King Klean-Up Reveals County-Owned Silver Lake Property Poorly Maintained.

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Sunrise Edition, By John F. Bailey, Filed 3/04/02,UPDATED 1:00 PM: Councilman William King conducted the second of his King Klean-Up sweeps Saturday morning on Westchester County-owned property on Silver Lake in White Plains.

KING OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED ON PATROL, arrives at Silver Lake Saturday morning for the first of his King Klean-Ups.
Photo by WPCNR

King and three volunteers cleared one-third of a mile of shoreline of bottles, refuse, and assorted litter. The woodsy slope up to fencing of the Pettinichi property on Woodcrest Heights The Councilman’s foray into county “open space,” revealed a shocking neglect of forestry practices.

Sunrise Action

The King Klean-Up began at 7:15 AM, with the arrival of Kevin McGrath of the White Plains Conservation Board and his son, Dan who were shortly joined by Councilman William King, and another volunteer from the White Plains Middle School, Geoff DeSoye.

DONNING WADERS,FAVORED BY TROUT FISHERMEN, the Councilman, McGrath and Desoye waded into the freezing water armed with rubber gloves and plastic litter pales, fishing for litter.
Photo by WPCNR

One-third of White Plains side of Silver Lake cleared.

After an hour and a half, the vigilante cleaners has cleared about one-third of a mile of deceptively benign-looking shoreline of beer bottles, brake shoes, lead piping, baby carriages and assorted refuse littering the banks and waterbed of Silver Lake.

ISN’T THAT COUNCILMAN BILL KING? Yes, it is, removing human pollution from Silver Lake Saturday morning.
Photo by WPCNR

Sixteen bags of trash were bagged and ready for Department of Public Works pick-up Monday. King said he would notify City Commissioner of Public Works, Joseph Nicoletti of the trash heap for collection.

King Officially Notifies Nicoletti

Mr. King advised the Department of Public Works Monday morning, and released this statement:

“There are two piles of collected trash to pick up, one by the trash receptacle by the parking lot, the other in a little bit, beyond the gate to the Dellwood property, as pictured in the attached website article. Could your 2 depts. have these piles picked up? Thanks.

King also said in his statement:

“There will be more piles showing up in the near future at Dellwood and along the Bronx River Parkway. I keep getting adults saying to me that they would like to help and want to know when the next cleanup will be and would I advertise it (I am telling people to keep April 6 open = when I will be with the girl scouts and maybe boy scouts in the BRPR and possibly also back at Silver Lake and points between).”

“I think people are sick and tired of seeing our parkland and alongside our streets just get more and more littered and appearing to be uncared for.”

Hopes for the future.

King told WPCNR Monday,

“I could have done it all day. I actually have fun doing litter cleanups. My other volunteers usually have to leave after only a few hours. I am telling people about April 6.

Perhaps we can have a couple of armies out there and finish what we started. I want Dellwood to be a de facto park by this Spring. I want to cut back brush and briar patches along the lakefront as well so people can actually put their canoes in and sit on the banks.”

COUNCILMAN KING AND GEOFF DESOYE STANDING WITH SIXTEEN BAGS OF LITTER, they and Kevin McGrath, and Dan McGrath removed from county-owned land for a third of a mile along the shoreline of Silver Lake Saturday. The White Plains Department of Public Works was notified Monday to pick up the trash.
Photo by WPCNR

County, City Collaboration?

King said he had walked the property with county officials William Ryan and George Latimer with Concerned Citizens for Open Space representatives two years, and was enthusiastic about the county-owned land then as possible park for the City of White Plains.

However, he was concerned about the litter dumped there over decades. He reports he has cleaned up himself close to a dozen times since then.He decided to do something about this more dramatically last week.

After a personal clean-up attempt last Wednesday, he enlisted the McGraths for Saturday’s first “King Klean-Up.” A second is planned April 6 for the Bronx River Parkway at 10 AM, enlisting the aid of local Girl and Boy Scout Troops.

