Tigers Roll, 40-14. Will Meet Ramapo Next Week.

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WPCNR PRESSBOX. October 20, 2002: The White Plains Tigers behind the hard-running Spencer Ridenhour and the laser arm of quarterback Mike Devere defeated Roosevelt in Yonkers Saturday afternoon to qualifty for the League 1-A Playoffs and the dubious honor of taking on Ramapo, the top-seeded team.

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Meeting Addresses Indian Point Hot Fuel Rod Dilemma

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WPCNR NEWSREEL. From Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor. October 19, 2002: On Monday October 2l at 7:l5 PM at the Community Unitarian Church, Rosedale Ave, White Plains there will be an important meeting to discuss what to do with on site storage of spent fuel rods at Indian Point.C
Gordon Thompson, a nationally recognized expert, will speak to help identify designs that can reduce the potential for hazards. Directions: exit 25 North Sreet from Hutch. Head towards White Plains. Left onto Rosedale. Church is one block to the right

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New Book Takes on Westchester’s District Attorney

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WPCNR White Plains Variety. October 16, 2002: Jeanine Pirro, Westchester’s District Attorney is the subject of an unflattering expose by S. Richard Blassberg that will be in bookstores within the next two weeks. Mr. Blassberg was the Campaign Manager for Tony Castro, Ms. Pirro’s Democrat opponent in the 2001 election.

According to the advanced publicity for The Jeanine Machine, released by the book’s publisher, (ViviSphere Publishing, Poughkeepsie, NY) “Jeanine Pirro is very likely the most recognizable district attorney in America. Her countless appearances on broadcast and in print media, nationally, for many years have projected an image of an articulate, tough crime fighter.” The book paints an entirely different picture.

The book purports to reveal the alleged details of the District Attorney’s role in the preparation of the joint tax returns which sent her husband to prison, and goes on to detail questionable activities that the author claims have taken place in her tenure as Westchester’s prosecutor.

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County Exec Signs Sale and Lease of Silver Lake Park to White Plains

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WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. From Westchester County Department of Communications. (EDITED) October 16, 2002:County Executive Andy Spano today signed legislation that preserves open space and creates White Plains’ first waterfront park and allows for construction of at least 17 units of affordable housing.

COUNTY TURNS OVER SILVER LAKEFRONT TO WHITE PLAINS: A portion of Silver Lake’s western shore (seen from the Harrison shore), that will become a waterfront park under county legislation signed Wednesday.
Photo by WPCNR News

Under the two-way Deal, he county will lease to the city for 30 years almost 2 acres of nearby land on Silver Lake, to provide the city with waterfront land and an entryway to the county-owned Silver Lake Preserve. The property, formerly owned by Dellwood Dairy, was purchased by the county more than a decade ago. The lease provides that the property be opened to all county residents.

THE DELLWOOD PROPERTY, to be leased to White Plains that includes about 18 acres underwater (western shore of Silver Lake). The city plans extensive forestry work on the site, including trails, and benches to turn it into a “passive” recreation park where boats can be sailed on the lake. Uses of the site will be determined by meetings between the city, the neighborhood, and the Recreation Advisory Committee in future weeks.
Photo by WPCNR News

Affordable Housing on Way.

Under a package approved last week by the Board of Legislators, Westchester will purchase just over 10 acres of undeveloped land on Lake Street in the Silver Lake section of the city for $950,000 from the estate of Emilio Pettinicchi and Antonietta Verano.

FORMER REVOLUTIONARY WAR SAWMILL, PART OF PETTINICCHI PROPERTY, will be preserved, and the affordable housing units built to the right of the mill, alongside Lake Street, slightly south of the headwaters of Silver Lake.
Photo by WPCNR News

Approximately 1.65 acres will be sold to a developer for $1, who will construct affordable townhouses. (The county will issue requests for proposals to select a developer.)

