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WGO

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

LMC-TV

Teen summer filmmaking workshops

LMC-TV’s summer filmmaking workshops are an opportunity to learn hands-on filmmaking skills, from cinematography to scriptwriting to computer video editing. This program is geared towards teens 13 and older. Participants will collectively conceive of, write a script for, shoot, direct and edit a short dramatic film using high definition video equipment, editing and scriptwriting software. Participants can attend one week of workshops for $400 per week or all three for $1,100. Sibling and dual workshop discounts are available.

Workshop 1: Filmmaking

Monday, June 29 to Friday, July 17

Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Workshop 2: Filmmaking

Monday, July 20 to Friday, Aug. 7

Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Internship program

LMC-TV is offering an internship program for interested and qualified students from neighboring area schools. Our program includes training in field and studio television production, development of documentary video and news projects. We also provide training in Final Cut Pro, and create promotional clips for series shows, station promos and public-service announcements. Interns can learn hands-on production techniques by assisting with the production of existing shows.

“The Local Live!”

Tune in to LMC-TV’s hyper-local, interactive news show Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m., on Cablevision Channel 75, Verizon Channel 36. During the show, join the discussion. Call 381-0150, email thelocallive@lmctv.org or tweet @thelocallive.

Mamaroneck Public Library
holds free practice tests

 Summit’s free practice tests expose students to standardized testing under realistic conditions before the real SAT or ACT on Saturday, July 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Community Room. Summit will score the test and provide a detailed analysis and score report to each student within ten days. The score analysis will pinpoint each student’s strengths and areas in need of improvement.

To register for a practice test, visit mytutor.com/practicetest or call a Summit program director at 1-800-MYTUTOR (698-8867). If you are unable to attend a practice test in your community, contact the Summit office at 1-800-698-8867 for further assistance.

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.

Free driving permit practice test

Afraid you will not pass the New York State Permit Test on your first try? There is no better way to get prepared than taking a free sample New York Permit Practice Test online. You will be surprised how close it is to the real exam and while practicing, you will polish your knowledge of basic road rules and traffic signs in New York. You’ll be asked to answer 40 questions with four response options to select from. Isn’t that the perfect way to study? Need to practice more? No problem. Just re-take this New York DMV Permit Practice Test as many times as you feel necessary. It is absolutely free of charge and the questions are randomized each time, to secure your knowledge. For more information, visit mmrpl.driving-tests.org.

Mamaroneck Artists Guild

The Mamaroneck Artists Guild Gallery welcomes summer with a new exhibition called “Color! Color! Color!” continuing through Saturday, July 11.

The exciting group exhibition features works bursting with colorful imagery in a variety of media: photography, oils, acrylics, printmaking, mixed media, fiber and jewelry. All works are affordably priced for sale.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Meet the artists at the opening reception on Saturday, June 27, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Established in 1953 by seven local artists, the Mamaroneck Artists Guild is the oldest artist cooperative maintaining its own gallery in Westchester County. For more information, contact gallery director Suzanne Montresor at 834-1117 or mag2120@verizon.net. You can also visit mamaroneckartistsguild.org.

Village seeks ad-hoc parking committee volunteers

The Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees is seeking volunteers to serve on the Ad-Hoc Parking Advisory Committee to review and advise on alternative policies and regulations in the central business district.

The committee will consider changes under consideration, including the following:

Implementing Pay-by-Space vs. Pay-by-Plate

Upgrading technology on Mamaroneck Avenue

Extending meter hours

Setting meter rates by time of day and/or length of stay on Mamaroneck Avenue

Upgrading technology for parking lots and on-street spaces elsewhere in the CBD.

The Parking Advisory Committee will be composed of residents, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, business owners and members of Village volunteer committees.

Residents and business owners interested in serving on the committee should submit their resume as soon as possible to the clerk-treasurer’s office, clerktreasurer@vomny.org, and to the board,  mayorandboard@vomny.org.

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, from Monday, July 27 through Friday, Aug. 8, at Purchase College, SUNY, 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.

Girls will learn about environmental science, computer coding, and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, will have the chance to experience college life and academics on Purchase College’s campus and will meet women with amazing careers in STEM fields who are changing the world.

Partial and full financial aid available to families who are unable to afford the full fee. As Girls Inc. runs on contributions, a suggested donation per participant is $250 per week, but Girls Inc. is flexible.

If you have any more questions or want to register your girl, please feel free to contact their office at 419-0764. You can also visit girlsincwestchester.org, or email camp director Tara Penny at tpenny@girlsincwestchester.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 Harrison 6-26-2015

Harrison library events

 

The Harrison Public Library will be closed for renovations until July 2015.

English conversation group

Let’s speak English, non-native speakers. Practice your English and make new friends in an informal, volunteer-led setting and learn about the Harrison library too. There is no need to register or sign up. Group meets on Mondays from 11 a.m. to noon at Uncle Henry’s Bar and Grill, 309 Halstead Ave.

