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Vol. 15/Number 6

For Rhoda…

Friends, family and former colleagues of the late Councilwoman Rhoda C. Quash gathered for a secondary street-naming ceremony in her honor April 18. For more, see page 6. Photo/Christina Cerone

School security consultants share recommendations By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

Consultants retained by the New Rochelle Board of Education to assess the district’s school security shared some of their findings at the board’s Tuesday night meeting. “We were engaged by the su‑ perintendent and the board to do a safety assessment not because there were any glaring issues but because of the desire to make New Rochelle schools as safe as possible,” said Howard Safir, the former New York City police commissioner

who is now chairman and CEO of the Manhattan-based Vigilant Resources International. As part of its assessment, the team examined New Rochelle school buildings and grounds, and the school district’s policies to see “what was written and what was complied with.” The consultants also evaluated potential threats, such as “active shooters” and vulnerabilities. Some challenges are immediately evident, according to VRI President Adam Safir. Sprawling school grounds and large school buildings

with lots of doors call for enhanced perimeter surveillance and control, he said. “Visitor management,” or the ability to know who is in city schools and why they are there also need to be improved. “Right now there is a written sign-in system, and that’s fine, but it leaves room for human error,” Adam Safir said. “Someone could provide a fake license or provide a different name.” Screening systems are available that would not only allow a school

April 26 & May 3, 2013


The New Rochelle Board of Education on April 17 endorsed a proposed budget for 2013-2014 that calls for approximately $239 mil‑ lion in total expenditures and results in a 4.52 percent tax rate increase. According to Assistant Superintendent John Quinn, the proposed budget also includes ap‑ proximately $1.3 million in new revenue, the bulk of which is state aid. The new revenue allows for the restoration of 14 teaching positions among the 56 district-wide posi‑ tions slated for elimination in the preliminary budget. A maximum of six “content area” teaching positions could still be eliminated, said Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Korostoff. “We take every reduction very seriously,” said Board of Education President Chrisanne Petrone. “Every position has a name attached to it and we understand the hardship that these decisions create. We have never had to go into the classroom before.” The board still backed the pro‑ posed spending plan, however. “This is one of the most difficult challenges we have faced in my 30 years on the board. I deeply regret the loss of any teaching and nonteaching positions and hope some

can be restored,” said Mary Jane Reddington. “I also regret any tax increase that may create a burden for senior citizens. But I shall be supporting this budget.” Although it isn’t perfect, board Vice President Deirdre Polow said the plan allows the school district to continue meeting student needs and community expectations. “The messages from you are clear,” Polow told the audience gathered in the New Rochelle High School library. “You want to raise the graduation rate and minimize the achievement gap. You want the best of the best.” Her colleague, David Lacher, said he would also be voting for the bud‑ get for “the citizens and the children of New Rochelle.” “In this year’s plan, we are los‑ ing valuable teachers and staff. I am not thrilled with the current fi‑ nancial situation as it has evolved. But [passing this budget] is the right thing to do.” At a prior budget session, Quinn said a dramatic increase in the New Rochelle City School District’s contribution to pension costs is a key factor in crafting next year’s spending plan. Those costs are ex‑ pected to go up by $4.7 million in 2013-2014, he said. Salaries alone are expected to BUDGET continued on page 9

SECURITY continued on page 12

Emotions still high as Gadsden flag dispute unfurls By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

Emotions are still flying free in a New Rochelle flag dispute. Tension between a local veter‑ ans group, their supporters and the city’s Democratic administration of Mayor Noam Bramson sur‑ faced soon after members of the United Veterans Memorial Patriotic Association raised a Gadsden flag– a yellow banner adorned with a

coiled serpent and the words ‘Don’t Tread on Me’‑along with the American flag at the New Rochelle Armory last month. The veterans, who had permission to replace the tattered United States flag that had been flying above the East Main Street building, said Mayor Noam Bramson

they also chose to hoist the donated Gadsden flag due solely to its historic and military significance. The Gadsden flag hoisted at the New Rochelle Armory remained aloft for only a week before a “majority” of the City Council decided it should be removed. “There was no formal FLAG continued on page 13

A proposed budget endorsed by the New Rochelle Board of Education includes enough new revenue to restore 14 teaching positions that had been slated for elimination. File photo

2 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013

April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 3

Council postpones North Avenue zoning vote By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

After a lengthy discussion during its April 16 meeting, the New Rochelle City Council decided not to vote on zoning changes that would allow for the future creation of an Iona College residence hall on North Avenue until it gets additional feedback from city staff. The zoning text amendments submitted for the council’s consideration after a public hear‑ ing on April 9 were supposed to reflect “the recommendations in the final report of the Community College Planning Committee.” The committee, which tried to find a bal‑ ance between Iona’s housing needs and neighborhood concerns, met for a year before it released its final report last fall. In it, the committee endorsed a local developer’s pro‑ posal to build a seven-story residence hall near the college on North Avenue, and an‑ other dorm nearby. As stipulated in the report, construction of the second building would be contingent upon certain conditions. At the public hearing, committee members indicated they supported the plans for both buildings only if the college managed the North Avenue residence hall. Iona students and officials also advocated for the college to manage of the future North Avenue residence hall. Numerous speakers said they could not support any proposed zoning changes allow‑ ing for private management of the dorm.

City Manager Charles Strome said it would take some time to redraft the zoning and get the staff input now sought by the City Council. Ideally, the City Council could vote on the revised zoning in June. While some of his colleagues expressed concern about delaying proceedings, Councilman Ivar Hyden, D-District 4, said staff analysis of the committee’s recommen‑ dations and any resulting zoning changes is warranted. “I know the committee worked very hard on this, but we need to take a look at a lot of these issues. We need to do what’s best for the city,” Hyden said, adding he wasn’t “entirely happy” with the committee’s recommenda‑ tions. Councilman Albert Tarantino, R-District 2, also had some questions about the commit‑ tee’s conclusions. Specifically, he wanted to know how and why the committee agreed to the construction of the seven-story building on North Avenue that would include ground floor retail space and six floors of student housing above. “What expertise did the committee have to decide it should be seven stories? Height is an issue, so why start out at seven stories?” Tarantino said. “We don’t know what we re‑ ally need versus what we’re being asked for. Was it an arbitrary figure? We don’t want to create a ‘corridor effect’ with a ‘wall’ on one side of North Avenue.”

