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State passes hotel tax for Tuckahoe

The Village of Tuckahoe recently received word that its request for authorization to implement a hotel tax has passed through the New York Legislature. Tuckahoe is in the planning stages of constructing a hotel on Marbledale Road. The Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook, pictured, currently brings in approximately $600,000 in revenue from its hotel tax. Photo courtesy hilton.com

The Village of Tuckahoe recently received word that its request for authorization to implement a hotel tax has passed through the New York Legislature. Tuckahoe is in the planning stages of constructing a hotel on Marbledale Road. The Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook, pictured, currently brings in approximately $600,000 in revenue from its hotel tax. Photo courtesy hilton.com

By CHRIS EBERHART
In a stunning, last-minute change of heart, the New York state Senate passed hotel occupancy tax bills for six Westchester communities, including the villages of Tuckahoe and Mamaroneck and 

the Town/Village of Harrison, after years of unsuccessfully trying to petition the state for the tax.

Historically, the hotel occupancy tax bills, which impose a 3 percent charge on hotel occupants within a municipality’s borders on top of a 3 percent Westchester County hotel tax that’s already in place, passed in the Democratic-led state Assembly but was repeatedly shot down by the Republican-controlled state Senate because of a reluctance to institute a new tax.

But during this legislative session under the new leadership of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Huntington Republican, the Senate changed its longstanding policy and passed a number of new taxes, including a hotel occupancy tax for the Westchester communities and three upstate counties.

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Scarsdale Democrat who represents Tuckahoe, said the hotel tax approvals for county governments opened the door for the possibility of the hotel tax in the local Westchester County municipalities.

A group of four Democratic Assemblymembers—Paulin, Steve Otis, of Rye, Tom Abinanti, of Greenburgh, and David Buchwald, of White Plains—pushed Heastie to intervene on their behalf and urge the Senate to pass the bills.

“There was drama all day,” Paulin said. “It was late in the legislative session—I’d say around 10 [p.m.] or so—when we found out the bills passed the Senate. It’s hard to know what changed their minds, but I know a lot of calls were made. A lot of pressure was put on the leaders.”

When asked if the change in regimes from former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, and Dean Skelos, a Rockville Centre Republican, to Heastie and Flanagan had anything to do with the bills passing, Paulin said, “There’s no question.”

“Under the old leadership, I don’t think these bills pass,” Paulin said. “This was the window of opportunity, and if we didn’t get it done now, we don’t know if we’d ever get it done.”

But the Republicans in the Senate were just one of the roadblocks.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been against a hotel occupancy tax for the same reason as the Senate, still has to sign the bill into law, and then, the local municipalities have to vote to pass the authorization. All the state bills do is allow the local municipalities to establish the hotel occupancy tax. Locally, the municipality still has to follow the steps of establishing a new law.

In Tuckahoe, the village Planning Board is currently vetting a proposal to build a Marriott Springhill Suite hotel on the old quarry site on Marbledale Road. If the hotel occupancy tax were to be implemented, travelers who stay in the hotel would pay a tax to the village, which in turn would allow the village to lower property taxes for
village residents.

Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond, a Republican, said if the bill becomes law in the village and the hotel is built, Tuckahoe could collect an additional $150,000 per year that would go toward lowering village taxes.

“I have been working with many people on both sides of the aisle over the past few days to get this done,” Ecklond said, “and I am pleased that everyone worked together to do what is best for Tuckahoe.”

State Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat, has been a proponent of the hotel tax carrying the bill on behalf of several municipalities over the last few years. Latimer said it isn’t a new tax and primarily affects out-of-towners as opposed to local taxpayers.

“This is about creating a new revenue stream for the village to keep property taxes for residents down,” said Latimer, who carried the bill in the Senate for Tuckahoe for the past two years.

Cities such as White Plains, New Rochelle, Rye and the Village of Rye Brook are among the other municipalities in Westchester that already impose the tax on hotel patrons.

In 2011, Rye Brook set the precedent as the only non-city to secure the tax. White Plains, New Rochelle and Rye annually collect approximately $1 million, $280,000 and $150,000 annually in hotel taxes, respectively, while Rye Brook collects approximately $630,000 annually.

