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From left, Eastchester Library Board President Rob Cartolano, Eastchester Town Councilman Glenn Bellitto, Patrick Murtagh, library trustee and Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita attend the re-opening of the Eastchester Public Library’s children’s room on March 8. Photo courtesy Rob Cartolano

Eastchester library children’s room reopens

Renovations to the Eastchester Public Library’s children’s room were completed on March 7. They include new carpeting, a new ceiling and a new children’s circulation desk decorated with colorful hot air balloons. A grand re-opening celebration was held Saturday, March 8, and was attended by more than 200 people. Photo/Jonathan Heifetz

Renovations to the Eastchester Public Library’s children’s room were completed on March 7. They include new carpeting, a new ceiling and a new children’s circulation desk decorated with colorful hot air balloons. A grand re-opening celebration was held Saturday, March 8, and was attended by more than 200 people. Photo/Jonathan Heifetz

By LIZ BUTTON
Extensive improvements to the Eastchester Public Library children’s room were completed March 7, giving a new aesthetic lease on life to a space that had not undergone renovations since it opened in 1967.

After about $60,000 worth of renovations that began soon after the 2013 holiday season, the children’s room now has a new ceiling, carpeting and a new front circulation desk. About 200 people showed up to the grand re-opening celebration of the children’s room on Saturday, March 8.

“It went down to the last minute just to get the new circulation area done,” Eastchester Public Library Director Tracy Wright said. The new, more kid-friendly children’s circulation desk is decorated with plastic hot air balloons and monsters from the classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.

“We wanted the room to be more attractive for the kids, more comfortable,” Wright said.

The room is now also adorned with new chairs and sofas, Wright said, as well as LED lights to replace the old fluorescent lights, a technological change which should help the library save money through lowered maintenance costs.

The library’s plan to redo its children’s room began to take shape last spring, and the town stepped in with funding for fresh new carpeting.

“We were very lucky the town had given us carpeting, which was a capital expense,” and cost $15,000, Wright said.

There were other problems with the room, like serious roof leaks, which could not be fixed right away.

“[Those things] kind of stopped us from doing everything,” Wright said.

The library acquired more funding to fix these issues from corporate sponsors like real estate company Keller Williams, which held a charity fundraiser for the library in October, as well as Stop and Shop, which donated $1,000.

The rest of the money was raised by the library’s “very hard working” Friends of the Eastchester Library group, Wright said, whose work was supported by the Eastchester Library board and its president, Robert Cartolano.

Starting last year, the Friends raised money through fundraisers like a wine-and-cheese night and a kid’s fair, along with donations from member contributions.

The library was in need of a boost in capital since the town cut the library’s budget in 2013 by $183,000, which was on top of the money it took from the library’s reserves to supplement the library’s budget. The cuts necessitated eliminating two positions that year.

But the library was given some relief in the 2014 budget adopted by the council, which called for the library’s budget to remain flat at $1.8 million, although $125,000 was taken from the library’s reserves to supplement the budget.

Children’s librarian Jonathan Heifetz, who has been working at the library since June 2012, said the library as a whole, as far as he knows, has always been a very children-oriented space ever since the building opened in 1947.

From left, Eastchester Library Board President Rob Cartolano, Eastchester Town Councilman Glenn Bellitto, Patrick Murtagh, library trustee and Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita attend the re-opening of the Eastchester Public Library’s children’s room on March 8. Photo courtesy Rob Cartolano

From left, Eastchester Library Board President Rob Cartolano, Eastchester Town Councilman Glenn Bellitto, Patrick Murtagh, library trustee and Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita attend the re-opening of the Eastchester Public Library’s children’s room on March 8. Photo courtesy Rob Cartolano

Heifetz said one of his favorite additions to the revamped space is a second early-literacy computer with a touch screen that has been added to the library’s older model computers, which still use CD ROMS for educational programs.

The library was permitted to take a portion of the $10,000 programming grant it got last year from the Wells Fargo insurance company to buy the new early childhood computer.

“What I love about [these early literacy computers] is that I’ve seen kids who are literally a year old use them. It’s an amazing thing in terms of engaging early literacy,” Heifetz said. “I think they feel a sense of ‘you can do this.’”

Other additions to the children’s room made possible through donations include a variety of educational software, a rug in the preschool play area, a new story-time rug, puzzles and new shelving for the library’s collection of children’s picture books.

CONTACT: liz@hometwn.com

 
The Tuckahoe Union Free School District unveiled a $31.3 million budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year at its March 10 Board of Education meeting. Next year’s proposed budget, which reflects a 1.47 property tax levy increase, carries a $1.2 million shortfall. File photo

Teachers union: Don’t cut social worker

The Tuckahoe Union Free School District unveiled a $31.3 million budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year at its March 10 Board of Education meeting. Next year’s proposed budget, which reflects a 1.47 property tax levy increase, carries a $1.2 million shortfall. File photo

The Tuckahoe Union Free School District unveiled a $31.3 million budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year at its March 10 Board of Education meeting. Next year’s proposed budget, which reflects a 1.47 property tax levy increase, carries a $1.2 million shortfall. File photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
The Tuckahoe school district’s budget proposal has created a stir among teachers and their union after calling for the layoff of a social worker.

