District Leaders Impressed with Connors Commitment, Techniques.

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WPCNR All News Final. By John F. Bailey April 18, 2002 11:00 PM EDT: Two members of the citizens interview committee, Administrators President Hugh McKiernan and teachers union leader, Jerry Gorski, had the opportunity to interview Tim Connors and his companion “finalist” last weekend for the White Plains Superintendent of Schools position.
They each expressed great enthusiasm to WPCNR about Mr. Connors philosophy, personality, and ability to lead White Plains schools.
McKiernan, Dean of Principals in White Plains, the Principal of Mamaroneck Avenue School, and President of the Administrators and pervisors Association was impressed with both finalist candidates.

Dean of Administrators Gives Vote of Confidence

“The Search Committee did a good job in identifying candidates who would fit the profile for our district,” McKiernan told CNR. “As you know, the search firm took the time to speak with different constituencies to contribute to the profile. And, the finalists whom we saw were very aligned to that profile. I felt that either of the finalists would be a fine selection. The Board chose Mr. Connors, and I think he’s the kind of person that we can look forward to working closely with in White Plains.”

A Fast Start

Mckiernan spoke at length on the “Connors style” on display in the interview: “I think the administrators will be pleased with the work history, the work ethic and the collegiality, he seems to want to establish immediately. We’ll be meeting with him next week, and that’s a good start. We’re hopeful that the district will continue to show the improvement it did under Dr. Yanofsky, and we’ll continue to do that under Tim Connors.”

McKiernan impressed with his approach to goals, “close working relationship.”

Mr. McKiernan, based on his time with Connors, observed that Connors believed in individual school plans: “I would assume he’ll work closely with the schools and help us
to develop school plans to meet achievement levels, look at resources to see how we can better use current resources or identify other resources. I think the key will be a close working relationship with the schools. He indicated he had visited a school each day while at Danbury. I think that’s an extremely important part of a strong, instructional leadership, that he be present on the front lines so to speak. So, we’re hopeful.”

Superintendent-tested tough.

Asked to comment on how Connors impressed him, McKiernan described him as pleasant with a sense of humor, yet demonstrating, “his commitment to kids is very evident in how he speaks. I think, that he’s been a school superintendent for nineteen years has familiarized him with many of the challenges modern day urban superintendents face.”

“Building Specific” Achievement Plans.No stranger to attacking the Achievement Gap and Test Scores.

Connors’ approach in Danbury to raising achievement is very individual according to McKiernan:

“He’s indicated to us that he’s worked in assemblage with each of the schools to develop a school plan that is building specific. Not every building is typical. That is the approach he takes, I believe that the approach was that rather than a simple, district-wide solution., he would look at each individual school at the beginning to see if he could develop a plan that would bridge the minority student achievement gap.”

I think that’s the way he will go. I think that’s the perfect approach. There’s no one right solution to every level of education. I think it’s exactly the way we should be going. White Plains is not as large as Danbury. I think the fact he wants a close working relationship with teachers parents are all good indications.”

Citizens Committee Could Go Either Way.

“The Committee members who spoke (to the Board of Education in the debriefing,” Kiernan reports, “felt Mr. Connors was a fine choice.”

Teachers Union Head on Same Page.

Jerry Gorski, interviewed by WPCNR Wednesday gave our first impressions about Mr. Connors.

Gorski told us, “He (Connors) was the one I favored of the two finalists. White Plains is very fortunate, getting top caliber people to apply (for Superintendent).”

The leader of the White Plains Teachers Association reports Connors said that he wanted “to focus on what it is they’re trying to do in the classroom, and overall direction.”

Man with vision.

Gorski said Connors impressed him as a man with vision: “If you don’t have vision, you flounder. He (Connors) is strong on not what the student is, but what they could become. He is well-known in his district (Danbury). He is visible. He intends to continue that in White Plains.

Gorski also confirmed that Connors tends to concentrate on the individual student, and views test scores as a tool to share with teachers to point the direction a child’s program should take.

The “Citizens Interview Committee,” Gorski said had a debriefing with the Board of Education after interviewing each of the finalists for three and a half hours on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11. He said some persons spoke their opinions to the board and some did not. He reported no vote was taken. He also said one of the finalists was a woman.

