Author Archives: news

WGO

What’s going on in Eastchester

Eastchester Public Library 

“The Ugly Duckling” Puppet Show

Join The PuppeTree for an award-winning performance featuring humorous and unique twists on the traditional tale. For ages 5 and up, participating in one of the reading games. Online pre-registration is required and will begin on Monday, July 6 at 9 a.m. The show is on Monday, July 13, at 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Teresa Chang at 721-8105 or tchang@wlsmail.org.

Bronxville Public Library

For more events and information, visit bronxvillelibrary.org. Library is closed on Sundays for the summer.

Family Film Friday

Next week’s film is “The Incredibles,” screening July 17 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The following week, “Sky High” will be screened at the same time on July 24.

Superpowers practice

Test your superhero speed and strength in this fun activity. Relay races and silly games for ages 3 and up. Registration required, visit the library website to do so and for more information.

Social needlers

Join us for a knitting and crochet hour every Wednesday, 11 a.m. to noon. Chat and socialize while making beautiful items which will be donated to the Visiting Nurse Serivice of New York. For more information, call 337-7680 or email cutchel@wlsmail.org.

Comic book crafts

Teens will be making all sorts of DIY crafts out of recycled comic books. Make anything from bracelets to wallets—anything you can set your mind to. Grades five and up. Wednesday, July 15, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you miss this session, a similar craft will be on Friday, July 17 in the Teen Room from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. No registration required.

Tuckahoe Public Library

For the kids

Registration is required for all programs.

Reading Buddies: Do you need some help keeping up with your summer reading? Make an appointment to read with our Learning Ambassadors Renz and Morgan. Tuesdays, July 14, 21 and 28, at 2 p.m. 

Babytime Storytime: Join Miss Ellen for stories and songs for babies. Open to ages birth to 2. Thursdays, July 16, 23 and 30, at 11 a.m .

Computer Buddies: Do you like to play games online? Need someone to play with? Looking for a research buddy? Sign up for a time slot with a Learning Ambassador. Thursdays, July 16, 23 and 30, at 1 p.m.

LEGOS in the Library: Come to the library and create a masterpiece to display. Open to ages 5 to 10. Fridays, July 17 and 31, at 4 p.m.

Preschool Storytime: Join Miss Ellen for stories and songs for preschoolers. Open to ages
2 to 6. Fridays, July 17, 24 and 31, at 11 a.m.

Calling teen gamers

Video games for teens will be offered at the library on Wednesday, July 15, at 4 p.m. Call 961-2121 or visit tuckahoelibrary.org
for more information.

Learn about Shakespeare

“Getting to Know…William Shakespeare” with Gloria Piraino. Saturday, July 18 at 11 a.m. Call 961-2121 to register and for more information.

Knit & Crochet Group

Every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Be sure to register by calling 961-2121.

Tuckahoe Senior Center

The Tuckahoe senior citizens is an active vital community made up of men and women, 55 years of age and older, who gather Tuesdays and Thursdays from September through July at Father Fata Hall at the Assumption Church in Tuckahoe.

In July, members enjoy a wide range of activities including two line-dancing classes and two Zumba Gold classes, bingo, cards and games, as well as presentations on topics of particular interest: health, legal issues, history, music, culture, and more. Donations are being accepted for jewelry and most gently-used White Elephant items. Also this month, volunteers are sought for the annual bazzar in October.

All of these programs are included in the $20 annual membership fee. Seniors also enjoy monthly luncheons and day trips for an additional fee. The Center will be closed in August and will reopen Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Membership is open to all who consider Tuckahoe and Eastchester their community, including some who live nearby in adjacent areas of Yonkers, Mount Vernon and Scarsdale.

Referrals to important services for older adults are provided by a professional director. The Tuckahoe Senior Center’s operations are overseen by the Senior Citizens Council, a community-based organization established in 1970 to provide professionally-run programs and services for elderly residents of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville. For more informan, call 337-8487.