New Rochelle Development Commissioner Luis Aragon tried to assuage Tarantino’s concerns by saying the geog‑ raphy on the portion of North Avenue where the future dorm could be built would prevent the appearance of a “solid wall.” Tarantino did not seem to be convinced. “I think we need to look at whether this building would be too big, too small, or whether it is really OK,” Tarantino said. “There is a level of anxiety in the neighborhoods. A lot of peo‑ ple feel they were not part of the [Community College Planning Committee] process.” The council also tussled over the parking requirements that should be included in the revised zoning. “This is something we wrestled with on the committee,” said Councilman Jared Rice, D-District 3, who favors strict parking re‑ quirements. “I think that, if the zoning adds one extra car to the neighborhood, it creates an overflow because parking is so limited.” Hyden had a different take on the issue. “I think the solution is an overall zoning plan [for North Avenue] including the cre‑ ation of municipal lots to ease the burden on nearby streets that are already overwhelmed with cars,” Hyden said.

Iona College

Councilwoman Shari Rackman, D-District 6, and Louis Trangucci, R-District 1, both asked for additional information regarding current student parking on the Iona College campus and staff recommendations before the June vote, however. Democratic Mayor Noam Bramson said he supports the call for further staff analysis, but he also said the council should “show defer‑ ence” to the Community College Planning Committee. “[The members of that committee] all sat with this and had the time to review it that we won’t,” Bramson said. “I think we should still have a staff review, but I’ll need a strong counter argument to feel otherwise,” Bramson said.

4 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013

Community Briefs

Friends’ book sale at library

Stock up on gently-used hardcover and pa‑ perback fiction and nonfiction at the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library monthly book sale on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the library lobby. In addition to great adult and children’s books, the sale also offers DVD’s, 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 pro‑ grams. The Friends of the Library bookstore is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Japanese children’s day to be celebrated at the library

The BID Family Day on Saturday, May 4 will be a celebration of Japanese Children’s Day, with crafts and a live performance of Japanese dance. In Japan, Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day) is a national holiday set aside to respect children’s unique personali‑ ties and to celebrate their happiness. Families display kabuto (samurai armor), hang koino‑ bori (carp streamers) from their homes, and eat kashiwa mochi (rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves). The New Rochelle Children’s Day program will begin at 11:00 a.m in the New Rochelle Public Library’s Meeting Room, when BID staff will help children in Pre-K through Grade 5, and their parents and grandparents, make their own fish kite like the koinobori, fans, and a special snack to take home. Participation in the craft program is on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 10:45 am.

Chamber Symphony to feature renowned pianist

Romanian-born pianist Andrei Licaret will appear with the Westchester Chamber

Symphony on Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m. at Iona College’s Christopher J. Murphy au‑ ditorium. Licaret, who recently performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, will play Schumann’s “Piano Concerto, op.54 in A minor.” Since making his orchestral debut at age 11, he has given concerts throughout Europe and the United States, including ap‑ pearances with the Mexican Philharmonic, the Bucharest Philharmonic and St. Martin in the Fields. He has been a First Prize winner in several competitions. In addition to Licaret’s performance, the symphony will present Beethoven’s “Symphony no. 4 op. 60 in B flat major” and the twelfth annual Composers of the Future showcase of student compositions. All concerts are at Iona’s Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium, 715 North Ave., New Rochelle. Individual concert tickets are $50 for general admission, $35 for seniors and $15 for students. This concert series is spon‑ sored in part by the Iona College Council on the Arts through the generosity of JoAnn and Joseph M. Murphy and the Baron Lambert Fund. For more information or tickets, call (914) 654-4926, email info@westchesterchamber‑ or log onto www.westchester‑

41st annual Strawberry Festival

The College of New Rochelle’s 41st annual Strawberry Festival has something special for family members of all ages. On Sunday, May 5, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on the Maura Lawn of CNR’s main campus at 29 Castle Place in New Rochelle, the college will host a fun-filled day of outdoor activities, music, en‑ tertainment, and strawberry treats. Admission is free; there is a charge for food, games, and rides. Grab your family, a blanket, and pre‑ pare for a great day. The rain location is The Wellness Center. A big red chair on which visitors can take pictures will be present this year, as well as the exciting giant slide. There will be face painting, a rock wall, a dunk tank, gladiator joust, castle bounce house, henna tattoos, and much more.

Youth Bureau Presents: An Evening with Guy Davis

Back by popular demand, legendary blues musician Guy Davis will perform in concert

to benefit the New Rochelle Youth Bureau on Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at Temple Israel, 1000 Pinebrook Blvd. This signature event, “An Evening with Guy Davis,” is presented by the Youth Bureau Board of Commissioners. All monies raised will be used to support Youth Bureau programs, including Summer Youth Employment. “An Evening with Guy Davis” will feature a wine and cheese reception, concert and des‑ sert and coffee. Tickets are $40 each/$75 per couple. In addition, a 50/50 charity drawing will be held. For tickets, further information and reservations, contact the New Rochelle Youth Bureau at (914) 654-2045.

Greenburgh Nature Center events

May weekday classes for young children Children and parents or caregivers come for an hour of nature fun. Dress for outdoor ac‑ tivity. Except in extreme weather conditions, a portion of each class is spent outdoors. Admittance closes 15 minutes after the start of the program. No pre-registration or pre-payment re‑ quired. Nature Bugs for 2 to 5 year olds Nature discovery for youngsters, with a parent or caregiver.  Meet a museum animal each week, hear a story and do a craft or na‑ ture game. Mondays: 1:30-2:30 p.m. May 6, 13, 20 Members: $5 adult; $4 child Non-members: $9 adult; $7 child Critters, crafts and kids for18 months to 5 years olds Enjoy wonderful spring days at the Center with walks, live animals, stories and crafts. Wednesdays: 10:00 a.m. to 11 a.m.

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Members: $5 adult; $4 child Non-members: $9 adult; $7 child May evening program for adults and high school students Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m. for refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program: What’s the buzz with hon‑ eybees? Enter into the busy life of a honeybee hive with GNC naturalist Greg Wechegelaer. Learn why and how these amazing creatures are critical players in our own lives and global economy. Greg discusses the threats currently faced by honeybees, and how what harms bees threatens us in turn. The evening includes a taste test of some local honeys. Program presented in partnership with the Sierra Club Lower Hudson group; designed for adults and high school students. Free

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 din‑ ner, four-hour open bar and entertainment. Payment will be accepted via Paypal, money order and bank check. To pay via PayPal, use at https://www.paypal. com/. To pay by other methods, please email Rachel McCain at 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

Latimer announces scholarships Democratic state Sen. George Latimer has announced that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is now accepting applica‑ tions for four $1,500 scholarships to be awarded June 10 at their annual Legislative Conference Day. Scholarship winners must be present to receive their awards. “Given the high costs of college, every opportunity must be made by local students and their working families to meet their re‑ quired expenses with scholarships as well as with student loans, available financial aid, and personal contributions,” Latimer said. “I highly recommend that our area’s students apply to the conference for these prestigious scholarships so that they may hopefully secure as much extra help with their expenses as possible.” This year, the Italian-American State Legislators Conference will be awarding four $1,500 scholarships to four current or future college students from New York State. Eligibility will be based upon the student’s grade point average, interest in pursuing a higher education, involvement in the local community as well as indi‑ vidual financial need. The conference is a bipartisan organi‑ zation of New York State Assembly and

