WHITE PLAINS MAN CHARGED FOLLOWING GHOST GUN INVESTIGATION

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(Hawthorne, NY) – A White Plains man was arrested on multiple felony charges on Friday and several “ghost guns” were seized following an investigation by Westchester County Police with assistance from multiple law enforcement partners.

On March 15, following an investigation led by the Westchester County Police Narcotics Unit, a search warrant was executed in White Plains by Narcotics Unit detectives with assistance from the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Westchester Safe Streets Task Force, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Westchester County Police Forensic Investigations Unit and Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.

Recovered from the search warrant were four completed ghost guns with magazines, one loaded North American Arms Companion revolver, four non-serialized/unfinished frames, and a 3D printer being used to manufacture ghost gun frames.

Robert T. Hennes III, 38, of Martine Avenue, White Plains, was booked at County Police headquarters in Hawthorne on two counts of Criminal Possession of Weapon 2nd Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd Degree. He was arraigned in White Plains City Court and remanded to the Westchester County Jail in lieu of bail. The case is being prosecuted by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.

Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor thanked the participating agencies and noted that additional support was provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Queens District Attorney’s Office Crime Strategies & Intelligence Bureau.

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COUNTY CHANGES BEELINE BUS CHANGES FOR SPRING EFFECTIVE TODAY

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COUNTY EXECUTIVE LATIMER ANNOUNCES SPRING SERVICE CHANGES

 

FOR THE BEE-LINE SYSTEM

 

(White Plains, NY) – Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced that service changes will take effect on the Bee-Line system today, March 18, 2024. In order to improve operating efficiencies and accommodate the needs of riders, there will be schedule changes on the following routes.

Riders should consult timetables for specific details about each route.

Routes: 3, 7, 8, 13, 20, 21, 30, 42, 66

 

For a full list of all the service changes and new bus schedules, visit www.westchestergov.com/beelinebus or call the Bee-Line customer service center at (914)-813-7777, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Automated information is available 24 hours a day.

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Comprehensive Plan Change Process…No Home Owner Input…Equals Inaccurate Results. How to Fix It Now:

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. March 18, 2024:

Dear Common Council Members,
 
As follow up to our March 6th email and the March 4th meeting a few additional comments:
 
Our current Comprehensive Plan when originally developed was 100% resident driven with minimal City Staff participation and no outside influencers with their own agendas.  Abraham Lincoln would have liked our existing Comprehensive Plan as it was “of the people, by the people and for the people”. 
 
With the City Staff’s new proposed Comprehensive Plan top-down changes. . .”the people” who actually live in the selected areas for the proposed zoning changes, are missing from the participation process. 
And we really don’t understand where the changes came from and who is pushing the urgency. . .certainly not WP home owners.  We’re guessing that probably outside influencers with their own agendas, consultants and non-resident City Staff are playing major roles in developing and promoting these changes. 
Why?
 
Back at last November 15th Annual Gedney Farms Association meeting Mayor Roach and Commissioner Gomez spoke about the new Comprehensive Plan change process and how good it will be for the City.  Commissioner Gomez did show his Power Point presentation. 
However they both failed to mention the planned zoning changes for Residential Neighborhoods, including Accessory Dwellings, Cluster Housing as well as zoning changes for the New York Hospital and Burke Rehabilitation properties. . .that could damage local property values. 
At best the Mayor and Commissioner’s comments were disingenuous and incomplete.
 
This Common Council, the peoples’ representatives, have heard their constituents from the Neighborhoods in the Southend of the City. 
And now it is time for you to act and reject the proposed Comprehensive Plan changes as written for one reason and one reason alone. 
This changed Comprehensive Plan includes devastating density zoning changes that would have a long-lasting negative impact on our neighborhoods and housing values. . .and should be rejected immediately.
So please fix the proposed Comprehensive Plan by leaving out all of the proposed zoning changes for residential home owners in order to protect existing property values.
In the first place the City Staff excluded home owners from all the initial fact gathering and research portion of the Comprehensive Plan change process.
And secondly the Neighborhood Associations in the Southend have already expressed their displeasure with the proposed Comprehensive Plan changes as presented.
Do require the City Staff to go back and contact each Neighborhood Association to get home owner input on what Comprehensive Plan changes, if any, they need to protect existing property values. 
And get the Staff to disclose everything in the Plan that could impact local neighborhoods.   
Also require the City Staff to work with the Neighborhood Associations on addressing and involving residents on problem solving and planning issues on major projects in their own neighborhoods.  
 
