White Plains Historical Society Gala To Honor Christine Roithmayr as “Citizen Extraordinaire” May 4

WPCNR MILESTONES. From the White Plains Historical Society. April 11. 2017:

The White Plains Historical Society at its Annual Dinner will honor Christine Roithmayr as the Society’s 2017 “Citizen Extraordinaire” Thursday May 4th 6:00pm-9:00pm at the Woman’s Club of White Plains, C.V. Rich Mansion, 305 Ridgeway.

New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald will introduce Ms. Roithmayr at the award ceremony.

Ms. Roithmayr is being acknowledged for her outstanding work for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, as well as her charitable work as President of the Woman’s Club of White Plains Foundation, her leadership of the ‘100 Acts of Kindness’ volunteer projects and many other contributions in support of our White Plains community.

“We’re glad to have this opportunity to recognize Ms. Roithmayr who has devoted a lifetime of positive, unselfish giving to our entire community and greater area,” said White Plains Historical Society president John Vorperian.

The event will also have a multi-media presentation “Theodore and Franklin, New York’s Royal Family – the Roosevelts” by St. John’s University Professor Howard Ehrlich.  A past Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Professor Ehrlich has been directly involved with Sagamore Hill, the historic Long Island home of Theodore Roosevelt.

Catering will be provided by Caperberry Events of White Plains.  Tickets to the Historical Society’s Annual Dinner may be purchased online at www.whiteplainshistory.org.

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Salvation Army Honors Giants’ Harry Carson and Barbara Vrooman in 125TH Anniversary Gala April 20 at The Crowne

WPCNR WEST SIDE STORY. From The Salvation Army. April 10, 2017:

The Salvation Army White Plains Corp is holding its 125th anniversary Gala Thursday , April 20, 2017, 6:30PM to 9:00PM at the White Plains Crowne Plaza Hotel, 66 Hale Avenue, White Plain s, NY.

This year’s honorees are NY Giant Legend and Pro Football Hall of Farner Harry Carson and Local Community  Volunteer  Barbara Vrooman.

The Corps’ Inaugural Gala titled “Remembering Our Past,  Reshaping  Our  Future” celebrates  the Salvation Army  White Plains’  storied  history  and current  commitment  of assistance to all of the City’s residents and  Public Safety  Personnel.  In that spirit,  the Corp selected to highlight and commemorate these two worthy individuals Harry Carson and Barbara Vrooman  for their own noted charitable  activities  and energetic actions in aiding others.

Gala tickets are $125.00 per person. A special limited edition keepsake journal is being prepared for this monumental event with listings beginning at $25.00. There will also be a silent auction  that evening.





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High Sales, Sharp Decline in Number of Properties on Market, Sluggish Prices Mark 4-County Real Estate Performance in 20017 First Quarter

WPCNR REALTY GO ROUND. From the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. April 10, 2017:

Westchester County with a high number of homes for sale,  posted a  7.1% increase in sales of single family houses, the dominant housing type in the four-county region.

Rockland County increased most in sales, 29.3% more from 1st quarter, 2015, among the four counties. Its best performing large-volume sectors were single family houses, 23.7%, and  condominiums, 37.2%.

Orange County followed second with an overall 11.6% increase, and Westchester followed third with 4.4%. Putnam County posted a 2.0% decline in home sales in the first quarter.

High sales rates, a sharp decline in inventory, and an uneven pattern of price increases across the region marked 2017’s first quarter entry to the real estate market recovery of    the past five years.

Realtors participating in the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (HGMLS), a subsidiary      of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR), reported  a  grand  total  of  3,700  closed transactions in the four-county region during the  first  three  months  of  2017,  a  9.1%  increase or 309 units more than last year’s first quarter results.

The closings largely resulted from sales and market activity during the winter months of 2016 and early 2017, and comprised single-family  houses,  condominiums, cooperatives, and 2-4 family houses.

HGMLS has been observing the shrinking inventory situation with a watch as to whether or when the diminishing stock in the region will create pressure for price increases.

The four-county end-of-quarter inventory has shrunk by 20.3% from 2016 to 2017, and no individual county posted less than a 20% decrease, yet the effect on prices has been mixed.