During the March 10 Board of Education meeting, the district presented its $31.3 million budget for the 2014-2015 school year that will require $1.2 million in cuts to remain under the state mandated tax levy cap, which is 1.47 percent, and allow for an increase in tax revenue of $382,959.

In order to remedy the $1.2 million shortfall, the school district is proposing staff reductions that include the middle and high schools’ social worker and a district attendance clerk. These reductions would save the district $162,530 and $83,875, respectively, including salary and benefits.

During the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Carl Albano said the loss of the social worker, Traci Holtz, won’t be as detrimental as it sounds because the district has three other support staff members—two guidance counselors in the middle school and one guidance counselor in the high school—that will take over the workload left behind by the social worker. Albano also said there is a 135 to 1 student-to-guidance-counselor ratio in the middle school and high school, which he said “is probably the most desirable in Westchester County.”

Tuckahoe Teachers’ Association president Marianne Amato disagrees.

She said the school district should look into cutting administration and not a social worker.

“I was shocked and dismayed by the suggestion that we might eliminate the social worker in the middle and high schools,” Amato said. “The social worker gave me a list of her responsibilities, and I looked through them and said to myself, how are we ever going to do this in-house? Our guidance counselors are not equipped to do the things a social worker is licensed to do.”

Amato said the school district is top-heavy with administration and that’s where the cuts should come from.

“In addition to a superintendent, we have an assistant superintendent,” she said. “In addition to three principals, we have two assistant principals. And now we have a director of physical education and health. My suggestion is to look into cutting administration because they are big ticket items.”

Julio Urbina, president of the Tuckahoe Board of Education, disagreed with Amato and fired back by citing a 2003 audit of the Tuckahoe school district by Phi Delta Kappa International, an auditor from Indiana that examines curriculum design and delivery system of a school district, which said the district does not have a comprehensive curriculum management plan in place. Urbina said a current management plan would’ve been the responsibility of the assistant superintendent that was let go.

Urbina said a needs assessment completed by consultant Dr. Charles Wilson from 2011 to 2012 echoed the 2003 audit.

“It’s easy to say, if we get rid of this administrator or that administrator, don’t worry; the principals will take this on and the principals will take that on,” Urbina said. “But it’s not possible to do what you want to do with a skeleton administrative staff. The changes over the past couple of years were to right size the administration. [Cutting an administrator] is something that we will take a look at, but I don’t think eliminating administration is the immediate answer in replacement of a social worker.”

Including salary and benefits, the district would save $162,530 by laying off the social worker. In comparison, the assistant superintendent Amato referenced is making $190,000 per year in salary alone, according to his contract, and the two assistant principals make $115,000 and $120,000 per year in salary, according to the minutes of the Board of Education.

Amato said the social worker was hired in response to a 2003 tragedy—in which a 17-year-old student Brian Morris attempted to kill his girlfriend and then committed suicide by throwing himself in front of an oncoming train—and the district should not lose sight of that.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
The Lake Street quarry was issued a stop work order in 2009 by the town after neighbors found it was operating illegally and without a permit. According to those neighbors, numerous quality of life issues still exist today. Photo/Phil Nobile

Quarry criticism continues while suit drags

The Lake Street quarry was issued a stop work order in 2009 by the town after neighbors found it was operating illegally and without a permit. According to those neighbors, numerous quality of life issues still exist today. Photo/Phil Nobile

The Lake Street quarry was issued a stop work order in 2009 by the town after neighbors found it was operating illegally and without a permit. According to those neighbors, numerous quality of life issues still exist today. Photo/Phil Nobile

By PHIL NOBILE
More than four years after a local West Harrison quarry was deemed to be operating illegally, little to no progress in the legal proceedings has caused the quarry’s neighbors to speak out to town officials about continued quality of life concerns.

At the March 6 Town Council meeting, West Harrison residents Glenn and Vanessa Daher addressed the council about the litigation process at the Lake Street Granite Quarry, which was found to be operating illegally and without a permit in January 2010. The residents argue that, despite the quarry’s excavation belts being shut down with a 2009 stop work order, quality of life problems continue as the property still accepts landfill and operates generally.

“We’re not going away,” Vanessa Daher, who has lived in her Old Lake Street home with her husband since the late 1990s, said. “Although it has been in appeals for more than four years, we wanted to tell the Town Council we haven’t forgotten about this.”

According to Daher and other residents surrounding the quarry, excavation belts to break down rock and glass would disrupt quality of life daily, including multiple nighttime incidents in which the quarry operated as late as 3 a.m.

In October 2009, after extensive complaints from nearby neighbors, the town issued a stop work order on the quarry after it was found that quarry president Lawrence Barrego never had a permit in accordance with Chapter 133 of the town code, which deals with excavating and the required permits in order to do so. Town Judge Albert Lorenzo said the company was not allowed to excavate on their property further.

Barrego argued the company was grandfathered in before the town code was adopted in 1923; Lake Street Granite began operation in 1922.

But the Town Council found Barrego’s business was subject to the town code after a lack of sufficient evidence was provided to prove the business existed before the town code was implemented, leading to the original stop work order. Barrego appealed the town’s decision, and the lawsuit sits in state appellate court.

