Vol. 13/Number 2
Police patrol town schools
January 11, 2013
Former county exec O’Rourke dies at 79 By CHRISTIAN FALCONE ASSOCIATE EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
Harrison High School By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER email@example.com
Police will remain present in the Harrison Central School District after a man in the neighboring Village of Mamaroneck attempted to bring a ﬁrearm onto school property last week. The incident quickly reignited worry among parents in the Sound Shore area, who are still trying to cope with the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Police have been patrolling school property in Harrison ever since. On Jan. 3, at a meeting of the Harrison Town Council, parents and residents confronted town ofﬁcials regarding school safety procedures and requested the addition of a school resource ofﬁcer. Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini explained that over the past few weeks, the issue of securing schools has consumed members of the police department, who have been working to ﬁnd a solution to protect Harrison school children without the use of heavily armed ofﬁcers. “We don’t want police ofﬁcers walking around our schools with assault riﬂes,” Marraccini said. “This is not something that will be solved tonight…it takes time.” According to Marraccini, placing armed patrol ofﬁcers in the schools may provide a comforting feeling for parents in the community but
should not be considered a longterm solution. “The last thing I want anyone here to leave with is a false sense of security,” he said. Although the Town Council authorized maintaining a police presence in each of the six public schools in the district, the patrols have only been authorized temporarily. Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican, said he will continue to meet with school and police ofﬁcials in order to create a solution to school safety and security concerns without disrupting the town’s ﬁnances. “The [town’s] ﬁnancial situation should not be involved,” said Belmont. “But unfortunately, it is.” Due to budgetary constraints, the council has not been able to appropriate the necessary funding to restore the police department’s youth programs through the additional hire of a new school resource ofﬁcer. However, with the addition of three new civilian dispatchers, the police anticipate to free up additional manpower as early as February. Harrison Central School District Superintendent Louis Wool said that despite a recent review of school security protocol last November, the district intends to complete another external security audit. “We are sharing that most recent review with our police department and are seeking their input and their expertise,” Wool said in a corPOLICE continued on page 6
Andrew O’Rourke will surely be remembered for his unforgettable sense of humor, but more importantly, for how he changed the face of Westchester. The former county executive passed away last week. He was 79. O’Rourke’s passing has sparked countless tales of his charm, wit and endearing personality, but those who knew him best say nothing epitomizes him more than when he tried to unseat then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, in the 1986 gubernatorial race, in what pundits described as a David versus Goliath contest. Early on in the 1986 campaign, Cuomo had refused to debate
Former County Executive Andrew O’Rourke in an undated photo. O’Rourke, who passed away last week, held the position for 15 years before stepping down. Contributed photo
O’Rourke, the Republican nominee. Seizing the moment as best he could, O’Rourke–always the comedian–had a cardboard cutout of the governor made and, in turn, publicly debated the prop–carrying it around virtually everywhere he went. Now 26 years later, in an interview on New Rochelle’s WVOX Radio, Cuomo reﬂected on the former county executive. “I really do think he is, was and always will be a heroic ﬁgure because he was such a powerful coming together of good things,” Cuomo said. “His intelligence. His vision. His sense of humor. His sense of fairness made all the political labels meaningless. He was a wonderful public servant because he was a wonderful human being.” O’ROURKE continued on page 14
Town municipal manager talk still elusive By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
Shortly after his inauguration last January, Mayor Ron Belmont told The Harrison Report of the town’s plan to explore the possibility of creating a full-time municipal manager position before his ﬁrst year in ofﬁce came to a close. But after a year in ofﬁce, no proposal has come forth. Creating a municipal manager position would spurn a monumental alteration to the current functions
of town government and would diminish several duties of the town’s mayor. The goal of the position would be to have a business manager in order streamline government functions through what is supposed to be a non-political position. With a manager, the mayor’s salary could be signiﬁcantly reduced. However, in order for Harrison to alter the current structure of government in a manner that emulates neighboring communities that have a managerial position already in place, a voter referendum would
be required, leaving it up to the residents to decide whether or not a municipal manager would be a good ﬁt. Belmont did not return calls seeking comment for this article, but previously stated he thought the job would be much sought after. “We’re a town that, if we do go this route, I’m sure we could get the cream of the crop,” Belmont, a Republican, told The Harrison Report last January, adding that they may be able to net a sitting manager who MANAGER continued on page 7
Harrison to pay 5.7% more in county taxes By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER email@example.com
Earlier this month, Westchester County ofﬁcials adopted a $1.7 billion budget that will levy $548 million in property taxes–a 2 percent reduction from 2010 that has kept taxes ﬂat over the last couple of years. But because municipalities’ assessment rolls differs from community to community, property values don’t increase and decrease uniformly each year. According to recent estimates provided
by the Westchester County Tax Commission, residents in the Town/ Village of Harrison can expect their share of the tax levied by the county to increase by approximately 5.73 percent this year. While it is a function of local government to levy taxes based on the assessed value of individual properties, the amount of real property tax is calculated through a state equalization rate that ensures county taxes are apportioned fairly among municipalities. The equalization rate accounts not only for municipal assessment, but real estate, physical
parcel property, improvements and the interests, beneﬁts and rights of the owner as well. Republican County Legislator David Gelfarb explained county taxes tend to ﬂuctuate up or down each year because every community assesses property at different levels of full value. “Whenever there is more economic development, you end up paying more [taxes],” Gelfarb said. “Because there are more assets to pay with.” Although the overall tax levy for TAXES continued on page 4
2 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 3
Jenkins ofﬁcially announces county executive run By CHRISTIAN FALCONE ASSOCIATE EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming as little surprise, Yonkers Democrat and County Legislator Ken Jenkins last week announced his long-held plans to run for county executive come November. Chairman of the Board of Legislators and political rival of Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, Jenkins made his formal announcement at a Jan. 2 press conference at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains. The decision could set the stage for a highly contentious race, as the two elected ofﬁcials have engaged in a political tug-of-war ever since Astorino took ofﬁce in 2010. “The facts are these: your property taxes have continued to rise, your fees for county services have gone up, while your quality of life has gone down,” Jenkins told supporters at the press conference. “Our county government is not doing more with less; it is doing less with less and shifting the burden to you in other ways.” Jenkins said he has stood up for the people of Westchester and built a reputation of being able to develop creative solutions to problems. In his remarks, he portrayed the county executive as someone out of touch with the interests of all of the county’s residents. Over the past two years, the Democraticled Board of Legislators has repeatedly butted
heads with the Republican Astorino, whose ﬁrst administration on countterm in ofﬁce expires less policy issues often at the end of 2013, depitting the two adversaries feated incumbent County at odds. Jenkins has even Executive Andy Spano, a led the decisions to sue Democrat, in 2009 to win Astorino’s administrathe seat. He has yet to antion on issues including nounce his intentions for day care funding and the this year’s race, although makeup of county boards. all indications point to “The ability to comprohim seeking re-election. mise is a strength, not a But before Jenkins goes weakness,” the chairman toe-to-toe with Astorino, said. “But knowing when he will have to get through compromise just isn’t acwhat is shaping up to be ceptable is important, too. a crowded Democratic But there are people who ﬁeld. Long-time County just don’t ‘get it.’” Legislator Bill Ryan, a Legislator Ken Jenkins Jenkins also criticized County White Plains Democrat, formally announced his plans to run the county executive’s for county executive. He will join announced his intention 2013 budget, which was the growing Democratic ﬁeld, as to run for the seat back adopted with the help of Legislator Bill Ryan and New Rochelle in November. Then, New two Democrats, saying Mayor Noam Bramson have also Rochelle Mayor Noam their intentions of running “illusory tax cuts” may be announced Bramson recently anfor the seat. File photo a quick way to gain politinounced that he plans to cal traction, but no way to govern. run for county executive as well. “It is fiscally irresponsible and morJenkins ﬁrst took ofﬁce as a county legislaally reprehensible to borrow for operating tor in 2007 after winning a special election. In costs like tax refunds, then dismantle the November of that same year, he won election programs and amenities that have made the to a full-term. In 2009, he won re-election and quality of life in Westchester what it is,” was also selected by his colleagues to serve as Jenkins said. board chairman.
