Cappelli financing delayed another week but “sees no obstacles”

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The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has not come to terms yet with Cappelli Enterprises on the financing of the City Center.
A spokesman for the Cappelli organization, Geoffrey Thompson, informed WPCNR Tuesday that he had spoken with Louis Cappelli Monday who reports that the financial deal with CIBC was “moving along.” According to Thompson, “he anticipates no problems.”

Originally Cappelli said he needed Common Council approval to close his financing with CIBC on September 25. Then it was delayed to October 2. Now, Thompson reports, Cappelli expects to close on the $375 million in financing “within two weeks.”

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Undercover Freshman Reports From High School USA

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The Undercover Freshman files this report on his first experiences in White Plains High School last month. As Sergeant Joe Friday would say, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
If virtue truly is rewarded, then high school is the reward for graduating middle school.

Don’t think about it for too long.

That’s one thing I have learned that really sticks in my mind so far about school:  if you think about something for too long, it makes less sense.

The best example of this is the schedules.  Now, in high school, there are nine “days” (Day One, Day Two, etc., like Letter Days back in middle and elementary schools).  Each day has eight periods.  Your schedule has nine classes.  Whatever Number Day it is, you skip that class.

For example, if it is Day One, you skip your first class. Some classes alternate.  For example, on some days, I have Biology Lab Eighth Period, on others, Project Adventure.  Which means that some days are both Day Ones and Day Sixes.  As I said, don’t think about it for too long.

On the first day, Thursday, September 6, we had all our classes, but shorter periods.  My first period was English Honors.

Over the summer, we were assigned to read Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.  I found it to be stupidly unrealistic, poorly conceived, and exhibiting a great disregard to non-white, non-Christians.  Every time I finished a chapter and exclaimed, “I hate this book!” my father would say, “I’m sure you weren’t assigned to read it so that you would agree with everything it says.”

As it turns out, the instructor was considering a career in transportation in younger days. When he read Robinson, he loved it, and decided to pick up a career in teaching.

Right across the hall from English was room B-2, or the cafeteria/study hall.  During study hall, we were all forced to face front, sit on one side of the table, only two people per table, and not talking.

After study hall I had band, which is held in the auditorium.  To get to the auditorium I had to go down two hallways, down two flights of stairs, outside, and into a building.  After band I had study hall again, so I had to do the reverse.

The teachers in this study hall said they didn’t mind if we talked as long as they couldn’t hear us.  Everyone talked loud and got in trouble. 

After that study hall I had French, which was down several hallways, of course.  This worried me.  My schedule had “English Theatre” listed between French and Study Hall.

Now, you can’t hear the bell in B-2, so I thought I had accidentally cut a class. After French, I went to my English Theatre teacher to explain what had happened.  She gave me the material from the class, and that was it.

After French I had lunch.  Apparently, the school had yet to get organized, so lunch was free.  Really.

After lunch I had Global Studies Honors.  The teacher is British and liked me from the first thing I said.  He asked, “What is history?”, and I said, “What people think happened.”

He believes that everything is controlled by those big scary conglomerates and/or white males.  Conspiracy theories do well in his class.

After Global Studies came Biology Honors, which has, apparently, fallen into bad terms with the administration, who have assigned a small room with only desks, no tables, and no electricity. 

Last year, some students were helping the teacher pack up, but apparently they didn’t label the boxes,so the teacher doesn’t know what’s where.  The administration said not to unpack, incidentally, as they may be moving at any time.  We’re learning out of a book.  Sort of. The problem is, no one apparently learned anything in Science last year,so the teacher needs to spend a long time reviewing, saying, “What did you learn last year?!”

After that I went to Project Adventure.  My first reaction to the demeanor of our teacher was that she thought that we took Project Adventure rather than gym because we were easily unsettled.  “If you don’t feel comfortable with what we’re doing, that’s okay.  Class participation can mean just cheering other people on.”  I kid you not.

After that was math.  Math, keeping in line with the topic itself,was fairly uneventful.

That ended my day.  What can one say about a high school that is so ill equipped, yet so disorganized? At least I only have four years.

