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Letters to the Editors:

(Note: Letters are posted in the order we receive and verify them, not necessarily the date on which they were written. Letters may be edited for clarity; please keep letter under 500 words. We are not in a position to check all facts; please attempt to verify factual data presented in your letters.)

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December 22, 2005

Holleran’s “Shipping News” is “Excellent”

I just read your article, "The "Secret Life" of Larchmont Producer at Chat 19, on producer Leslie Holleran, and in it she mentions her movie "The Shipping News", which she fears not "everyone" saw. My husband and I saw the movie, and, having read the book, we both thought we might be disappointed. But we thought the movie was excellent, doing justice to an excellent book.

Jean Young
Larchmont , NY

December 14, 2005

Kemper Family Thanks Supporters

Happy holidays and thank you to all the citizens of Mamaroneck who have supported the ongoing effort to prevent the Mamaroneck School Board from destroying Richard Kemper Park.

Sixty years ago when my grandparents bought the land next to Mamaroneck High School and deeded it to the Mamaroneck School District to be “maintained in perpetuity as a memorial to the late Lt. Richard Kemper, and the other students and former students of Union Free School District No. 1, Town of Mamaroneck, N.Y., who gave their lives in the service of the Unites States of America in World War II” they never expected that sixty years later an attempt would be made by the Mamaroneck School Board to use the land for some other purpose. The language of the deed was clear and in any case everyone understood the park was a valuable asset to the students and the community.

The park honors the young men and one woman from Mamaroneck who were killed in action during World War II and serves as a reminder of the values they sought to preserve, values which we celebrate during the holiday season. Each of them died fighting for peace, freedom, justice and equality. Hence, by preserving the park we not only preserve their memories, but we help to preserve those values as well.

Therefore, were they alive today, I think each of them would join me in wishing you a happy holiday and in thanking you for your support.

Hopefully the Mamaroneck School Board will hear your voices this holiday season and put an end to its effort to destroy Richard Kemper Memorial Park.

[We want to specially thank those who set up the Kemper Memorial Preservation Fund. In response to your appeal, my family is going to contribute $2000 to the fund. See: Citizens' Group Starts Fund to Preserve Kemper Park]

Paul Cantor & Christopher Cantor
(Richard Kemper’s nephew & grandnephew)
Norwalk, CT

 

November 17, 2005

Larchmont Farmers Market Proposed

A group of local residents has been busy exploring the concept of a farmers' market in Larchmont. We will present our findings and a proposal from a business partner, Community Markets, at the Village Board meeting on Monday, November 21, 7:30 pm at Larchmont’s Village Hall.

The idea: Saturday morning market, 8am to 1 pm, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Perhaps there would be live music by contributing residents and local schools. Market season would be May through November.

We are considering the Metro North parking lot as a potential site, (upper deck, Manhattan bound).

Community Markets has created and manages markets in other Westchester communities, notably Rye, Bronxville, and Pleasantville. This group compared Larchmont's proposal to other communities in Westchester and assessed information we shared with them on why Larchmont is attractive for a farmer's market: density of village population; walking community; central, visible location; few competing retailers.

We invite all residents interested in learning more or supporting the idea of a farmers' market to attend the board meeting.

Dominic Schmitt
Larchmont, NY

November 15, 2005

Thanks from Children's Corner

The Children's Corner would like to congratulate both Judy and Paula, editors of the marvelous Larchmontgazette.com, for the recognition they have long deserved. We thank you both as well for the service you provide our non-profit organization. The Larchmont Gazette has been a superior operation in this community. It is truly a success.

Thank you for the outstanding work you do for us and all who are fortunate enough to "use you." Please accept our heartfelt feelings about your "Sunny" award.

Keep up the great work!

Barbara Miglionico
Children's Corner

November 2, 2005

Post Road Development Could Harm Historic Neighborhood

Recently, several of my parishioners and I attended a meeting concerning the potential multi-family and multi-story development along the Boston Post Road in the block behind our church. This potential development would have an adverse impact on our facility which relies on already limited on-street parking in the neighborhood and is part of historic Heathcote Hill. We throw our support to our neighbors who are valiantly trying to prevent overdevelopment and preserve the historic neighborhood feel of the area. This is a special section of the Post Road (between Fenimore Road and the Delancey/Orienta Avenues) where the harbor is close to the road, and Harbor Island Park would be affected by any development. As one of my parishioners had stated at the meeting, we enjoy looking out from our church window and being reminded of God’s handiwork. 

A moratorium has been suggested and further study of the impact this development will have on our environment is needed. We owe it to our community to preserve and protect our environment and historical sites. The uniqueness of our community situated on Long Island Sound requires us to act responsibility with regard to further building and expansion.

It is my hope that our community leaders would study this proposal carefully and not act too quickly. We want wisdom and not decisions based on monetary gain. 

The Reverend Dr. Marvin E. Henk
St. John’s Lutheran Church
Mamaroneck, NY

 

November 2, 2005

WCLA Endorsed Only Castro fo DA

WCLA Choice Matters endorsed Tony Castro for District Attorney in 2001. His integrity and commitment to women’s reproductive rights were irrefutable. We still consider those two factors key in the endorsement process in 2005. WCLA Choice Matters has therefore again endorsed Tony Castro, and not Janet DiFiore.

Our endorsement policy is extensive but clear. For example, questionnaires aren’t sent to those seeking the Right to Life (RTL) line; we seek consistency between candidates’ actions and questionnaire responses; and attempts to mislead voters are noted.

Janet DiFiore’s actions, as reported in The New York Times (NYT), on September 27, 2005, run counter to these conditions. Attorneys for DiFiore “mounted a campaign to remove the Right to Life party from the ballot…” because “…it could have cleared the way for Mrs. DiFiore to win the 2 to 5 percent of voters who typically vote for the Right to Life Party.” The Westchester County Board of Elections rejected DiFiore’s attorneys’ efforts. The RTL candidate, De Cintio, remains on the ballot.

The RTL Party is a one-issue organization with a mission directly counter to that of WCLA-Choice Matters. RTL voters focus on denying women the right to terminate a pregnancy and, for many RTL voters, the right to any form of birth control.

Apparently, DiFiore hoped by eliminating De Cintio, she’d become the candidate for the RTL voters. These actions don’t demonstrate integrity. They show a desire to mislead pro and anti-choice voters. WCLA-Choice Matters is looking for a leader. That’s why we’ve endorsed Tony Castro!

Catherine Lederer-Plaskett President/Chair WCLA Choice Matters
Hartsdale, NY


October 26, 2005

Add Skate Monitor at Chatsworth

I live on Addison Street up the block from the Chatsworth playground. I also am the father of a committed 11.5-year-old skater. In light of those facts I feel I have a unique perch from which to view two issues now facing the village - the need for a safe facility where our community's kids can skateboard and the need to harness the unmanageable skate-scene at Chatsworth.

It is clear that the Chatsworth scene started getting out of hand when Chatsworth became a regional, and not just local, skate spot. That's not to say that all of the skaters from White Plains or New Rochelle or wherever are bad kids, or that ours aren't, but simply that the sheer number of kids has outgrown the space.

The condition in which the kids leave the place is disgraceful. Although I believe that some of the stories that are circulating about skater-incidents at Chatsworth have blossomed from minor incidents into urban legends, it is undeniable that there is a general disrespect by many of the skaters of their surroundings and of the fact that the Chatsworth playground is a community facility shared by many constituents, particularly young children. In contrast, the basketball court at Chatsworth attracts players from around the county, but that area isn't left a mess every day and the basketball players don't yell obscenities at passing girls.

Before there is a dedicated facility for our local skate-athletes, an interim solution would be monitored skating at Chatsworth. The Village would issue skate-permits to Larchmont and Mamaroneck kids, similar to Flint tennis permits. Skating would be open only to permit holders during monitored hours. At all other hours, the no–skating rule would be enforced strictly. Skaters who mess up - litter, drink, deface property, harass other park users, etc. - would lose their permits. Permit fees and minimal daily use fees would defray the cost of monitors.

I recognize that monitored skating would not be appetizing to many free-spirited skaters and would effectively chase away some of the current group of skaters. I believe, however, that monitored skating will be welcomed and honored by the most committed skaters in our community, who will recognize that it is a better alternative than not skating at all.

Our Village and community justifiably devote considerable resources to provide opportunities for youth athletes in a number of sports. There are many skate-athletes in our community who are as committed to their sport as any travel team participant is to soccer, baseball or hockey. I recognize that a number of our skate-athletes need to demonstrate the maturity and responsibility to be worthy of our community’s support. However, the poor sportsmanship of some should not be an excuse to deny our skate-athletes a safe place to practice and participate in their sport. We need to keep exploring how our community (families, businesses and government) can provide appropriate venues and opportunities for our skate-athletes as we do for other youth athletes.

Stephen Rabinowitz
Larchmont, NY

 

October 6, 2005

Town: Cross Walk Will Be Painted Within Month

I am writing in response to Mrs. Mirabella's letter regarding the crosswalk at Central School on Palmer Avenue. Mrs. Mirabella is correct when she states that the Town Traffic Committee recommended painting a cross hatch cross walk at Central School. The painting of the lines has been overdue in part because Palmer Avenue is a County of Westchester owned road.   The Town of Mamaroneck does have responsibility for maintaining the flashing yellow lights denoting the cross walk and for posting a school crossing guard at the school entrance on school days. Unfortunately the responsibility for painting the lines has been a bit more fuzzy. We have, however, worked out this matter and will have the lines painted within the next month.  

Stephen V. Altieri
Town Administrator
Town of Mamaroneck, NY

September 28, 2005

More Attention to Central School Traffic Safety Needed

I have found it amazing that so much effort is spent on parking and traffic around Murray Avenue School, yet the Mamaroneck Town Board and Traffic Commission pay little more than lip service to those of us who live and (try to!) walk in the vicinity of Central School. (See: Town Sets Moratoriium on Commercial Signange, Finalizes Colonial Avenue Parking Restrictions.)

I don't begrudge Murray a bit of their deserved attention from the Town, I just wonder why, after my repeated letters and attendance at no less than two Town traffic meetings, the safety of pedestrians on this side of town has been ignored. We were promised, at the very least, diagonal lines on our crosswalk two years ago. We have gotten nothing. The larger insult was that, until recently, the entire crosswalk remained unpainted for two years after the promise was made. I kid you not!

I sent letters to county and town governments, twice, and received no satisfaction whatsoever. I begged for simple interventions, namely, repainting of existing light poles warning of school crossing, more visible crosswalk lines on the street, and, of course, signs attached to existing crosswalk signs that remind drivers of a frequently ignored NY State law that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. My parents' town up in Massachusetts has them posted on all of their school crossing signs.

Day after day, during school hours and outside of school hours, children and adults dodge across that street, and it is frightening.

The annual Central School Scare Fair is approaching. Please be careful crossing that street, everyone. It is extremely dangerous, especially outside of school hours.

Meg McConney Mirabella
Larchmont, NY

September 22, 2005

Thank You From 9/11 Family

It is with a warm heart that I write on behalf of my family to FIND and our wonderful community of Larchmont/Mamaroneck. FIND's mission was to help support the families of 9/11 victims, both financially and emotionally. With the leadership of Bob Meglio and his committed trustees, the entire Larchmont/Mamaroneck community rallied together to make sure that we knew that we were not alone in our endeavor to go forward and carry on. Our struggles were great. But greater was the support that we received from our neighbors. The camaraderie that the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community has shown to me and my family will never be forgotten. The community walks, the mother/father hockey games, the Flag Pin project, and the Memorial Garden will forever remind us all that there is much more good in our world than evil. It is this message that you have given to me and my children. For this, I am eternally grateful. They say it takes a village, (and a town), now I know what they mean.

Beth McErlean
Ryan, Timothy, Mary Kate & Allison
Larchmont, NY

September 8, 2005

Letter to the Community from Friends in Deed (FIND)

Friends in Deed (FIND) was founded after the tragic events on September 11, 2001, with a mission of helping and healing. Since our inception, we have reached out to the families in our community who lost a loved one. FIND would like to thank our community for all its support throughout these years.

Thanks to the generosity and goodwill of our community, FIND has fulfilled its mission and built a stronger community in the process. We have come together and reached out both financially and emotionally. In the past four years, FIND’s fundraising efforts included three CommUnity Walks, two charity hockey games, a cooking demo & dinner, Irene Ohl’s Flag Pin Project, T-Shirt sales and Wall Street commission donations. All this hard work has helped raise over $250,000! This financial support has helped nine families and 17 children in our community. To date, we have contributed approximately $10,000 per child towards their college accounts.

As important as the financial support is, of equal importance is FIND’s emotional commitment that has helped carry the torch and follow through on our mission of healing and remembrance. Each year we come together to remember our friends with the Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck, Village of Larchmont and the Police, Fire and Ambulatory Departments of our three municipalities. FIND also planted a Community Garden and Memorial Stone in honor of our friends lost as a living memorial. As each year passes, the healing continues and we lean on our friends and family. I hope our efforts have helped bring this community together and has made us all stronger. This year we will continue to remember our friends on Sunday, September 11th at 1pm in Memorial Park.

I am eternally grateful to this community that has helped make FIND a reality and to my fellow board members and volunteers who made FIND a force within our community. I want to thank my friends and family for their strength and support and especially to the families who have allowed me to be a small part of their lives. The friends we’ve lost may be gone but will live forever within our hearts.

Robert M. Meglio
President, FIND
Larchmont, NY

August 19, 2005

Let Forest City Build

Regarding Forest City business plans, I have only to say that there is a stage at which the public has to defer to the business judgment of the developers who are nice enough to jump through endless loops and years of small town procrastination to have the privilege of building condos or rentals within community boundaries.

I have no particular view on the housing market that I care to share, other than lauding the generation of more sensible (not IKEA-type) development to offset the "tax and spend" mentality of our state and local politicians. The reason why I don't have views that I care to share on the housing markets is that I am not a developer. Similarly I have no views on asset allocation that I care to share, because I am not a financial planner.

So can we let Forest City build their building? Because what may happen at the end of all this is that they call it a day and find a more business-friendly community.

Pierre Boulat
Larchmont, NY

 

August 17, 2005

Bait & Switch by Forest City?

I was surprised to read in the Gazette that Forest City has told the Town Board that “market forces” necessitate a modification from a rental to a condo model for the proposed Madison Avenue project. (Forest City Proposes Midcourse Correction - From Rentals to Condo.)

In her letter to the Gazette, Councilwoman Wittner points out that FC believes that “The rental market has hit bottom. People want equity from the housing dollars they’re spending.”

Have “market forces” really changed so much since the public hearing on this project at the end of May? Has anyone noticed renters fleeing their apartments to purchase multi-million dollar homes? Have rents declined dramatically in the area?

The Federal Reserve had raised interest rates 8 times by May. Commodity prices as measured by the CRB Index are no higher now than they were back in March. Exactly what market forces does FC see at work now that were not in force at the end of May?

I’d like to point out that home sale prices have long been associated with rents. Just as stocks sell for some multiple of their earnings, homes have historically changed hands at a multiple of their potential rental income. Nationally the historical multiple is about 12 times the annual rental income they generate. For example, if a home were rentable at $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year (not unusual in Larchmont) its expected selling price would be in the range of $720,000 (60,000 x 12).

The recent appreciation in the real estate market has taken home prices up in much the same way that stock prices were taken up by increasing earnings estimates in the late 90’s. Currently the multiple at which homes are changing hands nationally is 17 times annual potential rental income. This figure is probably higher in Westchester. If the same home referred to above changed hands at 17-20 times the $5,000 rent the sales price would be in the range of $1,020,000 to $1,200,000. Assuming that all markets go through cycles, a case can be made that now might be a good time to rent rather than to buy, yet FC seems to be telling us that even with interest rates rising and real estate prices 40 to 50% above historical valuations as represented by rents that people would rather buy than rent.