The authorization has a sunset clause requiring communities to reapply for the tax every three years.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
Osborn Elementary School teacher Carin Mehler will return to the classroom as a sixth-grade Social Studies teacher after more than two years of reassignment imposed by the Rye School District. File Photo

Reassigned Osborn teacher to return to classroom

Osborn Elementary School teacher Carin Mehler will return to the classroom as a sixth-grade Social Studies teacher after more than two years of reassignment imposed by the Rye School District. File Photo

Osborn Elementary School teacher Carin Mehler will return to the classroom as a sixth-grade Social Studies teacher after more than two years of reassignment imposed by the Rye School District. File Photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
The Rye City School District decided not to bring charges against Carin Mehler, the reassigned Osborn School teacher who was accused of improper coaching during state tests in 2013, and instead sent her a letter on June 26 stating she will be assigned to the Rye Middle School to teach sixth grade Social Studies at the start of the 2015-2016 school year in September. 

Mehler’s return marks the end of a more than two-year absence from the classroom after the school district reassigned her and three other teachers for allegedly coaching students during state exams in May 2013. Mehler was being paid $127,000 in salary per year while the school district investigated the allegations.

But the school district said in a statement that was released on June 27 that it did not wish to pursue Mehler’s case in court to protect the children involved from being exposed to the judicial system.

“While the district cannot comment about any of the specifics regarding this case, the district has made a determination not to pursue charges against Mrs. Mehler,” Rye City Superintendent of School Dr. Frank Alvarez said. “The district wishes to spare children the experience of being subpoenaed, testifying before a hearing officer and being subjected to cross-examination by Mrs. Mehler’s attorney.”

Despite news of Mehler’s return to the classroom, her attorney, Arthur Schwartz, said they are looking to file a second lawsuit for the damage done to her reputation.

“The treatment of Carin Mehler—holding her up to public ridicule, assigning her to a windowless room for a year and ‘reassigning’ her to work at home for a second year—was contrary to everything we teach our children about our country. We are supposed to give people due process when we deprive them of life, liberty or property,” Schwartz said. “Carin Mehler begged for due process. She went to court and the district said they would eventually bring charges. But they didn’t.”

Mehler filed an initial lawsuit against the school district, Alvarez and each individual member of the Board of Education in March 2014 alleging the school district violated her civil rights because it kept her on paid reassignment despite not bringing charges against her.

But since Mehler was being paid during her reassignment, U.S. Judge Cathy Seibel, who was overseeing the case, dismissed the lawsuit this May stating Mehler cannot claim to be deprived because she was being paid.

The school district’s attorney Gus Mountanos said the court’s decision to dismiss Mehler’s original lawsuit shows none of her due process rights were violated.

“As the court clearly and explicitly held in its decision and order of May 26, 2015, Mrs. Mehler was at no time deprived of her due process rights in connection with her reassignment,” Mountanos said. “In effect, the decision states that she was not deprived of any rights, property, contractual benefits, or anything else that would serve as the basis for a suit premised upon alleged due process violations.”

Mehler’s return to the classroom marks the end of the saga of the reassigned teachers with all four of the accused having reached resolutions.

The other three teachers who were reassigned—Shannon Gold, a fourth-grade teacher at Milton Elementary School, Gail Topol, a third-grade teacher at Osborn and Dana Coppola, a third-grade teacher at Milton—already reached settlements with the school district.

Gold resigned in January 2014; Topol agreed to pay a $2,500 fine and convert 27 days of her administrative reassignment into a paid suspension in exchange for returning to the classroom in February 2014; and Coppola returned to the classroom in September after agreeing to pay a fine of $18,000.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com 

 
Save the Sound, a non-profit organization that cleans and protects the Long Island Sound, issued a notice of intent to sue Westchester County due to ongoing sanitary overflows. Photo courtesy Save the Sound

Non-profit looks to sue county

Save the Sound, a non-profit organization that cleans and protects the Long Island Sound, issued a notice of intent to sue Westchester County due to ongoing sanitary overflows. Photo courtesy Save the Sound

Save the Sound, a non-profit organization that cleans and protects the Long Island Sound, issued a notice of intent to sue Westchester County due to ongoing sanitary overflows. Photo courtesy Save the Sound

By JACKSON CHEN
A non-profit environmental organization has filed a notice of intent to sue Westchester County for ongoing violations of leaking sewer pipes and frequent overflows in early June. 

The legal notice, filed by Save the Sound, a New Haven, Conn., and Mamaroneck-based organization that works to restore and protect the Long Island Sound, gives the county 60 days to remediate several water impairment issues the organization has noted over the years.

“For over a decade, state, county and municipal officials have failed to effectively address sewer overflows and leaking sewer pipes in Westchester County,” said Roger Reynolds, legal director of Save the Sound. “Without an action like this, we’re unlikely to see meaningful progress.”