West Harrison library events

Computer help

This program is a one-on-one, 45 minute session on every Tuesday in June, designed to help with computer-related topics such as email, internet searching, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Publisher, Power Point), download e-books and audiobooks, Google Drive and Ancestry.com. To sign up, call 948-2092.

Story time

Great stories, music and fun for ages 1 to 5. No registration necessary, bring your friends. Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Train Time

Choo-Choo! Come and play with Thomas and friends. We have sets of toy trains for everyone to enjoy. Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Mother Goose Time

Songs, dancing and fun for the little ones ages 3 and under. Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Crochet and knitting club

Come anytime between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays to knit and/or crochet, meet new friends, share your skills and knowledge, and have a good time. No registration needed. Bring hooks, needles and yarn or practice with ours. Walk-ins are welcome. Saturdays 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Story time and craft

Listen to stories and create a fun craft with Manhattanville volunteers. Program for ages
3 to 5 on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Harrison Recreation

Pre-team swimming

Come and develop your child’s swimming skills in preparation of joining the Harrison recreation winter or summer swim team. This program meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Ron Belmont Pool Complex.

Age: 7 and up

Dates: June 30 to July 30

Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Registration: May 11 to June 12

Check Payable: Town/Village of Harrison

Fee: $150

Lap swimming

Enjoy swimming laps at the Brentwood Pool during the weekday mornings and evenings from June 29 until Aug. 17. Must have a 2015 Harrison recreation ID card or a senior ID card to participate.

Date: Weekdays from June 29 until Aug. 14

Time: 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Junior Soccer League

The Harrison Junior Soccer League is open to boys and girls in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. Every child will be assigned to a team through a draft process. Games will start in early September and end in early November. Games will be played at West Harrison Park, Louis M. Klein Middle School and Purchase Elementary School. Teams will be determined by the middle of August. Kindergarten Kickers/1st Grade Division will be determined in September.

Locations: LMK, Purchase, West Harrison Park

Grades: Kindergarten through eighth grade

Registration: Ends Thursday, June 4

Cost: $55

Payable to: Town/Village of Harrison.
All applications after June 4 will be $75.

Youth football camp

The Harrison varsity football program will be conducting a non-contact youth football camp for kids entering grades 3 through 8 during the 2015-2016 school year. The camp will take place on June 27 and run through June 29 from 1 p.m. through 3 p.m. at Harrison High School.

Camp instructors are the Harrison High School varsity football staff and players. Players will be divided by age for appropriate instruction. All positions will be coached and taught so this is a camp for every boy, regardless of position. For more information, call 949-5265, 670-3179 or visit harrison-ny.gov.

Summer camp

Four-day camps offering numerous sports, arts and crafts, swimming, music and weekly special events. Grades 1 through 8 are eligible to apply. Registration fee is $475, $250 for a second child and $175 for third and subsequent children. Please make check payable to Town/Village of Harrison. If all spots are filled, campers will be placed on a wait list with no guarantee of a spot. Late fee is $50 per child after May 7 and $100 after June 18. Camp starts on June 29 and runs through Aug. 7.

US Sports Institute

Camp and classes are for boys and girls of all abilities, ages 3 through 14. There are daytime and evening classes, plus full day and half day. The full schedule and specific programs can be found online at USsportsinstitute.com or call 866-345-BALL. All registration is done online.

Event rentals

Available at both the West Harrison Senior Annex and the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Downtown Harrison, the building rental fee for events is $450 per 5 hours with a $300 security deposit. Add on additional space at either center for $100 plus an additional $100 security deposit. For questions and available dates call 670-3035. To rent the facility, you must have a 2015 resident identification card.

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.

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.

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

 
WGO

What’s Going on in Rye 6-26-2015

Rye Library Events

Celebrating our nation’s 239th birthday

Leaders of Tomorrow and the Rye Free Reading Room present selected speeches and the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, at 10 a.m. in the Reading Room. You could even meet Betsy Ross and learn about her role in making one of the country’s first flags. This will be followed by patriotic singing and the unfurling of the  American Legion’s historic American flag on the Village Green. Special thanks to Rye Recreation Department. For more information, email rye1904@yahoo.com.

Story Time

Nursery rhymes, songs and fingerplays, “Granny Jean” Klein, well-versed in early childhood development, introduces babies and toddlers to playful rhymes, songs and puppetry. Parents and caregivers participate with the children at the library and are encouraged to continue the activities at home. Because the program is often a child’s first experience in an audience setting, it is important that adults strive to arrive on time and actively help children focus on the presentation. Program is open to six month to three-and-a-half years. Mondays at 10 a.m. for 20 minutes.