An archeological dump

The amount of junk and outright garbage dumped on this property, obviously there for a long time is immediately apparent on just a short walk into the property. The build-up indicates, to this reporter, and to Mr. King the problem with this parcel of passive open space: it has become a dumping ground, and, sadly, a home to the homeless.

Where to spend the night in White Plains at bargain rates.

Two persons were encountered by this reporter, prior to the Councilman’s arrival, obviously rising Saturday morning form spending a night lakeside. One dumped a tattered blanket on his way out of the property. King said he had seen the two in the area Wednesday morning when he stopped by to retrieve litter from the lake for the first time, and felt they had been spending the night in the area for sometime.

WPCNR encountered these two men when we arrived prior to the Councilman’s arrival. We thought they were there to help with the councilman’s clean-up, but they appeared to not have any particular business in the area and did not speak English.

EVIDENCE OF HOMELESS SQUATTING in Silver Lake: a towell soapy and recently used hanging out to dry Saturday morning.
Photo by WPCNR

After the two men had proceeded out of the lake area, last seen walking towards West Harrison, passing McGrath and King and their young helpers as they were preparing to enter the waters, WPCNR inspected the area where we had encountered the two the first time.

There was evidence of a campfire, and a little further down the shoreline a very fresh towel smelling of soap. McGrath reported to CNR on his hikes in the Silver Lake property, he has encountered what he calls “stashes” of belongings, in tarps, that were stowed by persons he believes are using the Silver Lake county property as a base of operations, and a place to spend nights.

OH GIVE ME A HOME BY SILVER LAKE WHERE NOBODY ROAMS: Remnants of a campfire on Silver Lake, observed by WPCNR, after two persons were seen leaving the area at 6:45 AM.
Photo by WPCNR

The problem with passive open space.

It is lovely to look at, but not so lovely to walk through. The results of King’s Klean-Up indicate Westchester County does virtually nothing in the way of forestry to keep the Silver Lake property (which it owns) maintained.

The litter consisted of beer bottles, wine bottles, junk of all kinds, from baby carriages to discarded furniture. It reminds one of empty lots in the Bronx. Huge trunks of rotting trees, there for years, judging by the mushroom growth on them, are encountered. King said the county owns this White Plains land but obviously has little interest in maintaining it for public use.

City reported in negotiations with county to lease the West Bank of Silver Lake property

The Councilman said that the City of White Plains is negotiating with Westchester County to lease the property. However, the county, King said, because of its budget problems, is demanding more than the city feels is fair. King said city leasing of the property would include the ability to build facilities on the property to make it more recreational, and cleaner.

King did not elaborate on what the city had planned, but said the Mayor’s office was dickering with the County. Another city source confirmed that leasing of the West Bank of Silver Lake was being entertained by the City.

The City Recreation Master Plan calls for a trailway along the East Branch of the Mamaroneck River which flows out of Silver Lake, and advocates removal of the litter found in the Mamaroneck River bed flowing on the East boundary of Delfino Park.

Councilman King began Saturday taking clean-up matters, at least into his own hands.

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Amy Paulin’s Albany: The Governor’s Education Budget: $1B LESS.

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The Albany Journal, Filed by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, 3/1/02, 1:00 AM EST: The governor recently unveiled his 2002-03 state budget proposal which, once again, cuts education aid. His new school aid plan gives New York’s schools $1 billion less to educate our kids than under the law in effect just two short years ago.

The governor’s proposal doesn’t take into account the realities of inflation, increasing costs of education, and growing enrollments.

Sample Cuts

School aid for the New Rochelle School District – one of the hardest hit under the governor’s plan – will be cut by almost $2.8 million. Smaller school districts in our community will also suffer – the Pelham School District will lose over $845,000 and Eastchester will receive over $750,000 less than two years ago. These state aid decreases could force property taxpayers to make up the difference.

