council.

The council has made progress on other issues as well.

During my four years on the council, the city budget has been consistently within the tax cap, meaning that tax increases have been less than 2 percent each year. We also sold city-owned property at 1037 Boston Post Road for maximum value, without any loss to the city. This seemed like an unlikely outcome a few years ago, yet the public auction of the property brought out several interested bidders.

With regard to flood mitigation, we were selected to receive $3 million in NY Rising flood mitigation grants and have worked with the state to identify potential flood mitigation opportunities. We are now in a position to install significant flood mitigation projects with funding through NY Rising. We have installed miles of new sidewalk and found funding for several pedestrian safety projects through both the Safe Routes to School program and by asking voters to approve a bond for pedestrian safety projects.

We have made strides in historic preservation as well, enacting legislation that gives property owners a tax incentive to renovate or rehabilitate historic properties and defined a new downtown historic district where land will now be eligible for this tax incentive. Additionally, the council has been active and vocal in advocating for Rye’s interests in Playland and at Rye Town Park.

Many issues that have come up during my time on the council, however, were driven by circumstances or the advocacy of members of our community. We have approved zoning changes for two new senior housing developments based on inquiries from the county and a property owner. At the urging of a resident, we implemented a Drive 25 pilot study to encourage drivers to slow down on our city streets. We are now pursuing state legislation that would make this change permanent. Additionally, several residents advocated for the council to place restrictions on rock chipping in our community, which we introduced, debated and enacted within the past year. We are also addressing concerns about deer, sidewalks on Forest Avenue, the development on the former United Hospital site, and the conditions of our roads, implementing a 2014 pavement management plan that requires a significant increase in city funds devoted to road repair.

These accomplishments are significant and, as I leave office, I am proud of what the Rye City Council has done during my time here. When asked about my biggest contribution, however, I would not point to any one of the items listed. I cannot individually take credit for any of these listed achievements because the council has worked collectively to achieve each outcome.

Instead, my biggest contribution—and often the biggest challenge—during my service on the council was to stay engaged in the issues. On this council—and in every governing body—it is easy to take a position and steadfastly advocate for it. Influencing a decision on a difficult issue requires more than advocating for a position. It demands engaging in debate and conversation. Digging into an issue to find out where there is agreement and where there is disagreement takes patience and persistence. I know that my persistence resulted in a better outcome on several of these decisions, and on other issues, it allowed the council to arrive at a decision by consensus rather than a split decision.

During the last few years, I have had the fortune of working with a mayor and city council that have worked hard, sifted through the issues and made decisions that are in the best interests of Rye. My hope for the members of the next council is that they have the good fortune to work collegially, and my respectful advice is that, regardless of the issues and challenges that they face in the years ahead, they stay engaged in each debate. If they do, I have no doubt that they will be making decisions that are best for Rye.

LETTER

Letter: Re: ‘Tuckahoe adopts Eastchester fast food rules’

 

 

To the Editor,

I am writing this letter in response to the article, “Tuckahoe adopts Eastchester fast food rules,” published on Dec. 4. The article’s headline really caught my eye. The headline was written in the present tense, i.e. “adopts,” as if the adoption of the fast food law had already happened.

Surprised, I continued reading, wondering just when the village board had adopted the new law. I knew they had a formal board meeting on Nov. 9 where the public comment period regarding the new proposed law was kept open; however, the next board meeting was not scheduled until Dec. 14, according to the calendar on Tuckahoe.com. Although no agenda was posted as of Dec. 8, I checked the website calendar and could find no reference to a meeting on Nov. 23. Was the public notified of that meeting? I could not find the minutes of the Nov. 9 village board meeting on the website as of Dec. 8 either.

So I wondered, when exactly was the new law adopted? As I continued reading, the article stated, “The Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees will pass a law on Monday, Dec. 14 prohibiting ‘formula fast food and formula quick casual’ restaurants from moving into the village, according to Village Administrator David Burke.”

