June 2010

TALK OF THE SOUND EXCLUSIVE: New York State Comptroller Rips New Rochelle IDA in Audit Due Out Next Month

June 21, 2010 - 19:34

Thomas DiNapoli New York State Comptroller.jpgTalk of the Sound has obtained a copy of an IDA Audit Report of the New Rochelle IDA (NRIDA) which is expected to be released by the Office of the New York State Comptroller (OSC) next month. The document is meant to be public, has been circulated within City Hall but is not on the agenda for the IDA meeting scheduled tomorrow. A brief review of the summary shows why the IDA would prefer to kick the report down the road into the summer months when they hope less people will notice -- it is a devastating report which confirms what many critics have long contended about an IDA with no defined process for approving projects, no effort to monitor ongoing projects and a generally sloppy, make-it-up-as-you-go approach while doling out tens of millions of dollars in bonds, tax incentives and other goodies to politically-connected developers with no particular concern over whether the projects deliver upon promised results.

Journal News Expands on Talk of the Sound Crossing Guard Story

June 21, 2010 - 18:10

School CrossWalk Sign.jpgOn Sunday, June 20th the Journal News ran a front page "Print Exclusive" by Hannan Adely. It was an article about the school crossing guards in New Rochelle who work a lunch shift with no students to cross. Now that kindergarten is full day in New Rochelle, there is no need for the two hour lunch shift of 18 crossing guards citywide.

UPDATE: The Journal News article is now online.

In New Rochelle, school guards staff corners without children to cross

The crossing guard issue was first disclosed on this site. The Journal News gave Talk of the Sound credit for its original reporting which can be found here: Why Is New Rochelle Paying Over $100,000 for Guards to "Cross" Invisible Students?

Under the Journal News headline of "Crossing guards guiding no one" it says "Schedules unchanged despite end of half-day kindergarten". The article was only available in print, but will be available online on Tuesday. I will link it up, when it becomes available.

Webster Students Show "Growing" an Interest in Thomas Paine and History at the Thomas Paine Cottage

June 21, 2010 - 13:38

Thomas Paine Cottage2.jpgNew Rochelle, NY. On June 15, the second grade classes of Mrs. Barnes, Mr. Bergamini, and Mr. Minei, of Daniel Webster Elementary Magnet School completed the three part Seeds of The Revolution program with a tour of the Thomas Paine Cottage. Signature Bank generously donated the cost of bus transportation.

In his biography of Paine, Moncure Daniel Conway characterized the man as one who loved “...the flowers and birds of his garden...” The three-month living history program, developed by Huguenot and New Rochelle Historical Association (HNRHA) board-members, Rosemary McLaughlin and Kathleen Gallagher, aimed to provide an interactive learning experience by planting a native garden. This was achieved with help from teachers and administrators at Webster; wonderful students; volunteers Charles and William McLaughlin and Garden Club Members Virginia Peyser, Carol Dellafemina, and Clarie Lynch; Thomas Paine Cottage (TPC) staff; and donations from Heather Sasso of Rose Hill Nurseries.

New Rochelle FIre Department Respond to House Fire at 55 Wildcliff Road

June 21, 2010 - 07:20

A late night house fire at 55 Wildcliff Road kept the New Rochelle Fire Department busy for over an hour last night . First reports came in to the fire department from residents at 40 Davenport Avenue. They reported a heavy smell of smoke in the air and smoke emanating from the rear of there building

When fire and police arrived they observed flames coming from a second story porch on a house that faces the parking lot at 40 Davenport Avenue. New Rochelle fireman knocked the fire down quickly. There were no injuries reported.

The fire department began packing up around 11:15pm Sunday night and had left the scene by midnight.

Photos to follow. Developing...

Open Letter to Iona College: Promises Made for Mayflower Playground Should Be Kept Before Any New Construction

June 21, 2010 - 03:46

Ione College Proposed Dorm.jpg

As Iona College continues its expansion with plans to build new dormitories -- removing more property from the city’s tax rolls -- a promise made to build a playground on a recently acquired property has not been kept. The agreement was verbal and it has become apparent several years later that the college has no immediate plans to make good on their promise.

That must change before Iona College is permitted to expand further.

With Iona College now seeking permission to build a new 10-story dorm on North Avenue, the time is right for the City to put the college on notice that they will not entertain their request further until the playground the college promised is built.

Iona College does not pay property taxes but still receives full city services, including police and fire. The least they could do is see to it that promises to the community are are kept and agreements honored.