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Connors’ Goal: “Maximize” education of every student

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WPCNR Morning Sun. By John F. Bailey. April 18, 2002 9:00 AM EDT: Timothy Connors, Superintendent of Schools of Danbury, Connecticut, told WPCNR today that his success in raising Danbury test scores was based on not so much teaching to the test, but on maximizing the education of every student.
Returning our call, Mr. Connors told us about how he felt about his coming to White Plains.

Mr. Connors said he had “a great job” in Danbury, but the opportunity to come to White Plains with its resources and unique community was one he was looking forward to. When asked when he would be finalizing matters, Connors said he would be meeting with the Board of Education next Tuesday, but did not elaborate on whether he would sign a contract at that time.

The Maximizer

WPCNR got in one quick question. It was the right one. We asked about his secret about raising test scores in Danbury, for which he has been credited.

Connors said White Plains is scoring above the New York State average, and there is “room for improvement,” as he put it. Connors then cut to the chase: obviously his style.

He said that “if you work to maximize the potential of every student, it’s been my experience that the test scores will take care of themselves.”

Connors impressed WPCNR with a rational, deep, mellow delivery, that was earnest and energized, a non-stop, compelling manner of speech, vibrant with an eagerness that cut to the heart of a matter.

Mr. Connors told us he is going on vacation with his wife over the weekend, prior to introducing himself to the people of White Plains next Tuesday.

The public will have an opportunity to meet the “Superintendent-Select” at a reception at Education House, Tuesday, April 23, at 8 PM.

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Geiger: Connors Successful Outreach to Minorities Factor. Geiger runs.

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WPCNR White Plains World Telegram. By John F. Bailey. April 17, 2002. 4:30 PM EDT. Larry Geiger of the White Plains Board of Education said Wednesday that the efforts that Timothy Connors, the “Superintendent-Select of the White Plains Schools” (announced Tuesday), made in addressing the achievement gap, which impressed Geiger about Mr. Connors was Connors’ ability to involve minority parents in the Danbury schools and keep them involved.
Mr. Connors is leaving his position as Superintendent of Schools in Danbury, Connecticut, to take over for outgoing White Plains superintendent, Saul Yanofsky, in July, pending a successful introduction to the community next Tuesday evening.

Speaking to WPCNR by telephone from his New York office, Wednesday, Mr. Geiger said he was “delighted we have an excellent candidate for the new Superintendent of Schools.” Asked about Mr. Connors’ Danbury district’s track record at improving minority test scores and Connors’ efforts at improving minority achievement, (one of the Board of Education’s chief criticisms of Dr. Yanofsky), Geiger said he had never seen all the Danbury test scores.

Impressed with Connors’ “all student plan.” Motivation of Minority Parents.

Geiger said what impressed him about Connors was that “He’s talked about a push of an all-student plan, where you try to evaluate what things can be turned around, what teachers are doing well to make a student to be more successful. He feels test scores can be a helpful tool for each individual student to indicate what it is we need to do to help (students).”

Geiger said Connors was successful at involving minority parents in his schools on a continuing basis, inviting them and getting them in to the school to participate actively in their childrens’ education, and motivate the parents with individual plans to help their children. Geiger said, the difference was that Connors was able to motivate these parents to show sustained involvement over a period of time.

Impressive candidates.

Mr. Geiger said the Board was “faced with different candidates at different places in their careers, at different levels of experience, in different kinds of situations, and all were very impressive. We heard from all of them about the strategies they followed, the tactics they employed, the way they interacted with staff. The Board found it a learning experience interviewing them.”

Connors experience a clincher. His city a “fit.”

“But, the match between Mr. Connors experience, he’s an experienced superintendent, and probably has seen and been through many of the situations a superintendent is likely to come across, and some of them are hard to predict. He’s been a superintendent in three different situations. He’s (now) in a system which is in fact bigger than White Plains in terms of students and staff. But, it (Danbury) is a small city school system It has a diverse population with a range of academic skills and needs. So that’s very competitive.”

Moved into New Towns Before.

Another factor in the Board’s decision, made after listening to the City Committee members’ comments after they had interviewed the final two candidates, Geiger said was that Connors has moved into this kind of situation before, he knows what to do to come into town and win the confidence of a community all over again:

“He somewhat has made the transition to become a new superintendent on a number of occasions (at Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Bloomington, Minnesota, and Danbury), which is something we looked for as well.”