From the headline, a reader could reasonably believe that the village board had already adopted the new law and that it was a done deal. It is only until one reads further that they learn this is not the case at all, and that the new fast food law has not yet been adopted and that the public comment period is still open.

Wasn’t the headline telling the reader something completely at odds with the facts? The new law has not yet been adopted by the village board of trustees and your readers need to know the correct facts. Tuckahoe residents should be afforded the opportunity to comment until the village board actually meets, on Monday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. in Village Hall, located at 65 Main St., when the board will again meet to consider the adoption of the proposed new fast food law.

 

Melba T. Caliano,

Tuckahoe

LETTER

Letter: Donate to The Community Fund

 

 

To the Editor,

We at the Cancer Support Team, CST, wish to express our deepest appreciation to The Community Fund for its support of our free home care services for cancer patients in Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe. CST is the only Westchester-based home care agency licensed by the New York State Department of Health specializing in oncology. With the support of The Community Fund for our nursing, social work counseling, case management and financial assistance services, we continue to respond to requests for services from residents of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe who face a myriad of medical and psychosocial challenges associated with a cancer diagnosis.

Because of The Community Fund’s generosity, CST patients receive:

• Visits from registered nurses who advise them about symptom control and pain management.

• Sessions with our social workers who guide them through the difficult emotions associated with cancer.

• Assistance from case managers who help find resources to relieve financial worries.

• Transportation provided by our volunteer drivers, who take patients to and from chemotherapy and radiation appointments.

The Community Fund’s ongoing support is vital for the continuation and enhancement of our services. On behalf of CST’s Board of Directors, staff and the people we serve, we urge you to support The Community Fund’s annual fundraising campaign. Your contribution will be used to support your friends and neighbors in your community and will continue to make our services possible.

 

Gina A. Russo,

Executive director of the Cancer Support Team

WGO

What’s going in Eastchester 12-11-2015

Eastchester Public Library

Christmas crafts

Make special Rudolph and Christmas-themed necklaces on Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The craft session is appropriate for children ages 3 and 4. For more information or to register online, visit eastchesterlibrary.org/events/.

Reading Buddies Book Club

This drop-off program is appropriate for readers in grades two and three. The book club, which will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., will be a round-table discussion where participants can discuss whether or not they enjoyed the assigned book and how it compares to other books they have read. The assigned book was chosen a month prior to the book club discussion. The discussion will end with a trivia contest about the book with prizes. Refreshments will also be served. Online registration for this program is suggested. For more information or to register online, visit eastchesterlibrary.org/events/ or contact Jonathan Heifetz at 721-8105 or jheifetz@wlsmail.org.

Knit for charity part two

The second part of this knitting series will be held on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to noon and is appropriate for children in sixth grade and up. The first session of the program covered the basics of knitting and participants began to knit squares. In the second part of the program, participants will finish knitting their squares and will put them together to make a blanket that will be donated to a local charity. Yarn and multiple sets of needles will be provided; however, the library would appreciate it if participants could bring their own knitting needles. This program is open to beginner and advanced knitters. For more information or to register for the program, visit eastchesterlibrary.org/events/ or contact Elizabeth at 721-8102 or eportillo@wlsmail.org.

Bronxville Public Library

Ornament craft

Make a handmade ornament using ribbons and embellishments during this program on Monday, Dec. 14 from 11 a.m. to noon. All materials will be provided. Advanced registration for this program is required. For more information or to register for this program, call 337-7680 ext. 24 or email bronxvillelibrary@gmail.com.

Teen DIY holiday craft

Make a special gift during this program on Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. This program is appropriate for children grades six and up. Participants will be able to make their own candles and decorate coffee mugs with nail polish and permanent marker. Advanced registration for this program is required. For more information or to register for this program, call 337-7680 ext. 34 or stop by the Children’s Room.