SITE OF WHERE TOWN HOUSES WILL BE BUILT: The Pettinnicchi Saw Mill is the white building to the left of the shot. The entrance to White Plains new waterfront park is at the blue sign.
Photo by WPCNR News

Once built, these units will be sold to households whose incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the county’s median income – or $70,000 for a family of four. The rest of the property will be preserved as open space.

Said Spano, “This is another example of what we can accomplish by working together with local governments. With these projects, we provide for the construction of much-needed affordable housing and preservation of scarce open space in our cities and help White Plains create its first-ever waterfront park.”

White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino praised the action, saying, “Creating a lakefront park for White Plains has been a top priority of mine since I became mayor, and I am thrilled that this dream has become a reality.”

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The Upper Deck Guy: Wild Cards in Fall Classic Mock 162-Game Season

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WPCNR Press Box. THE UPPER DECK GUY By John Baseball Bailey. October 15, 2002: The laughing stock of baseball is about to begin. The losers will be playing for the World Championship as the San Francisco Giants and the Anaheim Angels, the two teams who finished second in their respective divisions in baseball ambushed the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, respectively to make it to the World Series.

Photo of Wrigley Field by WPCNR Sports

The Fall Classic is about to become the Fall Basic, and establishment, politically correct sports authorities are touting this as good for the game.

I don’t think so.

The New York Times and the executives of baseball are already trotting out the virtues of the Wild Card, giving us those bromides today’s society uses to excuse poor performance, bad behavior, less than satisfactory standards. We are already hearing that the Wild Card is good for baseball because “It gives more teams a chance,” “It shows that low payroll teams can win,” “It’s good to see some new teams in there for a change.”

I say, “Bush!”

The results of the last two weeks show conclusively why baseball must contract to an even number of divisions, so only first place teams play to get in the series. For integrity’s sake.

Anything can happen in a short series.

And, what happened? You saw the Angels cannonade a Yankee pitching staff that either was given an overconfident scouting report on the Angels hitters, or could not execute when they had too. Why? Perhaps the Yankee management was overconfident. Though the Angels blasted Yankee pitching in the regular season, too. Not a good matchup.

However, this was also the same Angel team that kept pace with the Oakland A’s dramatically, but still fell short of the Oakland A’s pace in their own division, while winning just enough to hold off Seattle for the Wild Card.

Did the Bombers underestimate the Angels, or underscout them? But, the Angels should not have had a shot at the Bombers in the first place.

First Place Means Nothing in a Wild Card Setup.

The Bombers on the other hand made the major effort to oust the Boston Red Sox and win their own division. The Angels though keeping pace with the A’s, could not beat them head-to-head, to take the West Division of the American League. They should be out of there . But they are not, thanks to the notorious wild card.

Lest we take the Angel run as a great testimony to their worthiness, I suggest they were simply assuring themselves of the Wild Card over the Red Sox, and Seattle, not trying to overtake the A’s. They were trying to stay ahead of the Mariners.

And it did.

The same, “win just enough to get in” philosophy, applies to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants won just enough to overtake the Dodgers, who faltered miserably in the stretch, with the Giants not being able to handle the bigger challenge of overtaking the Diamondbacks, who though without Luis Gonzalez, and Greg Counsell (read, if they were the Yankees, Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano, comparable losses), held on to win first, because they thought it was meaningful.

The Wild Card gives teams an excuse not to leave it on the field.

Nature of Baseball and Softball: Form is Very Hard to Establish.

Now we have the prospect of watching a series between teams that finished second, whose management and players were not good enough to out-general-manage clubs that could be the best over a long haul, but are good enough and dangerous enough to give better teams trouble in one series.

The Giants and Angels could be accused of “backing in” to the Wild Card, because they knew all they had to do to reach postseason was to beat out the Dodgers and Mariners-Red Sox, respectively.

Getting the Wild Card is no big deal or great achievement. You just have to do well enough to finish second. The regular season performance becomes a joke.

