County Says “No” to White Plains Shuttle Bus.

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WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From Councilman William King. September 6, 2002: White Plains Councilman William King reports that County Transportation Commissioner Lawrence Salley has ended White Plains hopes for a county-subsidized shuttle bus between Westchester Avenue corporate parks and the White Plains residential neighborhoods.
The final answer is “no” from County DOT Commissioner Larry Salley on adjusting Westchester Avenue office park shuttle bus routes for 2-way commuter bus service serving White Plains residential neighborhoods (like the Highlands, Gedney Farms, Bryant Gardens, the Dales, Soundview, Reynal Park, Colonial Corners, Havilands Manor …).

The only option now is for the City of White Plains to buy one or more of the County’s older shuttle buses for $1 each and pay for bus drivers and maintenance out of city funds. State or federal subsidies might be a possibility but requires someone to apply for a grant. I have fyi’ed state and federal elected officials. – Bill King

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Connors, New Superintendent of Schools Visits CNA Tuesday

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WPCNR TOAST OF THE TOWN. From Marc Pollitzer, Council of Neighborhood Associations. September 6, 2002: Residents of White Plains are invited to meet Timothy Connors, new White Plains Superintendent of Schools, Tuesday evening at the monthly Council of Neighborhood Associations meeting. The meeting begins at 7:45 at Education House, 5 Homeside Lane, White Plains.

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Matusow Receives Lewisboro Ledger Nod.

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WPCNR NEWSREEL. From Barry Malvin. September 6, 2003: Barry Malvin of Assemblyman Naomi Matusow’s campaign reports that the Lewisboro Ledger has endorsed Ms. Matusow for reelection, prior to Tuesday’s September 10 primary. Herewith are the Ledger’s comments, reprinted with permission:
Used with permission, The Lewisboro Ledger, Sept. 6, 2002:

Give Matusow your vote

Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow has served the 89th state assembly district well, with five consecutive terms for the past 10 years. Voters should give her another two: Choose Naomi to run a sixth term.

Mrs. Matusow is running on her record, and she should. It’s a good one. She has worked to ban assault weapons, to require fingerprinting for school employees, and on numerous conservation issues.
When asked about the most important issue in this campaign her answer is education, particularly at the local level. This issue resonates with all residents and Mrs. Matusow has worked tirelessly for the local school districts, helping to obtain an extra $20 million in funds during her tenure.

Mrs. Matusow’s experience has also translated into concrete results for Lewisboro, in the form of the more than 100-acre Houlihan property,
which she worked to preserve as open space.

Mrs. Matusow’s career has been one of diligent service. She has
constantly campaigned from door to door and at train stations. She has
connected with people in the local area and has given them a voice in
Albany.

Her opponent, Adam Bradley, has said that local residents need a new
voice in Albany. And his tenure as the chair of the White Plains
Democratic City Committee offers a nice background to rely on for a
first foray into politics.

However, Mr. Bradley is a man first and foremost of White Plains, where he is an attorney and a political figure and where his policies seem more suited.

In terms of his major campaign issues, he wants to tax people who shop in White Plains and reform the Rockefeller drug laws. The first will adversely affect those in the Lewisboro area and the second is more of a concern for the White Plains voter, remote to the consciousness of Lewisboro residents.

It’s ironic that Mr. Bradley has denounced Mrs. Matusow for her use of
rhetoric because he has been the candidate more dependent on it. He’s
claimed that she has been late in responding to resident concerns about Indian Point, but she has a record of involvement with the issue since before 2000. He’s criticized her for wanting to reform the Rockefeller drug laws, but her decision was based on concerns laid out in a report by the district attorney’s office. Mrs. Matusow has in fact gone on the record for decommissioning the power plant and for reforming the Rockefeller drug laws.

But what’s been most disturbing about his campaign is how it’s handled the ‘issue’ of Matusow’s mailings. These mailings are to keep
constituents informed. It’s unfortunate for challengers that incumbents
benefit from the extra contact with constituents but the mailings are a
necessary part of the political process. Mr. Bradley’s campaign has
created this issue to gain traction in his long-shot bid for office.