Family Film Fridays

The library will be screening Disney Pixar’s film “Minions” during this week’s Family Film Fridays movie series on Friday, Dec. 18 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. This movie follows the story of minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob, who are recruited by Scarlett Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world. Rated PG, running time: 91 minutes.

Tuckahoe Public Library

Charles Dickens book and tea

The library will explore the classic history behind Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale “The Night Before Christmas” on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 11 p.m. Participants will be able to discuss what the story meant to Dickens and how it affected
Victorian readers while enjoying tea.

Raw dessert

Learn how to make three low-calorie desserts on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. These raw foods will nourish the brain for improvements in learning and mood, and are simple enough to make with only a food processor.

Bronxville Women’s Club

Holiday brunch

Members and non-members can enjoy a champagne holiday brunch on Sunday, Dec. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. at Bronxville Women’s Club, located at 135 Midland Ave. in Bronxville. The brunch will be catered by Sheldon Party Services. Reservations for the event are required. For more information or to make a reservation, call 337-3252.

TBA Pipe Dream Theater

Enjoy a holiday show performed by BWC’s resident theater company on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at BCW. The performance will include a live band and food catered by Sheldon Party Services. The event is open to the public. For more information, call 337-3252.

The Reformed Church of Bronxville 

Messiah Sing

The Reformed Church of Bronxville will be hosting its annual Messiah Sing of the holiday classic program from “Handel’s Messiah” on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Church, located at 180 Pondfield Road in Bronxville. Singers will include professional soloists and a string quartet conducted by Dr. Sándor Szabó. It promises to be an exciting community event. Audience members are invited to sing along and be part of this family tradition. A reception will follow the performance. For more information, call 337-6776.

Community volunteers and donations

Snow angels needed

The Snow Angels program needs volunteers to aid the elderly and disabled with snow removal. All requests from volunteers are matched up with a request from someone who lives near them and who has requested help with snow/ice removal. Volunteers will receive community service hours from the program coordinator. Those who are interested should contact Sheila Marcotte at tuckahoesnowangels@yahoo.com, and parents can contact her at 309-6947. Sheila will contact the program coordinator directly.

Community food drive

Eastchester Community Action Partnership, ECAP, will be collecting nonperishable food items this holiday season, including canned goods, rice, pasta, hot and cold cereal, boxed foods and sauces. Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated. Donations can be dropped off at ECAP, located at 142-144 Main St. in Tuckahoe. For more information, contact Don Brown at 337-7768.

Matthew’s Wish toy drive

Matthew McKinnon, a patient at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, wished for an 18-wheeler truck with toys to be delivered to the hospital for children to enjoy during the holidays. Unfortunately, he passed away before his wish was able to be fulfilled. Matthew’s mother AnneMarie and his family and friends created Matthew’s Wish, an organization that works during the holiday season to make Matthew’s wish come true by filling an 18-wheeler with toys for the children at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House and other worthy organizations to enjoy. Those who wish to contribute to the toy drive are asked to send new, unwrapped toys to the donation bins in the main office of Anne Hutchinson School. The toys will be collected until Friday, Dec. 11. For more information, contact Wendy Pregiato at wendyandlarry1@hotmail.com.

Eastchester Historical Society

Annual Victorian Christmas Party

Annmarie Flannery, president of the Eastchester Historical Society, invites everyone to its annual Victorian Christmas Party on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Room School House at the intersection of California and New Rochelle roads. The party is free, open to community members of all ages and reservations are not required. A Christmas tree decorated with candles and old fashioned decorations will be on display, with 19th-century toys and memorabilia around it. This annual event is a time when children can learn about one of the society’s oldest traditions and adults of all faiths can meet and learn about the exciting historical activities that are planned for 2016.

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Thursday at noon. Though space is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send all items to news@hometwn.com.

 
WGO

What’s going on in Mamaroneck 12-11-2015

Mamaroneck Public Library

Visit mamaronecklibrary.org for more information on events and programs.

