July 2010

Reality Bites: Shock Ripples Across New York State Educational Establishment as Test Scores Plummet

July 29, 2010 - 16:52

Chart of Data Falling.jpgThe new team running the State Education system in New York State promised real accountability with tougher, less predictable testing. They appear to have delivered.

In 2009, 86 precent of students in New York State scored a 3 or 4 on the math tests which is considered "at or above grade level" or "passing". This year that figure plummeted to 61%. In English, statewide scores dropped from 77 precent to 53 percent. New Rochelle test scores fell across the board.

“Now that we are facing the hard truth that not all of the gains were as advertised, we have to take a look at what we can do differently,” said Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents. “These results will finally provide real, unimpeachable evidence to be used for accountability.”

New York Times:

New York State said the tests had become too easy, with some questions varying little from year to year, making it simple for teachers to prepare students because each test is made publicly available after it is given.

Buckets of Whitewash at the Ready, New Rochelle IDA to Review Scathing Comptroller Report Tonight

July 29, 2010 - 14:28

This is a placeholder post just to remind people about the NRIDA meeting tonight. More in a bit (right now, working on the video from the MAC meeting last night). The OSC report came out around June 8th, the June IDA meeting was scheduled after that date but IDA Chair Marianne Sussman claimed there was no time to schedule a discussion in June because the report was not made public until 10 days later -- even though she had the report the entire time. The purpose? To kick the can down the road so the discussion could take place in the middle of the summer when, presumably, fewer people would pay attention.

Woman Who Reported Drowned Mount Vernon Firefighter Missing Indicted Along with Boyfriend in Rockland County on Burglary Charges

July 29, 2010 - 13:37

New City, NY -- Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe today announced that an indictment has been handed up against Ivan John Murat (DOB 11/01/76) of 128 Ridge Road, Valley Cottage, New York and Paula Izurieta (12/02/80) of 17 Smart Avenue, Yonkers, New York, charging them with two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree, class “C” felonies

On July 17, 2010, at approximately 10:30 pm, the defendants illegally entered the residence of Richard Serpico, located at 3 Chauncy Street, Congers, New York. Serpico was killed in a motorcycle accident on July 16, 2010 in the Town of Clarkstown.

Murat and Izurieta entered the residence through a basement window and unlocked the front door. The defendants were observed by a neighbor loading the victim’s property into a black Ford sedan.

On July 18, the defendants returned to the residence and stole more property. The duo was observed by a second neighbor who called a friend, who contacted the decedents’ brother-in-law.

Murat and Izurieta were preparing to leave with another carload of stolen electronics and personal property when the victim’s brother-in-law arrived at the home and confronted them. The defendants were observed removing televisions from their storage units and were using laundry baskets as “shopping bags” to gather other small items throughout the victims’ residence.

Municipal Arts Commission Greenlights Capelli Improvements at 5 Anderson; Apicella Portrays Capelli as Victim of Area Bl

July 28, 2010 - 23:45

The Municipal Arts Commissioner (MAC) met in special session tonight and approved plans of Capelli Enterprises to install exterior window coverings at 5 Anderson to bring the company into compliance with the MOU extension granted by the New Rochelle City Council in June.

Below is quick, roughly edited, mostly raw footage from the meeting broken into two parts (to meet YouTube limits of 10 minutes per video).

The first video includes introductory remarks by New Rochelle Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth to provide context for the meeting and remarks by Joseph Apicella, Vice-Chairman of the Westchester County Democrat Party who also works as spokesperson for Capelli Enterprises.

The second video includes some board questions from the board including Don Guerya asking why they board was getting the resolution on such short notice, the vote from the board, numerous comments from Joe Apicella.

New Rochelle Board of Education "Solves" Declining Minority Graduation Rates the Old Fashioned Way -- Ignoring Them

July 28, 2010 - 21:41

Last March, the New York State Education Department published the statewide graduation rate for 2009. In New Rochelle just 66% of students earned even a "local" diploma including just 55% of black students and 51% of latino students. New Rochelle ranked third from the bottom, ahead of only Mount Vernon and Yonkers.

