Oliva, Hoffman, Lewellyn, “Deacon” Jones make WPHS Hall of Fame

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The School Board has officially nominated four distinguished graduates to the White Plains High School Hall of Fame. The 2001 “Fab 4” will be inducted Wednesday, November 14.
Larry Geiger of the White Plains Board of Education, announced the four 2001 nominees at Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting. The four honorees are:

Pauine Oliva, Two-term Councilperson, Class of ’44, and longtime civic activist.

Milton Hoffman, Class of ’46, the distinguished reporter and columnist for the Gannett newspapers, known for his “Tales of Hoffman” columns.

J. Bruce Lewellyn, Class of ’48, an accomplished entrepreneur and presently CEO of the Philadelphia Coca Cola Bottling Company.

Grover “Deacon” Jones, Class of ’52, whom Mr. Geiger described as perhaps the most outstanding athlete ever to come out of Westchester County.

The four will be honored Wednesday, November 14. They are the 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th graduates to be inducted into the WPHS Hall of Fame from among White Plains 25,000 graduates.

Council shelves Bill Brown’s Eastview senior housing in wee hours

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With one lone resident raising questions about former Mayoral candidate Bill Brown’s 42-unit senior and affordable housing project for the Eastview neighborhood, the council adjourned the public hearing last Tuesday until September 20.
Brown proposes a 42-unit, 5-story housing project slated for the Eastview neighborhood on South Kensico Avenue down the street from the toney housing project now going up, Clayton Park.

Brown, a principal in the project, advised that the senior “affordable” housing project is planned to feature 29 single unit apartments, 4-1-bedroom apartments reserved and 9-2-bedroom apartments. with 20% of them “affordable” to moderate income families.

The need-targeted population is senior citizens. Brown said rents would be as low as $825 in some of the apartments, ranging up to $1,900.

Denser Zoning Requested.

William Null, attorney for Brown and his partner, urged the Council to give him approvals as soon as possible to take advantage of their option on the land. He stressed these were “totally affordable units,” badly needed in White Plains.

Brown’s organization, White Plains Avenue LLC, is seeking an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, allowing them to go to 6 stories, and to reduce the minimum square feet per dwelling to 325 feet for senior apartments and 500 feet for those apartments available to moderate income families. Null admitted it was a greater density than otherwise would be allowed by the present zoning.

Council upbeat.

Councilperson Rita Malmud was very positive: “This is terrific. We have yet to create more affordable housing in White Plains, preferably for White Plains residents to have priority.” Pauline Oliva voiced her support for the project, too, citing the low priced rents.

Lone resident who lives there: not so sure.

Carlos Caceres of 406 Main Street, waiting 5 hours to address the council on this project, raised several concerns. He said the 42 units would “create a strain on our community (the Eastview neighborhood),” which he said was suffering from quality of life issues already: speeding traffic, automobile congestion, public vagrancy, and unsavory conditions created by unstable persons and day laborers already residing in substandard housing in the area who are prone to loitering.

Fear of Section 8

Caceres indicated these conditions would be further aggravated by the population attracted to the low rents proposed by Brown’s project. He expressed fear that the low rents in line with that of Section 8 housing, proposed for Brown’s project would further destabilize the population by attracting undesirable people and deteriorate the neighborhood.

Stablizing southend while destabilizing Eastview?

“What is it going to do for our community? “ Caceres asked.” We’re already an overcrowded situation in Eastview, with some families living three families to a 1 bedroom apartment. It (Brown’s project) creates the quality of life we want to run away from. Now, they (the Brown organization) want to cram people into one building. I wish you do not change the zoning. How can you change the zoning in some neighborhoods to preserve density, while intensifying density in our neighborhood that cannot stand it. We’re (Eastview) is entitled to low density, too.”

Claims White Plains residents priority. Social history checked.

Null, reacting with a sense of quiet alarm, sought to assure the council that residents would be screened very carefully for past history and stability, and that White Plains residents seeking senior and affordable housing would be given preference in selecting tenants.

Caseres said 24 units would be acceptable, while he felt the 42 was too much for the block.

The Council adjourned the hearing until September 20.

WPCNR asked Mr. Null, how Brown’s project could limit the renters to White Plains residents, especially since it was subsidized housing, and this appeared discriminatory. Null said he was not sure, but that it had been done at other similar projects in the county.

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View from Section 240: “Mr. Jet” Says Fans Philosophical about Game

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Greg from White Plains, “Mr. Jet,” checked in with WPCNR on the Herman Edwards Jets after the Sunday brutal loss to the Indianapolis Colts, 45-24 at The Meadowlands, which he observed in person from his mezzanine box.

