Shocker: Homes Purchased for Illegal Housing. Binder, Sheehan Intro New Law.

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WPCNR NORTH END NEWS. By John F. Bailey. October 8, 2003: Jeffrey Binder and Tim Sheehan, official Republican Candidates for Common Council announced that the Building Department of White Plains has identified a turn for the worse in the city’s hot illegal housing market yesterday: Owners are purchasing homes in neighborhoods and turning them into illegal rooming houses they operate in a manner that makes it very hard for the Safe Housing Task Force to find grounds to close them down.




The two Council Candidates have drafted legislation with teeth to combat what they describe as “a quality of life assault on our residential neighborhoods.” Calling their legislation, “The White Plains Neighborhood Protection Act 2003,” they introduced the legislation to media Wednesday and hope the Common Council will adapt it within six months. “Whether we’re elected or not, this must be done,” Binder said.


The pair interviewed at Republican Headquarters said they had long been aware of the problem, but were galvanized into action to draft this legislation by  a North Broadway Civic Association meeting last week. At that meeting, they said, a representative of the White Plains Building Department identified a new trend among owners seeking to exploit persons in need of housing.


The New Tenements: Block by Block


Here’s how the landlord scheme works according to Sheehan: An owner  purchases a home in a neighborhood, fixes it up (divides it by rooms) and rents it out to persons unrelated, charging up to a dozen or more individuals $500 or more each to live in the home. This house-stuffing creates a lucrative handle of $6,000 or more a month revenue, more than enough to pay mortgages and clear a profit. At the present fine level, Sheehan says, the revenues cover any fines easily.


Sheehan said, these housing exploiters next step is to “cherry pick” homes in the same neighborhood, striking deals with homeowners next door to their purchase, and populating those homes with as many as a dozen residents or more. Sheehan and Binder said two such homes were pointed out by the Building Department on Holland Avenue, and another on Benedict Avenue as two examples of this trend.


Such Good Neighbors


Landlords purchase a home, fix it up, keep the lawn cut, and charge persons $500 a month for a room in this house, Sheehan explained. “They can’t be touched by safety issues because they keep the home neat on the exterior, keep the garbage unobtrusive, don’t have a lot of cars parked in the driveways, not a lot of coming and goings, eliminating the common tip-offs to illegal housing. The owners even run vans to pick up and drop off their illegal tenants.”


“If White Plains is ever to shed its reputation as being a haven for unscrupulous landlords that prey on hard working people by offering substandard and overcrowded living accommodations within single family homes, it will enact this reform immediately. We are confident that our superb Buildings Department and Office of Corporation Counsel can work together, finalize this proposal forthwith and present it to the Common Council for approval,” Binder and Sheehan said in a written statement.


Neighborhood Protection Act: Tool to Shut Them Down Based on Numbers

Hike Fines to $1,000 a Day.


Sheehan and Binder said their Act  gives the city a tool to crack down on filled-to-the-brim single family homes by redefining the definition of what constitutes a family based on recent court decisions and the approach that has worked for the City of Poughkeepsie.


It also will raise the minimum fine for homeowners in violation to $1,000 a day up to $3,000 a day for landlords. Sheehan and Binder pointed out fines now at $500 have not been raised by the Common Council since 1989.


Not aimed at Group Homes. Aimed at groups of Unrelated Individuals Who Do Not Pool Resources.


Asked if this legislation would be used to keep such operations as Group Homes for the handicapped, (a technique used by White Plains own Zoning Board of Appeals to overturn a Building Department permit issued to the Jewish Board of Childrens and Family Services to renovate a home for parentless teens last spring on Walworth Avenue), Sheehan and Binder said that it would not, saying the legislation in the City of Poughkeepsie follows the definition of recent court decisions defining a family as:

  1. A single housekeeping unit.
  2. More or less permanent living arrangement.
  3. Stable, rather than transient living arrangements (except where the handicapped are affected)
  4. A group headed by a householder caring for a reasonable number of children as one would be likely to find in a biologically unitary family.


Landlord must prove his or her residents are a family.


Sheehan said most groups homes pool the income resources of residents. All live together and eat commonly and the meals are prepared from a single kitchen. 


Sheehan explained the owner of an illegal rooming house would have “the burden” of proving to the Building Department that they meet the standards set by zoning regulations to show they are a “functionally equivalent family.”


Rooming Houses Must Meet The Family Test.


Sheehan said the White Plains Neighborhood Protection Act is based on the recently upheld Poughkeepsie ordinance.