Senate members who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the state’s Italian-American community. The confer‑ ence mission is to work hard to elevate and highlight Italian-American contributions to the State of New York and beyond in all aspects of society, including literature, the arts, architecture and politics. The confer‑ ence also tries to dispel negative stereo‑ types of Italian-Americans. “Our conference is very proud of our role in promoting higher education and as‑ sisting students in reaching their academic goals and full potential for future success in the global marketplace,” Latimer said. “This year’s recipients will be invited to Albany to receive their scholarship awards in June. Eligible applicants must reside in the 37th Senate District which includes all of the Westchester communities of Armonk, Banksville, Bedford, Bedford Hills, Bronxville, Eastchester, Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, North White Plains, Port Chester, Rye Brook, Rye City, and Tuckahoe and parts of Katonah, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers. Area students may request an application by contacting Latimer’s office at 914-9345250 and return it by May 8. (Submitted)

April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 5

New Ro man accused of child rape By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

A New Rochelle family daycare home where a 3-year-old girl was allegedly raped two weeks ago is closed and its registration has been revoked and suspended, state records show. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, Felix C. Castillo, 67, of New Rochelle was arrested on a first-degree rape charge April 12. Investigators charged Castillo with the Class B felony offense in connection with an incident that occurred at a New Rochelle residence that also houses the daycare operated by his wife, Schaller added. “The [victim’s] parents noticed some un‑ usual behavior and brought her to the doctor,” Schaller said. The doctor that examined the girl notified police, Child Protective Services and the county District Attorney’s office after discov‑ ering a suspicious injury, Schaller said. “We opened an investigation, spoke with the suspect and charged him Friday evening,” Schaller said. Castillo was arraigned April 13 and was initially held at the Westchester County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Police have no “past history” with Castillo, or the daycare center operated by his wife, ac‑ cording to Schaller. New York State Office of Children and

Family Services records show the facility, which has been a registered family daycare home since 2007, had a recent history of reg‑ istration violations and enforcement actions. Some of the violations pertained to sleeping and napping arrangements, children’s health records, and filing of emergency contact in‑ formation. The violations noted in 2011 are the only ones that have been corrected, ac‑ cording to the OCFS. A summary on the agency’s website does not indicate the nature of any enforcement ac‑ tions taken against the on-site provider in con‑ nection with the open violations. Some of the enforcement actions the agency is allowed to take under state law range from the issuance of written inspection reports to the permanent or temporary suspension or revocation of a provider’s license or registration. The agency can suspend or limit a provid‑ er’s registration temporarily upon finding that “the public health or child’s safety or welfare are in imminent danger.” In accordance with New York Correction and Social Services laws, the OCFS may also “deny, reject, limit, suspend, revoke or ter‑ minate the provider’s license or registration” once it is notified about an existing criminal conviction or pending charge against anyone age 18 or older who lives in a home where daycare is also provided. CHILD continued on page 14

City seeks consultant for fire services study By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

A deadline is looming for qualified consul‑ tants interested in assessing New Rochelle’s fire and EMS system to submit proposals to the city. The city issued a request for proposals, or RFP, early this month. To be considered, re‑ sponses must be received no later than 3 p.m. May 7. According to background information in‑ cluded in the RFP, the purpose of the project is to “evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the New Rochelle Fire Department and the City of New Rochelle’s EMS system.” The study will “serve as the basis for objec‑ tive and well-sourced future judgments about the size and function of New Rochelle’s Fire Department and emergency service opera‑ tions, either justifying changes that yield sav‑ ings or support claims for additional resource allocation.” Debate about the department’s staffing lev‑ els surfaced during budget talks last fall. At that time, the City Council considered a bud‑ get panel’s recommendation to reduce mini‑ mum manning or staffing levels from 27 to 24 firefighters per shift. The proposal, which would have saved the city $300,000, called for the reduction only when regular staffing fell below 27 due to regular staffing shortages. At the time, New Rochelle firefighters ar‑

New Rochelle Fire Chief Louis DiMeglio said his agency had input in crafting a request for proposals for a fire study. Photo/Alexandra Bogdanovic

gued that implementing the plan would put themselves and the city at risk because Ladder 12, which is stationed in the most densely populated part of the city, would have to be taken out of service. The City Council ultimately decided to STUDY continued on page 14

6 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013

Secondary street-naming honors late councilwoman By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

Risley Place, a quiet residential street lo‑ cated one block south of Lincoln Avenue in New Rochelle, got a new name on April 18. At 2:30 p.m. that day, a small group gath‑ ered at the intersection of Risley Place and French Ridge to unveil a secondary street sign signifying that Risley Place will also be known as “R.C. Quash Place” in honor of the late City Councilwoman Rhoda C. Quash. Quash, who lived in New Rochelle for 30 years, was the first African American woman to serve on the City Council. She represented the people in the city’s third council district, which she created, from 1993 until 1999. During her tenure, Quash launched a number of initiatives to help the city’s youth including the Network Youth Leadership summer jobs program and the renovation of Lincoln Park. New Rochelle Communications Manager Kathy Gilwit said Quash was also “active in community affairs,” serving as president of the French Ridge Neighborhood Association and superintendent of the Sunday school at St. Catherine Methodist Church. The Rev. Michael J. Rouse, the pastor there, met Quash when he began his current assign‑ ment in 1997. She ran the Sunday school program so efficiently that other churches used her methods as a model for their own

programs, Rouse said. “She was a powerful and overwhelming person,” Rouse said. “She took me by the hand and introduced me to everyone I needed to know in New Rochelle. Her loss was a great loss for New Rochelle, but her memory will prevail.” In addition to her work with the church, Quash who lived on Risley Place for 20 years, served as an officer or member with the United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs of New Rochelle and the Coalition of Mutual Respect, Gilwit said. Quash was the director of Government Affairs at Sound Shore Medical Center when she passed away in 1999. “In some ways, this is bittersweet,” Democratic Mayor Noam Bramson said be‑ fore helping to unveil the new street sign. “On the one hand, we are celebrating a wonderful life. But we are also reminded of the absence of that life and the extraordinary strength and bravery Rhoda demonstrated.” Quash was a person of “enormous de‑ cency” who truly cared about her neighbors, Bramson said. When it came to standing up for her beliefs and her constituents, Quash was “absolutely fearless,” Bramson added. In his remarks, former New Rochelle Mayor and current Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni, a Democrat, recalled how the late councilwoman wore dress clothes when she went to the Home Depot construction site on

Friends, family and former colleagues of the late Councilwoman Rhoda C. Quash gathered for a secondary street-naming ceremony in her honor April 18. Photo/Christina Cerone

Weyman Avenue and spoke to everyone to make sure that qualified New Rochelle con‑ struction workers got jobs there. “She could charm you out of your socks and she could be as tough as nails,” Idoni said. Quash’s husband, Tom, and son, Quinton, also spoke during the secondary street naming ceremony. “This is quite an honor,” said Tom Quash. “I’m sorry Rhoda is not here to see it. She loved what she did.”

