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More Time Needed Before Vote on New Field for Flint Park
The Village of Larchmont held a meeting of its Board of Trustees on December 11th to discuss new plans for an artificial turf field in Flint Park. (See: Residents Weigh In on Adding "Legacy" Field at Flint Park.) I spoke on behalf of the Flint Park Conservancy at the meeting. I requested that the board allocate more time to considering options before voting on the Legacy program to build an artificial turf field in an environmentally sensitive area of Flint Park. The Flint Park Conservancy has yet to form a position on the newly introduced plans and is seeking to obtain full information to provide input on behalf of its members to the Village trustees. Mayor Liz Feld was quoted as countering that "we've been talking about this issue since July; we held meetings [where] no one spoke up." I want to set the record straight.
The Conservancy has been advising the Village on issues related to the park for many years, and was only advised several weeks ago of the new proposal. The Conservancy raised the money and led the building of the new playground and attended regular meetings over several years on the redevelopment plans for Flint Park previously approved by the Village trustees. The mayor and trustees stated during the election last spring that they were proceeding with these plans without change and denied reports published over the summer that they were considering alternatives.
The mayor and trustees did not notify the Flint Park Conservancy or provide public notice in its published agenda for the Village Board of Trustees meetings of the new plans until November. Since this time, the mayor and trustees have been very helpful in answering questions regarding the plans, but the public deserves more information and time to consider opinions and alternatives before proceeding. The proposed plans for the artificial turf field have yet to be made available to Conservancy or the public.
The proposed artificial turf field will have a major impact on the users of Flint Park, its neighbors and the environment. The community needs to have the plans and other information and ample time to provide feedback before making a decision on proceeding. Voting to proceed without development plans and a brief public discussion over the holidays is not wise or considerate.
We are all aware of the ill will, time and money that has been wasted on other local projects where legitimate concerns were not properly considered prior to rushing to judgment. We live in a small community with a diversity of need. The Village trustees should be sensitive to these needs and concerns and maintain an open mind to compromise and discussion.
Warm Water Species Found in Sound
I recently read your article about the giant sunfish spotted in Larchmont Harbor. (See: Giant Ocean Sunfish Sighted in Larchmont Harbor.) About 10 years ago a friend of mine was out fishing with his daughter by the Larchmont Breakwater (the rock jetty by Larchmont Harbor) and spotted a giant sunfish at least 10 feet long. Many species of fish normally found in warmer waters find their way into Long Island Sound through the Gulf Stream. From time to time there have been sightings in the Long Island Sound of pilot whales, manatees, and bottlenose dolphins, so I am not surprised to hear about this latest sighting. I myself, and several others, saw a bottlenose dolphin at Hudson Park in New Rochelle about 15 years ago. And we all know about the harbor seals that visit here in the late fall. My son came face-to-face with one while swimming off Echo Bay Yacht Club in New Rochelle.
My best fishing is done in Larchmont:
This 40 pound bass was caught in 2005 from my boat near the Larchmont Breakwaters.
Design for All of Flint Park
With regard to Flint Park, I designed a new plan over 3 years ago based on conversations I had with Monroe Eberlin, [Larchmont's park consultant] who has since passed away.
He suggested looking at the park as a whole, not just one piece as he was instructed to do by former Mayor Ken Bialo.
Then only right way to design for the future - a 20 year plan - is to design the whole park and implement in stages. Also, as Mr. Eberlin asked me to do when I designed for new ballfields, is to look at other areas. I read about parks and the desire for green space, limiting vehicular traffic, creating longer walking areas, adding to nature by removing roads. These were trends I took into account.
So, my design broke a given Mr. Eberlin was not given permission to do. I moved the Babe Ruth League field back towards the new building and added a soccer field. I also removed some road.
The mayor has my plans, and I have requested she show them to others so that ideas might flow about might be possible to do.
True Spirit of Mamaroneck at Party for Immigrants
The true spirit of the Village of Mamaroneck was demonstrated by the Christmas party sponsored for immigrant families, who are mostly Catholic, by Westchester Jewish Center and St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Thank you for you coverage. (See: Jewish Center Throws Christmas Party for Immigrant Families.)
Neighbors Invited to Christmas Eggnog at Trinity House
It has come to our attention that people would appreciate the opportunity of visiting Trinity Retreat. I’ve been here so long that I forgot that everybody doesn’t know what it is all about. Fr. Fulton, the director, and I would be most delighted to have you come and stop in for a little Christmas eggnog on the afternoon of Sunday, December 17th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Feel free to ask other people in the neighborhood to join you. Trinity is not all that large, but it has a beautiful location and we will pray that it is a nice sunny day and you can go out on the patio.
Trinity Retreat, at 1 Pryer Manor Road in Larchmont, was given to the Archdiocese of New York about 45 years ago by Dr. Herbert Conway. It was his home. It was built in the 1920s by a Mr. Harry Sullivan, a textile manufacturer who had to sell it during the Depression. It’s most famous visitors include Norman Rockwell, the artist Joseph Lynendecker, President Richard Nixon and after we took over, Mother Teresa and a whole list of cardinals and ecclesiastical figures, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish.
In 1974, Cardinal Terence Cooke asked me to open Trinity Retreat House as a place of retreat and study for the clergy. These were difficult times for the church and many priests came here to pray and study over the years. Occasionally, clergy of other denominations also come.
If it is convenient and you would like to do so, you could bring a tiny gift for a poor old lady or a poor child. The friars, who all live in poor areas like Harlem or the South Bronx, will be distributing turkeys, food baskets and, on top of that, gifts to about 1,200 children and elderly poor people on December 23rd. It’s not at all necessary, but some people might like to bring a little something for the poor.
I’m looking forward to seeing you. No RSVP is necessary.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR
Solar Articles Timely, Useful
Your two articles, one describing the experience of local residents who installed a solar electrical power system on their home, and the second by a homeowner describing his experience installing a solar hot water system, are both timely, interesting and extremely useful to the community as we together address the related issues of energy costs, energy conservation, energy independence and climate change.
Thank you for providing this important information to your readers.
Let Verizon Compete With Cable
If you heard the news today you will have heard that Cablevision is raising its rates, again. (See: Cablevision raises average TV rates by 1.1 percent.) After all they haven't gouged us anything extra in at least a few months.
Every day we delay letting Verizon compete in our Village is another day we permit ourselves to be ripped off by Cablevision. It is totally to their benefit that the discussions are delayed and delayed and delayed.
What can we do to end all this and let Verizon compete in Larchmont?
Development at What Cost?
What are the benefits of development in Larchmont? Increased tax revenue?
What are the costs? Greatly increased enrollment in the already increasingly crowded schools; more crowded trains during rush hour since we are a commuting community; increased traffic in and around town; larger strains on our resources, including water, sanitation and electricity(especially important during the high capacity summer months); overuse of our already depleted playing fields possibly requiring cutbacks in the number of teams fielded; and finally a general feeling that we are no longer a small village.
Will our already high property taxes decline because of the new taxpayers brought in by development? Or will they go up because of the need for hiring more teachers, possible need to build school additions, greater use of sanitation crews, more frequent maintenance or overhaul of existing playing fields - to name a few realistic expenses.
So taxes will still increase, and we will be left with a less aesthetically pleasing, more crowded, more costly village that is probably no more financially secure than it was prior to development.
Which begs the question again: why?
The pressure to develop in this village is tremendous given all of the wonderful things Larchmont has to offer and the financial gains to be had by a select few. We risk destroying that which we love. That which attracts development in the first place. At what point do we say enough already?
Proposals currently at different stages:
Of course this does not even take into account the mammoth skyscrapers now dotting the horizon in New Rochelle, which already affect our once open views and will increase traffic in and around Larchmont.
Vet Thanks Girl Scouts
Thanks to the Girl Scouts.
On Friday, November 10, a cute and enthusiastic group of Girl Scouts from Larchmont/Mamaroneck stopped by my house and gave me a very nice note and gift thanking me for my service as a veteran. I think that this was a wonderful gesture by the Girl Scouts, which should be publicly acknowledged with the gratitude of all the veterans in the community.
(See story from 2005 Veterans Day.)
It is nice to be remembered and especially nice that the Girl Scouts of Larchmont/Mamaroneck took the trouble to come around and see each of us. It was very touching.
James H. Levi
Assemblyman Thanks Voters
A note of thanks to my Larchmont and Mamaroneck neighbors and friends for their vote of confidence in last week's election. I look forward to my second term in the State Assembly and intend to continue to work hard to justify the faith and support I've been given.
Thanks to the Gazette for its attention to the campaign throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Palmer Apartments Would Damage Larchmont Character
The additional traffic, noise, and height of the apartment buildings proposed at 77 North Avenue and 2101 Palmer Avenue would damage the character of the area and impact the Village of Larchmont in general.
With the construction of the New Rochelle Stop and Shop on Palmer and the recent addition of Marshalls Department store to the same shopping plaza, the traffic on Palmer Avenue has increased significantly. The addition of 54 dwelling units with 108 cars would severely congest an already busy artery.
The shopping areas of Larchmont Village are highly congested and parking at certain times of day is sometimes impossible. The Madison Avenue apartment development of 139 units will exacerbate Larchmont’s parking problem. The additional vehicles from the proposed Palmer Avenue buildings will compound the situation.
The builder intends to remove a 19 foot high rock outcropping that is a natural barrier to I-95. The builder maintains that the 2 buildings will provide a more effective sound barrier; however a 10 foot high wooden fence will be the only sound barrier for portions of the property in between the buildings and would not be an effective sound barrier.
The height of the proposed buildings is not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood, which is residential and low commercial. The charming character of Larchmont Village has been under assault in recent years: the inevitable effects of development have been increased traffic, noise and congestion. The very qualities that make Larchmont such a desirable place to live are being undermined.
Latimer Deserves Re-Election
As a relatively new resident of Larchmont and Mamaroneck Town, I've been impressed by the energy Assemblyman George Latimer shows, on an on-going basis, to reach out to his constituents.
Mam'k GOP Campaign Email Confusing, Unethical
I received an email this week calling itself “The Village of Mamaroneck Newsletter.” (The subject line was “ News from the Village of Mamaroneck ” and the senders attested to be “ Your friends and neighbors in 10543.” “ We are excited to introduce our candidates for the 2006 Village Trustee Elections,” the headline trumpeted – but this facsimile of an official village message then proceeded to introduce only the three Republican candidates, saying they would provide “Responsible, Independent leadership for the village of Mamaroneck.”
Naturally I found this confusing, since I was under the impression that there were four other candidates, and I didn’t think governments were supposed to endorse candidates for office! Ah, but finally I found it, in tiny letters at the very bottom of the page: “Endorsed by the Republican, Independence, and the Conservative Parties of the Village of Mamaroneck.” It looked like a village announcement, but was in fact a partisan campaign email.
NY State campaign law bans political parties from representing the government in their campaign materials, yet clearly this message was intended to make readers believe the Village of Mamaroneck was endorsing these three Republican candidates. This is at best unethical and at worst illegal. I suggest that Mamaroneck Village voters show true responsibility and independence by withholding their votes from office seekers who would advertise themselves in such a dodgy way. If these candidates can’t campaign honestly, how can we expect them to govern with integrity?
Former Chief Grateful for Tribute to Slain Officer
The following is a copy of a letter sent to Larchmont Police Officer Matthew Irving, president of the Larchmont Police Benevolent Association:
Please accept my heartfelt gratitude and enthusiastic commendation for the outstanding tribute your association presented to the family of Officer Arthur Dematte and the citizens of Larchmont. (See: Slain Larchmont Officer Honored: Arthur Dematte.) I am sure it is most reassuring to Arthur’s family and to those of us who served with him that his character, his efforts and his supreme sacrifice are remembered by those who knew him and by those who followed after him in the police department and in the community as well.
The way in which you and your membership conducted yourselves throughout the day reflected most favorably upon the Larchmont Police Department, Chief Stephen D. Rubeo and the Village of Larchmont. The professional manner and military bearing of those officers present demonstrated to all in attendance that Larchmont’s police Officers are well disciplined, professional, dedicated and ever mindful of the grave responsibilities inherent with their calling.
