School Board: Time for New Leader. Yanofsky Inflexible.

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Stephen Sules and Larry Geiger of the School Board confirmed to WPCNR Thursday Dr. Saul Yanofsky consistently disagreed with the School Board on issues they refused to identify, forcing the Board decision not to renew his contract. They depicted Dr. Yanofsky as committed to his vision for the School District mission, citing the need for “a fresh look,” “new leadership.”

WPCNR also learned from Mr. Sules and Mrs. Donna McLaughlin, School Board President that the decision to remove Dr. Yanofsky effective at the end of his contract was made “by consensus” in executive session last April. No vote was taken.

Time for a New Leader, Trippett says.

Lewis Trippett, Board Member at the time of the change, commenting Thursday evening said the board acted because they felt “it was the appropriate time for a change in leadership of the School District.”

Trippett added that the parents in the White Plains school district would be involved “extensively” in the search process for a new superintendent. He said the search firm had not been engaged yet, that the school board would be providing a profile of the kind of superintendent they were seeking to the firm.

What’s wrong with the school district? No answer

Asked repeatedly why Dr. Yanofsky suddenly no longer possessed those qualities, Trippett would not comment, repeating the mantra that Mrs. McLaughlin, Dorothy Schere, Larry Geiger and Mr. Sules advised WPCNR:

Tthey were looking for a fresh look, a new direction for the district, without articulating what that direction was.

Geiger most candid.

Lawrence Geiger praised Dr. Yanofsky’s contributions to the district, pointing out the district had renewed Yanofsky’s contract four times since 1989,

“As to why he’s been let go, we realized it would be better for the kids with new leadership. We felt a new person would take a fresh look at many of the issues we’re facing. It’s really a personnel matter. We made a judgement call that’s between the board and him. We need to maintain the strength and the direction the district should go.”

Asked if this meant the Board was dissatisfied with district performance, Geiger would not comment, but mentioned, “there’s always room for improvement.”

Geiger made the strongest statement yet that what we saw at the docile Board of Education meetings on the first Monday of the month, was not a true picture of the Board relationship with Dr.Yanofsky. saying,

“There were a number of differences that could not be resolved. I think it’s the best way not to go into specifics.”

Board deliberated long, Sules reports.>

“This decision was not reached quickly, ” Sules said, reached at his home Thursday night. “It took quite awhile. There were some differences of opinion (between Yanofsky and the Board) that he delivered. We felt we needed a fresh look at the challenges of the District. We need someone very forward looking at this time. The Board believes this is the time to search for a new leader who would provide a fresh look.”

Board Member Michelle Tratoros declined comment and referred WPCNR to Ms. McLoughlin. Richard Bernstein, reached at his New York office, referred us to Mr. Sules and Ms. McLoughlin. New Board member Susan Kirkpatrick, did not return our call.

Can you Keep a Secret? The School Board Can.

Asked why the board kept this secret for six months, Mr. Trippett objected, saying it was not kept secret.

Trippett said, “We just didn’t publicize it.”

However, neither the CO-President of the White Plains PTA Council, numerous teachers, and key members of the City School District contacted by WPCNR knew their leadership was changing for six months until Wednesday of this week.

The Saul Man On the Job Through June. Geiger feels no problem in filling slot.

Yanofsky will fulfill his contract through June of 2002. Mr. Geiger said he felt confident they would have a successor to Yanofsky by Spring, 2002,

“When we hired Saul in 1989-90, we advertised the opening in the fall of 1989 and had Saul on board in March, 1990,” Geiger recalled. However, last year according to Rosemary Williams of the Middle School PTA, there were 11 Superintendent’s jobs unfilled in Westchester County.

Parents, key teachers dumbfounded.

Three key personalities in the school district were shocked by the news. They could not make sense of the Board’s decision, and could not shed any light on any particular policy difference Yanofsky had with the board that would explain his being dismissed.

One White Plains teacher said it felt to her “like a death in the family.”

Yanofsky’s accomplishments in 12 years:

Dr. Saul Yanofsky was eulogized while still living today by every district worker we talked to. WPCNR, on short notice, credits him as having brought balanced schools to White Plains painlessly, computer-networked the School District in a way that is the envy of every other Westchester School District, met the challenge of the New York State standardized tests, raised the test scores of ESOL (English Spanish Other Language) students, initiated pre-K and all-day kindergarten programs, and consistently fought eloquently for his students.

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Habla Espanol?Now WPCNR comes in Spanish, 4 other languages!

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It is fitting that with the Hispanic Parade coming up this Saturday, WPCNR, thanks to the cutting edge Westchester Wire Network, now offers the opportunity to read all stories in Spanish. Just pick your language by going to the Translator Box on the left (just below the Reader Comments!).
White Plains CitizeNetReporter is proud to announce the only daily foreign language editions of White Plains news. You can choose to read WPCNR’s exclusive insider reporting on White Plains events, deals, coverups, breakthroughs, successes and failures on school, city hall, politics, and sports in any one of five languages.

Simply move your trusty cursor to the Translate Feature box on the left of this column (It’s just below the reader comments, my favorite part of the site!)

Click on the downward pointing arrow and select the language you prefer: English, Spanish, French, German or Italian.

Sean Cover who acquires these bells and whistles for we network affiliates says it is very good. Give it a test and tell your Spanish-speaking, French, German or Italian friends about it.

And let us know how good the translation is!

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A Military Man on Biological Threats

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Retired Military Specialist SFC Red Thomas (Ret) gives his “Take” on Media Hysteria Over chemical weapons. Information appears authentic, and was forwarded to us by the postmaster general’s office.