Thanks in advance for your involvement, 
 
Marie and Ron Rhodes
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MARCH 18: ABINANTI TO PRIMARY SHIMSKY FOR 92ND ASSEMBLY SEAT

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WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2024. From the Office of Tom Abinanti. March 18, 2024
Xtra! Xtra!
Read all about it!
Thomas Abinanti is being drafted by a group of Greenburgh residents and officials to challenge Assemblywoman MaryJane Shimsky in a Democratic primary in the 92nd Assembly District because of her support for Edgemont to incorporate as a village.
Abinanti Expected to Run for Old Assembly Seat Against Shimsky
Former assemblyman Thomas Abinanti is preparing to challenge incumbent MaryJane Shimsky (D-Dobbs Ferry) in hopes of recapturing his old 92nd Assembly District seat in a Democrat primary this June.
A grassroots effort in Greenburgh led by Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and several others to carry petitions for Abinanti was spurred by Shimsky’s support for state legislation that would make it easier for Edgemont to incorporate as a village. The move has been opposed by most town officials.
“Community leaders in Greenburgh are very angry that instead of continuing the efforts that I was making to protect Greenburgh from the disastrous impacts of Edgemont separating itself (from the town) and forming a village, Assemblywoman Shimsky sponsored legislation which makes it easier for Edgemont to leave,” Abinanti said.
Abinanti, who lost the Democratic primary to Shimsky by about 900 votes in 2022 after serving 12 years in the Assembly, said if those carrying his petitions secure the requisite number of signatures, he will officially announce his candidacy by the end of March. The 92nd Assembly District also includes the Town of Mount Pleasant and a small piece of northwest Yonkers.
Feiner said the stakes are high for Greenburgh in the fight to prevent Edgemont incorporating as a village because it would likely cause spiraling tax increases and loss of services. With the defection of one of the more affluent areas of town, Greenburgh would likely have trouble affording some of its services such as many of its recreational programs, he said.
There would be an estimated initial loss of about $8 million with budget deficits, reaching as much as $17 million to $18 million, resulting in dozens of municipal layoffs and the diminishment of services, Feiner said.
“So, for this Assembly race, this is really a one-issue campaign in my opinion,” Feiner said. “Do we have a representative in Albany that’s going to fight to keep the town whole or is somebody going to stab the town in the back? I’m very disappointed with the (state) legislation.”
The Town Board passed a resolution asking its state representatives to support a home-rule request that would repeal the new law, but that hasn’t been successful.
Feiner said he believes that some of the supporters behind incorporating Edgemont as a village don’t want to have to pay for services and project that benefit the lower income portions of Greenburgh.
Attempts to reach Shimsky late last week were unsuccessful. She had released a statement last week following the emergence of the news that Abinanti would likely oppose her in a primary.
“It’s been my honor and privilege to serve the people of the 92nd Assembly District. I look forward to continuing to work on their behalf with my colleagues in the New York State Assembly, and to providing the best possible services and quality of life,” the statement read.
Abininati said sections of the town, such as Hartsdale and Fairview, would be most hurt the most. If the town were to retain most of the programs, there could be as much as a 20 percent tax increase.
“The wealthier part is Edgemont,” he said. “That’s why this is such a big deal and why it would mean a very big problem for the Town of Greenburgh.”
Abinanti said he would also run because the state legislature provides inadequate funding for people with disabilities, who lack an advocate in Albany.
Before his 12 years in the Assembly, Abinanti served the same district as Shimsky on the Board of Legislators. Earlier in his career, he was a Greenburgh councilman. He currently lives in Pleasantville.
Shimksy was in her sixth two-year term on the Board of Legislators when she defeated Abinanti two years ago.
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CHICKEN POX IN MASSACHUSETTS–TRACED TO MIGRANT SHELTER–STATE IMMEDIATELY OPENS VACCINATION CLINICS NO NEW CASES AFTER MARCH 1. RESPIRATORY CASES DECLINING, EXCEPT NYC (UP 6%) COVID IN START OF DECLINE.

