Little League Registration a Success WPLL President Announces.

The White Plains Little League confirms approximately 1,000 players signed up for in-person registration the last two Saturdays. WPLL President Rich Masseroni said the introduction of in-person registration was a tremendous success, attracting from 200 to 225 new players to the league. He announced procedures for late registration for players who failed to sign-up in person.

“OUR IN-PERSON REGISTRATION WAS A COMPLETE SUCCESS,” reports Rich Massaroni, left, shown Saturday answering Jaynean Austin’s questions on the last day for registration: “Thanks to everyone involved behind the scenes as well as those who actually helped out on the 2 registration days. Special thanks goes out to Billy Wooters who masterminded and coordinated this huge effort. By having the pre-printed forms available made the registration process a very simple and quick. Most people who registered were in and out of there within 10 minutes. We also received numerous volunteers, which was another resaon we needed to conduct this effort.

Photo by WPCNR

Here is the White Plains Little League Late Registration Process for those who still want to sign-up:


• Includes players who have never played WPLL (any Division, Ages 5 thru 15).

•0 Must register their child at the White Plains Recreation Department.

• WPLL will provide registration package for registrants to complete.

• Late entrants will be placed on a “Waiting List” and will only be eligible to play as determined by the WPLL Board of Directors on those teams who need to complete their rosters.


• Includes players who played WPLL in 2001.

• WPLL will be conducting a separate mailing to all returning players who did not register on January 12 or January 19 and will be distributed on January 30.

• WPLL will provide registration package for registrants to complete with self addressed envelope to send back to the WPLL PO Box.

• Late entrants will be placed on a “Waiting List” and will only be eligible to play as determined by the WPLL Board of Directors on those teams who need to complete their rosters.


• As advertised by the Little League, a late registration fee of $35.00 is being assessed.

• Single Player: $100.00

• Two Players: $165.00

• Three or more Players: $200.00


• All inquiries must be addressed via e-mail to the WPLL as follows:

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The Ritz Confirms! Ritz-Carlton Cappelli Rides on Dropping a Floor

6 O’clock Lightning Edition, Updated 1-24-02, 12:15 AM: The Mayor’s Office said Wednesday that the Cappelli Enterprises request scaling back of the retail element of the City Center with the prospect of adding a luxury hotel to the complex, would be considered in two parts. The first part would involve a site plan amendment removing the top floor from the City Center. The Council will take this up Thursday evening at 7 PM. Consideration of a Ritz-Carlton hotel by the Council would come later.

WPCNR learned Wednesday that the Ritz-Carlton has confirmed they are interested in working with Mr. Cappelli.
The Ritz-Carlton possibility became more than just charisma Wednesday. City Hall received confirmation the world class hotel management firm, with 49 hotels worldwide, was ready to link up with Louis Cappelli.

THE RITZ CARLTON RSVPS to Louis Cappelli their interest. WPCNR has obtained the letter confirming the premier luxury hotel organization’s interest in becoming an anchor property of the City Center.PHOTO BY WPCNR

At 5:15 PM Wednesday evening the city received this letter that the Ritz-Carlton faxed to the Cappelli organization from James M. Erlacher, Vice President, North American Development for the Ritz-Carlton organization, in Bethesada, Maryland.

The letter confirms “Marriott’s interest in working with Cappelli Enterprises on the development of a Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences as part of the White Plains City Center mixed-use development in downtown White Plains.”

Mr. Erlacher closes the letter with this statement,

“The Marriott development and Ritz-Carlton design teams have the resources available to support your development (the City Center) and design teams throughout the planning process. We look forward to working with you to bring a Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences to downtown White Plains.”

The Common Council Considers Thursday Night.

The pathway to a “Ritz-Carlton White Plains” now starts in a two-step process as explained by City Information and Economic Development Officer, Paul Wood.

Wood told WPCNR the only Cappelli matter before the council in the scheduled Thursday evening work session would be Louis Cappelli’s request for Council approval of an amended site plan, reducing the City Center from 4 floors to two. The effect, Wood said opens up more “views,” for the North City Center apartment building fronting on Main Street by lowering the city center one story, providing more views for approximately 6 floors.

