Police Union Seeks to Renegotiate Contract.

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WPCNR has learned that the White Plains Police Benevolent Association has requested to renegotiate their current contract with new workrules changes to ease the “badge drain,” with a novel new proposal. Pay is not an issue.
The surprise negotiating maneuver was presented to the Common Council in Executive Session Monday evening, and the council has not had a reaction to it as of this report.

The police do not want any increase in pay at this time, according to two sources who attended the Executive Session of the Common Council Monday evening. The rationale behind renegotiating the contract is a fresh WPPBA proposal placed on the table aimed at addressing what the White Plains Police Benevolent Association calls the White Plains “Badge Drain.” The WPPBA did not return several calls for explanations by WPCNR about what they want to change in their current contract.

The police proposal was addressed in some detail in a slide show presented to the Common Council and was discussed in depth afterwards, the meeting lasting from 8 until 11:00 PM.

Previously police union suggestions for eliminating the badge drain have consisted of increasing vacation time to bring White Plains in line with other departments in the county, providing more educational benefits, (which the city did do last fall), and operating the department at full strength of 200 men, which they have contended in the past is deliberately understaffed.

The council was also briefed on the current status of negotiations with the firefighters union by the city’s negotiator. The White Plains Firefighters have been serving without a contract since June 30. The firefighter leadership did not return WPCNR’s requests for comment on their demands.

The Common Council is reported by WPCNR sources who were there to have had lively comment, a lot of questions on the police proposal, but the members of the council not advise the Mayor to take any direction for or against with regard to the WPPBA suggestions. Sources said direction from the council could come at any time.

The Mayor’s office refused to comment on the Mayor’s official position towards the proposal, because of the Executive Session nature of the briefing, and because any comment would compromise future negotiations.

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Mayor Launches Slater Community Technology Center in Digital Divide Drive

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White Plains’ effort to bridge the “digital divide” became real Monday evening when Mayor Joseph Delfino opened the first Community Technology Center for White Plains. The center is open at the Thomas Slater Center, Martin Luther King Boulevard, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM to 9:30 PM.
The Mayor announced that two more CTC’s are planned to open in October: at the Eastview School in October, when the Youth Bureau opens and at Mercy College.




CHARLOTTE, AGE 9, TRIES OUT A SHINY NEW GATEWAY AT THOMAS H. SLATER COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY CENTER: 12 Gateway computers and 3 Hewlett Packard laser printers have been installed by the city on the second floor of the Thomas H. Slater Center, as Mayor Delfino’s first “Community Technology Center” opened Monday evening. The Center is open 8:30 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Friday. WPCNR PHOTO

The Mercy College facility will serve Hispanic adults and children, in a joint effort between the City, Mercy College and Centro Hispano. These two additional Community Technology Centers will give the city three places where citizens and children without access to computers can learn and develop their computer skills. All three have been developed in just seven months.

Seven months later: 3 centers emerge

The opening of the Slater CTC Monday is the culmination of Mayor Delfino’s concern about the “Digital Divide,” one of the priorities he wanted to address in his Phase II Economic Development Plan. A task force of city leaders and corporate resource persons was appointed by the Mayor last January to explore ways city resources could work with the community to connect the city’s low-income residents to computer technology and the internet. The Task Force identified needs and suitable locations.

City funds it with Community Development Money

Kathleen Gunn of the Mayor’s Economic Development Office supervised the implementation of the Slater CTC. She reports the cost was $45,000, paid by city Community Development Funds, an expenditure approved by the Common Council. On hand, for the occasion were Robert Greer, Rita Malmud, and Larry Delgado, representing the Common Council.

Gunn told WPCNR the city purchased 12 Gateway computers, three Hewlett-Packard laser printers, computer furniture and refurbished the second floor of the Slater Center to house the computer bank.

City departments handle design, labor, infrastructure

She reports the city wired the computers and retrofitted the electrical and communications infrastructure, and designed a security system for the computers. The City Department of Public Works performed the design and construction. She singled out Leonard Lolis, City Information Systems Director, for his role in purchasing the equipment and designing the computer bank.




“THE DIGITAL DIVIDE WILL NOT REPAIR ITSELF,” declared Mayor Joseph Delfino in dedicating the Thomas H. Slater Community Technology Center. The opening of the city’s first such facility is the product of a task force that identified needs, and created a Center that is the city response to the “digital divide.” WPCNR PHOTO

Mayor praises community effort

“I’m pleased and proud so many people came out tonight,” Mayor Delfino said Monday evening at opening ceremonies at the Thomas Slater Center. “It is a great day for Slater, thanks to the efforts of so many citizens, we’ve finally been successful. The ‘Digital Divide’ will not repair itself. It requires the commitment of local community leaders to work together to implement and plan proactive programs and services to address this critical issue.”

A Mayoral Priority Issue

“I made the commitment to address the lack of income availability of families, to partner with organizations, to help our disadvantaged youth compete in schools and the work place by having the opportunity to learn the technical skills to compete professionally. I appointed a Task Force to explore how to do this, and it’s just wonderful to see it come together tonight.”