Geiger said he did not know a lot about Connors’ stay in the Bloomington, Minnesota, Superintendent position, but that Connors told them he left to come back to Danbury to be closer to his 86-year old mother.

Geiger summed up Connors’ strengths as a people person:

So he knows how to listen well, and understand the culture of each community and work within that culture, not to impose a new culture, and use that culture of a particular location to magnify the effectiveness of learning. That combination of factors seems to make him the right person for the White Plains job.”

Will he stay beyond 3 years?

Board of Education President Donna McLaughlin has been reported has saying that the Board is anticipating a 3-year contract with C|onnors. This would allow Connors to negotiate the new teachers contract which is up in 2003. WPCNR asked Geiger what he expected.

Geiger said first of all, the board does not have a signed contract yet, that the board has to go through that process, but that Connors has made a commitment to take the position.

“I don’t want to speculate, normally he’s there three to five years. The expectation is he will honor whatever the initial contract is. I don’t know how long he’ll stay. I don’t think he knows. I don’t think you can predict that. I think the expectation is that it’s going to be a long enough period of time to make an effort to build on the strength we have.”

Connors Made Geiger feel Comfortable.

Asked about a special chemistry between the Board of Education and Connors, Geiger said,

“I think we all felt very comfortable (with Connors). I can’t speak for anyone besides myself. My feeling was that Connors is the kind of person, who will come in…he’s a very genuine and sincere person. A very outgoing person and those qualities I think will enable him to come into the district and make that connection he needs to make with teachers, all levels of staff, with administrators, with students, with our diverse community, the city government, as well as the community leaders.

A “Connector.” A Reach-Out kind of guy.

“He seems to have an ability to do that. And, he’s proud of that. He basically demonstrated that potential when we talked to him,” Geiger explained. “He has a very good sense of, a keen awareness of the importance of P.R. (public relations) in the most positive sense which is to make sure people are fully aware of what’s going on in the system and appreciate the depth these forces might have. He’s a very “hands-on” kind of person. He told us he likes to go to one school every day. He gets to know the students. They get to know him. They get to know him as a person who is for them, on their side. You get the feeling this is the kind of person you want working for White Plains.”

Geiger said in reaching out to other organizations discussing Connors, he got the feeling that “what you see is what you get” with Mr. Connors., “ You get this friendliness, this openness, this caring about the students, the commitment to the job, the working real hard at it, liking it loving, getting the sense of wanting to wade into the job and the community.”

Involves all parents.

Geiger said Connors wants to reach out to parents, who just as a cultural thing want to stay away from school, and involve them deeply and is committed to that.

Citizen Committee interviewed final two candidates for 3-1/2 hours each. Shared extensive views on the two with the Board

Geiger said the Citizens Committee selected by the Board of Education to interview the final two candidates, the third candidate withdrew from consideration because of a health problem.

Jerry Gorski, President of the White Plains Teachers Association, a member of that Citizens Committee said the other candidate that was not selected was a woman. Mr. Gorski also said that the Citizens Committee interviewed Connors and his co-finalist for 3 and ½ hours each on April 10 and 11 and shared their comments on each Finalist with the Board of Education in a “Debriefing.”

Gorski told WPCNR today that, in his opinion, the Citizen Committee felt the two were equally strong candidates and did not make a recommendation to the Board of Education as to a preference.

Nancy Smith, CO-President of the PTA Council, another member of the Citizen Committee reviewing the “Final Two,” declined to comment on her feelings about Mr. Connors’ selection.

Geiger says he is running again.

In a final news morsel, Mr. Geiger told WPCNR that he has decided to run again for another term on the Board of Education at the May 21 election. He and Stephen Sules, the two incumbents, will run against Maria Valentin and Robert Tuck. Petitions are due at
Education House by May 1 to run for the two vacant School Board seats.