Building Aid Formula Tinkering

Last year, the Assembly fought and won the battle to maintain the building aid formula. However, the governor has once again proposed changing the building-aid ratio – resulting in substantial cuts in funding for much-needed construction projects.

Stretches Reimbursements for Renovations

In addition, he proposes reimbursement for renovations be stretched out over 15, 20 or 30 years – forcing school districts to ask voters to approve bond acts instead. Construction projects are necessary to helping schools accommodate growing enrollments and upgrade aging facilities. Providing our children anything less than a modern, safe learning environment just isn’t acceptable.

No additional operating aid.

The governor also lumps funding for special education and BOCES together with several other funding categories and freezes aid at last year’s level, providing no additional basic operating aid to schools in New York State. Without this funding, schools will struggle to provide vital learning opportunities to our neediest children.

LADDER plan funding shortfall

Since 1998, the Assembly’s successful LADDER plan has helped schools reduce class sizes, improve teacher training, establish universal pre-kindergarten, provide full-day kindergarten programs, and modernize computer technology. Each year the Assembly looks to meet the high academic standards that have become the benchmark of New York’s school system through effective programs like LADDER.

Unfortunately, the governor’s plan fails to fully fund LADDER.

Class-Size Aid hurts cities

The governor’s budget proposal cuts the Class-Size Reduction Program – relied on by small city districts. For example, the New Rochelle School District is losing at least $50,000 in the Class-Size Reduction Program and Mount Vernon is losing at least $90,000 under the governor’s plan.


There is nothing more important to our children’s future than a quality education. As your Assembly representative, I am working to make sure our children have the resources they need for a high-quality education.

I will work in the Assembly to undo the damage caused by the governor’s proposed budget cuts. As we struggle to do more with less, we can’t afford to jeopardize the education we provide our children.

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Harmony on the Sea, Boarding at Rochambeau Pier, Sails March 8.

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White Plains Variety by John F. Bailey, Filed 2/28/02, 5 PM EST:The Fort Hill Players are rehearsing nightly for three and four hours at a clip, “putting the Ritz” on the debut of their second original musical revue, Harmony on the Sea: An Original Musical with Songs You Know, premiering March 8.
The extravaganza sets sail next Friday at Rochambeau School Auditorium at 8 PM for a three week run.The stage of the Rochambeau Auditorium will be transformed into a giant stern of the SS Harmony complete with ship’s funnel and promenade deck.

ORIGINAL DANCE, DIALOGUE SHOWCASE YOUR FAVORITE HITS OF ALL TIME: Director Joan Charischak (standing by piano), puts Fort Hill Dancers through their synchronized routine (choreographed by Sergei Nabatov) to “Heat wave,” one of thirty songs, integrated seamlessly into an original romantic comedy script about couples meeting on a cruise that launches Friday night, March 8. Tickets at $14, $12 for Seniors and Students, $6 for children under 12 are available by telephone, 421-0008 for pick-up at the theatre door for Friday performances on March 8, 15, and 22nd at 8 PM and Saturday performances on March 9, 16, and 23rd at 2 PM and 8 PM.

Photo by WPCNR

WPCNR interviewed Joan Charischak, who is directing her second production of this type for Fort Hill. Harmony builds on the hit format she directed in 2001, Musical Memories which she and the Fort Hill Players introduced and staged last year. MM proved very popular with the public. Memories was the first Fort Hills original musical prototype, blending the audience pleaser of a musical review of hit music standards of the past into a new libretto, which this reviewer really enjoyed.

DIRECTOR CHARISCHAK COACHES THE CAST: After a nonstop four-hour rehearsal Tuesday evening, Director Joan Charischak makes points to the players about the pulling together of the elements of the new musical romantic comedy replete with new jokes!
Photo by WPCNR

“It went over beautifully, it was a lot of fun, we had a fabulous turnout (cast).We had a sizable cast, as we do this year.” Ms. Charischak reported to CNR Tuesday evening, relaxing finally into one of the wide, nostalgic wood Rochambeau Auditorium seats.