Lesson number one: (Toxic Gases)

In the mid 1990’s there were a series of nerve gas attacks on crowded Japanese subway stations. Given perfect conditions for an attack less than 10% of the people there were injured (the injured were better in a few hours) and only one percent of the injured died.

60 Minutes once had a fellow telling us that one drop of nerve gas could kill a thousand people. Well he didn’t tell you the thousand dead people per drop was theoretical. Drill Sergeants exaggerate how terrible this stuff was to keep the recruits awake in class (I know this because I was a Drill Sergeant, too).

Forget everything you’ve ever seen on TV, in the movies, or read in
a novel about this stuff, it was all a lie (read this sentence again out loud!)!

These weapons are about terror, if you remain calm, you will probably not die. This is far less scary than the media and their “Experts,” make it sound.

Chemical weapons are categorized as Nerve, Blood, Blister, and Incapacitating agents. Contrary to the hype of reporters and politicians, they are not weapons of mass destruction they are “Area denial,” and
terror weapons that don’t destroy anything.

When you leave the area you almost always leave the risk. That’s the difference; you can leave the area and the risk; soldiers may have to stay put and sit through it and that’s why they need all that spiffy gear.

These are not gasses, they are vapors and/or air borne particles. The agent must be delivered in sufficient quantity to kill/injure, and that defines when/how it’s used.

Every day we have a morning and evening inversion where “stuff,” suspended in the air gets pushed down. This inversion is why allergies (pollen) and air pollution are worst at these times of the day.

So, a chemical attack will have its best effect an hour of so either side of sunrise/sunset. Also, being vapors and airborne particles, they are heavier than air so they will seek low places like ditches, basements and underground garages. This stuff won’t work when it’s freezing, it doesn’t last when it’s hot, and wind spreads it too thin too fast.

They’ve got to get this stuff on you, or, get you to inhale it for it to work. They also have to get the concentration of chemicals high enough to kill or wound you. Too little and it’s nothing, too much and it’s wasted.

What I hope you’ve gathered by this point is that a chemical weapons attack that kills a lot of people is incredibly hard to do with military grade agents and equipment, so you can imagine how hard it will be for terrorists.

The more you know about this stuff the more you realize how hard it is to use.

We’ll start by talking about nerve agents. You have these in your house, plain old bug killer (like Raid) is a nerve agent. All nerve agents work the same way; they are cholinesterase inhibitors that mess up the signals your nervous system uses to make your body function.

It can harm you if you get it on your skin but it works best if they can get you to inhale it. If you don’t die in the first minute and you can leave the area you’re probably gonna live. The military’s antidote for all nerve agents is atropine and pralidoxime chloride.

Neither one of these does anything to cure the nerve agent, they send your body into overdrive to keep you alive for five minutes, after that the agent is used up. Your best protection is fresh air and staying calm.

Listed below are the symptoms for nerve agent poisoning:

Sudden headache, Dimness of vision (someone you’re looking at will have pinpointed pupils), Runny nose, Excessive saliva or drooling, Difficulty breathing, Tightness in chest, Nausea, Stomach cramps, Twitching of exposed skin where a liquid just got on you.

If you are in public and you start experiencing these symptoms, first ask yourself, did anything out of the ordinary just happen, a loud pop, did someone spray something on the crowd? Are other people getting sick too?

Is there an odor of new mown hay, green corn, something fruity, or camphor where it shouldn’t be?

If the answer is yes, then calmly (if you panic you breathe faster and inhale more air/poison), leave the area and head up wind, or, outside. Fresh air is the best “right now antidote”. If you have a blob of liquid that looks like molasses or Kayro syrup on you; blot it or scrape it off and away from yourself with anything disposable.

This stuff works based on your body weight, what a crop duster uses to kill bugs won’t hurt you unless you stand there and breathe it in real deep, then lick the residue off the ground for while.

Remember they have to do all the work, they have to get the concentration up and keep it up for several minutes while all you have to do is quit getting it on you/quit breathing it by putting space between you and the attack.

Blood agents.

Blood agents are cyanide or arsine which effect your blood’s ability to provide oxygen to your tissue. The scenario for attack would be the same as nerve agent. Look for a pop or someone splashing/spraying something and folks around there getting woozy/falling down. The telltale smells are bitter almonds or garlic where it shouldn’t be.

The symptoms are blue lips, blue under the fingernails, rapid breathing. The military’s antidote is amyl nitride, and just like nerve agent antidote it just keeps your body working for five minutes till the toxins are used up. Fresh air is the your best individual chance.

Blister Agents

Blister agents (distilled mustard) are so nasty that nobody wants to even handle it let alone use it. It’s almost impossible to handle safely and may have delayed effect of up to 12 hours.

The attack scenario is also limited to the things you’d see from other chemicals. If you do get large, painful blisters for no apparent reason, don’t pop them, if you must, don’t let the liquid from the blister get on any other area, the stuff just keeps on spreading. It’s just as likely to harm the user as the target. Soap, water, sunshine, and fresh air are this stuff’s enemy.

Bottom line on chemical weapons (it’s the same if they use industrial chemical spills); they are intended to make you panic, to terrorize you, to herd you like sheep to the wolves.

If there is an attack, leave the area and go upwind, or to the sides of the wind stream. They have to get the stuff to you, and on you. You’re more likely to be hurt by a drunk driver on any given day than be hurt by one of these attacks. Your odds get better if you leave the area. Soap, water, time, and fresh air really deal this stuff a knock_out_punch.

Don’t let fear of an isolated attack rule your life. The odds are really on your side.

Nuclear bombs.

