Help for Senior Caregivers from Project Time-Out

Project Time-Out is taking its respite service for seniors who are caregivers one step further by offering a new escort program. Seniors over age 60 can enlist a carefully screened and specially trained escort to accompany their loved one to a doctor visit, shopping trip, errand run, movie or restaurant.

For nearly 20 years Project Time-Out, a program of Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), has been providing in-home respite services to Westchester families who are caring for either a dependent older person or a child who is mentally retarded or developmentally disabled. The service allows caregivers short-term relief from their responsibilities.

The escort service is free. Users are only responsible for transportation costs for their relative and the escort if they travel by taxi or bus. If Para Transit is used, the escort rides free.

For more information, contact Project Time-Out at 914-949-7699, ext. 308.

For nearly 20 years Project Time-Out, a program of Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), has been providing in-home respite services to Westchester families who are caring for either a dependent older person or a child who is mentally retarded or developmentally disabled. The service allows caregivers short-term relief from their responsibilities.

The escort service is free. Users are only responsible for transportation costs for their relative and the escort if they travel by taxi or bus. If Para Transit is used, the escort rides free.

For more information, contact Project Time-Out at 914-949-7699, ext. 308.

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We Got D’Elia! Property In Controversy for Years Purchased by the City

Special to WPCNR:The Trust for Public Land and Mayor Joseph Delfino announced Thursday the completion of a project protecting of one of the last remaining open spaces, (known as the D’Elia Property), in the City of White Plains after more than 25 years in private ownership.
The 5.3-acre wooded property is located in a densely developed residential neighborhood and has been the subject of numerous plans for residential development over the years. The acquisition as open space, links to two greenways within the city—the White Plains Greenway and the Highland Avenue Nature Trail.

Trust for Public Land Negotiates the Deal

“This project preserves a key piece of open space for a community with limited publicly accessible land,” said Kate Garrett, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “White Plains has shown its commitment to preserving the few remaining parcels of open space before they are lost to residential development. The foresight and partnership of Mayor Delfino and the Common Council are to be commended.”

Council takes the funding lead. Awaits County to put in its share

The Common Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase bonding for the $1.75 million purchase. The Council is anticipating $500,000 in funding from Westchester County to aid in the purchase. The city is floating a short term bond for the $1.75 million in anticipation of the County participation in the funding.

Mayor quietly proud:

“This is the first of what I hope to be many more acquisitions by the City to preserve open space. This truly is an important legacy that will benefit our residents for generations,” said Mayor Delfino.

CCOS partners with the Mayor

The White Plains community, represented primarily by the Concerned Citizens for Open Space, has been clamoring for the protection of this property for more than a decade. Members of the citizens group were key partners in convincing the city’s Common Council to authorize the funding for the acquisition.

Harrington, Creator of the Green Way hails the Acquisition.

“I’m elated that the city recognized that this property is a critical link to the in-city trail system that we have visualized for so long. After 14 years, we are so fortunate to have this protected from development for open space and we are grateful to the Trust for Public Land for all they did to make this dream a reality,” said Jack Harrington of the Concerned Citizens for Open Space.

Only the beginning

The acquisition of the D’Elia property is the first in a series of acquisitions contemplated by Mayor Joseph Delfino in his environmental protection initiative introduced in early 2001.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), brokered the deal with the owner who has long been mired in controversy with neighbors of the D’Elia piece, his efforts to develop blocked consistently. The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization that specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, conservation finance, and law to protect land for people. TPL has long been involved in land conservation initiatives in Westchester County.

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Council Approves Fortunoff’s; Hears Taxi Hike; Mulls MacMansions Rein-In

The Common Council approved the Fortunoff’s complex proposed for the former Saks Fifth Avenue site Thursday evening. Louis Fortunoff saw groundbreaking in the spring, opening in fall, 2003.

The Council heard the Taxi Fare Increase proposal and agreed to pass the MacMansions Zoning Ordinance as soon as possible in January or February at the latest, after hearing half of all homes in the south end appear to be not in compliance with current zoning.
In a Special Meeting of the Common Council, Louis Fortunoff received unanimous approval of 6-0 for an upscale retail complex on the corner of Bloomingdale Road and Maple Avenue, setting the stage for the creation of White Plains’ own “Million Dollar Mile” by the fall of 2003. Approval of the city proposal to execute the street improvements was delayed because Councilman Benjamin Boykin was not in attendance, (a unanimous vote of the Council being required), however the approval of the street work is expected to be forthcoming.

Mr. Fortunoff thanked the council, saying, “We felt welcome from Day One. The White Plains team of professionals and Common Council did their due diligence and did what they had to do to make it a reality.”

Fall, 2003 is the Fortunoff Target

In an impromptu news conference in the City Hall mezzanine, Mr. Fortunoff spoke of the time schedule. He said the first thing his construction would be doing was to eliminate the asbestos from the Saks Fifth Avenue building, then obtain demolition permits. He said he expected to break ground sometime in the spring and expected to open by Labor Day, September 2003.

Just a few good stores

The complex he said would not be seeking to attract what he described as “boutique” stores, but instead feature only 4 to 7 “larger store units” at ground level wrapping around the Bloomingdale Road, Maple Avenue corner, serving as satellite draws to the Fortunoff’s anchor. He said he would seek one or two restaurants to share the street level arcade presenting on Bloomingdale Road and Maple Avenue.