But what has been even worse for his campaign is that Mrs. Matusow has the advantage of experience and holds nearly the same position on Mr. Bradley’s two key issues: Indian Point and the Rockefeller drug laws.

She also offers an attention to smaller towns and the issues they face
that seems foreign to the White Plains-based Bradley.

As Mrs. Matusow says, he’s been grasping at straws and it’s a mistake
for him to think the White Plains voting districts are enough to carry
this election.

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First West Nile Virus Case Diagnosed in Mamaroneck

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WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From Mary Landrigan of the Department of Communications. September 5, 2002:The Westchester County Department of Health today received notification from the New York State Department of Health that an 83-year-old man from the Town of Mamaroneck has tested positive for West Nile virus.
The man was reported to be recovering from his illness in the hospital. This is the first identified human case in Westchester County this year. No spraying is planned at this time.

In response to this finding, the Westchester County Department of Health will be conducting additional local environmental assessment including monitoring in the area of the man’s home for potential mosquito breeding grounds, checking the status of larvicide in and around the Town of Mamaroneck, conducting additional mosquito trapping in the area, and developing detailed information about the travel history of the affected individual. A review of the Health Department’s mosquito and bird surveillance data also is being conducted.

The Westchester County Department of Health today also reported that the New York State Department of Health has announced that from September 3 through September 5, 2002, there have been four additional mosquito pools and four more birds from Westchester County that have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The mosquito pools were collected in Yonkers, New Rochelle, Scarsdale and Mt. Vernon and the birds were found in Irvington, Mamaroneck Village, Hastings-on-Hudson, and New Rochelle. The mosquito pools and the four birds were collected between August 15, 2002 and August 28, 2002.

With the addition of these four new positive mosquito pools, a total of 23 mosquito pools from Westchester have tested positive for the virus this year. To date, out of 511 mosquito pools submitted for testing, 366 have been tested for West Nile virus, of which 343 have tested negative.

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“Choreography of Waters” Proposed for City’s Center

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WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. CORRECTION, September 6, 2002: The designers of the dynamic fountains of Disneyworld and Epcot Center showcased their design for a new fountain plaza and concert space in the heart of the White Plains downtown Thursday evening at a Common Council work session.



NEW FOUNTAIN PLAZA DAZZLES COUNCIL: The view of the new fountain as seen from Macy’s, looking East towards the City Center. On the left is Main Street, to the right is 14 Mamaroneck Avenue, owned by Marc Ellman of 14 Mamaroneck Avenue LLC. It is also the headquarters of the Business Improvement District property. (Not owned by Leon Silverman as previously reported.) Planned for the fountain are a low lying planted buffer bordering Main Street on the left, a spectacular fountain in the upper right near a kiosk for a possible Starbucks or upscale restaurant. The centerpiece of the design is a series of fountains that will shoot colorful spectacular ropes, and streams of water in mesmerizing water shows to recorded music at all times of the day, late into the evening. The three grass greens in the right foreground are planned for outdoor concerts. The city is budgeting the project at $3 million to $3.5 Million dollars, and is now in negotiations with public and private funding sources to float the project. The project is planned to be completed by October 2003 to coordinate with the opening of the City Center. Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., and fountain designer Aquatic Design & Engineering of Montverde, Florida presented the concept Thursday evening and the Common Council was favorably impressed.
Photo by WPCNR

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CCOS in Court: Send NYPH Proposal Back for “procedurally correct review”

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WPCNR Milkman’s Matinee News Delivery. By John F. Bailey. September 5, 2002: Concerned Citizens for Open Space Wednesday evening issued a statement confirming they had filed an Article 78 suit in New York State Supreme Court asking that the August 5 approval by the Common Council of the proton accelerator/biomedical research facility on Site Eight of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Property be reversed. They ask the matter be sent back to the Common Council for a “complete and procedurally correct review” with the Common Council, not the court, retaining final decision-making authority over the hospital proposal.