During my years of service, it was an honor and a privilege to serve with my contemporaries, and I only regret that it was not possible for me to continue to serve along with the many fine officers who have joined the department since my retirement. It is most rewarding, however, to know under the leadership of Chief Rubeo and P.B.A presidents such as yourself, that your membership is most capable of carrying the Larchmont Police Department forward into the 21st century in the highest traditions of the Department. I trust that Larchmont residents will continue to support the Department in full recognition of this most valuable resource that so readily and capably desires to serve them.
My thoughts and prayers go with every member in all that you do to carry forth your essential mission. May God continue to remain between each of you and all the dark places you must go.
William J. Keresey
Call to Work in Unison on Fields
I am calling on all elected and school officials in Larchmont and Mamaroneck to work in unison for the good of all of our children. We must have fields for all of our kids to play whatever sport they like, rain or shine. Practically speaking, because of the numbers of young people involved, this means turfing over a few regulation-sized fields in and around the Town of Mamaroneck and the Villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck.
I have lived in the area for 27 years and have "grown" three children here. They have all played soccer in the mud. My two daughters have had the immense pleasure of competing on the state level for the proud Mamaroneck Tigers field hockey team. They will remember this experience for the rest of their lives. From traveling state-wide I can report that our facilities simply do not measure up. We have played at school districts all over our division, the region and the state. Some teams still play on beautifully groomed, single sport fields. Most play on turf, and, in fact, field hockey is an entirely different game when played on an artificial surface. This is true of other sports, too. Throughout New York State, turf fields have become the standard.
Obviously, our fantastic girls have made the best of a poor situation. I am hoping those coming behind them will not have to and that the future Tigers will train and compete on fields similar to their competitors. Why does this matter? Because sports are a great thing for kids!
Mamaroneck is a terrific school district that has made investments in many important areas of our children's lives in recent years - academics, the arts, building facilities - for which I am very appreciative. Fields are in the unique situation of being in the control of the schools and the municipalities. Please, everyone work together. We can figure this out, and the residents will gather with you and do their part, too.
Vet Supports School Board Plan on Kemper Monument
As a veteran, I support the school board's plan to give the Kemper monument greater prominence at Mamaroneck High School.
It upholds honor to make the monument more prominent, still on the donated land, and closer to the school. Simply alleging that any move is dishonorable can't change the fact that memorials get moved all the time. Shifting arguments to say that the trees and view are sacred does not make it so. Claiming to speak for veterans can't hide the old political trick of ignoring vets who disagree. Launching personal attacks at members of the board honors no one.
And asserting that the Kemper monument inherently loses honor if moved makes a strange kind of honor, that applies only if they win but disappears if they don't get their way.
This isn't just about games, though with more sports than in earlier days, and girls joining boys, our community has a stark need for additional fields. Beyond any sport, it's about opportunities of all kinds for all our kids.
It's also about democracy. Some have suggested that the controversy means the school board should surrender but that would hand veto power over democratic decisions to any pressure group with money, time, and access to publicity. We should allow our elected representatives to do their legal duty, balancing honor for students past with concern for students present and future.
Support The Call for More Fields
I am writing to you as a parent of three young boys who are keen to participate in sports and as a volunteer coach of recreation and travel soccer and baseball teams. We implore you to support our call to expand the playing field facilities available in the Larchmont Mamaroneck area and to improve the quality of the facilities that do exist.
Maximize Usable Field Space
I know this note joins many others in support of all measures potentially helpful in improving field availability in Larchmont/Mamaroneck for our children. The relevant points, in my mind:
- As we have severely limited available acreage, it is incumbent upon us to maximize the utility of the fields we already have with such measures as artificial turf placement, lighting and improved drainage.
- For the same reason, any possibility of new field construction must be pursued vigorously, including the movement of the Kemper Memorial.
Since recent appeals have been decided in favor of the School Board, any hesitation on the part of the board in moving forward on constructing these fields will only allow further legal action to be attempted by those opposing their formation.
- Organized sports are unquestionably amongst the most important offerings our towns and villages can provide for our children, not only in terms of their physical health but in maintaining a healthy outlet for their time and energy. In our relatively prosperous community, and with our very high taxes, full support for these endeavors must be a priority. The use of funds for such projects as beautification rather than supporting our athletic programs by maximizing usable field space seems unconscionable.
We owe it to our kids, during an era in which childhood obesity and drug/alcohol use are becoming increasingly widespread, to do the most we can to support organized sports, which is the best known antidote to these rampant problems.
Deborah Shatzkes, M.D.
Trustee Murphy: Keep Kemper Park, Work Together on Fields
On Monday night, the Mamaroneck Village Board of Trustees voted 5 to 0 to allow the law firm of Reed Smith, on a pro bono basis, to pursue a lawsuit against the Mamaroneck School Board. The objective of this suit would be to retain the Kemper Memorial in its current location.
I am shocked at some of the inflammatory language that has been used by members of the community and the press to demonize members of the school board. I know that School Board members have the most difficult elective job in the community, which they perform in an exemplary fashion. I find the proof of that statement every night at my dining room table as I watch my children do their homework and become enthusiastic learners. The education of our children is the primary job of the School Board, and in this duty they excel.
Kudos to Anna Maria's
Kudos to Anna Maria's Restaurant for staying open Saturday (Sept. 2) during the Ernesto induced blackout on Chatsworth Avenue. (See Newest Restaurant Has Roots in Naples & Gracie Mansion.) Anna Maria Santorelli and Anne Karr, both executive chefs and owners, cooked by candlelight with the kitchen door open for some ventilation while patrons ate in the romantic setting of a dining room bathed in candlelight.
The food was excellent, and a very difficult night turned out beautifully.
Phyllis Wittner (Town Councilwoman)
Appalled at Sending Alleged Sex Abusers to Trinity Retreat
I am appalled by reading that The Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont is where the New York Archdiocese is sending aging priests who have faced sexual abuse allegations that were deemed credible.
I believe the archdiocese has an obligation to assure our community that these priests cannot roam freely amongst our Larchmont children. No notification has to be issued to our community because of legal technicalities.
We should know more specific information about these individuals before I believe there is no danger to our community. What is old? How old do you have to be before you lose your desire to molest children? Why has it taken the archdiocese decades to evaluate these people? If that is the case, I don't trust their decision making. I don't believe that "age" is a factor when prosecuting pedophiles in the legal system.
Instead of living in a Larchmont Mansion, I believe a "House of Penitentiary" would have been more suitable, where they can live amongst other child abuse violators and criminals.
Problems Persist at Pool
After ten months of work, a delayed opening, and at a cost of $6.8 million, we finally get to use the refurbished Hommocks Pool. Like a previous letter writer I am also disappointed with the result.
The indoor pool area has the appearance of a large warehouse structure. Instead of an open roof and blue sky we now have a complex array of pipes, tubes and steel girders. The pool area alone has 69 lights (there are so many I may have missed some). All are lit on a bright clear sunny day, even as the temperature nears 100 degrees and we are being asked to conserve energy.
Some other problems I observed in the men’s locker room include:
While it is wonderful to finally have the pool available, it appears to me that taxpayers have again been handed an expensive bill of goods.
Don't Move the Kemper Memorial
As a young legislative aide to former Assemblyman Ron Tocci, as a concerned citizen and as a Mamaroneck High School graduate, I have sat back and watched as the fate of the Kemper Memorial has been debated. I watched with amazement at the logic for moving a memorial to brave young people who gave up their future so that Western civilization could endure. Memorials are supposed to be everlasting, not shuffled from one spot to another.
Forget all the reasons for moving the memorial, no matter how compelling or utilitarian. Does it matter that the American cemetery overlooking the Normandy landing beaches is prime real estate for development? No. It is hallowed ground, where some of the men whose names appear on the Kemper Memorial are interred, and no one would dream to suggest anything so crass. Moving the memorial, no matter where, dishonors the Kemper family's wishes.
While most of my classmates were oblivious to the presence of the memorial on school grounds, I would make a point to have lunch in front of it regularly. I would sit and reflect on those who left the safety of our wonderful community to ensure its survival. I would eat my lunch there because I share something with the Kempers and Cantors and Schaeffers and Shays; there is a Sganga, my great-uncle, whose name appears on this memorial.
For some of the young men whose names appear on the carved stone at the head of the MHS campus, there is no overseas interment, no headstone marking the sacrifice they made for their country. Men like my Great-Uncle Joseph Sganga who were lost at sea have no final resting place, just a thoughtful, unpretentious memorial that sits as a reminder of their ultimate sacrifice.
To move it would be to dishonor sacred ground.
Jean Kemper Responds on Park
Since on June 29 Ronda Lustman again wrote a letter to the Larchmont Gazette and again, as other of her letters, it was full of misstatements and obfuscations, I feel it incumbent to respond.
Ms. Lustman highlights a phrase in the deed to the park in an attempt to change its meaning. The deed says clearly “to hold and maintain in perpetuity for public and school uses.” (Emphasis added.)
She states that an effort has been made to portray me as a donor. That is absolutely untrue. Neither I nor my sons has ever suggested I was a donor.
Ms Lustman maintains that I or my sons and all and any others who protest this abdication of the deed and gift are seeking vengeance on the school district. This is ugly and untrue.
Finally, Ms Lustman concludes her letter saying that it is the morals and ethics of those who misrepresent the facts that are suspect. That is a statement I agree with.
Jean Kemper (Hoffmann)
No, Let’s Really Get It Straight on Park
The Cantors and other Scarsdale residents continue to attempt to define “park” in a manner that suggests the Kemper property should resemble a cemetery. There is no basis for this restrictive definition. In fact, the phrase they use, “memorial park”, does not appear in the deed at all. Our community has several parks, some of which contain all of the following features: war memorials, playing fields, tennis courts, roads, trees, grass, sidewalks and parking lots, including Flint, Harbor Island and Memorial Park. Events such as carnivals, movies and concerts, as well as sports events are held in these parks. Our community has never considered such combinations of park use to be disrespectful or improper.
The deed describes both the donor’s intent and what the district accepted as its responsibility. The exact words are: to “hold and maintain in perpetuity for public and school uses (emphasis added) 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 service of the United States of America in World War II: all of said parcels to be collectively known as 'Richard Kemper Park'." The deed does not say that the property could never be altered. The deed does not specify what the “public and school uses” should be – the Kempers left that to the discretion of the school district. The deed does not give Kemper descendants any rights to exercise control over the district’s use of the property. (See: Deed.)
Despite current attempts to portray Jean Kemper as a donor, she was not a party to this agreement. Her statements about other people’s intent are hearsay. The personal sentiments of a district employee do not alter or define the agreement between the school trustees and the donor. In a discussion of community intent, it should be noted that from the time of the donation to the present, the Kemper property has never been designated as a park on any town or village map.
The district did not appeal the lower court’s ruling “on a technicality.” The issues of the interpretation of the deed and the right of the Cantors to be parties to this litigation are the central and only issues of the case. The Appellate Division found that the decision of the lower court was incorrect as to both issues.
The district’s proposal honors its agreement with the Kempers. It preserves the memorial stone and most of the trees, improves school safety and creates a significantly more beautiful park setting for the memorial in addition to providing the school and community with a new soccer field. It is the morals and ethics of those who misrepresent the facts, selectively and incorrectly quote the deed, invent restrictions and try to exact personal vengeance on the school district through media campaigns and vexatious litigation that are suspect.
College Process Leads Students to Overinvest in the "Right" Choice
For many students and families, I think the quest for the "right" college is not simply a quest for status, interest in brand name or a pursuit of the “best” rankings. I have increasingly come to understand that the search process itself and the imperative that parents and students get on the road to the extent that they must these days causes huge investments in particular outcomes. After an extensive process often involving second visits to a number of campuses (sometimes far from home for "geographic diversity"), when a student finally identifies the college that feels "right" it is because it meets the largest number of individual criteria for that particular student. And while the quest for status is one of those criteria for some, it is not the driving force that many mistakenly think it is.