KATHLEEN GUNN, COORDINATOR OF THE SLATER CTC, WHO “HONCHO-ED” THE PROJECT. Ms. Gunn is seen handing out fliers announcing computer hours to youngsters trooping upstairs to use the center. WPCNR PHOTO

The Mayor praised Kathleen Gunn’s efforts:

“ I want to single out Kathleen Gunn who dedicated herself to this project. She believed in this program. Thanks to her efforts we strove to open two centers this year and we’re going to come very close,” Delfino continued. Then he introduced Howard Hawkins, Head of the Task Force.

Task Force determines Community Needs. City Implements

Hawkins said, “This is the way a city Task Force is supposed to work.”

He said: “The task force sourced state, city, and school resources, and heads of neighborhoods to identify and implement a program that would single out who needed computer access, where computer technology centers were needed, and which minorities were most at risk.”

Not just a Black and White Problem

“We found, “ Hawkins said. “That the Digital Divide goes beyond the black or white issue. It affects each of us in the community. It makes sure we attempt business to community technical help to all: senior citizens, minorities, new immigrants.”

Hawkins introduced Task Forcer, Terence McGuire, who commented, “It’s very important to use more professional services to contribute in ways to frame work for others to follow…and impart a lot of knowledge. I know its (CTC facilities) the right thing to do and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

School District backs the initiative

Superintendent of Schools Saul Yanofsky underlined the need for CTC Centers: “The problem is kids are in schools 6 or 7 hours a day and they go home. Home to homes with computers and homes without computers. The District has helped provide computer access at 86 DeKalb and the Library. When I heard of the City’s committee, and spoke with Howard and Terry, I concluded it was a great opportunity for the District to partner. This is a terrific opportunity. If there’s anything more the school district can do to make these things happen, my inclination is to do it.”

Mayor returns to his working together mantra

Mayor Delfino concluded the official part of the opening with repeating what he has been saying on such occasions: “We just need to continue to work together to make things happen.”




FUTURE TECHIES EXPLORE THE WEB MONDAY NIGHT: The sleek new hardware fascinated some 20 youngsters trying out Lifesavers.com and various music websites on the new computers. WPCNR PHOTO

For seniors, single moms, jobseekers, too

The new Computer Technology Center at the Slater is working out a schedule for various community groups to use the new computer facilities. The CTC is reserved for students in the late afternoon from three to 6 PM. Evenings, 7 PM to 9 PM are reserved for teens. Youth Bureau staff, according to Frank Williams, Youth Bureau Director, will supervise student use of the computers at all times.

Charlie Booth, Executive Director of the Slater Center, said morning and afternoon Head Start program youngsters would use the Computer Center. He is in process, working out times when single mothers, job-searchers, and senior citizens may have exclusive use of the center. For more information, please contact the Slater Center .

CTC Centers Ahead

The next proposed White Plains CTC is the Eastview School where instruction and software will be available in Spanish and English. The city of White Plains has also worked in partnershipo with Centro Hispano and Mercy College to create a program for Hispanic adults at Mercy’s downtown White Plains campus.

The Mayor’s office is seeking volunteers willing to instruct or staff the computer centers. Qualified individuals will possess computer skills and be able to work with a diverse population at different skill levels. If interested, you may contact the Mayor’s Office at 914-422-1411.

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New York Raptors Special Hockey for the Disabled Begins. New Players Welcome.

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The New York Raptors, a special hockey team for disabled boys and girls ages 5 to adult, began their regular weekly workouts Sunday at Westchester Skating Academy. Fifteen veteran players hit the ice.
Managers of the 5-year old organization, are welcoming applications from new players.

The Raptors are a member of the Heart League, and Special Hockey International a national organization of teams for disabled individuals. Your youngster can join the Raptors for have exclusive ice on one of the WSA full-size hockey rinks from 4:10 PM to 5:40 PM on Sundays.

The club also will host a hockey tournament on November 24, where the Raptors will play Heart League teams from the Northeast, the Albany Cougars, Connecticut Chasers and the Washington Ice Dogs. The Raptors will also travel to the National Heart League Tournament in Albany New York.

Ability to skate or hockey skills are not required to join the team. Coaches, drawn from youth hockey players and adults around the Westchester County area, will assist new novice players in learning to skate, stickhandle and shoot the puck. Full regulation hockey equipment is required on the ice.

The cost to register your youngster for the season which runs from September through April is $400, which includes uniform jersey, and hockey stockings. Helmet, chest protector, leg guards and hockey shorts are the responsibility of the player. You may skate on the ice with your player. However, in order to skate on the ice with the Raptors, an additional $25 is required for insurance. The player fee of $400, includes insurance through USA Hockey.

The Raptors were founded five years ago, and have an active roster of some 20 to 25 players. Practices are taken up with drills and scrimmages. For more information, contact Patty Nadolski at 698-4871 or Reggi Mensch at 967-9466.

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Fort Hill Players to present Rumors in October.

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The Fort Hill Players will stage Neil Simon’s comedy, Rumors, Directed by Robert Kahn, for 9 performances on weekends beginning October 12 and running through October 27 at Rochambeau School, 228 Fisher Avenue,White Plains.

Evening performances will take place on Fridays at 8, October 12, 19 and 26, Satrudays on October 13, 20 and 27. Saturday Matinees will be staged at 2:00 PM on October 13, 20 and 27.

The Fort Hill Players is the longest running community theatre group in Westchester County, with the 2001-02 season being their 63rd consecutive season of continuous community theatre.

