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Pet

Pet Rescue

PetDarsey is a beautiful Chocolate Lab mix. She is close to 60 lbs. and about 2 years old. She is a really good girl but strong on the leash. Darsey is mostly housebroken, knows how to sit on command, gets along with other nice dogs—not a rough player—and mainly likes to be around people. She wants nothing more than to find a forever home where she can shine. Darsey is spayed, vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm tested and micro-chipped. The adoption donation for Darsey is $250. To learn more, please contact Larchmont Pet Rescue at 914-834-6955
or on the web at www.NY-PetRescue.org. (Submitted)

Fundraising efforts are underway to renovate the children’s room at the Eastchester Public Library. File Photo

Library’s friends work toward childrens refurb

Library

Fundraising efforts are underway to renovate the children’s room at the Eastchester Public Library. File Photo

The Eastchester Library’s Children’s Room hasn’t been updated since the 60’s, but a library fundraising club is working to change that.

“The ceiling had stains, the carpeting is a mess. The lighting is still fluorescent. We decided that we really want to spice up this room, Tracy Wright, the library director, said. “The children’s room has not had a major renovation since it opened in 1967,”

With help from donations solicited by the Friends of the Eastchester Library, the library has steadily raised funds for the renovation.

The fluorescent lighting will be replaced with LED lighting, which produces a whiter light and is more energy-efficient. The library will purchase a new kid-friendly librarian’s desk, too.

The library held a fair on Sept. 21, which included games, entertainment, raffles, pet contests and more. The proceeds will go toward the children’s room renovation.

Wright already has a few program plans for the new room.

“We want to have an early literacy program,” she said. The program would be an addition to the current literacy program for older children.

“We have all these kids having the time of their lives and learning at the same time,”
she said.

In addition to fundraising efforts by the Friends of the Library, the town has pitched in with some capital funds, according to Wright. After the fair, the Friends of the Library will hold a wine and cheese event for the adults on Sept. 27, after press time.

“The more money they make, the further back in the room we’ll renovate,” Wright said

The fundraising goal is $50,000.

“We’ve done pretty well,” Wright said.

The director added that many of the children, who would be the main beneficiaries of a revitalized children’s room, have taken up their own little fundraising projects.

“The community has been very supportive and very generous,” Wright said.

– Reporting by GERARD NOLAN

Rye Golf Club members elected, from left, Mack Cunningham, Leon Sculti and incumbent commissioner 
John Duffy to fill three open seats on the club’s governing commission. Contributed Photos

Cunningham, Sculti, Duffy win seats on golf commission

commission

Rye Golf Club members elected, from left, Mack Cunningham, Leon Sculti and incumbent commissioner
John Duffy to fill three open seats on the club’s governing commission. Contributed Photos

By LIZ BUTTON
Rye Golf Club members Mack Cunningham, Leon Sculti and John Duffy were elected to the three open seats on the Rye Golf Club Commission, according to election results released on Monday.

Of 2,220 possible voters, 490 members casts votes in the election, or 22.1 percent of the total eligible membership. Each voter was allowed to choose three candidates from seven running for a seat on the commission. Candidates are elected to the commission to a three-year term.

Cunningham, a former city councilman, won big receiving 65.7 percent of the vote with 322 votes, while Sculti received 272 votes, or 55.5 percent of the vote, and current commission chairman Duffy was re-elected to his seat with 212 votes, or 43.4 percent of the total vote.

But turnout was not as high as had been anticiapted by some in golf club circles.

The fourth highest vote getter was commissioner Angela Sposato, who received 199 votes, or 40.6 percent of the vote, narrowly missing out on reclaiming her seat on the board. Sposato, who was elected to the seat just last year, was followed by candidates Akhil Kumar with 168 votes, Bob DiMaggio with 118, and Barry McGowan with 72.

The newly-elected commission members are sworn in at the beginning of 2014.

Cunningham thanked the candidates, club members, club staff members and the commission for their dedication to the club.

“If everyone works hard: the members, the commission, and with cooperative support from City Hall, the club will again be a community recreational jewel,” he said.