The stop work order, however, only concerned the excavation belts at Barrego’s quarry. He is still allowed to operate the rest of the quarry’s functions—as a site for designated dumping of construction materials and waste— which is causing neighbors to continue expressing their desire to have the business shut down for good.

Sam Fanelli, another West Harrison resident who has lived near the quarry since 1989, was one of the original town residents who asked for the quarry to be shut down.

“[Barrego] claims he has the right and is exempt from all of these old town laws, and he’s not. It was ruled he must abide by the town,” Fanelli said. “He thinks he can do what he wants.”

While Fanelli expressed frustration toward Barrego and the process as a whole, he said he believed that the town’s “hands are tied,” and added that the legal process was simply running its course.

“The town has done what they can to protect us, and they can’t make another step forward right now,” Fanelli said. “I understand the court systems and that it may take years to settle all of this.”

Multiple calls to Town Attorney Frank Allegretti were not returned as of press time. Councilman Stephen Malfitano, a Republican, declined comment on an active matter in litigation.

CONTACT: phil@hometwn.com

 
The proposal for an apartment complex at 550 Halstead Ave., left, was sent to Harrison’s Zoning Board of Appeals with a positive recommendation from the Planning Board. The Zoning Board will now be tasked with approving or denying six variances on the project, whose site used to be the home of Port Chester Lumber Co. Rendering courtesy Harrison Planning Board, Photo/Phil Nobile

Halstead apartment proposal seeks variances

The proposal for an apartment complex at 550 Halstead Ave., left, was sent to Harrison’s Zoning Board of Appeals with a positive recommendation from the Planning Board. The Zoning Board will now be tasked with approving or denying six variances on the project, whose site used to be the home of Port Chester Lumber Co. Rendering courtesy Harrison Planning Board, Photo/Phil Nobile

The proposal for an apartment complex at 550 Halstead Ave., left, was sent to Harrison’s Zoning Board of Appeals with a positive recommendation from the Planning Board. The Zoning Board will now be tasked with approving or denying six variances on the project, whose site used to be the home of Port Chester Lumber Co. Rendering courtesy Harrison Planning Board, Photo/Phil Nobile

Harrison’s Zoning Board of Appeals began its work sifting through the six variances requested for the proposed apartment complex on Halstead Avenue as the project continues to make its way through Harrison’s building process.

The proposed plan calls for the construction of a five-story, 36-unit apartment building at 550 Halstead Ave., which is the former home of Port Chester Lumber Co. and sits in a residential neighborhood.

The proposal would essentially match the existing apartment buildings to the north and south of the half-acre lumber yard, which are seven-story and a four-story living complex, respectively.

During the March 13 board meeting, David Steinmetz—an attorney from the White Plains-based law firm Zarin & Steinmetz, which is representing the project leader Kurt Wittek—said, despite the six requested variances, the building would be consistent with neighboring buildings and will add to the revitalization of the downtown area.

“We don’t think there is any detriment to the community,” Steinmetz said.

After two hearings in front of the Planning Board—one in November and one in December—the  proposal was referred to the Zoning Board of Appeals on Dec. 17 with a positive recommendation. Due to typical procedural steps, the proposal wasn’t brought to the Zoning Board of Appeals until the March 13 meeting.

From here on in, the Zoning Board of Appeals will be tasked with sifting through the six variances and make a decision to approve or deny each one.

The proposed apartment bu-ilding would exceed Harrison’s zoning code by one story and seven units. The project also calls for a 15-foot height variance to reach the proposed height of the building, which is 60 feet, and a variance for nine parking spaces because the proposal calls for 45 parking spots, but the zoning code requires 54 spots.

The apartment complex would be in close proximity to the train station—approximately 2,000 feet—which Steinmetz said will attract young couples and empty nesters who want to be close to the train in order to get to and from work. Because of the targeted demographic of young train commuters, Steinmetz believes the 45 spaces will suffice.

As far as the height variances, Steinmetz said there are no feasible alternatives with regard to changing the plans.

The other two variances that the developer is asking for revolve around open space and setbacks. The proposal provides for 3,600 square feet of open space, but, according to Harrison’s zoning code, 7,200 square feet is required. And the minimum setback is 15 feet, but only one foot is provided by the developer’s proposal.  The proposed project was adjourned to the next Zoning Board of Appeals meeting for further discussion to allow the Harrison’s Zoning Board of Appeals chairman Mark Fisher and another missing member from the meeting—William Harold—to  look at the plan and voice their opinions
and concerns.

-Reporting by Chris Eberhart

Anthony Dobeck, left, and Carl Weinberg participate in the 
celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Eastchester lines streets for St. Patrick’s Day parade despite the cold

Anthony Dobeck, left, and Carl Weinberg participate in the  celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Anthony Dobeck, left, and Carl Weinberg participate in the
celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

By CHRIS EBERHART
“It was a wee bit cold,” one Irish marcher said during the Eastchester St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but that didn’t stop onlookers from lining Route 22 to watch the annual event, which celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Some of the holiday’s younger participants tailgated with their families in the Stop & Shop parking lot at 420 White Plains Road, drinking Dunkin Donuts coffee and eating sweets with their families while the older crowds huddled around popular town bars Mickey Spillane’s and Piper’s Kilt across the street to watch the parade. Even dogs were celebrating the holiday with green scarves and sweaters.