According to Save the Sound’s notice, the county has allegedly discharged “partially treated sewage” on Dec. 9 and 10, 2014 from a sanitary sewer overflow control facility in the New Rochelle sewer district, which violates a permit the county received for the Clean Water Act.

Adding onto the alleged illegal discharge, the organization’s notice said that Westchester County has failed to enforce the County Sewer Act, which limits levels of flow from the municipalities in the New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, Blind Brook and Port Chester sanitary sewer districts.

As for their third reason, the notice of intent to sue alleges that the county also failed to implement state-mandated flow reduction requirements within the impacted municipalities. While there are only four sewer districts named in the notice, the combined facilities serve most of the lower Westchester communities, including New Rochelle, Harrison, White Plains and the Town of Mamaroneck.

“The county and the municipalities have known since at least 2003 that much more is needed to be done to fix these problems and the actions taken so far have been woefully inadequate,” Reynolds said.

When reached for comment this week, Phil Oliva, a spokesman for Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, told the Review, “We will review the documents being submitted and the other regulatory items that are pertinent to this action.”

In December 2014, the Village of Mamaroneck, which is one of the listed communities in the notice, attempted to address the overflow issues by repairing deteriorating sewer mains and conducting home inspections on illegal hookups that contribute to the overflow problem.

Further inland than Mamaroneck, the Village of Bronxville hired consultants to assist them in cleaning out and video monitoring approximately 39,000 feet of sewer main in May 2014. And higher up in the governmental hierarchy, New York recently announced a $200 million program that was created to help municipalities fund any capital projects that would improve water quality infrastructure projects as part of the 2015-2016 state budget.

Despite the effort that has been put in by the county and the individual municipalities, the sanitary sewage overflow continues and the crumbling infrastructure problem persists throughout.

According to Save the Sound’s water quality testing in 2014, several areas within the Mamaroneck Harbor and Hutchinson River showed samples with failing levels of fecal contamination over a testing period of several days. The continuing issue of poor water quality and overflow issues was what led Save the Sound to present the county with legal action.

In the past, the county has been served with numerous consent orders from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which seems to be the extent of the legal action taken to address water concerns, according to Reynolds.

However, Reynolds said those orders have not been enough and the county has had no activity in improving conditions in the last 10 years.

The DEC could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
The Mamaroneck Hotel, 1015 W. Boston Post Road, will soon be charging a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on its patrons after the village was granted the authority by the state to do so. The village had been pursuing a hotel tax unsuccessfully for years.  File Photo

State passes hotel tax for Mamaroneck

The Mamaroneck Hotel, 1015 W. Boston Post Road, will soon be charging a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on its patrons after the village was granted the authority by the state to do so. The village had been pursuing a hotel tax unsuccessfully for years.  File Photo

The Mamaroneck Hotel, 1015 W. Boston Post Road, will soon be charging a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on its patrons after the village was granted the authority by the state to do so. The village had been pursuing a hotel tax unsuccessfully for years. File Photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
In a stunning, last-minute change of heart, the New York state Senate passed hotel occupancy tax bills for six Westchester communities, including the Village of Mamaroneck, after years of unsuccessfully trying to petition the state for the tax.

Historically, the hotel occupancy tax bills, which impose a 3 percent charge on hotel occupants within a municipality’s borders on top of a 3 percent Westchester County hotel tax that’s already in place, passed in the Democratic-led state Assembly but was repeatedly shot down by the Republican-controlled state Senate because of a reluctance to institute a new tax.

But during this legislative session, under the new leadership of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Huntington Republican, the Senate changed its longstanding policy and passed a number of new taxes, including a hotel occupancy tax for the Westchester communities and three upstate counties.

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Scarsdale Democrat who represents Tuckahoe, said the hotel tax approvals for county governments opened the door for the possibility of the hotel tax in the local Westchester County municipalities.

A group of four Democratic Assemblymembers—Paulin, Steve Otis, of Rye, Tom Abinanti, of Greenburgh, and David Buchwald, of White Plains—pushed Heastie to intervene on their behalf and urge the Senate to pass the bills.

“There was drama all day,” Paulin said. “It was late in the legislative session—I’d say around 10 [p.m.] or so—when we found out the bills passed the Senate. It’s hard to know what changed their minds, but I know a lot of calls were made. A lot of pressure was put on the leaders.”

