Category Archives: Uncategorized

Alexander McCabe performs

Chamber celebrates holidays

Le Pain Qoutidien on Purchase Street hosted this year’s annual Rye Chamber of Commerce holiday party. Photos/Bobby Begun

Le Pain Qoutidien on Purchase Street hosted this year’s annual Rye Chamber of Commerce holiday party. Photos/Bobby Begun

From left to right, chamber members Sally Wright, Kathy Javari, Margaret Ricketts, Sula Pearlman and Sid Hoenig.

From left to right, chamber members Sally Wright, Kathy Javari, Margaret Ricketts, Sula Pearlman and Sid Hoenig.

Former Rye Mayor Steve Otis, left, a current New York State assemblyman, with Sally Wright, treasurer of the Rye Chamber of Commerce.

Former Rye Mayor Steve Otis, left, a current New York State assemblyman, with Sally Wright, treasurer of the Rye Chamber of Commerce.

Alexander McCabe performs

Alexander McCabe performs

The Rye Chamber of Commerce held its annual holiday party on Tuesday, Dec. 9. This year’s festivities took place at Le Pain Qoutidien, located at 30 Purchase St. Members of the Rye business community joined together to celebrate the year and enjoy catered food, drinks and some healthy conversation.

The chamber is a volunteer organization made up of Rye business owners and professionals that sponsors events throughout the year.

On Dec.1 the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scouts of Heart of the Hudson launched “Digital Cookie,” their new online cookie platform, which will allow the girls to market their cookies in a completely new way while learning new, innovative skills. Girls wear their scout uniforms as they sell their cookies at a traditional table and the money made goes directly into fundraising for scout endeavors.
Photo courtesy Girls Scouts

Girl Scout cookies gone digital

 

On Dec.1 the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scouts of Heart of the Hudson launched “Digital Cookie,” their new online cookie platform, which will allow the girls to market their cookies in a completely new way while learning new, innovative skills. Girls wear their scout uniforms as they sell their cookies at a traditional table and the money made goes directly into fundraising for scout endeavors. Photo courtesy Girls Scouts

On Dec.1 the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scouts of Heart of the Hudson launched “Digital Cookie,” their new online cookie platform, which will allow the girls to market their cookies in a completely new way while learning new, innovative skills. Girls wear their scout uniforms as they sell their cookies at a traditional table and the money made goes directly into fundraising for scout endeavors.
Photo courtesy Girls Scouts

By MARISSA PENN
For the first time since they debuted 100 years ago, Girl Scout cookies are now available online. On Dec. 1, the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scouts of Heart of the Hudson, which govern troops in Mamaroneck-Larchmont, Rye, Tuckahoe-Eastchester and New Rochelle, announced that it would be selling cookies online through the new national program called “Digital Cookie.”

According to the Girl Scouts website, “from its earliest beginnings to its current popularity, selling Girl Scout Cookies has helped girls have fun, develop valuable life skills, and make their communities a better place.”

Girl Scout cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of scout members, with mothers volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies was a way to finance troop activities, which began as early as 1917, just five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouting in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Okla., baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project, according to the Girl Scouts website.

In the 1920s and 30’s, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door-to-door for anywhere from 25 to 35 cents per dozen, according to the website.

Now, as we have entered the digital era, the cookie sales are being transitioned with either personalized troop websites or mobile apps. The online program is not designed to replace in-person and door-to-door sales, but to enhance them. “Digital Cookie” still follows the traditional model of the “hands on” approach to teaching girls new skills. Through the online platform, local Girl Scouts will maintain their own protected, personalized websites to market their cookie business to local consumers, accept orders via credit card, and activate cookie shipments directly to customers. The girls are even able to learn some rudimentary IT skills through setting up their own websites.

According to Roberta Perrego, senior product sales manager of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, the new platform is going to give the girls a chance to learn a new way to deal with people, a new method of marketing and to set goals.