The money raised from community subscribers and contributions offsets the cost of productions, stage workshops and helps to produce learning experiences for White Plains. The proceeds underwrite, in part, the Fort Hill Players FREE Summer Theatre in the Parks, program introducing White Plains children to live theatre. Community support enables the Players to bring live theatre to Senior Citizen homes and organizations.

The spring production will be another original Fort Hill Players revue and extravaganza, Evening of Music and Dance, which follows on the success of Musical Memories that drew extremely well last spring. The spring performance dates are March 8, 9,15,16,22,23.

Ticket prices for Rumors are $14, $12 for Seniors and Students, $6 for children under 12. Subscriptions for both productions are $25, $42 for a Dinner/Theatre Package. For more information contact 421-0008.

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Tigers Claw Into Overtime, Bow 21-20 to New Rochelle

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Three feet separated White Plains from a winning field goal with no time left Saturday. With the extra point needed to tie in OT, the equalizer slipped agonizingly just left, and New Rochelle won, 21-20, in a steamy fall classic in the Queen City of the Sound.
White Plains grit, guile, guts, and relentless pursuit held the mobile monster Huguenot squad (unofficially about 300 yards rushing) to just 7 points deep into the fourth quarter.

Drive Staller

The wild contest turned on a questionable holding call on a White Plains 2nd and 4, Spencer Ridenhour diveplay into the line at the NR 35, in the opening minutes of the 4th quarter. The holding (in a pile up) penalty stalled the Tigers, pushing them back to a 1st and 15 on the 45. The Tigers were, at the time of the penalty, moving, going for the clinching touchdown that could have given them a 2-TD lead.




TIGER-HUGUENOT ACTION ON THE 50: New Rochelle driving on the Tigers at midfield early in the fourth quarter in the Queen City. WPCNR PHOTO

The setback forced the Tigers eventually to turn the ball over on downs, with Orlando Cruz’s magnificent hanging punt forcing New Rochelle to take over at their own 20. New Rochelle proceeded for a game-tying drive, characterized by the big rambling running plays the Purple Gang had been giving the Tiger secondary fits with all game long.

Big Plays Trick Tigers All Day

A 26-yard run by Terry Watts gave NR a first on the Tiger 42, and Wilson Moronta saved a touchdown snagging the rambling, but butterfingered NRQB, Nat Yehuda (4 fumbles by our count) at the Tiger 22. NR tied the game when the Tigers almost had them stopped on 4th and 3 from the 15.

The Orange and Black, expecting the formidable Huguenot sweep, grabbing big-time yardage all afternoon, pinched the ends, and there was no one in the middle to stop Joe Loscalzo on a delayed draw, racing15 yards up the gut, untouched for the touchdown.The PAT tied the game at 14-14 with 5 minutes to go.

Then the fun started.

After an exchange, White Plains took over on the New Rochelle 47 with about 2 minutes to go. With a 4th and 5 on the NR 38, Darrell Mack hit Wilson Moronta on a flat pass. He went up with 4 purple jerseys surrounding him and feathered the ball into in his belly with two hands just like George Sauer, and fought to the Huguenot 28.

Three running plays failed, bringing another 4th and 10. Mack lofted an Alley Oop right flatter to Jeff Lee down the near sideline, who leapt way high, fell to earth, catching the pass on his back for a first down on the 10. It was a highlight reeler!

Three feet from an Instant Win

Spencer Ridenhour, (who had another gritty 158 yards rushing on 31 trips, 5 yards a carry — they should call him Run-An-Hour), moved it up the middle to the 6. With no timeouts, and seconds left, Mack spiked the ball, stopping the clock at 2 seconds.




IT’S UP! IT’S LONG ENOUGH, IT’S ON TARGET…AND IT IS: No good..just wide to the left. A field goal that just missed almost gave White Plains the win in regulation Saturday afternoon. Orlando Cruz gIves it great leg on a very difficult angle. WPCNR PHOTO

Orlando Cruz set up for a field goal try, about a 28-yard attempt on the right hash. The kick was up, it looked good, it was long enough but it hooked in the open end of the stadium and went about three feet wide about 10 feet from the upright, missing by a yard. It was close, folks. Very close.

Cruz had a terrific kicking day. Just a junior, he is going to be a terrific offensive weapon with his kicking ability. His punts Saturday were clutch, deliberate, consistent, high hanging, well-placed that made the New Rochelle overland game stoppable for the defense.

Overtime!

New Rochelle won the toss and took the ball on the Tiger 20. White Plains stopped them on their first three plays. Then, the big New Rochelle play took the game away. On 4th and 4 from the Bengal 22, the Huguenots reversed their tying touchdown play, and Anthony Rice rambled around the left end, with terrific blocking to put the Purple Gang up 20-14. The point was successful.

The Tigers Come Back

Most teams would be through at this time. Not White Plains. In their chance to score, starting 20 yards away, the Tigers went with Ridenhour up the middle for 4 yards, and up the middle again for 3 to the 12. Then he was stopped right there. On yet another 4th down do-or-don’t play, Mack hit Jeff McCoy over the middle and he scampered to the Huguenot 3 for another incredible 4th down conversion.

With goal to go, on his third ram up the middle, Spencer Ridenhour, the sophomore, was literally jammed into the end zone from behind by his people and, amazingly, it was 21-20.




