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Vol. 15/Number 7

Council considers armory options By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER alexandra@hometwn.com

The New Rochelle Armory saga isn’t over yet. At its March 12 meeting, the City Council began hashing out what to do with the former armory building on Main Street now that a deal with the Westchester-based Good Profit group has fallen through. Good Profit had successfully submitted a proposal for the adaptive reuse of the building last year. But the plan, which called for the creation of an indoor farmers market and eateries at the armory, came to a screeching halt when Good Profit failed to submit a signed Letter of Agreement to the city by the end of last month. “I asked the Commissioner of Development to come up with a list of options for the armory-to look at this with a new set of eyes and a different perspective-just to facilitate the discussion,” City Manager Chuck Strome told the council. Having followed those marching orders, Commissioner Luiz Aragon briefed the council on several options. He said the armory site is important and that it must be marketed properly. “We need to attract developers to do what we want to have done,”

Aragon said. “The burden is on us.” Past requests for proposal have garnered limited response, Aragon said. Only two organizations, the Good Profit group and a local veterans group, submitted proposals for the adaptive reuse of the building in response to the last RFP. Aragon said that “begs a question” about how the city is framing the requests. The council now has a few decisions to make, Aragon said. It can continue the existing RFP process and negotiate with the veterans group, which wants to turn the building into a performing arts center, or it can extend the deadline and ask the veterans group and Good Profit to resubmit amended proposals. In either case, the council would still have a limited number of proposals from which to choose, Aragon said. The council could also restart the RFP process with new and different parameters, or it could solicit “expressions of interest.” “You can ask people to come forward with ideas,” Aragon said. “With those ideas, you could decide how to move forward and get a larger picture of what you want to do.” Aragon and Strome said seeking expressions of interest is less restrictive than the RFP process and ARMORY, continued on page 4

March 29 & April 5, 2013

Sound Shore marks St. Paddy’s

Teachers’ pensions driving cost in school budget By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER alexandra@hometwn.com

A dramatic increase in the New Rochelle City School District’s contribution to teachers’ pensions is a key factor in a proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools John B. Quinn. The $238 million spending plan proposed by Superintendent of Schools Richard Organisciak reflects a 1.69 percent increase in expenditures over the 2012-2013

budget approved by New Rochelle voters last May. If approved, the budget would result in a 4.49 percent tax rate increase. At the Board of Education’s March 14 budget meeting, Quinn began his presentation by reviewing the “expenditure variances” that account for the 1.69 percent spending increase. While doing so, he pointed out a $625,000 decrease in the district’s debt service, a $545,000 decrease in contract expense, and a $580,000 decrease in special education tuition. But even when

coupled with other reductions in the proposed budget, that cannot make up for the $4.7 million increase in the district’s contributions to the Teacher Retirement System for 2013-14, Quinn said. “That is the 3,000 pound gorilla in the room–it is higher than the whole [budget to budget spending increase],” Quinn said, noting that the jump in TRS contributions alone reflects a 2 percent spending increase. “Even with cost savings, it BUDGET, continued on page 8

New Ro police protest lack of contract, manpower By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER alexandra@hometwn.com

The City Council has some decisions to make about the long dormant armory. Photo/Alexandra Bogdanovic

The city’s “finest” are not happy. At the March 12 City Council meeting, New Rochelle police protested about both reductions in manpower and the ongoing lack of a contract. “You’ve said you’re proud of the police department, but we’re increasingly concerned about the failure to reach a contract,” Ray Andolino, president of the New Rochelle Police Association, told

the council. “We’ve been without a contract for four years.” Andolino also said experienced police officers can’t be replaced, and that further reductions in manpower would be “irresponsible.” “The practice of balancing the budget on our back must end,” Andolino said. Although the department’s morale is at an “all time low,” the union’s resolve is strong, Andolino added. He wasn’t alone. Neil Reynolds is president of the New Rochelle Superior Officers

Association, which represents the department’s sergeants, lieutenants and captains. He urged the council to “hire more cops.” “These are dedicated professionals who care about this city and its residents,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been working without a contract, and we want to come to an agreement. All we want is a fair, equitable contract. Don’t let New Rochelle get caught short.” The occasion marked the second POLICE, continued on page 4


2 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013

WVOX annual St. Paddy’s party a local who’s who WVOX, the independently-owned radio station that broadcasts out of New Rochelle, has held a St. Patrick’s Day celebration each year for 54 years, according to station representatives. On March 15, the latest installment of the party took place at Dudley’s Parkview Restaurant, overlooking Hudson Park and Echo Bay in New Rochelle. During the party, the station broadcasts live for five hours, with WVOX’s head honcho William O’Shaughnessy taking a microphone and wading through crowds of attendees to conduct impromptu interviews. The crowd throughout the day is a who’s who of local politicians, civic organization leaders, radio hosts as well as various listeners. Howard Sturman, the publisher of this newspaper, hosts a show called “The Hometown Hour” which airs each Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m. on WVOX. WVOX is broadcast locally on 1460AM and streams live worldwide at www.wvox.com.

WVOX’s William O’Shaughnessy interviews Judith Huntington, president of The College of New Rochelle, March 15 at Dudley’s in New Rochelle during WVOX’s annual St. Patrick’s celebration.

It’s all thumbs up with Jim Killoran, the executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity, March 15 at Dudley’s for the annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. Photos/Bobby Begun

WVOX radio jock Dennis Nardone, host of “Harrison Live” and the “Remember Then” oldies show.

Joe O’Brien gets in the spirit and belts out an old Irish tune last Friday at Dudley’s in New Rochelle during WVOX’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration.