According to their news release, Poughkeepsie “in its definition of family, contains a rebuttable presumption that 4 or more unrelated persons living in a single dwelling do not constitute the functional equivalent of a traditional family. The ordinance provides an opportunity for applicants to convince the Zoning Administrator that the group is the functional equivalent of a traditional family.


Family Factors


The factors that the rooming house owner would have to prove in order to have their tenants qualify as family are the following:


  1. Tenants share the entire house.
  2.  Tenants live and cook together as a single housekeeping unit.
  3. Tenants share expenses for food, rent, utilities or other household expenses.
  4. Tenants are permanent and stable.


Sheehan and Binder said the legislation would be enforced through Due Process at a Hearing, and there would be no action on residents of such homes without notice. Targeted rooming houses would be issued a “Show Cause” order as the first step.


Poughkeepsie Law On Books Since 1994. Council Could Have Acted.


Their news release on the legislation claims that “if introduced, and enacted by the Common Council, this legislation will have a direct, immediate, and beneficial impact on White Plains neighborhoods like Fischer Hill, Battle Hill, and the North Broadway area – all besieged by unscrupulous landlords who overcrowd single family homes in residential areas with tenancies of unrelated people.”


Binder said, “This legislation is symbolic of what our candidacy is attempting to do with the Commoun Council, wake up the Common Council. The Poughkeepsie ordinance has been on the books  since 1994, (when it was upheld by the Appellate Court) and the Council could have moved any time (to revise the White Plains Zoning Ordinance) in the last 9 years.”


Binder and Sheehan said their White Plains  Neighborhood Protection Act of 2003 has been endorsed by Mayor Joseph Delfino and deemed feasible by the City Corporation Counsel, Edward Dunphy. Sheehan called WPCNR to clarify that Mayor Delfino “supported” the idea of the legislation, saying “endorse” was too strong a word, and that though Mr. Dunphy thought the concept of the legislation was workable, Dunphy had not seen the draft of the legislation

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White Plains Announces 16 2004 National Merit Contenders

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From Michelle Schoenfeld. October 9, 2003: Sixteen White Plains High School seniors have been recognized in the 2004 National Merit  Scholarship Program. The three students named Semi-Finalists are: Jennifer Estrada, Gregory Hack and Asuka Nakamura. They now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for Finalist status, on the basis of their SAT scores, academic records and
principal recommendations.

Fewer than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors were named
Semi-Finalists in this 49-year-old program.

Thirteen students were named National Merit Scholarship Commended Students
on the basis  of their outstanding performance on the qualifying test last October. They
are: Wendy Culp, Michael Fabiani, Joshua Goodman, Camille Herland, Jenna Lowy, Sean Mascali,
Yong Nie, Sarah  Pickman, Yu Shi, Aditya Shirali, Jaclyn Sperling, Diana Whitaker and Allison

Three students were named Semifinalists in the 2004 National Achievement
Scholarship Program, an academic competition for Black American high school students,
sponsored by the  National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They are: Kendall Alexander, Camille
Marquis and Tamiko Younge.

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Council Treads Water. Bar Guerrillas Rally. Cappelli: “I Won’t Build Second Rate

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WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE. By John F. Bailey. October 8, 2003: The public hearing on the 221 Main Street Cappelli-Bland Hotel & Office project continued Tuesday evening, initial enthusiasm for the project visibly waning as Common Council members Benjamin Boykin (up for election), Robert Greer (also up for election), Rita Malmud, Tom Roach, and William King (with 84 days to go as a Councilperson), all vowed Louis Cappelli’s second major White Plains project was “not a done deal,” and said there were a lot of questions that had to be answered, among them traffic, density, building height, Bar Building fate, and sewage contributions of the project.

During the hearing, a series of supporters of retaining the Bar Building as part of the project, aired their views. Carl Finger the attorney for the owners of the Bar Building, went on record saying “The building is not for sale.”  Finger said the Longhitanos have their own proposal for upgrading the Bar Building, telling WPCNR in the rotunda after the meeting that the makeover had been submitted to the city, but had not been presented to the Common Council yet.


In addition, in his public remarks, Finger said the owners of the Bar Building would develop Mr. Cappelli’s 221 Main property differently more in keeping with open space desires, lower density, and use that the city appears to desire. Asked if the Longhitanos (Frank and Tony, owners) were negotiating to buy the 221 Main property from Mr. Cappelli, Finger said no. Asked if they would in the future, he said he would have to ask. He said no negotiations of any kind on the Bar Building had taken place with Mr. Cappelli.


