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paul bookbinder

Column: Can happiness be found with a new nose?

paulHave you ever looked in the mirror and said to yourself, “I’d look so much better if I just had a new nose? Or ears? Or maybe a chin?” Well, think of how your kitchen cabinets feel. It has probably had the same old fronts for a long, long time, and if it could look in a mirror, you could almost hear it say, “I’d look so much better if I just had new doors.” It’s not looking for a complete face-lift, just a change in style to make it look young again.

This process is called a partial reface or “re-dooring.”A partial reface refers to changing the door and drawer fronts on your cabinets but not refacing the cabinet boxes. The process is best suited for frameless or European cabinets. If you missed The Kitchen Insider—What type of cabinets do you have?, which detailed the different types of cabinets, I’ll give you a quick refresher, now.

A frameless cabinet only has five sides; it does not have a front to the cabinet box. Consisting of a top and bottom, two side pieces and the back, the front of the cabinet is made up of the edges of the top, bottom and two side pieces, usually 5/8” or 3/4” thick. The door and drawer fronts for this type of cabinet cover the edges of the cabinet. Since the fronts cover the edges, they don’t have to be refaced, saving a great deal of labor and materials that result in a much more economical facelift. If you select fronts of a different color than your cabinet, the exposed cabinet sides can be laminated or veneered to match the new doors.

Don’t despair if you have framed cabinets, you can still do a partial reface by painting your cabinet boxes to match the new doors or you may order doors to match the existing cabinets.

A framed cabinet includes the sixth side to its box, which makes up the front of the cabinet. The opening for the framed cabinet is cut out of the sixth side; the front creating the frame. There are several solid color replacement fronts available, some clients have combined wood grain fronts with almond or white painted boxes.

Besides saving money, a partial reface also lends itself to those who like to do it themselves. If you can use a ruler and a screwdriver, you should be able to replace the fronts in your kitchen easily. It’s best to get the refacing vendor to measure the cabinets for you, even if it costs a couple of extra dollars. This is money well spent because if a door doesn’t fit and you had a professional measure them, it’s their responsibility to replace it, not yours.

Although not all refacing companies will sell you the materials, if you make a few local calls, you’ll probably find one who will. Purchasing refacing fronts on the internet is not recommended because, in all probability, you’ll need direct contact with the vendor when questions arise relating to measuring and installing. I wouldn’t advise trying to do a full reface by yourself unless you’ve had experience working with laminates and veneers, however, a partial reface may be the weekend project that you’ve been looking for.

Isn’t it time you give your cupboards a treat for a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen. A partial reface can bring happiness to your sad, run down looking cabinets and perhaps it can brighten your life as well.

Paul Bookbinder, m.i.d., c.r., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com.

Federal housing monitor Jim Johnson, center, who is overseeing the 2009 affordable housing settlement between Westchester County and the federal government, met with county legislators on Sept. 10 to discuss his recently completed Huntington analysis. Photo/Chris Eberhart

County loses millions in grant money

Federal housing monitor Jim Johnson, center, who is overseeing the 2009 affordable housing settlement between Westchester County and the federal government, met with county legislators on Sept. 10 to discuss his recently completed Huntington analysis. Photo/Chris Eberhart

Federal housing monitor Jim Johnson, center, who is overseeing the 2009 affordable housing settlement between Westchester County and the federal government, met with county legislators on Sept. 10 to discuss his recently completed Huntington analysis. Photo/Chris Eberhart

By CHRIS EBERHART
Westchester County did not submit a completed and accepted analysis of impediments to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development by a Sept. 15 deadline, which was a requirement of the 2009 affordable housing settlement.

As a consequence, Westchester is now out $15.6 million in federal grant money.

The 2009 settlement, made between HUD and then Democratic County Executive Andy Spano, required the county to build 750 units of affordable housing in Westchester over a seven-year period; complete source of income legislation—which bans discrimination against potential renters and home buyers based on their source of income—and complete an analysis of impediments, which is a review of the barriers affecting the development of affordable housing.

The county is on pace to fulfill the 750 units requirement.