Cunningham said he will not know until he is sworn in in January whether the newly formulated commission will be an effective crew in turning the club around. A lot of hard work is required first before this becomes clear, he said.

“Everybody’s got to be on the same page, which is why I emphasize cooperative support from City Hall. Once we get beyond this, we can get back to business,” he said.

The election results—voting ran from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8—were certified by automated tabulation system Simply Voting to show that they were securely counted.

T.J. Hanson, a member of the golf club’s nominating committee, said he forwarded the tabulated results to City Manager Scott Pickup on Sept. 9. Pickup then authorized the announcement of the winners. The City Council will approve the election results at the Oct. 9 council meeting, but this is a formality, Hanson said, as the council approves all appointments to city commissions.

The 2013 election is the second time voting was done online. The city clerk used to collect and count paper ballots, but the method was changed after the 2011 commission election, when multiple ballots were stuffed into single envelopes, disqualifying a significant portion of the results.

Sculti said there will be a learning curve for the newly formulated commission, but, in the future, commission members will need to make it their mission to “change the culture,” mainly in the way the commission views its own position when it comes to positively influencing club operations.

Commission members need to stand up for what club members want, understanding that what is in the city’s best interest is not necessarily in the club’s best interest, Sculti said. This year, though, it was obvious the voting membership was looking to elect commissioners who could be vocal about these types of concerns, said Sculti.

“It’s obvious the members want a strong representation. They picked three strong candidates that showed willingness to stand up to the administration at different points,” he said.

This was the first golf club election since revelations surfaced in October 2012 of a high-profile financial scandal involving the club’s former general manager Scott Yandrasevich, who, over a six-year period, allegedly bilked club members  out of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of membership dues, through shell staffing companies he created.

Obviously, since the stakes for the election were so high, a high turnout was expected this year, but, according to Hanson, this did not actually materialize.

“Numerically, I was a little disappointed in the absolute percentage of turnout,” said Hanson, who was tasked with publicizing and running the election.

Last year, the turnout was 20.5 percent—when 434 members voted out of 2,113 electors—versus 22.1 percent the year after the scandal broke.

“Given the issues over the last year, I would have thought the turnout would have been a little bit better, but I’m happy. The folks that ran were fantastic; they all had some great ideas,” Hanson said.

Duffy could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Contact: liz@hometwn.com

The resurfacing of the bumpy and winding state roadway along Purchase St., Rte. 120, is slated for completion this spring. Photo/Daniel Offner

State Dept. of Transportation tackles Route 120 repairs

PURCHASEST2

The resurfacing of the bumpy and winding state roadway along Purchase St., Rte. 120, is slated for completion this spring. Photo/Daniel Offner

By DANIEL OFFNER
Plans for the repair and resurfacing of Route 120—along Purchase Street from the Rye City border to Lake Street in West Harrison—are currently in the works, according to officials with the New York State Department of Transportation.

After securing $3.5 million from the 2013 state budget, Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat, announced last month that DOT plans to accelerate necessary repairs to Rte. 120, a state-owned roadway that runs along an 18-mile stretch beginning in Rye.

“Keeping our roads in good working condition will help drivers stay safe,” Buchwald said. “Investments in infrastructure not only improve the condition of our local roads, they make the area more attractive to businesses and help support the local economy.”

According to Buchwald, the funding was first awarded earlier this year for the N.Y. Works capital program, which supplements the state’s existing road and bridge capital plan.

Jennifer Post, a press officer with the state DOT, said, “Now that funding is secured, we plan to put the project out to bid this winter, with the work to be completed in spring.”

Since taking office in 2012, Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican, said he received numerous complaints from Purchase residents, bicyclists and motorists about the condition of the road.

“Ever since I came into office, I have been in contact with the state,” Belmont said. “Something had to get done.”

According to Belmont, after hearing residents’ complaints about the state roadway, he approached New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, during Cuomo’s recent visit to SUNY Purchase College. After several discussions with the state DOT and Cuomo’s office, Belmont announced the project was green lit.