“The girls today live in a digital world, so this is bringing the cookie program into a digital world and learning how to speak to people through a written media rather than a spoken media,” Perrego said.

Some of the benefits of the new program are the girls will also be able to communicate and ultimately sell their products outside of their local areas.

“The new program also allows cookies to be delivered overseas to military bases, so the girls who have friends and family would be able to order cookies and ship them right to the service people at their bases,” she said.

As with the traditional program, the net revenue earned from the online cookie sale will remain with the Girl Scout Heart of the Hudson to facilitate ongoing programs. The girls, however, decide how to spend their troop money and reinvest it back into their neighborhoods through community service projects.

Customers that purchase Girl Scout cookies are not only getting a tasty treat, but are also giving back to their own communities.

“Digital Cookie lets us continue our proud tradition of teaching today’s girls the skills of tomorrow, while remaining true to the core principles of the Girl Scout mission and the values taught by our iconic cookie program,” said Pamela I. Anderson, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson.

Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson has over 32,000 girl members and 14,000 adult members, making it the largest Girl Scout council in New York State. It serves seven counties, including Westchester.

Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson will begin using the platform at the start of its cookie-selling season on Feb. 27, 2015.

CONTACT: marissa@hometwn.com

 
murder

Morgado sentenced to 20 years to life

Manuela Morgado, the Mamaroneck mother who pleaded guilty to smothering her four-year-old to death, will be in jail for at least 20 years following her Dec. 5 sentencing. File photo

Manuela Morgado, the Mamaroneck mother who pleaded guilty to smothering her four-year-old to death, will be in jail for at least 20 years following her Dec. 5 sentencing. File photo

By Alina Suriel
A Mamaroneck mother accused of killing her four-year-old son was sentenced on Dec. 5 to 20 years to life for murder in the second degree.

Manuela Maria Morgado, 48, of 1035 E. Boston Post Road, had originally planned to stand trial and plead not guilty, but, on Sept. 18, her attorney announced his intention to change her plea to guilty in order to take a deal offered by prosecutors with the Westchester County District Attorney’s office. Before entering her guilty plea there had been months of delays leading up to her anticipated trial in which Morgado’s psychiatric state was evaluated.

Morgado was found by police in her home on Sept. 30, 2012 at 10:43 a.m. with her unresponsive son, Jason “Jake” Reish at her side.

Morgado herself was only semi-conscious after having ingested pills of Alprazolam, a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, in a suicide attempt. The child was pronounced dead at the scene. Morgado was taken to Sound Shore Medical Center and was treated for her injuries. She was arrested on Oct. 1 while at the hospital after police secured the crime scene at her apartment and executed search warrants for various items around her apartment and in the hospital.

Morgado first tried to asphyxiate her son with adult cold medicine and gas from a helium tank she had purchased online. She told detectives at the scene that she had researched ways to end Jake’s life with the least amount of suffering, but after she failed in her initial attempts, she physically smothered the boy with a pillow until he stopped breathing.

Morgado had been in the middle of a custody battle for her son with the boy’s father, Timothy Reish, a Briarcliff doctor specializing in sports medicine. Their son was born in 2008, but Reish remarried soon after. When Morgado was found at the scene of the crime, detectives at the scene reported that after they asked her in Spanish what had happened, her reply was simply, “Now no one will take him from me.”

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, speculated that Morgado would likely serve her time in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum security women’s prison in the state.

Calls to Saad Siddiqui, Morgado’s legal aid attorney, were not returned as of press time.

CONTACT: alina@hometwn.com

 

Town adopts tight 2015 budget

The town adopted its 2015 budget one week earlier than expected thanks to few adjustments to the preliminary draft and little public concern from the community. File photo

The town adopted its 2015 budget one week earlier than expected thanks to few adjustments to the preliminary draft and little public concern from the community. File photo

By Alina Suriel
The 2015 budget was adopted by a unanimous vote on Dec. 4 with not even a single question from the town board or members of the public in attendance.