Having attended the public hearing on this project in May, I know that members of the Town Board in their comments following the vote stressed the advantages of a rental property in the area. It was said that it would allow for younger people to live here and give seniors who were downsizing more options - not to mention the work force apartment issue.

I was in favor of the previous plan and I believe that I was the only member of the public at the May meeting who commented on it positively. I certainly don’t fault anyone for trying to make money, but I do question what appears to have been a bait and switch tactic to get the plan approved.

John M. Coughlin Jr.
Larchmont, NY
(Editor’s note: the writer is a certified financial planner)

August 12, 2005

Town Should Demand Rentals at Forest City Building

Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to the Town of Mamaroneck Board:

Having been a proponent of the proposed apartment building on Madison, I was very disappointed to read in the Larchmont Gazette that Forest City Daly's promise to keep the building as a rental has been broken. (Forest City Proposes Midcourse Correction - From Rentals to Condo.) Having witnessed this project from it's earliest stages, I remember Valerie O'Keeffe saying how valuable this project will be to the town because there are so few rentals in the area.

My disappointment was compounded by the removal of 3 bedroom apartments. Most families have more than one kid. Now this building is less of an option for the average family. This was another incentive that has been reversed.

I also recall an earlier disappointment when the percentage of affordable apartments dropped to a paltry 9 units. This area is way under the recommendations for affordable housing, as you know. Where will our teachers, firefighters, EMC and police live? Katonah? Putnam? That's pretty far when there's a volunteer emergency call.

Given that FCD has reneged on these issues, do you really expect that they will follow through on other incentives? I would hope before this project goes any further, that the town demand a portion of the apartments remain rentals and all the "promises" be put into a contract.

Catherine Wachs
Larchmont, NY

August 8, 2005

School Board Member Should Cease Partisan Political Activities

After reviewing nominating petitions for local Democratic candidates we noticed that Richard Marsico, newly elected to the Mamaroneck Board of Education, carried petitions.

We feel it is entirely inappropriate for a school board trustee to engage in partisan politics, Many years ago when the School Board Selection Committee was created it was designed to take partisan politics out of the Board of Education. Now we see that policy bas been changed to the detriment of the children of our community. If members of the School Board are now in the practice of endorsing candidates for public office we are rightfully concerned that educational policy in Mamaroneck will now be tainted by partisan politics. Such an infusion of politics into the formulation of educational policy-making compromises the integrity of the School Board and taints what has historically been a nonpartisan body.

This radical departure from established Board policy represents a serious problem for the entire Mamaroneck School District. If the Board members are now favoring Democratic candidates for office should parents [who are] not members of the Democratic Party fear that their children will be treated differently by educational leaders in the community? Should all local po1itical parties now plan to engage fully in the election process and nominate their own candidates for the School Board? How can the community be sure that Board decisions are not being made with partisan considerations in mind?

We urge the Board to demand that all members immediately cease all partisan political activities to assure all the residents that the Board has been and will remain nonpolitical. The education of our children should be the main priority of this Board. The taxpayers have the: right to be secure in the knowledge that the decision-making process remains outside the bounds of partisan politics.

Joeseph Angilletta
Tony Vozza
Trustees in the Village of Mamaroneck

August 9, 2005

"God Help Us" If We Depend on MHS "Men" for Defense

Re: Marine in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents: All I want say is God help us if we have to depend on the “men” of Mamaroneck High School to defend our country.

James Robinett
Village of Mamaroneck
MHS Class of 1950
Korean War Veteran

July 21, 2005

Response on Marine Recruiter

In response to Ms. Poleman's letter regarding my comments on the Marine recruiter:

First of all, there is no quote from Ms. Harrington equating the recruiter with a pedophile. However, who else would "troll" for our youth? The implied meaning is obvious. Also, how could you say she doesn't bash the military as a viable option? Being "appalled" at the sergeant's message, calling her congresswoman to complain, and telling the recruiter to "stay away from my son" is certainly a lot stronger than a "no thank you, we're not interested."

Clandestine recruiting? How so? He was in the parking lot answering the questions of interested students, doing his job as a recruiter and maintaining the good public relations that the Marine Corps has with the community. The man is in uniform telling people who he is and what his job is about. There is no trickery or deceit involved. As far ast being a strange place for him to be, isn't he allowed to patronize the local merchants as you or I would? If you had a question for a professional outside of Starbucks, would you rather be told that they could only answer your question in their office?

Finally, I believe your true feelings are summed up in your statement regarding the Kemper Memorial: "No one ever uses that space." That space is used, Ms. Poleman. It is used to honor those who fought and died to protect the freedoms we so easily take for granted. We are able to read Ms. Silberstein's articles in the Gazette and debate over them freely because of their sacrifices.

Anthony Hoffmann
Mamaroneck, NY

July 12, 2005

Master Plan For Sports Field Needed; Keep Kemper Memorial As-Is

I am writing, as an individual taxpayer and not as councilwoman in the Town of Mamaroneck, in response to recent letters on the Kemper Park.

I don't disagree with the travel commissioners and president of the Larchmont Soccer League that for some children, "sports play a critical part in kids' development," but what does that have to do with a high school field? I'm sure the writers didn't mean that 1,600 children would be playing soccer at Mamaroneck High School (MHS). Why the persistent focus on sports for children? What's happened to service clubs, scouts, music and the arts? As adults, probably 90% of the children whose parents were addicted to sports won't be playing soccer, football etc.

Since there doesn't seem to be land for new fields, why not consider converting what exists to all season-multi sport fields? For example, the football field at MHS is unused after that season ends. Even if it means eliminating some parking spaces, that field could be converted for soccer use. Another field opposite the Town Center often lies empty. There are others (Lorenzen, Flint Park). Why not inventory what exists and form a tri-municipal committee to create a master plan? One would factor in the numerous fields at Harbor Island. We hear that students would require transportation from MHS to Harbor Island. When teams practiced there in the past, part of the warm-up was running to the field!

The School Board president stated that "board members met with municipal leaders" as part of their "intensive investigation of all available municipal-owned and district-owned land to assess space availability." In the 9 ½ years I have been on the Town Board, such a worthwhile discussion between the school and town boards has not transpired. Perhaps one-on-one ad hoc discussions occurred, but that does not translate into a group format and attendant exchange of ideas.

Kemper Park with its memorial and beautiful stand of old growth trees exists because Mr. and Mrs. Kemper had the foresight to buy the land. Were it not for them, one would be looking at houses and/or stores on that site. How wonderful to have green space and serenity a stone's throw from the Post Road’s constant traffic. More to the point, the site was given to and accepted by the School Board in perpetuity as a memorial to their son and his classmates and in a larger sense to all those who sacrificed their lives in World War II. If we change the site, we default on a commitment and contract made in good faith by caring individuals. What are we teaching our children? Our word, deeds and even legal documents and decisions have no standing when an adult wants something? Aren't we teaching them that the deepest pockets don't have to take "no" for an answer? The School Board has said that legal fees to try to alter Kemper Park have been $186,000. They are now ready to appeal their defeat. I cannot see this as the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Phyllis Wittner
Larchmont, NY

July 5, 2005

Don't Blame the Math Regents; Take Responsibility

Don't blame the Math Regents Test...
Don't blame the student's long term memory...
It's time to take responsibility!
(Problems With Math B Regents Exam Create Doubts at MHS.)

When my son, who had a math learning disability, was in MHS, I encountered
math teachers and administrators whom I can only describe as having a serious lack of understanding in teaching math.

Dr. Mark Orfinger, MHS principal, wrote a letter of policy denying the use of a New York State-approved scientific graphing calculator, telling my son: We are not denying you access to the scientific graphing calculator. You may bring it to class, but you may not turn it on.

The district argued with me that it is the process, not the answer that counts. Well, that kind of thinking has backfired.

The district could not understand that not all scientific graphing calculators were equal, and that the model calculator had to match the course curriculum. When my son was in Murray Elementary, the principal called me and asked me where the slash (/) for fractions was on my son’s four-function (nonfraction model) calculator. Most math teachers and administrators chose to remain ignorant. My son was in the MHS graduating class of 2000.

I am thrilled that the New York State Regents have finally required standardized testing for all high school students. No longer can we socially promote students. It was disappointing that the Regents failed our students when they lowered the passing grade to cover the lack of appropriate math instruction. When these students get to college, they will have to take remedial math to catch up. It is the students who suffer.

I would suggest that math teachers be required to take the Math Regents test at the same time that the students do. We should publish their Regents scores as well. Then we will figure out where the real problem comes from.

Eleanor Sherman
Larchmont, NY

July 2, 2005

Recalling "Shortsighted" Plans to Close Elementary Schools

I think it's wonderful that a new wing is being added to Mamaroneck Avenue School. (See: Mamaroneck Ave. School Breaks Ground on Expansion Project.) Being a "graduate" of the school in 1973, I have fond memories of the school.

I also remember the shortsighted plans at the time to close two elementary schools. As the school age population of "boomers" began to drop, it was proposed to close both MAS and Chatsworth Avenue School. Thankfully, those plans never came to fruition, although I think the school system rues the day that they sold old Central School to the Town.

Jeff Smith
Alpharetta, Georgia

June 26, 2005

Marine Recruiter Story "Even-Handed"

I'm writing to thank you for your even-handed coverage of the Marine recruiter (Marine in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents.) You showed both sides, and I found the article very interesting. I could see where a partisan side could be taken, but it was written quite professionally. The "big" papers could learn a lesson from you.

Thanks!

Carey Federspiel
Larchmont, NY

June 18. 2005

Soccer League Supports Kemper Project, Finds No Alternative

The Larchmont Junior Soccer League serves more than 1600 kids in our community every year. We support the position of the Mamaroneck Board of Education regarding Memorial Field and the Kemper Memorial Park.

Like the Board, we believe that youth sports play a critical part in kids' development. We experience on a daily basis the critical shortage of fields. Every season there is more demand for fields for kids. There are no spaces for new fields available, and the likelihood of finding one has grown, if anything, more remote.

We deeply regret the division that this issue has caused in our community. If there were a viable alternative to the Board's proposal, we would support it. Since there is no alternative, we believe that the memorial - fields, park and monument - can be reconfigured in a way that enhances all. We sincerely hope that members of our community on both sides of this issue can work together to accomplish this.

Sid Ings, President
Tony Carroll & Josh Rubinstein, Travel Commissioners
Larchmont Junior Soccer League

June 8, 2005

Cheating at 5K Run - A Shock

I participated in the 5K Larchmont Run on Memorial Day. At one point the route had barricades directing the runners to go to the right of a circle. Everyone running did so ... except for two boys who decided to take the short cut to get ahead. It was obvious that they were doing it to cheat, because when I yelled out that they should go the proper way, they just smirked and ignored me. No one else took this "short cut."

Imagine my surprise and shock when these two young men were awarded prizes at the end of the race and accepted them. Many of the rest of us accepted awards also, but we earned them fairly.

As a veteran of many local races as well as seven marathons, I can tell you that I have never before seen someone cheat on a course. It just isn't done. Whether we are fast or slow, come in at the front or the back of the pack, runners race to challenge themselves and to see how well they can do, but never by cheating on a course.

Perhaps we should consider what this says about our community with its "win at any price" mentality. It's not just about the race.

Alice Miller
Larchmont, NY

May 16, 2005

Do We Want A Cell Phone Tower Here?

Currently, the Village of Larchmont is in the process of permitting a new cell phone tower to be erected behind Village Hall. Locally, this subject has always involved an emotional/financial/science-filled romp through the presentations of radio frequency experts, environmentalists, concerned homeowners, parents, real estate professionals and municipal officials.

I was particularly interested in this proposal because I served as president of a local cooperative apartment corporation during the time when our board permitted a cell phone company to make application to install antennae on our building.

While FCC regulations control, preserve and foster the ability of communications service providers to create systems that function, obviously, local emotions obviously can have an effect on the success of a project.

A few observations:

  • Just about everyone has a cell phone. Although it is illegal to drive and phone without a “hands-free” headset, I witness drivers everyday using them without. You can’t see a person simply walking anymore. They have to be speaking to someone on a cell phone. You can’t go to a meeting without a cell phone interruption, or hear a sermon on Sunday, without a personalized, Beethovenish ring going off.

  • We get upset when the things don’t work because of bad reception. I can hardly hear a contractor trying to call me right outside my office on the Post Road. Installers/cell phone companies intend to make money while providing good service. Service is the main point of the Advertising for this industry. Municipalities and owners of tall buildings make money for leasing their structures for antenna and service rooms.

  • The scientific/medical research seems weighted to err on the side of caution, but there is a constant underlying feeling that there is no direct and identifiable medical linkage between cell towers and health problems. We are most likely bombarded with more intense electromagnetic energy as we simply stand around.

  • Cell towers are ugly. Frankly, I would rather look at a nice technical expression of modern life on a graceful tower than a 100 foot high tree–like attempt at camouflaging one of them. I do admit that some attempts at hiding the antennae can succeed by placing them on or in architectural elements of a building. (An antenna in the cross on a religious building might be pushing it a bit , however.)

But the final question remains, “Do we want one of these things here?”

In the Town of Mamaroneck, the issue was concluded with the idea that real estate values would decrease as proximity to the antenna increased. People saw a “perception” of a “detriment.“

Whether or not this last is actually true, everyone still wants to live here, and everyone’s got a cell phone.

James Fleming
Larchmont, NY

May 12, 2005

Leveres, Marsico Sensitive to Special Education Needs

I am writing to you as the parent of two children in the Mamaroneck School District: an 11th grader at the high school and a 3rd grader at the Mamaroneck Avenue School. I am also writing to you as a past-president of the Special Education PTA for our school district.

Because I am especially concerned that our school board be sensitive to the needs of special education students I will be voting to re-elect Amy Levere and to elect Richard Marsico on Tuesday, May 17.

I firmly believe that these two candidates are the only ones suited to represent my children’s needs. Ms.Levere has chaired the Understanding Handicaps Task Force, of which I have been a member. She has shown great concern and interest in raising the awareness and sensitivity of the general student community to children with special needs. Ms.Levere has also gained infinite knowledge of this school system during her three years as a school board member and will represent the continuity that we need in the coming years as we welcome our new superintendent.

Mr. Marsico has been a dedicated member of the Mamaroneck Avenue School community for many years and knows the unique needs of our school. The Mamaroneck Avenue School has not been represented on the school board for many years and I believe that Mr. Marsico will be terrific. Mr. Marsico has also been very active on the Washingtonville Housing Alliance and has been very instrumental in raising the quality of life for those people with whom he has worked.

These are the very important reasons I am voting for Amy Levere and Rick Marsico on May 17th. And I urge your readers to support these candidates and our schools, as well.

Julie Gale
Larchmont, NY


May 5, 2005

Selection Committee Proudly Endorses Levere & Marsico

This year, The Selection Committee had a particularly challenging job to do: endorse two nominees for the Mamaroneck School Board from a group of extremely capable and interesting candidates. But when the final votes were cast, there was no doubt that Amy Levere and Rick Marsico impressed the committee the most.

As a current board member seeking a second term, Amy is extremely passionate about the school district. She is also an excellent listener, as well as a clear and effective communicator. More importantly, she possesses a deep understanding of the district's populations, as well as the district's overall mission to address the educational needs of every student, based on her school board experience and as the parent of a Hommocks and MHS student, and a college freshman. With the invaluable insights she has gained during her first term as liaison to Central School, the Human Rights Commission, and PT Council, as well as co-chair of the "Building Bridges/ Breaking Barriers" Task Force, and a member of the Minority Achievement Task Force, Amy will bring to the board an even broader knowledge of - and familiarity with - academic programs and issues so critical in education today.