She was eager to talk about the show, though losing her voice from four hours of instructing, blocking, critiquing, coaching, cajoling and stroking the talent through a standard four-hour nonstop rehearsal.

Lessons of Creating Original Theatre

Charischak noted lessons learned from Musical Memories,“We have about thirty people in the cast, and we wrote that musical (Musical Memories)as well. This year’s musical (Harmony on the Sea)has a lot more plot line to it. We certainly learned (from Musical Memories) to start earlier in the year. We learned we wanted to have more of a plot line than we did last year, though the plotline was quite successful. This one is much more developed. We had sort of fun writing a comedy as well. We also trimmed down the number of songs.”

Seven Months in Making.

Ms. C. described the creative process to us. She said the Fort Hill Players had been working on Harmony since last summer:

“We started with concept, you know, what did we want to do. We had about six or seven scenarios. We met with about eight or nine people,” as she related the show’s genesis. “From that we decided which scenario we liked the best. What we wanted to do with it. So we developed this, it’s sort of a ‘Love Boat’ theme.”

The original book for Harmony was developed by Anita Abrams, Jim Brownold, (who did “quite a bit of the writing, he’s quite good at that,” Charischak said), Ms. Charischak, Denise Dunn, Anthony Fabrizio, Robert Kahn, Dana Searcy, Mark Snyder, and Robyn Washington. Ms. Charischak said the libretto was developed before the songs, all standards, were weaved into the script.

BIG FINISH NOW: Director Charischak coaches a songstress to deliver the message at the close of a big number. Harmony will feature an in-house 3-piece orchestra through the run of the show, rendering 32 memorable standards including, But Not For Me, ‘S Wonderful, Whatever Lola Wants, Anything You Can Do, On a Wonderful Day Like Today, Day by Day, Girl From Ipanema many with a tropical theme.
Photo by WPCNR

Jennifer Ware, Musical Director, assisted the writers in picking the songs. Anita Abrams, Ms. Charischak, Anthony Fabrizio, Robert Kahn, Dana Searcy, Mark Snyder, who also is the show’s indefatigable piano man, and Robyn Washington selected the favorites theatergoers will be hearing next Friday evening.

Storyline—A little Cole Porter and a little ABC

Harmony on the Sea depicts in typical Cole Porter style (Anything Goes) the voyage of the SS Harmony on a voyage from New York to Rio de Janeiro. The audience meets a variety of passengers whose stories of romance, old loves and new, unfold, “love boat style” from song to song. Ms. Charischak reports the script is more detailed and intricate than Musical Memories complete with original jokes.

Cast Notes

“It’s a non-lead show, a collaboration really. There are four storylines that actually go through the show,” Charischak said. “So we have eight people who mostly have dialogue, and there is a single person who is only an actor, who plays a stowaway.”

On the Fort Hill Players website,, the publicity for the show, handled by Robert Kahn, invites theatre goers to “meet the inseparable lovebirds, the long-married couple about to separate!” The advance notices promise an “amusing cruise filled with discovery, conflict and resolution.” The site also provides the complete cast.

Musicals, Dramas Equally Attractive to Actors.

Charischak said thirty-two actors and actresses, including high school students appear in Harmony. “A large portion” hails from White Plains, she said and the cast includes talent from all over Westchester County, representing Yonkers, Mahopac, Peekskill, Harrison, Briarcliff Manor, and New Rochelle. They have been rehearsing since January 1, three times a week, about three hours a night.

We asked if there was more interest in performing in musicals, rather than dramas, and Charischak said, no: “Actually, I think it’s pretty well mixed. When we did the auditions for Rumors, (produced last fall), we had 72 people come to the audition. So that was a wonderful turnout. We had an absolutely wonderful turnout for this show, too. We had 50 people audition for this show.”


