CIBC Confirms $222MM Cash for Cappelli. Excavation Imminent.

A spokesman for Cappelli Enterprises confirmed to WPCNR Wednesday that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has signed an agreement in principle to fund the Cappelli City Center project. Demolition is almost complete, and the project will proceed immediately to the excavation phase shortly.

Geoffrey Thompson, Louis Cappelli’s official spokesperson, told WPCNR Wednesday that $222 million in financing for the City Center project was in place. The funding of the project has been an object of critical speculation on the part of political candidates in recent weeks.

Cappelli personally guarantees it.

However, Thompson reports Louis Cappelli has confirmed it was agreed in principle by the CIBC World Markets Corporation Tuesday afternoon with a letter of intent. A letter of intent has been signed and a final closing date set for November 21, 2001, Thompson says.

CIBC true to its word

The development demonstrates what a CIBC spokesman had told WPCNR in September, that CIBC “would stick by its commitments,” despite the World Trade Center attack that disrupted world financial markets.

“The agreements in principle were fundamentally in place back in September,” Thompson said, explaining the delay in announcement. “Just some details needed to be worked out.”

Thompson added that Cappelli Enterprises would contribute $50 million of its own equity towards the $319 million project. Thompson reported it was his understanding that other financial partners are loaning the balance of the $47 million in seed money.

Cappelli Express is Full Steam Ahead. Steam Shovels Licking Chops.

The official announcement explains why major engineering teams from National Amusements (the theater builder), a retail design firm, and the residential partner have been working closely with the City of White Plains Building Department in recent weeks on detailed construction plans. (This activity always accompanies a “greenlighted” project, according to veteran observers.)

Thompson tells WPCNR that the demolition of the Macy’s site is “almost completed,” and Cappelli Enterprises is planning to proceed very shortly to excavating the foundation for the 34-story apartment towers, and retail/entertainment extravaganza.

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Update:Resignation Demanded. Yanofsky Short-term Contract Denied.

Saul Yanofsky never intended to stay with the School District another four years. When he indicated this to the Board of Education last April and explored a short-term contract, the School Board said “They didn’t want to do that,” according to Yanofsky. Yanofsky, is however, open to staying on, if the Board wants him back, according to a White Plains Watch report on their website.
Yanofsky:”No specific discussion about the length of the contract.”

Yanofsky clarified to WPCNR Friday saying:” I never mentioned my age in discussions with the Board. There are things I want to do while I can. I was not looking for a job. I felt the timing was right for a lot of things. I said I felt it was a good time for the Board to consider when would be the best time for a transition in leadership. I did not make a request for a certain extension. We never talked about a specific number.”

White Plains Watch interview confirms this.

On the White Plains Watch website Monday, Susan Chang confirmed that Yanofsky said he would take another job when he left White Plains and preferred to stay with White Plains “another few years.”

Saul Leaves Door Open.

Ms. Chang quotes Dr. Yanofsky, as indicating he would continue as Superintendent, if the Board of Education wanted him:
“There is a lot of water under the bridge but I would not preclude any options,” he is quoted as saying on the Watch website. He also supports what he told WPCNR last week: “I had never wanted a full extension of my contract but I didn’t feel that this year was a good time for change given the number of new administrators and the prospects of others leaving. I would have felt guilty leaving the district this year because of that.”

Board Denies Him.

According to what WPCNR has pieced together, a short-term extension of any duration was rejected by the Board, and no four-year extension was offered. Yanofsky denied flatly that he had requested a one-year extension (from June 2002 to June 2003) in his letter to the Board declaring his intentions last Spring.

WPCNR has been told by a close friend of Dr. Yanofsky that Yanofsky had told him the Board of Education refused to grant him a one-year contract extension, which he had wanted. (This had been learned by WPCNR one week ago, but Dr. Yanofsky denied to us that he had asked for a one-year extenstion). WPCNR asked the Superintendent what the Board reaction was to his plans, implying a short-term contract extension request, he said,
“I was told they weren’t going to do it.”

WPCNR asked if the Board told him why:“No reason. They said it was a good time for me and them to move on.”

Yanofsky asked to resign.

We asked the Superintendent what happened next:“We agreed that April was not a good time to announce this and that the fall was a more appropriate time.”

WPCNR asked him one last question, what he made of Ms. McLaughlin’s statement about having “vigorously encouraged” him to “communicate his departure.” He said,“They asked me to resign.”

WPCNR learned last week the hard decision the Board of Education wrestled with last April.

27 Words Indicate Board Pressed Yanofsky to Announce His Plans. Could Not Wait.

“We vigorously encouraged Saul to pursue other options for communicating his departure from the district. . It was his decision that we pursue the one that we did.”