These are the only weapons of mass destruction on earth. The effects of a nuclear bomb are heat, blast, EMP, and radiation. If you see a bright flash of light like the sun, where the sun isn’t, fall to the ground!

The heat will be over a second. Then there will be two blast waves, one out going, and one on it’s way back. Don’t stand up to see what happened after the first wave; anything that’s going to happen will have happened in two full minutes.

These will be low yield devices and will not level whole cities. If you live through the heat, blast, and initial burst of radiation, you’ll probably live for a very, very, long time. Radiation will not create fifty foot tall women, or giant ants and grass hoppers the size of tanks.

These will be at the most 1 kiloton bombs; that’s the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT.

Here’s the real deal, flying debris and radiation will kill a lot of exposed (not all!) people within a half mile of the blast. Under perfect conditions this is about a half mile circle of death and destruction, but, when it’s done it’s done.

EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse and it will fry every electronic device for a good distance, it’s impossible to say what and how far but probably not over a couple of miles from ground zero is a good guess. Cars, cell phones, computers, ATMs, you name it, all will be out of order.

There are lots of kinds of radiation, you only need to worry about three, the others you have lived with for years. You need to worry about “Ionizing radiation,” these are little sub atomic particles that go whizzing along at the speed of light. They hit individual cells in your body, kill the nucleus and keep on going.

That’s how you get radiation poisoning, you have so many dead cells in your body that the decaying cells poison you. It’s the same as people getting radiation treatments for cancer, only a bigger area gets radiated.

The good news is you don’t have to just sit there and take it, and there’s lots you can do rather than panic. First; your skin will stop alpha particles, a page of a news paper or your clothing will stop beta particles, you just gotta try and avoid inhaling dust that’s contaminated with atoms that are emitting these things and you’ll be generally safe from them.

Gamma rays are particles that travel like rays (quantum physics makes my brain hurt) and they create the same damage as alpha and beta particles, only they keep going and kill lots of cells as they go all the way through your body. It takes a lot to stop these things, lots of dense material, on the other hand it takes a lot of this to kill you.


Your defense is as always to not panic. Basic hygiene and normal preparation are your friends. All canned or frozen food is safe to eat. The radiation poisoning will not effect plants so fruits and vegetables are OK if there’s no dust on em (rinse em off if there is).

If you don’t have running water and you need to collect rain water or use water from wherever, just let it sit for thirty minutes and skim off the water gently from the top. The dust with the bad stuff in it will settle and the remaining water can be used for the toilet which will still work if you have a bucket of water to pour in the tank.

Biological Warfare

Finally there’s biological warfare. There’s not much to cover here. Basic personal hygiene and sanitation will take you further than a million doctors. Wash your hands often, don’t share drinks, food, sloppy kisses, etc., … with strangers. Keep your garbage can with a tight lid on it, don’t have standing water (like old buckets, ditches, or kiddie pools) laying around to allow mosquitoes breeding room. This stuff is carried by vectors, that is bugs, rodents, and contaminated material.

If biological warfare is so easy as the TV makes it sound, why has Saddam Hussein spent twenty years, millions, and millions of dollars trying to get it right? If you’re clean of person and home you eat well and are active you’re gonna live.

Overall preparation for any terrorist attack is the same as you’d take for a big storm. If you want a gas mask, fine, go get one. I know this stuff and I’m not getting one and I told my Mom not to bother with one either (how’s that for confidence?). We have a week’s worth of cash, several days worth of canned goods and plenty of soap and water. We don’t leave stuff out to attract bugs or rodents so we don’t have them.

These people can’t conceive a nation this big with this much resources. These weapons are made to cause panic, terror, and to demoralize. If we don’t run around like sheep, they won’t use this stuff after they find out it’s no fun. The government is going nuts over this stuff because they have to protect every inch of America. You’ve only gotta protect yourself, and by doing that, you help the country.

Finally, there are millions of caveats to everything I wrote here and you can think up specific scenarios where my advice isn’t the best. This letter is supposed to help the greatest number of people under the greatest number of situations. If you don’t like my work, don’t nit pick, just sit down and explain chemical, nuclear, and biological warfare in a document around three pages long yourself.

This is how we the people of the United States can rob these people of their most desired goal, your terror.

SFC Red Thomas (Ret)
Armor Master Gunner
Mesa, AZ

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McLaughlin Refuses to Reveal New Direction for School District

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School Board President, Donna O. McLaughlin, after keeping the firing of Saul Yanofsky secret for six months, would not comment on what areas of operations the Board felt a new superintendent needed to address to the Board satisfaction, which caused the Board to not renew the 12-year Superintendent’s contract.
Mrs. McLaughlin, interviewed by WPCNR, said the Board had decided to not renew Dr. Yanofsky’s contract as of last April and had chosen not to release the decision until now.

Firing by mutual consent. Consistent policy clashes.

Dorothy Schere, another member of the school board, after hanging up on WPCNR twice, the first time when asked what Dr. Yanofsky did wrong, saying, “I’m not going to go tit for tat,” revealed that “the board and Saul Yanofsky had a number of policy differences over a long period of time, and we agreed it could not go on and agreed to a parting of the ways.”
Ms. McLoughlin, in an earlier interview had said the board needed “to start fresh, strengthen and freshen the district approach,” without saying what needed freshening.

The sacking of Yanofsky was mutually agreed upon between the Board and Dr. Yanofsky last April. Schere said that Yanofsky and the Board had agreed to keep it a secret because last spring was not an appropriate time to announce it. (The School budget and school board elections were held in May.)

Yanofsky’s contract, according to McLoughlin, states that the school district has to inform him fourteen months in advance whether or not they intend to renew his contract.