Westchester, for example, posted a 5.3% increase in its first-quarter single family median1 sale price, from $569,950 in 2016 back to $600,000 in 2017,  but that is where it had been in 2014 and 2015. The mean sale price has fluctuated between $769,000 and $849,000 for the same period, but there is no clear trend line for price increases as yet.

Rockland County achieved a significant 6.5% increase in the median sale price of its single-family houses,  which  was   posted   at   $425,000   for   the  first  quarter.   Rockland  also  fared  well  with its condominium  sector, achieving a 10.7% increase in the median to $217,500.   Orange County    also appears to have shed excess inventory and posted a 7.0% increase in the median sale price of a single-family house, to $230,000. Putnam Country, having the smallest volume market of the regional foursome and subject to wide statistical swings as a result, posted a first quarter median     sale  price of a single-family house at $295,000, just a slight 1.7% decrease from last year.

 Not too much has changed since last year with respect to key factors affecting the local, state and national real estate markets. In Westchester, in particular, the unemployment rate remains quite low and much new job-creating investment is expected in the coming months. The Dow and other equity markets have been setting records in recent months. Mortgage interest rates have remained at record lows. The Federal Reserve is signaling a measured pace for any future increases in rates. Perhaps  the only truly dark cloud on the horizon is the prospect of an overhaul of the nation’s tax code which could severely injure the housing market — or maybe help it? Either way, that won’t happen until much later in the year.

Otherwise, the HGAR real estate market is in excellent shape for continued high sales volume with manageable price increases in some sectors.

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WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From Governor Cuomo’s Press Office. April 10, 2017:

We’ve embraced the politics of unity  

These have been trying times for our state and nation. One of the lessons that could be taken from the 2016 election is that our values are all being questioned, blamed and attacked. In recent months, we’ve seen a surge in bias-motivated threats, harassment and acts of violence.

We heard the argument that the success of the middle class is being directly impeded by our policies of diversity and inclusion. We have seen the federal government attempt and fail to take a wrecking ball to our health care system, and attempt and fail to create a religious test for immigration. Soon, Congress will start scrambling to cut taxes for the few at the expense of everyone else.

In New York, we say no. We have rejected the politics of division and are forging our own path. With our agreement on a $153 billion budget for 2017, New York State has issued a bold and optimistic statement of our values. We are saying without equivocation: New York is moving forward. This budget agreement invests in our middle class, cuts taxes for working families, strengthens our economy and expands opportunity for all. And it does so even while keeping the rate of spending at an all-time low — held to 2% for the past seven years.

In a response to the most intense period of domestic turbulence in half a century, and with the middle class feeling increasingly ignored and frustrated, our budget makes clear that progressive beliefs, far from being impediments to the middle class, are in fact the foundation upon which the middle class was built in the first place, and on which it will grow stronger.

New York state senate passes $153.1B budget nine days late

With this budget, New York becomes the first state in the nation to provide tuition-free college at our excellent public universities for families making up to $125,000 per year. Nearly 80% of New York families qualify for the program. New York is well-positioned to benefit from the industries of tomorrow, and this budget ensures that our young people will have a full and equal opportunity to compete for high-paying jobs, without having to incur a mountain of debt in the process. To further emphasize the significance of education, the budget also increases access to electronic books to further cut college expenses.

And we are also making record investments in educational outcomes all across the state. With increases of $386.8 million in New York City and $1.1 billion statewide, New York State’s total educational investment amounts to $25.8 billion, the most in history, ensuring that our children and teenagers are provided with every opportunity to succeed.

The budget includes other significant advancements. For too long, the soaring price of prescription drugs has prevented our most vulnerable from accessing the lifesaving treatment they need. Not anymore. We are capping the price of prescription drug spending in Medicaid to ensure equal access for all.

This budget advances the pursuit of social justice. Draconian punishments for youthful offenders have ruined countless lives, so we are finally raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 and stopping young people from being jailed on Rikers Island after Oct. 1, 2018. The budget also commits $10 million to the nation-leading Liberty Defense Project, which will provide free legal assistance to immigrants, regardless of their citizenship status, and enforces our anti-discrimination and hate-crimes laws in every instance of prejudice through the newly established $1 million Hate Crimes Task Force.