Louis Cappelli, the 16th speaker of 20 to address the city fathers and mother, had heard enough from a majority of speakers, hearing from “The Bar-ists” about the 1,000 tenants of the Bar Building being displaced and losing their jobs. Cappelli, with great gravity, obviously weary from the City Center construction marathon just completed that very evening, said, for the last 18 months he had been working to build the City Center and make it a showplace the city could be proud. He said, “The Bar Building certainly can be saved, but I won’t. For the last 18 months I have been in business building City Center. I don’t intend to build something (at 221 Main) second rate.”


Cappelli slowly pointed out that those jobs won’t be lost, saying “There is tons of office space in White Plains…they’re (jobs) are not lost. They relocate toother places in White Plains. My project will bring 4.3 Million in sales taxes a year and 2,000 new jobs, and the Bar Building, $130,000. I don’t see how anybody can ignore that.”

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Target Opens Ahead of Schedule. Theatres Set for Mid-November

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WPCNR MAIN STREET LINE. By John F. Bailey. October 8, 2003 UPDATED WITH PICTURES AND INTERVIEW 10: 15 A.M. E.D.T.: White Plains first Target opened to a guest list of shoppers Tuesday evening at 6 PM, with Mayor Joseph Delfino doing the honors and the Super Developer, Louis Cappelli proudly meeting the first of a wave of City Center “target” dates 5 days ahead of schedule.

BULLSEYE! City Center opened Target Tuesday evening to invited shoppers who browsed the aisles, made purchases in the spacious, inviting Target environment. Photo by WPCNR News.


CAPPELLI KEEPS HIS PROMISE: All gleaming and feeling good about itself, City Center debuted Tuesday night, with the City Center garage open for parking via Main Street, the plaza freshly panted with shrubery and trees and understated elegance. Photos by WPCNR News.


The City Center Garage on Martine Avenue has been turned over to the White Plains Parking Authority and 7 floors are open for parking to the public, according to Louis Cappelli. Entrance to the garage can be gained from Main Street traveling from the West, shown at the left, and turning right into the renamed already-elegant “City Plaza,” or via Martine Avenue motoring from the East. A stream of invited guests parked, strolled on in to a brightly lit, spic and span, and gleaming lobby and escalator entrance.

Enter Target from Street Level, by strolling in to City Plaza, strolling in the lobby and descending the fast-moving escalators. Photo by WPCNR News


Watch those escalators, though they are silent and lightning fast, and efficient just like everything Louis Cappelli touches. Steve Morton, chatting with this reporter, said City Center workers were toiling up until 1 in the morning over last weekend getting the City Plaza and the lobbies ready.


Target according to two newly employed store clerks is open 7 days a week, 8 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Saturday, and from 8 AM to 9 PM on Sunday. Regarding the Target personnel, Benjamin Boykin, Common Council President singled out one young man as a new employee of Target, who lives in White Plains, “This is what it’s all about. It’s about jobs.”


The Target store is huge, taking up the entire below street level floor of the City Center with quality merchandise we are told by a shopper for less. Our impression was you needed more signs for direction since the store is square in layout, but this is a minor quibble. Target gives you more aisle space than the K-Mart over on Route 119 and is a pleasant stroll. There is a Pizza Hut outlet at the entrance to refresh you after the long trek through the aisles.

THE SUPER DEVELOPER & CREW COME THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE: Louis Cappelli in a quiet reflective moment at the Target Store opening. Cappelli said Circuit City, one floor up from Target would be open for business Thursday of this week. He noted that the Performing Arts Center on the Fourth floor would be opening November 8, followed by the National Amusements movies in mid-November, as City Center ramps up. Photo by WPCNR News


In an impromptu interview, Louis Cappelli held court. He noted that his 221 Main Cappelli-Bland Hotel project which continued public hearings Tuesday evening would generate $5 Million a year in sales tax revenues to the city, and the hotel, $100 Million of lodgings and the city would get $8 million of that, comparing that “handle” to the Bar Building annual taxes to the city of $130,000. “It’s up to the city what they want to do,” he said.

When asked if he could save the Bar Building facade, gut the interior and preserve the architecture, Cappelli said, “yes, someone could do that,” and generously allowed that it was an alternative.  

Cappelli wanted to talk about the City Center and 221 Main sewage impacts. He brought up the City Center and 221 Main contribution to the City’s Main Street sewer line, telling WPCNR that Mike Divney of Divney, Tung, Schwalbe, had complete a new study of projected City Center and 221 Main effluent flows, which Cappelli said showed that “even after 221 goes online, the city sewer pipe would still be filled to 70% of capacity.