March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 3

Friends, officials recall former mayor’s legacy By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER alexandra@hometwn.com

A corridor in City Hall is lined with large framed photographs of New Rochelle mayors-each one paying silent tribute to the leader and his accomplishments. In recent weeks, friends from all over the country, including past and present elected officials paid tribute to former Mayor Alvin Ruskin. Ruskin died March 7. He was 95. “For many in New Rochelle, Mayor Ruskin remains the very model of a public servant,” said current New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat. “His leadership shaped the city we know today, and his dedication continues to be a source of inspiration.” Ruskin, a Republican, was the city’s top elected official from 1963 to 1970. During his tenure, the city bought David’s Island, and initially used the 78-acre island located off the New Rochelle coastline in Long Island Sound as a site for a youth summer camp. Ruskin also oversaw considerable transition in the city’s downtown, former New Rochelle Mayor Tim Idoni recalled. “He was mayor when things were starting to change in terms of how downtowns were being built,” Idoni said. Changes weren’t restricted to the down-

town while Ruskin was in office, however. Under his leadership, the “old” Albert Leonard Middle School on North Avenue became the current City Hall. Idoni, who went to school with Ruskin’s daughter, recalled speaking with Ruskin from time to time. “He was a nice man who did a lot for the city. He was very soft spoken and intelligent. You never had a doubt where he stood,” Idoni said. In addition to serving as mayor of New Rochelle, Ruskin was a Westchester family and county court judge. He was also a state Supreme Court justice. According to Bobby Feldman, a San Jose, Calif., resident who left a message in an online guestbook, Ruskin was “a great public servant to all in the community.” Ruskin was also a “great friend” to Feldman’s father and “like a third grandfather” to Feldman’s son. “Rolling around on the floor, playing Darth Vader to Aaron’s Luke Skywalker, smiles and laughing all around,” Feldman said. “What a memory.” Ruskin was predeceased by his wife, Sylvia, and is survived by William Ruskin, Christine Barker and Nancy Ruskin, and four grandchildren. He was laid to rest March 10.

The Report reporter tells her story Meeting the man of your dreams, falling in love and getting married. It sounds like every woman’s dream. But what if you suddenly found out that your husband self-identified as, and wanted to become, a woman? That’s exactly what happened to Connecticut-based reporter Alexandra Bogdanovic. As the daughter of music and television icons Sonny and Cher, Chastity Bono grew up in the public eye. So it was shocking to people everywhere when she became Chaz. Her decision to “become” a man made headlines around the world, but Bono is not alone. Transgender men and women frequently appear on television talk shows and reality programs to share their stories. In doing so, they inevitably get the attention they seek; although it may not always be the kind of attention they want. While many come forth in an effort to promote tolerance, acceptance and understanding in mainstream society, their decision to live as–or, in some cases, have surgery to become –the opposite gender often sparks curiosity and visceral reactions born from ignorance. “Truth Be Told: Adam Becomes Audrey,” a new book from author Alexandra Bogdanovic, tells the other side of the story. Part tragedy, part comedy, part love story, the book tells the story of the author’s real life experience of meeting a man, falling in love, getting mar-

ried and finding out her husband wanted to become a woman. This book is the story of what happened after she learned the truth. “Truth Be Told: Adam Becomes Audrey” is now available for $13.00 and can be ordered through the publisher’s website: http://sbpra.com/AlexandraBogdanovic or at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. (Submitted)


4 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013

C ommunity Briefs Friends’ book sale at library Stock up on gently-used hardcover and paperback fiction and nonfiction at the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library monthly book sale on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the library’s lobby. In addition to great adult and children’s books, the sale also offers DVDs, videos and other items all available for purchase at very affordable prices. The executive board of the Friends of the Library coordinates the book sales, with the assistance of other Friends’ volunteers. Money realized from book sales are used to underwrite the library’s extensive public programs. The Friends of the Library bookstore is open every Tuesday and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 22nd annual Long Island Sound Citizens Summit Super Storm Sandy and the “New Normal” Friday, April 26, 2013 Iona College, New Rochelle, NY 9:00 a.m.-3:15 p.m. ARMORY, continued from page 1

recommended making any requests for ideas as broad as possible. Democratic Councilwoman Shari Rackman seemed skeptical about that approach, however. She said she wanted to include some parameters in a request for ideas to increase the likelihood of the council getting some viable suggestions. Without setting some sort of guidelines, the council could find itself in a position where it doesn’t like any of the submissions, she said. Democratic Councilman Ivar Hyden had a different concern, and asked about the timeframe for drafting and issuing an RFI. “If the first two groups are interested in pre-

The aftermath of Super Storm Sandy has left many in our region wondering how to successfully address the changing climate and its impacts on our infrastructure, policy and natural resources. Please join us as we bring together experts from many fields to answer these questions. For more information, please contact Brittany Chamberlin Martin at bchamberlinmartin@savethesound.org

Class of 2003 to reunite The New Rochelle High School Class of 2003 Reunion will take place on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013, at Pelham/Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Ticket price is $150 per person until June 15. After June 15, the price per person is $200. Ticket price includes cocktail hour, buffet dinner, four-hour open bar and entertainment. Payment will be accepted via Paypal, money order and bank check. To pay via PayPal, use nrhs2003@gmail.com at https://www. paypal.com/. To pay by other methods, please email Rachel McCain at nrhs2003@gmail.com for more information. 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 news@hometwn.com. senting something, I don’t want them to have to wait forever,” Hyden said. “It seems like we are dragging this out.” Republican Councilman Louis Trangucci suggested that the council allow the veterans group to present its plans for the armory to the entire council, since he was the only one at the March 12 meeting who saw the group’s second presentation last fall. The veterans retained SHoP architects for the second presentation, which Trangucci said was “very impressive.” The idea failed to gain any support from the rest of the council, and Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, said the next step would be to draft an RFI. “I look forward to getting the details flushed out,” he said.

New Ro man guilty in son’s death A jury on Monday found Richard “Ricky” Leak guilty of first-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2011 death of his son, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. Leak, 32, of 345 Main St., now faces up to 25 years in state prison when he is sentenced June 12. His conviction on the Class B felony charge was largely due to the “extensive case and forensic pathology work by both the New Rochelle Police Department and Westchester County Medical Examiner,” DiFiore said. “The severity of the abuse, along with multiple and conflicting stories as to how the child sustained the fatal injuries, belied the defendant’s protestations that the death was just ‘an accident,’” DiFiore said. Information provided by the chief prosecutor’s office indicates that Richard Leak called his live-in girlfriend at approximately 1 a.m. Jan. 9, 2011, and told her that the victim, 2-year-old Khalil Leak, was not breathing. The live-in girlfriend, who was not home at the time, called a downstairs neighbor and asked her to check on On March 25, a jury found New Rochelle the victim. “The neighbor went upstairs and, after finding the victim unre- resident Richard “Ricky” sponsive in the defendant’s apartment, dialed 911,” said Lucian Leak guilty of firstdegree manslaughter Chalfen, a spokesman for the Westchester County District Attorney’s in connection with Office. “The 2-year-old child was removed by Transcare Ambulance the death of his son. EMTs to Sound Shore Medical Center where he was pronounced Contributed photo. dead about one hour later.” The ensuing investigation resulted in Richard Leak’s arrest Jan. 12, 2011. Assistant District Attorney Heide Mason, who is in charge of the Child/Elder Abuse Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Christine Hatfield, who is deputy chief of the Child/Elder Abuse Bureau, prosecuted the case. -Reporting by ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC

