Judge Nicolai: Absentees OK in Dist. 18–THEN APPELLATE COURT STAYS ELECTION

UPDATED DEC. 17: URGENT! DISTRICT 18 VOTER NOTICE– NO ELECTION TUESDAY:Judge Francis Nicolai, Administrative Judge of the New York State Supreme Court, 9th District, ruled Thursday to allow absentee balloting among the 366 voters eligible to vote in the upcoming Tuesday “Continuation” of the election in District 18, reports Jeffrey Binder, Larry Delgado attorney. However, the election itself was stayed Friday by the Appellate Court. No Election Tuesday.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn Fridy, the Appellate court heard Glen Hockley’s Appeal to overturn Nicolai’s “continuation of the election” decision, and granted a permanent stay, stopping the election, pending review of the appeal

Delgado Walking the District, Reports Voters Notified

THE DISTRICT 18 “366” WERE READY: Larry Delgado, the Common Councilman who will be forever immortalized by Judge Nicolai’s “Continuation of the Election” decision in White Plains, (shown here announcing the historic decision last week at Republican Headquarters), told WPCNR Thursday evening he has been walking District 18 and voters have received their Board of Elections notices. They were all set to vote until the “stay” came down from the Appellate Court Friday.

Asked their mood, Councilman Delgado said voters he has met in the neighborhood, are “anxious to recast their vote. I’ve never seen this before in any election.”

Voters do not feel upset at the Hockley challenge

Delgado, asked if voters resented the Hockley/Bradley challenge to the extended election, said:

“They’re more surprised why there would be a challenge to having a fair election where voters decide which candidate they prefer. They expect that elections will be fair.”

Asked if he expected bullet voting, Delgado said the persons he talked with were eager to recast their vote the way they originally cast it November 6, five weeks ago, in his opinion.

Meanwhile, Back in Brooklyn, U.S.A.:

The briefs are in.
Mr. Delgado reported both sides filed their briefs Thursday afternoon as directed.

Today, In Appellate Court, Second Department on Pierpont Street in Brooklyn, the Hockley/Bradley appeal of Judge Nicolai challenge may be heard by a panel of four judges.

White Plains’ Jeffrey Binder, one of Mr. Delgado’s election specialist lawyers, told WPCNR Thursday evening that the motion for a permanent stay of the election pending appeal heard Thursday in Appellate Court was postponed until today.

Binder said the Appellate Judges could grant the stay, (postponing the election while they ruled), deny it, or simply ignore it, choosing to rule on the appeal either Friday morning, afternoon or perhaps Monday, or even ruling after the election. “You just don’t know what they are going to do,” Binder advised.

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White Plains Tigers Run Through Harrison Huskies

The White Plains ice hockey club rocked the Harrison Huskies 9-0 at Ebersole Ice Rink.
Leading the scoring drive with 2 goals was center Steve Levy. He was helped with five first high-school career goals from David D’Marco, Andrew Barnett, Max Mulligan, Mike Abelsson and Danny Fendler. Eden Friedman, Christopher Mignardi and Keith Fricke helped out with assists.

“We felt good going in, and we feel good coming out,” says second-year center Christopher Mignardi. The Tigers took a 6-0 into third period, and held steady all the way through. Mike Kushman and Brent Mickol tag-teamed for the shutout, combining for 26 saves.

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The Chief Turns In His Badge.

The Mayor’s Office announced Thursday that John M. Dolce, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, has submitted his retirement papers to Mayor Joseph Delfino.
The man, whom White Plains Police Officers reverently call “The Chief” submitted his resignation to the Mayor personally on Tuesday.

In a statement to WPCNR today, George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer confirmed that Commissioner Dolce and Commissioner of Planning Mike Graessle had both tendered their retirement papers to the Mayor.

Hickey will serve as Interim Commissioner pending a search.

Mr. Gretsas reported that Mr. Dolce’s last day will be December 28, at which point Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety, Daniel Hickey, will be appointed Interim Commissioner while the city conducts “a nationwide search” for a successor.