 

Calligraphy at Rye Free Reading Room

Rye Free Reading Room will hold calligraphy workshops for teens every Monday at 4 p.m. beginning July 6 and running until July 27. Workshops will be held in the meeting room and snacks and supplies will be provided. For more information or to register for the class, call 231-3172.

Rye Arts Center

Summer program registration

Keeping kids’ creativity flowing is key to summer fun. Look no further than The Rye Arts Center (RAC) to find the perfect summer program or class for your child. With a broad range of weekly as well as summer-long programs for kids ages four through teen and adults. RAC will provide complete flexibility to keep a child of any age, ability and interest busy with creative fun. Programs begin June 29 and can be combined for a half or full day, by the week or multiple weeks to suit everyone’s schedule.

Also new is the RAC’s Makerspace classes which feature both high tech and high touch fun in designing, creating and making. Classes include: coding, Minecraft 3-D design and printing, film making, LittleBits, MakeyMakey, Scratch animation, circuitry, Arduino, electronics and creative building.

Musical theater workshop weeks will feature opportunities to perform stage favorites “Willy Wonka” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” For tweens, fresh air and fine arts will be on offer with the RAC’s new plein-air painting class for ages 11 to 14.

Rounding out the RAC’s summer offerings are traditional fine arts including painting, drawing, cartooning, ceramics, digital photography, writers’ workshops, vocal pop workshops and music instruction. For young artists ages 4 to 10, the RAC offers a three-hour-long creative arts immersion morning program.

The summer guide can be found online at ryeartscenter.org. For questions, call 967-0700 or stop in at the main office located at 51 Milton Road, Rye.

Rye Nature Center

Summer camp

The Rye Nature Center offers an adventurous and educational summer program for children aged 3-and-a-half to 15 years old. Set on 47 acres of forest and trails, our camp creates an ideal setting for children to enjoy the outdoors. We offer a hands-on approach to scientific inquiry and give our young naturalists the chance to encounter animals both in the museum and on the property. Registration for summer camp 2015 is now open. For more information, call 967-5150 or email allisonbedosky@ryenaturecenter.org.

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 July 27 through 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.

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.

Rye Youth Soccer fall 2015 registration

Rye Youth Soccer will now be accepting online applications for fall intramural teams for coaches, as well as girls and boys grades K through 5. The season will begin on Saturday, Sept. 19 and runs until Saturday, Nov. 14. Complete details on dates and times of the program can be found Rye Youth Soccer’s website, ryeyouthsoccer.org, under the “Intramural” link on the left side of the home page. For more information,  contact registrar Patti Adimari, at pattirys@optonline.net or 967-5273. Scholarships are available upon request.

 

Jay Heritage Center

Mary Rutherfurd Jay exhibition

Mary Rutherfurd Jay (1872-1953) was a descendant of American Founding Father John Jay. She was also one of America’s earliest landscape architects and a vocal advocate of horticultural education and careers for women. Join us for this new exhibit which illuminates her career and volunteer service during World War I. See photos of her garden commissions that have been digitized for the very first time from hand colored glass lantern slides of the early 1900s. Open to the public through Sept. 27 for free.  For more information and hours, call 698-9275 or visit jaycenter.org. Located at 210 Boston Post Road in Rye.

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.

 
vote-2015

Marcotte preps for another fight

marcotteBy CHRIS EBERHART
The race for the county’s District 10 legislative seat between Westchester County Legislator Sheila Marcotte, an Eastchester Republican, and Democratic challenger Haina Just-Michael, of New Rochelle, is expected to be one of the closest legislator races this election season.

In Marcotte’s previous county legislator race in 2013 against a New Rochelle Democrat, Mary Jo Jacobs, Marcotte claimed landslide victories in her hometown of Tuckahoe and Eastchester but struggled in the New Rochelle portion of the district, which holds a near 3 to 1 Democratic registration advantage and has been the home of this year’s opponent for the past 23 years.

Just-Michael’s roots run deep in New Rochelle having been involved in a handful of city volunteer positions on the board of Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, the Interreligious Council of New Rochelle and, most notably, for the last seven years as a trustee for the New Rochelle Library Board, including what is about to be her second year as the president, among other positions.

Last year under Just-Michael’s leadership, the New Rochelle Public Library instituted an e-cigarette ban in the library, which Westchester implemented this month for county work places. And in April of this year, Just-Michael, 56, played a major role in the repeal of the MTA payroll tax for New York public libraries, a tax which went into effect in 2009. Just-Michael’s efforts are expected to save the New Rochelle Public Library approximately $10,000 a year.

“Questions came up, and we addressed them right away,” Just-Michael said. “These are policy issues, and you have to stay ahead of the curve…And I think New Rochelle can set an example for the county in a lot of ways.”

Marcotte, 50, who won the county seat in 2010 and served as the chairwoman of the Board of Legislators’ Budget and Appropriations Committee this past year, said she isn’t daunted by the decided voter disadvantage she is facing in New Rochelle, having beaten those odds before. Marcotte said she will do what she’s always done; rely on her record of keeping the tax levy increase flat.