Trimming the retail.

Wood said the city that the removal of one floor of retail space, the top floor, which consisted of a bowling alley and a planned Bally’s gymnasium was the matter the Common Council would deal with Thursday evening.

The effect of this, Wood said, according to Cappelli, relieves Mr. Cappelli of having to rent the space and “overbuilding retail,” and speculated the change in plan would make it more attractive to financiers. The change enhances the views and attractiveness of the North apartment complex tower.

Opens Doors for Luxury Hotel.

According to Cappelli spokesman, Geoffrey Thompson, the treatment of the floor reduction also is the first step in opening the door for the Ritz-Carlton to build a luxury hotel attached to the complex.

On tap Thursday: More Lease Information Promised. Some Sketches? Maybe.

Wood, the city media wrangler downplayed the substance of Cappelli’s scheduled appearance before the Common Council Thursday evening, advising that Cappelli had told the city he would be announcing lease agreements between tenants, and providing information on his closing on the financing. Wood said Cappelli would go over the reasons for the site plan amendment, and perhaps, his grandiose, eleventh hour plan to invite the Ritz-Carlton hotel into the complex.

Wood, at least, was not expecting anything highly detailed. He said Mr. Cappelli had lead the city to believe that he might show “some sketches,” of the change, and perhaps how the hotel might fit in, but Wood did not know what Cappelli would bring to the table Thursday evening in the Common Council Work Session. Wood said Mr. Cappelli had not shown plans of any kind, and just spoke of them in his earnest persuasive style.

Report from Atlanta: Ritz-Carlton doesn’t own its hotels.

The faxed confirmation of Ritz-Carlton’s interest to Cappelli Entertprises arrived within minutes of WPCNR’s telephone conversation with Stephanie Platt, Vice President of Communications for Ritz-Carlton, in Atlanta.

We spoke with Ms. Platt on the general rules of engagement when the Ritz-Carlton organization considers a site for a new property. Ms. Platt said that the organization does not own any of its hotels, that it is a hotel management organization only, leading to the conclusion that Mr. Cappelli would own the hotel, while Ritz-Carlton would manage it.

Key Fact: The Ritz does not build properties or pay for construction.

Ms. Platt advised WPCNR that the way the Ritz-Carlton adds properties when it wants to expand to a location is to work with a developer interested in a Ritz-Carlton on that developer’s site.

Ritz-Carlton, she said, does not pay for the construction, but instead enters into a management agreement with the developer to manage the developer’s Ritz-Carlton property once it is built. The developer/owner owns the hotel, she reports, the Ritz-Carlton runs it. This is the standard way Ritz-Carlton operates, Ms. Platt said.

The Ritz supervises the design.

Platt also revealed that the Ritz-Carlton does have total control of the design of the hotel. They provide their own design staff, she said, and they decide what the hotel looks like in terms of site placement, amenities, room make-up, every aspect of the hotel.

Ms Platt was checking back with the organization development office for details on the City Center project and the Ritz-Carlton present situation with Cappelli Enterprises.

Mr. Wood advised WPCNR that should the hotel project move further along, it would require new plans and design to be brought before the Council, and submitted to all departments.

Posted in Uncategorized

Puttin’ On the Ritz: Cappelli proposes Ritz-Carlton Hotel for City Center

11 O’Clock All News Final Edition 1/22/02,UPDATED 2:00 AM EST, 1-25-02:The Mayor’s Office announced Tuesday afternoon that Louis Cappelli, developer of the City Center project approved by the Common Council in September, wants to change the configuration of his twin tower project in the heart of White Plains.

The new City Center plans presented by Mr. Cappelli for the first time to the city Tuesday morning propose to bring a 175-suite, $500-a-night Ritz-Carlton Five Star Hotel to the heart of White Plains. Plans will be presented in detail at 7 PM Thursday during a Common Council work session.