Gretsas said that Deputy Commissioner Hickey will be considered a candidate for the permanent position.

A subdued George Gretsas reflects on the Dolce legacy and tradition of law and order in White Plains

Gretsas said the Mayor understands Mr. Dolce’s decision, and that Mr. Dolce has been a “tremendous asset, and has made great contributions to the city.”

Gretsas reflected, “Under Mr. Dolce, the White Plains Police Department has been recognized as one of the best police departments in the state for its cutting edge crime fighting techniques, and flexible ability to police a city that swells to 250,000 persons during the workday and returns to 50,000 residents in the evening, using effective management techniques.”

Presided over the Police Department that Police Departments hire from

Based on this reporter’s observation, Commissioner Dolce created a unique police department that polices without being obtrusive, enforces with respectful authority, and presents a model officer to the community.

THE CHIEF HAS LEFT THE BUILDING: Public Safety Commissioner John Dolce will retiring December 28 after 36 years with the city. The Commissioner planned and designed the Public Safety Building on Martine and Lex.

Other Police Departments across Westchester County lure White Plains Police officers away because of the extensive training they receive under the Dolce course that creates a White Plains Policeman.

Ahead of the curve, Respectful of its citizens.

Mr. Dolce has always been “ahead of the curve,” on technology advancement, having recently installed computer identification procedures and equipment upgrades that allow his force a full range of tools to serve and protect and prevent and apprehend. The performance of his police and fire departments have shown it.

Recently, Mr. Dolce complained when Washington D.C. refused his department a grant for upgrading of the police walkie-talkie system, because the government officials said New Rochelle and Mount Vernon need it more, White Plains is too well equipped. This, from the U.S. government.

Communications and response time on Mr. Dolce’s watch has always been swift, and the police take every citizen’s call as important. When a person wants the police, an officer is dispatched, no matter what, a hallmark of the Dolce legacy. White Plains citizens count on this and they expect it.

They perform with discretion and poise: the best example of this is when a bear wandered about the streets of White Plains several years ago.

Instead of shooting the animal, police monitored the bear, assured it did not hurt any citizen and humanely subdued the ursine perpetrator. Dolce’s officers’ handling of an incident was professional and measured, something White Plains children and this reporter, at least were duly impressed.

Creator of a police and fire department the citizens love.

Despite rhetoric to the contrary during political seasons, the police and fire departments under Commissioner Dolce perform with camaraderie and mutual respect, bravery and efficiency.

They treat citizens of White Plains courteously and correct gently, and always maintain their poise and professionalism. White Plains Police officers can make receiving a $100 wrong turn traffic ticket a pleasant experience, because of their demeanor. (I know, I received one on Church Street.)

White Plains citizens young and old have such respect for the police, that the police can control crowds of thousands as in the recent candlelight vigil without a massive show of force.

Fostering cooperation and teamwork

The ability of police and fire departments to work together as created by John Dolce has been demonstrated year after year. Recently, in the runaway garbage truck incident, the Bryant Gardens fire, the robbery resulting in an officer’s apprehension of a suspect at Mamaroneck and the Hutchinson River Parkway.

Dolce handles problems quietly without press conferences

The Dolce style is low key and action-oriented. His creative use of task forces to police up neighborhood problems discreetly (as on East Post Road rowdism), is a trademark of Dolce’s ability to work with the community in a nonthreatening, constructive way. His innovative use of radar signs is a passive restraint slowing down White Plains traffic.

Another quiet innovation of Commissioner Dolce’s forward thinking is the Officer in the Schools Program inaugerated last year. In fact, there are few communities where the youth hold the police in such high regard, from this reporter’s observation.

A Commissioner who works as hard as his men and women

Make no mistake, Mr. Dolce is a policeman, and though Mr. Gretsas says Mr. Dolce is departing to “enjoy life,” he was the champion people of White Plains looked too because he created two departments of champions.

Dolce’s men and women, fire and police are very good and every one is a personal extension of their Commissioner, John Dolce. Dolce is known to monitor the 24-hour tapes of police calls to maintain his perspective of White Plains police activity, and speak personally to officers about their handling of incidents.

