February 2010

Klein Goes Green

February 16, 2010 - 16:34

NEW YORK- Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) will sponsor a free home gardening program for residents of the 34th District at the New York Botanical Garden starting March 6th.

The program, now in its tenth year, includes four classes—Earth-Friendly Gardening Basics, Easy-Care Flower Gardens, Organic Herb and Vegetable Gardening and Low-Maintenance Landscaping.

This year, the program will focus on environmentally-friendly gardening and provide participants with free sunflower seeds as part of a Summer Sunflower Contest. A prize will be awarded to the grower of the sunflower with the largest diameter head.

Participants must register for the program in order to attend. Bronx and Westchester residents can expect to receive sign-up forms in their mailboxes starting February 18th. Constituents may also register at [email protected].

“I am pleased to invite all of my constituents to participate in this program. Whether a person is a gardening novice, interested in organic vegetables, or wants to be more eco-friendly, this program has something for everyone,” said Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westcheter).

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Klein Hosts Valentine's for Veterans Program

February 16, 2010 - 16:19

NEW YORK- Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) hosted his 15th Annual Valentine’s for Veterans event on Thursday. Joined by Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez, Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton and Miss Teen USA 2009 Stormi Henley, Klein delivered Valentine's Day cards and gifts to hundreds of Veterans at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Students from across the 34th Senate District designed the cards and donated the gifts.

“Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday to share a sweet reminder with our Veterans of just how much we respect and appreciate their sacrifice and commitment to our freedom and safety," said Klein.

"Valentine's Day is all about showing how much you care," said Kristen Dalton. "I can't think of a better way to express the gratitude I feel for our veterans and their service than spending this day with them."

Every year, Klein sends out letters to parents and school staff across the 34th Senate District, inviting students to participate in the program. This year, donations included essential items such as socks and toiletries as well as gifts of stationery, pens, pencils, stamps and playing cards.

Ritacco Real Estate Agency Acquired by Realty Co.

February 15, 2010 - 06:23

The Lucille Ritacco Real Estate Agency in New Rochelle has been acquired by Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty. This will be the eighth real estate office in Westchester County for Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty. Ritacco, who established her real estate agency in 1974, will become an associate broker with the new company. This acquisition will add about 40 licensed real estate professionals to the Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty team in New Rochelle and will continue to operate out of the current Ritacco Realty office at 1315 North Ave. in New Rochelle.

Sharing the Load: Both Non-Union and Union Employees Must Do Their Part

February 14, 2010 - 23:50

I am an active supporter of our local County Representative, Jim Maisano, who, allied with his Republican colleagues in the County, urged us to take issue with the Democrats in the County Board of Legislators, who oppose, or are throwing up roadblocks to an County Executive Astorino's proposal to have 400 non-union county employees begin to contribute 15% percent to the cost of their health-care benefits.

Maisano mentions not only the need for such an action given the state of our economy, but also the fact that people throughout our nation are seeing the need for expense management and that people across the political spectrum are coming together on the need for decisive action to share in the actions designed to address the issue. Astorino and his Republican colleagues are correct on this point and the Democratic opposition seems petty and simply delaying the inevitable. There are some out there who see a more sinister picture such as protecting a certain few individuals and that seems to be simply guesswork on their part. I am sure that Maisano being a fair man, would have no difficulty as minority leader in the County board of asking a point blank question where that the point.

Using Online Social Media Tools (Blogs, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to Communicate with and about New Rochelle - Vol. I No. 1

February 14, 2010 - 16:06

social media.jpgOne of the primary goals for Talk of the Sound in 2009 was to grow our readership, build critical mass and thus turn into a visible platform from which other people and organizations could communicate with fellow New Rochellians. From January 2009 to January 2010, the site grew from 3,000 to readers a month to more than 15,000 readers a month, more than a 500% increase. Having achieved our goal for 2009 we are now ready to move onto our next goal, for 2010, to support the development of social media in New Rochelle - to encourage and assist New Rochelle residents, businesses, non-profits, schools, religious institutions, government agencies, professionals and any other person or group in the City of New Rochelle to use social media tools like blogs, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter to "talk" to their fellow residents and other "stakeholders" in our community.

Towards that end I have been meeting with a diverse group of people in New Rochelle and discussing how they can better leverage the wide array of online tools available to enhance communication, foster to debate and dialog on the issues of the day or promote an event or a business or whatever.

New York State Education Department Launches Probe of New Rochelle High School Regents Exam Scoring

February 13, 2010 - 23:07


The original complaint to NYSED was made in June 2008, not "the Summer of 2007" as indicated in the letter. As for the lack of an explanation, the reason is quite simple there is no good explanation and never has been one. The teacher purposely flunked my son out of spite and school officials rallied around her to cover up her reprehensible behavior.

For those not familiar with the context of this letter, let me provide a thumbnail sketch. For those who know the story just skip the rest of this post.

Mayor Bramson Publishes New York State Comptroller report on Capital Planning and Budget

February 13, 2010 - 01:28

Mayor.gifMayor Bramson reports that the New York State Comptroller is citing the City of New Rochelle as a model for the rest of New York State in recently released an analysis of capital planning and budgeting in ten municipalities throughout the State, including New Rochelle.

Audit Results

Of the 10 local governments audited, we found that three of four cities had entity-wide, long- term capital plans approved by their governing boards, while none of the towns and counties did. Three local governments (the other city, a town and a county) had good procedures that included governing board involvement, but only adopted plans annually as part of the budget process. The remaining four local governments allowed decisions to be made on a departmental level. The City of New Rochelle is the only local government that has also established goals and objectives, developed a policy detailing the fundamentals of a multi-year capital plan, and established the criteria used for ranking of purchases to provide a framework for its long-term capital plan.