“The board felt that all the work was done,” said Town Comptroller Maureen Mackenzie. “This was what they wanted and they felt comfortable passing this as the budget.”

The total spending listed in the budget was raised to $45.4 million, an increase of $111,294 over the tentative budget, bringing the total budget-to-budget spending up 1.93 percent from this year’s budget.

The tax rate was raised slightly to 1.986 in the adopted version of the budget, which puts the dollar increase at $6.49 for every $1,000 of assessed property. In the previous iteration of the budget, the tax rate increase was listed at 1.946 percent, or $6.36 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The increase in the tax rate can be explained by a drop in the assessment roll, or the overall property tax money collected by the town assessor’s office. Property owners claiming their property was overassessed, and therefore overcharged with regard to taxes, resulted in the town issuing tax refunds which cost a collective $50,000 from the assessment role.

The drop in Harrison’s assessment role also resulted in the town being forced to make up part of the difference with a slight increase in the tax levy. The tax levy rate, originally proposed as a mere .000599 increase over the 2014 budget, had already been under the 1.56 percent state-mandated property tax levy cap in the previous draft of the budget, having only increased .000599 percent from 2014. The new number raises the levy increase to .062 percent, or $27,434, bringing the overall tax levy amount to $44.3 million

Councilman Joe Canella, a Republican, said the board was able to pass the budget so quickly because there were no criticisms to consider, and that this is due to what he perceives to be satisfaction on the part of the constituents.

“It was pretty much viewed as a non-event and didn’t generate a lot of interest because the increase was low,” Canella said. “When you wind up with a budget with a low [tax] rate, people are going to be pleased.”

Canella also said another aspect which enabled the budget to be adopted so quickly was there was less input this year from organizations looking for more financial support from the board, such as the library. Canella said that representatives of the Harrison library usually offer more input on their budget, but that he expects they’re too busy dealing with ongoing renovations to its facility.

Prior to its adoption, there were 21 items that were altered from the preliminary budget.

Many of the changes were minimal, with most having items concerning costs of less than $7,000.

The biggest increase was seen in the amount allocated for police overtime, which saw that budget increased by $100,000 to $700,000 in total. This comes after a recent request from police Chief Anthony Marraccini that more overtime was needed to cover short staffing and extra work put in by detectives due to a higher volume of intensive investigations.

Marraccini told the Review that while the extra funds are helpful, it is not nearly enough as overtime in his department generally exceeds $1 million every year. He blames the financial shortcoming on the difficulties officials face in balancing municipal needs with state-mandated compliance with the tax levy cap.

“I think that the board is doing the best that they can,” Marraccini said, “given the restrictions that the state has put on them with the tax cap, and I think that they were headed in the right direction.

“It’s difficult, especially when dealing with emergency services, that an outside body puts a restriction like a tax cap to allot to emergency services. I think it puts this community at a disadvantage concerning
public safety.”

Marraccini said when the tax cap was first instituted by the state in 2011 the police
department was so short staff-ed that they had only 50 officers on the force, and because of those budget restrictions that it has taken a long while to get the ranks back up to the current headcount of 63.

CONTACT: alina@hometwn.com

 
The village closed off the Jefferson Avenue Bridge on Nov. 25 to allow for the sealing of cracks on the bridge’s wear surface, but still needs to address the bridge’s guard rails that do not meet code. 
Photo/Jackson Chen

Village addresses bridge flaws

The village closed off the Jefferson Avenue Bridge on Nov. 25 to allow for the sealing of cracks on the bridge’s wear surface, but still needs to address the bridge’s guard rails that do not meet code.  Photo/Jackson Chen

The village closed off the Jefferson Avenue Bridge on Nov. 25 to allow for the sealing of cracks on the bridge’s wear surface, but still needs to address the bridge’s guard rails that do not meet code.
Photo/Jackson Chen

By JACKSON CHEN
It has been three months since the re-opening of the flawed Jefferson Avenue Bridge, but a preliminary report shows that numerous errors during the construction process may be to blame. 