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Superintendent-Select Connors “brought a Lot of Joy to District” Says Sec

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WPCNR High Noon Herald. By John F. Bailey. April 17,2002. 12:45 PM EDT: The Danbury, Connecticut, community is “really distraught” on learning that Timothy Connors, their Superintendent of Schools for the last five years is leaving the district, reports Florence Modzelewski, his Secretary during his career there. Mr. Connors was announced yesterday as the White Plains City School District choice to take over the reins from Dr. Saul Yanofsky in July.
Contacted by WPCNR to arrange a television interview with Mr.Connors, Ms. Modzelewski just opened up in praise for her boss. She said, “I wish I could come on the show and cry with you. He’s brought a lot of joy to our district.”
Ms. Modzelewski, Mr. Connors’ Girl Friday since he arrived in the Danbury district told WPCNR, “We are absolutely sick here. There’s not a dry eye in the place. He is the most dynamic man I have ever met. (Mr. Connors) never has a bad day. When you meet him you’ll know the charisma.”

Asked about Mr. Connors contributions to the district, she told WPCNR, “He’s done a tremendous amount for this district,” which she attributes to his dynamic personality. “He’s a very happy person. He really cares about the kids. He visits a school every single day. The kids all know him and he knows them by name.”

Modzelewski reports, “We’re really distraught. We all thought he’d stay a few more years and retire from here. He’s a delight.”

Ms. Modzelewski said Connors introduced the concept of bringing a magnet school to the district, which has been approved and is being built. The magnet school “was the first thing he did,” she said. She said he supervised the renovation of the Danbury High School that is now in the process of construction.

Reporters love him, too.

Eileen FitzGerald, staff reporter of the Danbury News-Times told WPCNR Wednesday that Connors “is a reporter’s dream as far as being accessible and forthright. He makes sure his staff is available and cooperative with the press.”

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School District Selects Timothy Connors of Danbury for Superintendent of Schools

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WPCNR Midnight Extra. By John F. Bailey. Special to WPCNR from Michelle Schoenfeld. April 17, 2002. UPDATED 1:30 AM EDT: The White Plains City School District announced Tuesday the Board of Education and a City Screening Committee have selected Timothy P. Connors, 62, an educator of 36 years’ experience, and retiring Superintendent of the Danbury, Connecticut schools, as their “Finalist” to succeed Dr. Saul Yanofsky and run White Plains Schools.

THE MAN FROM DANBURY:Timothy Connors, Danbury Superintendent of Schools, coming to White Plains.
Photo by Tim Wheeler, Used with Permission, Courtesy of the Danbury News-Times(c)

Mr. Connors is reported by the Danbury News-Times to have reached verbal agreement with the White Plains City School District for a salary of $197,000 a year to succeed Yanofsky.

Described by Tony White, Night Editor of the Danbury News-Times as a “wizard with the public,” with a record of uplifting Danbury’s test scores on the Connecticut Mastery Tests, Connors is as beloved in the Danbury School District as Saul Yanofsky has been in White Plains.

According to the official news release from the School District, Mr. Connors will visit White Plains on Tuesday, April 23, to meet the staff. That evening, the public will have an opportunity to meet Mr. Connors at 8 PM in the Assembly Room at Education House.

“A Wizard with the Public”

According to Tony White, Night Editor of the Danbury News-Times, which broke the story of Mr.Connors resignation in Danbury and his going to White Plains, Connors’ “strong suit” is his “ability to charm the patrons.” White said Connors is leaving for White Plains for a salary of $197,000, which is $66,000 more than he is being paid now as Superintendent at Danbury ($131,000).

In a follow-up story, Ms. McLaughlin is reported as expecting Mr. Connors to sign a three year contract with White Plains.

Editor White reports to WPCNR that Connors sees coming to White Plains, in the editor’s words, “a challenge. It is a bigger budget and a bigger district, bigger salary.”

Connors cites need to “shore up” his retirement as reason for resigning

In the story reporting Mr. Connors announced retirement over the weekend from the Danbury district, News-Times reporter Eileen FitzGerald writes of the retirement vice that Mr. Connors was in. She reports Mr. Connors is the latest in the drain of topflight administrators from the Connecticut school system, who leave the system close to retirement because of the way their pension is computed.

In the Connecticut school system, she writes, a teacher working 35 years in the state, receives a “retirement package” worth 70% of the average of their three highest salaries. However, in Mr. Connors’ case this would be substantially less. Mr. Connors has worked in Connecticut as Superintendent of the Danbury schools for five years, and in Connecticut for an additional six years.