Geoffrey Thompson, spokesman for the Cappelli organization, confirmed to WPCNR Tuesday evening that Cappelli had been “approached” by several major hotel chains about locating to the City Center project. He reports that Mr. Cappelli has struck a “tentative” deal with the 49-hotel Ritz-Carlton chain of luxury hotels, a subsidiary of Marriott Corporation.

New plan turns 150,000 square feet of retail into hotel space

Thompson said that the revised City Center plan will have the proposed Ritz-Carlton fronting on Martine Avenue adjacent to retail loading dock staging area, not abutting the Westchester Arts Council Building. In the previous plan, this South side of the City Center was to be the loading dock entrance for retail.


Essentially, Thompson analyzed, Cappelli is asking to transform 150,000 square feet of retail into 150,000 square feet of hotel. This lowers the height of the Main Street side of the City Center by 20 feet. Thompson observed this lowered height increases the attractiveness of the North side residential tower, enabling Cappelli to add 20 apartments, as revealed Thursday evening.

Thompson also confirmed George Gretsas’ report from city hall earlier that hotel suites would also take up the first seven stories of the south residential tower on Martine Avenue.

All the amenities.

Thompson advised that the hotel will be U-shaped with a court yard. It will include a ballroom on the street level of the City Center project. The hotel will occupy a U-shape on the Martine Avenue (south side of the complex). The 8-story loft building in the former City Center design, he said, will be eliminated, its space absorbed into part of the hotel.

RITZ-CARLTON, CLEVELAND, a 207-room Ritz-Carlton property in the shadow of Cleveland’s Tower demonstrating a U-shaped design. It was built in 1990. Ritz-Carlton has been opening down-sized, satellite hotels around major cities in Miami and Washington, D.C. Their Georgetown Ritz-Carlton, in the District of Columbia scheduled to open this year is a 93-unit “boutique hotel” in a mixed-use project similar to the Cappelli City Center. It will be in a mix of a 3,000 seat movie complex and retail space and also have 30 luxury condominiums attached. Photo from the Ritz-Carlton website.

Cappelli seeks site plan amendment. New approval process would kill the financing.

Thompson reports to WPCNR that Mr. Cappelli will ask the Common Council to accept this plan as a site plan amendment on Thursday evening, during the Common Council work session.

Reported by city Tuesday afernoon.

George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, announced the Council meeting today at 5 PM, reporting to WPCNR that the city was notified of the changes Mr. Cappelli would like to make on Tuesday morning. He reported the city departments spent most of the day going over the revised plans received that morning and the Common Council would get their first look at them Thursday night from the “Super Developer” himself.

Amended Site Plan or New Project?

“We’re essentially grappling with the issue of whether these changes constitute an ‘amended site plan,’ or require a full blown new process,” Gretsas commented, “It is up to the Common Council to make that decision.”

Just a Few Minor Changes.

Mr. Gretsas reported to CNR that the changes “might make it (the City Center) even better.”

First, Gretsas said, Mr. Cappelli desires to eliminate one floor of retail from the three floor city center. According to the Executive Officer, the Target Store would stay as part of the project, but where and what floor was not given. Gretsas advised that the plans would be presented in detail Thursday evening. He added that Mr. Cappelli announced he would share some information on his tenants.

Sears Great Indoor Store and Target Still in the Mix

Mr. Thompson declared later Tuesday evening that Target Stores is still “in” the project and so is the Sears Great Indoor Store, ending WPCNR speculation that Sears might have bowed out of the project when we heard that one floor of retail was being eliminated.

Site Plan Amendment Only Way.

WPCNR also speculated earlier that the changing configuration of the project is why Mr.Cappelli has held off sealing his financial arrangement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Cappelli revealed Thursday evening at City Hall that he was only waiting until the time to file appeals against approval had run out (January 22). Thompson said that the hotel negotiations had nothing to do with the financing, however, he did say that if the Common Council felt an entire new approval review was required, that would doom the financing (and presumably, the project).

Thompson said Tuesday evening the financing would be announced in early February.

Hotel proposed to replace Loft and First Approximate 10 stories of residential Tower.