SHOT ACROSS THE BOWS: The Concerned Citizens for Open Space News Release announcing their legal positions in their Article 78 lawsuit filed yesterday against the City to overturn the Council approval of the New York Presbyterian Hospital proton accelerator/biotech research complex approved August 5.
Photo by WPCNR


The news release discussed the reasons behind the suit that was served on the City of White Plains Wednesday afternoon, reciting objections to the city’s decision based on four matters.

The statement says that the Article 78 petition alleges that the Council approval “is in violation of local zoning ordinances and, in addition, does not fully meet the legal requirements of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).”

The action, the statement continues, “petitions the Supreme Court to review the approval process and determine its procedural legitimacy and is the natural extension of our opposition to what we believe is a violation of developmental restrictions.”

It cites the following legal objections in an accompanying fact sheet:

• The suit rejects the Common Council acceptance of the 394,000 square foot building as an “ancillary (secondary) use.”

• It alleges that the Council failed to consider the building in the context of development of all of the property by not requiring a complete master plan.

• The suit maintains that the Council’s approval of the building as a Special Use permit rather than a zoning change was incorrect procedure.

• And, finally that the council “failed to guarantee meaningful open space planning for the city as intended by zoning,” saying “proper review of a “master plan for the property would have ensured this.

“Majority” Believes Zoning Laws Should be Defended.

The News Release remarks that “CCOS, along with a majority of White Plains residents, believes the integrity of White Plains’ zoning ordinances must be defended. We also believe it is the responsibility of elected officials of White Plains to protect all its citizens from further deterioration of our already badly compromised environment.”

Barbara Benjamin, contacted by WPCNR, asked what the release meant by the words “along with a majority of White Plains residents.”

Definition of “Majority”

Benjamin said it is “a majority of people who know anything about it (the project).” She did not give a figure of persons specifically opposed to the project.

Ms. Benjamin went on to explain, in her opinion, that many persons in White Plains who have not voiced opposition to the project no longer read The Journal News the daily countywide newspaper, or the White Plains Watch, the monthly city newspaper, and therefore are not informed on the hospital issues, or know what is at stake. She said that she gets calls every day from one or two persons who have learned about the project, and ask what they can do to help. She implied that citizens who know the project well are convinced it is wrong for the city, for the traffic it will bring, the pollution it will bring to the city.

What the Suit Expects:

The fact sheet sent with the news release specifies three results CCOS hopes to achieve by filing the Article 78 procedure:

• They hope the court will reverse the approval and send it back to the Common Council “for a complete and procedurally correct review,” reserving the Common Council the right to make the final decision, not the court.

• They want the court or the Common Council, (the fact sheet is not clear) to “reject the request for a Special Permit and work with the hospital to craft a zoning change proposal beneficial to both the city and the hospital.”

• They want the court or the Common Council “to consider the environmental impact of developing all 214 hospital-acres and provide for meaningful open space preservation for the public and the city.”

Benjamin: 50% of Legal Fees in Hand. Fundraising effort planned.

The suit is being handled by Oxman, Tulls, Kirkpatrick, Whyatt & Geiger, with Thomas Whyatt, pointman on the suit. Benjamin said the suit “is being done at an enormous discount,” and said that the firm had set a “cap” on the amount of legal work they would conduct, but declined to reveal what that was, and that there was “no timeline” saying that Mr. Whyatt had assured her he would stick with the suit.

Ms. Benjamin said they group would not be intimidated by possible threats of a counter suit by the New York Presbyterian Hospital, even though it is the city CCOS is suing. “It’s our constitutional right (to sue),” Benjamin said.

Benjamin said “of the people who know, there is a solid majority, and by people who call us,” against the project, and that CCOS would soon do a fundraising mailing among its members to raise funds for the suit.