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Tigers Mop Up Ramapo, 14-6, on Lawrence & Lee TD’s & Boss DEE

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White Plains dominated Ramapo High at Parker Stadium Saturday, 14-6 for their first victory of the season. A 57-yard, darting punt return by Junior Greg Lawrence, sprung by Jeff McKoy, and a final quarter 54-yard touchdown pass from Junior Darrell Mack to Senior Jeff Lee were the big plays.

After the smash, slash and dash of New Rochelle last week, the Tiger defense handled Ramapo’s slower backs and undisciplined line very professionally. For the first three quarters, the Tigers held Ramapo to just two first downs and under 100 yards.

Give the defense 11 game balls!

Outstanding surge and pursuit by Orlando Cruz, Gabriel Robles, and Ahmad Warren on the interior line, with dashing incursions into the backfield by Jeff Lee, Andre Riley and Wilson Moronta consistently kept Ramapo from mounting any serious drives until late in the game. The open-field tackling was sure. Tiger hits echoed when executed across the old Parker bowl at Highlands.

HITS YOU COULD HEAR highlighted White Plains domination of Ramapo Saturday in the old Parker Stadium bowl. White Plains pursuit and contain performance kept Ramapo from scoring until the 46th minute of the game. WPCNR PHOTO

Scoreless first half>br>
The Tigers held the ball for the first seven minutes of the game. They failed to score on first and goal from the 10 when a Tiger receiver fell in the Ramapo end zone permitting a great pickoff to end the drive. A Mack-to-Jeff Lee pass on 3rd and 15 from the Ramapo 35 – the Alley Ooper that worked last week – set up the Tigers for that early drive to take the lead. Ramapo would have done well to remember that play, for later in the game, White Plains “Mack-Lee’d,” using the same play for the second touchdown.

The teams battled to a scoreless tie at the half, with White Plains only penetrating to the Ramapo 45 the rest of the 2nd quarter. Ramapo was unable to get in White Plains territory the entire half.

Cruz-ing to Field Position

One of the reasons was a magnificent 43-yard punt from scrimmage by Orlando Cruz pushing Ramapo back inside their 40 when White Plains was on their 27. This punt was so good, ladies and gentlemen, that everyone on the field admired it, including the coverage.

Orlando injured his leg late in the first half, and seemed in great pain. He was able to return for the remainder of the game in the second half. Cruz is easily the best punter, I have seen in years of watching high school football. He hangs them high and his direction, roll and finesse are improving every time he kicks. He has obviously worked very hard on his technique and you can tell every time he boots one.

Keying on Spencer

Ramapo obviously watched Spencer Ridenhour’s New Rochelle highlight reel performance and was keying on stopping down the Tiger halfback. Spencer carried unofficially 14 times for 50 yards in the first half, and carried very little in the second.

Clean-living, Poise Pay off

In the 3rd quarter, Ramapo continued futility against the pit bulls in the Tiger line, and punted at the 7:36 mark towards the scoreboard end of the stadium. The punt was high and dropped innocently enough in front of Greg Lawrence back in coverage on the Tiger 30.

The punt bounced backward away from Greg, he backed off, letting the Gryphon coverage down the ball. The whistle blew and inexplicably a Gryphon grappler charged into Lawrence at full speed, waist-high, knocking him flat on his back. Yellow flag drifted to green grass. The ref accessed 15 yards and told Ramapo to punt again. Big mistake.

A Tiger raced out to Lawrence’s aid but neither Lawrence nor his Tiger teammate responded to the obvious vicious hit. Had either Tiger retaliated, an off-setter could result. Poise counted here.

In fact, Coach Santa-Donato’s teams never lose their poise, their temper, or their dignity when attacked. This time it worked to their advantage.

On the next play, the scoreless game turned around.

On rekick, Lawrence fielded the punt on the 40, cut to the near sideline in traffic, turned the corner and looked up field. Just as a Gryph was moving in to tackle Lawrence at the 50, Jeff McKoy took him out from behind in a magnificent, game-breaking block that was not a clip. (Very hard not to clip in that situation. It was the block of the year.)