I understand that the process is intended to help students learn about themselves and to identify qualities in different college environments. But the forms it takes, including the aggressive marketing campaigns that colleges themselves conduct to attract the "right" students, contribute to the pressures students feel in the current college climate. After pounding the pavement, and sometimes being expected to act like a little marketer, when the student finally decidse upon certain specific preferences and can see him or herself in a particular environment, it can be very crushing and disappointing to then be rejected. An example of the demand is a student being directed by a college she has already interviewed at to attend its high school visit - missing an AP class to do so – to further show interest.
I worry that the process itself, which directs us to go college shopping, conduct visits, and "demonstrate interest" in the multiple forms that can take and which entails so much time, energy, commitment and resources, itself yields strong investment in and/or expectations of certain outcomes and huge disappointment when they are not met.
I do not mean to suggest that 17- and 18-year-olds should always get what they want or think they want. But it is the process itself that yields strong investment and expectations of outcomes and that makes the rejection all the more crushing. And it is not always interest in brand name schools that define it as the "right" school or the environment of choice.
I think there is inherent irony in a process that treats prospectives as if they are in a buyers’ market when, in fact, for many, and maybe all, it is more like a sellers’ market. Food for thought.
Jane C. Hoffman
The Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park is Sacred Ground
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has stood to honor the sons and daughter from our community who gave their lives for our country in WWII.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has been the sole place on earth that many families pay their respects to their loved ones who died in WWII.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has been a place of healing, comfort and solace in times of loss for local citizens.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has been a gathering point during times of national crisis from the end of WWII to Korea to Vietnam to 9/11 to Iraq.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has played a significant role in local history, a focal point of youth to the aged, from Scouts to war veterans.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has been an important part of our students’ education about world affairs and the price of freedom.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has seen the trees planted as a living memorial to those who died grow into majestic maturity providing a beautiful, shaded, peaceful sanctuary for people of all ages to gather and for individuals to spend quiet time in contemplation.
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has served as a place for young mothers to bring their toddlers and let them romp around, safe from ball playing and the rougher activities of older children.
For almost 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has been respected by all School Boards, whose members have faithfully honored the intent of the Kemper family and the promises of their predecessors, as expressed in the deeds, that all the parcels of land comprising the Memorial Park collectively:
“be held and maintained in perpetuity for public and school uses 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 United States of America in World War II.” (See: Excerpt from Kemper Deed.)
For 60 years the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park has been sacred ground.
What more needs to be said?
Up the Street Without a Paddle?
I recently found a pair of kayak paddles at Dog Beach in Larchmont and I would really like to get them back in the hands of their owners. I gave the owners a few hours to return for them while I was out paddling my kayak, but they never returned.
It would cost at least $300 to replace them. Hopefully, they are yours, but if not, please think about who you know that paddles and ask them if they went up the street without their paddles last week.
I will gladly reunite the owners with their paddles in Larchmont, if they can supply a basic description.
You can reach me at (914) 630-1887.
Thank you .... and now back to the news.
Thanks For "Snow White" Response
Just wanted to thank the community for the great response to our Girl Scout production of "Snow White". (See: Scouts Put on "Snow White" to Help Mam'k Pre-School.) There was a great turnout (the Chatsworth auditorium was full) and we raised $770 for the Head Start Center, which is pretty good for a troop of 10 fourth grade girls. Our next step will be to buy the supplies requested by the center and to deliver them.
The girls had a great time, and thanks to one of the moms who taped the show, they will be having a television debut on LMC-TV as well.
Again, thanks to all who helped with the "Snow White" production.
I Remember Cherry Lawn
I read Jesse Birnbaum's letter on the closing of Cherry Lawn driving range. I, too, will miss it although I don't play at golf.
As a child, growing up on Griffen Avenue my brothers and I used to gather the golf balls in a bucket for 50 cents ( ! ) each evening and also pick our own corn from the fields at Cherry Lawn Farm.
Another age, another time, but what wonderful memories!
Golf Range Closure Unfortunate
I have just heard that Cherry Lawn Golf Range in New Rochelle has closed.
This is exceptionally unfortunate news.
I grew up in Scrasdale - I remember when Cherry Lawn Farm was indeed a farm. A a simple shed off Weaver Street contained produce grown in fields (now condos) in back.
And now this...
That range is all I have known for many years.
Kudos on Constitution Park
Finally, the neglected end of Constitution Park is being cleaned up. For as long as I can remember (and I attended St. Augustines grammar school across the street) this bit of very visible public parkland/open space has lain in leaf/branch/potato-chip-bag covered misery.
Congratulations to Mayor Liz Feld and to Tom Curnin and Chris Verni for the efforts to get this looking good!
This was a very simple and ultimately valuable change.
Nichinsky: Candidate For All
We believe that Robin Nichinsky epitomizes the exact kind of candidate all of us, regardless of race or economic status, would want representing our kids. Whether it is convincing the school district to purchase translation equipment so non-English speaking members of the Latino community can participate in school meetings or creating the CORE program to teach conflict resolution or staying up into the night making scenery for a school play, Robin has been unwavering over the past 13 years in her dedication to our schools.
As her close friends, we can tell you that we have sat at dinners and listened to her mull over ideas such as how our schools could better serve children who are not the highest of achievers. When we meet for coffee our first conversation is often about the schools, her present projects and how to most effectively make things work. When our own daughters were applying to colleges and we worked in the
We know Robin to be an extremely compassionate, intelligent and approachable person who will do her utmost to promote equity for all the children in our community.
Ruth Obernbreit and
Central School Parents Support Nichinsky for School Board
How fortunate we are that the Selection Committee has nominated Robin Nichinsky as one of the candidates for the Mamaroneck School Board. She is uniquely qualified for this position as she has worked tirelessly over the past decade volunteering her time for the schools and the community.
Robin left a legacy of programming at Central School which included the development of the following outstanding programs:
1) CORE program (Communicating with Others Respectfully Everyday) -- Central's conflict resolution program developed by Robin Nichinsky through a grant from the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation. This ongoing program teaches respect and tolerance through school-wide themes and peer mediation. Murray Avenue's new "Roar" program is based on her model.
2) Home Language Program -- Parents are contacted about school events and announcements in their home language. This program meets the needs of the many families in our community who do not speak English. Robin led the way in creating this service and finding parents to support it.
3) Spanish Translation -- As an outgrowth of the Home Language Program, the PTA began translating much of their communication into Spanish. Under Robin's leadership, the PTA convinced the school district to purchase translation equipment so PTA meetings and speakers could be enjoyed by those who speak Spanish.
We gratefully support her candidacy and look forward to her insightful presence on the Board.
Little League Responds: VP, Coaches, Offered Help
You have printed the letter sent by Mr. Frederick Weiland to the Larchmont Mamaroneck Little League (LMLL), copies of which Mr. Weiland provided to various news organizations and public officials. It is not our normal policy to discuss player assignments in the media, but since Mr. Weiland has chosen publicly to attack a dedicated volunteer who has donated hundreds of hours of his time over the last several years to LMLL and the children of our community, we feel compelled to provide a response.
Mr. Weiland's facts are not correct. The player in question registered late. She was assigned to the next open spot in her division. Other late registrants were also assigned to open spots, in the order they registered. Only after the assignments were made, did Mr. Weiland's wife (Sandra Spinelli) contact the LMLL Softball VP, John Ortiz, and request that the player in question be switched to the team of Mr. Weiland's daughter so that it would be more convenient for Mr. Weiland and his wife to help drive the player in question to her games. It is not true, as Mr. Weiland complains, that another player was assigned to his daughter's team after Ms. Spinelli made her request.
Mr. Ortiz explained to Ms. Spinelli that LMLL does not reassign players after the teams are formed. LMLL has over 1600 children registered to play this year and more than 32 teams in our softball divisions alone. He did, however, assure her that he would try to help make sure that the player in question could attend all her games and practices. Mr. Ortiz then called the coaches of her team and asked them to help. The coaches responded admirably. They contacted the player's father and have offered to drive her to all her games and practices.
We consider it most unfortunate that Mr. Weiland, who does not appear ever to have volunteered any of his time to coach, to umpire or in any way help the baseball and softball programs of LMLL, has decided to attack in the media our program and a very dedicated volunteer.
Robert C. Muffly
Selection Committee Choices Do Not Reflect Diversity Issues
I am disappointed in the two new choices of the Committee for the Selection of School Boad Nominees. (See: Nichinsky, Jacobson & Tse Running for School Board.) Michael Jacobson would contribute very little to the increasing wisdom and grass roots culture of the new superintendent, his excellent team and present board members. I suggest that his involvement with the Citizens’ Financial Advisory Committee is appropriate. His credentials fall significantly short for the challenges facing education, both from a programmatic and fiscal stance. Saving money in education often translates to less service for those needing it most. His background does not display any understanding or contain any knowledge base for the economic and social diversity in our community.
Robin Nichinsky is a person from the old line of thinking. The Task Force on Minority Achievement’s report was short in educational wisdom. Robin did not even advocate for smaller class size. Acknowledging the need for translation of documents took too long. Not until the last superintendent resigned was there an added emphasis on the fact that the challenge facing the school district was about its diversity.
As a past member of the Human Rights Commission, I can state that Robin was too slow in facing the important issues. The HRC never got off the ground as it related to day laborers and many other issues facing the community and Mamaroneck Avenue School until they became crises. I also expressed at HRC meetings that the lack of diversity representation on the School Board was a human rights issue. Too many years without culturally competent representation on the board required an examination.
Linnet Tse is an excellent candidate. She is wonderful.
I am excited about the new and culturally competent leadership in our school district. You need not be from the communities of color or be a Latino or Latina to be culturally competent. You need to be educated about the groups you represent, inclusive in thinking, courageous in making it right, even when you are standing alone with your ethics, and possess an inner skill to help all of us feel safe. Most important, you must feel guilty enough about the lacking representation to change the scene and be recognized as a leader by the groups whose representation is lacking.
Since the board’s birth, there has been a serious lack of representation from communities that are often referred to and spoken for. The reasons given: individuals attempting to compete for a position, through a process that has become complicated and expensive, were lacking appropriate academics and specific not-for-profit experience. Suggestions to join the PTA or Selection Committee, rather than the board, were plentiful.
Let’s not pretend that issues of race do not exist. We often fail to examine the process that keeps communities from participation and then orchestrate wonderfully articulated statements and studies explaining why the “victim” is excluded, while we keep asking for their inclusion. We have a responsibility to go beyond the obvious and find better candidates. The Selection Committee is making a point that I am extremely uncomfortable with.
Add Soccer Field at Chatsworth; Solve Kemper, Skate Issues
Now that the Village election is over, I'd like to again consider the proposed move of the Kemper Memorial at Mamaroneck High School. This site has been identified by the School Board as the only viable location for a needed soccer field, a position that created much unnecessary enimity among neighbors and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees.
After attending a soccer game on a field at Central School, I wondered why such a field couldn't be built at Chatsworth School where there appears to be sufficient space. The Chatsworth field is a paved surface which is hot in the summer, rough on the knees (should one trip) and an overly attractive site for skateboarders. While the construction of a grassy soccer field would be a nuisance at first, it would remove a large impervious surface, thus improving the environment and making P.E. easier on the kids. Mostly, it would provide a soccer field to the community and remove a source of animosity. The money spent on legal fees could instead be spent on the field itself.
I sent this suggestion to the School Board via e-mail and got no response. Perhaps our new mayor and Village Board could take it under consideration and work with the new schools superintendent to examine the possibility of such a solution.
Regret on Kemper Court Ruling
I am sorry that the Supreme Court ruled the way that it did. (See: Court Rules for School Board on Kemper Park.) I cannot believe that Mamaroneck High School started this whole mess.
When I was a young Mamaroneck student and up to my ears in naivete, I never gave a second thought to that monument. After 22 years in the United States Air Force and teaching the operational level of war at Air Command and Staff College, I now can truly appreciate the sacrifices of those who made our life and this world a better place.
