Category Archives: News

Carl Albano, currently assistant superintendent for the Tuckahoe Union Free School District, will take the reins as superintendent on Aug. 1, 2016. Photo courtesy Lauren Treuel

Tuckahoe appoints Albano as superintendent

 

 

Carl Albano, currently assistant superintendent for the Tuckahoe Union Free School District, will take the reins as superintendent on Aug. 1, 2016. Photo courtesy Lauren Treuel

Carl Albano, currently assistant superintendent for the Tuckahoe Union Free School District, will take the reins as superintendent on Aug. 1, 2016. Photo courtesy Lauren Treuel

By Sarah Varney
The Tuckahoe Board of Education has announced the appointment of Carl Albano, currently assistant superintendent of the school district, to superintendent starting on Aug. 1, 2016. Albano has worked as an administrator in Tuckahoe for 13 years. 

Albano was principal of Tuckahoe Middle School for nine years and has been assistant superintendent since 2012. He was assistant principal at Concord Road Elementary School in Ardsley from 2000 to 2003.

Albany, 47, will be paid a salary of $230,000 per year as superintendent.

“I’m very excited,” he told the Review. “There are a lot of challenges, but I’m excited.”

Being familiar with the district will help Albano as he transitions into the new role.

“I have a lot of advantages because I was at the middle school as principal and then as assistant superintendent here at the high school,” he said.

The Tuckahoe Union Free School District has an annual budget of approximately $32 million and a student body of 1,100. Per capita cost per student is $26,888.

“[Albano] has great experience at all three levels: elementary, middle school and high school, and being an internal candidate, he knows the culture of the district,” Tuckahoe High School Principal Bart Linehan said. Albano is the first internal superintendent hire in 20 years, Linehan added.

Over the last five years, the Tuckahoe school district has experienced some tumult around the position of superintendent. Interim Superintendent Dr. Edward Reilly served for a year until the district hired Dr. Barbara Nuzzi in September 2013. She resigned on Sept. 1 this year and was replaced by Dr. Charles Wilson, who is currently running the district, as interim superintendent.

Wilson will show Albano the ropes until his contract ends on July 30, 2016. Wilson has 14 years of experience as a school superintendent over his 42-year-long career.

Wilson commented that with the state’s 2 percent tax cap and the burden of unfunded mandates, turnover for superintendents in the Hudson Valley is high.

During his tenure as assistant superintendent, Albano has also served as head of curriculum and instruction and head of the special education program.

Albano has played an instrumental role in the special education department over the last four years, Wilson said. Bringing students back into the district to receive services and avoiding busing them out to other programs is one improvement Albano is responsible for facilitating. Albano has also increased the inclusion of special education students into mainstream classrooms, provided more training for mainstream teachers and streamlined the special education program’s assessment process, according to Wilson.

Principal Linehan recently accepted a $50,000 grant to the school district given by the New York State Education Department in recognition of its achievement in elevating special education students’ performance on state-standardized testing to the point that there are no “significant gaps” between the scores of the two groups.

One of Albano’s first tasks will be to help shepherd a search to replace Jim Reese, assistant superintendent for business, who will retire at the end of this school year.

Tuckahoe Board of Education President Dr. Julio Urbina could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

 
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed tougher teacher evaluations as part of his education reform platform in his State of the State address and dangled a $1.1 billion increase in school aid if the state Legislature passes his reforms. File Photo

Common Core survey online for parents, teachers

Here, parents and teachers are asked to analyze these standards and judge their appropriateness for a  fourth grade student. Courtesy aim-high-ny.statesstandards.org

Here, parents and teachers are asked to analyze these standards and judge their appropriateness for a
fourth grade student. Courtesy aim-high-ny.statesstandards.org

An optional comments box asks respondents to provide further input about their feedback.  Courtesy aim-high-ny.statesstandards.org

An optional comments box asks respondents to provide further input about their feedback.
Courtesy aim-high-ny.statesstandards.org

By Sarah Varney
The AimHigh NY online survey for statewide teachers and parents about whether or not Common Core Learning Standards are too hard, too easy or just right is available to Westchester parents until Monday, Nov. 30. The purpose of the survey, according to the AimHigh NY website, is to raise awareness of the Common Core standards; however, it is not a referendum on either those standards or the Common Core curriculum.