Source of income legislation was passed last year. The analysis of impediments was nearly complete, but was still missing the Huntington analysis, which determines if there is exclusionary zoning in a given area based on race.

The administration of current County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, submitted eight analyses of impediments to HUD, all of which were rejected. HUD said the Huntington analyses that were submitted were incomplete.

As per paragraph 32 of the 2009 settlement, the analysis of impediments “must be deemed acceptable by HUD,” and, since it has not been deemed acceptable, HUD said the county is not in compliance with the 2009 settlement and has withheld millions of dollars in federal grant money.

Earlier this year, the county lost a 2011 grant worth $7.2 million. Now the 2012, 2013 and 2014 grant money—worth a combined $15.6 million, earmarked for affordable housing and revitalizing low-income neighborhoods—has been lost and reallocated by the federal government before the start of the new federal fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1. Although the new fiscal year doesn’t begin until the first of October, the reallocation process takes place in mid-September.

The deadline to send the analysis of impediments to HUD was Monday, Sept. 15, just one week after  the county Board of Legislators received the last piece of the analysis of impediments—the Huntington analysis, which was completed by court-appointed federal monitor Jim Johnson, an attorney from Debevoise and Plimton who was tasked with overseeing implementation of the settlement, as a favor to the county after “productive and amicable” discussions with the Board of Legislators.

Two days later, chairman of the Board of Legislators Mike Kaplowitz, a Yorktown Democrat, called on Astorino to bundle Johnson’s analysis with the completed Berenson analysis—which determines if there is exclusionary zoning in a given area based on socioeconomic factors—along with the previously completed work done by the county and send it to HUD as a completed analysis of impediments before the deadline passes.

Astorino declined and outlined his reasons why in a letter to Kaplowitz.

In the letter, Astorino said the Huntington report was incomplete, the Berenson report was inaccurate and incorporating the monitor’s report would “completely undermine the principle of Home Rule since the county would be agreeing to turn over decision making on local zoning to a federal agency.”

The alternative route for Kaplowitz was to vote on and pass his proposed legislation that would send the information to HUD as a 17-member legislature, but he said didn’t have the 12 votes needed to override an anticipated veto from the county executive.

Kaplowitz said, “It was disappointing to lose the $15.6 million in 2012, ’13 and ’14 grant money, but there’s much more at stake with the overall 2009 settlement. We are working to avoid the settlement from being reopened, which could mean we have to build more [than 750] units, and leave us open for fines and more intercepted federal money for not being in compliance.”

He said if the county doesn’t comply with the settlement, the county could lose approximately $540 million, which was an estimate from 2009 when the agreement was first signed.

To put things in perspective, Kaplowitz said, the county receives $200 million in federal aid.

“If we lose that, ball game’s up at that point,” Kaplowitz said.

Legislator Catherine Borgia, an Ossining Democrat, blamed Astorino for putting the county in this situation.

“It’s a shame that we’ve reached this point where we’ve lost an incredible amount of aid that the people of Westchester deserve. The delay strategy and the uncooperative strategy of the Astorino administration has chosen to take over the years has had a direct financial impact on the county,” Borgia said. “And it’s based on stubbornness and pursuit of an ideology that doesn’t benefit the people of Westchester County.”

But legislative opinion about Astorino was split along party lines.

John Testa, a Cortlandt Republican, expressed his support for the county executive.

“Astorino has done everything HUD has asked him to do with eight submissions of analyses of impediments. And each new submission was based on a request from the previous submission. So, when one submission was handed in, HUD would say ‘you’re missing this.’ [Astorino] filled in that missing part and the next one would say ‘you’re missing this,’” Testa said. “The bar kept moving on the [Astorino] administration.”

Deadline or no deadline, the county and the municipalities involved will have to address the monitor’s report, which indicates there are six municipalities—Harrison, Larchmont, North Castle, Rye Brook, Lewisboro and Pelham Manor—that have exclusionary zoning based on the Huntington test.

According to the monitor’s report, the municipalities with exclusionary zoning under the Huntington standard either “perpetuate clustering by restricting multifamily or two-family housing to districts that have disproportionately high minority household populations” or “disparately impact the county minority household population by restricting the development of housing types most often used by minority residents.”