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CCOS-Bryant Gardens Sue City to Stop NYPH Proton Accelerator/biotech Project

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. September 4, 2002: The City of White Plains was served today with a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court by Concerned Citizens for Open Space and the Bryant Gardens Cooperative Apartments on Bryant Avenue. The suit asks the court to stop the New York Presbyterian Hospital proton accelerator/biomedical facility, approved by the Common Council August 5 from being constructed. The action was confirmed by the Mayor’s Office which has turned over the several-hundred page document to the Corporation Counsel, Edward Dunphy for analysis.
George Gretsas, Executive Officer for the Mayor, told WPCNR the suit asks for the court to stop the project approved August 5 from being constructed on the council-approved site Southeast of Bloomingdale’s, known as Site Eight. Gretsas said the suit also asks the court to refer the project back to the Common Council for further review. Gretsas said no monetary damages were sought by the plaintiffs.

Gretsas said he could not speculate on what could be expected from the courts on the matter, and referred WPCNR to the city Corporation Council.

Gretsas said he had only read the first several pages of the suit, and estimated the document to be “several hundred pages,” “telephone book size” in length. He said the suit was served at about 2:30 PM Wednesday afternoon.

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13 Mosquito Pools I.D.’d in County as Nile Virus Breeders

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WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From Mary Landrigan. September 3, 2002:The Westchester County Department of Health today reported that from August 30 through September 2, there have been a total of thirteen mosquito pools in Westchester County reported from the New York State Department of Health that have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Four positive mosquito pools were collected in Mt. Vernon, three in New Rochelle, two in Yonkers, two in Rye, one in Rye Brook and one in Harrison.
With the addition of these thirteen mosquito pools, a total of 19 mosquito pools from Westchester have tested positive for the virus this year. The thirteen new mosquito pools were collected for testing on August 20 and 21.

There have been a total of 20 positive birds found in Westchester County. To date, out of 2,668 dead birds reported to the Health Department and 153 submitted for testing, 99 birds have been tested for West Nile virus, of which 79 have tested negative. No positive human cases of West Nile virus disease have been detected in the County. No spraying is planned at this time.

Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Lipsman again urged residents to take personal protection measures against mosquito bites while in their homes and when spending time outdoors. “It is particularly important that residents remain vigilant in their efforts to reduce their risk of West Nile virus during the late summer months because this is peak mosquito season,” said Dr. Lipsman. Dr. Lipsman recommends that residents take the following personal protection measures against mosquito bites:

• Avoid being outdoors in places and during times where and when mosquitoes are active and feeding.

• Use insect repellants with no more than 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) when outdoors in such areas at those times. Use 10% or less DEET for children. Do not use DEET on infants. Insect repellants should be used especially at dusk and evening hours when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

• Wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks when outdoors in areas and at times where and when mosquitoes are active and feeding.

• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

Mosquitoes capable of carrying West Nile virus lay their eggs in stagnant water. The eggs can develop in any pool or puddle of water that stands undisturbed for more than four days. Mosquitoes will breed in any untreated water, so the County Health Department recommends doing the following around your home:

• Rid your property of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers

• Remove discarded tires

• Drill holes in the bottoms of all recycling containers that are left outdoors

• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use

• Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly

• Sweep your driveway after it rains so that it is free of puddles

• Keep storm drains and gutters clear of leaves and debris

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor spas and hot tubs and drain water that collects on their covers.

Under County Executive Andy Spano’s mosquito control program, Operation Mosquito S.T.I.N.G. (Stop The Insect’s Next Generation), the County has applied larvicide to catch basins countywide to kill immature mosquitoes and have been collecting mosquitoes and dead birds for testing.

Since West Nile virus is in the area, it is important that residents take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes and help to eliminate standing water in their neighborhoods that can serve as mosquito breeding sites. The Health Department is encouraging residents to report dead birds and large areas of standing water
through its Public Health Information Line at (914) 813-5609 and through its internet site, www.westchestergov.com/health.