Holding space off the market he says

Asked to name prospective tenants, he said it was too early. He is thinking of “keeping the space off the market until the economy improves,” delaying seeking tenants until eight months before the opening. Fortunoff pointed out that eight months was the normal amount of time retailers needed to put their retail space in order normally, anyway. He said the economy was not in good shape right now, but “we’re going ahead anyway. We have faith in Westchester’s economy and the American economy.”

Taxi Cab Fare Increases Outlined

Taxi Commission Chairman, Daniel Hickey briefed the Common Council on his proposal for restructuring White Plains taxi rates. Hickey said the had met with Jeffrey Klein, an attorney representing the taxicab drivers and owners, heard their concerns.

He outlined past rate increase history, the last official raise being in 1996 of 10% across the board, followed by a 50-cent surcharge added for cab rides between midnight and 5 AM, and 30 cent timed-out gas surcharges in 2000 and in 2001, a 30-cent surcharge that expired in October to meet rising gasoline prices.

The Wish List

The drivers asked Hickey for a $1.25 across-the-board increase, he said, which the Chairman said would mean a 40% rise in the closest-in zone to a 15% rise in the farthest out zone. (White Plains taxis are based at the Trans Center.) Mr. Hickey added that the drivers wanted changes in the exclusive use policy, the dispatched call issue.

The Hickey Compromise

Mr. Hickey advised the Council he had arrived at a series of compromises to address these issues.


1. A $1.00 surcharge for exclusive use of a cab.

2. A 50-cent surcharge on dispatched calls. (Where cabbie is dispatched to one point to go to another point in the city.)

3. He is shrinking Zone 3 so that it stops at Maple Avenue, rather than Bryant Avenue as it does now. Zone 4 would be extended North to Maple Avenue and Bloomingdale Road to the new supermarket (Stop N Shop). This Hickey feels will provide cabbies with more revenue on trips out to The Westchester and Westchester Avenue. This, Hickey says, is to counter cabbie complaints that trips to Zone 4 take longer because of the heavier traffic in the Central Business District (Zone 3).

4. Flat fees would be increased 50 cents a trip in Zones 2,3, and 4. (From the Trans Center to Bryant Avenue, which comprise 50% of all cab calls.

5. Flat fees would be raised 25 cents a trip in Zones 1,5,6, and 7. (Zone 1 is the North Broadway Woodcrest Heights area; Zone 5, South of Ridgeway to Sammis Lane; Zone 7, South of Sammis Lane.)

6. He is calling for a $10 Safety Inspection Fee twice a year. (Currently there is no fee.) Police inspect the cabs in June and December.

Hickey advised that he expected the cab drivers would be seeking relief from expected rising gas prices very soon, since gas prices are expected to rise sharply.

The Common Council did not raise strong objections to the proposal, and Hickey said he hoped the plan could be put on the agenda for the February 2002 Common Council meeting.

Council finds out more than 50% of homes in south end neighborhoods are “nonconforming” now.

The council heard Deputy Commissioner Susan Habel’s report on how many homes to be affected by the Planning Board so-called “MacMansions” Zoning Ordinance that the Council considered in September, but postponed due to a loud outcry from three persons appearing at the public hearing.

The Habel Dart Survey

Ms. Habel said she assigned David Marinelli, a draftsman in the Planning Department, a person she described as unbiased and not familiar at all with White Plains to throw darts at maps of neighborhoods in the south end, and based where the darts landed, to draw up a survey of how many homes on the “darted” sectors were not in compliance with present zoning. Mr. Marinelli’s “Darted Maps” were shown to the council. Taking randomly selected (by dart throw) maps of areas of Battle Hill, the Highlands and Westminster Ridge, the maps showed that over half the homes on the diagrammed blocks were found to nonconforming to setback regulations now under the present zoning.

Habel said one of the arguments of the “September 3” against the new “MacMansions” proposed zoning ordinance that seeks to limit the footprint of new construction and increase setbacks in the south end residential neighborhoods, was that the new ordinance would make many homes nonconforming, and that few homes were out of conformance now. Habel said the random “dart survey” revealed that this argument simply was not true.

The council, noting this information, and many neighborhood organizations, particularly the Highlands Civic Association, wondering why the “MacMansions” ordinance had not been passed, expressed a willingness to put the zoning ordinance on the agenda for January or February at the latest.

Tom Roach, Councilman Elect, Contributes.

Sitting in on the Common Council meeting, getting comfortable with his seat at the decision-making table was Tom Roach. Roach even made his first contributions, advising council members that in his experience in real estate closings, that the issue of whether a house was nonconforming or conforming “has never come up,” and has never held up or stopped a sale.

Roach said that persons speaking to him about it were simply fearful that if they were made “nonconforming,” they would not be able to rebuild their house. He advanced the theory that if residents were assured they could rebuild or the 70% damage figure raised, (the city building code allows an owner whose home is 70% destroyed to rebuild as before), and that fear of the new ordinance would prohibit them from rebuilding a house that had been nonconforming. Ms. Habel and the Law Department agreed to look into what was involved in raising that 70% percentage.

Loan rates for Community Development Loans, proposed to be lowered

Susan Habel advised the council the city was proposing to lower interest rates to persons seeking city development funds to 2%, 3%, 4% and 6% for persons with incomes less than 50% of median income, 50% to 60% of median income, and 70% and over 100% of median income, respectively. She also said the city wanted to raise the amount senior citizens on fixed incomes could borrow from $6,000 to $10,000.