In another aside, Mr. Cappelli confirmed that he was getting married this Saturday in the Bahamas to Ms. Kylie Travis, the actress. 


THE GRAND LOBBY of CITY CENTER LAST NIGHT, ALL DRESSED UP:  At top of the picture is the Movie Floor, under construction. In center, is the third retail floor, not completed. Photo by WPCNR News.


A CLEAN, WELL-LIT NEW CITY PARKING FACILITY OPENS:  At left is how the new City Center Garage looked Tuesday evening as it received cars for the Target opening. At right, is what shoppers see as they stroll in from the parking level at the left. Photo by WPCNR News.

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Spano to Brodsky: Make Dorm Authority Pay the $42MM

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           WPCNR WESTCHESTER COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From Department of Communications. October 7, 2003:  Saying Westchester taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of massive mistakes by a state agency on the courthouse project, County Executive Andy Spano today called for state legislation to force the responsible state agency to pay for the $42 million in cost overruns.

In a letter sent today, Spano asked state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky to introduce a bill to force the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) to foot the bill. Spano said he hoped that all other members of the Westchester delegation to the state Legislature would join in the effort as well.

“The overruns must be borne by the party primarily responsible – the project manager, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York,” Spano said.

In a separate matter – to emphasize the point that this courthouse is not a Westchester County government facility – Spano today proposed legislation to rename the courthouse the Richard J. Daronco New York State Courthouse, Westchester County, NY. Currently, it is called the Richard J. Daronco County Courthouse, or informally, the county courthouse.

“This is a symbolic gesture to make it clear that this project is not a Westchester County government project and that this courthouse is beyond the control of Westchester County,” Spano said.     

Last month, state Comptroller Alan Hevesi and State Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman issued separate reports dealing with the courthouse project.

·        According to Hevesi’s report, “The Dormitory Authority bears a significant responsibility” for the overruns on what was supposed to have been a $140 million project.  Hevesi said it was appropriate that county taxpayers foot the bill for the original project but that “asking them to pay the full $51.5 million for the overruns and mistakes is not.” Hevesi said the Authority should pay for the costs of the overruns.

·        Judge Lippman said the overruns “are primarily attributable to deficiencies” in the plan developed before Spano took office and “ineffective management of key project developments” by DASNY.


Lippman, however, ordered the county to pay for the overruns, threatening to divert a comparable amount of state aid (for other programs) from the county to pay for the courthouse if the county does not come up with the money by Nov. 14.

According to Lippman, the Dormitory Authority lacks the power on its own to give Westchester the funds to pay for the overruns. For that reason, Spano is asking Brodsky to sponsor the legislation to empower the authority to foot the bill for the problems it created.

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Ebersole Ice Rink Opening Delayed Due to Leak

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WPCNR PRESS BOX. By John F. Bailey. October 7, 2003: The White Plains Ebersole Rink scheduled to open for the season this Friday October 10 will be delayed for a week and a half due to an undetermined leak in the rink’s icemaking system. Rink maintenance crews discovered the leak when the ice was frozen for the first time last week, said Debra Clay, Deputy Commissioner of Recreation and Parks Monday.

Clay said the Department of Public Works is calling in Arctic Air to troubleshoot the system to discover the source of the leak, and said she expected the rink to open by October 20.

She said that ice skating classes and group lessons scheduled to begin next week were expected to be made up during the skating season.

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WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-JOURNAL. From the CSEA. October 7, 2003: Diane Hewitt, Southern Region President of CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000, Gary Conley, President of CSEA Westchester Local 860 and Jack McPhillips, President of CSEA Westchester County Unit 9200, today announced the union’s endorsements for the Westchester County Legislature elections.

The endorsed candidates, listed by legislative district, are as follows:

District 1: George Oros (R)
District 2: No endorsement
District 3: John Nonna (D)
District 4: Mark Fang (R)
District 5: William Ryan (D)
District 6: No endorsement
District 7: No endorsement
District 8: No endorsement
District 9: No endorsement
District 10: No endorsement
District 11: James Maisano (R)
District 12: Tom Abinanti (D)
District 13: No endorsement
District 14: Bernice Spreckman (R)
District 15: Louis Mosiello (R)
District 16: No endorsement
District 17: Jose Alvarado (D)

All 17 legislative district seats face election on November 4 to two-year terms. The endorsed candidates have received CSEA’s endorsement for election after a thorough review process that included interviews with the CSEA Westchester Local 860 Political Action Committee, a body that includes Conley, McPhillips and other officers from both Westchester Local 860 and the Westchester County Unit. The union bases its endorsements on candidates’ support for and willingness to fight for issues that impact working families.