Outdoor film festival

The Westchester Italian Cultural Center will host the Cinema Sotto le Stelle Italian Film Festival at Depot Square in Tuckahoe Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m., July 16 through July 30. The Italian Cultural Center will show “Song’e Napule,” “Matrimonio all’Italiana”  and “Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana/Leoncavallo: Pagliacci.” These films are will be shown in Italian with English subtitles. This is a free event and all are welcome. Please bring your own chairs. In case of rain, screenings will be held at the center located at 1 Generoso Pope Place in Tuckahoe. For more information, call 771-8700 or visit wiccny.org.

Bronxville Women’s Club

The Bronxville Women’s Club is located at 135 Midland Avenue in Bronxville.

Friday nights on the patio

Evenings on the patio July 17, 24, and 31 with live entertainment. In case of inclement weather, the evenings will be held inside; no cancellations. For a $5 cover charge for adults, children under 12 free, bring your own picnic. The BWC has tables and chairs. No advance reservations necessary, unless you have a party of more than eight and need a large table. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the entertainment will begin around 7:45 p.m. Donations will be accepted for the performers. For more information, call 337-3252. Lineup of entertainment:

July 17: Before the Bridge: Guitarist Chris Funke joined by friends for an evening of Celtic music.

July 24: The Trans Fran Sisco & Friends Show: Club member and emcee Fran Sisco heads an evening of comedy and music.

July 31: Peter C. North: Mr. North (guitar, ukulele, vocal) performs popular songs from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Joining him for a few numbers will be Joyce Balint (violin).

Film classes

The Bronxville Women’s Club will be holding film classes on Mondays July 20 and Aug. 10.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at 7:15 p.m. Instructor Collin Simon, co-director of PiPE DREAM Theatre and composer who writes music for movies and commercials, will lead a discussion about the movie following its showing. No charge, but donations are accepted. Movie on July 20 is “Jaws,” celebrating its 40th year.  Movie on Aug. 10 is to be announced. No advance reservations needed. The BWC’s auditorium is air conditioned.

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

Mamaroneck Public Library

Crafternoons

Calling all Yarn Crafters. Come join library staff and friends who love to create beautiful things. We invite all to bring their current projects to work on and explore ideas. No registration required. Thursday, July 16, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Community Room.

AARP Driver Safety Program

Refresh your skills with the AARP Smart Driver™ Course. Registration is required as space is very limited. Sign up at the reference desk or call 630-5887. Please arrive at 10 a.m. to sign in. The class lasts 6.5 hours. Upcoming dates: Monday, July 13; Monday, August 24; Friday, September 25.

You will learn: defensive driving techniques; proven safety strategies; new traffic laws and rules of the road. Plus, there are no tests to pass. You simply sign up and learn. Upon completion you can save 10 percent on your car insurance and remove up to four points from your license.

AARP charges $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Payment accepted the day of the class only. Checks should be made out to AARP. All payment transactions will be handled directly by the AARP. Course materials are provided. Please bring your own lunch and a pen.

AARP Driver Safety is the nation’s first and largest driver safety course designed specifically for drivers age 50+. However, it can be taken by licensed drivers of all ages. Course participants may be eligible to receive a state-mandated, multi-year discount on their auto insurance premium. For more information visit aarpdriversafety.org.

At Home on the Sound

Figuring out those medical bills

At Home on the Sound, the service organization for residents 60 and over, has invited a NY State licensed insurance broker, Adria Gross, to help clarify medical bills and insurance policies. On Tuesday, July 14, she will discuss the importance of knowing patient rights and understanding what is covered and what is not, including how to compare prices in advance for tests and procedures among various facilities and providers. She will also present options for uninsured or underinsured patients and ways to save on prescription medications.

The program is open to the entire community free of charge at Larchmont Avenue Church’s Community Room, 60 Forest Park Ave. Refreshments at 3:30 p.m., talk starts at 4 p.m.

New membership option

At Home on the Sound is pleased to announce a new membership option. The local nonprofit, dedicated to enhancing the lives of people over 60 in the Larchmont-Mamaroneck area, is introducing an associate membership level effective July 1, 2015.

Associate members will be entitled to participate in the cultural and educational activities offered each month by At Home on the Sound. These programs include: Dine-Abouts; discussion groups (current events, a men’s group, Being Eighty); interest groups (mahjong, foreign languages, book group); organized trips to Broadway shows, concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural destinations;  a weekly gentle yoga class, and more. Associate members will also be eligible for discounts at more than 80 local restaurants and businesses.