When asked if the change in regimes from former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, and Dean Skelos, a Rockville Centre Republican, to Heastie and Flanagan had anything to do with the bills passing, Paulin said, “There’s no question.”

“Under the old leadership, I don’t think these bills pass,” Paulin said. “This was the window of opportunity, and if we didn’t get it done now, we don’t know if we’d ever get it done.”

But the Republicans in the Senate were just one of the roadblocks.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been against a hotel occupancy tax for the same reason as the Senate, still has to sign the bill into law, and then the local municipalities have to vote to pass the authorization. All the state bills do is allow the local municipalities to establish the hotel occupancy tax. Locally, the municipality still has to follow the steps of establishing a new law.

In Mamaroneck, the ability to implement the tax on patrons of the village’s two hotels is estimated to yield up to $25,000 a year in revenue, according to Assistant Village Manager Daniel Sarnoff.

Vincent & Sons is located on East Boston Post Road and the Mamaroneck Hotel on West Boston Post Road.

The lure of the hotel tax is the cost is covered primarily by those outside of the community and therefore doesn’t impact the local taxpayer. It serves as a revenue generator for communities outside of the property tax.

“It’s very important to the Village of Mamaroneck,” Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said. “It will allow the village to have revenue based on outside visitors. We happen to have two hotels in the village of Mamaroneck and we will benefit from it.”

Cities such as White Plains, New Rochelle, Rye and the Village of Rye Brook are among the other municipalities in Westchester that already impose the tax on hotel patrons.

In 2011, Rye Brook set the precedent as the only non-city to secure the tax. White Plains, New Rochelle and Rye annually collect approximately $1 million, $280,000 and $150,000 annually in hotel taxes, respectively, while Rye Brook collects approximately $630,000 annually.

The authorization has a sunset clause requiring communities to reapply for the tax every three years.

-with reporting by James Pero

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 

 

The City of Rye has decided to sue its insurance carrier, Travelers, for failing to decide a multimillion dollar insurance claim that dates back to 2013. File photo

City sues Travelers over golf club claim

The City of Rye has decided to sue its insurance carrier, Travelers, for failing to decide a multimillion dollar insurance claim that dates back to 2013. File photo

The City of Rye has decided to sue its insurance carrier, Travelers, for failing to decide a multimillion dollar insurance claim that dates back to 2013. File photo

By JACKSON CHEN
The City of Rye has decided to sue its insurance carrier for inactivity on a nearly $2 million claim regarding stolen money from the city’s golf club. 

Represented by Jaffe and Asher LLP, a law firm with its headquarters in New York City, Rye has filed a complaint against Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America for more than $1.8 million plus a 9 percent per year interest rate. According to the complaint, Travelers has failed to honor its insurance policy and reimburse the city for nearly two years, dating back to the initial filing of a $2.1 million insurance claim in August 2013.

The claim was submitted on the heels of the money stolen by former Rye Golf Club Manager Scott Yandrasevich, when he bilked the golf club members out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As part of the complaint, the Rye City Council included its investigation report that was completed with the assistance of Brune and Richard LLP, and Breen and Associates, a financial investigations firm.

According to the report, the council said that the RM Staffing, a shell company used by Yandrasevich, invoiced and received more than $7 million from the city for its supposed work with the golf club from April 2007 to September 2012. Additionally, the council’s report adds that the invoices from RM Staffing were vague in description and often did not include full names of employees.

The report mentioned an example where the shell company invoiced and was paid more than $250,000 for a fake employee named “Lisa.” Among many other questionable charges, the council added in its report that Studio Y, an affiliated shell company of RM Staffing, had invoices that totaled more than $690,000.

The infamous former manager resigned amid allegations of embezzlement amounting to approximately $342,120 in January 2013. Then last year, Yandrasevich plead guilty to charges of grand larceny and falsifying records. He is currently awaiting sentencing on July 30.

According to Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, the city attorney has been in contact with Travelers, but they have not taken any position on the claim or “given any indication that they’re going to live up to their obligations.”

“We want an answer,” Sack said. “Even if that answer was no, at least we could have been guided accordingly. But this is the best way we have to protect our rights at the present time.”

The complaint, which was filed on June 15, was a result of a summons and notice that the city filed on Feb. 26. The complaint also said that Travelers breached the insurance contract with the city by taking no action on the claim and emphasized that the former manager pleaded guilty, admitted wrongdoing and is currently awaiting sentencing.

As part of a plea agreement, the former manager is expected to pay restitution, totaling $271,120, to the City of Rye for the money he defrauded from the club and its members through several shell staffing companies. Kristen Wilson, the city attorney, could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
With bubbles spewing in the background, the joyous grads join their families for hugs and photos.