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Welcome to the Northeastern edition of Outbreak Outlook! It is only available to paid subscribers. If you wish to become a paid subscriber and access region-specific information, please click the Subscribe now button below. Thanks for reading! -Caitlin

Respiratory Diseases

ILI

Influenza-like illness fell again in the Northeast, dropping from 4.2% to 3.9% of visits to the doctor for fever and cough or sore throat. However, the regional number is being pushed up by New Jersey, which has a high level of activity at 5.5%. We’re still well above the threshold that marks the end of flu season, though. All in all, we are still on track for a gradual exit from flu season.

Northeast Region: ILI Activity
Percent of doctors visits for ILI symptoms

Only two states in the region saw increases. Connecticut saw a small rise of 0.1 points to 3.0%. However, hospitalization rates slightly decreased, so that is good. Activity in Rhode Island rose by almost a full point to 4.0%. However, hospitalization rates for influenza decreased there, too.

The other states in the region are all seeing improvements. New Hampshire had the largest decrease, dropping by more than 0.7 points. Massachusetts followed with a significant decrease of 0.5 points. Vermont and Maine also saw declines, with drops of about 0.4 and 0.25 points, respectively. Pennsylvania and New Jersey had more modest decreases, with each state’s visits declining by approximately 0.3 and 0.2 points, respectively.

New York is also improving. Activity in the state is low at 2.0% and falling. However, New York City remains high at 6%. Activity is falling there too, but verrrrrry slowly.

Northeast Region: Change in ILI Activity
Percent of doctors visits for ILI symptoms

COVID-19

Covid-19 activity is looking pretty good. Wastewater concentration for SARS-CoV-2 has declined steadily for weeks, and it’s now fairly low. Hospitalizations are falling in most states in the region, too, with some exceptions.

Rhode Island experienced the largest increase in new Covid-19 admissions per 100,000, rising by 1.1 points. New Hampshire saw a moderate increase in admissions, going up by 0.6. However, these hospitalization levels are moderate, and emergency department metrics look okay, so I’m not worried.

The rest of the states in the region saw decreases in weekly hospitalization rates. New Jersey had the most significant decline, dropping by 1.5. Massachusetts followed closely with a decrease of 1.4.

New York and Maine both decreased by 0.8. Connecticut‘s admissions decreased by 0.4, while Vermont remained relatively stable with a slight decrease of 0.1.

Northeast Region: Change in New COVID-19 Hospitalizations
Weekly new hospitalizations per 100,000

Stomach Bugs

The Northeast saw some relief from norovirus activity this week, with test positivity for the second week in a row to 13.9%. It’s possible we have past peaked season in the region because the timing is about right, but there’s no way to be certain until a few more weeks of data come in.

Northeast Region: Norovirus Activity
Test Positivity, Percentage

Other Bugs

  • Seasonal coronavirus activity remains very high but may be coming down. This is likely peak season for this set of viruses, which cause cold-like symptoms. Distinguishing cold symptoms from allergy symptoms is tough this time of year. Itchy eyes are more common with allergies, whereas a sore throat is more common for a cold.
  • Metapneumovirus activity may be ticking up. Symptoms range from mild cold-like symptoms, including cough, fever, and nasal congestion, to severe respiratory distress such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia in more vulnerable populations. If you get a bad infection this time of year, metapneumovirus and influenza B both come to mind as possibilities.

Food recalls

The following foods are being recalled because they are contaminated. Please check your cupboards and throw out any of these items:

New

  • None

Previously reported:

  • A big recall of Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese is affecting numerous consumer products (more info)
  • Multiple brands of cinnamon sold at discount stores, for lead contamination. The best resource I found to quickly survey affected products is here.
  • Raw Farm brand cheddar cheese (more info)
  • Sargento Foods shredded cheese. This recall affects food service customers and does not include Sargento-branded retail products. (more info)
  • Robitussin Honey CF Max cough syrup products (more info)
  • If you have food allergies, you may wish to review these FDA safety alerts and USDA alerts for foods with undeclared allergens.