4 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
C ommunity Briefs Events at the Harrison Public Library, Bruce Avenue “Dawny Dew” Jan. 10 and 24 10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. For ages 1 to 6. music and puppets for young children. Jeffrey Friedberg of the Bossy Frog Band Jan. 14 at 10:30 a.m. A fun and funky musical experience for all ages. Finals night Jan. 21 and 23 Pre-exam studying at the library from 9 p.m. – midnight. No registration is required. The program is limited to Harrison High School students only (must present a valid school ID to attend.) Light refreshments will be served. Circle time for tots Jan. 23 and 30 at 10 a.m. – 10:30 and 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Ages 0 to 3 (siblings welcome). Songs and stories for the little ones with Miss Claudia. Film movement at the library Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. “Found Memories” a ﬁlm directed by Julia Murat. Portuguese with English subtitles. Storyland Jan. 28 from 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Ages 3 to 5 (siblings welcome) Come listen to children’s stories. W@tercooler hosts workshop with ﬁnancial advisor New York City-based ﬁnancial advisor, Ryan Payne of Payne Wealth Management, will be presenting a two-hour workshop speciﬁcally tailored for women who wish to be ﬁnancially independent and empower them to take control of their ﬁnancial future. This workshop will take place at W@tercooler, a coworking space located in Tarrytown on Jan. 15 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. This presentation is designed to help women understand the process of creating a life in which they are in charge, with an income plan that ensures emotional, physical and ﬁnancial
balance, and results in putting the conﬁdence and trust in themselves throughout all stages of their lives. Tai Chi classes at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital’s Winter Tai Chi classes through the Fitness Center at Burke will begin the weeks of Jan. 7 and 14. The classes being offered include traditional Tai Chi, “Golden” Tai Chi and therapeutic Tai Chi. For more information, contact Director of Community Wellness Heather Massimo at (914) 597-2578 or email email@example.com. For a complete list of classes, visit burke.org. Come sing with the Westchester Chorale Westchester Chorale invites choristers to open rehearsals Jan. 15 and 22 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. at Larchmont Avenue Church. These will be the ﬁrst rehearsals preparing for the May 18 concert. Directed by Douglas Kostner, the Westchester Chorale is the chorus-in-residence of the Larchmont Avenue Church, located at 60 Forest Park Ave. in Larchmont. For further information, call (914) 725-7507, visit WestchesterChorale.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Job workshop for women Women-Helping-Women, a program of Westchester Jewish Community Services, is offering a free workshop for women who are seeking jobs. “Designing Your Life for 2013” will be held on Jan. 17 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at of Westchester Jewish Community Services headquarters, located at 845 North Broadway in White Plains. Registration is required. For more information, contact Project Director Lenore Rosenbaum at (914) 761-0600 ext. 308 or email email@example.com. Dinner to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be commemorated on Jan. 18 at Temple Israel of New Rochelle at a dinner followed by a Sabbath service. The event, sponsored by the Coalition for Mutual Respect, will feature the Rev. Michael J. Rouse of St. Catherine AME Zion Church in New Rochelle as guest speaker. The choir from St. Catherine AME Zion Church will participate in the service which Rabbi Amiel Wohl, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel will conduct. The celebration will start with the Sabbath
dinner at 6 p.m. followed by services at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $25 per person for adults. Youth sponsorship may be added to any check. Reservations for dinner are mandatory, but the community is invited to the Sabbath service. Tickets for the dinner can be obtained by calling the Temple at (914) 235-1800 or by mailing a check, made payable to the Coalition for Mutual Respect, to Temple Israel of New Rochelle, 1000 Pinebrook Blvd., New Rochelle, N.Y. 10804. Pet Rescue kitten and cat adoption day Jan. 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Petco 324 N. Central Ave., Hartsdale For more information, visit NY-PetRescue.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (914) 834-6955.
Volunteers needed at Sarah Neuman Center Sarah Neuman Center in Mamaroneck is seeking volunteers of all ages and invites you to share your talents and time. If you enjoy cooking, sewing, painting, knitting, arts and crafts reading and/or have an interesting hobby, then you can make a difference in the lives of seniors. For more information, contact Amy Lionheart, director of volunteer programs, to learn about volunteer opportunities at (914) 864-5140 or email email@example.com. Deadline for our Community Briefs 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
With honors The following residents made the Dean’s List for Fall 2012 quarter at Rochester Institute of Technology: Zachary Butler of Harrison Angelina Pilarinos of West Harrison
TAXES from page 1
the county did not increase from last year, a total of 14 municipalities will see a portion of their county taxes decrease, while 11 municipalities are expected to see an increase. “The county has done its job to hold the line on our county property tax,” said Republican County Executive Rob Astorino in press release. “However, every year the county tax levy affects local governments differently.” According to Town Assessor Mark Heinbockel, approximately 20 to 21 percent of a resident’s tax bill will go toward the town, while roughly 56 percent will go toward the school, leaving the last 22 to 23 percent for the county. Out of Harrison’s $55.9 million budget for 2013, the town anticipates to levy about $42.5 million in taxes next year–not including an additional $6.6 million in taxes and fees from special ﬁre, water, garbage, sewage and drainage districts–totaling roughly $49.1 million. Although both the tax rate and tax levy increases affect a property owner’s potential tax bill, the shrinking assessment pool also Chart courtesy/Westchester County Executive’s Ofﬁce means that from year to year, resiComparatively, residents with an estimated dents will see their portion of the tax levy shift up or down based on their assessed property home value between $500,000 and $1 million can expect their property tax bills to inﬂate by value. According to ﬁgures provided by the town as little as $77.87 to as much as $155.73. County property taxes are due April 30. comptroller and assessor, for a home valued at $250,000, local taxes are expected to increase Harrison residents’ local tax bills are due to be paid in part on Feb. 28 and June 30 of 2013. as much as $38.93 from last year.
January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 5
Deadline for federal storm assistance nears By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER email@example.com
Westchester residents affected by Hurricane Sandy who have not yet applied for federal disaster relief now have less than three weeks to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Those who sign up by the Jan. 28 deadline can receive ﬁnancial aid, including money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property damage and other “serious disaster-related needs” not covered by insurance. According to FEMA, more than $1.2 billion in federal disaster assistance has been approved for Hurricane Sandy survivors in 13 New York counties where residents are eligible for individual assistance. As of Jan. 7, approximately 261,000 New Yorkers contacted FEMA for help or information and more than $827 million in total individual assistance grants have been approved. In Westchester alone, more than 5,400 people have registered for ﬁnancial assistance through FEMA and applicants have received more than $1.2 million in disaster aid, according to a regional agency spokesman. The bulk of the approved funding has been distributed to residents in areas hardest hit by the storm that ravaged the tri-state area Oct. 29, 2012, however. Of the total amount, $269.2 million has gone to residents in Nassau County; $211.3
million has been provided to residents in Queens County; $180.7 million has been provided to residents in Kings County; and $84.8 million has been distributed to residents in Richmond County. Suffolk County residents have received $61.4 million, New York County residents have received $12.2 million and Bronx County residents have received $2.2 million in ﬁnancial assistance. “This money will help families who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy start their recovery,” said Federal Coordinating Ofﬁcer Michael F. Byrne. “Working with the Small Business Administration, FEMA is helping families get the money they need to repair their homes, ﬁnd temporary housing and replace essential items lost in the storm.” In addition to providing ﬁnancial assistance, FEMA workers have staffed 23 disaster recovery centers–including ﬁxed and mobile sites–serving 117,000 people in affected areas. The agency has also tracked the number of federal home inspections done since the storm struck. As of Jan. 4, 58 inspectors were in the ﬁeld and more than 169,000 home inspections (or 99.4 percent) had been completed. Public assistance funds “are also ﬂowing,” FEMA ofﬁcials said in a Jan. 4 press release. Speciﬁcally, the agency noted that more than $323 million has been “obligated to the state to help replenish dollars spent to protect New Yorkers before, during and after the storm.”