Nicoletti asks for funding of study to multi-deck Waller and Maple parking lot.

Joseph Nicoletti, Commissioner of Public Works, asked the Common Council to study the feasibility of multi-decking the key Waller and Maple parking lot in the downtown (The lot behind the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant). Nicoletti pointed out that parking could be increased to 290 spaces from 185 by single decking…but the cost would be $30,000 a parking space. However, he said that by multi-decking (up to six decks, providing 800 spaces) the price per space could go down dramatically. He asked the council for permission to pursue a study of the multi-decking costs.

Streetscapes Project Continues

The council was advised by Deputy Commissioner of Planning, Susan Habel that IQ Associates would be returning shortly to show the Common Council designs for reconstruction of the “promenade gardens along Mamaroneck Avenue, in upgrading the city street ambience. Lampposts, benches, and refuse receptacles have already been installed. Habel said designs are being worked out with the City Center planners.

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Planning Board Roundup: Block that Subdivision! Love Those Fortunoffs! Read DEIS

Updated 3:00 PM Dec. 19: New Final Fortunoff’s Fotos:The Planning Board December monthly meeting told would-be sub dividers the board had major problems with their plans for Greenridge Avenue, Scott Circle and Woodcrest Avenue, praised the final site plan for Fortunoffs and indicated widespread diverging views on the New York Presbyterian Hospital DEIS.



THE PLANNING MAN SAYS GOODBYE TO THE PLANNING BOARD: Mike Graessle, appearing far right in your picture, in his fairwell to planning last night said, “This Planning Board has had some difficult tasks in front of it. You’ve been fair, impartial and it doesn’t allow politics to interfere.” Board Chair, Mary Cavallero, returned the bouquet, saying,” The city has been well-served by you as a commissioner and a citizen. You managed to calm people down.”
WPCNR PHOTO.


Michael Graessle, retiring Commissioner of Planning, returned from vacation to praise the Board as being “one of the hardest working (Planning) Boards I’ve ever seen. At no time has this Board been better served by its members and its chair (Mary Cavallero).”

Woodcrest Sub Divider Warned

The Jaffee Subdivision planned at 89 Woodcrest Avenue in Woodcrest Heights got an ultimatum from the Planning Board to come in with plans with specific dimensions and diagrams of their proposed “shared” driveway solution. The Board demanded that the real owners of the property identify themselves before the next Planning Board meeting on January 15, or the Planning Board would deny the application. Susan Habel said the applicant had not demonstrated “sensitivity” to Planning Board recommendations, and recommended that if the applicant is not “responsive” the Planning Board deny the subdivision application.

Gritty on Greenridge

The Bayrakdarian Subdivision two-lot plan for 60 Greenridge Avenue was told by the Planning Board to communicate with the immediate neighbor, (who is former councilperson, Mary Ann Keenan), on their proposed driveway solution which the Planning Board felt would shine lights through the shrub property line between the proposed subdivision and Ms. Keenan’s property. The architect for the property, as well as the owner, protested that they had communicated to the Highlands Civic Association, and had been met with a flat rejection of their proposal by the HCA.

You got to talk to MAK

Susan Habel said, “It is the policy of the (Planning) Board to consider the impact to adjoining property owners…The owner of the adjacent property has not been contacted by the applicant in good faith. The applicant should meet with their neighbor and work out a solution between the two properties.”

Ms. Habel’s suggestion was met with the comment, “That’s absurd,” by the architect.

The owner of the property accused the Highlands Civic Association of being “a private club,” that he had made “extensive calls” and that the association made a decision that they did not want the project without giving him feedback of any kind.

The architect said, “neighbors should not have veto power” over a property owner’s plans.

Subsequently, that the owner and his architect admitted they had not contacted Ms. Keenan, their immediate neighbor, about their plans person-to-person at any time.

The architect was disturbed that the revised plans for the driveway he had delivered to the Planning Department, were not available according to the Planning Board for referrals. The Planning Department representative said she would check, but had only received three plans to her knowledge.

At the close of the proceedings, they admitted the revised plans for the new driveway design arrived late Tuesday afternoon. The hearing resumes January 15. In the meantime, the applicant and his architect are to discuss matters with Ms. Keenan.

Scott Circle Subdivision Given Slim Hope of Approval

With six neighbors from the Prospect Park area looking on, the three-lot subdivision met troubled skepticism from the Planning Board.

Paul Bergens, the noted attorney representing the owner, said that the Department of Public Works Commissioner, Joseph Nicoletti, was comfortable with the road alternatives proposed for accessing the three-lot development. He said he hoped the Planning Board would review coming revised plans on treating the steep slopes on the property.

Susan Habel was skeptical, saying, “The Planning Board is concerned about steep slopes, and though the applicant’s plan is not completed, how you’re going to treat steep slopes. You cannot have an irregular-shaped lot line to meet a minimum lot requirement.”

She said she was concerned that the Lot B plan particularly used an erratic lot line to meet compliance with the 100-foot frontage requirement, “Our concern is that it turns it on its head without sensitivity to these features (the steep slopes). We believe (by Lot B), the application be denied.”

Bergens said dryly, it would have been “helpful if we had seen the comments (of the Planning and other Departments).” Bergens doggedly said that his client’s plan would “enhance” the slopes, providing a site design that would preserve them from erosion and other factors, and said he hoped the Planning Board would consider them.