Maybe Michael Freimuth, our new Development Commissioner, could look into this and "encourage" the College to honor their promise before any other projects are considered for approval by the New Rochelle City Council.


Support your local florist

June 21, 2010 - 02:52

In general, I believe in supporting outstanding service from local entrepreneurs. Recently, I bought the most beautiful orchid plant at Sutton Florist at the corner of Huguenot and Division. Owner Robert DeVivo was charming and personable with extremely reasonable prices.Classical music plays and I observed as Robert made arrangements for anyone from poor struggling families to the upper crust. I couldn't leave without buying a dozen perfect roses for myself! This is a first class operation with a product on par with anything I ever experienced in Manhattan. Local New Rochellians should all support this very special store!

Open Letter to New Rochelle from a Coach Tours Bus Driver

June 21, 2010 - 00:27

One of the drivers involved in the incident last night asked that Talk of the Sound publish the following letter:

I am one of the drivers of the Coach Tours busses that was booted Saturday night at the Home Depot. I believe we were hijacked by the City of New Rochelle. While we did park at the Home Depot, we did so on the advise of a police officer assigned to a checkpoint at the Surf Club. The operator of the Surf Club should have provided parking for our vehicles, but did not even want us on his property to drop off the students attending their prom. If that's the case, why would he book that type of party knowing full well there was no place for us to park. Like I said, we were directed to the Home Depot by a city police officer. Why? We were not idling. We parked, shut down our busses and went to a local restaurant for dinner. We are a very reliable company and do not violate the laws. We do not idle at our venue. We try to be the best we can. The vehicles are well maintained and therefore the emissions are actually less that that of an average car.We use nothing but low sulfur fuel for our equipment. There was improper signage at the Home Depot. No sign at the entrance we came in to, and half a sign that was cut off hung only by a hook. We were made scapegoats by a bunch of limo's that was there the week before idling all night.

No Time for Business-as-usual at Westchester County Board

June 20, 2010 - 20:08

Sheila Marcotte.jpgThe special election this Tuesday for the 10th District seat of the Westchester County Board of Legislators is of unparalleled importance.

In much the same way that Americans this November will express their opinion concerning the Obama Administration record since 2008, Westchester voters will have the opportunity to judge the record of Astorino's service as County Executive since November. It also presents us with the occasion to determine the future of a unique, homegrown Westchester reform movement for governmental effectiveness and efficiency. To this independent Republican voter, the choice is clear.

Shootout at the Home Depot Corral: Coach Buses from Surf Club Event Booted by Towing Company

June 20, 2010 - 19:48

HomeDepot3.jpgFour Coach Tour passenger buses were booted at the Home Depot parking lot last night at faced up to $10,000 in fines as part of a crackdown by Home Depot at the behest of the City of New Rochelle. Pressure was put on Home Depot by the Buildings Department after a Talk of the Sound article on Wednesday: Lack of Code Enforcement by New Rochelle Turns Home Depot into Illegal Truck Stop & Limo Holding Pen. The use of the parking lot other than customer use is prohibited under the City Building Code.

In response to warnings from the City of New Rochelle, the management at Home Depot fired Safeway Towing and brought in a new company, L.A. Towing of the Bronx to manage the parking in their lot. Soon after the first L.A. Towing signs went up in the Home Depot lot, Home Depot employees reported seeing a person driving a Safeway Towing truck driving through the lot tearing down the L.A. Towing signs or cutting them in half. Safeway is the primary towing contractor in New Rochelle and works for the New Rochelle Police Department.

Varian Sold Out

June 20, 2010 - 17:30

I have taken Greg Varian to task because when push comes to shove Greg always folds to the demands of the Democratic Party. Greg took issue with this in a recent phone conversation. I noted that he refused to take a position on the lawsuit being considered by the democratic majority on the county board against County Executive Astorino. Greg said, obviously you didn’t watch the Journal News candidates interview, which I didn’t as I was attending a funeral, so I took Greg at his word and said ok this is the first time you have bucked the party. After that conversation I went to the Journal News website and watched the interview. To my astonishment Greg lied to me. Maybe this isn’t astonishing to anyone else but I respect those who respect me and although Greg and I differ in philosophy neither of us has had the disrespect to lie to make a point, gain an upper hand in a debate or attain office. Let me quote Greg Varian’s response as to whether he would support the pending legal action being considered by the democratic county legislators; “I would urge my fellow democrats not to pursue litigation”.