August 2009

As Anniversary of Lightning Strike Passes, South Tower at New Rochelle High School Still Not Repaired

August 16, 2009 - 20:30


Yesterday, August 15th, marks the one-year anniversary of the lightning strike which triggered a fire which gutted the South Tower at New Rochelle High School. Yet for reasons that have not been adequately explained the work to repair the damage is still not complete. During the recent Board of Education meeting on August 4th, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak was asked to explain the delay but could not or would not. Instead, Organisciak dissembled, saying that while interior work on the South Tower had been completed the roof was being built separately and was going to be lowered on top of the tower by a helicopter some time in the next month.

Health Care Debate (Sell) comes to downtown New Rochelle

August 16, 2009 - 02:21

Sat 8/15 -- Around New Rochelle today volunteers from Westchester Health Care Reform Task Force (WHTRCF) and Organizing for America (OFA) were on a drive to gather signatures for their petition in support of President Obama’s Health Care initiative.

To find out more about the project we asked a volunteer named Ellen a few questions about her role.

Ellen attempts to gather a signature from a self-identified Mexican

The volunteers were organized by OFA through an email request. Asked if there was a preparatory meeting before the volunteers spread out across New Rochelle to gather signatures, Ellen, with a straw hat and walking shorts, looking, to me, like a retired schoolteacher, responded with, "we have a lot of meetings". Ellen indicated there were 10 or 12 others canvassing for signatures throughout the city. We saw another volunteer fitting a similar description at the north east corner of Main and North Ave., the crossroads of downtown New Rochelle.

Does the Trolley Ride Again? A Streetcar named "Inspires"

August 15, 2009 - 21:52

New Rochelle’s forgotten trolleys may be part of the future trolleys of transportation in the Queen city of the the past. Habitat for Humanity and So No New Ro, have run trolley tours around the city...The new urbanism is actually what the old urbanism was...when people can get a free or low cost trolley ride...around a city, then cars and parking are not the priority and more customers actually come downtown...The last time the trolley ran in So No New Ro and around the city it was called a STREETCAR NAMED DESIRES...I call it a Streetcar Named visiting Boston, San Francisco, or the St. Charles Trolley in New Orleans...the trolley brings people back and forth in a historic green ride into shopping areas and tourists sites...George Latimer came on the SO NO trolley ride and was totally impressed and has been communicating with Jim Killoran about possible purchase.. a developer on Pelham Road also contacted Killoran to see if he could sponsor it with support..for his senior residents who have a hard time getting into the downtown...stay tuned...if you are interested in getting on the Trolley Train of 403 4821....(ps John Stephenson of Stephenson Blvd..fame, who lived in New Rochelle, designed the Streetcar)

Crosswalks Done in Downtown New Rochelle

August 15, 2009 - 21:33

So No loves a walkable city, thanks to Chuck Strome and the DPW workers today on Main street painting the crosswalks…a walkable if the timing of the traffic lights and walk signs can change…it will be complete..thanks to the great job on the new stripes….Dream with us…a day with no cars on Main Street…why not!

Bike lanes now needed on Main …stay tuned!

The Queen of the Sound…the Gems of the Sound!

T and R Jewelers on Main Street

Talner’s Jewelers on Main Street

Tony's New Rochelle Jewelers on Division Street ..

I’m getting Married.. I’m going to buy my ring at So No New Ro jewelers’..the best buys in town…..

All amazing prices..come visit the Queen of the Sound for your Queen or King, and buy a Gem at one of the greatest Jewelers in the world!

New Rochelle Art Association presents its 94th Annual Open Juried Show...

August 15, 2009 - 18:10

at the New Rochelle Library from Sept 12th to Oct 24th.

NRAAJuriedShow2009EviteRevMC_1click on image for more information


The NRAA sponsored its first annual juried show to celebrate the opening of the new city library. Some of the noted participants in that show of 140 entries included: sculptor Robert Aitkin, painters G. Glenn Newell, Remington Schuyler, A.G. Heaton and illustrators Norman Rockwell, Joseph C. Leyendecker and Victor Forsythe.

Learn more at SoNo NewRo Online

BREAKING NEWS: Finally, An Arrest of a New Rochelle School Employee

August 15, 2009 - 08:35

image1287817665.jpgWe first broke the story on Talk of the Sound months ago that Vito Costa, an employee of the City School District of New Rochelle, was being investigated by the District Attorney for his no-show job as an HVAC engineer. The axe fell earlier today. We will publish the charging documents as soon as they become available.

We knew the arrest was coming but did not want to jinx it by pre-empting the DA like we did with the Martinez arrest. Instead, we alluded to it in our Facade of Rectitude post yesterday as sharp-eyed readers no doubt noticed.

We have more soon but let's start with the obvious question. Does any believe a guy could hold a no-show job and his co-workers and bosses did not know? Be prepared for the District to roll out the old "isolated incident" line, try to take credit for the DA's work here and pretend to be "shocked, shocked" that there is fraud and theft going in the maintenance and grounds department.

The department head John Gallagher should come before the school board to be publicly questioned about Costa, Demasi, the Locksmith father-son team and the rest of the sorry mess and then terminated as rapidly as possible.

Another Lawsuit for New Rochelle Police? Mount Vernon City Council Candidate Votes "Yes"

August 14, 2009 - 23:11

Samuel Rivers was out in front of Don Coqui restaurant earlier this afternoon telling his side of the story about his encounter with New Rochelle police. The Mount Vernon City Council candidate says he was not drunk and his civil rights were violated. He plans to sue.

The Journal News has more on the story.

Jeff Hastie Spot Check

August 14, 2009 - 19:09

DSC_0614.jpgAs the 2009-10 school year approaches, we wanted take a moment to do a quick spot check one Jeff Hastie's campaign promises just in case he might imagine voters are not going to be reminded of what he promised last spring.

  • Re-open the top 10 contracts and renegotiate them.
  • Get parents involved in grant writing.
  • Partner with the city.
  • Create a finance committee.
  • Publish school board resolutions online prior to board meetings so residents can decide in advance if they want to attend a meeting.
  • Broadcast or web stream video from school board meetings.
  • Put a school board member on the negotiating committee (him) for the next union contract negotiations.

Any others that I missed?

Why Do New Rochelle Schools Get $1.53 mm "Guaranteed Return" on School Lunch Contract?

August 14, 2009 - 13:13

79362914-3BBD-4F32-B206-CEEC3B7814E2.jpgThe New Rochelle BoE last week passed Resolution 1079 (pdf) awarding a $973,636 contract for food service management to Chartwell's. The losing bidders were Whitsons and Aramark which recently settled a half-million dollar lawsuit against the district.

Brief digression: during the regular board meeting there were just two people in the room who did not work for the district or sit on the school board (me and some other guy). On the way out of the building I spoke with him and learned he was a representative from Aramark. Suffice to say he was not happy. I would describe him as "annoyed".

OK. Back to the award resolution.