So said Donna McLaughlin, President of the Board of Education in her Monday night statement to the concerned, critical audience at Education House, there to hear about curriculum. The audience gave Dr. Saul Yanofsky a standing ovation as he entered the room that lasted for several minutes.

In light of what WPCNR has learned, McLaughlin’s statement becomes very significant. The 27 words we quote indicate the Board felt their hand was forced into making the announcement they released by letter last week.

They needed to begin the search for a new superintendent. The words indicate they appeared irritated that the Superintendent had not officially resigned yet. They did not believe the announcement letter they issued, would be perceived the way the public perceived it, and are aghast at the reaction of the community.

Board Thinking:

Reading Ms. McLaughlin’s entire statement against Dr. Yanofsky’s statements to us Wednesday, the dilemma the Board faced is apparent. They faced the prospect of a potentially volatile negotiation confronting Yanofsky’s successor in his or her first months on the job ( approximately July 2003), if they granted Yanofsky a one-year extension, which Yanofsky denies he asked for.

Let us look at the entire text of Ms. McLaughlin’s statement presented to district administrators and teachers at the beginning of the Monday evening work session this week. (Document was released to WPCNR by Michelle Schoenfeld of the School District, at the request of Board Member Larry Geiger):


Thank you for coming tonight. While the primary purpose of tonight’s long-scheduled meeting is for the Board to receive a Curriculum presentation from our new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, JoAnna Maccario, we recognize that most of you are here to express your reaction to the announcement last week that the Board is initiating a search for a new superintendent.

Accordingly, we will reorganize our schedule and accept public comments, but in fairness to the administrators and others, who have prepared for and come for the curriculum presentation, we will keep the floor open only until 9 o’clock.

We understand that the decision to seek a new superintendent was, and is, a surprise to the community. Like you, the Board is proud of the district and proud of our staff. We have been fortunate that Dr. Yanofsky has been our Superintendent for the past 12 years. We recognize his many fine qualities as an educator and administrator and appreciate the many initiatives which have been implemented under his leadership. That’s why he was selected in 1990 and why the Board has extended his contract on three occasions.

Please be assured that the Board continues to support cornerstones of the district that have been instituted while Saul has been superintendent, such as the Controlled Parents’ Choice Program, the multi-year technology plan and our many enrichment programs.

So, you may ask, if things are so good, why rock the boat? Why move to change leadership now when things are quote, “fine,” and life in America has suddenly become so unsettled? First, I want to make one thing perfectly clear – there have been no improprieties on the Superintendent’s part, nor any single event which precipitated this decision.

The Board has a responsibility for planning and evaluation. Choosing a superintendent is one of our foremost responsibilities. The decision not to extend Saul’s contract was made after months of deliberation, and some of the issues that contributed to the decision have been discussed with the Superintendent for years. While clearly the easiest course of action for us would have been to make no change, we believe that it is in the long-term interest of our schools to seek a new superintendent who can take a fresh look at the district.

Just so everyone will understand the timing, we were required by contract to notify Saul of our intention to extend his contract by the end of April of this year. So he has known since April that we would not be extending his contract. We vigorously encouraged Saul to pursue other options for communicating his departure from the district. It was his decision that we pursue the one that we did.

The announcement was made at this time to provide us with sufficient time to conduct a comprehensive and thorough superintendent search, casting a broad net to attract the best candidates possible. And the short letter we distributed was written in conjunction with the Superintendent and reflects his input.

We hope and expect that this year will continue to run smoothly and efficiently, with all programs continuing. Saul remains our superintendent, with the full scope and authority of that position…and he has our full support. We look forward to engaging the school community in the search for a new superintendent who will join us next July.

While we understand that many people would like a detailed explanation, the Board and Saul have agreed not to discuss “the significant differences” we have. The Board is committed to maintaining that agreement. We believe that it would serve no purpose to do so. We are all interested in looking ahead, not back.

Thanks for your patience. Now we’re ready for comments. Please state your name and address. And, in the interest of time, please limit your remarks to no more than five minutes so many different speakers have a chance to be heard.

“Apres-Moi, le deluge.”

When Ms. McLoughlin finished reading, she and the six other members of the Board, were met with a passionate barrage of criticism from administrators, educators, and parents from a crowd reported to be fifty persons. This attendance, WPCNR can assure you, is astounding for a Board of Education Work Session.

One instructor, passionately advocating for Yanofsky, stood out from among others. She said she had served in good superintendent districts and poor superintendent districts, and she knew the difference. She questioned how persons who were not educators could possibly not involve educators on deciding that a new superintendent was needed.