GOING FOR THE TIE.IT’S DOWN, IT’S UP AND IT IS…:Just wide. A White Plains assistant with a view from the sideline, said the angle made it look very confusing, but in his opinion it was just wide left by inches. Tony Ciaramella Jr. prepares to kick.< WPCNR PHOTO

Tony Ciaramella tried for the PAT to tie. It was not to be. Everyone in the east stands thought he had made the kick, it was that close. The kick was solid, perhaps a little too solid, and was waved off just, I mean, just wide left. Huguenot helmets sailed to the sky in celebration, and one of the great fall classics was over.

Great first half,

White Plains Spencer Ridenhour broke off tackle racing 65 yards for the first touchdown on the Tigers third play from scrimmage to stake the Tigers to a 6-0 lead. However, New Rochelle with three major running threats went 65 yards in 5 plays to tie the game 7-7 with Joe Loscalzo bulling up the middle from the 10 for the tie-up touchdown.
The Tigers drove from their 41 to the Huguenot 5, but could not push it in for any points and NR took over at the 5 as the first quarter ended, 7-7.

Ryan Smalls sacked New Rochelle’s Quarterback, Nathaniel Yahudah and stripped him of the ball, recovering the loose ball on the New Rochelle 15at the 6-minute mark of the second quarter. This set up White Plains to take the lead.

Ridenhour ripped up the middle to the 10. Mack gave it to him again for another 4, and again for a first down on the 6. On the next play, the indefatigable socking soph, went over tackle again for the go-ahead touchdown. Ciaramella converted and White Plains had a 14-7 halftime lead.




TIGERS GIVE THEM ALL THEY CAN HANDLE: Tigers trudge slowly off the field in the llong shadows of the first day of autumn. They were saddened but determined and proud as they looked to next week.WPCNR PHOTO

Solid on both sides of the ball

The Tiger defense played a tremendous game, yielding big yardage between the 20s but making big plays to force, unofficially 7 turnovers. The Tigers got to the NR quarterback six times, causing 4 fumbles that stalled New Rochelle drives. Though the rambling backs and massive New Rochelle linemen pushed the Tigers back on their heels the first half, the Tigers adjusted well. Tiger conditioning was terrific on this sticky, humid day, which caused sweaty palms and a number of fumbles.

The Dee is learning

The defense was befuddled on many plays by the New Rochelle reversals of directions and superbly choreographed plays that suckered the dee one way only to go another. There were so many big plays that New Rochelle ran when they needed them. However, to the Tigers’ credit they staged two goal line stands in both halves, pursued relentlessly, the corners moving from one side of the field to the other on virtually every New Rochelle play to stop their bag of tricks.

The O is coming together

The offense moved the ball well against a bigger New Rochelle line. They nearly won the game twice. Darrell Mack is a sharp passer with solid receivers to throw to when in trouble. The kid is not afraid to throw into traffic (against a tall NR secondary, he threaded needles, when he was allowed to throw and passed smart with his head, not his heart.) He has got a good sense when to take a sack and when to throw it away.

A better mix of passing and running would make the relentless Ridenhour, whom we will have the pleasure of watching get better and better, an even greater threat. They should also consider throwing to Ridenhour downfield. This 50-yardline Byline would love to see Mack throw to Ridenhour in the flat. Let’s use those receivers Jeff Lee, Jeff McCoy, Wilson Moronta,and Eric Dickey, a little more, please.

White Plains is back home in Parker Stadium next Saturday to play Ramapo. Y’all come on out. Kickoff is at 1:30 PM.

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Cappelli Sweeps the Council, 7-0; City Center Approved.

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The Common Council voted approval of the Louis Cappelli City Center project unanimously Thursday evening, leaving a $275 million check from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as the final piece left to continue what Mayor Delfino described as “a great adventure.”
A jubilant, magnanimous Louis Cappelli, described the City Center as the greatest project he has ever undertaken. He thanked the Common Council and the Mayor for their cooperation, their feedback and honesty, (“despite some tense moments”). He saluted the City of White Plains Planning and Building Departments, their host of boards as being the best staffs “foremost” of any he has ever worked with on any of his projects in his 30 years as a developer.




CAPPELLI THANKS COMMON COUNCIL FOR HIS DREAM PROJECT: Louis Cappelli said when he was taking Robert Greer on a tour of New Roc City two years ago, that he wished he had the Tishman-Speyer Project. Thursday night that wish came true as the Common Council granted the Super Developer the City Center project. WPCNR PHOTO

The $350 million project will bring a host of goodies to White Plains.

Cappelli will contribute $500,000 towards a redesign of the Main and Mamaroneck fountain, as part of the City Center acquiring EJ Conroy Drive. He has secured tax abatement from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency that will result in the City of White Plains taking over the new parking garage he will build 7 years sooner, bringing an additional $20 million to the city. He will build a community performing arts theater inside the 16-screen theater, retail and restaurant complex in the city’s heart.

Architecture by Committee

He has granted the Common Council design approval of the two 34-story apartment complexes, which are being designed by Frederick Bland of Beyer, Blinder, Belle of New York. The Council will also have some input into what the exterior of the City Center will look like in the complex 94-page resolution approved by the Council officially at 9:18 PM Thursday night.

Full steam ahead.

