March 2009

Strome Blames "Talk of the Sound" for Stimulus Confusion

March 23, 2009 - 23:21

In a transparent attempt to shift responsibility away from staff at City Hall, City Manager Chuck Strome has resorted to blaming "the media" for any confusion over the existence of a so-called "final list" of stimulus projects as part of the City's efforts to cash in on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As the record clearly shows, Mr. Strome has no one to blame but himself for the confusion that has reigned over this issue for the past five weeks.

At the City Council meeting on March 10, 2009, Richard St. Paul questioned City Manager Chuck Strome about the stimulus package. St. Paul has previously expressed his concerns that the City submitted a "final list" of projects to Albany without giving the City Council members sufficient time to review the "final list". Mr. Strome expresses his mystification as to how this idea of a "final list" came into being and blames the media -- specifically this site -- for "morphing" the facts into a controversy.

Throughout the meeting, Strome insists that there was never a "final list", that nothing as been submitted except a "wish list", that the concerns of Mr. St. Paul are "silly" because the "controversy" is "over a final list that doesn't exist", adding, "it has never existed, it is a wish list".

New Rochelle Schools Looking at $19 Million Windfall from Stimulus Package

March 23, 2009 - 13:52

Based on stimulus package allocation figures recently released by the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. New Rochelle may be looking at an astounding $19 mm windfall from New York State's share of DoE allocations under the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 -- none of which is accounted for under the recently proposed New Rochelle school budget which is up for vote in May 19th.

New Rochelle schools may also be getting millions for infrastructure projects. The City School District of New Rochelle has so far refused to provide the public with its list of infrastructure requests although John Quinn, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, did reveal at a recent budget workshop that a multi-million dollar request to replace all the roofs at New Rochelle public schools had been submitted to Albany.

This would be in addition to the $8 million in new spending requested by the City School District of New Rochelle under their newly released "preliminary budget". Further, the District has squirreled away millions of dollars in reserves as a "rainy day fund" and has expressed some optimism that $4.2 million in state aid cuts by Gov. David Paterson maybe returned to the District.

School Tax Increase May Double District's "Conservative" Estimate

New Rochelle City Council Reviews Ineligible Stimulus Projects

March 21, 2009 - 11:41

At the New Rochelle City Council Meeting on March 10, 2009, the council discussed projects that are either ineligible or not ready. The conversation got a bit muddled but eventually, after persistant questioning by Councilman Richard St. Paul, the City Manager and Mayor had to admit that many projects on the list were either ineligible or not shovel ready. Eventually, the City Manager admits the likelihood of any project getting fund is low.

Sen. Schumer at New Rochelle Train Station to Announce New Metro-North Rider Benefit

March 21, 2009 - 00:02

Standing at the New Rochelle Metro North station, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by Metro North President Howard Permut, unveiled an expanded federal tax-free benefit that will save mass transit riders potentially more than $1000 every year on commuting costs, and detailed the savings experienced by riders at individual stations. The Schumer authored legislation, passed as part of the economic stimulus package, doubles the federal tax benefit for mass transit costs from $120 per month to $230 per month. Under previous law, employers were able to offer employees a monthly tax-free transit benefit of only $120 to cover mass transit commuting costs, but they were able to offer up to $230 to help cover parking costs for people to drive to work. Now both driver and mass transit users can receive up to $230 tax free to cover their commuting costs. Riders receive the benefit through their employers, but right now only about 1/3 of eligible Westchester commuters participate in the transit program.

Price of a Monthly Pass from New Rochelleto Grand Central: $169

Percent Covered Under Old Benefit: 71%

Percent Covered Under Schumer Plan: 100%

Chuck Schumer in New Rochelle: Priceless


MacMenamin's Grill (Don Coqui) Shut Down by U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee

March 20, 2009 - 23:27

MacMenaminsGrillCookingSchool4.jpgU.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Robert L. Geltzer has ordered Don Coqui restaurant in New Rochelle, formerly known as MacMenamin's Grill, to be shut down, the Journal News is reporting. Brian MacMenamin, the owner, brought in an investor group led by famed New York City restaurateur Jimmy Rodriguez after filing for bankruptcy last fall. Talk of the Sound has been reporting on questions that have been raised about business dealings between the City School District of New Rochelle and MacMenamin's Grill since last fall: School Board Erupts When Questioned About MacMenamin's Deal. In June 2008, the New York State Comptroller issued a report on the Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities for the City School District of New Rochelle for the period July 1, 2006 to September 26, 2007.

Lunch at Brickyard Bistro

March 20, 2009 - 21:18

image1451700603.jpgJust had lunch at the Brickyard Bistro. If you have not been you really should check it out. It is a sort of lower Manhattan loft meets mediterranean style place on Division Street, tucked among what has to be the nicest little restaurant row in Westchester. If you have not checked out Division Street lately you are in for a nice surprise. There is parking right there in the back of the new Avalon on the Sound building. Cormondel, Posto and a few other neat little places are on the same block.

I had the Monte Cristo sandwich. It was the best I've ever tasted. I want to go back for dinner to try the pecan-crusted salmon. The food is excellent, the prices are all very reasonable - especially lunch where an Angus Burger is $7.95 and the Chicken Panini is $8.95.

Trinity Parents and Others: Drop off Your Children with Caution!

March 20, 2009 - 21:05
Do your homework kids!

The Journal News reported on a coyote near Trinity Elementary School:

Cops shoot, kill coyote near New Rochelle school

NEW ROCHELLE - A young, coyote died after authorities shot it with too much tranquilizer when it turned up near Trinity Elementary School this morning and was injured during attempts to capture it, police said.

The coyote, which appeared healthy, was spotted in the rear of the school around 8 a.m., Lt. Dennis Feery said. School officials were told to keep arriving children inside while officers tried to capture the animal.

It kept evading police, Feery said, until it hurt its leg jumping a fence. Police shot the animal with a tranquilizer after it got hurt, and the animal died from the dosage of tranquilizer, police said.