Locals of the area seemed encouraged by the movement on the project.

“It’s just about time they did [repairs]; that road’s been bad for a while,” Donna Campion, an employee of Fredrick’s Dry Cleaners in West Harrison, said.

For Matty Henao, a 19-year-old Westchester Community College student, the 45-mph strip along Purchase Street was where he got into his first car accident.

“It’s a really windy road,” Henao said. “[Repairing] it would be a good thing…I figure, why not?”

Mayor Belmont said he encouraged members of the Purchase Fire Department and others in the Purchase community to write letters to the state requesting it repair the road.

“[The Purchase Environ­mental Protective Association] shares the mayor’s concern for the deteriorating conditions of Purchase Street and very much appreciates the town’s attention to this important roadway,” PEPA executive director Anne Gold said.

Although there is no official start date, as of press time, the DOT has just a few short months to develop its plans—which may require detours and lane closures during the construction—before the start of the winter season when the project will go out to bid.

Contact: dan@hometwn.com

Column: The way forward

MAYOR-FRENCHRye Golf Club will be remembered as the city’s Madoff moment when institutional breakdowns in oversight over a long period of time may have led to financial corruption. As part of the city’s work to restore public confidence in the enterprise entities, the council is reviewing a set of governance rules, practices and procedures as to how the Rye Golf Club and boat basin will be directed and controlled.

Enterprise funds are proprietary funds used to report on activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods or services, and are operated separately and apart from the city’s general fund. The governance framework is designed to balance the interests of the many stakeholders to include membership, residents and taxpayers, commission members, City Council, city management and staff. It will encompass every aspect of oversight–budgets, capital plans, policies, internal controls, performance measurement and public disclosure.

A summary of the highlights of the governance rules being discussed are as follows:
Commission role: The commission shall serve in an advisory capacity on behalf of the members of the Rye Golf Club and boat basin (the “Clubs”) reporting to the City Council and shall have the responsibilities set forth below. It is intended that the commissions will have day-to-day advisory oversight responsibilities for the clubs in conjunction with the city manager and designated staff for the execution, implementation and management of the authorized operations of the clubs consistent with approved plans, budgets and policies.

Monthly updates and authorizations for the council: A standing monthly agenda item for the clubs will be added to the regular meetings of the City Council for updates, approvals and discussion on club operations.

Annual audit: An annual, independent audit shall be conducted by the city on behalf of the clubs by an auditor with experience in said operations. An annual presentation on the audit will be held at a regular scheduled meeting of the City Council.

Commission responsibilities: Review, advise on and approve an annual budget and capital plans for the clubs provided and prepared by staff and any other committees established by the commissions.

Work with the city manager in reviewing and negotiating all contracts, which will bind the clubs (other than omnibus municipal contracts) subject to final approval by the city manager (with input as needed from the City Council).

Have responsibility for interviewing and recommending to the city manager and City Council the terms of employment for managers and similar personnel to be employed by or consultant to the clubs.

Inform the city manager of any concerns regarding a particular employee’s performance and work with the city manager, as needed, in any disciplinary or termination actions.

Upon request, have managers, city employees or other department head designated to the club provide an update to the commission and/or council on operations regarding the club as requested.

Recommend in conjunction with the city comptroller, changes necessary to ensure accurate accounting practices and procedures at the clubs and for the clubs to invest as needed in the proper resources to ensure compliance with financial controls and reporting.

Commission membership: The Rye Golf Club Commission shall consist of twelve members. Nine of the members shall be elected by the membership, and the mayor shall appoint with council confirmation one council liaison, one member from the club’s finance advisory committee, and one additional appointment.

The boat basin shall consist of seven members. Five of the members shall be elected by the membership, and the mayor shall appoint with council confirmation one council liaison and one additional appointment. All members on each board shall be voting members.

All commission meetings shall comply with the Public Officers Law and be posted with agenda materials on the City of Rye website. Minutes shall be kept for all meetings.