In other news

  • In response to an outbreak of varicella (chickenpox) at a migrant shelter, Massachusetts health officials organized two vaccination clinics to prevent further transmission. Several cases of chickenpox were identified at the site, prompting isolation of affected individuals and their families until they were no longer contagious. No new cases have been reported since March 1st.
white and pink flower in macro shot

Photo by Daniel Seßler on Unsplash

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MEASLES INCREASING–CDC BEHIND ON SPREAD– NOROVIRUS SURGES– “POLITICAL VACCINE GAP” APPEARS

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State of Affairs: March 16

Flu, measles, norovirus, and interesting Pew results

This year’s respiratory season is slowly fizzling out. But with that, new players have entered the scene. Here is your state of affairs.

Measles: Increasing

Measles continues to come in hot. A few things jumping out at me:

  • CDC reports we have had 45 cases across 17 states so far, which almost surpasses last year’s total of 58 cases across 20 states.
  • Cases are driven by lots of little sparks across the nation, opposed to one big outbreak like in 2019. The more embers, the more likely it is that they find unvaccinated pockets and spread like wildfire.
  • We don’t know much else, as the CDC website desperately needs a refresh. For example, the hospitalization rate, vaccination status, or age bracket of the cases is not publicly known. CDC does now include an epi graph, as shown below.
(Source: CDC, Annotated by YLE)

Some recent outbreaks making the news:

  • An outbreak which started at a Chicago migrant center includes several so far. Chicago Public Health Department has advised all families staying at the shelter keep their children in place. Unfortunately, this population has a lot of trauma, is very hesitant to vaccines, and distrusts institutions. CDC has sent a team to support the local response.
  • A measles case (child who just returned from international travel) arrived at a Sacramento Hospital last week, exposing about 300 people. No additional cases have been reported yet.
  • The Florida elementary school outbreak is holding strong at 9 kids. The outbreak is declared over once two incubation periods have passed (45 days), which is set to occur in the beginning of April.

The increase in measles is not exclusive to the U.S.. For example, the U.K. is having a very bad year, marking a 10-year high. Since February, 239 new cases were reported, with the majority (63%) of cases among children under 10 years old.

Same with Canada: In the first two months of 2024, there are 20 cases, with several community-acquired. There were 12 measles cases in total last year, which were all travel-related.

Why is this a problem? While the raw number of cases remain low (we aren’t seeing even close to pre-vaccine era numbers), each outbreak takes a ridiculous amount of resources. For example, a small outbreak in Tucson in 2011 cost close to $800,000.

Moreover, the increase in measles is happening within a concerning context: vaccination rates declining due to a rapidly changing information landscape, decline in trust, and continued individualism. There are very few signs that this will be changing anytime soon.

Norovirus: Surging

Norovirus—a virus that causes stomach cramping, intense episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, and sometimes fevers—is taking off in the Northern Hemisphere. If we had a storm system for viruses, this might be deemed a shi… you get it.

(Source: CDC)

Ten percent of the population should expect to get sick. It’s very tough to protect yourself against this virus, but not impossible. Here are some pointers from a previous YLE post. For example, wash hands (rather than using hand sanitizer) and be sure to use bleach-based products on surfaces.

Influenza-like illnesses: Moderate and finally declining?

Within the last few weeks, the percentage of people going to the doctor for fever or cough has slightly declined after remaining stagnant for weeks. Unfortunately, it looks like respiratory seasons are back to “pre-pandemic” patterns, stretching out into March and April.

Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits (Source: CDC, Annotated by YLE)

Flu: Moderate and staggering

The respiratory season stretching out is mostly due to flu strain B taking over (which is typical). Below is wastewater for flu, with B clearly surging, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. (Notice the y-axis is different though, with Flu A still responsible for majority of cases.)

Source: Biobot; Annotated by YLE

Regardless, we’ve had a pretty “normal” flu season, as hospitalizations this year are about in the middle of the pack compared to previous years.

(Source: CDC, Annotated by YLE)

The most concerning thing about flu is how politicization from Covid-19 has spilled over to these vaccines. The latest Pew poll shows the gap between flu vaccine coverage is widening between political parties.

Source: Pew; Annotated by YLE

Covid-19: Moderate and declining

Covid-19 wastewater levels, for the first time this season, have reached “moderate” levels. While it remains highest in the South, levels there are falling too.

(Source: CDC, Annotated by YLE)

The biggest concern I have is the suboptimal uptake of Covid-19 vaccines. A new Pew survey showed a sharp decline for Republicans over the age of 65 years old—an extremely serious problem, and I have yet to hear that the U.S. has a solution for it.