Another parent, blushingly indignant, trembling with anger, said, “I am outraged,” prefacing her comments, focusing on the board not consulting parents or PTAs on the decision.

One night a standing “O,” the next, quiet acceptance by the district’s teachers.

Despite the passion for Dr. Yanofsky on Monday night, it was not lasting. On Tuesday afternoon twenty representatives from all the White Plains Schools, the leadership of the White Plains Teachers Association met.

They discussed the matter, and issued an unexpectedly neutral and supportive statement to WPCNR: They wish Yanofsky well, and accept the Board of Education decision.

This appears to be a WPTA attempt at healing the ugly rift caused by the community perception of the school board effort to communicate the departure.

Statement by Teachers Issued to WPCNR

Jerry Gorski, President of the White Plains Teachers Association read the somber statement over the telephone to WPCNR Tuesday at 6:40 PM:

“The White Plains Teachers Association has had a good working relationship with Dr. Saul Yanofsky over the past twelve years. We are sad to see this relationship come to an end. We wish him success and happiness.

The White Plains Teachers Association is committed to assuring the current quality of education offered in White Plains is maintained in the future. To that end we will continue to work with children, their parents, the community and the Board of Education.”

Gorski said the WPTA group of twenty made several drafts of the statement and approved it. In answers to WPCNR questions, he said the group understood from Monday evening that “The Board of Education made this decision, and they’re sticking to that decision.”

Board of Education Dilemma?Contract negotiations start in Spring, 2003

WPCNR in the course of interviewing Mr. Gorski learned that the teachers union plans to open negotiations on their next contract with the school district in February, 2003.

This date, WPCNR believes, is significant in the decision not to give Dr. Yanofsky a short-term deal. According to insights into Board of Education thinking told under deep background, the practical Board of Education thinking went like this:

Did Board agonize over their icon’s fate?

If the Board of Education extended Dr. Yanofsky for two years (June 2004 when he would be 63), they would have to have him conduct negotiations. Negotiations conducted under the Yanofsky perception. The teachers union would be negotiating with a “lame duck.” The union could even have extra bargaining pressure on their side, developing clout the closer they got to Yanofsky’s departure. Did the Board fear chaos?

Whatever new directions the Board wanted to address would be handled by Yanofsky. Was this what they were trying to avoid?

If they extended Yanofsky for one year, (ending June 2003), they could not realistically start the search for a new Superintendent until next year at this time.

After all, topflight administrators rarely search for a job two years in the future.

Did the Board Not Want to Get a New Superintendent Off to a Rocky Start?

However, the one-year extension (reportedly requested or most considered by the Board) of Dr. Saul to June 2003, creates another problem: If Yanofsky failed to complete negotiations when his contract expired in June, 2003, you have a brand-new superintendent walking into an acrimonious labor negotiation when they have not even had time to analyze the situation.

More to the point, the Superintendent starts off in an adversary situation with his or her teachers.

Could the Board take a chance that negotiations would bog down into acrimony, thus creating the worst possible way to start a superintendent’s tenure? (Remember when John Lindsay, Mayor of New York, started his term with a New York City Subway strike? It ruined the potential for Lindsay’s entire term.)

Yanofsky: negotiations not a factor in decision not to short-track him.

We asked Yanofsky about this “spin.” He downplayed the role the superintendent plays in negotiations, saying the Board has its representative, and a paid negotiator, as well as the superintendent. “That never came up,” he said.

Gorski: Board did not ask teachers about rescheduling 2003 negotiations.

Just curious as to whether the Board explored rescheduling talks, WPCNR asked Mr. Gorski several innocent questions:

WPCNR: “Did the Board ever contact you about moving negotiations forward into the fall of 2002 or deeper into 2003?” (Enabling Yanofsky more time to negotiate)

Gorski: “No.”

WPCNR: Did the Board ever ask the teachers about a one-year extension of their current contract, an interim contract, (to bridge a new superintendent on board in late 2003)?

Gorski: “No.”

WPCNR: Did the Board seek any accommodations from the teachers at all to reschedule negotiations?

Gorski: “No.”

This suggests to WPCNR, if they were afraid of making it rough for a new superintendent, that the Board never explored with the teachers how they could eliminate negotiation pressure.

On the surface, it appears the Board never seriously considered Yanofsky’s request for a short-term contract and its feasibility. They appear to have determined to end the Yanofsky era long in advance of April, 2002.

Speculation on reasons for dismissal:

We have heard relayed to us, various comments from parents that they wanted more “honors” programs for high achieving students. Others were unhappy with test scores (which just came out today and Middle School scores are not good). The handling of the Highlands violence incident last year was mentioned as another negative.