Annual fees for an Associate Membership are $190 for an individual or $250 for a household.

At Home on the Sound full members, in addition to the above benefits, are also entitled to:  transportation to appointments, errands and shopping; a network of volunteers to provide small home repairs, odd jobs, and computer help; referrals to vetted professionals in a variety of services areas; home safety assessments; friendly phone calls; trained health advocates for accompaniment to medical appointments and other personalized services. Annual fees for full membership are $370 for an individual or $495 for a household.

For additional information about memberships, or to volunteer, contact At Home on the Sound 899-3150 or visit athomeonthesound.org.

Westchester Sandbox Theatre

The Cat in the Musical

The Cat is back out of his Hat and Horton is once again sitting on an egg in the Westchester Sandbox Theatre’s summer production of “Seussical The Musical.” Come see a wonderful cast filled with young, local talent in this delightful family musical. Only six chances to catch the fun: Seussical performs July 10 to 19, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children and seniors. WST is located at 931C E. Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck.  For tickets and more information, visit wstshows.com or call 630-0804.

WST Mini Magic Camp

Calling all mini performers in grades K, one and two. Spend a week at the Westchester Sandbox Theatre this summer learning songs and dances from movies and musicals perfect for young friends. Get instruction in voice and dance from fun instructors, and get ready to have a blast on stage. This will give young performers a bite-size camp experience. A special performance for friends and family on will be held on Friday, Aug. 14 at 3 p.m.

When: Aug. 10 to Aug. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: 931C East Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck

Fee: $325 per child, due at the time of registration and non-refundable. A 10 percent discount will be given to siblings. Each family will be required to fill out a medical form.

For registration and more information, visit wstshows.com or call 630-0804.

Blood donation opportunities

Eligible donors are encouraged to choose their day to make a difference. Donors of all blood types—especially those with types O negative, A negative, and B negative—are needed.

Dates to donate blood in Westchester:

Saturday, July 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at American Legion Post 1009, 235 Veterans Road, Yorktown Heights.

Tuesday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road, Elmsford.

How to donate blood:

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

For more information, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

Pet Rescue

Turning 1

Join us as we celebrate our first anniversary in our new home Sunday, July 19, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Our new home has allowed us to help so many more animals. Just a few of the wonderful changes we’ve made this year: busy spay/neuter clinic that operates four days a week; weekly meet-and-greets; training and enrichment programs for our dogs; a homey space for our dogs; and much, much more.

To celebrate these changes and to help us change the lives of more animals, we’re kicking off our Pennies for Paws Campaign. Please bring your spare change to the event and help us raise funds.

It’s a guaranteed great time for the entire family: games and raffles with great prizes, refreshments, dog and cat meet-and-greet and facility tours.

Can’t make it but want to help? Make a special anniversary donation. Find out how and more at ny-petrescue.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 New Rochelle

New Rochelle Public Library

The library’s website has a full listing of free programs, dates and times for all ages this summer at nrpl.org. Programs for infants to teens are being held both at the main library and at the Huguenot Children’s Library. Be sure to also check out the return of the annual Disney Hit Parade of family films and the International Music and Dance series. These free programs are made possible by the Friends of the Library and the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation.

Disney adventure films

All ages are invited to be swept away by big screen adventures. The New Rochelle Public Library presents its annual Disney Hit Parade of family films on six Monday evenings in July and August. The Ossie Davis Theater is the venue for the series which will begin at 6 p.m. July 13 with the 1958 version of “The Sign of Zorro.” Running time: 91 minutes. On July 20, “In Search of the Castaway,” released in 1962 will run. Running time: 98 minutes.

International Music and Dance

The International Music and Dance series will continue on Tuesday, July 14 with music from the Andes by Andinay. On Tuesday, July 21, Barynya will perform a spirited sampler of traditional Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Russian Jewish, and Russian Gypsy dance, music and songs. Arabian Dance by Aszmara, with music of Armenia, Turkey and Egypt will be performed on Tuesday, July 28. Seating for the free programs is on a first-come, first-served basis, to the capacity of the Ossie Davis Theater. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. More infor-mation at nrpl.org.