“The Jets have a whole new offense, and they have a whole new defense,” Mr. Jet reports, “and they looked as if they were out of sync. Frankly, they looked as if they could have used about 3 or 4 more preseason games. Guys obviously were a step slow and were reacting, not instinctive.”

“To be fair, the Colts are one of the best offensive teams in football. They wore the Jets defense down. The Colts just dominated the game.”

“The Jets made it close though. They came back. They trailed by two touchdowns with 4 minutes left. On 4th and 1 on the goaline, one of the blocking backs ran into Vinnie (Testeverde), and a Colt took it back for the last touchdown 98 yards. Game over.”

Jets out of shape? NO.

Asked how come the Colts didn’t get as tired on offense as the Jets defense seemed to be in trying to stop Peyton Manning’s Mustangs, Greg, who played football for White Plains High School, patiently explained: “When the offense is pushing you, they know where they’re going. It’s less taxing (for the offense), while the defense is always reacting. And it was really hot out there.”

Delay of game non-call

Radio commentator Dave Jennings said Indianapolis should have gotten a delay of game penalty at the end of the First Quarter when they failed to get a play off after their 30 second clock ran out at the end of the quarter. Greg said the Jets didn’t care or make a fuss about it, and did not see it as a problem.

Marvin Jones play braindead.

“I went crazy on the Marvin Jones play, (when Jet Linebacker Jones attempted to run out an interception from the Jet end zone and fumbled on the 5, giving the ball right back to the Colts before the end of the half,” Greg says. (He’s used to these things). “He picks it 3 yards deep in the end zone. If he gets it out to the 20 yard line, it’s a miracle. It was a 7 point game at that point, then the punt return for a TD killed us.”

The Jets trailed 17-14, and wound up trailing 31-14 at the half.

West Coast offense needs time.

On the Jets new “West Coast offense,” Mr. Jet says the jury is still out.

“They will get better each week. But, I’m not sold on this offensive coordinator yet. They’re selling this offense as a wide open type, but it seems more conservative to me. They run the ball a lot. They throw short passes and never throw it downfield. Wayne Crebett caught just one pass.”

How did the fans take it?

Jets fans are prone to leaving games over the last four decades saying “Same old Jets.” But Greg says they were kinder and gentler Sunday:

“The fans were holding back a little. Not as hard on the Jets as in years past. They know this is a new system.”

How was the officiating?

“They definitely need the regular refs. Even from where we were sitting, we could see there was a lot of holding going on. These are the greatest players in the world and they know they can get away with a lot of stuff. You could tell the refs just let them play. There were no out and out blown calls. But, in the Raider K.C. game we say on replay, there was a really bad call on Tim Brown where he was knocked out of bounds by a Chiefs receiver, and clearly would have come down inbounds. Brown yelled so much they slapped him with a 15 yard penalty. Yeah, they miss the real refs.”

Mr. Jet said Payton Manning, the Colt QB had a great game, being 7 for 13 on third down conversions. “That killed the Jets. They’d stop him on the first two, and then bingo, he’d convert. The Colts just overwhelmed us.”

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You be the Architect! Help Louis Cappelli Design His Towers!

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Now, with site plan approval coming up, it’s time to help Louis Cappelli sell the finicky Common Council what you want in a brand-new, scientifically created by hearsay poll.
In our first WPCNR Poll ever, 87% (58) of you responding out of 63 individuals went for the 34 story height for the Towers of Cappelli. And the Common Council followed your lead.

There’s no way of telling whether the Common Council actually took your overwhelming, resounding, endorsement of 34 stories into account when they voted 6-1 to allow The Super Developer to build two stairways to Heaven for White Plains.

But the first WPCNR Poll was revealing.

Now with the Common Council suddenly worrying about the Towers of Cappelli not being elegant enough, or remarkable enough, or enough of enough, or whatever, they need your help. (Rita Malmud referred to them as “34 stories of mediocrity.”)

Architects with dubious motives have secretly complained about the Cappelli designs at the eleventh hour.

No one has considered that the City Center will bring 1500 jobs, 1,000 people to the downtown. They are just wringing their hands over how it will look. It’s time to give the Common Council some confidence.

WPCNR has rounded up the styles that have been advanced by architects who have been critical of the Cappelli Tower Designs (pictured elsewhere on this site–See “Towers of Cappelli: Controversy Looms”).

First take a look at the “Towers of Cappelli” story and see the designs.

Then go to the poll in the column. We’ve capsulated many suggestions we’ve heard made into 10 options, and if you have other ideas you can write your comments in about what should be considered in the designs. Perhaps your tastes will help Louis Cappelli and Fred Bland who we hope is at the very moment, (we think) tweaking Mr. Cappelli’s designs.