Rick Marsico, on the other hand, as a first-time nominee and law professor, brings the insight and perspective of an educator to the board. He also possesses an 'inside view' of the school district and specific teaching programs, through his three children, who are currently students in our schools. In addition, Rick has a wide range of interests and a breadth of skills that will make his voice an important one on the board. Of course, the fact that Rick lives in the Mamaroneck Avenue elementary school neighborhood gives the board a more personal - and much sought-after - connection to a unique population in our district. His presence will also strengthen the school board by making it more representative of the diversity of our community.

An additional salient point about these nominees is that they came before the Selection Committee with no particular agenda - or single issue - to push. No, their intentions were pure and noble, highlighted by a strong passion for education, and for working to ensure that the Mamaroneck School District maintains its ability to reach and teach all of its students to their highest academic levels.

The Selection Committee is, indeed, tremendously proud to present both Amy Levere and Rick Marsico as our endorsed nominees for the Mamaroneck School Board; and we heartily encourage voters to support them - and the School Budget - on Election Day, May 17th.

Syl Morrone, Chairperson
The Selection Committee

May 4, 2005

Make Vote Count: Amy Levere & Rick Marsico for School Board

Every Vote Counts, and on May 17 we in Mamaroneck and Larchmont have an opportunity to have our votes count in the election for school board representatives. I urge everyone to vote for the 2 candidates endorsed by the Selection Committee – Amy Levere and Rick Marsico.

Amy has served on the Board for the past 3 years and has proven herself to be dedicated, hardworking, and trustworthy when it comes to making the right decisions for our schools and our children. Of course, the fact that she is also my sister (full disclosure here) does tend to make me a bit biased; but I think that all who know her and have worked with her would heartily agree with my assessment. After more than 14 years of active participation in our district, Amy has become a knowledgeable and valuable part of our education community.

Rick Marsico will be a tremendous asset to the board. From a professional standpoint, I can’t imagine anyone having a more impressive resume than does Rick – just for starters, graduate of Harvard Law School magna cum laude and of Fordham University summa cum laude; Professor at New York Law School with a list of publications, presentations, and awards that stretches almost as long as does the list of his other professional activities (consultant to the New York State Division of Human Rights; member of the New York Community Reinvestment Task Force and of the Civil Rights Committee of the Bar Association of the City of New York, and founder and director of the Community Reinvestment Clearinghouse at New York Law School). The very fact that he is a professional academic should not be overlooked; what better profession than that for a school board member?

Rick’s service to our community has been equally impressive. The Washingtonville Housing Alliance, the Little League, the Babe Ruth League, and several other sports leagues have all benefited from Rick’s dedication and enthusiasm. And on a personal note, I must add that Rick is one of the most trustworthy, thoughtful, and down-to-earth people I have met in my 11 years here in Mamaroneck. Integrity should be Rick’s middle name.

Finally, consider that Rick represents an area of our community that has not been represented on the School Board in several years – the Mamaroneck Avenue “sub-district.” It’s vitally important that our board include a voice from this part of our district, as its needs vary from those of the other 3 districts and its citizenry is vastly more diverse. Remarkable and fabulous progress has been achieved at MAS over the past few years, and it’s critical that this work continue as we move forward under a new school superintendent. Rick’s contribution toward this goal will be tremendous.

On May 17, please make your vote count by voting for Amy Levere and Rick Marsico for Mamaroneck School Board.

Alice Tenney
Mamaroneck, NY

April 21, 2005

This is a response to the information about the parking situation on Murray Avenue and Colonial. (See:Town Debates Traffic on Colonial Avenue.)

I have lived almost my entire life directly across the street from the school on Murray Avenue. I am remembering when I used to go to school there back in the early 1990’s. I never saw the amount of vehicles that are there now on a daily basis. Is it that kids got lazier or the parents did? Most Murray students live within a walking distance to the school. Why not walk on a nice day? I can understand if it is raining like crazy or blizzarding. It seems to me that on nicer days, there are more cars than on colder days. Also, when I went to Murray, bicycles were the thing to do once you were in the 3rd or 4th grade. I don't see as many bikes now as I once did in the racks on Daymon Terrace.

There was a recent study published saying that kids who live in suburban areas are less healthy than kids in urban areas. This is just due to the amount of walking.

So, in conclusion, walk your kids to school. It's good exercise and would eliminate this problem that the town is spending so much precious time on.

Grant Nishanian
Mamaroneck, NY

April 6, 2005

Digital Darkroom Like Fill-In-the-Numbers Art

The decision to eliminate "traditional" darkrooms from the photography curriculum at Mamaroneck High School is no different, in effect, than teaching art with fill-in-the-numbers books, only. There would be no way to learn photography as such, but merely to push pre-programmed keys.

The digital darkroom is for those who know what and how to use a darkroom, and does not replace it in the learning of the art and craft which is photography.

Ralph Krainin
Rye Brook, NY

April 5, 2005

Former Chatsworth Principal: "Don't Go Digital Alone"

I have been an enthusiastic photographer for over 60 years. I now am almost completely utilizing digital. The foundation that darkroom work provides is not available any other way. Software, like Adobe Photoshop, mimics darkroom techniques.

I urge the present school administration not to jump into digital and digital alone. The technology and software changes are difficult and expensive to keep up with. Please provide a strong foundation for those students who are interested in pursuing photography as an art form or career (or both).

Dr. Bernard M. Kessler
Former Principal of Chatsworth Elementary School, 1973-75

(PS. We found funding for an after-school photography darkroom program.)

April 5, 2005

No Darkroom? Students Will Have to Buy New Cameras

Thank you for the in depth report on the High School's decision to eliminate the darkroom from the photography program (MHS Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed). As the parent of a student who takes photography at the High School, I am aware of another negative impact of the elimination of film based technology from the program: students who do not own digital cameras will have to buy one.

Robert Funicello
Mamaroneck, NY

April 4, 2005

Don't Do Away With Darkroom

Upon reading MHS Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed, I was both frustrated and saddened to hear of the new plans the administration has for the photography program at MHS. I am currently a senior at Tufts University, and as a MHS alum (class of 2001) and a huge fan of Mr. Nanni, I felt the need to speak out against the decision to do away with the darkroom. Some of my fondest high school memories come from the four years I spent in Mr. Nanni's photography class.

My love of photography and my insistence on taking it all four years came primarily from the darkroom experiences I had. Personally taking your work from idea to negative to print is one of the most fulfilling and creatively satisfying experiences available, and to take that away from new students is a crime.

While digital photography is definitely easier and faster, students who sign up for photography are not looking to speed up their creative processes. Instead, they are looking to make a deeper connection with their work, a desire that can only be made possible by a darkroom. My photos were not just assignments from class; they became my children. The smells and stains on my hands from the developer, stop, and/or fix made me feel like an artist, and were a constant reminder of my accomplishments and my passion for photography. Dr. Orfinger's remark that “I think it [film] may be obsolete in a few years’ time,” is not a justifiable reason to take away such an integral aspect of photography.

Here at Tufts University, the darkroom is still intact and is the biggest reason why students decide to take the photography class. No one is angry that it takes six hours to traditionally accomplish the amount of work that would digitally take one hour; it is viewed as time well spent.

To do away with the darkroom is a shame in and of itself, but to not consult Mr. Nanni or the students in this decision is a travesty. While Mr. Nanni's teaching skills will remain unbelievable with computers, his real passion for photography shines through in the darkroom. Please do not take this away from him, or from the future students who are at risk of never experiencing the things that made my high school career so amazing.

Kate Hofman, MHS Class of 2001
Tufts University

 

March 30, 2005

"Thank You" to Families Who Host Foreign Exchange Students

On behalf of the New York City Chapter AFS Volunteers, I would like to say "thank you" to this year's host families. Last summer, 19 families in the metropolitan New York City area stepped forward to open their homes to high-school exchange students through AFS Intercultural Programs/USA. AFS, formerly the American Field Service, is the worldwide nonprofit organization for which I have volunteered for almost 20 years. Other exchange organizations have brought dozens more "student ambassadors" to communities throughout our area. These specially selected teenagers are tomorrow's world leaders, and they truly enrich our communities, our schools, and especially our families. Bringing one of these young people into our homes is not only a wonderful way to learn about other cultures and perspectives, but also allows us to see America through new eyes, to watch preconceived ideas melt away, and to take pleasure in our students' new experiences.

Mitch Weisburgh of Larchmont, NY feels that during both of his hosting experiences, thousands of things have occurred that have made hosting worthwhile. He says, “My children always accepted our way of life as the only way to life, but our daughter from China and our son from Thailand have shown us that there are different approaches to family, government, work, school, homework, values, assertiveness. My children learned

that these different ways are not better or worse than ours, but gained a richer understanding of humanity, as well as of the other AFS Students in our area. If only more people knew how rewarding and fun it is to host an exchange student or to volunteer.”

The world we live in is becoming smaller all the time. Especially in the wake of the recent tsunami tragedy, many of us have wondered what we could do to make a difference in the world. In August, new high school exchange students will arrive in our community for the 2005-2006 school year. Please learn more about how you can host one of these outstanding high school students. Think about sharing your story -- sharing what the real America is like – with a young person from another culture.

Kristine Marsh, AFS NYC
Volunteer, Returnee & Host Sibling

March 21, 2005

It's a Shame MHS Students Will Be Denied Artistic Pleasure

I was very upset when I read your article ((MHS Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed.) informing your readers that the film photography program is being disbanded. I disagree with Dr. Orfinger's comment: “I think it [film] may be obsolete in a few years’ time.” The comment appears to be a way of justifying Superintendent Sherry King's decision to eliminate the darkroom. The film students are being short-changed by what seems to be purely an economy measure. The photography teacher should have been consulted for his opinion.



(Editor's note: we asked Mr. Model to share one of his photos. Click for larger image.)

A few years ago, long after the so-called "digital revolution" began, the International Center of Photography, a major institution based in midtown Manhattan, moved its school to a new space on 6th Avenue and 43rd Street. The museum furnished it with state of the art darkroom equipment, as well as digital equipment for its students.

Personally, I and many of my colleagues who are members of The Ground Glass, Inc., a Westchester fine art photographers association, still prefer the quality of photographic images created in the darkroom. It is a shame that many Mamaroneck High School students will be denied the artistic pleasure of that experience.

Alan Model
Larchmont, NY

 

March 18, 2005

Academic Students Enjoy Hands-On Darkroom Experience

Regarding the article about changing darkroom to digital photography classes at Mamaroneck High, which my Larchmont friend sent me: (MHS Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed.) I have an opinion based upon my own experiences teaching photography in high school. Until I retired in 1990, I taught darkroom photography at The Bronx High School of Science. In doing so, I found that the students loved the hands-on experience of film development and black-and-white printing, and learning the controls one can use to enhance a photo image. My intention was to expose them to the art of photography, since I knew that the last thing those students needed was a vocational course in it.

In addition, quality darkroom produced photos teach students a standard that they can refer to when they transition to digital imaging. Academic students get, and will continue to get plenty of experience with digital photography. Let them immerse their hands in developer while they still can, and become proficient in 'analog' photography.

I write this although I have been working exclusively with Photoshop since 1998; in fact, I gave my entire darkroom to my local high school so others might enjoy the use of it.

Bob Pliskin
White Plains, NY

 

 

March 1, 2005

Myers Embarking on Listening Tour

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters of the 7th County Legislative District for electing me as their new County Legislator in the special election on February 15.

I am deeply appreciative of the level of support shown by residents of New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Rye City and for such high voter turnout for a special election in the middle of winter. This turnout truly demonstrates the power of grassroots support. I want o
thank everyone who campaigned with me, wrote letters and made phone calls, and everyone who made sure that they, and their friends, and their friends' friends... went out to vote on February 15.

In light of my strong commitment to representing all of the residents of this district, I am embarking on a listening tour to learn more about the issues and concerns in each and every community. I urge residents to feel free to contact me by phone, by email or in person as I work to make sure that this district is represented in, and served by, Westchester County.

Judy Myers
County Legislator, 7th District
(914) 833-0597
JMSCHWA@AOL.COM

 

February 19, 2005

“Pryer Manor "Mud Flat"

We cordially invite all residents of the Town of Mamaroneck to come and see what almost $110,000 of their tax dollars was spent on: converting a beautiful marshland with tall natural phragmites, beautiful egrets, red-winged blackbirds, blue heron, and a picturesque center “lake,” – into a mud flat. I’m sure they will also be interested to know that at least half of the marsh is located in New Rochelle. Your tax dollars hard at work.

Our home is one of just a few that sits up high and overlooks the marsh at full view. We have been living on Dogwood Lane for 19 years. Phyllis Wittner wrote a grant for the Town to convert this beautiful marsh back to its original state – salt water. It was granted – a feather in her “political cap.” This project has been an unequivocal failure.

At a meeting in 2000, Ms. Wittner and Sven Hoeger (consultant) presented what the project would entail. Residents were never asked if we wanted it. We were never offered other options. It was going forward – and that was that.

Dead phragmites lie on the marsh perimeter; an unsightly trench exists where vegetation used to be. Birds are gone – yes, some are returning – but why were they displaced? For a mud flat! We are repeatedly told it will take time for the conversion. How long do we have to wait? It’s been over 3 years.

Representatives from the DEC as well as the consultant Sven Hoeger assured all residents at meetings in 2000-2002 there would be water in the center of the marsh – there is mud.

During the initial excavation we were told that the heavy equipment operator reported an unusual event – all of the water drained from the marsh. He had never seen this happen before; he said they must have hit a sinkhole. At this juncture, work should have been halted. This “catastrophic event” should have been reported to the appropriate people. Many of us feel that’s the reason for our mud flat.

Councilwoman Wittner was very visibly absent for 2 years while meetings were held regarding the marsh. Residents demand to have what we were told – we did not sign up for a mud flat.

We were told – flooding each day with high tides. The DEC installed gauges for one month. By their own admission, they reported to us on Dec. 16 th, 2004 that flooding occurred 7 or 8 times. What happened to the other 52 times?

When concerned residents suggested to Steve Altieri, Town Administrator, that the mud be removed – he said if the residents want to get some money together, or apply for another grant they are welcome to do so. This is ludicrous!

Ms. Wittner knows that the plantings were postponed because – plants do not create water and the mud must be removed before anything else is done.

DEC, Town of Mamaroneck, and the consultant need to rectify this situation – our new mud flat is a mess.

Jeannette & Chuck Mirabile
Larchmont, NY

February 14, 2005

Chu Behind Cuts to Rye Nature Center

What needs more press is the Honorable Franklin Chu's poor environmental track record. Mr. Chu was one of the driving forces behind the Rye City Council cutting funding for the Rye Nature Center in December of 2002. Without much warning, at holiday time, all of the Nature Center's educational staff of assistant naturalists were fired, and environmental programming that had been running for over 25 years was shut down. While other forces stepped in to salvage what the Nature Center had always stood for, we cannot count on this always being the case. The fired naturalists were never rehired and the City naturalist's oversight of the Rye Nature Center has become limited.

The Westchester County Parks Department is world-renowned. Visitors come from all over the globe to witness a government parks department that provides first class enrichment for its citizens while protecting the natural environment. There is a reasonable expectation that Mr. Chu will behave in county government as he did in Rye City government, making a concerted effort to either privatize or reduce funding to the parks and conservancies. In Westchester County, the parks and environmental protection have been supported on a bipartisan basis by Republicans and Democrats for decades. World-class renown that took years to earn could be decimated practically overnight if we elect the wrong people to run our government.

The Honorable Judy Myers' record as a supporter of environmental issues and parks in Mamaroneck is well known. Based on the record of both candidates I believe Myers will best represent the long-term environmental interests of the Sound Shore. For those interested in fiscal management, please note that good environmental management is good fiscal management; environmental education is an important component of this. By educating the public about the importance of environmental protection and how their actions can affect environmental quality, problems can be prevented, avoiding costly government funded clean up and control. Myers' superior record for keeping taxes down, as well as understanding the long-range impact of environmental policy, will keep our taxes lower and our county healthier.

