Black Cat Appreciation Day


WPCNR OBSERVATIONS. By Bela the Cat. August 18, 2018.

dear wpcnr,

please excuse the lack of capitol letters, this is my first letter to the editor, and as i cannot shift to capitol letters easily using my claw tips.

i am bela the cat, named for my resemblance to a bat’s face. a rather handsome bat, but very debonair and intelligent black cat. i access your website and was concerned that you did not note that august 17 friday was black cat appreciation day.

i thought i would share these thoughts with you.

black cats are among the most adopted cats from shelters across the nation 30% as surveyed by the aspca. black cats like myself are very intelligent. my benefactor as i call him has taught me to rollover and request tummy rubs, for example, and we black cats are the most observant of cats.

my brother black cat midnight for example is an excellent security cat. three times he has been the first responder. when a squirrel invade our house, while the rest of the cat residents simply took over. midnight stood his paws, stalked the squirrel hemming the interloper in while my master swept the squirrel out the door with a broom. midnight showed another side of courage chasing a dove who had come into the house. through the chimney. again midnight was not violent and cornered the trespassing dove while my master swept the bird out. the cooperation of midnight and master was a marvel. A third time  a bird got in, the same response  was repeated.

midnight today went to the vet for a checkup. as we were waiting to leave two black and white terriers came in, while midnight was in his carrier, he tells me. midnight growled, startling everyone in the vet reception area. the growl, master tells me was jaguar-like, really deep, making midnight sound like a tiger. the dogs paid attention. he is a very well-trained security cat.

Felicity, a third black cat, a tuxedo who lives in our castle is a repeat feline. she was rejected in the past by a home, and was very afraid when she first got here. now, though she has adjusted and sits with the countess nightly during cattail hour. she also acts as a hostess when the count and countess have receptions. she even flirts with the men. this irritates the count because she has always been skittish of him but midnight and i believe it is because she was mistreated by men in the past.

the way i see it, we are just like humans. we have feelings. we have memories. we have backstories and it is tough to shake them off. it is hard for humans to rehab and go back to society after being in a shelter or a prison. since cats are human, too, but cannot communicate our past, it is hard for shelter cats too. that is why we are so fortunate that the count and countess gave us a chance and were patient with us.

other facts you should know about black cats. had the people of the middle ages not thought us familiars with alleged witches, killing us by the thousands, there might not have been the black plague. my ancestors would have taken care of the rat population.

black cats are said to be bad luck. but our devotion to our masters and keen sense of observation of our masters, enable us to observe our master with an insight far beyond that of the typical pet.

we observe your emotions carefully. this rare observation and analysis talent black cats like myself possess allows us to commiserate with our masters when we observe them down or unhappy.

we black cats do not flee our human master, the count and the countess when we hear them raising their voices. we come to help. to mediate. arbitrate and inject the voice of reason and empathy that, much to my satisfaction stabilizes the environment of our castle.

black cats are adults at most times of our lives, and listen attentively to the evening discussions, lively at times, that take place during what I like to call, the cattail hour. black cats are the most attentive of companions and use our eyes and the occasional yes, go on-tell us more about that meow that always brings smiles and laughter to our count and countess faces.

this give us great pleasure to help them over their trials and tribulations and help them get on with their relationship.

i must say that investing in the adoption of a black cat or two saves the new owner thousands of dollars in pyschotherapy and a black cat, or the more color cats, too are always there for you. and our attention is never limited to 45 minutes and we do not charge.

black cats are there for you, but we are independent and treat you as equals.

we are respectful of children and never get upset when they roughhouse us. we are tolerant and faster than they are. we are not fragile. aside from the occasional cat race around the castle, we do not disrupt. all right, maybe a little throwup now and then, and you do not have to walk us.

so i would suggest considering adopting black cats if you are in need of company, companions, and want to ease the loneliness of living alone, the empty nest, or simply want another living and grateful creature who cares for you and provides unconditional acceptance, but with personalities all our own.

in fact one of the great tragedies is that nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospices do not have cats in such facilities to provide companions in the last days of the residents.

yes, i know, regulations may prevent that at health rehab and end of life care. but when cats have died in our house our count and countesses have been with us their arms and comfort around us as life left us and i was so touched by their care.

black cats, or any cat for that matter would certainly bring a stress reducing warmth to the residents of any health care facility or even schools and day care centers for that matter.

and certainly save and enrich the lives of cats living in shelters as it would enrich the existences of persons at the end of life and the beginnings of life.

bela the cat

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WPCNR SOUTHEND TIMES. From the Woman’s Club of White Plains. August 16, 2018:

The Woman’s Club of White Plains Foundation is partnering with Westchester restaurants, beverage providers and sponsors to assist Abbott House make the world a better place for children, families and adults.  The annual Corks & Forks fundraiser event will take place on Friday September 28th at the CV Rich Mansion in White Plains.