“I’m aware I’m the underdog,” Marcotte said. “All I can do is campaign on my record, as I have in the past, and let the residents decide in November.”

Just-Michael, who owns her own public relations firm, said she attended a couple of Westchester County Board of Legislators meetings and can “already see gaps.”

“Things that you might think have already been taken care of, haven’t been,” said Just-Michael, specifically mentioning the need for increased aid to social services, taking legislative measures against bullying on college campuses and focusing more on environmental sustainability—such as a countywide plastic bag ban and more bike lanes and bike racks.

“I think social services, anti-bullying and environmental issues are big deals and that can trickle down from the county,” she said. “I feel like I’ve done a lot for the community here as a volunteer, and I felt like it’s time to take it to the next level.”

But Marcotte said of all the issues, taxes are the No. 1 concern for voters, followed by economic development, improving infrastructure and protecting local zoning in the county’s fight against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over affordable housing.

“When I go door to door asking voters to rehire me, I ask people what is most important to them, and across the board they say ‘taxes,’” Marcotte said. “‘What have you done for my taxes recently?’ And I can say I’ve kept the tax levy flat for the past five years.”

Marcotte, who spent time on the Tuckahoe Board of Trustees and Eastchester Town Council before becoming a county legislator, said she’s particularly proud of being part of the bipartisan coalition on the Board of Legislators, which includes seven Republicans and two Democrats Mike Kaplowitz, of Yorktown, and Virginia Perez, of Yonkers, that formed at the end of 2013 to help pass the 2014 county budget and most recently
the 2015 county budget, which is the fifth consecutive year the county tax level has remained flat.

But the zero percent tax levy increase in the 2015 county budget that Marcotte touted included borrowing to cover $15 million in pension costs and $5 million in tax certioraris that Just-Michael criticized, as did many Democrats on the county board during the budget vote. Just-Michael said she’s confident she can use her experience serving on the library’s budget committee to find areas where the county can save.

“I don’t understand how you can claim there are no tax raises but leave the burden to local municipalities,” Just-Michael said. “I think we’re borrowing our future…We would never keep our lights on at home by putting it on a credit card, yet that’s exactly what’s being done. That really disturbs me.”

Marcotte took over the District 10 seat in 2010 after defeating Greg Varian, a New Rochelle Democrat, in a special election to replace Republican Vito Pinto, who was tabbed by Republican County Executive Rob Astorino to head the county’s Veterans Service Agency. Marcotte followed that up with a 2011 win over former Tuckahoe Mayor John Fitzpatrick, a Democrat.

Just-Michael worked against Marcotte on both Varian’s and Jacobs’ campaigns as well as New Rochelle Democratic Mayor Noam Bramson’s unsuccessful campaign for county executive against Astorino in 2013.

Legislators are elected to serve two-year terms. Election Day is Nov. 3.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com 

 
The 100 Pondfield Road project that would turn a vacant warehouse into a luxury condominium is in serious doubt after Planning Board criticism and a recent lawsuit against the village regarding a different, but similar, development on Kensington Road. Photo courtesy Google Maps

100 Pondfield development a go

By CHRIS EBERHART
A reduction in the size and scope of the 100 Pondfield Road development, which was in serious doubt as of late February, may have saved the project.

Originally, the Yonkers-based developer Pondfield Court, LLC, wanted to redevelop the old Morgan Manhattan storage facility, which is a vacant, landlocked warehouse behind CVS on Pondfield Road, into a four-story, 11-unit luxury condominium. But members of the Bronxville Planning Board raised concerns about fire and pedestrian safety, traffic and the number of variances.

After months of back and forth between the developer’s attorney Michael Zarin and the Planning Board, Pondfield Court, LLC, proposed a scaled-down version of the plan in March that dropped the number of floors from four to three. Doing so put the project in line with the floors of the current building. The number of units will remain the same, but the construct of the rooms inside was altered to fit into the new confines of the project.

As a result, the new, three-story proposal was granted a conditional negative declaration under the New York State Environmental and Quality Review Act, SEQR, by the Bronxville Planning Board in a unanimous vote on June 10. The negative declaration states that the project will not have any significant adverse impact on the environment.

After the meeting, Planning Board Chairman Eric Blessing said the reduction from four floors to three kept the building in its current dimensions and played a major role in the board’s approval of the negative declaration.

The Planning Board included a condition that gives Bronxville residents a 30-day window to object to the project. If there are no objections to the project, it will move forward to the next stage of the planning process.

The oddity of the property has created a riddle that’s been difficult for developers and Planning Board members to solve.

