White Plains Comes Out to Salute “The Men and Women Who Made All This Possible.”

WPCNR Morning Sun. By John F. Bailey. May 28, 2002 7:30 A.M. E.D.T.UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:The annual White Plains Memorial Day Parade marched off down Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street and up to the rural cemetary on Broadway Monday saluting the men and women who served and gave their lives in America’s fights for freedom around the world.


VETERAN MAYOR JOSEPH DELFINO GRAND MARSHALLS THE PARADE, with guest H. Carl McCall, and County Legislator William Ryan, followed by members of the Common Council. Veteran and councilman Robert Greer is seen in the American Legion cap to the right.

THE GREATEST GENERATION, White Plains veterans of World War II take the point at the parade of real heros.

JEWISH VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS proudly maintain rank and file in the White Plains Memorial Day Parade.

THE TIGER BAND of White Plains High School filled the downtown with their really big brass band sound, featuring “America the Beautiful.”..

POPULAR WHITE PLAINS BEATIFICATION FOUNDATION TRUCK, driven by Commissioner of Public Works Joseph “Bud” Nicoletti traditionally signalled the end of the parade. Commissioner Nicoletti has a unique way of “working the crowd” from the cab of the truck that the crowds just love..

PIGEONS PATIENTLY AWAIT PARADE: Prior to the start of the parade, recent arrivals of New York City pigeons, lured by news of the White Plains apartment boom, and the absence of dreaded New York City falcons, anticipate arrival of the annual spectacle, cooing amongst themselves.

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Homeowner’s Almanac: New Fence Keeps Critters Out of Your Garden

WPNCR Homeowner’s Almanac. From Jonathan Leonard. May 24, 2002. 11:30 PM E.D.T.:With Possums, Raccoons, Foxes, voracious rabbits and critters finding White Plains more to their liking, The McGregor Fence Company has announced development of a revolutionary new fence that solves the “Peter Rabbit” problem by reliably keeping rabbits, skunks, woodchucks and other pests out of vegetable gardens.
Known as Mr. McGregor’s Fence™ (pat. pending), the product takes the form of a complete kit with easy installation instructions.

Mr. McGregor’s Fence and its parent company are both named for the gentleman gardener in Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Peter Rabbit. McGregor’s ire immortalized the problem faced by millions of vegetable gardeners who see their crops damaged or destroyed by critters.

Mr. McGregor’s Fence ends this annoyance safely and affordably. The fence is harmless to small animals, pets, and childrenindeed, it does nothing bad to anything. It is cheaper than the retail price of its components purchased separately, and it is easy to set up, with no gates, doors or below-ground digging required.

The fence’s key element is a single charged wire–part of an established system for controlling pets and other small animals in a way that startles but does not harm them. This wire runs a few inches out from the main fence at a height where any exploring creature will find it. Invariably, the would-be interloper investigates the fence before trying to climb or burrow, finds the wire, gets startled, and departs.

Historically, efforts to fence out small critters usually fail. That’s because most fences are passive barriers. They give invaders lots of time to attack them. So they must be massive. That makes them expensive, hard to install, and still failure-prone.

In contrast, most barriers formed by actively charged wires alone are too porous. Creatures figure out how to go over or under single or even paired wires. Worse, since the wires are nearly invisible, people
tend to trip over, break, or uproot them.

What Mr. McGregor’s Fence does is creatively combine these two elements by putting the wire next to a visible landmark (the low barrier fence), adds an active side to the old passive barrier, and ensures that intruders connect with the active element.

Jonathan Leonard, the fence’s inventor and head of the McGregor Fence Company is a Harvard graduate with decades of professional nursery and gardening experience. Leonard installed the first prototype of this fence 15 years ago and has used it to protect his home vegetable garden ever since.

He found the fence highly effective against the woodchucks, rabbits, skunks, and squirrels that roamed his nearby woods. “It was 100% effective” says Leonard, “except for a three-week period one year when I disconnected the fence, neglected to reconnect it, and found that most of my vegetables disappeared.”

Right now, Leonard’s goal is to convince vegetable gardeners of his product’s merits and to put a McGregor fence around every vegetable garden with small animal problems. He notes that “the kit going on the market is installer-friendly, user-friendly, Nature-friendly, and safe.” The kit comes in multiple lengths, with supplements that make it the right size for any garden. It’s also economical, costing less than comparable components purchased independently.

”Anybody who has tried to discourage a hungry woodchuck knows how frustrating and time-consuming it can be,” says Leonard. “If this fence gets the recognition it deserves, it should revolutionize home vegetable gardening in this country.”

While the kit will not reach garden centers this season, it can be ordered now at the firm’s Web site (www.mcgregorfence.com) for immediate delivery. For more information, contact the McGregor Fence Company, 156 Main Street, Sandwich, MA 02563; tel. 508-888-0272; web site www.mcgregorfence.com; e-mail jaljem@juno.com.