Mary Caballero, Chairperson, said she felt “torn, I assure you this board keeps an open mind.”

The hearing continues January 15.

Fortunoff’s praised



FORTUNOFF’S UNVEILS FINAL DESIGNS PRIOR TO COUNCIL FINAL VOTE THURSDAY: Michael Divney, engineer and Scott Pollack, architect, present the Fortunoff’s “Ocean Liner” design ready to dock at Martine Avenue and Bloomingdale Road, as Planning Board looks on.< br>WPCNR PHOTO.




THE FORTUNOFFS BACK THEIR TEAM. Andrea Fortunoff, left, and Louis Fortunoff, right, watch Divney and Pollack present the final designs. The Fortunoffs have appeared at every council work session and public session and numerous meetings in support of their project, sometimes waiting for hours to present their plans. They have been responsive, sensitive and creative in changing their project to deal with Hale Avenue concerns and the concerns of the City.< br>WPCNR PHOTO.

The Fortunoff’s entourage arrived to present their final designs to the Planning Board that were well received. William Null, the Fortunoff attorney, noted that substantial progress had been made allaying Hale Avenue neighborhood concerns involving the loading dock, landscaping, hours of operation, lighting, rodent control, and a host of other matters.

Fortunoff representatives displayed the final design for the Fortunoff’s complex, which looks like the bridge of one of those transatlantic ocean liner ships of the past.



SS FORTUNOFF ARRIVES ON MAPLE: Final design seen from the Maple Avenue view as shown at the Planning Board last evening.< br>WPCNR PHOTO.



SS FORTUNOFF FROM BLOOMINGDALE ROAD: Final design seen from the Bloomingdale Road view, showing the parking garage at the left, shops, restaurant at street level. Restaurant has not been selected yet.
WPCNR PHOTO.




THE “BRIDGE” OF THE SS FORTUNOFF, shown looking West corner of Maple and Bloomingdale Road, looking up Maple Avenue. The clear and opaque “bridge” will be a rounded column wrapping around Maple and Bloomingdale Road with an enclosed collonade at street level.
WPCNR PHOTO.

Materials included red brick, transparent and opaque glass panels. A third lane has been added to Bloomingdale Road to accommodate turns into the proposed Fortunoff’s garage.



FORTUNOFF PLAN MAP shows deeper tree landscaping on West side of property, (top of map), more space between service ramp and Hale Avenue, and the city road improvements on Bloomingdale Road, (bottom of picture), adding a third lane for turns into and out of the parking garage. City will spend $2MM on the road improvements.
WPCNR PHOTO.


The loading dock has been covered and moved to the direct rear of the complex, out of view of the Hale Avenue residents. The rooftop parapets have been raised to shield rooftop machinery and climate control units from the Hale Avenue view. The Planning Board heartily endorsed the project, suggesting that Westchester County add a bus stop.

In other Planning Board Action…

The Planning Board set a public hearing for January 15, 2002 on a complex of town houses planned for 319,321 and 325 West Post Road, proposed by the DeKalb Development Corporation.

The Board approved cell towers at 199 Main Street, 709 Westchester Avenue, and 149 Mamaroneck Avenue. It set a hearing for a Satellite Radio antenna at 30 Lake Street for January 15, 2002.

It approved a two-story home at Fifth Street, with the proviso the builder preserve existing woods and limit his paving.

It approved a resolution to go to the Zoning Board recommending they approve a day care program for children of teachers employed at Solomon-Schecter School. Mark Weingarten, presenting for the school, pointed out that aggravating (to the neighbors) traffic patterns at the school had considerably diminished and that the school had agreed to deduct one student from their student cap total, (currently 500), for every child they accept as a straight day care child (of teachers who are employed at Solomon-Schecter) at the proposed day care facility.

New York Presbyterian Hospital Preview

The board also participated in a preliminary discussion of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Statement, agreeing to meet in late January to formulate a statement to present at a public hearing on the hospital DEIS February 4, 2002.

Robert Stackpole voiced particular concerns that the financials of the proton beam accelerator project had to be looked at with an eye for traffic patterns – whether the number of persons treated to make the facility profitable would impact traffic.

James Gould, pointed out that the 150 to 200 persons a day cited as profitable treatment traffic, paled in comparison to the “thousands” the Planning Board had just endorsed coming to the Bloomingdale Road area as part of the Fortunoff’s project.

Susan Habel, Deputy Commissioner of Planning, went on record as saying the DEIS revealed alternate sites for the proton accelerator and research facility that “turned out to be very viable,” and that the Bryant Avenue location was “just flat-out not the right place for it.” She urged the Planning Board members to examine closely the alternate site descriptions and alternatives within the DEIS.

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Older Buildings Without Security,Targets for Weekend Burglars

With a third reported burglary in one venerable Main Street landmark building within four months, added to other unreported break-ins at the same location, White Plains Police are encouraging tenants of office buildings without doormen and concierges to store portable office equipment such as laptop computers and palm pilots in secure locked locations on the premises.
Detective Sergeant Kevin Christopher of the White Plains Police told WPCNR Tuesday there was no “outbreak” or “upward trend” in burglaries in office buildings, but said older buildings presented a security problem to tenants:

Speaking by telephone, the detective said, “The problem is, with these older buildings, they are left open on weekends. People have access. These buildings don’t have the security they should have. There are no concierges, no doormen, no person in the lobby.”