Two six-year-old girls, Carly Tauber, left, and Annaliese Brown, said they were having fun as they watched Eastchester’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Photo/Chris Eberhart

Two six-year-old girls, Carly Tauber, left, and Annaliese Brown, said they were having fun as they watched Eastchester’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Photo/Chris Eberhart

“It’s family oriented,” said Brendan Lynch, co-chairman of the parade and member of the Eastchester Irish American Social Club, which organized the parade. “People come with their children and grandchildren and unpack their chairs and watch the parade.”

The crowds were bundled up in St. Patrick’s Day attire, sporting all shades of green and rubbing their hands together for warmth, but the sidewalks along the parade route were as packed at the start as at the end, despite chilling wind and subfreezing temperatures.

“It’s blustery cold out, yet we still have a great turnout,” Stephen Huvane, spokesperson for the Eastchester Irish American Social Club, said. “Our marchers are a tough breed and they all waited for their turn to march despite Mother Nature’s attempt to test our dedication.”

Huvane worked on the line of march, which is where the groups of marchers are assembled and sent out to the parade route, at the parade’s starting point in the Immaculate Conception parking lot on Winterhill Road in Tuckahoe, where the approximately 50 groups of marchers began the journey that took them down Route 22 to Lake Isle.

Left to right, Brianna Pezzo, 8, Bianca Pian, 7, and Nicolette Pian, 8, dress in their green accesories for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Eastchester. Photos/Bobby Begun

Left to right, Brianna Pezzo, 8, Bianca Pian, 7, and Nicolette Pian, 8, dress in their green accesories for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Eastchester. Photos/Bobby Begun

Groups of marchers included high school bands from private schools Xaverian and Cardinal Hayes as well as five Irish dance schools, civic groups like the Blue Devils and boy and girl scouts, pipe bands, civil war and revolutionary war re-enactors, town war veterans and active members of the Army.

The Tuckahoe trolley, which carried some of the town’s seniors and veterans, made its way down White Plains Road along with a Korean War vehicle and vintage cars.

This year, the Eastchester Irish American Social Club added the Dublin City Paramedics, which is the first group from Ireland to march in the Eastchester parade.

Representatives of the town’s police and fire departments marched along with the volunteer EMS.

Eastchester St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Tom Huvane.

Eastchester St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Tom Huvane.

According to Huvane, all the marchers were hoping to be invited back next year.

“Each unit I spoke to was very appreciative of the opportunity to march, and many of the newcomers—especially the pipe bands—expressed the desire to be invited again next year,” Huvane said.

The parade’s founders, Jim Hendry and Tom Huvane—Stephen Huvane’s cousin—were this year’s grand marshals. They led the parade along with this year’s parade honoree, Fr. Eric Raaser of the Immaculate Conception parish.

Tom Huvane said the parade was a great excuse to get out of the house after a brutal winter.

“People were just itching to get out,” Tom Huvane said. “And what’s a better reason to come out than to enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day parade?”

The NYPD’s Emerald Society performs during the parade. 

The NYPD’s Emerald Society performs during the parade.

 

Marchers were dispatched through the back of Immaculate Conception and down Main Street in Tuckahoe, where they passed by Adriana Rossi’s Spa at 212 Main St., just as the parade has done for the past 10 years. Rossi said she’s filmed parts of the parade every year since its inaugural one in 2005.

“We love it because it comes right by our store,” Rossi said. “We watch it every year. It’s so beautiful.”

Members of the 11th Connecticut Volunteer Regiment Company, a Civil War re-enactment group, march in the parade.

Members of the 11th Connecticut Volunteer Regiment Company, a Civil War re-enactment group, march in the parade.

As the soldiers marched by six-year-olds Carly Tauber and Annaliese Brown, who were wearing their St. Patrick’s Day hats, they stood up and saluted the troops.

“It’s awesome,” Tauber said about the parade.

“Yeah, I think it’s great,” Brown said.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

On Tuesday, Larchmont’s Democratic Mayor Anne McAndrews, center, and Democratic village trustees Marlene Kolbert and Peter Fanelli retained their positions on the Board of Trustees after running in an uncontested election. Photo courtesy Larchmont-Mamaroneck League of Women Voters

Larchmont mayor, trustees re-elected

On Tuesday, Larchmont’s Democratic Mayor Anne McAndrews, center, and Democratic village trustees Marlene Kolbert and Peter Fanelli retained their positions on the Board of Trustees after running in an uncontested election. Photo courtesy Larchmont-Mamaroneck League of Women Voters

On Tuesday, Larchmont’s Democratic Mayor Anne McAndrews, center, and Democratic village trustees Marlene Kolbert and Peter Fanelli retained their positions on the Board of Trustees after running in an uncontested election. Photo courtesy Larchmont-Mamaroneck League of Women Voters

By PHIL NOBILE
Larchmont residents will see familiar faces across the board with the 2014 village elections going uncontested in the Democratic incumbents’ favor.