Leslie Hughes
Larchmont, NY

February 9, 2005

Myers Worked to Insure Mamaroneck Fiscal Discipline & Stability

As a Town Councilwoman, Judy has worked diligently to insure the fiscal discipline and financial stability of the Town of Mamaroneck resulting in a Aaa bond rating from Moody's for the Town. In addition, Judy serves as the liaison to the Town’s Traffic Committee, the Board of Architectural Review, Assessment Review Board, and as a member of the intermunicipal Cable Television Board of Control.

Judy's community experience broadens her perspective; and, we salute her fine work on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Larchmont and Mamaroneck, the Steering Committee of the Local Summit, and the Board of the Mamaroneck CAP Center. As the founder and current director of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Youth Council, she has provided a voice for teens in our community.

During her tenure on the Town Board, Judy has fought to preserve the quality of life in our community by keeping Ikea from moving onto our border, and passing legislation to address: the development of “McMansions,” the noise from blasting and rock removal, design guidelines for development of commercial property and protection of wetland and watercourses.

We know that Judy's broad experience renders her an effective leader and she
will be a strong voice for the Sound Shore at the County level.

Phyllis Wittner, Councilwoman
Ernie Odierna, Councilman
Nancy Seligson, Councilwoman
Town of Mamaroneck

February 8, 2005

Myers as Qualified as Latimer

It is hard to imagine having another individual in our community as qualified to represent us as did George Latimer for the past years, but we are fortunate that Judy Myers, a person with a proven commitment to public service, has stepped forward and offered her candidacy for county legislator.

As a councilwoman on the Town of Mamaroneck Board, Judy has been diligent and thoughtful in taking necessary steps to prevent over-development in our neighborhoods and protect natural resources such as wetlands and Long Island Sound while at the same time keeping a watchful eye on our budget and taxes.

Before serving on the Town Council, Judy was an extremely active participant in programs to help our children, such as Safe Rides, Hommocks Middle School Planning Council, Traffic Task Force and the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Local Summit.

With her vision for the future and attention to the present Judy is the perfect candidate to fill the void left by George Latimer’s election to higher office. Our community can only benefit from her qualifications, integrity and dedication. Let us all give our vote to her as County Legislator in the special election on February 15th.

Geoffrey P. Young
Larchmont, NY

February 8, 2005

Chu - for Fiscal Responsibility

On February 15, we in the 7th District will have the opportunity to elect Franklin Chu to the Westchester Board of Legislators – and restore fiscal responsibility for all Sound Shore and County residents.

Franklin Chu is a leader on the Rye City Council in the getting Rye’s financial house back in order. After years of huge tax increases, Franklin’s hard work led to the property tax increase being steadily reduced to 2.9% without cutting services. After the previous majority spent down the critical surplus account to the bare legal minimum endangering the Rye City’s AAA bond rating, Franklin raised the surplus account back to policy levels.

Franklin’s career, as well as his tenure in Rye government, gives him the necessary expertise to get the County finances under control. His calm and controlled personality allows him to build the essential consensus with colleagues so essential if we are to have a County government that has low taxes and wisely spends our tax money.

In my four years on Rye’s City Council (1994-1997), we had no tax increase, reduced the City’s debt and increased its surplus. To do that requires the same fiscal knowledge and discipline that Franklin has shown in Rye and will bring to White Plains. If you want positive change in White Plains, I encourage you to vote for Franklin Chu on February 15.

Joseph L. Latwin
Rye, NY

February 3, 2005

Why You Should Vote for My Dad

In the Special Election on February 15th, voters should vote for my Dad, Franklin Chu because he has great ideas on how to run Westchester County. First, he has plans on how to lower taxes for people throughout the county. Second, my father will support programs to keep Long Island Sound clean for the next generation. He is so dedicated to the safety and welfare of our county that he volunteers to be a Rye Auxiliary Police Officer to do whatever he can to make this a safe place.

Along with being a police officer, a Rye City Councilman and a father, he is also a fine educator. As a school principal, he has taught my sister and me Chinese since we were little kids. I believe he will work hard to improve education throughout the County.

These are the reasons why you should elect my father, Franklin Chu, as County Legislator.

Hadley Chu (6th Grade)
Rye, NY

February 2, 2005

Chu Best for Job Says Dem

We routinely talk about supporting the “best person for the job” regardless of party affiliation. We rarely find the choices compelling enough to actually break ranks and do so. Often, it is because it is hard to determine if the other party’s candidate will really make a difference. The contest for George Latimer’s successor provides that opportunity. I am a Democrat who supports Franklin Chu.

I know Franklin Chu. I have observed him as a community leader; I have worked with him on Rye Free Reading Room matters; I have experienced his calm, wise counsel at public meetings. Franklin Chu knows how to combine the strength necessary to make independently intelligent decisions with the loyal commitment vital to representing his constituents. I firmly believe that he has the open mindedness to grow, the balance to make good choices and the vision to lead. I believe that Franklin will make the kind of difference which justifies my voting for him.

Marty Edelman
Rye, NY

February 1, 2005

Franklin Chu has Vision and Discipline Needed for County

I am pleased to have the opportunity to support the candidacy of Franklin Chu for the Westchester County Legislative seat vacated by George Latimer.

During his tenure on the Rye City Council, Franklin has proven to be a disciplined financial analyst, a strategic thinker and, perhaps most importantly, a consensus builder able to move beyond partisan positioning to creative problem-solving.

Franklin's fine mind, strong educational and professional experience, and keen commitment to public service combine to make him an excellent candidate to succeed George on the Board of Legislators.

Having worked both in and with county government over the past twenty years, I am acutely aware of its potential and its limitations. I believe that Franklin Chu brings both the vision and the discipline necessary to focus county legislative attention effectively upon key economic and community issues impacting Westchester County and the surrounding region.

Kathleen E. Walsh
Rye, New York 10580

January 27, 2005

Continuing Ed Offers "High-Quality" Courses, Trips

Larchmont Mamaroneck Continuing Education offers a wide variety of high-quality courses and trips at reasonable prices.
Many more people in the vicinity could benefit and take a different course in their lives if they made a selection from the Spring brochure. It will be in their mail next month.
Of they could call the Continuing Ed office at 698-9126 or visit www.lmcce.org.

Learn and enjoy,

Don Levin
LM Continuing Ed board member

January 25, 2005

Police About Helping People, Not Making Money

I must take exception to Mr. Cauley's letter of January 21, 2005 in regards to current police contract negations in Larchmont.

In his letter he states that post-retirement benefits are more generous than in corporate America. Corporate America is basically about making money, not dealing with people on a daily basis - helping at accident scenes, fires, domestic incidents, assisting the elderly and finding lost children. In corporate America the employee receives bonuses for making money. Police officers perform their job on a daily basis, at the same rate of pay.

He mentions post-retirement benefits, which in the case of Larchmont police is a state pension and partial health benefits, with the remainder being paid by the employee. Maybe Mr. Cauley and others should be reminded of some recent history involving the Larchmont police that appear lost in all the confusion of budgets.

  • October-1989: two armed felons attempted to hold up Roy Rogers on Boston Post Road. Two Larchmont Officers were engaged in a shootout that left one felon deceased and the other serving a long prison term.

  • July-1982: Paul Marks was the manager of the Larchmont Theatre and was brutally killed by two of his associates. Both killers were caught and successfully prosecuted, serving long prison terms.

  • January- 1989: two residents were brutally stabbed to death in their own home. The killer was eventually arrested and successfully prosecuted, and is serving a long prison term.

  • July-2002: Starbucks was held up by two individuals posing as police officers. Both subjects were arrested and now serving long prison terms.

  • And most recently, September 11, 2001 terrorist attack at The World Trade Center: the members of the Larchmont Police were ordered to work because of the attack. Larchmont police left their own homes and families to protect this community in a time of great uncertainty. When residents came off Metro North that day, one of the first things they observed were uniformed police assisting them.

These are the things that Mr. Bialo and Mr. Cauley should be looking at when contract time rolls around. Look at the people providing the first line of defense to this community. Look at our faces and stop looking at budget lines.

William B. Walsh
23-year employee of Larchmont P.D.

January 24, 2005

Chu Has Integrity, Leadership

On February 15, voters in Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle and Rye have an opportunity to vote for Franklin Chu, who is running in a special election to represent us in the 7th District on the Westchester Board of Legislators.
Franklin is on the Rye City Council where he has shown integrity, leadership, and a keen desire to do what is best for the city, regardless of political fallout. He will certainly bring these same characteristics to the county level.

As a fiscal conservative, with no excess baggage to worry about, he will deliver a business man's approach to the important subject of county taxes.

I wholeheartedly endorse his candidacy and hope you will vote for him on February 15.

Ed Collins
Rye, NY

January 20, 2005

Response to Marsh Criticism

In response to Ms. Clark's Criticisms of the Premium Marsh project:

  • 1976- Pryer Manor Marsh designated a formerly connected tidal wetland.

  • 1970s- New Rochelle, its former owner, placed a clay pipe between the marsh and the Premium River and restored tidal flow. Eventually the pipe clogged and ceased to function.

  • 1987- a new pipe was installed on top of the old. Since little difference exists in the elevation of the marsh and the river, the new pipe did not function; marsh became a storm water retention basin. Every time it rained, water collected and had no place to runoff.

  • No open water was evident in 1980 aerial photograph; the pond was clearly evident in 1986 aerial photo.

  • Current photos after project completion indicate times when the marsh is covered with water, when it is partially covered, times when it is a mud flat.

  • The hydrologic link between the marsh and the river was successfully restored. The DEC said, “This is the best LIS restoration project funded by the Clean Water....Bond Act”.

  • The marsh was a monoculture of common reed (Phragmites sp.) and other non-wetland, highly invasive vegetation.

  • Reports from Westchester County and two engineering firms recommended restoration of the marsh.

  • An 11 federal/state/environmental organization partnership listed Pryer Manor Marsh on its Proposed Sites map for Restoring Long Island Sound’s Habitats (1997-98).

The handful of residents whose homes look down on the marsh spoke of the absence of birds. DEC commissioned two experienced birders to execute an Inventory of Birds on Pryer Manor Marsh September-October 2004. This professional work noted 73 species of birds identified during 84 visits, 17 species were shorebirds and wading birds totaling 1,181, other species totaled 2,789, bringing the total to 3,970 birds counted. Two neighbors of Ms. Clark’s mother received copies of this inventory. It’s also available at the Town of Mamaroneck Conservation Department.

Yes, the nay sayers are looking at mud. The planting aspect of the project was delayed for one year because the complaining handful wanted an inquiry into dredging to create a pond. After DEC installed water level recorder meters to determine the success or failure of the project, they opined that a permit to dredge would not be granted because the project is successful.

This spring marsh grasses will be planted in “the mud” and native plants found in the upper reaches of a brackish marsh will be planted around the perimeter. Instant gratification will not be forthcoming. This is when nature will run its course, taking perhaps 3 years for the grasses to fully mature. Planting is followed by a 5-year monitoring program.

The total project cost is $353,870. NYS will contribute $244,500, with the balance coming mainly from a local match of in-kind services and cash from the owners of the marsh.

In 1995, New Rochelle sold the marsh to the Pryer Manor Preservation Association, Inc. If Ms. Clark intends to hire “an objective third party”, she should contact the PMPA for permission.

Phyllis Wittner
Mamaroneck Town Council
(For my full response to Clark’s letter, contact: pwittner@townofmamaroneck.org)

January 17, 2005

Judy Myers Will Have My Vote on Feb 15

Judy Myers will have my vote on February 15 in the special election for county legislator. I met Judy shortly after she moved to Larchmont. Our children were on the same sport team so we had long winter afternoons to talk.

Judy is a person who cares deeply about this town and the entire Sound Shore region. I certainly know about her passion for our youth. Whether developing the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Youth Council, coordinating SafeRides for teens, or working with the community to provide for expansion of the Hommocks Middle School, Judy is there for kids and their families.

During her two terms as Mamaroneck Town Councilwoman, Judy has worked with her colleagues to pass strong legislation to protect our environment. She understands the necessity to balance conservation with development and will always work to maintain playing fields and open spaces. She's the kind of elected official who is just as dedicated to getting a streetlight fixed for a neighborhood as she is to serving on the Boards of Architectural Review and Assessment Review. She is hardworking, dedicated and committed to working with respect for others in a bipartisan fashion.

Judy will be an asset to those of us in the districtwho live in Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye and New Rochelle, and will also work on behalf of all of Westchester County. I hope everyone will join me and vote for Judy on February 15!

Ian Spier
Larchmont, NY

January 11, 2005

Local Marsh Has Been Decimated

Pryer Manor marsh has been decimated. The once thriving marsh, with a pond at the center and home to year-round and migrating birds, is now a brown mudflat.

In 2003, the Larchmont Gazette wrote What’s happening to the small marsh on Pryer Manor Road?” The article quoted Town Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner saying, “I was interested in restoring salt water to the marsh because it would bring in the small fish and other small invertebrates … and attract other wildlife.”

State and local interests have spent more than $350,000 in taxpayer money to “restore” the marsh, and to what end?

It’s time for an update.

Where there once was a pond surrounded by tall grasses, now stands an unattractive manmade trench surrounding dead reeds and acres of exposed mud at the center. Pipes and valves were installed to connect the marsh to Premium Pond, though the water flows only on the highest of tides. Weeks go by without any water entering the marsh.

According to early documents, New York State contributed almost $250,000 because tidal marshes are important to the health of Long Island Sound. Did the State really intend to spend so much money for such infrequent tidal flows?

Steve Altieri, Town of Mamaroneck Administrator, said, “We don’t want [the water] to be too low and expose the bottom of the marsh. But we prefer for the water to be well below the level of the road – particularly at lunar high tides. We don’t want to tempt fate.” What Mr. Altieri might not know is that for over 50 years the marsh pond and surrounding roads survived without a problem.

I know. I grew up on the marsh, and though I no longer live in the immediate area, I am shocked at this project’s clear failure.

In June 2003, Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner said, “It’s really restoring nature to what it was before man interfered with the natural progression.” Unfortunately, she misses the point. Nature equipped the marsh with natural healing powers. It had survived natural disasters including floods and fire. No one interfered until the construction vehicles arrived.

Since the marsh pond was drained, the hundreds of egrets and red-winged black birds, which returned year after year, have moved on. Killing the phragmites and planting shrubs has not returned the marsh to ‘a natural state’ as Ms. Wittner claimed when she said, “It’s these shrubs that are the food source and the nesting place and the resting place for song birds.” What about the indigenous birds that had inhabited the marsh in its natural state for over 50 years?

Misguided intervention over the last few years has destroyed the marsh after nature had taken care of it for hundreds of years.

Hardly a ‘restoration’, if you ask me. If an historic building had been destroyed at such great public expense, the community would be up in arms.

I’m seeking an investigation of the project and its failures. Town of Mamaroneck and State representatives are declaring the project a success. Perhaps engaging an objective third party to investigate and evaluate what has transpired would protect other areas of our community from being ‘restored’ at random.

Joanne Clark
Old Greenwich, CT

December 14, 2004

Scholarship to Honor Kaitlyn Moriwaki

Kaitlyn Moriwaki, a student at Mamaroneck High School, died from a sudden illness on October 2, 2004. She was an extremely talented artist and musician and a very special friend to many of us in the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community. (See: Kaitlyn Moriwaki)

The Moriwaki family and friends are working to establish a scholarship in memory of Kaitlyn. The Kaitlyn Moriwaki Scholarship will go to a student or students who excel in the visual or musical arts. The scholarship will be administered by the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund. We are hoping to make the scholarship an annual endowment – to do that, we need to raise at least $25,000.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to this scholarship, please make your contribution payable to (and send it to) the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund, Inc., Mamaroneck High School, Mamaroneck, NY 10543. It is important that you note on your check and in a brief note, that the donation is to be credited to the Kaitlyn Moriwaki scholarship. If you would prefer a donation card for this purpose, please contact Judy Baumgarten or The Larchmont Music Academy, 833-8941, 2089 Boston Post Road, Larchmont.