Detective Christopher said that the police will schedule “security surveys” for buildings and businesses in them that are victimized by burglars, and that he would be scheduling one at 199 Main Street, the building suffering a burglary over the weekend.

The detective reports three burglaries have been investigated at that premises by the police, with the first two resulting in the apprehension of a suspect, currently facing charges. The suspect in question is alleged to have burglarized one office twice within a two-week period, both break-ins occurring over a weekend.

Sergeant Christopher said he encouraged tenants in office buildings with unsecured entrances to keep laptops and palm pilots in a “secured closet.” He also said the police would perform security checks for concerned office tenants.

The most recent burglary at 199 Main Street, occurred over the past weekend of December 15, 16.

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County Very Quietly Announces Reopening of Library Garage

Westchester County will reopen the White Plains Public Library Garage for patron parking on Monday, the day before Christmas, to library goers who present a White Plains Public Library Card and identification with their picture to a Westchester County Police Officer stationed at the garage ramp.
Susan Tolchin, spokesperson for County Executive Andy Spano, said the Library underground parking will be opened again for library visitors beginning Monday, December 24. Vehicle search procedures will no longer be conducted on vehicles, Tolchin is reported saying.

There was no official news release or statement from the County Executive Office or Tolchin’s Communications office announcing lifting of the ban, despite repeated requests from WPCNR, until after 1 PM Wednesday. A statement just issued from the County Communications Office reads:

Starting Monday library goers who present the proper identification will once again be allowed to park in the White Plains Library Garage, County Executive Andy Spano announced today.

“It’s an early Christmas gift for the City of White Plains library patrons,” said Spano. “We are very happy that we were able to work out an arrangement that protects the courthouse and other public buildings without continued inconvenience to the public. We thank the library patrons for their patience.”

Library goers who present photo ID and a White Plains Public Library card will be able to use the garage starting Dec. 24. The garage, which serves the library, the courthouse and the county office building, has been closed since Sept. 11 as a security precaution.

The Board of Legislators are expected to act Friday on a $1.1 million bond act proposed by Spano that would install new security in the 557-space garage.

Construction on changes to the garage — ones that will probably include barriers to separate the public areas from those serving the County Office Building and the courthouse — will probably not be completed for at least six months.

Spano said the new system was worked out with the cooperation of County Legislator Bill Ryan and White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino.

WPCNR is attempting to clarify the roles Mr. Ryan and Mayor Delfino played in getting the County Executive to change his mind.

Victoria Hochman, spokesperson for the County Executive, said that she did not know how the liability issue was resolved, but theorized that it had to do with the security measures planned to be installed.

Asked if the county and the city would split costs, she said, no. Asked if the county would reimburse the city for lost revenue sustained while the library garage was closed, she said, no, but referred us to Susan Tolchin for a more definitive answer.

Presently, parking is being limited to lawyers and authorized county employees presenting identification to the Westchester County Police Officer “gatekeeper” at the Library garage ramp entrance on Martine Avenue. Trunks of the cars enterting are checked.

Law enforcement sources observing of the procedures have been highly critical of the effectiveness of the gate-keeping. Over 1,000 library patrons presented a petition calling for the garage to be opened.

WPCNR sources said that the liability issue was the roadblock to reopening the garage all along, with the county wanting the city to share responsibility for the security of the Library Garage.

The library management told WPCNR that it had not considered hiring a private security guard($15 an hour, from a typical security firm), to escort patrons across Martine Avenue, one of the library managers’ main concerns being the safety of the elderly, mothers with children crossing busy Martine Avenue.

Now, apparently the county has very quietly has changed its position, as they did with the Westchester County Airport parking garage that was also closed immediately after the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

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Westco’s Annie a smash at Rochambeau!

Review and Comment by Councilman Bill King on the Aisle:Councilman William King reviews the Westco production of Annie which ran over the weekend at Rochambeau School, and relates his impressions of White Plains growing theater community.
My daughter Amanda was in the Westco production of Annie at Rochambeau last Thursday-Saturday, 4 shows. I went to the last 3 which were all complete sellouts (460 seats in theater). I assisted Peter Katz in taping the show on Saturday – Peter was drafted into the show to play Judge Brandeis, his first stage role – 2 lines! So, he taped the first act and I taped the 2nd. The cast, adults and kids, was terrific.

Oliver Warbucks was played by Pauline Oliva’s dentist, Jeff Schlotman, and his wife Paulette played the female lead, Warbucks secretary Miss Farrell. They live in the Hillair Estates area. Their daughter was also one of the lead orphans.

Annie was played by Christy Robinson, a 7th grader at OLS whose family lives on Ralph Ave. She was so good, there were about 20 girls my daughter’s age that stayed after the last show to get her autograph.

I was really impressed by the whole experience – 4-piece live orchestra, audio (20 cast members, including some of the kids, were miked), ‘professional dog’ from the Broadway production of Annie (even came with his own publicity pictures!) .

So was Suzi Oppenheimer, who came to the Friday morning show – she said a few words to the audience between acts. Sue Katz asked me but I declined. Suzi was blown away.

This was a great experience for especially the kids.

The Mayor came to the Saturday evening show and also said a few words between acts, but he didn’t stay for the whole show.

The Schlotmans are an incredibly talented couple – previously did Sound of Music for Westco, among others.

The way Westco packed them in at Rochambeau, I am sure that a 10,000 square foot, 450-seat performing arts theater at the City Center is not big enough, and the reportedly 30-35 high ceiling will not be high enough to do shows like Peter Pan.