Source: Pew

The partisan gap on Covid-19 is narrowing as public interest in Covid-19 overall is waning. Most interesting, though, is bipartisian consensus for long Covid treatment. This is refreshing and should absolutely be translated into research dollars.

Source: Pew; Annotated by YLE

Bottom Line

Respiratory season is slowly waning, but measles and norovirus are ramping up. And an underlying tragedy is unfolding that is impossible to ignore: loss of trust spilling into all vaccine-preventable diseases.

Spring break is right around the corner, and there is still a considerable amount of respiratory disease out there right now. If you don’t want your travel plans interrupted, the best thing you can do is keep up with vaccines, wash those hands, and wear a mask, especially while traveling.

Love, YLE

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WESTCHESTER COUNTY CONDUCTS “COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT” OF THE STATE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING in 31 communities

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Community Feedback Needed to Assess Affordable Housing Needs and Community Development Goals within the Urban County Consortium

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. March 16, 2024:

The Westchester County Department of Planning is asking for the public’s help in crafting its Consolidated Plan, a five-year plan to assess affordable housing needs and development goals in the 31 municipalities that make up the Urban County Consortium.

Once completed, the plan helps to inform the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on how federal funding should be allocated through the CDBG, HOME and ESG programs over the next five years.

To ensure the success of the County’s next Consolidated Plan, the Planning Department is asking for community feedback from residents, business owners, nonprofits and public housing authorities through online surveys.

Commissioner of the Westchester County Planning Department Blanca Lopez said: “The County receives $5 million annually from HUD to invest in communities that belong to the Urban County Consortium.  Participation from the public is extremely important as it will help us shape our priorities around housing, public services, public improvements and economic development for the next five years. We look forward to receiving community feedback as to how the County should direct its federal funding.”

Every five years, Westchester County develops a new Consolidated Plan. The Plan defines strategies to address housing, community development needs and current market conditions for all of the municipalities in the Urban County Consortium. Residents can participate the following ways:

·         Complete a survey as a community resident

·         Complete a survey as a stakeholder (nonprofit organization, business owner or public housing authority)

Below are the communities that make up the Westchester Urban County Consortium:

Ardsley

Bedford

Briarcliff Manor

Bronxville

Cortlandt

Croton on Hudson

Dobbs Ferry

Elmsford

Greenburgh

Hasting on Hudson

Irvington

Larchmont

Lewisboro

Mamaroneck Town

Mamaroneck Village

Mount Kisco

New Castle

North Salem

Ossining Town

Ossining Village

Peekskill

Pelham Village
Pleasantville

Port Chester

Rye Brook

Rye Town

Scarsdale

Sleepy Hollow

Tarrytown

Tuckahoe

Yorktown

The Westchester County Planning Department is working with Civitas, LLC, a community development firm to develop its Consolidated Plan.

Visit the Planning Department’s website for more information.

 

(Editor’s Note: In the first year of County Executive George Latimer’s ascending to the County Executive position, in 2018  the County coed a snducted a study, the Westchester County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment in the entire county that concluded there was a need for over 11,703 Affordable Housing residences in the county.

In his 2024 State of the County Address Thursday evening, 

Latimer said: “Since our administration first took office in 2018, affordable housing – and the availability of affordable housing throughout the County – has remained a top priority.”

Since 2018, nearly six thousand units of affordable housing have been built, gone under construction, or are in the pipeline for the future. Additionally, Latimer highlighted the Affordable Housing Investment Flex Fund, a new, affordable housing production tool which was created to help increase the number of units across Westchester.)

 

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BLACK COFFEE WITH “WHITE PLAINS WEEK” SATURDAY MORNING 8:30 A.M. EASTERN DAYLIGHT THE IDES OF MARCH REPORT WITH JOHN BAILEY ON FIOS CH 45, OPTIMUM CH 76 AND www.wpcommunitymedia.org

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JOHN BAILEY AND FRIENDS WITH NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW

THIS WEEK EVERY WEEK ON WHITE PLAINS WEEK–for 22 years

STORIES NOBODY ELSE REPORTS BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

A DOOZY OF A WHITE PLAINS WEEK ONE BLOCKBUSTER AFTER ANOTHER:

LOOK OUT WESTCHESTER WHITE PLAINS JANUARY SALES TAX $$ IN SHOCK: RECEIPTS DROP STEEPLY

WHERE’S THE RECOVERY HAS ANYONE SEEN IT?