Gretsas disclosed earlier Tuesday that Mr. Cappelli wanted to change the nature of his two residential towers and 12-story loft building on Martine Avenue. According to Gretsas, the “Super Developer” had cut a deal with a major luxury hotel chain to transform the loft building and the first approximate 10 stories of the Martine residential Tower Two into a posh luxury hotel.

Puttin on the Ritz

If such a major hotel chain is investing its money into the City Center, it raises the question of whether such an image-concious chain would go along with the Beyer Blinder Belle-designed (and approved by the Common Council) Cappelli towers. This could mean major revision of design. We hope to learn more about the design Thursday evening.

One more change: condominiums instead of rentals?

Gretsas reports that Mr. Cappelli desires to change the mix of the two apartment towers into some condominium units, the percentage of condo to rent residential was not revealed. Thompson denied this was being considered when queried about it by WPCNR Tuesday evening.

Thompson concluded by saying the project was right on schedule and the project was expected to be completed by Spring, 2003.

For more information on The Ritz-Carlton chain, visit their website at

Posted in Uncategorized

Tell the City What You Want in Recreation Facilities.

This week, we establish a new WPCNR Poll that attempts to let the public, the WPCNR reader, tell the city what recreation facilities you feel the city should work to develop.

The poll is particularly timely because the Recreation Master Plan has been completed and suggests all 12 of the options listed in our Recreation Facilities Poll at the right.

You can vote once a day, simply by clicking on your choice.

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Scarsdale takes up Assisted Living Facility at Saxon Woods Road Monday

UPDATED 1-22-02, 2:20 PM: Special to WPCNR from Scarsdale Today:The Village of Scarsdale Planning Board is revisiting the proposal to build a senior assisted living facility adjacent to and West of the Westchester Ethical Culture Society property off Saxon Woods Road in Scarsdale, with entry from the City of White Plains. The White Plains Planning Board sharply criticised the Draft Environmental Impact Statement submitted by the developer last Spring.

Elizabeth Marrinan, Village Planner for Scarsdale, told WPCNR today that Monday’s meeting is not a public hearing. Consequently, the general public will not be allowed to make comments at the meeting scheduled for Monday evening at Scarsdale Town Hall, that the session was for the Scarsdale Planning Board only to question the presenters.
Marrinan, in an interview with CNR Tuesday said, that once the Final Environmental Impact Statement was approved, the Planning Board would hold a public hearing on the senior assisted living proposal to consider granting of the Special Permit and lot consolidation, permitting the development. She told us the developer was supposed to be in touch with the City of White Plains Planning Department “to iron out their differences.”

WPCNR has learned that within minutes of our telephone call to Ms. Marrinan, that she contacted Rod Johnson, Planning Department Environmental Officer for White Plains. Susan Habel, Planning Commissioner, was not available to comment on whether or not the developer had been in touch with the Planning Department since the meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement last spring.

Ms Marrinan said that the draft FEIS was not yet a public document because the Scarsdale Planning Board had not accepted it yet.

The matter of its acceptance is being taken up in a meeting the Scarsdale Planning Board is calling, their words, “a public workshop,” which will be held in the Trustees Room in Village Hall on Monday, January 28, 2002,
at 8:00 p.m. at which time the Planning Board will discuss the draft Final Environmental Impact Statement submitted in connection with the proposed Scarsdale Saxon Wood Road Assisted Living Facility at 25 Saxon Wood Road, identified on the tax map as Sec. 20, Blk. 1, Lots 3 and 3B.

Last spring, a cadre of City of White Plains officials took turns citing contradictions, issues, inconsistencies, and illegalities in the DEIS, and the matter has lain dormant until now. The proposal plans an L-shaped, three-story facility, with entry off White Plains roads, and use of White Plains water and electricity.

The city had indicated it would not supply water to the facility last spring, it was that opposed to the project.

The developer needs to acquire 14 permits from the City of White Plains to build the access roads for the 131-unit facility. Based on the DEIS, the city was not prepared to issue them.