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Council Sets Hearings on Overnight Parking, Calvary, Development Rights Transfer

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WPCNR Common Council Chronicle-Examiner. Filed by John F. Bailey, September 3, 2003: In the shortest Common Council meeting of the Delfino Administration, just 51 minutes, the Common Council set dates for significant pubic hearings. The Council also passed a resolution reaffirming that speakers at Common Council meetings would be held to five minutes at future meetings.


“OFFICER IN THE SCHOOLS” HOWARD TRIBBLE NAMED EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH: Detective Howard Tribble, graduate of White Plains High School accepts the prestigious award from Mayor Joseph Delfino. With his mother, wife and children in attendance Detective Tribble said, “when you honor one officer from the White Plains Police Department, you honor them all, I accept this honor on behalf of each and every member of the White Plains Police Department. Mayor Delfino said that F. Thomas Eaton, Administrator of North House at White Plains High School, said that Detective Tribble “is doing a tremendous job increasing security,” and interacting with the students, and that “the students feel comfortable speaking to Detective Tribble. He is truly an asset to the WPPD.”
Photo by WPCNR


In taking care of the people’s business, the Common Council set September 17 for the Hearing on the Special Permit for the Sears/Sears Auto Shop move to the Galleria; a public hearing on the Calvary Baptist Church Sanctuary Project (October 7); another public hearing on acquisition of the Dellwood Property (October 7); a public hearing on permitting overnight parking on Old Mamaroneck Road in the Highlands (October 7), and a hearing on Transferring Development Rights in the Core Downtown area, also October 7.

The Council also passed a resolution reaffirming that speakers at Common Council meetings would be held to five minutes at future Council meetings.

No more Passionate Soliloquys

Each member of the council weighed in in favor of the resolution re-affirming the provisions of Section 2-3-20(B) of the White Plains Municipal Code which allows five minutes for individuals addressing the Council.

Cary Gouldner was the lone resident to appear, protesting the time limitation. However, his arguments that questions could not be answered within five minutes were dismissed by the council.

“Your Five Minutes Are Up.”

Thomas Roach said the council’s purpose was to be fair to all, by allowing all to speak by limiting long-winded speakers, “assuring everyone who comes (to the council) has had the opportunity to be heard anmd to say their piece.”

Councilman Robert Greer said he felt the five minutes was fair, being that speakers could submit supplemental written material to the council to be read into the record. Greer ventured that council members should limit their comments, perhaps to five minutes, too.

Councilperson Rita Malmud said the Gettysburg Address which lasted less than five minutes was an example of how a strong point could be made in a short period of time, saying, in five minutes, “they can get their point across.”

Benjamin Boykin said enforcing the five-minute rule would “assure fair and equitable treatment for every member of the public. It is a reasonable process for everyone to be heard.”

Boykin noted that the council has had one meeting run until 3:45 AM and another run until 2:30 A.M. on August 5, noting the how unlimited speaking time drags out meetings.

Councilman William King noted that there should be some flexibility, but he appreciated the reasons for the limitation, noting the 3-minute time limit in effect at the County Board of Legislators.

Minieri The Time-Reaper

Mayor Delfino assigned City Clerk Janice Minieri, the task of determining what device would be used to signal speakers at future council meetings when their five minutes was up. Minieri would also be in charge of timing each speaker. Ms. Minieri’s first thoughts on a timing/signaling device were to install a buzzer arrangement. She said she would be investigating possibilities.

Rampant Media Speculation

Speculation was rampant among the assembled media, (which at one time outnumbered the gallery, 3 to 2), what method would be used to rein in 5-minute violators.

Mayor Delfino ruled out the use of an oriental gong chime to WPCNR. Council President Benjamin Boykin suggested to WPCNR that a sequence of green, yellow, and red lights be rigged up similar to a traffic signal to cue the speaker silently and visually to wrap it up.

One reporter suggested a siren, and a trap-door behind the Council lectern for long-winded litigants.

