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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

 
DSC_00022

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

 
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 Sou-
nd’s water quality testing in 2014, several areas within the Mamaroneck Harbor and Hutchinson River showed sam-ples 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

 
Enoch Sarkodie, 29, is suspected of scamming a 90-year-old Harrison woman out of $23,000. Photo courtesy Harrison Police Department

Harrison police arrest Georgia man

Enoch Sarkodie, 29, is suspected of scamming a 90-year-old Harrison woman out of $23,000. Photo courtesy Harrison Police Department

Enoch Sarkodie, 29, is suspected of scamming a 90-year-old Harrison woman out of $23,000. Photo courtesy Harrison Police Department

On Tuesday, June 16, Harrison police traveled down to Georgia to arrest Enoch Sarkodie—a Marietta, Ga., resident—in connection with an elaborate phone scam responsible for defrauding  a 90-year-old Harrison resident out of $23,000.

According to Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini, the suspect, while posing as an attorney, was able to convince the victim that her granddaughter was involved in a serious accident and in need of money for legal fees.

Sarkodie, posing as attorney “Mark Freedman,” then convinced the victim to send the money, after enlisting
the help of a female accomplice who posed as the victim’s granddaughter.

The arrest comes on the heels of a two-month long investigation in which police identified Sarkodie as the main suspect in the crime. According to Marraccini, the details of the how police identified Sarkodie as the suspect, have been kept under wraps as to not comprise police techniques.

“It was thorough and diligent police work, naturally with the help of technology,” Marraccini said.

Whether or not the suspect is responsible for other scams in Harrison or elsewhere remains undetermined as the investigation remains ongoing.

Sarkodie was arraigned Tuesday, June, 16 on charges of grand larceny, a felony which can carry a sentence of up to seven years in state prison in accordance with the amount stolen.

-Reporting by James Pero

The new Chatsworth Antiques held its grand opening on May 9. Photo courtesy Joan Meehan

Mamaroneck antique store starts new life

Co-owners John De Giacomo and Joan Meehan in front of one of their grand pianos.

Co-owners John De Giacomo and Joan Meehan in front of one of their grand pianos.

By JAMES PERO
The words “new” and “antique” are almost always at odds, but for Chatsworth Antiques and Consignments, a near century-old Mamaroneck antique furniture dealer, it is a new beginning of sorts.

In May 2015, Chatsworth said goodbye to not only its lifelong four-floor Mamaroneck Avenue storefront, which had been home base to the business since the 1930s, but also to the Lightbody family—the establishment’s original owners who sold the business after new generations of the family showed little interest in taking the reins.

Fortunately for fans of the antique dealers, though both the original owners and headquarters are history, the familiar Chatsworth name remains, albeit with a new storefront and somewhat new faces.

The new Chatsworth Antiques held its grand opening on May 9. Photo courtesy Joan Meehan

The new Chatsworth Antiques held its grand opening on May 9. Photo courtesy Joan Meehan

“I was basically the right hand man there for 25 years,” said John De Giacomo, co-owner of Chatsworth’s newest iteration, under the same name, which opened its doors on May 9. “With [Sam Lightbody’s] blessing he gave me the name and the trucks, so basically the history has kind of funneled into [Ogden Avenue].”

Though Chatsworth’s history is still mostly intact—De Giacomo is even an extended relative of the Lightbody family—the new retail space on Ogden Avenue in the Washingtonville area of Mamaroneck, and the subsequent transition, has brought with it a host of new factors for both the owners and customers alike.

“In our old place we were able to buy whatever we wanted and let it sit for months and months,” De Giacomo said. “But with a smaller place we don’t have that luxury.”

The wood paneling used as a backdrop for Chatsworth Antiques’ wares was designed by Joan Meehan and was built using 65 repurposed pallets. Photos/James Pero

The wood paneling used as a backdrop for Chatsworth Antiques’ wares was designed by Joan Meehan and was built using 65 repurposed pallets. Photos/James Pero

According to De Giacomo, the new storefront, despite its lofty ceilings and open floor plan, is about a third of the size of the former 17,000 foot location on Mamaroneck Avenue. Such space constraints have forced both he and fellow co-owner Joan Meehan who has been involved with Chatsworth for about 8 years off and on, to purchase less items and also turn over stock faster—changes which Meehan thinks customers may benefit from.

“It’s good for the customers,” she said. “Because stock keeps changing, any time they come in, it’ll be different, they’ll see new things.”

But even amidst all the change, both De Giacomo and Meehan have had time to reflect on days of Chatsworth past—particularly the old location. Now, in the open air of their new space, the duo recalls Mamaroneck Avenue with a distinct mixture of both nostalgia and relief.

“The old Chatsworth was a fun place to visit and shop because of the history of it,” De Giacomo said. “But working there was a real pain.”

Though Chatsworth Antiques specializes in furniture, they also buy more delicate items like fine china, pictured.