Just as the Florida Marlins stole a trip to the series in 1997 by ousting the Atlanta Braves, as did the Mets in 1999, thanks to dumb managing of the Arizona Diamondbacks by Buck Showalter in Game 3, the maddening inconsistency of playing baseball illustrates why you simply cannot have a wild card system.

Last Hurrahs for Bravos and Bombers.

What the last two weeks also showed, was the fatal flaws in the Atlanta Braves, who put out the best pitching staff and best starting lineup in baseball year-in, year-out, but fail to get a good bench together to put up that strong pinch hitter up in the lates.

The end of the New York Yankees run: The Yankee pitching staff showed its flaws. It is old, and not as fast and effective as it used to be. The club forgot to play “D.”

All season, we saw a Yankee defense compromised by a slow moving outfield and a first baseman who cannot move to his left or right. We should also not forget that the Red Sox did not have Pedro Martinez the entire season.

This year’s Yankees looked vaguely like the 1964 Yankees on their last run before fading to oblivion for some time to come.

Congratulations to the Wild Cards.

The Giants and Angels sucked it up and played over their heads for 10 games and outperformed their opponents head-to-head, something they could not do during the regular season. Any team can do that, to borrow the NFL’s bromide, “on any given day.”

The results the last two weeks are very reminiscent of the Chicago White Sox (“The Hitless Wonders”of 1906), who beat the winningest major league team ever (116 wins), the Chicago Cubs in six games. It is tough to beat a team playing over their heads once you have already beaten them.

Bonds no Aaron or Ruth or Musial.

I resent the deification of Barry Bonds as another Babe Ruth. Bonds, a .292 lifetime hitter, Sammy Sosa, a .277 hitter and a host of .250 hitters are jacking homeruns off juiced-up baseballs and raw pitching.

Ruth hit .342 lifetime. Aaron hit .306 lifetime. Stan the Man hit .331 lifetime.

We should also not forget that Barry is a free agent attracted to San Francisco for the money, so much for the poor teams getting a chance.

The Angels and Giants are two of the richer franchises, though the Angels do have a lower payroll.

Can More Wild Cards Be Coming?

Bet on it.

America’s penchant for giving second chances just makes sense. This year, I’m sure New England Fans would have liked the Red Sox to have a Shot, and how about those sadsack Montreal Expos. Soon, the “competition” committee will have the first two clubs in each division make the postseason, I will bet, after the interest in this “Season of the Wild Card.”

Then how about the third place team with the best record in each league?

It will be an excellent solution to leveling payrolls. If all you have to do is finish at .500 to make the playoffs, why spend to improve? Why spend money on scouting to set up a good farm system?

Remember, the main interest now in the baseball season, is not who is going to finish first, but what teams are going to be the wild cards. A very similar situation exists in the National Football League.

Pretty soon, we may even see the handicapping schedule, an insidious device invented by the National Football League that allows lousy managed football teams like the New York Football Giants and the New York Jets to continue to have one good year, one bad year, and still give fans hope each year that they can win the super bowl.

When the Giants and Jets get the loser’s schedule, they finish over .500 and make the playoffs. When the next year the Giants play the winner’s schedule, they LOSE A LOT. But, that’s another column. Look for baseball to consider this.

The Roman Empire Syndrome

As baseball’s moguls and businessmen make baseball more like the other sports, pro basketball, pro football, and pro hockey, with everyone having a chance to win, they discourage the pursuit of excellence. The fact that the owner of the Minnesota Twins wanted to fold his team, which actually won its division this year, shows you just how much baseball owners care about the fans, great baseball, or doing what it takes to win.

The overwhelming majority of owners do the least amount possible, especially their commissioner, who since he took over the Milwaukee Brewers as provided that city with the flat beer of mediocrity, which is what we can expect to see in the next two weeks. Mediocrity on display: The greatest of the mediocre, to be sure.