CONGRESS SECRETLY SEEKS TO SILENCE THE MUPPETS, THE NEWS HOUR, SESAME STREET, THE

DOCUMENTARIES THAT HAVE EDUCATED US ALL FOR  47 YEARS

THE MUPPETS, THE SMARTEST ANCHORS ON TV AND FILMAKERS ASK  WHAT HAVE WE DONE? 

CONGRESS  APPROPRIATIONS BILL SEEKS TO DEFUND  PUBLIC  BROADCASTING

SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLEBRAND NEWS CONFERENCE

BLOWS WHISTLE–DEMANDS FUNDING BE RESTORED IN FINAL BILL 

THE STATE OF THE COUNTY SPEECH THURSDAY

DEBORA NOVICK ON THE MULTI MILLION DOLLAR SUCCESS OF LAUNCH 1OOO

FEEDING WESTCHESTER LAUNCHES EMERGENCY DRIVE FOR FUNDS TO KEEP FEEDING 80,000 CHILDREN A MONTH

COVID DECLINES 

LARA TRUMP REACHES OUT FOR AMERICA’S OPINION IN STARTLING NEW SURVEY ASKING

THE PUBLIC HOW THEY WANT MR. TRUMP TO HANDLE HOT ISSUES, SEEKS TO ALIGN

MR. TRUMP WITH WHAT AMERICA WANTS, CREATING A SOFTER MELLOWER TRUMP DOING THE

PEOPLE’S WILL. 

PLANNING BOARD TACKLES 3 BIG  ISSUES TUESDAY NIGHT THE 21ST: ONE WHITE PLAINS DRAFT, FARRELL ESTATES, THE GALLERIA REZONE…HERE WE GO

 

 

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7TH STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS, LATIMER: “THE STATE OF OUR COUNTY IS FIRMLY ROOTED IN STRENGTH WHILE GROWING AND CHANGING FOR THE BETTER”

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Watch the State of the County Address HERE.

Read the full text HERE.

The address featured videos highlighting key accomplishments and initiatives, including:

·         Where We are Today in Westchester: WATCH HERE.

·         A Tribute to Veteran Joseph Frank: WATCH HERE.

·         Housing for All: WATCH HERE.

·         Restoring the Glen Island Bridge: WATCH HERE.

·         Strength Through Diversity: WATCH HERE.

(White Plains, NY) – Westchester County Executive George Latimer delivered his 7th State of the County address, highlighting the County’s achievements, ongoing initiatives and vision for the future. The address, delivered in the Board of Legislators Chamber – “the People’s Chamber” – was attended by lawmakers and community members, and underscored the County’s commitment to progress, innovation and inclusivity.

Latimer said: “Let us see the value in electing leaders who have no scandals, no hate, no conspiracy theories, leaders who aren’t breaking campaign pledges or becoming a national punchline.  Together, we can build on the foundation laid by those who have dedicated their lives to Westchester.”

In his address, Latimer expressed gratitude to Chairman Vedat Gashi and members of the Board of Legislators for their leadership and collaboration. Latimer also acknowledged the contributions of County officials, recognizing their dedication to serving the community.

Latimer said: “We proudly embody the essence of new faces, individuals who bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the forefront. Yet, intertwined with this newness is the richness of experience and a tapestry of accomplishments that defines the very fabric of our community.”

 Financial Stability 

Reflecting on the County’s financial stability, Latimer highlighted the passage of the 2024 Westchester County Budget, which maintains the same County property tax levy as 2023, marking the fifth consecutive year without a levy increase.

He emphasized the County’s prestigious “AAA” credit rating from Fitch Ratings, as well as its improved credit ratings from S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service. Additionally, he highlighted the New York State Comptroller lowering the fiscal stress score for the County to zero, indicating outstanding financial stability.

 Social Services 

Latimer showcased initiatives to support residents, including seasonal suspension of the Bee-Line Bus fares, the expansion of the Child Care Scholarship Program to 500% of the Federal Poverty Level and efforts to address food insecurity.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Latimer announced his support of proposed legislation to provide free home lock changes for survivors of domestic violence within the county while also providing shelter for survivors while the locks are changed.