Cappelli said after the historic approval that he had all properties he needed to acquire “under contract.” In two weeks he expected to have a 24-foot foundation dug from EJ Conroy Drive to Mamaroneck to Martine to Main Street.

On the question of financing, Cappelli told WPCNR that closing on his Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce loan had been delayed a week from September 25 to October 2. The Super Developer said he had a letter of commitment for $275 million in financing, and “expected no problems.” Cappelli indicated he had not decided yet how construction of the new parking garage would be timed. He would either build it first and open it early, or delay it a year. He predicted the City Center and apartments would be opened by August of 2003.

Common Council commentaries laud developer

Council President Rita Malmud said Thursday evening was “a culmination of a year of effort to find the right way to develop the downtown. The Cappelli project is the best opportunity in over a decade to do so. I applaud the Cappelli company for agreeing to a higher standard of architecture.”

Ms. Malmud expressed the desire that a mural be painted on the Martine Avenue side of the project. She also reported that the Cappelli company would be paying non-discounted permit fees to the city well in access of $400,000. Malmud expressed some concern about what would happen if a fire broke out on the 34th floor of the apartments.

Fire Chief Mark Damon assured her that White Plains fire codes require sprinklers and a smoke purifying system and are the strictest in the state.

Benjamin Boykin II,stated that with the approval of the City Center, “We begin to move forward for future generations…we need to move forward as soon as possible…the Council contributed by demanding great architecture. On Monday we saw a new design (for the apartment towers), that I think is a great improvement. It has a lot less bulk and a lot lower look. This is thanks to Councilman Greer and who said we should not compromise on the architecture and design, and we hired Beyer, Blinder Belle in July to advise us.”

Councilman Larry Delgado said “I want to thank Mr. Cappelli and all of his team. I thank the Mayor and his staff. I know how hard they have worked, how many late nights they have put in.”




COUNCILMAN LARRY DELGADO CASTS HIS VOTE, THANKS STAFF FOR “LATE NIGHTS THEY PUT IN.” Councilman William King followed with pleas for more inspired design from Fred Bland.WPCNR PHOTO

Councilman Robert Greer said “A successful project has many fathers and mothers and a failure is an orphan. Mrs. Malmud and I fought together to have movies downtown years ago, and now this (City Center) is the product of that effort.” Greer complimented the developer on being able to accept council direction on the project and resolve problems as they arose. He also congratulated Mr. Cappelli on moving to hire Frederick Bland, “a first-rate architect rather than one who is not quite first rate.”

Councilman William King remarked that “I am glad to vote for this project. We are just as confident in White Plains now as we were before September 11. I want to thank the staff who developed a 94 page resolution in two days.” King expressed that he did not like the new Bland design: “It doesn’t bowl me over. I think it’s looking a little bulky and we need a more classic look.” He said he hoped we would look at alternate forms of transportation other than the automobile.

Councilwoman Pauline Oliva came full cycle and supported the project after being against it from the start. “You won me over, Mr. Cappelli, your sensitivity to what we asked for. I was very impressed. You hired Mr. Bland to work up another design, and I have to compliment you for that.”

Mayor Joseph Delfino wrapped up the evening, remarking “You can’t imagine how I feel…Three years ago I didn’t know where to start…I’ve never seen a project of this magnitude move as fast. Tonight, each and every one of you in White Plains is who we thought of, is who we dreamed of in doing this project.”
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MAYOR JOSEPH DELFINO OPENS MACY’S TIME CORNERSTONE. The Mayor reads from a letter from the President of Macy’s, written in 1954, that professed skepticism that White Plains could support a department store. Also inside the capsule, which Louis Cappelli’s crews had removed from the Macy’s site were copies of The Reporter Dispatch, that worried about a “Thruway Threat.”WPCNR PHOTO

At 9:18 PM, the role was called and the project was approved. A new era in White Plains had begun.

In other business, firemen raise $41,000 for Trade Center victim relief
The Fire Chief, William Daimon, reported that White Plains firefighters had raised $41,000 Thursday morning by firemen passing “the boot” at key White Plains intersections. The chief said the firemen would be out passing “the boot” again Friday morning. Be sure to contribute!

Senior housing on Kensico receives zoning go-ahead

The 42-unit senior housing project envisioned by Bill Brown for Kensico Avenue opposite the Eastview track still must receive site plan approval.

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Tell Fred Bland How He Did in the New Always Timely WPCNR Poll

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The City Center Apartment Tower Design of Frederick Bland, the “Super Architect” from Byer Blinder Belle, was presented before the Common Council and the city boards on Monday morning. See Mr. Bland’s renderings in the “5 of 6 Councilpersons Favor” Article, then cast your vote of confidence in Fred Bland in our new WPCNR Poll!
In last week’s poll only 14 guests felt confident enough to comment on what design flavor they wanted to see in the Cappelli City Center Towers. A total of 10 persons of 14 voting said they prefered “art deco, Chrysler/Empire State Building Looks,” and “Trump Tower Bold, Beautiful Elegance.”

One person said they wanted “More Match with City Hall/Martine Avenue Architecture.” One person said they preferred Cappelli’s first tower, and 2 prefered Cappelli’s Tower Two.