The New York State Board of Regents will analyze and make recommendations based on survey feedback by the end of December, but there are no plans to use the information to rework the controversial standards, which were first adopted in 2011.

Common Core grew out of the Race To The Top, RTTT, initiative, which in turn was part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinstatement Act. The U.S. Department of Education received $4.35 billion to improve schools nationally. Common Core adoption was one of the requirements for receiving a RTTT grant.  The deadline for Common Core standards adoption was Aug. 1, 2010. Under the RTTT/Common Core adoption grants, New York state has received $700 million.

The AimHigh survey is located at aim-high-ny.statestandards.org, but even the most diligent parents may have trouble finding the time necessary to sift through all the standards listed.

The survey asks participants whether or not they agree with specific skills within the standards. For example, one section on the English Language Arts portion asks parents to judge whether a first-grader should be able to “Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.”

Divided into two main sections, the survey requests comments on English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematical Practices Common Core standards and presents respondents with 81 standard skills for ELA and 25 standard skills for math.

Dr. Betty Anne Wyks, the Rye City School District’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, agrees that the survey is complex. “They probably should have written a parents’ version,” she said.

The density of the survey material and its length may make it hard for parents to get through, said Ellen Litt, a fifth grade teacher at the Osborn School in Rye. “They’ve used a lot of professional teaching language. I’m not sure it’s written in parent-friendly language,” she said.

Litt and her fellow fifth grade teachers spent about 45 minutes going through the survey together. She questions how the feedback comments will be used or whether they’ll be used at all.

“Who is going to go through all of this information? Who is going to pull together all of these strands [of feedback]?” she said.

For Nicholas Tampio, a Rye Neck parent, completing just the anchor standards portion of the survey seemed sufficient.

Tampio, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University, has been a vocal opponent of the Common Core since his son was in kindergarten in 2012. His children are now in fourth and second grades. To Tampio, it is only the anchor standards section of the survey that has value.

Tampio maintains that the crux of the Common Core is the anchor standard that calls for students to be able to “read and provide evidence from the text.”

“That’s all it [the Common Core standards] really comes down to,” he said. “All of the rest [of the ELA standards] is just pretentious language aimed at making it seem more important than it is. It’s the first part of the AimHigh survey—that are important.”

For Tampio, reviewing the assessment of the anchor standards at the beginning of the ELA section was valuable, but he stopped the survey there. Respondents can choose to comment on any of the standards they review.

Most parents rarely have time to complete the survey in its entirety, according to Jennifer Fall, a teacher at the Rye School of Leadership and an outspoken Common Core skeptic.

“I don’t know many parents who have the time, the patience, or enough knowledge of the Common Core standards to be able to navigate this survey,” Fall said. “But I do know many who are happy to share how they’ve watched the curriculum narrow in their children’s schools [due to the Common Core changes].”

Litt is more optimistic about the information that the survey will provide.

“For teachers, it’s always useful to have this kind of information. I’d be interested to learn what people in other districts and even other geographical areas are thinking,” she said.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

 
Piggybacking off a lawsuit filed in August, environmental nonprofit Save the Sound has decided to widen the scope of its campaign to clean up the Long Island Sound by involving 11 Westchester municipalities. File photo

Save the Sound adds to county lawsuit

Piggybacking off a lawsuit filed in August, environmental nonprofit Save the Sound has decided to widen the scope of its campaign to clean up the Long Island Sound by involving 11 Westchester municipalities. File photo

Piggybacking off a lawsuit filed in August, environmental nonprofit Save the Sound has decided to widen the scope of its campaign to clean up the Long Island Sound by involving 11 Westchester municipalities. File photo

By James Pero
Adding another layer to an ongoing lawsuit with Westchester County filed in August over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, the environmental nonprofit Save the Sound has widened the scope of its original suit to include 11 Westchester municipalities.

The suit, which includes Sound Shore municipalities like the Village of Mamaroneck and the City of Rye, claims that each of the 11 municipalities involved have been responsible for discharging raw sewage into the Long Island Sound.

The other municipalities named in the lawsuit include Rye Brook, New Rochelle, Pelham, Larchmont, the Town of Mamaroneck, Pelham Manor, Port Chester and White Plains.

Tracy Brown, the director of Save the Sound’s Western programs, said that leaking and degraded sewer lines are responsible for the alarmingly high levels of bacterial contamination found throughout the waterways in Westchester County.