Though Chatsworth Antiques specializes in furniture, they also buy more delicate items like fine china, pictured.

With mounds of antiques packed tightly into its four floors, the Mamaroneck Avenue storefront was a labyrinth of vintage and like-new goods, some of which could sit there for years at a time.

“It’s a double-edged sword having that much room because you could get anything you wanted,” Meehan said.  “But then if it didn’t sell you could just push it in the corner and not worry about it.”

But overcrowded stock wasn’t the only obstacle at the Mamaroneck Avenue location.  According to De Giacomo, the four flights of stairs ended up being nothing short of hurdles in the dead summer heat—since lack of insulation and the age of the building prevented the installation of air conditioning.

“If I was all the way down in the basement, and somebody needed a price for something in the attic, that would be four flights up to get a price,” De Giacomo said. “You [did] that in 110 degree heat in the middle of August.”

Now that the owners are settled in, the change of scenery has been a welcome addition to Chatsworth, because even away from the traffic of Mamaroneck Avenue, newcomers and longtime clients alike are still making the pilgrimage.

Chatsworth has done away with the clutter of their old Mamaroneck Avenue outlet in favor of a more organized and open layout on Ogden Avenue.

Chatsworth has done away with the clutter of their old Mamaroneck Avenue outlet in favor of a more organized and open layout on Ogden Avenue.

“We were lucky when we were on the avenue, De Giacomo said, “But even when we’re here, we’re a destination point.”

Meehan added, “When people leave their house they know they’re coming here.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
Rod Mergardt was hired by the Rye School District on June 16 to serve as the interim athletic director.
Contributed Photo

Rye hires interim athletic director

Rod Mergardt was hired by the Rye School District on June 16 to serve as the interim athletic director. Contributed Photo

Rod Mergardt was hired by the Rye School District on June 16 to serve as the interim athletic director.
Contributed Photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
Rod Mergardt will take over as the interim athletic director for the Rye School District as school officials continue their search for a permanent replacement for Rob Castagna, who just left Rye at the end of the school year to join the Byram Hills school district. 

The announcement was made during the June 16 Board of Education meeting. Mergardt will make $150,000 and is only expected to remain in the position for one year.

Although Mergardt officially retired in 1996 after having spent time in the Bedford Central School District as a physical education teacher, coach and ultimately becoming the district’s athletic director, he’s continued to work in the field as an interim athletic director. His most recent stop was Tuckahoe but, he also spent time in Ridgefield, Tarrytown, Byram Hills and Mamaroneck before that in addition to having served as an adjunct professor of sport law at Manhattanville College and supervisor of undergraduate physical education student teachers at SUNY Cortland.

“I’m at the age and point in my career where I don’t go looking for jobs,” Mergardt said. “But the situation in Rye was looking pretty doggone attractive…I’ve known Rye for many years. I have five of my former students on the staff, and I ran a beach club in Rye early in my career. So there are no surprises.”

Mergardt praised the job of his predecessor and said his job is “not to screw up the good things that Rob [Castagna] did” and either train an internal candidate to be the next athletic director or be part of the recruiting process.

Mergardt received his bachelor’s in physical education from SUNY Cortland, a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Bridgeport and was certified as an athletic administrator by NYU.

Rye City Schools Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez said, “In his 52 years in public education, Rod Mergardt has 34 years of experience in the field of athletic administration. He comes to us with glowing references from both parents and administrators with whom he has worked in the past. We are certain that he will be a terrific interim athletic director for the Rye City School District as we continue our search for a permanent athletic director.”

But Megardt’s last stop ended in unceremonious fashion.

In early September 2014, Mergardt resigned from his job in Tuckahoe after being caught up in a controversy involving the high school football team.

Parents, coaches and players in that community criticized Mergardt for mishandling the preparation for the upcoming football season in what many described as a coup attempt to remove longtime football coach John D’Arco from his position.

As of early July 2014, there were concerns that Tuckahoe wouldn’t have enough players to field a team. But D’Arco told the Review in a previous interview that he had enough players by the week of July 22 and he relayed that message to Mergardt along with a list of equipment that he’d have to order, mainly footballs, mouth guards and first aid equipment.

But Mergardt failed to order the equipment until early September, already weeks into the season. He never told anyone why.

The situation came to a head during an Aug. 25, 2014 Tuckahoe Board of Education meeting, when coaches, parents, and current and past players vocally attacked the school board, superintendent and Mergardt. Mergardt resigned a week later citing family reasons.

Mergardt didn’t go into details about what happened in Tuckahoe other than to say he was on the same page with Superintendent Dr. Barbara Nuzzi but wasn’t on the same page with “the decision makers.”

“Some of my recommendations weren’t deemed acceptable,” Mergardt said. “But I feel like I left on good terms with a lot of people there.”