In a roundtable discussion with the Board of Legislators on Sept. 10, Johnson emphasized this report was “evidence” of exclusionary zoning, not “findings,” and what’s being presented is raw data without taking into account various zoning constraints or asking why the zoning code is configured as it is.

Johnson said the analysis of the data comes as part of step two, when the monitor talks with each municipality; this is just the beginning of the process. He said municipalities will have the opportunity to address him and “come forward with legitimate reasons that justify the current zoning provisions” with evidence to support their claims.

“If there are insurmountable environmental issues in that the infrastructure can’t support multifamily housing in the area, that could be a reason,” Johnson said.

Johnson and municipalities have been in talks to rectify zoning concerns stemming from his first report, released in September 2013, that analyzed zoning codes under the Berenson test. In last year’s report, seven municipalities were identified—Harrison, Pelham Manor, Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Ossining, Pound Ridge and the unincorporated Town of Mamaroneck—to have exclusionary zoning based on the Berenson test.

Since the report was released, municipalities have been working with the monitor to alter their zoning to allow for more affordable housing opportunities. Kaplowitz said all the municipalities have had discussions with the monitor with varying degrees of involvement.

The Town of Mamaroneck has been taken off the list of seven after altering its zoning code, and, according to the monitor’s report, Ossining and Pound Ridge “have made considerable progress in reforming their zoning codes to expand opportunities for affordable housing development.”

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
Erin hearn controls the ball against Rye on Sept. 5. The Eagles are looking to make another deep run in the Class A playoffs this year. Photo/Mike Smith

Eagles coming together

Erin hearn controls the ball against Rye on Sept. 5. The Eagles are looking to make another deep run in the Class A playoffs this year. Photo/Mike Smith

Erin hearn controls the ball against Rye on Sept. 5. The Eagles are looking to make another deep run in the Class A playoffs this year. Photo/Mike Smith

By MIKE SMITH
Eastchester might have lost a few games out of the gate in 2014, but given the Eagles’ talent level—and their history as a top Class A team—it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the young club contending for a section crown at the end of the year. 

Eastchester beat Harrison 1-0 on Sept. 11, on the strength of a first-half goal by Gabby Ricciardi. With the win, the Eagles improved to 2-3 on the year and look to be turning the corner as the season begins to heat up.

Despite losing 11 seniors from last year’s Class A runner-up team, the Eagles have no shortage of stars, according to head coach Frank Fiore.

“We always have high expectations for the girls, even though we know that we lost a lot,” said Fiore. “We have enough talent on the team, and enough in the program that we try to pick it up every year. We’ve been a good team for long enough that nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.”

In addition to Ricciardi, the Eagles will be relying on their tri-captains, Claire Teahan and sisters Olivia and Anna Hughes, to lead the squad this year. Offensively, the Eagles are also relying on midfielder Gail Kahmen to distribute the ball and facilitate the scoring. Multi-sport star Clarissa Mejia is once again in net for Eastchester.

With a younger squad, Fiore said, the Eagles will work on controlling the ball and finding openings in opposing defenses.

“Depending on our formation, we’re going to try and work on grinding it out, keeping possession,” he said. “The girls are out to prove they belong. We’re going to be a scrappy team.”

The Eagles will have their work cut out for them this year, with teams like Rye, Harrison, Byram Hills, Pelham and Port Chester on the league schedule.

“In my mind, there are so many soccer schools in the area, I’d say this is the toughest league in the section,” said Fiore. “There’s not one gimme game on here.”

Considering the tough schedule, the Eagles’ early tests should be helpful come postseason, according to Fiore.

“I told the girls, this is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to come together as a team, but once the playoffs roll around, it won’t matter if our seed might be a little lower.”

The Eagles will take on Port Chester on Sept. 20, before hosting Harrison in a Sept. 22 rematch.

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
LETTER

Letter: Miller: I am sorry

Dear Editor,

The published comments from my [Mamaroneck Review] interview last week about the Latino community in the Village of Mamaroneck were careless, hurtful and wrong.