Movie on the beach

The Family Film Frenzy returns this summer at various Westchester parks. New Rochelle gets its turn on Wednesday, July 15, with the screening of “Dolphin Tale 2” (rated PG) at Glen Island Beach, starting at 7 p.m. with after-hours swimming, picnicking and relaxing. The movie will begin at sundown. Bring your own picnic or purchase food at the concession stand, bring blankets and chairs. Admission is $5 per person, free for ages 5 and under, includes the movie only. A Westchester County Park Pass is not required for admission. Admission wristbands will go on sale the day of the event at each location and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Please note that swimming is only permitted until dark, and all food and cooler guidelines for regular pool hours apply. For more information, visit parks.westchestergov.com or call 864-PARK (7275).

Fishing for kids

The New Rochelle Police Department and the New Rochelle Police Foundation announce the 2015 Community Youth Fishing Program for boys and girls ages 10-15. On Wednesdays July 15 and Aug. 12. Registration is open on a first come, first served basis. Open to New Rochelle residents only and pre-registration is required. Forms can be downloaded at newrochelleny.com/NRPD-CYFP or are available at NRPD Headquarters’ front desk at 475 North Ave. Participants must arrive at the Fort Slocum Road Dock by 9 a.m. and will return at approx. 2 p.m. Lunch, soft drinks and equipment are provided. For additional information contact Detective Fudge at 654-2080.

Blood donation opportunities

Donors of all blood types—especially types O negative, A negative, and B negative—are needed.

When to donate blood: Friday, July 17, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., New Rochelle Public Library, One Library Plaza, Lawton Street.

How to donate blood:

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. For more information, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

New Rochelle Human Society

15th Annual Dog Wash

Bring your four-legged friend to the New Rochelle Humane Society for the 15th Annual Dog Wash on Sunday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside at 70 Portman Road, New Rochelle. It will be a fun-filled day of pet pampering, microchipping, good food, raffles and vendors. Stop by the “Ask the Trainer” booth, pose for a family portrait and more. Rain date: Sunday, Aug. 2. More vendors are welcome. For more information, email events@newrochellehumanesociety.org or call 632-2925.

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.

 
Former Mayor Philip Marraccini is gearing up for another mayoral run to challenge incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont in a Republican primary if all goes according to plan. Photo courtesy LinkedIn

Mayor, deputy mayor seek re-election

Coming as no surprise, the incumbent mayor, Norman Rosenblum, and the incumbent deputy mayor, Lou Santoro, announced their re-election campaign recently. Photos courtesy Lou Santoro

Coming as no surprise, the incumbent mayor, Norman Rosenblum, and the incumbent deputy mayor, Lou Santoro, announced their re-election campaign recently. Photos courtesy Lou Santoro

By JACKSON CHEN
Familiar faces will appear on the Village of Mamaroneck’s Republican ticket in this year’s Board of Trustees election. 

Mayor Norman Rosenblum, 72, and Trustee Lou Santoro, 57, both Republicans, will each be seeking their fourth term as mayor and trustee, respectively.

Rosenblum said the duo is running in 2015 for the same reasons they ran together the first time in 2009. “We didn’t like where the Village of Mamaroneck was when it first started,” the mayor said of his motivation.

Rosenblum added that since taking elected office, the village is now very successful and has been highly rated several times by unbiased national groups, including “CNN Money” and Movoto, a popular real estate website.

“The reason you want to run again, quite honestly, is the positive feedback we get from people,” Rosenblum said. “It’s unbelievable and you keep getting reinforced.”

For the three-term mayor, one of the most impactful changes in the village includes the noticeable amount of development throughout. “There’s a tremendous amount of development that’s going on and we’re doing it very successfully [with] a real key, which I believe is maintaining the character and quality of life in the Village of Mamaroneck,” Rosenblum said.

The mayor added that “any community that doesn’t continue to develop will die from atrophy.”

While new businesses and structures are steadily being constructed, Rosenblum and Santoro, who also serves as deputy mayor, said there’s still some unfinished business that they’d like to see through, and therefore have a desire to continue to serving the village.