Rye City School District Board of Education President Laura Slack said she’s aware of the incident in Tuckahoe but feels confident in the hiring.

“We met Mr. Mergardt at the Board of Education meeting [on June 16] and we found him very impressive and thought he was fantastic with the student athletes he interacted with that night,” Slack said.

Mergardt will officially assume the position on July 1.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
WGO

What’s Going on in Eastchester 6-26-2015

Eastchester Public Library 

Read-To-Me Kickoff Party

On Tuesday, June 30, at 11 a.m., join musician Jeffrey Friedberg and the Bossy Frog Band for a fun-filled music concert to kick off this summer’s Read-to-Me game. Online pre-registration is required, and will begin on Tuesday, June 23 at 9 a.m. For Read-to-Me game participants only. Please register for each attendee including parents/caregivers. For more information, contact Teresa Chang at 721-8105.

Family Film Frenzy series returns

The Family Film Frenzy returns this summer at various Westchester parks. Parks will open at 7 p.m. for after-hours swimming, picnicking and relaxing. The movie will begin at sundown. Bring your own picnic or purchase food at the concession stand. For seating, bring blankets and chairs. Admission is $5 per person, free for children under 5. Admission 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-serve basis while supplies last.

Dates, movies and locations are: July 8, “Box Trolls” (rated PG) at The Brook at
Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers; July 15, “Dolphin Tale 2” (rated PG) at Glen Island Beach in New Rochelle; July 22, “Big Hero 6” (rated PG) at Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains; and July 29, “Annie” (rated PG) at Willson’s Waves Pool in Mount Vernon.

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).

STEM summer camp for girls

Girls Inc. of Westchester is now accepting applications for their summer science camp, SmarTech. This year’s camp is two weeks long, from Monday, July 27 through Friday, Aug. 8, at Purchase College, SUNY. The camp runs Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applications will be accepted for girls entering seventh and eighth grade. Girls applying must be able to commit to attending camp for the full two weeks.

In SmarTech, girls will learn about environmental science, computer coding, and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, they will have the chance to experience college life and academics on Purchase College’s campus and they will meet women with amazing careers in STEM fields who are changing the world.
Because Girls Inc. runs on contributions, a suggested donation is $250 per participator per week, but Girls Inc. is flexible. Partial or full financial aid is available to families who are unable to afford the full fee.

For more information, contact Girls Inc.’s office at 419-0764, visit girlsincwestchester.org or email camp director Tara Penny at tpenny@girlsincwestchester.org.

Meals on Wheels 10708 concert

The internationally-renowned Bargemusic chamber group will be performing in the Church of St. Joseph, located at 15 Cedar St. in Bronxville, on Sunday, June 28 at 2:30 p.m. The concert is a fundraising benefit for Meals on Wheels 10708, Inc., a food delivery service for local seniors. Works by Pachelbel, Chopin, Beethoven and Mendelssohn will be presented.

Concert admission is $25 for the general public and $20 for seniors and students. Tickets may be purchased at the door. All proceeds will support Meals on Wheels. Additionally, raffle tickets will be sold for gift certificates donated by local merchants. Come enjoy the music and maybe win a wonderful prize at this very special event for a very special cause. Call 787-3027 for more information.

Buy a brick to help Pet Rescue
build its forever home

A walkway of personalized, engraved red bricks will soon lead to the front door of Pet Rescue’s new home in Harrison.
Purchase a brick and add the inscription of your choice to honor, remember or celebrate a special pet or person or to express support for Pet Rescue. Your words will create a lasting memorial that will greet visitors to Pet Rescue for years to come.

This path will be a reminder of the generosity and love for Pet Rescue’s  rescues. The path will also fund upcoming renovations to Pet Rescue’s home and further their mission to save helpless animals and find them safe, loving homes.

The size and cost of bricks are:

4” x 8” brick can be inscribed with up to
3 lines/18 characters per line at $150.

8” x 8” brick can be inscribed with up to
6 lines/18 characters per line at $300.

Array of four 8” x 8” bricks can be inscribed with up to 12 lines/36 characters per line
at $1,000.

Payment can be by PayPal, or you can mail a check to Pet Rescue, P.O. Box 393, Larchmont, NY 10538.

Pet Rescue is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible as allowed by law. Proceeds will go to Pet Rescue’s Building Fund.

For more information on how to place an
order, send an email to petrescuebricks@gmail.com or visit ny-petrescue.org.

Blood donation opportunities

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood during the weeks surrounding Independence Day to help ensure a sufficient blood supply now and throughout the summer.

Many summer activities, such as vacations and travel, cause frequent blood donors to be less available to give during the summer. However, hospital patients still depend on volunteer donors to receive lifesaving transfusions–the need for blood does not get a vacation.

To encourage more people to donate around Independence Day, all those who come out to donate blood from July 2 through 6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat, while supplies last.

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.

Other 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 (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (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 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their families. It is a non-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

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