Unfortunately, the court's decision reflects today's society and shows people are willing to forget about the "Greatest Generation."
It comes down to... "what's in it for me?"
A soccer field?
Again, I am sorry.
Lt. Col. Joe Lanzetta, USAF, MHS '80
Larchmonters Helping Recent Immigrants
Readers may not be aware of the volunteer work of some Larchmont residents on behalf of recent immigrants in New Rochelle. In an effort to help new immigrants learn English, a number of Larchmont residents volunteer weekly to teach English as a second language at the Adult Learning Center on Main St. in New Rochelle. Some teach mothers in the afternoon who are able to come to the classes because the Center provides child care. Working men and women attend the evening session meeting twice a week in small classes.
While the students pay a modest fee, the Center is sustained by private donations. The Adult Learning Center is currently soliciting financial help from the surrounding communities as it organizes its annual fundraiser to be held at Beckwith Pointe on Thursday evening, March 9th. Please consider attending the dinner dance or sending a contribution to assist the Center's work in teaching these immigrants, many of whom work in Larchmont.
(The Center is located at 572B Main Steet New Rochelle, 10805. For more information or to volunteer at the Center call 633-7298. )
Pat Pasalic, Mary Spollen & Lorraine Stratis
Thanks to Snow Crews
We all must congratulate Joe Bedard and the Larchmont DPW for a superb job of plowing us out of this massive snow storm. Their work over the weekend is just another great example of why I think our small crew is the best in Westchester County for sure.
The DPW team worked tirelessly from Saturday afternoon all through the night and into Sunday afternoon to keep our roads passable.
By yesterday afternoon, even though it continued to snow until 4:30 or so, all the major roads were in fine shape and the side streets had been cleared of the bulk of the snow.
And when Joe and most of the crew went home to sleep yesterday afternoon, a smaller crew remained on the job to keep at clearing the side streets.
On behalf of all the people of our Village I want to express our deep appreciation for the work that Joe and his team do for us everyday, and for their extraordinary efforts this weekend.
We must also offer much thanks to John O'Malley and his crew for clearing Village Hall and the Library so they were open for business on Monday morning.
Ken Bialo, Mayor
Better Bike Parking Needed at Station
Larchmont’s Metro North commuters are looking forward to the completion of the multimillion dollar overhaul of Larchmont Station that is now reaching its final stages. The new facilities, including an expanded indoor waiting area, enclosed overpass, and safe staircases are all welcome.
Before the station upgrade is complete, Metro North has a unique opportunity to improve the parking facilities for the growing number of Larchmont rail commuters who are choosing to forgo their cars and bicycle to the station. However, we are concerned that Metro North’s current plans for bicycle parking fall short of the real need. Current plans call for installation of racks suitable for at most 25 bikes, and of a type that are not recommended by knowledgeable bike commuting planners because they don’t properly support and secure bicycles. Daily counts during January have shown 20-25 bikes parked at the station, but Metro North should be planning for peak usage in the summer, which is much higher.
Those of us who ride bicycles to the station believe that the benefits to everyone in reduced car traffic, avoided air pollution, and overall increase in available parking space (counting commuters, not just cars) are such that better bicycle parking should be a priority for Metro North. We also believe that better parking in locations that are safe and accessible, and with racks that keep bikes standing up properly and allow for use of theft-resistant “U-locks”, will encourage even more residents to leave their gas guzzlers at home. And we note that at a cost of less than $100 per rack unit (for rack units that support 2 bikes each, this expense would be a rounding error in the overall station improvement project budget. Even non-bicyclists will benefit: proper racks will ensure that bikes are parked neatly and take up less space, and will lend a neater overall look to the station area.
If you bike to the station any time of the year, or if you’ve considered it but been deterred by the lack of adequate bike parking, you should make yourself known to Metro North. The undersigned have provided input to the Village of Larchmont and to Metro North on what we would like to see for improvements to the bike parking situation at the station. Mayor Ken Bialo and the Village have been helpful, but it’s Metro North’s construction project. A full accounting of the number of interested commuters may be influential with Metro North, so we need the support of all riders and would-be riders. Please contact Adam Glass or Jim Allen at the email addresses below to lend your voice. We have to act quickly, or else the new station construction will be completed and we will have missed the window!
Trustee Angilletta Apologizes for "Locust" Comment
It appears that my unfortunate comment to the press last Tuesday overshadowed the more important issue of why the Village of Mamaroneck should suddenly be responsible for providing a day laborer site for the entire Sound Shore. (See: Village of Mamaroneck Closes Day Labor Site.) My use of the word locusts was ill advised and a poor choice of words. I was attempting to describe the situation as one that is at times overwhelming for the Village and was not intended to demean anyone. I apologize if my comment offended anyone.
As a first generation American, I am very familiar with the immigrant experience and appreciate the difficulty some new residents may have assimilating into a new environment. That in no way should hinder any community's obligations to enforce the law and improve and protect the quality of life for all Village residents.
After having made a sincere effort that has not succeeded, it has become readily apparent that a regional problem requires a regional solution and it cannot be dumped on the Village of Mamaroneck. We need to focus on the core issue which is, why any municipality should be responsible for providing a hiring facility for private contractors and how we can eliminate the problems that inevitably occur when large groups of unemployed men congregate in public parks. I look forward to working with state, county and other municipal officials in addressing these issues.
Rights Commission Deplores Rhetoric on Day Laborers
The Mamaroneck-Larchmont Human Rights Commission deplores the rhetoric recently used by a Mamaroneck Village official to describe Latino day laborers seeking work in our community. It is dehumanizing and offensive to describe any group of people as “locusts.” We also disagree that these men, many of whom live in or around Mamaroneck and are merely trying to feed their families, give nothing back to our community. In fact, our community benefits from the services and diversity they provide. Whatever the merits of the issues, it is incumbent upon community leaders to appeal to the best within us, and not to use language in public debate that stirs up ethnic and racial animosities.
We are not alone in dealing with this issue, which is being faced by many communities across our region and the nation. Our commission believes it is important to find a solution which helps these workers continue to contribute to the rich fabric of our diverse community. We urge our community leaders to come together, in a respectful way, to resolve this crisis quickly and, in the interim, to keep a site available so these men may feed their families until a more permanent solution can be found.
The Mamaroneck-Larchmont Human Rights Commission
Call for Officials to Explain Proliferation of Banks
Re: Mr. Frankel's letter, "Why so many Banks?" and pharmacies, I, too, have been wondering why banks and CVS stores seem to be opening every few hundred feet in Larchmont and Mamaroneck. Is there a town official who can respond to this question? Is no one able to control or zone for this?
It would be a shame for this excellent observation and concern to remain unanswered. I understand the next bank will be built directly across Anderson's book store, replacing a less bulky and much needed gas station. I would like to know the logic in accepting this new bank, among many others.
Call to Boycott Mamaroneck Until Day Labor Site Resolved
As a life long resident of Mamaroneck and Larchmont I am appalled by the actions of the Mamaroneck Village board to close the day labor site and by the words of board member Joseph Angilletta. Mr. Angilletta’s obvious racism, ignorance and xenophobia surface Mamaroneck’s dirty little secret for all to see and it’s not pretty. I wish to remind the board that all of their families were immigrants to this country. As disgusting as referring to neighbors as locusts, Mr. Angilletta should remember it was not too long ago that the community pejoratively labeled Italian immigrants as “WOPs” (Without Passport). Mr. Angilletta must be removed from office as we cannot tolerate a bigot in our midst.
I find it disturbing that Mamaroneck Village claims that Larchmont and the Town of Mamaroneck have no locations for workers to meet employers and therefore they won’t either. Let’s see: a very troubled police department, rampant nepotism in Village hiring policies, zoning decisions based on self-interest and now renewed racism. If this Village board considers secession, I say good riddance.
All three municipalities are run by Republicans and seem to be unable to communicate. That’s something we voters should remember. I will no longer shop in Mamaroneck or do business with Mamaroneck-based contractors until this matter is resolved. I urge all members of our community to boycott Mamaroneck businesses.
Edward J. Merians
After Hours Construction at Pool Disturbing the Peace
While the Hommocks Pool is Midway Through Renovation, officials from the Town of Mamaroneck and the Mamaroneck School District meet every two weeks with LAN Associates, the general contractor for the pool project. The common goal is to meet the deadline for the 2006 summer season pool opening.
One of the things the team has failed to keep in mind is that residents live adjacent to the pool’s parking lot. It is not being monitored before or after working hours. The police, the Town’s supervisor/administrator’s office and the school district office have been called numerous times.
Since September, there has been an occasional night crew that can arrive any time, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. The day crew begins every morning before 8 am on weekdays and before 9 am on Saturdays operating heavy mechanical machinery to load, unload or dispose of steel and concrete with no regard to the noise that bellow throughout the parking lot. Oversize tractor trailers, fork lifts, cranes and open flat bed trucks make their way into the parking lot. Most recently, the lot has begun to look like an I- 95 truck stop where vehicles are left with engines running for hours with no visible driver. This has been observed and reported many times.
The workers are disturbing the peace, and we thought there was an ordinance in place to prevent this from occurring. Some of the residents are Town and school employees while others are employed elsewhere. There are many residents with school age children and others that are senior citizens. Though some have acknowledged the outrageous noise levels, they have shared that “it wouldn’t do any good to complain because the job is going to continue anyway,” or “no one will listen and they will just ignore you.” We should all be entitled to restful sleep, especially when the rent with utilities is approximately $1500 to $1700 per month. This just to be treated as “second class citizens.”
We hope the town and school officials will discuss this at their next meeting with LAN Associates and urge their representatives to monitor the workers for the contractors of this pool project.
Jack & Mary Lou Petruzzelli
Human Rights Commission Condemns Desecration at Créche
The Mamaroneck-Larchmont Human Rights Commission would like to add our voice to the many others in our community who have condemned the cowardly and disgraceful desecration of the Nativity scene at Sts. John and Paul Church in Larchmont. (See: Crèche Vandalized.) Such acts offend the entire community and should be condemned in the strongest terms. We stand with the members of the church and others in hoping that the culprits are brought to justice.
No Exceptions for Palmer Apts.
As a resident living near Palmer Avenue, I am concerned about Esposito Builders' plans to construct two apartment buildings at 77 North Avenue and 2101 Palmer. This area is already congested with traffic and noise.
Further, it seems aesthetically unwise to allow the construction of huge buildings which would tower over their tiny little lots.
We should uphold our zoning codes and no exceptions should be made for this project.
Moved by Larchmont WWII Survivor
Everything interesting happens to me in Larchmont. From fire engines (British Visitor Gets Rescue & Lift from LFD) to French toast (Brit Appreciates Local Visit, Local French Toast) on this occasion it was Rachel Kriegler. My wife and I walked into her store ( Ira Kriegler Designs on the Boston Post Road) to browse, Rachel introduced herself and for the next one and a half hours we were kept enthralled by her amazing experiences of survival in eight labor camps during the last years of World War II.
What an incredible person she is, and what we found so gratifying was that although her experiences required tremendous effort and cleverness from herself she was constant in her thanks to others. Whilst she told us of some of the horrors that some people were responsible for, she found many good people of all nationalities who showed kindness along the way. Without that help she may not have survived. Her story of being in a living hell, the battle to keep going, the relatives and friends she lost was told with a mixture of tears and interest.
All in all, meeting Rachel was one of my most motivating human stories that I've ever listened to and gave me an extra insight into both the good and evil that exists in this world. Rachel deservedly triumphed in the end and it was fantastic to recognize her appreciation for being in Larchmont and having built a wonderful family around her.
I think Larchmont is lucky to have Rachel as well.
Asking Zoning Board to Reject Palmer Ave Project
My wife and I want to state that we are categorically against the proposed zoning changes sought for the building project envisioned on the non-conforming property located at 77 North Avenue/2101 Palmer Avenue. The scope and nature of this design is not at all in the best interest of the community as it would drastically change the character of my neighborhood in appearance, congestion and safety. Presently, there is a “heavy” flow of traffic from the shopping center adjacent to this proposed project. Adding more cars and congestion will be hazardous and unduly tax the capacity of the adjacent roadways where we reside. The proposed height of the buildings envisioned is also troubling as it will obstruct/pollute the skyline and erode our Village features.