However, thousands of parents were very happy with District response in the face of the World Trade Center disaster, and communicated this. Dissatisfactions expressed have been overwhelmingly countermanded by the shockwave that has gripped parents and teachers at his dismissal news one week ago.

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Update:Tigers on Cruise, Lick Lincoln, 28-0, Meet Arlington Saturday in Playoff

The White Plains Tigers notched their fifth straight victory Saturday in the autumn gold of Parker Stadium, shutting out Lincoln, with Jeff Lee taking over at quarterback. Monday the Tigers drew their first round playoff opponent.
White Plains cruised to a 21-0 Lead at halftime and never looked back Saturday afternoon as Jeff Lee deaked, duked, and distracted the slowfooted Lincoln defense with sleight of hand that lead to 4 rushing touchdowns.

DRIVING ON LINCOLN ALL AFTERNOON: Coach Mark Santa Donato’s Jeff Lee Specials added a new dimension of deception to the Tiger rushing game Saturday afternoon that moved the ball in 20 yard chunks. Here the Tigers are shown where they spent most of the day: in Lincoln territory.WPCNR PHOTO

Regular QB, Darrell Mack, sat out the Saturday contest with a slight ankle injury, but his buddies in the stands assured WPCNR, that he’ll be ready for the Saturday playoff.

After a holding penalty and interception stopped the Tigers first drive, Lincoln took over on their own 15, moved it to their own 27, lost yardage and on 3rd and 15 from the 22 attempted to pass. Big mistake. Jeff Lee swooped in and nailed the QB for a huge loss to the 14. On 4th and 23, Lincoln’s punter got off a hideous punt of 15 yards, setting up the tigers with a 1st and 10 from the Lincoln 29.

It was the field position break the Tigers needed. With Jeff Lee at the controls for a resting Darrell Mack, the Tigers tried some new misdirection plays. Spencer Ridenhour dashed around end to the 18. Then Spencer burst off tackle down to the 5. On the next carry Spencer plowed into the end zone. The Tigers converted and led, 7-0 at the 2 minute mark.

20 yards a clip

Lincoln failed to move the ball and the Tigers took over after a punt on their own 20. Jeff McKoy lugged it up the middle to the 26. On 3rd down, Ridenhour ran through a huge hole to the 37 for a first down. Jeff Lee, deaking and duking, quarter-back optioned around end 18 yards to the Lincoln 45.

On the next play, Lee handed off to Jeff McKoy who went around the other end for another 25 yard sortee for a first down on the 20. Lee’s elaborate fakes at quarterback seemed to freeze the hapless Lincoln defenders, as Ridenhour again rumbled off end for 19 yards to the Lancer one. Eric Dickey plunged into paydirt to put the Tigers ahead by two touchdowns, 13-0, at the 6:52 mark of the second quarter. The conversion was good.

Lincoln gets only to the 44

The Lancers moved only to their 44 on the ensuing kickoff, punting to White Plains, which took over at their own 40. Dickey lugged the football to the 44, and Lee handed to Ridenhour for another 11 yards to the Lincoln 45.

A Lee option run set up a first down on the 30. Ridenhour took it overland to the 25, and Lee deaked his way to a first down on the 25. After an illegal procedure penalty, Jeff McKoy looped around end for a 25 yard touchdown run to make it 20-0. The conversion put White Plains ahead, 21-0 at the half.

Lincoln fumble stalls only serious drive

The Lancers drove to the White Plains 24 in the third quarter, but a fumble ended their bid, and White Plains took over at their own 28. The Tigers cranked up the overland express again.

Spencer Ridenhour dashed to the 40 for a first down. Jeff McKoy rambled 22 yards to the Lincoln 39.

So it went. Ridenhour for 12 to the 27. Then on 2nd and 15 from the Link 28, Jeff McKoy scored his second touchdown of the day racing around end in a classic Green Bay Sweep to make it 20-0 at the 1:18 mark of the third quarter. The conversion was good and White Plains lead, 28-0.

Playoff clinched. Arlington next.

On Monday afternoon it was announced by the WPHS Athletic Department that White Plains would play Arlington High School in Poughkeepsie in a first round Playoff game Saturday at 2 PM. Arlington High School is located at Route 55 and the Taconic State Parkway. One makes takes the Route 55 West Exit and Arlington High is on your right, and you can’t miss it.

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Ben Boykin & Associates Debuts

White Plains, NY – – Ben Boykin, the White Plains Common Councilperson, has founded Ben Boykin & Associates, a firm which offers financial consulting and planning services to businesses, individuals, colleges and non-profit organizations.
Ben Boykin & Associates systematically evaluates its client’s short and long-term objectives and develops customized financial packages. Services geared towards businesses include cash flow forecasting, debt renegotiation and restructuring, debt financing, financial planning and forecasting, business plans, loan packages, treasury consulting, securities locator, and annual operating/capital budgeting. Representative services for individuals include personal financial planning, investment portfolio review, college financial planning, retirement planning, securities locator, debt renegotiation and restructuring, debt financing, and cash flow forecasting.