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Scarsdale Accepts Senior Assisted Living Project FEIS in Saxon Woods. Will Rule

WPCNR Evening City Star. May 23, 2002.11:00 PM E.D.T.: The Scarsdale Planning Board accepted the Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by REALM, and adopted the Findings Resolution for the 197-unit Assisted Living Facility targeted for the property adjacent to the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester off Saxon Woods Road Wednesday evening.
Elizabeth Marrinan, Village Planner for the Village of Scarsdale, reported to WPCNR Thursday that the next step in the process is to consider the site plan for approval, “on condition” REALM can acquire fourteen approvals needed for water, right-of-way easements, among other vital connections from the City of White Plains. Marrinan said that REALM, Inc., did not have to obtain White Plains cooperation with the project in order for Scarsdale to consider the Saxon Woods Assisted Living Facility.

The Village Planner said the Planning Board adopted the Findings Statement pursuant to Article 8 (State Environmental Quality Review Act- SEQR), and that a date had not been set as to when the Planning Board would make the final decision to greenlight or deny the project. She said it could take place in either June or July.

The Findings Resolution adopted by the board requires that REALM “do what it can to establish some affordable units of assisted living housing, as part of the site plan approval.”

Marrinan explained that though the Scarsdale Zoning Ordinance does not permit assisted living facilities in Scarsdale, but does permit nursing homes. She said the Building Inspector had “some time ago,” given the opinion that assisted living facilities “are substantially like a nursing home in operation,” and this was the rationale for the facility being considered by the Planning Board.

Ms. Marrinan said the FEIS for the REALM project will be circulated to interested parties next week, and will be available in the Scarsdale Public Library.

Sources within the White Plains Planning Department have said White Plains will go to court to fight the project.

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First Look at NYPH Approved Alternate Sites with The CitizeNetReporter

WPCNR Afternoon Herald Statesman. By John F. Bailey. May 23, 2002. 3:00 PM E.D.T.: WPCNR was taken on a tour of Sites 5 & 8 on the New York Presbyterian Hospital grounds Wednesday, where the hospital said Monday it is willing to build their biotech/proton accelerator projects in response to adamant city refusal to locate the proposed facilities on the Bryant Avenue corridor of their property.

OVERVIEW OF NYPH CAMPUS: The interior sites where NYPH is now willing to locate their proposed new labs and cancer treatment facilities are located to the left and above of the Hospital Oval Historical District shown on the right of this overview. The CitizeNetReporter was taken on a tour of the proposed grounds Wednesday.
Photo by WPCNR

Thursday evening the NYPH Final Environmental Impact Statement will be reviewed by Michael Gerard, who will advice the Common Council on their responsibilities toward reviewing the document and what grounds they must consider in either rejecting or approving the project.

The White Plains Planning Department advised WPCNR today the FEIS is not yet available to the public, yet is in the hands of the Common Council. Deputy Planning Commissioner Rod Johnson reports the FEIS will be available to the public when the Common Council approves it.

In the following close-up of the campus aerial view, site five is located diagonally to the upper right of the “Formal Garden,” and to the right of the now-defunct structure shown above the “Formal Garden.” Site 5 is the smaller of the two sites.

Site 8 abuts Site 5, yet extends much deeper beyond Site 5. Site 5’s lack of depth makes it unsuitable, in the hospital’s view, for developing a combination building of both facilities.

BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF SITES 5 & 8: Site 5 is inside the historical district at the right and can be no higher that the builds in the oval, which prevents it from being home to both biotech lab and proton accelerator, according to NYPH spokesperson, Willa Brody. Site 5 is to the right of the dark building structure to the right of the “Formal Garden.” The building no longer exists. Site 8 is the long oblong meadow, at the top of this rendering, known as the driving range property, where, Brody said various configurations of biotech lab are being considered.
Photo by WPCNR

According to Brody, Site 5 is restricted from any tall structures, because it is definitely within the historical district. If the proton accelerator were to be constructed there, it would be three stories underground, with approximately two stories above ground because it has to conform to the heights of existing buildings on the oval. Brody said the hospital is designing configurations for that site.

LIGHTLY WOODED SITE 5 LIMITED IN WHAT IT CAN HOUSE: John Bailey points to the center of Site 5, accepted Monday by the hospital as a venue for the proton accelerator. This site was where the Marriott convalescent facility was proposed to have been built.
Photo by WPCNR

ANOTHER VIEW OF SITE 5: This reporter observed 15 to 20 mature trees approximately 50 feet high, with about seven dead and diseased trees which would have to go. The design of the proton accelerator building, with three stories of it underground, would need to conform to the red brick early twentieth century “look” of the historic oval slightly to the NortH It has been described as “an expensive” building to construct.
Photo by WPCNR.