Interviewed nine days before the show we asked the Director what process of production the show was in. She did not hesitate: “It’s going quite well actually. We’ve got a ways to go, but it will come together. It’s a good cast. They’re very dedicated.”

The hardest thing to get right?

“Getting all the separate pieces together,” Charischak said. “You’ve got a choreographer (Sergei Nabatov) rehearsing dancers. You have a Musical Director (Jennifer Ware) rehearsing singers. A stage director directing people entering and exiting and pulling that all together is the tough part. We started doing that two weeks ago (February 12.)”

INDEFATIGABLE PIANO MAN MARK SNYDER THROWS A MUSICAL CUE: Mr. Snyder is the swinging septuagenarian piano man who never takes a break, will direct a four-man pit orchestra consisting of himself on the ivories, bassist and two percussion sidemen, laying down the familiar musical “beds” for the classics from Getz to Porter that you’ll see and hear in Harmony on the Sea. Costumes are by Terry Hanson; Producer is Kathleen Haverlak, Robyn Washington handles Props, and Mike Lynch is the Sound Technician.

Photo by WPCNR

We asked what performers or acts were more difficult to direct, dancers or singers:

“They’re both tough. Dancers want to perform as well as singers want to sing. So it’s tough on both parts.”

Turning Rochambeau into the SS Harmony

On opening night, the Rochambeau Theatre will be transformed into a cruise ship, according to Ms. Charischak: “Anthony Fabrizio is doing the set, and he is creating a forced perspective of the stern of the boat. We have a huge smokestack in the center. It’s going to be very nice. We’re using some lighting changes, and some appropriate dimming and mood-setting.”

Tickets May be Ordered by Telephone or Website or Mail.

Tickets to Harmony on the Sea: An Original Musical with Songs You Know may be ordered through the Fort Hill Players website, (, or by telephoning 421-0008, reserving for pick-up at the door. Show times are Fridays, March 8, 15 and 22nd with the curtain going up at 8 PM; Saturdays March 9, 16 and 23rd with two performances at 2 PM and 8 PM.

Tickets are $14 for Regular Admission, $12 for Seniors and students, $6 for Children under 12. There is a Dinner Theater Combination Ticket at $42. Performances are presented at the Rochambeau School Auditorium, 228 Fisher Avenue White Plains.

Sixty Four Years of Productions

The Fort Hill Players, she reminded us is celebrating its sixty-fourth year: “We are the longest running community theatre in Westchester County.”

Charischak herself developed her directorial skills she says from her stage experience in college and working in non-equity summer stock productions. She also has directed Junior High School productions for ten years.

A Showcase for Talent

Typical of the persons who perform in Fort Hill Players is Patti Rome, of Silver Lake, who creates the role of Janet Krauss in Harmony.

Ms. Rome sings You Don’t Bring Me Flowers in the show. Ms. Rome can also be heard and seen in the ensemble numbers, ‘S Wonderful, But Not for Me, and the opening number, What do we do, We Sail.

Patti reports she learned to sing by taking adult education classes some eight years ago at SUNY Purchase. She also took drama classes there, too, to fulfill her love affair with the theater.

She told WPCNR the role she landed in Harmony fits in with her ambition to create a cabaret act, which she hopes to develop in the next year. She enjoys singing torch songs, and the Harmony vehicle gives her the opportunity to do just that.

“I’m just one of these people who love the theatre but have not turned professional yet,” Ms. Rome says.

She is not alone. As Ms. Charischak puts it,

“People like to do musical revues. People like to get out there and sing. We’ve given a lot of people who are of all various levels of talent the opportunity to sing. And they love that.”

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Education House Herald Telegram, Filed by Michelle Schoenfeld, 2/28/02, 11:00 AM EST: Three White Plains High School students will be awarded scholarships through the Westchester County Women’s Hall of Fame at a luncheon on May 21st at the Rye Town Hilton.
The Bayer Diagnostics Science/Engineering Award of $3,000 goes to
Lucia Bonilla, who will study Engineering at Princeton University next year. Ms. Bonilla is fifth in her
graduating class and is a member of the National Honor Society. She has served as a Peer Mediator at the High School, as a volunteer at the St. Bartholomew Church Soup Kitchen and at White Plains Hospital, among other activities.