Peter Katz reported to the Mayor and me that Pizzeria Uno was reportedly filled by the pre-theater crowd. I said “that’s the halo effect.” Sue Katz said that many of the people on Westco’s mailing list come from as far away as Rockland.

Some of the school groups that came to Friday’s 10 a.m. performance were from Scarsdale and either Yonkers or the Bronx. If White Plains schools kids came, this would represent an even bigger pool of attendees.

This is a regional-drawing company. Many of the kids, if their parents would let them, would gladly perform a week or 2 week’s worth of Annie – they were sorry to see it end.

Steve Sules’ daughter, Chelsea, had a small speaking role and he was at the Saturday evening performance.

The adult cast was very very good. Sue Katz does not oversell her company – to me, if anything, she undersells it. This is a great thing for White Plains to have in our community as well as having the other 2 theater companies, Playgroup and Fort Hill.

Westco, in addition, brings in touring companies, such as one on a national tour from Nova Scotia in February for 2 children’s shows (The Hungry Caterpillar which supposedly is a wild 3D show that even happens over kids’s heads in the audience.)

Susan reports that funding from the Westchester Arts Council is virtually impossible to come by.

Suzi(Oppenheimer) said she wanted to see for the first time what she has helped get funding for over several years – she thinks what she saw should be experienced by older kids as well, at least up to middle school.

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Celebrate New Years Eve Under The Mayor’s Big Top

Special from the White Plains Department of Parades, Parties, Pep and Promotion:Don’t go to Manhattan to see the big ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Watch it drop in White Plains while you party, dance and indulge with the elite of the County Seat under the big,heated party tent between Main Street and Martine Avenues from 9 to 1 New Year’s Eve at the Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Street Party.

Dust off your Top Hat, Put on your Tails, Put on the Ritz

Enjoy fireworks at midnight set off from the City Center site, staging provided by Louis R. Cappelli and fireworks provided by Louis Fortunoff. You will also be witness to the first ceremonial White Plains Ball Drop, and dance under the big top to the music of a live “swing” band. Reservations are being taken at 328-5166 at “The BID.”

Be there or Be Square

The Mayor’s First Annual New Year’s Eve Party will begin at 9 PM December 31 and jitter and jive until 1 AM. It will take place under a spectacular block- long, heated Party Big Top Tent, complete with dance floor, cabaret tables that will turn Mamaroneck Avenue between Main Street and Martine Avenue into a Rainbow Room. All that will be missing will be Guy Lombardo.

Inside the tent, Mark Scuyler reports, will be a dance floor, tables and an elegant bouffet supper catered by Sam’s of Gedney Way, served late in the evening with entertainment provided by sidemen of the Count Basie Orchestra tour.

The party was dreamed up by Mark Schuyler and Harold Vogt of White Plains Downtown, at the suggestion of the owner of the Splendid Coffee Shop, Gus Manassas.

Ball to be dropped from the erect ladder of a White Plains Hook ‘N Ladder

In the search for the appropriate building to drop the first White Plains New Years Eve Ball, the Mayor’s Office reports that buildings were reluctant to come forward and volunteer their property.

Consequently, the expertise of the City of White Plains is creating a spectacular “Ball Drop” involving use of one of White Plains Bravest’s fire trucks, with a specially-designed ball to descend or ascend (it has not been decided) up or down an extended fire engine ladder. Actual procedure has not been disclosed.

The cost for you to be a part of the Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Big Tent Party, a history-in-the-making evening is $75 per person, and includes dinner buffet, beer, wine and champagne.

Complimentary car service will be provided in White Plains city limits only. Get your reservations in to “The BID:”

Fax your reservation to 914-328-5168, or call it in to 328-5166. Or mail to White Plains Downtown, 14 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 402, White Plains, NY 10601.

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White Plains Hospital Plans Sidney P Zimmerman Nuclear Cardiology Center

Special to WPCNR:White Plains Hospital Center today announced plans to create a Nuclear Cardiology Center to be named in honor of Sidney P. Zimmerman, M.D., a cardiologist and internist in his 52nd year of practice at the Hospital. The announcement came at a special tribute held on November 28th at the Hospital for Dr. Zimmerman.
The Sidney P. Zimmerman, MD Nuclear Cardiology Center at White Plains Hospital Center (WPHC) will effectively double the size of the Hospital’s current Nuclear Cardiology Department and address the present and future need for a more comprehensive facility in which to diagnosis and treat heart disease.

The project will involve renovation and the reconfiguration of space to accommodate state-of-the-art technology, exercise equipment, examination rooms and a comfortable waiting area for patients and their families. Work is scheduled to begin immediately with an expected completion date of Spring 2003.

“The creation of the Sidney P. Zimmerman, MD Nuclear Cardiology Center is part of the Hospital’s goal to develop a comprehensive cardiology service,” said Jon B. Schandler, President and CEO of the Hospital. “We already have excellent facilities, but this will expand our services to meet the increasing demand for diagnostic testing and to include angioplasty and cardio-ballooning. Patients will no longer have to go to New York City for these studies and procedures.”

“What’s so exciting is that the funds were given to the Hospital by my patients and friends as a thank you for what I’ve done for the community,” said Dr. Zimmerman, who is 82 and a Rye resident. He formerly lived in White Plains for 40 years. To date, his patients’ contributions have raised three quarters of the $600,000 cost for the project.