Our guide, Willa Brody, on this “live” look at the two sites favored by the White Plains Planning Department, said that the form of parking facilities for any combination of the research lab and the proton accelerator were still being “massaged” by designers and architects at this time.

The Planning Department, in its detailed analysis of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, concluded, “Alternative 5 (Site 5) is a viable option for the Proton Beam Accelerator below grade and the 32,000 square feet of clinical space above grade. It can not accommodate the medical research facility or the parking garage within the requirements of the Historic District regulations.”

DRIVING RANGE IS SITE 8: This lightly wooded site is the second site the hospital has agreed to move the research lab, the proton accelerator, or both facilities. The CitizeNetReporter indicates the site. The trees at the far rear of this site (across the meadow), would remain as a buffer to views from Bryant Avenue. However, the pine tree grove to the left would most likely be removed, Brody said. A substantial swath of trees, (approximately 400, extending back to Bloomingdale’s), shown on the right side of this photograph would be removed to provide a 2-lane access road from Bloomingdale Road.
Photo by WPCNR

The White Plains Planning Department gave a favorable review to Site 8 in its analysis of the DEIS: “Alternative (site) 8 is a viable alternative in that it is consistent with the 1997 Comprehensive Plan and conforms to the Zoning Ordinance. Furthermore, it does not have any unmitigated impacts to any environmental features on the site. It is accessible from the Bloomingdales’ store south access road. This road should not be designed to connect to the Bryant Avenue access road.”

Plans are considering a building with two stories below ground and 5 stories above ground, Ms. Brody said. The plans are being created, but she indicated the number of floors was not firm at this time. Ms. Brody advised that decisions on how parking would be accommodated are still under discussion and design.

Plans for designs incorporating the use of both Sites 5 and 8 are expected to be presented to the Common Council the beginning of the week of June 3, according to hospital spokesman, Geoffrey Thompson.

Access Road will impact a slice of site 7, adjacent to Bloomingdale’s.

PORTION OF TREES TO GO: The CitizeNetReporter points to area on the driving range where a swath of trees would be removed for the access road to Site 8.
Photo by WPCNR

Ms. Brody told WPCNR that the access road would parallel the Bloomingdale’s entrance, and would be tracked through to Sites 5 & 8, perching on the edge of the slope overlooking Cassaway Brook, continuing through the woods to Site 8. She said approximately 400 trees would be removed to achieve this entry. This reporter observed that on the heavily wooded Site 7 adjacent to Bloomingdale’s, where the access road is planned to be cut, the trees were mostly very young.

PINK RIBBON IN CENTER OF PICTURE indicates right of way through dense woods where site 8 and 5 access road, a two-lane blacktop, would go. This is looking towards Bloomingdale’s into the Site 7.
Photo by WPCNR

The Common Council will here from Michael Gerard this evening their responsibilities and options in dealing with the Final Environmental Impact Statement now under their review.

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Amy Paulin’s Albany:Budget includes $9.6Million for White Plains Schools.

AMY PAULIN’S ALBANY. By White Plains Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. May 23, 2002. 8:45 A.M. E.D.T.: The 88th District Representative reports the New York State Budget increases local school aid $24 million, with $9.6 Million coming to White Plains, a $1.1 Million Increase over last year. Local School aid, she writes increases $24 million, and restores school building aid cuts.

The Legislature passed a state budget that increases operating aid for local schools to $320 million – $24 million over last year – helping them ensure academic excellence without overburdening local taxpayers. It also restores school construction aid.

In all, New York State schools will see an increase of $440 million over last year’s budget. Locally, that means:

• White Plains School District will receive over $9.6 million – over $1.1 million more than year.

• Bronxville School District will receive over $1.2 million – $87,355 more than last year;

• Eastchester School District will receive over $2.6 million – $181,757 more than last year;

• New Rochelle School District will receive over $18.7 million – over $2.1 million more than last year;

• Pelham School District will receive over $2.4 million – $301,735 more than last year;

• Scarsdale School District will receive over $3.8 million – $236,795 more than last year;

• Tuckahoe School District will receive over $1.3 million – $151,083 more than last year.

A solid education is the key that opens up a bright future for our children. Throughout often contentious budget negotiations, the Assembly held strong in our position that education funding must be our top priority. I’m glad our efforts were finally successful.

The budget also includes funding for effective programs – like the Assembly’s LADDER program. LADDER has helped schools reduce class sizes, expand pre-K and kindergarten programs, improve teacher training, and modernize computer technology.

I fought for a budget that rejects the governor’s Flex cuts and fully restores cuts to special education, Teacher Centers, Teacher Mentor programs, and BOCES job-training programs.

This year’s budget includes over $1.2 billion in school building aid to pay for the state’s share of locally bonded projects statewide.