“I’m proud to support these candidates, and they should be proud to have earned our union approval,” Hewitt said. “ They now have the support of the workers who plow our roads on Christmas Day, who keep our schools clean and safe for our kids, who care for our poor and elderly, and who provide the countless other services necessary to keep this county running. These candidates truly support working families.”

“CSEA’s support has made the difference between winning or losing elections in several cases,” Conley said. “ We are 14,000 members strong in Westchester. As public employees, we struggle to provide needed and quality services to all residents. In return, we expect our elected leaders to fight for us as public servants, active community members and taxpayers. James Maisano, Bill Ryan, Jose Alvarado and our other endorsed candidates have proven themselves by fighting on our behalf. It’s unfortunate that too many others have taken our work – and our support – for granted. They failed to earn our endorsement.”

“Candidates all pretend to be our best friend, but when times get tough, they hide behind delays and lip service,” McPhillips said. “My members are tired of excuses on why politicians broke their promises and couldn’t help workers and working families. We know and trust those candidates we’ve endorsed. For those we didn’t and have endorsed in the past, they must regain and earn that trust through action, not excuses.”

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The Bradleys Welcome a Daughter.

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS GOOD NEWS. From Maureen Keating Tsuchiya. October 4, 2003: Assemblyman Adam Bradley of White Plains and his wife, Fumi, are the new parents of a baby girl, born Friday evening at Greenwhich Hospital. The new First Lady is named Fiona Matusnaga Bradley, weighing six pounds, 15 ounces. Ms. Keating-Tsuchiya reports ” Everyone is doing well and they should be going home tomorrow afternoon (Sunday).”

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Vitanza’s Fumble Recovery, Ridenhour’s 1st Downs, Smalls Snares Key 35-13 Win

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WPCNR PRESS BOX. By John F. Bailey. October 4, 2003: White Plains held off Mount Vernon, 35-13 after Joe Vitanza recovered a key fumble in the last minutes of the game Saturday afternoon with the Tigers leading 21-13 which lead to a  53 yard pass to Ryan Smalls to set up the clinching touchdown.

White Plains achieved their fifth consecutive victory, remaining undefeated.

Spencer Ridenhour’s guts and power chewed out two key third down first downs deep in Tiger territory just prior to stem Mount Vernon’s momentum. In the first half, Ryan Smalls set up the second Tiger TD with a spectacular catch at the 3 yard line. Earlier Mike Devere connected on a sensational 50 yard touchdown pass to Evan McGuire for the Tigers’ first score. White Plains lead 21-0 at one point, but touchdown passes at the close of the first half and midway through the third quarter got Mount Vernon back in the game.

SNAG, LAND, SPIN, BULL AND DRAG: Greg Harris of Mount Vernon is trying to bring down the relentless Ryan Smalls in First Quarter Action at Memorial Stadium in Mount Vernon Saturday. Smalls has just leapt high at the 10 yard line to snare a Mike Devere pass, spun as he landed, eluded two tacklers, on his way to the 3 yard line. Ryan’s magnificent extension set up the Tigers second touchdown. The big cats held on to win 35-13.  Evan McGuire is just behind Smalls, Joe Vitanza (Number 75) watches Smalls punish the Knights secondary.Photo by WPCNR Sports.

This was a strange game on a brooding, overcast afternoon before about 500 fans who watched a game many thought would never end.


White Plains had a 21-0 lead midway through the Second Quarter thanks to three “ Tiger bust-a-move” plays. The Memorial Stadium scoreboard was not operating and time was loosely kept on the field by the officiating crew once the Tigers moved ahead by three touchdowns. All three quarters after the first quarter seemed to last a very long time, and appeared to be at least 5 minutes longer than the regulation 12 minutes.


A Tiger Test


Coming into the game, the Tigers were wary of Mount Vernon, but stopped the Purple Knights cold on their first series. A 15 knot breeze blew out of the South under the overcast  to begin the game and would complicate the afternoon, knocking down  Jason Indelicato’s punts into the wind, and making Mike Devere’s passes with the wind, sail.


