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Journal News Publisher Departs.

WPCNR MEDIA-GO-ROUND. From Lohud.com February 26, 2015:

The Gannett Co. announced Thursday that Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group, is resigning effective March 6.
Michael G. Kane, east group president for Gannett U.S. Community Publishing, said Hasson will leave the White Plains-based media property to pursue another opportunity.
George Troyano, vice president sales/advertising for The Journal News Media Group, will serve as interim publisher.
Kane made the announcement to the staff in a conference call, which he opened by thanking Hasson for her four years of service. “What we want to do with a new publisher, obviously, is transition through and carry a lot of the same strategies that you’re working on now, executing them well in the field and serving our readers and customers well,” he said.
Hasson, 55, of Greenwich, Conn., arrived at The Journal News in June 2011 during the news organization’s digital transition. She oversaw the publication’s move from its former printing plant in West Harrison to 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains, and the roll-out of new digital and print products.
“I walk out of this place really proud of the team that’s in here and I know you’re going to keep doing really great and we’ve got a great plan in place,” Hasson told her staff.
Hasson pointed out her leadership of the company’s transition from a print-centric to a digital news organization as her biggest accomplishment.
“I really feel we’re meeting the new needs of our readers and our advertisers,” said Hasson.
Besides her work at The Journal News, Hasson serves on the boards of the Westchester County Association and ArtsWestchester. She said her successor will likely continue her public work.
“Community involvement is a very important role for the publisher and that will be a decision for the next publisher. I’m sure it will be important. That’s just part of the role of the publisher,” Hasson said.
The Journal News and its affiliated website lohud.com cover Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties in New York City’s northern suburbs.
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WPCNR THE POWER NEWS. From the Press Office of the Governor . February 26, 2015 UPDATED WITH CON EDISON STATEMENT, 2:55 P.M. EST:

201Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new reforms to the energy and utility industry, requiring the integration of energy efficiency, solar, wind, and other clean energy technologies onto the grid in order to reduce energy bills and give customers more control over their energy use.

These innovative developments are part of the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan, a comprehensive strategy to provide cleaner, more affordable and reliable energy for all New Yorkers.

Con Edison, leading utility in the metropolitan area issued this statement to WPCNR AT 2:45 p.m.:

“We look forward to working with the governor and the commission on the implementation of their REV vision and goals to benefit customers, improve overall resiliency, and encourage the development of new technologies and customer-based grid connections. The commission staff has developed a strong framework to begin this process, and we welcome the input and participation of industry and policy leaders”

“A 21st century economy needs a 21st century power grid, and these reforms will ensure New Yorkers get the best possible service from their utilities while improving the statewide economy,” said Governor Cuomo. “This state is in need of a modern and efficient energy system, and we are proud to take the steps to build a sustainable way to deliver energy to every home in New York.”

The nation’s electric system has remained largely unchanged since Thomas Edison developed the country’s first power grid in Lower Manhattan in 1884. The changes announced today will require utilities to coordinate and partner with other companies and entrepreneurs to provide clean, local, energy services and solutions to customers. This will improve and enable:
· Competition: By restricting utilities from owning local power generation and other energy resources, customers will benefit from a more competitive market, with utilities working and partnering with other companies and service providers.

· Consumer Protection: Establishing expanded outreach and consumer protections will benefit low- and moderate-income customers and promote greater transparency and community engagement

· Energy Efficiency: Requiring utilities to improve their ongoing energy efficiency programs will reduce customer energy bills and curb statewide greenhouse gas emissions
A number of critical issues drive the need to reform New York’s electricity market, including the fact that approximately $30 billion — paid for entirely by New York’s electric customers — will need to be spent over the next decade to maintain the electric grid as it currently exists, compared with $17 billion over the past 10 years.

Further, as extreme weather events continue to affect communities across our state, it is becoming increasingly clear that meaningful action to mitigate and adapt to climate change is a necessary policy for any responsible state government.