He cannot be replaced. He will always be remembered. He has set the standard.

Thank you, Chief.

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Eastview Performing Arts Choir at The Westchester and WPFD This Week.

The first Eastview School Performing Arts Choir Tour has performed the first three of five community holiday appearances around White Plains at Macy’s completing a two-stop swing Monday at Education House and The Osborn in Rye, according to Carol Myers, Choral Director.

Next stops: The Westchester at 2:15 Thursday and the White Plains Fire Department Headquarters.
The 17-member Performing Arts Choir, made up of White Plains Middle School students appearing at the annual Winter Performing Arts Festival at Eastview School Wednesday evening for the first time impressed the throng of admiring parents with their precise harmonies and clear, articulated selection of holiday special songs.

ANGELS FROM EASTVIEW SERENADE WHITE PLAINS: The Performing Arts Choir of Eastview School, White Plains regales Macy’s shoppers last week at The Galleria with vibrant, harmonious, distinctive sounds of the season. Carol Myers is directing. They will be performing at The Westchester Thursday afternoon at 2:15 PM and at the White Plains Fire Department at Mamaroneck & Maple at 3:30 PM

The members, all students at the Eastview School for the Humanities are Juliana Bailey, Blair Bernard, Laura Campion, Nina Chillemi, Shani Daniels, Michelle Erskine, Janine Galois, Sally Horowitz, Allison Lau, Samantha Lifson, Nicole Norris, Serena Qiu, Julia Rose, Amanda Telesco, Tonlan Thompson, Susannah Waksberg, and Malorie Walsh.

Their latest stops Monday at Education House and The Osborn in Rye, were very well-received. Appearing in The Osborn Auditorium, the choir resonated superbly with strong presentation, precise articulation, and a warm audience encouraging a vibrant blending of holiday cheer. The elderly residents were seen tapping their feet to the Choir’s “Jingle Bells” medley.

The group will be appearing in their final two venues over the next week:

Thursday, December 20, 2 :15 PM at The Westchester Fashion Mall, White Plains and 3:30 PM at The White Plains Fire Department Headquarters at Maple and Mamaroneck Avenues.

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Board of Education Wants YOU to Work With Them on the Budget!

Special to CitizeNetReporter from Michelle Schoenfeld: The White Plains Board of Education is calling for citizens to serve on the Annual Budget Committee for the sixth consecutive year. The call for White Plains residents to participate in the budget planning begins the formal process of preparing the 2002-03 school budget. The Board has also announced the dates of public hearings and the countdown to the 2002-2003 Budget.
The ABC is an advisory group which provides input, feedback and suggestions to the District. The Committee is comprised of representatives of more than a dozen various civic and community organizations as well as individuals who have expressed interest in serving. The Board is inviting interested members of the community to join this year’s ABC.

Schedule of Budget Committee Meetings

A series of three meetings will be held with the ABC, the administration and Board: February 6th and 13th, and March 6th. An additional session, for orientation of new members, will take place prior to these three dates, on January 28th.

All meetings will be held at 7:30 P.M. at Education House, 5 Homeside Lane. Meetings will include an overview of the budget as well as discussions of key issues and new initiatives.

Anyone wishing to serve on the ABC may call Michele Schoenfeld,
District Clerk, at 422-2071. All of the meetings are open to the public.

The 2002-2003 Budget Calendar

The budget process will continue with a Public Hearing on the
Superintendent’s Proposed Budget on Monday, March 18th, at 8 P.M., and the adoption of a final budget by the Board on Monday, April 1st.

Another Public Hearing will take place on Monday, May 13th, and the annual Budget Vote, along with the Election of Board of Education members, will beon Tuesday, May 21st, from noon to 9 P.M.

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Graessle Resigns After 32 years with City. Habel Appointed Successor

Updated:Mike Graessle, Commissioner of the Department of Planning for the first four years of the Delfino Administration has announced his retirement. The Commissioner will be taking another position in the private sector in February.