The Assembly held firm and, once again, successfully maintained the state’s favorable construction-aid formula for Westchester’s school districts.

I lead the fight to restore school construction aid by urging the governor to maintain the select-aid ratio for Westchester schools.

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.

The budget continues the Assembly’s tradition of improving New York’s schools. In the past eight years, the Assembly has fought for education aid increases and restored $3.4 billion of proposed school aid cuts.

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Moroni: We’re Ready Today! Martine Permittees Buy June Permits Today at Hamilton

WPCNR Joe Friday Reports. May 22, 2002. 1:00 PM E.D.T.UPDATED MAY 23, 2002 8:30 A.M. E.D.T.: Albert Moroni , Director of the White Plains Parking Authority told WPCNR Wednesday afternoon that the Hamilton & Main Parking Garage Office is ready today, Thursday, to serve present Martine Garage Permit Holders who want to buy their June Permits. They will have the entire week next week to renew their permits at the Hamilton and Main garage in time for June 1, with the Hamilton-Main Office “computer-enabled” and able to accept payments today. Moroni was responding to a WPCNR reader who questioned when permits could be renewed at the Hamilton Garage Office.

MOVING OUT: The Martine Avenue Parking Garage stands abandoned and empty. Computer records and equipment are being moved to the Hamilton and Main Garage office where processing of payments for June permits are now being accepted as of Thursday morning, according to Parking Authority Chief. “I was informed Wednesday at 2 PM, the move is completed, so permit-holders can buy their tickets today,” Moroni informed WPCNR.
Photo by WPCNR

A WPCNR reader wrote Tuesday that one week after the Martine garage official closing, the White Plains Parking Authority office behind City Hall was not ready to accept payments by former Martine Garage permit-holders for June permits to use the Hamilton garage. They wrote,

“After many months of obvious warning, the WPPA office behind City Hall is not yet ready to process regular payments. The displaced permit parkers who were sent to the Hamilton-Main facility from Main-Martine are at a loss to know how to pay for June parking.

Demolishment of the old structure is about to begin. This is not new information. Yet, as of today, May 21, patrons are asked to repeatedly return to the office to find out when WPPA will be ready to accept payments. Some patrons may be out of town or simply do not have the time available to continually return to make their payment. The organization that specializes in collecting money for time appears to some people as abusive of patrons’ time.”

Moroni Explains the Delay. Says Come on in Today.

WPCNR’s “Sergeant Joe Friday” asked the Parking Authority’s Director, Albert Moroni, about the delay, and he reported the wait to process June Permits will end Friday:

Mr. Moroni told WPCNR, “John, in response to the e-mail from the unhappy permit holder, please be aware that the Main Martine office and garage only closed 4 business days ago and we are still in the process of physically relocating computers, equipment and other logistical issues.

By Friday, the 24th of May, we will have the necessary conversion of the database of former Main-Martine customers into the Hamilton Main system and the customer who is complaining…will have an entire week to renew their permit before June 1st.”

If you have a problem you’d like “Sergeant Joe Friday, Just the Facts Ma’am” to check out, write WPCNR about it, and we’ll try and get you the facts.

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OFFICIAL! City Passes Budget by 4 to 1. Pollak, Valentin oust Geiger, Sules

OFFICIAL RESULTS!!! WPCNR Evening City Star. By John F. Bailey May 21, 2002.10:45 PM EDT. UPDATED May 23, 2002 9:00 AM E.D.T.: The City of White Plains passed the 2002-03 $126.9 Million School Budget and a $3.6 Million Referendum to refurbish the eight White Plains Schools Tuesday. Voters also elected William Pollak and Maria Valentin to the School Board, ending the six-term member, Larry Geiger eighteen-years of service on the Board of Education, and ending Stephen Sules’ tenure after one term. Results were certified officially by Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board of Education at Wednesday evening’s Board of Education meeting, with totals adjusted downward for Robert Tuck, placing him behind Stephen Sules.

NEW ERA ON THE SCHOOL BOARD: Maria Valentin and William Pollak enjoying congratulations all around at Education House Tuesday evening. Candidates endorsed and supported by White Plains Alliance for Vision in Education, Ms. Valentin and Mr. Pollak won first-time seats on the Board of Education.
A dazed and radiant, Ms. Valentin said to WPCNR, “This is more than I could ever have hoped for. I’m overwhelmed at the support the entire community has given me.”
Mr. Pollak commented, “I think the results Tuesday were an indication there was broad support for the positions W.A.V.E. articulated, and the need to listen to all the components of education. Even though there has been some acrimony in the process, I value and applaud the countless hours of dedicated service the departing members contributed to the City of White Plains.”