“Because of old, leaking and poorly-maintained sewer pipes, Westchester beaches are closed after rain, we’re prohibited from harvesting clams or oysters in our local bays and harbors, and we’re at risk for waterborne illnesses,” she said in a released statement.

Sewage runoff resulting from porous pipes which leaks raw sewage into the ground, as well as overflows onto streets following heavy rain, has been the root cause of fecal bacteria—the same bacteria found in human waste—entering into the Long Island Sound via storm water drainage, the nonprofit claims.

In Save the Sound’s 2015 report of Westchester County’s water quality, which includes 400 samples from 52 different sites, the bacterial contamination failure rate for rivers rose to 79 percent from 34 percent in 2014. Additionally, sites that would have formerly passed in dry weather now experience an overwhelming failure rate.

The lawsuit aims at spurring action by both the county and the municipalities to devise and fund a sustainable solution to help fix leaking sewer lines and mitigate ongoing contamination in the Long Island Sound, according to Save the Sound.

“The citizens of Westchester County have waited decades for effective action,” Brown said.  “Municipalities must step up efforts to find and eliminate illegal discharges of raw and partially treated sewage into Long Island Sound and its tributaries. Our goal with this lawsuit is to get all the responsible parties to the table to reach a comprehensive, long-term solution to this decades-old infrastructure problem.”

Rye City Manager Marcus Serrano and Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
New EPA grants will help the Town of Mamaroneck clean up its harbor as well as the Long Island Sound. File photo

EPA awards grant to clean harbor, sound

New EPA grants will help the Town of Mamaroneck clean up its harbor as well as the Long Island Sound. File photo

New EPA grants will help the Town of Mamaroneck clean up its harbor as well as the Long Island Sound. File photo

By James Pero
As a part of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and the EPA’s series of 22 grants totaling $1.3 million, the Town of Mamaroneck has been awarded $149,876 toward improving water quality in the Long Island Sound, making them the only municipality in Westchester County to receive funding.

The other grants will be given to various communities throughout the Long Island Sound area, including some on Long Island and in Connecticut.

The Town of Mamaroneck’s grants, according to a statement by the town, will go toward developing green infrastructure at the Mamaroneck Town Center parking lot, where renovations are set to take place.

The projects will consist of developing 8,400 square feet of green infrastructure, installing catch basin filters, adding permeable pavement and rainwater harvesters. The goal is to help prevent the introduction of contaminated storm water runoff which has been entering the harbor‘s nearby West Basin.

“Mamaroneck Town Center is across the Boston Post Road from Harbor Island Park and just 800 feet from West Basin of Mamaroneck Harbor,” according to a statement from town officials. “As such, all of the storm water runoff from the site travels directly to the harbor untreated.”

And with the introduction of a new layer to the environmental nonprofit Save the Sound’s lawsuit against Westchester County—which alleges that Westchester County and 11 of its municipalities, including the Village of Mamaroneck, are in violation of the Clean Water Act—the grant is aptly timed.

According to the suit, Westchester County, in addition to many of its municipalities, has neglected to improve degrading sewage infrastructure that continues to leak raw sewage into the Long Island Sound through sewage overflows and contaminated groundwater.

According to Save the Sound’s Peter Linderoth, although added green infrastructure can’t fix the root cause of the pollution, it can help mitigate pollution by reducing the amount of impervious surfaces which contribute to harmful storm runoff entering the sound.

“Instead of just being washed unaltered into the sound…the water will go through the soil and it will break down [the pollutants],” he said.

Additionally, according to Linderoth, a lack of green infrastructure in the area has exacerbated the levels of pollution experienced in the Long Island Sound.

Furthermore, the development of Mamaroneck’s coastal areas, which has led to the removal of vast swaths of marshlands, has been the impetus behind the town’s waning green infrastructure, he explained.

“If you have unchecked development coming in, you get more storm water coming in by increasing the amount of impervious surfaces,” he said.

According to Mamaroneck Town Administrator Steve Altieri, the town is hopeful that the addition of the EPA-funded green infrastructure will help clean up their deteriorating waterfront.

“The goal is to improve the water quality in the Long Island Sound,” Altieri said. “You need to improve the quality of the flow which improves the quality of the water.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
Bill Goodenough of The American Legion Post 90 addresses the crowd on Veterans Day.

Mamaroneck pays tribute to veterans

Peter Parente presents the New Rochelle Police Department with a flag.