Lawrence got the room he needed thanks to McKoy, and turned back into the middle of the field, outrunning the slow-footed pursuit, picking up a convoy of blockers and was long gone to the end zone. 6-0, White Plains.

But, wait, Lawrence is called for celebrating!

The Referee ruled that Lawrence, showing the ball as he long-legged it across the goal line, was “celebrating,” a new code of conduct rule on the League I-AA books this year. This social faux pas forced White Plains to kick or run from the 18-yard line for the extra point, not the 3. Tiger fans shook their heads, with that “everything happens to White Plains,” feeling we know so well.

However, with Darrell Mack holding, Cruz fakes through kicking the ball. Ramapo is up close. Mack hands to Spencer Ridenhourt, who rolls out, and floats a can of corn pass to the right coffin corner to Greg Lawrence, just a-waiting in paydirt.

Lawrence goes up, gathers it in. 2 points! Go figure. White Plains was up 8-0 with 7 minutes to go in the third quarter.

Big Dee Grinds the Gryphs

On the next Ramapo possession, Ramapo got to their own 46, when on 4th and 1, they went for it and Gabriel Robles stopped the key play cold, handing the ball over to White Plains. The Tigers failed to move the ball, and Cruz lofted another skillfully placed punt that was fair-caught at the Ramapo 15. A pair of big gainers, a run of 44 yards and a run of 15 yards moved Ramapo to the Tiger 30.

Ramapo is stopped just as they get in position.

Gabriel Robles and Jeff Diaz combined for a stop and a loss. On 2nd down, Jeff Lee executed a great open field tackle for a stop at the 27. On 3rd and 7 Robles and Andre Riley charged through to stop a sweep. On 4th down, Riley and Darrell Mack combined to make a stop on the 33 and White Plains took over on downs as the 3rd period was ending. When Wilson Moronta scampered to the Tiger 46, it was still 8-0 after three quarters.

Mack-Lee’d Again!

On the first play of the final quarter, the play of the season so far, unfolded. A thing of beauty.

Darrell Mack drops to pass from the Tiger 46. He lofts a high Alley Oop pass to flanker Jeff Lee at approximately the Ramapo 33, far side. Three Gryphons surround the Tiger. Up he goes, up they went. Lee outleaps them, comes down in the middle, surrounded by tacklers. He eludes one, pushes another tackler away, spins, dukes and breaks away from the third. The race is on. A straggling posse chases Lee diagonally across the field to roaring multitudes.

He eludes the safety and races with dignity (this time) into the end zone. It is a 54-yard touchdown pass and run. White Plains was up, 14-0, with 11 minutes to play.

Darrell Mack and Jeff Lee are getting very good on this Alley Oop play, in which Mack throws a pass high into a general area. Lee judges it, outleaps the defenders to catch it. They have worked this successfully three times this season. Receiver R.C. Owens of the old San Francisco 49-ers originally invented this play with Quarterbacks Y.A. Tittle and John Brodie back in the late 1950s. It still works.

Ramapo long runs sets up their first score.

White Plains had the ball for most of the first half, and in the second half, Ramapo had the balance by far in time of possession. The Tigers gave up some big chunks but were grudging, stringing the Gryphons out to 3 downs on the next two down sequences and taking time off the clock. Ramapo had no passing game.

A 29-yard run by the Griffin quarterback Yvens Louis to the Tiger 7 on a 4th down and 19 at the Tiger 39 set up their first score. Jeff Lee saved a touchdown by seizing Louis at the 7. Ramapo punched it in finally on 3rd and goal with 1:39 to go in the game. The kick failed, and it was 14-6.

Questionable kick call, sets up Ramapo to tie the game

Ramapo set up an onside to the farside of the field. To this reporter, the dribbled kick not only did not go 10 yards, but also went out of bounds. No matter, the refs gave the ball to Ramapo at mid-field with 1:30 to go. It was nail-biting time.

Yvens Louis dashed 20 yards on the quarterback draw (a play New Rochelle used quite nicely on the Tigers), to the 30 and called their first timeout.

Two running plays got only to the Tiger 23, and Mike St. Fluer was able to race for a 1st down on the White Plains 18 with 40 seconds to go.