POLICE, continued from page 1

time New Rochelle police voiced their displeasure about working without a contract within a few weeks. Police also protested outside the Davenport Club before Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, made his State of the City address there on Feb. 28. While Bramson did not directly acknowledge that protest, he did call for a “partnership with labor” in his speech. “After Hurricane Sandy, and during other emergencies, I saw firsthand the dedication of New Rochelle’s workforce–fielding hundreds of calls, laboring in the field to clear roads and restore safety, the hours and hours spent in the emergency operations center, fueled with little more than coffee and adrenaline,” Bramson said. “So, the men and women who do the people’s business should be honored for their work and treated fairly.” But Bramson also said that historic patterns of wage and benefit growth cannot be sustained without causing permanent damage to government services and “leaving the public sector a shell of its former self.” With that in mind, Bramson said workers must adjust their expectations. “Many of our employees have already agreed to new contracts that are fair, that preserve jobs and that provide for responsible, measured compensation growth consistent with the challenges of our time,” Bramson said. “I am confident that the City Council would look favorably upon agreements with every one of our unions that honor the same spirit of shared purpose.” Police say they are already doing more with less. Last fall, Detective Claudio Carpano, then president of the New Rochelle Police

Police union leaders recently voiced their displeasure to the City Council about manpower reductions and the lack of a contract. File photo.

Association, said there were fewer officers on the force. Thirty police officers were eliminated from the city’s budget in the previous two years, and the number of officers now patrolling the streets is “dangerously inadequate,” Carpano said. According to the a recent report, the New Rochelle Police Department had 154 sworn officers including 80 police officers, 35 detectives, 25 sergeants, 10 lieutenants, three captains, a deputy police commissioner and a police commissioner. While New Rochelle’s population tops 77,000, Mount Vernon has fewer people, 67,000, a larger police force of 212 officers, Carpano said. White Plains, with a population of 56,000, has 204 police officers. “When compared with other like cities, New Rochelle boasts the lowest per capita police presence anywhere, and that is not something we should be proud of,” Carpano told the City Council when police protested loss of manpower last fall. “We need more cops.”


March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 5

Panel touts benefits of real estate reassessment By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER alexandra@hometwn.com

A recent Westchester League of Women Voters forum in New Rochelle gave residents faced with the highest taxes in the country some insight into a process that is meant to ensure everyone pays their “fair share” of property taxes. The process in which municipalities evaluate all of the properties on their assessment rolls to determine whether tax adjustments are warranted is called revaluation or reassessment. According to the League of Women Voters of Westchester, many municipalities haven’t conducted reassessments in years because the process is not mandated. When it has been done, different municipalities have “assessed as they have thought proper,” said Janet D. Zagoria, chairman of the league’s County Government Committee. Over the years, many relied on “a complicated equalization rate that is set in Albany and designed to adjust for inequities among different properties and taxing jurisdictions,” Zagoria said. Even so, “wide diversity in assessments between properties of equal market value and substantial inequities in the taxes on these properties remain,” she said. As the imbalance widens, the number of residential and commercial tax challeng-

es–reflected as grievances or certioraris, has mounted. “Because Westchester has been one of the worst in alleviating the inequities, the countywide budget cost now totals more than $12 million per year,” Zagoria said. “That cost is spread among all property owners, causing year-to-year fluctuations in taxes that are troubling to municipalities and property owners alike in this highest-taxed county in the country.” Over the years, the state and county have tried to encourage municipalities to conduct revaluation. The state has done so by providing limited funding to localities interested in pursuing revaluation, Zagoria said. Several years ago, the Westchester Municipal Officials Association also used some county funding to craft a plan for all Westchester towns and cities that were willing to participate in revaluation to do so immediately, Zagoria said. “As of 2004, 50 percent of county municipalities had agreed to participate; five years later, the percentage was 72 percent,” she said. A few Westchester municipalities even began to move ahead on the issue.” Pelham Town Assessor Michele Cassandra and Harold Porr III, the Bronxville administrator and clerk, were among the panelists at the March 20 discussion in New Rochelle. Each described what prompted revaluation in their communities and how the process ben-

efited the local governments and taxpayers. According to Cassandra, the Town of Pelham was among the first Westchester communities to tackle reassessment. In the mid to late- 90s, town officials saw that property values were declining and the number of tax complaints or grievances was increasing, Cassandra said. Town officials also realized that their assessments were “not defensible,” Cassandra said. When a change in leadership in both the town board and town administration occurred in 1995, the officials decided to take a look at what was happening and why it was occurring. They officially began collecting data in 1997, and implemented revaluation the following year, Cassandra said. In 2000, the town implemented an annual reassessment program. “The program has been successful,” she said. “Today the number of certioraris is not significant.” Porr also said the number of assessment grievances in Bronxville dropped after local leaders there administered the village’s first revaluation in 40 years in 2007. “A few residents came forward in 2005 because they felt their assessments were off track,” Porr recalled. “We hired an expert who found that some taxes were either seven times too high or too low. We gathered a team for the project and put out a request for proposals

for a company to do the revaluation.” Bronxville bonded $600,000 in order to fund the work, which is included in its annual capital improvements projects Porr said. Meanwhile, the county continued its search for ways to encourage communities to conduct reassessments. In 2008, Westchester lawmakers established the Westchester Assessment Commission to further the cause. According to Zagoria, the commission presented its final report in February 2011. In it, the commission called for “uniform assessment standards, a commercial data bank, a county revaluation law and property tax relief measures,” Zagoria said. The report also “argued for mandatory revaluation every four years,” she said. Speaking at the March 20 panel discussion, Former New Rochelle Mayor Tim Idoni, who is now the Westchester County Clerk, suggested that the state mandate a countywide reassessment. “It’s the only way to do a fair assessment. If there’s a state law to mandate that Westchester does a revaluation across the board, it will even things out,” Idoni said. While it recognizes that there is opposition to revaluation based on the cost to municipalities and the taxpayers’ fears that their assessments would go up, the League of Women Voters of Westchester supports the process, Zagoria said.