Ben Boykin & Associates also offers a wide-range of services to colleges and non-profit organizations such as financial planning and forecasting, cash flow analysis, staff training, interim fiscal affairs leadership, treasury consulting, and endowment planning/analysis.

Mr. Boykin says, “We look forward to yielding strong and consistent results for our clients and stand ready to meet their most challenging financial objectives. We offer a wealth of services to ensure financial success, taking both personal and market conditions into account.”

Mr. Boykin boasts more than 25 years financial planning/consulting experience holding senior level positions with both Fortune 100 organizations and a “Big Five” Public Accounting firm.

Most recently, Mr. Boykin served as Assistant Treasurer for Nabisco, Inc., where he was responsible for capital market activity, interest rate management, bank relations, cash management and rating agency relationships. During his 24-year stint at Nabisco and RJR Nabisco, he had progressively challenging positions in corporate finance, corporate development and strategic planning. He was formerly senior accountant with Deloitte & Touche, Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Boykin’s has also worked with various educational and non-profit organizations for nearly two decades to ensure their financial success.

Mr. Boykin is a White Plains, NY elected city official and serves as a member of the Common Council. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Bennett College, Greensboro North Carolina. He was previously a member of the White Plains School Board.

Mr. Boykin graduated with honors (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned his BS degree in Accounting. He received his MBA with distinction, from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

For more information about Ben Boykin & Associates, call (914) 328-7808 or visit their website at

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BEACON – The CSEA Westchester Local 860 and Southern Region Political Action Committees are pleased to announce their candidate endorsements for the following political campaigns in Westchester County.


County Executive Andrew Spano (D)

County Clerk Leonard Spano (R)

District Attorney Jeanine Pirro (R)

Westchester County Legislature

LD 1 George Oros (R)

LD 2 Nick Vazzana (D)

LD 3 Suzanne Swanson (R)

LD 4 Michael Kaplowitz (D)

LD 5 Bill Ryan (D)

LD 6 Martin Rogowsky (D)

LD 7 George Latimer (D)

LD 8 Lois Bronz (D)

LD 9 Richard Whisnie (D)

LD 10 Vito Pinto (D)

LD 11 James Maisano (R)

LD 12 Tom Abinanti (D)

LD 13 Clinton Young (D)

LD 14 Bernice Spreckman (R)

LD 15 Louis Mosiello (R)

LD 16 Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D)

LD 17 Jose Alvarado (D)

City of White Plains

Mayor Robert Greer (WFP)

City Council Glen Hockley (WFP)

City Council Rita Malmud (WFP)

City Council Thomas Roach (WFP)

Town of Greenburgh

Town Council Steven Bass (D)

Town of Eastchester

Supervisor James Cavanaugh (R)

Town Council David Levy (WFP)

Two of the candidates from Westchester County are also CSEA members. Jose Alvarado of Yonkers is running for the Westchester County Legislature from the 17th District. He is a CSEA employee of Westchester County. Steven Bass, also a CSEA employee of Westchester County, is running for a Town Council position in the Town of Greenburgh. As CSEA members, these candidates have a firm understanding of the issues that concern labor unions throughout Westchester County. They are also committed to fighting for the interests of all working families in the county.

CSEA is also endorsing Robert Greer for Mayor of the City of White Plains, where the union had been embroiled in a contract dispute for three years under the current administration headed by Mayor Joseph Delfino. CSEA, which represents 400 City of White Plains employees and nearly 2,000 White Plains residents, signed a contract with the city in December 2000 after three years of difficult negotiations.

All of the endorsed candidates running for county and municipal offices in Westchester County have demonstrated to CSEA strong support for labor, as well as a firm commitment to fight for all working families in Westchester County. They have been endorsed by the union not only because of their strong support of working families, but because of their competence and accountability to their constituents.

“We are backing these candidates because we have carefully reviewed the records of each one of them,” CSEA Westchester Local 860 President Gary Conley said. “Some of these candidates have supported us in the past, so we are supporting them again. Other candidates are people we’re supporting for the first time because the incumbents in their respective offices have treated CSEA poorly and we want a change. In the City of White Plains, for instance, we are supporting Bob Greer because he is a breath of fresh air for both the workers and residents of the city. Mayor Delfino grossly mismanaged the city workers and union contract negotiations. Unlike his opponent, I am certain that Mr. Greer and his team will show city workers the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“These candidates represent what is truly needed in government – competence, a strong ability to address issues and accountability to their constituents,” CSEA Southern Region President Carmine DiBattista said. “Of particular notes are Jose Alvarado, who is running for the County Legislature from the 17th District. He truly reflects the district he will represent. Steven Bass, who is running for the Greenburgh Town Council, is also a strong labor candidate. I am confident that both of these candidates, who are affiliated with CSEA, as well as the other candidates we have endorsed will serve Westchester County with pride and excellence.”