New Rochelle honors local veterans

The City of New Rochelle held a Veterans Day ceremony on the morning of Nov. 11 in downtown New Rochelle. Veterans and residents alike gathered at Memorial Plaza, where Memorial Highway and Main Street meet, to reflect on their experiences and to pay respect to the men and women who have served their country.

The ceremony was sponsored by the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association, with a special honor to New Rochelle’s police and fire departments. Peter Parente, commander of VFW Post 439 and president of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association of New Rochelle, was the master of ceremonies. The New Rochelle High School Band provided the music for the event.

kolbert-book

Westchester native discusses climate change

Kolbert2

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Kolbert made a visit to her hometown of Larchmont to discuss her book, “The Sixth Extinction,” with an audience at Hommocks Middle School.
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Kolbert

By James Pero
Elizabeth Kolbert may boast a Pulitzer Prize and a prestigious gig at The New Yorker, but

that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her roots.

On Monday, Nov. 2, Kolbert, a Larchmont native, took a trip back to her hometown to discuss the impact of climate change through the lens of her book, “The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History,” which won a Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction this past year.

Expectedly, Kolbert, 54, who was referred to as Betsy for the majority of the night, was warmly received by attendees of the event held at Hommocks Middle School.

“Betsy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and staff writer at The New Yorker,” explained one of the night’s moderators, Blythe Hamer. “But more importantly, she’s the daughter of Marlene and Gerald Kolbert, who are here tonight.”

The night’s event, which was moderated by Mamaroneck High School science teacher Sophia Andrews, gave students and audience members alike the chance to dig further into Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction,” which documents humankind’s destruction of life around the globe.

While many questions covered Kolbert’s personal life—her introduction to writing about science among other formative experiences throughout her career—others dove headfirst into her book’s subject matter.

One topical question centered on ocean acidification—the process of carbon emissions rendering oceans inhospitable by changing their chemical composition—and just how serious the problem is.

“The importance of [ocean acidification] is really hard to overstate,” Kolbert said. “It’s very clear, it’s already happening; it’s happening in waters around New York…Any organism that has a shell is in trouble, and that turns out to be a lot of creatures.”

The night’s conversation centered on the nature of Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, climate change, and what can be done to help mitigate its global effects. Photo/James Pero

The night’s conversation centered on the nature of Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, climate change, and what can be done to help mitigate its global effects. Photo/James Pero

Though most of the night’s conversation focused on climate change and the degradation of environments on a global scale, Kolbert also found a way to bring in a local element
to the night’s talk: the Long Island Sound.

“I think there’s a very clear and present issue here in the Long Island Sound,” Kolbert said, referring to the decline of sea life in the sound’s ecosystem. “Clearly the sound is rising…No coastal zone is in a situation that you don’t have to think about.”

With discussions about the dire state of climate change dominating the night, questions regarding how to help mitigate the problem constituted much of the event’s tail end. While some chose to ask Kolbert what they might be able to change themselves, others focused on what they can do to affect policy on a political level.

In regard to the lingering existence of climate change deniers, Kolbert noted, “It would be hilariously funny if it weren’t so scary.”

But for the many soon-to-be first-time voters in the audience, Kolbert explained that for the foreseeable future, climate change is an issue that will not subside; that, however, doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done.kolbert-book

“Those of you who will soon be able to vote, I hope you make this a voting issue,” she said. “I think that’s what has to happen.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
Mayor Joe Sack delivers his Veterans Day remarks in Rye City Hall on Nov. 11. Photo/James Pero

Veterans Day 2015 remarks

Mayor Joe Sack delivers his Veterans Day remarks in Rye City Hall on Nov. 11. Photo/James Pero

Mayor Joe Sack delivers his Veterans Day remarks in Rye City Hall on Nov. 11. Photo/James Pero

By Mayor Joe Sack
Father Lim, Cmdr. DeBarros, Legionnaires of Rye Post 128, Lt. Col. Bancroft, elected officials, and citizens of Rye:

The names of Rye veterans are fixed in granite and bronze on our monuments and plaques. I have also had the privilege of memorializing many Rye veterans on videotape.

A few years ago, I had the chance to record a conversation with longtime Rye resident Fred Talento. Fred fought in World War II, and saw 151 days of combat, including the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded twice in action, and was awarded two Purple Hearts, as well as two Bronze Stars with Oak Leaf Clusters.