Michelle Loayza will receive the Verizon Woman in Telecommunications Award of $2,000 and plans to study Journalism at Columbia University next fall. Third in her class, she is a member of the National Honor Society, the New York State Science Honor Society, the Symphony Orchestra and the Varsity Field Hockey Team. She also volunteers at White Plains Hospital.

The third award winner is Melissa Saint Fleur, who will receive the MasterCard International Global Business Leadership Award of $3,000 and plans to study International Business in college. On the Honor Roll since ninth grade, she volunteers at the YMCA and at Post Road School, White Plains, her elementary school. She also is active in Youth in Government, Future Business Leaders of
America and the Orchestra.

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Mount Vernon Ends White Plains Hoops Hopes, 60-52

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WPCNR Press Box, Filed 2/27/02, 11:30 PM EST: The Mount Vernon Knights continued their mastery over White Plains High Wednesday afternoon, ending the Tigers Section 1, Class A Playoff run, 60-52 at the County Center.

White Plains trailed most of the game, closing to within 3 points in the fourth quarter, but a late steal put the game away for the Knights.

The Tigers finish the season with an 18-5 record.

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New Guide Lists Notable Gardens and Special Events

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Westchester County Clarion Statesman, Filed 2/27/02, 3 PM EST by Westchester Office of Tourism:The Westchester County Office of Tourism is offering the new Gardens, The Westchester Way, a four-color, foldout brochure that lists and describes various gardens
throughout Westchester County, New York in the heart of the Hudson River Valley.
Whether interested in visiting gardens to learn about the
growth patterns of a certain species, or enjoy leisurely
strolls through perennials, this brochure offers information to
help plan your visits.

“This new brochure includes gardens that are superlative in terms of size, design, or purpose. We’ve listed butterfly-friendly gardens, gardens that contain rare species of cultivated plants, gardens that do not use any chemicals, even a non-traditional ‘sculpture’ garden,” said Margo Jones, Director of the Westchester County Office of Tourism. “Anyone in search of exceptional gardens should consider visiting Westchester County.”

Fourteen notable public and private gardens that are open for individual and group tours are listed, including those at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in Sleepy Hollow and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah.

THE ROSE GARDEN AT KYKUIT, one of the many private estate gardens described in Gardens: The Westchester Way brochure.
Photo Provided by Westchester County Office of Tourism

Each description includes points of interest, its history, the species of
trees, plants and flowers.

Additional information includes: months, days, and hours of operation;
admission fees (if any); and the types of tours that are available (guided
or self-guided, group or individual). Directions to each place utilizing
public transportation (trains, buses, and taxis) is also listed. Funds from the D.O.T. Smart Commute program made the printing of this brochure possible.

The brochure provides a county map showing the location of each major garden. A calendar of special events has been included, listing annual garden-related events that take place the same month every year, such as the Azalea Festival at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Somers, Rose Day at the Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, and the annual Opening Day of Wildflower Island at Teatown Reservation in Ossining. The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program dates are also listed.

Free copies of the “Gardens, The Westchester Way” brochure are available, from the Westchester County Office of Tourism at 222 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 100, White Plains, NY 10605. Phone: (800) 833-9282 or (914) 995-8500; or e-mail:

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Fortunoff, JPI forge ahead.

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The Limited Edition by John F. Bailey, Filed 2/27/02 3 PM EST: Progress on two city construction projects was reported by City Hall Tuesday
The new Fortunoff complex approved for Maple Avenue and Old Mamaroneck Road will soon begin demolition. JPI has received its financing for its apartment complex at 300 Mamaroneck Avenue, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Fortunoff’s applied for and was granted a demolition permit last week to raze the Saks Fifth Avenue parking structure on Old Bloomingdale Road as the first phase of construction of their four-story Fortunoff’s complex, according to the Building Department. The Mayor’s office reports construction fencing should be going up within the next week.