 The Tigers’ field position game was severely challenged. As it turned out the Tigers had to win this game by making first downs late and making two huge plays with less than 4 minutes to go to ice the game that the officials seemed to be enjoying so much they never ran the clock.


Like Patterson and Basilio


The first quarter began with the teams wary and feeling each other out like the Floyd Patterson and Carmen Basilio fight. (Where Patterson started slowly and knocked down Basilio in the early rounds, piling up points early.)


The Tigers moved to their 48 on their first possession, only to have Mike Devere sacked on his first pass attempt on first down, moving the ball back to the Tiger 43.  A pitch to Ryan Smalls only got them back to the 49 and Indelicato punted to the Mount Vernon 16.


On the Knights’ second series, Joe Vitanza sacked Marquis Long back at the 10. Indelicato and “Rumbles” Robles then stopped Vernon for no gain, and a third down run got them back to the 19. Mount Vernon got off a terrific punt. Mike “Night Train” Lane took it on his own 38, deked and juked 12 yards to the 50 yard line.


Devere Calls in an Overhand Left.


The Devere Squadron strikes without warning.  On first down, QB Lefty Devere, the long tall tactician smoothly fakes a handoff to his right, holds the ball on his left hip with Ridenhour acting perfectly, while Devere pivots 360 degrees, looks straight over the middle, fires an overhand left strike to tight end Evan McGuire running a post pattern right through the middle of the secondary.


As Evan splits the safeties cheating up close to stop what they think is Spencer Ridenhour running on first down, he turns and takes the pass shoulder high and is GONE right down the middle for 6 points. It is a 50 yard touchdown pass, and Evan’s second touchdown reception of the season.


Pablo “The New Toe” Siaba splits the uprights and the Tigers have a 7-0 midway through the first quarter. The Grandstand Offensive Coordinators who convoyed from White Plains are stunned. So is Mount Vernon. It looks like Gorton and Lincoln all over again. Little did they know.


“The Prosecutor” Stops a Drive and Completes a Haymaker.


Mount Vernon returns the kickoff to their 35, and a 15 yard flat pass sets them up with a first down on the 50, with Spencer Ridenhour pushing the offending receiver out at midfield. Two plays later, after a penalty made it 3rd and 17 on the 40, “The Prosecutor” Ryan Smalls issues his first indictment of the proceeding.


 He blitzes in on Marquis Long the Knights quarterback  from the right side and subpoenaes  the QB chasing him back to the 30 yard line. The Knights punt from the 30, only getting off a 20 yard punt into the wind and Ryan Smalls returns the ball to the Mount Vernon 43, as the first quarter ended and the Tigers turned it around and were going into the South wind, moving left right.


Devere then pitched back to Ridenhour who dashed to the Knights 33. A Devere Pass to Smalls at the goaline sailed on him due to the wind. A run by Smalls failed to gain and it was third down and 10, White Plains from the Mount Vernon 30.


Another “Bust-a-Move” play on Third Down.


Devere moves back with style into the pocket like a minister in a pulpit and lofts a floating Y.A. Tittle alley-oop pass intended for Ryan Smalls at the 10 on the sideline, far side.


Ryan goes high, two arms up. Two defenders go up with him. The Smalls kid comes down wrestling the ball from the defenders and miraculously keeps his feet. He churns, spins, lunges away from them and drags them with him to the Mount Vernon 5. It is a first down. It is another “Smalls Snare to Share” and the Tigers are in business on the 5.


TouchDOWN! TouchDOWN! QB Devere handed off to Spencer Ridenhour for a routine blast up the middle for the touchDOWN after Ryan Smalls Third Down Grab and Drag. The Tiger front line of  Joe Vitanza, Smalls, Robles was just blowing the Vernons off the ball in this first 20 minutes. Siaba rung up the point and it was 14-0 with about 9 minutes to go in the first half. Photo by WPCNR Sports




Raeshoon Foote will have to forgive me that subhead, because the  senior fullback made the next “Bust-A-Move.”


Mount Vernon’s Greg Harris caught the Tiger coverage on the far side of the field on the ensuing kick off and seemed long gone for a kickoff return but Keith Shaw and Mike Lane out ran him and shoved him out of bounds at the Tiger 23. Mount Vernon needed a score now and Lane and Shaw made a great save. White Plains causes a fumbled snap by Marquis Long on the first down and it is second down 15 on the Tiger 29. It looks as if Vernon is going to get back in the game.


Again Marquis Long drops back, but the Tigers are coming bowling aside the blockers. Long retreats, holding the ball one-handed and Raeshoone Foote and Evan McGuire have him on the run…McGuire tears the ball out of his hand from behind. Long drops the ball, frantically trying to dive on it.