On Nov. 25, beginning at 6 a.m., the bridge was closed off so the contractor, Arben Group, could apply an epoxy sealant and binder to the numerous cracks running through the wear-surface of the bridge. The bridge was reopened the following morning and the process was completed at no cost to the village.

According to Village Manager Rich Slingerland, the wear surface is a four-inch thick layer of concrete, reinforced with steel, poured on top of the primary bridge structure. The wear surface’s purpose is to protect the bridge underneath in terms of durability.

The cracks in the wear-surface, noticed by nearby residents, began shortly after the bridge was completed in August. According to Gina von Eiff, a Jefferson Avenue resident, the cracks were continually widening as they soon spanned the entirety of the bridge.

Eric Cowley, a Harrison-based forensic and structural engineer, said “fresh concrete will always crack; it’s a matter of controlling the cracks.”

Slingerland said the cracks were originally determined superficial, but were ultimately recommended to be sealed after a report from John Deerkoski, a Warwick-based engineering consultant hired by the village for an independent review. Based on the preliminary reports obtained by the Review, there were several factors that could have contributed to the widespread cracking on the bridge’s wear surface.

According to Deerkoski’s report, there were numerous factors that could cause additional cracking on the bridge based on New York State Department of Transportation, DOT, studies. Deerkoski noted in his report that there was a low water to cement ratio that causes a higher strength in concrete. However, according to the consultant’s report, “early-strength gain can be considered a contributing factor to the observed cracking.”

During the pouring of the concrete, a low water to cement ratio was noted in one of the daily work reports prepared by WSP Group  dated Aug. 24. However, the contractor continued with the pour under the guidance of the project engineers, WSP Group.

Besides the low ratio, the report also noted the premature starting of the pouring process. DOT recommends a 12-hour gap after pre-wetting, a process that hydrates the dirt below the structure and creates a more solid foundation.  According to the same daily work report, the contractor pre-wet the deck just before the start of the pour at approximately 8:15 a.m.

Deerkoski also noted that the welded wire fabric, which serves as the concrete’s metal reinforcement during the pour, wasn’t properly supported and was picked up when the concrete began to cure. The removal of the welded wire fabrics “obviously disturbed the curing and the final performance of the overlay,” Deerkoski said in the report.

He added in his findings that “the pour shouldn’t have been allowed to start. The contractor should have known better. WSP who was at the site certainly should have.”

Amidst the many initial faults of the project, the village is still discussing whether to pursue litigation against the contractors, Arben, who also broke a sewer line in March of last year. After Arben’s accidental break in the sewer line, which caused three million gallons of raw sewage to leak into the Mamaroneck River, the village was left with a $17,000 fine from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The village has since remedied the cracks but the pedestrian guard rails are still below the required height as designed by WSP. The current guard rails, which are highlighted by orange netting covering it, measure around 35 inches tall, which is below the 42 inches of height required to comply with safety standards for pedestrian-use bridges according to the state transportation department.

“During the process, the drawing is created and it’s run through all kinds of people looking at it,” Cowley said of the common practices of construction. “It goes through the designer, goes through town officials who have their own consultants. A lot of people would’ve probably reviewed the design or drawings.”

When asked why the guard rails are at the incorrect height, Slingerland said the village had received a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers in 2009 advising that the protective walls alongside the bridge’s upper should be open and low as possible to not trap debris from extreme flooding conditions. However, the village manager added that even though the letter was taken into consideration, it doesn’t negate the current requirements of height for the guard rails.