“Sidney is truly a remarkable man,” said Jonathan Wynn, M. D., who practices with Dr. Zimmerman in White Plains at Zimmerman, Muehlbauer, Fink, Wynn and Chan. “He is one of those people who is just pleasant to be around—all the time. Most of us have good days and bad days. Sidney has basically good days.”

Peter Post, a member of the Board of Directors of WPHC and Dr. Zimmerman’s son-in-law, said, “White Plains Hospital is recognizing Sidney for his half-century-long commitment to help make the hospital the top-flight facility it is today.”

Colleagues, patients and admirers describe Dr. Zimmerman as someone who loves being a doctor, who has a huge, warm following among hundreds if not thousands of patients. “He’s an unusual mix of country doctor—warm and reassuring, but at the same time with a very modern, scientific approach to medicine,” Mr. Post said.

Dr. Zimmerman received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He received his degree in medicine from Syracuse University magna cum laude and was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. He trained at Mount Sinai Hospital and did research at Goldwater Memorial Hospital, the New York University Division. Some of the research conducted by Dr. Zimmerman while at Goldwater led to the wide use of the cardiac drug Digoxin—which is still the drug of choice in the treatment of arrhythmia and heart failure. At the same time, he did pioneering work in anticoagulant therapy. During World War II, he was involved in the development of Atabrine to treat malaria in the Far East. He was Chief of Medicine at two hospitals in the Panama Canal Zone while in the Army. During the early part of his practice, he taught cardiology at New York University and Mount Sinai Hospital. For 25 years, Dr. Zimmerman taught at Westchester Medical Center and was an Associate Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College.

Dr. Zimmerman said, “We’ll be one of the few community hospitals in this region to have a nuclear cardiology center.” Referring to the quick treatment and recovery of Vice President Dick Cheney after his recent heart attack, Dr. Zimmerman said, “The future of medicine is related to newer advances in cardiology—especially the diagnostic aspects of nuclear cardiology.” White Plains Hospital Center ranks as a leader in Westchester County in the scope and volume of noninvasive cardiac services it provides. During the last three years, this success has led to a 25 to 30 percent increase in demand for diagnostic testing using nuclear medicine.

Nuclear cardiology plays a pivotal role in the noninvasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease, the assessment of the pumping function of the heart and the prediction of outcomes in patients with heart disease.

In the WPHC Nuclear Cardiology Department, noninvasive techniques are used to detect the extent of heart disease. Radiologists administer small doses of a radioactive isotope, or imaging agent, to patients in order to study blockages of coronary arteries and scarring from heart attack.

Among the most widely used technique for these purposes is myocardial perfusion imaging. Superior to routine exercise stress testing, it provides the necessary information to help identify which patients are at increased risk for heart attack and may be candidates for invasive procedures such as coronary angiography, angioplasty and heart surgery. Radionuclide ventriculography is an additional noninvasive method, which utilizes an imaging agent. It provides information about the pumping function of the heart and can be used to monitor the effect of different drugs on the heart muscle.

For further information on the new Sidney P. Zimmerman, MD Nuclear Cardiology Center, please call Tricia Laine at (914) 681-2264.

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Biondi named VP for Development at White Plains Hospital

Special to WPCNR:Richard P. Biondi, a well-known and highly visible figure in the Westchester corporate community for nearly three decades, has joined White Plains Hospital Center as Vice President for Development. Mr. Biondi, a resident of White Plains, will be responsible for all fund-raising, community relations and marketing undertaken by the Hospital.

“We are pleased to welcome Rich Biondi to White Plains Hospital Center,” said Jon B. Schandler, its President and CEO. “Everyone knows Rich. He’s a well-respected member of the Westchester nonprofit and business communities. His career spans 35 years in community affairs, healthcare, education, government, business and the not-for-profit sector. If anyone can impart to donors the importance of helping us provide the most comprehensive and compassionate health care for our community, Rich Biondi can.”

Prior to joining White Plains Hospital Center, Mr. Biondi worked for Verizon, formerly Bell Atlantic and NYNEX. While there, he was a member of Verizon’s External Affairs and Corporate Communications, Regulatory and Government Affairs Department. His prime areas of responsibility included Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, and the Town of Greenwich, CT. Before Verizon, Mr. Biondi was Vice President for Institutional Advancement at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. Before that, he was Manager of State and Community Affairs for the General Foods Corporation (now Kraft Foods), and prior to that he was Manager of University Relations.

For more than 12 years, Mr. Biondi enjoyed a multifaceted career in higher education at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. While there, he served in a number of senior administrative posts including financial aid, admissions and ultimately in development and government and constituent relations as the Executive Director of College Advancement.

Very active in community and civic activities, Mr. Biondi has been appointed to the Westchester Putnam Workforce Investment Board, where he is Secretary. He serves as Vice-chairman of the Westchester Public/Private Membership Fund for Aging Services and is the immediate past Co-chair of the Corporate Community Jobs Project. In addition, he is the Past Chairman of the Board of: the County Chamber of Commerce, the City of White Plains Charter Revision Commission; Junior Achievement of the Lower Hudson Valley; the Lighthouse International *Hudson Valley Region); the White Plains Public Access Cable Television Commission; Food-PATCH; the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association; and the American Heart Association of Westchester, Rockland & Putnam.