Connors is reported in the News-Times article as telling the Danbury Board of Education over the weekend that he made the decision to resign after analyzing his retirement package. He did not, according to the news report, appear to reveal he was leaving for a new position. The News-Times reports him as indicating his “options for his next move are open.”

Editor calls him “very good.”

Mr. White, the News-Times Night Editor, in an interview with WPCNR, described Mr. Connors as “very good at dealing with the city council which decides his budget,” and “a very capable guy,” not a “yes man,” who, Mr.White says, “will stand his ground,” but is also very “diplomatic, knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.”

McLaughlin of White Plains says Connors will continue tradition

Donna O. McLaughlin, in the official news release of the White Plains City School Board, said that Mr. Connors has the experience and record of success the Board is seeking.

“The White Plains Schools have been blessed with outstanding leadership over the years,” McLaughlin said, in an official statement, “and we are confident that Mr. Connors will continue that tradition.”

McLaughlin is quoted by the News-Times last night as saying of Connors, “We’ve seen that he’s done a lot of terrific things for Danbury. We are looking for him to bring us to the next level.”

19 years’ Superintendent experience.

Mr. Connors, who is married and whose wife teaches in the Brookfield, Connecticut school system, has been a School Superintendent for 19 years in Bloomington, Minnesota (a district close to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul), and Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where he was named 1990 Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year. He presently is President of the Western Connecticut Superintendents’ Association, and the Connecticut Association of Urban Schools.

Danbury in arms over his loss

The city of Danbury appears to be going through the same shock White Plains experienced when our city first learned that Dr. Yanofsky’s contract would not be renewed last September.

Connors is described as a Superintendent enjoying the same popularity Dr. Saul Yanofsky has enjoyed in White Plains. Connors, like Yanofsky, is known by children throughout Danbury and in the classrooms as the superintendent, and they shout his name when they see him in parades and when he visits their classrooms.

“Man of Action.”

The former Chairman of the Danbury Board of Education who hired Connors five years ago, described Connors, in the News-Times as a man of action, and his experience is a striking parallel to Dr. Yanofsky’s last 4 years:

Danbury Voters passed two bond packages, paying for new roofs and boilers and a new science wing and track at the high school. Presently he has been honchoing plans for an elementary magnet school, funded by the state and a new elementary school.

Though White Plains enrollment is predicted to be stable for the next few years, three of its elementary schools are aging, and any increase in enrollment will need a new elementary school. Connors’ familiarity with problems White Plains is facing now and might face in the future appear to be a good fit.

Connors calls White Plains ‘a great opportunity’.

The News-Times in a report filed by Eileen FitzGerald last night quotes Mr. Connors as describing White Plains as “looking to make sure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Professionally, it’s a great opportunity.”

Ms. FitzGerald also reports that the White Plains City School District will pay into Social Security, something that Connecticut does not pay educators. She reports Connors as saying “That’s a significant enhancement, and I will position myself better financially for retirement.” Connors is reportedly going to resign from his Danbury position April 24.

Achievement Gap Closer

In his five years with the Danbury schools, Mr. Connors is credited by Thomas Murphy, of the Connecticut Department of Education in Ms. FitzGerald’s article, as having been “doing good work around closing the achievement gap.” The Mayor of Danbury, Mark Boughton, who taught under Mr. Connors, said Connors made the School District working environment better and inspired teachers to become more enthusiastic.

Thirty-six years in education, with teaching experience.

Mr. Connors, reports the City School District, is a graduate of Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and has a Masters Degree and Certificate of Advanced Studies from Harvard. He was a participant in the Urban Superintendents Program at Harvard. Mr. Connors taught social studies, and as been a Superintendent of Schools for 19 years. He was Superintendent for 10 years in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, 4 years in Bloomington, Minnesota, and 5 years in Danbury, Connecticut.

One of Two Finalists

The City School District, in their official announcement said that the search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates had considered candidates from nine states and Washington, D.C. After interviewing a short list of six candidates, the Board selected a final three candidates. They were then interviewed by a City Citizens’ Committee, made up of the presidents of the Civil Service, Teachers and Administrators and Supervisors Associations, a representative of the Superintendent’s Cabinet, the PTA and the community at large.

McLaughlin said she hoped many members of the community and the School District staff would come to the community forum on April 23. The District, in a statement, said that, if the site visit and contract formalities “go as anticipated” Mr. Connors will be Dr. Saul Yanofsky’s successor.