According to Slingerland, the village is looking to correct the guard rails as soon as possible, but is waiting on quotes from WSP. Afterwards, the new rails would be manufactured and installed after meeting the correct codes and requirements.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joins with Nikki Hahn, president of the Junior League of Central Westchester, to officially open the Westchester County Diaper Bank during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the junior league headquarters in Scarsdale on Nov. 24. Photo courtesy Diana Costello

Westchester County opens diaper bank

 

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joins with Nikki Hahn, president of the Junior League of Central Westchester, to officially open the Westchester County Diaper Bank during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the junior league headquarters in Scarsdale on Nov. 24. Photo courtesy Diana Costello

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joins with Nikki Hahn, president of the Junior League of Central Westchester, to officially open the Westchester County Diaper Bank during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the junior league headquarters in Scarsdale on Nov. 24. Photo courtesy Diana Costello

By MARISSA PENN
After years of preparation, a Westchester County Diaper Bank officially opened on Nov. 24 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Junior League of Central Westchester headquarters at Wayside Cottage in Scarsdale. The Westchester County Diaper Bank is the only one of its kind in the New York City metro area.

Since the economy took a nosedive, more and more families have struggled to afford diapers. Since 2008, the median household income has substantially dipped in Westchester County and many more families have struggled with basic needs like putting food on the table or diapers on their children, according to Nikki Hahn, the president of the Junior League of Central Westchester.

“No one wants a family to choose between diapers and dinner,” Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, told the Review.

The Westchester County Diaper Bank, which was first announced on Sep. 11, has been collecting all sizes, types and brands of disposable diapers and wipes for several months, is now ready to meet the needs of families in the county that are struggling to afford clean diapers. This is a basic need for children, “as essential as food and shelter,” Astorino said.

Hahn said applications are already starting to come in.

“We’ve had a ton of phone calls—there is definitely a need,” Hahn said.

Astorino cut the ribbon with Hahn to celebrate the opening.

“We can significantly reduce diaper deprivation, leading to improved emotional outcomes for our babies and their caregivers,” Hahn said.

The diaper bank, which is fully funded by private donations, has already received over 10,000 diapers.

“We aren’t spending one dime in taxpayer money,” Astorino said.

The Department of Social Services, DSS, will be responsible for doing all of the intakes as well, so nothing is being spent on the program, according to Astorino.

According to Hahn, a recent study found that one in three American families struggles to afford clean diapers for their child. Without an ample supply of diapers, babies left in soiled diapers for too long can have poor health as a result, including infections, discomfort, and emotional distress

The founders of the program, the Junior League of Central Westchester and DSS, which were motivated by the motto “changing babies…changing lives,” established the diaper bank to give families an opportunity to raise healthier children.

Families that sign up for diaper bank services will have the chance to apply for a package containing a week’s supply of diapers and wipes up to three times a year per child. The Department of Social Services has partnered with the Diaper Bank and through DSS, families will begin to receive services. In order to participate in the Diaper Bank’s program, proof of Westchester County residency and a child’s birth certificate are required.

Applications can be obtained and submitted at any of the county’s DSS  offices—located in Mount Vernon, Peekskill, White Plains and Yonkers—or can be downloaded from the JLCW’s website at jlcentralwestchester.org/diaperbank.

A family does not need to be an existing client of DSS to apply.

The Westchester Diaper Bank is not alone, as there is a network of diaper banks across the country called the National Diaper Bank Network, which the Westchester bank will be a part of. There are also several diaper banks in upstate New York, a few in New Jersey and a few in Connecticut.

CONTACT: marissa@hometwn.com 

 
Manhattan Diamond district merchant David Tadjijev, pictured,  is named by Harrison police as the ringleader of a seven-member burglary ring which targeted communities from Putnam County to Long Island. Photo courtesy Harrison police

Police shut down tri-state burglary ring

Manhattan Diamond district merchant David Tadjijev, pictured,  is named by Harrison police as the ringleader of a seven-member burglary ring which targeted communities from Putnam County to Long Island. Photo courtesy Harrison police

Manhattan Diamond district merchant David Tadjijev, pictured, is named by Harrison police as the ringleader of a seven-member burglary ring which targeted communities from Putnam County to Long Island. Photo courtesy Harrison police

By Alina Suriel
It’s not so great to be in Harrison if you’re a criminal.

Harrison police busted members of a seven-member burglary ring with suspected ties to over 25 burglaries in the tri-state area after apprehending two of the alleged thieves following a heist in nearby Fairfield, Conn.