Posted in Uncategorized

Little League Registration In Action. The Players Just Kept on Coming.

The 2002 White Plains Little League In-Person Registration sign-ups concluded Saturday with another encouraging day of signups at Ridgeway School. The league is analyzing the signups and what the outstanding turnout means for the league. Estimates indicate registrations will approximate the over 1,000 who played last year, well ahead of last year’s pace.
They showed up early again Saturday and kept coming in a steady stream all day long at the first in-person Little League Registration weekend Saturday. Preliminary reports indicate that the league has attracted over 200 new players who have never played Little League before, and estimates indicate sign-ups will be close to 1,000 players.

Parents WPCNR interviewed were enthusiastic, felt the registration process was easy to go through because it was well-organized. They liked the availability of league officials to answer questions about player divisions and age eligibility.

Here’s how it worked:

PARENTS WERE GREETED BY THESE SIGNS DIRECTING them to desks where they could pick up pre-printed registrations at the final and concluding Registration day for the spring league at Ridgeway School.
Photo by WPCNR

LEAGUE OFFICIALS WERE ON HAND TO ANSWER questions newly registering parents had about playing levels, scedules, tryouts, and more. Here White Plains Little League President Rich Massaroni answers Jaynean Austin’s questions Saturday. Massaroni came up with the in-person registration procedure as a way of stabilizing league organization and balancing league play.

AFTER CHECKING OUT THEIR PRE-PRINTED INFORMATION, parents took their registrations to the payment desk where they were given passwords to the White Plains Little League website, and free magnets for signing up.

OLD FRIENDS AND COMPETITORS greeted each other all day long the last two Saturdays at the gala, optimistic atmosphere of the White Plains Little League In-Person Registration. Here, L to R, Vice President for Umpiring, Softball, Lou Petralia, manager, Phil McGovern, and manager Brian Peroni work the New Players Desk.

MAJOR DOMO OF REGISTRATION, Billy Wooters, (L) designer and programmer of the unique registration database for the White Plains Little League last year, making possible in-person registration, discusses the steady flow of registrants with Vice President of the Major Boys Division, Al Orfe, right.

THE INFORMATION DESK answered parents’ questions about schedules, team selection, tryouts, and other concerns. Here Lisa Fee, Left, and Tom Pasqua, center, give Frank Pandolfo the inside story.

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The Scoop: Dr. King Stood for Empowerment Through Education.

If there is one benefit to the School District firing of Saul Yanofsky, the District Forums focusing on what the district needs in a new Superintendent of Schools have revealed there is much work to be done in the fields Dr. Martin Luther King concentrated his efforts for equality. WPCNR learned this at Centro Hispano at St. Bernards Church last Sunday, the Bethel Baptist Church last Wednesday, and the PTA Council last Thursday evening here in White Plains.

It should be remembered this week, that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood for the rights of children to go to school and to receive equal education. It should be remembered that Dr. King stood for equal employment opportunity. It should be remembered that he stood for non-violence. It should be remembered that he preached about the good in all races and how deep down every person, white, black, or whatever wished for the same things for their children: an equal chance for happiness. Dr. King made the individual responsible for their own actions in an open environment.

Wednesday we learned things have changed, and have not changed.

Last Wednesday, about 250 persons, African-Americans, Hispanics, some Asians, some Hispanics, and some Caucasions, expressed their concerns at Bethel Baptist Church to Dr. Deborah Raizes and Dr. Diana P. McCauley, consultants hired by the School District. The two consultants have been hired to conduct a Superintendent of Schools search, and were gathering input about the strengths of the White Plains City School District and the what characteristics different segments of the community want to see in a new Superintendent of Schools. They got an earful.

WORKING THE ROOM, Dr. Deborah Raizes, (with clipboard, standing in aisle), of Hazard,Young Attia & Associates, consulting firm hired by the school district to find another Superintendent of Schools, takes comments from the overflow crowd at Bethel Baptist Church January 16, the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Photo by WPCNR

What emerged was a consensus of sobering evaluation, self-criticism about their own family efforts, concern about instructor attitudes towards the potential of minority students, an alleged willingness by administrators to classify minorities for Special Classes, and an alleged failure to educate the brightest minority students.