Despite this heroic service, Fred started out as just a kid from Rye, by way of the Bronx in the 1920s. Fred’s father ran for Congress twice in the Bronx, losing roundly and soundly as a right-wing conservative Republican. Fred told me that his father wouldn’t accept a Roosevelt dime as change.

Although his father didn’t have his own political success, he did work on Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s winning campaigns. In Rye, Fred’s father served as president of the Resurrection Church Dad’s Club. He was tasked by the priests to help pay off the debt issued to build the new cathedral. Amazingly, the debt was paid off in just two years.

How’d he do it? Bingo! High stakes games of Bingo.

They set up picnic tables in the rear of the church, and people came from as far away as Pennsylvania, with prizes donated by Rye Ford.

The Bingo games were so loud, you could hear the numbers called out all the way down to Rye Beach. They said to neighbors, “Please bear with us as we do a good thing for the Lord!”

Later, Fred’s father was appointed Rye City clerk, working in the old City Hall for many years. Fred grew up at 42 Orchard Ave. According to Fred, his pals were a bunch of rowdy guys who raised hell, but they all somehow graduated from Rye High School as the Class of 1940.

Fred attended the University of Notre Dame, and when the war started, he stayed in school. However, in his junior year, he received a red envelope calling him to active duty. Fred was assigned to the 78th U.S. Infantry Division—the Lightening Division for an intelligence and reconnaissance job.

He was told, “We’re going over that hill, and guess who’s going over first to tell us what’s waiting for us?”

Fred said that he was never much of a runner, never set any records in the 100-yard dash; but in that role, you should have seen how fast he could move in knee-deep snow.

After capturing a German pill box in the forest, and taking prisoners, PFC Talento saw a German major with a fancy Luger pistol and holster, which the private demanded. The German refused, saying he would only hand it over to an “über” officer. Fred held his own carbine to the head of the German, cocked it, and said, “My name is Gen. Eisenhower.” Fred got the Luger.

Fred had a unique sense of humor, but he told me simply that the war was a horrific experience.

When Fred returned to the U.S. after the war, he had a job offer in hand from BBDO, the advertising agency in New York City. In 1952, he married his wife, Norma Carino from New Rochelle, whom he had met after a day of skating at Playland’s ice casino. Shortly thereafter, they moved into 8 Hickory Drive. They had three daughters. Fred went on to work for Look magazine, focusing on automobile ads and kept a sailboat at the Rye Marina for many years.

Fred reminisced about his life in Rye as a young man just before going to war, and the places he would hang out with friends: The Jungle Club at the corner of Central and Post Road; The Rye Hotel where the gas station now stands on Purdy Street. And Al’s Diner at Orchard and Post Road, inside an old Pullman car—“a greasy spoon if there ever was one!”

Years later, Fred received his honorary Notre Dame degree.

Fred passed away earlier this year at the age of 92. I was happy to provide a copy of my interview with Fred to two of his daughters who live in Rye, Lori and Buffy. Fred’s story will survive, on tape and in our memories.

Thank you Fred, veterans of Rye, and veterans everywhere. God Bless Rye, and God Bless America.

A large closing sign heralds the end of the Mamaroneck A&P. The Town of Mamaroneck is planning to expand its shuttle service for senior citizens to Stop & Shop in an effort to accommodate those that used to shop at the now defunct supermarket. Photos/Sarah Varney

Expanded shuttle service for elderly A&P shoppers

 

 

Dwindling supplies are seen in the final days of the Mamaroneck A&P on Mamaroneck Avenue.

Dwindling supplies are seen in the final days of the Mamaroneck A&P on Mamaroneck Avenue.

A large closing sign heralds the end of the Mamaroneck A&P. The Town of Mamaroneck is planning to expand its shuttle service for senior citizens to Stop & Shop in an effort to accommodate those that used to shop at the now defunct supermarket. Photos/Sarah Varney

A large closing sign heralds the end of the Mamaroneck A&P. The Town of Mamaroneck is planning to expand its shuttle service for senior citizens to Stop & Shop in an effort to accommodate those that used to shop at the now defunct supermarket. Photos/Sarah Varney

By Sarah Varney
The Town of Mamaroneck has plans to increase its registration for bus services to provide a shopping shuttle service to the Stop & Shop store at 1326 E. Boston Post Road on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Currently, the senior center offers regular service on Wednesdays.