In addition, asbestos abatement operations are being excuted in the former Saks Fifth Avenue store with demolition on that structure scheduled to begin from “late to early spring.”

JPI has a “soft closing.”

The Mayor’s office also reported that JPI has reported to them that they had obtained their construction loan for their 300 Mamaroneck Avenue Jefferson apartment complex, in what the Mayor’s office described as a “soft closing.”

JPI is scheduled to begin “rodent removal” procedures within the next two weeks, according to Paul Wood of the Mayor’s office. A matter of a residential porch encroaching the property line had held up construction fencing, Wood said, but that had been resolved by building a fence within a fence, Wood reported.

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City and Board of Education Partner to Upgrade Eastview Fields.

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The 2 PM Limited Edition by John F. Bailey, Filed 2/27/02 2:00 PM EST The Mayor’s Office announced Tuesday the city and the White Plains City School District will join forces to resurface the soccer and softball fields at Eastview school with new sod and new track surface oval at a cost of $250,000.
The city will pay $187,500 towards a sodding and track installation, while the School District will contribute $62,500, according to the Mayor’s Office. A WPNCR correspondent attending the Common Council work session last week, reports an artificial surface has not been ruled out by Department of Public Works Commissioner Joseph Nicoletti.

EASTVIEW’S HEAVILY TRAFFICKED FIELDS TO GET “GRASSLIFT”: The City and the City School District are combining to resod the soccer field, foreground, and the softball field beyond at Eastview School, (shown at the right), the most-used fields in the city. Fields will be closed two years and soccer games moved to a new location when the defunct Department of Public Works garage (long, low white building to the left) is razed to begin construction of the Westchester One/Stop N Shop Parking Facility.

Photo by WPCNR

Nicoletti Getting the Turf Story

Our correspondent says Commissioner Nicoletti reported that the cost of installing an artificial surface was five times the cost of a traditional resodding. The Public Works Commissioner added that an artificial surface requires more sophisticated below-the-surface drainage construction to avoid flooding on the surface which inflates the artificial turf cost substantially. The Commissioner said he was getting bids on artificial surfacing as opposed to installing a new all-grass surface.

Softball and Soccer fields Planned

Plans now call for a softball field and a youth soccer field to be installed on the two sites. Artificial turf has long been touted as a solution to Eastview field maintenance because the fields are used extensively for adult soccer play resulting in the ragged grass coverage and virtually bare dirt fields which currently exist.

Fields to close for two years.

The site work planned by Nicoletti will close both those fields for two years, according to Deputy Recreation Commissioner Arne Abramowitz, who spoke to WPCNR on the matter Monday. Nicoletti said last week that the site work on the Eastview fields has to be coordinated with the demolition of the former Department of Public Works garage on the knoll overlooking the fields. The DPW garage will be demolished shortly to make way for the construction of the Westchester One/Stop N Shop Parking Facility. That demolotion will begin when the Department of Public Works move has been completed.

Abramowitz said the Department of Recreation and Parks is examining alternative fields for use this summer to stage the adult soccer league games that have relied on the Eastview fields in previous years.

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FLASH! GERRARD: Med Research Permitted; No Eminent Domain

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High Noon News, By John F. Bailey, Filed 2/26/02, 1:00 PM EST:The Mayor’s Office, at request of the Common Council has released the 10-page legal opinion of Arnold & Porter, the Council’s environmental law firm, on the effect of zoning questions involving the New York Presbyterian Hospital proposal to build a biomedical/cancer research facility on its central White Plains campus off Bryant Avenue. The ramifications are significant.
Michael Gerrard, of Arnold & Porter, in his advisory, (written with Nelson D. Johnson), significantly writes that “medical research” is a permitted use as part of the Special Permit the hospital now enjoys.