Now Frederick Bland has shown his pencil sketches of one design. Why not compare his design with the most preferred (by the Common Council) Cappelli Tower, and let him know he is on the right track for White Plains? Here is your chance to be an architectural critic.

You may view the sketches in the article “Five of Six Councilpersons favor new Bland Design.” The Cappelli Tower design also appears in the text of the article.

Be sure and get your votes in before the council meeting Thursday evening where they are scheduled to vote the project up or down beginning at 8 PM. It is White Plains’ last chance to be heard on the project.

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Five of six Councilpersons like Bland’s new Cappelli look.

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Frederick Bland of Beyer Blinder Belle presented his first pencil sketches of how the City Center residential apartment towers should look Monday, and impressed Council and City Boards favorably. Bland totally rejected Cappelli’s previous designs for “not telling a story.”

Plea for Thursday approval.

At the opening of the Monday morning meeting, Louis Cappelli said because of the severe uncertainty of the financial markets, closing on the financing with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce was “the most important piece of the project.”

The developer said, “getting an approval (Thursday) I would be able to finance the building.” He hoped the Council would “give an approval based on direction (of the design). I have no problems, subsequent to that approval to come back on an architectural level. He (Bland) is going to have to have feedback on the design today.”

Financing still a “go,” as of Monday morning

Cappelli, holding court with news reporters on the City Hall Mezzanine awaiting Bland’s arrival said he was assured by his contact at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that even after the Trade Center attack last week, CIBC was still on track to finance the City Center project.

Delgado: approval likely

It appears the Common Council seing the rough sketches Frederick Bland presented, is ready to give that amended site plan approval. Larry Delgado, Councilman, commented after the meeting, he felt approval was certain Thursday. His comment, asked by Alex Philippidis of Westchester County Business Journal if the votes were there for approval, was “Oh yes,” with a nod of his head.





BLAND HOLDS THEM IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND: Frederick Bland of Beyer, Blinder, Belle entrances the Common Council and city boards with his new design for the Cappelli City Center Residential towers. WPCNR PHOTO

The Common Council, Planning Board, Design Review Board, Conservation Board and Urban Renewal Agency were hold spellbound on Frederick Bland as he unveiled his first pencil sketches of his vision for the Cappelli City Center residential towers.

Bland presented the evolution of his concept in three basic pencil sketches.

Nevertheless, the rapt audience liked what they saw.

The city’s recent severe critics of the Cappelli triumphal towers designs last week expressed outright support for the new Bland concept.




THE HANGING GARDENS OF BLAND: Bland’s new design for each of the 34-story towers which will face each other on opposite corners of ertswhile EJ Conroy Drive. It consists of custom penthouses at the top left tower, double-floored glass window treatments shooting down the vertical tower and elaborate stepbacks for recreational space, with possible wraparound windows on the cornices.
WPCNR PHOTO

The Common Council rejected original Cappelli designs September 4, after 5 weeks of design development by Cappelli’s team in a direction the Council had indicated the project should follow. The late objections to Cappelli’s designs were raised when council members were secretly informed by fax prior to that September 4 meeting by Robert Levine and William Rose (of the Urban Renewal Agency) and Robert Stackpole (of the Planning Board) that Bland was willing to try his hand at designing the towers.

Critics won over quickly

William Rose of the Design Review Board and Rita Malmud liked Bland’s design Monday. Robert Greer, Larry Delgado, and Benjamin Boykin II weighed in with favorable reviews of Bland’s dramatic, stepped tower with segmented horizontal and vertical glass treatments, hanging gardens, and as-yet-to-be-designed crown.




VIEW FROM CITY HALL OF THE HANGING GARDENS OF BLAND, showing the stepbacks envisioned by Bland. He sees building telling a story, and providing many custom designed apartments making for higher rentals.WPCNR PHOTO

The drawings specified neither materials combinations nor design combinations in detailed form. William King was the lone Councilman who said there were many good things he liked about Cappelli’s design and cautioned Bland “not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.” The Mayor had no comment.

Eight more weeks of design needed, Bland says.

Bland said he and his firm needed about eight more weeks to complete the single design. He said, with Louis Cappelli’s permission, he would be pleased to incorporate the concerns and suggestions of all of the persons on the assembled Boards coming back at regular intervals to do presentations. Cappelli, smiling thinly but congenially, said he was fine with that, and after the meeting that broke at 11 AM, said, “I’m Mr. Flexible, today.”

Praise from the critics

John Garment, another critic of the Cappelli originals, and of the Planning Board, said he liked the new direction first: “This is a very positive step. It is beginning to look like a promising building we can be proud of in the City of White Plains. The penthouse is definitely vertical, and I would bring it down all the way. The step-ups from the street maximize the bulk of the building.”

Rose said, “I echo John’s comment. It will be interesting to see the next generation interpreting the role of construction choices.”

Allan Briscoe of the Design Review Board observed, “This is a remarkable job of bringing down the height. Very muting of elevation. I think of these as definite pluses. One plus one (facing each other) makes an overall statement that is more powerful and more compelling.”

Robert Levine, an observer, expressed desire that Bland take over designing the overall look of the project on all four sides in addition to the residential: “We’re thinking what’s next…The exterior retail options will be the best they can be if they have your imprint.”

However, Bland said he was not designing any of the exterior retail components of the project, and that he was working with the architect handling that, Ken Narva of Streetworks.