Building on the state’s historic $100 billion infrastructure program, this budget also advances world-class projects, including the new LaGuardia Airport already underway, a completely transformed Penn Station, the long-awaited Bruckner-Sheridan Interchange and the Kosciusko Bridge. Today, we are not just planning what we will need in the 21st century, we are building it. And by continuing to strengthen organized labor by allowing members to deduct dues from their taxes, we are ensuring that while these workers are building the new New York, they will continue to sustain our middle class.

There is no doubt that challenges lie ahead, especially with an ultra-conservative Congress committed to policies that will hurt the middle class and the most vulnerable among us. In keeping with our duty to be responsible, this budget has incorporated enough flexibility to allow for as-yet-unknown federal policies, and to protect New Yorkers’ rights.

Never has New York achieved more, built more or produced more impactful legislation. Guided by our shared belief in a better tomorrow, we will continue working until the bright light of opportunity shines on everyone. During these times of anxiety and uncertainty, New York will continue 

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WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Office. (EDITED) April 8, 2017:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced an agreement on the FY 2018 State Budget. The agreement continues the state’s record of fiscal responsibility, holding spending growth to 2 percent while reducing taxes, making investments in education, enacting comprehensive criminal justice reforms, creating good-paying jobs, and rebuilding New York’s infrastructure.  

About the FY 2018 Budget

  • State Operating Funds spending is $98.1 billion in FY 2018 – an increase of 2 percent. (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital).
  • All Funds spending is $153.1 billion for FY 2018.
  • Increases Education Aid by $1.1 billion, including a $700 million increase in Foundation Aid, bringing the new Education Aid total to $25.8 billion or an increase of 4.4 percent.
  • Increases Medicaid State share funding to $23.5 billion.
  • Extends tax rate on millionaires – 45,000 taxpayers impacted, 50 percent non-residents, preserving as $3.4 billion in revenue next year.
  • Begins Middle Class Tax Cut – saving taxpayers $250 on average next year, and 6 million New Yorkers $700 annually when fully effective.

Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:

“With this Budget, New York is once again showing what responsible government can achieve. The result is a Budget that advances the core progressive principles that built New York: investing in the middle class, strengthening the economy and creating opportunity for all.  

“This Budget enacts the Middle Class Recovery Act to continue the Empire State’s upward trajectory and creates a path forward for those striving to get ahead. By making college at our world-class public universities tuition-free, we have established a national model for access to higher education, and achieved another New York first.

“For too long, draconian punishments for youthful mistakes have ruined the lives of countless young New Yorkers. By coming together, we reversed this injustice and raised the age of criminal responsibility once and for all so that 16- and 17-year-olds are no longer automatically processed as adults.

“This Budget continues the progress we have achieved to improve the lives of New Yorkers, and build a stronger, better Empire State that truly lives up to its motto: Excelsior.”

Reducing Taxes to Record Lows for Middle-Class New Yorkers

The Budget continues to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. With the middle class tax cuts of 2012, rates were lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.45 percent for taxpayers in the $40,000-$150,000 income bracket, and to 6.65 percent in the $150,000-$300,000 income bracket. Under these new reforms, the rate will drop even further this year and will continue to drop all the way to 5.5 percent and 6 percent, respectively, when the cuts are fully phased in.

These new lower tax rates will save middle class New Yorkers nearly $6.6 billion in just the first four years, with annual savings reaching $4.2 billion by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the state’s lowest middle class tax rates in more than 70 years. When the tax cuts begin, they will benefit 4.4 million filers, growing to 6 million filers when fully phased in.

Investing Record $25.8 Billion in Education

The FY 2018 Budget continues the progress made to strengthen educational outcomes and increase access to high-quality learning across New York State. It increases Education Aid by $1.1 billion, including a $700 million increase in Foundation Aid, bringing the new Education Aid total to $25.8 billion or an increase of 4.4 percent. Under Governor Cuomo, education aid has increased by $6.2 billion, or 32 percent, over six years.