Bigger and brighter things for small class

With bubbles spewing in the background, the joyous grads join their families for hugs and photos.

With bubbles spewing in the background, the joyous grads join their families for hugs and photos.

Equipped with blaring air horns and shrill whistles, family members and friends cheered for the graduates of the Rye Neck High School Class of 2015.

One by one, the graduating students followed white outlines laid onto the school’s athletic field until they reached the Rye Neck Board of Education President Allen Hodys, who presented each with a handshake and diploma.

Upon returning to their seats, Rye Neck High School Principal Dr. Barbara Ferraro declared each of the 101 students as high school graduates. With that, the air was filled with uniquely-designed black caps tossed up high and bubbles from a machine spewing them out.

Clouds encroached into the sky as the graduates reunited with their loved ones for congratulations. But the Class of 2015 moved away from the rainy weather and towards a brighter future.

-Reporting by Jackson Chen

The graduating seniors that comprise the Mamaroneck High School Class of 2015 begin the procession ceremony on June 24.
Photos/Bobby Begun

Mamaroneck seniors celebrate lasting memories

The graduating seniors that comprise the Mamaroneck High School Class of 2015 begin the procession ceremony on June 24. Photos/Bobby Begun

The graduating seniors that comprise the Mamaroneck High School Class of 2015 begin the procession ceremony on June 24.
Photos/Bobby Begun

Baking sunlight fell onto the ornately decorated black caps proclaiming school pride or future college prospects. Donning black garb and bright smiles, the 2015 senior class of Mamaroneck High School ceremoniously moved towards their next steps of their lives after the June 24 graduation.

The graduates are all smiles on a sunny day in Mamaroneck.

The graduates are all smiles on a sunny day in Mamaroneck.

In the humid weather, more than 300 graduates filed into the plastic chairs set up on the school’s athletic field. Joined by a packed audience of family and friends, the venue was at full capacity to honor the Class of 2015.

A number of the seniors in the high school’s concert band belted tunes from guitars, drums and cymbals before the salutatorian and valedictorian approached the stage to address their fellow peers.

Offering an alternative to the clichéd box of chocolates stance on life, Joe Liberti, a high school social studies teacher at Mamaroneck High School, said that life is more comparable to Sour Patch Kids, a sweet then sour candy. As a piece of advice for the future, Liberti told the graduates to accept the sweet and sour tension that life fluctuates between, ending it with an example of his own.

“Please know that teaching you this year has been very, very sweet,” Liberti said to the graduating class. “Seeing you leave MHS is awfully, awfully sour.”

Contrasting the social studies teacher’s aversion to the overdone box of chocolates cliché, the students ended the ceremony in a stereotypical fashion when their decorated caps took flight as a symbol of new beginnings.

-Reporting by Jackson Chen

A member of the graduating class of 2015 shares a special moment with his family during a tribute to the parents.

Tuckahoe celebrates its senior class

A member of the graduating class of 2015 shares a special moment with his family during a tribute to the parents.

A member of the graduating class of 2015 shares a special moment with his family during a tribute to the parents.

In between the familiar tigers on the front steps of Tuckahoe High School stood the high school’s Class of 2015.

“We’ve accomplished a lot,” Salutatorian Chris Cyran said, “and made it through together and made countless memories along the way.”

During the June 26 commencement ceremony, Valedictorian Nicole Alimena and Cyran made their speeches, a number of scholarships and awards were handed out, Tuckahoe Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Nuzzi, who is retiring this summer, was honored and the graduating class participated in an emotional tribute to their families.

“We are so proud of our graduates and our staff, faculty and administrators,” Tuckahoe Board of Education President Julio Urbina said. “They have all distinguished themselves by having been accepted to more tier one and tier two colleges and universities than ever before. The graduates have also distinguished themselves by giving back to the community through the countless hours of community service they’ve performed over the years.”

As a way to say thank you, the 2015 seniors gave roses to their family members while the senior chorus and band ensemble played in the background, bringing many parents to tears.

The ceremony concluded with the handing out of diplomas as each student was called by name, accepted his or her diplomas from Tuckahoe High School Principal Bart Linehan and posed for a picture.

-Reporting by Chris Eberhart

Proud parents, family members and friends watch the procession of graduates 
at the 2015 Eastchester High School Graduation, which took place 
on the White Plains Road campus.