For this I am sorry. I know that my comments angered many members of our community. No one should ever feel as if there is a limit to what they are capable of accomplishing.

In meeting with members of the village’s Latino community, I now realize the depth of pain my words caused. Our ongoing discussions have enlightened me to some of the challenges they have in our community, but there’s still more to learn. My comments were not meant to exclude anyone, but to reassure my commitment to represent everyone in our community no matter what race, gender or ethnicity. My doors have been opened to the Latino community wider than they have ever been before, and I am committed to keeping it this way.

I believe that our collective diversity makes our community stronger, that all people deserve the chance to show themselves at their best, and that those of us honored to be elected to public office have a responsibility to represent everyone in our community. I am truly sorry for what I said and look forward to learning more about the Latino community and others throughout the Village of Mamaroneck who don’t feel their interests are being served.

I will work toward meeting on a regular basis with a group of Latino leaders and activists to learn more about the community’s goals and objectives.

Trustee Ilissa Miller,

Mamaroneck

debate

Bermudez: Neuringer paid Potok

By JOHN BRANDI
At the Aug. 31 Village of Mamaroneck Democratic primary debate, the last before the election on Sept. 9, Trustee Andres Bermudez Hallstrom, the catalyst for the primary, levied a significant charge against his fellow incumbent, Trustee Leon Potok, but documents suggest a clerical error is at the heart of the matter, rather than any impropriety.

Bermudez Hallstrom accused Potok of being a paid political consultant during the 2013 village mayoral campaign of Clark Neuringer, the Democratic candidate. Neuringer is a current member of the village’s volunteer Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission.

This, Bermudez Hallstrom said, creates a conflict of interest between the Board of Trustees and the Harbor Coastal Zone Management Commission.

“I think everyone here deserves to know Trustee Potok has received several payments from the current chair of the [harbor commission],” Bermudez Hallstrom said. “At no time does Mr. Potok disclose this prior to taking votes on the [commission], and he hasn’t recused himself from any such votes, even though they would benefit the [commission] directly.”

The harbor coastal commission has been at the center of controversy in recent months after the Board of Trustees voted 3-1—Potok was the lone dissenter–to reduce the commission’s role to advisory with respect to legislative actions by the board. Previously, the commission held virtual veto power over any action, public or private, it determined to be inconsistent with the village’s guiding waterfront document, the Local Waterfront Revitalization program.

Cindy Goldstein is the “current chair” of the harbor coastal commission Bermudez Hallstrom referenced at the Aug. 31 debate. She told the Review she never paid or reimbursed Potok for anything.

Potok incurred charges on his personal credit card when he offered to pay for NationBuilder, a community organizing website the village Democratic Committee operates and candidates use during campaigns and elections.

In light of this, Potok said Bermudez Hallstrom’s accusation represents late-minute debate tactics and called it “completely silly” and “embarrassing.”

“Trustee Bermudez is following in the footsteps of our mayor, making completely unfounded charges,” Potok said. “What Trustee Bermudez is referring to is $53 per month charged by NationBuilder for our database and email server. Last year, about in June, the Village Campaign 2013 paid $53 per month for that service. I happened to accommodate the village Democratic Committee by actually charging my credit card for that bill.”

Bermudez Hallstrom said, usually, the committee itself pays for operational costs of the website, but the reimbursements to Potok from Neuringer’s campaign don’t seem to add up.

“If it had been a reimbursement, there’d be no problem,” Bermudez Hallstrom said, but, he contends. “On their face, [the payments] were for consulting.”

In the Neuringer campaign disclosure forms, Potok was described as a “CONSL,” or a campaign consultant, according to Schedule F of the BOE.

Potok called the “CONSL” distinction an administrative error and said he was not involved with the Neuringer campaign on a consulting basis.

“Each campaign fills out its own filings with the Board of Elections,” Potok said. “No one consulted with me in 2013 about what expense category to use as a reimbursement to me; I can’t speak for that.”

Bermudez Hallstrom said the Neuringer campaign disclosure should have echoed a Democratic Committee’s disclosure form for Potok for the same NationBuilder service, and he said it should have been clearly defined as an “REIMB,” or reimbursement.