Establishing the First-in-the-Nation Excelsior Scholarship Program to Provide Tuition-Free College for Families Making up to $125,000 & Investing in E-Books

The Budget enacts the Governor’s landmark Excelsior Scholarship program to make college affordable at SUNY and CUNY two- and four-year colleges for working- and middle-class families. The program provides free tuition to families making up to $125,000 per year, and nearly 940,000 New York families are eligible for the program.
The new initiative will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019. The Excelsior Scholarship is a ‘last mile’ program, which extends the state’s existing generous aid programs, including the nearly $1 billion Tuition Assistance Program and any applicable federal grants, and fills in any remaining gaps to cover the full cost of tuition.
New Yorkers must be enrolled in college full-time, averaging 30 credits per year and completing their degree on-time. The program includes built in flexibility, allowing students to pause and restart the program, due to a hardship, or take fewer credits one semester than another. Students must also maintain a grade point average necessary for the successful completion of their coursework. Under the program, New Yorkers will be required to live and work in-state for the number of years they received the Excelsior Scholarship. The Budget also includes a generous Maintenance of Effort to assist in meeting the operational needs of SUNY and CUNY.
As the cost of textbooks can be prohibitively expensive, the Budget also invests $8 million to provide open educational resources, including electronic-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY. At the state’s direction, SUNY and CUNY will use this funding to target high-enrollment courses, including general education, to maximize student savings.  
Under the FY 2018 Budget, a new Enhanced Tuition Award will also enable students attending private not-for-profit colleges to receive financial assistance to complete their college degree. The program provides a maximum award of $3,000, requires private colleges to provide a match and freeze student tuition for the duration of the award – maximizing the financial benefit to the student. The Enacted Budget includes $19 million for the program.
Enhancing the Middle Class Child Care Tax Credit

The Budget enacts an enhanced middle class child care tax credit that will help more than 200,000 middle-class families make their child care more affordable. The new tax credit would supplement the current New York State Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and more than double the benefit for families earning between $60,000 and $150,000, bringing the total credit from $169 to $376 per household on average.

Protecting New Yorkers from the Soaring Cost of Prescription Drugs

Under the FY 2018 Budget, New York is the first state in the nation to cap the growth of prescription drug spending in its Medicaid program, which has grown 25 percent over the past three years. The agreement provides the Department of Health with a range of tools to lower the cost of prescription drugs, including the ability to drive down the cost of certain drugs whose price is high relative to its therapeutic benefits. This unprecedented agreement enables the Medicaid program to allocate more resources for other essential health services and ensures high-quality care across New York State.  

Combating the Opioid Epidemic

In 2016, the Governor signed into law a comprehensive plan to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in New York State. The FY 2018 Budget builds on this progress by investing over $200 million to support prevention, treatment and recovery programs targeted toward chemical dependency, residential service opportunities, and public awareness and education activities.

Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility

The FY 2018 State Budget raises the age of criminal responsibility to 18-years-old and ensures that young people who commit non-violent crimes receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need. New York was previously one of only two states in the nation that automatically processed all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, no matter their offense.

The new measures will be phased in over time, raising the age of juvenile delinquency from age 16- to 17-years-old beginning on October 1, 2018, and subsequently raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18-years-old on October 1, 2019.

Further, young people will no longer be permitted to be housed in adult facilities or jails. Young people under the age of eighteen will no longer be placed or held at Rikers Island in New York City no later than October 1, 2018. They are to be placed in specialized juvenile detention facility certified by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and the State’s Office of Children and Family Services, and in conjunction with the State’s Commission of Correction and the New York City Department of Corrections.

The state will also create a Raise the Age implementation task force, with committee members designated by the Governor. Additionally, individuals who have been crime free for ten years after serving a sentence will be able to apply for the sealing of previous criminal convictions.

Delivering $2.5 Billion in Funding to Combat Homelessness and Increase Access to Affordable Housing

The FY 2018 Budget continues funding for the state’s $20 billion comprehensive, five-year plan for affordable and supportive housing to ensure New Yorkers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have safe and secure housing. The Budget includes $2.5 billion in funding to advance the creation of 100,000 new affordable and 6,000 supportive housing units.

Enacting “Affordable New York” Housing Program

Under the FY 2018 Budget, developers of new residential projects with 300 units or more in certain areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens will be eligible for a full property tax abatement for 35 years if the project creates a specific number of affordable rental units and meets newly established minimum construction wage requirements. The units must remain affordable for 40 years. For all other affordable developments in New York City, the period of affordability and abatement eligibility would be tied to the number of affordable units. This new program will create an estimated 2,500 new units of affordable housing per year.