For the complete Danbury News-Times reports on Mr. Connors, WPCNR urges you to go to the News-Times website, at www.newstimes.com.

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Across the Pacific: Buddhist Bishop Isao Ito of Shinnyo-En Honors City.

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WPCNR NewsReel, by John F. Bailey, April 16, 2002, 3:30 PM EST:The leading Buddhist Bishop Isao Ito of Shinnyo-En Foundation of Japan, addressed some 75 leading citizens of White Plains and city dignitaries Tuesday afternoon at the Annual Bridge of Friendship Celebration in the White Plains Public Library. He recognized the special relationship the White Plains Shinnyo-En Temple has with the city and the school district, and acknowledged how American response to the Trade Center Attack moved him to inspire his organization.
The Shinnyo-En Foundation at the bequest of the Temple, has contributed $5,000 to the White Plains Public Library and also supported the White Plains High School Leaders In Training Program over the last two years.

Photo by WPCNR

Buddhist Bishop Isao Ito, speaking through an interpreter, said he was greatly moved by the outpouring of American volunteers in the wake of the September 11 Trade Center Attack. He said their heroism lead him to direct Shinn-Yo En followers to follow the Americans’ example of volunteerism.

Visits Trade Center Site

He said he had visited Ground Zero Saturday to pay his respects and upon seeing the disaster site, “I made a firm resolve not to let this happen again, and as I did so, I looked up and saw a halo around the sun, very auspicious in Buddhism, reflecting the joy of Heaven.”

Photo by WPCNR

Mayor Joseph Delfino observed some personal thoughts today about his recent stay with the Shinn-Yo En organization in Japan, as Bishop Ito, front row, right, looked on,

“Shinn-Yo En exemplifies the kind of love and understanding we should teach our children about. Their philosophy is, at the end of each day, you have got to be very comfortable with what you’ve done.” The Mayor told the Bishop the Shinn-Yo En philosophy of “truthfulness and compassion in one’s life, being an active participant in the community was important not only to White Plains, but to the world.”

The Mayor mentioned Shinn-Yo En’s aid during the floods of 1984 in New York and New Jersey, the earthquakes in Armenia (1988) and San Francisco in 1989 as examples of their philosophy in action.

“We are honored to have the Shinn-Yo Temple in the City of White Plains. God must have sent them to our city.They are good neighbors, contributing to the quality of life on this planet. Every day of their life they’ve reached out and touched someone’s life.” The Mayor said.

Photo by WPCNR

Bishop Ito presented Dr. Yanofsky with a plaque commemorating the retiring Superintendent of School’s service to the Bridge of Friendship. The Bishop said he was saddened to learn of Yanofsky’s retirement, that he had contributed greatly to the spirit of the Bridge of Friendship and that Yanofsky had served with distinction for many years.

Yanofsky, in his remarks, said of the philosophy of Shinn-Yo En, “If there was a time when we need the principles of Shinn-Yo En it is right now, working to bring understanding and to bring people into harmony and tolerance to a very hostile world…At no other time is tolerance more needed, and respecting the ideas of different people and the plight of people suffering.”

Yanofsky said it was a goal of White Plains Schools to instill hopefully that spirit in White Plains children.

William Noll, a member of the Board of Directors of the Bridge of Friendship, who served as Master of Ceremonies, said he found the Bishop’s words very, very moving.

Sandy Miranda, the Director of the White Plains Public Library, said she was moved to be the “recipient of all this goodness.”

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Cappelli Begins City Center Closing. Fleet Bank GONE.

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WPCNR MIDNIGHT EXTRA. By John F. Bailey. UPDATED April 16, 2002 2:15 PM EDT: Paul Wood of the Mayor’s office confirmed to WPCNR that the Cappelli City Center closing was on the way. This was what City Budget Director Eileen Earl reported to the Common Council Monday evening, saying Cappelli Enterprises was to have begun its “closing” sequence on its long-delayed financing of the City Center Monday. Ms. Earl said she expected Cappelli to complete the approximately $280 Million-plus financing for the City Center by Friday of this week.