Key final sequence

On first down, Louis the Quarterback dropped back, but as had been happening all day, his line could not stop the Tigers over the top. Jeff Lee and Orlando Cruz sacked him back at the 24-yard line with 25 seconds to go.

On second down, Louis rolled out nearside, and again Jeff Lee pursued and snared him for sack number two in the key sequence.
A penalty stopped the clock. On 4th down, Louis again saw his protection break down. Lee and Andre Riley brought Louis down, ending the Gryphon hopes.

Darrell Mack fell on the ball for the last play, and the Tigers had their first win.

GATORADE TIME: Tigers mob each other, celebrating their first victory.The Gatorade Tank is on its way to the coach. WPCNR PHOTO

First Win of many to come.

Coach Mark Santa-Donato was drenched with Gatorade, as the Tigers swarmed on the field to celebrate an upset win where they outplayed, out hit, and outsmarted Ramapo. The Gryphons did not look like a 2-0 team, flagged for unofficially, six illegal procedure penalties on snaps, messing up handoffs, beaten off the snap consistently all afternoon. A win to build a season on.

Next year, is going to be a great year for White Plains football. The varsity is young. The Junior Varsity has some good young blood. They won their third straight game, beating Ramapo, 14-0 Saturday morning.

Spanning the Stands: Delgado, Tuck, Amodio, Greer, Roach, and Candyce were at the game!

You can tell it is election season, finally. Mayoral Candidate Robert Greer and Council candidate Tom Roach handing out campaign lit joined Larry Delgado, Robert Tuck and Mike Amodio and greeting voting football fans at the stadium. Candyce Corcoran, Candidate for County Legislator, was the only candidate risking her limbs working the wide track bleacher stands, fan-to-fan. Considering her recent ankle fracture, it was quite a risk negotiating the unsure, uneven Parker Stadium concrete.

STRIKE UP THE BAND:The White Plains High School Marching Band debuted at home with a sharp halftime performance that kept the crowd watching, listening, and tapping their feet. WPCNR PHOTO

The White Plains Tiger High School Band entertained before the game and during halftime in its first home appearance. The band with the big brass sound, had big time fun with “Great Balls of Fire,” and actually playing of all things, a football fight song, “We Want a Touchdown.” The brasses were crisp, the percussion on time, authoritative, the clarinets and flutes blending crisply, and they produced a big time sound. The CitizeNetSportsGuy puts in a request for “Notre Dame Victory March” next week, and perhaps, “Mr. Touchdown,” Ms. Tompkins?…And, how about perhaps “Stars and Stripes Forever,” or at least one, righteous John Phillips Sousa march?

While, we are in a request mode, could the Highlands Middle School install a flagpole at Parker Stadium so Old Glory does not have to lean against a fence? Thank you. Where is Bud Nicoletti, when you need him?

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Common Council Rewards Fire Fighters with $2,100 Raise

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City Hall announced Friday that the Common Council has agreed to a contract settlement with the White Plains Professional Fire Fighters, by granting them the same raise in pay as the Police received in 1999. The new contract extends to June 2002.
In a resolution at the Monday Common Council meeting coming up, the city will reward each firefighter with a $2,100 in take home pay a year across the board to all firefighters, retroactive to June 2000.

The new contract approved by a majority of the fire fighters union according to the Common Council resolution, will run until June 30, 2002. The general contingency fund will pay for the raise. The increase amounts to a 3.2% increase for the year running June 2000 to June 2001 and a 3.5% increase from June 2001 to June 2002.

The Council announced its decision to the Mayor’s office Thursday. The settlement presented Monday evening in Executive Session.

George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, said the $2,100 figure was the figure awarded the police officers in an arbitrator’s decision in 1999, according to his recollection. The firefighters, at the time, asked for the same increase as a parity issue, and the city refused. On Monday, October 1, Adrian Scapperotti, the head of the Local 274 of the International Association of Fire Fighters said he was pleased with the settlement, but expected to begin negotiations in December on the new contract due to begin in July, 2002. He declined to comment on what issues the firefighters expected to bring up in December to the city.