Currently, Mr. Biondi serves as a Board Member of Advisory Trustees at Iona College and of the Department of Transportation, Westchester County. He is Co-chair of Westchester Coalition of Social Adult Day Service Programs and a Board Member of the League of Women Voters of New York State, Education Foundation, Inc. He is a Board Member of the Rockland Business Association.

Mr. Biondi has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science and has taught Public Administration on the college level. He has published several articles and delivered numerous papers at national professional conferences on these subjects.

A graduate of Iona College with a B.A. in History/Political Science, Mr. Biondi earned a Masters of Public Administration from the Rockefeller School of Public Affairs, Statue university of New York at Albany. He did other graduate study at The City University in New York and at John Carroll University in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He holds Certificates from the Boston College Graduate Program in Corporate and Community Relations and from the Executive Management Program at The Wharton School in Philadelphia.

He is married to the former Maureen Ann Baker of New York. They have two grown children, Jennifer O’Sullivan and Dr. Richard P. Biondi II, and two grandchildren, Maureen Ann O’Sullivan and Thomas Francis O’Sullivan, all of whom reside in White Plains.

White Plains Hospital Center is a voluntary, not-for-profit health care organization with the primary mission of offering high quality, acute health care and preventative medical care in a caring and compassionate manner to all people who live in, work in or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. The Hospital will provide care and services without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or ability to pay. The Hospital is a first-place recipient of the 2000 National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award for Westchester County. White Plains Hospital Center is a member of the Stellaris Health Network, Inc. and the Voluntary Hospitals of America, Inc. For further information, please call (914) 681-1119 or visit the Hospital’s Web site: www.wphospital.org.[

Richard P. Biondi
Named Vice President for Development at White Plains Hospital Center

White Plains, NY (December 10, 2001)—Richard P. Biondi, a well-known and highly visible figure in the Westchester corporate community for nearly three decades, has joined White Plains Hospital Center as Vice President for Development. Mr. Biondi, a resident of White Plains, will be responsible for all fund-raising, community relations and marketing undertaken by the Hospital.

“We are pleased to welcome Rich Biondi to White Plains Hospital Center,” said Jon B. Schandler, its President and CEO. “Everyone knows Rich. He’s a well-respected member of the Westchester nonprofit and business communities. His career spans 35 years in community affairs, healthcare, education, government, business and the not-for-profit sector. If anyone can impart to donors the importance of helping us provide the most comprehensive and compassionate health care for our community, Rich Biondi can.”

Prior to joining White Plains Hospital Center, Mr. Biondi worked for Verizon, formerly Bell Atlantic and NYNEX. While there, he was a member of Verizon’s External Affairs and Corporate Communications, Regulatory and Government Affairs Department. His prime areas of responsibility included Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, and the Town of Greenwich, CT. Before Verizon, Mr. Biondi was Vice President for Institutional Advancement at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. Before that, he was Manager of State and Community Affairs for the General Foods Corporation (now Kraft Foods), and prior to that he was Manager of University Relations.

For more than 12 years, Mr. Biondi enjoyed a multifaceted career in higher education at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. While there, he served in a number of senior administrative posts including financial aid, admissions and ultimately in development and government and constituent relations as the Executive Director of College Advancement.

Very active in community and civic activities, Mr. Biondi has been appointed to the Westchester Putnam Workforce Investment Board, where he is Secretary. He serves as Vice-chairman of the Westchester Public/Private Membership Fund for Aging Services and is the immediate past Co-chair of the Corporate Community Jobs Project. In addition, he is the Past Chairman of the Board of: the County Chamber of Commerce, the City of White Plains Charter Revision Commission; Junior Achievement of the Lower Hudson Valley; the Lighthouse International *Hudson Valley Region); the White Plains Public Access Cable Television Commission; Food-PATCH; the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association; and the American Heart Association of Westchester, Rockland & Putnam.

Currently, Mr. Biondi serves as a Board Member of Advisory Trustees at Iona College and of the Department of Transportation, Westchester County. He is Co-chair of Westchester Coalition of Social Adult Day Service Programs and a Board Member of the League of Women Voters of New York State, Education Foundation, Inc. He is a Board Member of the Rockland Business Association.

Mr. Biondi has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science and has taught Public Administration on the college level. He has published several articles and delivered numerous papers at national professional conferences on these subjects.

A graduate of Iona College with a B.A. in History/Political Science, Mr. Biondi earned a Masters of Public Administration from the Rockefeller School of Public Affairs, Statue university of New York at Albany. He did other graduate study at The City University in New York and at John Carroll University in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He holds Certificates from the Boston College Graduate Program in Corporate and Community Relations and from the Executive Management Program at The Wharton School in Philadelphia.

He is married to the former Maureen Ann Baker of New York. They have two grown children, Jennifer O’Sullivan and Dr. Richard P. Biondi II, and two grandchildren, Maureen Ann O’Sullivan and Thomas Francis O’Sullivan, all of whom reside in White Plains.

White Plains Hospital Center is a voluntary, not-for-profit health care organization with the primary mission of offering high quality, acute health care and preventative medical care in a caring and compassionate manner to all people who live in, work in or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. The Hospital will provide care and services without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or ability to pay. The Hospital is a first-place recipient of the 2000 National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award for Westchester County. White Plains Hospital Center is a member of the Stellaris Health Network, Inc. and the Voluntary Hospitals of America, Inc. For further information, please call (914) 681-1119 or visit the Hospital’s Web site: www.wphospital.org.[]

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