If you have any questions, please call or e-mail Judy Baumgarten, 834-6522, JudyBaum@optonline.net.

 

December 15, 2005

Beautification Committee Encourages: Shop Larchmont

The Beautification Committee of Larchmont will again be recognizing local merchants for their holiday window displays. This is an annual award to encourage our residents to shop downtown Larchmont. The committee will take pictures and make their decision on December 18th.

Marge Piccone, Chairman
Larchmont Beautification Committee

November 22, 2005

Join Final Court Battle on Kemper Park

There is a court date set to put a final end to the Kemper Memorial battle. The NY Supreme Court (Appellate Division) in Brooklyn will be hearing the case on Monday, November 28 at 10 am. We need an end to the school board's relentless pursuit of moving this memorial at the taxpayers’ expense. This is the time of year for giving thanks not taking away from those who gave so much for our country.

A free luxury bus (with bathroom) will be boarding on Monday at 7:30 am and leaving promptly at 7:45 from Harbor Island. To sign up, call Jan Northrup at 834-5757. Or you can go on your own (see:the court website for directions.)

We need your support.

Ed Murray, Commander
American Legion Post 90
Mamaroneck, NY

November 15, 2005

Thanks for Helping us Help Others

We would like to thank the Gazette and the kind-hearted residents of Larchmont for supporting our "home grown" relief effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The local response to our "Take Comfort USA" effort was overwhelming. We would like to announce that each personal donation of diapers, socks, toothbrushes etc. added up over the many weeks, and we ended up sending more than 1,000 pounds of much needed goods to both Gulfport, Mississippi and to the Salvation Army's Disastor Relief Warehouse at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

We wish we knew who all of the generous souls were who dropped donations day and night in our porch baske. To them we say, "You are angels!" We would also like to specially thank the following people: Bud and his crew at PDQ Mail Plus on Palmer for supporting us in every way. Thanks to Collins Brothers Moving for supplying the many boxes. Many thanks to 12-year old French student Antoine Prieur for choosing our cause as his school's community project and helping out. Big thanks to the Barbero family. Heartfelt thanks to Reverend Tom Nicoll at St. John's Episcopal Church and to the church's Voyager Group. You all were shining examples of goodness in a moment of darkness.

Thanks for helping us help others,

Patti & Michaela Roberts
Larchmont, NY

November 3, 2005

Former Resident Keeps Up With Mamaroneck Through Gazette

I am a 55-year resident of Mamaroneck, where I attended the local schools. I have lived out of Mamaroneck for 15 years and used to find information on the local area from people who I would run into once in a while. I found your site about a year ago and find it a fantastic way to get local news from Larchmont and Mamaroneck. In your obituaries, I found three people who passed away and went to their services. Without the Larchmont Gazette I would not have been able to pay my respects to these individuals.

My uncle is on the Kemper Memorial at the Boston Post Road, and I would never have known about the controversy if it were not for the Larchmont Gazette. II hope you never get off line and have told many people about your site.

Thank you once again for your invaluable site.

John McIntyre
Peekskill, NY

November 2, 2005

Re-elect Judy Myers to County Legislature Nov 8

I am writing to ask Larchmont voters to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 8 to help re-elect Judy Myers as our County Legislator. I have known Judy for 15 years. She has been providing me and all of my neighbors with a strong voice in the Legislature since she was elected last February. Now she's running for a full 2-year term to continue getting results for us. She's working diligently to preserve Davids Island, to insure that Rye Playland gets the maintenance and safety implementations it deserves, and, most importantly, to keep the needs of the Sound Shore communities paramount as she strives to improve the quality and affordability of life in Westchester County. I trust Judy to make the right decisions and provide the right leadership for our District, just as she did for six years as Town Councilwoman. I know how important it is to her to keep our taxes in line and to listen to our concerns. She has the experience and she gets results.

Leslie F. Molinoff
Larchmont, NY

 

October 31, 2005

Donald March is Kind of County Legislator Distict 7 Needs
I strongly believe that Donald March is exactly the kind of county legislator Westchester's 7th District needs. He is a longtime resident of the local area and has a deep historical understanding of the local area's rich past. This confluence of residency and understanding has endowed him with a deep love of the local area and an unwavering desire to seek the best for all its people. It is that kind of passion that will drive him to be an outstanding county legislator who will be a public servant in the truest sense of the term.
 
Don Sutherland
Larchmont, NY

 

October 25, 2005

Parents: Don't Teach Your Kids to Break the Rules

Rye Playland in Westchester County has been a great go-to place for generations. Kids of all ages have enjoyed its rides, amusements, fireworks, concerts and everything else it has to offer.

During our last trip to the park with three of our grandchildren, just after Labor Day, I observed numerous instances of parents helping their kids get around height or age restrictions on various rides. Because the children “wanted” to go on a particular ride - often with a friend or older sibling, but sometimes alone - the parents caved in without a fight and actually were advising their children how to “fool” the ride attendants into thinking they were shorter, taller or older than they actually were.

In each instance that I observed (three in all), the attendants were courteous and friendly, but firm and properly enforced the park’s guidelines.

Somehow, I think most of the kids denied a chance to go on a ride “survived” their frustration and vowed to come back again next year when they were taller or older.

The sad part of what was transpiring, in my view, was the apparent attitude by some of the parents that they and their kids should be able to do what they want, when they want to do it. Translated into everyday life, it’s slowing down, rather then stopping at stop signs, making right turns at “no right turn at red” intersections, parking where they please, driving well over the speed limit, talking on cell phones while driving, etc.

If kids, when they are 4 or 5 years old, aren’t instilled with a sense of respect for rules and regulations by their parents, we shouldn’t be surprised that, when they become teenagers or adults, they somehow think that they are “entitled” to pick and choose the laws that will govern their actions and behavior.

It’s never too soon or the wrong time, in my humble opinion, to instill in our kids and grandkids a sense of respect for the guidelines that society tries to establish so that we can all live together in as much peace, harmony and safety as possible.

Ernie Odierna,
Councilman, Town of Mamaroneck

September 30, 2005

Thanks for Avian Fugitive Help

Thanks so much for featuring Sweetbird's picture and story. I'm sure this will give her a better chance of being found.

Just this morning, I was out ringing my bell when one of two women who were talking together on the street remarked, after being told I was looking for our lost bird, "Oh, I've seen her picture recently. Yes, it was on-line in the Larchmont Gazette."

And Sue had a few people remark to her they saw it already, and it is only noon!

Thanks for the great work you are doing, and for caring!

Don Lasala
Larchmont, NY

September 28, 2005

To Wachovia: Fix Your Clocks

I would like to write an open letter to the managers of the local Wachovia banks. For quite some time now, the clocks at the banks have not been working properly. We don't know what time it is, nor do we know the temperature. I request that they either fix the clocks or turn them off. They are the center piece of both the Village of Larchmont and the Town of Mamaroneck.

Frankly I find it embarrassing that these marquees look and function the way that they do.

If all of us went into the banks - one on Palmer and Larchmont Avenues, the other on Boston Post Road - it might help. Please go inside the bank and ask them to fix the clocks.

Bubba Fanelli
Larchmont, NY

September 28, 2005

Letter Jogs Memories of Working at the Inn

The letter from Ted Utz (Changes at Manor Inn: "Right Thing") really jogged my memories of the Manor Inn. As a girl I lived across the street from the inn, and as a teenager I worked as a summer waitress there. I remember Ted’s father as a young naval officer, and a day when he was dining with his grandmother. I was so enamored of him and his uniform, that I spilled black iced coffee down the sleeve of that uniform. I thought my days as a waitress were over.

As things will so often happen, history will repeat itself. Two of my sons had part time jobs also, during their high school days, at the inn. One succeeded the other, when the eldest went into the Army, both as dishwashers in the kitchen.

It was nice to hear of the Utz family and a surprise to me that they still were here in Larchmont.

Sally McGuire
Larchmont, NY

 

September 23, 2005

To Ease Congestion, Walk Your Child To School

This is in reference to the article about the congestion around Murray Avenue School. (See: Town Sets Moratoriium on Commercial Signange, Finalizes Colonial Avenue Parking Restrictions.)

The simple solution to this is leave the car at home. Use your feet and accompany your children, on foot, to school. Do the same when picking them up in the afternoon.

Walking is not hard to do. It is strongly recommended. It is the only way to correct the traffic congestion around the schools.

Richard Williams
Larchmont, NY

 

September 16, 2005

Changes at Manor Inn: "Right Thing"

My grandmother, Mabel Bennett Utz, was the general manager at The Manor Inn for many years during the 50's and 60's. As a child, I remember dining there almost weekly with my father and brother; my mother wouldn't go, she didn't like the food, or that's what she
said. I remember the news hour every night where the entire inn population would work their way into the front meeting room to watch a small black and white television. Their favorite was the Huntley Brinkley on NBC (actually in those days the news hour was 90
minutes.) Then there was Bingo Night. Was it Monday, Tuesday, I don't recall. It was the highlight of their week.

As a fourth generation Larchmonter, I am not usually one who likes to see "landmarks" torn down.(See: Last of Historic Manor Inn Comes Down) I'd prefer to see the old train station, for example, or even Cook's - great game room! In some cases, however, we are better off moving on. In this case, I think the Mullaneys have essentially done the right thing: preserve and update what you can and eliminate what you can't. The Manor Inn served its purpose long ago when Larchmont was still a "resort'" for well-to-do New Yorkers. The neighborhood is far better off as just that, a neighborhood. Retirement homes have become big business and the inn couldn't compete.

I can't say I miss those evenings at The Manor Inn, even though I won a dollar or two playing Bingo. What I really miss are those under-age nights at the Bevan bar back in the '60's. You know, they say if you remember the 60's then you weren't there. Well, a few of us do and those were the days!

Ted Utz
Larchmont, NY

 

August 18, 2005

Too Many Banks

Am I the only person puzzled by the banks popping up like dandelions around Larchmont? It's not only bizarre, it casts a musty pall over the whole neighborhood.

Of course, the banks are within their rights to build wherever they want. But do our leaders have to grant the permits quite so quickly? A bank may be the single most boring enterprise a small village can have. And they're suddenly everywhere.

Kentucky Fried Chicken? Now a bank. Castro Convertibles? A bank. The old Nathan's? A bank. Dom's Mobil station? Soon to be a bank. And if it's not a bank, it's another in our endless cavalcade of mega-drugstores.

Judging by all commercial indicators, we are a town of people who gobble prescription drugs while investing in our IRA’s. My kids' eyes roll. Then they hop Metro North to get as far away as the train will carry them…to a real city.

Shouldn't villages like ours have more sidewalk cafes and restaurants, clothing shops or sports stores? Electronics? Books or a burger joint? Sushi? Handcrafted beer? Anything but another bank. The most excitement they offer is free checking.

Well, I hear you say, if you're so incensed why don't YOU open a sushi place-cum-handcrafted-beer-slash-bookstore of your own and quit griping?

Believe me, I would— but I have to get to the bank.

Stephen Kling
Larchmont, NY

 

August 12, 2005

Councilwoman Responds: There Was No Promise of Rental Building

In response to Catherine Wach's letter, (Town Should Demand Rentals at Forest City Building) there was no "promise" by Forest City Daly to build a rental building. They proposed same because Forest City Enterprises traditionally built rental apartments. However, as was pointed out by Mr. Levey of Forest City Residentials who will now oversee the project, the rental market has hit bottom. People want equity from the housing dollars they're spending. The change from rental to condo is purely an economic decision on the part of the developer.

The removal of 3 bedroom apartments is to try to insure that there will be no more school age children in the building than the Final Environmental Impact Statement projected. This was a big concern of Murray Avenue School parents.

As for the work force housing, the 9 units were to be provided when there were to be 159 apartments. The number of units has dropped to 135, but there will still be 9 work force apartments. The Town of Mamaroneck is not "way under the recommendations for affordable housing" because of our success with the Hommocks Park apartments.

The only change to the Forest City Daly FEIS and the subsequent Town of Mamaroneck findings concerns rental vs condominium units.

Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner
Town of Mamaroneck

August 9, 2005

School Board Member Responds

A letter published in this newspaper on August 5 questioned my ability, and apparently the ability of my colleagues on the Mamaroneck School District Board of Education, to remain non-partisan in educational policy decisions because I carried petitions for Democratic candidates for November’s election.

The suggestion that my or my Board colleagues’ judgment on School Board matters might be influenced by political motives is unfounded and dismaying. I have not and will not take political party affiliation or partisan politics into account in discharging my responsibilities on the School Board. We serve on the Board to ensure excellent education for all the children of this community, and that is what we are doing.

Richard Marsico
Village of Mamaroneck
Mamaroneck School Board Member

 

August 9, 2005

Selection Committee Remains Strictly Non-Partisan

The letter by Joseph Angilletta and Tony Vozza (two Republican Village of Mamaroneck Trustees) was very revealing in several aspects.

My first issue with the letter is that it contained some serious factual errors. The writers state, “If members of the school board are now in the practice of endorsing candidates…” In actual fact, the School Board has absolutely no role as a body to endorse candidates who run for elected positions. Under the law, a school board member may - in his or her individual capacity - support candidates as he or she sees fit. It would be improper for The Selection Committee or the School Board to seek to restrict a member’s First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.

The writers also claim that the election of Richard Marsico represents a change in Selection Committee policy “to the detriment of the children of our community.” First of all, the committee most certainly has not changed its policy. It continues its role as an independent, non-partisan body, responsible for interviewing and endorsing candidates of the highest quality for the School Board. The community then votes for the candidates in a general election. Moreover, the committee firmly believed that the election of Richard Marsico to the School Board ensured that the superior education program the district delivers to students would be strongly maintained. Mr. Marsico was endorsed for his integrity and intelligence, as well as his impressive background as a law professor and overall familiarity with – and ongoing interest in – the district.

The letter also contained some fairly outrageous statements:

“If the board members are now favoring Democratic candidates for office should parents [who are] not members of the Democratic Party fear that their children will be treated differently by educational leaders in the community?” The mere suggestion that the School Board would treat children differently based on their parents’ political affiliation is both preposterous and offensive.

“Should all local political parties now plan to engage fully in the election process and nominate their own candidates for the School Board?” I am concerned that this is a threat to the process The Selection Committee has followed for the last 60 years to identify and endorse candidates based solely on their qualifications, and without regard to their political views or affiliation, if any. I can state unequivocally that the committee will never veer from its firm belief that only a non-partisan process is in the best interests of the School Board and the entire community.

As the writers correctly acknowledge, The Selection Committee was founded to prevent partisan politics from influencing School Board elections. And since 1945, the committee has clearly succeeded in doing just that. My hope is that our community continues to value the committee’s commitment, thoughtful process and careful evaluation of candidates, as well as the integrity it has continuously brought to every single School Board election.

Syl Michael Morrone
Former Chairperson,
The Selection Committee

July 24, 2005

Pine Brook Neighbors Appreciate Update on Flooding Progress

Thank you for your update on what is being done to address the flooding problem in Larchmont. For those of us who live in the Pine Brook neighborhood and who are not as directly affected as others by the flooding, we very much appreciate knowing what progress has been made. A well-written and highly informative article!