All ages story and craft hour

On Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon in the Children’s Room on the second floor. No registration required. There will be stories that will appeal to kids of all ages and their caregivers, and a craft simple enough for the little kids and creative enough for the big kids.

De-stress and self-express

This activity, held on Monday, Dec. 14 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Community Room in the lower level, involves coloring for adults ages 18 and older. The library will provide music and calming adult coloring books with intricate designs. Refreshments will also be served.

Teacher in the library

On Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. through Dec. 21. Need homework help? Come visit the teacher in the library in the Homework Room on the second floor. For children in kindergarten through grade five.

Information session: ‘Do You Need Health Insurance?’

Make an appointment with a one-on-one information session with a Westchester County health department navigator, who will be in the library’s Tech Room on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Representatives will answer questions about health insurance-related topics, including essential plans, Medicaid, Child Health Plus and health coverage for business owners’ employees. Clients should be prepared with their Social Security numbers, documents for legal immigrants, birth dates, employer and income information and insurance policy numbers. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Westchester County Department of Health at 813-5192. Appointments are available in English and in Spanish.

Free math study help

On Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Teen Room on the lower level. Arithmetic got you down? Need some help with homework or maybe just a refresher? Former high school math teacher Lynne Prior will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about middle and high school math.

English conversation group

On Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Historical Society Room on the first floor. Make friends as you practice speaking English. Registration is suggested but not necessary. Contact the Adult Reference Desk or call 630-5887 for more information.

Crafternoons

On Thursday, Dec. 17 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Community Room. Calling all yarn crafters. Come join library staff and friends who, like yourself, love to create beautiful things. Bring your current projects to work on, ideas to explore, and your best teaching skills so all can learn from and with each other.

Larchmont Public Library

The library will be closed for construction until the summer of 2016. Existing shelves will be moved to the Village Center and the Burchell Children’s Room will remain open. For more information about the library’s relocation, call the Reference Desk at 834-2281 ext. 3, email larchmontlibrary@hotmail.com, or visit larchmontlibrary.org.

‘A Christmas Carol’ reading

On Monday, Dec. 14 from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in the Michael P. Coords Activity Room. No registration required. Librarian Frank Connelly reads the timeless classic by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol,” in what has become an annual tradition at the Larchmont Public Library. No holiday season can be complete without attending this performance.

Itty Bitty Babies

On Thursday, Dec. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to noon. For babies newborn to 5 months. Online registration required. Join us for nursery rhymes, songs, cuddles and books appropriate for the youngest of the young. Learn how to introduce your child to words and language by incorporating songs into all your routines such as bath time, diaper changes, getting into the car seat and naptime. Please bring a small blanket to lay your child on.

Stories for Mad Scientists:
Long Winter Naps

On Thursday, Dec. 17 from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. For ages 5 to 7. A free ticket is required to attend this event. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 3:30 p.m. on the day of the program.

Ready for a long winter’s nap? Come hear stories about bears that sleep all winter long. In this month’s “Stories for Mad Scientists,” learn about hibernation, perform an experiment that demonstrates how blubber and fat keep animals warm, and make your own little bear cave.

Rhythm and Rhyme for Babies

On Friday, Dec. 18 from 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. For ages 6 months to 17 months. Join in for an early literacy enhanced storytime with books, music, rhymes, cuddles and fun. Online registration is required and is limited to Larchmont library cardholders.

Village of Mamaroneck Committee for the Environment

New textiles recycling program

Got tattered towels, torn trousers, faded drapes, shabby shoes, old handbags, stained shirts, or socks with holes in them, all too grubby to donate to a charity? Don’t toss them in the trash. Drop them off in the Village of Mamaroneck’s new textiles recycling bin located in the parking lot of Toy Box at 300 W. Boston Post Road across from the West Basin. They’ll be transformed into useful products, lower our waste disposal costs and help the environment.