He can’t get it.  He falls by the wayside into turf, but Raeshone Foote picks it up on the 40  and starts rumblin’ stumblin’and steamin’ with it towards the South End of the Stadium. They’re not going to get him, and Raeshone rambles in for a 60 yard touchdown fumble recovery. It is a big play as it turned out. Pablo Siaba converted and the score was 21-0 with what we thought was 5 minutes to go in the half. Easy right?


Photo by WPCNR Sports


Mount Vernon Gets Up off the Canvas


The clock being kept by the referees seemed to crawl. Mount Vernon was able to get off 14 plays in those last 5 minutes. Finally with 2nd and 15 on the White Plains 45, Marquis Long hit Greg Harris all alone behind the Tiger secondary the far side at the Tiger 5. He waltzed in for the touchdown, which with the point made it 21-7,White Plains at the half.


Third Quarter Moves Slower. Seconds last minutes.


White Plains started with the ball in the second half, and could not move it. Neither could Mount Vernon. Again White Plains could only move the ball to their 16 and punted into the wind short and Mount Vernon took over with a first down at the Tiger 45. On third down on the Tiger 37, a run around left end by Greg Harris gave MV a first and goal on the Tiger 9. On third and goal, Long threw a screen pass to Harris in the left flat near sideline and he walked into the endzone, for the touchdown that made it 21-13. The kick failed, but with short time left in the third quarter, the Tigers had to move the ball.


4th Quarter Drama


Ater two plays from the White Plains 34, the third quarter ended. White Plains, punting with the wind this time was forced to punt, and the Purple Knights had a chance to get the tying touchdown as they set up on their own 30. It was a 35-yard punt from scrimmage by Indelicato and White Plains needed it.


Mount Vernon made a first down on the 43, and White Plains defense  held at 3rd and 6 on the MV 48 as Spencer Ridenhour and Ryan Smalls combined for a chase and sack.


On the ensuing punt Mike Lane returned the ball nicely to the 18  out of trouble but a very questionable “immaculate clip” penalty put the Tigers back on their own 8 yard line. Any mistake here with about 6 minutes to go, and Mount Vernon could tie it with a 2-point conversion, or at least get the ball in great position.


Ridenhour to the Rescue: 2 Third Down Classics.


Ridenhour lugged the ball off tackle to the 16 on the first play. A pass to Ryan Smalls over the middle was incomplete almost picked. It was 3rd and 2 from the Tiger 16. Devere handed to Ridenhour and he moved the mess of tacklers very close to a first down.


Officials called for a measurement. Silence descended. The chains could not be shortened.  Mike Devere signaled first down! Then the Ref signaled. Spencer had gotten the first down by the nose of the football. First and 10 on the White Plains 18. Four more downs. Word was there was two minutes to go.


Ike Nduka carried for 4 yards. Devere dropped back looked far left had Evan McGuire out there on the far sideline 20 yards downfield but Evan turned the wrong way. It was again third down, and a long 6.


Moving the Chains


Devere handed off to Mr. Touchdown. With Vitanza and Smalls clearing the right side Spencer deftly cleared secondary before they cut him down again very very close to the first down.


The lead stick came down, and Ridenhour again had gotten a first down by a nose. By this point we thought it was time for White Plains to take a knee. Playing with house money, Ike Nduka carried for 4,  then carried again for what seemed like a backbreaker gain to the Tiger 45





But suddenly the official was signaling first down Mount Vernon after Nduka was down. The Knights got it back with another chance to tie.


On the first down from the White Plains 45, Marquis Long made his third muffed snap of the day handed off and a scramble ensued at the line. The signal was first down the other way. Joe Indelicato was on his back, and we could not see who for White Plains recovered the giveback. In the postgame, Indelicato said it was Joe Vitanza. A kicksave and a beauty. First down White Plains on their own 45.


Smalls Shocker!


After what had  seemed like an eternity since the “immaculate clip” call and Ridenhour’s guts third down conversions, Devere took a snap and casually dropped back, looking right, on first down, looking DEEP, real deep.


Down there deep at the Mount Vernon 15 is Ryan Smalls ahead of his defender. He turns to his left gathers in the beauty floater from Pilot Devere and incredibly holds on to the ball as the defender drapes himself with all his weight on Ryan’s back.