Penny Dana
Larchmont, NY

 

July 21, 2005

Disappointed at School Board Appeal on Kemper Park

I am writing to express disappointment in the School Board’s decision to appeal Judge Bellantoni’s ruling to preserve Kemper Memorial Park as was agreed on by the Kemper family and the board in 1945. Jean Kemper, the sister of Lt. Richard Kemper who was killed in WWII, is very much alive. She has spoken often about the agreement between her family and the School Board. It is a travesty that the board is attempting to destroy an agreement made during a family’s and community’s grief. Furthermore, the board states: “We are not proposing destroying the memorial….We are proposing moving the actual memorial itself completely intact, 40 yards.”

Obviously, there is a need for clarification. The memorial is the park! It includes the land, trees, other plantings and benches (the latter disappeared although the board was responsible for maintenance). The following is on the monument: “This park presented in memory of Lt. Richard M. Kemper is dedicated to members of the military forces from Union Free School District # 1, Town of Mamaroneck who gave their lives in World War II in the service of their country.” The park was planned as a living memorial, and purchased to honor the ninety-eight men and one woman who died to keep our nation free.

The park was designed for “quiet contemplation” for all who live here. It is perfectly located for teaching our young people and community about history, honor, integrity, ethics and justice for all. It could be a wonderful outdoor classroom.

As a former member of the Town of Mamaroneck Conservation Advisory Commission, I think placing athletic fields next to the heavily trafficked Boston Post Road is unhealthy and dangerous. Where is the wisdom in having children racing down a field inhaling carbon monoxide? Remember, the trees refresh the air and buffer the noise between the school and the road.

Furthermore, how high a fence will be needed next to the field to contain balls? A few months ago, I was driving past Murray Avenue School when a large ball landed in front of my car. Fortunately, I was able to avoid an accident. Imagine the possible deadly consequences, of a ball flying into the heavily trafficked Post Road?

I would also like to know what is planned for the Korean monument and the two field houses now at the football field. Will they have to go? Moving the fields around will further reduce parking, which is already tight.

We all want the best education possible for our children. My husband and I raised four terrific children here. It was the teachers not the athletic fields that helped them along the way.

I resent that the School Board has already spent more than $184,000 attempting to break the covenant of the deed. How much more will be spent on the appeal?

I urge the board to do what is honorable and stop the appeal. Let us spend our tax dollars on education and not litigation.

Susan Amlicke
Larchmont, NY

July 2, 2005

Behind Footlocker Is Strange Place for Marine Recruiting

In response to Anthony Hoffman's letter (Reaction to Military Recruiting is Shameful), Mr. Hoffman sure has an interesting way of reading between the lines of Ms. Silberstein's article (Marine in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents.)

Nowhere within the text of the article is it quoted that Mrs. Harrington was equating a military recruiter with a "pedophile." Nowhere does Mrs. Harrington bash the military as a viable option for post-high school graduates. What she found offensive is the clandestine technique the Marine Sgt. uses for recruiting minors.

I have seen that officer outside the Footlocker, steps away from the high school campus (where, by the way, many students go to smoke because it's off-campus) and I wondered, what the heck is he doing there?

I have no problem with recruiters at a college fair, or having materials available within the counselors' offices, or for them to advertise an open house for students and parents. But spending time in a parking lot behind a store, off the street, where students hang out just doesn 't seem on the up-and-up. It's a strange place for a recruiter to be "doing his job."

Maybe Mr. Hoffman could arrange a table at the Kemper Memorial for that recruiter. No one ever uses that space, it's plenty big enough, and parents would be able to see the recruiter from the street. I guess that wouldn't be allowed, since the school district owns that property. Or do they?

Ginny Poleman
Larchmont, NY

June 30, 2005

On Kemper Park, Read the Judge's Decree

It is important that residents of our town and two villages are aware of the history of World War II and the Richard Kemper Park. It would be appreciated if a copy of the April 25, 2005 order by Honorable Orazio R. Bellantoni, Justice of the New York Supreme Court, be recorded in the Larchmont Gazette.

Link to the ruling (retyped)

Justice Bellantoni makes it clear in the ruling that the Kemper family can enforce the terms of the gift, that the deeds contain restrictive covenants, and that the Board of Education/Mamaroneck Union Free School District is not fulfilling its part of the bargain. Accordingly, the Board of Education is prohibited from implementing the project.

Thank you for the opportunity to publish this in the Larchmont Gazette.


Bill Byrne
Larchmont, NY

June 24, 2005

Reaction to Military Recruiting is Shameful

It is a shameful reflection on this community to see our local youth cheat in competition and reap the rewards of such an act (Letter: Cheating at 5K Run - A Shock) It's even more shameful to see the reaction of some of our local parents at an armed forces recruiter just trying to do his job (Marine in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents.)

Regardless of personal views of our country's conflicts abroad, the military is still an admirable calling for our young people to follow. To equate a military recruiter to a pedophile "trolling" for young kids is despicable. Military service is only one option among many for today's young people. Military recruiters compete, not troll, to show our youth their options along with various college and civil service representatives.

For generations, our armed services have instilled character and integrity into scores of young men and women. Many residents of Larchmont and Mamaroneck have served our country proudly in the service. It is apparent that our youth could use some of this character and integrity, otherwise incidents such as cheating to win a 5K run will unfortunately become too commonplace in this community.

Anthony Hoffmann
Mamaroneck, NY

June 8, 2005

Implement Alternatives; End Legal Appeals on Kemper Park

The Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund is gratified that, in his final judgment, NY State Supreme Court Judge Orazio R. Bellantoni ruled in favor of the Richard M. Kemper Park, a World War II Memorial. He decreed that the Mamaroneck School District and School Board “are not fulfilling their part of the bargain pursuant to the covenants contained in the Deeds” that transferred the land from Adolph and Helen Kemper to the School District in 1945 and 1946 to create the Memorial Park. Specifically, Judge Bellantoni’s judgment stated that the district’s proposal for a change in land use “violates the specific covenants” in the deeds and “does not significantly honor the sacrifice of those soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country.”

In response to a suit brought by the school district last June, which was combined with the suit filed shortly thereafter by Richard Cantor, grandson of the donors, Judge Bellantoni issued an order on January 5, 2005 that prohibited the schools from implementing its proposed project with respect to the Memorial Park. (See: Judge Rules: Kemper Park Changes Prohibited.) This order, while binding as of its issue date, was not in final form, so that the period for filing a notice of appeal did not start to run.

On April 25, 2005, Judge Bellantoni signed the final judgment and it was served on representatives of the parties on May 27. It was then that the thirty-day clock started running for filing a notice of appeal.

Filing of the notice advises the New York State Appellate Division court that a party may wish to appeal a Supreme Court judgment. It does not commit the party to appeal, but does keep the option open. After filing notice, the party has six months to file supporting briefs and papers. Board members have said they are now deciding whether to appeal.

Many district residents are under the impression that the park controversy is now resolved. However, an appeal seems likely as $500,000 of school monies are currently being kept in a fund earmarked for the Kemper Park proposal. Since at least $10,000 has been spent on site plan development, $184,000 on legal fees on the part of the school district and tens of thousands of dollars on the part of the donors, the road the board has chosen to add one more athletic field has proven to be quite costly. The proposal’s total bill is still unknown, as the full costs of site plan development, despite a Freedom of Information Law request, remain obscure.

So far, the board has been unwilling to pursue available alternatives. We are hopeful that this attitude will change and that, instead of spending more tax dollars on an appeal, the alternatives will be seriously explored and implemented as soon as possible.

Jan Northrup
President, Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund

 

May 26, 2005

Dogs Tied to Poles Risk Injury

Some village residents may not be aware that a few months ago a small dog was seriously injured on Chatsworth Avenue by a vehicle that was pulling up to the curb. The animal had been leashed to a pole and was not visible to the driver.

Many residents do tie their dogs to poles while they go into shops, and this practice can lead to serious consequences for our beloved pets. Most recently, I noticed a larger dog tied to a pole at the curb with his large fluffy tail cascading off into the street in full path of oncoming curbside traffic.

My purpose in writing is to raise awareness that our pets can be injured this way. I hope that both pedestrians with animals and drivers looking for parking spots will take extra precautions for the safety of our furry friends.

Enid Preter
Larchmont, NY

 

May 13, 2005

Interested in Whole Foods Coming to New Rochelle? Take the Survey

I work for Avalon Bay Communities, Inc., the company that built the apartment tower in downtown New Rochelle next to the train station.

We are trying to persuade Whole Foods to come to the second phase of our project at Huguenot and Division. The site is highly visible and accessible from I-95 as well as the Post Road. It should attract shoppers from all the southern Westchester towns.

We think this would be a big boost for downtown New Rochelle and our project, but also a great convenience for Larchmont residents, who now have to trek to White Plains or Greenwich for a Whole Foods. (We plan to offer a lot more dedicated parking spaces than those other locations as well.)

If people are interested in supporting this effort, they can fill out a brief online survey at:

http://infopoll.net

They can also circulate this link by email to friends in the area.

Thank you for your support.

Philip Wharton
Larchmont, NY

May 11, 2005

For Levere, Marsico; Cost Cutting Ideas Already in Use in Schools

Amy Levere and Richard Marsico are independent, creative thinkers whose many years of community leadership demonstrate genuine concern and commitment not only to our schools, but to the entire community. They are respected by the many community members with whom they have worked as excellent listeners and communicators, effective consensus-builders and fair decision-makers. As parents of children attending our schools now, they have first-hand insight into the current educational and social concerns of our district. They will bring their broad, relevant experience to deliberations on the wide range of issues that the school
board encounters every day, be diligent in considering the different views of this very diverse community, and sensitive and thoughtful in striking a balance between the often divergent needs and interests of
different citizens.

There is no single magic bullet that will cut the costs of our budget without detriment to our educational program. Ideas such as a citizen's committee to review construction (the district Building
Committee, including respected community members who are architects and engineers, has been doing this for the past fifteen years), or review of programs on a ten-year schedule (the district now reviews budget items on a much more frequent basis), reflect a lack of knowledge of the district's budget process. Savings come from an understanding of district finances and economic factors that affect the budget, both within and outside of the board's control, and adjustments to the budget that save money without doing damage to the educational excellence our community demands.

As we anticipate major changes in our district next year, it is important to elect school board members who are not focused on a single issue or viewpoint. They must not only have knowledge and appreciation of the past, but an informed understanding of our changing community and a clear vision of the future to help guide a new administration.

In a fast-changing world, educators must keep running to stay in the same place, yet if our schools simply stay in the same place, our community will fall behind. Members of a productive school board do not always initially agree on every issue, but they must have the skills to listen with open minds, and the discipline to come to consensus and support one decision in order to keep our district moving forward. Amy Levere and Richard Marsico are clearly the candidates with the commitment and ability to succeed at this challenging job.

Ronda Lustman
Larchmont, NY

 

May 4, 2005

Gerhard Stohrer: Common Sense Approach for School Board

We are writing to show our support for Gerhard Stohrer, candidate for school board. We feel that Gerhard, who has resided in Larchmont for 30 years, takes a common sense approach to the issues facing the community. He is a good neighbor and friend to all that know him. We would feel most comfortable knowing matters facing the board would be handled with the greatest of judgment in his hands.

Antoinette Sarfaty
Chris Katris
Larchmont, NY

May 2, 2005

Support for Levere, Marsico; Concerns About Stohrer

I have lived in Larchmont for 13 years and have two children in the Mamaroneck School District. I am writing to express my support for two of the candidates running for school board, while offering my concerns about the third.

The contrasts between the candidates’ positions are stark: Amy Levere and Richard Marsico appear to understand the financial and operational difficulties facing the district while the third candidate, Gerhard Stohrer appears only to be focusing on reducing the magnitude of property tax increases. Levere and Marsico stress the positive—that the district is doing a good-to-excellent job of educating our children, while seeking to improve the district’s performance where it is weaker. Mr. Stohrer appears, by contrast, to focus only on what the district is doing wrong (primarily the school board is out of touch with the community and “loose spending”). Levere and Marsico stress the need to work together as a board to face the challenges of maintaining the district’s performance while hiring a new superintendent and assistant superintendent for operations, all in the face of a declining assessed valuation and flat state aid. Stohrer reportedly believes that the district is controlled by a “small group” of professionals and specialists. He reportedly seeks control of the district by a “top layer of ordinary citizens,” such as himself, while carefully sidestepping his own professional background (a doctorate and relatively senior positions in health care and medical education).

As a longtime public finance professional, I am intimately familiar with the fiscal challenges facing state and local governments throughout our country, including school districts like our own. Can we provide a better education at the same or lower cost? Unclear, since the district’s options are limited by numerous constraints and mandates imposed by federal and state laws and regulations, as well as by collective bargaining agreements. Can economies be made by the district to reduce or limit property tax increases—certainly, if we are willing to accept fewer services. Therein lies the problem: what will we (or, legally, are we able to) cut to achieve savings and head off tax increases? As important, who and how will we decide to make those cuts? Do we want to elect school board members who can discuss the issues meaningfully and will strive to achieve a resolution that balances fiscal responsibility and school performance--I think so. Or, do we want to elect a person who appears focused on controlling perceived “loose spending” and little else —I think not.

Consequently, I enthusiastically support the re-election of Amy Levere and the election of Richard Marsico to the school board. Both are highly intelligent individuals with much integrity and demonstrated commitment to serving the public and the children of this community. Both are keenly aware of the financial challenges faced by the district and will seek to get the most for our funds. We would be doing a good service to all of our fellow residents and, most particularly, our children, by electing them.

Jamie Burr
Larchmont, NY

 

April 6, 2005

MHS Class of 1956 Needs Help Finding Missing Mates

The class of 1956 is looking for its missing mates. We have a committee working to put together a list to contact everyone in the class, and they’ve had considerable success. Through one person who knows the email address of another, the list keeps building. We’ve got an email connection going and have been able to locate 180 classmates out of a graduating group of 223, but we’d like to reach everyone in time for our October 2006 reunion.

We’re hoping the Gazette readership can help us find the following people:

Alan Beede
Berta Bollengier
Rosemarie B Erwin
Isaac Coleman
Michael Corbett
John Davis
Florence DeMarco Richard Downs
James Flora
Clem Fosella
Irene Friedman
James Hinsdale
Keith Kimball
Susan Mayrose
Sandra Mehlman

Donna Morris
Richard Nichols
Gretchen Ollinger Dorothy O’Neill
Kenneth Owens
Edith Penanguer
Michael Rowland
Nancy Sexauer
Judy Spivak
Thomas Tapke
John Thayer
Birgitte Thrane
Rosetta Yizar Collier
Margaret Ylvisaker

If you know how to reach any of these people, please email: mhs56reunion@nac.net with the information, or have the person contact us at this address.

Nancy (Carlson) Andersen
Larchmont, NY

April 5, 2005

Darkroom Decision "Disturbing"

The decision by Dr. King to eliminate darkroom from MHS is highly disturbing and most undesirable. Digital photography with Adobe Photoshop assistance is a highly useful but largely mechanical expression of photographic art.

Darkroom work offers a variety of art renderings which cannot easily come close to what digital maneuvering can offer. Abandoning darkroom work is like abandoning oil and water painting by substituting lithography and printing.

Emil Sherer Finley
Purchase NY

April 3, 2005

Going Digital Is The Right Decision

As a professional photographer (published in books and photo-art magazines) who has also taught photography at university and secondary school levels, I wanted to respond to the questions raised by the decision of Superintendent Sherry King and the very sincere responses by some of the students and photography teacher Mr. Nanni. I understand their love for the darkroom and the old non-digital processes, but electricity is not in competition with a candle or the old kerosene lamp.

For years I worked in color and black and white and took great pride in the traditional “classic print,” with its values and toning. I also had a certain hesitation and even fear of the new medium until I started using it. I now have sold my darkroom and do 90 percent of my work in digital.