Village board and commission
volunteers needed

The Village Board of Trustees is requesting residents to volunteer for the boards and commissions. Boards, committees and commissions with openings are: Board of Architectural Review; Board of Traffic Commissioners; Budget Committee; Committee for the Environment; Arts Council; and Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee.

The village board is looking for people with interest in community service, and seek to expand the pool of volunteers and include people who have not volunteered before. Please send an email with a copy of your resume stating which board or committee you would like to serve on to clerktreasurer@vomny.org.

Community Resource Center

Winter coat drive

The CRC will be holding a winter coat drive for companies or families to drop off gently-used coats, especially those of youth sizes. Coats may be dropped off at 134 Center Ave. in Mamaroneck. For more information about the winter coat drive, call 835-1512.

Westchester Chorale

Messiah sing-along

On Saturday, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. at Larchmont Avenue Church, 60 Forest Park Ave.

Who’s singing? You are, if you wish! Your $10 admission buys you a delightful holiday afternoon of singing with up to 400 fellow music lovers, as you perform together some of the most thrilling and beloved choruses ever composed: the Christmas portion and Hallelujah Chorus of “Handel’s Messiah.” It’s your ticket, too, for refreshments and the use of a rental score, although you may want to bring your own cherished, well-worn copy. For further information, visit WestchesterChorale.org or call 309-0279.

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Thursday at noon. Though space is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send all items to news@hometwn.com.

 
WGO

What’s going on in Harrison 12-11-2015

Harrison Public Library

Visit harrisonpl.org/events/harrison for more information on events and programs at the Halperin building, and harrisonpl.org/events/west-harrison for information on happenings at the West Harrison branch.

Cookie decorating for kids

On Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the West Harrison branch. This will be one of two sessions, the second taking place on Tuesday, Dec. 22 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Both programs are open to children ages 4 to 9 and will take place in the Children’s Room. Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult during the program. Children will decorate several holiday cookies with frosting, sprinkles, candy and many other goodies to take home or give as gifts. Registration is required to attend either session. Register online or call the library at 948-2092. Space is limited, so register now for some winter fun.

Classical Concerts: The Holidays

On Sunday, Dec. 13 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Halperin building. This is the second part in the “Masters & Miniatures” classical music series presented by Vadim Ghin Music. Musicians include: Philip Wharton on violin; Steve Masi on piano; and Diana Petrella on clarinet.

Ghin studied and taught at Julliard School at New York University. Ghin authored an intermediate level piano instruction CD-ROM method which garnered acclaim from The Wall Street Journal, Clavier Magazine and American
Music Teacher Magazine
, among many others. He is the founder of Vadim Ghin Music, a nonprofit organization that provides free music education for its students.

Rohman Holidays: Paris and Beyond

On Monday, Dec. 14 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Halperin building. Imagine a series of one-day car trips north, west, south and east out of Paris. Discover what treasures are to be seen in “Paris and Beyond” in this month’s travel talk.

Your travel guide, Joy Rohman, a photographer and world traveler, has visited the seven continents and and more than 50 countries, spending almost one month in each destination. She works as a specialist counselor with American Express Travel since 1973. Rohman is recognized by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the “125 Ultimate Travel Experts in America.”

Computer help for senior citizens

On Monday, Dec. 14 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Halperin building. High school students will instruct senior citizens for community service. Learn the basics of the Internet, email, Word, photo saving and more—bring your questions. You can sign up online or by calling the library at 835-0324, or you can just show up.

Conversation Partners–Spanish

On Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the West Harrison branch. Practice speaking Spanish with a patron volunteer. Registration is required online, or call the library at 948-2092. For adults.

Crochet and knitting class

On Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the West Harrison branch. Want to learn how to knit or crochet a simple scarf? Join the class. Bring hooks, needles and yarn or practice with materials provided by the library. Walk-ins are welcome.
No registration needed. Call 948-2092 for
more information.