Standing on the street where he grew up, Quinton Quash echoed his father’s sentiments. “My mother always said, ‘Quinton, no mat‑ ter what you do in life, eat it and sleep it.’ She personified that. She was an amazing person,” he said. Rhonda Quash’s devotion to New Rochelle continued until her dying days, her son said. “On her death bed, she said, ‘Quinton, if you ever leave New Rochelle, come back and see what’s going on,’” he said.

April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 7

New rochelle police blotter April 10…An acquaintance allegedly robbed a Middletown, N.Y., man in the New Roc City garage around 9:10 p.m. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the victim said that he and an‑ other man were going to visit friends. They were walking through the parking garage when the person with him sud‑ denly displayed a handgun and said he had fallen on hard times. The victim said he gave his companion $300 and that the other man ran out of the parking garage towards Harrison Street. The victim went to the security of‑ fice to report the incident, but left in a white Mercedes after he got a phone call, Schaller said. He was gone when police arrived. April 10…A 16-year-old boy was as‑ saulted in Lincoln Park just before 6 p.m., police said. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the incident happened near the basketball courts, and the teen was trying to break up a fight when he got punched in the nose. The perpetrator fled from the scene, Schaller said. April 14…A Harlan Drive resident re‑ ported a burglary after a neighbor found her missing wallet on her back porch, police said. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said the victim reported that her wallet was taken from her residence sometime between 6:30 p.m. April 10 and 8:30 a.m. April 11. The victim also said she left the wallet out on a kitchen desk near an unlocked rear sliding door, according to Schaller. Approximately $400 was missing from the wallet when the neighbor recovered it, Schaller said. April 19…A 21-year-old man was in‑ jured when an assailant punched him and hit him with a stick, police said. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said the incident occurred while a group of people was “hanging out” behind Marcel’s Barbershop on Union Avenue. The vic‑ tim reported the assailant appeared to be under the influence of something when the alleged attack occurred. The victim sustained minor injuries including a cut above his left eye and a welt across his back that appeared consistent with being hit with some sort of stick, Schaller said. The victim also complained of pain to his back and legs. His friends drove him to the hospital. April 19… An 18-year-old New Rochelle High School student notified school security after a 17-year-old ac‑ quaintance threatened him with a pocket‑ knife, police said. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the incident occurred while a group of students was hanging out near the school. The victim notified secu‑ rity, who then reported the incident to

police, Schaller said. April 20…A city police officer sus‑ tained minor injuries in a scuffle with a Mt. Vernon man who allegedly threatened his aunt and broke a door at her New Rochelle residence. Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller said the man, who was identified as Sylvain S. Astillo, 20, of 49 West Fourth St., was also harassing other people in the apart‑ ment and refused to leave or cooperate with police officers that responded to the scene. Astillo allegedly began to fight with one of the officers in the hallway, causing injuries to the officer’s right thumb and knee. Astillo was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor, second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct, which are both violations. April 20…A 62-year-old Brooklyn man was robbed while asking for direc‑ tions near 71 Huguenot St., police said. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the victim was leaning into a Honda occupied by two Hispanic men. When the victim tried to show the men where he was going on his cell phone, the men snatched it and drove off, Schaller said. The device was a white iPhone 4S worth $250. April 20…An investigation of what seemed like suspicious activity in the area of Webster Avenue and Sickles Avenue yielded evidence of a possible attempted robbery, police said. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, an officer on patrol shortly be‑ fore 3 a.m. saw a man crouching on the ground and two others next to him. “The officer thought it was suspicious and went to investigate. One individual tried to conceal a baseball bat under his coat and said he only had it because he’d played baseball earlier that day. Another one refused to take his hands out of his pockets,” Schaller said. The third man was also uncooperative. Further investigation revealed the man who refused to show his hands was bleed‑ ing from his left hand, and he was taken to the hospital for treatment, Schaller said. The man finally said that he was the vic‑ tim of an attempted robbery 20 minutes before the officer arrived, and that he in‑ jured his hand when he took a box cutter from the would-be robber. Nothing was taken and the suspect fled in an unknown direction, Schaller said. April 21…Officers responded to a report of an attempted burglary at 119 Ramona Court around 10:27 a.m. According to Detective Capt. Joseph Schaller, the homeowner observed mark‑ ings on the rear kitchen door and door‑ frame. The homeowner could not say when the damage might have occurred, Schaller said.

8 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013

Panel highlights need for statewide campaign finance reform By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER

Greenburgh—In the wake of recent bribery scandals involving state Democrats Sen. Malcolm Smith and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, advocates across the state have been reinvigorated to push for a complete overhaul of state campaign finance. Members of Westchester for Change, a countywide group that advocates for progres‑ sive social and political change, held a com‑ munity forum on April 11 to seek comprehen‑ sive solutions to the issue. The event, held at the Greenburgh Town Hall, featured a panel of speakers including state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, Democratic Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Jessica Wisneski, campaign director for Citzen Action New York and Ian Vandewalker from the Brennan Center at New York University, who discussed the impact of special interest groups and large financial contributions on election outcomes. “It is not everyone’s number one issue,” said Wisneski, whose group spearheads the fair election movement in the state. “Money plays a powerful role in can see it in [the United States] congress, and up in Albany too.” For Wisneski, the desire for campaign fi‑ nance reform stems from the influence of

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, center, discusses campaign finance reform and what the public needs to do in order to change the status quo. Photo/Daniel Offner

corporate contributions to state politics, which have traditionally outspent small donors 6-to-1. “We need to make small donors matter,” Wisneski said, suggesting that the state lower the minimum contribution requirements and close any legal loopholes that make it difficult for unestablished candidates to run. Advocating for a comprehensive overhaul of the status quo, the panel outlined what law‑ makers in Albany would need to do to imple‑ ment campaign finance reform.

Vandewalker, in a PowerPoint presentation, explained that in New York City, a newly-im‑ plemented electoral contribution system has shown an increase in participation, diversity and competition. “By providing a 6-to-1 match [through the use of public funds] on small donations, more and more people [living in New York City] have gotten involved with the system,” Vandewalker said. “It allows for civic partici‑ pation in more ways than just writing a check.”