According to the Harrison Police Department, a two-month crime spree attributed to the group began to unravel when Angelo Carzoglio, of Broome Street in New York City, and Rafael Sanchez, of W. 143 St. in Harlem, were apprehended on the Hutchinson River Parkway on Oct. 21 after allegedly fleeing from their latest home burglary. The two men had a stolen safe and a pillowcase containing jewelry swiped from Fairfield in their possession when they were detained.

Surveillance, which police had already taken of Carzoglio, revealed he had been burglarizing homes throughout New York and Connecticut with Sanchez and an additional member of the ring, Marie Nikgjonaj of Valentine Avenue in the Bronx.

Officers arrested Nikgjonaj following the arrest of Carzoglio and Sanchez.

Police investigation on the group began after a home in the Purchase Estates cul-de-sac in the Purchase area of Harrison was found burglarized on Sept. 22. Video evidence obtained after this incident and license plate reading technology used by Harrison police triggered what would be a two-month joint investigation which saw Harrison law enforcement working with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Organized Crime Division and the Special Investigation Squad of Bergen County, N. J., to investigate this incident’s connection to burglaries committed throughout Westchester and Putnam counties, Long Island and Connecticut.

Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini was proud of his department’s involvement in catching such prolific
criminals.

“What a premier case this was,” Marraccini said. “It’s really a service to our community and other communities.”

According to Harrison police, the group broke into affluent homes while they appeared to be unoccupied in the early hours of the morning. The suspects would then make their way into the master bedrooms of these residences to steal jewelry, safes and other property, which they would transport out of the house in pillowcases also stolen from the victims.

The burglars would dispose of the stolen merchandise by selling it at a premium to David Tadjijev, the operator of a jewelry business in New York City’s diamond district. Tadjijev was later revealed to be the primary organizer and mastermind behind the group, renting out cars for the burglars to use which would eventually be traced back to him with license plate readers, most notably in the theft which started the investigation in Purchase Estates.

The group is also believed to have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry from a home in the Forest Lake area of West Harrison, and may have connections to a burglary in Wendover in Rye last December.

While authorities were in the process of investigating the burglaries committed in Westchester, they uncovered a second arm of the organized crime group operating out of Bergen County who had also supplied Tadjijev with stolen jewels. Jamelle Singletary, Lawal Erskine and Jamaal Sermon, all of Teaneck, N.J., were arrested on Thursday, Nov. 6 after Harrison police were informed by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office that the three had planned to meet the diamond dealer at his apartment in Astoria, Queens, for payment in exchange for handing off merchandise stolen from two burglaries in their home state. Singletary and Erskine went ahead into Tadjijev’s apartment, while Sermon waited for them inside their vehicle. It was then that Harrison police proceeded to arrest all four of the men.

According to Harrison police, Carzoglio, Sanchez and Nikgjonaj are currently being held in Westchester County Jail after having been charged with possession of stolen property.

Tadjijev, Singletary, Erskine and Sermon are at the same facility with charges of being fugitive from justice warrants, and are awaiting extradition to New Jersey. Additional charges are expected to be filed as the investigation is still
ongoing.

CONTACT: alina@hometwn.com

 
Ana Munoz patiently works to clear a mound of debris in one of the furthest corners of the lot.

Washingtonville area gets makeover

This building, located at 46 Madison Ave., was once the site of a chapter of the Elk’s Club.

This building, located at 46 Madison Ave., was once the site of a chapter of the Elk’s Club.

Volunteers and local residents met on Saturday, Oct. 18, to clean up the side lot of the old Elk’s lodge at 46 Madison Ave. The building has been empty since the club went bankrupt prior to the 2007 floods which left the structure under several feet of water and ultimately saw the infrastructure destroyed. Former members of the Elk’s chapter worked side by side with residents of the Washingtonville area to clear garbage and debris from the lot, which has been cited by officials as example of blight in the neighborhood which will be affected by zoning changes in recent legislation proposed for the vicinity around the village’s Metro-North train station.