The building at 100 Pondfield Road is a landlocked warehouse offset from the street and only accessible by a narrow alley from Pondfield Road that no property owner has exclusive rights to. There’s an easement in place that allows Pondfield Court and its neighbor—Topps Bakery,  located at 106 Pondfield Road, which sits in front of the 100 Pondfield Road property—to share the alley.

Pondfield Court bought the property in March 2011 from the previous developer Steven Green for $1.2 million.

Green, a millionaire real estate developer, suffered permanent neurological damage after being struck by a car in a hit-and-run incident outside of a nightclub in New York City in 2007 before spending time in prison for Social Security fraud and failing to file income tax returns.

Green had initially proposed to turn the warehouse into luxury apartments and office space with an 18-car garage and rooftop pool and was conditionally granted variances in 2006, but he was unable to proceed with the project after the accident.

“The process has been arduous for everyone,” Blessing said. “But it’s moving along.”

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com 

 
PlaylandBeach

County finalizes Playland deal

On June 15, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year.  File Photo

On June 15, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year. File Photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
Finally, Playland has a new operator. That is for now, at least.

A private-public partnership with Standard Amusements to run the county-owned amusement park was approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in a somewhat surprising vote on June 15.

As part of the approved 15-year Playland management agreement between the county and Standard Amusements, Standard will invest $25 million—$2.25 million in upfront costs to the county and invest $22.75 million directly into the 87-year-old amusement park—and pay annual rising payments to the county starting at $300,000. The county will receive 7.5 percent of the profits once Standard recoups its initial investment.

“With this vote, we have saved Playland and given rebirth to Playland for the next 87 years,” Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz, a Yorktown Democrat, said.

But there is a provision in the management agreement that includes an opt-out clause for Standard that allows the group to walk away before Nov. 1, 2015. But by doing so, it would leave its initial payments of $500,000 on the table.

Kaplowitz compared the agreement to a marriage and said, “The wedding is on Nov. 1 and hopefully the groom shows up.”

If the wedding is on Nov. 1, the engagement period is the time between now and the end of October, during which Standard and the county will enter into a co-management period, where the county will remain the sole decision maker but Standard will study Playland’s operations.

Ned McCormack, spokesperson for Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, told the Review he’s confident Standard Amusements will still be around come Nov. 1.

“We wouldn’t have gotten to this stage if it wasn’t a good deal, and I don’t think they would’ve come this far to back out,” McCormack said.

Just hours before the final, full legislative board vote on June 15, legislators were working with the executive branch and county attorneys to finalize language in three memorandums of understanding that were attached to the Playland management agreement and essentially memorialize the legislative review over the past two months.

The promise of no inclusion of fields into the plan by Nick Singer, who heads Standard Amusements, was included in one memorandum, and the county’s promise to retain all 29 of Playland’s full-time workers as county employees to preserve their state pensions was included in the second one. The third memorandum was a list of capital projects for Playland that the county must pay for, which includes the colonnades, fixing the lights on Playland Parkway and the Playland pathway, among other projects.

County Legislator Catherine Parker, a Rye Democrat, pushed the county executive’s office to specifically include which projects the county would be responsible for financing.

“Until the specific capital improvements were memorialized in writing, I could not have supported this proposal,” Parker said. “But I was satisfied with the MOU, and my colleagues were satisfied. And it’s a great position that the county is putting some skin in the game like Standard is.”

Just to get to this point was five years in the making with more twists and turns than Playland’s iconic Dragon Coaster.

Before Astorino was elected county executive, he blazed the 2009 campaign trail with promises of revitalizing a Playland that had become stale and dated. Soon after taking office in 2010, he sent out a request for proposals to potential bidders and received 12 responses by March 2011 with varying versions of how to reinvent the park for the 21st century.

Standard Amusements submitted its proposal but ended up runner up to Astorino’s preferred choice, a Rye-based non-profit startup called Sustainable Playland, Inc., but the SPI vision quickly came under fire after it was realized that the biggest component of the plan was to construct a 95,000-square-foot field house in Playland’s main parking lot shrinking the size of the amusement park.

The result was an attack from all sides.

Rye residents of the Ryan Park neighborhood abutting Playland spent nearly a year contesting SPI’s proposal. County legislators asked questions during the legislative review process that SPI couldn’t answer. And the City of Rye was preparing for a legal battle with Astorino’s administration over land use jurisdiction.

The non-profit ultimately decided to pull its proposal in June 2014, which opened the door for the county to reconsider Standard Amusements. But not before Astorino hired Dan Biederman, a renowned developer who is best known for redeveloping Bryant Park in New York City, for $100,000 to serve as a consultant on Playland. The report was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014 but wasn’t released until April 2015.

In the meantime, as the Review reported in February 2015, the Astorino administration had begun negotiating with Standard Amusements behind closed doors, as was the recommendation in the withheld Biederman’s report.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
vote-2015

Town Dems to run unopposed

By JACKSON CHEN
The Town of Mamaroneck’s Democratic Party will notch another political victory for this year’s elections as five town officials plan to seek re-election in what will be another uncontested race due to the Republican Party’s inability to present any challengers.