The reimbursement from Neuringer’s campaign to Potok, from the pre-general and post-general election filings of 2013 and a periodic January 2014 filing, totaled $496 for 2013, according to documents from the New York State Board of Elections obtained by the Review.

According to the NationBuilder website, the amount an organization pays depends on how many people are in its database. Bermudez Hallstrom said the Village of Mamaroneck, according to this guideline, should be paying $69 per month. He said there’s still a discrepancy between the BOE total of $469 and what he believes Potok really should have been reimbursed.

“Assuming Leon paid for NationBuilder as follows: June, $53; July, $53; September, $69; October, $69; November, $69 and December, $69, the total is $382 leaving $114 unexplained,” he said.

Potok said Bermudez Hallstrom’s arithmetic was off and the August and September 2013 rate was $67 and after, it reduced to $53. The higher rate for those two months reflects a $14 increase that was charged to host two websites through NationBuilder, one for Town of Mamaroneck Councilman Tom Murphy and one for Neuringer, during their respective campaign efforts. In addition, Board of Elections records indicate a one-time reimbursement of $150 to Potok from Village Campaign 2013. This brings the total reimbursement to $496 from the Neuringer campaign, which is consistent with Board of Elections records.

The explanation column on the Neuringer campaign financial disclosure forms for Oct. 9, 2013, and Dec. 4, 2013, was left blank for the two $173 reimbursements, which Potok said were for monthly NationBuilder fees. On the Oct. 28. 2013, form, the $150 reimbursement is explained as the bill for a NationBuilder custom data import.

Potok also received reimbursement of $371 from the Democratic Committee for November 2012 to May 2013 for payments he made to cover the costs of the same website.

CONTACT: johnb@hometwn.com

A Mamaroneck player makes a play on a pass on Saturday morning. Photos/Mike Smith

Tigers shine at scrimmage

A Mamaroneck player makes a play on a pass on Saturday morning. Photos/Mike Smith

A Mamaroneck player makes a play on a pass on Saturday morning. Photos/Mike Smith

By MIKE SMITH
The Mamaroneck Tigers got their first taste of competition on Aug. 30 when they took the field at Bronxville High School as part of a five-way scrimmage involving teams from both Connecticut and New York.

A Mamaroneck ball carrier tries to shed a tackle during an Aug. 30 scrimmage at Bronxville. The Tigers were one of five teams in attendance.

A Mamaroneck ball carrier tries to shed a tackle during an Aug. 30 scrimmage at Bronxville. The Tigers were one of five teams in attendance.

As the Tigers prepare for their week-one showdown with R.C. Ketcham, the scrimmage provided one last chance for starters and backups alike to impress the Mamaroneck coaching staff.

“After two weeks, our guys are a little salty at home, just hitting the same color, hitting each other in practice,” head coach Anthony Vitti said. “They just want to go out there and play this game the way it’s meant to be played, lining up against another team and giving it our all.”

The Tigers took on Fordham Prep, Hackley and host Bronxville in a series of half-field 11-on-11 clashes–a culmination of a long, grueling preseason that started on Aug. 18.

While Vitti was pleased with his team’s execution on Saturday, he did admit the Tigers are a work in progress. Still, the team showed signs of life against a solid Fordham Prep team, forcing some big turnovers, and moved the ball well against Hackley’s first teamers.

Marquez Jackson-Allen busts a long run against the Rams on Aug. 30. Jackson-Allen will be a focal point of the Tigers offense this year.

Marquez Jackson-Allen busts a long run against the Rams on Aug. 30. Jackson-Allen will be a focal point of the Tigers offense this year.

“We’re happy, but not satisfied,” the head coach said. “We’ve got to be more crisp and do a better job catching and protecting the ball, but I really like the improvement we’ve shown from day one of the preseason to today.”

Especially heartening, Vitti said, was his team’s level of effort during the scrimmages.

“This is a different team [than last year], and I think toughness is one of our strengths,” he said. “Mentally and physically, we are tough and that’s what’s going to carry us.”