Richard Kauffman, who as Chairman of Energy & Finance for New York leads the Reforming the Energy Vision strategy on behalf of the Governor, said, “Today we’ve made it possible for New York State to capture the tremendous economic and environmental benefits new clean energy innovation and investments can provide. By requiring utilities to modernize their business models and meet evolving customer demands, New York is committed to forging a new path to develop a dynamic, customer-oriented power grid able to drive clean energy markets to scale.”

Audrey Zibelman, State Public Service Commission Chair, said, “The landmark steps New York State is taking today will reorient both the electric industry and the ratemaking process toward a consumer-centered approach that harnesses new technologies and markets. Just as the Internet revolutionized the communication, retail and media industries, so too will a modernized regulatory and delivery system for electricity give consumers maximum value for their energy dollar. With our action, we set the framework of unleashing innovation throughout the industry that will support a consumer-driven power system that meets the economic and environmental needs of New York.”

There are hundreds of technology innovators and third-party companies in New York, such as energy services, retail suppliers and demand-management, which are all poised to help reduce energy bills by giving customers greater control of how much power they consume and where the power comes from. With today’s decision, these companies will develop products and services that enable full customer engagement.

To meet customer needs, utilities will work with clean energy providers to bring new clean technology innovation onto the power grid, ensuring all customers receive secure, reliable and cost-effective power.

The fundamental regulatory reforms taking place were shaped in large part by direct participation and comments of more than 1,000 New Yorkers, including numerous State and local lawmakers, community and advocacy organizations. The steps taken today are consistent with the draft State Energy Plan, which calls for the use of markets and reformed regulatory techniques in order to achieve increased system efficiency, carbon reductions, and customer empowerment.

Under Governor Cuomo’s strategic Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, New York State is actively spurring clean energy innovation, bringing in new investments, improving consumer choice while protecting the environment and energizing New York’s economy at the state and local levels. By unleashing innovation, New York is pioneering a new statewide approach, giving customers new opportunities for energy savings, local power generation, and enhanced reliability to provide safe, clean, and affordable electric service for all customers.

By unleashing markets, through statewide initiatives such as the Clean Energy Fund and $1 billion NY Green Bank, New York is moving to diversify its support of the clean energy industry to address market barriers and attract private capital necessary to achieve the State’s economic development and environmental objectives.

By empowering communities and creating jobs through programs like Community Solar NY and K-Solar for schools, the $40 million NY-Prize competition for community microgrids and the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, New York is leveraging the power of its state institutions and government agencies to integrate local energy resources and meet the needs of New York’s communities. 

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Governor Cuomo’s Education Solution: Merge Failing Schools with Successful Districts.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From the Governor’s Press Office. February 26, 2015 (EDITED):

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today in a news release issued 30 minutes ago, called for merging failing schools into successful school districts as a proven solution for upgrading school performance. He cited the Massachussetts model of taking over failing districts as being highly successful

To address this problem, the Governor is proposing a model that worked in Massachusetts, where when a school fails for 3 years, a nonprofit, another school district, or a turnaround expert must take over the school. When this model was used in a large school district in Massachusetts, the following results were seen:

• Graduation rates increased from 52% to 67%
• Math proficiency improved from 28% to 41%
• The dropout rate decreased by nearly 50%
More information on the Governor’s proposal is available here: https://www.ny.gov/2015-opportunity-agenda/education-great-equalizer-0#transform-failing-schools

The administration  issued a report detailing the crisis of failing schools in New York State. According to the report:

· The State currently has 178 failing schools.
· There are more than 109,000 students currently enrolled in New York’s 178 failing schools.
· 77 of these schools have been failing for 10 years, with more than 250,000 students passing through these schools while New York State government has done nothing.
· Statewide, more than 9 out of 10 students in failing schools are minority or poor.
· While the education bureaucracy demands more and more money, the reality is school districts with failing schools have statewide seen an average 13.8 percent increase in funding over the past three years, and continued to fail.
The full report can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYSFailingSchoolsReport.pdf

The below chart provides details on failing schools in the Hudson Valley, including the consecutive years failing, the state aid increase over the past four years, and the members of the State Legislature that represent each school.