The Zoning Board must jealously guard against this type of encroachment to over-building when it seeks to change the character of our Village and safety of local streets. It will be impossible to put that genie back in the bottle, and will only lead to further requests to add height to existing or new buildings throughout the Village. We ask the Zoning Board to reject this project in its present shape and form.
Richard & Mary Mannix
Teen Alcohol Abuse is Varied, Complex
As a former Larchmonter and current member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have met many teenagers in recovery and countless others whose drinking careers began in their teens or earlier. My opinion is that author Koren Zailckas (see: "Drunken Girlhood" Author Helps Parents More Than Students), who came to speak at Mamaroneck High School, painted the situation with far too broad a stroke. The reasons for starting to drink are as varied as the number of problem drinkers who are attempting to recover. To attempt to isolate a cause for excessive drinking is to vastly oversimplify a very complex issue.
Long experience tells us, however, that no amount of cajoling, punishment, intervention, or treatment will stop an individual until that person is truly ready to stop drinking.
Educator Applauds Slavery Website & History Lectures
I wish to extend my congratulations to Larchmont for creating a website which addresses Slavery in Mamaroneck Township. I have conducted similar research on the early African presence in Scarsdale. It is my hope that this history will be infused one day into the present history of Scarsdale.
As an educator I applaud Mamaroneck High School' for creating a lecture series by prominent historians. The youth of today must know the past to understand the present and prepare for the future. Mamaroneck is indeed providing its students with the incalculable gift of knowledge.
Phyllis C. Murray
Vote Change May be "Real Mess"
The Larchmont Village Board may have created a real mess by their order to change the voting location from Chatsworth School to the Village Center. (See: All of Larchmont Will Vote in One Place For Village Elections.) Instead of reducing congestion they willy-nilly have produced more.
The principal problem is that there is little parking available at the Village Center. The lot behind the French-American School is controlled and used by that school during the day. There is a small portion reserved for the Library staff. Larchmont Avenue and Cherry Avenue have restrictions during the afternoon, and the open spaces are used by library patrons and those with business in the Village Hall and Police Station. The Chatsworth School area does not have ample parking but it is more generous than the Village Center.
Also, lost will be the convenience for those parents who drop off or pick up their children and stay to vote. And, to those who live near the school and can easily walk there - think Addison Street, Larchmont, Beach, Wendt, Chatsworth and Forest Park Avenues and Nassau Road.
The Village Board had an extremely short discussion on this important issue. There was little time or notice of this intended change given to the public. That may have been intentional. The benefits of this change are unknown.
An unanswered question is: Why during the general elections, when there are many more ballot items to supervise, there are three voting locations while Larchmont Village, with so many fewer ballot issues, must only have one? It definitely is an unfriendly act to the voter.
Grass Growing on School Roof?
In regard to the article on "5-year repair and maintenance plan" for the local schools, and the photo with the caption "An estimated $500,000 is the cost of replacing the roof over the Forest Avenue wing at Chatsworth Avenue School" -- is it impertinent to ask why grass and even a shrub have been allowed to grow between the roof tiles? And if the taxpayers might have been spared at least some of that cost if --well, I'm sure you get my drift.
Judy Doolin Spikes
Apartments Off Palmer "Unsuitable"
The apartment complex being proposed for the area directly behind Palmer Avenue at North Avenue is unsuitable for this location for a number of reasons.
To build two four-story buildings with 54 apartments as proposed by Esposito Builders would require a number of major variances, two of which are for building height and number of apartment units. A four-story building (2 1/2 allowed) at the southern end of the complex (behind the Greenhouse Hair Design) where the property is at a slightly higher grade than Palmer would loom over the neighborhood of one-story buildings. Granting a height variance for this project would open the door to similar requests from the buildings nearby on Palmer Avenue. Once a variance is granted, how could the Zoning Board deny such future requests?
This project would exacerbate an already difficult traffic situation on Palmer Avenue. Additional development would make it impossible.
The noise impact on the Pine Brook neighborhood is also a concern. While the buildings themselves may be a better barrier than currently exists in some parts of the property, there is the issue of noise abatement between the buildings. The developer’s proposal of a 10-foot wooden fence between the buildings and I-95 & Metro-North is sorely inadequate. It's ludicrous to even suggest that the fence could replace the rock outcropping that would be removed.
Call Congress On Aid for Darfur
In February, 2005, you featured Mamaroneck High School’s Jam for Sudan, an event that I along with many other students organized to raise money and awareness to stop the genocide in Darfur. Nearly two years later, the situation is much the same; the only change has been the growing figures. Over 400,000 civilians have been killed in efforts to eliminate their race from Sudan, and more than 2.5 million have been forced to leave their homes. Survivors in refugee camps face attacks from government militia, systematic rape, starvation, and disease on a daily basis.
Larchmont and Mamaroneck residents need to maintain an active role in demanding that their Congressional representatives do what is necessary to put an end to the killing. Call Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s office at
We can help bring the stability we are so fortunate to have to a place that has been described by the UN as“short of hell on earth.”
Apartments' Impact Should Be Carefullyl Considered
I am writing to express my concern as to the proposal to construct an apartment building, a project presently before the Planning Board and Zoning Board of the Village of Larchmont. The proposed project is to be built on North Avenue behind and parallel to Palmer Avenue adjacent to the shopping center that includes the Guitar Center, Leonardo’s, Almarc, and a few additional stores.
The proposal is to add 54 dwelling units with parking for 108 automobiles and to remove a 19 foot high rock outcropping that serves as a natural barrier to Interstate-95. The proposal also includes access to the apartment building from a road adjacent to the shopping center which already is always congested and quite limited.
Given the amount of dwelling units being proposed and the amount of parking spaces to be provided and the limited access, the increase in traffic, noise and congestion will be substantial.
I understand the desire to provide residential housing for individuals in the Village of Larchmont and that the neighboring commercial property owners would welcome this proposal since it may provide a lift to what some may consider an underutilized section of the Village. However, given the size of the proposal, the large number of dwelling units and parking spaces proposed, the impact of this project on this section of the Village will be substantial and must be studied and carefully evaluated. How these additional dwelling units would impact the infrastructure of the Village - as to local schools, traffic, noise, emergency services and congestion - should be carefully considered.
Michael J. Alfieri
Not Too Late: Come Work for Progressive Candidates
It is not too late to make a difference this election season.
This weekend offers a number of opportunities to help “change the course” of national policy by supporting congressional candidates who share a commitment to restoring common sense and accountability to government action … candidates who oppose our current administration’s occupation of Iraq, erosion of legal protections, apathy about our skyrocketing national debt, and neglect of basic security for all Americans.
On Saturday, November 4, Westchester-USA (WC-USA) – a citizens group of residents in Sound Shore communities – will walk door-to-door in Rhinebeck on behalf of Kirsten Gillibrand (D). Gillibrand is challenging Republican incumbent John Sweeney for the House seat in NY District 20.
On Sunday, November 5, WC-USA will run a cell phone bank from a member’s home in Larchmont, on behalf of Diane Farrell (D). Diane is a vigorous opponent of the Iraq War who is trying to unseat Congressman Chris Shays (R) in Connecticut District 4.
And on Tuesday, November 7, Election Day, WC-USA members will help staff a phone bank in White Plains, to support voters turning out for John Hall (D). Hall is challenging Congresswoman Sue Kelly (R) in NY District 19.
We welcome your participation.
Westchester-USA formed after the candlelight vigils of August 2005 in support of Cindy Sheehan’s effort to discuss the Iraq War with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford. Larchmont locals Catherine Ross, a law professor, Claudia Sussman, an educator, Ben Ortiz, a scientist, and I began to shape the organization as a vehicle for enabling ordinary citizens to speak out collectively on national issues, from a local neighborhood base. We were joined by other vigil participants, including educators, lawyers, writers, artists, and various concerned citizens who are committed to changing the leadership of our country.
Since early 2006, we have hosted house parties, launched a letter writing campaign to our national elected representatives, and explored other grassroots efforts to dramatize the importance of restoring common sense and accountability to our government. Earlier this fall, we canvassed for Diane Farrell in Old Greenwich, made phone calls for Bob Casey, Jr. in Pennsylvania , and reached out to nearly 700 registered voters in Dutchess and Putnam Counties on behalf of John Hall.
Our work to engage and educate the public and elected officials will continue after the election. Shifting the national government’s focus back to the real security and needs of average Americans will require on-going vigilance, no matter who wins this Election Day. At stake is nothing less than the kind of country, and quality of life, we will leave to our children.
We encourage our neighbors to join us as we look forward to 2008
To join Westchester-USA’s election outreach efforts this weekend and afterward, and to find out more about the organization, contact email@example.com or (914) 834 3158.
Latimer Defends Environmental Policies
Although Assemblyman George Latimer's race for re-election on the Sound
Shore is uncontested, it is not unimportant. George has amassed an
Little Leagues: More Players, Fewer Fields
Given the heightening attention to the playing field crisis in our towns, the Larchmont Mamaroneck Little League would like to alert residents to specific issues for our players and our ability to fulfill our mission.
LMLL, together with Larchmont Mamaroneck Babe Ruth League, fields more than 175 teams. More than 2,400 players participate in programs ranging from 5-year-olds playing kickball to 17-year-olds in Babe Ruth baseball and softball. The LMLL and LMBRL feed players for both local school districts, who go on to field successful modified, freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams.
While the numbers of kids in recreational and travel programs swelled over the past decade (particularly in girls softball), the LMLL has lost total or partial use of the following fields:
Additionally, baseball and softball fields at Flint Park and Harbor Island must share their outfields with the soccer/lacrosse fields; this limits their use during the spring and prohibits their use in the fall. We are further limited there because of expanded use by local adult softball leagues.
None of this should be viewed as a complaint -- we certainly support more baseball, more softball, and more of all sports at all levels – this is simply the new reality we face.
Some residents may be unaware that, unlike other leagues, we spend a great chunk of our registration fees on field maintenance - which is performed several times per week on all of the fields for which we have permits during our playing seasons, except where we are restricted from doing so. This relieves our towns, villages, and schools from using their limited dollars and manpower on regular field maintenance.
We urge the officials of our local municipalities and schools – the Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Larchmont, Village of Mamaroneck, Mamaroneck Schools and Rye Neck Schools -- to seek solutions for our field-use crisis.
Suing Schools Over Kemper is An "Unconscionable Waste"
The following was sent to the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees:
I was one of the Fields for Kids members who attended the meeting on October 11, 2006.
It was encouraging to hear that our village’s elected officials have finally put the need for additional fields on its agenda. We can only hope that it was more than electioneering rhetoric, and that the issue remains in the forefront of your list of items to accomplish in the near term (although I note with some chagrin that one of the plans being considered has been around with surveys and drawings since 1999). You, like all politicians, will ultimately be judged by your actions, not your words at a televised meeting.
One of the trustees confirmed at the meeting that the Mamaroneck Village Board of Trustees had voted on a resolution to consider an action against the Mamaroneck School Board to block the proposal to move the Kemper Memorial, and this after the NYS Court of Appeals ruled on the merits on behalf of the school district. Such an action by the Board of Trustees, after the ruling in favor of the school district, is an unconscionable waste (irrespective of who takes responsibility for the village’s legal fees). Such a suit could certainly constitute a frivolous action and could subject the village to penalties and sanctions by the court.
The costs of the litigation will directly and indirectly be borne by your constituents, as all of the taxpayers will be paying for the school district's defense (even if the court does not impose the additional costs of sanctions and penalties). It seems that the veterans’ votes that you are courting by commencing this litigation will be far surpassed by the votes of the balance of the community. If you know at this point that you will not undertake the action, you should let the community know immediately. It seems contradictory at best to invite the community, other municipalities and the school board to a meeting on November 15 to cooperate in resolving the problem while at the same time planning to bring an action against the school district.