Like many municipalities, the village is facing the countywide issue of an extremely worn sewer infrastructure system. According to Rosenblum, the village is always planning ahead on water-related issues by creating a flood mitigation plan, developing a comprehensive infrastructure plan and working with FEMA.

Besides dealing with a failing sewer infrastructure, the mayor and deputy mayor had a hand in pushing forward a large piece of development-friendly legislation, commonly referred to as the transit oriented development, or TOD. The controversial law was aimed at capitalizing on development prospects for areas next to the Metro-North train station in Mamaroneck, but caught the ire of some local residents and their concerns over the potential for increasing flood issues in the area.

Adding onto their three terms of experience in handling village business, both Rosenblum and Santoro have consistently acquired the endorsements of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties in every election.

Santoro attributes the pair’s success and popularity to being more accessible and hands-on than their counterparts.

“We’re out walking the streets,” Santoro said. “No matter where we go, the gym, restaurants, down by the harbor, people see us and know us.”

In terms of their challengers, Rosenblum said the anti-development sentiments and possibility for conflicts of interests would give the incumbents an advantage. Democratic mayoral candidate Dan Natchez, president of Shore Acres Property Owners Association and a former village trustee, is headlining a ticket that also includes trustee candidate Thomas Burt, a Democratic district leader with experience in class action lawsuits.

The mayor serves a two-year term and is paid an annual stipend of $8,427, while village board trustees also serve two-year terms and are paid $4,590 annually. Election Day is set for Tuesday, Nov. 3 this year.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
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Bronxville graduates ready to move on

Guest speaker Brooks Klimely, who was selected by the graduating class, addresses the crowd and the Class of 2015 during his remarks on June 20.

Guest speaker Brooks Klimely, who was selected by the graduating class, addresses the crowd and the Class of 2015 during his remarks on June 20.

Bronxville High School’s 93rd graduation was wet and rainy. But despite the constant drizzle, the lawn in front of the high school on June 20 was standing room only as family and friends of the Class of 2015 watched the graduates receive their diplomas.

“We all look out into this wonderful audience tonight and realize we, as the Class of 2015, realize are officially moving on,” Class President Brendan Walsh said during his speech. “It’s hard to believe the reality. With this comes quite a bit of uncertainty and unknown, both of which should excite us. Bronxville High School has prepared us in ways we do not know yet, but we will soon learn.”

After Walsh, Student Faculty Legislature President Edward Forst and guest speaker Brooks Klimely, who was picked by the 2015 class, offered their remarks, the graduates, each wearing the traditional Bronxville white dresses and tuxedos, made their way toward Bronxville Board of Education President Denise Tormey, who was holding their diplomas to the familiar graduation tune.

Bronxville Schools Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone speaks before the graduates receive their high school diplomas.

Bronxville Schools Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone speaks before the graduates receive their high school diplomas.

Tormey stepped aside when Jillian Rohr’s name was called to allow her father James Rohr, a member of the Board of Education, to embrace his daughter and present her with her diploma.

“It was special,” James Roark said after the ceremony concluded. “I felt great pride and sadness knowing she will be moving away soon. But everything turned out as spectacular as we expected despite the rain.”

-Reporting by Chris Eberhart

 

PANELS1

Concerns mount over solar panels in village

In order to get home solar panels installed, residents went through an approval process involving the Village of Mamaroneck and its architectural review board. However, the process has been the subject of some scrutiny. File photo

In order to get home solar panels installed, residents went through an approval process involving the Village of Mamaroneck and its architectural review board. However, the process has been the subject of some scrutiny. File photo

By JACKSON CHEN
Following the recent and widespread introduction of solar panels in the Village of Mamaroneck, the approval process for the green equipment has caught some heat.

Due to the Solarize Westchester initiative that started in the village early February, there’s been a jump in the amount of residential solar panel installations. In the four months since the project launched, the village’s Board of Architectural Review, BAR, has opined on approvals of close to a dozen solar panel installations.

However, the approval process is coming under scrutiny as Clark Neuringer, member of the village’s Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission, HCZMC, said there weren’t any steadfast criteria for how the BAR approves the solar panels.