District Years Failing 2013-14 Enrollment 2012-13 Spending Per Pupil: % Above National Average ($10,608) School District Funding Increase Last 3 Years % Change Assembly Member Senate Member
Cross Hill Academy Yonkers City School District 10 640 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Davis Middle School Mt Vernon School District 4 723 $22,708 + 114.1% $11,319,284 + 16.8% J. Gary Pretlow Ruth Hassell-Thompson
Enrico Fermi School of Performing Arts Yonkers City School District 4 873 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Martin Luther King, Jr High Tech Computer Magnet School Yonkers City School District 8 534 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Museum School 25 Yonkers City School District 6 359 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Poughkeepsie High School Poughkeepsie City School District 8 1,145 $19,063 + 79.7% $6,658,535 + 13.0% Frank Skartados Sue Serino
Poughkeepsie Middle School Poughkeepsie City School District 4 956 $19,063 + 79.7% $6,658,535 + 13.0% Frank Skartados Sue Serino
Robert C Dodson School Yonkers City School District 7 736 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer George Latimer
Roosevelt High School Yonkers City School District 10 738 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer George Latimer
Scholastic Academy For Academic Excellence Yonkers City School District 4 596 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
School 13 Yonkers City School District 8 618 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% J. Gary Pretlow Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Temple Hill School Newburgh City School District 10 961 $19,891 + 87.5% $15,494,453 + 13.2% James Skoufis William J. Larkin Jr.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said: “This is the real scandal in Albany, the alarming fact that state government has stood by and done nothing as generation after generation of students have passed through failing schools. This report underscores the severity and shocking nature of this problem. The time is now for the State Legislature to act and do something about this problem so we no longer are condemning our children to failing schools.”

What is a failing school?

According to the report, a school is designated as “failing” if they are in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide based on combined ELA and math scores, are not showing progress in test performance, or have graduation rates that are below 60 percent for the last three years.

The average graduation rates and test scores at failing schools are:

46.6 percent graduation rate (compared to a statewide average of 76.4 percent)
6.2 percent of students in grades 3-8 are proficient in math (compared to a statewide average of 35.8 percent)
5.9 percent of students in grades 3-8 are proficient in ELA (compared to a statewide average of 31.4 percent)
What is the Governor proposing to fix this?

To address this problem, the Governor is proposing a model that worked in Massachusetts, where when a school fails for 3 years, a nonprofit, another school district, or a turnaround expert must take over the school. When this model was used in a large school district in Massachusetts, the following results were seen:• Graduation rates increased from 52% to 67%
• Math proficiency improved from 28% to 41%
• The dropout rate decreased by nearly 50%
More information on the Governor’s proposal is available here: https://www.ny.gov/2015-opportunity-agenda/education-great-equalizer-0#transform-failing-schools

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Good Counsel Academy Announces Tours of its New Location in Valhalla.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. February 25,2015:

Good Counsel Academy Elementary School, which will open at a new location in September, will begin registration for the next school year tomorrow, Feb. 26 and will host open site visits at the new school on six dates beginning this Friday.

In September, the school  will open at the former Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School at 2 Broadway in Valhalla, just two miles north of its current location at 52 North Broadway in White Plains.

“We are extremely pleased that we will be continuing to offer the same high-quality educational experience and environment for which we have been known for the last 100 years,” said Principal Pamela Matott. “We are very proud of our new location and urge parents and their children to take advantage of our site visits where they can see the new facilities firsthand.  We also welcome parents to contact us to arrange to meet with me and to see our current school in action.  We have a full information package that can be picked up in person or be mailed home. ”

Good Counsel Academy Elementary enrolls students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.  A private Catholic school sponsored by the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, the school offers a rigorous academic program taught in a nurturing environment, the hallmark of a Good Counsel education. With fewer than two hundred children enrolled per year, the school emphasizes small class size, community involvement and strong character development.