Abbott House is a special place that welcomes and builds lasting foundations of support for children, families and adults with complex needs.  The heart of their work is helping human beings recover from deep trauma or intervening to prevent and minimize trauma in the first place.  Family comes first at Abbott House.  They work hard to reunite families, create new ones and make promising futures a reality so those entrusted to their care feel a sense of belonging rooted in hope and community.

“Along with our restaurants, beverage partners and sponsors, the Woman’s Club is supporting Abbott House to help children in foster care and displaced, struggling families, as well as children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Working together we can make a difference in strengthening our community for everyone,” remarked Maryann Martin, President of the Woman’s Club Foundation.

The mission of The Woman’s Club of White Plains is to help the community thrive. Through a variety of activities, The Woman’s Club promotes civic and philanthropic engagement and taps into the passions and experiences of members and the community. We welcome all women who share in our mission of giving back.

During this evening of fun and social impact, restaurant and beverages partners will feature signature dishes and beverages allowing guests to enjoy tastes from:   Ambadi * Angelina’s Ristorante * BLT Steak * BonJo Coffee * The Briarcliff Manor * Captain Lawrence Brewing Company * Cathy’s Biscotti * Caperberry Events * Corx Wine & Liquors * Don Coqui * Great American BBQ Company * Haiku Asian Bistro * Lola’s Mexican Kitchen * The Melting Pot * Mulino’s of Westchester * The Olde Stone Mill * RaaSa * Sam’s of Gedney Way * Scarsdale Pastry Center * T & J Restaurant & Pizzeria * The 808 Bistro * Toma Artisanal Bloody Mary Mix * Via Garibaldi * Vino 100 *

Sponsors include Alloy Printing and Marketing Services and studiokat, Kat Nemec graphic design services.


Additional partners and sponsors are welcome. The event is open to all:  Tickets are available online at

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BUILDING Workers Union Opens Negotiations, Threatening Strike. They Serve 100,000 in County, Opens Negotiations for Wages, Affordable Health Care Coverage with Building Superintendents. Wages, Affordable Health Care Issues. Contract Ends Sept. 30

WPCNR LABORING. From the Service Employees International Union 32BJ. August 15, 2018:

This morning, contract negotiations opened in White Plains for superintendents, handymen and women, porters and others who serve 100,000 apartment building and condo residents in towns and cities across the Hudson Valley.

“We are seeking a fair contract, so we can continue to support our families, and do our best for our buildings’ tenants, who rely on us night and day,” said Antonio Delgado, a superintendent in Scarsdale and member of the 32BJ bargaining committee.
“I’ve been a super for over 30 years and my father before me was a super for 35. We stayed with the job because we both believe in helping others. But we could only do it because we had the health benefits and pension to support this long tradition of reliable service.
“I’m proud to start bargaining for older members like me, for the newer generation we mentor, and for the continued service we provide to tens of thousands of Hudson Valley residents.”
The 1,400 workers are represented in negotiations by a 32BJ SEIU bargaining committee comprised of elected members and union representatives from the largest building service employees union in the nation.
They will sit across the table from representatives of the BRI, the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region Inc. Negotiators hope to reach a fair agreement on a new contract before the current contract expires at midnight on September 30.
“Since our last contract negotiations in 2014, the Hudson Valley’s economy has outperformed the nation and the state, and the region’s real estate industry has boomed,” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President at 32BJ SEIU.
“We hope that the BRI will recognize that the next contract should maintain the level of benefits that have created a strong, stable culture of service among building workers, while keeping up with the region’s rising costs.”
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County to Inspect County-owned Retaining Walls

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. August 14, 2018:

In light of the high volume of rain our region has experienced the last few weeks and last night’s incident in Ossining, Westchester County Executive George Latimer has directed the County’s Department of Public Works to inspect and determine the safety of County-owned retaining walls.