Assemblywoman Galef said she is hopeful that, by the end of the legislative session, the state will have presented a number of reforms to the law surrounding campaign dollars. “It’s a really tough sell, unless the public gets behind it,” Galef said. “Campaign finance reform is not going to fix all of the problems.” Stewart-Cousins recalled how the cur‑ rent method of collecting contributions has a tendency to dissuade some politicians from reaching out for small donations since it is much quicker and easier to reach out to those willing to contribute big bucks. “It is important how we reform how money is raised,” said Stewart-Cousins. “The focus has to be clear…we need to get campaign fi‑ nance that is real reform.” Following the discussion, volunteers with Westchester for Change handed out peti‑ tions that call upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to reform the system in such a way that would prevent further corruption and less‑ en the impact of big campaign dollars from special interest groups on election outcomes. “The problem with Gov. Cuomo is he talks a good game,” said Elizabeth Saenger, coorganizer of Westchester for Change, “but he doesn’t act on something like this.” For more information on campaign finance reform or to sign the petition, visit fairelec‑

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April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 9

What’s Your Beef? What’s bothering you today?

Collected on Purchase Street in Rye “My love life”

“I want to see some green on the trees. I’m sick of winter.”

Leah Snow, 30, Manhattan

Helena Librett, 60, Rye

“There’s not enough time in the day.”

“My inability to parallel park on Purchase Street today”

Jeff Mason, 55, Waterford, Conn.

Steve Juricek, 28, Port Chester

-Photos and reporting by LIZ BUTTON

BUDGET from page 1

total $123.5 million or 51 percent of expenses in the coming school year. The anticipated cost of employee benefits is approximately $56 million or nearly 24 percent of the total expenditures. The district also plans to spend approxi‑ mately $321,000 to improve school secu‑ rity in 2013-2014. Of the total amount, roughly $175,000 will be allocated for improvements to school doors and approximately $95,000 will be used to buy special window shades used dur‑ ing school lockdowns and “lockouts,” Quinn said during a preliminary budget discussion. The rest of the money will be used for mobile phones, additional security radios, training for

monitors and additional traffic supervision by police at the elementary schools. At the time, Petrone said Manhattan-based security firm VRI’s recommendations would also be incorporated into the 2013-2014 bud‑ get. VRI did a district-wide assessment and presented its findings to the board last month. The board publicly discussed some of those findings Tuesday night. The public will decide whether or not to ap‑ prove the final budget in May. Last year, voters approved a $234 million school budget for 2012-2013 that increased taxes by 4.13 percent and called for staffing reductions totaling 38.5 positions.

New Ro Republicans elect new chair Rosemary G. McLaughlin, a 40-year resident of New Rochelle, president of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and Senior Vice President/ Group Director of Signature Bank, was elected by the delegates of the New Rochelle Republican Party as its chairperson. McLaughlin will succeed Douglas Colety, who stepped down as New Rochelle Republican Chairman after over 10 years. He remains chairman of the Westchester County Republican Party. McLaughlin is excited about this November’s elections and getting more people in New Rochelle to become active in local government. (Submitted)

10 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013

Mamaroneck moves forward with USDA egg oiling By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER

Mamaroneck—Since the vil‑ lage announced that it would take advantage of a renego‑ tiation clause within a contract it signed with the USDA to slaughter geese, there has been a wide variety of non-lethal alternatives offered by those opposed to the original agree‑ ment. The village has now made it clear to USDA representative Ken Preusser that they wish to avoid killing the geese. This effort is primarily aimed at oiling eggs in Columbus and Harbor Island parks, which are considered property of the vil‑ lage. Village Manager Richard Slingerland said that the board will allow the USDA to oil eggs in both parks, but that residents are encouraged to take it upon themselves to oil eggs on private property if they choose. “We’re trying to imple‑ ment a systematic plan that will eventually be rolled out village-wide,” Slingerland

said. “What we’re focusing on now is village property, but in the future, we’ll try to focus more on volunteer efforts.” Scarsdale resident Kim Gold, who is an animal rights activist that has spoken out against the USDA contract, recently contacted GeesePeace, an organization that educates communities on waterfowl management, and coordinated a presentation for residents on egg oiling at the Mamaroneck Public Library on April 11. “There needs to be public and private col‑ laboration,” Gold said. “A lot of people have nests on their property, and this was just a way to educate residents on how to deal with them.” Gold said that she thinks the village’s new approach is a good one‑despite her gripes with the USDA for its other lethal methods of waterfowl management‑and that she hopes to

Savageau, mainly because there is an inherent danger of being attacked while approaching a nest if geese are in the area. Because of this safety risk, she advised that one person stand guard against potentially violent parent geese, while a partner applies oil to the eggs. Another alternative that has garnered sig‑ nificant support is a method that involves con‑ ditioning the geese to leave the area through the use of a predator decoy and a whistle. The method is employed by Geesebusters, a company that specializes in waterfowl management strategies, which is operated by Robert Guardagna. Guardagna attempted to perform a demonstration of his method at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck on April 9, but was told by village officials that he was not authorized to do so and that village po‑ lice would be notified if he entered the park. away.” The reason the village has chosen not to “When I come out here with my bird, chase the existing geese away, is because the birds nest in the middle of March until the end the geese know the party’s over. That’s of May, and the current egg oiling strategy is for sure.” only aimed at preventing new geese from be‑ ‑Robert Guardagna on his “Geesbusters” ing born. The board has not yet decided how method of conditioning geese to leave an area it will handle the geese that already inhabit the village. Slingerland said that a program to chase Robert Guardagna gave a demonstration of his Geesebuster’s find a way to reach out to more residents who away geese is just not needed at the moment, apparatus at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. The predator because if geese do fly away they will not be couldn’t attend the presentation. decoy, seen here in Guardagna’s hands, is made of bamboo The GeesePeace presentation was giv‑ able to nest, which is essential if the USDA and lightweight fabric and is used to frighten birds into leaving en by Denise Savageau, the Director of egg oiling to is be a success. an area. Photos/Chris Gramuglia “We’ve already seen the demonstration, Conservation for the Town of Greenwich, and focused on the proper methods that should be and at this point we don’t want to chase the used to oil eggs as well as how residents can geese away,” he said. But Guardagna said that his method is the register with the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service to become certified to carry out the most efficient. process on their own. Egg oiling, according “Once you introduce [the predator decoy] to Savageau, is a process that prevents oxygen to an area, the birds move out completely. Egg exchange from occuring within eggs before oiling is unnecessary, we should leave nature they are incubated, which effectively stops alone, and keep our hands off of it.” their development and prevents them from Guardagna also criticized the USDA, and said hatching. that he has repeatedly tried to convince them to Egg oiling is a two-person job, said use his method and has gotten no response. “The USDA is killing all over the country,” he said. “I sent video tapes to all of the USDA offices in the country. Not one person returned my emails.” The village also began us‑ ing a Rake-O-Vac, a machine designed to scour fields and rid them of goose droppings. According to Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, the machine worked well, and the parks department will be using it frequently in the future. “It’s scheduled to be used once a week in Columbus, Harbor Island and Florence parks,” Rosenblum said. “The main problem still exists of a hundred and fifty to twohundred geese each making a The Village of Mamaroneck has decided to continue working pound of waste a day, but the with the USDA, but only by oiling eggs that are found on machine picked up ninety per‑ village-owned property. Canada geese, like this one that was cent the last time we used it.” seen at Columbus Park in Mamaroneck, usually begin nesting in early March and begin incubating at the end of April.