Maria Valentin gathered the most votes among the five candidates with 1,182. Mr. Pollak was second with 934, edging out Larry Geiger by 90 votes. Mr. Geiger received 844 votes. In a recanvassing of votes at Ridgeway School, Michelle Schoenfeld reported that Mr. Sules received 558 votes, and Robert Tuck received 514.

SUSPENSE AS SCHOENFELD CHALKS UP THE NUMBERS: Michelle Schoenfeld, fittingly on an old-fashioned blackboard posts the final returns from Ridgeway School, putting William Pollak past Larry Geiger for the second and final seat. Pollak trailed Mr. Geiger by 6 votes, 510 to 504 with five of the six districts in, and overtook Geiger with a 416-321 rally in the Ridgway District 6 to win by 90 votes.

The Budget was passed again with 1,643 voters approving the 6.9% year-to-year increase, and 357 voting against it. The $3.6M referendum enjoyed the same overwhelming approval by White Plains citizens, passing 1,567 to 375.

BOARD OF EDUCATION AWAITS RESULTS TUESDAY NIGHT: Members of the the Budget Committee, and some members of the Board of Education, and candidates Valentin and Pollak watch and wait for the numbers Tuesday evening.
Photo by WPCNR

Assistant Superintendent for Business, Richard Lasselle, was beaming, calling out to this reporter as we left Education House that the budget was passed again by a 4 to1, margin, 82% to 18%.

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Yanofsky: “Ambivalence” Related to Relationship to School Board.

WPCNR Morning Sun. May 21, 2002. 10:40 AM EDT: Dr. Saul Yanofsky, responding to characterizations on the part of Stephen Sules and Larry Geiger, Board Members, that he was “ambivalent” about continuing as Superintendent of Schools one year ago contacted WPCNR Monday to clarify his letter appearing in the local Journal News He acknowledges that his February 20, 2001 letter expressed he was “ambivalent” towards renewing his contract.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Saul Yanofsky talks frankly with WPCNR.
WPCNR File Photo

He acknowledged to WPCNR Monday afternoon in a telephone interview, that his letter to the Board of Education of February 20, 2001, required by his contract to announce his intentions of whether or not he sought an extension of his contract, did say he was “somewhat ambivalent” about continuing as Superintendent. This fact was left out of his letter to the Journal News.

Yanofsky in talking with WPCNR Monday, characterized his ambivalence, (defined in Webster’s Dictionary as simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from an object, person, or action,), as “related to a relationship to the Board (of Education),” but told WPCNR he was not ambivalent about continuing as Superintendent of Schools.

Wanted to be Superintendent. The Board of Education was what caused his “ambivalence.”

“The ambivalence wasn’t related to doing the job of Superintendent,” Yanofsky said. “The ambivalence was related to a relationship with the Board, doing that. That’s what my letter (to the paper) says. That’s not what your article says.”

“If you read my letter (to the paper), John, I tried to make that distinction which the board member clouds up,” Yanofsky said. “and you reinforce the clouding up of that distinction by reporting that the way that board member said. What useful purpose is served?”

WPCNR asked if he would make public the February 20, 2001 letter the board member speaks about. Yanofsky said he had no problem with that:

“What difference does that make? The key part you quoted. The rest is all bureaucratic stuff. I don’t have any problems (with showing you the letter), but I don’t think that makes any difference. You quoted the key statement which is accurately quoted, I said I have some ambivalence about continuing, and what I continued to say to the Board was my ambivalence has to do with the way you (the Board) and I interact with each other.

I never suggested and I’d be interested if anybody claims otherwise that I was tired, frustrated or disillusioned with the role of superintendent. I never said that. I said my ambivalence has to do with my relationship with the Board, not with running the district. That’s what my letter in the paper Saturday says, that’s the distinction I was trying to make and you cloud it up by quoting all this garbage from this Board Member.”

What the Yanofsky February Letter Told the Board.

For the record, the text of the key statement in the February 20,2001, to the Board of Education, stating his intentions reads although I must admit to being somewhat ambivalent about it, I would be willing to entertain an offer to renew my contract beyond June 30 of 2002 if the Board so wishes.

February 20, 2001 Yanofsky Letter Expected Discussions

Yanofsky described the contents of the February 20, 2001 letter to the Board of Education for WPCNR:

“The whole first paragraph just quotes from the contract about the timelines for notification, then basically I said, well, I’m somewhat ambivalent about it, I’d be willing to entertain an offer to continue. I assume you’re going to want to have to spend some time talking to me about it, so let’s look at the agenda and we’ll make what changes we can. That was the whole letter. It was written 14-15 months ago and I figured there’d be lots of opportunities for conversation.”

Asked how many conversation opportunities presented themselves, Yanofsky said, “ I don’t want to even rehash that. That’s not the point.”

Letter to paper was to clarify his ambivalence.