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Ridgeway Elementary Fashion Show Fundraiser

Ridgeway Elementary PTA is proud to present its first Fashion Show Fundraiser on November 8th at 7:30 p.m. 100% of the proceeds go towards the school’s cultural arts program.
It is a school and community effort with all of the teachers modeling and over 40 White Plains vendors contributing food, gift certificates and other items to raffle off.

Admission tickets are $15 per person which includes a coffee bar, refreshements and desert buffet.

Anyone interested in attending may contact Pam Freidman at 997-0304 or Brenda Velez 946-5646 (PTA Co-presidents).

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Westchester Air Prez: Charters UP on WPW at 7:30 Fri. on 71.Fly Zone Rule

Millie Hernandez-Becker, President of Westchester Air, White Plains, gives viewers of White Plains Week a glimpse into air travel of the future Friday on the White Plains weekly news review show. Ms. Hernandez-Becker comments on air travel security, the ability of the major airlines to recover, and how air travel will change in the future. She reports charter airlines are booming, and does not expect the commercial airlines to recover because of their thin margins.
The woman who went from ticket agent to the President of her own airline, and Northeast Hispanic Businesswoman of the year, talks with John Bailey, of WPCNR, Jim Benerofe of and Alex Philippidis, Editor of the Westchester County Business Journal on White Plains Week at 7:30PM Friday on Channel 71.

Millie Hernandez-Becker, President and CEO, Westchester Air with one of her babies for hire, a Gulfstream Jet at Westchester County Airport. She is interviewed tonight on White Plains Week by John Bailey, Alex Philippidis and Jim Benerfore. Cabletime is 7 PM on Channel 71.Photo by JOHN VECCHIOLLA

Ms. Hernandez-Becker states on the show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reviewed and made extensive suggestions for security at the airport among all the carriers. She reveals that her charter air travel service, Westchester Air has been fully booked since the World Trade Center attack, and has made arrangements to double the size of their air fleet by next year.

Becker expects that the major air carriers are not going to make it despite billions in federal aid. “I know how thin their margins are,” Becker says, on the show, implying that no amount of money can replace the lack of flying customers.

Charters nationally offering direct routes. Westchester Air inaugerates Palm Beach shuttle.

Becker reports that companies around the nation are now actively booking up companies for regular company flights to cities those companies fly to on a regular basis. Becker, who pioneered the marketing of charter flights to businesses in the mid-90s, remarked that her airline has originated a Palm Beach shuttle as a regular service for $2,500 roundtrip which departs for the weekends.

She also reports that her airline is working on inaugurating regular non-stop shuttles to Cleveland and Detroit shortly. She says, this is a trend she sees rapidly developing: companies arranging charter direct flights that eliminate the commercial carrier hub system annoyance of flying to Atlanta to get to Dallas, or flying to Charlotte to reach Atlanta.

“I can’t see the hub system surviving,” she says on the show, and tells you why. The program will be repeated Friday at 7:30 PM.

Comment on “no fly zone.”

Ms. Hernandez-Becker also said in remarks after the completion of the video taping that air space over Westchester County is being tightly controlled. She remarked that private aircraft as well have to file a VFR (visual flight rules) Flight Plan. There are no more joy rides. She said that if you as a pilot deviate from your flight plan route you are told to get back on your course and if you do not immediately comply you will be told to land and subject to pursuit. “You cannot, for instance, linger over the Indian Point facility,” Hernandez-Becker said. “Military aircraft will engage.”

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Update: The Fortunoffs Come to White Plains

Louis and Andrea Fortunoff personally appeared before the Common Council to present their design for a Fortunoff’s retail complex on the Saks Fifth Avenue Site.
Scott Peck presented the design for the striking complex that will front on the corner of Maple Avenue and Bloomingdale Road. It will feature a 180,00 square foot Fortunoff’s facility plus 85,000 square feet of a street arcade complex and restaurant. The parking for the complex will move to the rear of the building in a four-story parking garage.