April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 11

Online women’s magazine spurs life changes

Ronna Benjamin, left, and Felice Shapiro of Better After 50. Photo/Hollis Rafkin-Sax By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

Eighteen months ago, Larchmont resident Felice Shapiro launched an online magazine called Better After 50. Today, the publication, which can be accessed at, has 85,000 readers and its growth has spurred additional endeavors. “ is about real stories for real women,” Shapiro said. “Hopefully those stories will resonate.” The online magazine features articles on relationships, finances, fitness, fashion and travel. Clicking on a tab labeled “work” leads users to a sub-category called “What’s Next.” There, readers can find articles about returning to work, crafting resumes, how to “reinvent” themselves, and how to embrace change. Not too long ago, Shapiro did just that. After a fulfilling career in traditional pub‑ lishing, Shapiro found herself at a personal and professional crossroads. She’d just lost her husband and her youngest child was leav‑ ing for college. “I dropped him off at college and focused on my ‘what’s next,’” Shapiro said. The next phase of her career turned out to be teaching entrepreneurship in New York and Boston, Mass. Eventually, she decided she wanted to get back into publishing and decided to do so while blending her love of entrepreneurship and women’s issues. “I wrote 100 blogs over the summer and de‑ cided to launch an online magazine,” Shapiro said. Shapiro met her friend and business partner Ronna Benjamin the day after she launched “I was a real estate lawyer for 29 years,” Benjamin said. “I was in the profession for a couple of decades, fairly happily, and then I got to a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I kept thinking that when I figured out what I really wanted to do, I would do it, but I didn’t

know exactly what I wanted. I just wanted a change.” Benjamin began writing on sleepless nights and shared some of her work with friends. With positive reinforcement, the Boston-area resident wrote more “funny and emotional” stories–but she didn’t know where to send them. “Someone knew Felice and suggested we get in touch. I sent a couple of pieces to Felice and she said we had to meet,” Benjamin said. “We met at a diner in Boston and discovered we’d gone to the same high school.” After that encounter, Benjamin started submitting articles for Shapiro’s new online magazine. “I had so much fun, I decided this is what I want to do. I quit my job in real estate law and every day since then has been fabulous. My kids say I am busier than ever–and I am happier.” In addition to coordinating and producing content for their internet publication, Shapiro and Benjamin organize “She Did It” seminars to help women in their 50s learn how to find personal and professional fulfillment. They hosted the most recent one at Manhattanville College in Purchase on April 16. “We both knew so many people who were getting ready to enter the next phase of their lives when their kids were leaving for col‑ lege,” Benjamin said. “We started [these con‑ ferences] to have a forum and talk about it.” Last Tuesday’s event included workshops on how to find your next job, how to take charge of social media and technology skills, and how to “make a living and a difference.” “Sometimes people are looking for some‑ thing additive–something that brings richness they didn’t have. When my sister began paint‑ ing, it put light in her eyes,” Shapiro said. “The common desire that really connects us is to have fulfilling lives. These events really inspire people.” For more information about “She Did It” conferences, visit

12 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013

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SECURITY from page 1

security guard to verify someone’s identity, but check to see if there’s a restraining order against them or if they’re a registered sex offender, he added. Adam Safir also recommended that the district standardize its emergency plans. Currently there are no district-wide standards for lockout, lockdown and evacuation drills, he said. The team assessment also yielded some issues with emer‑ gency communications, including radios and public address systems, he said. “Some of our recommendations have associated costs and some don’t. Some things do have to be purchased,” Adam Safir said. Grant funding is available for many secu‑ rity enhancements, he added before summarizing a list of federal, state, local and private resources. After the presentation Board of Education member Jeffrey Hastie asked the team to elaborate on its findings regarding the school dis‑ trict’s compliance with the New York State SAVE law, which pro‑ vides a framework for school secu‑ rity, emergency preparedness and response. “We looked for compliance or evidence of compliance. There were some minor issues, but there wasn’t a lot for me to make recom‑ mendations on,” said David Peck, the VRI team member assigned to evaluate the district’s policies. Plans are already in place to address any outstanding issues, he added. A small but vocal group of par‑ ents has repeatedly disputed that’s the case, however. Amy Ecker, one of the parents who has expressed concerns about the issue, said she is grateful for VRI’s assessment. But she also said some of her questions are still un‑ answered. “What I really want to know is what are the checks and balances,” she said. “Where do we as parents stand in the process? How can we be assured that tools are in place to keep everyone safe?”