Cutting Property Taxes and Costs of Local Government

The FY 2018 Budget continues the Governor’s efforts to relieve the property tax burden and builds on the success of the 2 percent property tax cap. The typical New York homeowner pays 2.5 times more in local property taxes than in state income taxes. The Budget will empower citizens to control the cost of local government by requiring counties to assemble local governments to find efficiencies for real, recurring taxpayer savings. To ensure transparency and an active role for citizens in reducing their tax burden, public hearings and comment periods will be required as part of the development of the shared services plans.

Extending Hurrell-Harring Settlement Reforms for Indigent Defendants across New York

The provision of quality criminal defense by the government to individuals who cannot otherwise afford counsel is of paramount importance, as the United States Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright. In 2014, the State successfully negotiated an agreement in Hurrell-Harring et al. v. State of New York et al., a lawsuit filed against the state and five counties based upon an alleged failure to provide the necessary level of indigent defense services in those counties, to bring true reform to public defense systems that were failing.  
To ensure fair and equal representation for all accused individuals, the FY 2018 Budget includes resources to develop the framework through which the state will fund one hundred percent of the costs necessary to extend the reforms provided for in the Hurrell-Harring settlement to all 62 counties in New York.

Providing Budget Flexibility to React to Potential Loss of Federal Aid

Given the looming threats from Washington, the FY 2018 Budget provides flexibility for the state to adjust spending during the fiscal year to account for a significant loss of federal aid. If federal support is reduced by $850 million or more, the New York State Director of the Budget will develop a plan to make uniform spending reductions. This plan would take effect automatically unless the legislature passes their own plan within 90 days.

Delivering Ride Sharing Across New York
The FY 2018 Budget authorizes Transportation Network Companies (TNC), such as Lyft and Uber, to operate across New York and creates uniform licensing standards. The Department of Motor Vehicles will have broad oversight of rideshare companies and will ensure compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations required as part of a TNC’s operational license.

TNC companies will be required to maintain minimum insurance coverage levels of $1.25 million while a TNC driver is traveling to pick up a passenger and until the drop-off is completed. The state will also establish minimum standards to ensure passenger safety, including mandatory background checks, ongoing monitoring for traffic safety, anti-discrimination protections, and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies.

The Budget also establishes a statewide task force to study and deliver recommendations on accessibility needs to protect and provide transportation to vulnerable populations. Necessary workers’ compensation coverage will also be provided to rideshare drivers through enhancements to the Black Car Fund. Finally, a statewide board will be established to review the impact of this newly authorized industry across the state.

Providing $2.5 Billion for Clean Drinking Water for All New Yorkers

To ensure that current and future New Yorkers have access to clean water, the Budget initiates the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act. This investment will protect public health, safeguard the environment, and preserve the state’s water resources. These funds will help local governments address water emergencies, pay for local infrastructure construction projects, underwrite land acquisition for source water protection, and investigate and mitigate emerging contaminants in drinking water. These projects will improve the quality and safety of municipal drinking water distribution, filtration systems, and wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Enacting Comprehensive Workers’ Compensation Reform

The Budget includes meaningful workers’ compensation reforms that provide cost savings for businesses and better protections for injured workers. The new reforms ensure that the most significantly injured workers have the right to be considered for lifetime benefits. The reforms will also ensure swift access to hearings for injured workers not receiving benefits, create a clear formulary for prescription drugs, and provide relief for first responders exposed to a traumatic event at work. Concurrent with expanded worker protections, businesses will be achieving overall savings, bringing much needed relief to municipal and private employers. Changes include establishing more definitive limits on caps and updating medical guidelines to reflect advances in modern medicine.

Increasing Direct Care Professional Salaries
The Budget includes a landmark agreement that will provide New York’s 120,000 direct care professionals with a 6.5 percent raise over the next two years. These increases will help state-funded non-profits that specialize in the care of vulnerable New Yorkers not only recruit and retain employees, but continue to provide the same level of excellent care that have made them the backbone of New York’s developmentally disabled and behavioral health system.