The agency’s public assistance program reimburses state and local governments and “certain private nonproﬁt organizations” 75 percent of costs for “disaster-related expenses associated with emergency protective measures,” debris removal, and the repair and restoration of damaged infrastructure. In order to qualify, damage must be a direct result of Hurricane Sandy. As they tried to calculate storm costs in the weeks following the storm, municipal ofﬁcials throughout the Sound Shore area indicated they would look to FEMA to help recoup some of the expenses. Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland told The Harrison Report that Sandy cost the village between $300,000 and $500,000–including damage to public property and equipment and overtime paid to municipal workers. Slingerland said the village is prepared to deal with the cost. “We’ve got adequate reserves to cover an emergency like this,” he said. “Based on the current state of the budget, I’d say we’re in a very good ﬁnancial position.” Slingerland said the village currently has a $5.6 million reserve fund. Even though the village will have to dip into that money to cover some of the costs related to Sandy, Slingerland said the village’s insurance and FEMA reimbursements would replace most of those funds. In New Rochelle, City Manager Chuck Strome was still trying to
come to grips with the storm’s ﬁnancial toll in mid-November. Saying the ﬁnancial cost of the storm’s destruction would likely be signiﬁcant, Strome said the city would likely try to recoup some of the costs through the federal government. Working in conjunction with FEMA, the Small Business Administration is providing ﬁnancial assistance in the form of home disaster loans, business disaster loans and economic injury disaster loans. According to the SBA, the home disaster loans allow homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate or personal property. Business disaster loans allow businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size may apply and certain private, nonproﬁt organizations may also be eligible. Economic injury disaster loans are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, small businesses engaged in agriculture and most private, nonproﬁt organizations meet their ordinary ﬁnancial obligations that cannot be met because of the disaster. The deadline for economic injury loan applications is July 31. To register for ﬁnancial assistance through FEMA, visit DisasaterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362. -With reporting by JASON CHIREVAS
6 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
New art exhibit at Harrison Public Library
A look at paintings by Ruth O. Carlucci. Carlucci’s paintings will be featured in the Harrison Public Library through Jan. 26. Contributed photo
Harrison Council for the Arts presents “Winter Grays” paintings by Ruth O. Carlucci at the Harrison Public Library, 2 Bruce Avenue, on view until Jan. 26. The abstract–mixed media paintings assembled for this exhibit–were not inspired by the monochrome of the season, but they share with winter a muted palette appropriate for a January exhibition. The materials used are fast drying, transitory, mutable. Covered or wiped out, marks leave a trace, a palimpsest of an earlier state. Born in Port Chester, painter Ruth
Carlucci earned a BA from the University of Minnesota, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and did graduate work at Columbia University. She has studied at the National Academy School, and in Italy. She lives and works in Rye Brook. The exhibit may be viewed Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call (914) 835-0324 or visit harrisonpl.org. (Submitted)
A new year in the Town/Village of Harrison Happy New Year, and I hope you all had a peaceful holiday season. As the New Year begins, the Town Board continues to work hard to improve the quality of life in HARRISON Harrison. Our Department of Public Works has worked HAPPENINGS diligently in an effort to remove the leaves and storm Mayor Ron Belmont debris from our municipal roadways. Progress has been made, despite the two snow events occurring on December Saturdays. Currently, as recent economic times have dictated, Harrison has reduced its workforce but has kept all essential services intact. This reduction in manpower may result in the delay of nonessential services such as leaf removal and streetlight repair or replacement. Please bear with us, as town personnel move through your area insuring clean, safe and passable roadways. In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, our entire nation has a heightened awareness of security measures and protocols within our schools. I have been, and will continue to be, in communication with our Chief of Police, Anthony Marraccini and Harrison Central School District’s Superintendent, Lou Wool in an effort to develop a comprehensive strategy that insures that our school buildings are as safe as possible. In addition to having a police ofﬁcer in every school, there are other security measures that can and will be implemented. Some of these initiatives will be apparent and others will be less obvious in order to provide the best level of security. I can assure you that the Town Board and I are prepared to collaborate with the Board of Education in an effort to meet the needs of our entire school community and will make every effort to put these plans in motion. Our library staff has been hard at work developing winter activities for all residents. The following January events promise to be entertaining and I hope you take advantage of the offerings: Winter souvenir–Sunday, Jan. 13, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Piano duet Svitlana Syrtsova and Sergey Krivonos present all-time favorite selections from “The Nutcracker,” “Carnival of Animals,” “Peer Gynt” and masterworks by Bach, Boccherini, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff. Photography workshops–Wednesdays, Jan. 16 and 23, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Jim Christensen, a life-long photographer from the Westchester Photographic Society, will have an introductory talk on basic digital photography workﬂow and a hands-on session. Learn how to organize and archive pictures on your computer, how to tweak pictures and then upload them for sharing with others. Registration is requested. Playaway day–Wednesday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Half the size of a deck of cards, Playaway is the simplest and best way to listen to a book on the go and–with no tapes or CDs–can hold up to 80 hours of HD audio content on each unit. Donna DeStefano, Findaway World’s account manager, will demonstrate how easy Playaway is to use, and will offer helpful tools to make your Playaway listening experience the best it can be. “Found memories” (ﬁlm)–Sunday, Jan. 27, 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Informal discussion to follow. Finals night (9 p.m. – midnights for Harrison High School students) Monday, Jan. 21, and Wednesday, Jan. 23. Pre-exam studying at your library from 9 p.m. – midnight. This program is limited to high school students only (must present a valid school ID to attend). Light refreshments will be served. The next “Lunch with the Mayor” is on Friday, Jan. 11 and I will be at Goldberg’s Rock’n Bagel Café, located at 379 Halstead Ave. in downtown Harrison and on Friday, Jan. 18, I will be at Trevi Ristorante, located at 11 Taylor Square in West Harrison. I will be at these locations from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. and I look forward to meeting with residents and talking about issues facing our community. POLICE from page 1
responding email. “Parents will be informed of any protocols that are being modiﬁed, and may see some physical changes to the building, while some will be imperceptible. We will not be discussing most of those changes, except with our police department.” Although police, school and town ofﬁcials have said they will not disclose school safety procedures publically, Chief Marraccini clued parents in on some possibilities already in the works, including limited accessibility to school facilities. Additionally, he said that the school district was mulling the possibility of installing a type of wireless panic button system that would
work much like a silent alarm used by bank tellers, by alerting police of an emergency situation. Town ofﬁcials have stated they have yet to have a formal discussion with Board of Education ofﬁcials in terms of security updates throughout the schools. However, while police presence will be only temporarily, parents have been able to ﬁnd some comfort knowing school facilities are more or less safe. “As a mom, I think we can’t be careful enough,” said Harrison High School parent Sona Mehra. “Anything that makes the school safer...I am all for that.”
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January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 7 MANAGER from page 1
had already demonstrated success in a similar community. “We’re not looking for an also ran in another community.” Republican Councilman and former Mayor Steve Malﬁtano said that when the issue was ﬁrst brought to the council’s attention last January, he had suggested forming a small group or ‘commission’ to weigh the pros and cons of enlisting a municipal manager. “I think the council is amply capable of running the future of the town,” Malﬁtano said. “It is worthy of consideration, but it’s something that needs to be studied.” There was never any movement from ofﬁcials to form a committee, nor were there any other tangible steps looking into establishing the position. In other places throughout Westchester County, full-time municipal managers handle the day-to-day operations of the municipalities they serve. Some duties that the position oversees include union negotiations, ﬁnance and health care, to name a few. These positions, supporters say, are a beneﬁt because they keep management out of politics and prevent a situation where a mayor is running the daily operations of a multi-million dollar municipality without previous business and/or management experience. State Assemblyman and former Rye City Mayor Steve Otis, a Democrat, said that he has long been a supporter of hiring a manager to oversee the daily functions of the city. “The separation of a municipal manager and the elected board provides for a more professional discussion,” Otis said. “It is a good system that has worked well in the City of Rye.” But while many municipalities that have taken the managerial route have found it to be advantageous, Malﬁtano said he feels it is arguable that neighboring communities have been as successful in appointing a manager, adding that in Rye, the position went through a tumultuous period until recently.
In Rye, the mayor and trustees are volunteers who receive no compensation or beneﬁts. That is in contrast to Harrison, where the mayor was the third highest-paid elected ofﬁcial in Westchester County last year and where the mayor and council are entitled to salary and beneﬁts. A law adopted several years back requires the mayor’s salary pay to exceed that of any other town employee by at least $1. However, that law has essentially been in disuse for the past two years. Under the administration of former Democratic Mayor Joan Walsh, the mayoral salary was surpassed during the budgeting process by Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini. Keeping with the trend left by his predecessor, Belmont’s annual salary remained at $155,376 from 2012, while Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini’s increased to $164,457. While the decision of whom to hire as a municipal manager ultimately lies in the hands of elected ofﬁcials, some communities–including the neighboring Village of Mamaroneck–retain an independent consultant to review and properly vet potential employees before arranging interviews with members of the board. “This is often the case in many communities,” said Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland. “There are many individuals around Westchester in local government management circles who are either assistants or managers who have this kind of experience at various degrees.” However, the topics of employing a full-time municipal manager and the mayoral salary requirements have not been discussed in any ofﬁcial capacity over the past year. But Republican Councilman Joseph Cannella said that while the town has not made any headway toward the creation of a municipal manager position, the topic has been brought up amid casual conversation, as well as several times when there have been issues regarding municipal stafﬁng.