OSC Completes Audit of Four County Correctional Facilities including Westchester

July 28, 2010 - 21:07

Thomas DiNapoli New York State Comptroller.jpgFour New York counties could achieve cost savings by using the Department of Corrections’ Cook-Chill program to feed inmates instead of preparing meals in-house, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The audit examined the following four counties: Albany, Allegany, Oneida and Westchester.

“My office’s audits help local governments improve their financial management practices,” DiNapoli said. “During these difficult times, it’s critical that local governments make every attempt possible to save money and ensure the efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars. Albany, Allegany, Oneida and Westchester counties should consider using the DOCS’ Cook-Chill program in an effort to reduce operating costs.”

DiNapoli’s auditors found that two of the four counties (Albany and Allegany) could have saved approximately $913,500 in 2009 had they fully participated in the Cook-Chill program. In addition, DiNapoli’s auditor’s noted that other operational improvements could be realized through the Cook-Chill program as well.

AJ Burgers Hosts Ursuline School Art Contest

July 28, 2010 - 21:03

Diedre Cummins Art Class of Juniors at The Ursuline School is exhibiting entries in an Art Context hosted by AJ's Burgers in New Rochelle across from City Hall.

To vote, stop by AJ's (their open 24 hours from Wednesday to Sunday with regular hours on Monday and Tuesday including breakfast hours), get a ballot and pick your favorites then drop your entries in the ballot box on the way out. Talk of the Sound tip: ask about the Chicken Parmigiana. If you get lucky AJ himself might make you a Creamsicle shake.






No Solution to our Poor High School Graduation Rate. Shame!

July 28, 2010 - 13:47

The Board of Education last night addressed the critical issue of our low high school graduation. The tone was set by an air of annoyance that we were even discussing this issue and then it moved to one of “we knew this all along”. It concluded with a PowerPoint presentation highlighting what we all know and with no new information: After Mr. Hastie asked what new programs had been implemented this past year; Mr. Conetta found it difficult to identify any new programs except for the introduction of software that tracked students. No new Ideas. No Vision. No realization that perhaps thinking outside the box is a welcomed endeavor. No hard questions from the Board Members. While they presented a careful recompilation of items that presumably benefit the Hispanic students, what about the African-American students? Nothing! Then there was the overall graduation rate of 66% - 66%. It was embedded in a myriad of other statistics intentionally placed to hide and distract from the issue. Was it discussed at length and conclusively? NO. It was simply mentioned in passing as if embarrassed that it was even there. There were questions during the presentation by the Board Members, but none were allowed by the community present. There was a chart on ethnicity of our school children. I wanted to ask who decided the ethnicity of our children. School officials? Who?

I see that someone finally caught up with Frank Orehek SUNY

July 28, 2010 - 11:56

I used to work for Frank a few years ago and would like to share some of my stories here since I became a suspect in a case at the College and was found guilty of “stealing” a few years ago.

Who would be better than me to share them with all of you than someone who lived it?

The fact is that all I did in this case was to follow orders, and I am the person who took the fall.

More tomorrow.

With Clock Ticking, Capelli to Appear Before Special Meeting of Municipal Arts Council in Last Ditch Effort to Save LeCount MOU

July 27, 2010 - 22:11

Municipal Arts Council Emergency Meeting Not Listed.jpg

The Municipal Arts Commission will hold a Special Meeting Wednesday night July 28th at 6:00 PM in Meeting Room, B-1, City Hall, 90. Beaufort Place. The meeting has not been publicly announced, as required by New York State law, which raises questions as to the legality of this meeting. Given the short notice, it is not even clear that the MAC can achieve a quorum to act on a request from Capelli Enterprises.

The special meeting was called at the request of Michael Freimuth, the New Rochelle Commissioner of Development. Municipal Arts Commission will be asked to approve plans by Capelli enterprises to fix up the building located at the intersection of North Avenue and Anderson Street per the LeCount Square MOU Extension granted to Capelli last month.

As Talk of the Sound reported in June, Capelli Enterprises has until July 31st -- this coming Saturday -- to satisfy the Department of Development that exterior improvements have been made to 5 Anderson Street.