We pointed out to Dr. Yanofsky that his letter to the Journal-News implied that he was at no time ambivalent about continuing as Superintendent of Schools. The actual quote from Dr. Yanofsky’s Journal News letter says “Larry Geiger and Stephen Sules said that I was ambivalent about continuing as superintendent of schools, suggesting a lack of interest/and or commitment to the district. This is simply not the case.”

“What does the letter say, John? I said at no point did I state any ambivalence about my substantive role as superintendent.” Yanofsky explained. “That’s the whole point of the letter (to the paper), because these guys, including comments on your website, were implying that I had lost interest in being superintendent. That’s a hundred percent wrong. I told you before, I’m not just telling you now.

“I told you that when you printed Lewis Trippett’s letter, how wrong it was. And you kept on printing that. I don’t understand why you continue to print things that are just not true. You’re printing stuff that has inaccuracies and I’ve told you they are inaccurate and you keep on printing them.”

We asked what was inaccurate about Monday’s article

Yanofsky kept on talking: “Basically it reinforces this notion that I was ambivalent about continuing as superintendent, in doing the job of superintendent, that I had lost interest. That’s what these two board members (Sules and Geiger) have been saying. And I put up with it during the debate.

“I didn’t say anything when you printed Geiger’s comment about the CEO who’s lost interest in the job. But, when they say it to the Journal News Editorial Board, and it gets printed all over Westchester County I felt I had to respond to protect my reputation. All of that you could have known if you had given me a phone call before you printed this stuff.”

WPCNR asked why he had not made this clear a number of months ago.

Yanofsky said, “Because I didn’t have to say it. I wasn’t going to respond to Trippett. Trippett’s letter was so vicious, so full of inaccuracies, I wasn’t going to respond to it, because I thought it was all over. Until these guys (Sules and Geiger) started making a campaign issue out of it.”

Not the first time ambivalence brought up.

WPCNR pointed out this was not the first time he has been portrayed as being ambivalent about continuing. Yanofsky again said, “No. No. No. What is ambivalent. That’s the point, John. Listen to me. What is ambivalent what I said, what I meant, what I clarified was that my ambivalence was in continuing the role vis-à-vis the board, not that I was ambivalent about serving as superintendent. That’s what the letter to the paper said. That’s a distinction that’s critical. Read the letter over. I don’t know how to make it any clearer.”

WPCNR asked Dr. Yanofsky, “Did you say you did not want to work with them (the Board) any more?”

Yanofsky said, “Did I say that? I said I was ambivalent. That’s exactly the word I used.”

WPCNR asked if he told them he was willing to come back for a period of about two years or so:

“It never got to a point where we talked length of term,” Yanofsky confirmed. “John, you’ve got stuff up there that’s just wrong that misses the whole point of the letter that was attempted to be very explicit. Read the letter over. I tried to make a distinction because I was getting criticized publicly based on the implication I had no longer cared about the district, that I had lost my interest in the district, there’s not a shred of evidence that I have (lost interest). I’m doing everything I ever did before and probably a little bit more now that we start running out of time.”

WPCNR Not Fair.

“By printing this thing you reinforce all the wrong messages. It’s just not fair journalism.” Yanofsky charged. “You’ve only printed their side. You’ve distorted the public’s understanding of the issues. Because you didn’t talk to me. I would hope that if you talked to me you would have written something different.”

Not contrived to influence election.

“The implication of what they said to you, and this is perhaps the most damaging, that this was all part of a contrived strategy to influence the election. I was on your television program for a half an hour the other day, and if I wanted to influence the election, I would have said something at that time, and I would have had a television audience that would have heard it. I stayed away from it. I had absolutely no intention of having any role in this election whatsoever, until I started reading about what they were saying about me. I would not allow my reputation to be damaged because two people want to get reelected.”

Why he did not set the record straight in December.

WPCNR asked why Dr. Yanofsky didn’t call them on this last December when Mr. Trippett had said the exact same thing: “Because they said it and it was over. I mean, I don’t want this thing to last all year.”

WPCNR asked why he would write the letter to the Journal-News at this time: “Because they were saying publicly that I had lost interest in the district that I didn’t care about the district. That’s the implication of what they were saying. I didn’t want to go out having people think that. I’ve invested twenty years in this district, more than both of them combined. I thought it was over. They made a campaign issue out of it.”

The Wrap-up.

In wrapping up our conversation, Dr. Yanofsky said, “The point is there is an important distinction to be made. The important distinction is if you focus on the word ambivalence, that my ambivalence, as this letter says so clearly, was about a relationship with the Board, not about the substantive role I perform day-to-day as superintendent. I never was disinterested in that. I never lost energy. I never lost enthusiasm. If anybody claims otherwise I’d like to hear the shred of evidence behind that.”

Board’s Mind Made Up?