CITY CENTER SITE AT TWILIGHT MONDAY, viewed from City Hall, across Main Street, showing the demolished Fleet Bank ruins. The City Center site is now completely cleared and ready for a $280 Million cash transfusion.Photo by WPCNR

On Monday, the Fleet Bank branch on Main Street, the last standing building on the Cappelli City Center site, was demolished in less than an hour. Observers watched the demolition from the Mayor’s Office.

Mayor Delfino described it as “one big BOOM,” when the steam shovel began taking the bank down.

The mental health building was totally cleared from the site as of 2 PM Monday, too. At twilight, Monday evening the City Center site was totally cleared.

CITY CENTER SITE AWAITS ARMORED CAR CASH CONVOY: The Fleet Bank Building was pawed down by a hungry steam shovel in less than an hour Monday. The city closed two lanes of traffic on Main Street, while the “claw” did its work. This was the view from City Hall looking Southwest at sunset. Photo by WPCNR

The closing which was expected to take place last September 20, has been postponed to October, November 21, and January, but has apparently got under way at an undisclosed location.

Geoffrey Thompson, of Thompson & Bender, the Cappelli public relations firm returned a call to WPCNR earlier Monday, and said he was unable to confirm or deny that the closing was taking place or its location.

EARL UNLEASHED: Eileen Earl, City Budget Director, (shown passing out copies of her 2002-03 Budget Presentation), reported to the Common Council last night that she expects to bond $21 million of the $23 million the city will pay toward the Cappelli garage in May at the most favorable rates in two decades. $2 million will come from a grant by the Urban Renewal Agency. Photo by WPCNR

Earl: Cappelli financing for 4 floors, not 5

Ms. Earl was asked by Councilman William King how many floors of the City Center Mr. Cappelli was financing. She said it is her understanding “he’s working on the 4 because could not convince his financiers (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Fleet Bank), that he could lease out a fifth floor of retail.”

If Ms. Earl is correct on her 4 floors report, this would mean that the Cappelli vision to the Common Council of a luxury hotel is most likely still in play.

The Cappelli Countdown Continues

We will know soon. Mr. Cappelli has until May 20 to present to the council his plans for either a 4-floor or 5-floor City Center, based on the Council resolution made February 20 to allow him 90 days to either bring in a hotel or stay with a plan for a fifth floor of retail.

The endless bankroll about to be replenished.

As of last month, Mr. Cappelli, by his own statement, has been spending a million dollars a week, non-stop since demolition of the City Center site began last July 17 when a steam shovel poked a hole in the old Macy’s facade.

WPCNR estimates he has poured approximately $60 million of his own capital into the project, ($40 million since beginning demolition, plus $17 million for acquisition of the property), bringing his needs to borrow down to approximately $280 million.

City to bond the $23 million for the City Center Parking Garage in May.

The subject of the Cappelli money came up during Ms. Earl’s discussion of the $23 million the city will contribute towards the construction of the new City Center Parking Structure on Martine Avenue. Earl said the city would be bonding for $21 million of the $23 million in May, after the Cappelli organization has closed and received various tranfer papers and agreements from the city next week.

Earl said, in response to Benjamin Boykin, that the city would go to bond in a very favorable market. She said she expected to float the $21 million bond at about 5%. For a comparison, she said, the city bonded for $30 million to build the Galleria Parking garage in 1983 at a 9.5% rate, which the Parking Authority just finished paying off in December, 2001.

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Amy Paulin’s Albany: Economic Development Programs Vital to County, WP

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Amy Paulin’s Albany by Assembly woman Amy Paulin of the 88th. April 15, 2002. 4 PM EDT:Amy is back in Albany Monday and filed this report to WPCNR on the Assembly’s effort to support new small businesses in Westchester County and White Plains. Ms. Paulin writes exclusively for the CitzeNetReporter.

To reinvigorate our economy, we must make New York – and Westchester – a more affordable place to do business. That means providing the resources and support new businesses need to grow and create good-paying jobs for our working families.

Helping small businesses succeed

The importance of small businesses to our state economy is immeasurable – they make up nine out of every ten businesses in New York. The Assembly recognizes their crucial role by passing legislation to help them access capital, cut red tape and meet environmental standards.

Small businesses often face difficulties accessing much-needed funding for start-up and expansion goals. I supported the law that made permanent the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program, enabling small businesses to secure low-cost loans (Ch. 14 of 2001). This year, I want to take the next step and invest $100 million more in this important program.