6 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013

Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Day parade comes to Mamaroneck

The Village of Mamaroneck hosted the second annual Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Day parade. The parade, organized in 2012 to provide college scholarships to local students, began at 1:30 on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, and stretched across Mamaroneck Avenue, eventually concluding in Harbor Island Park. James P. Hynes, of Hynes Capital Resources, served as grand marshal for the event.

Participants included the Town of Mamaroneck Fire Department, the Cardinal Hayes HS Marching Band, the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, the Iona College Pipers, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the Lynn Academy of Irish Dance, and the Village of Mamaroneck Volunteer Fire Department. Village Mayor Norman Rosenblum and Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson also joined the ranks of those marching in the parade, and were followed by members of the Village Board of Trustees and the Town Council. Sponsorship for the event came from Henegan Construction, Jim Hynes, Molly Spillanes, Merrill Corp, Guinness Beer and Eastern Stone Fabricators, among others, and the Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Day Committee plans on continuing the tradition of promoting Irish heritage within the community next year. -Reporting by CHRIS GRAMUGLIA

Members of the Mamaroneck Volunteer Fire Department wave the stars and stripes as they make their way down Mamaroneck Avenue on March 17 during the Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Day parade. Photo/Chris Gramuglia

It is a kilt-laden crowd stopping by Jimmy’s Pizza on Mamaroneck Avenue for a slice on March 17 during the Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Day parade. Photo/Sandra Geroux

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March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 7

Astorino talks housing settlement updates By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER chrisg@hometwn.com

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino appeared in the Town of Mamaroneck to bring residents up to date on county issues and answer their questions at an “Ask Astorino” event on March 19. The ongoing issue between the county and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was a major topic of discussion, and Astorino, a Republican, made it clear that, while he plans to adhere to the demands of an affordable housing settlement agreed on by former County Executive Andrew Spano, he remains opposed to allowing the federal government to place additional mandates on the county that fall outside of the “four corners of the agreement.” Astorino feels the federal government is placing extraneous demands on the county, equating to Westchester doing away with local zoning regulations in order to comply with with the provisions of the settlement that require that 750 new affordable housing units be built in 31 eligible communities. The housing must be marketed to diverse households with mixed-incomes be developed. The way Astorino sees it, such changes in local zoning would cause towns and villages to be forced to support housing projects that they were not originally zoned for, a possibility that may cause dissatisfaction among residents.

The rift between Astorino and the Department of Housing and Urban Development began because of a 2009 lawsuit brought by a nonprofit housing advocacy group called the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York. The group claimed that Westchester County had been dishonest about its attempts to integrate housing among people of mixed-incomes, and sought to prevent local governments from using income and race as a way to impact housing choice. “The source of income of an individual is often used to deny them housing,” HUD Assistant Secretary John Trasvina said “Quite frankly, it’s often used as a proxy for race or national origin.” The lawsuit also required that the county spend more than $50 million to construct new housing units in its most wealthy communities. Additionally, the county agreed to pay $8.4 million to the federal government and $2.5 million to the housing advocacy group. With the election of President Obama in 2008, the federal government has taken a more active role in the issue of affordable housing, but Astorino made it clear to residents that he doesn’t intend on changing his position. “[The federal government] cannot force me, as an elected official, to sign legislation that I don’t believe in,” he said. Astorino also said HUD made the decision to withhold $12 million in grants for local programs as a way to ensure that its demands

County Executive Rob Astorino speaks to residents of the Town of Mamaroneck at an “Ask Astorino” event on March 19. Photo/Diana Costello

are met, but the move is actually hurting the same people it claims to help, because much of that money is typically used for development in areas with higher-density housing. For example, Astorino said $90,000 was withheld from improving sidewalks on Ward Avenue in Mamaroneck, as well as $75,000 that could have been used to improve a walkway next to a CVS on Mamaroneck Avenue. According to Astorino, the process of build-

ing 750 affordable housing units is ahead of schedule, with 305 units completed as of 2012, which is three more than was originally estimated for 2013. He said the development will continue as planned, but that he will continue to fight against any attempts to dismantle the county’s zoning. “I will do what is in the settlement,” Astorino said, “but I will not yield to the federal government’s views. They can’t take away the rights of the private property owner.”


8 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013 BUDGET, continued from page 1

doesn’t overcome that. It is the single largest factor that is squeezing out programs.” Quinn also noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been talking about implementing a plan in which school districts’ contributions to the TRS would be held at 12.5 percent of salaries beginning next year. The 12.5 percent cap would remain in effect for 25 years, Quinn said. While that may sound good, especially in a school district where the contribution to teachers’ pensions is expected to be 16.25 percent in the coming school year, Quinn said he’s not convinced it will help. “[The governor’s plan] is not based on an actuarial study,” Quinn said. “Ideally, an actuarial study should be done based on 25 years.” A closer look at the New Rochelle City School District’s contributions to teacher pensions have averaged just 6.17 percent of salaries in the past 25 years, Quinn said. The district’s contribution didn’t come close to 12.5 percent of salaries until the 2011-2012 school year, when the district’s contribution totaled 11.11 percent of salaries, and in the current school year, when it totaled 11.84 percent of salaries. Even though the administration’s “overriding goal” is to maintain educational services and its “primary emphasis” is on core instruction, the budget proposal calls for the elimination of 56 positions throughout the New

New Rochelle High School

Rochelle City School District. “We are working to minimize and negate the impact to the district and staff, but there will be an impact,” Quinn said at a prior meeting. “The resignations and retirements [effective at the end of the current school year] are not

enough to cover the eliminated positions.” During his March 14 presentation, Quinn indicated three buildings and grounds positions and five secretarial and accounting positions are slated for elimination in the proposed budget.