WPCNR asked Dr. Yanofsky, if when he sat down with Board members to discuss his status, if he felt their minds were made up that they didn’t want him. Yanofsky said, “No. I felt that some of their minds were.”

“I don’t want to rehash all that. There’s no useful purpose. All I want is my reputation not be damaged because a couple of people want to get reelected, that’s why I wrote this letter. I wrote it reluctantly. I was not prepared to write it. What they said to you and which you repeated was the implication that I did this deliberately to swing an election, which is absolutely irresponsible.”

Why he wrote when he did.

WPCNR asked him why he wouldn’t hold off writing the letter until after today’s election.

Yanofsky said, “Why? Because it was off to an editorial that was printed a few days ago. First, I had no idea when this letter would be printed. I wrote it in response to an editorial because they quoted in the editorial the fact that the two candidates said I was ambivalent about staying on the job, and I wanted to distinguish between the two very different kinds of meanings, one of which is true, the other which is not.”

WPCNR had one last question, we presented to him that by telling the board he was ambivalent about working with them, but wanted to do the superintendent’s job, that he was presenting the board with a dilemma, which was a subtle way of saying he was not interested in the job. WPCNR asked, “That says you were not interested in the job. The letter in the paper leads (the reader) to believe you never said you were ambivalent, while your letter (of February 20, 2001) said you were ambivalent. You can’t be ambivalent about one thing and be pro about the other thing. You either like the whole package (Board and the Superintendent’s job) or you don’t.”

Yanofsky took exception to my characterization of the Board’s dilemma: “Think about what you just said. It makes no sense. I was ambivalent about continuing a relationship with the board that was getting worse, I was not ambivalent about performing the responsibilities of running this district. That’s a very clear distinction. It’s not a whole package. It’s a very separable package.”

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John Frango, Winchell of Westchester, Passes Away

WPCNR White Plains Epitaph. May 20, 2002. 10:00 PM EDT.: News compadre, Jim Benerofe, and I were talking about the hospital story Monday evening when Jim told me, “I have something else to talk to you about. John Frango died.”

John “Frankly” Frango of White Plains, Pioneer Columnist, in a typical “Frankly Frango” column header.
Photo by WPCNR

Mr. Frango died Monday.
John Frango was the longtime publicist for Pepsi Cola, White Plains P.R. man par excellence in the 50s and 60s, liaison to Joan Crawford, the actress, and John was well-known as a popular columnist for Suburban Street.

Since I did not know John well, I’d appreciate any memories old White Plains residents might want to share about John Frango, another chapter in White Plains journalism past.

I met John when he became a fan of White Plains Week right from the first week when we began the show in January, 2001. I was flattered he took the time to say how much he liked the show. Some 62 shows later, he still was, telephoning me just last week with enthusiastic suggestions and observations about the show. He offered Alex, Jim and I encouragement when we needed it. Like most confident, creative people he appreciated good work of other writers, and consistently reached out to say, “hey, you’re doing a great job.” I cannot tell you how rare that is in the writing business, or any business.

He was such a positive fellow with sharp insights, and no-holds-barred opinions on issues, personalities and life, which he shared in his long-time column, Frankly Frango. He was a sensitive and thoughtful writer, and though I did not know him well, he was a person I was looking forward to having on the show as a future “Legacy of White Plains.” I always felt there was time.

He had a feeling for news. A feeling of how to do things the right way.

He had sent me a column he had written about his father, which I told him I was saving for Father’s Day. I thought I’d share one of his last pieces of writing with you. I regret we had not scheduled him to be one of our “Legacies of White Plains” personalities.

John’s untimely passing points out to me at least, we should never put off saying how much we appreciate knowing and working with someone, because you never know when they will be gone for good, without knowing how you felt about them.

The following story is very graphic and some may find it distasteful, but it is a sample of a writer who knew how to do it. Who could recognize what about life makes us alive. This one’s for you, John, and I regret we did not publish it sooner.

A Story of A Beautiful Ice Man

By John R. Frango

It was in the early 1930s and my father was carrying a piece of ice on his burlap-covered shoulder up to the second floor of a tenement house.

I followed him up dilapidated stairs and into the “apartment.” I immediately noticed a man and woman. They were naked, sprawled across a filthy mattress, soundly asleep. Their dirty and scratchy buttocks were like two small mountains. Cheap gin bottles were sprawled across the dust-laden floor.

A blond, blue-eyed baby girl was sitting silently in a broken crib amid excrement and urine. Her tinyhands and her entire body were saturated with feces. The milk bottle near her frail body was dark and the nipple heavily soiled.

The odor in the “apartment” was heavy and almost suffocating.

My father looked at me and said: “Go down to the candy store and tell the man Joe Frango needs a bottle of milk.”

Now why I was going to a candy store for a bottle of milk befuddled me. But you never questioned your father in those halcyon days. You just did what you were told.