Students gather “Toys For Tots”
Seventh graders from Louis M. Klein Middle School. In one week, the Harrison students collected nearly 300 toys for “Toys For Toys.” Contributed photo
The students at Louis M. Klein Middle School collected nearly 300 toys in a one week period for Human Development of Westchester’s “Toys For Tots” initiative. Planned and implemented by the seventh grade student council and their advisor, Laura Sardilli, the students worked with all of the grades to collect donations of new toys for children in need in the local Westchester area. The seventh graders collected the gifts from the individual classrooms and helped load the cars during the pickup. (Submitted)
8 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
The Harrison Report’s top stories of 2012 1) Last October, Harrison Police Lt. Vito Castellano, a 15-year veteran ofﬁcer and ﬁrearms instructor, unloaded two shots from his weapon amid a high proﬁle arrest executed by members of the Harrison Police Department, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. According to ofﬁcials, one of the shots ﬁred hit one of three men accused with ties to an interstate burglary ring. Sources would later indicate that during the arrest, one of the shots ﬁred had also struck a fellow ofﬁcer, Detective Stephan Barone. The Westchester County Department of Public Safety has yet to release any ofﬁcial comment regarding the ongoing investigation of the ofﬁcerinvolved shooting. 2) Residents in the Town of Harrison endured the rigorous clean up of debris caused by Superstorm Sandy this past November. Wind speeds of 76 miles per hour, toppled power lines and uprooted trees had emergency personnel working day and night to clean up. Thirty-six homes in Harrison reported that felled trees had crashed into their properties. According to ofﬁcials with Con Edison, a total of 8,897 homes lost power in Harrison. 3) On Jan. 1, 2011, Harrison innaugurated a new mayor, Republican Ron Belmont, after a long and grueling campaign season in 2011. 4) In the hotly contested race for the 37th state Senate seat formerly occupied by Democratic Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, Assemblyman George Latimer beat GOP competitor Bob Cohen. Recieving 55 percent of the vote, Latimer, 59, declared victory among nearly 200 supporters in White Plains on Election Night.
5) A lack of details has continued to raise questions about the town’s closed-door meeting practices. While government agencies are permitted by the state to retreat into “executive session,” guidelines dictated by state open meetings law explains that simply labeling agenda items as “personnel” or “contract negotiations” provide no basis for the request of executive session. Several issues over the course of the year have drawn attention to the sessions and how they are held. 6) Last February, Harrison Police apprehended ﬁve teenagers accused of robbing and assaulting a 21-year-old Port Chester resident along Winﬁeld Avenue. According to police the teens lured the man down the street where they beat him with makeshift clubs before stealing his cellphone, jewelry, $100 in cash and the clothes off his back. The three males and two females, ages 15 through 19, were released on $10,000 bond after being charged with two felony counts of robbery and gang assault. 7) An eight-year-old civil rights lawsuit ﬁled in 2003 was ruled in favor of the Town of Harrison by a federal district court judge last April. A former Harrison resident, Neville Coward, sued the town and three former employees on charges of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a violation of his right to equal protection. Coward was arrested by police during a visit to Passidomo Park in West Harrison after interacting with Little League baseball players. Coward was accused of improper behavior toward the children, including shouting insults at players on the ﬁeld. 8) Harrison passed a controversial amendment to its local law, banning overnight parking for commercial vehicles on all roadways in town. Downtown business owners said they felt the law targeted the blue collar community downtown, and was especially crippling when combined with a seperate ban on commercial vehicles parked in residential driveways. 9) A collision caused by two cars speeding the wrong way down a one-way street in downtown Harrison sparked one resident to send a formal complaint to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Vincent Rizzo, Jr., 30, was driving on Harrison Avenue when another vehicle traveling at excessive speeds collided with him coming the wrong way down a one-way street. Rizzo sought the review of the incident by the state’s top investigator, stating the accident did not get the attention it deserved due to claim that the 17-year-old driver of a third undamaged vehicle was the son of a Harrison police ofﬁcer. 10) The members of the Harrison Town Council have worked throughout the past year to adopt a new master plan, a non-binding zoning and development guide. Town ofﬁcials hired consultants with BFJ Planning to update a previous draft that had been put aside in 2007. Planning consultants have presented two new chapters regarding the Platinum Mile and the central business district downtown to the tune of $48,000. The once thriving business hub along Westchester Avenue could become a mixed selection of development including condo-style residences, retail stores and eateries in what would be a smallscale version of the Ridge Hill shopping center. The plan proposes rezoning the location that once supplemented 60 percent of the town’s tax base as a special business district. The added chapter downtown also stirred a lot of controversy from residents concerned that the town would change the minimum property lot requirements in the two-family residential “B” zone.
January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 9
On the Troubles and murals in Belfast We met our tour guide in Belfast, Northern grenade, but it turned out mostly harmless. Ireland, in front of the Divis Tower–a 20- The lines were built in West Belfast and elsestory apartment complex that where up until the 1980s. dwarfs the other buildings They still stand today and on Falls Road. At the height though the ﬁghting ofﬁcially of “the Troubles” in the ended years ago, the peace LUNGARIELLO 1970s, the British military line serves as a very real AT LARGE occupied the top two ﬂoors reminder of what one book Mark Lungariello of the Divis. But with the calls a “precarious peace” in provisional IRA controlling the city. the streets below, the military Our tour guide, Paul, had to use helicopters to access the so-called brought us to the site of some of the more “observation post.” prominent murals painted around Belfast. They When the violence was at its height in adorn the otherwise drab concrete walls of Belfast, two British helicopters were perpetu- buildings in the working class neighborhoods ally hovering over the city. Meanwhile, para- on both sides of the peace line, and they are militaries patrolled the area as casually and painted on billboards, bars and fences. commonly as the ice cream man, setting up The murals–most of which are painted by their own checkpoints and roadblocks with the local artists–have become a growing tourist atpossibility of gunﬁghts or militant bombings traction since the violence in Belfast has mostly part of the everyday routine. subsided. They tell a story of two very different The Divis is located in one of the nationalist, communities that existed side-by-side, each predominantly Catholic neighborhoods in West pledging loyalty to powers that didn’t seem Belfast, which abuts the loyalist, Protestant to pledge loyalty back, and which came into a neighborhood of Shankill Road. Today, the bloody conﬂict that lasted decades. neighborhoods are surrounded by a “peace The Troubles’ actual beginning is hard to pin line,” which is a huge wall erected to sepa- down, but the powder keg that was Northern rate the feuding neighborhoods and minimize Ireland started smoking in the late 1960s. conﬂict. One local man on the Catholic side of Though much of the international press covthe line said he and his childhood friends were erage of the conﬂict simpliﬁed the situation playing on a dead end street near the wall when as a matter of sectarian Catholics versus the a metal object was thrown from the other side. Protestant majority, the roots of the violence For a moment, they thought the object was a are more complex.