Clergy submits letter

The Concerned Clergy introduced a letter documenting their concerns for education of minority students. The letter had six main points as to what the White Plains minority clergy wanted in a new superintendent:

1. The clergy felt that “overall the person (new superintendent) needs to have experience to deal with a diverse district.

2. “The courage to stand up to the PTA and the Teachers Union to advocate for our children.”

3.”To let us know what their vision is, and be willing to fight for that vision.”

4. “A level playing field competing for Honors Courses,”

5. “Support for Special Programs, and not just fill them up with African-American Children,”

6. And the need for more black male teachers.

Other comments were made by parents (who were teachers themselves), made much of what they feel is a double standard exhibited towards minority students by teachers, that minorities cannot learn, with a tendency to move minorities very quickly into special education classes.

The prevailing attitude WPCNR heard was not anger. It was not resentment. It was of parents presenting the situation as they saw it. A feeling of pathos, of wondering how the district can change this hung over the hall by the conclusion.

PROMISING TO BRING THEIR CONCERNS TO THE BOARD, a determined Dr. Deborah Raizes, addresses the Bethel Baptist crowd at the conclusion of last Wednesday’s meeting. Dr. Raizes and Dr. Diane McCauley who handled the Bethel meeting with her, told WPCNR that the White Plains attendances at the Bethel Baptist and Centro Hispano forums were the largest they have experienced in their superintendent searches for Hazard Young Attia. Raizes said the White Plains concern and interest was the most participatory and concerned of any superintendent search she has ever conducted. Photo by WPCNR

A national problem?

The perception, and apparent reality that African-American and Hispanic students who are serious students are not achieving, is not new, and certainly not new with White Plains. It is happening elsewhere too.

We spoke to a veteran teacher in the Montclair, New Jersey, School District over the weekend, because Montclair is a similar community to White Plains with a large African-American minority. This source advised us that the inability of minorities to achieve high scores on SAT’s as their white classmates at similar academic achievement levels is being seen in Montclair, too. She advised us that the Montclair District found a “learning gap” exists in minority students which is documented as early as kindergarten.

As she put it, minority students arrive in kindergarten not having learned as much before schooling as their caucasian counterparts.

Gap does not close.

This “gap,” does not close over the school years. It is a gap that holds them back, whether this relates to the problem of families where both parents work, or there is only one parent, or broken families, or a language barrier, all these factors, our veteran teacher (who works with minority and majority students every school day), said factor into creating a learning gap.

Her district has documented that the minority children simply have not acquired as much knowledge going to preschool as the majority classmates.

It has been the experience in the Montclair School District that this “gap” does not close. Our teacher reports the district is still grappling with this problem.

Gap shows up in White Plains at high school level in honors courses.

In White Plains, evidence of this “gap” has recently surfaced in a study done involving advanced placement and tracked classes at White Plains High School. It was first voiced by Barbara Holland at the Bethel Baptist Church meeting last week. The concern was echoed by two minority members of the PTA Council meeting with Dr. Raizes on Thursday evening.

Ms. Holland, a former member of the school board raised this topic towards the end of the Bethel Baptist Church forum, by revealing a survey reported conducted by Assistant Principal for Special Programs and Services at White Plains High School, Narcita Medina. Ms. Medina is said to have reported the results of the survey to a meeting of the Miniority Student Achievement Network recently.(The White Plains School District has been a member of the network since 2000.

Minority students score significantly lower in advanced classes

Medina’s survey shows that African-American and Hispanic high school students in honors classes and advanced placement classes are scoringsignificantly lower than their white classmates on college SAT’s and Advanced Placement tests among students in the same classes. Hearing this, as a reporter, I found this disturbing.

Concern echoed at PTA Council

Two minority parents on the PTA Council forum also raised the concern the next night. One young mother whose daughter is five, was concerned that though her daughter is achieving now, will she continue to achieve, given this apparent “gap” affecting minorities?