The town’s Democratic Committee announced that they will support the incumbent slate of Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, members of the Town Council Abby Katz and Tom Murphy, Town Clerk Christina Battalia and Town Justice Jean Marie Brescia.

“We’ve managed to accomplish many good things for Mamaroneck that have been fiscally responsible and improved the overall quality of the town,” said Seligson, who first transitioned from a councilwoman to supervisor in 2012. During her tenure as supervisor, the town has been able to focus their efforts on sustainability and energy reduction methods, including renovations of the Hommocks Ice Rink and the installation of LED light bulbs in street lamps. Seligson, with a background in environmental  advocacy, said that the green initiatives have saved the town a total of $190,000 in energy costs.

Murphy, who was first appointed in February 2014 to fill a vacancy left by the retiring Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner, a Democrat, will be running for his first full four-year term on council.

“I am honored that the Town [Democrats] have nominated me to a full term on the council,” Murphy said. “I will continue to work hard to fairly represent all areas of the town and all of our diverse population.”

Katz has been on the council since 2012 and is now seeking her second term. Over that time, she has been able to overhaul and modernize the town’s website.

“Local government is supposed to be a place for people to turn to [to] deliver a service and I’m proud of the comprehensive and inclusive approach we have taken to running the town government,” she said.

While Katz and Murphy look to secure another term, the endorsements of the town’s Democrats this year have followed the pattern of barely any political opposition in recent memory.

Seligson replaced longtime Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe, a Republican, in January 2012. During her 15 years on the Town Council, she has never been opposed by a Republican.

Before taking over as the supervisor in 1999, O’Keeffe served as a councilwoman for six years. But O’Keeffe’s success was an anomaly in town politics serving as the only Republican on the Democratic-led for board for years. According to Donald Derrico, chairman of the town’s Republican Party, O’Keefe is the only Republican to serve on the Town Council in recent decades.

Derrico said the party has been unable to find any candidates for this year because he said it’s very difficult to run as a Republican in the town. With no Republicans in elected office, Derrico said a system without checks and balances forms and the sole party runs the town government.

“It’s gone on long enough that it’s just one voice, one party,” Derrico said. “It’s not fair and it’s not good for the community and the residents have to realize that.”

Despite not having anyone for this year, Derrico said the party was actively trying to put together some viable candidates for the 2017 election season when Democratic councilmembers Ernie Odierna and Jaine Elkind Eney’s terms are are up.

According to 2015 Westchester County records, there are 8,335 registered active Democrats in the town compared to just 4,211 registered active Republicans.

Town councilmembers serve four-year terms with an annual salary of $6,060, while the supervisor serves a two-year term with an annual salary of $37,875.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
A new five-month extension will allow for Westchester County to co-manage Playland with Standard Amusements before the private company takes over operations at the amusement park. File photos

County finalizes Playland deal

On June 15, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year.  File Photo

On June 15, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year. File Photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
Finally, Playland has a new operator. That is for now, at least.

A private-public partnership with Standard Amusements to run the county-owned amusement park was approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in a somewhat surprising unanimous vote on June 15.

As part of the approved 15-year Playland management agreement between the county and Standard Amusements, Standard will invest $25 million—$2.25 million in upfront costs to the county and invest $22.75 million directly into the 87-year-old amusement park—and pay annual rising payments to the county starting at $300,000. The county will receive 7.5 percent of the profits once Standard recoups its initial investment.

“With this vote, we have saved Playland and given rebirth to Playland for the next 87 years,” Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz, a Yorktown Democrat, said.

But there is a provision in the management agreement that includes an opt-out clause for Standard that allows the group to walk away before Nov. 1, 2015. But by doing so, it would leave its initial payments of $500,000 on the table.

Kaplowitz compared the agreement to a marriage and said, “The wedding is on Nov. 1 and hopefully the groom shows up.”

If the wedding is on Nov. 1, the engagement period is the time between now and the end of October, during which Standard and the county will enter into a co-management period, where the county will remain the sole decision maker but Standard will study Playland’s operations.

Ned McCormack, spokesperson for Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, told the Review he’s confident Standard Amusements will still be around come Nov. 1.

Throughout the process geared toward enhancing the appeal of Playland, Standard Amusements has said it will work to preserve the history of the Westchester amusement park, such as the iconic Dragon Coaster ride, pictured. File photo

Throughout the process geared toward enhancing the appeal of Playland, Standard Amusements has said it will work to preserve the history of the Westchester amusement park, such as the iconic Dragon Coaster ride, pictured. File photo

“We wouldn’t have gotten to this stage if it wasn’t a good deal, and I don’t think they would’ve come this far to back out,” McCormack said.