Lastly, my father was a WWII veteran who lost many friends and relatives in the war. I am absolutely certain that if he were alive today, he would be appalled by the notion of keeping children from playing on appropriate and safe fields as a result of reluctance to move a memorial to his fallen brethren. There are a multitude of examples of war memorials being moved, including here in Westchester. Moving the memorial does not dishonor those who sacrificed their lives; it honors their memories by generously giving to the next generations.
Can Vines Be Stopped?
One of the things I like best is driving down to Mamaroneck from where I live in North Salem. It makes me so sad to see all the vines that are growing up our beautiful trees and killing them along the highway and Mamaroneck Avenue.
Doesn't it bother anyone else? All those natural trees are being choked to death, and these ugly vines are covering them like blankets. What can be done to stop this from happening?
Barrie Proctor Bonacci
Real Field Proposals Needed
Five years ago, the Mamaroneck School Board developed their plan to add another varsity-sized field in an attempt to address a serious need for an additional playing field for the school district and the community at large. Those of us who are involved with recreational and club sports in our community and who have children playing school sports are impacted by the field shortage on a regular basis, as practices and games are impossible to schedule or cancelled due to too many teams vying for the inadequate amount of field space. Many of us welcomed the district’s plan for a new field and what we believed was a beautiful and respectful plan for the Kemper Memorial.
After the controversy over the Kemper Memorial came to a head during the 2004 school budget vote, there was much talk by Town and Village officials about finding alternative solutions to address the need for an additional playing field. But in the intervening years, we have seen no concrete or viable proposals.
Now that the School District has been given the legal go-ahead to proceed with their proposal, we are again hearing about “alternative solutions.” I hope that at this juncture there is more political will and community support to come up with some real proposals that will provide the Mamaroneck School District with the extra varsity-sized field that it so urgently needs and also make better use of our existing fields. I applaud the commitment of Mamaroneck Village Trustee Tom Murphy to spend funds and dedicate space for a turf field at Harbor Island “with the school having first rights to the field for Varsity sports” and I hope that other Mamaroneck Village officials share his resolution and are willing to follow through with this commitment. I know that Larchmont Village officials are actively working on plans to improve our existing village fields.
The Mamaroneck School Board has always said it would welcome alternative proposals to their plan. Many supporters of the original proposal, including myself, would prefer an alternative solution - no one wants to create more division in our community. I hope that Larchmont and Mamaroneck Village and Town officials follow through with their intentions “to come up with a workable solution” in the near future so that we will not still be struggling to find field space for practices and games for years to come.
School Board President Corrects Misinformation on Kemper
On behalf of the Mamaroneck School Board, I would like to correct misinformation being circulated in some media regarding the Kemper memorial.
The School Board has always tried to balance the needs of our expanding school population with our intention that any changes at the memorial continue to appropriately honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives serving our country in World War II and are listed on the Kemper monument.
Our district has a significant need for more field space. Before bringing the litigation to ascertain whether the Board’s proposal was permissible under the deed, the board had exhausted options then available – including considering over 20 alternative plans that proved unworkable - and made multiple attempts to resolve the matter amicably. Without other alternatives to address this need, several years ago the School Board proposed moving the Kemper memorial to make room for an additional playing field. Contrary to some reports, the proposal would not use the donated property for parking nor would it destroy the monument. The plan would create a memorial area featuring the existing monument where the same ceremonies and private reflection that occur now could continue.
The final outcome of the litigation is that the deeds underlying the donation allow the district to implement its proposal. (See: Court of Appeals Rules for School Board.) The proposal, which would relocate the monument to a more prominent part of the donated land and create a new memorial area, has been determined to be consistent with the terms of the deed requiring the property to be used for school and public purposes as a memorial. Further under the proposal:
While we believe our proposal is highly respectful to those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms, we understand that some people object to changes to the current configuration. We respect their right to express their views. Now that the legal issues have been resolved in favor of the district, the board will now review whether the proposal remains the only practicable option. We will continue our efforts to involve the community in the process. This includes working with the three municipalities as they also face a shortage of playing fields and have many of the same constituencies using the various facilities.
Mamaroneck Kids Get Head Start on Career Prep
A recent letter decried the lack of career preparation at college. While it’s true that some college kids are more prepared than others to dive into their careers, students in the Mamaroneck School District get a head start in the middle school.
Students at the Hommocks are introduced to careers in the Home and Career Skills course taken by eighth graders. Students explore their interests and skills and review aspects of real jobs such as job description, education and training requirements, working conditions, hours and salary. They get a chance to listen to interviews of real people with the jobs. Additionally, the Hommocks hosts an annual "RealWork/SchoolWork Day" when parents and community members visit the school and talk about their jobs in the real world and how their work connects with what the students are learning in the classroom.
At the high school, kids can continue exploring career options through elective offerings such as fashion design, cuisine, psychology, architecture, music, art and performing arts. In high school and beyond, students are encouraged to explore careers by way of part time jobs, volunteer work, internships, interviewing people with jobs, talking to parents, relatives and teachers and keeping abreast of societal trends and issues.
By the time they are in college, students should seek out their college career office to learn such skills as resume writing, interviewing and how to find an appropriate internship or job.
Students Need Career Preparation
I wish that more colleges would prepare their students for "real world careers" when they graduate.
So many college graduates are in flux and do not understand market place jobs. The colleges are not preparing them for employment; they are handing students degrees that are not converting into employment.
In high school, and even earlier, parents should be discussing the kinds of jobs that are available. They should consider preparing their children for jobs when they are selecting educational institutions and course majors.
It's great that their children may have high SAT scores and did well academically, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will earn a living if they are left unprepared for the skills they will need for employment.
I have been mentoring some students when they graduate in how to prepare a strong cover letter and resume and to identify employers. I find, for the most part, that most are not prepared for the work force.
Keep the Career Doctor articles coming. They are most valuable.
Does New Roof Destroy Pool?
Is it just my family's perception or did they totally destroy the Hommocks Pool with the new roof?
We certainly agree that it is now much more attractive for winter usage, but that is not when most pool traffic has traditionally occurred. This pool is no longer a place that we have any interest in going to in the summer. We hope you will track the number of pool passes sold and pool usage over the next few years and compare that to the past. We expect that the numbers will reflect this catastrophe.
See you at the beach,
The Memorial is the Richard M. Kemper Park
During discussions about the Mamaroneck School Board’s proposals for the Richard M. Kemper World War II Memorial Park, the words monument and memorial have been used interchangeably. It should be made absolutely clear that the monument is not the memorial. The monument simply serves as an historical marker to tell why the Richard M. Kemper Park exists and to whom it is dedicated.
This controversy is not about moving a monument or enhancing it. Rather, it is about the violation of a sixty year old agreement between a beneficiary and a donor family—a violation that would end in the destruction of the public park that the donors created and designed to honor Richard Kemper and the other 98 individuals from our community who died in World War II.
Through the photos and personal stories of these heroic individuals, a connection can be established between the physical memorial and what it represents. To ever suggest that the personal stories could serve as a replacement for the physical memorial is highly inappropriate, at best. Rather, these stories serve as a reminder that the Memorial Park does not belong to us, it belongs to “our 99.” We are simply the caretakers. Let’s do our job.
Kemper Memorial Park: Setting the Record Straight
Two weeks ago, Ronda Lustman published a letter in the Larchmont Gazette which was filled with many inaccuracies presented to the Gazette’s readers as fact. Let me set the record straight.
Throughout her letter, Ms. Lustman attempted to minimize the School Board’s actions and belittle the importance of the Memorial Park by calling it the Kemper property, as if it was some vacant lot or field. Moreover, she says: “Sixty years after its donation, an attempt is being made to impose restrictions…that were not part of the original agreement between the donor and the schools.”
How untrue! When the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park was donated to the Mamaroneck School Board in 1945, it was done by deed drawn up by the School Board’s own lawyer and clearly states the intents of both the donor and the recipient:
“Provided always that the said parcels of land…shall be held and maintained in perpetuity …as a memorial…to be collectively known as Richard Kemper Park.”
Not as the Richard M. Kemper Memorial soccer field, not as the Richard M. Kemper Memorial parking lot, not even as the Richard M. Kemper academic building or field house.
When it accepted the gift of this Memorial Park in 1945, and had its lawyer draw up the deed, the Mamaroneck School Board made a promise. That promise was to hold this particular land as a memorial park forever. That is what perpetuity means.
Now, Ms. Lustman refers to the School Board as educators; and so they should be. I ask what is the most important lesson that we can teach our children today? It is to be moral people and keep our promises not just when they are convenient, but always.
No one needs to be confused about the intent of the donor. Jean Kemper, Richard Kemper’s sister, has testified many times that her parents intended for the Memorial Park to be there forever.
The commitment made by the board in 1945 was also crystal clear. In his letter of May 29, 1947 thanking Adolph Kemper, Principal Hoyt Smith wrote that the park “will be hallowed ground forever.” When Joseph Curren drew up the deed two years earlier, he wrote, “I have given as much protection as to the perpetual use for public purposes as is possible.”
In the law suit which the board initiated, Judge Bellantoni, decided against the board stating that their plans were in clear violation of the intent of the deed. Later, the board appealed this decision, not on the merits of the case but on a technicality.
So let’s not pretend that this struggle to save the Kemper Memorial Park is about hurt feelings on the part of the Kemper or Cantor families, nor is it about the educational merits of having another playing field. It is about ethics, honor and, yes, keeping our promises.
Neighbors to Oppose Forest City at June 21 Town Hearing
The members of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Association (CNA) unanimously opposed any zoning changes for the Forest City Daly (FCD) development on the parcels at Madison, Byron and Maxwell Avenues from its inception.
This project as originally proposed was an eight story, rental building. After public hearings the Mamaroneck Town Council decided this was too massive and brought too many problems to our neighborhood. FCD reduced it to seven floors and ultimately fewer units. The council worked very hard to get them to provide a deck for lot #3 which the developers now threaten to withdraw if they don’t get approval for eight stories. Some of our members will attend the public hearing on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 to ask the Town Council to deny this request to add and eighth story (12 feet) to the building. Please, join us in support.
Last year we were forced to accept a project that does nothing to enhance our neighborhood. Then we learned that without any public notification the building was changed from a rental to a condo. And now the latest blow is to create a more massive structure with 8 floors on 2.18 acres. As a comparison, Carlton House at 35 N. Chatsworth has 6 floors with 142 units on 4.6 acres with grass and landscaping while FCD shows almost full coverage of their acreage with minimal landscaping.
The negative impacts of a complex of 138 units, housing approximately 400 people with at least 200 cars overwhelms an area which is already burdened and decreases the quality of life for all residents.
Traffic congestion, air and noise pollution are already a burden on the neighborhood. There is an increase in asthma and respiratory distress and diseases in all increasingly urbanized environments. Street parking problems are inadequately addressed. Drainage is addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) only by suggesting that the current situation will not become worse. The “green roof” is an excellent concept but at only 40-50% coverage does not compensate for the loss of permeable land. There is insufficient provision for affordable housing The conversion of the project to condos will decrease the value of existing housing stock. The shadow of this massive building will affect a wide area.
Whatever tax benefit Mamaroneck Town will realize will be funneled into the increased costs for municipal services. Schools will need expansion.
The CNA concludes that a project of this scale will greatly diminish the quality of life for approximately 1200 people who currently reside here with a dubious benefit to the Town as a whole.
Our Town Council is elected to represent the best interests of all of us, not a corporate entity that is asking to exploit the advantages our community offers in order to reap millions in profit without corresponding benefits other than an increase in the tax rolls. Money isn’t everything. Quality of life is why we moved here and it will surely be diminished by this project.
We Can Honor the War Dead & Have a New Field
Sixty years after its donation, an attempt is being made to impose restrictions on the Kemper property that were not part of the original agreement between the donor and the schools.
There is no evidence of any agreements or representations made to Mr. Kemper or anyone else by school trustees that the monument would never be moved, or that the property’s appearance would never change. Statements about the intentions of people who cannot be questioned themselves are hearsay, and impermissible in the law as they are widely recognized as unreliable and unfair. But school district opponents continue to make these statements.