I for one, will not watch one pitch of it.

Remember, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Yankees 4 out of 6 in the last two weeks of the season. Perhaps the Devil Rays were just making their stretch run, and maybe deserve a crack at the Giants or the Angels.

Believe me, some owner in the major leagues is going to read this last paragraph and take me seriously.

Photo of Comiskey Park by WPCNR Sports

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Atlantic Coast Football League Forming for 18s and Overs.

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WPCNR PRESS BOX. From ACFL Media Relations.October 15, 2002: The Atlantic Coast Football League is holding registration for the winter men’s 2002 season. The league is offering players 18 and over both flag and 2-hand touch football. In flag, there will be an 8-on-8 two-count league and an 8-on-8 no-count league. In 2-hand touch there will be a 7-on-7 ‘A’ league and a 6-on-6 ‘B’ league. Both teams and individual players are welcome.

In flag, there will be an 8-on-8 two-count league and an 8-on-8 no-count league. In 2-hand touch there will be a 7-on-7 ‘A’ league and a 6-on-6 ‘B’ league. Both teams and individual players are welcome.

Games will be played on local fields including: Westchester Community College in Valhalla, Trinity Field in New Rochelle and Croton-on-Hudson Park. The league begins on Sunday, December 8, 2002. For further information visit the Football Page at www.onscore.com or call Mark at 1-877-ONSCORE.

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City Employees Give Blood at City Hall

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WPCNR MAIN STREET PHOTO JOURNAL. October 15, 2002: City employees dropped by Common Council chambers today to give blood to the Hudson Valley Division of the New York Blood Center. As of 2:30 PM, 23 pints of blood had been collected with more city workers lining up to give of themselves.

WATER DEPARTMENT TURNS OUT TO GIVE BLOOD: Ricardo Azabache of the Hudson Valley Divsion of the New York Blood Center, right, prepares to draw blood from Jim Covert, of the White Plains Water Department this afternoon. Covert says he gives blood two to three times a year. Approximately 15 to 18 members of the Water Department showed up to donate their blood in the drive.
Photo by WPCNR News

RIGHT BEHIND HIM was Jeff Fazzinga, another member of the Water Department, whose blood is a rare type that Delore Robinson of the New York Blood Center, was particular helpful as a way to save babies needing his rare blood type. Ms. Robinson was checking Jeff’s blood pressure and heart rate to make sure he fit the physical guidelines for blood donators. All persons donating are given a physical check up, including blood pressure and heart rate. Last year the city drive netted 28 pints of blood, so donators were coming in ahead of last year’s pace.
Photo by WPCNR News

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Knights Goal Line Stands Hold off Tigers, 24-22.

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WPCNR PRESS BOX. By John F. Bailey. October 12, 2002 UPDATED 11:00 PM: White Plains was 2 yards away from the go-ahead “6,” and it was 4th down with 3 minutes, 49 seconds to go. The Tiger faithful were roaring. The Knights followers were screaming for “Defense.” One big play was coming up.

TURNED ASIDE ON 4TH AND GOAL: After three handoffs to Spencer Ridenhour had gotten the ball to the 2, the call went to Darrell Mack. Churning valiantly into the pile in the pelting late afternoon rain, the Knights held him off. When the referees untangled the pile,Mack was on his back the ball on his chest, six inches from paymud. Mount Vernon had held, and the Tigers were done. The 24-22 loss was the Tigers’ best effort of the season with only one turnover on a rainswept Saturday afternoon.
Photo by WPCNR Sports

Mount Vernon took over and was forced to punt from their goal line, but Mount Vernon’s Coach, Ric Wright, made the absolute right call, he instructed his punter to take a safety, rather than punt, necessitating a free kick from the 20.

Outstanding clock management

Wright also showed judicious use of the clock calling time out before the White Plains 4th and goal, which might have watered down Tiger adrenaline just enough. Wright also milked the clock beautifully on the count down to the safety play.