Eastchester seniors ready for next step

Proud parents, family members and friends watch the procession of graduates  at the 2015 Eastchester High School Graduation, which took place  on the White Plains Road campus.

Proud parents, family members and friends watch the procession of graduates
at the 2015 Eastchester High School Graduation, which took place
on the White Plains Road campus.

The bright, sunny day matched the occasion on June 26 as Eastchester’s senior class received their high school diplomas.

Senior Class President Ryan Winnie and Vice President Olivia Heffernan led the procession of the Class of 2015 to the familiar graduation tune and applause from attendees. Before receiving their diplomas, the graduates, who were joined on the Eastchester High School campus by family and friends, listened to the words of class valedictorian and salutatorian, Eastchester High School Principal Dr. Jeffrey Capuano and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Walter Moran. The ceremony concluded with each graduate being called one-by-one to receive their diplomas that will carry them on to their next phase in life.

-Reporting by Chris Eberhart

 

 

Recent fresh catch on display for sale at the Rye Farmers Market.

Some fresh catch at the local farmers market

Michael and Eileen Decker of Joseph Fisheries.

Michael and Eileen Decker of Joseph Fisheries.

By Nicole Reed
For more than 30 years and counting, Michael Decker’s talent for fishing has attracted a crowd. It started when he was just six years old on a Fire Island dock, as onlookers cheered his hard work for a catch. His mother Eileen says, “He’d spend all afternoon bringing up little snappers. People loved seeing it.”

A few years later, when Michael was 12, his father took him on a two-day fishing trip off Montauk in search of cod. He was a talkative kid and befriended everybody on the boat. He also caught the third largest cod of the trip. It turned out that several of his new friends at sea were journalists. A few days later, stories of Michael’s fishing feat appeared in Newsday, the New York Post and the Daily News.

Today, crowds enjoy the outcome of Michael’s fishing adventures at the Rye Farmers Market. Michael started Joseph Fisheries in 2002, and this year, they joined the market as a full-season vendor. Like all the vendors at the Rye Farmers Market, Joseph Fisheries is a business rooted in family. Michael learned to fish from his grandfather, Joseph, and named his company in his honor. When he got his first fishing vessel, he named it after his two grandmothers: the Virginia and Victoria. Now his mother, Eileen, manages the business. Michael is on the water most days, and recently, he bought a raft to teach his four-year-old boys how to dig for clams.

When Michael and his crew return from a day at sea, they bring in a wide range of fish. These days, fish lovers will find striped bass, sea bass, fluke, flounder, porgy, sole as well as shellfish such as clams and steamers, soft-shelled clams great for steaming.

Captain Mike’s boys clam for the market. Contributed photos

Captain Mike’s boys clam for the market. Contributed photos

Joseph’s Fisheries also brings day boat scallops to the Rye Farmers Market. Regarding the significance of these scallops, Eileen explains that they are dry, fresh and untreated with any chemicals. This is opposed to wet scallops, or sometimes scallops with no descriptor, that can be treated with a chemical to plump them up.

This includes just some of Joseph Fisheries’ fresh catch; it varies week by week. The menu depends on what Mother Nature has to give as well as government restrictions at any given time. New York fishing vessels are required to report their catch to the government every time they return from sea. In response to this information, the authorities permit or prohibit fishing of a species. In late June, Eileen noted, “Bluefish fishing is closed this week, but it should open again after July 1.”

The Deckers are also experts at cooking fish. At the farmers market, they always give out recipes for easy and creative dinner ideas. One of Eileen’s favorites is stripped bass, and she prepares it with the skin on. She marinates the fish in oil, “olive oil for a Mediterranean taste or sesame oil for an Asian approach.”

Then she sprinkles it with salt and pepper and puts it on a hot grill. Keep it on the grill for five to six minutes. Her last step is to flip the fish over to get a little color on the other side.

“We’re finding that more and more people are becoming willing to cook a whole fish,” she says. “We’re all seeing it done so well at restaurants that people want to try it at home.”

In addition to Josephs Fisheries, Rye’s Down to Earth Farmers Market features fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meat, poultry and eggs, fresh breads and baked goods, prepared foods to go, pickles and even freshly made waffles from Pika’s Farm Table. One last note: it’s cherry season.

The Rye Farmers Market takes place every Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Dec. 6. The market is located in the parking lot on Theodore Fremd Avenue, behind the Purchase Street stores.

Recent fresh catch on display for sale at the Rye Farmers Market.

Recent fresh catch on display for sale at the Rye Farmers Market.