Harrison Recreation

ID renewals

2016 ID cards and pool passes are now available as 2015
issues expire on Dec. 31. Please bring a picture ID and current utility bill with you when signing up at 1 Heineman Place in Harrison. Children will need a copy of a progress report or report card to receive their pass. Call
the Recreation Department at 670-3035 for
more information.

Write letters to Santa

Children of all ages who are residents of Harrison will have the opportunity to write letters to Santa from now until Friday, Dec. 18. All letters should include each child’s name and home address and should be addressed to the North Pole. Letters should be dropped off at the mailbox at the Sollazzo Center, located at 270 Harrison Ave., the Recreation Department at Town Hall located at 1 Heineman Place, or the Leo Mintzer Center located at 251 Underhill Ave. in West Harrison.

January basketball clinic registration

Registration ends on Thursday, Dec. 17 for a free basketball clinic starting Wednesday, Jan. 6 at the Sollazzo Center from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Children in second grade will develop the basics of basketball. Youth basketballs and nets will be provided for indoor play in this four-week clinic.

Floor hockey

This free, four-week-long activity will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 26 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. and is appropriate for children in first through fifth grades. Children in first and second grades will play on Tuesdays at the Sollazzo Center; children in second and third grades will play on Tuesdays at the Leo Mintzer Center; children in third, fourth and fifth grades will play on Wednesdays at the Sollazzo Center; and children in fourth and fifth grades will play on Wednesdays at the Leo Mintzer Center. New teams will be formed each week and children will learn general floor hockey skills and the rules of the game. Registration is underway. For more information or to register, call 670-3035.

February mini day camp registration

Sign your child up for a mini day camp that will be held Monday, Feb. 14 through Friday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sollazzo Center. It will be a fun-filled week of day camp including arts and crafts, sports, games and special events during the winter recess. For grades one through four. Fee is $185 payable to the Town/Village of Harrison. Registration is ongoing.

Scarsdale Medical Group

Weight loss program and education sessions

Scarsdale Medical Group’s winter weight loss program and education sessions will begin in January. Facilitated by Scarsdale’s Nutrition Center, our team of experts will provide guidance during your weight loss journey.

The 10-week program will offer participants weekly weigh-ins, food and activity tracking logs, assistance in setting attainable goals, and a series of education topics that include: strategic snacking tips; dining out without disaster; emotional eating; savvy supermarket shopping; and essentials of an effective weight loss plan.

Day, evening and weekend sessions are available. The cost of the program is $250 and
online pre-registration is required. Spaces are limited. For more information or to reserve your
spot, please visit scarsdalemedical.com/nutrition or call 723-8100.

Westchester Philharmonic 

‘Winter Pops’

The Westchester Philharmonic presents “Winter Pops,” an annual holiday concert conducted by Ted Sperling, on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. in the Concert Hall at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. The concert will feature musical selections sung by Ashley Brown accompanied by an orchestra and pianist Joe Mohan. The program will include American songbook standards and holiday favorites. The event will be followed by a Pops After Party, which includes mingling with performers, hors d’oeuvres and a wine tasting. Tickets are $22 per person with a “Pops” ticket purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the box office at 682- 3707 ext. 10 or visit westchesterphil.org.

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Thursday at noon. Though space
is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send
all items to news@hometwn.com.

 
WGO

What’s going on in Rye 12-11-2015

Frank Sinatra sings

Actor, singer and storyteller Lou Del Bianco will share his favorite songs from legendary singer Frank Sinatra on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Come listen to some of the best tunes from the American songbook, including “Fly Me to the Moon” and “New York, New York.” Lou Del Bianco has performed all over the country, and his music video “A Little Bit Clumsy” is currently playing on the Learning Channel. He has traveled the Northeast as an artist in residence for 17 years and performed in San Diego at the International Reading Association’s annual convention.