Other Police and Fire Matters

Police Work Rules ProposalOn the matter of the proposal put before the Common Council last Monday in the same Executive Session by the White Plains Police Benevolent Association, the Council has as of Friday not indicated whether they are supportive. The proposal, aimed at the alleged “badge drain” problem, according to informed sources, seeks to restructure work schedules.

Fire Fighters Raise Over $100,000The White Plains union thanked the citizens of White Plains for donating over $100,000 towards the families of firefighters killed in the World Trade Center attack. Motorists contributed at key intersections in the city by “Filling the Boots” held by White Plains “Bravest.”

Gretsas Clears Air on Trade Center Volunteer Injuries Policy: Mr. Gretsas also denied to WPCNR Tuesday that the city told White Plains fire fighter volunteer rescuers at the World Trade Center disaster site they would not be covered if they were injured working at the site. Gretsas said the city, “of course,” would have honored any claims resulting from injury to a White Plains Fire Fighter at that site.

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Corcoran Co-Endorsed by WCLA; County Pro Firefighters

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Candyce Canelstein Corcoran of White Plains was formally co-endorsed by the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion Thursday for County Legislator, along with her opponent for the seat, William Ryan, bringing to six the number of key organizations and individuals supporting her for the District 5 White Plains-Scarsdale seat. She also picked up strong support from the Westchester Coalition of Professional Fighters.

Catherine Lederer Plaskett, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion described Ms. Corcoran as “clearly pro-choice” in announcing the endorsement of Corcoran and incumbent William Ryan as WCLA preferred candidates. In an earlier edition of this story, WPCNR had been incorrectly informed that Ms. Corcoran had received the exclusive endorsement of the WCLA, but we have now been informed by the WCLA that the organization is co-endorsing both Corcoran and Ryan.

Ms. Corcoran is also the announced choice of the Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association, the United Construction Trades & Industrial Employees International Union, the Pro-Choice Coalition Political Action Committee, the County Legislator, Kay Carsky, and the former Mayor of Scarsdale, E. Mark Bench.

Westchester Coalition of Professional Firefighters Chief Backs Her, too.

WPCNR has also learned that Ms. Corcoran, though Republican, is receiving strong early support from the Westchester Coalition of Professional Fire Fighters. Their Chairman, Chris McCann, was critical of Ms. Corcoran’s opponent in District 5, William Ryan, in a document expressing his opinions two weeks ago, which was obtained by WPCNR.

McCann, in this document, encourages the White Plains Professional Firefighters to endorse Corcoran. McCann described his conversations with Corcoran this way:

“She has come out publicly 100% in favor of Paid Firefighters…in every conversation that I have had with Candyce she has been nothing but straightforward, honest and supportive of Career firefighters.”

McCann is not as enthusiastic about Ryan: “Bill Ryan, on the other hand, has fallen somewhat short in these categories to say the least. Bill’s answer when asked about his singing the praises of volunteer firefighters was that his position on the Public Safety committee forces him to play a balancing act. I answer there’s a difference between a balancing act and playing both sides for your own benefit.”

McCann reports the White Plains Professional Firefighters as undecided: “some confusion as to the intentions of the White Plains Firefighters in this matter due to conflicting information coming from within the union. I am under the opinion that given the facts and reviewing the incumbent’s past track record, the only candidate the (Westchester) Coalition (of Professional Firefighters) can move to endorse in this race is Candyce Canelstein Corcoran.”

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Crooked Chimney Sweep Scams Target White Plains: Gismondi

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Building Commissioner Mike Gismondi cautions residents authorizing chimney, furnace exhaust repairs without acquiring a building permit.

Gismondi will be making a presentation to the North Broadway Civic Association at Red Cross Headquarters October 2 in which he will detail the modus operandi of typical chimney sweep fraud operators who step up their activity at this time of year.

City wins court case against sweep company

The problem came to the Commissioner’s attention in a recent court case the city brought against a chimney sweep performing an illegal repair on a resident’s furnace venting system.

Gismondi reports that the city took the sweep company to court for executing a negligent chimney repair without acquiring a permit from the Department of Building.