The commission can act only if a quorum of members are present and all votes must be approved by a majority of the members in order for any action to be passed. Commission members cannot miss more than three consecutive meetings to remain in good standing.

The council will hold one more public meeting before adopting the new governance structure.

For more information on this or other city matters, please contact me, the city manager, a Rye City Council member or visit the City of Rye website. Office Hours of the mayor by appointment by e-mailing dfrench@ryeny.gov.

Jacobs receives Independence nod

New Rochelle Democrat Mary Jo Jacobs, left, is vying for the seat on the county Board of Legislators currently held by Republican Sheila Marcotte. Jacobs received an endorsement from the county Independence Party, but some feel party chairman Guilo “Doc” Cavallo’s decision to endorse Democrats is related to bad blood he has with County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican. Photo courtesy MaryJoJacobs.com

New Rochelle Democrat Mary Jo Jacobs, left, is vying for the seat on the county Board of Legislators currently held by Republican Sheila Marcotte. Jacobs received an endorsement from the county Independence Party, but some feel party chairman Guilo “Doc” Cavallo’s decision to endorse Democrats is related to bad blood he has with County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican. Photo courtesy MaryJoJacobs.com

By ASHLEY HELMS
Political newcomer and New Rochelle resident Mary Jo Jacobs, a Democrat, has received the endorsement from the county Independence Party over incumbent county Legislator Sheila Marcotte, a Republican, as the November 2013 election approaches.

Jacobs is vying for the legislator seat currently held by Marcotte, which represents portions of New Rochelle, Eastchester and Tuckahoe.

Democrats across the county have been endorsed by the Westchester Independence party, lending credence to the belief of some that party chairman Guilo“Doc” Cavallo chose to endorse Democratic candidates because of ongoing bad blood between Cavallo and County Executive Robert Astorino, a Republican.

A primary will be held on Sept. 10 in which Independence Party voters will be able to write in Marcotte’s name as she was able to cultivate enough signatures from registered Independence voters to get a spot on the ballot in a process called “opportunity to ballot.”

Marcotte, who has received the Independence nomination in her previous elections, said Jacobs receiving the endorsement is absolutely a reaction to Cavallo’s strained relationship with Astorino. Marcotte said Cavallo gave Democrats the endorsement across the board except for two who are running unopposed.

“[The Independents] expected a lot of jobs to come their way and it didn’t happen,” Marcotte said.

Marcotte refers to the race for county executive, in which accusations have emerged recently from Astorino’s campaign that Cavallo, who endorsed New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, the Democratic candidate, did so out of spite when Astorino failed to grant county jobs to people in the Independence Party who were close to Cavallo.

Astorino has collected enough petitions to primary for the line, which is considered crucial to the county executive’s re-election bid.

Marcotte said she was surprised by Cavallo’s decision to back Jacobs because he told her during her interview with the party that she would receive the endorsement and had nothing to worry about. The county legislator said that she would have preferred Cavallo tell her the truth about Astorino and the party chair being at odds, leading him to endorse her opponent.

“I’d have far more respect for him; I do know that all of the Republicans are doing the primary,” Marcotte said. “This is going to be a county-wide primary except for who is unopposed.”

If she doesn’t win the primary, Marcotte said the loss of the Independence Party line will adversely affect her campaign. Currently, she is reaching out to residents to try to get them to head down to the polls during the primary to write her name and Astorino’s on the ballot.

The county legislator said she isn’t discouraged by the extra work of contacting voters.

“All part of the process; it doesn’t put me off that much,” Marcotte said.

Jacobs said she thinks that she received the Independence endorsement based on her stance on various issues that she discussed with the party chair during her interview. Jacobs said she has experience working with multi-million dollar budgets and wants all political parties to be heard. During the interview, Cavallo never mentioned Astorino or his relationship with him, she said.

“I believe you get things done when you work together. I don’t think that’s always happened with the current administration,” Jacobs said. “I was endorsed for who I am and what I stand for, and I’ve got a great deal of support in the community.”

Jacobs said she was happy to receive the endorsement; as she would be from any political party because she has never run for elected office before.