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WPWeek for 4-7 has been posted – the youtube link is…
the whiteplainsweek.com link is…
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The White House

President Donald J. Trump calls on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria – and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenges of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded, and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace will – in the end – prevail.

  • 10:30AM: President Trump leads an expanded bilateral meeting with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping


  • 2:35PM: President Trump has a working luncheon with President Xi Jinping

Statement by President Trump on Syria.
Read MorePresident Trump participates in the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride.
Read More

President Trump Proclaims April 7, 2017, as Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.
Read More

Photo of the Day:
President Donald Trump receives a briefing on a military strike on Syria from his National Security team, including a video teleconference with Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, on Thursday April 6, 2017, in a secured location. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
EDITORS NOTE: For security purposes items in this photo have been blurred out.
View PhotoVice President Mike Pence: Honoring our Heroes’ Sacrifice.
Read More

Vice President Mike Pence to Travel to the Republic of Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and Hawaii.
Read More

Read yesterday’s press gaggle with Sean Spicer aboard Air Force One here.Read the press briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster here.



  • USA Today: “Trump: Wounded warriors are ‘real heroes’”
    Read More
  • Daily Caller: “Donald Trump Honors Members Of The Wounded Warrior Project At The White House”
    Read More
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Westchester D.A. Charges 10 in Alleged Robbery Ring Targeting 50 Businesses and Drug Dealers. To Be Arraigned in Federal Court in White Plains for

WPCNR FBI WIRE. From the Federal Bureau of Investigation. April 6, 2017:

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., District Attorney for the County of Westchester, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging ten individuals with participating in a conspiracy to commit robberies, including at least nine robberies and attempted robberies that occurred in Westchester County and the Bronx, New York.

The indictment also charges certain defendants with carrying, brandishing, and discharging firearms in connection with the robbery conspiracy, as well as other theft-related offenses.

Seven of the defendants charged were taken into custody today. Three defendants, JASON AUZA, GUILLERMO FERNANDEZ and KASEAN GALLOWAY, were already in state custody on other charges. All of the defendants arrested today will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison in White Plains federal court this afternoon.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, the ten defendants charged today went on a brazen crime spree across Westchester and the Bronx, robbing and attempting to rob at least nine businesses and drug dealers, often armed with guns. We are grateful to all of our law enforcement partners for their work in bringing the dangerous alleged crimes by this determined crew to an end.”

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, JR. said: “I applaud the outstanding police work that enabled us to apprehend these dangerous criminals. This inter-agency collaboration is critical to our efforts to bring down these gangs who have been terrorizing our citizens over the past two years.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. said: “As we allege, robberies and burglaries were the profit making ways of the 10 members of a loosely organized criminal charged group today. Sometimes armed, sometimes not, this crew varied their targets from commercial establishments to drug dealers. Getting criminal groups off our streets is the mission of the Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force and I’m proud to say today’s arrest meets that mission. I commend the FBI agents and the task force detectives and officers on their hard work and collaboration in bringing this investigation towards prosecution.”


According to the allegations in the Indictment and other publicly filed documents[1]:

From at least 2012 to in or about December 2016 ALEX AYALA, a/k/a “Al Bundy,” JASON AUZA, DENNIS BROWN, a/k/a “Bundles,” NELSON CARTAGENA, ANDRE EMILIEN, a/k/a “Dre,” ELBIO ESPAILLAT, a/k/a “LB,” GUILLERMO FERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Chino,” KESEAN GALLOWAY, a/k/a “K,” JOHN NASSAR, a/k/a “Mush,” a/k/a “Big Johnny,” and PAUL VALLARO, were members of a loosely organized criminal crew based primarily in Westchester County, New York (the “Crew”).

Members of the Crew worked together to enrich themselves and their fellow Crew members through thefts, burglaries, and robberies, both armed and unarmed. From 2015 to December 2016, members of the Crew burglarized over 50 commercial establishments in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield (CT) Counties. With respect to robberies, members of the Crew targeted both commercial establishments and drug dealers.

Additionally, members of the Crew worked together to sell drugs, including drugs stolen from drug dealers during robberies and other thefts, and shared in the profits from those sales.