Mayor Joseph Delfino has appointed Susan Habel to succeed Mr. Graessle. Ms. Habel will be officially appointed January 7 with the Common Council expected to approve the Mayor’s choice. Mr. Graessle continues as official Commissioner of Planning through January 4. However, he is taking vacation through January 4, with Ms. Habel, as Deputy Commissioner, covering in his absence, with Mr. Graessle contributing on an “as needed” basis the pair told WPCNR Tuesday evening.

Commissioner Graessle announced his plans to WPCNR Wednesday afternoon when asked about an unusual configuration for the New York Presbyterian Hospital public hearings.

MIKE GRAESSLE’S LAST DAY: Commissioner of Planning Mike Graessle talks things over with WPCNR prior to a farewell party held Thursday afternoon. The Commissioner recalled Alfred Del Vecchio persuading him to come back to work for the city in the second year of “The Mayor for All Seasons” first term. “I was in law school at the time. I didn’t want to come back in the worst way, but the Mayor said, You don’t understand, if you come in you’ll working in the Mayor’s Office. Do it for one year and see.’ Graessle served White Plains for 32-1/2 years.WPCNR PHOTO

“It’s been a privilege to serve the public here in White Plains because it’s a wonderful place to work,” Graessle told WPCNR, “because you can practice your profession at the highest level here and at the most meaningful level. That’s not true in all communities. White Plains is a place you can disagree in without being disagreeable.”

Mr. Graessle said that he would be taking another position in the private sector which will be announced by the firm in February.

Thursday, George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer announced that Mayor Delfino would appoint Deputy Commissioner of Planning, Susan Habel, to succeed Mr. Graessle, subject to Common Council approval.

Mr. Graessle is a fixture in White Plains. He worked for 17 years with the Alfred Del Vecchio administration, as Executive Officer for “The Mayor for All Seasons.” After a brief sojourn as Village Manager of Port Chester, he returned to his old stomping ground with the advent of the Delfino Administration in 1998.

Mr. Graessle is responsible for creating with Mayor Del Vecchio, the shape of White Plains as it is today, through the times of urban renewal. He oversaw the successful introduction of The Galleria, and the transformation of White Plains into a business center, are among his many accomplishments during the Del Vecchio era.

Graessle started with the city in the planning department in various positions as draftsman, junior planner, planner, for 11-1/2 years prior to Mayor Del Vecchio brought him back.

Associated with White Plains old and new

On his watch as Commissioner of Planning, Mr. Graessle has overseen the conception and approval of the most projects of any 4-year administration in city history: The Container Store, the Stop N Shop Supermarket, the Bank Street Commons, the City Center, the Jefferson at White Plains, Clayton Park, while presiding over the first overhaul of the Zoning Code since 1982.

Just as he helped create the White Plains of the 80s, as he rides into the sunset, he is creating the White Plains of the 21st Century.

His leadership, knowledge, smooth generalship and impeccable courtesy and grace under pressure have soothed neighbors, charmed developers into concessions, and persuaded reluctant councilpersons for 32-1/2 years. He has over 36 years of civil service experience.

His tireless efforts have set an example of work ethic for his Planning Department staff which works tirelessly and unselfishly for the citizens of this city.

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SERGEANT FRIDAY REPORTS: Transit Manager Explains New Downtown Bus Routes

Introducing WPCNR’s New Sergeant Friday Reports:
Recently a WPCNR fan wrote us about the impact of new bus changes downtown and The Director of Surface Transportation for Westchester County, Richard Stiller responded to our fictional Sergeant Joe Friday’s investigation and ansered our reader’s query.

In this new feature, White Plains CitizeNetReporter encourages citizens to report changes and circumstances that concern them. Tell us about a problem and we will put our fictional Sergeant Joe Friday on the case “to get the facts, ma’am.” Here’s what a recent reader wrote on the White Plains bus routes:

WPCNR READER: To start…Last month when the bus schedule changed, the “common normal everyday riders” were never informed about the changes in the schedule. Oh! And when I found the schedule, it was inaccurate! There were no “fare-freee” buses to be found at 6:00 am (or approximately). Then, some people found out by word to mouth that the buses were not running into town. But how? By sitting on a bus, and the unfortunate bus driver NOW is layden with the burden of announcing “last stop.” Anyway, got to go.