No direction revealed in superintendent search

McLoughlin, despite repeated questioning by WPCNR would not say where the board and their Superintendent disagreed on policy.

When asked what kind of superintendent they were looking for as to strengths he or she could bring to the school district that Yanofsky did not have, she would not specify what the board felt it needed in a new district leader.

Parents input will be sought.

She said that parents would be invited to participate in a process expressing what they were looking for in a Superintendent, and to voice their concerns to the search firm. She said a search firm had not been hired yet. The District has eight months and thirteen days to find that person before Dr. Yanofsky leads.

Schere said the Board planned to hire a search firm for Dr. Yanofsky’s successor in November.

She said the parents of the district would be notified as to their opportunities for participation in expressing what kind of administrator they would want to replace Dr. Yanofsky. Schere said that they could not hire a search firm earlier because it would not have been appropriate or in the best interest of either party. She did not say why.

Richard Lasselle, the Assistant Superintendent for Business, who is under contract to the school district for three more years, said he knew about the departure at the end of last week, when Dr. Yanofsky told him personally. He said he knew it was nothing of a personal nature, but had no idea as to why the Board was dismissing its leader. Not being in executive sessions with Dr. Yanofsky and the Board, he said he had no idea where the conflicts were.

School Board can keep a secret.

This was a well-kept secret by the Board of Education. Sources WPCNR have spoken to said even Dr. Yanofsky’s secretary did not know until Wednesday night of this week. Co-President of the White Plains PTA Council, Nancy Smith, learned of this by a phone call today, Thursday.

Ms. Smith said she was getting lots of phone calls from parents, and was stunned by the news. “I like him,” she said, and found the news “unbelievable.” She expressed an immediate concern as to the lack of a defined period of transition between Dr. Yanofsky and his successor.

“Will continue on same path.”

McLoughlin commented that the district was dedicated to the best education for the school district children and that they would “continue on the same path Dr. Yanofsky has blazed.” She said she had great confidence in the administration and personnel of the district to carry on without Dr. Yanofsky at the helm.

Yanofsky will continue in his position until June 30, 2002.

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FLASH!!! School Board: Saul Yanofsky fired after 12 years

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The White Plains Board of Education announced Wednesday that Dr. Saul Yanofsky is leaving as Superintendent of Schools at the end of his contract.

The decision to not renew Dr. Yanofsky’s contract which expires in June, 2002, was announced in a letter to school parents, dated October 17 and received October 18.

The official letter signed by Donna O. McLaughlin, President, White Plains Board of Education, commenting on the school leader’s departure stated:

“We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions that Dr. Yanofsky has made over the 12 years of his tenure, however, in recent years the Board and the Superintendent have had a number of significant differences. After much discussion and deliberation, the decision has been made to change leadership.

Dr. Yanofsky was unavailable for comment as to the nature of the significant differences.

Ed House Shocked. Announced Thursday morning

Michelle Schoenfeld, spokesperson for the school district, was unavailable for comment. However, WPCNR querying the receptionist found that the ed house staff was just informed of the Superintendent’s departure this Thursday morning. No further information was available.

School Board to initiate search.

Mrs. McLaughlin’s letter to district parents said:
“Although the responsibility for selecting a new superintendent rests solely with the Board of Education, we will provide opportunities for input from the entire community during the hiring process. We will share specific details regarding the search for a new superintendent in the near future.”

Yanofsky continues; will “provide leadership.

McLaughlin commented in her letter to the District that Dr. Yanofsky “will continue to provide leadership and direct the initiatives and activities for the district through the rest of the school year.”

Dean of School District Leaders is Pacesetter for Westchester County School Districts.

Yanofsky is looked to by Westchester School Superintendents as the lead negotiator and pacesetter in education issues. They have looked to Yanofsky for leadership in matters of teacher contract negotiations, school standards, and district management issues. As White Plains District goes, so goes the county, has been the impression.

Dr. Yanofsky has been a very vocal critic of the way in which the Department of Education operates in administering its state standard tests, and has been the lead Westchester spokesman in Albany on that issue.

He has also upgraded and adjusted White Plains school curricula to produce test scores that have improved on state mandated tests since they were instituted four years ago.

Yanofsky is the second administrative heavyweight to leave the district in five months. The district lost Dr. Constance Iervolino, its Curriculum Chief in September.

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Fuel Pools Housed.”Years” to Close. County Unhappy with Gannett

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A spokesman for Entergy, has confirmed to WPCNR, what an independent nuclear engineer consultant told us Sunday evening about the Indian Point safety procedures. The County Executive’s office accused Gannett’s Sunday Meltdown report panicking the area as “not responsible journalism.”

Here’s the situation: a professional nuclear engineer informed WPCNR Sunday evening the nuclear fuel waste dumps at Indian Point, are enclosed in concrete and steel-reinforced buildings. Indian Point has to comply, he said, with strict, projectile and earthquake-resistant standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for these pools. These standards for fuel waste containment are in effect at all United States nuclear power plant facilities, according to our source. Now Entergy has confirmed his information.

Entergy: fuel pools enclosed in “substantial building.”

Tuesday, Jim Steets, Communications Director for Entergy, told WPCNR, the nuclear fuel waste pools on the Indian Point site were housed in a “substantial building,” confirming what our nuclear correspondent described. Reports published as late as Tuesday would lead readers to believe the fuel pools are open to the air like sewage treatment plants. This is not true according to Mr. Steets.

Indian Point Has Own Fire Department.

Mr. Steets reported in response to our query about firefighting capabilities, that Indian Point has its own fire department on the premises. He said it is prepared to handle major fires there with backup from two other departments in the area. He said the fire chief of his in-house department, he assumed has been reviewing his department capability to handle jet-fuel fires because of the World Trade Center disaster.