Mayor Anne McAndrews and trustees Marlene Kolbert and Peter Fanelli ran unopposed this season, with 87 total votes cast at the polls on March 18.

The results continue a trend of the village being dominated by Democrats, not having faced any Republican opposition for several years.

The incumbent mayor described the ability to continue serving Larchmont as an “honor.”

“I’m privileged to have the opportunity to serve the community that I love so much,” McAndrews, 68, said. “I feel very grateful, and I always have considered the service an honor.”

McAndrews, a Larchmont resident for more than 35 years, won re-election with 80 votes and will serve her second, two-year term as mayor.

After serving her first term as mayor, which was preceded by five terms as a trustee, McAndrews said there was plenty of work to be done and initiatives started under her administration to continue, including a streetscape project to aesthetically improve the village and modernizing computer systems in Village Hall.

For Kolbert, who was re-elected with 81 votes and will enter her seventh term as trustee, there are plenty of sustainability and environmental projects to be done, including the board’s goal of fulfilling Larchmont’s Climate Action Plan and reducing the village carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2015.

“I would like to see our sustainability in the Sound Shore improved,” Kolbert, 76, said. “We really are in a crisis and have to make some steps, and our job as trustees is not only to make the village sustainable, but educate our constituents as well.”

Fanelli, 54, who has family roots in Larchmont dating back to 1923, secured 86 total votes and on election night said infrastructure and internal updates would be a key component going forward for the McAndrews administration.

“We’re going to focus on the infrastructure for sure: it’s been neglected and needs to be addressed,” the lifelong resident of Larchmont said.

When asked about the entire village being Democrat-led, McAndrews denied any “political playbooks” getting in the way of the local-level issues in Larchmont.

“We are in the provision of services business: police, fire, department of public works,” the mayor said. “There’s no Democratic versus Republican way to cater to issues like potholes and quality of life matters. You would think we would all be of the single mind, but at this local level, you get five different opinions.”

The Larchmont Board of Trustees meets once a month at Village Hall, located at 120 Larchmont Ave. Trustees are elected to the board to two-year terms and receive no annual compensation.

CONTACT: phil@hometwn.com

 
Guy Longobardo

Bronxville trustees uncontested, re-elected

Guy Longobardo

Guy Longobardo

By ANNAROSE RUSSO
On Tuesday, March 18, Republicans Anne Poorman and Guy Longobardo were reseated on the Bronxville Board of Trustees for their fifth and second term, respectively, after an uncontested election.

According to unofficial results from Bronxville’s Village Hall, Poorman was re-elected with 76 votes. Longobardo will return to the board with 74 votes.

Running uncontested is not uncommon in the Village of Bronxville.

Poorman, an NYU School of Law graduate and mother of three, said contested elections are time consuming, but she welcomes them if the democratic environment requires it. As it stands currently, Poorman said, “I believe our current village government runs efficiently, smoothly and transparently.”

Longobardo agreed with Poorman, attributing much of the village’s governmental efficiency to the shared goals of the Republican trustees and Mayor Mary Marvin, also a Republican. He said the board pays equal attention to the needs of the residents and the municipal needs of the village without placing an undue financial burden on residents.

Anne Poorman

Anne Poorman

“In my view, we have been very successful at keeping the quality of services high while keeping the village share of the tax burden on residents low. We have also been very active in planning for the future of the village,” Longobardo, a Columbia Law School graduate and father of two Bronxville High School graduates, said.

The upcoming two-year term presents obstacles both pre-existing and forthcoming for the returning trustees.

Whereas they are commonplace in some other area Westchester communities, Bronxville is not often faced with developmental issues or construction challenges. As a result, the Kensington Road construction project, the Parkway Bridge debate—in which the village has clashed with its incorporating Town of Eastchester over who is responsible for the inoperative bridge’s repair—and Bronxville’s flooding remediation plan are issues the Board of Trustees is addressing.

“Bronxville government pledges to do its best to minimize the hassle by assembling a responsive team of top-tier professionals,” Poorman said.

Despite the recent rough times in Bronxville, the trustees agree that the village has only grown stronger.

After Hurricane Sandy, the village formed a strong relationship with Con Edison, which will continue to benefit the village as a whole. FEMA has also proven to be an ally to Bronxville, covering 75 percent of the flood remediation project set to begin this fall, according to Longobardo. The village is planning to install storm water storage tanks underneath the school which would flow into the nearby Bronx River. The flood remediation project must be addressed, according to Poorman, because of the traumatic effect flooding, especially near the school, has had on the community.

Poorman and Longobardo, long-time residents of Bronxville, are proud of their accomplishments during this past term and are confident in the ability of the board to do what is right for the village over the next two years.

Another immediate challenge is the loss of Village Administrator Harold Porr, III and Village Treasurer Robert Fels, who will retire within one month of each other, Porr on March 27 followed by Fels on April 30. The two men have contributed a combined 32 years of expertise to Bronxville, of which the trustees are currently looking to replace.

“Losing both Bob Fels and Harry Porr is a challenge and an opportunity,” Poorman said. “For the two trustees running unopposed, it is a blessing that we’ve been able to focus on the senior staff job searches and our budgets in the last six weeks rather than spend that time campaigning.”