When Ireland became an independent republic in the 20th century, the six counties in the north remained part of the United Kingdom, even though the U.K. government at the time was not entirely engaged in maintaining the link. The north was split between loyalists who considered themselves British and republicans who viewed themselves as Irish. The loyalists were predominantly Protestants, while republicans were overwhelmingly Catholic, and when the violence broke out some paramilitaries on both sides would indiscriminately look to kill members of the “other” religious background. Though Protestants were in the minority on the Irish Isle, in the northernmost counties, they were the majority of the population. The loyalists, or Unionists, won the elections to British Parliament and Stormont, the Northern Ireland legislature. They controlled the vast majority of jobs and made up most of the RUC, the police force in the area. Interestingly, the Unionists identiﬁed as British and received aid and funding from London, but remained standofﬁsh to outside interference as unrest grew among the Catholic underclass, which was weary of the systematic discrimination. Local republicans also had more loyalty to the Republic of Ireland than the republic had to them, as political considerations and Anglo-Irish relations hung in the balance. Even despite inﬂuence from London,
Unionists rejected power-sharing with republicans, who they viewed as seeking to dismantle Northern Ireland’s sovereignty from the south. Among the Catholics’ gripes: a law that essentially gave Protestants more weight in votes than Catholics. Protests and riots were commonplace by the end of the 1960s and the RUC was viewed to target the Catholic population in enforcement. Unionist paramilitary groups, like the Ulster Volunteer Force, struck against the republican side. Eventually, Stormont was dismantled, and as the United Kingdom imposed direct rule over the north, extremist paramilitarism became common on both sides. “Eye for an eye” retaliation often brutally harmed civilians with no direct affiliation with paramilitary groups. Our tour guide, Paul, was a former member of the IRA who spent 10 years in jail for an attempted bombing of a bank in the city center. Some of his jailmates died on hunger strikes in the Thatcher-era, protesting the treatment of republican prisoners. Community support for these groups was high, and an inﬂux of youths joined paramilitaries at the height of the Troubles in the 1970s. Often, members of paramilitary groups who were being sought by authorities were welcomed into private homes in their neighborhoods, offered food, a bed and a hiding spot as their enemies sought to kill them. One interesting mural in the Catholic BELFAST continued on page 12
10 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
Business Briefs Weichert, Realtors’ Larchmont ofﬁce recognized for regional award Jo Ellen Ashby, regional vice president of Weichert, Realtors, announced the Larchmont ofﬁce was recognized for outstanding performance in November. The ofﬁce led the region, which is comprised of ofﬁces throughout Orange, Westchester and Rockland counties, for resale dollar volume. Since 1969, Weichert, Realtors has grown from a single ofﬁce into one of the nation’s leading providers of homeownership services. A family of full-service real estate and ﬁnancial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. For more information, Weichert’s customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USASOLD. Weichert franchised ofﬁces are independently owned and operated. The Weichert, Realtor’s Larchmont ofﬁce is located at 2090 Boston Post Road. For more information, call (914) 833-0800. Burke Rehabilitation Hospital appoints new assistant medical director The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital has announced the appointment of Barry Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., as assistant medical director of the hospital, a newly created position. In his expanded role, reporting to Mary Beth Walsh, M.D., Burke’s executive medical director, Jordan will assist in developing and implementing policies, procedures and best practices for improving patient care; and be involved in the training and continuing education of the hospital’s medical staff. Jordan will also work with the executive medical director to ensure the facility is in compliance with all federal, state and local laws in an ever-changing health care landscape. Jordan is a renowned neurologist who has been with Burke since 1999, ﬁrst as an attending neurologist and then being named director of Burke’s inpatient Brain Injury program and medical director of the Memory Evaluation and Treatment program. Along with his new responsibilities as assistant medical director, Jordan will continue as director of the Brain Injury program. Jordan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s in neurophysiology and obtained his medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School.
Jordan completed an internship in internal medicine at the University of California–Los Angeles Medical Center and performed his neurology residency training at the New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center.
Rye physician presented with WESTMED’s Dr. Leonard Finkelstein Patient First Award Dr. Lynn Josephson of Rye, a WESTMED Medical Group breast surgeon, was recently presented with the Dr. Leonard Finkelstein Patient First Award for 2012. The award is the namesake of the deceased Dr. Leonard Finkelstein, a founding and admired member of, then, The Westchester Medical Group and a former longtime Rye Brook resident. She grew up in Rye, graduated from Rye High School and completed her medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She then ﬁnished a surgical residency at Columbia Presbyterian College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she became chief resident only three years after completing medical school. Josephson came back to live in Rye with her husband, also a Rye native, when she started her surgical practice with Drs. Barry Altman and Lawrence Kadish in White Plains. She has the distinction of being the ﬁrst female general surgeon in Westchester County. She joined WESTMED in 2010. Mary K. Spengler named 2012 Distinguished Alumna at Salve Regina With four decades of service in health care, during which time she developed two awardwinning cancer and stroke programs, Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester’s Executive Director Mary K. Spengler was recently honored as Salve Regina University’s 2012 Distinguished Alumna. Spengler, a resident of White Plains, graduated from Salve Regina with a degree in biology. She has worked for 32 years in a variety of administrative positions at White Plains Hospital and, prior to that, at New York Medical College’s ﬂagship hospital, Flower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which has since closed. As vice president at White Plains Hospital, Spengler led the development and implementation of an accredited multi-service cancer program that was recognized with an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009, a designation given to only 18 percent of programs nationwide. She was also directly responsible for coordinating the hospital’s multidisciplinary stroke program, which received the Gold Star from the American Heart Association and was featured in U.S. News and World Report. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, Spengler credits her recovery to excellent clinical treatment, the support of friends, and
her trust in God. This experience fueled her desire to provide access and digniﬁed health care for all. She joined the ﬁght against cancer working with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer, participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and working one-on-one with recently diagnosed breast cancer patients in the Reach to Recovery program. Recognized by the YWCA of White Plains for her breast cancer awareness efforts in the community, Spengler was honored with their Salute to Women award.
Larchmont resident included in New York Super Lawyers Mary S. Croly, a trusts and estates attorney for over 23 years, has been selected for inclusion in the 2012 New York Super Lawyers – Metro Edition. Croly, a Larchmont resident for over 18 years, is of counsel at the ﬁrm of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP, which has the largest trusts and estates department in New York City. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. A publication of Thomas Reuters, Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a rigorous, multiphase process that includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. Up to 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers. Westchester Library System welcomes Amanda Goodman to Board of Trustees The Westchester Library System recently named Amanda Goodman to the organization’s Board of Trustees. Goodman serves as the District X representative covering Port Chester, Rye Brook, Rye City and Rye Town. Goodman is the executive director of Beaute Prestige International, a division of Shiseido Cosmetics in New York City. She attended Montclair State College in New Jersey receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. Goodman has spent her career in the sales and sales management area working for major cosmetic and fragrance companies with all major retailers such as Saks, Bloomingdales and Macy’s. She has concentrated on building tailored programs for these accounts to increase revenue and market share and has attained growth, visibility and a solid reputation in the industry. The Westchester Library System is lo-
cated at 540 White Plains Road, suite 200, in Tarrytown. For more information, visit westchesterlibraries.org.
Dorf & Nelson Law celebrates 20th anniversary Dorf & Nelson LLP Managing Partner, Jon A. Dorf, is celebrating two decades practicing law in Westchester County. This important business milestone coincides with Dorf & Nelson receiving the prestigious 2013 U.S. News & World Report ﬁrst tier metro ﬁrm ranking. This award recognizes the ﬁrm’s pursuit of excellence, commitment to their clients and their breadth of experience. In 2012, two new partners and several associates joined the ranks. The ﬁrm welcomed Scott D. Locke, Partner and Head of Dorf & Nelson’s Intellectual Property and Life Sciences practice areas, and Martha J. Flanders, a Partner with 30 years’ experience in Mergers and Acquisitions. The ﬁrm’s Litigation Department continues to expand with the addition of associate attorneys, Scott J. Greenblatt, Fletcher W. Moore and Schenley D. Vital. This was also a propitious year for the Partners of Dorf & Nelson, as they received industry accolades for their accomplishments. Daniel R. Alcott, Partner and Department Head of the Tax Exempt Not-for-Proﬁt Organizations Department, was selected as a 2012 Super Lawyer New York for the ﬁfth year in a row as well as awarded Best Lawyer in America Non-Proﬁt Charities, the New York Area and Westchester for more than three consecutive years. Jon A. Dorf was also recognized by Super Lawyers for the last three consecutive years and was also the recipient of the 2012 Equal Access to Justice Award, an honor extended by Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. In addition, the partners have been actively involved in civic service for over 20 years. Dorf is a vice president and a board member of the Westchester County Bar Association and chair for the Westchester County Bar Association Law Ofﬁce Management Special Committee. He is also a board member and the general counsel of the Business Council of Westchester. Dorf also served as the former chair, Committee on Law Practice Management of the New York State Bar Association. In his hometown, Dorf served as town prosecutor of Mamaroneck for seven years and now presides as president of the Orienta Point Association, his homeowner’s group. Since 2010, Daniel R. Alcott has been a member of the Nonproﬁt Organizations Committee of the New York City Bar Association and a member of Board of Directors for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and co-chair of their Board Governance Committee. The next Business Briefs section will run on Feb. 1. Please send any submission for our February issue to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Jan. 25. Each submission can include one picture and must be between 175-225 words. If you have any questions, email Deputy Editor Rachel McCain at email@example.com.