I have to say, “It's over” except for those who want to continue in the “old ways.” The production of film is being discontinued. All of the major film and camera companies are switching to digital. This does not mean it’s right, but it is right

It is very possible to teach basic photography without the old dark room. For myself, I am very glad to be free of the toxic chemistry, the tedium of waiting for that image to appear - as magical as it was. I can see and revise my image and tone it and print it on various papers via the new technology in the time I would be waiting to expose my print and pass it through the chemistry.

Working on the computer with “Adobe” is not a shortcut or cheating, it is an expansion beyond imagination. I am sincerely sorry for those who feel a little disconcerted. Let those who want to learn the old ways go to Westchester Community College or some community center that is still using a darkroom.

Don't hesitate, Mamaroneck High School. It is a right - if difficult - decision. Courage! Go forward and enjoy the amazing images you will see from your students.

Mark Sadan
Ossining, NY

March 29, 2005

All the Info: Large Percentage of School Budget Increase is Mandated

The recent article on the school budget, to my mind, failed to make a very important point. How much of the increase is actually mandated? Did the person who wrote the article come across that fact? It is important to understand that, as I understand it, a large percentage of the increase is actually state mandated, federally mandated or without much discretion due to the contractual bind – i.e. insurance for the teachers, special education services or reimbursements. I do really think that it is important to be forthcoming with all of the information.

Amy Lieberman
Larchmont, NY

 

March 18, 2005

Digital Is Not the Future--It's Now

In response to Midori Uehara's article about the MHS's darkroom going digital: (MHS Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed.) Film will never go away 100%, but it's a bygone technique. If the school's photography program is to teach photography as an art form, then the students should understand darkroom techniques. If the purpose is to teach them a skill that they can use in real life as a career, then the school is doing the students a service by teaching them how to handle digital images.

Too many photographers who are used to film lack the knowledge of how to create a good digital file for professional use. More and more magazine editorial and advertising photography is being created digitally. Some major consumer magazines are up to 97% digital. Digital is not the future--it's now.

Ellen Payne
Larchmont, NY

 

March 16, 2005

Shame on Larchmont's Political Parties for Denying Voters a Choice

Shame on the Larchmont Democratic and Republican parties for denying the residents of the village the right to vote in a contested election for board of trustee seats.

For the second year in a row, in my opinion, both parties, for their own convenience and that of the candidates who want to stay in office without being required to demonstrate to us why they deserve our confidence, have struck a deal to continue on without being challenged.

The result: out of 4053 eligible voters, 284 voted, a mere 7%. But then, why would one bother to vote when there is no choice?

The leaders of both parties and the elected board members have a duty to groom future candidates and have failed to do so.

Quite often I hear that it is not possible to recruit people to run because of a board atmosphere that is so contentious and disrespectful. That must change. 2006 would be a good year for a shake-up.

Thomas Curnin
Larchmont, NY


February 28, 2005

Response to Pryer Manor “Mud Flat”

Petulant anger has surmounted facts and objectivity. (See letter: Feb 19, 2005)

Four houses overlooking the Pryer Manor Marsh (PMM) previously enjoyed not a lake but a freshwater/stormwater retention area which continued to enlarge because water could not exit the marsh.

Mamaroneck got involved to protect a critical part of the tri-municipal, New York State designated significant habitat (1 of 7 in Westchester County), the Premium River-Pine Brook Wetlands Complex, from an ecological standpoint, and to aid in the flooding problem that affects Town residents.

  • Re Monies - the cash outlay detailed in the grant budget is $35,000.

  • Re “unequivocal failure”- from a letter by the DEC Marine Habitat Manager: “DEC staff measured the tides at four locations in the (PMM) and one location at the marsh outlet into the Premium River. They found that tidal exchange between PMM and the Premium River occurs on a regular basis. The excavated tidal creek in the marsh experienced tidal exchange (filled and drained) twice daily. The marsh surface flooded less frequently, during the spring, or new and full moon, tides, as is typical for an established salt marsh. During summer and fall, staff biologists observed that many salt marsh plant and animal species had colonized the marsh, as is desired.... Based on these results and staff observations, we find the project to be on a successful course....Please note that we do not recommend further excavation of the site to deepen the marsh surface, (emphasis added) as it would be detrimental to the salt marsh ecology and to the abundant mummichog fish and marsh birds that have colonized the site.”

  • Regarding conversion- marsh grasses for the “mud” and native shrubs appropriate for the marsh perimeter have been ordered. The requested graminoids are specialized plants and are grown to order. Last year’s order was cancelled due to accusations by the letter writer which delayed planting for one year.
  • Regarding “catastrophic event”- There was no sinkhole discovered; there never was a sinkhole. The letter writer heard the following explanation presented by the DEC: “The ditch was excavated starting from the road at each end of the loop, and when the area where the two ends met was breached, water drained from beneath an iced over ponded area into the ditch. Because there was a layer of ice on top of the moving water, it created some suction, and hence resulted in the sound.”

  • Residents were not asked what they wanted because they don’t own the marsh. It is owned by the Pryer Manor Preservation Association, Inc., who endorsed the project. Thanks to the Association, the PMM is a protected conservation area that will never be developed. The anger expressed can be compared to what happens when one resident renovates or builds a home that doesn’t appeal to the neighbors.

  • Re birds- see the abbreviated inventory article.

Phyllis Wittner
Mamaroneck Town Council

February 17, 2005

Pull Together to Find Work Site for Day Laborers

It is rather sad for a nation of immigrants to be so divided about the welfare and the future of its newcomers. Many communities that have effectively dealt with providing new immigrants with resources have successfully integrated them, and they have become valuable members to our society.

As children of immigrants we were witnesses to the struggles of our parents to provide for us. We care and are concerned about the current challenges facing immigrants in our village. Finding a permanent work site for them in our village is an investment in the future of our community.

We urge that our government officials, who were elected to represent the interest of the entire community, pull together their resources to find a permanent work site for the day laborers and ensure that these families also have a chance to achieve the American Dream.

Lizzette Soto
Mamaroneck, NY

February 14, 2005

Former Rye Councilman Endorses Myers, Rebuts GOP on Budget

I write to respond to Rye Republican Chairman Piscionere’s letter attacking my character and record. His statistical claims are totally false.

1. Chairman Piscionere stated that debt service in Rye “went from less than 1% to 16%,” while I and the Democrats held the majority on the City Council.

This is absolutely false. Debt payments, principal and interest, stand at about 5% of expenditures, and have not risen above that level. Rye’s debt level is considered “favorable” by Moody’s, who has given Rye it’s highest Aaa bond rating for over a decade. The fact is that debt has increased because the Rye voters and a unanimous City Council approved capital projects (maintaining our infrastructure) that had been deferred for years.

2. Chairman Piscionere stated Rye’s “surplus was reduced to the minimum required by law.”

This is another falsehood. The City’s financial trends report shows that the Undesignated Fund Balance has remained at over 10% every year - twice the desired minimum identified in our City’s financial policy.

3. Chairman Piscionere stated that “a rating agency informed the … Finance Committee” that without a change in practice Rye’s “bond rating would be downgraded.”

This is yet another falsehood. No such warning was issued; in fact, Moody’s reaffirmed the City’s Aaa bond rating at the time of our last two bond issues. In addition, the ‘financial crisis’ rhetoric was repudiated by the former head of Moody’s and the City’s outside independent auditor when they reviewed Rye’s finances.

4. Chairman Piscionere tried to shift the blame for tax increases to the Democrats, but the Republicans have had the majority for over three years and they enacted the City’s largest tax increase in history, 17.43% in 2003, over the objections of the minority Democrats on the Council. I supported more budget cuts and lower tax increases than my Republican colleagues. The Republicans actually argued for even larger tax increases that were not necessary and opposed my efforts to cut spending and reduce tax increases.

I stand by everything I have written. Conversely, I don’t believe that Chairman Piscionere can validate the statistics he used in his letter. As the Rye Republican chairman, he should be more knowledgeable about the facts– especially if he is going to try to use “fiction and innuendo” (his words) to impugn the character and record of a long-time community volunteer. I hope that ALL Rye citizens – of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others – will voice their rejection of Chairman Piscionere’s false statements and arrogant rhetoric – as I believe it hurts us all as a community.

We need honesty and stability in decision-making in Rye and on the County Board of Legislators. Judy Myers has a record of consistency, leadership, and fiscal responsibility. The choice is clear for the best person to succeed George Latimer and represent Rye on the County Board. Please join me in supporting Judy.

Doug McKean
2000-2003 Rye City Councilman

 

February 9, 2005

A Vote for Our Mom Will Help Our Whole Community

Our names are Scott and J. Amanda Schwartz and we are writing to you on behalf of our mom, Town of Mamaroneck Councilwoman Judy Myers. Having served on the Town Board for six years, our mom has decided to run on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families ticket for County Legislator in February 2005.

We’ve lived in the Town of Mamaroneck for sixteen years. As long as we can remember, our mother has been involved with Town affairs. From serving as Murray Avenue PTA President to founding the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Youth Council to working to find a new home for the Cove, our mom has always supported teenagers and young people in our community.

Simply put…our mom rocks. Please help our whole community by voting for Judy Myers for County Legislator. As we said before, every vote will count. This election is not just important to us- it’s important to the community in which we all grew up. Thanks so much.

J. Amanda Schwartz, MHS 2002
Scott I. Schwartz, MHS 2004

 

February 8, 2005

Chu Will Get County's House in Order

I’m voting for Franklin Chu on February 15th for County Legislator. This may prove to be a bad sign for him, because I’m lousy at voting. I’ve not picked a winning president since the elder George Bush. I’m an "independent” which for me means I vote for the person I think is the best of the lot and has the character to lead (or the one who will do the least harm). In the case of Franklin Chu, I think he is just what our county government needs to help get its house in order.

As the former President of the Rye Free Reading Room, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Franklin over the past several years and observe him work within the fiscal and “political” challenges our City government has faced. Franklin is smart, honest, and a realist. He understands how to lead, even when leadership is not popular. As a county resident, I’m thankful that someone with Franklin’s capability and character is willing to serve at the county level.

John Fullerton
Rye, NY

 

February 8, 2005

Chu Has Skills & Dedication

I encourage everyone to help make a difference, on February 15. On that date, there will be a special election for the 7th District seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. The 7th District includes Rye. I ask you to come out and vote and consider sending Franklin Chu to the County Legislature. I believe Franklin Chu would bring the requisite skills and dedication to serving us that would make
him a fantastic County Legislator. Having been closely involved with Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting for nearly a decade, I particularly appreciate Franklin's common sense balance of the needs of our children and good use of our tax dollars.

For years, we have observed Franklin Chu as a dedicated community leader. He has developed an admired reputation for his sage and (perhaps most importantly) calm counsel at public meetings. He has demonstrated open-mindedness, ability to understand and balance diverse points of view and commitment to lead. I believe that Franklin is committed to making the effort for us that makes me proud to be able to vote for him.

During his years on the Rye City Council, Franklin has proven to be an invaluable public financial analyst. He has shined as a strategic thinker and creative problem-solver. He started his career as a New York City budget analyst, working with the team that helped salvage NYC from the fiscal crisis of the late 1970s and this experience has been immeasurably important in serving the City of Rye as he has endeavored to build consensus in addressing our needs.

Franklin's ingenuity, strong education and professional experience, combined with his seemingly boundless commitment to public service, make Franklin Chu an extraordinary candidate for our County Legislature. Let us thank him for offering to give his attention to our key county economic and community issues by turning out to vote for Franklin Chu, on February 15.

Paul D. Knudsvig
Rye, NY

 

February 7, 2005

Rye Republicans & Chu Have Repaired Dem Damage to Budget

Former Democrat Rye Councilman, Douglas McKean, in expressing his support for the Democrat candidate for the Board of Legislators, has been writing letters to the press, which are characterized by his accustomed fiction and innuendo. His attack on Franklin Chu is a study in historical revisionism. During Mr. McKean’s years on the Council, he voted for double digit tax increases and substantial increases of the expense budget. Debt went from $900 thousand to $17 million. Debt service went from less than 1% to 16% of the budget. Worse, the Rye City surplus, available for capital projects, was raided to cover operating losses due to run away expenses. A healthy $3 million surplus was reduced to the minimum required by law. In fact, a rating agency informed the Rye City Finance Committee that if the bad financial practices implemented year after year by Mr. McKean and his Democrat colleagues were not stopped, the Rye AAA bond rating would be downgraded.

In the 2001 and 2003 elections, the voters of Rye repudiated these McKean supported practices and the balance of the Council shifted during that period from a 5 to 2 Democrat majority to a 6 to 1 Republican majority. The voters of Rye, in 2001, elected Franklin Chu and other Republicans to repair the severe damage done by the Democrats, which, if left unremedied would have done permanent damage to Rye. Led by Mr. Chu, the Rye City budget has been steadily improved so that for 2005 the property tax increase was down to just less than 3% and surplus was increased to well over 10% of total expenses. No essential services were reduced.

Only through hard attention to detail by Mr. Chu and his Republican colleagues, is the disastrous fiscal mismanagement of Mr. McKean and his associates well on the way to being reversed. The Rye voters sent a message and asked Mr. Chu and the Republicans, who swept the 2003 election by an unusually large majority, to fix the problem. By increasing the Republican majority on the Council to 6:1, the citizens of Rye reaffirmed their message: act with fiscal responsibility. It is sad that Mr. McKean has never understood the message.

The Democrat controlled Westchester County government has pursued bad fiscal management compounded by serial financial scandals for years. It is time to put an end to the ongoing mess. We need Franklin Chu to be elected to the 7th District seat on the Board of Legislators. He has seen the problem before. He knows what to do. Vote for Franklin Chu on February 15.

Anthony Piscionere
Rye, NY

 

February 4, 2005

Judy Myers - Strong Advocate for Local Concerns

I have long been a supporter of George Latimer when he was our County Legislator, representing our interest in county government. Now he is our Assemblyman in Albany being our voice for better government. His absence has been a concern to me since I was not sure we would have someone that would replace his ability to listen and respond to our needs and promote our interests in the county. Knowing that Judy Myers is on the ballot, I’m not at all worried. Like George, Judy believes that her agenda is the people’s agenda; and she will be a strong advocate for our concerns and issues here in Rye as well as in Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye Neck and New Rochelle. Judy really listens, and that’s an important quality in an elected official on our County Board of Legislators. More importantly, she is smart. She studies the issues and listens to all the input in a nonpartisan manner that enables her to strategize the best solutions within fiscally sound parameters.

Judy Myers is a seasoned community leader who is thoughtful when talking to residents whether they are senior citizens, or supporters of the Rye Nature Center, or advocates for a better Rye Recreation Center facility or addressing the seriousness of traffic safety on Theall Road, or finding solutions to the flooding problems that affect many of our neighborhoods. These may be “local” issues, but Judy knows how important they are to the quality of life in our community. She believes in a healthy debate, and is always respectful of another’s viewpoint. She is attentive to the value we place on lower taxes, yet measured in identifying creative ways to maximize the use of public funding within cost containment initiatives that uphold the uniqueness of our neighborhoods. She is perceptive to our environmental problems, continuously fighting to correct its negative impact on our health, especially our elders and children.

I strongly believe that Judy will be a welcome voice on the County Board of Legislators. She will be a tough, sensitive, intelligent representative for the 7th District. I urge you to cast your vote for Judy Myers on February 15th.


Joseph P. Murphy
Rye, NY

 

February 3, 2005

Judy Myers Will Provide Non-Partisan Leadership

I am writing to voice my support for Judy Myers for the County Legislature, to continue the kind of attentive and caring level of public service we have received from George Latimer. Judy has served on the Town of Mamaroneck Board for six years and has earned a record of distinction on financial, environmental, and community issues. She is committed to being an advocate for Rye on county issues affecting our city. Most importantly, Judy has worked on a nonpartisan basis to serve her constituents. This is vitally important because issues should be decided on the merits, not through partisan politics.