The two incumbent Republicans are deeply rooted in Bronxville, Longobardo attended Bronxville schools and Poorman has been a resident of the village for 21 years. They said they are aware of the changes and challenges they face, but are grateful for their re-election.

When asked about the shifts to be made in Village Hall and the projects underway, Longobardo said, “While there is a sense of change, there is also the opportunity to move forward and the activity, though it may produce some short-term inconvenience at times, will benefit the village and its residents for decades to come.”

Republican Village Justice George McKinnis, also unopposed, was re-elected Tuesday night to his sixth term with
77 votes.

CONTACT: annarose@hometwn.com

 
Filming for the upcoming HBO drama series “The Leftovers” took place at the Harrison Police Station. Photos/Bobby Begun

HBO series filmed in Harrison

Filming for the upcoming HBO drama series “The Leftovers” took place at the Harrison Police Station. Photos/Bobby Begun

Filming for the upcoming HBO drama series “The Leftovers” took place at the Harrison Police Station. Photos/Bobby Begun

By CHRIS EBERHART
Last week, the Town of Harrison played host to a filming session for the upcoming HBO drama series “The Leftovers,” which is headlined by writer Damon Lindelof in his first return to TV since he co-created the hit television show “Lost.”

A scene from “The Leftovers,” which is based on the 2011 bestselling book by Tom Perotta, was filmed on Friday, March 14 at the Harrison police station at 650 North St., but producer Nan Bernstein said more filming days in Harrison could be coming.

The book takes place in a small town three years after the mysterious disappearance of 140 million people during a rapture-like event. Those left behind are trying to put their lives back together.

On March 14, film crews set-up their equipment in front of Harrison’s police department for “The Leftovers” filming.

On March 14, film crews set-up their equipment in front of Harrison’s police department for “The Leftovers” filming.

The book follows one family in particular—the Garvey family—who didn’t lose any family members in the rapture but has fallen apart in its aftermath. The father, Kevin Garvey, played by Justin Theroux, watches his children change and his wife join a cult called “The Guilty Remnant.”

The scene that takes place in Harrison, Bernstein  said, is during wintertime and the mayor of the fictional town of Mapleton, played by Amanda Warren, is released from prison and traveling on a bus to the northeast.

The northeast bus stop was filmed in the New Rochelle bus terminal at 1 Station Plaza.

Bernstein  said “The Leftovers” will feature an ongoing tug of war between the mayor and police over how the town should be run after the rapture-like event.

The $40 million HBO drama series will make other stops in Westchester County, including Mt. Vernon, Hastings and Nyack in addition to Harrison and New Rochelle before its summer release.

Cameras for the “The Leftovers” fill Harrrison Police Chief Anthony Marracini’s parking space.

Cameras for the “The Leftovers” fill Harrrison Police Chief Anthony Marracini’s parking space.

In addition to Lindelof’s return, the television series will also include actors Liv Tyler and Amy Brenneman, along with producer and director Peter Berg.

Bernstein  said each area of Westchester County was chosen for specific places in the fictional community.

“Certain locations were needed for certain scenes,” Bernstein  said. “We needed dry cleaners with rotating racks so we’re in Hastings. In Harrison, we needed the police stations and houses there. In New Rochelle, we needed the bus stop. And the town we are showing is a fake town, it can be made up of a whole different number of towns.”

In return for hosting the film session at the Harrison police station, the town’s police department will receive a donation from Warner Brothers, which is paying for the HBO series, but Bernstein  said she didn’t want to release the amount.

According to a letter from Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini to the Town Council asking it to approve the filming, the donation will be “earmarked for use at the discretion of the chief of police.”

In addition to the donation, Bernstein  said the crews are encouraged to shop locally to support the municipalities’ economy to balance the inconveniences of having cameras and crews in the streets.

Christmas decorations were scattered around Harrison’s police department for the filming of the HBO series “ The Leftovers,” which takes place during the holiday season.

Christmas decorations were scattered around Harrison’s police department for the filming of the HBO series “ The Leftovers,” which takes place during the holiday season.

We really make it worthwhile for the local host community by shopping locally,” Bernstein  said. “So when we take the crew out to pizza, we’ll eat at a place in Harrison and spend $500 on pizza.”

The filming was approved by the council during its March 6 meeting.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com 

 
The 3 Jalapenos restaurant, located at 690 Mamaroneck Ave., closed in August 2011 after flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Nancy Wasserman, real estate agent, said there is currently one prospective buyer for the property.

Volunteer firefighters to park in defunct restaurant lot

The 3 Jalapenos restaurant, located at 690 Mamaroneck Ave., closed in August 2011 after flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Nancy Wasserman, real estate agent, said there is currently one prospective buyer for the property.

The 3 Jalapenos restaurant, located at 690 Mamaroneck Ave., closed in August 2011 after flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Nancy Wasserman, real estate agent, said there is currently one prospective buyer for the property.

By KATiE HOOS

The owners of the 3 Jala-penos property—a once lively Mexican restaurant in the Village of Mamaroneck that closed in 2011 after Tropical Storm Irene—are allowing firefighters from the Volunteers Engine & Hose firehouse on Mamaroneck Avenue to use the restaurant’s vacant parking lot until the property is sold.