The Tigers’ second-teamers shined as well, dominating a short session with Bronxville. According to Vitti, the contributions of backups will be vital if the Tigers are to succeed this year.

“This game is about your depth, everybody has that top-end kid or two or three,” he said. “But there’s a reason this is the ultimate team game. The thing that made us really happy was, if you saw our first team on the sidelines, they were going crazy when the other guys were in there. That shows team unity and just how tight this team is.”

A Tiger defender goes for a loose ball against Fordham Prep on Aug. 30. Head coach Anthony Vitti was pleased with his team’s performance on Saturday.

A Tiger defender goes for a loose ball against Fordham Prep on Aug. 30. Head coach Anthony Vitti was pleased with his team’s performance on Saturday.

The Tigers are hoping to build on a good preseason as they prepare for Ketcham on Sept. 7. Ketcham made the Class AA semis last year, but are heading into 2014 with a number of new faces in the mix.

“They’re something of a mystery; they’ve got a lot of turnover and a new coaching staff,” Vitti said. “Without any tape on them, we don’t exactly know what to prepare for, but we will be ready.”

CONTACT: sports@hometwn.com

 
PetRescue

Pet Rescue 9-5-2014

PetNot too long ago, Champ, a four-year-old Siamese mix, was rescued from a local cat hoarder and given a new chance at life and how this miracle boy has blossomed. He is an affectionate and playful kitty who runs, jumps and plays with his cat toys. Champ is reborn and is now a well-adjusted feline who loves to be held in your arms, presents his belly for tickles and is so very confident. He truly lives up to his name. Champ is neutered, up to date with all vaccinations and in good health. The adoption donation for Champ is $80. To meet Champ, contact Larchmont Pet Rescue at 834-6955 or visit NY-PetRescue.org. (Submitted)

 
WGO

What’s Going On in New Rochelle 9-5-2014

New Rochelle Public Library events

Live theater performances

Each month, the library presents a number of live public performances in its Ossie Davis Theater, an intimate, 138-seat venue. Drawing from the outstanding artists living and working in the New York Metropolitan area and the local community of New Rochelle, these performances include concerts of classical, jazz, folk, popular and world music as well as dramatic and dance presentations. Most programs are made possible by the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library, and are offered with a suggested donation of $2 per adult. For more information on upcoming performances, go to nrpl.org.

 

Friends of the Library book sale

The Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library hold monthly used book sales on a Friday and Saturday each month. The sales include a wide assortment of used adult and children’s books, CDs, DVDs, video and audio cassettes, paperbacks, cookbooks and gift books. The friends’ popular and highly successful book sales fund the library’s extensive public programs.

Bicycle Sundays

Bicycle Sundays are returning this September. Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway will return this coming September for four consecutive Sundays, on Sept. 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

During Bicycle Sundays, a portion of the Bronx River Parkway is closed to cars for the exclusive use of bicyclists, joggers, walkers, and those with strollers. The course runs from the Westchester County Center in White Plains south towards Scarsdale Road in Yonkers. A total of 13.1 miles round-trip.

There are various points of entry and exit along the way.

Parking is available at the County Center lot in White Plains for a fee of $5.

Bicycle Sundays is sponsored by Con Edison and Friends of Westchester County Parks. It is presented by Westchester County Parks with additional support provided by 100.7 WHUD radio station.

In the event of rain, the program will be cancelled. Call the County Center for the most up to date information at 995-4050, or go to countycenter.biz.

For a complete list of Bicycle Sundays rules and regulations, go to parks.westchestergov.com.

Tequila Tasting annual fundraiser 

The Bellas Artes Business Council of New Rochelle is honoring and supporting the work of the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation at its annual Tequila Tasting — a festive evening of dining and dancing, Sunday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Beckwith Pointe in New Rochelle.

The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation will receive all proceeds from the Bellas Artes Annual Tequila Tasting, which will include a full sit-down dinner, mariachi band, dancing to DJ Arturo and sampling of some of the finest tequilas. The Bellas Artes annual tequila tasting benefits one community organization each year.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $90 per person and may be purchased online through PayPal or via credit card at nrplfoundation.org/bellasartes. To pay by check, kindly mail a check payable to New Rochelle Public Library Foundation along with your name and phone number or email address to NRPL Foundation, One Library Plaza, New Rochelle, N.Y. 10801. Tickets will not be mailed; your reservation will be held at the door.