-Photos and reporting by
Alina Suriel

Joe Dedvukaj and Max Cutrupi converge on Haldane’s Tyler Giachinta. Tuckahoe’s defense held the Blue Devils to just 118 yards of offense on the day.

Tigers claim Class D crown

Enoch Penney-Lareya breaks a tackle en route to a touchdown against Haldane on Nov. 8. Penney-Lareya finished with 227 yards and four touchdowns. Photos/Bobby Begun

Enoch Penney-Lareya breaks a tackle en route to a touchdown against Haldane on Nov. 8. Penney-Lareya finished with 227 yards and four touchdowns. Photos/Bobby Begun

By MIKE SMITH
After a summer rife with uncertainty and turmoil, the Tuckahoe football team left little doubt as to their Section I dominance this year. On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Tigers won their third-straight Class D championship with a dominating performance against challenger Haldane, beating the Blue Devils 40-0 to advance to the state regional quarterfinals.

Tuckahoe wasted little time on Saturday, thanks in part to the tough running of punishing halfback Enoch Penney-Lareya, who finished the day with four touchdowns and 227 yards on the ground. Penney-Lareya’s biggest gain of the day was a 99-yard Wildcat scamper in the final minute of the second quarter to give the Tigers a commanding 27-0 lead at the half.

According to the senior, the play was designed to give the Tigers a bit of breathing room, but quickly turned into Tuckahoe’s biggest play of the
season.

“We were just trying to gain about five yards and move forward,” Penney-Lareya said. “But I saw a big clump, so I cut outside because there was a hole.”

Penney-Lareya was also dominant on the other side of the ball, racking up four sacks en route to winning the game’s most outstanding lineman award.

“He came to play on both sides of the ball today,” said Tuckahoe coach John D’Arco, Sr. “He was great, both offensively and defensively.”

The rest of the Tuckahoe defense acquitted itself just as well, holding the Blue Devils to just 118 yards of offense on the afternoon. In the first half, Tuckahoe was able to end two Haldane scoring threats with timely interceptions, something that D’Arco feels is indicative of his squad’s mindset.

Joe Dedvukaj and Max Cutrupi converge on Haldane’s Tyler Giachinta. Tuckahoe’s defense held the Blue Devils to just 118 yards of offense on the day.

Joe Dedvukaj and Max Cutrupi converge on Haldane’s Tyler Giachinta. Tuckahoe’s defense held the Blue Devils to just 118 yards of offense on the day.

“Their backs were against the wall, not just this game, but all season,” the head coach said. “But this is the toughest group of guys I’ve ever coached. They never quit, they never give up.”

Tuckahoe quarterback Anthony Castracucco, who was named the game’s most outstanding back after a 117-yard, two score performance, said that the squad’s reluctance to give in was born from the questions surrounding the future of the program that arose in the preseason.

In August, amid some concern about the team’s dwindling numbers and lack of support from the school board, members of the community rallied behind the program at a Board of Education meeting to ensure that the team would have the necessary equipment and enough coaches to take the field in 2014.

Those early trials, the quarterback said, helped motivate the Tigers to come out strong in the second half despite an overwhelming lead.

“That stuff brought us together, it made us a family,” said Castracucco. “That second half, that was for our fans, for the people who supported us, not the people trying to bring us down.”

With the win, Tuckahoe will advance to the Class D quarterfinals at Dietz Stadium in Kingston, N.Y. on Nov. 15, where they will take on Section IX champ Chester High School at 3 p.m.

Anthony Castracucco carries the ball in Tuckahoe’s 40-0 win over Haldane for the Class D Section I title. Castracucco was named the game’s most outstanding back.

Anthony Castracucco carries the ball in Tuckahoe’s 40-0 win over Haldane for the Class D Section I title. Castracucco was named the game’s most outstanding back.

The Tigers will look to capitalize on the momentum of Saturday’s win as they cast their gaze towards Syracuse.