LISTENING TO THE PTA, Dr. Raizes hears of the strengths of the district from 30 PTA representatives and interested parties. Attendance for the forums was approximately 25 for the first forum, 5 for the Friday the 11th, Forum, over 200 each at the Centro Hispano and Bethel Baptist forums, and 8 on the Wednesday afternoon forum for community organizations.Photo by WPCNR

There were many strengths of the district voiced during that PTA Council forum, which we will report in due course, so many, in fact that there is no reason to think White Plains and its new superintendent can move to address this apparent underachievement by the minority population with a community effort.

PTA representative after PTA representative listed the strengths of the White Plains school district: that we were the first with a school choice program. That we introduced Learning Studies two decades ago, among others. Now, the district faces a new challenge.

It is well to remember Dr. King’s message.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 34 years after his death, things have changed, but they have not changed enough. Educational opportunity, personal effort, individual responsibility are still the keys to minority success. Two minority personalities pictured in stride with Dr. King on the front page of The Journal News today, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, are African-Americans Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be proud to have by his side.

We all should raise our personal level of activitism to look within, instead of wanting the system to change for us and make things better. The system should change, but it is a two-way street. We all have to work for change and buy into it to change ourselves, another Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenge.

That’s what I remember most about Dr. King. He reached me with the simple rationality and truth of his message. The new Superintendent of Schools and the School Board need to address and respond to this minority community that sees this problem and has brought it to our attention. They indicated Wednesday evening they had to look within and do a better job with focusing their children and called for the School District to do a better job of treating their children equally.

Posted in Uncategorized

Forums Roundup: Hispanics in Force for Superintendent Forum.

Special to WPCNR: Isabel Vilar, Director of El Centro Hispano of White Plains reported at the beginning of this week that Hazard Young & Attia consultant Dr. Deborah Raizes’ visit to Centro Hispano Sunday brought out from between 225 to 250 persons from the Hispanic community to comment on the qualities their community wished to see in a new Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Raizes heard specific requests for a new superintendent who would be as “accessible” to the Hispanic community as Dr. Saul Yanofsky is.
Villar, talking to WPCNR by telephone this week, said that the El Centro Hispano practice of scheduling community meetings after church services, at 346 South Lexington Avenue had long been a way to encourage her community’s participation in city issues, such as police, fire and New York Prebyterian Hospital.

Sunday was no exception, as she reports a crowd of 225 to 250 parents and children appeared to share their superintendent concerns with the consultant conducting the White Plains superintendent search.

Ms. Villar told WPCNR several issues emerged. She said the Hispanic community was concerned about the level of implementation of district programs for Hispanic students, saying they were happy with what the district has done to date in the Yanofsky era but more enhancements were needed.

She reports the community raised the following policy concerns for the district to consider, and for the new superintendent to be able to implement: “We need to keep what we have, and enhance and strengthen (services), with new programs. The parents want instruction to be completely bilingual (for their children) to learn English, because that is the principle language of this country. They want (more) full-day kindergartens. More bilingual staff to talk to parents.”

Asked what is meant by “bilingual,” Ms. Villar said that at the end of their education, Hispanic children would be fluent in speaking and writing both Spanish and English.

Ms. Villar also noted to WPCNR that Dr. Yanofsky often brought his entire District cabinet of Assistant Superintendents to meet with the Hispanic community and said that many present yesterday hoped any new superintendent chosen would continue this accessibility. It was a way of “taking the school to the community,” Villar said.

The Centro Hispano leader said the Parents Choice Program was very successful in achieving balance in the five elementary schools in White Plains and that Hispanic parents indicated yesterday they were very pleased with it. She reports they also like the Newcomers Center.

Friday Education House Forum Attracts Only 5 residents.

In contrast, the previous Friday January 11 meeting at 10 AM was sparsely attended. The District held a forum for Dr. Raizes to meet with parents, and only five persons were there. WPCNR interviewed two who attended, and they said that the conversation centered around the strengths of the district.