For more information about reservations, special sponsorship opportunities or to reserve a table, call Bellas Artes President Alida Yoguez at 235-6313 or NRPL Foundation Fundraising co-chair Betsy Kravitz at 584-231.

Five-hour pre-licensing class

Formula One Driving School, located at 584 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck, is having a  five-hour pre-licensing class Saturday Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., call 381-4500 or visit formulaonedrivingschool.com to register or to learn about future classes and upcoming Insurance Reduction/Point Reduction Class dates.

Westchester County blood drive 

Westchester County will once again hold a Marylou Seaman Employee Blood Drive in partnership with the New York Blood Center as part of its Sept. 11 observance.

The drive which is open to the public, will take place Thursday, Sept. 11, at the County Center, 198 Central Park Ave. in White Plains from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 75 and weighing at least 110 pounds is a potential  donor. Individuals interested in donating blood and are over the age of 75, must have a recent doctor’s note in order to donate.

Donors are asked to register in advanced. For more information, to donate or register for a class, contact Janet Lokay at jel1@westchestergov.com or call 995-2127. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Friday at 12 p.m. Though space is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send all items to news@hometwn.com.

 
The Mamaroneck School District presented preliminary budget numbers for the 2014-2015 school year on Jan. 28. The district is anticipating a 4.3 percent property tax increase. File photo

Busing battle lawsuit dropped

By PHIL NOBILE
The ongoing battle surrounding busing for some local nonpublic schools has come to a temporary close as the grassroots group suing Mamaroneck Union Free School District officials dropped its legal complaint.

Fairness for All Kids, made up of Mamaroneck and Larchmont parents and community members, withdrew its lawsuit against Mamaroneck Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaps and the entire Board of Education this past month, ending its campaign against the district’s new transportation policy for the time being.

The group argued providing some students with public transit passes instead of yellow bus service was against the state constitution and discriminatory against nonpublic school students and hoped to achieve a legal stay from the state to prevent the policy change from taking place when school resumes next week.

Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit denied the stay outright, saying the group did not “demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits [or] a risk of irreparable injury or harm” during the proceedings.

Max Gaujean, an attorney representing Fairness for All Kids, said the lawsuit was “premature,” and another lawsuit may be in the cards after specific families feel the policy change directly.

“We withdrew it strategically,” Gaujean said. “From a legal point of view, we said let’s withdraw the lawsuit, and once the school made its decisions to deny the busing to various families, we’d have a clientele or group that was actually harmed.”

In April, a 6 to 1 vote of the school board for amending the district’s transportation policy to provide public transit passes for certain nonpublic high school students instead of traditional yellow buses has been in effect since July 1. Board member Robin Nichinsky cast the single vote against.

Specifically, state law mandates a school district to supply sufficient transportation for all children residing with a school district who need transportation due to the remote locations of some schools. It must be provided for children in kindergarten through eighth grade who live two miles from their school and for children in ninth through 12th grade who live more than three miles from their respective school. The maximum distance for which transportation is provided is 15 miles.

Two weeks after the vote, the Fairness for All Kids coalition was created and filed the lawsuit, citing the new policy as violating New York State Education Law and possibly affecting certain nonpublic high school students attending the area’s nine private and parochial schools.

While Gaujean and the group maintain the school is violating the law, the school district said it believes it had the right under the law to pay for train and bus passes rather than provide yellow bus transportation. Shaps said the decision by Warhit in court further proved the board’s right to change policy.

“The stay confirmed that the board’s authority to make changes to transport policy,” Shaps said. “[Judge Warhit] denied the stay and, in doing so, he clearly demonstrated the petitioner didn’t have any merits to any harm. He provided some level of decision by denying the stay.”