In a March 10 meeting, the Board of Trustees resolved to authorize an agreement between the village and the owners of The 3 Jalapenos stipulating the village provide snow and ice removal, mowing and proof of insurance in order for members of the volunteer fire department to park in the property’s unused lot for free.

“It’s a great way to help out the fire department and it’s not costing the village anything,” Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said. “Parking spaces are far and few in between over there.”

The firehouse, located at 643 Mamaroneck Ave., is one of the village’s five all-volunteer fire companies. It has just two parking spaces on the side of the building and two designated parking spaces on the street in front of the firehouse for firefighters to use.

But these spaces are not always available, leaving firefighters to search for parking along Mamaroneck Avenue.

“The few spaces that they have are sometimes taken by people that don’t see the signs or don’t care about the signs and are going to the neighboring businesses,” Democratic Trustee Andres Bermudez Hal-lstrom said. He said there are not enough designated spaces when the firehouse hosts company-wide meetings.

Village resident Nancy Was-serman, a commercial real estate agent listing the 3 Jalapenos property, approached the pro-perty owners about letting the fire department use the vacant lot, which is zoned for 36 parking spaces. The owners agreed, under the provision the village routinely maintain the lot and require permits to be placed in the vehicles using the lot, according to Wasserman.

“We want to make sure the firefighters are the only ones using the lot,” she said. Wasserman said the agreement is on a month-to-month basis and requires a 30-day cancellation should either the village or the property owners want to end the agreement.

After negotiating a deal with the Village of Mamaroneck, the property owners of the former 3 Jalapenos site are allowing volunteer firefighters from the Volunteers Engine & Hose firehouse to use the vacant parking lot until the property is sold and ready to be demolished. Photos/Katie Hoos

After negotiating a deal with the Village of Mamaroneck, the property owners of the former 3 Jalapenos site are allowing volunteer firefighters from the Volunteers Engine & Hose firehouse to use the vacant parking lot until the property is sold and ready to be demolished. Photos/Katie Hoos

The 3 Jalapenos property has been a rotating door of different restaurants since the 1970s, including the Canada Lounge, Rich’s Pasta House and three Mexican restaurants including the most recent occupant. Wasserman said The 3 Jalapenos—located at 690 Mamaroneck Ave.—was doing well, offering an outdoor dining area and hosting live Mariachi music, but serious flooding damage from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 forced the restaurant to close.

“The people who leased [The 3 Jalapenos] did not fix the restaurant after the flood, so it closed,” Wasserman said, “and we’ve been trying to sell it ever since.”

When asked if the property has any prospective buyers, Wasserman said there is currently one party interested and that whoever ends up buying the property will most likely demolish the building since the flood damage was so severe.

“When I presented [the agreement between the village and the current property owners] to the prospective buyers and told them about the firefighters using the lot, they were fine with it up until it’s time to get the permit to demolish the building,” she said.

Rosenblum said once the agreement ends and the firefighters need to vacate the space, the village will try to acquire additional parking elsewhere.

“There is no area around there available,” he said. “We’re trying to negotiate a deal with a property next to the firehouse, but nothing’s come of it yet.”

A February 2013 transit-oriented development study analyzing the area around the Mamaroneck Metro-North train station indicated there were six vacant or undeveloped locations in the vicinity that were expected to be redeveloped in the short-term, one of them being the 3 Jalapenos property.

Wasserman said the firemen using the property’s parking lot is beneficial to the village because the agreed upkeep by the village will keep the property attractive to potential buyers.

“Everyone is very cooperative,” she said. “The Board of Trustees was cooperative because they want to see the blight removed.”

CONTACT: katie@hometwn.com

 
Shelves of brightly colored, 100 percent cotton fabric line the brick walls of the Etui Fiber Arts shop, which opened Feb. 26. Photos/Bobby Begun

Crafting with a conscience

Julie Saviano, owner of Etui Fiber Arts, a Larchmont yarn and fabric supplier, aims to make a statement in changing the way people shop. Saviano only sells ethically-made and sustainable products.

Julie Saviano, owner of Etui Fiber Arts, a Larchmont yarn and fabric supplier, aims to make a statement in changing the way people shop. Saviano only sells ethically-made and sustainable products.

By KATIE HOOS
Focusing on promoting conscious consumerism and sustainability, Julie Saviano, owner of Etui Fiber Arts—an all-in-one gallery, workshop, and retail space dedicated to the art of quilting, knitting and sewing—does more than just sell yarn.

Celebrating its official opening on Feb. 26, the store, which houses artwork from local fiber artists, is itself a work of art.

Located at 2106 Boston Post Road in Larchmont, Etui Fiber Arts boasts lofted ceilings, exposed brick walls, rich wood floors, punches of bright paint color and an open floor plan that, Saviano said, attracts all types of visitors.

“A lot of people who don’t knit and sew are just coming in because they hear the building is beautiful and they want to see it finished,” she said. “I really wanted to have that loft feel, lots of open space.”