On the ensuing kick, White Plains fumbled, the only fumble of the day, and Mount Vernon ran down the clock until 20 seconds were left. Mike Devere threw one pass to Mack at the 15 which was tipped away and was intercepted on his last ditch throw to the far sideline, and Mount Vernon remained undefeated.

It was a remarkably error free game considering the slanting rain that fell during the first and fourth quarters.

80 yard kickoff return stands up for Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon’s winning touchdown came on an 80 yard kick off return with one minute to go in the third quarter, right after White Plains had taken the lead, 20-16. Deshawn Washington ran through the entire White Plains team slipping through tacklers and breaking out of the scrum at his own 40 and lighting out for the near sideline, and down the alley. 80 yards, six points.

Tackling was difficult all day as runners were ahead of the tacklers, thanks to the rainsoaked uniforms, wet hands and the treacherous footing slowing down defender cuts and pursuits.

Touchdown Save, too.

Washington had also saved a touchdown by bringing down Darrell Mack on the sideline at the 30 yard line of Mount Vernon on the last play of the first half. Darrell had just made a beautiful interception and was returning his pickoff of Knight pass about 50 yards to the vicinity of the 30. Washington caught up to Darrell and saved 6 points with a looming tackle, using his height advantage to overpower Mack’s desparate straight arm and bring him down.

Ridenhour Scores three touchdowns

The Tigers started fast, taking the opening kickoff and after an encroachment penalty gave them a first down on the 50, Spencer Ridenhour rambled 40 yards to the Knight five. He punched in from 3 yards out for a 7-0 lead with the point after just two minutes of the First Quarter. He was to score two more touchdowns.

White Plains moved the ball very well against Mount Vernon, showing their most consistent offensive display of the season pushing them off the ball afternoon, except once.

Mount Vernon strikes back.

The Knights speed immediately got the lead back when DeShawn Washington dashed 36 yards to tie the score, and a run for 2-points put Vernon ahead 8-7, with 30 seconds. Only 6 minutes had gone by in the game.

KNIGHTS STOP IN EARLY 2ND QUARTER pushed the Tigers back from the Knight 5 to the 10, and on 4th down, Tony Ciaramella attempted a 25 yard field goal which fell just wide right.
Photo by WPCNR Sports

After the exchange, the Knights Qb appeared about to be sacked at his own 45, when he hit a receiver across the middle who eluded two Tigers and raced to the White Plains 10. Washington took it in for the score moments later, and again added a 2-point conversion and it was 16-7.

Photo by WPCNR Sports

The Tiger comeback in the second quarter was sparked by a brilliant 3rd and 5 pass play at mid-field from Mike Devere to Terrell Smith. Smith slipped behind the Knight secondary wide open turned to face Mike and Devere hit him with a strike. Terrell lit out for the far side of the field and reached the Knights’ 10.

Three plays later, on 4th Down, Spencer Ridenhour powered in for the touchdown that with the point, closed the gap to 16-14 at intermission. On the last play of the half Darrell Mack was caught after 60 yard pass interception return that almost gave White Plains the lead.

Second Half Drama

At the beginning of the second half, the Tigers stopped Mount Vernon on the Knights first series, could not move, then Terrell Smith intercepted a Knight pass, returning it to the White Plains 28. From there the Tigers started a drive.

The drive moved doggedly, with the Tigers alternating runs between Darrell Mack and Spencer Ridenhour until they were stalled on 3rd and 5 at the Knights 47. Once again Devere dropped back. Incredibly, Terrell Smith, good old number 19, had slipped behind the Knights backpedaling secondary again.

Devere landed it right there and the chase was on. Smith rambled 42 yards to the Knights 5 before being surrounded and mug-tackled at the 5 stripe because he refused to go down.

TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN! Spencer Ridenhour gives the Tigers the lead with a minute to go in the third quarter with a power surge from the 2 into the promised land.
Photo by WPCNR Sports

On the ensuing kickoff, DeShawn Washington, ran back the ball 80 yards for the winning touchdown which was preserved by the goalline stand with 3:49 to go in the game.

After punt exchanges in the fourth quarter, the Tigers took over at their own 45 because of a Mount Vernon mistake. Eschewing a punt on 4th and 3, Mount Vernon attempted a hand-off, messing up the snap. The Tigers recovered at their own 48. With a third and 5 on the Knight 48, it happened again.

Again, Terrell Smith gave the Knights secondary the slip, getting behind them, turning, catching a strike from QB Mike (Devere). “Tito” was caught from behind at the 10. This set up the final 4 plays of the drive ending with the Tigers unable to punch it in from the 2 for the lead.

DEFINING MOMENT: With both Tiger fans and Knights fans screaming, the tension mounted as the final play of the Tiger drive for the go-aheader approached.
Photo by WPCNR Sports

The Tiger offense had its best day ever, unofficially gaining over 300 yards. They pushed the Knights defense around most of the afternoon. They came away twice inside the 5 yard line without scoring, though, as the Knight defense spread the field well and bunched the middle just enough to make two last stands.

Some day, the Tigers will win one of these humdingers. The Tigers are 3-3.

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Sayegh, Tuckahoe grad, Debates Paulin at His Old Stomping Grounds

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WPCNR SATURDAY REVIEW. From the Sayegh Media Center. (EDITED) October 12, 2002:Tony Sayegh, candidate for the New York State Assembly in the 88th District, conducted a lively debate with his opponent, Amy Paulin, at his old high school in Tuckahoe. The debate was effectively coordinated by the school administrators and offered a firsthand view of the political process in action. Sayegh and his opponent, Amy Paulin for the 88th Assembly District appears at the White Plains Public Library Tuesday at the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum beginning at 7:00 PM, 100 Martine Avenue, 2nd floor.

Sayegh began by stating that, “I am extremely proud to be back at my alma mater, speaking in front of so many of the dedicated and influential educators who kindled my desire to pursue public service.”

The students in attendance had spent the week preparing questions for both candidates and their efforts definitely paid off. The debate was filled with thoughtful and intelligent questions from start to finish.

“Having an alum like Tony come back to his old high school was very exciting to see. He is just such an energizing and dynamic person and he sets a great example for kids our age to get involved,” said Tuckahoe high school student Stephanie Martino.

Sayegh engaged each question with honesty and enthusiasm, particularly when noting his disappointment over the Democrats in the Assembly playing politics as usual by blocking common sense legislation regarding terrorism and child safety.

“I have known Tony since his days in our Tuckahoe schools and was very impressed watching him grow up in this community. I always knew that he would follow his heart and enter public service on behalf of the town he grew up in and am proud to say that, I will be voting for him in November,” remarked Judith Almonte.

Sayegh closed by saying, “Whatever you take from this debate today, I hope that you ultimately recognize the very important role you will have to play in your community.”

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Mayor Honors City Employees with 25 Years Service at Common Council

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS NEWS PHOTO OF THE WEEK. From City Hall News Bureau. October 12, 2002: The City of White Plains held a recognition ceremony for employees who have served the city for twenty-five years or more Monday evening. Here they are, with Mayor Joseph Delfino posed in the famous City Hall Rotunda to commemorate the occasion.

25 YEARS OR MORE TAKING CARE OF THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS: The Employees, L to R, are: Richard Lyman, Public Safety-Fire Department, Deveria Searcy, Youth Bureau, Arthur Bitting, DPW-Sanitation, Barbara Wenglin, Library, Mayor Joseph Delfino, Yvonne Charles, Library, and Paulette Minieri-Siino, Building Dept-Zoning Board. The elite six were honored for their more than quarter century of service to the city at the October 7 Common Council meeting.
City Hall Photo

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