“Every single vote is very important and counts,” Jacobs said.

County legislators are elected to serve two-year terms.
email: ashley@hometwn.com

Marvin-Mary

Column: Getting the village ready for fall

MarvinColumnAs is my custom, this will be the last column until Labor Day. Given the timeframe, I thought it particularly apropos to highlight village construction and improvement activity that is taking place over the summer. Though the village appears quiet, much is happening to improve the village prior to everyone’s return in early September.

Clearly, the most obvious activity, and with it some disruption of peace, is the re-pavement of roads throughout the village in late August. Those slated for curbing and paving include Woodland Avenue, Greenfield Avenue, Manor Road, Paddington Road, Argyle Place, Kensington Road, lower Avon Road, Studio Arcade, Parkway Road near Leonard Morange Square and Pondfield Road from Tanglewylde Avenue to Valley Road. Pondfield Road west was slated to be re-paved, but, given the possibility of the hospital project and its accompanying street cuts and heavy vehicles, we thought laying a pristine road only to have construction perhaps soon follow was not prudent spending. However, we will continue to repair all the major potholes in that area.

Of probably even greater long-term importance than even our paving is our new sub-structure repair program. The village recently completed the digital mapping of the entire sanitary sewer system. Every manhole was located‑some found paved over or in the middle of private lawns‑opened, inspected and cleaned. Not only will mapping have the immediate benefit of expediting repairs during emergencies, it will also assist in future system upgrades and planning.

The storm water catch basins have also all been mapped and the data is being translated into a geographical information system. The GIS document will contain the maintenance history of the entire system, which will assist in prioritizing future repairs and improvements.

The trustees also approved an additional project relating to our storm water infrastructure. Under a defined storm water system maintenance project, thousands of feet of storm sewers are being cleaned and televised throughout the village. The initial focus was on the storm sewers in the Midland Avenue drainage basin with additional work either recently completed or in progress in the Garden Avenue/Meadow Avenue area, Kraft Avenue, Sussex and Hamilton avenues, Parkway Road and Paxton Avenue and the pipes extending from the school fields to Scout Field.

Again, in the public works arena, our $6.8 million flood mitigation project, primarily funded by a $5.2 million federal grant, has progressed into the design stage with the specialized engineers now on board. The village was also fortunate to recently receive another flood mitigation grant for the Garden Avenue parking lot. French drains and plant islands will be added to improve drainage on what is now a 100 percent impermeable surface.

In an effort to reduce what is truly sign pollution throughout the village, staff members from the police department, public works and trustees are touring the village in an effort to remove obsolete or unnecessary signs as well as replacing faded, broken or simply confusing signs. If you take a moment the next time you are walking around the village, you will notice the plethora of signage that has accumulated over the years.
Our zoning/planning consultants will also be walking our two business districts during August to interview shoppers, merchants and landlords in order to understand the distinctive needs of the village.

On the administrative front, our payroll and accounting programs are being upgraded as well as the village website. The focus of the website improvement includes a re-design of the parking section to provide better information, including interactive maps as well as necessary technological upgrades in preparation for accepting online financial transactions.

In the Building Department, a document-imaging program is underway with the goal of eventually eliminating the need for the copious storage of oversized building plans and documents.

Since Village Hall is now the home of the police, the parking enforcement office and the village court system as well as general administration, the security system is being upgraded to meet very different and necessary safety requirements.

The police department is also in the process of installing new and additional license plate readers on our patrol cars and even the parking enforcement vehicle. The benefit of this device has been enormous and multi-fold. Not only do they recognize unregistered or lapsed registered vehicles, the machine’s data has been used to apprehend criminals passing through the village and the GPS coordinates are used as evidence in criminal cases.

The village government goes into overdrive during what are the most leisurely months for most residents as we initiate the most invasive projects. Our logic being that the associated noise, traffic, detours and parking inconveniences should happen when the streets are the least crowded and fewer villagers are in residence to be subjected to the attendant disruption.

We ask for your patience and support as we make all of the above pre-Labor Day improvements to our village.