Afterwards, school board members and parents asked Quinn to consider various costsaving measures. Specifically, the board asked him to look at ways to curb overtime costs. Specifically, Rachel Relkin asked about flexible scheduling for buildings and grounds staff that are often required to stay late when evening events are held at the schools. “I remember when we had some serious budget cuts back in 1991,” said Board Vice President Deirdre Polow. “All of the schools were closed [in the evening] except New Rochelle High School.” Meetings and evening events were held there or at City Hall, she said, before directing Quinn to look into the possibility of doing something similar now and seeing what the cost-savings would be. Jason Taylor, an architect and parent, suggested the school district could save money by making its buildings more energy efficient. “I really think you should look into it,” Taylor said. Voters will decide whether or not to approve the final budget in May. Last year, voters approved a $234 million school budget for 2012-2013 by a margin of more than 2 to 1. The May 15, 2012, tally showed that 1,770 people cast their votes for the spending plan, while 734 voted against it. The 2012-2013 budget increased taxes by 4.13 percent and called for $3.3 million in additional expenditures compared to the 20112012 budget, and for staffing reductions totaling 38.5 positions.


March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 9

March 14…Officers received a report of a larceny at 810 Main St. around 4:13 p.m. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, a suspect described as a black male wearing a red baseball cap took various skin care products valued at $975 from the Walgreens store. March 14…Larry D. Seegars, 35, was arrested on misdemeanor and felony charges after he allegedly tried to flee from police. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, police were looking for Seegars in connection with a theft from a motor vehicle. An officer developed information about his location, and Seegars allegedly tried to escape when police arrived at 80 Hilltop Ave. Seegars had a glass stem pipe containing residue of what appeared to be crack cocaine when officers caught him,” Schaller said. Seegars was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor, and third-degree criminal mischief, which is a Class E felony. March 15…A citizen reported a burglary at 177 Mount Joy Place. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said the burglary happened sometime between 10:18 a.m. and 1:56 p.m. The resident, a 47-year-old man, reported that he found the door ajar and that the lock had been damaged, Schaller said. The man also reported that the bedroom was ransacked and assorted jewelry worth approximately $4,000 was missing, according to Schaller. March 16…A White Plains man was charged with unlawful imprisonment after he and his girlfriend got into an argument in the car, police said. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said the chain of events that resulted in the arrest began when officers responded to a report of a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident in the area of East Main Street and Stephenson Boulevard. The driver of the car that was hit told police that he witnessed an argument between a man and woman in the car that hit his before the accident. Further investigation determined that the couple had stopped at a traffic light when the argument occurred, Schaller said. The woman, who was driving, then pulled over and told the man to get out of the car, the captain said. The woman then got out of the car and the man, who was later identified as Levar Eddings, 29, also got out, according to Schaller. Eddings allegedly grabbed the woman by the hair, threw her into the back seat of the car, slammed the door on the woman’s ankle and took off. Eddings then hit the BMW and fled the scene of the accident, going northbound on Interstate 95, Schaller said. The female victim called 911 on her cell phone as Eddings continued to Exit 7 in Connecticut, got off the highway and then reentered it heading south, Schaller said. Eddings made it to Pelham Manor, where local and Westchester County police stopped the vehicle on the highway, Schaller said. In addition to unlawful imprisonment, which is a Class E felony, Eddings was charged with misdemeanor assault. March 20…A New Rochelle resident reported the attempted theft of a motor vehicle around 9:30 p.m. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said the victim reported that her husband’s car was stolen when he went to meet a prospective buyer in midtown Manhattan, and that her husband called to tell her to secure their other vehicles in the driveway because the thief or thieves also had the keys to the BMW and Range Rover. Sometime after she received the call from her husband, the victim said she heard a “chirp” indicating that someone may have been trying to get into one of the cars, according to Schaller. “When she went to check she saw a gray minivan parked on Gramercy Avenue and a lightskinned male walking up the driveway towards the BMW,” Schaller said. “She screamed and the subject fled westbound on Gramercy Avenue towards Webster Avenue. The minivan also took off towards Webster Avenue,” Schaller said. March 21…Police received two reports of thefts from motor vehicles. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said one of the incidents happened at 257 Center Ave. sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 1:58 p.m. In that case, the perpetrator got into a 2011 Honda by breaking the passenger side window, and then rummaged through the glove box and center console, and took approximately $100 in cash, Schaller said. The second incident happened sometime between 10:23 a.m. and 10:38 a.m. In that case, the perpetrator broke the passenger side window of a 2002 Honda Accord parked in the area of Franklin Avenue and Bayview Avenue, Schaller said. A GPS worth approximately $250 was taken.

March 21…A 47-year-old New Rochelle man reported that he was robbed outside of an acquaintance’s apartment on Center Avenue in the early morning hours, police said. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the victim said he was at the front door when a black man armed with a handgun demanded to know the whereabouts of an unspecified item and then took his wallet and backpack at around 2:20 a.m. The suspect, who was described as a having a thin build and wearing sweatpants, a sweat shirt, a black hat and white scarf, then left the area, Schaller said. The backpack had some clothing in it and the wallet contained $30, Schaller added. March 21…A New York City man was charged with felony criminal possession of stolen property and criminal impersonation following a routine traffic stop, police said. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the officer stopped a motorist who was driving a 2003 Lincoln Town Car in the area of Main Street and Drake Avenue around 1:51 a.m. The officer executed the traffic stop because one of the headlights was out, Schaller said. The driver provided police with “questionable” identification with a different name, and the ensuing investigation determined he had stolen a vehicle in New York City the previous day, Schaller said. The driver was ultimately identified as Luis Martinez, 28, of 79 Hamilton Place. March 24…A Wantagh, N.Y., man ended up in the hospital after he was allegedly assaulted at a local pizza place. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the incident happened at Town Pizza on Anderson Street around 3:42 a.m. The 21-year-old victim was awaiting his order when two men hit him for unknown reasons, Schaller said. Police arrived to find “a lot of blood” on the ground and in the store, Schaller said. The victim, who sustained facial injuries including a possible broken jaw, was taken to Sound Shore Medical Center where he was treated and held for further observation, Schaller said.