January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 11
Re-facing is not a dirty word Watching network television the other night, schedules, many people don’t want to have their I was pretty amazed at some of the dialogue lifestyles disrupted any longer than necessary. that wasn’t “bleeped” out. It brought to mind It’s hard enough getting everything done that the comedian George Carlin’s we’re supposed to each day list of “Seven Words You without having construction THE KITCHEN AND Can’t Say on TV,” which apgoing on for several weeks. BATH INSIDER parently you can say on teleRe-facing takes much less vision now. Times sure have time than replacing a kitchen Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D.© changed since Carlin (and and is much less stressful Lenny Bruce) were arrested than a total renovation. for using such language. However, in reviewAnd in most cases, it’s usually much more ing those words, and several others, I realized economical than a new kitchen. I say “usually that “re-facing” has never been included in the much more economical” because there are blacklisted group of unacceptable expressions. factors that can increase the costs of re-facSo why do some people still feel that re- ing. When you select thermofoil replacement facing is a negative method of remodeling? fronts the cost is about 50 percent less than Because in the past, re-facing (or resurfacing, buying and installing new, all-wood cabinets. as it is also called) used to conjure up a less- However, if you choose special shapes or than-beautiful kitchen, where the material cov- wood fronts, the savings begins to diminish. ering the cabinets and doors didn’t look real and Another factor that can add to the expense would peel off in a few years. While this may of re-facing is changing the layout of your have been true 10 to 15 years ago (when you kitchen. You realize the greatest saving when couldn’t say those seven words), the materials no alterations are made to the ﬂoor plan. If and adhesives used for re-facing have improved you intend on changing more than 10 percent dramatically. Most contractors who offer this of the cabinets in the kitchen, it makes more service now replace the door and drawer fronts sense to think about replacing all of them. and cover the cabinet with the same material If you are thinking about renovating your the new fronts are made of. Today, a custom kitchen, it certainly would be worthwhile to inre-facing job, if done properly, looks just like a vestigate all the possibilities. Visit showrooms new kitchen and lasts just as long. that offer both new cabinets and re-facing so The selection of replacement fronts has you can see what your options are. Now that expanded exponentially over the past few there is no taboo associated with those seven years. You can now get real wood and select words, it’s okay to contemplate re-facing also. from maple, cherry, alder, birch, pine, exotic And with the wide range of replacement fronts woods, etc. If you want to go with laminate available, you may be pleasantly surprised. fronts, there are close to a hundred colors to Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president chose from, and now the laminates can be of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in hand-crafted with a glazed ﬁnish or Italian Mamaroneck. A Master of Design (Pratt high gloss lacquer–just like real wood. Add to Institute), and E.P.A. Certiﬁed Remodeler, he this all the modern internal conveniences that serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling you ﬁnd in new kitchen cabinets and re-facing Magazine. A member of the National starts to sound like a viable alternative. Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contribuI’ve found that the two most popular reasons tor to Do It Yourself magazine. He can be for re-facing cabinets–rather than replacing reached for questions at (914) 777-0437 or them–are convenience and cost. With our hectic dreamworkkitchens.com.
HHS varsity football players deliver holiday cheer
Members of the Harrison High School varsity football team. The players recently visited the Cottage School in Pleasantville to deliver presents and holiday cheer. Contributed photo
The Harrison High School varsity football team visited the Cottage School in Pleasantville to delivery holiday cheer. Members of the team, including the youngest members who serve as the waterboys, spent the day with the children sharing a meal and organizing pickup football and basketball games. The Huskies played Santa and handed out gifts to the children, many of whom had
never received gifts during the holidays. Many children who reside at the Cottage House have suffered from trauma, neglect or abuse and are working with the counselors, social workers and highly trained clinical staff to build on their strengths and resolve some of the family issues that made it necessary to attend the Cottage School. (Submitted)
12 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
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OP-ED Principled leadership during the budget process By COUNTY LEGISLATOR KEN JENKINS
Budgets are all about priorities. Protect the people, safeguard the environment and help create prosperity: these are the simple principles that guide me and many of my colleagues on the Board of Legislators while making decisions, both big and small, during the process of ﬁnalizing a budget for Westchester County. I also rely on a system of values that put honesty, fairness and kindness at the foundation of these priorities and decisions. In the ultra-conservative world of Tea Party extremists, though, there does not seem to be much room for compromise or even working together for the greater good. The Board of Legislators leadership met with the Astorino administration prior to release of the proposed 2013 budget. The administration was disappointed by the discussion, and the position of the Democratic leadership, which was clear: let’s see your budget proposal. The board only can start working on the budget after seeing what the county executive proposes. The prior two budgets had bipartisan support and were adopted 161, the one “nay” belonging to (now retired) Democrat Marty Rogowsky, who opposed the county’s borrowing for operating costs. In terms of process, the board worked together on the budget, and 2011 voted unanimously to override the county executive’s line vetoes and protect jobs and services. As with the last two budget cycles, County Executive Astorino’s proposed 2013 budget was consistent with his Tea Party philosophy, and the Democratic opposition to the cuts in Astorino’s budget was equally consistent along the lines with the above-mentioned principles and values. For Democratic caucus members, it was not acceptable to eliminate funding for programs and services that hundreds and hundreds of residents at three recent public hearings stated were right for Westchester,
like child care subsidies, neighborhood health centers, youth initiatives, emergency readiness and nature conservation. In response to the county executive’s proposed budget, the Democratic caucus of the Board of Legislators toiled to craft a better 2013 budget. Our priorities dictated that we save the jobs of experienced county professionals who are needed to deliver services, and that we restore vital programs and services slated to be cut, including some that save lives plus higher mandated costs down the road. And instead of Astorino’s reckless borrowing to pay for operating costs, the board’s Democratic caucus budget plan would utilize $11 million of the $137 million fund balance–no different, than the Astorino administration’s recently disclosed use of $8 million of fund balance this year to pay for salary increases he neglected to budget for in 2012. More priorities: Investments in child care subsidies with the parent share remaining at 20 percent and services that protect our families and quality of life were not negotiable. The administration’s priorities seem more concerned about the use of fund balance and protecting over 50 patronage positions. As votes on the budget neared, I let the Astorino administration know that the Board of Legislators’ ﬁscal staff was ready to meet to discuss the ﬁscal details of the Democratic caucus budget plan. The administration replied that additional clariﬁcation or discussion of ﬁscal assumptions in the Democratic caucus budget were unnecessary. The next morning the Board of Legislators’ leadership team met with the administration. According to the Astorino administration, out of a $1.7 billion dollar proposed budget, the two plans were $15 million dollars apart. Hardly an insurmountable difference. The core issues that divided the two sides were how to fund tax certioraris and
reconciling budget assumptions. The feedback from the administration at this point was telling: They did not want to appear to have “caved in.” I remarked that it will look as if both sides compromised. I made several proposals to vote down the county executive’s proposed budget to allow for additional time for negotiations and adjustments, with the possibility of a tax levy increase (suggested by the Republican legislators) to cover the costs of tax certioraris. Additionally, there would be a cooling off period for continued contract negotiations. In the end, all of the proposals were rebuffed. Since then, we have learned that Legislators Kaplowitz and Perez had committed to supporting Astorino’s budget the day before ﬁnal modiﬁcations to the budget had been presented–prior to any the Board of Legislators leadership meetings or any negotiations. All of the legislators are now aware of the sizable concessions proposed by CSEA union negotiators to the Astorino administration in October, including health care contributions, a two year 0 percent salary increase and a four-day furlough. And as for “lowering” the parent share for subsidized child care, it is being raised now anyway to a family budget-busting 35 percent on Jan. 1, 2013. With actual data for October and November now on-hand for some of the county’s Department of Social Services programs, and the fact that CSEA presented the administration with cost-saving concessions during contract negotiations in October, the county legislators who supported the Astorino-led budget have an impetus to correct the procedural errors in their voting and, if they truly care for their constituents, to do what is right for Westchester.
members of their own paramilitaries are shown as patriots defending the neighborhoods. In some windows in the Shankill Road area, we saw signs with the Union Jack declaring British pride. We also saw windows with green-tinted glass, a giveaway of their bulletproof composition.
Paul blamed the media for what he viewed as biased coverage of the Troubles and said he never trusted journalists further than he could throw them. He never asked me what I did for a living. Reach Mark Lungariello at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Jenkins is chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and resides in Yonkers.