Just hours before the final, full legislative board vote on June 15, legislators were working with the executive branch and county attorneys to finalize language in three memorandums of understanding that were attached to the Playland management agreement and essentially memorialize the legislative review over the past two months.

The promise of no inclusion of fields into the plan by Nick Singer, who heads Standard Amusements, was included in one memorandum, and the county’s promise to retain all 29 of Playland’s full-time workers as county employees to preserve their state pensions was included in the second one. The third memorandum was a list of capital projects for Playland that the county must pay for, which includes the colonnades, fixing the lights on Playland Parkway and the Playland pathway, among other projects.

County Legislator Catherine Parker, a Rye Democrat, pushed the county executive’s office to specifically include which projects the county would be responsible for financing.

“Until the specific capital improvements were memorialized in writing, I could not have supported this proposal,” Parker said. “But I was satisfied with the MOU, and my colleagues were satisfied. And it’s a great position that the county is putting some skin in the game like Standard is.”

Just to get to this point was five years in the making with more twists and turns than Playland’s iconic Dragon Coaster.

Before Astorino was elected county executive, he blazed the 2009 campaign trail with promises of revitalizing a Playland that had become stale and dated. Soon after taking office in 2010, he sent out a request for proposals to potential bidders and received 12 responses by March 2011 with varying versions of how to reinvent the park for the 21st century.

Standard Amusements submitted its proposal but ended up runner up to Astorino’s preferred choice, a Rye-based non-profit startup called Sustainable Playland, Inc., but the SPI vision quickly came under fire after it was realized that the biggest component of the plan was to construct a 95,000-square-foot field house in Playland’s main parking lot shrinking the size of the amusement park.

The result was an attack from all sides.

Rye residents of the Ryan Park neighborhood abutting Playland spent nearly a year contesting SPI’s proposal. County legislators asked questions during the legislative review process that SPI couldn’t answer. And the City of Rye was preparing for a legal battle with Astorino’s administration over land use jurisdiction.

The non-profit ultimately decided to pull its proposal in June 2014, which opened the door for the county to reconsider Standard Amusements. But not before Astorino hired Dan Biederman, a renowned developer who is best known for redeveloping Bryant Park in New York City, for $100,000 to serve as a consultant on Playland. The report was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014 but wasn’t released until April 2015.

In the meantime, as the Review reported in February 2015, the Astorino administration had begun negotiating with Standard Amusements behind closed doors, as was the recommendation in the withheld Biederman’s report.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
vote-2015

Rye Dems to run 3 for council

The Rye City Democratic Committee announced its three candidates vying for City Council seats this election cycle. The slate includes Danielle Tagger-Epstein, left, Jeffrey Taylor and Emily Proskine Hurd. Photo courtesy Meg Cameron

The Rye City Democratic Committee announced its three candidates vying for City Council seats this election cycle. The slate includes Danielle Tagger-Epstein, left, Jeffrey Taylor and Emily Proskine Hurd. Photo courtesy Meg Cameron

By JACKSON CHEN
After years of little success in garnering candidates and winning seats, the Rye City Democratic Committee has nominated a full ticket of three hopefuls for City Council this year.

City Democrats have put up Emily Proskine Hurd, Danielle Tagger-Epstein and Jeffrey Taylor as candidates to hopefully shake up the current Republican majority on the seven-member City Council.

“We really looked for fresh faces and candidates that were somewhat younger than our candidates have been,” said Meg Cameron, chairwoman of Rye’s Democratic Committee. “We thought outside the usual box of people who served on city boards and commissions and looked at people who were active in the communities in other ways.”

What the party found was Hurd, 38, a former Fulbright scholar and an international policy and corporate lawyer, serves on the board of the Rye Nature Center and has served as the board secretary for Voluntravel, a Rye-based non-profit organization that helps high school students travel abroad. Hurd is in favor of adopting a new master plan for the city, which would address major infrastructure and development concerns.

“If we’re talking about a master plan, we need to get a more balanced approach on the council in terms of demographics and age,” Hurd said. The candidate added that her legal background would fit right into how the council looks at certain city laws, but that her policy background would help shepherd the council and residents into consensus and “create change that everybody could agree on.”

Equipped with an extensive background in volunteer work, Tagger-Epstein, 41, said she would look to address the deer overpopulation problem, as well as focus on issues like flood control, energy efficiencies and infrastructure maintenance. Adding on to her professional experience in marketing and human resources, Tagger-Epstein’s background varies from serving on the board of the Community Synagogue in Rye to chairing the Health and Wellness Committee in the Rye Neck School District.

For Taylor, 47, his background in cultural management offers a “unique perspective and has prepared me to contribute on matters ranging from the city budget to Rye Town Park.” Taylor also works as the founder and chief executive officer of Taylor Art Advisors, which specializes in the Central European Art market, and as an assistant professor of Arts Management at SUNY Purchase.