April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 13 FLAG from page 1

vote,” said City Manager Charles Strome. “I was ad‑ vised the majority of council indicated they wanted the flag removed.” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat pursu‑ ing a run for county executive, said, “Although the Gadsden flag certainly has historic origins, in the present day it is also perceived by many as a po‑ litical symbol of the Tea Party. Everyone is free to fly this flag or any other symbol on private A dispute between New Rochelle veterans and the city’s property, but when it comes to Democratic administration over the removal of a Gadsden public property, political state‑ flag at the armory has received extensive media coverage across the country this month. ments are not appropriate.” The City Council would Last Monday afternoon, approximately 50 have taken the exact same action if a flag had been flown on public property in support of to 60 people attended a Gadsden flag raising President Barack Obama or any other political ceremony in Deerpark, N.Y., which was held in support of the New Rochelle veterans. group, Bramson said. Karl Brabenec, the town supervisor in the But in the weeks following the incident, which garnered national media attention, at Orange County community, said he organized least one member of the City Council began the event at Deerpark Town Hall after hear‑ ing about the New Rochelle flag dispute at an receiving hate mail. The council stood by its initial decision unrelated rally over the weekend. “A couple of people came up to us and at its April 9 meeting, as Bramson and the Democratic majority rejected Republican asked us if we knew what was going on. I Councilman Louis Trangucci’s, R-District 1, was disgusted by the whole thing. I got up on stage and asked for support,” Brabenec said, motion to allow the flag to fly again. During that meeting, Councilman Jared adding that as a first-generation American, he Rice, D-District 3, said he was the first person is deeply appreciative of the service United to contact Strome about the removal of the States veterans performed for their country. Brabenec said he also wanted the Gadsden Gadsden flag. Rice said he maintained from the beginning that the banner should be taken flag at the Deerpark Town Hall because of the down because it is symbolic of the Tea Party. historic relationship between New Rochelle “[The flag] is very offensive to a lot of and that community. “Part of the group of Huguenots that settled people in New Rochelle because it represents the Tea Party and the divisiveness created by in New Rochelle moved further north. They settled here and called a portion of the town that group,” Rice said. Rice also thinks veterans flew the Gadsden Huguenot,” he said. Back in New Rochelle, citizens waving flag as an act of defiance and said that the group admitted as much in a conversation on small Gadsden flags also turned out to support the veterans as they stated their case during Facebook. New Rochelle veterans have been at odds the public hearing portion of the April 9 New with the city about the armory’s deteriorating Rochelle City Council meeting. Flags adorned with rattlesnakes gained condition and the City Council’s refusal to consider their proposal to create a performing popularity with American colonists in the 18th century. One such flag was named after arts center there. “I’d like to discuss other issues like job Continental Col. Christopher Gadsden, who training and housing for veterans,” Rice said, presented it to Commodore Esek Hopkins, adding that he is not opposed to the public dis‑ the commander-in-chief of the navy, in 1775. play of the “POW” and “MIA” flags tradition‑ Gadsden also presented the flag to the South ally used in honor or recognition of prisoners Carolina Congress one year later. “I am here about something you took from of war and members of the country’s armed me and something that I am not,” United forces who are missing in action. Reiterating his comments recently, Rice Veterans Memorial Patriotic Association said he was glad the City Council addressed President Peter Parente told the City Council. the matter and hoped that it had finally been “I am not a member of the Tea Party–I am a proud Republican. I am not like you‑I am an put to rest. American veteran.” But that wasn’t the case.

Correcting the record In the March 29 & April 5 edition of The Report, the story entitled “Friends, officials recall former mayor’s legacy,” it was reported the old Albert Leonard School on North Avenue was coverted to the current City Hall during Mayor Alvin Ruskin’s administration. The renovation took place under Mayor Stanley Church.

Parente said a diverse group of people gath‑ ered to retire the weather-beaten United States flag that had been flying above the armory and hoist its replacement. The event was not po‑ litically motivated, he added, reiterating that the Gadsden flag has significant historic and military significance. Moises Valencia, the citizen who donated the Gadsden flag at the center of the contro‑ versy, also addressed the council. In his re‑ marks, Valencia voiced some of the concerns he also raised in an email to the Michiganbased lawyers retained by the veterans. “It is my opinion that our first amendment to freedom of speech [sic] was violated,” Valencia said in the email to the Thomas More Law Center. “The city has not been able to provide evidence that there was any security or safety concerns that would warrant

restriction of our right to expression on public property. Their claims that we were somehow representing the Tea Party are baseless.” Former Republican Assemblyman Ron Tocci, who also spoke at the April 9 council meeting, called for an end to ugly rhetoric and a return to civility in association with the issue and added that there is a public perception that the Bramson administration is “anti-veteran.” Whether or not that has any political impli‑ cations for Bramson remains to be seen. “I honor the service of all who have worn the uniform of our country,” Bramson said when asked if he feared the flag dispute could alienate him from veterans throughout Westchester. “This particular issue concerns the placement of political messages on public property and has nothing to do with our re‑ spect for veterans.”

14 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013 CHILD from page 5

Office of Children and Family Services reg‑ ulations also dictate that anyone 18 or older who lives in a home where family daycare services are provided must have a criminal background check in order for the family day‑ care home to be licensed or registered. Adults residing where family daycare home services are provided are not allowed to have contact with children receiving day care there while the results of the criminal background check are pending. In the event that a criminal background check shows an adult who lives in a home where family daycare home services are pro‑ vided has been charged with any crime, the OCFS “shall conduct a safety assessment of the program and take all appropriate steps to

protect the health and safety of the children in the program.” In such cases, the provider must “cooperate with the office and comply with the direction or directions of the office to protect the health and safety of the children in care.” The agency can take the same steps if a criminal background check reveals that an adult living in a dwelling where family home daycare services are provided has been con‑ victed of certain offenses. It can also “direct the provider that a person age 18 or over residing in a family or group family daycare home not be permitted to have contact with children receiving daycare or any other rea‑ sonable condition necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of children.”

STUDY from page 5

restore $300,000 in overtime funding to the 2013 budget to keep the minimum manning levels at 27 firefighters per shift. As of Jan. 1, 2013, the New Rochelle Fire Department had 158 personnel including one chief, five deputy chiefs, eight captains, 32 lieutenants and 109 firefighters. The remaining personnel included a fire equipment mechanic and two secretaries. The career firefighters assigned to five sta‑ tions strategically located throughout New Rochelle’s 11 square miles responded to 8,018 emergencies last year. The total number of calls for service included 4,313 emergency medical services calls. While the New Rochelle Fire Department provides first response for basic life support or BLS calls, Transcare Ambulance Service, a private company with units stationed at the city’s firehouses, responds to emergencies re‑ quiring advanced life support. According to the city staff that crafted the RFP, assessing the city’s fire and EMS services poses a “unique challenge” because the out‑ come of any study “must maintain or improve the service levels currently given to the resi‑ dents of the city.” As stipulated in the RFP, prospective con‑ sultants should be aware that the contract may involve “a high level of public scrutiny.” The consultant chosen for the project should also be “prepared to keep all interested parties in‑ formed of progress.” Given the importance of the study, New Rochelle Fire Chief Louis DiMeglio said his

department had input in crafting the RFP. Early this week, Byron Gray, president of the New Rochelle Uniformed Firefighters Association, said he hadn’t seen a copy of the RFP. He also said he hopes the consultant ultimately selected to do the evaluation will take daily challenges facing New Rochelle firefighters into account. Some of those challenges outlined in the RFP include the city’s population density and its housing stock, which includes luxury highrise buildings, single and multi-family homes and apartment buildings. The City Council included funding for a fire services study in this year’s budget after District 3 Councilman Jared Rice, a Democrat, requested it. “We should be looking into opportunities to create greater efficiency, whether it’s through consolidation or shared services,” Rice said during the budget deliberations. “It’s important to move forward with this to protect the city and sustain the fire department. I’d like to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.” Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, also supported the inclusion of the funding in this year’s budget. “This is the 16th or 17th budget cycle I’ve been involved in,” Bramson said last December. “Every year, there are difficult debates about the nature and size of the fire department. Those debates are often shaped by emotion and anecdotal information. The information we get is sometimes inaccurate or difficult to understand. I want to see what the facts show.”