BELFAST from page 9
neighborhoods shows an old woman hosting members of the IRA at her kitchen table with the family. These days, since the peace accord at the turn of the century, Paul can lead a tour into the Protestant neighborhoods, where their murals portray the IRA as terrorists and
January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 13
L etters A solution to security in Harrison schools
County legislator sounds off on 2013 budget
To the Editor, At a recent Harrison Town Board meeting, dozens of parents expressed their concerns regarding school safety in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy. Many demanded a full police presence or suggested the hiring of armed private security. To these parents, the cost should not be an issue. The members of the Town Board, while receptive and accommodating to the parents concerns, will be looking into possible alternatives including reviving the School Resource Ofﬁcer program that was cut due to a decrease in funding from our state and federal governments. The mayor and police chief will continue to coordinate with our school superintendent in the hopes of ﬁnding a cost effective way to provide the security that has been requested. But this could take some time. We as residents need to take a more pro-active stance in assisting our town and school boards in expediting this process. The following are a list of suggestions that could be implemented for the immediate future. • The town should work with the school district and provide a town-paid stipend to retired police ofﬁcers as a presence in our schools. We now have several retired police ofﬁcers who have worked both as SRO ofﬁcers and youth ofﬁcers and now work in our school system. Their training would be at a minimum because they have already done this work. • The town must form an Auxiliary Police Department so that our police ofﬁcers will not be relegated to ﬁll in for crossing guards, funeral details or trafﬁc control for construction projects, or speciﬁc desk duty/dispatch functions. This too, will free up our police resources to protect and serve the community. • Auxiliary police ofﬁcers could even be trained as SRO/youth ofﬁcers. SRO ofﬁcers focus on the “Triad Model,” which consists of law enforcement, student counseling and law-related education.” Their job is to be proactive in preventing our students from committing a criminal act, while our full-time police force primarily focuses on enforcement and investigations after a law is broken. • Call or write to Rep. Nita Lowey, U.S. senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gilibrand, state Sen.-elect George Latimer and Assemblyman-elect David Buchwald, County Legislator David Gelfarb and County Executive Rob Astorino and demand that they restore funding to protect our schools, using any one of the above prospective programs. • And ﬁnally, parents, friends, neighbors and teachers must learn to listen and watch our children more closely for unusual behavior patterns. No amount of security can protect us from our ignorance to the truth. These are just a few ideas that need to be discussed in order to provide for the security of our students, teachers and the general public. Some may feel that their “domain” is being challenged and will out of hand and for personal reasons reject these ideas. But we must not let them. The reality of it is that cost will always be a factor–especially during these difﬁcult times. So we need to ﬁnd that proper balance of proper security and cost effectiveness. With the talent and knowledge in Harrison, from one end to the other, we can ﬁnd the right solution.
To the Editor, I cannot say that the 2013 budget supposedly “passed” by my colleagues on the Board of Legislators is the right spending plan for Westchester County’s residents and businesses. Simply put: This budget borrows too much, cuts too deeply and funds political patronage jobs at the expense of talented county workers. Approved by seven Republican legislators and, amazingly, two Democratic legislators, this budget is essentially a Tea Party directive that may well imperil the county’s current AAA credit rating. This Republican budget borrows $48 million for operating expenses–including $37 million for pension costs and $11 million for the payment of tax certioraris. Any municipal leader and/or ﬁnancial analyst will tell you that borrowing for operating expenses is a very dangerous path to follow. Regrettably, the “passed” budget also calls for the termination of over 100 experienced county employees in the critical areas of social services, probation, emergency services and public safety. And yet over 40 empty positions with salary and beneﬁts will be funded, along with 57 political patronage jobs that do nothing to enhance the safety and well-being of Westchester residents and businesses. Political pork gets paid for, but funding for foreclosure and eviction prevention, services for the developmentally disabled, senior nutrition programs and community soup kitchens, domestic violence prevention, and the arts in Westchester will all be slashed. The budget put forward by the Budget and Appropriations Committee, which I chair, reduced borrowing and saved jobs and vital programs through the elimination of the patronage and vacant budget lines. While the current county executive and his compatriots may be congratulating themselves on their Tea Party budget, the real losers are the residents and businesses of Westchester County who will pay more and face more risks in the future. Judy Myers, Westchester County Legislator
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Michael LaDore, Harrison
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14 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013 O’ROURKE from page 1
O’Rourke, who implemented policies that were often considered progressive for a Republican at the time, became a champion of welfare reforms, was responsible for privatizing several county functions and left a lasting impression throughout the county in which he lived and served for so many years. Due to complications from a lengthy battle with lung cancer, O’Rourke died at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx on Jan. 3. He lived in Yorktown. County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, and conﬁdant of O’Rourke’s, directed all ﬂags on county property to be ﬂown at half-staff in his honor. “Those who knew him will remember him for his extraordinary wit and charm as well as his compassion for all,” said the county executive, who was appointed to the county Board of Ethics by O’Rourke in 1995. “These are traits that served him well through his long career.” Astorino worked on O’Rourke’s campaigns for county executive and governor, and remained close to O’Rourke over the years, often turning to his predecessor for his “wise counsel and historic perspective.” O’Rourke, the youngest of ﬁve children, was born on Oct. 26, 1933 in Plainﬁeld, N.J. He grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City and worked as an usher at the Paramount Theater in Times Square. His father, a doctor, died when he was nearly 2 years old and his mother became blind several years later, leaving the family to col-
lect welfare. O’Rourke often defended such social programs during his tenure as county executive. O’Rourke graduated from Fordham University and received a law degree from Fordham before starting his own private law practice in Yonkers. He also served as a captain in the Air Force and in the Naval Reserve. He launched his political career in Yonkers as a city councilman, serving from 1966 to 1973, and then served on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 1973 to 1982, with the last four years as board chairman. In 1983, he took over as county executive when incumbent County Executive Alfred DelBello, a Democrat, was elected as lieutenant governor. O’Rourke was selected by the county legislature to ﬁll out the remainder of DelBello’s term. He was nominated in 1986 as the Republican candidate with the unenviable task of unseating Cuomo in that year’s election. It would prove to be the only loss of O’Rourke’s political career. Former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, echoed the sentiments surrounding O’Rourke’s character. “Andy O'Rourke was a great judge, an outstanding county executive and most important, he possessed a warm, funny and generous spirit,” he said. “He brought excellence and integrity to all he did in public life and will be greatly missed.” Following the sound defeat for gover-
nor–Cuomo captured 66 percent of the vote–O’Rourke went on to win re-election as county executive three consecutive times before choosing to step down in 1997. His 15 years in ofﬁce equated to the second-longest tenure of any county executive, behind only Edwin Michaelian for whom the administration building in White Plains is named. While chief executive of the county, O’Rourke was responsible for expanding the county jail at Valhalla, renovating the County Center, constructing a new terminal at the County Airport from a Quonset hut, aided in the development of the county’s North and South trailways and purchased numerous acres of open space for county parkland. Howard P. Sturman, the publisher of The Harrison Report and a personal acquaintance of O’Rourke’s, said the former executive should be properly memorialized for revitalizing the County Center. “Many have said that he was charming, witty, intelligent and a great political leader. Furthermore, he was my friend and I will miss his friendship,” Sturman said. “I strongly urge that the county executive initiate legislation to rename the County Center The Andrew P. O’Rourke County Center.” O’Rourke also helped build permanent shelters in Westchester to combat a growing homeless epidemic in the 1980s. And he re-
quired welfare recipients to work in order to earn their beneﬁts, which is a model that is still implemented across the country today. He also created Croton Point Park out of what was a dumping ground, reopened Playland as a county-run amusement park and took Westchester Medical Center off the county books by leasing out stafﬁng and its budget. County Legislator Jim Maisano, the board’s Republican minority leader, said O’Rourke was one of the greatest public speakers that Westchester has ever seen. “Andy O’Rourke always served the people of Westchester County with visionary leadership, dedication and compassion. His legacy will be that he truly made Westchester a better place for all its residents,” Maisano said. Soon after leaving ofﬁce, O’Rourke won a seat on the state Supreme Court. He retired in 2009. In his spare time, O’Rourke also fulﬁlled a hobby by publishing two novels “The Red Banner Mutiny” and “Hawkwood.” He is survived by his wife, Flora Lowe, daughters Alice Rodd O’Rourke, Aileen B. O’Rourke and his son Andrew O’Rourke Jr. His ﬁrst wife, Alice McKenna, whom he divorced, died in 2011. His funeral mass was held on Wednesday at St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown Heights.
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SPORTS Mike Smith’s Top Harrison Report Sports for 2012 Harrison beats Rye (Oct. 26) There isn’t much that one can say about “The Game” aside from the fact that it’s the biggest annual football game in Section I. For Harrison fans, however, the 2012 installment would be a special one, as the squad was able to pound the Garnets to grab its ﬁrst win in nine tries. Phys ed classes get a new look (March 16) Area schools, including Harrison High School, are instituting a new look at physical education, one that focuses less on competition and more on skill and team-building activities. Some of the newest innovations include rock climbing and yoga.