10 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013

County Democrats question Playland repair delay By LIZ BUTTON STAFF REPORTER liz@hometwn.com

As Rye Playland’s recovery continues from the $12 million in destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, it seems beach lovers may have to wait even longer than expected to take that first spring stroll down the boardwalk. County administration officials announced last week that there will be further delays in repairing damage caused by the October 2012 storm’s high winds and massive tidal surges. In addition to delays on boardwalk repairs, the county-owned park’s Ice Casino skating rink, which sustained damage to its roof, basement and boilers, is no longer projected to open this September, and may not open until next winter. At a March 19 meeting of the county Government Operations Committee, county legislators were told to expect further delays in repairs, which could mean the boardwalk’s repairs will be incomplete for the park’s projected May 11 opening. After the county received bids last week, county attorney Robert Meehan said that the repair work on the boardwalk did not legally qualify for the emergency contracting process, which allows for expedited bidding. According to Meehan’s legal opinion, the

The boardwalk at Playland, seen here after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, is the subject of a controversial repair delay and may not be ready for the park’s projected May 11 opening. File photo

county must put the repair work out to bid again for two weeks, since a contract has not been signed and too much time has elapsed since late January. In January, the county Board of Legislators approved $12.5 million in bonding, with one bond act for boardwalk repairs totaling $7.5 million. Despite this delay, Republican County Executive Rob Astorino’s deputy communications director Donna Greene said Tuesday that the administration expects repairs to the boardwalk and other projects, excluding the Ice Casino, will still be completed on time. “The contract is now in the bid process. The date for completed work is May 15, but we expect it to be completed in time for May 11,” Greene said. “Some of these repairs are things such as some of the electrical systems…and general infrastructure, in addition to the boardwalk.” Following news of the delay, members of the Democratic-led Board of Legislators, like Democratic Chairman Ken Jenkins, have voiced concerns. Jenkins, who is running for election to county executive against Astorino in 2013, and Democratic Vice Chair Lyndon Williams have suggested that the county’s Republican administration may have intentionally mishandled the original emergency contract bids PLAYLAND, continued on page 11


March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 11

Column, Interrupted My friends in college had this plan: We’d fill up the bathtub with ice and cans of Budweiser, then disconnect the phone, tape LUNGARIELLO up cardboard over the windows of the dorm room, unplug any clocks, hide any watches and shut off all beepers (this was the AT LARGE late 1990s, before cellphones). Mark Lungariello Then, completely deprived of the time of the day, with no contact with the outside world, we would watch every film in the “Friday the 13th” series in a row. At the time, there were nine movies to sit through. No one watching the movies would be allowed to leave the tiny dorm at any point during the marathon; no one from the outside would be allowed in. As fun as that sounded, we talked about it for three years and never ended up doing it. Life is a series of interruptions. Next thing you know, college is over and you never did what you had planned for all those years, and a stack of bargain bin “Friday the 13th” VHS lay neglected, dusty and unwatched. This is the last column I’m writing for this newspaper. A few times over the last few years, I’ve thought about what the topic for my swan song would be. I thought about offering some poignant insight into the local communities or maybe an essay getting at the heart of Westchester County. Instead, I’m talking about “Friday the 13th” and college (My girlfriend, Julie, says I still talk about college daily even 10 years after graduating). Sometimes you get distracted. Alas, life. Looking back and taking stock of this column, which I have been writing since late 2008, I realize there are a number of pieces I wish I could have written, yet never got the chance. As I bid adieu, I thought, since I couldn’t get to actually writing the columns, I’d at least note what those columns are and what they might have been. Like talking about the “Friday of the 13th” marathon that never was. “The Places You Can’t Go” There are these places all over Westchester: Places you might want to go, but can’t for some reason. On Lake Street in Harrison, just past Silver Lake, there is what appears to be a war monument set in stone near an open field that may have been the site of a Revolutionary War cemetery. I’m not sure, though, because there is nowhere to park to go visit any of this. There’s not a lot of foot traffic in that neighborhood, to say the least, nor are there any sidewalks. In Mamaroneck, just below the I-95 juncture, there is a historical cemetery (there is some sign that indicates its significance, but you can’t really read it driving by it from the road at 50 mph, ahem, 30 mph). But there is no way to get there. Nowhere to park. If you did walk over there from some distant parking spot downtown and a police officer saw you there, he or she would probably cuff you as suspicious. I would have questioned why even have those places if they aren’t to be visited? “Lint: Unmasked” A history of lint in modern America and its cultural impacts. “The Annotated History of Bubblewrap and ‘Pop Culture’” Because if you don’t like bubblewrap, you probably hate freedom, too. “Larchmont Sound Barriers and Other Nonsense” On the Northbound side of the I-95 in Larchmont, there are sound barriers separating the highway from train tracks. I suppose the train passengers were getting annoyed by all of that highway noise. The column would have listed other things that don’t make any sense. “What Neti May Come” This column would have documented my love affair with the neti pot, which, in case you don’t know, is a small porcelain pot that you fill with sterile water and mix with salts. Then, you stick the spout of the pot in one nostril and tilt your head pouring the contents into your sinus. The water leaks out of the other nostril, bringing years worth of backup out with it. It sounds gross, and it is, but it’s also fun for the whole clear-breathing family. The neti pot allows me to breathe through both nostrils and because of that, I love it more than I could ever love any woman. My column would have discussed – in graphic detail – my love of the neti, gag-inducing neti war stories and the history of this sacred object and its beginnings as a yoga tool. “No Such Thing as Football Fanatics” This column would have been a lament from a baseball fan (that’s me) wishing he had it as easy as football fans have it regarding their “obsession.” My hypothesis would have shown that baseball has 162 regular season games played during the week, on weeknights, weekdays, holidays and during the summer no less. It affects relationships, barbecues and vacations. As for football fans, they only lose 16 Sundays in the winter. A line in the story would have said, “being a football fanatic is like being a drunk but only having a drink during lunar eclipses. It doesn’t happen frequently enough to be a problem, and being a fan should be a problem, as far as I’m concerned.” “A Chappaqua by any other name” Most people pronounce Mahopac, the town in upper Westchester, as MAYO-pack. But, longtime residents have been emphatic that it’s pronounced “may-HO-pic.” A New Yorker article years ago analyzed whether the Van Wyck was pronounced “Van Wick” or “Van Wike.” It should have been time for a similar article, except analyzing some Westchester towns and places. Is Mamaroneck really pronounced “mahmehr-o-neck?” I called around to some linguistic professors in universities around the country to get their takes, but none ever returned my calls. They must have meant to call me, but then got interrupted. Alas, life.