He said he would confirm how his fire fighters were equipped to handle such a conflagration. Sheets said Entergy, because of their current state of security alert, would not be able to take WPCNR on an inspection of the facilities at this time.

Legislator Assured Meltdown Not Possible.

County Legislator, George Oros for the Town of Cortlandt and Peekskill, interviewed by WPCNR Tuesday, said Entergy had given county legislators a briefing last Wednesday.
The County Legislator said, through the briefing, he learned that “The plant cannot ‘meltdown’ because of the built-in safeguards in place, and it won’t explode because the uranium and fuel are not of a weapons grade.”

Oros confirmed officially for WPCNR that Entergy’s Indian Point plant furnished 20% of New York State electricity, while generating 1% or $3 million in property taxes to Westchester County. The Legislator added the plant paid 20% of the Town of Cortlandt’s property taxes, and approximately 40% of the town’s school taxes. He noted it employed 3,000 persons.

Oros: Three Issues to Consider About Closing Plant.

Responding to WPCNR’s question about possible closing of Indian Point, Legislator Oros told WPCNR—

“Knowing what we know now,” Oros said,“the plant should have never been there to begin with. That considered, we have to address three issues if we consider closing it: one,The loss and subsequent replacement of energy. We have to start working on that now. Two, How do you cushion the bow to the tax base, and, three, The loss of 3,000 jobs. We have to be working closely with federal and state officials to address these issues.”

The legislator said he has not been advised how long it would take to close down Indian Point. However, Mr. Steets, the Entergy spokesman spoke to that issue.
Steets told WPCNR that he was not familiar with the procedure, but felt the procedure would “take years,” most likely require special legislation, and direction from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

County Executive Moved to Act Because of Gannett “Meltdown” Article, Calls it “Not Responsible Journalism.”

WPCNR contacting the County Office of Communications on another matter learned that the County Executive office felt compelled to issue a news release detailing county confidence in Entergy Indian Point safety procedures and reassuring the public. (See earlier “Nuclear Builder” story on this site). A spokesperson for the County Communications Office said the County felt it had to respond with a news release to the story published in a Sunday Gannett news article on the front page, raising the possibility of a meltdown at Indian Point.

A spokesman who works in the County Communications Office, and a former Gannett reporter, told us on the record that the County Executive felt the article was “very alarmist, one-sided, and needed to be responded to. It was not responsible journalism.”

Entergy described as “unreachable.”

WPCNR has also learned that Entergy, the owner and operator of Indian Point, was never contacted about the premise of the Meltdown Sunday article which alleged that Indian Point would produce a radiation cloud similar to the Chernobyl disaster that appeared in Gannett papers.

WPCNR has a report that the Gannett Editor responsible for approving the Sunday Meltdown Story said the preparer of the article told her Entergy was “unreachable.”

However, Mr. Steets said a person involved in preparation of the report was on the grounds of Indian Point speaking and talking with him personally scant days before the article appeared with every opportunity to ask questions on these issues, and the individual did not.

WPCNR called up Entergy cold after six phone calls within one hour (and four of those were to information),Tuesday morning. We even got to a spokesman, Mr. Steets.

The Sunday Meltdown article has resulted in “more than normal calls,” to the County Executive’s office about the safety of Indian Point according to the County Communications office. Oros, our County Legislator interviewee, said he had received heavy phone calls because of the Gannett Sunday Meltdown article.

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Nuke Builder: Meltdown Far-Fetched. Corcoran, Ryan: “Shut Plant.” Spano: “Safe.”

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UPDATE:Sunday night, an expert in design, construction and failsafe systems of nuclear plants said the possibility of a “meltdown,” resulting from a plane crash into the Indian Point domes is highly unlikely. On Monday afternoon, County Executive Andy Spano confirmed our expert’s confidence, telling news media Entergy had assured him the plant was safe and confirming our independent expert’s assessment of plant safeguards. Both County Legislature District 5 Candidates called for a shutdown of the Indian Point facility.
A recent news report speculated about Indian Point melting down if its dome or domes were hit by a jumbo jet. WPCNR wanted to know Sunday, if this was a strong possibility. One man who has supervised construction of modern nuclear facilities says it is not. Monday afternoon, County Executive Andrew Spano also confirmed, in part, what our expert said about Indian Point safety.

Chernobyl and Indian Point cannot be compared.

A veteran consultant and professional builder of nuclear plants to current NRC standards, most recently in North Carolina, spoke to WPCNR Sunday evening. He was flabbergasted by the premise of the article. The WPCNR nuclear expert whom we will call “Bill,” said comparing the Chernobyl meltdown to Indian Point was not a fair comparison.

First, Bill said the Chernobyl meltdown disaster occurred when the controllers “lost control of the chain reaction, and literally ran out of the plant.” He said there were no remote back-up systems in place at the Chernobyl plant to shut off the reaction.

There are back-up systems at Indian Point and all United States plants. He attributed the Chernobyl accident to human error without a recourse, which caused the destructive meltdown and massive radiation cloud.

U.S. Plant Backup Systems Stop the Reactor.

“You simply cannot compare a Russian-built nuclear plant with a United States plant,” He said. “As a result of the Three Mile Island incident alone, in the 1980s, American nuclear plants were directed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to install ‘redundant instrumentation,’ in distinctly separate areas of the complex which consists of auxiliary control panels of all systems.”

This is designed, he says, to prevent exactly what happened at Chernobyl. If Indian Point were to be hit by a plane, even two planes, the redundant system can shut down the reactor immediately. Yet, even in that case, release of radiation is highly unlikely.