Retaining walls, or walls built to support soil mass on a sloped landscape, aim to provide security from potential “mudslides” which may occur when large amounts of rainfall create wet, heavy soil.

Latimer said: “What we saw in Ossining overnight should be a warning to all governments that advance preparation for possible problems saves time, money, and energy in the long run. That is why I am issuing this directive – it is imperative that we ensure the safety of all our residents who could be impacted by this type of emergency.”

Westchester County has several well-built retaining walls on its properties which have stood up to stretches of rain similar to the one our region has experienced – even standing up through the worst of Super Storm Sandy. Regardless, the County will be checking all retaining walls in an abundance of caution.”

Department of Public Works and Transportation Commissioner Hugh J. Greechan Jr. said: “We are in constant communication with our road maintenance staff, parks department, and facilities managers to monitor retaining walls along County roadways, parkways, parks, and buildings. We do not anticipate any issues but are prepared for all circumstances.”

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Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors Figures on 2nd Quarter Westchester Sales Are Correct, HGAR Assures Public. Trade Press Reports to contrary incorrect.

WPCNR REALTY REALITY. By John F. Bailey. August 14, 2018.

WPCNR reports the quarterly real estate sales and statistics for Westchester County provided by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

Yesterday, media reports, according to Mary Prenon, Director of Communications for HGAR  misconstrued a trade press  article.

On the News 12 Nightside telecast Monday evening it was reported that HGAR statistics were incorrect for the second quarter and had sales down 14% in Westchester, when in reality it was 4.8%.

The problem was that it was HGAR’s report of 4.8% that was the correct figure, and HGAR was not responsible for the 14% figure.

Ms. Prenon  theorized the original misinterpretation in a trade press article apparently contributed to the repetition of the error.

Prenon assured WPCNR the HGAR 2nd quarter statistics were correct.

She had no explanation as to how the original  misinterpretation happened, and why it was repeated on the News 12 Nightside program Monday night.

Ms. Prenon furnished WPCNR with the 2nd Quarter Westchester Statistics as compiled by the Hudson Valley Multiple Listing Service, as published the second week in July:



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Westchester County Airport Terminal

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER.  By John F. Bailey. August 13, 2018:

It will be months, well into 2019 OR 2020 perhaps before any directions and decisions on the Westchester County Airport  future will be made.


That was clear after the early afternoon news conference  today at Westchester County Executive George Latimer (above) held at the airport.

The County Executive said the next steps in deciding the future of the airport would be to develop a supplemental Master Plan to address the county vision for the facility in view of the age of the previous master plan to counter Federal Aviation Administration criticism of the current Master Plan including “Lack of a Strategic Vision.”

To help the county execute the supplement, Latimer said a new consultant would be hired who would work on the Master Plan. That consultant has not been hired yet.

Latimer said comments from public hearings two months ago would be considered in creating the new plan, as well as comments from the Board of Legislators and the Board reactions, and comments from other stakeholders.

As part of that review the matters of governance of the airport, possibilities for the airport future and its management, presumably from a financial standpoint would be reviewed.

Asked by WPCNR if a leasing of the airport to an independent airport management company offering more profit to the county,and  a contract that gave Westchester County jurisdiction over any changes any potential lessor wanted to make in the airport would possibly be considered in the Master Plan– Mr. Latimer did not rule such proposals out,nor did he say he would consider such proposals.

Early in the news conference, Latimer disparaged former County Executive Robert Astorino’s lease plan that gave up county control of the airport in a long term lease deal offered by Macquerie Infrastructure Corporation that would have balanced the 2018 budget. The Macquerie offer was $1.1 Billion over 40 Years.

The County Board of Legislators declined to consider that plan.

Mr. Latimer did not rule out exploring any such proposals that kept county control of the airport with more lucrative financial returns to the county,  and a shorter duration of contract. Whether the master plan preparation will explore leasing with a new start is not apparent, nor ruled out.

(One of the major flaws of the Robert Astorino Administration plan to lease the airport was its duration, 40 years, lack of adequate revenues and the county giving up control of the airport, to fill the 2018 budget gap ).

He said Macquerie, the company offering the former airport lease plan, (the plan the Westchester County Board of Legislators declined to consider in December), has expressed interest in revising their proposal.

If they wanted to come up with a new proposal, they would be welcome to do so. He said emphatically to one reporter that the original Macquerie proposal was dead. “It ceased to exist January 1,” he said

Meanwhile, Mr. Latimer announced  new county airport initiatives on complaints and issues expressed during the public hearings in June.