(Robert Levine is not on any of the boards reviewing the project, but appeared to influence Mr. Rose of the Urban Renewal Agency in protesting Cappelli’s original designs September 4. He is the man whose influence induced Bland to offer his services to design the project.)

Around the Horn

Rita Malmud, who told WPCNR September 4, she would know a great design when she saw it, said, “I think your idea for a different shape is a very positive direction. Shape and spin of the buildings are of extreme importance. Use of double windows, and steps, I think that is very good. It is good they lean (face) towards each other. I agree with the center shift (moving the tower to the left side of the apartment building), rather than the tower going straight down to the retailers.”

Malmud is still concerned about the design of the top, which Bland has not decided upon as of yet.

Robert Greer said, “The combination of vertical and levels makes the building(s) look less massive. The vertical (tower) could be different colors.”




FROM THE FRED BLAND SKETCH BOOK: Actual sketch of the Hanging Gardens of Bland that shows how one set of windows serves 2 floors. Note penthouse pinnacle at top where custom luxury suites are envisioned. Colors appearing are not suggested and are a result of retouching for display purposes only.WPCNR PHOTO

William King demurred to praise as much, saying, “I don’t think the buildings need to be redone. I don’t like white-gray (Bland’s suggested color combination).” King asked Bland, “Are you aware of Mr. Cappelli’s later designs?”

Bland said he had only seen the first set of designs Cappelli had originally done. King expressed Bland should look at the latest ones because “We shouldn’t be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”




THE CAPPELLI TOWER DESIGN NOW HISTORY: The most favored Cappeli Tower design that the Common Council rejected September 4. WPCNR PHOTO

Pauline Oliva, weighing in, said, “You’ve been more sensitive to some of our city architecture, the Westchester Arts Council Building, City Hall, and the Greenpoint Bank Building. I feel it blends in.”

Larry Delgado observed, “We’re going in the right direction,” but worried whether the new design would “stand the test of time.” Mr. Bland said he could not guarantee that.

Benjamin Boykin II, wrapped up comments of the Council by reporting, “You’ve done a wonderful job on two things, redesigning the aesthetics of the building and making it look smaller.”

He also worried about the materials, and whether Cappelli would restrain Bland in any way on costs.

Cappelli opens checkbook again.

Cappelli smiling magnanimously said, “Fred has a free hand. I’m not restraining him in any way.”

Cappelli then renewed his pleas issued in his opening monologue at 8:15 AM: “Just the last thing I want is to get an approval and not to get my financing. Find us a way to achieve a great building, but give us a way to get financing on the project (next week).”

Breaking for comments

Susan Habel wrapped up the proceedings by advising the Council they could vote to approve the amended site plan Thursday evening as scheduled, and retain architectural control of the residential towers by granting what she called “an approval with conditions.”

Then the boards met separately in various chambers of City Hall to marshal their comments on the designs to offer a consensus of whether the design Bland presented was acceptable.

Late Monday afternoon, WPCNR has learned that the boards had returned a favorable enough response to proceed with the Thursday meeting. The Mayor’s office refused to comment on what they called “procedural issues.”

The procedure of how various Boards’ commentaries are going to be integrated in relation to the amended site plan for Council approval Thursday evening has not been reported yet by the Mayor’s office.

Bland said he had had only about three days to do the designs, and Cappelli said that he had worked with Bland in his home Friday in working on the new design.

The Council vote on the amended site plan approval for the City Center project is to be held Thursday evening at 7:30 PM.

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Lousy Cop – Until You Need Me!

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Well Mr. Citizen, I guess you have figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the categery you place me in. I’m stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I’m the “lousy” Cop.

Unfortunately, the reverse isn’t true. I can never figure you out.

From birth you teach your children that I am a person to be wary of, and then you’re shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy, the criminal.

You accuse me of coddling juvenile criminals, until I catch your kid doing something.

You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer if you see me having just one cup, even if it is the middle of the night when my family is home sleeping without me.

You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals with your troubles.

You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I’m picking on you.

You know all the traffic laws, but never got a ticket you deserved.

You shout “foul!” if you observe me driving fast en route to an emergency call, but literally raise hell if I take more than ten seconds responding to your call.

You call it “part of my job” if someone strikes me. But its “police brutality” if I strike back.

You wouldn’t think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are always willing to give me pointers on how to do my job.

You talk to me in a manner and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand there and take it without batting an eye.

You cry, “something has to be done about all the crime!” but you can’t be bothered with getting involved.

You’ve got no use for me at all, but, of course, it’s OK if I change a tire for your wife, deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car on the way to the hospital, arrest the neighbors kid for damaging your property, save your son’s life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or work many hours overtime to find your lost daughter.

So, Dear Citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, your property, your family, or maybe your life might depend on one thing – me, or one of my buddies.

Yes, me, the “lousy Cop.”

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Moving Candlelight Walk: Thousands Throng Main from Bank to Broadway

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They carried flags, “thank you signs,” and lit candles. They came from all races, ranks and religions to walk, remember and celebrate what it means to be an American and prayed for America’s future on the White Plains Candlelight Walk Sunday night
Police estimated a crowd approaching 8,000 persons gathered at the White Plains Railroad Station and marched shoulder to shoulder, Black to White, Hispanic to Hassidim, Italian to Jew, Arab-to-Asian, Old-and-Young, American-to-American in a solemn, uplifting remembrance and rededication to America’s future.