Open site visits at the new school will be held on the following dates and times:

Friday, Feb. 27, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Sunday, Mar. 1, 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Tuesday, Mar. 3, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, April 7, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, May 5, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 2, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

To arrange a personal tour or to receive an information package, contact the school office at (914) 761-4423 or goodcounsel@gcaelem.net.  More information about Good Counsel Academy Elementary can be found at www.goodcounselelementary.net

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Legal Services Stages Annual Fundraiser March 26 Honoring Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr.,Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Catherine Marsh


Legal Services of the Hudson Valley will hold its 2015 “Equal Access to Justice” Dinner on Thursday, March 26, at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, in White Plains, NY.

The event will honor “Access to Justice” Awardees Hon. Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP, and the law firm of BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER LLP.

This year’s “Advocate for Justice” Award will be given to the Westchester Community Foundation and its Executive Director Catherine Marsh.

The annual 2015 “Equal Access to Justice” Dinner will be co-chaired by Courtney R. Rockett, Esq., Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP and Frances Pantaleo, Esq., Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP.

Honorary Co-Chairs include Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino; New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin; Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore; and Michael Kaplowitz, Chair, Westchester County Legislature.


Former Westchester Surrogate Judge Hon. Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. will be honored for his distinguished judicial career and service as Co-Chair of the Ninth Judicial District’s Pro Bono Committee. In January, Judge Scarpino stepped down to join the law firm of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr, LLP.
One of the nation’s premier ”powerhouse” law firms, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP is Legal Services of the Hudson Valley’s leading corporate supporter and one of its most active Pro Bono participants. Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP regularly serves as lead counsel in cases addressing some of the most important legal issues of our day.
The Westchester Community Foundation improves the quality of life in Westchester by connecting donors to critical, local needs. Executive Director since 1999, Catherine Marsh will retire in June, having overseen the Foundation’s growth to one of the largest funders of non-profits in the county.
“The work we do each day provides free legal services to those who can’t afford an attorney. Our staff handles more than 12,000 cases a year – saving children from neglect, protecting survivors of domestic violence, defending seniors against abuse, serving veterans on the home front, and keeping families in their homes,” said Legal Services of the Hudson Valley CEO, Barbara Finkelstein. “With enough funding to meet demand, we could serve thousands more and close the “Justice Gap” right here in our own community.” For online event purchases go to www.lshv.org, or contact Jenna Donnellan at jenna@hrginc.net/914)761-7111.

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HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? Sought by White Plains Police as Suspect in Tourneau Saturday Robbery. Enhanced Video of suspect. Look carefully. If you’ve seen him Call Police IN CONFIDENCE



WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. Special to WPCNR from the White Plains Department of Public Safety. February 24, 2015 9:30 P.M. E.S.T.:

White Plains police tonight issued newly enhanced video  snaps of the Saturday afternoon robbery in progress at the Tourneau store in The Westchester Mall. Police request persons who recognize this individual or know of his whereabouts to contact White Plains Police confidentially at 914-422-6256 , 24 hours a day.