Judy’s opponent and his colleagues on Rye’s City Council have hurt our community with anti-public processes, bad decisions and partisan behavior over the past three years. In the recently enacted City budget, which Councilman Chu strongly supported, they relied upon raiding specific City funds, speculative revenues, and delayed borrowing for the Locust Firehouse that will cost taxpayers more in the end, just to reduce this (City Council election) year's tax increase. This is a practice he aggressively criticized at the LWV's debate (given the County's 0% budget increase) labeling it typical, easy election year trickery.

Councilman Chu is basing part of his campaign upon the claim that he “saved” the City from bad financial practices. This myth has never been true, as the City has had Moody’s highest rating, Aaa, for over a decade - starting well before his participation in the process. Even during the tough economic times of 2001-2003, outside financial experts termed the City’s position as "strong". I opposed the high tax increases Councilman Chu supported during those years. The hiring freeze and job reduction review policy he claimed credit for at the LWV’s debate were enacted by a Democratic City Council before Franklin was ever elected.

In recent years, local Republican councilmembers - including Franklin Chu - have whipped Rye voters into a "financial crisis frenzy" as they projected wild future tax increases that were not real. They even compared Rye's finances to Nassau County's to paint their erroneous picture. Meanwhile, they enacted record tax hikes over Democratic objections. Let's not let their self-serving "financial crisis" rhetoric harm our community any further.

At the LWV debate, Franklin couldn't recall even one time that he voted against the Republican “block” on the Rye City Council - not one vote. Are we now to believe him that he will be non-partisan?

These are just a few additional reasons to support Judy Myers for county legislator. She will provide better leadership for Rye and the other Sound Shore communities - nonpartisan leadership - controlling taxes in a sensible and balanced way, while dealing with the whole host of other issues that matter to our community.

Douglas McKean
2000 - 2003 Rye City Councilman

February 1, 2005

Judy Myers Will Be Strong Advocate for Fiscally Sound Decisions

I am so excited to be supporting Judy Myers for County Legislator. The Special Election for the position held by George Latimer is February 15 and I'm telling everyone I know about Judy's enthusiasm for public service and her strong reputation of working with her colleagues on the Mamaroneck Town Council to keep a lid on property taxes while looking out for the needs of our teens, seniors and all those who believe they pay a lot in property taxes and deserve quality public services in return. Judy knows we need more ball fields for our children, not less. She knows open space and public parks are amenities that improve the quality of life for all residents. She will be a strong advocate for fiscally sound decision on the county level.

I have known Judy for over 10 years, through our involvement with the Junior
League of Westchester on the Sound. She is a dedicated volunteer, willing to roll up her sleeves to get the job done. Judy has reached out into the greater Sound Shore community and her knowledge of the people and issues will be an asset as she represents us at the County Legislature.

I concur with George Latimer’s strong endorsement, "Judy will be ready on day one". The election is the day after Valentine's Day -- not a regular date for voting. So put a note in your calendar and make your voice heard. Vote for Judy Myers on February 15.

Nicole Silton Klemens
Rye, NY

February 1, 2005

Concurs with Chu: County Taxes Excessive

Thirty years ago, my wife Irene and I married and purchased a house in the city of Rye. Our house was not a handyman’s special nor was it updated by the previous owner. For the past thirty years, we have been updating our house and today we have a comfortable home. Soon it will be time for Irene and me to retire and divorce. No, we will not be divorcing each other but regrettably, we must divorce from our home.

Our home is mortgage-free and we can afford to heat it and maintain it. But we cannot handle the ever rising burden from local, school, county and state taxes and fees. Upon retirement, we can probably live here hand-to-mouth for a little while. But who wants to live like that? Sooner or later, we would be driven out.

Today I received election literature from Rye City Councilman Franklin Chu. He feels the way Irene and I do about excessive taxation. Mr. Chu wishes to be a county legislator in the second highest taxed county in the highest taxed state in the country. He has my vote. Every time I pick up a newspaper, it seems that taxes go up, fees go up, my temper goes up, my patience goes down.

I feel that since government is taxing us out of our homes, the least they could do is set up an emigration board to investigate where we should move to. I am not joking! I am deadly serious. In 1997, Mr. Andy Spano promised us a 15% tax break if elected. Where is it? Mr. Ted Dunn promised us that he would not raise taxes and he didn’t. He was defeated.

I hope Franklin Chu can help. But it is too late for Irene and me. We are preparing to leave. The politicians have wreaked too much havoc on us and it will take a long time to fix the problem.

Edward F. Clark
Rye, NY 10580

 

January 25, 2005

Judy Myers Is Best Candidate to Fill George Latimer's Shoes

I am pleased that Judy Myers is running for the Westchester County Board of Legislators to fill the vacancy created when George Latimer was elected to the New York State Assembly. Because I know Judy personally, I know that Judy will continue George Latimer’s tradition of being accessible to constituents, easy to talk to, and committed to quality of life issues which impact us each day.

Again and again Judy Myers has stepped up to the plate to get the job done whether it be heading up the PTA at her children’s school, or serving on the Town Council. And she doesn’t just talk about what the community needs, she makes it happen. She helped create the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Youth Council to give our teens positive recreational alternatives close to home, she has protected our environment by strengthening wetlands laws and passing legislation to protect her community from overdevelopment, and she has worked cooperatively, in a bipartisan manner, with local elected officials as well as elected officials across the Sound Shore.

Judy Myers is the best candidate to fill George Latimer’s shoes and I will be supporting her on February 15th.

Lisa Senter
Larchmont, NY

January 25, 2005

Why Aren't Editors Expressing Outrage at Closing of United Hospital?

It escapes my sensibilities that the editors of Port Chester, Rye, Rye Town, Harrison, Larchmont, and Mamaroneck are not expressing the outrage of their residents regarding the closing of United Hospital.

The more intelligent minds in these areas should be thinking not only of saving the hospital, but rather expanding and improving it to make it better then ever.

I am a former longtime resident of Port Chester who was a former patient at United Hospital on several occasions. I consider it to be the finest in the Westchester area and just as good as New York Presbyterian Hospital, where I was also a patient.

It is ridiculous to think the other hospitals, such as Greenwich, White Plains and New Rochelle should take over the responsibility of treating patients formerly served by United Hospital. They would have to grow and expand in order to do so.

United Hospital services a greatly expanding and growing area. Not only is there a present need, but an even greater future need. Were our forefathers 100 years ago better equipped to handle a problem like this than the present administrations?

Port Chester is by far in the best geographic situation to handle all emergencies, as well as elective care. There is a serious need to prevent this hospital from closing.

What would happen to the residents of these areas in case of a serious disaster, natural or otherwise? The answer is a simple one. Under the present manner of thinking, there would be no immediate help available.

If this nation can build hospitals and schools in Iraq, they certainly should be doing a much better job here.

The United States is four trillion dollars in debt and continues to go forth with its spending. Why doesn't United Hospital follow suit? The need is equally strong in both instances.

The State of New York will be seriously remiss if they allow this to happen.

Anne Latella
Naples, FL

January 23, 2005

Consider Federal Grant to Lift Homes Out of Flood

The Town of Greenburgh recently received a federal grant from FEMA to uplift homes in an area that experiences severe flooding. A number of the homeowners elected to participate and to place their homes on stilts.

This might be an option that Sound Shore communities might wish to explore. For further info e-mail me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com

Paul Feiner,
Supervisor, Town of Greenburgh, NY

January 21, 2005

Board is Protecting Village on Future Costs of Police Retirement

In reference to your article on the discussion of the in-process police contract, I would like to make a number of points.

First, the issue is not that the Board does not want to have a contract for the police, nor is the issue the pay raises being contemplated by the Board and the police. The Board has proffered a pay raise (including retroactive pay) that is more than fair. The problematic issue is the level of post-retirement benefits being demanded by the police. The police already receive post-retirement benefits that are far more generous than found today in corporate America. Unfortunately, the police have demanded a package that will be very expensive for the Village, not necessarily now but certainly in the future, just the time period that most politicians are usually willing to sacrifice for the present. This Village Board appears to be trying very hard, at quite a bit of political risk (note the speeches of concerned citizens trying to pressure the Board to cave-in) to keep the future tax burden from being too onerous. I found it interesting to read of Mr. Weber's statements lecturing the Board that "it is a people business." Do you think that Mr. Weber offers any of his employees retirement benefits even approaching those of the police under their current contract, much less the even more expensive deal that they are demanding? Of course not.

In final analysis, while it seems good to have a police force with high morale, it should not be at an excessive or unbearable cost. I believe that the mayor and the Board have done a remarkable job of keeping the rhetoric down and the negotiations open.

Bruce A. Cauley
Co-Chair, Village Budget Committee

January 20, 2005

Children's Corner Thanks Contributors

The Children's Corner of Larchmont-Mamaroneck, INC. would like to publicly thank all those in our community and beyond who have recently responded to our fundraising letter with a financial contribution. Donations were made on behalf of the scholarship fund that we offer to families in need of assistance. The need continues to grow in our community and schools. This support enables us to offer and assist in affordable childcare before and after school for all families.

Thank you to everyone for your contributions and for recognizing our importance to so many children and families. We are fortunate to be a part of such a caring community.

Barbara J. Miglionico, Director
Larchmont, NY

(Editors Note: for more info and registration material, see: The Children's Corner)

January 15, 2005

Endorsing Franklin Chu for County Legislator

I am writing to endorse the candidacy of Franklin Chu, who is running in a special election this February 15th to represent the 7th district on the Westchester Board of Legislators.

Franklin has provided much wisdom to the Rye City Council over the past three years. In 2001, he ran on a platform of bringing much needed financial expertise to the council, and he has delivered on this promise. His knowledge and experience has been extremely beneficial to all of us, as he has provided sound advice and guidance on budgets and bond referendums. When Franklin joined the Rye City Council, our tax increases were consistently over 10% every year – he worked as hard as possible to bring these increases down to levels below the rate of inflation, without impacting any services to Rye’s citizens.

As liaison to the Rye City Finance Committee, Franklin has done an outstanding job of communicating the numerous questions and requests from the council to the committee, and informing the council of the findings of the committee. Many of these issues have been politically charged. Franklin has navigated the Finance Committee away from political considerations to address these issues from a purely financial perspective. In so doing, he has ensured the best possible advice is presented to the City Council.

One attribute of Franklin's that I am particularly impressed with is his refusal to engage in petty and partisan politics. When tempers flare, many join the fray, but Franklin quietly waits. When he speaks, other Council members then listen carefully, because they know that Franklin has no interest but those of the city. His arguments are well articulated, he speaks from the heart, and he works to promote harmony within the group.

As a fellow Councilman, I realize that Rye’s loss is the county’s gain. Franklin has done an exceptional job in addressing the needs of the City of Rye; his presence on the Board of Legislators will greatly benefit the Sound Shore community.

I am highly confident that Franklin will do an outstanding job representing the 7th district as a member of the County Board of Legislators, and I urge all to vote for him come February 15.

Matt Fahey
Rye City Council Member

 

January 12, 2005

Add Lights to MHS Sports Fields

Now that the Kemper Memorial is staying put, (See: Judge Rules: Kemper Park Changes Prohibited.) it is time to think about other alternatives to solving the overcrowded field problem that exists at Mamaroneck High School. In my opinion, we need to address adding stadium lighting to the football field, so the field could be used day and night, possibly solving the field problems that exist today.

The seniors could play at night, and the freshman and JV teams could play in daylight. I think this would be a simple solution to a complex problem.

Bubba Fanelli, MHS Class of 1977
Larchmont, NY

January 11, 2005

Teacher's Unfairly Depicted

MHS teachers were publicly and unprofessionally characterized in last week’s Larchmont Gazette. (See: New Prereqs Set for Entry Into Advanced Courses at MHS.) The issues aren’t as simple as the article makes it appear. Kathleen Donnison, a Social Studies teacher, pointed this out in her December 1 response to another of Gazette articles about gatekeeping. (See: Opening up the Academic Gates in Mamaroneck.)

I have been teaching in MHS’s English department since 1983. I want to say something about AP-specific education and testing, about English education and grading, about the types of courses that should be available for all students, and about our kids’ ability to choose from options.

The English AP curriculum is not uninteresting, but its reading and writing are focused quite narrowly on close literary analysis. The courses are wonderful because our teachers are, but Dr. DiGennaro and Mr. Bosch agree that the exam limits the attention they can give to other kinds of reading and writing activities. Many students want more. In fact, this district’s English education and grades have always been about much, much more. Teachers love to watch kids learn to write many sorts of essays, letters to the editor, journals and poems, lists and songs, meditations and stories. We want to continue to evaluate and understand good films and maintain our collaboration with the Lincoln Center Program. We need to prepare youngsters for the social science writing and research they will encounter in college. We want your child to earn a good grade in English without valuing one type of literary analysis over these other important ways to read and write.

The new policy will narrow our teaching, and it will shift the content and grading weight of our courses toward this one kind of literary analysis. This streamlined policy honors too narrow a focus, follows the national pack in unduly and arbitrarily valuing AP curriculum, and therefore encourages a “foolish consistency” rather than the educationally sound variety of activities and classes that should be available for our teenagers. Mamaroneck High School students have always earned excellent SAT and AP scores, but we have never before allowed these tests to be the arbiters of our curriculum or of excellence. The new policy does not speak to these considerations and will have a tremendous effect on the types of work we do with our kids and the way we value and grade all student work. I believe the track to AP classes will become more restrictive – not less – and preparation for them will harm the rich curriculum and differentiated instruction of all classes.

I understand decisions have to be made, but I believe this has been a lopsided, uninformed one. The faculty is not “balking” or “jeering” or “resistant to change”, as the article states. We are professional, well-read, experienced and concerned. I am proud to be an enthusiastic teacher at Mamaroneck High School; and for many of us I say: I reject being publicly slurred. My own children are being educated in this system, and my home and my friends are in this community. I have every reason to be concerned about our schools and my professional integrity.

Janet Rogow
Mamaroneck, NY

December 1, 2004

Opening AP Gates Raises Issues: Stress, Cost

As a social studies teacher at Mamaroneck High School, I find your article about "gatekeeping" and Advanced Placement courses to be of great interest. The article referred to the change from two to three sections of AP American History as having happened seven years ago. The correct figure is closer to seventeen years. With the exception of one year, the number of sections remained at three, increasing to four, and then five, over the past seven years. (Editors' Note: correction has been made.)

Your article leaves the reader believing that the teachers are “confident” about the movement to “open the gates.” This confuses us, because until the most recent faculty meeting, the teachers had not been asked for input on the issue, and the word “confident” does not reflect the nature of our discussions at that meeting, and certainly not at our own meeting a few days later.

Parents and students want these courses for all of the right
reasons, and, unfortunately, some of the wrong ones. On several occasions, struggling students admit that they take the courses so they can get into good schools. Others say that they don’t want to drop the course because their friends take it. (The social pressure is enormous.) Some parents who spend weeks in meetings and phone calls demanding their children’s admission are then upset when their students’ grades fall below previous levels.

Now we may face the challenges of open admission. One will be economic. In my department this year, the AP classes are very large; in some cases, ten to twelve more than the eighteen maximum recommended by the College Board. Open admission classes should be much smaller. Regents classes and electives would have to run opposite AP classes so that students who want to opt out in the first quarter can do so without disrupting their schedules. These factors dictate increased staffing, which is very costly.

An open policy cannot come without some guidelines and a lot of guidance. Regardless of what some claim, many students simply cannot do college work in high school. Others, who have specific interests, would prefer to concentrate on those rather than cram their transcripts and lives with as many AP courses as those admissions officers demand. Others would thrive in an exploration of various electives in a Regents curriculum.

We continue to discuss these and other concerns, and we hope that our input informs whatever policy changes come about. Obviously, everyone seeks the right policy for the right reasons. We want to challenge all of our students without hurting any of them.

Kathleen Donnison
Mamaroneck High School