Since the village is attempting to expedite the installation of solar panels, the BAR is the only land use board that currently determines any type of approval, according to Village Manager Richard Slingerland. However, he added that the Village of Mamaroneck’s Building Department also reviews the request and provides building and electrical permits for solar panels.

Neuringer, who initially brought the issue before the village board, said without any set guidelines, the BAR can approve solar panels in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

While the village board couldn’t determine the standards for how the solar panel reviews should be conducted, in May, the board asked for a report and recommendations from the village’s land use boards, including the Planning Board, BAR, Committee for the Environment and the HCZMC.

With a deadline for their reports and recommendations set for June 8, most of the land use boards have submitted their opinions on if the BAR should be required to review and approve solar panels and what standards should be used for the approval process.

In the BAR’s report submitted

weeks ago, it said that the land use board should definitely be involved in the approval process, according to Malte Stoeckhert, chairman of the architectural review board. Stoeckhert said that the board simply reviews the aesthetic qualities of the solar panels and has asked some applicants to come back to make cosmetic changes in the past.

The chairman said that the BAR has approved every application and that it would be a poor decision to exclude the board that reviews aesthetics from the solar panel review process, which could create an “eyesore issue potentially.”

Cindy Goldstein, chairwoman of the harbor coastal commission, said the commission recommended the village board define exactly what solar panels are in the village code. Goldstein added that in harbor coastal’s recommendations, it also said that the village should have “very clear identifiable standards” in evaluating solar panels and how they’re set up.

Slingerland said in reviewing solar panels applications, the village also looks to make sure they meet New York state building codes, which dictates certain electrical standards and the strength of a panel’s mounts.

The board will attempt to visit the issue of a proper approval process for solar panels sometime in June, after it’s received all the opinions from the various land use boards.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
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Rye celebrates its Class of 2015

Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez addresses the Class of 2015. Photos/Bobby Begun

Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez addresses the Class of 2015. Photos/Bobby Begun

Despite the dark, ominous clouds hanging over the City of Rye on June 20, the 84th annual Rye High School Graduation ceremony proceeded without a hitch.

Family and friends of the graduates packed Nugent Stadium behind Rye High School to watch the Class of 2015 receive their diplomas ending their tenures in the school district.

Rye City Board of Education President Laura Slack, who is retiring from her position this year, addressed the crowd for the last time as president of the board.

“It has been our privilege to watch you as you have taken advantage of everything Rye High School has to offer,” Slack told the graduates. “We have admired your outstanding academic successes, cheered you on from the sidelines and clapped for you from our auditorium seats. You have amazed us with your accomplishments and it has been a joy to watch your journey to this day.”

Rye High School Principal Patricia Taylor welcomes family and friends to the high school’s commencement ceremony.

Rye High School Principal Patricia Taylor welcomes family and friends to the high school’s commencement ceremony.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez said this graduating class was “skilled and talented…unique abilities.”

“This is a special class in many ways,” the superintendent said. “I’ve been privileged to get to know some of you and have been impressed by your maturity and abilities. As I look around, I am reminded of students like Min Kyo Kim’s intellect, Andrew Livingston’s leadership skills, Jack Smith’s exemplary character, John Arenas’s stage presence, Judson Ellis’s versatility, Tim Hardis’s mathematical mind and Halley Orr’s superb work ethic.”

-Reporting by Chris Eberhart

Marcus Serrano will be starting his job as the City of Rye’s manager on June 29. 
Photo/Jackson Chen

New city manager to start this month

Marcus Serrano will be starting his job as the City of Rye’s manager on June 29.  Photo/Jackson Chen

Marcus Serrano will be starting his job as the City of Rye’s manager on June 29.
Photo/Jackson Chen

Marcus Serrano, village administrator of Dobbs Ferry, will be joining the City of Rye as its new city manager earlier than anticipated. Serrano’s first official day in Rye is now expected to be June 29.

Serrano, who held his position with Dobbs Ferry for the last six years, was originally scheduled to join Rye around Aug. 11 because of a two-month notice he wanted to give Dobbs Ferry. However, according to Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, Serrano has since worked it out so that he is able to leave the
village earlier.