The district’s only mission is educating children. It cannot operate cemeteries (which this is not), public parks, (this is not “dedicated parkland”), historical sites, memorial societies, or arboretums. The district has never undertaken these tasks, and it is wrong to try to force those responsibilities on it now.
Creating a new field and a safer traffic pattern have always been the only purposes of altering the Kemper area, but opponents persevere with the Big Parking Lot Lie to stoke public indignation.
Moving the monument will enhance, not destroy or diminish the memorial. The public will be able to honor those who died exactly as they do today. Everyone sympathizes deeply with those who lost loved ones in war, but there is simply no connection between those emotions and where the monument sits on the property.
Before announcing plans, we did attempt to find descendants of the donor. The Cantors had not contacted the school district in fifty years. We spoke to every local veteran’s organization and the Mamaroneck Historical Society. No one knew of any Kemper descendents, or voiced objections.
At the time, the board was unaware of the Larchmont Historical Society’s relationship with the Cantors or about the essay contest.
I immediately called and spoke to Paul and then Richard Cantor for hours, apologizing for not having found them before and requesting a meeting. The next day, Richard told us the family had decided to “go a different way” and called in the media.
Do I wish we had connected with them before we released our plans? Yes, and with hindsight, it’s easy to see things I wish I had done differently. Did we purposely ignore the Cantors? No. Should kids lose the opportunity to participate in athletics because of this misunderstanding? I think not.
The district tried for three years to resolve this dispute, revising the plan and searching for an alternative site for a field. Demand for field space is increasing everywhere. There is no other place.
It is living people, not stones, grass, dirt and trees, who remember and honor the dead. Until this controversy, the monument was ignored by all but a few veterans. It is not the stone’s location, but the telling of the stories of those listed on it that honors them. We can continue to do that and have a new field too
Former Mamaroneck School Board President
(Duck) Call for Murray Graduates
Our second grade at Murray Avenue School is doing a duck for the Larchmont Historical Society Fundraiser. (See: "Historical" Ducktales Coming to Larchmont.) We would like it if anyone who graduated from Murray could send us a picture of yourself to put on the duck. The duck is called Tales of Murray Avenue School.
[Send wallet-sized color photos, current or old, with your name and the years you attended the school. Send to Murray, attention Joan Mazo.]
Please help us and look for our duck this summer in town.
Is There No Way To Fix NY Budget?
I appreciated George Latimer's article. (See: The National Pastime: Budgeting) it made me better understand the annual budget delay in Albany.
Is there no way to fix this?
Robert M. Immerman
Humor Helps in College Process
As an educational consultant to families going through the college search and application process, I tell my clients “be true to yourselves.” I also remind them to keep a sense of humor. To that end, I’ve developed my own list of “advice” for a successful college application.
First, not only take the most rigorous curriculum offered in your high school, but do extremely well in all of those courses. Extremely well.
Second, do something of importance, preferably of a national scope. For example, don't simply write a play. Rather, have the play performed off-Broadway. Better yet, produce it yourself. Doing so on Broadway is better still. In other words, make an impact! Again, the more prominent the effect or, at least, the audience, the better.
Third, as IvyWise, the high end educational consulting practice in NYC advises, "Look within yourself and project those qualities that have helped shape who you are and what you will contribute to society in the future." In other words, writing why you want to be a follower rather than a leader is not advisable. While it may provide admissions staff members with a welcomed contrast to much of the material they are reading, it is not the way to go.
Fourth, and again citing IvyWise, which "counsels students on the intangibles, e.g., becoming empowered to make an impact through their interests, improving their relationships with their teachers and peers" and more, suck up in any and all of the ways that you can. For example, establish an organization devoted to supporting guidance counselors and college admissions directors in these stressful times. What about a campaign to establish "national college admission directors day"? Design some greeting cards. Start a movement.
Last but by no means least, when you are writing the "Why I want to go to Yale" essay, remember, as has been said before, that Yale is not spelled
Jane C. Hoffman
Remember Jarrid: Think Street Safety
As we take to the streets this spring, we should think about 10-year-old Jarrid Amico who was killed in a bicycle accident in Rye last week. Jarrid was on his bike when he was hit by a driver going 20 miles an hour. His death is a tragic accident that acts as a reminder to us to be more vigilant in and out of our cars. If it happened in Rye, it can happen in Larchmont.
Drivers young and old, share the road with pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders, children and animals. Now is time to sit down as a family and have a serious conversation about ways to be safe on the road. Talk with your inexperienced teen drivers and your children who bike, walk and skateboard.
Though children and teens think themselves invincible, adults know better. Common sense, serious talks and firm rules will help keep everyone in Larchmont safer.
My deepest condolences go to the Amico family. As a tribute to Jarrid Amico, be considerate, vigilant and safe on our streets this spring.
Selection Com: How Candidates Were Chosen
Our endorsed candidates this year --- Linnet Tse, Robin Nichinsky, and Michael Jacobson --- were chosen because each has demonstrated the personal and professional qualities we seek in our nominees, including concern for all children of our district, a history of community involvement, and dedication to hard work. We are confident each will draw upon his or her extensive community service and relevant professional experience to serve all children of the Mamaroneck School district and all members of our community, with fairness, commitment and intelligence.
As part our endorsement process, the school board candidates fill-out applications, which include biographical data, names of references and responses to questions about educational issues. The questions have included such subjects as gate keeping, budgetary concerns, education of a diverse student population and curriculum. The entire committee interviews all applicants, using a format that explores their thought processes and problem solving skills. Our mission is to review each candidate’s credentials and references and then conduct thorough interviews to identify those who, in the committee’s opinion, would best serve the district’s educational system and all its children.
The Selection Committee favors candidates who demonstrate an interest in a broad range of educational issues rather than a single issue or agenda. We look for people whose history of community service confirms their ability to work collaboratively, consider different viewpoints before forming an opinion, and foster consensus. We seek people whose experience and skills will enhance their ability to participate constructively and imaginatively on the Board of Education.
The Selection Committee itself is a non-partisan body consisting of 24 community members (6 from each elementary school district), who must be publicly elected. Candidates for the Selection Committee are solicited by the same avenues stated above.
School Board Would be Lucky to Have Jacobson
I was extremely dismayed to read the letter penned by Luis Quiros regarding the
I have known and worked closely with Michael for many years and found him to be a dedicated and extremely hard working member of local community. I am amazed that Mr. Quiros can predict that “Jacobson would contribute very little to the increasing wisdom and grass roots culture of the new superintendent.” And that he could, without having even met Mr. Jacobson, suggest that “his background does not display any understanding or contain any knowledge base for the economic and social diversity in our community.” Clearly Mr. Quiros believes in judging people by their job titles rather than by their deeds.
The School Board would be very lucky to have Mr. Jacobson added to their team. He brings not only the type of financial savvy and expertise that as taxpayers in this community we should all applaud, but he has a firm understanding of the day-to-day and educational challenges and social issues confronted by our students. I have found him to be an excellent builder of workable coalitions and a hard-nose advocate for the causes he so tirelessly champions. This is a man who has paid his dues in the local community – on the ball fields, in the committee rooms, and in the village hall. As I ponder the future of the thankfully diverse body of students (including my three boys) working their way through the
I for one say the Committee has found an excellent slate, and I hope Mr. Quiros will take the time to investigate the qualifications of these folks before summarily dismissing them.
David J. Fishman
Little League "Red Tape" Keeping Girl From Participating
I was extremely proud to see my eleven-year-old daughter participating in softball this year . I am disappointed, however, that her friend, at this point, cannot participate in the same league. The friend’s mother is lying in an ICU room at White Plains Hospital. Prior to the start of the season her mom fell ill.
As soon as this event occurred, my wife, Susan Spinelli, and another parent petitioned the league to allow the girl to be traded to my daughter’s team so my wife, who is helping care for the girl on the weekends, could shuttle the two together to Friday practice and Saturday games. Rocky Cipriano volunteered to have his daughter switch spots with the girl so she could participate on the same team as my daughter.
According to Larchmont-Mamaroneck Little League VP John Ortiz, this was not possible because the league does not allow trades and some coaches might consider the proposed switch as “stacking.” As a professional tennis coach and competitive athlete for over 20 years, I fail to see how, if properly explained to the other coaches and the league coordinators, this switch could not have been achieved .
After my wife proposed this idea to John Ortiz, we learned that a different player was being added to my daughter’s team.
I feel that this situation was handled with poor judgment and very little if any empathy towards the family in question. This family is a longstanding member of our Larchmont – Mamaroneck community.
After all, as members of this community, we should be looking for ways to help each other, not creating red tape in a recreational softball league. I think, in hindsight, if the commissioners had taken their time to resolve this situation in the proper manner, more could have been done to help out a family in need..
More Playing Field Suggestions
Reading the letter submitted by Kinnan O'Connell spurred some additional thoughts on how to solve Larchmont's playing field squeeze without getting into the Kemper Memorial debate. I coach in the Larchmont Junior Soccer League, and when its popularity is combined with the growing popularity of lacrosse, field hockey and younger and younger children getting involved, it's no surprise we have a problem.
I agree with the suggested utilization of the Chatsworth Avenue School playground and would offer the following specific suggestions:
1. Replace the Chatsworth paved playground with artificial turf. The new turf technology is much improved and would allow for a full-size field that could be used for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey along with providing an even better playground for the Chatsworth Avenue students.
2. Take the Lorenzen field and do the same. As a grass field in such a low-lying area, is is often in poor condition due to drainage issues in wet weather. The Lorenzen baseball field would be left as natural grass because it is far enough from the water to drain properly.
3. Provide lighting for the Hommocks fields. These are terrific, full-sized fields that could be further utilized. A 9:00 pm closing time would alleviate neighbor concerns with late night light, noise and traffic.
Financing would be an issue, but the upfront installation costs of artificial turf should pay off in the long-term with reduced maintenence costs. New York City has converted many of it's playgrounds to the newer artifical turf with great success.
Perhaps what we need is creative thinking to solve this issue rather than the ongoing fighting and hard feelings the potential Kemper Memorial move has generated.
Day Laborer: All We Ask Is For Work
The right to work is not and should not be the privilege of only a few. We take the opportunity the media offers us to reach out to the contractors and tell them, so that they know, that the day laborers are still here.
We live here, we pay rent here, we shop locally and we are a part of this Village. We have our families here, and our children go to the Village schools; here is where we work. So where can we go? Whom can we go to in this extreme situation to ask for help and support for every one of us?
A number of unnecessary happenings have taken place that keep the echo of our voice and reasons from being listened to with due respect and attention.
Why has there been an increase in police presence every morning? If there are reasons, what are they? Is it that we are being portrayed as terrorists or is it just because we are Latinos?
I am not an economist, nor do I pretend to be, but I just want to put this question out. What is the cost to the Village to have such an amount of police units on a daily basis at Columbus Park?
Is the image that some have of the day laborers that bad?
We are so committed to improving the reputation that has been imposed on us that we have proposed to the Village that we carry out ourselves some community building activities to which we are inviting our community as well as the media to accompany us. Next Saturday, March 18 th we are going to clean Columbus Park from 9 am to 10:30 am.
Those of us who live here, as well as those who live elsewhere, gather to attend the same church or places of worship on Sundays. Then why in our daily lives are there so many and such remarkable differences when in the end we are all children of God? Is it perhaps that God makes differences? I don’t think so.
Lastly, we are at a time of important reflection for those of us who are Catholic. We must not forget that our Lord Jesus Christ came and left a very clear and important message in the Gospel for all of us to be saved and not just a few. You can direct yourselves and live the Calvary of our pious Jesus Christ and have present in your minds and hearts the cross that the day laborers have to bear. In the name of each one of our children, all we ask is for work.