A FORTUNOFF RETAIL MECCA is planned for the corner of Maple Avenue and Bloomingdale Road on the former Saks Fifth Avenue site. The complex will have a glass- enclosed street level arcade featuring a restaurant and bring new national retail presences to White Plains. Parking will be behind the structure, with entry from Maple Avenue. Fortunoff’s rises behind the street level retail frontage, creating a second retail street scape just a tad North of Bloomingdale’sWPCNR PHOTO

The presentation came after one of America’s last independent retail families, the elegantly dressed Fortunoffs, were forced to cool their heels, observing the Council ask very mundane questions about Fenway Golf Club maintenance garages for 40-minutes, and the presentation of a bar patio for another 20 minutes.

LAST OF THE RETAIL TYCOONS, observe presentation of architect Scott Peck last Thursday evening. Councilman William King and Edward Dunphy are seated in front of Louis Fortunoff(to the left of King), and Andrea Fortunoff. WPCNR PHOTO

The Mayor was so exasperated at what he felt was Council disrespect to the Fortunoffs by asking question after question about the Fenway Storage sheds, he chided Pauline Oliva as to whether she wanted a traffic study done, which brought a great deal of laughter and promptly ended the discussion.

The Council also approved Bill Brown’s 42-unit senior affordable housing project for South Kensico Avenue, virtually rubber stamping the project. Brown told WPCNR he was looking at other locations for similar projects in White Plains at “undisclosed locations.”

The council also heard Mike Kelly report he had resolved differences with The Esplanade over patio outdoor dining at The Thirsty Turtle. The Fortunoffs experienced the titilation of learning about Mike Kelly’s exit security procedure whereby patrons of the popular watering hole are frisked leaving the establishment to assure that they are not carrying beer out of the Club.

Mr. Kelly also reported that he checked labels of discarded beer bottles around the back of his pub, and reported to the council that some of the discarded beer bottle brands were not stocked by his club.

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McLoughlin: No New Direction. No Superintendent Profile. Maybe We’ll Tell.

UPDATED:Board of Education President Donna O. McLaughlin told 50 parents Thursday night the Board would meet with Saul Yanofsky November 5, to discuss a way they could reveal the “significant differences” behind the Superintendent’s dismissal. She revealed no guidelines are in place describing the kind of superintendent they are looking to hire, and there is no “new direction” planned, contrary to colleague comments. No good time to replace Yanofsky.

BOARD PRESIDENT READING EXPLANATION TO PTA COUNCIL: Donna O. McLaughlin, reads lengthy statement, while Dr. Saul Yanofsky listens Thursday evening. The statement was the statement read at the Curriculum meeting Monday evening, and can be read in its entirety in the WPCNR story headlined “Yanofsky:”They Wanted Me to Resign. Short-term contract denied. WPCNR PHOTO

Denies “new direction” sought by other Board Members

In a spirited discussion after the regular PTA Council meeting at Education House, McLoughlin denied that the Board was seeking a new direction (as stated to WPCNR by Board members Stephen Sules and Larry Geiger privately). She said the board was just seeking a fresh look.

Search Firm Will Draw Up Profile of Ideal Superintendent with Parent Input.

She stated that she had not investigated the cost yet of what a national recruiting search for a new Superintendent of Schools would cost the district. She indicated funds were set aside for such purposes in the overall school budget. She said she had just begun to evaluate search firms.

Asked what qualities the board was looking for in a new superintendent, McLoughlin said the Board did not have any in mind, and that this would be determined by the search firm with help from the community the Board would hire.

When pressed, McLaughlin said the Board would be looking for “someone like Saul.”

Councilmembers said, “Well, he’s right here. Ask him.”

McLoughlin recounts “countless hours,” phone calls

At one point McLoughlin complained that she was just a “volunteer,” as were the rest of the Board and that they had agonized over this decision.

“Look at the bags under my eyes,” she said.

Yanofsky sought to spare community over the summer

McLaughlin said the delay in announcing the departure was Yanofsky’s decision. Yanofsky agreed. Explaining why the decision was not released last April, Yanofsky said,

“I didn’t see any point in disrupting the community back then…nor do I need 14 months to find another job. I didn’t think it helpful to the district to identify the areas the Board and I disagreed about.”

Yanofsky “uncomfortable” with alleged Board Member comments, however.

Yanofsky said he and the board had agreed not to reveal the nature of the differences. He reported pleasantly that he has been hearing things board members have said “that make me less and less comfortable keeping quiet about it that are unfair and inaccurate,” and raising his voice slightly said, “I’m getting close to the point, where I don’t think it’s fair to me to keep quiet about it.”

He gives us a glimpse of the “differences.”

Dr. Yanofsky, commenting on the problem of revealing the differences between himself and the board in a way that would not polarize the community said,

“You have to be careful how they are related without doing harm, they’re not dramatic differences to my knowledge,” saying they dealt with “How do you engage? How do you deal with subtleties, style differences that are a part of it.”