With the shuttering of the A&P grocery store at 670 Mamaroneck Ave., community members expressed concern about the neighborhood’s elderly residents having access to food shopping. “I think the community at large expressed some concern,” said Anna Danoy, director of Community Services and Housing for Mamaroneck.

Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, a Democrat, expressed support for the plan. “We haven’t really had time to look into the details but it seems like a nice idea,” she said.

The man in charge of the details, Town Administrator Steve Altieri, is eager to get the additional bus trips rolling. “We want to get it started right away to see what demand is. And we need to see if there are any budget implications,” Altieri said. “We will pick you up to register and then take you back home.”

The goal is to register people who relied on the A&P, but aren’t members of the Mamaroneck Senior Center. To register, seniors must show proof of residency and be 62 or older. A flyer advertising the registration will go out to the community via Altieri’s office. Under the stipulations of the grant that supports the senior center, both criteria must be met.

About 25 seniors currently use the service, according to Kathleen Flynn, assistant coordinator at the Mamaroneck Senior Center.

Each bus can accommodate 10 passengers with bags and packages, Danoy said. The shuttle will make one round trip on Mondays and two trips on Wednesdays.

Procedures for using the bus service won’t change, Danoy said. “New people will have to call and make a reservation for the next trip,” she added.

Reservations must be made at least a day in advance.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

 

The former Bronxville A&P, now an Acme Market at 12 Cedar St., will likely increase its employee numbers according to Local 464 President John Niccollai. Currently the store employs 80 workers.

Acme store replaces defunct A&P

The former Bronxville A&P, now an Acme Market at 12 Cedar St., will likely increase its employee numbers according to Local 464 President John Niccollai. Currently the store employs 80 workers.

The former Bronxville A&P, now an Acme Market at 12 Cedar St., will likely increase its employee numbers according to Local 464 President John Niccollai. Currently the store employs 80 workers.

In Eastchester, the Acme Market located at 375 White Plains Road remains similar to when it was under the A&P banner. Photos/Sarah Varney

In Eastchester, the Acme Market located at 375 White Plains Road remains similar to when it was under the A&P banner. Photos/Sarah Varney

By Sarah Varney
The transition from A&P to Acme Markets for shoppers in Bronxville and Eastchester has been smooth from the standpoint of both customers and employees. And according to United Food and Commercial Workers Union for Local 464 President John Niccollai, the overall change is proving to be a positive one for union members moving from the A&P brand to Acme. 

Local 464 represents employees at the 12 Cedar St. Acme location in Bronxville as well as the Acme store at 375 White Plains Road in Eastchester. Acme Markets is owned by Albertsons, LLC.

The collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the United Food and Commercial Workers, UFCW, and A&P has been kept in place with no changes, Niccollai said. “For all intents and purposes, everyone is keeping what they have. We’re just doing the housekeeping now. Acme has assumed the A&P contract,” he said.

“We like what we see so far,” Niccollai added.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, declared bankruptcy in late July announcing plans to close 25 stores and sell off the remaining 300 stores. On July 1, Albertson officials announced its intention to buy 76 of them and re-open them under the Acme brand.

For one customer at the Eastchester location, the changeover has meant no difference except for the labels.

For a woman shopping in the produce department at the Bronxville store, the Acme transition has been a good one. “It’s nice and clean. Cleaner than it was and I’m a stickler for that,” said the customer who declined to give her name.

While several employees expressed relief at the conclusion of the transition, one Acme worker said the biggest difficulty has been filling jobs.

“The changeover has been a little bit hard. We don’t have enough people. It’s hard to get people to do this work for these salaries,” he said, declining to give his name.

Niccollai also confirmed the employment situation.

“The A&P stores had barebones crews. They were significantly understaffed. We have postings for 650 jobs that are unfilled at this point,” he said.

The union president said the Bronxville Acme currently has 80 employees. “I would imagine that the number will increase by quite a bit,” he said, but declined to give an estimate.

In terms of employment for UFCW members, the demise of A&P may ultimately be a good thing, Niccollai said. “We really took a tragedy and spun it into an opportunity,” he added.

Niccollai, who has been president of Local 464 since 1981, recounted a similar outcome after the bankruptcy of the Grand Union supermarket chain.

He said Grand Union had 1,200  job openings when Stop & Shop took over, but that the number increased to 2,200 after the
2001 transition.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com