“This is just awesome because we had a lot of doubts in the beginning of the season,” said Penney-Lareya after the game. “But we stuck together, we know what it means to be a team, so we just persevered and came through in the end.”

CONTACT: sports@hometwn.com

 
Tomas Illanes goes up for a header on Oct. 7. The Tigers can win another league title with a win against Mount Vernon in two weeks.

Tigers fall to New Ro

Juan Giraldo fights with a New Rochelle defender for possession of the ball on Oct. 7. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to the Huguenots 2-1 on a late penalty kick.

Juan Giraldo fights with a New Rochelle defender for possession of the ball on Oct. 7. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to the Huguenots 2-1 on a late penalty kick.

 

By MIKE SMITH
On Oct. 7, the Mamaroneck boys’ soccer team lost a heartbreaker to league rival New Rochelle, falling 2-1 to the Huguenots on a late penalty kick. With just three losses spread out over the last two seasons, dealing with defeat might not be a common feeling for the Tigers, but head coach Rich Becker is confident that, as Mamaroneck looks towards claiming another league title and making a deep playoff run this year, it will be what the team can glean from its missteps that will prove the ultimate difference maker. 

With the score tied in the 75th minute on Monday, a quick Huguenot counter-attack led to a penalty in the box on New Rochelle forward Brian Barrenechea. Barrenechea converted on the penalty kick to give the Huguenots a big win over the reigning league champs. According to Becker, the 2-1 loss should serve as a reminder to his team that, especially come playoff time, the momentum of a game can swing instantaneously.

“I think it shows the kids that regardless of what happens in a game, if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net early on, those kinds of bounces, those plays, can make the difference in a game,” the head coach said.

Mamaroneck, which is currently 6-2-2 on the season, is coming off a 2013 season that saw the Tigers go undefeated, only to fall in the Class AA semifinals to a hungry Horace Greeley team.

Tomas Illanes goes up for a header on Oct. 7. The Tigers can win another league title with a win against Mount Vernon in two weeks.

Tomas Illanes goes up for a header on Oct. 7. The Tigers can win another league title with a win against Mount Vernon in two weeks.

This year, Becker and the Tigers are stressing the importance of sustaining their elite play throughout the postseason.

“Last year, it was nice to be undefeated, but I think we peaked too early,” he said. “Fortunately, if we can beat Mount Vernon in two weeks, we can seal up the league title, which was our first goal this year, and start to prepare for the postseason.”

By all accounts, the Tigers would seem like a team built for postseason play.

With a multi-faceted attack led by Juan Giraldo, Yeison Benegas, Alejandro Lopez and Jonathan Maldonado, the Tigers have no shortage of players who can put the ball in the net. Furthermore, with a number of injuries to starters early in the year, Becker has been able to get more players in the rotation, strengthening the Tigers’ depth for the playoff push.

“We’re not too top-heavy and we can spread the ball around,” said Becker. “It’s always beneficial to have more than one scoring threat on the field.”

The Tigers will be tested over the next few weeks as they take on some tough non-conference opponents before looking to clinch a league title. Mamaroneck will travel to Port Chester on Oct. 8, after press time, to take on a good Rams team and will also play against the Newburgh Free Academy on Oct. 13 in the annual Section 1-Section IX challenge.

Senior Quentin Sakakeeny controls the ball at midfield on Oct. 7. Mamaroneck is 6-2-2 on the season after a close loss to New Rochelle. Photos/Bobby Begun

Senior Quentin Sakakeeny controls the ball at midfield on Oct. 7. Mamaroneck is 6-2-2 on the season after a close loss to New Rochelle. Photos/Bobby Begun

“We just need to make sure we’re paying attention to detail, working on the little things,” said Becker. “It’s those little mistakes, like the one against New Rochelle that they called the penalty on, that we need to fix.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com 

 

Jack Green looks to push the ball upfield on Oct. 7.

Jack Green looks to push the ball upfield on Oct. 7.