Computer workshop

This computer workshop, held on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Raho Technology Center, will help participants navigate the new Internet browser installed on Windows 10 called Edge. Edge has a number of new features and a new appearance. Participants with a Windows 10-capable
laptop are welcome to bring their laptops with a fully-charged battery to work on. This workshop is taught by Mike Negrelli who has worked for IBM for 37 years. This workshop will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and no advanced registration is required. For more information, call 967-0480.

Current Events Book Group

The Current Events Book Group will discuss Ari Shavit’s book “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel” on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Ogden Nash Room. Shavit is a fervently patriotic Israeli with an abiding love for his nation’s history, and his brutally honest portrait of his homeland’s past and present dilemmas is especially poignant. The book group discussion will be moderated by John Dolan. This book club is free and open to the public. Reservations for this discussion are not required.

I-Read-A-Latte Tween Book Club

This Tween Book Club will discuss Karen Foxlee’s book “Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy” on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ogden Nash Room. This book club is appropriate for students in grades five and six. Participants will discuss the book and enjoy snacks. The book is available to borrow at the library. Online registration for this event is suggested. For more information or to register online, visit reference@ryelibrary.org or call 967-0480.

Wainwright House

Conscious dance series

The last part of this five-part workshop will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This workshop, taught by Cory Ethridge, will focus on the Nia technique, which is the art of movement, and combines energy styles from martial arts, dance and healing arts. This workshop will help participants get more in touch with their spines so they can increase mobility and stability. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable exercise clothes during this workshop. Shoes are not required, and this workshop can be modified for participants with special needs. Individual workshop fees are $30 for Wainwright members and $33 for non-members. For more information or to register for the workshop, call 967-6080 or email registrar@wainwright.org.

Native American spirituality series

The last part of this four-part series, facilitated by Susan Wright, will be a two-part workshop and will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19. The first workshop will be from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the second workshop will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Both workshops will focus on working with the earth. The first workshop will allow participants to offer prayers to Mother Earth, and will open the space to the spirits of power animals to share their special abilities. The second workshop will focus on more advanced techniques about the sacredness of rocks, the earth and the spirit of animals. Participants will learn how to be more grounded and stable and think in more long-term, sustainable ways. Individual workshops on Dec. 19 cost $35 for Wainwright members and $40 for non-members and both workshops on Dec. 19 cost $60 for Wainwright members and $70 for non-members. For more information or to register for the workshop, call 967-6080 or email registrar@wainwright.org.

Winter Solstice celebration

Join the Wainwright House for a Winter Solstice celebration on Sunday, Dec. 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Wainwright House, located at 260 Stuyvesant Ave. in Rye. The evening will consist of a fire ceremony and drumming by Susan Wright. This evening will celebrate the ritual of the solstice and the connection to the sun. This event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10 per person. For more information, call 967-6080 or email registrar@wainwright.org.

 Rye Recreation 

Pancakes with Santa

Participants can enjoy a hot buffet breakfast and have their picture taken with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Damiano Recreation Center. This event cost $15 per registrant with an additional $2 for non-Rye residents. Parents should also supply gifts for their child for Santa to distribute, valued under $20. Advanced registration for this event is required. For more information or to register for the event, call 967-2535.

Dear Santa

Children will be able to write letters to Santa until Sunday, Dec. 13, to be delivered to the North Pole via reindeer express. Letters with return addresses included can be dropped off in the mailbox at Rye Recreation, on the corner of Elm Place  and Purchase Street. Stamps are not necessary.

Rye Arts Center

Holiday concert and sing-along

Come hear a variety of traditional holiday favorites performed by music faculty and friends on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. This community event is free and open to the public. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

Rye TV

‘Sidewalks and Roads’

Kent Iarocci has a telecast, “Sidewalks and Roads,” on ryetv.org and it is an informative work. Visit the website for schedule listings and more information.

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Thursday at noon. Though space
is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send
all items to news@hometwn.com.