McLoughlin says differences very apparent in “work sessions,” chides parents for not attending work sessions.

Reacting to substantial incredulity expressed by Council Members about differences between Yanofsky and the Board, whom they felt always seemed supportive of Yanofsky, McLoughlin had a different “take.”

The Board President said the differences are very prevalent in work sessions of the Board. McLoughlin said the public rarely attends those work sessions, otherwise they would have noted the differences. She chided parents for not attending work sessions.

However, WPCNR would like to point out this appears self-serving. Board of Education work sessions are not vigorously publicly noticed in an aggressive manner that would indicate that the Board of Education wants the public to be there. However, WPCNR will be asking for notice of all work sessions from now on.

The Board of Education never faxes the media when work sessions are called, as City Hall does. The Board has never, to this reporter’s knowledge, e-mailed WPCNR about a work session, as they do with publicity releases. During the course of the year, the public is only informed about budget sessions. As a reporter, you have to ask about work sessions. When attending them, executive sessions can be called if the public, and reporters are present, thus shielding meaningful discussion from view. The only times, in this reporter’s opinion, when the public was aggressively asked for input last year were on the subjects of budget and the Code of Conduct.

McLoughlin would not, or could not say how many parents had expressed dissatisfaction about Yanofsky.

Parents questioned McLoughlin where the Board got the idea parents were unhappy with Yanofsky. She said she attends many meetings and sporting events, talks to many people and has heard things. When pressed for a number of parents she had heard expressing dissatisfaction, McLoughlin declined to elaborate.

Schere Leaves When the Questioning Starts. McLoughlin Defends the Board Decision Alone.

Does September 11 make a difference. McLoughlin says, ‘no.’

In a revealing answer, one Council member asked if the Board had considered the need for Dr. Yanofsky’s expertise after the Twin Towers attack. McLoughlin acknowledged they had, but decided a replacement for Dr. Yanofsky would have to be found sometime and there would never be a good time.

Only two Board of Education members attended the gathering: Michelle Tratoros and Dorothy Schere, in addition to McLoughlin. After saying, “Dorothy Schere is sinking very fast,” Schere left for the evening, after the first two parents got up and started the long orderly, sometimes loud, inquisition of the Board President. Schere was reportedly ill. However she had stayed for over an hour before being too ill to continue, apparently. Tratoros did not make any comments. Stephen Sules, Larry Geiger, Richard Bernstein and Susan Kirkpatrick did not attend.

Emotional, firm Parent Voices Highly Critical of the Board.

The predominant theme running through the discussion was the Board should have sought input from the community, and asked comment on Yanofsky leadership prior to last April.McLoughlin said that was a very difficult thing to do, because of the sensitive nature of the evaluation process. She also staunchly said the Board had the right to choose a Superintendent on its own judgment.

Petition Movement Is “Not Doing Badly.”

A parent organizing a petition drive calling on the Board to reverse its decision told WPCNR that signatures are accumulating, and that it was “not doing badly.” She said some parents refused to sign, but the drive was ongoing. Petitions are available for signing at What a Bagel Cafe and Pretty Petals.

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Cappelli Financing Appears to Be In Place as Major Firms Join the Project.

WPCNR has learned that major design and engineering firms have engaged with the project and begun producing detailed plans to begin construction, indicating financing has been arranged and locked up, but simply not announced.
Observers of the paper trail involving the City Center project have alerted WPCNR that they expect the financing for the Cappelli City Center is in place and has already closed, despite no official announcement.

Evidence for this from seasoned construction experts familiar with the way projects work is that new players have joined the project to work in teams on separate facets of the project: retail, movies, and residential. The sources, close to the project, report the firms engaged are prominent well-known firms which do not do work “on spec,” and are very expensive. This would indicate that Cappelli Enterprises has proceeded to hire them to prepare the detailed blueprints needed for official construction to begin.

A tip-off is that National Amusements has its design team working on the theaters portion of the project, so that firm obviously things it is a “go.”

Mayor Delfino indicated this in the Tuesday evening Candidate’s Forum held at Highlands Middle School in which he said Louis Cappelli had said financing was on track and he expected to close on it in November.

Another factor indicating that closing on the financing has been done is that closing dates do not normally fluctuate on deals this big. Cappelli had said he was closing September 25.

This gives rise to the speculation on part of skeptics that announcement of the closing is being held back, so as not to influence the election coming up November 6, by according Mayor Delfino and his candidates positive publicity. Mr. Cappelli has rarely let grass grow under his feet on this project. Now it appears his hiring of major national firms to prepare plans and designs in fulltilt would at the very least indicate there is no problem, or most likely, that the closing has already taken place.

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