The passing of the amendment to policy on April 8 arose from the prospect of $98,000 in savings for the district’s 2014-2015 budget year. Shaps said school districts are responsible for 95 percent of transportation costs and, because the state used to cover the costs in previous years, the savings are now more important than ever.

“We have been working under a tax cap now for several years, and it’s about the reality of really looking at our programs and services and making difficult decisions, which led us down the path to make significant changes to our transportation,” he said.

The policy is set to affect approximately 48 out of 142 private high school students in the district who applied for transportation services, according to the district. The provided public transit allows for a maximum travel time of 90 minutes each way and a max walking distance of three miles each way.

Affected schools include Fordham Prep, Iona Prep, School of the Holy Child, Resurrection School, Archbishop Stepinac, Thornton-Donovan School, The Ursuline School, Rye Country Day School and the French-American School of New York.

CONTACT: phil@hometwn.com

 

Column: Time marches on and tramples my heart

I’m a movie nerd. I think we’ve established that in this space before. But you should know, I’m not just a let’s go see “The Expendables 3” at the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers or hey, cool, “Boyhood” is playing in Bronxville movie nerd. I’m also a wow, the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville is showing Godard’s “Contempt,” spend my late nights watching Warner Bros. Torchy Blane B pictures from the 30’s movie nerd.

It’s important you know these things because, if you don’t, you won’t understand how devastating the next sentence is going to be for me to write.

On Monday, I found out this will be the final year of publication for film critic Leonard Maltin’s annual movie guide.

I am devastated.

Dating back to my mid-teens, some 25 years ago, much of what I’ve learned, explored, compared and been inspired to watch has come from that book. That book is the reason I love actors like Barton MacLane and Peter Lorre. That book is the reason I love movies like “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” and “Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter.”

That book is part of what makes me me.

As early as 1993, buying “the Leonard Maltin book” was a holiday for me; it happened right around Aug. 18, my best friend’s birthday.

Only just now, writing that sentence, did I realize I found out about the book’s demise on Monday, Aug. 18.

This is getting to be too much to take.

Why is my annual holiday being canceled? Why is “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide” ending after 45 years? Simple; people can go to the Internet Movie Database and look up pretty much anything about any movie, TV show, actor, actress, director, screenwriter, best boy or key grip that has ever existed. For free.

So, that’s good, right? Shouldn’t the Maltin book have died at least a few years ago? What have we been paying for since IMDB rounded into shape on the ‘net?

I’d say the passion, the obvious love and the meticulous attention to the last detail involved in curating the book Maltin and his editors put into their efforts every year. I’d say we were paying for the opportunity to flip through the book to see the reviews for the new releases we’d seen in the last year; see if we agree with our bible. I’d say we paid for the feeling we got knowing we’d never read every entry no matter how many years we bought the book.

We paid for the feeling we held an entire universe in our hands, and there would always be another corner to discover and explore.

But I guess there aren’t enough of us left willing to pay for those things. Today, I guess, it’s more than enough to go to a website, to a search bar, and hope a collective of nameless, faceless contributors have got it right.

I know IMDB has its value, and I believe the people who shape its facts are very likely the same sort of people who both contributed to Leonard Maltin’s book and dutifully purchased and pored through it each year. I hope that’s true, just like I hope there may yet be a way to port the book that’s been so dear to me for most of my life over to a digital form so it might live on in some way. That might be a nice compromise for those of us who still care deeply about the things Maltin’s book has stood for all these years.

You know, I was going to mention somewhere in this column that when I worked at Tower Video in the early 90’s there was a regular customer who came in one night and, when he couldn’t remember something about a particular film turned to us behind the counter and said, “Where’s your Maltin? Give me your Maltin.” We had one, of course, and I thought I’d use that as an example of how compulsory this book has been for the true movie fan.

And then I realized not only will there no longer be a “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide” after this year, there hasn’t been a Tower Video since 2006 or any video store at all since not much longer after that.

And I think that’s why this hurts so much. The Leonard Maltin book is something that linked my past to my present, and I thought it would be there in my future, too. But it won’t be, and so time marches on, as it always does, whether we like it or we don’t.

This time I don’t.

CONTACT: jason@hometwn.com