It’s your chance to be an architect! Go ahead, YOU be the architect!

Tigers lose to N. Rockland in Football Opener, 42-13

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Three gift touchdowns put the Tigers down early in the 85 degree swelter of Parker Stadium Saturday and they never recovered. Running of Lawrence, Moronta will compliment Rindenhour in games to come.
The White Plains Tigers opened football 2001 at Palmer Stadium and found themselves quickly down 21-0, after the first quarter.

FIRST COIN TOSS of the year at Parker Stadium Saturday.

North Rockland is an obvious powerhouse, both big and quick. Their disciplined swarming pursuit of the ball on defense is complimented by backs on offense who can get outside quickly behind their ferocious line. The combination did the Tigers in Saturday afternoon, 42-13.

White Plains had the Red Raiders stopped on third down on the opening series when Greg Damon’s quarterback option roll to the left froze the Tiger secondary deep allowing the Raiders QB to slip through into the flat for 16 yards and a first on the Tiger 48. One of the Raiders matched set of burly swift backs ripped right for 12 to the 36. On the same QB option roll on third and 5, Greg Damon this time passed, after the Tiger secondary came up for an anticipated stop in the flat. Damon hit Stetson Terpak down on the 20 on the farside, who had slipped behind the Tiger secondary wide open on the 20 and he steamed in for TD. It was 6-0, and the Tigers were in a hole, 4 minutes into the game.

The Tigers went three and out, and N. Rockland, and two pass plays put the Raiders on top 14-0. A muffed punt snap, set up North Rockland inside the Tiger 5, and they punched for the 21-0 lead after the first quarter.

Again the Tigers went three and out, not making any holes in the swarming Raider line. A 16 yard punt return put the ball on the Tiger 36, and Phil DeCosta blew past a desperately reaching Tiger arm and cruised 36 yards into the endzone, 28-0, North Rockland in the middle of the second quarter.

Regaining their composure, the Tigers picked up their first first of the day when Darrell Mack hit Wilson Moronta for a pass and run combo that picked up 51 yards setting up White Plains on the Rockland 23. Spencer Ridenhour ripped off tackle 14 yards to the 9, and carried 6 more yards to the three. Spence on fourth down from the three bounced off two players and redirected punching in for a score to make the deficit 28-7 at the half.

SPENCER RIDENHOUR bulldogging for TD in 2nd Quarter action at Palmer on Saturday afternoon. PHOTOS BY WPCNR SPORTS

The Tigers got a break to start the second half when Jeff Lee picked off a Rockland pass and returned it to the Raider 45, and we in the stands were thinking this was a break for a comeback. Not to be, as Mack was sacked by three Raiders (who just kept coming all day–they are very big and quick off the line), for a 16 yard loss. The Raiders then picked Mack off for a 37 yard interception return, setting the Raiders up for a 35-7 lead midway through the third. Game over.

White Plains moved the ball late in the 4th quarter on alternating runs by senior Wilson Moronta and Junior Greg Lawrence, with Lawrence scoring the second Tiger touchdown as time ran out to make the final score 42-13. Moronta convoyed 35 yards to the Rockland 37, and Lawrence 26 yards to the 11. With Lawrence on 4th and 2 scampering in for the final score.

For more on Tiger football, check out the White Plains Football Website

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D’Elia Property is Ours! Council does the right thing.

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“This land is our land, and now this land is your land,” Mayor Delfino celebrated as the Common Council voted in a 7-0 sweep to bond for $1.75 million to acquire the 5-plus acre D’Elia property as the first Open Space acquisition in 20 years.

Under the gun for a decision, Kate Brown of the Trust for Public Land, reported to the Common Council Thursday night that she needed a decision to fund the D’Elia acquisition tonight, otherwise Ronald D’Elia and his contractor, Arnold Orlando would try to develop the property again.

Tom Rothman, financial analyst, assured the Common Council, that by funding now, they could still acquire county aid in a few months towards the $1.5mm purchase, and devote it to the land. He explained by purchasing an interim bond now, that they could defray the costs of the bond later, should the county aid become available.

Armed with this information, the Council passed the funding measure.

Ms. Brown, the person who negotiated the deal for the city, said the next step was to contact Mr. D’Elia and say the funding was available and go to contract. Saying the papers were being drawn up now, Ms. Brown reported heavy pressure from Mr. D’Elia because he thought the Council was not going to go through with the detail.

In addition to funding by bonding in historic gesture, the Council approved the Open Space Policy and its funding processes, and its instruments of implementation, most notably, the Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee.