Sergeant Friday contacted the Westchester Department of Communications who referred him to Deputy Commissioner of Transportation, Henry J. Stanton. Sergeant Friday contacted him and Mr. Stanton referred the query to Richard L. Stiller, Director of Surface Transportation, Westchester County Department of Transportation. Here is Mr. Stiller’s report:

Good afternoon. Deputy Comm. Stanton has asked me to respond to your recent inquiry to him.

Earlier this fall, the City of White Plains directed us to eliminate the bus layover area on E J Conroy Drive between Main St. & Hamilton Ave. They told us that dump trucks carrying debris from the construction project at the site of the old Macy’s would need to use this street to transport debris away from the construction site.

As such, buses parked on E J Conroy would inhibit that operation. Since neither we nor the City could find a suitable
area to have buses layover uptown, we were forced to move the buses closer to the TransCenter.

With this relocation, very valuable (and costly) bus time was used up. To maintain the same schedules, buses that formally laid
over uptown, now had to go down to the TransCenter then back up to S.Broadway & Martine to start their next trips. To do this would require several additional buses to be added to the system (including the hiring of
drivers) and yet not increase ridership (read: revenue).

The estimated cost to do this was in excess of $ 1.0M annually. In the interest of cost containment, the decision was made to terminate or originate a number of trips at the TransCenter on Routes 1W, 5, 6, 14 and 20. These affected
trips were selected so as to minimize the impact to passengers.

As part of the marketing effort to our riders to inform them of these changes, we changed both the written public timetables and the schedules that are published on our website (www.beelinebus.com). We also had printed over 5,000 “palm cards” that were distributed to passengers by DOT staff at bus stops along Martine Ave. & Main St. both prior to and after the schedule
changes and RideGuide schedules that are posted at all bus stops were changed..

Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information.

Richard L. Stiller

Director of Surface Transportation

Westchester County Department of Transportation
100 East 1st Street
Mount Vernon, New York 10550
914.813.7766 FAX

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City Agrees to Pay $2MM for Fortunoff’s Road Improvements

WPCNR has learned that the Common Council has agreed in principle to the city paying for the road improvements associated with Fortunoff’s coming to the former Saks Fifth Avenue site.

The city will, according to a reliable source, accept the Fortunoff suggestion that the city pay approximately $2 million for the reconstruction of Maple and Bloomingdale Road designs to accommodate the project. Details of the road improvements were not disclosed, but should be forthcoming when the council takes up final approval of the project December 20.

Our source advised that Fortunoff’s will not receive any tax abatement (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) from the city. “It will be a fully taxed project,” said our source.

Tax abatement on construction materials sales taxes for Fortunoff’s is pending from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency, contingent on a December 20 approval by the Common Council.

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White Plains Lesli Cattan Honored With a “Zella” for Service to Disabled.

Lesli Cattan, of White Plains, has been recognized with the Zella Bronfman Butler Award, which annually honors professionals for their compassionate commitment to enriching the lives of children and adults with physical, developmental and learning disabilities.
The Director of Outpatient Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities at Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), Ms. Cattan received her “Zella” yesterday in New York City. The cash award, created jointly by the J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation and UJA-Federation, is in tribute to Zella Bronfman Butler who devoted her life to expanding services that encourage individuals with disabilities to fulfill their potential.

“Lesli is dedicated to helping clients achieve independent, rewarding lives,” says Linda Breton, WJCS Assistant Executive Director. “Her efforts have already enhanced the lives of hundreds of disabled individuals and their families. I have no doubt that her commitment and leadership will shape the quality of services for thousands of people in the future.”

At WJCS, Ms. Cattan was instrumental in establishing outpatient mental health services for people with special needs who also experience significant emotional difficulties. As a result, WJCS is the only mental health agency in Westchester which provides both specialized clinical services for people of all ages who have co-occurring psychiatric and developmental disabilities and support and education for their families.