The resident had paid the chimney sweep what Gismondi terms “an enormous amount of money,” to execute the repair. Not only was the resident out the money, but the contractor had simply jammed a new pipe into the top of the chimney, actually cracking the tile within the chimney, creating a hazard. The city won the case.

Work repairing chimney other than cleaning requires a building permit.

Residents are not aware, Gismondi says, that to execute a chimney repair (not a cleaning), a resident must submit an engineer’s report and a photograph of the area to be repaired in order to obtain a permit from the Department of Building.

Though this may seem to be an inconvenience, it is to protect the consumer, who often has not idea whether his or her chimney is really in need of repair or not.

Anatomy of a sweep scam

Gismondi told WPCNR a building permit protects residents from suspect chimney sweep operations. The typical sweep scammer schedules an appointment to inspect your chimney and offers to do a routine cleaning. During the course of the “inspection,” the sweep tells the homeowner the chimney is cracked or the interior lining of the chimney is in need of repair.

“We can do it right now. We have the materials in the truck.”

Often, the sweep crew just happens to have the material to repair the chimney with them. They offer to do the repair on the spot, often for thousands of dollars. This is illegal. A permit from the Department of Building is required, Gismondi says, with an engineer’s specification of the problem and an interior scoping showing the damaged chimney to be repaired before you can legally do the work.

Your reporter a near victim!

WPCNR was involved in this kind of swindle. I was contacted by a sweep “doing work in the White Plains area.” Since I had not had the chimney cleaned in a long time, I agreed to an “inspection visit.” A chimney sweep company arranged for an inspection.

“Inspector” waves loose brick!

One of the workers climbed atop my home and peered into my chimney. Waving a loose brick at me from the rooftop, he reported that my chimney bricks were loose and the interior of the chimney was cracked. The crew offered to line the chimney with new pipe extending down to my furnace.

“We’ve got the lining right here.”

By coincidence, they had enough pipes in the truck to do the job. The cost: $2,500. By check. On the spot.

They had started the work, when I had second thoughts. I stopped work and told them I wanted to get another estimate. Under much protest, they left. After checking with several sweep firms in the area, I was advised I should have it checked out before proceeding. This bait and switch fraud appears each fall and spring on unsuspecting homeowners.

Contact Building Department before authorizing extensive chimney repair.

Homeowners advised by chimney sweep companies that their chimneys need extensive repair should contact the building department for advice on how to proceed before authorizing the work, particularly if the sweep wants to execute the work as soon as possible. The Building Department may be reached at 422-1269.

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Martine Avenue Merchants File Notice of Claim Against City

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On September 20, 5 merchants formerly of Martine Avenue, whose establishments were bought out by Louis Cappelli, served the city and its Urban Renewal Agency, paving way for a future claim for damages.
The lawsuit is filed against the City of White Plains and the White Plains Urban Renewal Agency as an “action for the recovery of damages due to injuries sustained by the claimant solely by the condemnation and acquisition by the White Plains Urban Renewal Agency of 205-211 Martine Avenue.

The suit filed by attorney John Savage of Bozeman & Trout, Mount Vernon, alleges that his clients, all of whom maintained businesses at the addresses noted, “suffered great harm as a direct result of the condemnation in that claimant was forced to relocate or consider relocating its business,” and that the suit was serving notice that his client “intends to commence an action against the City of White Plains and the URA to recover their damages with interest and charges.”

The suit was filed on behalf of Expressions Hair Design at 205-A Martine Avenue; Bridgitte Wayou and Bertine Djedje of Root African Hair Braiding of 207 Martine Avenue; Dary-Grant Minaya of 205 Martine Avenue, and Soon-Duck Hong of 205-B Martine Avenue.

George Gretsas, Executive Officer for the Mayor, remarked to WPCNR that the Notice of Claim appeared not to be aimed at stopping the City Center project, but at protecting the plaintiffs’ interests if Mr. Cappelli does not provide them with a settlement for their business losses they feel is equitable.

Mr. Cappelli has issued $4,000 checks to each of the business owners affected by the accidental cave-in of the Martine Avenue building roof, and has promised to help them relocate on Mamaroneck Avenue. He has, in addition, promised to outfit their new locations with fixtures and facilities.

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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 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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