Saviano, 53, and her husband Ed purchased the historic building, which was once Hughes Pharmacy—Larchmont’s first ever drug store—last year and began top-to-bottom renovations in August, gutting the entire ground floor level and basement, and transforming the space into its current polished form.

Enhancing the attraction of the physical space, the products sold inside Etui evoke a sense of beauty, not only through their vibrant colors and silky textures, but also through their unique backstories that Saviano, a Harrison resident, tells so passionately.

The yarn suppliers Saviano chooses to stock on her shelves are all ethically produced, meaning the workers are paid fair wages and the fibers are chemical free, organic and mostly American-made, perpetuating Saviano’s belief in the importance of conscientious shopping.

“Your purchases affect someone else’s life,” she said.

Saviano said, by purchasing cheaply made clothing, shoppers are essentially supporting poor factory conditions and the unfair wages factory workers earn.

Shelves of brightly colored, 100 percent cotton fabric line the brick walls of the Etui Fiber Arts shop, which opened Feb. 26. Photos/Bobby Begun

Shelves of brightly colored, 100 percent cotton fabric line the brick walls of the Etui Fiber Arts shop, which opened Feb. 26. Photos/Bobby Begun

“If you’re supporting these terrible factories, you’re just perpetuating it. So I won’t buy certain yarns, even though they’re big sellers, if I don’t know how they’re produced,” she said.

Although knitting is now her favorite fiber art, Saviano, originally from Harrisburg, Penn., who moved here 23 years ago, got her start in sewing at the age of eight, saying she can still remember every piece of fabric she’s ever bought for every project.

 

 

“My mother used to drop me off at the fabric store and I would spend hours in there,” she said, noting she used to make all of her own clothes and her children’s Halloween costumes. She considers knitting to be a relaxing activity due to the rhythmic movement of your hands and concentration of the mind. That’s the atmosphere she wants filling Etui Fiber Arts.

“Some people have said this is a Zen space. When people come in here they’re happy, because it’s their hobby. I don’t feel like I’m selling someone something they shouldn’t have,” Saviano said. She said crafters are welcome to come into Etui to ask questions, seek advice or just hang out and knit.

Lining the walls of Etui are shelves stacked high with yarns of different fibers and 100 percent cotton fabric in a variety of colors, all of which is conscionably made. On each shelf that holds the different types of yarn, a small card describes where the yarn originated and some information about the manufacturer.

Popular brands Saviano sells include Imperial Yarns, a family-owned Oregon-based cattle and sheep ranch; Glenfiddich Wool, a Pennsylvania farm that hand-dyes and hand-spins its yarn; Mountain Meadow Wool, a small Wyoming-based factory that processes eco-friendly wool from the western portion of the U.S.; The Green Mountain Spinnery, a Vermont producer of chemical-free alpaca, wool and mohair fibers, and Artyarns, a local White Plains-based ethical yarn manufacturer and dyer.

Saviano said some of these yarn producers “could probably tell you the name of every sheep they shear.”

Advocating the “field-to-needle” movement, a term Saviano uses to describe the connection between the crafters and the farmers, growers and manufacturers of the yarns and fabrics they purchase to create their crafts, she sees Etui as more of a mission, rather than a business venture.

“I’m not doing it to make money,” Saviano said. “I’m doing it to make a statement.”

While she’s trying mostly to support the American yarn industry, Saviano also sells international yarns that are consciously made, including Reywa Fibers, a Tibetan Yak fiber manufacturer whose profits benefit educational sponsorship of impoverished Tibetan children, and Frog Tree Yarns, a non-profit yarn producer that pays fair wages to its workers.

“I want people to be conscious with what they’re knitting with because these fibers were alive at one time,” she said. “You’re knitting with something that was alive; you’re knitting with wool.”

Including the wide selection of fabric, yarn, thread and notions—needles, pins, and other essential bits used in sewing and knitting—offered at Etui, the store is also home to a rotating monthly art gallery featuring American artists working in the fiber arts. The current exhibition, Bird:House by Bridgeport, Conn., artist Jane Davila, is a multimodal showcase of birds depicted through different types of fiber. The exhibition will run until March 31.

Besides being a retail shop and an art gallery, Saviano wanted to spread the joy of fiber arts by hosting workshops and classes on-site. Intended to accommodate all types of skill levels, the classes range from Quilting 101 to Intermediate Knitting. Saviano said, for the sewing classes, students should bring their own sewing machine, but if you’re a novice and want to get a feel for sewing, you can rent a machine for $10 per hour.

The store has been open for just three weeks, but Saviano said business is already doing well. Friends of hers from The Quilt Cottage, a Mamaroneck fiber arts store that closed in 2010, and others in the local fiber arts community have stopped in to admire the space and make their purchases.

As Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics and other large discount chain craft stores attract crafters on a budget, Saviano admits that the items in Etui typically come at a higher cost due to the way they are made and the higher quality materials used. When asked about how the higher prices of the yarn she carries might affect her business, Saviano shrugged.

“Maybe that’ll do me in, honestly, I don’t know,” she said. “But I have to live consciously.”

Etui Fiber Arts
2106 Boston Post Road, Larchmont
Tuesday to Thursday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 CONTACT: katie@hometwn.com