He also advised the council, that under a New York State Legislature law, the city has no right of eminent domain on the hospital property, contrary to legal opinons of opponents of the proposal, who apparently are unaware of this law.

In further analysis, Gerrard’s opinion indicates that the council could refuse a request for a change in zoning, with more legal certainty that if they were to deny a Special Permit use.

The opinion is written by a lawyer (Gerrard) who drafted the New York State SEQRA standards under which the hospital proposal is being reviewed, and is in direct contrast to legal advice offered to the council by opponents of the proposal.

In a third finding in Mr. Gerrard’s memo, he and Mr. Johnson write that the city, indeed, does have the right to rezone the property.

WPCNR will provide more details.

The document in its entirety, may be reviewed on the City of White Plains Website. To reach the city website, click on “White Plains Links,” go to Government and click on the City of White Plains Website, and go to the “New York Hospital–New” headline.

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Corcoran Dropped From Recreation Advisory Board

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The Big Extra Filed by John F. Bailey, 2/25/02, 12:15 PM, Updated 2/26/02 8:30 AM: Candyce Corcoran the city’s “designated volunteer” who attended virtually every major Recreation Advisory Committee meeting and function, has been unceremoniously dropped from the City Recreation Advisory Board, without explanation, while all other Board members were unanimously reappointed.
Ms. Corcoran’s two-year term has expired, and the Common Council did not vote to reappoint her to the Board. Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board of Education, has been appointed to fill her vacancy, according to Benjamin Boykin II, Common Council President, Friday.

Council Does Not Give Her a Vote of Confidence.

“I could not find enough Democratic votes on the Council to reappoint her,” Councilman Boykin told WPCNR Friday. Mr. Boykin would not elaborate on why the council majority felt Ms. Corcoran’s services were no longer desired on the committee.

All other members of the Recreation Advisory Board had their terms extended. They include: Steven Brown, Bill Campbell, Christine Eifler, Larry Geiger, Marie Gomez, Eli Schoenberger, Chuck Stogel,and Richard Sanchez.

Asked what Ms. Schoenfeld brings to the Recreation Advisrory Board, Mr. Boykin said she was appointed to “provide more liaison with the School Board.” Mr. Boykin declined to say who nominated Ms. Schoenfeld to serve on the Board, saying it would become clear at the Common Council meeting next Monday. It should be noted that Mr. Geiger is also a member of the Board of Education.

An Extraordinary Procedure

Bill Campbell, a member of the Recreation Advisory Board, said it was unheard-of for Recreation Board members, (many of whom have served for years), to be abruptly dropped from the roster without first being told why, and given an opportunity to participate appropriately.

“Generally, they tell you what the problem is, either attendance or not producing anything for the committee,” Campbell said Monday. “They will ask you if you want to continue. They explain the problem to you. They did it with me.”

Campbell said, “She (Corcoran) was a very productive member of the Advisory Board. They always tell you precisely what the problem is. I don’t know what they told Candy. They should have told her. I don’t see why she was not reappointed.”

Corcoran in shock.

“I am in disbelief,” Corcoran told WPCNR. “I’m hurt. Everyone knows they can call me up and whenever a volunteer was needed, I was there. I don’t understand this.”

Corcoran has been perhaps the most visible recreation supporter in the city. She has organized the Little League Parade for three years, and represented the League on the Recreation Advisory Board. In her position on the board, she organized White Plains Future Stars Track organization, and most recently, was the resident expert for the Advisory Board on the contents of the Recreation Master Plan for the city. Susan Habel, Commissioner of Planning, personally congratulated Ms. Corcoran on her knowledge of the Recreation Master Plan.

Privately, prominent members of the committee who are Democrats and members of the Democratic Party and certain members of the Delfino administration, speaking on condition of anonymity, are shocked at her abrupt departure, saying it smacks of partisan politics at its worst.

Corcoran was the Republican candidate for County Legislature in District 5, who ran unsuccessfully last November.

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