I ran down the hill as quickly as I could. When I finally arrived at the candy store, there was a slim, tall man standing in front with spectacles perched on the tip of his nose. He was reading a Yiddish newspaper.

“I’m Joe Frango’s son,” I said. “My father needs a bottle of milk.”

The man put the newspaper under his arm and walked into the store. I followed slowly behind him.

He stopped in front of one of those early bright red Coca-Cola coolers. As he opened it wide, I noticed three bottles of milk drifting like cruisers among an escort of uniquely designed six-ounce bottles of Coke.

He rolled up his sleeves, took one of the milk bottles out, and wiped it off with his apron. He located a brown paper bag, put the bottle of milk inside, and handed it to me.

“My father didn’t give me any money,” I said sheepishly.

“Get out of here,” the man said with mock annoyance “Go, so go already.”

Later, of course, I learned that the man bought ice and coal from my father and they became friends after both arrived from the old country: he from Berlin, Germany, my father from Naples, Italy.

I finally arrived at the “apartment,” and was literally astonished at what I saw. I knew my father was marvelously methodical, but this was – to repeat – beyond belief.

A blanket had been placed completely over the bodies of the drunken couple. The gin bottles were packed neatly in a corner of the “apartment.”

The baby’s entire body and the crib were scrubbed clean – immaculately. And my father had fashioned a diaper out of a towel he had found. The milk bottle was washed so that it was miraculously changed from translucent to transparent and the nipple appeared as if it was a brand new piece of rubber.

My father took the bottle of milk out of the bag, opened the paper lid, and poured milk into the baby’s bottle. He then placed the bottle carefully into the baby’s hand; she sucked on the nipple furiously – as if it were a new experience.

My father smiled and hand me the bottle with the remaining milk in it. He told me to put it in the icebox.

When I opened the box, I was faced with decaying pieces of tomato, lettuce and meat. The offensive odor invaded my nostrils and I gagged. I closed the box as quickly as I could and somehow found myself out on the creaky porch – sucking in the soft summer air.

After about five minutes, I turned to watch my father close a back door that was overflowing with a river of cracks.

Then Joe Frango, whose huge, calloused hands were dwarfed only by the size of his soul, touched me lightly on the arm and said softly, “Peccato (how sad).”

I was never more proud of a man than I was of my father on that cloudless summer Saturday so many years ago. His humanity pierced my heart and I wiped my eyes as I followed him down the steps and back to the truck.

© 2001, John R. Frango. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author.

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Hospital to City: We’ll Move Biotech Facility off Bryant. New Plans in 2 Weeks

WPCNR Evening City Star. By John F. Bailey. May 20, 2002. 7:30 PM EDT.:The Mayor’s Office reported Monday evening that New York Presbyterian Hospital will draw up plans for locating their biotech facility on the interior of the hospital property. The new site plans will be considered by the Common Council as part of the current FEIS review. Plans showing the new site developments are scheduled for delivery within two weeks, a hospital spokesman said.

MOVE ON OVER! Site 8, shown on a map of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Property taken from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, is the former driving range property. Bloomingale’s is located in the X area at the lower portion of the picture. Site 5 is immediately above and to the left of the dark black building outlines, smack dab in the middle of the NYPH compound. Hospital spokesman, Geoffrey Thompson, said the biotech facilities could be spread over the two sites, or on one of the two, with access exclusively from Bloomingdale Road in either case. Site 5 is where the Marriott senior convalescent facility was supposed to have been built.Bryant Avenue is the boundry on the right of the map.

Rick Ammirato, Policy Specialist for the Mayor’s office, said the Mayor had received a letter from New York Presbyterian Hospital stating that, in view of the strong community opposition to the Bryant Avenue site, the hospital was willing to situate the new biotech/cancer treatment facility on Site 5, formerly the location reserved for Marriott senior care faciity, or Site 8, the wooded site located near Bloomingdale’s, but not the densely wooded portion adjacent to the Bloomingdale’s parking lot. Amerotto said that there could also be a combination of the two sites developed.

Mayor applauds step.

Mayor Joseph Delfino in a statement said he was pleased the hospital had listened to the community, that he and the Council had for some time indicated to them the Bryant Avenue side location was not the appropriate location. He said he was pleased about this new spirit of cooperation on the part of the hospital, and hoped it would prove to be fruitful.

Olive Branch from Hospital.

Geoffrey Thompson, spokesman for New York Presbyterian Hospital, said the hospital expected to have fully developed plans for the two new sites within two weeks. He said the new site plans drawn up were based on sites the Common Council said they wanted considered as alternate locations, and would be submitted for the Council review of the Final Environmental Impact Statement so they could decide between the two.

Thompson said the hospital still believed that the Bryant Avenue original site was still the best location for the facility, but was drawing up the new plans in response to Common Council requests in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

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