April 26 & May 3, 2013 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • 15

Solace in baseball’s cathedrals I started hearing the chants sometime around the sixth inning on Friday. On a blustery night at Citi Field on April 19, in the midst of an ex‑ hilarating pitching performance by Mets rookie Matt Harvey, the focus–for a time–shifted away from the play on the field as fans, no doubt clued in by their smart phones, came to the realization that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, had been apprehended by police. From my nosebleed seats in section 414, it was easy to make out when each section heard the news. A smattering of patriotic chants down the third base line; some enthusiastic “We got him!” cheers in left field. Suddenly, the game at hand seemed far less important as fans became aware that one of the perpetrators of a heinous attack that left three dead and hundreds more injured would be brought to justice. In the seventh, the Mets flashed the news on

the scoreboard. I don’t know if Citi Field has ever gotten that loud in its short history as the crowd, as one, chanted “USA, USA” in a mo‑ ment of catharsis. The nation was angry, sure, but there wasn’t anger in these chants. Instead, there was mostly pride and relief. Relief in knowing that some of the questions we, the American public, had about this attack would be answered, and pride in the way the situation was handled by our first responders, our true American heroes. Citi Field wasn’t the only venue to play host to outpourings of American pride. Videos of stadiums responding to the news went viral. The following day, emotional pre-game cer‑ emonies were held at Boston’s TD Garden and hallowed Fenway Park, honoring those that lost loved ones in the attacks as well as celebrating the resilience of a city–and country‑that desper‑ ately needed a ‘win’.

Mike Smith’s vantage point at Citi Field on April 19 allowed him to see the crowd react as news of the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made its way around the stadium. Photo/Mike Smith

Perhaps one of the most memorable re‑ sponses belonged to longtime Red Sox slug‑ ger David Ortiz, who took the microphone to address the Fenway faithful before a tilt with the Royals to remind the crowd–and the nation that was watching–that Boston was indeed their bleepin’ city. The crowed roared. FCC violations aside, the message was succinct and positive; We’ll get through this. We always do. In a time that sees much division in our na‑ tion, be it religious, ideological or otherwise, crowd reactions at sporting events this past weekend were refreshingly apolitical, a sign

that for better or worse, we’re all in this to‑ gether. Professional sports aren’t pure. We’ve learned that as a collective culture. But sports still have a way of capturing the American spirit, no matter what tragedies befall our country. Be it wartime baseball in the 1940s, or Mike Piazza’s dramatic homerun at Shea following 9/11, sports have a way of remind‑ ing us what brings us together as a people. That scene at Fenway, baseball’s cathedral, served as a reminder that no matter what back‑ ground we come from, we can sometimes find solace in the church of sports.

Sound Report Baseball/Softball Roundup Baseball

4/19 New Rochelle d. Fox Lane 8-6 In a rematch of last year’s Section I quarter‑ final matchup, the Huguenots were able to get some measure of revenge against the Foxes, topping the fearsome Fox Lane squad 8-6 in a nailbiter. With the score knotted at 6-6 in the sixth in‑ ning, Jared Almonte put the Huguenots up with a crafty squeeze bunt that scored Lou Micelli from third base. A few batters later, Nick Teto would provide an insurance run, smacking an RBI single to drive the nail into Fox Lane’s cof‑ fin. The Tigers will tangle with Ossining on April 26, then take on league rival Mamaroneck–who also topped Fox Lane recently–on April 30.


Huguenot hurler Ari Shanzer delivers a pitch in an April 19 tilt with Fox Lane. The Huguenots would top the Foxes 8-6.

4/18 New Rochelle d. White Plains 9-8 In a hotly contested match up between league rivals, the Huguenots came out on top, thanks in part to the hot hitting of Alessandra Greco and Rebecca Karlin. Greco went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored twice, while Karlin also went 3-for-4, driving in two runs on the afternoon. With the win, New Ro gets set for a twogame series with Scarsdale, hosting the Raiders on April 24 (after press time) and traveling to Scarsdale again on April 27.

New Rochelle’s Lou Micelli connects on an offering on April 19. Micelli scored the go-ahead run on a sixth inning squeeze bunt by Jared Almonte. Photos/Bobby Begun

16 • The new rochelle sound and TOWN REPORT • April 26 & May 3, 2013


Huskies host local powers at Fulton Invitational

Harrison’s Coby Lefkowitz leaps during the 110m hurdle event. Lefkowitz placed third with a time of 15.6. By MIKE SMITH SPORTS EDITOR

On April 17, Harrison’s

track program hosted its an‑ nual tournament, the Dennis Fulton Invitational, bringing some of the top teams from

around the section to compete at what has become an annual ode to the former Huskies coach. When the dust settled,

Bronxville’s John Vetromile leads the pack in the 3200m race at the Fulton Invitational on April 17. Vetromile would win with a time of 9:53.0. Photos/Mike Smith

the squad from New Rochelle took top honors in both boys and girls competition. On the girls side, New Rochelle used a strong show‑ ing in the field events–where they amassed 52 points–to beat Bronxville, whose total score of 107 was just off the pace of the Huguenots’ 135. New Rochelle’s boys edged second-place Harrison 117 to 110, thanks to a 26-point advantage over the Huskies in the distance events. “It turned out kind of how we thought it would,” said Harrison boys coach Dominic Zanot. “Our girls placed fifth, which really speaks to the depth of the field we had here with both New Rochelle and Bronxville competing.” As is often the case, Bronxville’s girls fared well in the distance and middle distance events, with Meredith Rizzo winning the 800m with a time of 2:20.3, Courtney Campbell winning the 1500m with a 4:50.3 clip and Kaitlin Ryan taking first in the 3000m with a time of 10:44.4. In one of the tightest races of the day, New Rochelle’s Justin Alleyne edged out the Broncos’ John Flannery to win the boys 800m run with

A New Rochelle long jumper takes off on April 17. Scarsdale’s Patrick Clark won the event with a distance of 21-06.00.

a time of 1:55.1–just one 1/100 of a second faster than Flannery. “Bringing in teams like Bronxville and New Rochelle, they’re not just powers local‑ ly,” said Zanot. “You look at those programs and they com‑ pare favorably to a lot of teams in the entire country. To have these powers come to Harrison for a competition is a big deal. It allows our athletes to see and race against the best.” Harrison did manage to get a number of winners on the day, including Rula Samad in the girls triple jump, Kyle Lefkowitz in the distance

throw, and Jeremy Altamuro, who won the shotput with a mark of 46-07.30. Zanot said that, because the event featured top schools and was heavily covered by various media outlets, photo‑ graphs from the day have been instrumental in helping his squad refine their craft. “Looking at the pictures you can see things like [hur‑ dler] Coby Lefkowitz being about six inches too high on a hurdle. We know that if we lower that, that can add one or two seconds to his time,” said the head coach. “We use those shots to teach.”

The Report, 4-26-2013