Could a Plane Hit Cause a Meltdown?

WPCNR asked Bill if a plane penetrated a dome, whether this could cause radioactive steam to escape. Bill said that even after a dome hit, any resulting explosion would need to penetrate the reactor to release any radiation.

The reactor in the typical Westinghouse Plant (such as Indian Point 2 and 3) is encased in an additional 18 inches of stainless stee, Bill says. This steel would have to be penetrated by the plane wreckage and fire, to release any radiation. Bill feels this is extremely unlikely.

“You have to realize that the reactor casing is built to withstand rigid forces generated by major earthquakes by law. Should a plane penetrate the dome, it is unlikely it will generate enough impact or explosive force to penetrate the reactor. A plane is not an earthquake. What caused the WTC towers to collapse was driving a plane into a spider web of construction not a reinforced dome.”

(WPCNR advises readers the fire from the jet fuel released in the crashes could not be extinguished, causing the interior steel supports of the towers to melt after approximately one hour of uncontrolled burning and heat)

Bill indicated that U.S. nuclear plants have fire-extinguishing procedures to handle such a scenario.

Could a jumbo jet penetrate the dome?

Bill said the domes (of typical Westinghouse plants) are constructed of approximately 2 to 3 feet of concrete and are lined on the interior with 1” steel plate.

“The domes are designed to withstand a 2,700 pound projectile (the size of a Volkswagon), comparable to artillery shells that penetrate bunkers. The domes are calculated to withstand the impact of a 747. They have crashed smaller planes into them in tests and they have held.”

How about the radioactive fuel dumps?

We asked if a jet fuel fire might release radiation by penetrating the fuel and igniting it. (This scenario envisioned by the recent media article was depicted by a nuclear consultant in that article)

Bill said, “the radioactive spent fuel is in a protected building itself. It is housed in a concrete-and-steel-lined protected building and under several feet of water. The spent fuel is quite separate from the domes housing the four steam generators and one reactor (typical of Westinghouse plants, Bill reports). Should the plane penetrate the spent fuel storage dump, and jet fuel ignites, the jet fuel sits on top of the water. It cannot reach the spent radioactive fuel.”

He said the scenarios of fires of many kinds are covered in the Final Safety Analysis Report, which has to be signed off by the Nuclear Regulation Commission, and the plant operator before the plant is put online. They cannot go online without it, Bill says.

As to fuel fires, “You can put out fuel fires with foam, and water in these instances. The water uses up the oxygen. I’ve done it.”

Expert chides uninformed media article

Asked about the hypothesis generated by the article, Bill’s reaction was “The article comes within 3 degrees of yellow journalism. This person has done major damage with this. Why didn’t he call the utility?”

It should be noted that WPCNR has been unable to confirm Bill’s generalized comments about Westinghouse manufactured plants, and Bill believes Indian Point 2 and 3 are Westinghouse plants.

However, Bill has been responsible for the construction and commissioning of nuclear plants and should know his stuff. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission construction specifications are required in all American nuclear plants.

Shutting down would cause a scramble to power Westchester

We asked Bill what the impact of shutting Indian Point 2 and 3 would have on the New York area. Bill guessed that Indian Point 2 & 3 generated about 900 megawatts each, 1800 megawatts in all, a major percentage of the Westchester area electricity, requiring Entergy (owners of the plant)to find some other source quickly if the plant were to shut down.

Our nuclear plant builder is correct in his assumption. According to information we received Tuesday from George Oros, County Legislator for the Town of Cortlandt & Peekskill, Indian Point provides 20% of New York State’s electricity.

The plant also contributes 1% of Westchester County property taxes, ($3-1/2 million) 25% of Cortlandt’s property taxes and 40 to 50% of the Town of Cortlandt Henry Hudson School District school tax. It employs 3,000 persons.

Ryan, Corcoran call for closing of the Indian Point plant

On Monday evening, County Legislator Bill Ryan and Candyce Canelstein Corcoran in the County District 5 Legislator race both called for closing of the Indian Point facility in personal appearances at the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents meeting.

Ryan said he was for closing the plant, but alternative electric sources had to be found before that could be done, saying it was up to the federal government to direct alternative electronic “buys” perhaps with a Canadian supplier.

Corcoran suggested the plant should be closed, and suggested other sources of electric generation be investigated such as
hydroelectric, windturbines,GEO thermal, methanol.

Spano leaning towards closing

Ryan, in a WPCNR interview afterward said County Executive Andy Spano was leaning towards closing the facility if alternative energy sources could be found to take up the electric supply shortfall. The County Legislator also said he expected any shutdown of Indian Point to take quite some time to execute, but had no details.

County Exec says plant safe, confirming WPCNR’s expert.

In a news release Monday, County Executive Andrew Spano indirectly confirmed what WPCNR’s nuclear expert told us Sunday evening. In a statement released to the media, Mr. Spano stated:

We are in constant communication with Entergy, the operators of the plant. As is required by federal law, Entergy has a well-trained and equipped security force that is prepared to defend against an attack on the plant. While this security force at the plant is not visible to the general public, it is there and on high alert.

Mr. Spano confirmed heigtened security procedures and dismissed nuclear critics’ claims:

The Indian Point plants have passed their NRC-administered anti-intrusion security inspections and tests. Claims to the contrary made by nuclear critics are untrue. Additional security measures at Indian Point include increased surveillance activities and additional restrictions on people and deliveries.