All councilpersons in their remarks were behind the project last night, despite their reluctance to endorse the Mayor’s initiative as well as the bonding as recently as 10 days ago.

Councilman Larry Delgado, in his remarks, came up with a great idea that if citizens are interested in preserving Open Space they could all chip in as little as a dollar to help build the Acquisition Fund just approved.

In a spontaneous gesture on the historic evening, the diehard Common Council gallery of some 15 persons, passed a hat, contributing $5.25, according to City Clerk, Janice Manieri, which was passed up to Mr. Delgado. Ms. Manieri reported to WPCNR that the $5.25 would be added to the Open Space Acquisition Advisory Fund.

Mr. Delgado, appreciating the gesture, came up with a brilliant idea of a voluntary checkoff that could be added to citizen city water bills or tax bills to help build the Acquisition Fund. He felt it would be a painless, voluntary way to involve the citizenry who wished to contribute personally to the new city open space acquisition fund that was officially born last night.

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William King Places Levine on the Scene Tuesday Night

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William King, White Plains Councilman, reported to WPNCR Thursday that Robert H. Levine had definitely handed him a copy of Levine’s own faxed plea to the Council Tuesday night.

King said Levine introduced himself just prior to the Common Council meeting Tuesday evening, and turned the fax (not shared with the public or read into the official record) over to Mr. King. King reports him as introducing himself and saying nothing else.

King is the first Councilman to place Levine on the scene Tuesday, quietly lobbying Councilpersons discreetly in the mill scene just prior to the Common Council meeting Tuesday.

This was Surprise Tuesday, when the Council came down hard on the aesthetics of the Cappelli buildings for the first time. The lowering of the boom on the buildings at literally the eleventh hour plunged Frederick Bland of Beyer Blinder Belle in demand as the potential savior of the project. It is said only he has the touch that can charm the Council’s sharply changed tastes in achitecture.

King also told us that William Rose, of the Urban Renewal Agency, a companion lobbyist of Levine had not contacted him personally before Tuesday night.

Rose had said to WPCNR that he and the other individuals sharing his point of view had contacted “all” of the councilmen.
King said that Rose and the other individuals mentioned had not contacted Mr. Delgado, or Ben Boyken either to his knowledge.

This lends credence to the observation by city hall observers interviewed by WPCNR who had seen the strange interplay between Council and Cappelli Tuesday that the harsh attitude taken by some of his colleague councilpersons surprised Mr. Delgado and Mr. King and Benjamin Boykin.

Mr. King tried to soften the Council’s harsh message Tuesday evening, strongly telling WPCNR “I think we’re very close in the design. I have liked the looks of the buildings from the beginning.”

The Mayor’s office had nothing new to report from Cappelli sources.

Cappelli Insider: Fred Bland is not on the payroll.

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Frederick Bland, the White Plains Common Council “designated architect” is not inked to a contract yet, according to a Cappelli source, contrary to published reports in printed media.
An informed correspondent stationed inside the Cappelli Empire reported directly to WPCNR that Fred Bland is not as of Thursday evening under contract with CappelliEnterprises.

This information put a published report that Cappelli Enterprises had already hired Fred Bland, partner in Byer, Blinder Belle, the toney design architectural consultants as premature.

“Negotiations are ongoing, and we hope to go to contract Friday,” this source disclosed to WPCNR, under condition of anonymity.

This means that Mr. Bland will have to draw very fast. WPCNR estimated they have 7 days to design, and have all in readiness for the September 20 Common Council meeting.

Asked if he felt Bland could fit into the 24/7 Cappelli pace, our source grinned wickedly, saying, “he’s in for an experience.”

The source said the plan, presuming Bland was on board for the weekend was for Cappelli to come back to the council with some design work by next Friday.

Our source vowed: “We’ll get it done, whatever it takes.”

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High School Opens on Time! “Went Just Beautifully!”

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White Plains High School opened Thursday with students dining in the new cafeteria, Richard Lasselle, Assistant Superintendent of Business reports, with Media Center set for completion the end of September, new Science Wing upper level by early October.
On a first day of school, described by one longtime observer, as having “went just beautifully,” White Plains High School opened the cafeteria portion of its $28 million renovation.

Richard Lasselle, Assistant Superintendent for Business, who has been conducting marathon meetings daily for weeks, spearheading, organizing and coordinating with Principal William Colavito and his high school staff, was breathing a sigh of relief for a job completed. “We opened on time, “ Lasselle told WPCNR, “and we opened the areas we planned to open.”

Cafeteria is open.

The new cafeteria and servery, Lasselle reports, opened for business today with students dining in the new concourse area on the building’s south side. Lasselle reported a gradual “phase-in” taking place today and tomorrow.