PLAYLAND, continued from page 10

for repairing damage to the boardwalk. According to a March 22 statement from Board of Legislator officials, Mace Contracting Corp. out of New Rochelle was the lowest bidder for the repairs project. However, other contracting firms not on the pre-qualification list were allowed to bid on the job, and after they did not win, the Mace bid was rescinded. Administration officials have not expanded on the finer points of how the bidding process was conducted. “One has to question the validity of a claim by the Astorino administration that the emergency contract provisions have not been met,” Jenkins said. The situation has become less clear to the board, Jenkins said, as the Astorino administration becomes increasingly cagey about their deliberations on both the matter of repairs and on the overall refurbishment of Rye Playland. Major improvements to the 280-acre park were a major platform of Astorino’s during his campaign for office in 2009, as it has been reported that the park has run anywhere from a $2 to $6 million deficit annually for years. Concerns include the need to increase revenue and reboot falling attendance rates, which have dipped below 500,000 from over 1 million in past years, according to some studies. After a request for proposal was put out to bid in 2010 on the restoration project and

the administration evaluated 12 proposals, Astorino signed a letter of intent on Oct. 11, 2010, to award the contract to Sustainable Playland, Inc., a non-profit founded by Rye City residents, which intends to begin running the park as a year-round operation and make various material improvements. SPI has pledged $34 million in capital investments for Playland, which will go against the reported $32 million in debt the county has accrued in running the historic park. In the last few weeks, the Board of Legislators have asked for more time to consider the different project proposals, which cannot alter the park without their approval. They have called for an independent auditor to review current operations and financial management of the park, as well as SPI’s plan and several other proposals. County Legislator Judy Myers, a Democrat whose district covers Playland, said she was “extremely surprised” and disappointed to learn of the delay in boardwalk repairs. Myers said legislators were not told about the possible delays in boardwalk repairs until they specifically inquired about the project’s progress. Myers said she tries to give her constituents accurate updates about the park, and told them the boardwalk would most likely be ready for May and the Ice Casino for September. “We had been assured time and again that there would be no problem meeting that deadline for the amusement park,” she said.


12 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013

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March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 13

Free consultation or intellectual theft? When you’re considering a remodeling project, the first step is to talk to people who know THE KITCHEN AND about such things, and seek out advice. After all, BATH INSIDER you don’t do this that often, so why not consult Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D.© with the people who do? And who better to talk with than someone who offers a free consultation? But remember, you usually get what you pay for, so don’t expect too much good advice for free. Certainly, you shouldn’t anticipate a designer or architect to sketch out a whole plan for you, giving you the wealth of their experience and knowledge, at a preliminary meeting for no charge. After all, their ideas are their “intellectual property” and that doesn’t come cheap. At an initial consultation, you can expect to get the basics of what’s involved in the project you’re contemplating. Think of it as a primer on construction, cabinets, general costs, etc. This is invaluable information, and it pays to pay attention-even if it is free-because it’s the beginning of your remodeling education. At this appointment, you’ll also get a feeling about the person you’re meeting with. Ask yourself, does the person sound knowledgeable? Do they seem trust worthy? Do you feel comfortable enough with them to let them work in your home? If you move forward, the designer, contractor or architect will eventually show you their proposed design for the project. Please don’t try to covertly, or overtly, copy down everything that they show you, with the hopes of using their design and creativity and having a carpenter who lives down the block supply the materials and do the work for less money. That’s when “free consultation” ends and “intellectual property theft” rears its ugly head. If you’re up front with the designer and tell them that you want to purchase a plan and then shop around for the best price for the materials and installation, that’s different. Then the designer can quote a price for supplying you with the necessary floor plans and elevations and, if you agree to the fee, none of their intelligence gets stolen. There are no set jail times for intellectual theft, however a few weeks at Gitmo would probably be fair. Check out the FBI’s web site: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/ white_collar/ipr/ipr or the National Crime Prevention Council’s, (in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice): http://www.ncpc.org/topics/intellectual-property-theft. Both of these organizations take this concept pretty seriously. “It’s robbing people of their ideas, inventions and creative expressions-what’s called intellectual property.” So when you’re ready to start planning a project, by all means, get as many free consultations as you have time for. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a couple of good ideas from each one. But then, when you’re ready to select someone, make a commitment. Be up front with them regarding what you want them to do. Do you want your designer to design only, supply materials, or handle the whole project? Get an estimate and see if it fits your budget, but don’t try to secretly photograph their plans on your Iphone with the hope of stealing their ideas and then going to the lowest bidder. That’s intellectual theft, and, even if you don’t go to jail, you still have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck, New York. A Master of Design (Pratt Institute), and E.P.A. Certified Remodeler, he serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling Magazine. A member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contributor to Do It Yourself magazine. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com.

With Honors The following students were named to the Washington University in St. Louis dean’s list for the fall 2012 semester: Marnie Lara Abeshouse, who is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences. Max Jonathan Arad, who is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences. Jeremy Ian Dubin, who is enrolled in the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.


14 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 29 & April 5, 2013

SPORTS

The bonds of competition For as long as I live, I will never forget the home run I gave up to Billy McGuire. Oddly enough, the only detail of the at-bat that escapes me is the year–I was either a junior or senior in high school–but the results of the meeting are forever etched in my mind. We were playing Billy’s Horace Greeley squad on a brisk spring day in Chappaqua. I fell behind in the count and threw a get-me-over fastball that stayed a little too up in the zone and caught a little too much of the plate. Billy, a catcher known more for his defensive prowess than for his ability to hit the longball, jumped all over it, depositing my offering way beyond the left field fence. Our left fielder never even took a step back to make a play on the ball. Years later, the fielder still tells me that he’s never seen a ball hit as hard, or as far, as that 2-0 pitched that Billy hit a country mile. It would be the last time I’d ever face McGuire in a game. Although we both went on to play for divisional rivals in college, my inability to throw strikes made it tough for me to get on the field–let alone in a conference game. That home run continued to leave a sour taste in my mouth every time I saw him come up to bat. As luck would have it, I got the chance to know Billy after college. Introduced by a mutual friend, who happened to be playing behind me when Billy hit his epic shot, McGuire and I became friendly; we even briefly played together on the same men’s league baseball team. More often than not, at social functions, someone would bring up that homer–usually after a few beers–though it was never Billy. In each retelling of the story, however, the majesty of his moonshot grew. The last I heard, the ball traveled well over 600 feet.