“We’d always hoped he could start immediately,” Sack said. “He subsequently has been able to negotiate with Dobbs Ferry that he could leave early and we’re extremely happy and excited about that.”

The mayor added that Serrano has used his own personal time to introduce himself around the city. Serrano will replace Eleanor Militana, who is currently serving as interim city manager. At that time, Militana will reprise her role as assistant city manager.

-Reporting by Jackson Chen

On June 10, the Rye City Council voted in favor of removing itself from the appeals process regarding Freedom of Information Law requests and reinstated the city manager position to head the role. Eleanor Militana, pictured, currenty serves as interim city manager. File photo

Council alters city FOIL procedure

On June 10, the Rye City Council voted in favor of removing itself from the appeals process regarding Freedom of Information Law requests and reinstated the city manager position to head the role. Eleanor Militana, pictured, currenty serves as interim city manager. File photo

On June 10, the Rye City Council voted in favor of removing itself from the appeals process regarding Freedom of Information Law requests and reinstated the city manager position to head the role. Eleanor Militana, pictured, currenty serves as interim city manager. File photo

By JACKSON CHEN
The Rye City Council has withdrawn itself from the city’s Freedom of Information Law process. 

During the June 10 meeting, the council designated City Attorney Kristen Wilson as the city’s records access officer, who would be in charge of initially tackling any Freedom of Information Law, FOIL, requests that come in. Wilson will replace former City Clerk Dawn Nodarse, who retired on June 18, as records access officer.

The records access officer acts as the initial viewer of the FOIL request, which allows the public access into government records that are deemed public information.

Previously, while Nodarse handled the initial FOIL requests, it was the council who was the deciding body for any appeals that came back to the city. But as part of the FOIL procedural changes, the city council has granted appeal authority to the city manager position, which is currently manned on an interim basis by Eleanor Militana.

“We were the only municipality where the City Council was the appellate body,” Militana said. “Generally we get appeals at the last minute and they get put on the council agenda at the last minute.”

Militana added that the change was positive and that it would affect the incoming city manager, Marcus Serrano, more than it would her. Serrano is slated to start his job in Rye on June 29, according to Militana.

Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, said the city manager position is the ultimate administrative officer of the city, so it makes sense to have the top city official review FOIL appeals.

Similar to Sack’s opinion, Robert Freeman, executive director of the Committee on Open Government, said the appeals process would be better if it went through one person.

“If it goes to a governing body, like the city council, that means they have to have a meeting to deal with the FOIL process,” Freeman said. Freeman added that the council would only have 10 business days to reply to an appeal and might run into trouble reaching a quorum, or the minimum number of councilmembers needed to conduct an official meeting.

In dealing with FOIL appeals over the years, Sack said that the council has seen an increase in the amount of appeal requests.

“The process as it was set up allowed certain habitual persons to abuse the process to a certain degree and it became not the most efficient use of the council’s time,” Sack said, adding that the change to the city manager handling appeals might remove incentives for frequent FOIL appeals.

According to Deputy City Clerk Diane Moore, the city has received approximately 331 FOIL requests already this year.

Resident Timothy Chittenden, one of the most active FOIL users, said his main issue with how the city deals with their FOIL requests is in receiving his requests and appeals in a timely fashion.

Chittenden, a retired Rye cop, added that he’s against the change because he feels that in dealing with an appeal, the city manager likely wouldn’t go against the initial FOIL response that would now be handled by the city attorney. So far this year, Chittenden estimated that he’s filed approximately 20 FOIL requests.

Prior to the council overtaking the appeals authority in 2013, it was considered rare that the city’s designated appellate officer for FOILs would overturn the initial decision by the records access officer.

While Wilson would now be the first city employee to see the hundreds of FOIL requests, the city attorney said she already handles more than 90 percent of the requests because of the legal nature of many, excluding the ones that involved the Rye City Building Department.

Sack said, “I think it’s smart to have the [city attorney] do it initially because a lot of these things are legal determinations anyways.”

In the past, the FOIL requests were handled by several department heads who also served as records access officers, according to Wilson.