To cut through the red tape that hinders small business in New York, I supported a measure that streamlines how the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) – in cooperation with the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) – administers the state’s Regional Revolving Loan Trust Fund. The fund is a great source of capital for businesses, but giving greater local control to ESD’s eleven regional corporations will make the program more flexible and responsive to our small businesses.

And to help small business owners comply with state and federal environmental laws, I supported legislation requiring the state to help small businesses understand and meet environmental and pollution prevention standards (A.4169); and creating funding programs to purchase pollution control devices (A.2008c and A.606c).

Investing in high-tech industries and creating a skilled 21st century workforce

High-tech innovations have the potential to create countless jobs for our families. Small businesses are often the first to develop and promote new technology. To encourage high-tech job growth, I helped pass legislation (A.5172) that creates the Technology Innovation Partnership Investment Program to provide seed and start-up financing to small and medium-sized technology companies.

This legislation builds on my efforts to make our state a high-tech leader. Last year I passed the Assembly’s Jobs Agenda 2001 plan, which would invest in biomedical research and biotechnology development and create the Metropolitan Area Center of Excellence in Software Information Technology to promote collaboration between learning institutions and industry technology. Our proposal also invests in the Centers for Advanced Technology to help our businesses gain a technological edge. It also invests in many downstate medical facilities, such as the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Advanced Biotechnology Incubator Facility and New York University’s School of Medicine.

It is imperative to staff well-trained workers capable of meeting the ever-changing demands of the technology industry. That’s why I’m working to expand the Assembly’s Strategic Training Alliance Program, which links colleges and training providers with businesses. In addition, I helped secure $8.9 million for workforce retention and training for five local health care facilities.

Rebuilding Lower Manhattan

Many Westchester residents work in Lower Manhattan and rebuilding that area is vital to our own economic health. That’s why I helped create the Liberty Zone and Resurgence Zone – to save Lower Manhattan businesses $6 million in power costs (Ch.383 of 2001) and give New York City the ability to issue $2.5 billion in bonds to help reconstruct Lower Manhattan (Ch.297 of 2001).

Ongoing efforts to attract businesses and create jobs for working families

These measures are part of my continuing efforts to help boost our economy and make New York a better place to do business, including expanding the Power for Jobs program – which provides low energy costs for businesses that create jobs for hard-working New Yorkers.

I remain committed to building on this strong record and look forward to finding new, innovative ways to ensure the economic prosperity for Westchester businesses and families.

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National Honor Society Taps 59 Students.

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WPCNR NewsReel. Special to WPCNR from Michelle Schoenfeld.April 15, 2002.: Fifty-nine students were inducted into the National Honor Society of the White Plains High School in an April 10th ceremony. Eight seniors and 51 juniors joined the 63 current members of the organization which recognizes students who excel.
In order to qualify, students must have a cumulative weighted or
unweighted average of 3.75 in all credit-bearing subjects and be enrolled in at least one Honors or Regents class. In addition to
scholarship, students must meet the criteria of service, leadership and

Current Co- Presidents of the organization are Daniel McGrath and Linda Scalici. Other officers are Lucia Bonilla, Michelle Loayza and Benjamin Jurist.

High School Principal William N. Colavito was guest speaker at the
ceremony. Advisor to the group is teacher Ronald Palladino.

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WPCNR NewsReel. Special to WPCNR from Michelle Schoenfeld. April 15, 2002: Seventeen White Plains High School students were inducted into the National Art Honor Society in a ceremony last month. Selection is based on student portfolios and demonstration of
interest and commitment to the arts, as illustrated by coursework and
outside activities.

Students inducted were Iris Alatovic, Sasha Berger, Tidarut
Hansub-Udom, Steven Hernacki, Julie Horowitz, Amanda Judelson, Sam Kurnit, Daniel Mendelson, Cailin Micari, Ryan Monk, Kim Risotto, Mayra Rodriguez, Jennifer Russell, Jillian Salik, John Segal, Rachel von Glahn and Diana Whitaker.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was Marie McCann-Barab, former art
teacher at the High School. An exhibition of the students’ art work, including painting, photography, pottery, sculpture and jewelry followed.

Joanna Barnum is President of the Society and Mary Fennell is Faculty

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