A technical expert for the city, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested theme music similar to a talk-show break be played about 30 seconds before the five-minute mark was reached. Thanks for the Memories was suggested by this reporter as the appropriate tune.

WPCNR will follow up with Ms. Minieri on development of the media-dubbed, Speaker Intensive Limiting Early Notification Countdown Editor or “SILENCE” device.

Bergins Catches a Moment of Council Zen

Paul Bergins, attorney for The Galleria, caught the Common Council in a procedural gaff, jumping up unexpectedly, striding to the lectern. Mr. Bergins, former Corporation Counsel for the city, noted to the Mayor, that the council was approving setting a public hearing (on the Galleria Sears Auto Shop), before they had approved the zoning change for it.


GALLERIA SEARS MOVE ZONING APPROVED: Paul Bergins at the Common Council podium, gives the details on the Sears Auto Repair Shop design targetted for the lower parking level under the former JC PENNEY space. Bergins said Sears’ present store would remain open until August 2003 when construction of the new Galleria Sears complex was scheduled to be completed. Wynnette Peltz, Director of Marketing for the Galleria, observes in the foreground.
Photo by WPCNR


Mayor Delfino thanked Mr. Bergins for catching the procedural error, saying with a smile “You lawyers….even when you’re winning…” and shaking his head.

Zoning Change approved allowing Sears to operate auto shop in Galleria.

After disposing of the consent agenda, the Council saw a layout of the proposed ground floor auto repair shop in the Galleria, and approved the zoning change (limited to the Galleria’s custom specifications), by unanimous vote.



SEARS AUTO BAY: The configuration of the new Sears Auto Repair Shop on the ground floor underneath former JC PENNEY location. Main Street is at bottom of the picture. Lexington Avenue on the right. Cars enter from West off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Photo by WPCNR

In other action…

The Council approved street closings for various city events…a contract with the Housing Authority bringing $10,901 for a Computer Learning Center at 120 Lake Street from September to June 2002…set a hearing for Special Permit to operate a cabaret at 15 South Broadway (October 7)…

Citizens to be Heard

In the Citizens to be Heard Forum, Cary Gouldner suggested to the Common Council that the city modernize its method of recording and billing water. He noted that Harrison and Greenburg both have computer plug-in reading devices that more accurately tabulate water consumption. He said White Plains still reads the meters by hand and bills residents only semi-annually as a consequence.

Gouldner said that New York City bills the city quarterly, for White Plains residents’ use of water, and said the city was essentially extending six months credit to consumers by the archaic personal meter reading system. He urged computerizing the water billing readings and more frequent billings. He also encouraged raising rates for commercial wpcnr_users.

Two residents of Hillair Circle spoke again complaining about the Amodio’s mulching business, pleading with the city to take action about what they allege is an increase in trucking activities there.

A city official contacted by WPCNR after the Citizens to be Heard forum said that the city had already sued Amodios once and lost on the issue, but that the city was “looking into a few things.”



MAYOR DELFINO SIGNS OFF AT 8:22 PM: The Mayor bids the council and White Plains good night at the shortest formal Common Council meeting of the Delfino Administration. The Mayor asked all residents to join in the White Plains Walk of Remembrance next Wednesday, September 11 at 6 PM when six residents of White Plains who died in the Trade Center Towers attack would be honored.
Photo by WPCNR

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Chappaqua’s CHANGE Switches to Bradley.

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WPCNR NEWSREEL.From Elise Levine Cooper. September 3, 2002: Chappaqua Against Nuclear Generated Energy (CHANGE) at Indian Point, a group of local residents dedicated to closing the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, is endorsing Adam Bradley for the Democratic ticket for the New York State Assembly.
After meeting with both Bradley and Naomi Matusow, CHANGE feels that Mr. Bradley, who worked closely with Richard Brodsky, is determined to close the plant. Although, Naomi Matusow, has recently initiated actions to close Indian Point, CHANGE feels that she has not been vocal on this critical issue following the 9-11 catastrophe.

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