On March 24, I got a phone call from the former high school teammate who had introduced Billy and I years after that at-bat. Billy had been found dead at the age of 27. It’s impossible to predict how you will react to news as jarring as this sudden and tragic loss. Billy and I were hardly best friends, but we shared more than enough good times over the last few years for me to look back and reflect upon them. But, for some reason, the first thing that popped into my head was the sound of the ball leaving his bat and his Quakers teammates screaming in delirious celebration of his prodigious blast. Oftentimes, sportswriters, myself included, are drawn to stories that celebrate the bonds formed between teammates–especially at the high school level. And, really, it’s not hard to understand why. Athletes struggling together, striving to reach a common goal; there’s a drama in that. An easily accessible narrative. But Billy’s passing–and my immediate response to it-recalled something else. The bond formed between opponents. Whether most people are cognizant of it or not, the memories one makes on the field or on the court are often indelible ones. When I see Mamaroneck assistant football coach Justin Smith, the first thing I think about is the horrible loss we suffered at his hands back in 2001. When I see Miami Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler fanning hitters in Spring Training games, I get flashbacks of seeing a big, hard-throwing sophomore take the mound at Scarsdale High School and knowing from a couple of simple warm-up tosses that the kid was destined for big things. And so it goes for most of us who take the field. In the heat of competition, it’s sometimes tough to humanize your opponents. They are obstacles, antagonists and rivals. Nothing more. But as time passes, I would say that most of us will look at things differently. The memories will be the same; the heartbreaks, the wins, but, eventually, most see the bigger picture and realized that every play, every win, very loss, connects us. For instance, it may take some time for Mount Vernon students to hear the name Khalil Edney and not recoil in horror. But that wound is fresh. Someday, I hope, those Mount Vernon players will be able to look back past the pain to realize that they will be forever bound to Edney and the other players on that Huguenots team, linked by one brilliant shot and the court that they shared that day. They will finally understand that they were part of a special moment–just not on the right side of it. Just like I’ll always remember Billy for taking me deep on an early spring afternoon. Touch ‘em all, McGuire.

New Ro’s journey ends in state finals On March 17, the New Rochelle basketball team’s impressive run came to an end. In the Class AA state finals the Huguenots fell to a tough team from Bishop Kearney 45-39 in a hotly contested championship round matchup. Despite falling short of the state title, however, the Huguenots have much to be proud of this season. As underdogs nearly all year, New Rochelle’s match-up with Kearney proved no different with the Huguenots giving much away in terms of the height disparity. Kearny’s front line boasted three players over 6-foot-8, whereas New Ro’s top player, big man Joe Clarke, only measures 6-foot-3. New Rochelle was able to play with the bigger team, however, with Clarke leading the way, as always. Clarke finished with 26 points and 10 boards on the afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to help the Huguenots claim the basketball crown. Still, for the Huguenots, who started off the season at 2-6, the last few weeks have been nothing if not magical. With two last second wins–the first of which, against Mount Vernon in the Section I finals, brought the team into the national spotlight–the team found another gear in the postseason, handily beating Northport 60-46 in the semifinal round.

New Rochelle will bid adieu to some of it’s top talent this spring, as players like Clarke, Terrence Holden and Khalil Edney–who hit the buzzer beater to beat Mount Vernon–graduate, but they will return guard Derek Dorn, who proved to be one of the Huguenots’ top players in the postseason, and was named to the All-Tournament Team honors during the Section I finals. -Reporting by MIKE SMITH

Joe Clarke goes for a layup against Mount Vernon on March 3. Clarke and the Huguenots made an impressive run that ended on March 17 in the state championship game. Photo/Bobby Begun


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March 29 & April 5, 2013 • THE NEW ROCHELLE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 15

Mustangs make 10th straight trip to nationals By MIKE SMITH ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR sports@hometwn.com

On March 23, the Monroe Mustangs fell to Highland College 72-57 college in their final game of the 2012-13 season to finish in 6th place at the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. Although the Mustangs – who won the national title in 2012- fell short of their goal to repeat as national champs, their inclusion in another championship is a testament to their staying power in the junior college ranks. In fact, the Mustangs have fought their way to the tournament every year for the last decade. At 22-7, the Mustangs entered into the tournament as a nine-seed, but head coach James Robinson Jr. believes that the team’s success–both immediate and long term–is as much about the college’s support system as it is about the program itself. Robinson has been a part of the Monroe team for the last eight years, serving as an assistant under Seth Goodman before taking the reins of the program last year and leading Sophomore Jasmine McRoy takes the ball upcourt in a Monroe to a national title. December game at the Monroe Athletic Center in New Head coach James Robinson Jr. draws up a play in a December game. Robinson, now in According to Robinson, Rochelle. This season, McRoy became the Mustang’s second his second year at the helm of the Mustangs’ program, coached the squad to a national the team’s continued suc- championship in 2012. all-time leading scorer. cess is due in large part to the support the athletic program gets from the that it’s not easy.” Monroe community. Each year, Robinson relies heavily on his “I think the accountability that Monroe sophomores–who are the de facto upperclasshas is really important to developing a men at Monroe–to lead the way, and this young student,” Robinson said. “They’ve season, he has gotten some great play by the shown that the system they have in place, program’s second all-time leading scorer, from the cafeteria to the security, to the ath- Jasmine McRoy, who averaged 14.5 points a letic center and weight room, that they are game this season. McRoy did not disappoint really interested in helping young people, in the tourney opener, scoring a game-high and that is reflected.” 24 points against Iowa Central. However, the On the coaching front, Robinson said, the Mustangs were shorthanded, playing without key to Monroe’s legacy is the fact that it em- point guard Ashley Castle who suffered a bad powers athletes to make the most of their short ankle sprain on March 14. time at the two-year college. “That really hurt with the style that we try to “The girls come in understanding that a play,” Robinson said. “She’s our point guard lot is given to them, and a lot is expected of and that means we have to figure out a way to James Robinson Jr. cuts the net after Monroe’s national them in return,” the head coach said. “They replace her skillset.” championship win on March may have come from a place where all the With six sophomores graduating from this 24, 2012. The Mustangs have dots didn’t connect and they could do what- year’s squad, the Mustangs will need to retool punched their ticket to nationals ever they wanted. But here, they learn that to in the offseason – as they always do – in order in each of the past 10 years. be champion means you have to sacrifice, and to make it back to the tournament in 2014. Contributed photos


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The Report, 3-29-2013