Cameron said that the three candidates would be able to find a working balance that contrasts “the previous council’s quarreling and the current council’s rubber-stamping.”

“We have three outstanding candidates—smart, energetic public-spirited people who would help represent the interests of the entire community,” Cameron said, adding that each candidate has a true zeal to serve the Rye community.

While the party is optimistic and has a full slate this year, Democrats have had trouble in recent elections. In 2005, the Democrats swept a four-seat race with a ticket that was headlined by former Mayor Steve Otis’ re-election to a third term in office. However, the party has not had much luck since and has only secured one win through Catherine Parker, when she sought a second term as councilwoman in 2011.

The Democratic candidates will be facing off in November against Rye’s recently announced Republican slate. The Republicans have put forward incumbent Councilman Richard Mecca, and added Jim Culyer and Leon Sculti to their ticket.

Those elected to the Rye City Council serve four-year terms with no annual compensation.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
vote-2015

City GOP nominate familiar faces for upcoming race

The Rye Republican Party announced its City Council ticket on June 15 after holding its caucus at the Rye Recreation Center. The slate of candidates includes incumbent Councilman Richard Mecca, center, former school board president Jim Culyer, left, and Leon Sculti, chairman of the Rye Golf Club Commission. File Photos

The Rye Republican Party announced its City Council ticket on June 15 after holding its caucus at the Rye Recreation Center. The slate of candidates includes incumbent Councilman Richard Mecca, center, former school board president Jim Culyer, left, and Leon Sculti, chairman of the Rye Golf Club Commission. File Photos

By CHRIS EBERHART
The Rye Republicans will go to battle this election season with three names that most residents will be familiar with. 

During its nominating caucus on June 15, the Rye City Republican Committee finalized its slate of three candidates for City Council that included incumbent Councilman Richard Mecca, who will be running for his first full term in office. Mecca will be joined on the GOP ticket by Jim Culyer, a former Rye City Board of Education president, and Leon Sculti, current chairman of the Rye Golf Club Commission.

“We got a good ticket this year,” said Tony Piscionere, chairman of the Rye City Republican Committee. “What we have is three people with a real sense of service to the community and really want to help the community. And that’s what you want.”

Piscionere said, recently, times are changing in Rye for the better, and Culyer said he wants to continue to usher in a new period in Rye’s history.

“I’m hopeful a lot of the issues are behind us,” Culyer said. “I’m looking to move forward and hopefully work with the board to put together long-range plans. I understand there are capital plans, but maybe a more strategic plan that includes input from the community might be in order.”

Culyer, 65, had a hand in developing the Rye City School District’s five-year strategic plan, which serves as a detailed guideline to implement and follow that takes into account community input, during the second of his two stints on the school board. He joined the school board in 1991 and served two, three-year terms. He then rejoined the board in 2002 and served as the president for four years until retiring in 2008.

Culyer said he’d be going in with a “clean slate” if he’s elected to the City Council.

“I read the newspapers. I probably have a reasonable handle on the issues, but I certainly don’t have the detail that I think is going to be required of me to become knowledgeable and an active participant on the City Council,” Culyer said. “But I’d like to involve the community more in participation, whether that’s on committees or ad hoc committees, because you need to know what’s going on; you need to know what the people in Rye are looking for.”

There are three seats up for election this year with Mecca the only incumbent choosing to seek re-election. Earlier this year Councilwoman Laura Brett, a Republican, decided she would not seek a second term in office citing the four-year time commitment as an issue. And Councilman Richard Slack, unaffiliated, also decided against a re-election run.

Slack said he joined the City Council in 2014 to help stabilize a city government that was losing the confidence of the community and to help resolve looming issues relating to its city manager, Playland and the Rye Golf Club scandal. The councilman told the Review he is proud of the accomplishments of the council over the past year and a half, including hiring a new city manager, protecting Rye’s interests at Playland, and addressing the aftermath of the golf club scandal. Given those accomplishments, and with his work and family obligations, Slack felt it was a good time to step down.

“It takes a lot of time to properly prepare for the work of the council,” he said. “I determined that at this point it was best not to run this fall.”

Although the Republicans were able to field three candidates this year, it again proved to be a struggle.

Piscionere said “there’s always a struggle to find candidates.” He said this is in part due to the time commitment and energy needed to do the job and in part because of the “antagonistic atmosphere” that surrounded the Rye City Council during the heated Hen Island debates and Rye Golf Club financial scandal that left a sour taste in the mouths of potential candidates.

“Politics has become a blood sport,” Piscionere told the Review following the June 15 caucus. “For a period of time, Rye was in the newspapers in very negative ways that, I think, hurt the city and make people ask, ‘Why do I want to sit up in that seat?’…No one wants to have their families exposed because of something that might come out in the press or someone might take a shot at you for a job that pays zero and sucks a lot of your time.”

Mecca and Sculti could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com