Joan McDonald, Director of Operations for the County announced the county would be purchasing 10 new portable state-of-the-art Noise Measurement  devices (shown above), and would upgrade the existing 6 monitors. She said the 10 new monitors should be operative by the end of this month. McDonald said the county was organizing a new  automated complaint system consumers could use to report their observations.

John Nonna, the county attorney said the county is working with the Department of Environmental Conservation to measure and monitor drain off into the Kensico Resevoir (off Runway 34), and has located 49 monitoring wells at the airport. Nonna said those wells would begin to be monitored August 31.

The wells have not been monitored since 2007 (during the Andrew Spano and Robert Astorino administrations), according to the county news release on today’s conference.

The county news release also stated the last air quality emissions report was from 2007.

Nonna announced that monitoring of air quality  from aircraft exhaust would also be upgraded and the county was working with DEC to ascertain equipment to monitor air pollution. He said it would take four months before readings on air quality from the new monitors would be available.

Mr. Latimer said the county would begin to consider the 2019 county budget September 10 as to what options the county had in filling the reported gap in the budget, previously reported by the county auditors as $47 Million.

(Editor’s Nate:) To date the county sales tax receipts through July are on a pace to deliver half of that deficit by the end of the year. Another option the county has to consider to eliminate the alleged deficit, is to raise the county sales tax by ¼% which according to the auditors would address the present rate of growth of county expenses for the next two years.

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NY State Police Shocked, Shocked Motorists Speed on the Sprain Brook Parkway. Feiner Reports 60 Tickets Issued in One Day.

WPCNR THE FEINER REPORT. From Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. August 12, 2018:

If you don’t like getting tickets avoid speeding on the Sprain Parkway–60 tickets issued in one day!

I am suggesting a digital speed board be placed on parkway advising motorists how many tickets were issued

Sprain Parkway is one of the more dangerous parkways in our county – with numerous accidents, lots of speeding and periodic fatalities. According to the “dozens of motorists were cited for speeding on the Sprain Brook Parkway on Tuesday, as police conducted a special speed enforcement detail in Westchester.

New York State Police Troopers were out in force on the parkway on Tuesday in Greenburgh and Yonkers, dishing out a total of 60 tickets, including 49 for speeding.

The latest detail is the most recent for State Police, who have been busy all summer in an attempt to curtail speeding and distracted driving.

Last week, a man was clocked going 99 mph during a detail on I-684. Last month, nearly 12,000 tickets were issued statewide during the annual July 4 crackdown.”

I have written to the NYS police suggesting that they post a digital speed board at locations on the parkway indicating how many tickets they recently issued. I think that motorists would slow down if -while driving – they see a digital board advising them how many tickets were issued at the specific locations.  The Greenburgh police periodically post  ticket information on digital boards. And, I think it’s effective.

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Council of State School Superintendents expected a Delay in 2018 Assessment Test Scores but not this long.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. August 11, 2018:

The New York Council of School Superintendents knew that with the shortening of the duration  of the 2018 State Assessments in English and Math to two days, there would be a delay in receiving Assessment scores but not as long as the State Education Department confirmed to WPCNR this past week.

Robert Lowry, spokesperson for the Council of School Superintendents, issued this statement on the delay of scored assessments to WPCNR Friday:

“The delay this year is due to the change from three days of testing to two days.
That required some additional steps in creating scores and other test information.
We  (the superintendents) strongly supported shortening the tests and understood and accepted that it would create a delay in getting information to schools.
The delay has turned out to be a bit longer than we anticipated, but again, it’s related to the transition to shorter tests and should not be necessary next year.”
Lowry said he has not sampled superintendents yet as of Friday to how this longer than expected delay was affecting their adjustments to curriculum and instruction efforts for the new school year. this close to two month.
WPCNR notes that previously the scored assessments were delivered by the State Education Department the first week of August, this year they are expected by mid-September to end of September.
WPCNR also observes the decision to shorten the tests was made prior to the administration of the new 2-Day  tests in  April and May of this year. The State Education Department had five months before the tests were administered  in April and May of this year, to adjust their scoring system. Quesar, the test preparers in their first-time out test materials for the New York State Schools could also have expedited the State Education Department ability and preparation and expertise on how to score the shorter tests presumably, but WPCNR will check on that with the State Education Department.
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