Spano confirms WPCNR nuclear engineer’s report that dome can handle a plane hit:

Mr. Spano addressed the strength of the dome thusly:According to Entergy, the dome-shaped containment buildings at Indian Point are among the strongest structures in the world, designed specifically to withstand tremendous pressure. Studies have shown that nuclear plant containment structures can survive direct crashes of an airplane.

Spano also confirms our engineer’s comment on the reactor protection

The County Executive continued: In addition to the protection provided by the containment building, the reactor itself is enclosed in an additional structure of steel and concrete and sits down low in the containment building, providing further protection.

Spano says NRC coordinating with Feds

He assures us: The NRC has also advised me that they are working around the clock to coordinate with the FBI, other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the military and state authorities to provide additional safety measures that may be implemented not only at Indian Point but also at all nuclear power plants in the country. You may be aware that this last weekend, the National Guard was ordered to the Plants.

Coast Guard also beefed up, Spano says:

He reports: With the assistance of Rep. Nita Lowey, the presence of the Coast Guard, which was already there taking up protective positions in the Hudson, is being beefed up.

Indian Point no-fly zone enforcement:

County Legislator in his appearance at SNAP told the Scarsdale citizens that Indian Point is a no fly zone which is enforced 24 hours a day by jet fighter aircraft on standby. Ryan explained aircraft are given coordinates by the FAA Air Traffic Control they must fly when bypassing the plant.

If Intruder aircraft deviate from those coordinates, the air force scrambles a jet, and if the aircraft does not comply, the fighter pilots demand they fly to a specified coordinate or by shot down.

Coasties guard shorefront for 900 feet

Ryan also said Coast Guard patrols enforce a no-sail zone within a 900 yard semi-circle extending out from the shores of the Indian Point complex. Large ships and small craft, traveling up river are subject to boarding and searching, he said.

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White Plains Biggest Parade Handled Routinely by “The Parade City”

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With thousands lining Mamaroneck Avenue, mostly three-deep from Old Mamaroneck Road to Main Street, Bands, civic groups, and businesses saluted Christopher Columbus in the White Plains Columbus Day Parade Saturday.
Intelligent police management of cross-traffic at key intersections prevented the city from being tied up East to West. Even ambulances got through with clever routing.Here are some sights.

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Tigers are Top Cats, Mack, McKoy Runs Rock Mamaroneck, 20-14

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White Plains won its third straight game, on a pair of touchdown runs by Darrell Mack, and a 4th quarter clinching TD by Jeff McCoy in Mamaroneck, their most impressive offensive effort of the season.
In a battle of the Tigers, White Plains shut down Mamaroneck on a key sequnce in the third quarter, then scored another “six” on the ensuing drive, only to hold on in the red zone with time running out. The victory moved the White PlainsTigers to a 3-2 record.

PUNTING FROM HIS ONE YARD LINE, Orlando Cruz got it off without mishap with 4:22 to go in the game in Mamaroneck Saturday. The defense held on Mamaroneck’s next series and the Tigers had earned their stripes. WPCNR PHOTO

Darrell Mack, scored two touchdowns on long runs in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead at the half. Then Jeff McKoy who had spring Mack all day for quarterback option runs, scampered around end for 32 yards for the clinching touchdown.

PUT IT IN THE BOOKS! White Plains Tigers shake hands with Mamaroneck Tigers as they win their third straight game. Manual pdf WPCNR PHOTO

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Democrats Advocate Affordable Housing; Mayor:31 Accomplishments

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City Mayoral and Council Candidates offered unique solutions and stark differences at the old Battle Hill Elementary SchoolThursday. Here are the first rushes of the “highlights.”
Democratic candidates criticised the Delfino Administration record Thursday evening. They addressed issues raised by 30 Battle Hill residents. Candidate Robert Greer ratcheted up his campaign performance in his strongest and most cogent presentation to date, announcing some specifics, and promising commissioners of all creeds, races and genders.

Mayor misses the boom by moving too slowly

Greer found fault with the Mayor as having not gotten things going soon enough in the city, and therefore had missed the “90s boomtimes.” Greer charged the administration had not been responsive and aggressive in tackling traffic and illegal housing concerns and championed “affordable housing” as an issue he would pursue if elected.

Champ with opening flurry, sticks, moves, shuffles, and piles up points with judges

Delfino, in the leadoff spot, rattled off his impressive list of 31 accomplishments, and at the close of the night, defended his administration taking a look-at-the-record approach. At evening’s end, he deflected Democratic criticism, by saying, he has always been a consensus politician in his 30-year career: “We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric. The city gets into trouble when issues are looked at in terms of Democrat and Republican politics and agendas.”

Mayor endorses bipartisan approach

The confident Mayor dismissed the “Greericism” that he had not done enough soon enough, charging that from ’93 to ’97 “nothing had been done” in the city. He said that he was a believer in bringing persons together to solve problems working together. He humorously suggested that by voting for him for Mayor, the city would get to keep the combination of both himself and his opponent, Mr. Greer working for the city. “Otherwise, you just get him,” the Mayor said, indicating Greer, a playful bit that amused the audience.

Greer: a careful look on each new project.Will infrastructure handle it?

Mr. Greer said he was very concerned about the city infrastructure being able to handle what he described as “up to 6,000” new residents downtown, and promised a careful look at each new project in the next four years (“We better make damn sure as a community we’re able to absorb it.”)

Greer raised the specter that office vacancy rates had now climbed to 20% in the city.

He claimed the Democrats were responsible for the supermarket project on Westchester Avenue by rejecting the Shoprite project the Mayor had backed, and opting for Stop N Shop instead. He did not credit the Mayor for convincing Nick Pepe’ to work with Stop N Shop for a more convenient, better designed project that was ultimately approved.