Rye’s nine-game win streak against Harrison came crashing down on Oct. 20 as the Huskies were able to top the Garnets on the road. Rye will look to get back on top in 2013. Photo/Bobby Begun
January 11, 2013 • THE HARRISON REPORT • 15
Teams with something to prove Rye hockey Sure, Rye is a solid team–and with their cast of returnees, nobody expected different. But in terms of playing against Section I competition, it would be hard to ﬁnd another team that has had as much success this year. Save a surging Greeley team–with whom Rye tied–the Garnets are unbeaten within the section and could be poised to make a run that will see the squad atop the Division II brackets once the playoffs roll around. The Garnets have a few tough games on the schedule, however, including a tilt with rival Harrison and a matchup again Pelham on Jan. 31. Mamaroneck hockey Just last month, the Tigers were a team that was on the ropes. With four straight losses– an odd sight for any Mamaroneck team–many were left questioning whether or not the Tigers dynasty was over. The squad hasn’t been perfect since, but players have shown, with wins over White Plains and Clarkstown South, that they have enough heart to climb back into the Division I race. With just one loss against an in-section foe (Rye), the Tigers have a tough stretch coming up, which sees them take on Suffern in a two-game set that could well be a playoff preview. New Rochelle basketball A couple of missteps were to be expected this year, as the Huguenots came into the season with a new coach and a roster of players somewhat out of “basketball” shape, due to New Ro’s state title run during the football season. Unsurprisingly, New Rochelle faltered against some of the top-ﬂight schools in early-season out-of-section games, but proved they had the scrappiness
Rye goalie Aidan Talgo makes a stop against Mamaroneck on Dec. 15. The Garnets are one of the top teams in Section I so far this season. Photo/Mike Smith
to hang tough with and beat a good St. Mary’s team out of Long Island. New Rochelle will be playing at New Roc City on Jan. 12 in the nightcap of Monroe College’s Hoops for a Cure tournament.
Eastchester basketball At 7-1, Eastchester has deﬁed expecations this year, and has quickly established itself as one of the top teams in Class A. The Eagles–led by junior point guard Jack Daly–have been on a tear, with just one loss, coming at the hands of preseason favorite Poughkeepsie. On Jan. 7, Daly and the Eagles cruised past Pelham–one of the team’s chief competitors–with a 21-point win that snapped the Pelican’s ﬁve-game win streak.
Young Huskies take aim at top flight squads By MIKE SMITH ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
With a young team and a relatively new head coach, one might expect that the Harrison girls basketball team would take its fair share of lumps this season. But with the season halfway done, the Huskies have shown an innate ability to battle. Despite a couple of tough losses, they ﬁnd themselves ahead of where most pundits would have picked them to be, with a 5-4 record on the year. The Huskies have had their ups and downs this season, beating Section I contenders like Tappan Zee and perennial powers like JFK, but perhaps the best microcosm of their season came in their ﬁrst showdown against rival Rye on Jan. 4. Hosting the Garnets, the Huskies fell behind early, trailing Rye by 10 at the half before righting the ship and making a charge at the Garnets, only to fall to their tough opponents by 5. According to head coach Louis Kail, Harrison’s ﬁrst-half struggles stemmed from an ongoing problem that the team has had this season, one which can’t be ﬁxed other than by spending more time on the court together: their youth. “Any time you play a team like Rye, and you’re as young as we are, mental mistakes can be a problem,” said the second-year coach. “We’ve got a seven-girl rotation that’s got two juniors, three sophomores and a couple of freshman, so sometimes, when the pressure’s on, the game can get away from us.”
But Harrison’s ﬁner points came to light later in the game, as the Huskies, led by sophomore Kyle Lefkowitz’s 10 points, began to play tighter defense. “We need to play a more physical game,” sad Kail. “We don’t have a lot of size–even Kyle is undersized–so we need to play with a lot of effort to be successful.” Despite the team’s youth, however, Kail has been exteremly happy with the play of the squad–and is especially excited about getting the chance to build a program from the ground up. With his time on the JV level, Kail has had several years to work with the team’s stars, both Lefkowitz and Paige Brabant, and believes that his Huskies have a real chance to make waves–not only this year, but for seasons to come. “I’ve had the two of them Paige Brabant runs the point against Rye on Jan. 5. Harrison battled back in the second half of the game, but still [Brabant and Lefkowitz] fell to the Garnets by ﬁve. Photo/Mike Smith since they were eight graders, and we’ve moved up together,” he said. expect from me and how to help the younger 9 (after press time) when they take on Blind Brook. On Jan. 11, they will visit Hamilton, a “It’s deﬁnitely an advantage moving up with girls get it, too.” Harrison will take the court again on Jan. team that is the favorite to win the Class C title. them, having them around. They know what to
16 • THE HARRISON REPORT • January 11, 2013
Revamped Huskies ready for Fox Lane, Westlake By MIKE SMITH ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR email@example.com
Last winter, Harrison’s swim team had some talent, but the squad was missing an important ingredient for success: numbers. This year, bolstering its membership up from 12 to 20, the Huskies are back in the game, and as evidenced by a 1-1-1 record against solid Section I teams, they are in the hunt for some postseason glory. After last season, head coach Phil Dearstyne embarked on a simple quest: to ﬁnd swimmers anywhere he could. With signs, banners and multiple swings through the Harrison High School cafeteria during lunch periods, he was able to round up enough bodies with swimming experience to give himself a little more ﬂexibility when it came to ﬁlling out race lineups in 2013. “There’s so much more we can do with the team,” said the head coach. “You ﬁgure most of the kids are going to be freestylers, but it allows you to really plan it once you see who your sprinters, distance, and middle-distance guys are.” Dearstyne’s strategic approach was on display during the team’s Jan. 5 meet against a solid Rye team, when he loaded up on the middle relay races to combat Rye’s 400 relay, which is
one of the best in the state. The Huskies pulled out ﬁrst and second in the 200, which nearly led them to victory, tying the Garnets with just one race–the 400–left to run. “Stacking races like that is a risk and it doesn’t always pay off,” said Dearstyne. “But this time, shufﬂing around the lineups, it worked. We just weren’t able to pull it out at the end.” In addition to the swimmers Dearstyne has picked up this year, there is still some undeniable veteran talent on the squad. Bryan Pon, a mainstay in the Huskies lineup, was a freestyle state qualiﬁer last year, and sophomore Alex Corda is starting to come into his own as a proliﬁc butterﬂyer in his own right. “The distance he covers in one arm-stroke has to be about 6 feet,” said Dearstyne. “He’s one of the more talented kids we’ve come across.” Harrison’s tough schedule doesn’t feature any breaks as the squad will take on Fox Lane, Westlake and Rye again in the coming weeks. However, buoyed by his team’s early season success, Dearstyne is conﬁdent that his team will be able to stick with the section’s big guns. “They’re all good teams, a lot of combined teams with a couple of schools, so it’s going to be tough,” he said. “But those are the teams we have in our scopes.”
Huskies earn Golden Dozen nods
A Harrison swimmer competes against Rye on Jan. 5. Harrison was tied with the Garnets heading into the last race, but Rye’s superb 400 relay team pulled out a Garnets victory. Photo/Mike Smith
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Hannah Hochman By MIKE SMITH ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
(L-R) Harrison Athletic Director Pat Seligman, Kevin Nathanson, Charlie Credendino, Robert Waldman and Huskies coach Art Troilo Jr. stand in front of the Harrison scoreboard on Jan. 8. Credendino and Waldman were named to the prestigious Golden Dozen team by the Westchester Chapter of the National Football Foundation, while Nathanson was given honorable mention. Photo/Mike Smith
Each year, the Westchester Chapter of the National Football Foundation honors the top 12 student athletes in the area for the accomplishments on the gridiron, in the classroom and in their service to the community. This year, two Harrison Huskies were named to the Golden Dozen team, as lineman
Charlie Credendino and running back Robert Waldman were given the prestigious Golden Dozen award. Teammate Kevin Nathanson was also honored by the committee, earning honorable mention status. -Reporting by MIKE SMITH
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Hannah Hochman may have started running track in the seventh grade, but over the past few years, the sport has become less of a hobby for her and more of a calling. Now as a senior, Hochman is on the verge of, once again, leading a relay team to states while chasing a personal record of her own. Racing on the 4 x 400 relay team, Hochman–along with her fellow state qualiﬁers from last year–said that the challenge of repeating as state qualiﬁers has made the 2012-2013 season a little more challenging than last year’s campaign. So far, however, the squad has been on track to meet last year’s times. “There’s more pressure on us
this year,” said Hochman. “Because we’ve done it already, getting back is the main goal. So far, though we are right where we were last year.” In addition to her relay times, however, Hochman is hoping to break former teammate Nina Sarmiento’s record in the 300m event. Hochman, who also runs the 200 and 400m events, said that the 300m is the event she’s best suited for–although going after the record of her teammate is something of a unique experience. “It’s weird,” she said. “But it’s interesting. Nina was someone that I looked up to a lot, so it’s kind of fun to be chasing her record.” Hochman and the Huskies will be competing in the Milrose Games on Jan. 12 at the Armory in Manhattan.