Environment 

The new Recycle Coach app was highlighted in the speech, as well as the work of the Department of Environmental Facilities in expanding the County’s existing textile recycling program by offering curbside collection and reaching record numbers in waste recovery and recycling.

Latimer also applauded the Board of Legislators for passing the single-use foodware law as well as the Lead Free Parks Act, the Addressing Asthma in Communities of Color Amendment, the Renewable Energy Database Act and the Equity in Environmental Legislation Act.

Latimer pointed out that the County has made a substantial investment of $20 million to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure at County parking facilities, adding that “These efforts underscore our commitment to sustainability and community well-being.”

Affordable Housing 

Housing for All Video: WATCH HERE.

Latimer said: “Since our administration first took office in 2018, affordable housing – and the availability of affordable housing throughout the County – has remained a top priority.”

Since 2018, nearly six thousand units of affordable housing have been built, gone under construction, or are in the pipeline for the future. Additionally, Latimer highlighted the Affordable Housing Investment Flex Fund, a new, affordable housing production tool which was created to help increase the number of units across Westchester.

Mental Health

Latimer announced the launch of Lives Forward, new in 2024. A collaboration between the departments of Community Mental Health and Correction, the program trains much-needed peers to help those with addiction and mental health needs.  He also highlighted the County’s Opioid Response and Overdose Prevention Initiative, Project Alliance, “Reimagining Policing” efforts, supporting the “988” Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline, and the County’s Mobile Crisis Response Teams.

Capital Projects 

  Restoring the Glen Island Bridge: WATCH HERE.

For the first time in Latimer’s tenure, he used the State of the County Address to sign the $52.8-million-dollar Glen Island Bridge construction Bond Act. The Act is among the most significant construction projects in Westchester County in the past decade.

Latimer said: “Here in Westchester we support infrastructure, always, and we vote and enact legislation to support it.  We just don’t talk about it.”

Emergency Services

Latimer highlighted the leadership role taken by the Departments of Emergency Services, Environmental Facilities and Consumer Protection, in developing a lithium ion battery safety program focusing on: legislation, safe disposal, firefighter training and public education.  He also spotlighted The HERRO Program and legislation he recently signed aimed at supporting the essential role of volunteer firefighters and ambulance service members by creating a law that establishes guidelines for a property tax break for those who serve, have served and their spouse.

Public Safety 

Also highlighted in the speech was the Westchester County Threat Assessment Center (WESTAC) aimed at preventing targeted violence and providing the public a direct way to report persons or groups they fear may be planning acts of mass violence or domestic terrorism.

Health 

Latimer affirmed his commitment to support the uninsured and underinsured residents of Westchester, bolstering our Federally Qualified Health Centers with $3 million in funding while also setting aside more than $1 million for the County’s Black Maternal Child Health Initiative, and $1.5-million-dollars to promote tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Economic Development

Latimer applauded the work of the County’s Economic Development Department which established the DIG Program, a competitive program in which five municipalities were selected to undergo a market analysis on improvements to their downtowns and the Clean Energy Careers Working Group with Sustainable Westchester.  They also grew the MWBE program and the Diverse Abilities job fairs, and added more cohorts to the Westchester County Biosciences Accelerator, Element 46 and Launch1000.

Veterans 

A Tribute to Veteran Joseph Frank: WATCH HERE.

During the speech, Latimer singled out Veteran Joseph Frank, a Port Chester native and a distinguished combat Army Infantryman who served his nation overseas during World War II.  Frank is Westchester County’s oldest living veteran – at the age of 106.

Latimer said: “We express our gratitude to Mr. Frank for his selfless service and to all our Westchester County veterans.”

Travel 

Latimer applauded the County’s tourism efforts, highlighting that tourism remained a significant driver of the economy with visitor spending reaching $2 billion in 2022.

Latimer said: “That is why this year we used ARPA funding to dedicate $2.1 million to promoting Westchester County as a tourist destination. As we have said all along this is a great place to live, work and play.”

In closing, Latimer reiterated Westchester County’s commitment to innovation, progress and compassion. He called upon residents to continue working together towards a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

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