However, in 2008, the city decided to centralize that role by designating the city clerk as the records access officer. In dealing with appeals back then, Wilson said that role was switched back and forth between city manager and city attorney.

The City Council first assumed authority over the appeals process under the prior former administration of Mayor Douglas French, a Republican. Sack, who was a councilman at the time, said he proposed the change because he was against giving the city manager, who happened to be Scott Pickup at the time, the appeals officer role and felt the council should oversee that aspect.

“Initially, I thought the City Council needed to exercise some more oversight over the city manager who I believe had initially been the initial FOIL reviewer,” Sack said in reference to Pickup. “But I think that with the departure of certain personnel in the recent past, that’s not much of a concern for me and the rest of the council anymore.”

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
vote-2015

Rye Dems receive Independence nod

By JACKSON CHEN
On top of a full slate of candidates this year, the three Rye City Democratic nominees also secured the endorsement of the Westchester County Independence Party.

The party’s backing of each of the Democratic candidates—Emily Proskine Hurd, Danielle Tagger-Epstein and Jeffrey Taylor—will add onto each of the nominee’s extensive volunteer background.

Meg Cameron, chairwoman of the Rye City Democratic Committee, said that they are very pleased to have the third party’s nomination. She added that the Independence Party interviewed each of the candidates, who submitted their resumes and cover letter, and it was determined that the Democrats were this year’s best candidates.

“Each one has a big volunteer role in the community and has proved outstanding at public service,” Cameron said of her party’s candidates.

Hurd, who serves on Rye Nature Center’s Board of Directors and a local non-profit that specializes in international trips for students, said the endorsements were a good sign of the Democrats’ strong ticket. The candidate added that the interview process for the party’s endorsement included follow-up phone calls and meetings with district leaders.

“We’re thrilled,” Hurd said. “I think traditionally, the Independence Party has backed Republican candidates.”

In recent memory, Independence Party leadership has sided with Rye Republicans.

In the 2013 elections where four council seats, including the mayor, were up, the Independence Party endorsed Councilman Joe Sack for mayor and Councilman Julie Killian and political newcomer Kirstin Bucci, all of who ran on a Republican ticket dubbed “Rye United.” However, for their fourth endorsement, the party snubbed Republican runningmate Terry McCartney in order to back council candidate Jason Mehler, who only ran on the Independence line. The Rye United ticket handily swept that year’s election.

The Independence Party last endorsed Rye Democrats during the election season in 2005 when former Mayor Steve Otis, a Democrat, sought his third mayoral term. Otis received the Independence Party’s endorsements alongside Democratic nominees Andrew Ball, Mack Cunningham and George Pratt.

On the other side of the political aisle, Anthony Piscionere, chairman of the Rye Republican Committee, said it was unfortunate that the Independence Party didn’t interview any of this year’s Republican candidates for endorsement possibilities. When asked if he would consider a challenging the Democrats for the right to carry the Independence Party line in the general election, Piscionere said the committee might consider an opportunity to ballot petition.

Adding to the Independence Party’s endorsements, the city Democrats also recently gained the backing of the Working Families Party, according to Cameron. Similar to the Independence Party, the Working Families Party, which typically backs Democratic candidates, interviewed the three Rye Democrats, but only before they completed a lengthy questionnaire.

“We’ve got some young people running for City Council,” said Harold Aken, a member of the steering committee of the Working Families Party. “I think they can bring some new perspective to the things going on in the City of Rye.”

This year, the Democratic candidates are unique in that they have comparatively less local governance experience than their Republican counterparts.

“The fact that we’re unknown, that we’re fresher, we come in with a different perspective,” Tagger-Epstein said, adding that their newness and endorsements from both the Independence and Working Families parties will bring more visibility to the candidates.

Similarly, Hurd said, “I think when you look at the ballot and see we’re being endorsed by the Independence Party and the Working Families Party, there’s a lot of support for what we’re trying to do.”

According to the Westchester County Board of Elections, Rye City is home to 401 registered Independence Party voters; the Working Families Party has only 16 registered voters in the city. The two major political parties in Rye account for 3,263 registered Democrats and 3,527 registered Republicans, according to figures compiled by the Board of Elections.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com