Board's Plan Would Enhance Kemper Memorial
The level of misplaced and misinformed emotional rhetoric that has been on display about the Kemper Memorial is astounding. To read the letters on this issue would lead one to believe that the school district’s plans are to take the Kemper Memorial and throw it in the trash bin, just after the destruction of the sacred trees of the Boston Post Road! Why don’t we step back and look at the facts:
First, the memorial is not being destroyed or trashed. The Memorial is being moved to a more prominent location at the Post Road side of the high school with a consolidation of the other memorials around it, enhanced by tasteful landscaping. This would be a great improvement over the lost-in-the-woods location in which it now sits hidden with no landscaping and nothing to bring the attention of a pedestrian to the location. In summary, the district is going to improve and enhance the Memorial’s impact as a memorial.
The land on which the Memorial now sits is not sacred land: Nothing happened here! The soldiers memorialized on the Memorial did not die or fight there. Nothing of historical relevance ever happened there. The school district’s intent on naming the new playing fields Memorial Fields will add to the purpose of the Memorial. And the trees that have grown up around the Memorial have done so randomly and now look wild and make the Memorial area dark and somewhat forbidding. Taking out those few trees is not a horrible act but a necessary virtue.
The men who gave their lives for their country in World War II did not do so in order to force communities to freeze their footprints forevermore. They fought to preserve our communities’ vibrancy and freedom which has always been and will continue to be enhanced by the vibrancy of our education programs. Athletics has always been a significant part of that vibrancy and energy, and those good souls who gave their lives most probably enjoyed and participated in the athletic programs of their schools. They would be proud to see their old high school providing healthy, strong and growing competitive sports programs. The hype of the crowd would blow the minds of those guys if they were here today.
Where were all of these people prior to the school district’s announcement of its plans for moving the Memorial? Why were they not then calling for enhanced landscaping, better maintenance of the site, attending and promoting veterans services at the Memorial, going to the site for reflection, etc.? They didn’t do any of this because this has become a cause celebre, something for the misinformed, the misled and the disingenuous to rally around. It’s a shame they haven’t used their energies for something positive that the memorialized could have really been proud of.
Bruce A. Cauley
Kemper Monument, Trees Comfort Family of WW II Fallen
The sorrowful wailing was heard for blocks around. There are people today who come up to me and say they will never forget those painful, yet powerful cries of anguish. It was the early summer of 1944, when my mother received the devastating news that my brother was killed in combat. She fell to the stoop below, inconsolable. Those near tried to ease her pain but, truthfully, they felt helpless.
Pvt. John J. Marsella, U.S. Army; 111 Grand St., Mamaroneck. Killed In action on Anzio beachhead, Italy, May 26, 1944. He is buried in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, near childhood friend, Guido Lancia, also from Mamaroneck.
After my brother’s death, a day did not go by when I did not think of him. Seeing his name engraved on the Kemper Memorial’s Park monument provided much comfort for my family and me. I would walk or drive past Kemper Park as often as I could, always taking special notice of the trees. Over the years they grew stronger and taller- an ever-present reminder that, although time had passed, the respect for my brother’s sacrifice was still solidly rooted in the ground and in the heart of a grateful community. I would always make it a point to salute those trees because they, like my brother, were ever faithful.
Now I have been told that the trees may have to be cut down in order for the Board of Education to proceed with its plan. For me, seeing those trees fall down will be like being forced to watch my mother collapse onto the pavement in front of the house again. Only this time it will be worse, because it will feel like nobody cares.
Mamaroneck Fire Department: Prompt & Polite
I'd like to commend and thank the Mamaroneck Fire Department on Weaver Street for their prompt, polite reaction to a fire alarm that led them to a destination across the street from the station, my home! Your kindness and hard work are not appreciated enough publicly. So on behalf of my family I want to say thank you again for all that you do.
Bike Project Would Profoundly & Positively Change Daily Lives
In reference to Stephen Kling's excellent article promoting bicycling in the Village and Town: I can't think of an undertaking that would affect more profoundly and positively the quality of our daily lives. He and others along with him (i.e., those working for more and better bike parking at the train station) have given much creative thought to the practical problems we as a community would need to solve in order to wean ourselves (at least to a degree) from our near-universal habit of jumping into our cars for even the simplest and closest of errands. Just think of the benefits of making room in our daily lives for bicycling: better air, easy exercise, more parking around town for those excursions that really need to be done with the car. Think too, of the economic benefits of more parking for out-of-town shoppers and for employees of local businesses who always have trouble parking near their stores and offices. Wouldn't more bicycling improve these conditions, and offer some opportunities for friendly interaction with fellow townspeople?
It seems that there are simple, low-tech and inexpensive accomodations that can be made for this to happen: i.e., the installation of bike racks, painted traffic lanes, and increased cyclist and driver education. Are you listening parents, retirees, kids, Chambers of Commerce, local leaders? Everybody wins here. There are so many issues in life where ordinary citizens of good-will wish they could effect meaningful societal change, but which are overwhelming in scope, distant in space or otherwise hard to address by ordinary people. Here is one project that can be achieved locally and inexpensively and has enormously positive consequences for the quality of our lives. This could provide a real model for our children and our neighbors of what one town can do to improve the world and have a great time, too.
I believe that what we need is the will to change a bit, to overcome the inertia of some of our ingrained habits and to creatively imagine a world that is a little better, at least here in Larchmont and Mamaroneck.Monica E. Casey
Disappointed at Kemper Ruling
I was very disappointed to read of the appellate court's ruling concerning the Kemper Memorial Park. Although I am by no means a legal scholar, it seems to me that this is another case of an activist court overreaching and an attorney general desiring some free populist publicity in his quest for the governor's chair. Given the recent outcry over eminent domain abuses, you would think that the parties involved would be sensitive to the wishes of the Kemper family.
I dropped out of Mamaroneck High School to join the Army in 1979 for economic reasons (namely, the GI Bill). I served my country for almost 25 years in the US Army and Army Reserve and have retired. Although I didn't graduate from MHS, I remember it fondly. It saddens me to think that the sacred ground donated by the Kemper family for a memorial to America's greatest generation can be violated for something as trivial as a soccer field.
Members of the school board, you should be ashamed!
Chatsworth Basketball Creates "Auditory Assault"
For nearly nine years, I have made my home in a fourth floor apartment across Addison Street from the Chatsworth playground basketball court.
Before moving to Larchmont, I was aware my home would be located in an area of shops and traffic, with a basketball court across the street. "No problem," I thought, "what’s a bouncing ball and the odd sneaker squeak?"
Never did I dream that the cacophony from the basketball court would drive me to wit’s end. On clement days I might leave my windows open, but for the perpetual screaming from across the street.
Several years ago, I set a tape recorder in my living room and captured a sample of this auditory assault. I submitted one copy to Village Hall, and one to the administrator of school recreational facilities, accompanying the recordings with letters. I heard nothing from either. (Later, however, I was told that one Village employee asked the super of my building - who is also employed by the Villag - if I’d recorded it courtside, such was the din!)
In a relevant quote from another Gazette article concerning the possible construction of a skateboard facility at Flint Park:
“…the board did show concern with the level of activity and resulting noise level that accompany such a facility, especially with the park’s close proximity to homes… ‘Noise will be an issue,’ Mayor Bialo concurred…‘the associated exclamations of joy might not make for an ideal next door neighbor to the conservancy area’…”
Whether they be "exclamations of joy," profane arguments over plays, or (as occurs most frequently) guttural, unworded screams, it makes no difference: blasted from the lungs of dozens of adult men, the clamor turns what might be a peaceful day at home into hour upon hour of misery.
Yes, I’m a renter, not a homeowner. But I pay a goodly sum to live in this “peaceful” Village. I love Larchmont, I contribute to its economic health by trading here, and I am a good citizen. Rent or own, my little corner of Larchmont should be given the same consideration as the area adjacent to Flint Park–or any other Larchmont neighborhood, for that matter.
I am entitled to engage in quiet activity at home if I so choose. If I am denied this, where am I to go? Is it really necessary for me to move away because others continue to be inconsiderate? I cannot believe that the Larchmont Board of Trustees, who work tirelessly to shield Larchmont from unnecessary noise - whether from jets or traffic accompanying putative superstores - would reply in the affirmative.
The basketball courts at the Chatsworth playground, unlike public park courts which are buffered by large expanses of open ground, are located far too close to homes to remain open to throngs of screaming men who clearly have no consideration for those who live a stone’s short toss away.
Pushing Out All Laborers Hurts Mamaroneck Residents
While I appreciate our local politicians' efforts to protect their citizens, the trustees’ decision to oust all day laborers from Columbus Park takes "Not in My Backyard" syndrome to new lows.
Yes, as a mother of two young girls I understand that some people don’t feel comfortable about having a group of men milling around in a public park near the playground (not coincidentally, across the street from the site of a new housing development under construction). And yes, I agree that Larchmont and New Rochelle's laborers should not use the Mamaroneck site to look for work.
But our trustees’ decision (except for Tom Murphy, who has faithfully represented the village’s Hispanic community) to just push all the day laborers out of the place where they go to find work is cruel and discriminatory. Clearly no effort was made to find a compromise solution that would address safety issues while not depriving these men of their livelihoods.
My children attend Mamaroneck Avenue School, where many of their Hispanic classmates are the children of these laborers. Won't these kids be better students if their fathers can ensure they're well cared-for? Won't we have lower crime if our residents can find work and don't need to seek desperate measures?
I don't understand why no one is investigating any alternatives. For example, to address the location issue, the day laborers could be moved to a more appropriate place, such as the Fenimore Road industrial area. To address the outsiders issue, identification cards could be issued to Mamaroneck residents so that only they are allowed to use this new area.
We call ourselves “The Friendly Village.” How about if our trustees remember that in the way they treat all our Mamaroneck village residents -- including the Spanish-speaking ones, who deserve the same opportunity to make a decent living as the trustees do.
How Could Myers Support Tax Subsidy for "No Tax" Golf Course?
How could County Legislator Judy Myers vote for taxpayers to pay the golf tax subsidy of Hudson Hills? Hudson Hills was guaranteed and agreed upon to be separate and self-supporting, to not cost the taxpayers (and golfers of the other courses) any money (even in obtaining bond issue approvals), and to not be over $10 million in costs (public referendum you know...and ignored). (Board of Legislature minutes - check it out).
Hudson Hills lost at least $200,000 in year 1 (2004), with that amount quietly taken from the Parks General Fund (your tax dollars) to cover the loss (and caught by the Journal News). Who knows what they lost in 2005...a lot for sure (also quietly covered by your tax dollars). So now they put it into the 2006 Budget/General Fund as an already projected loss of at least $102,000 for taxpayers to cover in advance. So it will likely be even more.
Well, concerned taxpayers are right in not wanting to pay for it. (It was agreed upon to be separate and self-supporting).
The golfers don't want to play it. (By end of June 2005, there were already 530 fewer rounds than for the same period of 2004, which lost money).
The county has lost, and will lose money on it.
So who wants it and why? And why should County Legislator Myers vote for the Hudson Hills golf tax subsidy if she is so concerned about keeping taxes down?
Does she think that it's the taxpayers responsibility to now pay for and keep alive a money-losing, financially-exclusionary, municipal country club, that the vast majority of golfers don't even want, and one that was decreed to be separate, self-supporting and no-cost to taxpayers?
Agreeing that Hudson Hills would be self-supporting means no taxpayer (or pre-existing course) responsibility...that means sink or swim on its own. There was no qualifier that said "unless it lost enormous amounts of money and then the taxpayer will pick up the tab." Had it said that, it clearly would never have been initiated. (Again, check the B.O.L. minutes.)
So, if County Legislator Myers really wants to save taxpayers any money, she should rightly move to sell Hudson Hills, recoup as much of the loss as possible and not take any more taxpayers’ money to sustain it - that is, after she rightly moved to initiate a full investigation of county golf and an audit of the Casper Group's books, etc. to get to the bottom of this scandalous mess - .that is, if she were really concerned about the taxpayers (and other course golfers).
It would be far better, then, that our legislators act in their constituents' best interests and lived up to agreements so taxpayers can better support themselves, if only to help pay all the other county tax increases.
And by the way, this is not political. We are Democrats and we are ashamed at our party's county legislators for their total disregard of their constituents and all residents in this matter.
Bob and Jenny Petrucci