She also created an array of social, recreational and communal services for people with developmental disabilities including Havorah, Moving Forward and Family Advocacy.

In addition, Ms. Cattan designed a manual to train staff in community-based organizations to accommodate special needs children in their mainstream programs, which will be implemented by organizations throughout Westchester and the affiliated organizations in the UJA-Federation network. She also has helped bring together the county’s service delivery systems for mental health and mental retardation/developmental disabilities. Under her leadership, a cross-system team of professionals produced a training curriculum for staff serving young people with both serious emotional disturbances and developmental disabilities. The team’s work is likely to become a national model as it is disseminated through Westchester’s SAMHSA-funded system of care activities.

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Special to CitizeNetReporter from Michelle Schoenfeld:One hundred White Plains High School students from six Spring Varsity Teams were honored as Scholar-Athletes by the Board of Education at its December Regular Meeting. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association awards this status, based upon an average of 90 or better from a specified number of team members. Athletic Director Mario Scarano presented the teams and their coaches to the Board.
Twenty students from the Field Hockey Team, coached by Joan
qualified with an average of 90.292. Students are: Virginia
Benda, Virginia Binford, Teresa Bologna, Leslie Busch, Margot Dempsey, Maura Duignan, Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Rozane Franco, Emily Grant, Amanda Hacohen, Michelle Loayza, Caroline Majsak, Christine Milliken, Lauren Mooney, Christin Pasqua, Jennifer Paulding, Elaine Ruda, Marygwendoly Ruda, Alice Scimia and Bridget Young.

From Women’s Cross Country, Lisa Weber, Coach, the following 12 athletes qualified with an average of 90.322: Kendall Alexander, Alexis Cohen-Pena, Ana Ginorio, Jenna Gordon, Brooke Keith, Bailey Rollins, Jennifer Russell, Rachel Salazar, Maria Jose Soto, Dorotea Szkolar, Heather Wynne and TamikoYounge.

The Men’s Cross Country Team, coached by Lamont McCormick, had 14 members qualify with an average of 90.578. Members are: Bryant Cassie, Daniel Getman, Vladimir Gogish, Benjamin Goldman, Robert Hollahan, Max Kravitz, Brian Lee, Michael Ohrnberger, Alex Porta, Jacob Riss, Chunny Sethi, Michael Smayda, Joshua Taft and Bryan Turo.

Twelve Football Team members, coached by Mark Santa-Donato, posting an average of 91.113, are: John Corretti, Michael DellaPosta, Kyle Eifler, Michael Fabiani, Darrell Fletcher, Matt Jones, Evan McGuire, Sean McLaughlin, Wilsson Moronta, Larry Parsons, Gabriel Robles and Donald Stevens. It was the first year ever that the Whtie Plains Football Team had qualified as A Scholar Athlete Team.

From the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, coached by Patty Gilmartin, 26 members qualified with an average of 90.700. They are: Kathryn Berkowitz, Alyse Bonuomo, Meaghan Bradley, Morgan Bradley, Andrea Busch, Jen Casinelli, Emma Cornfield, Camilla Ern, Jennifer Estrada, Joanna Fusco, Siobhan Hopkins, Gemma Horowitz, Esther Kim, Janice Kim, Sarah Krieger, Aidan Lasher, Sari Lewis, Lyndsey McLaughlin, Sarah Millman, Jennifer Rhodes, Alice Rie, Glenna Sikdar, Nicole Tomlinson, Naama Wrightman, Shira Wrightman
and Christine Younkin.

The following sixteen Women’s Tennis Team members, coached by Sharon Greene-Dansby, qualified with 90.378: Jenna Amicucci, Allison Brown, Stefanie Falk, Jessica Isaacs, Sara Levine, Kylie Luik, Moeko Mikami, Krystina Muellerq, Julie Owens, Alison Panken, Amy Rose, Joanna Ross, Jillian Salik, Ilana Sitkoff, Jamie Su, and Rachel Zuck.

In addition, Mr. Scarano recognized nine athletes with averages of 90 or better whose teams did not qualify for the award.

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