Candlelight March on Main

The White Plains Candlelight Walk staggered city officials with the streaming turnout filling the broad Main Street boulevard with ranks of 30 to 40 persons shoulder-to-shoulder all the way from the City Hall steps to Bank Street.

By 7:15 PM the parking lot below the clock tower at the railroad station was filled, and still they came. Every race, every creed. Neighbors greeting each other. Shaking hands. Some carried signs. Some carried flags. Some brought their own candles, but they came. They walked. Pushed strollers. Children did not cry or misbehave. Persons said “Excuse me,” and smiled at each other. They knew this was important.





WHITE PLAINS REMEMBERS:Crowds milling at White Plains Railroad Station at twilight, awaiting start of Sunday evening’s Candlelight Walk to Remember the victims of the Trade Center catastrophe. WPCNR PHOTO

A disciplined group

They lit each others’ candles. At 7:35 PM they began to walk slowly south on Bank Street filling the broad cross street with quiet, orderly, confident humanity. For such a large crowd, they were serious and stalwart.

Some carried signs reading “Thank You White Plains Bravest and Finest,” and “Thank you Fire and Police.” They sang impromptu versions of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” waving their flags. Their spirits were steady. Their pride high. No fear. Their love of country and fellow Americans was glowing.

The city stops for a remembrance

As dusk stole velvetly over the streets with an orange sun receding to the West, traffic on Hamilton Avenue stopped for this long freight train of White Plains citizens. They took 30 minutes to reach City Hall, and still, from this reporter’s vantage, reached back to Bank Street.

There was no honking of horns from stopped autombiles. No animosity. Motorists recognized something special: thousands of tentative, yet determined steps of America on the way back were being taken.

The City Clergy in a remarkable ceremony

At the City Hall steps, with Main Street jammed with humanity, a quiet, respectful crowd drew close to the old neo-classic columned brick fa├žade. They waved flags, their candles in their hands glowed like they do at a Meadowlands concert.





MAYOR DELFINO OVERWHELMED: The Mayor stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Councilpersons, city clergy, choir, and dignataries, saying “God will get us through,” at the conclusion of the historic and moving White Plains Candlelight Walk on the steps of old City Hall. WPCNR PHOTO

Mayor Joseph Delfino welcomed the multitudes thanking all for coming, thanking the White Plains firemen and policemen for their efforts the past week, but his remarks were hard to hear. Somehow you did not have to hear them. Everyone understood what he was saying. Everyone felt it, too. I did.

The Mayor was surrounded by a host of the White Plains clergy from many churches behind him. The men and women of the cloth had assembled at his call to present an ecumenical service of remembrance and prayer for the victims of the World Trade Center disaster. There was a chorale group and ensemble. But, I cannot tell you who they are at this point.

The message you heard even if you could not hear it

There were no news releases or media briefs at this gathering. No text of the Mayor’s remarks was handed out. He did not make many. It was not that kind of event. It was regretfully special. You did not need to know who was offering the prayers, rabbi or priest, minister or pastor.

The different prayers and appropriate hymns rose on the cool early autumn night echoing skyward, warming hearts, and somehow fit splendidly meaningfully together. The White Plains clergy, in this reporter’s opinion, should do this more often under pleasanter circumstances. It was very special and so right.

The impromptu public address system could not be heard clearly beyond 100 feet. However, the people of White Plains listened and soaked in the spirit of the sweetly sung entreaties to The Almighty, with no catcalls, no disrespect, dedication and silent endorsement of the message. Children did not cry.

A moving sequence

The most moving sequence of the service occurred when each Man and Woman of God voiced a prayerful sentiment and the ensemble sang “Lord, listen to your children preying.” It was a White Plains “Moment to Remember.”

The service concluded with the throng singing “We Shall Overcome.” After several moving choruses with the multitude of citizens swaying together, the final stanza which goes “We Shall Stand Together,” closed the old 60s protest song with a roll of applause and cheers.

The Mayor rallies the crowd

Mayor Delfino came to the podium. With clergy, councilpersons, and congresspersons to his right and left, spoke proudly and earnestly to the crowd:

“Never would I have believed that we’d have such a turnout. I am overwhelmed, this is truly the greatest community in America,” and went on to thank all the city’s clergy for coming together for the service, saying that “God would get us through.”

The Mayor said that there was a Remembrance Book in the City Hall rotunda, which would be placed in the White Plains Public Library for all to sign. The Mayor announced this because not all of the thousands could march into the rotunda to sign it that evening, which brought one of the few laughs of the night.

Everyone leaves with a sense of a job to be done

The remarkable evening of remembrance and renewal closed with a rousing singing of “God Bless America,” with outstanding voices from the steps of City Hall, helping the citizens out with the second and third verses.

The crowd slowly dispersed.

They returned to cars, parents pushing strollers, couples arms over shoulders. Old city and county political rivals often adversaries, shook hands on the City Hall steps.

Some young persons in their 20s stood in front of the fenced off E J Conroy Drive, and, impromptu, shouted “USA,USA!” Then they changed what they were chanting. They crossed their hearts and began to recite, in unison: “The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag,” getting every word right with dignity and dedication.

You should have been there.

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