 
Miller’s toy store in Mamaroneck utilizes a human feel to its service that keeps customers coming back, according to its owner Taka Andrews. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

Small businesses fight for relevance

Miller’s toy store in Mamaroneck utilizes a human feel to its service that keeps customers coming back, according to its owner Taka Andrews. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

Miller’s toy store in Mamaroneck utilizes a human feel to its service that keeps customers coming back, according to its owner Taka Andrews. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

Arcade Booksellers, one of several small businesses located on Purchase Street in Rye, has been in business for 33 years but has seen the consumer market shrink with the continual surge of online retail.

Arcade Booksellers, one of several small businesses located on Purchase Street in Rye, has been in business for 33 years but has seen the consumer market shrink with the continual surge of online retail.

By KILEY STEVENS
As holiday consumers increasingly turn to online shopping, local businesses are doubling down on what they do best: customer service, unique offerings and a sense of community in an attempt to stay relevant in the marketplace. 

In a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, NRF, the average consumer says that nearly half of their shopping for this holiday season will be conducted on the Internet. And with the continuing strength of Black Friday and the emergence of Cyber Monday, the online buying spree, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to keep pace.

Taka Andrews, owner of Miller’s toy store in Mamaroneck, gives his customers what the online market can’t: that touch of personalized service. The family-operated toy store, which has been in Mamaroneck since 1948, doesn’t sell its products online and Andrews said there’s much more than just profits at stake.

“It’s important because local businesses support the local communities, and are integral in creating communities,” the business owner said. “To have a true sense of community, you need places to shop and retailers that support those communities to create a pleasant circle.”

Evidence suggests, however, that local communities are instead turning more and more to the Internet for conducting their shopping, instead of shopping locally.

According to another NRF survey, nearly 102 million people said they shopped in stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, while more than 103 million say they shopped online.

Such numbers threaten any small business, especially those that can’t seem to compete with online retail prices.

Patrick Corcoran, owner of Arcade Books in Rye, says websites like Amazon have made selling books a much harder task than it used to be. Corcoran’s bookstore, which has been in Rye for 33 years, offers 20 percent off all hardcover New York Times bestseller books. “Even that is not competing with Amazon,” Corcoran said.
In an age where online giants, like Amazon, have managed to push chain bookstores like Borders out of business, it’s a small miracle that independent bookstores like Arcade can stay afloat.

To be successful, Corcoran says he must stay relevant. “You need to have what the people want, or be able to get it,” Corcoran said. “So if somebody comes in for something that I should have, I can usually have it for them the next day.” Even Amazon’s Prime program, which offers two-day free shipping on most items with membership, can’t compete with that.

Andrews, too, recognizes that a large factor in decreased local patronage may be that consumers have become increasingly comfortable with shopping online, more at ease with technology and less afraid of fraud or identity theft.

“There’s a younger generation of customers who perhaps were raised with the Internet,” he said. “That sense of loyalty to local businesses has waned.”

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, tried to lend a hand with a press conference on Nov. 25 to implore county residents to shop locally at Value Drugs, a family-owned and operated store in Eastchester, among other locations. Astorino encouraged shoppers to get out and take a photo of their favorite store in Westchester, and then post it to social media, using #ShopLocal, to inspire other residents to shop locally.

Though Will Humphries, managing partner of Value Drugs, admits that staying competitive each year becomes increasingly difficult, he believes customers are trying more and more to shop local and that all six of the Value Drugs stores in Westchester, Long Island and New York City will have a positive holiday season.

“Especially in a community like Eastchester, where people feel a community and home spirit, they do their best,” Humphries said.

As far as the future of small businesses is concerned, Andrews believes it’s up to the consumer.

“We’ll eventually all be shopping only online if consumers don’t see the value of their communities,” Andrews said. Included in those communities, he adds, are families, schools, merchants and more. “Saving a few dollars online on everything you buy will certainly spell the end of that,” he said.

Contact: kiley@hometwn.com

 
A child makes a friend at the petting zoo at Mistletoe Magic on Sunday, Nov. 29.

Mistletoe Magic gives Rye some holiday cheer