To recap the Saturday afternoon incident, police said “at approximately 1230 PM a male black, described as approximately 40 years of age, wearing dark clothing, a dark knit hat with brim, longish dread locks hair, and mirrored sunglasses entered the Tourneau jewelry store located inside the Westchester Mall.
The suspect proceeded to a sales person and asked if he could look at Rolex Watches.  The sales person opened a display case to show the suspect a watch, at which time the suspect displays what appears to be a handgun and a bag and demanded the watches inside the display case.
The suspect fled with 8 watches with a value of approximately $160,000 according to Tourneau.
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NTSB Safety Team (in orange uniforms)  investigates the aftermath of the Metro North passenger train and car crash that happened on Tuesday evening, February 3, on the day after the accident. (Official NTSB photograph released with today’s Preliminary Report)
WPCNR INVESTIGATIONS EXCLUSIVE! Special to WPCNR By Peter Katz. February 23, 2015:
The National Transportation Safety Board this afternoon released its preliminary report on the Metro-North acciodent in Valhalla in which six people were killed.
This states the facts as developed so far by investigators.
The investigation is continuing, and a final report including analysis and the Safety Board’s conclusion as to what was the probable cause of the accident likely will not be ready until at least the fall, and maybe beyond that time frame.
Here is what the report says: 
On February 3, 2015, at 6:26 pm eastern standard time, northbound Metro-North Railroad passenger train no. 659 struck a 2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 sports utility vehicle (SUV) at the Commerce Street highway rail grade crossing, DOT ID 529902V, at milepost 26.6 on the Metro-North Railroad Harlem line in Valhalla, New York.
An estimated 650 passengers were aboard the train at the time of the accident of which an estimated 20 passengers were in the lead car. The driver of the SUV and five passengers on the train were killed.
This highway-rail grade crossing was comprised of gates and warning lights that activate to warn motorists of an oncoming train. Train no. 659 consisted of eight electrically powered M-7 railcars. The collision resulted in a fire which consumed the SUV and lead railcar, MN 4333.The SUV was stopped on the railroad tracks in the highway-rail grade crossing and was positioned in an easterly direction when the railroad crossing gates moved to the closed position. Witnesses reported the driver of the SUV as being stopped in the crossing prior to the gates lowering.When the gate lowered it struck the rear portion of the SUV after which the driver exited the SUV, looked at the back of the SUV, then got back in the SUV, drove forward (east), and was struck by the train.The track speed in the area of the accident was 60 mph. Based on the NTSB’s preliminary review of the train’s event recorder data, the train was travelling at 58 mph prior to emergency braking and the horn was operated in accordance with operating rules on the approach to the crossing.The recorder indicated that the engineer activated the emergency brakes about 300 feet before the collision after observing what he characterized as, “a vehicle partially fouling the crossing”. Event recorder data indicated that in the 4 seconds after initiation of emergency braking the train slowed to 49 mph at which time it impacted the SUV.

The train and the SUV continued northbound resulting in the damage of the electrified third rail on the west side of the track. The third rail detached, pierced the SUV, and then entered the railcar in two locations from the underside at the aft end of the left side passenger doorway.

The train and SUV came to rest about 650 feet from the point of collision. An estimated 480 feet of third rail was damaged. Twelve sections of the third rail, each 39 feet long, were found inside the first passenger railcar.

The NTSB will conduct a metallurgical examination of some of the third rail. Samples from the interior of the lead train car will also be examined by NTSB investigators for compliance with fire protection standards.

The weather at the time of the accident was reported to be 20˚F and with light wind, clear skies, and good visibility. Damage was estimated by the Metro-North Railroad at $3.7 million.

The parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, Metro-North Railroad, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, the Town of Mount Pleasant, and the New York Public Transportation Safety Board.

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Tourneau Jewelry Store Robbed Again at Westchester Mall.

Tourneau2.21.15WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. Special to WPCNR. February 23, 2015:

The Tourneau jewelry store in the Westchester Mall was  robbed Saturday afternoon,  the second time the store was victimized in six months.

White Plains Commissioner of Public Safety, David Chong provided WPCNR with the details::

“On Saturday February 21st at approximately 1230 PM a male black, described as approximately 40 years of age, wearing dark clothing, a dark knit hat with brim, longish dread locks hair, and mirrored sunglasses entered the Tourneau jewelry store located inside the Westchester Mall.
The suspect proceeded to a sales person and asked if he could look at Rolex Watches.  The sales person opened a display case to show the suspect a watch, at which time the suspect displays what appears to be a handgun and a bag and demands the watches inside the display case.
The suspect fled with 8 watches with a value of approximately $160,000 according to Tourneau.
Suspect fled out an exit stairwell and was pursued by a security guard hired by Tourneau.
The security guard lost sight of the suspect and the police were called. No one was injured during this crime.
This case is being investigated by the White Plains Detectives, all tips can be called into the Police Hotline at 914-422-6256 or by e-mail, to www.wppublicsafety.com and click on the crime tips icon.
All information will be kept confidential.”
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