Sees value in the “questing” approach as adding value to projects

Greer said his Democrats “asked more questions” and were responsible for “adding value” to the Cappelli City Center project by demanding a better-designed building at the last moment. He also raised a question whether the Cappelli financing was going to come through. “We have a questing approach to development. We ask questions.”

Democrats to push for affordable housing with special committee.

Democrats promised a mission for more affordable housing for professionals such as firefighters, police, and teachers, and our young people within the city limits. Greer said more affordable housing was the way to combat the chronic illegal housing problem raised by Battle Hill residents. However, it should be pointed out that illegal residents often lack the income levels necessary to rent affordable housing.

To combat the illegal rooming house conditions in Battle Hill and around the city, Greer promised to form an “affordable housing commission.” Greer said its mission would be to identify sites where affordable housing is possible in White Plains, and study a means of funding and building such housing. He took pains to say this was not moderate-income housing, but housing for professionals, police, teachers, firefighters, and “our young people.”

Rita Malmud said she would stipulate that such affordable housing be made available to White Plains residents on a right-of-first-refusal basis. Malmud and Greer both said they advocated more buildings inspectors to identify illegal housing where it existed.

City performance defended as not that easy.

Mayor Delfino said that his administration had stepped up enforcement with ‘Night Operations’ around town whereby police and sanitation persons put alleged illegal rooming houses under surveillance, counted cars parked, noted excessive garbage and unusual activity. He said the city had identified 32 alleged violators (22 on Battle Hill, 10 elsewhere) within 3 months, and time-consuming investigations and care preparations were under way.

He requested more building inspectors, and was pleased at Malmud’s pledge to legislate more.

“IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE!” cautioned Larry Delgado Thursday night at the Battle Hill Association Candidates Night, as he defended the efforts to remove illegal housing from areas of Battle Hill. Delgado pointed out the $1,000-a-day fines judges impose on each violation, and the city ability to jail incorrigible landlords. Delgado said exhaustive investigations and inspections are necessary to prove illegal residency violations. To the left of Mr. Delgado are, Mayor Delfino, Rita Malmud, Robert Greer. To his right, Mike Amodio, and Robert Tuck and, partially hidden, Battle Hill Association President Virginia Falzarano.WPCNR PHOTO

Greer promises open administration

Greer and Glen Hockley both hammered on alleged lack of communication from city hall. Greer returned to his theme of Mayor’s Nights, harking back to the Schulman administration. Greer added that his commissioners would be available once a month to listen and act upon citizen concerns on such nights. Hockley said people were his main concern and that their needs and helping them were the reason he was running, “I’m not a friend of any developer, and I’m for people and their needs.”

Ms. Malmud pointed out that as a legislator she could not order city commissioners to do anything, but promised to pass on all complaints to the Mayor’s office, as she has been doing.

Traffic: more enforcement, more rerouting suggested.

Mr. Greer said he would opt for more stop signs in Battle Hill, speed humps, and traffic rerouting, even though he admitted that in 1996, traffic rerouting did not solve the problem in Battle Hill, but simply transferred traffic to other streets.In 1996, Greer and the majority of the common council voted to discontinue and not fine tune a traffic management program that had aroused much protest in the Battle Hill area.

Mike Amodio presents proven solutions in effect elsewhere.

Each Democratic candidate advocated strongly for strictly enforcing illegal housing rules, and candidate Hockley said the key to removing illegally parked vehicles in Battle Hill was strict enforcement.

Only council candidate Michael Amodio actually made two suggestions that have worked on affordable housing and residents’ commercial vehicle parking problems similar to those plaguing the Battle Hill area.

Amodio suggested White Plains establish a Revitalization Commission such as exists in New Rochelle, to purchase dilapidated housing, refurbish it and then resell it to new homeowners at a profit. The commission, Amodio said, was very successful in New Rochelle in providing housing for “affordable income” residents (by this WPCNR assumes $60,000 to $80,000 incomes) and was funded by federal and state grants.

A Battle Hill resident asked what could be done about commercial vehicles owned by residents being parked in driveways throughout the Hill area, when this was expressly prohibited by law. The Mayor said his administration was awaiting discussions with the Battle Hill Association on how the neighborhood wanted to proceed against such violators, (residents who park their commercial vehicles, taxis, vans, trucks in their driveways). because they are all neighbors, and he considered this a sensitive issue. “It’s their livelihood. You don’t want to take his livelihood away or do that to your neighbor.”

Evidence of how talking about problems, may solve them

Mike Amodio, candidate for council, presented another thoughtful solution to this resident-owned commercial vehicle parking problem based on a policy in effect in Pelham. Amodio suggested the city designate a central garage location city residents who owned commercial vehicles could use overnight, where residents could park their commercial vehicles and thus comply with the city parking law. Amodio said Pelham is much smaller than White Plains, but that the policy of a designated garage works very well there for the residents who own vehicles like trucks, taxicabs and vans they use in their own businesses.

Traffic: Everybody Talks About it.

Traffic, a traditional issue in Battle Hill, was taken up big-time by Mr. Greer. He advocated much more aggressive enforcement and control devices, including speed humps.

The Mayor said his traffic enforcement initiative with radar signs, and 19 radar-trained officers, was making a difference in enforcing the limits, saying that within 4 months last summer in the Battle Hill area, police had written up 188 traffic tickets, 25% of the violators being from White Plains, and 10% actual residents of Battle Hill.

The Mayor cautioned that the city could not arbitrarily raise or lower speed limits or install stop signs without state approval, pointing out that “it’s not that easy.”

Individual candidate statements will be forthcoming in a follow-up report.

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