* * *

Count One of the Indictment charges AYALA, AUZA, BROWN, CARTAGENA, EMILIEN, ESPAILLAT, FERNANDEZ, GALLOWAY, and VALLARO with conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robberies. Count Two charges FERNANDEZ and NASSAR with robbing a pizzeria employee at gunpoint in the vicinity of Morsmere Avenue in Yonkers on October 5, 2012. Count three charges AYALA, AUZA, CARTAGENA, FERNANDEZ, GALLOWAY, and VALLARO with using and carrying firearms, some of which were brandished and discharged, during and in relation to the robbery conspiracy charged in Count One. Court Four charges FERNANDEZ and NASSAR with using, carrying and brandishing firearms during and in relation to the robbery charged in Count Two. Count Five charges CARTAGENA with transporting over $25,000 in stolen goods across state lines in connection with a commercial burglary in Connecticut on December 2, 2016. Count Six charges GALLOWAY with committing a carjacking in Yonkers on February 21, 2016.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of agents and investigators from the FBI, the United States Probation Office, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the New York City Police Department, the City of Yonkers Police Department, the City of Peekskill Police Department, and the Mount Vernon Police Department.

Mr. Kim also thanked the following law enforcement agencies for their assistance: the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the Bedford Police Department, the Irvington Police Department, the Greenburgh Police Department, the Yorktown Police Department, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the Village of Pleasantville Police Department, the Clarkstown Police Department, Town of Kent Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, the Ridgefield (CT) Police Department, and the Danbury (CT) Police Department.

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn Martin and Scott Hartman, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Abinanti, of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, are in charge of the prosecution.


The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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The Common Council Dais setup on stage at the White Plains Performing Arts Center awaited its Councilpersons slightly before 6 PM Wednesday evening for their apparently final hearing before a vote on the French American School of New York which could be held after 10 days, the final chance to comment on the controversial school proposal to build a school campus complex on the Ridgeway Avenue side of the former Ridgeway Country Club. The process of approval or denial has lasted six years.




Citizens to be heard on the FASNY issue filed in about 5:40 PM  having had to sign up to speak. It was said some 60 persons had signed up to speak, and 3 hours later after the public started speaking, it was still going on.


Mayor Thomas Roach (to right of yellow City of White Plains flag) opened the Hearing on schedule at 6, reading the ground rules for speakers.


The French American School of New York was first up, present two school administrators who extolled the reputation and philosophy of the school, and presented a video. Michael Zarin, attorney for the school throughout the six years of this review, presented how the project had change. He also showed excerpts from the original 6-1 decision that the effects of the French American School campus could be mitigated, where the city in its decision allowed that the parcel A was not environmentally sensitive, which has been the basis apparently for the FASNY contention that the Parcel A was not environmentally sensitive and should be approved for construction of their alternate site plan

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County Executive Announces Law Suit to Stop Closing of Indian Point Nuclear Plant


WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. April 5, 2017, UPDATED APRIL 6, 2017:

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today set in motion a lawsuit to stop or delay the closure of Indian Point, arguing that Governor Cuomo’s secret deal with Entergy and Riverkeeper to close the nuclear power plant cannot move forward because the state did not complete a full environmental review prior to the agreement to shut the facility, as required by state law.


Allowing the state to move forward on its plan to close Indian Point without first conducting a full environmental analysis that is subject to public review undermines the basic environmental protections in our laws. Among the unanswered questions that should have been discussed in public before the secret deal was inked are:

  • Where will the more than $4.5 billion come from that will be needed to decommission the plant and store nuclear fuels rods for at least six decades? And what are the guarantees that the answer won’t be the taxpayers of New York?
  • How will the $31 million in lost local revenues ($23 million from the Hendrick Hudson School District, $4 million from Westchester County, $3 million from the Village of Buchanan and $1 million from the Town of Cortlandt) from the closure of Indian Point be replaced?
  • Where will the energy come from to replace the 2,000 megawatts currently generated by Indian Point that produces 25 percent of the electricity used daily by 9 million New York City and Westchester County residents?
  • How much will the replacement energy cost and will it be “green”?  New York already is second only to Hawaii as the state with the most expensive electricity costs. Nuclear power produces no carbon emissions.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators needs to approve the lawsuit by its May 8th meeting so the county can file the lawsuit in Westchester County Supreme Court.


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