Meals were prepared Thursday in the former kitchen of the old cafeteria, and brought over to serve the students. This procedure will be in effect Friday, as well. WPCNR observed the new cafeteria tables in place earlier this week. On Monday, Lasselle expects the new serving kitchen on the back of the cafeteria will be opened and cuisine produced for the first time to the students.

Media Center shelved and stocked end of September

The Library or Media Center is “basically completed,” too, but not furnished with shelves and books yet, Lasselle reports. He says the installation and the “book lift” will be scheduled shortly with the Media Center due to open the end of September. In the interim, instructors are aware that all research has to be conducted on the internet, hardcopy books and sources are not available, he said. He reports the media center is wired for technology, but that no new technology installed, just wiring for the previous equipment.

Science Center scheduled for first two weeks in October

Students will start classes in the new Science Center, according to Lasselle in about the second week of October, when the top floor is expected to open. He says the students are being housed in the former science rooms to begin the year. He expected the whole science wing to be wrapped by the end of October.

Kudos for the team effort

Mr. Lasselle told WPCNR: “I want to thank the high school administration and all staff for their support throughout this project, especially the custodian staff who worked so hard to keep the school clean through the construction. I also thank the project managers, Thomas Construction and the architects, KG & D, for their cooperation.”
Lasselle described the last month as meeting after meeting, setting and resetting priorities, moving around workers, orchestrating the tasks precisely in order to get the new edition functioning for today.

Construction will be completed on the administration wings in the summer of 2001, with the administration continuing to camp out in the trailers.

He said he hopes all parents will attend Open House at the High School on October 4 at 7:30 PM to experience the new renovation in person.

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Text of “Secret Fax” sent Tuesday to Common Council

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Here is the Secret Fax text in its entirety, sent to the Common Council on Tuesday, September 4 before the Common Council meeting, obtained by WPCNR News.< Facsimile Transmission September 4, 2001 Pages sent: 2 To: Hon. J. Delfino
Hon. R. Malmud
Hon. B. Boykin
Hon. L. Delgado
Hon. R. Greer
Hon. W. King
Hon. P. Oliva

Fr.: R. Levine

Re: Cappelli Project

As you prepare for tonight’s Council meeting, we strongly urge you to review the enclosed Talking Points which conclude by recommending that the Developer augment his professional team by engaging a Design Architect to work with the Schuman Lichtenstein (SL) firm who would continue as the Architect of Record.

This arrangement, recognizing specific strengths of various architects, is standard procedure in the field, a natural response to situations similar to ours. SL has often worked as the Architect of Record this way; in fact, several times with Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB). BBB, in turn, has often performed as the Design Architect with others.

BBB’s Fred Bland has indicated today his willingness to meet to further discuss the matter if the City and the Developer are interested in BBB’s participation in this project.

R. Levine
W. Rose
R. Stackpole

Talking Points for Common Council Meeting 9/04/01
Since the Cappelli project relates specifically to the ordinance under consideration, (I/we) would like to register (my/our) strong concerns regarding fundamental functional planning inadequacies of the project as it has been thus far presented, inadequacies which must be dealt with, in full, prior to consideration for Site Plan approval.

1. Access and parking
* What are the options re the dimensions of the main structure, and the resulting number of levels required?

* Is it possible to have more of the parking below grade, with potential tunnel access to adjacent sites?

* What alternatives are there re the number, type and location of curb-cuts and ramps?

2. Building massing and related open space

•What are the options re locations/massing/setbacks/orientation of the residential towers?

•What are the options for distributing the net available open space at grade along the various property/street lines? Specifically, are there better ways to relate to the City Hall vista and to potential future development to the west and northwest?

3. Flexibility: provision for growth and change

•How could future development absorb additional site area to the northeast?

•What would be the effect of a third residential tower on this ‘block’?

•What reasonable provisions can be incorporated to respond to possible revisions in movie-theatre marketing strategies?

Contrary to some recently expressed opinions, these are not mere estheticconsiderations, subject to the whim of the beholder. Past experience, in White Plains and elsewhere, has taught us that a high quality planning resolution is essential to the long-term success of a project, which, after all, will be with us for a long time.

Unfortunately, because (I/we) have come to conclude that the problems outlined have been figuratively “wallpapered” over, with little, or no, recent progress (I/we) feel it is essential that the developer propose to the Council his engagement forthwith of the services of an architect, recognized in the profession for design expertise and for demonstrated accomplishment with urban developers, to assist us in achieving the “elegant” result White Plains was promised and which has thus far eluded us.

Perhaps Mr. Cappelli could address these concerns before we vote.