The strengths that emerged, they said were that White Plains diversity of population was a strength and should not be regarded as a drawback. They pointed out to Raizes that the community had a strong tax base, and a growing economic base. They said the district had many unique programs in drama, video, and technology not available in smaller, more homogenous districts.

Asked what the five who attended Friday wished for in the character and strengths and style of a new Superintendent of Schools, the two we interviewed said, following the Mission Statement of the District in the School Calendar articulated the kind of personality needed.

That statement, for those of you who are not familiar with it reads: Our mission is to provide a dynamic educational environment which,

• challenges all students to achieve a high degree of economic success.

• reflects and respects individual differences and cultural diversity.

• nurtures talent.

• creates opportunities for the development of responsible and productive citizens, and

in sum, enables all members of the school community to reach their full potential.

The statement continues for a full three columns, and is on the introductory page of the White Plains Public Schools Calendar.

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Delgado Challenges Hockley to End Legal Actions and Have the Election

Larry Delgado kicked off his third campaign in six months for Common Council Wednesday afternoon, calling on Glen Hockley to cease legal action to stop the vote and participate in the new citywide election ordered by the Appellate Court this week at a date to be determined by the Board of Elections.

DELGADO AND DELFINO START CAMPAIGNING FOR THE EMPTY CHAIR: Larry Delgado, right, announced the beginning of his campaign Wednesday at noon at Republican Headquarters in White Plains.
Photo by WPCNR

Standing beside Mayor Joseph Delfino, Republican Larry Delgado said, “Last night I challenged my opponent to end legalities. There has to be an election. Let’s have court activities take a back seat. In his press conference Thursday morning, I hope he agrees with me…There should be an election…If it hadn’t been for my opponent, we wouldn’t have an empty chair (on the Common Council).”

Delfino: We need a Latino on the Common Council

Mayor Joseph Delfino opened the conference, praising Mr. Delgado as the first Latino to be voted on the Common Council, and said White Plains needs a coalition government which, he said, Mr. Delgado’s election would assure. Pointing out that election of Mr. Hockley would pit six Democrats against one Republican (himself), the Mayor said he needed Mr. Delgado as a bipartisan voice.

The Mayor said, “Not having Larry Delgado there doesn’t meet the right structure for our city. He is our only Latino. To have him there is a heartful feeling for our city.”

DELGADO ANSWERS A QUERY from El Aguila reporter Carlos Zequeira at his Wednesday high noon news conference.
Photo by WPCNR

The Mayor praised Delgado as a listener to all the people in White Plains, and complimented him for working with the Mayor to achieve the growth the City is now experiencing. He fondly recalled the day he spent five and a half hours convincing Mr. Delgado to run the first time five years ago at Graziella’s Restaurant.

“A long ordeal.”

Delgado, taking centerstage, said, “We’ve been through this once before. I thank you all for you all for supporting me then and this has been a long ordeal…It took a Supreme Court Justice to determine a machine was broken. Judge Nicolai (Francis) wrote a remarkable decision, ruling that if a machine was broken there’s got to be a remedy. That single vote is sacrosanct. We fought hard for it. Judge Nicolai set an election date. Mr. Hockley asked for a stay and appealed.”

Pleased with Appellate Court ruling.

Delgado continued, saying “I’m pleased the Appellate Court said ‘yes, when there’s an error in the vote, there’s got to be a remedy.’ I’m happy they’ve ruled. I won November 6 on the citywide vote. I won on November 6 in District 18. I gues I have to win 2 out of 2 elections.”

Getting the message out.

Delgado said, “We’re going to get our message to the voters of accomplishment, what we’ve done…There will no learning curve for me (on the Council). I’ve done it.I’m going to produce results, and I’m going to spread that word I’m going to do it again.”

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People suffering from depression and manic depression can find support and information through a group that meets at White Plains Hospital Medical Center several times a month. Members of this mutual-support group help one another by sharing strategies for coping with daily life. For information, contact Liz at 476-4720.

The group is sponsored by the Westchester Self-Help Clearinghouse, a program of Westchester Jewish Community Services.

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