But Smalls instead of buckling keeps moving! Another 3 yards, staggering, carrying his tackler. He refuses to go down, churning for 6 yards, 9 yards and a first and goal on the 3. The play covers 52 yards. Another Smalls classic catch of the season in the clutch.


Devere handed to Ridenhour who burst in on first and goal with no resistance for the touchdown that made it 27-13. Pablo converted and it was 28-13 with what we thought was seconds to go.


But the referees were enjoying the game so much that Mount Vernon got off about 6 more plays before White Plains took over on downs at their 30 yard line.


Another   7 Nails in the Coffin.


On first down, Devere gave it to Spencer Ridenhour who burst off tackle, into the secondary and simply out ran Mount Vernon for a 70 yard touchdown run. It was his second touchdown of the long afternoon.


When time finally ran out, the fans could not believe what they had seen: 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters that lasted endlessly. White Plains penalized more than they have been penalized in any game all season. Flagrant pass interferences not called.


Amateur in Truest Sense of Word


Let me repeat, the officiating was terrible in this game.


Sean McLaughlin went up for a pass in the second quarter in mid air and before the catch he was taken out, landing on his back. That is pass interference anywhere but today.


Evan McGuire was going for a pass, hit the ground and the pass defender hit him just before he caught it, and picked up the ball returning it 30 yards. The grandstand defensive coordinators felt that one was pass interference too.


Allowing hits like this makes it a dangerous game for both sides.


There were questionable calls allowing Mount Vernon key opportunities that the White Plains defense fortunately denied. There was a sack that would have killed a Mount Vernon drive giving the Tigers a much better field position at the time of the “Immaculate Clip.” The sack was declared a forward pass, nullifying a 20 yard loss. This was an egregious call.


This was a badly officiated game, with time kept very ineptly by the referees on the field.


When this one ended, the Tigers felt they must have played 5 quarters with at least 3 to 4 minutes added to each of the last three quarters.


Character Building


This fifth win was a win like all others this season: the line, the defense, the offense making big plays, and refusing to give in to fatigue, adversity, or in this case, amateur, in every sense of that word, officiating. White Plains is a superbly conditioned football team. The boys go both ways and have a lot left in their fuel tanks when the other clubs cannot respond.


This was a game where Spencer Ridenhour rose to the occasion for two third down plays that had to be made on third and long. His extra effort after having his ankle hurt in the second quarter was a valiant effort.


But the victory was won by every one stepping up and making plays, doing their jobs, following their assignments. The fumble at the 45 in the last minutes was the first Tiger turnover this reporter can remember in 5 games. That may be exaggerating, but this team makes no mistakes.


Mike Devere passed in the pinch when he had to on a hard day to pass. An oldtimer who played on New Rochelle in the early 60s, remarked to me that Mike did not have the touch when he was missing receivers in the first half.


When he hit Smalls for the 56 yard pass play with the game on the line, getting it to him in catchable position….my oldtimer compadre said, “He’s got the touch all right.”


They all have “the touch.”



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District 5 Legislator Candidate Calls for Legislative Reform

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WPCNR COUNTY CAMPAIGN JOURNAL. From the Cantatore Camp. September 4, 2003: Frank Cantatore continued his assault on the County Legislature Friday in his effort to represent White Plains and Scarsdale in the Fifth District of the Westchester County, calling for a new law to require the Board of Legislators to post on the internet agendas for the Board and committee meetings at least 48 hours before the meeting. The law would also require the Board to post monthly expenditure reports from the Legislature’s budget, as well as monthly reports on postage utilization and printing expenses for each Legislator. It will also require the Board of Legislators to post on the internet a “staffing disclosure report”, which will list every member of the Board of Legislator’s staff, a job description for each individual, including minimum qualifications required and the total salary paid to each individual.



“The Board of Legislators should be held accountable for their actions. This law creates a system using new and readily available technology that will give the public information they are entitled to. After all it’s their money that is being used. What’s more I was recently informed that over 200 purchase orders were submitted for the Courthouse renovation that not even certain members of the Board were aware of. That’s why we need to have this system up and running,” said Cantatore.  Currently such information does not exist in this manner. Citizens interested in obtaining such information have to submit a “freedom of information request” in order to receive it.


According to recent media surveys, over 60% of households have internet access. “People will be able to access information on where their monies are being spent from the comfort of their home, office or local library. This will bring much needed transparency to County government. This is an initiative whose time has come. What with all the corporate scandals of this past year, the American public has lost its faith and trust in the private sector. This initiative will restore Americans’ faith and trust in government,” said Cantatore.


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